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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 18-Sep-2014
18-Sep-14 World View -- Will Ebola become a worldwide pandemic?

Web Log - September, 2014

18-Sep-14 World View -- Will Ebola become a worldwide pandemic?

John Kerry's testimony before the Senate: 1971 and Today

This morning's key headlines from

Will Ebola become a worldwide pandemic?

A section of the Congo River, made to look like the Ebola virus
A section of the Congo River, made to look like the Ebola virus

Here's a question I received from a web site reader, commenting on yesterday's World View article, in which I concluded on the subject of Ebola with, "It seems likely that the pandemic will have to run its course, meaning that almost all people in Liberia will sooner or later become sick with the disease, and either survive or not":

"I find it difficult to square your comments about a generalized and all-encompassing infection rate with the news comments about the number of people who are reported infected. Your suggestion that "all" will get sick and survive or die is an Apocalypse unknown in modern times. If any western nation were to lose 25% of its population there would be a complete collapse of the nation (in my opinion). Now you suggest that the death rate would approach 50%. Should the infection spread beyond the sub-sahara region into North Africa with the Hajj approaching the infection would go worldwide. This would be a game changer and the perfect excuse for global war (in all of its forms) as countries would be "forced" to close their borders. Smoot-Hawley did not tickle the economies of the world as this would.

As the press is reporting the illness is striking people by the thousands and while it could strike thousands more this does not approach the millions to be infected by your reasoning. I am not sure how you develop the thought of everyone contracting the disease. Please write about how your develop your reasoning."

In the past few weeks and months, I've listened and read probably close to 1000 news reports and analyses on what's happening in Liberia, and I take note of what's said, and what's not said.

What's said over and over is:

What's not said is: "This will be brought under control soon."

So I reached the conclusion that I reached.

Say there are currently 1000 cases in Liberia. Ebola is expanding exponentially, with the number of cases in Liberia doubling every two weeks or so. Since 2**10=1024, then the number of cases after ten iterations (20 weeks) will be 1024*1000 which is over a million.

You suggest that I'm saying that it will be a worldwide epidemic, spread by the Hajj. I didn't say anything like that, and the Saudis are taking every possible precaution, and have the expertise and infrastructure to do so.

Factors that are specific to Liberia are lack of health care infrastructure, superstitions, illiteracy and lack of education, anti-Western hostility, and funeral rites. These are the main factors that caused the initial spread, and now there's an extremely fast exponential rate of growth caused by three more factors: Lack of enough Ebola clinics, deaths of many health workers, and isolation of Liberia from the rest of the world -- meaning that new Ebola patients are literally receiving no care whatsoever.

Things may change, but right now I don't see any of these factors in play in the U.S. or Europe or any developed nation. However, those factors may still apply in many underdeveloped places in the world, particularly megacities and slums, and so a global Ebola epidemic in specific isolated places may yet occur. Also, a war in any location can destroy the health care infrastructure, and allow a pandemic to spread.

Another web site reader referred me to the following very interesting article on the history of pandemics: How plagues really work

John Kerry's testimony before the Senate: 1971 and Today

Here's what John Kerry said, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1971:

"I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."

Now, here's what he said on Wednesday, testifying before the same committee:

"Because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. And they believe women shouldn't have an education. They sell off girls to be sex slaves to jihadists. There is no negotiation with ISIL. There is nothing to negotiate. And they’re not offering anyone healthcare of any kind. They're not offering education of any kind.

For a whole philosophy or idea or cult, or whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the stone age. They’re cold-blooded killers marauding across the Middle East making a mockery of a peaceful religion."

When you compare the two statements, the US Army comes out a lot worse than ISIL in John Kerry's view.

John Kerry has expressed nothing but contempt for the US Army his entire life. He reaffirmed his 1971 testimony when he appeared on the Imus show in 2006, and in that time frame he said that US soldiers are stupid.

For John Kerry to be U.S. Secretary of State is a travesty and an insult to all Americans. The only thing that qualifies him for this or any government job is that his boss shares his attitudes.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Sep-14 World View -- Will Ebola become a worldwide pandemic? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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