Category Archives: Satire

The Face-Masking of America

“What is the Secret of Soylent Green?” — leading question from the theatrical trailer to the 1973 major motion picture release Soylent Green.

We live in an age of Fake News based on Alternative Facts spanning the full spectrum dominance of mis-to-disinformation.  One rides the painted pony of the Major Media Circus and this “brave new world” becomes one mad, gyrating, hallucinatory blur.  Acid for the Masses, with “Reality” transformed into a vast, virtual Rorschach Blot.  Baked into this seemingly infinite “blot of info” — like some other virus spliced into a coronavirus in a Bio-lab, for example — are equally endless pharmaceutical ads promising to generate long laundry lists of bizarre side effects that tend to dwarf the original disorder that they claim to symptomatically mitigate.

However, before getting all Fire-and-Brimstoned up here, I would like to acknowledge a mis-statement of “fact” on my own account.  In my article “This Novel Flu-nancial Crisis:  COVID-1984?” published by Dissident Voice on March 29, 2020, I wrongly wrote that the “1917 Sedition Act is still on the books.”  In fact, it is the 1917 Espionage Act which is still statutory law today.  The Sedition Act was a 1918 amendment to the Espionage Act which criminalized all public criticism of the United States Government and its then “War Effort.”  Along with many other war-specific laws, the Sedition Act was repealed in late 1920.

Clearly, some facts are just that, “facts”:  soundless, colorless, odorless facts, like punctuation marks; a comma is just a comma, period. Nevertheless, I would also note that the spirit — or ghost — of the 1918 Sedition Act appears to be both still alive and hauntingly well, especially in the eerie light shed by the current Internet de-platforming phenomenon…

Amidst the Biblical Deluge of information-spectacle that we are daily subjected to, an invisible beast of censorship in the stealthy form of de-platforming has arisen. This monster, like a virus, wears a mask of unelected authority and wields a baton of official doctrine composed by clever cabals of so-called “experts.”  The current coronavirus crisis narrative is an obvious case in point.  So:  What are the Facts?

There are many things that the COVID-19 is not, including the Bubonic Plague, the 1918-19 H1N1 influenza pandemic, nor even the comparatively localized (or so we are told) SARS-CoV-2 of 2003.  This one’s a “novel” virus, but its lethality is entirely debatable, not to mention its transmissibility; everyone’s a Socrates these days, it appears, when it comes to the new coronavirus.  One month we’re told that masks are not sufficient protection from infection, but then the next month “masks” are mandated without a fiber of evidence produced for the new-found revelation of the efficacy of facial coverings.  Should we all just drink the Hemlock now or later?

What a strange state of affairs, or so-called knowledge.  One wonders:  Did Anthony Fauci look at his crystal ball or Ouija board one night and divine that this novelty virus obeys simple symbols the same way most people adhere to “Keep Out: Private Property!” signs?  Why should we all be praying for a “silver bullet” vaccine when we’re constantly being told that the virus is changing all the time as it forages its invisible way across the planet?  Who really thinks — besides the Faucist, Gates, DARPA, or WHO crowd — that a COVID-19 vaccine will make a lick of difference against the next coronaviral mutation?

Old McDonald had a Big Pharma…

Bobbing up-and-down in a horizonless Sea of dis-to-misinformation, I would like to suggest a straw hypothesis concerning this current coronaviral “Cloud of Unknowing.”  Comically, perhaps, this hypothesis relies, in part, on a USA Today investigative series:  “Inside America’s Secretive Biolabs,” May 28, 2015. (Sorry, New York Times:  you got scooped by a cartoon newspaper!  NYT=WMD, where “D”=”disinformation”?).

The USA Today report stemmed from the October, 2014 suspension of all “gain-of-function” research in American “high containment” laboratories; i.e., Bio-Safety Level Labs 3 and 4, a.k.a. BSL-3 and BSL-4.  “Gain-of-function” studies are specifically aimed at enhancing coronaviruses in terms of both virulence and transmissibility, ostensibly to better understand how viruses mutate and proliferate in the “wild.”  Apparently, until the intervention of American BSL-3 labs, where “gain-of-function” studies occur, known coronaviruses were quite lazy and furtive by nature.  In fact, since 9/11, there has been a rather wild proliferation of BSL-3 labs in the United States, to the tune of over 1500 such facilities, and in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia.  The official narrative states that post-9/11 fears of “Bioterrorism” warranted significantly amped-up research on weaponizable pathogens.

Now, according to the USA Today investigation, there was such a preponderance of accidents and safety violations in U.S. “high containment” labs that a decision was reached — invisibly, appropriately enough — to halt all “gain-of-function” research.  Again, “gain-of-function” research specifically refers to coronaviruses. This is interesting to note, because “gain-of-function” activities began again in early 2018 (The Lancet, February 2018: “Ban on gain-of-function studies ends.”).  The Lancet article parenthetically noted above is worth a look:  it mentions that new protocols had been established for “funding research involving pathogens with enhanced pandemic potential.”

OK: as every Who in Who-ville knows, the current coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China…Wait, wait:  That was just a joke — but don’t infect your lungs by laughing too hard at the punch!  Nevertheless, given the “secretive” American mania for “gain-of-function” coronavirus experimentation at God-only-knows how many BSL-3 labs (and old Doc Fauci probably doesn’t even know the half of it), it appears more than likely that the current brand of coronavirus snuck out of a lab born-and-genetically modified in an all-American Biolab.  After all:  accidents happen — especially when unregulated scientists all over the country are given license to enhance potentially pandemic pathogens!  And the Brand prayed on

All of which is not to say with any degree of absolute certainty that this is the most likely scenario:  that an “enhanced” or even “weaponized” coronavirus escaped from an American “high containment” laboratory.  However, it is worth noting that the risk of being “de-platformed” these days is probably even greater than getting bit by this “novel” bug, so one’s choice of words is becoming, more and more, a real “roll of the dice.”

Now, all of the aforesaid notwithstanding:  What about this flimsy mask masquerade in America?  Is it Mardi Gras all the time now?  Maybe a Haz-mat suit might do the job a bit better?  Who’s fooling who?  On a more serious note:  the “mask” is an unquestionable symbol, or signal, like a “flag” for a flag-humping patriot, sometimes known as a “Jingo! —  See, I’m infecting No One, and No One can infect Me, because I got my Goddamn mask on!”  One wonders, amidst all of these coronaviral spectacles:  Is constantly injecting oneself with mis-to-disinformation tantamount to Bliss?

Finally, and I do not mean to be unduly derisive, as there is so much Nonsense — besides the obvious “Covidiocy — going on:  Shouldn’t United States Health officials be telling all Americans to enhance their own immune systems?  Why rely on Big Pharma — and stop injecting your bodies with “fast food?”  What if Saint/Doctor Fauci decreed, from his pontifical perch, that we should all cut McDonald’s out of our diets if we want to live healthier, happier lives?  Well, the Faucist Fauci would be sacked from his very comfortable job of 35 years in a nano-second if he so said — which is why he and his ilk never make this most obvious connection.  Instead, it’s all just “Gobble down your Big Macs with Super-sized High-fructose corn-syrup Sodas and wait for the Vaccine; in the meantime, maybe wash your hands more, and wear a fucking mask in Public; frankly, we’re sick and tired of looking at the Face of the People!”  We, the “Sick People.”  I feel like there are more than a few pitchfork tines being sharpened out there, in the “wild,” and I do hope that this sickening story has a more than less happy ending.

By the way, to return to the opening, eponymously interrogative introduction of this savage foray into the mis-to-disinformationalist realms of coronaviralism, I would like to quote the answer to that teaser question from none other than obviously weird Hollywood icon Charlton Heston’s character, Detective Frank Thorn, in the film:  “My God:  it’s PEOPLE!”

The Worst Literal Hitler Ever

So, the GloboCap-Resistance Minneapolis Putsch appears to have not gone exactly to plan. Once again, Trump failed to go full-Hitler, despite their best efforts to goad him into doing so. They gave it quite a good shot, however. It was more or less a textbook regime-change op, or “color revolution,” or whatever you call it. All the essential pieces were in place. All they needed Trump to do was declare himself dictator and impose martial law, so the generals could step in and remove him from office.

Unfortunately for the Resistance, Trump didn’t do that. Instead, he did what he usually does, which is make a total ass of himself on international television. Which … OK, was cringeworthy, but didn’t quite provide the GloboCap gang with the pretext they needed to perp-walk him out of the Oval Office. Which, needless to say, was incredibly frustrating. After four long years of propaganda foreplay, there we were, finally at the moment of truth, and Adolf goes and loses his erection.

This guy is the worst literal Hitler ever.

Still, as far as regime-change ops go, and given that this one was a domestic operation, so trickier than the usual foreign version, I’d give the Resistance a B+ for effort.

Now, before my “conspiracy theorist” readers get too excited about where I’m going with this column … no, this was not a “fake” uprising. There was an authentic uprising at the center of it. There’s always an authentic uprising at the center of every regime-change op, or at least the type that GloboCap has been carrying out and attempting recently. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, the Ukraine, Bolivia, Venezuela; these things go pretty much by the numbers.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how that works.

First, you need your civil unrest, large-scale protests, rioting, looting, indiscriminate violence, and so on. Any number of “trigger events” will be sufficient to get this going. Once it is, you can grow it and focus it. A lot of this unrest needs to be authentic, so it’s best to conduct an overwhelming multi-year propaganda campaign to delegitimize and demonize your target as some sort of treasonous Hitlerian monster who’s responsible for every major problem in the country. That way, no matter which trigger event gets things going, it will be his fault.

You will want your local government officials to allow this civil unrest to go on until it reaches the point where rioters and looters are rampaging through the hearts of cities, raiding both high-end corporate chain stores and local mom-and-pop-type businesses, and brutally assaulting their defenseless proprietors. This does not mean that these local officials have to restrain or stand down their cops. On the contrary, you want them to unleash their cops, on the protesters, rioters, and TV reporters (during their “live” reports, if possible), and just generally beat the living crap out of everyone. The goal is to generate as much hatred as possible against the regime you are trying to change, and to pressure your designated Hitler-target into losing his patience and overreacting, so you want things to get extremely ugly.

Then, you unleash the power of the media to whip folks up into a mindless frenzy of rage against your designated Hitler. You have your “respectable” pundits publish articles calling for his removal from office. You get the military (and former military) to start making noise about how your Hitler is out of control and on the brink of fascism. Then you wait for your Hitler to overreact and attempt to call in the military and impose some form of martial law, at which point you can safely depose him, and pretend that democracy has won the day.

The media is essential here, because you need to convince the majority of the public (i.e., not just the people protesting and rioting) that things have gotten so out of control, and your imaginary Hitler has gotten so dangerous, that a military coup is the best solution.

What you’re looking for are headlines like these:

“We are teetering on a dictatorship” — CNN

“‘Words of a dictator’: Trump’s threat to deploy military raises spectre of fascism” — The Guardian

“Donald Trump is Trying to Start a Race War” — Rolling Stone

“Remove Trump Now” — Slate

“The Trump Presidency is Over.” — The Guardian

“Trump Must Be Removed” — The Washington Post

Also, while the media are doing their thing, you want to get any former members of the intelligence community (or the secret police) to issue public statements like this:

There should be no place in American society, much less in our government, for the depravity being demonstrated daily by Donald Trump. Members of his Cabinet who enable such behavior are betraying their oath of office by supporting an increasingly desperate despot.

John Brennan, former CIA director

Then you bring the politicians and the military in. This kind of language will usually do it:

“The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens. I fear for our country tonight and will not stop defending America against Trump’s assault.” — Senator Ron Wyden

“These are not the words of a president. They are the words of a dictator.” — Senator Kamala Harris

“‘There is a thin line between the military’s tolerance for questionable partisan moves over the past three years and the point where these become intolerable,” a retired general said.” — The New York Times

“We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution … We can unite without [Trump], drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.” — General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, former Secretary of Defense

Once the generals have started in growling, you get the media to hype that, hard. Headlines like these will get people’s attention:

“Revolt of the Generals” — The Washington Post

“The Officers’ Revolt” — Slate

“President Donald Trump is facing an unprecedented revolt from the elite corps of ex-military leaders and presidents …” — CNN

“The US president’s desire to act the strongman poses urgent questions that America’s generals, voters and allies must all answer” — The Guardian Editorial Board

If you can, it is always a really nice touch if you can drum up … oh, let’s say 280 former national security officials who are really concerned about the state of democracy and “the misuse of the military for political purposes,” and get them to spontaneously call each other up and decide to write a letter together accusing your Hitler of “dividing Americans,” which the media can then disseminate, widely.

And, of course, what you need for the “educated classes” is an official propagandist like Franklin Foer (who broke the big story about the non-existent “Trump-Russia server” back in 2016 and was rewarded for his service to GloboCap with a lucrative staff writer position at The Atlantic) to come right out and explain that what’s happening is a textbook regime-change operation (because you don’t have to dupe the “educated classes,” most of whom will already be on your side). Something more or less like this:

Twitter’s decision to label Trump’s posts as misleading was a hinge moment … once Twitter applied its rules to Trump — and received accolades for its decision — it inadvertently set a precedent … a cycle of noncooperation was set in motion. Local governments were the next layer of the elite to buck Trump’s commands. After the president insisted that governors ‘dominate’ the streets on his behalf, they roundly refused to escalate their response. Indeed, New York and Virginia rebuffed a federal request to send National Guard troops to Washington, D.C. Even the suburb of Arlington, Virginia, pulled its police that had been loaned to control the crowd in Lafayette Square. As each group of elites refused Trump, it became harder for the next to comply in good conscience. In Sharp’s taxonomy, the autocrat’s grasp on power depends entirely on the allegiance of the armed forces. When the armed forces withhold cooperation, the dictator is finished.

As I said, it went pretty much right by the book.

After four long years of official propaganda designed to convince the Western masses that Donald Trump is literally Hitler, GloboCap, the liberal Resistance, and the corporate media all did their best to harness the authentic protests and rioting that routinely follow the murder of an unarmed Black person by the cops, and use it to remove him from office. It would have been a spectacular catharsis, a fitting climax to the War on Populism, but Trump refused to play his part … so, OK, maybe he’s not as dumb as I thought, or at least not totally suicidal.

No matter, it’s still a big win for GloboCap. Forcibly removing Trump from office is, and has always been, gravy. The main goal of the War on Populism is to delegitimize and demonize him, and everyone who voted for him (and Jeremy Corbyn, and even Bernie Sanders, and everyone who voted for them). Trump is just a symbol, after all. It’s the dissatisfaction with global capitalism (and its smiley, happy, valueless values, and its post-ideological ideology) that GloboCap is determined to crush, so they can get back to the unfinished business of restructuring the entire Middle East, and anywhere else that’s not playing ball, and dissolving what is left of national sovereignty, and transforming the world into one big marketplace, where there will be no fascists, no evil Russians, no religious extremists, no racist statues, no offensive movies, or books, or artworks, no more unauthorized ass-clown presidents, and everyone will be “contact-traced” with their digital health-certificate implants, and the children will stand inside their little “social-distancing” boxes and circles and sing the Coca-Cola theme song through their anti-virus masks at school …

Sorry … I got a little off-track there. I forgot that this was strictly about racism, and police brutality, and nothing else. I’ll try to stick to the script from now on, but it might be difficult, given my “privilege.” Maybe, if I wrapped myself in kente cloth and got down on my knees in public, that might help me get my mind right. Or, I don’t know. What do you think?

Joe Biden Suffers Massive Stroke!

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden suffered a massive brain hemorrhage today as he practiced reciting the days of the week for upcoming debates with President Trump. Campaign staff members say it will not affect his work, and insist he has no plans to withdraw from the presidential contest, unless “something serious happens.”

“We’ve been through this before,” explained senior advisor Symone Slanders. “Joe will have a stroke or two before breakfast, but by mid-morning he’s his old self again, sniffing our hair and fondling the volunteers. It’s nothing to get upset about, and we frankly resent attempts by Donald Trump to politicize it.”

Reached for comment at Bethesda Naval Hospital where he was having a brain installed, Biden said, “old people are just as sharp as senile people,” and expressed gratitude for get-well calls from Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman.

Although his campaign has come under fire in recent weeks for lacking energy, Biden now claims that he “has the momentum” against Donald Trump, because of a surge in the ranks of the “enthusiastic Biden voter.” To date, reporters have been unable to speak to such voters, because of strict visitation restrictions at state mental hospitals. Luckily, a Legalienate reporter working undercover has smuggled out recorded interviews with ardent Biden supporters, who give a whole new meaning to the term, “committed” voter.

“Sure, I’m enthused about him. Why not? I like the way he curses out voters who have issue questions and tells them to vote for Trump. It’s refreshing,” said one masochist.

“I like his random babbling,” said another. “I haven’t seen anything like that since Reagan, although GW had his moments, of course. But Bush was merely catatonic. With Biden, you’ve got the verbal diarrhea and the mangled syntax all in one package. He’s the best!”

“For me, it’s all about the issues,” said a thoughtful schizophrenic. “Biden’s not above hallucinating, like with the whole WMD business in Iraq. Lots of people in here see things, too, but Biden actually made a career of it. He’s living proof that no one is too deluded to make a difference. It’s so validating!”

Meanwhile, more pragmatic Biden voters are taking a page from Trump’s rhetorical playbook, chanting, “Lock him up!” every time their candidate delivers another gaffe. This has given rise to the “basement strategy”; i.e., keeping the doddering Biden entombed in a dimly lit basement, while a nation without national health insurance recoils in shocked horror watching the Trump administration implode under its innovative “let ‘em drink bleach” approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a clash of the titans,” says media consultant Harry Scene, “the village idiot against the demented degenerate. May the best fraud win!”

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Virus

God help us all.  The acrid stench of death wafts through the air.  I cough, choke, every breath is an effort, and non-stop nausea portends retroperistalsis.  The ceaseless, somber wail of ambulance sirens permeates every fiber of my being.  They are busy non-stop, blasting through the streets, hauling the dying and the dead to overflowing Tucson, Arizona hospitals.  Soon they’ll be burning piles of corpses in the streets.  There is nowhere to hide.  My neighbor has become my potential assassin.  I avoid her, and the virus which likely infects her, like the plague. Covid-19 changed everything…wait, I’ve heard something like that before…

In truth, none of the drivel in the first paragraph is happening.  What’s more, I don’t think I’ve heard a single siren in at least a couple of days.  And now I’m asking myself why it is that, from the beginning of this pandemic fiasco, I’ve had that old 9-11 queasiness, uneasiness, and the certainty that there’s a lot more going on with this Covid-19 hysteria than they’re likely to discuss on MSNBC, FOX, PBS, or anywhere else in the corporate media.

Mainstream misinformation must occasionally be watched, if only to keep abreast of which lies are told most often, morphing them magically into truth.  Outside my window, barely a car goes by.  The silence of the azure sky broken by flying destroyers of life from the local Air Force base and an occasional but rare commercial flight.  Seekers of truth learn early on that a well-paid journalist is not someone to be trusted or taken seriously.  Information must be found elsewhere.  My frightened, lonely, isolated neighbors haven’t yet learned this, and eagerly buy whatever their favorite MSM mouthpiece is selling.  They don’t yet know that our last vestiges of personal freedom are vanishing like farts in a breeze while they cower under surgical masks and dutifully stand on sidewalk markers like Pavlovian dogs, awaiting a chance to purchase dwindling supplies from favorite merchants.

After living through the Corporate Assassination Years, and the deaths of several Kennedys, King, X, Evers, Lennon, Wellstone, and a dream…and after witnessing the unlimited violence which our overlords didn’t hesitate to use on their own “human resources” back on September 11th, 2001, and after living my entire life through an almost constant string of bogus wars for profit, waged based on lies, and complete with the most heinous, murderous weapons ever conceived by man, I can smell another kick in the groin and sharp stick in the eye from a mile away.  And there is no doubt that we’ve all been kicked and stuck in the most heinous and deceitful manner imaginable.

The current official lies are blatant and easy to recognize by those whose eyes refuse to look away and whose ears will not feign deafness.  The actual truth is not so easy to discover, and will likely never be known.  Right out of the gate, it looks likely that the Covid-19 virus originated in a lab, likely in the U.S.A. but possibly China.  So the question that begs answering is; “Was it released on purpose or accidently?”  And no matter which answer you choose, the follow-up query would be; “What new paradigm are our overlords about to shove up our collective asses without so much as a kiss?”

All we can and must do is question the official dialog.  Is it possible that isolation is the very worst method of treating the virus, as many doctors and scientists believe?  With very little build-up of natural immunity, isn’t this virus going to have fresh fleshy territory to conquer for the next decade?  Is this a perfect example of Disaster Capitalism, and are we being conditioned for yet another major erosion of our personal liberty?  Why are the W.H.O. and the C.D.C.  purposely falsifying Covid-19 death figures when actual causes of death in the elderly are seldom clear?  Could it be true that these organizations are just fronts for Big Pharma?  Does Bill Gates and his insane infatuation with mandatory vaccination play into this equation?  Will cash soon be naught but a memory, as digital currency takes its place, and will all of our net worth, credit cards, geographical location, and personal history become part of our digital I.D. and altered genetic makeup, delivered via one of Bill Gates’ mandatory vaccines?  Human GMOs?  Are the trashing of the world economy and the promised free government money just the first steps toward U.B.I. (universal basic income), and the globalists’ wet dream of a docile human slave force (aka human resources) 7 billion strong?  And the most important question of all; What’s a poor boy to do?

The answer is obvious.  The answer is clear.  Stop worrying and love the virus.  The globalists just might not be all that evil and heinous after all.  Be good citizens.  Practice social distancing whenever you’re told to do so.  Hoard paper products.  Cower and hide in your homes as instructed, and stay tuned in to your favorite “news” personalities.  When they roll out the all new revolutionary vaccine, make sure you line up (6 feet apart) to get yours.  To resist would mean the loss of your monthly U.B.I. stipend, your right to travel freely, and your right to mingle with others.  A New World Order will mean lots of social improvements.  You will no longer have to fear getting lost in the woods, for your whole body will be permanently impregnated with G.P.S.  And potentially…no more hunger or homelessness…no more wars…and no more of that pesky idea that has plagued the minds of dissidents and contrary humans without mercy since we climbed down from trees and started carrying clubs.  That’s right…Freedom.  It’s way overrated.  Take it seriously, and it’ll likely get you arrested or killed.  Just get in line, do what you’re told, and every little thing’s gonna be all right.

Damn!  I just heard Richie Havens’ Woodstock rendition of “Freedom” playing in the back roads of my mind. Nice tune, but it’s hard to understand why he got so worked up over a little thing like freedom.  Go figure!

Brave New Normal

So the War on Populism is finally over. Go ahead, take a wild guess who won.

I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t the Russians, or the white supremacists, or the gilets jaunes, or Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult, or the misogynist Bernie Bros, or the MAGA-hat terrorists, or any of the other real or fictional “populist” forces that global capitalism has been waging war on for the last four years.

What? You weren’t aware that global capitalism was fighting a War on Populism? That’s OK, most other folks weren’t. It wasn’t officially announced or anything. It was launched in the summer of 2016, just as the War on Terror was ending, as a sequel to the War on Terror, or a variation on the War on Terror, or continuation of the War on Terror, or … whatever, it doesn’t really matter anymore, because now we’re fighting the War on Death, or the War on Minor Cold-like Symptoms, depending on your age and general state of health.

That’s right, folks, once again, global capitalism (a/k/a “the world”) is under attack by an evil enemy. GloboCap just can’t catch a break. From the moment it defeated communism and became a global ideological hegemon, it has been one evil enemy after another.

No sooner had it celebrated winning the Cold War and started ruthlessly restructuring and privatizing everything than it was savagely attacked by “Islamic terrorists,” and so was forced to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and kill and torture a lot of people, and destabilize the entire Middle East, and illegally surveil everybody, and … well, you remember the War on Terror.

Then, just as the War on Terror seemed to be finally winding down, and the only terrorists left were the “self-radicalized” terrorists (many of whom weren’t even actual terrorists), and it looked like GloboCap was finally going to be able to finish privatizing and debt-enslaving everything and everyone in peace, wouldn’t you know it, we were attacked again, this time by the global conspiracy of Russian-backed, neo-fascist “populists” that caused the Brexit and elected Trump, and tried to elect Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, and loosed the gilets jaunes on France, and who’ve been threatening the “fabric of Western democracy” with dissension-sowing Facebook memes.

Unfortunately, unlike the War on Terror, the War on Populism didn’t go that well. After four years of fighting, GloboCap (a/k/a the neoliberal Resistance) had … OK, they had snuffed both Corbyn and Sanders, but they had totally blown the Russiagate psyop, and so were looking at four more years of Trump, and Lord knows how many of Johnson in the U.K. (which had actually left the European Union), and the gilets jaunes weren’t going away, and, basically, “populism” was still on the rise (if not in reality, in hearts and minds).

And so, just as the War on Populism had replaced (or redefined) the War on Terror, the War on Death has been officially launched to replace (or redefine) the War on Populism … which means (you guessed it), once again, it’s time to roll out another “brave new normal.”

The character of this brave new normal is, at this point, unmistakably clear … so clear that most people cannot see it, because their minds are not prepared to accept it, so they do not recognize it, though they are looking right at it. Like Dolores in the Westworld series, “it doesn’t look like anything” to them. To the rest of us, it looks rather totalitarian.

In the span of approximately 100 days, the entire global capitalist empire has been transformed into a de facto police state. Constitutional rights have been suspended. Most of us are under house arrest. Police are rounding up anyone not cooperating with the new emergency measures. They are pulling riders off of public transportation, arresting people whose papers aren’t in order, harrassing, beating, intimidating, and arbitrarily detaining anyone they decide is “a danger to public health.”

Authorities are openly threatening to forcibly pull people out of their homes and quarantine them. Cops are hunting down runaway grandmothers. They’re raiding services in churches and synagogues. Citizens are being forced to wear ankle monitors. Families out for a walk are being menaced by robots and Orwellian drones.

Counterterrorism troops have been deployed to deal with non-compliant “rule breakers.” Anyone the U.S. authorities deem to have “intentionally spread the coronavirus” can be arrested and charged as a coronavirus terrorist. Artificial intelligence firms are working with governments to implement systems to log and track our contacts and movements. As a recent Foreign Policy article put it:

The counterterrorism analogy is useful because it shows the direction of travel of pandemic policy. Imagine a new coronavirus patient is detected. Once he or she tests positive, the government could use cell-phone data to trace everyone he or she has been in close proximity to, perhaps focusing on those people who were in contact for more than a few minutes. Your cell-phone signal could then be used to enforce quarantine decisions. Leave your apartment and the authorities will know. Leave your phone behind and they will call you. Run the battery down and a police car will be at your door in a manner of minutes …

I could go on, but I think you get the picture, or … well, you either do or you don’t.

And that is the really terrifying part of the War on Death and our “brave new normal” … not so much the totalitarianism. (Anyone who’s been paying attention is not terribly shocked by GloboCap’s decision to implement a global police state. The simulation of democracy is all fine and good, until the unwashed masses start to get unruly, and require a reminder of who’s in charge, which is what we are being treated to currently.)

No, the terrifying part is how millions of people immediately switched off their critical faculties, got into line, and started goose-stepping, and parroting hysterical propaganda, and reporting their neighbors to the police for going outside for a walk or jog (and then sadistically shrieked abuse down at them like the Goodbye Jews Girl in Schindler’s List as they were wrestled to the ground and arrested).

They are out there, right now, on the Internet, millions of these well-meaning fascists, patrolling for signs of the slightest deviation from the official coronavirus narrative, bombarding everyone with meaningless graphs, decontextualized death statistics, X-rays of fibrotic lungs, photos of refrigerated morgue trucks, mass graves, and other sensationalistic horrors intended to short-circuit critical thinking and shut down any and all forms of dissent.

Although undeniably cowardly and sickening, this kind of behavior is also not shocking. Sadly, when you terrorize people enough, the majority will regress to their animal instincts. It isn’t a question of ethics, or politics. It is purely a question of self-preservation. When you cancel the normal structure of society and place everyone in a “state of emergency” … well, it’s like what happens in a troop of chimpanzees when the alpha chimp dies or is killed by a challenger. The other chimps run around hooting and grimacing until it’s clear who the new dominant primate is, then they bend over to demonstrate their submission.

Totalitarians understand this. Sadists and cult leaders understand this. When the people you are dominating get unruly, and start questioning your right to dominate them, you need to fabricate a “state of emergency” and make everyone feel very afraid, so that they turn (or return) to you for protection from whatever evil enemy is out there, threatening the cult, or the Fatherland, or whatever. Then, once they’ve returned to the fold, and stopped questioning your right to dominate them, you can introduce a new set of rules that everybody needs to follow to prevent this kind of thing happening again.

This is obviously what is happening at the moment. But what you probably want to know is … why is it happening? And why is it happening at this precise moment?

Lucky for you, I have a theory.

No, it doesn’t involve Bill Gates, Jared Kushner, the WHO, and a global conspiracy of Chinese Jews defiling our precious bodily fluids with their satanic-alien 5G technology. It’s a little less exciting and more abstract than that (although some of those characters are probably part of it … all right, probably not the Chinese Jews, or the Satanic-Alien Illuminati).

See, I try to focus more on systems (like global capitalism) than on individuals. And on models of power rather than the specific people in power at any given time. Looking at things that way, this global lockdown and our brave new normal makes perfect sense. Stay with me now … this gets kind of heady.

What we are experiencing is a further evolution of the post-ideological model of power that came into being when global capitalism became a global-hegemonic system after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In such a global-hegemonic system, ideology is rendered obsolete. The system has no external enemies, and thus no ideological adversaries. The enemies of a global-hegemonic system by definition can only be internal. Every war becomes an insurgency, a rebellion breaking out within the system, as there is no longer any outside.

As there is no longer any outside (and thus no external ideological adversary), the global-hegemonic system dispenses with ideology entirely. Its ideology becomes “normality.” Any challenge to “normality” is henceforth regarded as an “abnormality,” a “deviation from the norm,” and automatically delegitimized. The system does not need to argue with deviations and abnormalities (as it was forced to argue with opposing ideologies in order to legitimize itself). It simply needs to eliminate them. Opposing ideologies become pathologies … existential threats to the health of the system.

In other words, the global-hegemonic system (i.e., global capitalism) becomes a body, the only body, unopposed from without, but attacked from within by a variety of opponents … terrorists, extremists, populists, whoever. These internal opponents attack the global-hegemonic body much like a disease, like a cancer, an infection, or a virus. And the global-hegemonic body reacts like any other body would.

Is this model starting to sound familiar?

I hope so, because that is what is happening right now. The system (i.e., global capitalism, not a bunch of guys in a room hatching a scheme to sell vaccines) is reacting to the last four years of populist revolt in a predictable manner. GloboCap is attacking the virus that has been attacking its hegemonic body. No, not the coronavirus. A much more destructive and multiplicitous virus … resistance to the hegemony of global capitalism and its post-ideological ideology.

If it isn’t already clear to you yet that this coronavirus in no way warrants the totalitarian emergency measures that have been imposed on most of humanity, it will be become clear in the months ahead. Despite the best efforts of the “health authorities” to count virtually anything as “a Covid-19 death,” the numbers are going to tell the tale. The “experts” are already memory-holing, or recalibrating, or contextualizing, their initial apocalyptic projections. The media are toning down the hysteria. The show isn’t totally over yet, but you can feel it gradually coming to an end.

In any event, whenever it happens, days, weeks, or months from now, GloboCap will dial down the totalitarianism, and let us out, so we can go back to work in whatever remains of the global economy … and won’t we all be so very grateful! There will be massive celebrations in the streets, Italian tenors singing on balconies, chorus lines of dancing nurses! The gilets jaunes will call it quits, the Putin-Nazis will stop with the memes, and Americans will elect Joe Biden president!

Or, all right, maybe not that last part, but, the point is, it will be a brave new normal! People will forget all that populism nonsense, and just be grateful for whatever McJobs they can get to be able to pay the interest on their debts, because, hey … global capitalism isn’t so bad compared to living under house arrest!

And, if not, no problem for GloboCap. They’ll just have to lock us down again, and keep locking us down, over and over, indefinitely, until we get our minds right. I mean, it’s not like we’re going to do anything about it … right? Didn’t we just demonstrate that? Sure, we’ll bitch and moan again, but then they’ll whip out those pictures of mass graves and death trucks, and the graphs, and all those scary projections, and the Blockwart-hotlines will start ringing again, and …

This Novel Flu-nancial Crisis: COVID-1984?

 All this I was told, for while the operation was performing, I lay in a profound sleep, by the force of that soporiferous medicine infused into my liquor.

— Gulliver’s Travels, “A Voyage to Lilliput,” Jonathan Swift, 1906

Disclaimer:  Any criticisms of the pre-existing condition uncomfortably known as the United States government herein, are absolutely accidental, merely incidental, or entirely intentional.  Moresoever be it known that, as this author is aware of — not that I’m an “authority” technically speaking, but that’s another story, or the story of how I’m not an “authority,” technically speaking, and, in writing — it has come to my attention that the 1917 Sedition Act is still on the books.  So, there’s that.

Furthermore…

Coronaviralism has swept the planet, which is very nearly on lockdown everywhere. “Lockdown” is a prison term.  The local newspaper is hoarse from shouting this news in big bold print on its front pages; so much so that I fear the paper is unnecessarily compromising its own immune system. Haven’t they heard that there’s a new flu going around?

Be that as it may, whether or not the local paper falls ill (is hysteria a symptom?), in America, the tale begins midstream when a “low-energy”-looking President declares the “Great!” United States to be in a sudden state of pandemic national emergency.  How can this be?  Beyond the crashing sounds of Big Money echoing all around the Oval Office as the President reads morosely off a teleprompter, this is a bit of a shock.  After all, this same President has been in the habit of flippantly belittling a new spreading virus that world health experts have been warning about for months.  Now it has landed, with a dull thud, inexorably, on our shores, and the President looks like a jackass (of course, there’s nothing very “novel” about that…).

That was on March 11, 2020, a Wednesday.  A few days before, the Federal Reserve had pulled $1.5 trillion out of its seemingly limitless vault to juice jittery financial markets, but this weighty paper stone thrown into the pond of Big Banks not only failed to make a splash:  it didn’t even cause a ripple.  Therefore, Panic!

Within a day of the President’s declaration, major professional and amateur sports leagues and events are postponed or cancelled until further notice. Within a week, all public gatherings are shrunk from 100, to 50, to 10, and then as close to Zero Mostel as possible, as bars and restaurants are shuttered across the land; “curbside” is the new mot du jour.  It’s like the corpse of Prohibition has been raised from the dead with steroids.

Individual state governments start mandating “shelter in place” orders for all citizens; soon, the entire country will be on lockdown, with most of its businesses either shutdown or idling, to ride the pandemic out… inside.

So the crowds have been disappeared, the Western publics, from the streets.  “No protests, folks!”  As of now, limited activity is being allowed to, from, and in stores considered by the “authorities” to be “essential.”  In other words, we have not yet been banned from COVID-19 incubators like grocery stores.  No more circuses for the foreseeable future, but people still need to eat.  If everyone starves to death, there’ll be no humans left for the virus to infect; besides, cannibalism is surely the most direct way to contract this “novel” virus, so the bread’s still available.

However, the extremity of this over-reaction to the initial under-reaction, at least in America, should also be seen in another context; after all, 2020 is still a quadrennial election year, and the scary shadow of a hoary hint of Socialism was wafting most dangerously in the undecided air, threatening to aerosolize into a sweeping, general, political infection…Thus, the sleepy People, the as-yet-undead but zombie-like consumer-citizenry, had to be swept off the Streets.  Who knew, but they might wake up?

There is, indeed, a profound political dimension to this crisis.  However, to shift gears a moment, I would like to note that the country where the COVID-19 was first reported on, China, has by all accounts contained the outbreak there.  If we believe the statistics coming from China, 81,000 cases were documented, with a little over 3,000 deaths, which is a 27 to 1 ratio.  Obviously, the reports from Iran, heavily sanctioned by the United States, and Italy, which has a massive debt problem (like the U.S.), are indicating higher rates of lethality.  In light of the Chinese experience, it seems like madness for America not to be soliciting immediate Chinese — or Cuban? — expertise in dealing with the virus, yet this does not appear to be happening.  In fact, I have found it difficult to find any real information on COVID-19 at all.  Maybe I’m a poor researcher, but Kim Petersen’s recent article in Dissident Voice was the first I’d heard that there is more than one variant of the virus; that there are, in fact, 5.  How this information is not public knowledge indicates that American officialdom is still not being honest with the American people concerning this new coronavirus.  What’s the hold up?

In a way, it feels like we’re all being “held up,” as in a robbery.  Not at gun point, yet, but that may be coming…

“Breaking news:  Today the Markets rallied, posting all time highs!”  True story, today (March 24).  The Yahoo! page was plastered with older white male Lilliputians erupting from their seats with tiny fists of defiance upraised, yelling, as if the Big Tent Elephant had just nailed a highly improbable somersault, and they were excited! — the tiny elephants.  What a weird, ejaculative moment for coronaviral stricken Markets!  Maybe this feverish delusion of austerity and scarcity is as suddenly over as it began, and all-in-one-day?  Pie-from-the-Fed with whipped cream on top, but it’s just like the Wizard of Oz all over again (or is that Zardoz?), except the cowardly lion tin man figure is Donald Trump:  gee-wizard, and what a Swindle!

Beyond the mind’s-Eye-boggling-optics of this global health crisis, it is also worth noting that this emergency feels like a psychological operation. This is not just an “experiment” on emergent marginal markets (the Ebola crisis of 2014, for example); no, this one’s hitting home, where the “home of the brave” is sung.  You can feel it in the air, and hear it on people’s faces:  Fear.  The overwhelming silence of this pestilence is deafening, it’s so loud!  Something’s going on here, and it’s genuinely weird.  So we’ve had our moment in the Sun, and the COVID-19’s a cloud? What’s next?

The psychosomatic effect of COVID-19 should not be underestimated.  Beyond the flood of information about it, which amounts to a real-time mass Media “blackout” about it, the effect of this blackout is more real than we can imagine.  It’s obviously a “thing,” and a thing to be dealt with, sooner rather than later.  Maybe Cuba can help?  What is equally obvious is that real power devolves to “Who Owns the Streets?”  Wall Street, Main Street, or any street: who owns the “street” is the question.  We, the Lilliputians, have a voice, in fact, have many more Voices.  We could all be just a little bit — louder!  Easier said than done, as they say, I know.  This fact is the ultimate referendum on what is now precisely happening.  If we don’t want a 1984-wellian scenario, and COVID-1984 is just the dress rehearsal for that, then we all need to find a way.  No doubt!  We’re all running on Leo Tolstoy novel time lately, and there was just another death, like so many others, another Ivan Ilyich for the cause, this novel coronavirus story…

“And now, back to that Crazy Virus we’ve all been hearing so much about!”

The War on Death

OK, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. The good news is mainly for authoritarians who missed all the fun during the War on Terror. The news is … welcome to the War on Death!

Yes, that’s right, global capitalism (a/k/a “the world”) is now at war with Death … which is great news for authoritarians! No more bothersome critical thinking. The time for questioning our leaders is over. It’s time to shut up and follow orders. We’re in a global state of emergency, folks! We’re talking lockdowns, soldiers in the streets, abrogation of our constitutional rights, arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions, round-the-clock media fear-propaganda … the whole totalitarian megillah!

What, you’re probably asking, is the War on Death? Well … for those who remember the War on Terror, the War on Death is just like that, except this time the evil enemy is Death … or, all right, maybe not exactly like that, but there are a number of striking similarities.

For one thing, just like the War on Terror, we didn’t start it. Death attacked us! There we were, peacefully going about our global capitalist business, quelling a worldwide “populist” rebellion orchestrated by Russian-backed Nazis, when Death attacked us with a coronavirus … more or less exactly the way that the terrorists attacked us in 2001.

And, just like after those terrorist attacks, the world has united and forcefully responded. No, we haven’t invaded Iraq again (well, actually, we did bomb them a little), but we have locked down almost the entire planet, virtually shut down the global economy, and are scaring the masses into a state of unprecedented mass hysteria.

Police are patrolling the streets of Europe, checking people’s “permission-to-go-outside” papers. In the U.K., soldiers are standing by to assist with “protecting possible quarantine zones,” or to “cope with the breakdown of civil society.” Israel is tapping its formerly secret collection of everyone’s mobile phone records to identify people who might be infected, and assorted “others who need to be quarantined.”

Macron (now relieved of his Gilets Jaunes problem!) is ready to “rule by decree” if necessary. California is “prepared to enact martial law.” The U.S. military is “prepared to deploy in support of potential extraordinary missions,” including “quelling civil disturbances.”

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking Congress for the power to detain people indefinitely. The British Parliament is on the brink of passing an emergency “Coronavirus Bill” that will (among other unsettling provisions) grant authorities the power to arrest and indefinitely quarantine anyone they deem a “potentially infectious person” … or, in other words, pretty much anyone they want.

As if that wasn’t dystopian enough, according to a report in Politico:

Counter-terrorism troops have been redeployed across Italy to beef up police forces throughout Italian cities. Patrol cars are now circulating in every major city in Italy with a monotone male voice warning citizens over a loudspeaker not to leave their residences or risk a ticket. ‘GO BACK INTO YOUR HOMES,’ the voice warns.

But wait, it gets even better than that. In Missouri, prosecutors have charged an idiot who licked some items at Walmart as a “terrorist.” I kid you not, a Coronavirus Terrorist. I could go on, but I think you get the picture (if you need more examples, check this Twitter thread).

The point is, the global capitalist empire (for whatever reasons, real or imagined) has turned on the MINDLESS HYSTERIA machine, and dialed it up as high as it goes. People are in full-blown headless chicken mode. No one (or hardly anyone) is thinking, or listening to dissenting opinions, or paying attention to official statistics, or common sense, or anything else that contradicts the War on Death narrative.

The British tabloids are publishing horror stories about “doctors” standing by and helplessly watching as patients slowly suffocate to death. According to such stories, not only are these “doctors” unable to treat roughly 400 patients with any of the UK’s over 8,000 ventilators, but, apparently, patients whose hearts have stopped (and who are therefore unconscious) are also now capable of “dying in agony” with “terror in their eyes.”

According to The New York Times, the Coronapocalypse has begun in Elmhurst, where the authorities have called in the refrigerator trucks to haul away the mountains of corpses, after 13 people who “had tested positive” died (of something) in the course of one day.

The rest of the corporate media are running moment-by-moment deathometer updates, apocalyptic prognostications of the millions or billions who are possibly going to die, and, of course, the latest on which celebrities have been infected and are clinging to life, or experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. Greta suspects she might have been infected! Prince Charles! Colton Underwood (whoever that is), Tom Hanks, and even Idris Elba! Just the other night, celebrated playwright Terrence McNally (who was 81, and had a history of lung cancer and COPD) was struck down in the prime of his life!

In short, the authorities have whipped the masses into an orgy of shrieking, white-eyed FEAR of this new, evil, “invisible enemy” that is coming to kill them and their families. Millions of people (now confined in their homes) have taken to the Internet to pump up the hysteria, share totally un-sourced personal accounts of the horrors their therapists’ accountants’ doctors have personally witnessed on the war’s “front lines,” and hunt down any infected persons, or potentially infected persons (or otherwise uncooperative persons) who might have gone outside for some air.

So, that’s the good news for you authoritarians! For the rest of us … yeah, not so good.

Oh, I almost forgot the bad news. The bad news is … well, the bad news is Death. The bad news is, you are going to die. I’m going to die. We are all going to die. All of us. We are going to die. We are going to die of … well, something. Cancer. A heart attack. A stroke. The flu. Diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease. Possibly a coronavirus. Maybe even this coronavirus.

In fact, a lot of us are dying right now, according to the Internet, around a hundred per minute … which, it goes without saying, is unacceptable, and a tragedy, and something we need to take drastic action to prevent at all costs. We can’t let these Russian dissension sowers, neo-Nazi accelerationists, and coronavirus-sympathizers confuse us. They want to convince us that Death is, yes, scary, and sad, but inevitable, and natural. How utterly heartless and insane is that?!

No, we need to close our minds to that nonsense. People are dying! This is not normal! Death is our enemy! We have to defeat it! We need to hunt down and neutralize Death! Root it out of its hidey hole and hang it like we did with Saddam!

I’m not kidding. There is a war on, people! GloboCap is taking the gloves off again. (You remember what happens when the gloves come off, don’t you?) So get your mind right and get with the program or get ready to face the consequences.

Relax, I’m not referring to all these tanks (2:34 in the NBC video). I’m referring to other consequences. I am not some crazy conspiracy theorist. Plus, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has assured us there’s no cause for concern:

If and when National Guard or military units are deployed to the streets of L.A., trust me, I’ll let you know.

See? Everything is perfectly fine. No one is preparing for martial law. Those tanks just returned from the Middle East and are “being sent back home to Texas.” This kind of thing happens all the time. It has nothing to do with the global lockdown.

I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely relieved … for a moment there I thought we were in trouble.

Doing Nothing or Nothing Doing?

A few years ago I wrote a piece for Labor Day suggesting that it become a “do-nothing day.”  It was a bit satirical but, of course, had a serious point as satire does.  I had little hope that my recommendation would be adopted.  Now that we are suffering from coronavirus panic and people are being told to shelter in their homes, many are no doubt suffering withdrawal symptoms from having to slow down. After all, how many cookies can you bake, television and movies watch, liquor drink, emails and texts send and receive, toilet paper rolls count, etc.?

I am well aware that this enforced idleness has inflicted enormous economic damage on regular working people world-wide, as I believe it is meant to do. The psychological damage is incalculable. The super-rich will no doubt profit mightily from the coronavirus crisis while the poor and middle-classes, small business owners, and the elderly will suffer greatly. The government will use people’s taxes to bail out big banks and corporations for whom they front. Inflicted suffering has a way of culling the herd and controlling the survivors.  It’s an old story continually updated.

Such suffering notwithstanding, I think the points I made in that do-nothing article are worth repeating and so I will repeat them in an edited way in what follows.  A do-nothing day has now become weeks. I think it important that we create a chrysalis of light and hope in these dark times.  Embracing contemplation might even breed resistance to the evil forces that run the show.

In a country with a Mount Rushmore that celebrates the ruthless and frenetic westward expansion, it might be a bit naïve to suggest do-nothing days are a good thing.  I have nothing against laboring men and women working hard and constantly. I am a laborer myself, and national holidays like Labor Day are great – so many sales for stuff no one needs, and far too many people working on an ostensible holiday.  But I have this ridiculous dream of a time when everyone just does nothing for a while.

To rush less, to idle, and to do nothing sounds so un-American, yet it might be a solution to many of our country’s problems.  Quixotic as it may sound, if every person in the country could be convinced to lay aside his compulsive busyness for a while, this not-doing would paradoxically accomplish so much.

Nothing is a funny word, as Shakespeare well knew.  There is so much to it; “much ado” as he put it.  It is the great motivator.  While it frightens people, it is also the spur to creativity and spiritual renewal.

Samuel Beckett once astutely said, “Nothing is more real than nothing.”

It is the void, the womb, the empty space out of which we come and live out our days.  It is the background silence for all our noise.  Like the rain, it is purely gratuitous.  Such a gift should not be shunned.

By doing nothing I mean the following: no work, just free play; no travel, except by foot or bicycle or by car, if necessary, to get groceries; no use of technology of any sort except stoves for cooking meals to share; no household repairs or projects; no buying or selling of any kind, except for food, including thinking of buying and selling.  You get the point.

This not-doing doing could be called dreaming or simply being.  It’s a tough task indeed, but fitting for the paradoxical creatures that we are. I realize that cemeteries are the only place where the inmates literally do nothing, but we are not there yet.  And anyway, as the word’s origin attests, the inmates are only sleeping.

Nationally, all businesses would be closed except for food stores; factories would be idled, planes and trains grounded.  Only emergency services – hospitals, police, etc. would be allowed to operate.  Quixotic, yes, but our national leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, are surely apt to agree since it would add more days to their schedules of doing “nothing.”

Making my point in a slightly different way, Mark Twain said:

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress.  But I repeat myself.

Think of how much we would accomplish by doing nothing!  People might dream and think; they might hear birds singing or even sing themselves; they might have real conversations; they might relearn that old trick of putting one foot in front of the other called walking; they might feel the peace of a wild idleness; our ecological matrix would have a brief chance to catch its breath; a massive amount of energy would be saved and little carbon would be spewed into the atmosphere (a rather startling statistic could be inserted here).  The benefits are endless — and all from doing nothing.

The immediate downside would be millions of mental breakdowns of the do-something addicts.  Their agony from trying to do nothing would be excruciating.  A friend from another country where they still take siestas and celebrate doing nothing was kind enough to suggest a rapid resolution to this mass madness. Kill these do-somethings.  Since they are not good for nothing while alive, she said, and they can’t help contaminating the earth with their compulsive busyness, why keep them around.

She advocated enlisting the help of the Pentagon for this work since killing is their business and they are good at it.  While acknowledging the aptness of her suggestion, I told her I thought the Pentagon was much too busy killing foreigners to get involved in a domestic caper at this time.  It also raises a number of other practical problems, the biggest being how and where to bury so many busybodies all at once.

Furthermore, people who have so utterly forgotten their childhood’s lovely ability to do nothing are far too tough and set in their skins to be used as food, as another wag of my acquaintance suggested.  Even trying a little tenderizer on their frazzled flesh wouldn’t work.

After all, when Jonathan Swift had that profound idea of how to solve the Irish famine problem, he was suggesting soft and tender one-year-olds be slaughtered and sold to the wealthy since they would make “delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled.”

But older, compulsive, do-something people, set in their ways, while seemingly organic – a good thing these days, I’m told – are tough and sinewy, which is not a very appetizing thought.  I doubt there would be much demand for their meat.

Therefore, in all due respect, let me suggest another way to proceed.  I think it best to let the eternal doers go mad on do-nothing days.  They will bounce back when the go-go days are reinstated but should eventually get so discouraged if the mandatory days of isolation are reinstated that they will do us the favor of then committing suicide.  That way they’ll get what they didn’t want – a quite long stretch of days doing nothing, if eternity has days.  And the survivors can live guilt-free, since all they did was nothing to stop them.

As you can see, the downsides to do-nothing days are small compared to the benefits.  But convincing people to adopt my plan won’t be easy.  Long ago I stopped giving advice to friends and family since whatever I suggested seemed to encourage them to do the opposite.  Yet here I go again, suggesting the benefits of doing nothing.  So I will desist in the name of the law of reversed effort.

I really don’t want to organize a movement to impose this not-doing on people.  I don’t want to establish a cult and be a cult leader. We already have one running things.  I’m really too busy for that.  My schedule is too packed for such a job.  Maybe you have time.  I have too much to do.

I say, “Nothing doing.”

I was once rushing to take groceries to my elderly mother when I ran into the sharp metal edge of a stop sign. Stunned and coming to on my back on the pavement with blood dripping down my face, it bemused me to think how fast I was stopped.  Ever since, I’ve been on the go, laboring away. Keeping very busy.

Nothing showed me his face.  Fear seized me.

Yet here and there I have this dream of do-nothing days.  It’s the dream of a ridiculous man, isn’t it?

Covid-19 Global Lockdown

Let’s try a little thought experiment. Just for fun. To pass the time while we’re indefinitely locked down inside our homes, compulsively checking the Covid-19 “active cases” and “total death” count, washing our hands every twenty minutes, and attempting not to touch our faces.

Before we do, though, I want to make it clear that I believe this Covid-19 thing is real, and is probably the deadliest threat to humanity in the history of deadly threats to humanity. According to the data I’ve been seeing, it’s only a matter of days, or hours, until nearly everyone on earth is infected and is either dying in agony and alone or suffering mild, common cold-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever.

I feel that I need to state this clearly, before we do our thought experiment, because I don’t want anyone mistakenly thinking that I’m one of those probably Russian-backed Nazis who are going around saying, “it’s just the flu,” or who are spreading dangerous conspiracy theories about bio-weapons and martial law, or who are otherwise doubting or questioning the wisdom of locking down the entire world (and likely triggering a new Great Depression) on account of the discovery of some glorified bug.

Obviously, this is not just the flu. Thousands of people are dying from it. OK, sure, the flu kills many more than that, hundreds of thousands of people annually, but this Covid-19 virus is totally new, and not like any of the other millions of viruses that are going around all the time, and the experts are saying it will probably kill, or seriously sicken, or briefly inconvenience, millions or even billions of people if we don’t lock down entire countries and terrorize everyone into submission.

Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for that … this is not the time to be questioning anything the corporate media and the authorities tell us. This is a time to pull together, turn our minds off, and follow orders. OK, sure, normally, it’s good to be skeptical, but we’re in a goddamn global state of emergency! Idris Elba is infected for Chrissakes!

Sorry … I’m getting a little emotional. I’m a big-time Idris Elba fan. The point is, I’m not a Covid-denialist, or a conspiracy theorist, or one of those devious Chinese or Russian dissension-sowers. I know for a fact that this pandemic is real, and warrants whatever “emergency measures” our governments, global corporations, and intelligence agencies want to impose on us.

No, I’m not an epidemiologist, but I have a close friend who knows a guy who dated a woman who dated a doctor who personally knows another doctor who works in a hospital in Italy somewhere, and she (i.e., my friend, not the doctor in Italy) posted something on Facebook yesterday that was way too long to read completely but was a gut-wrenching account of how Covid-19 is killing Kuwaiti babies in their incubators!

Or maybe it was Italian babies. Like I said, it was too long to read.

Also, did you see the story about the baby that was born infected?! Or the stories about the people in their 30s and 40s who were more or less in perfect health (except for, you know, cancer or whatever) who died from (or with) the Covid plague?! And what about all those charts and graphs?! And those pictures of people in hazmat suits?! And those Italians singing Turandot on their balconies?! Doesn’t that just make you want to break down and cry over the sheer humanity of it all?!

No, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Covid-19 is the deadliest global pandemic humankind has ever faced, and that we have no choice but to cancel everything, confine everyone inside their home, wreck the entire global economy, force working class people even further into debt, pour trillions into the investment banks, cancel elections, censor the Internet, and otherwise implement a global police state.

But what if it wasn’t? Just hypothetically. What if this wasn’t the deadliest global pandemic humankind has ever faced? (I’m just posing the question as a thought experiment, so please don’t report me to the WHO, or the CDC, or FEMA, or whoever.) What if this new coronavirus was just another coronavirus like all the other coronaviruses that people die from (or with) all the time? What if the fact that this one is “new” didn’t really mean all that much, or possibly anything at all, because coronaviruses are always mutating, and every year there are a lot of new variants?

Relax, OK? I know this one is different, and totally unlike anything ever encountered by virologists in the history of virology. Remember, this is just a thought experiment. These are just hypothetical questions.

Here’s another hypothetical question. What if all the scary statistics we’ve been seeing (e.g., the death rates, the explosion of “cases,” etc.) weren’t unquestionable scientific facts, but rather, were, like other statistics, based on things like sample groups, and dependent on a host of factors and variables, which you kind of need to know to make sense of anything?

Say, for example, you tested everyone that died of acute respiratory failure on a given day in your Italian hospital, and you discovered that, let’s say, five of those patients had been infected with Covid-19. So you feed that number to the WHO, and they add it to the “total deaths” count, regardless of whether the folks who died had terminal cancer, or heart disease, or had also been infected with the common flu, or some other type of coronavirus. That would probably skew your “death” count, wouldn’t it?

Or, say you wanted to test for the virus to keep track of all the “active cases” and generate an infection rate, but you can’t test hundreds of millions of people, because no one has that many tests So, you test everyone who turns up sick, or thinks they’re sick and demands to be tested, or who touched someone sick who you already tested (though you’re not even sure that your test is accurate) and you come up with, let’s say, ten positive results. So you feed that number to the WHO, and they add it to the “active cases” count, regardless of the fact that everyone knows the real number is likely twenty times higher.

OK, so now you take your “active cases” number and your “total deaths” number and you do the math (keeping in mind that your “total deaths” include those cancer and heart failure people), and you end up grossly underestimating your “infection rate” and “active cases,” and grossly overestimating your “death rate” and the number of “total deaths.”

Just hypothetically, you understand. I am not suggesting this is actually happening. I certainly don’t want to get censored by Facebook (or accidentally censored by some totally innocuous technical glitch) for posting “Covid misinformation,” or tempt the Wikipedia “editors” to rush back to my Wikipedia page and label me a dangerous “conspiracy theorist” … or, you know, get myself preventatively quarantined.

It probably won’t come to that anyway, i.e., rounding up “infected persons,” “possibly infected persons,” and “disruptive” and “uncooperative persons,” and quarantining us in, like, “camps,” or wherever. All this state of emergency stuff, the suspension of our civil rights, the manipulation of facts and figures, the muzzling of dissent, the illegal surveillance, governments legislating by decree, the soldiers, the quarantines, and all the rest of it … all these measures are temporary, and are being taken for our own good, and purely out of an “abundance of caution.”

I mean, it’s not like the global capitalist empire was right in the middle of a War on Populism (a war that it has been losing up to now) and wanted to take this opportunity to crank up some disaster capitalism, terrorize the global public into a frenzy of selfish and irrational panic, and just flex its muscles to remind everybody what could happen if we all keep screwing around by voting for “populists,” tearing up Paris, leaving the European Union, and otherwise interfering with the forward march of global capitalism.

No, it certainly isn’t like that. It is an actual plague that is probably going to kill you and your entire family if you don’t do exactly what you’re told. So, forget this little thought experiment, and prepare yourself for global lockdown. It probably won’t be so bad … unless they decide they need to run the part of exercise where it goes on too long, and people get squirrelly, and start rebelling, and looting, and otherwise not cooperating, and the military is eventually forced to deploy those Urban Unrest Suppression Vehicles, and those Anti-Domestic-Terror Forces, and …

OK, I’m getting all worked up again. I’d better take my pills and get back to Facebook. Oh, and … I should probably check up on Idris! And see if Berlin has gone to “Level 3,” in which case I’ll need to find whatever online application I need to fill out in order to leave my house.

Operation Endless War: The Fog of Afghanistan

A funny thing happened on the way to remote Central Asia following the events of 9/11.  The militarists who spawned this modern “crusade,” the invasion of Afghanistan, decided to call it “Operation Infinite Justice.”  Unfortunately for the philosophers at the Pentagon and their neo-con-liberal friends, this initial title was a resounding failure; further, it was also a telling mis-step foreshadowing the unspectacular disaster that this conflict would soon become and, to this very day, remains, as the third Afghan War administration now considers the Taliban to be legitimate international negotiating partners, just like in the pre-9/11 Clinton era.

The operational phrase itself, “Infinite Justice,” only lasted for the remarkably brief span of 2 weeks before the W. Bush administration stepped down from God’s throne to re-label their exercise in post-9/11 revenge “Operation Enduring Freedom.”  So, what was wrong with a little “Infinite Justice”?  Just about everything.  On the optics side, it was completely offensive to the greater Islamic community, not least because of its crusaderly air of infinite presumption:  “Bad optics, meet even worse manners!”  What were the “War on Terror” architects thinking?  Not very clearly, apparently.  In retrospect, the “Infinite Justice” hiccup was the first sign that the Afghan War project would not end well — if, indeed, it would ever end at all…

However, this operational name fiasco links to something more than mere foggy-headed thinking by Pentagonal metaphysicians; it underscores the deep interconnectedness of the W. Bush and Clinton administrations in the so-called “War on Terror.”

On August 20, 1998, in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky crisis, President Clinton authorized simultaneous cruise missile strikes against “non-state actors” in both Sudan and Afghanistan.  These attacks were code-named “Operation Infinite Reach.”  From a functionally nominal point of view, “Infinite Reach” was the etymological precursor to the ill-fated and bunglingly thought-out “Infinite Justice.”  On a policy level, “Infinite Reach,” despite its oxymoronically limited objectives, set up several key precedents for not only the following Bush administration, but the Obama and Trump administrations as well.

The cruise missile strikes hit an al-Qaeda training facility in Khost, Afghanistan, and the El-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, which was reported to be manufacturing precursor chemicals for chemical weapons use.  Interestingly enough, “Infinite Reach” was explicitly framed as a “pre-emptive” attack; pre-emption, of course, would move on to become the doctrinal signature of Iraq-Attack-Two, with “curve-balled” intelligence about alleged Iraqi WMD playing the role of Exhibit A.  In another foreshadowing, the intelligence on the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant has proven to be just another curve-ball.  The twin attacks were also justified with reference to an “imminent threat” from al-Qaeda, the same language used most recently by Trump officials to frame the drone strike against Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport.

At the time, “Infinite Reach” was judged a “success” by a suddenly fawning Press that otherwise had fangs dripping with blood over the Lewinsky scandal.  Despite the rather obvious “Wag the Dog” optics of the operation, a Newsweek article at the time (August 30, 1998) went so far as to say that Clinton “looked presidential again,” just as the mainstream press has praised Trump on each occasion that he’s authorized cruise missile strikes against Syrian “targets” over dubious claims of chemweaps use by the al-Assad government.  The Newsweek article goes on to quote then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “we are involved in a long-term struggle,” another familiarism from the “War on Terror” — or “terra,” as Bush Junior always, and un-ironically, pronounced it.  Clinton himself is quoted as saying “our target was terror,” while the Newsweek staff writers specifically place their piece in the context of “the war on terrorism.” The entire scaffolding for the soon-to-be “War on Terror,” then, was already in place during Clinton’s second term.  Clinton even set up phase two of the coming conflict, the invasion of Iraq, by signing into law “regime change” as official United States policy towards Iraq on Halloween, 1998.  Spookily enough, the Regime Changelings have been with us ever since, haunting…

It is worth noting, in this connection, that the Clinton administration initially welcomed the Taliban with open arms (so to speak) when they rose to still-contested power in that geopolitical expression of a country known as Afghanistan.  There once was a pipeline deal with a fossil fuel company called Unocal that the Clintonites were presumably quite eager to cash in on by dealing with the upsurgent Taliban, back in 1996.  As unlucky fate would have it, the deal fell through when the Taliban rejected the Unocal bid in favor of an offer for the same by an Argentinian outfit called Bridas, apparently on the advice of — who would have guessed? — Osama bin Laden, the ex-pat Saudi son-of-a-billionaire, himself.  Of course, this story may be the Thousand and First Arabian Night’s Tale, or even the Arab-Afghan Night’s nine-eleventh one…

The Clinton administration, by the way, never officially recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan; in fact, only 3 countries did:  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and, of course, Pakistan, where the Taliban was born and raised.  However, much like the Trump administration today, the Clinton regime then recognized the Taliban as the “non-state actors” in charge of the country, loosely defined.  The recent Trump deal with the Taliban is entirely Clintonesque, and is as fuzzy as it is lukewarm.

But to return to the foggy “Infinite,” as the mathematicians say:  the Barack Obushma administration managed to extend the poor promise of “Infinite Reach” to Libya and Syria, with predictably disastrous results.  Not only do these wars not end well:  they seemingly never end at all.  With all due respect to the Neo-fascist flu now known as the “novel Coronavirus,” the United States has been suffering from an absurdly serious case of Roman Legionnaires disease for decades, with no cure in sight.  Coughing, sneezing, wheezing; wizening yet not wisening, epidemiologists everywhere should take precautionary note:  War is not just a symptom of the disorder, but most likely the cause…