I receive more blog comments than I publish. How do I decide what to publish or not? It's very simple, really:
1. Comments containing threats against persons or institutions never get published.
2. Comments that make obscure references get fact-checked. If they turn out to be innocent and not too obscure, they'll get published, once I work out that you're talking about a baseball pitcher and not a figure from the Third Reich. (Yes, both have shown up.)
3. Comments making claims that turn out to be factually wrong when fact-checked do not get published. Sometimes they will prompt blog posts that explain the facts -- not the politics, not the "oh, wouldn't it be grand if--" assumptions but the plain, unvarnished facts. I try to include links to neutral sources. If I can't find neutral ones, I give preference to ones that "show their work" with footnotes and/or links, so they can themselves be fact-checked.
Loudness and conviction are not measures of truth. Saying something over and over does not make it true. Truth is the stuff we can independently verify from multiple original sources, based on research and not opinion.
Federal law and regulation has no magical, abracadabra component: it is as dull as dishwater and every bit as tedious as doing your own income tax, for the unsurprising reason that the tax code is a part of the same body of rules. There is no Santa Claus, folks, the tooth fairy is just your Mom or Dad taking your baby tooth from under the pillow and leaving a shiny coin. Grow up and smell the disillusion.
* * *
With that out of the way, here's the overnight cull of untruths, half-truths and imaginary magic for the last couple of days:
"Multiple studies indicate that the total number of deaths this year is exactly in line with the total number of deaths that have trended over the past decade."
One study by a non-medical Ph.D. purported to show something of the sort, sort of, and on discussion, it does not. (Heavy reading here
.) Actual death counts over time are easy to compare -- this article
has overlaid graphs for the U. S. over the last five years -- and the spikes or peaks on the 2020 graph lead rather than follow "stay-home" orders. Now, possibly all those people are dying due to fits of pique, but it's more likely that the spikes in overall mortality show the effect of COVID-19 deaths.
"Hospitals are cheerfully raking in $7,000.00 to $42,000.00 a patient for simply checking a box on a form that indicates a person who died from COPD or cancer or heart disease or liver disease or an auto accident or falling off of a roof or whatever had Covid at time of death."
First off, it's not check boxes, and it's not either-or; most people die of multiple things. There are plenty of comorbidities that will kill you quicker if you come down with a respiratory illness, and guess what? It's the combination that kills: both are the cause. The only "free money from the government" was for Medicare and uninsured patients anyway; per Factcheck.org
, "The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
,or CARES Act, created
a 20% add-on to be paid to hospitals treating Medicare patients with COVID-19; Medicare is the federal health insurance program for those 65 years and older. The law also set aside some money to reimburse
hospitals for treating uninsured patients." Medicare fraud is a serious matter and playing fast and loose will cost a hospital dearly when, not if, they are caught.
One reader hopes the President, "declares foreign interference in the 2020 Presidential election, orders
the existing mess null and void, requires the state legislatures to
appoint a new slate of EC electors, and let the process carry itself out
as the US Constitution provides."
The President -- any President of the United States -- does not have the power to declare an election "null and void," nor does he have the power to require State legislatures to appoint a new slate of electors (the manner of their choosing is, in fact, explicitly reserved to the States themselves, and has been all along). EO 13848 is not a magic wand
, and sets well-defined trigger conditions for foreign interference in U. S. elections before any action can be undertaken. You will search it
in vain for any "Presidential declaration" to invoke any process that would invalidate an election.
The same reader asks, "Is there anyone so innocent as to believe that Mike Pence will count the legal (and necessarily alternate)
[sic] electoral college slate of votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as opposed to the other equally legal
[sic] alternate slate of votes submitted by the legislatures of 7 states in favor of himself and Donald Trump?"
Yes, there is
-- me and many U. S. Senators and Representatives of both major parties. Nor is there any other "equally legal slate of votes;" each state gets (and their Governor certifies) exactly one (1) group "equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." They don't get two, and in the case of a dispute, it's not up to the Vice-President to sort that out; the House and Senate resolve it by separating, debating for up to two hours, voting and then they can only remove some set of electors if both bodies voted to do so. No mystery, no magic, no double-secret probation and Mike Pence is not the Keymaster in this task, just President of the Senate.
This is how it works
. This is how it will work. No citizen is obliged to be happy about the result of a Presidential election -- but we are generally expected to refrain from seditious
behavior. You can count on the Vice-President to do so, no matter how much he may dislike the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.* * *
Please, start looking this stuff up before you repeat what some blogger wrote or some partisan commentator said. I put in links, but they're just a starting point. Dig deep. Look for original source documents, not someone's interpretation of them. And if what you're reading doesn't include links or footnotes, ask yourself what that person's trying to put over.
The truth is out there. So is an awful lot of flim-flam. The truth is usually more boring and often disappointing but it offers the salient advantage of being actual reality.