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    • Why Western Elites Are So Incompetent And What The Consequences Are
      The Coronavirus has been striking for the fact that Asian societies have mostly handled the crisis competently, though there’s been variation in how competent and Western elites, with some exceptions (Germany, for example) have not. At the extreme incompetence level are America and the UK. Let’s chalk this up to aristocratic elites. Aristocrats, unlike noble […]
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Change in Tone

I know that it’s been a long time (3 years) but this is a reminder that there is nothing normal or presidential about this tone:

Now, some voters may have believed that it was time to give an unorthodox, irreverent, non-politician the office as a way to shake up Washington. We can address later whether it was a good idea to choose one who is so completely devoid of character.

Unfortunately, this is not the time for unorthodox, irreverent, characterless non-politicians.

Right now, we need an FDR who can navigate both the economy and war. This is not the person who is in charge. And the sooner we realize that not having an FDR in charge is trending us towards disaster, the better.

Acceptance is the first step.

Covid-19 and the Irish Potato Famine.

Today we found out that we are shipping PPE to Thailand and Trump administration officials said they didn’t know about it. Also, FEMA is taking a hands off approach to companies selling PPE supplies to other countries who bid higher.

Day by day, the grip on the situation deteriorates. I have a certain degree of schadenfreude for people who are relying on “scientists” to save us. We’ve been undermining and underfunding science for two decades now all in the cause to privatize absolutely everything. Scientists are indeed amazing people. But they aren’t Superman. They have to follow the dictates of their profession. This means a cure is not on the horizon any time soon. It takes time and rigor to get the right results. I feel for the frontline lab rats who have to do the testing and the high throughput screening on compound libraries. They are little islands of sanity and dedication but they can’t save the world on their own. It takes a concerted effort from our government officials.

I think what most people are forgetting is we have been subjected to a relentless campaign to undermine the federal government for 40 years now. Have we forgotten about states being able to set their own rules and laws without the intervention of DC elites? How about shareholder value to the exclusion of anything else. It’s almost illegal to prevent the private market from making excessive profits at our expense. We’ve deregulated and fired whole pieces of governmental infrastructure. We haven’t made it better. It’s just gone. Does anyone recall the CPA authority in Iraq that squandered billions of dollars to turn that country into an experiment in unfettered free market capitalism? Not just plain old capitalism with some rules in place to keep people from being screwed unfairly. No, we are talking about whatever the market will bear capitalism whether it has any long term advantage or not.

None of the ideological agenda of the ruling party benefits the average American right now. We are in the hands of a disorganized bunch of speculators and ruthless predators right now. It would be entirely appropriate to say to the GOP that they need to set aside their incredible greed, opportunism, and lust for power for just a moment in order to save the country from devolving by degrees into a lawless, poverty wracked place.

Instead, we get “journalists” desperately trying to get Trump to take this moment seriously by praising his change in tone. Word to journalists: narcissists do not change. They do not see the world like you do. You are objects in the narcissists world. You either please him or you suffer the consequences. It may take awhile for many of you to get the narcissists point of view. But once you do, you will not be able to look at the situation we’re in the same way ever again.

The closest historical event I can think of where a natural disaster combined with ideological and inept government policy lead to societal catastrophe is the Irish Potato Famine of 1846-1849. All the usual suspects are there. The laissez faire capitalists, the shipment of resources away from those in need only to have them return at greatly inflated prices, the cruelty of landlords, the paucity of the social safety net, the callousness of the politicians and wealthy towards the starving who were accused of “laziness and ingratitude”.

It lead to years of misery, starvation, death and mass emigration. It so scarred the Irish that whenever and wherever there is a famine in the world, the Irish NGOs are on it.

Our country has been subject to exploitative profit mining for decades now. Some of us accepted the consensus reality that the federal government was the problem. Some of us see the federal government as the one entity we have that can coordinate a mass effort, assist in the relief of suffering and stop unconscionable speculation. The former believers, a minority government, now has the power to do whatever misguided and selfish thing it wants to us.

I don’t know if we can wait until November. Anyone who has read about the famine knows what inhumanity is coming.

I got that helpless feeling. Oh, wait, no I don’t. No 3

As if it’s not bad enough that Covid-19 is lurking on surfaces out there waiting to force itself up our noses into our respiratory tracts, we could run out of vegetables and fruits. Yeah, we import a lot from other countries as well as grow our own stuff. But what happens when the farmers and migrant pickers get sick? Packers and shippers? Expect to see shortages and higher prices.

I started watching prepper videos a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the whole idea of Trump that freaked me out a little bit in the back of my mind. I don’t take it as seriously as some of the people on youtube. I wish I had thought a little farther ahead. But it’s still not too late to put in a garden if you have room. Fortunately, I have room. I almost can’t believe it because I bought this house as a refuge. I don’t have a mortgage and I have a big yard. I had visions of these days. I kid you not. But I always thought it was a figment of my imagination. That’s what losing your career during the Great Recession does to your psyche.

Anyway, I have two raised beds and lots of room for more. Last year was a sucky year for gardening. The spring was cold, dark and rainy. This year is starting off better. Last night, I ordered some seeds. It looks like half of the US has already ordered them since most of the stuff I wanted at the most popular brand name seed store was sold out. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives.

I’m planting radishes, Romain, buttercrunch lettuce, spinach, chard, bok Choi, eggplant, sugar snap peas, green beans, sweet peppers, poblano peppers and two kinds of tomatoes. Still searching for broccolini. Maybe some berries. And need to do herbs as well.

So, that’s another thing I can do to prevent myself from going crazy and getting my veg. If you plan to start a garden, order your seeds now. They will be back ordered and you don’t want to wait too long.

And here’s a video from my favorite preppers at Guildbrook Farm in North Carolina. Jaime, Jeremy, Marina and Ilaria aren’t kidding around with their garden.

The things I’ve learned…

1.) If you get sick enough to end up in the hospital, you may end up laying on your stomach (proning) to improve lung function. Here’s a helpful tutorial:

2.) Tristan da Cunha is a remote island in the south Atlantic. It’s so remote that no one goes there anymore. The cargo ship that used to make the trip to deliver supplies stopped doing it a couple of years ago. So you could go years without seeing anyone from the outside world. I suspect that people are able to get there from South Africa more often than has been reported but yeah, it’s lonely out there.

Nevertheless, google maps shows there is a fantastic restaurant scene on the island. Lots of kebab places, coffee shops and steakhouses. Who knew?

Also, no cases of Covid-19. So if the human race disappears, we can repopulate the earth with survivors from Tristan da Cunha, assuming they can get off the island.

A MAGA Vs Liberal metaphor

Saw this on Twitter this morning and realize that this reaction has been building since 2016 (this appears to be Italy but a woman in Hanover, PA spit in a grocery store last week):

The MAGA contingent has been spitting on everything we value since Trump took office. It wasn’t enough that they had to screw themselves, no, they had to ruin it for everyone else. That grocery store may well have to close because this guy’s spit might be a biohazard. They’re going to have to check the CCTV in the store to see how many other FOOD items he has contaminated.

And for what?? So this guy can own the libs? Fly in the face of reality and stick to his “hoax” fantasy? Get back at the liberals who are haters of Trump?

I’m surprised the grocery store employee stopped at a forcefully deployed dope slap. Believe me, there are people in that store who would be more than happy to take the terrorist out into the parking lot and work him over. Instead, the employee simply stopped him, like a passenger on flight 93 would have stopped a terrorist. He’s a hero.

Enough is enough, MAGA heads. You’ve proven your point that no one paid attention to you during the Obama years. Guess what, Obama didn’t pay attention to most people in his own party. We didn’t like it either. But we are not hellbound for destroying the country over it. Your resentment and anger is no less than ours. Seriously.

The difference is you guys see no sense of communality, responsibility, connectedness, or even United strength. It’s all got to be about YOUR anger and YOUR loss. You forget that many people pay federal taxes so that in an emergency like this one, we work for each other.

Our federal response has been beyond pathetic. It has been actually life threatening. It’s been happy talk and lying and aspirational and vindictive. It’s going to result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Some people are ashamed of being American today. The rest of the world is experiencing both horror and schadenfreude (look it up) at the way we have handled this pandemic. We put men on the moon but can’t even get testing done right. Our industries and pharma R&D are dependent on offshore resources- for shareholder value. And we as shareholders are left holding the bag while the big shots in the market abandon us to our fates.

I am not ashamed to be an American. I am not responsible for putting in charge the least competent man on the planet to handle a crisis. I’m one of the good guys.

This country might be great again. But it’s going to take a good hard dope slap to a lot of you to stop killing the rest of us.

Flattening the Curve diagnostic tool.

Is PA flattening the curve?

How is PA doing? As a state, we get an A for social distancing and mitigation. (Can’t remember what site I saw that on) Is it working?

Let’s check the metrics from 1point3acres.

This is the graph of PA’s current cases (orange line) and our new cases (green line). The green line has leveled off and is now starting to bend down, meaning that we are finding fewer cases in the last couple of days.

It’s still early in the pandemic for all of the states so who knows how long this will hold. I just saw Fauci on State of the Nation on CNN (agghh!) and he said reopening the country will depend on flattening the curve the way PA is doing. The number of new cases has to not increase as much and the curve must bend down. But we must have a robust testing system in place before reopening so we can trace everyone who may be contagious. We are going to have to test almost everyone in PA. So, if you want to go back to work, you need to make sure your state government is testing as many people in your state as possible.

If the trend in PA holds, we will have helped the healthcare system by keeping the number of seriously ill patients low. We only have to keep it together for about another month.

Other states that are flattening the curve: California, Colorado, Washington, North Carolina. States that are not flattening the curve include Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan. New York City and New Jersey are hotspots because of population density. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere in either location and maintain a safe distance from another person.

There will be a lot of people royally pissed off that nothing much happened if the flattening continues.

That’s the goal. It’s what liberals live for. 🙄