Category Archives: Republicans

Nate Silver’s Pandemic Observations As ‘Sharp’ As His Prediction About Trump’s Election

Argument, COVID-19, Intelligence, Republicans, Science, THE ELITES

Nate Silver, a statistician, is a mediocre mind.

In this “glorious commonwealth of morons”—H. L. Mencken’s description, not mine—there are many minds even more mediocre than Silver’s, who hype and highlight his banal observations. In the context of the coronavirus, I imagine this is motivated by their own pandemic politics.

But first, to Mr. Silver’s political prognostications during Donald Trump’s election campaign. As  chronicled in my June 29 book, The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed:

… whether they’re missing the Trump phenom or the casus belli for war in Iraq—America’s deeply stupid, self-anointed cognoscenti recognize truth only once card-carrying members arrive at it independently, grasp and broadcast it, sometimes years too late. Not so the marginalized writers of America. Not in 2012, but in 2002 did we pinpoint the wrongness of the Iraq War. And not in 2016, but on July 19, 2015—when this chronicle began—did some of us, not fortuitously, finger Trump as “a candidate to ‘kick the crap out of all the politicians’” and “send the system’s sycophants scattering.” (August 14, 2015). His appeal, as this writer has contended since late in 2015, transcended left and right, at the time.

Conversely, vaunted statistician Nate Silver ‘calculated that Trump’s support was “about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.”

No wonder Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University properly downgraded wonder boy Silver’s intellectual prowess. His prose, ventured Cowen, was a sprawl that “evinces a greater affiliation to rigor with data analysis than to rigor with philosophy of science or, for that matter, rigor with rhetoric,” wrote the good teacher, adding that to him, the Silver columns are “tweener” pieces, “too superficial for smart and informed readers, yet on topics which are too abstruse for the more casual readers.”

(MORE in “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed”.)

Now, Nate, that national treasure, is back. This time, he is constructing a straw argument on Fox News, to say nothing of wading into coronavirus politics. I thought he was an objective numbers man?

Nate states the obvious, saying that, “By focusing on coronavirus case counts, the media … makes the numbers look superficially worse … [since]… increases in testing [are what] have led to more cases being diagnosed.”

D’oh! And so obviously true. Does Nate really need to state the obvious? I guess so. (Meanwhile, Silver calls out others for their “boringly conventional positions in … political punditry.”)

The more fundamental point is this: Certainly in the U.S, the coronavirus case count is less significant than the death count: rates and absolute numbers. (Which is why, presumably, Ron Unz highlighted mortality in “The Government Employee Who May Have Saved a Million American Lives.“)

America’s case count, moreover, is scandalously inaccurate. According to the Economist:

Throughout April the number of daily tests has averaged around 150,000, with the share of positive tests staying around 20%. That suggests America is testing only people who are probably infected (in Taiwan, for instance, one in every 132 tests is positive), which in turn suggests that many mild or asymptomatic cases are going undetected. America may have 15 to 20 times more actual infected people than confirmed cases.

That more people are infected is a double-edged sword: More people infected means more people infecting other, but also, we hope, more population-level immunity.

A much more meaningful and reliable number is mortality, death rates and absolute numbers. Right now, the latter stands at 80,037. RIP.

@ The Unz Review.

UPDATED (5/9): Kayleigh McEnany And The TV Gig Economy

Conservatism, Donald Trump, Politics, Race, Racism, Republicans

“Kayleigh McEnany Says She Called Out Donald Trump’s Comments In 2015 As ‘Racist’ Because She ‘Naively’ Believed CNN Headlines.” So blared a news headline. At the time, McEnany had said this:

“To me a racist statement is a racist statement. I don’t like what Donald Trump said. I don’t like what Al Sharpton said,” McEnany said. She had been commenting on Trump’s remarks labelling some Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.

McEnany is a Republican, TV talking head. She said what she said about racism and Trump because, before she got this gig in the Trump administration, she believed it. In other words, it worked for her gig back then.

The deeper point is that Kayleigh McEnany was never party to the original, America First, Trump support group. There are none of those in the White House, Stephen Miller, senior advisor to Trump, excepted.

As America Firster Steve Bannon said, 2017/08/18: “The Trump Presidency That We Fought For, and Won, Is Over.”

McEnany is the Dana Perino of this administration. I’ll say no more. Unthinking partisanship being the rule in American politics, you’re not allowed to say anything about the sorry brain trust of the Republican Party.

UPDATE (5/9):  To guide or not to guide American companies and communities on how to open up safely? That’s the question. And the answer was: first silence, then, Nope, not quite yet, it can wait, maybe never, mañana:

Trust Republicans To Sabotage A Safe Return To Work

Business, COVID-19, Free Markets, Labor, Law, libertarianism, Private Property, Regulation, Republicans

“In the absence of clinical therapies or a vaccine for coronavirus, the successful return to work rests, very plainly, on the willingness of the citizenry to cover up, keep clean and keep a distance.” (“The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective.”)

If businesses want customers to resume consumption and workers to stay safe and productive on the job—they must, within reason, provide a safe working and shopping environment.

The market incentivizes business to protect customers and employees and thus to also reduce the spread of COVID. If business acts recklessly, customers will stay away. And if companies place workers in a precarious position, then the worker who gets sick on the job generally has recourse through litigation.

The free-market and the law—more so than government regulation—provide corrective mechanisms to ensure workers and customers are safe. Government regulations are generally agreements between industrial special interests and the state. Duly, they mostly benefit those interests alone.

By removing the incentives aforementioned,  so necessary in a society based on ordered liberty, the government sabotages a safe return to work, as it fails to allow corrective mechanisms to work.

Trust the Republicans, then, to strive to remove the incentives for business to fit the workplace for success in the age of coronavirus.

To hell with the desperate young worker, who toils in a crowded, unclean, meatpacking facility, currently a “serious vector for the pandemic.”

Or, the flight attendant who was told by the airline she’d be fired if she wore a mask. If they get sick on the job because their employers refused to set up and suit up for COVID—the worker will have no recourse, courtesy of the Republicans’ liability protection guarantees.

With half of all U.S. states forging ahead with strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis, business groups have been pushing for protection against COVID-19-related lawsuits …The Trump administration is also pushing for liability safeguards … [Reuters]

GOP lawmakers have warned that without additional protections they believe business owners will be too fearful of litigation to reopen.

McConnell, during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, called the extra protections his “red line.”

“Let me make it perfectly clear, the Senate is not interested in passing a bill that does not have liability protection. … What I’m saying is we have a red line on liability. It won’t pass the Senate without it,” he added.

Stripped of baffle-gab, this means that Republicans wish to shield business from the consequences of reckless disregards for the safety of shoppers and workers. For the courts will examine cases on their merit, and throw them out if they are frivolous.

Fail to allow corrective mechanisms like litigation to work—and you’ll increase illness, death and poverty and spread more devastation.

* Thanks, Scott Olson | Getty Images, for fair use.

@ Unz Review.

China Vs. Uncles Sam And Gates

America, China, Critique, Globalism, Nationalism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Economy, Republicans, Science, The State, The West

I understand the honest, plaintive anger expressed below by American Greatness reader Major Rage, directed at my argument in Who Invited The World To Infect America?” (“Hate the Chinese government if you wish, but hold your own government responsible for hollowing America out like a husk.”)

The reader had done everything right. He’s a good, obedient American who has served Uncle Sam. And now I’m suggesting he reconsider; that he consider turning on Uncle Sam and its corporate-industrial-complex.

I’m disturbed by this article because at the end of it – I felt as though I was supposed to hate myself……as if I had betrayed my family and community. But, I don’t recall ever doing such evil things.

I’ve served my country, started and run a legitimate and profitable business, paid taxes out the ying-yang, put my children through good schools and universities, been faithful to my wife, and generally stayed out of trouble.

Now, a foreign sourced plague has been introduced into our lives – threatening our existence and livelihoods and I’M SUPPOSED TO FEEL GUILTY! Guilty……for what? For not stopping the rich from becoming richer? For not exposing the corrupt for conniving and cheating society? For not preventing mad scientists from monkeying with Mother Nature? For not standing at the jetway with a gun to prevent immigrants coming into my country?

Please tell me, Ilana Mercer, WTF am I guilty of?

The answer is that NO ONE OUTSIDE OF WUHAN OR BEIJING is guilty in this affair. Feelings of guilt are nearly identical to feelings of shame for being a helpless victim. On reflection – this writer strikes the absolute wrong chord by suggesting that we, ourselves, are to blame for this disaster. How can the victims be to blame? She suggests we did this horrible thing to ourselves. But, did we? NO. I’m outraged at the mere suggestion. No one is going to put the crown of thorns on my brow.

Ms. Mercer……take your guilt trip and shove it!

Not a word did the article say about ordinary Americans betraying their own. To that end, “Who Invited The World To Infect America?” was even divided into clear thematic headings that made that clear:

Trade Goods, Not Places (allusion to top-down population replacement)
Economic Elephantiasis
(the endless expansionism of the American multinational)
No Multiculturalists in China
(self-evident: Chinese are a homogeneous, chauvinistic people) 
Where Accountability Goes to Die
(Uncle Sam’s “investigation” of COVID)

But I fully understand “Major Rage’s” rage. He wanted the warm smell of the herd—he wanted to hear amplified (as from most other pundits) that it was China v. America: “USA, USA, USA!”

Instead he was challenged thus:

If the United States must rely on the Chinese government to keep its citizens safe, then what kind of a Micky Mouse country is it?
If the American people can be convinced by their government to saddle a foreign power with the responsibility for their existential welfare—what kind of people are we?
China didn’t force the traitors of the American economy to shift crucial production lines to its country and strand Americans without surgical and N-95 masks and medication; homegrown turncoats made that decision, all by their lonesome.

Less do I understand Dan @ Twitter @deltajulietx
Apr 30
Replying to @IlanaMercer

Ilana, are you losing your way? What price liberty? 61,349? 250,000? 1 million? Etc? What was it that Benjamin Franklin said about exchanging liberty for (imagined) safety? I would reflect long and hard before sacrificing liberty to any government for any reason. Full stop!

Dan was reacting to this:

On March 31, the number of Americans dead from the Chinese coronavirus stood at 3,900! A mere month on, at the time of writing, and 63,801 Americans have perished.

American deaths by COVID-19 account for a quarter of the world’s, including those in the undeveloped world. To ignore this Third-World-like specter is to dismiss the dead and the dying. It’s tantamount to cancel culture.

Dan, like many, conflates the honoring of the dead, the seriousness of the disease and the magnitude of COVID devastation with betraying liberty. In Dan’s cohort, unless you put on a tinfoil hat about COVID science–you are considered a liberty hater. Crap. Unless you dismiss the dead, you are betraying the Great Leader.

Since I wrote the lede to my essay, the number of Americans dead by COVID has reached 68,602. 4801 souls dead in three days. Rest in peace.

* Photo via iStock. Thanks for fair use.