Saturday, March 28, 2020

We Don't Need Control from Above

From Bart Hall on Facebook:

Truckers are saying "fuck the log rules, I'm hauling" and they're getting supplies to the stores. People are stocking the shelves all night and letting old people shop first. Folks are buying meals for truckers, who (obviously) can't go through the drive-ups. Asking 'em what they want, then buying it for them.

Carnival Cruise Line has told Trump “We can match those big Navy Hospital ships with some fully staffed cruise ships”.

GM and Ford have said "hold our cars and watch this -- we can make ventilators where we were just making car parts, starting next week" -- by re-engineering seat ventilators which their engineers hacked together for a new purpose. In under a week.

In a project with which I'm loosely associated, a very-effective agricultural disease-control agent was re-purposed and re-labeled specifically for Corona-virus control by the FDA and EPA in under ten days, from initial request to distribution.

Restaurants and schools have said, "we’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed the poor kids who used have school lunch.”

NBA basketball players have said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.”

Construction companies are saying, “Here are some high-end masks for medical staff and doctors”.

Distilleries are making sanitizer out of distilling "heads and tails" which are normally discarded. Nasty shit to drink, but effective sanitizer.

People are tipping grocery check-out clerks and thanking them for taking the risk.

Local, state, and county governments are taking control of everything the feds cannot do. Some are doing it wrong, but for the first time in decades ... they're doing it. Federalism is re-emerging, and the smallest unit of government is the individual and the family. This, too, is re-emerging after decades of dormancy.

As Japanese Admiral Isokuru Yamamoto said, after Pearl Harbor ... “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

I sense this has just happened. We have a wonderful country, the greatest single force for good in all human history. We have closed our borders, with good reason, yet we have top medical people now assisting North Korea in their response to the virus.

Many things have been re-set, and will never be the same.

By microbiological accident, we are living in profoundly transformative historical times.

Amen, Bart. Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Idiots in Power

Well, well. I've certainly been forcefully reminded why I hate our elite power-brokers. Have you?

(Stupid question, I'm sure.)

It's really effing simple: We need immediate temporary cash relief for every American who's taking it in the teeth during this shutdown. We need aid to small businesses that have been forced to shutter or severely limit operations. We need to devote funds to research into this pathogen so we can find a way to combat it quickly and get the economy started again. And we need to spend some more money expanding our hospital capacity so that similar pandemics won't necessitate extreme responses in the future. That's it.

What we don't need is bullshit -- no matter who's shoving it in. We don't need corporate diversity quotas, stealth Green New Deals, or bailouts for the well-connected. But of course, our aforementioned elites simply can't help themselves. Cynical opportunists that they are, they're determined not to let a good crisis go to waste -- even if that means screwing the rest of us.

Why do we keep voting these assholes into office? What the hell's the matter with us?

I've also been firmly convinced that large swaths of our media class are now full-on enemies of the people. I know that seems extreme, but what else am I supposed to conclude when so many of them are using one couple's straight-up stupidity - fish tank cleaner is not the same thing as hydroxychloroquine, you filthy liars - to discredit a possible treatment for C-19?

Obviously the jury's still out on the hydroxychloroquine/z-pak combo, but that's really my point: we should be allowed to explore this without all the shrieking and deeply misleading headlines claiming that hydroxychloroquine is poison. I have news for you, media douchecanoes: when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the first things Dr. B put me on were prednisone and hydroxychloroquine. True: I was told at the time that the hydroxychloroquine might damage my eyesight over the long term and that I should start seeing an ophthalmologist on a regular basis. But if we're talking about using hydroxychloroquine to treat a respiratory infection like C-19, we're not talking about long-term use.

Clearly, these reporters know jack shit about medicine. Lots of meds are poison, actually. The prednisone I'm still on is weakening my bones and trashing my teeth. Methotrexate can damage my liver. And if I ever get back on a biologic like Enbrel or Humira, I may develop serious infections or lymphoma. But those of us with chronic medical conditions are willing to take those risks if it means an alleviation of our disabling symptoms. Similarly, whatever dangers may come with short-term therapeutic doses of hydroxychloroquine might be totally worth courting if it means fewer people die of coronavirus-induced ARDS.

In conclusion: shut the eff up, CNN, and let the adults in the room do the necessary research. None of us are interested in your petty attempts to get the Orange Man. What we want are real, nonpartisan solutions to our current predicament.

ETA: Thank you, Matt, for your sane and critical voice!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus Inspires Clowns to Self-Identify

A series of grumpy thoughts.

The other day, I was mostly amused by the newly popular charge of bigotry that was zipping around Twitter. Lefties gonna lefty, right?

Now, however, I'm legitimately angry that this bullshit is still being spread. Are we really doing this? Are we really treating pro-CCP propaganda as legitimate? We're talking about a government that right now is frog-marching its ethnic minorities into concentration camps. We're talking about a government that muzzled its own doctors when they attempted to sound warnings last fall about this emergent disease -- and a government that rejected offers of US aid.

Obviously, this should not blow back on ordinary East Asian people. It's not their fault the Chinese government is evil. But take care in your zeal to appear unprejudiced that you don't cover up the truth: COVID-19 originated in China. The Chinese government then tried to cover it up, which permitted the virus to spread beyond Chinese borders. If you're actually buying into the narrative that calling this disease the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Virus is racist, you're a dupe at best -- and the rest of us are absolutely within our rights to flip you off and call you names.

Also, I'm a little confused: What exactly was Trump supposed to do weeks ago? Because I guaran-damn-tee that if he had been aggressive any earlier - if, for example, he had restricted foreign travel before the panic set in - his detractors would've complained about his xenophobia.

Yes, the feds were slow to respond. But how much of that was Trump, how much of that was the bureaucracy and its standing regulations, and how much of that was a lack of reliable data? We must carefully tease out all sources of error; tarring Trump alone with the blame is the simpleton's response.

There are many things the administration is doing right now that are sound reactions to the situation. Pushing back the tax deadline? Yes, good idea. Allowing people to consult with their doctors remotely? Also a good idea. Bringing in private-sector partners to distribute more test kits to the public? Excellent! Devolving some of the responsibility to state and local governments? Eminently constitutional -- despite what a certain idiot at the Bulwark thinks.

The roll-out of all of this was not without its hiccups, but try to have some perspective. There are very few countries who are dealing with this pandemic 100% successfully. Actually, most of Europe is doing much, much worse.

ETA: I'm kicking myself for forgetting this, but all y'all Twitter socialists posting galaxy-brained hot takes about our temporarily empty grocery aisles can kindly STFU. Yes: a capitalist nation in a crisis looks like a socialist nation on any random Tuesday. By Jove, you've got us!

Lastly, if you're reading this, you probably know this already, but: you can't trust anything the mainstream media report. They lie routinely about everything Trump and his surrogates say; indeed, in just the past few days, the media have spread rumors about a national quarantine (false) and have claimed that Trump told states looking for respirators that they were on their own (also false). So for heaven's sake, double and triple check anything alarming you hear on the news before you go off half-cocked -- because the probability approaches one that if it sounds scary, it's been purposefully distorted.

Stay calm, stay alert, and God bless you all.

Monday, March 16, 2020