change gonna come

Every time the United States is coping with widespread rioting sparked by racism and police violence during an economic crisis caused by the near-collapse of the national healthcare system overloaded by an inept and indifferent response to a global pandemic taking place a few months before the most critical presidential election in the history of this nation pitting an essentially decent, good-hearted but bumbling old white man against a malignant, mendacious, ignorant old white man, I am reminded of the words of the Poet Sam Cooke.

A change gonna come.

It has been a long time coming. I don’t know what the change will be, but it’s coming. There’s no guarantee the change will be a good one. But all the same, it’s coming. I’m scared to be very hopeful, I really am. I know the change — even if it’s a good one, even if it’s the change I want — won’t be nearly enough to make everything right. But it’s coming, and it’ll bring some clarity. In a few short months, things will start to get better. Or they’ll start to get much worse. But a change gonna come.

You can’t dodge it. You can’t stop it. You can work to make it the change you want, but it’s coming. You can organize, you can protest, you can sit at home and binge watch television, you can throw stones, you can vote, you can wear a mask, you can ignore science, you can pray to any entity you can believe in, you can burn the motherfucker down, you can donate money, you can buy a t-shirt with a slogan on it, you can bake bread, you can call names, you can close your eyes and hope it all goes away, but it won’t. You know it won’t. You know it won’t.

Change gonna come.

don’t be a dick; wear a mask

I don’t mind wearing a mask. I don’t like it, but I don’t mind it all that much. I hate the fact that it’s necessary (and, yeah, it IS actually necessary), but it’s a relatively small inconvenience. I have maybe a half dozen masks, all of which were given to me by friends. When I have to put one on, it’s a reminder that there are folks out there who care about me. I like that.

That’s the reason we wear the masks — because we care about other people. Because we’re not selfish dicks. We wear masks because this is a public health issue; not a political one, not a religious one, not a cultural one. Comrade Trump and his followers seem determined to make it into all three.

Me, being a good citizen.

Politically, they say it’s about Democrats wanting to scare the public, wanting to hurt the economy in order to damage Trump’s chance for re-election. Which is profoundly stupid. Like everybody else, I want to go back to pubs and coffee shops. I want to go to the movies. I want to stroll through the crowds at the farmer’s market, and linger over the counter of the pastry shop, and spend a few idle hours at the art center, and wander through the aisles of the market. I miss all that.

But the only way we’re going to be able to safely do that stuff again is if we wear masks for a while — until we can get a handle on Covid-19. Which we are NOT going to do if we don’t do more actual testing, if we don’t do contact tracing, and if we don’t wear the goddamn masks.

In terms of religion, they suggest Democrats want to keep churches closed in order to…I don’t know what. Something Satanic, I suppose. But we’ve seen that houses of worship are now the most common source of new Covid-19 outbreaks. That’s true internationally. Prayer alone is a poor prophylactic against viruses. The only way folks will be able to safely return to church is — well, again, testing, contact tracing, and wearing masks. If a divine being exists, he or she or it should be able to hear prayers said through a mask.

Don’t be a dick; wear a damn mask.

Culturally, wearing a mask gets passed through a filter of absurd masculinity and phony notions of heroism. Those folks standing together in crowds, mask-free, shouting about tyranny and mocking mask-wearing reporters — they see themselves as heroes. They see themselves as William Wallace (or at least Mel Gibson and his hair in Braveheart) shouting ‘Freedom!’ (they seem to forget he’s beheaded immediately afterwards). They see themselves as a Band of Brothers (the television mini-series about WWII, not that poofy Shakespeare St. Crispin’s Day bullshit), courageously displaying their willingness to stare a virus down and show it who’s boss. Wearing a mask, they think, is cowardly. A mask is a white flag of surrender to…something. Mask-Nazis.

Burial at Arlington National Cemetery. You think these guys are cowards?

It’s not cowardly to wear a mask when you buy groceries. It’s not cowardly to wear a mask when you’re burying your brothers-in-arms. It’s not brave to wear a mask either. It’s just being respectful. It’s just being a good citizen, a decent person. It’s just looking out for other folks in your community. It’s just good public health and common sense.

Wearing a mask is about not being a dick. Don’t be a dick. Wear a mask.

defending america against bill gates and chicom viruses

Okay, let’s be honest now. This poor guy wouldn’t have had to exercise his Second Amendment rights if Bill Gates hadn’t paid the Chinese Communist government of China to release the Wuhan Virus to infect all of the Republicans in the United States so he could develop a ‘global vaccine’ which is actually a Human Implantable Quantum Dot Microneedle Vaccination Delivery System (patent #060606) that injects quantum dot microneedles, a digital identification mark, AND a device for buying and selling cryptocurrency. They want you to believe a mask will protect you from the vaccine, BUT IT WON’T. So of course, he had no choice but to open fire on his third visit to the Waffle House.

Actual Waffle House where the 2nd Amendment Remedy was exercises (probably, you can’t prove it’s not, so shut up).

Where in the Constitution does it say you have to wear a mask to order a damn waffle? Tell me that. We didn’t fight a war in Europe and Southeast Asia just so China can make us wear masks to buy a damn waffle. We have rights and freedom, so they hate us and our damn waffles.

Who is the real victim here? WHO?!!11? Also, only pussies wash their hands. Keep American Great Again Still.

really well

I’m old enough to remember this:

Washington state officials confirm first coronavirus death in U.S.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t yesterday, though. It was 78 days ago. The first reported Covid-19 death, according to the news reports, was “a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions.” This article also included this stunning news:

“This marks the first virus-related death in the U.S. amid an outbreak that has exceeded 85,000 confirmed cases around the world.”

Let me repeat that. 85,000 confirmed cases around the world. NOT deaths, just confirmed cases. NOT in Washington state, NOT in the United States, 85,000 cases in THE WORLD. 78 days ago. The United States had 22 confirmed cases.

When I started writing this, there were 90,203 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in the US. Let me repeat that as well. In the last 78 days, we’ve had an additional 90,202 confirmed Covid-19 deaths. Deaths, not cases. Deaths. By the time I finish writing this, we’ll likely have another thirty or forty more.

This morning, Comrade President Trump tweeted this:

More than 90,000 Americans dead in 78 days. That’s more than 1,100 Americans every day. Almost 50 Americans dead every hour. We’re doing REALLY well, medically? What the fuck does that even mean?

Just 78 days ago, Trump said this:

“Additional cases in the U.S. are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover and we think that will be a statement we can make with great surety now that we’ve gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus. So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine. Since the early stages of the foreign outbreak, my administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease.

There’s no reason to panic, at all.”

No reason to panic. Healthy people will probably be fine. Probably. Unless they’re one of the 90,000 Americans who died in the last 78 days. I know I keep repeating that, but Jeebus on toast, we’re talking 90,000 dead in 78 fucking days. And it’s not stopping. There were 90,203 when I started writing this; now there are 90,311 (although, in fairness, I did take some time to play with the cat and make myself a late breakfast, but Jesus suffering fuck that’s still a hundred more dead folks in just the last hour or so).

You’ll probably be fine. We’re doing REALLY well, medically.

Yesterday 38 of the 50 states reported more deaths. Despite that, Comrade Trump is encouraging every state to relax pandemic precautions in the name of ‘the economy’ (whatever that means). You know that question folks always ask — your house is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what do you grab? Most folks say they’ll grab something of irreplaceable sentimental value. Family photos, something like that.

The United States is on fire. Trump grabbed the economy and he’s leaving the rest of us to burn.

One more time. 78 days. 90,332 dead. We’re doing REALLY well, medically. Nothing makes sense anymore.

 

i guess we’re just giving up now?

Did I get this wrong? I mean, it was only a month ago. I recognize that a month in TrumpTime is like a year in normal time, but still. Only a month ago Comrade Trump’s own coronavirus task force cobbled together a vague set of guidelines that individual states should meet before the country would be allowed to ‘open up again’ (whatever the hell that means).

Bringing out the dead.

Here are the state/regional gating criteria Trump said should be satisfied BEFORE starting the first phase of the comb-over comeback:

A downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period.
OR
A downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests).

And remember, that’s not even Phase One. That was supposed to be the criteria before entering Phase One. When did we decide to scrap that?

I mean, sure, the guidelines are pretty vague. None of the terms are defined. For example, what constitutes a ‘documented’ case? What is the base proportion of tests that should be conducted (should we test 25% of the population of the region? 10%? One percent?). But at least it says ‘downward trend‘ so you could reasonably assume that meant the number of cases or positive tests would be…you know…going down. Right?

Apparently not. Take a guess how many regions/states that are now relaxing social distancing guidelines (and isn’t that a nice way to put it…relaxing?) have any sort of downward trend in cases or tests. Go ahead, guess.

If you guessed NONE (and I’m pretty sure you did), you’d be right. None. Just the opposite. The number of cases AND the number of positive Covid-19 tests are uniformly increasing. And the Trump administration officials who SET the guidelines are cheering on the folks who are ignoring them.

It’s completely fucking insane.

Storing the dead in refrigerated trucks.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that after a few weeks of half-heartedly following some very basic social distancing, the Trump administration — and conservatives in general — have thrown up their collective hands and said, “This shit is hard, no way we can do this, let’s just give up.”

I’m old enough to remember President Obama’s 2008 victory speech, in which he kept speaking the refrain of “Yes, we can.” That sort of optimism and willingness to work hard is gone. We’re now living in the era of “I don’t know, maybe we can, maybe we can’t, I guess we’ll see, but it’s not my responsibility.”

So this is where we are in the United States. As I began to write this, the US had suffered 69,942 confirmed deaths from Covid-19. Confirmed. And we all know there are a lot of Covid-19 deaths that haven’t been officially confirmed. Right now there are 69,968 deaths — twenty-six more people died from Covid-19 while I wrote this.

We know with mathematical certainty there will be more deaths. A LOT more deaths if we don’t follow those basic social distancing guidelines. But our government, and most of Trump’s followers, are apparently okay with that. Because it’s such a bother to wear a mask and stay two meters apart from each other.

Refrigerated ‘morgue’ trucks.

So I guess the current plan — not the worst case scenario, the actual plan — is that we’re just going to accept that at least a thousand Americans will die every day for the foreseeable future. That’s the current price of doing business in the US.

But think about this. If Trump is willing to allow that to happen during an election year, what is he capable of doing in a second term?

ADDENDUM: By the way, stories about Covid-19 deaths usually stop in a metaphorical sense with the word ‘death’. But that’s not what happens in the real world. When somebody dies in a hospital, there’s still work to do. There’s a point at which the patient ceases to be a patient and becomes a body. All the machines have to be disconnected from the body; all the tubes and IVs have to be removed. Then the body has to be cleaned — completely wiped down, tidied up, toe-tagged, bagged. Then transferred to the morgue (or refrigerated truck). It’s an unpleasant job. I’ve done it many many times. It wears on you. Give some thought to the folks who are doing that multiple times a day.

ADDENDUM 2: As I hit ‘save’ for the last time, the butcher’s bill has climbed to 69,977. Do the math.

targeted murder hornets

Okay, so, I have a plan. It’s still in the very early stages of development, so maybe it’s not actually a ‘plan’. At least not in the sense of a thought-out arrangement or method for doing something. I can’t really say I’ve thought this out terribly well. In fact, it would be more accurate to call it a ‘plot’ rather than a plan, since it’s more of a sequence of intended events rather than an actual arrangeme…well, okay even ‘plot’ is probably inaccurate. Let’s call it a thought experiment. Or wishful thinking.

Okay, so I’ve been doing some wishful thinking about those tuna-brained plonkers parading outside the offices and homes of state government officials who have implemented stay-at-home orders in an effort to reduce the Covid-19 butcher’s bill. I should say that I support anybody’s right to protest. Anybody’s, even if I disagree with the protest, and even if I think the protest is stupid beyond belief.

Yeah, THIS is a guy I’d trust with a firearm. He looks nice.

But damn. Look I know I should feel compassion for folks who are so frightened or timid they feel they need to carry at least one firearm (and preferably more, plus some extra ammo and probably some sort of tactical knife) to go to the market or to exercise their civil liberties. It must be miserable to be that scared all the time. But the sad truth is I’m finding it increasingly difficult to be compassionate for people who have to carry a firearm everywhere they go in public in order to feel safe while insisting that others who are scared of a virus should just stay home.

Anyway, I have a plan some wishful thinking about these dolts. It involves murder hornets. Have you heard about the murder hornets? Vespa Mandarina, or something like that. Big fucking Asian wasps that have found their way to the US, probably from Wuhan China (I mean, why not?). Two inches long, with mandibles like scimitars and a stinger long enough to penetrate a bee-keeper’s suit. Also? They can sting you multiple times. Multiple. Flies at 20 miles per hour, so good luck outrunning one of those angry bastards. I mean, Usain Bolt, who is like the fastest man on the damned planet, was clocked at 28 mph, and that was only for a hundred meters. Of course, if he had a murder hornet behind him, he might do better. But the rest of us are fucked. I mean, just look at them.

Their sting has been described as like being impaled with red hot thumbtacks.

Here’s a thing about hornets (well, some hornets, not all of them, but maybe including murder hornets, I don’t know, but we’re still in the wishful thought experiment stage, so don’t discourage me): when angry or attacked, they release an alarm pheromone (your basic 2-methyl-3-butene-2-ol) that incites other nearby hornets to attack. This alarm pheromone is semi-key to my plan wishful thought experiment.

Okay, here it is: we (and by ‘we’ I mean somebody else other than me) capture and breed hundreds or thousands of murder hornets, genetically modifying the brutes so they’re attracted to the smell of Hoppe’s gun oil. How hard could that be?

Hey tunahead, say hello to my little friend.

Anyway, that’s the plan wishful thought experiment. Breed them, train them, turn them loose at these protests. Then stand back. The hornets are drawn to the firearms, the tunaheads panic and swat at them (or just panic and run, the plan work…dammit, the wishful thought experiment works either way), hilarity ensues.

There are still a few wrinkles to work out, I admit. I wonder if Kickstarter would accept something like this.

it stinks

I’m trying to remember when I hit that point where I stopped trying to keep track of each and every awful thing that happened that day.

I mean, there was actually a time when I could read two or three news sources and feel like I had a solid grasp of all the awful things that happened on any given day. Later I found myself focusing on the primary awful things that happened, because it would take a spreadsheet to keep track of the picayune awful things. But over time, every day became a muddle of major corruption, lying, gross incompetence, vindictiveness, and venality, all of which existed in a melange of Trumpian hate-rage. And it was impossible to keep track even of all the massively awful things that happened in a given day.

This guy is awful in so many ways you need a quantum computer to keep track.

It’s hard to imagine a president who in the course of a single day would 1) shirk his duty during a pandemic that has cost more than 65,000 American lives, 2) lie about the availability of testing necessary to know the extent of that pandemic, 3) encourage states to re-open their economies even though NONE of those states have met the guidelines issued by the president’s own task force, 4) try to extort political favors from states in desperate need of federal financial aid as a result of that pandemic, 4) try to undermine the 2020 presidential election by claiming vote-by-mail is risky, 5) find ways to threaten the unemployment benefits of the nearly 20% of the US workforce that’s unemployed because of the pandemic, 6) use his presidential emergency powers to force workers in the meat industry to continue to work despite the alarming number of Covid-19 cases appearing in meat-packing plants, 7) block the nation’s most trusted information source from testifying in front of the Democratic-led House while allowing his testimony in the Republican-led Senate, 8) encourage armed insurrection against the legitimately elected Democratic governors of states he doesn’t like, 9) float the idea of pardoning his former National Security Advisor whom he’d fired because the man had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI (and the Vice President) about his dealings with Russian intelligence (not to mention his failure to register as a foreign agent of Turkey OR his involvement in a plot to kidnap a Turkish dissident cleric), 10) denigrated and undermined the leadership and line staff of the nation’s primary national law enforcement agency, 11) promoted a number of conspiracy theories, including one about the origins of the pandemic, and 12) tried to pressure US intelligence agencies to substantiate that conspiracy theory.

That’s just what I can recall of the major awful stuff Comrade Trump engaged in one a single day. There’s bound to be awful stuff I’ve missed.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Comrade Trump ohmyfuckinggod I can’t even look killmenow.

All of this horror is compounded by state governors who are willing (or actually eager) to curry favor with Trump for their own political reasons. Like so many other Republican governors, the governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, refused to issue a state-wide shelter-in-place order. She’s not only supporting Trump’s executive order to require workers at meat-packing plants (a large proportion of whom are immigrants) to report for work regardless of Covid-19 outbreaks, she’s also informed low wage workers who are reluctant to return to work because of pandemic fears that if they refuse to return to work, they will be denied unemployment benefits.

The result of this monstrous cascade of really, truly, awful stuff from Trump and his supporters is a sort of numbness. It’s like living downwind from a paper mill or a hog containment farm — you sort of get inured to the stink. Some days stink more than others, but every day stinks horribly.

And it will continue to stink horribly until we get rid of the hog farm.