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And once again I go fishing on a nice, crisp fall day....... here it comes courtesy of Ishmael! -- Ed
Words and context are important. Change the context and the same words mean something dramatically different. This point was driven home on October 29 with some of my least favorite Mass readings. These are ones often used as a club to beat white Americans with. Everybody else gets a free pass, but not whitey!
Since the parish is full of Nice Productive People Who Donate Generously, the priests tend to avoid that rhetoric. Other parishes with a high percentage of Free Shit Army members crank the dial up to 11 on Exodus 22:21.
Thus says the LORD:
"You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
That verse is used to justify America’s open borders and forcing us to feed, clothe, and house invaders.
The theme continued in the gospel reading, Matthew 22:39.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There you have it, the biblical instructions for supporting every freeloader on the planet. Cut, dried, done, and dusted. Shut up and bleed yourselves dry so a bunch of wetbacks can queef out more kids. After all, if you have a house, your new neighbor should too. If you have a car, so should they. The common interpretation of love is providing your neighbor a lifestyle you yourself want to enjoy.
Folks, it’s time to move to Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, all of us. We can be the recipients of some fabulous neighborly generosity. Odd when new Americans attempted that, the local residents objected. What was the lesson? That when you're rich, loving is only necessary when it’s somebody else’s responsibility?
But wait, Exodus 22 continues with this little gem.
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
Reread that multiple times until it sinks in that God, and therefore His son, absolutely condones and endorses violence in the right situation. He wants us to reach out to Him when we are wronged.
Justice will be delivered with a sword. He can send an angel, or another person to dispense justice on behalf of the innocent. Kyle Rittenhouse?
God wants justice and dispenses retribution when He deems it necessary.
What about the rest of the gospel?
Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
God wants us to love him. God wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Some interpret this as first we love our neighbor. But I argue that we must love ourselves before we have any extra to share.
That means our country must have borders. Likewise we as individuals have enforced boundaries and standards.
Based on these readings, I propose God wants us to practice legitimate self care. Not a daily breakfast of whiskey ice cream floats, but activities that improve and strengthen us.
For if our bodies are weak and our cup empty, how can we love Him as He commands?
Our physical form is partially the manifestation of what we feed our mind, heart, and soul. Partially, because we are frail humans. But what we consume affects our outer form. It’s visible as our health, our mental sharpness and outlook, and how well we live to an honor code.
Our heavenly Father wants us to go to the gym.[ii] He will always know our hearts, minds, and souls. We owe it to ourselves to follow God’s commandments. Each of us needs strength discipline provides to overcome clown world.
Ah, the modern type of fishing. I have to admire it, even though I do wonder if I still know how to do it the old-fashioned way..... Ishmael has made it too easy, I may never need to fill my box with an actual line in the water again. -- Ed
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a good rant, so let’s check in with clown world. Some of you aren’t on any pharmaceuticals so obviously your stress level and blood pressure are too low. Sleeping well at night? No substance abuse problem? Those are rookie livestyles, let’s amp it up!
The Coof Wars Epilogue Postscript PPS
We created a generation of special needs children due to two years of lockdowns, masks, and lowering academic standards. Good luck, future social security recipients, those paying taxes won’t be able to produce at the level Americans have become accustomed to living.
In more time sensitive news, the thuds continue, and will until the walking jabbed are gone. By now only the true believers and fools are taking the boosters. Perhaps this round is pure saline, perhaps the quality control issues persist. The smart play for everyone is fake and gay vials. Big Pharma gets their money, and the thuds won’t accelerate. The latest estimates are a 5 to 6% severe adverse effect rate, including death. While every death is a tragedy when it is personal, I have grown numb to the societal effects. Unless it’s me or mine, the Netflix binge continues. It’s still a cheap form of entertainment despite the rampant…
Been to the store lately? On average, things are up. This week I bought $50 worth of groceries for the low, low price of $60. And the second round of price jumps are starting to hit now. Hamburger ain’t going to taste quite as good at $70. Almost everything has increased, except gasoline. Which is a good thing as you commute to your…
For those of you still employed after the past three years, it's time to worry about downsizing, or whatever phrase which translates to, “hustle or you’re going broke fast.”
Some industries are more protected than others. Even if your paycheck is relatively secure, between the death rates, the economy, jabbed dipshits calling out often, invoking the family medical leave act to care for loved ones, work is no longer fun. With all the aforementioned activities, it’s harder to vacation or retire in place. Fortunately, purebloods will have no problem finding a job in the future. On the downside, GenX’s oft quipped mantra of, “I’ll never be able to retire,” looks more prescient every day as 401(k) purchasing power tanks.
Some might end up working until it’s time to journey behind the woodshed. But the official narrative says everything is going to be okay as long as someone owns an ever appreciating asset like…
How’s that bubble treating ya? The smart, conservative play is to like where you live now. Good luck selling it when mortgage rates are increasing and salaries aren’t. There’s going to be some poor bastards (morons) who buy at the top right before housing value crashes, leading to a severe depression. The retards in charge would love a way to stimulate the economy and hide the increased death rates. Here’s a solution…
We’ve been invaded for 40 years. Thanks to an open border and the US dedicated to fucking around and finding out with RussiaRussiaRussia and in the Middle East, we are a legitimate military target. Yes, all of us. That doesn’t mean any attacks on US soil shouldn’t go answered, but what the fuck do we expect if it happens? In fact, a no bullshit attack on our infrastructure (as opposed to false flags with real bodies) might finally get enough folks off the couch to defend our southern border. That action will not be contained, and retaliation will spiral quickly out of control along with a subsequent high body count. No adult is innocent and one is safe.
Burn it down. Just let it burn.
That’s a common sentiment about clown world. Turns out there is a $50 word that replaces the chorus in a Bloodhound Gang song: Ekpyrosis.
Why the doom porn and vocabulary lesson? It’s a long-winded introduction to the next series of guest Tickers, book reviews of The Fourth Turning is Here by Neil Howe. It was published in July 2023, and in theory should remain relevant for a few more years.
At some point after Strauss and Howe wrote Generations, they changed the names of each generation. Idealists became Prophets (Boomers). Reactives became Nomads (GenX). Civics are dubbed Heroes (G.I., Millennials). Adaptive are recast as Artists (Silents and what he dubs as Homelander, often called Gen Z)
The fourth turning is the time when the old world is burned down, and a new spring grows from the ashes. We don’t need no water.
There’s a lot to digest in the book, both in content and tone.
Clown world dampened Howe’s Boomer optimism. Reading some sections is poignant because he sounds deflated. Not even numerous editing passes removed the wistfulness for times past. Those days aren’t coming back.
There’s still plenty of eye rolling, like when he refers to January 6 as an insurrection. Okay, Boomer.
Reading Generations introduced me to a side of Boomers I rarely see in the wild. These are people who felt so stifled growing up the only way to freedom was breaking the mold. Unfortunately, GenX received the brunt of their social insanity. Sympathy for that generation is in short supply among mine because they’ve told us we were failures our entire lives. If I hear one more Boomer pontificate about whatever moral crusade they are on while blaming their own grandkids…
Turns out Boomers were merely reacting to the Greatest Generation (my ass!) making life too easy for them. If there was ever a generation that personified “I’m going to get mine, screw everybody else!” It was the Greatest Generation (also called G.I). That case was laid out very clearly in Generations. The Silents who followed them also benefited. Older Boomers less so. Younger Boomers and GenX are out of luck.
The good news for Millennials (assuming previous historical patterns hold) is they are another Hero generation who will “get theirs” in exchange for sacrificing a part of their life doing their civic duty. Sorry younger Prophets and Nomads, you’re still screwed. But we knew this already. Historically, Nomads (most recently the Lost) have voted for tax policies that benefit younger families at their expense. And no, they didn’t expect asspats for helping their children. Granted, this sets up the next cycle of screwing Nomads.
You’re welcome, great great grandkids!
My point isn't to blame any particular generation (too much, Boomers have and always will be one of my favorite targets due to their reactions) but to illustrate the cyclical nature of society.
The Fourth Turning is Here lays out generational responsibilities. Tickerguy’s recent podcast typified GenX and other Nomad positions during a crisis: pragmatic midlife leaders. Leadership has been on my mind, hence the series on responsibilities. Granted, my take was personal, not societal. But it’s time to spill ink on questions that sprung from them: What are our generational responsibilities? How beholden should we as individuals be to society? Does how we have been treated during life impact each of our answers?
The Fourth Turning is Here does answer these questions, although not directly. Stay tuned.
Note -- this is a guest post thus the "Other Voices" category; the author(s) have asked to remain unattributed. There have been no edits other than spacing and formatting necessary to post, and make sure the links to references display.
Many questions remain unanswered about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, and we are certainly not the only scientists that have them. There are likely benign convincing explanations to everything, but to date we have not seen them.
Some will say: why does knowing the origin matter? It matters for several reasons. First of all, it will help us plan for the future. If this indeed was a virus that arose from close contact with wildlife and humans, this contact in the future will have to be managed. Secondly, if in the unlikely event this was perhaps escape from a lab, then lab procedures will have to be evaluated, and lab experiments with infectious possibly pandemic viruses will have to be additionally regulated. Finally, if this again was an unlikely escape from a lab, then knowing the exact type of virus we are dealing with would help us manage the current pandemic.
The story starts, we believe, with a noble goal: to prevent the world from ever having the type of pandemic we are currently experiencing, through production of a vaccine effective against all coronaviruses past and future.
Coronavirus vaccines can be difficult to make. In animals, while vaccines are sometimes successful, toxicity of the vaccine as well as incomplete immunity can happen. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284272/ .
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) is a lot like SARS-CoV (SARS). SARS initially hit China and East Asia in 2003, killed 774 people, infected over 8000, and scared everyone. For the past 17 years there has been an enormous effort worldwide to develop a vaccine not only against SARS but also against all coronavirus strains. As we have detailed in another post, scientists knew in 2006 that recombinant spike protein RBD vaccines to SARS didn’t protect all animals from a re-challenge from a slightly different mutated coronavirus ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7124095/pdf/978-0-387-33012-9_Chapter_101.pdf ). Young animals can gain immunity, but it can be harder to get protective immunity in older animals ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17194199/ ).
Killed whole coronavirus vaccines in animal models of SARS infection demonstrated that in some animals such as ferrets, killed whole virus vaccines gave a predominant Th2 response (you want Th1) and that there was an antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) of lung toxicity in mice ( https://jvi.asm.org/content/85/23/12201 ). This led to the idea of a live attenuated coronavirus vaccine ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nrmicro3143 ) ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.2972 ) ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nbt.1635 ), which is a vaccine that infects and reproduces in a human, results in immunity, but does not cause severe disease.
This has been an important issue since the SARS pandemic in 2003 and was reinforced by MERS epidemic in 2012. Enormous amounts of resources and human effort have been thrown at this problem, and these resources have come from just about everyone: governments, industry, NGOs, and philanthropy.
Various live virus attenuated recombinant vaccines have two issues among many. First, these vaccines have to be able to be grown in culture in great quantity for testing and for mass production. Second, the vaccines can mutate and revert back to severe pathogenicity once administered, especially in those with weaker innate immune systems. These dual problems have confronted vaccine developers.
To make a recombinant attenuated live coronavirus vaccine that you can grow in culture, it should be pretty obvious that (a) you have to have it gain function to make it more viable in culture; and (b) while at the same time make it less pathogenic and less able to recombine. These are somewhat contradictory goals and can be hard to do.
Live attenuated vaccines can be hard to make without them mutating a lot in culture in ways you do not expect, not being able to grow them in culture to make lots of virus to work with, and without them reverting back to a dangerous live virus once someone (animal or human) is vaccinated, as happened in 1998 with a live attenuated poliovirus vaccination on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11896235/ ).
Virologists have been making recombinant man-made coronaviruses to try to find one that is safe and will work as an attenuated vaccine for over 15 years. To do this they use “reverse genetic systems” to make the virus they want in bacteria or yeast ( https://www.pnas.org/content/100/22/12995 )( https://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/16157 ). In these reverse genetic systems, to make man-made viruses with specific functions, mutations are inserted into the DNA copies of the virus. Bacteria or yeast make lots of these DNA copies, which are added mammalian cells in culture to provide live RNA viruses in the fluid surrounding them. These fluids containing the man-made viruses can then be used to infect animals or people ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19036930/ ). The goals of these experiments were likely twofold: (1) to find out how viruses like SARS can jump from bats to humans, to develop countermeasures; and (2) to develop universal vaccines to protect the world in the case of a coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists have used several man-made strategies to make viruses weaker to use as possible coronavirus vaccines. These strategies included increasing the number of attenuating mutations in the virus through alteration of a necessary viral RNA proofreading enzyme called ExoN ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518599/ ), but these types of viruses were found to revert to a more aggressive phenotype with long term culture of 250 passages ( https://mbio.asm.org/content/8/6/e01503-17.abstract ). Viruses also were mutated to not recombine with each other (possibly increasing virulence through recombination) by changing a viral RNA “leader” sequence (ACGAAC to UGGUCGC) possibly responsible for this recombination ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-018-0175-7 ). Additionally, there has been consideration to mutate viruses in a way, called “codon de-optimization” in which the RNA of the virus is changed to make the same viral proteins, but make them slower, and thus have slower virus growth ( https://jvi.asm.org/content/89/7/3523 ). This has been done for multiple viruses including influenza ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20543832/ ).
As noted above, a major issue with experiments like these is that to fully examine the ways viruses jump from bats to people, and to fully develop man-made recombinant vaccines sometimes viruses are unexpectedly made that have the potential to become much more transmissible in animals and possibly in humans. These are called “gain-of-function” experiments. This appeared to happen in at least one experiment in mice published in 2015 ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26552008/ ). The danger of these experiments needs to be carefully weighed against the possible costs, since leaks from laboratories of viruses are not uncommon ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC416634/ ), and if a gain of function strain were to escape, we could have a pandemic similar to the one we are currently experiencing.
The US scientific community held a symposium in 2014, which led to the banning of funding of these “gain of function” experiments https://mbio.asm.org/content/5/6/e02366-14 . This ban was rescinded in 2016 https://osp.od.nih.gov/biotechnology/gain-of-function-research/ . Minutes of the meetings of the advisory body (the National Scientific Advisory Board for Biosecurity, or NSABB) to help the NIH and Secretary of Health (at the time, Sylvia Burwell) to decide to rescind the ban were heated ( https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/NSABB_January_2016_Meeting_Minutes.pdf ). The NSABB members asked for multiple safety “guardrails” for this research to proceed.
In 2013, six miners in Yunnan Province, 550 miles south of Wuhan, were cleaning out a copper mine of bat droppings. They all developed a severe pneumonia with symptoms very similar to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, and three died. During the workup of these miners it was determined that several of the miners developed antibodies to a SARS-like coronavirus ( https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6981198-Analysis-of-Six-Patients-With-Unknown-Viruses.html ).
The WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) became involved, and in 2013-2014 isolated viruses from fecal swabs of 276 bats in the cave and found novel SARS-like coronaviruses in 138 of them. These samples were brought to Wuhan for further study. Manuscripts describing these viruses were published in 2016, but for some reason the publication left out the deaths of the miners from the cave ( https://www.pnas.org/content/100/22/12995 ) ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7090819/ ).
Investigators then determined that about 9% of residents of villages around the Yunnan cave had developed antibodies to a SARS-like coronavirus, yet none of them appeared to have severe symptoms. All of these villagers described bats flying around, and none of them visited the cities where SARS was endemic in 2003, so they likely developed an asymptomatic infection ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6178078/ ).
This experiment of nature likely became a matter of intense interest. How could these humans around the cave be exposed to bats carrying a supposedly lethal SARS-like coronavirus yet have no or minimal symptoms? The implications of the answers to this question were obvious: (a) bat to human transmission could be probed in depth, and (b) a live attenuated vaccine to coronavirus could be developed by mimicking the natural process that led to an attenuated virus that caused antibody production to a SARS-like coronavirus without symptoms.
It is entirely possible that investigators at the WIV could have been performing such experiments in coronavirus gain-of-function manipulation, trying to obtain a live attenuated virus for an attenuated vaccine, based on coronaviruses isolated from Yunnan province or elsewhere, when there was a laboratory accident/leak of virus sometime in the fall of 2019.
Prominent virologists argued in a letter to Nature Medicine in early March ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9 ) that lab escape, while not being entirely ruled out, was unlikely. Yet there are a number of unusual features of SARS-CoV-2, as well as some unusual scientific behavior of Chinese and US investigators, that requires explanation. Hopefully there are simple and trivial explanations, and that SARS-CoV-2 can be explained as a natural experiment that mimicked very closely a series of laboratory experiments performed in the exact place (Wuhan) where the virus was initially found in humans.
These questions point to a manipulated virus, which may have escaped from a WIV lab. These questions can be answered by an independent audit of the WIV P4 laboratories where the novel coronaviruses were being studied, which would have been one of the first steps international authorities usually take. Such an independent audit has not taken place, which is highly unusual scientific behavior.
Hopefully there are simple and trivial explanations, and that SARS-CoV-2 can be explained as a natural experiment that mimicked very closely a series of experiments performed in the exact place (Wuhan) where the virus was initially found in humans.
These questions, in no particular order, are as follows:
There are quite possibly very simple and very benign explanations for all of these questions as well as others. They likely can be answered by a simple independent audit of the WIV P4 laboratories where the novel coronaviruses were being studied. This is one of the first steps international authorities usually take. Such an independent audit has not taken place, which is highly unusual scientific behavior.
The origin of the virus is extremely important in helping us determine what is going to happen going forward in the pandemic, as well as to suggest what possible therapies could have activity.
It is therefore critical that we determine a precisely as we can the origin of the virus.
We are not the only scientists considering this.
We do not want in any way to cast aspersions on individual scientists or countries. All we want to do, as we have done from the beginning, is ask questions of the data. We hope that there is international cooperation to put this issue to rest, hopefully with a benign conclusion. We also hope there is again widespread honest discussion about the risks and the benefits of gain of function viral research.