Sep 262020
 September 26, 2020  Posted by at 5:42 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Dora Maar Model in swimsuit 1936



I’ll try one more time, if only to show you that me heart’s in the right place. Yes, lockdowns work, and so do facemasks. But that doesn’t mean all lockdowns or facemasks or requirements for either work all the time. The UK was very late with its first lockdown, and let in a million people through their airports without testing them. After they did lock down, another 100,000 came in, no testing.

And now people there say lockdowns don’t work. Have you seen this report, or that report? Sorry, but I don’t have to. A virus spreads by jumping from host to potential host. Keep them apart and it can’t spread. I don’t need a “scientific” probe to figure that one out. The principle of a lockdown works, but that’s still only half the story.

The facemask thing is a little more complex perhaps. But it’s complicated only because various governments have neglected to do the one thing they should have: make sure they have the best facemask ready for everyone, the one mask that is proven to be effective, preferably mass-produced in their country/state/territory. But have you seen N95 facilities being erected where you are?

Now the entire world is walking around with masks that they all can see offer little protection, and mostly where they have little effect. Moreover, I see lots of people here in Athens who washed them with their underwear and wear them again the next day, because they’ve been told they have to cover their face with something anything. But that’s not how this works. What little protection those blueish masks that are everywhere offer, is gone once you wash them. What’s left is merely symbolic.

And as for the well-meaning crowd that make their own masks, stop trying, those things don’t do a thing and they make you look stupid. There are actually norms and data and whatnot for this, and putting your panties on your face does not comply with any science whatsoever. It’s just scaring people, and we have enough of that, thank you. Non-woven masks work best, that mean anything to you?

The droplets that the virus hitchhikes on to get from one host to another are way too small to be stopped by granny getting creative with her bathroom curtains. But it’s not you, it’s your government which should have had an N95 mask production facility in place months ago.

They should also have mass-produced vitamin D, and zinc, because these cheap elements would have decreased the new cases, and the severity of them, by probably half. But no western government that I know of has even mentioned the role of these cheap supplements in the COVID story.

How odd is that? It appears to be in line with the hydroxychloroquine story, which went from “It will kill you!” when Trump first mentioned it in public, to “It’s not effective” in Fauci’s terminology. But medical doctors I’m talking to still maintain it works, and perhaps more importantly, continue to treat their infected patients with it.

Sort of the same thing goes for the western Big Pharma attempts to get a vaccine, there were 239 of those trials last time I counted. But there’s never been a vaccine for any of the many coronaviruses, and not for lack of trying. Unless you count the Russian Sputnik V, developed in a fundamentally different way from the western ones, but that wouldn’t make Big Pharma any profits, so we all choose to just ignore and discard it.


It’s “funny” to see how all those politicians like the power to tell people what to do, lock them down etc., but when their measures don’t work, and that’s the case all over Europe, they blame their people and never themselves. I haven’t seen even one say, I’m sorry, I failed, I step down. Instead they all talk about doing more of what didn’t work. More lockdowns. Hey, you failed, move over!

In countries like Britain and Holland, they’re so busy trying not to explain how and why they still didn’t have enough PCR testing capacity 9 months into the pandemic, that they completely fail to see that PCR is the wrong testing method to use on a grand scale. Holland has “identified” 5 rapid testing options and needs until November for their “experts” to find the best one.

Meanwhile they have a “rapid test test” facility where doctors and nurses apply the tests, which should cost perhaps €1 a piece max, but which set you back a very reasonable €225. Good lord. The incompetence is not going to stop here and now, it’s engrained in the political and societal brains and structures.

And it’s not just the politicians, the “experts” also refuse to see and acknowledge that they are utter failures. They, too, blame the people. But just like they should have all secured access to 100 N95 masks for every individual, and Vit. D and zinc, and HCQ if people still get sick, they should have made rapid tests available for everyone to use at home, twice a week or so, if only just to ease the pressure. But health care has been institutionalized, so that will only happen when things get terribly out of hand.

All these failures have cost a lot of lives, and will continue to do so, and do a huge amount of damage economically and mentally. The idea of second lockdowns is insane, given that no N95 masks, no Vit. D, no zinc, no HCQ were ever made available. But the lockdowns will come regardless. Because the politicians and experts can and will blame it all on you.

In an event like this, people’s worlds get much smaller, and they only know what their “local” media tell them, and those media are in line with the respective political systems. In crisis times, you as a journalist don’t attack the leading party, no matter how badly they fail, because they will deflect any criticism right back onto you, and say it’s your critical reports that made people behave badly.

It’s circular logic at its finest. And since all these fine people in all these fine countries got it all wrong in the same way, they can use each other for cover. France can point their finger at Spain, and they at Italy, and all hail the King of Sweden. BTW, has anyone ever seen an explanation for why so many countries and states sent infected elderly people back into care homes? That one puzzles me.


The next threat is hidden right in that finger-pointing. Because they all want to keep their borders open, and that has consequences. Should have gotten it right the first time, guys, because Lockdown 2.0 was always going to be much harder. What you will see now is groups of people in various countries saying they will not do 2.0. While borders are open.

And what then? You’re going to lock them all up (instead of down), in virus-infected prison cells? You guys have no idea what’s coming at you. There is even talk in several places of engaging the army to make people obey. But it’s the politicians and experts who have failed, not the people who have lost faith in them. And those people have had 6 months now to educate themselves on COVID19, so they’re not so easily fooled anymore.

I still don’t believe in the big conspiracy themes. I see a sea of incompetence, of people not up to their jobs who insist on hanging on to those jobs anyway. That’s true, too, for the blunt refusal to even consider N95, Vit.D, zinc and HCQ. They’re just not smart enough. They were not selected for being smart, but for fitting into, and being servants to, the existing system. And then something unexpected happens. And they have no idea what to do.

Many people will not accept Lockdown 2.0. Not because they’re stupid, or suicidal, or they want to kill their neighbors and friends, but because they understand that what they’ve given up over the past 9 months has been of no benefit to them, or their neighbors and friends. And then on top of that they themselves get blamed for things getting worse. That’s the breaking point, right there.

Our “leaders” simply have no clothes on.




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Home Forums Incompetence “R” Us

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
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  • #63724

    Dora Maar Model in swimsuit 1936     I’ll try one more time, if only to show you that me heart’s in the right place. Yes, lockdowns work, an
    [See the full post at: Incompetence “R” Us]


    I haven’t seen even one say, I’m sorry, I failed, I step down. Instead they all talk about doing more of what didn’t work.

    Not all entirely. We’ve just seen a pollie resign in Australia:
    At Victoria’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine inquiry, Daniel Andrews squarely pointed the finger of blame at Jenny Mikakos

    Mikakos was thrown under the proverbial bus, and the catastrophe continues.


    There’s no doubt your heart’s in the right place, as your support of the soup kitchen and efforts in Greece, and tireless work here testifies.
    But your brain isn’t in quite the right place on any of this – sorry.
    You assert “lockdowns work” because your crude mechanistic first-principles assumption of how they spread is an almost perfect example of an unfalsifiable assertion.
    Then you dismiss comprehensive studies correlating lockdown against outcome (and demonstrating the almost complete lack of correlation) without reason or evidence.
    A – B pair studies of two countries are by definition useless, since it’s impossible to control for differences/variables between them. The only rational way to assess the value of lockdown is via the kinds of studies you dismiss.
    It’s OK – you’re entitled to your opinions – irrational and unsubstantiated though they may be. The illustration of the power of denial is as valuable as anything you could write!


    What works
    Shave facial hair to prevent leakage.
    Use full face respirators with the proper filters.
    When removing mask and changing filters assume they are contaminated

    Mister Roboto

    As I said previously, I think lockdowns don’t really work in the long haul because Covid is so contagious that it’s very easy to lose whatever you gained by locking down once locking down has ended. Universal face-mask wearing (just as long as they are actual face-masks that were designed for that purpose, even cloth ones) are thought to have a lot to do with why Japan has been relatively successful in containing the virus.

    I think that the reason the US has been so hard-hit is because economic neoliberalism has hollowed out our capacity for resiliency in the face of crises, and extreme wealth inequality has created a very large mass of people in very poor health. It also doesn’t help that as a society, we’re just not very good at all about taking care of ourselves in terms of health (both mental and physical).

    D Benton Smith

    @ Ilargi

    Great summarizing essay. It should be reprinted world wide but there is no chance whatsoever of that happening, is there? Such a dissemination of rationally beneficial and honestly well intended communication world wide might even calm things down a bit or save few thousand lives. But we all also know that such a sane and beneficial rationale has no bearing whatsoever on what gets printed (or suppressed) about the pandemic pretty much anywhere, don’t we?
    Why, it’s almost as if what governments, companies and institutions do or say about the pandemic has nothing to do with the actual welfare of people, and everything to do with a dizzying array of other agendas so numerous and complicated that its impossible to even sort them out (much less choose one to agree with.)
    Nevertheless I salute and appreciate your resolve. Hang in there.


    This is the best summary so far. The coronavirus pandemic is now an argument about science, ideology, economy and religion.

    In the West, the virus is endemic like HIV. Treatments will come available for people who can pay for it with their credit cards. Those who can’t will die if they are old or have a comorbidity. Cheap treatments will be passed around by word of mouth. Maybe there will even be a vaccine next year. It too will assist in the transfer of wealth from the working and middle classes to the 1% (50 trillion dollars, so far, since the 1980’s plutocratic takeover of the West).

    Let’s be crystal clear. China controlled the virus. Its economy is growing. It is not in a pandemic depression like the USA. China is not alone. Asian and South Pacific nations and Cuba have controlled the virus. They all have in common working governments and functional public health systems. In addition, the USA is suffering from riots, loss of jobs, hurricanes, firestorms, and toxic air.

    If government of the people by the people is restored, the USA with a national public health system could control the virus too. It is simple. Oligarchs do not want a working government that ends their exploitation of everyone else and the environment, raises their taxes, and regulates corporations. Donald Trump is part of the clan of nationalist oligarchs. He is quite willing to ignore science, pander to myths, and exploit human and natural resources to get richer. It is what he does. Joe Biden, on the other hand, is the best politician that Wall Street can buy.

    The Western Empire has fallen; except, unlike ancient Rome, the USA is armed with 3,000 nuclear weapons and if it splinters apart, climate change cannot be addressed. Coastal States will be swamped and Western Forests burnt down.


    Yep, We’re all on our own. That’s the message I got – loud and clear – from this crisis. Not as individuals, it’s up to us, as families/towns/tribes/[the Dunbar number] we have to stick together and muddle through.

    Yeah @Illargi you’re probably right about the homemade masks. I do wear them, better than nothing at all perhaps.

    Public service message – some clever chap back in March pointed out that the really good furnace filters (the MERV 14 or better) are made from the same material as N95 masks. In a pinch (for instance if your nation has next-to-no production capacity of basic medical necessities because it offshored its industry to the Far East because: reasons) you can fashion many serviceable if unfashionable N95-ish masks from one. I can’t find the link now but seems like a web search will bring up several how-tos and critiques of the method.

    V. Arnold

    Nevertheless I salute and appreciate your resolve. Hang in there.
    D Benton Smith

    I second D Benton Smith!
    Lock downs properly done DO WORK!
    I live in such a country; they locked down immediately and followed up with tracking and an excellent medical response. Asian’s tend towards masks even during “normal” times, so no stretch through these pandemic times.
    Boogaloo, who lives in Korea, has voiced much of the same results.
    Thailand (where I live) hasn’t had 60 deaths and under 4,000 confirmed cases.
    Sadly, this has muchly been a really fucked up situation on the part of governments, largely due to, as you say, incompetence on an individual level as well as (and especially) on the governmental level.
    I might also add, that never in my long life, have I seen such failure of responsibility on a personal level…

    V. Arnold

    This is the best summary so far. The coronavirus pandemic is now an argument about science, ideology, economy and religion.

    Kudos to you as well, nicely stated…


    Yes, lockdowns work, and so do facemasks.

    Obviously they didn’t and don’t. Asserting that at the beginning of your article makes the rest of your article irrelevant.

    Basseterre Kitona

    I am in agreement with restless94111. Lockdowns and facemasks are both clear failures in policy at this point.

    IF facemasks worked at stopping a deadly virus from spreading then everybody would have been voluntarily wearing them and the epidemic would have been over in a matter of weeks. No need for a government mandate. It is just political theater now.

    The initial lockdown made some sense because it was a new virus. But by the Easter holiday (mid April), it was clear that this corona virus was much closer to a normal flu than the bubonic plague of yore. It is everywhere now and unlike Ebola outbreaks, containment is not possible.

    Competent or incompetent ? Doesn’t matter. Either way the virus outbreak will run its course. Yes, millions might die…but we also have competent doctors who are getting better at treating it too. Kudos to TheAutomaticEarth for acknowledging hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D and Zinc. I would add that health authorities should—if anything—also be advocating for immune system strengthening by encouraging full nights sleep, exercise and fresh outdoor air. Except for nursing homes and medical facilities, there is no reason for any government mandated restrictions anymore.

    Sorry if I sound cavalier to some people but personally I have already survived a half year battle with cancer that could have killed me. I am comfortable with the idea of death. No more living in fear, especially an artificially hyped one by a hysterical press and opportunistic politicians.

    Facts are that you will be exposed to coronavirus (possibly already have been), you might get sick (99% likely mild) and even in worst case scenario (death), well, that comes for us all anyways sooner or later.

    Good luck & bon courage!

    PS, If an important celebrity dies of corona virus (reality star, footballer, etc.) then all bets are off and I will be first to go all in on PANIC mode 24/7.


    “The droplets that the virus hitchhikes on to get from one host to another are way too small to be stopped by granny getting creative with her bathroom curtains.”

    Both kind of masks work. Homemade does not work as well, but it protects others far more than yourself. What you want is everyone to protect everyone else. When you do that, you are protected too. One should not just think about one’s own protection, but the protection of the community.

    And you covered Taleb’s The Masks Masquerade in the June 15 Debt Rattle.

    Mister Roboto

    A good way to put it is that Hillary Clinton’s partisans from the 2016 election would have us believe that Covid is some sort of civilization-leveling mini-apocalypse. Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, would have us believe the whole thing is a “nothing-burger” despite a million dead worldwide after less than a year, with no signs of the death-toll appreciably slowing in countries where the contagion isn’t contained. The truth is somewhere in between those two extremes. While Covid is on track to kill more people than the influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1967, we still shouldn’t conclude at this time that Covid is worse than those. The world is more populous now than it was than by a factor of several billion people, and that a lot of those people are poor means more opportunities for deadly influenza or coronavirus strains to cause suffering and take lives. We’ll just have to see what happens, it would appear.

    A good point was made about face-masks that bears repeating: A good, non-expired N-95 mask will protect you and other people (yes, n-95 masks expire at a certain point), but the regular cloth or disposable masks worn properly (no “dick-nose”!) are very helpful in protecting other people. Remember, it’s very possible to be an asymptomatic carrier with Covid. And I support face-mask mandates on the state level, because common face-masks work best for pandemic control when everybody is wearing them.

    Lockdowns are risky because they carry risks and harms of their own, are highly questionable in their effectiveness as a long-term strategy, and should only be used locally when the local hospitals and clinics are in danger of being overwhelmed. But feeling harmed or threatened by being compelled to wear a face-mask in a crowded indoor setting or on public transportation suggests a sheer level of right-wing snowflakery that would put the most adenoidal purple-haired social justice warrior to shame.

    I would just like to add that I regard Chris Martenson’s coronavirus video-series to be my “go-to” source of information on what’s true about this virus and what’s not. And he presents his thinking on the matter with less ideology than probably anybody else on the Internet.

    madamski cafone

    “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” — John Kenneth Galbraith courtesy Chris Martenson

    There’s an intellectual corrolary to this. People invested in a certain point of view will resist alternatives to that point of view. Their resistance will be roughly equal to their emotional/physical investment in their point of view.

    Pulling Your Head Out Of Your Ass

    Michael Reid

    It is important to know that in order for a N95 mask to be effective a person must wear the size that correctly fits that person. When I was working as a registered nurse for surgery and ICU, I went through the process that identified which N95 mask size property fit me such that I would be protected from airborne. There was a person responsible for running the procedures who first tried me with a mask that she thought would work for me. Next she used an aerosol to test the mask effectiveness for me and it was not effective as I was able to smell the nasty aerosol. She had to select another size and retest and retest before we found the size that worked for me. The mask selection procedure took a while perhaps 30 minutes because I had smelled the nasty aerosol.

    My thoughts are that:
    the general population will never be fitted for N95 mask size,
    the general population should be left alone to live their life to its fullest extent prior to death
    the response to COVID-19 has been a total failure in every way everywhere


    I am inspired by noticing that we will be securing vaccine doses a $20 a pop. Still, the price hardly compares to the HCQ gifted to us by India in the millions of doses; they sit in a warehouse expiring, and who will complain, certainly not 200K dead Americans? (are they dead if they still vote?) I think it might have been fitting to bury them with the dose of HCQ they were told was so dangerous it might kill them.


    Stop It!
    In case the image tag fails:
    Stop calling it “Quarantine”. Quarantine is for the sick. This is house arrest.
    Stop calling it “Social Distancing”. There is nothing social about forced isolation.
    Stop say “Safer at Home”. Because for millions of Americans in abusive situations and with mental health struggles, their home is anything but safe.
    Stop saying this for the “Greater Good”. No good can come form the government picking and choosing who is essential and who isn’t (think Nazi Germany) Every single person and every single business is essential.
    And most of all, stop saying the “New Normal”. Because there is nothing normal about any of this.

    Michael Reid

    @ Kimo

    Good advice if anyone would listen

    Mister Roboto

    I really think its says so much about the moral bankruptcy of our political divisions that we can’t use HCQ to alleviate coronavirus suffering because “orange man bad”. Though I suppose it also doesn’t help that Big Pharma wants us all to use something more expensive and with a patent on it. Ain’t it fun living in an empire in decline? :-/

    madamski cafone

    @ Kimo

    ” A document from 1377 states that before entering the city-state of Ragusa in Dalmatia (modern Dubrovnik in Croatia), newcomers had to spend 30 days (a trentine) in a restricted place (originally nearby islands) waiting to see whether the symptoms of Black Death would develop.[16] In 1448 the Venetian Senate prolonged the waiting period to 40 days, thus giving birth to the term “quarantine”.[1] ”

    Quarantine as practiced since the term was first invented was about isolating the potentially contagious not the sick.

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