Category Archives: COVID-19

Another Amish blog post

Here’s an interesting Darkhorse podcast video raising questions about our government’s effort to fight COVID. I had posted the link to the news story mentioned in this Darkhorse Podcast video back in October 2021: https://rumble.com/vnpfkd-amish-covid-full-measure.html?mref=7gabl&mc=5lg0g

Considering the many unforeseen consequences of our Covid mitigation efforts, like dire economic problems, massive social upheaval, huge spike in suicides and drug overdoses, it’s worth asking if the Amish approach of dealing with Covid racing through their community worked better. It’s important to note that many people, some with science and medical bona fides too, predicted many of these dire consequences, but were loudly rebuked. Some even faced efforts to silence them in the public square of social media.

The Amish continued working, kept their families and communities together, while caring for the sick, like they had always done. They attended church services and continued their lives as normally as possible. Our liberal media went all in on selling the “trust the science” spin effort being pushed by the liberal elite crowd in Washington and liberal bastions of academia.

The Amish didn’t deny Covid existed, they just chose to work together as a community, like they always do, rather than try extreme social mitigation efforts our national health experts sold, because China was doing lockdowns and mass masking. There were even Democrats in early March 2020, who were embracing Iran releasing prisoners due to Covid spreading through some overcrowded prisons and they could no longer maintain those prisons.

Democrats crammed that prisoner release approach into the CARES Act, which was passed on March 27, 2020 and are still pushing that these prisoners, released due an emergency situation, be allowed to serve their sentences at home. The speed with which our ‘health experts” and some elected officials embraced Covid mitigation efforts being tried in other countries, especially despotic regimes, still boggles my mind.

What was “scientific” about rushing to embrace China’s or Iran’s mitigation policies? These Covid policies infringed on civil liberties, destroyed many Americans ability to earn a living, restricted families from being by the side of dying loved ones in hospitals, forced schools to close, prohibited church services in places of worship, and even interfered with funeral services across the country?

None of these mitigation efforts worked to “slow the spread” or “stop the spread.” In fact, even the vaccines haven’t slowed or stopped the spread – that’s the truth. So, the selling pitch shifted to the vaccines lower your chances of getting seriously ill, if you contract Covid. There has sure been a lot of Covid policy goalpost moving.

Are we just supposed to forget all of this happened and move on? Or are we still allowed to ask questions and expect a bit of accountability of our elected officials and government health officials?

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest

Some thoughts on China’s latest lockdown

Many times a lot of Americans take a “who cares what happens in some far off country” attitude. The Chinese full lockdown story is important to everyone, not just the Chinese people and I’m going to give a few reasons why. This post is some current news on that situation and some review of Covid social mitigation policies and news reporting (more like mass media social conditioning efforts) since 2020. I’ll follow this post with some positive posts on things we all have the power to do, not just to survive tumultuous times, but to learn to thrive in not only the best of times, but in the worst of times too.

The Chinese government’s total lockdown of Shanghai has been getting a great deal of attention in the news media and generating some viral videos in the past few days:

Here’s analysis by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, on the medical side of information coming from Chinese officials one word – “implausible” referring to China reporting only one severe case and no deaths from this outbreak:

Here’s what everyone should know about Shanghai:

Shanghai is the largest city in China, with almost 25 million people, according to Wikipedia..

Shanghai is China’s center of commerce, trade and transportation, but also a global financial hub.

Shanghai is also the world’s busiest container port.

Here’s a report, China Port Congestion Leaves Everything From Grains to Metals Stranded, from Bloomberg today. This report states there are 477 bulk container ships waiting to dock and unload their cargo of everything from metal ore to grain.

The lockdown in Shanghai has created a ripple effect, as some ships have been diverted to other Chinese ports. A few paragraphs into this story it’s clear China’s lockdown isn’t only causing a problem with unloading and loading ships:

“A shortage of port workers at Shanghai is slowing the delivery of documentation needed for ships to unload cargoes, according to ship owners and traders. Meanwhile, vessels carrying metals like copper and iron ore are left stranded offshore as trucks are unable to send goods from the port to processing mills, they said.”

On a cable news report yesterday I heard mention that the lockdown in Shanghai has also created massive panic-buying across China, as people have become fearful of food shortages spreading.

This all brings me back to the weeks before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and our news media went all-in on Ukraine reporting and completely dropped the coverage of the Trudeau government in Canada imposing vaccine mandates on truckers crossing the US-Canada border, the Trudeau government crackdown on a trucker’s protest, and President Biden also imposing a vaccine mandate on truckers crossing the US-Canada border and the US-Mexico border.

I think all of these extreme Covid mitigation policies world-wide, that hamper free movement of people and goods, have proven both ineffective at “stopping the spread” of Covid and even worse have turbo-charged economic chaos, globally, for the foreseeable future. Once the Ukraine situation attracts less media focus, I suspect we’ll be back to dealing with our own US government creating more of the same Covid policies and programs that inflicted economic hardship on millions of Americans since 2020.

The news media hype seems to play on our emotions and push us to become invested in the emotional aspect of these videos, by dramatizing the “little people vs. the evil, big Chinese government (and yes, it’s an evil regime without question). The human rights abuse aspect does matter. Chinese people yelling from being locked inside their apartment buildings for two weeks looks horrifying, but it’s important to remember that the same Dems and liberal mouthpieces who bought into these draconian Chinese-inspired Covid policies in 2020 were still pushing them just a few months ago in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and in America. Dr. Fauci hailed the extreme Australian lockdowns. The liberal American news media were still pushing these policies, but now want to sensationalize the horror of Chinese people in Shanghai dealing with a full two-week Covid lockdown, so far.

The situation in these Chinese videos doesn’t look any different than Australia’s lockdowns, which lasted 107 days. That’s the truth. Here’s a BBC report from October 11, 2021, Covid Australia: Sydney celebrates end of 107-day lockdown. The liberal American news media (which is most of the American news media) didn’t all rush to Australia to cover the lockdown protests there and in fact, it seemed they were downplaying the protests and avoiding covering them much. There were videos that emerged on social media and in the news, like this story: EXCLUSIVE: WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: Elderly man collapses to the ground after being arrested for ‘failing to wear a face mask’ while walking in a park – as his desperate partner screams for help, from September 2021. When things happening in the free world of the west look indistinguishable from policies being carried out in China, that’s like a glaring red warning light to me. Two weeks into China’s latest lockdown and the media is hysterically hyperventilating about people starving to death and 107 days of Australia’s lockdown insanity and the American news media barely talked about it at all. The real question remains why on earth liberal democracies in the free world ever bought into the Chinese Covid lockdown policy in the first place???

This reminded me of how the American liberal news media in the beginning of the Covid lockdown social mitigation experiments tried to con us into docilely accepting government Covid lockdowns as an exercise in good citizenship and a show of virtue demonstrating we care about other people. I was very worried about Covid in March of 2020, because I believed my husband had Covid in late January 2020 when he got sick and had acute respiratory failure. I fell in line with social mitigation effort for about a month, but kept wondering what the follow-on plan was. I quickly came to believe all of these social mitigation efforts were political power grabs, not science and that is what I believe to this day. Here’s Italy in March 2020 – remember all the singing:

Funny juxtaposition between their news angle in Italy 2020 and China 2022, but I feel certain the Covid craziness isn’t over anywhere in the world. The economic fall-out from these disastrous social mitigation policies will continue to impact and grow. When you add in the war in Ukraine with the uncertainty with what happens there and the global economic fall-out that will have on agriculture and global commerce, well, the world seems to be pushing full-steam ahead toward some Titanic-level hitting an iceberg events.

If you follow the news and pay attention to what’s happened since Covid social mitigation policies took hold, well, nothing has really returned to the pre-Covid days, even if you took off your mask long ago. The shortage situations never resolved to pre-Covid, the economic fall-out from those policies is still reverberating around the world. Even in many red states remnants of those policies remain – like wearing a mask in some school districts, wearing a mask in the doctor’s office or hospitals, with airlines, etc. Not a single state in America is an all-red or an all-blue state, so there are plenty of people within every state with opposing views, especially on Covid policies. The Covid turmoil is not behind us and many people who opposed masks and/or vaccine mandates and/or vaccines are still fuming about the the social mitigation policies and angry at the liberals who pushed those programs. On the other side, there are liberals, especially in the news media, who are still true-believers in all of the Covid social mitigation policies, would support and promote them again in a heartbeat and who loathe Americans who don’t believe in all of those mitigation policies and rituals like masking between eating bites of a meal on a plane and total lockdowns.

This divide in America won’t be easily bridged and it’s important to remember it goes way deeper than just the Covid mitigation policies. These divides speak to not only differing political beliefs in America, but to an array of cultural issues where Americans break down into two hostile camps. It seems like people in the middle or who aren’t ideologically invested are disliked by both sides, but pulling more people away from the partisan extremes is our only hope to weather the coming storms. We need more people who will work together, not more people ready to fight over everything.

Finding any ways to unite us will be hard, but I remain hopeful it’s not an impossible quest to find some common ground and then build upon that. Unfortunately, it seems like the people with the largest megaphones focus on getting people riled up or spreading a whole lot of fear. America desperately needs some calm, positive leaders. In my next post I’ll talk about that more.

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Filed under COVID-19, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics

Let’s not forget Covid social mitigation extremes

Do you ever see news stories where you feel like there’s a gaping hole in the information presented? When the Covid-19 pandemic started our health and government officials and a compliant news media propelled many news stories that stoked fear among people and that led to a great deal of complacency among the American people. Most Americans, according to polls, initially bought into into an array of social mitigation efforts and went along with them without demanding more information.

For most of America, people have moved past Covid-19 and it’s not even on their radar as a concern, being replaced with rising gas prices, talk of war, and warnings of looming food shortages, but we should think about all those social mitigation efforts, which pushed actions that we were told were based on “science.” The scientific research does not support them, but many of our political leaders still will use that “unprecedented” pandemic emergency as a model for future emergencies.

The Canadian truckers protest and the Trudeau government’s extreme reaction, citing a national emergency as the justification to begin freezing Canadian citizens bank accounts, fell to the wayside as a major international news story when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Here’s another timeline to think about:

February 21, 2022 – Putin ordered troops to Ukraine and western countries began issuing sanctions.

February 23, 2022 – Canada lifted the freeze on truck protester bank accounts.

February 24, 2022 – Russia invades Ukraine

February 26, 2022 – Some countries remove Russia from SWIFT and begin targeting Russia’s Central Bank.

It seems certain the the international crisis with Russia invading Ukraine and the need for a response from the West to that crisis superseded draconian domestic measures intended to intimidate Canadians opposed to Trudeau’s new COVID vaccine mandate pertaining to truckers crossing the US-Canadian border – which was the reason those Canadian truckers were protesting.

While the news media here in America has become all about Ukraine 24/7, Covid-19 and the social mitigation craziness aren’t gone. Even more concerning is too many Americans seem happy to just forget all about the government actions and even corporations acting as a surrogate White House enforcement force to impose social mitigation rules on millions of Americans. No one seems to want to look back, study what worked, what didn’t work, and more importantly why these policies were imposed on Americans.

Certainly it’s understandable that Russia invading Ukraine raised the specter of world war and even nuclear war, when Russia ventured into nuclear saber-rattling, but the pandemic craziness isn’t gone and it’s important to start seriously thinking about what happened, to prevent media-generated mass panic disarming our ability to resist government overreach again.

I bring this up because the lockdown idea was touted in 2020 by many prominent US health officials as an effective social mitigation strategy based on hyping that China was doing it and it was working. Let’s look back to 2020:

As COVID-19 spread rapidly across China, authorities took an aggressive stance to fight the coronavirus. They were slow to respond to the outbreak—at first suppressing information and denying that it could spread between humans even as it did just that. But, as case numbers skyrocketed, Beijing went to extraordinary lengths to fight the virus, identified at COVID-19, in a campaign Chinese President Xi Jinping has described as a “people’s war.”

The most dramatic, and controversial, of the measures was the lockdown of of tens of millions of people in what is believed to be the largest quasi-quarantine in human history.

Less than two months after the lockdown went into effect, it appears to be working, at least according to Chinese health officials, who announced on Thursday that the country had passed the peak of the coronavirus epidemic. They reported just eight new cases of the virus the same day, the lowest number since they began publicly releasing numbers. At the same time, cases of COVID-19 across the world are skyrocketing.

https://time.com/5796425/china-coronavirus-lockdown/

Let’s move from China’s 2020 lockdown/Covid Zero approach to right now in China:

From the 2020 Time story I quoted the most important line is: “Less than two months after the lockdown went into effect, it appears to be working, at least according to Chinese health officials, who announced on Thursday that the country had passed the peak of the coronavirus epidemic.”

What’s not known is how many people in China really died from the initial COVID-19 outbreak and how many have died since then. That’s been one of those gaping holes in the reporting since the beginning. The larger question now is why on earth did our government and health officials embrace a social mitigation policy trusting in “according to Chinese health officials” in the first place? Can it happen again in America?

With the war in Ukraine, it may move from a 24/7 news story that galvanizes new media time and resources to a regional conflict, as Americans lose interest in the story and other domestic news attracts more attention, plus as we move closer to fall, national elections, with control of Congress in the balance, partisan political news will dominate in our news media. Covid, showing every sign of being a virus that spreads in waves, will likely hit again and there will be American government and health officials clamoring for more social mitigation efforts and assuredly our American news media can shift on a dime to inciting Covid-panic once more.

Instead of just going along with this politically expedient “time to move on” effort to put Covid out of our minds, I feel certain, the same officials, pundits and media who pushed the Covid hysteria since 2020 will reemerge when another Covid wave hits in the US and they’ll be repackaging all of their made in China social mitigation lockdown ideas again.

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A must-read Matt Taibbi take on 1/6

Today I read this Matt Taibbi piece, A Tale of Two Authoritarians, which delves into the post 9/11 security measure overreaches and the many similarities to government “social mitigation pandemic measures. Taibbi doesn’t cater to partisan political sides, but instead just lays out the chronology of new security measures since 9/11 and how those American government overreaches expanded since then. He writes about the Pelosi 1/6 event and the reemergence of Dick Cheney:

“Seeing leading Democrats nuzzling the man George W. Bush called “Iron Ass” summed up the essential problem of the ordinary person trying to find a political home in this landscape. Even if you find the Trump phenomenon troubling, his opposition is not only authoritarian, but organized and armed with the intellectual tools to understand and appreciate how the technological elimination of democracy might be achieved in the 21st century.”

“We’re living through a period where an unpleasantly likely outcome for the ordinary American is the invocation of emergency powers to eliminate basic rights. From which side is that threat most likely to come? The pattern during Trump’s presidency was hyping the Russian menace to justify increased surveillance and censorship. Russia has since been switched out in favor of two new emergency bugbears. The first is the rise of “domestic terrorism,” and if you don’t think Cheney-style democracy-canceling is on the minds of officials heading into the next presidential election, you haven’t been reading the growing pile of articles quoting military types advertising their preparations for counter-coup in 2024.”

“The second emergency of course is the pandemic, which ought to have been exhibit A in Trump’s uninterest in being a dictator — he could have legally invoked all sorts of powers and did not. Instead, it’s become part of a widening propaganda campaign designed to enlist the wine-cave MSNBC set behind full-blown Big Brother governance.”

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/a-tale-of-two-authoritarians?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=direct

I wish I had even a tiny bit of Taibbi’s writing ability, but I don’t, so I recommend you read his piece a few times and then think about the issues he raised. He highlighted concerns about the new medical security state efforts that so many Democrats and government health officials have promoted since the pandemic began. He mentions Julian Assange and although I have never been sympathetic to his situation, I do admit that after 9/11, while having some concerns about the Patriot Act and many of the military actions, I still largely supported GWB and trusted our “experts” in intelligence and our military.

I grew up trusting authorities and I had a belief that there were mostly people with expertise, sound judgment, and most of all good character serving in public positions than there are. I was definitely too trusting and believed in public servants actually nobly serving the public interests.

When President Obama came along, he expanded on many of the Bush era Global War on Terror efforts and there were reports of more and more drone strikes in multiple countries, I began to wake up to the abuses of power. There were few clear answers from the Obama administration and Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, has failed to rein in any of the post-9/11 emergency powers and instead there’s a willingness to expand these powers in Washington and zero ability to effectively do any true oversight or demand any accountability.

When the pandemic happened, once again, I believe that initially I was way too willing to trust the medical experts that were rolled out and a large part of my trust was that I believed these government health officials were non-political and dedicated to public health. Silly me. Plus from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats had nothing but praise for Dr. Fauci and other health officials. I was too trusting again, that’s for sure, as we are now approaching two years into pandemic politics and seemingly endless efforts by liberal (mainstream) media, Biden officials, Fauci and CDC quacks, plus Democrat officials across America to incite fear, hysteria, impose new rules and to never let go of their failed pandemic policies (some of which began at the beginning of the pandemic and were approved by the Trump administration).

As corruption continues to spread among our federal governmental institutions, it’s becoming more and more disturbing to realize, not only how corrupt so many of the touted “experts” are, but how whenever anyone now gives glowing accolades about any revered official in Washington or that some official is respected by both sides of the aisle, it’s like a signal for me to put up my guard and be wary that we’re in for another snow job. It’s like when James Comey, the former director of the FBI, hailed Peter Strzok and other high-level FBI officials caught up in the efforts to spy on the Trump campaign and spread the Trump-Russian Collusion spin lies, as highly respected career professionals. As information trickled out, those career professionals turned out to be highly-partisan, liars and most definitely not adhering to any sort of professional behavior.

Twitter gets dismissed by most people as just ridiculous social media, but by following hundreds of journalists, pundits and politicians, and watching the interactions I came to realize why Trump relied on Twitter to wage his one-man spin war. He flipped Dem and liberal media spin cycles constantly with just a few tweets and that ability is why Democrats and powerful liberal elites were so desperate to try to muzzle Trump.

However, the more disturbing people on Twitter were retired generals, who joined with Democrats and liberal media to tweet their rage and anger about Trump and some, like General Michael Hayden, tweeted frequently to undercut Trump’s decisions. It was shocking to watch a retired general and former CIA director engage in berating, petty name-calling, and actively trying to undermine a sitting President of the United States. Hayden wasn’t alone, as former Obama CIA director, John Brennan, also spent many hours engaged in the Twitter spin war against Trump too.

When I tried to explain to my sister, who doesn’t use social media, about the importance of Twitter, she repeatedly has dismissed this, as just social media garbage and she points out that most Americans aren’t on Twitter and that’s true. However, the ones who are the big players in the news media, in politics and especially in the partisan messaging operations (they set the narratives in the news media) are all on Twitter a whole lot. This small group of elites, who dominate the politics Twitter space, are the ones who drive the mass media spin war, especially news media.

The social media efforts to silence people started in 2018 on Twitter with Alex Jones and Jones is an easy person to loathe. He spouted all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories. It was easy to dismiss his being banned from Twitter, but then the banning continued and last year Trump was banned after 1/6. Trump’s a lightening rod, he tweeted all sorts of lies too, but then more and more people who challenged the liberal Covid orthodoxy began to be banned. The liberal big tech, politically-motivated social media purges have escalated and they all go in one direction – those who challenge the liberal/Dem narratives.

Once again, while most people on the right didn’t care about Alex Jones being banned, as the bans continued, on YouTube, Bret Weinstein, a evolutionary biologist, who raised some concerns about Covid vaccines, had his YouTube channel demonetized and I believe a few of his videos were removed from YouTube too.

A week ago, Dr. Robert Malone, a prominent virologist, was banned from Twitter for ostensibly spreading “Covid misinformation.” Videos where Malone was interviewed by other YouTubers have been removed too.

Sitting Congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a flame-throwing, Trump-supporter from GA, was banned from Twitter a few days ago.

Matt Walsh, a right-wing political commentator was suspended from Twitter today, for apparently some transgender language infraction. Walsh, upon his return to Twitter, tweeted:

One of the comments to Walsh’s tweet summed up the situation perfectly:

Mark Krikorian@MarkSKrikorian·Replying to @MattWalshBlogYou won the victory over yourself. You love Big Brother.

We’re heading into some disquieting and disturbing times. Everyone who uses social media or online platforms should realize that at any moment their online presence can be wiped out and they can be silenced across multiple social media platforms. Plus efforts for new social media platforms that aren’t controlled by the liberal big tech giants keep getting derailed at every turn.

Another disquieting thing I’ve noticed is beyond the efforts to silence opposing views, around the world, especially the Western world, there have been large protests against Covid lockdowns and rules, but you see very little liberal (mainstream) media news coverage of these protests. You’d think with Omicron being the hottest topic (besides 1/6), there would be a lot of news coverage of the large anti-Covid rules protests.

I’m going to end with this quote from Taibbi’s piece, which sums up the real stakes with this new era of trying to silence certain “undesirable” people on social media:

“Professionals” do make errors, about everything from terrorists to viruses. In fact, a fair number of the people seeking this enhanced authority are dumber than average. You don’t have to like Donald Trump to recognize the dire threat represented by a clique of mediocrities with just enough brains to use their offices to organize the criminalization of their opposition.”

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest, Information War, Politics

The great mask dilemma explained

This sums up the masking issue:

The sad part with all this phony mask drama and virtue-signaling hyped via mass media every day is millions of Americans were deliberately lied to and manipulated by our top health officials. The damage and fall-out from the mask fearmongering will linger long after this pandemic has outlived its usefulness as a partisan political weapon.

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Sharyl Attkisson report on COVID in an Amish community

JK sent me this Attkisson report about how the Amish in Lancaster, PA dealt with COVID last year. It raises some interesting questions about the extreme social mitigation efforts pushed by our federal health officials and government vs. the Amish sticking to their deeply held religious beliefs on the importance of work, family, and community.

After facing having my husband bed bound on home hospice care through last year, I can understand the Amish determination to avoid hospitals and risk not being able to have friends and family visit. I felt that way too and am glad I kept my husband at home. The Amish leader Attkisson interviewed explained how giving up everything they believe would have been worse than death and I can respect that viewpoint completely. When you click on the story, the video is a bit over 5 minutes long:

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Don’t diss Covid vaccines to own the libs

The past few years have been the hardest years of my life. I’ve written about my husband’s long-term illness in other posts and about his death in March of this year, but I want to write about some care decisions along the way, especially vaccines.

My husband, as my regular readers know, had late stage COPD and normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). He was diagnosed with COPD in 1999 and NPH in 2012, although he had the symptoms of NPH from around 2006-2007, when he started walking with a strange side-to-side gait and falling frequently. Along the way significant short-term memory problems became apparent too.

The initial VP shunt in his ventricle drained the fluid from his ventricle and he regained some mobility, walking with a walker, but his short-term memory problems never improved and continued to worsen.

In 2018 he was hospitalized with sepsis and the neuro-surgeon did shunt revision surgery, after my husband recovered from sepsis and spent two weeks in a rehabilitation hospital, to regain his strength. He never regained much mobility and that declined steadily, as did the memory problems.

In Dec. 2019, the neurosurgeon told me that some NPH patients develop symptoms very similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. My husband had both, with increasing dementia and tremors in his right hand and right leg. He was mostly wheelchair-bound by 2019 and needed assistance with all basic care.

In late January 2020, our son got a very bad upper-respiratory infection and had a lot of difficulty breathing, but he refused to go to the doctor. And shortly thereafter my husband got sick, coughing and lots of lung congestion. His primary care doctor prescribed antibiotics and a steroid. A few days later, things declined much more and my husband was very weak, I could hear his chest rattling even a few feet away, but he didn’t want to go to the ER. He fell forward off of his chair onto the floor. My son helped get him into the wheelchair and I took him to the ER.

My husband had acute respiratory failure. He had received his flu shot and was up to date on his pneumonia vaccine too. Yes, I’m one of the countless people who believe it was Covid, before the date of the first verified case in the US, but that’s not the point of this post – it’s about vaccines. My husband was in very poor health for a long time and any respiratory infection in his condition was potentially life-threatening.

After a few days in the hospital, my husband was discharged on home hospice and there began probably the most challenging experience of my life – full-time caregiver to someone who is completely bed-bound.

My husband “survived” that infection, but he never recovered to even the level of function, where he had been before that infection. He would have a few days, occasionally even a few weeks of appearing better, followed by days or weeks where he slept most of the time and I’d think he was close to the end. The hospice nurses monitored his condition and told me these ups and downs are common with hospice patients. This went on for 13 months.

I had no idea what hospice care actually does, since most people I had known who opted for hospice care died very quickly. The doctor did not expect my husband to survive very long either, with the condition of his lungs. During those 13 months, my husband had several infections and was prescribed antibiotics. The hospice nurse told me that while antibiotics won’t change the outcome of his condition, treating infections relieves suffering and helps keep him comfortable.

My husband’s hospice provider also administered flu vaccines to patients who wanted them. I had them give my husband the flu vaccine, because although I knew my husband was going to die, I wanted him to die as painlessly as possible and having the flu is awful, especially for someone who already has a debilitating lung disease. If Covid vaccines had been available and recommended for hospice patients, I would have talked to my husband’s hospice team and had him receive a Covid vaccine, for the very same reason..

If you ever watch someone in acute respiratory failure, you would want to do everything you can to prevent that.

Luckily, the overwhelming majority of people who receive the Covid vaccine can just go about their lives. It’s free and easily accessible all over the country.

There’s so much politicization of everything pertaining to Covid. There’s also information and misinformation overload in our digital age. I’ve listened to experts talk about spike proteins and all sorts of potential long-term risks with the Covid vaccines.

I’ve listened to some experts minimize risks too, making it sound like there are absolutely no potential serious side effects., but here’s my opinion about “risk” when it comes to medications and especially vaccines.

The evidence of vaccines literally changing the world and saving millions of lives is overwhelming.

Yes, I know, the Covid vaccines are experimental. When my doctor prescribes FDA-approved medications, I still read the warnings on the medication and many have a lot of serious potential adverse reactions, that are rare. I take that into consideration and almost always opt to take them, because I trust my doctor’s advice and because I think about the risks vs. benefits. Life isn’t risk-free, it’s about weighing options. There seems to be a pervasive mass Covid hysteria, I think, mostly because of the unknown nature of Covid and compounded by political and media fear-mongering, that’s creating unnecessary fear and panic reactions, that impede people’s ability to calmly assess, not only the risk, but the potential benefit.

I received the Moderna vaccine in March (2nd shot in April) and have not for a moment regretted that decision. I had more anxiety with radiation treatments many years ago, and although years later I had some long-term problems from the radiation treatment, they were not life-threatening and the alternative was I probably wouldn’t be alive today, if I had not had those 8 weeks of radiation treatment.

In America, we all have the right to decide for ourselves on medical treatments, but I urge anyone on the fence to talk to their doctor and discuss Covid vaccines. I do know someone with a serious medical condition, whose doctor recommended he not get the vaccine and we should all respect that some people will opt not to get the vaccine.

I am completely opposed to mandatory masking, mandatory lockdowns and absolutely against mandatory vaccines. I am against all of the surveillance state type tracking of social distancing monitoring being tried in several countries and I am completely against vaccine passports and these corporate efforts to punish, silence, and now even force employees to get vaccinated or be fired. What I refuse to do though, is look at vaccines through a political lens and I hope many conservatives, Republicans, and MAGA supporters resist the urge to diss vaccines to “own the libs.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have politicized Covid, as have many of our public health officials, but the truth is we all need to try to work together as Americans and pull together to get through this Covid challenge a stronger nation.

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Dem COVID-19 Spin Games Hitting More Bumps

I don’t know anything about the person who tweeted the above tweet and I have no idea where or when this video was taken, but this little girl’s actions sum up my feelings on all of the COVID-19 rules, hype, politicization, and endless hysteria.

The little girl’s actions especially sum up my feelings about anything both the mainstream media and Dr. Fauci say about COVID-19, at this point. In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I trusted they were providing science-based information, yet the more Dr. Fauci has spoken and the more hysteria the media ramped up in the past year, the more it sounds like they’re pushing the Democrat political agenda rather than unbiased medical information.

This doesn’t mean I refuse to believe in science or that I am a COVID denier or against COVID vaccines or that I refuse to wear a mask.

I strongly suspect my husband had COVID in January 2020, an idea which was considered a heresy by the experts for a long time, because the earliest verified cases of COVID in the U.S. did not go as far back as mid- January 2020 and it was not politically tenable to suggest China lied about when their COVID-19 outbreak started. The CDC collected archived blood serum samples from the American Red Cross and studied them for COVID-antibodies and found COVID-19 antibodies in some of those 2019 samples, yet the Fauci/Dem/liberal media spin narrative quickly moved past that information. They still repeat the Chinese government and WHO COVID-19 timeline (propaganda).

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was January 15, 2020, with a man in Washington state, who had just returned from Wuhan, China. My husband got very sick around that same time, in GA and my husband hadn’t traveled anywhere, but our son had been sick about week before with the same symptoms. Although my personal situation has no science to back it, it’s not much less suspect than many of the public health pronouncements on COVID-19, which have been tainted with both domestic and foreign political considerations and US public health officials in Washington, who seem too willing to trust Chinese government and WHO information, even as the Chinese government’s lies about the virus have been exposed.

I followed all of the COVID-19 rules and I spent 2020 at home taking care of my husband. I didn’t take any vacations or attend any social gatherings (large or small), I wore a mask in public, I followed the social distancing rules and at first, I trusted Dr. Fauci and the DC public health officials made science-based recommendations. I don’t have any trust in Dr. Fauci or the CDC at this point, but I went ahead and got my first COVID vaccine last month and will get my second shot soon. I still wear a mask in public places and I still follow social distancing rules in those places, even though I strongly suspect that when exploiting COVID-19 fear and inciting hysteria for political advantage reaches the point of diminishing returns for Democrat politicians, we’ll likely learn from the “experts” that there’s no evidence to support that any of these “mitigation” efforts were effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 and that most of these efforts came with huge health and societal costs.

Whenever COVID-19 numbers in red states don’t conform to bolster the Dem’s COVID spin narrative, that Dem governors’ COVID mitigation restrictions are working magnificently and red state governors, who ended lockdown and mask mandates, are creating a serious public health threat, Dr. Fauci doesn’t ever have any explanation for information and data that runs counter to his belief in imposing more restrictions on people’s lives. He just pivots back to hyping more restrictions, from double-masking to insisting that even fully vaccinated people must still live a very restricted life, controlled by media-induced fear and government-imposed COVID-19 rules.

When this Democrat COVID-19 con game reaches critical mass, sadly our political class, both Dems and their media cohorts, who often seem more like comrades, will still be on Twitter generating the spin attacks that evil red state governors jeopardized public health by lifting COVID-19 restrictions too soon and they’ll still be doubling down, defending their corrupt and destructive COVID-19 “Trust the Science” spin crap show.

Another gloomy forecast is Republicans and Trump-friendly media will still likely be countering the Dem spin crap show with their adopted Trumpian counter-spin crap show, because they’ve bought into that “at least Trump fights the left spin,” as being a viable strategy to defeat the massive Dem/media spin control of mass media in America.

Control of the mass media spin messaging propels the left’s culture war, which relies on mass media spin information war to mold and control public opinion in America

The Trump spin approach remains doomed to fail and will never actually defeat the Dems’ massive spin apparatus, that includes, not only most of the media in America, but also the big tech social media giants, who jumped onboard with becoming the online censors of Republicans and conservatives speech, working to silence Trump-friendly conservative and Republican voices, who gain too much traction or pose any threat to the preferred liberal spin narratives. And now corporate CEOs have jumped into the Dem spin war too.

Trump’s dishonest, bombastic, reactionary spin show provides the Dems endless spin ammunition, while at the same time assures that Republicans and conservatives will stay locked down by Trump’s circular firing squad leadership style, wasting more time on in-fighting than uniting for any common purpose to counter the Dem/mainstream media spin war.

The main reason Trump supporters cite for supporting Trump is “he’s a fighter!” Unfortunately, Trump’s undisciplined and short-sighted outbursts aren’t a winning strategy to defeat a massive, sophisticated, well-organized and funded spin information war, that is only part of a multi-faceted leftist culture war. The left’s culture war ideologues are deeply burrowed into the American education system, they control the Democratic Party agenda, they have powerful support among America’s big tech giants and corporate America, and they control most of mass media political messaging in America.

The COVID-19 spin scare is beginning to lose its effectiveness at keeping the American people fearful and thus compliant to Dem COVID spin power grabs, so the leftist spin message operations have already begun priming the media spin battlefield for pivoting to their next spin “CRISIS” messaging, moving away from COVID-19 onto CLIMATE EMERGENCY… Seriously, the Dems and their liberal media friends are already prepping their media spin battlefield for this pivot:

The Biden administration wisely began muzzling President Biden as their COVID preacher, after inauguration, and instead allowed the media gadfly, Dr. Fauci, to assume the role of unofficial COVID czar, so that once he’s no longer useful to their spin messaging, the media will stop their Fauci lovefest coverage and the Democrats can just pivot to ramping up CLIMATE EMERGENCY hysteria.

More bizarre American spin war ahead, for sure.

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest, Information War

Recognizing my emergency preparedness fails

My usual blog topics are American politics and the media, but this post is about my inadequate emergency preparedness efforts and total fails..

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.

Interview to the Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008.[1]

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rahm_Emanuel

Although this Emanuel quote referred to using crises as a vehicle for ruthless political opportunism, for me COVID-19 has been a wake-up call about my own family’s emergency preparedness planning fails.  When the “15 Days To Slow The Spread” mitigation effort began a few months ago, I felt rather confident and a bit smug that I had enough food and supplies to manage just fine for 15 day and we did have plenty of food and supplies for two weeks.

Then the lockdowns around the country continued and the partisan political opportunism did jump into high gear, along with skyrocketing unemployment, some continued supply issues in American stores, and civil unrest around the country.  All of this, coupled with mercurial political decision-making in some states and in Washington, challenged my rather self-satisfied confidence about my emergency preparedness. 

By May, I started taking stock of my family’s basic preparedness and found that I am truly not well-prepared and that much of my overconfidence stemmed from gearing my emergency preparedness toward the natural disaster most common here in coastal GA (hurricanes).

Hurricanes arrive with days, often weeks, of advance warning, as we follow the track as they head towards the US coasts, so I always could mosey on down to Walmart and pick-up plenty of water, long before the mad rush began.  I also never had a long-term food storage plan, beyond stockpiling regular groceries.  I had no clue about what foods can be stored for years or how to store them.

A few months ago, I scoffed at people buying up all the bottled water at the store, confident I had no need for a lot of stored water, beyond the distilled water needed for my husband’s oxygen machine and my c-pap machine during this pandemic.  I didn’t even realize how critical it is to have a sufficient emergency water supply stored  – at all times, not just when there’s a hurricane heading our way.

I never imagined America dealing with multiple crises at a time.  I never prepared adequately for a sudden emergency.  And I certainly never imagined America’s food supply chain being vulnerable to small failures, let alone serious ones.

By May, my attitude evolved to being an engaged prepper in my own home, except that “prepper” label comes with a lot of negative baggage.  My challenge was trying to find common sense information on how to begin becoming better prepared when the entire “prepper” culture seems permeated by doomsday hysteria, zealous anti-government/arm yourself to the teeth preachers and starry-eyed homesteaders dreaming of living off the grid, without modern conveniences.  I don’t want to set off to live in the wilderness, build a bunker in the backyard or turn my home into an armed fortress.  All I want to do is become better-prepared and supplied for sudden emergencies and longer term crises.

I watched a lot of You Tube videos and did a lot of googling on emergency preparedness and learned there seems to be way more useless survivalist stuff, bad information and hysterical doomsday videos than practical information.

By far, the most clear and concise prepper information I found on YouTube is The Provident Prepper channel, produced by Jonathan and Kylene Jones.  Jonathan has worked in civil defense planning and emergency preparedness and he served as vice president of The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA), while Kylene has served in an advisory position with TACDA.  This couple lives in Utah and unbeknownst to me, emergency preparedness is an integral part of the Mormon religious practices and culture.  The Joneses also have a website packed with practical information, to include action plans to get you organized, and they’ve written a book on emergency preparedness. The Provident Prepper – A Common Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies.

The Mormon food storage practices are based on preparing to have enough food and water stored to last at least two weeks and then to build up stores to last longer, by buying gradually, not panic-buying.  Their preparedness also goes to having money saved for emergencies too.  This isn’t like the “prepper” craze that took hold in recent years; it’s a practical approach to emergency planning:

” According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), there are many reasons for having a food storage program. One source of this maxim is the command, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing,” (“Doctrine and Covenants”, Section 109:8). By being prepared with a basic supply of food, water, and monetary savings, a family can survive short-term and long-term adversities while being a resource to others in their community.”

https://www.learnreligions.com/food-storage-why-what-how-2159413

I  came across an entertaining read, The Stockpile of Food in My Garage, from March of this year, written by McKay Coppins.  Coppins humorously explains life growing up in a Mormon family where stockpiling extra food was the norm.  He expressed how he did not embrace the Mormon preparedness ethos, but his in-laws foisted large cans of emergency food supplies on him and his wife as Christmas gifts for several years.  He kept the cans in the garage and didn’t pay any attention to them until the pandemic panic-buying hit this year:

“A few nights ago, after an unnerving trip to a local grocery store that had been picked over by panic-shoppers, I came home and sheepishly suggested to my wife that we go out to the garage and take inventory of our food storage.

I had never actually looked closely at the cans, and as it turned out, the collection was less grim than I’d imagined. Yes, there was plenty of dehydrated broccoli. But there was also brownie mix and granola and something called “chocolate-milk alternative”—foods that actually seemed edible (or at least servable to our young children).

I knew that the sense of relief I felt as we examined the cans was irrational. Our fridge and cupboards were full. The grocery store would get new deliveries the next day. The likelihood of a serious food shortage in America remained, according to experts, extremely small. But the ritual of counting and stacking and sorting the cans—like so many rituals of faith—offered something more abstract than physical sustenance: peace of mind, a sense of hope, something to grip while the world is unraveling.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/03/stockpile-food-my-garage/608290/

American culture gravitates towards fast and disposable, but our ancestors were onto something with focusing on frugal-living, setting up food to see them through the lean times and focusing on the basics of taking care of their own family and community first.  In the digital age, it’s easy to get swept up in political causes and activism or to get caught up in trendy items to buy and social media “influencers” to emulate.  Even with “prepping” the trendy gears and gadget survivalists and living off-the-grid social media types garner large followings, but truly the Mormons are onto common sense and practical steps to take with their  “provident prepping” belief system and planning ideas.

I’m working on planning, building and organizing our short-term food storage for 3-6 months, then planning to push that out to a year.  After that, I plan to work on building a long-term storage plan.

 

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Filed under COVID-19, Emergency Preparedness, General Interest

Some thoughts on self-reliance

“I understand that folks growing up in the cities don’t have some of the outdoor opportunities that some of us have, but I am convinced that there are opportunities to develop individuality, independence, self-confidence and other survival skills without having to spend a year in the Rockies on some kind of sabbatical. Survival is more a mind-set than a setting. Attitude is everything.

Being innovative and imaginative is essential whether you’re in downtown Houston or central Nebraska. Skills of observation and patience are not natural talents, but acquired skills; both are essential and both can be acquired through discipline. The ability to reason and employ a rational, decision making process is needed in order to survive and thrive. Again, that is an acquired skill. Determination, grit if you will, is a trait to be cherished, not erased.”

Gimme A Knife, by Gladius Maximus

After two months of COVID-19 lockdown/social distancing drama, the relentless spin dramas leave me feeling both sad COVID-19 has devolved into just another partisan flashpoint in our ongoing culture war and at the same time looking for glimmers of hope that there’s enough goodwill and good old common sense left in America to help tamp down on the media and partisan 24/7 spin incitement.  I’m trying to tune out most of the partisan political stuff.

The ironic part about these new COVID-19 social distancing guidelines in my life is my adult children seamlessly pivoted their lectures.  Five years ago I stopped working to stay at home and take care of my husband.  It was no longer safe for him to be home alone for hours.  He was falling frequently and the dementia and memory loss from the normal pressure hydrocephalus had gotten much worse.  Since then, my kids routinely lectured me about, “You need to get out of the house more.”  As soon as the health experts and government officials started putting out these social distancing warnings, my kids began the “Stay at home, Mom!” lectures pointing out, “It’s not only Dad who is at risk, you are too!”  I have, oh, what’s that in vogue term now… ah, yes, “comorbidities.”

I hadn’t been getting out of my house much anyway, so my every day life has continued as normal.  One daughter advised me to use the shop online/pick-up option at my local Wal-mart Neighborhood Market and I have used that a few times.  The only other concerted effort I’ve made is I’ve been assessing my pantry and gradually buying some extra canned goods and non-perishable items.  Since I already keep my pantry overstocked, I’m not out panic-buying mountains of toilet paper, but paying more attention to what food items I have already and what items might be useful to stock up on to round out meals, in case of food shortages.  Yes, as unimaginable as it seems, food shortages in our vast food supply, now seem possible in America.

Here’s the thing about having an overstocked pantry and this especially applies to the people panic-buying and rushing around hoarding one thing or another during this pandemic – overstocking easily leads to more waste.  I learned this from making this mistake many times over the years purchasing those “too good to pass up” sales.  You’ve got to look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer.  You’ve got to learn to rotate your food – pulling the oldest stuff to the front and putting the new items to the back.  That way you use up the older items, rather than having them turn into wasted food and food dollars.  Trust me on this, because I’ve failed to do this so many times and ended up throwing away food items that should have been tossed years (yes, years) ago.

On social media it seems a lot of people, especially celebrity types, while teleworking from home have embraced baking bread and cooking gourmet type meals and plastering photos and videos online.  There’s nothing wrong with baking bread or cooking gourmet type meals, but as with everything, if you’re new to baking bread and cooking, it’s way more practical to start small rather than rushing to buy a lot of new ingredients and cookware, you’re unfamiliar with.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with developing new baking and cooking skills, but acquiring common sense and an ability to slow down and assess the pros and cons are skills that will see you through any crisis in life.  Assessing your finances and making sure you have some money set aside should outweigh buying a lot of cooking utensils and new ingredients, especially if your real goal is to post photos and videos online to impress your followers or subscribers on social media.  Social media has created a very negative “keeping up with the Joneses” culture, where one “popular” person posts something “new” and then dozens (or even thousands) of other people rush to be just like that “popular” person.

Media and social media generated hype and/or hysteria  have induced panic-buying of everything from toilet paper to yeast.  Yes, all that baking bread by the media peeps has led to a run on yeast, where it’s hard to find yeast in grocery stores.  Never fear though, on YouTube there are numerous videos on how to make your own yeast for baking.

My top three crisis coping tips are:

1. Take care of yourself and your family first.  You will be better able to help others if you get your own life in order first. Learn to take time to calmly assess your own life and your own situation.  Assess you and your family’s finances, your food and health needs.  Don’t let the social media personalities, media, politicians, experts or even friends and family prod you into making rushed decisions.  Slow down, take a deep breath and think for yourself.

2. Learning to cultivate calm should be at the top of your crisis preparedness list.  Cultivating calm requires developing patience and hope.  As a worst-case planner type personality, I have to catch myself often and work hard on developing a hopeful attitude.

3. Work to simplify your daily routine rather than adding a lot of confusing and impractical actions.  For instance, I love gardening, but with my household tasks and taking care of my husband, I know I won’t be able to properly care for a garden too.  Then there’s the cost of gardening supplies and from previous home-gardening experience here in GA, knowing that bugs, drought or too much rain can wipe out months of hard work quickly.  Another big factor in my decision-making was remembering all the heavy-lifting gardening tasks my husband always took care of – like roto-tilling the garden and all of the composting chores. I decided buying store-bought canned goods and dried goods, which are safe and will last years is a more practical option.  Setting out on some home gardening/self-reliant dream right now would be setting myself up for more stress, failure and likely a big waste of money.

Learning to be more self-reliant and developing survival skills has way more to do with developing crucial critical-thinking skills and a can-do attitude than with stocking up on particular items or listening to certain “experts.”   My mother was the calmest person in a crisis and she definitely possessed  a fiercely self-reliant attitude.  She also possessed very varied skill sets and knew how to handle everything from nursing to doing electrical wiring.  My father had a perpetually optimistic attitude, could build and fix many things and was an expert gardener.  I grew up in rural PA, where a self-reliant attitude was still the norm.  Around rural America that sort of rugged individualism, where people believe in taking care of themselves and helping their neighbors, still flourishes.

When life is calm is the time to occasionally think about those “what-if” things that might go wrong.  Developing some common sense and proportionality in crisis planning takes practice.  In the midst of a crisis it’s harder to stay calm and it’s certainly harder to slow down and think through those “what ifs.”   Just the mental practice of thinking about those “what ifs’ when the sun is shining and skies are blue can help you develop a crucial emergency coping skill – fighting fear-driven reactions.  Thinking about those “what ifs” should prod you into learning to prepare for problems before they hit and then if you find yourself in the midst of a crisis, you can more easily focus on calmly thinking of  “what actions can I take?” rather than letting fear (or media hysteria) take control.

I had plenty of food and basic supplies to last two weeks, so I wasn’t worried about that initial 15 day “flatten the curve” effort.  When that effort extended past 15 days and items that have never been out of stock in stores, became hard to find, well, it sure seems prudent to spend some time thinking about some “what ifs” that I had never thought about in my lifetime – food shortages in America.

There’s still plenty of food in America, but the disruptions to our food supply system, caused by the lockdowns, panic-buying, COVID-19 outbreaks in meat processing facilities, and economic turmoil left me thinking about what happens if these types of disruptions continue for months or even a year or two?  I’m not panic-buying, but working on looking through my canned and dried food items, my freezer and my fridge and making lists of items I want to purchase to have a food supply that can last 3-6 months.  Of course, my adult kids tell me frequently there’s enough food here to last a year, I don’t really think that’s true, so I want to strategically expand it some.

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