Category Archives: Media

Apparently IRS tax returns are not secret anymore?

Perhaps we should all just publish our returns on the Internet and be done with the pretense of privacy?

ProPublica said it is not disclosing how it obtained the data, which was given to it in raw form. It is illegal for the IRS to give out the personal returns of any individual. ProPublica says it has the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.

Source: Billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk avoided paying federal income taxes in some years, report says – MarketWatch

Do they have their medical records too?

Considering the Experian leak or numerous retail credit card leaks, it seems that privacy no longer exists. What does this mean, long term, if everything we have ever done, bought, used, paid as taxes, used as health care, or discussed on line, in text messages, is no longer private?

In the case of Experian, the leak itself was the story. Now, the media itself gleefully participates in the leak and ignores their ethical lapse in participation as a party to this leak.

UPDATE: This story isn’t going over well for Propublica. First, some question the media’s use of stolen, private tax records – that is a real story. Second, Propublica uses a tax calculation they invented – as if unrecognized gains should be taxed and compared to income taxes. Third, it is an agenda-driven propaganda piece pushing a “wealth tax”. This is not journalism – this is advocacy.

Propublica cherry picks data, confuses wealth versus income, invents their own tax calculations, and says 25 tax returns are representative of everyone[1] thereby creating an effective propaganda hit piece.

[1] “Is anecdotal evidence reliable? One reporter says ‘Yes'”

The Lab-Leak Theory

On February 19, 2020, The Lancet, among the most respected and influential medical journals in the world, published a statement that roundly rejected the lab-leak hypothesis, effectively casting it as a xenophobic cousin to climate change denialism and anti-vaxxism. Signed by 27 scientists, the statement expressed “solidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China” and asserted: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

The Lancet statement effectively ended the debate over COVID-19’s origins before it began.

Source: The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins | Vanity Fair

We now know this publication in The Lancet was organized by the EcoHealth Alliance, and that at least one of the co-signors has now backed away from the original statement.

Then came the revelation that the Lancet statement was not only signed but organized by a zoologist named Peter Daszak, who has repackaged U.S. government grants and allocated them to facilities conducting gain-of-function research—among them the WIV itself.

The original statement was motivated by politics, not science. But once done, the media, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube censored content, including from certified experts, that discussed the lab leak hypothesis. Some now acknowledge they did this because it opposed Trump (hence, politicized speech).

We now live in a thoroughly Orwellian, authoritarian ruled world. Our traditional view of authoritarian tyrants was they would be government leaders. But media and social media billionaires are the driving force and the controllers of public thought.

Data dumping throughout the pandemic

The latest trend in the daily U.S. death count is further complicated by data audits being performed by state health departments. In these scenarios, a batch of previously unreported cases or death data will be attributed to a single day, even if they occurred before the assigned date. Oklahoma and Maryland last week each added hundreds of deaths to their pandemic totals.

Source: Covid-19 cases, deaths, and vaccinations: Daily U.S. data on June 2

The above is a good article as it catches the nuances of what the daily numbers mean – or do not mean.

Some states announce when they are data dumping, while others do not. Many local or state public health departments take the weekend off, leading to a dump early in each week. Most news reports have neglected to notice or mention this for the entire past year, leading to fake news reports – on a routine basis.

More suicide of expertise

Column asks, what if the Wuhan Lab leak hypothesis is true? What would that mean – a lot, probably.

And how did we get here?

Because if the hypothesis is right, it will soon start to dawn on people that our mistake was not insufficient reverence for scientists, or inadequate respect for expertise, or not enough censorship on Facebook. It was a failure to think critically about all of the above, to understand that there is no such thing as absolute expertise. Think of all the disasters of recent years: economic neoliberalism, destructive trade policies, the Iraq War, the housing bubble, banks that are “too big to fail,” mortgage-backed securities, the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2016 — all of these disasters brought to you by the total, self-assured unanimity of the highly educated people who are supposed to know what they’re doing, plus the total complacency of the highly educated people who are supposed to be supervising them.

Source: If the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis is true, expect a political earthquake | Thomas Frank | The Guardian

Media idiocy contributes to the panic

Mike Buckley is a British journalist. Just saw a video clip of him advocating for ZeroCovid before society can function again.

And then this – Never, ever, leave a journalist in a room, alone, with a number. He has no idea how wrong this is. He has no idea how this makes him look like an idiot.

Personally, I advocate no ore-opening until we have ResurrectionCovid; until we can bring the Covid-dead back to life, no one is safe. ZeroCovid does not go far enough. We must do better!

The inability of media or epidemiology to review past statements

source

Time after time after time, “experts” have proclaimed which countries “did everything right”. Eventually, most of them end up in the same place as all the others – but there is NEVER a review of past projections that have proven wrong, over and over again.

Taiwan is another country that we were told “did everything right”. The situation on May 27, 2021:

Update: As of June 2, Vietnam is now seeing this same trajectory. As I have long said, given time, everywhere ends up at the same destination. Yes, vaccines work and are the preferred way to end a pandemic – but the reality appears to be that this pandemic was mostly ending like all pandemics have eventually ended – naturally. Vaccines, fortunately, are putting the final closure on this period, which is good, but the reality is we need to figure out how to deliver vaccines faster for that to be the dominant solution.

Good news: Cases in India falling rapidly

Cases are plummeting, which is great news.

India has a population 4.26x larger (1.4 billion) than the U.S. When adjusted for population, the situation in India was about 1/4 to 1/3d the level reached in the U.S., at the U.S. peak.

The situation in India was bad, but the news never made clear that on a population basis, it was less bad than what had occurred in the U.S.

Anyway, the situation in India will disappear from the news shortly, as the news media finds something else to panic about.

Read the comments to this

Oh my goodness. The commenters take the LA Times to task with data.

Oh, it was written by Michael Hiltzik. I caught him making up stuff about the Affordable Care Act years ago – he was provably wrong – a simple check with the U.S. government’s HHS web site confirmed he was lying. I sent him a correction. Never acknowledged it nor did the LA Times correct the story.

Hiltzik is what is wrong with American journalism – he pushes his own agenda, without regard to facts or truth. He has a track record, which says much about the quality of the LA Times:

I have a blog post I never published publicly, on my Social Panic blog where I highlighted Hiltzik’s fake news reports about the ACA. His errors were serious – to the point that he writes fake news.

We have been had. We have been manipulated. We have been snowed with inconsistent, illogical, contradictory and generally incoherent messaging throughout this pandemic.

The conspiracy theorists may have been on to something – this starts to look like like preparatory propaganda to persuade us to adopt a variety of political agendas.

Having learned my lesson, I automatically avoid anything written by Michael Hiltzik. He has no credibility.

The new scariant: “A New Coronavirus May Be Making People Sick. And It’s Coming From Dogs”

As vaccines roll out, as daily new cases in India continue dropping, the media needs to find a new way to scare you – and here we are!

A previously unknown novel coronavirus capable of infecting people has been discovered in Borneo, says a team of researchers from Duke University.

Source: A New Coronavirus May Be Making People Sick. And It’s Coming From Dogs : Goats and Soda : NPR