Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Oil and gas prices are rising – a reminder of how dependent we still are on fossil fuels

 An article from left - leaning UK newspaper The Independent showing how common sense is gradually eroding The Green Blob as the energy crisis caused by globalist sustainable energy policies continues to fail. 18 January 2022.

by Hamish McRae

Picture: The Independent

Theoil price hit a seven-year high on Monday with the benchmark Brent crude going over $87 a barrel. Following on from the surge in gas prices, it was a salutary reminder of how dependent the world is on fossil fuels. It may be moving rapidly towards a carbon-neutral economic system, but it has a long path to travel.

Everything has been disrupted by the pandemic, but according to the International Energy Agency, in 2019 oil accounted for 31 per cent of primary energy supplies, gas 23 per cent, and coal 27 per cent. That adds up to 81 per cent of the total. Back in 1971, before the first oil shock, the total was nearly 87 per cent, which gives you an idea of how little progress has been made over half a century.

The subject is so massive that it is hard to process the global significance of the current surge in oil and gas prices. Coal, too, has shot up to an all-time record. That does not hit the headlines because it is mainly used in power stations, but it is currently around $220 a ton, compared with between $50 and $130 between early 2009 and last spring. From an environmental point of view the high coal price is welcome, in that it will discourage public utilities from using it to generate electricity if they have any other options. But in the short-term it adds to inflation, as do gas and petrol prices.

(Source: The Independent

Green Dreams

The Covid modelling industry is biased towards doom


The latest Sicron could kill up to 6,000 people-a-day. This arrives just in tiAGE doom modelling suggests that Omicron could kill up to 6,000 people-a-day. This arrives just in time to propel some members of the Cabinet into pushing for another “circuit breaker” lockdown. As the saying goes, the worst thing about a two week lockdown is entering its third year.

Models have played an outsized role in the Covid era. They have spurred ministers into some of the most authoritarian measures imaginable, causing immense human suffering and economic catastrophe. Now we learn that decisions are being made to take away our most fundamental freedoms on the basis of sexed up evidence.

This came from a chance Twitter exchange between Graham Medley, the chair of the SAGE sub-group responsible for modelling (SPI-M), and Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator.

Medley reveals that modellers are presenting “scenarios” and “not predictions”. Things that could happen, but not the chances that they will. But, as American statistician Nate Silver points out, the “media treats them as predictions and governments use them to rally support for their preferred policies.” All Medley is doing by calling them scenarios is refusing to take responsibility for the policy consequences or accuracy of the models.

Covid models have consistently been based on extremely pessimistic assumptions. Their latest feature is to assume that Omicron will be as deadly as Delta, clearly contradicting the South African data. Medley claims it would not be worthwhile modelling a more optimistic scenario because it “doesn’t inform anything”. Somehow Medley believes that a scenario which indicates that the NHS is not about to be overwhelmed would not be enlightening. 

“Decision-makers are generally on (sic.) only interested in situations where decisions have to be made,” he continues. “We generally model what we are asked to model.” The Nuremberg defence returns with vengeance, but only by raising more questions. Who is instructing the scientists to only develop extremely pessimistic absolute worst-case scenarios? Since these telling revelations, and with hospitality venues losing vital pre-Christmas revenue, it has emerged that officials have failed to model the economic impact of further restrictions. 

Scientists should not be cheerleaders for interventionist policies by only presenting gloomy scenarios. They should present all scenarios, and their respective probabilities, enabling policymakers to make informed decisions based on costs and benefits of different actions. ‘Red teams’ should scrutinise all the assumptions and conclusions in real-time. Their results should be compared to reality and used to improve later models.

This is how much-maligned ‘finance bros’ operate. They model scenarios, make a prediction weighing up probabilities, and then compare results to real-life and throw out inaccurate models. There are clear feedback mechanisms. An analyst who gets it wrong will be responsible for losing money and would be sacked.

Unfortunately, in the case of SAGE modelling, there is no such accountability. In recent months the models, particularly those after ‘freedom day’ in July, have proven dramatically overly pessimistic. The UK has not even reached half the number of deaths of the most optimistic of the official scenarios. Yet nobody has been fired or faced negative reputational consequences.

The central challenge of modelling is complexity. The epidemiological models are both attempting to predict the behaviour of tens of millions, that is in itself rapidly changing, and how that will interact with a new virus or variant for which we do not have full information.

This isn’t a new problem. We have known for a long time that central planning inevitably fails because we do not know enough and would be foolish to assume otherwise. The Soviet models about how the economy would operate, where and when grain or steel was required, how much should be produced for whom, did not end up being the most accurate. Markets proved much more effective.

Nobel-prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek warned that: “knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.” That’s why he preferred the price mechanism to send signals about needs and wants.

Unfortunately we do not have the luxury of price signals when it comes to public health. Accordingly, models aren’t entirely useless. Scenarios of what could happen are an important policy tool. But we must be extremely humble about what we do, and do not know. We cannot allow activists to use doom mongering modelling. 

The least we can expect is for decisions to be made based on an impartial assessment of the most likely scenarios, balancing all the costs and benefits of different actions. That fact the system is so biased towards doom, unaccountable regardless of errors, and predisposed towards the destruction of liberty should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who prizes normal life.

Matthew Lesh is the head of research at the Adam Smith Institute


Reclaiming Our Freedom

 Over the past two years, which may well be remembered as The Pandemic years or the Great Reset era, we have watched, apparently powerless, as behind the smokescreen of a pandemic, the global outbreak of a 'deadly' virus - which actually does not kill many people unless they are very old, very ill or both - the ruling elites of almost all the world's nations have marched in tight formation towards the creation of a global government, an unelected committee of bureaucrats and academics whose authority would supersede all democratically elected bodies.

Laws were passed by decree, without debate by our elected representatives in national assemblies, one by one or in swathes the freedoms and civil rights we had taken for granted were stripped away, we were 'nudged' (a word used by propagandists when they mean bullied or corerced,) to accept vaccination with some very dubious concoctions that do not make anyone immune to the not very dangerous disease, nor do they prevent anyone spreading it. But they do make lots of money for the corporations that make up the Bg Pharma cartel.

Now, close to the end of January 2022, just two years after the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO,) which had changed the definition of pandemic to accommodate the highly selective SARS-COV2 virus which causes the COVID-19 disease, the narrative seems to be crumbling. But governments, and particularly tyrannies, never give up power willingly and so as we assess the  economic and social damage done by lockdowns, mask and social distancing lockdowns, threats of vaccine mandates and the imposition of a kind of social credit system based on vaccine passports which would grant privileges such as the right to leave home or the right to buy food, based on one's vaccination status, thus effectively marginalising the unvaccinated, we must not despair at the wreckage wrought by elitist attempts to usurp all power to themselves, and see instead an opportunity.

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com,

How can I see an opportunity in the aftermath of such a disaster, you might well ask. Quite simply, among the mayhem of destroyed businesses, ruined childhoods and educations,  the cruelties of isolation inflicted on the old and vulnerable, and the mental health crisis triggered by a two - year stream of constant, fearmongering misinformation from governments, the media, academics and business lie the ruins of trust, the essential binding that held the system together.

Look at the opinion polls conducted to asses the popularity of world leaders. They are shocking, even devastating. Boris Johnson is facing a rebellion within his own party and likely removal from office, his popularity across all polls is lower than that of any UK Prime Minister. Likewise Joe Biden,  the United Staets president is looking at nearly a 12-point split between approval and disapproval and with midterm elections coming up in November his party is panicking. In both these cases it is safe to assume the reality is even worse than polls show  polling outfits have admitted for the past few years that they have to canvass up to five times as many interview candidates as they will use.

The same kind of results are being seen in France, where Macron's chances of re election hinge on his opponents shooting themselves in the foot by splitting the Eurosceptic, libertarian vote instead of uniting behind one candidate, and in Germany where a newly installed government is already struggling, Italy, Spain and Netherlands with daily protests in all these nations against authoritarian measures go almost completely ignored by mainstream media.  

 The people commissioning polls on public attitudes to leaders' handling of the pandemic are looking for compliance. In mid 2022 polls were being published showing 80% of respondents wanted more lockdowns, stronger restrictions and forced vaccination though an informed study of the polling data showed sample sizes were tiny and strongly skewed towards left leaning voters. A quick perusal of any lengthy internet comment thread on pandemic - related topics strongly suggested support for lockdowns and vaccine passports barely registered.

That so many are now willing to say what they really think is encouraging.These numbers can be taken with a pinch of salt as all polling results should be, but the trend represents a sign — a slight one but one we can see — of a far more fundamental shift in public attitudes.

What we see here is a deeply dangerous loss of trust not only in government, but in everything, including the medical professions, academic communities, media, experts in general, big business and banks and the justice system, alongside a growing perception that truth is no longer accessible to us.

We are living amidst the rising of information chaos, the late stages of what Dr.Robert Malone, inventor of the dangerous mRNA vaccine technology,  has called mass formation psychosis.  cannot be known. The eventual outcome cannot be known in advance, but that something is coming and will hit us very hard is no longer in doubt. That the globalist bid to use the pandemic and a quasi - religious promise that mass vaccination is the only saviour and none of us will be safe until we are all vaccinated may be failing, but they have invested a lot of money and their credibility in this and are not going to back off easily.

To get a feeling for the level of planning and organisation  behind this manufactured crisis, consider that the nations of the developed world moved from democracy (or at least an illusion of it,) relative prosperity and contentment to a world drowning in chaos and teetering on the brink of tyranny in just two years. And every time we thought we glimpsed light at the end of the tunnel, along came another  variant, another tsunami of scaremonging propaganda and another swathe of bulllying, coercive measures aimed at crushing dissent.

And despite all the measures, the vaccinations, the lies, masks mandates, social distancing and you name it. It has all failed. Yet the people promoting more of the same still expect us to trust them.


What’s Next?

The pandemic will end as they always do: with the arrival of herd immunity. That stage becomes the point at which the virus is a normal part of life, breeding with other viruses and becoming normal and seasonal like any sickness.

My experts tell me that we are about a month away from that point in the Northeast, but that it has yet to make the rounds in the South, which could be facing a tough spring and summer.

Regardless, it comes to an end, with or without vaccination. What does not end so easily is the statism, the monitoring, the despotism, the urge to control, the rules, the threat that it could all happen again.

Getting rid of the pandemic is something nature takes care of. Getting rid of the pandemic controls and the urge to bludgeon people into compliance is a much harder task. It will not likely be accomplished by any political movement.

The answer is likely to be bound up with noncompliance. Many people are already there. They are done obeying. Many people have quit their jobs. They have moved. They have upended their lives in shocking ways. They have completely rethought their relationships to civic institutions and leaders. And they are ready for something entirely new.

The psychologist who is the world’s leading scholar on mass formation psychosis said something interesting in a recent interview. He is Dr. Mattias Desmet of the University of Ghent. He says that the answer is not merely to go back to the previous normal we used to enjoy. It was that old normal that set the stage for the upheaval. We cannot go back because then we risk repeating what we just lived through.

Instead, he says, the entire culture and all countries need to discover a new way of living and thinking, a new relationship with our civic leaders and a new relationship with each other. He declines to say precisely what that looks like.

I will say it, however.

Freedom Is the Answer

It must be rooted in the traditions of freedom. We need to learn to find happiness in human choice, tolerance and peace with our neighbors. We need to again find joy in work and fulfillment in prosperity and health.

That is a rebuilding exercise that will consume the dominant part of the rest of our lives.

It will likely have to take place in the midst of a growing economic crisis. Inflation might calm down a bit in the first quarter, but the money sloshing around the country and the world has to end up somewhere.

It will eventually convert to a much different price level that we have right now. All our savings are at risk. All the things we took for granted in the past could come into question as people look desperately for a way out.

What Can We Trust?

People masked up. They distanced. They curbed their social activities. They complied with the shots, one, then two, then the booster. They did everything right. And they got the virus anyway.

It is impossible to underestimate the implications of this for millions of people. They trusted the experts. The experts were wrong. Now people have to ask themselves what is next.

Above all else, this is going to be about regaining health. Eat right. Exercise. Get sun. Stop the junk food. Focus on fundamentals. Eat fresh things. Stay as stress-free as possible. Stop playing games with substances that are unhealthy. If we really do all intend to live past the age of 80, we are going to have to rethink many aspects of our lives.

In addition, some of the most astute cultural observers out there are predicting a widespread return to religious faith. Sadly, many of the religious institutions of our past acquiesced to the tyranny. They did not resist. They even preached compliance with practices pushed by Fauci and others, surrendering their leadership in the spiritual realm.

The ones that did not were the oddballs out there, the Amish, the Orthodox Jews and the independent evangelicals. They kept their integrity. They are likely to thrive in the future.

The Crypto Moment

Other institutions that sailed through this crisis will thrive as well. It is impossible not to notice that Bitcoin and associated cryptos paid almost no attention at all to the pandemic, to the shutdowns, to the crackdowns and controls. Blockchain applications continued to function beautifully, without a hitch.

Friends of mine are careful these days to put away as much as 20% of their paycheck into Bitcoin and other cryptos. They leave them there, not spending them unless absolutely necessary. They keep them in cold wallets, holding them and guarding them for the days ahead. This makes sense.

We once imagined that cryptocurrency would become the hand-to-hand currency that would replace fiat money. That day may be coming, but it is a very long way off.

The economic function of crypto has been in fact to serve as the safe haven in a world gone mad, an uncorrupted and incorruptible source of value that ignores the nation-state and the madness of political culture.

I never wanted to live in a world with mass loss of trust in everything that so many generations worked so hard for so long to build. But that is where we are. Now is the time for resilience and fortitude, and all the other virtues taught to us by the ancients.

Despite all our modern technologies and conveniences, in the end what will save us are not our gadgets, but our values.