[Jonathan H. Adler] School Board Seeks to Prevent Web Posting of Materials It Released to Fulfill FOI Request

The Fairfax County School Board needs to Google “Streisand Effect”.

[The Fairfax County School Board took legal action to cover up its own mistake.] The Goldwater Institute’s Tim Sandefur reports on one of his organization’s new cases: When Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger of Fairfax County, Virginia, suspected their local school district was wasting taxpayer money on excessive legal fees, they did what responsible and engaged citizens do in a democracy: They asked to see the receipts.

Source: [Jonathan H. Adler] School Board Seeks to Prevent Web Posting of Materials It Released to Fulfill FOI Request

Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid

In the 1980s, Fauci and Redfield sowed fear about a heterosexual epidemic that never happened.

Source: Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid

‘Follow the science,” we’ve been told throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. But if we had paid attention to history, we would have known that once a disease becomes newsworthy, science gets distorted by researchers, journalists, activists and politicians eager for attention and power—and determined to silence those who challenge their fear-mongering.

When AIDS spread among gay men and intravenous drug users four decades ago, it became conventional wisdom that the plague would soon devastate the rest of the American population. In 1987, Oprah Winfrey opened her show by announcing, “Research studies now project that 1 in 5—listen to me, hard to believe—1 in 5 heterosexuals could be dead of AIDS in the next three years.” The prediction was outlandishly wrong, but she wasn’t wrong in attributing the scare to scientists.

One early alarmist was Anthony Fauci, who made national news in 1983 with an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association warning that AIDS could infect even children because of “the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease.” After criticism that he had inspired a wave of hysterical homophobia, Dr. Fauci (who in 1984 began his current job, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), promptly pivoted 180 degrees, declaring less than two months after his piece appeared that it was “absolutely preposterous” to suggest AIDS could be spread by normal social contact. But other supposed experts went on warning erroneously that AIDS could spread widely via toilet seats, mosquito bites and kissing.

Continue reading “Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid”

Democrats Are Denying Basic Economics

The simplest way to understand economics is that it is a reckoning with unavoidable tradeoffs. If you spend money on something, you may obtain something in return—but you lose the ability to use those resources on something else. In the world of politics, economics helps us weigh the merits of those tradeoffs. It answers the question: Do the benefits of a policy outweigh the costs? Sometimes the benefits are larger. Sometimes they are meager or even nonexistent. But there are always costs. To acknowledge this is merely to acknowledge reality.

Under President Joe Biden, however, Democrats in Washington have decided that they can simply wish those tradeoffs away by declaring that they do not exist. Over and over again, they have argued that their policies do not or should not have any costs whatsoever.

Just this week, for example, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question about the tax impact of the $3.5 trillion spending plan now working its way through Congress by declaring that “there are some…who argue that in the past companies have passed on these costs to consumers…we feel that that’s unfair and absurd and the American people would not stand for that.”

When taxes are raised on corporations—the “companies” in Psaki’s response—corporations often respond by passing that tax on to others. In some cases, they pass costs to consumers. In others, as the Cato Institute’s Scott Lincicome wryly notes on Twitter, they reduce the amount they would have otherwise spent on wages. They have to pay more to do business, and so they make adjustments accordingly. Costs create consequences and tradeoffs.

Source: Democrats Are Denying Basic Economics

Continue reading “Democrats Are Denying Basic Economics”

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Masks, and the Deadly Falsehoods Surrounding Them

In a terse essay titled “Science and Dictatorship,” Albert Einstein warned that “Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.” And on his deathbed, Einstein cautioned, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs.”

Source: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Masks, and the Deadly Falsehoods Surrounding Them

Covid Munchausen by Proxy?

If you’ve ever heard of the psychological disorder Munchausen Syndrome, you have probably also heard of a related disorder called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, defined as

a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care…

Source: Munchausen Syndrom by Proxy

Munchausen by Proxy also shows up in TV shows and movies. Perhaps most notably in “The Sixth Sense” where the ghost of a child alerted the ghost seer to the evidence of his being slowly poisoned.

But what if the syndrome also affects public health officials — including the person leading the U.S. response to COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci?

Does that sound preposterous to you?

….

I watched a clip recently of a weather person talking about a tropical storm heading toward Texas. It’s not a hurricane, the person admitted, but then she quickly added that we should still be terrified. It could turn into a hurricane before landfall! There could be flooding! There could be tornadoes!

And yes, I rolled my eyes.

Not that I object to being warned when there’s a notable weather system headed in my direction. But there’s something about being in the disaster-warning business that incentivizes people toward behaviors that feel vaguely unbalanced.

And here’s the thing: I’ve picked up on that same vibe when I’ve watched people talk about the COVID pandemic.

And then I came across a link to an old article titled “AIDS and the AZT Scandal,” published by Spin in 1989.

….

As you may know, some of the same health authorities who were in charge during the AIDS crisis are still in charge today. Anthony Fauci — yes, that Anthony Fauci — would later come under criticism, in fact, for over-hyping the dangers of “casual” AIDS transmission.

That’s not an overstatement. Anthony Fauci was “the guy” who started an AIDS panic media feeding frenzy by suggesting in a Journal of American Medicine article that HIV could be transmitted by casual contact. (Per the link, Fauci would later call that very claim — the unsubstantiated claim that he, himself, propagated — “preposterous.” Remind you of anything yet?)

….

What concerns me is that I see a pattern.

How to catch an abusive “caregiver.”

Let’s go back to that Psychiatric Times article on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy that I referenced at the beginning of this post — the one that told us how good abusive caregivers are at hiding what they’re doing.

The most effective way to identify abusive caregivers, writes this article’s author, is to look at a patient’s medical records. Look for clues or patterns that indicate a caregiver is misleading clinicians. Give preference to data submitted by clinicians who directly observe documented information, rather than relying on accounts provided by the suspected abuser. Think about whether records make clinical sense.

Chronologically summarizing each medical contact into a table reveals patterns of health care utilization and parent/caregiver behavior in a format that is easy to analyze.

—“MUNCHAUSEN BY PROXY AND FACTITIOUS DISORDER IMPOSED ON ANOTHER,” PSYCHIATRIC TIMES

 

That’s what we need to do.

We need to look for patterns.

….

Here are some of the patterns I see.

Fauci seeks media and public attention. He clearly relishes being viewed as a caring, even sacrificial person.

He often makes statements that seem careless — and that throw the public into a panic.

He has, on more than one occasion, touted unproven drugs as being magical cures. These drugs later turned out to be useless at best. At worst, they exacerbated peoples’ suffering.

So what we should be asking…

Are “patients” who accept Fauci’s “care” better off than patients who do not?

Do We Really Need New Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?

A holistic look at the data shatters the narrative about bias-based violence.

In March, a man opened fire at Young’s Asian Massage, just north of Atlanta. Later, he shot up two more Atlanta-area Asian spas. All told, eight people were killed. Six of them were Asian women. Was this a hate crime? Clearly, it targeted a certain sort of business.

….

Yet if Long was motivated by anti-Asian or anti-female bias, this would be considered, under Georgia and federal law, a hate crime. If he was motivated by hatred of sex workers, it would not. This ambiguity perfectly encapsulates the tangled logic behind U.S. hate crime laws.

….

The first half of 2021 was awash in stories about an alleged spike in bias-based actions against Asians in the United States. From TV ads to newspaper articles to the halls of Congress, stopping “Asian hate” became a major rallying cry. A New York Times headline from April 3 conjured “swelling anti-Asian violence” in America. “Covid ‘hate crimes’ against Asian Americans on rise,” warned the BBC, while Voice of America reported that “Hate Crimes Targeting Asian Americans Spiked by 150% in Major US Cities.”

The narrative was based on a grain of truth: In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asians do seem to have faced an increase in verbal harassment—and occasionally worse—in some U.S. cities. But increases were far from consistent, and overall incident numbers remained quite small.

For instance, New York City saw an 833 percent rise in anti-Asian incidents between 2019 and 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). That certainly sounds dire. Yet the leap represents a rise from three incidents in 2019 to 28 incidents in 2020—in a city with an Asian population of 1.2 million overall.

Many reports of a supposed surge in anti-Asian animosity relied on data from CSUSB, which culled police records to assess bias-based incidents in 16 big U.S. cities. It found only one (Washington, D.C.) with a decline in anti-Asian incidents and one (Chicago) with no change. Data from the other cities looked grim: Anti-Asian incidents were up 150 percent in San Jose, 133 percent in Boston, and 114 percent in Los Angeles.

Yet expressing the data in terms of the percentage increase can be misleading. The raw numbers went from four to 10 in San Jose, six to 14 in Boston, and seven to 15 in Los Angeles. Cleveland, Dallas, and Philadelphia each saw six incidents in 2020, up from zero to two in 2019. Cincinnati and San Diego went from zero to one; Phoenix from two to three; San Francisco from six to nine; and Seattle from nine to 12.

Another much-cited figure came from a group called Stop AAPI Hate, which reported a staggering 3,795 hate incidents against Asians and Pacific Islanders between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021. But unlike the CSUSB study, this figure came from self-reports to the group’s hotline, not police records. And its reporting went far beyond potentially criminal incidents.

The Stop AAPI Hate tally lumps together physical attacks and serious crimes with verbal insults, discrimination, and “shunning.” If someone crossed the street or moved aside when an Asian person walked by, and the Asian person perceived it as deliberate avoidance based on race, that would be counted among the group’s statistics. (Notably, the period in question was during a pandemic, when many were going out of their way to avoid crossing paths with others, regardless of race.) Overall, 68.1 percent of reported incidents were verbal harassment, an additional 6.8 percent were online harassment, and 20.5 percent were shunning. Only around 11 percent of incidents reported to AAPI—or 421—alleged physical contact.

None of this is to diminish the emotional pain or fear that taunts or avoidance can cause. But it does add important context. Talk of hate crimes and bias incidents tends to conjure images of vandalism and violence. This makes the idea of even a small increase appear extremely dangerous to the targeted group and drives up trepidation among members of the community. As an example, several Asian teen girls told NPR in April that they were afraid to leave home or partake in ordinary activities.

Source: Do We Really Need New Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?

Vaccine Hesitancy. Why?

1. They are lying to us again . This Tablet article really captures the loss of trust in the official media : Imagine you’re a normal person. The year is 2016. Rightly or wrongly, you believe most of what you see in the media. You believe polls are broadly reflective of public opinion.

….

2. Anecdotal Evidence is All Most People Believe

This is not specific to medicine.  Almost everyone puts more credence in personal experience than reports and statistics, especially when it is reported by the liars discussed in #1.

….

3. Antivax sentiment is strong.  There has been a lot of it for years, and antisocial media has spread it faster than COVID.  Yet the antisocial media companies try to suppress differing opinions.

4. Hostility to Big Pharma has been strong for a long time, with lots of claims that their greed caused them to push expensive treatments to the detriment of cheaper ones.  (This is likely true.  They are suppressing a one pill cure for cancer?  No.  The insurers would not tolerate that.)  But so many people on the left hollered about how greedy Big Pharma is, that many people now see the vaccine makers as cashing in on a problem, especially because some alternatives are being or have been used with varying levels of success.  The Rolling Stone ivermectin fraud just adds #1 to #4.

5. The politicization of the issues.

6. Changing Truths

At the start, we were told masks would do no good for the general population; then everyone needed to wear masks.

The lockdown would be a few weeks to get medical system capacity past the peak, then it became indefinite.

….

7. “My Body, My Choice”

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8. I Do Not Follow My Own Rules

….

 

Source: Vaccine Hesitancy. Why?

TIM CARNEY: The juvenile ‘It’s horse paste!’ critique of ivermectin. The Nobel Prize in me…

TIM CARNEY: The juvenile ‘It’s horse paste!’ critique of ivermectin.

The Nobel Prize in medicine in 2015 went to two scientists whose experiments on a type of bacteria and subsequent modifications produced a compound that led to “a new class of drugs with extraordinary efficacy against parasitic diseases,” in the words of the Nobel Prize committee.

That compound is ivermectin, which “turned out to be highly effective in both animals and humans against a variety of parasites, including those that cause River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.” The FDA approved the drug in 1996.

That’s why U.S. doctors wrote more than 100,000 prescriptions a year for ivermectin, which comes in tablets but also in a lotion. In 2020, the FDA approved one ivermectin lotion as an over-the-counter lice treatment.

So why does the major media want you to believe that ivermectin is simply a “horse paste”?

The answer is probably because the media are more interested in scoring cheap points in the game of culture-wars by mocking rednecks and conservatives than they are in informing their readers.

….

Related:

Media narrative right now: “The only reason Covid isn’t over is because a bunch of dumb anti-vaxxer Trumpian hicks from rural America refuse to get vaccinated, and instead are taking horse dewormer that they read about on the internet!”

Complex realities of why Covid isn’t over:
1. The vaccines, though effective, are not nearly as effective as they were initially depicted last winter, meaning there are and will continue to be breakthrough cases (albeit fortunately milder).

2. Vaccination does lag, but it is not primarily where the media claims. Rather, the biggest gaps in vaccination are in lower income and minority communities (stats here: https://www.kff.org/…/latest-data-on-covid-19…/). The reasons for this lag are complicated, but mainly amount to the transaction costs of access, including the free time needed to get vaccinated. If the media and political class focused their attention on positive messaging and improving access in these communities, they could potentially make a sizable dent in the gap. Instead, they’ve chosen to ridicule and blame it all on a tiny fringe of anti-vaxxers.

3. The horse dewormer thing is at most a side-show that the media has pounced upon because it allows them to ridicule people they don’t like, as we saw yesterday with the fake ivermectin overdose story. It has next to zero bearing on ending the pandemic, and the only response it warrants is caveat emptor.

4. The public health messaging from Fauci et al continues to be atrocious, and is likely doing more harm than good because of all the deserved distrust it has accumulated. Insofar as public health officials have a role in ending this thing, the best thing they could do right now is shut up and contemplate how they destroyed their credibility over the last 18 months. Anything else they say at this point is counterproductive.

5. At the end of the day, Covid is becoming endemic so it will technically never “end.” Instead it will just enter the realm of the common cold. Unfortunately much of society and almost all of the political class continue to treat any Covid case it as if it’s still March 2020, which means absurd overreactions and policy driven by alarmist hype are still the dominant narrative. This will likely remain the case as long as mandatory testing regimes aimed at “discovering” covid among non-symptomatic people in the general public are common.

Source: TIM CARNEY: The juvenile ‘It’s horse paste!’ critique of ivermectin.