Saturday, February 29, 2020
How to Horribly Mismanage the Response to a Lethal Virus Pandemic
Trump Didn’t Just Botch the Coronavirus Response. He Enabled Its Spread.
Even as China was announcing that its deaths from the novel coronavirus had surpassed its toll from SARS, President Donald Trump released a proposed budget for 2021 that slashed funding for our chief defender against epidemics by 18 percent. Within the overall proposed cuts detailed on Feb. 10 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a reduction in spending to guard against “emerging and zoonotic diseases” from $635,772,000 to $550,464,000.
Zoonotic diseases are those that have crossed from animals to humans, as the novel coronavirus is believed to have done.
The $85,308,000 proposed budget cut is less than the cost of 5 miles of border wall. The budget proposal would save the cost of another 2 miles of border wall by zeroing out a $40 million funding line for the Epidemic and Lab Capacity Program. The ELCP supports state labs that monitor health emergencies at the local level. A state lab in Texas confirmed the first case of Ebola in the U.S. in 2014.
For the cost of less than 7 miles of border wall, the proposed budget would leave all of us less protected against a potential epidemic.
The Trump administration made its priorities even more explicit when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar discounted a suggestion that border wall funds could be diverted to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
We might have had earlier warning of the outbreak, but previous budget cuts caused the CDC to end its global security program in China in 2017.
In another failure of foresight two years ago, the White House eliminated the National Security Council’s position for combating global health crises. The NSC’s Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biothreats post was held by the highly regarded Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer—whose sudden departure in May of 2018 happened to coincide with a new Ebola outbreak in Africa. That outbreak proved to be no threat to America, so most of us quickly forgot about it. So what if there was no longer anybody on the security council to guard against such threats? And as long as the rich are getting their tax breaks and the stock market is booming, who cares if the CDC is being cut year after year?
But fear of this new bug caused the stock market to tank this week. And worrisome news came on Wednesday even as Trump was insisting there is little cause to worry because of his bold, prescient leadership. California made the startling announcement that a resident of Solano County had tested positive for novel coronavirus without having traveled abroad or coming in contact with somebody known to be infected.
The chronically underfunded public health system had needed four days to make the diagnosis, as the swab had to be sent to the CDC, which is hampered both by a shortage of tests and reliability problems with the ones it does have.---------
At a rally, Trump says the democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus and calls it “their new hoax”.
This is so deranged, it’s hard to know what to say—other than it’s deranged even for @realDonaldTrump. https://t.co/Zc3cIbtn1q— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 29, 2020
THIS MOTHERFUCKER IS SO INCREDIBLY IRRESPONSIBLE HE IS LITERALLY GOING TO KILL PEOPLE WITH HIS NEGLIGENCE AND DISINFORMATION.
I suppose maybe the only "good thing" is that it's his mindless cult who will believe him and not take enough precautions against the virus and endanger themselves. That might be ok except for the fact that they can also spread it to people who aren't in his braindead cult.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
"Wattlegate"-- the Biggest Scandal Yet1 comments
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Literally Hell on Earth
It is 2050. Beyond the emissions reductions registered in 2015, no further efforts were made to control emissions. We are heading for a world that will be more than 3C warmer by 2100.
The first thing that hits you is the air. In many places around the world, the air is hot, heavy and, depending on the day, clogged with particulate pollution. Your eyes often water. Your cough never seems to disappear. You think about some countries in Asia, where, out of consideration, sick people used to wear white masks to protect others from airborne infection. Now you often wear a mask to protect yourself from air pollution. You can no longer simply walk out your front door and breathe fresh air: there might not be any. Instead, before opening doors or windows in the morning, you check your phone to see what the air quality will be.
Melting permafrost releases ancient microbes today’s humans have never been exposed to and have no resistance to Fewer people work outdoors and even indoors the air can taste slightly acidic, sometimes making you feel nauseated. The last coal furnaces closed 10 years ago, but that hasn’t made much difference in air quality around the world because you are still breathing dangerous exhaust fumes from millions of cars and buses everywhere.
Our world is getting hotter. Over the next two decades, projections tell us that temperatures in some areas of the globe will rise even higher, an irreversible development now utterly beyond our control. Oceans, forests, plants, trees and soil had for many years absorbed half the carbon dioxide we spewed out. Now there are few forests left, most of them either logged or consumed by wildfire, and the permafrost is belching greenhouse gases into an already overburdened atmosphere.
The increasing heat of the Earth is suffocating us and in five to 10 years, vast swaths of the planet will be increasingly inhospitable to humans. We don’t know how hospitable the arid regions of Australia, South Africa and the western United States will be by 2100. No one knows what the future holds for their children and grandchildren: tipping point after tipping point is being reached, casting doubt on the form of future civilisation.
Some say that humans will be cast to the winds again, gathering in small tribes, hunkered down and living on whatever patch of land might sustain them. More moisture in the air and higher sea surface temperatures have caused a surge in extreme hurricanes and tropical storms.
Recently, coastal cities in Bangladesh, Mexico, the United States and elsewhere have suffered brutal infrastructure destruction and extreme flooding, killing many thousands and displacing millions. This happens with increasing frequency now. Every day, because of rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.
Every day, the news shows images of mothers with babies strapped to their backs, wading through floodwaters and homes ripped apart by vicious currents that resemble mountain rivers. News stories tell of people living in houses with water up to their ankles because they have nowhere else to go, their children coughing and wheezing because of the mould growing in their beds, insurance companies declaring bankruptcy, leaving survivors without resources to rebuild their lives. Contaminated water supplies, sea salt intrusions and agricultural runoff are the order of the day.
Because multiple disasters are often happening simultaneously, it can take weeks or even months for basic food and water relief to reach areas pummelled by extreme floods. Diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera, respiratory illnesses and malnutrition are rampant.
You try not to think about the 2 billion people who live in the hottest parts of the world, where, for upwards of 45 days per year, temperatures skyrocket to 60C (140F), a point at which the human body cannot be outside for longer than about six hours because it loses the ability to cool itself down. Places such as central India are becoming increasingly challenging to inhabit.
Mass migrations to less hot rural areas are beset by a host of refugee problems, civil unrest and bloodshed over diminished water availability. Food production swings wildly from month to month, season to season, depending on where you live. More people are starving than ever before.
Climate zones have shifted, so some new areas have become available for agriculture (Alaska, the Arctic), while others have dried up (Mexico, California). Still others are unstable because of the extreme heat, never mind flooding, wildfire and tornadoes. This makes the food supply in general highly unpredictable.
Global trade has slowed as countries seek to hold on to their own resources. Countries with enough food are resolute about holding on to it. As a result, food riots, coups and civil wars are throwing the world’s most vulnerable from the frying pan into the fire. As developed countries seek to seal their borders from mass migration, they too feel the consequences.
Most countries’ armies are now just highly militarised border patrols. Some countries are letting people in, but only under conditions approaching indentured servitude.
and so on...
Warren Calls for Barr to Resign or Be Impeached
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Trump's Deeply Corrupt Interference in the DOJ Is Another Impeachable Offense0 comments
33 of the Day: The Continuing Case of Trump Klan Kleptocracy and Kakistocracy
Sunday, February 09, 2020
Whitley Strieber and the Ultimate Powers That Be (?)
It's a wild insane tale, and you could say Strieber is simply insane. But there's no doubt that Strieber is NOT simply insane. But in particular I point to the last 30 minutes or so, where Strieber describes interactions with what I can only describe as some sort of mysterious alien creatures that interact with us in a very fundamental way. They seem to be some sort of true powers that be...
I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Whitley Strieber for the second time in as many months. The occasion was the release of his new book, entitled A New World.
The work may be the most important in Strieber’s “visitors” saga to date: It outlines exactly who and what he has come to believe these entities are, as well as how they interact with us and their reasons for doing so, and how some people may be able to open their own lines of communication with them.
A couple of years ago, Whitley said he asked the Visitors to show themselves to more people, and that this book was their eventual answer. He said that they “communicate completely differently than us” without “an evolved language.” Strieber’s experiences led him to conclude that they lead an existence that is nearly unfathomable to us, but is frighteningly described as “like being in an empty house where nothing important or significant can ever happen, and you can’t get out,” and that this is why they need our thoughts and sensations of living in a physical world. This, he concludes, is why they seek the “Communion” described in his very first book on the subject.
He also recounted his experience of an apparent implanted object in his ear and how he receives communication through it. We ended with his wish that more scientific and academic people become aware of and engaged with the subject and the Visitors, and how this may already be happening.
Presidential Candidates and UFOs
“In my opinion, the most interesting answers came from [Democratic senator] Michael Bennet and [former governor of Massachusetts] Deval Patrick,” Steer told Motherboard. “There’s no right or wrong answer to my question. I think it helps reveal a little bit of the candidates’ personalities because it’s not something they are typically asked.
Bennet confirmed that he read news stories about UFOs and knew about the subject. “He gave a serious answer but also stressed he had to be careful about what he said because of his role on the intelligence committee. His statement that ‘Our guys are seeing unidentifiable stuff’ seems pretty important and should be raising a lot of eyebrows,” Steer said.
Patrick, who served on the board of United Airlines, revealed to the reporters that he’s spoken to many pilots who made reports about strange things they’ve seen in the sky.
While more mainstream coverage of UFOs continues to bombard the internet and cable news channels, the UFO community is far from a unified voting bloc. No data exists which clearly indicates which side of the aisle UFO people tend to fall on.
That being said, politics is undoubtedly baked into many Ufology circles, and many right-wing conspiracists who are into both UFOs and QAnon deem President Donald Trump to be some sort of messianic figure ready to save America from various secret evil cabals. Combine that with weird conspiracies concerning ancient alien astronauts and alternative history, which is often the fare of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and the seedy underbelly of some UFO groups begin to indicate a clear political, and often racial, position.
It is sad that the conspiracy world is tainted by racist and fringe elements, but as the piece says, the demographics overlaps well: older white dudes make of most conspiracy theorists, and this demographic is prone towards racist conservative views.
Also, I always thought it was striking and under-reported that in 2016, HRC was for UFO disclosure while the otherwise conspiracy-minded Trump downplayed the idea of UFOs. And then he won, unexpectedly.
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Feb 5, 2020-- Trump Acquitted
It’s the dawning of a dangerous era. The law is not just malleable, it’s a weapon in the hands of the injustice.
Democracy is being discarded as democracy is the first things authoritarians dispose of.
The lead up to the re-election of an authoritarian is a time of strife and violence and the assault on basic human decency. We need to be ready for that.
We need to steel ourselves. This is a day that will be written about in history books. If there will be history books.
The voting was mostly on partisan lines, Democrats voting to convict, but interestingly, Republican Mitt Romney voted for Article I, breaking Republican ranks and showing the impeachment was "bipartisan" and showing other Republicans what cowards they are.
Sunday, February 02, 2020
The Rigged Impeachment Trial
2. Key Senators McConnell and Graham announced before the trial would start that they would vote to acquit Trump, violating their oath of impartiality
3. Trump wooed GOP Senators at Camp David, to get their vote-- improperly influencing the jury
4. Trump and his lawyers and allies gave donations to GOP Senators, to get their vote-- again improperly influencing the jury
5. Republicans refused to allow witnesses or evidence to be shown at the trial despite new revelations and evidence coming to light in the news. OUTRAGEOUS!
6. Trump's lawyer Pat Cipollone had direct knowledge of key events in the trial and didn't divulge, a clear ethical violation.
The GOP is AFRAID of the truth about Trump.
The Trump legal defense was crap because the whole thing was rigged by the GOP from the beginning.
Trump is clearly guilty and the GOP just wanted to cover it all up. A damn shame and a sham impeachment trial from GOP crooks.
Given how corrupt the process was at every level, the Dems should declare a mistrial.
THIS REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS TO END.