It’s bad enough to have nihilists around the world blowing things up after their own systems failed. But what accounts for apocalyptic behavior in the United States?
This is no news that Donald Trump is proposing things right out of the dictator playbook, even citing the one really unpleasant thing Franklin Delano Roosevelt did – internment of Japanese-Americans.
Trump doesn’t even know how widely that is condemned, by people who admire FDR. He doesn’t know much, which is his appeal to a generation dumbed down by reality shows with sneering hosts.
I grew up near Trump in Queens. People tell me he was a nasty little kid. Still is.
But he has terroristic help from the Republicans he scorns:
Carly Fiorina made public comments about dissecting embryos for “baby parts.” This has been proven untrue. Tell that to the crazed hermit who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood site in Colorado. I haven’t heard Fiorina apologize for inciting the brute.
The main New Hampshire newspaper endorsed Chris Christie in that state’s primary. At least it wasn’t Trump. But I heard the paper’s editorial writer explaining what a fine leader Christie is. He had no idea that New Jersey is doing terribly financially, and he did not seem to know about the bridge scandal -- people in Christie’s circle backing up the George Washington Bridge.
Isn’t that terrorism? What would happen if Christie were elected – from the clink?
Finally, Lindsey Graham is urging Republicans to take back their party from the unwashed interloper. That’s nice. But Graham and the “establishment” is coming off nearly seven years of overt sabotage to the President and the government.
The motivation was more than politics. It was racial. They could not stomach a smart man with African-American roots as President. Graham and his pals facilitated Donald Trump. Isn't that terrorism?
This just in: a sweet example of Graham saying nice things about Joe Biden, as forwarded by my political friend, George Mitrovich:
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Here’s a song from the Prophet Iris -- Iris DeMent: "Wasteland of the Free:"
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.