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​Empathy or Sociopathy?

Gadfly | June 19th, 2022

By Ed Raymond

Congress: Why Does Australia Have Only One-Tenth the COVID Death Rate?

The opening sentence about the COVID virus in “The Last Word” in THE WEEK magazine is shocking: “If the United States had the same death-rate as Australia, about 900,000 lives would have been saved.”

Other countries such as Japan, Kenya, and Norway had lower death rates than us, but Australia is the better comparison. We speak English, have similar demographic profiles, and are highly connected with the rest of the world through trade, tourism, and immigration policies.

In 2019, before Covid, 9.3 million international tourists visited Australia and the two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney. We had 79 million international tourists visit us, but this figure includes daily border crossings involving Mexico and Canada. How many thousands or millions of workers cross the border each day to go to their jobs? Those travelers are counted in the tourist total. Two statistics stand out in a comparison: the median age in both countries is 38, and 86% 0f Aussies live in urban centers compared to our 83%.

But only 7,500 Australians have died to COVID so far compared to our 1,000,000. Fact: Australians did many things right and Americans did many things wrong.

Australians were ready to cope with COVID on January 25, 2020, when the first positive case was diagnosed. They had been informed five days earlier about what was happening in China. Health Minister Greg Hunt, with the approval of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, made this public statement: “Border, isolation, surveillance, and case-tracing mechanisms are already in place in Australia.” Right.

On January 30 when the CDC informed President Donald Trump of the first case in the USA, he said: “We think it’s going to be a very good ending for us.” Wrong.

Why We Killed 900,000 at a Death Rate Ten Times That of Down Under

Less than 24 hours after being informed about COVID, Australia closed its border to China, its greatest trade partner, evacuated 241 embassy employees and put them in a hotel quarantine for 14 days. The Aussies were already containing the virus. They quarantined international visitors in hotels paid by the government. They closed the country’s borders, The Health Department set up systems for free testing, established contact-tracing, and began to pay COVID-affected employees in many venues so they would stay home and not spread the virus. Furthermore, Australia had plentiful stockpiles of ventilators and protective gear. It restricted travel until vaccinations were widely available to the most vulnerable groups. Everyone began wearing approved masks.

What was happening in America in the first weeks of the virus? Nothing, except meeting in large groups and spreading the virus around the country—without any reliable guidance from the Trump government.

Later interviews and studies analyzed why the Australian people had one of the lowest death rates in the world. From the bottom on up and down again, the Australian people displayed lifesaving traits, faith in science and vaccines, and majority belief in the actions of government institutions and the entire medical community.

But perhaps the most important factor of all was the trust the Australians had in each other. Survey after survey revealed that more than 75% of the people trusted each other to do the right thing. American surveys revealed only 34% of the people trusted each other, while 93% of Australians agreed they got a lot of help from people outside of their normal household.

The famous medical journal The Lancet recently surveyed 177 countries and determined trust in government, science, and between people was the leading factor in the success of a country’s handling of COVID.

How Did Australians Do It? They Had Crocodile Dundee and National “Mateship”

They watched Donald on CNN refusing to wear a mask on his pretty face while suggesting drinking bleach would easily kill the virus. He created anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, anti-spacing zombies who then preached to his cult. After all, the president said the virus was no big deal.

Watching this catastrophe taking place in the Divided States of America and a few other countries, the Aussies had a 90% compliance rate in fighting the virus. They used social distancing, the quick closing of crowd-gathering businesses, provided free home testing kits, employed personal quarantining, and used contact-tracing constantly during the early deadly outbreaks. Every economic level participated. The rich didn’t run to their yachts or distant country homes. Australians, quickly realizing “we are all in this battle together,” called it “mateship.” Remember the famous movie character Crocodile Dundee? He called everybody “mate,” whether poor native or billionaire.

To Trumplican cult congressmen: You will be shocked to learn the Australian economy, under all the strict science-based rules followed by individuals and businesses, is growing faster than our economy. We are both immigrant countries that grew fast attracting people from the rest of the British Empire. We need an answer to the question: Why did Australia end up with all the smart immigrants and we ended up with all the dumb ones?

Recent CDC data supports the proposition that we ended up with all the dumb ones. In the beginning of COVID, Blacks, and Latinos had higher death rates in New York City than Whites because they were constantly exposed as they worked the stores, bars, restaurants, and other labor-intensive jobs without vaccinations. The White upper middle class could work from home while the super rich could hide in their fourth home in the Hamptons or hide from the virus on their yachts in the open seas.

It’s fascinating that now the death rates have flipped because Blacks and Latinos have much higher vaccination rates than the anti-science and anti-vaxxers of the Trumpians. White Americans now have a death rate 14% higher than the Blacks, and 72% higher than the Latinos. The turnabout is remarkable, but it’s still not enough to kill off all the dumb ones.

Which country is ready to fight another variant which might be more transmittable? Australia of course, More than 95% of adults are fully vaccinated. In our Trumpian country, only 66% are vaccinated.

We Are Currently Trapped in a Maelstrom of Madness With No Plausible Exit

Just a hypothetical question for Republicans in Congress: What would you have done about gun culture if the California nut had succeeded in killing Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh? Last year the gun culture killed 1,500 of our children under 18 and Congress did not do a damn thing about gun safety. I see Trumplican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to pass more laws protecting the Supreme Court before sundown on the day the alleged stalker was arrested for threatening a justice. Well, McConnell, how many deaths of children in 2021 would it have taken to seize your interest and grab it with such intensity? 3,000? 6,000? 12,000? Or don’t kids matter?

I see Trumplican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the tall, impressive guy who stands behind McConnell whenever Mitch speaks on high, says he needs an AR-15 to hunt prairie dogs. What kind of man can’t connect the dots of killing those big monsters in South Dakota pastures and the killing of children in America’s schools, many by the deadly weapon that can handle a muzzle velocity of more than 3,500 ft. per second?

Trumplican House Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana didn’t even see any dots in his excuse to support the gun culture. He said: “We have had no conversation about banning airplanes after 9/11.” Is it possible to make any sense of that statement?

According to the latest Census stats we have 334 million people living in the U.S. We presently have 50 Trumplican senators representing 130 million. The 50 Democrats elected to the senate (including the renegade Joe Manchin of West Virginia) represent 204 million.

A recent CBS-YouGov poll of people listed as Republicans reveals that 44% agree that mass shootings are “unfortunately something we have to accept in a free country.” I have a question for the 52 million Trumplicans who believe the slaughter of 1,500 or more children a year is the unavoidable price we must pay for our freedoms. My God, if there is one, what has happened to our humanity? How many slaughtered justices or kids would it take to make it a poor price for freedom?

Can We Save the US If Each Year 6% Go Bonkers, With 53 Million Already There?

This “freedom” mess didn’t start with Donald Trump, but it has to stop with him or we will lose a country. Billions of words have been written and spoken about Donald John Trump since his parents sent him to a military-style high school to get discipline. In his last 60 years the world has learned that he is a sociopathic, psychopathic, malignant narcissist with what psychiatrists officially call an antisocial personality disorder as defined in the latest official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He has left sufficient evidence for dozens of mental health professionals to declare he fits the description of these disorders in the manual.

Trump loves only himself, has no inner sense of right and wrong, doesn’t share another person’s feelings, doesn’t have a conscience, must be a winner in every contest he enters, and is a skilled actor whose only mission in life is to manipulate people for personal gain. Trump may pretend to be interested in you, but he has no empathy for even his wives or children.

Evangelical Christian Franklin Graham, the son of Billy who finally recognized the shallow character of Richard Nixon, claimed Trump was “The Chosen One” of God, was instrumental in getting 81% of White southern evangelicals to vote for the thrice-married, morally challenged patron of porn stars. But 74 million eligible voters, including the 52 million who believe we must sacrifice our children to maintain the gun culture, voted for Trump. That is a huge, powerful cult, blind to logic, history, and the common good.

Trump, Members of His Cult, and Members of Congress, Are Guilty of Insurrection

There’s no doubt now that he committed treason against the United States when he organized an insurrection to take over the presidency, to regain power which he lost by more than seven million votes. He created the “Big Lie,” by saying the election was rigged and fraud dominated the counting-house. He lost 60 court cases trying to prove it. He told more than 31,000 other lies trying to get in the win column.

When Vice-President Mike Pence refused to change electors and the insurrectionists chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump said he deserved to be hanged. Sociopaths cannot cope with losing or losers.

The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, anti-government militias, invited to Washington by Trump to participate in the insurrection, roamed the halls of the capitol chanting “Nancy.” One chanter sat in her office chair to take a break. What would have happened to the Speaker of the House if they had found her?

Psychopaths are cold, calculating, and ruthless. We have had numerous deranged cult leaders in our past. Jim Jones led the People’s Temple cult from Indiana to California to Guyana searching for the “perfect community.” He added a new phrase to our lexicon with “drink the Kool-Aid” when 909 Americans in Guyana committed mass suicide by drinking the famous drink laced with cyanide.

Future elections may be Kool-Aid moments. By the way: Australia had zero school shootings last year.

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