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Rolla Peace News

December 8, 2020
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In this newsletter is:

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Vaccines
          b) More on Vaccines: History
          c) Novel Coronavirus: Origins
          d) Pandemics and Economics
          e) Choosing a Secretary of Defense
          f) 2020 Record Breaking Atlantic Hurricane Season Closes
          g) November, 2020: The Warmest November on Record



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us again this Thursday in saying NO WAR AGAINST IRAN or any other country. The temperature is predicted to be around 60. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note: Since there are so few of us, generally 2 or 3, no need to cancel; but let's maintain social distancing.

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Vaccines
          b) More on Vaccines: History
          c) Novel Coronavirus: Origins
          d) Pandemics and Economics
          e) Choosing a Secretary of Defense
          f) 2020 Record Breaking Atlantic Hurricane Season Closes
          g) November, 2020: The Warmest November on Record


Lots of vaccines for COVID-19 out there now — well — almost out there — available soon — we're assured. Pfizer's vaccine, which is already in use in the UK, should be available by the end of the week in the USA. Moderna's vaccine is expected to be cleared for emergency use very soon after. Then there's Astrazeneca, several Chinese products that you don't hear much about, several Cuban products that you hear even less about, and, of course, one from Russia too.

Seems with so many wonderful products almost available, at least one of them should pan out and soon we can all get back to normal. Which ones will work out in the end? Who knows? Wouldn't it make sense for the whole world to share whichever vaccines turn out to work best? Unfortunately, share doesn't seem to be a very popular word in these days of gross inequality.

Still, I'm not placing any bets. Two reasons:
1. This is one tough virus — full of surprises. Back in January, who would have thought that 11 months later the world would be well into a third wave of infections — each one worse than the last?

2. Our government, which has done about everything you could do wrong, and has made a habit of lying to us, now tells us we got vaccine — rushed to market by for profit pharmaceutical companies that stand to make billions. Should we believe it?
I'm a skeptic. I'll wait and see.

So maybe we can get back to “normal.” But what is normal? If the pre-Trump years are to be considered normal, I don't think we will ever get back to normal; and that might be a good thing.

I'm not sure what the “new-normal” will look like, I don't think anyone knows; but hopefully we will have learned an important lesson from this novel coronavirus. Hopefully, we will have learned that we are a part of Nature and attempts to dominate Nature often end in disaster.

So who gets the vaccine? In the United States, there seem to be plans for a fair and equitable distribution. Will they materialize? Let's wait and see. I suspect the wealthy elite will want to get theirs first and the pharmaceutical companies will want to maximize profits. China? I suspect China will go whole hog in vaccinating all 1.44 billion Chinese as soon as possible and help vaccinate people in friendly countries too. And Cuba? Cuba is a small island of 11.3 million people. I suspect they will not only vaccinate their entire population; but will go into the world's poorest countries and vaccinate as many as possible there too.

How do I know? I don't. I 'm just extrapolating from past behaviors.

More on Vaccines: History

Here in the West, we usually give Edward Jenner credit for inventing vaccination; but as this article from Wired documents; vaccination had been practiced for hundreds and maybe thousands of years before Edward Jenner. The procedure probably originated in China.

Perhaps this has something to do with why China has had their pandemic under control since early April while in the United States and Europe it just keeps getting worse. (see table below)

This article is particularly important reading for those who do not believe in vaccination. And if you are concerned about being vaccinated with a Bill Gates nanochip; then you can always go to Cuba, beyond the reach of Bill Gates' long arm, and receive your vaccination there, probably for a lot less than it would cost in the United States.

As Bernie Sanders suggested back in March, we should at least give China credit where credit is due, for feeding its huge population and give Cuba credit for caring for the health of its citizens. Maybe if we had, we wouldn't be facing the crisis we are in now where over 15 million of us in the United States have been infected with COVID-19 and 1/6 of us are food insecure. What is really sad is that in suggesting we give China and Cuba credit where credit is due, Bernie torpedoed his own campaign.

Think about this. A candidate who suggests giving folks credit for what they do right doesn't stand a chance in the United States.

Novel Coronavirus: Origins

There appears to be some biologic evidence that the novel coronavirus appeared in the United States and Europe at least as early as December 2019. What does this do to the orthodoxy that the COVID-19 virus came from a Chinese bat? It definitely cast some doubt on that theory. But, in truth, there is little doubt that had we been more interested in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and less interested in blaming it on China, we would be far better off now.

Pandemics and Economics

We often hear how we can't quarantine, isolate and close down businesses because it would have a negative economic impact; but here's some data from the International Monetary Fund showing that some countries that successfully limited COVID-19 infections did relatively well economically too; and some countries that failed to limit COVID-19 infections did relatively poorly economically.

infections per million
territory population as of Dec. 7 change in GDP (IMF 2020)
USA 46,300 -4.3
China 60 +1.9
Europe 24,900 -7.2
World 8,720 -4.4
And the three countries of over 1 million population with the lowest rates of confirmed COVID infections all had increases in their GDP
Laos 6 +0.2
Tanzania 8 +1.9
Vietnam 14 +1.6
And the three countries of over 1 million population with the highest rates of confirmed COVID infections all had decreases in their GDP
Czechia 51,000 -6.5
Belgium 51,000 -8.3
Bahrain 51,000 -4.9

It would seem that countries that have successfully kept their rates of infection low have made out better economically than countries where infection rates are high.

Choosing a Secretary of Defense

In this article Dan Ellsberg (famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers) and Jody Williams (Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work in banning landmines) urge Joe Biden not to pick Michèle Flournoy as his Secretary of Defense because of her ties to the defense industry and her support for just about every lousy Forever War we've ever become embroiled in, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

So what should our next Secretary of Defense look like? Start with someone who advised against our War Against Afghanistan pointing out that the Afghans beat the crap out of Persians, Greeks, British, Russians and others and would likely beat the crap out of anyone who dared to invade their mountain stronghold, even a coalition of 49 countries. Then find someone who also advised against the invasion of Iraq pointing out that Saddam Hussein's nonexistent nuclear program and nonexistent alliance with al-Qaeda were all so much bull-hockey. Then look for someone who is also independent and strong enough to stand up to the weapons industry. Now you have a viable candidate.

It appears that the campaign to dump Flournoy has succeeded. I read this morning that retired general Lloyd Austin is now favored to be our next Secretary of Defense. Austin is on the Board of Raytheon, a major weapons manufacturer that sells their weapons to Saudi Arabia which bombs civilians in Yemen. Doesn't sound any better than Flournoy to me.

2020 Record Breaking Atlantic Hurricane Season Closes

Here's a wrap-up by Jeff Masters. The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season boasted 30 named storms beating out the record of 28 set in 2005, the year of Katrina and Rita. So many records fell this season — you can read about some of them in this article.

November, 2020: The Warmest November on Record

In spite of an intensifying La Niña which should be cooling global surface temperatures down, the Earth just experienced the warmest November on record by a whopping 0.13°C. (Copernicus Climate Change Service)


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