Covid 19 and Preparing For the Wrong War

Dec 2016
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I noticed this interesting take on America's "war" on the coronavirus, and how it is / not being fought, by Joe Lauria at Consortium News today :

COVID-19: Prepared for the Wrong War
In the War of the Worlds a microorganism felled the Martian invaders that the U.S. military (in Orson Welles’ version) could not defeat. The U.S. may dominate the world, but no army threatens its demise, says Joe Lauria.

‘After All Man’s Defenses Had Failed, Slain
By the Humblest Thing Put Upon This Earth’

In Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ science fiction fantasy, War of the Worlds, all the military spending and preparedness by the United States could not defend the American people from the invaders from Mars. In the end what killed the superior intruders was not arms, but a microscopic organism against which the Martians’ immune system had no defense.​
“Suddenly, my eyes were attracted to the immense flock of black birds that hovered directly below me. They circled to the ground, and there before my eyes, stark and silent, lay the Martians, with the hungry birds pecking and tearing brown shreds of flesh from their dead bodies. Later when their bodies were examined in the laboratories, it was found that they were killed by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared. . . slain, after all man’s defenses had failed, by the humblest thing that God in His wisdom put upon this earth.”
In an eerily similar way, the greatest military ever assembled on earth has been useless to defend America from the potential collapse of its society, and its empire.​
Donald Trump, at his daily press conferences, repeatedly says no one would expect such a thing could ever occur. Except that government studies predicted just such a thing.​
“Nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought we would need tens of thousands of ventilators,” Trump said. But the Pentagon’s wildest dreams of 11 aircraft carriers, 65 attack submarines, 65 destroyers, 104 B-1 bombers, 744 B-52 bombers, 8,848 M1 Abrams tanks, 6,724 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 1,018 F-16 fighter jets have for years come true.
The U.S. can afford to build the greatest arsenal ever known to fight two major wars at once while scrambling to produce hospital gowns, surgical masks and hand sanitizer. All of America’s mighty “defenses” could not defend the nation against the humblest of things put upon the earth.​
The United States prepared for the wrong war.​
The Real Enemy
A trillion dollars a year is spent on the military and nuclear weapons when America has no real armed enemies. Instead the U.S. is an enemy to nations that seek to impede its dominance by protecting their own sovereign interests.​
There would be virtually no public support for this spending if the American people understood the U.S. as an offensive force. So the targets of its dominance must be portrayed at every turn as the menace. When Russia, for instance, defends its interests in Ukraine or on its borders against NATO troop deployments, the aggressive U.S. role is cloaked by government and the media, while the Russian response is branded a threat.​
While the U.S. has spent trillions unnecessarily on an offensive military machine against nonexistent threats, it failed to prepare for the real threat to itself, the same threat that brought down the mighty Martians.​
Bullets Dodged
There were several dress rehearsals for the coronavirus. The SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2004 infected 8,000 people and killed 774 worldwide–numbers that seem underwhelming in the middle of this crisis. But at the time it was not certain how far it would spread.​
In 2009 the H1N1 or Swine Flu killed as many as 575,400 people worldwide. It infected 60 million Americans, killing 14,000 before it was contained. Two bullets were dodged. But instead of using those close calls to prepare for the next bullet–which could be historic–taxpayers’ money continued to be poured into military “preparedness” instead.​
The New York Times reported on Thursday the Trump administration had run an exercise last year to test America’s preparedness for a pandemic.​
“Code-named ‘Crimson Contagion’ and imagining an influenza pandemic, [it] was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August. The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed. …​
Three times over the past four years the U.S. government, across two administrations, had grappled in depth with what a pandemic would look like, identifying likely shortcomings …”​
Trump repeatedly complains that, “We inherited, we, meaning this administration, an obsolete broken system that wasn’t meant for anything like this.” But his administration did nothing to prepare for a potential pandemic despite last year’s eight month study.​
His proposed budget on Feb. 10 called for a nearly 10 percent cut to Health and Human Services. This was when Trump was irresponsibly downplaying the coronavirus threat, which was in full swing in China at the time.​

So , is America and allies in a similar place as H.G. Wells' Martians? All prepared for the wrong war, and ill-equipped to fight to fight the real enemy !
 
Last edited:
Nov 2013
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Wells, of course, published his novel (in serial form) starting in 1897CE, sited in the World & military power of the day, the UK. The bacteriological/technological aspects of the story set the bar for many of the (alas!) derivative works that have trailed it ever since. Absolutely amazing, given that Pasteur had barely invented pasteurization in the 1880s.

Hear, hear!
 
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Dec 2016
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Yes, but what's really amazing is that he was prescient enough to foresee that governing world powers... more than a century later would waste so much resources they still cannot deal with a disease pandemic!
 
Jul 2018
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We all know that trump is a worthless asshole but what are you, as an individual, going to do to be able to withstand future disasters? The news is full of stories about how most people don't have any emergency funds regardless of how much money they make. If the Yellowstone volcano blew up tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. what is your getaway plan? If you haven't thought about that can you really blame the bureaucrats for not being prepared for the coronavirus?
 
Nov 2013
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We all know that trump is a worthless asshole but what are you, as an individual, going to do to be able to withstand future disasters? The news is full of stories about how most people don't have any emergency funds regardless of how much money they make. If the Yellowstone volcano blew up tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. what is your getaway plan? If you haven't thought about that can you really blame the bureaucrats for not being prepared for the coronavirus?
There are things that individuals can prepare for, @ least enough to raise the odds of surviving the first onslaught. Long term is chancier, & probably requires fairly remote & defensible land, buildings, & other people (for defense in depth, essential skills, etc.) The money in & of itself isn't the main problem; it's more acquiring the appropriate skills & materials to @ least clear the immediate danger/disaster area.

Can the bureaucracy be blamed for missing the danger? Yes, we've had encounters with coronaviruses before, if not with novel COVID-19's rapidity of spread. Biology @ the microscopic level is constantly evolving, changing - to cope better with the environment, including antibiotics & vaccines. Ebola, SARS, MARS, & the entire spectrum of microbes - are all battering @ the doors, trying to get in & reproduce. The suits cut funding to CDC, World surveillance teams (to watch for new microbial outbreaks), planning/coordination for pandemics, & so on. Of course they're to blame, when the amounts saved were piffling, especially as contrasted to the personnel & economic losses from the current pandemic.

That's short term; in the long term, we need to get more antibiotics into the production pipeline, which means more investment in discovering or assembling new antibiotics. We need to either adapt our crops & food animals to changing climactic conditions - more extreme weather, longer seasons for insect activity, impact of warmer conditions/drought on the quality & quantity of crop yields, adapting ground cover & trees for long-term growth, oceanic acidity (or develop more & better plant-based proteins) - & that's the short list.
 
Jan 2015
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We all know that trump is a worthless asshole but what are you, as an individual, going to do to be able to withstand future disasters? The news is full of stories about how most people don't have any emergency funds regardless of how much money they make. If the Yellowstone volcano blew up tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. what is your getaway plan? If you haven't thought about that can you really blame the bureaucrats for not being prepared for the coronavirus?
Getaway plan? Ain't no getting away for any of us if Yellowstone blows. It would split North America in half.
 
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Dec 2016
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We all know that trump is a worthless asshole but what are you, as an individual, going to do to be able to withstand future disasters? The news is full of stories about how most people don't have any emergency funds regardless of how much money they make. If the Yellowstone volcano blew up tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. what is your getaway plan? If you haven't thought about that can you really blame the bureaucrats for not being prepared for the coronavirus?
lf you're just looking to survive this and other future crises as an "individual," you're already lost! Whatever way you look at the future, success and survival will depend on coming together and working together for the common good....starting now by checking on neighbors who have mobility problems getting out and shopping during the best of times.

Survivors of any major catastrophe .... like Yellowstone's long expected blowup, will be those who have successfully formed small, self-sufficient communities just like our ancestors did before the curse of civilization.
 
Dec 2016
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Getaway plan? Ain't no getting away for any of us if Yellowstone blows. It would split North America in half.
Certainly civilization as we know it today will be ended by a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption.
A supervolcano eruption in Indonesia approximately 70,000 years ago caused such a long, dark and cold extended winter that it almost ended the human experiment along with many other species.
Paleontologists had been baffled by the lack of fossils between 50 and 70,000 years ago, and it wasn't until after human genome mapping that it was discovered that there was a severe population bottleneck, with less than 2000 humans worldwide at its worst. A total population so small that inbreeding could have made the entire species unhealthy enough to die off and go extinct.
 
Jul 2018
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There are things that individuals can prepare for, @ least enough to raise the odds of surviving the first onslaught. Long term is chancier, & probably requires fairly remote & defensible land, buildings, & other people (for defense in depth, essential skills, etc.) The money in & of itself isn't the main problem; it's more acquiring the appropriate skills & materials to @ least clear the immediate danger/disaster area.

Can the bureaucracy be blamed for missing the danger? Yes, we've had encounters with coronaviruses before, if not with novel COVID-19's rapidity of spread. Biology @ the microscopic level is constantly evolving, changing - to cope better with the environment, including antibiotics & vaccines. Ebola, SARS, MARS, & the entire spectrum of microbes - are all battering @ the doors, trying to get in & reproduce. The suits cut funding to CDC, World surveillance teams (to watch for new microbial outbreaks), planning/coordination for pandemics, & so on. Of course they're to blame, when the amounts saved were piffling, especially as contrasted to the personnel & economic losses from the current pandemic.

That's short term; in the long term, we need to get more antibiotics into the production pipeline, which means more investment in discovering or assembling new antibiotics. We need to either adapt our crops & food animals to changing climactic conditions - more extreme weather, longer seasons for insect activity, impact of warmer conditions/drought on the quality & quantity of crop yields, adapting ground cover & trees for long-term growth, oceanic acidity (or develop more & better plant-based proteins) - & that's the short list.
That is zombie movie thinking. Small bands of humans spend all of their time trying to kill each other instead of uniting and working to get rid of the zombies. The zombies never fight among themselves but the humans will try to kill each other on sight.

Most people don't like GMO foods, although they have reduced if not eliminated starvation around the world. They like "organic" foods, with all of the bacteria and diseases they contain.

If the fools in the UN don't see diseases as an universal problem that requires everyone's cooperation to control then it is a useless organization and should be eliminated. Of course there are the 1%'ers who want to kill off 80-90% of humanity to save the planet. So, between the dummies, the nitwits, and the psychos who run things the average idiot doesn't stand much of a chance in the 21st Century. Don't think that we won't collapse like other civilizations have done throughout history.
 
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Jul 2018
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lf you're just looking to survive this and other future crises as an "individual," you're already lost! Whatever way you look at the future, success and survival will depend on coming together and working together for the common good....starting now by checking on neighbors who have mobility problems getting out and shopping during the best of times.

Survivors of any major catastrophe .... like Yellowstone's long expected blowup, will be those who have successfully formed small, self-sufficient communities just like our ancestors did before the curse of civilization.
Don't expect trump to help you.