The Spanish flu app

I don’t want to send any traffic to this totalitarian screed, so no link.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless.
The tech giants have refused officials’ pleas to allow the collection of location data and to help contact-tracing teams learn where new infections have spread.

It’s a Washington Post article, execrable even by their abysmal standards. It assumes the CCP virus pandemic logically requires suspension of individual rights. The poor official’s pleas have been ignored. Well… not so much pleas as authoritarian demands.

Let’s start with some truth in headlining: It’s a people tracking system, not a virus tracking system. Viruses do not carry cell phones. Too bad.

The authors do go so far as to quote, without rebuttal, the director of research at a D.C. think tank “devoted to reducing the power of monopolies,” that if virus exposure tracking apps do not default to continuously tracking the location data of every individual, and record this in a centralized, health official accessible database:

“You have a private government [Google and Apple] that is making choices over your society instead of democratic governments being able to make those choices.”

Freedom respecting government does not pose this choice, except to informed volunteers. The WaPo scribblers do not even consider leaving privacy choices to individuals: Mob-majority governments which routinely reveal private information to health officials is the only useful approach. The Chinese Communist Party’s social credit program has already incorporated this insight. We don’t need that here.

Daring Fireball nails it, and gives a great overview creating no WaPo traffic. RTWT

WaPo reporters Reed Albergotti and Drew Harwell parade before us a series of public health officials and Progressive Think Tank spokesperps unleashing their inner fascist. It is discomfiting that the WaPo can find so many. Albergotti and Harwell conclude that Apple and Google are to be roundly castigated for placing individuals over the collective.

They are telling us salvation is in trusting the politicians and bureaucrats who oversaw such luminaries as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, secured the DNC email server, and were held accountable (not) for the 21.5 million stolen records at the United States Office of Personnel Management (Including fingerprints!), 26.5 million at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 76 million at the National Archives and Records Administration, and 191 million from the U.S. Voter Database. Just to mention some of the more egregious examples of government care for citizen’s information.

And this talk about “private government,” with no mention of Hillary’s bathroom email server is hilarious. And this,

“If it’s between Google and Apple having the data, I would far prefer my physician and the public health authorities to have the data about my health status,” she said. “At least they’re constrained by laws.”

…displays appalling ignorance of certain former Secretaries of State and Presidential candidate’s approach to public information. Here’s a woman whose health had a legitimate public interest. But, when she collapsed next to a NY bollard, we were told to ignore it. OK. Ignore me too, unless I tell you differently.

These critics of individual rights, you’re likely aware, are mostly the same people cheering on Facebook and Twitter in the quest to label as “hate speech” anyone who disagrees with the CDC, WHO, or the Chinese Communist Party theories of CCP virus contagion. And they seem blind to the fact that the actual monopolies are the governments and apparatchiks they promote.

I’ll admit it is a consistent political philosophy if you view individuals whose decisions you don’t like as deplorable. They should not speak freely (and corporations should stop them from doing so) and the government must be made aware of your whereabouts at all times (by those same corporations). These Quisling-wannabes have become known colloquially as ‘Karens’.

There certainly are public health officials who would disagree with the point, content, tone, and totalitarian policy suggestions of this ‘news’ article, but the ‘journalists’ couldn’t be bothered to find even one.

Such complaints about Google and Apple are surprising only to the extent the complainants haven’t suggested we each be assigned a personal tracking drone.

If the Weimar Republic had invented the WaPo preferred app in 1918 to track Spanish flu, Mengele would have inherited it. You could imagine he’s the culmination of the petty tyrant public health officials WaPo reporters seek out in order to write stories bashing private enterprises still devoting at least lip service to individuals and to freedom.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless. OK, so don’t use the data individuals choose to send you.

When you let me directly and precisely monitor your every move, I’ll think about letting you monitor mine. Fair’s fair.

From German and Spanish; to Lyme, Ebola, Norwalk, and Lassa; on to Gehrig, Tourette, Hodgkin, and Parkinson

But “foreign virus” is xenophobic. Much less “Wuhan virus.” Which is racist.

I read BIRTH OF A VIRUS … several days ago and found the commentariat there split: Between 1) people who are critical of China’s political system and public sanitation practices; and 2) those defending China, primarily by accusing the blogger (Regie Hamm) of xenophobia and racism. For good measure this faction attacked the United States health care system as insufficiently socialized.

Mr. Hamm did call China a “cesspool of filth.” He gave first hand evidence. For a large plurality of the population, China’s sanitation most certainly is… um, unsanitary.

It is true there have been individual instances of xenophobia on New York subways, for example, and many people decided that dining out at Chinese restaurants – in crowded sanctuary cities where immigration credentials are suspect – was not their first choice. Even before their dining out preferences were eliminated.

Donald Trump’s travel ban on flights from China, the infection source, was not racist. Nor was Mr. Hamm’s post.

No country has a perfect health care system, but some are objectively better than others. Mr. Hamm’s suggestion was that Chinese public health suffers from the country’s totalitarian political system. This observation is not xenophobic. It is indisputable.

The Chinese Communist leaders razed the Wuhan wet market – a theretofore approved pit of disease and pestilence. Only after acknowledging it was ground zero for a major new pathology, however.

And that’s not to mention world famous unbreathable air, drinking water on par with the input to Mexican waste processing plants, and worse than San Franciscan sidewalks.

Xenophobia and racism cannot be reasonably inferred from the article. Briefly paraphrased, Mr. Hamm said: “A totalitarian government, well known to hold little regard for the effect on its citizens of third world class public sanitation, will also be likely to produce a substandard health care system.

This view is not likely to please Xi Jinping. It invites consideration of the lingering effects (unfettered, preferential abortion of girl babies) from China’s former one child policy… and it might rekindle inquiries into forced organ harvesting. Most particularly, it could raise more questions about the covering up of the coronavirus outbreak. After previously having done the same thing with diseases like swine and bird flu. China’s health system has a track record.

Then, as the Quillette article below notes:

[T]he Chinese government has learned to weaponize our own progressive tendencies, and has learned to exploit false accusations of racism against democratic societies.

The Big Lie: Chinese officials are pushing a conspiracy theory that the United States Army planted the virus in Wuhan.

Mr. Hamm’s critics are probably not Chinese disinformation agents, but they certainly read the talking points. (“The Washington Post routinely comes delivered wrapped in a special advertising section called “China Watch.” It’s official, state-sanctioned Chinese propaganda that reports fake news.”) Perhaps they are merely unable to distinguish between the Chinese people and the Chinese Communist government. That does say something about their knowledge of history and political theory.

China: Exploiting False Accusations of Racism

China’s Real Disease: Not Coronavirus

WATCH: Chinese Government Encourages Italians to Fight Coronavirus Racism By Hugging Strangers

Coronavirus Crisis Caused by Decisions of Chinese Government

Does Beijing’s COVID-19 Victory Prove the Superiority of the “China Model”?

NO. IT. DOES. NOT.

Oh, and this just in. 4:49PM:
Time to ban wet markets

Keeping it?

At the close of the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer: “A republic, if you can keep it.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes disagrees and engages in some tautological pontification: “[T]he weirdest thing about the Electoral College is the fact that if it weren’t specifically in the Constitution for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional.”

Maybe that was the weirdest thing about the Electoral College (for some weird definition of weird) up until he said it. Suddenly, the weirdest thing about the Electoral College became the wobbly perambulations of Hayes’ mind, if mind isn’t too generous a word.

What is unconstitutional is the effort known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to destroy the Republic we were given.

The U.S. is a Democratic Constitutional Republic, and Yes, It Matters

Justice among the socialists

A New York City high school which produces makers is under attack by looters.

No Ethnic Group Owns Stuyvesant. All New Yorkers Do.
-Boaz Weinstein

“Admission to Stuyvesant was and remains determined by a single test available to all middle school students in the city. There are no soft criteria for admission: no interviews, no favoritism for legacies, no strings to be pulled. It’s all about whether you do well on the test, which best determines whether or not you can do the academic work.

You would think that Mayor Bill de Blasio would celebrate Stuyvesant as the crown jewel of the city’s school system. Instead, he has announced a plan that will destroy it in all but name.

This month, the mayor said he would seek legislation that would eliminate the test completely. Instead, he’d guarantee automatic admission to Stuyvesant — and the seven other specialized high schools in the city — for the top students at every middle school, regardless of their abilities.

The mayor says he is trying to address what is undoubtedly a heartbreaking problem: the gross underrepresentation of black and Latino students at Stuyvesant and schools like it. In 2016 black and Latino students constituted 44 percent of the kids who took the test (and 65 percent of the New York City school population). Yet they make up just 4 percent of Stuyvesant students and 15 percent of students at the specialized high schools overall.

But the mayor’s solution is no solution at all.

For one thing, his plan seems purposely oblivious to his administration’s utter failure to prepare students across the city for the admissions test — and for a school as challenging as Stuyvesant. In nearly one quarter of the city’s public middle schools, zero seventh graders scored at the advanced level on the annual New York State Mathematics Exam in 2017. Mr. de Blasio would send the top 7 percent of students at every middle school to the specialized high schools, but at 80 middle schools — or one out of every six — not even 7 percent of seventh graders passed the state math exam.”

Mayor de Blasio is insisting on equal outcomes for Middle School students. Never mind if there aren’t 7% of a school’s graduates who are even competent (much less excellent) in math, he’s going to insist they be placed in a group where they will certainly struggle. If the school system for which the Mayor is responsible produces innumerate graduates, he’ll just lower the definition of numeracy.

I’ll bet vanishingly few of those 44% taking the entrance exam were students at the 80 schools where not even 7% can pass the state math exam. Graduating with no math competence is the problem, and throwing those kids into an advanced program is doing them no favor.

It’s not a numeracy problem to the Mayor, it’s a melanin content problem. The breakdown of the freshman admittees at Stuyvesant:

      Asian     — 613
      White     — 151
      Hispanic — 27
      Black      — 10

I wonder how the 37 black and brown students who passed the entrance exam feel about Mr. de Blasio’s proposal. They represent 4.62% of the freshman class. We know that 44% of the aspirants who took the test in 2016 were black and brown. That means over 10% of them passed. Will the 3% who made it based on a meritocratic exam be denied admittance in favor of the new “7% from all” social justice rules?

Before those 37 graduate from Stuyvesant, dozens of kids who don’t know what a square root is may be their classmates.

One consequence is that few, if any, outcome equal, square-rootless admittees will succeed. Another is that resources will be diverted from those who could do the work, and some of them will fail when they could have succeeded. So, how long do you think it will be before de Blasio’s Equal Outcome parameters will also be applied to Stuyvesant graduates? Stuyvesant diplomas will become certificates of participation. The equal outcome will be pre-ordained graduation, whether earned or not.

If de Blasio is successful, the vast benefit this school brings to us all – equal opportunity for everyone to become better, happier, and wealthier by standing on the shoulders of merit – will vanish.

The arc of equal outcomes bends toward the lowest common denominator. A term with which Mr. de Blasio’s new Stuyvesant students will be unfamiliar.

That’s what he wants. Any other result promotes the idea that people are not interchangable parts to be arranged in life by Government whim. De Blasio’s utopian project cannot tolerate that.