Thinning the Herd

…So what on earth is going on here? How is our advanced medical system, our technology, our renowned computational capacity failing us?

I think I know, and here is where political correctness heads out the window. We find ourselves here because we humans, not Corona or Clostridia or Cholera, are the actual pathogens on this planet. We propagate uncontrollably and exponentially, injecting our industrial genetic code into our host to force creation of more of our kind, stripping away vital organs and connective matrix, and leaving nothing behind but our toxic waste. I’m sorry to say it, but we have met the virus, and it is us.

Anyway, that is my theory. Humanity is simply another herd to be thinned from time to time, and this is one such time. Presumably this will not be at the meteor/dinosaur level, at least not yet, perhaps because Mother Nature actually possesses some strange affection for us, and hopes we might see the error of our arrogant ways and manage to make better choices (personally, I am not as hopeful, but I am merely a pathogen without the wisdom of eternity to draw from).

The question is, will we ever come to accept the truth about our place on this planet? Deprived of our frontal cortex and opposable thumbs, we become slow, clumsy, hair and toothless creatures who can’t see in the dark; in other words, food. Other animals are far more intrinsically intelligent. “In a world older and more complete than ours,” says Henry Beston, “they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” We are only at the top of the chain because we have created technology, but technology is not part of Nature’s plan. If it was, she would have created it.

So we are a part of Nature; she is not a part of us. We have become spoiled, recalcitrant children, used to getting our way through bullying the planet and its creatures. But bullies stop when someone larger stands up to them. Enter Corona.

Bill Benda, MD

Full COVID coverage from your insurance company is over in most states

…Most insurers have reinstated co-pays and deductibles for covid patients, in many cases even before vaccines became widely available. The companies imposed the costs as industry profits remained strong or grew in 2020, with insurers paying out less to cover elective procedures that hospitals suspended during the crisis.

Now the financial burden of covid is falling unevenly on patients across the country, varying widely by health-care plan and geography, according to a survey of the two largest health plans in every state by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

If you’re fortunate enough to live in Vermont or New Mexico, for instance, state mandates require insurance companies to cover 100 percent of treatment. But most Americans with covid are now exposed to the uncertainty, confusion and expense of business-as-usual medical billing and insurance practices — joining those with cancer, diabetes and other serious, costly illnesses….

The reintroduction of cost-sharing mainly affects people with private or employer-based insurance. Patients with no insurance can have 100 percent of their expenses covered by the federal government, under a special program set up by the government for the pandemic, with hospitals reimbursed for care at Medicare rates…

Covid patients with Medicaid, the government plan for lower-income people that is paid for by states and the federal government, continue to be protected from cost-sharing, insurance specialists said. Patients on Medicare, the federal plan for the elderly, could face out-of-pocket costs if they do not have supplemental insurance.

Not a lot of rhyme or reason to the inequality of cost from one patient to another. Not in the land billing itself as the strongest in the world. That mostly applies to killing folks identified as “enemies. As for modern healthcare, a very few local politicians may have sorted it out for you. Mostly they did nothing!

Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to put Cold War on hold to join forces against an Alien Invasion


“What’s that up in the sky?”

…During a 2009 interview with Charlie Rose and Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz, Gorbachev revealed that Reagan asked him point-blank if they could set aside their differences in case the world was invaded by aliens…

As far as we know, aliens never tried to take over the planet during the 1980s, so Reagan and Gorbachev’s informal agreement wasn’t put to the test. But perhaps unsurprisingly for a president whose nuclear deterrent plan was nicknamed “Star Wars,” Reagan was a big science-fiction fan. He had grown up reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ epic science-fiction novels, whose characters included John Carter of Mars and Tarzan

Please, please, no one ask El Trumpo if he’s ready to defend the world against Alien Invaders? The former head of Israel’s Space Security agency says Trump almost revealed the “truth” when he was in office but the Galactic Federation stopped him.

People who are antagonistic, exploitative, and generally disagreeable are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories

Researchers found that people who possess personality traits known as the “Dark Tetrad” are more likely to believe Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family, that the moon landing was faked, and that alien spacecraft are being stored at Area 51, among other conspiracy theories.

The traits of the Dark Tetrad are Machiavellianism (manipulativeness and cynicism); narcissism (vanity and self-obsession); psychopathy (impulsivity and callousness); and sadism (cruelty and abusiveness). Most people have elements of some of these traits, says Cameron Kay, a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology at the University of Oregon.

“In plain terms, it seems like disagreeable people, who score high in these traits, are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories,” Kay says. “They are prone to odd beliefs. They don’t feel like they are in control of their lives. They are robbed of their agency and have an innate distrust of other people and organizations like the government.”

We know who you are…

Costa Ricans Live Longer Than We Do. What’s Their Secret?


Álvaro Salas Chaves

Life expectancy tends to track national income closely. Costa Rica has emerged as an exception. Searching a newer section of the cemetery that afternoon, I found only one grave for a child. Across all age cohorts, the country’s increase in health has far outpaced its increase in wealth. Although Costa Rica’s per-capita income is a sixth that of the United States—and its per-capita health-care costs are a fraction of ours—life expectancy there is approaching eighty-one years. In the United States, life expectancy peaked at just under seventy-nine years, in 2014, and has declined since.

People who have studied Costa Rica, including colleagues of mine at the research and innovation center Ariadne Labs, have identified what seems to be a key factor in its success: the country has made public health—measures to improve the health of the population as a whole—central to the delivery of medical care. Even in countries with robust universal health care, public health is usually an add-on; the vast majority of spending goes to treat the ailments of individuals. In Costa Rica, though, public health has been a priority for decades.

The covid-19 pandemic has revealed the impoverished state of public health even in affluent countries—and the cost of our neglect. Costa Rica shows what an alternative looks like. I travelled with Álvaro Salas to his home town because he had witnessed the results of his country’s expanding commitment to public health, and also because he had helped build the systems that delivered on that commitment. He understood what the country has achieved and how it was done.

Decades ago, I worked in and around the medical community in New Haven, Connecticut. Never as a provider. Most often in one or another support system. I had many friends who were undergrads, graduate students, faculty…ranging from Yale Med School to their superb Public Health School. And it all reflected the characterizations in this article. Public Health in American politics has been and continues to be a lesser add-on to the “more important” medical care system. At best. If that’s changed, I’ll be pleased to hear about it.

Trump’s wall sucks big time!

Gate in bollard-style fencing…along the U.S.-Mexico border. The gates remain open during the summer, with strands of barbed wire to prevent cattle from crossing the border.

Ha ha ha. Donald Trump’s impermeable wall ain’t so impermeable, after all. Not even these high walls of racist fury can withstand good ol’ Mother Nature: The Washington Post reported Thursday that the president’s beloved border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would need to leave portions wide open every summer to prevent flash floods from knocking it over…

In the Southwest, monsoon season comes around from June to September. Arizona and New Mexico receive up to half of their annual rainfall during these months. Though these storms—often accompanied by roaring thunder and lightning—can be healthy for the vegetation in need of some water, it’s no good for infrastructure in the area. This phenomenon is a result of the land and the Pacific Ocean warming up, but because the land warms faster than the ocean, the air pressure begins to affect the wind. This air, which is full of moisture, eventually makes its way from northern Mexico into the Southwestern U.S., where it pours.

What’s worse, climate change is making this monsoon season worse, according to a 2017 study. If the president wants to build this ridiculous wall, he may have to come to terms with the reality of climate change. That, or risk it being washed away by worsening storms. Or, as we’re already seeing, falling due to high winds. Nature is just as over this goddamn wall as I am.

Mother Nature couldn’t care a rat’s ass for all the concerns about borders, nationalities, legal/illegal crossings that occupy the tiniest of brain cells in police, pimps, so-called patriots and prigs.