Throughout this pandemic, the CDC has been a poor steward of that balance, pushing a series of scientific results that are severely deficient. This research is plagued with classic errors and biases, and does not support the press-released conclusions that often follow. In all cases, the papers are uniquely timed to further political goals and objectives; as such, these papers appear more as propaganda than as science. The CDC’s use of this technique has severely damaged their reputation and helped lead to a growing divide in trust in science by political party. Science now risks entering a death spiral in which it will increasingly fragment into subsidiary verticals of political parties. As a society, we cannot afford to allow this to occur. Impartial, honest appraisal is needed now more than ever, but it is unclear how we can achieve it.
Manufacturing alarm at the very moment an age or other demographic cohort is targeted for vaccination has become a pattern for the CDC. On May 10, 2021, the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for the 12- to 15-year-old cohort to receive the Pfizer vaccine. On June 11, the CDC published a study in MMWR claiming to demonstrate rising hospitalization among this age group; widespread media coverage of the study quickly followed. But the absolute rates for this age group were, in reality, amazingly low: Less than 1.5 per 100,000, which was lower than they had been in the previous December. Meanwhile, a safety signal was being investigated—myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle—which was more common after the second dose, and reported to be as frequent as 1 in 3,000-6,000, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health. Other countries became reluctant to push two doses within the standard 21- to 28-day timeline for these ages. By July, the U.K. had decided against pushing vaccines for this cohort, a decision that was walked back only slowly.
After GoFundMe shut down the crowdfunding effort for Canada’s trucker protests, and before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to freeze, without court orders, bank accounts linked to the protests, supporters turned to a small website called GiveSendGo.
The Christian crowdfunding platform had received more than $8.7 million from individual donors intended for the “freedom convoy” opposing Canada’s vaccine mandates. On Sunday GiveSendGo was hacked and shut down by political opponents, who exposed the names, emails, locations and other personal information of 92,845 donors. Public harassment followed.
On Feb. 5, the owner of Ottawa’s Stella Luna Gelato Café made a $250 donation to the protest. When this became public, callers threatened to throw bricks through her store window. She ordered the shop closed. On Tuesday she recanted her support for the truckers to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.
Twitter users are posting names, jobs and locations of donors—from corporate executives and civil servants to masseuses and taekwondo instructors. One account doing the “doxxing,” itself anonymous, clarifies: “If you disagree with the views of businesses listed here, do the Canadian thing: Do not patronize them, or write a sternly worded letter. That’s it.” Harassment will follow anyway, but even if not, do we need more boycotts? Liberals boycotting right-wing real-estate agents and conservatives boycotting left-wing graphic designers?
Major news outlets in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. are contacting the donors, asking them to justify their contributions. Many donors feel pressure to recant or desist from further financial expression of their views. For many journalists, that is no doubt the goal.
As Canada tries its best to keep donations of cryptocurrency from helping protesters against the country’s vaccine mandates on truckers, as detailed by Reason‘s Liz Wolfe, the Canadian Bankers Association has announced its intention to make sure that those associated with the protests are thoroughly locked out of all traditional financial services as well.
What Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is trying to do here, with the obedient collusion of the banking sector, is far beyond acceptable business as usual for a Western government; it is vile authoritarianism, in service of a policy goal of little objective importance given the existing Canadian rate of vaccination, and it ought to destroy both the moral and actual authority of his regime.
Justin Trudeau’s confrontation with the Canadian truckers may be the single most significant event of the Covid pandemic – not because of its eventual outcome, whatever that may be, but because of what it symbolises. It captures, in perfect microcosm, the tensions between the competing imperatives of the age: freedom versus security; the rule of law versus flexible ‘responsive’ governance; the priorities of the workers versus those of the Zooming bourgeoisie; the need for real-world human interaction and belonging versus the promises of splendid online isolation; the experiences of the common man, who knows where it hurts, versus those of the professional expert class, who know nothing that cannot be expressed as a formula.
More than all of that, though, it gives us a lens through which to view a much deeper, much older conflict of much larger scope – one which underlies not just the struggles of the Covid age, but of modernity itself. On the one hand, the state, which seeks to make all of society transparent to its power. On the other, alternative sources of authority – the family, the church, the community, the firm, the farm, and the human individual herself.
Justin Trudeau’s contempt for the truckers is therefore genuine and profound. He sees in them not an obstacle to Covid policy or a potential threat to public health. Not even he could possibly be so stupid as to think it matters whether or not these people take their vaccines. No: he identifies in them a barrier to forces in which his political future is entwined – an ever-increasing scope and scale for governmental authority, and the opportunities to buttress his own legitimacy that would follow from it.
Reasonable demands of a free people. In 100 years people will read about this and look at all the hardcore pro-mandate people as unreasonable, emotional and tyrannical.
Also reported by the Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board is this bright silver lining around the dark cloud of Covid hysteria: Enrollment in government K-12 schools fell as enrollment in Catholic schools rose. A slice:
Public school enrollment tumbled 3% last year. In December, National Public Radio found that most of the 600 districts it analyzed from across the country had a second year of declines. Many Catholic schools reopened while public schools remained closed. In Arlington’s Catholic diocese, all 41 schools were in person or hybrid by fall 2020. They were rewarded with a 7% enrollment increase of more than 1,100 students this year.
Insight from el gato malo. A slice:
of all the utterly discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions around covid, perhaps none stands as pervasive in its application and as universal in its failure as masks.
it was a flat out cargo cult belief set from the beginning and the inefficacy of this purported intervention was known and knowable beforehand and was confirmed, again and again, by all the emerging data.
the studies undertaken to “prove” efficacy were shams, lacked control groups, used cherry picked data, fraud, and methodologies so hilariously bad as to call into question the basic competence and honesty of those pushing them. the CDC has been a disgrace.
and yet the intensity of the push for this meaningless mitigation ratcheted ever upward. a certain class of person loved this, demanded this, needed this. no data could dissuade their desire.
even those who gathered the data that proved so helpful in proving this such as emily oster backed away from their own output because it so clearly contradicted the narrative of their tribe. she, an ivy league economics professor, disavowed her own discovery and flipped to team emotion. (another dark day for the gato alma mater)
it was sad to see, but altogether predictable.
masks are signs of subjugation. they dehumanize. they alienate. and this is WHY they are so attractive to so many.
this is why forcing them on kids to dominate them and force them into compliance with state over self or even parents is such a high priority goal for those that have collectivist plans for their futures. it establishes precisely who is in charge.
masks are not about public health.
masks are about hierarchy.
they not only represent a high visibility in-group/out-group tribal marker, but they have wonderous potential as a form of separating the powerful from the powerless, the nobles from the commoners, the dictators from the dictated to.
it has become the opiate of the classes.
The COVID pandemic may finally be fading as the case numbers drop dramatically, but there are many who don’t want to let it go.
Virologists and public-health specialists who left their laboratories and lecterns to pontificate publicly do not want to relinquish the rush of a camera moment or the glamour of a satellite camera truck arriving outside their door. Professors who were used to students falling asleep in their classes suddenly entered a two-year hotbed of social-media warfare and saw their Twitter follower numbers swell into the hundreds of thousands.
What isn’t valuable is continuing the restrictions far too long. What isn’t valuable is the mockery and the pomposity, the self-appointed experts calling out misinformation and marginalizing those who disagree on social media and on the Internet. Clearly there is a value to vaccines, therapeutics, masks, ventilation and rapid testing. But there is no value to political strategies that are purely self-serving. There’s no value to refusing to pull back the restrictions even as the numbers are dramatically falling.
The public is tired, not just of the pandemic but of the way it has been handled across the board, from the news media to the government, even to our best scientists.
What we don’t need, and have never needed, is public-health scolding from a starstruck scientist or vote-seeking politician. They are sure to hold us back from assimilating COVID into our lives for their own purposes.
On the way into the theater, bouncer-like staff screamed at us to form the correct queues and have the right documentation ready. We appeared to be visiting Azkaban, not Hogwarts. It was just the first of the evening’s delights.
Inside the Lyric Theatre, they had tried to recreate the atmosphere of an English boarding school. As a survivor of such an establishment, I can tell you they did a grand job emulating the most sadistic aspects of such institutions.
Soon a member of staff came to warn me that I had failed to pull my mask up fast enough after my most recent swig of beer. As the show began, someone with a name badge saying “Libby” came over and told off another member of our group for failing to bring their mask up swiftly enough after sipping another of the overpriced drinks the Lyric Theatre had just sold us.
As the show began, it seemed that Libby (a k a Dolores Umbridge) had identified us as troublemakers. Flagrant sippers. After the lights had gone low, I noticed Libby standing at the end of our row staring down it, hands on hips. There she stayed, glaring through the dark.
The mask has slipped. Literally and metaphorically. On Sunday, at the Super Bowl, in an LA stadium heaving with people, there wasn’t a mask to be seen among the celeb set. The kind of self-righteous maskholes who have derived enormous pleasure over the past two years from telling the plebs to mask up went maskless to the game. Maybe they held their breath for three hours? There was actress Charlize Theron, not a stitch of cloth on her face, despite LA having a mask mandate. This is the same Charlize Theron who once Instagrammed a pic of herself in a fancy mask alongside the words ‘Don’t be an ass #wearadamnmask’. You see, it’s only you, the little guy, who has to wear a damn mask, not people as important and beautiful as Ms Theron.
The flagrant mask hypocrisy of the Super Bowl celebs has got social-media users hot under the collar, and with good reason. It seems that in the New Normal only ‘the help’ wear masks. So there was the doyenne of woke correct-think Ellen DeGeneres grinning for mask-free selfies while the stadium ushers were masked up. Audience members for Ellen’s TV show are still required to wear masks, too. Of course they are. We can’t have Ms DeGeneres breathing in the fumes of non-millionaires. This is the new Covid aristocracy – if you can afford the tens of thousands of dollars it costs for a plush box seat at the Super Bowl, you can bare your face; if you can’t, if you’re one of those folks who ekes out a living from servicing the Super Bowl, then you must be muzzled. It’s fine for the rich to expel their breath – it’s only the spittle and germs of poorer folk that must be stifled.
It wasn’t only the likes of Charlize, Ellen, J-Lo and the rest who flouted LA’s mask mandate (which stipulates that masks must be worn at ‘mega-events’). So did most of the 70,000 attendees of this clash between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s a positive element to this, of course: hordes of people sensibly refusing to muzzle themselves at a vast, joyous event that involves much eating, drinking, shouting and cheering. And yet the whole thing still highlights the deranged double standards of the masks issue. Schoolkids in LA are still muzzled in classrooms while thousands of sports fans can chant and splutter as freely as they like. As one observer put it: ‘Apparently Covid can’t touch you if you drop five grand on Super Bowl tickets. But tomorrow morning, schoolchildren – for whom Covid is nearly 100 per cent survivable – will wear masks for eight hours. Science.’