The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Coronavirus

Unfortunately, due to the corruption of the Drumpf Administration, we are being forced to sustain it.

Let’s not call honor it by calling it incompetence, okay? It’s 100% grift. Everything. It’s all about the Mango Moron and his cronies stealing taxpayer money from the US Treasury and shoveling it into each others’ pockets. It’s a Unified Theory of Republicans: Power, Lawlessness and Grift are their three evil masters.

Here’s an example: the testing disaster. Der Drumpfenfuhrer and his slavering sycophants didn’t want to do what every other Administration would do during a time of major emergency: nationalize the supply chain. This is because if they did that, they couldn’t make money on things like PPE and swabs. So instead of being a responsible government, those pieces of elephant dung decided to completely and totally f*ck up testing for the foreseeable future. Indeed, Drumpf is still pushing back on testing even after almost 100,000 deaths.

…Throughout the coronavirus outbreak — and as criticism of the amount of testing has proliferated — Trump has repeatedly questioned the need for a vast amount of tests and suggested that rising numbers are a liability for him rather than a necessary part of getting a handle on the problem.

The thing is, we were never meant to be socially distant for a long time. It’s a temporary solution at best, meant to flatten the curve and gain time for…you guessed it…testing.

If the Trump administration is serious about starting to reopen the country soon and wants to avoid a lot more people getting sick, they need to fix the testing problem — fast. Because right now, we’re staring down the potentially toxic mixture of relaxed social distancing and insufficient testing.

To end social distancing, as Vox’s Umair Irfan put it quite plainly: “Test millions. Test early. Test late. Test over and over. Test until the whole damn pandemic is over.”

The path forward is clear, according to Umair’s reporting:

Following through on this would require a massive increase in government funding, huge numbers of workers trained to administer the tests, and the coordination of raw materials, manufacturing, and delivery across the entire global economy. It’s a costly, brute-force approach. But it may be the only way out of the expensive and blunt measures already deployed to control the pandemic, from social distancing to shelter-in-place orders.

In a way, I don’t blame people who are tired of sheltering in place and want to take off the masks and be with others in a restaurant, or at a party. It’s not normal or natural to be away from people for so long. In fact, it can be actively harmful.

We need each other. Being isolated from other people can make our physical and mental health worse and can trigger anxiety and depression. Especially if you live alone, social distancing is hard on our bodies and our emotions.

So the problem we face right now is that our bodies and emotions are screaming for us to see each other without those hellatious masks – to hug and kiss each other, to party in a bar, to go on a trip. But because we don’t have testing and contact tracing, we can’t do it. And unless the grifters agree not to grift (FAT CHANCE), we won’t be able to do it for a long time.

I hope everyone hangs in there till we can. Here are some recommendations in the meantime:

  1. Avoid watching, reading, or listening to news reports that cause you to feel anxious or distressed. A near-constant stream of news is not calming. Seek out information from reliable sources like the Washington State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just a couple times a day. Fact check what you see on social media. Spread good information.
  2. Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks. Go for a walk and wave to your neighbors from six feet away. Ask them if they are well and if they need anything.
  3. Introduce structure into your day. Structure and routine may be helpful for people with mental health vulnerabilities, especially during times of uncertainty. Even if you are working from home or if your life looks completely different right now, try to maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible. Maybe we’ll feel better if we shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast.

Virtual hugs, my Widdershins.

Tawk amongst yerselves.


My oh my. Looks like the Murdochs are gettin’ sued! And they’re preparing for a big fight. Apparently ousting Trish Regan for saying exactly what everyone else on the network said, miraculously didn’t cause people to think Fox News didn’t mislead and bamboozle the public into behaving dangerously. And although the first lawsuit didn’t seem to worry those malignant assholes, they do appear to be circling the wagons, gathering the troops, going to the mattresses, or whatever other hoary cliche you prefer.

This time, however, might be very different from the Rich case. During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, my colleague Gabriel Sherman said Fox insiders had expressed “real concern…that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this.” He went on to say that while the Murdochs are “privately taking coronavirus seriously”—Rupert Murdoch quietly cancelled his 89th birthday party on March 11—top hosts like Regan and Sean Hannity were actively “telling viewers that it’s a hoax…If it actually winds up being proved that people died because of it, this is a new terrain in terms of Fox being possibly held liable for their actions.”


A [similar] poll from YouGov and The Economist conducted in mid-March showed that, compared to consumers of other types of news media, Fox News viewers are the least likely to express concern about coronavirus. That poll was cited in a disapprobation letter cowritten by Todd Gitlin, a Columbia Journalism School professor, addressed to Murdoch and his son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch. The letter has now been cosigned by over 100 professors, including from top journalism programs at Northwestern, UC Berkeley, and Columbia. “The misinformation that reaches the Fox News audience is a danger to public health. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that your misreporting endangers your own viewers—and not only them, for in a pandemic, individual behavior affects significant numbers of other people as well,” states the letter, enumerating misleading coverage.

This is a very interesting development, isn’t it? It’s been a very long time since there has been any accountability for those hatemongering sh*tbirds. But when you’re actually misleading people into dying, and killing other people too – now that could be a bit hard to defend in court.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Tawk amongst yerselves!


Courtesy of Pittsburgh Magazine

As DYB said on Saturday, everything is terrible. But if we elect the right people in November, we may finally get some action on issues the U.S. has recently been lagging behind on – even when Democrats were entirely in charge from 2008-2010.

My complaints as a liberal with regard to elected Democrats in those days:

  1. Our actions on climate change were not aggressive enough – even the Paris Accords were weak sauce given the state of emergency.
  2. We failed to address economic and social justice with the urgency they required. Indeed, under Obama, economic inequality soared, and deportation and cruelty towards immigrants grew. (As we know, the main differences between Hillary and Obama were domestic issues, not foreign policy issues.)

The problem I always had with Obama was that he did not differentiate, policy-wise, between Republicans and Democrats. His messaging was great for campaigning, but not for governing. “We’re all one” doesn’t win the liberal arguments that government solutions are required for complex problems  like the environment; taxation to solve those problems can be reasonably accomplished without pain to the middle and lower classes; and that economic justice and social justice are intertwined.

There are many things we can do to drive these three liberal messages home. The coronavirus, as horrific as it is, may provide an opportunity to do so.

“A crisis like this brings to people’s minds that maybe the risk we’ve been talking about with climate change is not so far fetched; that actually all these extreme weather episodes of the last five years add up to something,” he says. “So we may see an expectation that government should respond accordingly.”

That, says Barbara Buchner, is one reason why efforts at rebuilding in the wake of the pandemic must take into account longer-term strategies, and incorporate sustainability at their core.

“Obviously the first priority here must be to protect the public health,” Buchner says. But there is no greater second priority than using this crisis to really accelerate the low-carbon transition that is already ongoing, because climate change is threatening our very civilization.”

Buchner believes that any economic stimulus plan ought to be geared not only to jump-start the global economy but to invest further in post-hydrocarbon infrastructure.

“This in turn will create new economic opportunities and also address a set of challenges—including making businesses more sustainable,” she says. “I think ultimately the real question is: do we lock ourselves into the use of fossil fuels in our infrastructure choices today, or do we instead use this crisis as a moment to accelerate the transition that is already on its way?”

In my heart, I truly do understand where some people who vote for Bernie Sanders are coming from – but it’s what they choose to do about it that makes me crazy. Why would they waste their passion on a destructive, do-nothing old crank like Bernie? And why don’t they understand that, as imperfect as the Democrats are, they get us further than Republicans, who hurtle us into fascism and war, and tank the economy,!!!?!?!?!?!

Whatever happens, one thing is clear: we must, MUST vote blue all the way down the ballot in November. A true draining of the swamp is needed before any forward progress can be made.

Open thread, bien sur. (Oldie but goodie below…)

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