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 Post subject: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 pm 
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The POOP version.

McConnell has come up with the Republican stimulus bill and given it to Pelosi and Schumer. Among other things the $1200 checks to be send to the adults who need money (up to a certain income) are rebate checks. Hence the roughly 75 million folks who don't owe any Federal Income taxes will get nothing. Oh, and employers don't have to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes for a while...almost like someone wants those programs to become even less solvent in a hurry for some reason.

As for Trump, well, it's still all lies/corruption/incompetence all the time. Having discovered that he has the authority to call for folks to fill Federal orders first for emergency supplies, he refuses to do so. Apparently a few of his buddies called and complained that it would cost them something to do that. And the test kits are still coming someday; we're doing a lot more of them, but the positive rate is still about 10% which means we're only testing folks showing obvious symptoms. Truly effective testing means doing so many we're getting positive rates of about 0.2%...we've got a ways to go.

Oh, and at least two Republican senators who were briefed about the upcoming epidemic (and lied to us about it) dumped shares of stock ahead of the downturn. Color me shocked.

But just to be fair...who expected New York governor Cuomo to be worth much here? He's really outdone himself; organizing a four state effort to coordinate responses, getting inmates in the state prisons to make hand sanitizer, and much etc. Went so far as to tell Trump that Trump can give Cuomo the Army Corps of Engineers and the needed hospital units will actually get built (needless to say that Corps is still sitting on their hands).

Ok, have fun kiddies.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:28 am 
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Oh hey. Let me tell you about all the crap our government has pulled.

First the Mainland Chinese government. Then I'll do another post about Hong Kong.

1. Everyone knows how Wuhan's authorities muzzled a bunch of whistleblower doctors, right, including the one who died?

2. Well yeah they also sat on the knowledge that there was human-to-human transmission for several weeks in January, blaming it on animals in that wet market. In fact there were cases traced back to before the wet market cluster.

3. They said nothing for weeks to avoid disrupting an important political meeting, hosted a new year's pot luck for 40,000 people, then watched as 5 million people merrily left town for the new year vacation.

4. Meanwhile the doctors had supposedly reported the virus up the chain to China's version of the CDC. Which also did bugger and all for weeks, because they're not authorized to actually do anything. That had to come from the political leadership.

5. So either a bunch of senior people knew and didn't tell Xi Jinping, or Xi Jinping knew and ignored it. Neither looks good. So it got out of hand and China flipped from "virus, what virus?" to "OMG LOCK EVERYTHING DOWN NOW" literally overnight.

6. Now that they are finally getting a handle on the outbreak, they're bragging about their heroism (gag) and also spreading the conspiracy theory that the US military unleashed it on Wuhan during a training exercise. Not just twitter trolls. Official statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Watch them rewrite history. Then watch as Stephen effing Miller tries to pull the same stunt.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:45 am 
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And now, the local chumps.

1. When Wuhan first went into lockdown and the WHO called its first emergency meeting, our Chief Executive Carrie Lam stayed at the Davos conference while her officials back home just told everyone not to worry, and did nothing. Amazingly, as soon as her wheels hit the tarmac, they went "It's an emergency now!"

2. Lam dithered for over a week on imposing travel restrictions. We have a high speed rail terminus with a line straight to Wuhan. At first they didn't even bother screening people from Wuhan.

3. The health authorities were starting to advise people to wear masks, while the Government was still defending its (unconstitutional) mask ban in court. So top officials said nothing on the subject of masks. And then Carrie Lam did a press conference and told people not to wear them to reserve them for medical workers, and that she had instructed her governing team not to wear them. Said instruction was openly defied by her own ministers on camera at that very same press conference. Panic buying ensues.

4. Government tentatively closes some border checkpoints, but only the ones that hardly anybody uses. Meanwhile, high speed train from Wuhan is still running. Airport arrivals still coming in. Schools and public facilities are closed, and civil servants are told to work from home, but people are still arriving from the Mainland.

5. Medical workers go on strike for 3 days demanding border closures and protesting shortage of protective gear. Government demonizes medical workers (the selfish bastards), then shuts down most of the remaining border checkpoints, then announces mandatory quarantine measures, pretending this was its own idea and had nothing to do with the strike.

6. Medical workers and sanitation workers still lack sufficient protective gear, but for some reason the cops are tromping around in full hazmat suits. They ordered 30,000 of the things and were apparently given them. Everyone else can go screw themselves.

7. Population sees government is useless, goes into voluntary lockdown. Apparently this is so effective that we tanked flu transmissions.

8. Gearing up for Round 2 now. We just got a bunch of backwash cases from Europe.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:49 am 
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In Austria the state government of Tyrol has dropped the ball pretty severly.

In Ischgl, a skiing town, early on there was a bar tender, who tested positive. The government did nothing at first, presumebly to not hurt the tourism industry.

And after a long time of that, they switched to panic mode, closed everything down and demanded that the guests had to be gone within hours. Since they did not have flights within hours, they had to be housed in other hotels in Tyrol for a while.

And no screening or testing of the departing guests had been done, so that also helped to increase the infection rates in scandinavie, where most of the guests did come from.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:04 pm 
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Thankfully what the Republicans want isn't quite determinative right now: but deliberately shorting the working poor on aid, cutting food stamps (which Trump is still doing), vastly minimizing paid sick leave, ignoring Medicaid and Medicare except to try to attack it, covering up basic public health and economic data for short term political gain, recycling all their corrupt bills which the Democrats shot down in the house as 'coronavirus measures'? Apparently they think letting this disease run amok will be as advantageous to them in the next election cycle as letting the Russians do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:30 am 
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Also creating a giant corporate slush fund with stimulus money but who's counting?

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:24 pm 
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Apparently McConnell's bill would also have forbidden community health centers, rape crisis centers and such like from getting any of the small business aid money. Meanwhile Trump announces he wants to end the health coverage of 20 million people because, you know, Trump. Sad part is that McConnell might have gotten away with it if he could possibly keep himself from trying to steal half a trillion dollars, but he couldn't even though too many of his folks are out sick for even the nuclear option to work. Republicans gotta Republican.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:33 am 
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There was a cluster of cases linked to the overpriced expatty dudebro banker bar district, so our government's response was to...suspend alcohol licenses. They're not closing bars or restaurants. The bars can stay open and "do other things".

Um.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:34 pm 
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Here's the folks on the right currently getting behind the idea that Granny's a parasite who can be sacrificed to get the stock market back up. Since the head of the list is Trump we may see the losers in his base getting some interesting instructions from Fox soon, because apparently killing them off in large numbers will be good for the economy or something.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:09 pm 
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I am sure they will insist that he was speaking metaphorically and that the media was being mean to him by reporting his words. Again.

If the lockdown measures succeed in flattening the curve, they will insist that Trump was right all along that the virus was not a big deal and the Democrats hyped it to damage Trump.

If the lockdowns came too late and the hospitals get slammed, they will insist that it's unpatriotic to criticize the president during a time of national crisis. Fox will helpfully retcon facts so that Trump was only distracted from heroically saving the nation because the Democrats were too busy impeaching him.

If loads of people die they will say that nobody could have seen it coming and blame the Democrats for politicizing a tragedy. They're fine saying this after every mass shooting and natural disaster. A bigger disaster would just encourage them to say it more.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:10 pm 
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Dunno; the soulless cretins were always free to do that before because they weren't the ones getting hurt. Now they are. They never ignore that.

But that aside, the recently negotiated stimulus bill is in trouble. Some of the Republicans in the Senate are pretending to give a damn about workers so they can make changes to the unemployment part of the bill. Sanders has countered that unless they sit down and shut up, he'll delay it to put in stronger protections for the slush fund against Trump and his boys rewarding corporate greed. All of this bodes. Well, the market can always go back down again, right?

Meanwhile Trump continues to refuse to use his legal power to order medical supplies made and delivered to the Federal Government for distribution to the states. Oops.

But somewhat amusing to me: Biden has some friends running an ad which quotes Trump calling the virus a hoax. Trump's shysters are trying to force the ad pulled because they note that the quote used then went on to specify that it was the Democrats who were frauds, not the virus. They feel it is a bad thing for someone to use Trumps actual words against him in a less than perfectly intellectually honest way. Kettle, you're black: signed pot. Well, it's not as if anyone will pull the ad anytime before the Supreme Court forces them to. Whatever year that might be.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:11 am 
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Red states were getting hurricane flattened, flooded and shot at. Doesn't stop them from insisting the very next day that any suggestions of global warming and/or firearms policies that shall not be discussed here are "politicizing the tragedy". Sometimes it's the very people whose houses got destroyed or whose family members were shot who say it, and Fox cheerily plasters their mugs all over the TV.

The investment banks wiped out the economy 10 years ago and countless people lost their jobs and homes. What comes out of it? The Tea Party, insisting that it was all the fault of poor people, immigrants, and the federal government. And plenty of people who lost their jobs and homes voted for them.

I would not at all be surprised if the Republicans come out of this somehow pinning this epidemic on Obamacare. If people snap out of the crazy long enough not to reelect Trump, they'll be back at it within a year. Six months, maybe. A president Biden would still have a truculent, conspiracy-mongering Senate to deal with, fuelled by an online ecosystem of lunacy.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:52 am 
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Oh, it's a given that traitors for gain gotta treason. But they find it a harder pose to sustain when it costs them something, and this looks like it's gonna be for a while.

In passing, before Trump fired them all the folks on the NSC who did infectious disease outbreaks put together a simple, easy to follow game plan on how to deal with such epidemics. Needless to say, Trump's been completely ignoring it. One wonders how many of the folks who voted for Trump because the status quo wasn't doing it for them and they wanted to shake things up (basically buying a lottery ticket) are seriously thinking that was a good idea right now.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:12 pm 
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Look at China. They tried to cover it up, sat on the knowledge to avoid disrupting a political conference, denied person to person transmission, let the virus escape from Wuhan and infect the world, truculently accused other countries that restricted travel from China of discrimination, denied asymptomatic transmission, and now they're running a victory lap, claiming the whistleblower they killed through negligence as a national hero, spreading conspiracies about the virus coming from America, and acting like they're saving the world.

And it's working.

Yes, authoritarian regime with extreme coercive power and near monopoly on information within their borders.

But I am seeing precious little evidence that the US is using its alleged strengths of democracy, openness and transparency to any sort of advantage, when political leaders are staying in denial, lying, stirring up hatred, suppressing or simply failing to gather information, and a significant chunk of the population voluntarily self-propagandizes. We are looking at a long term decline in institutional credibility and social trust. Voters live in an information environment where basic facts are like dishes in a buffet. People are hoarding fish tank antibiotics because the president promoted a miracle cure. One election will not fix this.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:53 pm 
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I think you underestimate what can be done in one election if the Republicans lose Congress and the White House. There are only about four things that need to be done to crush the right for decades to come: pack the courts, strip businesses and money of all civil rights, bring back the fairness doctrine and then regulate Facebook and it's ilk as media outlets. Poof: the right as we know it is dead in the US. The creatures of the right can't hide from the truth in that world, there will be no right wing lie machine to do it for them and give them their marching orders. All unwilling they'll be forced back to where they were back in the 60s, when largely pro-Republican corporate media outlets were the most intellectually dishonest places they could hide and the kind of murderous Republican corruption which is now normative couldn't be completely buried.

Meanwhile Trump is now looking to classify counties by risk so he can order some of them to go back to boosting the stock market for him. I'm sure that's gonna work great. And I also read that we used to have a significant presence in China of public health professionals before Trump fired them all not too long before this virus apparently jumped from pangolins to the sort of criminals who sell and eat them. Not that those folks could have helped if Trump was determined to ignore them (which he was and is), but still.

Oh, and the Republican leadership in the House is desperately trying to keep any of their members from delaying the passage of the Senate emergency bill through the House, which at least one of them is saying that they will do. I'm sure that'll be fun.

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