The following things can be, and likely are, simultaneously true:
(1) Communist China is a generally unreliable narrator, especially in any situation that directly involves its primary economic and cultural rival, the United States. China has a well-established track record of falsifying important statistics, ranging from the performance of their economy to the success of their efforts at managing disease. Communist China deliberately attempted to conceal the extent to which the coronavirus spread through the country using propaganda and physical violence.
(2) The narrative that the illness originated in China and is only now reaching the western hemisphere is not supported by credible data of any sort, which would require antibody testing not testing for current infections. It is not “Chinese propaganda” to challenge this specific claim, especially given the social cost and economic destruction involved.
This problematic assumption is the product of another generally unreliable narrator, the World Health Organization. The WHO is a corrupt and downright incompetent agency with a long history of screwing up global, coordinated responses to epidemics. They only continue to exist because rent-seeking globalists love corrupt and downright incompetent agencies.
(3) Some academics in the US and Europe have created objectively bad models that lack predictive ability. This is partially because they use bad inputs, meaning deliberately falsified data from places like Communist China and the WHO. This is also partially because these academics are not good at modeling the spread of disease. They use mathematically simplistic models in a technological age where they should be able to employ machine learning to do much better (yay, tenure – keeping old people and old ideas at the top of the food chain at the expense of progress). They make bad assumptions about the nature of populations and when diseases were first observed in a geographic region. They assume that the disease made it to a region only when there is an uptick in testing, hospitalizations, and deaths. With this particular illness, it is possible to be asymptomatic for weeks and still carry it – another detail the corrupt WHO loudly misrepresented for months – which increases the likelihood that it was spreading around the globe earlier than academics and policymakers currently assume. So does the fact that testing was mostly limited to acute cases. So does the fact that most people ultimately only experience mild symptoms.
These models should not be used in crafting public policy. But they are being used in public policy because we have a profoundly bad generation of policymakers who are more concerned with maintaining power than asking the right questions for the good of all humanity. This issue is further obscured by the hyenas in the media who play up every new case, as if every one has the potential to overwhelm ICUs. Any increase is one incremental step toward Armageddon.
(4) Extreme political dysfunction in the United States has contributed to the government making catastrophically bad decisions in response to the coronavirus and doubling and tripling down on them. This dysfunction works across the entire political spectrum.
Trump has been dealing for years with a scorned rival party and select groups of bureaucrats who dub themselves “The Resistance.” Their goal is to frustrate all activity within the Trump Administration – regardless of whether said activity is critical to national security, economic stability, and now even public health – and they have successfully hindered Trump from taking an aggressive stand in managing the coronavirus. He wastes a ridiculous amount of time and energy shooing The Resistance away – all day, every day – when he could be focused on serving the American people.
As the virus was raging around the world, they were playing up a sham impeachment, blowing up taxpayer dollars and sucking all of the oxygen out of a political system with bigger things to worry about, over an entirely predictable outcome where they lost for the billionth time because for the billionth time their arguments were painfully childish and unpersuasive to most Americans.
When Trump made prudent decisions about closing the borders, they blasted him as racist 24/7.
The Resistance actively tries to drive highly qualified outsiders out of Washington DC by viciously smearing anyone who dares to be associated with Trump. You can be a literal choir boy and The Resistance will accuse you of operating a rape train in college, whatever the hell that is.
Their obsession with sabotaging the daily activity of the executive branch of government has become sociopathic. They truly don’t care if the country is destroyed so long as they get their gotcha Twitter Moment. They are also completely blind to the fact that most of the country regards them with the level of contempt they deserve, because they are beyond mentally ill at this point.
And now Pelosi thinks what the world needs is another round of highly partisan investigations carried out by the mouthbreathers she has put in charge of otherwise important congressional functions. This means that any future stimulus legislation is either unlikely to get done or likely to be structured in ways that do not help ordinary Americans but continue to enrich special interests when funding is scarce. So all the economic damage that comes with the ongoing economic shutdown going forward is unlikely to be intelligently mitigated. Just to nurse their decades-long dick-measuring contests during a crisis, because this is all Boomer politicians do – “investigate” each other ad nauseam.
And frankly, even the last coronavirus stimulus package, while necessary, was so highly partisan that it managed to include a litany of provisions that continue to nuke economic value even as they promise to provide assistance. Like the airlines have to fly empty planes around the country to “maintain capacity,” further draining their financial resources before they receive an injection of money to prevent them from going bankrupt. What were they even thinking? We don’t want you to file for bankruptcy, so we are forcing you to continue blowing money on superfluous expenses. Can these swamp rats just go away already?
Trump, per usual, has himself made some incredibly poor personnel decisions and is trusting people he should not be trusting. Having Dr. Fauci manage the coronavirus response was and continues to be a major problem. Despite all the phony hero worship, Dr. Fauci is very much embedded in the Washington DC political establishment. That’s pretty much his main qualification for the job, in fact. He has been pushing Trump to make decisions that have led to the complete collapse of the US economy – without important data like antibody testing, which could eliminate concerns that most of the US population has already been exposed to the coronavirus, not knowing it, and that telling people to stay home is pointless.
Dr. Fauci has zero timeline for managing the spread of the coronavirus or even testing his own assumptions. He says he would like for the shutdown to continue “until there isn’t a single case of coronavirus left.” He would be perfectly content to keep the economy shut down all year, and has little demonstrable concern about the profound human suffering that involves. If the Fed needs to print enough money to replace the entire GDP, then so be it in his book. Zimbabwe and Venezuela have amazing health care systems, you know.
This only reinforces conspiracy theories that he is a member of The Resistance, because the best nutrition for conspiracy theories is a fundamentally irrational reality. Dr. Fauci has surely accomplished that by advocating for a situation where job losses outnumber coronavirus cases 47 to 1 and are only getting started.
Dr. Fauci himself only weeks ago was making the rounds on political talk shows claiming there was no reason to worry about the coronavirus. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx now blame their blasé attitude on their decision to trust Chinese propaganda, which should be immediately disqualifying. This crowd also outright lied to the American people about the efficacy of covering their faces when going out in public, presumably as a tactic to stop the hoarding of medical gear when they could have just allowed health facilities to turn to the private market for supplies. Not only are they trusting Chinese propaganda, they are behaving like Red China themselves.
Trump apparently has his children interfering in the coronavirus response, because – per usual after Trump makes terrible personnel choices – his children are the only people left in DC that he trusts. Trump has a well-established pattern of selecting a bad czar and then not being able to move on to someone more reasonable and less egotistical because that person has seized the moment to make his or herself a household name. And part of that is Trump’s own doing – he tries to turn everyone around him into a brand, and he creates monsters in the process. The only person who has survived this treatment – thank God – is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and that’s just because he’s a cold-hearted and calculating Goldman Sachs alumnus with the weapons-grade DGAF that comes with being on the spectrum. Without him, our economy would really be toast right now.
(5) There are solid clues that America and Europe are burning down their respective houses over a virus that has been circulating the world for months unnoticed. Here is one example:
No rational person would assume that the virus was floating around Brazil in early January (when this woman caught it) and not also floating around Florida. Socially, Florida is closer to Brazil than it is to the rest of the United States. No rational person would assume that the virus was floating around Florida and not New York. The social networks of these three places are thoroughly intertwined. Again, this is why we should be using machine learning to predict the path of viruses across networks of interaction, not “exponential growth – somewhere, anywhere, everywhere – we’re all gonna die” models. It’s possible that 50 million Americans have already been infected over the past few months, and no one noticed it because they did not overwhelm ICUs and the media was too busy crowing about Gordon Sondland rather than drumming up panic over pneumonia.
The primary reason we cannot answer this question is the behemoth health care bureaucracy in the United States exacerbates problems in emergencies rather than alleviating them.
At least 10 million Americans are unemployed thanks to Fauci and Birx and the hysterical models they have chosen to rely on without seriously considering counterexamples. (If you came to this blog looking for hero/credential worship, you are definitely in the wrong place. The only things I care about are outcomes.) And only now has the FDA gotten around to approving antibody testing in the United States that would give policymakers the first real clue as to how widespread the illness has been.
It may be that this thesis is wrong, but it 100% should have been tested before deciding to burn a $21 trillion economy down.
(6) It is a real problem in government and other cultural institutions that Baby Boomers refuse to move out of positions of power even though many are no longer the most intellectually qualified people to be making decisions. I am not saying this to be unnecessarily cruel or insulting, it’s simply a fact of aging that would be recognized in any other context.
Trump’s coronavirus task force looks like the A-Team of senior citizens and they share the “save us at any cost – and we do mean any cost” mentality that has torched our economy. Dr. Fauci is almost 80 years old himself, which incidentally is the median age of coronavirus-complicated deaths in Italy. This really isn’t all that far off of having a clearly senile Robert Mueller managing the Russia investigation and having his political operative underlings walk all over him.
We’ve got a demographic minority that is deeply invested in a deeply personal panic, and they are making incredibly dangerous and destructive policies to govern the many. Whatever the reverse of triage is, that’s what we are doing to our country.
This exact sort of situation is what our entire constitution was constructed around preventing – allowing a select group of people to strip everyone else of their liberties, property, ability to earn a living and feed and educate their children, because it might be construed as in the minority’s personal interest. If past generations acted the way our government is acting now, our country would have ceased to exist a long time ago. It’s lunacy, and that’s why it requires an atmosphere of panic, threats of jail time, fines, and threats to one’s reputation and well-being to achieve compliance. It requires lies like “this virus is actually killing a lot of young people without pre-existing conditions, so you better not go outside or it might get you too” and “stop buying masks, science says they only work for us.” It requires the country of George Washington to behave more like the country of Stalin.
The worst people that could ever be making public policy decisions – in any context – are people with short time horizons and an explicit conflict of interest. If someone’s policy mindset is “burn it all down and decide later if it was the right decision,” they don’t belong in US government. They belong in places like North Korea or Iran. We don’t need pseudo-scientific ayatollahs here. This shouldn’t even be a controversial observation.
There are younger scientists with far, far better knowledge of data science and technology out there. Some are in the private sector and not at universities. They could be running the coronavirus response right now not a man who is almost 80. They have not been a part of the solution to this pandemic beyond their own decisions to publish rational, contrarian content online and in the opinion pages (of mostly financial media) with the hope that actual science might stick somewhere that matters. Instead we are stuck with the Boomer political response, which involves a blind faith in swamptastic institutions to the point of believing propaganda is credible information and an absolute disdain for the immense cost of the response to three younger generations.
There is a reason why propaganda works on our current crop of leaders, and it’s not all that different from why senior citizens make the easiest fraud victims. They are the ones who are most sincerely convinced that their credentials and experience make them the best candidates for decision-making positions, but they are also the most removed from current culture and new technology, so they are the least likely to realize when they have been duped. You don’t have to be a wizard to punk someone with zero intellectual humility – it’s something Russian and Chinese trolls do all the time.
Given all that has happened, it is terrifying that America is going to vote on whether to be led by Trump – whose entire coronavirus response changes catastrophically on a whim, gets outsourced to charlatans with innumerate models, and can melt down in the span of a couple days – and a dude who is legitimately senile and would be in his EIGHTIES in the White House.
We’ve had two of the worst financial crises in US history in the course of 12 years and five foreign conflicts that have become mostly irrelevant to the American people, but sure, what’s another manufactured crisis before this generation of leadership goes away already? What do the trillions even mean at this point?