I was saddened to hear the views online of some of the college students partying in Florida during spring break. Not just because they seemed so oblivious to the health risks we as a nation are trying to control, but also because they didn't seem to be putting their generous student loans to the best academic use. Many of their faces are now on file, showing total disregard for the government's request that we practice social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Well, I have a message for them, a warning to all reckless students and many of the rest of you as well: the government knows who you are and where you live, and soon someone from the government will be coming to your door. When they do, don't try to hide, don't try to run, but simply face reality and take what's coming to you: a $1,200 check, delivered by the US Postal Service, courtesy of the thankful taxpayers of America.

That's right, the government is going to catch up with you and give you a hefty check. And your student loans will probably be forgiven. So next time there's a global pandemic, don't go partying in Florida. Think about the Riviera or Hawaii instead. Maybe Thailand. Now you can afford it, and since you don't owe anything to the rest of us anymore, you owe it to yourself to go enjoy.

I was also saddened while driving, listening to the radio, to hear President Trump speaking in a press conference where he talked about his plans to help big companies that are hurting. He said, "We're going to back the airlines 100%. It's not their fault.... We'll be ... helping them very much." I was so puzzled. I rushed home and grabbed an aging copy of the Constitution from the bottom of my tightly-packed suitcase and scanned it again. Where did the Founders write that the President had power to dish out money to big companies if something unfortunate happened? Must have been written in invisible ink, like lemon juice, that only becomes visible when held over a candle. I was out of candles, but there was a gas stove in the kitchen where I was staying. I fired up a burner, gently held the Constitution over it, and suddenly it all became clear. Yes, the power of the President to do anything he wants, and for Congress to do anything they want, was clearly visible in the swirling wisps of smoke that arose from the ashes of that document.  So that's how they justify the looting!

Bad things have happened to all of us with the corona virus. Our health is one casualty: even if you are virus free, the stress of an economic shutdown is enormous, not to mention the harms of decreased exercise with gyms closed, decreased health care for non-emergencies, increased suicide among the depressed and unemployed, etc. Other disappointments may include our jobs, our investments, our schools, or even our stale over-priced avocado toast while partying on a beach in Florida. It's not our fault in most cases. So is the government supposed to take over everything to fix all our woes? But yes, I know what you're thinking: poor Boeing! With their horrible mismanagement and disregard for safety that made the whole world fear their new wonder plane that kept crashing, their airplane sales have sunk. Mega owie! Of course they need 60 billion or so to ease their pain.

The whole country has been suffering, not so much from the few thousand cases of the virus which actually aren't yet causing more illness or deaths than the flu does most years (but yes, of course, it's more dangerous than the flu, perhaps largely because so few are immune to it), but from the extreme measures imposed by government. The unnecessary panic of the Federal Reserve Bank in slashing interest rates, resulting in extreme market fears and devastation to investors and corporation, coupled with the extreme attention to the virus by the media, have created as sense of panic. This is what those seeking power and attention love, for every crisis is a chance to grab more money, more power, more fame for taking a popular "leadership" role in the looting. Now it's a race between parties and politicians all over the country to see who can "do more" to save the country by, say, shutting down the economy and taking control of more of the wealth of the nation to redistribute it their way.

Ever since the birth of this nation, however flawed its course has been at times, many Americans have taken pride in the desire to stand for freedom and liberty, even at the risk of life itself. While wicked men may have sometimes exploited those noble sentiments in unjustified wars, America has been a land where liberty truly was a prized goal sought by large numbers of its citizens and leaders (though, sadly, the chains of slaves were ignored too long). Better to abandon security and comfort than to surrender freedom and give power to tyrants. Many of our Founding Fathers were men of that caliber, in spite of serious flaws, and many put their lives on the line in opposing the tyranny of Great Britain in order to secure a chance for freedom for future generations. They went to war to secure liberty, and it would not be the last time Americans would be willing to die for their liberty or for the liberty of others.

Today we are in a new war, a war that may prove to be more costly and painful than most of our trials in the past. But instead of fighting for liberty, we are being asked in this war to surrender liberty for security. Hand more power to government and a vast chunk of the total GDP to allow them to pick winners, buy votes, and spend trillions in ways that can only prolong the pain.

A few weeks ago I heard Republicans were warning against the vile threat of Bernie Sanders, the socialist, who wanted to just send out checks for $1000 to everyone. This kind of inflationary redistribution of wealth would destroy the country and wreck the economy. Now the "fix" for the economy being touted by Republicans is to hand out even more money ($1,200 per partyer) in pretty much the same way. It's a dream come true for the banksters who will profit enormously from the trillions they will handle. It adds incredible burdens to future generations -- shackles of debt and government control. But we are supposed to trust our politicians, who won't even read the massive 800-page spending spree bill they are voting on. Trust and comply, for the enemy is terrifying and has wiped out thousands, like over 3,000 among the 1+ billion people of China, unlike the flu that kills tens of thousands each year in the US. So scary that we have to shut down almost everything and let politicians take the reigns and loot the nation. Together we will win this war and it will only cost you everything.

This patriotic war, one that calls us to surrender liberty for security and to trust the most untrustworthy people on the planet as they seize more and more power, promising to take are of us and make us more dependent on them, brings out the pacifist in me. When it comes to the Great War Against the Virus, maybe it's time we give peace a chance.

Meanwhile, some hopeful possibilities are emerging. Here's one, based on a study from Oxford. Are they right? I hope so, but don't know. There's also a follow-up discussion looking at fever rates in general. There is still much we don't know for sure due to inadequate testing and lack of blood testing in particular. It's why we might really need more data and time before we let government think pull a trigger that may be shooting ourselves in both feet.  I also was intrigued by the perspectives of Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, a noted German physician (see Wikipedia's page with commentary on his views), who argues that what the world is doing is a dramatic overreaction. His video discussion has English subtitles.

Dr. Wodarg is also one of several other medical experts speaking out against the excessive panic over SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. the Corona virus. Many interesting observations there. Maybe we are plunging into ultimate disaster and need to shut everything down, but I prefer to be optimistic, and would rather that we act cautiously without surrendering too much to those who stand to profit from panic. Here's a quote from one of those 12 experts, Dr. Joel Kettner, a professor of Community Health Sciences and Surgery at Manitoba University, former Chief Public Health Officer for Manitoba province and Medical Director of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases:
I have never seen anything like this, anything anywhere near like this. I’m not talking about the pandemic, because I’ve seen 30 of them, one every year. It is called influenza. And other respiratory illness viruses, we don’t always know what they are. But I’ve never seen this reaction, and I’m trying to understand why....

I worry about the message to the public, about the fear of coming into contact with people, being in the same space as people, shaking their hands, having meetings with people. I worry about many, many consequences related to that....

In Hubei, in the province of Hubei, where there has been the most cases and deaths by far, the actual number of cases reported is 1 per 1000 people and the actual rate of deaths reported is 1 per 20,000. So maybe that would help to put things into perspective.
Do continue preparing and washing hands. You might wish to have some cash on hand, maybe enough for 1 or 2 month of expenses, before banks and ATMs begin to fail (shutting down businesses means many mortgages or rents aren't being paid and this increases pressure on banks). I hope they don't, but it's possible. Having some cash at home or in a safe place outside of a bank is always a smart thing to have.

Continue adding to your food storage. Supply chains that ought to be healthy are precarious. Many "non-essential" businesses may play a role in supply chains that our all-knowing politicians might overlook when they decide who can do what, and the result in the end can be trouble. Shutting flights down affects many shipments and can have unforeseen effects. Financial strains can shut some things down unexpectedly. Be prepared. And enjoy your next break in Hawaii with the party money coming your way!

Further reading:
"Singapore modelling study estimates impact of physical distancing on reducing spread of COVID-19" at ScienceDaily.com, discussing a new study published in The Lancet looking at Singapore's response and future options. Singapore has had just two deaths and has not chosen to implode its economy. May we learn from Singapore and Korea.

Coronavirus Deaths by Country

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