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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Clash of the Biological Imperatives

Silverfiddle Rant!

“Nature cares nothing for logic, our human logic: she has her own, which we do not recognize and do not acknowledge until we are crushed under its wheel” -- Ivan Turgenev

Turgenev's response is all I have to the endless string of articles wringing hands over the horrible possibilities:  The pandemic could last years, there may be no immunity conferred on those who have had it, second wave fears, mutations, etc.

This statement by a medical doctor was flagged by faceboot as "misinformation," but Politifact rates it as "mostly true." (A minor quibble over what he was arguing against prevented an unqualified "True" rating).  So, the facts of the statement are 100% accurate:
"The consensus medical view is that this virus is here to stay. In other words, this virus cannot be defeated simply by staying inside for a couple of months," wrote Murdock, who said he was observing from the rear of the rally at a safe distance to gather material for a memoir. "The world will likely see periodic outbreaks, and we need to accept that and be prepared to deal with COVID long term."
You don't defeat a virus any more that you conquer fire or tame the ocean. Viruses are a vital component to life on earth.  I recommend the book, A Planet of Viruses, by Karl Zimmerman, that explains how viruses fit into nature's big picture.

I'm also reading a fascinating book, Spillover, by David Quamman (published in 2013) that details how viruses spill over from animals to humans.  He explores questions such as, why are strange new diseases emerging now?  He cites research pointing to zoonoses from wildlife contributing to over 60% of emerging infectious diseases.

Why?  Because we humans are breaking into wild habitat and disturbing virgin ecosystems at an ever increasing pace.  All habitats contain reservoirs for viruses, but odds are primeval habitats contain viruses we have never seen before, and some can be deadly.

Quamman makes the point that in North America and Europe, we call wild animals we hunt and eat "game," while in Africa it is called bushmeat, imputing negative connotations, much like Chinese "wet markets" are now cloaked in opprobrium. Point well taken, but Asia, Africa and South America still host dark recesses unexplored by humans and vast undeveloped habitats.  Here in the picked-over continents of North America and Europe, we have few such pristine areas left.

Yes, viruses and diseases still lurk in North America and Europe, and they are known: For years here in Colorado we had to follow special procedures when hunting and dressing elk because of Chronic Wasting Disease. In the west we also have Hanta Virus (of Korean origin), anthrax, Kreutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Military people who have traveled the word are familiar with these names. I can't give blood because I was in Iraq and Afghanistan. People living in Europe during a Mad Cow outbreak (a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) also cannot donate blood.*

Finally, here is a quick primer on where viruses come from and how they can end up in humans: CDC - Principle of Epidemiology - Chain of Infection

What say you?

* - I have heard there is a time limit on this, but I haven't found a definitive answer.


  1. "People living in Europe during a Mad Cow outbreak (a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) also cannot donate blood.*"

    Hey, I didn't know that. Obviously we all lived through it over here, so we don't have that rule here. Makes sense though.

    I think farming practices sometimes have something to do with how virusses cross from animal to human -- they certainly did in the Mad Cow case [which was also trivialised by the then-health minister who responded by feeding his young daughter a burger on telivision, so China's not alone in that impulse].
    More recently, there was a horse meat scandal where processed meat sold as beef was found to contain a lot of horse DNA. I'm no squeamish about eating horse, but it does make me wonder how a meat industry that can't even guarantee the species of the animals its selling can possibly claim with any conviction that their product is fit for human consumption. I feel a lot better about meat when I buy it directly from a farm.

    1. crikey, even for me that's a lot of spelling mistakes. Sorry

    2. Jez,
      No worries. Your comment is comprehensible.


      I suspect the latter, but know nothing about it, since usually I do my to concentrate on things more uplifting and salubrious to mental health than dwelling on disease.

      Lately I'v been listening to selected BBC radio dramas and American radio mystery and detective programs from the 1940's and early 50's for entertainment. I highly recommend it.

    4. I know it by the initials CJD, so the former I think.
      I love how much more available old radio shows are now!

  2. SF,
    You mention the book Spillover in this blog post. I haven't read that book, but I have read this one:

    The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story (2012) by Richard Preston, the author of The Hot Zone.

    Demon in the Freezer, which I have read twice, gave me the willies.

    1. In the quest for understanding bacteria and viruses, the civilized societies are no paragon of virtue when it comes to unethical and inhumane scientific research. History tells us that it included experimentation on young children, particularly those classified as mentally and physically impaired, orphans, racial minorities, and prison or asylum inmates. We cannot escape this history, nor should we try. We must do nothing henceforth to diminish our memory of these poor souls; we must learn from our mistakes. I worry, however, that our learning is insufficient. We must avoid finger-pointing. We must realize that even shameful history provides us with valuable teaching moments.

      Mentioned here a few days ago, and I think the suggestion has merit, is that one problem we have understanding this current plague is that those who explain it in the media know less about it than do their readers—and yet, these under-informed journalists shape our thinking (or lack of it), as well our emotional reactions. What we must do, I think, is distinguish between emotionalism and empathy.

      As already suggested, we must realize that we can never escape our ultimate destiny. As we work to extend human life, we must also strive to make longer life worth living. Are we doing that? In the main, I think we are ... but this too, with so much else in our societies today, has become politicized. We must find an acceptable balance between public safety and individual liberty. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must never take a back seat to longevity—otherwise, our ancestors who gave their all defending it died for nothing.

      Now, if I may, a note for my blog acquaintances at AOW: I find the quality of your posts and comments heartening, and while there are often robust disagreements, there is also a pronounced absence of malice in expressing them. This reflects well on the humanity of those who participate toward those who are suffering tragic losses. It is dialogue done well.

    2. Mustang,
      I hope that we can continue in engaging dialogue done well. Screaming like banshees gets us nowhere fast!

    3. "under-informed journalists"

      we need to find some way of commercially rewarding sober and considered news content, and punishing sensational dross. Maybe we just need less of it, 24 hours is a lot of time to fill even for the shopping channel.

      If your warm comments extend to me, thank you.

    4. Yes, Jez ... they do extend to you.

  3. Replies
    1. I can see why you wouldn't want to deploy carriers to all four corners of the globe, subject to revision as we learn about how efficiently survivors transmit infection. I don't think we know that yet.

    2. I too was surprised to see that, but despite what the article says, I doubt it is permanent. But I can understand it, for reasons Jez has already stated.

    3. No it doesn't to me.
      Is a survivor someone who tests positive but is asymptomatic?
      Herd immunity?
      Sound like grounds for a discharge for the same reasons.
      But then, nothing makes sense anymore, except an inexorablr push to diminish America.

    4. Ed,

      Lift thine eyes to the mountains from when cometh our help

      Our help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.

      He will not suffer thy foot to be moved

      Behold, He that keepteth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

      ~ Psalms (roughly reconstructed from failing memory)

    5. Ed,
      Sound like grounds for a discharge for the same reasons.

      I was thinking that, too. And I wonder how decimating that would be for our armed forces.

  4. Uh, oh!

    15 Children Are Hospitalized With Mysterious Illness Possibly Tied to Covid-19: The health authorities in New York City issued an alert saying that the children had a syndrome that doctors do not yet fully understand.

    First two paragraphs:

    Fifteen children, many of whom had the coronavirus, have recently been hospitalized in New York City with a mysterious syndrome that doctors do not yet fully understand but that has also been reported in several European countries, health officials announced on Monday night.

    Many of the children, ages 2 to 15, have shown symptoms associated with toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, a rare illness in children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries, the city’s health department said

    1. I am in no way trivializing the conditions described, or the "dozens" in Europe detailed in the article, but these are edge cases. You can find them in any phenomena.

      99.99% suffer no effects means 0.01% will, and you can bet your ass the New York Times will find them and blare out their cases to scare everyone back into their homes.

    2. I also note, "many of whom had the coronavirus," which means some of the children with this have not had the coronavirus.

    3. SF,
      I agree that these appear to be edge cases.

      But one doesn't feel that way if the stricken are one's children, grandchildren, etc.

      I also find this interesting on a purely virological level. This Ripley (COVID-19) has some of the properties of HIV. Gene splicing?


      COVID-19 clearly has an autoimmune property.

    4. This looks to me like Korsakoff syndrome which very rare but has been around for a long time. They find that a child has it and has the Corona virus at the same time and, presto, a whole new disease which is blamed on the Corona virus. (Or is called a "form of Corona virus.") In short, this is media bullshit, and they even have the nerve to say that it "resembles Korsakoff disease."

    5. AFAIK there is no evidence that it is related to HIV, and since CV19 has been sequenced I would expect it would have been impossible to hide it if it were. It does make a compelling rumour, though.

      I read this morning that while CV19 can infect T-cells, it doesn't replicate inside them so doesn't have much effect. Whereas HIV is obviously famous for destroying T-cells, hence its very pronounced immunosuppressant response.

    6. Remember, Jez, that HIV meds are successfully used to treat COVID-19. Or so I've read. The link is one example.

    7. Jez,
      HERE is another interesting article on the topic of HIV and COVID-19.

    8. From your second link
      "there’s a precedent: It’s been known for years that the very similar antiretrovirals 3TC and FTC also work against hepatitis B ... Even though HIV and hep B are very different-looking viruses"

      ie, success (results of trials are mixed) of HIV meds against cv19 does not indicate a genetic similarity or gene splicing.

    9. Jez,
      Yes, I know that the evidence of anything right now is pretty thin.

      Hell, the experts don't even know if having COVID-19 and recovering from it confers immunity.

      It's going to be difficult to get "hard evidence" of much of anything about the origin of COVID-19. China is clearly not cooperating. Smells of a coverup to me.

    10. China wouldn't cooperate whether there was anything to cover up or not. It's a point of pride.

    11. I don't think it's mercly pride, Jez. I think it's MALEVOLENCE..

      China has made it abundantly clear that they want most desperately to damage – possibly even DESTROY –– the hegemony thrust upon US because of our decisive victory over the AXIS Powers, –– especially Japan ––, and move THEMSELVES into a position where THEY can DOMINATE the World a THEY see fit.

      A prospect that gives me nightmares since the unchristianized Chinese (the vast majority) in many ways are still BARBARIANS.

      I usually stick up for President Nixon whom I beieve was gravely wronged, but he made a COLOSSAL error when he "Opened Up CHINA" on the mistaken ssumption that China would then naturally adopt Western mores and democratic ideals if we gave them access to all we had to offer.

      NICE IDEA but it was a BIG MISTAKE in my never humble estimation.

      Rather like adopting a Boa Constrictor and giving it the run of the house in the hope it will grow to love you and want to cuddle with you on cold winter nights.


    12. Ambitious is a good word for it. We would do well to properly demand decent conditions and safety standards for the workers who manufacture every good that we import - wouldn't that go a long way towards levelling the playing field?

    13. No. It would be interfering with the way other countries run their internal affairs –– something WE area always being accused of in derogatory fashion, which I must admit has often been warranted since we were thrust into the unbibiden, ungrateful role of playing Policemen to the World.

      Minding Other Peples's Busines – however righteous, none and and therapeutic you y imagine it to be –– is NEVER a good idea.

      Freedom and Justice cannot be GIVEN to a people. Those admittedly desirable things must be FOUGHT FOR and EARNED by those who think themselves oppressed.

      It's a bit like saying to a wayward child, "If you don't eat your stringbeans and asparagus, Nanny's just ging to have to eat them FOR you."

      Now how patently absurd is THAT?


    14. I don't think refusing to import sweatshop goods is excessively interfering or paternalistic. All trades have terms. We can't just export anything we want, we have to meet the buying country's standards, including ethical.

    15. Ah, but I am a firm believer in Laissez faire Capitalism.

      And you seem determined not to understand that YOUR idea of a "Sweatshop" could well be seen by one of your perceived "VICTIMS" as "My Only Source of Income."

      The One-Size-Fits-All approach doesn't work any better when it comes to varying cultures, customs, mores, ethics and morality than it does to the Garment Industry.

      Enforced UNIFORMITY is the very LAST thing we should want for the world.

      Creative accomplishments have always sprung from unusually clever, intelligent, determined, passionately committed INDIVIDUALS with VISION and the courage of their convictions.

      I believe TRUE advances come through natural EVOLUTION not forced REVOLUTiON, the American Revolution being the only exception that I know –– an exception that may well prove the rule

    16. Swearshops undercut ethically responsible operations in our own countries. That's not a problem? What is your opinion of Trump's tarriffs?

    17. I personally favor wage minimums according to skill set. If you have someone who can't even cook a charburger correctly, why should he or she earn $15/hour? On the other hand, if someone is a skilled worker, suggesting experience, maturity, and upward bound, then he or she ought to be compensated for what they contribute to the operation. Anything less than this undercuts "progress" in employment.

      About tariffs: no one likes them, particularly since it is always the consumer who get's the short end of the stick. But let's be clear. If our trading partners were treating the US fairly, the subject would never have come up in the first place. I will go so far to suggest that the British have been getting screwed by the EU since day one ... which (at least to my understanding) was what prompted BREXIT. What is the EU if not national socialism on an international scale. It's what Hitler and Mussolini wanted all along. Time for a reality check, Jez.

    18. It's not just wages, it's conditions. Do we want want to compete with the far East by cutting corners in safety?
      I think EU membership is not zero-sum, it's flawed of course but in my opinion we got something out of it... we shall see. Of course, it's in my disposition to appreciate the restraint the EU imposed on our various Tory governments.
      But in general I think the EU has constrained its leftist members more than the conservative ones (remember Greece?). It's a neoliberal project, not a socialist one.
      And of course, it's a linguistic trick which I hope is beneath you to suggest the EU is sympactico with Nazis.

  5. Doctors spend their lives trying to defeat what is to happen in the end to all of us. At best they extend the timeline. The stronger survive, the weaker die. It is a cruel fact of Nature's way. I try not to think about it as I "age out"
    For the first time our society is having to face these facts head on. It is dawning on more that the many are being asked in theory to give up much on the possibility it may save the few.
    What is happening is that anger is building against the aged and infirm. Yesterday Kill grandma was trending on twitter....watch ahead for the movement to throw Grandma off the cliff

    1. I think that twitter crap you describe is deliberate trolling, and I hope there is no "anger building against the aged and infirm."

      We expect better from our government. We expect our government to be able to protect the vulnerable without crashing the economy, but we see that was too much to ask.

      We just watched a PBS documentary on the 1918 influenza. The vast majority who died were young, healthy children, adolescents and people in their 20's.

    2. I agree with you regarding the trolling and no doubt an attempt to agitate...My Socio-biology - Anthropology background tends to color my perceptions... One could say New York City is vastly over populated...thus making infection the more likely with the end result.
      Your points are well made and agree.....

    3. "It is dawning on more that the many are being asked in theory to give up much on the possibility it may save the few."

      As I see it, the many are being asked to give up much on the possibility that it may prevent a few from growing into many [patients].

      The twitter crap might be trolling, but it's not a million miles away from Dominic Cummings' (UK government advisor) summary of our country's early policy as "if that means some pensioners die, too bad." Maybe he's trolling too.

    4. Jez,

      I have it on good authority from any number of British citizens in my acquaintance who've emigrated to the U.S. to escape the ravages of post-WWII socialism that your Universal Healthcare system has made it plain with its policies if not its language that Britain is doing her best to encourage elederly people to die as sson as posslble lest they become too much of a burden on the National Healthcare System.

      I imagine that you don't want to believe that, and might categrically deny it, but it's not conjecture on my part, rather it's what i have heard from a fair number of" horse's mouths" all of whom left your country, because they've had profoundly negative experiences with your system.

      My own belief in response to all this is that when we try to serve "everyone" equally we annot help but reduc the overall level of care and service to MEDIOCRITY at best.

      In other words the demise of PRIVILEGE is almost certain to spell the demise of EXCELLENCE.

      This seems to be born out in the steady decline and deterioration of QUALITY I've observed with growing dismay over the past sixty-five years in nearly ever aspect of life in these United States.

      I suppose this might stimulate you and others to want a debate over what constitutes quality, but I'm not interested in that, because I know what I KNOW. -)

    5. The NHS has been mismanaged beyond the point of negligence for 40 years. I don't doubt that your friends had profoundly negative experiences, and I dare say they sincerely believe what they told you.

      But I believe they are mistaken ("want" doesn't come into it). I have my own and acquaintances' experiences to draw on, and my medical friends' experiences too. (There are also doctors in my family working in America, but we're not close; it would be interesting to gather their impressions though.) The NHS is not trying to kill off the elderly. (Imagine, really imagine, what that would be like. I would notice. The most recent death I was close to featured at least one more resuscitation than would have been ideal.) There is an acceptance that life is finite, and a reluctance to extend life pointlessly beyond the point of no return, but these are ideas that have been expressed with approval a few times recently by the commenters on this blog -- I can't remember whether you were among them, but you might have been. One of my friends specialises in a hospice, it is IMO a tragically undervalued aspect of medicine. As many of us have been saying, we're all going to end up there.

      Private coverage is available in England of course, but in my circle of experience the medical aspect of NHS care is equal to that which is available privately. The admin might be a pain in the arse, but the actual surgery is... excellent, no better word for it. When we elect a government who isn't ideologically driven to strangle it, that excellence will spread to non-medical areas as well.

    6. Thanks for your considerate reply, Jez.

      I didn't mean to give the impression that I believe your government is in cahoots with medical personnel actuallyto KILL OFF the elderly, but what i have been TOLD is that life-saving or life-prolonging surgeries such as coronary bypass operations, and advanced cancer treatments such as removal of a gioblastoma from an aged brain are routinely DENIED British citizens over age sixty or sixty-five, while hew in th United States such procedures are encouraged and often URGED on elderly patients. PATIENTS.

      No one I've known has ever suggested that official cold-blooded MURDER of helpess aged invalids has ever been considered as official policy in Great Britain.

      I'm not good at statistics, but I believe cancer survival rates are considerably greater in the United States than elswhere in the world, but I have no hard data nearby to support that.

      And I'm fairly certain given the nature of the beast that conclsions drawn from research projects on these things probably depend a great deal on who is doing both the testing and the reportage.

      I've found in Musicological circles for instance that shameless exhibitions of bias based on ethnic and national pride run rife in scholarly books and articles. It's so blatant it's actually rather amusing, but I freely admit Musicology doesn't play fasten loos with peopls' LIVES.

      And so it goes . . .

    7. Franco... I've got a friend whose brother died a few years back of a glioblastoma. It's what got Kennedy and McCain too. Now my friend's sister has one. The reality is no one ever recovers from them.

      Should we operate? I don't know. Who should pay the cost? I don't know. Will the person ever recover? Not from what I can tell. At best they might gain some time.

      These are the hard questions of medical ethicists.

      It's like the pastoral dilemma when asked by a family to pray for a terminal brother, sister or parent, close to death? What should we pray for? How should we respond?

    8. I know of one case of glioblastoma which has been "in remission" for years. The exception that proves the rule about this deadliest of brain tumors.

    9. NHS is a problem, but that train left the station a very long time ago. At this late stage, it’s too far along the track. If there is going to be a course change, it will have to be a gradual transition. It is difficult to find an English-speaking doctor in my wife’s hometown. Not being able to understand your doctor is only the tip of that iceberg. The main problem that I see is bureaucrats getting in the way of the relationship between doctor and patient. Not everyone is able to keep their doctor in the UK; shifting or realigning surgical areas is a problem for some. I guess NHS designed surgical areas to help manage patient load; that’s the way single payer works in Japan, too. Of greater concern (as I see it from an outsider’s point of view), is certification and specialization of the medical profession. If I understand this correctly, there are “junior” MDs who earn around £40,000 annually, “senior” MDs who earn around £65,000 annually, and surgeons who make upwards of £125,000 annually. Most people end up seeing a “junior,” whose experience and competence is always questionable. Referrals to more qualified MDs or specialists/surgeons require a lengthy waiting list. Millions aren’t dying off as a result of this system, but significant numbers are ... particularly among the elderly group. This is my understanding. I could be wrong. We lost a dear friend recently to pancreatic cancer because by the time they got around to making a concrete diagnosis, it was already too late for her. It was this very thing that contributed to the early demise of my father-in-law. In my mind, this is not a very responsive medal system. I simply think the Brits deserve better than this, but I also understand that it’s up to them to work it out.

    10. A single-payer system like ours solves a lot of problems; its weakness is must be run competently and in good faith. As I said above, one way or another it's been mismanaged for decades straight. I'm not happy with how Blair's labour party ran it either but at least it's it's exis didn't offend his ideology; the current government is eager to actually dismantle it (they won't admit that, especially in the midst of the pandemic).

    11. I've heard from UK friends that the NHS works well for an emergency (i.e., heart attack), but that anything to do with "wellness" is a wreck -- long waits to see a doctor and incompetent, inexperienced primary care doctors.

    12. This incessant argument we've heard all our iives that Socialism would be just Peachy Keen and Hunky Dory –– the PANACEA for which mankind has yearned and dreamt since human beings stopped swinging from tree to tree and began to form tribal societies ––, if only those leading the pack weren't so stupid, corrupt, lazy, self-serving and incompetent, –– whatever ––, just doesn't hold water, BECAUSE its success would depend on a miraculous ability we obviously do not have to make radical changes in basic human nature.

      To KEEP ON INSISTING –– Failure – after Failure –– after Failure –– after Failure, that "If we just keep TRYING, we're BOUND to get it right someday" fits the classic dfintion of INSANITY.

      Or so it certainly seems to me.

    13. It doesn't have to be a panacea to be a political option, it only has to be slightly better than the alternatives to be the best option.

    14. What WE have enjoyed in the past, –– and to a large extent still do –– IS the best option.

      Again when we insist that "everybody" be treated EQUALLY, regardless of their economic and social status, the result can't HELP but be that "everybody" receives equal degrees of RATIONED and decidedly MEDIOCRE medical care.

      I believe that what you appear to advocate is not going to bring about Great Improvement in Medical Care, but a guranteed REVOCATION of PRIVILEGE. That is, and always has been, the Ultimate Goal of Marxist-Socialist-Utopian Schemes, which ALWAYS require Government COERCION –– often brutal –– to be implemented.

      If ALL can't have the very BEST then NO ONE should have it is REALLY what I think you are saying, even if you don't see it that way. ;-)

    15. Free markets allocate scarce resources by setting the price of the commodity such that demand equals supply. That is a form of rationing. Is it any less brutal?

    16. My guess is that the people who created NHS did the best they knew how in the aftermath of a horrific wartime experience. Unfortunately, socialist mush tainted their frame of reference. From each according to his ability to each according to their need is as much lying hogwash as the title People’s Democratic Republic of China. Back then, there was a question whether socialism could work in an advanced society; now we know it does not work, and cannot work, except within a totalitarian framework. Show me a socialist, and I’ll show you someone who is not only ignorant of history but is also seriously delusional.

    17. You're arguing to extremes. You don't have to go far (ideologically nor geographically: just consider continental Europe) to find examples of mixed economies skewed further towards the public sector than Britain, but which are still genuinely democratic. As I see it, the major threat to democracy in Europe comes not from the left, but the alt-right.
      I'm not defending communism (I think for any extreme to be optimal), but I don't think we can use Russia as an example: it suited the Soviets to claim they were communist and it suited us to agree with them, and it's very hard to resist a lie sold by not one but two propaganda outlets, but whatever awful thing they were, Marxist they were not (Lennin admitted they were a kind of interim pre-socialist state; Stalin quietly dropped the subject).

    18. Meant to say "it's rare for any extreme to be optimal"

  6. No one dares say it, so I will. The planet is seriously overpopulated and no one wants to admit that overpopulation is the main contributor to global warming or climate change or whatever name it currently goes by. Additionally, a disproportionate amount of the high cost of health care goes to prolonging the end stage of life. So along comes a virus which we cannot prevent from killing off the elderly and reducing the population and, long term once we accept that we cannot defeat it, lowering the cost of health care. Can we be sure this is not by "Intelligent Design" perhaps?

    1. A MOST interesting question, Jayhawk. MOST interesting.

      I hope someone will attempt to answer it. Unfortunately, I have just run out of time (and energy), Alas!

    2. Few will question your conclusions, but I suspect there would be a lively discussion about what we can realistically do about it. Obama science advisor John Holdren has a solution, but few thinking people would ever embrace it.

    3. Well, if it is by Intelligent Design it would seem there is not much, realistically, that we can do about it.

    4. I would first like to see proof of overpopulation of the planet. NYC maybe.

    5. We can’t control the world’s human population from Washington DC ... nor should we try. For proof of over population, one only needs to look at the undernourished populations in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Emaciated people in South Asia (population 2 billion) is heartbreaking. Despite an abundance of agriculture in Southeast Asia, the nearly one billion people living there are under fed. The reason for this is that they export most of their rice to China, Japan, and the United States. Japan imports around 60% of its rice from Vietnam. The average life expectancy in Africa is between 45 and 52 years. It would not take much of a natural calamity to push literally hundreds of millions of undernourished people into life-crisis mode. So, I think population is a problem and you would think that if there are far more people than food resources in any given region, that the people living there would curtail childbirth. The opposite is true. I think human beings are the only species on earth to do this.

    6. I don't believe it's a problem of over-population, but of economics and distribution.

    7. It isn't to reduce the population through government plans.
      Government planning has led them into the poverty they suffer.
      China's one child policy was certainly a disaster.
      Killing babies isn't a moral solution.
      I don't have a "solution" other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems that where ever that has taken root, people have prospered. But that's a long term path with no quick turnaround.
      I know how my response sounds, but I got nothing else.

    8. In developing countries, educating girls seems to reduce the birthrate more than anything. But that's not the problem in cities. Maybe post-lockdown with remote working more acceptable, there won't be such a premium on working in a large city.

    9. AH, the perennial Dream of Being Able to Exert Top-Down Social Control for the Good of All just WILL NOT DIE, will it?

      How about taking the Margaret Sanger approach, and order mandatory STERILIZATION of every third girl among sub groups that refuse to control their behaviot to suit OUR oh-so-advanced, superior ideas of what's best for all mankind voluntarily?

      That way at least hundreds of thousands of babies would not get MURDERED each to serve the best interests of the Almighty, All-knowing, All-wise, Benevolent, Ever-living State right?

      Surely there could be no hope for the survival of our benighted species without ushering in –– by hook or by crook –– an ironclad, foolproof, inescapable system of BENEVOLENT DESPOTISM, could there?

    10. But Franco, do we "civilized" people have the right to govern the unwashed? I think not. We need to examine Washington's advice and "beware of foreign entanglements." More to the point, however, is that the US has never occupied the moral high ground in its foreign policies. Just a thought ...

    11. I was being sarcastic, Mustang. I hoped that was obvious.



      If TRUMAN had followd MacArthur's desires instead of wimping out a he did, I'm fairly certain the Arms Race, the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. and the disaster tht was Vietnam could have been avoided. We lost 58K Americsn lives in Vetnam, and for NOTHING.

      We had the opportunity after Hiroshma and Nagasaki to cut the Communist Menace off at the knees in both China and the Sovet Union, and we muffed it.

      If "we" have a serious fault I'm afraid I have to believe that it lies in our unwillingness to press our advantages when we have them.

      It sounds nasty, I know, but the world would be much bette off under a firmly established Pax Americana than it is with the disgusting mess we we are stuck with today.

      Our most tragic "foreign entanglement" in my opinion was ever having permitted the vile influence of Cultural Marxism to take root and flourish in our universities. Intelletual aggression has proven islf to be even deadlier than The Bomb.

      I hate aggression, but when WE are attacked without provocation I believe we ought to do our best to make absolutely sure the aggressors will never be able to recover enough strength to trouble us –– or anyone else –– ever again.

      I'm sorry if my feelings offend you, but I try aways to be honest regardless of what it might cost me.

    12. I apologize for all the CAPS, but I have terrible vision, and deteriorating coordination too. Too often my left pinkie slips over to the shift lock, and I don't discover it till I've typed too much to do over. I'll try to be more careful in future, but chances are . . .

    13. I am not easily offended, Franco ... besides, we're just having a conversation here. There are times when the US need to be engaged in world affairs, and times when we ought to refrain from sticking in our (too often) incompetent big nose. Both world wars were in defense of our national interests. Korea, too ... but the incompetence of the Truman administration, which became obvious immediately following WW II (the China question specifically) encouraged communist aggression when it might otherwise have been avoided. In the foregoing discussion, I sought to speak of any attempt by the US in managing "over population." As we want to be left alone to pursue our own course, so should we allow others to pursue theirs, as they see fit. I think our foreign policies too often make things worse for us here at home.

      Thank you for the interchange of ideas.

    14. I see we are largely in agreement, Mustang. Words are poor ools for conveying the true meaning of what one tries to say. I'm glad you returned to respond. This exchange has been, I believe, a genuine conversation –– somethingI've longed to experience for twenty-plus years but rarely found in the blogosphere.

      Too many of us –– including me at times –– get too easily locked into mindless bullheaded exchanges of virulent, reflexive, witless opposition.

      For years I've seen your sober thoughtful, informed approach as a Good Influence. It's a pleasure to talk with you.

      Stay well.

  7. So when do we emerge from Hitler's bunker and face the facts instead of hiding from them?

    1. Das war ganz WUNDERBAR, FJ. Es geht weiter und besser als Karl Kaplan's sehr kommisch "Der Grosse Fuehrer."

      Vielen Gedanke!

      Wir brauchen ewig hier mehr gescheites Spaasmachen.


  8. A friend went to give blood two weeks ago but she had had her ears pierced not so long before so she couldn't. Not exactly like fighting in Afghanistan!
    I have never seen such negativity TOWARD America, by Americans, as I have lately; I believe this will do us in far worse than any virus or economic disaster. We seem to have become so encumbered we can't see anything but the WORST of us, which is new for me and something I'm trying to shake because it's destructive in too many way.
    THIS PRESIDENT HAS ACTED WITH MALFEASANCE says Schumer (I expect no better, of course, from either of them)
    WE MUST BRING LONG GUNS BECAUSE WE MIGHT BE ATTACKED, no matter how harmful that is to what was an important protest.
    WE HAVE BEEN AGAINST THE CLIMATE so what do we expect?
    CLOSING EVERYTHING WAS THE WORST THING TO DO...as if we knew how bad this illness could be at first.

    It's so negative that FOX had to do a segment on a 4 year old who somehow hit a homer at his local park. It didn't cheer ME up. It did Ed and Sandra, apparently.

    What would cheer ME up is:
    oh, and everybody yell F*** PELOSI AND SCHUMER! Ya, that would cheer me up :-)

    1. We have that here: after a piercing (or a tattoo, I think) you have to wait 4 months before you can donate blood.

      It's a tough balance, I want to be critical of our uk government (they need it) without being relentlessly negative. I find myself giving them the benefit of the doubt sometimes just to preserve my own sanity.

    2. jez, your comment about preserving your sanity REALLy resonates with me; it's part of why I wrote that I did....I am so tired of the negativity that's chipping away at us all in such negative ways. I, too, am giving benefit of the doubt to a lot of what's going on just to stay sane! Thanks for saying what you did; it helps!!

    3. Ed, the morning team on FOX..Ed Henry and Sandra Smith. Good conservatives, really quite bright.

    4. So now whenever I enter into a Super Market or other stores they have a sign posted saying
      No One Can Enter Without Wearing A Mask! This is another piece of baloney because Masks Don't Work!
      Masks don’t do anything. Viruses can get into the mask and can exit the mask. If you can blow air through the mask,then microscopic viruses can fit.

      The purpose of the mask is to keep sick people from sneezing and coughing on others, thus limiting potential transmission of viruses that could be carried on the liquid excretions.

      The reason we should not wear masks is because they collect bacteria and viruses. If you change your mask every hour, it could help. If you don’t, it’s just getting dirtier and dirtier and thus increasing your chance of developing an infection.

    5. Z yep. There's another point to it, which is that I want to keep my powder dry. My friends who reflexively spam everything the government does won't have any dynamic range left for when they do something really bad! But I am mostly releaved that they're being less insane about this than they were (still are) about the Brexit negotiations (a low bar, but let's be thankful for small mercies).

    6. @ Jez: "won't have any dynamic range left for when they do something really bad"

      Wise words. Here in the US, hysterical parties in and out of the Infotainment News Media abandoned that principle long ago.

    7. But, Jez, WHO gets to SAY what is or is not "really bad?"

      Please try never to forget that "One man's MEAT is another man's POISON."

      As a species, we're just not fit to be subject to UNFORMITY –– however desirable that might appear to be.

      These ancient adages become famous for good reason. They usually contain a large grain of TRUTH.

      I hope someday, somehow, somewhere someone will find the answer to why the humanr species always has to learn the HARD way?

      Why can't we simply ACCEPT the obvious truth that Fire will BURN us and Water will make us WET? [Please review Kipimg's The Gods of the Copybook Headings for a thorough exploration of the point.]

      For the most part we ignore history, reject precedent, eschew precept, and embrace blundering trial and error based on the latest manmade Superstition du Jour.

      As usuual Shakespeare said it best:

      What fools [we] mortar be!

      "And the Gods of the Copybook Headings with Slaughter and Terror return.

      Disbelieve that at your peril.


    8. Anybody gets to say, that's free speech. I'm just noting that constant extreme rhetoric erodes one's credibility, so it's worth disciplining ourselves.

    9. I agree, but I would never want an agent of GOVERMENTto be grant the power to decide FOR me or you what is and is not "appropriate speech."

      The coerced hypocrisy of Political Correctness and our damnable "Hate Speech Codes" have long ago gone too far in that direction.

      If something –– or SOMEONE –– strikes anyone as "hateful," who the hell am I –– or you –– to say their feelings should be declared unlawful and punishable by a fine or gaol term?

      I'm thinking of the disgraceful, ungodly, inhumane, wickedly discriminatory treatment of Tommy Robinson in Britain, of course, but thousands of other examples apply equally well on both sides of the Pond. .

    10. This is a bit of a non sequitur (we weren't talking about hate speech) but TR has never been jailed for hateful language. His convictions include fraud, multiple counts of assault and most recently contempt of court. We won't let him incite violence, but aside from that we're not stopping him from saying whatever he wants.

  9. TEXAS HAIRDRESSER JUST RELEASED. She had kept her salon open, using all protocol to be safe, and was jailed in a jail with the virus. No words.

    1. Judge Moye is an idiot in the same way that Hank Johnson is an idiot. Seriously, both are Looney Tunes.

    2. Yeah, we're letting murderers and rapists out of jail to prevent them from becoming sick with the virus and putting people in jail because they didn't comply with various orders which are probably unconstitutional. Looney Tunes indeed.

    3. As I commented above, nothing makes sense anymore, except an inexorable push to diminish America.

    4. Judge Moye is WORSE than idiotic, Mustang. He is a cruel, tyrannical,morally blind, obviously bigotted son-of-a-bitch, who should be summarily disbarred and forcibly removed from the bench

      As you see I am not in the habit of mincing words when I feel strongly about an issue. ;-)

      You may not agree, but I believe we –– particularly on the Right –– suffer from an excess of politeness, deference,humility, and consideration when dealing with the shameless knaves, well-meaning fools, brigands, would-be despots, and other malefactors who inhabit the Left.

      In my vision of an ideal world such fractious, nettlsome, deceitful types would be given no quarter.

      Now, ain't ya glad I'm not in charge?


  10. San Diego County is undergoing a lengthy heat wave. Usually, in similar circumstances, the city and county issue advisories for elderly people to make use of "cooling centers," located throughout the county, because many elderly people do not have air conditioning.

    Obviously, a simple solution would be to have them go to the beach, which is the coolest place in the county. That would have a couple of other advantages as well. It has been very well documented that the virus is much more contagious indoors than outdoors, and there is compelling proof that the virus dies very quickly in direct sunlight.

    The problem is that no one is allowed to sit down on our beaches. You are not only required to remain six feet apart on the beach and wear a face mask, you must keep walking continuously. Hard to do when you're 87 years old.

    Not sure of the reason for this "keep walking" rule. Do they hope that the virus cannot hit a moving target?

    1. @ Do they hope that the virus cannot hit a moving target?

      LOL. Good one!

    2. I've been bobbing and weaving this whole time. All in the footwork.

  11. Some GOOD News For A Change
    The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the release of Shelley Luther the young lady who was Jailed in the Dallas County Jail this week after keeping her own salon open in defiance of the Texas State restrictions. Shelley Luther the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to keep her business closed during the coronavirus crisis...

    The Governor also signed an order banning Jail time for anyone else who violates the stay at Home order..
    As for the Judge, I hope that he enjoys a nice Hot Bowl of Bat Soup for his Diner.

    1. HEAR! HEAR! Governor Abbott of Texas is a great guy.

      God bless him, and God bless Selly Luther for her our in standing up to tyranny.

      Judge Mo shot be disbarred, thn forcible ejected from the bench.

      These dirty leftist sons of bitches who habitually abuse power in service to a despotic Socialist Agenda should have NO PLACE in American Jurisprudence.


  12. A guy I know (Professor William Wagner) took Whitmer to federal court yesterday and without a ruling, she agreed to open churches in the state of Michigan today.
    She amended her order to also say: “nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution”

    1. Ed,
      She amended her order to also say: “nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution”

      Aha! A great victory for WE THE PEOPLE!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Illinois governor says churches may not fully reopen for a year or more because of coronavirus

    4. Are churches still offering communion? Seems like an excellent way to spread the virus...

    5. Church is another way of saying "community." I don't need a community to worship God. My relationship with God is very personal and I treasure it. I'm sure not going to stop worshiping Him because the church doors are closed by order of idiots.


    Is the CDC Meddling with the 2020 Election?

    American Greatness

    by Julie Kelly

    The coronavirus crisis is reaping big political benefits for Democrats. President Trump’s signature achievement—a booming economy with record low unemployment, rising middle-class wages, and a sky-high stock market—lies in tatters.

    At least 33 million Americans abruptly and without warning are out of work. Second-quarter gross domestic product estimates are horrifying, a double-digit dive that the country has never experienced even in the direst economic times. ...

    And the Centers for Disease Control is looking more and more like the 2020 version of James Comey’s FBI. The agency that foisted the disastrous experiment of “social distancing” on 330 million unwitting American lab rats continues to inveigh on matters far beyond . . .

    1. Do silly conspiracy theories improv the situation?

    2. When you find one, tell us what it is.

    3. I'm glad you're feeling well enough to participate, Canardo, but I had so hoped your near-death experience might have chastened you bit, and improved your outlook, yet here you are just as snarky, unrepentant –– and WRONGHEADED –– as usual.

      I hater to think it, but I'm very much afraid you'll go to your grave UNREDEEMED.

      How very sad for you!

    4. No, they don't help. But listen, if there were an anti-Trump conspiracy, why wouldn't it just kill him like they did to Kennedy?

    5. Ducky said:
      "Do silly conspiracy theories improv the situation?"

      Yours, don't seem to have affected your situation.

    6. Jez, you just exhibited a degree of obtusity unworthy of man of your intellgence and good character

      Please tell me I am correct in assuming you must have speaking tongue-in-cheek. PLEASE!

    7. You are right, I was attempting a joke ;)

  14. Jez, I agree with Franco although I probably wouldn't have used his, somewhat flowery, language.
    Oswald, was hardly a tool of of either Democrats or Republicans and can be seen as an extremely neurotic if not psychotic individual.

    1. I don't know what this is replying to. Who is Oswald?


    2. @ jez,
      From Wikipedia:
      Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939 – November 24, 1963) was an American Marxist and former U.S. Marine who assassinated United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Oswald was honorably released from active duty in the Marine Corps into the reserve and defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959. He lived in Minsk until June 1962, when he returned to the United States with his Russian wife, Marina, and eventually settled in Dallas. Five government investigations[n 1] concluded that Oswald shot and killed Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository as the President traveled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

    3. Oh that Oswald! Yes, I wasn't being serious, just using it as a famous example of a conspiracy theory.


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