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.