A couple of recurring conspiracy theory themes keep being circulated to me, they are specific to Canada but I’m sure these are typical across all locations. I find these maddening because there is plenty of factual, well sourced and scientifically verified counterfactuals to draw from when being critical of the near universal mishandling of pandemic response by national governments worldwide.
For lockdown skeptics, embracing or amplifying fact-free hysterical conspiracy theories makes them look like lunatics, so they should stop doing that.
Allow me to dispense with the two big Canuck-themed conspiracy theories and then inject some much needed sanity into the conversation via a recent Triggernometry podcast with guest Ivor Cummins.
These conspiracies are:
#1) The Federal Government RFP to build “internment camps”
Sent to be multiple times privately. “Have you heard about the interment camps?”. Etc. They all refer to this actual, Canadian federal tender #6D112-202772/A “Service Provider(s) for Federal Quarantine / Isolation sites” which really does exist.
It sounds bad, doesn’t it. “Federal Quarantine / Isolation Sites” you mean like this kind of thing, nationally?
That’s actually a screen grab from Amazon’s Utopia series, which is a reboot of an earlier BBC series by the same name. I haven’t finished watching the Amazon version, but the BBC was originally about an elite cabal’s conspiracy to depopulate the planet by creating a false pandemic and then releasing a vaccine that would make people who took it, sterile. Pretty far out, huh?
Anyhoo, back to reality and the Canadian RFP for “The Interment Camps”. If you actually read the tender, you would see that the specification calls for bids to provide “Lodging for up to 1600 people spread across Canada”.
1600 people. Nationwide. And mostly in hotel rooms. You can argue whether or not the government has the right to detain people in the midst of a public health crisis. You can even debate if COVID-19 really would be a public health crisis if cooler heads prevailed (more on that below).
What you can’t argue, is that lodging for 1600 people, nationwide, are “internment camps”, because they’re not.
Apparently MPP Randy Hillier asked about this in Parliament “and was kicked out of the caucus for asking about them”. Nice try, Hillier did bring it up in provincial session. But he had already been kicked out of the PC’s in 2019 for mocking autistic children. He now sits as an independent (as a friend of mine far more plugged into Conservative politics once remarked to me “I often wonder myself where do we actually get these clowns from?” He was referring to career politicians in general).
#2) Liberal Party Whistleblower leaks “Great Reset” plan to end private property globally
I see this one more on social media, it purports to be a leak from a Liberal Party whistleblower which was posted to an indie website nobody had ever heard of before this, and a lot more people have heard of since. I won’t link to it here.
It outlines a plan from within the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) “Strategic Planning Committee” to begin introducing more lockdowns this fall, and then faced with the emergence of with a new strain of COVID in 2021 (“COVID-21”) engineer, in concert with national governments worldwide, a global economic collapse. The collapse would be followed by a debt jubilee and the implementation of UBI, with recipients of debt relief and UBI renouncing their claim on private property for the remainder of their lives.
All of this based on an anonymous email (purportedly) sent from a throw-away protonmail account. As I pointed out to the first few people who sent me this, it is so absent of corroboration or attribution that believing it is entirely, 100% faith based. It is totally devoid of evidence.
I can tell you that the only references to the PMOs “Strategic Planning Committee” seem to be in connection with this purported leak. It’s almost as if it doesn’t really exist and it’s not a thing. In Canada, committees are convened by the House of Commons, not the PMO (although it’s possible they informally call their groupings “committees”). The list of House of Commons Committees is here, and there is no Strategic Planning Committee in the list.
I can also tell you that wiping out everybody’s debt also wipes out a lot of other people’s assets, and most of those people whose assets are other people’s debts are: banks, pension funds, endowments and other forms of Big Money. And I don’t think they would sit still for a political drive to wipe out gigantic chunks of their assets. I’ve said it before, and plan to expand on it in the future: “Thank God for Big Money”. Because if you can count on at least one class of participants to act semi-rationally when faced with uncertain outcomes and trade-offs, it’s that.
Now it’s understandable that these kinds of rumours would run rampant, with the likes of the Davos crew in The World Economic Forum calling for using the COVID-19 pandemic as a type of “Great Reset”
…as I remarked on Facebook, it is hard not to imagine Herr Von Schwab delivering this speech wearing a monocle and a red armband.
Yet all this posturing is endemic to the type of catabolic collapse the existing power and institutional structures are facing today. As Jesse and Charles and myself frequently observe in our Axis Of Easy podcasts, we are transitioning from the Age of Nation States into an era of Network States and while it is too early to tell what this going to look like, today’s political class and plutocrats are trying hard to make sure they’re still the ones in charge after this huge tectonic phase shift.
Usually however, that doesn’t happen. When societies transition from one form of organizational structure to another, leadership changes as well. That could be why there is such a push to the hoop to keep a lid on things “as they are” over these past few years and the polarization and disarray is simply the old order turning into dust in the wind...
Enough conspiracy, let’s stick to data and science to end the lockdowns...
There is no shortage of science and data to challenge the flawed policies of the nation states whose basic playbook has been: lockdown, close economy, print money, ignore data, and double down.
This may be a good time to quickly outline my arc of how my views on the pandemic shifted over time.
My journey from Zombie Apocalypse to lockdown skeptic
I began monitoring the reports of a new virus emerging out of China in January. On January 23rd I emailed a friend advising him to go out tomorrow and pick up some N95 masks, and by the first week of February I was stocking up food, medical supplies, cash, and weapons. I was expecting a full breakdown of the global supply chain and a collapse of the global economy.
Based on early reported numbers of an R0 around 3.1 with an IFR of 5%, it looked like we’d see doubling times of 15 days. By March all three levels of government, city, province and national were reporting case rates and fatalities daily. I put together a spreadsheet and using those numbers as a model I forecasted Toronto to have 1.7M cases by the end of June. If the IFR really was 5%, or even 3%, it would mean between 51,000 and 136,000 fatalities.
This was terrifying, so as the world started locking down, it seemed to make sense. In fact I was wondering why we were still allowing inbound flights from hotspots like China? There were rumblings from The Clerisy like the New York Times that blocking flights from China would be racist. This was the early innings of the politicization that was to follow.
But then, a curious thing happened. The rate of change in infections and fatalities started coming down, drastically.
By June it was clear to anybody following the data that this was, at least for now, largely in the rearview mirror. I had been in touch with an old friend who now ran IT for several hospitals. In January he was trying to get administrators to take COVID seriously. By May, they had built 4 additional ICUs across the hospitals and they were sitting empty. Worse, resources were being denied to other medical uses. He was beginning to wonder if maybe this wasn’t going to be as bad as we both originally thought.
Then, over the summer despite the clear slowdown in the severity of the pandemic, the policy response to it intensified. And then it all became political. Questioning the efficacy of continuing the lockdowns became associated with being alt-right. Pro-Trump. Or worse. A Narrative War ensued. If you questioned official policy, you got deplatformed. I documented numerous instances of this over on AxisOfEasy.
Now we’re in the fall and the case counts are back up and Second Wave Hysteria is in full effect. The only problem is, the fatality rate is on the floor. Another problem is this shouldn’t be a problem. It should be good news!
The fatalities are up slightly with the season, but nowhere close to tracking the case counts as they did in wave 1. This could be for a number of reasons (more testing, the most vulnerable were hit in wave 1, etc) but no matter how you slice it, the graphs pretty well everywhere look like this:
That spike on the deaths chart in early October was from a data adjustment from the previous 75 days. Source here.
In this case, we’re talking about the Province of Ontario, which has to date nearly 70,000 cases total and slightly over 3,000 deaths. Nothing like the 1.7M cases and 50K to 136K fatalities my original model predicted.
What does that mean?
It means my model was wrong!
Which is ok, and fortunate, in fact. Now I’m not an epidemiologist, so I’m allowed to get my models wrong. But what I did do, that policy makers and experts are not doing, is re-examining the premises in the face of new data.
The Imperial College / Neal Ferguson model that inspired much of the global lockdowns is an extreme example of this. It turned out to be total shitcode, but it hasn’t impacted the policy response. Not one bit.
There is no justification for more lockdowns
Which brings us to the Triggernometry podcast I mentioned above, which I never did get around to adequately explaining. It’s a great conversation with those merry comics Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster and their guest this episode: biological engineer Ivor Cummins.
When you challenge the prevailing orthodoxy around anything COVID, it’s not uncommon for people to hysterically shriek at you that have to follow science and look at the data! Well, that’s what Cumins has done and here’s the upshot of what he (and many others) have found:
We should not have locked down over the summer. With cases and fatalities down it was the ideal time to let the virus spread amongst the low risk population to get further toward herd immunity.
Forcing mask wearing at the nadir of the pandemic (the summer) was a flawed policy that leaves no exit strategy. We’re basically in masks forever now.
40 years of published science indicates that masks (especially surgical and cloth masks, as opposed to N95) don’t make much of a difference when it comes to these types of pathogens, but four or five hastily rushed papers from over the summer of this year say otherwise.
The argument against pursuing a herd immunity strategy because of the so-called “long timers”, people who get COVID, and experience ongoing, long term and possibly life long effects is not a compelling argument. Statistically these cases are low, but more importantly they are not unique to COVID-19. We always have these edge cases with long term effects in seasonal flus and other diseases.
The fatality curve is playing out along established patterns regardless of whether their were lockdowns or not.
The first lockdown was understandable. A second one is completely unjustified.
Unfortunately what has happened is this has become about politics and ideology instead of public health. The real world, long term health effects of lockdowns and a crashed economy, the mental health issues, suicide, domestic violence and substance abuse are very real, and have now surpassed the damage being caused by the virus itself. I seem to remember two doctors in California who warned this would happen who were deplatformed and vilified for saying it.
The science and the data are out there, but those who push it forward are frequently accused of “reading what they want to see in the data”. If you revisit the two charts I posted above, that clearly show how case counts have diverged from fatalities, which are flat, I was told exactly that by people when I posted those charts a month ago.
Them: You’re just seeing what you want in that data.
Me: Aren’t these two curves clearly diverging, and one is flat?
Them: Just wait two weeks.
Me: Aren’t you literally extrapolating what you want to see in the data by saying that?
Them: These alt-right denialists are too much.
Well the two weeks, four weeks, six weeks everybody keeps telling me to wait for their extrapolation to kick in have come and gone and we can clearly see that the worst of the COVID-19 induced destruction is in the rear-view mirror. If the numbers change and new data emerges that changes things, I will modify my opinion accordingly. That’s the way it’s supposed work.
But we live in an age where policy makers working off of hypothetical models and career politicians with zero real world experience no economic skin in the game are egged on by billionaire
monopolists philanthropists and their pet projects in narcissism re-imagining society. They don’t know how to do anything other than double-down on failure while everybody else bears the consequences.
We need to reopen the economy and start picking up the pieces from all the other collateral damage we’ve caused.
Here is the entire Triggernometry video, I highly recommend watching it and circulating it among your colleagues.