Panic selling on Wall Street, and panic buying in supermarkets, those are the twin axes, in both meanings of the word, upon which the black hole of capitalism rests, rotates, wobbles, staggers, turns, turns, turns, and above all else, spins. Welcome to the culmination/collapse/triumph/apex/nadir of neo-liberalism, Friedmanism, the Reagan “revolution,” the cult of the Iron Lady, the Washington Consensus, globalization, nationalism, and all the other lies, frauds, schemes that make up the racket called laissez-faire. There’s an invisible hand, all right, and it belongs to the Boston Strangler.
Dressed for success with assault rifles and lab-coats, back packs loaded with canned goods and hand sanitizer, fully equipped with face masks and ear buds, the deputy junior under-assistant secretaries from the Departments of Cruelty fan out like census takers to warn the population to be “careful,” to be “vigilant,” to practice “social distancing,” to lock down, wash up, lock out, lock in, close the door, and order-in. Netflix, Seamless, YouTube, I have seen the future and without live-streaming, (and not so live streaming now that the NBA, the NCAA, the NHL have cancelled their seasons, and MLB may not even get a chance to start its), without you, all those of you directing that cascade, that torrent of ones and zeroes in all directions so that we, all of us, white and black and brown, male and female and all categories in-between and outside, so that we may come together as one people in our atomization, in our isolation; without you, all of you dedicated to delivering entertainment, without you, we’re nothing. Literally.
Turn out the lights, it interferes with the glow from the flat-screen.
Meanwhile, the van-guardians of the gated communities, those intrepid agents against immigration, and for enforcement, have the scent. They know what to do– stake out the emergency rooms and the urgent care centers and intervene before anyone undocumented threatens the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution, authored by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and Stephen Miller which reads:
“None for You, Mother—-ers.”
Sleepless at the wheel, the president at the Whitest House of Cruelty, the most reverend buffoon, the species of the class that make US capitalism what it was, what it is, what it will be; a man so venal, vicious, and petty he does what Jerry Hall can’t- make Rupert Murdoch hard; so offended was/is the reverend buffoon at the indignity his nation suffered when a black man occupied the highest office; when a black man smarter than he, and better looking, did a better job than the previous and subsequent white men; when a black man won an eight year lease, dared to move in with his family, black also, much smarter than the reverend’s family, and much better looking too– “There goes the neighborhood,” said the reverend buffoon; so offended was he that he stayed up nights thinking of ways to undo anything and everything the previous office holder had done, from the biggest to the smallest– tax cut? check; reverse clean water rules? check– let’s call it the “Two, three many Flints” executive order order; undo the Iran agreement? check; dismantle the nationwide network of medical centers and medical personnel to deal with an outbreak of highly infectious diseases? check; cut funding to the CDC?– of course, good-bye to all that.
It’s great, isn’t it, when history and personality converge, when class and individual so perfectly reflect each other? When the snake oil salesman is a snake? When the government is a government of, by, and for the snakes, so that this last best hope of snakes shall not perish from this earth?
In December 2019, a doctor in China warns of the emergence of a new disease that attacks the human respiratory system. Sound familiar? Can you spell S-A-R-S? And what happens? “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “The police.” Don’t ask “who.” This ain’t no joke. The police make the doctor engage in “self-criticism”– Mao Zedong Presente! But the virus, it couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the the banner of Mao’s thought and how high it’s raised. It just exists to reproduce, and we’re nothing but 8 billion Xerox machines, more or less. Remember, DNA isn’t here to make more copies of us. We’re here to make more copies of DNA. And that is the meaning and the purpose of life.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, while the maritime companies, those old over-leveraged canaries in the coal mine of capital accumulation, are blanking scheduled sailings of container ships, the cruise ship business is just bangin’ (you should, or should not, pardon the expression), and delivering copying non-machines to ports the world over.
And in the United States, so special, so exceptional, the Department of anti-Public Health and no Human Services (1) rejects use of WHO test kits and wide-scale testing as is the practice in China and South Korea; (2) produces and distributes flawed test kits (3) prevents the states from using Medicaid funds to pay for the testing (just in case test kits ever are distributed) by ruling that states can only waive the co-payment for Covid 19 tests if all co-pays are waived.
The reverend buffoon is, after all, reluctant to test. He wants the “numbers to look good.” Why not? It’s worked before. It worked on Deutsche Bank, manipulating numbers to get his little vulgarian hands on other peoples’ money. It work with New York City tax assessors, undervaluing his properties to reduce his tax burden.
Isn’t it great, when policy and personal interest mesh; when fraud and policy converge, when fraud is the policy? Nothing matters but making non-existent numbers look good.
Here’s what doesn’t matter: Travel restrictions, lock downs, quarantines, social distancing– none of that matters unless testing is done on a massive scale to determine the depth and breadth of the disease; the validity of the restrictions; and most importantly, to provide the information in order to fashion the next response to the next pandemic. Testing is more than necessary; it is essential.
Make the numbers look good? The numbers aren’t going to get better. The numbers can’t be made to look good. So the reverend buffoon, aided and abetted by the Attorney-General, protected by McConnell and 51 or 52 members of the empty suit-empty head club; spanked by Jeanine Pirro, and bought and paid for many times over by criminals, goons, charlatans–in a word entrepeneurs— will slowly realize that the numbers that matter to him (and them) are looking worse, and he will use the deteriorating situation reflected in his deteriorating numbers to proclaim another national emergency and cancel the 2020 election.
Bet on it.
March 13, 2020