Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lockdown-Backlash Begins: Angry Crowd Surrounds Capitol, Demands Michigan Governor Reopen Economy

As we have noted, the evolution of the virus pandemic is not just a public health crisis nor a financial meltdown but could transform into a social unraveling. And, oh boy, it appears we could be right.
But before we cover today's events. Several weeks ago, what piqued our interest was a warning from the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of how "a social bomb" was ready to explode over major Western cities "in a few weeks." And it appears, those few weeks have just expired, as protests begin:
On Wednesday afternoon, massive crowds, organized by a conservative group, have surrounded Michigan's state Capitol building. Protestors are angry at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) stay-at-home public health order during the pandemic.
Supporters of the Michigan Conservative Coalition have requested Whitmer to reopen the economy on May 1 and ease restrictions to return life to normal.

WWJ Newsradio 950's Charlie Langton said organizers are calling the movement "Operation Gridlock." Langton tweeted a video of a traffic jam of protestors that "extends for miles outside Lansing," waiting to get to the Capitol.
WOOD-TV's Heather Walker provides coverage from within Operation Gridlock as people use their cars to lockdown streets around the Capitol building. Walker interviewed several Michiganders, who are fed up with the public health order and want the economy to reopen. Many said they could make their own health decisions and don't need the government to tell them what to do.

Why you can’t trust the UK’s “daily” Covid19 updates & more blacklisted news

Total Surveillance: Contact-tracing app will be ‘key part’ of UK government’s Covid-19 ‘surveillance programme’
The hugely unpopular NHS contact-tracing app proposal, which as libertarians point out will giver the government the power to track all our movements, will be a “key part” of the U.K. government’s Covid-19 containment policy for the foreseeable future, [ ... ] The app, designed ostensibly to notify smartphone users if they came into close contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus, will give government agencies new powers, to record and store the complete movements of individuals and details of those with whom they were in contact.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

EU bullies: Italy forced to surrender in secret meeting over coronavirus economy crisis

We wouldn't normally feature a story from the Express in this daily blog because they're mainstream, but Yannis Varoufakis is always worthy of attention.

from Daily Express

Yannis Varoufakis, a veteran of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, accused Eurozone finance ministers of “failing Europeans” after a 15-hour row over a post-coronavirus rescue package ended in stalemate. The rebel economist said he was the victim of similar bullying at the height of Greece’s financial crisis when his defiant strategy against debt negotiations with European leaders led to banks being closed and queues at cash machines. “The Eurogroup, again, failed Europeans,” he wrote on social media, after their overnight meeting eventually broke up.

“The Italian finance minister, during the night, was bullied to surrender – as I was in 2015. It was all done behind closed doors and with no minutes kept.”

Mario Centeno, the Eurogroup’s president, called time on the marathon talks this morning after it emerged warring ministers would not sign up to a compromise deal.

Italy and the Netherlands are urged to drop their red lines to allow the bloc to eventually forge a common response coronavirus crisis.
One Brussels source said the atmosphere between member states had become "very toxic" because of the difference in positions between richer northern member states and their poorer southern neighbours.

MORE on Coronavirus
Europe unglues
What's Next? Italexit or EU Break Up?
Catalogue of Greenteth posts on Italy

Friday, April 03, 2020

Coronavirus deaths: Are The Authorities Deceiving Us?

Picture: Buzzfeed
Yes we know we’ve used it before but we like it

Yesterday we reported that a Canadian outfit, CitizensLab had carried out a forensic data analysis of China’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak and concluded that while politicians (anvious perhaps of the way authoritarian governments like China’s can trample on human rights and civil liberties and silence critics by simply shooting them,) and academics (aka “scientists” or “experts”) are heaping praise on the way the communist regime in Beijing has contained and controlled its Coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese have actually being lying, the epidemc is still raging and real numbers of infections by, and deaths from COVID – 19 to use its technical name are far higher than are being reported,

SHOCK! HORROR! A socialist government lying to cover up its failures, incompetence and illegal activities in developing biological weapons. How could any reasonable person have suspected such a thing?

Well it seems the governments of the liberal democracies are not avese to playing the same game. The extreme measures introduced in the UK to tackle coronavirus by virtually putting the entire nation in lockdown have been justified because of the need to save lives, but if we look a little way below the surface, these measures are based on some very dubious evidence.

Mathematical Modelling (yes that old demon again) carried out by Imperial College London has been used by “scientists” and “experts” to inform government that unless new powers were enacted and used to curtail freedom of movement, social interaction and necessary activities like food shopping as many as 500,000 could die in our epidemic. That is a worst case scenario of course, but the best case scenario, that for the majority of people who are healthy, well nourished and living in a reasonably good environment, Coronavirus will be a relatively minor infection, in fact many of us will be unaware we have been infected with the virus.

The 500,000 dead being quoted as if it is the most likely outcome, although it is a worst case scenario, has the sticky fingerprints of the deep state (i.e. the civil, military and security services all over it, these agencies have a long track record of using fear and panic to reassert their authority when they feel control is slipping away from them. Even the government’s previous, more gentle strategy to slow the spread was likely to lead to 250,000 deaths, the research suggested. But where did these figures come from?

The warnings based on output from mathematical models remember,  prompted ministers to announce on Monday the biggest assault on personal freedom in the UK since World War 2, with the public being told to stay in their homes as much as possible, not reduce shopping trips to a minimum, not to go to pubs, clubs or theatres, and to work from home if possible. Sporting events had been shut down the previous wee

The move has hit the economy, putting jobs at risk and prompting schools to be closed and exams cancelled. In other words chaos rules, but then as author Terry Pratchett said, “In any conflict between order and chaos, chaos will win because it’s better organised.”

But is there any substance in those figures or are they plucked out of the air as previous estimates of the threat of pandemic diseases were. It was predicted millions would die, in reality a few people here ad there felt a bit poorly. Professor Neil Ferguson,  a senior academic involved in modelling the course of the epidemic told the BBC’s Today Programme earlier this week there was “no alternative” to the curtailment of personal liberty if 250,000 lives were not to be risked. Not the weasel words there, if lives were not to be put at risk. Everything we do carries some degree of risk, whether we drive to work, take a bus or walk there is always the risk of us being involved in an accident. If we eat at a restaurant there is a risk of food poisoning and if we cok at home there could be a house fire or an electrical fault could kill us. Lives being put at risk is a universe away from lives being put in danger.

Another expert, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program he had advised The House Of Commons Health Select Committee, the parliamentary overseer of health issues, that the hope was to keep the death toll below 20,000 by suppressing the virus.

That would still be worse than those killed by flu, he said, giving a number of 8,000 per year. But again there is no evidence to suggest this figure is in any way accurate. In fact there is strong evidence, when we analyse the modelling techniques, that the figures they produce are not only unreliable but are simply made up to grab headlines. The question the “scientits” and “experts” don’t want us to ask is

Would these people be dying anyway?

The quoted figures for likely deaths from coronavirus are astounding but what is not clear  because to put it bluntly, the modellers deliberately avoided factoring into the alogrithms is, to what extent the deaths predicted would occur without coronavirus?

The answer to that question can never truly be known or predicted with any degree of accuracy until the pandemic is over, which is why modelling is pointless unless qualified by numerous caveats. Given that the old and chronically ill are most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway, of seasonal ‘flu, common colds, breathing problems brought on by extremes of cold or hot weather? My wife’s final illness was triggered by a very cold spell in the winter of 2019 although she survived some months. There was no infection; scoliosis – a lifelong condition – put pressure on her lungs, the cold spell exacerbated that and … well several months later we are still waiting for the hospital to tell us exactly what happened. But whatever it was, it was neither the cold itself nor a cold weather infection, our home is well heated and Teri did not have to go outside.

Every year over 500,000 people die in England and Wales: inclide Scotland and Northern Ireland, and that goes up to over 600,000. The models being used to predict coronavirus deaths are not on top of this but included in the figure. Many of those deaths assigned to “The Corona Virus pandemic would be within this “normal” number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.
It was a point conceded by Sir Patrick at a press conference on Thursday when he said there would be “some overlap” between coronavirus deaths and expected deaths – he just did not know how much of an overlap. To put it another way the numbers of deaths likely to occur because of Coronavirus infection are expected quite small, but in a time of pandemic almost every death can be described as coronavirus related as most of us will have been in contact with someone carrying the virus, or in a public building that infected people of people who have been in contact with others carrying the virus have passed through.

As the 19th century British Prime Minister George Canning said: “I can make statistics tell me anything except the truth.



Daily update on Coronavirus pandemic, 8 April 2020

Here Comes Round Two - China Just Reported The Most New Coronavirus Cases In A Nonth
Last week we reported that even as the world’s attention had shifted to the new global coronavirus outbreak epicenters of New York, Italy, Spain and other western nations, China – which rushed to restart its economy at any cost as the alternative was too dire to even consider – had put a major county on lockdown after a new cluster of coronavirus infection had emerged.”>>As We Predicted The Coronavirus bill Is The Biggest Assault On Freedom Since World War 2
Things have gone so far beyond what can be considered a rational response to an outbreak of a highly contagious but for most people relatively minor illness that I am starting to believe even the conspiracy theories I know I made up myself. Along with my fellow Boggart Bloggers I predicted weeks ago the current outbreak of the so – called coronavirus would see a massive hyping of the threat level leading up to an assault on our freedoms. And that is exactly what we have seen happening over the past week.

Germany’s Official State TV Channel Cheers Coronavirus For Killing Old People
Trawling around the weirder fringes of the web, as we bloggers and cyberjournalists are sometimes obliged to if we want to bring you the news the mainstream will not report, one occasionally comes across something important but disturbing – like being brought face – to – face with how sick and warped the far left ecopsychos really are. Take a sketch recently broadcast as part of a satirical show the title of which translates as Bohemian Browser Ballet, shown by German state broadcaster ARD.
UK To Ask Citizens Over 70 To Self – Isolatate For 4 MONTHS As Coronavirus Fails To Kill Zillions
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock today confirmed the government plans to ask people aged over 70 to isolate themselves for up to four months amid a coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to protect them.
It’s quite obvious to us, experienced bloggers that we are, that the government, civil service, law encorgement and national security agencies and all the assorted experts and talking heads have forgotten the lesson our generation learned from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy …

Coronavirus: EU States Rebel Against Brussels As Van Leyen Demands Borders Stay Open

The cracks in European solidarity are growing deeper by the day as the coronavirus crisis threatens to split the bloc. The response of European leaders has varied from panic, as several member-states have takeen unilateral action including severe border closures, to a laissez – fair attidude, notably from France’s idiot president Emmanuel Macron who favours total inaction, having said complacently that viruses don’t recognise borders.

US John Hopkins University Prof Says Don’t Believe Corona Virus Numbers
The number of confirmed cases outside of China roughly tripled once again this week, and if this outbreak continues to escalate at this pace there will be more than a million confirmed cases in less than a month. But as bad as the official numbers are, the truth is that there are a whole lot more people walking around out there that have caught the virus but have not been tested.

Is the World Health Organization involved in biological warfare research?
Dr. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, talked in a recent interview with about the Wuhan coronavirus now sweeping through the far east, laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the genetically modified virus appears to have originated, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) clandestine involvement in biological warfare research …Continue reading
Coronavirus Contains “HIV Insertions”: Claim Stokes Fears Over Genetically Modified BioweaponFor the past two weeks mainstream media reporting of the epidemic of a new strain of coronavirus in China has been getting more and more hysterical. However, reports have pushed back against one “conspiracy theory” about the origins of the virus that has now infected as many as 70,000+ people in the central China city of Wuhan alone (depending on whom you believe).
Corona Virus: Should We Worry
The official data coming out of China and from other sources including the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus continues to suggest an exponential growth rate. With more and more infectious disease experts are now openly calling the virus a full-blown global pandemic, many people are asking should we in the west be worried and how bad might things get?
Coronavirus Contains “HIV Insertions”: Claim Stokes Fears Over Genetically Modified Bioweapon
The theory that China obtained the coronavirus via a Canadian research program, and started molding it into a bioweapon at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan before it somehow escaped could be an attempt by the establishment (the Davosocracy,) to spread fear and panic as they see resurgent nationalism across the developed world and growing scepticism about

EU States Rebel Against Brussels As Van Leyen Demands Borders Stay Open

The cracks in European solidarity are growing deeper by the day as the coronavirus crisis threatens to split the bloc. The response of European leaders has varied from panic, as several member-states have takeen unilateral action including severe border closures, to a laissez – fair attidude, notably from France’s idiot president Emmanuel Macron who favours total inaction, having said complacently that viruses don’t recognise borders.
US John Hopkins University Prof Says Don’t Believe Corona Virus Numbers
The number of confirmed cases outside of China roughly tripled once again this week, and if this outbreak continues to escalate at this pace there will be more than a million confirmed cases in less than a month. But as bad as the official numbers are, the truth is that there are a whole lot more people walking around out there that have caught the virus but have not been tested.

Ebola outbreak caused by new strain never seen before; was it weaponized ask sceptical scientists?
Since we and other blogs reported the concerns of highly regarded virologists about the strain of ebola virus involved in the outbreak currently devastating three west African nations, several more experts have gone public to say that the current strain of Ebola virus plaguing Africa and slowly spreading to other continents is potentially much more lethal than previous strains identified by virologists.

Mind controlControlling the American Mind: The Viral Liturgical Psychodrama
Ebola and the Absent “Humanitarians”
When the FUKUS axis leaders, France, United Kingdom and the Unites States of America were calling for approval to intervene in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine, they justified their lust for war by claiming that bombing the crap out of those counties was necessary on humanitarian grounds. And the member of the FUKUS axis and their allies spent billions of $£€ on humanitarian bombs that wreaked hiumanitarian havoc among the innocent poor and middle class citizens of those nations. Now they have work out their ‘The Jihad Is Coming’ scare but have a new weapon Ebola …
Fear and Panic and Ebola Fever
The latest attempt to justify war has been the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine allegely by pro Russia separatists with support from The Kremlin. So far the ‘compelling evidence’ the American government claimed to possess has not been revealed but such evidence as has been seen points to another false flag even. Remember the Swine Flu pandemic?They’re doing it again with Ebola fever, ramping up the scare factor and trying to spread enough fear and panic to justify suspending democratic rule by pretending this disease could potentially kill most of us.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Scientist who convinced Boris lockdown was the only way to beat coronavirus criticised many times for flawed research

The scientist whose mathematical models of how the coronavirus would spread in the UK and the wildly exaggerated estimates of how many deaths might result from the epidemic reportedly led to the decision to implement a countrywide lockdown and trash the economy has been criticised in the past for flawed research.

In fact Professor Neil Ferguson, of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London, who authored and published a research paper predicting that The UK was likely to see 250,000 premature deaths during a coronavirus epidemic unless measures to effectively shut down the country were taken. It is this research which convinced Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet and advisors to introduce the lockdown.

Neil Ferguson: would you buy a used mathematical model from this man (Picture: Press association

It is, however, always unsafe to accept the word of one scientist or one research project, and it seems Prof. Ferguson is such an incorrigible publicity junkie he has a track record for making exaggerated and sensationalised claims about the probable outcomes of various crises which is longer than the Tour de France course. It is now being discussed publicly that Ferguson has a long established reputation for making predictions based on allegedly faulty assumptions and the results of mathematical models which have nonetheless shaped government strategies and impacted the UK economy. 

It is perhaps no coincidence that the medical research faculty at Imperial College London receives a large chunk of its revenue in the form of donations from the Bill and Medlinda Gates Foundation, which is also the largest donor to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

We have to cease this deification of scientists now. They are not impartial and objective seekers after truth, but are every bit as self interested as the rest of us. And when we look at Ferguson’s career and the disastrous policy decisions his mathematical models have lead to, the best we can say is “He’s not The Messiah, he’s a a very naughty boy,” (h/t Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)

The 2001 model used by Professor Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London concluded that the culling of animals include not only those found to be infected with the virus but also those on adjacent farms even if there was no physical evidence of infection.

“Extensive culling is sadly the only option for controlling the current British epidemic, and it is essential that the control measures now in place be maintained as case numbers decline to ensure eradication,” said their report which as presented to government, but published after the cull began

This mass slaughter – technically known as contiguous culling – triggered disgust in the British public as news video night after night showed the corpses of healthy animals being stacked, soaked with fuel oil and burned, and also prompted analyses of the methodology which led to such an appalling and, as it turned out, unjustified conclusion.

An analysis of Ferguson’s research published in the 2011 paper, Destructive Tension: mathematics versus experience – the progress and control of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic in Great Britain, found that the government had ordered the destruction of millions of animals on evidence from “severely flawed” modelling.

According to one of its authors – the former head of the Pirbright Laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health, Dr Alex Donaldson – Ferguson’s models made a “serious error” by “ignoring the species composition of farms,” (a fairly basic piece of information, it must require a special kind of stupidity to be unable to distinguish betwen cattle, sheep and pics,) and the fact that the disease spread more easily between some species than others.

The report stated: “The mathematical models were, at best, crude estimations that could not differentiate risk between farms and, at worst, inaccurate representations of the epidemiology of FMD.”

It also described a febrile atmosphere – reminiscent of the fear and panic whipped up by attention seeking “experts,” celebrities and the mainstream media in recent week – and suggested that this hysteria allowed mathematical modellers to shape government policy.

“The general impatience that met the wait for the full extent of infections to become apparent, accompanied by an ever increasing number of outbreaks and piles of carcasses awaiting disposal, was perceived as a lack of success of the traditional control measures and provided the opportunity for self-styled ‘experts’, including some veterinarians, biologists and mathematicians, to publicise unproven novel options,” the researchers said.

As the lead scientist behind that disputed advice that led to Tony Blair’s government ordering the mass culling of farm livestock during the 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease, a crisis which cost the country billions of pounds was none other than Ferguson who based his conclusion on the output from – you guessed it – mathematical models of a cow and a bacterium, it is absolutely unacceptable that this man’s advice is being allowed to influence government.

And before that it was he who predicted that up to 150,000 people could die from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’) and its equivalent in sheep if it made the leap to humans. The BSE panic is long forgotten but BSE is still around and still no cure has been developed, yet to date there have been fewer than 200 deaths caused by the human form of BSE and none resulting from sheep to human transmission.

Ferguson’s foot and mouth disease research has attracted strong criticism in scientific journals and therefore cannot be said to have passed the acid test of scientific research, peer review. It has also been the subject of critical academic papers which identified allegedly unsupportable assumptions being made by Ferguson in creating the algorithms and defining the data for his mathematical

When challenged, he robustly defended his work, saying that he had worked with limited data and limited time so the models weren’t 100 per cent right – but that the conclusions it reached were valid. but as every old computer pro like myself knows, conclusions based on incomplete data may be valid in the circumstances but are meaninless. Mathematical models can only be relied on if they are fed all the relevant data, if guesses are made to fill in the gaps then the law of GIGO kicks in, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”.

Professor Michael Thrusfield, of the veterinary epidemiology faculty at Edinburgh University, who co-authored both of the critical reports, said the papers were intended to serve asas a “cautionary tale” about the dangers of using mathematical models to predict the spread of disease when there are unknown factors that can probably never be known.

He spoke of experiencing a sense of “déjà vu” when he read Mr Ferguson’s Imperial College paper on coronavirus, which was published earlier this month.

That paper – Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand – warned that if no action were taken to control the coronavirus, around 510,000 people in Britain would lose their lives.

Naive belief in the infallibility of mathematics has not only led to disastrous responses to outbreaks of disease of course, which is why many people of a naturally sceptical mindset have questioned the way modern academics conflate science and mathematics. Science and mathematics are not the same thing, in fact mathematics is not even a science, although we were all taught at school that is is. Mathematics is, in the truest sense of the word, an art: that is a contraction of artifice, which is a statement guaranteed to have some maths and science fanboys screaming in outrage. The true meaning of artifice however is not something false or dodgy, but something created by humans, something not of nature. And no matter what fanboys (and girls,) might try to tell you, nature does not do equations.

As I have said many time, computes are not infallible, they are only as good as the person who programs them. And there is no such thing as Artificial Intellegence, as Professor Ferguson’s wild adventures in mathematical modelling seem to show very clearly.

The Black-Scholes equation was the mathematical justification for the irresponsible trading in financial markets that plunged the world’s banks into meltdown a few years ago. The brainchild of economists Fischer Black and Myron Scholes, the equation provided a rational way (they believed,) to price a financial contract when it still had time to run. It was like buying or selling a bet on a horse, halfway through the race. It opened up a new world of ever more complex investments, blossoming into a gigantic global industry. But when the sub-prime mortgage market turned sour, the darling of the financial markets became the Black Hole equation, sucking money out of the universe in an unending stream. It was the Black-Scholes equation that opened up the world of derivatives.

The equation itself wasn’t the real problem. It was useful, it was precise, and its limitations were clearly stated. Derivatives could be traded before they matured. The formula was fine if you used it sensibly and abandoned it when market conditions weren’t appropriate. The trouble was its potential for abuse. Unfortunately a fatal flaw was that it allowed derivatives to become commodities that could be traded in their own right. The financial sector called it the Midas Formula and saw it as a recipe for making everything turn to gold. But the markets forgot how the story of King Midas ended.
The world’s banks lost hundreds of billions when the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst leaving thouse who had bought consolidated debt obligations in the belief that property prices would keep goping up forever. In the ensuing panic, taxpayers were forced to pick up the bill, but that was politics, not mathematical economics.

Likewise with Neil Ferguson’s mathematical models of diseases, in order to prevent a disaster which the professors mathematical models say is inevitable, politicians are being persuaded to courses of action that really will destroy national economies on the basis of a largely fictional (if not fantastic,) course of events. We must return to sanity now. Far more people are likely to die in a global recession than are ever going to be killed by coronavirus.

Just To Put Things In Perspective
‘Models don’t match reality’: White House coronavirus chief rejects scientists doomsday predictions
COVID – 19: Do The Figures Justify The Actions
US John Hopkins University Prof Says Don’t Believe Corona Virus Numbers
As We Predicted The Coronavirus bill Is The Biggest Assault On Freedom Since World War 2
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