Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

“I’d rather die from COVID than loneliness.”

The toll on the elderly caused by the COVID-19 panic rises, and not because they have caught COVID-19.

According to an Associated Press story this week, an estimated 40,000 nursing home residents have died prematurely since March, resulting in a 15 percent increase in “excess deaths” at those facilities. “Nursing home watchdogs are being flooded with reports of residents kept in soiled diapers so long their skin peeled off, left with bedsores that cut to the bone, and allowed to wither away in starvation or thirst,” the AP reported. Adult children are shocked to find their once-healthy, active parents near death and in excruciating pain due to neglect.

One Tennessee woman recounted her heartbreak at seeing her mother for the first time in months: “The 79-year-old had dropped about 20 pounds, her eyes sunken and her legs looking more like forearms. Doctors at the hospital said she was malnourished and wasting muscle. There were bedsores on her backside and a gash on her forehead from a fall at the home. Her vocabulary had shrunk to nearly nothing and she’d taken to pulling the blankets over her head.”

Tens of thousands of similar accounts flood social media; a group of senior citizens staged a protest last month outside their Colorado nursing home, begging for permission to see their loved ones. One sign read, “I’d rather die from COVID than loneliness.”

I am sorry, but I am of same mind. When I am very old I would want to be able to see my loved ones, even at the risk of getting sick. But then, that has always been the case. The elderly are very vulnerable to any contagious disease. Yet, until this madness, we recognized that life must go on, and that the family must come first.

Not seeing relatives and keeping these helpless old people in the equivalent of solitary confinement is not kind, and in fact is downright cruel. And apparently it has led to a reduced level of care in many institutions, because no one from the family has been present to make sure that care is proper. (From experience with both our parents, if you don’t make your presence felt with the long-term care facility, your parents will not get proper care. They will get ignored.)

But no, we need to cancel Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and all family gathering. And we need to now close restaurants early, at 10 pm, because it is in that specific hour that COVID-19 becomes truly contagious and dangerous.


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  • Andrew_W

    Seems you’re trying to have it both ways, previously you’ve argued that only the most vulnerable should be protected because the virus is mostly harmless to the majority, but when the measures necessary to protect those people, and isolation is the only one available for now, are taken you turn around and, argue against those measures on the grounds that they are too cruel, better we let them take the risk.

    In reality what you’re doing is taking examples of where people have failed their responsibility of care for the elderly and infirmed and used those specific and unnecessary failures and extrapolated them across millions of people in thousands of care facilities.

  • wayne

    Elvis Costello / Paul McCartney

    “….Veronica sits in her favorite chair,
    She sits very quiet and still.
    And they call her a name that they never get right,
    and if they don’t then nobody else will.
    But she used to have a carefree mind of her own,
    with a devilish look in her eye,
    saying “you can call me anything you like,
    but my name is Veronica…””

  • pzatchok


    I took it as the article was more about how the residents were upset about not seeing their own families.

    And if you have ever had a family member in a long term care facility you do have to watch them closely. I am not saying that they do anything intentionally but they have a lot to do with an ever smaller staff. Some things slip through the cracks sometimes.
    Visiting family members often help by noticing what everyone including the patients often miss.

    I for one have not seen my brother since this whole fiasco has begun.

  • Andrew_W


    I posted my above comment before reading the links. Having now read them, especially the AP article that the American Greatness article cherry picks from, it’s apparent the issue is more about the pressure such care homes are under due to both being directly impacted by covid – facilities that have become infected with the result that staff are overwhelmed and in short supply, just not enough people available to take care of the residents given the circumstances, and the indirectly impacted facilities – where the virus has been kept out and isolation is the problem.
    From the AP article the impression I get is that it’s the directly impacted facilities where the real disasters are happening, where the uninfected residents are facing the worst neglect, and that the isolation in uninfected facilities is, relatively speaking, a Godsend.

    As I see it, once again real problems that result from the best approaches to doing the best for people are being turned into a political football, rather than acknowledging that the virus is a real problem, especially as a risk for the most vulnerable, it’s all about turning those problems into an excuse to attack the opposite ideology.

    Comparing what’s actually happening in facilities that have become infected vs those that have not – as described by the AP article, the isolation is by far the lesser of two evils.

  • Andrew_W

    real problems that result from the best approaches to

    Should be: “real problems that result despite the best approaches to

  • eddie willers

    The elderly are very vulnerable to any contagious disease. Yet, until this madness, we recognized that life must go on, and that the family must come first

    People used to die of “old age”. I read a statistic that the average lifespan of US citizens is 78. And that the average age of death from Covid is 78.

    Though we can put a finer point on it, we are still dying of old age.

  • Edward

    They pay a lot of increasingly scarce money for good care, but they aren’t getting the care they pay for. They once were (or still are?) exposed to Wuhan infectious patients from hospitals, and are now more isolated than protected. What is right with this picture?

    We all are making tremendous and terrible sacrifices during this Great Oppression in order to protect the vulnerable, but it turns out that these sacrifices still are not protecting them. Indeed, the reduced creation of resources due to the ruined economy is preventing resources from being available for their protection or for the protection of others around the world. The only people that might be protected from this mess might be those least in need of protection — the least vulnerable and most immune.

    Everyone loses all the time. What a counterproductive cluster bleep.

  • janyuary

    Andrew W, you apparently think the people who object to these drastic C19 measures are just … well, just too stupid to do what’s best for themselves and others, and therefore need smarter people like lockdown zealots to BOSS STUPIDER PEOPLE AROUND.

    Right, Andrew?
    How else would you put it?
    No matter how you rationalize, Andrew, that is what it is.

    Well, proof that we are the smarter ones, is that we understand that just because we’re smarter than most others, it nonetheless gives us ZERO right to boss those stupider people around.

    So Andrew once again how about being an American and being responsible for your own health and your own fear.
    If this virus frightens you, STAY HOME AND ORDER OUT or wear mask and keep your distance from others and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS if they refuse to wear a mask or don’t jump out of your way as you approach.

    But NO, lockdown zealots want to be responsible for my health on their terms only!!!
    I have ZIP desire to be responsible for their health, but if I was, their whole eating/hydrating routine would be turned on its head and THEY WOULD BE HEALTHIER AND FITTER FOR IT because I know for certain sure that when it comes to nutrition, I am way smarter than most people. Way smarter.

    That still doesn’t give me a right to tell them what to stop eating and what to throw down the garbage disposal, and what to start eating even though it could literally save their lives if they did.

    Self deception, Andrew, is where this lies — that you deceive yourself that you’re smarter is of zero consequence, but when you deceive yourself by thinking it gives you authority over MY life, then it means BIG TROUBLE.

    Enjoy your part in America’s second Civil War, all of you who think like Andrew. Jusyt admit the TRUTH. It will set you free and will also set the rest of us free. Hurry up, please.

  • Andrew_W

    but it turns out that these sacrifices still are not protecting them.

    Despite the picture being painted, I’ve no doubt those in facilities free of infection are better off than those in facilities with outbreaks.

  • Andrew_W

    Right, Andrew?
    How else would you put it?

    How I would put things is how I have put things in my comments, simple really.

    . . .proof that we are the smarter ones,

    Given that you’re one of the smart ones you obviously haven’t been paying attention.
    I have said that the evidence is that masks do reduce the spread, that is not the same as saying they greatly reduce the spread or stop the spread, nor is it the same as saying everyone should be forced to wear masks, which is not something I’ve advocated for.
    I personally I’ve carried on life as normal, out and about and haven’t worn a mask in months, if you’d been paying attention you’d know why that is.

    You appear to be under the impression that I think lockdowns should be imposed in America, that is not the case. I’ve said that given the situation in America lockdowns are not the solution, that voluntary measures need to be encouraged. You’ve probably gotten the impression that I’m all for universal lockdowns because I’ve pointed out that they do restrict the spread of the virus, there are numerous examples from around the world of lockdowns pulling the R0 below 1, so reducing the number of new cases daily. Pointing something out is not the same as advocating for it

    Enjoy your part in America’s second Civil War, . . .
    At that I’m tempted to reply that I’ve got the popcorn at the ready, but the consequences of where America could be heading are not funny at all. I hope for the best .

  • pzatchok

    It has nothing to do with infected facilities vs uninfected ones.
    Sorry to say it but they all become infected at some point.
    My brothers facility has been on total lock down since this started(no visitors indoors) the residents were allowed to go outside but not off the facility grounds and could have 2 visitors by appointment.
    Because one workers relative tested positive the whole facility is now on full lock down. No visitors at all. In all other industries that worker would be forced to stay home for a week or two and need a negative test to come back. The facility would not change also.

    This has everything to do with the rights of the residents.
    I don’t know about you but it would chap my fanny if I was ordered and placed under house arrest because someone else might do something.
    That is a direct infringement of my rights. I am allowed to associate with anyone I want. This medical emergency excuse is getting a little bit out of hand and I can see why the elderly residents would rather die than go through another year of this.

  • pzatchok

    Oh and the whole restricted operating hours thing is just ignorant.
    Does Covid get more active after midnight?

  • Andrew _W

    Death rates in nursing homes in the US by state range between 0.22% and 12.5%. Assuming that’s a reasonable proxy for infection rates it suggests after 9 months some states have been successful in keeping covid out of most facilities. With a vaccine in few months covid will be far less deadly, so isolation measured can be ended.

  • pzatchok

    You must be proud.

    Take away 9 months of a persons freedom just to make you feel good about possibly saving them.

    Empathy is a lie.
    It give you a false feeling of thinking you know what someone else feels and it gives them at best nothing more than the idea that someone else cares.
    Nothing is actually accomplished for either.

  • Andrew _W

    If people want to leave those facilities to live elsewhere, perhaps with family, they should be free to do so. I’m not advocating for removing anyones freedoms, but the owners get to make the rules. Don’t like the rules? Bye.

  • LocalFluff

    @Andrew _W
    But, these are their homes. They rent they or have other contracts that they pay for. They cannot legally be evicted or restricted for any suddenly made up reason.

    Socialists want to use violence to cause poverty, the characteristic of all leftist policies. Many want to forbid all human space flight, because perhaps some astronaut might get hurt, and forbid any sample returns to Earth because it could bring some space alien murder bug. Leftists love to use the word “science”, but none of them have any clue as to what it means. It just sounds good to them to claim that “Politics is science, and science is a priesthood who prove the final truth about everything. Therefor any criticism of the reigning Lords is forbidden!”

  • So sorry, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    Robert wrote: “And we need to now close restaurants early, at 10 pm, because it is in that specific hour that COVID-19 becomes truly contagious and dangerous.”

    “Listen my children, and you shall hear.
    Of the COVID-19 year of fear.
    In 2020 those alive
    Had to suffer under the Governor’s jive.”

  • wayne

    Andrew _W:
    ref- nursing homes–
    they are heavily regulated but that varies by State. (I used to manage 2 Adult Foster Care Homes with severely mentally ill folks, nursing-homes are another animal entirely.)
    [ditto on what Mr. Z. advised–make your interest in your relative, known to all 3 shifts, ideally on a daily basis for a month after admission]
    –there are about 1.5 million people in about 16,000 nursing homes in the USA.
    – 80% are 65+ years old
    – 65% are woman
    -60% have cognitive-impairment (due to stroke or other physical impairment and Alzheimer type diseases)
    -60% have greater than 4 self-care needs.
    -Medicaid is the primary payer for nursing home care.
    -$82,000/year– typical cost of average nursing home

  • Andrew_W

    Wayne, thanks for the input, this later exchange with pzatchok and LocalFluff has distracted from my main point, which was that a facility free of covid is a much better place to be than one in which the virus is spreading, but the former is still worse than precovid.

    In NZ we have 600 facilities of this type, covid got into 6, and resulted in about 18 of the 25 total covid deaths we’ve had.

  • LocalFluff

    Thomas E. Woods, Jr. makes a 20 minutes presentation about the “Covid cult” at the Mises Institute.

    He mentioned Sweden that has had minimal lock down. But now, 9 months later, we will have a lock down in Sweden too. Beginning Tuesday no more than 8 persons are allowed to be gathered. The prime minister just held a 5 minute speech to the nation where he said that no one should interact with more than 1 or 2 friends, or if they have a family only interact with family members, and only at home. Christmas wasn’t cancelled even during the black death plague 650 years ago. The social democrats here even cancelled their May 1st marches, which is unheard of! They weren’t even cancelled in Leningrad during the siege. This is all so Orwellian mentally ill.

    This will not end until people revolt and kill their politicians.

  • pzatchok

    It was not intended and in no way coordinated.
    But this Covid crises is being used by at least a few influences, movers and shakers, around the world.

    Its being used by them to see just how far the people could be pushed before they fight back.
    Dictators already know how far they can push the people. they do not care what the people think.
    But republics and democracies need to know just how far they could go and still keep the people on their side.

    Just how far is your nation going before the people passively resist by refusing to ware the masks and how far can it go before they actually aggressively fight back.

  • Edward

    From the article:

    Now these poor suffering souls will eat Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps their last one, alone while their offspring virtue-signal on Facebook in fealty to the almighty CDC guidance and the mindless cult of Orange Man Bad. And Christmas isn’t looking much better.

    Ah, to be a virtuous Hippy Generation and neglect those parents of theirs, who left a free and prosperous country that the hippies have turned into a festering socialist tyranny. The hippies continue to ignore the rules and behave as they wish, meanwhile the Greatest Generation dies frightened, in pain, and alone. Somehow, the Greatest Generation raised selfish ingrates who have ruined their own children’s lives and now are ruining their parents’s lives. Or rather: ends of life.

    Meanwhile we are spending trillions of dollars, resources that we don’t have, in order to make up for the lost economy, resources that we will never have, yet we spend virtually nothing to protect the vulnerable. Instead, “protection” means to allow them to die of neglect. Yet another benefit of Obamacare, government-controlled healthcare.

    Before Obamacare, we had freedom of association. Now we find it increasingly difficult to associate with our parents, even for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Another chapter in the destruction of the family.

    America’s school children, particularly those from poor and working-class families, continue to be punished by unscientific, union-driven shutdowns. More than 55 million children have been impacted by school closures; athletics and other extra-curricular activities have been canceled, scholarship hopes are dashed and the collective future of our youth is uncertain if not grim.

    The article calls this “Abusing the Young.”

    Rather than protect our most vulnerable, the elderly, from Wuhan flu, we are protecting our children from it, even though they are the most immune to it. As with our elderly, protection means isolation and a certain amount of neglect (e.g. loss of education).

    The ages in-between are directed to also self isolate, staying away from others and only going outdoors for necessities, such as food or healthcare, and even then proper attire is mandated. How much more tyrannical can a government get?

    Robert wrote: “The elderly are very vulnerable to any contagious disease. Yet, until this madness, we recognized that life must go on, and that the family must come first.

    Obedience to government must come first, the government deems its own “cure” is correct and high on its list of priorities, and family and individual health are low on the list.

    Even though the science shows that the imposed “cure” is worse than the disease, our fearful leaders are imposing more of the egregious cure, because the virus spread is getting worse, not better as should happen due to their cure. Although they said it would, their cure does not stop the virus. They claim to follow the science, but the science shows that everything that they impose upon us does more harm than good. One size does not fit all. Not only are individual differences ignored, but differences by groups, such as age groups, are also ignored.

    Life was so much better in the Before Times. More and more people ask the question whether modern Wuhan life is worth living, and increasingly they answer “no.”

  • wayne

    –Wood’s Covid Cult video is being actively suppressed, I suggest you (everyone) download the file before it’s vaporized.

    You might enjoy this….

    Come Hang with Malice #10: Tom Woods
    Michael Malice + Tom Woods
    November 20, 2020

  • wayne

    going a bit tangential here—

    Tom Woods and Michael Malice Debate Hamilton in NYC
    resolved: “Alexander Hamilton was a hero for the cause of liberty.”
    Malice argued in the affirmative; Woods argued in the negative.
    December 2015

  • wayne

    Good stuff.

  • Andrew M. Winter

    AG Barr: COVID Lockdowns are the greatest insult to Civil Liberties since Slaver.

    Patric Henry:

    “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings — five us that preciouse jewel and you may take every thing else!”

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately nothing will preserve it but downright force.”
    an “edited” paraphrase of Henry. Appropriate but not aimed at this COVID mess, at all
    “…I can never, … , consent to hazard our most unalienable rightst on an absolute uncertainty.”

    Henry on “fear”

    “Fear is the passion of slaves.” (Thus we have not to fear that Americans will “become” slaves. Given the current surrender to “fear” Americans are already slaves.)
    Henry, on giving up liberty in the face of real danger to life and limb, on the eve of America declaring its independence from The British Empire.!
    “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

    ANYONE who dons a mask in these troubled times is not “in danger of becoming” a SLAVE. They are already SLAVES. They are SLAVES who gave up thier liberty willingly. They are willing SLAVES who are beneath contempt.

    Yes I am that pissed off. In fact THIS is restrained. If you see me wearing a “mask” it’s because I am hiding from facial recognition software. And, you should run.

  • wayne

    Andrew M. Winter–
    very good stuff!

    The Crisis
    Thomas Paine
    December 23, 1776
    “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated….”

    In Our Hands, Part 3:
    “How To Lose What We Have” (1950)

  • janyuary

    Wayne, yes, all good stuff and at the core, KEEP IT SIMPLE, remember Reagan said “simple solutions for complex problems.” Here it is, simple:

    The Founders, professing ad overt Christians all, nonetheless called for separation of church and state because they understood that religion is a BELIEF. So is MEDICINE and so is SCIENCE.

    When government authorizes medicine and science to overrule free people “for their own good,” it is time to CORRECT that bad, flawed government.

    I am shocked to see Local Fluff write what I can get arrested for for saying out loud: “This will not end until people revolt and kill their politicians.”

    More than politicians, I’m afraid … friends and neighbors who think they’re smarter than me and that it gives them a right to boss me around. It is going to get very ugly, ALL because people think that they have the right to boss “stupid” people around instead of minding their own business to live and let live.

    Now get ready fot lots and lots of suicides.

  • Edward

    janyuary wrote: “ALL because people think that they have the right to boss “stupid” people around instead of minding their own business to live and let live.

    Democracy only exists when all may vote, smart or stupid. That is why Pennsylvania allowed Democrat areas to correct their mailed in ballots, because they couldn’t do it right the first time.

    Freedom means that we are free to choose to wear a mask, even at government direction.

    Freedom also means that we are free to choose to not wear a mask, even at government direction.

    If there is a punishment for not following government direction (e.g. tried for murder for not wearing a mask, as one leader suggested), then there is no freedom.

  • wayne


    LocalFluff is more correct than not. These leftists declared war on us a long time ago—for that alone a lot of them must pay with their lives, before any of this ends. (It’s not going to be pretty.)

    Ref– separation of medicine & State;
    At one time, it took a Constitutional amendment to outlaw a substance (and another amendment to repeal) –alcohol. Now, unelected bureaucrat’s at the DEA can ban any molecule of earth.

  • Andrew_W

    Edward: If there is a punishment for not following government direction . . ., then there is no freedom.

    Then there’s never been any freedom in any country anywhere. All or nothing logic in terms of freedom is fanatic nonsense.

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