Saturday, July 11, 2020

Coronavirus: The Under-40s Dilemma

Coronavirus: The Under-40s Dilemma Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 22:00

Last week, Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid made a striking observation, one which threw all coronavirus comparisons to the Spanish Flu, and the coming second wave of the pandemic, in for a loop.

Specifically, Reid cited a paper that influenced market thinking in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic looked at the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing and school closures during the Spanish flu (link here). The paper found that the US cities that implemented these measures tended to have better economic outcomes over the medium term. This offered historical support to the argument that there wasn’t such a big trade-off between economic activity and public health, because you needed to suppress the virus to enable consumers to be more confident and for businesses to operate as normal.

However, a major difference between Spanish flu and Covid-19 was the age distribution of fatalities, as shown in the chart below:

Here is the punchline: for Covid-19, the elderly have been overwhelmingly the worst hit. For the Spanish flu of 1918, the young working-age population were severely affected too. In fact, the death rate from pneumonia and influenza that year among 25-34 year olds in the United States was more than 50% higher than that for 65-74 year olds, "a remarkable difference to Covid-19."

Now, in a follow up observation from Reid, the DB credit strategist points out another coronavirus peculiarity: the fact that the virus leads to virtually no fatalities of people below 45.

As Reid writes, the UK has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world when it comes to fatalities per head from Covid-19. The country has seen around 60,000 excess deaths relative to the previous 5-year average. But given the scale of these numbers, Reid points out a "remarkable fact" that among those aged under around 40, deaths have been roughly the same as for the previous 5-year baseline (using England and Wales data). This backs up previous observations on how age-discriminant Covid-19 has been.

It's not just the UK: in Sweden (pop. 10.25m), where there was no lockdown, huge international criticism of its strategy, and one of the highest fatalities per head in the world – only 70 people under 49 years old have died of Covid-19, out of 5,482 total virus deaths (1.3%) so far. For context, average annual deaths in Sweden over the last 5 years for under-49-year-olds have been 3,417.

And yet, while the coronavirus has lead to virtually no excess deaths in younger age cohorts, it is the younger strata of society that are the most impact by the economic shutdowns that have resulted in tens of millions of unemployed Millennials.

Indeed, as the second DB chart below shows, lockdowns will likely lead to 2020 being the worst year for the UK economy for 310 years.

As Reid provocatively puts it, "younger people will be suffering most from the economic impact of Covid-19 for many years to come, we wonder how history will judge the global response." That said, since the economic crisis resulting from Covid-19 has also unleashed full-blown helicopter money as well as the biggest round of corporate bailouts of insolvent and zombie companies in history, we are confident that the tsunami of global moral hazard - which will leave tens of millions of young workers without a job - will allow central bankers to sleep soundly at night.

Reid's conclusion: "the debate is more nuanced than a 250-word email can capture (e.g. the potential long-term implications of Covid-19 on individual health, the need to protect healthcare systems, etc.), but it’s a good discussion to have."

Alas, the die has already been cast and it is now far too late.


Liberals Are Crazy Idiots


Whenever John McCain is trending on Twitter I like to try and float a reminder of what a disgusting warmonger he was on top of the trend to disrupt the worshipful hagiography within the mainstream liberal echo chamber.

 — @caitoz

It’s a provocation. I freely admit this. But it’s a provocation with a fuse that should not exist (nobody should object to someone speaking ill of a killer with a body count like McCain’s), and the charge it sets off is just fascinatingly disproportionate to what’s being said.

I mean check out the hundreds of responses to my latest act of blasphemy where I said that McCain was a bloodthirsty warmongering psychopath and the world is better off without him. There are liberals on there saying I deserve to die for saying this, that there’s a special place in hell for people who say such things, that my parents should have aborted me, that karma is going to get me for this.

They always babble about “karma”. Before I was temporarily banned from Twitter in 2018 after outraged Democrats mass-reported me for comments I’d made about McCain, my mentions were full of people telling me over and over again that “karma” is going to give me cancer and kill me for saying the world will be better off without a psychopathic facilitator of mass murder.

And I just think that says so much about the way mainstream liberals tend to see the world. “Karma”, the way westerners tend to understand the word, would just mean that someone will say a mean thing about me someday, in the same way I said a mean thing about John McCain. That would be an equal and proportionate pushback from karma. Yet that’s not what they’re saying karma will do. They’re saying they believe karma punishing me with death (and in some cases hell) would be the appropriate response from the universe for uttering sacreligious words about one of their elite rulers. Because that’s how much more important, valuable and sacred some dead senator is to them than the life of an ordinary person.

 — @mtaibbi

Liberals are such crazy idiots. They pretend to stand for truth and logic then spend years promoting the fact-free Trump-Russia collusion narrative. They pretend to stand for social justice then drop those values the second it becomes politically convenient, like making homophobic jokes about Trump and Putin, calling Lindsey Graham “Lady G” for being a closeted gay man, and lecturing black political leaders about how black people should think and vote. They pretend to stand for the little guy, then support austerity and war while literally worshipping John McCain.

Just last night on MSNBC Chris Hayes was talking about Trump’s controversial commuting of Roger Stone’s prison sentence and he parroted the completely false and utterly baseless claim that Stone was a “go between” for WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

“Roger Stone was what he looked like: a go-between between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, and then he lied about it, which is what he was convicted for,” Hayes said.

This is just completely untrue. The only communications between Stone and WikiLeaks prior to the November 2016 presidential election were WikiLeaks telling Stone to stop falsely claiming that he was in communication with the outlet and had been getting information from them. Stone told the Trump campaign to expect WikiLeaks to publish damning leaks after it was already public knowledge that this was to be expected. Everyone involved in the story has denied that there was ever any back channel to WikiLeaks, and there is no evidence that they are lying.

 — @aaronjmate

But Hayes said it like it’s a fact anyway. One of the most popular reporters on on the most virulently pro-Democrat network in America told his audience an objectively false thing, will suffer no consequences for doing so, and will probably never even have to issue a correction, because lying about anything even remotely related to Russia is considered normal and acceptable in today’s liberal mainstream media.

Yet this same political faction will lament the “post-truth era” they claim Trump has ushered in.

Liberals (or “neoliberals” or “corporate liberals” or “centrists” or whatever word you think everyone should be using for this ideology that nobody can agree on a label for) are just a fake imitation of the thing that actual leftists are. Leftists actually fight for justice, equality, peace, truth and anti-authoritarianism, while liberals are cheerleading Joe Biden and sociopathic intelligence agencies and throwing endless inertia on any movement toward real change. Leftists are the thing that liberals pretend to be.

And that’s why liberals hate the true left: because leftists are a constant reminder that liberals aren’t what they pretend to be. That they are just conservatives wearing a fake plastic mask of justice and sanity. That their lives are a crude crayon drawing of the values they pretend to espouse, a layer of feel-good narratives and podcasts and Hamilton songs wallpapered over a rapacious omnicidal machine of endless war, ecocide and oppression.

And of course that’s not entirely their fault; they’ve been psychologically brutalized into their position by generations of mass media propaganda. But it is ultimately everyone’s own responsibility to expand their own consciousness to the point that they can be useful to the world. At some point, liberals, you’ve got to wake the hell up.


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Friday, July 10, 2020

University deletes 'disgusting' tweet affirming conservative students


A message from Penn State's liberal arts department declaring it welcomed the viewpoints of conservative students was deleted after an intense backlash.

The offending tweet had a picture with the title "Dear Students: You Belong Here" followed by affirmations of black, Muslim, Latinx and LGBTQ+ students. It also assured, "Dear conservative students, your viewpoints are important."

It was the last line that blew up social media, reported College Reform.

Penn State deleted the tweet after a swift social media backlash.

The student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, published some of the reactions of students.

"Conservatives in the United States do not live in a system that was built from the blood and trauma of their ancestors — a system that continues to put down people who look like [their ancestors] every day," wrote one.

Another student said the tweeted drowned out her voice as an African-American.

"The fact that Penn State cannot even come up with their own flyer to spew their lies of solidarity and support is disgusting," the student said.

A third student insisted the university's administration must "combat racism with a comprehensive plan" or suffer "unbearable consequences."

Penn State Director of Strategic Communications William Hessert, Jr told Campus Reform the message was deleted because it "was not being received well, and it is important for us that our messages be received as intended."

"While we do not believe in deleting our posts, given the sensitivities of the matter we felt that it was better to remove it," Hessert said.

'Perfectly Orwellian'

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley called Penn State's withdrawal of affirmation to conservative students "perfectly Orwellian."

Commenting on the spokesman's concern that the "message was not being received well," Turley wrote that Penn State essentially was saying "we wanted to assure conservative students with other students that they are welcomed but many disagreed with their inclusion in that sentiment. So we deleted the welcome."

Turley pointed out "polling shows that conservative students are much more fearful of expressing themselves in classes and on campuses due to a lack of support – and often outright hostility – from administrators and faculty."

The university's "gesture of inclusivity," he wrote, turned into "a chilling messaging of hostility for conservative students who want to join their community."


The post University deletes 'disgusting' tweet affirming conservative students appeared first on WND.


Matt Taibbi: "It Was Like Watching Bruce Springsteen And Dionne Warwick Be Pelted With Dogshit For Singing We Are the World"

Matt Taibbi: "It Was Like Watching Bruce Springsteen And Dionne Warwick Be Pelted With Dogshit For Singing We Are the World" Tyler Durden Fri, 07/10/2020 - 21:45

Authored by Matt Taibbi

As excerpted from "If it’s Not “Cancel Culture,” What Kind of Culture is it?"

Any attempt to build bridges between the two mindsets falls apart, often spectacularly, as we saw this week in an online fight over free speech that could not possibly have been more comic in its unraveling.

A group of high-profile writers and thinkers, including Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem and Anne Appelbaum, signed a letter in Harper’s calling for an end to callouts and cancelations.

“We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom,” the authors wrote, adding, “We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.”

This Hallmark-card-level inoffensive sentiment naturally inspired peals of outrage across the Internet, mainly directed at a handful of signatories deemed hypocrites for having called for the firings of various persons before.

Then a few signatories withdrew their names when they found out that they would be sharing space on the letterhead with people they disliked.

“I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company,” tweeted Jennifer Finney Boylan, adding, “The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry.”

Translation: I had no idea my group statement against intellectual monoculture would be signed by people with different views!

In the predictable next development – no dialogue between American intellectuals is complete these days without someone complaining to the boss – Vox writer Emily VanDerWerff declared herself literally threatened by co-worker Matt Yglesias’s decision to sign the statement. The public as well as Vox editors were told:

The letter, signed as it is by several prominent anti-trans voices and containing as many dog whistles towards anti-trans positions as it does, ideally would not have been signed by anybody at Vox… His signature on the letter makes me feel less safe.

Naturally, this declaration impelled Vox co-founder Ezra Klein to take VanDerWerff’s side and publicly denounce the Harper’s letter as a status-defending con.

“A lot of debates that sell themselves as being about free speech are actually about power,” tweeted Klein, clearly referencing his old pal Yglesias. “And there’s a lot of power in being able to claim, and hold, the mantle of free speech defender.” 

This Marxian denunciation of the defense of free speech as cynical capitalist ruse was brought to you by the same Ezra Klein who once worked with Yglesias to help Vox raise $300 million. This was just one of many weirdly petty storylines. Writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, who organized the letter, found himself described as a “mixed race man heavily invested in respectability politics,” once he defended the letter, one of many transparent insults directed toward the letter’s nonwhite signatories by ostensible antiracist voices.

The whole episode was nuts. It was like watching Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick be pelted with dogshit for trying to sing We Are the World.

This being America in the Trump era, where the only art form to enjoy wide acceptance is the verbose monograph written in condemnation of the obvious, the Harper’s fiasco inspired multiple entries in the vast literature decrying the rumored existence of “cancel culture.” The two most common themes of such essays are a) the illiberal left is a Trumpian myth, and b) if the illiberal left does exist, it’s a good thing because all of those people they’re smearing/getting fired deserved it.

In this conception there’s nothing to worry about when a Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is dismissed for writing “Black Lives Matter, but also, everyone’s life matters” in an email, or when an Indiana University Medical School professor has to apologize for asking students how they would treat a patient who says ‘I can’t breathe!’ in a clinical setting, or when someone is fired for retweeting a study suggesting nonviolent protest is effective. The people affected are always eventually judged to be “bad,” or to have promoted “bad research,” or guilty of making “bad arguments,” etc.

In this case, Current Affairs hastened to remind us that the people signing the Harper’s letter were many varieties of bad! They included Questioners of Politically Correct Culture like “Pinker, Jesse Singal, Zaid Jilani, John McWhorter, Nicholas A. Christakis, Caitlin Flanagan, Jonathan Haidt, and Bari Weiss,” as well as “chess champion and proponent of the bizarre conspiracy theory that the Middle Ages did not happen, Garry Kasparov,” and “right wing blowhards known for being wrong about everything” in David Frum and Francis Fukuyama, as well as – this is my favorite line – “problematic novelists Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, and J.K. Rowling.”

Where on the irony-o-meter does one rate an essay that decries the “right-wing myth” of cancel culture by mass-denouncing a gymnasium full of intellectuals as problematic? 

Continued reading on Matt Taibbi's Substack


42% of All COVID-19 Deaths Occurred in Nursing Homes

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It Wasn’t My Cancelation That Bothered Me. It Was the Cowardice of Those Who Let It Happen


It doesn’t take much to get cancelled these days. Last month, my turn came around. The experience was unpleasant, but also completely ludicrous. And I learned a lot. I learned how easily an institution will cave to a mob. I learned how quickly the authorities will run for cover, notwithstanding the lip service they may pay to principles of free speech.

After all, they’re terrified. They’re afraid that if they don’t beg forgiveness and promise to do better, they’ll be next at the guillotine.

I was cancelled by one of Canada’s quainter institutions, a University of Toronto graduate residential school called Massey College. Few people outside Canadian academia have heard of it. But the cultural revolution has entered its mass-spectacle Reign of Terror phase, and so my story made news across Canada. I was depicted as a racist, anti-feminist heretic whose mere presence inside Massey’s halls would have presented a threat to students.

But Massey College hasn’t fared too well, either: In this climate, every fusty institution is just one trivial scandal away from public-relations crisis and knives-out infighting, as all concerned flail about in a bid to prove their moral purity. I’ll survive. I’m not sure Massey will.

* * *

Massey College was created in the early 1960s by Torontonians eager to evoke the genteel old Oxbridge days. And it remains a charming place, though a bit precious. It is made up of Senior Fellows (distinguished professors from the university, as well as luminaries from the city’s intellectual elite) and Junior Fellows (graduate students), who don their gowns to dine together, and perhaps mingle over a glass of port. The Senior Fellows are overwhelmingly white; the Junior Fellows increasingly multicultural. Until recently, the head of the college held the anachronistic title of Master, after the British style. Yet despite these antiquated trappings, Massey College prides itself on being a vibrant forum for high-minded debate and liberal ideals.

After the party the real work begins: rest today to built tomorrow! All the Best for 2019 from Massey College!

— Massey College (@MasseyCollege) January 1, 2019

The college has an appendage called the Quadrangle Society, which is basically a jumped-up book club. Its members, of whom there are hundreds, are drawn from the non-academic world. Although membership is by invitation only, it is not terribly exclusive, and nobody is quite sure of its purpose. It is a WASPish take on what once might have been called a “salon”—back in the days when words like that could be used unironically without provoking eye rolls.

Last winter, I was asked to join. I said yes because I have several friends who belong to the Quadrangle Society, and I thought this would be a fun excuse for us to have lunch together in Massey’s great hall. Two Quadranglers wrote too-kind nomination letters for me. I was assured that the approval process was a mere formality. And sure enough, in due course I received a call from the recently appointed head (whose title now has been changed to “Principal”). She was delighted to inform me that I’d been accepted. And there my troubles began.

I am a journalist, now mostly retired, who for several decades served as a senior editor, and then an opinion columnist, for The Globe and Mail, the closest thing Canada has to a New York Times. Some of my opinions were controversial—or at least what passes for controversial in this country. My specialty was deflating Canada’s numerous liberal pieties. I did it rather well. Among Canada’s liberal elites, who take their pieties very seriously, I was an abomination.

I attracted controversy for another reason, too. In 2012, I was accused of plagiarism. While my newspaper found me guilty of nothing more than carelessness, there is no question that I screwed up by failing to attribute material to other sources. My critics gleefully seized on the incident, and I’ve been trolled on social media ever since. The issue also became a convenient rallying point for the mob that assembled once my appointment to the Quadrangle Society was announced (along with about two dozen other appointees).

We are delighted to announce new Senior Fellows and Quadrangle Society Members! Welcome to the Massey Community!

— Massey College (@MasseyCollege) June 11, 2019

Massey College was besieged by enraged students and faculty. Racism featured heavily among the sins attributed to me, even though I’d scarcely written about race at all during my career. (This was in June, at the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests. And in that moment, some race-related accusation figured in most mobbings.)

Being a Massey College Junior Fellow is SO MUCH FUN! Apply today! Applications close on May 6, 2019

— Massey College (@MasseyCollege) April 8, 2019

Sexism, too. Because I had written in the Globe and Mail that the prevalence of rape on university campuses had been highly exaggerated, I was accused of “creating an unsafe environment for disclosures of misconduct.” I was also denounced for questioning the science behind “implicit bias” training (which has, in fact, been thoroughly discredited). I was even accused of “self-plagiarism,” the journalistic equivalent of #MeToo-ing oneself.

“I thought Massey had just resolved to educate its members about racism and microaggression and do better to create a safe and welcoming environment for marginalised people,” one complainant wrote. “And then we invited Margaret Wente to join us? Seriously? How are my friends and colleagues supposed to feel safe sitting across from her at dinner?”

Dozens of scholars threatened to resign from the college if my appointment were allowed to stand. A few did so pre-emptively, in fact. They included Alissa Trotz, director of the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute. “Margaret Wente is someone who has demonstrated consistent and outright hostility to questions of equity, women and gender studies and anti-racism,” she wrote in her letter of resignation. Trotz claimed that she hadn’t been aware of my nomination—an odd claim given that she’d been a member of Massey’s governing council and sat on the governance and nominating committee.

The Principal of the college (a francophone from Ottawa) was blindsided. She seemed to be the only person among Toronto’s intellectual elite who wasn’t aware of my chequered reputation. As for the board of governors, I don’t know how my name sneaked by them. (Actually, I do know. They thought the Quadrangle Society was an innocuous outfit that could continue holding its book clubs and cocktail parties in well-heeled obscurity)

You can guess there’s fish&chips for lunch when the hall is so crowded! #MasseyLife #HappyFriday

— Massey College (@MasseyCollege) September 21, 2018

It didn’t help that Massey was already under a racist cloud, due to a single bad joke. Three years ago, a retired professor named Michael Marrus, then a Senior Fellow, attempted to make a clumsy poke at the old designation of “master” within Massey College. “You know this your master, eh?” he said to one of the Black junior fellows, referring to the then-head of the college. “Do you feel the lash?”

Needless to say, this joke did not go over well. Prof. Marrus was forced out, and offered his profuse apologies; as did Massey College, begging for everyone’s forgiveness for longer than was necessary or dignified, and thereby setting the stage for the even sillier scandal involving me. Last year, a new principal was found who, it was devoutly hoped, would help the college turn the page: Nathalie Des Rosiers, a lawyer, academic, and former Liberal politician who once served, if you can believe it, as general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties association.

It was Ms. Des Rosiers who called me to deliver the unpleasant news about the firestorm. She sounded stunned, as if she’d been whacked by a two-by-four. She wasn’t specific about the allegations, but apologetically told me she would have to strike a committee to look into them. She also told me she hoped this unpleasantness could be resolved by respectful dialogue. I thought this sentiment was utterly naïve. Mobs aren’t interested in dialogue. The whole purpose of a mob is to punish heretics and prove to everyone where the power lies. She gently asked if I might want to resign. I said I didn’t know.

Shortly after our little chat, Massey College issued a statement announcing that in light of the objections, my appointment was going to be re-examined in order to determine whether I was really fit to receive the honor that had been bestowed on me. “New information” had come to light since I’d been approved—which everyone knew was complete nonsense, since everything I’d ever written exists on The Globe and Mail web site and various searchable media databases. For good measure, Massey College cited the college’s code of conduct, which “expresses specifically a commitment to equity and diversity,” and added that “racist statements cannot and will not be tolerated.” Ms. Des Rosiers hadn’t bothered to inform me that this denunciation was in the works. From what I could tell, everyone at Massey was in full panic mode, completely focused on protecting their own positions.

Two days later, the Principal called me with an update. Massey’s Governing Board had called an urgent emergency session to deal with the Wente crisis. It was clear where this was heading. So I quit.

Massey’s statement announcing my resignation followed a now familiar formula, with the authors reciting lurid confessions of vast thoughtcrimes that extended well beyond inviting a former newspaper columnist to occasional literary cocktail parties. The Governing Board promised to launch a “fundamental rethink…in order to eliminate any impediments to an environment that is completely free from anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-gender identity views and discrimination of any kind.” It pledged that this effort “will become the primary focus of the Governing Board in the months to come.” In the few weeks between my joining the Quadrangle Society and my leaving it, the group had apparently gone from a cheese-plate book club to a full-time woke struggle session.

Without a hint of irony, the Massey College statement also described the school as “a beacon for the expression of the widest range of academic viewpoints.” But as my case shows, these two goals are completely contradictory. You can raise a beacon for free expression. Or you can run a puritanical campaign to enforce moral purity and root out heretics. You can’t have both. And to an astonishing extent, the people who run places with names like the Quadrangle Society have chosen moral purity.

* * *

I’m not ashamed to find myself in the company of the cancelled. Indeed, I’m proud to share this honour with some of the finest minds in the world. One example is Steve Hsu, a brilliant scientist who, until late June, was vice-president of research and innovation at Michigan State University (whose status he’s helped to vastly improve). Hsu was forced out by the university’s president, who caved in to pressure from the Graduate Students’ Union (though Hsu will keep the academic part of his job because he has tenure). Among his sins: He mentioned published research, from his own university, that found no racial bias in police shootings. He also once wrote approvingly of peer-reviewed, government-funded research on variations in brain architecture that is now casually labelled as “scientific racism.”

In the latter case, Hsu was writing about a 2015 article in the journal Current Biology, and his comments were not immediately seen as particularly controversial. This was only five years ago. Yet the times have utterly changed during that period. The wrong kind of science is now seen as hate speech. The same is true of any failure to place Black Lives Matter activists in the firmament of earthly angels. Even liking the wrong tweets can cost you your career. Mike McCulloch, a math lecturer at Plymouth University, was recently investigated by his employer for liking a tweet that read “All lives matter.” Here in Canada, Michael Korenberg, chair of the board of governors for the University of British Columbia, was forced to step down because he liked some tweets praising Donald Trump. Nobody is safe—not even the phenomenally popular author J.K. Rowling, who has been hounded and harassed for saying that, when it comes to trans women, biology is still a thing.

My own field, journalism, has become notoriously full of little inquisitors. In the most disturbing example, James Bennet, opinion editor of the most important paper in the world, the New York Times, lost his job in June for publishing an opinion piece that many of the younger staffers didn’t like. It was written by a Republican senator, Tom Cotton, who argued that Donald Trump would be justified in deploying military troops to cities if local police could not maintain order in the streets. Staffers claimed the piece was so toxic that it put some of their colleagues’ lives in danger. Like many others, Mr. Bennet departed with a grovelling apology.

If you think the radical mob is now editing your daily paper, you might well be right. Last month, Stan Wischnowski, top editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, was forced to resign over a headline that read, “All Buildings Matter.” All of this is dolefully reminiscent of China’s Cultural Revolution, during which students denounced their elders and made them parade through the streets in dunce hats before they were packed off to the pig farms for re-education.

And there is no statute of limitations. Last week, Boeing. Co.’s communications chief, Niel Golightly, abruptly resigned after an anonymous employee filed an ethics complaint over an article he wrote in 1987, 33 years ago. In it, the former military pilot had expressed the opinion that women shouldn’t serve in combat (a mainstream position at the time). “My argument was embarrassingly wrong and offensive,” he said in another cringeworthy mea culpa. “The article is not reflective of who I am.”

.@sapinker is an exemplary academic, bringing interesting ideas to the public, with nuance. An “open letter” against him in part for tweeting academic studies is unfair.

— Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) July 4, 2020

So be warned. Everything you ever said or wrote is fair game. As the well-known social psychologist Jonathan Haidt tweeted the other day, “If scholars scan each other’s collective work—every word written or recorded—searching for the least charitable reading of every snippet, we can all destroy each other.”

* * *

Compared to other cancel-culture targets, I’m one of the lucky ones. I no longer have a job on the line. And so I get to spend the summer reading books and visiting with friends instead of mucking out the pig farm.

As a columnist, I had strong editors to back me up. And I wrote at a time when you could speak your mind. In the last few years, by contrast, the window for even mildly controversial opinions has shrunk dramatically. It has shrunk the most at places that have traditionally prided themselves as champions of free expression. As ideological correctness becomes the modern currency of spiritual virtue, rational dissent has been cast as heresy.

I wish the folks at Massey College well. But they’ll have a hard time turning their 1960s take on Oxford into a woke utopia that will satisfy their critics. And the sight of their panic is blood in the water for the same folks who came after me. There is no way they can cleanse themselves of the stain of white privilege. Ultimately, the only way they’ll be able to atone for their sins is to cancel themselves.


Margaret Wente is a former editor and columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper. Now happily retired, she lives in Toronto.

The post It Wasn’t My Cancelation That Bothered Me. It Was the Cowardice of Those Who Let It Happen appeared first on Quillette.


Hydroxychloroquine And Fake News

Hydroxychloroquine And Fake News Tyler Durden Wed, 07/08/2020 - 21:05

Authored by Jeremy Gordon via,

The anti-hydroxychloroquine media has been full of the supposed dangers of hydroxychloroquine and its failure as a treatment for the virus.

Does hydroxychloroquine work or does it not, is it safe or dangerous, and should we be using it as a treatment for the virus?

Here we examine the evidence for and against it.

A New York doctor Vladimir Zelenko looked at treatments being used in China and Korea and gave it to 405 patients over 60 or with high-risk problems such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, hypertension or shortness of breath. In this high risk group he claimed to have cut hospital admission and mortality rates compared to what could be expected without treatment by 80 to 90%.

Dr Zelenko sent a letter to President Trump urging him to issue an executive order to roll out the treatment which the FDA was blocking. Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine looked like it could be a “game-changer”, and thus the politicization of hydroxychloroquine began.

Dr Fauci the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who was supposed to be advising Trump disagreed with him and backed Gilead’s rival treatment Remdesivir. YouTube deleted a video of Dr. Zelenko talking about the treatment on his Rabbi’s channel and despite objections that there was nothing wrong with the video YouTube never reinstated it.

In this YouTube video interview with Rudy Giulliani from July 1, which hopefully will not be deleted by the time you read this, Dr. Zelenko claims 99,3% survival rate for the high-risk patients he has treated

Professor Didier Raoult of Marseilles used a similar protocol to Dr. Zelenko without the zinc. His study with a small group using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin showed a fifty-fold benefit. He then went on to get similar results with a much larger group of 1,061 patients. Contrary to the warnings the media had been running that hydroxychloroquine would cause heart problems, no cardiac toxicity was observed and he achieved a mortality rate of only 0.5%.

The media quickly found critics who claimed that the only valid proof any treatment worked was a “gold-standard” double-blind clinical trial and dismissed Dr. Zelenko’s and Raoult’s results. Dr. Zelenko and Prof. Raoult both refused on ethical grounds to give placebos to half the patients in clinical trials and they defended their data as sufficient to show the treatment did work. They both stressed that the urgency of the situation made it necessary to act on available evidence, not clinical trials which would take months to produce results and be verified. There have subsequently been over a dozen studies which confirm that Dr. Zelenko’s and Prof. Raoult’s protocols do work.

A study from the New York University Grossman school of Medicine published in May found patients given hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin at an early stage had a lower need for hospitalization than those who were not. The addition of zinc improved the results even more.

I’ll tell you what. If this is me, and I am me, and I end up getting this thing, I am going to want Zinc plus Hydroxychloroquine plus Azithromycin. I would want that treatment.” commented Chris Martenson, PhD, in his video series about COVID-19 where he talks about this study.

Yale Professor Harvey Risch submitted a report of five trials and studies using hydroxychloroquine in the American Journal of Epistemology titled “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.

Prof. Risch agreed that, in an ideal world, randomized double-blinded controlled clinical trials would be preferable but in the meantime “for the great majority I conclude that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, preferably with zinc can be this outpatient treatment, at least until we find or add something better. It is our obligation not to stand by as the old and infirm are killed by this disease and our economy is destroyed by it and we have nothing to offer except high-mortality hospital treatment. Available evidence of efficacy of HCQ+AZ has been repeatedly described in the media as anecdotal, but most certainly is not”

A Brazilian study found 4.6 times less hospitalization in patients who took hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin within seven days of infection. Professor Paolo Zanotto reported that there were 41% of deaths among those who did not choose therapy and were hospitalized against 0% among those who chose by therapy.”

A retrospective study of 2,541 Detroit cases showed up to 71% reduction in mortality in early treatment with hydroxychloroquine azithromycin.

A retrospective study of 3,737 cases in Marseille showed a reduction of 50% in mortality without any adverse effects in the Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin group.

A meta-analysis of 105,040 cases from 20 studies in 9 countries found a reduction in mortality by up to three times in groups treated early with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin

A study of 6,493 patients with COVID-19 at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, showed that hydroxychloroquine helped to reduce mortality in hospitalized patients. .

On July 3 a study by a Michigan team at Henry Ford Health System found that 13 percent of patients who were given the drug early on survived while 26 percent of patients who were not given the drug died. The study which included 2,541 patients was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases and determined that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin provided a 71% hazard ratio reduction.

Our results do differ from some other studies. What we think was important in ours … is that patients were treated early. For hydroxychloroquine to have a benefit, it needs to begin before the patients begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions that patients can have with COVID” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System.

A statement from the Trump campaign hailed the study as fantastic news.

Fortunately, the Trump Administration secured a massive supply of hydroxychloroquine for the national stockpile months ago, yet this is the same drug that the media and the Biden campaign spent weeks trying to discredit and spread fear and doubt around because President Trump dared to mention it as a potential treatment for coronavirus. The new study from the Henry Ford Health System should be a clear message to the media and the Democrats: stop the bizarre attempts to discredit hydroxychloroquine to satisfy your own anti-Trump agenda. It may be costing lives.”

Also on July 3 results from another study by Dr. Takahisa Mikami and his team at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study analyzed the outcomes of 6,493 patients who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the New York City metropolitan area and found that hydroxychloroquine decreased mortality hazard ratio by 47% percent.

Many more studies in addition to those above also show that treating early with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and preferably also zinc is the key to ending hospitalization and death.

The trials that confirm Dr. Zelenko’s and Prof. Raoult’s finding have been mostly ignored or dismissed by the anti-hydroxychloroquine media.

The trials that they have given attention to are those that supposedly show that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help or even increases the death rate.

Statistics from the US Veterans hospital study (Magagnoli, 2020) showed patients who were given hydroxychloroquine died more frequently than those who did not.

In this study hydroxychloroquine was only given to patients who were already seriously ill and those who were getting better without any treatment were not given it. Predictably those given hydroxychloroquine did worse than the untreated group but those conducting the study claimed it as proof that hydroxychloroquine did not work. Professor Raoult commented “In the current period, it seems that passion dominates rigorous and balanced scientific analysis and may lead to scientific misconduct. The study by Magagnoli et al is an absolutely spectacular example of this,”

One of the collaborators in the trial reportedly received a $260 million grant from Gilead Sciences Inc. which produces the rival treatment Remdesivir.

The US Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie, acknowledged that the drug was given to veterans at their last stages of life and added “We know the drug has been working on middle-age and young veterans … it is working in stopping the progression of the disease.”

Another study that supposedly showed that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous and didn’t work came from a group that claimed to have data on hydroxychloroquine use for Covid-19 from hospitals around the world  The study was published on 22 May in the Lancet medical journal. The results were immediately disputed by one of the Australian hospitals from which Surgisphere, the company which supplied the data claimed to have obtained it.

Following this a group of 140 scientists, researchers, and statisticians wrote an open letter to the Lancet and the authors of the study questioning the data used. A Guardian investigation revealed that Surgisphere was run by employees who lacked any scientific background. One was a science fiction author and fantasy artist and another was an “adult model and events hostess.” The Lancet conducted an independent investigation, retracted the study and in an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Richard Horton, the editor in chief admitted that the study should never have appeared in his journal.

On the basis of the flawed Lancet study the WHO suspended the hydroxychloroquine trials it was sponsoring. When the study was retracted they resumed them briefly but soon after suspended them again on the results of another faulty study, the Oxford University’s “RECOVERY Trial”.

The researchers in this trial gave patients massive doses of hydroxychloroquine without the necessary addition of azithromycin and they started treatment too late. That the RECOVERY Trial was never going to work was pointed out on the Covexit website two months before it started.

Prof. Raoult compared the Oxford academics who carried out the hydroxychloroquine section of the RECOVERY trial to the Marx Brothers in a video interview titled “The Marx Brothers are Doing Science – the Example of RECOVERY”

Prof. Raoult sarcastically commented that the good news that came out of the trial was that hydroxychloroquine is not toxic. The RECOVERY trial used a 2,400 mg dose on the first day compared to Dr.Raoult’s 600 mg. Even with such high dosage there were no cardiac side effects with any of the participants. Prof. Raoult recalled that “two weeks ago one was told everybody was dying because of cardiac issuesAt least, this trial is good to assess the toxicity of hydroxychloroquine as they did not announce any toxicity, even at such high dosage”.

Although by now it should have been abundantly clear that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin only worked in combination and if given early, not to patients in hospital more than seven days after infection, in April the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) started hydroxychloroquine trials on hospitalized patients too late, some already in emergency wards, and then abandoned the trials with the conclusion that “hydroxychloroquine does no harm but provides no benefit”. The FDA cancelled its emergency use authorization and the NIH halted their clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine

The media hostile to hydroxychloroquine successfully whipped up hysteria about its supposed dangers although it has an excellent safety record and it is not even alongside aspirin on the WHO list of the 100 most dangerous drugs.  Specialists and doctors prescribing hydroxychloroquine for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus have confirmed that thousands of patients are being prescribed the same dose Dr. Zelenko is giving for five days for years on end without problems.

Were the failed studies faulty because of ignorance or by design?

Who gains from them?

The drug companies can’t make much money on a generic drug, and they found in the media and the scientific community willing accomplices to stop its use. Gilead Sciences Inc. gives grants in addition to those mentioned above to Oxford University and the WHO. Is it possible that people in these prestigious institutions may have their integrity compromised by money, or is it mere coincidence that Gilead with their rival treatment is funding them?

Some of the media will do anything to make Trump look like a fool and these faulty trials were the perfect opportunity. The media hostile to hydroxychloroquine downplayed or cast doubt on the many successful studies and trials with hydroxychloroquine and made the most of the faulty trials as proof that the drug Trump had touted didn’t work.

For the media it seems to have been more about scoring political points and increasing their audience ratings rather than investigative reporting which uncovers the truth. For those who are dying and their families and friends as a result of this treatment not being used because of media misinformation it is lives tragically lost, and for the rest of us it is our economies sinking, businesses failing, and unemployment, poverty and suffering rising.

Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and los,s ruin, suffering and devastation to our economies and societies avoided if we simply started using this safe, cheap and readily available treatment. It is a ludicrous and tragic farce that because of the massive misinformation on behalf of corporate greed and political point scoring that we are not.


Discovering the Link Between Gender Identity and Peer Contagion


The following is excerpted, with permission, from Abigail Shrier’s newly published book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, Regnery Publishing (June 30, 2020) 276 pages.

In 2016, Lisa Littman, ob-gyn turned public health researcher, and mother of two, was scrolling through social media when she noticed a statistical peculiarity: Several adolescents, most of them girls, from her small town in Rhode Island had come out as transgender—all from within the same friend group. “With the first two announcements, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s great,’” Dr. Littman said, a light New Jersey accent tweaking her vowels. Then came announcements three, four, five, and six.

Dr. Littman knew almost nothing about gender dysphoria—her research interests had been confined to reproductive health: abortion stigma and contraception. But she knew enough to recognize that the numbers were much higher than prevalence data would have predicted. “I studied epidemiology… and when you see numbers that greatly exceed your expectations, it’s worth it to look at what might be causing it. Maybe it’s a difference of how you’re counting. It could be a lot of things. But you know, those were high numbers.”

In fact, they turned out to be unprecedented. In America and across the Western world, adolescents were reporting a sudden spike in gender dysphoria—the medical condition associated with the social designation “transgender.” Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for natal females in the United States quadrupled, with biological women suddenly accounting for—as we have seen—70 percent of all gender surgeries. In 2018, the UK reported a 4,400 percent rise over the previous decade in teenage girls seeking gender treatments. In Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the UK, clinicians and gender therapists began reporting a sudden and dramatic shift in the demographics of those presenting with gender dysphoria—from predominately preschool-aged boys to predominately adolescent girls.

Dr. Littman’s curiosity snagged on the social-media posts she’d seen. Why would a psychological ailment that had been almost exclusively the province of boys suddenly befall teenage girls? And why would the incidence of gender dysphoria be so much higher in friend clusters? Maybe she had missed something. She immersed herself in the scientific literature on gender dysphoria. She needed to understand the nature, presentation, and common treatment of this disorder.

Dr. Lisa Littman

Dr. Littman began preparing a study of her own, gathering data from parents of trans-identifying adolescents who’d had no childhood history of gender dysphoria. The lack of childhood history was critical, since traditional gender dysphoria typically begins in early childhood. That was true especially for the small number of natal girls who’d presented with it. Dr. Littman wanted to know whether what she was seeing was a new variant on an old affliction, or something else entirely. She assembled 256 detailed parent reports and analyzed the data. Her results astonished her.

Two patterns stood out: First, the clear majority (65 percent) of the adolescent girls who had discovered transgender identity in adolescence—“out of the blue”—had done so after a period of prolonged social-media immersion. Second, the prevalence of transgender identification within some of the girls’ friend groups was, on average, more than 70 times the expected rate. Why?

Dr. Littman knew that a spike in transgender identification among adolescent girls might be explained by one of several causes. Increased societal acceptance of LGBTQ members might have allowed teenagers who would have been reluctant to “come out” in earlier eras to do so today, for example. But this did not explain why transgender identification was sharply clustered in friend groups. Perhaps people with gender dysphoria naturally gravitated toward one another?

The rates were high; the age of onset had increased from preschool-aged to adolescence; and the sex ratio had flipped. The atypical nature of this dysphoria—occurring in adolescents with no childhood history of it—nudged Dr. Littman toward a hypothesis everyone else had overlooked: peer contagion. Dr. Littman gave this atypical expression of gender dysphoria a name: “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” (“ROGD”).

* * *

Many of the adolescent girls suddenly identifying as transgender seemed to be caught in a “craze”—a cultural enthusiasm that spreads like a virus. “Craze” is a technical term in sociology, not a pejorative, and that is how I use it here. (Dr. Littman never does.) It applies to Hula-Hoops and Pokémon and all sorts of cultural fads.

If this sudden spike in transgender identification among adolescent girls is a peer contagion, as Dr. Littman hypothesized, then the girls rushing toward “transition” are not getting the treatment they most need. Instead of immediately accommodating every adolescent’s demands for hormones and surgeries, doctors ought to be working to understand what else might be wrong. At best, doctors’ treatments are ineffective; at worst, doctors are administering needless hormonal treatments and irreversible surgeries on patients likely to regret them. Dr. Littman’s theory was more than enough to touch a nerve.

Activists stormed the Twitter page of PLoS One, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Public Library of Science that had published Dr. Littman’s paper, accusing her of anti-trans bigotry. They claimed that Dr. Littman had deliberately solicited parent reports from conservative, anti-trans parent groups. (In fact, over 85 percent of the parents self-identified as supporting LGBT rights.)

Journalists saw smoke and rushed over, flagons of gasoline in hand. A graduate student and self-described “transgender advocate” in Dr. Littman’s own Brown University department disparaged Dr. Littman in the press, calling her work shoddy—“below scientific standards”—and published an article accusing Dr. Littman of having been motivated by bias. Other transgender activists accused Dr. Littman of having hurt people with the paper. They called her work “dangerous,” and insisted it could lead to “worse mental health outcomes” for trans-identifying adolescents.

Brown University stripped its own press release on her paper from its website and replaced it with an apology from the dean of public health, who lamented that “the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth.” PLoS One’s editor in chief took the rare step of issuing an apology for not having provided better “context” for the research and promised additional review into possible “methodological errors” the paper might have contained.

Dr. Littman’s paper had already been peer-reviewed by two independent academics and one academic editor. But Brown and PLoS One knew a woke mob when they saw one. They decided it was best not to make any fast moves, to slowly hand over their wallets.

Diane Ehrensaft, a prominent child gender psychologist, told the Economist that Dr. Littman’s use of parent reports was akin to “recruiting from Klan or alt-right sites to demonstrate that blacks really were an inferior race.” (The “Klan,” in this case, was the parents, who had simply been asked questions about their own children.) Few cared that the surveyed parents had not expressed anti-transgender attitudes generally, but rather had expressed disbelief and upset that their daughters had adopted this identity “out of the blue” without any childhood history of gender dysphoria—and that following this identification, their adolescents’ mental health seemed to get worse.

None of the attacks acknowledged that parent report is a standard method for assessing child and adolescent mental health. (How else would you obtain the psychological history of a child?) Nor did any of these critics mention that the primary academic research used to promote “social transition” (changing an adolescent’s name and pronouns with school and friends) for gender dysphoric children similarly relies on parent surveys. PLoS One issued a correction that suggested Dr. Littman’s methods had not been made sufficiently clear, despite the fact that the words “parent reports” had appeared in the paper’s title.

Dr. Littman’s paper became one of the most widely discussed academic articles of 2018. Her analysis and conclusions drew praise from some of the most distinguished world experts on gender dysphoria. Dozens of parents wrote to her to thank her for giving name to the phenomenon they were observing in their adolescents.

But she was also widely tarred as a bigot and a bully. This, despite the fact that she had neither the security of tenure nor a faculty coauthor for cover. She wasn’t right-wing or anti-trans. She had spent several years working part-time for Planned Parenthood and, with her husband, contributed several pieces to HuffPost on such topics as the rotten GOP approach to healthcare, but the truth no longer seemed to matter much.

Psychology Today published an open letter from “transgender identified [and] cisgender allies… with vast expertise in gender and sexuality” purporting to refute Dr. Littman’s paper. The letter called her work “methodologically flawed” (for having relied on parental report) and “unethical” (for having reached its conclusions) and accused Dr. Littman of harboring “overt ideological bias” (for having dared examine the causes of trans identification at all).

Activist clinicians hunted Dr. Littman to the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH), where she worked part-time as a physician consultant on projects related to the health of pregnant women and preterm infants. Her work there had nothing to do with transgender youth; it had nothing to do with young children or adolescents per se at all. Her interest in preemies stemmed from her years of training in obstetrics. Caring for preemies had been a passion of hers ever since she had given birth to a preemie of her own, just over one pound at birth.

The activists denounced Littman to her employer, the DOH, claiming that she had written a paper “harmful” to transgender youth. They demanded that the DOH “terminate its relationship with Dr. Littman immediately.” Adding a dash of threat, the authors airily suggested that the DOH might add “a gender-neutral restroom” to its facilities to send a message to the community “that trans and gender diverse lives are valued by DOH.”

The activists wanted a head on a pike. The DOH gave them Dr. Littman’s. Her paid consultancy was over.

* * *

I met Lisa Littman in a family-style Italian chain restaurant along Route 1 just outside of Boston. Her shoulder-length dark brown hair was lightly mussed from a busy workday and the stress of the traffic that had delayed her. Clutching her purse strap as she rushed toward our table, she looked every bit the suburban mom: eager to fill the unforgiving minute, hoping I hadn’t been waiting there too long.

She has large brown eyes, tortoiseshell glasses, a broad reassuring smile, and a nervous laugh. As she told me several times, she hates being interviewed. Based on her many follow-up questions about how I would ensure the accuracy of everything I wrote, it was clear she was telling the truth.

Abigail Shrier is a Los Angeles based writer, and contributor to the Wall Street Journal. Follow her on Twitter @AbigailShrier.

Excerpted, with permission, from Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by Abigail Shrier, published by Regnery. © 2020 Abigail Shrier.


The post Discovering the Link Between Gender Identity and Peer Contagion appeared first on Quillette.


BLM Leaders QUITTING Due to Far Left and Antifa


Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar advocated for the “dismantling” of the US economy and its political system during a speech on Tuesday. She said, “We cannot stop at [the] criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”

And this is what passes for the Democrat platform, rather than a violation of her oath of office.

Only in America can a refugee from a war-torn, failed state marry her brother, commit campaign fraud, get elected, divert funds to the guy she’s cheating with, while they’re each married to other people – and then accuse an entire country of being full of racist bigots, in need of being completely dismantled, all while skating free on her many felonies.

On Sunday, Joe Biden signaled that he’s on board for this, too when he tweeted that “we” will beat Donald Trump and when “we” do, “we’ll transform it.”

“Transformation” is a Globalist buzzword that signifies the New World Order technocracy of Chinese-style Communism, enhanced with contact-tracing, nano-RFID chips, immunity passports and total surveillance beyond what we even have now, where your ability to buy and sell within the new digital Currency scheme can be instantly disabled by the state for the ultimate experience in de-platforming.

So, the problem is not that there are so many other treasonous weasels like Omar running the cities and states of America but also that the banksters, major corporations and NGOs, UN, the Mainstream Media, pop culture and academia are all in with her to crash the US and bring on the New World Order.

It’s been looking like Game Over for the United States but cracks are beginning to appear in the façade of the insurrection. Original BLM members are starting to quit, because the movement has been hijacked by intersectional extremists, as Tim Pool elaborates in this video that’s already gotten over half a million views. Tim Pool, as many know cut his teeth on the Occupy Wall Street movement, back in 2011.

He and other Left-of-Center Liberals do not appreciate the tearing-down of Frederick Douglass statues and all of the cancel culture that goes with it, no matter how much Kool-Aid is served to them by the Mainstream Media.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out!

Alexandra Bruce

Contributed by Alexandra Bruce



Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Why No One Should Believe COVID-19 Is Naturally Occurring

After six months of exhaustive investigation, the global scientific community has been unable to identify the natural source of COVID-19, that is, the when, where and how it "jumped" from animals to humans. Some now imply that we may never know the natural origin of COVID-19.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Prins: "We're Living In A Permanent Distortion"

Prins: "We're Living In A Permanent Distortion" Tyler Durden Sun, 07/05/2020 - 22:00

Via Greg Hunter’s,

Three time best-selling book author Nomi Prins says long before the Covid 19 crisis, the global economy was faltering big time.  The Fed stepped in with the start of massive money printing in late 2019 to save the day. 

Prins explains, “We were already in crisis mode as I mentioned at the end of my last book going into 2019."

"What did we see at the end of 2019?  We saw this pivot, and I call it phase two. . . . Central banks had pivoted to easing mode. . . . Come September, October, November and December, the Fed is producing repo operations.  Those are short-term lending operations that are supposed to be the purview of the banks . . . . The Fed is not supposed to get involved, but it did.  The Fed had all kinds of excuses.  It said it was not QE, but it was. . . . The debt at the end of 2019 for the world was three times GDP.  For every $3 borrowed, only $1 of economic activity occurred.  That’s what we started 2020 with.  Throw a pandemic into that . . . and you have a long drawn out financial and economic crisis.”

Now, the money printing has gone into overdrive to save the system from the virus crisis.  The social and economic damage, according to Prins, is profound and not going away.  Prins points out,

“We are not going to pay back this debt, and this is global.  Nobody is even considering trying to pay back the debt that has been created.  Let’s think about why that debt has been created.  It’s not just because the economy slowed down.  That’s one reason and kind of an excuse.  The reality is the Fed is on steroids, and other central banks are on steroids . . . throughout the world in a larger number and larger magnitude than in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008.  This means all this new debt created is even cheaper than the debt created going into the 2008 crisis.  So, more debt, created more cheaply, means less incentive to pay it back and more incentive to push it down the road and grow it.  You’ve got this snowball of debt rolling down this high mountain, and it’s rolling and growing and getting bigger.  The mountain, which is the main street economy, is coming down as the snow ball is coming down, and the main street economy itself, that foundation, is really shaky. . . . How does this end?  It ends with us, the foundation, which is the main street economy, by both that snowball of debt and the avalanche of the mountain.  That’s going to be a multi-decade problem.

Prins says this next stage has a brand new name and explains,

I call this a ‘Permanent Distortion.’  I have not used this term in prior books, but I am using it because . . . the disconnect between financial assets, equity markets and the real economy . . . has become massive...

There is going to be this endless supply of artificial stimulation into the markets. . . . Former New York Fed President Bill Dudley said the Fed’s balance sheet is going to $10 trillion.  That’s what I have been saying, and now he finally said it.  That’s not going away anytime soon.  That’s not being unwound anytime soon.  That becomes permanent lift to financial assets. . . . In the wake of that, less real capital gets used for infrastructure, research and development, growth and retooling the economy and getting jobs into this new period.”

Prins says gold prices are going to “follow the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet.”  It is that simple, and Prins predicts,

“As we saw in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, gold and silver will have the ability to go up quite substantially as the Fed’s book increases in size, which we know it is going to do.  We have been told that multiple times by many different words by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.”

In closing, Prins says, “We are continuing to drive up asset bubbles where we don’t have the real economy to back it up..." 

"The more this ‘Permanent Distortion’ gets bigger, the more the likelihood the next crisis will happen... and it will be from a higher height.  It will be from a larger bubble, a bigger snowball accelerating downward more quickly.  I don’t think we are out of this crisis.  I think the markets are going to have a bumpy ride as the economy has a bumpier ride.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with three time best-selling author Nomi Prins.

*  *  *

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

College, post-Covid 19


I hope the global pandemic ends soon, because we’ve found a cure or discovered a vaccine. But until then, we’ll just have to learn to make do, despite life not being anywhere near normal. (Even those who claim otherwise know it.) What began as a health crisis has evolved into a full-blown systemic threat, affecting politics and international relations, the economy, and education, among others.

I’ll be centering on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on college education and what we can reasonably expect from the short to the middle term. Most references will be to universities in English-speaking countries, although they would be relevant as well for institutions in Europe and in other industrialized regions. In any case, seats of higher learning elsewhere could benefit by keeping an eye on these developments. 

It’s common knowledge that the Chinese word for crisis, Wéijī, is actually composed of two characters, one meaning “danger”, and the other, “opportunity”. We also know the English “crisis” derives from the Greek verb “krínein”, meaning “to decide”, thereby indicating an occasion when the need for crucial choice or thoughtful judgement comes to fore. Let’s apply these cues to our analysis of college pre- and post-Covid.

Even before Covid-19 set in, college education both in North America and Europe was already in crisis, mainly for demographic reasons. In five years, the pool of applicants would have shrunken by a fourth, and by some estimates about 20% of US colleges, specially the smaller ones with less than a thousand students, may be forced to shut down.

Part of the solution is to try to fill the halls with foreign students from developing countries, and in particular, China, who besides can be charged full tuition. My own institution, a medium-sized private university in northern Spain, has about a quarter of its students coming from abroad, mostly from Latin America.

A second factor refers to costs and financing, although perhaps this is more acute in the US. In the past forty years, tuition fees have risen by 260%, double the inflation rate, such that a four-year degree could easily cost between $200,000 from a private college, and $100,000 from a public one. University education, worth $5.8 billion in 2018, is Australia’s fourth largest export, after commodities such as coal, iron, and natural gas, and caters mostly to Asians. In Europe, the majority of universities are publicly funded, with none or very low fees, that can be paid off with cheap loans. But the problem then becomes finding a job. 

This was precisely the situation MOOCs (“Massive Online Open Courses”) sought to address in the early 2000s. Through the use of digital technologies, marginal costs for every nth user would practically disappear as college-level instruction was broadcast to millions. Such initiatives were not free from difficulties however, beginning with student motivation, retention and degree completion, as well as economic sustainability, all of which significantly improved once MOOCs started collecting fees, however minimal. 

Then came the Wuhan virus.

Covid-19 certainly did not cause all the troubles afflicting college education, but it served to exacerbate them. First by preventing classroom gatherings where most traditional instruction took place. The loss of personal contact was worsened by lockdowns or grave restrictions in freedom of movement amongst people scattered in different time zones across the globe. Many national borders are still closed and some warn they will remain that way at least until Christmas. For sure, not all international students will be able to return to school in September.

Second is the economic fallout with all non-essential business put on hold. Not only government revenues, but private incomes as well have taken a big hit, such that students and their families begin to question the value of a college education. We know the price, but is it worth it? No one is having to grapple with this existential question as much as the Class of 2020, as they look for a job under the worst labor market conditions since the Great Depression.   

So how will college be transformed in the wake of Covid-19?

Pundits speak of at least three different models.

First is the “Cyborg University”, which is like MOOCs on steroids, offering everything online. The only difference now is the buy-in from BigTech, poised to partner with the best brands in education to cash in on the tremendous growth opportunities.

Previous, not-for-profit joint ventures such as Harvard/MIT-EdX and Stanford-Udacity/Coursera could now morph into Udacity/Google-Amazon and Coursera/IBM. They’d pay star-professors handsomely for broadcast lectures while an army of TA-equivalents would be given a pittance for the nitty-gritty of student engagement.

Once more this illustrates the “Matthew effect”: to those who have, more shall be given, while to those who have little, even that will be taken away. Presumably there’d be limited subject offerings, most of which will be skills-based and immediately job-friendly. 

Second is the “Parallel University” model with a premium offline and a standard online option. The University of Michigan and Georgia Institute of Technology, for instance, have gone down this route with some full degree programs. This formula introduces some sort of caste system in studies even in the same institution. 

Third is the temporary “Hybrid model” between online and offline teaching, without renouncing the residential college experience to the extent health conditions permit. On the one hand, international students may be stranded in their home countries, unable to travel, and on the other, locals may be caught in a lockdown or forced to self-isolate because they’re sick or have been in close quarters with someone who is. In any case, college facilities cannot simply expand to accommodate everyone while observing mandatory social distancing measures.

The stop-gap alternative to classroom teaching then becomes virtual, online instruction, both in synchronous and asynchronous modes. But who would pay tens of thousands of dollars for what amounts, essentially, to a series of Zoom sessions? The hefty price tag would be extremely difficult to justify. So every effort must be taken to try to make up for the loss of personal engagement through staggered attendance, modified calendars, campus testing and tracing, social bubbles, and technology.

The dangers and opportunities among post-Covid college formulas are clear. Now how do we choose?

To decide which among the three models fits best, individuals should consider what they really pursue with a college education and why. For some, it might be mere credentialing, having a certificate they’re legally up to the job or function they wish to perform. For others, it might mean gaining some instruction, perhaps not much different from the information available from Wikipedia or the practical knowledge imparted from YouTube.

But there will be some more who truly seek the full college experience, a period of intense learning and socialization with professors and classmates at a special developmental stage, not only to form a dense web of contacts to move forward professionally, but more importantly, to become the best version of themselves, intellectually and morally, and serve society.     

Republished from Work, Virtues and Flourishing.

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