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coronavirus trump

Trump’s got the ‘rona: Open thread

Don’t worry, Mr. President, it’s just a big hoax

Well. how about THAT for an October Surprise?

I would point out the ironies here but there really aren’t any. It’s basically the opposite of irony: Dude downplays the danger, doesn’t wear a mask and hangs out with other people not wearing masks, all because he thinks he’s a genetically superior human who’s immune to disease. Well, turns out he isn’t.

I have no idea how this is going to play out. This tweet pretty much sums it up:

Yep.

Open thread!

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Valentin
Valentin
25 days ago

That’s not the conclusion I get when I read history. I keep waiting for the detailed plan informed by history that will get rid of fascism at the root, never to take power again, and doesn’t end up with people being dragged into fights to the death. That’s not the same thing as a Nazi or manospherian wishing for the deaths of people they don’t like.

I agree and this is realistic. POM is misrepresenting me and confusing me with someone else. When I say violent resistance is necessary doesnt mean I’m going to behave like a nazi and go door to door in a death squad. Peaceful demonstrations do not work. Police/fascist will escalate – exactly like they did in 2014 in UA. And then the protestors had no choice but to fight until the old violent government and its leaders had to flee from the country. That revolution was successful and necessary violence, to compare it to terrorism is very insulting to the people who gave their lives for a better future.

Catalpa
Catalpa
25 days ago

If Nazis need to be killed in order to stop immediate harm coming to others, I’m okay with that.

However, “kill them all” is not a solution to the rising problem of fascism. It is the systems in place that give people undue and unjust power over others that are facilitating these atrocities, not a handful of bad actors. If you kill one leader, another one will just take their place. Execution is only a “solution” if you’re willing to keep excuting people in perpetuity. The power structures like the militarized police and the overwhelming wealth concentrated in the hands of a few capitalists are what allow for the growth and spread of fascism and genocide. The power structures are what need to be dismantled.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
25 days ago

In more on-topic news, Trump is reportedly going home later today, which has a lot of doctors baffled because he’s in a very delicate period for the virus infection, when a large number of people suddenly collapse. He still may not survive this.

Naglfar
Naglfar
24 days ago

@Catalpa

The power structures are what need to be dismantled.

Exactly. I’m getting a bit uncomfortable with all the talk of mass executions. I can understand punishing the people in power/influence (e.g. Trump and friends, Faux News propagandists, etc), but to kill millions without trial is wrong, impractical, and only temporary.

What needs to be removed are the societal factors which allowed people like Trump to take power. The only way to achieve permanent changes is through modifying society rather than killing individuals en masse. We’ve long moved past simplistic interpretations like Mary Daly or Valerie Solanas’ plans to end patriarchy by eliminating men, similarly killing conservatives will not end their ideology.

@PoM

In more on-topic news, Trump is reportedly going home later today, which has a lot of doctors baffled because he’s in a very delicate period for the virus infection, when a large number of people suddenly collapse. He still may not survive this.

My guess is he’s experiencing VIP Syndrome, which is when an extremely wealthy or powerful person dictates their own medical care over those who know better, often to their own detriment.

I would also note that COVID often appears to be mild or to resolve itself early on but then returns with a vengeance about 7-10 days in. Trump is by no means clear.

Last edited 24 days ago by Naglfar
An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
24 days ago

The Civil Rights movement wasn’t carried entirely by MLK, nor was the Indian Independence movement carried entirely by Gandhi. Both movements had both peaceful and violent elements, and if not for both elements then they each likely would have been assassinated for nothing. The whole idea that the riots during the BLM protests this year were entirely from people taking advantage seems pretty suspect to me, too. It seems especially convenient that the media coverage immediately went down once the riots stopped happening.

Alan Robertshaw
24 days ago

@ impish pepper

It seems especially convenient that the media coverage immediately went down once the riots stopped happening.

There’s an adage in journalism: “If it bleeds, it leads”.

A totally peaceful protest might get a bit of coverage; especially if you can incorporate some sort of ‘stunt’ that can provide interesting imagery or a few paras of good copy. But generally that can’t compete with dramatic pictures of burning and carnage.

I believe something like 97% of BLM protests passed without incident; but it’s the ones that involved violence that made the headlines.

(There’s obviously a lot more issues in regard to the protests; I’m just addressing the reason for the disproportionate coverage of the ones that involved violence)

Last edited 24 days ago by Alan Robertshaw
Lukas Xavier
Lukas Xavier
24 days ago

I keep waiting for the detailed plan informed by history that will get rid of fascism at the root

But the root is in humanity. Even if you kill every single fascist on the planet, you only have to wait a generation before we’d have to do it again. That, if anything, is the conclusion I draw from history.

For a long-term solution, we need to figure out why this happens in the first place. Why do some people end up with a desire to go fascist? And why does it happen on such a grand scale that it turns into a political movement? That seems to indicate some underlying problem.

Metaphorically, there’s a nazi factory somewhere out there and we need to shut it down or we’ll never get anywhere. Sounds like it would make a good movie plot, though.

Naglfar
Naglfar
24 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw

There’s obviously a lot more issues in regard to the protests; I’m just addressing the reason for the disproportionate coverage of the ones that involved violence

I think that plays a role, but I think it also has to do with selling a particular idea. Conservative news organizations want to suggest that Black people are violent, and showing peaceful protests doesn’t convey that, so they cherry pick examples that show what they want.

@Lukas Xavier

there’s a nazi factory somewhere out there and we need to shut it down or we’ll never get anywhere.

Well, a good starting place is to shut down online spaces where Nazis recruit, such as neo-Nazi subreddits, 4chan, etc. Those are probably the closest things that exist to a Nazi factory.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
24 days ago

So Trump is discharging himself AMA, as far as we can tell without looking at his chart.

I’m disgusted, and so is every nurse I know.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
24 days ago

I just look back to a video that Moggie posted in an earlier thread. I’d heard the theory about capitalism inevitably sliding into fascism before, but the idea that fascism functions as a way to violently cripple and eradicate anti-capitalist movements before transitioning back into liberal democracy was fairly new to me. The examples in South America, as well as my own knowledge of what happened to South Korea, make so much more sense now.

Fascism isn’t some kind of inherent quirk of human nature. It’s a specific ideology that doesn’t seem to apply to anything that nations pre-colonialism had to deal with.

It’s frustrating to grow up learning how the system works, and how it’s so entrenched in its bullshit that the only way anything changes is if the bad people go away and are replaced by slightly less bad people. It’s not even me figuring this out, but everything telling me over and over, there’s nothing in the process that can be done. And then I go to places like this and find that a lot of people actually agree on this, but they just don’t say it out loud. Implying it (e.g. I hope X steps on a Lego / I’d post more but I’d violate the comments policy) is somehow okay as opposed to saying it out loud. Once it’s said out loud, suddenly someone stops drinking their Coca-Cola and yells at me that I support death squads.

“They’re lucky Black people are looking for equality and not revenge.” – Kimberly Jones

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
24 days ago

The answer, I suspect, lies in Turchin’s structural-demographic theory. Fascists appear to arise among downwardly mobile people with “elite” expectations — particularly, members of the landowning class who are losing their land, and their children who are not able to get onto the property ladder even though their parents did. So the underlying trigger condition is degentrification, and when that becomes sufficiently widespread fascists arise in sufficient numbers to start wielding real political clout.

What, then, causes degentrification? The cycle Turchin identified is as follows:

  1. A small population has large amounts of land and resources available to it. Wages are good and land is cheap.
  2. The population grows, and the available land and resources per capita shrink. Land values go up, and it gets harder for the children of landowners to afford their own land. There tend to be more of them than their parents, so divvying up inherited land shrinks the parcels; or some get disinherited and must buy in separately. At the same time, the size of the working class outstrips the resource base for feeding the factories and mills. Labor stops being the limiting factor of production, so wages collapse as the bargaining power shifts to capital, and to the owners of mines, oil wells, and arable land.
  3. The middle class begins to disappear, with the working class expanding along with the upper class. Conditions become worse for the working class, but improve for the upper class since the bargaining power of labor has shrunk drastically. This upward transfer of wealth allows the upper class to expand.
  4. The growth of the upper class part of the population outstrips the resource base and the upper class cannot continue to expand without a reduction in lifestyles. The same thing repeats that happened with the working vs. upper classes, this time with the upper-middle-class vs. the seriously rich.
  5. Now we have degentrification: downward mobility has reached the landowning classes, and even those with serious expectations of being at least somewhat “elite” in society (i.e., in the subset who are guaranteed food and shelter security, freedom from state violence if they don’t lavishly commit non-white-collar crimes and get caught, and a high degree of protection from accident, non-state violence, and disease, even if the balance of political power is vested in much richer people still).
  6. That is the condition for fascism to bloom.
  7. If the society thus afflicted doesn’t engage in expansionist war, it turns on itself as the elites are thrown into cutthroat resource competition with one another: civil war is a near-certainty. The elites cannibalize the state so public investment ceases, and disease, failing infrastructure, or other consequences of this disinvestment may also bring the society down, elites and all. The upper echelons experience a high death rate, from civil wars and/or coups and counter-coups, and/or from the consequences of infrastructural failure, such as, say, a lethal pandemic. Eventually the population is greatly reduced by the usual Four Horsemen, and the survivors become sick of the constant fighting.
  8. A small population has large amounts of land and resources available to it. Wages are good and land is cheap.

Essentially, it’s a Malthusian overshoot and population crash, with class differences driving the detailed sequence of events. The presence of a minority race nearly guarantees that somewhere in stages 5-7 the elites of the majority race will turn on those of the minority race and disenfranchise, then dispossess them, and genocide of the minority race becomes likely after that point. The whole process can be kicked into overdrive by a shrinkage of the resource base or economic collapse that destroys the ability to import needed resources — this happened to Weimar Germany during the Great Depression, abetted by the ruinous WWI reparations demands placed on them by the Treaty of Versailles — and can be temporarily forestalled by successful expansionistic policies (thus, Rome staved off collapse until it was hemmed in by the Atlantic in the west, the Sahara in the south, the Persian Empire in the east, and, in the north, Germanic tribes and lands that proved expensive to conquer and poorly suited to growing Mediterranean-basin-adapted crop varieties, to where conquering those lands produced net negative returns; exeunt empire). Failed expansionist policies accelerate the end, by spending state treasure for no returns and/or making too-powerful enemies. Foreign conquest is always a risk once public underinvestment has set in, and that risk is made much worse by making new enemies, as Nazi Germany found out the hard way in 1945.

Since, according to this theory, the underlying drivers of the problem are “division of society into elites vs. disposable people according to education, race, and class-connections” and “overpopulation”, these are the things that need to be addressed. Socialism, antiracism, feminism, etc. obviously seek to attack the former driver, but if only that one is dealt with, you just get a population that grows and then they all starve more-or-less equally (see also: Soviet Union under Khrushchev).

The second factor, overpopulation, requires a norm of keeping the birth rate near replacement rate, lowering it if resources per capita are starting to get low, and only raising it if labor shortages are a concern (and not only to the factory-owning class, if that has not been abolished yet). Proven ways to bring this about include widespread and easy access to contraception, improving the status of women, and especially improving education access by women. So, feminism can help a lot with this factor as well, and uniquely can help a lot with both at once, especially in its intersectional form.

One issue that has arisen in these cases has been underpopulation, which can temporarily be addressed with immigration policy (when we’re dealing with a progressive state, e.g. Finland, in a world still overall overpopulated). A failure mode there is that capitalists throw the floodgates open to assure a cheap labor supply with little bargaining power, which then stokes xenophobic and racial resentments among the working class and resumes the countdown to fascist doomsday at the same time. Another is to import mainly, or only, skilled labor with strong requirements on training, and to allow buying a citizenship through “foreign direct investment”. This imports more middle-class-and-above elites and makes the society top-heavy, leading to skyrocketing land prices and degentrification (and thus, fascism again). Most likely, a sensible immigration policy is only possible in the absence of capitalism, or at least a capitalist-captured political system.

In the long term, immigration won’t solve anything because there isn’t foreseeably going to be any to Planet Earth in the nearish term. A socialist government can prevent working class impoverishment by mandating rising minimum wages and/or a basic income, shortening the work week, and investing R&D in automation. Automation should not be pursued except in parallel with socialist policies, as otherwise capitalists will just use the automation to further drive down wages and overproduce elites, leading to degentrification again. This suggests the fruits of public automation research should never be privately owned for private profit, but instead used to pay for the common good by producing state revenues and a basic income. This could be done by imposing escalating royalties on the productivity of automation owned by non-worker-owned for-profit businesses; so, a cut of their profits; or by abolishing that type of business outright.

Alan Robertshaw
24 days ago

@ naglfar

Conservative news organizations want to suggest that Black people are violent…so they cherry pick examples that show what they want.

Oh undoubtedly. Media picks stories, and creates the narrative, that most appeals to their readership.

That’s one of the reasons I sometimes ponder the idea as to how influential media is. I can see how media reinforces existing prejudices; but to what extent does it create beliefs anew?

It seems to me that people choose media that confirms their pre-existing mindset; they want to be told they’re right; rather than informed. So whilst I can see how media can radicalise people; are those people already pre-disposed?

It’s like I can’t see someone reading a copy of Socialist Worker and suddenly becoming Marxist. They just wouldn’t choose it in the first place. Similarly I think most people here would be immune to the charms of the Daily Mail.

Maybe though if there’s someone adrift and suggestible, then which way they go would depend on who got to them first?

I’m genuinely curious about this. Any media studies experts have any pointers or comments?

Alan Robertshaw
24 days ago

@ Vicky P

So Trump is discharging himself 

If it were anyone else I might consider the excuse that the drug regime he’s on can produce euphoria and disordered thinking; but I suspect this is just concern over his image.

In a similar vein…

Trump’s father developed Alzheimer’s. Now that is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So I found it quite poignant, and maybe even a little heartwarming, that his staff arranged a non functioning office for him. It had a phone that only connected to his secretary. They also used to give him blank documents to sign.

But on that note:

comment image

Of course, that’s probably just a prop for PR thing; but I guess at least that’s one document he’s signed that won’t immediately harm someone.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
24 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw:

Media picks stories, and creates the narrative, that most appeals to their readership.

Or ownership. Especially when the media ownership has become very concentrated, so the readership has limited choice, and the ownership of all the major outlets have largely the same desires, being all members of the billionaire class. Then you can have any media you want, so long as it’s neoliberal.

The fact there there’s actually a choice again lately, between neoliberal and fascist, is alarming, because it means the billionaire class is already fragmenting into factions, one with the strategy of doubling down on what’s worked well enough for them for the past few decades, and one with the white supremacist strategy of “dispossess the nonwhites and take all their stuff”. So, intraelite competition has reached the tippy-top of the privilege pyramid. Add in the degree of public disinvestment and the recent military failures trying to loot foreign treasures and all the data points to a civil war on the horizon, with the 2020 election apparently the first serious battleground of the two emerging elite factions.

The latest structural demographic cycle in the United States has entered its endgame.

Naglfar
Naglfar
24 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw
People definitely do choose media that will tell them they are right. I think some part of it may be some sort of fear: conservatives refuse to read left wing books and other media simply because they’re scared it might force them to re-evaluate their whole worldview.

I suspect this is just concern over his image.

That, or hubris. He thinks he’s the best person ever to live, so obviously in his mind he knows better than the doctors and should be allowed to go when he thinks he’s ready.

Trump’s father developed Alzheimer’s.

I don’t want to internet diagnose, but I’ve heard various others speculating about whether Trump has Alzheimer’s. If he does, he wouldn’t be the first president to have it.

Diego
Diego
24 days ago

@Lukas

Metaphorically, there’s a nazi factory somewhere out there and we need to shut it down or we’ll never get anywhere. Sounds like it would make a good movie plot, though.

I think Surplus comments are accurate. Fascism is an inevitable consequence of capitalism since the latter exists with the express purpose of upholding and maintaining social hierarchies. However, since such a system will naturally allow the hoarding of resources in fewer and fewer hands this leads to a collapse that allows for only two choices:

  1. Either you dismantle the system, to allow for a more efficient and humane redistribution of wealth; or,
  2. You get rid of the “excess people” which society deems to be a “burden” on the system.

And since capitalism exists for the purpose of maintaining social hierarchies, it will be naturally be predisposed to adopt the second option as a solution. It should also be noted that the system features no small amount of propaganda, which further stigmatizes vulnerable groups, who are then turned into scapegoats for all of society’s problems.

I’ve pointed this out before, but the purpose of conspiracy theories isn’t for their adherents to “feel special” as others usually claim. No, their purpose is far more sinister than that, as they exist to externalize blame for societal problems onto minorities and vulnerable groups. It really is absolutely no coincidence that the amount of conspiracy theories has risen exponentially with republicans taking control of all three branches of government.

Such an event is indicative that, despite having control of everything, the average conservative voter doesn’t really feel in control of anything. Essentially, they’ve been pushing the same policies for the past 40 years, and they haven’t worked. So what do they do? They claim it’s because of obstructionism. They then capture all the levels of government and hit the gas on said policies, allowing society to spiral further down the drain, but the policies still aren’t working as intended.

The inevitable conclusion to such a scenario is that there must be a secret war being waged against them by the undesirables. At which point it becomes acceptable for them to push for crimes against humanity, in an attempt to “lessen the burden on the system”.

Last edited 24 days ago by Diego
Dalillama
24 days ago

@Lukas

Sounds like it would make a good movie plot, though

Boys from Brazil, 1978.

Lukas Xavier
Lukas Xavier
24 days ago

@Dalillama
Thanks. I wondered to myself if there already was something out there.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
23 days ago

And now Stephen Miller has tested positive for the ‘rona.

Thoughts and prayers for his nursing team.

Moggie
Moggie
23 days ago

@VP:

And now Stephen Miller has tested positive for the ‘rona.

Thoughts and prayers for his nursing team.

Thoughts and prayers for the virus.

Naglfar
Naglfar
23 days ago

@VP
Thoughts and prayers for the staff he infected, too.

Tovius
Tovius
23 days ago

@VP

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer nazi.

Last edited 23 days ago by Tovius
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