If you are like me, you are probably exhausted from all the discussion regarding the virus, SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19, the illness it causes. A lot of discussion had understandably focused on the rate of serious illness and death from Covid. The rates of both have been frightening (although the true rates are not really known for many reasons not germaine to this post) and served as justification for unprecedented measures to end the pandemic. If it were not for that, Covid would have been regarded as just another annoying seasonal virus, little different from the other coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, RSV (respiratory syncytial viruses), parainfluenza, and others we have not yet identified. We live with those as a matter of course. We now have enough experience with the “novel” virus unleashed on the world by the Chinese Communist Party to know that it uniquely spares children, poses relatively little risk to healthy adults, and is most dangerous to adults over 70 years-old and those with certain chronic medical conditions.
Those conditions are medically termed co-morbidities and include illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and other lung problems, obesity, diabetes, immune-related conditions of every sort, kidney disease, and so on. Among them are four that are noteworthy because they are so common and so commonly associated with serious illness and death from Covid. These are obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. The last is basically a melding of the first three. In addition to having in common the fact that they greatly increase the risk of serious illness and death from Covid is the fact that they are all largely preventable.
“If hypocrisy were currency, Democrats would be billionaires.”
Recent events have uncovered the unquestioned moral bankruptcy of the leadership of the Democratic Party, from the new administration on down. Dating this is not unlike trying to date some other antiquity; the origin tends to be lost in the mists of time.
I first took note of it during the Obama administration, but it really boiled to the surface during the Trump years. Something about The Donald sent democrats into a foaming frenzy, with calls for his impeachment even before he took the oath of office, including newly elected representative Rashida Tlaib’s rant on the floor of Congress, “Let’s impeach the mother*cker!” That frenzy never let up for the next four years overshadowing even major accomplishment of his administration. They never got beyond his admittedly boorish personality to look at what he was actually doing, some of it quite good. The nail in the coffin was the CCP virus and the pandemic, in which the administration could do nothing right and was blamed by the democrats and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media, for the many deaths, notwithstanding most seemed to come from states with democratic governors. This alone likely cost Trump a second term.
If hypocrisy were currency, democrats would be billionaires. Among other things, Trump was perhaps most accused of being boorish and uncivil, yet who can forget the spectacle of Nancy Pelosi tearing up the draft of the president’s State of the Union address in front of Congress? Trump now stands accused of inciting civil unrest in the wake of a relatively small mob of idiots storming the capitol building (while tens of thousands of peaceful protesters and Trump supporters were virtually ignored by the press), yet Pelosi and Kamala Harris are given a bye on doing exactly that during last summer’s “mostly peaceful” protests and riots. Democrats who accused Trump of being an autocrat, dictator, and threat to our constitutional freedoms now push for establishing enemy lists of Trump supporters and propose they be “re-educated”. Leading the charge is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the darling of the radical progressive left. The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
President Biden is on record as being against executive orders, going so far as to state, “This isn’t a dictatorship; you have to get the votes.” In a monumental irony that has not gone unnoticed, his first two weeks in office has been a frenzy of executive orders such that he now holds the record for more of them than any other president in such a short time span. He signed 22 in his first week, compared to 4 for Trump. Nearly all were clearly intended to reverse Trump’s policies, without regard to whether they had merit or not. Among them was a pledge to return to the discredited Paris Accords, cancellation of the Keystone pipeline with loss of thousands of jobs, a reversal of Trump’s progress in border security, cancellation of the 1776 project, resumption of indoctrination of federal government employees in critical race theory (which blames literally every wrong in society on racism and white oppression), and a likely reset of our relations with Iran, ignoring the gains made by Trump’s hard line against the rogue nation, and the unprecedented achievement of the Abraham Accords.
You would think, the democratic party would be satisfied at having defeated Trump and move on with their agenda to remake America in the image of a progressive, quasi (for now)-socialist state, but it is more than just morally bankrupt and hypocritical; it is also vindictive. It is not enough to have unsuccessfully impeached Trump while he was in office. Now, the goal is to impeach him after he has left, something never before attempted. Victor Davis Hanson has likened this to Achilles dragging Hector’s dead body around Troy, which had the unintended effect of making the unpopular Hector into a martyr. Hanson warns democrats of something they seem to have forgotten, “Americans hate one thing more than a sore loser, and that is an arrogant, vindictive- and bullying- winner.” Trump may be a billionaire, but against the might of the federal government, who is the bully now?
In accusing Trump and Trump supporters of being immoral, or worse, it seems democrats are simply upset that someone else is swimming in their pool.
“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” Harlan Ellision
This is going to be a long one. I am stepping way out of my comfort zone on this one, but I consider it a good object lesson on being careful about opining on things you know nothing about. For me, one of those things is finances, Wall Street, and the stock market. Toss hedge funds and things like short sells into my bag of ignorance. When I heard about the short selling of Gamestop and the alleged David versus Goliath shake up of Wall Street, my first impression was “Go, David!”. There is something satisfying about “sticking it to The Man” and, since the debacle of 2008, Wall Street has been on many people’s sh*t list because of the perceived inequities between big Wall Street firms and its major players and us, the little guys. On the other hand, as the analysis below shows, “we” are Wall Street. If we take it down, what happens to all the retirement accounts, pension plans, and savings of those of us who are not millionaires and just trying to build a nest egg for the future? When the dust settles billionaires and companies may have been stung, perhaps a few even bankrupted, but at what cost? A few gamers, or “retards” as they call themselves, may have made a lot of money, but the rest of us will be left with little, if anything, to show for all the fireworks.
Most people will never read beyond the mainstream media and online reports. Read on if you want to read an insider’s analysis and educate yourself. If you find yourself overwhelmed- it is in depth- just go to the bold, italicized sections, which are the heart of the matter, rather than the nuts and bolts. Enjoy
“A resolution is a promise to yourself that you haven’t broken….yet“
Now that the New Year has been rung in, leaving behind a year like no other, what next? If you are like me and most other people, you have probably made some resolutions for the New Year. The beginning of a new year is a natural starting point for making changes, which is undoubtedly why the tradition of making resolutions began. My definition of a resolution is a promise you make to yourself that you haven’t broken…. yet.
Breaking resolutions is as much a tradition as making them. I think many people set themselves up for failure. There are a number of principles that can help you to keep resolutions in 2021.
“And if everything we do saves even a single life, I’ll be happy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Let me preface this post by saying that the pandemic is real and serious. All deaths due to the virus, directly or indirectly, are tragic and cause for making our best effort to mitigate the effect of the virus. Mitigation, however, must take into account much more than simple raw numbers. We must understand what the numbers mean and how best to apply them to a coherent, effective public health policy. Even those who advocate continued and more stringent lockdowns admit that the cost of these has been devastating, both to the economy as a whole and in human lives lost or otherwise destroyed. As we are blasted with ceaseless headlines regarding a deadly second, and even a third, wave of Covid cases, there is a pressing need for some sense of proportion on the pandemic.
I could hardly believe my eyes and ears. After months of shaking my head and saying to myself (and others) “this doesn’t make sense. It makes no sense,” others are beginning to do the same and openly declaring some scientific truth in the discussion of Covid-19 and our unprecedented response to it. It strikes me a bit like the story of the emperor’s new clothes where people were hesitant to openly state the emperor had no clothes on for fear of being ostracized by their friends, colleagues, and family for going against the conventional opinions. I would say conventional wisdom but for the fact that true wisdom seems to have been sadly lacking in much of the discussion of the current pandemic and what to do about it.
We have been given basically two choices. One is to lockdown the country, socially distance everyone from children to the elderly, wear masks everywhere, and cower fearfully in this fashion until we are rescued by a vaccine. The second is to open up the country and risk millions of dead. To advocate the second choice was regarded as political suicide by politicians, professional suicide for clinicians, and social suicide for citizens. Those of us who claimed there was a better way were regarded as callous, cruel, even homicidal by some. To even suggest we allow herd immunity to develop was tantamount to saying we wanted to kill off the old and infirm, never mind that the lockdown has likely killed more people than the virus.
“Social media has such an outsize presence and influence in our daily lives that it has become the proverbial elephant in the room.”
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Everyone knows what this means. In discarding something bad or undesirable, take care that you do not throw out aspects that are good or desirable. Few things are totally bad or totally good. Much of life is nuanced in this fashion.
When it comes to social media, the term would more appropriately be: don’t throw out the elephant with the bath water. Social media has such an outsize presence and influence in our daily lives that it has become the proverbial elephant in the room.
It is hard to argue with the fact that speculation has been one of the most, if not the most, significant factors in the Wuhan virus pandemic.
There has been speculation as to the origins of the virus. Was it man made? Did it originate in a Wuhan lab or did it arise de novo from a Chinese wet market in the city? Despite over six months of more attention than any microbe has received in recorded history, there is still legitimate speculation about its origins.
Speculation has been especially prevalent in the modeling of the course of the virus and its lethality. Early models predicted 2.2 million deaths in the US and over 500 thousand in the United Kingdom, without mitigation, e.g. social distancing, wearing masks, etc. Experts now agree those numbers were wildly overestimated. We are now well over six months into this pandemic and the US only recently exceeded 200 thousand deaths and the UK is barely at 42 thousand. We mitigated. Now what?
I have repeatedly said that to understand the numbers in discussing the Wuhan virus, you have to understand the context. What this means is that just giving out total numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and even deaths must be clearly understood in their proper context to be meaningful.
I have long felt that that the numbers have been misused and inflated/deflated depending on the agenda of whoever is reporting them. We have used them to justify the national lock down, promote unheard of policies like shutting down businesses, universal social distancing, and mask wearing for all. Never has an entire population of healthy individuals been quarantined or an economy shutdown to this degree for a viral epidemic. This did not happen with H1N1 in 2009, which infected between 700,000 and 1.4 billion people and killed between 150,000 and 575,000 people worldwide over 9 months. The wide range reflects the difficulty in getting good numbers, just as with Covid-19, because these depend on the reporting criteria, testing, etc.
The latest “bombshell” is the CDC statement that only 6% of deaths have been purely from Covid-19, or around 9500 persons. All of the rest have listed co-morbidities in the cause of death. These are other medical conditions in addition to Covid that contributed to death. On the surface, this might be seen as cause for celebration and people like me, who have feel we have overreacted to this virus, should be declaring “I told you so”, but you have to understand this number before you jump with glee.
Daniel Mintz, Chair of the Department of Information Technology at the University of Maryland Global Campus posted on Facebook a very interesting thought experiment. Mintz openly acknowledged that he suffers from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). He describes the lead up to a Trump victory in November based on his speculation that Trump decides to control the election. The text of his post is below.
What would he (Trump) do? Among other things:
Has learned that undoing executive authority, even if unconstitutional, takes a lot of time (I think Mr. Mintz needs to read Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power by John Yoo)
Say the election was going to be stolen by Democrats
Disparage the use of mail-in ballots
Attempt to establish that the opposing candidate is senile and outside of normal behavior (hates God for example) – opposing candidate helps make the case
Ignore the involvement of Russia and China in their attempts to manipulate the US election and insert misinformation since that adds to the chaos
At the same time put strong supporters in charge of the US Postal Service to control the flow of mail-in ballots, including replacing all career operational leadership (in August so that this is not in the news in October/November)
Keep up a drumbeat that local and state governments, especially with Democrat leadership are in favor of violent extremists
Establish that it is ‘okay’ to send in federal representatives to ‘support’ local legal authorities
Attempt to encourage local violence so that he can use those federal representatives to manage election polling locations, perhaps put such representatives in place to act as election judges (since there is an enormous shortage of polling judges across the country made much worse because of COVID-19)