On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News
Though it appears in the past two weeks that we are presently experiencing in the U.S. a small uptick in COVID-19 deaths, as shown by the graph to the right [source], overall the data suggests that the disease is on the wan. Since its peak in late April the daily death toll has steadily dropped, even as the number of detected infections has skyrocketed. Many more people are getting the disease, but many fewer are dying from it.
What the data now tells us is that our leaders failed us in their response to the virus, in every way possible that can be imagined. Such incompetence and bad judgment should result in wholesale firings in every county, city, and state government that imposed lock downs come the November elections. No one should be immune in these local governments.
The failed lock down policies
The graph to the right shows the daily death toll for New York state. It also indicates when Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo instituted his lock down and mask policies.
Based on this graph Cuomo will likely crow that his policies worked, that because of his lockdowns and mask policies the Wuhan virus was kept in check and eventually squashed.
Bah. First, because of Cuomo’s own policies the total death toll in New York has ended up far worse than it should have. He killed people by those policies because, during the epidemic’s worst period, he required that infected patients be returned to the long term nursing homes from whence they came. He did this because he believed his hospitals would soon be overwhelmed with Wuhan flu patients (something that never happened) and wanted to reserve space for them. Instead, he exposed his state’s most vulnerable population, the elderly sick, directly to the disease, resulting in the worst death totals of any state in the country. Rather than protecting the elderly sick, he acted to make them sick from COVID-19 and thus die.
Second, correlation does not prove causation. Just because the dates of Cuomo’s lock down line up with the rise and fall of the disease proves nothing. We need only look at the states of California and Arizona to illustrate this. The two graphs to the right not only show the daily death toll for each state, but the daily count of new cases and new hospitalizations (for Arizona).
Do you notice a correlation between the lock downs and the rise and fall? I don’t. The pattern is certainly completely different than in New York, and in fact is not really the same when you compare Arizona to California.
New York’s daily death toll immediately rockets upward following imposition of the lock down, and follows what appears to be the expected curve of this kind of virus. (The caseload numbers follow the same pattern, in sync, as shown here when you click on the full range option.)
Both California and Arizona however show no significant increase or decrease after imposition of their lock downs or mask orders, or when the lock downs are eased. Later when case numbers in California rise (but not deaths) and the lock down is reimposed, the restrictions do not seem to have any appreciable effect on either deaths or cases. Similarly in Arizona, the rise in cases, accompanied by relatively small rises in hospitalizations and deaths, does not seem to be effected significantly when the lock down is reinstated and masks become required.
At worst, it appears that the policies of these governors were completely irrelevant to the spread of the disease. At best, they served to slow its arrival (flatten the curve), but not significantly. Generally what the graphs tell us is that the virus was going to spread through the population, no matter what humans did.
(Note: The number of hospitalizations in Arizona today took a leap that does not seem statistically reasonable or possible. I suspect that either they have suddenly reassigned a bunch of hospitalizations to COVID-19, in order to punch up the total and thus justify Ducey’s draconian lock down policies, or this is an error that will be corrected in the coming days.)
The irrelevancy of these policies is also demonstrated by direct proof. In New York on June 12th hundreds gathered at St. Marks Place in Manhattan to party. Then on July 18th there was another such street party in Astoria, Queens, where I once lived. Thousands packed the streets, drinking and socializing, with no one wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Make sure you watch the video at the link.
In between, on June 15th, the city saw tens of thousands gather on the streets to protest Floyd George’s death.
According to all the experts, such gatherings should have resulted in an uptick in deaths in New York about ten days to two weeks later. It has not happened. In fact, New York’s daily death toll since late June has averaged just under 10 deaths per day (the majority still among the elderly sick), a tiny number for a place with a population of millions.
Masks or no masks, social distancing or not, this virus will run its course no matter what we do. And based on the numbers, it appears it is right now burning out, and poses relatively little threat to anyone, no matter what draconian policy any governor imposes.
Sadly the lock down policies those governors imposed did have consequences, however, all bad, and all having little to do with controlling COVID-19. They bankrupted millions, causing an economic crash that destroyed whole industries, many of which will never recover. Millions lost their jobs.
Untold others suffered ill health because they could not get treatment because all medical facilities had been ordered to devote everything to Wuhan virus cases, even though the predicted number of cases never materialized, leaving many hospitals practically empty.
And of course, the damage to our freedom of speech and the rule of law cannot be measured. Beforehand, it would have been considered verboten for any elected leader to issue such edicts, some of which literally nullified the First and Fifth amendment of the Bill of Rights. Now it is considered completely acceptable for them to do it, whenever they feel they need to. And woe to anyone who dares challenge them.
The failed mask policy
Even now, with it clear that the lock downs were a terrible idea, our bankrupt leaders are taking advantage of their new powers and are imposing more bad policy. Though some continue to try to maintain their foolish lock downs, such as Democratic governor Gavin Newsom in California and Republican governor Doug Ducey in Arizona, most have switched from draconian lock downs to demanding that everyone wear masks, even though there is no science to justify this and plenty of evidence that suggests the masks might actually be harmful.
Nor am I merely spouting my opinion. All three graphs show the pointlessness of the mask mandates. They have utterly failed in California and Arizona in stopping the spread of the virus. If anything, I believe they have helped spread it, because most people use their masks improperly and thus help to deposit pathogens like the virus on their masks, in the very place they breath.
In the end you are probably more likely to get sick wearing a mask. I myself feel far safer without it, as I refuse to wear one.
The overall death toll
And then there are those that will claim that the Wuhan virus killed this year 141,430 people, more than twice as many people as the flu did in its most recent worst season, 2017-2018, when the CDC estimated approximately 61,000 died from the flu.
Well, let’s take an honest look at the numbers, something no one in our vaunted mainstream press appears willing to do. First, that 2017-2018 CDC flu number is only an estimate, with the CDC’s real margin of error ranging from 46,000 to 95,000 flu deaths. In fact, the CDC never actually settles on any single number for its yearly flu death toll, as it is doing this year with COVID-19. Previously the agency recognized that these numbers were uncertain, and noted that uncertainty by listing the yearly death toll as a range, as much as 20% to 35% wrong, up or down.
With COVID-19 however we cannot have such doubts. No way. Every death (even motorcycle accidents) that might have the slightest connection with the Wuhan virus must be assigned to it, and only it. And we must not recognize any margin of error. Exactly 141,430 people have died from COVID-19 so far this year. And we know this exact number with certainty!
The CDC also recognizes that it is hard to separate these so-called COVID-19 deaths from other respiratory deaths. such as the flu and pneumonia. This is why in its weekly COVIDView summary it groups all these respiratory diseases together in assessing the state of this epidemic. And as they noted in the first sentence of the summary in their most recent update, through July 18:
Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) are below baseline, but higher than typically seen at this time of year.
Overall it appears there have been fewer deaths from all these diseases this year. They are only higher now, in the summer, because we have attempted to flatten the curve. If we have had any success in this (though doubtful), all it has really done is lengthened the season for these diseases into the summer.
In a nation of educated citizens the consequences for these terrible policies — that bankrupted millions while accomplishing nothing other than a nullification of our rights under the Constitution — would be wholesale defeats at the ballot box for these city and state officials at the very first subsequent election.
I fear we are no longer a nation of educated citizens. I think this every time I go out and find myself surrounded by people unquestioningly wearing masks in all sorts of ridiculous situations, alone in their cars or on the street, or half pulled down so their noses and mouths are exposed so they can talk or breathe.
They were ordered by their betters to wear masks, and like sheep they are doing it. A citizen would have demanded some data to back up the order, and getting none (as we have) would have done what I did and researched the data for themselves, only to discover (as I have) that mask use makes little sense, based on what is actually known. A citizen would have then refused the order, and told the idiot that made it to go jump in a lake.
But as I said, Americans no longer appear to be citizens but peasants and servants to their lords and masters. If ordered to do something they do it, blindly, no questions asked. Like sheep they allow themselves to be ruled.
And when the next election comes in a little over three months these peasants and servants will do one of two things: Either they won’t vote, or if they do they will flip the lever for those local lords and masters, gladly giving them more power.
How else can peasants and servants feel safe?
The problem will be that they will not be safe. They will be endorsing incompetent and power-hungry politicians, rewarding them for bad policy. The result will be more bad policy, and worse abuses of power.
Under such rule no one is ever safe.
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