Atlas Should Have Shrugged

Scott Atlas apologizes for interview with Kremlin-funded RT
Dr. Scott Atlas, Self=Proclaimed Genius Extraordinaire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas apologized on Sunday for giving an interview to Russia’s Kremlin-backed television station RT, saying he was unaware the outlet was a registered foreign agent in the United States.

Dr. Atlas, the neuroradiologist who knows virtually nothing about epidemiology is equally ignorant about Russian propaganda channels. He gave an interview to RT, which originally stood for “Russia Today,” a major outlet for Russia’s official position but claimed he didn’t know it was run by the Kremlin.

Any intelligent person would have someone vet the media source before agreeing to speak on the record to their reporters. Not so with Dr. Atlas.

However, I for one think that you need not worry. If Dr. Atlas dispensed the same erroneous claptrap to the Russians as he does to the American people, he just kneecapped Vladimir Putin’s efforts to get past the COVID-19 epidemic.

Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach. Those who haven’t a clue drone on endlessly to anyone who will listen And, yes, at least some become radiologists.

No te Preocupes

I am not worried about the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, then, I did not worry about the Plague, the Black Death, Small Pox, Polio, or any other disease. After all, my corporal body ceased to exist about 24 centuries ago. Physical disease no longer affects me. It’s one of the relatively few advantages of being dead.

On the other hand, there are many who will be affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic who believe that they are just as inviolate as I am. Most will not die, but this disease is not limited to binary outcomes. Many who contract the disease, but do not die, will have some or all of the rest of their lives compromised by such problems as permanent lung damage or autoimmune-like disease.

I was going to add diminished mental faculties to the list of long-term effects, but those who refuse to take common sense measures to protect themselves are already affected.

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.

Lies, Damn Lies, and . . .

President Trump says he's leaving hospital - One News Page ...

After injecting and/or ingesting bleach and Lysol, after downing a metric ton of Hydroxychloroquine, and after holding events at which the virus ran rampant, your president ended up in the hospital.

How surprising.

Now he’s decided to leave the hospital and return to the White House, undoubtedly against medical advice. This after doctor shopping, replacing a Rear Admiral (O-8) with a commander (O-5) as his physician. It’s not just rank–an admiral has about 30 years of experience, while a commander only has about 15 years. While they both may have comparable medical skills, the commander has roughly half the experience in dealing with difficult patients

In any case, your president will soon be loosed on the American people. hyped on steroids and experiencing the unknown side effects from experimental drugs. He’ll be, well, Trump on steroids.

I believe it is time to update Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) saying. It now should be:

There are lies, damned lies, and statements from the White House.

Bring Out Your Dead!

Ah, plagues! You may call them pandemics, but a disease that kills many people and leaves many others debilitated is a plague. Period.

holy grail bring out your dead - mighty python and the ...
Bring out your dead!

The depiction of plague deaths in your Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not too terribly far off. Your refrigerated semi trailers are the twenty-first equivalent of the medieval cadaver carts. Plagues are nasty, no matter what the nobles, politicians, or even dictators try to tell you.

However, there is an interesting wrinkle about plagues that effects society at large.

Throughout history, when plagues kill off many workers, the powerful promulgate edicts and other pronouncements from on high to insist that the workers return to their former work at the same dismal wages that they received before the plague. These demands are largely ignored. Why?

When everybody loses workers to the plague,. other business owners, also desperate for workers, offer higher wages. (“You were given a loaf of bread every week? I’ll give you access to an oven and a bag of flour every month! Come to work today and I’ll spot you two beers a week at the local pub!”)

Regardless of the edicts and proclamations; regardless of the threats, the workers go to where the opportunity is better. (For academics, this is Adam Smith’s so-called invisible hand.)

So, today, you are in a similar situation. Do you learn from the past or do you merely repeat the same old, same old, behavior, yet again. You face a significant risk–or maybe a significant opportunity.

I’ll check back in later to see how you’re doing.

Dead? Naah!

Those 165,947 Americans who died from COVID-19? Don’t worry about it. It’s all a Democratic hoax and fake news. If someone near and dear to you claims to be among those dead people, tell them to cut it out. It’s all fake.

Who are you going to believe–a doctor at the hospital or a president on the golf course?

Death – No Big Deal

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump: ‘I did more for the black community than anybody with a possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.’

Death is a fascinating subject, especially to someone who died over 2400 years ago. Been there, done that, still hang around my sewer.

Your COVID-19 Pandemic doesn’t compare to the Black Plague. During the historic plagues, it was advisable to avoid doctors, who were actually barbers. The best they had to offer was to cut open the veins of people who were already sick or injured to “let out the bad humours.”

Medical resources in your time are actually helpful, which makes every unnecessary death all the more egregious.

When I see so many unnecessary deaths; when I see unused resources; and when I see your president shrug it off as “They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is.”

I truly don’t know what to say–and I’m rarely at a loss for words.

Those who were subjected to the Black Death had no options.

You have science and technology. You actually know what to do.

What the hell is going on with you, with your knowledge, and your resources?

You’re willing to settle for “They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is,”

Maybe you deserve what’s happening.

Winning Is Based on Perspective

With the Coronavirus exceeding expectations–and fears–the view from Washington, DC is different from what most people see. Trump keeps telling everyone that things are great and that the only reason that the number of cases is so high is because of testing and testing should slow down. I propose a different approach.

If nature hands you a lemon–make margaritas. Increase testing. Capture every case. Roll up the numbers.

Washington could use the 3,524,895 cases and 138, 936 deaths to claim that “We’re Number One!”

Number One? We’re winning!

Open the schools and we just might declare a trifecta!

COVID-19 Mismath

“Dammit Jim, I’m a philosopher, not a mathematician!”*

Your political leaders are saying that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are harmless.

I don’t have a whiteboard, a chalkboard, much less a working copy of Microsoft Excel in my sewer-home. However, I do have a stick and there’s a dirt road I can reach by leaning out of my sewer, so I did some ciphering (as we used to call math).

Over the last few months, the number of new deaths to new cases has been 2.8 percent. For any politicians reading this, that means that for every 1000 new cases, 28 will die. No big deal, except that in the United States, you have had 3,022,742 cases. Politicians, either have one of your staff do the math for you, or else, just ignore it.

As a philosopher, that tells me:
1. People who do not die from the disease are, according to your political leaders, not harmed–even if their lungs don’t work properly for the rest of their (shortened) life.
2. A majority of those who die from the disease–nearly two out of three–are, according to your political leaders, not harmed either. This does not align with Betelgeuse, who said “Besides, this dead thing—-it’s creepy.”

I could cipher and write more, but I’d rather crawl back into my sewer.

Good luck. You’re going to need it.

* Apologies to Star Trek (The Original Series)

THEM and us

Henry VIII Tudor
Courtesy The New Yorker

If you ever doubted the huge divide between the elites and you commoners, I’m sure your doubts have, by now, been assuaged by the current administration. First, the President’s daughter and son-in-law demonstrated that they, unlike you, are not required to follow the rules.Virus? Schmirus. If they want to “drive” to New Jersey for Passover, they’re going to do so.

The reason I put “drive” in quotes is because I’m sure their trip was different than any you have taken. I’m sure they did not get everybody into a Prius and head north. More likely,  they were driven in a government SUV by members of their Secret Service detail. It’s possible–if not likely–that there vehicle was the lead for a small caravan, with staff, sycophants, and others following.

There’s an old expression, “You think your shit doesn’t stink!” Mike Pence goes a step farther. His corporeal entity is apparently devoid of any harmful bacteria, viruses, or pathogens. The Mayo Clinic’s requirement that wearing a mask inside the building does not apply to him, because he gets “tested weekly for COVID-19.” Unfortunately, many pathogens are opportunistic and infect those who are compromised in other ways–such as by COVID-19. Many HIV-AIDS patients succumbed to tuberculosis, a disease that had been virtually eliminated in the US, until it could attack those with compromised immune systems.

Then there’s the Donald. If you haven’t figured out how he sees himself as above all others, you’ve obviously been in a coma for many years. I won’t give any examples  because by the time I post this, he will have exceeded anything you could imagine.

 

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