About that immunity thing

COVID-19

If there is such a thing as immunity to COVID-19 through antibodies (such as a vaccine might stimulate production of), it might be very—this is not a good thing—specific:

The patient, a 25-year-old Nevada man, was infected with two distinct variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, within a 48-day time frame.[1] . . . “We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe.”[2]

I’m hoping this T-cell thing[3] that I think protects me from so many varieties of creeping crud is for real.

France 24, “Doubts over immunity after man gets Covid second time, with more severe symptoms,” October 13, 2020, https://www.france24.com/en/20201013-doubts-over-immunity-after-man-gets-covid-second-time-with-more-severe-symptoms


  1. [1]France 24, “Doubts over immunity after man gets Covid second time, with more severe symptoms,” October 13, 2020, https://www.france24.com/en/20201013-doubts-over-immunity-after-man-gets-covid-second-time-with-more-severe-symptoms
  2. [2]Mark Pandori, quoted in France 24, “Doubts over immunity after man gets Covid second time, with more severe symptoms,” October 13, 2020, https://www.france24.com/en/20201013-doubts-over-immunity-after-man-gets-covid-second-time-with-more-severe-symptoms
  3. [3]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html

Why do Italian-Amerikkkans take pride in genocide?

Pittsburgh

I guess it’s really weird to me that Italian-Amerikkkans can apparently find no other symbol to take pride in other than Christopher Columbus, who was a bit more than, as Bill Peduto phrases a perspective I share, “a progenitor of slavery and racism.”[1] Columbus was one who initiated genocide.[2] It’s disturbing even that people find this something to be proud of.

Megan Guza And Joanne Klimovich Harrop, “Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto recommends removal of Columbus statue from Schenley Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-mayor-peduto-recommends-removal-of-columbus-statue-from-schenley-park/


  1. [1]Megan Guza And Joanne Klimovich Harrop, “Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto recommends removal of Columbus statue from Schenley Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-mayor-peduto-recommends-removal-of-columbus-statue-from-schenley-park/
  2. [2]Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (New York: HarperPerennial, 2005).

‘Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences’

I have quoted a New England Journal of Medicine editorial severely critical of the U.S. government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic[1] for the title of this post.


Militia

Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, and Abigail Hauslohner, “FBI charges six who it says plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as seven more who wanted to ignite civil war face state charges,” Washington Post, October 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michigan-governor-kidnap-plot/2020/10/08/0032e206-0980-11eb-9be6-cf25fb429f1a_story.html

Kelly Weill, “Sixteen ‘Boogaloo’ Followers Have Been Busted in 7 Days,” Daily Beast, October 9, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/with-the-gov-gretchen-whitmer-busts-16-boogaloo-followers-have-been-busted-in-7-days/


Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Mike Pence have repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and Greg Sargent believes the resurrection of an allegation against Barack Obama is another rationalization for the militia movement to engage in violence should Trump lose:[2]

This was explained very well by Frank Figliuzzi, a retired FBI official. On Thursday night, Figliuzzi told MSNBC that Trump is functioning as a kind of “instigator in chief” who is helping fuel the “radicalization” of those who are “on the fringe already.”

“Law enforcement is telling me that they are ready for a volatile and potentially violent period as we ramp up to the election and beyond,” Figliuzzi continued.

Figliuzzi noted that we already know Trump’s rhetoric may be inciting right-wing extremist violence. He pointed to the disruption of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) for the “treason” of instituting public health measures amid a pandemic, which came after Trump tweeted a call to “LIBERATE” the state. The alleged El Paso mass shooter targeting “Mexicans” also reportedly echoed Trump’s rhetoric, Figliuzzi noted.[3]

But the available evidence suggests that “law enforcement,” at least at the local lower levels, is allied with those militia groups, indeed that many militia members are members of the military or police.[4] Good luck getting them to help put down a right-wing militia uprising in support of “their” “law and order” president.

“It could be that law enforcement are paying more attention to these groups,” Mike German, a former FBI agent who specialized in extremist groups, told The Daily Beast. “But it could also be an indicator of increasing activity,” on the part of Boogaloo believers, he added.

Oh, and I’d rather strongly suggest multiply redundant surveillance on armories beginning no later than on Election Day.

Greg Sargent, “On Hannity’s show, Trump reveals his corrupt, panicky endgame,” Washington Post, October 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/09/hannity-trump-reveals-his-corrupt-panicky-endgame/


Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “The pandemic as a harbinger.”

British Broadcasting Corporation, “White House hosted Covid ‘superspreader’ event, says Dr Fauci,” October 10, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54487154

New England Journal of Medicine, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” no. 383 (October 8, 2020), 1479-1480, doi: 10.1056/NEJMe2029812


Delta


Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of satellite photos for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of October 9, 2020, at 8:01 pm EDT.


Leathermen?

Horse race

There is a new blog post entitled, “On ‘Unity Over Division.’

I assume none of my readers are really expecting me to comment on the vice presidential debate any more than I commented on the previous presidential debate. If any are, their expectations are misplaced. The major parties refuse to address issues of concern to me, do not earn and do not receive my vote. That one form of stupidity, the delusional raging narcissist kind, is cruel, obnoxious, and loud does not diminish the cruelty of the neoliberal kind. Neither are even remotely acceptable.


‘Proud Boys’

This can’t really be true, really?

You might recall that gay men had reclaimed the label ‘Proud Boys’ obviously, albeit not admittedly, irritating their leader, Enrique Tarrio.[1]

Around the end of the dot-com boom, I lived in San Francisco’s South of Market Area (SOMA), within, as it turned out, a block of no less than five gay bars. It was close, within walking distance, to work.

So while I would hardly claim authority on gay culture, I know that at least as of that time, a lot of gay men liked leather. A lot.


Donald Trump

Josh Margolin and Lucien Bruggeman, “34 people connected to White House, more than previously known, infected by coronavirus: Internal FEMA memo,” ABC News, October 7, 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/34-people-connected-white-house-previously-infected-coronavirus/story?id=73487381


  1. [1]Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html

The U.S. burns while the rich and powerful fiddle

Social inequality

Billionaires have been profiting exorbitantly from the ups and downs of the stock market as it reacted to news of the pandemic:[1]

Luke Hilyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre, a thinktank that focuses on excessive pay, said the “extreme wealth concentration is an ugly phenomenon from a moral perspective, but it’s also economically and socially destructive”.

“Billionaire wealth equates to a fortune almost impossible to spend over multiple lifetimes of absolute luxury,” Hilyard said. “Anyone accumulating riches on this scale could easily afford to raise the pay of the employees who generate their wealth, or contribute a great deal more in taxes to support vital public services, while remaining very well rewarded for whatever successes they’ve achieved.”[2]

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians still won’t (don’t say “can’t”) agree on an economic relief package even as people are losing their jobs,[3] losing their health insurance (but forget about Medicare For All, even in a pandemic),[4] and being evicted.[5] ’Cause, you know, none of that really matters.[6]

Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires

Jonathan Roeder, Jordyn Holman, and Mary Schlangenstein, “‘People are suffering’: Corporate America lashes Trump after stimulus call,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 7, 2020, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/people-are-suffering-corporate-america-lashes-trump-after-stimulus-call-20201007-p562rj.html


Academia

Colleen Shalby, “California colleges tried to prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks. It didn’t work,” Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-07/as-californias-universities-reopen-off-campus-activity-contributes-to-spike-in-covid-19-cases


  1. [1]Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires
  2. [2]Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires
  3. [3]Jonathan Roeder, Jordyn Holman, and Mary Schlangenstein, “‘People are suffering’: Corporate America lashes Trump after stimulus call,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 7, 2020, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/people-are-suffering-corporate-america-lashes-trump-after-stimulus-call-20201007-p562rj.html
  4. [4]Sara R. Collins and David Blumenthal, “Without universal healthcare, coronavirus puts us all at risk,” Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-05/op-ed-time-to-ramp-up-medicaid-to-pay-for-universal-coronavirus-care; Amy Goldstein, “Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States,” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/worries-about-medical-bills-and-lost-pay-may-hamper-coronavirus-efforts-in-the-united-states/2020/03/02/75825be0-5c9c-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; Amy Goldstein, “First, the coronavirus pandemic took their jobs. Then, it wiped out their health insurance,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/first-the-coronavirus-pandemic-took-their-jobs-then-it-wiped-out-their-health-insurance/2020/04/18/1c2cb5bc-7d7c-11ea-8013-1b6da0e4a2b7_story.html; James Hamblin, “What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?” Atlantic, March 11, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/where-do-you-go-if-you-get-coronavirus/607759/; Eric Levitz, “In the Age of the Coronavirus, Biden’s ‘Results’ Require Bernie’s ‘Revolution,’” New York, March 16, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/who-won-the-democratic-debate-between-biden-and-bernie-coronavirus.html
  5. [5]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; Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Stephen Caruso, “Gov. Wolf says his executive authority has run out on extending eviction moratorium, perplexing some experts,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 28, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/gov-wolf-says-his-executive-authority-has-run-out-on-extending-eviction-moratorium-perplexing-some-experts/Content?oid=17896117; Benjamin Fearnow, “Biden, Sanders demand 3-month freeze on rent payments, eviction of tenants across U.S.,” Newsweek, March 28, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/biden-sanders-demand-3-month-freeze-rent-payments-eviction-tenants-across-us-1494839; John Fritze and Nicholas Wu, “Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year,” USA Today, September 1, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/01/trump-imposes-eviction-moratorium-because-covid-19-pandemic/5686402002/; 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/; Elizabeth Hardison, “Pa.’s moratorium on evictions has ended. Here’s what that means,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, September 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/working-the-economy/pa-s-moratorium-on-evictions-has-ended-heres-what-that-means/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Eric Levitz, “This Recession Is a Bigger Housing Crisis Than 2008,” New York, July 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/coronavirus-recession-evictions-crisis-congress.html; 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/; John L. Micek, “Pa. is facing a wave of evictions. Two state House lawmakers have a plan to help,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/commentary/pa-is-facing-a-wave-of-evictions-two-state-house-lawmakers-have-a-plan-to-help-tuesday-morning-coffee/; Emma Ockerman, “The Tenant Uprising Is Here, and It’s Fierce,” Vice, August 7, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpdyq/the-tenant-uprising-is-here-and-its-fierce; Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/

Donald Trump gets COVID-19 (Update #10)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 3, 2020, 11:45 am.
  2. October 3, 10:27 pm:
    • Reports of Donald Trump’s condition have been contradictory and sometimes misleading. White House physician Sean Conley has been evasive and I would accordingly suggest discounting anything he says, just as we would anything Trump says, which leaves us with the possibility, albeit from often unnamed sources, that this really is serious.[1]
  3. October 4, 8:13 am:
    • It appears Donald Trump has been given two experimental treatments to combat COVID-19: regeneron and remdesivir. Medical doctors are having a hard time reading the tea leaves of contradictory and omitted information but would seem to be somewhat more concerned about Trump’s condition than Sean Conley (see previous update, October 3, 10:27 pm).[2]
  4. October 4, 8:34 am:
  5. October 4, 10:26 am:
    • The Republican refusal to take COVID-19 seriously is now boomeranging on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to take Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court as at least two Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee are now in self-quarantine and unable to vote.[3] Er, make that three. Oh, and that Rose Garden ceremony where Donald Trump announced Barrett’s nomination? Looking more and more like a “superspreader event.”[4]
  6. October 4, 11:16 pm:
    • I got annoyed and dredged up my old research journal post on the second amendment. I have now resurrected it. My thinking has progressed a bit since I wrote it but the new post contains the text as it was in my research journal, with a prefatory note.
    • Donald Trump’s condition was indeed[5] more serious[6] than earlier acknowledged by White House physician Sean Conley.[7] And apparently the optimistic view that Trump might be out of Walter Reed Hospital tomorrow makes no fucking sense whatsoever.[8] So, um, Trump’s doctors and the White House can take their “abundance of caution” shit[9] and shove it right back up where it came from. Trustworthy indications will be when Trump is back on a golf course or in a casket; anything else on the record should be treated as bullshit.
  7. October 5, 2020, 9:57 am:
    • One problem with working from “live update” stories from the Washington Post, and a reason I normally eschew them, is that citation details change. Another reason is simply that it is difficult to know when you have the final version of the article. I’ve gone back and updated the citations now in the blog post and here.
    • “As of Sunday [October 4] afternoon, there are valid questions about whether anyone providing details of Trump’s health can be trusted.”[10]
    • I tweeted this before seeing the latest “live update” story from the Washington Post.[11] I must have been up later than I thought, Sunday night. I should have said today:

      Basically, we’ll know what’s going on when Donald Trump is either in a casket or back on the golf course.

    • In retrospect, it seems obvious that gay men are the rightful owners of the “Proud Boys” label. In retrospect. They’re smartasses for reclaiming it[12] and, I dare say, being really rather courageous in doing so. I’m calling bullshit on the “spreading joy”[13] shit, but I am most certainly amused.

      But Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, said he doesn’t see what the men are trying to accomplish.

      “I think it’s hysterical,” Tarrio told CNN. “This isn’t something that’s offensive to us. It’s not an insult. We aren’t homophobic. We don’t care who people sleep with. People think it’s going to bother us. It doesn’t.”[14]

      Trust me. He’s annoyed. Very annoyed. And by the way, a detail I didn’t know: “Tarrio, a Cuban American, is also the leader of the grassroots group Latinos for Trump.”[15] Uh huh. I just saw a banner for the latter group, along with one for “Blacks for Trump,” yesterday in New Kensington.

    • (@NRO is the National Review online.)

  8. October 5, 11:29 am:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a challenge to Pennsylvania’s lockdown. This is a separate case[16] from the one in which a Trump appointee relying on capitalist libertarian logic struck down the restrictions[17] in a ruling that had to be stayed by the appeals court[18] and is unlikely to be upheld.[19]
  9. October 5, 2020, 10:38 pm:
    • I’m a doctor, but not a medical doctor, so treat this as a lay opinion: Donald Trump leaving Walter Reed Hospital[20] strikes me as likely having been done against medical advice and probably considerably diminishes the possibility entertained by so many for so long that he’s a malicious and compulsive liar. What we are seeing here is stupidity. It is insanity. It is delusional raging narcissism.

      One thing we can conclude so far is that the jackassery has not been diminished in this episode as Trump and fellow Republicans continue to spew bullshit.[21]

  10. October 6, 2020, 10:21 am:
    • Reportedly, Donald Trump also received the steroid dexamethasone which “is considered safe only when a patient appears to be at high risk of developing the kind of overactive inflammatory response that can lead to organ failure and death”[22] and whose side effects include “mania, depression, psychotic or mixed affective states, cognitive deficits, and minor psychiatric disturbances (irritability, insomnia, anxiety, labile mood).”[23] “If Trump’s physicians are following the recommendations from the Recovery study and giving him 6 mg of dexamethasone once per day for 10 days, his treatment could stretch to Oct. 14 — one day before the second presidential debate is scheduled to take place in Miami.”[24] I make it a rule to not watch debates, but um, I’m gonna have to think about this one.
    • Donald Trump appeared to be having difficulty breathing when he returned to the White House.[25]

Donald Trump

There is a new blog post entitled, “On wishing the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief well.”

Megan Guza And Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh doctors discuss Trump’s covid risk factors,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/health-now/pittsburgh-doctors-discuss-trumps-covid-risk-factors/

Robert Mackey, “Trump Is Hospitalized With Covid-19, Days After Mocking Biden for Wearing a Mask,” Intercept, October 2, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/10/02/trump-tests-positive-covid-48-hours-mocking-biden-wearing-mask/

Andrew Restuccia, “Trump and His Aides Have Long Played Down Importance of Face Masks, Distancing,” Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-his-aides-have-long-downplayed-importance-of-face-masks-distancing-11601655164

Associated Press, “Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours ‘critical,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 3, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/concerning-signs-in-trumps-care-despite-word-hes-doing-ok/

Colby Itkowitz et al., “Chief of staff says next 48 hours ‘critical’ as Trump says he’s doing well,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/03/trump-covid-live-updates/

Gina Kolata and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Trump’s Covid Treatments Are Aimed at Preventing Severe Illness,” New York Times, October 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/03/health/Covid-trump-treatments.html

Maeve Reston and Gregory Krieg, “White House sows confusion about Trump’s condition as source tells reporters next 48 hours will be critical,” October 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/03/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-walter-reed/index.html

John Wagner et al., “Trump at hospital after positive coronavirus test; Kellyanne Conway, two senators test positive,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/02/trump-biden-live-updates/

Laura King and Chris Megerian, “Trump stages drive-by for supporters after doctors disclose more serious symptoms,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-10-04/trump-receiving-powerful-lung-drug-doctors-disclose-revealing-more-serious-symptoms

Derek Hawkins et al., “President’s blood oxygen levels dropped twice in recent days, doctors say,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/04/trump-covid-live-updates/

Felicia Sonmez et al., “Trump returns to White House from hospital; may not be ‘out of the woods,’ doctor says,” Washington Post, October 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/05/trump-biden-live-updates/

Melissa Healy, “Trump received dexamethasone for COVID-19. Here’s what that says about his condition,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-05/trump-dexamethasone-covid-19-condition

Soo Kim, “Donald Trump ‘Gasping for Air’ Video Raises Questions About President’s Health,” Newsweek, October 6, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-donald-trump-breathing-difficulty-gasping-air-white-house-hospital-discharge-1536598


‘Proud Boys’

Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html


Pennsylvania

Greg Stohr, “Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Pennsylvania Shutdown Order,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-pennsylvania-shutdown-order


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours ‘critical,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 3, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/concerning-signs-in-trumps-care-despite-word-hes-doing-ok/; Maeve Reston and Gregory Krieg, “White House sows confusion about Trump’s condition as source tells reporters next 48 hours will be critical,” October 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/03/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-walter-reed/index.html
  2. [2]Gina Kolata and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Trump’s Covid Treatments Are Aimed at Preventing Severe Illness,” New York Times, October 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/03/health/Covid-trump-treatments.html
  3. [3]Mary Clare Jalonick, “Virus spreads on panel handling Supreme Court nomination,” Washington Post, October 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/virus-spreads-on-panel-handling-supreme-court-nomination/2020/10/03/0c43dc7a-05df-11eb-b92e-029676f9ebec_story.html
  4. [4]Russell Berman, “Suddenly, Amy Coney Barrett Might Not Have the Votes,” Atlantic, October 3, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/10/supreme-court-trump-covid/616608/
  5. [5]Laura King and Chris Megerian, “Trump stages drive-by for supporters after doctors disclose more serious symptoms,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-10-04/trump-receiving-powerful-lung-drug-doctors-disclose-revealing-more-serious-symptoms
  6. [6]Gina Kolata and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Trump’s Covid Treatments Are Aimed at Preventing Severe Illness,” New York Times, October 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/03/health/Covid-trump-treatments.html
  7. [7]Associated Press, “Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours ‘critical,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 3, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/concerning-signs-in-trumps-care-despite-word-hes-doing-ok/; Maeve Reston and Gregory Krieg, “White House sows confusion about Trump’s condition as source tells reporters next 48 hours will be critical,” October 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/03/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-walter-reed/index.html
  8. [8]Laura King and Chris Megerian, “Trump stages drive-by for supporters after doctors disclose more serious symptoms,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-10-04/trump-receiving-powerful-lung-drug-doctors-disclose-revealing-more-serious-symptoms
  9. [9]Colby Itkowitz et al., “Chief of staff says next 48 hours ‘critical’ as Trump says he’s doing well,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/03/trump-covid-live-updates/; John Wagner et al., “Trump at hospital after positive coronavirus test; Kellyanne Conway, two senators test positive,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/02/trump-biden-live-updates/
  10. [10]Philip Bump, in Derek Hawkins et al., “President’s blood oxygen levels dropped twice in recent days, doctors say,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/04/trump-covid-live-updates/
  11. [11]Derek Hawkins et al., “President’s blood oxygen levels dropped twice in recent days, doctors say,” Washington Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/04/trump-covid-live-updates/
  12. [12]Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html
  13. [13]Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html
  14. [14]Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html
  15. [15]Alaa Elassar, “Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag,” CNN, October 4, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/04/us/proud-boys-twitter-hashtag-gay-men-trnd/index.html
  16. [16]Greg Stohr, “Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Pennsylvania Shutdown Order,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-pennsylvania-shutdown-order
  17. [17]Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/
  18. [18]Paula Reed Ward, “Appeals court allows Gov. Tom Wolf, state to restore covid crowd restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 1, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/appeals-court-allows-pennsylvania-to-restrict-crowd-size/
  19. [19]Jamie Martines and Paula Reed Ward, “Why the ruling against Wolf’s covid-19 restrictions faces long odds on appeal, explained,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/why-the-ruling-against-wolfs-covid-19-restrictions-faces-long-odds-on-appeal-explained/
  20. [20]Felicia Sonmez et al., “Trump returns to White House from hospital; may not be ‘out of the woods,’ doctor says,” Washington Post, October 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/05/trump-biden-live-updates/
  21. [21]Felicia Sonmez et al., “Trump returns to White House from hospital; may not be ‘out of the woods,’ doctor says,” Washington Post, October 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/10/05/trump-biden-live-updates/
  22. [22]Melissa Healy, “Trump received dexamethasone for COVID-19. Here’s what that says about his condition,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-05/trump-dexamethasone-covid-19-condition
  23. [23]Mayo Clinic Proceedings, quoted in Melissa Healy, “Trump received dexamethasone for COVID-19. Here’s what that says about his condition,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-05/trump-dexamethasone-covid-19-condition
  24. [24]Melissa Healy, “Trump received dexamethasone for COVID-19. Here’s what that says about his condition,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-05/trump-dexamethasone-covid-19-condition
  25. [25]Soo Kim, “Donald Trump ‘Gasping for Air’ Video Raises Questions About President’s Health,” Newsweek, October 6, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-donald-trump-breathing-difficulty-gasping-air-white-house-hospital-discharge-1536598

Calling them what they are: Militia

Militia

I’m noticing a curious thing in coverage of Donald Trump’s failure in a debate with Joe Biden to condemn the Proud Boys white supremacist militia group.[1] Folks are declining to call it a militia group, preferring to call it a gang.[2]

But gangs are merely a form of organized crime. Whether about drugs or the classic forms of shakedown operations, gangs are principally about profit. Militia groups are not merely about illicit profit; they are motivated rather by ideology (in the U.S., typically white supremacist and/or extreme right wing) and, like gangs, armed, often heavily. The Proud Boys thus count as a militia group. I have no explanation for the apparent squeamishness about the label.

An article on the Atlantic website, forthcoming in print, reminds me of another way, namely the Oath Keepers and similar groups, the distinction between police and such militia groups is being obscured. Members of these groups are often current or former military or police,[3] indeed they may join the military for the training.[4]

Mike Giglio, “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans,” Atlantic, November 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/

Jason Wilson, “Proud Boys are a dangerous ‘white supremacist’ group say US agencies,” Guardian, October 1, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/01/proud-boys-white-supremacist-group-law-enforcement-agencies


  1. [1]Zak Cheney-Rice, “We Can Probably Stop Asking Trump If He’s a White Supremacist,” New York, September 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trump-tells-proud-boys-to-stand-by-still-white-supremacist.html; Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/
  2. [2]For examples, Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/; Jason Wilson, “Proud Boys are a dangerous ‘white supremacist’ group say US agencies,” Guardian, October 1, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/01/proud-boys-white-supremacist-group-law-enforcement-agencies
  3. [3]Mike Giglio, “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans,” Atlantic, November 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/
  4. [4]Lois Beckett, “How the US military has failed to address white supremacy in its ranks,” Guardian, June 24, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/24/us-military-white-supremacy-extremist-plot; Leo Shane, III, “Signs of white supremacy, extremism up again in poll of active-duty troops,” Military Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/02/06/signs-of-white-supremacy-extremism-up-again-in-poll-of-active-duty-troops/

Nancy Pelosi wants ‘a strong Republican Party’

The neoliberal party

Nancy Pelosi has been catching a lot of flak for saying this:

One of my prayers is that the Republicans will take back their party. The country needs a strong Republican Party. It’s done so much for our country, and to have it be hijacked as a cult at this time is really a sad thing for America.[1]

I would have to argue that the criticism is misdirected. Yes, certainly it appears that Pelosi is seeking a party she might putatively oppose but be able to work with, or more precisely, to be complicit with (as, in fact, the Democrats really already are[2]). But the claim that the Republican Party has been ‘hijacked’ is what truly deserves criticism.

Thomas Frank has repeatedly argued that the Democrats spurned the working class and converted them into the toxic authoritarian populists we see today.[3] And while that isn’t the whole story,[4] it’s certainly the case that Republican ranks have been swelled by disaffected workers. That authoritarian populists, conflated with social conservatives and paleoconservatives, make up a majority of Republican voters and now control the party does not make that party a ‘cult.’ It reflects what Frank argues: That the Democrats betrayed workers and will never again get their vote.

Jason Lemon, “Nancy Pelosi Says America ‘Needs a Strong Republican Party,’ Not a Hijacked ‘Cult,’” Newsweek, September 30, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-says-america-needs-strong-republican-party-not-hijacked-cult-1535343


  1. [1]Nancy Pelosi, quoted in Jason Lemon, “Nancy Pelosi Says America ‘Needs a Strong Republican Party,’ Not a Hijacked ‘Cult,’” Newsweek, September 30, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-says-america-needs-strong-republican-party-not-hijacked-cult-1535343
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/
  3. [3]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter With Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2004); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire (New York: Metropolitan, 2012); see also Neil Barofsky, Bailout (New York: Free Press, 2012); Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010); Jason Togyer, “Fear and Loathing in the Time of Coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 25, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/mckeesport-year-of-fear-covid-19-pandemic.php.
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Barack Obama asks, ‘Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?’” Not Housebroken, November 4, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/11/04/barack-obama-asks-why-is-it-that-the-folks-that-won-the-last-election-are-so-mad-all-the-time/

White Supremacist militia takes an incoherent jumble as endorsement.

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 30, 2020, at 11:27 am.
  2. September 30, 6:46 pm:
    • At New York Magazine, Zak Cheney-Rice adds his own take on Donald Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacism, laying out the reasoning for seeing Trump as having effectively confirmed he is a white supremacist.[1] Steve Bannon, for example, would be an entirely different story, but I guess I’m still inclined to view Trump as too much an idiot and as too much a delusional raging narcissist to attribute even the repugnant quality of thinking that I think most observers, including Cheney-Rice, do. I just don’t think he’s that bright: He just sees the Proud Boys as his supporters; I think that’s where it begins and ends with him.

Horse race

Following a televised debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden last night, it is now even more difficult to dismiss the fear of violence should Trump appear to lose the election:[2]

President Donald Trump thrilled members of the violent far-right gang known as the Proud Boys on Tuesday when he responded to a question from debate moderator Chris Wallace, about whether he would be willing to tell white supremacists and militia groups that support him to stand down, by instead telling that group to “stand back and stand by.”

Read more

  1. [1]Zak Cheney-Rice, “We Can Probably Stop Asking Trump If He’s a White Supremacist,” New York, September 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trump-tells-proud-boys-to-stand-by-still-white-supremacist.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/

‘Things that are more selfish, stupid and privileged than voting third party in America.’

Horse race

source on threadreaderapp.com
Archived at 2020-09-29 09:43:09

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ Profile picture

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳

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28 Sep, 21 tweets, 3 min read

Things that are more selfish, stupid and privileged than voting third party in America.

1. Supporting a two-headed one-party system in the most powerful government on earth which has plagued our planet with endless war and ecocide and marched humanity to the brink of extinction.

2. Continuing to support a political system which is wholly owned and operated by the wealthy, leaving zero effective influence over US policy in the hands of ordinary Americans and immense influence in the hands of the very rich.

3. Continuing to support a system which consistently deceives the American people into consenting to oppressive neoliberal exploitation at home and bloodthirsty neoconservative warmongering abroad, both of which always impact the most impoverished and disadvantaged groups worst.

4. Continuing to support a two-headed one-party system where one head always pushes as far to the right as possible when in power and the other head never moves things back leftward even one iota when it is.

5. Continuing to support a political establishment which rehabilitates war criminals like George W Bush, Bill Kristol, David Frum and John Bolton while demonizing anyone who refused to vote for a warmonger.

6. Supporting a political party which has been consistently attacking Donald Trump from the right on foreign policy, pushing him to escalate cold war tensions with Russia further and further and shrieking hysterically if he makes the slightest move toward deescalation anywhere.

7. Supporting a political party which is designed to co-opt all leftward populism and railroad it into support for an establishment which promotes war and oligarchy while depriving Americans of the same social safety nets afforded to everyone in every other major country on earth

8. Supporting a party which claims to support press freedoms while cheerleading Trump’s extradition of Julian Assange, a move which if successful will cripple press freedoms around the world and make it impossible to hold the world’s most powerful government to account.

9. Supporting a political party which has spent Trump’s term galvanizing its base around the psychopathic CIA and J Edgar Hoover’s minority-oppressing, left-punching FBI while doing everything it can to stamp out any leftist zeitgeist within its ranks.

10. Continuing to support a mass media structure which works every day to deceive Americans into supporting their own impoverishment while weapons of war are spread across the planet at massive expense.

11. Supporting a political establishment which promises slow, incremental change and actually delivers no change whatsoever while our species slides off the cliff of extinction, taking out the most impoverished and marginalized first.

12. Pretending foreign policy just doesn’t exist, or if it does exist pretending Joe Biden isn’t a lifelong warmonger who has spent his entire campaign attacking Trump for being insufficiently hawkish in most spheres of international conflict.

13. Ignoring the fact that both parties are working in support of world-threatening cold war escalations against both Russia and China, a multifront campaign whose complexity increases the probability of something going cataclysmically wrong even more than the last cold war.

14. Pretending a party that’s done exactly nothing for America’s disempowered communities isn’t directly responsible for the poverty, police brutality, mass incarceration, exploitation and oppression those communities face today.

15. Pretending a return to how things were before Trump’s presidency wouldn’t just be a return to the conditions which created Trump’s presidency.

16. Pretending Obama, who destroyed Libya, tried to destroy Syria, facilitated the rape of Yemen, intervened in Ukraine, expanded all of Bush’s most depraved policies, and did nothing whatsoever for the people who elected him, was a good president.

17. Continuing to support a political system where everything keeps getting worse no matter which oligarchic puppet Americans elect.

18. Putting your head in the sand and pretending everything will be fine once a Democrat is in charge, again.

19. Supporting a novelty joke party with fake primaries which are always rigged to ensure victory for the safest oligarchic puppet instead of pushing for something resembling actual democracy.

20. Promoting the lie that if you just keep doing something that has never, ever worked, this time it might produce different results.

21. Lulling people back to sleep when the only thing that can help ordinary people is for them to wake up and use the power of their numbers to force drastic, revolutionary change.


Racial justice