fractal insurrection

This year we’ve seen municipal school board meetings disrupted by aggressively angry crowds, threatening harm and violence against elected school board officials if they don’t set the pandemic masking policies demanded by the crowd. Many in those crowds don’t even have children attending schools in that district; they’re just angry about mask mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at school board meeting

We’ve also seen several State legislatures disrupted, swarmed by packs of aggressively angry armed men, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for setting–or even merely debating–state policies they opposed.

On January 6th, we saw the federal government disrupted and the US Capitol building breached by aggressively angry insurrectionists, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for certifying the legitimate election of the next president.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at Kentucky State Capitol

This is fractal insurrection. Insurrection is a complex dynamical system that’s self-similar across different scales. Zoom in on any part or facet of the intimidation and aggression, and it looks the same as the larger view. The intimidation and aggression seen at school board meetings is the same as the intimidation and aggression seen at state capitols, which is the same as that seen at the US Capitol.

These insurrections are recursive; they’re created, nurtured, fueled in the same way. Wrap lies and disinformation around one or more tiny kernel of truth, repeat it, add a dash of victimization, repeat, a wee bit of conspiracy theory, repeat, increase the urgency, repeat, and the cascade effect drives it farther and faster. Repeat the process over and over in an ongoing closed feedback loop, most often in social media, which promotes self-reinforcing partisan bubbles. The forces that drive people to storm the US Capitol to stop the transfer of presidential power are the same forces that drive people to a school board meeting to stop schools from requiring mask/vax mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at US Capitol.

The sad thing is, that process can be considerably disrupted if social media were held accountable for the spread of lies, disinformation, and threatening behavior. There’s a place for unpopular (or even flat out offensive) opinions on social media, but those opinions can be expressed without lies, disinformation, or threats.

For example, it’s one thing to express the opinion that President Uncle Joe Biden is feeble and intellectually infirm, but it’s another thing to claim he ordered Alec Baldwin to murder Halyna Hutchins because she’d been a journalist in her native Ukraine and had uncovered information demonstrating Hunter Biden was a criminal. (And yes, that’s an actual conspiracy theory I’ve seen espoused on social media.)

So long as social media is more focused on keeping (and monetizing) their members than on their civic responsibility, we’re going to continue to see this sort of fractal insurrection expand to other arenas of social interaction.

why i’m not in the cabal

Yeah, I’m starting to seriously doubt that Rev. Rick Wiles is a reliable source of news and information. I began to get suspicious back in July of 2018, when Reverend Rick predicted that Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow were going to stage a coup d’état against the Trump administration. He said,

“[Y]ou’re going to turn on the television and see helicopters hovering over the roof of the White House with men clad in black rappelling down ropes, entering into the White House. Be prepared for a shootout in the White House as Secret Service agents shoot commandos coming in to arrest President Trump. That is how close we are to a revolution. Be prepared for a mob—a leftist mob—to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House.”

It’s not that I wanted to see Trump and his family decapitated on the White House lawn (or anywhere else, for that matter–I am passionately anti-decapitation), but I thought ninjas rappelling from helos onto the roof of the White House on live television…well, people keep saying there’s nothing good on the teevee these days. I’m just saying, that would draw an audience, is all.

Rev. Rick Wiles, not nuts at all, really.

Anyway, that didn’t happen. So naturally I became a tad concerned about Rev. Rick’s information. BUT THEN…YouTube banned his TruNews channel. You guys, they banned it just before the 2020 election. Is that suspicious, or what? I mean, Donald J. Trump, the Once and Future President, had given Rev. Rick White House press credentials. They just don’t hand those out like MDMA at a party. They just totally upped and banned him, just on account of they didn’t like his opinion on what would happen in the totally unlikely event that Trump lost the election. Which was,

“There are people in this country, veterans, cowboys, mountain men, guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that the people that did this to Donald Trump are not going to get away with it and they’re going to hunt them down.”

It is well-established fact that mountain men and cowboys WILL NOT TOLERATE that sort of behavior. Or at least I assumed it was well-established…but I guess not. I haven’t seen a single cowboy or mountain man so much as make a mean face at Uncle Joe Biden. So once again, I wondered if we could really truly count on Rev. Rick to tell us what to think and believe.

Then he spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party Covid Flu. He said, right out loud, that the Covid was God’s punishment to Jews for opposing Jesus Christ. Okay, Rev. Rick wasn’t completely clear on God’s motive in working hand-in-hand with Chinese communists, but who are we to question what God does on His Holy Days Off? But guess what? After speaking out against the Covid, Rev. Rick CAUGHT the Covid.

Coincidence? I think not. But Rev. Rick prayed about it, and Jesus totally healed him. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says the Covid vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to commit genocide against Christians. In his most recent statement, Rev. Rick said,

“This is a global coup d’état by the most evil cabal on the planet in the history of mankind, and if it not stopped in the very near future they will win. That’s what’s at stake, control of the world.The planting…they’re putting eggs in people’s bodies…. it’s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite, and grows inside your body. This is like a sci-fi nightmare, and it’s happening in front of us.”

Eggs! In people’s bodies! And those eggs? Rev. Rick says they’re just hatching weensy teensy little synthetic parasites like crazy. And do you have ANY IDEA what those synthetic parasites will DO TO YOUR BODY? DO YOU???!!! Something bad, is what they’ll do. You can count on it. Nothing good every comes out of a synthetic parasite hatching from an egg in your body.

Now, Rev. Rick isn’t saying this is what comes from vaccines, but he’s not ruling it out.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a wee bit uncertain about the basic science behind planting eggs in human bodies through a vaccine. You may be asking why, if God and the Chinese Communist Party got together to create the Covid, they’d also cooperate to create a vaccine that would actually implant an egg designed to hatch into a synthetic parasite? The answer is obvious, once you start thinking rationally. It’s NOT a real vaccine designed to fight a real pandemic. It’s a fake vaccine to pretend to fight a fake pandemic.

See the logic? They invented the fake pandemic to create a demand for the fake vaccine, and once the eggs in the vaccine hatch into synthetic parasites, then….then…I don’t know, something. Surely, something will happen, right?

This is probably why God and the Chinese Commies didn’t include me in their cabal.

sunday — this beautiful world

Sunday morning, early October, chilly but sunny, not a cloud in the sky, very little wind. Who wouldn’t want to go for a bike ride? Now, I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking, “Greg, old sock, you always want to go for a bike ride.” First, stop calling me ‘old sock’. Second, well, yeah.

My brother-in-law, who’ll I’ll call “Jeff” (on account of that’s his name) and I started our ride in a little Iowa town called Mingo. I am NOT making that up. It’s an old coal-mining town, named after the Mingo tribe of the Iroquois nation. The Mingos, by the way, didn’t call themselves Mingos; that’s what the neighboring Algonquin tribes called them. It’s a corruption of the Algonquin term mingwe, which apparently means ‘sneaky’. But they weren’t sneaky enough to escape the notice of ‘progress’. As part of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, any remaining Mingos in Iowa were required to shift themselves to Kansas. Why? As President Andrew Jackson said at the time,

“What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms?”

Andrew Jackson was more fucking savage than the Mingos, and a LOT of us would prefer a country covered with forests. Anyway, Mingo now is a sneaky little town of about 300 white people and a small biker tavern (as opposed to a cyclist pub). We did NOT have a beer at the Greencastle Tavern because 10:30 in the morning is too early to drink. And besides, the tavern wasn’t open yet.

Just outside of Mingo.

This bike trail is called the Chichaqua Valley Trail. You might assume that’s because it runs through the Chichaqua Valley. Silly rabbit. There is no Chichaqua Valley. There is, however, a 25-mile-long series of oxbows and bottomlands called the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. The oxbows are the isolated remains of the South Skunk River, which coal companies ‘straightened’ in order to facilitate barges transporting coal from mining towns like Mingo. More ‘progress’.

That straight line is the current channel of the South Skunk River

The Skunk River got its name a couple hundred years before the Mingo arrived in this part of the country. The French voyageurs, exploring and trapping beaver, asked the local Meskwaki tribe what the river was called. They were told the river was Chichaqua. The natives were referring the smell of the wild onions and cabbage that grew along the riverbanks. They’d also used that term to describe skunks. So we can thank the confused French for the Skunk River.

Like so many Iowa bicycle trails, the Chichaqua Trail follows an old railroad line. This was the Wisconsin, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, originally built in 1885 to haul coal and livestock throughout the Midwest. You can actually gauge your progress along the trail by watching for old railroad mile markers that show the distance to Kansas City. Unlike most rails-to-trails bike paths, which tend to be incredibly straight and incredibly dull, this trail is full of curves and turns. One bicycle trail guide describes it as ‘serpentine,’ which may be a tad too elegant, but isn’t entirely wrong.

One of the many bridges.

It runs mostly through farmland and woods. It’s a quiet trail. Even on a perfect autumn Sunday afternoon, we saw very few other cyclists. For the most part, all you hear is the wind and the sound of your tires on pavement or rattling over the many wooden bridges. There are a LOT of bridges–some small, some extensive. The trail crosses over creeks, drainage ditches, oxbows, and the South Skunk River. I don’t know how many bridges there are; I forgot to keep count after the first nine.

Another bridge.

We tend to think of bike trails on old railroad lines as being flat–and they generally are. When there are hills, early railroad builders tended to rely on long slow inclines. Really long inclines. There’s a section of the trail that winds uphill for just about four miles. And I mean it winds. You can only see a few hundred feet in front of you, so you have no grasp of just how close–or how far away–you are from the top. It’s not steep, but it’s fucking endless. You start to believe…to hope…that you’ll be able to see the top around the next bend in the trail, And each bend in the trail crushes that hope. You won’t see any photos of that hill, because there was no way I was going to stop.

Bridge over the South Skunk River

After about 15 miles, we reached the town of Bondurant, named for the first white person who settled there (Alexander C. Bondurant–I don’t know if he did anything worthy or important other than being white and deciding he’d gone far enough west and decided to just stop traveling). Eventually the Chicago Great Western Railway Company built a depot there–which has been reproduced as a rest area for cyclists. It’s very nice. Bathrooms, picnic tables, repair station, drinking water. All very pleasant, but Jeff and I made straight for Reclaimed Rails–a bike brew pub just off the trail.

One of the best things about cycling in Iowa is the advent of the bike brew pub. Beer and bikes are a natural pairing. The sugars and salts in beer help you absorb fluids more efficiently than water alone; you’d have to drink a lot more water to get the same hydration effects of beer. No, I’m serious. THIS IS SCIENCE, people. Beer also has almost as many antioxidants as red wine, and that helps your leg muscles recover. And hey, it’s cold and it tastes good.

Along the Gay Lea Wilson Trail, a man fishing.

After hydrating and dosing ourselves with antioxidants (mine was a nice malty Märzen), we set off again. After a few miles, we turned off onto the Gay Lea Wilson Trail, named for the advocate who came up with the idea of a series of bike paths and trails through central Iowa. Unlike the rails-to-trails bike paths, which were based on direct routes for transporting goods, the Gay Lea Wilson trail weaves in and out of semi-rural areas and suburbs. It’s designed to transport people, making it easy for folks (and families) to access the trail and travel by bike to places they want to visit. Places like libraries and parks and picnic areas and playgrounds and…well, brew pubs.

Another 15 miles or so took us to our final stop: Brightside Aleworks, a fairly new craft brew pub that has a relaxed vibe closer to a coffee shop than a beer joint. We’d ridden about 33 miles altogether. Aside from the brutal four mile uphill stretch, it was a nice way to spend a day. It was fun. And the beer was cold and welcome (I had a biscuity, slightly sweet Irish red).

That’s the thing about cycling. It’s fun. Sure, it’s good for you. Fresh air, healthy exercise, all that. But mostly it’s fun. That’s why I ride. Bugger exercise; I ride because it makes me happy. Because it’s one of the best ways to see the world you live in. You get to meander along at whatever pace you want (well, fucking hills excepted) and be a part of the landscape, rather than just passing through it in a car.

Dr. K.K. Doty (who doesn’t seem to exist on the internet other than as the author of this quote) wrote: Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to. Most ills. Not all ills. But most. It’s a bicycle, not a miracle machine.

Well, maybe a miracle machine. Small miracles in a big world. It’s enough.

a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and a good haircut

This morning I discovered that conservatives are massively pissed off at Superman. Which, I confess, sort of surprised me. I haven’t paid any attention to Superman since I was a kid. Why would conservatives be angry at Superman?

Then I discovered that Superman is bisexual. Cool. But that discovery triggered an entire cascade of discoveries. I discovered that bisexual Superman isn’t actually Superman. Well, not the Clark Kent/Superman (CK/S) I knew as a kid. He’s actually Jon Kent/Superman (JK/S). Then I discovered that JK/S is the son of CK/S. That was news. Then I discovered that his momma was Lois Lane, which is sort of sweet, I guess. Then I discovered that CK/S was dead. Dead? Superman? He apparently died back in the 1990s. Not from Kryptonite, which you’d expect, but he got…punched to death? Well, okay. Then I discovered that CK/S had been resurrected. Not a surprise; you don’t just chuck away 70-some years of a franchise, do you. Then I discovered he was dead again. This time from Kryptonite. Then I discovered CK/S was…and yeah, I’m more than a little confused at this point…replaced? By a Superman from…an alternate timeline? I’m guessing the alternate Superman also replaced CK/S too. I’ve no clue whether it was CK/S1 or CK/S2 who fathered JK/S. I suppose Lois Lane knows. Not that it matters.

What matters is that Jon Kent/Superman is bisexual. And that has conservatives shocked and offended and angry. Naturally, on learning this, I decided to check the response from the ‘patriots’ at FreeRepublic.

  • Liberals ruin everything. — by NotSoFreeStater (If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice)
  • Where’s a head chopping Muslim when you need one? — by EEGator
  • and people wonder why I keep posting “fags are gross and sick” every time a faggot thread comes out. — by max americana (FIRED LEFTARD employees at our office every election since 2008 and enjoyed seeing them cry.)
  • Superman decorates and takes it up the butt? Has Metropolis been renamed Gommorah too? — by Scott from the Left Coast (Make Orwell Fiction Again)
  • I am so tired of Hollywood turning our childhood super heroes into fags. There is not a thing wrong with a straight man (or woman) being a superhero or just plain hero! I hate Hollywood these days. Bunch of butt lickers — by JoJo354 (JUST SAY NO to covid vaxx!)

Classic. We have a child born from the union of a woman from Earth and an alien from another planet (wait…are Kryptonites Kryptonians people from Krypton even human? Are they the same species as Earth humans?) who has apparently inherited the powers of their (do we know JK/S’s pronouns?) biological father (so those powers are genetic? They have their mother’s eyes and their father’s x-ray vision?) and somehow conservatives are distressed because this being doesn’t observe the religion-based cultural mores of 1950s United States.

I’d say this outrage at JK/S’s sexuality defies logic, but clearly logic doesn’t fit into it (I’m with Rita Mae Brown on this: If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle — and now I’m imagining the response of conservatives if JK/S is shown riding side saddle). I can’t decide if this performative anger is comical or just sad.

Speaking of sad and comical, when I was researching the history of Superman, I came across an image of post-resurrection CK/S. When he came back to life, the poor bastard had a mullet. A mullet. I’m cool with JK/S being bi…but that mullet on CK/S was an abomination. Props to JK/C for having a good haircut.

hypocrites, quacks, and liars

Comrade Trump returned to Iowa yesterday. I considered attending his rally because I’m still a sociologist at heart. I’m curious about the structure of communities and groups. I’d been to one of his early campaign rallies, and I was interested to see if a post-presidential rally would be different. But it turned out I wasn’t interested enough to actually go.

By all accounts, Trump did what he was expected to do–what he’s always done. He lied, he complained, he bragged, he sneered. For an hour and 43 minutes, he repeated his lies about the 2020 election, he complained about how he’s treated, he bragged about his ‘accomplishments’ and he sneered at his detractors. He accused the news of being ‘fake’, he vilified President Uncle Joe, he praised the people who praised him and denigrated people who didn’t. In front of a crowd of a few thousand people, Trump declared, “We don’t have free speech anymore.” In other words, he was the same Comrade Donald Trump he’s always been.

His audience was also the same audience they’ve always been. White, angry, afraid, resentful, hateful, sanctimonious, ignorant. Not necessarily stupid, but deliberately and willfully ignorant. Jeff Kaufmann, the Iowa Republican Party chairman, described Trump as “the middle finger to doing things the same old way, to the fat cats and the corporate welfare that Democrats now support and Republicans supported in the past. He represents an exasperation.” The only way a person can perceive Trump as a champion of ordinary people and Democrats as promoting ‘fat cats and corporate welfare’ is to be deliberately ignorant.

Nothing I’ve seen or read about the rally was surprising. Disappointing, to be sure, but not unexpected. What is most disappointing is that Iowa’s GOP establishment–notably Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley–openly embraced Trump. Even more disappointing, they seemed to acknowledge their support for Trump is based entirely on their desire to remain in power.

Grassley, after getting Trump’s public endorsement, said, “If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart.” Compare that to what he said a few months ago, shortly after the election results were certified.

“The reality is, he lost. He brought over 60 lawsuits and lost all but one of them. He was not able to challenge enough votes to overcome President Biden’s significant margins in key states…. He belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get his way. He encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the hollow husk of a former principled conservative.

There was a time when Grassley was a principled conservative–a politician I disagreed with, but who I believed had integrity. I believed he truly cared about governance. Now Grassley is just a hollow husk of a politician. He’s delighted to accept the endorsement of a man who took “extraordinary and unconstitutional actions” if it helps him get re-elected. What does that tell us? It’s evidence that the GOP has evolved into a party of misinformation, of lies and liars, of corruption and chicanery, a party of grifters and con artists.

I can’t tell you how sad that makes me. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in Iowa voters, or how ashamed I am that this state is represented by hypocrites, quacks and liars.

you can’t trust the soup

Today the Supreme Court of the United States begins its new term — and it’s going to be a goatfuck rodeo. We’re talking abortion rights, gun rights, religious rights. To make matters worse, these cases are all coming at a moment when the reputation of SCOTUS as an independent apolitical institution is at its lowest point in history.

And the justices on the Court — particularly the conservative majority — know it. They’ve spent the last couple of months making a preemptive attempt to repair the Court’s reputation. Last Thursday, Justice Samuel Alito gave a speech defending the Court’s refusal to act on the new Texas abortion law. He claimed that the tsunami of criticism faced by the Court was, in effect, an effort “to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution.”

A month ago, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a speech in which he stated the Court doesn’t base decisions on their personal feelings or religious beliefs. He warned that the people who criticize the Court risked “destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want when we want it.”

A week or so before Thomas’ speech, Justice Amy Coney Barrett gave a speech claiming any divisions on the Court were a result of differing judicial philosophies, not partisan motivations. She said, “[T]his court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

Four Supreme Court Justices and five Partisan Hacks

When three of the most conservative judges on the most conservative Supreme Court in modern history all feel compelled to defend the Court against claims of being driven by partisan political ideology rather than by the law, you’re almost forced to quote William Fucking Shakespeare. The Court doth protest too much, methinks.

(Okay, sorry, short tangent…wait, two short tangents. First, I’ve come to despise that archaic term, methinks. A lot of people use it in a way that sounds ironic, but it usually comes across as cute. Cute and irony go together like corn flakes and okra. Second, for some reason, people who quote that line tend to put ‘methinks’ at the beginning. That’s not how Shakespeare wrote it. At least quote it accurately, people.)

In Hamlet, that line is delivered in response to a play that takes place within the play itself (look, it’s Shakespeare, everything is complicated in Shakespeare). Queen Gertrude is commenting on an actor’s performance; she’s basically saying the actor’s declarations of love and fidelity are too excessive to be believed.

That applies to the speeches made by these three judges. Their declarations of independence and political objectivity are too excessive to be believed. Alito, Thomas, and Coney Barrett can claim SCOTUS is an independent institution not comprised of partisan hacks who act on personal religious beliefs or political ideology — but nobody believes them. Because that’s exactly what they are, and that’s exactly why the GOP put them on the goddamned bench. Uh…in my opinion.

Tuscan soup — it looks good, doesn’t it.

Here’s an analogy: if a chef secretly poured an ounce of urine into six quarts of Tuscan soup and served it to you, you’d eat it. You wouldn’t be able to taste the urine, and it wouldn’t do you any harm to eat it. But if you SAW the chef pour an ounce of urine into the soup, you wouldn’t eat it. Wouldn’t matter if you couldn’t taste it, or that it wouldn’t harm you, you’d push the bowl away. Not only that, you wouldn’t trust that chef to cook for you again.

We all SAW Trump and the GOP Senate pee in the SCOTUS soup. Doesn’t matter if the conservatives on the Court tell us there’s nothing in the soup that can harm us, there’s no way we’re going to trust that soup.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Yes, we ‘eat’ soup. The reason we don’t ‘drink’ it is because many (maybe most, I don’t know) soups have solids in them that require chewing. Eating involves chewing and swallowing; drinking is swallowing without chewing. So stop fretting about it.

vax revelation

You’ve watched this scene on television and in the movies — the bad guy, confronted with their criminal activities, says, “I never meant for this to happen, nobody was supposed to get hurt, it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way, I just wanted to scare people.”

I think that’s what happened with the Republican Party. A few days ago I wrote that the news media was far too generous when they suggest the response of Republican governors to the covid pandemic was due to incompetence. It’s not; it’s part of a deliberate systematic political strategy intended to make every facet of the Biden administration fail. I think they were (are) willing to sacrifice some lives — including the lives of their own supporters — in an effort to undermine any policy success Uncle Joe might achieve.

I don’t think they meant for this (last year in the State of Alabama, for the first time in its recorded history, more people died than were born) to happen. I think they just wanted to scare people so they’d mistrust Uncle Joe and Democrats. But it went too far, and now it’s too late to change course without admitting they’re at fault.

And they’re getting a lucky break. Some Trump/GOP supporters are beginning to realize they’ve been lied to. Some of them are starting to understand that NOT getting vaxxed was a mistake. How is that a lucky break for the GOP? The people promoting this are drawing the wrong conclusion. They’re not blaming the GOP politicians who’ve minimized the threat of Covid; they’re blaming Democrats and progressives for (and I swear, I am NOT making this up) for tricking Trump supporters into not getting vaxxed. How? By suggesting they should get vaxxed. A friend brought this to my attention:

I really thought this had to be a joke. I mean, it’s that stupid. I thought somebody digitally faked an insane Breitbart-looking screenshot to mock conservatives. But no. It turns out Breitbart writer John Nolte really truly actually wrote that (here’s the piece, if you can stomach it).

Not all of Nolte’s readers agree with him. For example, this guy:

If the vax works, then a mandate isnt necessary…If the vax doesnt work, then a mandate isnt necessary….its called science.

That is so far from anything remotely resembling science that there’s no existing term to describe it. We’d have to invent an entirely new word to describe how wrong it is. How could anybody possibly convince the person capable of writing that indescribably stupid sentence to get vaxxed? Nolte apparently thinks the only way to convince him to is by suggesting he’s the victim of a left-wing conspiracy to prevent him from getting vaxxed.

“No one wants to cave to a piece of shit like [Howard Stern], or a scumbag like Fauci, or any of the scumbags at CNNLOL, so we don’t. And what’s the result? They’re all vaccinated, and we’re not! … The push for mandates is another ploy to get us to dig in and not do what’s best for ourselves because no one wants to feel like they’re caving to a mandate.”

This ridiculous ‘revelation’ might be enough to convince some anti-vax Trumpists to get vaxxed just to piss off liberals — and while that’s stupid, I’m okay with it. I’ve stopped feeling sorry for anti-vaxxers who die from Covid (and those who survive but will go bankrupt trying to pay for their enormous medical bills). I don’t feel sorry for them, but I’d be happy to see that happen a lot less often.

“No, no, wait, we were wrong to shun the Vax!”

Speaking of revelations (and we kinda were), let me carom off-topic and bang into the Christian New Testament Book of Revelation. The text was written on the Greek island of Patmos sometime around the year 96. You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, why are you nattering on about the obscure island on which a Biblical text was written?” I’m glad you asked. I’m nattering on about it because the book was written in Greek. And because the ancient Greek term for revelation — for the experience of discovering, especially in a striking way, something previously unknown or unexpected — is apokálypsis. Apocalypse.

It would be weirdly fitting if a right-wing nutjob writer could inspire a revelation among right-wing nutjob anti-vaxxers to mitigate a medical apocalypse.

it’s not incompetence

There’s an opinion piece in this morning’s Washington Post about Tate Reeves, the Republican governor of Mississippi and that state’s appalling response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s the headline:

Tate Reeves and the high cost of covid incompetence

Similar opinion pieces have been written about almost every Republican governor in the United States, and they all make the same stupid ass claim of incompetence. The first covid death in the US was in February of 2020; this is September 2021. We’ve been dealing with covid for nineteen (19) months now. We’re closing in on 700,000 deaths from covid.

This is NOT a result of incompetence. We’ve developed a vaccine–three vaccines, in fact, all of which are pretty damned effective in reducing the transmission of the virus AND mitigating the symptoms of the disease AND drastically reducing the potential of dying from the disease. We know wearing a mask reduces transmission of the disease. We know social distancing helps. WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT THE FUCKING COVID VIRUS.

That we still have ICUs full of covid patients is NOT a result of incompetence. It’s an intentional political strategy.

I’m not saying Republican governors and Republican strategists cobbled together a conspiracy to murder their own supporters. I’m not saying the GOP gathered together in a room and worked out a plan designed to spread covid. What I’m saying is the GOP wants President Uncle Joe to fail–to fail in every aspect of his administration. The economy, public health, national infrastructure, international diplomacy, the military, agriculture, the justice system –pick an issue, and the GOP wants Uncle Joe to fail at it. They want him to fail, and work to make him fail, so they can then accuse him of the failure. And they’re willing to quietly sacrifice lives to see that happen.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R) at the top of the stairs.

Remember, all of these GOP governors and senators and congress-folks and political operatives are fully vaxxed. They’re not stupid (okay, some are stupid; some are really stupid, and then you’ve got the Gohmert Scholars who are ohmyfuckinggod stupid). They’ll say, in the quietest voice possible, they believe the vaccines are effective and will save lives. They’ll say they think people should get vaxxed. But they also say–and say it much louder and more often–that patriotic citizens should be free NOT to get vaxxed, NOT to wear masks, NOT to trust the CDC.

That’s not incompetence. Failure to implement and enforce a covid vaccine mandate isn’t incompetence; it’s deliberate. Failure to implement and enforce mask mandates isn’t incompetence; it’s intentional. Promoting and encouraging resistance to basic public health regimens isn’t incompetence; it’s purposeful. At best, it’s willful indifference–a casual disregard for the safety and welfare of others. More likely, it’s a reckless lack of concern about the risk incurred by others.

You know what? If you (and yes, I’m talking about you) were standing at the top of some steep stairs debating with a buddy whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and you tapped your buddy in the chest with a finger to make a point, and your buddy fell down the stairs and died, you’d be guilty of a crime. You didn’t mean to kill your buddy; you were aware of the stairs, but weren’t really thinking about them; you were indifferent about the safety of your buddy. If you were standing by those stairs and gave your buddy a shove to scare them, and your buddy fell and was killed, you’d be guilty of a more serious crime. You didn’t mean for your buddy to get hurt or die, but you knew you were at the top of some stairs and you acted recklessly.

If you’re the Governor of Mississippi and you and all 3,000,000 of your constituents are standing at the top of the stairs debating Die Hard and you poke them in the chest to make a point and 473,000 of them fell down the stairs and 9,000 of them died…well.

No, that’s not incompetence. You know you’re at the top of those stairs, and you know folks could get seriously hurt and maybe die if they fell, and you fucking poked them in the chest to make a point anyway.