Rhetoric vs reality on vaccines

Rhetoric vs Logic

I try to keep things real here, though I sometimes descend into a rant or silliness. The People’s Blog might as well be a private discussion board as normal people don’t come here and if they do, they don’t linger. We can speak freely and acknowledge complications.

When speaking publicly, a less measured approach is more effective.

For example, lockdowns.

Realistically, I’m open to the idea that they may reduce infection rates temporarily in some cases but am against them because (a) the costs do not outweigh the benefits according to my own values and (b) we should not exchange freedom for a little safety except in extreme cases. It usually turns out badly, from banning dope to arbitrary War on Terror laws that are still on the books today.

If speaking in another forum I wouldn’t choose those words.

Ordinary people are not compelled by nuanced arguments. The world’s greatest orators didn’t move crowds by saying, “On one hand, I guess I can see their point of view on x, but on the other hand . . .” Did Cicero ever make a speech like that? Did Lincoln?

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Scaremongering about India

‘Entire families’ wiped out by Covid’s carnage in rural India, screams the headline.

The story went around the world via various mastheads but I tracked down the original to The Times of India.

Experiencing doubt, I decided to look into it.

In Basi . . . about three-quarters of the village’s 5,400 people are sick and more than 30 have died in the past three weeks.

Three-quarters? As about twenty percent of those infected with Covid never show symptoms, that means almost the whole village must be infected. I haven’t heard of that happening in any other place in the world (fact check me if I’m wrong).

Or perhaps they mean that 75% of people being tested are found to be positive. If they were only testing those presenting with symptoms that would make sense.

Thirty dead? Even if 100% of the village is infected, itself extremely unlikely, that gives us an infection fatality rate of 0.56%.

Doubt.

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Death rates

Some time ago I tried looking up total death rates for different countries to get a mathematical view of Covid’s impact. Curiously, one of the countries that compiles and releases its data first is Sweden.

What I found was so interesting that this post will only consider Covid in passing as it investigates broader trends.

Have a look:

You can see the Covid bump in 2020, likely to be repeated in 2021, but there are many other interesting things going on in this graph.

First, there’s a very obvious downward trend over the decades. You can see how improved nutrition, medicine etc. over the last century led to dramatically lower death rates, especially among infants.

There’s also a bulge over the 1980s. This is no doubt due to the age structure of society at that time as the graph shows crude death rates that are not adjusted for the age of the population.

Do you see those really big spikes? That’s what major pandemics look like. No doubt you can spot the Spanish Flu of a century ago.

Notice how early years have much more irregular death rates due to pandemics (mostly), harsh winters, crop failures and other perils of the pre-modern period. Compare to how death rates smooth over the twentieth century along with economic and technological development.

Most people understand that death rates have gradually declined since the Olden Days but it’s surprising to see that mortality has continued to drop even in the twenty-first century. In Sweden’s case, this decline is such that the Covid blip pushed 2020’s mortality rate up to what would have been normal a decade ago and still well below the average of two decades ago.

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More woe for women

The entirely avoidable tragedy of COVID-19 vaccines and pregnant women

Medicine has a long history of systematically excluding women from trials of potentially life-saving drugs.

Now pregnant women find themselves excluded from the life-saving benefits of a COVID-19 vaccination. Because they were not part of clinical trials, we cannot know with certainty if vaccines are safe and effective for them.

Because pregnant women and their unborn children tend to be more vulnerable to side effects. Drug trials are generally conducted on the most robust members of the population in order to minimize risks.

The article adds that pregnant women push up costs through the need to follow up on their kids once born and increased insurance costs, but these are related to the point above.

Excluding the vulnerable from drug trials does not count as being mean to the vulnerable.

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In the black

I have now recouped the publishing costs from my book.

Thank you to everyone who reviewed, promoted or bought The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom. It would never have gotten off the ground without you.

I’ve received positive feedback from readers who tell me it has helped them to understand the basics of personal finance and get their lives organized.

I’m already making notes for a second edition though there will be no major changes.

Thanks again and look out for my novel later this year.

Also available on many other platforms.

Which comes first: saving an emergency fund or paying off debts?

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This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

Save an emergency fund first, or pay off debts first?

The next chapter explains what an emergency fund is, where to save it and how large it should be.  It is essentially a rainy-day fund, and you definitely need one for financial freedom. 

But you also need to rapidly pay off your debts in order to reach financial freedom, as will be explained in the chapter after that.   Which of these should you do first?

Here is the order of operations:

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5 good books for Christmas

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Source: The Telegraph

If you’ve been umming and ahhing about buying The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom, now’s the time. From today until the new year the eBook is just $2.99!

The paperback is a buck off, now just $11.99. Will never get cheaper than that.

It’s the perfect gift for a young man who needs to learn how to manage his finances and start serious investing for the future.

Also available on many other platforms.

I took care to ensure Poor Man’s Guide is normie-friendly so don’t worry about your SJW aunt clutching her pearls and reaching for her sniffing salts upon discovering the kind of content you sometimes get on this site.

Speaking of which, the following book is not normie-friendly. There’s no discount because it’s already as cheap as Amazon allows, $0.99:

Also available on many other platforms.

This is a collection of the best posts from SovietMen from 2015-2020, edited and with exclusive updates and extra content. It’s set out by category rather than chronologically.

I primarily published it as a record of this site for when it finally cops an F. If you’re new here and don’t fancy wading through posts randomly, or would just like to keep a copy of the best stuff, it’s yours for a buck.

The following are not affiliate links, just books I enjoyed from around the blogosphere:

Adam P.’s autobiographical Pushing Rubber Downhill is a funny, touching and educative account of his youthful misadventures traveling across the outback, becoming a fly-by-night river guide in the tropics of Queensland and then Uganda’s White Nile.

Perfect for a young man still mooching over girls and struggling to find direction in his life. Here’s my review.

If you’ve read it already, the sequel Run Guts Pull Cones takes us to the highlands of Italy.

Adam certainly made a few missteps on his path to wisdom, but nothing compared to the drunken and corporeal debauches of Naughty Nomad. Reading My Life as a Mexican Pirate, I still cannot believe he’s still alive. Here is my review.

If you’d prefer a novel, I recommend Finally, Some Good News by Delicious Tacos. This is the blogger who inspired me to start blogging. An unlikely couple is thrown together by a fortuitous nuclear holocaust. My review.

You can also find collections of his shorter pieces on his blog.

Update: DT has just announced that all his eBooks are 60% off for Christmas. Mogs me.

Next year Terror House will publish my novel. To my shame, I have not yet read any of their books. Here they are. Any recommendations?

I normally spruik my Amazon affiliate link this time of year but I don’t do that anymore. Instead, try to support local businesses that have been struggling under lockdown.

How about you? Got something to shill? Got a mate who’s published a book or is selling something and you think it’s pretty good?

Spruik away in the comments.

Don’t join a movement

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It’s been said before and it can’t be said enough: don’t join a movement.

Thirteen possibly slow-witted men were arrested by the FBI for plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

Yes, one of them clearly has an anarchist flag in the background of his video and criticizes Trump and the police.

Yes, they were probably egged on by at least one FBI infiltrator. Without him they probably would have talked big and done nothing, just like those ‘Islamic terrorists’ who were similarly convinced to commit crimes by agents. I recall one was sold a shotgun half an inch too short just so they could get him on that.

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We are all paperwork citizens now

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Vox Day likes to call immigrants without deep roots in a nation, ‘paperwork citizens’, as opposed to real citizens.  I always thought it was a bit mean to those who’d tried hard to fit in and make a life for themselves, but now I see the grain of truth in the sentiment.

As you know, I’m not presently allowed to return to my own country.  Subsequent rumination have helped me to make sense of this.

Almost 30% of Australians were born overseas.  Some of these, no doubt, are keen to assimilate and eventually become patriotic, dutiful, grouse Aussie shearers.  I’ve met Indians from Dubai who delight in our coarseness and have learnt to swear like troopers.  I’ve met game Vietnamese boys who play Aussie rules football.  I’ve met Kiwis who didn’t know they were Kiwis until they tried to apply for university.

I also know many migrants, especially from China and India, who move to Australia purely for Read More

NEW BOOK: THE BEST OF SOVIETMEN

Here it is!

For just $0.99, a 130,000-word collation of the best SovietMen posts from 2015-2020, with bonus notes, exclusive updates, and fewer typos:

 

It’s Volume I because if I survive through to 2025, I hope to put out a Volume II.

Also available on many other platforms. The paperback version is $11.99 because of printing costs, plus delivery will be like mailing a brick.

For the time being, all blog posts included are

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Bugger Australia

I still had some residual loyalty to the Old Country, but now it’s pretty much dried up.

I challenge any non-Aborigine to declare himself more Aussie than I am.  In a ‘nation’ where about 30% of the population are born overseas, I am a rare species in having all my great-grandparents and most of my great-great-grandparents native Colonials..  My grandpa fought in Papua New Guinea.  My great-grandfather died on the Western Front.  Another ancestor started a gold rush.  I’ve got two known convict ancestors.  Youse are all a bunch of chockos compared to me.

But I don’t care how Aussie you are, bugger the lot of you.

First the government Read More

Our present misunderstandings

This post is complicated and requires close reading.  Even then, not everyone who reads it carefully will understand it.  This is not suitable material for your casual skiving off work from home.  It is long, dull, and there are no pictures.  You might want to skip it.  However, if you ever have trouble grasping my meaning in a future post, you might want to come back to this piece.

I’ve noticed a few odd things happening across the web lately.

Many readers misunderstood my post about gun rights in the US, assuming I was taking a position that I was not.

In cases elsewhere, I’ve seen ironic posts taken seriously or the wrong way.

I pointed out a misunderstanding on Adam’s blog, which was itself misunderstood, plus I probably misunderstood the original comment.  This post is not a continuation of that discussion.

Finally, I’m receiving more than the usual amount of private communication from people saying they are too afraid to post publicly, even under a handle.  They often make a point that I thought I had made myself.

What’s going on?

A big hint is that Read More

Advice for every nation

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Have you ever thought, ‘If only people from Country X only knew what everyone thinks of them!’

In the interests of global peace and harmony, here we correct the world with very simple advice for many nations.  Please pay attention and be better from now on.

Afghanistan: leave boys and goats alone.

Argentina: put someone else in charge of your economy.

Australia: sometimes youse are a bit too Read More

Bread and Circuses

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In late antiquity, Roman Emperors no longer lived in the old capital, and some had never even visited it.  They were more likely to be in the extremities of the Empire fighting off barbarians, or in the later capitals of Milan or Ravenna.

One such absentee Emperor thought he’d better put in an appearance in Rome for the sake of his legitimacy.  He toured the city, and was not impressed with what he saw.

The Roman Romans, more so than other inhabitants of the giant empire, had long since become completely Read More

Envy

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One of my worst traits is envy.  One of my parents was frequently, and sometimes comically, guilty of this foible, so perhaps I picked it up either through nurture or via those pesky genes.

I feel envy deep in my bones, sometimes in the most ludicrous situations.  Always have.  When I was in Grade 5 and Steven Saker kissed Elizabeth Croydon on the playground because she insisted, I laughed along with all the other members of the audience but deep down I was fuming.  I didn’t even fancy Elizabeth Croydon that much but how come Stevo got to kiss girls and I didn’t?  It’s not fair!  I felt almost as much chagrin against kids who were allowed to Read More

The anatomy of a bad idea

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Don’t get me wrong, I reckon Duterte is one of the best presidents the Philippines has ever had.  He’s not particularly corrupt, and whatever he does, he does for his people.  Crime rates are way down, everywhere.  Until Covid, business was booming.  Bureaucrats were behaving themselves, often too terrified to even demand bribes.  And let’s not forget that it was Duterte’s will that helped the government win back control over Marawi.

The trouble with benevolent dictators is, they start to think they know everything.  Power corrupts in the sense that it makes them overconfident, and unwilling to listen to sound advice or take criticism.

So you get what we had here this week: Read More

Hysteria is fun

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When I was in Grade 2 at Nillemah North Primary School, a black-clad man walked past the playground at lunchtime.  He was wearing a mask and carrying a gun and a sword.  I didn’t see him myself but many others did, and word spread across the playground like a bushfire – skeptical teachers were checking the bushland banks and the perimeter, kids were all a-flap as they shared their stories, girls were crying in terror – the whole phenomenon went on for weeks, coming and going like malaria.

Fast forward to Grade 6, the boys in my class were having a birthday sleepover.  Long after we were supposed to be asleep but were talking about which girls we fancied and who was the coolest Ninja Turtle, the topic of the Man in Black came up.  For a while we tut-tutted how our teachers didn’t believe us, even though there were so many witnesses.  Then I asked quite innocently, which of you saw him, again, with your own eyes? Read More