Plague News

For concise and rational commentary on the corona virus panic, the American Council on Science and Health can’t be beat. See some of the articles here. Also of interest is their views on the appalling behavior of the media (no surprise here).

In the US, the Democrat Party is moving from the absurd into the realm of the truly despicable in their behavior, with their toadies in the media following suit. It turns out that President Trump’s ban on China travel was the right choice despite the squawking from the usual suspects. Perhaps the Europe travel ban should have been sooner.

In Canada, the federal government is drifting in the wind. How can we expect people who waste billions of dollars on the pretense that they can control the weather fifty years from now to have any grasp of a real problem right now?

Our government would rather destroy our economic future at the behest of a gang of unelected fake Indians than do anything productive for the nation, which, according the intellectual microbe Trudeau, no longer exists.

Having had some professional experience in emergency response operations, I have to say that most people would be amazed at how little forethought and preparation goes into getting ready for the next natural disaster.

The ignorance of basic science in our political classes is staggering. This is why politicians would rather listen to the dishonest eco-babble from the Extinction Rebellion clowns than pay any real attention to the facts concerning real problems that face us now.

The situation is no different with the corona virus problem. How does this sit with the anti-vax freaks now? As soon as a real problem appears, they’re the ones clamoring for a vaccine now! And why didn’t the government do it last week!

Perhaps one good result from this modern plague will be to put these destructive anti-vax crackpots in their place and make politicians get with the program on planet Earth—and stop thinking of their unicorn and pixie dust policies for controlling the weather.

Fat chance.

Rebel Yell

Disasters and alarms

  1. Let’s start with coronavirus. Imagine that within 18 months, 2% of humanity might have died from it. Exaggeration? Try this sober analysis from Richard Hatcher. Attack rates could be between 50 and 70% of global population. Death rates, even if low, may not mean that much if we all have to go into our cells and stay there.

Meetings are being cancelled, people are working from home, supply chains are being disrupted, businesses harmed, and things are not being done because of the epidemic. High rates of illness may be the more important aspect than the actual deaths that ensue. The disruption occurs when public assembly points are shut down: schools, theatres, shopping centres. The social isolation that people use to protect themselves generates most of the disruption. The combination of infectiousness and lethality has not been seen since the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed 50 million.

20% of people who are infected show no symptoms, hence they can roam freely. We have no built-up resistance to it, so the disease is new and may become endemic, meaning it will become a permanent feature of existence.

We may be experiencing something akin to the waves of plague and disease of the latter Roman Empire, when smallpox and other new diseases came out of Africa and killed large portions of the population. Kyle Harper’s The Fate of Rome must be read to appreciate that Rome fell under a series of blows of plague, and barbarian invasions driven by agricultural collapse caused by sudden global cooling around AD 400. It did not fall from one thing, but a combination of things. We may be at the start of a series of hammer blows that could disturb all the benign predictions ever made by Steven Pinker about the golden age we have been living in, or we may by contrast be at the start of a minor perturbation in the long run of history. Either way we are in for a tough year.

The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (The Princeton History of the Ancient World)

The nature of exponential increase is explained in this youtube from 3blue1brown.com. Watch it for the mathematical truths that are explained.

Aside: I am not the first to observe that, when people believe there is a real risk, they act on that belief. When people are not persuaded there is a real risk, then no matter what they actually profess to believe, they act as if there were no risk. Think of Obama buying an 15 million dollar house six or ten feet above sea level at Martha’s Vineyard. Does Obama believe glaciers are melting? With one part of his mind he does. Does he believe his house will become unlivable as a consequence? Obviously not.

2. Then there is the collapse of investment in Canadian energy projects. This is not an act if God. It is a deliberate policy pursued by Gerry Butts and the Prime Minister. I need not write more about it here, you have seen the details in the papers.

3. The Indians of Canada have been deceived into thinking that they now hold the reins on economic development of natural resources, and perhaps they are right in that opinion. This is another man-made disaster of the federal Liberal party and its feckless leader, Justin Trudeau. The Indians, aided, abetted and driven on by anti-development leftists among Canadian whites, have not been resisted at any stage by the governments of Canada from an arrogant usurpation of the rights of their fellow Indians and ordinary Canadian citizens who favour economic development.

4. Oil price collapse. Russia is feuding with Saudi Arabia over oil production. The effect on US oil production, which has become highly dependent on shale oil, may turn out to be disastrous. Lower gas prices may not mean much when your schools are closed or when factories operate at far less than capacity because of supply chain disruptions caused by coronavirus. The effect on other oil producing countries like Iran or those in Africa, whose costs of production are high, will be severe.

Image result for breakeven oil price by country 2019

The breakeven price for Canadian oil sands is $70/barrel, according to the graph above. It is questionable whether the figure for shale oil is correct in terms of today’s technology. 96% of Canadian oil reserves are in the form of tar sands.

Conclusion

It has not been a good week, and it has not been a good month, and it is going to get worse.

Bloomberg, South Carolina, and the States generally

Mrs Dalwhinnie and I recently drove north from Charleston, South Carolina for several hours to reach the I-95. It was the most depressing landscape of poverty I can recall seeing. Crap towns. Abandoned stores with plywood for windows. No agriculture to speak of, just endless pine forests. Hovels, shacks, bungalows, trailers. Scarcely a middle class, well-maintained house, for hour after hour. Dozens of Protestant churches for every five miles of road. A dozen varieties of Baptist churches, some little better than shacks, one Presbyterian Church for the prosperous, and a few African Methodist Episcopal, which looked positively prosperous next to the Southern Baptist. Two hours of driving on secondary roads through this desolation was utterly weird.

Image result for south carolina pine barrens

Anyone who thinks the US is rich compared to Canada needs to contemplate places like South Carolina before they get too confident. The same poverty exists in New Brunswick too, but I have not seen poverty so extensive as that of South Carolina. The region is a pine barrens. We have something the same as when you drive from Ottawa to Peterborough on Route 7, and come across little shacks selling blueberries. But this is the result of no soil and bare rock. In South Carolina the poverty appears to be without geographic limit.

This brings me to Bloomberg’s spending $500 million on television ads.

Roughly $1.50, for every American: 500 divided by 327

The claim that this would have produced a million dollars for every American is a mistake. The actual amount of Bloomberg’s expenditure would be $1.50 per American, which could get them a Coke or something, and not a million per American, as the people on TV seemed to think. Innumeracy is growing as fast as ignorance, thanks to modern education.

As we drove north on I-95 and then I-81, we did not see prosperity thicken until Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley looks as rich and productive as good soils can make it. At the upper end of it, near Maryland, were huge factories and warehouses, probably serving the Washington-Baltimore-Richmond prosperity zone. Even former coal mining and manufacturing towns of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Binghampton, looked wealthy by comparison to South Carolina.

Mrs Dalwhinnie, who crossed the US in February, said that west of Iowa, a lot of the American West looks much like South Carolina: people living in trailers, scarcely any towns, Walmarts every third town serving as the only shopping available, and hard, hard lives.

These are among the people who will put Trump back into the Presidency. Life may be getting better for the lowest paid of the American population under his nationalist policies, but scarcely soon enough. For the well-off, they have only to look at their retirement savings accounts. They may not like Trump, but they like what he is doing for them.

https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/

Paul Canniff – As I remember him

Our paths crossed several times but we never conversed as we really didn’t know each other. Then one day I was in the World Exchange Plaza, where I had parked my car. When I got to the elevator Paul was already standing there to get to his car. That is the first time we spoke and in our conversation he mentioned that he worked on the, not his words, “World Wide Web”. At that time internet was an exotic technology and I didn’t know anybody who worked in that field. I was curious, so I asked him if he could give me a brief introduction to it. Paul was his usual gracious self and invited me to his home office, located above the garage which was separate from the house. He proceeded to tell me how he was working on the website for the Canadian Embassy in Washington. I recall leaving the meeting and us standing on the driveway, where he made several obscure and disparate cultural references which surprised me, but I was soon to learn were central to his character.

As Dalwhinnie noted below, Paul went through some difficult periods which were exacerbated due to medical issues as well as limited career options as he was a trained Kremlinologist. He soldiered on and I think it is fair to state that after a long journey, he was able to vanquish his internal demons. His remunerative work in Regina brought a degree of stability and an active membership in Masons brought him immense joy. It is surprising that it took him that long to join the Masons given his fondness for organizations that are based on strict and formal order, such the Governor General Foot Guards of which he was a part.

The most amazing thing about Paul was his memory and the ability to recall obscure facts, along with wide knowledge of contemporary cultural references, both relevant and irrelevant and lowbrow as well as highbrow. With the right pedigree he could have easily edited a literary magazine. There are not many people who can claim to be able to do that, whilst boasting a complete Chelsea FC tattoo.

Respect hereditary chiefs

Is this the only country in the world where such respect is shown to pre-feudal political organizations? A bunch of feathered and beaded aristocrats are taken more seriously than their elected rivals and the expressed will of their own tribe. Of course a majority of their subjects may not prevail against the will of hereditary Chiefs, can they?

Of course, the real reason for people supporting them is that the Chiefs serve the interests of Tides and the anti-development crowd. If the hereditary Chiefs were pro-development – as some are – they would be ignored by the likes of the Toronto Star and the protestors.

Their purpose is nothing less than the deligitimation of European settlement of North America, in which anti-development and carbon dioxide madness fit like hand in glove.

When are we going to have government leaders who boldly announce we shall not be governed by pre-modern tribal institutions of peoples who never got as far as metallurgy or the wheel?

When are we to have leaders who tell the Supreme Court of Canada that its talk of white racism is unacceptable?

Paul Canniff

Paul Canniff was the webmaster of Barrelstrength. He died of a sudden viral infection in Regina, Saskatchewan after being ill for a couple of days, scarcely fifty three years old. This is how I remember him.

“I met Paul in early days of the Reform Party in Ottawa, which was, as you can imagine, a minority taste for a government town. I was immediately taken by his immense cleverness and by his uncanny capacity to mimic and quote from every cultural motif of the past twenty years. Entire episodes of the Simpsons could be cited at will, in the right voices. He could put an audience into paroxysms of laughter when he was “on”, as he often was.

He was a new kind of person to me: one who engaged with the world of computers to make a living out of helping people put up websites. His work, in my direct experience, was always precise, creative, and tasteful. I am not sure it has ever occurred to him that many other kinds of mind are softer-edged and more tolerant of error and imprecision. He was not tolerant of fluffiness in others because he was not tolerant of it in himself.

If I may speak the truth on this occasion, I came to realize over time that his early years had left their scars upon him. He had emerged from difficult family situation, one where his mother had been unable to provide a steady flow of affection to her children equally, and where heavy dread may have been the normal state of affairs. I do not know whether he was favoured or disfavoured by his mother but he could not have had an easy time growing up.

He joined the Masons at some point in his thirties and there he found the stability and the explicit value system that did much to keep him on an even keel thereafter. The formality of Masonry, and its explicit appeal to sanity of behavior, the central idea that we are all building our temple, not to the self, but to make a worthy place for God in our lives, as we might conceive him, and to be the kind of person who can be approved of by the Great Architect: all these ideas held him and cradled him and kept him from wandering off the path. He was a man for whom Masonry was the true path of manhood.

He was also assisted in Masonry by his quite phenomenal brilliance. We have all been impressed at various times with his abilities to recite the various declamations and orations of the Masonic ritual. These were but a small part of a mind that, in former ages, cited books of the Iliad, or reams of poetry, or lore, from memory. No small part of the charm of our institution is its emphasis on exercising the skills of memory, in which he was a master.

I have seen him up and I have seen him down. I have seen him both manic and depressed.  Paul’s was not an easy life. He faced it with a courage that was native to his character. Whatever ailed him was external to his true being. What assisted him was the Craft, its fellowship, and its essential message.

Finally, when he was on, there was no one funnier. I still recall a party nearly thirty years ago when, as people are wont to do, they crowded into the kitchen. Paul picked up an empty wine bucket which amplified his voice and he spoke in deep tremolo. He imitated the voice of the monster in the first Ghostbusters movie, saying “There is no Dalwhinnie, only Zuul” and went on in this vein for a time. I started to laugh, and as he kept on, I was reduced to gasping for air. I had to crawl out of the crowded kitchen trying to clutch my ribs at the same time – I assure you it cannot be done – to recover myself in the living room. We cannot party like that anymore, being closer to seventy than to forty, and I miss those times and I miss the person he was then.

I hope you in Saskatchewan were able to enjoy this wholly madcap side of Paul, and that he had not suppressed it in later age, because his comic genius was as true of him as was his more serious Masonic self.

Perhaps, whether in Lodge or outside, you might devote yourselves to recalling this wonderful man at his best. I will miss him. I am sure you will too. I can only hope that at least a few of you got to know him at his best, because when he was ‘on’ he was very, very good indeed.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Dalwhinnie

And that, me lad, is all she wrote
On being made Master of the Lodge

The Buffalo Declaration: egalite ou independance

Canada is plagued with a gutless government of feckless Liberal nincompoops. Every bad idea of Trudeau the Lesser, and the consequences of those ideas: global warming, green energy, blockades of railways to protest pipeline construction, aboriginal rebellion, left-wing industrial sabotage – is coming home to roost. I see today the publication of the Buffalo Declaration. It may be the most significant document in the past twenty years of Canadian politics.

We are in a serious time, and fools in Parliament think they can sweet talk their way out of it, while still thinking they can shut down western energy projects on their way to net zero carbon emissions and gently remove pipeline protestors without violence in a month or two, after more “dialogue.”

The whole mess is the legacy of Gerry Butts, and the thinking he represents.

I join with others in thinking that Scheer has been at his best, and Peter Mackay has been weak and scared to put his foot wrong. By contrast, watch a real leader.

The Buffalo Declaration is found here. Read it, skim it, parse it. It is the sign of Confederation in crisis.

As Peter Zeihan pointed out five years ago, every single problem Alberta has would be instantly solved by joining the United States. Otherwise patriotic people are starting to think in these terms. I recommend you watch Peter Zeihan on Alberta so that you can understand the depth of the crisis. Said Zeihan “Four million Albertans are paying for 35 million Canadians and 8 million Quebecois” (included in the 35 million). Predicating Canada on soaking Alberta while strangling its economy is obviously insane, but this is what we are doing.

God-Emperor Trump arrives in Daytona

I will be misunderstood, because I am not likening the two men howsoever, but the Trumpian propaganda was so beautiful, it was reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” where in the opening scene, AH arrives in Nurnberg by plane through the clouds. Someone once called “Triumph of the Will” the first rock video, at least for its opening scenes.

You should watch all of “Triumph of the Will” at least once in your life. Watch as a nation goes berserk for a false god. See the incredible displays of emotion and mass uniformed displays. Watch as millions adulate the saviour of the nation. Ponder the dreadful gap between propaganda and accomplishment.

I do not mean to denigrate Trump’s arrival in Daytona. He knows how to make the right gesture. But my sense of irony immediately came to work when I saw the Daytona video. The Republican Presidential campaign is on, and these guys are good.