Unintended Consequences

As your general election approaches, I recommend that you take as notebook and write down the issues that are currently seen as important. Things such as:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • The failure to effectively address the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The rush to appoint another conservative justice to the Supreme Court
  • The divisiveness of the political process
  • The failure of America, as a whole, to address racism
  • The rise of white supremacists, who are treated by much of the world as a terrorist organization
  • The treatment of people who wish to emigrate to America
  • Efforts to roll back health care coverage, especially for people with pre-existing conditions

Set a reminder for November 3, 2022. When the reminder sounds its alarm, pour yourself a double of your preferred adult beverage. Retrieve the list and look at each item. Write down what the outcome, including the second and third effects. For example, without the influx of immigrants joining the workforce, how will social security be doing? Is it adequately funded with fewer workers? (In 1945, there were 41.9 workers for every social security recipient. Today it is 2.8 workers.)

For your sake, I hope things turn out well.

The Foreclosure King

Trump administration dismisses threat of robot automation ...

Steven Mnuchin, current United States Secretary of the Treasury is highly qualified. I’m not exactly sure of what he’s qualified for.

During the previous recessions (2007-2008), Mnuchin allegedly bought mortgage lender IndyMac and realized a healthy profit. His actions earned him the title as “The Foreclosure King.”

Now he has a major role to ensure the economic recovery of this country. This requires that he balance the priorities between financial gain and human lives.

Send me a note and tell me how much you trust him.

 

P.S. If you were buying a used car, and he walked up with that big smile, extending his hand for a handshake, what would be your reaction?

Coming to a Theater Near You

clapboard

 

An imaginary business meeting

CAMERA 1 FADES IN
Agent (excitedly): Listen, JB, This can’t lose! Sequels are in–look at them: Star Wars! Men in Black! Marvel Comics! Harry Potter! This is the ultimate! It’s got life and death, skullduggery, and intrigue! If we don’t make this movie, someone else will and they will be the ones to be rich and famous!

CUT TO CAMERA 2 ON JB
JB (skeptically): I know, but it’s incomplete. We don’t know how it’s going to end. It’s missing key plot points to make the story work.

CAMERA 2 PANS FROM JB TO AGENT
Agent (somewhat frustrated): Working in sex is no problem. Part of this will be set in DC and it’s crawling with gorgeous, young female staffers. Even better, we’ll be filming in the south–Southern Belles, no unions, tax breaks, sunshine–it’s perfect.

FADE TO CAMERA 1 WHICH INCLUDES BOTH AGENT AND JB IN THE FRAME
JB (thoughtfully): Why in the south?

Agent: That’s where the “remain in place” directives have been the weakest and will probably be the first to be eliminated. That’s essential to the plot.

Sharp focus on JB with soft focus on the agent
JB:
How are you going to guarantee the . . . .

CUT TO CAMERA TWO ON AGENT
Agent (Interrupting, then leaning forward toward JB): The states we’re looking at are lifting their restrictions early. There’s bound to be a second wave;  we’ve even hired people to protest self-isolation in several states.

CUT TO CAMERA ONE–BOTH JB AND AGENT IN FRAME–FOCUS CLEAR ON JB
JB (shaking his finger at agent): You’d better be right. If the second wave doesn’t have at least 100 thousand dead, I’m going to be pissed! If I’m going to pitch this to the investors, it needs a snappy working title.

CAMERA ONE–SAME FRAME–SHIFT FOCUS TO AGENT
Agent (smugly): Coronavirus–The Sequel

 

 

 

Lies, Damn Lies, and COVID-19 Speeches

There are so many claims as to what the future of the COVID-19 will be.

First off, as Doc Brown said in the final installment of Back to the Future, “The future hasn’t been written yet!” Nevertheless, various people are spouting things about the future with no idea as to their probability, much less future reality. For example:

  • The US economy will reopen on May 1.
  • There will be a vaccine by September.
  • When the weather changes, the virus will diminish–if not cease.

When you’ve lived as long as I have, you know that reality’s most frequent pitch is the curve ball. There is no harm in telling the truth–even if the truth is “I don’t know.”

In for a Penny, Out of a Pound

It’s true that there are many things that business does better than government. On the other hand, there are things that only a national government can handle. Over the past 20 years, the Tea Party politicians have rallied to the cry of “Make the government smaller!”

There’s a difference between pruning a bush and yanking it out by the roots. Getting a haircut is significantly different than being beheaded.

So we removed the analysts who warned about an inevitable pandemic and had a worldwide network to watch for such an occurrence to be able to respond quickly. We saved a few bucks there, but I wonder what an honest audit would say. Is the millions of dollars saved by dismantling parts of the National Security Council worth the billions of dollars the economy will lose over the next two years–if not longer.

There are many fine Americans who serve in the military and are willing to die to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” How many of you are willing to lay down your own life for the economy?

 

Darwinistic Intervention

Updated Guidelines for Management of Hospital-Acquired ...

Fox News, that bastion of conservative conservatism, is at the top of the prime time news ratings with 2.3 million viewers. This means that 0.00007 percent of Americans are watching Fox News primetime. (Audience figures from Fox, US population data from the the US Census Bureau–census.gov),

Fox uberstar Sean Hannity’s show almost triples that with an audience of 6.5 million, which represents 0.0002 percent of the American population.

In comparison, The Simpsons cartoon, in its 31st year on the air (Fox) still draws about 4.08 million viewers, down from its peak of over 14 million in the early 21st century.

However, inside this wonderfully encouraging conservative silver lining, there’s s dark cloud. This is caused by the novel corona virus, COVID-19.

  • Fox and Hannity viewers have a median age of 65 (down from 66) the median age for susceptibility to COVID-19.
  • Fox and Hannity viewers, by virtue of age, have a variety of pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, diabetes, etc. that may make them more susceptible to acquiring the disease and more difficult to recover.
  • Older people with underlying medical issues are more likely to experience opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, and possibly tuberculosis.  Antivaxxers might be at higher risk.
  • Fox and Hannity viewers often live in rural communities in which sophisticated medical care is less readily available and at a greater distance.

What happens if the current administration’s base, believing that the Corona Virus is a fake, intended to discredit the president, succumb to the COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate?

Could this be a Darwinian event?

 

 

Anything But That!

READ: Trump's Oval Office speech on the coronavirus outbreak

Surgeons seem to believe that problems can be fixed by surgery. Human Resource people tend to believe that training is the answer for any ill. Physicists believe that everything is logical while simultaneously believing in the inextricable illogic of quantum physics.

Elites tend to believe that any problem can be fixed by throwing money at it.

So far, economic measures haven’t worked with the coronavirus. We just might have to (gasp!) turn to science for a solution.

Not So Easily Amused

Anthony S. Fauci, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Jerome Adams standing in front of a building: U.S. President Trump speaks during a news conference on the coronavirus outbreak in Washington

Over the past millennia–I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to the actions of world leaders.

It’s hard to get my attention, much less make me sit up and take notice. Your president’s desire to prevent a cruise ship to dock and discharge its passengers for quarantine or medical care was so ho-hum. Considering ytour president’s track record, no big deal.

However, the US military and US intelligence agencies tend to pay attention as to how information is classified. Yes, there is a tendency to overclassify. This is due, in part, to the fact that while an individual item does not qualify for classification, the amalgem of several unclassified items can provide classified information. However, there is at least some effort to separate the information that should be disclosed from information that, for the good of the American people, should be kept secret.

Right now, your president is trying to classify information about the coronavirus that would be useful to healthcare professionals.

So, do you think his political success is more important than your life?

Pandemic or Plague?

Over the millenia I’ve seen my share of plagues–black death, bubonic plague, septicemic plague, pneumonic plague, and a few whose names I never could pronounce. With modern medicine, you no longer call them palgues–now call them pandemics. Pandemic sound so much more clinical and therefore less dangerous.

Of course, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people, which is right up there with the plagues. I grant you that the records from the Middle Age and prior are based on guesstimation–no computers, no accurate numbers, etc. but a million deaths here and a million deaths there and pretty soon you’re dealing with a plague.

Now, the world is facing the corona virus, or as the scientists call it, COVID-19. Will a rose under any other name smell as sweet? Will a disease under any other name kill as many? It’s currently called a pandemic. Due to political pressure, it will probably never be called a plague–regardless of the death toll. Calling a skunk’s fur Alaska Sable doesn’t change its actual identity.