A Broken Economy Means Broken People

“It was like a 98% drop in revenue overnight.  All the bills keep coming in, it’s hard to pay those bills.”John Rudolph, co-owner of Harry’s Coffee Shop and Diner.

“As of this afternoon, we’ve been forced to lay off our entire organization. Between all 5 locations that’s approximately 75 fantastic and very hard working people.”~Richard Walker, owner of Richard Walker’s Pancake House

We are estimating that about 60% of all our restaurants have closed. You can imagine how many thousands and thousands of employees have been affected.”~Jeff Rossman, President of the local chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

The above 3 quotes are taken from a March 26th La Jolla Village News article profiling local restaurants in my area.  Multiply them by 10 million and you get an idea of what the 30 million small  business owners around the country are going through, not to mention the 100’s of millions of people they employ (or used to).

Unemployment

According to this Wall Street Journal article, the total amount of unemployment applications during the three weeks since the economic shutdown began has surged to nearly 17 million.  Behind each of those applications of course is a human being who has suddenly found themselves out of a job, which means a group of people equivalent in size to the population of the Netherlands is now dependent on the government to survive.

This, to put it mildly, is a catastrophe and in a thousand other ways  than just financially.

As insanitybytes22 wrote recently in her fantastic post,  Economies are People!,

People who live paycheck to paycheck can often survive a couple of weeks, but then they find themselves unemployed, out of money for groceries, and the rent is due. People are already hurting under normal circumstances,  but now they’re hurting even more.

Put in the language of social justice and bleeding hearts everywhere, the economy is the difference between whether or not a battered woman can afford to leave an abusive situation. An economy is whether or not a case of child abuse is investigated or a kid is left to die. An economy is the difference between a woman choosing to have a child or choosing to have an abortion. An economy is whether or not you can send a 13 yr old to drug treatment or they just  go on the streets to sex trafficking and eventual overdose.

Yes, yes and yes.  There’s so much more I could add, not least of which are the negative effects of the enormous amount of stress of being out of work, which brings its own nightmares of anxiety, depression, loneliness, addiction and poor physical/mental health.  I cannot imagine having to suffer through any one of these things while isolated away from family, friends, church, therapists and doctors. Powder keg comes to mind.

There are also the compounding effects that occur when the incomes of so many people drop so dramatically overnight.  Lots of folks in this country, whether rich or poor, give significant amounts of money to charity, which in turns goes towards helping those most in need.  As millions of people become those most in need, these donations of course will drop off as well as government tax revenue that also fund programs for the poor.

It’s really just an ugly situation all around.

Let’s be clear, COVID-19 causes extremely harsh symptoms in some people and unfortunately those who succumb to it experience a particularly nasty and brutish death.  While the majority of people appear not to suffer this way, if at all, we must take the quickly spreading virus seriously and do what we can to combat it.

Shutting down the economy until a vaccine is found however is not a viable option and we have to stop pretending like it is.  Unfortunately fighting the coronavirus pandemic and saving the economy are intertwined in a sort of symbiotic relationship in reverse; what’s beneficial for one effort is detrimental to the other.  We need effective ways of doing both at the same time.

This could involve keeping those most vulnerable in quarantine and still enacting existing measures like the 6 foot spacing rule between people, limited social gatherings, practicing good hygiene, wearing masks, etc…while gradually opening up businesses and churches who will find creative ways to meet whatever new strictures get put in place.

I’m not a health or public policy expert by any means, but I do know a strong economy brings with it health, wealth and innovation, all things we desperately need to win the coronavirus battle.  Poverty brings much suffering and death, both physically and spiritually and will put our country in a much weaker condition to continue the fight.

A broken economy means broken people.

 

 

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The Uncertainty Virus

This is an absolutely fascinating interview with Stanford University Professor of Medicine Doctor Jay Bhattacharya.  He discusses why knowing the true lethality rate of COVID-19 is so important, as we cannot know what that rate is without a definitive number on how many people have or have had the virus. Right now we have no idea, yet huge policy decisions with enormous implications are being made as if we do. Massive testing on asymptomatic people is desperately needed.

The video is about 30 minutes long.  Carve out some time to give it a listen, it’s really well done.

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Social Distance ≠ Emotional Distance

Flowers

At least it shouldn’t. I daresay the technology our culture is absurdly blessed with was made for these very strange times, where we’re forced to live life from our living room couches and in person contact with others is vastly limited.

I really worry about what the long term societal effects of such isolation will be, especially with already vulnerable people like seniors and those dealing with existing mental health issues.  We were made to be social creatures, in fact the very act of conversing with someone stretches the mind and increases the feel good chemicals dopamine and oxytocin.

Without human interaction the brain becomes stagnant and a person’s world can shrink down to just their own problems and issues. It’s a really stifling way to live.

Reaching out to others really takes minimal effort. Here are just a few ways:

  • Texting is ok but pick up the phone and call people too, especially those you wouldn’t normally.
  • Use a video calling app like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.  It can be awkward at first but seeing people is a big mood booster.  If my 83 year old mom can be taught how to use “The FaceTime”, anyone can!
  • Drop flowers off for someone who could use a lift.
  • Leave a note with your phone # for a vulnerable person in your neighborhood who you think may need help.
  • Make eye contact and say hi to people when you’re out doing your socially distant appropriate exercise.
  • Make a point of starting up conversations while waiting in line to buy toilet paper.

This post is really written more for myself than anyone else. At times I’ve let the Coronavirus take up so much mental space in my head, that I’m forgetting about the very real people around me who are suffering.

What are some other ways we can connect with others?  Please share if you have ideas.

 

 

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So Call it the Xi Virus Then….

Or call it whatever you wish, COVID-19, China Virus, Beer Virus, or the Wuhan Flu, I really don’t care.  But please do not let the Chinese government off the hook for this and get away with its by now familiar propaganda campaign of blaming America.

It’s now pretty well known that China’s President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party tried to cover up the Coronavirus after it first sprouted in Wuhan, stifled, punished and disappeared those that attempted to sound the alarm and gave an already bad virus a month long head start in becoming the world health and economic disaster it is today.

As National Review Online states in The Other Chinese Virus,

The rulers in Beijing know that they are always one serious recession away from being turned out — and worse — and they so feared economic disruption and damage to their own institutional prestige that they placed a losing bet that the heavy hand of their police state would be heavy enough to quash the coronavirus outbreak.”We are all now paying a price for that corruption and stupidity.”

Yes we are and we should all be furious and united in our response to China. Yet instead another schoolyard fight over whether Trump is a racist erupts on social media and the outrage turns inward towards each other instead of where it needs to be.

We need to be careful with this stuff.  Like a body being pummeled by its own immune system gone haywire, our country can only take so much tension before it collapses.

 

 

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Pandora’s Pandemic

TV Freak Out

 

Stephen King wrote a popular book awhile back called The Stand about a rapidly spreading virus that started as a common cold and ended up killing almost everyone it infected.  I read  it not once, not twice, but three times due to a weird fascination my teenage brain had then with global pandemics and end of world scenarios.

Same thing with Ken Follet’s, Pillars of the Earth. I devoured that book multiple times, hooked from the start by it’s eery portrayal of life during the Black Plague era. Took me awhile after reading it to stop worrying about any dark spots that appeared on my skin, convinced this was the beginning of a painful end for me.

So now along comes this Coronavirus, the culmination of years of nonsensical fears about death crashing head on with my hypochondriac tendencies, now playing out in real time. Oh, have I mentioned that I’ve come down with a cold?

So while my left side brain calmly cautions me “there is nothing to panic about”, the right side is screaming “get thee to Costco ASAP, we need supplies!!”    What I’m trying to say is that even though I know better, this Coronavirus stuff scares the crap out of me!!

In the interest preserving my sanity (or proving my insanity), I decided to do some research.  Here’s what I found.

According to this very helpful John Hopkins website the latest Coronavirus stats are this: 100,645 confirmed cases worldwide, with 55,753 recovered and 3,411 deaths.  Here in the U.S., we have 234 confirmed cases with 8 recovered and 14 deaths.

The WHO estimates the Coronavirus death rate to be about 3.4%, but this also changes dramatically depending on what area of the world you’re talking about and the age and even sex of the patient.  This table from Worldmeter has a good breakdown on the death rate by age:

cov19deathrate.jpeg

It’s still not that simple because pre-existing conditions play a huge factor too. The Coronavirus is a big threat to those with compromised immune systems and/or respiratory problems, no matter how old.  For healthy individuals with the virus, not so much; they are very likely to experience mild symptoms like having a cold or lite flu.

Here is my own view on all this:

  • While any death from Coronavirus is bad, it’s good to keep in mind that for most people the risk of dying from it is pretty small.
  • Older people are definitely at high risk, which is alarming, but this is the case with regular influenza too
  • The numbers of people diagnosed have sky rocketed in the U.S, but that’s because we are finally testing for it properly.
  • As those numbers of diagnosed cases continue to rise, the death rate will come down
  • Many people already have the Coronavirus and don’t know it because the symptoms can be very mild-if these people were all counted as confirmed cases the death rate would go down dramatically.
  • Warm weather tends to inhibit viruses, which is why our “flu season” happens during colder months.  With spring just around the corner, let’s hope the Coronavirus behaves similarly.
  • The more I stay off social media the better I feel about things

Obviously this is a very fluid situation and things can and will change quickly.  The best we can do is stay informed, practice good hand washing hygiene and make sound decisions and stay hime if you’re sick.

At the same time don’t consume too much “news,” as the media has not been reporting on this responsibly.  And why should they?  Their job is not to inform, it’s all about ratings and eyeballs; the more scared you are, the more apt you will be to watch or read their fear mongering stories.

Many of us will probably get the Coronavirus if we haven’t already and most of us will be fine.  Prepare for the worst, expect the best and go on living your life.

That’s all I know

 

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Racist, Sexist Patients

MedicalInsurance

Credit: photobucket.com

                           

According to this Jerusalem Post article, The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is set to “deny medical services to racist, sexist patients”.  Now, I’m not sticking up for racism or sexism here, but there’s something disturbing about this idea.

Current NHS policy already covers verbal/physical abuse or any sort of aggressive behavior and staff are allowed to withhold treatment if they feel threatened.  As per the JP article, “the new rules will extend these protections to any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks.”

Nobody outside of a twisted few wants to see healthcare workers treated poorly because of their race, gender or sexual orientation, but if the rules already allow for denial of services for verbal or physical abuse, why are these extra categories needed?

Who is defining what these terms even mean?  Shoot, in today’s world of hidden microaggressions, just telling a woman to smile more can be considered sexist!”  I say “can be” because reality now is defined by what’s inside a person’s head and not necessarily based on what’s really happening. If you think the way I looked at you was offensive, well then it is, no matter that I was actually grimacing at the political talking heads spewing nonsense on the television screen above your head.

Isn’t it a bit troubling then that someone could be denied healthcare because of what someone else assumes about that person?  Please note, I’m not talking about verbal or physical abuse here, because that behavior is already out of bounds according to the NHS policy and rightly so.

It’s that phrase, “any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks” that gets me with it’s downright Orwelliain subjectiveness.

This is where the collision of political correctness and changing word definitions to suit an agenda collide to the detriment of healthy societies.  Consider that in many circles it’s common to label those who believe in traditional marriage as homophobic, or that being against illegal immigration is xenophobic, or that thinking sex is binary means your anti-transexual, or that throwing a Corona Virus themed party is a hate crime!

Do you see both how ridiculous and serious this is?  People have been brainwashed to believe the most absurd and hateful things about one another, which you can bet the elite policy makers that run the NHS sympathize with.  It’s not a big leap of faith to think that this will somehow be politicized and used against those that don’t think the correct way about things, the non woke so to speak.

And now the world’s largest government run healthcare system in the world has it written in to their policy that medical services can be denied to such people.  Disturbing indeed.

 

 

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Renewed Through Living Water

Journal Notes

Please excuse the chicken scratch notes above.  I was born a lefty in to a family notorious for bad handwriting and thus I continue the tradition. It’s my journal notes from this morning which read as follows:

“It’s through living water that God renews the mind.  As the heart grows larger and more open to the Holy Spirit, the mind stretches to areas God wants it to.

A healed heart brings healthy, God focused thoughts which prompts righteous actions.  Let God renew your heart, mind and soul!”

I hadn’t realized it but today’s entry was really a continuation of the one above it about an oasis I came across recently while hiking in the desert.  That one actually is entitled Living Water and states:

“Like drinking water when you’re parched, inviting God in to my life quenches a deep thirst in me, as the Holy Spirit seeps in to areas inside me I didn’t even know existed.

This is how God renews us and creates something different.  There we are  plodding along, a bit directionless, confused and perhaps suffering through harsh circumstances, when suddenly His knock comes about.  Open the door to His oasis, eat the mana, drink the living water and watch in awe as life unfolds through His perspective.

I wish you and your loved ones a Happy to start to a New Year full of renewal, hope and joy! Bring it on 2020!

 

Oasis

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Pearl Harbor Must Not Be Forgotten

Omaha Beach

Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which commemorates the Japanese surprise attack on the Hawaiian naval base that killed over 2,400 American servicemen and women and was the tripwire for our entry in to WWII.

This post is actually a reblog of mine from 2014, but I thought it appropriate to share today in honor of the importance of the day.

It’s difficult to fathom the horrific trauma that occurred when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the huge significance of America entering WWII because of it.  9/11 is the only frame of reference for me and though there are many differences between the two, the one constant in my mind are the words, “Never Forget.”

They sound cliche those words, just something easy to say when anniversary dates of infamous  of tragic events come around.  Yet the importance that lies beneath the surface cannot be overstated.

Our world is dangerous and you can be sure there are people who this very minute are plotting ways to destroy us and the freedom centered values we hold dear.  Remembering this is essential to a future of victory and peace.  When our guard is down our enemies will strike.

I know nothing  about geopolitical strategies or military preparedness but I do know we must constantly remain vigilant and keeping the memory of Pearl Harbor alive plays an important role.  Never forget indeed.

Business Insider has some great photos here of Pearl Harbor events, be sure to click on this link check them out.

Also, for a fabulous first person account of what happened during that fateful day, please read my blogger friend Al’s heart pounding post here about his father in law’s experienced while stationed at Pearl Harbor.  It’s a great read!

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The Truth of the Matter

The times we are living in sure are interesting, eh? One the one hand we seem to be witnessing what was once the slow collapse of Western Civilization quicken its stride towards oblivion, not least of which is due to the pathetic inability of its elites to defend its existence and unquestionable virtue.  A quick glance of the day’s headlines only exacerbates this doomsday thinking and feeling that it’s too late to turn back.  We are screwed.

On the other hand, just looking back at what our young nation has been through these past 250 years and the gloomy perspective shifts more to one of endurance and strength. Just the Civil War alone, a brutal, bloody battle among brothers that ripped the country apart and killed 2% of the population, should cause a pause in our modern day despair and reflection on whether things today are really so bad.

Throw in 2 World Wars, The Holocaust, a nationwide financial collapse, the Vietnam War, which saw the deaths of 60,000+ Americans and the explosion of violent cultural struggles, race wars, the assassination of a president and the horrors of 9/11 and the thought that our country has survived many tough times and that today’s issue are mild in comparison comes to mind.

Yet, today’s world is different in one very important, perhaps the most important, way.  Yes, we are not enduring a World War or daily riots and there is no Hitler amongst us, no matter how much the Trump deranged press and many Democrats wish to taint our president with the label.

What’s different is that we no longer agree on what is true.  Commonly accepted beliefs that most people shared from not very long ago, have turned in to “personal truth”, subject to how a someone feels about how things are or ought to be. If I feel strongly identified to being a giraffe, than I am one and if you tell me otherwise you are a hater that needs to get with the times.  And what do you have against giraffes anyway?

That’s really what it comes down to in all the hot debates of the day. Pick any issue, Trump’s impeachment, the tearing down of historical statues, climate change, sexual harassment, gun control, etc… and have a discussion about it with someone from the other side and you’ll soon see that their truth is vastly different than yours.

A lot of this has to do with the corrupt media and the outright lack of shame our political leaders have about lying to our faces on a daily basis.  But there’s more to it than that too.  This drifting away from truth is sliding us rights towards an ugly anarchy and thus I think some thoughts of dismay and doom are appropriate.  At the very least we should be more aware of what’s happening and encouraged to speak out about it.

Two recent blog posts by writers with much more knowledge than myself dive in to this subject pretty deep. I encourage you to read James Atticus Bowden’s, Why Political Compromise is Vanishingand Citizen Tom’s, You Have Redeemed me O Lord, God of Truth.

The two posts really compliment each other, you will not be disappointed.

 

Posted in identity politics, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Pilgrim Tough

I’m a descendant of Pilgrims that came over on the Mayflower. They survived a grueling 66 day journey, a brutal New England winter and much sickness to make it to the first Thanksgiving Day feast.

Me, I’m hunkered down at home, next to a space heater because it’s raining outside and temps have dropped in to the low 50’s.  Brrrrr, I would never have survived as a Pilgrim!

I’m very thankful my ancestors were made of tougher stuff  than me. Oh and here’s to modern day niceties like indoor heating too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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