I will apologize in advance if I am telling you things today that you already know. I try to focus on things you might not know, or on insights that might possibly have eluded you. But sometimes one needs just to sum up the lay of the land.
The lay of the land is not good.
The Pandemic. I sat this morning, drinking my last cup of coffee, thinking of the Boxer Rebellion—a time during which the “Fists of Righteous Harmony” indulged the belief that they were immune from bullets.
Despite their fervent conviction of their bullet immunity, repeated empirical experiments, I am sorry to say, proved them to be wrong.
Now, before we go on, let us all please have a good belly laugh at the expense of the Boxers. What silly people! If anyone deserved to receive Darwin Awards on a massive scale, surely it was the Fists of Righteous Harmony.
Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.
Now, let us fast forward to August, 2020, a time when, as I previously reported, 11 percent of our adult population proudly proclaim that they do not wear masks. A time when 32 percent of our adult population claim to believe that Orange Man is doing a wonderful job dealing with the pandemic. A time when 154,471 of us have died of the pandemic. A time when pandemic deaths are surging in the Midwest. A time when we are on track to grow the death total to multiple hundreds of thousands.
The Boxers had nothing on us. Only about 100,000 people died in the Boxer Rebellion.
So, one might say, the joke is on us.
Or, to be more precise, the joke is on folks who would laugh at the Boxers and their bullet immunity while gaily waltzing down the street in Mississippi or Arkansas, maskless, still believing the malarkey that falls from the mouth of God’s Anointed One.
Depression Looming. As Reuters tell us, U.S. second-quarter GDP falls at steepest rate since Great Depression.
And that’s with the pandemic costing about 150,000 lives. Imagine how the economy will respond as we double and triple that number.
And, as Republicans in Congress keep looking for that phantom “V-shaped economic recovery”—a mirage as elusive as the Boxers’ bullet immunity—Congress dithers on a new recovery package.
The Mad King. One could go on at great length. For me, Exhibit A is how his calumnies against mail-in voting are wrecking his own slim chance at reelection. See, for example, thehill.com, GOP fears Trump attack on mail-in vote will sabotage turnout; Politico, Trump’s assault on mail voting threatens his reelection bid.
So, to Review the Bidding.
Mad King, utterly delusional.
Delusional minority of our population—who make the Boxers look fairly sane by comparison.
Looming loss of life on a scale yet unheard of.
And a new Great Depression on the way.
Hope y’all get the comedic reference to the wonderful Magic School Bus books and videos.
A lengthy—and terrifying—article, published this morning, has lots of news, none of it good:
The coronavirus is spreading at dangerous levels across much of the United States, and public health experts are demanding a dramatic reset in the national response, one that recognizes that the crisis is intensifying and that current piecemeal strategies aren’t working.
This is a new phase of the pandemic, one no longer built around local or regional clusters and hot spots. It comes at an unnerving moment in which the economy suffered its worst collapse since the Great Depression, schools are rapidly canceling plans for in-person instruction and Congress has failed to pass a new emergency relief package. President Trump continues to promote fringe science, the daily death toll keeps climbing and the human cost of the virus in America has just passed 150,000 lives.
“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic. It’s time to reset,” declared a report released this week by Johns Hopkins University.
Another report from the Association of American Medical Colleges offered a similarly blunt message: “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.” …
An internal Trump administration briefing document prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and obtained Friday by The Washington Post counted 453,659 new infections in the past week.
Alaska is in trouble. And Hawaii, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma. Those are the five states, as of Friday, with the highest percentage increase in the seven-day average of new cases, according to a Post analysis of nationwide health data.
“The dominoes are falling now,” said David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has produced a model showing where the virus is likely to spread over the next four weeks. …
The coronavirus has always been several steps ahead of the U.S. government, the scientific community, the news media and the general public. By the time a community notices a surge in patients to hospital emergency rooms, the virus has seeded itself widely.
Meanwhile, as the article lays out, authorities in a number of states continue to embrace ideologically driven misunderstandings of epidemiology and to reject scientific advice.
Welcome to the New Middle Ages.
Apropos of Trump’s suggestion of election delay, Clarence Darrow, writing from deep within Coaling Forest, explains it all in this here guest post.
He knows he is in for an ass whuppin’. His people have told him as much.
His reptile essence is hunting for an escape. Cancelling the election is the natural response for him and his ilk.
He may have sense enough to know that even his asswipes in the Senate won’t go along with that. (Even they, I believe, badly want this episode over so they can slink back to their old more comfortable ways.)
Upon an impending defeat or, less likely, after one, he will quit and take his band of prehensile tail dragging fans with him—thereby sealing the vault of the GOP grave.
These are some possible other signs to watch for:
- he will replace Pence with Haley and scapegoat Pence for the virus fuckup;
- he will not attend any of the debates (of this I’m quite sure), and
- he will abandon his adopted party at the worst possible time for it to try a recovery in time for November.
Look what he’s up to in Kansas with Kobach and McConnell.
In fact, his vitriol toward the GOP will be worse that his venom toward the Dems.
A new national poll, released today, asks this question:
Which of these statements describes you best? [I support President Trump, and there’s almost nothing that could change that/ I support President Trump right now, but I’m open to changing my mind if things change later/ I neither support or oppose President Trump/ I oppose President Trump right now, but I’m open to changing my mind if things change later/ I oppose President Trump, and there’s almost nothing that could change that/ Unsure]
and gets these answers:
|Support Trump, won’t change||34%|
|Support Trump, could change later||8%|
|Neither support nor oppose Trump||2%|
|Oppose Trump, could change later||3%|
|Oppose Trump, won’t change||53%|
So, almost everybody, even the lip readers, has an opinion on Trump.
A decisive majority of the country has made up its mind to vote against Trump.
And 42 percent of the country support Trump, but a fifth of those folks say they could see changing their minds.
Just heard from an old friend. Responding to my death by stupidity post, my friend allowed as how it is unfortunate that Louie Gohmert didn’t manage to get on the plane with Trump, and attend the Texas virusfests yesterday, because “Gohmert could have had such a ‘positive’ influence.”
As I said, some of us are turning a little bitter.
Among those apparently reaching the end of their tether is Margaret Sullivan, media colmunist for the Washington Post, who just wrote This was the week America lost the war on misinformation:
Some new research, out just this morning from Pew, tells us in painstaking numerical form exactly what’s going on, and it’s not pretty: Americans who rely on social media as their pathway to news are more ignorant and more misinformed than those who come to news through print, a news app on their phones or network TV.
And that group is growing.
I will leave it to Ms. Sullivan and the Pew Research people to speak about any general trend toward willful ignorance. As to the specific question of wearing face masks, the data seem to indicate that the message is getting through, except to a diminishing hard core. Typical is a Wall Street Journal article yesterday reporting that “only” (my term) “11% of American voters say they rarely or never wear a face mask.”
Of course, the diminishing hard core are not randomly distributed throughout the country, but are concentrated in rural areas and in the South. They are destined to greatly prolong the pandemic misery.
Politico, Trump floats delaying 2020 election
President Trump drew immediate rebukes from Republicans and Democrats alike on Thursday after floating the prospect of delaying the November election and claiming without evidence that widespread mail balloting would be a “catastrophic disaster” leading to fraudulent results.
The suggestion represented Trump’s latest, and most dramatic, attempt to undermine public faith in U.S. elections, which have grown more regular as polls have shown his political fortunes declining. The president has attacked mail voting nearly 70 times since late March in interviews, remarks and tweets, including at least 17 times this month, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
Thursday’s tweet came on the heels of a devastating report showing that the economy shrank nearly 10 percent from April through June, the largest quarterly decline since the government began publishing such data 70 years ago.
Senior Republicans, who often refuse to weigh in on President Trump’s controversial tweets, overwhelmingly rejected his idea Thursday that the election be postponed because of the risk of fraud.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a television interview with WNKY of Bowling Green, Ky. “We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
As you will remember, he made a point of attending Trump’s Tulsa virusfest and defying the disease.
Cause, meet effect.
The coroner ruled it was death by stupidity.