Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

RUSH LIMBAUGH GOES ON A KILLING SPREE AND THE COMING RED STATE COVID-19 CATASTROPHE

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What a time to be alive. World War Two all over again. Well, not really, but first time since then that an event is occurring with similar global ramifications. Most of human history consists of huge areas of more or less stability, with local problems here and there. In the developed world, almost all stability since World War Two. It’s weird and different this time though. Now with the Interwebs, we are in touch with our friends in the front line. Some of them won’t survive the war. Hell of a thing. It’s the beginning of the storm. A million confirmed cases world wide, and certainly a wild undercount since so many countries have limited testing capabilities.

And in America, it’s going to be a Red State cataclysm. I almost never listen to Rush Limbaugh, every time I have it’s just a string of lies, false arguments, and vitriolic hatred directed towards his fellow Americans. Not my cup of tea. Well, turns out, surprise surprise, he’s had a lot to say about Covid-19, collected here for the gentle reader’s edification. Put a pillow on your keyboard before reading though, because your jaw and or forehead may hit it shortly:

February 24: “Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. You think I’m wrong about this? You think I’m missing it by saying that’s — Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”

February 25: “Why couldn’t the coronavirus get Donald Trump reelected? What if the United States comes up with a dramatically great policy to deal with it—and the number of cases in the United States dwindles, goes down, or does not expand like the cases around the world? Then why wouldn’t that be beneficial to Trump? Notice: Here we are in February, and they’ve already got this virus ruining the economy by November, in time to take out Trump. This is proof they’ve got nothing. They know they can’t beat the guy, folks…. Donald Trump has survived every coup attempt, every assault on him, that has been made up and now the coronavirus, they’re trying to lay it at his feet and make him responsible for it and they’re doing irresponsible news reports claiming that the coronavirus is gonna destroy the US economy by when? November! Isn’t it magical? The coronavirus is the new Russians…”

March 9: “Democrats out the wazoo are showing up at Trump rallies. This is why they want these rallies stopped. This is why — it’s not because of public safety, not because of public health.”

March 11: “This coronavirus, they’re just — all of this panic is just not warranted. This, I’m telling you, when I tell you — when I’ve told you that this virus is the common cold. When I said that, it was based on the number of cases. It’s also based on the kind of virus this is. Why do you think this is “COVID-19”? This is the 19th coronavirus. They’re not uncommon. Coronaviruses are respiratory cold and flu viruses. There is nothing about this, except where it came from, and the itinerant media panic…”

March 13: “We’re shutting down our country because of the — the cold virus, which is what coronaviruses are. This is COVID-19, the 19th version of the coronavirus. We’re shutting it — can you imagine our enemies watching this? You think the Chinese are not laughing themselves silly over how easy this has been?”

March 27: “We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. And how do we know they’re even health experts? Well, they wear white lab coats, and they’ve been in the job for a while, and they’re at the CDC and they’re at the NIH, and they’re up, well — yeah, they’ve been there, and they are there. But has there been any job assessment for them? They’re just assumed to be the best because they’re in government. But, these are all kinds of things that I’ve been questioning.”

Well, I stand corrected. I thought Mr Limbaugh was just an asshole making a living spewing hate and nonsense, why not, it’s a free country? I was wrong. He’s a fucking moron. A man so stupid that he thinks he’s smart, Dunning-Kruger on steroids. Essentially everything he’s saying above is not just wrong, it’s dangerously criminally wrong. Yes, various coronaviruses do cause the common cold. That’s where the similarity begins and ends, it’s like claiming all mushrooms are harmless because they sell them in stores. He is right though, our enemies are laughing at us, because people like Trump and Limbaugh utterly sabotaged our response to a global pandemic. The USA is now the world’s leader in Covid-19 cases, and the horror is just beginning.

And Mr. Limbaugh is just one of many. The anti-science, anti-public health efforts of the GOP are going to reap a terrible harvest. Many GOP governors refused to expand Medicaid, because, you know, Obama. And have seen dramatic closures of hospitals in rural areas as a result. Basically, the GOP’s efforts to undermine trust in government and science have crippled public health measures in regions they control. Read about it here in nauseating detail: The Coming Red State Coronavirus Catastrophe. It’s incredibly depressing, huge numbers of people are going to die because of the nonsense promulgated by the GOP … and others.

This is what happens when people become convinced that opinions and hunches and woo are better than science and reason. God only knows how this is all going to play out in detail, but it’s going to get ugly. Promoting paranoid nonsense has already caused one fellow to snap, he won’t be the last. Covid-19 in America is like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. There’s some hope though, around the world people are stepping up and organizing to help their fellow citizens get through this crisis. I just hope enough people in Red States can step up and make a difference, because the GOP leadership sure isn’t stepping up to the plate.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. #staythefuckhome

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Communards in their Coffins, photograph taken by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri in May 1871. Public domain image. I chose it because they just seemed so real, real people, they had friends, family, loved ones. Covid-19 isn’t partisan and doesn’t give a shit about someone’s ideology, only science and reason can defend us from a pandemic.)

Written by unitedcats

April 3, 2020 at 6:14 pm

NO APRIL FOOLS JOKE THIS YEAR

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No April Fools Jokes today. Would it were everyone suddenly shouted “April Fools!” and it turned out Covid-19 was the greatest Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity prank in history and none of it happened at all. Everyone would heave a huge sigh of relief and go out for a giant community BBQ. Yes, where we would BBQ every Delta Kappa Epsilon member we could find for scaring the bejesus out of the whole damn planet. Yeah, no, probably more like there will be scattered reports today that Covid-19 has mutated into a form that turned people into zombies, and they’ll be dismissed as April Fools jokes until Trump and company are overrun by zombies during his last and most famous press briefing. Trump screaming “This is Obama’s Fault!” as he went down. Yeah, I think my imagination is running amok after staring at the same walls and annoying cat for weeks.

Boy, this is a new one for me, living through the worst global crisis since World War Two. Weird and new and disturbing on multiple levels, I could’ve gone the rest of my life without this. And especially weird since I live in the USA, a country that has grown increasingly disconnected from reality over my lifetime. And it’s showing now. Yes, Iowa is under quarantine, tons of businesses have closed. No more bars! But, phew, locals are clever, they are socializing in playgrounds and grocery stores. I shit you not, there are still a lot of people in my rural corner of Iowa who aren’t taking this seriously. Hell, there’s Coronavirus Truthers already, people convinced that a global pandemic is just some giant hoax. The mind reels.

This is what happens when powerful elements of a society decry reason and science for decades. A large percentage of Americans don’t trust experts or scientists, having been convinced they are all part of some sort of liberal plot to destroy America. America has the only major political party on Earth, developed Earth at least,  where science denial is a big part of the party platform. Every single 2016 GOP candidate for POTUS was an evolution denier. Every. Single. One. Inculcating distrust of government and international cooperation is also part of the toxic stew. And the idea, almost a cult belief in some, that anyone who has differing opinions than their own must be stupid.

So here we are, on the opposite side of the planet from where it all started, now the world’s epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even Trump is starting to sound alarms about how many Americans are going to die this summer. So much winning. I’ve tried to watch his daily briefings, but I don’t get far. He lies, brags, and says outrageous things, like blaming the lack of PPE on corrupt health care workers. That’s gotta be good for morale in the front lines. His base is still with him though, which is darkly ironic because he convinced so many of them that this was nothing to worry about and he had it under control. The next few months are gonna be interesting to say the least. And to be fair, the other side of the aisle has the same disconnect with reality, just in different ways. Contemporary American government has mastered propaganda in ways that would have been the envy of Goebbels and Hitler.

Yeah, making more Hitler comparisons now, because the effing world is getting more like the world that bred Hitler and Stalin every day. No apologies. Watching the Covid-19 pandemic explode is like watching 9/11 in slow motion. And in both cases it exposed how criminally vulnerable we were to something experts had been warning about for decades, while we learned the wrong lessons because our political system is corrupt, self-serving, and broken. And the slow motion version is climate change, now frustrated pandemic experts know exactly how climatologists have been feeling for years. A clear threat to the planet that requires a rational and scientific response, largely ignored because of political and religious agendas. Hell, Covid-19 is part of the ongoing climate crisis, and like Covid-19, it’s going to get worse faster than people are expecting. We still haven’t learnt that we learnt the wrong lessons from 9/11, our insane and counterproductive “war on terror” continues unabated as calls for global peace and coordinated international action against Covid-19 fall on deaf ears in Washington. Covid-19 is no more immune to politics than the other two crises, God help us all. We aren’t the indispensable nation, we are the insufferable nation.

Lastly, got sent this link about how Covid-19 may be an accidental release from a Chinese biological warfare research lab. Is it possible? Maybe. Every bit of expert opinion I could find says no, Covid-19’s DNA is clearly evolved from a wild strain. Wild as in living in some animal host before mutating and jumping to humans. What does it matter? It doesn’t really, this was going to occur naturally soon or later, so we can’t say we weren’t warned and didn’t know we should be ready for something like this. If it’s true then the nations of the world, the sane ones at least, will get to the bottom of it, biological warfare research is banned under international law for good reason. Blame shifting now serves no good purpose,  but alas that’s how Washington works now. Take credit for the good, blame others for the bad.

On the plus side I’m no longer enraged at Trump, just saddened and disappointed. He really has no clue, we needed a Lincoln, we got The Donald. Comments and shares appreciated, stay safe, stay healthy, #staythefuckhome

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copied from here, an excellent article about the techniques used by science deniers. Used without permission, but hopefully I can be forgiven as I am linking to the site and also trying to inculcate rational thinking in people.)

Written by unitedcats

April 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD

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I only get to do this once, write my end of the world post. It was a post I hoped never to have to write, even though I’ve known all my life that this was a possibility, and almost an inevitability. And knock on wood, we’re seeing the beginnings of the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the Great Depression at the same time. I don’t want to have to write about apocalypse number three anytime soon, so no killer asteroids or nuclear wars now please. So the world is ending. By that I mean the world we knew, the world we all grew up in, is coming to an end. It’s going to get a lot worse here in the good old USA. It’s not The Stand or The Walking Dead, but the party is over, even if a lot of people don’t get it yet.

It’s the end of the world because the USA is uniquely among developed nations unprepared for Covid-19, and the people running the country aren’t responding to it in an effective manner. When one’s car breaks down, one calls a mechanic. When one’s house is on fire, one calls the fire department. When one faces a pandemic, one calls pandemic experts. Not Trump, he actually thinks he is smarter than the experts on the subject. Many people see this, but his supporters don’t, to them Trump is Benny Hinn. The problem of course being that the Covid-19 virus doesn’t give a shit about a waving coat or Trump’s hunches. Decades of science denial and faulty logic have left America utterly vulnerable to a plague that requires a rational and scientific response. Reality bats last, and in America, it’s about to bash our brains in.

Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, will die, there will be economic disruption unseen since the crash of 1929. And the economic damage to the planet is incalculable. It’s going to get worse because America and the world’s global economy is collapsing. And it’s going to get way worse in the USA because we still haven’t shut the country down. Millions of Americans are likely going to get Covid-19 now, our health care system will be overwhelmed, and huge numbers will die. Because the POTUS is ignoring expert advice and lives in a fantasy world where a few weeks of shutdown will fix this and we can all go back to work.

Americans need to take this seriously, even if the POTUS and his followers aren’t.  It’s time to plant victory gardens, the gentle reader will be glad they did. And the other thing people need to understand, it’s not going to get normal again for years, if ever. Even the few countries who have brought it under control are still massively shut down. And until a cure or a vaccine is developed, they can’t let their guard down. The world economy is going to tank, despite Trump’s valiant efforts to pretend otherwise. He seems to think it will all be over by Easter, and churches will be filled with happy worshippers. This is frighteningly delusional, mark my words.

Covid-19 is the perfect storm, as disease control experts have warned for years. Highly contagious, often before symptoms appear. More contagious than the flu. And more deadly. The perfect vehicle for spreading through the entire race. I’m getting angry now. Part of me wants to scream  “You stupid fucks, I’ve been trying to warn about shit like this my  whole life.” Covid-19 most assuredly was predictable, and we did essentially nothing as a nation to prepare for it. Moronic. So yeah, my last Covid-19 post in a while. I have a nice post on the earliest human fossil ancestor ever found in the works, we’re all worms, fun stuff.

To recap: There’s going to be a Covid-19 bloodbath in the USA over the next few months. The economy is going to take a nosedive on a scale unseen since the Great Depression. If I’m wrong, and I survive, I’ll buy the gentle reader a beer. I hope I’m wrong. Skol!

Stay safe and God Bless everyone.

Percy Shelley’s “Ozymandias”

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Poem: Public domain under US copyright law. Image: Soviet ‘Boy Scouts’ pre-World War Two. Credit: Viktor Bulla/Wikimedia Commons.)

Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2020 at 6:54 am

THE END OF TRUMP (?) THE END OF THE WORLD (?) AND OTHER FANTASTIC BEASTS

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I’ve seen a number of articles recently claiming that this is the end of the Trump presidency. Yeah, wishful thinking. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak such thinking was wishful, things have changed in modern America, Trump is the new normal. By that I mean there just isn’t any accountability in Washington anymore. When the Vietnam War went South, Johnson’s presidency was done. Doesn’t work that way now, the Iraq War went south, but Bush got reelected anyhow. None of the architects of that colossal mistake were held responsible for their lies and failings, one is even the Democratic front runner for the 2020 election. Blame shifting is how Washington works now, Clinton blamed her stunning election loss on mythical Russian actors and her base bought it hook, line, and sinker; why would Trump supporters be any different? According to Fox News, he’s doing great. Though even they are having trouble spinning it that way. I hope I’m wrong. Since, you know, things haven’t been great at all.

I digress. More on point, the reason I roll my eyes when anyone predicts anything about the next year, is that nobody effing knows. The only thing we can say safely at this point is that Covid-19 is wreaking terrible economic and human cost over the globe, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s a sea change people, no one knows how this will play out. All three of the candidates for POTUS this fall are over 70 years old. Even in the best of times that demographically meant there was a decent chance any of them could die before then. Now, Jeez, it wouldn’t be terribly unlikely if all three died of Covid-19. Even one dying would upset the apple cart. It’s uncertain times, at best, lol. So not going to get too worked up about politics and the election at this point. There’s more important things now. We’ll see what happens

So , there are  a number of takeaways at this point. Late March, 2020. In no particular order, please tell me if I’m wrong:

Senators selling stock. This is the scandal de jour. After a confidential Covid-19 briefing in January, at least four Senators dumped all sorts of stock holdings. Among others. I love how the first article spins it: “ … sparking concerns that they put safeguarding their private finances before their duty to protect public health.” No sh*t Sherlock, those aren’t “concerns,” those are  facts. They made sure their wealth was safe, while downplaying the threat to the country. This shit is what fomented my recent guillotine tweet, our “leaders” putting their financial well being ahead of Americans’ lives. And that includes Trump at this point, he is literally pretty much doing nothing but lying about cures and shit that aren’t available, blame shifting, and denying responsibility for anything. At least he’s consistent, nu?

So this is going to continue to get worse in America. In January 70% of Republicans thought Covid-19 was a serious threat to the nation. Thanks to Trump’s insane underreaction, that was down to 40% just days ago. So while the virus was spreading out of control in the US, Trump was actually convincing his base to ignore it … thus making the situation much worse. The time to flatten the curve was in January and February, likely way too late now. Especially since many people in many states, including governors, still don’t get it. Celebrities, leaders, politicians are going to die too, since Covid-19 doesn’t give a shit if one is rich, powerful, or popular. The first celebrity just died today, Aurlus Mabélé, a music legend in Congo, has died from Covid-19. And of course some of our friends and family will die, four people in the same family died in New Jersey. Yeah, some flu.

Watch out for clickbait good news. The scammers, snake oil salesman, and click-bait artists are out in force, it’s a golden age for them. From more or less harmless stuff where some doctor working on a treatment etc is breathlessly portrayed as the solution, on up to actual cons. Here’s one link for avoiding fake news, best to get one’s actual info from the CDC or other reputable sources.

Lastly, just in case it wasn’t becoming self-evident, we’re in for the biggest economic downturn of our lives. And the last final dark thought, one I don’t see out there much … there’s going to be a secondary or shadow wave of deaths associated with Covid-19. Hospitals will be overwhelmed, so other treatments will be cancelled. A friend’s cancer surgery was “indefinitely postponed.” Treatment for other emergencies like accident victims and the like will be delayed or unavailable. Then there’s people who won’t be able to refill their prescriptions, in some cases life saving prescriptions. Emergency services will be overwhelmed, ambulances and firefighters might be delayed or simply unavailable. Basically until this passes, which will be months from now, any life saving support service Americans take for granted, may be rationed, delayed, or unavailable. A summer of death is on the march.

Anyone who still thinks this is just a flu is an idiot. Sadly we have been nurturing those for decades in the US, and now we are going to reap what we sowed. Have a safe weekend everyone. Comments and shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych.

(Image: Anonymous Facebook image. Credit: Unknown, used without permission, will remove or attribute as necessary. I will be posting more funny memes, gallows humour is going to get e through this. I hope.)

Written by unitedcats

March 20, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Covid-19, Health, Trump

WE AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET

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Known world wide Covid-19 infections hit 200,000 cases today. It took nearly four months to hit 100,000 cases, and less than two weeks to hit 200,000. And the rate of expansion is even faster in the US. This is it folks, the Titanic is going down, the dam has broken, the, the enemy is at the gates. America is about to be overwhelmed (Well, pretty much every region on Earth, but I’m writing this specifically from my local perspective, the base reasoning is sound wherever) with huge numbers of sick people, far more than we have hospital beds for. So a lot of them will die. And on top of that the economy will tank as businesses are forced to close. It’s here folks, the global health and economic crisis of our lives. The Martians have landed, they’re real this time, and they’re winning.

What should have happened is that sometime in January our president would have assembled a crack team of pandemic experts, gotten their recommendations, and given them a blank check to put them into action. Instead, first he claimed Covid-19 was a hoax, then wildly downplayed it for weeks, since then was all over the place, and still hasn’t taken any coordinated meaningful action. The man isn’t capable of leadership, he’s a know-it-all who surrounds himself with sycophants and yes men, whose primary goal seems to be his image and propping up the stock market. His response so far has been confused and ineffectual, it’s up to states, counties, and cities to do what they can to save as many of their residents’ lives as possible.

So with no further ado, my thoughts on what states/cities/counties should be doing. If anything in here is contradicted by expert opinion, please let me know:

  1. Education, education, education: Every source I can find by pandemic experts, not to mention historians, is that clear and accurate public information is what people need. They need to know what’s happening, what’s being done about it, and what they can do about it. They need accurate scientific information untainted by religion, politics, or blame shifting. Most of America failed this test in 1918, it’s not too late yet for this crisis.
  2. And the very first thing to educate people about is social distancing. The most critical time to slow down Covid-19’s spread was weeks ago. No time machine exists yet, so now is the time for everyone to avoid social interactions and do whatever they can to both prevent catching and spreading the disease. We can’t stop the pandemic, but the more we flatten the curve now, the fewer people will die as the pandemic peaks in the weeks and months ahead. This is absolutely the number one life saving action we can take now to save the lives of friends and neighbors.
  3. Do everything possible free up/create hospital beds. This would definitely include turning things like sports and other arenas into temporary quarantine centers where the medical staff wear hazmat suits. There’s going to be a huge demand for hospital beds in the weeks to come, the more we can get sick people into them where they can’t infect others and can be treated, the more lives will be saved. People are dying untreated in hospital hallways all over the globe now, and will be soon in the US. The more beds we have, the fewer will die.
  4. A huge “meals on wheels” program to provide the elderly, the immunocompromised, and health care providers and their families  with what they need. The former because they need to be kept isolated as much as possible, the later because these people are going to be the 24/7 front line soldiers against Covid-19 and they will need all the support we can give them. Everyone, every government agency, needs to do what they can to support their local health care providers. I can’t emphasize this too much, this is an alien invasion, and our front line troops are our last best hope.
  5. Ramp up production/acquisition of the ventilator units that will be so vital at keeping people alive in the coming wave of sick people. The same for other required equipment, like masks and hazmat suits.
  6. Strict restrictions on how much vital product people can buy. And do everything we can to encourage hoarders to share their supplies with their fellows.
  7. Don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the first time in most Americans’ lives where we are facing a national emergency. World War Two was the last, and 1918 the last one anything like this one. Life in America is never gonna be the same again, but if we pull together we can come out of this as a better nation on the other side.

A tremendous amount of the national response seems misguided to me. Yeah, everyone is going to need money soon, a check would help. However, checks aren’t going to save lives. A check isn’t going to put food on store shelves. A check isn’t going to magically create hospitals and medical staff. A check isn’t going to help granny if she’s dead. We need to be doing things to save lives now, not worrying about “the economy,” whatever that even means in times like these. Ideology, religion, politics are all freaking irrelevant now.

Lastly, since faith is big in America, hell, I’m an ignostic Episcopalian myself, it’s time tp “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” Prayers are no more going to stop Covid-19 than they stopped bombs raining down on Pearl Harbor. It’s time for people of faith to come together with everyone and do what has to be done, the few lost pastors telling their flocks to depend on faith to protect them are liars or lunatics. If God sent this plague to test us, it’s to tell us to use our God given brains and take care of each other. That’s God’s work now.

God bless, everyone have a safe and sane week. One last big shout out and thanks to our front line defenders, and all the people out there supporting them and trying to keep society running. If this was a Hollywood movie, in the credits scene we’d find out that real aliens in giant spaceships were about to invade

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Permission is given to copy and share for educational purposes if properly attributed.

(Image: The Plague at Ashdod, 1631, painting.  Credit: Niccolò Possino 19594-1665. Public domain under most if not all Copyright Laws as the author has been dead for centuries.)

Written by unitedcats

March 18, 2020 at 1:38 pm

I HAVE NO WORDS, GROCERS TO FIGHT A PANDEMIC?

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OK, I had a Covid-19 post already written. Then, Friday the 13th, Trump held a press conference where he announced a national emergency over Covid-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic that is spreading around the world. I’m still in shock over his event. Trump trotted out his crack team of … grocers … who are going to be our goto guys for fighting Covid-19. Not experts in public health or pandemics, no, those weren’t even consulted in the planning for this! And by grocers, I mean the heads of giant health care profiteers like Walgreens. People whose entire agenda is to make money from sick people. Wait, what? When your house is on fire, one sends in fire-fighters, not anyone else. Right?

And after all these guys gave a little rahrah speech for Trump, Pence gave a speech extolling Trump’s response to Covid-19 and claiming everything was all peachy, which was so divorced from reality that I had to stop listening. I’m having a real hard time processing this, Trump seems to have finally become aware that Covid-19 is real, not a hoax as he was claiming at first, but he thinks businessmen are the people to fight this? This is surreal, did I dream this, did I die this afternoon and this is a dying fever dream?

So yeah, crisis of the decade, if not my life, is upon us. We’re in a really interesting moment in history, gonna be wild. Like when Grant was approaching Richmond or Panzers were rolling over France. Surprize! Reality might very well change in big ways in the next few months. I’m gonna keep  blogging about it, because my whole life has been devoted to “What the hell is going on here?” And right now, “here” is overwhelming whatever comfortable fantasies Americans live under. Arguably we’re the most sheltered and coddled national population on Earth, so the Covid-19 shutdown is going to be an ugly shock to most Americans.

I hoped Trump would make it through his term without having to deal with something like this, most of the damage he’s done can at least potentially be rolled back. Ain’t no fixing this, a global crisis, and the guy in the White House is a failed businessman, skilled grifter, habitual liar, and reality show star. Not the skill set for dealing with a pandemic. As today’s performance showed. :( Convince me otherwise.

One last thought, Trump and Pence made a big deal about how their border closures made things so much better. And on one level, true enough, the fewer infected people arriving, the better. However, and it’s a huge however, that was only part of the battle. There was no question that Covid-19 was going to arrive in the US, so border restrictions just bought us time to deal with it when it got here. And that’s where Trump dropped the ball. They did nothing but pretend it was no big deal. And here we are, it’s spreading rapidly in the US, and we don’t even have a clue how much because zero preparation was made for widespread testing and containment procedures.

I had more, but most of it is rapidly being overtaken by events. The crisis of a generation is upon us, and the Trump administration isn’t handling it well. So barring a miracle, things are gonna get real ugly over the next few months. I hope and pray I’m wrong, time will tell I suppose.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. Comments appreciated, damned if I know what to make of all this. God bless.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A Lewis Carrol illustration, The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll, just a random image of something crazy, like today’s Trump national emergency declaration. Credit: Henry Holiday, This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.)

Written by unitedcats

March 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm

IT BEGINS

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I went to my local Dollar General store today, and was saddened but not surprised that people were buying cartloads of staples, and store shelves were already empty. And I live in rural Iowa, so I can only assume it’s happening elsewhere. Not too surprising, the World Health Organization today declared that Covid-19 is officially a pandemic. Cases outside China increased thirteen fold in the past two weeks, and it has spread to at least 114 countries. Here in the USA, apparently the Trump administration is taking the situation so seriously that they are sticking to their proposal to slash funds for the CDC and the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund. He honestly seems more concerned with salvaging the stock market. He’s also ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, which is hampering their ability to do their jobs. Controlling the narrative and protecting his image is more important than protecting Americans apparently. You can’t make this shit up, the mind, already boggled, careers uncontrollably.

So, ok, here’s a link about why it is so important to slow down Covid-19’s spread by social distancing and other measures. Basically, the slower it spreads, the less stress on the health care system. And the less stress on the health care system, the more people will be treated and survived. If it spreads rapidly, the system gets overwhelmed, and patients die in the hallways. Read it here: Curve mitigation. Hoping Trump’s upcoming address focuses on this.

And here’s a good article about why it is so important for infected people to isolate themselves. Too much has been made about “It’s no big deal, most people will have mild symptoms.” Yes, yes they will. But if they don’t isolate themselves, they will give Covid-19 to people who will die. Anyone with Covid-19 is a Typhoid Mary, this cannot be emphasized too much, and they need to self isolate. Read it here: Stop killing people. And here’s another article about why it’s so important to take drastic steps now.

In other words, this is a global emergency, and immediate and decisive action should be taken by Trump to limit Covid-19’s spread. We can’t prevent it, but we can minimize the harm. Sadly a line of logic that Trump in his back and white thinking seems incapable of. We’ll see, I’m going to listen to his Covid-19 message in 45 minutes, and I can only hope he snaps out of his shit. I expect mealy mouthed crap downplaying the crisis, bragging about how well he is handling it, and partisan attacks thrown in for good measure. It will be all about Trump, not protecting America. I hope I’m wrong.

<Trump’s Covid-19 address>

Oh boy, that was … interesting. Here was my tweet after watching Trump’s first public statement from the Oval Office:

First impression of Trump’s Coronavirus statement: 80% lies, bragging, or irrelevant. 20% on point. Could of been worse.

Yeah, I was not terribly impressed, though not as horrified as I could have been. Watch/read Trump’s message here. I took notes.

A lot of bragging about how great our response has been and how the US is the best prepared nation in the world for facing this pandemic. Pure unadulterated BS. We are terribly unprepared for all sorts of reasons, likely the least prepared developed country. He announced closing flights from Europe; um, dude, Covid-19 is already here. That’s called closing the barn door after the cows are gone. There was also kind of a xenophobic tone to his characterizations of this “foreign” virus, but whatevs. That’s Trump for you.

He announced measures to limit the economic hit to small businesses and workers. Etc. All good I guess, but being the cynical SOB I am, one has to wonder where the money for this will come from. Somehow I doubt the Pentagon or fossil fuel subsidies will take a hit. There was also his schtick about how the economy is the best it’s ever been, which is always scary. No, it’s not, so he either really believes that, or is lying. Neither is reassuring. This was all kind of the irrelevant part, since for most of us, “Is granny going to survive this?” is the more pressing concern.

And Trump did stress the importance of hand washing and social distancing. He’s right there, can’t argue that. I don’t think it went far enough though, he didn’t cancel any rallies or take other measures to limit Covid-19’s spread inside the US. Basically his whole speech could be summed up as: “We got this, just wash your hands.” I think the country needs to take drastic steps to stop the spread of Covid-19, that’s the only thing that will minimize the death toll.

Trump didn’t look good either, though at least his message was blessedly brief. Being president is a stressful job at the best of times, and this is the worst of times. 1918 all over again. Some of the people I know are likely to die before this is over. My own chances aren’t the greatest. We need to learn from history, and sadly history teaches us that people are in denial until too late. A topic for a blog post itself.

Stay safe everyone, protect your elders.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image:  Empty store shelves. Credit: Public domain image obtained from Snappygoat.)

Written by unitedcats

March 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm