Faith is a given, but faith in what?

Some thoughts: 1. We try to understand our world through our reason, emotions, theology, hopes and faith, all affected and filtered by our experiences, memories, abilities, limitations and sources of information. 2. Those who put their trust in their reasoning, or what they think (or worse, feel) is their reasoning, don’t have answers to “where did my ability to reason come from?”, “how accurate are my memories?”, “what are all my filters, presuppositions, and limitations, and how do they affect my conclusions?” and “how valid are my sources of information and how well do my senses apprehend reality itself?” 3. Who or what (forces) control which events, and who is in charge of the world, the universe: The God of the Bible; some other god (Allah, Krishna, Buddha, etc); chance and randomness; physical “laws” which govern cause and effect? If the last one, who put those laws into motion? 4. Given just those preceding thoughts, isn’t it apparent that all our conclusions are a matter of faith? If so, then the question that matters most is, “ faith in what”?

ISIS and their ilk, including Book Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Shabaab, and numerous others put their faith in various interpretations of the Quran (Koran) which justify murders and torture, including sexual, of whomever they define as infidels. Hindus put their faith in diverse traditions such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and others. Each tradition has a long list of Hindu texts, with subgenre based on syncretization of ideas from Samkhya, Nyaya, Yoga, Vedanta and other schools of Hindu philosophy. Of these some called Sruti are broadly considered as core scriptures of Hinduism, but beyond the Sruti, the list of scriptures vary by the scholar. How does a given Hindu decide which tradition and subgenre to believe? It must matter, since the predominantly Hindu nation of India seems to be perpetually at war with the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan, and within those nations Hindus and Muslims frequently clash. Religious Jews put their faith in the Torah, the traditions of Moses, and Yahweh. Christians put their faith in the Trinity of the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The Chinese communist party-CCP-puts it’s faith in whatever keeps them in power, as do most dictatorships.

Secular scientists put their faith in the scientific method and their theories, hedonists put their faith in the pleasures of the moment. People who think they are smart put their faith in their reasoning. Well, you get the idea. Everyone has faith in something that they embrace as true, and in every case they are either not aware of or ignore other possibilities. Perhaps the best example of this comes from those who sound like, and are anointed as genuises. From his website, Hawking.org.ukStephen William Hawking (1942 – 2018) was the former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time which is an international bestseller. He was the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge, his other books for the general reader include A Briefer History of Time, the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universe and The Universe in a Nutshell. In 1963, Hawking contracted ALS and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow. Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein. Definitely anointed as a genius, definitely put his faith in his reasoning capacity and his instruments, definitely ruled out God. I pulled the following sentences from Hawking’s lecture, The Origin of the Universe, given in 2005. The lecture was far longer and more detailed, but I pulled sentences that illustrate his (genius) reasoning processes, and in boldprint I ask “meta-questions”, which are questions about the presuppositions underneath his reasoning.

If one believed that the universe had a beginning, the obvious question was what happened before the beginning? Is that question obvious? Isn’t the beginning of something…the beginning? What was God doing before He made the world? Was He preparing Hell for people who asked such questions? If your goal is to explain how the universe began, does it matter what God was doing before creating the universe? How can you ever know, since all the “laws” of physics you use to explain how things happen are part of the created universe. Or did you pose those two questions to make your joke? The expansion of the universe was one of the most important intellectual discoveries of the 20th century, or of any century. It transformed the debate about whether the universe had a beginning. If galaxies are moving apart now, they must have been closer together in the past. If……then. That’s a cause-effect assertion, but when you say “they must have been closer together in the past”, that implies the movement is constant and one-directional. How do you know that galaxies aren’t rebounding, like a rubber band? If they rebound, they could have been farther apart in the past. In order to understand the Origin of the universe, we need to combine the General Theory of Relativity with quantum theory. They are THEORIES. Despite having had some great successes, not everything is solved. Don’t theories suggest rather than solve? haven’t there been many “solutions” which later turned out to be lacking (i.e. then they weren’t solutions)? We do not yet have a good theoretical understanding of the observations that the expansion of the universe is accelerating again, after a long period of slowing down. Isn’t your theoretical understanding limited by the tools you use to gather information and perform experiments?New observational results and theoretical advances are coming in rapidly. Cosmology is a very exciting and active subject. We are getting close to answering the age old questions. Why are we here? Where did we come from? How can ANY “observational results and theoretical advances” answer the question “why are we here”?

Isn’t it clear from that limited dialogue that even genuises who put their faith in their massive reasoning power operate with many unverified assumptions, and perhaps aren’t aware of their own assumptions? Yesterday was Easter Sunday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I put my faith in His conquering of sin and death, and pulling His victory as a cloak around my shoulders, taking shelter in Him as a child in his father. “Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord’s woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him. O Jesus, ‘despised and rejected of men,’ how could you die for men who treated you so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree.” He said, “Father forgive them, for they no not what they do.” I’ll put my faith in that kind of love!

Time to brush up on your chinese cooking?

From Axios.com, April 12, 2020: Chinese authorities are now offering a 9% rebate on the export of animal products, such as edible snakes and turtles, primate meat, beaver and civet musk, and rhino horns, despite banning their domestic trade. Why it matters: Encouraging wild animal sales abroad “could spread the risk to global markets,” according to a Congressional Research Service report. China’s National People’s Congress in February banned the sale and consumption of wild animals in their country. “The prominent problem of recklessly eating wild animals and its potential risk to public health have aroused wide public concern. Although health authorities have yet to identify the precise cause of the [coronavirus] outbreak, a study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, based on patient samples, found a 96% genetic match with a bat coronavirus. Another Chinese study suggested snakes sold in a Wuhan market were the source.” Source: The Wall St. Journal.

CCP or NPC soon re-opened the Wuhan wet markets in response to demand from customers and vendors. Banned in February, opened again in March. Apparently, the “people”—that mysterious entity that is always trotted out to justify what commies do—just can’t go very long without their alimentary communion with exotic animals. Aren’t those markets just like “farmers’ markets in the U.S.? Sure, except for selling bats, primates, pangolins, civet cats, snakes, and other wild species that are either primary Coronavirus hosts or intermediary hosts (between the animals and humans). I have been to numerous farmer’s markets in the U.S. and have not seen a single bat or pangolin for sale. Perhaps that’s private stock for the merchants’ special customers. Nah, not in this country. In fact, aside from fruits, vegetables and homemade preserves and the like, I have rarely seen meat for sale in our farmer’s markets, and in those rare cases, the vendors have usually raised the animals on their own farms and ranches. Note to the CCP: The meat is from “domesticated” animals, like you would prefer your populace and foreign media to be (not animals, domesticated).

Meanwhile, “confirmed” cases worldwide today are 1,771,514 (+79,795
from yesterday); Deaths, 108,503 (+5,978 from yesterday); Recoveries, 402,110.

Top countries by confirmed case count

  1. 1. USA 526,3962. 2. Spain 163,027. 3. Italy 152,271. 4. France 130,727. 5. Germany 124,908. 6. China 83,014. 7. U.K. 79,874. 8. Iran 70,029. 9. Turkey 52,167. 10. Belgium 28,018 11. Switzerland 25,1071. 12. Netherlands 24,571. 13. Canada 23,316. 14. Brazil 20,727. 15. Portugal 15,987.

TOP COUNTRIES BY CONFIRMED CASE COUNT PER MILLION OF POPULATION

  1. Spain (3319.33)
  2. Italy (2440.14)
  3. France (1926.80)
  4. USA (1593.34)
  5. Germany (1565.03)
  6. United Kingdom (1214.78)

Here are the top six countries for deaths per million people.

  1. Spain (339.33)
  2. Italy (311.97)
  3. France (204.15)
  4. The United Kingdom (150.42)
  5. USA (61.95)
  6. Iran (52.68)

Second note to the CCP: I don’t think a 9% rebate is going to get those countries on board for your snakes, primate meat, civet musk and rhino horns. While more than 33,000 deaths have been attributed to (the direct result of) terrorist activity of ISIS between 2002-2015, according to the International Business Times, your policies have just killed over three times that number in less than 4 months, not counting all the deaths of your own people that you haven’t reported. China Global Television Network, or CGTN, reports

  1. Five million people left Wuhan in the three weeks before the lockdown;
  2. 30–40 percent, or 1.5–2 million people, left Hubei entirely; and
  3. About 465,000 people flew to the 10 listed cities outside Hubei. The third item conforms to a 520,000-person monthly average in air travel from Hubei and is a direct count. China’s COVID-19 figures are not arithmetically sensible. The conservative figures for migrants’ infection rate and time in circulation before national lockdown, generates an estimate of 2.9 million cases.

Need I mention the 30,000,000-45,000,000 who died of starvation during Mao’s Great Leap Forward? Okay, I won’t mention them.

Who was that masked man? Strangers and Lone Rangers.

Through the week of March 30-April 4, 2020, here in Spokane, Wa., I saw nary a person wearing a mask. This week starting April 5, I emerged from my lair to shop for some food, and found almost everyone was wearing a mask. I had thought about donning a mask last week, but since almost no one was wearing one, a couple of thoughts dominated: “I don’t want other people to think I have the virus and fear me, just because I am wearing a mask” and “If I hide my identity with a mask, will others suspect that I am up to no good?” Silly me! But this week, before going out, not having read or heard about a mask edict, I decided I was going to wear a mask because it could help protect others (from a virus I have no reason to suspect I am infected with) and as an example to others of what they should do.

Voila, parking my car at Super 1 Foods, I notice almost everyone, customers and store employees, wearing masks. Later that day I watched a video produced by the Seattle Downtown Merchants association, featuring drone shots of an empty city, many stores with colorful messages (that’s “in color”, not off color) on the plywood boards protecting their windows, thanking their customers, employees and local government, and writing “we’ll be back” (Arnold Schwarzenegger accent). The title of the video was, “This Is What Love Looks Like—Social Distancing.” They’re right, it’s a form of love, to protect others, with sacrifice. I just hope they can all come back!

For you young folks reading this, “who was that masked man?“ was the rhetorical question posed about the heroic figure who had just dispatched all the bad guys, riding out of town with his “faithful Indian companion, Tonto. They used to say, “riding into the sunset”, but since seeing this Farside cartoon I avoid that cliche.

Who was he? The Lone Ranger, the title character in a TV show from 1949-1957. According to IMDB and Wikipedia, The Lone Ranger was the only Texas Ranger in a posse who survived an ambush. He was nursed back to health by the Potawatomi tribesman Tonto, and he wears a mask to protect others from Coronavirus hide his identity. They ride together throughout the West, doing good while living off a silver mine which supplies them with income and bullets.

As generally depicted, the Lone Ranger conducts himself by a strict moral code based on that put in place by Fran Striker, the show’s writer, at the inception of the character. It read:

I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal, and that everyone has within himself, the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally, to fight when necessary
for what is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That ‘this government, of the people, by the people and for the people’shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

For awhile are we all lone rangers? That wouldn’t be a bad thing.

HAPPY EASTER, THE LORD IS RISEN.

A plague of mindless rule followers.

Paint or barriers?

In 1973 I drove from University of Connecticut to Nova Scotia. Because it was such a long way, I found another UConn student to make the trip with me, and help with driving and the cost of gas. We got along okay, even with our political disagreements (I was then, as now, conservative, she fancied herself a revolutionary), until she started driving. Imagine this scene: You are driving on a 4 lane road (2 each way), with a center lane for turning. In one town, the left lane began merging into the right lane, and my driver followed within the lines exactly. The problem was that a huge truck was already in the right lane, and not giving way, but she just kept following the yellow line, getting closer and closer to the truck. I grabbed the wheel from the passenger seat, and turned the car into the empty left turn lane, until the truck passed. She yelled, “you’re driving over the yellow line!” I yelled back, “it’s just paint!” This self-styled “revolutionary” was actually a “mindless rule follower”.

Writes David Horowitz in Conservative Review, April 7, 2020: We now have the most severe, widespread, and protracted form of martial law in our nation’s history … except as it applies to dangerous criminals who are undeterred and released. How much worse will we allow this to get until we call a foul on these gross constitutional violations? States have wide latitude to forcibly quarantine individuals or groups of people from the general population. But they don’t have the power to shut down the entire general population. Also, as the Supreme Court has said many times, there are times when life, liberty, and property can be infringed upon, but it must be narrowly tailored to the least invasive means needed to achieve the compelling state interest. What is happening now is anything but narrow. Consider some examples:

  1. A 19-year-old woman was given a citation and forced to go back home after a state trooper in York County, Pennsylvania, caught her simply “going for a drive.” She was alone in a car. Meanwhile, subways are still open!
  2. Numerous states have arbitrarily banned nonessential medical services, defined as pretty much anything that is not an urgent emergency. It would be one thing if the areas were overrun with COVID-19 patients, but these hospitals are in fact empty and are now laying off vital medical staff because of the unlawful edicts.
  3. In Los Angeles County, a paddleboarder was arrested for being in the ocean … alone! The San Diego sheriff bragged about giving people a $1,000 citation for sitting alone in their cars at the beach. Again, no violations of federal health and distancing guidance occurred.
  4. David Schuster of Winnebago, Minnesota, was hit with a criminal complaint after he was caught playing cards with three of his buddies in his bar. He faces up to 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine. The bar was closed to the public, but the policeman saw the lights on. Was that bar spreading the virus as much as subways and buses? Doubtful.
  5. An 86-year-old anti-abortion protester was given a citation by San Francisco police for dropping leaflets against abortion. Meanwhile, abortion clinics are open while hip replacements are banned.
  6. Evidently, the virus is worse at night and attacks people when it’s dark. Cities like Laredo, Texas, are now adopting a mandatory curfew after 10 p.m. unless you are wearing an ID or have a letter that shows you are an essential worker. A city government that has no problem harboring illegal aliens and bristles at immigration enforcement as “show me your papers totalitarianism” has no problem applying it to Americans walking or driving alone, which has zero bearing on spreading a virus.
  7. For years we were told that to use the military more aggressively at our international border to repel an invasion – the quintessential use of the military – was somehow a violation of the Posse Comitatus law, which bars the feds from using the military to enforce domestic laws. Now, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the same man who championed the program of training Saudis on our military bases, is signaling that governors can use the National Guard to enforce house arrest edicts.
  8. Google is now developing a tool to track people to see if they are following the edicts. The New York Times already publicized a heat map of movement based on cell phone data. For years, law enforcement has been stripped of every tracking tool to catch criminals and terrorists. Everything was a concern for alleged criminals’ privacy. Now, they are searching for any innovative means to use against everyday Americans.

At what point will we the people stand up to this capricious nonsense, especially as these same politicians release criminals and illegal aliens, while either lying to us or covering their ignorance about the math and science behind their unilateral edicts? Why is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the only leader who recognizes that “we can’t start ripping up the Constitution?” The same states that couldn’t set their conditions for early voting or regulate abortion clinic health standards without a federal judge intervening are now free to crush our life, liberty, and property at their most basic level – free of any due process, time constraints, or judicial oversight.

From FEE.ORG (reprinted from Liberty Unyielding): Meanwhile, the CDC and FDA were preventing infectious disease expert Helen Chu from testing samples from many people with symptoms. The FDA refused to approve Chu’s test on the grounds that her lab “was not certified as a clinical laboratory under regulations established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a process that could take months.” These were decisions made by career federal employees, acting with their customary slowness and mental rigidity. Career FDA employees commonly take years to approve life-saving drugs. That results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people who could have been saved by earlier approval of those drugs. For example, at least a hundred thousand people died waiting for the FDA to approve beta blockers.

One of the FDA officials involved in delaying their approval was John Nestor. Nestor is notorious for following rules in ways designed to frustrate and inconvenience other people. As the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons notes: Nestor has the habit of getting into the leftmost lane [on the highway] with his cruise control set at 55 mph, the posted speed limit. He would drive at this speed regardless of what came up behind him. Cars would zoom up close to his rear bumper; drivers would flash their lights and blast their horns,some swerving around him on the right while giving him the finger—none of this fazed Nestor in the least. As he explained it, 55 mph was the law, and he had a right to drive in whichever lane he chose: “Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?” Nestor followed this rigid mindset in his work at the FDA. He was very good at using agency rules, and minor risks or side effects of drugs, as an excuse to avoid approving life-saving drugs. I don’t bother giving these types the finger (unless it’s on a trigger)–they enjoy irritating others.

FDA regulations have thwarted the manufacturing of life-saving masks and respirators. The Cato Institute’s Paul Matzko explains why it has “been so hard to ramp up production of surgical masks and respirators,” and why firms haven’t “flooded into the market” to produce them despite increased prices and demand for these badly needed items. It’s because “they are regulated medical devices.” That requires “FDA approval, which can take months to obtain.” And for a manufacturer to get that approval, it must do all the things required by the FDA regulation—“and get FDA sign off”—before its “new surgical mask gets anywhere near shelves”. It would take months, if they could do it at all. Here are a few of the things a manufacturer must do before seeking FDA approval, notes Matzko in a Twitter thread:

1-Do a compositional side-by-side analysis of your mask versus all other masks currently sold. Hire a few materials scientists. 2- Measure “tensile strength” & “impact resistance.” Hire the Mythbusters and have them whack it with a hammer. 3-Perform detailed “risk analysis,” for fluid/bacteria resistance and “flammability.” Better open a branch office for all those extra materials scientists and medical researchers. This is multiple major studies. … 4- But wait, don’t forget that masks touch skin! What if it gives you a rash!!! Fill out the “standard ISO-10993,” for “Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices Part 1: Evaluation and Testing”…

It is criminal to put bureaucratic minds in charge of medical innovation and production. Actually, bureaucratic “mindless rule followers” taint everything they are involved in. Meanwhile, a security guard was seriously injured when a man allegedly rammed into him with his car after the guard tried to enforce Walmart’s social distancing rules in Quebec, Canada. The man was arrested at his home; let’s get him down here to use his car to reduce the number of FDA bureaucrats!

Five Million People Left Wuhan Before the Lockdown, Where Did They Go? CGTN.

From the American Enterprise Institute: In early April, headlines read that the global figure for COVID-19 cases had breached one million. At the same time, China rejected charges by US intelligence and others that it has lied about the extent of its outbreak. China and its defenders will reject any and all evidence, but their task can be made a bit harder. Begin with an article on January 27 from a party-vetted state media outlet (China Global Television Network, or CGTN, is an international media organization launched on December 31, 2016. It is the international division of CCTV, which – along with CNR and CRI – will collectively be known as the China Media Group. Headquartered in Beijing, CGTN has an international team of professionals based around the world with production centers located in Nairobi, Washington D.C. and London.)

The numbers from the article, even making the most important one much smaller, shows China lying on a huge scale about COVID-19 outside Hubei province. The article reports:

  1. Five million people left Wuhan in the three weeks before the lockdown;
  2. 30–40 percent, or 1.5–2 million people, left Hubei entirely; and
  3. About 465,000 people flew to the 10 listed cities outside Hubei.

The third item conforms to a 520,000-person monthly average in air travel from Hubei and is a direct count. China’s COVID-19 figures are not arithmetically sensible. The Communist Party has deliberately made estimation difficult, but, outside of Wuhan city and Hubei province, cases are low by a factor of 100 or more. In late January, Chinese media provided information about migrant outflow from Wuhan before quarantine. Using a lower number than theirs, the conservative figures for migrants’ infection rate and time in circulation before national lockdown, generates an estimate of 2.9 million cases. This is partly due to China’s huge population. That population can also hide COVID-19 among tens of millions of respiratory illnesses. Along with harshly enforced censorship, the population can hide tens of thousands of deaths.

That’s the bad new from China. Yeah, the CCP (if you don’t know what the initials stand for by now, turn off Netflix and Instagram, start reading something, but here’s a hint: Count 21 lines down from the beginning of this post…..) is bad. But many Chinese groups in America are good. Example: When Chinese groups in the US learned of the outbreak in China in January, they began collecting medical supplies for beleaguered relatives and friends in China; then in March when our shortages became more acute (than what China claimed they needed), they donated those supplies to fellow Americans. Most of my readers are intelligent enough to understand that I am condemning the CCP, not Chinese per se, though I will include the suppliers, purveyors and customers of the infamous wet markets in my condemnation.

Also bad are our own petty tyrants. Stephen Kruiser at PJMedia.com writes: One of the worst of the petty tyrants has been Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. It’s quite obvious that he’s relishing his authoritarian turn in the spotlight. He gave everything a Soviet flare last week when he encouraged the citizens of the City of Angels to snitch on neighbors who aren’t obeying lockdown rules. Not creepy at all.

The British love liberty, up to a point, but nowadays they love informing on their neighbors even more. So reads the subheadline of Coronavirus Has Exposed Britain’s Snitches and Police Tyrants, by Charlie Peters in National Review: Before our lives switched to lockdown and immobility, I was enjoying a few pints with a friend in a pub on Fulham’s bustling North End Road. We were discussing one of our favorite topics — Germany — and how we’ve both noticed that the country is infected with a rancid culture of snitching. By contrast, Britain, I said, can take great pride from our national attitude against tattletales, which starts in the school playground before fermenting into full-blown opposition to informing on neighbors when the police come knocking.

He told me I was wrong, and that we’re just as ripe for the Germanic grassing (informing) that we both lamented. He has been proven right. The coronavirus epidemic has revealed that vast swaths of our society need little incentive to transform into curtain-twitching, proto-Stasi informants. A little over two weeks ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tougher restrictions on our liberty to prevent the spread of the virus. “Stay home and save lives” was his rallying cry. Unfortunately, many took this to mean “Stay home and make sure your neighbor does the same.”

Northamptonshire has reported a thriving snitching community, with its chief constable, Nick Adderly, recently revealing that the force has faced a surge in calls from people reporting their neighbors for “going out for a second run.” Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to embarrass themselves in public, many of our overzealous police forces have launched online contact forms so people can grass on their neighbors. Some of these portals were launched because police control rooms were “inundated” with calls from nosy neighbors. It seems many are only too keen to fill them out when they spot someone sneaking out for a quick stroll. Cambridgeshire police tweeted: “We have now developed an online form allowing you to report individuals breaching Covid-19 restrictions via our website.” The account shared a webpage where people can give details about a person or organization ignoring the rules. And they’re not alone. A portal from Humberside police asks you to give details on people who are “not following social-distancing rules.” Police forces in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Avon and Somerset have launched online forms and phone lines to clamp down on people gathering.

Derbyshire police have been using drones to keep the eye of the state on people wandering to beauty spots — an action I remember mocking the CCP for doing just a few months ago. One clip, which they gleefully shared on Twitter, showed two people pausing for an “unnecessary selfie” while taking a “non-essential walk.” How quickly we have lapsed into statism. Are you surprised? Haven’t you read 1984? The meta-tyrant Big Brother was not just some fictional boogeyman dreamed up by George Orwell, nor was the nation of Oceania (along with Eurasia and East Asia) strictly a fantasy. The evil philosophy which governed the dictatorship of Oceania was called IngSoc, for English Socialism. Did Orwell foresee England in 2020, or was he writing about things going on in 1948? Before any of us get too gleeful about merry olde England–“I knew it, those hooligans”–my next post will visit with the same kind of covidiots here, the Mindless Rule Followers.

James Lileks is one of my favorite satirists. Here’s a sample from his latest missive: “Of course, if I’d known this (CoVid-19) was coming, I would have liquidated all my assets and buried them in the backyard. The neighbor might have wondered: ‘What are you doing there, friend?’ ‘I cashed out of the market because a deadly virus is coming from China in six months and blood will run down Wall Street like a crimson tsunami of panic, so, you know, just planning ahead‘” ‘Does China know about this?’ ‘Good point. I should tell them. Also, if I were you, I’d get the variety pack of ramen.I wrote a note, dated two weeks into the future. ‘Candles are gone, we ate the dog.‘ Put it in an envelope to be opened in a fortnight. If we’re doing better than that, it’s all good.

Trump Derangement Syndrome HQ.

Weight-loss program, or TDS?

Trump holds financial interest in pharmaceutical company that produces hydroxchloroquine!”

Those are headlines in Salon.com and the New York Times. Okay, I’ll bite, that means…..what? Reading the text, they try to portray two pieces of information as damning: 1-It seems that a guy named Ken Fisher, who runs Fisher Investments, a world famous money management firm, owns shares of a company, Sanofi (among many), that produces Plaquenil, a brand name for hydroxychloroquine. So what? Fisher is called “a major donor to Republicans”. Well, shiver me timbers, walk him out on the plank!

2- In any event, the crack team at the New York Times also thinks it’s unfurled the mystery. “As of last year,” reports the paper, “Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi.” When you see the words “largest holding”, what do you think? In fact, “largest” means 3.3% of the fund, in this case! In addition, both Salon and the NYT say the mutual fund is “a Dodge and Cox fund”, without naming it. The actual fund is Dodge and Cox International Stock mutual fund, which invests presently in 68 different companies (that what stock mutual fund do), has assets of $50.2 billion, and owns stocks of at least 7 international pharmaceutical companies. Before anyone gets self-righteous, if you have a 401(k) or employer-provided defined benefit pension, you probably own shares of that same mutual fund. It’s been very popular for a long time. My information, as well as that of the NYT, comes from the fund’s own website, their downloadable pdf of holdings.

David Harsanyi at National Review writes: “As far as we know, Trump probably owns less than $100 of Sanofi stock in one of his mutual funds. If things go well, say he triples his position, Trump will be taking in upwards of $300. Art of the Deal, indeed. Though it’s unlikely. Sanofi is a French drugmaker that produces the hydroxychloroquine-label Plaquenil. The drug, however, isn’t patented, it isn’t particularly difficult to manufacture, and there are a bunch of giant pharma companies around the world already ramping up production of generic versions. Sanofi is less likely to benefit than Novartis or Bayer (check everyone’s mutual funds, pronto!). So cunning is Trump’s scheme to spike his $1,000 mutual-fund position that he called India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, this week and convinced him to lift a ban and start exporting even more generic hydroxychloroquine to the United States.

“When Trump first mentioned hydroxychloroquine, reporters scoured the world to find overdose cases so they could claim the president had blood on his hands. When that effort came up short, they clutched pearls after some nitwit couple thought it wise to ingest fish-tank cleaning liquid. Now this. Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug, not a pill that Americans can buy in bulk at the local Walmart and hoard in their closest and pop prophylactically each day. Media keeps asserting that Trump is “ignoring the experts.” Well, the president didn’t induce South Korean doctors to use hydroxychloroquine. He didn’t induce Indian doctors to use it. I assume American doctors who are now “off-labeling” the drug to patients have some medical reasons behind their thinking.”

What the “lamestream media” (Trump’s term, which I agree with) is trying to do in the midst of the MOST SERIOUS THREAT WE HAVE EVER FACED, is to discredit the president and all his advice. While I am disappointed in the Trump administration’s handling of the epidemic, I believe it is fair to consider some questions:

  1. Is it possible that the President of the United States has information that you and I don’t have?
  2. Is it possible that the President of the United States has pressures (and conflicting advice) and responsibilities that you and I don’t have?
  3. Is my disappointment with the Trump administration’s handling of the epidemic based on comparing it to perfection, or hindsight?
  4. If it turns out that hydroxychloroquine could have helped a lot of people, but the media’s efforts to invalidate Trump’s advice resulted in most of those people staying away from it, how will I then think about that media?
  5. Is this a time to put partisan politics and Trump Derangement Syndrome aside?

I suggest you go to Salon.com, and look at all the headlines. Then convince me they aren’t enslaved to the Democrat Party! Do you have a 401(k), or does your employer have a pension plan for you? Then you probably own shares of Dodge and Cox Stock International mutual fund. Why? It has been one of the best performing and therefore most popular stock mutual funds since it’s inception in 1965. Could that be a reason for Trump’s trusts to invest in it?

I will give the Babylon Bee the last word. “Liberal Treated With Hydroxychloroquine Hopes He Still Dies Of COVID-19 To Prove Trump Is Stupid.” While Trump has been giving people hope that hydroxychloroquine could save lives, his political opponents have called it false hope and claimed Trump has no idea what he’s talking about. Jeffery Walton, a lifelong Democrat and progressive had joined in calling Trump “irresponsible” and an “ignoramus” and now has an opportunity to prove it by simply dying. “It’s such an opportunity, I don’t want to pass it up,” Walton said. Doctor Glenn Logan, Walton’s physician, says he’s been up and down. “After we gave him the hydroxychloroquine, he got really excited about the idea of dying to prove Trump is dumb, and his good mood helped his condition, and he started to improve. Because that would only help Trump, his getting healthier made him depressed, which caused his condition to deteriorate. Which made him really happy. Which helped him recover and… Well, it’s been a weird cycle.” Dr. Logan has been warning Walton that there is a chance he could fully recover. Walton is trying to prepare himself for this — a world where everything isn’t black and white and Trump can be right about some things — but he insists he’d much rather die.

For those of you who don’t know, or Snopes is your go-to source for the facts, Babylon Bee is satire. That means don’t try to look Jeffery Walton.

Update, April 8: On Monday, Democratic Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett credited President Trump with effectively saving her life. She suffered from COVID-19 but recovered after taking the drug. “If President Trump had not talked about it, it would not be something that’s accessible” in Michigan, she told Fox News, due to “an order that was put down in my state.” Indeed, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) initially threatened physicians who would offer the drug to coronavirus patients — before reversing herself and even requesting the malaria drug from the Trump administration.

Hydroxychloroquine isn’t just saving lives in Michigan, however. Dr. Anthony Cardillo, the CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, said he is witnessing “significant success” in prescribing hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients. “Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within eight to twelve hours, they were basically symptom-free,” Cardillo told ABC News. He probably doesn’t read Salon.com or the NY Times.

Sensa huma?

Mike Leach, the new football coach at Mississippi State, is known to have a twisted, irreverent sense of humor (a proclivity we share). Last week he Tweeted a picture of an old woman knitting her husband a scarf in the shape of a noose, with the caption, “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf..” I think it’s funny, and so do a lot of people, but…..not everyone. Mississippi State football player Fabien Lovett said he has entered the NCAA transfer portal, saying he has three years of eligibility remaining. The announcement comes a day after head coach Mike Leach apologized for a now-deleted Twitter meme that featured a noose. Lovett responded to the post with “wtf” on his Twitter account.

He did not say if the decision to enter the transfer portal was because of the controversial tweet. He did, however, retweet someone who wrote “Good for Fabien! This being the 21st century, one would expect to know what is offensive. I hope more players leave MSU and not just football. Leach’s apology is not enough.” He also retweeted Shannon Sharpe’s critical comments about Leach’s tweet: “Given the history of Emmett Till and lynchings in the state of Mississippi, Mike Leach, as the head coach of Mississippi State, you seriously thought it would be cool to post a picture that had a noose in it?” On his TV program Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, Sharpe ranted, “This is a fire-able offense! Shannon, I am really sorry that Mr. Til was lynched…..in 1955! So, 65 years ago some terrible and ignorant people lynched a man due to the color of his skin. That stinks. So it follows that even 65 years later, during the worst epidemic of our lifetimes, and yours, no one can show a picture of a noose, even as a joke, even using an elderly white woman as the foil? Sharpe may be your last name, but it doesn’t denote your powers of reasoning.

Predictably, Mr. Leach immediately deleted the tweet and “apologized” as soon as he got attacked. Mike, if you are going to tweet a joke, and it isn’t intended to offend but to help people laugh, DON’T APOLOGIZE!!! The Mississippi State football coach posts a photo with a funny caption more days than not. He said one of his favorites was a picture of a fenced field with a sign on it that said, “Do not cross this field unless you can do it in 9 seconds because the bull can do it in 10.

I can’t wait for someone to get offended at the two Farside cartoons I started out with. Here’s my apology, just in case: “I am truly sorry that your sense of humor, if you ever had one, has been replaced by either fake outrage or hypersensitivity. Those of us who have managed to retain our ability to laugh–whom I would wager laugh at ourselves most often–take no pleasure in outrage, self-righteousness and thin-skinned sensitivity. I can only hope you will GET A LIFE! As for deleting my post, or removing the cartoons you chose to take offense at, DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH! If you do, and let if out too fast, you might suck in a gigantic cloud of coronaviruses.

In Seattle, the sidewalks surrounding the municipal court buildings were littered by piles of human (?) shit, and judges, attorneys and visitors were vocal in their complaints. The feasible solution was to hose the piles into the streets and down the sewers. Halt, full stop, a City Councilman held up the cleaning by…..can you guess? If not, you must lack empathy. He complained that hoses couldn’t be used because they might remind POC’s of fire hoses used to disperse demonstrations. None of us living, with the possible exception of soldiers, have experienced the level of fear and insecurity caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, and the infection called CoVid-19. As I sit in my car in the parking lot of a Starbucks, sipping my nitro coldbrew while using their WiFi, every employee and most of the customers—all in their cars—are today wearing masks and gloves. Last week no one was. Isn’t it time to mentally let go of past sins and bring your mind up to speed?

PARTING SHOTS

Erick Erickson writes: Faith over fear. Update: figured I should note that I did not make this. Two kids who are the ages of our kids have been making these and selling them for $20 then buying break room snacks for local hospitals with the money. I added the lights. What is he referring to? It’s the cross, symbolizing Easter.

Newsweek (it should be called Newspeak) headlined this: “Conservative radio host Erick Erickson criticized for placing a ‘burning cross’ in front yard.”

Erickson writes, “Jesus has entered Jerusalem. He will end the week nailed to a spit upon, beaten, tortured, nailed to a cross, and killed. He’ll be blessing people all the way to Golgotha.” AND THAT’S NO LAUGHING MATTER, BECAUSE THREE DAYS LATER HE WILL CONQUER DEATH AND OFFER US ALL ETERNAL LIFE!