Monday, March 23, 2020

Viva La Virus

Well if we are keeping score of the bodies infected let's keep score of the endless mixed messages and confusing conflicting fears that are being transmitted faster than the virus.

In Italy ground zero in Europe for this the Guardian does an excellent job explaining what went horribly wrong that contributed to the crisis that country is now facing. They called it over 10 days ago to again provide a warning when you are not listening or caring about that thing I call personal responsibility you get this.

And this article discusses how Africa is dreading the cargo ship of Corvid after Ebola they have first hand what this means and the long scale repercussions.

So as the rest of the European Union starts to examine how they are going to do this I am sure Boris Johnson is thrilled that only days before they BREXITED.. whoops.  Or not

As we have our own baboon or do I mean buffoon in the White House we once again get contradicting, confusing messaging. First in the form of the daily propaganda talks with zero to no social distancing modeling and varying Doctors standing behind him doing whisper talking or face palming with each bizarre announcement.  Then this is immediately followed by a Twitter storm of crazy where he immediately makes further insane comments and fuels his crazy-as-fuck-follwers with varying dog whistles that I am sure are now being debated and discussed on sub reddit forums as they plan the next Charlottesville only replacing Jews with Chinese. And we cannot escape it!

And when asked or interviewed Dr. Fauci who is small in stature and yet long on knowledge is not afraid to contradict the Crazy Grandpa at the podium but then again he too is at odds with any of those who have since left the employment of said Grandpa. But even the Surgeon General who has seemed just resolute there and stand behind Crazy Grandpa in case he has some type of seizure or attack which he is qualified to treat has finally come out with his message to basically scare the shit out any and all millennials who are on the beach right now doing a beer bong.

But with that comes the endless confusing messaging between varying Governors, Mayors and other Medical professionals who are queuing up to alarm the Americans in very Paul Revere fashion: The VIRUS IS COMING! THE VIRUS IS COMING!

Here in Jersey I have no idea what Phil Murphy is saying as he always waits until Cuomo has had his briefer and seems to have taken that as the lead in to make his calls as well again we are just across the river.   And varying other States are following suit as this roundup in The Washington Post explains.

Today I went out for my morning walk and coffee and to pick up some Cognac as I find that quite soothing to drink during the prop talk and was talking to my booze vendor about the reality of this. They too were getting conflicting messaging as in Newark they were ordered to close down by the Sheriff, then two days later were allowed to open for pick up and delivery only and by Sunday they were allowed to reopen with hours defined by curfew.  And yes we are all on curfew here until whenever you know like Martial law.   Again the Newark Mayor defined certain areas "Hot Zones" and today at coffee I had to explain to my Barista what a hot zone is so as you can see we are really fucked here with the intellect and ignorance of most Americans. For those who need to know there is a book called the Hot Zone. Maybe Oprah will pick it after they finish Love in a Time of Cholera, a great book to read on house imprisonment during a pandemic.

My former State of Tennessee once again demonstrates the confusing messaging as the Mayor started to shut Nashville down and the Governor was reticent as he felt it would harm outlying cities and in turn then said finally yes on Sunday.   Meanwhile the Legislature was busy doing their best to do nothing and even called it the Black Swan (dear GOD)  but were trying to pass a law to stop the State school testing as at that time schools were not closed but in chaos and the confusing messaging there shows that they have their shit together as always but then I lived there so they don't need tornados or viruses to affect that.  Read this student's account about how he wished he was still in Spain.  The irony that Nashville's now biggest employer for certain, the medical sector/Vanderbilt, is not able, no willing as they have long resisted Medicaid expansion,  to care for those most in need.  Irony or oxymoron, emphasis on moron.

But I leave you with something more terrifying, how world Political leaders are using this as an opportunity to secure their powers in ways that are more serious than one should allow.  But in house lockdown we are only missing our leg monitor or tracking device...oh wait we do have one, the magical 3x5 card that has never left your side.

How politicians are using the coronavirus to seize control

The Washington Post
By Ishaan Tharoor
March 23, 2020

In a a world blighted by the coronavirus pandemic, the body count is rising and lockdowns are expanding. Over the weekend, the number of deaths in Spain soared, as the same sort of troubling social media footage of overwhelmed hospitals that accompanied the outbreak’s surge in Italy emerged. In New York City alone, there are now over 9,000 confirmed cases. On Sunday, Syrian officials confirmed the war-torn nation’s first positive test for the virus.

The ranks of the infected now include a world-famous opera singer, an American senator and a doctor who was directly tending to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Governments everywhere are grappling with ways to stem the spread of the disease, while also bracing for critical shortfalls in medical supplies and hospital beds. Governments have implemented emergency protocols to clamp down on travel and push through relief measures.

In a time of crisis, such action is vital. But some leaders also appear to be exploiting the pandemic for their own political ends.

Numerous Arab monarchies and autocracies, including some under serious political pressure, have invoked public health imperatives to secure themselves a reprieve from mass protests. A widely criticized interim regime in Bolivia postponed planned elections in May as part of a slate of emergency measures, including a 14-day national quarantine. From Hong Kong to India to Russia, authorities cited the risk of spreading coronavirus as grounds to disperse anti-government demonstrations and bar large public gatherings.

Crisis management, like war, is politics by other means. The most glaring example of this right now may be in Israel. Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a pliant Justice Ministry Meanwhile, Netanyahu is playing up his role as commander in chief, staging daily national security briefings alongside allies. “If Trump’s aim is to rally his voters for the upcoming election, Netanyahu’s is to make opposition voters forget the results of the previous one,” wrote Bernard Avishai in the New Yorker.

“Netanyahu, who, for the past ten years, has severely underfunded hospitals, doctors’ salaries, and medical education, has largely succeeded in escaping such criticism by flaunting his mastery of the stringent guidelines imposed by the health bureaucracy,” he added.

Talks to forge a unity government have so far stalled. The prime minister and his colleagues “have shut down parliament, enacted extreme ‘security’ measures without legislative oversight and shelved the courts just as Netanyahu was about to go on trial for corruption,” wrote Israeli commentator Gershom Gorenberg for The Washington Post. “I don’t use the word ‘coup’ lightly. But any weaker description of Netanyahu’s assault on Israeli democracy is a refusal to absorb and report the truth.” his arraignment on corruption charges, while coronavirus-induced paralysis has stalled the formation of Israel’s new government after elections this month. The absence of a functional government has prevented the country’s newly elected parliament from pushing through legislation that could prevent an indicted politician like him from becoming prime minister.

An illiberal ally of the Israeli leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is also exercising new coronavirus-enabled powers. After spending days linking the contagion to illegal migration, Orban and his nationalist government extended an emergency law with new provisions that could potentially be used to criminalize critical press. “Orban would be allowed to announce steps to contain the pandemic via decrees until the government no longer sees it as necessary, according to the draft legislation published on the parliament website late Friday,” noted Bloomberg News. “Promoting false information that hinders authorities’ efforts would carry a prison term of as long as five years.”

Critics warned that this was just the latest subversion in Orban’s decade-long takeover of the country’s democratic system. “Step by step, the governing majority extinguished the professional, organizational, and financial autonomy of public institutions, while putting such control mechanisms in place that ensure the prime minister’s decision making power in all significant policy areas,” wrote David Vig, director of Amnesty International in Hungary.

And the United States isn’t immune, either. President Trump’s Department of Justice is reportedly seeking expanded emergency powers, including provisions for judges to have the power to detain people indefinitely. It’s unlikely to be accepted by Congress.

Though public health concerns remain paramount, analysts are increasingly warning about the risk of the erosion of the rule of law. “These crises are risky for democracies more than anything,” political scientist Erica Frantz told Britain’s Independent. “I see these crises as opportunities for governments to crack down. We really need to pay attention to crisis events that can be used for transitions from democracy to take place.”

In a letter issued last week, a group of U.N. human rights experts and special rapporteurs issued a reminder to governments “that any emergency responses to the coronavirus must be proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory.”

“Emergency declarations based on the [coronavirus] outbreak should not be used as a basis to target particular groups, minorities, or individuals,” their statement read. “It should not function as a cover for repressive action under the guise of protecting health nor should it be used to silence the work of human rights defenders.”

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