Books and Biden

Reading is our primary way to expand knowledge. However, we all know that not everything is worth reading. As you know from the last post, I read only some excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book. If the grabbers the publisher puts out were worthless, why bother with the book? This applies to the rest of the wave of election time books seemingly coming out every other day. These tell-all books add little to what we need to know for an intelligent decision. Disgruntled family members, former employees, and those suffering other party derangement syndrome come up every four years and then are rightly forgotten. Time is better spent elsewhere.

Recently, I finished two books worth time. The first is Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. The author of many highly informative books, Ridley, understands how the innovations that changed humanity’s course came about. In most cases, it’s not how you thought. Very entertaining and informative. Ripley challenges how we think about things.

The other book is Alec Berenson’s Unreported Truths about COVID-19 And Lockdowns Part 2. Previously, I had recommended Part 1 of this series of what are really pamphlets. As Ii said then, the former New York Times reporter will reinforce what readers of this blog already know. However, Berenson has some information you may not be aware of. 

I had no idea none of our emergency pandemic plans contained any provision for hard lockdowns. Apparently, when the idea was discussed, it was dismissed as far too disruptive. Berenson walks us through how policy planning that was highly reluctant to impose a hard lockdown did a 180 in March. He explains how, in panic, our policy changed. 

In the calm before the storm, planners can take the time to use a larger canvas to factor in other aspects than just the spread of the disease. As we consider the bigger picture, the less attractive the massive dislocations caused by a lockdown look. Yet, only the narrow group of people dealing directly with disease spread had a real input in the actual March decisions.

It is reasonable for epidemic experts to present their narrow views. They didn’t want to be blamed for not doing enough to prevent deaths. Who was there to offer a broader perspective? The people available to present the economic side, such as the President’s chief economist Larry Kudlow, were constrained by fear of being accused of putting dollars above lives. In fact, this is what happened and closed off broader consideration. Why was there no one to present more general medical concerns? Shouldn’t there be some medical people charged with seeing the bigger picture?

Many institutions have recognized this problem and have people involved with public medical policy. Stanford University’s Hoover Institution is one aware of the value of medical people with a broad perspective. It has people like the senior fellow, Dr. Scott Atlas, to advise decision-makers how specific actions would affect other medical areas. How a decision concerning one specialty might affect areas such as pediatrics, surgery, acute treatments, psychiatric and psychological, just to name a few.

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It’s Trump’s Fault

Covid-19, raging forest fires, riots ,and high crime in the cities, we know who to blame. Donald Trump is President, and it’s all happening under his watch.

Trump never fails to provide a real head-scratcher. Why he would give recorded interviews to Bob Woodward, I can’t fathom. In what way would it ever turn out well? Sure enough, Woodward uses the tapes to hammer the President less than two months before the election. Of course, he’ll sell a boatload of books. It indeed adds the narrative of it’s all Trump’s fault.

I haven’t read the book, just the widely published excerpts. The idea trumpeted in the book is Trump knew all about the Covid-19 but failed to level with the people. By playing down the threat he lied to America. This assumes what Trump told Woodward were hard and fast facts the President was hiding from the public. Looking at the excerpts provided, this is far from the case. Rather than hard facts, they are more of an illustration of the fog of war.

Take the Virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious, and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” passage.We already knew from reports out of China the Virus was dangerous and highly contagious. The February 7 interview was done at the same time the Diamond Princess was quarantined in Japan. The ship was, in fact, a floating coronavirus lab. What we found out from it has held basically true throughout the epidemic. We received daily re[ports from the ship.

“Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus is airborne — but health advice has not caught up” was the authoritative journal Nature’s headline not in February but on July 8. “Governments are starting to change policies amid concerns that tiny droplets can carry SARS-CoV-2. And after months of denying the importance of this, the World Health Organization is reconsidering its stance.”

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Feeding a Narrative

The last thing I thought I would be writing about after my previous post was a new basis for lockdowns. We don’t have to wait for a Biden Administration. No, we’ll be in the soup before the end of the year. I pointed out our hard lockdowns were a result of a startling report from the Royal College. Based on its model, it predicted 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. if we didn’t act fast. While many people immediately questioned the study on both the science and methodology, I wrote it didn’t pass muster based on common sense. How was this pandemic worse than the 1918 Influenza epidemic? The data even then showed the coronavirus was fatal to a much smaller segment of the population. Ignored were our medical advances over the last hundred years. Still, it spawned panic and the crushing lockdowns.

Here we go again. A new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington predicts 410,000 likely deaths in the U.S. by year-end. The cooler weather will explode cases and fatalities higher than experienced in March and April. The worst-case would be over 610,000 deaths. Less publicized is its best-case scenario of 288,000. To date, we have recorded about 190,000 deaths. Right now, we are running at under 1,000 deaths a day.

For us to arrive at the 410 figure, our daily rate would have to be running at least triple today’s rate by year-end. How likely is that? The IHME points to flu type diseases always being worse in the fall and winter. People will be forced inside where it would spread easier. Colder, drier weather can help viruses stay viable longer and proliferate more quickly. The start of school always increases the spread.

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Trapped by Your Narrative

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would do “whatever it takes” to combat the spread of coronavirus within the country — including locking down the U.S. if deemed necessary. “I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told ABC’s, David Muir. This puts Biden firmly in the extreme lockdown camp. It goes without saying, he must believe the first lockdown worked or why else do it again. While the country struggles to open up and get people back to work and our youth in schools, the Democrats are seen as dragging their feet. The Democrats have settled on a Narrative. The lockdown came too late, but it was still worth it. If we open up too soon, infections will rise. Until we control the virus, we can’t worry about the economy because it can’t recover until then. Trump puts dollars before people. This Narrative is echoed nearly verbatim throughout the Left and their media allies. This is the Left’s Great Narrative Machine. So far, it seems to have solidly contributed to Biden’s poll lead.

The problem with a narrative is that it’s a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether actual or fictitious. It may tell a story, but the information may not be valid. If you present the Narrative as non-fiction and it doesn’t ring true, you’re in real trouble. Just look at the Left’s portrayal of mostly peaceful demonstrations for “Racial Justice.” When it came up against widely viewed scenes of looted shops, burned buildings, injuries, and dead bodies, the story was exposed as fiction. Biden’s ignoring the situation for months before he woke up resulted in quickly narrowing polls.

The Left’s narrative machine may be making another major mistake with their Covid-19 story. The Narrative supposedly is grounded in science.. “The Experts” support their shutdown agenda. The problem is that experts don’t always agree. We already know the pain of double-digit unemployment, businesses going out of business forever, and utter disruption of our lives. The cost of delayed medical attention, depression leading to more significant substance abuse, and suicide are becoming evident. The harm to children being out of school is still being assessed, but it’s sure to be massive.

Let’s not forget how we got the first shutdown. “Experts”using computer models predicted over 2.2 million deaths US deaths if we didn’t take lock-down. This wildly overstated the danger and was immediately challenged by others for basic errors. Still, combined with constant video of Italy’s single payer health system being overwhelmed with people dying in hospital hallways, caused panic. The misinformation has lived on. Even President Trump still says he saved millions of lives by shutting down based on the faulty models.We forget our lock-down was to prevent our medical system from being crushed. It was never to stay locked down till the virus was conquered.

However, the Narrative morphed into a choice between lives or the economy. This never made sense to many. I surely didn’t buy it. In my series on this blog on Covid-19, I based recommendations on the actual data. The numbers told us who was most at risk from the coronavirus. Based on what was known, I argued against a hard lockdown. I was hardly alone. The alternate recommendation was to adopt a more targeted approach to limit collateral damage. I’m not considered an expert by the elite. Just somebody looking at the generally available data and drawing what I think is are logical conclusions. However, there were plenty of “experts” that came to the same judgment.

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