Pre-Christmas Panic Ethics Warm-Up, 12/18/2020: “The Virus Made Me Do It!!”

I have to give Harry a callout: his Christmas classic is the only recording on the Sirius-XM Christmas Traditions channel sung by a still-living singer. Harry’s 93 now and the clock is ticking. His voice is shot, and he has become progressively more radical, angry and bitter over the years. But ah, what a great and transformative talent he was!

I also note that just this week, YouTube has slapped ads on all its songs and movie clips. Of course it has.

Why am I panicked? Oh, the tree’s not up, its a pine and too soft to hold about 40% of our cherished ornaments,we’re behind on other decorations, no shopping has been done, and “there’s plenty of time” suddenly mutated into “Holy crap! There’s only a week left!” At least Christmas decorations around the neighborhood are at an all-time high. I’ve been walking Spuds around to see them: boy, those huge inflatable lawn things are horrible. What does an Imperial Walker have to do with Christmas? Spuds tried to kill a giant inflatable Nutcracker Prince. I was proud of him…

1. This is, in short, a lie. “COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the U.S.” says an editorial published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This false and intentionally fear-mongering conclusion is in part based on the U.S. practice of calling every death of someone who was diagnosed with the illness a death caused by the illness. That’s ridiculous. Three researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, cite current daily mortality rates to show that COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. “It’s been a long time since an infectious disease was the leading cause of death for the whole country,” said lead author Steven Woolf, M.D., director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. “And it’s a tragic milestone we could’ve prevented.” As for that last statement, prove it, without a time machine. Meanwhile, it appears that Wuhan virus-“caused” deaths also include deaths from other causes that killed people because they put off getting medical treatment.

2. Babylon Bee Ethics:

  • Is this fair? I think it’s fair. After a story from the set of his latest “Mission Impossible” movie was reported about Tom Cruise having tantrum when he saw two crew members standing too close together, the conservative satire site headlined a story, “‘We Must Follow The Science!’ Screams Actor Who Believes Xenu Dumped Frozen Aliens Into Volcanoes And Exploded Them With Bombs 75,000,000 Years Ago.” I got some hate mail the last time I criticized Scientology. A former member of the church/cult told me I was lucky that’s all I got…
  • Once again, a ‘factcheck” feature actually checked a story on the satire site and guess what? It decided that it was satire! I have to ask: “What’s going on here?” Do the publications that do that want us to think they are morons? ARE they morons? Do they think we are morons? This time, the Mad Factchecker worked for USA today, and was checking the Babylon Bee spoof headlined “United Airlines Kicks 2-Year-Old Off Flight For Refusing To Say ‘Black Lives Matter.'” The story, says the factcheck, “claims the airline refused to let a young girl fly after she couldn’t pronounce the racial justice expression. The airline supposedly scolded the family of the child in a statement, too, citing its “strict ideological purity requirement” for all flights….”We can’t let people fly on planes with the fear that a racist baby might be on board,” the airline supposedly said. “The family was quickly removed after which we lectured them for 2 hours in the airport terminal.” No, the Bee did not “claim” anything. It’s a joke. It’s obviously a joke. Is a comedian who begins a story saying, “A rabbi, a moose and a Martian walk into a bar” claiming that a rabbi, a moose and a Martian walked into a bar?

3. You really don’t think that the pandemic over-reach by governors and mayors, and the news media’s successful censorship of news that didn’t advance The Cause, and the use of social media and cancel movements to intimidate and squelch dissenting opinions are all giving the Democratic Party a taste for totalitarian mandated thought, speech and expression? Why not? Here’s the latest: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this week to ban the the sale of Confederate flags and other symbols of “intolerance and hate” on public property, as well as to limit the display of such symbols. Says Professor Turley: “In my view, the Cuomo legislation is a violation of the First Amendment.”

No professor, the legislation IS a violation of the First Amendment, and Cuomo knows it is. How else can one interpret this other than as an official form of civil disobedience aimed at the Supreme Court and the Constitution? For the law will get struck down as soon as it’s challenged, whereupon Nancy, Chuck, AOC, Kamala and the rest will wail, “See? This racist system protects symbols of slavery and hate! We have to change the Constitution and SCOTUS to prevent this outrage!”

4. More proof, as if any more were needed, that Donald Trump just doesn’t understand the Presidency. The Daily Beast reports  that the President has asked some associates if it would be a good idea to reboot “The Apprentice” after he leaves the White House.

5. Back to Item #1: I just saw this while I was preparing to wrap up. Brenda Bock, a Colorado coroner, spoke to the press after discovering that  that among Grand County’s five reported Wuhan virus  deaths were two gunshot wound victims. “It’s absurd that they would even put that on there,” she said. “Would you want to go to a county that has really high death numbers? Would you want to go visit that county because they’re contagious? You know, I might get it, and I could die if all of a sudden one county has a high death count. We don’t have it, and we don’t need those numbers inflated.”

Colorado’s health department defended itself by stating that it was only following the protocol set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  whose guidelines require state health department officials  to report “people who’ve died with COVID-19 in their systems because it’s crucial for public health surveillance….This information is required by the CDC and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations.”

According to Sky-Hi News in Grand County, the two gunshot victims were the result of a murder-suicide.


7 thoughts on “Pre-Christmas Panic Ethics Warm-Up, 12/18/2020: “The Virus Made Me Do It!!”

  1. 4. The linked article has the usual garbage of associates and people familiar with Trump. Anonymous sources are completely worthless in the current era. Do I think he may have said it? Yep, but I no longer care what anonymous says he said.

  2. I mostly prefer to use excess deaths by all causes to see what’s going on with the virus. The covid numbers are hopelessly corrupted. The problem with that is there is no way to separate virus deaths from lockdown deaths (some would be things like people voluntarily not going to the hospital when they should, but that still seems like the most succinct term for them).

    I looked up the CDC total mortality by year/month, which required preliminary data for 2019 and 2020 and only goes to June 2020. The main spike was in April which had about 86000 more than 2019.

    • I looked into this a few weeks ago:

      I am also into total increases in Mortality in various European countries. So far, 2020 has been just as deadlier in England+Wales, Frances, and Sweden. All have seen about a 6% increase in deaths compared to 2019 (England was +13%). Most saw roughly an increase of 9.3 to 9.9 deaths per million.

      I don’t have the charts ready, but generally, the first months in these European countries were hell compared to the US, and then collapsed back to 2019 levels during the summer. In the US, we basically flattened the curve, so that our first month of the virus was better than in Europe, but our summer was worse. The total annual increase in mortality per million averages out so that the US is still on par.

      I haven’t looked at each state individually, but I suspect that mortality peaked in various states later than in others, so that our national average over the summer the was bumped by various regional spikes. The US has a larger population than the four European countries I looked at combined, so our national average across all 50 states will look different than the statistics from a countries in Europe looked at individually.

      Further, looking at statistics from “Worldometers”, the deaths per million attributed to Covid are:

      US: 967
      France: 922
      UK: 978*
      Sweden: 789

      Even by each country’s own definitions of COVID deaths (which may or may match the US CDC’s), the differences in total mortality are marginal. Sweden’s is even surprisingly slightly better, and I would have to look into that further.

      At no point am I saying the virus isn’t bad, nor am I claiming we cannot do more to save lives (that is simply not the kind of data I am examining). All I am saying is that the breathless hype and self-loathing that United States is handling the virus extraordinarily worse than Europe doesn’t hold up.

      *Also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland

      • I also want to note that I looked at the total mortality data for each country a few weeks ago, and only just checked Worldometer tonight. mortality per million attributed to virus matched so closely between the US, England, France, and Sweden was not something I knew until now. I am strictly following the data and reporting whatever I find; any contradictions I may uncover in future analysis will be plainly reported.

  3. Apparently, medical authorities have identified gunshot wounds as a possible complication of Covid. That disease grows more dangerous every day!

  4. “It’s been a long time since an infectious disease was the leading cause of death for the whole country,” said lead author Steven Woolf, M.D., director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. “And it’s a tragic milestone we could’ve prevented.” As for that last statement, prove it, without a time machine.

    Maybe it has to do with the public health establishment discrediting itself.

    However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives. Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.

    Coercive measures can not work without trust in the public health establishment, and trust has been forfeited!

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