Ebola

This Week In Doom February 22, 2015

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Image by Ian Ference Barcroft Media

Image by Ian Ference Barcroft Media

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on February 22, 2015

“The viruses that cause smallpox, influenza, hepatitis, measles, encephalitis, and viral pneumonia; the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera, typhus, scarlet fever, and bacterial meningitis—by a quirk of evolutionary history, all were unknown in the Western Hemisphere.”

“In 1491 the Inka ruled the greatest empire on earth. Bigger than Ming Dynasty China, bigger than Ivan the Great’s expanding Russia, bigger than Songhay in the Sahel or powerful Great Zimbabwe in West Africa, bigger than the cresting Ottoman Empire… bigger by far than any European state, the Inka dominion extended over a staggering thirty-two degrees of latitude—as if a single power held sway from St. Petersburg to Cairo.”
― Charles C. Mann
 

 

Charles Mann’s landmark, “1491:New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus”  advances the thesis that the Americas were fairly teeming with native peoples prior to their “discovery” by Columbus and other early explorers. This thesis is supported in part by testimony from early explorers. Traveling up the Mississippi in 1540, De Soto reported teeming cities filled with Native Americans. The Spanish also reported large urban populations upon their first contact with Aztecs and Incas. When LaSalle traveled up the Mississippi 140 years later, he and his party encountered open and desolate spaces, virtually depopulated of native peoples.

Mann advances the theory that disease killed as many as 19 of 20 natives in the Americas, most of whom never laid eyes on a white man. (He lays the blame in large measure on the swine that the Spanish brought along with them as part of their mobile commissary.) The Inca Empire collapsed in part because by the time Pizarro arrived, smallpox and other epidemics had already swept through cities, cutting a wide swath though the natives’ lack of immunity to European diseases.

Mann references the work of historian Henry Dobyns:”The Inca were not defeated by steel and horses, but by disease and factionalism.”  Internecine warfare among native tribes also played a factor in the collapse of native societies, as the Spaniards were able to play one faction off against another.  “Divide and rule” was a lesson well learned from their Roman forebears.

In his Pulitzer prize-winning book  “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” Jared Diamond suggests that the early domestication of wild plants and animals among disparate Stone Age peoples in the Fertile Crescent, China, Central America and the Andes conferred a head start on the peoples of those regions, which translated directly to the development of “surplus” and its management.

In a sentence, Diamond’s thesis is thus: “farm-based societies conquered populations of other areas and maintained dominance, despite sometimes being vastly out-numbered – superior weapons provided immediate military superiority (guns); Eurasian diseases weakened and reduced local populations, who had no immunity, making it easier to maintain control over them (germs); and durable means of transport enabled imperialism (steel).”

Societies must move beyond the hunter gatherer stage to develop surplus food, and thus provide the capacity to develop division of labor, which in turn led to writing, technology, societal organization, religion and other forms of social coercion. Societies thus equipped were able to move and expand to the homelands of other, less advanced people and compete with an advantage.

And when these societies expanded, they brought their livestock and other disease vectors with them. Unlike malaria,  smallpox is geographically unlimited, and Europeans took it with them wherever they went. Over centuries, they also developed the means by which to cure many of these diseases. Only now are we seeing that cycle, like so many, begin to unwind.

Such thoughts bubble up unbidden as we peruse the headlines emerging  from the swamps mainstream media like  swamp gas,  and we find a recrudescence of disease.  This goes beyond the outbreak of measles as reported last week,  a disease eradicated in the US in 2000, but now back by popular demand of the anti-vaxxer crowd. The return of measles is the self-inflicted wound of a society rooted in the full-bore embrace of ignorance and superstition.  No, this week it’s the superbug,  a gift likely purchased by the over prescription and overuse of antibiotics, and which leaves us as helpless as peasants in the face of the Black Death. So with no further preamble, it’s time to offer up a hearty call of, “Bring out your Dead!”  and let the week’s summary began. Cue the ritual chanting and the rabbit’s feet.

 


Los Angeles hospital warns 179 patients possibly exposed to ‘superbug’

One form of CRE bacteria. CRE bacteria is blamed for 600 deaths each year, and can withstand treatment from virtually every type of antibiotic. (AP Photo/CDC)

 

This report in from LA.  Since MRSA wasn’t  unmanageable enough,  this new drug-resistant superbug  both baffles observers and threatens to have healthcare practitioners shaking their last medicine stick as treatment.

A large Los Angeles teaching hospital has told scores of patients they may have been exposed to a drug-resistant bacterial “superbug” during endoscopy procedures that infected seven patients and contributed to two deaths.

More than 170 patients who may have been infected by the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are being offered home testing kits that would be analyzed by the University of California at Los Angeles hospital system, UCLA officials said.

It is difficult to believe that in this day and age, we still have not found an appropriate way to sterilize even harder to clean parts on endoscopes, but there you are. No one who ever consults with the surgeon as to the best course of action will be surprised when he recommends surgery.  Or more tests. So when the Public Health functionaries speak, keep that in mind:

“It’s important to emphasize: This particular outbreak of CRE is not a threat to the health of the public in Los Angeles County,” said Benjamin Schwartz, deputy chief of the acute communicable disease control program at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

That’s right, citizens, nothing to see here, and move along. There’s a good fellow. Huffpo added this perspective:

For a person to be infected, CRE germs must enter the body, typically through contact with an infected person’s wounds or feces. However, as is suspected in the UCLA exposure, the bacteria can also be passed via medical devices that enter the body. The same type of medical device has been implicated in other CRE exposures, according to UCLA. The hospital says it is now “utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond manufacturer and national standards.”

Deeply reassuring.  For now, it would appear that if your plans do not include swallowing an endoscope at the appropriately named Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, you are at low risk for infection.

Currently, the best measures to take are preventive. Hospitals and patients alike should practice careful hand-washing and disinfecting of hospital rooms and medical equipment, and staff may consider keeping patients with CRE infections from sharing rooms with others. The CDC also urges patients and medical professionals to avoid unnecessary prescriptions and use of antibiotics.

Good luck “avoiding unnecessary prescriptions and use of antibiotics” if you are a pediatrician facing the parent of a child with a runny nose. Meanwhile, the prevalence of “superbugs” is on the rise, and it’s not all from our failure to wash hands.

Threat of Deadly Pathogens on the Rise Thanks to Climate Change

A new study released this week and published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B warns that a warming planet and rapidly changing climate are increasing the appearance of infectious diseases like Ebola.

According to Daniel Brooks, one of the researchers on the study, “It’s not that there’s going to be one ‘Andromeda Strain’ that will wipe everybody out on the planet. There are going to be a lot of localized outbreaks putting pressure on medical and veterinary health systems. It will be the death of a thousand cuts.”

And, to make matters even worse, there’s also the concern of unknown infectious diseases popping up across the globe thanks to climate change.

Last year, scientists were able to successfully “revive” a virus that had been trapped in the Siberian tundra for tens of thousands of years According to the scientists, the virus, now known as Pithovirus sibericum, was lying dormant in the Siberian tundra for around 30,000 years.

But, after thawing the virus out of the ice, the scientists discovered that it hadn’t lost its touch after its 30,000 year nap.

In fact, soon after the virus was thawed, it infected countless single-cell organisms.

Now, just imagine if the thawing of Pithovirus sibericum hadn’t happened in a controlled laboratory, but instead happened in the wilderness of Siberia. 

If I were a betting man, as the planet warms I would wager on more rather than fewer And as the ice melts, and those new-to-us pathogens get released, we could see new epidemics for which we are utterly unprepared.  But I’m confident that everything will be just fine here,  citizen, as long as you wash your hands and shake your rabbit’s foot.


Hot Spots

 The Islamic state seems intent upon declaring itself the middle east distributor for ninth century savagery,  with the recent spate of beheadings of Egyptian Copts. Retaliatory attacks have been answered with suicide attacks. See: IS claimes suicide attacks that kill 42

And now the Islamic State’s Libyan franchise has threatened an assault upon Rome itself.  We can’t wait to see the Islamic State navy in action.

 

With Ukraine’s army in tatters, and the US/UK considering yet another in a futile round of sanctions on Russia, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister says they are “preparing for full scale war with Russia. ”  This comes in the wake of the military catastrophe that befell the NATO-backed army in eastern Ukraine, at Debaltsevo.

Last week, Washington suffered its greatest military defeat in more than a decade when Ukraine’s US-backed army was soundly routed in the major railway hub of Debaltsevo. Roughly, 8,000 Ukrainian regulars along with untold numbers of tanks and armored units were surrounded in w Andhat-came-to-be-known-as “the cauldron.”  The army of the Donetsk Peoples Republic led by DPR commander  Alexander Zakharchenko, encircled the invading army and gradually tightened the cordon, eventually killing or capturing most of the troops within the pocket. The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered major casualties ranging between  3,000 to 3,500 while a vast amount of lethal military hardware was left behind.

According to Zakharchenko, “The amount of equipment Ukrainian units have lost here is beyond description.”

As Mike Whitney reports, this military catastrophe  is the responsibility of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, who may not survive the next putsch.

The Ukrainian President is responsible for the massacre at Debaltsevo.  He was fully aware that his army faced encirclement but ordered them to remain in order to satisfy powerful right-wing elements in his government. The disaster is even more terrible due to the fact that it was entirely avoidable and achieved no strategic purpose at all. Extreme hubris frequently impacts outcomes on the battlefield. This was the case at Debaltsevo.

The debacle ensures that the bumbling president’s days are numbered.

The “far-right nationalists” who occupy the Security Services that Poroshenko tried to appease will insist on his ouster. Comes another Maidan, and a second Ukrainian coup in less than a year, testament to the failings of neocon US foreign policy. This from The Vineyard of the Saker:

“Looks like the Nazi death squads are on the march again, this time they are looking at Kiev.  Thirteen death-squad (aka “volunteer battalion”) leaders have now declared that they are forming their own military command under the command of the notorious Semen Semenchenko. Officially, they are not in any way opposed to the current regime, so said Semenchenko, but in reality their rank and file members are pretty clear about what they want to do: organize a third Maidan and toss out Poroshenko.

What makes these 21st century version of the SA so dangerous for Poroshenko it that he, unlike Hitler, does not have a 21st century version of the SS to eliminate them all overnight.  In fact, according to many reports the entire southern part of the rump-Ukraine is now “Kolomoiski-land” fully under the control of the oligarch who finances these death-squads.  Add to this the fact that most of the Rada is composed of the very same battalion commanders and assorted Nazi freaks, and you will why Poroshenko is now very much in danger……

The sad reality is that there is simply nobody in the Ukraine capable of disarming these so-called “volunteer battalions”.  There are now thousands of uniformed Nazi freaks roaming around with guns who can now impose their law of the jungle on everybody.  It sure looks like the future of Banderastan will be something like a mix of Somalia and Mad Max – a failed state, a comprehensively destroyed economy, a collapsed social order and the law of armed gangs of thugs.” 

And now we’re told that Ukraine is”Preparing For Full-Scale War” With Russia, Demands The West Supply Lethal Weapons.  Because of the losses at Debaltsevo, Kiev need more arms. If only the West will “stiffen their spines” a bit,  we are told, the Banderites will be able to defeat the Russians. Let’s review the bidding: in one year an entire country has been destroyed, thousands murdered and millions left with nothing. The Ukraine is as failed a state as Somalia, having met all conditions of Orlov’s “five stages of collapse.” Kiev is in the hands of madmen advised by madmen, and the only alternative is worse. The obvious solution? More arms…


Quick Takes

12 likely causes of the Apocalypse, as seen by scientists 

Risk of American ‘megadroughts’ for decades, NASA warns

 GMOs Invade Fruit Industry: Apples, Pears, Cherries and Peaches to All Become Unlabeled GMO

Pat Robertson to ‘abhorrent’ moms: ‘Covens’ use your Facebook ultrasounds to curse ‘unborn babies’

The Montana Legislature is now controlled by some far-right loons. You won’t believe what they’re trying to pass

Latest crimes against humanity from the Zionist Apartheid State

Dept. of When You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging: How can Rudy Giuliani make his latest mess much worse? On second thought, why bother?


So there’s your week in disease, warfare, cupidity and superstition.  Death peeks around every corner: whether from unknown bugs and viruses popping up from global warming, chaotic tinderboxes in world at war, Pat Robertson’s bad comb over  or Tea Party stupidity, who can tell?  if I were you, I’d stock up on rabbits’ feet.

*** 

banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with his new bride Contrary in a triumph of hope over experience, and is grateful that he is not yet taking a dirt nap.

The Year in Doom 2014

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 4, 2014

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.


I have always thought that in revolutions… madmen, not those so called by courtesy, but genuine madmen, have played a very considerable political part. One thing is certain, that a condition of semi-madness is not unbecoming at such times, and often even leads to success.
― Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859)


In each year’s end, and in a condition of semi-madness, it is the habit of the commercial press to generate various lists of “the year’s top stories.”  The top ten this, the top 14 that… Lindsay Lohan’s Top Ten excuses for failing rehab, the Top Five reasons Charles Koch likes slavery as a business model for the 21st century, the Top 77 views of Kim Kardashian’s ass… These lists are legion.  And if you’ve read this far, you’ve stepped right in one. For this is my personal whack at the year-end pinata.

With this modest compendium, we will not attempt to tell you what is important;  the mainstream media can lie to you about that. What follows here is my highly idiosyncratic take on those news events which have contributed to a sense of impending collapse speeding us along on the road to doom. A word about methodology: not worth considering. I asked for some feedback, then picked what seemed right. That’s it.  Basic assumptions are that to the extent that an issue is reported in the MSM,  whatever we’ve heard is state propaganda, thus wrong.  The rest is my idiosyncratic take; blame no one else, aside from those indicted by hyperlinked citations.

Madness is in the air,  whether from the madmen of ISIS or Foggy Bottom, Ferguson or New York City. Readers of “doomer” blogs do so with a shared sense that “something ain’t right.”  A pervading sense of unease,once marginal and seen only among survivalists and conspiracy theorists, has gone mainstream. Witness dystopian threads that run through literature and mass media, from World War Z to Doomsday Preppers. Now even the Weather Channel has a series called, “Fat Guys In The Woods.” (It’s just what you think.) It illustrates vividly how far most of us are from knowing how to survive in the wild, let alone transition to a “sustainable” lifestyle. As writer Tom Lewis recently told me, “If my ability to live depended on my skills in sustainable living, I’d be dead.” Like most of us.

 

Kim 2

This was the year that Paper Mag and Kim Kardashian determined they would “break the Internet.” with a photo spread of naked and near-naked Kim flesh. Not quite. Many men dropped in to see what all the furor was about. (I just read the article.) The reigning queen of social media and Instagram selfies continued being curvily famous, and social media continued to wag the media dog.   Zero Hedge published a year-end article about the most important US events according to Twitter:

When it comes to social networks, Instagram is where the world’s best food photographers reside, Facebook is where “cool parents” and ad-clicking robots can be found, while Twitter is where the up to the minute super-informed, sophisticated intelligentsia hides. At least according to Twitter. So what did said sophisticated audience find to be the most important and talked about American events of the year?  The top 10 US stories of 2014 were:

  1. Ferguson
  2. Midterms
  3. Ebola
  4. Israel
  5. Iraq
  6. Russia/Ukraine
  7. Sterling/Clippers
  8. Guns
  9. Obamacare
  10. Marijuana

As you see, this Twitterlist falls off quickly in terms of doom potential. Let’s pass on the mounting list of war crimes committed by the Zionist Apartheid State against Palestinians, and I have a decidedly minority view when it comes to l’affaire Sterling, about which I could otherwise give less than no f*ck. (Sterling was recorded in secret, and under circumstances in which he might have had an expectation of privacy, had we not willingly surrendered that quaint 18th century expectation along with the right to search our DNA, bodily fluids and credit reports to Corpstate™. This concern was brushed aside in the haste to publicly pillory and shame an egregious racist.) As for the others, don’t care, don’t care, and it’s about damned time.


Ferguson/Police Militarization/”Wartime Policing”

Ferguson has become a metaphor for the militarized state, for open season on black males, with apparent no bag limit for the Boys in Blue.   Ferguson is not just about Michael Brown, but also, Kajeimi Powell, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and countless others who have been executed with impunity and no fear of consequence by agents of the militarized state. And now we have the specter of the New York Police Department declaring that they will engage in “wartime policing.” So many words have been expended about this phenomenon, that we will leave analysis in more capable hands.  It seems to me that the reaction of the police, and a large segment of law and order-worshiping ordinary citizens, is really about the conflict between the egalitarian impulse and the authoritarian impulse. Every time someone says, “if you would just do what the police tell you to, you would have no problem,” lingering notions of individual autonomy and justice die another death.

What the cops pictured above who turned their back upon the mayor are doing is the moral equivalent of throwing a tantrum. They have traduced legitimate protest and have staged a “work slowdown” to justify the delusional narrative that no cop, anywhere, should ever be at fault for anything. Localities all across the country, including my own, are staging their own “blue lives matter” rallies in support of “victims” that do not exist, except in their own minds. Meanwhile, this.

Charles Pierce conflates police authoritarianism and recent release of the CIA torture report with  proper perspective:

If the NYPD runs a slow-motion coup against the freely elected mayor of New York, then it is running a slow-motion coup against all the people of New York. There is no exemption from this fundamental truth about the way this country and its system is supposed to work. The military — and its civilian analogues in Langley and in the precinct houses — always is subordinate to the civil power which, no matter how much it may chafe them, means that they always are subordinate to politicians. If we render our torturers superior to the political institutions of the government, and if we render the police superior to the civil power of elected officials, then we essentially have empowered independent standing armies to conduct our wars and enforce our laws, and self-government descends into bloody farce.

But, alas, in the past few weeks, we have shown ourselves to be relatively at peace with that very thing — as long as the torture is done in the prisons overseas and the judicial killing is done in the streets of the ghetto, and as long as our fear of some omnipotent Other is what drives our politics. In turn, and in its mind, the country has now turned peaceful mass protest into some sort of violent revolution, and it has converted the murderous rage of a criminal lunatic into the ultimate expression of the cries for justice that have been heard in the last month in Ferguson, and Cleveland, and on Staten Island…The last thing to go to the waterboard is the tattered remnant of what we thought ourselves to be.

Both appear to be a manifestation of the undercurrent of authoritarianism in American culture — a deference to authority figures supposed to “protect” us, otherwise at odds with the libertarian impulse currently in ascendant. Likely we never were “the people we thought ourselves to be.”  The police slowdown in NYC has given threadbare hack Rudy Giuliani yet another chance to emerge as chief defender of murderer cops, and thus give voice to the authoritarian impulse in American politics. In any event, “wartime policing” underlines an escalating separation along race and class lines.  And reminds of financier Jay Gould’s famous dictum, “You can always hire half of the working class to kill the other half.”


 

Climate Change

It was a year of the Super Typhoons, polar vortexes, continued warming and devastating drought.  2014 recorded the warmest year on record globally, leaving some to wonder whether 2015 may be the year nations finally act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2015 is the year of the Paris meeting to develop the next international agreement. It promises to be a big year for more talk at a variety of levels. Rising heat has led to changes in weather patterns that are of such overriding importance that Pope Francis plans to urge Earth’s Catholics to take action on global warming via a rare papal encyclical,  “urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds.”

This is a very big deal:

One is that encyclicals are published on issues of high priority to the Pope, and what’s high priority to him is high priority to the church. There are more than a billion Catholics on the planet, so this could have a profound effect.

Another reason is that, also according to the Guardian article, he is doing this to directly affect the outcome of a very important meeting late in 2015: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet, and their express intent is to create a legally binding global agreement about actions to take on climate change.

GOP outraged.  It didn’t take long for the Koch brothers to stand up one of their stooges to warn off the Pope.

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, a Religious Right group that specializes in promoting pollution,and which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion, has been well-paid by the Kochs and other polluters to say things like this[to believe in climate change] “really is an insult to God … and it will eventually lead to tyranny.”

The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

2015 was filled with evidences of a changing climate not to the betterment of humankind. It was a year of unparalleled drought, heat, and ice, perhaps a harbinger of a tipping point on climate. From Greenland to Antarctica and glaciers in between, this warmest year on record melted ice to an extent never seen before.

A second potential climate development has to do with the Arctic, where temperatures continue to rise at twice the rate of the rest of the world.

Experts track sea ice, which floats on the ocean, as well as the Greenland ice sheet, which if it completely melted into the ocean would raise sea levels by 20 feet.

As for Greenland, a study earlier this month found that melt predictions are likely too conservative. Advances in ice sheet modeling will soon provide a much better sense of how much sea level rise to expect from melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

“Will we see three-plus feet by the end of this century or less?” [climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck] asks, referring to some model predictions. “Will stabilizing the Earth’s climate at two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (times) commit us to 20-plus feet of future sea level rise or less?”

And then there was the California drought.  You may have heard of it.  Recent year end rains were a mere drop in a very dry bucket. The drought threatens not only water tables in California, but top soil for one of the nation’s key agricultural areas.  Tree rings reveal the most devastating drought in California in over 1200 years.  It is easy to dismiss such proclamations as the hand wringing work of nervous nellies with a liberal bias. Pictures do better; especially when they come from NASA.

According to NASA, the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River basins have been hit the hardest by the water loss, in part because of the increasing volume of groundwater being pumped out for farming. For the last three years, these regions have been losing a total of 4 trillion gallons of water per year.

California drought

The sun is reflected off the water remaining in an irrigation canal that is drying up near Yuba City, Calif.

The data was compiled from two satellites that have been orbiting the Earth since 2002 as part of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, a collaboration between NASA and German space agency DLR. The satellites measure small fluctuations in Earth’s gravitational field that are most often caused by variations in water supply. 

In a podcast interview with Science Magazine, UC Irvine hydrologist James Famiglietti used the analogy of a bathroom scale to explain how GRACE uses highly sensitive gravity measurements to track changes in the amount of water stored underground in soil and rocks.

“Each [satellite] is about the size of a squashed minivan, and they orbit at about 400 kilometers. And what happens is that the change in mass on the surface, say, because of a big flood or a big load of snow on the mountains, actually pulls those spring-loaded weights towards Earth’s surface,” Famiglietti said.

The added danger in groundwater depletion is that unlike surface water, it is not easily replenishable.

 

With James Imhofe as incoming chair of the science committee in the House, it’s odds-on that NASA will get its climate science funding radically slashed for  producing evidence like this.

“We’re seeing it happening all over the world. It’s happening in most of the major aquifers in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world where we rely on those aquifers. But we’re able to see now the impact we’re having on this over exploitation,” Famiglietti told Science Magazine.

Peak Water: The Water Problem. The problem of drought is certainly not confined to California– in northeastern Brazil drought has wrought havoc, severe drought conditions are also plaguing Australia and Ethiopia, threatening to cause food shortages in some of the poorest nations on earth and higher prices across the world.  Consider the implications:

There are two types of aquifers: those that are replenishable through rainfall (the majority), and those that consist of water laid down eons ago, and thus do not recharge. The latter, known as fossil aquifers, include two strategically important ones, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain and the Ogallala aquifer under the US Great Plains.

Tapping underground water resources helped expand world food production, but as the demand for grain continued climbing, so too did the amount of water pumped… overpumping creates a water-based food bubble, one that will burst when the aquifer is depleted and the rate of pumping is necessarily reduced to the rate of recharge.

Today some 18 countries, containing half the world’s people, are overpumping their aquifers. Among these are the big three grain producers – China, India and the US.

Peak water? Peak grain? Saudi Arabia is curtailing irrigation based grain production,  and Syria and Yemen are depleting their aquifers as well. Elsewhere in the Middle East, both Syria and Iraq are also suffering from a reduced flow in the Tigris and Euphrates as Turkey claims more water for its own.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Arab Middle East is seeing the collision between population growth and water supply at the regional level. For the first time in history, grain production is dropping in a geographic region with nothing in sight to arrest the decline.

Hungry and thirsty people will inevitably go somewhere. Should current drought trends continue, 2015 could see  the world’s first climate refugees, with significant numbers leaving California’s Central Valley, and possibly parts of Arizona, Texas and Nevada, as well as Sao Paulo, Brazil and parts of China and India.  In China, the Gobi desert increases nearly 1400 square miles per year.  And drought is simply one vector for creation of climate refugees. Low-lying areas such as the Maldives, and Venice are clearly threatened by sea level rise, as are Norfolk, VA and New Orleans, closer to home.  Water, food, grazing lands, habitat –  all resources for which we compete. Climate change will only exacerbate this competition, with conflict almost inevitable.


Rise of ISIS//ISIL/The Islamic State/Daesh/The Caliphate

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We are expected to believe that the rise of ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State, fully armed and spoiling for a fight, came as a complete surprise to our vaunted foreign policy establishment, those same worthies who can play back years of your phone conversations, predict your actions and movements through data collection and analysis, and even analyze the contents of your diet and health through sifting through your shit,  were taken unawares by this armed juggernaut?

No kidding.

 

Opposite this block of text is a  letter to the editor which articulates a critique of “our” foreign policy, and which makes the case for its illogic far more succinctly than anything I can add.

In a recent article, Dmitry Orlov argues that Anglo-imperialists are finally being forced out of Eurasia, as part of the Big Picture of understanding geopolitics. By Anglo-imperialist he means that combination of Britain and the FSA that has set the tone for global policy for two and a half centuries. America essentially inherited Empire from the bankrupt British, and is now in decline… with no new up-and-coming Anglo-imperialists to take over the family business.

Orlov makes a compelling case, buttressed by historical events, for the scorched-earth policies  of oppressors amounting to a policy of, “if we can’t have it, no one can,” otherwise known as “poison every well.” He makes the point that [Britain and America’s] common playbook has remained the same for many decades– a phony neoliberal crony capitalism for well-wired insiders coupled with domination by the big-ass military, coupled with a strong dose of  economic exploitation for everyone else involved, otherwise known as “cockroaches” to the elites. Orlov discerns a pattern to the Anglo-imperialist “playbook ” that has always called for a specific exit plan to be executed whenever plans to dominate and exploit a given country eventually fail.

 

On their way out, they do what they can to compromise and weaken the entity they leave behind, by inflicting a permanently oozing and festering political wound. “Poison all the wells” is the last thing on their pre-departure checklist.

• When the British got tossed out of their American Colonies, they did all they could, using a combination of import preferences and British “soft power,” to bolster the plantation economy of the American South, helping set it up as a sort of anti-United States, and the eventual result was the American Civil War.

• When the British got tossed out of Ireland, they set up Belfast as a sort of anti-Ireland, with much blood shed as a result.

• When the British got tossed out of the Middle East, they set up the State of Israel, then the US made it into its own protectorate, and it has been poisoning regional politics ever since. 

• When the British got tossed out of India, they set up Pakistan, as a sort of anti-India, precipitating a nasty hot war, followed by a frozen conflict over Kashmir.

• When the US lost China to the Communists, they evacuated the Nationalists to Taiwan, and set it up as a sort of anti-China, and even gave it China’s seat at the United Nations.

The goal is always the same: if they can’t have the run of the place, they make sure that nobody else can either, by setting up a conflict scenario that nobody there can ever hope to resolve.

The Sykes-Picot agreement that redrew the map of the Middle East is quite dead, leading directly to the rise of these al-Qa’ida-affiliated Sunni fighters to whom the artificial borders of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan are the meaningless artifacts of a world long passed by. At the end of WWI, the British and French wanted Mosul for its oil. With the rise of the Caliphate, Mosul’s oil is Sunni oil, and the Saudis are happy.

Much speculation abounds that the Monsters of Mosul and Beheaders of Baghdad are funded by unspecified “rich patrons.” Mmm-hmm. . And some of them will have offices at Langley, others in Riyadh…  Meanwhile, ISIS will continue to serve its propaganda purposes and as a convenient vehicle for the purposes of the neocons who infest the American foreign-policy/war establishment to accomplish their aims within Syria. Plenty of madmen to go around.


 

Ukraine/Missing plane/NATO train

The same strategy of leaving a poisoned and permanently weakened state behind is being deployed as effectively in Ukraine as it is in the Levant. Again, Orlov:

The goal is always the same: if they can’t have the run of the place, they make sure that nobody else can either, by setting up a conflict scenario that nobody there can ever hope to resolve. And so if you see Anglo-imperialists going out of their way and spending lots of money to poison the political well somewhere in the world, you can be sure that they are on their way out.

Fast-forward to 2014, and what we saw was the Anglo-imperialist attempt to set up Ukraine as a sort of anti-Russia. They took a Slavic, mostly Russian-speaking country and spent billions corrupting its politics to make the Ukrainians hate the Russians… The result was what we saw this year: a bloody coup, and a civil war marked by numerous atrocities. Ukraine is in the midst of economic collapse with power plants out of coal and lights going off everywhere, while at the same time the Ukrainians are being drafted into the army and indoctrinated to want to go fight against “the Muscovites.”

To counter, Russia made a nice play of self-determination in  Crimea: if self-determination worked for Kosovo, why can’t it work for Crimea? International norms, yes? Oh, the Anglo-imperialist establishment  doesn’t approve? At which point Putin responded that the West should go suck a bag of dicks. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan for the Masters of the Universe.

By the end of 2015 the FSA plans to station nearly 150 tanks and armored vehicles in countries on Russia’s borders, according to Reuters. The evil Russians have moved their country closer to these weapons, so to protect them, we need to double down with more ABM systems, troops, weapons and bases, the better to justify profits for war profiteers and protect the interests of the Corporate State. Our madmen light matches in a loaded armory?

The failure of the neocons to start WWIII started through proxies in the Levant and  Ukraine, coupled with the little noted recent “cromnibus” appropriations to fund oil and gas infrastructure in the Ukraine, ties all the loose and desperate “ends” that indicate Orlov’s analysis is correct. Even Henry F*king Kissinger blames the West. And a nervous world watches the Sino-Russian led response of the BRICS nations against the dollar.

Smedley Butler observed the true uses of the military a century ago and today the FSA uses bloated and constantly growing military forces to leverage control of a vast commercial empire.  And if we can’t buy it, we break it.

If the U.S. shut down the more than a thousand military bases on foreign soil and the various command&control centers, it would not be able to threaten non-compliant nations with regime change. If the Federal Government made a massive shift from military spending to infrastructure and other domestic spending concerns, the U.S. would no longer be able to offload its debts onto its trading partners. Thus the problem goes deeper than the “nuclear mafia” of  weapons contractors, lobbyists and other former government officials siphoning off more and more federal tax dollars.

Regime changes in Libya, Iraq, attempted in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Ukraine and now – Russia, are thus due to the simple fact that these are non-compliant nations, and do not take orders from the IMF with the expected alacrity.

Have an aircraft, any aircraft…

In order to ramp up public opinion against Putin and in favor of whatever mischief NATO intended to gin up, a couple of Malaysian aircraft went missing, MH-370 famously leading CNN’s Don Lemon to speculate on intervention “beyond our understanding” occurring, that “something” being perhaps supernatural?

“Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural,” Lemon said. “We go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?”

Uhh– because it’s supposed to be the f*king news? I’m sure they are readying a pedestal for the bust of Don Lemon to be erected in the Newseum some time soon.

And then there was MH-17, shot down over eastern Ukraine by Vlad himself/by Russian air defense batteries/by a rebel held Buk surface-to-air missile system/by a Ukrainian air-to air missile/by a Ukrainian fighter’s 50 caliber machine gun. The US wasted no time in accusing Putin; and then dummied up. The MSM worked overtime to vilify Putin. The multinational investigation (Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, and Netherlands, of whom all four are U.S. allies, and, one of which is a suspect)  has worked for months and has not yet released, or even leaked, a report. Meanwhile, a pilot’s first person account says that MH-17 “was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and that a Ukrainian fighter returned from its air mission without its loaded complement of air to air missiles. From the interview with the informant:

– Airplanes flew regularly. All day since the morning. In the afternoon, about an hour before the downing of the “Boeing”, three attack fighters were raised into the air. I don’t remember the exact time. One of the airplanes was equipped with such missiles. It was a Su-25.

– Have you personally seen it?

– Yes.

– Where was your vantage point?

– On site. Cannot tell you exactly.

– Did you have an opportunity to see specifically what the pylons of the aircraft where fitted with? Could you confuse “air-to-air” and “air-to-ground” missiles?

– No, I couldn’t confuse it. They vary in size, plumage, coloration. With a guidance head. Very easy to recognize. Anyway, after a short time, only one airplane returned, two were shot down. Somewhere in the East of Ukraine, I was told. The airplane that came back, was the one with those suspended missiles.

– It returned without the missiles?

– Without the missiles. That pilot was very scared.

And it would appear that TPTB have again overestimated their ability: the narrative that “Putin did it” has blown up, so they’ve buried the report, and thus the story, thinking that people will forget over time. In the country which Gore Vidal once famously described as “the United States of Amnesia”, they are probably correct; worldwide, not so much.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes tribunal has exercised “universal jurisdiction” to try in absentia Western leaders for crimes against humanity: in November 2011,  George W. Bush and Tony Blair, for crimes against peace because of the unlawful invasion of Iraq. In May 2012, after hearing testimony from torture victims  at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the tribunal unanimously convicted Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, former Deputy Assistant AGs John Yoo and Jay Bybee of conspiracy to commit war crimes, specifically torture. The tribunal referred their findings to the chief prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. In November 2013, the tribunal convicted the Zionist Apartheid State as guilty of genocide in Palestine. Any connection between the missing Malaysian planes and the above described events is the province of conspiracy theorists, and thus wholly coincidental.


Since this overheated screed is now reaching epic proportions, and has taken on a length such that even my wife won’t read it,  here’s a list of other  top stories of 2014 with significant “doom” potential  which will here go further unremarked:

The rise of protest parties (left and right) in Europe. 

Oil Price Collapse/Currency Wars and devaluation.

Peak Grid/ Detroit/  Rotting Infrastructure. Tom Lewis gets credit for elucidating this. Grid failures in Detroit brought this into sharp relief, if flagging attention, for a brief moment this year. Every physical system in America, from the grid to highways and bridges  to public sanitation systems to dams, ports and airports has seriously exceeded design life with no provision for replacement. At a time when corporate taxation is at its lowest point in a century, we seem unable to summon the will to rebuild our flagging infrastructure. After all, this would benefit working people and give a boost into the economy, so why exactly would we do that?  The response of the flat-earthers who drive the latter-day American political agenda is to privatize everything, “privatization” referring to theft of public resources. It is impossible to predict when any one of our critical systems will fail, yet fail they must. And the “solution” the yahoo caucus will offer is more privatization. Write it down in ink.

Junk Bond Market Yield Explosion.

Federal Deficit reaches $18 Trillion.

Ebola

Ebola promised to be the prefect existential threat to mankind: a game of “Plague” writ large. You’ll recall that the growth of infection rates was exponential in the early days of summer; many were simply waiting for the disease to board a plane in Liberia and then present itself in every airport in the known world.  FOX “News” discovered the “President Ebola” meme  and pounded it relentlessly into the fear centers of elderly white Americans right up through the midterm elections, whereupon, Ebola was miraculously cured, never to be discussed again.

Continued rising Economic inequality. 


 

garbage-canThat’s the view from Mount Nerd. Madmen and psychopaths are in charge of every single sphere of human effort. As the new electees of the Klown Kar Kaukus assume the reigns of power in 2015, rest assured that Tocqueville’s “genuine madmen, will played a very considerable political part.”

 

And if, like me, you like to look at the magician’s off hand, the better to know where the misdirection is coming from, here is a bonus: Project Censored’s Top 25 censored stories for 2014. And another: the worst cable news reports of 2014. No, don’t thank me. Pour a double skepticism, have one for me and toast 2015!

 
***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be briefly active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and is grateful each day with her, and that he is not yet taking a dirt nap.

EBOLA-BUSTERS! TOP MEN ON THE JOB!

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 23, 2014

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Snippet:

…The Tried & True meme here in Amerika when anything isn’t going exactly as planned is to Send in the Marines, aka enlist the Military as the Ultimate Problem Solver. This I guess is because the military has proven so effective in Vietnam, Aghanistan, Iraq et al? The military has done such a fabulous job with establishing Peaceful Democracies after dropping the Death from Above that we can trust them to handle an Ebola epidemic? WTF?

So, in the Dumb & Dumber Military Solution, besides the 3000 Sacrificial Lambs being pitched into the middle of the Plague in Africa, the other media propaganda Prep to prevent wholesale PANIC is the announcement that the Military is forming a Crack team of 30 Ebola-Busters who can be deployed anywhere in the FSoA inside 36 hours to handle any Ebola case that crops up inside the FSoA. Man, even the Ghostbusters couldn’t handle all the Paranormal Activity inside the Big Apple when Evil started running amok there, and those guys HAD all the best Slime Fighting Equipment! LOL….

No Worries folks,  the Pros from Dover & TOP MEN are on the Job!

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

“Omenland”

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Illustration-for-Trends-Journal-by-Anthony-Freda
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation October 20, 2014

Did a few loose strands of Ebola seep into the organs and tissues of global finance last week? The US equity markets sure enough puked, the Nikkei bled out through its eyeballs, all the collagen melted out of Greek bonds, and treasuries bloated up grotesquely on a putrid stream of terrified “liquidity” that led two Federal Reserve proctologists to maunder about the possibility of a QE-4 laxative, out of which, in due time, will surely gush explosive bloody fluxes of deeper financial sickness.

The oil price fell on its face so hard it crashed through the floorboards. One particular idiot at NPR wrote that this means peak oil was a hoax (Predictions Of ‘Peak Oil’ Production Prove Slippery). I guess she didn’t notice that the junk financing associated with shale oil capex is also dissolving like the poor late Thomas Eric Duncan’s circulatory system. That is, expect a whole lot less drilling in the Bakken and the Eagle Ford in the months ahead, and a substantial fall in production. Unless the US government finds a back door to shovel money at shale (a possibility considering the crucial myth of “Saudi America” to Wall Street psychology), the investment will not be there for the relentless drilling and re-drilling. As other savants on the web have pointed out, it’s not so much that the world is awash in surplus oil as the world is a’glut in people too broke to buy oil. And anyway, the shale oil companies have never made a buck at any price on anything but the real estate shenanigans entailed in their racket, buying and selling leases and so forth, just more paper games. In short, there is plenty of reason to believe that the shale endeavor may founder altogether at $80-a-barrel.

But I was on the road all last week, first in our nation’s capital and then in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm and its environs. Interesting place these days, Washington, DC. It is among the USA’s richest metro areas now, for the simple reason that torrents of grift from the backwash of Wall Street nourish the pathogenic activities of influence peddling the way agar nutrient will cause E coli to flourish in a Petri dish. But for all the awesome yawning vistas of the national mall and its marble monuments, Washington is deeply unpleasant to walk around. The scale is absurd. I hoofed it from the Freer Collection at the heart of the museum district over to M Street in Georgetown, and that was like the Bataan Death March. Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac, where my hotel was, is a sadder joke. They’ve spent thirty years pretending to “pedestrianize” it, and the outcome is sort of like Wilshire Boulevard meets Hackensack.

A day later, I was in Stockholm, being forcefully reminded what an actual city is like, one designed for human activity, not just some abstract political notion of “mobility.” People live in the center of Stockholm, lots of them, in five and six story buildings that display great variety and conscious artistry within strong orders of architectural unity. The motifs are a northern folkish classicism. The effect is both reassuring and powerfully coherent. You feel civilized. Your neurology is constantly nourished as you walk. Unlike Americans, the Swedes don’t go about in their pajamas. Also absent were cholo caps, team sports toggery, and clown sneakers. How refreshing to see young people aspire to act like grownups instead of the other way around. And, of course, almost no one is supersized over there.

Then, too soon, I landed back in Newark Airport, Lord have mercy. I grabbed a taxi to the Newark train station to get to the Hudson River line out of New York City back upstate. Along the way on Route 21, I passed a graffiti on an overpass. It said “Omenland.” The anonymous genius who sprayed that there sure caught the US zeitgeist. Newark compares to Stockholm as an Ebola victim in the gutter compares to a supermodel at poolside. The scene in the Newark train station was like the barroom from Star Wars, a creature-feature extravaganza, intergalactic Mutt Central, wookies in hoodies with burning coals for eyes, ladies with pierced cheeks, crack-heads, winos, missing body part people, lopsided head people, and the scrofulous physical condition of the station is proof positive that Chris Christie is unqualified to be president. This is a gateway to New York, America’s greatest city, you understand, and it looks like the veritable checkpoint to the rectum of the universe. You know what occurred to me: maybe it is?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Ebola v2.0

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on October 19,2014

plague

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Top Scientist: This Version Of Ebola Looks Like ‘A Very Different Bug’

Ebola Virus Particles - Photo by NIAIDBarack Obama and the head of the CDC need to quit saying that we know exactly how Ebola spreads.  Because the truth is that there is much about this virus that we simply do not know.  For example, a top Ebola scientist that is working in the heart of the outbreak in Liberia says that this version of Ebola looks like it could be “a very different bug” from past versions.  Other leading scientists are echoing his concerns.  And yet Barack Obama and Thomas Frieden continue to publicly proclaim that we know precisely how this virus behaves.  Not only is that bad science, but it could also potentially result in the unnecessary deaths of a very large number of people.  For example, Obama has refused to implement an Ebola travel ban because he is greatly underestimating the seriousness of this virus.  This decision could turn out to be incredibly costly.  If what you will read about below is true, we could be dealing with some sort of “super Ebola” that nobody has ever seen before.

Peter Jahrling of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is on the front lines fighting this disease in Liberia.  He is one of the top authorities in the world on Ebola, and what his team has been seeing under the microscope is incredibly sobering

Now U.S. scientist Peter Jahrling of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease believes the current Ebola outbreak may be caused by an infection that spreads more easily than it did before.

Dr Jahrling explained that his team, who are working in the epicentre of the crisis in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, are seeing that the viral loads in Ebola patients are much higher than they are used to seeing.

He told Vox.com: ‘We are using tests now that weren’t using in the past, but there seems to be a belief that the virus load is higher in these patients [today] than what we have seen before. If true, that’s a very different bug.

‘I have a field team in Monrovia. They are running [tests]. They are telling me that viral loads are coming up very quickly and really high, higher than they are used to seeing.

It may be that the virus burns hotter and quicker.’

Other top scientists are making similar observations.

The following comes from a recent article posted on Washington’s Blog

The head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota – Dr. Michael Osterholm – is a prominent public health scientist and a nationally recognized biosecurity expert.

Dr. Osterholm just gave a talk shown on C-Span explaining that a top Ebola virologist – the Head of Special Pathogens at Canada’s health agency, Gary Kobinger – has found that the current strain of Ebola appears to be much worse than any strain seen before … and that the current virus may be more likely to spread through aerosols than strains which scientists have previously encountered.

I have posted video of that talk on C-Span below…

But even if we were dealing with the exact same strain of Ebola, that does not mean that our leaders are telling us the truth when they say that it is not an airborne virus.

Just check out the following quotes from top scientists about the spread of Ebola from a recent Los Angeles Times article

Dr. C.J. Peters, who battled a 1989 outbreak of the virus among research monkeys housed in Virginia and who later led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmissibility in humans, said he would not rule out the possibility that it spreads through the air in tight quarters.

“We just don’t have the data to exclude it,” said Peters, who continues to research viral diseases at the University of Texas in Galveston.

Dr. Philip K. Russell, a virologist who oversaw Ebola research while heading the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, and who later led the government’s massive stockpiling of smallpox vaccine after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also said much was still to be learned. “Being dogmatic is, I think, ill-advised, because there are too many unknowns here.

And I have written about this before, but so many people don’t know about this that it bears repeating.  The following is an excerpt from a news story about a study that was conducted back in 2012 that demonstrated that the Ebola virus can be transferred from one animal to another animal without any physical contact whatsoever…

When news broke that the Ebola virus had resurfaced in Uganda, investigators in Canada were making headlines of their own with research indicating the deadly virus may spread between species, through the air.

The team, comprised of researchers from the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, the University of Manitoba, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, observed transmission of Ebola from pigs to monkeys. They first inoculated a number of piglets with the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. Ebola-Zaire is the deadliest strain, with mortality rates up to 90 percent. The piglets were then placed in a room with four cynomolgus macaques, a species of monkey commonly used in laboratories. The animals were separated by wire cages to prevent direct contact between the species.

Within a few days, the inoculated piglets showed clinical signs of infection indicative of Ebola infection. In pigs, Ebola generally causes respiratory illness and increased temperature. Nine days after infection, all piglets appeared to have recovered from the disease.

Within eight days of exposure, two of the four monkeys showed signs of Ebola infection. Four days later, the remaining two monkeys were sick too. It is possible that the first two monkeys infected the other two, but transmission between non-human primates has never before been observed in a lab setting.

So when Barack Obama and Thomas Frieden get up and tell us that they know with 100% certainty that Ebola is not airborne, they are lying to you.

There is so much about this outbreak that we simply do not know.

Our public officials should be honest about that.

Instead, it seems like they are flying by the seats of their pants and just saying whatever they think will keep everyone calm.

We are potentially facing the greatest health crisis of this generation, and bad science and false assurances are not going to help anyone.

Sadly, Barack Obama just continues to make bad decision after bad decision.  This includes his very foolish decision to send thousands of U.S. troops right into the heart of the Ebola death zone.

It is being reported that these troops are only going to get just four hours of Ebola training, and the Pentagon is saying that they “will only need gloves and masks” to protect themselves…

Troops from the 101st Airborne Division leading the military response to Ebola in West Africa will only need gloves and masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus, so said Gen. David Rodriguez at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.

“They don’t need the whole suit – as such – because they’re not going to be in contact with any of the people,” the commander of U.S. troops in Africa said.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne will primarily be building hospitals, ultimately leading what could be a contingent of 4,000 American service members. They’ll be housed either in tent cities at military airfields or in Liberian Ministry of Defense facilities, Rodriguez said.

Soldiers’ health will be monitored through surveys and taking their temperature on their way in and out of camps. If a service member does get sick, Rodriguez said they will be flown home immediately for treatment.

Who is going to be held accountable when these young men and women start coming home sick?

So far the federal response to this Ebola crisis has been a parade of incompetence.

And yet we continue to be told that “everything is under control”.

I don’t know about you, but I have a bad feeling about all of this.

Either you’re the Butcher or the Cattle

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on October 16, 2014

children-of-men

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I know many people have no interest in watching the boob tube because 99% of the programming is either mindless drivel or government sanctioned propaganda. It’s the 1% that reflects the deeper themes and moods engulfing our society. Television shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead reflect the darkening mood of this intensifying Fourth Turning. I wrote one of my more pessimistic articles called Welcome to Terminus in April regarding the season four finale of the Walking Dead series. I essentially argued we are approaching the end of the line and the world is going to get real nasty.

twd-s04e16-06

In the six short months since I wrote that depressing article, we’ve seen men beheaded on Youtube videos by terrorists no one had ever heard of at the beginning of this year. Somehow a ragtag band of 30,000 Muslim terrorists, using American military equipment supplied to fight Assad in Syria and taken from the Iraqi Army when they turned tail and ran away, have been able to defeat 600,000 Iraqi and Kurd fighters with air support from the vaunted U.S. Air Force. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan descend into never ending religious based warfare. We’ve even had passenger planes mysteriously disappear in Asia with no trace.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia, initiating a plan to punish Russia by the western powers. America supported and planned the overthrow of a democratically elected government in the Ukraine, with a predictable push back response by Russia, leading to a bloody civil war in the Eastern Ukraine. We’ve had a false flag shooting down of an airliner over the Ukraine by the Ukrainian government, blamed on Russia and Putin by Obama and his EU co-conspirators. The American corporate media mouthpieces have ignored the cover-up of missing controller transmissions, black box recordings, and physical evidence regarding the murder of hundreds of innocent people by western politicians. Israel and Hamas resumed their endless religious war in Gaza, with thousands of casualties and destruction.

UK fear mongering and financial threats barely averted the secession of Scotland from the UK. Cantalonia continues to push for a secession vote to leave Spain. Violent protests have broken out in Spain, Italy, France and even Sweden. Turmoil, protests and riots in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico have been driven by anger at political corruption, high inflation, and general economic dysfunction. Saber rattling between China and Japan has increased and young people in Hong Kong have been protesting the lack of democratic elections being permitted by China. The world economy, undergoing central bank monetary stimulus withdraw, is headed back into recession as Germany, China and the U.S. join the rest of the world in economic decline. And now the Western Africa outbreak of ebola has gone worldwide, with predictions of an epidemic potentially causing worldwide economic chaos.

What’s happening in the real world makes the dystopian zombie world of Walking Dead seem almost quaint. The writers of this show brilliant use of symbolism and imagery captures the violent, chaotic, inhumane, darkening, brutal world we inhabit as the Fourth Turning crisis period we entered in 2008 deepens on a daily basis. There is a good reason why the first episode of their fifth season drew the biggest cable TV audience in history. The show is clearly tapping into the mood of the masses. Early in the latest episode you realize Terminus has become a processing center run by cannibals. The line between victim and criminal, killer and prey, good and evil, madness and sanity, and moral and immoral is blurred. Everything is relative in the post-pandemic world of the Walking Dead.

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Seeing Wall Street cannibals walk away unscathed after devouring the worldwide economic system in 2008 with their fraudulent financial schemes, corrupt politicians enriched by throwing taxpayers under the bus, militarized police forces trampling the Fourth Amendment, the NSA spying on every American, a private central bank enriching their owners by funneling trillions into their bank vaults, a president trampling on the Constitution by issuing executive orders to bypass the other branches of government, and billions of welfare and tax fraud from the urban ghettos to the penthouse suites in NYC, has convinced a large swath of Americans that everything is relative and nothing matters in our warped dystopian world. Right and wrong no longer matter. Morality is an antiquated concept. Adhering to the Constitution is an outmoded notion. Our society celebrates and condones our dog eat dog economic paradigm. Or zombie eats anything world in the case of Walking Dead.

The Terminus complex is reminiscent of the concentration camp in Schindler’s List. It is complete with railroad cars to hold the prisoners, gates with barbed wire, armed guards, and extermination facilities to “process” the prisoners. Thick black smoke belches into the air. There is a room stacked full of booty, teddy bears, watches, clothes – everything except the gold fillings.The Nazi like precision and attention to detail is reflected in the almost business-like method in which the Terminus administrators go about gutting their prey. The bone chilling efficiency and antiseptic processing facility evoke memories of the holocaust gas chambers. The opening sequence when Rick, Daryl, Glenn and Bob are among a group of men lined up to be gutted like pigs over a trough in place to collect their spilled blood, might have been the most brutal scene ever put on non-premium cable TV.

The callous and dispassionate way in which the prisoners (cattle) are lined up in front of a stainless steel trough is disconcerting and bone chilling. The victims are hit with a baseball bat and then their throats are slit over the trough by men in protective suits. They have become nothing but cattle to be butchered and consumed by the Terminus cannibals. You see another part of the processing plant where human remains are hanging from hooks like sides of beef. Gareth, the leader of Terminus, supervises the operation like a CEO, berating the butchers for not meeting quotas and following standard operating procedures. Not much different than how our mega-corporations are run today.

thewalkingdead_season5_trailer

The other fascinating similarity between the dystopian “nightmare of want” setting of Terminus and our modern day dystopian “empire of excess” is the use of false advertising and propaganda to lure “customers” into their web. Their version of billboard advertising was plywood with the hand written messages of “Sanctuary for All”, “Community for All”, and “Those Who Arrive Survive”. The Terminus cannibals would have fit in well on Madison Avenue with the highly paid spin artists, propagandists, and whores for the corporate oligarchs.

The signs along train tracks and radio transmissions from a call center like facility showed the calculated business-like efficiency of the cannibals in systematically and methodically luring victims to their slaughterhouse. It is the same techniques used by the apostles of Edward Bernays to consciously and intelligently manipulate the habits, opinions, tastes, ideas and actions of the masses, in order to control and influence their buying habits, voting decisions, and support of their rulers. The unseen men who constitute the “invisible government” use these techniques to keep the cattle docile, fed, and ignorant, as they are led to slaughter.

The government and lack thereof is always lurking in the murky background of how and why the United States has devolved into an infected world of the walking dead. This episode provided some clues about government labs producing viruses as weapons to be used against some unexplained enemy. The insinuation is that the government somehow lost control of the virus and the ensuing pandemic destroyed our modern world and left the survivors to battle the biters and each other for the remaining scraps. The Federal government caused the societal collapse and is nowhere to be found in rebuilding the nation.

It is unclear how the apocalypse went down, but you can assume it began with fear, which led to panic, chaos, economic collapse, violent upheaval, war, and total breakdown of governmental authority and control. It is ironic that today fear of a worldwide ebola pandemic is coinciding with an inevitable economic implosion, wars raging in the Middle East, violent protests raging around the globe, and trust in governmental authority plunging to all-time lows. The Walking Dead has wittingly or unwittingly captured the ambiance of our turbulent times.

When you are faced with desperate circumstances you can either do whatever you need to survive or you can submissively accept your fate and die. Gareth and his cannibalistic cohorts had been in the same situation as Rick and his posse, but they had somehow turned the tables on their captors. Gareth’s survival of the fittest creed was “either you’re the butcher or you’re the cattle”. Human beings react to intense pressure and life threatening situations in different ways. Some people snap and turn into monsters, like Gareth. Some people snap and lose their minds. Others, like Rick and Carol, summon an inner strength to do whatever it takes to survive while barely maintaining their humanity. Others turn into blind followers of a strong forceful leader, not questioning the morality, legality or humanity of what they are ordered to do. The line between right and wrong, necessary versus unnecessary, vengeance versus justice, and butcher versus cattle is blurred in a world without rules, government or accepted norms.

I believe the “butcher or cattle” analogy is sadly a valid meme for the world we currently inhabit. In the Walking Dead world, individuals must choose to be butcher or cattle. It’s a Darwinian world of kill or be killed. Like minded individuals with common values and goals form communities to protect themselves, provide for themselves, and attempt to bring a semblance of order in a chaotic world. The community of Westbury, led by the governor and the community of Terminus, led by Gareth, are founded upon a foundation of evil and ultimately destroyed. Rick’s community of liberty minded freedom fighters do whatever is necessary to survive, but retain their humanity, decency and desire to create a better world.

Our present day world may not be as brutish as the Walking Dead world, though the line between reality and fiction is often indistinguishable when you turn on the news, but the distinction between butchers and cattle is clear. The elected and non-elected rulers of the deep state are the butchers, sending young men off to die for oil companies and arms dealers, impoverishing the masses through inflation and their control of the currency, and enriching themselves through their complete control of the political, financial, judicial, and economic systems. This establishment, or invisible government as Bernays described, is committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. Its scope, financial resources, and global reach put it in a predator class all by itself.

The common people are the cattle being led to slaughter. We are kept docile with incessant propaganda from the mainstream media; marketing messages to consume from Madison Avenue; filtered, adjusted, manipulated economic data fed to us by government agencies; an endless supply of iGadgets and other electronic distractions; government education designed to keep us ignorant; 24/7 reality TV on six hundred stations to keep us entertained; corporate toxic processed food to keep us obese and tame; and an endless supply of Wall Street supplied debt to keep us caged in our pens with no hope of escape. The butchers of the deep state have maintained control for decades, but we’re entering a new era.

Fourth Turnings result in the tables being turned on the butchers. Some cattle are awakening from their stupor. They can see the bloody writing on the slaughterhouse wall. Anyone who isn’t sensing a dramatic mood change in this country is either a mindless zombie or a functionary of the deep state. The financial shenanigans of the ruling class are again being revealed as nothing but a Ponzi scheme built on a foundation of debt and propped up by delusions and ignorance. When the house of cards collapses in the near future, the tables will turn. When people have nothing left to lose, they will lose it. The butchers will become the cattle. There will be no sanctuary for these evil men. Their reign of terror will be swept away in a whirlwind of retribution, death and destruction. It might even make the Walking Dead look like a walk in the park.

 

Ebola Double Feature

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on 10/15/2014 & 10/17/2014

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If A Few Ebola Cases Can Make The Stock Market Crash This Much, What Would A Full-Blown Pandemic Mean?

Stock Market Crash Ebola - Public DomainIs Ebola going to cause another of the massive October stock market crashes that Wall Street is famous for?  At one point on Wednesday, the Dow was down a staggering 460 points.  It ultimately closed down just 173 points, but this was the fifth day in a row that the Dow has declined.  And of course Ebola is one of the primary things that is being blamed for this stunning stock market drop.  Since September 19th, we have seen the S&P 500 fall about 7 percent and the Nasdaq fall nearly 10 percent.  The VIX (the most important measure of volatility on Wall Street) shot up an astounding 22 percent on Wednesday.  So many of the ominous signs for the markets that I wrote about on Tuesday are now even worse.  If a handful of Ebola cases in the United States can cause this much panic in the financial world, what would a full-blown pandemic look like?

Of course Ebola is not the only reason why stocks are declining.  Just look at what is happening over in Europe.  The European Stoxx 600 index is already down a whopping 11.4 percent from the high that it hit just 18 days ago.  That is officially considered to be “correction” territory.

And Greece experienced a full-blown stock market collapse on Wednesday

As if the world didn’t have enough to be worried about (ISIS, Ebola, slowing China, Ukraine, slowing Germany, Fed tightening, etc.) now look what’s back: Greece. And in a big way.

The stock market is down over 9% on Wednesday, which is about as big as crashes come.

And the banks are getting absolutely smashed.

In general, markets tend to fall faster than they rise.

When there is a sudden downturn, the price action can be violent.  And just like we saw back in 2008, financial stocks are leading the way.  Just check out what happened to some of the biggest banks in America before the final bell sounded…

Volume leader Bank of America, down 5%, Citigroup, off 5.5%, and JP Morgan, down 4.6%, were particularly hard hit.

And thanks to Ebola fears, airline stocks plummeted as well

Airline stocks were roiled by the prospects of curtailed travel due to the spreading Ebola virus. United Continental fell 4% and American Airlines was off 4.3%. Among tech stocks, Intel lost 3.3%. Apple fell 1.7% and Microsoft slipped 2.3%.

An increasing number of voices are concerned that we could be on the verge of a repeat of what happened back in 2008.

For example, Professor Steve Keen, the head of Economics, History & Politics at Kingston University in London, wrote the following in a piece for CNN entitled “Brace yourself for another financial crash“…

My acceleration indicator has been flagging that the stock market was due for a fall since mid-2013.

It’s a tribute to the power of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing that the market continued to defy the gravity of decelerating debt for so long. QE was really a program to inflate asset prices since, as my colleague Michael Hudson puts it, “the Fed’s helicopter money fell on Wall Street, not Main Street”.

But with QE being unwound, the stock market is now back under the control of the not so tender mercies of excessive private debt.

So welcome to the New Crisis — same as the Old Crisis. The roller coaster ride is likely to continue.

Others are even more pessimistic.  For example, just check out what Daniel Ameduri of Future Money Trends recently told his readers

“If it drops below 15,000 points I would suggest people start buying food and ammo, because this depression is about to turn nasty.”

However, keep in mind that not that much has really changed from a month or two ago.

Yes, we now have had three confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, but this could be just the beginning.

At first, the fear of Ebola will be worse than the disease.

But if a worst-case scenario does develop in the United States where hundreds of thousands of people are getting the virus, the fear such a pandemic will create will be off the charts.

In the midst of a full-blown Ebola pandemic, we wouldn’t just be talking about a 10 percent, 20 percent or 30 percent stock market decline.

Rather, we would be talking about the greatest stock market collapse in the history of stock market collapses.  In essence, there would not be much of a market at all at that point.

And if Ebola does start spreading wildly in this country, we would have a credit crunch that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

During times of extraordinary fear, financial institutions do not want to lend money to each other or to consumers.  But our economy is entirely based on debt.  If credit were to stop flowing, we would essentially not have an economy.

That is why we need to pray that this Ebola crisis stops here.  But thanks to the incompetence of Barack Obama and the CDC, there has been a series of very grave errors in trying to contain this disease.  This display of incompetence would be absolutely hilarious if we weren’t talking about a disease that could potentially kill millions of us.

Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.  That means stocking up on the food and supplies that you will need to stay isolated for an extended period of time.  As we have seen so many times in the past, basic essentials fly off of store shelves during any type of an emergency.  During an extended Ebola pandemic, those essentials would be in very short supply and prices on the basics would absolutely skyrocket.  Those that have taken the time to get prepared now will be way ahead of the game.

And if there were dozens or hundreds of people in your community that were contagious, you would definitely not want to go to a grocery store or anywhere else where large numbers of people circulate.

The key during any major pandemic is to keep yourself and your family isolated from the virus.  This is basic common sense, but it is something that Barack Obama does not seem to understand.  As I write this, he still has not done anything to restrict air travel between the United States and West Africa.  Hopefully this very foolish decision will not result in scores of dead Americans.

 

Ebola Travel Ban Now!

Ebola Travel Ban - Public DomainIs Barack Obama completely insane?  By not instituting an immediate ban on all non-essential travel between the United States and West Africa, he is putting the lives of more than 300 million Americans at risk.  Anyone with a shred of common sense knows that you keep more people from getting sick by keeping the sick people away from the healthy people.  Because the Ebola outbreaks in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are raging out of control, it is extremely difficult to tell who is carrying Ebola and who is not carrying Ebola.  Therefore we need to keep everyone from those countries away until those outbreaks subside.  If Barack Obama had established an Ebola travel ban a month or two ago like he should have done, Thomas Eric Duncan would never have entered the United States, and we would not have two Texas nurses infected with the virus.  But because Barack Obama did not do his job, now we have a new Ebola scare popping up somewhere in the country almost hourly.  If this outbreak eventually evolves into a full-blown pandemic, we will know who to blame.

Will an Ebola travel ban work?

It has worked in Africa.  Even as the outbreaks in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have spread like wildfire, the nations immediately bordering them are doing just fine.  And there is one primary reason why this is the case…

Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, all of which share borders with at least one of the three most affected countries, have closed those borders.

At this point, nearly 30 countries have instituted an Ebola travel ban.

So why won’t Obama do it?

This is clearly what the American people want.  For example, one recent survey asked the following question…

Should the government allow people who have recently been in any of the countries in western Africa where there is a major Ebola outbreak to enter the United States?

Only 23 percent of respondents said yes to that question.

We aren’t talking about the flu or the measles or some other disease that we are accustomed to dealing with.

We are talking about a brutally efficient killer that could kill millions of us if it were to spread widely inside the United States.

Sadly, at this point Barack Obama and the CDC are dead set against a travel ban, and there are “experts” popping up all over the mainstream media explaining to us why an Ebola travel ban would be a bad idea.

They say that a travel ban would provide a “false sense of security”.

Of course they never mention that travel bans are working quite well in Africa.

They say that a travel ban would make the Ebola outbreaks worse by keeping people from going over there to help.

But very few people are suggesting that essential medical personnel should be banned from traveling.  So that argument makes no sense whatsoever.

They say that travelers would just find another way into this country, and that it is better for us to be able to screen them when they come through the airports.

What are they going to do?  Swim over here from West Africa?

If we ban all sea and air travel from those nations, the only way that they would be able to come in would be through the Canadian or Mexican borders.  And if Obama had secured those borders like he should have done by now, we wouldn’t have a problem.

Some “experts” are even suggesting that a travel ban would be “racist”.

Really?

What about all of the other African nations that have instituted Ebola travel bans?

Are they “racist” too?

Right now, the dead bodies of Ebola victims are decaying in the streets over in West Africa.  Ebola corpses are being dumped into rivers and are being eaten by animals.  Grave diggers can’t keep up with the number of bodies being delivered to them.  The Liberian government estimates that it will soon need more than 84,000 additional body bags as the death toll climbs at an exponential rate.

We don’t want that coming here.

But thanks to Obama, most Americans now believe that we will see a major Ebola outbreak in the United States during the coming year…

According to a Wednesday poll by the Harvard School of Public Health, 52 percent of Americans surveyed said they believe the country will experience a large outbreak in the coming year, while 38 percent said they believed they or a family member would be infected.

In a previous article, I blamed the current state of affairs on Obama’s incompetence.

But to be honest, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt.

The truth is that Obama being incompetent is the best case scenario.

There is also a possibility that Donald Trump has raised.  We could actually be looking at a situation where there is something wrong with his mental health

Thursday on NewsMax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” real estate mogul Donald Trump called into question President Barack Obama mental health for refusing enact a travel ban on commercial flights from West African nations suffering with the Ebola outbreak.

When Malzberg asked if Trump, who had tweeted that the president was “psycho” for not stopping the flights, stands by questioning Obama’s mental health, Trump doubled down saying, “There is something wrong, and nobody knows what it is, but there is something wrong. There are so many bad decision. Can anybody be that incompetent? There is something wrong.”

Others have suggested that Obama may even be doing this on purpose.

Whatever his motivation is, the truth is that he is endangering all of us and our families.

Meanwhile, the CDC also richly deserves all of the criticism that it is currently getting.

This is an agency that is absolutely showered with money.  It gets more than $6,000,000,000 a year, and it is supposed to be preparing our health care system for events such as this.

And without a doubt, the money is in their budget

This lack of response is despite having these line items in its budget (2012 numbers):

  • Quarantine (non-add) $25,866,000
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections – PPHF (non-add) $11,750,000
  • Workplace Wellness – PPHF $10,000,000
  • Surveillance, Epidemiology, and PH Informatics $262,129,000
  • Personal Protective Technology $16,791,000
  • State and Local Preparedness and Response Capability $657,418,000
  • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund Transfer (non-add) $30,000,000

How much of these funds were used to monitor, consult, advice the nurses in Dallas who were treating a man with deadly Ebola? $0.00

“Incompetent” is far too kind a word to describe the performance of the CDC so far.

But of course this is just par for the course for federal agencies these days.  This has become so glaringly obvious that even CNBC is talking about it…

The CDC is just the latest in a line of federal agencies viewed as bumbling and incompetent. First it was the botched rollout of Obamacare by the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS seemingly targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny. More recently, the Secret Service came under heavy criticism for allowing a knife-wielding intruder to burst in and run wild inside the White House, among other appalling lapses.

The CDC now is under heavy scrutiny for not moving more swiftly to ensure that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan did not spread the disease to American nurses and for apparently unclear direction to one of those nurses, Amber Joy Vinson, about whether she could fly after treating Duncan.

As political pressure has mounted, Obama has finally made a “big move” to get a grip on this crisis.

He has appointed an “Ebola czar” to oversee the federal response to Ebola.

His name is Ron Klain, and he is a Democratic political hack best known for his work during the “hanging chads” episode of the 2000 presidential election.

The White House says that they were not looking for an expert on Ebola.

Mission accomplished.

The “Ebola czar” heading up the response to what could be the greatest health crisis in U.S. history does not know anything about the virus.

Let us hope that this Ebola outbreak fizzles out somehow and that by some miracle no more Ebola victims travel to the United States.

Because it has become exceedingly clear that our government is not equipped to deal with something like this.

Matt Drudge recently sent out a tweet warning that we need to be ready to “self-quarantine” if necessary.

I think that is very good advice.  Obviously the government is not going to be able to protect us if Ebola starts spreading like wildfire.

The only people that you are going to be able to depend on are yourself, your family and your close friends.

I encourage all of you to get prepared while we still have time.

We’ll Know by Christmas

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

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Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on October 15, 2014

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“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.” Douglas Adams

As I write this the WHO is saying that the number of cases of Ebola in West Africa is likely to ramp up to 10,000 new ones every week by December, with around seven out of ten people who contract it dying from it. “Don’t worry,” seems to be the message being purveyed down from on high “This will have little impact in the technologically advanced rich nations.”

I’m not so sure.

Straight away I’ll admit that, obviously, I’m not a doctor or a specialist in contagious diseases. A majority of people will read that last sentence and say “Therefore you have no right to talk about it.” If you’re one of them, then bye. However, I do have a firm grasp of the exponential function, and a keen sense of when people in high places are telling fibs to make themselves look like they are in control of events. Perhaps that’s all one needs at the moment. When I see the official message change in the space of a week from “There’s not a chance,” to “Only one or two people might get it,” to “A handful of people might get it,” then I naturally project forward a bit and think about expectation management and message creep.

Frankly, at this stage, it’s more or less irrelevant that we have the occasional case popping up in the West. We are able to deal with them without too much of a problem (the main threat comes later) – although it is concerning that the nurses in Spain and the U.S. who did contract the virus did so despite wearing full protective suits. We are repeatedly assured that this cannot happen, and the fact that it has happened has immediately been blamed on a ‘breach in protocol.’

But breaches in protocol are what we humans are good at. Every organisation that I’ve ever worked at has been full of people breaching protocol at every level. Usually, of course, doing so hasn’t led to them dying messily with blood gushing from their orifices and so mostly they get away with it. Are we to believe that the sprawling medical sector with its vast hordes of employees is less prone to this?

Yes, in the real world, shit happens.

Let’s face it, if you’re an official in some position of power and your job and status depends on making the right comments or being able to pass the blame for something onto someone else then you can be expected to act in such a manner. It’s what you are programmed to do in a non-holistic linear kind of way. So when, for example, a health official says it ‘impossible’ to catch Ebola from a mattress and then someone goes right ahead and does it anyway because they briefly touched a drip feed that had a viral load from some other patient who had sneezed a fleck of vomit on it as they wheeled the bed past him in a corridor, which then came into contact with said mattress and passed it onto someone else, then said official can claim that due to a clause in article 41.5b of the Code of Hospital Regulations about moving patients around then the porter had breached protocol and caused the infection. Problem solved, for you at least.

Here’s a hypothetical situation. Imagine that despite Ebola had somehow mysteriously appeared in your country and the government message had been racketed up to the point of saying “Don’t worry, only a quarter of you will get it,” but so far you had been lucky and avoided it. You’ve washed your hands all the time, avoided contact will all other human beings and animals, not touched a doorknob in six months … but despite all of this you started to come down with a fever and worried you had caught ‘it’. Several of your friends and family have already disappeared into hospital isolation wards and you have never heard from them again, and there are rumours swirling around that the hospital has run out of protective gear and that most of the staff have either died or fled, leaving it manned by untrained survivors with precious few medical supplies to work with. Would you a) Check yourself into said hospital and hope all the rumours were untrue or b) Lie in your own bed with your stash of medical supplies you had managed to amass, send out a farewell Facebook status update and hope for the best?

People who opine on healthcare programmes, just like economists, always assume that people act in a rational way — although it is they who decide what constitutes rational behaviour. They build models based on people acting in the way they are supposed to act, even though not many of them are psychologists.

As they stand, things don’t look good. With a doubling of new cases every 21 days that means every single person in the world will have or have had Ebola by September 2015. Of course, this won’t happen in such a neatly exponential way as there are many interrupting factors that will slow the disease’s spread. In any case, we probably have only a few weeks to stamp down on Ebola and eradicate it from West Africa, because as soon as it gets really out of hand there will be people fleeing to other parts of Africa and bringing the virus with them.

***

Over the last few days in the course of several discussions about Ebola a few truly inane points and suggestions have been raised. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

Ebola is not very contagious and it is only poor people in Africa that can get it. Well, the fact is that we don’t know an awful lot about this strain of the virus. We pretend we do, but we don’t. If we did then people wearing space suits would not be getting it. A past study has shown that it can be transmitted through the air between monkeys and pigs. The study has been attacked and defended thoroughly and, like most things on the internet, you end up not knowing what to believe. Nevertheless, if you ever come into contact with someone who has died from the disease, or if you end up caring for a family member with it, the chances are that you will get it too. Simple as.

This is getting out of control, we should quarantine the affected African countries and shoot anyone who tries to escape. Ummm, interesting suggestion. Never mind the fact that the moment any such suggestion is raised there will be an exodus of people from those countries. Where would they likely flee to? Well, apart from fleeing to all corners of Africa they would also flee to the homes of their relatives in New York, London, Paris etc. They may try and do that anyway, as things progress.
 
Our country can cope with an Ebola pandemic. Don’t make me laugh. When Britain’s health minister appeared on TV a few days ago proudly proclaiming that there were two specialist beds in isolation wards in London to cope with Ebola patients I did a double take. Did he say two? TWO? To be shared between the 20 million people living in the southeast? Will they be taking it in turns or what? At what point, after the epidemic becomes a pandemic, do we manically start trying to build more isolation wards over here rather than building hospitals in Africa? So many questions …
It’s just a media fabricated panic to distract us from war, global warming, financial meltdown etc. If anything the media is under reporting this. When the staid folks at the WHO say that “this is the most severe health emergency in modern times,” then it takes a peculiarly asinine person to pretend that it’s unimportant.
This is nature’s revenge … bring it on. Fine, ecologically speaking that may be so, but you have to be willing to be one of the statistics rather than merely wishing it on other people who are less fortunate.
It’s all a global conspiracy by the Koch brothers/One World Government. Yes, whatever. If you believe that it’s a conspiracy that’s fine but it won’t do you any good.
Nigeria has eradicated it, so can we. Hurrah! Nigeria has had a few isolated cases of wealthy individuals. Furthermore, there is a lot of oil wealth at stake in that country and the last thing they need is news of an Ebola outbreak. Do you really believe everything you read coming out of the world’s most corrupt nation?
***

So, what do I think is likely to happen? Well, I think there are two likely outcomes, and we can only hope it is the former.

Outcome 1. We throw everything we’ve got to help states in West Africa get on top of Ebola and contain the disease. It won’t be easy and it will entail a lot of ethical dilemmas, such as choosing who gets priority treatment and who does not. Many of our best doctors and nurses will have to go there and a lot of them will not come back. It will cost a fortune, just when we can least afford it, but in the end it will be worth it. As a follow up, deforestation will have to be halted, the spirits of the fruit bats appeased and a huge Marshall Plan like effort to lift Western Africa out of poverty will have to be put into action to prevent Ebola taking off yet again.

Outcome 2. The cases in West Africa continue to multiply and the disease increases exponentially, really taking off at the start of 2015. Chaos ensues as people flee disease centres and bring the virus with them. Overworked and demoralised healthcare workers abandon their posts as they realise they are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, further complicating the situation. Instead they go back to their own families and do their best to make sure that least they will get the care they need. The diseased, and quite a few non-diseased, are rounded up and put in warehouses that double as isolation centres where they are kept at gunpoint. East Africa, with its crowded slums becomes a new hot zone, and from here it is a hop, skip and jump along the busy trade routes to the overcrowded virus-friendly conditions of India. As pharmaceutical companies frantically try to find a vaccine or a cure the disease spreads like wildfire across Asia and to the world beyond.

By February 2015 half of all air traffic has come to a stop. Airlines go bust and people who are stuck on the other side of the world suddenly find out how large it is. By May there is practically no international air travel apart from private jets and military aircraft. International supply chains are shattered and disorder and chaos break out everywhere as people struggle to get food, fuel and medicine. In some countries, national armies hand out food in the streets but there’s never enough.

By late summer a few island states have quarantined themselves to try to keep the disease out, but word spreads about these ‘healthy’ zones and people desperately try to reach them, bribing officials to gain entry and bringing the disease with them.

By now, the torrent of people pouring across borders by any means available has overwhelmed the tiny capacity the richer nations have to deal with an outbreak. People stop going to work and school, and avoid public transport and gatherings. People live and die in their own homes.

After a handful of years the disease has burned itself out, although distributed pockets remain in far away places. A huge chunk has been taken out of the global population — mostly in the poorer nations that lie in the tropics — with richer nations faring somewhat better due to more elaborate healthcare systems, less overcrowding and a greater access to experimental vaccines. Some of these worked and some of them did not. Everyone still alive will breathe a great sigh of relief and look back with sadness as they think of the loved ones they lost in the Great Ebola Pandemic of 2014-18. Economies are broken and people’s faith in science and progress lies in tatters — but at least they are alive. Life will go on, as ever, but everything will have changed.

There is, of course, a third scenario — Outcome 3 — the Hollywood one where we find a miracle cure just in time that can easily and quickly be mass-produced and distributed across the globe without any political interference. The likelihood of this happening in the timeframe that we have is pretty small though and it would not address the cause of the problem, meaning we’d likely get a new and even deadlier strain in a few years’ time.

So which of the above scenarios is the more likely and why? Do you have a survival strategy if Outcome 2 kicks in? If you do, pray tell.

***

We’ll likely know by Christmas which one we’re going to get. In the meantime you might want to read up about natural antivirals, wise up on sanitation and basic medical procedures such as oral rehydration, make friends with your immune system and start building up a stock of things that will likely be gone in a flash if a full-blown panic does break out.

Vaccines: Penalizing the Unvaccinated?

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on October 15, 2014

Vaccine

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October 15, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LocalOrg) – Slate has enthusiastically supported vaccinations and in particular, establishment talking points and narratives regarding them, as well as a particular focus on dismembering mainstream anti-vaccine views. In a recent article titled, “Endangering the Herd,” Slate argues that those refusing to receive vaccines should be penalized, and the act of refusing to be vaccinated be criminalized.

The article would claim:

 Parents who don’t vaccinate their kids may have the most heartfelt reason in the world: fear for their own children’s safety. But the basis for that fear is simply unfounded, and their decisions are putting other kids directly at risk. The bottom line is that the government’s interest in protecting children from getting the measles should trump parents’ interest in making medical decisions for their kids

In an attempt to lend credibility to the article’s premise – particularly that fears of vaccinations are unfounded – it cites a fictional television show and repeated assurances from governments that there is no link between vaccines and otherwise unexplained conditions like autism.

Indeed, fictional television shows and statements peddled by verified liars among the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom who brought us decade spanning wars based on now verified lies, form the basis of Slate’s notion that those who fail to receive vaccines produced and distributed by big-pharmaceutical corporations like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), should be penalized. GSK alone, has been convicted multiple times in courtrooms around the world of multibillion dollar bribery scandals and found guilty of and otherwise engaged in other immense improprieties.

Image: GSK, one of several producers of the MMR vaccine, has been caught
once again amid a massive, multibillion dollar bribery scandal, this time in
China. Literally convicted criminals, why would any rational human being
inject into their bodies anything produced by this corporation? 

In one instance, when Chinese authorities began investing a nationwide multibillion dollar bribery racket run by GSK top executives, GSK formed teams to disrupt, bribe, and otherwise confront law enforcement authorities in an attempt to obstruct their investigation.

Criminality, upon criminality.

GSK has been accused and convicted of doing likewise in both Europe and the United States, yet they are still in business – a business that includes producing the very vaccines Slate believes people should be penalized for refusing to take.

Why would any rational human being allow themselves to be injected by something produced by such a corporation – a corporation literally convicted of criminality, fraud, and bribery? If GSK can bribe hundreds if not thousands of doctors and healthcare workers around the world to endorse their products, how difficult would it be to bribe writers at Slate who literally write for money?

Big-Pharma, not Activists, are Responsible for the Growing Mistrust of Vaccines

The debate isn’t ultimately about the science of vaccines, but rather a lack of trust of those charged with producing, monitoring the safety of, and distributing vaccines. The false narrative of science versus conspiracy theorists is peddled by the media, the government, and the corporations that hold influence over both because a narrative focusing on the wisdom of entrusting criminals and mass murderers with our health is an open and shut case.

Such a conclusion would result in the ditching of big-pharma’s vaccines and seeking alternative solutions to immunization, vaccine production and distribution, and overall accountability for healthcare. This would in turn result in the decentralization of healthcare and pharmaceutical production, breaking up the unwarranted wealth and influence of big-pharma and those throughout the government and media that have enriched themselves protecting this monopoly. Clearly this is an outcome many in the media, government, and across the board rooms of big-pharmaceutical corporations across the Western World will fight fanatically to prevent.

For the anti-vaccine movement – it may be wiser to focus on these aspects of the debate rather than be drawn into the false paradigm the media is trying to superimpose upon the issue. It may even be wise to not use the term “anti-vaccine movement,” and instead make it an anti-big-pharma movement.

Slate – were it anything other than pages for rent – would focus more on who is responsible for the vast mistrust the public has for big-pharmaceutical corporations and the governments they have verifiably bribed, lobbied, and in some cases, directly control – rather than focus on rational people who do not trust this vast concentration of wealth, influence, and control over human health.

Real Life is Not Spin Art

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation October 13, 2014

The authorities keep emphasizing that the nurse who caught ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan was sealed in her haz-mat suit the whole time she cared for the poor fellow and blah blah nobody knows how she could possibly catch the darn thing…. But the newspapers and cable news networks are not asking: What about all the people, ordinary civilians, that this nurse was consorting with off-work, after she took off her haz-mat suit and, let’s say, at some point stopped by the Kroger Store’s fabulous steam table display of take-out goodies behind the helpful and reassuring sneeze-guard on her way back home? It sounds like a new Netflix drama –The Fatal Mac and Cheese.

If one more person in that chain of circumstance falls ill, Rick Perry will have to ring-fence Dallas faster than you can say Guadalupe Hidalgo and then we’ll be off to the quarantine races in America. It will be interesting to see who’s shorting the airline stocks a few hours from now. I’ve got to pass through Dulles airport tomorrow myself, and then two more foreign hubs after that, and return to freakin’ Newark International at the end of the week when a fullblown ebola panic may be underway.

For the moment, I’m in Washington for a conference on population and immigration. Believe it or not there are some people who want to have an honest national conversation about these issues amid all the disingenuous chatter about “dreamers” emanating from the Oval Office in this miserable era of politics-as-spin-art. And along comes the galvanizing event of a really serious disease to finally force the issue. Nothing concentrates a nation’s attention like the specter of the people next door bleeding out through their ears and noses.

Welcome to the diminishing returns of the global economy. They’ve been there all along, but none previously were sufficiently vivid or horrifying as ebola. The Chinese FoxConn workers throwing themselves out the factory windows in despair just seemed like some kind of fraternity prank in comparison. Now something has got loose from the Heart of Darkness like the hissing beastie that burst out of John Hurt’s ribcage in Alien and water-skied out of the sick bay into the bowels of the cargo ship Nostromo. Sometimes a metaphor is just a figure of speech and sometimes it’s liable to set your hair on fire.

The ebola melodrama has all the mojo to set the global economy’s hair on fire. And it comes along at a very strange time: just as central bank hoodoo approaches the brink of its own epic fail – as in, accounting fraud, check-kiting, and public relations can only work as a place-holder for authentic economic relations for so long before the ominous shadow of reality sweeps in on black swan wings. The markets were already well into the puking stage of their own hemorrhagic contagion last week. Maybe the S & P starts bleeding from its eyes and ears this week.

There’s certainly blood all over the overburdened back roads of the Bakken play all of a sudden, where $88-a-barrel shale oil doesn’t even allow you to pretend that you’ve got a profitable venture going. The shale oil fairy tale has been at the center of a matrix of lies America has been telling itself about its economic meth buzz. Saudi America and all that malarkey, all in the service of America’s master wish of all wishes: please Lord, let us keep driving to Wal Mart forever.

Speaking of dreams and dreamers, that was a pretty shabby one. But here we are now up against one of the master facts of the day: our world faces epic, desperate demographic shifts as regions of it are proving to be very unfriendly to human habitation. How long do we pretend that all the refugees are welcome to come here, bleeding from their eyes and noses, as their dreams of laying sod for $6-an-hour or slaughtering chickens for the greater glory of Colonel Sanders collide with the diminishing returns of yet another Elon Musk sales pitch for the blessed denizens of Palo Alto aspiring to Godhood. I, for one, doubt that there’s enough room for all of us in that much dreamed-of for-profit spacecraft soon to carry us to worlds where the black swan’s wings have never cast a shadow.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Ebola & the Management of Mass Psychology

Off the keyboard of Brian Davey

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Published on FEASTA on October 8, 2014

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Public Health or Public Relations Crisis?

In the discussion about Ebola there appears to be a public relations message that we are all expected to accept that it is far less likely to run out of control in “developed countries” which have healthcare systems. In an article yesterday the chief concern of the Guardian‘s health editor, Sarah Boseley, was one of the management of mass psychology, the headline being: “Spanish Ebola case requires rapid response to allay western fears. It is important to ascertain exactly how Madrid nurse was infected to prevent inaccurate scare stories circulating on the internet.”

As one person commented after this article:

“No, it’s important to prevent the frigging ebola virus from infecting more people, especially medical staff and their families.”

In a potential epidemic situation like this we really all are in this together and it irritates the f*** out of me when journalists, officials and managers see it as their main job to “reassure the public”. This is because this “reassuring the public” starts from a presumption that everything will be OK – in other words it starts with the smug complacency that we always hear from “senior people” – that we can trust them, that they know what they are doing, that they are somehow immune from making mistakes and screwing things up. It is exactly the same attitude with fracking – oh there will be no problems here “because we have the best regulations in the world”.

And yet the experience in Spain and the USA shows quite clearly how the real world deviates from the ideal world which we are supposed to believe in – once we delve into it we find that staff at the hospital were protesting about the inadequate equipment and protective clothing for example and used the same lifts used by everyone else to take out infected materials and how they were generally unprepared for what happened. Exactly what you would expect from a lumbering management bureaucracy in the face of a complex challenge.

In this regard the situation in the USA in Dallas shows a similar failure to think things through in advance – like no arrangements to remove sweat soaked and infected bedding, like the need to trace people who are difficult to trace like homeless people.

Let me say in this regard that it does not seem obvious to me that the provisions for disease control and preventing an epidemic in “developed countries” are much more robust than in places like West Africa. That’s because (1) although there are a tiny number of super sophisticated centres for containing highly infectious diseases there is obviously a threshold magnitude of imported infections beyond which the arrangements for containing the disease would outstrip these resources and the system would likely break down entirely; (2) because the “developed countries” have much more mobile populations using mass transport systems where anonymous contact with large numbers of people can take place and (3) because there will be reluctance to impose the necessary controls because of the economic disruptive effects until it is too late – by which time (4) the economic disruptive effects could feed back into and amplify the chaos.

Let me explain each of these points in turn.

Firstly even a cursory reading of descriptions about medical procedures shows that containing this disease is highly resource intensive. In Nigeria at this time it looks as if the importation of the virus by a single traveller who flew in has been contained. But how has this been possible? It is interesting to note that from a single traveller there were 19 confirmed cases of further infection. 8 of these resulted in death and the last was detected on 31st August. So how on earth have the Nigerians contained it. The answer is that they have had a polio eradication programme using much the same procedure and skills and this programme has spare capacity because of its success. But get this:

“It took two weeks for the first isolation ward to open and health workers were initially reluctant to work in it. However, 1,800 health workers were eventually trained, protective gear was provided, and safe wards with enough beds and access to chlorinated water were set up so that patients could be treated safely. In total, health workers made 18,000 visits to 900 people to check the temperatures of possible contacts. As with polio eradication, this wasn’t easy but it was imperative to stopping the disease in its tracks.”[1]

So just one man entering the country requires a resource effort of 1,800 workers, properly trained and equipped with safe wards to fall back on – able to make 18,000 visits and checking 900 people!

Is our health service ready to do that? To deploy that level of resources? It seems to me that the resource intensity of this is such that there is likely to be massive overwhelm if there are not one but a few cases – for example an infected family not an infected individual comes into the country, the children go to a school and the parents travel around on work commitments.

This brings me to the second point. West African countries are by and large settled communities by comparison with our society. Yesterday I started to think about these matters when I wanted to get on a Nottingham tram just before 9 in the morning to go an get a flu jab. I let a couple of trams go by because of the difficulty that would be involved in getting in to the cram. Someone vomiting in a mass transportation system like this would be rather difficult to follow up – as indeed in a shopping centre or in the loos of my local pub. How would an epidemiological team follow that up? Or how do they follow up if and when infection circulates in a network of drug addicts?

Third point. It is obvious from this that, at a particular point, the level of infection, or protective measures against infection, are likely to be severely disruptive of “hub interdependencies of society” – like transport networks. Beyond a certain threshold magnitude of infection people are going to be fearful of using shared facilities – I can think of times I have not wanted to use a cash machine that someone appears to have spat upon. One such hub interdependency in a global economy is air travel itself. An article by an ebola expert in the German news magazine Der Spiegel mentions his fear that ebola will spread into the slums of India via air traffic hubs in the middle east. “Dubai could become a location of super contagion for those who change planes there are not subjected to any kind of health monitoring and travellers from Europe, America and Asia all sit together in the transit area in a colourful mix with people from Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria with no controls at all. Then they fly off to everywhere in the world”.[2]

Now the point here is that the logical thing to do would be some form of quarantine arrangements for a number of weeks before travel is allowed between countries but the consequences of this on the world airline industry would be catastrophic – and quite soon we are talking about a collapse or severe disruption of a large part of the global economy. Yet we know how our betters react to this – when “Mad Cow Disease” was identified in the UK it took 6 months to acknowledge the problem for the public so great was the fear of disrupting the meat market. And of course a disruption of the global economy should not be talked of lightly anyway – the pharmaceutical giants who. in principle, might eventually deliver us a treatment operate transnationally too.

In the meantime though there is a threshold, a tipping point in which a disease outbreak would be amplified by disruption to the economy. We can already see that in West Africa where ebola has led to rising food prices because it has disrupted the cultivation of food. In our own society it is easy to see that we cannot easily withdraw from close interpersonal contact without economic effects – for example it seems obvious that schools might be vectors of infection yet closing schools has profound effects on the ability of parents to work….

So…should we be fearful? I think that we should and if we could direct our reasoned fear at the politicians, officials and health managers to wake them up from their complacent attitude and devote a lot of resources and attention then that would be a thoroughly good thing….

More to follow…for now let me conclude with the following remark: in 1348 – 1349 probably one third of the population of the UK died from the Black Death that had already killed millions of people in India and the middle east. it then re-occured repeatedly over the next few hundred years. The depopulation of the Americas by disease introduced by the invading europeans was even more startling – with a death toll from disease by a startling 90%.

It could happen again – if we don’t want it to we will need a lot more focused attention and resources to prevent it – and a lot less complacency.

——————————-

PS [added at 15:41, October 8]: People are very concerned about airborne infection and I think a concern about droplet infection assumes that people are “producing droplets” – yet, I’ve not heard of coughs and sneezes from Ebola victims.

It seems to me that the problem is more likely to be that, once ill, people may soil themselves, vomit, sweat, bleed and pee too – and that has to be cleared up somehow. It has to be cleared up in a specially constructed highly controlled medical setting ideally – but there will be a need to deal with this in their own homes, in hotel rooms, on trains and planes, perhaps in public loos and so on – and in many cases it may not be known to the person concerned or those clearing up that this might be infectious stuff because this is at the early stage of the onset of symptoms and a diagnosis has not yet been made.

So what are the protocols for clearing up in these multiple different settings and for cleaners, nurses or family members, working in a hotel or public lavatory, for knowing whether a drunk just spewed up because s/he had too many or there is something more serious on the floor of a public lavatory?

What do you say to people who have been living with someone found to have ebola – what are they to do with those sheets? How does a teacher or nursery nurse know that the small child that soiled itself is from an infected family?

And here’s another thing to be concerned about. I’ve translated it from the latest copy of Der Spiegel (Issue number 41: 2014 page 117) This really is an example of Murphy’s Law

“Protective suits becoming scarce

Because of the ebola infection in west africa the demand for suits to protect against viral infection has risen so steeply that there is a threat of a bottleneck in the supply. DuPont, one of the world’s largest suppliers of these protective suits, is speaking of a “critical situation”. Because the the overalls can only be used once the need of international health organisations can barely be met. Already many hundreds of thousands of such protective suits are used every month according to DuPonts business manager Albrecht Gerland. There will soon be a need for a million. The Dutch business Imres, which has also produced more than 270,000 protective overalls since the beginning of the epidemic, is complaining that the production of overalls is becoming ever more difficult”

Further discussion of the effects of a global pandemic can be found in David Korowicz’s paper Catastrophic shocks through complex socio-economic systems: a pandemic perspective.

Endnote

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/oct/07/nigeria-ebola-experience-teach-world
[2] Der Spiegel 40/2014 (Print Issue ) “Seuchen. Indien ist schutzlos” Interview with Gerd Antes page 104

Feautered image: Ebola virus. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus#mediaviewer/File:Ebola_virus_em.png

Ebola: I See Dead People 3

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 12, 2014

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Don’t miss the prior articles and rants on Ebola

Ebola: I See Dead People 2

Ebola: I See Dead People

Snippet:

Police_Squad_Nothing_to_See…Far as travel to and from the rest of Africa is concerned, it also needs to be curtailed drastically. Non-essential travel like Tourism needs to be ended until the Pandemic is brought under control. Land transmission across borders there is quite easy, and folks with means in Guinea for instance who want to GTFO of Dodge will sneak across borders by land, get fake passports in another African country, and then make the trip somewhere else outside of Africa. If only 1 in 100 of those is an Ebola Carrier still asymptomatic, they will bring the disease wherever they go to.

Of course, nothing of the sort here in terms of real restrictions on travel has been implemented as of yet, and beyond that the response from all major Goobermints has been pathetically slow and ineffective, well evidenced here in the FSoA by the stupid pronouncements from POTUS Telepromptus Obama-sama reassuring Amerikans we got nothing to worry about here, Please Move Along. Obama-sama is about as convincing these days as Lieutenant Draben Leslie Nielsen in Police Squad. Why this absurd posturing when you have a clearly out of control problem?…

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For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

A United State of Incompetence

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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Ebola outbreak? White House intruder? Climate change? Don’t worry, we’re on it.

Ebola outbreak? White House intruder? Climate change? Don’t worry, we’re on it.

First published at The Daily Impact  October 6, 2014

A wise man once told me (no, wait, it was me, talking to myself) that when something bad happens, like a plane crashes, or Congress passes a law, it is usually for one of two reasons: a dark conspiracy by evil people, or rank incompetence. “If there is any doubt about the cause,” he, or I, said, “always assume incompetence. You will almost never be wrong.” The case is being illustrated these days with dismaying frequency.Ebola in America. Get off a plane from Liberia, go to a hospital in Texas and tell them you’ve just come from West Africa and are desperately ill, they give you an aspirin, send you home and tell you to hug and kiss all your friends and family, it will make you feel much better. (Only that little tiny last part is made up. The rest of it, I wouldn’t dare.)When it becomes obvious that you do in fact have the Ebola virus, they put you in isolation, lock down your family under armed guard in the place where you were sick, then move them and nine days later send a firm called “The Cleaning Guys” to sanitize the place. (BTW, I am aware that most sources are now saying that he “lied” about having come from Liberia, by which they seem to mean he omitted it from a form. However, he did tell the ER nurse about it, on his first visit, and she recorded it on his electronic record. That part of the record apparently was not displayed on the screen displayed for the ER doctor.) In the face of questions about whether this was the best possible response to a worsening global health emergency, the governor of Texas stepped forward to reassure his people that he was on top of the situation (actually, he was nowhere near the situation, he was in Iowa, site of the earliest events in the 2016 presidential election). This, verbatim, is part of what he said (it might or might not be the most important part, it’s kind of hard to tell):

 “Again, uh, I think, uh, we respect the right decisions that have been made, uh, at this particular point in time, and again, uh, to try to second guess them, uh, at this particular point in time, is not particularly, uh, a healthy thing for us to do….” (Think I’m exaggerating? Watch it here.)

 Meanwhile in Washington a gaggle of high-ranking bureaucrats take to the media pulpits to announce that everything is under control, and because of our perfect health-care system and our unparalleled technology, Americans have no reason to fear Ebola. I don’t fear Ebola. But I am deathly afraid of these people.

 Ebola in Africa. A shipping container stuffed with supplies desperately needed by healthcare workers who have been losing the battle to contain Ebola in West Africa, and losing their lives in the process, has been sitting on the dock in Freetown, Sierra Leone, since August 9th. It’s $140,000 worth of protective clothing, sanitary gloves, mattresses, hospital linens, all desperately needed by the collapsing health care systems of three countries, and it is sitting there because the government won’t pay the $6,400 shipping fee (although the government has been given $40 million in donations to help it fight Ebola) because, it says, the shipment was not properly authorized in advance. (Such authorizations are said to involve the exchange of folding currency.) Two more shipments just like this one are on the docks in New York, waiting for the situation to be resolved.

Since that shipping container was dropped into the bureaucratic muck on August 9, West Africa has seen more than 5,600 cases of Ebola and more than 2,400 deaths from it.

 Secret Service.  So this guy jumps the fence around the White House and nobody notices him. He runs across the White House lawn, and the dog that is trained to interrupt such runs is not released because, we are told, his handler fears that this superbly trained guard dog might ignore the running, highly stressed perp and attack a senescent guard. The running man reaches the White House door which is supposed to be locked but isn’t. He charges through, which is supposed to set off an alarm but doesn’t (it was going off so often it irritated the staff, so they turned it off). Fortunately, there is a guard inside the door. Unfortunately, the running man “overwhelms” him. That is the word used in every account. I would love to know more about that, and about the future career of the overwhelmee. At length, the caper is stopped, deep in the White House, by an off duty agent who is there by accident. This is not going to be a major motion picture anytime soon.

 Look around. Every threat to our continued existence is being dealt with by Keystone Kops who lack motivation and information, who strut upon the stage beating their breasts about American superiority in all things and deny that anything could possibly go wrong here.

 Dark conspiracy memes swirl around all these events, of course. The Secret Service is deliberately exposing President Obama because he’s black, Ebola is being used by — well, somebody — just as the British used smallpox-infected blankets in their American Indian wars. But there’s no need to go there.

It’s not the feat, it’s the stupidity.

 

***

 

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

Cometh the Pestilence

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on October 6, 2014

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There Will Be Pestilences: Why Are So Many Deadly Diseases Breaking Out All Over The Globe Right Now?

Earth - Our World - Public DomainEbola, Marburg, Enterovirus and Chikungunya – these diseases were not even on the radar of most people coming into 2014, but now each one of them is making headline news.  So why is this happening?  Why are so many deadly diseases breaking out all over the world right now?  Is there some kind of a connection, or is the fact that so many horrible diseases are arising all at once just a giant coincidence?  And this could be just the beginning.  For example, there are now more than a million cases of Chikungunya in Central and South America, and authorities are projecting that there will be millions more in 2015.  The number of Ebola cases continues to grow at an exponential rate, and now an even deadlier virus (Marburg) has broken out in Uganda.  We have gone decades without experiencing a major worldwide pandemic, and many people believed that it could never happen in our day and time.  But now we could potentially see several absolutely devastating diseases all racing across the planet at the same time.

On Monday, we got news that the first confirmed case of Ebola transmission in Europe has happened.  A nurse in Spain that had treated a couple of returning Ebola patients has contracted the disease herself

A nurse’s assistant in Spain is the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside of Africa in the current outbreak.

Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato announced Monday that a test confirmed the assistant has the virus.

The woman helped treat a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa. Both died after returning to Spain.

Health officials said she developed symptoms on September 30. She was not hospitalized until this week. Her only symptom was a fever.

How many people did she spread the virus to before it was correctly diagnosed?

Meanwhile, Ebola continues to rage out of control in West Africa.  It is being reported that Sierra Leone just added 121 new Ebola deaths to the overall death toll in a single day.  If Ebola continues to spread at an exponential rate, it is inevitable that more people will leave West Africa with the virus and take it to other parts of the globe.

In fact, it was being reported on Monday that researchers have concluded that there is “a 50 percent chance” that Ebola could reach the UK by October 24th…

Experts have analysed the pattern of the spread of the disease, along with airline traffic data, to make the startling prediction Ebola could reach Britain by October 24.

They claim there is a 50 percent chance the virus could hit Britain by that date and a 75 percent chance the it could be imported to France, as the deadliest outbreak in history spreads across the world.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease, which has claimed more than 3,400 lives since March and has a 90 percent fatality rate.

I have written extensively about Ebola, but it is certainly not the only virus making headlines right now.

Down in Uganda, a man has just died from a confirmed case of the Marburg Virus…

A man has died in Uganda’s capital after an outbreak of Marburg, a highly infectious haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, authorities said on Sunday, adding that a total of 80 people who came into contact with him had been put under quarantine.

Marburg starts with a severe headache followed by haemorrhaging and leads to death in 80% or more of cases in about nine days. It is from the same family of viruses as Ebola, which has killed thousands in West Africa in recent months.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Marburg virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva and blood or by handling infected wild animals such as monkeys.

The Marburg Virus is an absolutely horrible disease, and many consider it to be even more deadly than Ebola.  But the fact that it kills victims so quickly may keep it from spreading as widely as Ebola.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, a disease that sounds very similar to Ebola and Marburg has popped up in Venezuela and doctors down there do not know what it is…

“We do not know what it is,” admitted Duglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.

In its initial stages, the disease presents symptoms of fever and spots on the skin, and then produces large blisters and internal and external bleeding, according to data provided week stop by the College of Physicians of the state of Aragua, where the first cases were reported.

Then, very quickly, patients suffer from respiratory failure, liver failure and kidney failure. Venezuelan doctors have not been able to determine what the disease is, much less how to fight it.

Why aren’t we hearing more about this in the mainstream news?

Here in the United States, enterovirus D-68 has sickened hundreds of children all over the country.  So far cases have been confirmed in 43 different states, several children have been paralyzed by it, and one New Jersey boy has died

Parents in New Jersey are concerned after a state medical examiner determined a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country is responsible for the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Hamilton Township health officer Jeff Plunkett said the Mercer County medical examiner’s office found the death of Eli Waller was the result of enterovirus D-68. Waller, the youngest of a set of triplets, died in his sleep at home on Sept. 25.

The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C.— almost all of them children. Waller is the first death in New Jersey directly linked to the virus.

The CDC seems to have no idea how to contain the spread of enterovirus D-68.

So why should we be confident that they will be able to contain the spread of Ebola?

Last but not least, the Chikungunya virus is at pandemic levels all over Central and South America.

We aren’t hearing that much about this disease in the U.S., but at this point more than a million people have already been infected…

An excruciating mosquito-borne illness that arrived less than a year ago in the Americas is raging across the region, leaping from the Caribbean to the Central and South American mainland, and infecting more than 1 million people. Some cases already have emerged in the United States.

The good news is that very few people actually die from this disease.

The bad news is that almost everyone that gets it feels like they are dying.

In a previous article, I wrote about the intense suffering that victims go through.  According to Slate, the name of this virus originally “comes from a Makonde word meaning ‘that which bends up,’ referring to the contortions sufferers put themselves through due to intense joint pain.”

Right now, the number of cases of Chikungunya is absolutely exploding.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Fox News report

In El Salvador, health officials report nearly 30,000 suspected cases, up from 2,300 at the beginning of August, and hospitals are filled with people with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk.

“The pain is unbelievable,” said Catalino Castillo, a 39-year-old seeking treatment at a San Salvador hospital. “It’s been 10 days and it won’t let up.”

Venezuelan officials reported at least 1,700 cases as of Friday, and the number is expected to rise. Neighboring Colombia has around 4,800 cases but the health ministry projects there will be nearly 700,000 by early 2015.

So why is this happening?

Why are so many absolutely horrible diseases emerging all at once?

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 5, 2014

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I’ve spent the better part of the last decade Blogging Collapse.  It’s the Gift that Keeps on Giving, not a day or week goes by that something ever more egregious occurs in the Global Theatre, there is NEVER a shortage of Collapse stories to write on or examine.  Right now for example, ongoing we have:

1- Ebola Rising

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2- Hong Kong Occupy

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3- Oil Prices Collapsing

http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/53f5edf569bedd5b100120d6-1200-900/cotd-brent-oil-1.jpg

4- ISIS

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5- Ruskie Sanctions

http://www.usnews.com/dims4/USNEWS/be1ba1b/2147483647/resize/652x%3E/format/png/quality/85/?url=%2Fcmsmedia%2F09%2Fb4%2Fa84230e14cf9ac0e9054288e46b4%2F20140422edcmc-a.tif

6- CA Drought

http://sites.psu.edu/carlyjean/wp-content/uploads/sites/9696/2014/02/2014-01-05-Drought2013EarthDrReeseHalter2-thumb.jpg

 

http://www.occidentaldissent.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/snap.pngAnd those are just the relatively new ones!   Fukushima hasn’t stopped Nuke Puking into the Pacific, a few dozen new species go extinct every week and the number of people on SNAP Cards inexorably climbs while the number of people in the workforce inexorably declines.  The Greeks are about to Default (AGAIN!) too.

As a Blogger, you can randomly just pick one of the topics out of a hat and there is something to write about and examine on any given day.  With this explosion of collapse topics, you would think that this would translate to an explosion of Blogs and Bloggers writing about them, but the exact opposite is true.  The longer this goes on, the fewer people who write on them there are, and of those that do, the less often they publish.

Some of the folks I used to read regularly like Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh) of The Automatic Earth almost never publish anything new.  Other folks like George Mobus of Question Everything have turned towards topics of a theoretical nature that interest them, but are only tangentially related to collapse if at all.

Here on the Diner, my fellow Bloggers Lucid Dreams of Epiphany Now and William Hunter Duncan of Off the Grid in Minneapolis just about never publish anymore, concerned more with their own daily lives than the Big Problems of the world.  Jason Heppenstall of 22 Billion Energy Slaves still publishes occassionally, but his Blogs come sporadically, maybe one a month.

Discussion in the commentary of some Blogs and on Forums is settled into a kind of formula for each place and is generally entirely predictable wherever you go, if you have been following collapse for any length of time anyhow.

Why is this?  It’s obviously not due to a shortage of topics, that is for sure.  The most obvious reasons to me are Collapse Overload TM on the part of the readers and commentariat, and Collapse Burnout TM on the part of the Bloggers.  It’s been going on so long now that anyone concerned with these topics has pretty much shot their wad on their own opinions and ideas and has read everything anyone else had to say about it, formed their own opinion on where it is going and what it means, and now is just living their life as best they can in the face of it.

For the most part this means finding or keeping a job and continuing to scratch out a living in the industrial economy.  Only a few people can afford to build their own Doomsteads © and try to become at least partially self-sufficient, and even that idea gets bollixed up by changing climate and precipitation patterns.  Diner Eddie who has a Doomstead © in Texas is quite aware that the progressing drought there makes that place likely unsustainable in the medium to long term.

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/newsphoto/2013-05-06/450/CFP433417743-182026_copy1.jpgBesides Collapse Overload TMCollapse Burnout TM in the long time Cognoscenti of Collapse TM is the more serious problem of Collapse Frustration TM.  For Doomophiles TM,  after years of jawboning Doom & Collapse on the net, the apparent inability to actually DO anything about it or even get the large majority of the population with their noses stuck in their I-Phones to even realize it is occurring leads many Doomers TM to throw up their hands and just give up!  Why bother talking about it or even DOING anything about it, because we are so seriously fucked here nothing makes a difference anyhow!

This is the meme over on Guy McPherson’s Nature Bats Last, where the Batters there have drawn the conclusion that not only are we economically fucked but we are all Doomed to Near Term Human Extinction by the now updated date of 2030.  Definitely, if we are all going to be extinct by 2030, there is not a whole lot of point to be blogging anymore, start working on your Bucket List instead!

The fact so many Bloggers have succumbed to Collapse Overload TMCollapse Burnout TM is actually a benefit for the Doomstead Diner ©, since newbies seeking out information about Collapse have fewer places to surf to on a daily basis these days, which translates to an ever rising Alexa Ranking for the Diner! Doom Surfers like the Diner so much they hang out for an amazing 17 Minutes a Day Time on Site now consuming Doom on the Diner! LOL. Most sites are lucky if they can keep short attention span readers on site for even 3 minutes! I personally battle the CO & CB Demons by sprinkling in some humor with the Doom, if you don’t look at the Lighter Side of Doom TM, you get Gloomy & Depressed and that makes it hard to keep going.

Besides Humor, the other way to battle against the Depressing Side of Doom is to NOT give in to the idea that everything is HOPELESS and there is nothing you can do, particularly if you are FRNs strapped without a lot of money to set up your own Doomstead ©.  There still are many strategies to explore, which is why we created the Non-Profit Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation, at SUN4Living.com.  While a case can be made that Collapse is inevitable and things are not going to be improving as time goes by here, there is still plenty to work out in terms of how to deal with it as it does progress.  I don’t see it as worthwhile to capitulate here as of yet, while the situation looks pretty grim, it is always Darkest Before the Dawn, as the saying goes.  Visit with us on SUN to help workout the logistics of a BETTER TOMORROW TM

In any event, the fact so many folks concerned with Collapse have left the stage or just sing the periodic aria has left a huge GAP in Collapse Analysis on the net, and a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for the Diner!  At the very least, I have got every good Collapse & Doom Term & Slogan either Trademarked or Copyrighted here!  LOL.

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.

http://www.cheatcc.com/imagesfeatures/futuresobrightwegottawearshades.jpg

This is not the time to GIVE UP!  So what if the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?  Are you going to let a few Dead Phytoplankton get you down?  How many people ever born get to live through the Collapse of their Civilization?  It’s like Winning the LOTTO!  Let’s get out there and grab this opportunity to build a BETTER TOMORROW TM

NOTHING IS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE IT IS!

http://www.isd547.com/Elem/extras/images/dogreporter.jpgDon’t miss the latest New Feature on the Diner Blog, Knarf’s Knewz!

Knewz Storiez Carefully Curated and Selected from around the Web by a Buddhist Monk filling you in on some of the less  well known Collapse Shenanigans.

Find the latest in Collapse Storiez in Knarf’s Knewz Widget on the Diner Blog!

Classic Rant Series: TSA Follies & Myths of Transportation Security

Ebola: I See Dead People 2

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 3, 2014

Discuss this Rant at the Environment Table inside the Diner

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Snippet:

…Shortly after the latest Ebola outbreak in Africa took off, I wrote an article called, “Ebola: I See Dead People”. Reason for this was because even though at the time Ebola had only infected and killed a few hundred people, it had all the attributes of the worst kind of Plague you can imagine.

First off, it doesn’t have a cure or treatment that has been widely disseminated, even if one does exist and there are rumours that such a thing does, at least some kind of vaccine anyhow. As of yet though, said treatments or vaccine have not been dispersed in Africa where the disease is spreading exponentially, so even if they do work it’s not stopping the problem from gettting worse over there.

Second, its Mortality Rate is high, but not too high. If everybody who contracted the disease died rapidly, it would be self-extinguishing. However, everybody who contracts it does not die, moreover they go through an Incubation Period of as yet indeterminate length without symptoms but able to spread the disease. It’s probably at least 4 days, maybe 2 weeks or more. During this time anyone carrying it can spread it to others, and obviously if you wander around any Big Shity the number of contacts you have each day are enormous. If the disease can be spread on viral particles that sit on Doorknobs or public toilet flush levers etc, it’s possible to be spreading the disease even if you do not have physical contact with the next infected person down the line.

Although the exact vectors for transmission have not yet been determined, whether it is transferred Airborne or in Water etc, it’s pretty clear it is highly infectious, since even with the Full 9 Yards of CDC Suits and Respiratorss, several hundred Health Care Workers themselves have contracted the disease. So it has both characteristics of the worst kind of Plague, both Infectious and Deadly…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

During An Ebola Pandemic All Of Your Rights Would Essentially Be Meaningless

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
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Published on The Economic Collapse on October 2, 2014

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Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

Prison Fence - Public DomainIf there is a major Ebola pandemic in America, all of the liberties and the freedoms that you currently enjoy would be gone.  If government officials believe that you have the virus, federal law allows them to round you up and detain you “for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary.”  In addition, the CDC already has the authority to quarantine healthy Americans if they reasonably believe that they may become sick.  During an outbreak, the government can force you to remain isolated in your own home, or the government may forcibly take you to a treatment facility, a tent city, a sports stadium, an old military base or a camp.  You would not have any choice in the matter.  And you would be forced to endure any medical procedure mandated by the government.  That includes shots, vaccines and the drawing of blood.  During such a scenario, you can scream about your “rights” all that you want, but it won’t do any good.

In case you are tempted to think that I am making this up, I want you to read what federal law actually says.  The following is 42 U.S.C. 264(d).  I have added bold for emphasis…

(1) Regulations prescribed under this section may provide for the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage and (A) to be moving or about to move from a State to another State; or (B) to be a probable source of infection to individuals who, while infected with such disease in a qualifying stage, will be moving from a State to another State. Such regulations may provide that if upon examination any such individual is found to be infected, he may be detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary. For purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualifying stage”, with respect to a communicable disease, means that such disease—

(A) is in a communicable stage; or

(B) is in a precommunicable stage, if the disease would be likely to cause a public health emergency if transmitted to other individuals.

In addition, as I discussed above, the CDC already has the authority to isolate people that are not sick to see if they do become sick.  The following is what the CDC website says about this…

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

On a very basic level, we are already starting to see this happen in Texas.  Obviously Thomas Eric Duncan has already been “isolated”, and now his family has been placed under mandatory quarantine and ordered not to leave their home for 21 days

Texas health officials have placed the Dallas family of a Liberian national infected with Ebola under quarantine and ordered them not to leave their home or have any contact with outsiders for 21 days without approval of the local or state health department.

The “control order” also requires the family of Thomas Eric Duncan to be available to provide blood samples and agree to any testing required by public health officials. Officials said Thursday that the four or five family members could face criminal charges for violating the order, which was delivered to them in writing Wednesday evening.

Police have been stationed at the apartment complex to ensure residents’ safety, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told a news briefing Thursday afternoon.

If we could all just stay in our homes during a national Ebola emergency, that wouldn’t be so bad.

But if thousands (or even millions) of cases start popping up it simply will not be possible for law enforcement authorities to monitor so many homes.

This is a point that Mike Adams of Natural News made exceptionally well…

When just one family is suspected of carrying Ebola, they can be easily monitored in a “volunteer home isolation” scenario. But what happens when it’s 100 families? 500? 1,000? At that point, there aren’t enough state or federal workers to keep an eye on these people, and the quarantine effort will almost certainly shift to forced relocation into quarantine camps.

Those camps will, of course, be called something nice-sounding like “Community Health Centers.” No one in government or media will call them camps, even though they are camps. The word “camp” brings up echoes of “concentration camps” and the government definitely wants to avoid that association.

If one particular town or city is hit especially hard with the virus, there is a likelihood of the entire town being quarantined. No one in, no one out. Everybody will be ordered to “shelter in place” in their own homes for at least 21 days while health workers wearing hazmat suits go door to door, identifying Ebola victims and “relocating” them to the “Community Health Centers.”

If that sounds like “martial law” to you, that is because it would essentially be martial law.

For the moment, public health authorities are pledging that nothing like this will ever happen because they have everything completely under control.

Others are not so sure.

For example, on Thursday a doctor from Missouri named Gil Mobley checked in for a flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport dressed in a mask, goggles, gloves, boots and a protective white jumpsuit.  On the back of the jumpsuit, he had written the following words:  “CDC is lying!”

Mobley believes that we are not being told the truth about the spread of Ebola.  And he is convinced that as Ebola continues to spread exponentially, that we will eventually “be importing clusters of Ebola on a daily basis”

“Once this disease consumes every third world country, as surely it will, because they lack the same basic infrastructure as Sierra Leone and Liberia, at that point, we will be importing clusters of Ebola on a daily basis,” Mobley predicted. “That will overwhelm any advanced country’s ability to contain the clusters in isolation and quarantine. That spells bad news.”

Mobley, a Medical College of Georgia graduate who had an overnight layover after flying to Atlanta from Guatemala on Wednesday, said that he feels that the CDC is “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to screening passengers arriving in the United States from other countries.

“Yesterday, I came through international customs at the Atlanta airport,” the doctor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The only question they asked arriving passengers is if they had tobacco or alcohol.”

Earlier on Thursday, there were reports of people being tested for Ebola in Hawaii, Kentucky and Utah.  None of those tests has produced a confirmed case of Ebola as I write this article.

Many Americans are still treating this Ebola crisis as if it was just one big joke.

But Ebola is no joking matter.  This is a very, very serious disease.

Just consider the experience of one British health worker that witnessed a young brother and sister both die one day apart

‘The next morning I came in and saw him lying as I had left him, on the bed.

‘He wasn’t breathing. I remember going up to him and looking at his face, his lips were drawn back in a grimace, and his eyes were vacant, lying in a pool of his own diarrhea.

‘I lifted his hand to try, just to confirm things and his whole body turned rigid and cold.

‘I put him in a body bag as his sister looked on.

‘She seemed more baffled than anything, not really understanding what was happening. I carried his corpse outside with the others.

‘The little girl, she deteriorated the next day. Overnight, the following night she had intravenous fluids and the line came out and she bled.

‘I came in the following morning and she was covered in blood. She still had a very puzzled expression on her face and she wasn’t breathing.

‘So I put her in a bag and left her next to her brother. She was a beautiful little girl.’

Hopefully our medical authorities are correct and this virus will not spread easily in this country.

But at this point even some of our top politicians are wondering if we are truly getting accurate information.  For example, check out what U.S. Senator Rand Paul had to say on the Laura Ingraham Show just recently…

“I really think that it is being dominated by political correctness and I think because of political correctness we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this.” Paul said referring to statements issued by the CDC last week that assured there was little risk of an outbreak occurring in the US.

“We should not underestimate the transmissibility of this,” said Paul, a doctor himself, adding that medical workers have been contracting the virus even though they are taking precautions and covering themselves with gowns and masks.

My suspicion is that it’s a lot more transmissible than that if people who are taking every precaution are getting it. There are people getting it who simply helped people get in or out of a taxicab.” Paul said.

Let’s pray that this crisis fizzles out, because if it doesn’t, we could truly be looking at the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

And along with countless numbers of people getting sick and dying, we would also have to deal with government-imposed medical martial law.

The stakes are extremely high, and so let us hope that this crisis does not escalate any further.

Ebola in Amerika

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on Economic Collapse on September 30, 2013

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Ebola In America: The Confirmed Case In Dallas, Texas Could Change Everything

United States Map On A Globe - Public DomainThe day that many of us hoped would never arrive is here.  Ebola has come to America.  Air travel between the United States and the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone should have been totally shut down except for absolutely essential personnel but it wasn’t.  And now our nation may end up paying a great price as a result.  On Tuesday, the CDC announced that there is a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas.  We know that this individual is a male and that he traveled by air from Liberia to Texas on September 19th.  At that time, he was not exhibiting any symptoms.  It is being reported that he started developing symptoms on September 24th and that he sought out treatment two days later.  Incredibly, he was turned away and sent home.  Then on September 28th he went to a hospital again and this time he was admitted for treatment.  That means that he could have potentially been spreading Ebola to others for at least four full days before finally getting treated at a hospital.  Now he is in intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  The CDC says that “there is no doubt that we will stop it here” and is promising that “it will not spread widely in this country”.  The CDC better be right on both counts.

At this point, the CDC is admitting that it is not known if others have been infected by this individual.  The CDC also says that it is tracking down everyone that he has been in contact with.  But over four days in a major U.S. city, you can be “in contact” with a whole lot of people.  And what about all of the people that those people were in contact with?

If I was in charge of this crisis, I would admit that we don’t know the full scope of the problem yet but that we are dealing with it the best that we can.

Instead, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking an entirely different approach.  Dr. Thomas Frieden insists that we have absolutely nothing to worry about

“I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country. It is certainly possible that someone who has had contact with this patient could develop Ebola. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”

Frieden better be right about that.

Other “experts” are being even more dogmatic

“There is no cause for concern,” says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “The Ebola virus is not easily transmitted from person to person, and we have an outstanding infrastructure in place both to contain the virus and trace contacts. There will not be an Ebola epidemic in the United States.”

I have no idea how they can say these things when the outbreak over in Africa is completely and totally out of control.  Despite extreme precautions, hundreds of health workers have gotten the virus, and so far global health officials have not even been able to slow down the exponential growth of the Ebola pandemic in West Africa.

And our health officials should not be so dogmatic about how this virus spreads either.

In a previous article, I discussed a study that was conducted back in 2012 that demonstrated that Ebola could be transmitted through the air between pigs and monkeys that did not have physical contact with one another

When news broke that the Ebola virus had resurfaced in Uganda, investigators in Canada were making headlines of their own with research indicating the deadly virus may spread between species, through the air.

The team, comprised of researchers from the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, the University of Manitoba, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, observed transmission of Ebola from pigs to monkeys. They first inoculated a number of piglets with the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. Ebola-Zaire is the deadliest strain, with mortality rates up to 90 percent. The piglets were then placed in a room with four cynomolgus macaques, a species of monkey commonly used in laboratories. The animals were separated by wire cages to prevent direct contact between the species.

Within a few days, the inoculated piglets showed clinical signs of infection indicative of Ebola infection. In pigs, Ebola generally causes respiratory illness and increased temperature. Nine days after infection, all piglets appeared to have recovered from the disease.

Within eight days of exposure, two of the four monkeys showed signs of Ebola infection. Four days later, the remaining two monkeys were sick too. It is possible that the first two monkeys infected the other two, but transmission between non-human primates has never before been observed in a lab setting.

There is much that we don’t understand about this disease.

I can understand the need to keep the public calm, but why don’t these officials just tell us the truth?

At the same time that they are telling us that there is no chance that there will be an Ebola epidemic in the United States, they are also sending out guidelines to funeral homes on how to deal with dead Ebola victims…

CBS46 News has confirmed the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients. If the outbreak of the potentially deadly virus is in West Africa, why are funeral homes in America being given guidelines?

The three-page list of recommendations include instructing funeral workers to wear protective equipment when dealing with the remains since Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care. It also instructs to avoid autopsies and embalming.

Why are they doing this if there is “no chance” that the disease will spread widely?

Hopefully they isolated this Ebola patient in Dallas in time.

Hopefully he did not infect anyone else.

But we need to be honest about the situation that we are potentially facing.  So far, there have been more than 6,000 cases of Ebola in Africa and more than 3,000 of those have died.  Unfortunately, even WHO officials admit that those official numbers “great underestimate” the scope of this outbreak.  The number of official cases has been doubling approximately every three weeks, and the CDC says that under a “worst case scenario” we could be looking at 1.4 million cases by the end of January 2015.

Right now all of the treatment facilities in Liberia and Sierra Leone are completely full and more than 80 percent of Ebola patients have been turned away and sent home without being treated.  It is an absolute nightmare, and now it has come to America.

And as the virus continues to spread, it is inevitable that more carriers of the disease will get on airplanes headed for America.

Unfortunately for us, according to a recent Defense One article the screening done at airports actually does very little to stop the spread of Ebola…

The bad news is that thermal screenings of the international flying population at airports are not likely to yield much by way of improved safety.

Here’s why: fever can be a sign of a lot of different illnesses, not just Ebola. And thermal scanning proved to be a poor method of catching bird flu carriers in 2009 as well. So presenting with an elevated temperature at an airport checkpoint does not indicate clearly enough that the fevered person is carrying the deadly virus. More importantly, the incubation period for Ebola is two days. As many as 20 days can pass before symptoms show up. That means that an individual could be carrying the virus for two weeks or longer and not even know it, much less have it show up via thermal scan. So what good are these scanners?

When I first started writing about Ebola, a few people accused me of “spreading fear”.

Well, now that Ebola has arrived in the United States, perhaps they will take a second look at some of my recent articles…

-“The Pure Hell At The Heart Of The Ebola Pandemic In Africa Could Soon Be Coming To America

-“Computer Models Tell Us That This Ebola Pandemic Could Soon Kill Millions

-“16 Apocalyptic Quotes From Global Health Officials About This Horrific Ebola Epidemic

-“Ebola Among Health Workers: More Than 240 Sick, More Than 120 Dead

-“It Is Becoming Clear – We Are NOT Prepared For An Ebola Pandemic

Let us pray that this is just one isolated case and that there will not be a major outbreak in this nation.

Because if cases do start popping up around the country, fear will spread like wildfire and we could potentially be facing the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

One of the individuals that successfully survived this disease was Dr. Kent Brantly.  I think that the following quote from him really does a great job of summarizing what we are potentially facing…

“Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak,” Brantly said. “Indeed it is a fire—it is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire. Instead, we must mobilize the resources … to keep entire nations from being reduced to ashes.”

A virus like this could change everything if it starts circulating widely.

Like I have said so many times before, let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

Ebola HELL!

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
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Published on Economic Collapse on September 23, 2014

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The Pure Hell At The Heart Of The Ebola Pandemic In Africa Could Soon Be Coming To America

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ebola-Cases-And-Deaths-Photo-by-Leopoldo-Martin-R.pngDid you know that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone is approximately doubling every 20 days?  People are dropping dead in the streets, large numbers of bodies are being dumped into the rivers, and gravediggers can hardly keep up with the the number of corpses that are being delivered to the cemeteries.  As you read this, life is pure hell in many areas of West Africa, and now the CDC is warning that things may get far, far worse in the very near future.  According to the CDC, the number of Ebola cases could potentially soar to 1.4 million by the end of January.  Of course the CDC says that this is a “worst-case scenario”, but for our health officials to even suggest that such a huge number is possible is quite chilling.  We are now being told that the fatality rate for this Ebola outbreak has risen to 71 percent, and so most of the “cases” will eventually turn into deaths.  If we do eventually see 1.4 million cases of Ebola in West Africa, it is incredibly naive to think that it will not spread to other parts of the globe as well.

The World Health Organization has been trying to document the number of cases and deaths that are happening, but at this point even the WHO admits that the official statistics “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.

And for the first time, health officials are conceding that this crisis may never have an end point.  A study that was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says that Ebola could potentially become endemic to West Africa.  In other words, it could become a disease that is continually spread and that we have to deal with on a regular basis like malaria or the flu.

Hopefully this outbreak will be brought under control shortly.  But at the moment there are no signs that this is happening.  In fact, hundreds of health workers have contracted the disease themselves.  And if current trends continue, the CDC warns that we could see up to 1.4 million cases of Ebola by the end of January

Researchers say the total number of cases is vastly underreported by a factor of 2.5 in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three hardest-hit countries. Using this correction factor, researchers estimate that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30. Reported cases in those two countries are doubling approximately every 20 days, researchers said.

“Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior,” such as much-improved safe burial practices, the researchers estimate that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could be between approximately 550,000 to 1.4 million.

Over the past several weeks, there have been numerous reports of dead bodies lying in the streets of major cities over in West Africa.

And now even the WHO is admitting that many Ebola corpses have been dumped into nearby rivers…

“The true number of deaths will likely never be known, as bodies in the notoriously poor, filthy and overcrowded West Point slum, in the capital, Monrovia, have simply been thrown into the two nearby rivers,” WHO said in a separate statement.

No wonder Ebola is spreading so rapidly.

So far authorities have been able to keep this crisis mostly contained to just a few countries.

But what happens when we have over a million people running around with Ebola?

How in the world do we keep that contained?

There are some in the scientific community that are expressing skepticism that we will be able to…

That sort of exponential increase in cases makes it more likely that Ebola will become entrenched in West Africa, said Robert Murphy, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University.

If there are hundreds of thousands of Ebola cases, then “many more countries will have cases, and it won’t be just West Africa,” Murphy said. “There is so much mobility now, this can spread anywhere.”

If Ebola continues to spread like wildfire throughout West Africa, it is probably just a matter of time before it starts popping up in major cities in other areas of the globe.

If this were to happen in the United States, life would change for all of us almost overnight.

It is hard to put into words that kind of chaos that we are witnessing over in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone right now.  Panic and fear are everywhere, and the corpses just keep piling up.  The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article

The Ebola epidemic is spreading rapidly in Sierra Leone’s densely packed capital – and it may already be far worse than the authorities acknowledge.

Various models of the growth of the epidemic here “all show an exponential increase,” said Peter H. Kilmarx, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team in Sierra Leone. “The conditions are amenable to Ebola spread.”

“Since last month, it’s every day, any minute and hour, and often, they are coming” to bury the Ebola dead, said Desmond Kamara, a police officer.

A cloudy stream drains from the area of the new graves into the slum, further frightening the residents.

“We are at risk, big risk,” said Ousman Kamara, a resident. “We have made many complaints.”

But the bodies, he said, keep coming.

“Even at night,” he said. “You stand here, and you see them coming.”

Could you imagine something like that happening in America?

At this stage of the crisis in West Africa, all existing treatment facilities are absolutely overwhelmed.

Because there are no more beds, large numbers of people with Ebola are being turned away.  Many end up dying just outside of the walls of some of these clinics

A new Ebola clinic opened in Monrovia this week, but bodies lay on the ground outside its walls. Ambulances filled with Ebola patients, some that have traveled seven hours to get there, are not unloaded. Without help to get them inside, the patients fall in the dirt, mere feet away from treatment.

If things are this bad already when we only have thousands of cases, what are things going to look like when we have more than a million cases?

A representative for Samaritan’s Purse admitted the other day that “it’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.

And it can be absolutely heartbreaking for health workers to turn away people that are dying.

The following is firsthand testimony from a health worker that is on the front lines of this crisis that is actually having to do this…

The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that whilst he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her.

Other families just pulled up in cars, let the sick person out and then drove off, abandoning them. One mother tried to leave her baby on a chair, hoping that if she did, we would have no choice but to care for the child.

I had to turn away one couple who arrived with their young daughter. Two hours later the girl died in front of our gate, where she remained until the body removal team took her away.

Those that are working on burial teams often see things that are even worse.  Just consider the following example

Dressed from head to toe in white protective suits and thick goggles, the burial teams try to stay safe, but nothing can shield them from the unspeakable horrors they’ve seen when they make their regular rounds. On Friday, Kiyee described what he saw when he entered a home:

“I took the key and opened the door and went in and saw a 6-month-old child licking on the mother’s skin,” said Kiyee. The mother was lying on her stomach. She had died from Ebola. The baby was searching for the mother’s milk. “Right away I started shedding tears.”

This is the kind of pure hell that we could see in the United States if Ebola starts spreading here.

Just because we have a more advanced medical system and better living conditions does not mean that we will be able to stop the spread of this virus.

In fact, some medical professionals are already warning that we are not prepared for an Ebola pandemic.

If cases of Ebola do start appearing in major cities throughout America, you will want to be prepared to stay at home as much as possible.  There will not be any magic pill that you can pop that will “cure” you of this disease.  It is a brutally efficient killer that does not show any mercy.

So let us hope that global health officials know what they are doing and that this pandemic will be brought under control soon.

But it would also be foolish not to prepare for the worst.

Narratives of TEOTWAWKI

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 21, 2014

Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

http://edwardhotspur.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/unicorn-skittles.jpgSince I have been involved in Doom Prognostication and Analysis since 2008, floating around various websites from PeakOil.com to Market Ticker to The Automatic Earth to The Burning Platform, as well as my own Yahoo Group of Reverse Engineering and now the Doomstead Diner, I have of course been exposed to probably every possible Doom Scenario that you could conjure up as plausible.

Besides that, since I am a confirmed Full Doomer, I also periodically review the latest in Graphs and Charts that Financial Bloggers post up, or that Climate Bloggers post up.  Overall, just about all this graphology is uniformly depressing newz.  You have to be a believer in Fairy Dust and Skittle Shitting Unicorns to accept any of the MSM Charts which show “Economic Recovery” anywhere, as my friend Jim Quinn from TBP demonstrated once again recently tracking the Collapse of Retail Sales here in the FSoA.

Hard to imagine how folks will be doing too much Shopping as they drop out of the Labor Force by the Millions:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?&chart_type=line&graph_id=0&category_id=&recession_bars=On&width=525&height=315&bgcolor=%23cccc99&graph_bgcolor=%23FFFFFF&txtcolor=%23000000&ts=8&preserve_ratio=false&fo=ge&assad=1&id=CIVPART&transformation=lin&scale=Left&range=Custom&cosd=1980-02-01&coed=2012-10-01&line_color=%23660000&link_values=&mark_type=NONE&mw=4&line_style=Solid&lw=2&vintage_date=2012-11-02&revision_date=2012-11-02&mma=0&nd=&ost=&oet=&fml=a&fq=Monthly&fam=avg

While both Economic and Geopolitical Doom are both present in Copious Quantities, the current scariest long term possibilities come from progressive deterioration of ecosystems and climate change, which by Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last’s analysis are not too far off and lead to the Uber Doom scenario of Near Term Human Extinction.

http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/homo-sapien.jpg

Trying to make sense of the ongoing Collapse and where it might lead requires more than just Graphs & Charts, it requires a narrative which makes sense, is plausible based on current known parameters and trends, and it has to be “accessible” to most people in language and imagery they can understand and relate to their own lives.  Most folks are not Economists, Climatologists, CPAs, Petroleum Engineers or Nuclear Physicists, and any of those are virtually never expert in any other field than their own.  So even experts need a cross-disciplinary narrative to get a good global picture of what is going on here.

Ugo Bardi recently brought up in a few of his blogs on Resource Limits how Science Fiction informed the late 19th, 20th and 21st Century narrative that most people accept as true, that Technological Progress will continue in perpetuity and that the Industrial Culture we have lived under for the last 200 years will not just continue, but become ever more complex and pervasive across the globe.  This type of Sci-Fi permeated its way right down to the Cartoons many of us Science Buffs watched as children.

http://www.dirtytoiletpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/the_jetsons.jpeg

There are numerous other ancillary narratives that go along with this, for instance that Modern Medicine and Science can cure any disease, that Standards of Living will continue to improve for everyone as they join the Industrial Culture, and that Human beings are too small to affect the earth and its ecosystems.

http://islamicbanking.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/foreclosed-homes.jpgJust about all those narratives are demonstrably false now.  Country after country falls off the Economic Cliff, basically on a daily basis, and the smaller ones with little access to central credit creation find it ever more difficult to access the energy necessary to keep running an Industrial society.  Standards of Living aren’t improving anywhere, even here at the center of Credit Creation of the World Reserve Currency of the Dollar they are falling as more people each year fall out of the tabulated “workforce”, fewer well paying jobs are available, more McMansions go into Foreclosure and fewer miles are driven in the Happy Motoring lifestyle.  Ecosystems are collapsing everywhere, phytoplankton are down 50% over the last 30 years in world Oceans and species are going Extinct at a rate unprecedented in the Geological Record, even faster than the mass extinction even of the PETM, or Pleiocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which took out the Dinosaurs.

EBOLA GOES EXPONENTIAL

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/08/20140806_ebola1.jpgAccess to advanced Medical care isn’t improving, Obama-care is a joke, anti-biotics are failing as drug resistant “Super-bugs” evolve, higher percentages of people are born with Autism and other neurological and physiological problems and food becomes ever less nutritious and ever more dangerous as GMO foods are introduced into the food supply.  Besides that, you have the specter of the Ebola Virus spreading Exponentially in Africa, a disease for which there is no cure and a 40% mortality rate at least these days that is what the WHO is reporting.

Denial is rampant through the society of Homo Industrialis, in large part because there isn’t a good narrative to compete with the Sci-Fi Narrative of never-ending Progress and a better life in the future.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uZwKWaZML.jpgIn this Podcast, Ugo Bardi, Jim Laughter (author of Polar City Red) and I chat up ideas around one type of New Narrative, “Cli-Fi” or Climate Fiction.  Through Fiction, you can explore ideas and make comprehensible what is not generally comprehensible just by reading charts and tables, which in fact most folks never look at at all, they just take the word of “experts”, and every possible side in every scenario has some expert they can enlist to justify their POV, so the hoi polloi tends to believe the side with the viewpoint and outcome they WANT to believe is true.

Cli-Fi is only one of the possible Fictional Variants that can be explored here, Econ-Fi is another one since it still looks like Economic Collapse will lead Climate Collapse by some margin.  Energy-Fi is another one, since how we might adapt to a lower per capita energy world of the future has many possible narratives attached.

This podcast looks mainly at Cli-Fi scenarios, both Medium and Long Term. Hopefully at a future date we will explore some of the other ones as well.

In any event, break out the Microwave Popcorn, sit back and contemplate TEOTWAWKI with me, Ugo Bardi and Jim Laughter.

http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/olduvai01_en.gif

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