Posted On: Saturday - June 12th 2021 9:04PM MST
In Topics:   Music
I woke up the other day with a song playing in my head that had the hypnotic keyboards, as with The Doors' Ray Manzarek's stuff, but it was Creedence, with a lead guitar playing. I can't figure out for sure what that was. CCR didn't use keyboards much until their 6th album, Pendulum, from late 1970. I bought his album, much later of course, expecting the usual CCR guitar dominated sound, but this was different, requiring some time to get used to.
It's Just a Thought may or may not be the song I'd had in my head, but either way, this is a nice one. It's not nearly long enough, as you want in those hypnotic keyboard parts, such as the long fade ending in Supertramp's Child of Vision or The Doors' Riders on the Storm, at only 3 1/2 minutes (maybe long for a CCR song).
I don't know if the lyrics are profound or not, but they sure sound like they are.
Creedence Clearwater Revival was:
John Fogerty – lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards, harmonica, saxophone
Tom Fogerty – rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals
Doug Clifford – drums, percussion, backing and occasional lead vocals
Stu Cook – bass guitar, backing and occasional lead vocals, keyboards
Gain a function, lose a function
Posted On: Saturday - June 12th 2021 8:45PM MST
In Topics:   Science  Healthcare Stupidity  Kung Flu Stupidity
OK, that's gain of function. This term sounds like it was made to not mean very much. I am not in the science of virology, so maybe it has more connotations for a virologist, but how about something like "Deadliness upgrade" instead? That's what it is, changing viruses that originally only harm animals into ones that can harm and kill humans. Is "gain of function" purposefully obscure so that the public will not wonder "just why the hell are people doing this?"
Peak Stupidity wondered* back in our post Nicholas Wade on that Wuhan lab and origins of the Kung Flu why this gain-of-function research is being done at all. The author, science writer Nick Wade asked the question too.
The stated purpose, per that article, is to mutate or recombine the virus for reasons of being able to develop a vaccine that could fight such a virus. It's not just that Wuhan lab that does this work, and it's not just on these specific SARS viruses. There are labs that do the same for flu strains. I just don't get it. Why take the risk of handling the newly developed strains that are harmful to humans, just for the chance that they will develop naturally and people will need a vaccine? If it takes lots of work in the lab to make this mutation happen, what's the chances that it will develop naturally and require a vaccine? I don't know - I'll ask a virologist next time I meet one.
It seems the risk of gain-of-function projects outweighs the benefits. Then, when I read about Dr. Anthony Fauci and his putting money into the Wuhan lab for this research in cooperation with the Chinese, I wonder more about some truly evil intent, right under our noses, in plain sight. We do tend to give away technology to the Chinese left and right, but with all the animosity between the countries, would American researchers give away bio-weapons technology? That's what this is. There's no difference between gain-of-function research and bioweapons research other than the names of the labs. If the American and Chinese "authorities" are cooperating on this, who is their common enemy?
Why do you go about taking chances that may result in a real life version of Contagion?
Good stuff from two of our favorites
Posted On: Friday - June 11th 2021 9:55PM MST
In Topics:   Pundits  Global Financial Stupidity  Economics  US Feral Government  Zhou Bai Dien
Peak Stupidity is done writing about books for a little while, and they'll be only one more post on the Nationalized Healthcare topic. Tonight, we'd like to point out two very good posts by two good pundits.
From our favorite literary pundit, as seen on VDare, and I'm sure a thousand other places, there was this post yesterday: "Voting Rights": It’s "Racist" Not To Let Democrats Cheat.
I haven't been keeping up with too much of the Bai Dien administration's and Congress' moves, because I'm not sure I can do a damn thing about them but keep on prepping. Miss Coulter discusses, in her own special style, 3 new bills being introduced to impose on how the States are letting people vote and register to vote. I won't go into the details, as Miss Coulter does a good job. Let's just notice here that this usurpation of States' control of voters and voting is just a continuation of what 4 separate Constitutional Amendments started - they would be Amendment XV, Amendment XIX*, Amendment XXIV and Amendment XXVI. The deal now is that you don't need to pass and have ratified a whole Amendment to the Constitution to usurp power. That's too hard. It's the current era, you know.
Will States EVER fight back against the taking of whatever powers they have left? Probably not until the Feral Gov't is broke, as right now, due to the flow of the money, when the Feds say jump, State officials say "how high, Sir?!" (See # 1 on the list of evils of the income tax in the "Part 3" post on Amendment XIX linked-to below.)
Speaking of the Feral Government being broke, I refer the reader to a short post (his usually are) from blogger Audacious Epigone.
Here's the link to: It's Not Transitory, It's the New Normal, with the "transitory" referring the current higher inflation rate.
Mr. Epigone usually writes posts to discuss data from the General Social Survey and other polls, broken down by sex, race, age, and political leanings. I like his take on things, and I especially like his colors as used in his bar graphs. They don't have the usual intentionally arbitrary color schemes used for political correctness. (Have you read The Legend of Schooldigger?) However, lots of polling data is just plain worthless, as I found out myself from being a respondent this past December. I got tired of the discussions of data that may be meaningless.
When Mr. Epigone writes his occasional finance-themed posts, he is right on the money, IMO. He comes off as a Ron Paulite, and he tries his best to sound the alarm for what's coming. This latest one is only 5 short paragraphs that'll take one minute to read. I urge the Peak Stupidity reader to click on this one.
Enjoy them both. Perhaps "enjoy" is not the right word, as neither writes about anything happy but just the truth.
PS: I haven't commented much at all under Audacious Epigone's posts, because I just don't like a majority of the commenting clientele that much. We have our guys that write under Steve Sailer**. They are OK people, and not flat-out Commies or total anti-Americans, such as those under many of unz.com's other writers. They just seem naive without an understanding of the root of our problems. Perhaps it's a younger crowd in general.
* See also Part 2 and Part 3.
** That includes our commenter "The Alarmist" under this one. Alarmist, I only didn't mash agree on this one because I think (hope anyway) that Americans will not give up their gold to the US Feral Gov't, just as most didn't during Roosevelt's confiscation attempt.
National Healthcare: Socialism at its finest - Part 3
Posted On: Friday - June 11th 2021 9:34AM MST
In Topics:   Economics  Americans  Healthcare Stupidity  Inflation
(Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.)
In Part 2 of this quick look at the question of Nationalized healthcare, something lots of Americans figure would be just peachy, taking the side of the public defender, Peak Stupidity produced Exhibit A: The British National Health service. It's not like we got in depth on this, but we brought up the problems of government bureaucracy and government control, the latter of which I think is the worst of it, with any government run system of well, anything. It's not just about registering and titling vehicles, though. This is 20% of the economy and a life-and-death issue by definition.
Let's put on our prosecutor's hat now, if His Honor will indulge. (Carrying of cell phones, even for web surfing, no matter how many hours you have to wait for your rolling-through-the-stop-sign charge, is strictly verboten!). We bring up Exhibit B. (Big GASP! from the jurors.) Whaaa? What's that?! I present to you the case of pre-1980s America. The date is arguable, as some would go back to the big Socialism push, medicaid/care included in the mid-1960s.
Our commenter MBlanc46, under Part 2 post, left a comment that stole some of the prosecution's thunder here. He can go back longer than I can, but it's not like lots of us don't have parents who regaled us with stories. Even the young people who can't imagine any such thing, do they talk to their parents, grandparents or friends thereof? Oh, right, "OK boomer", as in "this is not on my phone, so I don't believe a word of it" would be the attitude.
"They made house calls." Yes, I never experienced this, but that is the case. I'm not going to put this one on the advantages of the much-closer-to free market system that was in place. Maybe it was the availability of a 2nd car for the wife, or even a 1st car for some. Perhaps medicine had gotten too advanced to be regularly practiced out of a bag the size of a big toiletry kit.
Compared to the shitshow of today, US Feral Government and State governments were not involved in the medical system to any significant amount prior to medicare/caid). Of course, there were State boards for doctors (nurses too, I guess) and State supported medical schools to give benefit to the State. How much did the government have to do with how Doctor Jones ran his practice, especially the billing part of it? You pay your money to the nice lady on the way out. Maybe you presented an insurance card (more on this). Maybe you were one of those deadbeats, but then that was a problem for any small business. The difference from today is that nobody dictated that you must keep treating the deadbeats and treat what are obviously the new deadbeats as they show up.
OK, that brings up charity and the hospitals, many of which were charity run. Some people simply can't pay their way, and not many of us are OK with letting them die out there on the hospital steps. People, and most especially Americans are very charitable, when the government hasn't usurped that with its own fake charity with their money. (This is a subject for another post.)
There are charity hospitals today, though to a lesser amount. Profit or non-profit, the doctors (rightly) and hospital admins. (not so rightly) make lots of money, the nurses get the going rate, and then there's the issue of the revenue. When it comes down to the complicated bureaucratic system of today, they all must play by the same government-made rules.
Besides the important aspect of consumer choice, the prices for medical care back in the old days reflected the lack of the burden of paying for so many deadbeats, and the decreased costs of employing personnel to figure it all out.* As I wrote in Part 1, the damn system is so complex that this operation of 51 employees that a friend ran had 11 people just in billing. They don't make as much as doctors but probably pretty close to what the office nurses make. Doctors were only 2 or 3 out of the 50, so that means this totally unproductive cost is ~20% of the payroll.
I've got a few numbers, and I'll give one of mine and Mr. Blanc's . A friend found a bill from his Mom for the hospital charges for his birth in the mid-1960s: $300 or $350, it was one or the other. For us 10 years ago: $3,500 in advance, if everything went smoothly, doctor and epidural shot not included. That's a factor of 10 in 45 years. This site gives me a 7x increase to be expected, but you all know what Peak Stupidity thinks of the official inflation numbers, especially as of the last decade (not a factor in this calculation). That's not too bad, surprisingly, but then, I don't know if I can determine, or my friend can, whether that price in the mid-1960s was for all charges. For us we'd be talking over 10 grand, but then that includes ultrasounds (see Part 1 with a discussion of the changes in medical science/tech vs. the business end).
Mr. Blanc's example was a $2 bill for a doctor visit for him Mom in the early 1950s. I suppose if you know the guy well, and it's not your first visit, you could get away with $75 now, cash on the barrel head. That's a factor of 35 (I like round numbers, to fit with my lack of faith in the accuracy of the inflation numbers), but that same inflation (cpi) site would get me a factor of over 10, using 1950 - 2021. Hmmm. I would guess we are paying more in "real" dollars in general. Yes, we get new treatments that wouldn't have been possible in 1950, but then, again, see Part 1.
What I especially miss about lack of government involvement in the old system that worked for America is this: We couldn't have had a Kung Flu PanicFest, IMO. Sure, the Lyin' Press was a thing, and there were only 3 channels (OK, 4 if you count that "learning channel") of TV that could set the narrative. I don't think Feral Gov't officials were quite as corrupt, self-serving, and non-caring about Americans. The big difference is the medical system. Without government controlling the business end of healthcare to the degree it does now, what could it do? Send posters? Yes, send posters. Yes, see I have no problem with a Center for Disease Control that compiles data and issues warnings. Back in the day before the web, your Doc might get some info sent to medical establishments all around with warnings and advice about the new flu or what-have-you. Based on his judgement your Doc could heed it and even put up the poster in the waiting room, or say "bullshit" and throw it in the trash. Then there's that middle ground of just keeping in mind they signs to look for in his patients. Big incentives could not be given to insurance companies (via eliminated co-pays and deductibles), because the Feral Government was not in bed with them yet.
That brings up insurance. When trying to explain the better way of the past (in America, at least) in a few acrimonious comment exchanges I'd have on unz.com threads, I'd always run into this: "What if I'm in a serious car wreck?!" for a young person or "What if I get cancer that costs a million dollars to treat?!" Hey, I never said insurance was not a valid business model. If the insurance company can figure rates the RIGHT way, without dictates about pre-existing conditions, forced payments for transgender surgery, etc., prices can still be pretty damn low for a young person or even reasonable for someone older with no existing serious problems. "Do the math!", as they say, and believe me, there's a whole field for that, consisting of people called actuaries.
The big difference between actual simple insurance plans vs. what people call "insurance" today, is that today's plans are healthcare plans, not insurance plans. One doesn't get oil changes, brake jobs, and bodywork for his car paid for by insurance, as opposed to check-ups, unnecessary visits to the doctor for stupid shit, and well transgender surgery. I have gotten simple catastrophic health care insurance before, and it was not too bad in price. If I had stepped on a nail though, well, it didn't cover squat, and it wasn't supposed to.
In fact, when I was in a wreck myself, it was (very thankfully!) not too big a deal, and I paid my own money. However, when the doctor mentioned a CAT scan, "just in case", I asked the price. "$1,200? Nah, I'll be OK. Thanks."
The problem with economics of healthcare now is that the incentive for irresponsibility is built into the system. People know that some government agency or insurance company (as in, the rest of us) will cover them anyway, no matter if they don't worry about insurance. This lack of responsibility is very hard to reverse. That will be the subject of the final post on this.
* This is why I HATE paying someone to do my taxes and never have so far. It irks me to have to pay more money just to get through the system that I hate to begin with!
Animal Farm: Some allegories are more equal than others
Posted On: Wednesday - June 9th 2021 4:31PM MST
In Topics:   Books  Socialism/Communism
This post is not supposed to be a book review [though we'll see how that pans out - Ed]. From commenter MBlanc46's recommendation I read this short George Orwell novel that most of you probably read in high school. (I'm not sure how I skipped it.) It'd be presumptuous to review one of the classics. Peak Stupidity is presumptuous enough to do so nevertheless, but, no, we won't bore the reader with a review*.
This was to be about the evolution of the thoughts of writers that are seen as the classic authors, but that'll be another post, as I just want to write about Mr. Orwell's state of intellectual development at the time of his writing Animal Farm. I know he was a fairly prolific writer in his short period only 15 years (mid-1930s till 1984 in 1949) of writing books, but I'm thinking just of 3 books here. They would be Homage to Catalonia - reviewed by PS here - Animal Farm, and 1984. He wrote Animal Farm at the 70% point in this writing career, so I would assume he'd have had his ideological act together by this time.
I have long heard the expression "four legs good, two legs bad, and especially "some animals are more equal than others" from the book. It is an allegory, using the running of a farm by the animals to demonstrate an ideological point. What is that point?
I should have known better, as Mr. Orwell was said to be a Socialist to the end. From the reading of 1984 the only book I'd read from him until recently, I could not discern that, as it is a warning about absolute Totalitarianism. To me, a warning about Communism/Socialism goes right along with that.
After getting about 1/2 way into the story of the Animal Farm, I realized that the allegory was not what I'd thought for years it was. Mr. Orwell tells a story of how an attempt at Socialism can go bad. He has nothing against the system at all. He wrote this allegory to disparage the problems that he saw with the Soviet Communism that had effected him directly during his time in Spain, fighting for the Commie side in the civil war. It is a pretty specific to the events that unfolded there. In a blog comment** someone noted that the story of the two top pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, was written to be about Lenin and Trotsky. There is the influence of the outside world, the need to always have an enemy to unite the people, well, the animals, the use of literal attack dogs by the Dear Leader, and the historical revisionism and un-personing, such as the USSR was known to practice. (It worked nicely on animals with short memories.)
That's a good, but very specific allegory. I have no problem with anyone writing satirically about the old USSR. Orwell wrote this one at the very beginning of the Cold War, a nice help for those trying to expose the lies of the Communists.
This was not the allegory I had expected, however. It seems everything on Animal Farm would have worked out OK, per Mr. Orwell, had the bad animals not ruined things. (This is very much as he thought the military could run just fine with no chain of command, but equal footing for everyone, in Homage to Catalonia.)
Nah, I'd have rather read a story in which the hardworking horse Boxer finally got fed up with putting in more effort for no reward, as other animals, especially the damn cat, were wanking off. There should have been a page or two about the weekly animal meetings in which the many chickens and their numerous chicks, born to the least-productive egg-laying hens and given the vote at 18 weeks, outvote the dogs, pigs, horses, and sheep, giving themselves large rations. Then, at a subsequent weekly meeting, Muriel the goat, pissed off about the unfairness of it all, goes ahead and eats all copies of the ballots, causing a riot that results in the construction of an animal penitentiary, something they all thought was in their past.
Perhaps, I'm a little harsh on the author. He did, after all, have the pigs decide that their leadership work was worth more pay and better accommodations. That was a big part of the story, of course, but I'm not sure George Orwell actually got it. That's bound to happen because some animals and some people simply ARE better than others, and we can't all be equal. Did he get that?
I don't know, and it sounds presumptuous [yes, it is, VERY! - Ed], but maybe I coulda' written a better Animal Farm. OK, if not me, Ron Paul, how 'bout?
* I'll at least write this again though, as I did for his last book: For all that's decent, and I'm talking to YOU, C. M. Woodhouse, YOU! DO! NOT! GIVE! AWAY! THE! STORY! IN THE INTRODUCTION!, assholes. (Same goes for the preface, but Russell Baker got this.) I know this is a classic that I should have read already, but I haven't, OK? Maybe this is an Orwellian thing.
** On unz.com I guess. I'd thought for sure one of our readers mentioned this, but I can't find that comment for the life of me.
Chaos under Heaven - Epilogue stupidity
Posted On: Wednesday - June 9th 2021 5:57AM MST
In Topics:   Elections '16 - '20  Trump  China  Media Stupidity  Books
Media lefties are gonna be media lefties, I suppose, even if they do have interesting things to report on Trump v Xi in Chaos under Heaven. In our 2nd post about that book, Chaos under Covid, I mentioned some that I'd write about something in that book's Epilogue I didn't agree with. Well, the book has got to go back to the 'brary, so I'll just write about the one thing that pissed me off the most in Josh Rogin's description of China and Election '20.
Regarding the election, the author seems to be completely on Joe Biden's side even as he admits that the CCP wished for a Biden win, so they could deal with a more predictable American President. This excerpt is from the bottom of page 290, in which the author discusses the alleged damning Hunter Biden material from a computer hard drive found in a shop in Delaware:
The Hunter Biden material was Bannon and Giuliani's "October suprise" -- their attempt to introduce new information to the presidential contest that would tip the scales toward Trump, as they believed that FBI director James Comey's revelation about Anthony Weiner's laptop (and its hard drive containing Hillary Clinton's emails) had done in the run-up to the 2016 election. But this latest laptop gambit ended up falling flat because most of the mainstream media refused to cover it, still feeling burned after being used as a tool of Russian email hacking and dumping during the 2016 election cycle.Oh, where to start with this stupidity, where to start? The media refuses to cover things when they don't go along with their agenda. The Lyin' Press was shocked that Donald Trump won the '16 election, and they didn't want anything like that to happen again. Trump was supposed to lose, so therefore the Hunter Biden story was not covered. In fact the
The media "got burned" by the Russia, Russia, Russia!! story? Seriously? The Lyin' Press kept this story on for 3 out of the 4 years of the Trump Presidency, only stopping to spend more time
What a stupid attempt at deflecting the reader from the agenda of the Lyin' Press by writer Josh Rogin. Oh, the media felt burned from getting suckered to run 3 years of "the Russians did it", so they didn't want to be "wrong again" by covering the Hunter Biden/Chinese honey-pot story. Yeah, sure that's the ticket. Just expose yourself as a ctrl-left Lyin' Press hack back there in the Epilogue. That way, it's too late for the reader to return the book to the store. This one goes back to the library today. It's overdue anyway.
It's a mystery ...
Posted On: Tuesday - June 8th 2021 4:16PM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  Media Stupidity
... why people in a nation wouldn't want to give it away completely.
I was looking for some image or another a month or so ago and found this Newsweek* story headline. It makes you just shake your head. Do they really think we all will just fall for their nonsense? "Uhhh, yeah, good question. Why ARE we afraid to be overwhelmed and replaced by a different people? Perhaps Dr. Robert Hartley up in Chicago has a support group for my problem."
This "nations of immigrants" thing is repeated over and over. The VDare folks, along with Ann Coulter and her greater visibility, have debunked this time after time. The original Americans were SETTLERS. They built the country, rather than immigrating to one. There were dozens of millions of immigrants who came in the big wave from the 1880s through the early 1920s, with lots of hardworking decent people among them, but they weren't NECESSARY to the existence and flourishing of the United States.
Now we've had overwhelming numbers coming. Even if this WERE a nation of immigrants, wouldn't this nation still have had enough of the massive mid-1960s to present influx after a while? You come somewhere because it's better than the place you came from. Why do you want it overwhelmed with people from foreign places that you didn't see as a good place to live, such as, well the one you left even? An old EAGLES song comes to mind:
"You call some place paradise. I don't know why ...
you call some place paradise and kiss it goodbye ..."
* Yeah, it's not extinct. Who knew?
National Healthcare: Socialism at its finest - Part 2
Posted On: Tuesday - June 8th 2021 11:12AM MST
In Topics:   Healthcare Stupidity  Socialism/Communism
(Continued from Part 1.)
In Part 1 of these words of warning about government controlled healthcare, Peak Stupidity first made clear that the improvements in the science and technology must be looked at separately from the changes in the healthcare business end. This post is about the deleterious effects of a lack of any free market and free choice on the customer. For his important area of life, being a customer means being a patient, being someone with some possible problem he may be worried about, or just being someone who wants to STAY healthy and not have to deal with most of it.
As I wrote last time, young Americans in particular, even so-called Conservatives, seem to not see any problem with Big Gov running this whole business. One wonders how much time they've ever spent at any Feral Government offices. I try to avoid that myself, but when I do go, I keep my eyes open and extrapolate what I see to the multi-million employee Fed Gov in general. Perhaps one could go down to the Highway Department to find fix a title on a car, and see bureaucracy and "customer care" by those who don't really answer to the customer in action. That's local or State government, but it only gets worse at the higher levels.
It's not as if "Single-Payer" (a nice euphemism of obscuration there), errr, Nationalized Healthcare is a new bright idea. We've had examples all over the world to observe. The "NHS" in the image above is the British National Health Service. I have never been to England, but I've been to, well, my car mechanic's shop, and this is a guy who has experience with the Canadian "free" healthcare, and no, the shop is not in Arizona ... He doesn't say it's a particularly bad experience going to the Doc's for regular check-ups and that. He's from a particularly white part of Canada though. When it comes to serious problems or work, the care is rationed. Those who really need something done can go to private physicians or to the States. I would like to hear from commenter "The Alarmist" who may have a good
The reason Americans hesitate to go to the doctor for "wellness" visits, aka, regular check-ups, is because our whole system is so distorted, money-wise, by this point, that prices are much higher than they need be, and higher than they WOULD be, in a free market. I had something I wanted to go to a specialist on, but the whole rigmarole of having to go to my "regular doctor" and get a referral turns me off, as I don't have any such regular doctor. Were I able to call this specialist, get a price, and just go the hell in there, I might have.
The "single-payer" proponents will tell you "Well, I can put up with some bureaucracy*, because now it's not for profit, and it'll be FAIR!" Yeah. I just read Animal Farm (more about that coming), and it's pretty old news that, though all patients are equal, some will end up more equal than others. (Those will be the ones getting private care out of the system.) That aside, even in a country full of trusting unified people, as in 1970s Sweden, the problem is that there is no incentive for the medical staff to excel. All care gets dragged down to a fair, but equal, level.
Also, there is no reason medical care should be "fair". I should be able to get more, better, and even quicker treatment by paying more money. I did that one time. I paid cash and got in the front of the line for something. I mean CASH cash, as in a stack of twenties, and I don't feel at all bad about getting put in front. I will say, that I was advantaged in having a doctor who a trusted friend had referred me to. This doctor trusted me not to make any thing about it, so the cash truly paid him well for his time.**
The fact that people go outside the system in Canada and Britain for better care does not say so much good about that system. There's on more important reason that National Healthcare is a BAD thing. That is the government's ability to control us with it.
Do you want to visit a doctor and see a nurse of your, let's say "persuasion" rather than some recent immigrant you can't relate to? Do you want the old-fashioned White man, or an Oriental or Jewish doctor you have general trust in, even before you know him well?
Not only is it the case that within a government-run healthcare establishment that you can't just go picking and choosing the personnel, but you're going to get in trouble even asking to. Were you to make that mistake, or maybe even just post something on the internet about it, you may not get the best care in the future. When you have no choices, you are subject to the whims of the government establishment, and this establishment is extremely hostile to our kind right now.
Nah, I'd rather make decisions on who I want to treat me on my own. I'd rather not have the government intrusion that goes along with any program run by it.*** I'll get into whether a free market in healthcare can actually work next post.
PS: I realize this anti-Socialism stuff may not be the favorite of the readers here, as we cover very different flavors of stupidity that are not so ideological posts. I've got to finish what I've started here though.
* Yes, I do know there's plenty of bureaucracy here, but that's because the government is already involved to a large degree, in concert with Big Biz insurance.
** Though it did save him a bundle, of course, the lack of taxes charged and paid was not really the biggest benefit for both of us. I just think there was no way this Doctor could have put a payment on his books so easily without all of it being in the same fund that pays for the illegal alien deadbeats and such.
*** Let's not forget your political views being used for political aims by this government-run industry. Did you tell them "yes, I own a gun or two"? You may end up being treated for something you are pretty sure you don't have, such as schizophrenia. At least in America right now, I can tell the office to "take this form and shove it up your ass." Actually, I have, minus the "up your ass" part. I can go elsewhere.
Ghost in the machine
Posted On: Saturday - June 5th 2021 5:40PM MST
In Topics:   Music  TV, aka Gov't Media  Artificial Stupidity
That was weird. At the hotel, I'd been in the room for 3 hours, when the TV just came on out of the blue. I don't even touch them anymore since about 5 years ago when reruns of Seinfeld quit coming on regularly. The remote on this thing was right where the housekeeper left it (no more idiotic COVID wrappers, as Peak Stupidity reported on last year in Stay away from the remote!. I just had to take that one home to scan it.)
The sound was on, but there was no picture besides the initial welcome screen - they are computers now, after all. Besides being pissed that anything was coming at me out of the idiot plate, I was kind of worried that this might happen again in the middle of the night. I went to the outlet behind and below the thing and pulled out the thickest AC cord, which looked like it traced out to the TV. The TV was still on.
Wait, OK, there was another cord going to a transformer, but the TV needs AC, right? I pulled that other one anyway. The TV was still on! Whoaaa! It was getting eerie by this point, and yeah, that DC power just went to a box on the back for processing the signal, anyway. The sound was clear. Fine, in case I was missing some other outlet, I pulled AC power out of the back of the TV. I said "you've GOT to be kidding me", to nobody there, as I STILL heard the TV. (I believe it was a hockey game, so I guess it could have been lots worse.)
I went back around the front of it and finally noticed that there was no picture, but the sound was on ... but, oh, OK, coming from another TV in the little living room area! Whewww, there was no ghost in the first machine, anymore, that is. I had to go the the 2nd TV and unplug its AC power out of the back of it.
Silence, yea! I guess they had both been turned on via a remote control in another room. The whole thing was still a little ghostly.
I am reminded by that of the old Police album Ghost in the Machine. Those red LED segments on the album cover were still pretty modern-TECH-like back in that time. They were supposed to be the heads of the 3 band members. The biggest hit on that album was Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, a good song, but maybe I've heard it too much. This one today is an obscure one, but another good one. Rehumanize Yourself was written by the drummer Stewart Copeland, along with Sting (who wrote most of the songs).
This album was recorded by the band on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean and partly in Quebec, as the band wanted to get far away from the record company people, 40 years ago now, from January through September of 1981.
I would call the heyday of The Police the period of their 1st three albums, the 2 French-named ones and the latter made of nonsense words, Outlandos d'Amour*, Reggatta de Blanc, and Zenyatta Mondatta. That was over just 3-year period, 1978 through 1980. Of course, they were still good for a long time afterward, but most rock bands had only a few prime years, it seems to me.
* "Outlaw of Love"
** OK, part French, with the meaning said to be "The White Race" or a play on words to mean "White Reggae".
You too can be an Influencer
Posted On: Friday - June 4th 2021 6:57PM MST
In Topics:   General Stupidity  Humor  Media Stupidity
The young lady above, along with other Americans these days, is self-employed as an Influencer. What the ...? I know, that was my reaction when I read for the first time about an influencer a few months back. Nope, not a just a youtuber, but an influencer. I suppose you may have to be a youtuber first though.
The world has forever been full of people trying to influence other people. One Dale Carnegie even wrote a book about how to "win friends and influence people". However, people still had JOBS! It sounds as though being an influencer of other people is a full-time job now. I can imagine myself being in HR (no, I can't really) and pulling up a resume with the following:
I guess I need to get hip. There are not so many jobs in buggy whip production anymore. I do like that this influencer position is one that doesn't require a 4-year degree and one that someone can't easily be Affirmative-Actioned out of it. If they edge out the job of media personality, that'd be a positive too.
Joe Q. Public
• 1996 - 1999: McDonalds cooking Associate
• 1998 - 2001: McDonalds Manager
• 2002 - Replaced as manager by AA hire
• 2002 - 2005:
Stonertravelled the world to find myself.
• 2006 - 2008: Starbucks Barista
• 2014 - 2018: After time off for Political Science degree - Starbucks Barista.
• 2019 - Present: Influencer
I am only picking on the influencer up above due to having read this article - Influencers Offered “Thousands of Dollars” to Post Selfies While Getting Vaccine, so there's a Kung Flu tie-in here.
Whitney Rife told her more than 400k followers on Tuesday that she received an invitation from two campaigns that offered to pay her to promote the vaccine to her audience.I gotta give this young lady a lot of credit for this part:
“If you want to get the vaccine, get the vaccine,” Rife said in an Instagram story. “To each their own. But I did just want to make a little note that I received two vaccine campaigns paying thousands of dollars to go and get the vaccine and record it and take a selfie while getting the vaccine. I’m just going to throw that out there.”Uhh, "to each his own" and wouldn't it be "influenced about"?
Rife went on to say, “I would never accept a campaign like this, but be careful with what you’re being influenced on.”
That article also has tweets from a bunch of celebrities showing us how easily it was to get jabbed for the Kung Flu. If we don't hear from a few of them for a while can we assume these influencers are down under the influence of influenza?
National Healthcare: Socialism at its finest - Part 1
Posted On: Friday - June 4th 2021 8:36AM MST
In Topics:   Healthcare Stupidity  Socialism/Communism
I could tell this was going to be a multi-part post right away. Too many thoughts were already in my head about the subject to make this concise. I'll start here with my motivation for writing this, and then an important point of clarification on the BUSINESS of healthcare vs. the SCIENCE of healthcare. We'll have to get to the ranting on the stupidity of this long-on-going transition from freedom to constraint in this, yet another important area of of lives, in subsequent posts.
It's the younger people who seem to be in the mindset that, yes, America's healthcare system sucks, and, yes, the US Feral Gov't better take full control so it'll be all better. I'm trying to remember an instance of the US Feral Gov't taking control and making something all better before ... Civil Rites? Nah, that's not a good one, wait ... the passenger railroads? No, oh, but that reminds me, the FAA and the airlines? Well, not that bad a use of government to create safety rules, but then the Feds don't economically
Oh, yeah, this is not the rant part. These former Bernie Bros. or whatever they are now and plenty of people of the alt-right and all over the political spectrum otherwise bring up, "at least we need to fix healthcare. Make it free, FREE, I tells ya', or single payer." I'm not sure if they even know what that means, but as long as this single payer is not THEM, it's great. "Single payer" is nothing but a euphemism for "government run".
I believe the young people can not imagine any other way. They see a broken economic mess in the business end of healthcare. I do too. They don't know the history of how this business got to the wretched state it's in. I do. They don't see any way out that doesn't involve, not just the Feral Gov't, but MORE Feral Gov't. I'll get back to all this.
When one gets into discussions about the "old way" and the mess now, and what could be, he will hear "people would just die of cancer because there was no colonoscopy", "you would have died already of a heart attack if this were 1965", and "they had to cut you open in the operating room to do this, when now it can be done through a small hole in the ... whatever." Oh, sure, that's all true. The science, engineering, technology, and just overall body of knowledge and toolkit of procedures has grown immensely over the last half a century.
This 1/2 century happens to overlap the same time period in which the field of healthcare has gone from operation in a reasonable facsimile of a free market to a morass of governments-of-all-kinds, Big Biz, and lawyers. A friend's group of doctor's offices with 50 employees had 11 of them working on nothing but the collections end - dealing with patients, insurance companies, and these governments. That's over 20% of the employees doing non-productive work, healthcare-wise. They have to get paid too.
In a discussion of the changes in healthcare in America, the changes in the SCIENCE must be separated out from the changes in the BUSINESS. Oh, but then the Socialists will tell you that "see, it's the Government, with the research funding, blah, blah..." As much as I see all the politics in the doling out of science funding just as much as any other, I'd say that this is better than our money being doled out to support the warfare state, the welfare state, and all the rest. However, that's not the history of how the amazing developments in the science of medicine happen.
Ideas happen to people, not governments. Bright doctors figure out new procedures. Doctors know they could to this new thing or that, were special tools or pieces of equipment existing to do this or that part, but that's impossible. Then, engineers look into these impossibilities and figure out some really cool things, maybe in partnership with said doctors, that make these new methods now possible. The biomedical device field has been filled with small businesses, at least in the past. No doubt many of the inventions would not have been possible without newly created materials also.
I don't personally think government help has been necessary to improve the field of medicine scientifically. If anything, I'd say government involvement has been the usual hindrance. Government or not, the great changes in medical diagnostics and procedures have helped Americans avoid dying earlier from the big killers. They have saved people who would have died in the hospital from car wrecks in the old days, or helped them to more fully recover. They have saved children's lives. There's no argument on whether the science of medicine having changed is a good thing. That's not where the problems lie. Is the point of any arguing on the science just to confuse the issue?
We'll get to the business end of things, where the problems lie, in Part 2. It's time for something more light-hearted for the next post though.
Residual effects of the Kung Flu ... PanicFest
Posted On: Thursday - June 3rd 2021 5:48PM MST
In Topics:   Curmudgeonry  Kung Flu Stupidity
It's time to get back anecdotal here at Peak Stupidity. In our locale, the PanicFest has tailed off quite a bit over the last month or so. (It helps a lot to have a decent governor.) There are residual effects, and I'll explain one. The first anecdote is just something I wanted to have fun with on here.
We've all done it, putting on our underwear inside out, due to being in a hurry, maybe dressing in the dark early in the morning ... It's normally not so embarrassing, depending on one's relationship situation. The thing about these face diapers is that they can also be put on the wrong way. How embarrassing is THAT?
Well, for me, since I have nothing but disdain for the whole deal, not at all. Back last fall when I was still putting them on in stores some of the time, I'd keep the same one of these medical ones in my pocket for weeks. Oh, I'd change pants still - don't get me wrong - but I'd transfer this thing along with the cash and car keys. It's not like you can't get these for nothing now, but it's to show my disdain. I may have put one on inside-out the odd time.
A guy who was sitting with us outside a few weeks back had his face diaper inside out. We gave him a hard time, not really caring what the heck he did, but then the conversation turned to what the effect would be. Assuming he'd worn it before the other way, I realized that this was basically back-flush mode. Just like with any kind of filter, one may want to send the fluid the other way and flush particles out of the system. "Hey, good idea. You can flush out more of those Kung Flu germs every time you exhale." Only, wait a minute! What is the purpose of the masks again? I forget. Was it to protect him or us? This guy was no kind of 6 ft. away. Back-flush mode should only be accomplished in a proper facility ... perhaps a virology lab ... in China.
(Image from the old post Scenes from the Kung Flu Summer re-Panic - Part 11.)
Yes, I've still seen people in the gym wearing face masks while exercising. Not my business - knock yourselves out ... literally.
There are residual effects of the Kung Flu, they say. There may be residual effects of the disease, but there are definitely residual effects of the PanicFest. It seems that some people are so used to having "can't do it - COVID-one-niner" as an excuse to not do something, that they don't want to go back to the old ways.
At a particular gym at one hotel, there was no cleaning stuff for the machines whatsoever. Now, that doesn't bother me getting on the machines, as I've long been in the "if it doesn't kill you, it only makes you stronger" mindset for many years. (Hopefully that'll keep up.) I've always made the effort to wipe them off AFTER using them, though. Before the Kung Flu, there were at least small towels for that. Then, if open at all, they went hard-out on the wipes and sanitizers of all flavors during the PanicFest.
At this place, the towels have been gone, I guess due to the CONTAGION!, and now, since this thing is supposed to be over, the wipes and fluids are gone too. You've got nothing to wipe off the machines with. It was like this the next day too. A guy who came in to clean the place, a friendly enough guy, replied to my query about this with "Oh, I come in and clean it twice a day." "Yeah, but I usually wipe off the machines with something." "It's OK, I'll come in here a 2nd time later on." OK, whatever. It's not like we have a country full of people all antsy about germs or anything.
You're not gonna believe this shit ...
Posted On: Thursday - June 3rd 2021 10:51AM MST
In Topics:   Websites  Humor
William Tenenbaum, 31, is lying in critical condition according to medical staff at Allendale County Hospital after being mistaken for a deer by two local hunters.It took me 2 minutes or so to finally realize that, no, this isn't real. It should not take that long!. That's what has me not just smiling at this nice job by the World News Daily site - here, but shaking my head as well.
According to the two hunters, Tenenbaum was dressed and painted in the colors of a deer and was wearing antlers which made him unrecognizable to the two men.“It was the first time in my life that I’d seen a deer stand up and walk on its two legs. That’s when I went for a clear shot to the lungs,” Harry Perkins, 72, told reporters, visibly shocked.
See, the problem is that this could be funny at all. If you went back 10 years, well, better make it 20, this couldn't be a joke. "Whaaa? It's not Halloween. Plus, you'd wear the suit to a party, not out in the woods. I don't get it, I mean, you need to work on this one... maybe just start over."
This story could be true now. The World News Daily put enough different humorous lines in there to finally clue me in, but it's hard for these types of sites to keep up. First, the joke has no reason to be funny, because it's too stupid an idea. Then, it could be funny for a short period. Then, it's no joke anymore because this sort of thing happens twice a week in this country, and it's no laughing matter!
Anyway, at first glance here, this WND site is just as funny as The Onion was to me years ago. I'll have to check it out more. OK, one more excerpt:
“When he was eight he believed he was a porcupine, then at 12 a squirrel, now he’s a deer. It could be worse, he could be a homosexual,” his mother argued when reached by phone.Heh, heh! That's where I was pretty sure this was bogus. You can't just go saying THAT.
Back to the excess death count - Could it be infants and illegal aliens?
Posted On: Wednesday - June 2nd 2021 6:48PM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  US Feral Government  Kung Flu Stupidity
This post is written to make a conclusion regarding the numerical discrepancy wondered about in Mortality Addendum, as based on the post before that, Hey, what's the deal with excess deaths, anyway?
It's not like there's no problem still, with the CDC's self-described method of estimating this "excess death" count still, no matter what the deal. I just wondered why, though the American "normal" death numbers calculate as going up considerably due to aging. the CDC mortality rates for age groups applied to the US Census population numbers in these age groups don't match "normal" deaths for each year (as, again, coming from the CDC). I think I have a definite cause of the discrepancy that's one small portion, and an indefinite idea of one that could account for all the rest.
Thankfully, infant mortality is still slightly increasing in America, but the numbers make an upward correction to my CDC morality rate x Census Bureau population numbers.
I found out that those 1-4 y/o numbers don't count the deaths of anyone under 1 y/o. They've got a reason for that, I suppose, as deaths during delivery are fundamentally different from deaths from other causes. I should have noticed this, as it would have read "0 - 5" if it were actually "< 5 y/o". OK, well, those infant mortality numbers vary from ~23,000 in '15, trending slowly down to ~21,000 in '19. These are not negligible, being from 12% to just under 20% of the discrepancy in total deaths I ran into.
Next, OK, we're using official numbers for calculating American deaths, but even with adding in infant mortality, we are 160,000 to 85,000 deaths short. Well, Grasshopper, answer the mystery of who is not counted in the census, yet still dies in America, and I won't keep fucking with you with that pebble in my hand trick. Oh, could it be....
(Not all illegal aliens are young Mexicans, Guats, and Salvadorans. Don't know about this guy. It's a file photo.)
See, you would have expected a photo of those lovely human-trafficked DACA girls and boys, being thrown over a fence somewheres near Laredo, Texas. We think of all these illegal immigrants as being young, strong, and healthy, except when they need the emergency room for minor items, on our dime. Nah, there are plenty of illegals, lots of them Chinese who get here via overstaying what was once a legitimate non-immigrant visa of some sort.
It sounds crazy that this is a factor. However, when I think about it, deaths are deaths, and when the old Chinaman kicks it from
We don't know how many illegal aliens reside in this country, but I'm pretty damn sure it's not the 11 million that was bandied about from 2001 on. Ann Coulter brought up 30 million, and I'll go with that. If they're going to pull numbers out their asses, we can too! They are not the same in terms of proportions in the ages brackets as the Census-counted American population. We don't know these quantities either. Let's just say 30 million illegals live here. Even if their mortality is 1/2 the rate as in the CDC charts, they are 9% of Americans, to it'd be (just rounding down) 4% more deaths. That and infant mortality would account for every bit of the discrepancies discussed last week.
So, there you go. I wish we had just some sample age demographics of the illegal alien population, but that's probably not possible. If we did, we could back-estimate the number of illegal aliens from total deaths each year minus those calculated the way I did. So, there'd be that... which is not nothing - in fact it's a big damn deal still, a lot more than the Kung Flu virus itself really is.
We need to talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver
Posted On: Wednesday - June 2nd 2021 10:14AM MST
In Topics:   Books
What's this novel got to do with stupidity? It's the usual situation here: I read the whole book, it's my blog, so this will be a post. This is not the first novel Peak Stupidity has written a review on, but novels ought to have shorter ones, right? Only, for the last novel* by this author, Lionel Shriver, we had a 6-parter! That was a big exception as that last one I reviewed, The Mandibles, was a very realistic dystopian near-future story with a lot in it that would be useful to, or at least argued about, by we preppers. (That's at least on the economics side of things - not guns and ammo, gardening, or back-up power.) See Introduction, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Conclusion.
When I mention that book, people often recommend this one. We Need To Talk About Kevin is a POWERFUL book. That's the first thing I thought of after finishing it. I can't say that "I couldn't put it down", because it is 400 pages, after all, and I had stuff to do. It's just a hell of an emotional story, and Lionel Shriver is a great writer.
Kevin from the title is the son of the narrator, and he ends up shooting and killing and injuring a bunch of his high school classmates** at the end of the book. Wait! No, that doesn't spoil the book. Seriously! See, we are told that from the beginning, and even on the book jacket, so you're gonna know that soon enough, even if not from Peak Stupidity. Miss Shriver wrote this novel as a bunch of after-the-fact letters from the narrator Mom to her ex-husband, the Dad of this excitable boy*** Kevin. Really, Kevin is not the excitable boy type, but a child who never seemed to like, much less get excited about, anything at all in this world. That includes his Mom. Kevin is in jail during the duration of the book, as one might expect.
As with the conversation used to explain many parts of the story in The Mandibles, these letters sound just too hifalutin and literary to be real letters. That doesn't really detract from the realism in this one. Since the author has a huge vocabulary and amazing grip on the English language, she's writing of what she knows. Even if the narrator Eva's ex-husband Franklin didn't really need to read this kind of writing, the narrator could have been really writing like that, were she a writer, and she IS in the story. There are no reply letters, so it's one-sided anyway.
Lionel Shriver's writing of what she knows*** means that you're going to read everything from the viewpoint of a long-term NY City dweller, and you know what that means. The perspective about the rest of America, seen mostly in one chapter (letter) in which the author describes to her boy what she doesn't like about it, is from that of a New Yorker. There's her mention of the NY Times as if it's a very important part of life, and I have to except just this one part [top of page 207]:
For some reason I imagine it will reassure you that I still get the Times. But I seem to have misplaced the grid I once imposed on it to determine what parts were worth reading. Famines and Hollywood divorces appear equally vital and equally trifling. Arbitrarily, I either devour the paper soup to nuts, or I toss it smooth and cool on the stack by the door. How right I was, in those days; how easily the United States can get on without me.That the United States could get on swimmingly without the NY Times is something the author may not be able to fathom. BTW, as for leaving the US, Eva had made a career as a travel writer, owning a company that produced books for the low-budget young travelers going abroad. The feminism one would expect comes out in this book, but only in small doses, and Miss Shriver even shows the narrator going off the reservation of that subject, with her choice of a husband. Then the parenting*** part, the biggest subject of the novel, eschews any feminism, other than the subject of choosing to be a parent or not.
What about the subject of guns? The novel has loads of mentions of real school shootings that had happened up till the finishing of the book, from Eva and Kevin. (Eva is always writing about the past, until the very end, keep in mind.) Lionel Shriver does have the expected ignorance about guns in general, as with the one scene near the end of The Mandibles. Hell, every time she mentions a semi-auto rifle in here, it's called an "auto". Trust me, if a big gun control agenda seemed to be the theme of this book, I'd have turned it back in to the library about 1/2 way into it. Believe it or not, it is not.
I ask the Peak Stupidity to believe me when I say it's worth ignoring this minor New Yorker**** mindset to enjoy this gripping novel. After the beginning of the novel, with its description of Eva and Franklin's happy marriage, we hear about Eva's very tough decision making about whether to have a kid. Her bio-clock has come mostly around to 12 O'clock, but that feminist mindset tells her that enjoying the child-free life is more important. OTOH, Franklin is keen to be a family man. As soon as Kevin is born, there is no normal mother/child bonding, and the boy is seen to be a problem right away.
Then, we get to read lots about the upbringing of this mass murderer, as few snippets of Eva's interactions with people after the fact are described, including visits to her son in the pen. The family life is described, which includes the signs of what's coming from Kevin, as Franklin the husband, being an all-American Dad type and a glass-half-full guy about his son, just can't see it all coming. Each chapter, which is another letter, starts with some current events, and then discusses Eva's thoughts on portions of this family life and what were the things going wrong.
It's great reading, and even after one gets to page 400, the end, there is a nice quick honest auto-bio by the author. (It has some interesting things about the publishing world too, as nobody wanted this one, in general.) Then, the author discussed the reaction to the novel. Miss Shriver notes in these afterthoughts (included in at least the copy I had) that the Amazon and other comments on her novel had some great discussion based on the readers' different takes on what the real conclusion of the story was. Was it about nurture, that Eva was never fit to be a Mom, or was it nature that caused Kevin to kill all these kids? Of course it's not a real story, but throughout the book, I was under the impression that the author was conveying that it was nature. There are some bad seeds, and you may get the one in a million that is just a step beyond and just plain evil. I am so glad to have experienced the opposite!
5 stars go to We Need to Talk About Kevin from Peak Stupidity. Thank you so much for the great reading, Lionel Shriver.
PS: One very minor weirdness in the book is that all the years that begin in a "1", as in before the year 2000 are written with a capital "I" (with the crossbars - don't know what font you're looking at right now) instead of the number one. This is everywhere, and even the publisher's address on the copyright page is in zip code I0007, and the book was reprinted in 20II. Well, during that reprinting, someone must not have had the extra funds to pay for all those ones, or something. It's a number, right?! I could have sold her I000 "1"s for a discount. Who does this? I don't have The Mandibles on me now, so I can't check if that's a Lionel Shriver idiosyncrasy.
* I'm not purposefully trying to sound like the literary type, such as John Derbyshire ("I decided to look up some more books from this guy", to paraphrase from interesting monthly "Diary" article), much less a Ron Unz with "I wanted to look into this more, so I read 14 books about it yesterday" - I mean, I believe him, I guess, but it may be more beneficial for him to just step the hell outside. I'm usually not able to even read the books that just come my way via recommendations and availability from the library.
** Yeah, and to be correct, one teacher and a cafeteria worker too.
*** That is, with the exception of motherhood itself, which she admits that she was worried about, in her afterward about the book at the end.
**** Oh, wait, she never says she lives there, but she is "based" there, and in London. Yeah, based there, but not "based". Steve Sailer has made fun of that expression before, cluing me in to notice it more.