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.

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.

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!

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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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?