Monday, August 10, 2020

"You see, it is my curse to tell the absolute truth..."

I've been revisiting the movies I loved during childhood. Here is the part everyone remembers from The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, which I saw with my dad when I was six. If you've never seen it, prepare for one of the finest scenes in any American film produced during that era.

In the future, I may write under the name "Apollonius." Maybe then people will get me.

(Yes, I already know the things you're dying to tell me about Apollonius of Tyanna: Often compared to J.C., got into trouble with the Emperor, allegedly battled a vampire, toured India, had a little buddy named Damis, and was visualized as a proto-Nazi by Ezra Fucking Fascist Pound. Pound never wrote anything as wise as this quote attributed to Apollonius: "May the gods grant me to have little and want nothing.")

In the spirit of Apollonius -- teller of truths, however unwelcome -- allow me to explain why I believe Trump's prospects will soon improve. In the preceding post, I wrote: "The virus is finally starting to lose strength -- and when it vanishes, so do Biden's chances." Since we live in an age of hyperbolic misquotation, my readers saw the words "starting to lose strength" and read them as "has already run its course." My response was to direct attention to this chart by the CDC:.
(The CDC are still the good guys, right? Or are we now supposed to hate them because they might say something you don't want to hear?)

Here is an unwelcome bit of truth that MSNBC (which can be almost as deceptive as Fox) will probably hide from you: The above chart shows a 27 percent drop in sixteen days. That figure translates to a 50 percent drop in a month. Problem solved in two months. Well before the election.

Even if human stupidity or bad luck keeps the problem alive, the case number in October will still be much lower than it is today. Low enough for restaurants to re-open.

Look, pandemics really do run their course. No matter how wisely or foolishly you deal with disease, disease will come and disease will go. That's just a fact. In 1918, different localities dealt with the pandemic in different ways -- yet in all locations, the Spanish Lady kept dancing and dancing until the dancing stopped. So it was, so it is, so it always will be.

I admit it: I was wrong to predict that the final coronavirus death toll number would never top the Hong Kong flu tally. Nevertheless, I correctly predicted that the death rate among the infected would stay well below three percent, which was the number mentioned in the original forecasts. (Puh-LEEZ don't pretend that it wasn't. I know how to use Google as well as anyone.)

That said, I remain terrified about our deficit. I'm terrified by the Orange Oaf's plans to dip into FEMA's bank account. And I will know total despair if we allow this president -- or any president -- to override Congress when it comes to the power of the purse. (Can't we just admit that Pelosi overplayed her hand? She should have accepted a $400 compromise.)

I still believe that we should have emulated the Swedish approach to the Coronovirus challenge. Guess what? That approach worked.

Sure, the Swedes paid a price -- a higher death rate during the crisis period. They now have fewer unneeded greybeards like me. But the crisis is over in that country, and has been for weeks. Look at the chart. If we had imitated the wise Swedes, I'd be sitting in a Mickey D right now. Or dead. Same diff.

Our own calamity will last for weeks to come. During that time, we are going to run up even more insane amounts of debt while spending funds that should be reserved for natural disasters.

BLM = Re-elect Trump. Yes, I know that BLM is still popular -- for now. But the moment is fading fast.

Don't kid yourselves: White voters will reluctantly head back to Trumpsville, especially after horrors like this. If those looters weren't paid by the RNC, they missed a lucrative opportunity. This Republican strategy looks like a surefire winner to me. Dems are being branded as the pro-looter, pro-violence, anti-cop party.

If we lived in sensible times, Biden would be well-advised to take a strong anti-looter, pro-cop line right now. But he dare not. He knows that, if he does, he'll be lambasted by black "progressives" who pretend to speak for all African Americans, even though they don't.

My advice: Biden should extend a middle digit to all progs. Why should he keep trying to please people who can never be pleased?

Even if Joe Biden were to give a hearty "I LOVE LOOTERS" speech -- even if he were to announce "I've chosen the Ghost of Malcolm X as my running mate and Robin DiAngelo as my chief of staff" -- even then, the fucking progs would still find some reason to scream racist racist racist like a malfunctioning 1980s car alarm. There simply is no escaping that siren.

Why shouldn't Biden pick a Latina like Lujan? She would have strong appeal in her home state (which is not deeply blue), Arizona, Texas, and any other place with a big Latino population. She would also appeal to seniors and to suburbanites. She's great on jobs, the environment, and fiscal responsibility. And she has executive experience.

Latinos are 15 percent of the American population, yet they've never been represented on a national ticket. Blacks are less than 13 percent of the population (despite the impression one gets from current television drama), and there has already been a black president. Latinos are tired of being taken for granted and are more likely than black people to vote Republican.

Nevertheless, if Biden were to pick Lujan, MSNBC would fill its screens with people screaming racist racist racist. And never mind that fact that black voters were the ones who picked Biden over Cory Booker, whom I would have preferred. (Younger. Less gaffe-prone.)

In order to avoid that racist racist racist car alarm, Biden must pick someone like Val Demings or Kamala Harris. I like Demings -- a lot -- but she's only a House member, and not a long-serving one. Harris carries baggage -- so much baggage that even Willie Brown, her former lover, has argued against giving her the veep spot. She would serve better as Attorney General.

Damn right black lives matter. Black lives are gonna insure Trump's re-election. And that matters.

We return, once again, to the old question: How much of this inane, self-destructive behavior is engineered by rightwing wolves in sheepish couture?

As you contemplate that poser, I leave you with this heartwarming message:

"Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like the day before yesterday. I see your remaining days as a tedious collection of hours full of useless vanities. You will think no new thoughts. You will forget what little you have known. Older you will become, but not wiser. Stiffer, but not more dignified. When you die, you will be buried and forgotten, and that is all. And for all the good or evil, creation or destruction, your living might have accomplished, you might just as well never have lived at all."


stickler said...

Some of us draw encouragement from Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Stephen Morgan said...

Has the virus run it's course? Average weekly deaths in the USA are still going up. Cases are down, but they went down when Trump took the responsibility for compiling the statistics away from the CDC. Rigged statistics seem more likely.

Alessandro Machi said...

The Swedish article you linked to is from July 24, 2020, and, the article does not praise Sweden, it paints a rather neutral portrait. My theory is that A big curve is followed by a smaller curve, or a smaller curve is followed by a bigger curve.

The tricky part is not knowing whether the first curve is the big curve or the small curve.

And the article seems to marginalize nursing home deaths when that is the very reason the numbers escalated to a point where Coronavirus was deemed a pandemic.

Alessandro Machi said...

Stephen Morgan. There is a potentially significant delay between COVID incubation, new cases and deaths that can be anywhere from 10 days to 45 days.

So the increase in July in COVID cases, which was possibly caused by the daily protests all over the U.S. in June, can then cause death rates to remain high into August even if new cases might start plummeting.

Jsteed2020 said...

Official case numbers going down doesn’t stop people from dying. This is a catastrophe and we haven’t sent the kids back to school yet. Just wait Joe

Jsteed2020 said...

You need to stop drinking, it’s a depressant

Joseph Cannon said...

I don't often drink, truth be told. Can't afford to. Depressing, innit?