It's Time to Call Out the Branch Covidians, and I'll Start with Bill Gates and Ray Hartmann
The "experts" who think they know everything are more dangerous than a toddler with a loaded gun.
[Note: I somehow deleted an introductory paragraph before publishing. I’ve recreated that paragraph to better introduce the characters.]
Bill Gates recently admitted that the Covid paranoia he helped whip up was a false alarm.
Ray Hartmann is a St. Louis media personality and founder of The Riverfront Times, a hard left news and entertainment weekly serving the St. Louis area. Like Gates, Hartmann pushed draconian Covid policies. Unlike Gates, who is general cordial and polite, Hartmann is bomb thrower.
The lockdowns, the masking, the ridicule at the hands of creepy little expert-worshippers like Ray Hartmann who, in May 2020, took this swipe at someone shopping without a mask:
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Just a week earlier, on May 14, Hartmann panic-tweeted a Rolling Stone article about the Congressional testimony of Dr. Rick Bright, whom Hartmann described as “one of the leading experts on vaccines.”
Hartmann salivated over Bright’s testimony because Bright, like Hartmann, was a Trump hater. Bright, according to Rolling Stone, had been fired from Health and Human Services after publicly ridiculing therapeutic interventions to treat Covid—hydroxychloroquine + vitamin D + zinc + doxycycline. Like many “experts,” Dr. Bright wanted high-risk Covid patients to sit at home doing nothing until a medical emergency developed, then to be ventilated to death. (Doctors and hospitals got bonuses for using a ventilator to kill people.)
Bright’s testimony before Congress, though, was not about therapeutics. It was about the impossibility of producing a safe and effective vaccine for Covid in 12 to 18 months. That was his supposed expertness that fed Hartmann’s fetish. Bright’s testimony, which I assume sent a tingle up Hartmann’s leg, criticized the Trump administration for, in Bright’s view, a slow and bungled approach to producing a vaccine. Via Rolling Stone:
“We were already behind the ball,” he said. “That was our last window of opportunity to turn on that production to save the lives of those health-care workers, and we didn’t act.”
Bright went to predict that Trump’s promise of a vaccine in 12 to 18 months was highly unlikely. Via Rolling Stone:
Bright also told Congress that having an effective COVID-19 vaccine in 18 months is unlikely, pointing out it took five years to create an Ebola vaccine. “A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12-to-18-month timeframe if everything goes perfectly. We’ve never seen everything go perfectly,” he said. “I still think 12 to 18 months is an aggressive schedule, and I think it’s going to take longer than that to do so.”
For the record, I agreed with Dr. Bright at the time. Recall that on April 20, 2020, I wrote:
Since early March, researchers around the world have been warning us that a vaccine for Coronavirus is highly unlikely for a very simple reason: they have been searching for vaccines against Coronaviruses for decades and have never produced one. None.
That article, linked below, provided an additional reason for skepticism: the vast majority of projects fail. Here’s that original post:
So, when it came to producing a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine in 12 months, Dr. Bright and I agreed, though for divergent reasons.
And we were both right. While coronavirus vaccines were brought to market within a year, they are neither safe nor effective. Like masks, what the experts told us was complete nonsense. The president of Pfizer’s vaccine program admitted to the EU that the vaccine was never tested for efficacy. And vaccine safety needs at least five to 10 years of study, not the two months allowed for the mRNA vaccines.
Speaking of safety, did you know that excess death rates correspond almost perfectly with Covid vaccination rates?
Granted, we have the privilege of hindsight, which Mr. Hartmann lacked when he wrote his tweets in 2020. We shouldn’t judge him for his lack of knowledge at the time—that would be unfair. But those he maligned, insulted, and dismissed as “knuckle-draggers” and “mouth breathers” deserve an apology. Hartmann bought into the testimony of anyone who disagreed with Trump.
On the other hand, the very same vaccinations that Hartmann’s hero, Rick Bright, warned could be unsafe became Hartmann’s cri de coeur once Biden took office. And he advocated for their mandatory use in his usual way: by insulting, badgering, and vilifying anyone who disagreed with compulsory DNA therapy. Here’s a sample of Hartmann’s 2021 hysteria:
At what point, I wonder, did Ray Hartmann, founder of The Riverfront Times, become a supporter of police brutality? Ray must have gotten a real kick out of watching police pummel innocent women for walking outside without a mask.
Again, Hartmann’s crime was not being wrong—most people were wrong about masks and vaccines and risk. Hartmann’s crime was being certain he was right and then claiming moral superiority because of his false sense of certainty.
Hartmann dehumanized the people who turned out to have been right all along.
FYI, Hartmann’s twitter feed has not opined on the recent shocking testimony by Pfizer that their vaccine was never tested for effectiveness in stopping the transmission of the disease. Nor has he condemned Pfizer’s CEO, Dr. Fauci, Kamala Harris, or Joe Biden for lying about the vaccine’s ability to prevent contraction and transmission of Covid—of which was a lie made up from whole cloth. If I had ruined my reputation by relying on lies of “authorities” and “experts,” you can bet I’d be screaming from the top of a mountain. But doing so would be an admission that I was wrong.
We wait patiently for Mr. Hartmann’s heartfelt apology.
Back to Bill Gates
First, let’s acknowledge that Gates wasn’t alone in lying to the public about the effectiveness of Covid vaccines.
And Gates has admitted, without apologizing, for shutting down schools for two year, resulting in the largest and fastest decline in student test scores since measurement began.
The result of Gates’s error?
"The national average composite score on the #ACT for the #highschool Class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in 3 decades, according to data released Wednesday. It is the first time since 1991 that the average composite score was below 20."
But this wasn’t Gates’s first mistake that ruined kids lives. To tell the story, I offer an extended quote from Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman who, along with Amos Tversky, introduced Prospect Theory to the world.
The example appears in a book intended for statistics teachers, but I learned about it from an amusing article by the two statisticians I quoted earlier, Howard Wainer and Harris Zwerling. Their essay focused on a large investment, some $1.7 billion, which the Gates Foundation made to follow up intriguing findings on the characteristics of the most successful schools. Many researchers have sought the secret of successful education by identifying the most successful schools in the hope of discovering what distinguishes them from others. One of the conclusions of this research is that the most successful schools, on average, are small. In a survey of 1,662 schools in Pennsylvania, for instance, 6 of the top 50 were small, which is an overrepresentation by a factor of 4. These data encouraged the Gates Foundation to make a substantial investment in the creation of small schools, sometimes by splitting large schools into smaller units. At least half a dozen other prominent institutions, such as the Annenberg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust, joined the effort, as did the U.S. Department of Education’s Smaller Learning Communities Program.1
Splitting a high school in two is a rather big deal to students of that school. My oldest son was forced, by redistricting, to change middle schools in 8th grade. Most of his friends remained at the original school, leaving my son almost alone in what was once considered enemy territory. The experience was traumatic considering the perspective of an early teen. But Gates, et al, forged ahead with their plan to break up schools.
Unfortunately, the causal analysis is pointless because the facts are wrong. If the statisticians who reported to the Gates Foundation had asked about the characteristics of the worst schools, they would have found that bad schools also tend to be smaller than average. The truth is that small schools are not better on average; they are simply more variable. If anything, say Wainer and Zwerling, large schools tend to produce better results, especially in higher grades where a variety of curricular options is valuable.2
Kahneman does not elaborate on how Gates compensated the victims of his failed experiment. In fact, I could find no evidence that the Gates Foundation ever acknowledged its fundamental statistical analysis error—an error that disrupted the educational lives of real children.
Rather, the Gates Foundation, in 2005, unceremoniously announced it would no longer fund the dissection of high schools for the prurient interest of “experts.”3
Don’t expect an actual apology from Gates on his egregious errors that led to useless masking, damaging lockdowns, and force vaccinations, either. That’s not Gates’s style.
Though, I will give Gates credit for admitting the interventions he pushed were unnecessary and harmful. Unlike Hartmann, who simply walks away from the chaos of his rude mistakes, Gates was man enough to own up to being wrong.
The central figures in the Covid scandal—the CDC, FDA, Joe Biden, CEOs who imposed vaccine mandates on employees and vendors, the boards and executives of Pfizer and Moderna—must receive repetitive justice for their crimes (and they were crimes), we have to treat the likes of Gates and Hartmann different.
Neither Gates nor Hartmann claimed to be experts in any field related to virology, immunology, public health, or education. One is computer nerd and the other is an angry blogger. For out part, we should top listening to them both. Their ideas are wrong and dangerous, however well-meaning they might be.
The Covid pandemic revealed a lot, but nothing as clearly as the weak mind of Bill Gates and the low character of Ray Hartmann. I look forward to never hearing from either again.
Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow (p. 117). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
Wainer, H. and Zwerling, H.L., The Phi Delta Kappan Vol. 88, No. 4 (Dec., 2006), pp. 300-303 (4 pages) https://www.jstor.org/stable/20442243