OPTIMIZING THE TRADE OFFS

Illustration of the morphology of coronaviruses; the club-shaped viral spike peplomers, coloured red, create the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically (from here (en.wikipedia.org))

In my last post on this subject, CORONAVIRUS: THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM IS GUESSWORK, I advocated taking the problem seriously. Since then we have started forcing businesses to close. There is an obvious problem with that. We work to pay the bills for food, clothing, and shelter. Stop working and pretty soon we don’t have any food, clothing, and shelter. If nothing else, forcing people to isolate themselves at home will lead to mental health problems. When people cannot work and interact with others, many become depressed, and some become suicidal. Therefore, cannot beat the coronavirus by shutting everything down.

What businesses are shutting down? That depends on the state but here are some examples.

We can accurately describe business shutdowns as draconian measures. Are the business shutdowns necessary? Given the object is to stop the spread of the virus, not to stop people from working, we need to consider that question. Have we considered the trade offs? Have we looked at appropriate alternatives?

Consider this excerpt from Exaggerating coronavirus doomsday scenario ignores other tragedies: Let’s stop the hysteria (washingtontimes.com) by Everett Piper.

Matt Smethurst of the Gospel Coalition recently challenged his readers to consider the words of C.S. Lewis’ essay titled “On Living in an Atomic Age” that was written some 72 years ago at the end of World War II. In referring to the following excerpt from Lewis, Mr. Smethurst takes the liberty of replacing “coronavirus” where Lewis instead referenced the “atomic bomb” throughout the quote:

“In one way, we think a great deal too much of the coronavirus. ‘How are we to live in a coronavirus age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the coronavirus was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways … It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty. (from here (washingtontimes.com))

Instead of forcing people who would otherwise being doing useful work to close their businesses, we need to encourage people to modify the way they interact with customers so that their businesses are not involved in the spread of disease. That is, we need to work out sanitation measures that make it safe for businesses to stay open and people to earn their livelihood. Will that be easy? No, but shutting down so many businesses for a couple of months will be far more difficult.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious problem, but we don’t want a cure that is worse than the disease. So, we cannot ignore the consequences of our actions. We don’t want to do more harm than good. Is not the following the first rule in health care?

First, do no harm.

(from here (en.wikipedia.org))

 

 

120 thoughts on “OPTIMIZING THE TRADE OFFS

  1. As bad the economy is tanking right now and will likely destroy many companies and shops, if no effective countermeasures are taken, I do not see an alternative right now. Unfortunately, all western countries have failed to take the virus seriously enough in the beginning, when aggressive testing and contact tracking combined with quarentine measures could have done a lot of good. At this moment of time and for a few weeks to go, I do not see an alternative to shutting down public life and social contacts. And yes, you are correct, this will not be sustainable for long. I can only hope and pray, that the lockdown light we have in Germany will be sufficient to stem the tide.

    As for the death toll, prepare for another couple of grim news. I have had a look at the fatality numbers in the USA and so far that rise is exponential with a doubling time of about 3.5 days (Germany prior to the shutdown was similar). That means numbers go up by a number of four after one week, another number of four the next week and so on. As it takes patients about 14 days to go from showing first symptons to dying, the number of dead people today is basically a window into the past of two weeks ago about the spread of infection two weeks ago. As nothing substantially changed from two weeks ago up to the lockdowns in terms of attempts to stop the spread (travel bans came too late, the infection had already taken root in the population) it is safe to assume that the number of infections continued at the same exponential growth. Prepare to see cumulative death tolls 16 times higher two weeks after the lockdown, as compared to the deaths on the day of the lockdown. So for NYC alone (at 99 dead as of today) I regretfully expect to see about 1500 deaths and rising by April 6, unless there is a major breakthrough in treatment. Only after about that date will we see effects of the lockdown in the number of deaths.

    Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @marmoewp

      You stay safe too!

      Don’t think Germany has a large number of Chinese immigrants. So I guess you will fare better than Italy. Still, I doubt the epidemic will be less disastrous in Germany than it is in the USA, especially not with Italy next door.

      We all probably need to check how how South Korea managed the problem.

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      1. Italy had about 321,000 Chinese nationals in 2018 among 60 million inhabitants, Germany 143,000 among 83 million. I don’t think that difference matters much. The first cases in Germany were related to business travel and Germans coming home from vacation at international destinations. Therefore I don’t share the implied point of view, that the resident Chinese expats are the source for the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

        As I said, before taking countermeasures both countries had a similar doubling time for deaths and were on basically the same trajectory. I have outlined the measures taken by South Korea in my post above, but I do not see attempts to duplicate those efforts in any western country. Maybe, it’s simply that that train has left the station.

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        1. I have outlined the measures taken by South Korea in my post above,

          I must’ve missed this. What were those measures the ROK took but others didn’t, exactly? They were hit the hardest and fastest.
          After that, they changed their measures.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The ROK seems to be the example du jour everyone is pointing to
            A country that didn’t allow it to get to the point the ROK did and serves as a far better example is Japan. The ROK let it get so far out of hand, China itself banned travelers from the ROK. Great example.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Facts are facts Liz. A person can be smart and people can be amazingly stupid. Once we got rapid community spread, pointing fingers back and forth in past tense (even at our idiot Predident) is just a blame game that has little usefulness in the rapidly changing present moment. It also enflames the prejudices of highly stupid people who have far less ability to distinguish the factual and historical nuances of this than you do. When we are fighting a fast moving fire, do we really have time to have our firemen drop everything and tar and feather the politicians who wrote the fire code? There will be plenty of time for that later.

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          3. @tsalmon

            We have a two trillion dollar stimulus bill. The sheer size of it is idiotic. It is just as dumb as dumping gasoline on a fire. Too many of our leaders see a crisis as an excuse to spend gobs of money. Have we not wasted enough money already?

            Assuming that COVID-19 could kill one percent of the population if not controlled, the stimulus bill costs $571,428 per life. That assumes we have roughly 350 million people and one percent die from the virus, and it does not account for the damage we are already sustaining to our economy. Only someone who is math challenged thinks throwing away that much money makes sense.

            What is the status of that 2 trillion dollar bill. Representatives from the two parties negotiated a 500 page Christmas tree. Then Pelosi and Schumer got greedy and added another 1000 pages. They want to use the bill to get stuff passed that is wholly unrelated, and the news media is ignoring it.

            Who knows what the final bill will include, but this kind of spending is insane.

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          4. Tom,

            Thanks for your confidence that I have such omniscience, but why do you think that I would want to be your foil for defending this stimulus bill? I don’t feel the need to defend the Dems, but even if I did, you are blame barking up the wrong partisan tree.

            This is a Republican lead effort. It’s Republican Moscow Mitch’s Senate and his bill. He negotiated it with Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury and it is also being asked for by Trump’s hand picked Fed Chairman. One also must assume that Trump plans to sign it. This is your party’s baby more than it is anyone else’s.

            I think the final passage will be pretty bipartisan. It seems to be motivated by hair-on-fire consensus from economists of all political persuasions who feel that this international economic emergency may send the country and the world into a spiraling ruinous economic collapse. Evidently, the speculation house of cards that Wall Street built can’t withstand a national crisis (also most working people have been withstanding crisis after crisis for decades now).

            Do I think it’s a good bill? Because I have no expertise in anything like this, because the situation is so absolutely unprecedented in history, and because I have not read the bill, I don’t trust my judgement enough to even render an uninformed opinion. Why would you care what I think even if I did, along with the leaders of your party, think it is a great idea? Why emote ignorance just for the sake of emoting? Why do you trust your opinion? Because you know 4th grade math? Well, I can see how you might think that that probably makes you smarter than most of the Republicans you helped elect, especially Trump. 😉

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          5. @tsalmon

            Stop making lame excuses, proclaiming your false modesty. Nobody has the “expertise” to spend two trillion dollars. So, you are as qualified as anyone.

            Facts are facts Liz. A person can be smart and people can be amazingly stupid. Once we got rapid community spread, pointing fingers back and forth in past tense (even at our idiot Predident) is just a blame game that has little usefulness in the rapidly changing present moment.

            If we wait until after our glorious leaders spend our money to do the finger pointing, they will have already robbed us.

            Do I trust Mitch McConnel? I don’t trust any politicians. McConnel is an Establishment Republican. His only virtue is that Charles Schumer is even more crooked.

            McConnell’s bill, already negotiated with Democrats, is a Wall Street bailout. Democrats tend to get more money out of Wall Street (campaign donations) than Republicans. Wall Street bribes both sides. Wall Street makes both Republicans and Democrats rich. So, when the effort is bipartisan there is no guarantee the result will be good.

            All politicians can tempted to buy votes. It is an easy way to get elected. Trusting either Republicans or Democrats does not make them any better. It just demonstrates our naivete.

            Politicians should not be trusted. We have to hold them accountable today. Pointing fingers cannot wait for another day.

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          6. As long as you’re doing math. The Iraq War has cost something like more than four trillion dollars now, not to mention tens of thousands of lives lost on both sides. You were all for that war. How’s the math on lives saved on that still unpaid for war working out? What about the trillion dollar per year deficit for the corporate giveaway that the Trump tax cuts got us? What’s the math per supposed job created on that? Or what about oil company and agribusiness corporate welfare? Did you know that we have now spent more on subsidizing farmers hurt by Trump’s tariffs than Obama spent on that auto bailout that you hated so much? Have you done the math on those too?

            Apparently math is only a tool to use to criticize the response to an actual nation crisis, not to apply to the ones Republicans creat themselves. 🙂

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          7. @tsalmon

            That’s a classic whataboutism. It is just a diversion. You want the math done? You do it. Just explain where that four trillion dollars comes from. Thin air is not good enough.

            Will doing the math do any good. It is too late to stop the spending or throw out the big spenders. So, all we can do is chalk it up to lessons learned.

            Observation: Democrats were throwing out whataboutisms long before they started using that word against Republicans. Democrats are still using whataboutisms. Now we just have a different word, but red herring was good enough.

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          8. @Tom
            Assuming that COVID-19 could kill one percent of the population if not controlled

            Your argument is based on fatally flawed assumptions. See this CDC table of cases from Feb 2 to Mar 16
            https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm#T1_down
            You have a fatality rate of 1.8% to 3.4% only if you provide proper care for the severe cases. What you are missing in the picture is the high hospitalization rate of 20%, which includes a rate of 5% to 11% that require ICU admission. Hospitalisation in the vast majority of cases means patients need to be put on oxygen supply at a minimum. If you allow COVID-19 to rip through the population unchecked, you’ll have at a minimum 50% infected this year, which correponds to 33 million US-Americans requiring hospitalisation. As resources will not be enough to hospitalize the majority of these cases, fatality rates will increase drastically. Keep in mind, even “just” 1% fatality rate corresponds to 3.3 million dead US-Americans. Assume a fatality rate of 10%, if infected, and half the population getting infected: 16 million Americans dead. What will that do to your economy?

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          9. @marmoewp

            Since I assumed the absurd, I assumed 3.5 million dead. Everyone catches the virus? Not likely.

            If we spend $100,000 to save each life, that is still an extraordinary amount of money. Too costly for just one disease/threat to human life.

            I have not advocated doing nothing. I am against throwing money at any problem. We need to focus on the solution. Does it make sense? Focusing on the threat just leads to panic?

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          10. @Liz

            I have outlined the measures taken by South Korea in my post above,

            I must’ve missed this. What were those measures the ROK took but others didn’t, exactly? They were hit the hardest and fastest.
            After that, they changed their measures.

            You are correct, I did not refer to South Korea when I listed “aggressive testing and contact tracking combined with quarentine measures “. Those were the measures I wanted to refer to, but did not. These are part of the measures that allowed South Korea to get new daily infections down to 2 per million population from a high of 17. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-korea/
            The USA is at 33 new confirmed infections per million per day, Germany at 50. Do you think we are doing well in comparison to ROK?

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          11. ”If we wait until after our glorious leaders spend our money to do the finger pointing, they will have already robbed us.”

            You misunderstand. I was referring to the idiocy of finger pointing at past mistakes or successes when you are in a crisis now. It’s like the plane is on fire and all my copilot wants to talk about is whether we should have taken off in the first place. How about a plan now?

            Constructive, informed criticism of what is being done in the moment and what is planned for the future is fair game in my mind. I just don’t have the information or the expertise to criticize this emergency bailout and virtually all the people, regardless of partisan persuasion, who are screaming for it. Also, the political party that has initiated the bill and that has the most control over it, including absolute veto power, is your Party, the Republicans. This is like I’m just hearing outside the arena a game that I don’t know the rules to and you want me to defend the blue team for a move that is actually being made by the red team. I don’t know how to solve this apparent imminent collapse of the global economy. My opinion, like yours, is worth about as much it takes to put it here – meaning absolutely nothing.

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          12. Besides your brother here, I also follow some other Conservative blogs just to keep in touch with opinion.. and most places are FAR more vitriol than Tom could ever be on a “good” day. In the middle of all this these idiots (and they truly are, given they’ve lost their grasp on reality) are still blaming the panic on the Liberal press, conspiracy theories about the Chinese in bed with American Liberal politicians, and this all-consuming worship of two things.. their guns and Trump. They see an “enemy” Liberal.. which they assign is a Democrat, Socialist, Communist, and group them all into a collective threat… everywhere wanting to take their guns and destroy THEIR country. The survivalists of that Conservative ilk are having a great old time lavishing in their new found acceptance that maybe they weren’t all nuts after all in their preparations given we are on the verge of some kind of social collapse. Guns stores are out of ammo and guns simply because people are getting prepared to kill other people; it matters not the altruistic reasons and justifications.
            We have a government that has NO idea what it is doing, can’t establish a response priority, led by a nutcase calling himself the President who is expressly capable of adding to the confusion because he wants to get re-elected so much that he’s willing to tell the nation to go back to work and forget about getting sick… it’s just a Liberal plot.
            Like the songs says… clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right… and most of us are stuck in the middle… thinking toilet paper is the most important thing.

            The national political divide is alive and well and not likely to change. I am no economist at all but on the service it seems to make little sense when we see day after day hospitals are begging for masks and respirators, et al to treat the mass of humanity and keep this thing from spreading… and Trump is worried about the economy so he can get re-elected. Absolutely he’s fiddling while Rome burns… and the Congressional GOP just marches lockstep to his tune… and Americans continue to die. When Trump gets the virus, and as it spreads through Congress, maybe.. and only maybe.. will they see the forest o’er the trees.
            This two trillion.. four trillion.. whatever they want to call it is likely going to do little.. other than maybe be a windfall to folks on unemployment. In the meantime… not a damn thing is working on the front lines because we are more concerned with politics than saving lives.

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          13. @Doug

            Tsalmon is absolutely wrong. It is the guy giving orders to the Navy Seals whose lady gets those emery boards.

            As a Christian, I believe we are fallen creatures. So I don’t expect much out of people, including myself. I try to be good, and I think most people try to be good. Nevertheless, we have trouble discerning the truth, including the difference between good and evil.

            Consider how we classify each other in the political spectrum, left versus right. Communists are on the extreme left, and Nazis are on the extreme right. Since there is very little difference between a Communist and a Nazi (Both are totalitarian Socialists.), the distinction between left and right is virtually meaningless. Yet this is one of the primary distinctions made by the political class, including august professors and renown pundits.

            When we have so little understanding, we should not expect much wisdom from each other. Fact is there is not much difference between a radical on the left or a radical on the right. The only difference is that at this time in history class warfare seems to be more popular than race warfare. In addition, the crony capitalist news media, which is throughly taken with class warfare and identity politics, has lost a lot of credibility. So some radicals are trying to pass themselves off as true Conservatives and Libertarians.

            What beliefs do I think we should we desire in our fellow citizens?
            1. Love of neighbor.
            2. A belief in classical virtues. That the standard for good and evil is objective, not relative to the situation.
            3. That we are all created equal. None of us are automatically entitled to special privileges before the law. We all have unalienable rights.

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          14. @tsalmon

            As citizens we don’t have a choice. We must constantly evaluate the conduct of our leaders and hold them accountable. Our inability to do that well is one of the reasons we need to keep our government as simple and small as we can.

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          15. “If we spend $100,000 to save each life, that is still an extraordinary amount of money. Too costly for just one disease/threat to human life.”

            I have to agree with MW here. Your assumptions may be fatally flawed on the economic side, the medical side and perhaps on the moral side as well. What do you think it costs to be in an ICU for two to three weeks? What is the actual cost of doing nothing at all? Of doing everything? Of doing or not doing each kind and level of possible mitigation? This is an interconnected worldwide system so how does what one part of the world or our country do or not do effect both the medical and the economic systems elsewhere? How does just moving one part of the each health and economic ecosystem (or even the perception of a movement) completely rebalance the whole? How does your “culture of life” fit into your $100,000 (or even million dollar) transactional morality?

            Life is suffering and our love and suffering are mysteriously interrelated. I have never been happier or more in love with everyone and everything than I am now, and (it is difficult to explain but) that especially includes the beauty of the suffering that the incarnate Christ God endured with and in each of us. What is another moment of that love worth for me? For each of us to be willing to sacrifice for another? I don’t know, but don’t feel that this sort of moral reasoning can be completely understood in a transactional and economic way? I think you would agree with that.

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          16. @tsalmon

            Oh! I 💘 so much! That gives me the right to spend your money?

            Here is my reply to “MW”.

            100 percent of us require food, clothing, and shelter. All the things we make, including the stuff we use to fight COVID-19, require people to work. Pointing out how deadly the virus might be does not change that. It just means that we have to do something, but hiding under a rock ain’t it.

            We have every right to look at the solution and consider whether it makes sense. The gravity of the problem justifies the expense of the solution, but we still have to consider whether the solution makes sense.

            You got heartburn? Feels awful? You going to stop eating spicy Mexican food or get a heart transplant?

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          17. Doug,

            My wife and I have been prudently hanging out at home eschewing away from public places, reading and watching way too much of the news each day. Yesterday as I was reading the NYT, she looked up at me and said, “My nails are a mess; I need some emery boards.” I laughed and said to her:

            STOP THE APOCALYPSE NOW!!! KATE NEEDS EMERY BOARDS!!!

            I think that those people who think they are approaching the the point that they have to start killing each other to defend their hoard of toilet paper aren’t really living anyway. The absolute worst things that can happen to a person isn’t necessarily the suffering that he/she might endure (we all suffer and die in one way or another) – it’s the suffering we inflict on others. We can all break under enough suffering. I just hope we try to have enough class to wait for something more than this to spark a shooting Revolution. Luckily, most of the folks panicking in this way are mostly pitiable. However, when the Navy Seals start losing faith in government and begin shooting their fellow Americans, well, a prayer and a laugh may be our best recourse because cause they are getting all the emery boards if that’s what they want.

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          18. ”Oh! I 💘 so much! That gives me the right to spend your money?“

            Ha! You think you are somehow mocking me for believing in the Gospel of love. That’s a lash I can gladly take.

            I’ll happily cop to being a believer in love. God’s love is about all that I believe in these days. I’ve become quite the softy in this regard. However, if your moral equations aren’t defined by love, then exactly what religion do you think that you belong to?

            This is a unique and defining national and an international emergency. You seem to want to get mad at me because I won’t voice an uninformed disagreement with the difficult choices that YOUR politicians are making.

            I don’t know what you are so worried about. Trump will undoubtedly figure out a way to make a buck out if this and still screw this up even if lots of people unnecessarily suffer and die because of it. He’s a very stable genius in this regard. The most charitable thing you can say about Trump is that the man couldn’t lead a two car parade.

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          19. @tsalmon

            Love involves self sacrifice, not deciding how others will sacrifice.

            I don’t always agree with elected Republicans. Nobody always agrees with anybody. Intraparty feuds are unavoidable.

            There few politicians who rigorously adhere to high principles. We don’t elect them. That is why too many of our elected leaders have no trouble sacrificing us in order to reward their donors, and they will happily use a “crisis” to do just that.

            Whenever we hear politicians talking about a “crisis”, we may as well assume they are wondering how they will use it to their own personal best advantage. That cynical? No. It has happened over and over again.

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          20. “Love involves self sacrifice, not deciding how others will sacrifice.“

            So you’re willing to sacrifice other people’s lives just to make sure that the selfish aren’t forced to do the right thing? This seems like a very selective Ideological burden you’ve taken on. The sinful choices of the rich must be applauded and championed, but gays deserve only public ridicule and exile from legal protection their supposed sins?

            Unfortunately for those who like black and white rules for everyone, moral conflicts between the individual’s right to do wrong and his responsibility to the community that he benefits from belonging to are not always so clear. The concept that we let the weak sacrifice for the sake of the strong smacks of a social Darwinism that it seems to me is the opposite of what Jesus called on us to do for “the least of these”.

            However, clearly your cost/benefit argument here is more of a typical Utilitarian “greater good” formula that would normally be offensive to most Christians. Why? Because such “greater good” Utilitarian equations always become morally abhorrent when placed in their simplest terms: if everyone else could achieve the highest possible utility of happiness only if an innocent was slowly allowed to be tortured somewhere in a basement, then is that “greater good” morally acceptable? In its starkest sense, that illustration is pretty much what we would be doing in a national crisis if we just let preventable suffering and death occur just to keep us from equitably SHARING a steep financial burden. What meaning is there to our lives, our prosperity, our supposed exceptional Christian culture if we are willing to do that?

            Keep in mind that this is literally, not only a national, but an international, natural disaster that has lead to an economic disaster. Part of what we do and specifically what the federal government does is help in such a crisis. I get how we don’t want to trade greater human suffering in the long term for a lesser suffering now, and I get how poverty can lead to human suffering. I think that much of the current mitigation money is meant to address that (but as I said, I’m no expert). However, if we are just talking about an unwillingness to jointly endure some economic hardship to save possibly many tens of thousands of senseless deaths, well, then this truly is a test of who we are and what we really value as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

            But that’s just my general moral opinion. As for the medical and the economic strategy, I would have to rely upon the judgement of our duly elected representatives to listen to the experts and do the right thing and then hold them accountable. I know that’s a long shot, but the only other choice to this whole fallible republic thing is chaos.

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          21. @tsalmon

            It seems that what I said got under your skin and stung a bit.

            So you’re willing to sacrifice other people’s lives just to make sure that the selfish aren’t forced to do the right thing?

            Who gave me the authority to determine who is selfish and make them do the right thing, Karl Marx or God?

            It is late. Bedtime. I will read what you wrote more carefully tomorrow.

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          22. Why would you think anything that you write would get serious enough to get under my skin? I love these moral debates. 🙂

            “Who gave me the authority to determine who is selfish and make them do the right thing, Karl Marx or God?“

            Not exactly you Tom, but collectively you. Well, only if you are the minor god of stop lights, pubic parks, the CDC, courts of arbitration, intellectual property laws, police departments, fire departments, zoning, sidewalks, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, and I almost forgot, SPACE FORCE!

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          23. @tsalmon

            We cannot solve a problem by focusing solely on the “problem” and observing how awful it is. Yet people do that for at least a couple of reasons. They are so frightened they cannot think about anything except the problem. They think the magnitude of the problem justifies excesses inherent in their preferred solution.

            In a free country, government, because it is designed to force compliance, tends to be an excessive solution for most problems. That is why when people argue for a government solution, we logically demand that advocates show the problem must be solved and can only be solved with a government solution.

            Socialists, however, obviously don’t view the fact that government by definition is about the use of force against our family, friends, and neighbors with any alarm. Whether Socialists love their neighbors I don’t know, but they do seem to love twisting their neighbors’ arms.

            You are not a Socialist? You are all about love? Then why do you always argue for growing government even when other alternatives exist?

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          24. “You are not a Socialist? You are all about love? Then why do you always argue for growing government even when other alternatives exist?”

            Yes. Instead of focusing on the pandemic problem, we should argue about stale labels and pretend to narrow complex choices down to the magical simplicity of stale “ism” that you broadly apply to whoever disagrees with you. I object to this whole formulation of the argument as less than useless sophistry.

            If everything government does is so easily dismissed as “Socialism”, then the term is too unspecific to be the least bit meaningful. If, in an international crisis, everyone becomes a Socialist then no one is really a Socialist, even the actual Socialists. You may as well substitute Republican or Democrat or French or American or human for the term “Socialist”, for all the helpfulness it has.

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          25. @tsalmon

            The point is that you have — won’t even discuss — when the government should be used. You can’t offer any criteria. Then, ridiculously, you modestly proclaim a lack of expertise about so many problems you want government to solve. Yet as voters we employ our elected officials and civil servants.

            Arguably, since we as the government are forcing people to quarantined themselves or shut down their businesses we owe some people compensation. In fact, the promise of compensation is necessary to gain the cooperation of some. Why are you so reluctant to discuss that? I think the answer too obvious. When it comes to distinguishing between public and private property, you don’t know where to start. It is just to complicated and unloving, I suppose.

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          26. I have no problem discussing any issue that you want to discuss. However, there are few things that you can’t seem to get past in my responses:

            1. This fear of uncertainty.

            There just isn’t always one right answer to solve problems in complex systems. You turn one valve and ten others open and ten more close. Change is accelerating and options are closing as a multitude of others open. What was right five days ago is wrong now.

            We are dealing with interplay at the intersections of medical science, political science, sociology, social and individual psychology and moral and religious philosophy. There may be no right answer and even if there is, we may not find it in time before it’s gone. And even if we did find it, we may not be inclined to do it.

            Right now, I’m satisfied with, no actually proud of, the general moral direction that this is at least attempting to go. If we have economically destroyed ourselves sacrificing for “the least of these” then I see Christ in that suffering, and wonderfully, the vast majority of Americans agree, despite what they are beginning to suffer through. God bless us For that and God bless America.

            2. Dualistic thinking.

            This goes along with 1. Things are not always black and white. This won’t be solved by some absolute Socialism or absolute Capitalism, some absolute libertarianism or some absolute utilitarianism. None of these wild organisms actually exist for long in captivity and they never have. They always mutate into complex hybrids of themselves that only vaguely resemble the imagined exemplar. The more that a given nation tries to enslave their wild system into the perfect model, the more likely they are to create a Frankenstein monster that controls and destroys its creators.

            This is the endless fallacy of ideological determinism that Karl Popper argued against, but there is something about human psychology that makes us cling to such flawed absolutism over and over and over. And I think the smartest of us are the most likely to fear ambiguity the most. The worst leaders I have ever known simply could not deal with the ambiguity of holding several, often conflicting, possibilities in their head at the same time. They crave the simplify of wrong headed absolute answers.

            3. Emotivism

            Can you imagine an army where busting the battle every private constantly voiced a tactical and a strategic opinion about everything, even though he/she had inferior knowledge of the facts and even less expertise? Compound this with 1. and 2. above, and the cacophony of ignorance is absolutely deafening. If there ever, ever was an occasion so complex, so ambiguous, so unprecedented where there is wisdom in just saying “I don’t know, and quite frankly, neither do you”, then this is it, don’t you think?

            The Senate voted on this plan without a single “no”, the House by unanimous consent. There will be plenty of time to shoot all the cripples and purge all your ideological apostates after we’ve won the war. Right now, how about we stand together and support our leaders. This in a national emergency, not some excuse for endless parlor pontifications.

            Like

          27. @tsalmon

            We are so noble. We just piled another two trillion dollars onto the national debt without any serious debate. Our progeny will so love and respect our self restraint.

            1. This fear of uncertainty. Poor Tom is afraid. So, poor Tom needs reassurance? Fact is you want to discuss the issues on terms so nebulous there is no hope resolution.

            There is no right. There is no wrong. There is complicated. We just have to kiss and hug, abort the unwanted, and everything will be okay. Expecting people to adhere to high moral standards (unless they are named Trump) is too complicated. Besides, there is no right answer. What is wrong for me may be perfectly okay for someone else. So, why be rude and risk offending anyone?

            2. Dualistic thinking. There is a distinct difference between good and evil. That difference, however, is not always immediately obvious because the good and the bad don’t necessarily look different. In fact, the good and the bad usually use similar methods and tools to achieve their ends.

            When I signed up for AFROTC, I was asked if I had any problem flying a bomber and dropping bombs like we had in WWII. I did not indicate much enthusiasm, but I said when our enemies don’t leave us any choice we have to destroy them before they destroy us.

            We both grew up in the era of MAD. This is just a dumb bullet.

            3. Emotivism. The USA is not an army with country. The USA is a land of citizens with a government. Soldiers don’t insubordinately question lawful orders, but citizens debate government policy. Otherwise, citizens are not citizens. They are slaves.

            Therefore, citizen, I ask you again. What principles do you apply when you decide what things the government should do and what things the government should not do? That is, what is it right for government to do, and what is it wrong for government to do? Why?

            When the Senate voted to spend like they are spending other people’s money, what principles did those people apply?

            Like

          28. “When it comes to distinguishing between public and private property, you don’t know where to start.“

            We’ve discussed this before and the problem is that you refuse to accept the obvious.

            Take intellectual property such as a patent. By definition that is government granted monopoly on an idea, something that does not even exist without government. Most businesses are corporations – a government created and defined fiction. Your home ownership is nothing more than a bundle of rights and responsibilities defined and enforceable by government at law. Even money is a legal fiction – “In God we trust” by the money only exists because it is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. You own your body. Tell me that you can’t be coerced by government in time of national emergency and I’ll say that you must live alone on your own island.

            You distinguish for me where “private” starts and the “government“ ends, and I will prove to you that for property to practically exist in the reality of a modern economy, the two are indivisible and inseparable.

            We can always argue about the margins – that’s what the law is for, but to argue that property exists without government in modernity is just magical ideological hogwash.

            Like

          29. @tsalmon

            Think about what Madison is saying here.

            But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

            If men could be counted upon to do what is right, we would respect each others rights. That includes the right to property. Of course, if we were angels, we would be much more generous with our property. So, we could easily rely upon each other for charity in time of need.

            That doesn’t sound right? Government, not God, defines our rights? Angelic men would own nothing without a government to define their property rights?

            Within each of us at birth is a moral law. You need proof? “Mine” is one of the first words a child learns. Even small children understand what it means to own and control a thing.

            Don’t we both know that before there was government, there was stealing? In order for someone to steal, someone else has to own.

            Yet what if government defines our right to own a thing, that our ownership is nothing more than “a bundle of rights and responsibilities defined and enforceable by government at law”. Then what is morally wrong with stealing? If the government arbitrarily defines some as free and some as slave, what is wrong with that? Because some men say otherwise? So long as those men can be bought, tricked or overpowered, who cares?

            Like

          30. I realize you guys are enjoying talking theory but seeing that you mentioned government was established to prevent stealing… maybe Cuomo in New York, or “that woman in Michigan”, or any other governor, who has had their attempts to purchase PPE’s thwarted by FEMA or other such governmental agency.. because idiot Trump will only help the governor who pays him homage, should get the kahunas to just send in their respective state police and commandeer.. or hijack… government shipments and/or raid storage facilities within their states to get what they need to help their people… and let the courts work it out after all this “goes away by Easter.”
            Americans are dying at a rate similaer to the height of the Vietnam War and Trump is worrying about returning to a “nice” economy for his own re-election. And good gawd.. get his ass away from the microphone. He’s just making things worse.
            Madison could never have anticipated this kind of buffoon as president.

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          31. Just turn on the TV, although I’d recommend watching anything but the FOX Ministry of Propaganda. Oh.. wait… you’re insulated from life by avoiding TV. Sorry.. I’m not your kind of credible news source. Nevermind.. I am sure Trump is doing his best to protect your family.. and the nation where he’s done all his good.

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          32. @Doug

            I asked you a straightforward question, and that is the best you can do? Insult FOX?

            Please note that when I write a post on my blog I link to multiple sources. I don’t accuse anyone of anything without citing a credible source. I don’t even use articles that cite unnamed sources.

            If you cannot prove your accusations, they don’t mean anything.

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          33. Doesn’t make much sense now, does it. I don’t find your citations credible and you don’t find mine credible. It’s not like either one of us is going to suddenly say, “Oh, damn.. your accusation is totally and irrefutably correct! How have I gone this long thinking the incorrect thing was true!”
            Riiiight.
            In the meantime, Tom, Americans are dying… and medical workers are sacrificing their own health being literally in the trenches trying to fight “Trump’s War” (and don’t say it isn’t.. he himself was bragging about being a “wartime” president).

            Like

          34. @Doug

            You did not cite anything. You just made an unsupported assertion.

            Trump’s war? Trump has assumed some authority justified by an emergency, and he is guilty of his usual hyperbole. We have to listen to his team, the experts working for him and then put Trump’s words in context.

            I am not happy with the equipment shortages. One of my daughters is an MD in family practice. Fortunately, she works in a small town in OH. Since that state has taken the problem seriously, I expect she will be okay. Her husband’s father is a retired MD In his 70’s. The situation got his attention. Since one of his sons is also a MD, he decided he and his lady needed to stay in seclusion for the duration. No grandkids. Ouch!

            Doctors’ just have too much risk of getting that damnable virus and spreading it to their families.

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          35. @Doug

            You complain about me worshiping FOX. Then you cite CNN.
            🤣

            Doug, when we insist upon perfection in another, we make it impossible for that person to do anything right. I don’t care who you are. Even God is not perfect in the eyes of some.

            All CNN is doing is faultfinding. That’s not responsible journalism. The faults are silly and misrepresent the situation. CNN is deliberately misunderstanding Trump.

            Take CNN’s first point.

            Trump claimed that 22 days ago, “everything was going beautifully” before the US got hit by what he calls “the invisible enemy.” He said, “22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world, everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high”.

            I don’t know about you, but I wish I had sold my investments before all that COVID-19 crap hit the fan. Then I would be happily buying into four or five now much less expensive mutual funds, fully expecting them to recover their value.

            That’s ground truth, and that’s what Trump is talking about, not nitnoid nonsense.

            Will the economy recover? God knows. With Trump in charge, however, we are better off than we would be with H. Clinton, and that is the truth that matters.

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          36. I rest my case (regarding the “battle of the citations” going nowhere).

            In all your postulating about a “fallen world” or “fallen nation”.. you think it’s possible to have a “fallen President”? Interestingly, to have achieved that level he had to become first a “fallen businessman”.. and before that (or during that), he became a “fallen husband”. What does that imply to those who support him?
            The notable irony to all that would be that his supporters don’t think he is “fallen” at all. An example? When the media, anyone, speaks negative of him.. ooops.. “Him”, only a true Trump supporter can interpret what he.. “He”… really means… and only a Trump supporter can defend Him by asserting “context” in order to justify His most recent rhetoric.

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          37. @Doug

            You are making accusations that lack substance. I don’t have to cite anything. About CNN? I can poke that citation full holes, but who has time? Their ratings stink. So, why waste the time?

            All prestudents are fallen. So, Trump is fallen.

            Have you ever read about King David? He was probably Israel’s best king. Yet he committed adultery and murder. When he disobeyed God he brought plague and latter civil war on Israel.

            Because we cannot vote for a perfect man (Jesus is not on the ballot.), we vote for the least imperfect. In 2016, Trump was the least imperfect. You have never shown otherwise.

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          38. Oh, contrare, Tom. For the last three+ years I have pointed out repeatedly, using all kinds of “proof” but in order for proof to have any credibility someone has to acknowledge it… and Trump supporters don’t acknowledge “proof”, much less believe in reality of facts.

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          39. 1. ”This fear of uncertainty. Poor Tom is afraid. So, poor Tom needs reassurance? Fact is you want to discuss the issues on terms so nebulous there is no hope resolution.“

            I’m not really trying to make this about you in particular, but when you say that this whole issue is not complex and that all the myriad of endless details of it come down to one single dualism of right or wrong answer, then I’m not defining your fears, you seem to be defining yourself.

            2. “There is a distinct difference between good and evil.”

            Yes. The difference is love. How’s that for simple. The problem is that we live in a finite and fallen universe where the variability of complex dilemma where we must compromise between choosing competing goods and eschewing competing evils is almost endless. Sorry, it works out that way, but you’d be wise to realize it is what it is, and then move on to questions of striking the right balance.

            3. “Therefore, citizen, I ask you again. What principles do you apply when you decide what things the government should do and what things the government should not do? That is, what is it right for government to do, and what is it wrong for government to do? Why?“

            Now you are talking about something that, as an attorney, I know a little about, both in detail and in general terms. In general terms, except in the most extreme fact situations, the conflict between the rights of the individual to be left alone and the power of the government to coerce responsibilities toward the public good has been defined and refined by the Courts of this country perhaps millions of times based on millions of cases and controversies. It’s goes like this:

            A. There has to be a fundamental right involved for the individual to constitutionally object.
            B. If there is a fundamental right, then the Court applies “strict scrutiny” to the government infringement on that right.
            C. In order to survive that strict scrutiny, the state has to show a “substantial” public interest that outweighs the individual’s personal interest in that fundamental right.

            Example: you have a fundamental 1st Amendment right to free speech, but it is outweighed by governmental interests the public safety when they ban you from yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

            Now you know what a first week, first year law school student learns. If you want to get into more detail on particular issues, it would help if we read the law and the case law so that we would first have any clue how to have an informed argument either way. Otherwise, we are just talking out our betts, but that’s ok too as long as we realize that’s what we are doing.

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          40. @tsalmon

            I wish you could perceive the absurdity as I do.

            1. I’m not really trying to make this about you in particular, but when you say that this whole issue is not complex and that all the myriad of endless details of it come down to one single dualism of right or wrong answer, then I’m not defining your fears, you seem to be defining yourself. I did not say that the issues our government has tackled are uncomplicated. I have said the exact opposite. As citizens we need to keep the powers of our government limited so that we have some hope of understanding what our government is doing and controlling it.

            You have admitted more than once we have to rely on experts. Too much of that is both dangerous and foolish.

            2.

            The problem is that we live in a finite and fallen universe where the variability of complex dilemma where we must compromise between choosing competing goods and eschewing competing evils is almost endless.

            Almost endless? If it is not to much to ask, whenever it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others (which you have virtually said don’t exist), would you mind minding your own business?

            With that statement above, you have just said you cannot know what you are doing. Therefore, instead of having a thousand incompetent bureaucrats (who also don’t know what they are doing) running the lives of my family, friends, and neighbors,

            We are better off making our own choices, even if others sometimes perceive us as selfish. If the “variability of complex dilemma where we must compromise between choosing competing goods and eschewing competing evils is almost endless,” what do those busybodies know anyway?

            To make our decisions simpler, we divide our problems into parts, reducing the number of variables. That is one reason for letting people run their own lives. Even those so called geniuses we call Democrats cannot run everyone’s live at the same any better than each of us can run our own lives. All they do is violate people’s rights and make a mess of things. Have you looked at any place Democrats have run for a couple of decades?

            3.

            Now you are talking about something that, as an attorney, I know a little about, both in detail and in general terms. In general terms, except in the most extreme fact situations, the conflict between the rights of the individual to be left alone and the power of the government to coerce responsibilities toward the public good has been defined and refined by the Courts of this country perhaps millions of times based on millions of cases and controversies.

            You have said our “rights” are ” ownership is nothing more than a bundle of rights and responsibilities defined and enforceable by government at law”. Here you say the courts define our rights. If the government defines our “rights”, then with respect to the government we have no rights. That is because — read the Bill of Rights — the main reason we have bothered to define our rights is to protect those rights from abuses of government power.

            Our government does not have the capacity to give us justice. That’s a pipedream, not the virtues of limited government.

            One of the main reasons we should believe in God is that without God justice has no meaning. If we believe love matters, if we believe in right and wrong — that each of us will receive justice for our sins — then we must believe in a God who loves us, a God who is just, a God with the power to deliver justice to all on the Day of Judgement.

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          41. @tsalmon

            You voted twice for a guy who promised to control the weather, lower the sea levels, and observed we are the ones we have been waiting for. Then you post stuff some clown has to make up to make Trump look like a narcissist? Why do you bother?

            Like

          42. Amazing brother! I’m living in the USA. Congress basically just bipartisanly and unanimously passed a HUGE emergency spending bill here. The great leader of what you used to call your party just signed it and (probably after Fox News told him to) took on emergency defense powers.

            What country are you living in these days? In what country have any of these rights magically ever existed without a set of government elites to legislate them into law (including the Constitution), government courts to arbitrate them and government law enforcement authorities (including the courts) to enforce them? Where ever you have moved to must be an island Utopia that Ayn Rand could not even dream up in her most fanciful dreams. You’ll have to invite me to visit there some time.
            🙂

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          43. The video? Some sent that to me. If you don’t look at it and just listen, the guy has his Trump nailed.

            “Then you post stuff some clown has to make up to make Trump look like a narcissist? Why do you bother?”

            I’ve got a open secret for you brother – no one has to “make” Trump look like a narcissist. The just have to say what Trump says. That’s why it’s funny.

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          44. “You are a Christian, but you don’t know understand Christian theology. We live on a fallen world. What do you think that means?”

            Well, that’s arbitrary. I considered myself a Christian (Catholic denomination specifically) and was studying theology for decades while you were still proclaiming your agnosticism. That said, I am continually reading and learning, it would seem faster than ever lately. I have believed many foolish things as I’ve grown through the journey in Christ and I am sure that I will believe many more wrong things before God takes me.

            I find it hard to accept many doctrines that Christians like to claim about Christ, especially since the Middle Ages, but I try to keep an open, even childlike and undogmatic, acceptance of every viewpoint, realizing that only God knows everything, but that (as you have often pointed out) God graces us with what we need to know when we need to know it if we are open and asking. I don’t believe that this grace is a static thing, either for individuals or in history. We are constantly learning and relearning what we warped to suit our politics or we forgot.

            What doctrine or dogma is it that you think that you have to teach me Reverend Tom? The many levels of meaning in the Eden story? What the mystery of the incarnation really means? Or perhaps one of various theological theories on why Jesus sacrificed Himself?

            I’m all ears (or in this case eyes), but you may wish to start this in another post as this one is getting unwieldy. I’m sure it will be enlightening.

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          45. Wow. That CNN article Doug provided was something else.
            “Trump says the market was the best ever before the wu….but…and, yeah, it was kinda the best ever…but THAT DAY….22 days before he said that, the market went down a LOT! So LIES!”
            “Trump says this plague was unexpected, but experts have been saying for years a pandemic might come! Years and years and years…..and years….so he should’ve seen this coming. Once again Trump LIES!”

            Thanks Doug. You continue to impress.

            Liked by 1 person

          46. So, Doug…..any feelings of remorse for calling our soldiers cowards because they didn’t want to be targeted now that CNN isn’t nonstop covering the targeting of that terrorist leader? Kind of a non-story now, but your foolish statements incited by their coverage remain.

            Liked by 1 person

          47. I never called any service people cowards. YOU assigned that word to my opinion simply to illustrate your Trumpian pontifications to defend his actions/inactions.

            Like

        2. Italy had about 321,000 Chinese nationals in 2018 among 60 million inhabitants, Germany 143,000 among 83 million. I don’t think that difference matters much. The first cases in Germany were related to business travel and Germans coming home from vacation at international destinations. Therefore I don’t share the implied point of view, that the resident Chinese expats are the source for the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

          We know how germs are spread and we know this virus started in Wuhan.
          I see no reason to pretend hundreds of thousands of Chinese going back and forth to China played no part in the spread of the disease.
          There is a 100 percent chance the virus in Italy (and Germany) came from China.
          Now China’s Ministry of Truth is pretending it came from the US and we misdiagnosed the flu. When someone protests too much it makes me wonder what exactly they are trying to cover up.
          8 million China mobile accounts disappeared for some odd reason.
          I’m surprised they didn’t hide the earnings report.

          At present, they are slowly starting to loosen the quarantine and beginning to see a new surge. They will inevitably blame this on “dirty foreigners”. It’s already happening. This in spite of the fact those entering the country are taken directly into quarantine for two weeks at their own expense.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. New York now has 10 times the number of cases of any other state. Their mayor refused to shut down the schools, and made a public display of going to the gyms to prove he wasn’t concerned about the virus.
            Now it is all Trump’s fault of course.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I am aware that China is now trying to pretend that they were not the starting point of this mess.

            That said, I presume the main vector of the virus not to be the resident Chinese exptas, but rather travelling businessmen (Chinese and European/American) and tourists.

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    2. It seems it’s better to go draconian as early as possible and then to ease up carefully, leaving some strong changes in public hygiene in place even as the situation improves. However, I’m going to be curious to see how population density effects the spread and the necessary level of the measures taken. For example, the number of times different persons touch an infected subway or door handle in denser NYC will be different or even exceptional compared to LA where there is less public transportation and which has less density. Also, how effective are various mitigation efforts according to differences polulation mobility. How does having a major airport or being a major interstate or international travel hub effect spread and reinfection compared to areas that are less dense, more rural, or more importantly, off the beaten path? For example, Florida is less dense than NYC but it is a high travel destination with many NYC residents fleeing tho there and possibly spiking Florida’s infection rate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. However, I’m going to be curious to see how population density effects the spread and the necessary level of the measures taken. For example, the number of times different persons touch an infected subway or door handle in denser NYC will be different or even exceptional compared to LA where there is less public transportation and which has less density.

        It would be informative if different locations enacted the same measures at the same time. Unfortunately, New York did not. So that area is now far more greatly impacted, and the spread will be harder to control.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Washington DC is probably similar in scale to NY City (I’ve lived and traveled in DC but never NY City so I’m just guessing). If that’s true we can already compare the spread in both of those places (closing schools and more restrictions versus not)

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  2. I think that there will be studies about these months for years and decades to come. From my little isolation hovel on the Mississippi GC, it looks like this:

    My pool guy came this morning. He’s an old retired Army tanker. It would seem that he has the perfect job for social isolation and fresh air to boot. My friend who’s men do our lawn hopefully will be able to keep going for the same reasons.

    We decided not to have our housekeeper come, but I am paying her anyway. I told her we could just work things out later, but that we love her and want to keep her in business if we can.

    For the same reason, I’m buying gift certificates from our favorite independent book store and coffee shop (where we also have our book club meetings), and from our yoga place.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina money is being spent on redoing the roads and all the infrastructure down here. I still ser those guys outside beeping and banging and going as annoyingly strong as ever. They aren’t milling about leaning on shovels as close together as they used to though. Because we live just outside the Air Force Base, we hear the National Anthem play at 5 pm each day. Yesterday, I watched them all drop everything and take off their hats as that ritual music floated over the live oak trees.

    I borrowed my neighbor’s pressure washer yesterday. We made the exchange six feet apart. I have not been fishing in some time (we had a blue/green algae plague all last year), but if it’s the end of the world then I’m going to meet it with a clean boat.

    My daughter works in Nashville and her business office closed down yesterday. I volunteer at the VA here and my urge is to go out and see if they need me to help out, but she says that if I do that, then I am defeating the purpose of what everyone else is suffering through right now. It’s tough to be scolded by your 40 year old child at my age, but I suppose she’s right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @tsalmon

      My daughters are bossing us around too. I expect as they get older — we get older — they will just worry more. Undoubtedly, we appear far more fragile than we did when they were children.

      Like

    2. Your daughter(s) are right. Stay inside, Citizen Tom brothers. 😉

      We have a contractor (in his early seventies) who has done a lot of work on our home. He’s very honest and dependable, and does a great job. We had to halt work on our third bathroom remodel last year, just didn’t have the money. Mike called him this morning to see if he wants a cash advance for the work, to get him by.
      We’re trying to think of things we can do for people.
      It’s hard times for us, but nowhere near as hard as for others.
      Take care.
      (I don’t get much internet time with our boys having to do school work remotely, and they need the computer as well as the bandwidth).
      Grace and Peace
      -Liz out (for now)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Liz. I have similar contractor issues. I think we American especially since us Boomers, have trouble putting struggle into perspective.

        I remember when I once crossed the bridge from the immaculately groomed Navy Base Subic into the filth and debauchery of Olongapo, a literal river of shit oozed underneath flowing from the shantytown upstream. I once saw some Marines throw pesos in that pestilence filled Styx and then half naked Pilipino boys laughed and dove in in their race for the prizes.

        The beauty and the horror of that scene has always stuck with me, a reminder that a given normality grants only a shiny chimera of permanence. Actual meaning derives from our perception, our attitude, the character of our struggle when our glimmering bubble bursts. That’s the only real choice we ultimately have, but we should revel in that choice. Does that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. @tsalmon

      Can’t play your video. Not interested in going to the trouble of figuring out why. Suffice to say my Internet connection stinks, and I don’t want to load any more apps on my phone.

      Anyway, SNL has been around since I was in my teens. Don’t take it personally, but I have never been a fan. Indifferent? I suppose that describes it.

      I find almost no value in what generally passes for American entertainment. That’s why I threw our TV in the garbage 40 years ago.

      40 years ago I got fed up with the sex and violence, and the difference between now and then is scary. We are suppose to approve of transgendering children? We have to make the violence as real and prolific as technically possible?

      What about SNL? Never watch it. So I only have hearsay, and I don’t trust that. So, I will just make a general observation about humor.

      There is a butt to every joke. That is, when we find humor in a situation, we find it in someone’s suffering. If we are talking about ridicule, then we find humor in someone else’s suffering. If we are talking about self deprecating humor, then we share our suffering with others. If we are talking about a humor in general, then as human beings we laugh at ourselves.

      The most wholesome humor requires us to laugh at ourselves, not to take ourselves too seriously. Is there much wholesome humor on the idiot box these days? On SNL? Doubt it, but you know better than I.

      Like

      1. Don’t blame you for throwing out your television. You probably should throw out the internet too, but then you wouldn’t be here.

        I would guess you don’t have the YouTube app, but I don’t know. The old SN video is a joke that parodies the endless disclaimers that drug companies do in their TV advertising, but without the disadvantage of a TV for all these years you might not have gotten the reference anyway. No sex, violence or making fun of straight, white, old men like you and I though, well unless you suffer from scalp itch. Got to keep our sense of humor while we wait for the other three horsemen to arrive.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @tsalmon

          You have no doubt heard you are what you eat. Our minds become what we fill them with.

          Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

          Like

  3. Citizen Tom, I tried to post a briefing from the Med Group but it got lost in the ether I think.
    It was relatively succinct, and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Coronavirus power point from the med group. Juxtaposes the difference between Philadelphia and St Louis (quarantine versus non-quarantine) around the 13 minute mark. The speaker adds at the end that if this works to flatten the curve, the measures now will seem excessive…because they worked. The alternative is likely worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Liz

      That’s a good briefing.

      Please note that the briefing does not actually address how we flatten the curve. The briefer’s concern is that we do flatten the curve.

      What I have said is that sending everyone home is not a long-term solution. The virus doubles every six days. So 15 days of isolation interferes with about 2.5 doublings. Potentially, if our draconian measures are effective, we could actually reduce the number of carriers, but what about after we go back to work? What measures do we take then? We cannot stay at home indefinitely, and the potential remains for the virus to start doubling again every six days.

      Unfortunately, our public officials have not addressed the long term. They act as if we can keep staying at home indefinitely. Since that prohibitively costly, I think that needs to change.

      Like

      1. Here is another model:

        Liz,

        How do I share that video? It’s extremely good.

        Tom,

        I think he does say how to flatten the curve. This will give time for an increase in hospital beds besides spreading out the number of people who are in the acute stage of the infection at any one time. Here’s another way to look at this though.

        Suppose three families, A,B, and C self isolate. Let’s suppose that after two weeks families A and B showed no infection and are tested for no infection, but C had an infection of one family member. Families A and B could join together in isolation and remain clean, expanding the circle of uninflected individuals. Family C could isolate the infected individual within the family, and if after three more weeks no one else were infected and all tested clean, C could join the circle of uninflected families expanding it further. If A,B and C has a family business, then they could practice social isolation and strict hygiene and disinfecting procedures and go back to work making widgets or painting houses.

        If everyone actually practiced this isolation strictly for three weeks, then the virus would actually be eradicated. However, some people won’t or can’t do this and they will continue to spread the virus, but you don’t have to have perfection to slow the spread rate to much less than 1 and flatten the curve to something below the number of local ICU beds, a number which itself could be expanding over time. Add in the quick development of an antiviral drug or vaccine and you have avoided a major health crisis and an untold number of deaths.

        Does that make sense?

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          The guy in Liz’s video addresses how we share the virus, and he explains we must do behaviorally to avoid sharing the virus. He focuses on the technical issues. He does not talk about closing down businesses or how we make people do what needs to be done. That tends to be too obvious to military people. We sometimes respect and obey those in authority to a fault.

          What about family C? My guess is that the entire family would have to self isolate for another couple of weeks. Problem: It may take up to a couple of weeks to begin to manifest symptoms and start infecting people.

          Once we have a way to start widely testing people, I expect the Trump administration hopes we can restrict the requirement for self-isolation to people who either have or have been exposed to the virus.

          Note also that some researchers are testing an existing, safe drug that seems to stop the virus from reproducing within the host. If that is the case, that could get us out of this mess pronto.

          Like

        2. How do I share that video? It’s extremely good.

          Heh it’s on youtube, I think all you need is to click on the top of the video. Glad you found it informative, I did too.

          @Citizen Tom, yeah…there don’t seem to be any good options right now. I would not like to be a leader trying to inform the public while also trying to prevent mass panic. The store last night looked like it had been descended on by locusts…out of a list of 15 items I was able to find one (swedish fish candy, the boys added that at the last minute).

          Like

          1. @Liz

            There are couple of existing drugs that Trump got the FDA to approve for use against COVID-19 (today’s press conference). As time passes, we will develop more tools.

            The panic will subside. That’s all the idiot shopping behavior indicates, panic.

            Like

  5. This is a good and balanced post Tom. I’ve shifted my views quite a bit from just two two weeks ago, from thinking this is merely another version of the flu and why on earth would be shut down the economy for that, to it being a much more serious issue where school closures and self quarantines are warranted. Closing restaurants and bars as they another have in my area is a different issue because of their already thin profit margins and vulnerable staff who whose hours/pay will be cut if not all together extinguished.

    Is it worth the cost? I just don’t know. We have no immunity to this novel virus and so it spreads much quicker than regular flu and the death rate among older people is high, especially those with underlying issues like my mom. We don’t know the overall death rate but if it’s 1% as Trump’s CDC guy seems to think that is an awful a lot of funerals compared to .1% for regular flu.

    Too many unknowns right now. Except for the fact that politicians will always take advantage of a crisis to increase their own power. That is a sad fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you.

      Supposedly, Pelosi could not resist funding abortion (https://www.nationalreview.com/news/sasse-rips-pelosi-for-trying-to-smuggle-hyde-amendment-loophole-into-coronavirus-package/).

      I think the coronavirus is serious, but I don’t think it justifies shutting down a substantial part of the economy more than a couple of weeks. I also think these economic rescue bills are a scam. Government has to take money from us in order to give money to us. So we gain nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. @Tricia

          Never allow a crisis to go to waste? Nope. That is not what our glorious leaders do. What they do is never allow a crisis not to result in a huge amount of fraud, waste, and abuse.

          We need to identify the jackasses that vote for the fraud, waste, and abuse and send them home.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I live in a liberal utopian state that is run by the power hungry fans of socialism, so obviously I’m now unemployed, locked down at home, and there’s no toilet paper anywhere. I am concerned about people’s mental health, especially without church or addiction support services. This is also ground zero for the infection, so 54 deaths so far. My kid is a nurse on the front lines in her space suit, so I understand the argument, the attempts to flatten the curve. Just the same, there are consequences to making these kinds of decisions. IMO, the cure is definitely worse than the disease.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @IB

      Because it can be quickly implemented, the cure may be a good place to start, but it cannot be sustained. If nothing else, because the cost is so high people will start rebelling.

      If businesses are allowed to implement safety measures, they will compete to assure their customers that their place of of business is the safest. It is not smart not to make use of that sort of enthusiasm.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tom,

    I am hoping the two weeks will buy time to slow up the exponential factor of Coronavirus to slow down to allow the hospitals, medical staffs, along with test kits to become manageable and available.

    If you consider most people who contract coronavirus will only experience flu like symptoms unless they are older with underlying problems. The economic effects of coronavirus may d only be temporary.

    After two weeks, we old and susceptible need to continue to self-quarantine ourselves and since most of us are retired, it is a relatively small consequence to our economy.

    What I am seeing when I go out are large numbers of people and families walking or biking on outdoor trails in pursuit of fresh air and family time bonding.

    Hopefully, I am surmising the economic effects of the quarantine will be temporary.

    I still remember in my lifetime experiencing quarantines and a lot of worse diseases such as ringworm, polio, tuberculosis, etc. This coronavirus is no big deal other than the population in the USA has tripled in my lifetime which means the exponential factor requires a mass quarantine, in my opinion.

    I hope I’m right but as you know, no one knows for certain the future. Perhaps we will learn from this quarantine and be better prepared for the next pandemic which might be a lot more severe a disease.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Like

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      The issue is how far and wide the virus has spread. If only a small number test positive, and the vast majority of the people who have the virus get tested, then It will be relatively easy to quarantine the households where the virus is present. We don’t know how many exhibit symptoms, and we don’t know how cooperative people will be.

      If testing does not identify most cases, that will be a big problem, and shutting down the economy won’t be sustainable, especially if the virus spreads in summer weather.

      Like

  8. I think you should consider some of the wisest words in the English language: “I don’t know”.

    While I have to agree that we are basically asking the young and the well to make tremendous sacrifices for the sake of “the least of these”, the old and the vulnerable, I also think that it makes sense in a national crisis listen to the experts and then to follow the guidance of our leaders who have weighed the risks and come up with a plan informed by those experts. Is the “informed” plan of the state governments and the federal government an overreaction? Once again, I don’t know, but there is some reason to think otherwise.

    Look at China. China has no problem locking up tens of thousands of ethnic Uyghurs causing terrible human suffering, and yet they basically were scared enough of this virus to cripple their most prosperous provinces and probably spin their economy into recession or worse. If you don’t trust the authoritarian Chinese kleptocrats not to throw their weakest citizens under the bus to save their economy, then look at the pragmatists in all of Europe, even Germany. There is no reason why such diverse political systems should “overreact” to this pandemic unless the risks of underreacting were far worse.

    For years now, we have been asking one percent of our population, military members and their families, to make tremendous sacrifices for the rest of us with far less actual risk to the life and health of average citizen being involved. Unlike anything since WWII, we are asking all of us finally to make some sacrifices so that medical staff don’t have to unnecessary choose between whether a 65 year old grandmother or a asthmatic 15 year old will suffocate to death for the lack of medical breathing devices (or even a hospital bed).

    What is actually being asked? That a family delay a trip to Disney Land or the casinos where I live, and instead spend some quality time reading together (maybe even the Bible), playing board games, or start taking hikes in the country. God forbid!

    Obviously, everyone’s sacrifice is not equal. However, there are steps that local, state, federal governments and each of us can take to share the load (we can start by not hoarding and complaining so much), and that may help to stop tens or thousands and perhaps millions of unnecessary deaths. Whether or not we are willing to make such shared sacrifices for each other says more about us whether we as individuals, as communities, as states and as a nation truly are “Great Again” than our stock market numbers. Ultimately, we are judged more by how much we are willing to suffer for each other (and especially for the least of these), than how many theme parks, cruises, casinos, Broadway shows, sports games, restaurants and bars we go to. If the governments at every level are weighing lives and doing their best to spread risk and suffering in accordance with our best expertise and ethics, I trust them, even Trump, as he finally shuts up and listens.

    As you used to trust th mechanics, the pilots and the FAA who delayed your flight and maybe made you miss an important meeting or messed up your vacation plans because they trapped a threat BEFORE it became an uncontrolled aircraft emergency, we need act like leaders by being good followers.

    All that said, I DON’T KNOW if this is an overreaction. However, as a guy who used to manage life and death risk everyday for a living, I pity the leader or the pundit who denounces the best experts in the world and causes an underreaction.

    Like

    1. @tsalmon l

      There are lots of things I don’t know. However, I blog about things I do know, or I admit ignorance.

      Think! Do the Chinese actually have the spread of the coronavirus under control, or have they decided to pretend that they do so that they can restart their factories and save their economy? I don’t know. Do you?

      I do know there is more than one way to skin a cat. Similarly, there is more than one way to prevent a disease from spreading. Since shutting down the economy and sending everyone home is not a solution for a virus that may take months to bring under control, we have no choice except to let people resume something approaching normalcy.

      What is going to happen in a couple of weeks? Will the government discover a pile of gold or just start printing money? If there are no goods and services being produced, what will that money be worth, especially if no one is paying taxes?

      What is the human cost of making people stay home away from work? Drug and alcohol addiction? Depression? Suicide?

      Implemented all by itself in a, extreme form, the current solution poses long term problems. Therefore, if we want to stop the spread of the virus, we must consider and adopt alternative solutions.

      Should we start wearing surgical masks in public? With proper instruction and use, would they work? I don’t know.

      Can we effectively stop people from sneezing and coughing on each other in restrauants using inexpensive barriers? I don’t know.

      Should we stop using reusable grocery bags? Do the single use bags prevent the spread of germs? I don’t know.

      Since paper money is notorious for spreading disease, should we encourage people to use credit cards? I don’t know.

      Are there lnexpensive technologies (like UV light, for example) we can use to routinely destroy viruses on surfaces in public places? I don’t know.

      And so forth.

      Think long term. COVID-19 will be old news in six months, but people will still be spreading respiratory diseases. In the long run, if we can stop people from spreading the common cold and various respiratory viruses, we should do so. Yet that will require a multifaceted solution that involves more thought than just making everyone stay at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know how to do brain surgery, but thankfully some skilled people do. If I ever had to have brain surgery, to make that decision, I would rely heavily upon the expertise of a surgeon who has spent his life judging just such risks ,even though he might not be able to guarantee a perfect outcome.

        Your assumption seems to be that because you don’t know a thing, then nobody does, or that if you can’t easily know something that it can’t be known. Most of your questions are answerable at least at the margin, although perhaps not in absolute terms. I wish I had a dime for every time I had to make a decision to trap a threat before it could become a crisis even though I had imperfect information. You base the decision upon expertise and experience, and you err on the side of life rather than economics. The greatest pilots are unknown because avoid the crisis that they never had to save the plane and passengers from experiencing.

        My airline had a perfect safety record until some young management wizard decided to save money on safety inspections for a critical flight control. After heroically recovering the out of control aircraft numerous times, the elevator completely failed and copilot’s last words right before the plane slammed into the water killing all on board were, “I guess that’s it then”. Needless to say my airline did not save any money or jobs when they pushed the expert risk managers, the pilots and mechanics, aside for a know nothing bean counter.

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          You ought to read Everett Piper’s article. I have said something that is obviously true. We cannot keep so many people out of work for more than a couple of weeks. So, we need to look at solutions that allow people to go back to work. And all you can do is whine and moan that I am not an expert. So what?

          If shutting down so much economic activity does provide a solution in two weeks, then anyone who thinks we can keep doing that indefinitely is not taking the solution seriously. They are too focused on the problem.

          Like

          1. You don’t seem to have read what I wrote. The experts are playing a catch up game at trying to keep our medical systems from being overrun. Everything that you see happening now is two weeks ago. Whatever we do or don’t do now will effect us in two weeks, at which time we will have done or not done things that will have effect two weeks later. If we do things now, we may or may not have to do worse things later. As Dr. Fauci put it, he would rather have us do too much now than find out we didn’t do enough in two weeks. We can always unwind an overreaction as we learn more, but we simply can’t go back in time.

            All the mitigation efforts you mentioned may work, but we need time to implement them even if they do work. With time to surge up hospital capacity, then we can allow for the need for more people who will get sick as more people inevitably do start going back to work. We need time to figure out a way to separate corona virus patients from people already in the hospitals for other reasons. We need time to implement all the mitigation possibilities you mentioned and possibilities that have not even been imagined yet.

            Think of it this way: we are building an airplane that is flying while it is on fire, and we need to slow that fire so we have time to build the new wings before the old ones fall off.

            This isn’t my opinion. I haven’t a clue about any of this. This is what all the experts in the country and the world are saying, including now finally, your favorite narcissistic president.

            Or we could ignore all the science and the experts and the leadership of both Republican and Democratic State and local governments and instead choose magical thinking because we read one editorial piece in the Washington Times.

            Like

          2. It’s not a cure, at least not yet. At best it is palliative right now. I’m saying that experts have evaluated that question of what palliative measures are most likely to stave off the most unnecessary suffering and death and have measured the spread of the uncertain risk/reward possibilities. Leaders from both parties have been briefed by those experts and have agreed on certain risk/reward trade offs of certain actions and have determined a balance that is the best that our science and our social morality can determine at this time. If you are asking whether it is possible that they are overreacting (or underreacting), then you don’t understand that, although the science and the math can be exact when applied to an exact, known and limited number of variables, in this case they must be applied to a multiplicity of factors and vectors of influence, all of which are not known. The best you can do is inexact probabilities of risk/reward, but it makes sense to be aggressive at first and overcompensate than undercompensate and be overwhelmed two weeks later when you cannot go back in time. The exponentially keeps hitting thresholds that are increasingly unrecoverable – like a hole in a dam that keeps doubling in size every three days – you might be able to slow it now with X effort and save more people downstream, but the longer you wait to take drastic action, the less people you can save. However, this is not just a scientific question that does not allow perfect determinism; it is the ultimate social moral issue.

            Is it sustainable to shut down our economy forever? Probably not, but we are not shutting down the whole economy and no one is saying it is forever.

            What is it worth to us financially as a society to save one vulnerable person from unnecessary suffering and death? How about a thousand? 10,000? 100,000? Millions? Should we allow the old and the weak to die if it saves one strong man or woman from committing suicide out of economic despair or isolation? What is it worth to us to mitigate that economic despair, to overcome that isolation, to join together as one force for what is really righteous and good, and hopefully come to learn as individuals, as communities, as a nation and a humanity what really makes us great? To suffer, even to sacrifice everything for a righteous cause is it’s own greater reward. Isn’t that what Jesus taught us?

            Like

          3. @tsalmon

            It’s not a cure? No, it is an analogy. 🙄

            So, is the palliative worse than the disease. If we can just save one life from the disease and everyone starves…….

            You are being ridiculous. We should not explore other options? Why the hell not?

            Like

        2. I’m with you on this one, TSalmon. I agree with pretty much everything you said. Good example with the airline. If these measures are effective, they will seem excessive. That’s…part of being successful. If we didn’t have the measures, well, there is a great economic cost to a massive death toll too.
          Indeed, watch what the rest of the world is doing if one needs confirmation this is no over reaction. Closing travel early (weeks before the WHO recommended it) was also a good idea. And closing travel with Europe is also…right now the ROK is experiencing a wu flu spike as people come home from Europe.

          Like

          1. I do feel terribly for people whose livelihood depends on customers. Folks in the restaurant and service industries are getting crushed. Many live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t know what to do for them, other than donate to the local church (which making food and supply runs…I’ve offered to help but they need donations more than feet on the ground). There is a big economic toll to massive death rates too.
            We can’t train a respiratory tech as fast as we can order more ventilators. We might be about to loosen regulations so one tech can watch more ventilators, but there’s a limit in that cost to gains equation too.

            Like

          2. One of the little commuter airlines just filed for bankruptcy already. I don’t know how any of them will stay in business.

            Like

          3. @Liz

            Looks like you are slowly coming around to see the problems in the solution.

            Note that I have not said the draconian measures are not necessary. The problem is that our economy cannot survive putting so many people out of work. Economy problems can easily rival the damage caused by any disease. In fact, economic problems often lead to disease. It costs money to keep ourselves healthy.

            Hence, we need to use the time the draconian measures give us to allow those businesses that we have shut down to adopt new sanitary practices that keep their customers healthy. Then they can open back up. That way we can stop the spread of the virus for the long term, not just while everything is shut down.

            Like

          4. Tom,

            I’m not really sure we are saying anything that is significantly different. No one is arguing shutting down everything FOREVER. Like Liz, I’m just agreeing with what almost all the experts and policy makers in the country and world wide are saying to buy time.

            There are no guarantees on the economy regardless of what we do. I read an interesting article the other day that says that all the cheap money has left many companies over-leveraged, including what they call “Zombie Companies” that endless credit, investor exuberance and/or governments like the Chinese government have been propping up for years, despite the fact that they don’t make money. It’s possible that the whole house of cards may collapse and that’s why the stock and bond funds are weirdly moving together. This really could, economically at least, be a “Zombie Apocalypse”.

            Liz,

            I have heard American is again on the verge, and was not far away prior to this. I too feel for those who live pay check to pay check – I spent much of my working life changing careers, seeing setbacks and in debt so I know what it’s like to struggle. I also know what it means to be resilient and to plan like no one will bail you out. Anyone who works in a restaurant or bar (I was a couch surfing cook when my wife elevated me to a home and appliances 40 years ago) never expected it to be a lifelong career, but this is a worldwide natural disaster that tests the resilience of too many hard working people at once. What is the point of having a government if it can’t lead and stimulate people to get through this crisis?

            That said I feel the least sorry for those who have had advantages and live beyond their means, but unfortunately, we’ll probably have to fertilize those weeds along with the wheat like we did in the last crisis.

            Like

          5. @tsalmon

            Typical Salmon. Want to argue even when there is nothing to argue about.

            Our fiat currency and the Federal Reserve are bad ideas. Supposedly they make our banks and our currency more stable, but they don’t. Negative interest rates? That makes sense only to government officials.

            That said, shutting down everything is disruptive, and the longer the shutdown lasts the more we risk a depression.

            You spoke of trusting experts. Experts often disagree, especially on complex subjects like medical care and economics. Then who do you trust? Are you going to trust the medical doctor who recommends shutting down much of the economy? What does that doctor know about economics?

            As voters we go to the polls and vote because the experts don’t know it all. We also have to have some way to hold them accountable because too often they cannot be trusted. That’s why this statement is not so good.

            What is the point of having a government if it can’t lead and stimulate people to get through this crisis?

            Government depends upon the people. We are the government. We are a people who are served by military personnel, civil servants and public official. When the people depend upon the government, then government elites have a people. Think Red China.

            While it is good to have a president who leads and provides inspiring speeches, we must put our trust God. Otherwise, we the people will not elect good leaders. Hence, what ultimately matters is the state of our churches. If we have good churches and the people attend them devotedly, the rest will work itself out.

            Like

      2. Forget the damn virus… we will get over that. The real threat is the economy going to hell… and people are on edge. I just talked to my ex in chicago.. she takes a bus to and from work.. and her fellow employees don’t want to work near her cause she takes the bus. Hard to stay 3-6 feet apart on a bus. She told me an Asian lady came ob board the bus and another white lady told her to get off and go back to China.. and then slapped her across the face. We are in for some real economic hurts.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Doug

          Creating and pinning a social stigma on other people is an old art form. Advertisers use social stigma, for example, to sell deodorant. Thanks to innumerable commercials, “you stink” is something no one wants to hear. Now the news media, using the coronavirus, has made it unacceptable to be Chinese and they are trying to blame it on Republicans by calling us xenophobic.

          Never been a fan of mass transit, but I have used it. Sometimes it is the only practical alternative. If your ex has to take the bus, she may wish to invest money in surgical masks. She needs to buy something that filters out viruses. Then if she washes her hands before she touches her face, she will be fairly safe.

          Like

          1. Good words.. and I think my ex is doing as best as she can being an ex-nurse.. although masks are impossible to get at the moment. I find it amazing that the national divide is still alive and well. Recent polling is showing some 80% of Liberals think this health crisis is legitimately important compared to some 40% of Conservatives.
            It will take a while for many people to understand what is happening to our lives. We’ll get through it just fine.. but it’s the journey that’s going to be something even us old farts have never experienced.
            Just hearing the Prez has closed the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential.. although trade will continue.

            Like

          2. @Doug

            I just find the following observation interesting. If this had happened when we were kids, we would have thought it was a bad year for the flu. Everyone would have carried on as usual. The only difference would have been the fact that we would have attended more funernals because we were burying more old people than usual.

            Like

          3. Yeah.. rather reminds me of when a kid falls and a parent makes a big issue.. then that becomes the queue for the kid to cry in pain. If the parent just lets it go or made a joke.. the kid takes it in stride.

            Like

          4. @Doug

            Ignorance is bliss, especially when we don’t have a solution, which is more often the case than not. We do die, and we cannot do anything about it.

            Like

          5. @Doug

            Ignorance is bliss, especially when we don’t have a solution, which is more often the case than not.

            We die, and we cannot do anything about it, except prepare to meet our Maker. Because we are so helpless, the inevitably of death is as frightening and serious as any problem can be.

            Does it do any good to run around in circles and scream at the sky? No. We seem better off if we consider the problem calmly and make the best use of every moment we have until the day we die.

            Who decides what is the best use of our time? That is how we define freedom. In a free society, we each get to make that determination for our self.

            Like

  9. You can mark my words on this one, Tom. There will be a point in time when the moral question will arise… was all this suffering, economic collapse, fear of the end of times… was all this worth it to simply save.. or try to save… only 1% to 4% of the aging population? On the other hand, if we allow it to run its course a lot of folks would be sick all at once with varying intensities.. still affecting the economy and inundating the hospitals.

    Like

    1. @Doug

      Many of our leaders are up in years. So, they have a vested interest in protecting themselves. They are going to stifle the spread of that virus if they can. What will make it difficult for them is the possibility that their measures begin to look extreme. Hence, I suggest allowing businesses to reopen if they can take appropriate sanitation measures.

      We need to focus on the solution, not the problem.
      https://citizentom.com/2011/11/19/are-you-focusing-on-the-problem-or-the-solution/

      Like

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