Barbarian at the Gates: Friday the 13th in a year of the Fascist Plague.
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My wife just called me, waiting for the train with her stepdaughter, and said she was terribly depressed. Why? They closed the public libraries for the duration. On top of everything else they’ve canceled, including school here in Ohio. No sporting events. No car shows. No St. Patrick’s Day parade for the first time in 175 years.
No clear direction from the Trump Administration, saturation news stories fanning panic, wild rumors on the internet about the origin and possibly nefarious purposes of the contagion, unprecedentedly high demand for the movie Contagion, the fear of some of shortages because of the heavily reported potentially devastating disruption of the global supply chain.
Add that to the desire of many to hoard as much as possible for them and their families against the possible mandatory home quarantines, and you get mass panic.
It started last night here. Today, grocery stores are cleaned out. No milk, no toilet paper of all things, no hand sanitizers, no bottled water(??? Makes no sense. Cleveland has one of the cleanest water supplies in the country). State Liquor Agencies with long lines and empty shelves.
And what’s behind it all? The corporate media and its endless capitalist quest for ratings and advertising revenue, not to mention doing the bidding of their megacorporate masters, is pushing the panic hard with screaming headlines and photos of high officials around the world known to have been exposed to the coronavirus, including the Trumps.
The federal response has been pathetic. The private for profit health care industry has done different things in different places. Different states have reacted differently to the pandemic. And all the while, most people are just unaware of the known facts about the coronavirus itself and the Corona Virus Disease it can cause, and why they are two different things.
Any competent President with a competent staff should be able to calmly explain that to the public, but Trump just isn’t getting it done. Even Dubya was better than this guy about communicating an understandable narrative about something that caused fear. The result is that people pay attention to other narratives, other explanations, such as that someone somewhere said you can make face masks out of toilet paper.
This stuff’s really out there, and there really are a lot of people acting on it. It’s crazy.
My wife said people on Facebook are saying this panic will provide an excuse to impose martial law. Maybe that will happen, maybe it won’t. However, at the very least it does seem that We the People are being conditioned for Fascism or some similar form of authoritarian rule.
If an authoritarian or oligarchical government gets away with measures to control the freedom of public movement and assembly time and time again, it will keep applying more and more draconian measures on its citizenry, as if it was testing the public to see how far it can go without triggering a severe mass backlash.
Are we being manipulated into believing severe restrictions to goods and services are necessary to insure our safety?
South Korea is not handling the situation like this at all. They have this thing called single payer health insurance, you see. And their government listened to its medical professionals and the WHO and started mass-testing people, and then monitoring their movements through cellphones and such, so as to test everyone who was exposed, and to treat people who caught the disease itself early.
South Korea’s death rate is far lower than China’s or Italy’s, where both governments imposed mass quarantines. South Korea’s health care system is far better than America’s and there’s the proof. They also did a far better job at protecting their citizenry’s freedom of movement and association. Pretty basic liberties, those two are.
At the very least, this proves the utter failure of the American Corporate State and Empire to even attempt to safeguard the most basic human rights of its own people. This smells like Fascism to me. Does it to you?
Well, we’re off to eat at a Lebanese restaurant that’s still open. Wonder how long it will be before they close restaurants and bars, too? Good night, and good luck.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
March 15, 2020 at 4:21 PM #287187emmeParticipant
- Total Posts: 305
So far, only two cases in my county, so all library branches remain open. Story hours have been cancelled and toy checkout suspended for now. They are also shutting down every other computer for public use to create more social distance among patrons. But open for browsing and check out/returns.
One story that really irritated me was the one about retailers, including Walmart, reducing hours—OMG! Walmart went from 6 am to midnight, with one local center open 24 hours. New hours are 6 am to 11 pm; closing an hour earlier. Wow.
Then the news that Urban Outfitters and Patagonia are closing for a couple weeks. Two smallish chains catering to yuppie millennials who probably do most of their shopping online. Another wow.
Despite only two local cases, I am pretty sure there is not a roll of toilet paper to be found on a store shelf any where. None at Target yesterday afternoon. I did stop at the local B&N and picked up a book; not as busy as usual but busy enough given how many people were apparently off competing in the Toilet Paper Thunderdome.
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