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    • Happy Thanksgiving
      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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Covid-19 and the Irish Potato Famine.

Today we found out that we are shipping PPE to Thailand and Trump administration officials said they didn’t know about it. Also, FEMA is taking a hands off approach to companies selling PPE supplies to other countries who bid higher.

Day by day, the grip on the situation deteriorates. I have a certain degree of schadenfreude for people who are relying on “scientists” to save us. We’ve been undermining and underfunding science for two decades now all in the cause to privatize absolutely everything. Scientists are indeed amazing people. But they aren’t Superman. They have to follow the dictates of their profession. This means a cure is not on the horizon any time soon. It takes time and rigor to get the right results. I feel for the frontline lab rats who have to do the testing and the high throughput screening on compound libraries. They are little islands of sanity and dedication but they can’t save the world on their own. It takes a concerted effort from our government officials.

I think what most people are forgetting is we have been subjected to a relentless campaign to undermine the federal government for 40 years now. Have we forgotten about states being able to set their own rules and laws without the intervention of DC elites? How about shareholder value to the exclusion of anything else. It’s almost illegal to prevent the private market from making excessive profits at our expense. We’ve deregulated and fired whole pieces of governmental infrastructure. We haven’t made it better. It’s just gone. Does anyone recall the CPA authority in Iraq that squandered billions of dollars to turn that country into an experiment in unfettered free market capitalism? Not just plain old capitalism with some rules in place to keep people from being screwed unfairly. No, we are talking about whatever the market will bear capitalism whether it has any long term advantage or not.

None of the ideological agenda of the ruling party benefits the average American right now. We are in the hands of a disorganized bunch of speculators and ruthless predators right now. It would be entirely appropriate to say to the GOP that they need to set aside their incredible greed, opportunism, and lust for power for just a moment in order to save the country from devolving by degrees into a lawless, poverty wracked place.

Instead, we get “journalists” desperately trying to get Trump to take this moment seriously by praising his change in tone. Word to journalists: narcissists do not change. They do not see the world like you do. You are objects in the narcissists world. You either please him or you suffer the consequences. It may take awhile for many of you to get the narcissists point of view. But once you do, you will not be able to look at the situation we’re in the same way ever again.

The closest historical event I can think of where a natural disaster combined with ideological and inept government policy lead to societal catastrophe is the Irish Potato Famine of 1846-1849. All the usual suspects are there. The laissez faire capitalists, the shipment of resources away from those in need only to have them return at greatly inflated prices, the cruelty of landlords, the paucity of the social safety net, the callousness of the politicians and wealthy towards the starving who were accused of “laziness and ingratitude”.

It lead to years of misery, starvation, death and mass emigration. It so scarred the Irish that whenever and wherever there is a famine in the world, the Irish NGOs are on it.

Our country has been subject to exploitative profit mining for decades now. Some of us accepted the consensus reality that the federal government was the problem. Some of us see the federal government as the one entity we have that can coordinate a mass effort, assist in the relief of suffering and stop unconscionable speculation. The former believers, a minority government, now has the power to do whatever misguided and selfish thing it wants to us.

I don’t know if we can wait until November. Anyone who has read about the famine knows what inhumanity is coming.