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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 17, 2020

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A Geezer Crosses the Bar


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 14, 2020

“Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.”

 ― Alfred, Lord Tennyson  


"Crossing the bar" is a nautical metaphor Tennyson uses to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between the river of life and the ocean beyond (death), the "boundless deep", to which we return. My friend Joe has crossed the bar.

When you retire, lunch is one of the few ways an old man has any chance for a social life. Thus it was with a small circle of my local friends. Every 4 to 6 weeks, several of us would gather for a "geezers' lunch." My friend Joe would generally facilitate the gathering, making the phone calls and wrangling the troops. He was the straw that stirred the drink. 

We geriatrics would toddle into some local pissoir for seafood, a couple of beers and some spirited conversation. Attendance would vary, but centered around four people: Al, a writer, poet and local gadfly, and publisher of a journal of working-class poetry with a small but fervent national following; Angelo, a painter and entrepreneur, who was successful at business without any real love for it, and who was far more interested in art and his own lines of independent thought; your obedient servant; and of course Joe. All of had met during Occupy in 2011, when old gathered with young on the streets to protest repression and economic injustice. Joe was a Renaissance man, by turns boat builder, contractor, student, teacher, gardener, actor, and especially raconteur.

And now Joe is gone.

Joe's devoted wife called me with the news and asked me to spread the word. The news hit me like a building falling. He had just been part of a gathering at my home the previous Friday, where we brought our own lunch, socially distanced on the back deck in heartfelt conversation while sucking down a twelve-pack of Modelos. I still don't believe it.

Joe was immensely intellectually curious, and was always delving into historical or nautical subjects. At lunch that Friday he had three books on 9/11 In hand. This was completely typical Joe; his appetite for knowledge and his intellectual curiosity was restless and unquenchable.


According to Joe, he once attended St. John Vianney seminary in Goochland, Virginia. At the end of that year he received a letter from the bishop, cordially inviting him not to pursue further studies for the priesthood. Joe attended Old Dominion College (at that time a branch of William and Mary) in the late sixties before embarking on a career in construction. From Joe's unofficial bio:

There was a satisfaction that I found in working with a pile lumber in the morning and walking away at the end of the day with a structure in back of me. Residential construction led to commercial construction of restaurants, hotels, motels, banks and apartments. As my woodworking skills developed I found occasional work for piratical friends who were restoring large wooden sailboats. I fell in love with wooden sailboats and wooden boat building.

From there, Joe worked for a year or so at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in their small boat shop but did not enjoy daily exposure to clouds of fiberglass dust and polystyrene vapors. He took over the management of a utility/ general-purpose carpentry shop for the Navy Exchange, then applied for a teaching position with the brand new Norfolk School of Boat Building opening on the downtown Norfolk waterfront. A direction was set for ship building and ship repair, and acting(!). Even though he left college without graduating, he maintained a lifelong interest in American and European history, as evidenced by his voracious reading habits.

During the mid-1970s he worked in the U.S. Merchant Marines. Sailing on small and medium sized tugboats while controlling tugs and barges of vast tonnage gave him a fundamental understanding of how ships handled under challenging sea and weather conditions. His practical experience, coupled with a respect for traditional building skills enabled him to teach woodworking and boat construction at the Norfolk School of Boatbuilding. This school was (as far as I know) the first official, permanent boat-building institution in one of the nation's earliest ports. It closed in 1991.

In 1980 Joe had already left, to work with the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Corporation as a rigger, eventually working his way into production engineering management.  In 1985, Joe started his own company, Decking Design, Inc., a shipboard marine flooring and decking firm serving naval and commercial shipping on the East Coast. He became a federal contractor and laid teak decks on warships. With that company, he ran work with 35 full-time tradesmen through 1993.

Since then, Joe continued work as an independent boatbuilder, artisan, craftsman and instructor.  He also worked with the historical department at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA as an interpreter and historical character actor. He portrayed, "the old sea captain", for audiences from all over the world. It gave Joe the opportunity to commit some of the works of Tennyson, Conrad and E.B. White to memory. His work as a character actor led to his being hired to portray a wealthy New York banker in the two episode historical documentary, "Clear the Way", based on a life of the Irish-American Civil War General Thomas Francis Meagher. The film was set during the 1863 draft riots, and produced by an Irish production company. The documentary film was shot in and around Hagerstown, Maryland in conjunction with the Smithsonian and National Geographic.

Following "Clear the Way", Joe continued to work in film and theater projects. He has appeared in, "A Witch in Time", and "Bon Voyage" produced by John Graves Warner, another personal friend. Joe's gift for voices and a beard straight out of the 19th century, led Stephen Spielberg to cast him in "Lincoln" as a "Republican Senator." He's in a number of scenes.

Joe also loved to perform and would memorize long seafaring stories and poems, from authors like Tennyson, Conrad, Villiers, Masefield, A.H.Clark, C.Fox Smith and E.B White, then perform them in public. He would commit many pages to memory, with the accuracy and precision of an Islamic adept memorizing the Koran.

In his later days, Joe served on the board of directors for Nautical Adventures, Inc., a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged youth in Hampton Roads.  His last love was the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop. Aside from his wife, "Miss Patricia" in Joe-speak, the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop may have been his greatest love.


Of all the many things Joe did, perhaps the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop was his finest hour.

Joe's partner there was retired Marine Col. Tom Brandl, who shared his enthusiasms. The Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop is a program that teaches young people life skills through boat building. Every meeting with Joe was an opportunity to be regaled with stories of young people having breakthrough "aha" moments as the learned the relationships between math, design, and problem solving. Joe's phone was always loaded with photos of the students and their workshop projects, and he beamed with pride and he shared those photos and the stories behind them  One of Joe's greatest pleasures was knowing that he was helping to shape lives, as the realization dawned upon his students that they could solve problems they heretofore had no idea they could even address. By learning concepts, how to use tools, and how to apply effort wth their own minds and hands and heart. This was Joe's greatest gift.

We geezers and broken-down former Occupiers recognized Joe as a wordslinger of the first order, a tireless fighter for causes of social justice, fairness, and equity under the law. Joe had empathy out the ass for anyone getting the short end of the stick or dealt a bad hand, an attitude which infused his latter day boatbuilding teaching and evangelism. He was always aware that those folk were his folk, working folk, and always felt a tie to the weaker-thans and the forgotten. He was an honorable man.

And now he has crossed the bar.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. 

Surfing the Waves of Coronavirus

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 12, 2020

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This is an unplanned discussion that came after we finished recording our main topic for discussion, but since this question of whether we are experiencing a 2nd Wave of Coronavirus came up during the day yesterday Inside the Diner, I clipped it off the video to post today for discussion.

In the MSM you're hearing the term "2nd Wave" being used to characterize the spike in COVID-19 cases in many states around the country that have begun opening their economies back up and relaxing rules on social distancing. Is this REALLY a 2nd Wave yet?

Epidemiological Models: A Simple Explanation of How they Work

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Published originally on Cassandra's Legacy on June 3, 2020

 

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There is a certain logic in the way the universe works and so it is not surprising that the same models can describe phenomena that seem to be completely different. Here, I'll show you how the same equations describe chain reactions that govern such different phenomena as the spread of an epidemic, the cycle of extraction of crude oil, and even the nuclear reaction that creates atomic explosions. All these phenomena depend on the efficiency of energy transfer, the parameter that's known in energy studies as EROI (energy return on energy invested), related to the "transmission factor" (R) of epidemiological models. Above, a classic clip from Walt Disney's 1957 movie, "Our friend, the atom." 

 

You may be surprised to discover that epidemiological models share the same basic core of peak oil models. And it is not just about peak oil, the same models are used to describe chemical reactions, resource depletion, the fishing industry, the diffusion of memes on the Web, and even the nuclear chain reaction that leads to nuclear explosions. It is always the same idea: reinforcing feedbacks lead the system to grow in a frenzy of exploitation of an available resource: oil, fish, atomic nuclei, or people to be infected. In the end, it is perhaps the most typical way the universe uses dissipate potentials. As always, entropy rules everything!

 

Modeling these phenomena has a story that starts with the model developed in the 1920s by Vito Volterra and Alfred Lotka. They go under the name of "Lotka-Volterra" models or, sometimes, "Prey-Predator" models. This heritage is not normally recognized by people in the field of epidemiology, but the model is the same: the virus is a predator and we are the prey. The only difference is that an epidemic cycle is so short, typically a few months, that the prey, people, don't reproduce during the cycle. Then, if you think that oil companies are predators and oil fields are the prey, then we have again the same model. Finally, you can see the atomic chain reaction that takes place during fission as generated by neutrons acting as predators and atomic nuclei acting as prey. In the Walt Disney interpretation, shown in the clip above, ping-pong balls are the predator and mousetraps are the prey.

 

To describe the model, let's focus on epidemiology. These models are called "SIR," with the acronym standing for "Susceptible, Infected, Recovered." The idea is that the Infected stock grows proportionally to both the Susceptible and the Infected stocks — it is a feedback loop. No feedback, no growth, this is how these models work. Then, of course, the virus will gradually run out of susceptible people, growth will slow down and, eventually, the infected stock will start declining. Then, the epidemic will be over.

 

So, let's see what the model produces in its simplest version. I made it using the Vensim (TM) system dynamics package (see at the end of the post for the details *)
 

 

 
Note how the number of susceptible people (blue curve) gradually declines. Instead, the number of cases per unit time (green curve) and the total infected people (red curve) show a cycle of growth and decline. Finally, the recovered people (gray curve) grow and then stabilize. (they might also die, the equations won't change.)
 
Let's compare with peak oil models: the names of the variables change, but the model is the same

 

Susceptible  –> Oil Resources
Infection rate –> oil production
Infected –> Extracted Oil
Recovered –> Pollution

Note the green curve in the figure. It is symmetric and bell-shaped: it is the typical "Peak Oil" curve. In the case of oil, the curve describes the production in barrels per day. In the case of an epidemic, it describes the number of new cases of infections per day. The curve for the victims should be the same, but (hopefully) smaller and shifted forward in time to take into account that you die after having contracted the virus. The red curve in the figure is proportional to the amount of oil extracted and not yet burned. It is the "capital" of the oil industry. As oil is burned, it becomes pollution and disappears from the model.

 

You can play the same game with other phenomena. For instance, in the case of the "mousetrap model" developed by Disney studios, the one shown in the clip at the beginning of this post, you have that

Susceptible –> trapped balls
Infection rate –> number of traps springing per unit time.
Infected –> number of flying balls
Recovered –> balls on the ground

 

 

In general, epidemiological models are normally much more complicated than the basic SIR model that I showed above. That is, in my opinion, a weakness of these models. Attempting to evaluate such parameters as how many people will contact each other per day, and from that estimating the infection rate is nearly hopeless and, indeed, these models have a poor record in terms of quantitative forecasting. Even peak oil models, although not so bad, turned out to be unsuccessful in estimating the data of the peak, at least in terms of volumes of liquids produced.

But this is a long story and I won't get into it, here. Let me just say that, in general, models may be useful even (and perhaps especially) when you don't ask them to make exact predictions. Often, a correct warning may be much more useful than an incorrect prediction. That's true when the models are well-grounded in physics and can tell you what will happen, even though not necessarily when.

Something that you can learn from these models is how the behavior of the system is determined by an efficiency parameter called R in epidemiology and EROI (energy return on energy invested) in peak oil studies. Yes, these two parameters are the same — apart from some details. They share the property that they need to have a minimum value in order for the chain reaction (the epidemics or a cycle of extraction) to start. In epidemiology, you can show that R must be >1 for the infection to grow. As the epidemic proceeds, R becomes smaller. When R=1, you have the "peak virus" and the number of infected people starts declining. That's called "herd immunity."

Things are not so simple for the peak oil curves, but the story is the same. You can show that an energy-producing resource cannot be produced with a positive energy yield unless you have EROI=1/η at the beginning of the extraction cycle, with η the efficiency of the transformation of the energy of the extracted resource into useful energy (exergy). For crude oil, we may probably take η as equal to 0.1-0.2. The implication is that oil extraction is not viable for EROI<5-10, which is consistent with the current situation. We are close to EROI values that correspond to an unavoidable decline of the industry. (Note that this condition is for "peak capital" — "peak oil" comes for even larger values of the EROI)

Ah… by the way, these limits of the EROI values are valid only for exhaustible resources such as crude oil. They do not hold for renewable energy sources such as solar energy — of course, you can't run out of sunlight!
_________________________________________________________________________

The R and the EROI parameters of chain reaction models

If you know something about the peak oil theory, you may have wondered if the "Ro" (or simply R) parameter, the virus transmission factor, is the same as the EROI (energy return for energy invested) for peak oil studies. The answer is yes.

Ro is defined as the expected number of cases generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection, that is, at the initial stages of the epidemic. As the epidemic proceeds, varying proportions of the population become immune. To account for this, the "effective reproduction number" is used, written as Rt or simply R. It is the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual at time t. When the fraction of the population that is immune increases so much that R drops below 1, it is said that "herd immunity" has been achieved. It means that the number of infected people does not grow any longer and gradually decreases toward zero.

 

The EROI (or EROEI) (energy return of energy investment) factor in oil extraction is defined as the number of barrels of oil produced using the energy obtained from one barrel. It is more general than that, but let's remain with crude oil. Obviously, when the EROEI goes below one, the whole enterprise of oil extraction becomes useless in terms of producing useful energy. But "peaking" of oil production starts well before the EROI goes below one, as we'll see in the following.

 

R and EROI look similar and, indeed, they are the same thing. To say something more about this matter, we need to write down the equations of the model. Here they are for the SIR system, with S=susceptible, I=infected, and R= recovered

dS/dt = – k1SI
dI/dt = k1SI  – k2I

Note that the coefficient k1 is the same in both equations because the number of people who become infected is equal to the number of those who cease being susceptible. The other coefficient, k2, is the frequency of recovery of the infected people. There is a third equation describing the growth of the "recovered" stock, but it is simply equal to k2I and we can neglect it here.

 

Now, from the equations above, we can say that the R factor is equal to the number of new infections divided by the number of infected people. We need to take also into account the recovery frequency: the gradual disappearance of people from the "infected" stock. So that the result is:

R Sk1/k2

Note that the variables in this model are usually expressed in terms of fractions. So, the number of susceptible people at the very start of the epidemic is supposed to be 100% of the population, that is, unity. There follows that

Ro= k1/k2

 

Now we can determine the value of R needed for attaining "herd immunity." the value needed for stopping the growth of the infection. For this, we take the second equation of the two of the model. We want to know when the number of infected people, I, starts to decline. That means to find when dI/dt <0. That is:

k2R-k2 <0

Or, R<1.  

This is the condition for herd immunity. It explains the attention dedicated to this number for the current coronavirus epidemic. It is a correct point but, in reality, it is not a very useful way to forecast the trajectory of an epidemic. To measure R you need to know S, but normally you don't know who is susceptible and who is not unless you try to infect them. So, saying that "R has become smaller than one" is the same thing as saying that "the number of infected people in the population has started declining." And the latter term is what you can actually measure or, at least, estimate. As someone said, "Models are accurate only when they become irrelevant."

How about the EROI? The equations are the same, but with a small difference. Whereas people move quantitatively from the "Susceptible" to the "Immune" stock, transforming a unit of energy embedded in underground oil into a unit of usable energy cannot be 100% efficient. So, you need another coefficient in the equations, a "transformation efficiency", η as a coefficient of k1 in the second equation. Obviously, it must be that η<1 because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

We go through the same mathematical tricks and we find the condition for the amount of stored energy (the "capital" of the industry) starts declining. It has to be:

EROI < 1/η

For the transformation of crude oil into useful energy into a thermal engine, we can roughly estimate a life cycle efficiency of the order of 10%-20%. There follow that oil extraction is not thermodynamically viable for an EROI < 5-10, which agrees with independent estimates of EROI for crude oil. It was probably around 30 during the early stages of exploitation and therefore allowed the industry to grow. Currently, the average EROI for oil extraction is probably around 10-15, so that we are close to the start of the irreversible decline of the industrial system that exploits it. Or, it may have already started. 

Note that the condition EROI < 1/η does NOT correspond to "peak oil" as it is normally defined. It is, rather, "peak capital". Peak oil refers to oil production, which is not the same thing. But it is not possible to find an equivalent simple expression that correlates the EROI of the system with the occurrence of the peak. We can only say that it occurs earlier and, therefore, for larger values of the EROI.

___________________________________________________________________

(*) Here is the Vensim model I used for the graph shown in this post. If you want the code, just write to me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutal Cops, Brutal Country


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Anthony Freda

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 7, 2020

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.


My family tree is replete with police and firemen. My great uncle was a cop. My cousins are cops. Likewise my wife's family is full of police and firemen. I suspect it's that way for most\ people; police work is so ubiquitous that most working class families have cops dangling somewhere from the family tree. So I bring to a discussion of police and police work no agenda other than that of a taxpayer, a citizen, and a pasty white man comfortable enough to be concerned for social justice, at least before cocktail time.

So it's with sadness that I beheld the events of the week and conclude that police departments in this country need a giant enema. What happened to George Floyd was bad enough; what happened to an 75-year man in Buffalo is quite another.

Video of two Buffalo, New York police officers pushing an elderly man to the ground quickly went viral late Thursday night, drawing widespread criticism. The mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, tweeted a statement saying “I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood. He directed an immediate investigation into the matter, and the two officers have been suspended without pay.

(The victim was later identified as Martin Gugino, a long-time peace activist.) The ubiquity of video cameras on phones, such as that which documented the Buffalo incident, would make you think police might have some concern for better PR. These videos go viral and make it around the world while the excuses from the Police Union are putting on their pants. John Evans, the president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, said, 

They were simply doing their job. I don't know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards.

In response to the suspensions of the two most egregious offenders, 57 members of Buffalo police riot response team resigned en masse. Not a good look.

We've also seen images of white journalists being shot with rubber bullets and beaten with truncheons, and innocent white protesters manhandled by warrior cops. What black Americans have been living with for many decades, becomes newsworthy only when it happens to white people. Better late than never. The fact that police are responding to protests about police violence with even greater violence indicates an innate brutality, an imperfect strategy, and the failure to remember who they ultimately work for. In particular, who is paying the bills.


No one minimizes that police work is hard. Imagine living with the prospect that the next routine traffic stop can explode in gunplay. Imagine daily contact with drunks, the mentally disabled and violent criminals. Cops confront life-and-death situations on a regular basis. Yet if media and police unions repeat the line that "police work is dangerous," it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do police develop an anticipatory mindset of violence when they believe that they are going into deadly battle when they head out on patrol? 

Is there no training?

Yet none of that should excuse away the snarling brutality exhibited by cops against unarmed, otherwise peaceful protesters. Ever since we were able to wink at the Eighth Amendment's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment to justify torture (rebranded as "enhanced interrogation" ), we have forgotten who we were and what we once stood for.


As I noted last week, police are the occupation army of capital. Their job is to protect property and wealth. Regardless of what you think, the Supreme Court has held that police are under no obligation whatsoever to "protect and serve"  you. Occupation armies quite justifiably view a subject citizenry as hostile. We learn, for example, that the vast majority of city police in Minneapolis live in the suburbs. This is common among most city workers. But it means cops do not view the people they are patrolling as neighbors. Imagine the change in outcomes if they did. 

Consider the following headlines from US papers just this past week:

Buffalo cops expected to face charges for shoving elderly protester

June 6, 2020 | 10:33am  The officers are anticipated in court Saturday, according to sources cited by a local NBC affiliate. Their colleagues from the department’s Emergency Response Team are expected to escort them inside…

Riot police clear protesters with tear gas for Trump’s church photo op, drawing outrage

JUN 02, 2020|12:39 AM  Riot police in Washington, D.C., used tear gas to clear protesters from a park near the White House as President Trump vowed to crack down on the demonstrations. Around 6:30 p.m., a half hour before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew, police used tear gas, rubber bullets, shields and horses to force protesters out of Lafayette Park…

Protests about police brutality are met with wave of police brutality across US

June 6, 2020  Use teargas, batons, pepper spray, fists, feet and vehicles against protesters sparks lawsuits and international condemnation

Buffalo mayor blasts elderly protester shoved by cops

June 6, 2020 | 8:25am  The elderly Buffalo protester knocked to the ground by cops in a viral video that has become an international symbol of police brutality was an “agitator” who was “trying to…

75-year-old Buffalo man pushed by cops described as 'gentle person'

June 5, 2020 | 5:52pm Martin Gugino — the 75-year-old man who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police in a video seen by millions — is a long-time peace activist and “gentle person,”…

Entire police team resigns in solidarity with cops who shoved elderly man

June 5, 2020 | 3:56pm The entire Buffalo police Emergency Response Team has resigned following the suspension of two officers who were caught on video shoving a 75-year-old protester to the pavement, according to reports…

Black Tacoma man who died in police custody screamed 'I can't breathe': lawyer

June 6, 2020 | 9:20am  A 33-year-old black man who died in police custody in Tacoma, Washington, screamed “I can’t breathe” on dispatcher audio, a lawyer for the man’s family said. Marcus Ellis was apprehended…

Breonna Taylor remembered by NYC mourners on what would be her 27th birthday

June 5, 2020 | 10:42pm  Anti-police brutality protesters in New York City paid their respects on Friday to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was fatally shot by cops in her home in Kentucky home…

Minneapolis bans police chokeholds in wake of George Floyd death

June 5, 2020 | 1:41pm  Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis have agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police and to require police to report and intervene anytime they see…

DC mayor has 'Black Lives Matter' painted on street leading to White House

June 5, 2020 | 1:40pm  Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday had “Black Lives Matter” painted in large yellow letters on the street that leads to the White House, and also designated the square…

Kansas City announces police reform amid George Floyd protests

June 5, 2020 | 3:43am  KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is reforming police procedures after criticism from black organizations about police conduct during nearly a week of protests as well as long-standing tension between…

Minneapolis City Council members pledge to 'dismantle' police department

June 4, 2020 | 11:31pm   Members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to “dismantle” the city’s police department in the wake of worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd. Council President Lisa Bender joined…

NYPD officers appear to beat passing cyclist with batons: video

June 4, 2020 | 9:50am  Three NYPD officers were caught on video apparently beating a cyclist with their batons. One of the officers is seen whacking the cyclist as he peddles across an intersection, with…

City Council secures veto-proof majority for bill criminalizing police chokeholds

June 4, 2020 | 1:39am  The City Council has secured a veto-proof majority for legislation to criminalize NYPD chokeholds, Speaker Corey Johnson said Wednesday. With 35 Council members supporting the bill, it can become law over…

Protesters take a knee at Trump Hotel and Trump Tower ahead of NYC curfew

June 2, 2020 | 8:39pm  A mass of anti-police brutality protesters gathered in front of Trump International Hotel ahead of Tuesday’s 8 p.m. curfew, as demonstrations continued to rage across the city for a sixth…

George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter appears next to weeping mom

June 2, 2020 | 7:08pm  George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter stood next to her weeping mom at a press conference Tuesday as the woman recalled how Floyd moved to Minnesota to help support them — and…

Six Atlanta cops charged in excessive force arrest of two students

June 2, 2020 | 3:06pm  Body camera footage shows the officers breaking the windows of a car and yanking the students, Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, and Messiah Young, 22, out Saturday night as they were riding…

Cop suspended for shoving kneeling George Floyd protester

June 2, 2020 | 1:09pm  A Fort Lauderdale cop has been suspended after he was caught on video shoving a kneeling protester during a George Floyd demonstration Sunday, according to a report. 

The Police Are Targeting Protest Medics

June 5– As people take to the streets to protest racism and police violence against Black Americans after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd last week ― it doesn’t matter who you are or why you’re there: The cops will take you out.

Police targeting journalists during protests is an assault on the First Amendment

June 4- It’s not unusual for politicians and candidates for office to express their fervent and unwavering support for the Second Amendment. Now would be an ideal time for them to show the same allegiance to the First Amendment and its guarantee of a free press.

Neighbors usually don't do these things to neighbors. One wonders how much of the brutality we see comes from the infiltration of law enforcement agencies by white supremacists, members of the alt right and neofascists. These groups maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. 

The FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.

We saw in Charlottesville how state police and others stood aside while armed Klansmen and Nazis ran amok, resulting in injuries to antifascist protests and the death of one woman, Heather Heyer, run over by a Nazi from Ohio. (This was the episode that led to Trump's infamous refusal to disavow Nazis, proclaiming that there were "good people on both sides.")


"When the looting starts, the shooting starts." 

–Miami police Chief Walter Headley, 1968, tweeted by Trump May 29 

Trump's effusions of "treat 'em rough," and "Dominance!" all contribute to an atmosphere that lends itself to brutality. Law-enforcement officers know that they no longer have Obama and Holder looking over their shoulders; Now it's Trump and Barr, and they are free to indulge their darkest impulses. As recently as five years ago, the police were afraid of being filmed, having their images captured, with the potential to be identified. No more. Now it seems having brutality captured on video is a badge of honor. Virality, bitchez…

Little surprise that if cops know that state-sanctioned violence is permissible, state-sanctioned violence is what we'll get. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery was a clear a case of vigilantism as we are likely to see. The only thing missing were the robes and hoods. 

American authoritarianism is going to be rooted in racist violence. The Compromise of 1877, which ended a tie vote in the Electoral College and Rutherford Hayes becoming President, was conditioned upon the withdrawal of Federal troops from the south. This ended Reconstruction, as well as the vision for a unified country. It also reinvigorated the KKK, and birthed Jim Crow.

Racism received a booster shot when Woodrow Wilson screened "Birth of a Nation" at the White House in 1915. The D.W. Griffith film glorified the Klan and told a false story about race relations in the South, with the aim "to revolutionize Northern audiences that would transform every man into a Southern partisan for life." "Birth of a Nation" built upon the existing myth of The Lost Cause promulgated by Confederate propagandist E.A. Pollard, a fictional re-writing of history that endorsed the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the Civil War as a struggle primarily to save the Southern way of life, or to defend "states' rights", in the face of overwhelming "Northern aggression." Ignoring the abject treason of the slavers.

Racist policing has a long and ignoble pedigree, and now it has been given new life by the most openly racist president since Wilson.


The First Amendment is visibly under assault. Dozens of reports from around the country this week have shown journalists getting shot at, manhandled, abused and arrested by police officers, even after identifying themselves as journalists. We saw a CNN journalist arrested live on national TV while filing a report. Coming soon, a further assault on freedom of assembly, complete with truncheons wielded upon peaceful, defenseless protesters.

This is the sort of behavior we are used to seeing from Egypt, Brazil, Kenya or Paraguay, not the US. But the non-lethal techniques we've tested abroad have come home. And are paid for with our tax dollars.

We've seen an increasingly weak and desperate president label antifa as a "terrorist group" as he ramps up the tough-guy rhetoric. All in service to a sort of illusory "patriotism," which is simply rabid nationalism in drag. Trump wraps himself in the flag, and raises a bible as a worship object. Flag worship raises armies, after all. And military veterans often muster out and join the police. 

Next time we will review why it is so difficult to prosecute cops– the concept of "qualified immunity," which some are trying to end. And how we might effect change: Cut the rot at the root, go after the funding, And watch the weed wither and die. As always, follow the money.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone.

Food in Collapse 2: Cooking, Cheesemaking & Fermentation

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 7, 2020

 

Audio Only

 

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And a whole lot more than that too! 🙂  When Irv & I get together on the topic of FOOD, we both have a severe case of Diahreah of the Mouth.  lol.  I actually edited this one down to get it to 1:30 hours. 🙂  I was going to chop it into parts to make it a little less time consuming and intimidating, but ya know I have so many videos and topics in the planning stages I just didn't want to get backed up on them.  So you get the whole thing in one healthy dose, like a Bloody Mary with 3 shots of Stolichnaya, 🙂  I suggest in this case to view it in parts over the course of the week, or downlod the .MP3 Audio and listen while you commute to work or are outside Gardening or Cycling to improve your Aerobic Conditioning or are out driving the endless miles of the Eisenhower Interstate in your Big Rig.  No connection to the Net necessary once you D/L the MP3, which takes just a few minutes under normal connection speeds these days.

Besides the stuff in the title, we talk about Freezing and the problems associated with that as well as the necessary Back-Up Electrics you need to keep your frozen meats and fish reasonably secure, at least for a temporary disruption lasting a couple of weeks or so.  Also storage of Grains and Breadmaking.

We will be doing another discussion on developing your own Electrical Resilience in the near future.  We should have several other contributors to this discusion as welll, with varying degrees of knowledge about both Electric Resilience as well as FOOD topics.  I am really looking forward to this discussion

 

MEANWHILE, we are still in Diner Fundraising month as our Annual Diner Bills come due.  Please open up your Wallets and make a contribution to the Diner to help us keep the information about Collapse flowing.  Also make your Amazon Prep Purchases from the SMILE.AMAZON.COM website and designate the SUSTAINING UNIVERSAL NEEDS FOUNDATION of Boiling Springs, SC as your Charity.  We are a NON-PROFIT 501c3 Corporation dedicated to creating Sustainable Food, Energy & Housing for the population at large.  This costs you NOTHING!  Jeff Bozos makes the contribution out of the exorbitant PROFITS he takes from his Amazon online sales paradigm.

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It Can’t Happen Here

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 2, 2020

"I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me." –Langston Hughes 


I'm old enough to remember when White America was outraged– OUTRAGED, I say– when H. Rap Brown offered America the simple truth that "Violence is an American as cherry pie" in July of 1967 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. That was long before the Chicago police and the FBI murdered a sleeping Fred Hampton in December of 1969.

I'm old enough to remember WMD. Remember those?  "Yellowcake," the excuse for a Republican administration lying us into the wrong war, with Fox News and Hate Radio accusing those opposed of treason. Remember The Great Recession?  Presided over by a Republican president who having pissed away the Clinton budget surplus on tax cuts (and more tax cuts) for a war based on lies?  The effects of which then exacerbated by Republicans in Congress determined to sabotage whatever Obama might have tried to ease the suffering of millions?

Memory: the liberal superpower. But the long history of this country is written in blood, built on the bones of the indigenous, the slave, the immigrant laborer, and other "conditional citizens," whose rights to "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" are conditioned upon not being locked on by a police searchlight or targeted by police weapons.

There has been an open season on black American males with no bag limit. Cops are able to summarily execute black Americans with minimal, if any, consequence. Hence the long overdue rising which has bubbled over this week In response to the on-video murders of George Floyd, and before him Ahmaud Arbery. But a list of the dead would be a roll call of ignominy: Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile… 

In late stage capitalism, where everything has been commoditized, where almost all speech is marketing, no one should be surprised that police are the occupation army of capital. Occupation armies treat the citizenry as hostile. Expect no less on America's streets.

Yet the brutality and direct targeting of journalists is new for this country, another milestone in the march to fascism.

Trump has sown hatred of the press for years, borrowing techniques more often seen in third world dictatorships, Now journalists are under assault from police and protesters alike.

On Friday, while reporting on live TV, CNN's Omar Jimenez and his crew was arrested as the crew covered George Floyd protests.  CNN reported that the arresting officers were from the Minnesota State Patrol. The reason for their arrests was not immediately clear, but was later attributed to orders issued by Gov. Tim Walz to clear the area. 

CNN's Josh Campbell, also reporting from the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said he, too, was approached by police, but was allowed to remain. Jimenez is black and Latino, while Campbell is white. For his part, Walz apologized to CNN, saying there was "absolutely no reason" for the arrests and that he took "full responsibility."

Elsewhere around the country, journalists were harassed and targeted by police.

In Louisville, a police officer fired pepper balls at a local TV reporter, Kaitlin Rust. In Denver, police fired paintballs and tear gas, hitting a news photographer and his camera. Bellingcat has documented at least 50 separate incidents where journalists have been attacked by law enforcement.

Those who say that Trump's rhetoric is just harmless bloviating are kidding themselves. We are watching a real time devolution to fascism, American-style. Steve Bannon may be gone from the White House grounds, but his message lives on. The press is the enemy, says Bannon.

The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

But they're going to understand it good and hard. Bannon's advice is to “flood the zone with shit,” overwhelming the media with disinformation, distraction, and denial. After three and a half years, the American press finds itself having gone from being called names to becoming targets of police suppression. Late Tuesday, Trump emerged from his bunker for a photo op and a message of repression.


"At this point we should probably just be called the states of america."

–Sarah Silverman

Trust in the government has steadily eroded ever since the Warren Commission report. Vietnam, death tolls. Pentagon Papers. Iran-Contra and that lying lout Oliver North. Pardons all around. Yellowcake. Cooked intel. War in Iraq after 9-11. Concealment, deception and outright lies have characterized U.S. national security policy for decades. So little surprise that some people are willing to dismiss appeals to authority and evidence-based claims.

Others are as eager and willing as ever to turn over their legal rights to a legally spurious junta making it up as they go along. 

Far-Right extremists Are showing up, hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a new civil war. They show up in cars with license plates removed, and often dress in "antifa" drag, wearing the black goodies associated with "black bloc" anarchists. Plus it appears that Agents provocateur may now be part of the standard policing playbook for dealing with protest. For those interested, the blog Just Security has published an analysis of these infiltration tactics, particularly those of "accelerationists," an extreme subset of white nationalism whose goal is to bring about chaos and destruction via a Charles Mansonesque race war.

Many reports from Minnesota of cars without license plates. When approached by police the occupants scatter on foot. Here is one. 

During Occupy I told anyone who would listen to assume that anyone exhorting you to violence is a cop or a spy. Now you can add infiltrator to the mix.

Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s. Marvelous deflection from the over 100,000 deaths Trump has caused by his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. All the better to drive Whites into the arms of the assorted fascists, grifters and neo-Confederates that comprise the Trump regime. 

And we learn that "antifa," that all purpose blamesicle beloved of the alt-right, (and which is not an organized group), is to be designated as "terrorist organization." As with so many Trump pronunciamentos, the government has no existing legal authority to label any domestic group in the manner it currently designates foreign terrorist organizations.

Antifa just means "anti-fascist;" It's not a club holding monthly meetings.  But for the fuzzy thinkers of the right, antifa is some centrally controlled, George Soros-funded Monolith of The Resistance. Within the cult of perpetual victimhood that defines the drooling right in this country, antifa is a made-to-order whipping boy.

Why does he get away with it? The complicit beltway media and their apparatchik bosses whose fat livings depend on Republicans returning their phone calls. And whose stock in trade is "bothsiderism" punctuated by "whataboutism." A.J. Liebling famously said, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." And the bookers and producers understand that and follow their assigned scripts, all of which support the existing system and the preservation of capital.


This week we learned that the only way to protest correctly is show up armed with guns at a state capitol.


10 steps to closing societies and to totalitarianism.

Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
Set up an internal surveillance system.
Infiltrate and harass citizens' groups.
Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
Target key individuals.
Control the press.
Cast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason.
Subvert the rule of law.

–Naomi Wolf

We should have undone the so-called PATRIOT Act and other pernicious laws before now. Indefinite detention, anyone? Trump and Barr will exploit the far corners of American law to hound their opponents. So for the second or third time in a decade, I awaken to learn I've been labeled a terrorist by my own government for believing that the government is abusive. So now I find myself an enemy of the state. It's not even Wednesday yet.


"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

–Attributed to Sinclair Lewis

So why don't we just bring civil charges Or otherwise attempt to bring rogue cops to some sort of justice? 

But when Goerge Floyd’s family goes to court to hold the officers liable for their actions, a judge in Minnesota may very well dismiss their claims. All because of a legal doctrine called "qualified immunity" that specifically shields government officials, including poilice, from most such claims. Police act like laws don't apply to them because of 'qualified immunity.' They're right.

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”Although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test is a legal obstacle that’s nearly impossible to overcome. It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional. If none exists, the official is immune. Whether the official’s actions are unconstitutional, intentional, or malicious is irrelevant to the test.

One imagines that if police were subject to civil liability for their actions, including loss of pension oif convicted, we might quickly see a change in the amount of abusive behavior on the part of police.

As I got ready to post this, events have swarmed these scribblings. Moments after threatening to unleash the military against the American people, styling them "antifa," or "professional anarchists” – for the crime of seeking racial justice, #BunkerBoyTrump had military police teargas and shoot rubber bullets into a peaceful crowd. This display of supposed "toughness" was so a reality TV "president" he could hold a pointless photo op, clutching a Bible in front of a church. Thus making Sinclair Lewis a prophet:  Fascism has come to America.

I'm old enough to remember a different America. One where the cop on the beat or street was a potential source of aid and safety. Where people didn't cower in fear or snarl in loathing at their neighbors for their political beliefs. And one in which every yahoo with a grievance didn't brandish an AK-47 (or a hunting bow) at a public demonstration. Or where the President at least pretended to care about the welfare of his fellow citizens. But those days are long gone, as the American public learns what foreign governments have already learned through the last three and a half years: America is no longer to be trusted or counted upon.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Community Gardens. Permaculture & Food Distribution during the Coronavirus Catastrophe

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 31, 2020

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     In this week's Collapse Cafe, I got together again with Irv Mills to dicuss another favorite topic among Kollapsniks, FOOD!  This topic becomes especially important during the Coronavirus Pandemic since it gave the general population a taste of what the disruption of JIT shipping can do their food supply, which many people grow up believing grows on the grocery store shelves each night after closing.  lol.  Irv is the Coordinator of his local Community Garden in Kincardine, Ontario and grew up on a rural family owned farm a bit inland from where he lives now on the shores of the Great Lake they call Huron.

The conversation ranges from the Garden and the Coronavirus Pandemic to Food Distribution, Commercial Monoculture Agriculture & Permaculture farming, where Irv has a few differences with a segment of the Permaculture community.

Hope you enjoy this discussion, since there is much more on the Food topic to come from Irv & me.  He's as obsessed with this topic as I am, and when we start talking about it, we just don't stop.  lol.

 

It's Diner Fundraising time as our Annual Bills come due.  If you find our work informative and interesting, please make a contribution so we can continue on with our work, until the Internet goes Dark…

Doomstead Diner Solstice Fundraising

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 29, 2020

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Upcoming in less than a month is the Solstice.  It is traditionally a time of Celebration and Feasting. and once again I will be preparing a SUPER SPECIAL Diner meal for this occasion. 🙂

For the Diner it also marks the time of year many of our Annual Bills come due.  So this year I have decided to Celebrate by BEGGING FOR MONEY!

The Diner doesn't take ads, we don't have a Paywall & there are no annoying Pop-Ups.  This website is also a wholly owned subsidiary of the 501c3 Non-Profit Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation, chartered in South Carolina.  If you have a Deep Pocket and are of a mind to donate $1000 or more, you can do it through the SUN☼ Foundation website.  It's TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

For smaller donations, use the Donate Button on the Diner Blog homepage.  It's not worth the trouble of doing the tax forms for that.  NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL! You can either make a one time donation or sign up for a monthly subscription on PayPal.

You can also help the Diner at NO COST to you when you make purchase on Amazon to Prep for the coming collapse.  Use the smile.amazon.com subweb and designate the Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation of Boiling Springs, SC as your Charity.  You pay the same price you would buying from amazon.com, but in this case Jeff Bezos takes a tiny fration of his profits and sends it our way.  He gets a Tax Deduction for that, of course.  lol.

Help keep the Diner alive and the information about the Collapse of Industrial Civilization flowing out to those who are not yet aware of what is REALLY going on here, beyond just the Coronavirus Catastrophe.

Upcoming for Sunday Brunch on the Diner this week, we have another Collapse discussion for your consumption, this time on FOOD.  My favorite topic. 🙂

Ontario Hydroelectric & Nuclear Power

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 24, 2020

 

Discuss this Video & Article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

 

We are taking a break this week on the Collapse Cafe to NOT talk about COVID-19 as the main topic of conversation, althought it does of course work it's way into this discussion.  It's almost impossible nowadays to talk anbout ANYTHING without Coronavirus working its way into the conversation.

However, in this one I talk with Irvine Mills, a long time contributor to the Diner Blog, who also runs his own blog, The Easiest Person to Fool.  .  Irv is a recently retired Electrician for Ontario Hydro, the Electric Power Authority in Ontario Canada.  His career spanned 31 years as he moved up the ranks from Trainee to Foreman and finally Manager for his district.  He lives nearby one of the Nuke Plants he was responsible for in Kincardine, on the shore of the Great Lake they call Huron.  Not Gitchee Gumee (Lake Superior), that's to the north.  lol.

Great Lakes maps

 

As reservoirs of Fresh Water go, the Great Lakes are among the very largest sources in the world.

Fresh Water Around the World

  • The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90 percent of the fresh water that exists on the Earth’s surface. The ice sheet covers approximately 8.7 million square miles. The Greenland ice sheet also contains large volumes of fresh water. These two ice sheets account for more than 99 percent of the fresh water ice on the planet.
  • The American Great Lakes account for 21 percent of the Earth’s surface fresh water.
  • Lake Baikal in Russia is considered the deepest, oldest freshwater lake in the world. It holds about 20 percent of the Earth’s unfrozen surface fresh water, the largest volume in the world.
  • Lake Victoria, which spreads across the African countries of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, is the second largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.
  • Africa’s Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest freshwater lake, and holds the second largest volume of fresh water. It’s the longest lake, and extends across Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Of course, this water is not quite as "Fresh" as it used to be, given the amount of manufacturng that has gone on since the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Oil.  You all have heard I trust about the water issues in Flint, MI, which is just the most famous of communities curently with Pollution problems dating well back into the Industrial era.  All the Great Lakes have this problem to one extent or another, as do the other Big Lakes like Baikal in Mother Russia and Victoria in Africa.  The big Ice Sheets of Antartica and Greenland where MOST of the Global Fresh Wter is stored aren't too polluted, but that is real difficult water to access.  Like close to impossible.

The water in Lake Baikal is not all that useful either, because so much of it is down DEEP.  It would take a shit load of energy to pump that water back UP, to make it useful for say farmland irrigation.  Of all these big fresh water reservoirs, because of quirks of Geography and how the continents migrated over the millenia, the Great Lakes are probably the MOST useful fresh water supply, but even they have their limitations.  You couldn't for instance pump the water in a pipeline to Arizona to irrigate that desert, it's too far and it's uphill.  Again, this is energy prohibitive to try.

However, right around the Great Lakes area, it's a gret source of water for irrigation, so that locality shouldn't be going dry anytime too soon regardless of how the weather patterns change.  It still does take some energy to pump this water to the fields though, of course.

The sceond area this enormous supply of water has is as a source of energy in the form of Hydroelectric Power, because from where it feeds in to where it finally makes its way to Sea Level, it cascades downward from one lake to the next and the Energy of that falling water can be harvested all along the way.  You all are familiar of course with one of the bigger waterfalls, Niagara.

 

Although Niagara is dumping the most water and produces the most electricity, there are locations where the water drops even further, just not in such copious amounts.  These plants produce quite a significant amount of energy, enough to powere their own locality, if it were wired up that way, which currently it is not.  At the top of the article you ill find an image of just such a plant, although that one is in Oz, not Canada.  Irv explains how this works in our discussion.

A closer look at Canada's nuclear plants | CBC News Finally, the copious amount of water in the region is useful for proving the Coolin that the Nuke Plants need not to oveerheat and in worst case scenarios, Meltdown.  this hs its downsides of course too, since there is the potential for contamination of the water supply as well as possible damage to the ecosystem.  The fishies living in the lake may not appreciate taking a Hot Water bath.  We discuss these issues as well along the way in this week's Collapse Cafe.

All in all, when you consider the relatively low population density of the Great White North of Canada, their current supply of Hydroelectric Power and Nuke Power and the fact they do have their own supply of Fossil Fuels and they are in the right location on the globe to withstand substantial Global Warming, it's probably one of the best plaes on earth left ot be living.  If I didn't live in another great one, the Last Great Frontier of Alaska, I would consider migrating there myself.

Below you will find a table with links to the current Electric Pow generating plants in Canada:

 

In the coming weeks, we will be discussing further topics of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization that are of interest to the Collapse Aware (aka Kollapsnik), beginning with a favorite topic of mine, FOOD.  Here is a snippet from one of the upcoming videos:

 

Nuclear

Nuclear power accounts for roughly 60% of Ontario's power generation, and represents the baseload of its power supply [1]. The government plans to maintain nuclear power's role in energy generation through to 2025. Ontario currently has 16 nuclear units in operation. These reactors amount to 11,400 MW of generation capacity and are located at three sites. The stations were constructed by the provincial Crown corporation, Ontario Hydro. In April 1999 Ontario Hydro was split into 5 component Crown corporations with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) taking over all electrical generating stations.

Name Location Capacity (MW) Date Owner Ref
Bruce Nuclear Generating Station 44°19′31″N 81°35′58″W 6,276   Ontario Power Generation (operated under contract by Bruce Power) [2]
Darlington Nuclear Generating Station 43°52′22″N 78°43′11″W 3,524   Ontario Power Generation [3]
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station 43°48′42″N 79°03′57″W 3,100   Ontario Power Generation [4]
TOTAL   12,900      

Fossil fuel

List of all fossil fuel generating stations in Ontario.

Name Location Capacity (MW) Date Owner Type Ref
Essar Cogeneration Facility 46°31′21″N 84°21′32″W 63.0 June 13, 2009 Algoma Energy LP Blast Furnace Gas [5]
Brighton Beach Generating Station Windsor 580   Ontario Power Generation Natural Gas [6]
Cardinal Cogeneration Plant Cardinal 156   Macquarie Power & Infrastructure Natural Gas [7]
Cochrane Cogeneration Station Cochrane 38.3   Algonquin Power Natural Gas [8]
Cornwall Electric (CDH District Heating) Cornwall 5 1995 Fortis Ontario Inc. Natural Gas [9]
Durham College District Energy Oshawa 2.4 March 11, 2008 Durham College Natural Gas [10]
East Windsor Cogeneration Centre Windsor 84 November 6, 2009 East Windsor Cogeneration LP Natural Gas [11]
Goreway Station Brampton 874 June 4, 2009 Sithe Global Power Goreway ULC Natural Gas [12]
Greenfield Energy Centre Courtright 1,005 October 16, 2008 Greenfield Energy Centre LP Natural Gas [13]
Greenfield South Power Plant Sarnia[14] 280 Under Construction Greenfield South Power Corporation Natural Gas [15]
GTAA Cogeneration Plant Mississauga 117 February 1, 2006 GTAA Natural Gas [16]
Great Northern Tri-Gen Facility Kingsville 12 Under Construction Great Northern Hydroponics Natural Gas [17]
Halton Hills Generating Station Halton Hills 683 September 1. 2010 TransCanada Natural Gas [18]
Iroquois Falls Power Plant Iroquois Falls 120   Northland Power Natural Gas [19]
Kapuskasing Power Plant Kapuskasing 40   Atlantic Power Corporation Natural Gas [20]
Kingston Generating Station Kingston 110   Northland Power Natural Gas [21]
Kirkland Lake Cogeneration Station Kirkland Lake 102   Algonquin Power Natural Gas [22]
Lake Superior Power Facility Sault Ste. Marie 110   Brookfield Renewable Power Natural Gas [23]
Lennox Generating Station 44°8′46″N 76°51′9″W 2,100   Ontario Power Generation Fuel oil / Natural Gas [24]
London Cogeneration Facility London 17 December 31, 2008 Fort Chicago Natural Gas [25]
Nipigon Power Plant Nipigon 40   Atlantic Power Corporation Natural Gas [20]
North Bay Power Plant North Bay 40   Atlantic Power Corporation Natural Gas [20]
Ottawa Cogeneration Plant Ottawa 68   TransAlta Natural Gas [26]
Portlands Energy Centre Toronto 550   Ontario Power Generation, TransCanada Natural Gas [27]
Sarnia Regional Cogeneration Plant Sarnia 506 January 1, 2006 TransAlta Natural Gas [26][28]
St. Clair Energy Centre St. Clair Township 577 March 30, 2009 St. Clair Power LP Natural Gas [29]
Sudbury District Energy Cogeneration Plant Sudbury 5 January 1, 2006 Toromont Energy Natural Gas [30]
Sudbury District Energy Hospital Cogeneration Plant Sudbury 6.7 Under construction Toromont Energy Natural Gas [31]
Thorold CoGen L.P. Thorold 265   Northland Power Natural Gas [32]
Trent Valley Cogeneration Plant Trenton 8.3 January 1, 2006 Sonoco Natural Gas [33]
Tunis Power Plant   43   Atlantic Power Corporation Natural Gas [20]
York Energy Centre King 393 May 2012 York Energy Centre LP Natural Gas [34]
Warden Energy Centre Trenton 5 June 4, 2008 Sonoco Natural Gas [35]
Windsor Cogeneration Plant Windsor 68   TransAlta Natural Gas [26]
TOTAL   13,933.3     Operational  

Renewable

Biomass

List of biomass electrical generating stations in Ontario.

Name Location Capacity (MW) Date Owner Type Ref
Atikokan Generating Station 48°50′17″N 91°34′15″W 205 September 10, 2014 Ontario Power Generation Biomass [36]
Becker Cogeneration Plant Hornepayne 15.0 On Hold 1721027 Ontario Inc. Biomass [37]
Algonquin Power Energy-from-Waste Brampton 15.1   Algonquin Power Biomass [38]
Calstock Power Plant Hearst 35   Atlantic Power Corporation Biomass [20]
Cochrane Cochrane 42   Northland Power Biomass [39]
East Landfill Gas to Energy Project Niagara Falls 1 December 2007 Glenridge Gas Utilization Inc. Landfill Gas [40]
Eastview Landfill Gas Energy Plant Guelph 2.5 August 18, 2005 Ecotricity Guelph Inc (Guelph Hydro) Landfill Gas [41]
Hamilton Cogeneration Plant Hamilton 1.6 July 10, 2006 Hamilton Renewable Power Inc. Digester Gas [42]
Thunder Bay Generating Station Thunder Bay, Ontario 153 February 9, 2015 Ontario Power Generation Biomass [43]
Mapleward Renewable Generating Station Thunder Bay, Ontario 3.2 July 2010 Synergy North Landfill Gas [44]
Trail Road Landfill Generating Facility Ottawa 5.3 January 31, 2007 PowerTrail Inc. Landfill Gas [45]
TOTAL   360.5     Operational  

Hydroelectric

List of all hydroelectric generating stations in Ontario.

Name Location Capacity (MW) Date Owner Ref
635294 Generating Station 48°25′31″N 80°18′21″W 0.522 May 1987 635294 Ontario Inc. [46]
Abitibi Canyon Generating Station 49°52′40″N 81°34′15″W 349   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Aguasabon Station 48°47′33″N 87°6′44″W 51   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Alexander Station 49°9′2″N 88°20′57″W 68   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Andrew Generating Station 46°30′52″N 84°20′50″W 47 1938 Brookfield Renewable Power [48][49]
Appleton Hydroelectric Dam 44°15′13″N 88°24′35″W 1   TransAlta [26]
Arnprior Station 45°25′08″N 76°20′52″W 82 1976[50] Ontario Power Generation [51]
Aubrey Falls Mississagi River 162 1969 Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Auburn Generating Station Peterborough 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Barrett Chute Station 45°14′43″N 76°45′36″W 176 August 6, 1942[53] Ontario Power Generation [51]
Batawa Trent River 5   Innergex Renewable Energy

[54]

Big Chute Station Coldwater 10   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Big Eddy Station Bala 8   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Bingham Chute Station Powassan 1   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Bracebridge Falls 45°02′19″N 79°18′31″W 2.6   Lakeland Holding [55]
Brewer’s Mills Generating Station Seeley’s Bay 0.9 1939 Energy Ottawa [56]
Burgess Creek (Mill Stream) Generating Station Bala 0.14   KRIS Renewable Energy [57]
Burk's Falls 45°37′10″N 79°24′42″W 1.1   Lakeland Holding [55]
Calabogie Station Renfrew 4 November 1917[58] Ontario Power Generation [51]
Calm Lake GS East of Atikokan 9   H2O Power LP [59]
Cameron Falls Aux Sables River 4   Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Cameron Falls Station Nipigon 87   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Campbellford Hydroelectric Dam Campbellford 4   Algonquin Power [60]
Caribou Falls Station Kenora 91   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Carmichael Falls Generating Station Cochrane 20   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Cascade Steel Generating Station Parry Sound 1.2 1919 Parry Sound PowerGen [62]
Chats Falls Generating Station[note 1] 45°28′30″N 76°14′18″W 96   Ontario Power Generation [63][64]
Chaudiere #2 Generating Station Amelia Island Ottawa 8.4 1892 by E.H. Bronson Energy Ottawa [65][66]
Chaudiere #4 Generating Station Ottawa 9.3 1900 Energy Ottawa [67]
Chenaux Station 45°35′06″N 76°40′25″W 144   Ontario Power Generation [51]
Coniston Station Sudbury 5   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Crowe Bay Station Trent Hills 2   Hydro One  
Current River Generating Station Thunder Bay 0.5 January 1987 Current River Hydro Partnership [68]
Crystal Falls Station Sturgeon Falls 8   Ontario Power Generation [47]
DeCew Falls I Generating Station 43°07′07″N 79°15′50″W 23   Ontario Power Generation [69]
DeCew Falls II Generating Station 43°07′08″N 79°15′41″W 144   Ontario Power Generation [70]
Des Joachims Station 46°10′52″N 77°41′45″W 429   Ontario Power Generation [51]
Dryden Dryden 3 1986 Macquarie Power & Infrastructure [71]
Dunford Generating Station Scott 45 1908 Brookfield Renewable Power [72]
Ear Falls Station Ear Falls 22   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Elliott Chute Station Powassan 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Eugenia Station Grey Highlands 6   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Fenelon Falls Station Trent–Severn Waterway 2.6   Shaman Power Corp  
Fort Frances GS Fort Frances 10   H2O Power LP [59]
Francis H. Clergue Generating Station Sault Ste. Marie 52   Brookfield Renewable Power [48]
Frankford Station Frankford 3   Ontario Power Generation [47]
G.W. Rayner Mississagi River 46   Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Galetta Hydroelectric Dam Almonte 2   TransAlta [26]
Gananoque Generating Station Gananoque 0.7 1939 Energy Ottawa [73]
Gartshore Generating Station Sault Ste. Marie 23   Brookfield Renewable Power [48]
Glen Miller Trenton 8   Innergex Renewable Energy [54]
Shand Dam Belwood Lake 0.6   Grand River Conservation Authority [74]
Conestogo Dam Conestogo Lake 0.6   Grand River Conservation Authority [74]
Guelph Lake power plant Guelph Lake 0.1   Grand River Conservation Authority [74]
Hagues Reach Generating Station Campbellford 4   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Hanna Chute Generating Station Bracebridge 1   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Harmon Generating Station Kapuskasing 141   Ontario Power Generation and Moose Cree First Nation [47]
Harris Generating Station Wawa 13   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Healey Falls Generating Station Campbellford 12   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Heywood Generating Station St. Catharines 6.5 September 1989 St. Catharines Hydro Generation Inc. [75]
High Falls (Ontario) 45°05′20″N 79°18′11″W 2.3   Lakeland Holding [55]
High Falls Station Carleton Place 3   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Hogg Generating Station Sault Ste. Marie 19   Brookfield Renewable Power [48]
Hollingsworth Generating Station Wawa 23   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Hound Chute Generating Station 47°18′19″N 79°41′51″W 4   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Hurdman Dam Mattawa 0.57   Algonquin Power [76]
Indian Chute Generating Station Elk Lake 3   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Island Falls Generating Station-Mattagami Smooth Rock Falls 20 Under Construction TransAlta [77]
Island Falls Generating Station-H2O Power Smooth Rock Falls 40 1925 H2O Power LP [78]
Jones Falls Generating Station Elgin 2.4 1949 Energy Ottawa [79]
Iroquois Falls GS Iroquois Falls 30   H2O Power LP [59]
Kagawong Generating Station Kagawong 0.75   Oakville Hydro Energy Services [80]
Kakabeka Generating Station Oliver Paipoonge 25   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Kenora GS Kenora 8   H2O Power LP [59]
Kingston Mills Generating Station Kingston 1.9 1915 Energy Ottawa [81]
Kipling Generating Station Kapuskasing 233   Ontario Power Generation and Moose Cree First Nation [47]
Lac-Seul Station Ear Falls 12   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Lakefield Generating Station Lakefield 12   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Little Long Generating Station Kapuskasing 133   Ontario Power Generation and Moose Cree First Nation [47]
London Street Dam Peterborough 4.1   Peterborough Utilities  
Long-Sault Rapids Dam Cochrane 16   Algonquin Power [82]
Lower Notch Generating Station 47°08′21″N 79°27′15″W 274   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Lower Sturgeon Generating Station Timmins 14   Ontario Power Generation [47]
MacKay Generating Station Sault Ste. Marie 62   Brookfield Renewable Power [48]
Manitou Station Ear Falls 73   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Marmora Dam Marmora 1   Shaman Power Corp  
Matabitchuan Generating Station 47°07′24″N 79°29′41″W 10   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Matthias Generating Station Bracebridge 2.95 1950 Orillia Power Generation [83]
McPhail Generating Station Wawa 13   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
McVittie Generating Station Sudbury 3   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Merrickville Generating Station Smiths Falls 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Meyersburg Generating Station Campbellford 5   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Minden Generating Station Minden 4 1934 Orillia Power Generation [84]
Misema Hydroelectric Dam Marter Township 3Solar 2003 TransAlta [26]
Mission Generating Station Wawa 16   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Moose Rapids Hydroelectric Dam Sudbury 1   TransAlta [26]
Mountain Chute Station Greater Madawaska 170 November 11, 1967[85] Ontario Power Generation [51]
Nairn Falls Dam and Generating Plant Nairn and Hyman   1915 Vale Limited [86]
Nipissing Station Nipissing 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Norman GS Norman 10   H2O Power LP [59]
Otter Rapids Generating Station 50°10′52″N 81°38′08″W 182   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Otto Holden Station 46°22′42″N 78°43′43″W 243   Ontario Power Generation [51]
Pine Portage Station Nipigon 142   Ontario Power Generation [47]
R. H. Saunders Station 45°00′28″N 74°47′34″W 1,045   Ontario Power Generation [51]
Ragged Chute Hydroelectric Dam 47°16′35″N 79°40′21″W 7   TransAlta [26]
Ragged Rapids Generating Station Bala 8   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Rankine power station[note 2] 43°04′28″N 79°04′43″W     Niagara Parks Commission [87]
Ranney Falls Generating Station Campbellford 10   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Red Rock Falls Mississagi River 41   Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Robert A. Dunford Generating Station Wawa 45   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Sandy Falls Generating Station Timmins 5.5 1911–2010 Ontario Power Generation [47][88]
Scott Falls Generating Station Wawa 22   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Serpent River Serpent River 7   Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Seymour Generating Station Campbellford 6   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Shekak Generating Station Hearst 19   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Sidney Generating Station Trenton 4   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Sills Island Generating Station Frankford 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Silver Falls Station Thunder Bay 48   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station 43°08′57″N 79°02′40″W 498   Ontario Power Generation [89]
Sir Adam Beck II Generating Station 43°08′45″N 79°02′41″W 1,499   Ontario Power Generation [90]
Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station 43°08′40″N 79°03′36″W 174   Ontario Power Generation [91]
Smoky Falls Generating Station Kapuskasing 268   Ontario Power Generation and Moose Cree First Nation [47]
Sonoco’s Mill Dam Glen Miller 8   Innergex Renewable Energy  
South Falls Generating Station Bracebridge 5   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Steephill Falls Generating Station Wawa 15   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Stewartville Station 45°24′26″N 76°30′24″W 182 September 21, 1948[92] Ontario Power Generation [51]
Stinson Generating Station Sudbury 5   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Sturgeon Falls GS East of Atikokan 8   H2O Power LP [59]
Thomas Low Generating Station Renfrew 4 September 2015[93] Renfrew Power Generation [94]
Toronto Power Generating Station[note 2] Niagara     Niagara Parks Commission  
Trethewey Falls Generating Station Bracebridge 2   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Twin Falls GS Iroquois Falls 22   H2O Power LP [59]
Umbata Falls Marathon 23   Innergex Renewable Energy [54]
Valerie Falls Generating Station Atikokan 10   Brookfield Renewable Power [61]
Wawaitin Generating Station 48°20′38″N 81°29′08″W 13   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Wawatay Marathon 14 1992 Macquarie Power & Infrastructure [95]
Welland Canal Locks 1, 2 and 3 Welland Canal 6   Rankin Renewable Power [96]
Wells Mississagi River 239   Brookfield Renewable Power [52]
Whitedog Falls Station Kenora 68   Ontario Power Generation [47]
Wilson's Falls 45°03′44″N 79°18′38″W 2.9   Lakeland Holding [55]
TOTAL   8130.81      

Wind

List of all wind farms in Ontario.

Name Location Capacity (MW) Date Owner Ref
Adelaide Wind Farm Middlesex County 60 2014 Suncor Energy [97]
Amaranth Wind Farm 44°06′00″N 80°16′15″W 199.5 2008 TransAlta [98]
Amherst Island Wind Farm Amherst Island 75 2018 Windletric [99]
Armow Wind Grey County 180 2015 Pattern Energy [97]
Belle River Wind Farm Lakeshore 100 2017 Pattern Energy [99]
Bornish Wind Energy Centre Middlesex County 72.9 2014 NextEra Energy Canada [97]
Bow Lake Wind Project Sault Ste. Marie 58.32 2015 BluEarth Renewables [97]
Cedar Point Wind Power Project Lambton County 99.96 2015 NextEra Energy Canada / Suncor Energy [97]
Chatham Wind Farm 42°14′N 82°24′W 101.2 2010 Kruger Energy [100]
Clear Creek Point Wind Farm Norfolk County 9.9 2008 International Power [101]
Comber Wind Farm Essex County 165.6 2012 Brookfield Renewable Power [102]
Conestogo Wind Energy Centre I Conestogo 22.9 2012 NextEra Energy [100][103]
Cruickshank Wind Farm Kincardine 8.25   Enbridge [101]
Cultus Wind Farm Norfolk County 9.9   International Power [101]
Dillon Wind Centre Raleigh 78 2011   [100]
Dufferin Wind Farm Melancthon 91.4 2013 Longyuan Canada Renewables Ltd. [104]
Exhibition Place Wind Turbine 43°37′49.5″N 79°25′29.3″W 0.6 2002 WindShare [105]
Ferndale Wind Farm Ferndale 5.1   Sky Generation [106]
Frogmore Wind Farm Norfolk County 9.9   International Power [101]
Gosfield Kingsville 50 2011   [100]
Grand Renewable Energy Park Haldimand County 150 2015 Samsung Renewable Energy Inc, Korea Electric Power Corporation, Pattern Energy [107][108]
Greenwich Wind Farm Greenwich 99 2012 Enbridge [100]
Harrow Wind Farm Essex 39.6   International Power [109]
Henvey Inlet Wind Energy Centre (HIWEC) Reserve No 2 of Henvey Inlet First Nation community 300 2019 Pattern Energy, Nigig Power [110]
Huron Wind Tiverton 9 2002 Cameco, OMERS, TransCanada [111]
Kingsbridge Goderich 39.6 2006 Capital Power Corporation [100]
McLean's Mountain Wind Farm   60 2013   [100]
Mohawk Point Wind Farm Norfolk County 9.9   International Power [101]
Niagara Region Wind Farm Regional Municipality of Niagara 230 2016 Boralex [112]
North Kent Chatham-Kent 100 2018 Pattern Energy [99]
OPG 7 commemorative turbine Pickering 1.8   Ontario Power Generation [113]
Pointe Aux Roche Wind   48.6 2012   [100]
Port Alma Chatham-Kent 101.2   Kruger Energy [114]
Port Burwell Wind Farm Port Burwell 99 2006 Macquarie Power & Infrastructure [115]
Port Dover and Nanticoke Port Dover 105 2013 Capital Power Corporation [100]
Prince Sault Ste. Marie 189 2006 Brookfield Renewable Power [116]
Proof Line Wind Farm Lambton Shores 6.6   Sky Generation [101]
Providence Bay Wind Farm Providence Bay 1.6   Schneider Power [117]
Ravenswood Wind Farm Lambton Shores 9.9   Sky Generation [106]
Ripley Huron-Kinloss 76 2007 Acciona, Suncor Energy

[118][119]

Spence Wind Farm Township of Howard and Oxford 98.9 2011   [100]
Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre   125 2013   [100]
Thames River I Chatham-Kent 40   Boralex [120]
Underwood Wind Farm 44°20′20″N 81°27′32″W 181.5 2009 Enbridge [100][121]
Wolfe Island Wind Farm 44°10′N 76°28′W 197.8 2009 TransAlta [100][122]
TOTAL   3417.43      

Photovoltaic

Name Date Capacity (MW) Location Owner Ref
Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant 2010 97 Sarnia Enbridge  
Grand Renewable Energy Park 2015 100 Haldimand County Samsung Renewable Energy Inc, Korea Electric Power Corporation, Pattern Energy [107][108]
Arnprior Solar Generating Station 2009 23.4 Arnprior EDF Énergies Nouvelles  
TOTAL   222.4      

Notes and references

Herd Immunity For Thee, Daily Tests For Me


From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 19, 2020

"There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives."

 ― Jay Rosen  


The Trump Administration has decided to embrace the herd immunity strategy as a means to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Oh, they haven't told you. There was no formal announcement– nothing so honest. The same stratagem once presented as an option to Boris Johnson as a means for the UK to deal with the raging infection, then rejected as altogether too expensive in terms of human lives and strain to the NHS, has been embraced by the Trump administration as policy. Superseding their own previous public guidance, Trump has exhorted state governors to "open up" their states, and encouraged armed gaggles of low-T cosplayers to take to the streets to demonstrate for their own impending illness and demise.

Meanwhile, in the last weeks, a Trump valet and a spokesperson for Mike Pence were diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. Trump's primary concern was messaging: the idea that the notion of Covid-19 stalks the White House would undercut his message that the outbreak is waning and states should begin reopening. Re-election is job one, and re-opening the country is the foundation upon which that effort will be built.

Even though you still can't get a test after several months, the White House has been deploying rapid-result tests for the virus, including testing members of the press corps. Thus, testing for me but none for thee.

Thousands are dying each week, the economy is cratering, and the jackal in charge has no idea what he is doing. All that matters is his impending re-election campaign, and it doesn't really matter how many thousands of muppets have to shoveled into the incinerator to achieve that.

And Trumpsuckers love him for it. Quoted in The Guardian, here's Lee Snover, a Republican party chair a key Pennsylvania swing county, who lost her father to Covid-19, and whose husband was hospitalized with the disease:

“It spread through my entire family,” Snover said.

Trump stands accused of driving up the coronavirus death toll by downplaying the public health threat and urging the country to “reopen” too quickly. But Snover does not see the president as having failed her family.

“I don’t think people give him enough credit,” she said. “If you think about what a businessman he was, and how much he loved that booming economy, do you know how hard it was for him to shut the country down? That was hard. So I give him credit for that.”

At times it has appeared that the pandemic, which has already taken at least 90,000 lives in the United States and wreaked havoc with the economy, would also destroy support for Trump, and his chances for reelection. But interviews with longtime Trump supporters in Northampton county indicate the extraordinary durability of backing for the president among his base.

Trump has punted responsibility to state governors, saying they are "on their own." He has abdicated the roles of leadership, planning and unified purchasing that might be the useful functions of the federal government, while retaining the right to second guess any decision they make. 

Trump makes much of the fact that the US had administered the most tests (11.5M as of this writing), but only a little over three percent of the total population. We learned this week that, despite swaths of the country shutting down for two months, the U.S. is barely further along in terms of testing, and experts say that there's no realistic way to return to normal without doubling or tripling the number of tests administered every day.

So why are we not further along? Where are the tests? They went to Jared:

Kushner, it turns out, is reportedly one of the people directly responsible for the country's extreme delays in rolling out tests when the outbreak started. That's according to the Financial Times, which recently published a deep-dive into the Trump administration's chaotic and denial-plagued coronavirus response. One of Donald Trump's confidants, who's regularly in touch with the president, put the blame squarely on Kushner, saying, "Jared had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it. That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate."

So if you are one of the numerous Americans who still can't get a Covid test, thank the smooth-cheeked porcelain-doll Dauphin and Trump scion. Jared's fecklessness is given proper shrift in an article by George Packer in the June Atlantic that details how this country's wan response to the pandemic has revealed a beggar nation in utter chaos:

Like a wanton boy throwing matches in a parched field, Trump began to immolate what was left of national civic life. He never even pretended to be president of the whole country, but pitted us against one another along lines of race, sex, religion, citizenship, education, region, and—every day of his presidency—political party. His main tool of governance was to lie. A third of the country locked itself in a hall of mirrors that it believed to be reality; a third drove itself mad with the effort to hold on to the idea of knowable truth; and a third gave up even trying…

And the "purest embodiment of political nihilism is not Trump himself but Jared the "Disruptor:".

In his short lifetime, Kushner has been fraudulently promoted as both a meritocrat and a populist. He was born into a moneyed real-estate family the month Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office, in 1981—a princeling of the second Gilded Age. Despite Jared’s mediocre academic record, he was admitted to Harvard after his father, Charles, pledged a $2.5 million donation to the university. Father helped son with $10 million in loans for a start in the family business, then Jared continued his elite education at the law and business schools of NYU, where his father had contributed $3 million. Jared repaid his father’s support with fierce loyalty when Charles was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2005 for trying to resolve a family legal quarrel by entrapping his sister’s husband with a prostitute and videotaping the encounter.

Imagine that Thanksgiving dinner.

So when his father-in-law became president, Kushner quickly gained power in an administration that raised amateurism, nepotism, and corruption to governing principles. As long as he busied himself with Middle East peace, his feckless meddling didn’t matter to most Americans. But since he became an influential adviser to Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, the result has been mass death.

In his first week on the job, in mid-March, Kushner co-authored the worst Oval Office speech in memory, interrupted the vital work of other officials, may have compromised security protocols, flirted with conflicts of interest and violations of federal law, and made fatuous promises that quickly turned to dust. “The federal government is not designed to solve all our problems,” he said, explaining how he would tap his corporate connections to create drive-through testing sites. They never materialized. He was convinced by corporate leaders that Trump should not use presidential authority to compel industries to manufacture ventilators—then Kushner’s own attempt to negotiate a deal with General Motors fell through. With no loss of faith in himself, he blamed shortages of necessary equipment and gear on incompetent state governors.

To watch this pale, slim-suited dilettante breeze into the middle of a deadly crisis, dispensing business-school jargon to cloud the massive failure of his father-in-law’s administration, is to see the collapse of a whole approach to governing.

But for those of us who live out here in flyover country, it's back to normal. Open the beaches, open the bars, open the barber shops, and second wave be damned.


Writing in Pressthink, journalism observer Jay Rosen gets it exactly correct– Trump's plan is to have no plan:

The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible— by telling the governors they’re in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by “flooding the zone with shit,” Steve Bannon’s phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call “search costs” for reliable intelligence.

Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving,and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default. To succeed this will require one of the biggest propaganda and freedom of information fights in U.S. history, the execution of which will, I think, consume the president’s re-election campaign. So much has already been made public that the standard script for a White House cover up (worse than the crime…) won’t apply. Instead, everything will ride on the manufacture of confusion. The press won’t be able to “expose” the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable

Not only is the plan to have no plan, but to question the objective reporting og events. Part of the non-plan to "prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default" is to question the numbers. Last week Deborah Birx loudly said that 'there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust' in a White House coronavirus task force meeting. Hers was the first sortie in a wholesale assault on the methodolgy used by the CDC and others in tabulating the death toll. How long before Hannity, Limbaugh and the other attack dogs of the right join in the attack?

The truth seems to be that Birx and others fear that the CDC's data-tracking system was inflating coronavirus statistics like death rates and case numbers. Recent research indicates that COVID-19 deaths have been severely undercounted, both in the US and around the world, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic. Texas reported its highest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases as restaurants, salons, and cinemas open to the public, And in other early-opening states, GOP Governors are actively cooking the books in their respective states. 

Even now, if you are one of the ghouls who checks the daily totals (and I am), a gap has opened up between the statistics reported by the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and the Worldometers web site. After tracking together for the last several months, the Johns Hopkins numbers are running behind the Worldometers numbers. Whether this is a momentary anomaly or represents a symptom of a greater discrepancy, I cannot tell.


How about the costs? Meanwhile, New coronavirus cases in Germany almost tripled within 24 hours — less than a week after the country started reopening — as it considers an 'emergency brake' to reinstate harsher lockdowns. We are also told thst Texas is showing a spike in cases. Hard to tell what is happening in the New Confederacy, as Governors and state Health departments slow-walk the numbers and play statistical games to change the subject. But time will tell; it always does.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Coronavirus Round Table IV – The 2nd Inning

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the microphones & cameras of Ugo Bardi, George Mobus, K-Dog, Monsta666, Surly1, RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 17, 2020

 

Audio Only

You can Download the audio MP3 to play while offline at Diner Soundcloud

 

Discuss this Video & Article at the Medicine & Health Table inside the Diner

 

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic began, the Doomstead Diner has been at the forefront of discussion and analysis ofr the events as they have progressed.  Inside the Diner in multiple threads the NewzHounds of the Diner are keeping track of all the late breaking stories and events taking place around the world.

On our YouTube channel at CollapseCafe.com, we have had several Round Table discussions at intervals beginning round March, although the first Diner posts and discussion began quite a bit before that, around the end of January when it was still primarily a Chinese problem and had not yet gone Global.

Today's Round Table discussion features many of our regular contributors.  Hashing out the most recent events and their Medical, Political, Economic and Social outcomes thusfar are:

Ugo Bardi: Professor of Physical Chemistry in Florence, Italy and Publisher of Cassandra's Legacy.

George Mobus: Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Washington in Tacoma and Publisher of Question Everything

K-Dog: IT Engineer and Publisher of Chasing the Squirrel

Monsta666: Banker in London, UK and Admin of the Doomstead Diner

Surly1: Political Activist and Photographer and Admin of the Doomstead Diner

RE: CEO of the Sustaining Universal Needs 501c3 Non-Profit Foundation and Publisher of the Doomstead Diner and Executive Producer of the Collapse Cafe YouTube channel

 

Despite all that has transpired in the last few months, we managed to keep this discussion down to just over an hour. lol.  Hope you find the recap interesting.

 

Next week, we will be featuring a discussion with Irv Mills on the Electric Power situation in Ontario, Canada.  The discussion includes Nuclear Power, Hydro Power and Renewable Energy, as well as Localization vs. Grid Power.  Irv is a recently retired Manager for the Ontario Power Authority.  Below is a snippet from that conversation:

Your local Infrastructure: Who’s gonna fix it?

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the microphone & camera of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 10, 2020

Discuss this Video at the Economics Table inside the Diner

 

I thought I would take a break this week from another depressing CoroNewz Report to look at another problem we have to deal with RIGHT NOW, which is the Collapsing Infrastructure of Industrial Civilization.  This isn't like Sea Level rise which will inundate some coastal communities like say Miami Beach and make it unlivable in 20 years, it's happening all over the place TODAY!

The problem goes far beyond you driveway which you as McMansion Owner are always responsible for keeping fixed up and nice looking, or your HOA will levy a nice fine on you.  If you have a Doomstead out in the Boonies, is there a Stream or Creek with a little bridge you have to cross to get in and out of the place?  The County of course is supposed to maintain that, but what happens when the county runs out of money because the Property Tax intake has taken a nosedive?  Are YOU gonna fix it?  Even one of those tiny bridges over a small creek can cost $100K and more to build, and where pray tell will you get the steel beams to drop down there with some Heavy Equipment when Home Depot has gone BK and you can't get Diesel for the Caterpillar Front End Loader or the Back Hoe to dig out the dirt?  Are YOU gonna dig that out with a Pick & Shovel?

Then, what about the airports?  Jets need nice smooth runways to land on.  The only way enough money gets generated to pay for that is to have lots of jets use them.  A few Private Jets fr the Filthy Rich and Masters of the Universe won't last much longer than the Flying Greyhounds packed with Tourista Sardines headed for St. John's to Snorkel around the wreckage from the most recent Hurricane.

…and that's all the Doom, this time until next time, here on the Doomstead Diner.

The downfall of ‘Professor Lockdown’: triumphs and failures of science based policies

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Published originally on Cassandra's Legacy on May 9, 2020

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

The downfall of 'Professor Lockdown': triumphs and failures of science based policies

 

 

 

 

Scientists normally think that a scientific theory can be good or bad independently of the moral status of the person who proposes it. But in politics, the messenger can be blamed. That was the probable reason for the downfall of Dr. Neil Ferguson, nicknamed "Professor Lockdown," whose moral position was destroyed by a petty sexual scandal. For most scientists, Dr, Ferguson's personal misbehavior has no relevance to the validity of his models, but for politicians and for the public, it does. A lot.

 

 

 

 


You all read the story of the downfall of Professor Neil Ferguson, aka "Professor Lockdown" trashed worldwide in the media for having had his lover, Ms. Antonia Staats, visiting him during the lockdown period that he himself had recommended for everybody else. It was a blessing for tabloids and there is no doubt that Dr. Ferguson deserved much of the scorn and the ridicule that was poured on him. Yet, there are some elements in this story that make it different from an ordinary story of philandering.

 

 

 

Let's review what we know: it seems that Ms. Staats and Dr. Ferguson met first over an internet site and then it was Staats who went to visit Ferguson at his home in London, and the same Staats who told the story to friends who, in turn, diffused it around. These encounters took place about one month before the story was revealed in the media. Ferguson didn't deny the media reports and he immediately apologized and resigned from his post of government advisor in epidemiologic matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't know about you, but. to me, all this looks like a trap, sounds like a trap, even smells like a trap. So, it probably was a trap. Ferguson fell head first into it and he was neatly skewered.

Of course, I am not the only one who smelled the rat: there have been plenty of speculations about who actually decided to push Dr. Ferguson under the bullet train and to do that one month after that the events that caused his downfall took place. Some say that it was because the British government needed to distract the public from bad news about the epidemic. Others think of a disagreement between the government and Ferguson. And when a government decides that a scientist is a nuisance, you know what happens (think of the case of Robert Oppenheimer in the 1950s)

Whatever the case, we are not talking here about a despicable professor who flouted a few moral rules. It is all about the political struggle that underlies the coronavirus story. It was Ferguson who told the UK government that they were facing a stark choice: either to accept a huge number of victims, maybe half a million of them, or to wreck the UK economy. The government chose the second strategy, probably thinking it was the least damaging one. Several other European governments, for instance, the Italian one, patterned their response to the crisis on the basis of the views expressed by Ferguson.

And here we have the interesting point: going into lockdown was one of the very few cases — perhaps the only case in history —  of a major policy choice made on the basis of a scientific model. It was a huge novelty because, normally, politicians ignore scientists and vice-versa. There are good reasons for the two categories to keep some social distance between them: science and politics use different languages to model reality. Science speaks in terms of data, politics uses narrative. 

There follows that if you want to use a scientific model for political purposes, you must translate it into a different language — the language of politics. That means turning quantitative models into narratives. And here we have the problem. A big, large, huge, humungous problem, since there is no "Google Translate" service that smoothly turns scientific results into policy choices. When people speak different languages they are bound to misunderstand each other, sometimes with disastrous results.  

So, Dr. Ferguson's recommendations were translated into a narrative and the lockdown became a moral tale of good and bad behavior. People were told that if they didn't follow the lockdown rules, they were not just breaking the law, they were evil for putting the life of their neighbors at risk. 

That worked nicely in the UK and almost everywhere in the world, with people accepting in good faith to be locked into their homes for the sake of the common good. But there was a problem: it soon became clear that the lockdown was doing great damage to the very people it was supposed to protect. Stuck in small spaces, often without a job, without money, and without perspectives, people's health was badly affected. We can't yet estimate how many life-years were lost because of the lockdown, but wasn't the solution worsening the problem? Unfortunately, in narrative terms, moral considerations always take precedence over cost-benefit analyses, and so the question couldn't be asked in the public debate. But, surely, it was present in the mind of policymakers.

Then, it started becoming clear that Ferguson's model had big problems. It was a hodgepodge of lines of code put together as needed, never comprehensively documented, never independently tested, never having undergone a sensitivity analysis. As far as I can say from my personal experience with modeling, it was a model good enough for academic research, but hardly a tool that could be used to guide the policy of a national government. The problem was that there was no way to test if the model was correct or not. What if the model had badly overestimated the effectiveness of the lockdown, as some elements seemed to indicate?

Now, let's assume that someone in the upper echelons understood that the case for the lockdown was not at all so clear cut as it had seemed to be at the beginning. Then, a huge problem appeared. The government couldn't just tell people, "oops… folks, we made a mistake. We beggared you for no reason." Think in narrative terms, as politicians do, and remember that the lockdown had been framed as morally and ethically as "good" while no lockdown framed as "evil." The politician who proposes to end the lockdown would be seen as evil himself/herself.

There follows, as politicians know, that the way to change policies is to change the narrative. That has rules, just as science has rules. Typically, evil cannot be turned into good (Sauron can be defeated but not turned into Gandalf's friend). But it is possible to turn good into evil when a supposed good guy turns out to be actually evil (Saruman the White, who turns into Sauron's ally). And that's the key: turn the good guy into the bad guy and then the narrative can be changed. 

At this point, everything makes sense: take the person who proposed the lockdown, Neil Ferguson, and turn him into an evil, amoral, egoistic, and reckless character. That can't have been difficult: mounting a petty sexual scandal surely poses no problems for a national government. Of course, we have no proof that this is exactly what happened, but the gist of the story is clear: Ferguson's head had to roll. And it had to roll as noisily as possible. Afterward, the whole edifice that the former good guy had built can be targeted at will with the heavy artillery of the media.

It seems to be what's happening. Not only Ferguson is being shredded to pieces (actually, all the way down to atomic particles), but also his work is being massively and aggressively criticized. Note what Elon Musk said about him: “This guy has caused massive strife to the world with his absurdly fake ‘science." We'll have to see how things will evolve in the coming days but right now, if things keep moving in this direction, the lockdown is a dead hippo in the water. And so be it: it had to be.

From this story, we can also learn something about the climate debate. You see on the image at the beginning of this post how the enemies of climate science had no qualms in associating Neil Ferguson with Michael Mann, a climate scientist often targeted with all sorts of smears and lies. Fortunately, Mann has been able to avoid, so far, to get entangled in some stupid scandal, but scientists as a category came under attack for lack of coherency when they use planes for their international meetings where they recommend people to stop using fossil fuels. No government ever implemented serious science-based policy choices about climate, although many of them claimed to have done that. But if something serious were ever to be done to follow the recommendations of climate science, you might see a much nastier backlash against climate scientists. 

Will we ever able to blend science and politics together? For sure, it looks like a very difficult task. We need nothing less than a completely different political language, a way of debating that would search for common ground instead of focusing only on shooting down the bad guy of the story. But that will take time, to say the least. And, in the meantime, we keep navigating toward the future thinking that the reefs don't exist if they are not mentioned in the media.

 

A comment from Mr. Kunning-Druger, Ugo Bardi's personal troll.

Glad to see that you finally recognize at least some of your many mistakes, Mr. Bardi. And the mistakes made by this friend of yours, this despicable Mr. Ferguson — despicable indeed, as you say. And you even have the gall to tell us that he created a model that is "good enough for academic research, but not reliable enough to be used as a policy tool." Why don't you say things the way they are: that model is crap. Yeah, stuff that comes out of a bull's rear end. And you gave yourself away when you said, "good enough for academic research." Shameful: you scientists spend public money to publish academic papers just thinking of your academic careers and then you take planes to go to academic meetings and enjoy nightlife and cocktails at the expense of the taxpayers! And then you think you can tell us what to do. You even think you can tell the government to lock everyone in jail as if we were criminals. But it is not the people who are criminals: it is you and your fellow scientists who are criminals. Now, this scandal about the coronavirus is going to really destroy you — and I can split an infinitive here, just like the public will split your gang and have all of you truly skewered, not just in a metaphorical sense, ha! This is the end of the whole scam called "climate science" and you know that very well. Mankind can thank Mr. Ferguson for this: at least he made it clear what kind of people those "scientists" (so to say) are. Ugly, amoral, reckless, evil, power-hungry monsters — not surprising that they ganged up together to create the scam called "global warming" just to fill their pockets with public money. Make no mistake: we'll remember this scandal. It is the beginning of the end of fake science and scientists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responding to Collapse, Part 16: Shortages of Money, Part 1

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on March 3, 2020

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A few posts back I said that shortages of electrical power, diesel fuel and money will be at the heart of the troubles that lie ahead for small remote communities as collapse progresses. I am interested in that sort of community because that is where I am recommending that you take refuge in order to ride out collapse (and where I have already taken refuge). I've covered electrical power in parts 10 to 14 of this series and diesel fuel in part 15, so that leaves money for this post and the next one.

We'll be looking at shortages of money from two angles here. First, in this post, shortages that occur when you have money on deposit at the bank, or credit prearranged with the bank, but can't access it due to problems with the banking system. Second, in the next post, shortages that occur when you have trouble earning enough money to live on because of problems with the economy.

The song says, "money makes the world go round". You could certainly be forgiven for believing that, especially given the increased commodification of everything that has been going on, and the growth of the financial sector of the economy in the last few decades. I don't agree, though. Drawing from the writings of Dr. Tim Morgan on "surplus energy economics", I would say that it is energy that makes the world, or at least the economy, go round.

We'll get back to the role of energy in the economy in my next post, but first let's look at money itself. Money is really just a system of tokens we use as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value.

Conventional economists tell stories about how before money was invented, people had to barter for what they needed but couldn't produce for themselves, and this was very inconvenient. In fact, as an anthropologist would tell you, barter was used only on those rare occasions when they were trading with strangers, and often with the intent of gaining a (possibly unfair) advantage. They were strangers, after all.

Most people usually dealt only with people they knew and didn't want to cheat. In small groups (less that Dunbar's number) there was no need of money since people just did what was needed, didn't attempt to keep precise accounts it, and accumulated little of value to store. This was primitive communism which worked on the principle of "from each according to their ability and to each according to their needs."

As people began to live in larger groups, it proved useful to have some way of keeping track of transactions with people outside one's immediate group. I'm not going to go into the historical details here (read Graeber's book if you are interested), but eventually we arrived at the system we use now.

Today money is created when a bank loans it out as debt. The main thing about money created as debt is that it can increase flexibly as the economy grows, where money based on precious metals is limited by the scarcity of those metals. In order to make a profit, which is after all the reason for their existence, banks insist that those loans have to be paid back with interest. This means that the economy must continually grow in order to cover that interest. As long as the economy is growing, this system works quite well. Indeed that is why we adopted it, to accommodate the growth stimulated by fossil fuel energy.

Only a tiny fraction of money ever exists as coinage or bank notes—mostly it just consists of entries in the banks' accounting software. Coinage confuses the issue of what money really is, since coins at least appear to be made of precious metals. Many people believe that money based on precious metals (gold, silver) has some real value, because of their rarity and the difficult of mining them. They call our modern debt based money “fiat currency” because its value is based solely on your confidence in it. I disagree. Take gold as an example—it has some limited industrial use because of its low electrical resistance and high corrosion resistance, but its current high market value is based almost entirely on what people think it is worth. In fact all money is an abstraction and its value is based only on what value people agree to give it.

Indeed the financial sector of the economy is largely based on trading in money itself as well as stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Much of the so called wealth in the world is based on these things, and their value is almost entirely based on public confidence in them. If the confidence evaporates, so does the wealth.

I would define wealth as an enforceable claim of ownership on things with real value, or an enforceable claim on future productivity, yours or someone else's. The value of money in the bank or investments, is based on a claim on future productivity, and if that productivity decreases, so does the value of your claim on it. And, of course, if your claims become un-enforceable, as they might if the financial sector or society itself experience disruption, your "wealth" is worth nothing.

In the last few decades the switch over from primitive communism to modern neoliberal capitalism has been just about completed. The idea of an "immediate group" has largely disappeared, much to our loss, and money mediates almost all relationships, even to some extent within nuclear families. This means that we are very much dependent on the systems which provide us with money, and via that money, the necessities of life.

Today most of us access the cash we have on deposit at a bank via an automatic teller machine (ATM) or less commonly via a human teller at the local bricks and mortar office of our bank. And more and more we use debit cards to eliminate actual cash altogether, accessing our bank deposits directly at point of sale terminals. Many of us also have credit cards allowing us to access credit up to a prearranged limit at ATMs or point of sale terminals. Some of us, who are undertaking rennovation projects or operate small businesses for instance, have arranged lines of credit at the bank, at much lower interest rates than credit cards. This form of credit is usually accessed via cheques or online transfers.

But having cash on deposit or prearranged credit is no good if you can't access it. Ready access to money relies on infrastructure that can fail quite easily. A local grid failure or damage to communications cables can knock out ATMs, point of sale terminals and the banks themselves—you may have noticed that, when you are dealing directly with a human teller, they are making entries in a computer while dispensing or receiving cash. Cash itself has to be delivered regularly to both ATMs and banks and shortages of diesel fuel or storms closing the highways can stop those deliveries.

Financial crashes, recessions or depressions can cause banks to fail and take your money down a financial black hole with them. And during such crises the banks who don't fail get very cautious in their dealings with each other and the public. This is like throwing sand in the gears of the economy, and makes the situation worse. In such an event, you can except that your access to credit will dry up and that even your access to cash on deposit will be limited, since the banks will be concerned about nervous people deciding to withdraw all their money, in what is known as a "run on the bank". The banks, of course, don't have enough cash on hand to cover all the deposits that people have made, and would likely limit you to taking out only a few hundred dollar a week, at most.

The simplest preparation for these sort of problems is having a chunk of cash on hand, enough to see you through a few days or weeks at the worst. And having a stock of food and other essentials on hand so you don't need so much money to spend in times when the banking system isn't working.

A lot of people seem to think that a long term failure of the financial sector would be the end of the world, or at least of the economy, and believe that it is the form that collapse will take. But remember an economy is just a system in which the things people need are made and exchanged. Among small numbers of people who know each other (or can quickly come to know each other), and certainly in emergencies, it is quite possible for such activity to continue without anyone keeping track of it. The thing, of course, is to have close to hand the resources from which to make what is needed. In large population centres, once shipments stop, this quickly becomes difficult. In small agricultural communities, it need not be so much of a problem.

In communities of more than a couple of hundred people, it would be useful to print and issue a local currency and set up accounting systems separate from the no longer functioning banks. The idea that we can't get by without banks irks me—they currently have a monopoly on the services they provide and on which we depend—and they make a generous profit in that business. If they can no longer do their job, then we should feel free to replace them as needed.

As my regular readers know, I believe that collapse is actually something that happens quite slowly, has been going on for the last 50 years or so, and will be continuing for years or probably decades to come. But, when it comes to money, I can see why many people seem to have their hearts set on a fast collapse. Such a collapse would be much harder, of course, but at least your creditors, landlords, etc. would be collapsing with you and wouldn't be able to come after you for what you owe them. Leaving you free to concentrate on the business of survival.

In a slow collapse there will be a period of time (already started, actually) when the banks and landlords still want their pound of flesh, but many people no longer have jobs, or good enough jobs, to pay them.

That will be the subject of my next post.

As I have been writing this post, the corona virus, COVID-19, has been spreading over the world. I've done a fair bit of reading on it recently, and I am getting disgusted with the amount of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) that is being spread around by people who stand to gain by attracting more visitors to their websites. This is uncertainly not conducive to an intelligent response.

This a new disease and there is much we do not yet know about it, much that we will only know after the dust has settled. I think this sort of uncertainty is going to be characteristic of many of the challenges we will face as collapse deepens. My hope is that this blog will be conducive to a calm and constructive response to such challenges. Here are a few links that I hope will help when it comes to responding to COVID-19:

That last link is behind a paywall, so I'm including a link with advice to help you get past paywalls in general.. Just part of my anarcho-communist approach to life.


Links to the rest of this series of posts, Preparing for (Responding to) Collapse:

Gas Prices Crater…but WHERE’S MY STIMULUS?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  May 3, 2020

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A few weeks ago with much Fanfare & Hoopla, it was announced by Da Goobermint that a "Bipartisan" agreement had been reached to send "stimulus" money to every Amerikan Citizen who could Fog a Mirror, including the kids as long as they were under 16.  Somehow, the 17-18 year old HS Seniors got left out of this Bonanza though.

In aggregate, the amount tallies up into the $TRILLIONS, but for you J6P it is supposed to be $1200, and $500 for each of your kids too!  Not that this amount of money will even cover a month worth of bills for anyone living in any major metro in the FSoA, hell it won't even pay a month's rent in NY Shity or Seattle!  But still… Better than Nothing right?

So I am Joyful about this, I am only used to getting Free Money from Alaska once a year when they issue the PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend) to the residents.  This is money from Big Oil paid to Alaskans just to live here and well…fog a mirror.  lol.

However, some 3 weeks or so after this announcement, I STILL have not received my Stimulus Mailbox Money! 🙁  Nor has anyone I know who lives in my complex, nor have any of the clerks and stockers at 3 Bears I talk to when I shop there.  I am very recognizable by my All-Black outfit and the fact I ride around on a Cripple Cart which is the only one of its kind in Alaska.  lol.  Everybody knows me who works at 3 Bears, ESPECIALLY the butchers in the Meat Dept! 🙂

So none of us poor J6Ps, neither the Working Poor or the old crippled guys living at Poverty Level on a Fixed Income have received our Stimulus!  Meanwhle however, Da Fedral Reserve has revved up the Printing Press some more todish out still more Funny Money to the Oil Majors, since they are sinking rapidly along with the price of Oil, now cratering to levels not seen since the Oil Shock of the 1980s, , followed shortly thereafter by the Collapse of the original Bretton Woods agreement following the end of WWII, the emrgence of the "Petrodollar" and the EXPLOSION of Irredeemable Debt, which has been on an ever upward spiral really since Capitalism began in the ~1500s, but has really taken on the Hockey Stick graph shape of an Exponential funtion over the last 30 years.

So the first question here is:  Just exactly how much longer can an Economy based on absolutely NOTHING utilizing fictitious money created out of Thin Air continue to function?

The second question I have is, who among the readers of the Diner or Viewers of the Collapse Cafe videos has actually RECEIVED your stimulus funny money?  Please let us know in the Comments Inside the Diner on the Forum, or in the Comments on the Collapse Cafe YouTube channel..  Inquiring minds want to know.

Collapse Cooks Converse Coronavirus

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  April 26, 2020

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In today's video, two Cooks sit down over dinner to discuss the ongoing Coronavirus Catastrophe, with a particular focus on the local economy, in particular the Restaurant Bizness.  We also talk about FOOD of course, as well as local Infrastructure problems we have in our Community.

What I really hope to convey with this video however is not so much these economic questions, but rather the importance of FORMING COMMUNITY and BUILDING INTERGENERATIONAL BONDS.  This most IMPORTANT aspect of preparing for the world to come is the one most often ignored or neglected by both Preppers and Doomsteaders.

When was the last ime you invited over a new neighbor for dinner?  When waas the last time you got to know a person 2 generations your Junior or Senior?

How do you do this?  It's not that hard really, 2 main things apply, SHARING and GENEROSITY.  Give to others NOW, and it will come back to you with interest later.

PAY IT FORWARD.

The Week in Doom: Don’t Drink The Bleach


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on April 26, 2020

"Americans who take any comfort from [Trump’s nightly briefings] were Trump-drunk long ago. The unbesotted see and hear the president for what he is: a tone-deaf showman who regards everything, even a mountain of corpses, as a stage."

 ― Frank Bruni  


This week an out-of-control American president made remarks about using sunlight and disinfectants topically, an improvised medicine show that prompted frantic health warnings from multiple quarters. Since the revisionist right is furiously trying to deny that this ever happened, or happened the way that it happened, let's reproduce Trump's statements word for word here:

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.” 

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it [to Dr. Birx]. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body.”

One wonders at the anatomical possibilities.

On Friday, Trump said he was speaking "sarcastically." So sarcastically that his administration had to dampen repeated outrage, face calls from poison control agencies nationwide, and endure cautionary calls from Lysol and other manufacturers as they had to issue dont-take-this-stuff denials. No one was buying it, after the aggressive pushback from all quarters. Making one pine for good old days when people merely ate Tide pods. 

Responding to the criticism from public health officials around the country, the president said he was playing a trick on reporters.

Vin Gupta, a global-health policy expert, told NBC News: “This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous. It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves.”

Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser said Friday, “Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.”

These are not responses to sarcasm. By week's end, amid leaked stories that aides and advisers were trying to get Trump to reel in his freewheeling, off-the-cuff self-indulgement-fests, Trump announced an end to his daily pressers. He blamed the media for being "fake news" and said they were a "waste of time."  Like dealing with an ex, Trump can reliably be counted upon to let you know that whatever happens is someone else's fault. By week's end, Dr. Deborah Birx sold off what remained of her own credibility in a Fox News interview. Asked if the media in this country had been fair during this pandemic, Birx replied,

“I think the media is very slicey and dicey with the way they put together sentences in order to create headlines.”

"Slicey and dicey." We'll just leave this here to ripen.


With just over four percent of the world’s population, the United States has about one-third of all global coronavirus cases and one-quarter of the fatalities. And the numbers are probably under-reported, since the US has tested only about 1.5 per cent of the population. There are also recording and testing inconsistencies or errors globally. One wonders how India, with 1.3 trillion people, has only recorded 25,000 cases and 780 deaths.

Now we learn that healthy people in their 30s and 40s are dying of covid-induced strokes. Once thought to primarily attack the lungs, the coronavirus has shown that it can affect nearly every major organ system in the body.

Many researchers suspect strokes in novel coronavirus patients may be a direct consequence of blood problems that are producing clots all over some people’s bodies.

Clots that form on vessel walls fly upward so one that started in the calves might migrate to the lungs, causing a blockage called a pulmonary embolism that arrests breathing – a known cause of death in covid-19 patients. Clots in or near the heart might lead to a heart attack, another common cause of death. Anything above that would likely go to the brain, leading to a stroke.

Counting on antibody tests to let you know if you can resume life as usual? Not so fast: WHO Warns You May Catch Coronavirus More Than Once

“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the United Nations agency said in an April 24 statement.

The WHO guidance came after some governments suggested that people who have antibodies to the coronavirus could be issued an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would allow them to travel or return to work, based on the assumption that they were safe from re-infection, according to the statement. 

The truth is that Trump Wants to Reopen the Economy Because He’s Panicking About Reelection Polls. He is running eight to ten points behind Biden in key states that he will need to secure re-election. Even with Joe Biden as good as being held in house arrest. No need for Joe to campaign, when Trump is doing such a good job of self-immolation.

Worldwide we are approaching 3M cases reported. In the US we approaching one million cases with no end in sight, and with minimal testing,  are adding 100K every 3 days. But how good are the official numbers? Since we have tested only about 1.5 percent of the American population, as the federal government has sent a steady, unbroken supply of excuses to the states' governors, the resulting numbers may be less than reliable.  A recent Antibody Study Suggests Coronavirus Far More Widespread Than Thought

A new study in California has found the number of people infected with coronavirus may be tens of times higher than previously thought. The study from Stanford University, which was released Friday and has yet to be peer reviewed, tested samples from 3,330 people in Santa Clara county and found the virus was 50 to 85 times more common than official figures indicated.

The study illustrates how little we really know about the virus. It may be far more widespread and far less deadly than we think. Meanwhile, if that news isn't bad enough, 

UN World Food Program reports that the "Risk of hunger pandemic as COVID-19 set to almost double acute hunger by end of 2020." While poor and working class people in the third world may starve, in the US people are having a hard time finding frozen french fries in  supermarkets because of demand disruption and supply chain issues. 


“Please don't call them protesters… they're terrorists. Protesters don't carry AK47s, wave swastika flags, or block ambulances.”

 ― Daniel Staniforth  

Last week Trump claimed "complete authority" to open the country. The following day, he punted responsibility to the states. He said he was going to close Congress based on some mystical Article 2 power,  Which he can't. Deciding that wasn't good enough, he tweeted: "Liberate Virginia!" "Liberate Michigan" "Liberate Minnesota!" in support of astroturfed right wing protest efforts. And a number of Americans have flocked to answer the call.

Anyone scoring at home knows that absent testing, there is little responsible way for larger and more afflicted states to re-open. But Trump's fans aren't moved by science or evidence. They seem to be moved by oppositional defiance disorder.

These folks are demonstrating in favor of the "herd immunity" stratagem rejected in the UK once Boris Johnson put pencil to paper and calculated the casualties. So members of this death cult are out on the streets in favor of sustaining as many deaths as necessary to restore business as usual. Given that the disease culls the elderly and infirm first,  say goodbye to Granny and Grandpa. Thanks for everything, and you've been great, but we have the quarter to think about and stock portfolios to protect.

These people have always been with us. During the Revolution, they supported the King, and fled to Canada and the Eastern Shore to avoid the insurrection. In the 1840s they emerged as the nativist Know-Nothings who emerged to fight the influx of Irish immigrants fleeing famine. 

During the Civil War, while  secessionists want to war to preserve their "peculiar institution," outrages against American Blacks occurred on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.  There were "anti-Negro" race riots in New York city such that gunboats and federal troops were needed to restore order. After Reconstruction, southerners were able to deny generations of Blacks the legal status afforded in law by a combination of Jim Crow laws and a program of domestic terror via the Klan.. During the same period, we closed the frontier and made the world safe for railroad capitalists by embracing the motto "the only good indian is a dead indian," executing a war of extermination on both native Americans and the buffalo who roamed the plains. Within living memory, as Richard Nixon boarded the helicopter for his one way trip to disgrace, he maintained a 24 percent approval rating.

#Covidiots answered Dear Leader's call to "Liberate" three states with Democrat governors. Overwhelmingly white, they are eager to take credit for an unearned accident of birth and based on an erroneous social construct. Trump rewarded them with an executive order ceasing immigration to the US.

Perhaps even more distressing is Fat Orange's casual capacity for summoning his Bund into the streets, the better to block hospital entrances to ambulances. Look for more of this as the election approaches and Trump continues to sag in the polls.

Ironies abound regarding the flap over social distancing. For the past 15 years, we''ve watched as people became completely disengaged from their partners, families, friends, and children so they could stare raptly into their phones. Now, when social distancing can save countless lives, you can't get people to stay the fuck at home and stare at said phones. They want to die for the right to a haircut. They are, however, a distinct minority.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports in a recent survey,

most Americans (80%) say strict shelter-in-place measures are worth it in order to protect people and limit the spread of coronavirus. Fewer (19%) say the strict shelter-in-place measures are placing unnecessary burdens on people and the economy and causing more harm than good.

Lots of good, recent polling information in this study. Worth a read, while you're sheltering in place.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Coronavirus Daily Double from Ugo Bardi

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Published originally on Cassandra's Legacy on April 16 & 20, 2020

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

 

 

Collapse: The Coronavirus is not a Cause, it is a Trigger

 

 

 

Is the epidemic going to cause civilization to collapse? It may happen for good reasons

 

 

This is a version of the article that I published on the English version of "Al Arabiya" On March 26, 2020. It is not the same text I published there — but I kept the wonderful illustration by Steven Castelluccia. It perfectly conveys the concept of "Seneca Cliff"

Do you remember the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back? It is an illustration of how overloaded systems are sensitive to small perturbations. Could the COVID-19 epidemic be the straw that breaks the back of the world’s economy?

Like an overloaded camel, the world’s economy is strained by at least two tremendous burdens: one is the increasing costs of production of mineral resources (don’t be fooled by the current low prices of oil: prices are one thing, costs are another). Then, there is pollution, including climate change, also weighing on the economy. These two factors define the condition called “overshoot,” occurring when an economic system is consuming more resources than nature can replace. Sooner or later, an economy in overshoot has to come to terms with reality. It means that it can’t continue to grow: it must decline.

These considerations can be quantified. It was done for the first time in 1972 with the famous report The Limits to Growth sponsored by the Club of Rome. Widely disbelieved at the time, today we recognize that the model used for the study had correctly identified the trends of the world’s economy. The results of the study showed that the double burden of resource depletion and pollution would bring economic growth first to a halt and then cause it to collapse, probably at some moment during the first decades of the 21st century. Even with very optimistic assumptions on the availability of natural resources and of new technologies the calculations show that the collapse could at best be postponed, but not avoided. Many later studies confirmed these results: collapse turns out to be a typical feature of systems in overshoot, a phenomenon called sometimes the “Seneca Cliff” from a sentence of the ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

 

The base case scenario calculated in the 1972 version of "The Limits to Growth" 

The coronavirus, in itself, is a minor perturbation, but the system is poised for collapse and the epidemics may trigger it. We already saw how the world’s economy is fragile: it nearly collapsed in 2008 under the relatively small perturbation of the crash of the subprime mortgage market. At that time, it was possible to contain the damage but, today, the fragility of the system has not improved and the coronavirus may be a stronger perturbation. The collapse of entire sectors of the economy, such as the tourism industry (more than 10% of the world’s gross product), is already ongoing and it may be impossible to stop it from spreading to other sectors.

So, what exactly is it going to happen to us? Since we started with mentioning a camel, we may also mention a famous statement by Shaykh Rāshid that we can summarize as, "My father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son will ride a camel." Might that sentence have been truly prophetic?

Indeed, the coming crisis might turn out to be so bad to push us back to the Middle Ages. But it is also true that all major epidemics in history have seen a robust rebound after the collapse. Consider that, in the mid-14th century, the “black death” killed perhaps 40% of the population of Europe but, a century later, Europeans were discovering America and starting their attempt of conquering the world. It may be that the black death was instrumental in this rebound: the temporary reduction of the European population had freed the resources necessary for a new leap forward.

Could we see a similar rebound of our society in the future? Why not? After all, the coronavirus could be doing us a favor by forcing us to abandon the obsolete and polluting fossil fuels we use today. The current low market prices are the result of the contraction of the demand and are likely to be the straw that breaks the back of the oil industry. That will leave space for new and more efficient technologies. Today, solar energy has become so cheap that it is possible to think of a society fully based on renewable energy. It won’t be easy, but recent studies show that it can be done.

That doesn’t mean that the near term collapse can be avoided. The transition to a new energy infrastructure will require enormous investments, impossible to find in a moment of economic contraction we expect for the near future. But, in the long run, the transition is unavoidable and there is hope for a "Seneca rebound" toward a new society based on clean and renewable energy, no more plagued by the threats of depletion and climate change. It will take time, but we can heal the poor camel’s back.

 

 

 

 

 

——————————————————————

Monday, April 20, 2020

 

 

How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? The data say not so much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data about the mortality of the coronavirus epidemic start being available. Above, a list of mortality rates for Western European countries (including the US) taken from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. The data are ordered by the projected number of deaths per million inhabitants. In addition, I built a "lockdown score," also based on the data reported by IHME (except for the US, where different states chose different options). It would be difficult to say that these data support the idea that a "hard" lockdown that includes a stay home order is more effective than a looser kind of lockdown. (for a live version of the table, write to me at ugo.bardi(whirlette)unifi.it)
 

Your friend has a headache. She takes a pill and, after a while, she feels much better. And she is sure that it was because of the pill. Maybe, but how does she know that the headache didn't go away by itself? Was the pill a homeopathic medicine? In this case, you could tell her that she ingested pure sugar, unlikely to cure anything. But, if you ever tried something like that, you know that it is nearly impossible to un-convince someone who believes to have been healed by the miraculous powers of homeopathy or the like. It is a typical problem of medical studies: how do you know that a treatment is effective? That's why there exist precise rules defining how you can test a new drug or treatment.

Now, let's go to the coronavirus epidemic: practically every region in the world has been affected and practically every government has implemented some kind of rules to stop the epidemic from diffusing, from voluntary social distancing (Sweden) to stay home orders enforced by the police. Almost everywhere, most people are convinced that the lockdown has been effective in reducing the spread of the epidemics. Maybe, but how can we say? Not having a "blank experiment" to compare with, it might be argued that all these new rules are the equivalent of homeopathic pills: a little sugar and nothing else.

Right now, the data are still uncertain, but they are accumulating and I think we can at least try some sort of preliminary analysis by comparing the results of countries where the lockdown rules have been implemented in different ways. An especially interesting way to do that is to look at the data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. These data are good for this purpose because:

1. The IHME provides a large dataset for several relatively homogeneous countries in Europe in addition to the US.

2. The data include projections for the total mortality at the end of the epidemic cycle and so we can compare countries where the epidemic started at different moments

3. The data also include a list of the rules implemented by each government, whether they include "stay home" orders which we may see as defining a "hard" lockdown, or just invites to citizens to maintain a certain distance from each other. (but note that a "hard" lockdown in Western countries is much softer than the versioni implemented in China and other Asian countries)

Here is an example of the IHME projections. In the case of Italy, you see how the epidemic follows its typical curve and it is going down after the acute phase is over.
 

Note that I focused on the records on mortality because they seem to be the most reliable ones, unlike those on infected people that depend on the number of tests. About Italy, I checked with independent data on the excess mortality from all causes from the Euromomo site. It seems that the mortality rates coincide, these data are reasonably good.

The results I found for several countries are shown in the table at the beginning of this post (not the complete data set, only Western Europe). You can peruse the table yourself (for a "live" version, write to me) and come to your own conclusion. In practice, the mortality rates range from a maximum of about 700/million to a minimum of 10-20. I cannot find a clear relationship between the mortality rate and the harshness of the rules imposed by local governments.

My impression is that the kind of "hard" lockdown imposed in countries such as Italy or Spain didn't help so much, perhaps not at all. For instance, Germany and Austria do well in the list without the need for a stay home order. But, of course, you might also focus on Sweden's relatively poor performance to argue that very loose rules are not a good idea. However, in this case, you might also note that Norway, a country similar to Sweden, is doing much better also with a relatively soft lockdown. Then you might consider other factors, for instance, population density. A colleague of mine (Claudio Della Volpe) examined the data for this factor and he found that there may be a weak dependence but, at present, it cannot be said for sure.

So, my conclusion is that the hard lockdown is unjustified and probably useless, but let me repeat: these are PRELIMINARY data and this is a TENTATIVE analysis, justified only on the urgency we have to manage the epidemic the best we can. Consider that the lockdown is causing a lot of suffering for a lot of people and risks leading us to complete collapse. We should try to do what we can to understand if it is effective. Let me also note that I am NOT DENYING that the COVID-19 virus is killing people, and I AM NOT SAYING that nothing should be done to stop the spreading the epidemics. (and I am not saying that the virus is an engineered bioweapon, or that it is an evil plot to enslave all of us, gosh!). I just placed on line the data I found for the benefit of the readers of Cassandra's Legacy who may interpret them the way they like. When we'll have better data, we'll be able to arrive at more solid conclusions.

As a final note, the story of the coronavirus epidemics shows how we humans tend to politicize/polarize everything. Not that the virus itself, poor critter, is left- or right-leaning, but by now the Right and the Left have taken sides. The right in the US is against a hard lockdown, while the left favors it. At this point, speaking against the lockdown turns you automatically into a Trumpist and a supporter of the NRA, if not of the Ku-Klux-Clan (and of Bolsonaro, too!).

As an example, yesterday I posted on Facebook a link to a study by Yitzhak Ben Israel, (*) of Tel Aviv University that seems to support the idea that most lockdown rules are not very effective against the virus (and note that I didn't even say I thought the paper was correct — I can't read Hebrew!). But, as I should have expected  I was defamed and abused just for having linked that obvious piece of Israeli propaganda, surely a hoax thought to support the bad orange man and his ilk (surprisingly, my readers on Facebook seem to be familiar enough with Hebrew to be able to easily detect the mistakes in a scientific paper written in that language).

So, why is the stay-home ruling "Left" while no stay home is "Right"? Beats me. For those of you who can understand Italian, I leave you with a scene from a movie by Francesco Nuti, where he examines various kinds of cold meats concluding, among other things, that mortadella (bologna) is communist, while prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) is fascist.

(*) Dr. Ben Israel was so kind to send me a version of his paper in English. If you would like to have it, write to me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus: RE’s Excellent Food Acquisition Adventure

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  April 19, 2020

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