Friday, January 24, 2020

"The Risk Of A True Pandemic Is Higher Than We’re Being Told"

"The Risk Of A True Pandemic Is Higher Than We’re Being Told"
by Adam Taggart

"OK, there’s a LOT of uncertainty and confusing/conflicting information currently circulating right now about the new coronavirus outbreak that has suddenly erupted out of Wuhan, China. What’s really going on? What exactly is the ‘coronavirus’? And most important: How worried do we need to be?

Given the poor communication so far by government health organizations and the media, the severity of the situation and the risk to public health, Chris Martenson filmed this important explanatory video hours ago. Dr. Martenson’s PhD is in the field of pathogenic biology, so he understands the nature of this virus more than your average scientist.

In the video below, Chris explains the virus in layman’s terms, why the contagion we’re seeing is likely to spread substantially from here, and why the actions being taken so far by public health officials to contain the threat are woefully insufficient. It’s important, maybe soon critical, to be well-informed on this outbreak. The ten minutes you spend watching this video may be the most important thing you do today: 
After viewing, be sure to take prudent steps to secure the safety of your family’s health. Most measures are straightforward and inexpensive - there’s a huge upside to preparing now and a huge downside to delaying, so get busy. Those interested can continue to follow our updated coverage on the coronavirus here. Hopefully, authorities manage to contain this outbreak faster than it currently appears they will. But don’t bet your life on it."

"100 Seconds to Doomsday"

"100 Seconds to Doomsday"
by Brian Maher

"Our heart is black with grief today. For we bear grave news… Earth is substantially closer to doomsday. It is true. This we have on the invincible authority of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It has reset its “Doomsday Clock.” Two days ago, Armageddon’s timepiece read two minutes to midnight. But yesterday, the Cassandras wrung their trembling hands... And grimly advanced the doom hand 20 seconds - to 100 seconds to midnight. How they are certain doomsday is not 103 seconds away, or 33, remains somewhat dim to us. They nonetheless assure us... Not once in 74 years has doomsday drawn so close - not even in the iciest depths of the Cold War.

“We Now Face a True Emergency”: Shrieks Rachel Bronson, Bulletin president and chief executive officer: "It is 100 seconds to midnight. We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds - not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency - an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay."

But why? Why is annihilation suddenly such an immediate menace, a 100-second menace? Here are the three cavalrymen of this apocalypse, fast approaching: Atoms, oil and speech. That is... atomic arms, climate change and “cyber-based disinformation.” The third is so vicious because it halts action against the first two.

The Doomsday Trio: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, by way of explanation: "In the nuclear realm, national leaders have ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations during the last year, creating an environment conducive to a renewed nuclear arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to lowered barriers to nuclear war. Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening. U.S.-Russia cooperation on arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent."

Meantime, Earth is down with a fatal fever. And Man strokes Nero’s fiddle as it burns up: "Governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand. At U.N. climate meetings last year, national delegates made fine speeches but put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting Earth’s climate. This limited political response came during a year when the effects of man-made climate change were manifested by one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice."

Finally, democracy’s enemies pollute the “information ecosphere” with seditions and blasphemies. These hellcats undermine “domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet”: "Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats. In the last year, many governments used cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns to sow distrust in institutions and among nations, undermining domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet.

Hence Earth dangles by the barest tatter. Hence the Doomsday Clock nears midnight. Hence our blackened heart. But what do we see galloping in? Is this yet a fourth horseman of earthly apocalypse? Is it… debt?

The Deadly Horseman of Debt: The numbers men project total global debt will exceed $257 trillion in this, the first quarter of 2020. That eclipses all records. Divide the world’s combined debt by 7.7 billion - Earth’s existing population - and each earthly inhabitant is $33,376 in bondage. Total global debt now rises to 322% of global economic production. That too is a record. And total “developed world” debt piles to 383% of GDP - another record yet. Meantime, nonfinancial corporate debt rises to 92% of GDP. That is correct… still another record. But stay within these shores…

Engorged by Debt: The United States government has since borrowed some $13 trillion since the financial crisis. These borrowings have hoisted the United States national debt above $23 trillion. Yet the American economy expanded only $5.1 trillion these past 10 years. That is, while GDP has expanded less than 40%… the national debt has increased over 120%.

We have likened the economy to an overswollen tick, engorged by debt rather than blood. It cannot move ahead unless it shakes off the burden. The economy presently requires $4 or $5 of debt to squeeze out $1 of growth. It is a frightful arithmetic. What is more, much of today’s debts are “nonproductive.”

The Destructive Weeds of Debt: That is, they are not investments in the future. They are claims upon the future. Tomorrow’s consumption becomes today’s consumption. It leaves tomorrow’s bounty that much reduced. Even the dashboard saint of government spenders - Lord John Maynard Keynes - placed rigorous demands upon debt. The government may fall into debt during economic distress, he allowed. But each dollar of debt it plants in economic winter... must come up a lovely blossom in spring. Else it is nonproductive.

Much of today’s debt - however - turns up weeds. These weeds choke the entire economic garden… strangling spring’s flowers before they even live. That is because much of government borrowing goes to “social welfare.” Also, to service existing de‌bt. In fact... Interest payments on the national debt represent the swiftest-growing government expenditure. In words other, much of today’s debt goes to nonproductive uses. And so the economy will likely skip spring. Where oh where is Lord Keynes?

Less Spring: And as we have noted before: Evidence indicates any de‌bt-to-GDP ratio above 60% courts economic risk. Any ratio above 90% invites calamity - or possible doomsday, in keeping with today’s apocalyptic theme. The United States’ present de‌bt-to-GDP goes at 106%. What about the GDP side of the equation? Is GDP on the increase? 2018 growth came it 2.9%. Last year’s final tally is not yet in. But consensus estimates 2019 real U.S. GDP growth will recede to 2.3%.

What of 2020? The Congressional Budget Office projects 1.9% growth this year. The median Federal Reserve forecast rings in at 2.0%. Meantime, Morgan Stanley expects 1.8% 2020 growth. More winter. More weeds. Fewer spring blossoms.Indeed, less spring.

Time to Reset the Doomsday Clock Again: Lance Roberts of Real Inves‌tment Advice, in summary: "As this money is used for servicing de‌bt, entitlements and welfare instead of productive endeavors, there is no question that high de‌bt-to-GDP ratios reduce economic prosperity over time. In turn, the government tries to fix the “economic problem” by adding on more “de‌bt.”

Thus we add debt to the doomsday horsemen that presently scourge and menace Earth. It sits high in the saddle… and its approach is like thunder. We suggest the atomic scientists advance their Doomsday Clock accordingly - 100 seconds may prove far, far too generous. We can almost hear the tolling bells of midnight..."

"Coronavirus Update: China Suddenly Increases Death Toll By Over 60% As Virus Jumps To Europe"

"Coronavirus Update: China Suddenly Increases 
Death Toll By Over 60% As Virus Jumps To Europe"
by Tyler Durden
Summary Friday 01/24/2020, 17:06 EST: Here's a glimpse of new virus-related developments that occurred overnight.

• China announces another 15 deaths in Hubei province.
• Total number of confirmed cases now 1,000+, 41 dead.
• China restricts travel for 46+ million people across 16 cities as the death toll surges.
• AFP reports that the virus has jumped to Europe, with three confirmed cases now in France.
• Two deaths have been reported outside Wuhan.
• Some residents displaying symptoms are being turned away from hospitals.
• Hospitals in Wuhan make urgent pleas for help and supplies.
• Beijing orders PLA medics to assist in Wuhan treating patients
• UK and US governments tell citizens to avoid outbreak zones.
• 63 suspected cases in US, Senator says 3 confirmed, with two reported so far in Illinois and California, and two suspected in Minnesota.

Update (1700ET): All day we've been watching disturbing videos of hospital hallways littered with what appear to be dead bodies, yet the death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus hasn't budged from 26 since Beijing reported the first two deaths outside Hubei yesterday.

Now we know why: As we suspected, the virus has been claiming more victims. But the local authorities, who promised 'transparency' in everything virus-related, apparently felt the need to wait until 4 am local time to drop this massive bomb: Another 15 people have died in Hubei as hospitals struggle with severe shortages of nearly everything, including doctors and nurses. That brings the total number of casualties to 41. In addition, another 180 cases have been discovered in Hubei, bringing the total number of cases over 1,000. The latest figures show that the virus is more deadly than previously thought. Meanwhile, Sky News is reporting that officials in France have confirmed a third case of coronavirus in the country.

Update (1420ET): AFP reports, citing a minister, that two cases of coronavirus are now confirmed in France, as the virus officially spreads to Europe. The outbreak will give President Emmanuel Macron a desperately needed distraction from seemingly never-ending protests of his government.

Across China, fairs and other events celebrating the New Year holiday have been cancelled, meanwhile officials in Wuhan are scrambling to try a build a 1,000 bed hospital in Wuhan in under ten - some say five - days. Amid all of the terrifying videos showing what appear to be dead bodies piling up in a hallway in Wuhan (we shared the video below), reports out of Wuhan offer plenty of reason to fret: A previously healthy young man has succumbed to the virus - the first victim who wasn't elderly or struggling with a serious co-occurring health problem.

Across China, more than 7,000 movie theaters have shuttered until further notice. CNBC reported that this could cost the Chinese box office more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, shares of Netflix rallied Friday on the belief that millions of Chinese might instead stay home and stream - even though Netflix doesn't operate in China.

We joked about it yesterday, but today it has become a reality: Beijing has quarantined an entire province, with more than 46 million on lockdown across China.

As experts warn that there are probably closer to 4,000 cases in China alone, projections suggest that whatever governments - including China - are doing to fight the virus, it likely won't be enough to stop a global outbreak.
Click image for larger size.
The WHO is still waiting on making a call, claiming that it hasn't yet seen enough evidence of human-to-human transmission, despite the fact that this is no longer in doubt. Yesterday, the organization estimated that the Wuhan coronavirus had a Ro rating - a measure of its infectious potential - of 2, making it more contagious than the flu, but less infectious than smallpox. Here's a table for comparison.
Click image for larger size.
He might as well have tweeted: "DON'T PANIC" in big, red, friendly letters.

As Wuhan pleads for resources and the PLA mobilizes military doctors to hospitals in Wuhan and elsewhere, reports have emerged of doctors straight up dying from exhaustion, according to the Washington Post. The Post added that Wuhan is struggling with shortages of every conceivable medical supply, from masks, to rubber gloves to personnel.

Paranoia has led to facemasks flying off the shelves across Asia, and even in New York City's Chinatown, according to media reports. Price gouging in Hong Kong has driven prices of individual masks above $10 dollars in some cases.

One reporter at WaPo reportedly overheard a doctor in Wuhan screaming into the phone at their supervisor, allegedly begging to be fired. "I don’t want do this job any more. Just fire me! Kick me out, send me back home," a doctor at Wuhan No. 5 Hospital yelled into the phone, frustration and exhaustion exploding out of him. "Don’t I want to go home to celebrate the new year?" he screamed in his Wuhan accent, presumably at his boss, that he’d done four back-to-back shifts as China made plans for the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Friday. "Don’t we want to live, too?"

At least one US senator, Florida's Rick Scott, is pushing President Trump to declare a national public health emergency over the virus - but of course Trump won't do that, at least until the market has closed."
View this complete article, with numerous videos, here:

If you're in need of something to be absolutely terrified of, this will do nicely...

Musical Interlude: B Tribe, “Suave Suave”

B Tribe, “Suave Suave”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Jets of streaming plasma expelled by the central black hole of a massive spiral galaxy light up this composite image of Centaurus A. The jets emanating from Cen A are over a million light years long. 
Click image for larger size.
Exactly how the central black hole expels infalling matter is still unknown. After clearing the galaxy, however, the jets inflate large radio bubbles that likely glow for millions of years. If excited by a passing front, radio bubbles can even light up again after a billion years. X-ray light is depicted in the above composite image in blue, while microwave light is false-colored orange. The inset image in radio light shows newly imaged, never seen-before details of the innermost light year of the central jet.”

Free Download: T.S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"

“Little Gidding”, Excerpt

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time. 
When the last of earth left to discover 
Is that which was the beginning; 
At the source of the longest river 
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree.

Not known, because not looked for 
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always - 
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded 
Into the crowned knot of fire 
And the fire and the rose are one.”

- T.S. Eliot

The "Little Gidding" is the last of T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets," 
which you may freely download here:

Chet Raymo, “Not Known, Because Not Looked For”

“Not Known, Because Not Looked For”
by Chet Raymo

"Tony shared with us these well-known lines of T. S. Eliot (“Little Gidding”*):
 "We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time."

"It is not quite what Eliot is up to, but I was reminded of some lines of Pascal that I shared here several years ago: “Scientific learning is composed of two opposites which nonetheless meet each other. The first is the natural ignorance that is man's lot at birth. The second is represented by those great minds that have investigated all knowledge accumulated by man only to discover at the end that in fact they know nothing. Thus they return to the same fundamental ignorance they had thought to leave. Yet this ignorance they have now discovered is an intellectual achievement. It is those who have departed from their original condition of ignorance but have been incapable of completing the full cycle of learning who offer us a smattering of scientific knowledge and pass sweeping judgments. These are the mischief makers, the false prophets.” - "Pensees" V:327

It took almost three centuries for Pascal's remarkable insight to become the common opinion of scientists. The 20th-century philosopher Karl Popper expressed it this way: "The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance. For this, indeed, is the main source of our ignorance- the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite."

It is an odd, unsettling thought that the culmination of the scientific quest- the long slow gathering of reliable empirical knowledge of the world- should be confirmation of how little we understand about the universe we live in. A willingness to say "I don't know" is a prerequisite of scientific discovery. Only in the silence of acknowledged ignorance can we hear - half hear - the thing that calls us to attend."

    "Through the unknown, unremembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree
    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
    Between two waves of the sea."

 “Pensees”, by Blaise Pascal, is here:

"The Appointment in Samarra"

"The Appointment in Samarra" 
As retold by W. Somerset Maugham, 1933
The speaker is Death

"There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, "Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a man in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me." The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?" "That was not a threatening gesture," I said, "it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

"We Live In Radical Times..."

"We live in radical times surrounded by tasks that seem impossible. It has become our collective fate to be alive in a time of great tragedies, to live in a period of overwhelming disasters and to stand at the edge of sweeping changes. The river of life is flooding before us, and a tide of poisons affect the air we breathe and the waters we drink and even tarnish the dreams of those who are young and as yet innocent. The snake-bitten condition has already spread throughout the collective body.

However, it is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears where deep losses become acknowledged. Along the arc of healing the wounds and the poisons of life are created the exact opportunities for bringing out all the medicines and making things whole again."
- Michael Meade,"Fate And Destiny"

"Economic Market Snapshot PM 1/24/20"

1/24/20, Updated frequently as available.

Gregory Mannarino, PM 1/24/20: 

“The Stock Market Is Vulnerable To A Very Big Drop”"
Website: -
MarketWatch Market Summary, Live Updates

CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

Buffett Indicator: Where Are We With Market Valuations?
"As of 1/24/20 (updates daily): The Stock Market is Significantly Overvalued. Based on historical ratio of total market cap over GDP (currently at 157%), it is likely to return -3.2% a year from this level of valuation, including dividends. As of today, the Total Market Index is at $32828.6 billion, which is about 157% of the last reported GDP. The US stock market is positioned for an average annualized return of -3.2%, estimated from the historical valuations of the stock market. This includes the returns from the dividends, currently yielding at 1.7%."

Daily Job Cuts, Updated daily.

Daily Essentials, Updated Frequently:
"You could look it up." - Yogi Berra
You should...

And soon enough, the End Game...

The Daily "Near You?"

Coventry, Connecticut, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Our Best Choice..."

"Good or bad, everything we do is our best choice at that moment."
- William Glasser


“The dictionary defines grief as: “Keen mental suffering or distress over affliction of loss; sharp sorrow, painful regret.” We’re taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives but in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to sharp sorrow. 

Grief may be a thing we all have in common but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life, it’s loss, it’s change. And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, it has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime. That’s how you stay alive when it hurts so much you can’t breathe. That’s how you survive. By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, it won’t feel this way. It wont hurt this much. Grief comes in it’s own time for everyone in it’s own way. So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty. The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes and let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again and always, every time, it takes your breath away.

According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, when we are dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinctive stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable, we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone. We become angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain, we beg, we plead. We offer everything we have. We offer up our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair. Until finally we have to accept that we have done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance." 
- “Grey’s Anatomy”

"For What Do We Grieve?"

"For What Do We Grieve?"
by Mary Christine

"The obvious answer to that question is the loss of a loved one. Grief is not reserved only for the death of a loved one. We grieve over all kinds of losses. Our pets, our health, a body part, a house, a job loss, our dignity. The grief, and how we walk through it, will be different depending on the type of loss.

A few weeks ago, I had to go to the DMV to get a new drivers license. Going to the DMV is never fun but I was prepared for a wait. My license still had a year to go before it would expire but I needed an updated license with the correct address on it. It was correct in the database so I didn’t even consider I would need some additional piece of ID with the new address. After an hour wait, I was informed that I would need to produce that piece in order to get the new license. Fortunately, I could run to the bank not too far from there and have them print out the first page of my statement with the address and that would be sufficient. They gave me a place holder so that when I returned, I could jump to the front of the line. Slightly inconvenient but no big deal, really.

In my state, you have a choice to get the REAL ID compliant license or a regular license. In October of 2020, REAL ID will be a requirement in order to fly domestically, enter certain Federal Buildings, military bases and nuclear facilities. While I was waiting, I picked up the brochure that listed the documentation needed to acquire the REAL ID compliant license. If you already have one, then you know the requirements: birth certificate or passport, social security card or some legal document with ss number on it, two documents to show proof of state residency, and if applicable, documentation of name change. Basically, this is the same documentation that you would need to get a passport.

On the way home I was overtaken by a bit of road rage when someone sped up behind me, flashed their lights and hung on my tail until I moved out of the way into the right lane. I was in the process of passing, obviously not fast enough for them but I could not get over until I got around the cars next to me or dropped my speed and slipped behind them. I usually just shrug off these types of incidents, get over and out of the way. Not this time. As soon as they passed, I pulled out behind them and gave them some of their own medicine at which point they slammed on their brakes…in the fast lane…during the rush hour time of day.  This type of behavior is not like me but today I was not myself. I followed them like that for 10 miles until I needed to turn.

As I drove down the country roads that lead to my house, I burst into tears. Believe me when I tell you that I am not a crier and my better half will attest to that. More behavior that is not like me. By the time I reached my driveway the tears had passed. But I was agitated and unable to pinpoint the reason for it. My husband was out of town on business and when I talked to him later that evening I told him what had happened, including the road rage incident. He wouldn’t scold me because for one thing, he knows that type of behavior is nearly unheard of coming from me. And for another, it would be the pot calling the kettle black. I emailed a friend to relate the same story. It bothered me that I could not pinpoint the reason for being upset.

The next day, out of the blue, more tears. “This is ridiculous!” I kept thinking. “What on earth is my problem?” Then as quickly as it started, it stopped. But wondering why it started in the first place kept me thinking about it for the rest of the day. I slept on it.

Sometime after I woke up the next morning it suddenly occurred to me what my problem was. As weird as it may seem, I was grieving for my country. The trip to the DMV was the trigger. To be exact, it wasn’t the DMV. It was reading about the necessary document requirements for the REAL ID that was the trigger.

I hate to use the word “trigger” because it has been co-opted and used improperly by the media and academia. I’ve had some training as a lay grief counselor. A grief trigger is anything that will remind us of the loss we have endured, whether recent or not. It can be a big thing, like a birthday or anniversary. Or it can be something you would not even expect such as walking down the cereal aisle in the grocery store and spotting a box of oatmeal. Because your loved one always ate oatmeal you are overcome with a wave of grief.  Months, or even years can pass, and you can still experience moments of grief like this. They seem to pop up out of nowhere.

On my way home from the DMV that day I kept thinking about how we will be required to show the REAL ID drivers license or a passport to fly domestically. This is supposed to keep us safer. The suspicion is that this will not stop with airline travel. It will eventually have to be shown for all kinds of travel. Unfortunately, it won’t be necessary to show it in order to vote. But this is not specifically about that particular issue. Others have written extensively about our incremental loss of freedoms over the years. I have no idea why this particular issue was the trigger for me.  Loss of freedom is not one of the losses I ever expected to grieve but there it is.

Maybe a review of what the 5 stages of grief are is a good idea. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. "While these emotions and experiences are common in those grieving a loss, the term “stages” is misleading. There is no straight path or progression of emotions that mourners follow. There is no timeline. Grief is unpredictable, with good days and bad days. We never “get over” the loss of a loved one. Each individual and each loss will have its own unique process for healing.

What a mourner is experiencing today may fade and be replaced with other reactions. It is not a linear process. Mourners may circle back to emotions. The bereaved may go through a period of time when they feel at peace and then return to sadness. All of this is normal.”

The 5 stages link is a good reference for anyone dealing with a loss, also for those who want to support someone dealing with a loss. Personally, I would quibble with using the word “depression”. In my opinion it should be changed to “profound sadness”.  There may be days where it feels like depression. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep or you sleep all the time. You can’t manage simple tasks because they seem overwhelming. But it should be a “bad day or few days” situation and should not continue for very long. If it does it can turn into classic clinical depression. Pay attention if someone says they are worried about you.

Is it a proper thing to grieve for one’s country? Is it the country I’m grieving for or the way of life that I have had that I fear my children and, particularly my grandchildren, will not have? Are they one and the same? We have had more than one discussion about how we ended up in the place we are at now. Lots of blame gets thrown around. In trying to come up with an analogy, I settled on a family dealing with a loved one in the throes of substance abuse.

A family member that has serious mental issues compounded by substance abuse will cause an uproar for the rest of the family. The 5 stages of grief will apply in this instance. Since everyone goes through those stages at different times the person continues to get worse while the family argues about the problem. There is always an enabler who makes the problem worse. Nothing gets accomplished when someone is still in denial about the substance abuse and mental issues. Sometimes the enabler never stops enabling. They stay in denial until someone, either the enabler or the substance abuser, dies. In cases where all of the functioning family members have entered the acceptance stage, a plan can be made to get help for the dysfunctional family member. When they are all cooperating, recovery can restore the family and things get better.

This is far from a perfect analogy but on a micro-level it can be compared with how the rest of our countrymen are dealing with the problems we have in this dis-United States. How many times have those of us who are past the denial stage been left frustrated and perplexed when we try to convince friends and family how dire things are at this point in history?

Everyone moves through these stages at different times. You can throw all the information in the world at them and if they are not ready to face it, they can’t be pushed through them. It doesn’t help that The Powers That Be would like us to stay in denial forever. We are so much easier to manipulate when we are in that state.

In my opinion, there are still far too many people in the denial stage. Even people with whom we can agree on what our problems are still are convinced we can vote our way out of this. It’s the classic definition of insanity. How many times does it take to see that no matter who the President is, we still end up worse off than we were before? We can argue over the reasons why our current President hasn’t kept the promises he made on the campaign trail in 2016 but it doesn’t matter. I won’t make a list of how much worse off we are now than four years ago. Jim Quinn has just done a fine job of that in his most recent 2 part essay.

Some will say that I’m a pessimist. I will insist that you are in denial.  Powerful people are anti-bill of rights. Our three letter agencies are corrupt and need to be dismantled. Case in point, last November, one of them released this report. It is designed to try to predict crime based on past incidents.  It’s full of charts and graphs and bases its conclusions on a study of only 52 incidents between the years of 1972 and 2015. I don’t blame you if you don’t read it but it’s not really that long. This tells you who they think the enemy is. Here are a couple of highlights.

A message written by Christopher Wray states: “Bystanders need guidance to recognize concerning behaviors and overcome natural resistance to reporting.  Just as important as early recognition by bystanders is the need to have well-trained, skilled, and competent receivers of that reporting – individuals who can assess potential threats and share information with other stakeholders so that they can gather additional information, further assess the threat, and take action to mitigate that threat.“

Further down you will see this as part of the conclusion: “The offenders in the anti-government violent extremism category (n=13, 25%) adhered to a range of ideologies, from those that endorsed the belief that the current government was corrupt to those that were against the idea of government itself.  Many of the anti-government extremists in the study shared the conviction that part or all of the United States government had been corrupted.  Offenders sometimes expressed belief in a global conspiracy, or “New World Order,” which purportedly seeks to seize property and rights away from citizens.”

However, in the introduction they admit: “Predicting lone offender terrorism incidents is not possible, but prior research and operational experience support the conclusion that acts of targeted violence, including lone offender terrorist attacks, may be preventable through early recognition and reporting of concerning behavior.” Remember “If you see something, say something”? Thank you, Janet Napolitano for spreading this worldwide but leaving it so general that “something” can be “anything”.  Other agencies thought this was such a good idea they have expanded upon it.

I said I wasn’t going get specific but in my research, I accidentally came across this while looking for something else. It’s just one of many reasons to grieve which is the topic of this essay, so I shall further try to refrain from being specific.

Where was I? Oh yes, denial and our frustration with our fellow citizens who are still in it. Denial can be a very useful tool when we are processing through grief. In the first stage of dealing with a loss, denial allows us to function. In the case of the loss of a loved one there are immediate funeral arrangements and the subsequent mounds of paperwork to get through.

A week before Thanksgiving 2015 I received a breast cancer diagnosis. In between that time and Christmas, I had CT scans and consultations with 2 surgeons. A bi-lateral mastectomy was scheduled for January 5th, two days after my birthday. Denial served me well during those weeks. I didn’t whine and cry and mope around. We had lots of fun during those holidays. Friends and family kept saying things like “You sure are taking this well!”.  I really didn’t know what to say when someone said something like that to me. I just laughed it off.

Sometimes it takes a punch in the gut, so to speak, to push you into the next stage. For me, it was looking at myself in the mirror a few days after my surgery. Yeah, it was pretty jarring. I did experience anger. I bargained, knowing I had some rough chemo coming up that I really didn’t want to go through. I don’t think acceptance came until after I was done with the chemo and I was getting some of my strength back. You can’t move on with your life until acceptance comes. And, remember, no one can push you through those stages. You move through them at your own unique pace.

When we have a loved one who has been given a diagnosis of “I’m sorry, there is no cure”, we all have to go through those stages at our own pace. Family members argue because they are in different stages. Our country is our “loved one”.  By country, you all know I mean the one we grew up in; the one that gave us a paper driver’s license that didn’t need a picture. Well, maybe a picture isn’t such a bad idea but originally, it was just a piece of paper that said we could drive a car responsibly and knew the local driving laws. That’s all it was for, period. Even longer ago, there were no certificates of live birth. Families recorded births and deaths in the family bible.

While denial is a useful stage, it becomes a problem if it lasts too long. Any of those stages becomes a problem if we get stuck in them. Grief counseling is useful when that happens. But what kind of grief counseling is there for our fellow citizens who are stuck in denial and refuse to believe we are living in a country that is suffering from death by a thousand cuts?

Is grief appropriate or am I just weird? Don’t answer that. I found I wasn’t alone in my grief. I don’t expect people to burst into tears after going to the DMV like I did. That was my trigger. My “oatmeal” so to speak. We have some hard times ahead of us. Just as there is no way to prepare ourselves mentally for the loss of a loved one, I don’t think there is any way to be mentally prepared for what is to come.   I do think that it will bring more grief. It would be nice if most of us could be on the same page at the same time but that’s not in any way realistic. I don’t have a solution to this dilemma other than to wait until more people start to realize that that the patient is terminal and hope it doesn’t take much longer. Because we are running out of time. And I feel the need to stress that acceptance does not mean that we just give up and accept the future that The Powers That Be have in mind. It means that we can make a plan for where we should go from here.

For now, we should enjoy what time we have left. I don’t mean that we should shift back into denial, if that’s even possible. But getting away from the bad news we tend to wallow in is a way to keep ourselves healthy. Indulge in some guilty pleasures. Help out your neighbors.

I have a couple of my own guilty pleasures I will share. I have a soaker tub that I fill up a couple times a week with really hot water. I drop some lavender essential oil in it and soak until it gets too cool for me or my skin turns pruney, whichever comes first. I know, hot water is bad for the skin. Lots of lotion gets slathered on afterward.

My husband and I have a “happy hour” about once a week. We turn on music, make cocktails and hang out with our two dogs and two cats. If it’s warm we are out on the patio, if it’s cold, we are in the shop. The animals don’t come in the house, so we go to them.

To get away from bad news, I listen to a local afternoon radio show that is “news talk” in name only. They avoid politics unless it local and they make me laugh more often, than not. It tends to be sophomoric in humor which fits my sense of humor quite well.

Just one more thought for those grieving the loss of a loved one and wondering why God took this wonderful person and leaves horrible people still here seemingly enjoying life. Scripture is mostly silent on this issue, but I did find it addressed in one place some years ago and bookmarked it because I knew I would need it in the future."
"Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die." 
Isaiah 57:1-2 (NLT)
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“Luck of the draw, or meant to be? Our lives are impacted by forces we cannot explain, often changed for reasons we will never totally understand. However, when people are touched by the hand of fate, they know it. Whether fate brings them their heart's desire, or forever closes the door to their dreams, the path that has brought them to that point is clear, and fate's irony is unmistakable.”
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"Coronavirus Update 1/24/20"

"Coronavirus Update 1/24/20"

• "'This Time I'm Petrified': Virologist Who Helped 
Discover SARS Offers Chilling Take On Coronavirus Outbreak"
“I’ve seen it all: bird flu, SARS, influenza A, swine fever and the rest. But the Wuhan pneumonia makes me feel extremely powerless,” he told Caixin. “Most of the past epidemics were controllable, but this time, I’m petrified.”

• "46 Million Chinese Are Now Under Quarantine - 
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