Numbers Never Lie...

There is an old adage that says, "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers." Over the years I have seen this adage reinforced and demonstrated countless times, which brings me to the recently-released video titled Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained. I've seen that video a few times (because people keep sharing it on social media), and there are several glaring issues with it. But before I continue, let me be very clear about something: I think the pandemic lockdown was unnecessary, at least as far as the United States is concerned. Please keep that in mind as you read everything else I say below.

The First Major Issue with that Video

First of all - and this is most important - the numbers of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic should be lower than for other viral outbreaks because we closed businesses and made everyone maintain social distancing and wear masks!!! It should be readily apparent to anyone who is capable of reasonable thought that the extreme measures we took to combat this pandemic were directly responsible for this pandemic not being nearly as catastrophic as it could have been. THAT. WAS. THE. WHOLE. POINT. I personally think we collectively overreacted, and the long-term damages to our economy will be felt for years to come. But that being said, our overreaction had the exact effect for which it was instituted: less people got sick and/or died. So the very same people who keep saying, "Well, the pandemic wasn't that bad after all..." are affirming that the drastic measures we took were extremely effective. For this single reason alone, the entire argument in that video evaporates. The lockdown did what it was designed to do. End of story. (As a reminder, I think the lockdown wasn't necessary; but that doesn't mean it wasn't effective - because it was.)

The Second Major Issue with that Video

The presenter in that video makes no secret about ignoring comorbidities, which is when someone has an existing condition and dies after contracting COVID-19. However, ignoring comorbidities is a cheap way to manipulate the data to skew the numbers and make them seem to indicate what you want them to say, rather than what they actually say. Let me give you a hypothetical example: if I'm living with cancer, but I get shot by a gun - it is the gunshot that killed me, not my cancer. That's blatantly obvious to everyone with a brain. It's the same thing if I'm living with heart disease or lung disease and I am shot - it's the bullet that killed me, etc. Now substitute the coronavirus for the gunshot. If I'm living with cancer, but I contract the coronavirus and die - it is the coronavirus that killed me, not my cancer. It's the same if I'm living with heart disease or lung disease and contract the coronavirus and die. In each of those scenarios, I was managing my illness until I contracted the coronavirus, which is what actually killed me. What the presenter in that video is attempting to do is to discount all of the deaths where something else was present in the pathology, which artificially (and dishonestly) deflates the numbers of actual deaths. That is wrong from a scientific perspective, and it's wrong from a data perspective, and ultimately it's wrong from an ethical perspective - because for all intents and purposes he is lying. Period.

The Third Major Issue with that Video

Because of the presenter's immoral manipulation of the data, you're not getting a full picture of what's going on. In several areas of the planet - like India for example - the numbers of infections and deaths are both continuing to rise. The 'bump' that the presenter keeps showing over and over is only true for a few regions of the planet, but it's grossly inaccurate for much of the rest of the planet. Also, the presenter made the claim several times that the pandemic was largely over by the beginning of Summer 2020, and that is patently false for many areas of the globe. Once again, if you look at India alone, their outbreak started at the beginning of Summer 2020. Brazil's struggle with this pandemic started about a month before India. New cases in the United States peaked around mid-July and have slowly been decreasing since then, but still - the United States is just one country. From a global perspective, we're still in the thick of it.

The Fourth Major Issue with that Video

It is absolutely hilarious that this presenter keeps reinforcing almost all of his talking points based on an analysis of... Sweden. That's right - this dweeb is basing the majority of his arguments on observations for a tiny slice of the world that few people visit unless absolutely necessary, which is a country that has less than one tenth of one percent of the global population. The coronavirus was largely managed in Sweden BECAUSE IT'S @#$% SWEDEN!!! You CANNOT compare the United States, or Russia, or India, or pretty much any large, industrialized nation in the world with Sweden. North Carolina may have the same population as Sweden, but it's surrounded by other states; interstate commerce is constantly bringing a fresh influx of people through its borders, and at the end of the day - PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO VISIT NORTH CAROLINA. North Carolina has actual BEACHES that bring people from all over the country, not a bunch of unpronounceable fjords that are only popular with retirees on cruise ships.

Conclusion

Returning to my opening statement, there is an old adage that says, "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers," and that concept nicely summarizes the entire video.

In closing, let me reiterate - I think the lockdown was unnecessary. And if I felt so inclined, I could probably back that up with empirical evidence, and I'll bet that I could pull it off without having to manipulate the data and lying to the world about it, too.


POSTSCRIPT:

If you're interested in learning more about the subject of manipulating data dishonestly, there's a book called Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception that I stumbled across recently. I have only read the synopsis, but after seeing so many people try to manipulate public opinion by manipulating the numbers that they use to reinforce their arguments, I've added it to my reading list.

A Higher Purpose for Higher Education

A friend of mine just posted the following article to social media:

University of California System can't use SAT and ACT tests for admissions, judge rules

Well, all I can say is - it's about time.

SAT and ACT scores are unfair, because they reinforce centuries-old stereotypes of "smart students," which must - by definition - infer that there are "dumb students," which is a horrible label to adhere to someone.

Next, we need to abolish the A thru F grading system, since grades are an entirely subjective method of assigning values to students, and we all know that someone's inherent potential cannot be measured by something as prosaic and outdated as a comprehensive "test" that covers what someone had an entire semester to learn. And how unfair are "grades" to the student who couldn't study due to their active social schedule? Why should some introvert who spends all their time buried in books have a higher value to society?

We could, of course, replace the A thru F grading system with a system of simple pass/fail scores; but that, too, is unfair - because NO ONE is a "failure." With that in mind, we need to do away with grades entirely.

Next, we need to seriously reconsider requiring students to attend classes. With the increasing invasion of smart phones, tablets, and laptop computers in the classroom, most students only retain 5% of what is covered during a class lecture anyway. Couldn't that time be better spent?

For example, here in Tucson at the University of Arizona, dozens of students gather daily to shout well-deserved insults at the narrow-minded bigot who has the audacity to stand on a stump near the student union building and proclaim that "Jesus is the only way to God." Just think, if students didn't have to attend classes (which are nothing more than a form of academic slavery), we could increase the multitudes yelling at that close-minded "Christian" into the hundreds - perhaps thousands.

A "Christian" is not entitled to an opinion, anyway, because "Free Speech" doesn't extend to someone who says something that someone else might not want to hear, and it is far more effective for students to learn the lesson that an opposing viewpoint is nothing but "violence."

Students should be allowed to learn how to prevent the possibility of civil discussions with people they perceive as opponents while they're young, and before they enter the workplace, where a "boss" will expect them to actually "show up to work" and "do their jobs," and therefore they'll have no more time to vociferously express their important views about these @#$% fascists with opposing points of view who are taking over America.

So in the end, everyone who wants a college diploma should just get one, without any effort or standards, because those concepts are part of a historically oppressive, patriarchal, fascist, elitist, misogynistic, and racist educational system that has only existed to squash the spirit of youth across the globe.

Common Sense is Violence!!!

Educators are Fascists!!!

Fight Global Learning!!!

I Support my Brothers (and Sisters) in Arms

Years ago I saw the following statement, which - as a veteran - I thought was entirely accurate: "A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount up to and including their life." It goes without saying that military life is not for everyone; it requires a willingness to sacrifice selflessly for others. Together with my brothers-in-arms, we missed countless holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births, and deaths - all in the name of preventing those who would do harm from reaching the shores of our nation. I can't say that we always did this without complaint, because sooner or later the sacrifices weigh heavy on everyone's conscience. Even still, the military is an honorable profession; we collectively chose to make sacrifices so that others might live in peace, and often for less pay than someone makes flipping burgers at McDonalds. In the end, we all sacrificed something, although some - tragically - sacrificed everything. The number of spouses, children, fathers, mothers, and siblings who will grow older with a void in their lives where a loved one used to be is incalculable.

Honor

But I'd like to shift gears for a moment. A couple years ago I shared on Facebook that my wife  - who is a registered nurse - saved someone's life on a flight that was about to take off from Phoenix. The man had a heart attack and lost consciousness, but thankfully my wife and an EMT were both on the flight, and the two of them took turns administering CPR. They managed to revive the man, who had been legally dead for several minutes, and he lived without complications. But that's not the end of the story. Several months later, the Phoenix Police Department invited my wife to an awards ceremony, where they presented her with a certificate to commemorate her for her lifesaving skills and willingness to save the lives of others.

It was quite the honor, but the evening wasn't only about my wife; it was an annual ceremony for the Police Department, wherein the sacrifices of police officers from the Phoenix area were officially recognized for their outstanding achievements. As the ceremony progressed, I was amazed at what I heard. For example, several officers prevented a terrorist attack at the Phoenix Comic-Con, which otherwise would have resulted in an unknown number of casualties. Story after story of personal sacrifice and heroism had me enraptured, and over time I grew angry - because I never heard any of these stories on the news. Apparently it just isn't newsworthy when a police officer stands between a crazy person with a loaded weapon and an innocent civilian. The more I heard, the more I realized that these police officers made the same deal on behalf of their fellow citizens that I once did. They made all the same sacrifices as my brothers-in-arms: they missed countless holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births, and deaths - all in the name of preventing harm from reaching the homes of their communities. And - tragically - some of these officers sacrificed everything, too. It was abundantly clear to me that these officers had also written a blank check made payable to the citizens of Phoenix for an amount up to and including their life. And like my fellow veterans, these officers do so for a terrible paycheck, all the while having to endure the constant scorn and contempt of those dregs of society who are incapable of policing themselves.

I cannot count the number of times in my life I have heard people complain about "some jerk police officer" who wrote them a ticket for speeding, or running a red light, or driving under the influence. I almost never hear any personal culpability from these people about their own guilt in their situation; it's always the police officer's fault. I'd like to take a moment to set the record straight - if you're pulled over for speeding, it's your fault if you get a ticket. If the police officer decides to let you off with a warning, that's his prerogative - and it might just be your lucky day. But if you have to pay a fine for something that you did wrong, it's not the officer's fault; get down off your self-righteous horse, take responsibility for a change, and shut your mouth about it. You don't have to like it, but maybe next time you'll remember to obey the law.

The-Thin-Blue-Line

However, I'd like to take this train of thought a step further - there are some people in this world who do not share your sense of right and wrong. I've traveled around the world, and I've met all sorts of people who think that cheating, or stealing, or killing are perfectly acceptable ways of life. In our society, we have collectively decided that those behaviors are unacceptable, but not everyone agrees. We have our own collection of moral degenerates who still believe that cheating, and stealing, and killing are perfectly acceptable ways of life - regardless of what laws we pass or what we teach in our schools. When that happens, who is left to prevent these moral degenerates from reducing society to a maelstrom of anarchy, chaos, and suffering?

We are often told not to judge a segment of society by the transgressions of a few. We are told not to hold all African Americans responsible for the crimes of a few. We are also told not to judge all Hispanics for the crimes of a few. In a like manner, we should not judge all Caucasians for the racist stupidity of a few. Nor should we judge all Muslims for the crimes of a few. Nor should we judge all Christians for the stupidity of a few. The same follows true for police officers; we MUST NOT judge all police officers for the bad actions of a few. Because when all is said and done, and regardless of your opinion on the matter, when society starts to fall apart, sometimes the only line of defense we have is an underpaid and underappreciated police officer, who will still put himself or herself between you and a bad guy.

If you take everything that I have said into account, and you still want to destroy an institution that consistently sacrifices everything so that others can live in peace, then I suggest the following: you should join the police. If you're a good person and you think they're all bad, then join up and change them from within. On the other hand, if you can't bear the thought of living on the trivial amount of pay that police officers receive, or you can't handle the level of selfless sacrifice that is required to be a police officer, or you can't handle the thought of having to step into a domestic dispute or robbery or even a traffic stop where someone might be armed and pull the trigger before you have a chance to draw your own weapon to protect yourself, then you have no right - and I mean that sincerely - you have NO RIGHT to act as judge and jury and executioner where our police officers are concerned. Despite their many faults, most police officers are better than their peers, because these officers typically serve their communities - unthanked and unrewarded - for days on end, in harm's way, making sure that the rest of us are safe. So if you still feel the need to denigrate and defund the men and women in blue, whom I honestly regard as my fellow brothers-in-arms, then let me make this clear - you are a wicked, evil, twisted person. And yet, I hope the day never comes when you need a police officer to save you from another wicked, evil, twisted person who wants to do you harm.

Back-The-Blue

Freedom, Fanaticism, and Flags

Today I'd like to tackle what seems to be an uncomfortable topic these days: freedom of speech. The impetus for my discussion is that one of my family members recently posted a link to the following petition:

Remove the Confederate Flag From All Government Places

For me, the Confederate flag represents a failed attempt by a group of rebellious traitors to secede from the Union in order to keep their slaves, and I largely feel that way about statues of Confederate Generals like Robert E Lee. The Confederate Generals were traitors, and they do not deserve our adoration. There's a reason why we don't keep statues of Benedict Arnold around; despite his heroism and triumphs as a General for the Continental Army, Arnold sold out his country and fled to England, and his name has become synonymous with traitorship.

I say all of this in order to reinforce the point that if the Confederate flag went away tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it any more than I miss the Swastika. But here's some food for thought: the predominant argument that I see against the Confederate flag is that racist idiots use that flag as a symbol; but think about it - these same idiots also use the United States flag, and they also use the Christian cross. What should we ban, then? Should we also ban the flag of the United States? Should we also ban crosses? Where should we draw the line on what we allow in our society? When will enough be enough?

For some people, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate, whereas for other people it represents their cultural origin. I personally think those people are misguided, but still - we do not complain about people who fly a Mexican flag to show pride in their heritage. Or a German flag. Or a Canadian flag. At my house we fly an Irish flag on St Patrick's Day in honor of my Irish roots. Let's make this more personal - should we deny someone the right to display an Iranian or Chinese flag just because our nation is upset with their nation of origin? Or should we respect their freedom of speech and allow them to display their pride in their heritage?

At the end of the day, the racist idiots of our society can use any emblem they choose as they spew their toxic filth, but that doesn't make the emblem itself a bad thing. If we're not banning Christian crosses, which have been used by the KKK and other stupid domestic terror organizations for over a century, then I think we can let the misguided people who think that the Confederate flag is a representation of their cultural heritage have their freedom of speech. That is what living in a free society is all about.

Once you start banning every symbol of cultural heritage that offends you, then you might as well start banning books next. And when banning books isn't effective enough, you might want to start burning books. And when burning books isn't effective enough, you might want to start locking up the people who write or say things that offend you. And when locking up the people who offend you isn't effective enough, then you're one short step away from becoming the very evil that you despise. Returning to my earlier thought, I have no love for the Confederate flag; to me, it is a symbol of cowardice, greed, immorality, and rebellion. But to ban the Confederate flag would deny others their Constitutional right to freedom of speech, and therein lies one of the fundamental dilemmas of living in a free society. Sometimes the problem with an idealistic goal like banning a flag is that it fails to take the full picture of its ramifications into account.

Let me close with an apropos thought from Adlai Stevenson: "My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. Where it's safe to say what’s on your mind, especially when everyone disagrees. Where it's safe to believe what you believe, especially when everyone else’s beliefs stand elsewhere. Where it’s safe to swim against the current and be perfectly safe from the other fish."

With that in mind, my personal objections to the Confederate flag are secondary to others' right to freedom of speech, and that's exactly how it should be. Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from offense; to have freedom, you must accept its consequences.


UPDATE: I occasionally watch John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, and a few years ago he posted the following video, wherein he presented some of the same feelings that I have about Confederate symbols; namely that most of them belong in a museum. We should not attempt to erase all symbols of darkness from our sordid history, but we should place some of those symbols in the proper context, and I think that a museum is the best way to do that.

Those Who Do Not Learn from History...

There is an old adage which states, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it," and I think that history is replete with examples that have proven that statement again and again. It is from that same perspective that I would like to share the following thoughts from one of President John F. Kennedy speeches, which are just as true for today's world as they were true in his circumstance almost 50 years ago.

JFK"The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is a time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.

It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the facts that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality."

11 June 1963

You can read and listen to the full text of this speech on the JFK Library website by using the following link:

Radio and Television Report to the American People on Civil Rights, June 11, 1963

Condoning the Present to Condemn the Past

I belong to a few veteran's forums that focus on different parts of my years in the military; e.g. one of the forums is for soldiers stationed in Germany during the 1980s, another forum is for soldiers who served in the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, etc. Since I spent eight years as an Army linguist, another of the forums to which I belong is reserved for former military linguists, where the topics of discussion focus on general interest subjects that are centered around learning languages and using languages.

It is with that general spirit in mind that someone posted the following article, which describes how the People's Republic of China has been trying to destroy the native Tibetan language since it conquered Tibet in the 1950s:

Killing a language: China won't let Tibetans study in their own language

This behavior is nothing new for Communists. Lest we forget, the Soviet Union launched these same sorts of language purging campaigns in all of their republics during the USSR's reign of terror. When I was in language school, I knew several teachers from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, etc., all of whom were forced to learn Russian in school as their primary language. Some were given the option to learn a second language, with their options being English or their native language. (And all of them opted for English, because the "West was cool.") The goal behind suppressing native languages is to remake the culture of conquered territories resemble the culture of the conquering nation. With that in mind, China is simply following the decades-old Communist playbook by killing the local language of Tibet in order to force its citizens to sound more like they're Chinese. As the article that was posted suggests, this is a horrible human rights violation.

However, any topic with possible political ramifications in this day and age will attract any number of Internet trolls, and the forum thread in this particular situation was not immune to infiltration. The thread hijacker in this instance attempted to steer the conversation away from a discussion on China's present-day transgressions to accuse the United States of having suppressed the native languages of conquered indigenous peoples from a century ago. While English has undoubtedly been a required language in schools across the nation in the centuries since its inception, (to include schools on Native American reservations), the United States has also taken bold steps in its efforts to preserve indigenous languages through legislation like the Native American Languages Act of 1990.

However, as with most misguided social justice warriors in today's "react first / research later" generation, none of that mattered. Nor did China's transgressions. All that mattered was that the United States should be ashamed of itself, because: America = Bad. Bad. Bad.

Needless to say, I took exception to this troll's ill-informed and self-righteous attitude. I wholeheartedly believe that there is nothing wrong with saying "This or that bad thing happened in the past," just as there is nothing wrong with saying "This or that bad thing is happening right now." However, I also steadfastly believe that there is something wrong when someone tries to prevent people from discussing something bad that's happening right now by shutting down conversations and accusing people's ancestors of wrongdoing.

For the record, my Irish American ancestors had nothing to do with the moral crimes of the past that this knee-jerk troll seemed hell bent on pushing as the prominent issue. My ancestors arrived far too recently and settled nowhere near the affected areas, so I feel no personal responsibility to apologize for the sins and stupidity of unrelated strangers. However, I seriously resent the accusation that I am guilty of some sort of moral failure or hypocritical behavior when I look at an atrocity that is taking place in the present and correctly label that behavior as "atrocity" without simultaneously calling out every other similar atrocity across the history of humanity.

Let me be clear, the United States has done many, many things wrong during in its sordid past. I have not forgotten the faults of our nation's founding fathers, but even if I had, that should not prevent my ability to call out evil when I see it. When someone's myopic gaze is so laser focused on the past sins of others that they cannot or will not see what is happening today, then they are just as guilty of subjective hypocrisy as those who would forget or ignore the past.

It's all about Perspective - Part II

Several people that I know have been posting and reposting images like the following, which cite the fatality current numbers from www.worldometers.info. More often than not, people are posting these images in an effort to downplay the fatality rate of COVID-19 by comparing it to other causes of death.

Worldwide-Deaths

First of all, I think it's foolish to compare diseases in this manner. I'm not sure why so many people are intentionally trying to deny that COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that has a pretty decent chance of killing people.

Let me be clear, I fully admit that many people have overestimated the spread of this pandemic, and it seems that both the academic and scientific worlds are making up the numbers for their projections based on some sort of randomization algorithm. In addition, the press seems to have nothing better to do than to drag the country through thousands of hours of reporting, wherein the common denominator seems to be, "We have no idea what we're saying, but please listen to us anyway - because we desperately need the ratings."

However, there is another problem that I often see throughout the Western Hemisphere, which bothers me more than these numbers: we see everything from the perspective of what impacts us, so we tend to ignore things that affect the rest of the world. If you were to step outside the safety bubble of the Western Hemisphere, you would see that diseases like Measles, Polio, and Tuberculosis still run rampant.

In North America, we don't care about any of those diseases, because we haven't had to deal with them for several decades. As I have pointed out in other blogs, this has led to the unscientific Antivaxxer movement, and a completely illogical public distrust of our medical establishment, which is best health care available in the history of humanity.

With all of that in mind, I would say that the following lists illustrates what a lot of the people in this country are thinking when they see lists like those in the images:

COVID-19 "OMG!!! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" -or- "IT'S JUST A HOAX!!! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!!"
Seasonal Flu "Meh, those pro-vaxxer idiots get their flu shots, so I have herd immunity."
Malaria "Meh, not in America. We have screen doors and fly swatters."
Suicide "Meh, those people were unhappy. They just needed to cheer up."
Traffic Fatalities "Meh, those are acceptable losses. I gotta have my wheels, dude."
HIV/AIDS "Hey! That's a privacy issue! You can't ask me about that! So leave me alone! Or leave them alone! Or, whatever...!"
Alcohol "Meh, Prohibition was sooooooo bad for the country. Besides, I'm not an alcoholic. I can quit drinking anytime."
Cancer "Meh, not gonna happen to me. Got any cigarettes?"
Hunger "Meh, there's like a McDonald's or Starbucks on every corner. So what's the deal?"
Abortion "MY BODY!!! MY CHOICE!!!"

More often than not, people in the Western Hemisphere or North America ignore the lists in those images for two reasons: complacency and denial.

  • The cause of the complacency is: decades of successful vaccination programs and our excellent health care system, both of which are still the best medical services that the world has ever seen.
  • The cause of the denial is: selfishness. People want what they want, and they don't want anyone telling them that they can't have what they want, whether that is harmful to themselves or others or the environment. (We live in a free society, and one of the downsides to freedom is: it teaches people to be irresponsible.)

In short, many people living in the Western Hemisphere believe that they have the right to selectively care only about what they feel might impact them adversely, and to ignore everything else; whether that means the suffering of others, or their poor lifestyle choices.

Annoyed

It's all about Perspective

One of my former colleagues recently posted a link to the following blog, which I thought does a great job of putting a lot of our current situation into a better perspective:

However, that blogger cites the source as unknown, so he wasn't the original author. With that in mind, I think it's fair to reprint the contents here:

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

When you're 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren't even over the hill yet. When you're 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million.

At 50, the Korean War starts, and five million perish.

At 55 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn't end for 20 years. Four million people die in that conflict. Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening. As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900.

How do you survive all of that?

A kid in 1985 didn't think their 85-year-old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing art. Let's try and keep things in perspective. Let's be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this.

That article, in summary, lists all the ways that the 20th century would have tried to kill you if you had been born in the year 1900. Between world wars and devastating diseases, the previous century was a terrible time to live.

And yet, I cannot help but think that the fatality numbers in that blog mostly reflect only the situations where the Western Hemisphere was somehow involved; they fail to address other mass repressions and genocides like:

  • The Stalinist Purges in Russia (approximately 30 million deaths)
  • The Chinese Cultural Revolution (approximately 30 million deaths)
  • The Cambodian Genocide (approximately 2 million deaths)
  • The Khmer Rouge repressions (approximately 2 million deaths)
  • The Armenian Genocide (approximately 1.5 million deaths)
  • The Rape of Nanking (approximately 500 thousand deaths)
  • And I have no accurate sources to estimate the number of deaths in South America and Africa due to famines, diseases, genocides, and civil wars

In other words, if you had been born in the 1900, but you had lived somewhere other than North America during the 20th century, your chances of meeting with a violent death would have increased even more dramatically than the original article would suggest. I mention that because I met several people when I was stationed overseas who had survived many of those devastations; I knew Germans and Britons who had survived World Wars, depressions, repressions, famines, diseases, etc., yet today's over-privileged youths act like the world is ending if their Internet is too slow. As the writer of that blog suggested, it's all about perspective.

Anyway, it's food for thought.

Thinking smile

Secret Origins of the COVID19 Coronavirus - Part II

Fast on the heels of my recent Secret Origins of the COVID19 Coronavirus post, it's time for Part II of this series. (Which wasn't meant to be a series, but I couldn't resist.)

I'm so thankful that in these trying times, Communist governments that spent months lying to the world about the existence of a possible pandemic-level outbreak can still find a way to use social media personalities to blame their negligence on - well, it's better if you see it yourself. Watch the following video and get ready for a truly mind altering twist on everything that you thought you knew.

Yes, those same wonderful Communists who imprisoned (or killed) their own doctors for trying to warn the world that something awful was coming, those same wonderful Communists who enforced "isolation" by using their military to round up ordinary citizens at gunpoint and haul them off to military gulags, have managed to find a new scapegoat on the world's stage. (Spoiler alert - it's the United States.) With that in mind, I'd like to remind everyone who didn't think that it was racist to label a viral outbreak from China as a "Chinese Virus" just how silly they look. This is obviously an "American Virus," and you're nothing but sheeple.


POSTSCRIPT:

All sarcasm aside, it's pretty scary when Bill Maher stops sounding like an idiot and starts to make sense in NSFW videos like the following.