All posts by David Stockman

Lockdown Lunacy: Your Government Ordered Depression Has Arrived

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Well, the Virus Patrol sure has done it. In a fit of reckless overkill they have managed to vaporize six years of economic growth during the last 90 days. And that’s just by the mechanical reckoning of the GDP accounts, where total output in Q2 weighed in at essentially the same level as Q4 2014.

The real damage is far deeper, however, and is reflected in millions of small businesses permanently destroyed, tens of millions of households wiped-out financially and the vicious daisy chain of delinquencies, deferrals and defaults just beginning to rip through the $78 trillion edifice of debt which entombs the US economy.

Real GDP Level

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Of course, most of the Wall Street talking heads were nonplussed by this morning’s release because, well, Q2 results are claimed to be ancient history: Reality is purportedly the “V”-shaped recovery on their spreadsheets, which really can’t fail to happen because it’s always two quarters out regardless of conditions at the moment.

So let’s get something straight. What is happening is an economic catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen before, even during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In fact, the worst annual decline back then was a 14.8 percent drop in 1932, while the entire peak-to-trough real GDP decline between 1929 and the 1933 bottom was 30.5 percent.

So it would be fair to say that measured at an annualized rate, the idiotic Dr. Fauci and his Virus Patrol have now delivered a 32.9 percent GDP plunge, which single-handedly tops the entire contraction of the Great Depression.

Needless to say, the Q2 result also leaves the recessionary drops since 1950 way back in the dust. Even the auto industry induced plunge of Q1 1958 didn’t make the double-digit threshold. It clocked in at a 9.986 percent annualized decline or less than one-third of today’s cliff dive.

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What was especially notable, however, was the vaporization of personal consumption spending on services, which ordinarily accounts for upwards of 70 percent of total PCE; and which is also ballyhooed by the paint-by-the-numbers Wall Street economist as the ballast the keeps GDP moving ever higher.

Not this time!

Services spending literally fell through the trapdoor, contracting at a 43.4 percent annualized rate. That compares with the 11 recessions since 1950 where real spending on services never went negative, save for the pinprick decline of -1.6 percent annualized during the Q1 2009 bottom of the Great Recession.

By every account, the economic plunge in the winter of 2008-2009 was the worst since the 1930s, but today the Commerce Department reported a PCE-services drop that was 28X deeper!

Our purpose here is not to marshal scary numbers, even as they surely are. Rather, our point is that what is coursing through the Q2 numbers is not anything that resembles a normal chain-of-reactions macroeconomic cycle. For instance, where job losses cascade through to shrinking incomes, thereby causing consumer confidence and spending wherewithal to diminish and household spending to be curtailed.

To the contrary, what is depicted below is essentially economic martial law. Agencies of the state commanded airports, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms, movies, dentist offices, theme parks, sporting events etc. to close or operate at drastically reduced capacity, which meant, in turn, that day-in-and-day out commerce and economic output vanished instantly.

Stated differently, this 43 percent plunge in services spending didn’t happen for the ordinary reason that people were short on cash. As we show below, personal income during the quarter – thanks to the massive flow of free stuff from Washington (aka government transfer payments) – clocked in at a record level!

Consequently, there will be no rebound in the plunging red line below no matter how much fiscal and monetary “stimulus” Washington pumps into the main street economy.

The services sector accounts for nearly 66 percent of total PCE, which, in turn, accounts for 68 percent of measured GDP. So the latter will not recover until the Virus Patrol gets its foot off the neck of what we call the social congregation activities of daily economic life; and also until it and its MSM collaborationist desist from fanning the false claim that the Covid is the equivalent of the Black Plague, thereby causing people to voluntarily quarantine out of misplaced fear.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady for long – yes, they have not yet been locked up in padded cells where they belong – to realize that the Virus Patrol is on a once-in-a lifetime power trip.

In ultra-busy body/Nanny State fashion they are virtually regimenting the comings and goings of a $20 trillion economy – even as they keep the US economy on indefinite idle waiting for the vaccines and antivirals from their allies in Big Pharma and the Gates Complex to ride to the (mandatory) rescue.

Annualized Change In Personal Consumption Expenditures, Services, 1950-2020

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We don’t expect the Virus Patrol to be put out of business any time soon because the Donald is too confused and weak to shut them down.

Moreover, if he keeps shooting himself in the kneecaps via tweets like today’s “lets-postpone-the-election” numbskullery, he will guarantee an even worse scenario: Namely, that while Sleepy Joe is being oxygenated and propped-up behind the Resolute Desk for daily Oval Office photo ops, the left-wing health Nazis who surround him will really go to town on Lockdown Nation.

Nor is that any kind of unhinged trashing of the camarilla of out-and-out statists who will form the core of the Biden Administration. The fact is, the Donald’s malpacticing doctors, the MSM and the Blue State mayors and governors have now unleashed a full-on public hysteria that is self-fueling.

It is now transforming ordinary sheeples into obedient and unquestioning brown-shirts. Even in the purportedly enlightened, socialist republic of Aspen, where we are sheltering for the duration, we see them “mask-up” even with no one in sight, while pumping strenuously up the mountain side on a fat-tired bike.

One manifestation of the Covid-Hysteria is the soaring level of “testing” going on as people either try to get a hall pass in order to return to work or just plain run to the nearest testing station every time the media sends off new alarm bells.

During April, for instance, which was the very worst month of the contagion in terms of serious illnesses and deaths, 5.2 million new tests were reported or 175,000 per day.

By contrast, in July to date (thru the 29th), there have been 21.5 million new tests reported or an average of 745,000 per day.

In a population that has been thoroughly exposed to the virus after five months, it is a given that with the number of tests soaring, the number of positive cases will rise proportionately. But that’s a misdirection because the real issue is the true medical severity of the new cases, and that has dropped precipitously.

The death rate has dropped from 1,800 per day in April to 780 in July; and whereas 15-20 percent of new cases were being hospitalized in most states during April, that figure has now fallen to 2-4 percent.

That is, after the Grim Reaper’s original romp through the most vulnerable populations – especially the nursing homes and long-term care facilities in March/April – the preponderant share of the remaining populations being infected and testing positive appear to have stronger immune defenses, and are mainly either asymptomatic or treating and recovering at home in the normal flu-season manner.

So on the facts, the Hysteria should be dying out, but, alas, the facts are of small moment in the context of a runaway public hysteria that is being turbocharged by a severely aggravated anti-Trump partisanship that has no modern precedent, or any at all.

We are constantly reminded that there are less than 100 days until the election, but probably of even more salience is that the next flu season will be arriving even sooner in October. And it won’t matter whether the obvious herd immunities building up against the SARS-Cov-2 cause the next flu season to be unusually mild or not.

That’s because the Virus Patrol will be at shrill alert for the “second wave” in the run-up to October, keeping the suffocated economy evident in today’s GDP report on its back foot for the balance of the year, at least. That means the ballyhooed V is now surely dead-as-a-door nail.

In this context, it needs be recalled that the services sector of the US economy is bearing the brunt of the Lockdown orders, but that it now counts for fully $8.7 trillion or 45 percent of GDP. That compares to a mere 26 percent back in the days of America’s industrial might in the mid-1950s.

In the big picture context, therefore, national policy – especially at the Eccles Building – caused the off-shoring and hollowing-out of the US industrial economy over the last three decades. In turn, that has left main street especially vulnerable to a state-orchestrated attack on its new services sector center of gravity such as outpatient surgery clinics, Pilates studios and tapas bars.

Again, an economic martial law attack on the new epicenter of the US economy means that the issue is not traditional stimulus, but clearing the decks and clearing the air of the Virus Patrol orders and Covid-Hysteria, which was the real culprit behind the Q2 GDP disaster.

Nominal GDP (light brown) Versus Service Sector PCE (dark brown), 1955-2020

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Perhaps nowhere is the impact of economic martial law more evident, ironically, than in the health care sub-sector of the services economy.

The former, of course, has been the workhorse of US GDP growth for decades. However, after peaking at $2.50 trillion in Q4 2019, it weighed in at just $1.89 trillion in Q2 2020. That’s a $608 billion decline, reflecting an astounding -24 percent contraction.

And this is supposed to be the worst medical crisis to hit America since the Spanish Flu of 1918!

But, actually, the government’s data mill is telling an absolutely opposite, nay crazy, story. Namely, that the single largest sector of the US economy plunged at a 61.6 percent annualized rate in Q2 – meaning that the figure gives the notion of being “off the charts” of history an altogether new definition.

Needless to say, health care spending is not now and never has been amenable to Washington’s vaunted stimulus machines. The overwhelming share of spending is government funded directly through Medicare/Medicaid et al or through the $300 billion per year tax shelter for employer health plans; and whether public or private, consumer health payments are overwhelming made by third-parties, thereby further limiting the efficacy of the cheap money from the Fed and free money from Uncle Sam.

The plunging red line below, therefore, is the doing of the Virus Patrol and its orders to shutdown most so-called discretionary healthy care services, such as cancer screenings. So until it is put out of business and the public Covid-Hysteria is substantially abated, the rebound of the health services sector is likely to the contained and protracted.

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In short, what we have is a government-ordered depression, not a macroeconomic recession that is purportedly remediable by a huge dose of monetary and fiscal stimulus. So the truth is, the Virus Patrol, not the Fed and Washington’s everything bailout brigade, is in charge of the recovery from the Q2 disaster, and they are not much interested in letting it happen.

To take another salient example, the go-to strategy of the Virus Patrol has been to shutdown large scale public gatherings entirely, but that’s obviously the venue of the recreation sector.

So it is not surprising that the PCE spending rate for this sector has given “cliff-diving” a run for its money. Compared to the $590 billion annualized rate of spending in Q4 2019, the current quarter clocked in at just $272 trillion.

The amounted to a 53.4 percent decline from Q4 and an out-of-this-world contraction of 61 percent annualized in the current quarter. Or alternatively, recreation spending in Lockdown Nation during Q2 reverted to the level first crossed in Q2 2002.

That’s 18 year’s worth of growth gone in a virtual economic heartbeat.

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Of course, there was one thing that was way up in Q2 – transfer payments and personal income. And every dime of the massive increase in transfer payments shown below was borrowed by Uncle Sam and monetized by the Fed.

Yet the only thing it accomplished was to further balloon the public debt because the current depression does not flow from the want of means or desire to spend: It’s the product of economic martial law ordered up by the Virus Patrol.

Still, it is worth noting that wage and salary income (brown line) was down by $680 billion at an annual rate in Q2, while the Washington spending machine boosted transfer payments at a $2.4 trillion annual rate, or by nearly four times more!

Once upon a time, that would have been considered insane overkill, and at least caused Republicans to screech at the top of their lungs about fiscal profligacy.

Alas, as they put up their $1.2 trillion Everything Bailout 5.0 against the House Dems’ $3.3 trillion alternative in the days just ahead, the chart below will be nowhere seen in the porkers’ lounges of Capitol Hill.

Change From Prior Quarter In Billions: Transfer Payments (purple line) Versus Wages and Salaries (brown line)

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Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

Who’s That Masked Man!

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It should be evident by now that the Donald’s one and only north star is his own glorification and self-aggrandizement. That’s why he’s totally flat-footed at this crucial moment in the pandemic saga.

What he needs to be doing is taking off the gloves for a bare-knuckled counter-attack against the Virus Patrol, which is ruining America’s economic and fiscal future.

Instead, yesterday he put on the Mask and the tweeted a juvenile boast that he’s the most patriotic muzzle-wearer in the land. Apparently, there is no place the Donald won’t go to reverse his sagging poll results:
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!

But no, Donald, you ain’t no favorite among lovers of liberty, capitalist prosperity, free market opportunity and the constitutional fettering of state power.

After all, you said you came to Washington to drain the Swamp, yet there is no more odious set of Swamp Creatures than the camarilla of NIH/CDC/FDA doctors and apparatchiks, along with their Big Pharma and Gates Vaccine lobby allies, who bamboozled you into the folly of Lockdown Nation last March.

But now—when its way past time to reverse course and repudiate your malpracticing doctors— you actually genuflect to their Mask Totem, when you should be declaring loudly and unequivocally the opposite: Namely, that the the coronavirus has meet it match in the immune systems of the overwhelming share of Americans, and that it’s beating a fast retreat into the archives of still another infectious winter virus that passed through the population and moved on.

On the one hand, the Grim Reaper of Covid has long since vacated the epicenter of its brief rampage in New York, where the foolish actions of Gauleiter Cuomo caused a surge in nursing home infections, sickness and death, which accounts almost entirely for the four week surge in the state’s WITH-Covid death count during April.

By contrast, during the current month thru July 20, New York has tested like crazy, but has come up with no cigar with respect to new Covid cases. Compared to a total of 1,250,000 tests during that 20-day period, only 13,872 have tested positive, and many of those are surely the same people taking and re-taking their PCP swab in order to gain license to go back to work.

In any event, the gross positive rate is just 1.1 percent and would probably well less than that if the data were de-duped.

Likewise, there have been an average of just 10 WITH-Covid deaths reported during the first three weeks of July, which self-evidently is a tiny fraction of 500-800 deaths per day—heavily in the nursing homes—reported during April. Moreover, there is no real mystery as to why the curve is (thankfully) plunging to the lower right of the chart and heading right off the page. This virus like other virulent influenza’s strikes the weakest and most vulnerable population first, and thereafter tends to meet its match as the immune systems of the healthier parts of the population join the battle.

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What that natural progression of the contagion means, of course, is that Governor Cuomo’s economically destructive lockdown orders had virtually nothing to do with the coronavirus’ welcome retreat.

That’s evident by comparison with Sweden, which had virtually no lockdowns at all. As of yesterday, however, the WITH-Covid death rate was 130 per 100,000 persons for New York state overall, and 235, 223 and 200 per 100,000, respectively, in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

By contrast, the mortality rate in Sweden has been about 55 per 100,000, and the preponderant share of those have been people over 70 years, heavily institutionalized in care facilities. In any event, the chart below says it all. Governor Cuomo’s boot heels did not “flatten the curve” relative to the open social and economic regime in Sweden, and also resulted in a 2.5X higher mortality rate on a cumulative basis.

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By the same token, there is no “second wave” crisis in the so-called hot spot areas of the Sunbelt, either. Like in the case of New York, the virus is simply moving through the population in a time frame that is a month or two lagged relative to the original contagion’s spread in the Northeast; and, again, it is meeting its match in the immune systems of the healthier parts of the population.

The proof for that is straight-forward and is measured by the hospitalization rate per new case. The latter has plunged from 15-20 percent in the early days of the contagion in these new so-called hot spot states, but is now in the low single digits. The data for new cases, hospitalizations and the hospitalization ratio for the first 20 days of July includes the following:

· Florida: 207,960 new cases, 6,726 additional hospitalizations=3.2 percent;

· Arizona: 65,968 new cases, 1,962 additional hospitalizations=3.0 percent;

· Tennessee: 36,245 new cases, 1,047 additional hospitalizations=2.9 percent;

· Georgia: 64,284 new cases, 3,996 additional hospitalizations=6.2 percent;

· Arkansas: 13,150 new cases, 883 additional hospitalizations=6.0 percent;

· South Carolina: 35,046 new cases, 1,328 additional hospitalizations=3.8 percent;

· Mississippi: 21,642 new cases, 610 additional hospitalizations=2.8 percent

In a word, hospitalization rates of 3-6 percent are not indicative of a public health crisis or a dread disease laying waste to the population. In fact, they are only slightly above the hospitalization rates for normal winter influenza.

The chart below is the CDC’s assessment for the 2010-2018 seasons, and shows that the hospitalization rate per infected case has averaged 1.5 percent-2.0 percent over that eight year period; and that’s against a generous guesstimate of total influenza illnesses, not lab confirmed cases as with the current Covid stats.

Still, the point hardly needs saying. We do not close the bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, movies, malls etc. every winter owing to the flu. Yet that’s exactly what the Donald’ camarilla of malpracticing doctors are now urging for the states listed above in the face of a virus that is only slightly more severe than normal.

Stated differently, even now 94-97 percent of the ballyhooed “new cases” in the so-called Red Zone states are either asymptomatic or result in mild illness and recovery at home. The fact that what the Donald mistakenly thought was the Greatest Economy Ever is now swamped in unemployment, business failures, payment delinquencies and a fearful, muzzle-ridden public is ultimately the doing of the Masked Man above.

Harry Truman was right. The buck stops in the Oval Office.

At the end of the day, it was the Donald who empowered Dr. Fauci, who, in turn, paved the way for the governors, public health departments, mayors and lesser officials to attack the livelihoods and well-being of their own constituents in their tens of millions.

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To add insult to injury, however, you can leave it to Dr. Fauci. The man had the gall to offer New York state as a shinning example to the rest of the nation when, in fact, it’s governor is damn near criminally negligent on the state’s nursing home death tsunami alone.

The fact is, New York’s mortality rate per 100,000 is well more than 2X greater than the European basket cases of Italy, Spain and the UK, and is actually more than 4.5X higher than Florida’s and 9.5X higher than that of Texas.

In the face of such abysmal judgement, the Donald’s trademark “you’re fired” would be the least that might be expected. But what we got was not just the ostentatious tweet of POTUS in a muzzle, but a renewed signal for the power-grabbing, Trump-hating local Dem officialdom to intensify their attacks on the main street economy.

The Dem rulers of Broward County, Florida, for example, have just now issued an order requiring homeowners to enforce the mask rule against visitors in their own homes-–upon penalty of fine or jail and subject to county inspector surveillance.

Likewise, County mayor Dale Holness’ announced a curfew and criminal penalties for having more than 10 people in your own home, or being part of a gathering of more than 10 people inside a PRIVATE RESIDENCE.

Of course, Broward County is just a microcosm of the economy-crushing mayhem that has been unleashed by the Donald’s own presumptive subordinates. This is no longer just a few aggressive governors like those of New York, New Jersey and Michigan in the early days of the pandemic: What you have now is a veritable army of petty officialdom, enforcers and self-appointed snitches literally tearing apart the fabric of economic and social life in much of America.

Of course, the Donald is clueless about this because the retainers and sycophants who surround him insure he doesn’t grasp the enormity of the economic collapse that has been triggered, and which shows no sign of some kind of miraculous “V”-shaped rebound.

Nor does he realize that the pre-Covid economy was a fragile tinder-box of debt, speculation and malinvestment that was stumbling forward on cyclical fumes and the residual growth momentum of capitalism—even in the face of the giant obstacles to sustainable prosperity stood up by the state and especially its central banking branch.

So any old Black Swan could have triggered the deep recession now underway. But owing to the sudden, concentrated blunderbuss attacks of Lockdown Nation, this one will prove to be the blackist avian visitor of all.

For instance, nothing like this chart has ever been seen before in the annals of modern history. Compared to a peak of 6.6 million UI beneficiaries at the bottom of the Great Recession (May 2009), there are now upwards of 32 million workers drawing state and Federal UI benefits. That’s more than 20 percent of the 158 million employed workers as of February.

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Ordinarily, the jolt to income and spending from a 32 million person army of the unemployed would have sent the US economy reeling months ago because in the hand-to-mouth world that the Donald inherited, 80 percent of the households have no meaningful financial cushion or rainy day funds.

Of course, that unemployment based income and spending plunge is now being temporarily cushioned by the unprecedented eruption of free stuff from Uncle Sam that was packed into the Everything Bailouts three months ago. That includes upwards of $500 billion of wage support via the PPP program at the SBA, the $1,200 helicopter checks which went out to 160 million citizens and especially the $600 per week Federal “top-up” on UI benefits.

The impact of the latter in disguising the economic pain implicit in the UI chart above cannot be over-emphasized. On a nationwide average basis, the regular state UI program pays about $500 per week or an annualized rate of $26,000 to covered workers.

In the middle of the night during the frenzied legislative sessions of late March, however, Congress upped the ante to $1,100 per week, which annualizes to $57,200.

Them there is different kettles of fish entirely!

But the Federal top-up also costs $75 billion per month and has put nearly two-thirds of unemployed recipients in a higher income bracket than when they were on the job drawing a paycheck; and, also, by the way, producing output of goods and services which are the real building blocks of the macro-economy.

It now comes to pass that at least some of the sleep-walking GOP senators have figured out that you can’t shell out a $75 billion per month dole for unemployment and expect the engines of economic life to restart or the tattered remains of Washington’s fiscal accounts to ever be repaired.

So there is a rather considerable chance that the battle over the impending Everything Bailout 4.0 will be prolonged, and that the giant air-cushion of transfer payments which has disguised the Lockdown Nation disaster will be abruptly deflated in August.

The chart below, in fact, shows how the phantasmagoria of free stuff from Washington since March has tuned upside down the traditional notion of a recession, and especially one where one-fifth of the labor force is unemployed. The chart shows total monthly household personal income—including dividends, interest and proprietors profits which mostly goes to the top 10 percent—-since January.

Incredibly, during April when the bottom literally dropped out of industries ranging from air travel to neighborhood restaurants and bars, total household income was actually 5 percent higher than it was during January—a time when both Wall Street and the Donald claimed the US economy was booming like never before.

Since then, household income has managed to stay right at the pre-Covid January level, notwithstanding a loss of wage and salary disbursements that is still running at a negative $850 billion annual rate.

What portends for August and many months to come, therefore, is the delayed income and spending contraction of a battered economy which has already experienced a double-digit plunge in the actual production of goods and services.

Needless to say, that’s going to shock both Wall Street and the Masked Man alike.

And it will be enough of a blow to voter confidence—even in the Trumpite precincts of Flyover America—so as to insure that the best outcome possible on November 3 will be the Mother-of-All-Hanging Chad battles at the Electoral College and Supreme Court, while the likely outcome is a return of the vengeful coalition of Clintonista poltroons and Progressive-Left ideologues to the seats of power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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In either contingency, today’s lagging indicators of the underlying economic distress generated by Lockdown nation will be aggravated enormously. These charts on failing rent collections and small business closures are, in fact, just the tip of the iceberg—and will continue to worsen even if some gussied-up Everything Bailout 4.0 is cobbled together on Capitol Hill before the real election season blood-lettings get underway.

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Indeed, on any number of high-frequency variables, the data has already plateaued and that’s before the August plunge and the most vicious election battle in modern history have taken their toll.

And now with the new lockdown orders and a renewed MSM campaign of Covid-Hysteria in the Sunbelt, there is indeed a “second wave” coming—that is, more hemorrhaging of jobs, incomes, defaults and business failures across the length and breath of main street America.

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As we said, anyone who actually believed the Donald had any semblance of a plan for MAGA should now be asking “Who’s that Masked Man”?

We’re not.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.

The Clown Cars Are Fully Loaded And Dr. Fauci’s Is Leading The Parade

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When it comes to the topic of clown cars, we’d say Dr. Fauci gets a limo version all to himself.

Yesterday he uttered the following incoherent babble, saying the recent surge in new cases is because the Virus Patrol didn’t go far enough in throwing 50 million Americans out of work:
'We did not shut down entirely,' Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. 'We need to draw back a few yards and say, "OK, we can’t stay shut down forever." …You’ve got to shut down but then you’ve got to gradually open.'
Got that?

What does this pretentious old windbag think—-that the blooming, buzzing mass of a $21 trillion economy can be calibrated up and down by the week via some magical dimmer switch?

Never mind because he was then on to this preposterous comparison:
Fauci also said he expects the public to compare the Covid-19 pandemic to the 1918 pandemic flu, which killed around 50 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Well, it so happens that the US death rate from the Spanish Flu was 655 per 100,000 persons (675,000 deaths in a population of 103 million). That’s obviously orders of magnitude larger than the 39 per 100,000 deaths to date from the Covid.

In fact, the impact of the Spanish Flu was not only 17X greater in terms of the overall mortality rate, but it was also a true Grim Reaper in the sense that it struck across the entire age spectrum of the population (dark blue bars).

It actually started in the giant domestic military training compounds stood up by Woodrow Wilson to join a European war that was none of America’s business, but the virus did kill tens of thousands of 18-30 year-old draftees in their own barracks long before they got to the killing fields of France.

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By contrast, as we now surely understand, and you would think Fauci would, too, the Covid (light blue bars) is primarily a harvester of elderly persons already struggling with life-threatening respiratory, heart, vascular, renal and diabetic illnesses.

Accordingly, among the 191 million Americans under the age of 45 years, there have been only 1.5 WITH-Covid deaths per 100,000, while for the elderly, the opposite is true. Nearly 70,000 or more than 60 percent of all WITH-Covid death have been among the 75 years and older population, resulting in mortality rates as follows:

- 85 years & Over: 581 per 100,000 persons;
- 75-84 years: 200 per 100,000 persons;

Now, you don’t need to take a single class in epidemiology to understand a core truth: That is, when nearly 60 percent of the population under 45 years accounts for only 2.5 percent of the reported WITH-Covid deaths and has a rounding error mortality rate, while the 6.5 percent of the population 75 years and older accounts for 60 percent of the deaths—you don’t fight the disease with a one-size-fits all strategy of generic lockdowns, quarantines, and social regimentation.

And surely you don’t shutdown the schools, gyms, bars, restaurants, movies, ball games, concerts, beaches, theme parks etc. because the vulnerable elderly don’t patronize these venues in appreciable numbers anyway, and could easily be warned to stay strictly away.

The key point, however, is that this whole unspeakable Lockdown Folly does not remotely stem from the “science”, as the MSM supporters of Fauci claim.

It’s just a hair-brained experiment in social control that happened because the Donald was too weak, ill-informed, distracted, and innumerate to send Fauci and his camarilla of doctors and vaccine-peddlers packing when the mid-March guidelines were first issued by the CDC.

Yes, the Donald’s political enemies in the ranks of big city mayors and Blue State governors have feasted upon the chum Fauci & Co have persistently tossed into the fetid waters of national politics, but that doesn’t let Trump off the hook.

If the truth be told, this is the Trump Lockdown Folly and ranks among the greatest blunders ever committed by a US President. That’s because even at this late date nearly four months into the resulting economic disaster: 

· there is no evidence that asymptomatic persons are transmitters of the virus,
· there is powerful statistical evidence that 95 percent of the population can cope with the disease and recover if they do become infected.

Yet, the twin pillars of Fauci’s hare-brained social regimentation scheme assumes they very opposite: Namely, that healthy Americans must be put under house arrest because they are silent spreaders and killers of their fellow citizens; and that the disease is so virulent that its #1 enemy—the powerful immune system of every healthy American—cannot be trusted to do its job if the virus is permitted to follow its natural course of contagion and eventual herd immunity.

As to the silent spreaders trope, here is how the very head of WHO’s COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, recently explained that transmission of the virus from asymptomatic patients appears to be very rare:
It still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”
For crying out loud. That knocks the very rationale for stay-at-home orders to hundreds of millions of healthy citizens into a cocked hat.

In a constitutional democracy, where the liberties and properties of citizens are protected by law, you need overwhelming proof of an existential threat to society before ordering mass house arrests. But in this instance, the head of the WHO task force–the agency that fomented the whole coronavirus hysteria in the first place–has said quite unequivocally: No cigar!

In a word, Dr. Fauci is peddling dangerous humbug under the banner of pseudo-science, and should have been shut-up and forced into retirement long ago. The unfortunate truth, however, is that the Donald is too chicken to use the Fake “your fired” tool that made him a short-lived TV star, if not a successful businessman.

His defenders, of course, mumble that his hands are tied because Fauci is a member of the legally protected Senior Executive Service (SES). That’s Jimmy Carter’s gift to insubordinate bureaucracy, which your editor happily voted against back in the day—but the excuse is poppycock.

Under Federal law, Fauci can be fired if he is found to have engaged in—
misconduct, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or failure to accept a direct reassignment or to accompany a position in a transfer of function”, is or to be “less than successful [in his] executive performance.
If not “malfeasance”, what would you call the absolute savaging of the livelihoods and life’s work of tens of millions of American workers and small businessmen for no good reason of state, which have resulted from Fauci’s idiotic pronouncements and guidelines?

The thing is, after four months Fauci’s blatherings and instructions to state and local authorities have fomented an outright public Hysteria of biblical proportions.

It is not just that officialdom has closed restaurants and gyms via unconstitutional “takings” of their owners’ properties. By now, Fauci’s Virus Patrol and its megaphones and misanthropes in the MSM have rendered large portions of the American public fearful about leaving their own homes.

And, needless to say, they have also given the Donald’s legions of rabid political enemies license to stage malign theatrics in the name of Covid-fighting that would be unthinkable under any other circumstances.

For instance, it has now been announced that the school districts of Los Angeles and San Diego, which collectively serve nearly one million students, will not have in-person teaching to start the school year.

But if you are conversant with any facts at all, you can only sputter: WTF!

There are nine million school age children in California, and not a single WITH-Covid death has occurred among them.

That’s right. There have been 27,400 positive tests among these nine million kids, but all of them, positively all of them, have been either asymptomatic or mildly ill—as children are wont to become—and have recovered.

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Yet here is where America’s growing fleet of clown cars comes in. It seems that the politicization has gone so far off the deep end that the LA teachers union–35,000 strong—is now taking the schools hostage for their own parochial ends.

They recently proclaimed that no schools should open in LA until there is a Charter School freeze; the police are defunded; Medicare-for-all is adopted by the US Congress; new state taxes on the wealthy are enacted; and there is a Federal bailout of the LA school district.

You can’t make this stuff up. And while they were taking the children hostage in the name of Covid-fighting, they also insisted that the already dysfunctional schools of LA become completely pointless:
The union outlined numerous major provisions it says will be necessary to reopen schools again, including sequestering students in small groups throughout the school day, providing students with masks and other forms of protective equipment, and re-designing school layouts in order to facilitate 'social distancing.'
Of course, the latest outbursts of this kind of mindless social destruction has been fueled by the absolute mendacity of the Virus Patrol and its MSM megaphones with respect to the so-called outbreak of new cases in the Sun Belt states.

But the whole brouhaha is a crock. There is no public health crisis in the so-called hot spots, as the up-to-date chart below makes abundantly clear.

Yes, the 42-day trend of “new cases” has risen sharply in tandem with far more testing, and repeat testing of the same individuals—outcomes that were inherent in re-opening plans, which required employers to have their employees tested as a condition of operating.

But, alas, the death count trend in these 50 counties has not risen at all—except for the last few days when a lot of “catch-up” data for earlier fatalities was thrown into the data hoppers by some of the counties involved.

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That hasn’t stopped the Covid-Howlers from proclaiming a phony medical crisis in Texas and elsewhere, with the same old tropes about overflowing hospitals and strained ICU capacity in places like Houston.

But as the eagle-eyed maven of the corona-data, Alex Berenson, tweeted this AM, it’s just a big fat lie. While CNN may have managed to find one or two crowded facilities in the whole of the Houston-Harris county region of some 5 million souls, there are actually still more than 2,500 empty hospital beds in the area.

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Here’s the thing. The Virus Patrol has switched from the death count to the “case” count because the latter is not at the 3,000 per day predicted by the CDC in early May, and ballyhooed by the NYT and MSM as the leading edge of a horrid "second wave” coming down the pike.

In fact, during July to date (thru the 14th), the daily WITH-Covid death count has averaged 613, or only one-fifth of the projected June-July-August surge; and even that level is suspect, given the growing evidence that many local jurisdictions are doing retrospective death audits to pad their case counts.

In any event, the readily available state-by-state data tells you all you need to know. This so-called Sun Belt wave of cases is, indeed, the equivalent of the normal flu.

In the case of Florida, for instance, during the first 14 days of July, there have been 139,195 new cases reported, but only 4,322 new hospitalizations. So that means only 3.1 percent of this ballyhooed surge of cases was sick enough to even require hospitalization.

Needless to say, that’s not a crisis; it’s just one more part of the indictment against Fauci and his gang of malpracticing doctors. They have put the anti-Trump press into a rabid feeding frenzy, and that coverage, in turn, has caused the American public to head back into their Covid holes.

As it happened, three of the nation’s largest banks reported their totally confected earnings for Q2 this AM, but the one thing that stood out as meaningful was a collective $28 billion provision for future loan losses. That is, they see the massive wave of defaults set in motion by Fauci’s misbegotten Lockdown Nation strategy, and are getting prepared for the worst.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s lunatic $3 trillion injection of liquidity into the canyons of Wall Street since the Lockdown Nation incepted in mid-March continues to do its mischief, fueling a stock market bubble that gets more ludicrous (and dangerous) by the day.

We noted yesterday that during the Monday’s great reversal on the stock market that Tesla had gained a “GM” ($38 billion) in the morning spike, but lost a “BMW” ($42 billion) in the afternoon.

A timely piece by Bloomberg this AM helps explain how this kind of madness actually happened:
Almost 40,000 Robinhood accounts added shares of the automaker during a single fourhour span on Monday, according to website Robintrack.net, which compiles data on the investing platform that’s much beloved by day trading millennials.

The frenzy in interest means that as of the end of Monday’s trading session, there are now roughly 457,000 users on the Robinhood app that hold shares of the company in some form. That makes it the 10th-most popular stock on the platform, ahead of even Amazon.com Inc., which is held by 358,000 users.

The one-day return may not have turned out so well. Tesla was up as much as 16 percent at one point before paring gains through the day and finishing 3 percent lower. It was a rare losing day for the high flying stock, which has surged 56 percent over the past 10 days.
So how did these mindless gamblers reason about a company that has never, ever made a four-quarter profit, and which reported Q2 volumes well below last year, in coming to a peak valuation of $325 billion Monday morning?

Well, a sell-side analyst explained both that question, and the large fleet of clown cars now cruising up and down Wall Street about as well as could be expected. Said this master of the crystal ball:
'At the current price, Tesla’s stock reflects an expectation of 2030 volume of 5 million units, which is more than ten times what the company appears on track to achieve this year,' Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said.
Why, you don’t say!

Then again, projecting EV car sales in the year 2030 is probably as good a use for Wall Street’s clown car riders as any other.

Certainly, it would not dawn on them to ask whether a stock market held up by the Terrific Ten, and especially the FAANGs and Microsoft, has anything at all to do with the dire state of the US economy.

It seems these trading sardines make up a quarter of the S&P 500 index by value, but just 8 percent of its composite revenues and a mere 1 percent of jobs in the American workforce.

So, yes, the Acela Corridor has the clown cars coming and going— even as the stock bubble which will take down this whole fantasy reaches its historic asymptote, as we will essay further in Part 3.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.

Orange Man Bad

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As the Impeachment Farce neared its pathetic denouement, an optimist might have expected that the virulent Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting the MSM, the Dems and the Washington ruling class would finally die out.

Not at all. It’s back with a vengeance, lurking in the subtext and sotto voce of virtually every headline and utterance from the above precincts with respect to the Covid-19.

Indeed, the entire Covid narrative is so hideously distorted, exaggerated, mendacious and risible as to finally confirm what’s actually been at bottom of the successive waves of RussiaGate, UkraineGate, the Impeachment Farce, the Covid-Hysteria and now the Summer of Race Huckstering, too.

Namely: Orange Man Bad!

It’s as simple and primitive as that. In the present instance, only the filter of Orange Man Bad can possibly explain each new twist and turn of the MSM’s Covid narrative, which has essentially degenerated into a running show trial-like prosecution.

But finally they have gotten so desperate and hysterical that they are just flat-out fabricating, censoring and falsifying the evidence with respect to the so-called second wave allegedly hitting the Sun Belt states.

Their true purpose however, is nakedly evident. They are so infuriated about the Donald’s claims that the virus is abating (it is) and that it’s time to reopen America and get back to business (it really is!) that they are literally attempting to tag him with de facto genocide.

Needless to say, whatever is going on in Texas, Florida and Arizona, it isn’t an eruption of the Black Plague, even if you extrapolate the current elevated level of “positives” for several months into the future.

So let us go back to the basics. Even in the worst hit precincts of New York City, there never was a random sample Grim Reaper marauding through the general population. The very bad numbers of cases and deaths coming from the five boroughs were overwhelmingly the product of a catastrophic mismanagement of nursing and other long-term care homes and other abandoned elderly already afflicted with life-threatening morbidities.

But even then, when you compare the case and death rates per 100,000 for NYC’s three most rotten boroughs – the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn – with what is happening in the major Texas cities, for instance, it’s not the same zip code or even the same planet.

Covid Cases/Deaths Per 100,000 Persons as of June 27:

Bronx: 3,346/234;
Queens: 2,867/222;
Brooklyn: 2,345/198;

Houston: 567/7.;
Dallas: 696/13;
Fort Worth: 500/10;
San Antonio: 423/5;
Austin: 549/9;

The media drumbeat in recent days has especially focused on the alleged surge of new cases in Houston/Harris County, featuring the same old hoary prediction of overflowing hospitals and ICUs that turned out not to be true even in NYC – except for a few hospitals at the epicenter of the pandemic in the Bronx for a few peak weeks in March/April.

Yet just like in the case of the flooded NYC hospitals myth, the readily accessible facts with respect to Texas and Houston refute this weekend’s media blitz entirely.

And they also underscore the everlasting laziness and servility of the MSM. After all, if you start with a positive case rate per 100,000 in Houston that is currently only 17 percent of that recorded for the Bronx and a death rate that is only 3 percent of what occurred in the Bronx, why in the world would you even think that Houston is teetering on the edge of a medical calamity?

That’s especially the case if you happen to have the basic knowledge that Houston sports one of the great medical complexes of the entire world. That is, it’s a health care rich community experiencing only a tiny fraction of the Covid case load that happened in NYC.

Beyond that, we are no longer in the horse and buggy age, obviously. Given that patients can be reallocated to other communities if need be, the relevant hospital capacity is not just Houston’s, but capacity in other places around the state that are not experiencing the same level of Covid case increases now occurring in Houston.

So here are the statewide facts: As of June 25, Texas had 54,700 staffed acute care hospital beds, but only 41,950 were being used, implying a occupancy rate of just 76.7 percent and 12,750 empty beds still available.

Moreover, only about 5,000 beds representing 12 percent of the current census were occupied by confirmed or suspected Covid patients. So as of June 25 the state had nearly 2.5X more empty hospital beds than it had Covid patients, notwithstanding the surge of new cases and hospitalizations during the month of June.

In fact, that’s not the half of it. Owing to seasonal factors, the number of empty hospital beds has actually been rising during the spring months even in the face of the soaring Covid caseload.

That’s right. On March 18, Texas had 46,550 occupied hospital beds, reflecting an occupancy rate of 85 percent or well above the 76.7 percent level as of June 25.

But back in March virtually none of these occupied beds were attributable to Covid patients. That’s because at that point there had been only be 83 confirmed Covid cases and 2 deaths reported for the entire state!

By then what happened over the next three months, as the Covid caseload built up from zero to the present 5,000, is that even more beds emptied out due to:

- state orders prohibiting elective surgeries and other treatments;

- normal seasonal declines in occupancy; and

- aggressive reclassification of patients admitted for other reasons as Covid patients.

As to the latter point, it seems that Texas health officials started logging every single COVID-19-positive patient in the state as a COVID-19 hospitalization, even if the patients themselves were admitted seeking treatment for something other than the coronavirus.

As Lindsey Rosales, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Health Services, confirmed recently to an independent investigator:
'The number of hospitalized patients includes patients with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 even if the person is admitted to the hospital for a different reason,' Rosales said.

Moreover, nearly everyone admitted for some other medical condition – and presumably asymptomatic for Covid – gets tested for Covid-19 before other treatments or surgeries are permitted:

Texas Health Resources, one of the state’s largest hospital systems, says on its website that its 'patients [are] tested before most procedures.' Elective surgeries and other medical procedures in Texas have gone up in recent weeks as the state has gradually re-opened following its lockdown.
In other words, the first wave of Lockdowns created a huge backlog of demand for elective surgeries and other discretionary treatments, which were banned by state authorities. But once those bans were lifted and people got in the hospital for deferred treatments, they were tested for Covid and became the statistical gruel for the so-called second wave.

But even then, the Texas hospital statistics over the last three months make mincemeat out of the national media’s weekend narrative that Texas hospitals will soon be overflowing into the hallways. To wit, here is the trend of unused acute care beds in the Texas hospital system:

- 3/18: 8,155;

- 4/1: 18,411;

- 4/15: 21,489;

- 4/29: 19,432;

- 5/20: 16,035;

- 5/27: 15,315;

- 6/3: 15,219;

- 6/10: 13,271;

- 6/17: 14,993;

- 6/25: 12,571

In short, Texas had gone from virtually no Covid cases or deaths on March 18 to 131,917 cases and 2,296 deaths by June 25, but it actually had 56 percent more empty hospital beds on the latter date!

You can’t make this stuff up. The MSM is so intoxicated by Orange Man Bad that it has essentially turned journalism into a kangaroo court of juvenile imprecations.

Nor are we attempting to deceptively drown the case in statewide averages. As of last week, the Houston area alone had 12,458 staffed acute care beds (23 percent of the statewide total), but 2,675 or 21 percent of these were empty; and on top of that they had an additional surge capacity of another 925 beds.

That’s especially salient because the rise in cases in Texas and Houston has generally been among a much younger population than earlier in the pandemic, and the need has been for exactly these kinds of general beds, not ICU beds.

So the fact is, as of last week the Houston area hospitals had just 795 lab confirmed Covid patients, representing just 8 percent of their 9,785 daily census. That also means that given Houston’s 3,600 beds of remaining surge capacity, they could actually accommodate a 4X increase in their current Covid caseload.

As it happened, even the leadership of the Houston health care community finally had enough from CNN, NBC, and the rest of the Covid Calamity Howlers, and struck back this weekend with a resounding denial of this spurious crisis narrative.

For instance, the CEO of one Houston’s leading hospitals, Memorial Hermann, pulled no punches:
We actually still think we have plenty of capacity to meet the demand for Covid, as well as non-Covid patients. We’re always busy in the summertime, and what we’re seeing now is a typical summer for us.

Callender, whose not-for-profit health system has 17 hospitals in the Houston area, stressed that the medical network’s capacity is 'constantly in flux' and needing to be managed. 'But right now, we’re able to do that very well,' he said.

'Across our system, we have about 4,000 beds that we can bring into play' for intensive care, he said. 'Right now, only about 30 percent are being utilized for Covid care, so we still have plenty of capacity for Covid patients as well as patients who need hospitalization for other illnesses.'

Doctors and nurses also have learned how to better treat Covid-19 patients after three months of its presence, said Callender, who joined Memorial Hermann in 2019.

'We’re seeing a slightly lower rate in terms of the number of typical hospital bed patients who convert to a need for ICU hospitalization. We’re also using ventilators less frequently,' he said. 'We have more drugs at our disposable that we know help limit the severity and duration of the illness. So overall we’re faring better than we did just a couple months ago.'
Likewise, chimed in Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of another leading institution, Houston Methodist:
The number of hospitalizations are 'being misinterpreted,' said Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, 'and, quite frankly, we’re concerned that there is a level of alarm in the community that is unwarranted right now.'

'We do have the capacity to care for many more patients, and have lots of fluidity and ability to manage,' Boom said.
Boom pointed out that his hospital one year ago was also at 95 percent ICU capacity – long before Covid was a thing!

That’s right. Apparently, 95 percent utilization of the ICU is a typical June condition, not the sign of the Covid Apocalypse. And contrary to the heated headlines on the MSM, only about 25 percent of Houston’s fully occupied ICU’s are accounted for by Covid patients.

Again from Boom:
'It is completely normal for us to have ICU capacities that run in the 80s and 90s,' he said. 'That’s how all hospitals operate.'

…..the hospital '[has] many levers in our ability to adjust our ICU,' he said, claiming that the hospital capacity regularly reported by the media is 'base' capacity rather than surge capacity.

Boom also alluded to hospitals’ ability to turn regular beds into ICU beds as well as to turn recovery, and pre- and post surgical areas into ICU areas if needed as a kind of coronavirus 'flex area.'
Specifically, there are about 2,200 ICU beds in the Houston service area, but another 500 beds could be added to this after such planned for conversions and re-purposings. And Boom also pointed out an even more salient point:
Boom said overall, hospitals are seeing younger COVID-19 patients, who stay for a shorter period of time, and fewer deaths. Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom told CNBC on Monday that the demographics of the outbreak have 'flipped' and that the mostly-younger people arriving in the state’s hospitals often don’t require ICU beds, even though many do get very sick.
Finally, there was this rebuke to the smirking CNN anchor, who on Saturday had been bemoaning that the situation was allegedly so desperate that a Houston children’s hospital had been drafted into Covid service at great risk to the children.

Not at all, according to Mark Wallace, Texas Children’s Hospital president and CEO. Actually, this was just part of the systems’ surge plan:
Texas Children’s started accepting adult COVID-19 positive patients this week and is currently operating at a 74 percent ICU occupancy, Wallace said.

'We have the ability to take care of all of the Houstonians that need a critical care environment, that need to be operated on, or acute care,' Wallace said.
As we said, the MSM, the Dems and the Washington ruling class are literally rabid with Orange Mad Bad.

The recent ballyhooed Covid surge and hospital capacity crisis in Texas is just one more case in point.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

Covid Hysteria and the Groomers of the Virus Patrol

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Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady are not the only Virus Patrol miscreants spreading the Covid Hysteria and thereby empowering the authorities to keep suffocating everyday economic life and personal liberty in America.

In fact, there is a whole camarilla of current and former health officials, purported disease experts, all-purpose talking heads and other Washington apparatchiks who continue to appear on mainstream media, peddling the hoary tale that coronavirus is some kind of horror flick monster: It purportedly just keeps springing from its Lockdown grave – whack-a-mole fashion – the instant officialdom relaxes its quarantine edicts.

Call these people the “groomers” of Big Pharma, and their job is to keep public fears on the boil so that the demand for high-priced treatments, cures and preventative vaccines becomes overwhelming. And given that the Covid is now rapidly succumbing to the exhaustion of its infection cycle and the summertime sun, their exact current mission is one of bridging the gap.

That is, finding and publicizing local outbreaks and “hot spots” during the months just ahead so that the Virus Patrol will remain in full control of policy and the narrative until the Covid makes its forecasted second wave rebound during next fall’s flu season.

After all, they desperately need these hot spots to keep the aggregate narrative alive because it is visibly collapsing by the day.

Back in early May, for instance, the NYT breathlessly carried a leaked study from the Trump Administration that projected a massive surge of new infections and a near doubling of daily death rates by early June relative to levels than extant:
As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, a 70 percent increase from the current number of about 1,750.

The projections, based on government modeling pulled together by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases a day currently.

The numbers underscore a sobering reality: The United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks to try slowing the spread of the virus, but reopening the economy will make matters worse.
Needless to say, that one went down the memory hole ages ago (i.e. around Memorial Day). As of June 10, in fact, actual daily averages for the month to date were:

- 827 deaths per day, representing a 53% decline, not a 70% increase;

- 20,694 new cases per day, representing a 17% decline, not an 8X increase;

In other words, these Washington modelers (this one was prepared by FEMA) couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the antiaircraft guns Chairman Kim uses to dispatch his adversaries. So to keep the Covid-Hysteria alive, they send out the hot spot “groomers”.

On of the most mendacious of these groomers is Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was the Donald’s first FDA commissioner and is an alleged pedigreed “conservative” with a berth at the American Enterprise Institute to burnish his numerous sinecures with Big Pharma.

Gottlieb is also a CNBC regular, and yesterday, sitting astride a screen crawler which read “Texas reports second day of record hospitalizations”, he was busy promulgating the “hot spot” news about two red states, whose merely semi-craven GOP governors have belatedly attempted to get their economies back in business:
When you look at hotspot regions like Arizona and Texas, they have to be concerned, particularly areas around Houston right now. They could lose control of this very quickly,” says @ScottGottliebMD on balancing re-opening with public health.
We call bullshit!

Gottlieb was peddling a pimple on the elephant’s ass because, apparently, cable TV audiences generally and bubble vision’s especially, were born yesterday. That is, they are infantile victims of recency and confirmation biases and will apparently believe anything served up in a context-free modality.

The truth is, there is nothing worrisome whatsoever going on in Arizona and Texas beyond the fact that the coronavirus started its inexorable spread in these interior states later than on the East and Left coasts, and is therefore cresting slightly later, as well.

But as of June 8, the count of infected cases and WITH Covid deaths in Arizona stood at 27,678 and 1,047, respectively. Those figures a hot spot do not make, nor do they offer any reason for not getting the state’s boot-heel off the economy ASAP.

Relative to the USA as a whole and the New York epicenter, Arizona’s figures per 100,000 population compare as follows as of June 8:

- Infected cases Arizona: 375;

- Infected cases USA: 596;

- Infected cases New York: 1,963

- WITH Covid deaths Arizona: 14.2;

- WITH-Covid deaths USA: 32.3;

- WITH-Covid deaths New York: 126.0;

In other words, Arizona’s mortality rate is less than half of the US average and only 11% of that for New York. So why is it a worrisome “hot spot” by the lights of Virus Patrol shills like Gottlieb?

Indeed, the WITH-Covid mortality rate in Arizona stands at nearly rock bottom, clocking in at at just one-fifth to one-half of the mortality rates in much as European Christendom. To wit, current rates per 100,000 include:

- Belgium: 83.1;

- United Kingdom: 60.2;

- Spain: 58.0;

- Italy: 56.3;

- Sweden: 47.5;

- France: 44.9;

- Netherlands: 35.3;

- Arizona: 14.2;

But when context doesn’t matter, of course, any pimple can be depicted as a large boulder. Thus, the number of new cases in Arizona is allegedly soaring, suggesting that the state has jumped the gun letting its citizens out of house arrest too soon.

In fact, during the first 8 days of June, Arizona reported 7,742 new cases – a figure which is sharply higher than the 2,189 new cases reported for the last eight days of April, for example.

But that gain is entirely a function of the testing rate and then some. Thus, during the June 1 to June 8 span, the state reported 62,825 new tests, implying an infection rate of 12.3%.

By contrast, during April 22 to April 30 the state reported only 15,185 new tests (one-fourth of the June figure), implying an infection rate of 14.4%.

So the state is testing a lot more, as it has been instructed to do by Washington, and such accelerated testing is generating a falling infection rate!

And that’s not the half of it. By now there are more than enough antibody tests of different US populations to be reasonably certain that in a state like Arizona with a population of 7.38 million that there have been far more infected cases than the 27,678 cases reported through June 8.

Generally, antibody tests show infection rates of 5-20% in the general population, which would imply total cases – most of which remained asymptomatic or resulted in mild illnesses – of between 370,000 and 1.5 million for Arizona.

So, actually, higher reported cases daily may mean nothing at all as to the current status of the virus among the population. More likely, it actually means that what is already there is being slowly discovered after the fact; it’s stale, irrelevant old news, not an alarming new development, to say nothing of evidence of a hot spot.

Indeed, the latter is a meaningless but loaded term, honed for TV talking points, but is incapable of conveying any meaningful information about context at all. That is, the real test is how does what’s happening with the coronavirus now compare with year-in-and-year-out illness, hospitalization, disease and mortality trends?

Self-evidently, you do not empower the state to put its citizens under house arrest and destroy the livelihoods of millions of workers and tens of thousands of small businesses on account of a bad run of seasonal illnesses that leaves more people than usual home in bed or even heading to the hospital for treatment.

To the contrary, this whole Lockdown Nation thing is about the modern equivalent of the Black Death – the presence of a virulent killer that can takedown the young, the old, the healthy, the sick and all categories between with equal alacrity.

But, again, there is nothing to support that Grim Reaper notion in the data, and most especially not the “hot spot” flavor of the week in Texas and Arizona.

The mortality rate from all causes for Arizona for the four months from January through the end of April (latest available) is shown below.

Naturally, the total mortality rate surmounts the cause of death attribution and coding issues; and it means that unless these total death rates are significantly elevated from the norm, then nothing unusual – or at least worthy of drastic quarantine policies–is actually going on.

On a per 100,000 basis, the Arizona’s total mortality rates for the first four months of the year have been as follows:

- 2016: 293;

- 2017: 277:

- 2018: 297;

- 2019: 285:

- 2020: 301;

The above does not indicate the Black Plague at loose. The tiny elevation in 2020 relative to the previous four years is just statistical noise!

Moreover, there is no new signal coming out of this “noise” owing to the higher testing and infection rates being reported in recent days. Again, the evidence for that is in the state’s own published data on hospitalization rates, among others.

Between March 23 and June 1, Arizona consistently reported new WITH-Covid hospitalization cases of between 40 and 60 per day on a statewide basis.

During June 3 through June 8, however, the number of new hospitalizations daily has dwindled to 34, 19, 17, 10, 4 and 5, respectively.

The last few days, in fact, have had the lowest new hospitalizations since before the Donald’s malpracticing doctors triggered the Covid Hysteria on March 13.

So, hot spot my eye!

In this connection, they also keep trotting out the hoary old claim that the hospitals are in danger of being overrun with new cases – per the crawler on the screen yesterday during Gottleib’s appearance on bubble vision.

Alas, it never happened previously in Arizona and is not remotely in danger of happening now. Even during the peak of new hospitalizations between April 20 and May 8, the utilization rate of hospital intensive care beds rose from 72% to 78% and has remained at that level ever since.

Finally, it is worth noting that Arizona’s WITH-Covid mortality data show the same dramatic skew toward the elderly, as is true with the rest of the country. Fully 77% of the Covid deaths in Arizona have been among the 65 and older population, which comprises just 17% of the state’s overall population.

That fact alone, of course, militates strongly against the across-the-board stay-at-home and general quarantine orders in the first place.

The Arizona WITH-Covid mortality rate through June 9 breaks out as follows by age cohorts. That is to say, anyone under 55 years old driving to the Scottsdale Fashion Mall would have had a greater chance of being killed in an auto accident than being felled by the Covid:

Deaths Per 100,000 population:

- <20 years: 0.1;

- 20-44 years: 2.1;

- 45-54 years: 7.5;

- 55-64 years: 14.9;

- 65+ years: 66.3;

With respect to Texas, it’s the same story. There is no “hot spot”, period.

Its reported cases and deaths through June 8 are actually far lower than those for Arizona and in the sub-basement relative to the overall USA figures, to say nothing of the nursing-home based disaster-data reported for New York and New Jersey.

That is, the number of infected cases in Texas amounts to 256 per 100,000 or 68% of the Arizona rate, 42% of the overall USA rate and just 13% of the rate of infected cases among the New York state population.

Likewise, the WITH-Covid mortality rate through June 8 in Texas was 6.2 per 100,000. That’s just 43% of the Arizona rate, 19% of the USA average and only 5% of the New York state rate.

So Texas isn’t remotely a “hot spot” or some kind of warning about reopening too soon, and is actually a thundering rebuke of the entire Lockdown Nation narrative.

That is, Texas was late and tepid about the lockdown, and among the first to begin “reopening” in early May.

Yet its reported infected case rate of 256 per 100,000 is just 10% of the real “hot spot” rate of 2,477 per 100,000 in the five boroughs of New York City; and its mortality rate of 6.2 per 100,000 population is just 3% of New York City’s 196 per 100,000 rate.

So for crying out loud, with that kind of yawning gap and rock bottom absolute level, what is this clown, Scott Gottlieb, doing on bubble vision warning about Covid dangers in Texas?

Answer: He’s grooming the sheeples in order to keep the Killer Covid narrative alive and the money and legal immunities flowing to the drug companies chasing cures and vaccines.

It goes without saying, course, that the alleged surge in new cases reported in Texas during recent days is just as bogus as the claims about Arizona.

Yes, new cases reported during June 1 to June 8 averaged 1,416 per day or about 61% higher than the rate of 877 per day reported for April 22 to April 30. Except, the number of new tests also rose by about 60% from 113,500 to 168,500, leaving the infected rate virtually unchanged at a very low 6.7%.

Again, if you want to talk “hot spots”, try New York City. The the infected rate per test has run north of 20% in the Bronx, for example.

So the question recurs. Why are people like Scott Gottlieb out pimping the Killer Covid story in the face overwhelming evidence that it it nothing of the kind.

Perhaps, it might be noted that Gottlieb went straight from medical school to various jobs at the FDA before becoming commissioner in 2017, and then heading out the revolving door to Pfizer’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

And, yes, here’s the list of the top five firms being supported by billions from Washington in the race for a Covid vaccine, which may or may not happen, but whether safe or not will be of no never-mind to Big Pharma.

After all, Washington has already indemnified them against lawsuits; pretty much guaranteed that they can name their charge per dose; and will be doing all it can to make getting a tap on the arm from one or more of the Big Pharma competitors a mandatory duty of citizenship.

Call it what you will, but don’t call it honest capitalism. And chalk it up as still another blow to the idea of limited government and personal liberty.

The five companies are Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, which Dr. Fauci said he expected would enter into the final phase of clinical trials next month; the combination of Oxford University and AstraZeneca, on a similar schedule; and three large pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. Each is taking a somewhat different approach.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

Sickness Is The Health Of The State!

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A hundred years ago in response to the horror of WWI, the great Randolph Bourne famously pronounced the truth that “War is the Health of the State.” Said Bourne,
War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate co-operation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties, the minorities are either intimidated into silence or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them to really converting them……

Other values such artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.

In a nation at war, every citizen identifies himself with the whole, and feels immensely strengthened in that identification. The purpose and desire of the collective community live in each person who throws himself whole-heartedly into the cause of war. The impeding distinction between society and the individual is almost blotted out.
A century later it appears that Randolph Bourne needs an update: Apparently, Sickness is the Health of the State, as well.

During the past 10 weeks, state control of economic and social life in America has erupted like never before. The stay-at-home and lockdown orders decreed by mayors and governors intrude into every nook and cranny of daily life, essentially subjecting tens of millions of Americans to house arrest and/or entombment in six-foot cylinders of social control.

The historic quasi-regimentation and suppression of dissent that occurred domestically during both world wars, for instance, pales by comparison.

The pretext, of course, has been that the coronavirus presents a dire threat to the very life and limb of the American public, and that exigent and invasive controls on individual action and daily commerce are necessary to stop its spread.

But that’s a gargantuan lie. The risk of death to an average healthy person under 60 years of age is no greater than that entailed in commuting 50 miles per day by car to work and back.

And besides, once a highly contagious virus gets loose among the general population— which the coronavirus had done long before Lockdown Nation was launched on March 13—its spread cannot be stopped, anyway.

In fact, it shouldn’t be stopped. When the virus is already out the barn-door and is relatively benign among 95% of the population which contracts it, the right course of action is to let freedom reign. That is, enable its natural spread among the healthy population and thereby foster the herd immunities that the human organism and social community have been deploying to combat such diseases for millennia.

Stated differently, the very high threshold of across-the-board threat to the health and life of the citizenry that would be required to suspend their liberties and pursuit of economic livelihood has not been remotely reached by the Covid. So what has and is still happening in Lockdown Nation is a case of grotesque and malign disproportion.

That’s evident enough in any random sample of the social controls and “nonessential business lockdowns” that have been hastily stood up coast to coast. But these excerpts from the lawsuit of an Illinois businessman capture the intrusive absurdity being foisted on the public as well as any:
I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy.

Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family- owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.

A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will.

We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will.

If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will.

Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.
These are just a few examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense. But this kind of arbitrary state invasion of economic and personal life is what happens when officialdom and politicians are green-lighted by an overpowering Big Lie.

In the case of Illinois, the state has its own bully-boy, Donald Trump wanna-be master of the universe in the state house. Governor J. B. Pritzker is the entitled scion of a brass knuckled family of Chicago business speculators who is used to getting his way, and has decided that it is his job job to quash the coronavirus—the rights of the state’s citizens and needs of the economy be damned.

But it is worth noting that the WITH Covid mortality rate in Illinois as of May 27 was just 40 per 100,000, which is only slightly above the US average and far below the level in hard hit states, where the apparent mortality rates are far higher.

It’s also about the same as Sweden, which hasn’t closed its schools, businesses and places of social congregation; and it is well above a variety of other US states and countries including Japan and South Korea, which have not employed anything remotely resembling the sweeping Lockdowns imposed by the state of Illinois:

WITH Covid Mortality Rates Per 100,000 (as of May 28)

· New York: 153;

· New Jersey: 128;

· Connecticut: 107;

· Massachusetts: 95;

· Rhode Island: 64;

· Sweden: 42;

· Illinois: 40;

· Georgia: 18;

· Florida: 11;

· Germany: 10;

· Texas: 6;

· Switzerland: 4;

· Russia: 3;

· Belarus: 2;

· Japan: 0.7;

· South Korea: 0.5 

Indeed, the sweeping range of mortality rates among these jurisdictions tell you that intrusive lockdowns designed to stop the virus’ spread don’t have much to do at all with actual outcomes. Public health measures in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Japan, Belarus and South Korea, for example, were not a fraction as intrusive and comprehensive as those in the state of Illinois.

Even then, fully 50% of the WITH Covid deaths in Illinois have been in nursing and other long-term care facilities—places outside the reach of the general public lockdowns, anyway.

So if you set aside the long-term care deaths, the general population mortality rate in Illinois is actually about 20 Covid deaths per 100,000. That’s only slightly higher than the year-in and year-out suicide rate of 15 per 100,000 and not even 3% of Illinois’ annual mortality rate from all causes of about 875 per 100,000.

So you have the worst of both worlds: The Illinois lockdowns do not account for its moderate mortality rates because if plenary lockdowns were efficacious, the mortality figures for New York and New Jersey would be drastically lower.

At the same time, destroying an economy and personal liberties and livelihoods on account of a 3% share of the state’s normal mortality rate gives the idea of overkill and disproportion an altogether new meaning.

To take another example, the WITH Covid mortality rate of 15.7 per 100,000 in Virginia is only a tad above its annual suicide rate of 13.9 per 100,000.

But that hasn’t stopped its power-grabbing governor, Ralph Northam, from imposing a sweeping lockdown on the state’s residents, including an edict that after Friday all Virginians over 10 years of age will wear the Mask pretty much everywhere. As one acerbic critic rightly noted,
Or else! Gesundheitsfuhrers – health police – will do the enforcing, handing out misdemeanor fines and presumably Hut! Hut! Huts! to the non-compliant.
Needless to say, even as the state balloons with its puffed up health police, the private sector has literally imploded. With today’s weekly report on initial unemployment claims, we have now reached a milestone which was not attained even during the darkest moments of the Great Depression.

To wit, during the past ten weeks 40.7 million workers have filed for state unemployment benefits, a figure which is nine times greater than the worst 10 months of the Great Recession; and when you add in the 4.5 million workers newly eligible under PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), the total is close to 45 million.

The total employed work force on the eve of Lockdown Nation in February 2020, however, was just 158.7 million. So, actually, 28.3% of employed workers in what was alleged to be the Greatest Economy Ever have now received pink slips, and in a ten-week flash of the eye.

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Still, this needless calamity gets us to another avenue by which sickness have become the Health of the State.

After the Donald’s camarilla of malpracticing doctors green-lighted the Governors and Mayors to lockdown their economies in Mid-March and conducted daily coronavirus task force briefings which became the fodder for the MSM to generate hysteria among the general public, the Washington politicians experienced their own version of fear contagion. That is, they passed sight unseen a $3 trillion Everything Bailout which has literally eviscerated the public finances of the nation.

Consequently, and unlike even the worst period of the Great Recession, lockdown starved US Treasury receipts of $3 trillion in FY 2020 will amount to only 40% of Bailout bloated outlays, which will exceed $7 trillion. That’s not even worthy of banana republic style finance.

Needless to say, the Covid-fighters on Capitol Hill held no hearings, took no expert testimony, had the benefit of no professional analysis or even a cursory reading of the bills.

So they apparently didn’t bother to find out, for instance, that there were 71 million American workers last year whose paychecks averaged less than the new combined Federal/state benefit of $1,000 per week; and that there were 17 million workers in the hospitality and leisure sector as of February 2020, who averaged less than 25 hours per week on the clock and got paychecks of less than $350.

So now the state’s Virus Patrols are confronted with a new variety of ailment that may be afflicting millions of workers. To wit, the discovery that it pays big time to get furloughed.

As one widely circulated commentary on the social media put it: Thank Heavens for the Covid!
Before COVID I was miserable.

I had a job working $14.75/hr and hated waking up most days. I’ve since been laid off (obviously) but am one of those who is making much more by NOT working.

I used to make $550-600 per week depending on my hours but since COVID began, I’m clearing just over $1000/week. My gf is in the same situation and she’s also clearing just over $1000.

Today we plan to do some hiking since it’s going to be so nice out and I’ll be using my new grill to cook up some steak tonight. The gf is kind of a wine snob so she likes to splurge on really nice reds (which I’ll definitely be having later as well).

I really don’t understand people who say they’re more stressed or are fighting with their gf/wife more than before. It makes absolutely no sense to me. These have been the best 2 months I’ve had in a while. I can’t imagine going back to my old life and way of doing things. NOT HAPPENING!

The only thing that isn’t ideal right now is not being able to travel normally but I only vacationed once or twice a year before due to work/money issues. Now I’m able to save $800-1000/month with COVID stimulus and bonus so we’ll definitely be taking a nice vacation at some point this summer.
So the question recurs: Why the Lockdowns?

House arrest and the 6-foot cylinder of social control that have been stood up to thwart the spread of the virus are inherently unmatched to the task, which is illicit in the first place. But they will inherently clobber the economy and the livelihoods of millions— notwithstanding a lot of brave talk about the “new normal”.

As the Wall Street Journal detailed in a story about the travails of the restaurant industry, the so-called re-opening will only be a short bridge to oblivion for large segments of the industry:
Across the U.S., dining rooms are reopening and some customers are returning, industry data shows. But restaurants say they expect months of sales losses ahead due to capacity constraints imposed to contain the new coronavirus. They are also buying plexiglass walls to separate tables, hiring cleaning staff and turning fewer tables to give booths deeper scrub downs between customers, expenses that draw on a shallower pool of revenue.

Of the 30 states that have allowed restaurants statewide to resume serving customers indoors, 15 have limited capacity to 25% or 50%, according to market-research firm Gordon Haskett. The rest are mandating social distancing that have the effect of reducing capacity, or have yet to release guidance. Restaurant executives expect the limits to last at least through the summer.

Independent restaurants face even greater challenges than sit-down chains because they tend to have less room to cordon off customers and fewer seats to remove. A survey of 250 Colorado restaurant operators earlier this month found that nearly half expected to permanently close in less than three months at the 50% capacity cap that the state set on Wednesday. A study of 483 New York City venues found that 61% couldn’t make it with occupancy limits below 70%.

For a typical 75-seat sit-down restaurant in New York, an occupancy cap of 50% would allow for just 20 diners after accounting for employees, said James Mallios, a New York City restaurateur and attorney.

He said the number drops to around five diners at a 25% capacity limit. New York City hasn’t yet eased stay-at-home orders or set final capacity guidelines for restaurants.
Then again, there are 275 million Americans 64 years and under who face virtually no risk of death or serious illness. As of May 16, the CDC’s own data show that the WITH Covid mortality rate for this massive share of the population was just 4.9 per 100,000— about in line with the annual toll of traffic and other accidents.

By contrasts, the serious illnesses and deaths are occurring mainly where the Lockdowns aren’t. Persons 65 and older account for 16% of the population but 81% of the WITH-Covid deaths; and 32% of deaths have been among those 85 and older, which account for just 2.0% of the population—most of whom are in long-term care homes, and do not frequent restaurants.

The reason for high mortality and low public socializing, of course, is that the 22,543 persons 85 and older who died WITH Covid were pretty sick already. To wit, among them were—

· 8,267 cases of influenza and pneumonia;

· 11,250 cases of chronic lower respiratory and other pulmonary illnesses;

· 4,075 cases of high blood pressure;

· 4,000 cases of cardiac arrest and arterial arrhythmia;

· 5,800 cases of other circulatory diseases;

· 1,870 cases of diabetes and obesity;

· 3,650 cases of dementia;

· 1,700 cases of sepis and cancer;

· 1,025 cases of Alzheimer;

· 1,175 cases of renal failure; and

·8,000 cases of other serious ailments including accidents and poisonings. 
In all, the deceased over the age of 84 years had 50,800 of cases of classifiable diseases, most of them life-threatening. That’s an average of 2.25 each.

Needless to day, sickness is a condition of life—especially of advanced age; and it needs to be fought with medical care and personal health practices, not society-wide social engineering.

But when it becomes the Health of the State, as during the current Covid Hysteria, it is now apparent that the State becomes a greater mortal threat to liberty and prosperity than even during times of military war.

And we are quite sure that Randolph Bourne would heartily agree.


Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.

Laying Waste To The American Economy And The Doctors’ Plot

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Today the Wall Street Journal has a story on how the debt-ridden households of America are coming to the end of their ropes. But its MSM narrative for the default calamity now gathering a ferocious head of steam could not be more ass-backwards:
Lenders are declining to defer payments for some borrowers who were behind on their payments before the coronavirus laid waste to the U.S. economy.
Baloney!

Or as Dennis Prager tartly observed:
The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem 'essential' has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe.
The blindingly obvious truth is that the coronavirus didn’t do it. The Donald’s doctors did.

That is, Fauci, Redfield and Birx. They are Swamp Creatures all, respectively Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Director of the CDC and the global AIDS factotum from the State Department.

And we do mean Swamp Creatures. Between them they have been on the public teat for 132 years as either direct payrollers or harvesters of government grants.

It goes without saying, therefore, that they have no clue how the real world economy works; and that never having met a payroll, raised capital, faced fierce competitors, wrestled with business strategies or struggled to make cash inflows and outflows balance out, they are apparently under the delusion that the blooming, buzzing, throbbing mass of dynamic enterprises that comprise America’s $22 trillion GDP has an on and off switch.

Even then, our real beef is that all three have made so many hideous mistakes during their long years on the government teat, and especially during the last three months of the Covid Hysteria, that they would have been fired long ago in the real world of business.

Indeed, they might have even been fired in the fake world of business called the “Apprentice”, back when the Donald was actually running a real Reality TV Show.

Thus, when the Red Suzerains of Beijing went into the brutal martial law lockdown of Wuhan and the first US case was publicized on January 21, Fauci was asked on Newmax TV whether we “need to worry about this one”.

Said St. Anthony:
Well, you know, obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.
Let’s see.

Having allegedly spent 52 years investigating viruses and pandemics at the NIAID including 38 years running the joint, you’d think that in the face of something as sinister as the brutal martial law lockdown in Wuhan—a city where Fauci’s own NIAID money and minions were operatives at the Wuhan virology laboratory—the good doctor might have been less cavalier about the dangers; and might have also noted that approximately 20,000 Chinese and Americans travel back and forth by air between China and the US each and every day, creating a clear risk of transmission.

But five days latter on January 26 Fauci gave a a further reassuring interview to John Catsimatidis, a syndicated radio host in New York, who asked: “Should they (Americans) be scared?"
'I don’t think so,' Fauci said. 'The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.'
At a press conference on January 28th at which a bevy of Trump’s doctors including the Secretary of HSS said “Americans should not worry about their own safety,” Fauci also addressed concerns about whether the virus could be easily spread by asymptomatic carriers.
'The driver of respiratory outbreaks is symptomatic people, not asymptomatic carriers,' said Fauci.
Within less than 40 days, of course, Fauci authored the notorious guidelines that essentially put millions of actual and potential asymptomatic citizens under house arrest. But as of February 12 Fauci was still pretty relaxed, saying during another news interview:
It’s still an evolving situation. We don’t know exactly where it’s going to go, what the pattern is.
But by February 16 as US cases started to increase, he was talking out of both sides of his mouth on “Face the Nation”. When the host asked him whether he agreed with Trump’s statement that the virus could “tick down in the warmer months ahead”, he was seeing it both ways:
This virus, we don’t know. But it is not unreasonable to say that influenza, for example, which peaks in the winter, you would certainly expect it by March, April and May to taper down, as well as typical common cold coronaviruses. That’s not an unreasonable statement. However, we do not know what this particular virus is gonna do so. So we would think it would be a stretch to assume that it’s going to disappear with the warm weather.
By the end of the month on February 29 he was tacking even more when he said on on NBC’s “Today” show that,
…..the risk of disease at the time was 'still low' but stressed that the situation 'could change' once cases of community spread were reported in the US.
So it was only in mid-March, when the now utterly discredited Imperial College model appeared with its 2.2 million US death projection, that Fauci and the Donald’s other doctors sprung into full on Covid Hysteria mode.

That, in turn, resulted in the Donald’s panicked reversal on March 13 when he precipitously declared a national emergency late Friday afternoon so as to not further spook the stock market, or so he thought.

But what green-horn Trump clearly didn’t think about was that the declaration of a national emergency was a screaming invitation to all of his political enemies—and especially the Trump-hating CNN/MSM—to got into full-throated fear-mongering about the Covid-19 now that it had reached the level of a Trump-endorsed national crisis.

In a flash, in fact, the political door was thrown wide-open for the Dem mayors and governors to unleash what quickly became the stay-at-home and lockdown mayhem. That’s because they now had full political cover to attack their own economies, and were being green-lighted to fall back on Uncle Sam for tens of billion of Federal booty to replace what would otherwise have been an instantaneous drain on their own treasuries.

Needless to say, upon pivoting on a dime from “it’s no problem” to “I’m now a War President” doing battle with a deathly pandemic, the Donald simply made himself hostage to his camarilla of doctors, who were now free to step up their fear game and thereby bask in the adulation of the national press corps that was fresh out of antiTrump bullets.

That is, RussiaGate had been interred at the hand of Mueller himself; UkraineGate came a cropper as fast as it was stood up by the House Dems; and and the Impeachment Assault ended with the proverbial whimper, not a bang.

Indeed, the Donald’s utterly misbegotten and destructive daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing, which commenced at the time, allowed these three obscure career Swamp Dwellers to become overnight TV stars.

So even as Deborah Birx was rechristening herself as the Scarf Lady from Foggy Bottom, the Donald gave her and the others all the rope they needed to hang him out to dry as the promulgator and sponsor of Lockdown Nation:
'To unleash the full power of the federal government I am officially declaring a national emergency,' President Trump announced Friday (March 13) during a press conference. 'Two very big words.' This declaration will 'open up access' to federal funds — some $50 billion — to fight COVID-19, he said.
Why, yes, those were two very big words indeed. What they did was essentially unleash the Donald’s trio of doctors to turn what was a nasty seasonal flu epidemic into the second coming of the Bubonic Plague, and with it, the most devastating governmental assault on capitalist prosperity in modern history.

In today’s on-line world, there is probably no better real time measure of the pulse of business activity in the social congregation precincts of the American economy than Open Table reservation activity.

Not since midnight on January 17, 1920, when the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) became effective, has business activity in a major sector of the economy (bars and saloons) crashed with such cliff-diving intensity.

Within days, reservations were down by, well, 100 percent!

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Here’s the thing. When did the Donald’s doctors ever explain why they changed their mind on a dime?

When did they conclude that the new coronavirus (SARS-C0V-2), which had been already gene-sequenced by late January, constituted an utterly new, death star pathogen that differed from all other seasonal viruses and coronaviruses in terms of its:

· Speed of transmission;

· Uniform threat to the entire population, old, young, healthy and afflicted;

· High rates of lethality;

· Susceptibility to being extinguished by quarantines after it had already spread to tens or even hundreds of thousands of the US population; and,

· That the tried and true cure of herd immunity was utterly unworkable and inappropriate for the Covid.

The answer, of course, is they never did. The Donald’s doctors were too busy being TV stars basking in the power and fame that came from being the Czars of Lockdown Nation.

Yet the one and only faintly plausible basis for the brutal Lockdown Nation regime that has been foisted on the American people is that all five of the above propositions were true and could have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt at the time the Open Table index plunged straight down in the chart above.

Actually, none of them could have been validated in mid-March when the horrible deed of Lockdown Nation was launched and none of them can be remotely supported now, as we will further elaborate in Part 4.

But suffice it here to start with the easy ones. We now know, and it had been fairly evident all along, that the SARS-COV-2 virus travels through the population at the same or even slower speed than the annual influenza viruses. And among children, it is decidedly less contagious and moves far slower than is the case for common influenza.

Likewise, it has been evident for weeks and weeks that the Covid is not an random sample Grim Reaper, but a vicious assailant against the old, frail, and already afflicted with life-threatening medical conditions.

The chart below is just based on age cohorts and tells you all you need to know about the folly of universal quarantines.

And, of course, if you were to further over-lay morbidity conditions on this age-based segmentation, the picture would be even far more dramatic. That is, it would actually constitute prima facie evidence that the doctors’ plot to extinguish the virus after it had been roaming freely among the US population for at least 50 days was the very definition of gross malpractice.

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Still, Dr. Fauci can’t seem to cope with the blithering truths embedded above or restrain himself when it comes to keeping the public on the knife’s edge of fear. That much was evident when Tennessee Senator Alexander asked him about colleges re-opening this fall:
Senator Alexander: 'What would you say to the chancellor of the University of Tennessee Knoxville or the principal of the public school about how to persuade parents and students how to return to school in August?'

Dr. Fauci: 'I would be very realistic with the chancellor and tell her that in this case, that the idea of having treatments available, or a vaccine, to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term would be something of a bit of a bridge too far. 

'If this were a situation where you had a vaccine, that would really be the end of the issue in a positive way. But as I mentioned in my opening remarks, even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.'
Huh?

As is evident in the data above, the WITH Covid death rate for the college age population cohort (15-24 years) is slightly less than one per million!

No one, but no one, who is certifiably sane would shutdown America’s 24 million strong higher education institutions owing to the risk of death at 1 per million…..unless there was some other angle to the scheme.

And, of course, there is. Dr. Fauci and the Donald’s other doctors apparently fear that college students may go home during Thanksgiving break for Turkey Dinner with grams and gramps.

But for crying out loud. That’s not medical advice, nor is it rooted in epidemiology or any other science.

It’s an out and out social control maneuver, and reflects a policy designed to thwart, rather than enhance, the only thing which ever kills off a virus—the corona variety or any other.

Namely, herd immunity.

We have a lot more on that topic on Part 4, but its opposite of universal quarantine is surely medically dubious and an absolute economy killer.

That is, the doctors plot since mid-March has been essentially to put the entire US population under house arrest in order to protect the 2-5 percent of the population which is old, frail, medically afflicted and therefore uniquely vulnerable to a virus that otherwise has mild impacts on nearly everyone else it infects.

Yesterday, we noted that the data for Illinois demonstrates this truth in spades. With fully half of the state’s reported WITH Covid fatalities having occurred in nursing home, the especially brutal form of Lockdown Nation being imposed by Governor Pritzker is flat-out irrational.

But it also amounts to taking the vast bulk of Illinois’ 12.5 million population hostage in order to protect people who are essentially institutionalized and therefore outside of the ebb and flow of daily commerce and economic life in the state.

But for want of doubt, this table on WITH Covid deaths among Illinois 100 counties amounts to a withering indictment of the doctors’ universal quarantine policy.

Millions of lives and tens of thousands of businesses have been uprooted, especially in the out-state areas of Illinois. And yet in fully half of the state’s counties there has not been a single WITH Covid death!

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Needless to say, this is not the first time Dr. Fauci has left a trail of Hysteria in the wake of his malpractice. Way back in 1983 when he was trying to make himself famous and move up the ladder at NIAID, he famously claimed that hugging your family members could result in the transmission of AIDS!

That’s right. One scientist and doctor was the sole author of a paper published in the prestigious medical journal JAMA, which stated that AIDS might be transmissible through “routine close contact, as within a family household.”

That turned out not to be even remotely true, of course, but in the meantime the media had widely propagated the myth, naturally setting off a wave of hysteria.

Nevertheless, within months the author was promoted to chief of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, a position Dr. Fauci, regrettably, still holds.

Reprinted with permission form David Stockman's Contra Corner.

Donald J. Trump: Patient Zero of Lockdown Nation’s Covid Hysteria

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According to the CDC’s long established mortality models, 687,000 Americans were supposed to die during the 12 weeks between February 1 and April 18. 

But only 666,000 actually complied. So the Grim Reaper was deprived of his seasonally adjusted mortality quota, even as 21,000 families were spared, at least temporarily, of the loss and grief which accompanies the passing of a loved one.

 Either way, how in the hell does that square with Lockdown Nation—an unprecedented government ordered economic heart attack purportedly designed to prevent a Black Plague of illness and death?

 To be sure, a better than garden variety recession was already due after a record 129- month long business expansion. But it was the sudden, virulent eruption of the Covid Death Hysteria in the halls of government that turned a scheduled business cycle contraction into a monumental catastrophe. 

Indeed, the unfolding collapse now underway shouldn’t be called either a recession or a depression. These terms denote the macroeconomic contraction triggered by bursting credit or other financial bubbles and they usually take many months to reach full intensity. 

But this one literally arrived at warp speed and with orders of magnitude greater contractionary force than normal business cycle downturns. It is therefore sui generis; it stemmed from panicked officialdom who ordered households and businesses alike to abruptly “cease and desist” from their daily economic activity upon penalty of fine, jail and public opprobrium. 

The good folks at Moody’s Analytics captured the breathtaking speed of the resulting plunge in the chart below in which they tracked the number of U.S. counties falling under lockdown orders (blue bars) with an estimate of the cumulative loss in daily GDP (ascending red line). 

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Whether this is accurate to the percentage point is immaterial and will be adjudicated after several years of jobs and GDP data revisions. But what can’t be gainsaid is that in the short span between March 16 and April 6th depicted in the graphic—something like one-third of US GDP ceased to happen. 

When in the modern day world of nearly unfathomably complex economic linkages, incredibly long supply chains and interactive feed-back loops you have one-third of economic activity go dark in just 21 days, the damage is likely to be enormous, even if the interruption is comparatively short-lived. 

But in the present instance the US economy was so fragile and deeply impaired owing to 30-years of debt, speculation and malinvestment-fueled false prosperity that it resembled an economic hemophiliac stumbling into a knife fight. The bleeding will be profuse and long-lasting because the American body economic had no defenses. 

We shall lay out chapter and verse on the cash flow vulnerability of the preponderant share of US households and businesses in subsequent installments. But sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words and this– cars lined-up at a San Diego food bank—is one of them. 

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Ordinary urban poor folk don’t line up at the soup kitchen in their late vintage autos and SUVs. This is the hand-to-mouth economy lined up for food in cars that will soon be nabbed by the repo man. 

So the question recurs. Why did Lockdown Nation strike the everyday American economy out of the blue and who is responsible? 

That is to say, Lockdown Nation itself is the product of a contagion of public policy Hysteria, so who is Patient Zero? 

We think there is little doubt that it is the Donald himself, as we chronicle below. It is only his overweening, pugnacious, polarizing political persona that could have transformed a moderate public health threat into a politicized death struggle that is literally suffocating the American economy and the social life which depends upon it. 

But for want of doubt let us remind that there was never any case for Lockdown Nation -- not on March 16 when the Trump White House issued its stay-at-home guidelines nor subsequently -- based on the pubic health impact of the coronavirus. 

That’s because Covid-19 would be considered a despicable bully if it were an animate being. It overwhelmingly brings serious illness and death upon the old, frail and already disease-ridden, not the general population. 

Even many of the rare deaths among younger people appear to be attributable to an unusual genetic condition which causes the number one killer of the coronavirus—the human immune system—to launch an unhinged counterattack called a “cytokine storm” that ends up maiming or killing the patient, not the virus (fortunately, there are immune system suppressants that can treat these if caught early enough). 

Thus, as of April 25 when the CDC had scored 40,072 “confirmed or presumed” Covid19 deaths, the breakdown by age was unassailably dispositive: 

· Age 0-14: 5 deaths among 60.9 million or a mortality rate of 0.008 per 100,000; 

· Age 15-34: 354 deaths among 88.7 million or a mortality rate of 0.39 per 100,000; 

· Age 35-64: 7,907 deaths among 125.8 million or a mortality rate of 6.3 per 100,000; 

· Age 65-84: 19,840 deaths among 45.9 million or a mortality rate of 43.2 per 100,000; 

· Age 85 and older: 11,966 deaths among 6.54 million or a mortality rate of 182.9 per 100,000. 

So the average mortality rate for the entire US population as of April 25, which was 12.2 deaths per 100,000, is completely meaningless from the perspective of remedial public health policy. It is a reminder of the old adage that you can drown in a river with an average depth of 3 feet if you end up in a deep, vicious eddy pool. 

Likewise, you don’t rationally shut down schools when the mortality rate for kids is a rounding error; and keeping the kids out of school does nothing for their grandparents and great-grandparents if they are self-isolated anyway, as the should be, when their mortality risk is 22,800 times higher! 

Indeed, among the cohorts of the working age population age 35-64, there is absolutely no basis in the mortality rates for shutting down places of work. The normal, total mortality rate for this 126 million-strong core of the work force, in fact, is nearly 500 per 100,000 annually. 

So the Covid death count to date amounts to just 1.3% of the normal mortality rate. What posse of fools advised the Donald, therefore, to monkey-hammer the working economy on account of that? 

Moreover, our eddy pool analogy could not be more spot on. A new analysis of elderly New York hospital patients who died WITH Covid-19 showed that 94% suffered from at least one life-threatening morbidity such as hypertension or respiratory illnesses, and 88% had at least two. 

That is to say, based one age alone, the Covid is a perfect case of the Pareto 20/80 rule. In this case, the 65 years and older population (52.4 million) accounts for 16% of the US total population (327.2 million) but 79% of the WITH Covid-19 deaths. 

But when you overlay, the comorbidity incidence among those 16%, the real highly vulnerable population turns out to be 5% or less. 

So the fact that we got to Lockdown Nation with lightening speed given these facts is surely a case of President Truman’s famous sign on his Oval Office desk that read, “the buck stops here”. 

The truth is, the Donald is lazy, weak, indecisive, notoriously ill-informed and an atrocious chooser of advisors, and it is exactly those attributes that lead to the March 16 stay-at-home guidelines from the Oval Office. 

Had the Donald not foolishly embraced the misbegotten project of the Infectious Disease Lobby to stop the spread of the coronavirus through the US population cold, which is self-evidently impossible with a ultra-contagious airborne virus, the Dem mayors and governors would not have had the political hall pass to instantly pile on the lockdown wagon. 

Ironically, the Dems were desperately searching for a way to discredit the Donald’s phony Greatest Economy Ever boast, and the Donald handed them what amounts to an economic bunker buster bomb on a platter. 

Indeed, choosing bad advisors and listening to them is the Donald signature failing. After all, if the gravamen of your foreign policy is America First and you appoint as your top national security advisor the most unhinged apostle of Empire First on the entire planet, John Bolton, you are either stupid as hell or semi-comatose. 

So the Donald is, in fact, the Patient Zero who spread the virus of Lockdown Nation because he was either too lazy or too dumb ask the obvious question, as we will amplify in Part 2. 

But in the meanwhile, WSJ columnist Holman Jenkins got it right: 
We started off sensibly. 'This is not something [American families] generally need to worry about,' said CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier in mid-January. 'It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci a week later. 

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, urged residents to go about their business normally as recently as March 11. 
But then on March 16, the Donald entered the White House briefing room and announced a sweeping plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

And it was based on the extremely bad advice of Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady (Deborah Birx), both lifetime government bureaucrats who had absolutely no concept of the economic Mayhem that Lockdown Nation would instantly foster. 

So Patient Zero thereafter droned on night after night during this reality TV show in the stupid belief that the US economy was so strong that it could handle a 15-day Spring Vacation. 

Never was a US President more misguided: 
Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. 'If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,' he said. 

On Sunday, the night before Day 15, Trump told the country to stick with the plan for another month, until April 30. 

'The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,' Trump said. 

'We’re getting rid of the virus,' he said. 'That’s what we’re doing. That’s the best thing we can do. By the way, for the markets. For everything. It’s very simple. It’s a very simple solution. We want to get rid of it.' 
Indeed, the Donald got so bamboozled in part because of his own massively exaggerated view of his role. He came to view the absolutely catastrophic stay-at-home guidelines as merely another case of closing things down which aren’t his to close–like the border with Mexico. 
Trump described the decision to issue the guidelines as 'one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made' and said he was skeptical when his medical experts came to him with the plan. 

'I wasn’t happy about it,' he said on Fox News last week. 'They came in — experts — and they said, "We are going to have to close the country." I said, "We have never closed the country before. This has never happened before." I said, "Are you serious about this?" 
But without hardly a further moment of reflection, he promptly declared himself a War President, and we were off the races to Lockdown Nation. 

But on this matter, the great Randolph Bourne was more than clairvoyant fully one century ago: 
The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. 

They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. 

The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men.
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.

The CNN/Cuomo Brothers Inquisition, CovidGate And The Folly Of Lockdown Nation

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We are getting sick and tired of the CNN/Cuomo Brothers inquisition and the Coviddeath Cavalcade. Their relentless, morose, partisan coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is the single greatest campaign of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, scaremongering and elitist prattle we can recall in our entire lifetime.

Indeed, Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare was a Sunday School picnic compared to CovidGate. And just as there were no commies secretly subverting America 66 years ago, there is no deathly contagion stalking the American people today and no public health emergency that remotely justifies the Lockdown Nation regime that the CNN/Cuomo Brothers and infectious disease lobby have foisted on the country with virtually no public debate or democratic accountability.

By every measure, New York is the aberrant epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak. So what you find in the New York stats has got to be definitive, but what they’re conclusive about is the very opposite of the hysteria being propagated by the Cuomos & friends.

The New York data, in fact, show that Covid-19 almost pinpointedly attacks the old, the frail, and the medically vulnerable, not the general population.

In turn, that means that public health measures should be focused on identifying, isolating, protecting, treating and supporting the very small sub-population that is bearing the brunt of the illness and deaths, while allowing the vast bulk of the population to get back to normal social and economic life forthwith.

As we document below, the peak of new cases and deaths is now in the rear-view mirror. So what we can glean from the New York stats through April 13th reporting is definitive and will only get even more definitive in the weeks ahead.

As of 1PM today, the nationwide death count “WITH” Covid-19 was 23,529. And we go full monte with CAPs, quotes, bolds and italics for the reason that it is self-evident the virus per se didn’t kill many or most of these people: It triggered organ and function failures that were already embedded in pre-existing morbidities. And that truth is validated in spades by the New York data. As of this afternoon, New York had reported 10,834 corona deaths or 45% of the national total.

But when you look at the break-out by age categories and rates relative to population, the numbers are simply stunning:

· Under 50 years: 642 deaths or 4.9 per 100,000;

· 50-69 years: 3,174 deaths or 65 per 100,00;

· 70-79 years: 2,888 deaths or 272 per 100,000;

· 80 years+: 4,130 deaths or 1,086 per 100,000. 

In short, 18% of all the Covid-19 nationwide deaths crawling across the CNN screen today have been among New Yorkers 80 years and older; and 7,018 or 30% of national deaths and 65% of New York Covid-19 deaths have been among those 70 years and older.

To be sure, as a member of the 70+ class of New York residents, we don’t begrudge anyone the longest and happiest life possible. But we are here talking about the appropriate public policy response to a bad winter flu and suggest that when the mortality ratio for the over 80 population is 222 times higher than for those under 50 years old, then one size surely does not fit all.

Indeed, when it comes to quarantines and contact tracing, the Cuomo brigade has it assbackwards. To wit, leave the general population alone where quarantine is unnecessary and contact tracing is a ridiculous needle-in-the-haystack waste of time, and target protection measures on the vulnerable, instead.

After all, in the entire state of New York there are only 382,000 souls age 80 or over. Would it not have been far more rational for Governor Cuomo’s health department minions to track down these 382,000 vulnerable elderly rather than to shutdown the entire economy of the state in order protect 13.05 million folks under 50 years from a death risk which amounts to a minuscule 4.9 per 100,000?

In all honesty, that latter figure is a rounding error in the scheme of things. Every year in New York state, 11,760 persons under 50 years or 91.3 per 100,000 suffer an untimely death—including 3,428 from auto and other accidents and 917 from suicides.

Since the infection wave, hospitalizations and death numbers have now clearly peaked and will be falling sharply in the weeks ahead (see above), we can say with some considerable confidence that when the Covid is gone, it is doubtful whether more than 917 New Yorkers under 50—the normal year suicide population— will have died WITH the coronavirus.

That’s 7.0 souls per 100,000—and its just plain insane to got into plenary Lockdown on their account—especially because the predominant share of under 50 year-olds who have succumbed WITH the coronavirus were also suffering from one or more morbidities, especially hypertension, diabetes and COPD (see below).

Indeed, that gets us to the even more damning stats in the New York data. To wit, only 1,242 or 11% of New York’s 10,834 Covid-deaths (as of April 13) were not accompanied by at least one of the top 10 co-morbidities.

By contrast, of the 9,592 cases with these conditions, the total co-morbidities were 19,280. That means the New Yorkers among this group died with an average of 2.01 comorbidities, and some with three or four.

Again, when you stratify by age, the injunction to identify, trace, isolate and treat by indicated vulnerability could not be more dispositive. Among the 4,130 persons aged 80 or older who have died in New York,

· 2,489 or 60% had hypertension;

· 1,264 or 31% had diabetes;

· 845 had hyperlipidemia (blood disorder);

· 605 had coronary artery disease;

· 819 had dementia;

· 425 had renal disease;

· 534 had COPD;

· 366 had cancer;

· 386 had congestive heart failure. 

So Governor Cuomo, riddle us this. In lieu of your daily reality TV show and presidential campaign audition, way didn’t you mobilize the doctors and health authorities to identify these 10,834 medically imperiled among the thousands more with like and similar conditions among the 382,000 octogenarians in your state in order that every possible precaution could have been taken weeks ago?

Compared to the needle-in-the-haystack idiocy of contact tracing among the general population, the state’s doctors and health agencies do actually know the names, addresses and social security number of nearly every one of these medically vulnerable cases. That’s where the resources should have gone—not into a mindless Lockdown of the entire economy.

Indeed, when you look at the next most vulnerable category, the 1.26 million state residents aged 70-79, the story becomes even more compelling. In this age bracket, there have been 2,888 deaths WITH Covid reported as of April 13th, which, as indicated above, represents 272 per 100,000.

But, not surprisingly, 62%, 45%, 23% and 14% also had hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and coronary artery disease, respectively. In all, this group had 5,695 comorbidities among the to 10 diseases, which amounts to 2.0 per deceased.

In sum, 7,018 or 65% of the WITH Covid deaths in New York were 70 years and older and suffered from 13,800 instances of these major underlying illnesses that could have been readily identified by the doctors and health care professionals who treat them.

Likewise, even the 3,174 deaths among aged 50-69 overwhelmingly involved 4,848 comorbidities, including 2,930 cases of hypertension and diabetes alone.

Finally, among the 642 deaths under 50 years, there were fully 634 cases of the top 10 morbidities.

That is to say, there have been virtually no deaths among the disease free population under 50. Yet hundreds of thousands have been infected and tens of thousands have become symptomatic or sick, but recovered from this novel flu in the normal fashion.

Here’s the thing. The US economy was so weakened by 30 years of debt, speculation and money-printing that its own economic “immune” system was at ultra low ebb.

So the Lockdown Folly will prove to be far more destructive than would have otherwise been the case. So now is the time for the Donald to do something constructive for once, and face-down the CNN/Cuomo Brothers and infectious disease lobby and stop cold the economic bleeding cure they have foisted on the US economy in the name of public health.

And now is the moment. During the last few days, the death rates have plunged in most of the nation, and clearly even New York has turned the corner as this chart makes abundantly clear.

But for want of doubt, here is the the nationwide gain in new cases WITH Covid-19. It is now down nearly 26% from its Good Friday peak, after accelerating in early April:

April 5-April 14 trend: 25,974, 28,752, 30,437, 30,130, 34,346, 34,617, 29,591, 28,983, 24,948, 25,699

So let us repeat: The New York Covid epicenter has provided the pretext for the present nationwide hysteria and insensible acts of economic suicide.

But its actual data show why the Lockdown should be ended now. To wit, the 1.64 million residents of New York over 69 years old account for just 0.5% of the US population, but have suffered 30% of the nation’s deaths WITH Covid.

It is therefore time to tell the economy-wreaking Cuomo Brothers and their political cohorts and media megaphones to stand down and let America get back to work, and the doctors and health professionals refocused on the real victims of this nasty virus.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.

How The Donald Assassinated ‘America First’

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By the twisted logic of Imperial Washington, you could say the Iranians were asking for it. After all, they had the nerve to locate their country right in the middle of 35 U.S. military bases!

Then again, your saner angels may ask: What in the hell is Washington doing with a massive military footprint in a region and in a string of backwater countries that have virtually no bearing on homeland security, safety and liberty?

Djibouti? Oman? Kyrgyzstan? Uzbekistan? Afghanistan? Bahrain? Kuwait? And, yes, Iraq and Iran?

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In fact, Washington destroyed the former for no good reason and based on egregious Big Lies about Saddam's nonexistent WMDs and sheltering of al-Qaeda. That turned Iraq into a failed state hell-hole, pulsating with sectarian frictions and anti-American grievances--even as the rump of Iraq centered in Baghdad fell under the control of Iran-friendly Shiite politicians and militias.

At the same time, Iran itself is zero threat to the American homeland. It's tiny $350 billion GDP amounts to 6 days of US annual output and its $20 billion defense budget is equivalent to what the Pentagon wastes every 10 days.

Militarily, it has no blue water navy, an air force that could double as a cold war museum and a short and medium range missile force that is self-evidently dedicated to defense and deterrence in the region, not an attack on the USA way over on the yonder side of the deep blue seas.

Its 300 or so active aircraft, for example, include 175 US F-4, F-5, F-14 and sundry transports, helicopters and trainers purchased by the Shah during the 1970s and kept together since the revolution with bailing wire and bubble gum. It also fields 60 or so Soviet vintage MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su attack aircraft---plus a few dozen European and Chinese planes of mostly ancient design.

Likewise, even its most advanced medium range cruise missile (Soumar) can barely get to Rome, Italy, to say nothing of Rome, Georgia.

As is evident from the yellow, green, red and black circles on the map below, which circles outline each missile's striking range, the overwhelming bulk of Iran's missile force has a range of 500 miles or less. These missiles are capable of hitting targets in the immediate vicinity of the Persian Gulf, or roughly the same area which encompasses the 35 military bases designated by American flags in the graphic above.

Stated differently, Iran's extremely modest military capacities are not remotely about an offensive threat to the American homeland. They are overwhelmingly about defending itself in its own neighborhood, where Washington has been intervening and occupying with massive firepower and hostile intent for decades.

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Therein, of course, lies a hint. More than 13 years after Saddam's last hurrah on a Baghdad gallows, the US still has upwards of 30,000 troops and contractors in the immediate vicinity of the Persian Gulf. But why?

It can't be owing to ISIS. The Islamic State was never much more than a no count salient of dusty, woebegone towns and villages on the Upper Euphrates straddling Western Iraq and northeastern Syria, and was destined to collapse into its own barbaric madness anyway. As it has happened, it was essentially dispatched by the Russian air force, Assad's military and the Shiite militia forces organized by the dead man himself, Major General Soleimani.

Likewise, it should be obvious by now that it's not about the oil, either. At the moment the US is producing nearly 13 million barrels per day and is the world's leading oil producer--well ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia; and is now actually a net exporter of crude for the first time in three-quarters of a century.

Besides, the Fifth Fleet has never been the solution to oil security. The cure for high prices is high prices---as the great US shale oil and Canadian heavy oil booms so cogently demonstrate, among others.

And the route to global oil industry stability is peaceful commerce because virtually every regime--regardless of politics and ideology---needs all the oil revenue it can muster to fund its own rule and keep its population reasonably pacified.

Surely, there is no better case for the latter than that of Iran itself---with an economy burdened by decades of war, sanctions and mis-rule and an 80-million population that aspires to a western standard of living.

So left to its own devices, Tehran would produce 5 million barrels per day from its abundant reserves. That's more than 10 times its present meager exports, which have nearly vanished owing to Washington's vicious sanctions against any and all customers for its oil and potential investors in modernizing and expanding it production capacity. So if it's not ISIS or oil, exactly why does Washington maintain the circle of 35 bases displayed in the graphic above and keep thousands of US troops and other personnel in harms' way in the region?

Or more to the moment, why has the Donald been unable to bring the forces home as he has so often proclaimed to be his policy?

The answer, of course, is that the foreign policy apparatus of the US government is controlled by anti-Iran neocons and regime changers. We are still in Syria not to fight ISIS, which is gone, but to block Iran's land route to its allies in Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah); and we remain in Iraq solely to use it as a base for clandestine US and Israeli attacks on these Iranian allies and proxy forces.

These Washington instigated or conducted attacks on Iranian allies, in fact, are why there was growing pressure in the Iraqi government to demand that the US finally leave.

These pressures will now become overwhelming in light of this week's US bombing of five PMF camps (Popular Mobilization Forces) which are Shiite militias that have been integrated into the Iraqi army and which are under the command of its prime minister. Thursday night's assassination of its Deputy Commander along with Soleimani is only more kerosene on the fire.

To be sure, Iran's choice of allies has nothing to do with America's homeland security: None of the sovereign governments of Lebanon (where Hezbollah is the leading political party) or Syria or even Iraq (which is an ostensible US ally) have protested these confession (i.e. Shiite) based arrangements and the aid and benefits which flow from them.

That's because the so-called evil Shiite crescent is a bogeyman invented by Bibi Netanyahu and is the excuse for his hysterical anti-Iranian foreign policy. The latter is not even designed to enhance Israel's own security, but to vilify a "far enemy" that can keep his rightwing coalition glued together and himself in power.

Likewise, the US military-industrial complex's greed and appetite for power and pelf is so voracious that it will embrace any and all missions anywhere on the planet---no matter how stupid or futile or immoral, as per the case of 19-years in Afghanistan---that keep the budgetary loot flowing.

Accordingly, the Washington apparatus conspires to keep the 35 mideast bases in place and to trigger actions like last night's insane assassination of Iran's foremost military leader in order to reify the threat and to periodically stoke tensions and counter-attacks that keep missions alive and the forces deployed.

Indeed, we are hard-pressed to imagine a more poignant case of the pot calling the kettle black than Washington's claim that it had to retaliate owing to actual and expected Iranian "aggression".

For crying out loud, Washington has been demonizing, ostracizing and economically attacking Iran for decades, and is now literally attempting to destroy its economy and society through its oil sanctions and its "maximum pressure" campaign that aims to bring the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi to its top leaders in Tehran. So do ya think a regime under a veritable existential threat might gravitate toward retaliation as an alternative to extinction?

And we need be clear about the matter of striking back in self-defense. Washington's current sanctions campaign against Iran is so aggressive and brutal that it constitutes war by any other name.

When you surround a sovereign nation with an armada of land, sea and air-based high- tech lethality and then declare outright economic war on it with a barely-disguised aim of regime change, it must and will fight back however it can.

That's why Secretary of State Pompeo' statement justifying the Donald's act of naked aggression is so hideous.

Washington is putting the entire nation of Iran at risk in the very place where God or evolution, as the case may be, formed the peninsula on which it resides; and it is doing so without any Iranian provocation against the security of the American homeland whatsoever.

But this neocon knucklehead has the gall to insist that when it comes to the actual anti-Iranian belligerents (i.e. U.S. forces) Washington has bivouacked where they have no business being at all, that not a hair on their head should come to harm.

That's Imperial arrogance of a kind rarely seen in a world history which is littered with exactly that.

"I can't talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President's decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives," Pompeo told CNN.

The IRGC general had been "actively plotting" in the region to "take big action, as he described it, that would have put hundreds of lives at risk," according to Pompeo.

Undoubtedly, things will now spiral out of control because the Iranian regime must and will retaliate for Soleimani's death. Indeed, by vaporizing the latter, the Donald has now also vaporized any chance of actually implementing the "America First" policy upon which he ran, and which was the principal basis for his freakish elevation to the Oval Office.

The fact is, the only decent thing Obama did on the foreign policy front was the Iran Nuke Deal. Under the latter, Iran gave up a nuclear weapons capability it never had or wanted for the return of billions of escrowed dollars (which belong to Tehran in the first place), while putting itself in a straight-jacket of international inspections and controls that even Houdini could not have broken free from.

But the Donald wantonly shit-canned this arrangement, not because Iran violated either the letter or spirit of the deal, but because the neocons--led by his bubble-headed son- in-law and Bibi Netanyahu errand boy, Jared Kushner----blatantly lied to him about its alleged defects.

Indeed, the resulting Washington pivot to the current "maximum pressure" aggression against Iran is fast becoming the Empire's most demented and shameful hour---even as it crystalizes like rarely before the difference between homeland defense and imperial aggression.

Under the former, not one American serviceman, contractor or civilian official would be in harms' way because the ring of hostile bases surrounding Iran would not exist nor would Washington be waging economic warfare on what would otherwise be a prosperous 5 million barrel per day oil trade with the world.

Only empires put their citizens needlessly in harms' way and thereby trap their leaders into a cycle of violence which feeds upon itself.

The Donald is now yet another American president ensnared in the kind of tit-for-tat trap that is the modus operandi of Empire First.

David Stockman was Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.

The above originally appeared at David Stockman's Contra Corner.