Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Deep State; The Swamp -- February 25, 2020

Note: this was done quickly. It was not proofread. There will be content and typographical errors. There is nothing about the Bakken in this note. This is not ready for prime time. It is as close to stream of consciousness that I might come. I might clean this up later, but probably not. I will probably add stuff as the night goes on. But I'm not sure I will spend much time on this.

I'm still re-reading Vincent Bugliosi's book on the JFK assassination. The current environment of "fake news" puts that whole Dallas event in perspective. And I'm getting ready to enjoy octopus / cucumber salad.

If you haven't heard, this is quite remarkable.

Dr Nancy Messonnier.

Rod Rosenstein.

Dr Nancy, earlier today:
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the agency’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the time for Americans to begin preparing for a potential outbreak of the virus is now, although officials believe the immediate threat to the public remains low.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Messonnier said. “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
The market opened "green," then plunged almost 1,000 points after Dr Nancy Messonnier spoke.

Rod Rosenstein: caught up in the Comey scandal.  He has one sister, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And no who "discovered" this -- literally on the fly? Rush Limbaugh.

Meanwhile, coronavirus status, four statistics to follow:
  • growth factor trending down (good)
  • total deaths, change in total, day-over-day, down to an incredible 2% -- incredibly good news;
  • daily deaths, change in daily, day-over-day, another day of "negative" change -- again, incredibly good news;
  • by country; not one new country reported any new deaths; China reported 52 new deaths (and they would all be near "ground zero"); and, South Korea reported one new death, but other than that, the chart is "empty" / all white. Italy? No new deaths. Iran? No new deaths. But South Korea, one new death. Wow.
All we have to fear is fear itself.

Incredibly good news but the mainstream media will report this ad nauseum in worst light possible.

I think this is incredibly fascinating.

Why are the masks working? The virus is way smaller than the pores in these masks, but they are working? Why? [And yes, I do "know" the answer; there is an explanation.] [Later: scroll to the bottom of this post.]

Will the virus burn itself out, "naturally," before there is a vaccine?

Is this a bio experiment gone awry in Wuhan?

The Chinese physician who first called attention to this died? Is he the only physician that has died of Covid-19? Exactly what were the circumstances of his death? How many other physicians have died? I haven't heard of any others.

How did a "country physician" come up with the cause of this brand new infectious disease, seemingly overnight? Explanations for most unexplained cases like this are preceded by four articles in the Lancet, two articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, and a breakthrough article in Nature. But in this case, no research articles, but simply a "country doctor" discovering the cause. And then he's dead; within days. Shoot, the incubation period is two weeks. Jeffrey Epstein did not hang himself.

Many, many more questions. The questions fall into two categories. The first category is for Sherlock Holmes to answer: where/how/why/when did the virus appear. I think there is enough circumstantial evidence for Sherlock to start working some theories. In fact, my hunch is that Sherlock Holmes would have already sorted this out. It's too bad Richard Feynman is no longer with us. He, too, would have it figured out. Algore, the inventor of the internet and discoverer of global warming -- I'm surprised we haven't heard from him.

The second category, the public health angle, which is now the "only" medical angle: if you were "king/queen for a day" and could institute your plan to control this infectious disease how/what would you do? What policies would you dictate?

To be continued.

I Put A Spell On You, Nina Simone

For Investors, Not Traders

As an investor who does not depend on current investments to survive and with a long term horizon (30 years), I'm hoping the market has at least another two weeks of trending down. Talk about a buying opportunity. I cannot hope to buy shares of Disney at their lowest, but I can certainly buy Disney at a better price today than I could buy those shares two weeks ago.

But, hey, wasn't that a hoot?

"I'm outta here. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today, before I leave the office to go home. I'm done." And Bob Iger left Disney just like that. Has anybody of his stature ever left the corner office with such short public notice (like, "no" public notice)?

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, career, travel, job, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

Wedge Issues

Everyone watching the Democrat debates notes there are eight seven, exactly eight seven, wedge issues, to include:
  • free college tuition / all debt paid off;
  • a huge, huge wealth tax;
  • and, six five more.
The one wedge issue I cannot even begin to identify with is free college tuition / all debt paid off.

We've discussed this before. It's a non-issue for the nation. It's an issue for a few college graduates, but it's a non-issue for the nation. Not one US college graduate complaining about student debt has my sympathy. He/she should consider himself/herself incredibly fortunate. I'm not sure Ill-hand Omar could identify with such indebted college students, based on her own history. 

South Carolina Debate

I did not see the debate.

I am watching the analysis by MSNBC and Fox News. I gave up on MSNBC; Bret Baier is doing great. After forty minutes, I gave up on even the analysis.

In post-debate analysis, Bernie Sanders got the most attention. Klobuchar and Buttigieg got much attention. Bloomberg a little attention; Biden about as much as Bloomberg. Most surprising? Steyer got no attention in the post-analysis on either cable "channel."

Drudge voters:
  • Sanders wins at 30%
  • Bloomberg places at 20%
  • Klobuchar shows at 16%
  • Biden at 11%; 
  • Butti-who at 10%;  
  • Steyer at 10%; how unimportant is Steyer? to the best of my knowledge President Trump has not given him a nickname;
  • Warren at 4%; can't even round up to 5%; stumbled at the gate; never got past the first turn;
Or as Bob Iger might suggest:
  • Grumpy
  • a real dwarf
  • Happy
  • Dopey and/or Sleepy
  • Doc
  • Curella de Vil  
So far, 99,000 folks have voted over at Drudge. Only 14,000 people voted in the Nevada caucuses this past Saturday. Something to think about.

Drudge needs to do a second poll: how many folks voted for a debate winner but actually never watched the debate itself. LOL. It appears the millennial crowd is all in -- voting over at Drudge.

The bigger story: if the debate foreshadows the DNC convention, and I think it does, "Katie, bar the doors."
Tokyo Olympics

One word: toast.

Back to Masks

Earlier I asked:
Why are the masks working? The virus is way smaller than the pores in these masks, but they are working? Why? I was wrong in an earlier post suggesting (strongly suggesting) that masks don't work.
But it's obvious they work. They shouldn't work. The coronavirus is several times smaller than the pores in the mask.
My tongue-in-cheek reply to a reader who asked me to expand. Not ready for prime time:
All the reasons you suggest are part of the answer, but this is the #1 reason: viruses are not dry-little 7-gene protein particles that float through the air. When a person sneezes, coughs, etc., they expel saliva, bronchial secretions, other bodily fluids, etc., etc, and that's what the viruses ride on when they come out -- again, they are not dry, little one-micron free-floating particles. They are riding on "relatively" large droplets of bodily fluids.

By the way, another reason: the viruses don't have GPS guidance; they don't penetrate the pores of the mask using satellite positioning. This is not like Star Wars where Skywalkers of the virus world fly their vehicles through a gauntlet of obstacles. Their movement is completely random. The pores may be big enough for viruses to get through but I imagine most of the mask is impenetrable. If not impenetrable, enough there to snag/attract protein particles.

Interestingly, if one could come up with a "product" that could be sprayed on the mask that viruses would get "stuck" on that would improve the efficacy of the mask. I'm thinking "surface protein absorbing material" (or SPAM for short) or PAM (protein absorbing material) which could be sprayed on masks making them that much more efficacious. SPAM, of course, would have an added benefit. Not only does SPAM have natural umami-ness, but Asians are particularly fond of Spam and all things pork.

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