Pandemic Ethics Observations Part III: Diagnosis

Keep it up, Chelsea. Keep it up, everybody, meaning the desperate Democrats, the bitter NeverTrumpers, the anti-America “resistance,” the suicidal mainstream media, and the Social Media Deranged. Virus stat-heads are closely watching “doubling” statistics, showing day to day whether the rate of increase in the number of infections is slowing down or speeding up. (In South Korea, it seems to be slowing down.) I’m watching a different phenomenon, the doubling of increasingly contrived attacks on the the President,  fearmongering by anti-Trump fanatics, and the media as they sense one more opportunity to take this President down slipping away.

The Ethics Alarms diagnosis, not to keep you in suspense, is that this is failing, and indeed has failed for a wonderful reason. There may be a lot of stupid, ignorant, gullible people out there, but there aren’t enough stupid, ignorant, gullible people for this to work. Lincoln was right, as I have found myself observing more often in the past year than in the previous accumulated years of my muddled lifetime combined. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

Let’s dispose of Chelsea’s grandstanding tweet, which, among other things, shows why she desperately needed the intervention of Mom and Dad to score her various ridiculously high paying jobs.  She ‘s an idiot. Literally nobody rational blames an international pandemic without precedent that began in China on a U.S. party or an individual, because that conclusion makes no sense. It makes no sense no matter how many hindsight bias stories are contrived and printed on the front page of the Times (there’s another one today.)

Of course not, Dr. Anthony Fauci said when questioned about whether the Trump administration was culpable for the testing kit manufacturing snafu. Americans know that the President isn’t God, and they can recognize the hypocrisy of partisans who have been complaining for three years that the President shouldn’t “act like a king” suddenly doing a 180 and attacking him for not controlling everything.

Chelsea’s tweet is hyper-partisan and incoherent (also remarkably lacking in filial self-awareness: if there was ever a family that has strived shamelessly to profit financially from its position and developing events, it is hers) , but it seems to have been  partially triggered by the late revelation yesterday (discussed in this post) that Senator Richard Burr used the advance information his committee received about the Wuhan virus to sell off stocks before the predictable crash. Somebody should probably explain to Chelsea that selling stocks before a crash is not profiting off of the virus. Buying deflated stocks after the virus causes a crash and waiting until the stock value starts rising, as it will, would be profiting from it. (Betcha that’s what Mom is doing!)

That aside, “they” was quickly revealed to be three Republican Senators, Burr, Loeffler and Inhofe, and one very Democratic Senator, Diane Feinstein (D-Cal), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in  the biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18.

When questioned , Feinstein’s spokesman hilariously said,  “All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust. She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

OK, how stupid does someone have to be not to see through that? Is Feinstein’s husband psychic? Was he eavesdropping on the Senate briefing, disguised as a fern? The Senator wasn’t involved in the sale, other than the fact that what she obviously told her husband was the reason he made the sale.

What the public isn’t too stupid to see is the Trump Deranged flailing, spinning and lying to try to make this national ordeal work for them, while the rest of the country is being responsible and American, being a community and not trying to figure out ways to shatter it. The Washington Post yesterday had to debunk a column by its own Jennifer Rubin (whom the election of Donald Trump drove stark-raving mad) after she falsely accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of delaying the vote on the House’s Wuhan virus  bill.

“The failure to take an immediate vote on the House’s relief package last week was emblematic of the sloth and irresponsibility of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.),” Rubin wrote in her column the day before, accusing the Senate of “fiddling while Rome burns.” She was just making stuff up. “An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delayed a vote on the House’s coronavirus relief package,” the Post correction reads.

Why did it read like that, since there were literally no facts to support it, and when the Washington Post supposedly has editors and procedures? How stupid do you have to be not to be able to answer that question, after the last three years, and the more recent primal scream of “ARRRGH! It’s a pandemic! We’re going to die! It’s all Trump’s fault!!!!”

So desperate are the Deranged that the beyond-ridiculous complaint that calling a virus from China a Chinese virus is “racist” became about the only thing “the resistance” could complain about yesterday. Has-been child actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “Stop calling it the ‘Chinese Virus,’ you racist piece of shit!” How persuasive! Why don’t you go hang out with Chelsea?

Yet among the Facebook Borg, this propaganda, also imported from China (is it racist to call it Chinese disinformation “Chinese disinformation”?) was the leading complaint yesterday about the  administration’s response to the disease.

The diagnosis of all this is that these people don’t know their history or understand the dynamics of the United States of America.

At times of national crisis, the American public does not blame the President, its leader. It rallies to the President. Always. Always. It does so because that is the nature of the office: part administrator, part party leader, part military leader, part figurehead/flag/symbol/link to history. At times like these, the President is us, like it or not. It is like —it is exactly like—the description of a Navy Captain’s relationship to the crew when the ship is in a typhoon that the Caine mutineers hear from their victorious but disgusted lawyer:

“You don’t work with the captain because of how he parts his hair…you work with him because  he’s got the job, or you’re no good.

The Democratic Party/”resistance”/ mainstream media “Axis of Unethical Conduct” have worked to destroy this President’s ability to fulfill the figurehead/flag/symbol/link to history part of his job, and weakened both the nation and the Office in the process. Three years, however, are not enough to kill two centuries of tradition and common sense. The Axis would have been wise to recognize that this was a time to be non-partisan and patriotic, and not appear to be willing to use this crisis as just one more excuse to attack the President—to mutiny, in effect—when the country knows it needs a captain.

The Axis, however, isn’t wise. It is shameless, like Chelsea, and stupid, like Alyssa, and dishonest, like Jennifer Rubin. And the public is not so fooled that it doesn’t notice.

According to the latest Harris Poll, the majority of Americans is satisfied with how the President is handling the crisis. When you consider that at least 40% of the public would disapprove if Trump cured cancer and eliminated the national debt, this is remarkable, but not surprising.

The American public is just not as stupid as the President’s enemies assume it is.

44 thoughts on “Pandemic Ethics Observations Part III: Diagnosis

  1. Which President Trump do we rally around?

    The one who said that everything was under control? The one who said it was a national emergency? The one who said ” “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear,”? The one who had known from the start that this was a pandemic?

    The one who disbanded the pandemic co ordinating committee as they ” had done nothing for years” and he’s proud of being a businessman who just hires expertise when he needs it in a week? Or the one who says he knows nothing about this alleged disbandment and takes no responsibility for it?

    ” Over the weekend, the US Food and Drug Administration further expanded who could test for the virus by allowing additional labs to develop their own tests for the virus. The move, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said, would enable academic centers and private companies to develop and use tests.

    He said up to a million tests will likely be conducted by the end of this week.”

    That was 3rd March.

    Actual number of tests as of 20 March ; 30,000.

    • It literally doesn’t matter. His own tendency to blabber undermines his leadership credibility, but that’s his to discredit. No one else should be trying to do it. The point isn’t that Trump is a responsible, prudent leader—he isn’t. And Captain Queeg was a neurotic narcissist.

    • Meanwhile, wash your hands regularly, and keep a social distance of 5 ft from others you are going to be near for more than a minute or two.

      • https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/nsc-pandemic-office-trump-closed/2020/03/13/a70de09c-6491-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html?tid=lk_inline_manual_34&itid=lk_inline_manual_34

        Gives a very different view from that of this political flunky,

        The section on biodefence vs deliberate attack apparently remains. May it remain irrelevant. (Really.. it would be really really bad if we had to use it…)

        The section on prophylaxis and co ordination for pandemics was disbanded, hence the total lack of co ordination demonstrated in exercises since, such as Crimson Contagion. This was known about well before December 2019.

        Under Obama, things were bad. Some improvements were made, maybe 20% of what would be optimal. Blame Congress for that, a completely Bipartisan problem before and since.

        Trump got rid of Obama’s improvements, and has cut even further. Not as much as he would have liked – and give Congress credit for preventing that, again a completely Bipartisan effort.

        From the NYT:
        The outbreak of the respiratory virus began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then it was too late: 110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead.
        That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.
        The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.
        The draft report, marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings.

  2. Evidently this virus kills older people with one, two or even three existing serious medical problems. (Evidently ninety-nine percent of the fatalities in Italy fall into this category.) Why don’t we isolate older people with existing medical problems and let the rest of the people go back about their lives as we do in any flu season. (Something like over sixteen thousand Americans have died from the flu so far this flu season.) Crippling the world economy to protect the ill and elderly when they can protect themselves, is nuts. I keep hoping some sense of normalcy will re-emerge soon.

        • Well, I can think of several possible reasons. For one, that pandemic was a new strain of a known virus; this is one we’ve never grappled with before.

          For another, the Anointed One occupied the White House.

          And I wish I could recall the source, but I read an interesting article a few days ago that suggested that Obama decided to let it ride because he didn’t further wish to disrupt the economy, which was barely starting to show signs of recovery.

          A splendid irony there if it’s true, no?

      • No chance is probably right. Silly me. I’m the one who thought the unhinged Democrats would calm down within weeks of the 2016 election. Hah! I do have to wonder whether the Dems and the media aren’t juicing this virus as Plan Whatever of the attempts to unseat Trump.

        • It’s more because in uncharted territory, even if doing less would be better strategy, it’s too politically dangerous. If things go sideways, second-guessers will say, “See? You should have done X!” So the reaction is to do too much, whatever the damage.

          • We’ve spoken about “Do Something!” Isn’t it a rationalization? I’m going to predict that the current over reaction to this virus is going to be a case study for years to come in how not to handle a disease. A fuck-up of unprecedented proportions.

            • Rationalization 40 A., Otter’s Solution, or “I had to do something!” is an invitation to be unethical, irrational, reckless and irresponsible, bypassing law, values, common sense, and any other obstacle that usually constrains bad policy and conduct. It creates an intellectually dishonest shortcut, making the decision to act before any effective action is considered, designating action the objective rather than what the objective of the action should be. Obviously this is backwards, and it is intentionally backwards, because it takes a detour around essential questions, responsible decision makers must consider before acting, like “Is this legal?” “Is this wise?” “What will be the long term consequences?,” “Can this work?” and “What are the costs?” Rationalization 40 A makes the conduct itself the objective rather than the results of the conduct. The imaginary virtue is taking action—even if it is futile and stupid.

              And, if one challenges the badly-reasoned “something” that 40 A supports, one often will be challenged by 40 B. The Lone Inspiration Excuse, or ” Do You Have A Better Idea?”

              • I do. Hide the ill and elderly away for a while. Everyone else, get back to whatever you were doing.

                You’ll note that Bill DeBlasio and Andrew Cuomo are going bananas in NY state and NYC. So, the idiots who are in favor of the Green New Deal and no fracking and carbon free by 2030 are making these sorts of decisions? These alarmist nitwits?

                • This particular “elderly” has no intention of being ‘hidden away’. Our neighborhood bar has been ordered to shut down as of midnight tonight. After re-stocking my bar, I am going to open my home to the regulars, whom I consider to be family, so that we can continue to interact with one another.

    • Seems kind of harsh to me. I guess older people with existing medical problems are the issue here, not the virus itself. With regard to the flu, people at higher risk have the option of a flu shot; that’s not the case with covid-19.

      I thought the main goal of taking these extreme measures was to prevent the health care system from being overloaded. Perhaps the most fatalities are among older people with existing conditions; but, are all the severe cases among older people or people with underlying conditions? If the health care system becomes overrun with severe cases and the resources are maxed out then people with other urgent medical problems will be affected adversely. When the medical resources are maxed out, then people that would have normally been saved may perish compounding the problem.

      • But if the most at risk demographic isolates itself, the rest of the populous can go back to work. If you’re relatively young and/or healthy, you’re not at risk. Shutting down the healthy part of the country makes no sense. Securing nursing homes and elder care facilities makes sense. Shutting schools and putting young parents out of work does not. Exposing at risk people to the disease is dangerous. Isolating young healthy people from each other makes no sense.

    • Yep. This upending of the US economy for a maximum overall 2% mortality rate, mainly the N numerator from the groups you described makes exactly no sense. So instead of having a high percentage of us with a developed immunity to it, we hide and wait for it to turn up again. This whole thing smells like panic driven over-reaction.

      Who do you think would benefit most from this?

      By the way, have they announced who attempted to hack the HHS servers to make our response worse? Would be useful to know.

      • ” This upending of the US economy for a maximum overall 2% mortality rate, mainly the N numerator from the groups you described makes exactly no sense. ”

        5% if health systems are overwhelmed, but let’s say your 2% is accurate. Call it 7 million dead Americans. Depending on the breaks. Even at 5%, that’s 10 to 20 million, tops.

    • OB, As a person in “Year 80 + medical problem” who may have a loaded gun in reach: Don’t Try Telling Me Where To Go, Sonny!

  3. I’m assuming that Chelsea is referring to the Coronavirus (Chinese Virus/Wuhan Virus…whatever it is) package that those mean Republicans didn’t allow the Democrats to have free reign to fully fund abortions, waive tuition, wipe out student loan debts and release convicted murderers out on the streets.

  4. Speaking of reactions to the virus, I look forward to your take on California’s stay-at-home order. We’ve been self-isolating out of a sense of community and duty to others, but if my governor gave that order I’d take a lawn chair and sit all by myself in the middle of the capitol plaza in protest (while keeping a safe distance from others of course),

    • Yup. And once politicians of all stripes have working proof of how easy it is to rig this sort of thing, all bets are off. It would not surprise me one bit to see Gavin Newsom attempt to declare martial law sometime in the next week or two. It won’t be called that, of course – it’ll be called a “24-hour curfew” or something like that.

      Look, I KNOW this is serious. I know how local officials are hunkering down and the dread people in the medical field are feeling right now. This thing is contagious as hell, and some key inventories – notably PPE, or personal protective equipment – are low.

      So yes, this is serious. But I’m seriously concerned about the long-term impact on civil liberties once the dust settles.

          • A snippet from the NY Post article:

            Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, predicted that the recovery percentage rate for the virus would likely reach “the high 90s.”
            “One of the problems with this is it’s an evolving scenario, and people jump to the worst-case scenario,” said Siegel, also medical director of SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio.
            “It’s too much doomsday stuff.”
            He said that at the end of the day, he expects the coronavirus death rate to be under 1 percent, albeit “a little worse” than the flu.

            • That doesn’t mean that even the younger infectees are not often much sicker than the typical flu outbreak victims. And that survival rate depends on hospitalization far, far beyond what the flu has required. It’s a less than 1% death rate of a much, much larger group.

            • I’m not sure which “1%” he’s referring to, but the only one I’ve seen that uses that number is the average rate of infection during the “flu seasons” we normally have. In that case, the 1% would put the current virus’ rate of infection about 10 times greater than the normal average. However, statistics are only as good as their data and we don’t really have enough data on Covi…excuse me, I mean the Wuhan Virus yet.

          • I finally figured out who Fredo’s brother is. I thought you were referring to Michael Corleone. Or maybe Al Pacino was tweeting from Sicily until things cool down.

          • Apparently depends on age and immune system strength. A friend of mine who lives in Berlin is just recovering. His symptoms and those of his friends (19 or 20, he says) were all mild though they continued for several weeks including a couple of weeks spent entirely and uncomfortably in bed, but all is well or getting there. They are aged 29-52. However, I prepare to duck and cover as I report that at least half of them are vegetarians and at least three are vegan. Not that that could possibly have anything to do with it ….

  5. Buying deflated stocks after the virus causes a crash and waiting until the stock value starts rising, as it will, would be profiting from it. (Betcha that’s what Mom is doing!)

    Well, that’s certainly what I intend to do! Any American with half a brain should also, if the stock market is for them.

    At times of national crisis, the American public does not blame the President, its leader. It rallies to the President. Always. Always.

    And yet, the Left neither believes nor understands why this should be true of Trump, a true exception in their deranged minds. They suppose that any support for Trump, whether he accidentally (on purpose is a virtual impossibility if you ask the Left) is a form of chaotic evil. He is so bad, there can be no praise, only derision, false claims (all in the name of manifest justice) and virulently angry accusations without regard for accuracy or fairness.

    The Axis would have been wise to recognize that this was a time to be non-partisan and patriotic, and not appear to be willing to use this crisis as just one more excuse to attack the President—to mutiny, in effect—when the country knows it needs a captain.

    Most of the only-marginally-socialist Democrats like Cuomo in New York and to a lesser extent, Newsome in California have recognized that it is politically toxic and ultimately detrimental to their constituents to assail Trump in the middle of a crisis. To be sure, giving the benefit of Hanlon’s Razor is forbidden for me to any Leftist in the age of Trump, but I must concede a remote possibility that they’ve put politics behind their duty, at least slightly. Even Pelosi has turned down the rhetoric to a low roar, and I haven’t heard daily verbal assaults out of Schumer like we were.

    The Axis, however, isn’t wise. It is shameless, like Chelsea, and stupid, like Alyssa, and dishonest, like Jennifer Rubin. And the public is not so fooled that it doesn’t notice.

    Yes, and the recent poll showing 55% approval for Trump’s actions has sent the Left into paroxysms of anger, and has them attacking Americans as incomprehensibly stupid for not hating Trump more. This tends to prove your point, but one wonders if it’s a lasting phenomenon or if the Twitterati will turn it around with their virulent hatred.

  6. One important thing is for people in critical industries to stop whining about Orange man bad and that people don’t have coverage- and do their jobs. Heaven help you right now if you need maintenance services as health care agencies are shutting down even phone positions. You know, the services the elderly and handicapped need, for a flu hysteria.

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