Thursday, March 12, 2020

USA Completely Botches the Corona Virus Reponse

In a moment I'd like to mention the importance of latex or nitrile gloves.

I would like to give you a little background on today's post. I think you'll find that my training and experience qualify me in a few areas to talk about the completely botched corona virus response by the United States Government and perhaps more importantly, the airline industry. This is a response that has been planned for 3 decades for potential bird flu mutations- so what actually happened is a little shocking. Please bear in mind that all pandemic responses boil down to local governance.

I spent most of my work history in some sort of command structure in a small city police department. A lot of that training included running a command post and yearly incident command schools for various maladies and tragedies, swine flu, bird flu, airplane crashes. These table top discussions and live fire drills were often put on by FEMA with their littany of acronyms. I had additional training through the state for 20 of my 24 years in law enforcement. I also spent several years on the local ambulance service where I gained a healthy respect for the duties performed by EMT's, paramedics, nurses and doctors back in the early days of AIDS. In short I understand a command and control structure and response. We used to drill this regularly in staged incidents although we had a few real incidents- most of them involving property damage caused by floods and fires with no associated loss of life. 

Let's review the normalcy bias. 

Normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a tendency for people to believe that things will always function the way they normally have functioned and therefore to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects.

People do not like change. They don't want to believe that any event could substantially disrupt their lives. Unfortunately most people have been subjected to scares and panics before- so in addition to the normalcy bias which helps cause inaction, we have an aged cynical group of people who have heard the cry of "wolf" one too many times. So that's the ruling demographic here- a bunch of somewhat cynical people with a normalcy bias.

It was that belief system which I believe has completely botched the US response to the corona virus.

The first known case of CV occurred on Dec. 1 in China. China being China meant that they didn't report too much publicly. Some say they covered it up.  https://www.theepochtimes.com/national-security-adviser-china-covered-up-outbreak-of-new-coronavirus_3268168.html By the time I started paying attention to CV it was late January.

There are only two ways for the CV to get to the United States. By ship or airplane. There is no other realistic way.

Thus we needed a coordinated response. We needed a response between airlines, cruise lines, the government, the CDC, and epidemiologists. We didn't get that. People were released without quarantine from ships and airplanes. There was no testing initially. More importantly, airlines refused to give the government information regarding passengers, phone numbers, addresses, and email. Cruise lines were only a little better.

That's where it went bad. The virus isn't going to wait for test kits. It's not going to wait for all of those stakeholders to agree on a response. It's going to walk off ships and planes. Now even if you didn't have a proper test available- you could still quarantine people until you did. Other countries had tests- why not us? Aren't we supposed to be this great nation? Couldn't we locate these people, interview them for the people they contacted, the places they'd been? South Korea did and they are looking pretty well contained right now.

So it's here. Your leaders failed, your corporations failed, the CDC and Public Health agencies failed. If they had gotten out in front of this- I believe the numbers would prove out with far less fatalities, hospitalizations, and drains on our health care systems and economy as a whole.

So now all they can do is watch these numbers soar exponentially and try to mitigate this. That's their plan. President Trump dropped the ball in his public address Wednesday night and markets reeled limit down. Why? He had no credible response for slowing this down. He knew that ship had sailed. And today on ZeroHedge is a picture of Trump next to a man who tested positive for CV. Trump said he is not worried.

Of course he said that. He hasn't cared about this since the beginning. The only coordinated response he has had was talking the FED into cutting rates and throwing a few trillion at the repo markets and trying to slow down the great sell off in world equity and bond markets. What wealthy politicians care about is appearances, material wealth, and getting re-elected. Calm people down. Normalcy bias.

A few weeks ago on my facebook page- I asked people if they were doing anything to prepare for the CV. I had a few responses, most if not all minimizing CV, comparing it to the flu. I on the other hand had done a little prepping including buying a new freezer and stocking up on food. I have enough to last 3 months. I am looking at the big picture and trying to find ways to mitigate exposure because lord knows- if we had to rely on government we'd all be dead.

Which brings me to latex gloves. If I gave you a choice between face masks and rubber gloves- which would you choose?

Unfortunately there are many portals from which the virus can enter your body- but the easiest way is on your hands. CV carriers leave the virus on money, on counter tops, on buffet utensils, on bar tops and glasses, on elevator buttons, door knobs, handrails, and gas pumps.

Social distancing beyond 6 feet would probably work far better than any face mask but the real method of transmission I am worried about is getting the virus on my hands and touching my face, eyes, or mouth, and rubbing it in. With gloves on- the virus is prevented from getting on my hands and when I come home from an outing- I simply pull the gloves off and then wash my hands. If I inadvertently touch my face after that, I'll be ok.

In a responsible sense, we need to take steps to prevent transmitting this to others. I was shocked when I heard that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was diagnosed with CV and during a press event- he purposefully touched every networks microphone. I suppose that's the under developed frontal lobe of a 27 year old basketball player. Last night, a man tested positive for CV prior to boarding a JetBlue flight and boarded the plane anyway- disrupting the lives of 100's and potentially infecting them. I noted that today the story changed to say that the man did not get the test results until after he boarded the plane. Whether that's the truth, or some self centered asshole who knew before he boarded- that's what you are up against.

Normalcy bias, complacency, and a self centered public that wants what it wants. These folks are out there.

My wife and I just returned from Las Vegas to find out that a woman from New York had CV and was staying at the Mirage across from our hotel on the strip. Although Las Vegas had no reported cases at the time- I feel a little foolish because I know better. I've seen the poor performance of government first hand and Las Vegas hasn't uttered a peep although millions of tourists from around the globe fly there. They wanted to keep the cloak of plausible deniability intact. (We didn't know the CV was here!)

I am going to socially distance myself and spend time at home. Thankfully I am retired with an income stream. Down below you'l find an excellent, must read link that goes into great detail about the CV. Please take care of yourselves.

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca










Sunday, February 23, 2020

Obama Created the Trump Presidency

For the life of me, the left simply cannot understand why millions of us support Trump. Prepare yourself for a gut punch here and know this- I can take any shitty comments you might have. There is space below and I'll let you have your say without using the delete button.

In 2010, President Obama destroyed my financial ability to obtain health insurance. In my case, I was retired with a pension just above the 400% required of what was a ridiculously low (and arbitrarily assigned) poverty level.

Obama did this with lies such as the "price of insurance would go down" and "if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor." In fact, my doctor fired me within months of the enactment of Obamacare because I paid cash. Sent me a letter. Why keep a cash payer around when you can provide healthcare to a large swath of new Obamacare patients/recipients with deep insurance pockets?

To add insult to injury, we were penalized for not having insurance while deadbeats received insurance for free. I remember hauling a guy around in my car for Uber who told me me he signed up for Obamacare gold, had his knee replaced (a 30+ thousand dollar op) and received free physical therapy- and then dropped his insurance once the operation was complete. He had paid 5 months of premiums.

Our last hope was that the Supreme Court would rule against this unlawful seizure of our property but they did not. I remember Obama virtually threatening the court and I was shocked when Justice Stevens ruled against us and broke the tie. They called it a tax. They have taxing "authority."

By the time 2016 rolled around- we had a whole section of this country who hated democrats, Obama, and his minions. On a personal level- aside from being lied to- I believe Obama has cost me in the neighborhood of 40,000 dollars in medical costs, penalties, and I still have to shop all of my maladies around while paying cash. Including prescription costs and dental care.

That all might be bad enough but Obama presented another hurdle- he was black. Being black in America right now means that no white person can criticize anything a black person does. However, minorities can call white people bigots and racists and act like victims with no repercussion. It's a one way street where every white person in America must remain silent or be labeled and ridiculed by these folks. That's been the evolution of our insane culture where you simply cannot criticize any minority for their piss poor performance or their lies.

That's why we can never speak of the 71% of black kids without fathers. We just let them shoot and kill each other in Chicago and New Orleans, Baltimore, and Detroit because letting these kids kill each other is far easier than opening a dialogue which might include discussing what is wrong with the black culture that they find this acceptable behavior. Heaven forbid, we might offend them.

That's why America is pissed off. That's how Donald Trump got elected. If they can't figure that out- I can't help them.

Nobody cares about Russian interference, cheating on your wife, phone calls to the Ukraine, or even Chinese tariffs. I'm not sure any of that garbage matters. It's noise.

I care about accessible healthcare- not subsidizing health insurers who donate to presidential campaigns. I care about our diplomats getting killed while the people in charge do nothing weeks before the election. I am sick of criminals like Bill and Hillary running free and flying on a pedophile's plane.

Apparently none of that shit concerns my leftist friends. So we aren't friends. That's divisive and in the jargon of the left- I have set my boundaries.

There is not a chance in hell that I will vote for a gay male President with a male wife or husband or whatever they call one another. I don't care if he cured cancer or negotiated a middle east cease fire. I will not cast a ballot for a communist candidate who has never held a private sector job in his life and has gotten rich skimming campaign contributions.

And I don't give two shits if you think I'm narrow minded, homophobic, intolerant, or a bigot.

So there ya have it. The unvarnished truth. Donald Trump is the lesser of all those evils. I am not going to be "tolerant" or buy into any of that statist rhetoric of those enlightened leftists driving Priuses', thinking they are saving the planet while talking drivel into the latest Apple phone. This is where I draw the line. The election this year is going to be one of the most fantastic shit shows I have ever witnessed especially if the statists nominate Bernie. I can hardly wait and if you want to know what started all of this divisiveness and animosity in our country- go ask Barack Obama.

He created a giant swath of voters who were duped, lied to, and remain angry. The "affordable care act" they called it. You don't like President Trump Mr. Obama? Well guess what- you and your party's shitty nominee last election cycle- created President Trump. It's about time you and your minions stand tall and take responsibility for that instead of whining like little children about Trump supporters and wondering how we could be so "stupid" for supporting him. This given that the best alternative your party could come up with was a snotty, arrogant, and yet to be convicted criminal.

It's really not that hard to figure out.








Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Last Patrol

I met BS "Pat" Pidgeon in the spring of '83. I remember him best on the day a local commuter plane crashed on the state highway in our county near the airport and cartwheeled down the northbound ditch adjacent to the road. There were 14 souls aboard and we spent some time locating and digging them out of the deep snow that day. We were there for hours protecting the scene and waiting for NTSB. Later on that afternoon,  I saw Pidgeon on the east/passenger side of his patrol car.  He had a pair of binoculars and he was looking at the mountains to the west.

Days later, I asked him what he was looking at. He told me wasn't looking at anything. He said he had to take a piss and so he pulled the binoculars out so that people would think he was looking at something else, glance that direction, and wouldn't notice he was taking a piss.

In that moment he had won me over. I picked him to be my role model cop. I was 22 years old, stupid, cocky, and I have no earthly idea of what he ever saw in me. We became friends although some 25 years separated us. I loved to ride with Pat. We'd drive around the county, take an occasional call, and inevitably Pat would pull some crazy shit that would leave me with my mouth wide open.

A lot of what happened back in those days was marginally acceptable and tolerated. Justice was delivered a little differently back then.

One thing I learned early on was that you didn't point your finger at Pat. We had taken an early morning 911 call in a subdivision out in the woods. It was covered in deep snow. It was a domestic kind of call and the male part of the battle was a little agitated and kind of aggressive. The girlfriend was still in the cabin and we were standing in a driveway about 100 feet from the house. Pat wasn't the kind of guy you tried to intimidate and this guy kept raising his voice and yelling at Pat. Pat was yelling back. Then it happened. The guy, holding his car keys, pointed his finger right in Pat's face. Pat immediately grabbed him by the wrist, stripped the car keys out of his hand, and launched the whole set of keys into the deep snow about 50 yards away. The guy, needing his keys to drive away and go to work, immediately went searching for them and Pat left me to guard him while he checked on his girlfriend. It had only been a verbal argument and when we left- the guy was still trying to find his keys.

Pat wouldn't write a traffic ticket to save his life. He hated traffic tickets. We would do traffic accidents all the time and Pat might note on the report who was at fault- but he'd never write a ticket. He prided himself on having the same ticket book he had been issued 7 years earlier. 

I think Pat hated tickets because he was the most notorious speeder in the region. Other departments  were constantly stopping him and letting him go. Officers let him go- not just because he was a good cop but because he was fearless. He'd get right in the middle of any fight. When I needed help, I always breathed a sigh of relief when Pidgeon arrived. I know the other cops felt the same way. In our little rural corner of the world, I always thought those 55 MPH speed limits were too restrictive anyway. Man, I used to get stopped a lot. No tickets. That just pissed off my ex. She was the kind of gal who got a ticket every time she got stopped and you can guess why. If there is a speeding hell for cops, I will be looking forward to seeing my friend Pat when I get there.

I could write about so many things. Every day was an adventure with Pat. Once when the loudest burglar alarm in the world was shrieking and the jewelry store owner was taking her time getting to the store, Pat's solution was to rip the whole alarm off the wall. A couple hours later the Sheriff called us in, got our stories, and made Pat pay for the alarm.

Or the time Pat shot a hole in his ceiling with his .45 and declared that was where he was going to put the stovepipe for his wood burning stove. Or the time he shot some dog that had jumped through his screen door inside his house searching for Pat's dog who was in heat. Insane stories, very funny stuff. That was vintage Pidgeon.

Pat loved his wife and daughters. I think all that estrogen gave him patience. He would always talk about his wife and daughters and even when they upset him- you always knew he loved them. Pat was grateful for his family and all of his blessings. He viewed retirement checks like manna from heaven. Pat retired many years ago and moved to a little town. He loved to hunt and fish- Pat was an excellent shot and a firearms instructor.

Pat's wife Barbara encouraged me to visit Pat when one of his best friends died. I did, but not enough. That's the way it always seems to be. I always think I have more time.

In all of the years I knew Pat- I'll be damned if I ever hunted or fished with him. Until last year. We decided to go coyote hunting one day.

We loaded up our guns and drove for hours. All we did was talk. There was no speeding. We drove for miles and miles, found some obscure bodies of water, gazed at them. Talked about fishing and I chewed him out for giving his boat away. The guns never left the truck that day and truth is, the coyotes were pretty safe. We stopped at a country store, had lunch, and eventually returned home. This as it turned out, was going to be the last patrol for Pat and I.

Oh I stopped by his house a few times, the last time in October when I asked him to hold a few things for me while I moved back to Montana. That move fell through and instead, I found myself moving to the warm desert near St George, Utah. 

Pat died during the night at home, sometime after the Superbowl. He always seemed so healthy even for his age (80s) that I thought he'd be around a lot longer. His passing caught me by surprise and I've been trying to make sense of it ever since. That's the ridiculous part. We think we have some sense of control but we do not. We think we have time that we do not. We feel guilty for something we have no say in and cannot foresee. 

I am going to be grateful for the time I did have with Pat rather than feel sorry for the time I missed. I think Pat would have wanted it that way.