Coronavirus: Economic and Social Collapse: Mass Unemployment, Bankruptcy, Poverty and Despair

There is a serious health crisis which must be duly resolved. But there is another important dimension which has to be addressed. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail. 

While the lockdown is presented to public opinion as  the sole means to resolving a global public health crisis,  its devastating economic and social impacts are casually ignored.  

The entire World has been precipitated into a spiral of  mass unemployment, bankruptcy and extreme poverty. 

October 18, Event 201. New York. Coronavirus nCoV-2019 Simulation and Emergency Preparedness Task Force, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Security.  Big Pharma-Big Money Simulation Exercise sponsored by WEF and Gates Foundation 

Simulation Exercise of a coronavirus epidemic which results in 65 million dead. Supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) representing the interests of Financial institutions, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation representing Big Pharma.

January 1, 2020: Chinese health authorities close the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after Western media reports that wild animals sold there may have been the source of the virus. This initial assessment was subsequently refuted by Chinese scientists.

January 7, 2020: Chinese authorities “identify a new type of virus” which was isolated  on 7 January. The coronavirus was named 2019-nCoV by the WHO exactly the same name as that adopted in the WEF-Gates-John Hopkins October 18, 2019 simulation exercise. 

January 21-24, 2020: Consultations at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland under auspices of  the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for development of a vaccine program. CEPI is a WEF-Gates partnership. With support from CIPI, Seattle based Moderna will manufacture an mRNA vaccine against 2019-nCoV, “The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, collaborated with Moderna to design the vaccine.”

January  30, 2020Geneva: WHO Director General determines that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This decision was taken on the basis of 150 confirmed cases outside China, First case of person to person transmission in US is reported, 6 cases in the US, 3 cases in Canada, 2 in the UK.

The WHO Director General had the backing of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Pharma and the World Economic Forum (WEF). There are indications that the decision for the WHO to declare a Global Emergency was taken on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (January 21-24) overlapping with the Geneva January 22 meeting of the Emergency Committee.

Both WHO’s Director Tedros as well as Bill Gates were present at Davos 2020. Bill Gates announced the Gates Foundation’s $10 billion commitment to vaccines over the next 10 years.

January 30, 2020 The Simulation Exercise Went Live. The same corporate interests and foundations which were involved in the October 18 John Hopkins Simulation Exercise became REAL ACTORS involved in providing their support to the implementation of the WHO Public Health emergency (PHEIC).

January 31, 2020 – One day later following the launch of WHO Global Emergency, The Trump administration announced that it will deny entry to foreign nationals “who have traveled in China in the last 14 days”. This immediately triggers a crisis in air transportation, China-US trade as well as the tourism industry, leading to substantial bankruptcies, not to mention unemployment.

Immediately triggers a campaign against ethnic Chinese throughout the Western World.

Early February: the acronym of the coronavirus was changed from nCoV- 2019 (its name under the October Event 201 John Hopkins Simulation Exercise before it was identified in early January 2020) to COVID-19.

February 28, 2020: A massive WHO vaccination campaign was announced by WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  

Late February 2020. Collapse of the stock markets, surge in the value of the stocks of Big Pharma.

Early March devastating consequences for the tourist industry Worldwide.

February 24:  Moderna Inc supported by CIPI  announced  that it experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, was ready for human testing.

Late February 2020. Second wave of transmission of the virus (Worldwide) to a large number of countries.

Late February – Early March: China: More than 50% of the infected patients recover and are discharged from the hospitals. March 3, a total of 49,856 patients have recovered from COVID-19 and were discharged from hospitals in China.

March 7: USA: The number of “confirmed cases” (infected and recovered) in the United States in early March is of the order of 430, rising to about 6oo (March 8). Rapid rise in the course of March.

Compare that to the figures pertaining to the Influenza B Virus: The CDC estimates for 2019-2020 “at least 15 million virus flu illnesses… 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths. (The Hill)

Early March:  IMF and World Bank To the Rescue 

The WHO Director General advises member countries that “the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have both made funds available to stabilize health systems and mitigate the economic consequences of the epidemic”. That is the proposed neoliberal  “solution” to COVID-19. The World Bank has committed $12billion in so-called “aid” which will contribute to building up the external debt of developing countries.

March 7:  China: The Pandemic is Almost Over

Reported new cases in China fall to double digit99 cases recorded on March 7.  All of the new cases outside Hubei province are categorized as  “imported infections”(from foreign countries).

March 10-11, 2020: Italy declares a lockdown, followed by several other countries of the EU.  Deployment of 30,000 US troops in the EU as part of the “Defend Europe 2020” war games directed against Russia.

March 11, 2020: the Director General of the WHO officially declares the COV-19 Pandemic. Bear in mind the global health emergency was declared on January 3oth without stating officially the existence of a pandemic outside Mainland China.

March 11:  Trump orders the suspension for 30 days of all transatlantic flights from countries of the European Union, with the exception of Britain. Coincides with the collapse of airline stocks and a new wave of financial instability. Devastating impacts on the tourist industry in Western Europe.

March 16: Moderna  mRNA-1273 is tested in several stages with 45 volunteers in Seattle, Washington State. The vaccine program started in early February:

“We don’t know whether this vaccine will induce an immune response, or whether it will be safe. That’s why we’re doing a trial,” Jackson stressed. “It’s not at the stage where it would be possible or prudent to give it to the general population.” (AP, March 16, 2020)

March 21, 2020: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while addressing the American people from the White House stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.

This is not about retribution, … This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”

With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: “You should have let us know.”

April 8, 2020: Mounting fear campaign led by Western media. Very rapid increase in so-called “confirmed cases”. “1,282,931 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 72,776 deaths, reported to WHO” (April 8). Mounting doubts on the reported “confirmed cases” of COVID-19. Failures of the CDC’s categorization and statistical estimates.

March- April: Planet Lockdown. Devastating economic and social consequences. The economic and social impacts far exceed those attributed to the coronavirus. Cited below are selected examples of  a global process: 

  • Massive job losses and layoffs in the US, with more than 10 million workers filing claims for unemployment benefits.
  • In India,  a 21 days lockdown has triggered a wave of famine and despair affecting millions of homeless migrant workers all over the country. No lockdown for the homeless: “too poor to afford a meal”.  
  • The impoverishment in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa is beyond description. For large sectors of the urban population, household income has literally been wiped out.
  • In Italy, the destabilization of the tourist industry has resulted in bankruptcies and rising unemployment. 
  • In many countries, citizens are the object of police violence. Five people involved in protests against the lockdown were killed by police in Kenya and South Africa.

How Freedom Became Free-dumb in America

The American idiot is, by now, a figure that’s the stuff of myth and legend across the world. Nobody else is really quite sure: are Americans really like this? This…well…laughable? Yesterday, they were the kind of people who made their kids do “active shooter drills,” meaning masked men burst into classrooms…and pretend…to kill them. What the? Today, they’re the kind of people who happily congregate in parks and on beaches during a global pandemic…when the lunatic fringe amongst them isn’t protesting for “liberation” in the first place. What on earth?

I don’t use the term as an insult — the American idiot. I mean it in a precise way, as I try to remind people. For the Greeks, “idiot” carried a precise and special meaning. The person who was only interested in private life, private gain, private advantage. Who had no conception of a public good, common wealth, shared interest. To the Greeks, the pioneers of democracy, the creators of the demos, such a person was the most contemptible of all. Because even the Greeks seemed to understand: you can’t make a functioning democracy out of…idiots.

Now, I’m going to generalize. But I don’t mean that all Americans are idiots. I mean that, for example, more or less everyone who wants to carry a gun to Starbucks, deny their neighbours healthcare, make people beg for medicine online, and not let anyone in society ever retire…all of those people in the world, by and large, are Americans. Nobody else — nobody in the whole world at this point in history — thinks such things are remotely desirable. Hence, the American idiot. It means: the world’s largest and most hardened subset of idiots at this point, in the Classical Greek meaning of the word, is largely American.

You don’t have to think very hard to understand why my Italian friend laughed at such a person. We’ve had many serious conversations over the last few months. “How are things in Italy going”, I ask, trying to be gentle. He looks away, in grief, and says simply: “Dificile.” The dogs play. I wonder if his loved ones are OK. He tells me stories of a society pulling together, to fight a deadly disease, whose toll has been heavy and grave. Is it any wonder that, looking at Americans gathering in Central Park, on Long Beach, he’s shocked into laughter? We’re lucky he’s laughing. What he really feels, I’d bet, is a kind of horror, combined with contempt. The very same contempt the Greeks felt for…their idiots.

‘Freedom?’ I’d bet he thinks. ‘More like freedumb.’

When Matteo, when Ben, when every single person I know who’s not American, when the world looks at America, it sees the American idiot, and what it tries — and usually fails, because it’s lost for words — to express is something like this: can people really be this selfish? This oblivious? This…thankless? Why do they keep voting for less healthcare, retirement, education, income, savings, happiness, trust, year after year — even the so-called good ones? What kind of people…why are the literally the only people left in the whole world who do that? And then…complain bitterly about not having…the very things…they deny each other? Who can even make sense of this, the bizarre circular firing squad of social suicide that America has become? But all those, of course, are key traits of the idiot. The answer — sadly, I think — is: yes, people can really be this way.

Perhaps because they don’t know any other way. Maybe because it’s all they’ve ever been taught or told. That’s not an apologia for the American idiot, by the way. Or is it? Even I wonder. Still, let me try to explain as best I can — America’s strange and complicated with freedom, one so perverse that freedom became twisted into something very much like its opposite. It has to do with the way Americans think — unsubtly, narrowly, single-mindedly — about what freedom is, and means.

About half a century ago, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin divided freedom into two categories — maybe you already know them. Negative freedom, or freedom from. And positive freedom, or freedom to. The theory then went — and this became the basis of generations of American thought — that only the freedom from was worth developing and cultivating.

The freedom “to”, on the other hand, was vilified as something that only communists and socialists would want. Why? Because my “freedom to” — say to be educated, or to be healthy — requires your input, help, cooperation. But American thinking — which became obsessed with individualism — couldn’t admit or permit that, because then maybe you weren’t “taking responsibility for yourself” and all the rest of the jargon.

All this dates back, of course, to Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, the Uberman. It’s not too hard to see why a society that was born in slavery, and continued into segregation, in which horrors like crippling and maiming people for the color of their skin were perfectly alright — why a society like that ends up prizing freedom from. America’s obsession with freedom from dates right back to the slave-owner’s desire for freedom from government intervention, law, common decency, any tiny shred of humanity — to have the power to exploit and abuse human beings on an unthinkable scale. There’s a straight line from Nietzsche’s “master morality” naturally dominating the “slave morality” to Berlin’s “freedom from” any restraint on power — and that straight line is the one American thinking, still backwards, mired in the logic of domination and exploitation, traced.

Americans don’t like it when I make those links for them. But they are as plain as day. You only really have to look at Europe or Canada to see the contrast.

There, the idea of freedom itself evolved. Away from “freedom from” — which is what the early European revolution were about, for example, when the French abolished the formal class system, freedom from nobility and monarchy and so forth — and towards “freedom to.”

By the end of the Second World War, Europe had done something radical and transformative: written the “freedom to” into its constitutions. People would now have expansive freedoms to — freedom to have good healthcare, education, retirement, income, savings, and so forth. It’s true that today’s Europe is forgetting about that breakthrough, but it’s not true that it wasn’t history changing. The power of the freedom to gave Europe history’s highest standards of living — in just one human lifetime. Nothing has been seen like it ever before — and maybe nothing will be ever again.

You might have noticed, though, that I’m still accepting Berlin’s old dichotomy: freedom from and freedom to. I reject it. I think the dichotomy itself is a mistake — maybe the formative mistake of American ideas. Isn’t good education also just freedom from ignorance? Good healthcare freedom from illness? And so forth. I think that a century ago, trying to neatly cleave freedoms into the good kind and the bad kind, American thinking made a huge, terrible mistake. One which trapped it to circle a desert for a century — and then find itself in a dead end.

You can see that dead end everywhere today.

In the cruelty, aggression, rage, violence, hate which characterize American life as especially brutal. Americans are always trying to escape from any kind of obligation or responsibility to…anything. Each other. History. The future. Just common decency. Even just basic humanity. Who else makes their kids…pretend to die? And then pretends that doesn’t scar kids for life? What the? That’s why the world doesn’t know whether to be horrified, shocked, repelled, or astonished by America — and it laughs. Nervously, oddly, baffled. What Americans don’t know is that that laughter is a world being polite.

Here’s how extreme America’s belief in freedumb — freedom as the absence of any kind of obligation or responsibility to anything greater than narrow, immediate, infantile self-satisfaction — has gotten. Americans aren’t just congregating in parks and beaches during a global pandemic. They’re literally the only people in the world who just voted against better healthcare (from Bernie and Liz) in the middle of a pandemic. Think about the scale of such folly for a moment. What kind of people vote for worse healthcare…during a pandemic? John Cleese would struggle to make a face that expressed the surreal tragicomedy of such a thing. But that’s what Americans did…what they do, over and over and over again.

Why? Because they still believe — even if they don’t think they believe — in Berlin’s tired, weary, flawed old distinction. Freedom has only come to mean the removal of any restraint — negative freedom — on the exercise of individual desire, the satiation of individual appetite. What freedom still doesn’t mean in America is any of the following, good healthcare, retirement, education, and so forth, because what freedom has never meant is any form of collective action.

Let me put that more sharply. What if the only way that I can have decent healthcare is for you to have decent healthcare — first? What if the only for me to have a decent retirement is for us all to have one, first? You see, that logic — which is the math of public goods — makes a mockery of Berlin’s dichotomy. Then, what we don’t need is simple “freedom from” some kind of restraint — but the “freedom to”…collectively organize, coordinate, take action.

Freedom from can give us liberty as individuals, it’s true, from kings, and even governments. But only the freedom to can give us liberty as societies, groups, classes, nations. These two kinds of freedoms might exist in tension — but try to have one without the other, and the result is a spectacular collapse. Freedom to without freedom from gave us the Soviet Union. But freedom from without freedom to gave us America, the failed state, the world’s first poor rich country. Gentle Europe, wise New Zealand, humble and kind Canada — which balance the two — have found a kind of miracle in that equilibrium.

Matteo and Ben often ask me: “What wrong with Americans?” All my non-American friends do, as do everyone’s. What they really mean is: “why don’t they get it? Why can’t they change?” I tell them that Americans will never really change. They used to think I was kidding. Looking at Americans voting down better healthcare during a pandemic…then happily crowd parks and beaches…after protesting for liberation from lockdown…they’re beginning to believe me.

Change? You know about sunk costs, I’m sure. You should let them go…but you can’t. Think of a bad relationship. You know you should break up. But how can you let all that investment go? So it is with Americans and freedom. They’re too invested in the fools’ idea of freedom that wrecked their future to really begin to understand that it is a fools’ definition of freedom. They’ll go on thinking, in my estimation, that freedom means things like this.

Carrying a gun to Starbucks — so kids have to do active shooter drills. Being able to “choose” between a million health insurance plans, none of which covers you — so that you don’t have to pay higher taxes to the hated government. Making everyone stand on their own two feet — even while every force in society is cutting those very limbs away. Never taking any kind of collective action as a society — that’s socialism! That’s communism!! Those things are bad!! They’re terrible!

No, my friends. Americans will never understand the miracle of European social democracy, of Canadian investment in each other, of New Zealand making a difficult, joyous peace with a broken past. They won’t. Because they can’t? Because they don’t want to? Because nobody teaches them about the gentle and beautiful power in cooperation, in dignity, in respect for the self and others as more than a thing of appetite? Because they’re trapped by a sordid history — which they secretly care little about overcoming?

Maybe, in the end, it’s just all the above.

Freedom! Here I am, the American idiot, carrying my gun to Starbucks, before I go to Walmart, where I’ll choose between a million different flavors of the Everyday Low Price, and then I’ll dream about being Great Again, while I drive my big car down the big, empty highway, listening to some bellowing mullah of capital and individualism and cruelty telling me to hate and rage a little more. Along the way, so what if I create my very own exploitation, abuse, misery, decline into poverty, despair, degradation, dehumanization? Hey! Don’t tell me any different!

Isn’t that what freedom really is?

Are Enemies Lining Up for Revenge in the Wake of the Coronavirus?

When in trouble politically, governments have traditionally conjured up a foreign enemy to explain why things are going wrong. Whatever one chooses to believe about the coronavirus, the fact is that it has resulted in considerable political backlash against a number of governments whose behavior has been perceived as either too extreme or too dilatory. Donald Trump’s White House has taken shots from both directions and the response to the disease has also been pilloried due to repeated gaffes by the president himself. The latest mis-spoke, now being framed by Trump’s press secretary as sarcasm, involved a presidential suggestion that one might consider injecting or imbibing disinfectant to treat the disease, either of which could easily prove lethal.

So, the administration is desperate to change the narrative and has decided to hit on the old expedient, namely seeking out a foreign enemy to distract from what is going on in the nation’s hospitals. The tale of malevolent foreigners has been picked up by a number of mainstream media outlets and has proven especially titillating because there is not just one bad guy, but instead at least four: China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

The accepted narrative is that America’s enemies are now taking advantage of a moment of weakness due to the lockdown response to the coronavirus and have stepped up their attacks, both physical and metaphorical, on the Exceptional Nation Under God. The most recent claim that the United States is being targeted involves an incident in mid-April during which a swarm of Iranian gunboats allegedly harassed a group of American warships conducting a training exercise in the Persian Gulf by crossing the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at close range. The maneuvers were described by the Navy as “unsafe and unprofessional” but the tiny speedboats in no way threatened the much larger warships (note the photo in the link which illustrates the disparity in size between the two vessels).

Donald Trump characteristically responded to the incident with a tweet last Wednesday: “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Although no context was provided, the president commands the armed forces and the tweet essentially defined the rules of engagement, meaning that it would be up to the ships’ commanders to determine whether or not they are being harassed. If so, the would be able to open fire and destroy the Iranian boats. Of course, there might be a physical problem in “shooting down” a gunboat that is in the water rather than in the air.

In the Mediterranean the threat against the U.S. consisted of two Russian jet fighters flying close to a Navy P8-A submarine surveillance plane. The Russian fighters were scrambled from Hmeymim air base in Syria after the U.S. aircraft approached Syrian airspace and Russian military facilities. One of the fighters, a SU-35 carried out an “unsafe” maneuver when it flew upside down at high-speed 25 feet in front of the Navy plane.

Also in mid-April, North Korea meanwhile fired cruise missiles into the Sea of Japan amidst rumors that its head of state Kim Jong Un might be dead or dying after major surgery. President Trump was unconcerned about the missiles and also commented that he had received a “nice note” from the North Korean leader.

Wars and rumors of wars notwithstanding, China continues to be the principal target for Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill. GOP congressmen are reportedly urging sanctions against China while there are already a number of coronavirus lawsuits targeting Chinese assets in U.S. courts, at least one of which has a trillion dollar price tag. Theories about the deliberate weaponization of the Wuhan virus abound and they are also mixed in with stories of how Beijing unleashed the weapons and is now engaged in Russia style social media intervention to promote the notion that the United States has proven incapable of handling what has become a major medical emergency. However, those who are pushing the idea that the Chinese communist party has declared war by other means fail to explain why the government in Beijing is so keen on destroying its largest export market. If the U.S. economy goes down a large part of the Chinese economy will go with it, particularly if China’s second largest export market Europe is also suffering.

The craziness of what is going on in the context of the disruption caused by the coronavirus has apparently increased the normal paranoia level at the top levels of the U.S. government. Pentagon plans to fight a war with Russia and China simultaneously, first mooted in 2018, are still a work in progress in spite of the fact that Washington has fewer cards to play currently than it did two years ago. The economy is down and prospects for recovery are speculative at best, but the war machine rolls on. Many Americans tired of the perpetual warfare are hoping that the virus aftermath will include demands for a genuine national health system that will perforce gut the Pentagon budget, leading to an eventual withdrawal from empire.

In spite of the hysteria, it is important to note that no Americans have been killed or injured as a result of recent Iranian, Russian, Chinese and North Korean actions. When you station ships and planes close to or even on the borders of countries that you have labeled as enemies it would be reasonable to expect that there will be pushback. And as for taking advantage of the virus, it is the United States that has suggested that it would do so in the cases of Iran and Venezuela, exerting “maximum pressure” on both countries in their times of troubles to bring about regime change. If those countries that are accustomed to being regularly targeted by the United States are taking advantage of an opportunity to diminish America’s ability to intervene globally, no one should be surprised, but it is a fantasy to make the hysterical claim that the United States has now become the victim of some kind of vast international conspiracy.

A President who suggests the answer to a global pandemic is…injecting disinfectant…drinking it…and that’s after he cut funding for the WHO. “Lockdown liberation” protesters who call the act of staying at home “slavery.” Government after government which disregarded warning after warning about said pandemic…to catastrophic effect.

When I look around the world today, I see shattering ignorance at work, like never before in our lifetimes. Shall I name a few kinds? Bigotry, racism, hate, xenophobia, nationalism, greed, spite, cruelty, fascism. Ignorance upon ignorance, of all the devil’s many kinds.

But the really strange, bizarre, and weird thing isn’t all that — ignorance has always been around, hasn’t it? It’s that today, ignorance is willful. Deliberate. Proud. Boastful, cocky, and exultant. Pompous, high-sounding, and aggrandizing. It waves banners and sings chants and discusses philosophies. Ignorance today thinks of itself as Aristotle by way of Descartes and Kant. The really strange thing about now is that ignorance parades itself as enlightenment.

Ignorance — of every kind, day after day. That’s bad enough. But ignorance proudly presenting itself as wisdom, truth, and enlightenment? In bestsellers, through YouTube “personalities”, by college professors? Now that’s tragedy and comedy both. And yet people buy it. Why? I think this weird phenomenon — of flaunting ignorance as grand-sounding enlightenment — is made of a fatal cocktail of cognitive dissonance, infantile regression, and malignant narcissism.

Let’s start with the first one. I tell someone a fact. “Hey, do you know that Americans live five years less than Europeans?” Bang! Along comes a string of justifications, denials, misinformation, Fox News talking points, followed by mistrust, personal attacks, and finally, rage. Here’s another example. “Hey, did you know Brexit will cost you thousands every year, and make you poorer to begin with?” Snap! The very same string, in response. Don’t you think that’s odd? I do.

What happened, really? Instantly, massive cognitive dissonance was triggered. New information, which conflicts sharply with preexisting beliefs. Old myths. In this case, that America’s exceptional, special, the best, a Promised Land. Or British triumphalism, the idea that by carrying on, it will win, it doesn’t need anyone else, and never has. Whatever the myths may be, the point is the same. New information confronts old myths. The old myths triumph — in a frenzy of defensiveness, people end up lashing out, instead of “processing”, that is to say, accepting, understanding, tolerating, the new information.

Now, people can only ever really decide in favour of new information is the cost discarding old myths is reasonably low. If it doesn’t hurt, them, in other words. But it seems to hurt them immensely, almost absurdly, to discard these old myths. It seems to damage their self-coherence at an existential level, and thus, result in activating a traumatized person’s fight-or-flight response. Hence, the price of discarding the old myths is impossibly high to meet, which is why you can’t reason with a Trumpist or fascist of any kind, ever with facts, logic, or evidence.

But why would the price of discarding old myths be so impossibly high? After all, we do it every day, in littler ways, perhaps. Well, people must already feel fragile. Uncertain. Unstable, even. These myths must be all that is shoring up their identities, their egos, and their sense of morality, too.And so what people are really protecting, by clinging to these old myths — whether of exceptionalism, specialness, triumphalism, or racism — is themselves. At an existential level. “I still exist!! This is the only way I can belong! This is all that defines me! There’s nothing else in me!” (We’ll come back to that.) So this trend of ignorance masquerading itself as enlightenment, where people lash out the moment they’re presented with truths, is a kind of desperate, last-ditch self-preservation. But which self are they trying to preserve?

Well, what kind of people do we call those who need grandiose fairy tales of their omnipotence to feel secure? Children. And what the phenomenon of ignorance parading itself as enlightenment reveals about those who do it is that they have regressed to a childlike state. The fairy tale allows the child to exist, to belong, to feel safe, to feel unique, the only one, the chosen one — the knight or the damsel, take your pick — and in that way, to feel loved in the way that they need to be loved. When people cannot handle the cognitive dissonance of mundane everyday truths, and cling to grandiose myths instead of being able to process, integrate, and accept new truths, it’s stark evidence that they are regressing into a simpler, safer world — because functioning adults don’t need to feel omnipotent, singular, grandiose.

But why would adults, who’ve regressed to childlike states, need to feel grandiose, all-powerful, the only ones in all the world? Because the world is indeed a hostile, frightening place these days. One can hardly survive these days, by meekly following the rules. One must conform, keep one’s head low, try not to stick out. Survival is an act of obedience in the collapsed world that predatory capitalism has created. What is that world really like, though, to experience? It’s a world which constantly tells you have no intrinsic worth. That you are without inherent value. You are only as good as what you can be used for. If you cannot be used for anything, then your just fate is essentially to be left to die. You’re powerless, aren’t you? Ah, you see? Who else needs absolute power, but those who feel powerless inside?

In other words, predatory capitalism creates a world that constantly tears away at people’s sense of self — which is precisely why people are always seeking to shore those absent selves up with grandiose myths of how special, unique, and wonderful they are. There is nothing left inside a person under predatory capitalism — even their sense of self has been taken away from them. They are constantly trying to earn it back, with consumption, with status, with luxuries, with signals, by being the richest, hungriest, strongest, the perfect one with the perfect life. People under predatory capitalism are always trying to earn their missing selfhood back by preying on others, so that they’re the only ones who are loved, needed, desired, in all the world. (Only then can they feel, for just a fleeting moment, no just like they’re safe, whole, or true — but like they exist at all.)

But what is a person with nothing inside called? A narcissist. The narcissist isn’t what we often think — the one who thinks too much of himself. He is the one who thinks too little. So little, in fact, that he has no inherent sense of worth, meaning, belonging, purpose, or value. He is nothing, to himself. And so he constantly needs reassurance, praise, flattery, admiration. Even in destructive, abusive, and ruinous ways. He calls that “love”, and though it isn’t love, only power — it’s the only kind of relationship he is capable of.

Remember the phenomenon of flouting ignorance as enlightenment? Isn’t that what it’s really about? Power? It’s power over you. Power over the world. Power over society. The power to if not earn your praise, then at least demand your submission, your pain, your helplessness — which is what gives the malignant narcissist the validation they need to fill up that hole where a self should be. The pain of your powerlessness is the only thing that can validate the malignant narcissist’s self-existence.

Yet the malignant narcissist has come to exist because predatory capitalism has made him a mirror image of itself — it has left nothing in him at all, not even a self. There’s just an absence, an emptiness, where a self should be — which is insatiable. And so it must be fed with aggrandizing myths, that the narcissist is the only one who matters, counts, exists. But that means that his existence must come at the price of you, me, facts, reality, and, ultimately, even the whole world burning down. The more you suffer — the more I exist. The only thing that makes you feel powerful is my powerlessness — because capitalism has burned a hole through the place where a self should be.

Hence, ignorance parading itself as enlightenment. It’s the defining mood, phenomenon, way of the times we live in. Perhaps you and I, though, should be wiser than those who proudly, boastfully devote themselves to it.

HERE IS YOUR CHANCE. WE HAVE THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

NOW IS THE TIME TO WRITE A CONSTITUTION FOR THE PLANET THAT WE ALL LIVE ON – THE EARTH.

We can observe our Planet from space, but many of us are still not able to see it as a unique and precious miracle of life.

Why a Constitution?

Because most of the declarations like the universal declaration of human rights or the US constitution do not, constitute viable instructions for change: they are rather moral discussion papers, containing much wishful thinking, or a list of flaws people are perceived to commit in their relation to Nature.

Because neither human beings nor culture is independent self-sufficient existences – they are dependent on the Earth.

Only the Earth can be thought of as a relatively independent existence within the Universe.

They depend on the health and prosperity of the biotic assembly that constitutes our Planet.

Because there will be no exit strategy without a healthy Earth.

The relationship between man and Earth up to now has been exploited for profit.

All noble sentiments and efforts to understand and resolve the current crisis while ignoring the splitting of the planet into two opposing systems – Culture and Nature – are doomed to failure.

The currently prevailing anthropocentric vision of the world is incorrect, not only in its details and in its specific arguments, but also in its deepest underlying principles – in short, in its entirety.

Culture is not a continuation of natural evolution by different means.

Culture is an artificial system opposing Nature.

If it were set as Nature is in biophilia, life-reverencing format, then Culture’s self-activity would grow in a desirable way.

Culture would respect Nature and both systems would co-operate at a new level.

 

Our world is not only surrounded by junk it is full of junk.

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HERE: IS A DRAFT EARTH’S CONSTITUTION.

Feel free to add.

Article I

The Earth

  1. The Earth is the natural home to all of its interdependent live beings. It cannot belong to any biological species, not even to the human species. Humans, the founders of Culture, must not ravage the Earth to the detriment of themselves or of any other living beings.
  2. The Earth represents the highest value for both our species and for human Culture. It constitutes the oldest, broadest and most powerful creative activity, the unique planetary subjectivity. We have to defend its right to evolution, and its right to maintain a planet-wide balance between animate and inanimate systems.
  3. Our Culture must not expand further, neither at the expense of the natural diversity of the planet nor at the expense of human health.
  4. As a system superordinate both to humans and to their artificial Culture, the Earth is sovereign and our elected and controlled institutions must become its defenders and advocates.
  5. We commit ourselves to halting the decline, destruction, and pollution of Earth’s natural existence and, to that effect, also to advancing the recognition of a system of human responsibility, including effective and deterrent sanctions against those who fail to respect this Constitution.

Article II

Humans

  1. Human beings are not the immediate cause of the current environmental crisis. The root cause of the crisis is the systemic conflict between the artificial cultural orderliness and the natural orderliness of the Earth.
  2. Humanity is not responsible for the Earth. It is responsible for Culture, its product, which has divided the Earth into two mutually opposing systems: the Cultural and the Natural. It is the paramount task of law, politics, and science in the coming period of life-reverencing – biophilia – Culture to reconcile Culture with Nature.
  3. The human species subjectivity is restricted by the superior subjectivity of the Earth. All persons and government authorities are obliged to respect this wider subjectivity, protect the diversity and unity of the biosphere and sparingly use the inanimate products of the Earth.
  4. We hereby declare that the human species can only be biologically congruent with natural existence – not with artificial cultural existence. We acknowledge that anything that is good for the Earth is good for human beings as well.
  5. All legal systems must protect and enforce the natural orderliness of the Earth.

Article III

Culture

  1. Culture is an artificial system with its own internal, intrinsic information, and that is intellectual culture. A change in the orientation and contents of the intellectual culture, including values, knowledge, and precepts, is a prerequisite of the biophilia transformation of Culture.
  2. Culture, which is a human creation, is neither a continuation of the evolution of Nature nor a process in its improvement. It is an artificial and temporary construct, which is dependent on mass, energy, and information coming from Nature. It is a structure incongruent with the biological structure of human beings and it will cease to exist after the demise of humankind.
  3. The Culture system’s growth marginalizes and exterminates live systems and breaks up the natural structures of the Earth. Should the evolution of the Culture system’s continue, it must abandon the predatory orientation and adopt a position of a humble integration into the superior evolution of our planet.
  4. It has been political entities – States – that have made the ravaging of Nature possible, since these States have, directly or indirectly, supported the development of the predatory entrepreneurship and unrestricted extension of both materials- and energy-intensive consumer techniques. These States, therefore, bear the main responsibility for the current crisis of civilization.
  5. All States must be obliged to take steps towards a state of sustainable co-operation between Culture and the Earth. They are charged with the task of changing the predatory spiritual paradigm of Culture, starting the process of adopting biophile laws and spreading knowledge about the need for reconciliation between Culture and Nature.

Article 1V

Technology.

1. New innovations and uses of technology will be an active and integral part of the
international development story going forward. Developing a deeper understanding of how technology can impact development will better prepare everyone for the future, and help all of us drive it in new and positive directions.

2. The link between technology and governance is critical to consider in a better
understanding of how technology could be developed and deployed. The distinction between “developed” and “developing” nations should no longer apply.

3. Strong global cooperation on a range of issues drives technological
breakthroughs that combat disease, climate change, and energy shortages.

4. Governance, in turn, will play a major role in determining what technologies
are developed and who those technologies are intended, and able, to benefit.

5. Transparency allows states to glean insights from massive datasets to vastly improve the management and allocation of financial and environmental resources.

6. All technology must carry a world-recognized seal of safety verifying the authenticity of anything.

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But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. Not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has put enormous pressure on an already overstressed global economy.

Most nation-states could no longer afford their locked-in costs, let alone respond to increased citizen demands for more security, more healthcare coverage, more social programs and services, and more infrastructure repair.

So yes I can hear you saying this will never happen.

How would such a constitution be ratified, by who, at what cost, who will pay?

It can be ratified in the United Nations, passed at the next global climate summit, the cost of not doing so outweighs any alternative, and it can be paid for fairly by placing a world aid commission on all activities that are for-profit sake. ( see the previous post on world aid commission)

As you have seen, each of the scenarios, if it were to unfold, would call for different strategies and have different implications for how a range of organizations will work and relate to changes in technology. But no matter what the world might emerge, there are real choices to be made about what areas and goals to address and how to drive success toward particular objectives.

“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.” Wilson, Edward O.

Your Most Paranoid Pandemic Election Questions, Answered

If the 2020 election is canceled, a Vermont senator (no, not that one) could become president

Can the presidential election be canceled?

No, it can’t. The terms of federal elected officials are set by the Constitution. Trump’s term ends on January 20, 2021. Extending it would require two-thirds of both the House and the Senate to support such an amendment and then having three-fourths of the state legislatures ratify it. That is not happening.

Can it be postponed?

Almost certainly not.

But are there any weird loopholes?

The language actually doesn’t provide for a popular vote. It states, “The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.” While the Constitution provided for a popular vote for the House in its original text and for the Senate in the 17th Amendment, it still doesn’t do so for the election of presidential electors.

Back to Planet Earth, if a general election can’t be canceled, can a primary election be canceled?

Yes. Primary elections are administered by each state and subject to state law. More than a dozen states and territories so far have formally delayed primary elections.

Do polling places present health hazards?

Yes. Abdul El-Sayed, former health officer for the City of Detroit and author of the forthcoming book Healing Politics, told GEN in mid-March that there are “real risks” from “having people wait in line… and constantly touching the same [surfaces].” While it might be possible to mitigate some of the risks with in-person voting, “the overhead would be extreme,” he said. Instead, El-Sayed suggested voting by mail as a far safer alternative.

Is voting by mail safer?

Yes, it is. El-Sayed, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign to be governor of Michigan in 2018, noted while mail-in voting does pose risks, those can be mitigated. “You could create a vote-by-mail system once we understand a little bit more about the survivability of the virus that could, in effect, quarantine the envelope for that period of time,” he said. El-Sayed added that if he was an official responsible for elections, he would be asking himself, “How do I move my state to a vote-by-mail scenario ASAP? And then how do I figure out a system to mass-fumigate returned ballots and be counting that way?”

So, should everything in November go to vote by mail?

Not necessarily. While voting by mail presents public health advantages, there are still other significant issues with it. The only actual major voter fraud in recent political history involved a Republican operative in 2018 harvesting absentee ballots in a congressional election that had to be rerun. Further, sending a ballot to every voter can create confusion, particularly with older voters who are used to showing up to the polls on Election Day.

A List of Research Questions As A Way Of Kick-Starting A Social Research Agenda For A COVID And Post-COVID World

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has erupted, affecting all regions of the world, and the news media are dominated by reporting developments and effects. At the time of writing, tens of thousands of lives have already been lost worldwide, and many healthcare systems are straining under the burden of caring for unprecedented numbers of seriously ill patients with pneumonia. Everyday lives have been disrupted: schools and workplaces are closed, many people have lost their jobs, vast populations have been confined to their homes, people are cut-off from face-to-face interactions and worried about their own health or those of their family members.

Bearing all these issues in mind, below I have come up with a list of research questions as a way of kick-starting a social research agenda for a COVID and post-COVID world. (Please note the important caveat that these are only my initial thoughts based on the current situation in these early months of the pandemic where conditions are rapidly changing.) Researching these topics will generate better understandings not only of the current social impact of COVID, but also continuing or new impacts into the future. Findings will have immediate and long-term applications for contributing to policy and service delivery and development to better support publics as they deal with and recover from the myriad challenges they are experiencing to their ways of life and health status. They will also offer ways forward for how to deal with and manage new large-scale health crises in ethical and effective ways.

Key social research questions

· What are the situated responses of government agencies and healthcare organisations to the pandemic, and how do these differ between countries? Which agencies and organisations have been most effective in countering the spread of the COVID virus among their populations?

· How are people from diverse social groups and geospatial locations responding to the crisis? What are their lived experiences and social relationships as the pandemic’s effects continue to unfold and into the future of the post-COVID world? How do attributes such as location, age, gender, health or disability status, ethnicity/race, income, educational background, employment status, housing situation structure their experiences and wellbeing?

· Which individuals and social groups are the target of neglect, stigmatisation or marginalisation? How has this been recognised and dealt with (or ignored) in different socio-geographical-political environments?

· What were the rationales behind the widespread panic-buying that emptied supermarket shelves of essentials for weeks on end, and how can such responses be better managed in the future?

· How have people’s general wellbeing and mental health been affected by the current conditions of the crisis and into the future, and how can they be better and more ethically and effectively supported?

· How have family relationships been influenced by confinement to family homes for long periods, and what are the positive or negative consequences (e.g. increased risk of being a victim of family violence for women and children, post-natal women losing hands-on help with their new infants from extended family members)?

· How are children and young people coping with the disruption to their usual routines, education and social relationships, now and into the post-COVID future?

· What are the lived experiences of healthcare workers and other key support workers in dealing with the working conditions they are faced with, and what are the implications for their current and long-term health and wellbeing? How can they be supported now and into the future?

· What socioeconomic support systems offered by government and non-government agencies have best managed the crisis and how should they deal with support into the post-COVID future?

· How are digital technologies contributing to disseminating information — which are most helpful and useful for publics?

· What digital media and devices have been most helpful and useful for publics in dealing with physical isolation conditions?

· Which digital health technologies have been most effective and helpful for offering self-diagnosis and healthcare? What are the experiences of patients and healthcare workers in offering these mediated forms of diagnosis and care?

· What is the role played by novel digital technologies such as ‘smart’ devices, drones and automated decision-making software in health surveillance and diagnosis systems?

· How have educational and working-from-home arrangements been supported by digital technologies, and which have been most useful and helpful?

· How have the working practices of teachers at all levels of the education system (primary to tertiary) changed? What are the losses and gains for both students and teachers in moving to online teaching and learning?

· How will education and work systems change as a result in the post-COVID world?

· How have major internet companies as well as start-ups responded to the crisis?

· Which forms of grassroots organisation and networking have emerged and which are most helpful and effective for communities, now and into the future?

· How have more-than-human agents contributed to supporting people’s health and wellbeing in conditions where they have been forced to be physically distant from other people (e.g. companion animals, plants, natural landscapes, bodies of water)?

· What research methods can we use to understand the more-than-representational dimensions of people’s lived experiences (their affective and sensory responses, experiences of space and place)?

· What social and cultural theories can help us understand the COVID and post-COVID worlds?

Let’s get started!

The Day the Coronavirus Came to Prison

In the days before he went into lockdown, John J. Lennon sent this dispatch from Sing Sing, on how the maximum-security prison was preparing for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19.

On the afternoon of March 14, in the conjugal compound at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, in New York, I was chilling out on the couch with my partner, coronavirus talk on the television in the background. The phone rang. It wasn’t count time, so I grew worried.

The voice on the line said to step outside, where the security superintendent was waiting. He told us that our conjugal weekend was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All visitations at prisons statewide were suspended until April 11.

Sing Sing was going into quarantine.

Our movement was limited. No gym. Hospital and commissary runs limited to groups of ten. Staggered seating in the mess hall.

Yet the measures appeared to roll out inconsistently. On Tuesday evening, I found as many as 150 guys gathered in the yard. Elbow bumps had replaced fist bumps and pound embraces, but all else appeared normal. They knew that wouldn’t last, and wondered why the corrections officers weren’t required to wear protective masks. That should be the priority, my peers reasoned, not preventing prisoners from getting a little fresh air.

We only later found out that while we’d talked in the yard, the Department of Corrections had confirmed that an employee at Sing Sing had tested positive for COVID-19. The virus had arrived.

The Hand Sanitizer

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in my cell with a fever and chills. I was alarmed, like anyone feeling sick these days. I retraced my steps. A few days earlier, on line for the phone on our tier, I’d watched a fella who lives a few cells down from me talking and coughing, sloppy and phlegmy. He’d pulled a sock over the handset, an attempt to block his germs from coating the receiver.

I dropped a sick-call slip that night.

“Sick call leaving the block,” crackled a voice over the PA the next morning. I’d sweated out the bug overnight, but figured that I go for the walk anyway, curious to see how the medical unit was prepping for coronavirus.

As I walked through the white halls of the hospital, I passed a Corcraft hand-sanitizer dispenser. Corcraft supplies prisoner-made products to government agencies and affiliates—government offices, non-profits that receive tax dollars, prisons and jails. I’d seen the dispensers here and there around Sing Sing, mostly where civilians worked, never in the cellblocks where us prisoners live. The foam supposedly kills 99% of germs. I pressed the lever and nothing came out. The dispenser was empty.

I stood on a red line to see the sick-call nurse. A man with a kind face, in scrubs, called me into the office. I told him that I was feeling better. Then I went into reporter mode: “What was the plan?”

Inmates with serious flu-like symptoms, he told me, were being quarantined and swabbed for influenza.

image
Prison employees open a door to a former cell block at Sing Sing.

“But we’re concerned about coronavirus,” I told him. “Do you have those tests yet?”

“Everybody’s concerned. I have kids….” He caught himself. “But no, we don’t have the tests yet.” On my way out, he gave me a few packets of ibuprofen and a bottle of Robitussin, in case my symptoms returned, along with a few alcohol pads.

Sing Sing is on the east bank of the Hudson River, in Westchester County. Behind a thirty-foot wall, 1600 of us live in close quarters on open-tier cellblocks stacked four or five floors high. In here, there is no such thing as “social distancing.”

On March 5, a memo from the Department of Corrections was posted to the bulletin board at the front of my tier, about a few simple ways to keep safe from COVID-19: Wash your hands for twenty seconds; avoid touching your face; cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow; stay away from those who are unwell; if family or friends are sick and plan on visiting, tell them to reschedule.

I started to wonder who would unknowingly carry the virus to breach the walls of Sing Sing. A prisoner’s wife coming to visit, their kids in tow? (New York allows brief and respectable contact during visits, such as hugs and kisses.) One of the approximately nine hundred corrections officers who rotate in and out of the facility during the three shift changes each day? A teacher who sneezes on an incarcerated student’s algebra assignment before returning it? A maintenance worker, or a cook, or a commissary cashier?

On March 9, New York State governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Corcraft would ramp up the production of hand sanitizer and distribute it to communities across the state. The prisoners manufacturing it would likely be paid extra, but that wasn’t likely to amount to much. Herbert Long, who locks a few cells down from me, used to have an industrial-caustics job when he was at Great Meadow, in Upstate. “It’s like a factory job,” he told me. “Punch in, work your station. Make the quotas, punch out.” He’d made 26 cents an hour.

Now, there was even less chance that the sanitizer produced by our peers up north would end up being used to refill the empty dispensers at Sing Sing.

The Mouthpiece

Aprisoner at Sing Sing who I’ll call Pac has a patent pending on an invention to prevent the spread of germs in the joint. Prisoners come up with great ideas all the time, but few carry through. Countless times, Pac has rested his elbows on my cell bars and rambled on about his latest concepts. His thoughts come rapid-fire. Usually I nod along. This time, I’m listening.

Look down the phone line at any prison in America, and you’ll see prisoners holding socks. When it’s you’re your turn, you pull the sock over the handset. Lately, some guys have brought nasal-spray bottles filled with bleach and water, which they use to wipe everything down. A primitive form of preventative health.

Pac has designed a hypoallergenic, rubber-compound mold that fits over the handset. Prisoners could bring it with them every time they used the phone. Commissaries could sell them. Pac hopes to pitch the Department of Corrections on buying them in bulk and distributing them statewide. He knows there’s a market and he has done the math—thousands of jails and prisons, hundreds of thousands of phones between them, millions of prisoners using them.

Pac, a fifty-something Dominican dude from Washington Heights, looks like a tattooed tank. He’s been incarcerated for twenty-seven years. He grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and then got sucked up in the life in the eighties, running with a crew who sold the crack cocaine. All of them wound up dead or in prison.

Pac filed the provisional patent on his own. It cost a few hundred bucks. Then he tapped some friends to hire InventHelp, which analyzed similar products. That cost $800. Another friend hired the law firm Holland & Knight to bring home the utility patent. That cost another $15,000. If the patent comes through, Pac should be cleared to bring the product to market.

‘The Green Shit’

Recently, a crew of porters were sent to the second floor of a building in Tappan, a decommissioned medium-security compound within the walls of Sing Sing. There, one porter told me, they received orders to “G.I.”—clean so well that the military would approve—a room with around 100 beds and a communal bathroom. The space would be used to quarantine sick prisoners.

They scrubbed the bathroom, mopped the floors, wiped the lockers and bedframes, painted the walls, and brought in new mattresses. (We are lucky, in a way—most prisons don’t have a vacant dorm conveniently available for quarantining.)

“Which cleaning agent did you use?” I asked the porter.

“You know, the green shit.”

The green shit is Germicidal Cleaner 128, also made by Corcraft. It is the go-to cleaning product in New York prisons. Barrels of the stuff are stored at Sing Sing. Lately, he said, porters have been issued twice the normal amount throughout the facility, and at a higher potency. The instructions recommend diluting 1.5 ounces with a gallon of water, but the containers going out now are 50% germicide, 50% water.

Porters assigned to the visiting room were hard at work, too. Microwave knobs, vending machine buttons, tabletops, chairs, the Legos and action figurines in the children’s area—everything was getting sprayed and wiped with Germicidal 128.

Then spray bottles of bleach were issued, the porter told me. Germicidal Cleaner 128 is powerful, but it doesn’t get rid of everything. Bleach does.

Which is why you couldn’t walk through Sing Sing in the past week without catching whiffs of germicide and bleach mixed in with body odor, cigarettes, weed.

But the virus still came. No one knows when it will go away, nor what destruction it will have left behind.

17 NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS OUR GRANNIES AND GRANDPARENTS USED INSTEAD OF PILLS

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For hundreds of years, maybe even longer, our grannies and grandfathers relied on simple household items to heal. For that purpose, they picked different natural antibiotics, which they mostly found in home, gardens or meadows and woods nearby.

Much of this came out of necessity. Rather than using an antibacterial facial scrub, our Nanas massaged honey deep into their pores. By using proven old home remedies, we can treat and cure various health problems and do a lot for our health avoiding unpleasant medications side effects, too.

Some of these remedies even date back thousands of years, as far back as the tribes of Central and South America. Now, perhaps with the advent of slow-living, these products are slipping back into style. Many appreciate the remedies for their simplicity, price, or their low-impact on the earth. Rather than spend $8 on sea salt spray, you can simple mix some salt with water and spritz it into your hair. You save money as well as a package.

In honor of our ancestors, we’ve gathered some of our favorite time-honored traditions. These timeless products have earned a permanent place in our pantries.

Garlic

Raw garlic when crushed or chewed contains a compound called allicin – which has similar properties to penicillin.

This superfood member of the onion family is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (mopping up free radicals that have been proven to cause cancer).

For more than seven millennia, it has been used internally and externally to treat mild illness to serious diseases.

Everything from inflammation to colds to serious infections is minimized and/or obliterated with the addition of garlic and for those who don’t enjoy the taste, there are supplements as well. Check into “aged” garlic supplements for the best results.

Garlic is not only potent, it contains a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are beneficial to total body wellness. Not to mention the cost is pennies in comparison to doctor visits and prescriptions!

Unlike chemical antibiotics that kill millions of friendly bacteria your body needs, its only goal is bacteria and microorganisms. Garlic also encourages and increases the level of healthy bacteria. It is a powerful antifungal agent and destroys any antigen, pathogen, and harmful disease-causing microorganisms.

  • Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
  • It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
  • It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
  • Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
  • Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
  • It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
  • Garlic fights worms and parasites.
  • It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
  • It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).

Honey

Herbalists consider honey as one of the best natural antibiotics. It also contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. A 2014 study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society found that honey has the ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to it.

Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.

Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.

Its unique combination of hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols help kill bacterial cells. To get the antibiotic benefit of honey, always use raw, organic honey.

Olive leaf extract

This substance has been used for a number of centuries to battle bacterial infections and is now currently being used as well to fight MRSA infections in some European hospitals. It provides immune system support while fighting antibiotic-resistant infections. Olive leaf extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it exhibits free-radical scavenging abilities.

  • You can make olive leaf extract for external use at home. Put a handful of finely chopped fresh olive leaves into a glass jar with a lid. Pour vodka over the leaves until they are completely covered. Close the lid and keep the jar in a dark place for 4 to 5 weeks. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquid into another glass jar and your homemade olive leaf extract is ready to use.
  • Another option is to take olive leaf extract in supplement form. 250 to 500 mg capsules twice daily is the standard dosage. However, consult a doctor before taking the supplement.

Turmeric

This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many thousands of years to treat a wide range of infections. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities have been known to be highly effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. The antimicrobial activity of curcumin against helicobacter pylori showed positive results. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and 5 to 6 tablespoons of honey. Store it in an airtight jar. Have ½ teaspoon of this mixture twice daily.
  • You can also take turmeric supplements of 400 to 600 mg, twice daily. However, consult your doctor first.

Echinacea

With similar effects to garlic, it was traditionally used to treat open wounds, as well as blood poisoning, diphtheria and other bacteria-related illnesses. Echinacea is well tolerated and able to stimulate the immune system by naturally boosting infection fighters in your blood stream. Native to North America, Echinacea has been used for centuries in tribal medicine to treat pain and sickness.

Unlike garlic, this antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral solution is generally used at the first signs of illness and should not be taken for more than ten days. It is available in liquid and capsule form.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are the most powerful circulation stimulators. They just send their antibiotic properties to fight the disease where it is mostly needed.

Onion

Onion is garlic’s closest relative and it has a similar but milder action. Together they create a strong fighting duo.

Raw apple cider vinegar

The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.

A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.

Oregano oil

Oil of oregano is considered anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.

It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold.

  • For treating foot or nail infections, add a few teaspoons of oregano oil to a tub filled with warm water. Soak your feet in it for a few minutes daily for a week.
  • For sinus and other upper respiratory infections, put a few drops of the oil of oregano in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Do this once daily until you get rid of the infection.

Colloidal Silver

While colloidal silver is highly antibiotic in nature, I suggest only using it for external uses such as gargling, ear infections like swimmers’ ear and skin.  The reason is that ingestion of colloidal silver does damage the delicate gut microbiome by killing beneficial bacteria though not as extensively as drug based antibiotics. If you need the assistance of natural antibiotics to consume internally, choose another one on this list, not colloidal silver.

Grapefriut seed extract(GSE)

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) effective against more than 800 forms of viruses and bacteria, more than a hundred strains of fungus, and many parasites.

High in many antioxidants, GSE boosts immunity, alkalizes the body naturally, and aids in digestion by improving your beneficial gut flora.

Ginger

Ginger’s natural antibiotic property helps prevent and treat many health problems caused by bacteria. Fresh ginger has an antibiotic effect against food-borne pathogens like salmonella. It also has an antibacterial effect on respiratory and periodontal infections.

So, if you are going to eat something that has the potential for food borne illness such as sushi or raw oysters, always best to eat some fresh ginger (raw and pickled is most potent) too in order to make use of its natural antibiotic properties.

  • Ginger tea is a great preventive measure against bacterial infections. To make the tea, grate 1 inch of fresh ginger and boil it in about 1½ cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon juice for taste and drink it.
  • Also, include dry or fresh ginger in your cooking. You can also take ginger capsules, after consulting your doctor.

Manuca Honey

What would this list of natural antibiotics be without raw honey which has been used as an infection fighter since ancient times?  Of all the raw honey on the planet, Manuka honey from New Zealand is the best when it comes to resolving infections. An enzyme found in honey releases hydrogen peroxide. This process helps your body fight infection and prevents the growth of bacteria. Soothing to the digestive system, honey removes toxins from the blood and helps your liver operate more efficiently.

A great boost to the immune system, consider combining honey with cinnamon to strengthen your white blood cells! Raw, organic honey is the best option since most pasteurization methods kills the antioxidant effects.

Cabbage

What many people don’t realize is how much vitamin C is found in cabbage. One cup provides 75% of what you need every day.

Naturally antibacterial, eating shredded raw cabbage in your salad, as a side dish in the form of slaw, or drinking fresh cabbage juice (with honey added to sweeten) is an excellent way to improve digestion, prevent disease, and even manage your weight!

Extra virgin coconut oil

There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature.

Use it to boost your immune system, balance thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and even improve brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal’s natural antibiotic property works well for both topical and internal bacterial infections. Goldenseal contains a compound called berberine that helps kill many types of bacteria that cause many health problems.

Berberine also activates white blood cells, making them better at fighting infection and strengthening the immune system.

  • For internal use, prepare a cup of herbal tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder in 1 cup of hot water. Strain and drink it while it is still warm. Drink this tea once daily.
  • For external use, prepare a mixture with 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder and the oil of a few vitamin E capsules. Apply it to the affected area 3 times a day.

Note: Do not take this herb internally for more than a few weeks at a time.

Indian lilac or neem

Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is another natural antibiotic. In addition, due to its antibacterial nature, neem keeps different types of oral problems like cavities, plaque, gingivitis and other gum diseases at bay.

  • To prevent skin infections, use cosmetics and skin care products that have neem as one of the main ingredients.
  • Take neem tablets to help remove accumulated toxins in the body and any parasitic organisms. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.

Learning the ways of our grandparents will help in ways we cannot even contemplate at this time but their wisdom will be as critical as your other supplies

When the great depression hit in the 1930’s, many people had a difficult time surviving. When the system they depended on ceased to function properly, they no longer had the ability to earn a living wage and care for their families. Even at a time when you could get a meal for a nickel, many people struggled to feed themselves.

In many rural areas, farmers faced the difficulty of being able to even grow enough to feed themselves. The drought that accompanied the depression left many no choice but to move to more hospitable locations where jobs could be found.

Some people were in a much better position to weather the national problems than others. They were not rich in monetary terms but they had a stable living condition that enabled them to get by as always.

In the rural community that my family had called home for over 100 years, my family got by better than most. The fact that many of the people were watermen, that made their living on the Chesapeake Bay catching various types of seafood throughout the year, made the depression different for them. As my father related to me, they really didn’t know there was a depression going on most of the time.

The men went to work every morning catching what they could. Anything they couldn’t sell was taken home for dinner. Everyone had a garden and maybe some chickens and a hog out back providing meat for the winter. The area was also surrounded by many small farms producing many things they could trade for. Nobody had much money but the area teemed with the things that were needed to get by and barter was the norm.

Electricity was not seen in the community until the late 1940’s and few people had a car. These people really did live off the grid. That was the norm for them and they got by very well even with the national economy in a state of hard times. They could not buy many of the things they needed so those things had to be made out of whatever materials they had.

There are many stories like this that have been told and they are worth listening to once again. These stories provide the foundation people will need when the economy fails again in spectacular fashion leaving many in dire straits. When everything fails you have to go back to what works. That is a lesson that our ancestors have left for us to follow if we have the sense to learn from their hardships.

The current generation has known nothing but excess and prosperity. When the system turns down again they will be lost without all of the creature comforts and gadgets they are used to getting with great ease. They have been raised with the notion that everything is easy and when that paradigm fails they will not know how to cope with reality. This is the problem we face and must deal with in the months to come.

There are two lessons that can be taken from this story. When hard times come your location and creativity can make up for many shortfalls in life. Those things can make the difference between suffering and having a decent standard of living. Living in an area rich with resources allows you to produce many of the things you need locally with little money and can even provide you with a stream of income. The lack of resources in your area can make things very difficult over the long term.

The current generation has lost the ability to trouble shoot the problems they are faced with and come up with simple solutions. Creativity is something many people no longer possess and that is one of the things that will make life hard on them. The greatest generation knew how to devise creative solutions to their problems that allowed them to get by and even prosper. That is a lesson we need to take away from the last depression.

It is good for people to plan for hard times by stocking up, learning to produce food and storing real money for times of need but that will not be enough when the time comes. Your location and the ability to be creative and solve the many problems you will face will be necessary ingredients to surviving the coming hard times. Keeping your plans simple and learning the ways of our grandparents will help in ways we cannot even contemplate at this time but their wisdom will be as critical as your other supplies. One of the many slogans that came from that time is worth remembering.