Sometimes, things go right for Pangolins

People are kind of whipped up about Coronavirus, (nCovid19,  let’s just call it 19 for short). And it does kill people so it’s not unrealistic to be whipped up about it. It’s just if you take a step back, it’s a different view all together.

Close-up of a pangolin hunting for ants.

It’s an armored ant-eater.

For a start, think about the (suspected) origins of 19. A poor hunter-trapper in China (yep, like most nations, they still have poverty) goes out the wild and kills a pangolin (a rare, endangered creature). In China pangolin scales are used in tradition medicines, and the meat of the pangolin is considered a delicacy.

So the upshot here is an endangered creature died not because the poor man wanted to eat it, but because a rich person wanted a luxury delicacy. Not because the poor man was sick and wanted make a medicine, but because sick rich people will pay anything for anything if they think it will make them better.

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At least knitting will help your dad pass the time in quarantine.

Now that rich person gets sick, and goes to the doctor for medicine (more pangolin!). But in the meanwhile, that rich person makes a lot of poor and middle class people sick. And they can’t pay for care or medicine, so 19 spreads.

In addition, rich Chinese people can travel to other countries and rich foreign people are traveling to China. If some Americans can afford a cruise and get sick, they really shouldn’t be whining about being quarantined. They got a cruise out of it. It’s a sure bet they can afford good health care. That’s not the case for others Americans.

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Remember when Norovirus was the worst thing that could happen on a cruise?

If those cruisers bring a sickness back and spread it to their fellow citizens, it’s a huge problem. And this shows the weakness of both public health policy and preparedness, the utter lack of care rich people have for their country or fellow citizens’ well-being, and why not having national health is big deal.

If you want to be utterly honest about the cause of 19, rich people were the cause. The less income inequality a country has, the less disease it has. Pretty simple. And since wealthy people are actually the main drivers of pandemics, it seems fair to tax them appropriately, so there’s universal health care.

On a conservation level, there are not many pangolins on the planet. If people die of a pangolin-borne disease, it’s kind of “fair play.” You got what you deserved. Maybe don’t eat wild animals next time. It’s sad humans are dying of 19, but humans are 7 billion strong. Humans will be little impacted as a species.

Pangolin price per kilogram.

Chart Data Source:, TRAFFIC, and IUCN

The rise of 19, and humans dying, is actually a big factor that helps Bernie Sanders.  If the US already had national health for everyone, 19 could be better controlled. But it doesn’t, so people will die.

Deaths are bad for the current administration. Layer on that the economy tanking as a result of the administration literally destroying all the things that would have prevented 19 spreading (Obamacare, Pandemic committees, international health funding), it’s not looking good for the GOP.

I’m personally ok with M4A. It’s good for our beloved elders, and our respected service members. Why is it not good for our children? Or our everyday working-age people? A lot of moderate and independent voters feel the same. The 2018 midterms proved this.

And there’s a host of Canadian, European and other immigrants from around the world who understand that national health works and is a benefit. Naturalized citizens will make up 10% of the 2020 electorate.  People tend to forget this but a lot of Latinx immigrant families als come from places where democratic socialism was a positive experience and working just fine till the US blew them up in favor of right wing dictators that were more “business” friendly.

Countries were the US engaged in “regime change”:

            1. Argentina
            2. Brazil
            3. Cuba
            4. Chile
            5. Costa Rica
            6. El Salvador
            7. Guatemala
            8. Nicaragua
            9. Panama
            10. Paraguay
            11. Peru
            12. Uruguay

People are not blind. They can see a host of democratic socialist countries in Europe which time and time again rate better than the US in education, in health care, wealth inequality, and just satisfaction and happiness. There’s clearly nothing wrong with democratic socialism. It works. It can work really well in conjunction with capitalism and religious liberty.

And the fact things can work so well, and we can all see it working well in other places, better than the current way of doing things here, will have an impact on the elections. I think it already has.  Nevada has a strong union built by a lot of immigrants who prioritize a strong health care plan. They could see the virtue of national health care. They voted for Sanders. Sanders is likely to continue derive a lot of support from health care priority voters.

There’s a lot of angst in the Democratic party about Bernie Sanders. I understand that, but clearly the party hasn’t – even now – thought what happened in 2016 through. In 2016 Russia supported Trump and Sanders, the two opposites. The majority of votes went to the center candidate, HRC. But due to the Electoral College, Trump got the tap.

The thing is, once you get a rise in extremism in one party, you tend to see a rise in the other side as well. It’s the natural response to restore balance. In many ways, Trump was an extreme reaction to Obama (who was a reaction to Bush and the GOP’s terrible economic and international polices).

The problem with people embracing extremes is that they are extreme. This often ends civil unrest if it goes on too long, which is why Russia loves promoting extremes.

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Sometimes, you gotta go Sand.

I’m not sure the answer to Trump’s house on fire capitalism is Bernie’s buckets of sand socialism. It may be. I don’t know. What I do know is that the Dems allowed Bernie to run as a Democrat in 2016 and then again allowed him to run for 2020 as a Democrat. Just like the Republicans allowed Trump to run as a Republican even though he’d been a long-time Democrat and they knew him to be totally unqualified.

Personally, I think parties should vet candidates. If they’re not qualified (Buttigeig), they shouldn’t be allowed to run for that party. If they don’t want to observe the party rules (Bloomberg) they shouldn’t be allowed to run for the nomination. If they aren’t a member of your party (Sanders), they shouldn’t be allowed to stand for that party. But, that’s just me.

Coming around to recent polling and voting and caucusing, it’s clear a majority of Dems are looking for a center candidate. It’s also clear the Dems have set things up in such a way that a non-Democrat, non-centrist is going to get the nomination. I’m not denying there’s progressive wing, but it’s hovering at 40%. The same sort of margin that got Trump the GOP nomination in 2016 because GOP for years had been actively destroying it’s own centrists via things like the Tea Party.

So I guess there’s a point at which, the tail wags the dog in every party? But only if the party let’s that happen. Only if the party allows itself to become unstable. And that happens when people are turned into factions progressive v moderate for example. In 2016, people didn’t turn out or voted third party because the campaign of Russia to create splits, political, racial, etc, so that Dems in 2016 didn’t vote. And that helped Trump and the GOP downballots.

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In a stable 4 legged dog, no matter how hard the tail wags, the dog doesn’t fall over.

Do I think there will be a contested convention? I’m not sure. It’s very possible. My current thinking is 19 has people thinking “My God, we need universal health care.” And That makes Bernie the best candidate. Will that be enough to lock down the delegates needed to secure the nomination? I don’t know.

Will the fact there’s a split going into a convention hurt the party and ultimately cause a repeat of 2016 suppressed Dem voting? I don’t know. I think there’s an opportunity still to reflect on the divisions and for the party to create a platform that no matter who is the nominee, the platform works for everyone.

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A candidate is just a train that gets you to the platform. It’s where you’re going that matters, not the train that gets you there.

There’s an interesting school of thought, which I don’t subscribe to, that talks about electability a lot. Basically, true blue Dems are saying unhappy independent and GOP voters are not likely to vote Bernie if it’s Bernie v Trump. I don’t think that’s true for a lot of reasons. I’m an independent centrist. My ranking choice vote is currently

  1. Klobuchar
  2. Sanders
  3. Warren
  4. Biden

I consider Pete, Steyer and Bloomberg total non-starters.

I’m considering voting Sanders on Super Tuesday even though I support and believe pragmatic centrist Klobuchar is the best choice. If the convention is contested, I don’t want my attachment to Amy to be seen as I’m wed to the moderate lane and that I’ll take a okay moderate over a very good progressive.

I’m comfortable with both the moderate and progressive wings. So there, stuff that in your pipe and smoke it, pundits!

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I don’t care what kind of pipe of you smoke or what you put in it. A candidate is a candidate, but a president is one that wins.

Another thing Dems should be thinking about, but clearly aren’t, is the white vote. The GOP courts the white vote exclusively. It really does.  I know that sounds weird but Pew Research did a thing on the 2016 turn out and, basically, 73% of the vote was white as reported by people who voted.

If Trump got 48% of the vote, and it was 99% white, that’s saying the Democrats had a problem with white voters. Dems sort of recouped in 2018 with the strong health care message. But if they plan to keep white voters in their lane, healthcare, health care, Health Care.

I really think Dems should be beating the drum for healthcare, especially in the face of 19. Especially because people can see what not having real policy and qualified people in place, or real universal health care, does to a country, to a world. Given the timing of 19’s spread to the US, that puts Bernie’s M4A message out in the front.

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Canada once had a democratic socialist premier, Tommy Douglas (father of Donald Sutherland, grandfather of Keifer Sutherland). His cabinet was the first democratic socialist government in North America and it introduced the continent’s first single-payeruniversal health care program, commonly known as Medicare, in 1962.

I think we can all agree, after almost 60 years, Canada hasn’t gone to the dogs. Our Canadians friends have a pretty good life. They have all the things we have, but they have good quality, affordable healthcare. And that came as a result of electing a democratic socialist.

So, should we be scared of electing a democratic socialist? I think we should be more afraid of being 57 years behind Canada.

And eating pangolins.





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