Wednesday, November 24, 2021

BWorld 515, Blackout economics, COP26 and Negros’ power prices

* My column in BusinessWorld last November 15. 

“Blackout economics” is the improper allocation of limited resources that leads to blackouts and power outages. I created this phrase and its definition in this column’s piece on June 14 (https://www.bworldonline.com/ten-indicators-of-blackout-economics/).

The first example of blackout economics in the Philippines was the killing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in 1986, when President Cory Aquino, upon the advice of her officials, did not allow the operation of the nuclear power plant. Killing the potential source of 621 MW of power with no alternative big power plants led to large-scale blackouts in the country in 1990-1991.

Another example of blackout economics is happening in Europe with high reliance on solar-wind power and the slow ditching of huge capacities from coal and nuclear. Europe experienced calm weather this summer and wind output was very low, risking blackouts, so they scampered for more gas from Russia. The year to date (YTD) price as of Nov. 12 (€75.68) of TTF/Euro gas was 311% or four times that at end-2020 (€19.12), and UK gas was 251% — from €56.40 on Dec. 31, 2020, to €194.05 on Nov. 12, 2021.

COP26 COMPROMISE

After two weeks of meetings and negotiations at the UN COP26 in Glasgow 2021 that ended in Nov. 12, two major agreements resulted. One, the developing world wants $1.3 trillion per year of climate money from rich countries starting 2030. This is a big jump from $100 billion per year starting 2020 as agreed on in COP 20 in Paris 2015 which was not implemented anyway.

And two, that there would be a “phase down” instead of “phase out” of coal power. This is important because many developing countries aspiring to be rich — China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. — are now dependent on coal for at least 40% of their total power generation. Blackout economics is not part of their aspirations.

SEA ICE MELT AND GROWTH

Among the major arguments for “decarbonization” is that “polar ice melts fast and results in rising sea level.”*

This statement is simply not true, is dishonest, because polar ice in both the Arctic and Antarctica, melt and grow yearly, no exception, for thousands and millions of years. There are years where the ice growth is lower than usual but followed by ice higher than usual.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Arctic and Antarctica Data archive System (ADS), keeps daily data of polar ice. Arctic ice in 2021 this November is higher than in the 2010s but lower than in the 2000s. In Antarctica, ice this year was above average until September then below average in October-November.

The lowest level that Arctic ice ever recorded since the 1980s was about 3.2 million sq.kms. in September 2012. Still, this is nearly ten times the Philippines’ land area of 0.3 million sq.kms. And among the highest levels of Arctic ice was in March 2012 at about 14.5 million sq.kms., which is 48 times the Philippines’ land area.

There is no “unprecedented, unequivocal melting of polar ice**,” no alarming rise in sea level due to melted polar ice, no climate crisis.

I pointed this out during the Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADRi)-Citizenwatch virtual townhall discussion last week, on Nov. 11, “Ensuring Power Supply Security for a Sustainable Economic Recovery.” The main speaker was Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy. There were eight other speakers: Jose Alejandro of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Meneleo Carlos of the Federation of Philippine Industries, Romy Bernardo of the Foundation for Economic Freedom, Ernie Pantangco of Management Association of the Philippines, Vic Dimagiba of Laban Konsyumers, Inc., Terry Ridon of InfraWatch, Louie Montemar of Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente, and myself.

I also mentioned during the forum that hastening decarbonization will lead to blackout economics part 2 in the Philippines because coal generates 57% of total electricity production while solar-wind only generates 2.7% (see Figure 2).

NEGROS POWER PRICES

In the Philippines, the most “green” place is the Negros sub-grid. As of 2020, its power generation was 2,358 GWH, 99.8% came from renewables — geothermal 65.5%, solar 20.6%, biomass 13.6%, hydro 0.2%, oil-based 0.2%, and coal or gas zero.

And Negros has among the most expensive electricity prices in the country. For instance, in the October and November 2021 billing of the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative (NONECO), the generation charge is P6.269/kwh compared with Meralco’s P5.044/kwh in October and P5.335/kwh in November (Meralco’s November rise was largely because of Malampaya temporary gas outage maintenance work).

The transmission charge in Negros is also high — P0.858/kwh in October and P0.753 in November — compared with Meralco’s P0.708 in October and P0.668 in November. One reason is that Negros is power-deficient overall and solar-surplus at certain hours. At night or on cloudy days, Negros imports coal power from the Cebu and Panay sub-grids, while on hot cloudless days it can export surplus solar power. It makes frequent use of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ (NGCP) transmission system.

ERC FAVORITISM OF NGCP

Last June, the NGCP’s Negros-Cebu submarine cable, with a capacity of 180 MW, was damaged by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) dredging and re-channeling activities in Amlan, Negros Oriental. Transmission was cut by half to only 90 MW, resulting in higher electricity prices in Negros.

This brings up at least three issues.

One, the NGCP and DPWH have no liability, all congestion costs are passed on to consumers and generation companies (gencos). The DPWH or its contractor should have liability insurance to handle these cases but the NGCP has no incentive to go after the DPWH if it can pass on all the costs to the consumers and gencos.

Two, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) to remove “congestion costs” in the price determination of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). This was a unilateral order, with no consultation with players. This has a distortionary impact on WESM pricing.

And, three, the ERC imposes reliability standards with penalties on the competitive generation sector but has lax reliability standards on the monopoly transmission sector.

When it comes to generation and distribution, the ERC is strict and hard. When it comes to transmission and the NGCP, the ERC is a softie. This is lousy and anti-consumer. n

*Paraphrased from statements like: “Rapid glacial melt in Antarctica and Greenland also influences ocean currents, as massive amounts of very cold glacial-melt water entering warmer ocean waters is slowing ocean currents. And as ice on land melts, sea levels will continue to rise.” — from https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/why-are-glaciers-and-sea-ice-melting

**Paraphrased from statements like: “Climate change is unequivocal and has caused unprecedented changes to the world’s atmosphere. It affects the polar ice caps…” from https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/climate-change/cop-26-greening-of-polar-ice-should-top-agenda-here-s-why-79839

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the president of Minimal Government Thinkers.
minimalgovernment@gmail.com
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See also: 
BWorld 512, Letter from SEATCA tobacco control and my Rejoinder, November 12, 2021
BWorld 513, Climate and coal, PSALM, NEA and NGCP, November 14, 2021
BWorld 514, Vaccination plateau and rising cases, Part 2, November 18, 2021.

Philippines maritime economy

The Philippines has 7,500+ islands and islets, a huge archipelago. Some islands have huge population, the biggest islands of course are Luzon (Metro Manila, Central and Northern Luzon, Cagayan and Cordillera regions, Southern Luzon and Bicol regions), Mindanao (about 20 provinces), Panay (4 provinces), Negros (2 provinces), Samar-Leyte.

These islands are interconnected by planes for people mobility and ships and trucks via roll on roll off (RORO) system. Huge trucks are loaded in ships, move to another islands, trucks are unloaded and travel to various destinations.

Here, a boat carrying many oil tankers/trucks, one truck carrying about 24,000 liters of gasoline and diesel. Plus cargo/logistics trucks. At Batangas port.


A truck entering a boat. When full, the boat leaves. Caticlan port, Aklan province, Panay island.


Other Roro liners -- Fast Cat (above) and Orange (below). The former has modern twin-hull boats, they dock at Bulalacao port in Bulalacao, Or. Mindoro, near the border with Occidental Mindoro. Orange has mostly old and slow boats but still functional.



At Bredco port, Bacolod City, Negros Occ.


Dumangas port, Dumangas, Iloilo.


Huge trucks waiting to be loaded in boats. Dumangas port operates 24/7, a boat leaves every hour on average.



Buses, private cars, motorcycles are also loaded on those boats.
These Roro boats are very useful, and ports should keep expanding and become more modern.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

BWorld 514, Vaccination plateau and rising cases, Part 2

* My article in BusinessWorld, November 8, 2021.
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This is a follow-up to this column’s Sept. 20 piece (https://www.bworldonline.com/vaccination-plateau-and-rising-cases/), and also complements a BusinessWorld Nation story yesterday about the government plan of compulsory vaccination, “Analysts warn against compulsory vaccination” (https://www.bworldonline.com/analysts-warn-against-compulsory-vaccination/).

I downloaded the excel file in Our World in Data (OWID). The numbers can be complicated because there are many columns and indicators, plus there are many rows per country representing daily data from February 2020 until Nov. 6, 2021 for many countries and regional blocs.

To simplify the presentation, I took the average of daily cases from July to November this year, the vaccination rate since June 1, and COVID-19 deaths per million population at six months apart from Nov. 6, 2020.

Countries in group A are Europeans with recent rises in cases, group B are Asians also with rising cases, group C are those somehow flattening their lines but at a high number of cases. Other countries in Europe with rising cases — Armenia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, few others — I did not include to simplify the table that accompanies this article. Three countries with recent declining cases but which I included anyway are the Philippines, Australia, and the US, indicated by an asterisk. The reason? Well, I often read about them.

Several important trends are showing. One, there is a “vaccination plateau” once 50% or more of the population in a country has been inoculated. Examples are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Hungary.

Two, a rise in cases and infections from July-August to September-Nov. 6 coincided with the rise in vaccination rates. In particular, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Australia, Singapore.

It is possible that a vaccination plateau is due to hesitance by the public upon seeing or reading about more infections and deaths with new variants and the vaccines seem unable to protect the inoculated.

Three, rich countries with high vaccination rates of 60%+ of the population like Germany, Belgium, and the UK continue to suffer high rates of infections and high death rates, more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per million population (CDPMP).

Take also Singapore with a vaccination rate of 80%, which went from only five CDPMP until May 6 this year, then it jumped to 81 six months later. And more dramatic is Vietnam with a vaccination rate of 60% this month. From only 0.4 CDPMP last May, it hopped to 229 this month. It is an “outlier” case and can elicit vaccine hesitancy among the non-inoculated people yet.

Four, the Philippines has a relatively high rate in Asia of nearly 400 CDPMP, but compared to many countries in Europe, and North and South America, ours would look mild and does not warrant all the draconian policies like long curfew hours, mandatory face shields in public, closure of many provincial boundaries, shut down of many businesses for 19 months.

So, the planned mandatory or compulsory vaccination by the government, whether by legislation or by discrimination, plus local governments pressuring the residents to be inoculated is not justified. For three reasons:

One, government has zero discrimination in tax collections, it just imposes the taxes and fees on everyone, vaxxed or unvaxxed. Two, people’s right to mobility does not come from government but from our being humans, guaranteed by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and not just from any RA or EO. Three, even vaxxed people can infect and be infected, the virus does not discriminate between the vaxxed and unvaxxed.

Let vaccination be voluntary and not mandatory. Many people believe in the protective power of vaccines, others still have lots of questions and reservations about COVID vaccines. Both should be respected to avoid unnecessary divisiveness in society.

Other ways to ensure that cases and infections can be controlled without forced inoculation are: 1.) give away human-grade ivermectin and immune-boosting vitamins and supplements as prophylaxis to elderly, those with comorbidities; 2.) have an early treatment protocol for those with symptoms and recovering at home, avoiding hospitalization; and, 3.) have faith in natural immunity from natural infection, which is more long-lasting than vax immunity that wanes in a few months and would need regular booster shots. I am in my late 50s, never had a flu or pneumonia vaccination in my entire life, not once, and I am fine. Natural immunity works perfectly with me.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) is planning to hold a COVID Summit with some doctor friends from the US plus locals, later this month.
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See also:

BWorld 511, High deaths, low births, reduced smoking and the WHO, November 11, 2021
BWorld 512, Letter from SEATCA tobacco control and my Rejoinder, November 12, 2021
BWorld 513, Climate and coal, PSALM, NEA and NGCP, November 14, 2021.

Tax Cut 35, Why oil taxes should be small or zero

Oil is a useful public good. Not a public bad. So oil taxes should be as low as possible, if not zero. If people think oil is a public bad, they should consider doing cow de carabao tilling of land instead of using tractors. Or transport vegetables from Cordillera or Bicol regions, bangus and other fishes from Ilocos via horses instead of trucks. Double talk about oil is easy but actually living it is impossible.

Here is one instance of double talk, see this article:

Another lazy policy
Cielito F. Habito  04:04 AM November 16, 2021
https://opinion.inquirer.net/146467/another-lazy-policy

(1) "The problem with lifting fuel excise taxes, even temporarily, is that the rich would benefit more from it than the poor."

Aah, those millions of motorcycle riders and tricycle/jeep/bus drivers nationwid, the farmers needing tractors, harvester-thresher combine machines, water pumps, tricycles and trucks; the fisherfolks on motorboats -- they are the rich friends and family members of Ayalas, Sy, Villars, etc? 

The rich and super-rich don't spend much on gasoline and road travel. Rather, they spend big on expensive real estate, in big houses and condos in Makati, BGC, Ortigas, etc. It's the poor who live in Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and travel to Metro Manila to work and do business.

This argument of Ciel is similar to the arguments of Action for Econ Reforms (AER) and DOF, "non-govt organization" and government, in their TRAIN lobby in 2017, even until now.

(2) "Oil taxes also have the important useful function of internalizing the external costs to society of fossil fuel consumption from associated carbon emissions."

Oops, Ciel lives in Laguna and pre-pandemic would travel daily to Ateneo or elsewhere by car and fossil fuels, not by bicycle or skateboard. Similar to thousands of planet saviors who fly to annual big UN COP climate meetings on fossil fuels then lambast fossil fuels. To avoid double talk, those planet saviors should fly only via giant kites or solar planes. Or stay home and do virtual conference.

(3) "The DOF estimates the revenues to be foregone at up to P147 billion in 2022. Rather than lose this amount and have the unwanted effects cited above, the government could more effectively meet its pro-poor objective if it’s used to subsidize public transport and provide economic relief and social protection for the poor."

Then P147 B of money would stay in the pockets of farmers, fisherfolks, commuters and motorists, rich and poor. Leaving money in the pockets of the poor is a better "subsidy" and "social protection" than taking the money away and be given to multiple layers of bureaucracies and political offices. When government gets more money, it just creates more spending, like travels and salaries of people to fight less rain and more rain, less storms and more storms, less cats and more cats.

From a barrel of crude oil, on average only 46% goes to producing gasoline, jet fuel, diesel. The other 54% is used for health, chemicals, consumer goods, asphalt, etc.

https://insightss.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/creative-life-without-oil-01-1.jpg

Again, oil is a useful public good. Not a public bad.

Again, double talk is easy but actually living it is impossible.
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Our huge public debt, P11.2 trillion as of September 2021, was P8.2 trillion in December 2019 -- it will require huge taxes tomorrow. It is important, very important, that the next admin should have very explicit, categorical policy to control new borrowings -- PNoy Aquino did that -- and focus on cutting spending, not raising taxes.

Another alternative is to have large-scale privatization of many government corporations and assets. Govt should share the burden of public debt, not just getting money even under lockdown and large-scale business closures then resort to huge borrowings.

Interest payment alone, 2018 P349 B, 2019 P361 B, 2020 P380 B, Jan-Sept 2021 P339 B, about P38 B/month. Just by cutting borrowings via spending cut and/or large privatizations, the govt and taxpayers can save few billions/month in interest payment alone.
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See also:

Sunday, November 14, 2021

BWorld 513, Climate and coal, PSALM, NEA and NGCP

* My column in BusinessWorld last Nov. 1, 2021.

My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

Today is the second day of the 13-day UN Climate Conference 2021 in Glasgow, UK. Until last week, many news outlets from print, TV, and online reported many alarmist climate scenarios of what would happen unless the world gets out of fossil fuels especially coal. Consider these recent reports in BusinessWorld, (I included some local energy stories):

• “Funding seen insufficient to meet climate commitments” (Oct. 26).

• “House bill extending PSALM corporate life approved in committee” (Oct. 27).

• “Philippine Energy Plan seen inadequate for meeting climate pledges” (Oct. 27).

• “NGCP ordered to procure ‘sufficient’ ancillary services” (Oct. 27).

• “ADB sees coal-fired plant retirement scheme saving 200M tons of CO2” (Oct. 28).

• “Coal capacity pipeline halved after government ban” (Oct. 28).

The endless attacks against coal (which provides 56-57% of total electricity generation in the Philippines yearly) and endless pushing for wind-solar (which provides only 2.5-3% of total power generation yearly) is really weird.

The ADB has joined the No-coal-financing bandwagon, now with an acquire-retire-coal-soon scheme and targeted the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. But the ADB cannot and will not offer that scheme to China and India because they cannot bully these two big coal consumers but they can bully smaller ASEAN countries.

China’s coal consumption is so big that the combined coal consumption of Indonesia, Vietnam, and Philippines in 2020 of 6,028 Petajoules (1 PJ = 277.78 gigawatt-hours) was near China’s coal consumption of 5,046 PJ in 1969 and 6,947 PJ in 1970. The US’ 2020 coal use of 9,203 PJ was equivalent to China’s coal use of 9,569 in 1975 (see Table 1).

The bad news for the Glasgow climate meeting is that China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin are not attending and not sending any delegations. In the second report from the list above, about the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), extending its life by another 30 years until 2056, means that it will be a forever bureaucracy. It might even become bigger by re-acquiring already privatized power plants. Then we will go back to the old National Power Corp. days of losing money by “selling cheap power” and just passing all the losses to taxpayers. Let us review the budget and subsidies of the Department of Energy (DoE) and its attached corporations. The most tax-hungry are the National Electrification Administration (NEA) with P5 to P13 billion in subsidies in 2019 and 2020, followed by PSALM with P16 billion in subsidies for 2021-2022 (see Table 2).The NEA is a forever problematic corporation because it pampers and spoils inefficiently run and losing electric cooperatives (ECs) around the country, geographical monopolies that refuse to become private distribution utilities (DUs) and be under Securities and Exchange Commission monitoring. We now have many one-person corporations and yet these ECs with assets worth multi-millions do not want to become private corporations.

PSALM is supposed to bring more billions into the Treasury via the privatization of remaining government-owned power plants, but instead, PSALM will seek billions in subsidies and they intend to become a forever bureaucracy. In the third news report above, on the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian plans to allocate taxpayers money for geothermal exploration — Why? Costly energy exploration is part of risks and rewards of business, taxpayers — who are already burdened with huge public debt that must be paid with higher taxes in the near future — must be spared.

In the fourth report, about the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) ordered to acquire sufficient ancillary services (AS), this should have been done many years ago. AS are effectively peaking plants, on standby to run anytime and whose energy is priced higher because they do not run 24/7, but they will provide energy security and stability, and having them avoids the situation of having frequent yellow-red alerts and near blackouts.

The NGCP has become a big monopoly and a pretender. Pretending to charge a “low transmission charge” but actually exposing electricity consumers nationwide to regular, annual yellow-red alerts of near or actual blackouts. The NGCP should have been long been penalized by the ERC and Congress, but because it is a huge monster monopoly — the only remaining nationwide monopoly in the country — it gets only an occasional slap on the wrist from the ERC.

Finally, we are accumulating huge public debt — P8.22 trillion in 2019, P10.25 trillion in 2020, P11.92 trillion in by September this year, rising by an average of nearly P200 billion per month.  We may have P12.65 trillion by end-2021, and P14.5 trillion to P15 trillion by end-2022. These are huge debts that must not be passed on as huge tax hikes or new taxes to the public. One option is large-scale privatization of some government corporations and assets. Like PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), like many government power plants under PSALM (whose estimated assets in 2022 are P496.2 billion), the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo, with assets worth P324.9 billion), NPC (P52.0 billion), and NEA (P16.6 billion).
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See also: 

BWorld 510, Energy prices, climate spending and NGCP, November 01, 2021
BWorld 511, High deaths, low births, reduced smoking and the WHO, November 11, 2021
BWorld 512, Letter from SEATCA tobacco control and my Rejoinder, November 12, 2021.

Covid 60, The CDC Ph Covid Summit, Nov. 25, Vivere Hotel, Alabang

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) will hold its first ever "Covid Summit" this coming November 25, Thursday, full-day event, at Vivere Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa.  All speakers are doctors, about five from the US including one Pinay doctor in Florida, Doc Marivic Villa (she's Bicolana) flying in and speak in person. The other US doctors -- Peter McCullough, Pierre Kory, Sabine Hazan, Ryan Cole -- will speak online. But there might still be changes in the speakers.

It's called a "Covid Summit" because speakers are known (sort of summit) doctors, national and international, in Covid management and make hospital patients survive. Also prevent hospitalization via early treatment at home. Local doctors speaking include Docs Allan Landrito, Raffy Castillo, and CDC Ph President Doc Homer Lim.



The group will invite DOH Sec. Francisco Duque to give a welcome message, we hope he will accept. PCCI-Muntinlupa has provided some modest support in kind for this event. Thank you, PCCI-Muntinlupa.

Now, see this recent document:

IATF RESOLUTION 148-B, Series of 2021 (November 11, 2021)

WHEREAS,...

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, in compliance with the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the IATF approves the following measures to the extent applicable under existing laws, rules, and regulations:

A. In areas where there are sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines as determined by the National Vaccines Operation Center (NVOC), all establishments and employers in the public and private sector SHALL REQUIRE their eligible employees who are tasked to do on-site work to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may NOT be terminated solely by reason thereof. However, they shall be required to undergo RT-PCR tests regularly AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE for purposes of on-site work. Provided that, antigen tests may be resorted to when RT-PCR capacity is insufficient or not immediately available.

B. As a condition for continuing their operations, public transportation services in the road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors shall require ALL their eligible workers to be fully vaccinated.

C. Public and private establishments, even if not required by the Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for COVID-19 Response in Pilot Areas to accommodate only fully vaccinated individuals, may nonetheless validly refuse entry and/or deny service to individuals who remain to be unvaccinated, or are merely partially vaccinated, despite being eligible for vaccination. Provided that frontline and emergency services shall continue to render assistance to all persons regardless of vaccination status.

D. Local Government Units (LGUs) are strongly enjoined to issue orders or ordinances to ramp up demand for vaccination by, among others, providing incentives for fully vaccinated individuals, and for business establishments which institute measures that promote vaccination among their employees and clients, and to the extent allowed by law, requiring proof of vaccination before individuals and/or entities may undertake or qualify for certain activities.

E. Upon sufficient proof of a confirmed vaccination schedule, all workers to be vaccinated during work hours shall not be considered as absent during that period.

F. In all of the foregoing, only the presentation of a medical clearance issued by a Municipal Health Office, City Health Office, and/or Provincial Health Office or birth certificate, as the case may be, shall serve as sufficient and valid proof of ineligibility for vaccination. 

G. All Government Agencies are hereby enjoined to implement measures prioritizing fully vaccinated individuals availing of government programs and services.


My three quick comments: (1) IATF has legislated mandatory vax on its own and skipped the regular legislative process, (2) IATF can do technical elusion by saying they are not doing mandatory vax, only mandatory regular tests at person's expenses. That vax is available if the person changes mind. And (3) government can always pressure private establishments otherwise they will have difficulty getting their annual business permits.

The narrative -- No natural immunity, only vax immunity -- can protect people is very corrupt. People who got natural infection and have no symptoms, or mild/serious symptoms and survive, develop 
natural immunity which is more long-lasting and not risk getting short- to long-term adverse reactions from experimental vax.

Businesses who don't believe in mandatory vax are helpless, they need business permits yearly from Brgy to City/Municipality to national like BIR. Public transpo drivers too like jeeps, tricycles.
Only those in the informal sector can escape, temporarily. Farmers, fisherfolks, ambulant vendors. 

Praktisado na sa coercion, bawal dito bawal doon si Government. No smoking here, no drinking there, no fire permit unless you get your extinguisher from their friends, etc. So imposing hard lockdown, now mandatory vax via discrimination, is easy for them.

This kind of political dictatorship and medical tyranny has no precedent yet it happened. Meaning the tyranny will keep recurring. Like forcing 3rd or 4th booster shots, mandatory vax for children and toddlers. Horrible.
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See also:
Covid 57, No Tricks Zone on vaccine mandates, October 10, 2021
Covid 58,CDC Ph Huddle about DOH experts, Octa, vaccine, October 17, 2021
Covid 59, Natural immunity vs vax immunity, November 04, 2021.

Friday, November 12, 2021

BWorld 512, Letter from SEATCA tobacco control and my Rejoinder

Reposting two papers published in BusinessWorld same day, same page. The image below is not part of my rejoinder, I just added it here. Image source, https://www.bloomberg.org/public-health/reducing-tobacco-use/
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Letter to the Editor (10/31/21)
October 31, 2021 
https://www.bworldonline.com/letter-to-the-editor-10-31-21/

(This letter refers to Bienvenido Oplas, Jr.’s column “High deaths, low births, reduced smoking and the WHO,” which came out on Oct.  25;  https://www.bworldonline.com/high-deaths-low-births-reduced-smoking-and-the-who/. — Ed.)

Dear Editor,

I write to commend you for adding an editorial note about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines despite Mr. Oplas’s claims that the increase in recorded deaths may have been due to the COVID vaccinations. There are other inaccuracies in his statements regarding non-communicable diseases (NCD).

Oplas says deaths from NCD have flatlined “even as people are getting wealthier and consume more processed and sugary food and drinks, and consume more alcohol and tobacco.” Yet, he contradicts himself by noting that smoking prevalence is declining, citing the example of the Philippines. Clearly, there are less people smoking, and not more, and this has contributed to the flattening of NCD mortality figures. In the Philippines, the decline in smoking is largely due to the sin tax reform that significantly raised cigarette taxes and prices in 2013 with further tax increases since then. Still, millions of Filipinos remain addicted to nicotine and suffer disease, poverty, and early death from smoking, so it is only right that governments and the World Health Organization continue to fight the tobacco pandemic.

Another false claim of Oplas is that tobacco control measures such as taxation created the illicit cigarette market. He cites World Bank data but failed to cite the World Bank publication on tobacco taxation and illicit trade: “Confronting Tobacco Illicit Trade: A Global Review of Country Experiences” (https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/tobacco/publication/confronting-illicit-tobacco-trade-a-global-review-of-country-experiences), which includes the case of the Philippines and clearly states that tobacco taxes play only a minor role in illicit trade. In fact, many countries with low tobacco taxes have high rates of illicit trade, while many countries with high tobacco taxes and prices have low rates of illicit trade. Global evidence shows corruption as a primary driver of the illicit market and the complicity of tobacco companies in the black market.

This misinformation by Oplas reminds me of the time I heard him misinform our congressmen by claiming that plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products in Singapore had led to increased illicit trade, when in fact Singapore had legislated but not yet implemented its plain packaging law. (Underscoring by the letter writer. — Ed.)

Oplas concludes by griping that tobacco industry front groups are being excluded from the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), despite the P78 billion of excise tax revenues collected from tobacco products. Of course, he disregards the fact that the economic costs of smoking for just four diseases are at least P210 billion per year. Also, the FCTC is a tobacco control treaty, so it is logical to exclude the tobacco industry and those promoting its interests. Shouldn’t drug pushers be excluded from a drug control treaty?

Oplas and his organization (Minimal Government Thinkers), as well as the Property Rights Alliance that published his paper, are mouthpieces of the tobacco industry to misinform about tobacco taxation, plain packaging, and other evidence-based tobacco control measures.

Sincerely,

Ulysses Dorotheo, MD, FPAO
Executive Director,
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance
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Rejoinder to the letter by Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo
October 31, 2021
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.
https://www.bworldonline.com/rejoinder-to-the-letter-by-dr-ulysses-dorotheo/

1. “Clearly, there are less people smoking… contributed to the flattening of NCD mortality figures”

Yes, less smoking of legal tobacco as many smokers shift to illegal tobacco. Cong. Joey Salceda has the number — P30 billion per year of tobacco tax revenues gone due to illicit tobacco in the Philippines. See “PH losing P30B annually due to cigarette smuggling — Salceda” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 1, 2021).

Since taxes comprise about half of retail prices, that means some P60 billion in street value of illicit tobacco goes to the smugglers, criminals, terrorists and their protectors in governments. Are the more tobacco taxes groups (MTTGs) happy with this?

2. “failed to cite the World Bank publication on tobacco taxation and illicit trade… states that tobacco taxes play only a minor role in illicit trade.”

Tobacco taxes kept rising and government estimates of revenue losses from tobacco smuggling by the NCIPR-IPO (National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights-Intellectual Property Office): P19.9 billion in 2014, P17.9 billion in 2015, P20.25 billion in 2018. See “Special Report: Government cracks down on cigarette smuggling, counterfeiting” by Mary Grace Padin, Philippine Star, March 4, 2019.

3. “Singapore had legislated but not yet implemented its plain packaging law.”

Illicit trade in Singapore started even before plain packaging was implemented. Both legal and illegal tobacco would look the same, so the illegal can sell at very low prices, attract more smokers, not less.

4. “the economic costs of smoking for just four diseases are at least P210 billion per year.”

If MTTGs succeed in zero smoking of legal tobacco, meaning these tobacco excise tax revenues of P77 billion in 2019, P77.9 billion in 2020, P82.2 billion projected in 2021, and P94.8 billion projected in 2022 — become zero, zero contribution to UHC (universal healthcare), will they be happy? I doubt it.

5. “mouthpieces of the tobacco industry to misinform about tobacco taxation, plain packaging.”

Wrong. We are mouthpieces of limited government, low taxes, free trade, rule of law, and personal responsibility.

Is it possible that the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and MTTGs are the mouthpieces of the Bloomberg Philantrophies lobby? Mouthpieces of more government, more taxes, health is not personal responsibility, only state responsibility.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 509, Lockdown, declining births, growth contraction, and vax discrimination, October 18, 2021
BWorld 510, Energy prices, climate spending and NGCP, November 01, 2021
BWorld 511, High deaths, low births, reduced smoking and the WHO, November 11, 2021.

Macroecon 15, US trade, inflation, public debt

Three macroeconomic indicators of the US under Biden:

(1) Trade deficit.

US trade deficit average -$45 B/month (or ave. -$1.5 B/day) prior to 2020 became roughly -$58 B/month in 2020 (lockdowns in production, they imported more?) and by September nearly -$70 B/month. This is caused by what -- shipping/cargo congestion? More Americans not working despite being vaxxed but getting money from the govt?

(2) Inflation rate.

Below, October and September 2021, respectively. The new "classmates" of the US under Biden are:

Mauritius 5.8 5.4
Peru     5.83 5.23
Chile 6.0 5.3
Latvia 6.0 4.8
US 6.2 5.4
Mexico 6.24 6.0
Egypt 6.3 6.6
Tunisia 6.3 6.2
Mozambique 6.42 6.04
Kenya 6.45 6.91
Hungary 6.5 5.5

US old classmates industrialized countries, inflation rate same period:

South Korea 3.2 2.5
Greece 3.4 2.2
Netherlands 3.4 2.7
Norway 3.5 4.1
Austria 3.6 3.3
Luxembourg 3.6 2.7
Euro Area 4.1 3.4
Macedonia 4.1 3.7
Belgium 4.16 2.86
Cyprus 4.3 4.08
Germany 4.5 4.1
Iceland 4.5 4.4

If this happened under Trump, Cartoon network CNN, NYT, Wapo, BBC, Bloomberg, Economist,... will be attacking him every day if not every hour. And TDS camps will quickly share and spread their stories in socmed. But since this happened under their beloved Biden admin, things are still nice and acceptable.

According to John Williams of shadowstats, if inflation was still calculated the way it was back in 1980, the official rate of inflation would be close to 15 percent right now.

Alternate Inflation Charts
Nov. 10, 2021
http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/inflation-charts

(3) US public debt:

Dec. 30, 2016 $19.977 T
June 30, 2017 $19.844 T
Dec. 29, 2017 $20.493 T
June 29, 2018 $21.195 T
Dec. 31, 2018 $21.974 T
June 28, 2019 $22.023 T
Dec. 31, 2019 $23.201 T
June 30, 2020 $26.477 T
Dec. 31, 2020 $27.748 T
June 30, 2021 $28.529 T
Nov. 10, 2021 $28.909 T

Source: https://fiscaldata.treasury.gov/datasets/debt-to-the-penny/debt-to-the-penny

They Have Lost Control, And Now The Dollar Is Going To Die
Michael Snyder   November 10, 2021
http://themostimportantnews.com/archives/they-have-lost-control-and-now-the-dollar-is-going-to-die
--------------

See also:
Macroecon 12, August 2021 inflation rate highest since Dec. 2018, September 07, 2021 
Macroecon 13, More economic damages of strict indefinite lockdown, September 17, 2021
Macroecon 14, Macro indicators, inflation rates in selected countries, September 23, 2021.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

BWorld 511, High deaths, low births, reduced smoking and the WHO

* My column in BusinessWorld last October 25.

As All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2) approach, it is timely to discuss some vital statistics. 

DECLINING BIRTHS, RISING DEATHS 

Last week, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the latest data on births and deaths in the Philippines and two trends are emerging. One, there were fewer births in 2020 compared to 2019 and even fewer births in 2021 compared to 2020 by an average of 26,293 less per month from January to July. Two, there were fewer deaths in 2020 compared to 2019, then a big increase in the number of deaths in 2021 compared to January-July 2019 by an average of 12,229/month and January-July 2020 by an average of 14,332/month (see Table 1). 


The decline in births in 2020 could be due to the decline in the population growth rate, but the decline in 2021 in particular could be due to lockdowns and fewer marriages in 2020. The big increase in the number of deaths in 2021, especially starting March, coincided with the start of mass vaccination that month. This could be pure coincidence and not causality — many sick people did not get sufficient check-ups and monitoring because of the prolonged lockdowns and they deteriorated. Or there is causality — the vaccines may have triggered direct and indirect deaths especially among the elderly and young who have comorbidities.  

(Ed’s Note:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are clear: “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.” Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC Also read https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)-vaccines-safety and https://www.bworldonline.com/patient-safety-is-at-the-heart-of-covid%E2%80%9119-vaccine-development/

DEATHS FROM NCDs FLATLINE AS SMOKING INCIDENCE DECLINES 

Speaking of deaths and mortality, I saw data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) 2021. Deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases (CRD) are not rising even as people are getting wealthier and consume more processed and sugary food and drinks, and consume more alcohol and tobacco. Many health authorities, national and multilateral, often claim this causality between “sin products” and a rise in NCDs deaths — that is why they keep pushing for higher taxes in sugar, alcohol, and tobacco products. 

Then I checked the prevalence of smoking among rich and developing East Asians, it is declining from 2010 to 2018. In the Philippines for instance, there was a decrease from 28.6% of adult population to 24.3% over the same period. Mortality from NCDs in the Philippines is practically flat — 24.4% of those 30-70 years old in 2010 and 24.6% in 2018 (see Table 2). 

WHO COP9 AND MOP2 ON TOBACCO CONTROL 

On Nov. 8-13, the 9th Conference of Parties (COP9) of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) will be held. Then on Nov. 15-18, the 2nd Meeting of Parties (MOP2) to the Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products will be held. 

As the name of meetings suggest, COP9 will control legal tobacco while MOP2 will control illegal tobacco. Which is an indirect admission by the WHO and member-governments that as they over-tax and restrict, if not prohibit, legal cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) and variants, they indirectly created a market for illegal cigarettes and HTPs. And they need more meetings and intervention to control a second problem that was created by their first intervention. 

ABSENCE OF DEBATE AND CONTRARY SECTORS 

Like the dominant narratives that climate change is only man-made and not natural or nature-made, or COVID-19 can be controlled only by vax immunity and not natural immunity, the WHO FCTC and Protocol on illicit tobacco narrative is that more government intervention, not relaxation, will control tobacco consumption. 

So, most if not all COP and MOP events featured and paraded only the side of governments, WHO, and other multilaterals, health NGOs, and medical groups that jump with joy when there are more tobacco, alcohol, and sugar taxes. 

I read that the Philippine Tobacco Growers Association (PTGA) and Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) protested the plan of the Department of Health (DoH) and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to exclude them and that only anti-tobacco groups in the country will be invited to the COP9. 

This is weird because government excise tax revenues from tobacco alone are huge: P77 billion in 2019, P77.9 billion in 2020, P82.2 billion projected in 2021, and P94.8 billion projected in 2022. So, government enjoys more money from more smokers and farmers producing legal tobacco then excludes the same farmers and growers from discussions. 

Recall that the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability has conducted an investigation on the FDA, which initially denied and later admitted that they received over $150,000 from private lobby groups in the US to regulate and restrict vapes. See my Oct. 4 column in this paper.* 

MORE TOBACCO TAXES, MORE SMUGGLING 

My paper, “Lessons in high tobacco taxes and smuggling in the Philippines”** — 65 pages long including an annex — was published by the Property Rights Alliance (PRA) last week. It concluded, among others, that as government restricts and over-taxes legal tobacco, illicit tobacco becomes more dynamic. The winners are: a.) corrupt government officials who allow and protect smuggling in exchange for high monetary rewards; and, b.) criminal gangs and terrorist groups engaged in this and related activities. And overall corruption in government increases, not decreases. 

Thus, COP9 and MOP2 should hear the other side, the tobacco growers, smoking and vaping groups, scientists who research on alternatives to cigarettes like vapes and HTPs. The WHO is silent on rising deaths by tens of thousands at least in the Philippines coinciding with more vaccination, then it is noisy on tobacco where death from NCDs is not rising. 

* https://www.bworldonline.com/tobacco-taxes-and-smuggling-in-the-philippines/ 

** https://atr-tbi19.s3.amazonaws.com/Case+Studies/TBI_2021_CaseStudy_Philippines_v1.pdf
-----------------

See also:
BWorld 508, Tobacco taxes and smuggling in the Philippines, October 12, 2021
BWorld 509, Lockdown, declining births, growth contraction, and vax discrimination, October 18, 2021
BWorld 510, Energy prices, climate spending and NGCP, November 01, 2021.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Covid 59, Natural immunity vs vax immunity

 Some old stories I read, reposting them now, enjoy.

(1) Vaccinating people who have had covid-19: why doesn’t natural immunity count in the US?
BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2101 (Published 13 September 2021) https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n2101/rr-0

The goal of vaccination is to generate memory cells that can recognize SARS-CoV-2 and rapidly generate neutralizing antibodies that either prevent or mitigate both infection and transmission. Those who have survived COVID-19 must almost by definition have mounted an effective immune response; it is not surprising that the evolving literature shows that prior infection decreases vulnerability. In our view, the data suggest that people confirmed to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not need vaccination. We should not be debating the implications of prior infection; we should be debating how to confirm prior infection.

-- Manish Joshi, MD;  Thaddeus Bartter, MD;  Anita Joshi, BDS, MPH

(2) Sen. Johnson: Health Agencies Are ‘Ignoring Natural Immunity’
By Zachary Stieber September 22, 2021
https://www.theepochtimes.com/sen-johnson-health-agencies-are-ignoring-natural-immunity_4008940.html

Reposted: https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/sen-johnson-health-agencies-are-ignoring-natural-immunity

“We’re ignoring natural immunity, even though the Israeli study now shows it’s 27 times more effective,” Johnson said.

That makes sense, because natural immunity “recognizes the entire virus” while the vaccine was designed to prevent infection from the original form of the virus, he said.

(3) Questions to ask employers who mandate COVID vaccine
How do you explain the spike in deaths in almost-fully-vaccinated Israel?
By WND Staff   September 14, 2021 at 7:16pm
https://www.wnd.com/2021/09/questions-ask-employers-mandate-covid-vaccine/

(4) Fully vaccinated healthcare workers carry 251 times viral load, pose threat to unvaccinated patients, co-workers
Thu Aug 26, 2021 - 11:00 am EDT
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/study-fully-vaccinated-healthcare-workers-carry-251-times-viral-load-pose-threat-to-unvaccinated-patients-co-workers/

While moderating the symptoms of infection, the jab allows vaccinated individuals to carry unusually high viral loads without becoming ill at first, potentially transforming them into presymptomatic superspreaders.

(5) The vaccinated superspread hypothesis assessing the riddle of more recovered, more vaccinated, and more dying despite a lower CFR variant
el gato malo  Sep 17 2021


(6) SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination-Associated Myocarditis in Children Ages 12-17: A Stratified National Database Analysis

Tracy Beth H√łeg,  Allison Krug, Josh Stevenson,  John Mandrola
Posted September 08, 2021
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.30.21262866v1.full

For boys 12-15 without medical comorbidities receiving their second mRNA vaccination dose, the rate of CAE (cardiac adverse event) is 3.7 to 6.1 times higher than their 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization risk

For boys 16-17 without medical comorbidities, the rate of CAE is currently 2.1 to 3.5 times higher than their 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization risk, and 1.5 to 2.5 times higher at times of high weekly COVID-19 hospitalization.

(7)  Sinovac’s vaccine may cost more but makes up for easier storage, says distributor
By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu / 04:17 PM August 25, 2021
https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1478617/sinovacs-vaccine-may-cost-more-but-makes-up-for-easier-storage-says-distributor

The local sponsor of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccines against COVID-19 said that there is some give-and-take despite the high prices of their vials, as these can be offset by easier storage and delivery requirements.

(8) Higher vaccination rates translate to higher covid cases as LEAKY, non-sterilizing vaccines worsen the plandemic
by: Lance D Johnson   Tuesday, September 21, 2021
https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-09-21-higher-vaccination-rates-translate-to-higher-covid-cases.html

Covid-19 case rates are increasing alongside vaccination rates, as artificial immunity wanes. The mRNA technology being deployed as “vaccination” is turning human cells into synthetic spike protein factories, forcing inflammatory auto-intoxication of the human body. These “vaccines” are a non- sterilizing intervention; the science puts selective pressure on the spike protein and drives new mutations in circulating coronaviruses. These leaky vaccines create vaccinated super spreaders, whose bodies are programmed to mass produce spike proteins that shed to others and harm the most vulnerable in a population.

(9) The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service)
September 2, 2021
https://www.juliusruechel.com/2021/09/the-snake-oil-salesmen-and-covid-zero.html

Freedom of speech, individual rights, private property, individual ownership, competition, good faith debate, small government, minimal taxes, limited regulation, and free markets (the opposite of the crony capitalism we now suffer under), these are the checks and balances that bullet-proof a society against the soulless charlatans that fail upwards into positions of power in bloated government institutions and against the parasitic fraudsters that seek to attach themselves to the government's teat. 

Yes, we need a Great Reset. Just not the subscription-based version that the World Economic Forum imagined.

(10) Robust innate responses to SARS-CoV-2 in children resolve faster than in adults without compromising adaptive immunity

Maria Vono  Angela Huttner  Sylvain Lemeille. Geraldine Blanchard-Rohner
Claire-Anne Siegrist  Arnaud M. Didierlaurent...
Published:September 14, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109773
https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(21)01227-4

• Innate response against SARS-CoV-2 is robust in children despite limited symptoms

• Resolution of inflammation and onset of B cell response occur faster in children

• Antibody response is not compromised by the shorter antiviral inflammatory responseall we need to do is compare all-cause mortality rates in different age categories of the vaccinated vs unvaccinated over a period of several months

(11) Paradoxes in the reporting of Covid19 vaccine effectiveness
Why current studies (for or against vaccination) cannot be trusted and what we can do about it
Norman Fenton, Martin Neil and Scott McLachlan
Risk Information and Management Research
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science,
Queen Mary University of London
15 Sept 2021
https://www.normanfenton.com/post/paradoxes-in-the-reporting-of-covid19-vaccine-effectiveness

We could immediately evaluate the effectiveness to date of vaccines...
by simply looking at the registered deaths since the start of the vaccination programme ...

All we need to know for each registered death is the person’s age and whether they received at least one dose of the vaccine before death.

(12) Leaked Zoom Video Exposes Hospital Officials Discussing COVID-19 Scare Tactics
BY TYLER DURDEN.  THURSDAY, SEP 16, 2021 - 08:54 AM
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/leaked-zoom-video-exposes-hospital-officials-discussing-covid-19-scare-tactics

(13) Scientific Analyses and Papers on Lockdown Effectiveness
https://thefatemperor.com/scientific-analyses-and-papers-on-lockdown-effectiveness/

Here collated are the papers of shame – the lockdown ideology is destroying our societal health, selling the lie of saving lives. Lockdowns cost net suffering and lives – by a huge margin. Here we gather together the evidence.

(14) THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM
by PANDA  SEPTEMBER 2021. First published by BizNews
https://www.pandata.org/elephants-in-the-room/

Taken in the round, the elephants in the room expose the absurdity of mandatory vaccination schemes and of coercive measures to vaccinate. A large percentage of our population has a more robust immunity than the vaccine can offer and already pose less of a risk to society than vaccinated people will pose. We cannot rid the world of COVID given the animal reservoir and the practical impossibility of vaccinating everyone. The vaccines cannot stop COVID since they do not stop infection or transmission and we see in other countries that the virus continues to circulate in vaccinated populations at pre-vaccination levels. 

(15)  Lawyers & Scientists Are Building A Case For Why Natural Immunity Should Be Treated Same As Vaccination
BY TYLER DURDEN  TUESDAY, SEP 28, 2021 - 09:44 AM
https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/lawyers-scientists-are-building-case-why-natural-immunity-should-be-treated-same

(16) Shedding of Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Despite Vaccination
Kasen K. Riemersma, Brittany E. Grogan, Amanda Kita-Yarbro, Peter J. Halfmann, Hannah E. Segaloff, Anna Kocharian, Kelsey R. Florek, Ryan Westergaard, Allen Bateman, Gunnar E. Jeppson, Yoshihiro Kawaoka,  View ORCID ProfileDavid H. O’Connor,  View ORCID ProfileThomas C. Friedrich, Katarina M. Grande
Posted August 24, 2021
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.31.21261387v4.full

Combined with other studies, these data indicate that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals infected with the Delta variant might transmit infection. Importantly, we show that infectious SARS-CoV-2 is frequently found even in vaccinated persons when specimen Ct values are low.

(17) The keys to unlock the golden gate of herd immunity towards Sars-CoV-2
October 1, 2021
https://www.geertvandenbossche.org/post/the-keys-to-unlock-the-golden-gate-of-herd-immunity-towards-sars-cov-2

Stop mass vaccination (including boosters) as it puts more gas on the detrimental evolutionary dynamics of the virus (see increase in infection rates in countries/ regions with high vaccine coverage rates)

Under no circumstances should young and healthy people be vaccinated as it will only erode their protective innate immunity towards Coronaviruses (CoV) and other respiratory viruses. Their innate immunity normally/ naturally largely protects them and provides a kind of herd immunity in that it dilutes infectious CoV pressure at the level of the population, whereas mass vaccination turns them into shedders of more infectious variants.

(18)  So much for vaccine-generated herd immunity
Alex Berenson  Oct 4 2021
https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/so-much-for-vaccine-generated-herd

In an Israeli hospital outbreak, 96% vaccination rates (and universal masking) made no difference. And guess who had mild cases? Hint: not the vaccinated.

(19) WHY YOU SHOULD NOT COMPARE VAXED TO UNVAXED IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS. 

Is it fair to say vaccinations prevent COVID-19 deaths if there is a higher ratio of patients who died of COVID than those that are unvaccinated? This is problematic because choosing who will be vaccinated and not vaccinated is NOT a random selection. There factors that make one group healthier than the other. Factors that make a person decide NOT to be vaccinated will include 1) older age, 2) a vulnerable health status like having multiple comorbidities, and 3) factors that risk adverse events like a history of allergy or immunocompromised state. There is also that unfortunate and unintended way in which vaccination naturally excludes those that would die of COVID by triggering or causing death itself. These deaths though they are vaccinated are selected out of the vaccinated group and NOT counted as COVID-19 deaths but often deaths from other causes. 

- Dr. Iggy Agbayani
Sept. 28, 2021
---------------

See also:
Covid 56, Dr. Jody Dalmacion on vaccine development, breakthrough infections, herd immunity, September 19, 2021
Covid 57, No Tricks Zone on vaccine mandates, October 10, 2021
Covid 58,CDC Ph Huddle about DOH experts, Octa, vaccine, October 17, 2021.

Monday, November 01, 2021

BWorld 510, Energy prices, climate spending and NGCP

* My article in BusinessWorld, October 18, 2021.

The bad energy supply situation in Europe, China, and India has worsened as evidenced by continued rise in prices of key energy commodities. This column discussed this topic three weeks ago.*

HUGE SPIKE IN GAS AND COAL PRICES

Over the last three weeks, the price of coal has nearly doubled while EU gas and UK gas prices are three to four times higher than end-2020 levels. The year to date (YTD) or from end-2020 to Sept. 24 then Oct. 15, 2021 percentage increase in prices are shown in Table 1.


Now more businesses recognize that solar-wind are non-reliable sources as shown by their continued index price contraction. And the EU carbon permits index continued to slide. The non-distortionary price of carbon permit or carbon tax should be zero.

COP26 AND CLIMATE SPENDING

The UN Climate Change Conference known as COP26 will be held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, UK. “The Conversation” has estimated that about 25,000 people from around the world are expected to attend. They will burn lots of fossil fuels in this global travel to demand “net zero” reduction if not the death of fossil fuels for the rest of humanity who are not privileged like them.

While waiting for a portion of that $100 billion a year of climate money from rich countries as agreed upon in COP20 in Paris in 2015, the Philippine government has been doing big climate spending on its own, P184 billion in 2020 and P284 billion in 2022. Many departments and agencies jumped into the climate issue because there is huge funding allocation (see Table 2).


Excluded here are climate spending of many LGUs as they have other sources of revenues aside from the transfers they get from the National Government. Also excluded here is the budget of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) with P118.7 million in 2020, P150.5 million in 2021, and a proposed P145.4 million in 2022.

Hundreds of billions of pesos yearly to fight less rain and more rain, less flood and more flood, less cold and more cold. Whatever the weather and climate, they say it is a scary “climate crisis” and just spend-spend-spend then tax-tax-tax the public.

NGCP AND TRANSMISSION ISSUES

These recent reports in BusinessWorld caught my attention:

• “Meralco rates to go up this month” (Oct. 8),

• “ADB funding for climate mitigation projects since 2011 hits $31.5 billion” (Oct. 11),

• “NGO says RE plants prone to fewer outages than coal-fired facilities” (Oct. 14),

• “NGOs say ADB climate financing targets not ambitious enough” (Oct. 17).

Report number 1 is due to higher transmission charge, higher ancillary service (AS) charges by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). AS are needed most if the grid has plenty of intermittent, unstable, and weather-dependent sources like wind-solar, also ageing conventional sources like old coal, geothermal, and hydro plants.

And this belies the claim by NGOs in report No. 3. They hide the inconvenient truth that wind-solar are intermittent and will require AS 24/7. That solar is out every night, 365 nights a year, and even at day time when it is very cloudy and rainy. Wind is also out when the wind does not blow. This is what happened in Europe since around July this year — they had calm weather, the wind hardly blew, and they have so many wind farms, and the grid was edging towards blackout so they scampered for more gas and coal, even at high, prices to prevent actual blackouts.

Reports No. 2 and 3 are related to climate spending discussed above. And the ADB is bitten by the same NGOs it has accredited as partners because these NGOs will not be satisfied with $31 billion or $100 billion of climate-related lending.

Finally, a good opinion column by Barok Biraogo, “The NGCP controversy should be an election issue” in Manila Standard on Oct. 8. He noted that the only national monopoly in the country “the NGCP made hostages of both the Philippine government and the Filipino people by declaring that there will be no hikes in electricity bills if the NGCP is allowed to violate its franchise and to ignore the EPIRA… the Communist Party of China, which controls the NGCP… has been hiring Chinese nationals for its management posts. This is a violation of the constitutional provisions on alien involvement in public utilities, as well as the Anti-Dummy Law. In short, Congress has valid reasons to cancel the NGCP franchise.”

*See https://www.bworldonline.com/energy-prices-gdp-projections-the-erc-and-hydro-development/.
--------------

See also:
BWorld 507, Energy prices, GDP projections, the ERC, and hydro development, October 10, 2021
BWorld 508, Tobacco taxes and smuggling in the Philippines, October 12, 2021
BWorld 509, Lockdown, declining births, growth contraction, and vax discrimination, October 18, 2021.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Pol Ideology 81, Human rights and dangers of turning socialist

Yesterday, my friend and young dynamic lawyer, Atty Arpee Santiago gave a talk at our college alumni group UPSEAA. Good lecture.

Arpee started with historical and philosophical evolution of the concept of human rights (HR), from thousands years BC to the present.

Other notes from Arpee's lecture:

1. HR's four main characteristics:
Universal, Inherent, Inalinable, and Indivisible. 

2. Evolution of HR international:
 
Universal Declaration of HR (adopted since 1948) 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (right to life, freedom of religion, expression, assembly, due process) 

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (labor rights, right to health, right to education, right to adequate standard of living).

My comment: The 3rd is a move towards socialistic set up. Health and education have become state responsibility when they should be personal and parental/guardian responsibility.

3. State obligations re HR:

Obligation to Respect -- refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of rights.
Obligation to Protect -- prevent violation of rights by other persons and third parties.
Obligation to Fulfill -- take appropriate measures towards realization of rights.

My comment: These are consistent with the Intl. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, good.

4. Three Pillars of UN Guiding Principles on HR:

Protect -- State duty to protect (prevent, investigate, punish, redress)
Respect -- Corporate responsibility to respect (respect HR throughout operations)
Remedy -- Victims access to remedy.

During the QnA, I posted my Qs:

1. Hi Arpee, do other people have “human rights” over my (or your) income and savings?
If No, thank you.  If yes, on what basis, why, and how much?

2. Re “environmental rights” leading to higher fossil fuel taxes to “protect the environment/planet”, don’t farmers, harvesters, fisherfolks, truckers, etc also have human rights to cheaper oil, energy?

3. Is “non-poverty” or zero poverty a human right?
If No, good. If yes, how about those who are lazy, or industrious and work 7 days a week but also party and drink 7 nights a week and have zero savings, they deserve subsidies?

4. Re mandatory vax, currently implicit mandate via discrimination, since govt and pharma manufacturers have no liability and accountability if sickness and death happens after vax, if companies force their employees to be vaxxed, will they have liability?
If No, why? Any law/s that protect them from culpability?
If Yes, what laws specify their culpability re financial and personal damages?

5. If in doubt re lockdown vs econ dislocations, mandatory vax, the Constitution prevails, especially the Bill of Rights. Right?

Arpee answers:

1. No.
2. Complicated topic. Other example is mining.
3. Implicitly Yes. 4Ps pre pandemic, Ayuda during pandemic.
4. (My internet goes bonker, got disconnected, did not hear his ans. Out of town and using only Globe data)
5. A judicial matter.

Arpee is a product of UP (undergrad) and Ateneo (law), bad combination and likely to be socialist minded. But Arpee is also practical and has FNF bearing of freedom, thanks.

A socialist would answer my Qs above as:

1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Yes.
4. No.
5. No.

And I will debate a socialist anytime. ;-)

Thanks for the good talk, Arpee.
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See also: 
Pol. Ideology 78, Milton Friedman and China, October 26, 2020 
Pol. Ideology 79, Paul Krugman leftism, January 03, 2021
Pol Ideology 80, Capitalism reset, liberal democracy, September 10, 2021.