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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/14/20

Covid-19 Corona Virus Open Thread

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We are in unexplored territory. Now that Trump has declared a state of Emergency the Stafford Act goes into effect. Part of it states:

"gives the President the authority to determine any rule or regulation that may be necessary to carry out the powers that he is given in the Act."

That's scary. As always, we should assume that what we see Trump doing is just a small part of what he is actually perpetrating.

The good thing is that governors can now request funding from FEMA. The problem is, nobody really knows how to deal with this situation. Yesterday was really crazy. I went to a lot of stores, partly because I wasn't sure how available some things would be, partly out of curiosity. It was crazy. Shelves were bare, lines were incredibly long and many items were being rationed. What's next? Rationing coupons like they used for WWII?

Empty shelves and a line of at least 15 carts where there are usually only 2 or 3
Empty shelves and a line of at least 15 carts where there are usually only 2 or 3
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The governor of PA closed all schools for two weeks. That means my daughter has to work out how to take care of my granddaughter, who is in kindergarten. My younger granddaughter is in day care (both parents work) and my daughter doesn't know yet whether they will stay open. My guess is they won't.

I have friends who recently started restaurants. Talk about worst possible timing. The only good thing is they both do a lot of delivery business. We'll see if that saves them.

I think that this situation could permanently change the way we do some things. Public meetings-- in classrooms, conferences, churches, mosques, temples and synagogues -- may disappear and even become illegal. They could be replaced by digital connection.

Eat-in restaurants may not survive this virus if the situation stays the same for long.

Shopping malls were already in trouble. This will be their death blow. Several in my area have already closed and it is likely we'll more closings soon.

Actually all public and commercial real estate may go through major changes. As the use of these spaces for large groups collapses, the value of the buildings will collapse too. But will be they be used for?

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at RobKall.com

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)
 

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22 people are discussing this page, with 57 comments


lynn Faulkner

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Along with all the issues mentioned in the article, we have an opportunity now to show the world that Americans are not our government and there are many of us who will rise to this occasion with compassion and integrity. Adversity doesnt create character, it reveals it, and we can refuse to allow those without it to fetermine our national character. We can help our neighbors, especially the ones we dont know. We can take unselfish steps to protect others from this illness, as well as ourselves.We can become acquainted with the word "sacrifice," one which too many of us know only through lamentation. As in, "I had to sacrifice going to Europe this year." The time is now or never.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 5:07:53 PM

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Gary Brumback

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Reply to lynn Faulkner:   New Content

Good thooughts!

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 5:14:52 PM

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Michael Dewey

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Reply to lynn Faulkner:   New Content

Good thoughts for what looks like the closest thing to able to shut Babble-on down, before thrown down in one hour. Not talking of end of world. Goal is the peace and freedom dreams of the good news that much of the church has given a bad name too.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:20:26 AM

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Gary Brumback

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A new threat, the pandemic virus, has now been added to another pandemic, one as long as this nation has existed, the pandemic of a small virus of power elite ruining our nation, its common people, and much of the rest of the world. Unless we stop the power elite, they won't stop until the end of humanity at their hands.

Believe me, I'm not exaggerating. I've been up and down this road many many times.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 5:19:49 PM

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David Wieland

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Are you talking about the COSTCOVID-2020 panicdemic now? Stocking up on toilet paper is more useful that Trump's remarks -- but just as bizarre. If only reality could be seen through the curtain of fantasy. For that, I recommend Dr. Centeno's clear observations.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 6:59:56 PM

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Gary Brumback

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No, I am talking about the wrongdoing and evildoing of America's tiny but mighty power elite. Please see 911rescueamerica.com

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 11:33:35 PM

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You're exactly right, Gary. What I posted on another blog:

Last Wednesday I had to make an emergency trip to NY. On the way back I stopped to buy groceries in Greenwich CT at a Whole Foods - a store where every single car in the overflowing lot was either a Mercedes or a Range Rover. While standing in one of the long check-out lines packed with the creme de la creme of upper middle class America, I overheard one of the cashmere draped women in my line say to her similarly dressed freind in an adjacent line: "You know we're leaving tomorrow for Steamboat Springs to get in the last skiing." To which her literal isomer replied, "Oh really, we're leaving Monday for Aspen." The exchange was an ironic epiphany that the Upper Middle Class are the unwitting carriers (again, think Eloi) of their own demise, and that I was standing at a COVID-19 epicenter.

You wonder if in a year these 1 to 5%ers will have the same insouciant conversation after the realization sets in that the vulture capitalists have picked through the carnage of their collapsed small businesses, distressed real estate assets and wounded professional practices. The COVID-19 economic reset will result in vacuuming the accummulation of wealth and assets, up from the ever shrinking 1% - 5% demo to the exponentially richer ruling clique - the royals - whose position continues to consolidate.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 10:41:00 PM

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Gary Brumback

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Thanks, and great comment from you,too!

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I'm sure the Repugs, necons, and neoliberals won't allow this crisis to go to waste. They'll find some ways to use it as an excuse for screwing the poor and the middle class and enriching the 1%, the corporations, and the arms manufacturers. Aren't they already bailing out the stock market and the oil industry?

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shad williams

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It is time we drop the talk about real people getting screwed and talk instead about having the contemptibles sing a different song.

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How would that look?

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shad williams

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Please forgive me for the windy response.

How would that look?

They would sing like the castrata.

A quickening is needed. Nader has already spoken about how the left and right shake off the propaganda and unite against a common enemy. Eugene Debs spoke to both in the same language. You have done and continue to do the same. Thank you.

We certainly have more than the 95 theses Martin Luther tacked to the door of the church to contest the overthrow of the ruling elites.

If I were going to start, one front would be to implement the imperative that communities take control and be responsible for their own security and continue to evolve this process up through the security state.

And if in fact one's home is one's castle then the sovereign individuals therein are royalty. Likewise, we can withdraw our consent to be governed by the murderous, lying, thieving thugs that currently "govern" us whenever we are ready.

People. Get ready.

Have we attacked the warty elites? No, yet they have certainly attacked us, experimented on us, lost custody of their laboratory pathogens over 1000 times in ten years, tricked us into loving their wars and hating against each other as they hide their bloody hands.

And why shouldn't we strike back to take them out? We have a human right to defend ourselves. Are we suppose to tremble at their bullshit laws about sedition when our aim should be to destroy them for attacking us? No!

It is imperative that we begin.

How would it look? They would look like they are exposed in the Social networks that have been around for at least 20 years, and Giants the Global Power Elites, Peter Phillips. We start and move from there and hold them accountable.

The landscape would also feature the armed forces who are ready for a second republic to emerge under the impetus of the people, as they stand down from the protecting the elites, their global enterprises and stolen commons.

And...have the elites foolishly attacked China with a deadly virus and possibly Italy for befriending the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and probably Iran "bad guy", as though there would be no consequence?

And now the world sees the US' hand in the creation of the Corona viruses. Under western media cover in the past 30 days or so the US' other hand quietly pushes low yield nukes onto submarines toward the Persian Gulf and begins preparations to install nukes next to Russia in Poland. Will the Russians, Iranians and Chinese not see them coming?

It looks as though the elites do not know how to manage national security. They have deliberately made us less secure and continue to laugh at us as they once did with the smirking Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge raising the threat level. We must pry national security out of their bony hands.

We are running out of time. Those of us with jobs need to talk to our employers about uniting to stop the madness. Even if they have no interest, we have to start ourselves...placards in the apartment complexes, walking along the street. Everyone has to do something.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 12:27:52 AM

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911TRUTH

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I'm terrified that trump will use this Emergency Declaration, if the pandemic continues to get worse, as his excuse to declare himself "Fuhrer", cancel the election, and "quarantine" all of his political opponents indefinitely.

And don't kid yourself that he's not thinking about that.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 6:27:23 PM

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I thought this long before coronavirus came along, and now is the perfect opportunity for Trump to declare himself dictator. And the gutless Republican members of Congress will go along with it just like they have with everything else.

Remember how the Patriot Act was supposed to be temporary? Seems like a state of emergency could be that open-ended and indefinite as well.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:04:39 PM

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shad williams

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And what?? We are just going to sit around and complain when he tries to do that? Everyone needs to change their underwear and grow a pair, a couple of pair if needed.

We seem to have forgotten, flight to security but which is today diminishing safety or fight irrespective of the offending array and are now standing still mumbling about what to do, immobilized by fright.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:22:54 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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As in every other man-made "crisis" you know drastic changes are ahead, and they aren't for the best of the majority. Look at how 9/11 changed our nation and nobody will ever convince me that wasn't planned and operated by those who wanted a "New Pearl Harbor Event".

This "pandemic" was created by man, highly likely in a laboratory within our MIC. It has spread within nations like China (let's not forget Trumps losing in the trade war with them), Iran (where it appears to be spreading faster than any other country), and Italy.

In the U.S.A. the media propagandists are hyping this to where the people are accepting the "lock down", the many jobs being lost, the $1,500,000,000,000 going to Wall Street and the banks (which have been siphoning $Billions in over-night funds, the price gouging of the likes of Wal-Mart and others as people have been pushed into panic mode. The panic has rising to where people accept anything coming down from the "government".

911Truth may have the next step in this over-throw of our government, but it certainly will not be the last and because of the lock-down no protests will pursue without conflict between the military and the citizenry.

The move to the New World Order One Government World may be in its final run to attaining the goal.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 12:32:18 PM

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Fred W

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"How do you see this "fluid situation" changing our world, temporarily and permanently?"

Many economists see our present economy as extremely fragile, highly dependent on a delicate balance and ready to disintegrate if only given the right shove at the right time. The current situation seems like just the sort of shove they talk about, and if it turns out that way, we may see really large changes, such as a world without much petroleum and electricity, an end to the modern age of plastics, industrialized agriculture, electronics, etc. I find James Kunstler's World Made By Hand novels prophetic. In the quite near future I wonder if there will be enough food and other basic supplies, if transportation and agricultural producti

on are seriously blocked. I'm surprised I don't see much discussion about that because it seems so likely in the near future.

But the most immediate step we need to take is to:

FLATTEN THE CURVE

That is, stretch out the time frame so there are not a lot of serious cases at one time.

Because we've seen in China and especially close at hand in Italy, that a medical system can become easily overwhelmed with a sudden rush of cases requiring intensive care. There are simply not enough intensive care units and personnel to handle very many serious cases at a time, so to try to minimize the number of serious cases at any one time is very important.

The ways to minimize the rate of spread is by now well known. In the countries where strong measures have been put in place new cases drop dramatically. Within weeks we should start to see a large improvement in Italy, for example. "Social distancing" is the key. Don't go out if possible, and in general, avoid contact with other people. And, while it's important to do that on an individual basis, the individual should support governmental efforts to promote and enforce social distancing, such as closing stores and hang-out places like public entertainments and restaurants and limiting local and distance travel.

A more political part is to figure out how to make the above possible, such as giving financial and other support to people who will experience hardship as a result of social distancing measures. Blaming political enemies for their shortcomings is probably not the most productive way to create improvements in social distancing efforts, in my opinion, but others have their own ways of how to solve a problem.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 7:56:50 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to Fred W:   New Content

With fiat all things are possible, until the seller asks for real value in exchange for goods and services. Are you going to sell your precious metals, real estate, food, personal belongings, junk yard materials for nasty paper currency?

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:31:17 PM

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Our System has, within it, the capacity to operate efficiently and effectively if it is operated with honesty and integrity. Our system of currency is necessary to facilitate commerce, without which all of our lives will be reduced in ways that will be unacceptable and filled with deprivation of kinds that people would find quite terrible. At this time, we as a people need to define our needs and values and get leadership who will work to assure that our labors and resources are devoted to the betterment of all of our people and are not misused in horrific and senseless endeavors. That we have allowed, as a people, our very heritage to be squandered by imprudent and foolish people who we have seen and recognized and still allowed to continue with endless foolish undertakings is as equally our shame as it is theirs.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 3:01:43 AM

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shad williams

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I am glad that we have optimists such as you. My cup is 7/8 empty of optimism.

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Attempts to flatten the curve seem to have worked well in Japan. I hope there isn't a resurgence of the disease.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 3:51:04 AM

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Yes, very impressive remarks and observations, Rob. Thank you.

I'm just starting to be struck by the disconnect between the perspectives by bona fide health officials and the media frenzy/hysteria. At first I just accepted that the whole,"It's just like the flu for anyone who isn't elderly and/or with an underlying health issue." was right-wing media propaganda. But that turns out to be the case. And the health officials are talking about a few weeks, or at worst a months-long duration. But the draconian measures being taken everywhere to limit human contact will probably keep the duration to the shorter end of that scale. The main problem seems to me to be the economic repercussions of limiting and/or shutting down so many businesses even in the short run. I can't imagine the havoc that could wreak globally.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 8:12:32 PM

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There seems to be a lot of unclear thinking. In Florida, schools are closed so that kids aren't all coming to a central point, mingling, and spreading the virus. So today, the state's secretary of agriculture announced that all those kids can get lunch. By coming to the central point, mingling, and spreading the virus. I don't spend a lot of time in town even under normal circumstances, and since my wife is traveling I've been staying home and ordering groceries delivered. So far, the only thing the store was out of was a particular flavor of Gatorade. I stocked up on toilet paper, laid in some additional canned goods, bought my St. Patrick's Day brisket, etc. I didn't try to buy hand sanitizer or wipes, but other than that there don't appear to be shortages in north central Florida yet.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 8:17:43 PM

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Don Smith

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Reply to Thomas Knapp:   New Content

Only kids in need of food assistance will come together, and presumably the authorities will be able to make sure that they don't mingle too much and that the kids take precautions.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:15:28 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

"Presumably the authorities ..." are invariably the first three words of something like a religious invocation. Never, ever, ever trust "the authorities" to be able to do anything competently. History says that's the exception. Of course, I want kids to be fed. I'm just pointing out that contra "presumably the authorities," in Florida the left authoritarian hand and the right authoritarian hand don't seem to know what each other are doing. Unlike the situation another poster describes below, the description I saw of how Florida is handling it is "the cafeterias will be open during these hours." Which brings the most vulnerable kids together -- the ones whose parents can't afford to rush them to the doctor at the first sign of illness, etc. -- to pass the virus around amongst themselves. If I was trying to solve this problem, I'd probably have box lunches made and set up a drive-thru distribution system to minimize exposure all around.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:40:31 PM

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shad williams

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You look a little bit krazy, Mr. Knapp. Well done!

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:32:19 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Yes, I look a little bit crazy. And a lot like Salvador Dali :D

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:25:10 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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It looks like Salvador could actually use a knapp....

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 2:25:02 PM

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Janet Loughrey

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Reply to Thomas Knapp:   New Content

Here in Portland, where schools will be closed for at least the next two weeks, there are provisions for children eligible for free lunches. These meals can be picked up by parents or guardians at designated schools between 11am-1pm, which will minimize people congregating in one place.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 3:03:58 AM

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lila york

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Yesterday WHO issued a protocol. They said clearly that failure to implement it will have DEADLY consequences. The US and UK are not following the protocol. Kill all the old people. save the pension funds. Pension funds matter. Human life does not matter. welcome to the US of A.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:22:06 PM

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shad williams

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It will not be the last time the elites used others for their offensive projects and then stabbed their propagandized "comrads" in the back when their usefulness was done...unless we make it the last time.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 9:37:01 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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For more on that, see my response to David Wieland below.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 2:28:34 AM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to lila york:   New Content

You know, I did an "if I was a conspiracy theorist" post just the other day. It built on the notion that COVID-19 is a bio-weapon, and asked "what if the whole point of it is to reduce the average age of the population, and therefore change the ratio of taxpayers to government pension recipients so that Ponzi schemes like Social Security can remain solvent a little while longer?"

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:18:53 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Strong statement from the WHO's Assistant Director, filmed in China. Set to Eric Satie, it's a one minute clip that leaves you sensing the disparity in national mores between us and the Chinese who live in a nation run competently and with a civic wisdom passed along over millennia. We are a nation of emotionally juvenile Vandals, home to the richest man in the world who is asking his employees to pool their PTOs in a time of crisis, and where vulture capitals prepare to rake through the distressed carnage.

You can start the video at 1:45 and stop at 1:50:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UifqVmFncZ8

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 10:24:35 PM

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David Wieland

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

I'm surprised to see such praise for an authoritarian state demonstrating its competence in controlling its inhabitants so thoroughly. But perhaps I shouldn't be, given that Canada's current prime minister has expressed his admiration for that Chinese ability in the past.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 12:48:16 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

A real authoritarian state is one which, in times of crisis, disregards the well-being of its most vulnerable citizens to acheive an overarching goal of seeking profit from it. That would describe the US.

For an exquisitely well reasoned analysis of how this particular crisis underlines the disparity in response between nations with two very different culture imperatives, click on this link I received from my producing partner in Rome:

click here

To translate from the Italian, you can cut and paste (you may have to cut and pasted in three sstages, but it's definitely worth it), and then click here:

nslate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=TT

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 2:03:50 AM

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David Wieland

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

All I can say is that you have an unusual definition of authoritarian.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 2:57:36 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

I thought it was obvious that I was simply contrasting two cultures with different approaches to caring for their citizens. "Authoritarian" is almost always used perjoratively in connotation. It is really a passe denotation when applied to China. The more accurate term would be "one party system," which in reality is also a description that fits the US perfectly. Just staring at a Venn Diagram should make that perfectly clear for those who haven't been connecting the dots and need visual proof. Absent the social stuff in the margins of the diagram, the substanttive core issues in its central body are what matters when comparing nations. Especially vis a vis their relationships internationally. The way nations are coping with COVID-19 makes that case. Hurling perjoratives doesn't.


(Image by Unknown Owner) Details DMCA

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 11:26:16 PM

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David Wieland

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Hmm. I'd say that "one-party system" is simply a very polite way of saying authoritarian system, that is, one in which citizens have very limited freedom. It's not pejorative but descriptive. "One-party system" = "No-party system". You seem to think that's the case in the US, but it's a far cry from China. Of course, any society has social strictures that aren't necessarily connected to electoral politics, but an authoritarian system can dictate them, as was done in Hubei.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 12:39:19 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

Wrong. One-party is not polite, it's accurate. China's system has dealt with COVID correctly. If a nation's policies and relations with the world are in perfect alignment with neocon and neoliberal objectives, and it is continuoulsy suppressing parties and or people with substantive dissenting views, it is in reality a one party system no matter how many parties it calims to have or what kind of sophist response you come up with. The US central policy since 1945 has been a military enforced neoliberal hegemony over the developing world and a feudal restructuring of class privilege for the benefit of a few hundered families. Leadership of each wing of the US duopoly has religiously preserved and advanced this model for 75 years. Ergo, it's a one party system where it matters.

I realize you're a Canadian, so you may not understand the distatse from having your tax payer money go to fund depraved instituions like the School of the Americas or initiating regime change wars, but your high regard for the US political system is as naive and off putting to me as the "world is ending" global warming hysteria is to you (to which I mostly agree, btw).

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 3:14:36 AM

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Ramani K V

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

China deserves to be praised for its extraordinary determination in flattening the curve. Western politicians and media pounced very early on to manipulate this outbreak into a failure of China's one party system, hoping it would lead to their regime change wet dream. To their dismay, Xi is emerging stronger from this.

A crisis of this nature calls for a detachment from political ideologies and politicization. This doesn't mean an authoritarian system is superior to democracies at normal times. But it does demonstrate an authoritarian system is far more effective in coping with situations where speed and decisiveness are important. By contrast, the recent US bill on the virus lost precious days in politicking, each of those lost days a potential exponential rise in the number of cases.

There is a time for politics. Now is not that time.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 4:24:24 PM

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Ramani K V

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The bizarre upside down world our overlords have promoted assiduously since the turn of the century is teetering on the edge of a precipice. Their fantasy is turning out to be our nightmare. Even now, they are able to pour trillions of dollars to save their makebelieve casino economies and power plays in which we are just pawns screeching at one another for their benefit.

Faced with this apocalyptic situation, endless hair-pulling over elections, candidates, the economy, etc., is grotesque. Common sense should tell us the elite have prepared themselves, privately and out of public funds. They have their bunkers stocked up with the essentials of survival. They will try to assert control as long as they are able to. If/when the balloon goes up for good, they will get out of Dodge, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

My earnest advice to everyone is focus on yourself and your families. We are ultimately on our own. Those who prepare themselves early have a better chance of coming out of this intact. I have been stocking up for the past month, cut down on all but essential outings, requested friends to not visit us for a while and taken such other measures as occur to me. There are plenty of survival tips and recommended inventories on the internet. Pay attention to them and act. Now.

Am stepping out for groceries. Malaysia is just a few hours flying time from the epicenter of the virus in China. Each day, the authorities are stepping up restrictions, although a total clampdown hasn't been imposed. Yet.

The best OEN can do at this point is get rid of the priority to political headlines and give prominence to practical, common sense advice on how to deal with this crisis. Sharing updates of our local situations will be most useful. I wish you all the very best.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:31:31 AM

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David Wieland

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Reply to Ramani K V:   New Content

Apocalyptic? Yep, it's a real panicdemic now. Flattening the infection curve is worthwhile--as long as we limit the most disruptive restrictions to no more than a few weeks. Add extra protection for nursing homes and health care workers, and we'll keep a safe distance from apocalypse. This outbreak should improve hygienic practices, including that of doctors.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 3:05:40 AM

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Ramani K V

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

Just yesterday alone, Malaysia had an 80% jump in the number of cases from 238 to 428. The number may seem small but it has to be viewed in the context of Malaysia's population of 32 million. Here is a set of sensible suggestions on how we can get our act together.

From all that I have read, flattening the curve is going to take more than a few weeks. We are looking at months, perhaps over a year to get on top of this crisis. If it doesn't get us first.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 4:12:42 PM

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David Wieland

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Reply to Ramani K V:   New Content

Actually China was slow to recognize the seriousness of the outbreak, persecuted the whistleblower, and finally went all out to eventually reduce the spike. I'm not defending the US approach, but you're giving China more praise than it deserves.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 2:53:17 AM

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Ramani K V

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

You are right of course, David. But I have good reason to praise China. It was the first responder to an unknown and particularly vicious strain of the Corona virus family. I shall not get into the bioweapon conjecture at this point, although I have my suspicions.

China's initial missteps, medical and political, should be viewed against this context. Once the government realized what it was confronting, it swung into action with a singular purpose that democracies -- all democracies, not just Western -- are simply incapable of. It went all out on containment, regardless of the high price it paid in criticism over human rights, freedom of expression and so forth. The kind of extensive measures China took cannot be taken so fast and so decisively by more open societies.

In the balance, China took the brunt of the shock and it bought time for the rest of world. Time that most democracies have squandered. Knowing how the situation escalated in China, these countries should have been ahead of the curve. They wasted one or more months, facing up to the tough choices only when they ran out of others. They should have been more clear-eyed about the medical crisis and taken advantage of China's pathbreaking efforts. Instead, they dithered over the politics of the crisis until the curve caught up with them.

American politicians are playing the blame game against China even today, exhibiting a shameless schadenfreude at Enemy No. 1. They should be thanking it for the hard lessons. A sorry trait of politicians who see themselves as rulers of a world empire is they act like a person with a fish bone caught in his throat when it comes to owning up to mistakes. It sticks in their craws, at times lethally so for their ordinary citizens.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 5:55:03 AM

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David Wieland

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Actually, I now think the most disruptive restrictions shouldn't last much more than one week. In Ottawa, Canada, where I live, the city's chief medical officer has just made a dramatic shift to advising everyone to stay home, if at all possible. That's extremely disruptive and shouldn't be prolonged past the point that it can show if it has any effect on number of serious cases.

It seems clear now that most who contract the virus have few if any symptoms and that advanced age is the greatest risk factor for death (as it is for most mortality). I'm disappointed that the focus is on total number of cases and so little attention is paid to serious cases. This treats citizens as dimwits who can't be trusted to use more caution and hygienic practices, which are long known to interfere with the spread of any contagion, and must be kept out of public spaces and workplaces as the only practical way to disrupt transmission. But maybe that's appropriate, given the fast spread of COSTCOVID-2020 and the emptying of store shelves of toilet paper and such.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 1:09:41 AM

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Ramani K V

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

Tough to tell how long the restrictions should last. As long as it takes, else what's the point?

Malaysia is entering lockdown beginning this midnight following the PM's announcement last night. Today is the last day of normalcy, if one could call it that. People are in panic mode, not the best of times for me to go out and give you a first hand account.

My wife's family are all Canadian citizens. We are in daily touch with them, so am aware of the situation. Stay safe, David, you and your near and dear.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 3:29:10 AM

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David Wieland

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Reply to Ramani K V:   New Content

As long as it takes to do what? If it's supposed to "bend the curve" (flatten the spike), careful statistics should reveal whether that's happening or not. If it's not apparent that is happening, then what's the point in continuing the major disruption? In most of Canada, the number of cases is so low that statistical analysis may be meaningless. Certainly the death rate isn't worrying.

BC had its first case - a man arrived from Wuhan - in late January, and he was cleared on February 19. Overall, there have been a total of 103 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Five have recovered, four have died. A woman in her 80s who was critical is now stable.

Here in Ottawa, our first case was March 11, and the man is recovering at home. On the weekend it was reported that the number of cases had "jumped", doubling to 10. Today it was 13, with no one hospitalized. Yet the health chief went from advising stay home if sick, proper hand washing and "social distancing", including avoiding large groups, to suddenly yesterday evening advising everyone who could to stay home and avoid all groups. Such social and economic disruption has serious negative consequences - and seems seriously excessive. With such low numbers, it will be hard to ascertain the effect of shutting down so much of normal life. There's unlikely to be a big spike now, but unless there's a clear upward trend of some kind, the restrictions should be eased so a semi-normal life can resume.

Instead of accurately conveying realistic risk of serious illness, the authorities keep focusing on case counts, leaving people to imagine each case as dangerous. No doubt that has heightened anxiety and contributed to the "COSTCOVID-2020" emptying of store shelves (Costco being a major one). As a friend put it, it feels as if we're living in The Twilight Zone.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 5:19:40 AM

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Ramani K V

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

We see things somewhat differently. Am sure though we share the same larger concerns. Good luck.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020 at 5:34:36 AM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Will the coronavirus 'just fade away' with the warmer weather much like the regular flu bug does or will it linger on spreading and infecting the nations of the world? The experts don't even know for sure. I visited a nearby Sam's Club looking for their Member Mark paper towels. An employee pulling a skid of goodies told me as soon as some necessity items are put out they're all bought up just as fast. The cashiers had lines going all the way to the back of the store. I came early and got my two dozen fresh bagels and was able to get checked out somewhat quickly in the self-checkout section with less than fifteen items. We won't be able to say 'this could never happen here'. #GetReady?

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 4:16:39 AM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to Lance Ciepiela:   New Content

Virologists are saying that the COVID-19 virus does seem to prefer low humidity, like the cold and flu do. The major outbreaks so far are taking place in a narrow temperate latitude band 30-50 degrees north of the equator. There are cases outside that band, of course (people travel!), but it's not clear that there's much community spread outside it.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 1:24:03 PM

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Helen Carpenter

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Honestly - can people wake up to the agendas here?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjWS9OxjdYo

"People over 70 will be instructed by the UK government to stay in strict isolation at home or in care homes for four months, under a "wartime-style" mobilisation effort by the government likely to be enforced within the next 20 days."

Medical martial law - and you think it won't be coming to the states?

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 12:09:38 PM

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911TRUTH

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Last night Thom Hartmann said that the trump regime turned down the W.H.O. test kits early on so the for-profit labs Quest and LabCorp could develop their own. And, of course, we, the taxpayers, will pay these companies for the same hugely overpriced test kits that we could have gotten from the WHO for almost nothing.

How much do you want to bet that trump either owns huge amounts of their stock or is getting kickbacks from them?

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 5:05:53 PM

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Bob Stuart

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This will behoove a lot of boomers to stay out of circulation. Risk is roughly proportional to age. I'm cancelling plans already, far from any known infections.

Submitted on Sunday, Mar 15, 2020 at 7:20:08 PM

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Patricia 0rmsby

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The dangers of digitalizing our gatherings cannot be overstated. I hope others can see just how much control that gives the alphabet agencies and other hostile powers over us. It's a tyrant's wet dream.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 3:41:01 AM

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Mark Sashine

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Well, if any of you have any clout with authorities, here is something for you to become useful; I already annoyed all the people I could there. When during the war Manhattan Project started to develop the nuclear bomb, the problems were insurmountable; nobody knew how to deal with enormous issues and there was no system, no structure, no production, no people, no transport and lack of brains to even think that it could succeed. I am not even mentioning cost. But it succeeded. It succeeded due to two reasons: money and discipline. It was an abundance of money and very powerful disciplined people in charge. They made the process permanent, and that infrastructure still exists. Now, here we have no war. We have unbelievable abundance of money, We have resources beyond belief. We do not need secrecy. And we fail miserably.. The crucial components: ventilators, meds, health stuff, transportation, etc.- are to be militarized immediately, the money should be showering on the producers and the equipment has to come out of the doors every hour or else... GE and McKesson, all the main producers of that equipment are to be told to halt all the other production and increase the capacity so that NOT EVEN ONE patient could be abandoned. We should impose a martial law on the life - saving equipment and vaccination , open special hospitals only for CORVID patients, confiscate big mansions and put hospitals there... If that does not happen- I am very sorry, but we will blame only ourselves. But if that does- we surely will not have to have these discussions about toilet papers and eternal love. So, go to your phones and demand actions and raise Caine and make the people in charge accountable, I do not want to sound bad, but you all have guns, don't you. Demand the money to work for you- you earned it. Then go and wash your hands. Good will hunting.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 6:53:07 PM

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