The ‘rigged’ horse race

The ‘rigged’ horse race

All I can say is I guess they’re right to worry. It seems that Max Boot participated in a transition integrity “war game”—I didn’t even know such things existed, but here we are—and has decided we should worry that Donald Trump might refuse to relinquish power should he lose the election.[1] I can’t say he’s wrong. I’ve been calling Trump a delusional raging narcissist for a while now. And certainly others before Boot have worried.[2]

At the same time, I think it will be a disaster, in different ways, perhaps, and not unlike the 2016 election, regardless of who wins. Because neoliberalism is that evil.

Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/


Recession

It’s happening. It’s not like we didn’t know evictions would happen. Indeed, they already were[3] before this latest article.[4] But if you’re wondering why I think neoliberalism is so evil, well, here is merely one example, with big corporations evicting tenants even when their mortgages are backed by the federal government and their tenants are accordingly protected by a federal moratorium on evictions.[5]

And a judge’s response? “I am not familiar with that [the moratorium], but if someone will show me the law on that, I will certainly entertain that.”[6] And this is a judge who claims “[s]he is ‘very sympathetic when it comes to evictions,’ . . . but landlords can also be hurt in the process.”[7]

Spare me the bullshit. Just spare me.

Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/


  1. [1]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/
  2. [2]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  3. [3]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction; Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/
  4. [4]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  5. [5]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  6. [6]Yvonne Williams, quoted in Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  7. [7]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/

#MAGAt Kanye West running for president

There is a new blog post, entitled “The expendable worker.”


Horse race

I don’t know if this constitutes a formal announcement, but

I think Nina Turner might be missing a point here that Donald Trump himself may have put Kanye West up to this.

Amid a dizzying array of—I’m failing to find an adequate word—bullshit emanating from the White House since Trump took office, there was that visit. Yes, Kanye West visited the White House, gave a speech, appeared with the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief.

[Kanye] West spoke to reporters for nearly 10 minutes in the Oval Office. Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, he repeatedly complimented [Donald] Trump, who nodded in agreement. . . .

Trump was asked whether he thought West could be a future presidential candidate, and responded “could very well be.”[1]

And we know that Trump may well be planning to retain office even if he loses the election,[2] which is to very strongly suggest that even in his demented condition, Trump realizes he could lose.

Turner’s tweet is righteous and Debra Messing’s tweet might be partisan, but there is an obvious practical consideration here in which West might siphon enough votes that might otherwise go to Joe Biden to deprive the latter of victory. Much depends on the relative popularity of the two men—and, though the ploy is pretty fucking obvious, not just among Blacks. That’s something I honestly can’t assess. Because popular culture just ain’t my thing.

I do wonder what my old formerly favorite professor, the one who had no answer for and resented being asked the question of whether a political system that depends on war crimes should survive, thinks.


  1. [1]Ayesha Rascoe and Brian Naylor, “‘Quite Something’: Kanye West Makes A Statement In The Oval Office,” National Public Radio, October 11, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/656561471/quite-something-kanye-west-makes-a-statement-in-the-oval-office
  2. [2]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975

Murder with malice aforethought, by COVID-19

Pandemic

COVID-19 is the new Russian Roulette! You win money for catching it first! You can even spread it to vulnerable people you know![1] Old people will die![2] Win! Win! Win! Yay!

Now, tell me again, explain it like you’re explaining to a six-year old, how these assholes aren’t psychopaths. Explain to me why you aren’t locking them away and throwing away the key.

I’ll accept that the parents might be guilty of negligence. But not their kids, not their grown children. Because for these kids, this isn’t anything like mere negligence. It is a conscious choice, a moral preference for evil. It’s murder with malice aforethought.

And yes, I have complete confidence in this report.[3] Because a funny thing happens whenever I give a passenger a low rating and tag them for not wearing a mask: Uber notifies me that I have been reported for not wearing a mask (figure 1). I wear it faithfully. Because I’m not a psychopath.
Screenshot_20200704-094637
Fig. 1. Notification from Uber on July 3, 2020, screenshot taken July 4 by author.

But the psychopaths are retaliating on the very same day, putting the only job I can get[4] at risk.

Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/


Donald Trump

If you hate the electoral college—I don’t but it’s certainly true that rural states are over-represented in both the Senate and the Electoral College—you’ll hate it even more after you read this op-ed in Newsweek. Apparently the plan is two-fold: First, massive voter suppression. If that fails, then second, have the Department of Justice launch an investigation into an allegedly “rigged” vote causing swing states to defer appointing electors, swinging the result to Donald Trump.[5]

Timothy Wirth and Tom Rogers are over-optimistic that the Democrats can be persuaded to launch an investigation to attempt to foil this scenario.[6] This is an election the Democrats have been working to lose[7] so they can blame progressives, whom they hate much more than Trump, for the loss;[8] they may not overtly support the plan, but as with the utterly bogus impeachment,[9] you can count on them to oppose it more weakly than they should.

Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975


  1. [1]Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/
  2. [2]Gloria Jackson, as told to Eli Saslow, “‘I apologize to God for feeling this way,’” Washington Post, May 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/02/elderly-woman-coronavirus-lonely-expendable/; Laura Newberry, “The pandemic has amplified ageism. ‘It’s open season for discrimination’ against older adults,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-01/coronavirus-pandemic-has-amplified-ageism
  3. [3]Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  5. [5]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  6. [6]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/; David Benfell, “The Democrats don’t need ‘election interference,’” Not Housebroken, February 9, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/09/the-democrats-dont-need-election-interference/
  8. [8]Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “‘Outright disrespectful’: Four House women struggle as Pelosi isolates them,” Washington Post, July 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/outright-disrespectful-four-house-women-struggle-as-pelosi-isolates-them/2019/07/10/a33c63a8-a33f-11e9-b7b4-95e30869bd15_story.html; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Ed Rendell Tells Democratic Base to “Get Over It” on Rachel Maddow,” Firedoglake, September 23, 2010, http://firedoglake.com/2010/09/23/early-morning-swim-ed-rendell-tells-democratic-base-to-get-over-it-on-rachel-maddow/; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Stop Whining, Liberals!” Firedoglake, September 27, 2010, http://firedoglake.com/2010/09/27/late-night-stop-whining-liberals/; Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, “‘Do not tweet’: Pelosi scolds progressives in closed-door meeting,” Politico, July 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/10/pelosi-progressives-twitter-1405763; Michael Falcone, “Opposite Day On The Campaign Trail?” ABC News, September 21, 2010, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/09/election-2010-opposite-day-on-the-campaign-trail/; Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s view of liberal criticisms,” Salon, September 17, 2010, http://www.salon.com/2010/09/17/obama_139/; David Neiwert, “President Obama lashes out at his liberal critics: Choice is to ‘get things done’ or feel ‘sanctimonious’,” Crooks and Liars, December 7, 2010, http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/president-obama-lashes-out-his-liber; Heather Digby Parton, “‘It’s always the hippies’ fault’: Why the left treats its idealists all wrong,” Salon, February 5, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/02/05/its_always_the_hippies_fault_why_the_left_treats_its_idealists_all_wrong/; Amber Phillips, “Nancy Pelosi’s clumsy rebuke of the liberals in her party,” Washington Post, July 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/nancy-pelosis-clumsy-rebuke-liberals-her-party/; Greg Sargent, “Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of ‘hippie punching’,” Washington Post, September 23, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/liberal_blogger_directly_confr.html; Stephen Stromberg, “Joe Biden scolds progressives — and he’s right,” Washington Post, September 16, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/09/joe_biden_scolds_progressives.html; Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” Hill, August 10, 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/113431-white-house-unloads-on-professional-left
  9. [9]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; David Benfell, “The sham (pick your partisan flavor) is on,” Not Housebroken, December 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/19/the-sham-pick-your-partisan-flavor-is-on/; David Benfell, “The asterisk,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/21/the-asterisk/; Democracy Now, “Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations and Corruption,” January 24, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/24/donald_trump_senate_impeachment_trial

Recession, depression, my car has broken down

There’s no commentary in this issue. I had to take my car into the dealer because the dreaded “Check Hybrid System” indication came on. It looked to me, from what I could see, that the system is in fact still working. I can only hope that that means the battery has not gone bad.

It’d probably cost something like $4,000 to replace that battery. I don’t have it and, frankly, the car isn’t worth it. As of last night, the cost per mile clocked in at 34¢ per mile; this’d likely double that, putting it well past the IRS mileage allowance, even without depreciation.

I’m terrified. And I’m unlikely to hear before the end of the week because it’ll take that long before they even get to it.


Donald Trump


History

Bess Connolly, “Climate change, the rise of the Roman Empire, and the fall of the Ptolemies,” Yale University, June 22, 2020, https://news.yale.edu/2020/06/22/climate-change-rise-roman-empire-and-fall-ptolemies


Recession

Annie Lowrey, “The Second Great Depression,” Atlantic, June 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/second-great-depression/613360/

Neil Paine and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “What Economists Fear Most During This Recovery,” FiveThirtyEight, June 23, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-economists-fear-most-during-this-recovery/


This ‘lesser of two evils’ thing just ain’t working like it used to

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 14, 10:00 pm.
  2. June 15, 7:16 am:
    • Even my loyal readers hadn’t read my most recent blog post and I realized the argument could be made stronger. I have revised it and changed the publication date. This affects the URL. It has been updated here.
  3. June 15, 9:50 am:
    • There has been yet another police shooting of yet another Black man.[1] That blog post has been revised further.

Horse race

It would seem that some folks just aren’t buying into the whole concept of “lesser of two evils” anymore.[2] That’s probably a bigger problem for Democrats than it is Republicans. They were warned. I warned them[3] but they were also warned by a whole bunch of people besides me all this year.

But of course, that assumes the Democrats even want to win. Which, to me, isn’t at all clear.[4]

Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “New generation of activists, deeply skeptical of Democratic Party, resists calls to channel energy into the 2020 campaign,” Washington Post, June 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-generation-of-activists-deeply-skeptical-of-democratic-party-resists-calls-to-channel-energy-into-the-2020-campaign/2020/06/13/cbacede6-ac47-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html


Police

There is a new blog post entitled, “Defunding the police is, at best, a baby’s first step.”

Amanda Arnold, “What Exactly Does It Mean to Defund the Police?” Cut, June 12, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/what-does-defund-the-police-mean-the-phrase-explained.html

Theresa Waldrop et al., “Autopsy report says Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back, lists manner of death as homicide,” CNN, June 14, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/14/us/atlanta-protests-rayshard-brooks-sunday/index.html

Felicia Sonmez et al., “Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer,” Washington Post, June 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/killing-of-black-man-in-atlanta-puts-spotlight-anew-on-police-as-prosecutors-contemplate-charges-against-officer/2020/06/14/ad9cea20-ae60-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html


Recession

Olivia Rockeman and Jill Ward, “Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent,” Bloomberg, June 14, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-14/millions-of-jobs-could-be-permanently-lost-in-reallocation-shock


  1. [1]Felicia Sonmez et al., “Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer,” Washington Post, June 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/killing-of-black-man-in-atlanta-puts-spotlight-anew-on-police-as-prosecutors-contemplate-charges-against-officer/2020/06/14/ad9cea20-ae60-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html; Theresa Waldrop et al., “Autopsy report says Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back, lists manner of death as homicide,” CNN, June 14, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/14/us/atlanta-protests-rayshard-brooks-sunday/index.html
  2. [2]Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “New generation of activists, deeply skeptical of Democratic Party, resists calls to channel energy into the 2020 campaign,” Washington Post, June 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-generation-of-activists-deeply-skeptical-of-democratic-party-resists-calls-to-channel-energy-into-the-2020-campaign/2020/06/13/cbacede6-ac47-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “A false dichotomy view of politics,” Not Housebroken, November 2, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/15/the-lesser-of-two-evils-the-more-successful-con-artist/; David Benfell, “The lesser of two evils? The more successful con artist,” Not Housebroken, May 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/15/the-lesser-of-two-evils-the-more-successful-con-artist/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The limits of game theory in U.S. politics,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/20/the-limits-of-game-theory-in-u-s-politics/

For Memorial Day

Pandemic

This New York Times front page (figure 1) is popping up all over Twitter:
EYvGh_tWoAEjTRj
Fig. 1. New York Times front page for May 24, 2020, via Twitter, fair use.

I tend to be highly critical of the Times. I unsubscribed when I felt their coverage of the 2016 election had been slanted much too much in Hillary Clinton’s favor at the expense of Bernie Sanders. Margaret Sullivan was critical of that coverage,[1] but though she is now at the Washington Post, the Times seems to have heeded her advice not to normalize COVID-19 deaths.[2] This is to their credit.

It’s worth remembering that the “confirmed cases” count is almost certainly an undercount.[3] It’s also worth remembering that Donald Trump was more interested in protecting the stock market and his reelection chances than in protecting U.S. citizens and that he has peddled quack cures to that end.[4] Finally, it’s worth remembering that the entire political establishment has been complicit in refusing to provide adequate aid to enable people to stay home, which would have helped to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and instead has rushed to reopen.[5]


  1. [1]Margaret Sullivan, “Has The Times Dismissed Bernie Sanders?” New York Times, September 9, 2015, http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/has-the-times-dismissed-bernie-sanders/
  2. [2]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, “We may die at home or we may die alone but we are surely dying,” Not Housebroken, April 28, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/28/we-may-die-at-home-or-we-may-die-alone-but-we-are-surely-dying/; Emma Brown et al., “U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19,” Washington Post, April 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2020/04/27/covid-19-death-toll-undercounted/; Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard, and Aaron C. Davis, “Coronavirus death toll: Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count,” Washington Post, April 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/coronavirus-death-toll-americans-are-almost-certainly-dying-of-covid-19-but-being-left-out-of-the-official-count/2020/04/05/71d67982-747e-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html
  4. [4]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; Dana Milbank, “For Trump, a reckoning has come,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/trump-reckoning-has-come/; David Roth, “The Enduring Delusion of a Chastened Trump,” New Republic, April 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157154/enduring-delusion-chastened-trump; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; David Von Drehle, “If Trump doesn’t like the coronavirus news now, he’ll hate what comes next,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/if-trump-doesnt-like-the-coronavirus-news-now-hell-hate-what-comes-next/2020/03/10/e478c314-62ea-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html; Paul Waldman, “How coronavirus has deeply flummoxed conservative media,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/how-coronavirus-has-deeply-flummuxed-conservative-media/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/; David Benfell, “The worst of times and the worst of humanity,” Not Housebroken, April 2, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/02/the-worst-of-times-and-the-worst-of-humanity/; David Benfell, “I fear for our world,” Not Housebroken, April 9, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/09/i-fear-for-our-world/; David Benfell, “Don’t just say #COVIDIOTS,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/19/dont-just-say-covidiots/; David Benfell, “Elite priorities: Why social, animal, and environmental justice remains essential with COVID-19,” Not Housebroken, April 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/26/elite-priorities-why-social-animal-and-environmental-justice-remains-essential-with-covid-19/; David Benfell, “We may die at home or we may die alone but we are surely dying,” Not Housebroken, April 28, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/28/we-may-die-at-home-or-we-may-die-alone-but-we-are-surely-dying/; David Benfell, “Yet again, a season for cynicism,” Not Housebroken, May 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/10/yet-again-a-season-for-cynicism/; David Benfell, “Surprise! Surprise! The capitalist god is greedy!” Not Housebroken, May 23, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/23/surprise-surprise-the-capitalist-god-is-greedy/

Pennsylvania begins peeking out from behind the lockdown

Pandemic

GX-NEWreopeningPhases
Fig. 2. Graphic converted from portable document format (PDF) to a jpeg, May 8, 2020. Original from Tribune-Review article, May 8, 2020.[1]

I think there has to be some question about Tom Wolf’s order moving some Pennsylvania counties to “green” and others to “yellow,”[2] given the possible ramifications of Memorial Day travel. The timing seems bad, with the virus still out of control in many places, including some not all that far from Pennsylvania.[3]

Understand, I’m not saying it’s feasible for Wolf to have done otherwise, given a building resistance to the lockdown in Pennsylvania and elsewhere,[4] but with an average incubation period of five days,[5] we won’t know what Memorial Day does, really, until some time in June. I wish he could have waited a couple more weeks.

Joel Achenbach, Rachel Weiner, and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread,” Washington Post, May 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/study-estimates-24-states-still-have-uncontrolled-coronavirus-spread/2020/05/22/d3032470-9c43-11ea-ac72-3841fcc9b35f_story.html

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “Gov. Wolf Adds Eight Counties to Yellow and 17 to Green on May 29, Remainder to Yellow on June 5,” May 22, 2020, https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-adds-eight-counties-to-yellow-and-17-to-green-on-may-29-remainder-to-yellow-on-june-5/

Natasha Lindstrom, “What moving into ‘green’ zone does, does not mean under Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan,” Tribune-Review, May 22, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/what-moving-into-green-zone-does-does-not-mean-under-gov-wolfs-reopening-plan/


Horse race

There are things I leave to Blacks to settle among themselves and I think this is as it should be. Whether they use the n-word to refer to each other and whether they accept each other as Black are examples of things that are, and should be, up to them. Even where I disagree, it isn’t for me to say, and whites cannot intrude here without, at minimum, some form of appropriation.

And so it is that there is no way Joe Biden’s “you ain’t Black” remark is anything other racist bigotry on the order of the n-word. This is something no white person should ever say to a Black under any circumstances. But especially not Biden and especially when, as Derecka Purnell concludes,

Joe Biden refuses to reckon with the harm that he has caused to people all over the world. His best line is that he is better than the other guy, and that is exactly how abusive relationships function. Black people – all people – deserve better than Biden and the Democratic party. And yes, we are still black.[6]

More strategically, a lot of what Purnell points to[7] suggests that Biden can write off the progressive vote. He can’t help himself and, at the risk of repeating Biden’s mistake with Blacks, I really have to wonder how you can be progressive and support a bigoted neoliberal rapist. I mean, seriously, this really does seem like a contradiction to me.

Derecka Purnell, “Black Americans are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic party,” Guardian, May 22, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/22/black-americans-joe-biden-democratic-party-relationship


  1. [1]Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf announces most of Western Pa. moving to yellow phase May 15,” Tribune-Review, May 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-announce-most-of-western-pa-moving-to-yellow-phase-next-week/
  2. [2]Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “Gov. Wolf Adds Eight Counties to Yellow and 17 to Green on May 29, Remainder to Yellow on June 5,” May 22, 2020, https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-adds-eight-counties-to-yellow-and-17-to-green-on-may-29-remainder-to-yellow-on-june-5/
  3. [3]Joel Achenbach et al., “Coronavirus hot spots erupt across the country; experts warn of second wave in South,” Washington Post, May 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-hot-spots-erupt-across-the-country-experts-warn-of-possible-outbreaks-in-south/2020/05/20/49bc6d10-9ab4-11ea-a282-386f56d579e6_story.html; Joel Achenbach, Rachel Weiner, and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread,” Washington Post, May 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/study-estimates-24-states-still-have-uncontrolled-coronavirus-spread/2020/05/22/d3032470-9c43-11ea-ac72-3841fcc9b35f_story.html
  4. [4]Moriah Balingit, “Armed militia helped a Michigan barbershop open, a coronavirus defiance that puts Republican lawmakers in a bind,” Washington Post, May 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-michigan-republicans-whitmer/2020/05/12/54975e1a-9466-11ea-82b4-c8db161ff6e5_story.html; Ryan Deto, “Photos: About 120 protest in Downtown Pittsburgh, calling for Pennsylvania to reopen during coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 20, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/photos-about-120-protest-in-downtown-pittsburgh-calling-for-pennsylvania-to-reopen-during-coronavirus-pandemic/Content?oid=17167012; Bryan Armen Graham, “‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest,” Guardian, May 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-lockdown-protest-racism; Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” Tribune-Review, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/
  5. [5]Rich Haridy, “Study affirms average Covid-19 incubation period is 5 days,” New Atlas, March 9, 2020, https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/covid-19-coronavirus-incubation-five-days-study-average/
  6. [6]Derecka Purnell, “Black Americans are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic party,” Guardian, May 22, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/22/black-americans-joe-biden-democratic-party-relationship
  7. [7]Derecka Purnell, “Black Americans are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic party,” Guardian, May 22, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/22/black-americans-joe-biden-democratic-party-relationship

Die-hard Donald Trump supporters dying for Trump

Horse race

I guess I have a couple responses to Tom McCarthy’s report[1] in the Guardian:

  1. McCarthy went to a different part of Pennsylvania. Northampton County is along the eastern edge of the state, bordering New Jersey. Allentown, in Lehigh County, is to Northampton County’s southwest. This cuts a couple ways: This part of the state is among the hardest hit by the pandemic (figure 1). So one might suspect that “Cut The Bullshit,” a favorite Donald Trump-supporter slogan, might fall flat in the face of Trump’s voluminous and often dangerous bullshit on COVID-19.[2]

    Safari Screenshot 2020-05-18 08.42.02
    Fig. 1. Screenshot from Johns Hopkins University “COVID-19 United States Cases By County” map, zoomed in on Northampton and Lehigh (the latter including Allentown) Counties, taken May 18, 2020. The less affected adjacent counties are Carbon and Schuykill.[3]

    But conversely, this is a part of the state that has been under the lockdown the longest (figure 2):

    FireShot Capture 143 - Gov. Wolf announces most of Western Pa. moving to yellow phase May 15_ - triblive.com
    Fig. 1. Screenshot of Pennsylvania county map showing yellow or red phase taken from TribLive article, May 8, 2020.[4]

    To the extent that “lockdown fatigue” is a thing, these folks might be feeling it the hardest. It sounds like McCarthy interviewed die-hard Trump supporters,[5] but they might be getting a boost from that fatigue.

  2. In my blog post yesterday, I suspected that in the area around Pittsburgh, that support might in fact be dimmed.[6] This area has not been hit as hard as the eastern part of the state (figure 3).[7] But I can only judge by the campaign paraphernalia I see about, that is, yard signs, bumper stickers, flags, and the like. (I still have only seen those two posters I saw that one day for Joe Biden.) That is only a very rough gauge of enthusiastic support that I cannot systematically quantify, really a mere impression as I drive around randomly according to the orders I get from Uber and Lyft. A diminution of this does not mean folks won’t vote for him. But it does suggest a bit of previously-unobserved humility among his supporters.

    Safari Screenshot 2020-05-18 09.50.38
    Fig. 3. Screenshot from Johns Hopkins University “COVID-19 United States Cases By County” map, zoomed in on Allegheny and surrounding counties, taken May 18, 2020. The darkest areas here are in Ohio.[8]

I suppose there’s a lot about this I can understand even as I strongly disagree.[9] What I can’t understand is complicity with Trump’s hydroxychloroquine and Lysol-injection hype.[10] This seriously ought to be treated as criminal, not brushed off and forgotten.

Tom McCarthy, “‘They don’t give him enough credit’: the voters who back Trump, even through the pandemic,” Guardian, May 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/18/they-dont-give-him-enough-credit-the-voters-who-back-trump-even-through-the-pandemic


  1. [1]Tom McCarthy, “‘They don’t give him enough credit’: the voters who back Trump, even through the pandemic,” Guardian, May 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/18/they-dont-give-him-enough-credit-the-voters-who-back-trump-even-through-the-pandemic
  2. [2]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; Helen Davidson, “WHO says it has no evidence to support ‘speculative’ Covid-19 lab theory,” Guardian, May 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/05/who-says-it-has-no-evidence-to-support-speculative-covid-19-lab-theory-pushed-by-us; Ed Kilgore, “Could Trump Go the Way of Herbert Hoover?” New York, May 4, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/could-herbert-hoovers-fate-be-trumps.html; Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america; Dana Milbank, “For Trump, a reckoning has come,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/trump-reckoning-has-come/; David Roth, “The Enduring Delusion of a Chastened Trump,” New Republic, April 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157154/enduring-delusion-chastened-trump; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” Atlantic, May 9, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Eileen Sullivan, “As Trump Pushes to Reopen, Government Sees Virus Toll Nearly Doubling,” New York Times, May 4, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-death-toll.html; David Von Drehle, “If Trump doesn’t like the coronavirus news now, he’ll hate what comes next,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/if-trump-doesnt-like-the-coronavirus-news-now-hell-hate-what-comes-next/2020/03/10/e478c314-62ea-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html; Paul Waldman, “How coronavirus has deeply flummoxed conservative media,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/how-coronavirus-has-deeply-flummuxed-conservative-media/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/; David Wallace-Wells, “There Is Still No Plan,” New York, May 7, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/white-house-plan-for-ending-coronavirus-stay-at-home-orders.html
  3. [3]Johns Hopkins University, “COVID-19 United States Cases By County,” May 16, 2020, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map
  4. [4]Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf announces most of Western Pa. moving to yellow phase May 15,” TribLive, May 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-announce-most-of-western-pa-moving-to-yellow-phase-next-week/
  5. [5]Tom McCarthy, “‘They don’t give him enough credit’: the voters who back Trump, even through the pandemic,” Guardian, May 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/18/they-dont-give-him-enough-credit-the-voters-who-back-trump-even-through-the-pandemic
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Pittsburgh, race, and a threat to appropriated identity,” Not Housebroken, May 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/17/pittsburgh-race-and-a-threat-to-appropriated-identity/
  7. [7]Johns Hopkins University, “COVID-19 United States Cases By County,” May 16, 2020, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map
  8. [8]Johns Hopkins University, “COVID-19 United States Cases By County,” May 16, 2020, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map
  9. [9]David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; David Benfell, “The pandemic and a crisis of illegitimate authority,” Not Housebroken, May 14, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/12/the-pandemic-and-a-crisis-of-illegitimate-authority/
  10. [10]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/

Pennsylvania may be red in November

Pandemic

So I wasn’t expecting to work today because, as I mentioned yesterday, both Lyft and Uber had me out of commission pending background checks. Which meant today was a day for taking care of shit.

I had a Zoom appointment at 9:00 am which went as intended and then set out. It’s May 9th and it was snowing. It was well above freezing so I wasn’t terribly worried about it sticking (it had also snowed, less significantly, yesterday).

I plodded on to my favorite vegan restaurant where I buy coffee. As I entered, the father of the family that runs the place was telling another customer he might open if the governor didn’t “lighten up,” meaning he’s threatening to go back to being a full service, dine-in restaurant. The customer noted that the district attorneys in a couple counties (Washington is not among them) had announced they would not prosecute businesses violating the governor’s orders.[1]

Indeed, this is becoming quite a thing. It’s no longer just white supremacist gun nuts advocating letting the old and weak die.[2] Some elected officials are joining the movement, meaning a number of Pennsylvania counties may soon be in open defiance of the governor’s orders.[3]

The customers got their drinks and left. And of course, I called out the old man—I’m older than he is—for advocating policies that effectively mean letting the old and the weak die. But I also criticized the government for failing to come to the aid of small businesses and the working class. I didn’t say it to him, but this is just where I thought we would be, with the capitalist god demanding and getting human sacrifice.[4]

I got my extremely excellent breakfast calzone and ate it in my car, then went on to Whole Foods for some badly needed grocery shopping, including breakfast entrees and other stuff I can’t find elsewhere, where I had to stand in line in a biting cold to get in. That I needed to do this really hasn’t sunk in for me because the Whole Foods Market in Upper Saint Clair is the only store where I’ve actually had to do it, and I’m doing a lot of my shopping at Giant Eagle now, or at the Whole Foods in Pittsburgh. Fortunately, I had my windbreaker and, fortunately, I still had my winter gloves in the pockets. With the hood, the windbreaker fully zipped up, and the gloves, I was fine, even with my usual mere sandals on my feet.

I took care of a couple more details, including a car wash. At which point, on a lark, I tried the driver apps. Lyft still has me unapproved, but it turned out Uber let me go online. So I drove for Uber this afternoon, substantially alleviating yesterday’s fears.

I don’t know why Uber allowed me to go online. I suppose it could be that the background check was completed in record time, but I thought they used the same outfit as Lyft. Tomorrow is another day. We’ll see if I can still go online.

But among my fares this evening was a young Black man I picked up in Elizabeth Borough. His question to me, while getting in my car, was what I thought of this “corona shit.” Back to letting the old and the weak die. And when I explained that to him, it was the end of the conversation. Because our age gap is even greater than with the restaurant owner.

There is a very, very widespread backlash against Tom Wolf’s lockdown. I’m inclined to think he’s doing the right thing in being as cautious as the political situation will allow, and maybe even a little more so. And I should also emphasize that what I see while on the road, pretty much exclusively in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area, will disproportionately reflect those who defy his orders rather than those who abide by them. But my guess is that Pennsylvania will be a red state this November.

Largely because both parties in Washington, D.C., failed to come to the aid of the working class and small businesses.[5] And in very significant part because the Democrats are really just fine with Donald Trump winning reelection.

Charles Thompson, “Two central Pa. counties say they plan to reopen ahead of Gov. Wolf’s schedule,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 8, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-lebanon-county-officials-declare-themselves-ready-to-reopen-say-they-will-break-from-gov-wolfs-plan.html

Jana Benscoter, “Dauphin, York DAs, say they won’t take immediate action against businesses that reopen in defiance of state order,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-york-das-say-they-wont-take-action-against-businesses-that-reopen-in-red-phase-counties.html

Charles Thompson, “A growing number of Pa. counties test Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers, saying they’ll decide if it’s time to reopen,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/a-growing-number-of-pa-counties-test-gov-tom-wolfs-emergency-powers-saying-theyll-decide-if-its-time-to-reopen.html

Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, and Heather Long, “Confronted with horrendous jobs report, White House and congressional Democrats aren’t even talking,” Washington Post, May 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/05/09/confronted-with-horrendous-jobs-report-white-house-congressional-democrats-arent-even-talking/


  1. [1]Jana Benscoter, “Dauphin, York DAs, say they won’t take immediate action against businesses that reopen in defiance of state order,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-york-das-say-they-wont-take-action-against-businesses-that-reopen-in-red-phase-counties.html
  2. [2]Ryan Deto, “Photos: About 120 protest in Downtown Pittsburgh, calling for Pennsylvania to reopen during coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 20, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/photos-about-120-protest-in-downtown-pittsburgh-calling-for-pennsylvania-to-reopen-during-coronavirus-pandemic/Content?oid=17167012; Bryan Armen Graham, “‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest,” Guardian, May 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-lockdown-protest-racism; John F. Harris, “Admit It: You Are Willing to Let People Die to End the Shutdown,” Politico, April 30, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/04/30/coronavirus-shutdown-altitude-ethics-223569; Gloria Jackson, as told to Eli Saslow, “‘I apologize to God for feeling this way,’” Washington Post, May 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/02/elderly-woman-coronavirus-lonely-expendable/; Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america; Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” TribLive, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/; Laura Newberry, “The pandemic has amplified ageism. ‘It’s open season for discrimination’ against older adults,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-01/coronavirus-pandemic-has-amplified-ageism; William Wan, Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Joel Achenbach, “States rushing to reopen are likely making a deadly error, coronavirus models and experts warn,” Washington Post, April 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/22/reopening-america-states-coronavirus/
  3. [3]Jana Benscoter, “Dauphin, York DAs, say they won’t take immediate action against businesses that reopen in defiance of state order,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-york-das-say-they-wont-take-action-against-businesses-that-reopen-in-red-phase-counties.html; Charles Thompson, “Two central Pa. counties say they plan to reopen ahead of Gov. Wolf’s schedule,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 8, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-lebanon-county-officials-declare-themselves-ready-to-reopen-say-they-will-break-from-gov-wolfs-plan.html; Charles Thompson, “A growing number of Pa. counties test Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers, saying they’ll decide if it’s time to reopen,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/a-growing-number-of-pa-counties-test-gov-tom-wolfs-emergency-powers-saying-theyll-decide-if-its-time-to-reopen.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  5. [5]Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, and Heather Long, “Confronted with horrendous jobs report, White House and congressional Democrats aren’t even talking,” Washington Post, May 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/05/09/confronted-with-horrendous-jobs-report-white-house-congressional-democrats-arent-even-talking/

We are not getting out of this pandemic fast

Pandemic

Antibody tests, which only might show some immunity to COVID-19,[1] were rushed into production and distribution. Many are unreliable.[2] And I’m guessing it’s going to be real hard to know if you’ve got a reliable one or an unreliable one.

Here the problem is with false positives, where a person is reported to possess antibodies to the novel coronavirus when, in fact, they do not.[3] The problem with the swab test is with false negatives, reporting a person to be clear of COVID-19, when they are not.[4]

This likely directly undermines[5] the study reported by the Guardian that suggested that COVID-19 had infected more people than previously believed.[6]

There’s a real rush here to achieve twin goals of Donald Trump’s reelection[7] and of limiting the number of human sacrifices to the capitalist god.[8] But what we’re seeing is that there are reasons science is often slow and that, to all appearances at least right now, we aren’t getting out of this crisis fast.

Steve Eder, Megan Twohey, and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver,” New York Times, April 19, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Steve Eder, Megan Twohey, and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver,” New York Times, April 19, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html
  3. [3]Steve Eder, Megan Twohey, and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver,” New York Times, April 19, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html
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