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Thu, 01 Oct 2020
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MindMatters: Why We Need Leisure, or What To Do When You Have Nothing To Do

leisure
'Idle hands are the devil's workshop,' we're told. This adage sometimes informs our mad scramble to make ends meet, quite often going non-stop and mostly living to work, with hardly a moment to see who, what and where we are in the vast context of our lives. Many of us are going nowhere fast. Though taking personal responsibility is correctly connected to paying the bills, and is crucial to any kinds of individual growth, there is another type of responsibility we have to ourselves that quite often gets lost in the shuffle in any real and valuable sense.

On this week's MindMatters we look at philosopher Josef Pieper's classic book Leisure: The Basis of Culture and use his ideas as a point of departure to discuss how we spend our free time (since, for the time being, we now seem to have so much more of it!). Among a wide range of issues connected to Pieper's thesis, we ask what we should be doing with ourselves when we're not "getting things done", and what place philosophy, art and any number of other things that culture offers have in our lives. Ultimately, the underlying question is: What may feed the life of the mind in a time and place that is quite often so mindless?


Running Time: 00:51:25

Download: MP3 — 47.1 MB


Bulb

The Right Perspective In Troubling Times

group network STO
These seemingly Orwellian times are testing each and every one of us in some way. It is impossible to escape the increasing sense of dread that many feel during the current Corona Virus outbreak, whether that stems from the threat of the illness itself; from the 'lock downs' imposed upon the populace all over the world to 'keep people safe'; the increasing numbers of unemployed and sick due to the lock down; the systematic attacks upon personal rights meant to enforce 'social distancing'; or the talk of eventually imposing an electronic ID program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for digital identity. (1)

What I'm going to share here stems from reading and synthesizing a great number of articles from the news and various blogs, and especially personal posts from the forums of those websites regarding the current Corona Virus outbreak and its ramifications. Almost everyone on those threads has contributed material that helped me to crystallize something deep within me that may be useful to share with others. I do want to thank all of these anonymous people for sharing portions of their souls and struggles that resonated very deeply within me.

Life Preserver

COVID-19, ACE2, Nicotinic Receptors And The Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory And Cognitive-Improving Pathway

COVID-19 ACE2
© Getty Images/selvanegra
Graphic representation of COVID-19 binding to the ACE2 receptor on human cells via its spike protein (red)
I've been reading case reports of heart damage in people infected with COVID-19. In fact, someone in my close circle had an episode of fulminant myopericarditis and a strange lung pathology last December, from which he miraculously recovered. I deem SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) a likely suspect behind my friend's illness, even though this occurred a few months before the pandemic officially began in Europe.

The following LiveScience article provides some clues as to how both the heart and lungs can be seriously affected during a COVID-19 infection:
The mysterious connection between the coronavirus and the heart

"We're seeing cases of people who don't have an underlying heart disease, who are getting heart damage," said Dr. Erin Michos, the associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Heart damage isn't typical in mild cases of COVID-19, and tends to occur more often in patients who have severe symptoms and are hospitalized, she said. [...]

Both heart cells and lung cells are covered with surface proteins known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) — these molecules serve as "doorways" for the virus to enter cells. But this enzyme is a "double-edged sword," she said. On one hand, the ACE2 molecule acts as a gateway for the virus to enter the cell and replicate, but on the other hand, it normally serves a "protective" function, Michos said.

When tissues in the body are damaged — either by an invading virus such as SARS-CoV-2 or by other means, the body's natural healing response involves releasing inflammatory molecules, such as small proteins called cytokines, into the bloodstream. But paradoxically, too much inflammation can actually make things worse. The ACE2 enzyme acts as an anti-inflammatory, keeping immune cells from inflicting more damage on the body's own cells.

But when the virus latches onto ACE2 proteins, these proteins get knocked out of commission, possibly reducing the anti-inflammatory protection that they give. So the virus may be acting as a double-whammy by damaging cells directly and preventing the body from protecting tissues from inflammatory damage.

"If the heart muscle is inflamed and damaged by the virus, the heart can't function," she said.

The novel coronavirus might also indirectly damage the heart. In this scenario, the patient's immune system winds up "going haywire," Michos said. This scenario has played out in some really sick patients who have highly elevated inflammatory markers — or proteins that signal high levels of inflammation in the body.

This is called a "cytokine storm," Michos said. Cytokine storms damage organs throughout the body, including the heart and liver, she added. It's not clear why some people have such an elevated response compared with others, but some people could be genetically prone to it, she added. [...]

It's really hard to tease out whether having more ACE2 is helpful or harmful, as these proteins are how the virus enters the cells, but also known to protect the cells against injury, Michos said.

Bullseye

Dr. John Lee: 'No Evidence The Lockdowns Are Working'

Dr. John Lee
The UK government has extended its lockdown for another three weeks. But could the shutdown of society be doing more harm than good? In fact, is there any evidence it is doing any good at all? Dr John A Lee, a recently retired professor of pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, has repeatedly called for a critical and dispassionate examination of the evidence in relation to Covid-19, raising questions about the government and its advisers' interpretation of the data. spiked caught up with him to find out more.

spiked: You have been a relatively lone voice in questioning mainstream assumptions about coronavirus. Why have you found it important to speak out?

Dr John A Lee: As a doctor and a scientist my entire career, I believe that medicine and science have improved life immeasurably over the past 200 years, and especially over the last 50 years. But in the particular mix of science, medicine and politics that we are seeing now, I am not absolutely sure that is the case. I think it is more important than ever to try and look at this issue in a clear way in order to make sure that we are really doing the right thing on the basis of the right ideas. And it isn't clear to me at the moment that we are.

spiked: What problems do you see in the way figures are currently being recorded and reported?

Lee: The figures are just so unreliable. It's very difficult to understand when you are looking at figures from different countries, and figures in isolation about things like death, what they really mean. And obviously, if we can't understand what the figures mean, it is quite difficult to then know what we should do about them.

These figures are then fed into models of the disease and the epidemic which are being used to influence and inform public policy. But those models are only as good as their input data and the assumptions they make. And there are so many unknowns which means the models' outputs are really quite questionable. And given that we have now got ourselves into this situation, for a variety of reasons, getting ourselves out of it using the same models and predictions is even more questionable. So we are in a very difficult situation.

For example, we are currently in lockdown for two reasons. One is that the initial figures suggested that we were dealing with a very highly virulent disease. The World Health Organisation initially suggested that the case-fatality rate - the proportion of people diagnosed with the disease who die - would be 3.4 per cent. This is a very high number which would have caused a huge number of deaths. But as we have had gradually more and more data coming in, those percentages have been falling. In many examples, more complete data are now suggesting case-fatality rates of 0.4 per cent. My guess is that it will end up between 0.5 and 0.1 per cent, and probably nearer to the lower end of that. So if the disease isn't as virulent as was originally thought, the number of deaths will be correspondingly lower.

Comment: See also:


Chart Bar

Global Madness: The Official Numbers Prove COVID-19 is Benign

netflix covid-19

If it feels like you're watching a bad movie, that's because you are
The WHO, media and national governments have told us for weeks now that COVID-19 is a plague-like pandemic that is or will decimate the global population. One month into total lockdown of the west and much of the rest of the world, let's check their own statistics to gauge how far along their 'plague' is...

I began collecting data on the 26th of March and chose what was then the top ten countries by 'infection': China, Italy, Spain, the US, Germany, Iran, France, Switzerland, the UK, and South Korea. To these I added the world statistics as well as Australia - just because I live here - and on the 12th of April 2020 I added (and backdated) Sweden as a control group of a 'non-lockdown' country (although South Korea also did not have extensive lockdowns).

I also kept the statistics of the top ten countries by 'death', starting 26th March: Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Obviously I added the world total, Australia and Sweden to remain consistent with the above list.

Comment: Indeed, and we would add to our guest author's conclusion that evidence is emerging from every country that the official 'COVID-19 death figures' include many deaths that had nothing whatsoever to do with COVID-19. And they include - though the distinction is never made by the media - deaths in which the person tested positive for COVID-19, BUT who would not ordinarily have been certified as having died from such BECAUSE HE/SHE HAD MULTIPLE CO-MORBIDITIES!

All of which serves to plummet the case-to-fatality death rate so low as to render COVID-19 (relatively) benign to the human species, and further underscore the utterly mad premise that a literal shutting down of civilization was necessary to 'stop this plague'.


Black Cat

The Talented Doctor Fauci

bush jr Fauci medal of freedom
© Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
In 2008, US President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Fauci "for his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives."
Dramatic political and social decisions are being made across the United States and around the world on what emergency quarantine measures and other steps must be taken. In many cases the radical and severe measures, such as shutting down the world economy, are being justified by COVID-19 case projections of morbidity into the future. If there is one person who is the face of the current strategy of dealing with the coronavirus in Washington it is the Director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the NIH, Dr. Tony Fauci. What major media conveniently leave out in discussing Fauci's role is his highly controversial and conflicted history since he first joined NIAID in 1984 during the beginnings of the AIDS panic. His role then sheds valuable light on his remarkable and highly controversial actions today.

Tony Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is being promoted by major US media such as CNN, MSNBC or the New York Times as the great expert on all related to the Covid19 outbreak. He had dismissed the President's efforts to promote a known malaria medication as treatment for severe corona patients as "anecdotal," even though seven years before he backed the same drug. He has publicly taken projections from an institute created in Washington State by the Gates Foundation, the same foundation that virtually owns the WHO and owns major stakes in the leading vaccine makers, to claim that up to 200,000 Americans could die from COVID19. Fauci stated that COVID19 is "probably about 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu," which would mean 300-600,000 coronavirus deaths this year, at the same time in a respected medical journal he compared Covid-19 as similar to seasonal flu in morbidity. When questioned how long the shutdown of much of the US economy must last, Fauci replied only when there is zero new covid19 positive tested cases, something impossible given the defective testing. He has also backed direct human tests of novel vaccines with no prior animal tests, including with radical non-tested mRNA gene-edited vaccines.

Chalkboard

8 MORE Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic

eight more experts coronavirus
Our third batch of Medical experts dissenting from the media/political "consensus".

* * *

Dr John Lee is an English consultant histopathologist at Rotherham General Hospital and formerly clinical professor of pathology at Hull York Medical School. He is most notable to the wider public as co-presenter (with Gunther von Hagens) of Anatomy for Beginners (screened in the UK on Channel 4 in 2005), Autopsy: Life and Death (Channel 4, 2006) and Autopsy: Emergency Room (Channel 4, 2007).

What he says:
But there's another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded. If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare 'notifiable disease'.

So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don't really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.

Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.

- How deadly is the coronavirus? It's still far from clear, The Specator, 28th March 2020

Comment: See also:


Fireball 2

The Seven Destructive Earth Passes of Comet Venus

In a previous article titled "Did Earth 'Steal' Martian Water?", I mentioned that a close encounter between Mars and Earth occurred ca. 12,500 BP (10,500 BC). Mars was knocked close to Earth by Venus which, at the time, was a cometary body. The past cometary nature of Venus has been amply theorized by Velikovsky and demonstrated by recent observations.

However, the abovementioned article left a lot of questions concerning Venus.

What happened to Venus after it interacted with Mars? How long did it take for Venus to acquire its current circular, planetary orbit? Did cometary Venus have other interactions with planet Earth? How many passes did Venus make before it acquired a stable orbit? What were the dates of those passes? What were their effects?

Venus cometary tail
© ESA
Depiction of the Sun (left) and Venus with its cometary tail

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MindMatters: Epictetus: Epic Wisdom, Roman Stoic Style

epictetus
One of the major exemplars of the philosophical movement known as Stoicism almost 2000 years ago, Epictetus, a former slave, had much to say about taking the right approach to life. Through his teachings, which culminated in the dictated works of his Discourses and Enchiridion, Epictetus expounded on what virtuous living meant and what it should look like - not through theory, but through actual examples drawn from real life and the psychological attitudes one can adopt to make for a more trouble-free life and a 'tranquil' existence.

On this week's MindMatters, we take a look at the very influential teachings of Epictetus. Much like Gurdjieff (and perhaps even an inspiration to him?) we see how even centuries after his description of the 'art of living', his wisdom and insights into the human condition could not be more relevant for our own thinking and ways of living today.


Running Time: 00:53:32

Download: MP3 — 49 MB


Biohazard

Pentagon Biological Weapons Program Never Ended: US Bio-labs Around The World


Comment: In light of the 'COVID-19 pandemic', which - despite its mortality rate being blown up out of all proportion to reality - is, nevertheless, indeed an illness stemming from infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus first discovered by the Chinese in Wuhan in December 2019, and in light of their pointed accusation against a certain US bio-lab in Maryland being a possible source of the virus, we're re-running this exposé from a couple of years ago concerning the massive global bio-weapons laboratory infrastructure that the US maintains...


Pentagon bio-weapons
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva is a Bulgarian investigative journalist and Middle East Correspondent. Over the last two years she has published a series of reports on weapons smuggling to ISIS in Syria. In the past year she came under pressure from the Bulgarian National Security Agency and was fired from her job in the Bulgarian newspaper Trud Daily, without explanation. Despite this, Dilyana continues her investigations. The following report, first published on South Front, provides an overview of the Pentagon's secretive development of biological weapons in bio-labs around the world.

@dgaytandzhieva
The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN Convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting people are systematically exposed to dangerous pathogens and other incurable diseases. Bio warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program - Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) - and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Pentagon's Biolabs

Comment: So much for Nixon ending the US deep state's mad science bio-weapons program in 1969.

Many years ago, we noted that Israel has a similar infatuation with finding something that would 'target Arabs '.

The Pentagon's bio-weapon Frankenstein-research is not only alive and well, like NATO, it has metastasized since the collapse of the USSR, spreading into Africa, the Middle East, and on Russia's doorstep.

President Putin noted the uptick in US bio-research focused on 'Russians/Caucasians' last October and, addressing Russia's Human Rights Council, said:
"[...] do you know that biological material is being collected all over the country, from different ethnic groups and people living in different geographical regions of the Russian Federation? The question is - why is it being done? It's being done purposefully and professionally. We are a kind of object of great interest."
Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council's Committee for Defense and Security went on to add this on his Facebook page:
"I'm not saying that it is about preparing a biological war against Russia. But its scenarios, are, no doubt, being worked on. That is to say, in case the need arises."
It may, for now, remain more sci-fi than fact, but the concept of ethnic-specific weapons and/or viral means of 'improving the human genome' are clearly uppermost in certain American minds.

What do they think is going to happen if they unleash some kind of bio-weapon pandemic that ostensibly targets 'only Russians'? Or if they accidentally unleash a global pandemic that will hurt Americans too because they were attempting to 'make people more docile'?

It apparently hasn't yet dawned on them that most Caucasians are of mixed descent/genotype. Additionally, attempting to 'improve' the human genome would likely backfire on them.

UPDATE 16 April 2020

See here for a follow-up report in 2018 from the above reporter on this global bio-weapons lab architecture.

See here for the original report during the Covid-19 pandemic that linked Fort Detrick with SARS-CoV-2.