The Talking Dog

June 14, 2020, Late spring of the plague year

I write this on Flag Day, 2020, in the middle of month 5 or 6 of the plague year caused by Covid-19 and year 4 of the Donald Trump plague (btw, it's Trump's 74th birthday, a living testament to how much money can overcome all forms of natural selection in terms of survivability). Thanks to Mr. Trump (and his like-minded oligarchs or supporters of oligarchs in Congress, mostly but not entirely in the Republican Party), we are now simultaneously "enjoying" the Covid-19 plague in which we lead the world in both cases of infected persons and deaths (now over 117,000; although Brazil, with a comparable "right-wing populist leader" committed to valuing his own macho image over the lives of his citizens, is moving up the tables very fast), economic depression (something like 40 million people have filed for unemployment benefits out of a work force of around 160 or 170 million, a staggering real unemployment rate of at least 25% not seen since the depths of the 1930's Great Depression), and now, good old civil unrest (mass protests have broken out in all 50 states and all over the world to specifically protest police violence directed against black people after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in broad daylight and recorded on camera, with the apparent assistance of three other police officers.)

The aftermaths of a series of protests of this nature, which are still going on just about every day in many places, has led to a number of unilateral reforms of policing in many jurisdictions, removal of offensive symbolism (such as toppled statues, removal of Confederate flags by NASCAR, and a sort of non-apology apology from the National Football League to Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement), and discussions of "defunding the police" or even slavery reparations, seen as unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

In my view, we have arrived at a moment of reckoning and inflection we have not encountered probably in living memory of anyone who did not come of age in the 1920s and 1930s, the last time capitalism was having an existential crisis of this magnitude. Then of course, waiting in the wings to launch an audacious program of socialistic measures (that he learned at the feet of the great Al Smith of New York) would be the greatest President of the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saved the American capitalist system from itself during the 1930's Depression and, by cleverly getting the Soviet Union and Great Britain to do much of the bleeding, saved the world from fascism in World War II.

Waiting in the wings now is Joe Biden, who at least served as Vice President to the greatest President of the still young 21st century, the competent technocrat Barack Obama, whose "no drama Obama" personality didn't really permit the sort of bold moves that we got from FDR, even though the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 really did warrant them (complete with prosecutions, of the rapacious financial sector figures responsible for that crisis). But, competent technocrat that he was, the measures that Obama took did manage to stave off a major depression. Until now, of course. By way of example, the running of the Boston Marathon was canceled this year for the first time in 124 years. Many august commercial institutions like J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney and Sears have filed for bankruptcy amidst the covid/Trump depression, and possibly approaching an amazing 25% unemployment rate in two months speaks for itself. Simply put, so many institutions that could survive so much, but not four years of Donald Trump.

And we're just getting the party started. Some commentators have rightly worried that come August, when, simultaneously, moratoria on evictions and extended unemployment benefits expire, economic conditions, as horrible as they are, will only spiral further downward (all while the pandemic still rages).

Only in a shithole and armed madhouse full of racists like the United States would the incumbent President "presiding" over conditions this insanely bad even still be in office, let alone running for reelection as his party's standard-bearer, let alone with a chance (albeit an ever smaller one) of actually being reelected. But the racism here is so ingrained, and even the survival instinct has been overcome by the insane refusal of people to wear face-masks because Der Führer himself refuses to have his macho (I know, I know) image challenged by wearing a face-mask. And thus, the most effective means of cutting down transmission of coronavirus is not being used by vast numbers of people, even as his "government" does other "helpful things" like hijacking medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

I could go on, but there is so much I'd prefer not to think about. This has been, Late spring of the plague year.


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