I threw this page together out of frustration from watching a world that I feel has gone mad. My main push is a concern that we are living in a panic situation and there may be wisdom in not getting too excited nor overly confident that wise "herd action" is being taken. This page is a bit of a 'shoot from the hip' ramble, but I have some solid thoughts and good links in the mix. The topic deserves some thought on the part of everyone. Hopefully this blog effort advances that goal.
Below is a clip from an article on foot and mouth disease - a general coverage that shows various views on this viral problem. I do wonder if there are lessons to be learned from this viral story that can be compared to the Covid situation? Sir Albert's experiences are also noteworthy.
The Covid situation has triggered widespread use of "the horse has bolted before the barn door was closed" story. But is the problem a bit deeper than trying to trap those pesky and invisible viral horses?
I was amused by the horse joke, below, in that it puts a neat twist on the shop worn "horse/barn door" story. Maybe the original story is out of date and simply pumps smoke into an already hazy view?
Below is a BBC news clip from February 20, 2020. At that point the Covid excitement was getting on a role!
Below is another BBC news clip from February 28, 2020. Mr. Johnson is under pressure and getting flak for not getting the accepted virus battle underway sooner. An elderly Brit has died in Japan. You have got to ACT and ACT NOW! Do you think Johnston was facing world pressure as well as opposition pressure? Surely the "logical path forward" must be totally obvious to the silly man?
BBC again from March 24, 2020. In a flash move, Mr. Modi states the accepted formula for viral control and shuts India down. Prosperous countries have some fat - India is less blessed - articles immediately appeared where poorer workers were asked about the shutdown. It was clear in their minds that starvation would likely solve their Covid worries.
Amazing that a major national leader would expect the following "tweet" to have any effect other than to undermine his credibility.
Now here is what I see as a "thought provoker"! Life isn't simple.
MERS was not a widespread or highly contageous disease. SARS was more troubling and despite some feeling that it had got out of the bag, in Asia at least, it faded out and the argument that effective isolation tactics were a, if not the, winning play, is plausible. All of the recent viral difficulties have rather similar beginnings be it with bats, or cats, or monkeys, or pigs, or pangolins,or camels. 1918 influenza began in a wartime hell hole plus pigs. Covid started in a gastly wet market. MERS Wikipedia advice is to cook your camel meat well and don't drink camel urine - wow! Mad Cow disease was interesting but the problem there wasn't people eating beef, it was a problem of cows being forced to eat meat! In past, bacterial plaques seemed to be the big issue with general filth being a major player. Are there simple lessons here for flexible individuals to apply even if society as a whole is slow or simply unable to react?
Tension over Covid might have had some roots in the SARS experience, but it seems that viral problems have an amazing variability. 1918 saw the young adults hit. Covid seems to hit the old and weakened. Over time, polio has had waves that impacted different age groups, and polio isn't new.
But Covid and circumstances seem to have created the perfect societal storm. The world mindset may well have been SARS sensitive. Then Covid hits and appears to be SUPER contagious. What's more, people who seem perfectly well can be "spreaders" and the young and seemingly healthy are the worst culprits! The seemingly healthy seem to be bigger ogres than the sick as they wander around spreading destruction to the helpless! Suddenly no one can be trusted!
In this environment, in conjunction with the powerful "kill the virus / pray for a vaccine" style of disease control, politicians stampede to "do the right thing"! And despite the fact that we live is a super integrated world with an economic system almost as complex and interdependent (for better or worse) as the organs in a living body, the "right thing" is individual isolation and social distancing. 1918 influenza was in a different world - still relatively decentralized. But BANG! The 2020 reaction is almost like buying into "Everyone stop breathing and Covid will be stopped in its tracks!"
Covid is a problem but we live in a world where death happens;
- cancer worldwide - approx. 21,000 / day
- cancer in USA - approx. 1600 / day
- heart disease in USA - approx. 1600 / day
- traffic deaths worldwide - approx. 3200 / day
- traffic deaths in USA - approx. 100 / day
- suicides worldwide - approx. 2000 / day
- suicides in USA - approx. 125 / day
- Covid is a Tsunami - these "regulars" go on daily. They are multiple Rivers.
Is it possible that the Covid situation is much more complex? Are we seeing a short term panic response? Are we in a "shoot first and ask questions later" situation? Another joke may be in order prior to more points of substance?
Here is a printed article and a radio interview that cover important information that was gleaned from the Diamond Princess experience. As the nightmare of the vital organs of the whole world economy all sputtering at the same time is becoming a reality, the importance of the DP data is a mind shaker. Covid is not SARS - it is very different. And the reaction to it may well make the initial death count look like a minor issue.
The ship was loaded with old folks and of the 3711 people on board, a minimum of 700 got Covid and as of March 24, 12* have died. And that was with a really old crowd packed tight on a boat. Extensive testing of the ship passengers helped provide a clearer view of the disease and its impact. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University comments in the written article and is also interviewed on the BBC radio program. He doesn't talk like a man with an agenda nor an obsession with looking like an instant saint nor is he a politician! The average age of ship passengers was 58 and the median age was about 65. All those who died were quite old. 18% of those infected showed no symptoms but the researchers felt that in a population that wasn't so old, that number would be much higher. One researcher felt too that more people may have been infected early on and never showed symptoms and recovered so that tests indicated they had never been touched. And some of the 3711 simply had natural immunity.
Ioannnidis pointed out that the data would benefit if medical histories of those on board could be obtained. To point to other material on the GoodSpaces website, Albert Howard's cattle were not generic cattle. Why did they escape viral infection? But the Big System approach seems to ignore such important detail. It is one thing for a disease to take out a truly healthy person who has looked after themselves over a life time vs hitting a person who has broken all the rules, knowingly or unknowingly. Cause and effect can't be ignored if you want to make progress and gain applicable understanding. A successful detective doesn't ignore available clues when mysteries need to be solved.
Passengers were confined to their cabins for most of the time once the disease was recognized but there was central ventilation and air-conditioning. It seems there was also contact with crew and I gather that eating also took place in groups. Researchers felt that it was an ideal place for a communicable disease to spread! 40 times the density of Hong Kong!
The conclusion of the study - based on the hard evidence of experience - the Covid death rate has been greatly over estimated and even the rate of infection has been over estimated. Vickie Price, an economist who was interviewed expressed the view that the governmental moves that have been taken have been done so without good information. I suspect that anyone who looks at this experience will feel uneasy and wonder if a massive herd mistake has been made and now has such momentum that the disaster is ongoing. A 4% or 2% death rate is very different than a .2% rate. And a 20% infection rate with half of the infected not showing any symptoms is also an interesting projection.
Look at the news clips regarding the Diamond Princess prior to the more complete analysis of the situation. Do you get the impression of an irrational panic - expressing inflammatory certainty yet being ignorant?
I find it amusing that Donald Trump takes a beating on every front, including the Covid issue. He has a style that is easy to dislike and to be uneasy about! Likely he has been pressured into following the herd as well, despite his initial poo-pooing of the seriousness of the situation. But will the slow US response ultimately prove to have been more in touch with reality than the herd sensitive Canadian approach? Nice to not be in a position of having to make these pressured decisions!Will Trump scrap the social isolation approach sooner than other countries? How many leaders look at the Diamond Princess data and think hard about its validity? How will events unfold in Sweden and Japan with the hands off government responses in those countries? What about Brazil and it's cowboy leader?
Are the high death figures in Italy and Spain and New York totally to blame on Covid or are complex mistakes of the past being highlighted? Is the virus an enemy or a teacher - perhaps quite a sober teacher? Will deaths now mean a drop off in deaths over the next few years? Will efforts to avoid the immediate unpleasant situation create an even worse hell relatively quickly?
For most of my adult life I have felt that many stories and cartoons seem like prophetic statements on the antics of the human population. I ran across a coyote and roadrunner cartoon as well as a modified version of the same cartoon, adapted to Donald Trump and the Democrat efforts to impeach him. Obviously some cartoonist had slightly similar thinking to my own! See below.
Mr. Magoo cartoons were based on the character looking like a total incompetent yet everything he did turned out for the better. As we all sit in the audience and look at the Cdn government vs the US government (perhaps both departments make the general population uneasy) are we watching a type of very serious comic show? The very politically correct vs the seeming cowboy bungler? I look at the chaos around me and I am sure that we are observing a highly educational lesson, perhaps even a hard lesson with a bit of humour!
(As of April 4, it seems Trump has swung to an approach in line with most other leaders. Social distancing, huge deficit spending of public funds, major excitement over every death that is tallied up. So the US may not stand out after all.)
Do you see yourself as a soldier, holed up in his fox hole, fighting a terrible Viral Foe?
Or as Sir Albert Howard, do you see the Virus as a teacher who is instructing you on how to run your affairs in a better way?
On April 4 I see a CBC article regarding the Coral Princess which has docked in Miami. Two passengers have died. On all of its "attention grabbing ships" the cruise company to date has had 13 or 14 deaths, mainly on the Diamond Princess. The Princess cruise company had its roots in the 1960s after a man named Stanley McDonald, born in Alberta, secured a CP Rail ship to use as a hotel during the Seattle World's Fair. He then used the ship as a cruise ship to Mexico. The floating hotel and cruise ventures were highly successful and the company pioneered the development of larger and still larger cruise liners that were specifically designed to be small destination cities all in themselves. The "Love Boat" TV and movie series, which McDonald authorized, had a huge impact on the development of the company as well as the cruise industry.
Several of the huge Princess cruise ships have had Covid issues and have received a great deal of negative press coverage. Cruise ships have been blasted by the press for being floating disease cells where transmission is difficult to avoid. Yet to date, even with older passengers making up a high percentage of the occupants, the number of deaths can hardly be labelled as "shocking". I see that the Diamond Princess has been cleaned up and disinfected and is back in operation as of the end of March.
On March 31, BBC had an article on the impact of Covid on Nigeria. The heading was "Lagos lockdown over coronavirus" 'How will my children survive?'
Toward the end of the article, the reporter is talking to a lady at a crowded bus stop in Alapere. Hawkers are competing for every inch of available space to sell their wares, ignoring any thought of social distancing. Most were not concerned about the virus. "All death is death", the woman, who is selling smoked fish on a tray says in Pidgin, as she nipped between two yellow buses. "If I stay home, I die of hunger, if I come out to hustle, you say I will die of coronavirus. There is nothing we have not seen and we are still here. We will survive this one", she said, smacking her lips.
Kicking back to an Albert Howardism; "My main teachers are the peasants and the pests!" The African lady, myself, and likely you, a reader, are not in a leadership position of significant importance. What any one of us thinks or does has minimal impact on others. But we each have a mind and a personal path and keeping one's eyes open for lessons is of great personal value and ultimate importance. Even if you follow herd "rules" you can still keep your mind and senses free and your learning channel open.
I am impressed by what I see as a worldwide panic reaction that is very different from the outlook of the poor "peasant lady" in Nigeria. I am impressed by the growing reality of major economic system failure and perhaps a gradual move by the media to get excited about that. I am impressed by the sudden switch from the horrors of CO2 production and its coming effects to the horrors of the coming Covid tsunami. I am impressed by the impact this mental storm has had on those around me who have been programmed to look on each other with suspicion whenever they come near each other. And it seems many, perhaps most, feel that death is looking over their shoulder or is lurking at their finger tips.
I have a 60 yr old neighbour who was in a long aisle at a supermarket along with one elderly lady, who was wearing a mask and rubber gloves. It is possible this occurred during an early morning "seniors" shopping period - I am not clear on how precisely defined this was. I doubt that here was a machine gun totting guard at the door checking birth certificates - thankfully! But the older lady approached the 60 yr old and told him "You shouldn't be here" and turned and sped away with her shopping cart. Shortly after this unpleasant experience, Mr.60ish confronted an old friend who, with a fearful look in her eyes, backed off with her shopping cart as he got somewhat close. But the stories reflect what happens, to a degree, with almost every human meeting. Neither party is quite sure how to act. "Normal interaction" is strained. Life and a living society are systems and systems function on interaction. Kill interaction, flow, and exchange and eventually you seriously damage or kill the systems.
It will be interesting to see if the old lady in Nigeria is wiser than WHO and most world leaders. Maybe not. But I will be watching and thinking about the issue. I am confident that the current storm is not understood fully and many "high impact" decisions are being made on very imperfect levels of understanding. And a lot of people may be creating a growing wave by giving other people credit for being wiser than they, perhaps, really are.
Notice how the CBC reporter snipes at the Japanese approach and admits that things have gone "surprisingly" well to this point but seems to try to tell readers that the future does not look good. He and others want you to know that many things are being done "incorrectly". Note how William Adams observed that the Japanese in 1600 might not have been as advanced in warfare as Europe but they sure knew some simple tricks that would have minimized things like the Black Death! CBC's Petricic says "Many consider Japan's tidy streets and personal hygiene as its protective shield."
Personally I am delighted with the freedom from interruption that I am experiencing as the world around me locks down. I am getting a long list of jobs looked after that have been put on the back burner due to having to look after the business affairs of others. I even have time to type this expression of frustration - and pleasure! I feel life is enhanced by the occasional "shake up"! And I feel I am witnessing an exciting, factual, documentary production, that in hindsight, I will be very grateful at having been able to watch - and experience! A kick in the pants or a slap on the back - either experience is educational.
On April 5 I notice a BBC article on the Ruby Princess cruise liner which is off shore near Sydney. According to this report, 10 passengers have died which conflicts with the earlier article on the Coral Princess, at Miami, which indicated that the total number of Princess line deaths was in the 13 range - obviously an incorrect and low number. Regardless, given the huge capacity of the cruise liner fleet, the death figures, given the older passengers involved, are not in a range that fits the level of media buzz. The "mini world" liners are marvellous test cases that do not support the panic mindset of most of the world.
Another April 5 BBC article deals with the approach of the Dutch government. Their approach is catching flak from just about everyone else, except perhaps from the Swedes who are basically on the same page. The Dutch are taking a "brutal" approach of not locking down everything and relying on general common sense of the populace to keep a disease surge from occurring while the disease takes its course and general population immunity develops. Will it work? Again, exciting to potentially have a test case to compare with the far more common "lock down" mentality - which also turns the non-compliant into societal villains. I think of an old Calvin Coolidge quote; Never go out to meet trouble. If you just sit still, in nine cases out of ten, someone will intercept it before it reaches you. Exciting. Are you enjoying the show?!
Are we seeing a human effort to restrain the tide? Is nature engineered to move towards sustainable biological equilibrium? Are viral deaths because of some new "super microbe" or does the ongoing reality of long term human life plus the fact that huge numbers of people don't even get sick, tell you that there are underlying causal factors linked to actual deaths.
April 6, 2020: I am sure many people are pointing this out, but for good reason. It is a neck snapper to eye the Worldometers home page and scope out the stats for things like suicides, smoking related deaths, malaria deaths, HIV related deaths, seasonal flue deaths, bad drinking water related deaths, hunger related deaths, or a biggy - abortions. Lot of medical staff are busy with abortions! Medical expenditure is an actively spinning number as well. Then click on the Covid link. Watch that number for a few minutes - not quite as exciting as some of the earlier categories. Now flip to just about any news channel. Why the shocking contrast? Covid has got to get its act together to live up to all the publicity it is getting or the audience is going to want refunds back on the show! For politicians on the Covid band wagon and currently wildly spending public funds to boost their popularity and support their leadership glitter, I wonder how many feel a bit uneasy with regard to their future in power. If they flub, will their pensions suffer? Maybe!
April 7, 2020; CBC posted an archive related article about the Hong Kong flu which (the article states) killed 7000 people in the UK in four weeks near the beginning of 1970. Dr. Peter Middleton from the Toronto Sick Children's Hospital is interviewed by Adrienne Clarkson on Take 30. There are two video clips of the calm interview that are sandwiched between current and excited Covid-19 related media presentations. No thinking person can watch this (notice the sarcastically underlined word) and not ask themself if the interview took place on a planet other than the one we are currently living on. Middleton would risk jail or being fired from his medical job if he conducted himself today on CBC television in the same manner as he did then. He seemed intelligent and sincere. Where is the glitch? Is Covid-19 a dramatically better virus vs earlier viruses? Is the state of individual immunity, on average, far worse than in 1970 and if so, why? Does the clash compliment Sir Albert Howard's theorizing? Why was Dr. Middleton not super hot on vaccination being a solution for the virus "problem" which he was obviously well aware is an ingeniously and reliably adaptive biological system that is difficult and costly to fool.
A morning check of Worldometers has seasonal flu beating out Covid by 1.66 to 1. Covid may narrow the gap yet but how will the 3.66 to 1 lead of suicides over Covid react? An Angus Reid pole that was aired on CBC radio yesterday indicated that Cdn minds are very troubled and economic realities are eating in with increasing fury. A 1% rise in suicides equals a 3.6% rise in Covid deaths? The question of "Given the tactics that have been adopted in response to Covid, how do governments go about turning the oxygen tap back on?" is increasingly, and logically, being raised.
April 11, 2020: I often listen to CBC as I work in my workshop and, as with most media systems, there is one main topic. Thankfully I have productive work projects that I have been unable to get at for years, so I am having a blissful experience, hammering away at them in the hassle free artificial vacuum. But when I am bombarded by youthful people telling about their apprehension and fear of getting Covid infected, I experience mental turmoil. Am I crazy or are they crazy? I am over 70 and I am not worried. Where is the evidence of significant risk to young and healthy people. Media excitement does not constitute health risk - political and serious economic risk perhaps, but all ages are not dropping dead in their tracks and test cases like cruise boats prove the point. Covid is really contagious but it is not a killer for most people. Spend time fearing something like cancer.
Today, April 11, I checked the seasonal flu stats, Covid stats, suicide stats, and smoking related death stats for the year. From 8ish in the morning to 8ish at night, seasonal flu deaths went up 758, suicides up 1667, Covid deaths 4980, and smoking related deaths up 6461. Now how many smoking related deaths were stolen by Covid deaths and how many cancer and heart disease and old age deaths were stolen by Covid, who knows - but I assume, plenty. What was the hit on young and healthy folk - likely very low and in competition with bathtub slippage deaths.
Covid is not inconsequential but the excitement level is over the top. If .001% of the world population dies from Covid - and a definition here would be helpful. Are we talking "dies from" or are we talking "gets pushed over the edge by"? But .001% of the world's population is close to 8 million people. For Italy - 60,360. For Spain - 46,940. For the UK - 66,650. For Canada - 37,590. For the USA - 327,200. For a 3700 passenger cruise liner full of old people - .5% is 18.5. We have a long way to go to get to these figures. They are impressive figures but the % is small. When 5% of the world's population dies, even from Covid related deaths, that would strike me as impressive.
In mouthing off my frustration with the bizarre mind set that is gripping the world, I am struck by the following analogy. I obviously think that most health issues have a close connection to life style mistakes that are either fully acknowledged or done out of naive ignorance, but mistakes never-the-less. There are times when every little individual has to stand back and look at humanity as a whole - almost like a personality with a mind of his own. It is a reality of life that many causal factors of day to day situations have a history much longer than a single human life span, and to achieve an accurate viewpoint and understanding, an individual has to recognize this and adopt a view that factors this reality in. So look at Mr World as a person. My characterization is a bit warped by my living in the wealthy part of the world but my character is an adult who has lived a charmed life of wealth and prosperity based on wealthy parents. He feels entitled. He has a fast sports car. And he gets a huge speeding ticket ($2000) for a wildly over the top speeding incident - perhaps setting a speed record on public roads trying to circle his city on a ring road and recording his stunt for a Youtube video that illustrates the immature risk he posed to others. He gets called to account and nailed. But he feels scandalized. Why should "I" be treated in this way? So, even though he doesn't stand a hope of winning his case, he hires the best lawyers and fights the charge. He stalls off paying the fine but when the story is done, he is out the legal charges, the fine, and a lot of time that could have been productively used for positive projects other than stalling of the inevitable. And is he wiser? Did he learn anything from the exercise? Does he still feel scandalized by his punishment? Will he pull similar stunts in future?
And that is how I see the Mr World of today. Virus diseases are as ongoing as waves on the ocean. Some may well be somewhat worse than others and some may be generated by foolish stunts like ingesting substances that should not be ingested. But there has never been an example of a disease that came close to wiping out humanity and all of the really bad experiences have been linked to factors like foolish filth or warfare or, I personally believe, other health related factors that are well within human capacity to understand and do something about - or to at least acknowledge.
Spoiled Mr World has been hit with a speeding ticket. A mistake or mistakes have been made. Is he going to eat his pride and pay up or is he going to stall, fight the charge, make matters even worse, and still have to pay the fine - because reality is in his face? The current problem is that "we have a problem". A lot of people are alive because of a huge medical system that is financed by a huge, specialized and interdependent economic machine that mankind has assembled. And that machine has some failings akin to a person being run over by an ambulance and having the driver jump out and tell the poor soul "Man, are you ever lucky I happened to be right here!"
But this is the world we live in. If we are being analysed by a super-wholistic doctor he is going to take all our health factors into account and recognize that each of us has an intimate connection to our "around". The elderly have pension funds that they are dependent on. They are dependent on medical systems that are powered by the general economy. The young have education needs and housing needs that need to be affordable. The poor have needs that are often factored out of the overall economy. Yow! We have a speeding ticket. We have made a little mistake! This is going to hurt but it has happened. How do we minimize the total pain?
I feel that the evidence is screaming that we are living in a weird glitch where Mr World is intent on trying to avoid that fine and is blind to the long term and frightfully destructive impact of his stalling mindset. This is my rant on my opinion and my personal frustration!
Here are some other observations of the week.
A March 28 CBC article shows that WHO head Ghebreyesus intentionally kicked out unrealistically high kill rates for Covid in order to scare politicians into getting into action with social distancing and lockdowns. Will he ultimately be charged with starting a stampede where thousands are trampled and all because of a fire in a metal garbage can? A second website link provides multiple expert opinions marvelling at the wild panic level that the world has climbed into. Which "expert" is looking at the entire picture and which "expert" is providing accurate guidance. It would seem that Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is closer to the the panel of sceptical experts than he is to WHO. Given the scorn Bolsonaro gets from the media, what does this say? Here is another of the current world's polarized debates!
Here is an April 11 BBC article discussing how we get out of the "social distancing / lockdown" mode and I feel helps to accentuate the views of most of the 12 experts on the folly of the approach in the first place. Covid is a problem but to adopt a previously unheard of world shaking stalling tactic that can be seen as simply a coward's approach to avoid getting down to actually solving a REAL PROBLEM seems to be the tactic of fools. There are much more promising way to protect the vulnerable - ways that don't risk sinking the ship that everyone is floating on!
Below are several photos from the March 24 and April 7 Grainews publication. I was amused at Lee Hart's column and his article modifications. The situation reflects a reality of life. I can blather all I want with no reaction from anyone because few people read what I write nor feel they need to put importance on what I say, and I am not in the employ of a publication that depends on revenue from the big system. My wife writes on occasion for Grainews and it is a pleasant and homey farm publication. But I am sure Lee's March 24 article got lots of reaction and some of it was likely very negative. I suspect he was directed to back off - which he sort of did - but I am not totally convinced that he really feels that his initial article was that far off. Both articles are good! Not sure how easy the photo is to read. For sure, if you are running off a cell phone, good luck with your vision! But the articles are also available on the Grainews website - see buttons.
The two ads that follow were on the same pages as Lee's articles. Grainews caters to big agriculture and the chemical companies utilize its popularity. As far as virus immunity goes, even if you only read material on this website, you will realize that some people feel there is a connection between the Covid ruckus and big ag. Al Howard would not be impressed with a lot of Grainews adverts! I find these clashes of viewpoints stimulating. I run an action tag field and over the years we have hosted many big ag and ag chem groups. Some people see Monsanto employees as villains but I have known many of them and Monsanto and now Bayer hire outstanding staff. We all live in a big system and interact with big ag and big pharma and big finance and big government, etc. But keeping your eyes open to cause and effect is useful. It is a bit like wandering around near big ag equipment - be on your toes and don't get run over. We all need to be responsible for our own skin, its contents, and its walkway!
Here are a few more photos from Grainews that illustrate Big Ag. There is a connection between these photos and the lockdown / social distancing policy. We live in a highly specialized and highly interconnected economic system. It has major similarities to our bodies. If you shut down an 8th of the big system you could well kill the entire system just like knocking out your kidneys would mean the end of you heart, lungs, and brain. Everything is connected and interdependent. The advisors who pushed for the Covid response seemed to lack an appreciation as to how human interaction is such a major part of the BIG SYSTEM that we humans have built and exist in. It is a system that has flaws, but here we are, and being blind to the facts is not helpful.
When farms get to the scale illustrated, they cannot take a holiday whenever they want. All that steel and the land that is needed to utilize it don't come free. The Big System had better keep running or farming operations are going to go broke and die and the world's food supply comes from such operations - increasingly. The barter system doesn't cut it in the Big System and Big Finance is vital. And Big Finance is a system that lives and breathes along with the rest of the sub systems in the Big System. Beat it up too much and it is not above heart or lung failure. The current world-wide veto on human interaction will put a lot of the world's vital sub-systems under enormous stress!
April 15, 2020: I plan to make this my last entry for the time being and I will try to avoid getting myself in a knot over what I see as a strange worldwide mental viral sickness - highly contagious and damaging. I will achieve this "relax goal" by simply working at jobs that are under my nose - jobs that are a pleasure to have time to work at! (Couldn't do it - constantly seeing and hearing what I regard as mass insanity keeps me mouthing off!)
I will make a prediction with regard to the future. My guess is the Covid disease will fade out like similar diseases before it. My guess is that the death count will not come close to matching the hype the disease has been given and that the deaths that do occur will ultimately be linked, for the most part, to wide spread underlying health issues that have been building up for years. And I also expect the economic impacts, that will result from the medical and governmental reaction to the Covid disease, to dwarf the excitement that we have seen to date. I feel that this econo-tsunami excitement will have substance - something worth getting excited about. It will be wonderful if I am wrong on this count, but given the shaky state of the world economy prior to Covid and the CO2 hype that consumed the media and minds prior to the second "Co-driver" getting behind the wheel, the chances of a massive pileup seems very high! And an Econo-crash will lead to a domino effect of glob after glob of "excitement" hitting the fan.
I feel that human society, as a whole, in the short term, isn't going to learn much from the Covid experience. It could. But it won't. On an individual basis, though, the wise learn from their mistakes. The wiser learn from the mistakes of others. And many have the capacity to avoid learning until they are beaten to a pulp, and on the surface, would seem to have avoided learning altogether! But from there I feel one launches into the philosophical and theological, and that truly scientific area generally gets a discussion veto from the current ruling theology body that has snagged a copyright on the "scientific" title.
A piece of reliable advice if you want to get along with people you meet is to avoid discussing politics or religion. Covid talk, unless it is handled like "weather" talk and simply parrots the party line, has the potential for qualifying as both. "Science - so called" in this case takes the place of "religion".
“The ease with which crops can be grown with chemicals has made the correct utilization of wastes much more difficult. If a cheap substitute for humus exists why not use it? The answer is twofold. In the first place, chemicals can never be a substitute for humus because nature has ordained the soil must live and the mycorrhizal association must be an essential link in plant nutrition. In the second place, the use of such a substitute cannot be cheap because soil fertility – one of the most important assets of any country – is lost; because artificial plants, artificial animals, and artificial men are unhealthy and can only be protected from the parasites, whose duty it is to remove them, by means of poison sprays, vaccines and serums and an expensive system of patent medicines, panel doctors, hospitals, and so forth. When the finance of crop production is considered together with that of the various social services which are needed to repair the consequences of an unsound agriculture, and when it is borne in mind that our greatest possession is a healthy, virile population, the cheapness of artificial manure will be considered as one of the greatest follies of the industrial epoch. The teachings of the agricultural economists of this period will be dismissed as superficial.” Excerpt from An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard, pages 37 & 38
* I wonder if that figure rose to 14 - but if so, were those Covid caused or Covid related.
A novel human virus was made in China and in a type of WHO done it mystery, this body virus jumped to the human mind and proved to be so contagious that it quickly infected Mr World Economy, who was very old and unfortunately had several underlying health issues. His immune system over reacted and his lungs filled up with social distancing. The side effects of the early application of a deficit spending respirator proved harmful in the long run. Economic emergency staff were swamped and without protective equipment. Simple human interaction, the cyclical molecular-level driver of society and economics slowed to a sub viable state – the interconnected system, the kidneys and heart, failed from lack of living oxygen flow.
Amateur efforts to simulate this unique flow using electronic connection failed to replicate vital subtleties and the hard logic of experience judged the attempt as sub-standard. Trust, the lubricant of all positive social and economic motion, was drained by the virally generated spectre of imminent destruction lurking in the presence of "anyone", due to the villainous asymptomatic and the innocent looking the same. An unexplained complication was that mental viral victims seemed to lose the capacity to smell the difference between factual and false news. Accurate, objective observation and meaningful feedback evaporated. Single issue health specialists’ efforts to flatten the “curve” were broadly, though selectively, successful in that the economic graph went flat but unfortunately, also with a steep vertical downward angle. (Some few minds, notably Swedish minds, seemed to have had an immunity to the mental virus and, as a result didn’t waste as much of their energy on trying to hold back the tide, avoided shooting themselves in the foot, and let nature take its course, resulting in minimal economic damage. But their isolated success was ignored as whack and then buried in the general collapse of the worldwide house of cards.) Social chaos ensued, creating a perfect Petri dish for regional power block dictators to emerge from and to take a solid hold in! A nasty, friction-triggered international cooperation and trade vacuum formed, and in line with historic human tradition, was quickly filled with intercontinental missiles. In this case, though, the result was again, novel, as for the first time for thousands of years, Total Peace was achieved within hours - due to the marvels of modern, cutting edge destructive technology! The earth quickly returned to an Eden-like state. And the utopian dream that had burned bright in so many fevered minds came true, all little Covid-19s faded away, along with asymptomatic carriers and all potential hosts, young and old. It was an unlikely tale of the world moving from old to young. A pity that the market for dramatic short stories also disappeared!
A tragically short story:
The Curious case of Aged Mr. World Economy
Mr. W. Economy
Sweden has had about 1600 (I have seen a 2000 figure in other articles) deaths as of this date. Far more than Finland and Denmark. But who has died and why, needs to be considered. And percentages need to be looked at. .1% of the Swedish population is 10,238. 1600 is .0155 of 1%. That is a very low percentage. How many Swedes die of cancer in the same time period AND on an ongoing basis? Will many of those who died, reputedly from covid, drop the mortality stats for next year? And individual characteristics and circumstances and realities need to be looked at. How many deaths were connected to folks who were being held slightly out of the reach of the jaws of death by a drug cocktail diet? Why does the immigrant population take a bad hit and where does poverty fit in? Why do a vast number of people not even know they had the disease? And look at the dark "lock down" valley still ahead for Denmark, Finland, and France. Will those countries be paralysed into an ongoing "repeater" nightmare while Sweden buzzes happily along its smooth path after simply paying the piper? How many Danes and Fins will die due to lockdown related side effects as well as from eventual Covid spread? A former US president once said "When you see ten troubles heading your way on the road, just relax. There is a good chance that nine of them will go in the ditch before they get to you!" We will see if the Swedes lend support to that observation!
Photographs can be selected to advance the spin of an article but I think that any normal mind has some appreciation of the smiles on these Swedish young people that certainly is not representative of the mood in the broader "locked down" landscape!
On the morning of April 25, the following screen capture was pulled from the BBC News website. A clash of thinking is evident. What "evidence" is WHO talking about? Is the US crazy to "reopen" given the "staggering" death count, which of course is dwarfed by cancer and smoking related deaths? How do you sort out panic hype from applicable information that provides traction? How do you detect output from those who are "high on dreams of destruction" vs common sense?
Have a look at the "Has Sweden got its coronavirus science right?" article and listen to the short 1:22 interview of Anders Tegnell. I am amused at how most Swede related articles seem to discuss obvious positive aspects of their covid approach, somewhat grudgingly, and constantly insert "knife twist comments" that hint that the reporter "knows" that a bad side is in the pipeline or that the government's radical policy is legitimately under heavy attack from many "parties".
I think that there is a bombshell moment in the interview that most people would brush off or not even notice. The reporter sticks in the knife and asks "If you are basing your decision on different data from the rest of the world, what data are you basing your decisions on (gotcha!)?" Tegnell counters and says "But I think the question is - What is the data that the rest of the world is basing their decisions on?" Tegnell's further thoughts show up more clearly in the really good Nature interview that appears lower on the page. A screen shot is pulled from that article and is also featured. In the Nature quote, notice the statement "We do not need to close down everything completely because that would be counterproductive." Another simple statement of a mature and wise mind, but a statement loaded with positive impact.
A screaming failing in the WHO and in the allied Worldwide approach is looking at the covid issue with only one eye and that eye glued to a microscope. The "simplistic" approach to pandemics in past history would be labelled by current covid enthusiasts as being primitive, but it worked because it involved a broader approach - likely unintentional and in part out of ignorance and lack of capacity to do anything else. But it worked, because natural mechanisms, at least, weren't attacked and were able to clean up the mess without having to confront additional screwups and road blocks generated by the abundance of counter productive "helpers". Notice the "trust" screen shot from the Nature article - HUGE - and perhaps the key underlying error of the WHO style approach. See my comments with the associate screen shot.
Below: a screen shot from the Anders Tegnell interview. Listen to it and think about it! Here is a man who seems to have avoided the worldwide mental virus.
The two following screen shots are from an April 21 2020 Nature article. A link button is provided. The article is excellent for probing the thinking of Anders Tegnell. The first screen shot points out that the Swedes did not leap at the WHO effort to spook governments into drastic action (see article posted higher on page where a WHO official states that this was an intentional WHO move) and perhaps looked at information more in line with the cruise liner analysis that is also covered earlier on this page. Critics can point fingers at Sweden but as Anders points out, where is there dramatically better performance? AND, where is there anywhere near the minimal peripheral damage!
The screen shot below, from the April 21 Nature article has a point that is core to the situation the world finds itself in. It is a point that Sweden got right and WHO and others got terribly wrong.
First, no one is arguing that covid is a non issue. It has happened and whether blame can be placed or not, it is here. Deaths are going to result. How can damage be minimized? Everyone is confronted with that complex set of decisions. Sweden is an outlier and there is reason to watch their confrontation with reality closely. Sweden certainly didn't do 'nothing' but they didn't do some things that were sure to promote failure.
The core point I see is the term "trust-based" measures. Grass roots relational health was maintained - not kicked to pieces.
I have expressed the thought elsewhere that the molecular base of society and an economy is person to person interaction. Small scale, minute by minute, day by day, in everyone's face, contact with anyone and everyone. When each 'incident of contact' is over, was it good or bad? Is the stage set for another contact? Will it be better or worse? Are we winning or losing? Each contact takes energy and mental input from two or more personalities. Is the energy there and is it well spent, wasted, or used selfishly or destructively? And the community or national or worldwide sum of all those basic interactions blend into the human life system on planet Earth.
The flow of individual connections can be impacted by trends and cycles that develop in the herd. Leadership can have a large impact on individual interactions. An economist in past made the observation that when 51% of people are honest, the economy keeps running. When only 49% of people are honest you have a depression. Moral values can rise and fall. Wisdom and foolishness can rise and fall.
A major factor impacting interactions is 'trust'. How can you have high quality interaction with someone you don't trust? And if you are involved with others in a project where there is a lot of uncertainty or disagreement, forward progress is often impacted by trust or lack of trust. You may be unsure or worried about which action or decision is correct and the uncertainty may result in interpersonal friction - and low quality connections. And leadership can impact the working environment greatly - VERY GREATLY! And leadership takes place on many levels.
The establishment approach to covid was to scare the hell out of everyone so that they would follow a dictated course of action which the hard logic of experience quickly indicated was extreme. For example, cruise liners didn't suddenly have half their passengers drop. Corpses were not being dragged out of cabins nor people collapsing over the rail and into the ocean. The numbers didn't match the hysteria. But never mind that trivia - let's push on. Then, to add to the panic, a huge issue was made of the horror of the hidden asymptomatic carriers who could masquerade as a healthy person. Staying away from others was the magic formula to avoid the 'deadly' plague, 'swamping of the medical system' nightmare was dramatized, and 'flattening the curve' was held up as the current 'great virtue'. Somehow, stalling on paying the piper was toted as being the 'SOLUTION' even though such claims were rediculous - it was stalling, not solving. Personal economic survival and the economic life of the overall economic system was thrown to the wolves with the brush off that the 'disease horror' had to take precedence. Obvious suffering was 'addressed' by public purse handouts that have no hope of equalling the massive needs triggered by the enforced shutdown. And the unavoidable 'reentry route' was and is cushioned in the fear loaded threat of shutting things down again if the infection level goes up again. What a nightmare!
Now consider what happened in Sweden - sort of like happened throughout history up until Covid-19! I assume the leadership in that country has been relatively competent in past and holds some respect from the citizenry. Anders Tegnell, the chief public health agent of the state, apparently was a front man for the Covid response. It seems that he was in close cooperation with the political wing of the nation and between them they took a broad view and considered the people as well as the systems of living that everyone existed in and depended upon. The unified leadership addressed the citizenry as adults, not as immature children who needed an autocratic school master to manipulate their minds. Tegnell apparently was respected - likely for good reason. He didn't grandstand and pump sentimental blather and he didn't make off the wall demands that were impossible for people to swallow without going into a state of shock. He didn't make impossible demands nor nail the asymptomatic but acknowledged that the asymptomatic were minor players in the whole drama - look folks, don't even worry about this issue (see associate screen shot). The populace were advised to follow reasonable practices to avoid a spike with the obviously highly contagious disease but rules were not so drastic that suddenly everyone was monitoring every other person's affairs. The economy kept running and government spending of public funds was not necessary. And life went on. An underlying plus may have been that youthful citizens busily spread the disease without even knowing what they were doing, damage was so minimal that there was not bad reaction, and it seems that herd immunity is developing in the nation. Elderly and those with compromised health are at risk and realized they have to be careful but just as life and shit happen, they likely realize that this disease innovation is unfortunate and do not expect the entire system, which they depend on as much as everyone else, to grind to a stop. Contrast the Swedish story to the mess elsewhere.
I look at the fragmented gang of handout showered paranoids holed up in their shuddering Canadian economy and I look at the Swedish situation and it makes me sick.
As I call it quits for this rant session, consider today's screen shot from CBC vs some of the article material on Sweden. We are talking two different worlds and two different mind sets. Is the CBC view accurate? Well, if so, why not roll over and die! I wrote a couple of Cdn politicians and gripped about the local approach vs what could be happening. Needless-to-say I did not get any response. Things happen due to politicians but they get their support from backseat drivers. Emails are cheap and if they are written with a degree of logic, several of them might have an impact. Today there were small protests in Ottawa and the protesters appeared to get leper status from the powers that be. At some point reality will turn the mental tide and force the acknowledgement of serious errors of judgement. Given the worldwide magnitude of the blundering, it is hard to see how we can come out of this without a major beating, but why not go out with some enthusiasm and not simply like a whipped dog that has lost its bark!