Normalized psychopathy

Pandemic

Donald Trump, some say, wants to ‘normalize’ COVID-19 deaths,[1] “to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing,”[2] I usually doubt that Trump has sufficient intelligence to be even this clever, and I simply don’t accept that anyone can still seriously believe[3] in “herd immunity,”[4] or in the rampant and imaginative conspiracy theories[5] I hear from passengers, but if this is indeed the plan, whether by the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief himself or by the White House, it’s working.[6] We had just short of a thousand (969) deaths on Thursday, July 16,[7] and “[m]ore than 900 people died” on Friday, July 17.[8]

“I feel like it’s March all over again,” said William Hanage, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “There is no way in which a large number of cases of disease, and indeed a large number of deaths, are going to be avoided.”

The problem facing the United States is plain. New cases nationally are up a remarkable 50% over the last two weeks and the daily death toll is up 42% over the same period. Cases are on the rise in 40 out of 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Last week America recorded more than 75,000 new cases daily – five times the rate of all Europe.[9]

As case counts are already skyrocketing,[10] death counts are a lagging indicator.[11] “Even if we could magically lock everyone in their room and no one transmits to anyone, we would still be seeing an increase in deaths for the next several weeks.”[12] All so psychopaths[13] can party in bars.[14]

Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html

Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn


The car

The dealership still hasn’t gotten back to me about my 2007 Camry Hybrid that died Tuesday afternoon with a Check VCS System and a Check Hybrid System indication, so today, I rented a car from Avis with the Uber deal.

I wound up with a Nissan Sentra and on my very first ride, I got a very rude reminder why I despise the automatic transmissions found on conventional cars.

The Toyota hybrids I’ve been driving have continuously variable transmissions (CVT). You never feel them shift. They never get caught in the wrong gear. They offer a smooth experience.

The Sentra, being a conventional car, does not have this. And so on my very first ride, I would up taking somebody up Rialto Street, one of the steepest streets in the world and excruciatingly narrow.

The Sentra’s transmission got caught in the wrong gear and the motor started lugging. I let up on the accelerator to let it downshift but this pissed off the asshole behind me. Honk #1.

Honk #2 was when I slowed because, no, I’m not used to driving past a monster SUV going the other way on such a narrow street, and yes, I’d like a lot more fucking room.

With my Camry and its CVT, I’d only have suffered honk #2, not honk #1.

But the Sentra has a passable sound system, which the Camry does not, and eventually I got it paired with my phone. This is something I’ve missed since I had the sound system put in on the Prius and it was nice to have my music going as I drove.


  1. [1]Margaret Sullivan, “Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along,” Washington Post, May 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/trump-wants-america-to-normalize-coronavirus-deaths-its-the-medias-job-not-to-play-along/2020/05/09/72de4c32-9090-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html
  2. [2]Jay Rosen, quoted in Margaret Sullivan, “Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along,” Washington Post, May 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/trump-wants-america-to-normalize-coronavirus-deaths-its-the-medias-job-not-to-play-along/2020/05/09/72de4c32-9090-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  4. [4]D. Clay Ackerly, “My patient caught Covid-19 twice. So long to herd immunity hopes,” Vox, July 12, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/7/12/21321653/getting-covid-19-twice-reinfection-antibody-herd-immunity; Christie Aschwanden, “Sorry, Immunity to Covid-19 Won’t Be Like a Superpower,” Wired, April 16, 2020, https://www.wired.com/story/sorry-immunity-to-covid-19-wont-be-like-a-superpower/
  5. [5]Mark Scott and Steven Overly, “‘Conspiracy bingo’: Trans-Atlantic extremists seize on the pandemic,” Politico, May 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/12/trans-atlantic-conspiracy-coronavirus-251325
  6. [6]Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn
  7. [7]Lisa Shumaker, “U.S. shatters coronavirus record with over 77,000 cases in a day,” Reuters, July 17, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-records/u-s-shatters-coronavirus-record-with-over-77000-cases-in-a-day-idUSKCN24I014
  8. [8]Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html
  9. [9]Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn
  10. [10]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Thomas Heath and Hamza Shaban, “Dow tumbles more than 700 points as surge in coronavirus cases rattles investors,” Washington Post, June 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/24/dow-tumbles-more-than-700-points-surge-coronavirus-cases-rattles-investors/; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn; Lauran Neergaard and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Fauci: Next few weeks critical to tamping down virus spikes,” Associated Press, June 23, 2020, copy in possession of author; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker, “U.S. shatters coronavirus record with over 77,000 cases in a day,” Reuters, July 17, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-records/u-s-shatters-coronavirus-record-with-over-77000-cases-in-a-day-idUSKCN24I014; Lisa Shumaker and Sharon Bernstein, “Washington state makes face masks mandatory as some states see new coronavirus surge,” Reuters, June 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/washington-state-makes-face-masks-mandatory-as-some-states-see-new-coronavirus-surge-idUSKBN23U2QT; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3; Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html; Griff Witte and Rachel Weiner, “Sun Belt hospitals are feeling the strain from virus’ surge — and bracing for worse,” Washington Post, July 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-hospitals-florida-texas-arizona-california/2020/07/16/dea0ed7a-c79b-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html
  11. [11]Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3; Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html
  12. [12]Catherine Troisi, quoted in Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html
  13. [13]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  14. [14]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/

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