As the Justice Department under the “leadership” of Merrick Garland continues to drag their feet in an obvious effort to do anything but indict Trump, more and more evidence mounts against the phony, er, former “president.” The Washington Post reported today that Trump resisted multiple attempts by the FBI to review the documents he has stashed in his home in Mar-a-Lago, even as reported by members of his own crime family. In others words, even the Mindless Minions under the influence of the Degenerate Don knew he had jumped one shark too many and tried to convince him to relent which, of course, he would not do, claiming “their mine.” (See the “Finder’s Keepers/Loser’s Weepers” legal strategy in “Legal Strategies for Dummies”, located just below the “I’m Rubber and You’re Glue” accusation rebuttal strategy.)
Let’s just consider that if you or I were caught with even ONE document marked “Top Secret” we would be immediately shackled and frog marched into a dark-site federal prison so deep that even worms wouldn’t be able to find us until the trial. The Fat Man has HUNDREDS of documents marked “TOP SECRET” in his HOME and they have been there for MONTHS while he has openly sought to fight off the FBI from either getting or even reviewing them! Meanwhile, back at the Justice Department the spineless Garland and the FBI are still “negotiating” with the Orange Chubby over whether he “was going to return them?” (When? After he digitized them? Uploaded them to a secret server as he has done with other potentially incriminating documents? How about sending some of them to his boss, Vladimir who holds the keys to his dreams of building a tower in Moscow or even better, making billions as a member of Vlad’s oligarchy? All reasonable ideas to anyone except the Army of the Willfully Ignorant.) Or whether he won the “their mine” argument, which everyone already knows is moot; they belong to the National Archives and the American people. He can’t even remove a single sheet of toilet paper – which he has already tried to do while boarding Air Farce One!!
Merrick Garland: Stop the milquetoast madness and indict this criminal before he skates yet once more only this time, and this is a real eventuallity, he ruins our democracy in the process for good.
“[The Church] esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind.”
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”
Pastor Greg Locke, of Mt. Juliet’s Global Vision Bible Church, near Nashville, previously told his congregation that he considered Democrats to be “baby butchers.”
Yes, baby butchers. This all for allowing a woman, perhaps a couple, her/their right to choose how to conduct their pregnancy. Of course this insane accusation conjures up visions of…well, you can imagine. “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don’t care how mad that makes you. You can get as p***ed off as you want to. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. They are God-denying demons that butcher babies and hate this nation.” he said in one of his many off-the-rails sermons to his congregants. Even in and among the supernatural world religious minions, Greg Locke is a stand-out. Whether it’s witches in his congregation or demons speaking to him, he wants you to believe he’s all-in on Jesus!
Well I have a declaration for you, Mr. Locke: you can not be a Christian and belong to the Repugnantcan Party; sorry, can’t be done. Jesus simply would not have you. Beyond their inherent racism; their contempt for immigrants, African Americans, and, of course, women, is their policy of handing out guns; assault rifles, huge-capacity magazines for carry ridiculous amounts of ammunition, to any shit-kicking a-hole that wants one. They will not lift a finger – even in view of the unspeakable events we’ve watched unfold in Newtown and now in Uvalde, TX – in order to stave off future events of gun violence. They watch while children are murdered seemingly without a clue as to how to stop this insanity or even slow it down. ”We already have enough gun laws” they’ll tell you. ”None of the gun laws would have prevented this” they ”reason”. “We need less doors and more armed personnel in our schools.” And so it goes on and on while we get only the benefits of their ”thoughts and prayers” which, as you can see, have had absolutely no success. Besides, which American politician’s prayers is Jesus listening to anyway? I’m sure that’s a very short list.
The problem is that Christians like Mr Locke are perfectly ok with the unforgivable carnage their policies cause as long as it gets abortion off of the rolls of legal medical procedures and so they vote overwhelmingly for the ”More Guns” crowd. Unfortunately, the ”More Guns” crowd also comes with the ”More Death” crowd to our school children while they are ”safely” tucked away in their classrooms. Only I don’t remember doors being a problem when I went to grammar school or junior high school or high school and we had lots of doors leading into the schools and, yes, some of them were even unlocked or – heaven forbid – open! We even had windows so you can see inside the school! What I DO remember is that we didn’t have 300,000,000 guns in the hands of, in some cases, very scary people, people that should never be candidates for gun ownership.
The Republicans of today would have you believe that there simply isn’t anything we can do to circumvent the murder of our children in schools because there are too many doors and not enough armed guards! And we also know that Evangelicals vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. Meanwhile, back in the imaginary realm where the spirits and demons play, Pastor Greg is whipping his crowd into a frenzy over abortion rights and paying absolutely no mind to our BORN children being murdered in schools. That is one consistent thing about the GOP and the Religious Right; they care passionately about the unborn but they don’t give a hoot about them once they are born. The problem with this of course is ”What would Jesus do?” Do we mean to believe that he would be ok with voting for people that facilitate the arming of our population at the expense of public safety? At the expense of the lives of children?
What do you think? Should we put pressure on the Religious Right to help protect our BORN children by protesting the GOP’s addiction to gun money?
You don’t get to ”wash your hands” of the blood of the murdered children killed due to their refusal to improve gun laws!
While the Christian right, fundamentalist Christians, the Bishop of San Francisco and all the rest of the ”Funny Hat Club” Catholics are high-fiving each other over their apparent victory (although, I wouldn’t count my embryos just yet) I’m sure they now have their heads under the covers hoping no one will notice their culpability in the slaughter of our children in schools. And so they should; if my elected politicians that I pulled the lever for enacted such a “wall” around the gun lobby, gun manufacturers, trade-show gun dealers and entities, and background checking, you’d better believe I be heading for Switzerland right now. But do you know what, Ken ”Four Planes” Copeland, or Joel ”Giorgio Armani” Osteen (btw: one of the world’s wealthiest evangelists in the whole world!! Jesus would besoooooo proud!), or Franklin ”Bang Bang” Graham, and the rest of the ”blessed ones” that simply can not wait for Jesus to get here, they’re so certain they’ll be leaving with him? You must answer for your support of the GOP and their steadfast unwillingness to do anything about the absurd amount of gun violence in our country. You “Holy Rollers” don’t get to help put these vile excuses for human beings into office and then walk away scott-free. You have blood on your hands that will not be washed off; will not be ”thoughts & prayer-ed” off, will no longer be forgotten. You have the blood of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, graders – 5 & 6 year-old children – mid-schoolers, high schoolers, and many, many more. Their blood be on you and on your children!
How much money do you pour into the coffers of the GOP in order for you to eventually achieve your long-desired theocracy and have Christianity become the founding basis of the country? How many sermons have been peppered with your lies and misrepresentations about the damage being done to our country by liberals, progressives, Democrats, and atheists? How many lies told by the various Ted Cruzs, Josh Hawleys, Greg Abbotts, and all the rest of the Republican ”Murderer’s Row” have you paved over in your sermons and speeches and radio shows in order to smooth over their culpability in Amerika’s mass shootings?
Remember that almost 10 years ago when the unthinkable happened in Newtown, CT resulting in the deaths of TWENTY schools children – babies, really, babies – the Republicans shot down ANY chance at all to even improve the background checking process so that mentally ill would be disqualified from gun ownership! Even that small step would not be allowed to pass. The smallest, almost gestural in nature, was unanimously shot down by the Republicans.
Now you need to step up and take responsibility for the seemingly unending carnage taking place in Amerika thanks to your votes and endless endorsements of Republican candidates.
When Will the American People Finally Wake Up to the Blood on their Hands?
It is beyond time – well beyond time really – for the America people to wake up and take responsibility for the senseless carnage perpetrated against the people and CHILDREN – for goodness sake, CHILDREN – in the United States by gun violence! Specifically I call on the Religious Right, the Fundamentalist Christians of Amerika that financially support, vote for, and are complicit with, the GOP and their immoral policies that ultimately result in the senseless deaths of our people and our children. Amerikans can no longer send their children to school each day and even reasonably expect that they will return home ALIVE!! Our children can’t even attend school and expect that they are protected by us; their parents, teachers, elected officials, and all for the efforts of the Republican party and their selling out of the Amerikan people in order to preserve the cash flowing into their pockets from gun manufacturers, the NRA, Conservative politicians, and the Religious Right. Yes, the Religious “Right.” You phony snake-oil salesmen! You don’t get to support these scum and then exonerate yourselves from the horrors of their policies. You have the blood of these children on YOUR HANDS TOO! Let me hear you say it you phony sycophants: What Would Jesus Do? You fucking hypocrites! You fucking Philistines! I curse you and your families and your houses! Joel Osteen, Ken Ham, Jerry Falwell, Franklyn Graham, and the purveyors of the man-made scripture you preach to the helpless for which they get NOTHING and all the rest of you pernicious hypocrites, you will not – YOU CAN NOT – wash their blood off of your hands! You care so much for the lives of the unborn but not at all for the lives of the born! You purveyors of vacuous, religious nonsense! You false prophets! You have been exposed for the egregious villains you are! Now we can truly see you for who you are! Empty vessels of inequity! Jesus WOULD NOT know you – DOESNOT know you! You are the very Anti-Christs you have forseen!
I can just hear Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Chuck Grassley, Majorie Taylor Green, Donald Trump and the miscreants that support and follow them saying ”Unfortunately todays gun laws wouldn’t have done anything to stop this.” Yes, Ted, you lying piece of shit, but you have had the opportunity the CHANGE the GUN LAWS and you willfully decided not to! You have had the power to CHANGE the gun laws for YEARS and you and your immoral party have refused to do so time and time again knowing that it is only a matter of TIME before this happens again and you’ll be sending out your useless and vacuous ”thoughts and prayers” to yet even more grieving, heart-sick, and broken families. I can only hope that someone will send those same reprehensibly phony thoughts to your family some day. And You, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Cavanagh, Amy Barrett, et al. You fucking phony ”Judges”! You are not JUDGES!! YOU ARE POLITICAL OPERATIVES in black robes. Nothing more! You are responsible for perpetrating more violence and injustice in this country than any ten of the most debased criminals!
I call on ALL Amerikans to rise up and throw these so-called ”CHRISTIAN” hypocrites out of office and take control of our country and re-establish laws of safety, morality, and compassion which we lived with for so long before our government was overtaken by corporate and phony religious fanaticism!!
In trying to parcel out yet another school shooting where four more American children are murdered in their school, I began to anticipate Congress’ response, i.e., their total lack of a response. Sure the standard ”thoughts and prayers” are a given and, to be sure, that has provided some badly needed relief (in the minds of the gun manufacturers) especially those from Ted Cruz, Jeff Pawley, and the other Christian Republicans. However in considering these publicly-elected miscreants I began to ask myself: If one votes for someone that allows the murder of our children to persist without so much as lifting a finger, do I also have their blood on my hands? Projecting that out to other issues, I began to ask myself more questions. The next natural conundrum seemed to be racism. I thought: if I vote for a Senator or Congress person that enacts legislature that makes it harder for people of color to get to the polls and vote, does that make me a racists as well? Furthermore, should I prioritize my own personal issues according to my needs or according to the more important civil needs of, in these cases, pblic safety or equal rights for all?
And so, I put these questions to you: when you vote for someone that supports or legislates laws or policies that are harmful or detrimental to all or a particular class of Americans, do you share in the culpability of these policies and laws. In other words, do you have blood on your hands? what do you think?
Where is their level of outrage they seem to conjure up over LGBTQ or abortion rights?
This will be one of my shortest blogs since I don’t believe that there needs to be very much substantiation for this point. It is completely self-evident as we have experienced over and over again. As The Onion headlines put it after almost every mass shooting, “‘No Way To Prevent This’ Says The Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens”. This is about all we need to know since we are truly the only country where mass shootings are more frequent than Congress passing a bill or a Trump telling the truth.
The fact of the matter is our government is owned by corporate lobbies; lock, stock and smoking barrel. And there is no more powerful lobby than the gun manufacturers and the NRA. In fact there are entire departments of the government that are actually run by the very same corporations and industries they are supposed to be regulating. If that makes any sense to you then you’re probably a Repugnantcan or a “conservative” and also find gun violence unsolvable, climate change to be a liberal conspiracy, and Donald Trump to be an honorable, good man removed from office by rampant voter fraud. If you are anything like the upwards of 80% of Americans that find it the absolute nonsense that it truly is, then you can help do something about it.
Paradoxically perhaps, the only portion of the electorate that we most certainly can’t rely on for any help at all is the phony baloney snake oil salesmen and holy roller crowd of evangelicals and Christian Repugnantcans. For some strange reason all they seem to be able to conjure up (no pun intended) are their “thoughts and prayers”; a gesture of such specious uselessness it has become a joke among the general public. This is the same crowd that would lobby to remove the constitutional rights from entire subsets of the population given the opportunity but couldn’t conjure up the righteous indignation to rally around 20 murdered 1st graders and 6 grammar school teachers. Unfortunately most of their geographic areas of influence are specifically the places where the most fervent gun-crazy, “Second Amendment” fanatics reside and this must be one of the primary reasons for their complicit silence. As I have said before there is no one more full of shit than an evangelical Christian.
Well, except maybe an evangelical Christian politician, that is.
It’s been called treasonous by a U.S. Congressman and veteran of Iraq. A former Navy Seal and now a emergency room doctor lables Trump either a coward or Putin’s puppet in an ad by the Lincoln Project, a political action committee started by prominent Republicans including George Conway, the husband of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul calls Trump’s anemic response to any of Putin’s emboldened moves against US interests “a sign of worsening things to come.” Former National Security Advisor for President Barack Obama Susan Rice is equally suspicious of and puzzled by Trump’s obsequious behavior towards Vladimir Putin. I’m sure the rest of the world is puzzled as well, especially our Nato allies. Puzzled and concerned.
The question puzzling all these people & entities is: why is it that the Pseudo-President, Donald J. Drumpf (I like to use his real name before his grandfather changed it; it seems so much more fitting somehow) always seems to defer to Vladimir Putin and Russian interests? Drumpf contradicted U.S. intelligence reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election in front of the world in Helsinki when he declared that Putin told him Russia did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and so, there it is, no interference. Everyone in the entire world already knew that the Russians did, in fact, interfere in the election and to Drumph’s advantage. In fact, I would go so far as to surmise that the blitzkrieg-style hacking campaign conducted by the GRU out of St. Petersburg was a total and complete success for Putin; he actually succeeded in getting Drumpf elected. Granted, this is speculation however I have no doubts that repeatedly putting 15,000 or so false or misleading messages in front of 150,000,000 Americans on FaceBook more than likely did actually have an effect on people’s voting. Keep in mind that Drumpf won the election on the smallest of margins with Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan going to Drumpf with a total of about 106,000 votes between the three states giving him all 46 Electoral College votes and putting him over the top. In fact, he actually won Michigan with a margin of just around 11,000 votes or 3/10 of one percent! And Drumpf actually lost the popular vote by margin of approximately 2,000,000 votes, not exactly a mandate from the people. Is it really so outlandish to conceive that the Russians could have changed or influenced the votes of just 106,000 people across three states out of a vote tally of 123,724,157 total votes? We’re talking an infinitesimal difference approaching one-millionth of one percentage point in a country where approximately 28% of the people – over a quarter of the population – believe the Bible as literal truth? I think not. In my opinion, Drumpf is in office entirely through the efforts of both Russia and FaceBook. We would do well to remember this as we approach the next election.
Now we learn that the Pseudo-President was told perhaps as long as a year ago that Russia was paying a bounty to Taliban forces to kill American and American Allied soldiers! Or perhaps, and I’m not sure which is worse, he doesn’t bother to read his Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) so he wouldn’t have known about it! Even worse, his advisors seem completely unwilling or unable to bring it up to him or make sure he is aware of this most egregious violation of international law. What do you call a president that doesn’t even bother to read the PDB, the single most important daily document in the country while he sits in the residence watching cable news and Tweeting to his followers? For me incompetent comes to mind fairly quickly, and dereliction of duty, sure, that passed through the grey matter as well. But why, many are asking, would the so-called President of the United States of America, the most powerful country ever to grace the Earth, fold like a cheap suit to a country that President Barack Obama labled a “regional power” and one that has the total gross domestic product of Texas? When asked these questions the administration chooses to kill the messenger and has started a vitriolic campaign against both the New York Times for reporting it and the unidentified leakers that gave the information to the Times. And what, you ask, was the Pseudo-President’s response? Do you really need to ask? Fake news. A hoax. All started by the “disgraced” NewYork Times, as Drumpf commonly characterizes the paper of record for the last 150 years. My reaction? Anytime Drumpf characterizes anything as a hoax or fake news I immediately know it’s probably true and this time is no exception. My “Spidey-senses” are off the charts on this one; I just know it’s true somehow just like I know in my heart that the Mueller Report didn’t exonerate him and found complicity between his campaign and Russia and that, somewhere, out in the ether, there’s a pee-pee tape. But it gets worse, much worse.
During this same period of time, while either in full understanding that Russia was putting a bounty on the heads of American soldiers or in ignorance of it because he was derelict in his duties and didn’t bother to read the PDB – and his advisors were too incompetent or too afraid to point it out – Drumpf has repeatedly tried to get Russia back into the Group of 7 over the objections of the other members. Putin is desperately trying to get Russia back onto the world stage after losing miserably in Afghanistan and after the complete decaying of the Soviet Union, and Drumpf seems to be doing everything he can to assist him. Furthermore, he has pulled U.S. troops out of Syria against the advice of “his generals” as he refers to them, leaving a void that was, of course, filled by Russia. He has also recently announced his intention to draw down U.S. Troop levels in Germany as well, again much to the chagrin of his military advisors, Germany, much of Eastern Europe, and Nato. And who is simply delighted at this prospect? Survey says: Vladimir Putin!
We have never had a president that defers to Russia the way Drumpf does, never. And the most enigmatic question is: why? As as a former KGB agent, Putin is well aware of and certainly an absolute expert in the use compromat, the use of compromising information against an adversary. Knowing Drumpf’s less-than-stellar career in business (he bankrupted casino(s), for goodness sakes. I’ve coached Cub Scouts that can run a casino profitably), his credit record with the major banks (not too pretty good. Not a single U.S. bank will lend him money), and his record of womanizing and divorce is it really beyond the pale to conceive that Putin has information about him that Drumpf would definitely want to keep from the public that he has so completely and totally bamboozled? If he is the business Svengali that he professes to be why does he so desperately want to keep his financial records from the public? Why is he so averse to releasing his education records to the public? He says he went to Wharton but refuses to allow any disclosure of his records there. Even though he knows “all the good words” and has “a really good brain?” Doesn’t add up. Doesn’t seem to make sense.
One thing I can tell you this: if the Dumocrats think they’re going to bury this after Drumpf is out of office, they’d better think again. One of my greatest complaints about Obama is that he dropped any further investigations about the start of the Iraq war even though anyone with a brain knows that Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al., lied us into the war and it should have been investigated and, more than likely, prosecuted. Unfortunately, Obama had his “let’s look forward to the future and not backward” hands-off approach and so no investigation and there are a lot of progressives that were – and still are – incensed about it. Their frustration was made even worse – maddeningly so – by the way the Dems blew the entire impeachment hearings and the Mueller Report. There is a huge resurgence of progressiveness in the country right now and they are not in the mood for letting a potential political criminal walk, and I am at the top of that list. If the Dumos think we’re going to just move on, they are gravely mistaken. Drumpf must be investigated just as any other American would expect to be. If he is the first president to be incriminated and convicted, then let the chis fall where they may.
With “Moscow Mitch” at the helm in the United States Senate there is very little chance of any meaningful gun legislation getting passed of their own accord. Our representatives are going to need some motivation from “we the people” if anything is going to be done about the absurd level of gun violence in this country. For all his constant mumbling about “the American people” and making sure “our” voices are heard, as in the case of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland whom, you’ll remember, Moscow Mitch refused to take up a confirmation vote on until the “American people” had a chance to chime in – right after the election Comrade Trump. This, of course, resulted in the confirmation of ultra-conservative Neil Gorsuch to the court instead. Well I guess the people have spoken. Thanks, “Moscow”…..
However, “Moscow” hasn’t been waiting to hear from the American people regarding the issue of gun control or, if he has, he hasn’t been listening very well since we’ve been screaming it from the rafters for years. America wants gun control; America wants the gun laws tightened up; America wants meaningful, effective, background checks and gun licensing; America wants military-style assault weapons taken off the market, permanently. Seems like, suddenly Moscow Mitch is as deaf as a fence post. Go figure. An overwhelming majority of Americans – and by that I mean 89 – 91 % of Americans – are in agreement on this issue. Ninety-one percent of Americans couldn’t agree on the colors of the flag let alone meaningful gun reform but there it is. And still nothing from Moscow Mitch and the U.S Senate (queue the crickets, please.) So, help me refresh my memory; I’m having some difficulty: what do you call it when a majority of the people are demanding something and the government refuses to act? Oh, well. I’m sure it’ll come to me.
In my complete and utter frustration over the gall of one person (I wouldn’t describe him as a “man”) holding up the possibility of any progress being made on this heart wrenching issue and not a single member of his party raising their voice in any meaningful way, I thought it necessary to take another tack. We’re going to need to hit the GOP where it hurts and, in political circles, that means the pocketbook. And where does the money come from in their pocket books? From their wealthy donors and corporate masters, that’s where. (You’ll have to forgive the dangling adverbs, etc. Writing in the colloquial requires scrapping such grammatical rules.)
Recently Walmart decided to stop selling certain firearms and ammunition in their stores which reach into every nook and cranny of America. In an open letter to their employees, CEO Doug McMillon announced that the nation’s largest retailer would stop selling ammunition used for handguns and military-style weapons, and end the sale of handguns in their stores completely. They would also take the seemingly bizarre step of discouraging their customers from carrying weapons in their stores, even in the “open carry” states. (Yes, dear readers, there really are places where you can carry your Glock down the frozen foods aisle. I guess you just never know when a slightly-grazed antelope is going to spring out of the meat department!)
Now, there can only be one real reason for this abrupt but well-overdue announcement: business. The management – or possibly (most likely?) the shareholders – of Walmart have made a calculated decision: that it is in the best interests of the company to make this bold reversal of policy. After all, McMillon’s raison d’être is improving the financial prospects of the shareholders of the company. That means that this change in policy was seen as such a move and the executive management – including Walmart’s board of directors – agreed. The management of Walmart is betting that this new policy would be offset by any additional goodwill they would realize from their massive customer base. If this is truly the case, then what other companies are out there that might be convinced of this as well? Or more importantly, how many other companies are there that might put the necessary added pressure upon the “Moscow Mitch’s” of the United States Senate to act in kind before they, too, are targeted by their customer base to make a move like Walmart’s? It would seem better (to me at least) to make such changes in policy before the company would be “forced” to against their will.
I had a little birdie, his name was Enza; I opened up my bedroom window, and in flew Enza
Children’s play song from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic
One of the great mysteries of history is why we continue to wipe it from our memories, both individual and collective. In no instance is this more apparent than during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic which killed more Americans than all the wars of the 20th century combined and upwards of 100 million people world wide. And, almost as quickly as it sprang itself onto the world’s population, the world – and America in particular – seems to have forgotten all about it. I don’t recall much if any publicity during 2018, the 100th anniversary of the event though I was diligent in keeping an eye out for it. It never came. I wondered, why?
The actual or exact source of the virus is not really known to researchers or epidemiologists, although it is widely thought to have had its synthesis among Kansas military personnel. On the morning of March 11th, after an initial soldier reported to sick bay with a temperature, aches, and respiratory symptoms, within minutes another reported to sick bay with the same symptoms. By that same evening there were over 100 patients in the ward and within one week the entire ward was filled with over 500 patients all having the same symptoms. Sending soldiers over to Europe – on a military transport barge no less, literally packed with soldiers (see photo above) – only served to accelerate the rate of infection further and spread it out geographically. It is estimated that some 650-675,000 Americas alone died during the pandemic and to make matters worse, this strain of flu was killing young men in the prime of their lives, aged 21 – 29. Unlike many other strains of influenza, this one was killing the most fit and seemingly strongest among us.
The pandemic made a its deadly run from March of 1918 to December of that same year and it was around that time that it began to run its course. After a dip in diagnoses in late spring, early summer, it came back with a terrible vengeance in September and October; especially October. While people all over the country began to mill about again, Philadelphia a standout at this time, they weren’t prepared for what was about to hit them.
The virus had mutated over the summer and became much more successful at penetrating the respiratory membranes; the trachea, lungs, and alveoli, and turning them into blue masses of mush, as one doctor described it. Their bodies were so oxygen deficient their lungs literally scrub the entire body for O2. Their skin turned blue, cyanotic actually, as the system tries to extrude some oxygen, any oxygen, from the facial skin while their lungs are incapacitated, completely incapable of respiring, literally drowning in their own body fluids. And, even more frightening, it might all happen in just one day, 12 hours or even less in some cases. Before a doctor even began to think about what was ailing his patient, they would be dead. It had become a much more competent killer.
The virus began its resurgence in September, the first wave of the newly mutated Spanish Influenza, when 12,000 Americans died that month alone. But it would get even more deadly the following month, October. October would prove to be more deadly than any singular month with 195-200,000 Americans dying in that month alone. The country would literally run out of caskets; funeral homes had to hire armed guards to provide security for their casket inventory. Pine boxes were provided to households with sick relatives in their homes. They were to put the boxes out on their porches after the person finally gave up the ghost and, reminiscent of the “bring out yer dead” episodes of the Black Death of the 1340’s and 50’s, a flatbed truck would come and pick them up each day. Young boys would call on their friends to find out they “weren’t home” and they should go home and ask their parents where Johnny or Frankie were.
So with all this tragedy and calamity happening all over the country and the world, why are we as a society so quick to drive it from our memories? Listening to the news and hearing the actions being taken by mayors, governors, businesses, etc. and listening to the reports of new cases and new deaths caused by this new Covid-19 virus is very reminiscent of the 1918 Pandemic. One would think that we would know at least some of the steps society should be taking in order to stave off the worst of the epidemic. Moreover, one might think that we should have been much better prepared for such an event; adequate emergency medical supplies, medicines, equipment, doctors, nurses, etc. Instead we seem to much less prepared for even a “routine” epidemic of seasonal influenza. It is said that Trump disbanded the Infectious Disease & Global Health personnel from his National Security Team, writing it off as unnecessary. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told House lawmakers, “It would be nice if the office was still there.” In fact, Trump was not even aware that the flu kills people in the US at all; he commented on this during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA last week. “Who would believe it? Trump was quoted as saying. Still even more puzzling was the fact that his own paternal grandfather died from the influenza in Nov 1918 and Trump seemed completely unaware of it. This is not a suitable characteristic of a successful society.
With scientists, biologists, epidemiologists, and many other professions focused on a “not if, but when” scenario in search of a cure for viral infections for decades now we should be able to expect our leaders to be much better prepared for an outbreak. The recent scrambling and hand-wringing in Washington was a tragic example of the limited vision and reactive nature of our government and their inability to foresee and prepare for such a national and global crisis. In fact, they knew months ago that there was a great possibility of a new strain of virus coming from China and they completely failed to act, at least in the interest of the nation. Some US senators such as Sen Richard Burr did find the time to sell off their stocks and investment instruments that might be negatively affected by such a crises. However, there were no systems in place to bring to bear against a new healthcare crises; no military-style deployment of emergency health services, equipment or medicine anywhere in the country. This can only be seen as a complete failure of leadership, from the top down.
If we couldn’t remember to learn from similar pandemics of the past, we should at least try and learn something from this one. America needs new leaders with new ideas about her needs and logical, rational plans to meet those needs. No where is that more evident than this new Covid-19 crisis.