Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Some Sense on How COVID-19 Testing Should Be Conducted and Why Fauci, Birx and Gottlieb Should Be Immediately Escorted Out of the White House

Elon Musk and Robert Zurbin
Robert Zurbin, an aerospace engineer whose inventions include the nuclear salt-water rocket and co-inventor (with Dana Andrews) of the magnetic sail, writes:
In the face of the current coronavirus pandemic, authorities are taking measures that are having massive negative economic impacts...The most important statistics we need to know to develop a strategy to deal with the situation are the size of the pandemic and its lethality. Current data provides no basis for accurate estimation of these vital metrics...
To get the right answer, we need to random-test the public. We don’t need to test all 327 million citizens — although, when feasible, that would be very desirable for the purpose of identifying immune individuals and putting them back to work. For the purpose of getting a rough estimate of the size of the infected population, we need to random-test only about 1,000 people nationwide. That is the approximate size of most election polls, and, provided that reasonable care is taken to ensure that the sample is representative of the electorate, such polls can generally predict the outcome within plus or minus 3 percent. It’s true that occasionally a 45 percent–polling underdog can pull off an upset victory, but never a 20 percenter, let alone a 1 percenter.  Limited polls might not always predict the winner, but they inevitably show who is in the competitive range. For purposes of quantifying the epidemic, that would be an enormously valuable correction to our current state of ignorance.
This is the same point I have made over and over since this absurd nutball erratic testing has been going on:
[A]nyone who mentions "confirmed coronavirus cases" is signaling they do not know what they are talking about...
 This is not how you would run a scientific experiment to understand what is going on with a virus in the general public. 
For that, all that would be required is testing a sample of the general public. That way you catch those that are without symptoms but more than that you get a very good sense of how the number of cases relates to the total population overall and, over time, whether it is going up or down etc.
You can use the basic methodology of polling firms to get small population samples for understanding the virus profile in the general population. This would actually tell us something.
The current method of testing does none of this. 
The current improperly designed testing is the government medical bureaucracy's answer to the Kabuki theatre displayed by the TSA.
But the real question is, why aren't top Trump advisers such as Tony Fauci, Deborah Birx and Scott Gottlieb making this point?

Either they are incompetent and don't understand testing fundamentals or they have an agenda that is different from finding out the truth. Either way, they should be escorted out of the White House immediately.


-RW

What Life Will Be Like for Americans After the COVID-19 Panic is Over


The draconian measures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 panic will probably end on June 1.

This mad experiment in shutting down society will be over. We will be allowed to go back to work and back to play. But it won't be the same.

Some marginal, mostly mom and pop type businesses will not reopen.

The amount of money poured into the system by the Federal Reserve will result in higher prices for the goods and services we will buy. That is real price inflation will soar but it may not be reflected immediately in government inflation indexes since there may be heavy discounting of things we won't be interested in buying such as cruises that will be counted in the indexes. Prices will only go up for the things we are buying.

But an equally significant change will be of a different nature.

The former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, with associates, has come out with a paper, National
Coronavirus Response: A ROAD MAP TO REOPENING.

Gottlieb is heavily tied in with the pharmaceutical industry (On his Twitter page he lists affiliations with Pfizer, Illumina, Aetion, Inc. and Tempus Labs.) and he is a key behind the scenes adviser to the Trump administration.

The key sections of the paper that every American should be concerned about are these:
The CDC should work with state and local health officials, health care providers, CMS and health insurers, and other public-health stakeholders to create a national plan for how mass vaccination will be carried out across the country. This plan should identify who
will administer vaccinations, where vaccines will be offered, and how data will be collected on vaccination rates, as well as possible adverse events from the vaccine. Indemnification of vaccine developers and manufacturers should also be considered. Congress could enact legislation to support a process for compensation of any individual who has an adverse event from the vaccine, which requires medical care.
In other words, he is talking about mass vaccinations where it is not clear the vaccinations will be safe. Otherwise, why is he calling for an indemnification of vaccine developers and manufacturers? And why is he also calling for legislation to compensate anyone who has an adverse reaction?

Note well: He doesn't go into details about his call for a mass vaccination but there is the hint that he has in mind that everyone should be forced to get the vaccination. Got that? Manufacturers get indenmnified against adverse reactions to a vaccine that you may be forced to get---even though you may not be part of the at-risk group that would suffer serious consequences if infected by COVID-19.

As  Bretigne Shaffer has written:
Do we want to live lives in which we get to make our own choices and decisions, or do we want to live the kind of lives where our choices are made for us, by some centralized authority?...Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that a vaccine could be available for widespread use within 12-18 months. And then what? Will everyone be required to be tested for Covid-19? And to have this vaccine? Regardless of any possibly dangerous side effects, regardless of how quickly it has been developed and tested? regardless of the waiving of product liability for those who make the vaccines?...
How about: No.
The most critical issue in all of this is not, and never was, determining the most effective way to deal with crises like this one (and if it were, there is more than enough evidence from this outbreak alone to entirely disqualify state action from that competition.) This is not about whether government-ordered lockdowns “work” to stem the spread of a deadly virus. Nor is it even about how deadly that virus is or is not.
The much more important issue is: What kind of world are we creating when we allow a government to have this kind of power?
And don't for a minute think that Gottlieb isn't thinking big about this vaccine.

He is thinking globally:
 The CDC, the US Agency for International Development, the State Department, and other US stakeholders should continue to work with WHO and other international organizations and national leaders to plan for how the US will assist other countries (particularly low- and middle-income countries) with obtaining vaccine and implementing mass vaccination. Support from the United States and higher-income nations will be critical for controlling the virus globally and saving lives around the world, as well as reducing the impact that future waves of the pandemic may have
on the US population.
But it doesn't stop there. Things get worse toward the conclusion of the paper:
 We need to move away from a decentralized system that promotes unequal implementation of preparedness measures across the nation and toward more coordinated execution of response. We should develop clear and effective plans for the implementation of public-health measures such as quarantine and the unification of actions made by state and local health departments. Outbreaks are matters of regional—and more typically national—concern Preparedness for public-health emergencies should
be elevated as a function in the White House, with a coordinating function analogous to the director of national intelligence.
That is he is calling for authoritarian national healthcare dictates by the president when there are "emergencies." Will diabetes, obesity, smoking, attention deficit disorder, "improper" social attitudes eventually be called emergencies? We are talking about a move down the road of old school Soviet Union-style authoritarianism here.

As Thomas DiLorenzo has warned us:
A third category of neo-communism is the “public health” professions.  Yes, there are many employees in all these government agencies who are statisticians and nerds and not ideologues.  And yes, the FDA, NIH, ETC. have often become corrupt tools of crony capitalists which is not exactly the same as communism.  But just look at what their end game has become with this minor cold virus.  These are the people who produce “studies” claiming that gun ownership is a disease — a mental disease.  Their impulse is always to either ban or mandate consumption, especially of vaccines.  The female cheerleaders for mandatory vaccines are, ludicrously, many of the same “feminists” who would scream “my body, my choice!” when it comes to abortion, and then turn around and scream bloody murder at anyone who voices objections to dozens of mandatory vaccinations of, first, everyone’s children, and then everyone in general.  Then their slogan becomes “Your body, NO choice!!”

The “public health professionals” are the architects and “intellectual” supporters of the totalitarian police state that the U.S. has become in just the past two weeks.  The virus will disappear almost completely with the warmer weather, as the cold and flu season ends, at which point they will tell us that it is not the ultraviolet rays of the sun but their police state that did the trick.  They will pat themselves on the back, the media will cheer them and make them celebrities, and they will therefore be encouraged to declare “public health emergencies” ever more often.  “Public” health is the health of the state.
A few short weeks ago it would have been hard to imagine that the governments of the United States would shut down most of the economy but it has happened. Down the road, it may come as a shock to us what they call a healthcare emergency.

Governments have discovered that the masses respond very well to health fears. They will in the future be prepared to trigger health "crises" real, imagined or manufactured when the masses need to be brought into line or just when some egomaniac president needs a distraction. Not to mention the power freaks who will always be calling for more controls over the people--and will use the COVID-19 panic as a reason to expand control.

 -RW

Monday, March 30, 2020

Walter Block vs. Richard Epstein

Dr. Walter Block

Walter Block emails:

Dear Bob:

Since you’ve “gotten into it” with Epstein, you might be interested in my debates with, criticisms of, him.

Stay safe.

Block, Walter E. and David Gordon. 1985. "Blackmail, Extortion and Free Speech: A Reply to Posner, Epstein, Nozick and Lindgren," Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, November, pp. 37-54; http://141.164.133.3/faculty/Block/Blockarticles/blackmail.htm

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith and Epstein,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol.17, No. 2, Spring, pp. 39-85; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdf
             

Epstein, Richard vs. Walter E. Block, 2005. “Debate on Eminent Domain.” NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 1144-1169

Block, Walter E. 2006. “Epstein on alienation: a rejoinder” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 33, Nos. 3-4, pp. 241-260; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Epstein-on-alienation-a-rejoinder.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2012. “In Defense of the Free Market: book review of Design for Liberty: Private Property, Public Administration, and the Rule of Law by Richard A. Epstein, Harvard University Press, 2011” Barron’s, February 4;

CBS News Caught Using Footage from an Italian Hospital to Portray Conditions in New York City

I called it in my post, The Odd Hospital Bed Shortage in New York City:
The problem with this reporting is that neither mainstream media nor hospital administrators have a good track record when presenting reality... It is impossible to understand what kind of an extreme outlier COVID-19 is for the New York City hospital industry, if at all, given that reports are coming from two sources that must be questioned as to their veracity...
Reports The Gateway Pundit:
CBS News painted a dire picture from New York City this week in their coronavirus coverage.
On Wednesday morning CBS aired this footage from a New York hospital.









I am not saying COVID-19 won't take a serious toll in the next couple of weeks but there is no way we are going to get an accurate picture from mainstream media. They have a different agenda.

-RW

New Yorkers Who Break Social Distancing Rules Will Now Face Fines Up to $500


The totalitarian experiment in social obedience has just reached a new level.

New York City residents who break social distancing rules will be subject to fines up to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

The mayor said fines will be a last resort, but he has authorized coppers to give them out to people who are ordered to disperse but fail to do so.

De Blasio said fines of $250 to $500 would begin for people found congregating in public spaces who fail to disperse when ordered, or return after officers have told them to move along.

“You’ve been warned and warned and warned again,” the mayor said during a Sunday press conference, according to Politico.

“They’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” de Blasio said. “I don’t want to fine people when so many folks are going through economic distress, but if they haven’t gotten the message by now, and they don’t get the message when an enforcement officer’s staring them in the face ... that person then deserves the fine, so we’re going to proceed with that.”

And to really rub it in, Politico reports that as subway service cuts have led to crowded cars on some trains despite a massive drop in ridership, de Blasio also announced that NYPD and MTA workers would do checks of subway cars and force riders off cars that are too crowded.

 -RW

Richard Epstein Nonsense, Again



I see that Prof. Richard Epstein has added a correction and addendum to his original essay that I critiqued in the post, A Serious Problem With Richard Epstein's Optimistic Case On the Spread of COVID-19.

He now attempts to fix his error with this:
That estimate is ten times greater than the 500 number I erroneously put in the initial draft of the essay, and it, too, could prove somewhat optimistic. But any possible error rate in this revised projection should be kept in perspective. The current U.S. death toll stands at 592 as of noon on March 24, 2020, out of about 47,000 cases. So my adjusted figure, however tweaked, remains both far lower, and I believe far more accurate, than the common claim that there could be a million dead in the U.S. from well over 150 million coronavirus cases before the epidemic runs its course.
That is, he is increasing the number of deaths he expects in the US now from 500 to "about 5,000."

This could be on target or way off by a multiple of 10 or more. But the problem now is that Epstein is making forecasts without the necessary data to know what is going to happen in addition to his original poor modeling.

I have consistently attacked the forecasts, such as the one made by Neil Ferguson, that a million in the US would die by June. It is clear that the data does not point to that occurring, but Epstein is making forecasts in a much narrower band that could easily prove as embarrassing as his initial forecast of only 500 deaths in the US.

What I wrote in my initial critique still holds:
You can't just say that the current number of new of COVID-19 cases are 3 per cent of new flu cases in the 2019-2020 flu season and therefore it is highly unlikely that the current number of COVID-19 cases will not climb to flu levels...
I hold the view, like Epstein, that COVID-19 does not appear to be a serious killer, that is, it is not much different than the flu and that we probably won't hit flu-like numbers this year because of warmer weather coming and because of current isolation factors but the case can not be made, that because COVID-19 infections are only 3% of flu infections, that therefore they can not climb to flu-like levels. It is mathematically well within the range of possibility, especially given that about 40% of the country is vaccinated against the flu and no one is vaccinated against COVID-19.
By not a "serious killer," I mean that the virus appears to kill in line with the flu and that therefore the totalitarian shut down of the large swaths of the economy is uncalled for (Unless you believe the entire country should be shut down every flu season).

Further, as I have pointed out numerous times, since the virus appears to be a killer of only the elderly and those with serious chronic health care problems, the sound policy would be to advise those with such issues to be extremely careful until the virus dies down or vaccines and treatments are developed.

From The New York Post:
 Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, the former chief biostatistician and epidemiologist at Rockefeller University Hospital, who openly admitted to the Post that he’s eschewed social distancing and regularly hangs out at one of two underground restaurants.

“Yesterday I went to my favorite speakeasy and had dinner,” he said.

Merriam-Webster defines a “speakeasy” as “a place where alcoholic beverages are illegally sold” and notes that such places were common “during the period of prohibition in the U.S.”

Wittkowski is among those who believe the proper solution to the current global coronavirus pandemic isn’t social distancing but rather herd immunity.

"All respiratory epidemics end when 80 percent of all people have become immune,” he said. “Then if a new person gets infected, the person doesn’t find anybody else to infect.”

“The best strategy you can do is isolate the old and fragile people — make sure that nobody visits the nursing homes — then let the children go to school and let people go to work. … They have a mild disease. Then they become immune, and after two or three weeks the epidemic is over.”
Epstein's poor understanding and framing of the situation is making it bad for libertarians. With the anti-libertarian crowd framing the issue as "look at the bad thinking of the libertarians, they thought hardly anyone would die."

No, that is not the thinking of libertarians but the thinking of a libertarian-lite, in the first place, who appears to have a very shaky ability to properly do applied mathematical modeling ---which by the way is a problem with most of mainstream media and all of those who have attacked Epstein as if they understood better.

In fact, anyone who mentions "confirmed coronavirus cases" is signaling they do not know what they are talking about.

From Yahoo:
 It doesn’t matter that the United States surpassed China this week in reported Covid-19 cases because those numbers (83,507 and 81,782 respectively as of March 26) don’t tell us how many people actually became infected in either country. Nor do they tell us how fast the disease is spreading, since only a tiny portion of the population in the United States has been tested.

“The numbers are almost meaningless,” says Steve Goodman, a professor of epidemiology at Stanford University. There’s a huge reservoir of people who have mild cases, and would not likely seek testing, he says. The rate of increase in positive results reflect a mixed-up combination of increased testing rates and spread of the virus...

Stanford’s Goodman said that he’s confident scientists will eventually collect the data we need to understand this pandemic and how it’s playing out in the United States. “Right now we are floundering in a sea of ignorance about who is infected and the fate of people who are infected,” he says.
Indeed!

As to the current testing method, I have written:
 This is not how you would run a scientific experiment to understand what is going on with a virus in the general public.
For that, all that would be required is testing a sample of the general public. That way you catch those that are without symptoms but more than that you get a very good sense of how the number of cases relates to the total population overall and, over time, whether it is going up or down etc.
You can use the basic methodology of polling firms to get small population samples for understanding the virus profile in the general population. This would actually tell us something.
The current method of testing does none of this. 
The current improperly designed testing is the government medical bureaucracy's answer to the Kabuki theatre displayed by the TSA.

Those attacking Epstein don't get this. They are as bad as him with understanding what is going on with COVID-19, probably worse.

-RW

Sunday, March 29, 2020

“Public” Health is the Health of the State




By Thomas DiLorenzo


After the worldwide collapse of communism (also known as socialism — same thing) in the late ’80s/early ’90s I asked a Marxist economist at the university where I was employed what he was going to do now — plumber, carpenter, bus driver?  He was very upbeat and felt liberated, he said, because he was no longer associated with all those totalitarian monsters like Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.
A great many communists took the advice of Robert Heilbroner and became watermelons — “environmentalists” who are green on the outside, red on the inside who use “saving the planet” as their excuse to impose some new version of totalitarian communism on us. “Green New Deal” anyone?
Others jumped on the Cultural Marxist bandwagon and took over all the universities (with few exceptions) and turned them into communist indoctrination academies under various guises like “diversity” and “inclusion,” which were always hammers to be pounded into the skulls of any and all dissenters.
A third category of neo-communism is the “public health” professions.  Yes, there are many employees in all these government agencies who are statisticians and nerds and not ideologues.  And yes, the FDA, NIH, ETC. have often become corrupt tools of crony capitalists which is not exactly the same as communism.  But just look at what their end game has become with this minor cold virus.  These are the people who produce “studies” claiming that gun ownership is a disease — a mental disease.  Their impulse is always to either ban or mandate consumption, especially of vaccines.  The female cheerleaders for mandatory vaccines are, ludicrously, many of the same “feminists” who would scream “my body, my choice!” when it comes to abortion, and then turn around and scream bloody murder at anyone who voices objections to dozens of mandatory vaccinations of first everyone’s children and then everyone in general.  They are the architects and “intellectual” supporters of the totalitarian police state that the U.S. has become in just the past two weeks.  The virus will disappear almost completely with the warmer weather, as the cold and flu season ends, at which point they will tell us that it is not the ultraviolet rays of the sun but their police state that did the trick.  They will pat themselves on the back, the media will cheer them and make them celebrities, and they will therefore be encouraged to declare “health emergencies” ever more often.  “Public” health is the health of the state.
(The above originally appeared at LewRockwell.com)

There’s Powerful Evidence This Great Panic is Foolish, Yet Our Freedom is Still Broken and Our Economy Crippled


By Peter Hitchens

As I watched the Prime Minister order mass house arrest on Monday night, I felt revulsion, anger and grief – as anyone brought up when this was a free and well-governed country would. I also felt terribly alone.

You could not have known, from anything broadcast that night or printed the following day, that anyone was unhappy with these events. But they were.

So, above all things this week, I would like to thank all the kind, perplexed people who have got in touch with me by so many means, to say they share my doubts about the Government’s handling of Covid-19.

There are, in fact, many of us. If you feel this way, you are nothing like as solitary as you think.

Next, I would like to thank all those who disagree with me, who choose to abuse me, often with lies, personal smears and swearwords. Your childish, intolerant reaction has strengthened me in my conviction that mine is the better case. If your policy is so good, why can you not defend it like civilised adults? Do you really think that I regret needless deaths any less than you? Can you not accept that I also have good motives?

I now suspect this dark season might get still worse before we see the clear, calm light of reason again. The greater the mistake we have made, the less willing we are to admit it or correct it. This is why I greatly fear worse developments in the coming few days.

When I predicted roadblocks in my column two weeks ago, which I did, I did so out of an instinct that we were entering on the craziest period of our lives since the death of Princess Diana. And now there are such roadblocks, officious, embarrassing blots on our national reputation.

But even I would not have dared to predict the mass house arrest under which we are all now confined.

I have found the origin of this bizarre Napoleonic decree – a few clauses in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which I confess I had not even heard of. It just goes to show how careful you have to be with the wording of the laws you pass.

If the TV this weekend is full of pictures of people sunning themselves in city parks or escaping to the high hills, there will be plenty of zealots and politicians ready to call for yet more restrictions, subjecting all of us to collective punishment.

Perhaps we will emulate the French or Italian states, which have returned to their despotic origins and reduced their populations to a sort of cowering serfdom, barely able to step into the street.

I wonder whether there might also be restrictions on what can be said and published. I can see no necessary bar to this in the law involved...

[D]o not be surprised by anything. After last week, can we rule anything out? This new Stasi society has a horrifying level of support. Humberside police are already advertising a ‘portal’ for citizens to inform on their neighbours for breaking the ‘social distancing’ rules.

If you think they won’t get any takers, think again. Northamptonshire police have revealed that their control room has had ‘dozens and dozens’ of calls about people ignoring the order.

They said: ‘We are getting calls from people who say, “I think my neighbour is going out on a second run – I want you to come and arrest them.” ’

Most people will, by now, have viewed the online film of Metropolitan police officers bellowing officiously at sunbathers on Shepherd’s Bush Green in London, energetically stamping out the foul crime of lying on the grass (would they have paid so much attention, two weeks ago, to a gaggle of louts making an unpleasant noise, or to marijuana smokers?).

Others will have seen the films, taken by Derbyshire police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done.

But as a former resident of the USSR, I can tell you that this sort of endless meddling by petty authority in the details of life, reinforced by narks, is normal in unfree societies – such as we have now become for an indefinite period. It is, by the way, also a seedbed for corruption.

Meanwhile, our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak, like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money.

He will get this back from us as soon as we are allowed out again. Just you wait till you get the bill, in increased taxes, inflation and devastated savings.

It ought not to be so. In fact, several powerful pieces of evidence have come to light, suggesting that the Great Panic is foolish and wrong.

I shall come to these, to underline the fact that it is not I, alone, who have these doubts. I do not claim to be an expert. But I refer to those who definitely are experts, who doubt the wisdom of what we are doing.

It is sad that far too little of this is being reported as prominently as it should be by our supposedly diverse and free media, especially the BBC, which has largely closed its mind and its airwaves to dissent. It is quite funny that a statue of George Orwell stands by the entrance to the BBC, bearing the inscription: ‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’

Obviously, they should take it down, as nobody inside the building appears to believe that.

Crucially, those who began by claiming that we faced half a million deaths from the coronavirus in this country have now greatly lowered their estimate. Professor Neil Ferguson was one of those largely responsible for the original panic. He or others from Imperial college have twice revised his terrifying prophecy, first to fewer than 20,000 and then on Friday to 5,700.

He says intensive care units will probably cope. And he conceded a point made by critics of the panic policy – that two-thirds of people who die from coronavirus in the next nine months would most likely have died this year from other causes.

Read the rest here.

Best Take on When the COVID-19 Drama Will End

Scott Gottlieb is a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (from 2017 to 2019).

I don't trust him completely. On his Twitter page he lists affiliations with Pfizer, Illumina, Aetion, Inc. and Tempus Labs. So the dude is cashing in and as you will be able to judge from the background of his house, he is not cashing in for small change. And he is healthcare totalitarian.

That said, when he sticks to science he appears to tell is straight, much more so than Tony Fauci or Deborah Birx.

I have a couple of small problems with what he says in this clip but overall I think this is a solid analysis of where we stand now and what to expect. I consider what he says as likely but also a worst-case scenario. Things might turn out a bit better depending on how much things warm-up weather-wise on the East Coast over the next couple of weeks and how much warm weather impacts.
the virus.

 

-RW

 (Crossposted with EPJ)

DC Domestic Violence Cases Rise During Coronavirus Closures

Yes, governments should stop the lockdowns
As Washington D.C. continues to remain under tight restrictions during the COVID-19 panic and many people stay home, a local D.C .nonprofit says that there has been a spike in area domestic violence cases, reports WTOP.

“The traffic on our response line that helps survivors navigate these processes has doubled,” says Natalia Otero, co-founder of DC Safe.

 -RW

Where to Go to Escape Totalitarianism



David B. emails:
Been working out a thought exercise of an escape from US plan. The thought is essentially if we are in the early stage of an authoritarian lockdown that persists, regardless of the virus, where should I look for an escape route with my family.

Right now, I see no answer. Not only is the virus basically everywhere except the poorest African nations (and I am skeptical of that), the totalitarianism is everywhere too.

If money wasn't an issue, where would you go?

If you were on a budget, but has marketable skills and talent that is not bound by language, where would you go?

Thanks in advance, Avid
RW response:

I have discussed this question before.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to give the specific countries on the top of my list.

I will just say you need to look at second-tier countries whose governments don't have the resources to track their citizenry and police forces that tend to be lax.

I am aware of one country, for example, where license plates on cars are mandatory but more than 50% of the cars on the road don't have them. That is my kind of place.

Think about the type of weather you like and the culture of the people in the region and the type of work you do and whether there will be a fit. It is not a one size fits all.

My guess is that we will get at least one more breath of limited freedom and that time should be used to scout out different countries.

 -RW

Libertarianism and Suicide

Emily Owen
At the post,  Knoxville, TN Has Seen 10% of Its Annual Suicide Rate in Just the Last 48 Hours, a commenter writes:
I think you're taking the wrong position on this... falling for the "poor me, victim mentality".
What happened to integrity or grit?
Despair is a mortal sin, a weakness. Locked in a house and take your own life? That's literally insane, and pathetic, and its by no means "the big bad governments fault" when some despairing maniac offs themselves because of what in reality is a very minor oppression (when put in rational context to history.)

Anyone who despairs because they have to eat take out or wait in line for groceries is seriously disordered. Hopefully their family or priest will counsel & reassure them . We all face adversity. Seriously, time to offer it up & grow up.
There is nothing in libertarianism that says one can not be fragile.

It may make sense to have strong fortitude toward life and learn to deal with blows that come one's way, and some (all?) religions may teach that suicide is a sin, but this has nothing to do with libertarianism.

Libertarianism is about the non-aggression principle, that is, you leave me alone and I will leave you alone.

The only ones violating libertarianism during the current COVID-19 panic are the governments that impose lockdowns and prevent private people from going about their business.

I can't imagine the emotional turmoil a person must be going through who chooses to commit suicide in the face of the lockdown.

The British teen Emily Owen, who committed suicide because of the lockdown in England, was diagnosed with “high-functioning autism.” She was probably struggling all her life with trying to fit in, and might have been well on the road to better understanding herself in relation to others when the bastard Boris Johnson shutdown all her relationships.

I put her death directly on the shoulders of Johnson. It wouldn't have happened in a libertarian world. There will be others.

Religions may have different things to say about her suicide but this site is about libertarianism, not religion. The only one blocking freedom in the current environment of COVID-19 panic is the state.

If there are people who want to condemn Emily, in a free world they can do that, but the government is the one that stopped her from having her freedom.

-RW

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Knoxville, TN Has Seen 10% of Its Annual Suicide Rate in Just the Last 48 Hours

Put in solitary confinment by poltical power freaks.
More deaths that can be attributed directly to fearmonger Trump adviser Anthony Fauci and power freak politicians.

The Knox County Regional Forensic Center examined nine suspected suicides just in the last 48 hours, eight from Knox County, according to Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who tells it like it is.

These examinations equate to roughly 10% of last year’s total within Knox County, according to a news release from the mayor, reports WATE.

“That number is completely shocking and makes me wonder if what we are doing now is really the best approach,” Jacobs said. “We have to determine how we can respond to COVID-19 in a way that keeps our economy intact, keeps people employed and empowers them with a feeling of hope and optimism – not desperation and despair.”

Also see:

Suicide Attempts Could Increase By 58,500 Per Month During the Lockdown

and

Child Abuse Explodes Amid COVID-19 Lockdown

 -RW

On the Problems With the COVID-19 Modeling That was Screaming Alarms



At the post, Now He Tells Us: The Latest From Nutjob Ferguson, Kratoklastes comments:

They used a SEIR (Susceptible -> Exposed -> Infected -> Recovered) model, where the changes over time in each of S, E, I and R are governed by a set of very basic differential equations.

About a month ago I built a discrete-time version of a SEIR model, because it seemed to me that there were far too few deaths for covid19 to be worth worrying about.

I picked what seemed to be sensible parameters - and lo, when ICL released their latest model, it turned out I had picked very nearly the same values as they had (I had a longer 'infectious' period).

The model is horribly unrealistic on a bunch of levels; first, there's no genuine constraint on the number of infected - such constraint as there is, happens as a result of a stupidly unrealistic mechanism for the transition equations for 'Susceptible'.

I replaced the stupid mechanism with one that was based on behaviour (i.e., the number of interactions that infected people have per day, and the probability that an interaction infects someone else).

Anyhow... suffice it to say that if a single asymptomatic individual was introduced into the US population in December 2019, by mid-Feb 2020 there would have been millions of asymptomatic-infected wandering around infecting others. Well before the 'lockdowns' and what-not. By the time governments started to respond, SEIR says it was already too late.

I'm mounting the model on a webserver this weekend, so that people can see for themselves how the model behaves when they 'tweak' the parameters - including allowing them to change the date for 'Patient Zero', and then see how the modelled infection happens over time.

As it happens, my opinion of the SEIR model is that it is amateurish garbage... that's irrelevant: it's the model whose results are being bandied about as if it produces 'hard numbers'.

My background is in large-scale economic and econometric modeling - specifically in performing systematic sensitivity analysis to get some idea about the statistical properties of forecast 'manifolds' (as opposed to 'lines' or 'points').

A lot of people are very hostile towards economic and econometric modeling - mostly because it tells them what they don't want to hear (e.g., that the policy they're infatuated with, won't do what they calim). By contrast, medical statisticians (including epidemiologists) get a 'halo effect' by being part of an authoritarian profession with government imprimatur... despite the fact that medical error is the 3r or 4th highest cause of deaths every year.

Lastly: Consider these two things together, and ask yourself how it affects the model.

① There is a very high probability that Patient Zero exhibited no symptoms, and was simply waved through border controls: prior to March 15th, nobody was bothering to test (or quarantine) travellers who had no symptoms. Furthermore, 30-50% of people infected downstream of Patient Zero will have been asymptomatic.

② There won't have been a single 'Patient Zero' for the whole US, either: there will have been several on the same day, at every port of entry into the US. Many of them will never have developed symptoms, and will now be clear of the virus.

If there were 3, or 5, or 20 original 'Patient Zero' in late December, then there would be the same number of SEIR processes happening simultaneously.

(This is what makes me certain it's a nothingburger: otherwise there should be ~1000 people a day dying in the US at this stage).

 -RW

Harvard Law Prof's Confusion About Basic COVID-19 Testing

Laurence Tribe
Laurence Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at the Harvard Law School of Harvard University, tweets:


You would think that a constitutional lawyer would be able to figure this out instead of embarrassing himself with the above tweet.

The answer, of course, is that the US is testing more people who are not critically ill. Thus many more less-lethal cases will be recorded, raising the denominator of the case fatality rate--reducing the mortality rate.

The one thing this panic is doing is revealing problems in basic thinking amongst the top legal thinkers (See: President Trump is Right Even If Richard Epstein is Wrong).

 -RW

Friday, March 27, 2020

Some Advice for Chicago Libertarians During the Lockdown




Derek F. emails:
Thanks for all you do.  Your sites have been a God-send.

I read your post about Chicago’s Mayor, “The Totalitarian Mayor in Chicago: Do Not Take Long Bike Rides” this morning.

Here’s my reaction.  The mayor and especially the police chief are serious.  I say so as a native of Chicago who’s seen people like this in action.  This is not the time for libertarians or PPSers to buck the system and engage in an open display of civil disobedience.  It would be a very bad idea because 1) the police will arrest you, they’re not bluffing, 2) libertarians and PPSers will look like insensitive knuckleheads who don’t care about the well-being of others, 3) it will be hard to make a difference in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and/or a Private Property Society if you’re sitting in jail or prison, and 4) there are much better ways to protest, your sites are examples of this.  Besides, once this is all over and the government power-freaks are exposed for overreacting, you’ll have more people in Chicago, and other places, more receptive to a message about Liberty, Freedom, and/or a Private Property Society
Signed,
Ecstatic to be a Former Resident of Chicago
Derek F.

-RW

The Totalitarian Mayor in Chicago: Do Not Take Long Bike Rides

Lori Lightfoot
Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is sure competing with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for Power Freak of the Year.

“Stay at home. Only go out for essentials. You have to readjust your thinking. Be smart,” Lightfoot told the public. “Not only will our police be deployed to shut them down if you are not abiding by these orders we will be forced to shut down the parks and lakefront. The situation is deadly serious and we need you take it deadly seriously.”

Lightfoot added that spending long periods of time outdoors, anywhere, is not allowed.

“You cannot go on long bike rides. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”

The Police Power Freak of the Year award may also end up in Chicago.

Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck issued the strongest warning about being out with others, according to Chicago 2.

“The public health order is not an advisory. It is a mandate. If you violate it, you are subject to a fine of $500. If you continue to violate it, you will be subject to arrest,” Beck said.

 -RW