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Ring around a Rosey, or a look at how the Black Death of the middle ages is reflected in the current outbreak of a Ebola

In the middle of the 14th century, however, there seemed to be no rational explanation for it. No one knew exactly how the Black Death was transmitted from one patient to another–according to one doctor, for example, “instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near and looking at the sick”–and no one knew how to prevent or treat it. Physicians relied on crude and unsophisticated techniques such as bloodletting and boil-lancing (practices that were dangerous as well as unsanitary) and superstitious practices such as burning aromatic herbs and bathing in rosewater or vinegar.

Source

In many ways we can see distinct similarities between the Black Death and the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa, Like the medieval plague then     there is no known cure for Ebola now and despite all of the wishful thinking, despite all of the advances in medicine in the last 600 years we are just as powerless to stem the spread of this disease. And I am sorry to be the bringer of bad news but I think that this disease is going to have a similar effect on the population of Africa as the Plague had on 14th century Europe. We can certainly expect that the death toll will soar into the millions as efforts to contain it continue to fail.

Why do I expect such a large death toll?

This is a virus that not only spread through the exchange of bodily fluids but also remains active in the items that those fluids fall upon, thus bedding and clothing that the infected have touched becomes vectors for the disease to reach new victims. Add to that cultural practices pertaining to the care of the sick that funds family looking after their own, a low level of education, the effects of other diseases poverty and crowded living conditions and it’s not had to see just how optimistic any suggestion that the disease can be contained are. Just look to the example of the response to one man with the disease who is now gravely ill in the United States to get some idea of just how much effort is needed if you are too truly contain the infection: This level of response is just not possible in third world west Africa and so it seems inevitable to me that the infection is going to spread exponentially just as the black death spread exponentially in 14th century Europe.

So what can the modern west do to help stem the spread of the disease in Africa?

Well not much at all really, we risk losing a large number of our very skilled people if we send them into the disease hot spots firstly because the treatment that is available essentially boils down to trying to keep patients hydrated and waiting to see who has the natural ability to fight the infection.   Those brave souls who are trying to treat the currently infected are trying to do so while wearing Hazmat suits that are essentially a fancy yellow plastic bag which I’m sure you will realize is nothing short of tortuous in the tropical climate of the region. So not only do the health workers run the very real risk of contracting the infection but also they risk dying from heatstroke in the suits they try to prevent infection with. Several health workers who have caught the Ebola virus have been evacuated so that they can be treated in Western hospitals but if the numbers of infected western heath workers were to increase I can foresee the practice of repatriating them being wound back or even abandoned in the effort to contain the disease. Aid in the form of medical supplies, certainly can and should be provided but the major imperative now has to be containment, and quarantine of all parts of Africa where the disease has been found.

The Environmental bigger picture, or accepting the will of Gaia

In the natural world there are clear limits to the population of any species. Be it the amount of substance that a particular species can find or something in the environment that find them tasty and therefore limits their numbers through predation. Human beings are very clever in their ability to eat almost anything that is nourishing and in many ways we have become the apex predator in every part of the eco-system. That in conjunction with our ability to mitigate that other limit to population, disease. Has seen our numbers soar beyond 7billion souls on this small planet. I would seem to me that pandemics are one of the ways that Gaia addresses the problem of too many people on the surface of the planet. Oh humanity certainly has dodged a bullet from pandemics in the recent past. But this disease is not going to be so easily dodged. I think that it has already reached a critical mass that makes it virtually unstoppable. Heck thanks to modern air travel I will be very surprised if is even just contained on the African continent.

 

Things are going to get a great deal worse before they get better

During the Black Death whole towns succumbed to the disease they were left with only the dead in residence sometimes the dead were not even buried and it’s not hard to imagine that happening again in Western Africa if Ebola really starts to take off as I am expecting it to do.

What we need to realize is that modern medicine is good, its clever and its largely been the bringer of better lives for all of those it has touched, from the poor children spared the mortal diseases of childhood that used to take so many children well before they reached maturity to the wonders of surgery that can see the imperfections and damages to our bodies repaired and replaced in a way that would seem magical to a medieval man contemplating the plague yet here we stand in the same place as that medieval man facing a disease pandemic that we cannot stop and a death toll that we dread will be larger than anything humanity has not seen in the last six centuries.

If this danse macabre does play up a storm it will change every aspect of global human society we could well go from a place where the people desperately compete for places in the economy to one where skilled workers will be in very short supply in many parts of the planet. The mechanized west where we already have machines that enable a very small number of people to grow the crops to feed the many or to operate the machines will probably get through this upcoming disaster well enough but any society still that practices subsistence agriculture can expect the same hard times that befell Europe after the plague because there was simply not enough people to plant and harvest the crops. Those who have been worried about climate change May well find all of their concerns are moot because a world with less people on it will not be producing anywhere near the emissions growth they are so certain is the problem. On the other hand the worlds mercantile economy is likely to be severely affected by both the loss of potential customers and the cost of trying to address the disease.

One other thing that we should recognize is that many people see the world through the lens of their religion and those religions that have a millenarian tendency may well see Ebola as some sort of divine retribution for our “sins”. A faith like Islam on the other hand which places such value in the observance of a mass gathering like their Haj could well be both a vector for the spread of the disease and suffer a huge number of casualties among its faithful.

The innocent childhood game of ring around a rosey actually has its origins in the time of the black death.

The innocent childhood game of ring around a rosey actually has its origins in the time of the black death.

On “Abbott Was A Wrecker In Opposition; Who’s Surprised He’s A Wrecker In Office?” at New Matilda

Tony-Abbott-SisiS_1The thing that so many on the fringes of the political spectrum for get is that politics in this country is a game with a well defined rule book and no matter which side (speaking of the ALP/LNP ) you are part of the way to convince the public to give your side the treasury benches at a general election is by being far better at the day to day battles in the parliament and in the court of public opinion. The simple truth is that Abbott  succeeded in opposition and at the last general election not because he was “a wrecker” As Chris Graham insists in his article but because he was a far more effective playing at the game of politics than Rudd/Gillard/Rudd. He would not have had a chance of success however had the ALP government not been so deeply flawed.

In the first instance Rudd was deeply flawed insofar as he was really good at capturing the imagination of the polity during 2006 and he made all of the right noises to convince the voters that he would be “Howard lite” he insisted to those of us concerned that a Labor government would be mad spenders were wrong to worry because he was “an economic conservative”. To the left he promised to be a champion for their environmental bet Noir of climate change  and to do something about the then non problem of asylum seekers.

The history of the ALP’s last been much written about by its (cough!) stars (12 books and counting!) but one thing is clear and that the they were the wreckers, making changes that made no improvement to the country, Things like Rudd’s abandoning of the successful suite of policies dealing with boat people and  the sorry story of “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”  which when it came to the crunch he lacked that cahones to take to a DD election(which most pundits thought he could have won)

Rudd was a wrecker not because of his flawed ideologies but because of his flaws as a leader. A good leader of men is able to delegate and trust those to whom he delegates his authority to. Rudd was almost pathologically incapable of doing this. As an egomaniac and a control freak he managed to destroy the belief and trust of the  public servants in his administration wasting both their good will and much of their work effort in his unreasonable demands and a bullying style to both his staff and parliamentary colleagues. Gillard was likewise a wrecker. First and foremost she was tainted with the dripping blood of the plotter’s   knife but worse than that she was a political whore willing to say one thing to win office only to change like the wind when she needed the support of the Greens in the hung Parliament. The betrayal of her infamous “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” broken promise wrecked the remaining credibility of the ALP. The sad truth is that had she stood up to the Greens &’indies” and told them she would only agree to a carbon tax after the subsequent election  Abbott would not have had his most powerful campaigning slogan.

In government the LNP under Abbott have not been perfect but they have been scrupulous in their determination to be true to their election commitments Against all of the predictions to the contrary the Abbott government has been able “stop the boats” and although this has upset the usual suspects, (hi Marilyn ;o) ) now that there is not the eternal new arrivals into the system the problem can be solved. There is still a large legacy of Rudd’s wrecking in the detention centers but that is being addressed.

Much has been made in this piece about the deployment of ADF people and planes to the fight against ISIS in Iraq but really what is the alternative? Can we really just look the other way and do nothing? Can we, as part of the civilized world ignore the slaughter of Shia people or the treatment of women and girls as prizes of war?   Surely even the left must realize that destroying the Islamo-Fascists of ISIL is a moral and justified cause? Sadly too many seem unable to let go of their hatred of the United states for long enough to realize that they are all that stands between the world and the rise of a totalitarian Caliphate with global ambitions.

That said the problem that our own Muslim minority feels somewhat  besieged by the tide of events is clearly not of the magnitude that many of the left claim it to be. In fact the number of anti-Muslim incidents has been very small and the panic from Islam apologists has been of far greater magnitude than any criticism of Islam in this country. Even the recent concerns about the Burqa in our parliamentary precincts has not created the sort of anti-Muslim hysteria that so many of the left invoke when ever there is an issue with ISLAM. On this Issue Abbott has been both calm and truthful He was honest about how confronting it is to have people who hide their faces in public yet accepting that we are not a society that wishes to prohibit those who want to do this.

    To insist that  Abbott Was A Wrecker In Opposition; Who’s Surprised He’s A Wrecker In Office? is to misread both the politics of the period of the last Labor government and to misunderstand the nature of a soundly administered government.

That only works in lefty La La Land

Dr Tad in a piece over at New Matilda:

The danger now is that the Left falls into a mindless defence of multiculturalism as guaranteeing “social cohesion” in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. In fact it has been a policy dividing Australian society into identity groups, each with “leaders” who superintend “community members” they often have little in common with, in exchange for a privileged relationship to government and politics.

Source

This is not a danger that may happen so much as precisely what the left do, frankly much of it is down to the underlying assumption that all cultures are equal in their virtue and that none may be critiqued because to do so would be evidence of that ultimate evil (in leftist terms ) of “racism”.

Of course blind Freddy can see that not all cultures and religions are equal in their virtues. A culture that practices something utterly beyond the pale like human sacrifice will be quickly dismissed and condemned or in the very least prohibited from continuing the unacceptable cultural practice (we after all don’t permit murder of any kind) but it becomes harder to confront or critique any other social practices that are more benign. A good example of this is the the current Hoo har about Muslim women wearing face coverings or the Hijab. As Tony Abbott so succinctly puts it to meet a person with their face covered is confronting and our natural reaction is to treat that person with suspicion and Like our PM I’m happy to acknowledge that individuals do have the right to dress as they please in this country but those who dress in a Burqa et al  have to realize that there is no right to wear such a garment and to be accepted and affirmed for doing so. If you want to wear such covering s then you have to likewise wear the social consequences of doing so. To some extent the same applies to the women who wear a Hijab their right to dress as they please (or how their families insist they dress) is not in question but they too have to wear the consequences in terms of social distrust and the distance it creates between them and other Australians. Essentially you can’t say that you want to be included in the greater society while wearing what amounts to a signpost of otherness. That only works in lefty La La Land

That said I am horrified that anyone should be assaulted over their mode of dress and I really hope that the police treat the criminals who commit such crimes with the full weight of the law there is no place for that sort of thuggery, just as there is no sort of place for the thuggery of people like this chap threatening violence to anyone who critiques his Prophet.

Cheers Comrades

check out the source of these clever cartoons by clicking the image

check out the source of these clever cartoons by clicking the image

How ISIS Radicalizes Young Muslims

This is a very thorough explanation of why ISIS is truly Islamic and just why we need to take any claims to the contrary as excuse making at best more likely its just deception and misdirection.

Cheers Comrades
NoSharia-NoJihad

Laughing at the new Inquisition

So  true it hurts Comrades

Red_rose_closeup

The all sneer no substance academic

After recent exchanges with University of Canberra Academic Jason Wilson, I have formed the view that there is a wide gulf between his own esteem of his knowledge and intellect and the far less impressive reality.

There is no doubt that Wilson fancies himself – this is evident from his sneering during twitter debates and his presumptuous claim to know more about the Middle East than the experienced journalists at The Australian.

One of our debates concerned whether the terrorist threat in Australia was real or whether it was just a beat up. Strangely, Wilson believed that the number of non-terror related homicides was relevant to this question:

Never mind the terrorist threat. Look at the number of men killing their partners!

Never mind the terrorist threat. Look at the number of men killing their partners!

So according to Wilson’s logic, we should not be concerned about men killing their partners either, because this number is dwarfed by the number of people who die every year in motor vehicle accidents.

Moreover, there are a couple of other problems with Wilson’s argument, as I pointed out:

To pointiout the social effects of terrorism is to engage in nationalist fantasies.

“To point out the social effects of terrorism is to engage in nationalist fantasies.”

According to Jason Wilson, there is no unity in Australian society. For a fellow who deems himself to have a very sound knowledge of international affairs, this appears to show that Wilson does not understand that compared to many other countries, Australia is one of the most harmonious.

However, in spite of his pompous demeanor, the exchange shows that Wilson does not really think through the issues at all. It is plain that he has not considered that some terrorist attacks have killed thousands, and that a successful terrorist attack in Australia could well drive a wedge between mainstream Australian society and certain parts of the Muslim community. His only response is to accuse me of believing in a “nationalist fantasy”.

Finally, just today Wilson accused me of making up the fact that he supported some form of media regulation. Whilst I could not find the tweet where Wilson indicated as such to me, I was able to find an article he wrote for the Drum in 2012. Whilst the article does not endorse the  recommendations of the Finkelstein Report, the following comments reveal that Wilson does consider a free media market to be unsatisfactory and would support some form of media regulation:

It’s a shame that most of the Finkelstein Independent Media Inquiry Report will go unread by many of those who are damning it…. The problems it identifies are real enough, and pressing.

Australia has the worst concentration of media ownership in the developed world – no other country has, or likely would have, allowed things to get to this point… There are no truly effective remedies for ordinary people with few resources, whom the news media prints lies about, whose privacy is invaded, or whose careers are ruined by baseless reporting.

It is a shame that, rather than seeing the online space as cacophonous and unruly, Finkelstein didn’t instead offer ways in which diversity and sustainability might be promoted for a better media future.

As you can see, I did not “make it up”. I was right. Wilson does want media regulation.

Bring out your dead

While the Jihadists may claim to be working for Allah I tend to think that Ebola is gift from Gaia and really it was to some extent inevitable that such a pandemic would arise now that the human population has grown so much .

n the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1.4 million cases by January 20 if the disease keeps spreading, without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.

[...]

At least one aid group working in Liberia is already shifting its focus to teaching people about home care and providing materials to help. Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I believe inevitably this is going to move into people’s houses, and the notion of home-based care has to play a more prominent role.” He said there could be 100,000 or more cases by the end of 2014.

“Where are they going to go?” Isaacs asked. “It’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.”

Though providing home-care kits may seem like a pragmatic approach, some public health authorities said they were no substitute for beds in isolation or containment wards.

But Frieden said that home care had been used to help stamp out smallpox in Africa during the 1960s. The caregivers were often people who had survived smallpox themselves and were immune to it. Some experts have suggested that Ebola survivors might also be employed to care for the sick.

As I said in an earlier posts so it have proven to be the case that attempts to contain the disease have proven to be  utterly ineffective and sadly I don’t expect that the care in the community model will be that much better either Frankly I think that the worst case scenario in this piece is far too modest. I expect a death toll  to be orders of magnitude greater than 1.4 million cases by January 20.
Hoping to be wrong Comrades
A woman suspected of being infected with Ebola is assisted by health workers to an ambulance for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: The New York Times Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/ebola-cases-could-reach-14-million-in-4-months-cdc-estimates-20140924-10l52x.html#ixzz3EB2yhkRf

A woman suspected of being infected with Ebola is assisted by health workers to an ambulance for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: The New York Times

Rule 303 works

The usual suspects have been suggesting that changes to our laws intended to address concerns about the ISIS jihadis are “unnecessary” Yet we wake this morning two police officers are recovering from knife wounds and a young man was shot dead.

One shot dead, two stabbed in Melbourne

 

A TEEN terror suspect under investigation for making threats against Prime Minister Tony Abbott was shot dead by police last night after stabbing a Victorian police officer and a federal police agent.

The injured officers, both from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team, are in hospital in a stable condition.

A bomb squad expert suits up to explore Endeavour Hills police station. Picture ; Mike Keating

The 18-year-old man, who was under surveillance over his threats against Mr Abbott, met police outside Endeavour Hills police station, in Melbourne’s southeast, about 7.45pm.

Senior intelligence sources confirmed that the terrorism suspect had been among a number of people whose passports were recently cancelled.It is believed that the man was well known to police, and had displayed Islamic State flags in the local Dandenong shopping centre.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner southern region Luke Cornelius said police had arranged to meet with the Narre Warren man because of concerns about his behaviour.

But an altercation started after he arrived at the police station, which led the teenager to produce a knife. He allegedly stabbed the federal agent multiple times, while the Victoria Police officer was stabbed twice in the forearm.

The Victorian Police officer discharged a single fatal shot.

“Obviously both members are in shock but we are doing everything when can to provide them with support and assistance in what is for any police officer an incredibly difficult and challenging time,’’ Mr Cornelius said.

source

There is no doubt for me that the police officer who shot this man did precisely the right thing the young would be Jihadist has got his wish to be “martyred” and we can be thankful that he did not succeed in taking anyone with him and if nothing else it proves that “rule 303″works. I expect that there will now be a flurry of the usual suspects insisting that the police did not have to kill this young man, or that he was a “child”.

The police did the right thing the threat was quickly neutralized and anyone who thinks the Jihadists are no threat should hang their heads in shame.

Cheers Comrades

 Police investigate the shooting. Picture: Mike Keating Source: News Limited

Police investigate the shooting. Picture: Mike Keating Source: News Limited

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