Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sanders' Dragged Out Non-Support Of Biden Carries An Enormous Risk For His Left

Bernie Sanders is going to be a total jerk, apparently, keeping his campaign going even though it risks encouraging his idiot Bernie Bots to try to drive down the Democratic vote for the one who will be the nominee other than Bernie Sanders. And the old scumbag knows it will have that effect, he's no political neophyte and he's practiced that kind of politics for a long time. 

We know what his course risks for the country and the world, putting Trump-McConnell back in for another four years of pillage, plunder and installing a fascist judiciary.  

But he's also risking a great deal for the left, his play-left and whatever of the real left that people can be convinced are associated with it.

If Biden and Democrats win big without the early and earnest help of Bernie Sanders and his supporters, they will have proven that he and they are not only not needed for victory, it will be a rational conclusion that the Democratic party,  center to left, are far better off without them.  If Democrats won a big enough majority in the Senate, not likely but possible, and could ignore Sanders it would end up with them being farther from power than they were during the brief Obama majority.  And Sanders isn't going to last forever.  I strongly doubt that his wife would be able to step into his shoes and I really don't see any replacement for him in his movement.  This was the year I realized that Sanders had more in common than he'd like to believe with the thankfully late, though hardly late enough, Lyndon Larouche.  

Anyone who wonders why Elizabeth Warren didn't endorse Sanders after she ended her campaign is just not thinking very hard.   There was certainly no prospect of her stepping into Sanders' shoes, considering the venom and dirt heaped on her by the Bernie Bots, not that I think she would have wanted to lead such a crew.  And I have absolutely no doubt that any of the ideas about why Sanders has been and will be a liability for the real left have already occurred to Elizabeth Warren.  Not to mention her complete justification if she believes he did her dirty and then encouraged his followers to attack her, her endorsers, her allies.  Sanders has a habit of unleashing the worst of his followers to act in social and the pathetic play-left media while keeping a thin veneer of plausible deniability to give an appearance that he is above it.  Most of this is something I've come to believe about him in the past five years, before then I respected him.  

So this could end up with the biggest loser being the Bernie Sanders' iteration of the American left.  Which I may have once regretted but now I think if anything good comes out of this nomination battle, it will be the discrediting of him and his cult and the wider, perennial and spasmodically damaging futility of the play left.   If that includes the Democratic Socialists, a group I once respected, that might be less obviously a good thing, I would feel ambivalent about their demise or diminshiment now.  In the past I'd have thought it was a shame, now I'd be far more ambivalent about it.   I would think it was too bad if AOC went down with it though as the Bernie Bots showed over the past two weeks, she's not going to be acceptable to them as a leader either.  I really think there is no prospect of a woman attracting even the pathetically inadequate leadership of such a left.  If the other two Bernie supporting members of The Squad stay with the Bernie left, they will certainly marginalize themselves.  I think it's telling that the most politically accomplished and experienced member of it, Ayanna Pressley supported Warren.  

If Sanders spoils another election it could very likely have a similar though much angrier, much more determined effect in marginalizing his left.  I've had enough of them already, that even as I was a fan of Senator Sanders as I had been when he was Mayor and Representative Sanders.  If they spoil this election, it's war.  I say that as a leveler-socialist who is, in many ways, to the left of Sanders and certainly to his wife and Jeff Weaver. 

The safest thing for his left would be for him to stop the charade of his campaign, endorse Biden and in the remaining months assert himself to talk enough of his supporters to vote for Democrats and not attack Democrats - that will be the only way they will retain their influence with the possible winner of the election.  As for the United States and the world, the only way to make things better from the Trump disaster is through the Democratic Party.  That's the only route ahead, if it is blocked, things will get steadily worse.  That is certainly something that Sanders knows, the question is if he really does care about it more than his self-regard. 

There Was A Time We Did Things Better Than This, It Ended With Reagan

Really wish there was some way for me to find out if what I had was a mid case of Covid-19 so I would know if I could go back to doing volunteer work.  I wish they'd start importing the German test that everyone else is working but my guess is that the CDC doesn't want to find out that the one they chose to develop is inferior to it.   Or, rather, suspicion.   It's one of the real shockers in this.  I had always figured the CDC was one part of the federal government that was kept above the dirtier aspects of corruption but I don't think that, anymore.  

I would imagine they'll have to do that, eventually because they're going to need volunteer workers or at least people who are presumably safe if they are exposed to the virus.  

I'm hearing more and more people with some reason to have a better hunch than I do who think it's a lot worse than the federal and state governments are telling us.  I can imagine there are countries where it's worse but we're certainly the one country with no excuse for it being as bad as its become.  

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Sarah McKenna - Swept under the Carpet

The play took 2nd place in the PJ O'Connor Awards 2019.  

Jamie is the story's narrator.A ten year old, autistic, bird-watching enthusiast who loves black currant squash.He struggles with his chaotic family.Often he feels misunderstood, but always finds solace in the company of animals.However, things are turned upside down when he spills juice on his mother’s new carpet!  

Paul Ronan played the part of Paul
Karen Ardiff was Fidelma
Aidan was played by Brandon Maher
Alex Connolly played Daniel and
Jude Lynch was Jamie

Sound supervision was by Gar Duffy

Swept under the Carpet by Sarah McKenna was directed by Gorretti Slavin

I haven't even had the chance to listen to it so I'm posting it on spec.  Hope we like it. 

We're Not Just Paying The Cost Of Having Trump, We're Paying For Having Had Reagan In This Crisis

The more they talk about the disastrous shortages of disposable medical masks, gowns, gloves, etc. the more we should declare that this disaster proves that the 1970s-80s era model of cutting costs by creating millions of tons of medical waste instead of hospitals hiring laundry staff with expertise in disinfecting cloth ones is just another of the free-enterprise-economics schemes that don't work when hospitals are most needed. 

That was already apparent in the problem of hospital acquired bacterial infections that kill people -something that has been linked to hospitals in the UK and here and, for all I know, anywhere they contract out such functions to the lowest bidder instead of maintaining an in-house cleaning staff who would care about the place they are working instead of managed by bean counters who probably live in a city hundreds of miles away.  

More than Trumpism has to die of the Covid-19 crisis.  The whole for-profit medical industry has to die to be replaced by one which competently serves the needs of the People and which plans for overwhelming catastrophes, not the maximization of profits. 

I have heard some people point out that Italy which has been so hard hit has universal health coverage and things there spiraled terribly and swamped their hospital system.  I, as I suspect, the Americans I heard say that know little to nothing about the Italian hospital system except for a few horror stories I heard years ago.  I would bet that the quality of hospital care there is not unaffected by the same kinds of market economics that have driven down American healthcare and not provided it for tens of millions.  

I asked my sister this morning to imagine how bad things would be in Maine if Paul LePage were governor instead of Janet Mills who has been doing a good job of telling the truth about what's happening, as compared to Trump who lies with an abandon unmatched by the other liars who have sat in that office.   Janet Mills has the decided advantage of being the sister of Dr. Dora Mills who headed the state office of pubic health for 15 years, someone who was too respected for the Republicans to dump.  The difference is that instead of someone who would have added Maine's name to the list of states who have done nothing under Republicans, we at least have a governor who we can be confident will be responsible.  Someone I know from New Hampshire told me she envied us, now.  Their Republican governor is one of the less irresponsible Republicans but his personal preferences and predilections and beliefs are pathetically on display,  anyway.  It would be the other way around if LePage were still governor. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

We Change Or We Die - The Most Rational Way To Look At This Crisis Is That It Is A Warning Of Where We Are Headed

The time for going over just want a catastrophic  botch the Trump error CDC-FDA-etc. made of the pandemic is not now but it must come because it wasn't just a matter of mistakes it was active and malicious malfeasance, most of that coming from the Trump regime but a  lot of the mistakes were made by those not part of the regime but who were clearly influenced by them.   As to that malfeasance, a catalogue of the irresponsible, criminally immoral statements, claims and lies told by politicians, bureaucrats, the Republican-fascist media should be complied because in a crisis such as this one, lies cost lives.  This is a good example of why lies told by the mass media should not be allowed, certainly not privileged as our courts have done. 

Here, over the past few weeks, I've talked about the experience of my family to the now very old experience of two-weeks ago, the inability to get a family member in a local ICU to be tested, THE TWO TIMES THE CDC SCREWED-UP AND LOST THE TEST MATERIALS FROM HER TEST!, and the fact that even when she was tested, finally, her results were inconclusive enough so that as she is recovering at home and out of self-quarantine I and another sister are being advised to remain out of contact.  I'd love to get tested on the assumption that if I've already had it, I might be able to go out and do something but that's not possible.  

I've got grave skepticism about the effectiveness of either the tests themselves or how they're being administered and given BUT IT'S THE BEST WE'VE GOT SO IT SHOULD BE USED.  I would hope that the few people who read what I write here would not be overly skeptical of the test which does give accurate results as well as false results both positive and negative.   It isn't ideal but it is better than nothing.  

I predicted here a couple of weeks ago that hospitals and doctors' offices would have to get back to the old practice of reusing masks and gloves and gowns and washing them, I hope there are still people old enough to remember when that was done, though in the post Reagan-Thatcher world of contracting out cleaning services instead of having professional, in house cleaners, I'll bet they don't have the equipment to do that.  

This crisis has exposed how fragile the convenient and cheap way of getting out of things leaves our most vital institutions.  How it is bound to result in disaster when the normal, every-day world such things are planned for is overtaken by a crisis like this.  All of that crap that sprang from the minds of businessmen, economists, accountants and the such falls apart when the conditions they figured into their equations in order to maximize profits don't prevail.   And they won't prevail in the modern world when we can expect other such pandemics to arise from who knows where.  From what I've seen of American factory farms, the conditions under which animals are kept, killed processed and sold, it's only a matter of time before one comes from Iowa or some other state, perhaps Maine where some of the most appalling conditions in the egg industry had the protection of Olympia Snowe and other members of the Republican establishment, here and in D C.  

We change from how things once were or we face another one of these. We change or we die.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

More On Racism The Folly Of Predictions And The Deadly Consequences of Fantasy And Lies And Factory Farming

There's no escaping it, this is from a Washington Monthly article about why Bernie Sanders has to end his nomination campaign now.  

This is what our near-future will look like, and we’re running out of time to mitigate the situation.

“Until three weeks ago, we did everything for every patient. Now we have to choose which patients to put in intensive care. This is catastrophic,” said anesthesiologist and intensive-care specialist Mirco Nacoti.

Dr. Nacoti worked for Doctors Without Borders in Haiti, Chad, Kurdistan and Ivory Coast, and he is one of the few medics in Bergamo who has seen epidemics. Yet, those were diseases with vaccines, such as measles and rubella.

He estimated that around 60% or more of the population of Bergamo has the coronavirus. “There is an enormous number of asymptomatic people, as well as unknown dead who die in their home and are not tested, not counted,” he said. “The ICU is the tip of an iceberg.”

The reports we're getting from Italy have been some of the scarier things I've read.   My brother told me that he thinks it wasn't till the Imperial College report came in that Republicans really started to take it seriously when they freaked out.   Maybe that's what comes of listening to only those who have English as a mother tongue - something that bil-lingual Canada seems to be less apt to do, judging by the coverage by the CBC that I listen to.  

One of the things I find most amazing is how everyone is holding on to the phony predictions game, something which was fake-news before anyone used the term fake-news and which has generally involved a lot of fake science and phony erudition.   The fact is that no one knows what this is going to be like in a few months or a year anymore than anyone predicted this was going to happen as recently as last fall.   There is no guarantee that this will last or that it will be over, there is no guarantee that, like the influenza of 1918-1919 that it won't come back worse than before.   

In looking this up, I have noted one thing that is good, the more responsible sites are downplaying the location of the first cases because people don't seem to be handling that very well, blaming people of Asian heritage and attacking them.  That scapegoating has been one of the ugliest and stupidest and most ignorant manifestations of this crisis and there's no surprise that, in the United States and, from what I gather, in Italy the fascists and the fascist media have tried to capitalize on that.  People are wondering if this will be the end of Trumpism, they should be hoping that it's the end of Murdochian fascism, the real plague that has made things so much more worse.  The ignorance and racism and irresponsible insouciance on display from idiots like the Governor of Oklahoma and Devin Nunes should be crushed out of the media, though don't hold your breath waiting for responsibility and honesty to be reimposed on the mass media - the media that might end up getting you killed.  

I'll be curious to know if the Chinese government fixes the disastrous policies that caused this outbreak and the even more disastrous attempt to hush it up in the vitally important weeks and months that it was first noticed there.  I would expect that they will act if for no other reason than the economic damage that not regulating the notorious wet-markets and the original bureaucratic cover-up have brought to them.  I think they might.

I am far less confident that the United States government, the government of Britain, other alleged democracies will because here the problem is caused or at least made far worse by the media lie machines, the fantasy unreality industry that has replaced reality and the reporting of fact.  The endemic corruption matched with fantasy in the United States and Britain is a particularly deadly combination that swamps even that pathetic substitute for morality, "enlightened" self-interest.  I'd say that the Chinese government response is the best you can hope for when "enlightenment" replaces morality, in the United States we've jettisoned both.  

I'm expecting some of those alive now will die, perhaps survive a viral epidemic that starts in the American meat industry, in the concentration camps for chickens or pigs or other animals kept for slaughter - there is no reason that it would have to come from a wild animal cruelly kept for slaughter.  That's something that can be predicted.  I doubt our government under the regime of fantasy and lies we live in will do any better than the Chinese dictatorship, I'm expecting it might do far worse.  After all, look at what Trump and Boris Johnson have been doing the past two months even as the Chinese government was admitting what was happening, finally.   Even as some of the play-lefties - or the Putin troll-boys among them, were pushing the "hoax" lines that Trump was. as FOX was.   As I mentioned here, Sam Seder, as recently as the start of this week was wondering how the epidemic might play well for his guy as he was losing.  For which he should be retired. 

Maybe I Should Start Keeping A Plague Diary - Or, Too Bad The Primaries Are Over, Could Have Used The Distraction

Listening to the health and science reporter Donald McNeil talking with Rachel Maddow last night, his question as to why officials in the United States are following the Italian model instead of learning successful strategies developed rapidly in Asian countries that have flattened the curve of the Covid-19 virus there leads me to wonder if this is yet another price we pay for Euro-centric racism, something that has cost us time and time again.  I don't know the answer to that but I think it's a good question to ask.  

I think the terrible response to this in both the United States and Britain prove that there is something systemically wrong with the political, media and social habits and practices in those countries.  I think one of the biggest problems is the level of cynical unreality that we have been gulled into living in.  I wonder if any counteracting historical habits derived from religion may have, potentially, given us at least a small but meaningful disinclination from giving into cynicism and the kind of fantasy that is encouraged by the entertainment and advertising industry - what, for most practical purposes the unregulated media has replaced for the presentation of reality and fact, the thing that lets a "reality" TV star be put into the presidency as the captain of a ship of not at all amusing or cute pirates. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Yeah, They're Going To Support Trump: Footnote On "Majority" Report As A Tool Of Putin-Trumpian Propaganda

As I'm typing this Sam Seder on his Majority Report* just finished talking to Dave Weigel to badmouth the certain Democratic nominee and other Democrats.  Dave Weigel's wikipedia page has a rather extensive record of who he supported and voted for in recent elections, since I'm sure no one else in the world would give a pint of spit for that information except Weigel, himself, I assume he wrote it.  Among other qualifications he has for lecturing Democrats and the real left are:

In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Weigel voted for Ralph Nader, and served as a Delaware college elector for Nader.[8] In the 2004 election, Weigel voted for John Kerry. Weigel later wrote that "[he regrets] the Nader vote, but not the Kerry vote, as a weak Democratic president with a conservative Congress would have been pretty tolerable in retrospect".[8] He voted for Jack Ryan in the Illinois United States Senate election, 2004 Republican primary.[9]

In early 2007, Weigel became a registered Republican in the Washington, D.C. area,[10][11][12] in order to vote for Ron Paul at the Republican primary stage of the 2008 presidential election.[13] In November 2008, Weigel voted for Barack Obama, explaining "I really don't think McCain has the temperament to be President or the interest in standing up to a Democratic Congress....I've got the luxury of a guilt-free, zero-impact vote in the District of Columbia, which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot".[8]

In January 2011, Weigel stated that he had voted for Republican Patrick Mara in elections to the Council of the District of Columbia, and that he had voted for Mara "every time he's been on the ballot".[14]

In the Republican Party presidential primaries 2012, Weigel voted for Jon Huntsman, despite his having withdrawn from the race, because "If you looked past his whiff of a tax plan (Huntsman recommended using the flat rates that Simpson and Bowles recommended not using), the guy had a few good ideas."[15] In the 2012 general election, Weigel voted for Gary Johnson.

*  Seder is calling yesterday's primary the "Zombi primary," I doubt he'd be calling it that if his pipe dream of Bernie pulling off a win in a greatly reduced primary vote were what happened.  But it didn't.  I think it's pretty clear that the "majority" Sam Seder's reports for isn't the majority of Democratic voters or most voters who are not Trump supporters.  

3/18/2020 - "No St. Patrick Day Post This Year?"

About twenty years ago, when I had a conversation with an older Irish woman, the cousin of one of my in-laws, I remember having to smile like an idiot when she started waxing over how great Eamon de Valera was.  I thought she was a real pip - I generally find the Irish Irish to be nicer than the New England variety (Don't get me started on the NY ones) - but I really am not a fan of de Valera.  

While not thinking he was nearly as bad as his biggest enemies made him out to be, a lot of the worst of what he did was forced by circumstances and the fact that Ireland was a small, weak country whose independence struggles were violent and continued to be violent and divisive right up till now.  A lot of the propaganda I've read over the years has covered up things like the Irish government's unofficial and covert help to the Allies even as it was officially neutral.  Among other things, the Irish government was fully aware that there were Nazi plans to invade Ireland, something they'd have been able to guess even though they seem to have known of the plans to do it.  I will never forgive his betrayal to Irish women who, remarkably, lost ground after the original Constitution guaranteeing them equality was adopted. 

I didn't get anyone trying to goad me over St. Patrick this year, what motivated most of my past St. Patrick Day posts.  I was thinking of writing a piece about the political realism and pragmatism of Michael Collins, the great figure of the Irish independence struggle but didn't feel up to it.  I never saw the Liam Neeson movie about him, I'd already developed my allergy to movies about real historical figures and events by the time it came out.  I think it's a shame that most peoples' conceptions of history comes from the fiction that theatrical and movie "history" inevitably are.  I understand the movie was pretty hard on de Valera but I don't know how accurate the depiction was.  The fact is, none of them were saints. 

It is one of the great tragedies of Ireland that Michael Collins was killed, I think Irish history would have been entirely different and far better if he and not de Valera had been the central figure of the Irish government in the decades after freedom came to the South.  But that's speculation, not fact.  I think he was someone who had more of the parts of greatness than many of the others, someone who knew the limits of revolution than so many of the others, especially those who remained with the IRA and more allegedly radical factions.  I doubt he'd have taken the sharp-right turn that de Valera took which blighted Ireland right up to recent years.   I think Collins might have had a strong romantic streak in him but he had the virtue of not being sentimental about poverty and he was a fervent believer in democracy - I think he was probably the strongest proponent of democracy among the major figures in the independence struggle. I doubt, if he'd have lived, if James Connolly would have turned out to be a champion of popular rule.   

I think that's one of the reasons Collins finally and reluctantly signed the treaty that the Brits presented with an ultimatum.  His first concern was always the good of the Irish people.  He knew Ireland couldn't endure the onslaught of the British who were, when you get down to it, more than prepared to commit genocide against the Irish.  I wouldn't be surprised if Churchill wouldn't have advocated using gas against the Irish population, he was an enthusiastic supporter of it after 1921.  And, as it turned out, a majority of the Irish people voted for the treaty, something the more radical ones couldn't accept even though it was the will of the majority and it achieved as much as was possible under the conditions present.  

I say that he's the greatest while not being entirely certain I'd have liked him much in person.  Respecting him isn't the same thing as liking him,  but maybe I would have.   That's how I see politics and history.  

If you're going to look into him, I'd recommend reading a couple of books and skip the movies.  About him and every other real figure in history. 

Night After Primary Night Thoughts

I would say that the Bernie Bot online media is doubling down now that it's certain he will not be the nominee,only they're not that strong so I'll say they're quartering down.  Everything from "principled" non-voting to third-party to Bernie write-in for the November election, the one that counts, they are deluded enough to be calling for a repeat of 2000 and 2016. 

Seeing that so many of them are still venting their tantrums against Elizabeth Warren, I wonder what would happen if, as his price for an early endorsement to Biden, Sanders demanded that she be Biden's running mate, what would the Bernie Bots who have been venting non-stop at Warren for months, now, do?

Would they turn on their guy like the former AOC-can-do-no-wrong chorus that Sam Seder and Michael Brooks were members of turned on her for being so off the party-line as to say they liked Warren's Saturday Night Live appearance?   I am also beginning to notice that those play-lefty boys have got a real problem when it comes to women, other than idiots like Jamie Peck and Nomiki Konst and Krystal Ball.   If I were Digby, I'd wonder if I really wanted to be associated with them.  

I wouldn't put it past their comment threads to turn in that direction as so many of them are obvious Putin-rent-boy-trolls anyway.    Sam might, he's been clipping from his babbling with one of Glenn Greenwald's hirelings, Ryan Grim, I'm at the point where I consider anyone who has anything to do with those in the employ of Greenwald or anyone who is pushing the bull shit that Julian Assange is some kind of hero of the left is either a knowing collaborator or a stupid dupe of the Putin-Republican-fascist side. 

I can't help but note how long the history of being Soviet and now Russian dupes has been on the American play-left and even some of the arguably fringe members of the real left (the left that wins elections and does things).  Though I think a lot of that on the real left is done because they are afraid of pissing off the play-lefties.  Which is why we have to build a winning left that rejects even that and plans around avoiding them.  I do think some of it is motivated by money, I think there is Putin or other billionaire gangster money involved in at least some of the bigger venues of it.  I'm certain there is behind Wikileaks. 

The level-headed guy who posts occasional comments here,  Rustypickup, has noted that he did what so few have done, gone to Bidens' website to look at his policy proposals and he, rightly, notes that Biden's positions in 2020 are a solidly progressive platform.  I think with the rejection of Sanders and the failure of the Warren campaign to get traction with a larger percentage of the Democratic primary voters one of the meanings of this is that a Biden platform might be the farthest that we can realistically get until after the election.  But without Trump and the Republican-fascists being defeated we won't even get as far as that.  

* I think some of that is because of Sanders declaring AFTER SHE DID but that's not what this is about. I think some of it is reluctance to take a chance that there are enough non-sexists who would vote for her or, as is also reasonable, that the media would attack her on the basis of gender in a way that they won't a man.  But I think she would be a far better chance to bet on than Sanders who, apparently, couldn't get his perhaps more imaginary than he wanted to believe youth vote out.  I'll bet a lot of them wouldn't come out in the general election even with him as the nominee.  Maybe they were a lot less into him than his true believers advertised them as being. 

Sanders has a chance to go down in infamy, enabling a second-Trump regime or he can work to repair the damage that he and his true-believers have done to the Democratic Party.   I doubt that he'll be able to turn around the click-bait podcasters and Youtubers for whom stoking childish rage is their bread and butter, but if he doesn't try to, his name will be dirt. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The First Minute Of This Made It Seem More Real To Me Than Anything I've Seen Yet

Counting the pages for obituaries in a regional paper in Northern Italy. 

"What Tests Can - and Cannot - Do" I'm Beginning To Read More About The Problem Of False Negatives In Testing For Covid-19 And The Danger Of A False Sense Of Security In Even Real Negative Results

Here's an article by the former head of the CDC,  Dr. Tom Frieden, that starts out with something I've been wondering about, how many false-negatives the Trump regime developed test might have. 

There is understandable frustration and outrage that testing has been slow and often inaccessible in the US. But lack of testing has led some to miss the point of what tests can — and cannot — do.

A surge in people being tested could actually spread disease, because people can become infected by someone else waiting to be tested. Getting tested today is no guarantee you won’t get infected tomorrow — and may give you a false sense of security. Furthermore, emerging data suggests that testing of throat swabs may miss as many as two-thirds of infections.

From my point of view as an infectious disease control physician, it’s dismaying to see both the promises of and demands for widespread testing that, if met, will do little good and possibly some harm. That said, in some contexts testing is absolutely, crucially important:

- In areas with few or no cases, to inform containment and isolation strategies and facilitate contact tracing. Seattle would likely have had a much smaller outbreak if testing there had been widely available sooner.

- In areas with community transmission, to inform treatment and protection of vulnerable groups, especially when there are outbreaks in hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and prisons.

-  In health care facilities treating severely ill patients, to identify those with Covid-19 in order to improve infection control, know when it is safe to discharge patients, and identify participants in clinical trials. For these reasons, every patient in the United States with severe pneumonia should be tested for SARS-Cov-2 infection.

For epidemiological investigations, to determine how widespread infection is, facilitate surveillance, and inform situational analysis, projections, and investigations, including into how the virus is spreading and how infectious asymptomatic people are. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s initiative of testing for the virus in all patients with influenza-like illness at outpatient health care providers is essential to help understand where the virus is spreading, to whom, and what the trend will be in the coming weeks and months.

In areas where the virus is spreading, there is little benefit, and some potential harm, to testing individuals with mild or no symptoms. In the process of getting tested, these people will take up the time, protective equipment, and lab materials of health facilities. If they’re not infected when they travel to and get care, they may get infected in the process.

This is less of a concern for parking-lot, drive-through testing in the private sector, but whether people with symptoms are positive or not, they must isolate themselves, especially from medically vulnerable people: The test could be falsely negative, or could become positive the next day. Furthermore, in a community-wide outbreak, there’s no way public health workers will be able to identify and track contacts of all people who test positive.

Today's Primaries And The Enduring Idiocy Of The Play Left

I'm still monitoring the primaries, as far as anyone can figure out what the hell is going on.

This year seems to confirm what I've been advocating since the disasters of 2016, that ALL voting be done through mail-in ballots - now we've seen, in reality, that not only is that likely to produce the highest turnout but it's also less vulnerable to disasters such as the one we face now.  If the federal and state governments won't do that for the elections that are in their control, the Democratic Party should certainly do it for the one it can control, the contest for the Democratic Party nomination.   I'm sure I'll be going over possible mechanisms for that, everything from having an open vote counting process to making sure that only genuine Democrats get to run for the nomination and vote for the Democratic candidate.  

I'm also still monitoring the Bernie or Busters and they're as awful as they could have been predicted to be.  

One of the more ridiculous of thing about that is that a lot of them have turned their anger on AOC for liking Elizabeth Warren's performance on Saturday Night Live,  Michael friggin' Brooks is still obsessing over AOC's "treason," leading the chorus of cretins who comprise the college-credentialed play-left in denouncing their so recently brightest star as a sell-out because she has her sights on more than the day after today but into the future.   A future in which Bernie Sanders will be a rapidly fading memory among those children of such limited attention span. 

Today there's a video up of Sam Seder salivating over the prospect of old voters sheltering in their homes in Florida and Georgia and  the youth-vote, believing (incorrectly) that they're immune to Covid-19 coming out to swamp them, handing those states majorities over to Sanders.  I say salivating because that's what a mad dog is supposed to do.  I have to say that I have not really appreciated how little use the play-lefty, quasi and actual Marxist "lefts" have for democracy except when democracy produces the results they favor.  Is it any wonder how they can now and in the past be so wildly enthusiastic for dictators who never hold elections or hold elections as anti-democratic as the ones that Bernie Sanders has, largely, depended on up till now?  

Then there's the disappointed opportunist and former candidate for Democratic nomination, Krystal Ball,  her far more obscure fellow failed opportunist, Nomiki Konst, the The Young Schmucks, In These Times, . . . I'd include the Nation but whoever is running the thing now seems to see the die is cast and Bernie isn't going to be the only thing standing between us and four more years of Trump-McConnell.   Not that the money behind it and former publisher, Vanden Huevel isn't still holding the torch for what is reportedly Putin's favorite for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders.  I do have to wonder if maybe Putin, with direct control over the old KGB and other Soviet era files might have something he could release to sink a Sanders' bid far worse than the old story of Sanders in the Soviet Union as he was the mayor of Burlington, the focus of her angry diatribe.  Anyone naive enough to think that's beyond the realm of possibility? 

We need a real left to organize that explicitly excludes Marxists and quasi-Marxists and Bernie Bots and Greens and anyone who believes in the delusion of third parties.  

We need to look at all of the venues of self-defeat and self-damage that the play-left and its dupes in the less delusional left of the past have damaged the credibilty of those who have the ability to win public office, form controlling majorities and administrations and make change real by changing laws and improving lives.  

A huge amount of the myth of the left has got to be junked, anything that holds up those dear old commies as figures to be admired or pitied - keep reminding you that all of the Hollywood 10 must have known about Stalin's mass murders because they'd been exposed in accurate accounts in the Western media since the 1930s.  The fans of Stalin's rival, Trotsky, were also known as was his enthusiasm for terror as an instrument of state control.  He had written enthusiastically about that even before Stalin won the power struggle with him and he had practiced it in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution.  

The same can be said of the Maoists and the supporters of the smaller communist dominated countries.  None of those people ever merited the sympathy or support of egalitarian democrats.  Mocking the Hollywood-Broadway deification of the martyrs of communism is vitally important in changing those numbskull habits of thought.  As is continuing to mock the oafs of HUAC whose longest standing success is in helping with that deification of a bunch of punks and thugs and, yes, spies for Stalin.   

The real left has got to be as radical as The Gospel, The Prophets and the Law, which is more radical than the Marxists ever thought of being.  It has the advantage of being culturally congenial to a very large percentage of Americans, far larger than the tiny and ever diminishing fraction who  will ever find Marxism congenial.   The Marxists belong on the ash heap of history.  Of course, that left has to be open to anyone who supports egalitarian democracy, economic justice and environmentalism radical enough to save the Earth as a viable place for us to live, no matter what their religious convictions.  I wouldn't be surprised if the same truths weren't found in other religious traditions though I'm increasingly skeptical that they could be found in an effective form in any secular ideology.  I think you have to really have a more durable and forceful belief in them than secularism can produce in enough people.  

I would make sure that that left protect itself from Marxist infiltration, keeping in mind the entryist tactic that they've used to destroy and disable the real left in the past.  We don't owe them another week, never mind another generation of distraction and defeat.   We owe them the total discrediting that they've so richly deserved. 

Lots of crap has flowed under the bridge in this primary season, the real left that can actually do somethin has to get shut of it once and for all. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Why study C.S.Lewis for Lent" with Rowan Williams

I will say right up front that I have never warmed up to C. S. Lewis but I know a lot of people adore him.   I have been warming up to Rowan Williams and what he says about the problems of rights and democracy but I'm in no way ready to address what he says about that.  I do like what he says in this talk about the ideas we have about God - in a real sense anything we think about God will inevitably be something like in idol because God is going to always be beyond what we can imagine at any given time.   I've never read the Narnia books.  I have a feeling I'd find what Rowan Williams had to say about them would be more interesting to me than the books, themselves. 

This Is A Lot Like Our Experience With Not Being Tested And How Badly That Has Been Handled

I don't normally listen to this show but I came across this and it sounds very familiar except that even as they tested my sister over the past two weeks the CDC under Trumpian leadership screwed up the testing TWICE!  I'm still under self-quarantine and we don't really have the final word that my sister didn't have it.  She's under quarantine until, perhaps, her doctor's appointment later this week. 

The American health system isn't just normally overwhelmed, this is a result of the total failure of the for-profit corporate medical industry and Republican-fascist corruption.  

I'm betting you anything that some Trump donor or insider was trying to profiteer out of the testing here. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Night Plague Shut-In Radio Drama - Rían Smith - The Boy In The Basement

The play took 3rd place in the PJ O'Connor Radio Drama Awards 2019.  Set in Dublin, The Boy in the Basement is a comedy centering around would-be-writer, 30 something Luke, who finds a 9 year old boy living in his basement.  As the boy shows no signs of moving out and going to the guards isn't an option, the presence of the boy initiates a remarkable change in Luke.

Listeners are advised that the play contains strong language.

Luke was played by Stephen Jones
Rachel was played by Séana Kerslake 
Louise Lewis played Mrs Wilson
Enda Oates was Niall 
Jim was played by David Pearse
Susan O'Loughlin played the guard
Christian Schlaubitz was The Boy

Sound Supervision was by Ciarán Cullen

The Boy in the Basement was directed by Gorretti Slavin 

This is kind of an odd-ball comedy.  

I'm Finding That Media In Other Countries Is More Informative Than Our Vaunted Free Press

I'm trying to take it easy today,  trying not to press my luck and coughing a lot more.     

Here's an informative interview for Irish Radio with an Italian doctor talking about what they might expect there and, for someone from the US, what we can only wish our government and so-called health system was doing here.