The Deplorables

Episode 16 In The Further Adventures Of An American Crime Family

Jared Kushner, who ran a criminal enterprise prior to coming to Washington to work in the Trump administration, had nothing but glowing words for the administration’s accomplishments in curtailing the deadly COVID-19 in this country. He came on Fox&Friends to announce the good tidings, and we are most grateful so many lives have been saved.

Mr. Kushner is son-in-law of President Trump, and he was able to obtain a top government security clearance, despite his past record of criminal activities in the state of New York. Initially the people who investigate applications for such clearances refused to issue him one, but being a close friend of the president does have advantages.

At any rate, his diligence and that of the president ensured we would have minimal cases of the virus, and it would be gone by April

So now it’s the end of April, and we there have been more than a million cases.

Could be more.

I mean, it’s not like we’ve been in a war or anything like that.

But, hey, fellow voters. What have we got to lose?

You are doing a heck of a job, Brownie.

The Time I Almost Died

Photo from Wikipedia

Later this year I will, or will not, turn 80. This has not always been certain. There have been times in the past 70+ years when I had a peek behind the velvet curtain. But there was one time I almost went there. Here are some details.

When I was six we had moved to Granbury, and I was checking out the digs. A large mesquite tree dominated the back half acre, and I figured to have a look see. I climbed, and there tied to a small branch was an interesting object. It was cylindrical, a couple of inches long, and two wires protruded. I availed myself. I was happily enjoying my new toy, and I was banging it against the wheel barrow when my father came rushing up and snatched it from my hand. He told me this was an electrical blasting cap, and small children must not touch them. Live another day.

Many years later I had survived service at sea on an aircraft carrier and had finished college. I had a job, and I rode my motorcycle home from work. It got dark, and I was careening down a two-lane country road with the throttle rolled full back. Something ahead in the growth beside the road reflected my headlight beam. I kept an  eye on it, and at the worst moment it made its move. It was a deer, now dead ahead, snuffing out the headlight beam at the moment of collision. I pitched forward into the darkness. When I finished sliding and tumbling I was in the weeds and the grass on the left side of the pavement. Live another day.

Not nine months later my wife and I stood on the sidewalk alongside Guadalupe Street in Austin, trying to figure out where the action was. A decorative brick support gave what I figured to be protection. I peeked around the corner and up at the clock tower. A man with a 30-30 rifle let loose a round, which I later learned killed an electrical worker on Congress Avenue, about even with our position. We can’t stay here, I figured. We are close to bare ass naked. We dashed across Guadalupe to where our car was parked. I had done some shooting in the past, and I was mentally calculating. Could I make this shot? I didn’t think so. I figured he couldn’t either. We reached the car, and I put the pedal down. Live another day.

Then, decades later there came a time I was sure I was going to die.

My house has two stories, and the stairs and the upper room are carpeted. It was new carpet. I made my hot chocolate and was figuring to head up and enjoy while I caught the news on TV. I didn’t turn the light on and was taking the steps unseen. I placed the right foot up and advanced. Too late. I realized only the balls and toes of the right foot were making contact. I could see doom unfolding. I was going to lose it, and I was going to fall backward, and a cup of rich dark chocolate was going spill all over the stairs carpet. And Barbara was going to kill me. I was 100% sure of that.

But 70 years of well-honed reflexes kicked in, and my left foot went back and found the step below, and I still held the cup of chocolate. Live another day.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 215 of a Series

I tell you, folks. I’m starting to feel safer already.

Gunshot that killed 5-year-old Killeen boy was accidental, self-inflicted, police say

Killeen police confirmed Wednesday the boy got a hold of a loaded gun and accidentally shot himself in the head.

Author: Cole Johnson
Published: 3:01 PM CDT April 21, 2020
Updated: 5:52 PM CDT April 22, 2020

KILLEEN, Texas — Killeen police said the 5-year-old boy shot in the head Tuesday, accidentally did it himself.

Police said the boy somehow got a hold of a loaded gun in the home on Alan Kent Dr. and shot himself.

Police said when they arrived at the home the boy was not responsive and it was too late to save him.

Autopsy results were pending Wednesday. The investigation is on-going.

Remember, it’s not any use to you if you need it, and it’s not loaded.

Loser

Prince of Dreadful, Part 8

How do you know when you are on the winning side of an issue? One way is to take a look at the opposing side. For example:

Donald J. Trump <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com
Wed, Apr 29 at 9:51 AM

CROOKED HILLARY ENDORSES SLEEPY JOE

Did you hear the news John?

Sleepy Joe Biden just racked up some new endorsements for President of the United States.

First (and shortest), Mini Mike Bloomberg endorsed Biden.
Next, Crazy Bernie was forced to drop out and endorse Biden.
Then, Cheatin’ Obama (after waiting 355 days) endorsed his former VP, Biden.
After that, Nervous Nancy endorsed Biden.
And just yesterday, Crooked Hillary endorsed Biden.

The Liberals are uniting behind their pathetic candidate to try and take me down, and more importantly, to take YOU down.

When the opposition’s argument is a string of school yard insults, you have to guess that is their best shot. It’s the badge of the born LOSER.

Abusing Science

Number 68 of a series

This is from an item in The New York Times 15 years ago:

By Lawrence K. Altman, M.d.Oct. 11, 2005When two Australian scientists set out in the early 1980’s to prove that a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, caused stomach inflammation and ulcers, they met opposition from a medical-industrial complex entrenched in the belief that psychological stress was the cause.

Opposition to their radical thesis came from doctors with vested interests in treating ulcers and other stomach disorders as well as from drug companies that had come up with Tagamet, which blocked production of gastric acid and was becoming the first drug with $1 billion annual sales.

And there is more to the story. Physicians had a lucrative practice performing surgery to treat patients, including removing large portions of stomachs.

But we don’t do that anymore.

All right. I stand corrected. I hate it when I’m wrong like that:

Ignoring Expert Opinion, Trump Again Promotes Use of Hydroxychloroquine

The president’s advocacy of the anti-malarial drug has created tensions in his administration, and fears among doctors that it could unnecessarily expose patients to risks.

By Michael Crowley, Katie Thomas and Maggie Haberman
April 5, 2020

President Trump doubled down Sunday on his push for the use of an anti-malarial drug against the coronavirus, issuing medical advice that goes well beyond scant evidence of the drug’s effectiveness as well as the advice of doctors and public health experts.
Mr. Trump’s recommendation of hydroxychloroquine, for the second day in a row at a White House briefing, was a striking example of his brazen willingness to distort and outright defy expert opinion and scientific evidence when it does not suit his agenda.

A test at a Veterans Administration facility demonstrated alarming adverse effects from administration of hydroxychloroquine, and the President has since backed off on his ill-advised advocacy. So, no harm done. Right.

Oops! Wrong again.

Apparently a lot has not changed. When push comes to shove, science takes on some shoving.

To a large part of the population personal opinion holds sway over hard facts. Your evaluation of this controversy may depend on which side of the divide you stand. I have conversations with a number of Facebook fans who are Trump supporters, and one such devolved to this. When their hero backed down on his misguided support, at least one saw glee in the faces of the hated mainstream media. Here is what he had to say, omitting his name.

Speaking of sick. Did you see the reporters smile with glee when one asked the president about a trial of chloroquine that appeared to be unsuccessful? They were literal giddy. It’s sickening.

As I get ready to turn this post over to the Word Press scheduler I notice there have been updates to the conversation. I am pasting here for your reading enjoyment (names removed) a string of responses.

[name deleted] what do you expect from a piece of shit Libtard

John Blanton [my response to the above] [name deleted] “POS Libtard?” I have debated many people on various issues, but I have never encountered an argument as powerful as this. You, sir, are a master of the English language.

[name deleted] John Blanton and you sir are a anti American liberal piece of shit. Don’t really care what anyone in your liberal hivemind thinks of me. To me your all enemies of this country.

[names deleted] …hes also for gun control…bad thing is…hes in Texas. I remember being taught to remember the Alamo…now I say we remember Ruby Ridge and take back our country. Oh and Mr. Blanton…education doesn’t make you smart..just gives you a peice of paper from a college.

[names deleted] that’s the problem most of these Liberals vote liberals into office and then move when the taxes get to be to much. Then they take those ideas to a conservative state and vote liberals into office. Can’t understand why the new place they moved to starts to suck like the place they left because of liberalism

[name deleted] Exactly

I’m thinking I have located the root of the problem.

The Deplorables

Episode 15 In The Further Adventures Of An American Crime Family

I receive these, and what a dark time this would be without these rays of light:

Donald Trump Jr. <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com

Mon, Apr 27 at 11:41 AM

2020 is too critical to sit on the sidelines. Just ask yourself, would our nation survive a Joe Biden presidency?

In my opinion, we can’t even trust Joe Biden to know what day of the week it is, much less trust him to lead an entire Nation.

Wait! Is Donald Trump, Jr. suggesting Joe Biden is not fit to lead the nation? May I ask whether Junior has somebody else in mind?

The Deplorables

Episode 14 In The Further Adventures Of An American Crime Family

Nothing original here. My aim is to draw attention to a recent item about Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. The criminal conviction of Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, for fraud is public knowledge, and has nothing to do with the younger Kushner. The criminal activity cited in this news item lies totally at the feet of the famous son-in-law:

Jared Kushner’s company filed fake rent-control paperwork about its properties in order to turn a massive profit

In case the term “rent control” is not familiar, here is a refresher:

As of 2019, five states (California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon) and the District of Columbia have localities in which some form of residential rent control is in effect (for normal structures, excluding mobile homes). Thirty-seven states either prohibit or preempt rent control, while eight states allow their cities to enact rent control, but have no cities that have implemented it. For the localities with rent control, it often covers a large percentage of that city’s stock of rental units: For example, in some of the largest markets: in New York City in 2011, 45% of rental units were either “rent stabilized” or “rent controlled”, (these are different legal classifications in NYC) in the District of Columbia in 2014, just over 50% of rental units were rent controlled, in San Francisco, as of 2014, about 75% of all rental units were rent controlled, and in Los Angeles in 2014, 80% of multifamily units were rent controlled.

And that is all I’m going to say about rent control, except the concept has been around for about 100 years in this country, and I first became aware of it in New York City by way of items in the news 60 years ago. The matter crops up in popular media from time to time.

The TV series The Equalizer, starred Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a veteran operative who uses his skills to protect the under class in NYC. In one episode a landlord is conniving to force tenants to vacate their rent-controlled apartments. The idea is once a property is vacated the rent-control restrictions go away. We see gang members roaming the building, producing a threatening atmosphere. We also see phony construction activity that makes life miserable for tenants. That last is what I recalled when I read the subject news item:

Instead, current and former tenants of the Queens buildings told the AP that they were subjected to extensive construction, with banging, drilling, dust and leaking water that they believe were part of targeted harassment to get them to leave and clear the way for higher-paying renters.

“It was noisy, there were complaints, I got mice,” said mailman Rudolph Romano, adding that the Kushner Cos. tried to increase his rent by 60 percent, an accusation the company denied. “They cleaned the place out. I watched the whole building leave.”

The matter of NYC’s rent control pops up in the Tom Hanks film, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge Leonard White and the remorseful Fallow. Fallow gains a tremendous advantage and insight into the case when he is dating a woman who is the sub-letting landlord of Maria’s apartment, and knows of secret recordings of conversations in the apartment made by the authorities to prove that the woman is not in fact living in the rent-controlled apartment herself. She discovers information about the McCoy case (where Maria states she was driving the car), which she gives to Fallow, who in turn covertly supplies it to McCoy’s defense attorney. Sherman gets his hands on a tape and plays the recording in court, where it reveals Maria directly contradicting the evidence she has just given, showing she has been perjuring herself and causing her to faint. Sherman plays the tape in a tape recorder inside his briefcase connected to a small loudspeaker that he holds on the desk.

It’s a fun movie that did not make any money, and I will do a review if I ever get a copy.

Anyhow, Jared Kushner’s company filed false paperwork declaring specified properties had no rent-control tenants, allowing him to skirt the law and to make considerable profits. It is not necessary for me to remind people this is a criminal enterprise, and practices such as this come to mind whenever Kushner and the Trumps attempt to assert the high road.

Jared and Ivanka both obtained government security clearances after initially being denied. The people who run a criminal enterprise have access to our government’s most closely held information.

I’m concerned. You should be, as well.

Houston, we have a problem.

Number 25 of a series

My brain must have been parked out back, because I said something stupid, like, “Donald Trump is making such an ass of himself, cautious Republicans are backing away.” And then I doubled down: “I still get email from John Cornyn, but it’s no longer about praise for Trump.”

WRONG-O!

I received this.

John Cornyn <info@johncornyn.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com
Sat, Apr 25 at 7:30 PM

John,

With all that is going on these days, I was recently thinking that our president could use some good news.

And now, here we are, facing another End of Month deadline square in the face.

Now is the PERFECT opportunity to give him an update on just how motivated Texans are to defend our conservative values – I want to share our numbers this month with him.

…But I want to make sure he’s REALLY impressed.

And then he asks me for money. Senator, prop your right foot up on your desk so you can get a better aim.

A reminder; when Houston has a problem, we have a problem.

Uncle Bye-Bye

Yes, it is a concluding series (11).

Uncle of Kim Jong Un being pulled out of his chair and hauled off to a firing squad.

Uncle, it’s time to say “goodbye now.”

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un rumored to be dead

April 25, 2020 | 12:36pm

Kim Jong Un is rumored to be dead, according to a Hong Kong broadcast network, while a Japanese magazine is reporting that North Korea’s rocket man is in a “vegetative state” after he underwent heart surgery earlier this month.

I am usually not the one to post unfounded rumors, but I found this one impossible to pass over. On the faint possibility President Trump’s favorite Uncle Bye-Bye has, himself, gone bye-bye, I want to be known as among the first to post the tidings. In the event this turns out not to be true, then I will submit to hiding my face whenever I go out in public for the next two weeks. And that is all.

Goodbye now.

Loser

Prince of Dreadful, Part 7

You know it when you see it, and if you think you have a loser on your hands, this time your are likely dead right. Hopefully not dead.

The President of the United States had a talk with some of his staff about various things that would kill (deactivate) the COVID-19 virus, and then he went out before the cameras to loose upon his audience and upon the entire world his take on the matter. It was not pretty.

He suggested they had talked about injecting UV light into the body to destroy the virus. They had not. He suggested how effective it would be to inject a disinfectant agent into the body. They had not.

How many different ways are there to spell “LOSER?” You have seen two more.

Somewhat later, after the world had a chance to digest the wisdom of the President of the United States, what was apparent was coming apparent. A reporter asked, “Can you clarify your comments about injections of disinfectant?” How rude!

The response from the President of the United States was as charming as ever. To paraphrase, he told everybody in hearing distance “I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you.”

All sarcasm aside, he assured us the stuff does kill the virus.

There is one thing it does not kill, and that thing is our realization we have a bona fide loser on our hands.

Houston, we have a problem.

Number 24 of a series

As mentioned, when Houston has a problem, we have a problem.

I have no explanation for this, but quite often Twitter forwards notifications about something tweeted by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (formerly from Canada). Here he retweets something posted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and then he comments on it.

Ted Cruz @tedcruz

Hillary, taking the high road.

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

Please don’t poison yourself because Donald Trump thinks it could be a good idea.

10:17 PM · Apr 24, 2020

If I have this straight—earlier in the Week President Donald Trump, before reporters and a wide TV audience, seemed to endorse the idea of ingesting bleach or other cleanser products to combat the COVID-19 virus. Clinton, pushed back on this ridiculous idea, and then Senator Cruz sarcastically suggested Clinton was taking the high road.

The fact of the matter is Clinton was taking the high road. What any responsible person could have rightly said was, “You elected this dumber than a rock, low-grade criminal, but now that he’s giving medical advice it is best you ignore him.” Instead, Hillary Clinton took the high road. You need to listen to her, Senator Smooth Arrow.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a Continuing Series

Two lawyers were arguing a case before a judge.

“Your honor, the defendant libeled my client. He wrote that my client was a thief, a sexual pervert, a philanderer, a pedophile, and a congenital liar.”

“Your honor, my client wrote all those things, but there is no indication he was referring to the claimant.”

“I beg to differ, your honor. My client is the only person who fits that description.”

The Deplorables

Episode 13 In The Further Adventures Of An American Crime Family

Donald Trump, Jr., is the oldest son of the current President of the United States. Below you will see a tweet he recently posted. It shows something by Brad Parscale, manager for Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign. It’s a video which is supposed to be insulting to Nancy Pelosi, although she is only referred to by her first name. Nancy Pelosi is the former Speaker of the House who regained that position after the first two years of the Trump presidency turned into such a shambles that Democrats flooded back into the House in a wave.

Donald Trump Jr. @DonaldJTrumpJr

Nancy is so accustomed to the media doing her bidding that she doesn’t even realize how despicable/tone deaf this is. Perhaps this perspective is why she’s been so partisan and not cared about Americans & their families suffering through this crisis! RT

11:16 AM · Apr 21, 2020

Junior wants us to realize how despicable and tone deaf Speaker Pelosi is, all the while failing to notice the position he and the rest of his family hold and have long held. Junior, you want to see despicable and tone deaf? I will show you despicable and tone deaf.

Yes, Junior. That one at the top is about the phony charity you and your family foisted on people, taking their money and putting it in your pockets. It was a crime, and you were a willing participant. Please, no more from you and your kind about “despicable.”

Houston, we have a problem.

Number 23 of a series

If somebody can tell us what’s going on here, we will most appreciate it. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is retweeting something from presidential adviser and outspoken racist Stephen Miller.

Ted Cruz @tedcruz

Just wait till RBG is named the new leader of North Korea.

Quote Tweet

Stephen L. Miller @redsteeze

The only thing we’re really missing right now is a SCOTUS vacancy.

11:01 PM · Apr 20, 2020

Miller has written about the hope for another Supreme Court vacancy. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87 years old and a number of right wing types look forward to her leaving the Court. What the DPRK has to do with any of this is safely ensconced in the fevered brain of our smooth arrow senator from Texas.

Canada, are you listening? We could use some help with your child.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 214 of a Series

We are reminded weekly, if not daily, of the need to arm ourselves for the protection of ourselves and our families. For example:

Deputies: Child accidentally shot by man who was looking after him

By: WFTS Digital Staff
Posted at 8:40 PM, Apr 14, 2020
 and last updated 11:08 PM, Apr 14, 2020

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A child is fighting for his life at the hospital after being shot on accident by a man who was responsible for looking after him.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a young boy was taken to the hospital with a single gunshot wound “in the lower torso” on March 13. According to deputies, an adult who was with the boy, 28-year-old Anthony Rodriguez, accidentally shot the boy.

Keep it ready out there, cowpokes. When they come for you, well you know what you need to do.

People Unclear

This is number 96 of a series

The campaign is getting into swing, and stuff is coming at me faster than I can post one a day. Here is another who appears to be unclear on some of the basics. From an email I just received.

Brigadier General (Ret) Doug Slocum <email@alerts.conservativeintel.com>
To:John Blanton
Wed, Apr 22 at 11:55 AM

John,

I hope you and your family are staying safe and well. I’m Brigadier General Doug Slocum, but people call me by my fighter pilot call sign, “Odie.”

I’ve spent my whole life serving our country in the United States Air Force, and now I’m running to serve our country again in Congress.

I was an early supporter of President Trump, and won’t hesitate to fight alongside him to build a wall, protect the unborn, and keep America GREAT.

Whoa! Hold on there a minute, Odie. Let me come to grips what you just said. You spent your whole life serving your country, and now you have decided to throw your support to a person who has betrayed your country by trying to shake down a wartime ally for personal gain? Let me hope this is not the new patriotism. Also let me hope this is not the new morality. The person you are aligning yourself with is a known grifter and white collar criminal. Please let us know you have some small objection to this kind of business.

We can hope in vain.

People Unclear

This is number 95 of a series

Some people are slow to pick up on the message. This can have consequences:

Ohio man dies from COVID-19 after criticizing governor’s coronavirus lockdown as ‘madness’

“Madness.” Yes, madness. There is madness. There is also deadness. How come I keep thinking about the last line in The Bridge Over the River Kwai?

Abusing Science

Number 67 of a series

I receive emails. Here is from another by Perry Marshall, author of Evolution 2.0.

But it’s not just cancer research. My Evolution 2.0 journey has made it abundantly clear to me that the system underlying virtually all science research is tragically flawed.

Now, if you’re thinking, “Why do I care about science being sold out to the highest bidder?” You can just look around you right now.

It’s an invitation to his podcast:

Science for Sale
Ken McCarthy & Perry Marshall
Wednesday April 22, 2:00 PM Eastern

Besides his Wikipedia entry, what I know of Perry Marshall is from his book. An excerpt provides some insight.

This is a science book, provoked by my burning question: If blind evolutionary forces can produce eyes and hands and ears and millions of species, then why don’t engineers use Darwinian evolution to design cars or write software? Why don’t they teach Darwinism in engineering school? Evolution and natural selection, after all, were heralded as all-powerful, to the point of having godlike qualities. If nature needs no engineers, a little evolution knowledge would surely be useful to us engineers who are stuck in cubicles designing cell phones.

Marshall, Perry. Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design . BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

This is from a section with the title “What You Can Expect from This Book,” so it’s not part of the meat. It does give clue to the intent.

What Marshall wants you to understand is “blind evolutionary forces” are not sufficient. Else, engineers would use them to produce novel designs. I get from this he invokes purpose in seeking to make his case, which is what he intends to prove. Reading selections from the book will reveal Marshall is seeking to sell God. He wants to demonstrate a world created by God, as only a being of some sort can provide purpose.

Engineers developing a novel design do so with a purpose in mind. They want something that flies, so they are sure not to make it too heavy. Engineers would never invoke random choices to create a new and improved design.

Except sometimes they do.

Hybrid Genetic Algorithm and Linear Programming for Bulldozer Emissions and Fuel-Consumption Management Using Continuously Variable Transmission

This paper develops a hybrid optimization approach combining genetic algorithm (GA) and integer linear programming (ILP) to solve the nonlinear optimization problem of managing the fuel consumption and emissions of a tracked bulldozer. Furthermore, the authors propose that a continuously variable transmission (CVT) can better exploit the efficient zones of the engine maps. The original transmission system of the Caterpillar D6T bulldozer consists of a five-gear transmission, whereas the gear ratios of the proposed CVT are continuous and can be assigned according to transmission design. The fuel consumption and three emission items of the engine, unburned hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx), are studied. Vehicle-terrain interactions are formulated and the excavation program is characterized by excavation depth and speed. The target of the multiobjective optimization problem is a combination of fuel rate and three emission items. Results show that, for digging depths less than the bulldozer blade maximum digging depth, the target can be improved by more than 31% using CVT incorporated with GA compared to the conventional transmission, obtained by shifting engine operating points from low efficiency zones to optimum points. Finally, integer linear programming is used in a hybrid manner with GA to solve for the optimum combination of excavation steps in tasks of specified digging depths more than the maximum digging depth of the bulldozer blade. Results show that the proposed method can improve the target value up to 18% with the same digging time, and can improve the target value up to 32% using the hybrid optimization approach without time constraint.

The paper describes the development of an improved transmission design. The development employed genetic algorithms toward achieving an optimum design.

Genetic algorithms employ stochastic variation on workable designs to generate new designs, and then they select for those that perform better. To be sure, purpose is invoked here. Nature does not make use of purpose. What engineers achieve in short order using significant computer power, for a natural organism nature requires centuries and longer to instill “improvement.”  And remember, what nature ends up with may not be what we would prefer. The wild horses people domesticated thousands of years ago are the ones produced by nature. What people want, and what they have now, are horses artificially bred for our purposes.

I have no plan to view the pod cast, but readers are invited to search it out and sign up. There may be something significant relating to real abuse of science. The past few weeks have seen egregious abuse of science for political gain, as serious scientists are sometimes mocked (one receiving death threats). We can only hope real science will be taken more seriously when the current crisis is over.