5G And Mrs Jones

Mrs Jones was seventy-one and a little frail, though otherwise healthy. She was standing at a bus stop in East London yesterday morning waiting for the number twenty-six bus to take her to see her son who lived in Islington. As she waited, a large articulated lorry transporting a shipping container passed her heading for the motorway. Mrs Jones didn’t know it, but the container was packed with illegal immigrants.

Two minutes after the lorry passed, Mrs Jones suffered a major cardiac arrest. She collapsed and died at the bus stop.

What do these “celebrities” all have in common?

Amanda Holden and Woody Harrelson

Anne-Marie

Jason Gardiner

I suppose one answer is they’re all desperate for attention, but the way to seek it is not by spreading untrue gossip and lies on social media.

All four so-called ‘celebs’, and probably a number of others, have used social media to further spread the insane idea that the coronavirus is a product of the 5G networks presently under construction in various parts of the world.

Idiocy? Undoubtedly. Maliciousness? Probably. A serious lack of responsibility and an admission of their own lack of any real intelligence? Without any doubt whatever.

If anything reveals the mistake we make in endowing so-called celebrities with some sort of divine power (and we do it all the time!)  this must surely be it.

Covid-19 is a member of the group of viruses known as coronaviruses. Scientists have known about them for a long time. They cause influenza and even the common cold. Do we blame television signals, or the billions of radio waves that have been traversing the planet for a hundred or more years, whenever we sneeze and reach for a handkerchief?

Celebrities like those above, who indulge themselves on social media knowing thousands of young people (and some not so young) are hanging on their every word, need to develop a more mature sense of responsibility.  Sadly, many allow their small amount of fame to swell their egos to the point they believe they’re better and wiser than anyone else. They’re not, and those four individuals above are the living proof of it.

As a result of their irresponsible actions crazy people are now setting fire to communication towers, whether they transmit 5G signals, or not, and causing serious damage at a time when the emergency services are already stretched to breaking point.

Well done, celebrities! Another example to show us all that just because someone manages to get their face on a TV screen, or can sing a song the recording companies can make money from, does not necessarily mean they are endowed with intelligence.

As for poor Mrs Jones, it was eventually decided that  the heart attack which killed her directly resulted from the passing by at the time of a container of illegal immigrants.  Somehow, though no-one quite understands how, the concealed immigrants had caused her death. Plausible?

No less so than the crazy idea that 5G causes pandemics.

The Chaos Of A Lying US President

Jared Kushner

Today we hear how Donald Trump has called forth his sociopathic son-in-law, Jared Kushner to the daily ‘coronavirus taskforce briefing,’ with the brief to:

“Break down every barrier needed to make sure the teams can succeed.” Guardian

Kushner told reporters Trump was concerned about the supply shortages and had only heard about them that morning from “friends of his in New York.”

It’s somewhat strange that Donald Trump should be so ill-informed about the supply shortages, when only yesterday the Guardian newspaper led with the headline:

“Trump says US stockpile of protective equipment nearly gone amid coronavirus”

Donald Trump has admitted the US government’s emergency stockpile of protective equipment is nearly exhausted because of the extraordinary demands of the coronavirus pandemic…” Guardian

One of the sad things about social media has been the ability, by those who wish to make use of it, of lying through one’s teeth, often stating the most outrageous untruths, knowing that while many will recognise them as such there will be a hard core of brain-dead individuals who simply take it at face value and spread the word around the internet.

Right-wing radio ‘jocks’ in America have been using this tactic for decades. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and of course, Alex Jones with his infamous website, Infowars, have used this media to spread fake news and disinformation nationwide. The advent of the internet and social media like Twitter and Facebook (plus a whole torrent of others grabbing the lucrative slice of advertising revenue that goes hand-in-hand with these sites) has really opened up the floodgates for this right-wing poison to pour through.

Jared Kushner is expert at telling lies. He does it all the time, just like his father-in-law.  It’s so blatant that no-one with any cognitive skills would believe it for an instant. Sadly, decades of a US education system gradually stripped of funds, good teachers, and with school buildings left in serious disrepair, has left large sections of the American community seriously lacking in the ability to think for themselves. They have become pawns of the radio ‘jocks’, the fake news pundits, and even of the President of the United States himself and his dysfunctional family and hangers-on, who continuously desecrate  the Office they pretend to honour.

Kushner, it seems, is to usurp the responsibilities of the Vice President Mike Pence, only recently charged with taking control of the coronavirus outbreak.  Despite much denial, it would seem that yet again Trump is reverting to what he knows best, removing folk who don’t perform to his satisfaction. Or, maybe it’s just another way of absolving himself from any responsibility. It’s always been Trump’s modus operandi: never his fault, never his failing, always down to someone else.

The truth is he’s always been an abject failure. How many bankruptcies? Not his fault, of course. We learned from Michael Cohen, once Trump’s personal lawyer, that on Trump’s instructions:

“…he had sent letters to Trump’s high schools, colleges and the College Board (creator of the SAT), threatening them with legal action and jail time if they ever released Trump’s academic records.” Forbes

Trump lied when he insisted he “graduated first in his class” from the Wharton School at Pennsylvania University In fact, he wasn’t even close and graduated without honors. His father was an extremely wealthy and powerful New York figure. It’s likely money greased Trump’s path into Penn State.

So, perhaps, in reality Trump himself has been a victim of the sad demise of good educational standards in America. Though, in his case, he had the opportunities, just never took advantage of them. His academic record was abysmal and, according to those who knew him at the time, his attendance at college was minimal.

Hardly a great resumé for a future leader of the free world.

Still, Jared Kushner is obviously a smart lad, so maybe he’ll be able single-handedly to bring the coronavirus epidemic in America to a rapid end. After all, he did solve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis in the Middle East all on his own – didn’t he?

Well, didn’t he?

Covid-19: The Next Global Health Crisis Has Now Arrived

Covid-19 – described by many in authority as the greatest threat to mankind since the second world war. Almost one million human beings infected. To date nearly 50,000 deaths: over 13,000 dead in Italy, 10,000 in Spain, 4,000 in France, and over 5,000 in the USA (US experts predict a rise to 240,000  in the US alone before this thing is over).\

Click To Track Covid-19 Live

It’s natural in great crises for we humans to look for someone or something to blame. Inept political leaders can often use a similar tactic to subvert focus from their own deficiencies in handling an emergency, just as Trump has insisted on calling Covid-19 the ‘Chinese virus’, as though the Chinese invented it deliberately and set it loose on the world.

Of course, the idea is ridiculous. Yet it has taken hold on social media and spread almost as fast as the virus itself. Chinese and Asian people are being snubbed, and sometimes abused and beaten, by ignorant pigs who take out their fear on innocent people.

The facts are clear: scientists have been predicting exactly this eventuality for years. In 2011, an 87 page report by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) into the probability of future pandemics concluded:

1) there is not sufficient interoperable, globally shared information available in real-time about pandemic risk inventories, hazards or threatened segments of the built or natural infrastructure,

2) there is a dramatic lack of forward thinking and planning for the creation and distribution of medical countermeasures—including drugs, vaccines and surge capacity, which, in part, arises because of the lack of real-time information,

3) there is a serious requirement for international harmonization of regulations across the pandemic spectrum, and

4) there needs to be financially sustainable basic research efforts upon which is  based the preparation, mitigation, response and rebuilding that will be required before, during and after a pandemic.

In other words, then as now, there was a total lack of infrastructure in place to combat a pandemic like Covid-19. The report set out what was needed in terms of international cooperation, between both scientists and politicians, to a) prevent a possible occurrence, and b) deal swiftly and effectively with any viral pandemic that ‘got through the net’.

Needless to say, that report was ignored by the political elite who just crossed their fingers and hoped, if it was going to happen, it would be on someone else’s watch.

The result of such irresponsibility and apathy, from world leaders handed the power to take such decisions by the citizens they were trusted to protect, is the dire situation we find ourselves in today.

Trump, in America, is blaming previous administrations for not developing the necessary resources to fight the Covid-19 outbreak. A fine example of ‘passing the buck’ when in truth the framework was well established in the US prior to Trump’s presidency, and was dismantled by him with the closures of federal environmental and disease-control agencies by the simple act of de-funding them:

In 2018, the US Center for Disease Control was forced to cut 80% of its efforts to prevent global disease outbreaks due to lack of money. Ultimately, the department went from working in 49 countries to just 10.

Trump shut down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council.

He eliminated the US government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund.

He reduced national health spending by $15 billion.

In the UK, successive Tory governments have cut back on essential services, gutted the National Health Service, and failed to keep up stocks of vital health equipment, like ventilators.

The result, gloriously demonstrated by the latest impostor to reside in 10 Downing Street, was the flounderings and ditherings by Johnson and his gang of political outcasts, which dove them deeper and deeper into the mire of ineptitude, until Johnson’s only recourse was a shaky and apathetic daily Churchillian-type rallying-cry to the people, in the vain hope they might think he was actually doing something.

Bolsonaro in Brazil; Viktor Orbán of Hungary; Duterte in the Philippines, and numerous other far right-wing wannabee dictators have all displayed a total lack of care for the people they lord it over. The last decade has seen a splintering of the world’s peoples into a form of tribalism not seen for generations. It has allowed the rise of these thuggish individuals and created a power structure dangerous to us all.

Covid-19 is not just the start. It all began a long time ago. Animal to human transmission of dangerous organisms is nothing new.  As David Quammen,  author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic,writes in the NY Times:

The list of such viruses emerging into humans sounds like a grim drumbeat: Machupo, Bolivia, 1961; Marburg, Germany, 1967; Ebola, Zaire and Sudan, 1976; H.I.V., recognized in New York and California, 1981; a form of Hanta (now known as Sin Nombre), southwestern United States, 1993; Hendra, Australia, 1994; bird flu, Hong Kong, 1997; Nipah, Malaysia, 1998; West Nile, New York, 1999; SARS, China, 2002-3; MERS, Saudi Arabia, 2012; Ebola again, West Africa, 2014. And that’s just a selection. Now we have nCoV-2019, the latest thump on the drum.

The latest ‘thump of the drum’, and certainly one of the worst in our modern era. Though quite definitely not the last. The correlation between climate change and human infection by viral, bacterial, and parasitic organisms is well documented. Covid-19 will be one of many, some much more virulent and deadly than our latest adversary. Here again, our politicians insist on showing us their backsides as they bury their heads in the sands of complacency. The Paris agreement on climate change, that had the politicians clapping and hurrahing at their own ingenuity, seems a long time ago. It was in 2016. It’s now four years later and what’s to show for it. The major polluters: China, the US, Australia, and to some extent, Europe, have achieved little- indeed, in some cases, like the US and China – actually gone backwards and are thrusting ever more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Is it any wonder we’re all locked down, the world economy is crashing around our ears, and thousands are now dying every day, because of our politicians’ ineptitude, their preference for the behind the scenes financial handouts of the fossil fuel companies and their associated industries, rather than the welfare of those who chose them to govern.

The OECD report concludes:

The magnitude of the threat of infectious diseases also  necessitates a major global, investigative effort. The example of the “Rice Institutes” funded by the Rockefeller Foundation for fifteen years and sustained by the Consultative Group in International Agricultural Research, provides a framework for an interdisciplinary, collaborative and synergistic network of Infectious Disease International Research Centers. These should have a permanent faculty and staff as well as visiting fellowships and studentships. The lasting positive impacts of international research centers are many, including fostering long-term relationships between scientists, establishing a culture of research responsibility and serving as the nucleus for safe applications of interdisciplinary sciences globally.

The key to any progress against infectious diseases is a structure that brings together these diverse interests in a lasting fashion. Without such a structure, the commitment to reducing the impact of infectious diseases on our national, economic and personal security will be subject to the political vagaries of the moment, leaving us unprepared for the next global health crisis. [my bold/underline]

This was back in 2011. It never happened. The “next global health crisis” has  now arrived.