The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases

Of course, the assholes driving a national, and apparently international, spike in COVID-19 cases (figure 1) are only part of the problem.
unnamed
Fig. 1. Cartoon, apparently by Peter Schrank, via the Telegraph, July 6, 2020, fair use.

In the following tweet, note that the chart at left displays negative percentages. These are drops in employment, that is, increases in unemployment, affecting various groups:

Read more

The expendable worker

See update for July 6, 2020, and correction on July 8, 2020, at end of post.


Since the novel coronavirus began to spread and when most people were told to stay home whether they still had jobs or not, it’s been hard to miss that so-called “essential” workers, facing shortages of personal protective equipment,[1] were in fact expendable workers.
Read more

  1. [1]Emily Stewart, “Essential workers still lack basic safety protections on the job,” Vox, May 7, 2020, https://www.vox.com/coronavirus-covid19/2020/5/7/21250387/essential-worker-ppe-amazon-walmart-employees-protection-hazard-pay

Amerikkka

I tend to view the United States as Amerikkka, an inherently unequal society, indeed as a constitutional oligarchy.[1] I see Donald Trump not has having introduced something new to the country, but as having brought authoritarian populist mob rule to effective control of the U.S. government[2] and as having encouraged paleoconservatives, especially white supremacists, to display their colors. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  2. [2]Though now controlled by the putative opposition party, the House of Representatives can do little without Senate concurrence and seemingly relies on its ineffectiveness for empty gesturing that merely appears to challenge a neoliberal consensus.

Carnivore thinking

I would not want to endorse a view that in the U.K., Boris Johnson has been too heedless of the economy and too heedful of the pandemic. Much of what I see suggests the contrary. But I include Bob Moran’s cartoon from the Telegraph (figure 1) because it is one of those rare instances where we acknowledge that both problems are severe and deserving of attention.
unnamed
Fig. 1. Cartoon by Bob Moran in the Telegraph, July 2, 2020, fair use.

The loss of the Lost Cause

I have been of two minds regarding the pulling down of Confederate monuments in recent protests. First, I think obviously, we should not let the destruction of symbol substitute for substantive action to eliminate all forms of racism and bigotry. But second, we should not underestimate the power of symbol.
Read more

Genocide

I understand ‘genocide’ to mean the attempt to erase a people, that is, to create an appearance that the subject people do not exist either within a particular territory or universally. This certainly applied to Nazi treatment of the Jews in the Holocaust. It applies now to Israeli treatment of Palestinians—Israel even insists on calling the latter ‘Arabs’ in an effort to erase even their identity. And it applies to Chinese treatment of Uyghurs.
Read more

On patriotism

In his defense of an authoritarian system of social organization, Gerhard Lenski noted, correctly I fear, that human altruism diminishes with social distance. Thus, we are much more likely to give up our own lives to protect, in descending order, our families, our friends, our comrades, our communities, and our countries.[1]

When we ask someone if s/he would sacrifice her or his own life to save five others, for example, they would likely answer most honestly if they first asked who those others are. Read more

  1. [1]Gerhard Lenski, Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966).

Endorsing a giant meteor strike in 2020

It’s been a hell of a year so far, it isn’t even half over yet, and on top of all that, it is an election year, in which a delusional raging narcissist-in-chief[1] faces an ostensible challenge from the neoliberal (so-called “Democratic”) party, which demonstrates its own relative lack of interest in actually winning with an astonishingly weak presumptive nominee.[2] Against a pandemic, white supremacist protests against the lockdown meant to limit the contagion, a recession, and anti-racism protests, all crises which Donald Trump has at least exacerbated, and for which we ought therefore to have some considerable interest in removing him, the election does indeed seem minor.

It’s even more minor than it seems.
Read more

  1. [1]Narcissistic rage is described in George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counselling Resource, July 24, 2017, https://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/; David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, February 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; David Benfell, “Joe Biden and justice delayed,” Not Housebroken, March 3, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/03/joe-biden-and-justice-delayed/

Donald Trump’s humiliation: A million expected for a 19,000-seat venue; less than 6,200 show up

See update for June 21, 2020, at end of post.


Referring to our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief and his ill-advised rally in Tulsa,[1] Stormy Daniels tweets,

Brad Parscale and Tim Murtaugh are mere sycophants and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumps to conclusions here:

Uh, yeah, about that:

Read more

  1. [1]Eugene Daniels, “Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa rally,” Politico, June 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/20/trump-rally-tulsa-coronavirus-reset-2020-campaign-330248; Oliver Milman, “Trump campaign asks supporters to sign coronavirus waiver ahead of rally,” Guardian, June 12, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/12/trump-rally-supporters-sign-coronavirus-waiver

Be careful what you ask for

Jason Okundaye argues for abolishing ‘whiteness’ as a category.[1] So um, first, ‘abolition’ in an earlier context referred to abolishing prisons.[2] Second, in the present context, it refers to the possibility of abolishing the police[3] and/or criminal injustice systems (I support the abolition of all of the above,[4] and Okundaye does not even actually mention them[5]), but: Read more

  1. [1]Jason Okundaye, “Abolish Whiteness,” London Review of Books, June 16, 2020, https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/june/abolish-whiteness
  2. [2]Angela Y. Davis, Abolition Democracy (New York: Seven Stories, 2005).
  3. [3]Zak Cheney-Rice, “Why Police Abolition Is a Useful Framework — Even for Skeptics,” New York, June 15, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/police-abolitionist-lessons-for-america.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Defunding the police is, at best, a baby’s first step,” Not Housebroken, June 15, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/15/defunding-the-police-is-at-best-a-babys-first-step/
  5. [5]Jason Okundaye, “Abolish Whiteness,” London Review of Books, June 16, 2020, https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/june/abolish-whiteness