Rafe said,

“Beware the experts.” Rafe Mair (1931-2017) was a small C provincial conservative and radio broadcaster who moved more and more GREEN as he aged. But, as a lawyer and politician, he was outspoken, sane, a smidge biased towards the status quo but still fair and, at times, more than just a little progressive. Rafe was a free-thinker. Rafe is famous for many things but, to me, it was the phrase quoted above, “Beware the experts!” Rafe inherently understood that the experts were not only NOT always right, but also that ‘expert opinion’ could be bought.

We have relied on the experts to guide us through all sorts of things and, usually, they get us muddled through enough but more and more they are NOT getting the job done (climate change, pandemics, economy, homelessness, policing, drug addiction, the list is endless). Just recently, Trudeau-the-international-political-expert we have chosen to lead us offered to proportionately fund the C-19 virus vaccine research so that Canada could be on the list of first recipients when a vaccine was finally approved. Three of the four leading pharmaceutical labs are American. Trump-the-US-expert said, “No way am I helping that sh***y Trudeau”. So much for smile-power and political expertise Justin…..

Two weeks ago, masks were not mandatory and travel was not restricted. Today, our experts have ‘flipped’. Now masks are mandatory and we are travel restricted. Asia went all-mask-all-the-time from the get go. Some expertise….

But it is more than just that….way more than that……

While it is true that we have chosen to listen to Trump and his experts and Trudeau and his experts despite overwhelming evidence of their incompetence, we have also chosen to listen to Tam and Fauci and Henry despite their sad and tragic lack of success on this virus threat. We have also chosen to delegate most significant social issues to ‘other’ experts who’s primary manifestation of expertise seems to be that they get paid a lot of money and have degrees while attending endless meetings.

Wanna hear some real, deep-seated dumb experts? Go ask the ‘drug experts’ about the right approach to the less visible drug-addiction pandemic. Or homelessness advocates on how to deal with that issue.

And how many experts meet how many times in how many places to further discuss climate change? Duh!

The real problem with trusting the experts is that it eats up great gobs of time and casts us in the role of mindless, do-nothing sheep, the great unwashed and the ultimately madding crowd. We are the herd. Individually, we do not want to take the heavy, socially-defined responsibility (that requires a huge undertaking of degree collecting and politicking) for everyone else and – THIS IS THE CRAZY PART – we are equally as reluctant, hesitant, resistant to even taking responsibility for OURSELVES!!!

And that is the worst part: we have abdicated our own responsibilities to our institutions and so-called experts. In experts we trust – at increasingly greater and greater risk to ourselves.

BEWARE the experts. They are often self-proclaimed, they are biased by ambition and faith, they are motivated by money and they are only a smidge more technically capable in their field than a keen reader and/or Google-searcher. At the same time, they are infamous for having blind spots and insecurities along with a string of caveats to hide behind when their expertise proves wrong. In other words, experts not only do NOT know their always-changing topic all that well, they are so entrenched in the system that they are comfortably sitting atop, they can’t think outside the box they built.

“Who would you trust, then, smarty pants?”

Good point. Even if you choose to take up your own personal responsibility on some matters, you will naturally seek the advice of others and, even if you do your own research, you are still reading the words of ‘experts’. Trusting experts is part of how we learn. Listen to Fauci. Listen to Tam. Listen to Henry. We really should start there.

But it DOES NOT END THERE! LISTENING to the ‘experts’ is only the beginning. One has to go further into a subject – as a rule – just to know the language the experts are speaking. If you go that far, go further…learn something new….then go further….think about those things….then go further, make up your own mind….take some direct actions to satisfy unanswered questions……if you want to hold the experts to account (which rarely happens) then you have to know at least half of what they know (on that topic) and preferably augmented with some new thinking to give yourself a chance.

So, to answer the smarty-pants question….ultimately you have to trust yourself.

Remember, in a crisis, the expert relies heavily on ‘established professional standards and norms’. The expert comes from history, from institutions and professional best-practices. But when the crisis is a new one, without enough precedent, the staid experts are all lacking the means, the ability, the willingness to think creatively. They are mired in the past. They can’t/won’t take that chance – careers are at stake. They are invested in a place that, by definition, is not working but, conflictingly, it is still working for them.

Another great observation: Four star generals are all experts of the previous wars and battles. Enemies are more creative. They fight new wars. The four-star experts on tanks and anti-aircraft guns are anachronyms today. Examples: it seems we are currently at war with ‘computer-based’ enemies (state sponsored and free enterprise). Worse, we are currently also at war with a disease. And all our trusted tools are more than just a little rusty.

Beware the experts. For God’s sake, beware the experts.

“Dave, why would you go on about that…? Now?

To my mind, we do not think freely enough. We obey our masters too readily. We do not question them. We do not think we know enough to even think about what they are telling us. Oddly, that is NOT the largest part of the problem. The largest part is that we stop there. We continue to believe in them even as the body bags add up. We are going to sink or swim in this together sounds noble but it is also stupid. I am not a lemming. Tests of survival have taught us differently. To survive in the face of a dire and imminent threat requires either 100% total teamwork and cooperation (herd mentality supporting dedicated, intelligent institutions and noble experts) or else one has to get as much information as one can and then MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND. I am inclined to the latter approach.

“Dave! Aren’t you suggesting behaving like a Bubba?”

Yes, to some extent, and most definitely NO. Yes, because the Bubbas are 100% suspicious and cynical and so am I. And they and I have some legitimate cause for that. But NO because the Bubbas have not learned anything factual or discovered new ways of dealing with things. They do not think or do. They are NOT constructive. They just pose with rifles and accuse others. They are just as locked into the system – but locked in as ‘rejecters’ rather than ‘believers’.

I am saying that, by free and focused individualistic thinking, you can improve the situation better and faster taking all the available information, rejecting all the weird conspiracies and propaganda and making some good, life, direct-action choices that make sense to you. If you are wrong (and we will all be wrong to some extent), then change it up, fix it and try again.

43 thoughts on “Rafe said,

  1. Raiders Mair was all the things that you said. As a Social Credit Minister led a vicious attack on the NDP, you know the Communists with a manifesto. All the fluttering in the hen house about how Dave Barrett, the communist had to go offered by in Raif’s expert opinion. Ironic that he later claimed don’t ‘’trust experts.” I agree with you. For clarity he might have been better served if he had said “ Beware the pundits and the propagandists!” I agree with you that the liars, the grifters, the soft soap spreading needs watching and it is prudent that you do so. Self efficiency needs more than powerful opinions. It needs expertise and science. Where would we without the NDP policy of the Land Reserve?

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  2. Damn!!! Once a post is posted, WordPress searches your library and makes reference to usually three OTHER posts that might relate to the latest one. I just saw a post from 2011 (Rafe and Jack…). Then I read another from later on…..Economics 101….. Today’s message: think and act freely, do not trust the institutions or experts completely and ‘take action’ has been said before. Apologies.

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      • Balkanization is, basically, a neutral term that has pejorative overtones and is used most often with prejudice. That dark slant comes from the origins of the word (the breaking up of the larger Yugoslavia into smaller nation-states that eventually ended up in wars and genocide) But Balkanization does NOT really mean that. It just means ‘breaking up a nation into smaller states’. The more neutral meaning allows for good to possibly come of the separation.
        In the US, the term – when applied – is vague. Are they referring to the dissolution of the union into powerful states? Regional separations (like the Rust Belt vs the SouthWest)? Surprisingly, THAT was all designed into the Constitution of the UNION. The Constitution went so far as to guarantee the right to bear arms against the government! Does it mean the North vs the South (aka: the Civil War)? Does it mean the haves vs the have-nots? The people-of-colour vs the whites? Red states vs Blue? Women vs men? Ford vs Chevy? The reality is the United States is NOT all that united in much of anything except greed and aggression. They never have been and likely never will be. Division, competition, aggression, greed and ‘Freedom’ to be a gun-totin’ nut are all encouraged in the USA. Perhaps they have dealt with the fear of separating the UNION by guaranteeing that it never gets TOOOO united?

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  3. I trust my observations and research, but it pales in comparison to the ‘experts” who are better schooled. and paid big bucks for their opinions Even though they are 180 degrees apart!
    Beware the experts indeed! ‘ x’ is an unknown quantity and ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure’
    Remember Raif saying you only have to be a 3 or 4 if the competition is only a one or two’
    Seems we have a lot of high priced one’s and two’s out there.

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    • Our ‘experts’ cost a lot. Too much. And most of it is a con and/or because of a ‘closed shop’ licensing or credential requirement. I am not a lawyer but I have done lots of legal work. I have also done more than a normal amount of medical/healthcare work. Then I built my own house from scratch and it has NOT fallen down. When I first ‘worried about it’, I was told that much of what passes for legal work is ‘word processing done by secretaries’ and two opposing lawyers are always arguing about a law – implying that there are at least two opinions for every legal issue even amongst experts. Basic medical stuff is pretty simple. Even the doctor’s say, “I need to do tests to know for sure.” Being the expert is not the same as being perfect. As John A just said, “I only have to be a 4 if all my competition is 3 or less.” My take on experts is to listen to all of them as if they are 4’s. And I might start out as a zero but I can quickly get to be a 2. If I am really keen, I may get to be a three. But, if you think about it, you now have a 3 as your own standing but access to 4’s as well. Maybe a 7 will result?

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  4. I think you are right, but sometimes the experts are also right, but politics just won’t listen because they are afraid of the economic consequences and the political suicide they will commit if they follow the advice. There was an interesting story this weekend on how the Chinese keep the Covid virus under control. In a province in China, they had a local outbreak of FIVE positive cases (on a population of 3.000.000 people. IMMEDIATELY, they sealed of the suburb where the outbreak happened, all people in that suburb where placed under strict quarantine and house arrest. ALL 3 million people of that province were tested. NOW THAT is how you attack a virus. I think in this case (Covid), experts KNOW what to do, strict isolation, massive testing, tracing,…. BUT….politicians are unwilling to act upon the advice. First of al, US, Canad nor Europe is China, so we as civilians might not accept such harsh measures. But on the other hand, China alsready has the virus under control (for many months). Economical and cultural life is back to normal and the overall cost on the society is far less then we will pay at the end. Death toll will also be a lot higher in US/Canada/Europe
    So sometimes experts are right, but they are not payed to take measures, just advice.
    But yes, as an individual, we have to be critical and do our own research as well

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    • My Hong Kong buddy told me back in February to ‘GET A MASK AND WEAR IT ALL THE TIME! GET IT NOW!!!’. Our ‘experts’ did not get to that conclusion until just lately. SOME experts!
      Frankly……I, as a non expert (say a zero), listened to the experts (Fauci, Tam and Henry) and was NOT impressed (which is my prerogative). But my buddy lives in Asia where they have had a lot of real-life experience. So, we listened to our HK buddy and wore masks from the get-go (Sal and her quilters made the first ones). My point: My expert was a guy who had ‘lived through it’ rather than some doctors who had studied it (yes, it is a bias but, again, my prerogative). ‘My prerogative’ is another way of saying, “I am going to think this out on my own” (even if that means listening to others while doing so). There is a difference.

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      • You may be misinformed as your admission of possible bias might possibly suggest. The common cold is a virus why is there no vaccine? The COVID-19 is currently mutating. HK has a mask wearing culture whereas many Canadians resist many directives on staying safe. Canada is not a police state but Hong Kong is. Fauci did live through pandemics and does have direct experiences with pandemics. Did your friend live through Ebola? Masks are not enough for Ebola or any other highly contagious viruses. The masks currently available in Canada are not all effective. Some masks used here are actually make things worse. Aka masks that don’t filter effectively or seal properly or fit properly. Ie masks over beards, and not all can wear masks…masks are not a silver bullet of prevention.
        Yes medical thinking on COVID 19 has evolved. Some catch-up is going on but information on the virus is growing every day. China has had some missteps and China continues to get somethings wrong on dealing with the pandemic. I get your point about would of could of might of if only but China lied to the WHO and misinformation went viral.

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      • Fauci lived through pandemics but did NOT suggest/impose mandatory masking for 8 months! I can understand an initial hesitation but – if you are an expert – why would you not look to those who were successfully limiting the virus? How did his expertise EVER show up? HK had 5 cases when they ‘went nuts’ and locked everything down. (Yes, I know Fauci had to deal with the Orange Idiot but doesn’t the Hippocratic oath require that the physician ‘do no harm’? Letting Trump trample logic and the public weal was weak and misplaced. I like Fauci but he did NOT step up). Do I expect all experts to also be heroes? No. Of course not. But I would expect a few. Like that Chinese doctor who first blew the whistle on C-19 and then subsequently died from it. Like that Chinese shopper standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, like that Chinese student, Joshua Wong, currently being arrested for his political views.
        Where are our heroes?

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  5. I am reading just now an interesting book that also speaks about this subject. It is called “Uncultivated – wild apples, real cider, and the complicated art of making a living – by Andy Brennan). Hist statement is that we give authority to the financially succesfull AND the scientist, because they heve to be right, yes? Actually, NO, not always. And if both of them say the same thing, then for sure we should not question it? Wrong again! I also read an article today from the Financial Times, where it is said that AstraZeneca closed contracts with governments, where AstraZeneca stated that it the pandemic is over july 1st 2021. The contracts can be extended but only if AstraZeneca decides in good faith that the pandemic is not over. So big money/scientists are deceding when the pandemic is over (probably earning huge amounts of money on vaccins, and they will decide when the pandemic is over). They are succesfull and scientist….

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    • And that AZ and their contract story speaks to the very heart of the issue….Capitalism, greed, money and the lack of morals, ethics and other controls in American society. It is a rare topic in the news these days that does NOT refer to the ‘cost’ of things but only the dollar-cost, not the social costs. We seem to have accepted that money is the GREAT METRIC of all things. But it is NOT. NOT for human beings, anyway. It may be the GREAT METRIC for soulless corporations and heartless governments but it is NOT the metric by which we, as human beings, should measure our lives.

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  6. This current topic is interesting and begs for more clarity. In talking to acquaintances some like Trump because he is a businessman and that according to them qualifies him to run a country. One pillar of a sound country is a functioning economy. The American economy is cyclical and prone to confidence swings. Trump the reputed business whisper has failed to deal effectively with COVID, why is he still seen as a business success given the current economic failures in the USA under his Presidency?

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    • First off, the claim that Trump is a businessman is bogus and it is made by people who didn’t look deep enough into the claim to determine the falseness of it. It was then and still is an ‘easy’ crutch for them to lean on. Even tho the fake-crutch has been proven false, they can still say, “Well, I was voting -at the time- for a businessman because all other politicians are liars and cheats.” Which is NOT true. REAL business people are on-the-job every day keeping the wolves at bay, the sheep coming in and putting out all the fires while fighting alligators. Con men golf, watch TV and wear a fake tan.
      And all con men count on people believing them over the so-called liars and cheats (the swamp) and not doing any REAL due diligence on who is accusing who. Trump put on a suit and sold himself as a businessman. He is NOT.
      That ‘pillar’ of a sound economy is NOT the stock market but Trump was manipulative enough to make it the focus of the economic metrics so that he could ride the trending highs while doing everything in his power to hyper-inflate the market (lowest interest rates in decades, American protectionism policies, bombastic boosterism, increased spending). But the facts are opposite: Obama’s QuantEase plan ‘refloated the boat’ that Bushs’ actions/inactions practically sunk. The economy rose better and at a greater rate under Obama than Trump even before Covid-19 took him out at the knees. To be fair to Trump, C-19 was going to hit the economy hard regardless but he exacerbated the problem ten-fold with his staggering ignorance and do-nothing approach. A REAL business approach would have been ‘all hands on deck’ and ‘spare no expense’. A REAL business approach would have been ‘all over this issue like white on rice’.
      Anyone who believes Trump was good for the economy and is a businessman is beyond delusional, they are just plain stupid.

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  7. I get what you said about Chinese heros. What about the heroic doctor who was smart enough to know that not all masks are effective. Not all masks are equally effective plus some are ineffective totally. In WW ! some solders urinated on cloths to prevent breathing mustard gas but not effective. I get it not the same-thing but an ineffective COVID-19 mask is not effective! What is the benefit of an ineffective mask and many masks are ineffective. I gather your plea is that there ought to have been an earlier mask mandate. Perhaps, but effective masks were in short supply and many counterfeit masks were around. They did stress social distancing and social isolation which were ignored by many. Do you think that the up take of mask would have been higher? Than other fight the spread of COVID measures.

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    • I think that the ‘uptake’ may have been higher but DEFINITELY would have been higher had they been made mandatory. Anti-maskers would, of course, still followed Q-Anon and Fox but the gen-pop would have used them more. The main point was that the experts did NOT demonstrate leadership, expertise or efficacy. They were ‘talking heads’ that said mild truths wrapped in poli-speak. Had Fauci said (at any news conference), “Hey! Get a mask. Wear it. Don’t do that and you will be ill and you will infect others. This is NOT a suggestion – this is a direction. This is as strong a direction as I can make in my capacity on the topic. In fact, I can be stronger so here it is: the president is wrong. Maybe criminally so. Ignore him. Please care for yourself and your neighbours. I know I will be fired but I have an oath to keep and I am keeping it. The president is not!”
      Hell, if someone claiming expertise and being paid a lot of money said something that selfless, I would wear a tu-tu if they told me to.

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  8. I disagree to some extent because early mask wearing orders without effective masks such as M95 would predictedly be doomed to failure. I do all the actions required to flatten the curve but not all do. It is an aspirational to claim that things would be better or improved by wearing proven to be ineffective masks. Effective protection items are still out of the reach of many people. I wear a paper mask that does not work but as part of virtue signalling. It is worth noting that BC flattened the first wave of the pandemic without mandating masks. Research proves that most masks do not stop COVID 19 spread. If everyone has a M95 mask and followed all thr recommendations then the curve would be flattened. But…but…but hindsight does not change the facts on the ground. We still have people trying to get around precautions and literally crying about their truncated social circles. Boo hoo! Noncompliance is not on the doctors.

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    • Then we must respectfully disagree. The buck has to stop somewhere. Fauci and Henry stood in front of the cameras to lead. That is why we, the great unwashed, watched. That is why Dix and Horgan stood to the side (even Trump kind of sidled out of the camera when Fauci first spoke). They did NOT lead, they chose to report daily numbers and suggest instead. Fair enough – if THAT is what they believed was needed. But, how could they believe that? Basic research (in Asia) suggested that mandatory masks were effective and they chose NOT to go that route. And THEY are the experts. They stood up to lead…….
      NOW (8 months after my friend in HK yelled at me to wear a mask) they are just barely coming around to an order of mandatory masks. Even at that, they have NOT…not yet….made such an order. I fully understand that they can order all they want and, perhaps, not a single person would have obeyed. Or the mask that person bought to comply was not ‘up to snuff’ by the N95 standard. Perhaps. But those are different problems. FIRST the order has to be given. First someone has to lead.
      My experience suggests at least half would comply all the time and 75% would comply when in public. My view is that we generally follow our leaders if they step up to show the way. We don’t go easily or at all when they are wishy washy. My own doctor – like the rest of us – doesn’t have Fauci’s long history so he didn’t advise, suggest or order. He said, “Well, what you are doing makes sense to me.” And I accept that wishy-washy-ness because he did not get up on a stage and assume the posture of a leader. He just watches the TV, too.
      Put another way….what would you or I have done in their stead? You complied to virtue signal. Not all bad. I, on the other hand, would NOT have been on stage only to posture and spew inanities. Or to make nice with platitudes, placebos and politics. If I was up there at all, it would have been to ‘tell it like it is’ and make strong prescriptions. I would have no choice.
      We have some very vulnerable friends including new grandchildren and an elderly in-law. I obeyed the order (from my HK friend) and I have diligently followed it. To be fair, I have ‘left my mask in the car’ a few times and just stood way back instead but that was NOT the plan – the plan was to mask up and I did 99% of the time. So did Sal.

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  9. M95 is not a side issue it is the main issue. There are not enough effective masks so why wear an ineffective mask? I may be obtuse but I have not heard from you why an ineffective is worth wearing? For the love of God why wear an ineffective masks? One of the masks I was given was made out of old panty material which breathed and let the virus in. Totally useless. I do not see how an exercise in futility prevents COVID-19. Other than making a case for hindsight which is not 2020. If hindsight were 2020 then repeating past mistakes ought to be less common. A well fitting M95 mask is effective but not totally. Whipping off one’s panty and strapping it to one’s face does nothing! I’m not sure the caught the doctors in a mistake moment that you are repeating is as momentous as it appears to you. You discovered what you see to be a mistake but if they do not have the effective masks then the blame if you are assigning blame lies in austerity. Good on you for pointing out deficiencies but when have “told you so” changed the past?

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    • I did not say it was a side issue, I said the efficacy of the mask (and it’s availability) is secondary to the acknowledgment and ordering of the wearing of them. Our experts had to say it first. OUT LOUD and CLEAR. They did not.
      As for “I told you so”…..99.999999999% of people should NOT have to hear that. But leaders do. Pontificating experts do. It’s part of what we call accountability. Many ‘health experts’ who got something THAT wrong for SO long would be terminated from their position. Bear in mind a lot of people died in 2020 that did not have to. We blame Trump but Tony also had access to the microphone and the audience. For evil to be done……….
      Mind you, I like Fauci as a nice guy next door. I like Henry. I would go see Henry for a stitch or a simple prescription. Probably. Maybe. I would maybe even take Henry’s advice on some basic medical things. She’s nice. But she is off my list as a potential leader in anything except a child’s birthday party. So is Tony. And the spineless Debbie Birx never even made the short list.

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  10. Some clarity here the wearing of the mask mandate was not issued soon enough in your view. But it was eventually issued. The curve in B.C. was flattened without a mask mandate but the media howled for it and it is partly in place. The orders to wash hands, not to touch one’s face, to be six feet socially distancing, to be socially isolated, and keep to one’s bubble all worked to reduce the curve of the first wave pandemic in B. C. Then you rated Bonnie as 70% effective. Has she fallen so far from being a military navy doctor for a contingent of 1000 men to being unable to lead at best a child’s birthday. I like hyperbole as much as anyone and irony even more. If I required reviving I would trust her. Now Bonnie will never likely ever read any of your criticisms so why make them? I’m not wounded by criticisms of highly qualified people.I get it that she is not omnipotent or prescient or infallible or obdurate. She is human, hurts, cries and feels sad. I know you understand that improvement is possible. Hindsight criticisms are not always helpful. The guy stuck in a snow drift need not be reminded he should have put snow tires on. His bad. Bonnie is an acknowledged leader but you do not think so. Got it, in your opinion and you are entitled to your opinion. Clear.

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  11. The truth why masks were not obligatory from the beginning….there simply were NO masks available, and the scientists AND politicians knew that. So if they would have yelled “GET A MASK”, the whole society would have gone crazy in search for a mask, and black market prices would have skyrocketed. And virtually ALL masks are produced in China, so there was no way to ramp up production in US/Canada/Europe. So the politicians and scientists chose NOT to make it an obligation or a suggestion. Most masks give some degree of protection, and yes the KN95 is the best one. But the few masks available at that time went to first line medical professionals, which makes sense to me. Just before the first signs of the COVID outbreak, the belgian minister of health gave the order to destroy a stock of 11 million masks, just because the expiration date had passed and she said “we don’t need masks anayway”. She could have tested them, they would still have been OK and a lot less people would still be alive. It took our government more then 2 months in full COVIF outbreak to get in a new supply of masks from China….Fortunately, in the meantime some companies started to make masks again in Europe, so we are not that dependent anymore from China. But most mask give some some degree of protection, combine the mask with social distancing, and you are already a long way in flattening the curve

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    • Sorry, Wim. Don’t agree. Are you saying that Belgium has no sewing machines? We OTG’ers had 50 masks being made a day by 50 women on two islands. We had 2500 masks in less than a week! They were fitted and were made of three layers of close knit washable fabric. Nobody panicked because all the masks (in packages hanging in stores) were made in China and selling out quickly. Our peeps just ‘made ’em up’ themselves. Masks are NOT rocket science.
      Another thing: masks are not being recommended to protect the wearer. They are to limit the respiratory spray zone of a person possibly asymptomatic WITH the virus. As ‘S’ says…”a pair of panties on your face are useless against the virus.” True. But our experts were first advising that we cough into our elbows! The idea is to contain the ‘spew’ we all make as we talk or even whisper when close and actually SPRAY when we yell and, worse, cough and sneeze. Wearing a mask is an act of UNSELFISHNESS, not one of personal protection. Why? Because we do not mask our eyes and they are an easy-entry point for the virus. No one in their right mind should be frozen into inaction because the mask plant is in China.

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      • Danger mine field ahead! Due warning you might feel criticized but let’s think of this as a moment of reflection. Effective mask making is “rocket science” and compliant masks are tested for a number of characteristics including containing as you put it as, “spew.” But if the mask is not certified then it can leak around the edges if poorly fitting in some way. Canada rejected thousands of newly made masks as insufficient or not fit for purpose. Your friend was referring to masks of the quality of a KN95 or the very highest quality a M95. You are totally correct to the last dot that if warnings were given that lives would have been saved. You were/are correct but Trump received a secret briefing in January stating the true danger of the virus but choose not to inform the public. True! Trump choose instead later to attack China and the WHO regarding how he had been misinformed by them. The Thump meme is finding fault and going on the attack. Okay that’s Trump’s thing. All over America people taking personal responsibility in their own way fought the virus but 100’s of thousands still died. Yes masks are a piece of the total approach to fight the pandemic but just a piece but not the silver bullet solution. B.C. crushed first curve without ubiquitous mask wearing. But Trump enhanced the spread of the virus in America including to his family and in the White House, and they should have had masks like you were advised.

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      • Thanks Sid for this clarification, but I think David doesn’t mind a good discussion…and I don’t feel offended by his remarks. Never waste a chance to have a nice discussion…preferably face to face and with a good scotch as David would say

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  12. David, rest assured, we all did make our own masks because none were available at that time, but people WILL go to shops and buy all the available stock and more….there were simply not enough masks available because we had no stock and masks were being produced in China exclusively on an industrial scale. For the nurses and doctors, we needed the KN95 masks, not the DIY stuff. And I think politicians were afraid that everyone would try to get their hands on the few chirurgical masks that were available in Europe. And so the politicians AND scientists also said we should cough in our elbows for months. But isn’t the real truth that there simply were NOT enough chirurgical masks and KN95 masks available in Europe/Canada/US to protect the nurses and doctors? It proves again the weakness of our system and the huge problem of outsourcing all our production to China. At a certain point during the first wave, there was even no more toilet paper, because evryone bought huge amounts of toilet paper. It’s in the nature of humans NOT to share, but to be greedy!

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  13. Danger? Minefield? We do NOT disagree by much. I know that a ‘certified’ 95 mask is likely better than a Sal-made mask but our experts did NOT even advise getting an amateur-made interim-level mask. Wim figures they purposefully avoided mask orders because there weren’t enough to go around. My response is that by denying the importance of masks simply because there were not enough in the stores is also a dereliction of their duty. They should have said, “The good masks are going to the healthcare professionals until we get enough re-stocked for everyone. But any mask is better than none. If you are too dependent on store-bought or so stupid that you cannot make a mask that is at least 50% more effective than nothing, then at least cough in to your elbows!” The mask was poo-poohed. And these are our EXPERTS!!!
    The parameters/patterns for making a good equivalent mask was on the net within days of the virus being first announced. .
    I also know that if everyone in the world had plenty of PPE (all certified) we would still have C-19. BUT, but, but….we would NOT have as much death and chaos. We may have been able to keep it to a side-bar story rather than a game-changer. I am saying that, if you are leading from a podium, getting a huge salary and have credentials up the wazoo AAANNNNDDDDDDDD everyone is listening to you, you should have done much more to ensure you did a better job.
    Related story: I know a local who will NOT eat our local prawns even as he sees them being pulled up fresh. “Why?” Because they have not been certified or inspected. “Unh, you have seen them go from the ocean to the pot!? What needs inspecting? What needs certifying?” He believes that – somehow – inspecting and certifying makes the still-wet prawns safer. In case you don’t see the parallel – no single prawn or single mask EVER gets inspected. The ‘keep us safe’ requirement of institutions provides spot checks on the odd mask or prawn but, for the most part inspects the physical plant that makes/processes those products. If the prawn boat has all the right equipment and looks clean, the prawns get a stamp of approval. No prawn goes first to the lab. The crew could have peed on everything first but the product is ‘approved’ because of the spot-check institutional process applied. My point is that relying on others is vulnerable-making. Relying on yourself is not a panacea nor100% perfect but, in a pinch, it is better than nothing. Our experts gave us nothing.
    But I really like our debate….. thanks….missed this….

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    • Like I said here above…it is just a pity we can’t do this face to face and accompanied by a good Scotch. But for the moment, we will have to use your blog 😉

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  14. Always enjoyed Rafe Mair for he was provocative because he was well informed. He was a content expert in his own right- –when it came to public policy. He could see problems from many angles- and knew the core issues and key considerations. I miss him.

    Downloading decisional responsibility to a consultant defeats the purpose of soliciting expertise. There are many components to decision making and knowledge translation is one of them.

    That advice can be pricey- for the going rate is the going rate- market place dynamic for advice givers in the field.

    The price you pay does not always correlate with the value of the advice received. The onus is on the advice seeker – often in the public trust- to exercise good judgment when soliciting opinions.
    Overpaying for advice and not accounting for conflicts of interest or demonstrable bias run contrary to public service.

    No one can know everything— and often it best that the decider – not always be a content expert – but rather one who has a discerning mind- and a record of making decisions that have proven to be in the pubic interest.

    There is an art to selecting the opinions of content experts. Too many of our leaders have not acquired this skill/talent. That is where public judgment enters the fray. We need to elect only those who are truly qualified to act in the best interest of the public- to realize the public good.

    Your post was a bit of rant- I get that- but please don’t forget the utility of expertise- when it comes to policy and political decision making. No one can know everything about everything.

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    • Rafe is too ideological and fixed in his views and unable give his public pulpit the balanced presentations that issues deserve instead he pushed propaganda and picayune drivelling bleats of a pathological liar. He was not a great man but an appologist who reflexively dismissed any ideas that did not fit his paranoid wonderland.

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      • Well, I suppose there IS that…….but what I liked the most was the phrase ‘beware the experts’. That was – at the time – a new thought to me. Made me re-think things. Until then, I had given much to much credence to ‘experts’. Well, academia-based experts, anyway. Expert builders and mechanics still impress the hell out of me.
        You are aware that Rafe passed on, right? No longer with us? Deceased. Gone with the wind…..?
        I disagreed with him on most right vs left issues (he was a Capitalist til the end) and I did not support all that he supported. But I liked that he spoke up, stated his position and had some substance behind it as a rule. I liked that he became a Greenie in his latter years and that was the focus of his interests. I am sure Rafe was ‘hard to take’ at times…but, well, you see…….so am I.

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  15. I give you the prawn example and I bet Canadian prawns are better than prawns cultivated in field run off water or fish farmed salmon. But salmon are not prawns nor are prawns COVID-19 masks. I do like the bait and switch. Speaking of fish tales, I get it that you think a homemade mask is better than no mask unless the maskless people are following all of the rules of reducing COVID 19 transmission and the curve is flattened without a mask mandate. Masks are better than doing nothing and having no plan but B.C. had a plan. A plan with no masks that you rated at about C+ or B- which flattened the curve. I have no idea how many of the daily COVID-19 briefings you had time to watch but all of warning of which you speak were given by BC health several times week. Very early on Bonnie was repeatedly asked about mask wearing and she suggested that one might develop a false sense of security and most masks do not work. But you want to disagree with Bonnie’s judgement. Why are you not attacking the poor job Alberta is doing? Bonnie was a Canadian Navy diver earlier in her career and later a Navy Doctor. Yes, Bonnie is not infallible!

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  16. I had a further thought about the doers of evil. Shakespeare said something like this, ‘The evil men do lives on after their deaths but the good is often interred with their bones.’

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  17. I DO have focused interests and some of them, it seems, are odd. If not odd, then eclectic. But a legacy (in Shakespeare’s terms) seems to come by way of evil deeds. My ‘positive’ legacy, it is suggested by Bill, will be immediately forgotten which is ironic since I can’t think of a single thing at this point already……. yikes!

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    • This not you. Shakespeare was not writing about you! The word “often” is not a synonym for “always”. Stop this false conflation now! Are you just picking a fight? Stop. Not interested in a fight. This quotation is an eulogy from the play “Julius Caesar” Not you!

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