Tag Archives: bankruptcy

Modern fascist America: No mask, no healthcare

Right now my inclination to post or write or do anything is low. In fact, emotionally I am beginning to think there is no point living, as I do not wish to live in a nation as oppressive as America is becoming.

Today I learned unequivocally that in today’s America, you will be denied healthcare if you do not wear a mask, even if you have legitimate medical issues for not doing so. I have both asthma and heart issues, and according to numerous long-standing advisories by both doctors and government health agencies (until May of this year), wearing a mask when you have such conditions is a mistake. To quote just one such advisory from the California Department of Health,:

“Mask use may give the wearer a false sense of security, which might encourage too much physical activity and time spent outdoors. Also, wearing a mask may actually be harmful to some people with heart or lung disease because it can make the lungs work harder to breathe.” [emphasis mine]

Yet now doctors are demanding all patients, no matter their health, wear these feel-good useless muzzles, or they will deny you all treatment.

In late May I simply raised this issue with my long-standing GP, only to receive a letter from him the next day telling me he had cancelled me as a patient. Just raising the issue with him was verboten. Since then I have been trying desperately to find another GP, without success. None will see me without demanding I wear a mask. None will even consider my own health issues in the mix, at all.

Today I arrived at what I thought would be my new GP. I had called his office twice beforehand to explain my health issues and to make sure I would not have an issue when I arrived. All a waste of time. As I was signing in the office manager marched up to demand I put on the mask that she was nonchalantly fingering with her hands. When I pointed out how unsanitary that was, irrelevant of my own issues, she seemed shocked and surprised, as if she had no idea what I was talking about.

Nor was she interested in considering my own situation, or the actual law in Tucson. When I noted that the local ordinances also permit no masks if you can either socially distance (which would be easy to do in her office) or have medical issues, she said that doesn’t matter. Their office requires masks at all times, regardless. Common sense and basic medical science were irrelevant to them.

I was forced to walk out. I presently do not have a doctor to handle my medical issues. Nor do I expect to find one, unless by some miracle there is some local doctor in southern Arizona who understands the absurdity of this mask obsession, reads this post, and offers their help. Personally I have zero expectation of that.

Welcome to the new America. Obey, or you will be denied your most basic human rights of existence.

Anti-maskers invade Target, demanding everyone “Take off that mask!”

We need more of this: Anti-maskers this week marched through a Florida Target shouting “This is the United States of America, take off that mask!”

They didn’t harass anyone, they simply went down the aisles cheerfully calling for people to get rid of the mask. Watch the video below the fold.

The sad part is how few people in the store remove their masks. Many clearly agreed with the protesters, but still kept the mask on.
» Read more

Nashville authorities cover up proof bars & restaurants do not spread COVID-19

Local authorities in the mayor’s office and health department in Nashville, rather than release the data and open things up, kept secret evidence that showed there was no reason to close bars or restaurants. [The quote below comes from a local Fox TV news story that has since been taken down.]

Emails between the mayor’s senior advisor and the health department reveal only a partial picture. But what they reveal is disturbing. The discussion involves the low number of coronavirus cases emerging from bars and restaurants and how to handle that and most disturbingly, how to keep it from the public.

On June 30th, contact tracing was giving a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes causing problems more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases.

Leslie Waller from the health department asks “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

“Correct, not for public consumption.” Writes senior advisor Benjamin Eagles. [emphasis mine]

In other words, these corrupt officials, who appear quite typical of today’s government rank and file, had found in June that closing bars and restaurants was pointless, that their focus should be nursing homes and construction (though I suspect a deeper dive in the data would discount construction as well). Instead, they kept this data secret so that the lockdown of bars and restaurants could continue, putting thousands out of work.

The fact that they should have been focusing on nursing homes once again confirms the nature of this virus. Like the flu, it attacks the sick elderly, with everyone else barely noticing their symptoms, or if they do, recovering without serious harm.

College English Department to only accept students studying “Black Studies”

The coming dark age: The English Department at the University of Chicago will next year only accept new students who focus all their literature work on “Black Studies.”

The University of Chicago’s English Department declared it will only accept applicants interested in ‘working in and with Black studies’ for its 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle.

In a statement uploaded to the English department’s website in July, the faculty announced their commitment to the “struggle of Black and indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality. For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black studies. We understand Black studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages and time periods.”

“…English as a subject, the department says, has provided ‘aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction and anti-Blackness.”

The statement goes on to deem the “collective responsibility” of the faculty to be “undoing persistent, recalcitrant anti-Blackness in our disciplines and in our institutions.”

Or to put it another way, the literature of western civilization can go to hell. All that matters now is race. And race comes first in order to groom that next generation of racists and bigots, now educated to hate whites.

I cannot imagine any parent or student wanting to attend such a program, unless their goal is is to learn how to become a Black-Power bigot aimed at oppressing all other races.

Tiny amount of rare chemical found on Venus; it is NOT a sign of life

The coming dark age: Scientists today announced that they had detected a tiny amount of the rare chemical phosphine in the upper atmosphere of Venus, and immediately jumped to the absurd conclusion that this was a sign of life.

The international team, which includes researchers from the UK, US and Japan, estimates that phosphine exists in Venus’s clouds at a small concentration, only about twenty molecules in every billion. Following their observations, they ran calculations to see whether these amounts could come from natural non-biological processes on the planet. Some ideas included sunlight, minerals blown upwards from the surface, volcanoes, or lightning, but none of these could make anywhere near enough of it. These non-biological sources were found to make at most one ten thousandth of the amount of phosphine that the telescopes saw.

To create the observed quantity of phosphine (which consists of hydrogen and phosphorus) on Venus, terrestrial organisms would only need to work at about 10% of their maximum productivity, according to the team. Earth bacteria are known to make phosphine: they take up phosphate from minerals or biological material, add hydrogen, and ultimately expel phosphine. Any organisms on Venus will probably be very different to their Earth cousins, but they too could be the source of phosphine in the atmosphere.

To leap from finding twenty molecules out of a billion of a single rare chemical to claiming this is a sign of life is absurd. And yet, this is what these scientists do, in the European Space Agency (ESA) press release at the link above, as well as this Royal Astronomical Society press release.

This discovery is not giving us “a hint of life on Venus.” All these scientists have done is detect a chemical whose formation in Venus’ very alien environment is a mystery. Yes, on Earth this chemical comes from life related activities, but to claim that the presence of biology must explain it on Venus is not science, but witchcraft and the stuff of fantasy. We know practically nothing about the full make-up of Venus’ atmosphere, its chemistry and environment, which makes it impossible to hint at any theories, no less life.

The worst part of this is that we can expect our brainless media to run with these claims, without the slightest effort of incredulity.

We live in a world of make believe and made-up science. Data is no longer important, only the leaps of fantasy we can jump to based on the slimmest of facts. It was this desire to push theories rather than knowledge that locked humanity into a dark age for centuries during the Middle Ages. It is doing it again, now, and the proof is all around you, people like zombies and sheep, wearing masks based not on any proven science but on pure emotions.

Texas sees 400% increase in homeschooling

The silver lining? Faced with odious rules and remote zoom classes in the public education system due to fear and terror over the corona virus, Texas parents are choosing to homeschool their children this year, with the numbers rising by 400%.

The spike, the group reported, stems directly from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) pandemic schooling guidelines sparking a mass exodus from the public school system as parents opt to teach their children at home over enrolling them in a digitized, remote state-run classroom.

Our government public schools have been corrupted by leftist indoctrination for years, while they have steadily done a worsening job at educating children in the basics. (Witness for example the ignorance exhibited by the Antifa protesters about American history.) Maybe this disaster created by the Wuhan flu panic might have some benefits, such as getting parents more involved once again in their kid’s education, and thus improve it.

Because, based on everything I’ve seen and read about modern public school education and culture, parents really can’t do worse.

“We quarantined the healthy, and we exposed the sick.”

According to Jay Bhattacharya, director of both the Program on Medical Outcomes and the Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging at Stanford University, the decisions made by most governments during the past six months in reaction to the Wuhan virus made no sense, and actually acted to worsen the epidemic.

“We essentially, in effect, exposed people who were at high risk in nursing homes, in assisted care facilities, elderly populations,” Bhattacharya said. “We essentially, in the early days of the epidemic, did the inverse of the right policy.”

“We quarantined the healthy, and we exposed the sick,” he added.

The professor noted that the World Health Organization, early on in the pandemic, suggested that the death rate for the disease might be as high as 3.4%, significantly higher than that of seasonal influenza. Revised estimates have put that rate as low as 0.26%, though some studies have put it closer to 0.5%. [emphasis mine]

The mortality rate for the flu is generally estimated at about 0.1%, so the Wuhan virus is higher, but really not by much. Moreover, these new estimates are much closer to what could have been gleaned from the early data, data that the WHO and many other government health officials ignored in favor of unreliable models. More important however is that, when compared to the flu, the data today suggests that COVID-19 is less dangerous to the healthy population, and a greater risk to the elderly sick, which once again shows that quarantining the healthy population (the lock downs) makes no sense. It only slows the arrival of herd immunity, giving the virus more time to reach the vulnerable population.

Five charts prove the continuing COVID-19 panic unwarranted

Link here. Not surprisingly, the U.S. is doing better than almost every other country in the world, and the numbers also show that the epidemic is dying off.

On confirmed cases per million, the U.S. ranks 9th, but this is in part due to the extensive testing we’ve done. In fact, despite what Biden and Co. will have you believe, we are in the top of the pack when it comes to COVID-19 tests per capita. (Note that only four of the other 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations do better than the U.S. on tests per capita. Also, every country that does better than the U.S. has a significantly smaller population — some just tens of thousands. In fact, if you add up the populations of every country in the top 17, it equals a little more than half the U.S. population. )

When it comes to the case fatality rate – the share of confirmed cases who have died – there is no comparison. Not only does the U.S. outperform most countries – as well as the world overall – the case fatality rate in the U.S. has been steadily declining.

Finally, there’s the chart Democrats really don’t want you to see: The number of new COVID-19 cases peaked a month ago and has been trending downward ever since.

Make sure you take a look at where Sweden stands when compared to everyone else. For a country that imposed no odious lock downs, their numbers are quite good, and in fact beat nations like Italy and the United Kingdom, which imposed strict rules and house arrests.

Report: Astronomy threatened by satellite constellations

A report issued today, resulting from a video conference of astronomers in July, has concluded that much of ground-based astronomy is threatened by the new large satellite constellations being launched by SpaceX, OneWeb, and others.

The astronomers’ report offers six solutions for solving the problem.

  • Launch fewer or no LEOsats. However impractical or unlikely, this is the only option identified that can achieve zero astronomical impact.
  • Deploy satellites at orbital altitudes no higher than ~600 km.
  • Darken satellites or use sunshades to shadow their reflective surfaces.
  • Control each satellite’s orientation in space to reflect less sunlight to Earth.
  • Minimize or eventually be able to eliminate the effect of satellite trails during the processing of astronomical images.
  • Make more accurate orbital information available for satellites so that observers can avoid pointing telescopes at them.

Notice what solution they don’t offer? Maybe astronomy should focus on building space-based telescopes, where the view would be clear, unimpeded by both the satellites and (much more importantly) the atmosphere.

In fact, the claim in the first solution above, that launching no satellites is “the only option identified that can achieve zero astronomical impact” is intellectually dishonest. All astronomers have to do is get their observatories into space, something that is very doable and affordable with today’s cheaper launch capabilities and technology. In space the impact of the satellites will once again be zero. And they will have the added benefit of getting outside the atmosphere, which by the way is actually a bigger limitation to observations than any satellite constellation.

It seems to me that this report was written by the faction of astronomers who make their living building big ground-based telescopes. Rather than think of solutions, they want to protect their turf by attacking the achievements of others.

COVID-19: The epidemic is ending, why do government restrictions remain?

This essay is going to include a number of graphs [data source], showing the daily numbers related to the Wuhan virus since the beginning of the epidemic. All show that the epidemic is truly tapering off or ending, regardless of where you live. All also strongly suggest that the lock downs, restrictions, mask mandates, and the many other odious rules that were imposed initially for just a few weeks to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed but have remained in force now for many months should immediately be cancelled or removed.

And yet, these restrictions remain, in one form or another, with some rules (such as the mandate to wear masks) being expanded, sometimes to the point of idiocy. That they remain proves again that those lock downs, restrictions, mask mandates and other rules had little to do with the disease. Instead their goal was to impose new authoritarian rules on the citizenry, meant to establish new precedents of power and control for the petty dictators who wish to rule us like servants.

Daily mortality of COVID-19 across the entire United States

The first graph to the right shows the daily deaths across the entire United States. As you can see, after reaching a peak in late April, the disease began fading with the coming of warmer weather, as these seasonal flu-like diseases always do. Then, beginning in early July we saw a slow new rise that peaked in early August and has since begun tapering off.

The second peak is puzzling for a seasonal disease, but we might be able to explain it by thinking about the consequences of the lock downs. Normally a seasonal disease hits, and than fades. Normally however there are no lock downs and restrictions, which means the virus has a chance to quickly spread throughout the population, reach herd immunity, and then die.

This time however we decided to slow the disease’s spread, which means that at some point, when those restrictions were eased (not removed) we were guaranteed to see a new uptick. This is what has happened, though the uptick as should be expected is relatively small, nowhere near as severe as the initial peak.

In fact, to understand the true impact of this virus it is essential to recognize several very important components of these death numbers. First, these numbers are likely exaggerated, by at least 25%. Hospitals get more money if they claim a death came from COVID-19, so they have a strong incentive to assign the cause of death to COVID-19, even when it was only a minor factor. There is ample evidence this has been happening.

These extra benefits have also meant that COVID-19 has cured the flu! This year will see the fewest flu deaths ever, now estimated to be only 6,605 total, an absurdly low number compared to every other year, ever. In other words, of the 168,000 or so deaths assigned to the Wuhan flu a large percentage, maybe as much as half, might actually be cases that would have died (or did die) from the flu.

All told, these numbers tell us that the total deaths this year are simply not much higher than in past years, that they have either been overstated or assigned incorrectly to COVID-19. A hard look instead suggests actually that this year’s epidemic was essentially nothing more than a somewhat worse flu season, painful, but hardly justifying the panic that we’ve seen.

Second, the disease’s mortality continues to be confined almost entirely with the aged sick, with 80% of all COVID-19 deaths occurring in people over 65. Like the flu, the Wuhan flu carries practically no threat for the young and the healthy. If anything, the sooner they can all get infected, the sooner the epidemic will end, actually producing the fewest deaths because the healthy population will choke it off before it can reach the vulnerable parts of the population.

Unfortunately, we did not let this happen, and the consequences for the older population is tragic, as shown by the next two graphs.
» Read more

Dying Democratic Cities

Saks Fifth Avenue, summer 2020
Saks Fifth Avenue in 2020 NYC.

Want to move to one of America’s big urban cities? Ever imagine having a penthouse apartment close to or even in downtown so that you could walk to the theater? Well, the options are endless, and the cost is plummeting. It’s a buyer’s market! Just take a look:

None of these trends are new. American cities have been generally suffering since the end of World War II, though for the past few decades they have seen a partial renewal that did not bring them back to the halcyon days of the past but at least made them look vibrant and alive.

The last few months however have seen a perfect storm of circumstances that have led to a major crash, destroying all the gains made in the recent past.
» Read more

Another SLS screw-up related to Europa Clipper

Despite being required for years by a legal congressional mandate to use SLS to launch Europa Clipper to the moon of Jupiter, NASA engineers have suddenly discovered unspecified “compatibility issues” that might make use of the rocket problematic.

At an Aug. 17 meeting of NASA’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee, Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said the Europa Clipper mission had recently discovered compatibility issues involving the Space Launch System, the vehicle preferred by Congress to launch the spacecraft. “There have been some issues that have been uncovered just recently,” she said of the use of SLS for Europa Clipper. “We are in a lot of conversations right now with human exploration and others within the agency about what kind of steps we can take going forward.”

She did not elaborate on the compatibility issues regarding SLS. Such issues, industry sources say, likely involve the environment the spacecraft would experience during launch, such as vibrations. That environment would be very different for Europa Clipper, a relatively small spacecraft encapsulated within a payload fairing, than for the Orion spacecraft that will be the payload for most SLS launches.

“We are currently working to identify and resolve potential hardware compatibility issues and will have more information once a full analysis has been conducted,” NASA spokesperson Alana Johnson said in an Aug. 18 statement to SpaceNews. “Preliminary analysis suggests that launching Clipper may require special hardware adjustments, depending on the launch vehicle.”

This is a joke. It is also absurd and disgusting. Finally, it is also par for the course for NASA and all of today’s government, at all levels. They can’t do anything competently. From the beginning Europa Clipper was mandated to fly on SLS. And yet, they didn’t design the two to be compatible?

Based on this example we should of course demand that the government and these bureaucrats be given more power and more control over our lives. Of course.

More data from Sweden demonstrates failure of lock downs everywhere else

Link here. Sweden imposed almost no rules when the Wuhan virus arrived. And though Sweden’s death toll was higher than many other places, consider this:

Of the 5,783 deaths, how many do you think were of people under the age of 40-years-old? 20%? 10%? No. Not even close. In Sweden, 26 people under the age of 40-years-old have died from COVID-19. That means less than one-half of one percent of the deaths associated with the coronavirus were of people younger than middle age. What’s more is that they have now essentially flattened the curve completely to the point that they often report zero deaths on any given day. [emphasis in original]

Also, only one school-age child died. Only one.

This is not a disease to be feared if you are healthy, especially if you are healthy and young. We should stop panicking.

Air Force limits future launch bidding to SpaceX and ULA

The Air Force today announced that it decided, after more than a year of discussions and negotiations, to limit bidding on all launch contracts for the next five years to only SpaceX and ULA, thus restricting competitive bidding on those contracts.

The awards represent the second phase of the military’s National Security Space Launch program, which is organized by the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, California. Four companies — Elon Musk’s SpaceX, ULA, Northrop Grumman and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin — bid for the contracts, with the military set to spend about $1 billion per year on launches.

The NSSL awards represent nearly three dozen launches, scheduled between 2022 and 2026. ULA won 60% of the launches, and SpaceX won the remaining 40%.

The award blocks Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin from bidding on these contracts. Expect a lawsuit from these two companies demanding that they have the right to bid, just as SpaceX did several years ago when the Air Force tried to maintain ULA’s monopoly on bidding.

On a very common sense level, this approach by the Air Force (its space operations soon to be taken over by the Space Force) makes little sense. Why restrict bidding? Both Blue Origin or Northrop Grumman expect to have their new rockets operating commercially in the next two years. They should have the right to bid on military launches. The competition will strengthen the launch market, reduce the costs to the military, and give it more redundancy and flexibility.

Based on my research, the only real reason I have ever been able to find for the Air Force’s desire to do this is their inability to deal with their paperwork should more than two bids be received.

House rejects Artemis; Senate funds Artemis

The Senate gives, the House taketh away: Even as the Democratically-controlled House continues to refuse the Trump administration’s request for $2.6 billion to fund its 2024 manned lunar landing, the Republican-controlled Senate has provided $1.6 billion of those funds in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

This illustrates why such stimulus packages are utterly corrupt. Much of the money allocated has little to do with helping the country recover from the Wuhan panic, but is instead earmarked for the favorite agencies of the politicians. The Republicans are also trying to use this package to sneak across funding for Artemis without the House Democrats noticing, or being able to object.

It remains to be seen whether that strategy will work. Either way, we continue on the road to bankruptcy and financial collapse, as the federal government is trillions in debt, and simply doesn’t have the money for any of this.

Midnight repost: “They’re coming for you next.”

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s midnight repost, written in July 2018, illustrates the danger to each and every one of us because of the rise and dominance of intolerance in the United States.

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“They’re coming for you next.”

This week we had a number of really ugly examples of the hate the left has for anyone who might dare express an opinion that might suggest even the slightest support for President Donald Trump.

But then, how is this week different from any other week since Trump was elected president in 2016?

The top example however is how Judge Jeanine Pirro was treated when she appeared on the The View. I have embedded the video below. You must force yourself to watch. It is painful and ugly, but the hate and very clear close-mindedness of those who disagreed with her, especially from Whoopie Goldberg, illustrates well the terrible state we are in.


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Midnight repost: Squeal like a pig

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost was written just prior to the 2010 mid-term elections. I correctly predicted that the Democrats would get creamed in that election. I then tried to predict what would happen next politically due to that Republican victory. I leave it to my readers to determine how good my analysis was, and how well it applies to what is happening right now.

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Squeal like a pig

Let’s take a trip into the future, looking past Tuesday’s midterm election.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that, come Tuesday, the Republicans take both houses, in a stunning landslide not seen in more than a century. Let’s also assume that the changes in Congress are going to point decidedly away from the recent liberal policies of large government (by both parties). Instead, every indication suggests that the new Congress will lean heavily towards a return to the principles of small government, low taxes, and less regulation.

These assumptions are not unreasonable. Not only do the polls indicate that one or both of the houses of Congress will switch from Democratic to Republican control, the numerous and unexpected primary upsets of established incumbents from both parties — as well the many protests over the past year by large numbers of ordinary citizens — make it clear that the public is not interested in half measures. Come January, the tone and direction of Congress is going to undergo a shocking change.

Anyway, based on these assumptions, we should then expect next year’s Congress to propose unprecedented cuts to the federal budget, including the elimination of many hallowed programs. The recent calls to defund NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcastings are only one example.

When Congress attempts this, however, the vested interests that have depended on this funding for decades are not going to take the cuts lightly. Or to put it more bluntly, they are going to squeal like pigs, throwing temper tantrums so loud and insane that they will make the complaints of a typical three-year-old seem truly statesman-like. And they will do so in the hope that they will garner sympathy and support from the general voting public, thereby making the cuts difficult to carry out.

The real question then is not whether the new Congress will propose the cuts required to bring the federal government under control, but whether they, as well as the public, will have the courage to follow through, to defy the howls from these spoiled brats, and do what must be done.
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Denying Americans the simple pursuit of happiness

The Declaration of Independence

The last four months in the United States have probably been the ugliest seen in generations. Not only were Americans summarily put under house arrest, with churches shut and free speech muzzled, in major urban Democratically-controlled cities elected officials played favorites, allowing free speech and free movement to the leftist political activists whom these Democrats preferred, while using their police power to aggressively oppress conservatives and anyone who might be considered an opponent.

On top of this ugliness, we had our first experience of an American Kristallnacht. Not only were those leftist protesters free to protest while other Americans were on lockdown, these leftist radicals were allowed by these Democratic politicians to use violence and looting to terrorize the general population.

The nation we have today is no longer a land of liberty. Many things we only four months ago took for granted are now denied us.
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Midnight repost: Shut down fascism in the Smoky Mountains

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: In 2013 Diane and I made a trip back east to visit the Smokey Mountains and do some hiking. Coincidentally, our trip took place at the end of September, when the budget battle between Obama and the Republicans in Congress was about to cause a government shutdown. This essay, the first of three, describes the extra effort and money being exerted by Obama’s administration to make that shutdown as unpleasant and as inconvenient to the American public as possible. The later two essays, linked to as an update at the top of the essay, outline what happened next.

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Shut down fascism in the Smoky Mountains

See my October 2, 2013 update here.

Today, October 1, 2013, my wife Diane and I went hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We did this despite the news from Washington that the federal government had shut down due to the lack of a funding from Congress and that all the national parks were closed.

The news reports had said that the National Park Service would close all roads into the park except for New Found Gap Road, the one road that crossed over the mountains from Tennessee to North Carolina. They couldn’t close this road because it was a main thoroughfare used by the public for basic transportation. Moreover, my research into the hikes we wished to do told me that several of those hikes originated on trailheads along this road. In traveling the road the day before, we had seen that these trailheads would not only be difficult to close, it would be dangerous and stupid to close them. For one, the road was windy and narrow. If there was a car accident or someone had car problems, any one of these parking areas might be essential for the use of the driver as well as local police and ambulances. For another, there are people still backpacking in the mountains who will at some point need to either exit with their cars or be picked up at these trailheads. Closing the trailheads will strand these hikers in the park, with dangerous consequences.

So, despite the shutdown, off we went to hike the Appalachian Trail, going to a well known lookout called the Jump Off, an easy 6.5 mile hike that leaves from the parking area at New Found Gap, the highest point on New Found Gap Road that is also on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It is also probably one of the most popular stopping points along the road, visited by practically every tourist as they drive across.
Smokies from the Appalachian trail

The hike itself was beautiful, if a bit foggy and damp. The picture above shows one of the clearest views we had all day. Nor were we alone on this hike. We probably saw one to two dozen other hikers, heading out to either the Jump Off or Charles Bunion (another well known day hike destination along this section of trail).
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Midnight repost: The absolute uncertainty of climate science

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost adds more weight to yesterday’s about the uncertainty of any model predicting global warming. Rather than look at the giant gaps in our knowledge, this essay, posted on January 28, 2019, looked at the data tampering that government scientists are doing to their global temperature databases in order to make the past appear cooler and the present appear warmer.

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The absolute uncertainty of climate science

Even as the United States is being plunged right now into an epic cold spell (something that has been happening repeatedly for almost all the winters of the past decade), and politicians continue to rant about the coming doom due to global warming, none of the data allows anyone the right to make any claims about the future global climate, in any direction.

Why do I feel so certain I can make this claim of uncertainty? Because the data simply isn’t there. And where we do have it, it has been tampered with so badly it is no longer very trustworthy. This very well documented post by Tony Heller proves this reality, quite thoroughly.

First, until the late 20th century, we simply do not have good reliable climate data for the southern hemisphere. Any statement by anyone claiming to know with certainty what the global temperature was prior to 1978 (when the first Nimbus climate satellite was launched) should be treated with some skepticism. Take a look at all the graphs Heller posts, all from reputable science sources, all confirming my own essay on this subject from 2015. The only regions where temperatures were thoroughly measured prior to satellite data was in the United States, Europe, and Japan. There are scattered data points elsewhere, but not many, with none in the southern oceans. And while we do have a great deal of proxy data that provides some guidance as to the global temperature prior to the space age, strongly suggesting there was a global warm period around the year 1000 AD, and a global cold period around 1600 AD, this data also has a lot of uncertainty, so it is entirely reasonable to express some skepticism about it.

Second, the data in those well-covered regions have been tampered with extensively, and always in a manner that reinforces the theory of global warming. Actual temperature readings have been adjusted everywhere, always to cool the past and warm the present. As Heller notes,
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More COVID-19 good news

A close look at the infection rate based on the increased number of tests in the past two months suggests that by election day the entire country will be close to herd immunity, and that quite possibly 40% of the population is already immune.

As of July 17, 44.2 million people have been tested, with 3.63 million positives (8.2%). Those folks who tested negative either never contracted COVID-19 or had it (with or without symptoms) and recovered.

…One eighth of the country [44.2 million] already tested is a very large sample, statistically. Applying the 8% baseline infection rate to the entire population, this means that every week after the beginning of April, another 2.67% of the people in the U.S. had recovered from COVID-19, were immune and non-contagious, and were not a threat to anybody. These numbers are additive. By July 17 (15 weeks), 40% of the country is now immune to the coronavirus, whether or not these people know it, and they cannot infect anybody else (for as long as the period of immunity lasts, likely well into the fall).

We can use the trajectory of the “hot spots” in March and April (which peaked about mid-April) to estimate the future trajectory of the percent of nationwide positive COVD-19 test results — which are now less than 2% in the former hot-spot areas — as the current set of “hot spots,” which are currently at peak, subside. I roughly estimate the following: for August, 5.4%; September, 4.0%; October, 2.1%. On the day you go to the polls to vote for either Orange Man or Senator Senex, by my estimate, 62% of the country will be immune to COVID-19, which is close to herd immunity.

And yes, there is uncertainty here, but the analysis appears reasonable, based on the number so far tested and the numbers found to test positive. It also matches what a reasonable person should expect from this respiratory disease.

Of course, because it suggests we have a lot to be optimistic about the Wuhan virus, this analysis must be dismissed immediately, out of hand. It just can’t be right. We are all gonna die from COVID-19 and that’s it.

Midnight repost: Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost follows directly from yesterday’s, though it was written seven years earlier in 2010. Mindless hate always begets mindless violence, and Americans could have seen the mindless violence of today’s leftists a decade ago, if they had only being willing to look.

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Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

This video has been making the rounds on the web. Though I warn you that is somewhat graphic, it is essential that you watch it.

When I first saw this about a week ago, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It was so vile and offensive I could not believe that it was legitimate. It obviously wants to pay some homage to Monty Python, but even Monty Python never went this far. How could anyone possibly think that killing small children in the name of environmentalism was in any way funny? And how could anyone ever believe that this video would persuade anyone to go along with the 1010 environmental campaign? If anything, the video does an excellent job of discrediting this organization and everyone involved with it.

Thus, despite what some bloggers were saying, I held back commenting, just to make sure the video was real and not a terrible prank meant to sabotage.

There is now no reason to hold back. Late last week, the 1010 organization itself issued an apology, admitting that this video was their handiwork. Before I continue, I think it is worthwhile for you to also read their apology, in all its venal glory. In many ways, it condemns them and their allies far more than the video did:
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Actual data: COVID-19 is only a threat to the old AND sick

Link here. The author does a nice job of summarizing the data we now have detailing the mortality demographics of the Wuhan virus. What that data tells us is that almost no one in the general population is threatened by this disease, at all, and thus all the extreme society-wide measures so far taken (lock downs, masks) are completely absurd.

First, the average age of those who have died is 78 years old, which also happens to be the normal average life expectancy of Americans. That means the virus has done nothing to change that overall life expectancy.

Second, of those who did die from the Wuhan virus, 75% already had underlying medical conditions. Like the flu and pneumonia, if you were old and sick, the virus acted to put the final nail in the coffin. For everyone else, it was not an issue at all.

Third, of those aged and elderly who died, 42% lived in nursing homes, many of whom were victims of bad state policies that exposed them unnecessarily to infected individuals while being confined to these facilities.

Let’s recap what the available data have shown us so far. Those dying of COVID-19 are overwhelmingly very old and most often very unhealthy, and nearly half of them lived in nursing homes, where less than one-half of one percent of our country’s population lives. Though the media seem uninterested in reporting any of that, we know well, and as near to precision as we might expect in a viral pandemic, whom COVID-19 actually kills.

Nor is this all. Of those in the healthy younger population, the data now tells us that COVID-19 is one third less deadly than the flu or pneumonia. When compared to these other diseases, fewer young people get the Wuhan virus, or even show symptoms if they do, and of those who do show symptoms one third fewer people die from the disease.

In other words, society has no reason to be afraid of this virus. We should have continued life as normal, with the exception of taking some extra care to protect the elderly sick.

Instead, we are becoming a society of fear and ignorance, covering our faces for no reason, isolating ourselves from our fellow man, and fearful to even go outside and enjoy life, out of fear not only of the Wuhan flu but in terror that others will ostracize us to being normal and unafraid.

It is time for this idiocy to stop. Sadly, I do not expect it to. We have fallen in love with this fear, and want to embrace it instead.

Victory in NY for socialist/communist

Long time moderately leftwing Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York) yesterday conceded defeat in his Democratic primary to Jamaal Bowman, an ally of communist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).

Engel’s loss, which came despite the support of Democratic Party leaders, shows that the traditional incumbent advantages ― cash, name recognition and high-profile endorsements ― don’t inoculate party veterans against the challenge of a left insurgency.

That’s particularly true in New York City, which was also the site of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s landmark primary win in 2018. That Bowman, an unabashedly left-wing Black candidate, was able to prevail in a district that includes predominantly white, affluent suburbs is, in some ways, even more remarkable.

…In his announcement video, which captured Bowman walking through the subway, he described his vision for a brighter future ― one with “Medicare for All,” tuition-free public college, a Green New Deal and racial equity ― from the vantage point of someone who grew up in poverty and remains on the front lines of the fight against it. “As educators, we work with children and families who suffer from poverty, asthma from pollution, homelessness, lack of health care,” he said.

Venezuela here we come!

Midnight repost: It’s the hate, not the violence

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Though tonight’s essay was written in June 2017 it still applies today. The mindless hate that moves the left has now escalated beyond Trump and the Republican Party to encompass all of American history.

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It’s the hate, not the violence

The last few days have probably been the ugliest I have ever seen in American culture. Not only was an attempt made to commit mass murder against a group of Republican elected officials, the response from too many mainstream Democrats has generally been tone deaf and even supportive of the violence. Worse, the violence appears to be on-going, with no sign of relief.

My list is hardly complete. The stories above are only a small sampling of the ugly stuff I have read since the shooting on June 14. The best I have seen from some Democrats is a hint that maybe they have let their rhetoric get out of hand, but even here they often backtrack to blame Republicans and only Republicans for the shooting.
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Omar in trouble in Minnesota?

Good news? Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minnesota) opponent in her August 11th Democratic primary has raised seven times more money than she has.

Melton-Meaux, a mediation lawyer who emerged on the DFL scene late last year to challenge Omar, told the Star Tribune he raised a staggering $3.2 million between April and the end of June, with $2 million cash left in the bank before the Aug. 11 primary. He dramatically outraised Omar, who took in $471,624 during the same time period. Omar’s campaign said she has $1,111,861 left on hand ahead of the primary election.

This big influx of cash would suggest that the Democrats in this Minnesota district really want to get rid of Omar, who has made it clear since she gained office that she is American-hating bigot and anti-Semite. She is also corrupt, marrying her brother and then, after getting a divorce, marrying one of her employees to whom she has since been funneling illegally more than a million in campaign funds into his business.

I remain pessimistic. Democrats these days think Omar’s policy positions are cool, especially the ones that involve persecuting their opponents. And in New York they flocked to give a primary victory to Omar’s communist ally Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez, with 70% of the vote.

Ballot harvesting in Oregon’s vote-by-mail system demonstrates Democratic strategy to steal elections

Link here. The article describes what the Democrats do when they make voting-by-mail legal.

[I]n Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, county elections offices don’t just sell your party registration and voting history, they also regularly inform campaigns of the status of the voter’s ballot, usually daily throughout Oregon’s lengthy 18-day voting window. Ballot harvesting is when campaigns determine exactly which voters have already turned in their ballots, and then they come after those who have not. Lots of phone calls, lots of door knocks, lots of robocalls. If you purposely wait to vote until the last day (voters have realized that many major scandals haven’t surfaced until the final days of a campaign), the efforts border on outright harassment.

In a primary election, most “1×4” and “2×4” voters are not as likely to vote. That’s when the unions go to work. Dozens and dozens of public employee union workers build and track voter files daily on Democrat-leaning voters. Then they turn their public employee armies loose to gin up votes for their candidates.

Imagine the knock at your front door. The union member offers you a flyer for their candidate, then asks if you’ve voted yet (they know you haven’t). Next they offer to wait while you fill out your ballot. Maybe then they offer to return your ballot envelope. (If you indicated a preference for the other primary candidate, do you think your ballot will really be delivered?)

None of this is illegal. All of it should be done by Republicans also, but then, the Republican Party has too often shown itself as cowardly wimps eager to lose. The result is that Democrats harvest a lot of extra mail-in votes. And I am sure they use the mail-in system to put their finger on the scale to disqualify or lose as many Republican votes as possible, as mailed ballots are so easy to manipulate.

This is their plan for November. They are now pushing for mail-in-voting nationwide, and will certainly get it in many more states before the election. In each case they will use it to up their vote count, as the Republican Party twiddles its thumbs.

It seems to me that rather than buy lots of stupid television ads, Trump and the Republicans should be investing in the same kind of door-by-door army, harvesting their own votes in this manner. It seems a far more effective way to win elections.

NASA confirms Webb launch delay to October 2021

NASA today confirmed that the launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope will be delayed again, from March 2021 to October 2021.

As schedule margins grew tighter last fall, the agency planned to assess the progress of the project in April. This assessment was postponed due to the pandemic and was completed this week. The factors contributing to the decision to move the launch date include the impacts of augmented safety precautions, reduced on-site personnel, disruption to shift work, and other technical challenges. Webb will use existing program funding to stay within its $8.8 billion development cost cap. [emphasis mine]

Note the highlighted words. Vague, eh? They are trying to make it seem that this new delay is solely because of the Wuhan virus panic, but that’s simply not justifiable. Notice how SpaceX has kept on launching Falcon 9s as well as testing new Starship prototypes throughout the panic. Somehow that private company was able keep its schedule going.

The truth is that as early as January, long before COVID-19 was even a blip on the horizon, the GAO was warning everyone that it was unlikely NASA and Northrop Grumman could meet the March 2021 launch date.

Webb is now more than a decade behind schedule, and once launched will have cost 20 times what it was originally budgeted ($500 million vs $10 billion). Let us pray that it works once it gets to is proper orbit, a million miles from Earth, since it will then be too far away to fix.

Deaths from COVID-19 in hospitals is dropping

But we’re all supposed to die! New research now suggests that the deaths from COVID-19 occurring in intensive care units in hospitals has declined by one-third as doctors gain a better idea of how to treat the disease.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom and published in the journal Anaesthesia, offers a hopeful message to front-line workers actively taking care of critically ill patients. The authors systematically reviewed and performed a meta-analysis on all studies that looked at ICU deaths for adult patients around the world admitted with COVID-19. The death rate for these patients in May was about 40%, down from nearly 60% at the end of March.

Over the past seven months, scientists around the world have coordinated efforts to try to find a way to cure the disease. Our knowledge of how the virus spreads, latches onto its host and causes infection, has tremendously increased, and so too has our understanding of managing severe complications that often result in ICU admissions. [emphasis mine]

I know this will fall on deaf ears, but there really is very little to fear from the coronavirus. Children are immune to it, healthy adults younger than 60 fight it off with no problem (with most showing no symptoms at all), and it only appears to be a threat to those over 60 who also have other chronic illnesses. And now, we are getting better at treating those patients.

IG report: NASA’s Orion is a program of lies

The Orion capsule

In a report [pdf] released today, NASA’s inspector general confirmed unequivocally what I have been saying for years, that the agency’s project to build the Orion capsule has been built on lies, from the beginning.

First of all, the report slams NASA for purposely excluding from its public budget almost 60% of the total cost for the entire Orion project.
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