Covid 19 and US Mortality by I. Ratel

Covid 19 and US Mortality by I. Ratel

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a statistician.  I’m not an epidemiologist, nor am I a medical doctor, or even a schmuck with an undergrad in biology.  My degrees are in Industrial Management and Automotive Technology.  I am a long term organ transplant recipient who has lived with being immunocompromised long enough to take interest in these subjects because disease activity has more potential impact on me than on the average person.
I’ve been watching CDC’s flu surveillance since last fall when there were rumors floating about of a nasty new flu bug in China.  That’s not that unusual, there seems to always be rumors of nasty new bugs in China.  According to the South China Post the first COVID-19 case in Hubei province China was found November 17.  Even that article states that patient zero may have been earlier than that.  This page on FlightRadar24.com shows the Wuhan Tianhe airport serves many domestic and international routes.  I contend that it is reasonable to believe that the SARS-COV-2 virus began circulating around the global population back in November and December, spreading not only across China, but to much of the world.

When considering that possibility patterns in CDC’s regular ILI (Influenza Like Illness) surveillance data become interesting.  I’ve taken their data, and applied my meager Excel skills to chart out some things that surprised me.  Going into this, I expected to see mortality rates somewhere bump.  Prior to January we weren’t looking for this virus.  We’ve only had useful testing capability for a few weeks now.  Given the information we have on disease progression, I assumed that there would be an upward trend in Pneumonia mortality as without looking for and testing for SARS-COV-2, victims should have been classified as deaths due to pneumonia.  So I charted it, with the last 6 years of data published by CDC.

CDC calls week 40 of a year the beginning of the flu season, so all my charts are set to begin in week 40 of one year and end in week 39 of the next, showing years as flu seasons.

chart1

There is the customary increase at week 1, I assume related to holiday festivities and travel.  However the 2019-2020 season shows week by week pneumonia mortality to be low compared to the last few years, which is not what I expected.  What I truly did not expect was the sharp decline over the last few weeks.

I next looked at all-cause mortality.  Perhaps COVID-19 deaths hadn’t been captured in the pneumonia data.  But surely something this virulent would show somewhere.  I was again, surprised.

chart2

We see here that all-cause mortality ran on the high side of normal until it started to drop at the beginning of 2020, and recently dropped significantly.  Again, no indication of this virus killing people beyond seasonal norms.

There is one other salient point that stands out in my sifting of data.  Healthcare visits for ILI. [Influenza Like Illness.]

Chart3

Here we see that people in the US have been seeing their doctors for influenza like illness at higher levels than normal.  The recent upswing can be explained by the current panic, but prior to that?  Most likely it’s more people getting sick enough with respiratory infections to see the doctor.

There is a lot more data available from CDC.  I’ve ignored all the confirmed influenza data, because a lab confirmed influenza case is not a COVID-19 case.  I haven’t seen much else available that should show indicators of COVID-19 beyond what I’ve illustrated here.  These are inelegant numbers, just showing totals, not adjusted to rates per capita or anything else, it was just an attempt to see possible trends from a high level.

As to conclusions, there isn’t enough data for any concrete conclusion.  Looking at this logically, IF there have been COVID-19 cases in the US since December, it doesn’t appear to have been deadly enough to have been very noticeable.  Please note that I am NOT saying “this is just another flu.”  We know that it’s quite virulent in certain populations like me; likely several times more deadly than the “normal” respiratory bugs that circulate every winter.  All that I am stating is that by the data I see right now it is not causing excess mortality beyond seasonal norms when looked at in total with all causes of death.

There are a myriad of possibilities that can be examined over the next few weeks as we get more data, but I will leave the in depth analysis to people better suited to it than I am. As for me, I’m not taking precautions beyond what I already do every flu season.  I have my towel, and intend to follow the advice of the Hitchhiker’s Guide: “Don’t panic.”

[I was trying to add the author’s excel files for download by those who want to examine the data, but it simply will not let me. I will email them to anyone who pings me privately, but I’m going to put images below and hope they work. They MIGHT be too small or unclear to read. BTW the author and I had several “people who know better than us” look at the charts, and it remains a mystery.  No, we don’t know what’s going on. We know it makes no sense. – SAH]
US Flu season mortality 1 2013-2020

US Flu season mortality 3 2013-2020

US Flu season mortality 3 2013-2020

 

 

The Shape Of The Future

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Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Making predictions is hard. Particularly about the future.  And if you just did a double take and said “Uh, Sarah, that’s what you’re supposed to do for a living.”

Well, not actually, no.  We’re not prophets. We might be bards, in that we take some spark of the future and bring it forward.  Just a little bit, just enough to say “The future could be like this.”  But around it we build a plausible world, which, as we all know, could not possibly be true.

So what we do in fact is create possible parallel worlds. Which is why Heinlein’s — and even Simak’s — worlds are still enjoyable to step into.  It is, in other words, a form of fantasy, which is why whenever we get into the argument of how hard sf is, or what the hard line between science fiction and fantasy is, we get lost in the weeds, and the line recedes ever further like the rainbow.

Because intrinsically, fiction must be plausible. Reality hardly ever is. And I swear since about 95 the world has fallen down the weird legs of the pants of time. We have not thought how bizarre it all is because we’re in it, but if you step back, imagine visiting your 1980 self and telling him/her how we got here, and where here is.  Yeah. I wouldn’t believe me either.  Though perhaps the line goes further back. Perhaps I broke the engine of logic and probability when I found what my mom always called “A man stupid enough to marry you.”  I don’t know if you should be grateful to me for doing so or not.

However my subconscious is such that I can often make semi-accurate predictions short-time.  I can sort of “feel” the future, even if I can’t see it clearly or tell you the details.

So. I’m starting to feel where we’re headed, sort of.  This is not an exhaustive list, and it will probably resurface (on the non-pay) side of PJMedia, as a series of posts, in which I go into each of the things I see coming. It is also not perfectly logical, it’s just my sense of how people respond.

First let me tell you that despite climbing American deaths, I stand by my prediction of a maximum # of deaths no more than a mild flu season. I also expect — as I told you in the past — that our large cities will take it in the shorts. I’m surprised that’s only materializing for one large DENSE city so far. I expected Boston and Philadelphia and most dense Eastern cities to be in the same shape as NYC. I also expected San Fran and LA to follow suit.

All I can say as a means to explain the difference (and that post is almost written, also for PJ, but I need to go in and trim it, because even on the paid side 4k words is ridiculous) it comes down to culture, and in NYC its culture is somewhat enforced by its very goofy real-estate restraints and rent control.  In a visit some years ago, son told me that he now understood how people could live in what amounted to modified walk-in closets.  It’s because they don’t.  They mostly eat out. The neighborhood bar or coffee shop is their living room. Home is the place you sleep and keep your clothes.

As such a new form of flu that devolves into pneumonia would go through it, as grandma would say “like a knife through cheese.”

Though I want to point out there might be other things at play. Things we will find out only in retrospect that explain the really, really bad clusters we’re getting.  Perhaps different mutated strains, or… who knows? perhaps certain regions hadn’t got other milder forms that made us semi-immunized.

That we need to isolate those clusters goes without saying. It also goes without saying that the rest of us need to be functioning, our economy recovering and working, so we can lend help and assistance.

It’s bizarre and bordering on the strange that so many governors and mayors and even city councils are going the other way and enforcing strict lock downs NOW, thereby choosing to commit economic suicide and render themselves helpless.  Which is one of the things we’ve learned, that I’m not sure WILL influence the future, because humans are not rational.

  • When given the opportunity to exert power, some people will do it, even when it OBJECTIVELY hurts the polity they swore to protect, even when it’s contra-productive, even when it will destroy them and those they govern.  The power we give people to do so must be limited. It must be limited NOW.  Fortunately we don’t need to go to the moon for the writ on how to do it. We’re supposed to live in a constitutional republic. Let’s get back to that project, shall we? And rest assured that the founding fathers knew of pandemics. Read the history of John Adams.  It doesn’t help that most people won’t go that way, as our government preens on saving us from the evil bad, when in fact they mostly stepped in the way and caused problems particularly on the local level.
    Remember the most egregious abuses, come November. And fight, fight, fight in the culture to bring back the republic we inherited now mostly honored in the breach. Don’t expect to win in your life time. The ruination has been in effect for 100 years.  But maybe, just maybe we can bring it back without the cold civil war going hot. Maybe. Maybe by the time we’re long dead and our great grandchildren can vote.
  • People should distrust the press after this. They didn’t trust them particularly before.  Unfortunately, judging from even people on the right running around with their heads on fire repeating CNN nonsense…  They won’t. What they will is remember who held their hands through the fear. Also, what I expect will be a trend towards working from home will make people see/hear a lot more daytime tv and talk shows and “news” all day long. (Not my house but we’re not normal.)
    Expect a lot more panics and insane reactions stoked over the next few years.  The thing is, and I’m going to quote grandma again “The more the jar goes to the well, the greater of the chance it will lose its handle.”
    They can’t help it. They’re going to stampede and stampede and stampede, until their power is all gone.
    Before they inflict a socialist/socialism on us?  I don’t know. We must trust in G-d to save fools, drunkards and the United States of America. This makes me panicky. While I’m a religious person, I like seeing my path clear to ensuring the results I want. I just don’t.
  • Things that will not come back, not even if you want them to: Comic bookshops, bookstores, recreational conventions and even to some extent business gatherings in other cities.
    There will be some. I would very much like TVIW to survive. I think it does something important. But who knows.
    Anyway, in the secondary effects from that, I think that paper books will basically go by the way side as a separate commodity. Those who want them CAN get them from Amazon. This means that traditional publishers just lost their advantage over indies.
    What can they do to survive? Oh, so many things. The old Baen model — now mostly honored in the breach — of promoting a strong community of readers who have a dedicated site to discuss the books, and also of publishing the type of books that people in that community prefer might work.  After all the problem of indies is promo, and a place where you can be assured you’ll meet authors you’ll probably like helps.  There’s other stuff. They’ll definitely have to think in terms of “What value add do we give writers, so they publish with us.” Mere advances are not enough any more. Not compared to losing a substantial portion of your earnings and control over the books.
    The same goes for most of our creative entertainment from comics to art to movies.  Hollywood is taking it in the shorts too, and I hope you indie movie makers and CGI spinners are warming up your machines. Please.
    This of course might win us the cold civil war. Before or after it turns hot, I don’t know.
  • I think social distancing is here to stay in a way.  IN A WAY.  Whether this entire panic was justified or not, remember that people experience trauma by what they go through. Most people were traumatized by this. Things will change.
    I see a lot of shopping going on line. If anyone reading this knows someone who knows someone who can get hold of the President’s ears, tell him that tax laws must be changed.
    You cannot collect tax for every state you sell things in. You cannot, as a small business.  Free small businesses to sell across state lines, please.
    This is not tremendously difficult. Just say under x revenue (and not the current 4k, maybe more like 500k) you’re exempt from that nonsense.
    If we don’t do this, then Amazon and the other mega corps will continue growing, but the economy will suffer as will small creators and seller.
    America is and should be the land of small businesses. That’s what makes us the engine of the future. Let’s stop shoving them into the arms of mega corps. Because that story doesn’t end well.
    But look for a ton more delivery services for everything, from groceries to craft materials, to pet food.  We’re already seeing some of that — the pet store went curbside pickup — because people will be leery of touching things a lot of people have touched.
  • Weirdly I really don’t think restaurants will be affected IN THE LONG RUN.  Sure, you’re going to see a lot more pick up and delivery.  They were already trending that way. But people eat together with friends and acquaintances. It’s a behavior as old as time. Refusing to break bread with the enemy is also. They’ll come back. We have on our schedule 2 meals a week (I need to write more to afford it) come all-clear.
    What I do see is a lot more CLEANING and visible cleaning in restaurants. This is not a bad thing, though it might bump up the price of your meal a little.
    I do think for a while we’re all going to eat out a lot, and then eating out in person might slip back a bit, to less than normal pre-panic. Because delivery and pick up will take the place of a lot of it.  Eh. Willing to live with it. I’m planning a series of picnics with my sweetie for this summer.  Maybe parks can put in a lot more picnic tables, well distanced, please. (This could be wistful thinking and people might very well, indeed, eat out A LOT less, and cook at home instead. I doubt it though. We’re now up to three generations of people having no clue how to cook from scratch. So I doubt the trend to have someone else make your food will change.)
  • How we work will change. At least for those of us who work in the vineyards of the mind. Again, the experience has impressed itself.
    For everyone who says if they have to spend another day at home with spouse and kids there will be a murder, there is another who loves commuting from bedroom to kitchen, then with a cup of coffee to the office, living room or wherever their work-domain is.
    Some number will gratefully rush back to the office with glad cries. Others will demure, making noise about how they’re afraid to go back because the bug might come back.
    I expect once this is all said and done a good 1/3 of American workforce will move to the home, permanently.
    This will affect EVERYTHING from work-mobility (if all you do is change the system you’re logging into it’s easier to change jobs) to how we raise our kids (what daycare?)  to how we school our kids (Junior just logs into school while mom works next to him. Trust me, it’s doable. I lived like that through a year. It was actually kind of pleasant. I took my office mate for walks at lunch, and rambled on and on about what he’d learned. We’re still close), to where we live (weirdly people in that situation actually prefer smallish city to country. Mostly because you see other people, and most of us need that.) to how houses are built. The Obama years already changed that, somewhat. When we were looking for houses, it was amazing how many had an almost separate apartment, mother in law suite or other arrangements, including newly built ones. You see, it was a selling-thing. The people who boomeranged home, or had to look after parents, preferred houses with it.
    Look for houses with a “work area” in the “desirable” prices that appeal to people working with their minds.  Perhaps a work area, next to a school room.  One of the things this long-time home-worker has learned is that having a dedicated work space works best.
    It will also affect WHOM we marry.  Dan and I have sort of worked out an arrangement, where he can talk to me about programing, and sometimes it helps, but I neither really understand it nor can I really help if he has a snag.
    I think you’re going to see a lot more of people with like specialties marrying. Or at least people with related specialties. To be fair, this was already part of online meeting.
    But maybe not as much. You are however going to see a lot more people marrying people they want to spend a lot of time with, not just in the evenings.
    In the long run this will be good for families. And humans in general, to be fair.
  • While at it, watch what happens to unemployment.  Because this has taught us a bunch of things expect a lot of manufacturing to come back home. (And please, again, anyone with the ear of anyone who can change things, get rid of the stupid Thor Powertools decision that caused Just In Time supplying and also off-shoring.
    Now most Americans will NOT work for Chinese slave labor prices. Which is good.
    But —
    But our machines will. If you have a kid in engineering (hi, son) remind them that robotics will be a major growth field in the future. MAJOR.
    Fortunately it already is fairly advanced, even if we haven’t been using it, likely because of stupid regulations.
    Now it’s a matter of life and death.  America will revive industrially. Probably very, very fast.
    But even robotic factories need workers.
    I suspect in the future there will be a lot of jobs in manufacturing that amount to supervising vast factories and being able to stop them and do limited fix ups when things go wrong.  Eventually some of these will be done remotely, but not right away.
    I think we’ll recover quickly, because we need a lot of workers for this industrial revival, even if the jobs will be different.
    Because the rest of the world will hurt far more than us, we will also enjoy relative advantage, combined with being innovative, as we are and must be allowed to be again.

There will be other things. Some of them trivial. I think wearing masks inn public is going to be as much a thing here as in Japan. Partly because of the remembered shock of this month. Partly because I’ll be honest my kids’ generation always thought they were cool, since they grew up with anime.
And there will be things we can’t even imagine (the bane of SF writers everywhere) which come from this month.
I expect the reverberations of it to work themselves through every aspect of our life, from trivial to profound for the rest of my life, even if we recover enough for me to have another 30 to 40 years ahead of me.
Keep in mind the shape of the future and work towards making it better and more individual.
On the way there, expect us to have serious challenges and an attempt to completely dismantle the republic (like we never had those before. I do however expect this one to come in the next couple of weeks and be in-your-face-blatant. I hope I’m wrong. If I’m right cross my palm with silver. Or send me $5.)

If we survive, though, there is a bright, beckoning future. For us, for America, for all we hold dear.

Go work.

 

Rebel Millennials Without a Cause- by Marshall Hoyt

Rebel Millennials Without a Cause- by Marshall Hoyt

Hey y’all, you probably haven’t seen a post from the youngest Hoyt in a while, I’ve been working tooth and nail. But before I submit a project proposal and prelab tomorrow, I figure it’s time for one of my deep dives into culture… Or at least a nice quick dip.

To those not totally plugged into comics culture, there’s been a bit a crisis going on lately. Now, with all the COVID-19 panic, you might have not even thought about what’s going on with comics. Or, more importantly comic shops.

I’ll be the first to let you know: They’re closing. Forever. These stores rely on new issues and constant input, and all the major publishers have announced a hold on their distribution lines until the virus passes. The comic companies- multi-invested, they’ll live for the most part, digital fronts pick up the slack. Physical comic stores? Well, it’s like a bakery being told they won’t even be offered wheat, or wheat substitute anymore. This is end days for comic stores, so whatever is coming and already on order, has to be knockouts. They have to have Spiderman, or Dark Knight Returns level of sales to survive.

So, like a man on their death bed, the comic stores are begging for a response, for salvation, for a saving grace to be offered by the publishers. The first to respond with announcements is one of the biggest: Marvel. One issue announced earlier this week, and one a couple of days ago. Now these comic stores, they’re looking at these announcements and going: Could it be? Look at engagement! Those views! 650k views on one, and 110k on the other, on comic announcements? That’s huge! So with hopeful eyes they look at the announcements and….

trailblazer

Wait, hold on–

screentime

Wait hold up, experimental what now? You can’t just pretend that makes any sen–

twincest

Okay now you’re just f**king with us. This team can’t seriously be comprised of jokes that 4chan would make about how woke Marvel has become-

b-negative

Ah.

Good.

The blood sucking, flying albino with a bad 90’s Goth outfit is the most believable character in your roster.

Wonderful.

Well at least the other announcement has got to be good. Right?

zoomer x-men

Okay, well, that’s tonal deft to what Zoomers are like and what they like, but, sure, whatever, at least they’re not as bad as that other team.

Although speaking of other team, these characters look sort of familiar…

familiar

You got be f**king kidding me.

Marvel, gender-swapping and race-changing existing characters doesn’t count as doing something new. Granting, seeing what you do with new characters, I guess this is an improvement.

Besides the coming funeral plans for comic shops thanks to the senseless murder by Marvel comics and its weapon of pure woke, this brings into focus the purpose of my post today, because I haven’t given away the dirty little secret about these comics, and I think it’s appropriate to do a short history lesson, and turn back the clock a bit.

Now, a while back, you might recall what used to be the universally acknowledged worst generation of all time: The Boomers. These kids came in droves, rebelled, got high and fucked up, and as a result the majority of them became the divorced parents of my generation. In fact, having parents who were still married was downright rare. Of the 7 different (Official) roommates I’ve had, 4 had divorced parents, 2 had fathers who passed from cancer, and only 1 has two living, married parents. A lot of these kids were being raised by people who never really grew up themselves, and they didn’t know the first things about raising children.

For a long time, Boomers were and still are considered a completely dysfunctional generation. But what became clear about 12 years ago, back in 2008, is that the Boomer’s kids (who ranged from teens entering high school to people in their late 20’s becoming a solid presence in the workforce), well, they had something going on. They had grown up with the transition of technology from bulky CRTV monitors to flat screens, from landlines to smartphones, from notes in class to texts after. These kids were connected, they were with it, they were hip.

They became loud. They were the rebels, the new kids on the block, the “New Generation” that politicians should be appealing to. This new world was their world. The boomers and Gen X might have built the technology they were using, but they weren’t using it like they were. Youtube, Tumblr, Twitter- they weren’t just using these platforms, they began to work at these companies, shape them, mold them to what they wanted the world to be. For a long time, people didn’t take them seriously.

But they got louder, bolder, crazier. And the messaging became clear. Two person relationship? How about a 10 person polyamorous mess? Two Genders? How about 58 and counting? Two equally qualified candidates of different sexes? Have to hire the woman, it’d be sexist otherwise.  Got any Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander leads in your movie? If not, you’re just racist, no other way around it. Do you like road intersections? Well imagine everyone’s identity is a car, and we all just drove at max speed towards that crossroads until our cars mangled up into a pile of metal and bones- That’s Intersectionality, baby. Now get on board, or you’re as bad as a group of people that quite literally killed millions of Jews.

This craziness was seen in Comics- Spiderman is black now, Jane Foster is Thor, Captain America is secretly part of Hydra and “Occupy Avengers” sounds like a good idea. In movies- where the cast of Star Wars needed more diversity, Scarlet Johansson shouldn’t be leading in Ghost of the Shell because she’s white and the Ghostbusters (Or any vaguely nostalgic property) would be better done if it was explicitly redone with an all-female cast. Even in public discourse- think there’s only two genders, babies in the womb are living beings or that people breaking the law by crossing the border are by definition criminals? then expect a ban on every social media platform.

But over the past year, something happened.

This insane generation, raised by an insane generation, they were getting old. Noticeably old.

The oldest Millennials were about to hit 40.

Worse yet, in all their time being the “rebellious young advocates”, in all their complaining about capitalism and demands for abortions on demand, they sort of forgot to have kids. In fact, the people they’ve spent the past 12 years yelling at in their generation? they were the ones having all the kids. Even worse than that, these kids understood technology in a way the Millennials didn’t. That doesn’t make sense, I mean, they only grew up on all the most advanced technology of this era. But wait, what about the world they’ve presented the new generation with, the ideals they’ve thrown on banners and the things they fought for? These “Zoomers” will at least appreciate that, right?

Oh Sh*t, they hate it, they hate all of it.

No, wait, when did the Millennials stop being cool? No, we’re still cool, right? We have to be. Time to course correct.

fellow kids

That there, is Daniel Kibblesmith.

He’s the author of that lovely new Marvel group from the top of the article, The “New” New Warriors, and at age 36 he’s part of the older brand of Millennials that just can’t accept his glory days are past.

That’s the dirty little secret I mentioned earlier, these comics are made by  Millennials pretending they know how Zoomers work. Don’t worry, I saved you from his heavily receding hairline with that hat. Along with his strong belief as a Jewish man that we should teach kids that Santa is black, and white Santa is just his husband (No, I’m not kidding), he’s about as stereotypical Millennial as you get. I mean, I’d say more about him, but other than the fact that he used to write for Stephen Colbert, he’s a noted Bernie supporter (In 2020) and seems to have a puppet fetish, there isn’t much more interesting about him. You can discern the rest of his personality from that information, and I encourage you to find me anything he’s posted or said that doesn’t paint him as a perfect Millennial political wonk.

Unfortunately, like his 35 year old counterpart writing that second title, “Children of the Atom”, he’s not as in tune with the Zoomers as he’d like to think. To be fair, I don’t actually think they’re that dumb. I think they’re well aware they’re not the rebels anymore and they’re trying to influence the younger generations as much as possible. But in equal measure, I’ve seen a LOT of failed Millennial attempts to appeal to Zoomers recently, and the Zoomers treated them no kinder than Millennials treated the Boomers. In fact, more than a fair share of Millennials have been on the receiving end of a slapping “Ok Boomer”, much to their dismay.

Panicked and lost as Millennials are though, I am fairly convinced they’re gunning for influencing the generations under them as much as possible. For Zoomers– they’ve pretty much already lost them. The Millennials have gone so far, so quick, and so incoherently, that Zoomer grew up seeing the millennials try and burn the world down, and they ain’t having that sh*t.

However, there are two points of concern. One: professors across the country are freaking out because they’re afraid their lectures will be leaked to right wing publications. Ignoring the fact that you shouldn’t be teaching *anything* on a college campus if you’re afraid that 50% of the f**king country wouldn’t like it being taught as gospel to students, this does give away the game. They are indoctrinating students. I mean, we knew that, but it’s to the point they’re hiding *what* exactly that indoctrination is. Needless to say, I look forward to seeing exactly what BS these professors are pulling, when their lecture notes do leak. Maybe I’ll make a post about that.

Secondly, I want to share quickly my experience a couple of weeks back, sitting down in the library between classes to get work done. Because as I pulled out my work I realized that the woman speaking loudly on the other side of the barrier wasn’t just having any conversation, they were discussing intersectionality. Not just that, a *children’s book* about intersectionality. In her rambling, she said the exact words “I think it’s important to teach children the importance of intersectionality, to influence their politics” to an unknown amount of crazies. I repeat, she finds it important to *influence the politics of children*.  That is beyond evil. I mean even logically, if we’re not allowed to teach Christianity in school, something that roughly 75% of the US population believes in, I don’t think teaching children something *maybe*, at best, 20% of the US population believes in is appropriate. But of course, being appropriate is never part of the Millennial mindset.

Frankly, I don’t know what Generation Alpha, the children and toddlers of today, will be like. I don’t know their political leanings, or their values or aspirations. I know nobody has the right to try and directly influence what they become, and lord knows, with some of the 7 years old drag queens and trans kids insidiously brought out by the Millennials having children in their 30’s, that generation might be beyond f**ked up. But we certainly shouldn’t be encouraging insanity or influencing political leanings.  They should just be kids. Luckily, I think Zoomers will soon become the roaring voice in the wind, and they’ll say “Enough is enough.”

Only time will tell, and time only proves to be a cruel b*tch to the Millennials. A generation who used to be the rebels, the kings, the movement and the change. Now, they’re just an echo of a time fading away, of a culture increasingly mocked, and an ideology turned away from. Soon, it will become clear that Millennials are no longer in control of the narrative, and that they’re not only losing, but they’re lost. In a lot of ways, Millennials are more than just the generation of rebels without a cause.

They are Generation Lost.

—Original Image Credit for Marvel Characters belongs to Marvel Entertainment LLC, all rights reserved, content created under Fair Use by means of commentary—

—Final Note, I’d like to add levity by sharing this meme my Canadian Friend sent me—

pew

 

Cures and Diseases

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I’m sorry I’ve been largely absent from my own blog. The truth is that I’ve been largely absent from my own life.

It is a form of depression, but one I hadn’t wrestled with before. I’ve never before been THIS angry. Angry enough I had to shut my entire ability to work — including non fiction and short pieces down — in order not to live in a state of near-berserking.

And I’ve never before felt so impotent that it feeds into the depression. Of course I’ve never before watched the imposition of Cuba-style socialism on the bastion of free men (yes, women are included in that, and if you think I need to mention this every time you’re part of the people destroying civilization without realizing what you’re doing and one of the people I’m no longer in the mood to give consequence to.)

It doesn’t help that this dropped on top of other worries that were ALREADY consuming my life before: I appreciate the world’s and politicians attempts to distract me from a couple of things I’m waiting to drop to make sure the boys DO graduate this year, and from my fears the boob thing will be cancer by going completely insane. I particularly want to thank my state governor for attempting to crash the state economy in tandem with all the other crazy state governors, in what (if they keep it up) guarantees a famine event by next winter. I think HOWEVER you’re going overboard a little.
Maybe it’s time to back up?

Okay, to be clear, the chances that the Chinese Virus was ever going to wipe out 1/10th of our population, let alone more, were very, very, very low.  HOWEVER when this started out, we didn’t know that. We just didn’t. And the sh*t coming out of China, including the crematoria running day and night were terrifying.

The virus is still horrible in China. PROBABLY. I mean, the Chinese are still dying and a lot are still locked in. But is it the thing that has many names but which started out as COVID-19?

No one knows. No one really knows what is going on in China. Partly because, as a friend of mine who loves the culture and has lived in China put it “It’s not that they lie. It’s that they don’t really have a concept of the truth.” Some Arab cultures have similar issues. You see, truth that can be verified by other people, truth that is “scientifically testable” is not only not a given for humanity, it seems to be a really difficult idea. Judging from oour plague of irreproducible results, it’s really difficult for US too and being lost here. It might be something that came to the west, or solidified in the west with the scientific revolution.

In China “truth is what serves our purposes.” For everyone. Which is why medicines made in China might be full of plaster. If you’re lucky.

Anyway, the point is no one knows what is going on in China, and though we know that people are dying in droves, and that we’re not being told the truth, we don’t know that it’s caused by this virus.

In fact there are tons of reasons to believe it isn’t, including the fact that the virus isn’t that lethal anywhere else.  And before you say “Italy” — Italy is cooking the books, including counting anyone who dies of anything else and had this virus onboard as dying of the virus — besides the fact that Italy has other, systemic problems, just as China does.

There were always those of us who suspected that some purging of political dissidents was going on behind China’s facade of virus attack, and some of it might be true. But there are a lot of other things going one. One of them is that China was hurting — badly — economically.  The 8 years of Obama’s Summer of Recovery had put a dent in how much “cheap crap” Americans were buying. There were already parts of their economy dying. They compensated by stealing patents and frauding more (remember they have no concept of fair dealing, along with no concept of the truth. And no, this is not racist, though it might be “culturalist” but I don’t know how, unless you believe all cultures are exactly the same, in which the technical name for you is “idiot.” And yes, I know there are a ton of you out there who were taught that. You were mis-taught. There is no value judgement involved. Cultures are different. I think ours is more suited to survival and thriving of the human race, but that’s me. However, if you’re going to be dealing with other countries you have to be aware of the differences. This, BTW doesn’t mean diddly about the character of people of Chinese origin. It just means that people who grow up in the Chinese culture might have blind spots which aren’t ours and which make business affairs cross culture difficult.)

But then came Trump’s sanctions and attempts to stop our bleed out of jobs and currency.  And no, he wasn’t wrong. But it put the hurt on China, MAJORLY which is why all our press — who knew they were in the pocket of the Chinese to that extent — squealed like stuck pigs.

The thing is it might have caused FAMINE in China.  China has a veneer of modernity and western civilization, but it is not.  The average peasant in China still lives in conditions our 19th century ancestors would find primitive and stark. They might wear t-shirts, but they’re living in primitive, and close to the bone conditions.

When the sanctions cut into them, crematoria running night and day might be a sign of anything, including widespread famine.  And Wuhan was particularly impoverished due to hosting the Military games, which means the government emptied parts of the city and destroyed people’s livelihoods uncaring of what happened. There were APPARENTLY a lot of people on the edge of starvation.

Which, yes, makes them more susceptible to disease.  Or just dying of hunger.

On top of which, there have been rumors filtering out of a new bird flu, and worse of locusts in unprecedented numbers eating their crops. This comes on top of a swine flu that killed or caused them to kill most of their pigs, to the point rivers ran red.

So, you know, what happened with the virus and China is not a sign of anything.

But when I first became aware of this in January, I was briefly very worried. It looked like it would be bad, very bad indeed. And like everyone else, I kept thinking “Would China react like this if they didn’t have way more deaths/it weren’t way more severe?”

Well, yes, because as I’ve explained there are a ton of other (very bad) things going on in China, and blaming the virus is not as embarrassing.

Since then, despite various attempts to stampede us, from the incredibly stupid computer model, to the numbers in Italy (note that only 12% of death certificates that show Covid-19 as the cause are plausibly even close to true.), to our own authorities doing testing only on people showing severe symptoms, and publishing the number of infected as though it were growing and not more people being tested for it, to as far as I can tell, hospital administrations assuming when we first tested is when people were first infected and having decided (PFA?) that the thing has no asymptomatic infections, but that most infections “take 16 days” which is why the surgeon general (medical degrees apparently don’t mean you can examine assumptions) thinks this week will be “the worst yet,” the truth is that this virus is probably one of the greatest panics incited over absolutely nothing in the history of humanity.

In the magnitude of delusion compared to the actual effects/danger, it is the elephant that birthed a mouse.

I’m not saying people won’t die from the infection. We’re humans. People die from a hangnail. People die from getting too much sun. People can and do die from sinus infections. It’s just not common.  Every year, I guarantee, several people die from the common cold. I once tried to die from a really simple virus my two year old shrugged off in a week.

People will die. But in terms of who dies of Chinese Virus, we’re learning they’re the people who would die of …. well, anything. Most of them will be seniors who would have died in less than year anyway.

And when you type that people call you unfeeling and tell you how would you feel if that were your mother, or your grandmother.

The answer is DEVASTATED. Very very sad. I’ve said in the past, and it’s true, that I’d give years of life for the ability to have tea with grandma once more, in her kitchen.

But my mother is eighty five. My father is eighty nine. Both of them are adults and cognizant that they are MORTAL. They certainly wouldn’t want western civilization destroyed to save them. Particularly because when global economy crashes, they won’t survive, anyway. Nor will anyone their age. Hell, it’s unlikely anyone my age will survive very long, because we get the maladies and the thing that don’t work very well. People are only living to their eighties and nineties because we’re wealthy and stable enough to give them medicine and think nothing of the cost. And because they can be well fed, clean, warm.

The proof that this virus is probably less lethal than the common cold is hard to come by, partly because we’re still only testing people who are showing symptoms. And we haven’t tested that many people, as is.  And as proven we can’t trust numbers from China or Italy, and knowing the games they play with numbers for infant death and murder, I’d be very careful trusting numbers from the EU.

So, we lean heavily on the numbers from the Diamond Princess, because it’s a closed test case. Iceland might also be trustworthy. And South Korea might be more or less straight up.  And there are studies surfacing of what is really going on that confirm THE VIRUS IS NOT A BIG DEAL.

COVID-19: the unwarranted panic

COVID-19: interesting data from Korea and from the Diamond Princess

COVID-19 – Evidence Over Hysteria

Don’t expect the media to tell you this. They benefit from the panic directly. Their almost gone influence has been revived. You see, most people don’t actually read news online. They learned to distrust the media from talking to friends at lunch/diner/office. Those are gone, and bored and scared people have the news on. And they BELIEVE them. So don’t expect the media to EVER give the all clear.

All the more so because they’ve seized on this to create a state of panic that will allow them to push their favorite political prescriptions.  If you think your lefty friends saying that we’re adopting Bernie’s program is hyperbole, it’s not.  The media has stampeded us into an horrendous recession, and the left is taking advantage of it.

The left will also never ever give the all clear. They’re seizing on the panic to create their socialist paradise by fiat.  The fact it looks a lot like Cuba or Venezuela hasn’t hit them yet. And they might not mind, anyway. Most of them would rather reign in hell.

But I still think they have NO clue of the devastation they’re precipitating. Most of them are urbanites, work in offices, and have a degree in the soft sciences. Some are even extremely competent and successful in their own fields, but they are complete idiots when it comes to how the world works or what the economy is.

There are signs they are completely delusional. One of them is the charming illusion they can keep people in lock down for 18 months, and all that will happen is they “save lives” and “socialism.” Another is their uniform support for The Green New Deal, an underwear gnome solution based on wishful thinking and astonishing ignorance.  Yet another is how they think printing money will compensate for everything. Yet another is an article I saw yesterday about how we recovered from the 2008 recession by 2009. Apparently someone REALLY believed those cooked numbers and the headlines on “summer of recovery” and didn’t have highly qualified friends unemployed for half a decade at a time.

And that’s the problem. It’s not so much the “enemies, domestic” though of course, it is a major problem. As is the fact these mal-educated emotional children have political power.  I mean at the level of functionality and divorce from reality they’re the nobility of pre-revolutionary France. (And it would behoove them to remember how that ended.)

But the really, really major problem is that they have NO clue how their actions impact reality, other than what they want to see. It’s entirely possible they don’t believe reality exists. (College-educated people in possession of half-digested philosophy are apparently more dangerous than a buffalo in a china shop.)

What we have grown-size toddlers, walking around a room-sized computer, randomly smashing circuit boards with their hammers and giggling.

You see, they know the more functionality they take down, the more chance that Orange-man-bad who told them they couldn’t have whatever toy they wanted will be taken out.

BUT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE DOING is causing IRREPARABLE damage, and that it might never be repaired.

If they understood the economy and its complexity they wouldn’t be socialists or communists. Because the reason socialism and communism destroys economies and kills people is that it ignores the complexity of economy and people.

They confuse symbol with reality (In this as in everything else, btw) so they think printing money creates value. They think that they can lock us in the house for eighteen months, and as long as they keep us in money, everything will be fine.

They miss not just that food/other necessities still need to be produced, but that they need to be transported. And that for them to be transported, there needs to be oil (no, please, this is not the time to have dreams of tech we don’t actually have) available to fuel trucks, and truckers willing to take to the road. They miss that just handing people money doesn’t mean they can buy food, even if it is available. They miss the interweb of value and interchange that keeps economy going, from building maintenance to paying your rent, to keeping the lights on.

They fail to understand you can’t stop the complex, chaotic system that is American economy and have it restart again.
They are pampered and confident, and they have no clue there can be a world with lates, let alone a world without beans.

If this goes on, we’re going to have a massive famine sometime next winter. Massive. People will die. Not just the very elderly people that the Chinese Virus targets, but people of all ages all over the world.

Even if we’re still producing enough food — we might be, America is a wonder, but I wouldn’t bet. Farmers needs seeds, fertilizer, maintenance for their machines, replacement parts, etc. — there won’t be a distribution network in place.

The stock market is not the way people who are very rich get money so they can build a money bin and swim in it. It’s the engine of the world. It supplies a way to move value around, so that farmers can borrow to buy seed, so that they can have tractors and other machinery. It is what allows trucking companies to operate. It is what keeps food on your table, clothes on your back, and the heat on.

Every part of the machine is interlocked. And what is happening is taking the wheels off. It’s smashing into the center of the economy with a hammer.

BTW when I say there will be famine and people will die, I mean in the US. PEOPLE WILL DIE.  Of hunger. Of lack of heat. Of lack of medicine. PEOPLE WILL DIE.  And not all of them the insane people who are instigating this.

In fact, most of the power mad governors will be just fine. And one can only hope that the idiots roaming facebook and saying this is their chance to smash capitalism get to FEEL what they’re encouraging. Dying of hunger ain’t pretty.

In the rest of the world? If people starve in the US, the rest of the world will starve worse.  Russia thinks it can be resurgent. So does China. They’re going to find mostly they die. Their despotic systems only work in an hyper abundant world.

But what this whole thing adds to is that the Chinese Virus was not the problem.  The people imposing crazy quarantines and measures are.  The idea that you can shut the country down for two weeks is bad enough. The people trying to stampede us into doing it longer, are ignorant of the realities of economics, or indeed of reality.

Should you wash your hands and not slip tongue to total strangers? Sure, but you always should. Antibiotics have made us cocky and banished a lot of the social distancing and care of the past, but not only do they not work on viruses (viri) but are losing effectiveness.

IF you can work from home, you should work from home. If it’s possible to home school, you should home school. BUT I ALWAYS THOUGHT SO.  And you shouldn’t go and lick doorknobs. Or shrines. BUT again, you never should.

Other than that? We need the restrictions lifted. Yesterday, if not sooner.

Listen to me, and start besieging your idiotic political leaders.  WE MUST LIFT THE STUPID HAMMER FROM THE ECONOMY.

It will still hurt like a mother. Oh, it will hurt. The next two-three years we’re going to get hyper inflation, unemployment and it’s going to be really hard. But I trust you guys. You’re battlers. Build under, build over build around.

However the president is right. The cure is far far worse than the disease. In fact, the “cure” deliberate or not is an attack at the heart of the economic engine of the world. Which is to say it’s an attack on humans’ ability to lie at all.

And before the greens crow about this, oh, please. This type of thing is not GOOD for the environment (whatever that means. You guys are high on semantic stupidity.) The humans who survive are going to give fuck all for your precious “ecology.” They will do what they have to do to stay alive. Which means the end result will be like something of your worst nightmares, with wood fires everywhere, forests burned for the rich soil beneath, animals hunted to extinction.  And yeah, there probably will be enough humans left to do really bad damage. Not that I care, because you see I’m for team human. I want humans to survive. But you idiots, who hate your own species, probably do care. And be aware you lose. In the end, you lose big.

If we continue with this stupid shit, and allowing marginally elected, probably with the help of fraud and disinformation ignoramuses to mandate where we can eat, where and when we can work, where we can walk, and what we can do, will only guarantee that millions die of starvation and disease within the next couple of years. And that’s JUST in the US. World wide hundreds of millions will die.

I beg you, with tears in my eyes, stop being afraid of the virus and start being afraid of the statists destroying our liberties, our economy, our society.

If we can save what remains of western civilization, in the end we win they lose.

They know that. They don’t mean to lose. And they have no idea that they can’t win.

They don’t know what they’re playing with, nor what they’ll unleash.

 

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo And Announcement

*Sorry to be so ridiculously late. I woke up at 4:30 am, came downstairs and pounded out posts for PJM, because I was too angry to sleep.  Let’s say I’m hearing Green Acres.
At around 8 am I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I slept till 11: 30 am. Sorry. -SAH*

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM MARY CATELLI: Eyes of the Sorceress.

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A short story of sorcery, war, and treachery.

Apollonia proudly casts a spell for the king, to aid him in his battles, a spell that creates enchanted viewing. But when things go awry, she finds it more useful than she had ever dreamed — if only she can persuade one and all to listen to her.

PRE-ORDER FROM MIKE WATSON:  Émigré: A Novel of the Tri-Cluster Confederation.

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When Fabien Loche arrives in the Confederation as SolSytem’s newest Liaison, his government believes he’s a broken man sent into exile. But the new job, and the new culture, are far more strange and welcoming than either had anticipated. With the help of the local Chief Inspector, and his headstrong niece Molly, Loche plunges headlong into exploring and learning everything on the station above and world below.

More is riding on his assimilation than his future. He’s also the vanguard of the spaceborne Houses of SolSystem, who are preparing to flee the reach of an increasingly unstable and aggressive Earth. But the Confederation is far more fragmented and factioned than he expected. The scramble to control the highly advanced technology that the Houses will bring, and the fear of losing it, may be the wedge that drives Confederation and Sol System alike into war…

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: GRAPE.

Announcement:  there will soon be a link on the right side bar, beneath the paypal link, which will lead you to Amazon, which — in turn — will give you a chance to tip me without tipping me from your pocket. (I.e. it won’t cost you any extra.)  Since you guys are ALWAYS chiding me about not rattling the cup enough, please — as I said above — consider the ATH associates link for all your Amazon purchases, as a few coins will be dropped in my cup.  I particularly wish to enjoin you to go through my portal when your company is buying three thousand of the latest laptops available.  That would be very nice indeed.

Until the widget is HERE: Amazon Store

A Sale For While You’re Housebound

*UPDATE: I’m sorry, the morning got away from me because one of my computers went belly up and we’re trying to fix it.  I’ll do the promo post tomorrow, if everyone is okay with that?  Sorry. -SAH*

Everything 99c.  Okay not exactly EVERYTHING.  I obviously can’t do that with the Baen books, and some of my books weren’t on KUL till I went to do the sale. (I didn’t remember I’d taken them off for a bundle.)

So….

If you’re like me, you’re going just a little bit crazy.  Okay, remember my baseline is “writer” and no one ever accused us of being normal.
But all the same, if you’re the type of introvert who needs to go out and have casual contact with people so you don’t start feeling like you’re the only person alive in the world, this stuff is distressing, because you don’t have your (limited necessity) supply of “seeing strangers” and “change of scene.”

You are also probably fretting over what happens to our economy over this mess, and trying very hard not to make outright threats to certain media people and governors.  And that’s if you don’t have vulnerable family members in places where the virus is guaranteed to be much much worse than in the US….

So without further ado:

UNDER SARAH A HOYT:

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Deep Pink (Magis Book 1)

Like all Private Detectives, Seamus Lebanon [Leb] Magis has often been told to go to Hell. He just never thought he’d actually have to go.
But when an old client asks him to investigate why Death Metal bands are dressing in pink – with butterfly mustache clips – and singing about puppies and kittens in a bad imitation of K-pop bands, Leb knows there’s something foul in the realm of music.
When the something grows to include the woman he fell in love with in kindergarten and a missing six-year-old girl, Leb climbs into his battered Suburban and like a knight of old goes forth to do battles with the legions of Hell.
This is when things become insane…. Or perhaps in the interest of truth we should say more insane.

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Witchfinder (Magical Empires Book 1)

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

Short Story Collections:

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So Little and So Light

From a parallel world where we have all the dreams of pulp writers, to a future where bioengineering kindles new hates and new heroes, to a different Tudor England, to the intricacies of time wars, this science fiction collection provides a glimpse of things undreamed… some from which we’ll gladly waken, and some we’d very much like to be true.
Contains the short stories: Wait Until The War Is Over, Only The Lonely, Lost, Neptune’s Orphans, After the Sabines, The Serpent’s Tail, Spinning Away, The Private Wound, Super Lamb Banana, To Learn To Forget, Things Remembered, The Bombs Bursting in Air, On A Far Distant Shore, So Little And So Light.

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Trade Winds

A collection of science fiction short stories by Sarah A. Hoyt.
Are there truly aliens among us? What do they really want? And what if our creations could come back in lethal form? Could we resist them? If there were a time police, would we know it? And really, why do people expect enlightenment from the stars? What if aliens needed us for their moral compass? You think our illegal immigration is bad? Wait till its coming from the stars? And what happens when the coin falls on edge? Can you reproduce it? Those not particularly moral aliens might set fiendish traps. And you can never go back again. Also, why would you want to? The future will invent completely new ways of making people miserable. Also how well would a generation ship get us to the stars without humans getting in their own way? If you read the world of Darkship Thieves, there’s a story ten years after the revolution in Olympus. It bridges the gap to the second wave of novels of the Earth Revolution which will be written, eventually. And what if the Carthaginians had sowed salt on the ruins of Rome? How long is memory?

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Yes, I know this cover needs changing!

Here Be Dragons: A collection of short stories

A collection of short stories by Award Winning Author Sarah A. Hoyt. From dark worlds ruled by vampires, to magical high schools, to future worlds where super-men have as many problems as mere mortals, this collection shows humans embattled, imperiled, in trouble, but never giving up. Angel in Flight is set in Sarah Hoyt’s popular Darkship series.
The collection contains the stories: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
First Blood, Created He Them, A Grain Of Salt, Shepherds and Wolves,
Blood Ransom,The Price Of Gold,Around the Bend,An Answer From The North,
Heart’s Fire,Whom The Gods Love,Angel In Flight,Dragons as well as an introduction by fantasy writer Cedar Sanderson.

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Wings

From Elizabethan England to the Far Future, discover who really was Shakespeare and why Marlowe was called The Muses Darling. Discover the horrifying secret that Leonardo DaVinci found beneath a cave in his home village. In the far future, find a new way to keep Traveling, Traveling. Use cold sleep to find your love again, and join the (high tech) Magical Legion.
Seventeen short stories from Prometheus Award Winning Author, Sarah A. Hoyt. This edition features an Introduction by Dave Freer and a Bonus Short Story “With Unconfined Wings.”
Collection contains:Introduction
Titan
Traveling, Traveling
The Muses’ Darling
Stock Management
While Horse And Hero Fell
Something Worse Hereafter
Touch
For Whose Dear Sake
Wings
The Play And The thing
Sugarbush Soul
Never Look Back
What She Left Behind
But World Enough
(Also published as Sacrifice)
Super Lamb Banana
Ganymede
Waiting for Juliette
Bonus Content: With Unconfined Wings
This edition contains an introduction by Dave Freer and a bonus short story: With Unconfined Wings.

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Dragon Blood: A Collection of Short Stories

From the trenches of WWI where the Red Baron just can’t help turning into a dragon, to the desert sands of a future world where humans have become something else, from a coffee shop between worlds where magicians gather, to a place where your worst nightmare can love you, let Dragon Blood take you on a series of fantastic adventures.

With an introduction by Pam Uphoff

This collection contains the stories: Rising Above, From Out The Fire, Yellow Tide Foam,
Hot, The Blood Like Wine,The Least Of These Little Ones,
Scraps Of Fog,Something Worse Hereafter,The Littlest Nightmare,Dragon Blood

UNDER SARAH D’ALMEIDA (HISTORICAL MYSTERIES)

YES, I DO KNOW ALL OF THESE NEED NEW COVERS. IT’S ON THE DRAWING BOARD.

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The Musketeer’s Apprentice

It’s August in Paris 1625 and Porthos, once a dancing and fencing master, has taken as apprentice a young nobleman, whom he’s teaching to fence and ride. When the young man dies, poisoned, the stories of his ancestry and domicile unravel into layer after layer of deception and blackmail, involving Porthos’s relatives and his own past.
Can Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan dodge the Cardinal’s guards while finding the real murderer? Who was Guillaume Jaucourt, and who could have killed him? And why?
It’s one for all and all for one with the swashbuckling sleuths, in a race against time and their own misgivings.

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The Musketeer’s Seamstress

Aramis emerges from the water closet to find his lover, a duchess, murdered on her bed. The room is locked, and Aramis is the only one who could have entered it. He’s sure he didn’t do it, but no one else believes him. Even Monsieur de Treville, Captain of Musketeers, doubts Aramis’s word. Aramis must leave Paris and go on the run, entrusting the solving of the murder, and the defense of his honor, his freedom and his very life to Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnan. Can “one for all” carry the day when every powerful person in France believes Aramis a murderer and when powerful interests would gladly frame Aramis for it?

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The Musketeer’s Inheritance

THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY BERKLEY PRIME CRIME UNDER THE TITLE “A DEATH IN GASCONY.”
A letter from Gascony calls D’Artagnan home. His father died suddenly and D’Artagnan must come and take charge of the estate. His friends, of course, accompany him. But what Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan don’t know is that the older D’Artagnan was murdered and that they must find the killer, if they want to keep the younger D’Artagnan alive.
By award winning author Sarah A. Hoyt writing as Sarah D’Almeida

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The Musketeer’s Servant

When Porthos’ Servant, Mousqueton, is found near a dead armorer or swordsmith and taken up for murder, the four friends, Athos, Porthos, D’Artagnan and Aramis set out to investigate. Their work on this private crime leads them to unfold a bigger plot, against the Cardinal or perhaps the king himself. Will the musketeers have to work on the side of Richelieu to keep Louis XIII safe?
THIS NOVEL WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED BY BERKLEY PRIME CRIME AS Dying by the Sword.

AS ELISE HYATT (COZY MYSTERIES)

Yes, there will be more of these this year. Promise.

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Dipped, Stripped and Dead (Daring Finds Book 1)

A Dyce Dare Mystery
When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.
Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.
Life is just about to get crazy… er… crazier. But at least at the end of the tunnel there might be a relationship with a very nice Police Officer.

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A French Polished Murder (Daring Finds Mysteries Book 2)

When Dyce Dare decides to refinish a piano as a gift for her boyfriend, Cas Wolfe, the last thing she expects is to stumble on an old letter that provides a clue to an older murder. She thinks her greatest problems in life are that her friend gave her son a toy motorcycle, and that her son has become unaccountably attached to a neurotic black cat named Pythagoras. She is not prepared for forgotten murder to reach out and threaten her and everything she loves, including her parents’ mystery bookstore.
A Dyce Dare Mystery.
Originally published by Prime Crime.

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A Fatal Stain (Daring Finds Book 3)

When Dyce Dare buys a table to refinish, the last thing she expects is to find a human blood stain under the amateurish finish. Whose blood is it? What happened to the person who bled on the table?
Helped and hindered by her fiance, Cas Wolfe, her friend Ben, her son E and an imaginary llama named Ccelly, Dyce must find the killer and the victim, before the killer finds her.
A Dyce Dare Mystery.
Originally Published by Prime Crime

Somehow I forgot to put the first of the Shakespeare series and the first of the Musketeers on sale. Those will go on sale just about 24h from now.  Meanwhile, there’s these, if you’re missing some of them.

Witch’s Daughter, Free Novel in Installments

*There is some overlap at the beginning as I’d put in a bit of the next chapter.  Sorry it’s short. More next week. I’ll also do a tab for it, so you can catch up.- SAH*

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Witch’s Daughter – Second installment  (first is here.)

The Kindness of Strangers

 

Miss Albinia Blackley didn’t scream.  Or at least she tried, but as she turned over, her hair falling out and her cap being lost in the street below, it seemed to her that the air robbed both her ability to breathe and her ability to make a sound.  From above she heard her mother scream, but not what her mother said.  From below other screams joined, together with some sort of strange musical instrument that sounded like a crazed goose.

She caught glimpses of the street below, the glint of something like metal but in many colors.  She tried to use her magic to slow the fall, but of course it didn’t work, when she couldn’t even think clearly.

And then from somewhere she heard a male voice.  It said a jumble of words. Or at least the words sounded like a jumble in her, though of course, right then anything would.

Her fall arrested.  Not suddenly, but first slowing down, like a leaf falling gently from a tree onto the welcoming ground.

Only she didn’t fall on the ground.  Or get a chance to straighten up.  Instead, she fell face first onto something hard and wooden.  As she recovered breath, she realized that the something she’d fallen on was moving, gliding rapidly through the air.  Or perhaps not gliding, because…  She blinked as she picked herself up to sitting on the floor of a small rowboat and looked at the boy who was rowing it.  He was tall and dark, and scowling, and plying the oars with a will.  And they were charging through the air, weaving and twisting, while mama screamed above, ever more distantly, and below the screams had changed from a horrified to a strangely excited tone.

“What?” Albinia heard herself squeak.  “How?  Who—”

“Not now,” the boy said, between panting breaths.  “We must get out of here, before the location affects the spell.”

Like that, they seemed to push through… something, and there was the brief cold of what Albinia had learned to call In Betweener.  She’d never experienced it, of course, not being allowed to perform spells that dangerous – or really to escape Mama’s orbit that easily – but she’d read about it in her instruction books.  It was supposed to be the time you slipped between one world and the next, and you were nowhere.  There were horrible  warnings against getting stuck in the In Betweener, unable to breathe, forever.  Albinia had always wondered how anyone knew you could get stuck there, or if you died or if you just stayed suspended forever. Since there was no time in the Betweener, could you die there?

When she’d tried to ask such questions of Mama, mama had told her that young ladies of refinement didn’t ask stupid questions. But she’d never explained to Albinia why the questions were stupid, or, indeed, what refinement had to do with it.

Now going through, for however brief a moment she was, she realized what had originated the talk of dying in the In Betweener.  Even if no one could know if it had ever happened. Only that someone hadn’t arrived to the place where they’d meant to go. The seconds – minutes?—in Betweener felt like she’d been dragged head-first through hell. No. Not hell, hell would have something, even if the something was pretty unpleasant. This was just…nothing. Humans shouldn’t live in nothing.

She’d had no more than time to think this – or perhaps think was too clear a word. She’d in fact only had a moment to feel it, like one groping in the dark for an unfamiliar shape – than they were out, into cool clear air, with bright son and a smattering of snow flakes dancing in it.

And the boat was falling.

The young man whose boat it was – unless, of course, he’d stolen it – rowed more frantically, and the fall slowed down and changed into a glide.

“We’re in London,” Albinia said, delightedly, recognizing things only seen in woodcuts, the Thames and the Bridge, the tower of London, as they turned and glided in the air above the city.

The boy only gave her a dirty look. But maybe he couldn’t speak.  He was read in the face and rowing fast enough that if they were on water they’d be achieving quite a speed.  Maybe. Because he was rowing faster with a hand than the other, and seemed to be controlling it, to make them fall slowly in circles.

They weren’t the only traffic in the air. There were magic carpets, as she expected, some of them pretty scruffy and small, probably pieces of bigger gliders cut and sold at a knock-off price.  Those seemed to be barely above the trees, and piloted by scruffy boys carrying packages.  She’d never thought of that but she supposed it made sense, to deliver purchases to ladies – and gentlemen – not willing to carry them.

There were only a couple of floating carriages, both with crests on their doors, and both, fortunately, well above them, so that there was no fear of being hit by them.  She’d heard of those, or rather, read of those, in romantic novels of the kind mama most strenuously disapproved of. They were expensive, both to build and to bespell, which meant that only the wealthiest who could command the best magicians had them.  A lot of them connected to the royal family.

The only other air traffic, but too far away for her to see clearly, was what appeared to be a sort of airborne building.  It would be one of those carpet – liners, the vast magic carpet supporting a first class hotel. Such plied the routes between Europe and other continents, and Albinia had often dreamed of going on a round-the-world tour on one of them.

She was looking longingly towards it, and thinking it was unfair she’d never been on one of those, when her papa had invented them, as they careened downwards at speed, towards a sort of little wilderness in the middle of busy London streets.

She screamed and held to the side of the boat.  The boy was almost not rowing. Was he mad? He didn’t even look at her when she screamed, his eyes fixed downward.

They fell past the small rug messengers, past the trees. Albinia kept trying to keep her eyes open, while they closed in sheer terror, and she forced them open again.

She must have closed them momentarily, because the first she knew about the small lake was when they splashed with force into the water. Water splashed on her face. Ducks screamed. She opened her eyes to see a flurry of feathers and ducks.

The boy was bent forward, his hands clasping his arms, his breath coming in ragged gasps.

She was dripping water, trying to wipe at her face, her hat sodden and soaked on her head, when the boy recovered enough breath to look up and fulminate her with as hateful and dark a glare as he’d given her before, “I—” he said.  “I think you must be the most cowardly boy in the whole world. Why did you scream like that?”

Answers flitted through Albinia’s head, including that she had screamed because she’d been scared, that she didn’t think she was cowardly at all, and finally that she wasn’t a boy.

But the truth is that there was a reason she’d put on Geoffrey’s suit. It wouldn’t do for a young woman, much less what Mama called – heaven only knew why – a “gently reared female” to be traipsying around by herself and under her own recognizance.  Men – if Albinia understood correctly from the novels she’d consumed – were forever wanting to do something called “stealing the virtue” of women.  She had absolutely no idea what that meant. No book she consulted explained it – just like not really explaining if you could die in the Betweener —  but she assumed that it meant they could take your magic or steal your magic, because after all when a magical object stopped working it was said to have lost “its virtue.”

But that had never been very clear, because a lot of the protagonists in the novels didn’t have any magical power.

All the same, and just in case, she made sure there were protective spells over her, so he couldn’t steal any of her magic – however that was done – and decided to not tell him she was a girl.  Instead she said, her voice scathing and her diction precise, “Well, and you’re quite the rudest boy I’ve ever met.”

To her surprise, he laughed aloud at that, the anger disappearing. “I suppose you can’t help it,” he said. “You’re just a scrub, aren’t you. How old are you, twelve?”

She started to protest then grunted something that could be taken either way.

“And what’s your name?” he asked. “I presume you’re Master Blackley…”

How did this rude boy know her name.  “I’m Al,” she said. “Call me Al.”

He opened his mouth. Closed it. “I’m Michael,” he said.

He took up the oars again, and started rowing more gently towards the edge of the park.  You’d think there would be people gathering and pointing at them by now, even if it was a cold day.  Albinia wondered why there weren’t, and if the boy realized this was wrong.  Then she realized he hadn’t given her a last name and looked at him curiously.  Right. Well, then she wouldn’t ask. You could tell from his clothes and the way he talked he was a gentleman. But why wouldn’t he give her his name?

“Where are we going?” she asked instead.

He looked embarrassed. “I thought you might want to get dried and changed before I explain.”

Clear as mud, wasn’t he?

She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of getting upset though. “Very well,” she said. Could it be any worse than being caught by Mama?

It wasn’t till they’d stowed the boat, and he’d done something that obscured it as it had become invisible, then led her across a busy street and galloped up the steps of an elegant townhouse, that she wondered if he was kidnapping her for nefarious purposes, like those things she had read about.  Again she made sure the shield was fastened over her magic.  She wondered if he had enough magic to feel her spell work, as he looked over at her out of the corner of his eyes, the green flashing in a way that made her think he was amused.

He knocked at the door to the townhouse, and stood back, waiting, his body posture denoting impatience.  She wanted more than anything to ask him who they were calling on.  But she didn’t fully realize how much trouble she was in, until the house was opened by liveried footman, whose face seemed permanently arranged in an expression of something like disdain. Which changed almost immediately.  The man’s eyes widened, his mouth dropped open, and he said, “Lord Michael!”

She was well brought up. Well, in some things. One of the things Mother had made sure she consumed was the manuals of peerage and etiquette. All of them.

If this young man was being addressed with Lord and his first name that meant only one thing: not only was he of a noble family, but one of the noblest.

After all, only the sons of dukes granted that courtesy title.

Michael forged ahead, a look over his shoulder calling her, “Come!”

And they were into the house, the footman barely jumping out of the way.

“Is Seraphim in?” Michael asked.

And then she realized: the name was unusual enough, she had to be at the home of the prince Consort. There was no other possibility.

 

 

 

 

I’m Working on Chapter

I’m also trying to figure out why my sale for today (almost everything in my control is supposed to be 99c for ebooks) hasn’t gone live. I’ll go kick the publishing computer and let you know.
I’m just trying to help people who are going stir crazy.
Anyone want to have a reading on zoom?  I’m thinking of doing the first Saturday Huns dinner on Zoom. Anyone interested? I mean, I can’t FEED you, but I can have dinner with you, if you guys want to.

Look Beyond The Virus: The Left Wants Us Destroyed And They’ve Got The Means By Bill Reader

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Look Beyond The Virus: The Left Wants Us Destroyed And They’ve Got The Means

By Bill Reader

 Author’s Note: Throughout this article I have referred to the Wuhan Virus—the name that follows the standard practice of naming viruses after their place of origin, said practice being adhered to in the case of all pandemics not originating in countries that have multi-billion dollar disinformation apparatuses at their disposal—as the CCP virus, using the convention put forth by the Epoch Times (paywall). I believe this is fair, given that China spent its energy suppressing discussion of the virus when they ought to have been suppressing the virus itself, and thus massively worsened its impact. Without the CCP, this “gift” to mankind would not have been possible. Also, in what I consider the unlikely event of the virus making good on the worst predictions and killing millions, it will be in keeping with the standard practices of the CCP and communists generally. The CCP virus is also colloquially known as COVID-19 in many sources, because we may have experimental treatments for CCP virus but the cure for political correctness remains as elusive as the Elixir of Youth.

Seeing as how I am, at present, forced to be home during the panic, I have a bit more time than I ordinarily do. This means I have more time than I have recently had to read the news, heaven help me.

I will freely admit that I am not a virologist. This isn’t my area of expertise. I can certainly appreciate the many arguments that CCP virus is more serious than the raw numbers suggest. Exponential growth, as in compound interest, can lead to nasty surprises. I have nothing against common-sense precautions like hand-washing, minimizing physical contact and maintaining decent personal space. And at best we have no real idea how it’s going to behave here yet. The US is not Italy and it’s certainly not China or Iran. That ambiguity holds the potential for much milder performance— but nobody really knows, and the worst case is quite bad.

However—I have worked with enough experts not to blindly trust expert opinion, especially not when huge political pressures are being leveraged and maximizing groupthink. You can take the reliability of an expert’s opinion on most things and decrement it by a percentage point for each US senator intensely interested in making use of said opinion for a pre-defined agenda. If you infer from this that if the expert was anything less than 100% accurate to begin with, their opinion can easily end up with negative reliability—that is, somewhat reliably incorrect—you are drawing the correct conclusion.

More broadly, I was not born yesterday.

I’m going to paint a picture for you of what I see happening. Maybe you disagree. Maybe I don’t have it entirely right. But I’ve talked to a few of my friends and I know for a fact I’m not alone in my thinking. Maybe it’s time we start talking a little more openly about this, for the good of the country.

I’d hate it to be said I’m being ambiguous about what I’m arguing. I’ll be plain: I believe the Left worked to help cause a crisis, worked to maximize the psychological impact of the crisis, and now have been given the means to determine the extent of the crisis. And if we do nothing, they may do tremendous harm to the country. For years I’ve written that the Left has at least passively been programmed to hate the country and works against its interests. I’ve detailed at length how the well-intentioned rank-and-file Democrats contribute to this, and speculated extensively about the mindset that might justify, drive, and predict their behaviors. Yet even for someone as relatively jaded as me, I am shocked at what I have seen in the last few weeks.

So step back and ignore CCP virus for a moment. It’s not that it’s not important and it’s not that it’s not dangerous. But pay careful attention to what it’s being used to justify.

Let’s go back to before CCP virus made landfall—I seem to recall the Leftist media licking its chops at the prospect. In the context of which, repatriating people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship explicitly against Donald Trump’s instructions struck me as an interesting move. By interesting I mean “a move intentionally calculated to maximize risk to one’s fellow citizens”. In the last few weeks it was one of the more brazen and sickening things I’ve seen the Deep State do. Raising blue Hell because Donald Trump ended flights from places most affected by the pandemic was likewise a fairly interesting move—again using the above definition. I was especially amused to read the coverage saying that most of the new infections are community-based transmission, as if this demonstrated that minimizing the infective individuals starting those transmission chains was therefore irrelevant. This school of thought was brought to you by the same sages, one assumes, who would not bother to turn off the water to the leaking pipes if their basement flooded, because after all, the thousands of gallons of water that have already come out of the pipes are the priority.

I enjoyed, sardonically, watching the US media gin up the virus’s presence into a full-blown panic utterly unjustified given the actual objective performance of said virus. I visited my grocery store the other day and had to check the news afterwards to make sure that Trump and Pence were still alive, and Nancy Pelosi hadn’t become president without my noticing. I don’t blame people for panic-buying, though, because the media is essentially threatening them day and night.

And I need to digress on this further. I also couldn’t help but notice—and it was pointed out by a lot on the Right—that the US media synchronized its push to make it forbidden to talk about where the virus originated from with China’s media push to forbid it. That is a deeply disturbing synchronicity with implications I hadn’t even considered until it happened. At best, and I very much hope this is the case, they are the most gullible, anti-American stooges in creation and they will latch onto any narrative that harms the country. That’s bad, but the worse possibility, and one I can’t rule out, is that they are actually working on behalf of China.

Most major media companies have some substantial presence in the Chinese market, and in that capacity publish—as Mike Bloomberg famously admitted—censored news. Which is to say they both depend on China for much of their income and have established pipelines to the people who shape governmental media narratives in China. They should probably be assumed to have a conflict of interest in this situation for that reason alone. I would put hands in the fire that many reporters are sympathetic to China besides. Journalism and academics are not the same, admittedly, but they do by and large have similar political leanings. And I knew a great number of professors who ten years ago were earnestly advising students to learn mandarin because the Chinese were going to rule the world. To people who are old communist sympathizers in good standing— and the Left has many, I assure you; see also: Bernie Sanders— that was not merely cynical realpolitik, but the hope of throwing active support behind the new “good guys”, now that the mass-murderers in the PRC have supplanted the mass-murderers in the CCCP in that role.

The broader and more awful question is that if we simply consider the possibility, for the sake of argument, then that raises the question of how many American news narratives conform to what the PRC wants. Consider the ginning up of a panic in that context. In fact, consider the last three years in that context. Consider the inordinate focus on Russia, given that their involvement in our election was provably minor. Why dig so hard at something that they almost certainly knew was nothing from the start? Consider the sudden insanity that seemed to grip the American media on Trump’s election, the degree of hyperbole in the coverage, the disconnect between what the media reports and what’s objectively seen. And consider also the glowing coverage of people who, even if they weren’t socialists, would still be obviously incompetent for office and a danger to the United States—witness Joe Biden.

I’ve heard many conservatives note that these things seemed to come out of nowhere, that it was disproportionate to all factors we could openly see, and offer psychological or strategic explanations to try to explain the gap. But what if we got all of that wrong all along? What if they became far more insane than was justified because we didn’t see all the factors in play?

For now I am simply keeping the hypothesis present in my mind as new information comes in. I think there’s enough information out there to be suspicious, but not enough to be certain. We are, after all, dealing with hyper-partisan Leftists trained by the most anti-American institutions in America, and mental illness or strategic considerations aren’t impossible. But there’s far too much money on the line for our media companies for us to simply blithely ignore that Chinese interests could be corrupting our media.

But the most disturbing thing that I see, in the context of all this, is that far from merely wishing that the US economy will tank in the wake of CCP virus, the Democrats get to have a direct hand in ensuring it will. Now, to be sure, some closures and limitation of gathering sizes was probably inevitable while we get a sense of how bad CCP virus is in a country where most people aren’t half-starved, chronically severely lung-damaged or geriatric. Businesses that run on thin margins like restaurants were going to be in serious trouble as a result, probably no matter what.

What is modulatable is how long these things go on. Because governors have a free hand to do what they like in the response, they can also be extremely unreasonable in response. While it’s not true of most of my colleagues, I’m getting a lot of secondhand reports of people being fired as their workplaces do some grim calculations on whether they can afford to pay wages during this. Some businesses are going dormant, and that’s the optimistic view. Between that and difficulty getting various products—since large parts of our supply chain were in the PRC, which was always hostile to us in a low-grade sense, and now is coming off months of shutting down the country wholesale—a huge economic hit is in progress. But both of those things are recoverable, and in fact may end up to be the seeds of the solution, since more people may be free to assist us in getting domestic manufacturing up and running at the end of this.

Unfortunately, that depends on the restrictions being lifted in a timely manner, and right now—given that it is explicitly against the interest of the Democrats for the economy to do well and they finally have a good excuse and the means to stop it at will—we need to be weary of governors (and other government officers in a position to do so) enacting excessive shutdowns, and maintaining them for excessive durations, for nakedly partisan reasons. They know, as well as we do, that every week that this goes on costs more Americans their livelihoods, makes more people run through limited reserve funds decimated by the prior decade of Democratic governance and still not rebuilt despite the much better economic policies under Trump, and makes the economy start further behind when all this ends.

“But surely, Bill, you want to continue the restrictions as long as necessary to prevent this terrible disease killing anyone,” you might say. To which I respond that, sadly, life is about optimization, not maximization. The line of reasoning arguing we should try to prevent any deaths is the line of reasoning from which the Left argues that we should shut down the entire economy to prevent all pollution. When you define an extreme enough goal, your solutions become untenable, however distasteful the tradeoffs may seem. By the way, does the “shut down the economy to prevent global cataclysm” narrative sound a little more familiar now? It should. To bring further clarity to the matter I recommend reading this excellent article from Joy Pullmann at “The Federalist”. The upshot is that no, actually, we should not blithely destroy our economy—which we all depend on, young and old—in order to prevent spread of a disease we have no idea the actual severity of, which might well almost exclusively be a risk to people with serious co-morbidities or advanced age. Those groups, incidentally, being the groups at more risk for dying of nearly anything, including similar flu like illnesses we might not have noticed if not for the over-the-top publicity.

When I hear rumors of offices wanting to extend this through May, or even 18 months of intermittent shutdowns, as noted in the article above, insofar as I’m keeping tabs on the progress of the CCP virus and know that it’s not in response to anything I’m seeing, I’m forced to conclude that either there are internal statistics I’m not privy to (which I gage as less likely now that the CDC is no longer acting as a single point of failure and filter for all stats), or they’re responding to motives having nothing to do with the virus. Maybe it’s more that they smell blood—an opportunity to tank the economy. Who knows, maybe they could even expand the welfare rolls a bit. It’s all upside when your main political angle is taking advantage of people when they have a rough time, and you know how to cause a rough time. If your sales pitch is that they need a third party to guarantee their basic needs and then fate lets you start artificially chipping away at same—and you’re morally sanguine about being part of a protection racket with a government address—then this is the opportunity you’ve prayed for.

For this reason, you need to be attentive not just to news coverage but to the raw numbers on the virus. Though I can’t prove it, I think we can trust the numbers coming from our own medical institutions at the moment, if nothing else because it’s been decentralized enough to make lies complex to maintain, with a lot of people who could help provide information to debunk a deception if one was tried. If someone tries to say the utmost precaution is needed or, heaven forbid, inflate the numbers above reports, and it doesn’t conform to reality, people working at the hospitals are still free to say—”gee, weird that there’s only one case at the largest hospital in the largest city in the state if we have 2 million cases”. Because we aren’t China, the information is at least likely to be available.

But absolutely do not count on the media to tell you. They have a vested interest in not telling you when the ramp-down happens even if they are mere partisans, and if they’re something worse, that goes triple. Go to the source. Pay attention to the news in the spirit of knowing what’s being fed to you. Pay attention to whether it continues to connect up with the Chinese official narrative. We may have a whole other crisis to deal with after this one, in that respect.

And once you start to see a drop-off—I’m talking, say, three days of day-over-day drops in active cases—you need to be applying pressure to your governor, by E-mail, telephone, or written letters. Make it clear you’re paying attention. My bet is they’re going to be counting on the public to be over-cautious. That’s the whole point of the media panic. What they want is for you to defer to interpretations of official reports that they get to control or cherry pick the authors of. And if you do that, frankly, I think they’ll drag this out for at least a full month longer than necessary purely for their own gain, and that’s my most optimistic guess. They might even succeed at causing a full-on depression which would be to the benefit of nobody, but especially the old and infirm this is supposedly meant to protect. So make them fully aware that you know the underlying numbers, and that you’re not interested in being in quarantine at their pleasure. Politicians pretty reliably protect their own political interests given sufficient pressure— and that’s where you come in.

Also, start establishing online networks now, if you haven’t already. One interesting side-effect of all this is that it’s almost impossible to petition politicians in the usual way during a quarantine. You can’t have people gathering signatures near public areas, or going door-to-door in neighborhoods, and you probably would have great difficulty even filing the paperwork. If you think that the people in your government haven’t noticed that, you’re being naive. We might be forced to start looking into the tactics of the Left instead—bringing overwhelming online attention to the actions and elevating the noise-level surrounding the subject to the point where it can’t be ignored, however anyone feels about it. To facilitate doing this, you might make good use of your quarantine time by putting together groups of like-minded people who are both paying close attention to news and would be willing to help shine a light on a target if any of you notice anything funny going on.

It might not hurt to knock on a few neighbor’s doors and make friends too, even if you do so from an approved interpersonal distance. There is zero reason to take down the internet during all this— and you should regard anyone suggesting we do so when much of our remaining economic activity, and all of our discourse, is moving online en masse— as explicitly an enemy of the country. But if the idea gets floated, you might be glad to know some people in the real world.

This is a difficult time for our country. Our own institutions are largely arrayed against us. It’s hard, at this point, to even be sure to what extent they are still our own institutions. But even from right there, where you sit, you can do things to help ensure the country gets through it, and to blunt the offensive of the Left against the country in our time of weakness.

I urge you to do so.

Seven Days In March

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I do not claim to have a crystal ball. I can create plausible enough future worlds to write about, though to be fair I’m not trying to make them correct, I’m trying to make them interesting, which is why sometimes miracles are invoked and dressed in the robes of science. Because it makes it more interesting to read about and my job is to entertain, not to forecast.

Which is good. Because on 9/11 while people on TV kept saying it had changed our world utterly, I sat there, paralyzed and horrified, but at the same time thinking it wouldn’t change much of anything.

I was more or less wrong. It plunged us into war for a long time, and it changed the American people into accepting total strangers pawing them, and being treated as potential terrorists rather than risk offending the actual terrorists. It sent us down a path where my children think it’s totally normal to obey nonsensical strangers who want to search high school students rather than the veiled woman ahead of them, who might not be a woman (well, in the Middle East this is often used) and who is declaring her allegiance to the one religion that downs planes in the modern era. (The communists more or less stopped doing it in the seventies.)

It broke something in our spirit I think and it made it possible for the enemy within to gain a foothold in the minds of indoctrinated children whom they berated on how evil and bad our country is. It made Howard Zinn the basis of most history books.  This is ostensibly because the left believes we brought the attacks on ourselves. It is ACTUALLY because they’re spineless cowards, who are afraid they’ll be the next ones killed and who want to get in good with “our future overlords” before they take over. They want to be special pets. I know because they did the same with communists, and that’s why they’re the enemy within. But they’re also too stupid to realize communists (particularly Soviet communists, i.e. Russian NATIONAL socialists wouldn’t work that way. And what they don’t understand about Islam, including that people actually believe it would fill several oceans of ink.)

Anyway, the weird thing happening to me right now, through the Chinese-virus-panic, is that I’m sitting here in slack-jawed horror thinking that everything changed, that we’ve lost our last chance at restoring our republic and Western civilization with it, that the US and the world are on the brink of a new authoritarian age.  And no one else seems to see it.

It’s not the virus. yes, I DO get trying not to overwhelm ICU in the smaller towns, and “bending the curve.” But let’s be real, okay? Half of this is the panic.  Because otherwise we’d be doing this for the flu every year. And who knows, perhaps we will in the future. Which is a terrifying thought in and of itself.

When I opened the browser to come here, there was some young twat’s article in the New Yorker being advertised “How to get one’s boomer parents to understand the danger and obey” or something like it.  I rolled my eyes so hard they almost fell out. Because the young twat’s parents (you did well, as grandmother said you might now wipe your hands to the wall, since that saves tp anyway) if boomers are not in the highest danger group, and also because I suspect the young twat would call anyone over forty a boomer. And again, those are not in the highest danger. The danger is SPECIFICALLY to those 80 and over, and my parents aren’t boomers. They remember World War II.

And I remember the cold war.  And I remember, partly because America’s left allowed the rest of the world to suffer Soviet imperialism rather than say boo, because oh, no, the bad men might nuke us, the revolution and counter revolution that were our daily bread in the seventies in Portugal.

I doubt the young twat’s parents (Maybe the young idiot should start a band:Fine Young Twats.) remember the things I do, but they probably understand something the precious idiot doesn’t: Where money comes from.  They are probably looking — as the rest of us who are literate and don’t take our opinions from snap chat — at the numbers and the actual danger and then looking at our stopped economy, our plunging stock market and thinking that there’s a lot of ruin in a country, and we’re going to find exactly how much.

You see, part of the problem is that we’ve lived so well so long. There is a generation coming up that has completely divorced the concept of work and creation from the concept of money.  No, it doesn’t help that their idiot teachers and the leftist politicians my parents age or close to it, for that matter, also do not know where money comes from. Wanting to believe in communism, because they think their mediocre selves will be in charge, forces them to stop believing in reality and the harshest reality of all of is “where money comes from and what it does.”

It is, in fact, a derivative of the natural law that every creature, animal or plant, everything that’s alive must earn its living: its right to continue being alive. In biology textbooks you often found how some creature or other “earns its living.” I don’t know if you still do.

Humans have separated themselves from raw nature, in this as in so many things, through the use of symbols — money — and trade. But money in the end is still a symbol — a container, may be a better word — for what we do to make a living, and to acquire the things we need to acquire.

The left doesn’t understand this, and thinks it can print an unlimited amount of money.

They’re not wrong, at that. They can. it’s just they can’t create value with it. This stimulus bill that passed to get us over the complete stoppage of the American economy did not create money. Instead it reached into all our money, all our value, from our houses and possessions, to our stock shares, to our furniture, our clothes, everything we own, and took a portion of it.

Now this is sometimes necessary. And it is arguably necessary now, if you argue the stoppage was necessary. (It wasn’t. Precautions were. Stopping wasn’t.) Because there are entire industries that just came to a close, not just at the behest of the Federal government — airlines — but at the behest of stupid, power-mad fash-boots governors — I’m looking at you Jared Polis and your entire ilk. And I can’t believe my eyes. I didn’t know anyone that ignorant of economics could be as old as you are. My cat understands work and value better than your lot  — who are flexing their authoritarian muscles by forbidding EVERYTHING and putting their own citizens under house arrest.

Because the press has scared people so much, it is unlikely these blights on the political landscape will get thrown out of office, much less what they deserve which is to be walked naked and tied to the tail of a donkey through their capitals, while being pelted with refuse by the populace.

While they satisfy their inner fantasies of power and glory (I bet Jared Polis is posing like Evita right now) they are destroying the hospitality industry which is still a great part of Colorado’s economy. For saner ways to go about this look to Texas.

It is necessary to help those industries, but was it necessary to let Nancy Pelosi write the bill, which destroys small businesses and creates yet more pain?  Have we learned nothing from letting Malig-Nancy pass bills so we can find what’s in them?

Trump went along with it. Remember he’s not actually a Libertarian. He’s a New York Businessman. And the GOP went along with it.

This brings us to Enemies-domestic: the left is flexing everything that remains of its power to convince the population that they’re all going to die and that only government can save them.

It might work long enough to elect their spokes-zombie, Joe Biden, D-mentia, to the presidency.  That’s what they’re counting on. Because once they get it, we will never, ever, ever vote our way out. Shooting our way out is the only thing we can hope for.

And we must count on Trump to turn the corner on that.  I’m not sure about it. They’re trying to pass the second stimulus bill to repair what the first undid. (As always, government pretending to fix what it broke. The quarantine broke things, and now the stimulus bill broke more things…. Pardon me I’m going to be ill.) But the second won’t pass, because Malig-Nancy and the House Wreckers will not want the mess repaired. They want us to go down in flames, so socialism looks good.

Enemies, domestic.

Look, there is a possibility, a bare possibility that we come through this okay.  The mess Obama left behind, Trump could only get us out of one of two ways: grow past the debt, or inflate past the debt.

The first one was working, but now the enemies-domestic have thrown it in the pot, and all that remains is the painful second.  Thank heavens we used the last of our savings getting the kids through college. (She says bitterly.) The smart money now is to spend it all and borrow as much as you can. It’s how inflation works.

But unlike the panicky spokes-twat for the know-nothings, I remember the seventies.  Ladies and gentlemen, this one is going to hurt like a MOTHER.

And one way or another, my kids will be entering the workforce this year.  What a time to enter it.  And my husband and I will be trying to repair the ruinous state of our domestic economy now with far less energy and into the same type of economy that faced us when we first entered the workforce.

Hurray for Hollywood, and the press, and the educational establishment, and the “learned economists” who think money grows on trees, and the politicians who are fossilized excrement of the Soviet Snake. Three cheers and a hat trick! I’m so impressed I could puke.

Work, my friends. Work as hard as you can. Build under, build over, build around.

And let’s hope G-d in His infinite sense of humor still looks after Fools, Drunkards and the United States of America.  And that as grandma assured me, He can write straight on humanity’s crooked lines.

This last week and the events thereof will be playing themselves out for the rest of my life, even if I — which is unlikely — should live to see a 100.

And we’re going to need all the luck, all the work, all the desperate struggle we can muster so that our children and grandchildren don’t live in one of many competing national socialism(s).

Socialism kills, fast or slow. National or international it’s just a matter of speed and directness.

Let’s keep it from our shores yet once more.