Amnesia has its reasons. Apart from certain Nordic forward-looking countries where it’s extending, reduced life expectancy does not allow anyone now alive to remember the influenza pandemic of 1918 whose three waves lasted a little over a year.
Then as now, certain themes seem to apply: incompetence and silence on the part of government authorities, and shortages of essential medical supplies. A leadership vacuum existed in Washington where a silent Wilson was more interested in selling war bonds, and public authorities either advanced the merits of snake oil, or lied deliberately to keep reports of numbers affected secret. This month the Navy sought fit to fire Captain Brett Crozier, commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt because he was caught asking for help for the growing number of sailors infected on his ship.
Research shows that the 1918 pandemic killed between 23 and 50 million worldwide, less than 3% of the global population at the time, although it infected an estimated 500 million, about one-third of the world population. Then as now, there was a shortage of medical equipment. In recent California history, ventilators were allowed to go into disrepair to eventually be discarded because Gov. Jerry Brown not considering them important, zeroed out a line item that might have kept them operable. Masks are in short supply because of the current trade war with China, although a first planeload arrived within the past few days.
But the connection between war and pandemic cannot be overlooked. It comes as no surprise that in 1918, the pandemic killed many more people of recruitment age in the 18-44 group. In 1918, Étaples on the Western Front was a UK staging camp and hospital treating thousands of victims of gassing. 100,000 troops passed through it every single day. To cap the perfect storm, poultry farms and piggeries lay nearby. Conditions were crowded and unsanitary, and that is where cases of influenza were first reported, although one report claims it was already circulating in the cold and wet of the WWI trenches long before it may have mutated full blown.
As troops were demobilized they returned home to their cities, towns and villages, spreading the infection worldwide. In the US, infection clusters were first reported in Kansas at a military installation from where it spread.
|Walter Reed, 1918|
Then as now, many reports raise that old racist whipping boy, the Chinese specter, and eventually the pandemic came to be known as the Spanish flu, another ethnic slur. One report carries a nice little irony claiming that, because of modern scientific advances, the likelihood of pandemic recurrence is now nil.
Pandemics and their aftermath are never factored in when “defense” budgets are drawn up. In 2009 Obama introduced the “Stockpile Stewardship Program,” allocating more than a trillion dollars to maintain the deteriorating nuclear stockpile. Contrary to popular belief, war as a human behavior did not always exist. And because war and militarism burns up more fossil fuel than many countries, war levels its cannons at climate equilibrium which ultimately threatens our very tenancy on Earth.
Are governments capable of learning new behavior? If they fail the cost is astronomical.
The EU and UN, adopt resolution urging “intensified International Cooperation” in support of Venezuela in its fight to contain the virus in the midst of US unilateral and illegal blockade.
Ireland nationalizes hospitals for coronavirus duration.
Guatemalan water protectors persist over 8 years, despite KCA mining company threats.
Slovenia stops 5-G over health risks.
After Trump awards Gilead Sciences monopoly claim to coronavirus cure, caving to popular pressure, Gilead releases its claim.
Michael Hudson, writing for Nakedcapitalism.com suggests debt jubilee may be only way to avert Depression
Unscientific, but true: New York’s Lenox Hill reports hydroxycloroquine successful in treatment of coronavirus.
NPR Seattle member station refuses to air Trumpo’s press briefing live.
US-led NATO forces pull out of third Iraqi base.
98.6% Chinese industrial companies resume operations (look for more air pollution).
First aircraft carrying medical supplies arrives from China (and is not turned back.)
Justice Department investigating lawmakers for insider trading.
Some US Senators call for end of Venezuelan and Iranian blockades.
To reduce congestion, Cleveland frees many non-violent offenders from Cayuga County jail.
Federal judge finesses ICE, orders releasing more immigrants amid pandemic.
Amid pandemic police close Hobby Lobby locations after stores defy state order to close.
Children’s Health Fund forces FCC to publish in the Federal Register, blocking it from dismissing 5-G lawsuits.
UltraViolet applauds federal judge’s move to keep Ohio and Texas abortion clinics open.
13,000 e-mails to Congress opposing bailouts for fossil fuel companies force bill revision preventing $3 billion giveaway.
McDonald’s workers go on strike over unsafe conditions, lost hours, and pay cuts.
Grad student TAs strike at UC’s Sta. Cruz campus (which promptly fires them).
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Donald Trump was visited three days ago by the ghost of Washington.
“George,” asked Trump, “how can I fix this? How to MAG again?”
“Never tell a lie.”
Unsatisfied, he was visited next day by the ghost of Jefferson.
“Tom, how do fix this? How can I MAG again?”
“Listen to the people.”
Unsatisfied, next day, he was visited by the ghost of Lincoln.
“Hey, Abe, how do I fix this? How can I MAG again?
“Go see a play.”
From your friendly tax accountant:
Q. What is an economic stimulus payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money ?
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Just a smidgen.
A. The plan is for you to use it to stimulate the economy by buying a high definition TV, a new iPad, or a new SUV.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
Your accountant’s helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy:
If you spend the money at Walmart, the money goes to China or Sri Lanka.
If you spend it on gas, the money goes to the Saudis.
If you get a computer, it goes to India, Taiwan, or China.
If you get fruits and vegetables, it goes to Mexico, Honduras or Guatemala.
If you get a fuel-efficient car, it goes to Japan or Korea.
If you get stuff you don’t really need, it goes to Taiwan.
If you pay off your credit card, or buy stock it goes to rack up bonuses the CEOS will hide offshore.
Spend the money on the only businesses still operating in the US:
Spend it at a yard sale
Go see the ballgame
Spend it on a hooker or
Or a tattoo.
Solution: Go see the ballgame with a tattooed prostitute you met at a yard sale, and suck up beer all day.