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.

the odor of burnt communism

Reader, you may be asking yourself, “What in the name of maple oatmeal fuck were Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene doing in California?” It’s a valid question. I mean, he’s a soon-to-be indicted child sex trafficker and generic party creep from Florida and she’s multi-delusional insurrectionist from Georgia who isn’t trusted by her own party to hold any committee seats. So why were they in California instead of promoting conspiracy theories their home states?

The answer is…communism. No, I am NOT MAKING THIS UP. MG and MTG were in California to hold a Free Speech Against Communism rally. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Where is all this communism in California coming from?” Silly rabbit. According to noted scientists in starched white lab coats, it comes directly from gazooney rays emanating from the brain of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Those rays are amplified by Jewish space lasers and tight-beamed straight into the brain of Matt Gaetz, temporarily disrupting his brain’s primary sex-with-minors receptors.

“Attica! Attica! Power to the perverts!”

It’s fair to say the Gaetz-Greene ratfuck rodeo has struggled. They’d originally intended to kick communism in the balls at the Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center in Laguna Hills. But it was canceled after people who actually live in Laguna Hills said, “Oh, c’mon, keep these crazy fuckers out of our sweet little town.” Gaetz-Greene shifted their plan to the Riverside Convention Center (coincidentally located in Riverside, CA). But the people who live in Riverside said, “No, seriously, we can cope with the earthquakes and the wildfires and shit, just don’t inflict these fuckwits on us.” So the event was canceled. Not to be deterred, G-G moved their Free Speech to Stop Communist Speech rally to the Anaheim Event Center. But the people of Anaheim said, “We’d rather have a battery acid enema than listen to Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Whatshername.” So, canceled again.

Did that stop Gaetz-Greene? Hah! They said, “Hah! If six hundred thousand dead Americans didn’t stop us from standing up for your right not to wear an annoying mask, do you think being rejected by a few respectable venues is going to stop us? Hah! I say again, hah!” No fucking way. They took their Free Speech Dammit rally to a public parking lot outside of the Riverside City Hall.

Was it a success? Absolutely. According to a local newspaper, G-G “drew a crowd of more than 100” (some of which, it must be said, were counter-protestors. Oh, and news media. And a few police officers). MTG told her fellow free speech anti-communists:

“We won’t back down. The radical left wants to threaten you, they want to harass you, they want to target you, and they want to cancel you. And here’s what we’re going to do, America. You’ve got two members of Congress right here and we refuse to be canceled because we won’t let you be canceled.”

It’s fair to say the group of anti-Communists were encouraged, if confused, to learn that MG and MTG were going to do…you know, something. And if it wasn’t clear exactly what they were going to do, it was enough that it involved refusing to be canceled.

MTG leads the crowd in singing ‘Delta Variant Dawn’.

MG supported MTG, saying:

“These folks, they tried to cancel our venues, but they can never cancel our patriotism or our American spirit.”

It’s not clear who MG meant by ‘these folks’. Communists, possibly, or the owners of the other venues, or the people of Anaheim and Riverside and Laguna Hills, or Californians in general, or Hunter Biden art collectors. But he was adamant that they couldn’t cancel his American spirit.

They each spoke for about five minutes, posed for a few photos, then left. The crowd dissipated. Nothing was left but the lingering odor of burnt communism.

UPDATE: Sources say MG has reserved two VIP tickets to Anaheim’s Battery Acid EnemaFest using the screen name DeltaVariantBoi.

potzer

Years ago, when I lived in Manhattan, I was noodling around Washington Square Park and saw a couple of chess hustlers nearly come to blows. Not over a game of chess exactly, but because–wait. Yes, there are actual chess hustlers in NYC. Anything that can be hustled is being hustled in NYC. A good chess hustler can make a couple hundred dollars a day, playing tourists and chess enthusiasts for, say, three to five bucks a match. Mostly you’ll find them hustling in the parks–Washington Square Park, Central Park, Union Park.

Okay, back to the almost-fight. It wasn’t over a chess match. It was almost a fight because one chess hustler had called another a potzer. A small crowd had gathered; I turned to the guy next to me–another chess hustler–and asked him, “What’s a potzer?” He gave me a look that basically said, “If you have to ask….” Another told me a potzer was “a wood-pusher,” which I interpreted as an incompetent chess player. A third guy said, in a growly Eastern European accent, “Is Yiddish. Or German. An insult.”

I love a good insult. Potzer, it turns out, is a great insult. It doesn’t mean somebody who’s merely incompetent. It doesn’t mean somebody who is simply an amateur. It means a bungler, somebody who’s not as good as they think they are, a wanna-be who’s really a never-can-be but doesn’t recognize it. A potzer may have a rudimentary understanding of a particular skill set, but is ill-informed, clumsy at the actual skills necessary, and confused about the point.

It’s an insult usually restricted to chess players, but I think it can be applied to almost anything. Like politics. Matt Gaetz is a potzer. Comrade Trump, a potzer. Gym Jordan, Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene–hell, the entire Republican Party in Congress, all potzers.

These people are NOT in Congress to legislate. They’re there to perform. They’re not there to work for the common good; they’re there to draw an audience and keep their attention. While they may have the rudimentary understanding of governance, they lack both the skills necessary to accomplish it and the desire to follow through. Mainly, they’re in Congress to seize the public’s attention by creating wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades. Gaetz actually described his political ‘agenda’ as elevating his profile. He said:

“The way that you’re able to elevate your profile in Washington is to drive conflict, because conflict is interesting. And I think that the really powerful people in this town are the ones that can go on television and make an argument, and that’s power that leadership can never take away from you.”

Matt Gaetz, potzer.

Go on television, get power. That’s why he’s in Congress. Gaetz and his ilk (ooh, a tangent…ilk is derived from the Proto-Germanic ilīkaz, meaning ‘a body’. And ilīkaz is also the root term for lich, which refers to a re-animated corpse, which somehow seems appropriate when speaking about the modern GOP) operate on the belief that somehow power and authority are a product of the number of people who are paying attention to you. That’s why they rarely address actual legislative issues (which tend to be rather dull and unexciting) and focus instead on flashy distractions. Like ‘radical libs attacking Dr. Suess’ or ‘male perverts dressing and identifying as women in order to watch young girls pee in the women’s toilet at Walmart’.

These people are poseurs. They think they’re playing chess because they can identify the pieces and recognize the board. They know the basic moves, but they’re not serious players. They don’t ‘get it’ at a fundamental level.

In one sense, it matters what happens to Matt Gaetz. It matters because he’s corrupt and a colossal asshole–and corrupt assholes should never be allowed to get away with it. But in another sense, it doesn’t matter at all, because Gaetz is, and always will be, a wood-pusher. A potzer. And like all potzers, he doesn’t even know it.

covid on the floor

February 12, 2021 — HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s statewide mask mandate that had been in place since July was lifted Friday by Gov. Greg Gianforte. Gianforte, a Republican, promised the day after assuming office in January that he would lift the state’s mask mandate once there were liability protections in place for businesses and health care providers. The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Gregory Holzman, resigned from his post Thursday, the day after Gianforte announced he would lift the mask mandate.

April 6, 2021 — BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican governor’s office released a statement Monday evening saying that after experiencing mild symptoms a day earlier, Gianforte was tested “out of an abundance of caution.” All of the governor’s in-person events have been canceled, and he plans to work from his home in Bozeman. His staff will be be tested for the virus Tuesday.

Moron

Dr. Gregory Holzman: There are multiple reports across the nation of people stepping on Legos and hurting their bare feet.
Gov. Gianforte: Fake news. I’ve never stepped on a Lego. I’ve never seen a Lego.
Dr. H: Legos are real. People are dropping them on both coasts. It’s only a matter of time before Legos get dropped here in Montana. We should consider a boot mandate until we can isolate the people who are dropping Legos.
Gov. G: A boot mandate? That would be an infringement on the freedom of Montanans. Besides, only a few people in Montana have stepped on Legos.
Dr. H: Until we can identify who is dropping Legos, a boot mandate will prevent widespread foot injuries. We need to stay ahead of the problem.
Gov. G: I’m not going to issue a boot mandate when only a hundred or so Montanans have stepped on a Lego.
Dr. H: But the number of instances of people stepping on Legos is increasing. Happily, recent research indicates boots may not be necessary; shoes will be equally effective.
Gov. G: First you say boots, now you say shoes. Maybe you’re wrong about shoes too. Besides, most people who step on Legos recover.
Dr. H: Thousands of Legos…probably tens of thousands…are on the floor in Montana now. People are stepping on them at an unprecedented rate. A shoe mandate is vital.
Gov. G: Okay, I’ll suggest people should start wearing shoes, but I’m not going to make it mandatory.
Dr. H: The hospitals are being overwhelmed with foot injuries from people stepping on Legos.
Gov. G: Okay, I’ll issue a shoe mandate. Happy now?
Dr. H: Foot injuries are leveling off. There are fewer reports of Legos being dropped on the floor.
Gov. G: I’ll remove the shoe mandate.
Dr. H: No, it’s too early. Some of your own staff may have stepped on a Lego. We need to keep the shoe mandate in place a little bit…
Gov. G: I’ve removed the shoe mandate.
Dr. H: I quit.
Gov. G: Ouch. What the hell did I just step on?
Dr. H (muttering): Moron.

And that’s today’s lesson.

a bipartisan discussion on infrastructure policy

Democrats: President-elect Uncle Joe Biden says we should work with Republicans even though we may disagree on some policy issues. So let’s discuss the infrastructure bill.
Republicans: In Comrade President Trump’s second term, we should consider sending Democrats and other Satan-worshiping perverts to re-education camps. It’s only fair.

Dem: Excuse me, we don’t mean to be rude, but Uncle Joe won the 2020 election and will be inaugurated on…
Rep: STOP THE STEAL! We have incontrovertible proof that BLM operatives planted tens of thousands of pre-filled-out ballots for Biden!

Dem: The courts have repeatedly rejected your claims because of a lack of evidence, so…
Rep: The radical left courts are full of communist Trump-haters who hate Trump and MAGA and also Christians!

Dem: Many of the judges who’ve heard your cases were Republicans, some even nominated by Trump himself, so we don’t think you can…
Rep: Fake news!

Dem: It’s not fake news. It’s neither fake nor news. It’s just the facts, so let’s turn our attention back to infrastructure.
Rep: China is behind it! Where’s Hunter Biden?!

Dem: We don’t think that has anything to do with…
Rep: Joe Biden is a child molester and his son Hunter has sex with dwarfs!

Dem: No, he’s…wait, what?
Rep: China has infiltrated specially trained sex dwarfs to seduce Democrats and blackmail them to support the Chinese Communist Party!

Dem: …
Rep: Democrats don’t deny their participation in Chinese dwarf sex ring!

Dem: Look, can we just focus on why we’re meeting today and talk about infrastructure legislation?
Rep: We don’t make deals with Antifa! Why do you hate America?! STOP HAVING SEX WITH CHINESE DWARFS!

Dem: We’re not having…look, we’re standing here right in front of you.
Rep: You’re having Chinese sex with dwarfs in your mind! Right here in Congress! Have you no shame?!

Dem: Back to infrastructure…
Rep (grabbing their crotch): Infra this structure, bitches!

Dem: That’s completely inappropriate.
Rep: Fuck your feelings! Stop the steal! Lock her up!

Dem: We see no point in continuing with this.
Rep: Where are you going?! To see your Chinese sex dwarfs?! Do you keep them imprisoned in a secret chamber in an underground bunker hidden below DNC headquarters?!?!

Dem: We’re outa here.
Rep: Radical left Democrats refuse to cooperate with Republicans on infrastructure!

biden takes questions from republicans

Uncle Joe Biden — I ran as a proud Democrat, but I will be the president for ALL Americans.

Republicans — Liar! You’re a socialist!

UJB — No, I’m not. I’m a moderate Democrat who…

Rs — You’ll be the Soros president!

UJB — [grins] Yeah, no.

Rs — You’ll be the president of Antifa!

UJB — Look, here’s the deal. I’m opposed to fascists and fascism, but…

Rs — You’re the president of a global conspiracy of satanic, pedophile, cannibal, sex-traffickers!

UJB — [blinks]

Rs — You don’t even deny it!

UJB— A global conspiracy of what?

Rs — A global conspiracy of satanic, pedophile, sex-traffickers!

UJB — [blinks again] Are you insane?

Rs — Wait, we forgot to include the cannibal part. A global conspiracy of satanic, pedophile, sex-trafficking cannibals!

UJB — I don’t know what to say to that.

Rs — Deny it!

UJB — I do deny it. Of course, I deny it. It’s the craziest goddamn conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard.

Rs — See? That’s exactly what you’d expect from a satanic, pedophile, cannibal, sex-trafficker! Nobody expects satanic, pedophile, cannibal, sex-traffickers to tell the truth.

UJB — I don’t know what I can say to convince you I’m not part of a global conspiracy of any sort, let alone satanic, pedophile, sex-traffickers.

Rs — So you admit you’re a cannibal!

UJB — I forgot to include the cannibal part. I’m not a cannibal, and I can’t believe I actually have to say that out loud.

Rs — Liar! You haven’t even released your taxes!

UJB — Yes, I did. I released several years of…

Rs — Where’s your birth certificate? The long form. Maybe you didn’t show us your birth certificate because they don’t issue birth certificates to satanic, pedophile, cannibal, sex-traffickers who refuse to release their taxes. Or did George ‘Antifa’ Soros pay to have one forged for you? Is that why you wear a mask?

UJB –[checks his watch] You know, I’m running late for a meeting. Thanks for listening. Bye now.

FOXNews — President-elect Joe Biden denies being part of a global conspiracy of satanic, pedophile, cannibal, tax-dodging, sex-traffickers.

NewsMax — Biden suspected of being part of a global conspiracy of satanic, pedophile, cannibal, sex-traffickers, dodges questions about his birth certificate and taxes.

One America News Network — Biden claims he didn’t eat the corpse of a white Protestant baby boy after having satanic sex with it.

trump, burr, and the missing worldwide threat assessment

Here’s a curious thing. Last month Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Tar Heel Circle (which is more formally known as The North Carolina State Society of Washington DC). That’s not the curious thing; members of Congress routinely meet with ‘important’ people from their home state — business owners, social leaders, local politicians.

This smarmy fucker knew.

The curious thing is what Burr told those ‘important’ people. He warned them about a virus coming to the U.S. He told them it was “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.” You know, the pandemic that killed millions of people worldwide. He talked about travel restrictions and schools closing. He talked about how the military might need to be mobilized.

Here’s another curious thing. At the same time Burr was giving his speech, Comrade Trump was assuring the public that “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” He acknowledged a small number of US citizens had become ill, but “they’ve gotten very much better. Many of them are fully recovered.” We know, of course, that wasn’t true.

Had we been told the truth, the butcher’s bill wouldn’t be so high.

Here’s yet another curious thing. Every year in January or February, the US intelligence community provides the House and Senate intelligence committees with a briefing on global threats. That briefing is usually accompanied by a public hearing and the publication of an unclassified report called the Worldwide Threat Assessment. This year, the public hearing for the 2020 Worldwide Threat Assessment was canceled. It hasn’t been rescheduled. The report, which is usually unclassified, was suddenly classified.

One more curious thing: Senator Richard Burr, who issued that dire warning to the ‘important’ people of the Tar Heel Circle, is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee that first learns the details of the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

More curious things. In 2017, the Worldwide Threat Assessment said this about the threat to public health:

“A novel or reemerging microbe that is easily transmissible between humans and is highly pathogenic remains a major threat because such an organism has the potential to spread rapidly and kill millions.”

The 2018 WTA:

“A novel strain of a virulent microbe that is easily transmissible between humans continues to be a major threat, with pathogens such as H5N1 and H7N9 influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus having pandemic potential if they were to acquire efficient human-to-human transmissibility… a severe global influenza pandemic could cost the equivalent of 4.8 percent of global GDP—more than $3 trillion—and cause more than 100 million deaths.”

The 2019 WTA:

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”

We can, I think, safely assume the now-classified 2020 Worldwide Threat Assessment repeated what the last three WTAs said. We can, I think, assume that what Senator Burr reported to the ‘important’ people of North Carolina came directly from the 2020 WTA. We don’t have to assume that information was kept from the general public for at least six weeks; we know that’s true. Six weeks during which the US government failed to respond to a health threat they knew was coming. Six weeks in which the Trump administration could have prevented needless sickness and death.

We can’t blame every Covid-19 death on folks like Trump and Burr. But we can hold them responsible for a lot of them.

They knew. They knew it was coming. These fuckers deliberately downplayed the threat to the public while warning the ‘important’ people.

We need to see the 2020 Worldwide Threat Assessment report. We need to know what they knew. We need to hold all of these fuckers accountable. We need to toss them out of office. We need to publicly name them and shame them. We need to hang the scope of this pandemic around their necks and make them wear their shame every day for the rest of their miserable lives.

life just be that way, i guess

Every so often, on a regular goddamn basis, I am reminded that The Wire wasn’t just the best cop show ever made, but a modern oracle for understanding These United States. The opening scene of the very first episode is the most concise, most hard-boiled, most accurate summation of how the world works in this nation.

Here is a True Thing, a thing The Wire gets right: Snot Boogie is always going to steal the money. Always, every time. But here is another True Thing, something that reminds you that The Wire is fiction: in real life, Snot Boogie often gets away with the money. Not every time, but often enough that snatching the pot and running is considered a business practice.

Maybe you should watch this before we go any further. Little over two-and-a-half minutes. It’s all there.

Delaware North. A privately owned global food service and hospitality company, owned by the Jacobs family, named for the location of its headquarters building on the corner of Delaware Avenue and North Street in Buffalo. Over fifty thousand employees, annual revenues of over three billion dollars. Three billion dollars. That’s serious coin.

In 1993, Delaware North won the contract to provide concession services for Yosemite National Park. We’re talking food, beverage, souvenirs — a sweet deal. But they lost that sweet deal to another company in 2015. That’s how the game of craps works, right? You make your point, you keep the dice; you don’t, the dice get passed to the next player. Delaware North is out, Aramark has the dice.

Well, that’s how it works in a fair game, even in a Baltimore back alley. Now imagine if Delaware North passed the dice, but said that in order to keep playing you had to pay them if you used the words ‘dice’ or ‘craps’ or ‘roll’ or any numeral from two to twelve. If somebody pulled that shit in Baltimore, his ass would get whupped.

But that’s basically what Delaware North did with Yosemite National Park. During the twenty-two years they had the concession contract, they began to trademark the names and images of the iconic landmarks inside Yosemite. They trademarked the name of ‘Curry Village’ and ‘Ahwahnee Hotel’ and even ‘Yosemite National Park.’ Hell, they trademarked the likeness of Half Dome. These greedy motherfuckers trademarked the phrase ‘Go climb a rock.’

Sorry, dude, can’t say that no more.

And when they lost the contract, Delaware North sued the National Park Service for trademark infringement, demanding US$50 million in compensation. That suit is still unresolved, but in the meantime the park decided to rename the hotel, the village, and some other sites. You can’t stay in the Ahwahnee Hotel anymore. Now you have to stay in the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. I mean, it’s just a name…but damn.

But wait…it gets worse. Of course it does. Everything gets worse in the Comrade Trump administration. About a year ago, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created (and I am NOT making this up) the ‘Made in America’ Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee “to tackle some of our biggest public lands infrastructure and access challenges.” That’s ZinkeSpeak for ‘How to make rich motherfuckers even richer by letting them fuck with public lands.’

“Life just be that way, I guess.”

Guess who’s on that advisory committee? If you guessed Jerry Jacobs, the billionaire CEO of Delaware North, you’d be right. Only in the Trump administration would you find a greedhead like Jacobs, who is suing an agency of the Department of the Interior, formally named an advisor to that department.

Why is Jacobs on the committee? According to Zinke, he offers “unique insight that is often lost in the federal government.” That’s ZinkeSpeak for “Life just be that way, I guess.” Jerry Jacobs is what you get if you let Snot Boogie keep stealing the pot. So why do we even let him in the game?

“Got to. This America, man.”