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

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


It has taken the the Biden administration and the Democrats who support it just a little over 17 months to wreck the U.S. economy. National indebtedness continues to rise, inflation is the worst it has been in 40 years, fossil fuel prices are at historic highs, the stock market has entered bear territory (meaning the value of middle class 401Ks is in free fall), the supply chain is a mess, interest rates are rising rapidly, airlines can't seem to get flights off the ground, a recession (with consequent unemployment) seems almost certain within the next two years ... and that's only a short list of the carnage.

And with all of this happening in real time, the Democrats keep insisting that big government is the solution to all of our problems. "It's corporate greed," they exclaim as their unrealistic regulatory policies reduce the production of gasoline and diesel, fueling inflation as part of the bargain. "It COVID," they shout, as they continue to push idiotic and unscientific protocols that lead to employee absences or terminations. "It's Putin," they cry, as they blame anyone but themselves for rampant price increases and shortages.

But big government is what the Dems want—as long as it's on their side ideologically. There's only one problem—big government is incompetent, corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, and too far removed from the people to do much good.  That's not an opinion—it's hard fact based on past history.

Adam Andrzejewski provides a few small examples of recent big government fraud and wasteful spending associated with the COVID debacle:

" ... 2.2 million deceased people received $3.6 billion in economic stimulus checks" paid as part of the COVID PPP program.

or how about:

"Musician and former presidential candidate Kanye West, who claims a net worth of $3.2 billion, took $2.4 million in coronavirus relief from the PPP for his clothing and sneaker company, Yeezy LLC."

or maybe:

" ... a legal loophole in the PPP was used by 125 defense firms with strong ties to the Communist Chinese Party to collect between $200 million and $400 million meant to help American small businesses."

The problem is that far too many federal government employees simply don't care or have no incentive to rein in spending. In fact, in many cases, they're incented to spend, and punished if they don't spend their allotted budgets. They look the other way as millions or billions are wasted.

That's why every taxpayer (an increasingly smaller number of citizens each year) owes about $245,000 to cover the federal debt. In the year 2000, the debt to GDP ratio was 58%. Today it's about 128%, and if the Dems and far too many GOP politicians continue to tax and spend, we'll soon reach a situation that is unsustainable. 

But ironically, all of the spending the Democrats demand has NOT solved the social problems they identify. In fact, it appears that the more spending that occurs, the worse those problems become. Creating dependency among larger and larger numbers of people is a mistake that will have obvious and unintended consequences going forward. 

The Dems are right about one thing ... it's time for a "reset," but it's not the one they're talking about.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Remember the on-going baby formula shortage? You know, the one that only "recently" came to the attention of the Biden administration, even though clear signs of an impending shortage were well known in late 2021. That shortage has been very bad for many young families with infants. But it's nothing compared to another impending shortage—this one poised to affect everyone and just about everything. The problem is that you can't begin hoarding now, because this shortage doesn't involve a consumer product—it involves something called DEF.

And what exactly is DEF? It's Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which is 31% percent Urea, a derivative of natural gas—you know, that hated fossil fuel whose production the Biden administration has worked so, so hard to cripple. All in the name of saving the planet, of course.

If a large diesel fueled truck doesn't have DEF, it will not run. The implication is catastrophic. If trucks stop running, 70-plus percent of the nation's goods—food, electronics, building materials, medicines, clothing, just about everything—never get to consumers. The result will be chaos that make previous shortages of everything from baby formula to toilet paper look mild by comparison.

The story of the impending DEF shortage is complex. There are international players, the war in Ukraine, and major Democratic political operators involved. But at its core, there is the concerted effort by the Biden administration to discourage domestic natural gas production, which makes us rely on Russia (now embargoed) and China (not our best international friend) for urea. Recall that urea is absolutely essential for DEF production.

Biden and his Team of 1s (background here) should be working right now to take steps to mitigate the DEF shortage before it becomes a real problem. They have done nothing to date.

The mainsteam media should be on the administration's case NOW so that they can't hide behind the claim that they didn't know about it. The media is largely silent.

And the democratic operatives who are directly involved in this story (Tom Donilon of the Union Pacific Railroad and his family) should be called out, so that they begin work to mitigate the problems before any shutdown of trucking occurs. No nasty profiles by the New York Times or Sixty Minutes.

We have enough time to correct this before it becomes a serious problem, but only if competent leaders take action now. Problem is, the Biden administration and the majority party in both the House and the Senate have demonstrated repeatedly that competence is not their strong suit.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

The Foegen Effect

I really do wish I could leave the idiocy of bad COVID-19 policy behind and move on to other important topics, but a small group of blue state bitter-enders, many in positions of authority or leadership, just can't let go of the authoritarian powers COVID confers on them. A case in point is a California school district that has threatened to re-institute mask mandates for grade school children. Even in the free state of FL where mask mandates were removed 18 months ago, there are a small number of medical offices that still continue masking idiocy, requiring everyone who enters to wear a mask. And true to form, the catastrophists within the Biden administration still want mandatory masking on public transportation

BTW, mandatory masking did not stop the spread.

Yet, we were told by "experts" that masks were life-saving devices absolutely essential to stop the spread. And besides, masks were an obvious way to virtue signal, indicating that you were willing to wear a scientifically ineffective piece of cloth if it let everyone who mattered know that you cared ... you really, really cared.

Science, of course, relies on actual facts. A recent paper, "The Foegen effect: A mechanism by which facemasks contribute to the COVID-19 case fatality rate" published in the journal Medicine, suggests that mandatory masking may have done far more harm than good. From the abstract:

Extensive evidence in the literature supports the mandatory use of facemasks to reduce the infection rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the effect of mask use on the disease course remains controversial. This study aimed to determine whether mandatory mask use influenced the case fatality rate in Kansas, USA between August 1st and October 15th 2020.This study applied secondary data on case updates, mask mandates, and demographic status related to Kansas State, USA. A parallelization analysis based on county-level data was conducted on these data. Results were controlled by performing multiple sensitivity analyses and a negative control.A parallelization analysis based on county-level data showed that in Kansas, counties with mask mandate had significantly higher case fatality rates than counties without mask mandate, with a risk ratio of 1.85 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.51-2.10) for COVID-19-related deaths. Even after adjusting for the number of "protected persons," that is, the number of persons who were not infected in the mask-mandated group compared to the no-mask group, the risk ratio remained significantly high at 1.52 (95% CI: 1.24-1.72). By analyzing the excess mortality in Kansas, this study determines that over 95% of this effect can solely be attributed to COVID-19.These findings suggest that mask use might pose a yet unknown threat to the user instead of protecting them, making mask mandates a debatable epidemiologic intervention. [emphasis mine] The cause of this trend is explained herein using the "Foegen effect" theory; that is, deep re-inhalation of hypercondensed droplets or pure virions caught in facemasks as droplets can worsen prognosis and might be linked to long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. [emphasis mine] While the "Foegen effect" is proven in vivo in an animal model, further research is needed to fully understand it. 

Obviously, the Foegen affect needs additional study, but it seems plausible. Far more plausible, in fact, than suggesting that cloth masks would stop an airborne virus or that mandates that force small children to wear masks have any beneficial affect.

Monday, June 06, 2022


Although it's been going on for quite some time, the COVID era has amplified the effects of ideological influence on expertise. Once respected expert groups (whether they come from the hard sciences, from financial institutions, from the corporate world, from select government agencies or heretofore respected private institutions) have beclowned themselves with incredibly bad policy recommendations, ideologically driven opinions, and in more than a few cases, outright, blatant dishonesty. Even worse, these "experts" have demonized others who have questioned their positions and worked with sympathetic media to cancel them by limiting their ability to communicate. 

Victor Davis Hansen writes: 

Do we remember those stellar economists who swore at a time of Biden’s vast government borrowing, increases in the monetary supply, incentivizing labor non-participation, and supply chain interruptions that there was no threat of inflation? Were they adherents of ideological “modern monetary theory”? Did they ignore their own training and experience in fealty to progressive creeds?

What about the Stanford doctors who signed a groupthink letter attacking their former colleague, Dr. Scott Atlas, because he questioned the orthodoxies of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the state bureaucracies—who we now know hid their own involvement with channeling funding to deadly gain-of-function research in Wuhan? Did they reject his views on empirical grounds and welcome a give-and-take shared inquiry—or simply wish to silence an ideological outlier and advisor to a despised counterrevolutionary?

Or how about the 50 retired intelligence “experts” who swore that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not genuine but likely Russian disinformation? Did they really rely on hundreds of years of collective expertise to adjudicate the laptop or did they simply wish to be rewarded with something comparable to a “Hero of Woke America” award?

Or what about the 1,000 medical “professionals” who claimed violating quarantine and protective protocols for Black Lives Matter demonstrations was vital for the mental health of the protestors? Or the Princeton creators of a video identifying Jonathan Katz as a sort of public enemy for the crime of stating that racial discrimination of any sort was toxic?

Experts should serve as referees, providing needed context for the falsehoods promulgated by dishonest politicians, rabid activists, and their trained hamsters in the media. Instead they have been co-opted to serve 'the narrative,' without regard to accuracy, honesty, or common sense.

As policies driven by supposedly "expert" opinion are enacted and ultimately crash and burn (consider, for example, the anti-fossil fuel policies of the Biden administration that have caused gas prices to double) trust in real expertise is lost. And when trust is gone, even the most knowledgeable experts see their influence wane. 

When that happens, we have no 'referees'—the game goes out of control.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

COVID Residue

I'm proud to say that I condemned the panic that resulted in COVID-related schools closures in the early spring of 2020 (e.g., here, here and here), suggesting that the closures and lockdowns were completely unnecessary (given the scientific data that already existed) and would do significant harm to school age children. Those who felt like I did were condemned as "uncaring," but in reality, the COVID catastrophists allowed their fear and authoritarian tendencies to guide very, very bad policy. 

This resulted in severe learning deficits (particularly in basic skills like reading writing and math), significant mental health problems among children, and declining test scores.

The likes of Anthony Fauci, MD, the bureaucrats at the CDC, blue state governors and local officials, teachers' union leaders, the vast majority of the main stream and social media outlets, and some red state officials who refused to stand up to them, should be held accountable for the damage they did to our children. They won't be.

However, the data are now in, and the results for our children are bad, very bad. Ironically, they are particularly bad for inner city children who are supposedly the top concern for blue state leaders. In fact, it could be argued, using the warped logic of the Left, that COVID policies adopted by blue states and cities were "racist."

Alex Gutentag writes:

The available numbers tell a worrying story of educational slippage that is likely to keep large numbers of kids from acquiring the basic skills, both intellectual and social, that they will need to hold decent jobs. Recent test scores have dramatically declined, with one report finding that in districts offering distance learning, the decline in passing rates for math was 10.1 percentage points greater than in districts that offered in-person instruction. In Maryland, 85% of students now are not proficient in math, and in Baltimore the figure is 93%. Michigan, Washington, and other states have found dramatic declines in their test scores. In Los Angeles, the decline has been worse for younger students, with 60% of third and fourth graders not meeting English standards compared to 40% of 11th graders. Overall, the youngest children were most profoundly impacted by lockdowns and school disruptions, and some of them now lack basic life skills.

As the severity of these repercussions comes to light, some outlets—notably those that most aggressively advocated for lockdowns and masking—have been eager to suggest that we are now aware of the overwhelmingly negative consequences of these policies thanks to “new research” that has only just become available to fair-minded people, who can therefore be forgiven for having adopted the course they did. But to many doctors and scientists, the damage to kids caused by COVID-19 panic was neither inevitable nor surprising. Rather, it was the result of the public health establishment’s conscious choice to eschew rational cost-benefit analysis in favor of pet cultural theories and political gamesmanship. For those who applied the scientific method to the available evidence, the consequences were already clear just a few weeks into the pandemic. “It was not at all true that people in healthcare and public health were unaware of what was going on with children,” Dr. Noble told me. “They were not ignorant.”

What happened to the United States’ kids was not the result of an innocent mistake. It was the product of a concerted campaign of censorship and demonization of dissenting voices in support of premises that turned out to be wildly harmful to children. Scientists, doctors, and parents who urged schools to reopen based on available evidence were systematically ignored and silenced by politicians, public health bureaucrats, and legions of dedicated online COVID-19 activists, while the most vulnerable children in U.S. society suffered the consequences.

And yet, COVID bitter-enders still demand masking, still suggest that lockdowns are warranted, still refuse to admit that the likelihood of a child dying from COVID-19 is far lower than their likelihood of being killed by a lightening strike. 

We have normalized insanity. The damage will be on-going for years to come.


This comment from Matthew Stafford looks at the COVID response and by implication, school shutdown demands at a meta-level:

In 2020, a fearful public acquiesced to an extraordinary extension of expert jurisdiction over every domain of life, and a corresponding transfer of sovereignty from representative bodies to unelected agencies located in the executive branch of government. Notoriously, polling indicated that perception of the risks of Covid outstripped the reality by one to two orders of magnitude, [bold is mine] but with a sharp demarcation: the hundredfold distortion was among self-identified liberal Democrats, that is, those whose yard signs exhorted us to “believe in science”.
"The science" never provided any indication that children were at severe risk; never indicated that transmission from children to 'at risk' adults was high, and never suggested that closing schools was a good idea.