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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
  • Top Posts

Ammosexual Michigandis

Let’s observe the species in the wild as it attempts to annoy the s{#% out of lawmakers.

Wait, they ARE in the wild, aren’t they?:

Yes, they are. They are allowed to freely congregate anywhere in Michigan. They don’t need to wear masks or stand 6 feet apart if they don’t want to. If they want to contact a deadly disease, they have the right to do it.

It is these death defying acts and intimidation tactics that makes the ammosexual michigandis so annoying that primatologists find themselves rooting for the virus against all training and commitment to objective scientific inquiry and professional standards.

Social anthropologists have been struggling with this as well with respect to evangelical pastors. Is it wrong to let nature have its way without humane intervention? Fortunately, the pastoris evangelicalis’s faith in the “healing blood of Jesus” allows the observer to let the experimental power of prayer play out without guilt.

Trump has Scanxiety

Is anyone here familiar with the term scanxiety? If you’ve had cancer you know what this is. It happens at the beginning of the ordeal and at many points throughout the duration. It starts when a doctor says, “we see something suspicious and we need to run some scans to get a better look”.

If you’re LUCKY, you get scanxiety when things are still in the very early stages, when the “thing” is still in one location, or has spread locally. That’s when it’s easiest to catch it and force it to submit to your will. That’s what happened to me. It was caught early but the sucker was still pretty obnoxious so a course of strong treatment was necessary.

But before treatment could commence, I needed some scans to make absolutely sure that the bugger hadn’t hitched a ride on a lymph node. And that, oh best beloveds, is very scary. Note to the never been scanned: if you ask for classic rock in your headset as they roll you into the MRI, don’t be alarmed if “Don’t Fear The Reaper” turns up in the playlist. Yes, it really happened. Turned out I had nothing to fear but it you don’t know that ahead of time.

What happens if you can’t overcome scanxiety?

If you can’t get over your fear, or at least allow yourself to freak out in the PET scanner, then you won’t know if or where the thing is. And if you don’t know for sure where it is, you can’t get the right treatment to root it out.

That’s what happened to Trump. First he ignored the warning signs. According to sources, he had multiple meetings with intelligence officials in January warning him that there was a very infectious virus on the loose in China.

Then the virus showed up here. At first, there were only a few locations. All he needed to do was get the scans going to figure out how big the first locations were. But he chose the “it’s no big deal” route.

Then the virus started to spread. There was still time to scan us and quarantine the growing number of infected lymph nodes. But he chose the “it’s just like a flu and it will burn itself out” approach.

Now we have massive metastasis. It will be like playing whack-a-mole to get it out of our system. But Trump still has scanxiety. And that’s a problem. Because if you can’t locate every single errant cell, you can’t ever get rid of it.

All you can do is wait for a cure.

Good luck with that!

************************

People, my vacation, that was ruined in 2018 by a hurricane, postponed for the year from heck treatments in 2019 and was purposely rescheduled for the week before Memorial Day so as to avoid yet another hurricane, has been brutally murdered by Coronavirus. Yes, that’s right, after a decade of boring staycations or no vacation, my one true chance for a week at an uncrowded beach vacation in the outer banks of North Carolina has been ruined by their decision to keep vacationers off the island until after Memorial Day when counterintuitively, the beach will be significantly more crowded than the week before. I can’t wrap my head around the logic here but whatever. We have essentially lost our reservation and yet another relaxing and desperately needed vacation.

If any of you know what god I have to appease to get my vacation on the beach in NC, please let me know in the comments section. I’m willing to pay more as long as it doesn’t bankrupt me. (It might) I’ll sacrifice my first born (sorry, Iphigenia, this is important.)

I can’t even tell you how depressing this is. I even changed the date on my last surgery so I could go without feeling drained. But it was to not avail. The gods are against me. No, no other place will do unless the beach is as uncrowded and nice as Salvo, North Carolina. If you know someone who has a house and can rent it to us, let me know. I’m going to lose my mind.

The two headed beast of Republicanism

The reason why our Coronavirus response has made us the laughing stock and/or object of pity in the world has two components:

The Republicans reject governing. Period. They believe entirely in the “private sector”. That’s why there’s always a list of corporate sponsors at the briefings. Supposedly, they do EVERYTHING better than the federal government. But how would you actually know if the Republicans have been starving the beast for 40 years? Conversely, the crippling of the federal government has made us increasingly reliant on the private sector. This is the best it can do?? They can’t even get their s}}% together like a band of superheros to use their American ingenuity and can-do spirit to put together a program of national testing? Why is that??

The second component is the crime family approach of the Trumps. During this crisis, they have been aggressively capturing as much of the personal protective gear as possible, played with military resources and threatened the states that do not “bend the knee” to Trump. The demand to say nice things about him is maniacal. But it’s the piracy of the PPE that should have gotten him thrown out weeks ago.

Ok, here’s what I think is going on. The Republicans are starting to feel skittish about Trump but he’s got an iron grip on their balls. The advice he is getting from the Kremlin is to remain fixed, unapologetic and corrupt. Sow confusion and rage and then stand back and say, “you think you can make me leave? Go ahead. Make me.”

The worse he gets, the harder it will be to get rid of him. That’s the whole point. It’s to teach us learned helplessness. They want us to give up.

During this crisis, we can’t hit the streets and protest without risking our lives. So, it’s harder for the rest of the country to see how resolute we are to get rid of them all. There’s going to be a purge in November. Some of the swing states are going with mandated mail in voting or expanded absentee voting. Unless he cancels the elections, and there won’t be any reason to cancel them in the mail in states, the Republicans are going to be wiped off the map except in the most stubborn and self-destructive southern and western states.

Stay very, very angry.

David Frum State Bankruptcy

David Frum writes about why Mitch McConnell wants the blue states to declare bankruptcy. If you read any of my posts on Karen Ho’s book Liquidated, you’ll have a clue what the “shareholders” are up to.

Here’s the short summary behind the motivation for why Republicans want NY to declare bankruptcy: they see themselves as owners of the economics of the state and they did not promise pensions to the public unions waaaay back when. That was done by other people. Now those wealthy New Yorkers, Californians and Jerseyans have to pay sky high taxes to the states to maintain those pensions. And they don’t want to. Like I said, they see themselves as owners. They don’t see themselves as taxpaying citizens. They never agreed to letting a cop or firefighter retire with a nest egg.

Let’s not forget that if you are one of those public employees in a union whether it is a teacher or paramedic, the bargain you struck with the state was that you would defer some of your compensation to a pension fund. That’s your money. You worked for it all your life. Likely, you have been basing all your major life decisions on whether it was going to be there when you got old including if and when you would have children and whether those children would get money to go to college from your other savings.

But in a bankruptcy proceeding, pension funds are not the first creditors that will be paid back from the assets of the state. In all likelihood, they will get the shaft- hard.

But that doesn’t matter to the owner-funders of the Republican Party. All they care about is the here and now and they want out of any obligations that the past might have saddled them with.

Go read the Frum piece in The Atlantic. Then go read Karen Ho’s book Liquidated. Then go read anything you can find on the Shock Doctrine.

There’s a good chance that the Republicans are going to lose EVERYTHING in the 2020 election. But by they time that happens, they will have set up an elaborate domino maze that will take everything we prize in the American system down with them and they have enough judges in place to keep it from ever rising again.

It sounds hyperbolic and unlikely. But what hyperbolic and unlikely prediction hasn’t come true since Trump and the Republicans took over? Trump pressing the nuclear button? There’s still time. There are 9 months until Inauguration Day.

******************

By the way, if I hear one more person whining that anyone but Elizabeth Warren should be Biden’s VP pick, I’m just going to assume they haven’t been paying any f#^*ing attention and think this is still 2008.

It’s not.

It’s 1932.

It HAS to be Warren or Biden will be signaling that he’s incapable of leading in desperate times.

What will it take? I’ve got some bad news.

So, a lot of you are wondering what it will take to break the base’s cult like support of Trump. I think I have some clue about this after listening to The Death of Hitler on Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast. The clue came from the life and death of Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s right hand man, in the last days of the third reich.

Magda was in the bunker in Berlin with Hitler and what remained of his command people. She knew the end was coming. The soviets were closing in on them. Hitler threw everything he had left at the Red Army but it wasn’t going to be enough. In this frame of mind, Magda looked back at her husband’s role in the third reich with remarkable clarity. Magda was woke:

We have demanded monstrous things from the German people, treated other nations with pitiless cruelty. For this the victors will exact their full revenge…we can’t let them think we are cowards. Everybody else has the right to live. We haven’t got this right—we have forfeited it. I make myself responsible. I belonged. I believed in Hitler and for long enough in Joseph Goebbels…Suppose I remain alive, I should immediately be arrested and interrogated about Joseph. If I tell the truth I must reveal what sort of man he was—must describe all that happened behind the scenes. Then any respectable person would turn from me in disgust. It would be equally impossible to do the opposite—that is to defend what he has done, to justify him to his enemies, to speak up for him out of true conviction…That would go against my conscience. So you see, Ello, it would be quite impossible for me to go on living. We will take the children with us, they are too good, too lovely for the world which lies ahead. In the days to come Joseph will be regarded as one of the greatest criminals that Germany has ever produced. His children would hear that said daily, people would torment them, despise and humiliate them. They would have to bear the burden of his sins and vengeance would be wreaked on them… It has all happened before. You know how I told you at the time quite frankly what the Führer said in the Café Anast in Munich when he saw the little Jewish boy, you remember? That he would like to squash him flat like a bug on the wall…I couldn’t believe it and thought it was just provocative talk. But he really did it later. It was all so unspeakably gruesome…

As you can see in the above quote, Magda knew right from wrong and she wasn’t stupid. She didn’t take Hitler seriously just literally, or whatever that nonsensical statement is the MAGA heads are always saying. In other words, the Nazi’s plans were provocative. They got her juices flowing. Being in power was intoxicating and ratcheting up the propaganda was thrilling. But she knew that what they were doing was unspeakably cruel. There was not going to be some insanity plea available to Magda.

That quote was written a month before Magda died. Just before she killed her children and committed suicide, she wrote another letter where she lamented that she could not bear to live in a post war world where the Fuhrer and all his plans were destroyed. She couldn’t bear the condemnation of the world and the humiliation to her children who would never live it down:

Our glorious idea is ruined and with it everything beautiful and marvelous that I have known in my life. The world that comes after the Führer and national socialism is not any longer worth living in and therefore I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow, and a merciful God will understand me when I will give them the salvation … The children are wonderful … there never is a word of complaint nor crying. The impacts are shaking the bunker. The elder kids cover the younger ones, their presence is a blessing and they are making the Führer smile once in a while. May God help that I have the strength to perform the last and hardest. We only have one goal left: loyalty to the Führer even in death. Harald, my dear son—I want to give you what I learned in life: be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country

Her values and priorities are pretty clear. If her leader can’t be in charge, if he doesn’t have power, she wanted no part of it. She’s very concerned with her image, humiliation and shame. And she prizes loyalty above all else.

So, she murdered her children and then killed herself. She didn’t ask her children if maybe they were willing to try to come to terms with what their parents had done. After all, they weren’t guilty of anything and children can be rehabilitated. No, she made the decision.

I know you’ve heard it before that religious cult members are like this. A good example of this is Jehovah’s Witnesses refusal of blood transfusions. Loyalty to Jehovah’s organization is paramount and salvation depends on not taking blood no matter how much you may need it. And that’s fine if you are an adult and you are old enough to make your own decisions.

It’s not fine when you take that decision away from your children who are already sentient human beings. They do it anyway and pressure their kids to die for their religion to the point where a guardian has to be appointed by the court.

We live in a country where there are millions of voters who are militantly loyal to Trump. The alternative to a Trump governed country is unthinkable. It would be not aligned with their vision of having unlimited power. Losing that power is the ultimate humiliation. They couldn’t live with the damage to their worldview. For them to change their minds about Trump, they would have to change their minds about the worldview that was created for them over the last 40 years. I’d like to believe that could happen but history and my own experience shows that it is very difficult.

The only people I can think of who have come close to breaking the grip is Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu with their truth and reconciliation commission. But note that they had to win elections first and that took years of struggle with very determined people. If we win back our country, it will be pretty broken. We will need a similar commission or the cycle will repeat.

They already know that what’s going on in the country is horrific to many people. They know about the cruelty. They’ve been shocked at the stuff Trump says and does. But he exercises power and no one has been able to stop him.

A few of them might change their minds. They will need to be personally affected in a way that they can’t claw their way back to the top. Then some of them might fall away. The pandemic *might* be a tipping point. But I suspect that a lot more of them will cling to their vision right up to the point when their war is lost.

Look at what BiFF found.

When he’s not obsessively checking Burkino Faso’s infection rate compared to his town in {{undisclosed location}}, he sends me stuff like this.

Warning: Viewers are advised to swallow their drinks and/or go to the lavatory before pressing play.

Yes, this headline in WaPo is really a thing

There are many weird items on the front page today:

Don’t think for a moment that some people won’t try the bleach cure. I know people who have done equally stupid things as their own form of chemo. (Regular chemo freaked her out. Don’t even ask. Some people shouldn’t have access to hypodermic needles and Clorox 🙄)

So expect to see more incredible headlines about the predictable outcomes related to adding bleach to your diet.

The headline that disturbs me the most is how farmers are dumping food they can’t sell. Food banks are getting a lot of traffic these days. It’s immoral for any government to choose to decrease the surplus population through starvation rather than sending the national guard to collect potatoes, milk and eggs for hungry families.

Eggs, milk and potatoes make a delicious and nutritious frittata. Even kids will eat it.

If you voted for Big Orange, your real legacy might be starving children. That’ll learn us libs and warm the cockles of your shriveled hearts.

The hydroxychloroquine story.

It sounds like the scientists have had enough. They’re leaking like sieves about how the Trump White House, looking for a quick and dirty end to this whole Coronavirus inconvenience wrecking the economy, insisted against the advice of scientists and doctors on pushing HCQ on the public as a panacea.

This Vanity Fair article about the plan is jaw dropping. There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the safety of approved drugs that have been around awhile. HCQ is not a safe drug. It can have serious effects on your heart. That’s well known. People who take it for lupus and malaria have to be monitored for a lot of other side effects. You can die from taking this drug. Not only that but the Trump admin was told over and over again that the evidence for its efficacy was sketchy at best and it wasn’t worth the risk without more studies.

But that didn’t stop the very stable geniuses from ordering millions of doses and making plans to sell it over the counter at pharmacies.

No wonder Rick Bright blew the whistle. The stupid doesn’t just burn, it’s deadly.

Expect more to come on this. I predict HCQ will become the next cure that the pharmaceutical companies are holding back. Like that elusive cure for cancer everyone keeps telling me pharma is sitting on. I never understood the rationale for this conspiracy theory. Pharma execs like money. If they really had a cure in the form of HCQ they wouldn’t have donated mass quantities from their manufacturing plant in Pakistan.

The whole thing is a hinky horror show. Blowing the whistle may be the only way scientists can save lives right now.

Vote him away

It’s a singalong:

Ugh.

So hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work. Not only does it not work, you’re actually more likely to die if you take it as a treatment for Coronavirus.

A prolonged QT interval leading to cardiac arrest is one of the known side effects. But sure, let’s sell it as the cure so Trump can reopen the economy. He’s desperate so he has to promote and hope that his long shot intuition on the efficacy of the drug was correct. Golly, if it were that easy, I have a bajillion designs for kinase inhibitors that will cure any cancer you have. I could be rich. All I need is a national megaphone and a dream.

Let’s stick to more realistic treatment. If you have high blood pressure and you are taking a ACE inhibitor (drug name ends in ipril) or an Angiotensin II inhibitor (drug name ends in artan), there are some new studies that suggest they might be protective. The mechanism for how this works makes sense based on years of accumulated knowledge on how the renin-angiotensin system works and how the virus latches on to a cell. Now, it just needs to be proven with more studies. That’s the way this stuff works. It’s “trial and error”, not “trial and succeed!”. There is no quick and dirty answer here.

That’s why the federal government needs to do nationwide testing. Enhanced social distancing through extensive testing is all we’ve got right now.

Trump and his base need to deal with that ASAP.

Just think about how many desperate patients and their families fell for Trump’s hawking of this drug. It’s criminal.