• Looking for Jim Jones Amid COVID-19

    March 30, 2020

    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Posted in: 2020, Economy, Embassy/State, Post-Constitution America, Trump


     
    I’m not worried about the guy coughing next to me. I’m worried about the ones who seem to be looking for Jim Jones.
     
    Jim Jones was the charismatic founder of the cult-like People’s Temple. Through fear-based control, Jones took his followers’ money and ran their lives. He isolated them in Guyana, where Jones convinced over 900 followers to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced grape Kool Aid. Frightened people can be made to do literally anything. They just need a Jim Jones.
     
    So it is more than a little scary Never Trumper and MSM zampolit Rick Wilson wrote Twitter to his 753k Twitter followers “People who sank into their fear of Trump, who defended every outrage, who put him before what they knew was right, and pretended this chaos and corruption was a glorious new age will pay a terrible price. They deserve it.” The Tweet was liked over 82,000 times.

    The NYT claims “the specter of death speeds across the globe, ‘Appointment in Samarra’-style, ever faster, culling the most vulnerable.” Others are claiming Trump will cancel the election to rule as a Jim Jones. “Every viewer who trusts the words of Earhardt or Hannity or Regan could well become a walking, breathing, droplet-spewing threat to the public,” opined the Washington Post, which suggested they should be placed on hiatus. And the rest of you, drink the damn Kool Aid and join in the panic enroute to Guyana.

    In the grocery store in Manhattan just after the announcement of the national state of emergency was pure panic buying. I saw a fight broke out in one aisle after an employee brought out a carton of paper towels to restock the shelf and someone grabbed the whole carton for themselves. The police were called. One cop had to stay behind to oversee the lines at the registers and maintain order. To their credit the NYPD were cool about it. I heard them talk down one of the fighters  saying “You wanna go to jail over Fruit Loops? Get a hold of yourself.” Outside New York, sales of weapons and ammunition spiked.

    Panic seems to be something we turn on and off, or moderate in different ways. Understanding that helps reveal what is really going on.

    No need for history. Right now, in real time, behind the backs of the coronavirus, is the every-year plain old influenza. Some 12,000 people have died, with over 13 million infected from influenza just between October 2019 and February 2020. The death toll is screamingly higher (as this is printed corona has killed just 69 Americans.) One does not hear much about that. Why?
     
    Bluntly: more people have already died of influenza in the U.S. than from coronavirus in China, Iran, and Italy combined. Double in fact. To be even more blunt, no one really cares even though a large number of people are already dead. Why?
     
    The first cases of the swine flu, H1N1, appeared in April 2009. By the time Obama finally declared a national emergency seven months later, the CDC reported 50 million Americans, one in six people, had been infected and 10,000 Americans had died. In the early months Obama had no HHS secretary or appointees in the department’s 19 key posts. No commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, no surgeon general, no CDC director. The vacancy at the CDC was especially important because in the early days of the crisis only they could test for the virus; states weren’t allowed until later (sound familiar?) The politically-appointed DHS secretary, not a medical doctor, led the federal effort. Some 66 percent of Americans thought the president was protecting them. There was no panic. Why?

    Of course Trump isn’t Obama. But if you really think it is that black and white, that one man makes that much difference in the multi-leveled response of the vast federal government to a health crises you don’t know much about the federal bureaucracy. In fact, most of the people who handled the swine flu are now working the coronavirus, from rank and file at CDC, HHS, and DHS to headliners like Drs. Andrew Fauci (in government since 1968, worked Obama-ebola) and Deborah Brix (in government since 1985, prior to her current role with Trump-corona was an Obama-AIDS appointee.)

    Maybe the most salient example is the aftermath of 9/11. Those who lived through it remember it well, the color threat alerts, the sneaky Muslims lurking everywhere, the sense of learned/taught helplessness. The enemy could be anywhere, everywhere, and we had no way to fight back. We panicked like never before. But because the Dems and Repubs were saying basically the same thing, there was a camaraderie to it (lead by Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg, where are they now?), not discord. But the panic was still very real. Why?
     
    Why? We panicked when people took steps to ensure we would. We were kept calm when there was nothing to gain by spurring us to panic (the swine flu struck in the midst of the housing crisis, there was enough to worry about and it could all be blamed on the previous administration.) The aftermath of 9/11 is especially clarifying. A fearful populus not only supported everything the government wanted to do, they demanded it. Nearly everyone cheered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and not believing the government meant you were on their side, either with “us” or against us. The Patriot Act, which did away with whole swaths of the Bill of Rights, was overwhelmingly supported. There was no debate over torture, offshore penal colonies, targeted assassinations, kidnappings, and all the other little horrors. The American people counted that as competent leadership and re-elected George W, Bush in the midst. Fear and panic were political currency.

    Jump to 2020. Need an example of how to manipulate panic? Following fears of a liquid bomb, for years after 9/11 TSA limited carry-on liquids to four ounce bottles. Can’t be too careful! Yet because of corona they just changed the limit for hand sanitizer only (which with its alcohol content is actually flammable, as opposed to say shampoo) to 12 ounces. Security theatre closed down alongside Broadway tonight.

    False metrics are also manipulative because they make fear seem scientific. We ignore the low death rate and focus on the number of tests done. But whatever we do will never be enough, never can be enough, the same way any post-disaster aid is never delivered quick enough because the testing is not (just) about discovering the extent of the virus. For those with naughty motives, it is about creating a race we can’t win, so testing becomes proof of failure. Think about the reality of “everyone who wants one should get a test.” The U.S. has 331 million people. Testing 10 percent of them in seven days means 4,714,285 individuals a day for seven consecutive days while the other 90 percent of the population holds their breath. Testing on demand is not realistic at this scale. Selective decision-based testing is what will work.

    South Korea, held up as the master of mass testing, conducted at its peak about 20,000 a day. Only four percent were positive, a lot of effort for a little reassurance. Tests are valuable to pinpoint the need for social distancing but blunt tools like mass social distancing (see China) also work. Tests do not cure the virus. You can hide the number of infections by not testing (or claim so to spur fear), but very sick people make themselves known at hospitals and actual dead bodies are hard to ignore. Tests get the press, but actual morbidity is the clearest data point.
     
    There will be time for after-action reviews and arguments over responsibility. That time is never in the midst of things, and one should question the motives of journalists who use rare access to the president to ask questions meant largely to undermine confidence. If they succeed, we will soon turn on each other. You voted for him, that’s why we’re here now. Vote for Bernie and Trump wins and we all literally die. You bought the last toilet paper. You can afford treatment I can’t. You’re safe working from home while I have to go out. Just wait until the long-standing concept of medical triage is repackaged by the media as “privilege” and hell breaks loose in the ERs. We could end up killing each other long even as the virus fades.

    At the very least we will have been conditioned to new precedents of control over personal decisions, civil life, freedom of movement and assembly, whole city lock-downs, education, public information, and an increasing role for government and the military in health care. More control by authorities over our lives? Yes, please! Gee, it’s almost as if someone is taking advantage of our fears for their own profits and self-interest. Teachers who just digitized their classes at no cost to their employers and created the online infrastructure to eliminate classrooms, don’t be surprised if less of you, and fewer actual classrooms, are needed in the virus-free future.
     
    There are many reasons to take prudent action and not downplay the virus. There are no good reasons for fear and panic. The fear being promoted has no rational basis compared to regular influenza and the swine flu of 2009. We have a terrifying example in 9/11 of how easily manipulated fearful people are. Remaining calm and helping others do so is a big part of what your contribution to the disaster relief is going to be. As John Kennedy said, “We cannot expect that everyone will talk sense to the American people. But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense.”
     
    That’s one way to see this. Too many right now however seem to be looking for Jim Jones.
      

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...

      1

      PVB mentions Barbara Brix- a public servant starting in 1980 who eventually retired with a colonel’s pension. I’m hoping her post pension public service is only for expenses or even out of pocket today as an example of exemplary public service. It is voluntary after all.

      03/30/20 11:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Trump is in another mass murder league compared to Jim. While Jones followers and the Trump cult both drank the kool-aid, the thousands of deaths Trump caused by his lies reached far beyond his cult.

      Newsflash: There wont be an after-action review. The PTB want to keep US mushrooms in the dark as to the obscene level of incompetence created by an administration that gutted the government.

      Fear and panic are the products of lies told by this Demented presidunce. That’s another way of looking at it.

      03/30/20 12:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      3

      Besides the differences in how the MSM is covering the Government’s response to COVID-19 vice Swine Flu, also compare how they’re (mostly not) covering the recent rape allegation against Joe Biden to the media circus that occurred after the allegations against Kavanaugh; again it’s night and day. Trump may be a dirtbag, but with him at least what you see is what you get; with the MSM and the mainstream Democratic party nowadays, not so much. Their hypocrisy is astounding in both its magnitude and transparency, and makes them truly the scum of the earth IMO.

      03/30/20 12:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      General Jack D. Ripper: Well Congressman, if we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities, 500,000 tops.

      Congressman: A half million dead? My God. Who in government is responsible for this incompetence?

      General Jack D. Ripper: I dont think it’s fair to condemn the whole government because of a slipup in one department.
      And we’re not sure all of America will be responding in a uniform way.

      03/30/20 9:35 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      PVB Certain experts speculate that Jim Jones was closeted. His desire to dominate the weak minded fits right in with that possibility. The basis for Trump’s need to dominate may be sexual in nature but probably vastly stranger than Jones’s.

      03/31/20 9:46 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      “There are no good reasons for fear and panic.”

      Really? The CV virus is 10 times more deadly than the flu.
      CDC says 2 million in the US could die without major changes in our idiotic behavior. You have put your lives in the hands of an idiot. What are the chances any of your friends or loved ones dont die from this idiot’s mistakes? Answer: pretty close to zero.

      Nothing to worry about. Just keep those damn photos of the dead off the air.

      03/31/20 12:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Donnie Trump epitaph: You fucked up. You trusted me.

      “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

      Weeks were wasted and now the price of this idiot’s fiasco is loss of life far greater than 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina.

      03/31/20 4:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Over 700 died today in the US from CV19.

      New York Pisst headline: Coronavirus not as deadly as reported

      So cheer up, grieving relatives. Yeah, your loved ones died, but on the bright side it could be worse.

      03/31/20 6:29 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      9

      Well now that Trump is saying 100,000 – 200,000 dead Americans would be a “win” in his column, you might want to consider who is fear mongering now.

      04/1/20 5:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      Trumpie said he was going to gut the government of competence.

      Mission accomplished.

      04/1/20 7:57 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      11

      Trump’s CDC man, Dr. Robert Redfield, has some disturbing wikipedia entries. No surprise there. Gotta keep those evangelicals happy.

      04/1/20 2:03 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      12

      John,

      So does Birx, the woman doc we see at the daily briefings. She was Pence’s advisor during his disastrous handling of HIV in Indiana. Turns out she is a fundamentalist who thinks the way to handle HIV-AIDS is to promote abstinence-only.

      04/2/20 5:31 AM | Comment Link

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