The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 09, 2021

20 Things

Since March of 2020 I have tried to point out the idiocy of the governmental, societal, and political (not to mention cultural) responses to the pandemic. Driven by media dishonesty, political motivation and outright stupidity (not to mention innumeracy) our leaders and supposed "experts" did far more harm that good. They ruined lives, deprived children of an education, and did little to "stop the spread." The only bright spot was the accelerated development of vaccines that have moved us toward herd immunity.

In what has to be one of the most important twitter threads posted about the response to COVID-19, @ZubyMusic (Independent Rapper. Author. Podcaster. Coach), Zuby looks at the pandemic from 10,000 feet up and discusses "20 Things I've Learned (Or Had Confirmed) About Humanity During The 'Pandemic'. 

His assessment of our response to COVID-19 should be required reading for every catastrophist who somehow thinks that they're virtuous because they wore (or wear) a mask or hid in their basement for months on end or argued that shutting down schools was for the good of the children or speciously claimed they were "following the science." Zuby's thread follows:

20 Things I've Learned (Or Had Confirmed) About Humanity During The 'Pandemic'

1/ Most people would rather be in the majority, than be right.

2/ At least 20% of the population has strong authoritarian tendencies, which will emerge under the right conditions.

3/ Fear of death is only rivalled by the fear of social disapproval. The latter could be stronger.

4/ Propaganda is just as effective in the modern day as it was 100 years ago. Access to limitless information has not made the average person any wiser.

5/ Anything and everything can and will be politicised by the media, government, and those who trust them.

6/ Many politicians and large corporations will gladly sacrifice human lives if it is conducive to their political and financial aspirations.

7/ Most people believe the government acts in the best interests of the people. Even many who are vocal critics of the government.

8/ Once they have made up their mind, most people would rather to commit to being wrong, than admit they were wrong.

9/ Humans can be trained and conditioned quickly and relatively easily to significantly alter their behaviours - for better or worse.

10/ When sufficiently frightened, most people will not only accept authoritarianism, but demand it.

11/ People who are dismissed as 'conspiracy theorists' are often well researched and simply ahead of the mainstream narrative.

12/ Most people value safety and security more than freedom and liberty, even if said 'safety' is merely an illusion.

13/ Hedonic adaptation occurs in both directions, and once inertia sets in, it is difficult to get people back to 'normal'.

14/ A significant % of people thoroughly enjoy being subjugated.

15/ 'The Science' has evolved into a secular pseudo-religion for millions of people in the West. This religion has little to do with science itself.

16/ Most people care more about looking like they are doing the right thing, rather than actually doing the right thing.

17/ Politics, the media, science, and the healthcare industries are all corrupt, to varying degrees. Scientists and doctors can be bought as easily as politicians.

18/ If you make people comfortable enough, they will not revolt. You can keep millions docile as you strip their rights, by giving them money, food, and entertainment.

19/ Modern people are overly complacent and lack vigilance when it comes to defending their own freedoms from government overreach.

20/ It's easier to fool a person than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Bonus thought:

21/ Most people are fairly compassionate and have good intentions (this is good)

As a result, most people deeply struggle to understand that some people, including our 'leaders', CAN have malicious or perverse intentions (this is bad).

That pretty much sums it all up.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Cover-Up

After a two-year investigation, conducted by a largely partisan group of Democrat-leaning investigators and led by the supposedly unimpeachable Robert Mueller, found that there was no collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians, Nancy Pelosi stated: "Just as I have said to the president: With him [Trump], all roads lead to Putin ... I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially."

Fair enough. 

But now Joe Biden is president, and in light of breaking media revelations that (after more than a year of disinterest and censorship) there may be merit to the assertion that COVID-19 was mistakenly released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIoV) after the virus was genetically modified in what is called "gain-of-function" research. The story is even more explosive, but we'll skip the gory details involving Obama-era funding of the Wuhan lab along with Anthony Fauci's now proven obfuscation on that and related subjects.

Rather, there are a few complementary questions that absolutely, positively need to be asked, but like the media blackout that was associated with the WIoV for over a year, those questions have been assiduously avoided by the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media today. John Kass comments:

When his father was vice president, as then-President Barack Obama's point man in China and Ukraine, future first son Hunter followed the big guy off the planes and made friends in China and Ukraine. Hunter reportedly made millions.

It's important to examine, especially now, even as much of the Democrat-friendly corporate media is strenuously avoiding the Hunter Biden story, which may turn out to be like the Wuhan lab leak story -- one that was ignored by the media for political reasons and then rediscovered for political reasons.

The New York Post is on it, but others step away. The president's son is under federal investigation for tax fraud, his famous laptop is now in the custody of the FBI, and photos are circulating of Joe Biden at dinner with Hunter's business friends. Keep in mind the Biden folks have never forthrightly disputed the material on the laptop. Instead, they have followed the lead of Hunter Biden who has said he "doesn't know" if the laptop is his.

C'mon, man.

And still, the media doesn't seem all that interested in what it could mean. I'm sure China is interested ...

The mainstream media is also quite corporate, and is finally getting around to asking if COVID-19 -- the virus that became a pandemic and has killed more than 3 million people worldwide -- leaked out of a lab in Wuhan and not from the hapless corpse of a pangolin in a nearby wet market, which was the story originally sold and swallowed by most journalists and Democrats.

The questions, of course, are simple: Will the Biden administration avoid investigating the true origin of COVID-19, and even if they trace it to the WIoV, will they bury the report? If they do those things, is it because the Chinese have information that might reflect badly on Biden?—information derived from Hunter Biden's very questionable dealing with the Chinese.

It's important to note that NO ONE has provided evidence that Hunter Biden's interaction with the Chinese was anything but influence peddling; that the money he "earned" was anything but "pay for play," and that the allusion to the "big guy's 10 percent" was anything but a reference to his father (then out of office).

The propaganda media engages in 'investigative disinterest' whenever they encounter a story that somehow threatens to attack their preferred political party or chosen narrative. By doing that, they are actively engaged in a cover-up. And by doing that (to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi), "We don't know what the Chinese have on the president, politically, personally, or financially."

And you know what they say ... the cover-up is often proven to be even worse than the original crime.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Nocebo

I encountered a new word today. But more on that in a moment. 

The United States and many other countries are starting to return to normal after the mass hysteria caused by 15 months of often dishonest and always catastrophist reporting on COVID-19. As a consequence,  serious study of the societal and emotional effects of the resultant mass hysteria has begun. Kelley Williams comments:

The coronavirus panic shows again that computer models say what they are programmed to say.  And that many experts say what they are paid to say.  And that the “news” is mostly narrative and spin and occasionally factual and often politicized.  And that regulators gonna regulate.  And that politicians gonna pontificate.  And that the virus is gonna do what it does naturally regardless of masks, lockdowns, and social distancing.  And that it didn’t notice or care last year when we tried to flatten the curve to conserve hospital capacity.

And that government actions and edicts in response to virus fears may help but can hurt too.  And that less government seems to work better — for both people and politicians (e.g., see Florida vs. California).  The California Governor may be recalled over his extreme virus edicts.  People there are harassed and hurting.  The Florida Governor may be President.  People there are living almost normal lives.  And then there is the Governor of New York.  He’s also known as the “Granny Killer” for his nursing home policies and record deaths.  He’s under investigation because of them.

I read a paper this week on COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria.  It was written by three credentialed academics from Spain and Peru and published by Juan Carlos University in Madrid.  It was the first such paper I’ve seen.  I expect there will be more.

The paper’s thesis is that politicians and bureaucrats (the state), news media and experts exaggerate the risk of the virus vs. other well-known diseases.  And that pervasive social media and internet interests amplify their message.  And that all this has a nocebo effect (new word for me). Its world-wide effect has produced mass hysteria.

A nocebo effect is the opposite of a placebo effect.  A placebo makes you get well because you think you will.  A nocebo makes you get sick because you think you will.  Both work if you believe authority figures (doctors and experts) who say they work.  The mechanism is imaginary or psychological.  But the effects are real and physiological.

The authors cite several cases.  One was a patient in an experimental drug trial who didn’t know he had been given a placebo.  He tried to commit suicide by overdosing on the drug.  It was harmless.  But his symptoms showed he might die anyway — until the doctor running the trial arrived at the hospital and revealed the drug was a harmless placebo.  The patient quickly recovered.

The authors don’t suggest COVID-19 is harmless.  Just that its risk has been and is being over-hyped.  They say the resulting mass hysteria is contagious.  And its over-reactions are harmful.  They suggest reasons for the over-hyping: “It lies in the interests of a government to emphasize citizens’ vulnerability to external and internal threats, because the state’s legitimacy and power rest on the narrative that it protects its citizens against such dangers.”
The word is "nocebo," and that's exactly what was given to the hundreds of millions of people who had trouble understanding the statistics surrounding COVID-19, who believed a media and many politicians in blue states that were not only dishonest but worked hard to terrify the public. Many, many people had trouble thinking critically about the information and misinformation that they were given. The result was worldwide mass hysteria, catastrophically bad decisions that did far more damage than expected, and a loss of freedom that was abominable.

None of this is meant to minimize the damage done by a virus that was likely modified in gain-of-function work conducted by the Chinese at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then released by mistake (we think) into the population. None of it is meant to disregard the 3 million who died. But all of it is true, and it's important that we understand what nocebos can do when they are used as a weapon.

And make no mistake, some politicians and much of their media used the COVID-19 nocebo as a weapon. It worked to defeat a politician they hated, and if the side affect was hysteria, lockdowns, school closures, business defaults, and ruined lives ... so be it.
 

 

 

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Ellie

The story is a small, but it exemplifies the idiocy of woke cancel culture, examined by someone outside the USA who truly understands the warped mindset of far too many modern leftists. Written by the UK Spectator gossip columnist, "Cockburn," it relates the travails of actress Ellie Kemper who (the horror!) attended a debutante ball in her youth that has precipitated the ire of leftist "activists" who accuse her of racist tendencies because photos taken at the time (it was over 20 years ago) were not sufficiently diverse.

In a justifiably snarky commentary on this small story of woke cancel culture, Cockburn writes:

Kemper is being targeted for being cute, white, cheerful and popular in a period where those four facts in combination cause severe stress to America’s most mentally unbalanced individuals, who inexplicably hold power in direct proportion to how deranged they are. Even worse, Kemper has shunned politics throughout her career. Like so many others, she is being punished for not being a time traveler and not spending her entire life anticipating this particular moment of political fanaticism in America. 

Of course, nobody is vilifying Kemper for attending Princeton University, even though it was segregated until the 1940s and to this day is far more a bastion of privilege than any Midwestern civic organization [where the debutant ball was held] could be. Why? Precisely because Princeton is so bound up with the American elite that it entirely reflects its current values and obsessions. 

But perhaps it’s only a matter of time. Ultimately, what traumatizes the mob most is the simple fact that America existed prior to 2012 — and despite its flaws was quite successful. The best way to eradicate the uncomfortable thoughts that fact creates is to simply obliterate history completely. It’s why statues are coming down and buildings are being renamed. It’s why the Constitution itself is a target ...

... In the long run, the woke mob is a death cult. Their hatred is not a rational response, but a manifestation of internal misery.

Sad ... but true. The woke are humorless, historically illiterate, cognitively inconsistent and—to quote Cockburn—sometimes "mentally unbalanced." Their fixation on identity politics may fill a deep void in their psyches, but the manner in which our supposed government and corporate leaders are following their deranged dictates is dangerous and destructive. 

In recent weeks, Joe Biden has had a penchant for reading cue cards that describe what his handlers characterize as "white supremacy" (i.e., being Caucasian and unwoke) as a form of domestic "terrorism." Using their own playbook, maybe it's time for the rest of us to begin characterizing woke cancel culture and its authoritarian attempts to control thought and action as a much more virulent form of "domestic terrorism." After all, if its good enough for Biden, it has to be good enough for us.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

It's Wrong

It's interesting to think back to April and May of 2020, when the previous president suggested that China was culpable for what he called the "China Virus" and further suggested that the virus had its origin in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The media and the Democratic masters became apoplectic. Their shrill condemnation of those assertions were quickly transformed into the prevailing narrative. For almost a year afterward, not only was any claim supporting Trump's assertion literally censored (e.g., by Facebook), it was also derided as "debunked" or "a ridiculous conspiracy theory" by the propaganda media (e.g., The NYT or WaPo).

But in May of this year, for reasons that are not yet apparent, the purveyors of the false COVID-19 narrative backed off, and all of a sudden, a discussion of Chins'a culpability became acceptable. It's curious, is it not?

It might be that a false narrative (the bread of butter of woke ideology) does not age well, and as a consequence, those who supported the narrative (think: Dr. Fauci) wanted to get out ahead of the the narrative's demise. Maybe they hoped that they wouldn't look like the fools that they are. Or maybe it's a wheels-with-wheels thing—who knows?

But the narrative is falling apart—rapidly. Eileen Connelly reports:

A bombshell new study claims to have proof that Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in a lab and then tried to reverse-engineer versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.

British professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen wrote they’ve had primary evidence “of retro-engineering in China” since last year, but were ignored by academics and major medical journals, the Daily Mail reported Saturday, citing the soon-to-be-published study.

The study concludes: “the likelihood of it being the result of natural processes is very small.” 

... It was during their COVID-19 vaccine research that the pair came across “unique fingerprints” indicating the virus didn’t come from nature, they said. The telltale clue: a rare finding in the COVID-carrying virus of a row of four amino acids, which give off a positive charge and bond to negative human cells.

“The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row,” Dalgleish told the Daily Mail. “The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it.”

They also tracked published Chinese research, some done working with American universities, to show how the tools to create the virus were allegedly built. A good part of the work reviewed involved “gain of function” research, which involves manipulating natural viruses in a lab to make them more infectious, allowing scientists to study their potential effect on humans.

Hmmm. This work dovetails nicely with earlier scientific investigations that are now shredding the false COVID origin narrative that was enthusiastically supported because ... Trump. 

And yet, the media is not held accountable for suppressing legitimate inquiry in the case of the virus' originals while they ask the public to ignore analogous evidence in other matters of national consequence using the same gaslighting and smear techniques to suppress inquiry.

It's wrong. It's dangerous. And it makes them—to quote a guy who they truly hate—"... enemies of the American people."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Getting Things Terribly Wrong

As I wrote in my last post, it's all-of-a-sudden become fashionable among many left-leaning media outlets (that encompasses the vast majority of all major media outlets) to talk openly about the origins of COVID-19. No matter that these hypocrites were the first to label anyone who even suggested that the origins were not the "wet market" or a bat cave in China as a "conspiracy theorist" or "unhinged." No matter that social media literally censored any post that suggested that the Wuhan Virology Lab may have been the source. No matter that the Democrats circled their collective wagons to protect the Chinese Communist Party because Donald Trump has the temerity to question China's actions in the months before the virus turned into a pandemic. Nah, that was all perfectly acceptable, until it wasn't.

The NY Post was one of the conservative outlets that was censored (by Facebook) for suggesting that the origin of COVID-19 was the Wuhan Virology Lab. Sohrab Amani comments:

Is there something in the California water that makes Silicon Valley’s censorious dweebs so damned shameless?

On Wednesday, Facebook ­revised its policy of banning posts suggesting the coronavirus was man-made — because the COVID situation is, er, “evolving,” as a spokesman told Politico.

Gee, thanks. The flip-flop comes more than a year after the social-media giant banned a well-reasoned Post opinion column by China scholar Steven Mosher that speculated about a potential lab leak. Will our columnist receive an apology? Of course not. But it’s the American people who should be holding the Menlo Park ­tyrants to account.

Think about it: If you were Xi Jinping, and you wanted to deploy an information-control operation over the origins of COVID-19, you couldn’t have done better than to just let Facebook, working in conjunction with America’s bottom-feeding “fact-checking” industry, do its thing.

The Chi-Coms, after all, were held in odium in the US eye long before the first COVID cases arrived: How much more effective — and devious — to have a gazillion-dollar US tech firm shut down public inquiry into the ­virus’ origins, and that with the help of well-credentialed “experts” and “fact-checkers.”
The mainstream media are now ruled by one idologically-driven narrative after another. They have become propagandists, not journalists. Any thing, any fact, any person that challenges their narrative is to be attacked, censored, and buried in a blizzard of ridicule and criticism. Any claim—no matter how compelling will not be investigated if it runs counter to their narrative. In fact, the claim will be labelled as "debunked" and dismissed. All of that and more happened during 2020 with the Wuhan Lab story. Now we learn that the media was very, very wrong, but no one will be held to account.

But there's a story inside the story. If the media can call a reasonable claim a "conspiracy theory" or label it as "unhinged," if it can refuse to investigate, censor on a whim, attack legitimate people and hard facts, we're all in trouble. And it can.

The editors at Issue and Insights comment on the ramifications for another story that has been labeled a "conspiracy theory" or "unhinged:"  

... even as the press grudgingly admits that it horribly mishandled the Wuhan lab leak story and in the process needlessly besmirched those who brought it up,  these same outlets are playing the same game with the election fraud story. 

As with the lab leak theory, we have been told repeatedly that there is no evidence to back it up. We’re told that court cases alleging election fraud were dismissed. We’re told, as with the Wuhan lab story, that the experts all agree that there’s no truth to election fraud claims. And we’re told that anyone who suggests fraud took place in the November 2020 elections is a Trump-loving conspiracy nut.

Here’s a typical headline, this one from CNN: “Arizona, Georgia audits move forward as Republicans continue to push election fraud lies.”

And as with the lab leak story, the narrative being peddled by the press just happens to fit into their political bias. The press was happy to dismiss the Wuhan lab story because President Trump was among those suggesting it. They’re happy to dismiss any claims of election fraud for the same reason.

Never mind that, as with the lab leak story, there is reason to doubt the media’s chosen narrative. There’s no question that strange things were happening on election night. There is no doubt that the Democrats’ push for universal mail-in balloting made fraud easier to commit. There are reasons to doubt several of the official election counts.

A credible press would investigate such claims on their own, and even call for their own audits – as they did after the disputed Florida election in 2000 when they sent armies of reporters down to the state to conduct their own ballot recounts.

But no. The press will allow no one to make such claims without labeling them “conspiracy mongers,” or “ridiculous,” or calling any such claims “fringe theory,” “baseless,” a “myth” or any of the other pejoratives they so assuredly hurled at those mentioning the Wuhan lab. States that are prudently enacting election integrity laws are routinely demonized as trying to “restrict” or “suppress” voting to appease Trump’s warped fantasies.

Of course, the lab origin theory for COVID may in the end not pan out, just election audits might not turn up evidence of massive fraud. But what we are seeing more and more is what happens when the press decides that its job isn’t to report the news but to push a biased and partisan narrative. They get things terribly wrong.

And in the end no one pays a price for getting "things terribly wrong," accept the general public who believe (probably naively) that getting things right is the media's job.

POSTSCRIPT:

"Getting things terribly wrong" might very well be the point for the propaganda media. The best time to investigate any allegation is immediately after the occurrence—not months or years later when evidence dissappears, records can be manipulated or "lost," witnesses "unexpectedly" cannot be found or change their stories, and memory of the event wanes among the public. 

So gaslighting or censoring questions about the event, saying it has been "debunked," refusing to do any legitimate investigation, and otherwise obfuscating the known facts protects a false narrative (pretty much the only narrative promulgated by the propaganda media), even if, after time passes, the illegitimacy of the false narrative becomes apparent.

Given that reality, it's unlikely that we'll ever get to the bottom of either the Wuhan or 2020 election stories. Enough time has now passed, and the fog of uncertainty has rolled in. The ideologues who supported the original narrative have won. The rest of us have lost.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Conspiracy Theory

In her best selling book,  The Smear, Sharyl Attikison, coined the term "controversialize" to describe how the media (following the bidding of Washington smear shops) attempts to dismiss any information that conflicts with their prevailing narrative. That's why they consistently label ideas, arguments and even hard facts as the stuff of "conspiracy theory" when those ideas, arguments and facts conflict with the propaganda they are trying to promote.  In many cases, the truth ultimately comes out, but the damage has already been done.

Way back in April of 2020, I joined many observers who suggested that the Wuhan Virology lab may have been the source of COVID-19. All of us who suggested that possibility were dismissed as "conspiracy theorists." The reason: Donald Trump had also suggested the same thing, and nothing that Trump ever said could be anything but a "lie."

Thirteen months later and our supposed experts (think: Anthony Fauci, MD) along with their media shills seem to be changing their tune. Richard Fernandez comments:

Why are Biden and the media suddenly open to the former “conspiracy theory” of a lab origin of the coronavirus pandemic. First it was never purely a conspiracy theory. From the beginning many reputable experts urged the possibility be investigated. What may be happening is the tide is turning within the bureaucratic scientific establishment. As we learn more about the virus and the so-called missing link continues to be missing it is becoming increasingly difficult to blithely accept the original MSM assurance.

What really terrified the dogs chasing the China car was not the lack of science but what to do if they caught it.

WSJ News Exclusive | Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate on Covid-19 Origin  Three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a U.S. intelligence report, fueling debate over Covid-19’s origin.
The virus could have been one of natural origin that was brought back to a laboratory in Wuhan—intentionally or accidentally—and escaped. 

The Biden administration has recommended to the WHO that it lead a fuller investigation into the possibility of a lab leak, backing a call by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has offered to deploy specialists. An investigation should include other laboratories in Wuhan, not just the WIV, and the team conducting it should include laboratory safety experts, according to a U.S. health official. “We should be able to look at biosafety records and interview staff members,” the official said.

Suddenly. 

You'd think that those who controversialize claims made by their opponents might learn from this and back off just a bit. Maybe other claims that run against the prevailing narrative deserve a little investigation to determine whether or not they have merit. 

Nah, it's much easier to dismiss them as "conspiracy theory" — until they aren't.

UPDATE (27 May 2021):

The editors of the Wall Street Journal report on the Biden administration's attempt to get ahead of the Left's now-failed attempt to quash the Wuhan Lab Leak story. They write:

... it was always reasonable to ask if the virus came from a nearby lab that handled dangerous viruses. On Feb. 6, 2020, Botao Xiao of the South China University of Technology posted a paper concluding the virus “probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.” But the Chinese government strictly controls research into Covid-19’s origins, and the molecular biomechanics researcher withdrew his publication.

The Communist Party then went on offense, with Beijing’s ambassador to the U.S. declaring that lab-leak theories were “absolutely crazy” and could “fan up racial discrimination, xenophobia.” After Mr. Cotton responded by calling on China to “open up now to competent international scientists,” the media chose denial: “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked” (Washington Post) and “Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins” ( New York Times ).The public-health clerisy also set boundaries for allowable discussion. On Feb. 19, 2020, the Lancet published a statement by scientists condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” Although some academics quietly dissented, the document was promoted as proof that the lab possibility was “debunked.”

The Lancet statement was organized by Peter Daszak, whose nonprofit has funded research at the WIV. He had a clear interest in dismissing the lab theory, which could put future research dollars at risk ...

The real scandal is almost always the attempted cover-up, and for over a year the Left and its media allies have attempted a cover-up by controversializing the Wuhan lab origins of COVID-19. They claimed that anyone who argued in its favor was a "conspiracy theorist" who promoted a "debunked" story. Odd how that attack vector is no longer used, now that Biden is president.