America Is a Sham
March 14, 2020 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Policy changes in reaction to the coronavirus reveal how absurd so many of our rules are to begin with. All over America, the coronavirus is revealing, or at least reminding us, just how much of contemporary American life is bullshit, with power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest. Whenever the government or a corporation benevolently withdraws some punitive threat because of the coronavirus, it’s a signal that there was never any good reason for that threat to exist in the first place.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (106 comments total) 112 users marked this as a favorite
 


Always disappointed that Obama never rolled back any of the TSA security theater crap.
posted by octothorpe at 9:09 PM on March 14 [71 favorites]


That would have required prosecuting Bush instead of handwaving him away and then trying to rehabilitate that murderous fucks image by comparing him to Trump.

---

The number of emails I have gotten from companies telling me what a great job they are doing about helping their employees not get Coronavirus, everything short except paying them to stay home, it is just galling because what do they fucking expect, a pat on the back for doing the bare fucking minimum? Doing what's fucking EXPECTED of them?

And these are the fucking people who talk about god damned participation trophies. They want a fucking trophy for every little bullshit thing they do. They want fucking statues of themselves in town square for taking a shit and not getting it on their ugly shitty face.

Indeed, it has revealed what plenty of us have been practically fucking screaming our heads off for decades about, and we have a media that constantly admonishes us for being angry about these things.

Fuck your anger, Iraq War protestors! Fuck your anger, Occupy Wall Street! Fuck your anger, DAPL protestors! Fuck your anger, people dying of preventable causes and overpriced medications! Fuck your anger, working class, for having all social safety nets cut from under you, and for having practically no rights in the workplace! Fuck your anger, environmentalists, we don't give one fuck about the future of the species because we stupidly fucking believe we can use our wealth to buy our progeny out of a dead planet because we are the biggest fucking morons alive.

And these fuckers wonder why some of people "want to watch the world burn." Maybe they should have some fucking self reflection on their part in burning people's ire and whether or not the world is already fucking on fire because of them.

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Also, I don't remember where I saw it, but I saw something about a judge ruling that until this was over, all small criminal charges would be ignored and courts would be suspended, and they would only be going after felonies. It's just like, so you people are really admitting that locking up non-violent offenders really isn't going to change much and we have a massive prison population for no reason? In this case, the actions speak so so so so much louder than words.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:19 PM on March 14 [143 favorites]


Man, even when they get it right, Slate manages to fuck it up. The disability community led the way on this -- they've been asking for literally decades for most of the accommodations that schools and workplaces rolled out with like two days' notice once it started affecting "regular" people. But nary a whisper of that in this article.
posted by Etrigan at 9:21 PM on March 14 [152 favorites]


I once heard a journalist giving the TSA head pushback on the liquid restrictions (a rare enough thing!), and the guy held to the line that they had Proved that it was impossible to make liquid explosives with the limited quantities of liquids they allow, and that the rule was here to stay. I've seen critics dismiss as fanciful the idea that people could, in a practical scenario, succeed in making such a device from ingredients on a plane.

Security theater. I remember about 2003, I was talking to a pilot in one of the smoking lounges in the Charlotte airport. I asked him for a light; he hooked me up, and then advised me that I could carry a Bic cigarette lighter through security screening, as the metal detectors were not sensitive enough to pick it up (this was before the body scanning tech arrived). I tried it on the return trip and, sure enough, nothing happened. But they were making a big deal out of banning them.
posted by thelonius at 9:39 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Yes.

I'm not exactly hopeful, but I want to be, after reading this. Thank you.
posted by esoteric things at 9:43 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I once made the deeply terrible mistake of relating, in the presence of a TSA employee, why their gel rules were stupid. Including discussing how TATP is made.

I'm really happy that I'm still free and allowed to fly (present circumstances excepted).

... Still a stupid rule tho.
posted by aramaic at 9:50 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Amazing how a pandemic that threatens peoples lives in an immediate way can slice right through the day to day bullshit that makes up much of American life.
posted by flamk at 10:04 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


Will Democrats prioritize this issue during the campaign? I certainly hope so. Why do poor people deserve single payer? Because they cough. That's it. GOP has no counter argument as simple and powerful.
posted by Beholder at 10:19 PM on March 14 [26 favorites]


Eddie: you mean to tell me you could’ve alleviated human suffering at any time!?
Roger: No, not any time! Only when capitalism was in crisis.
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 PM on March 14 [137 favorites]


These are the times in which revolutions are made. That entrenched powers make minor concessions in hopes of avoiding the major reforms which are actually needed is just one small step aboard the tumbrel to the guillotine.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:28 PM on March 14 [32 favorites]


I’d like to think that this is the moment that we collectively wake up from the Stockholm Syndrome that is living in the United States, but... I’m not an optimist.
posted by Automocar at 10:29 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Yep, the first thing I did was cntrl+F "disabled" and "disability". Every single thing you get was or is still denied to us, so. Absolutely not the tiniest iota hopeful that credit will ever materialize when this is over.
posted by colorblock sock at 10:32 PM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Will Democrats prioritize this issue during the campaign?

As usual, they'll prioritize it only insomuch as it's a marketing hook.

As a policy issue? Fuck no. They've already embraced the status quo and crushed the alternatives.
posted by klanawa at 10:42 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


The number of emails I have gotten from companies telling me what a great job they are doing about helping their employees not get Coronavirus, everything short except paying them to stay home, it is just galling because what do they fucking expect, a pat on the back for doing the bare fucking minimum? Doing what's fucking EXPECTED of them?

Equifax emailed me today.
I've dealt with them all of twice in the last year, because I bought a home and had to get my credit unfrozen. Turns out my credit is great, so why was it frozen? Because Equifax has demonstrated they cannot be trusted with my credit info.

What advice did they have about navigating all this stuff?

They wanted to remind me to make sure I make at least the minimum payment on time for any creditors. Because that's important to surviving a plague and an economic and social meltdown: paying your credit card bill on time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:05 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


They've already embraced the status quo and crushed the alternatives.

You know those evil Democrats are the only ones currently proposing a paid federal sick leave policy, right?

Like the only policy proposed so far that would have THE biggest positive impact for those most financially vulnerable during the US pandemic.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:12 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]


Per the NYT, the paid sick leave in the Democrats' coronavirus bill only covers about 20% of workers.
Big employers can be exempt, employers under 50 can apply for a hardship exemption.

Y'know who's still not covered in all this? Grocery store workers, fast food workers, Amazon warehouse employees--all of which make up a huge portion of the people (aside from medical) carrying society through this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:19 PM on March 14 [84 favorites]


I would love a federal sick leave policy.

However, given that I live in a state with a mandatory sick leave policy, I'm skeptical that a federal one would be of any use. My state requires 3 days a year of paid sick leave. When I worked in San Francisco, it was almost 8 days/year that were required.

Note that neither of those are much good for dealing with a 2+ week quarantine, much less the recovery time for a vicious virus that lasts most of two weeks.

(But I am enjoying the parade of "well, actually, we don't exactly need that 'security' feature we've been forcing on you...")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:19 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


"Why in the hell should any Detroit resident have concerns about their water service being interrupted, ever? Shouldn’t clean water be the absolute base level of service delivered by a city to its residents?"

Oh, you had it with the peanut seat plane plummeting fumes through through cirulation units. Ya, had services cut off by fucked up landlord until I used the law to fuck thier act. Oh, from FLiNT Dave, appreciate your shout out for Detroit but go pound fucking sand, dude. And I'm just starting at snipping your tirade into photonic TP.<
Iove the bloated Slake advert though, write about sham, oh gotta make a buck, can't read ya for free, dude. Ok what's next. Thing is, I like Ralph Lauren in boiugsee notions of grandnoir.

"The federal government charging interest on loans to attend college? Well, Donald Trump has instructed government agencies who administer loans to waive interest accrual for the duration of the crisis. But why on earth is our government charging its own citizens interest anyway?"

Agree but don't take the loans, especially when the school is pushing them, ya, some folks have too. Please add a law then, advocate one, run for one.
Like having to steal bread. So don't pay them back and reap the, well for me not much, "fuck em". The interest rates alone are usuary compounded, good enough for me but don't ask WHY?
Not good timing in the composition.

"Yes, it’s worth asking yourself now, in the early days of this pandemic, how you might change your behavior, what temporary adjustments in..." Yeahyeahyeah deep thinking, warning against tyranny.
Don't like it when writers underestimate the people's will to shed stupidity in times of trouble.
Study the past to see your future, one you have hopefully learned from and many have died for. Watch as old ways fall apart and these words will be tinkering log rallies for a resume of lettering and half hearted prognostication.
posted by clavdivs at 11:20 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Beware, the Ides of March.
posted by clavdivs at 11:26 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


may tomorrow be a historical reenactment day in the senate
posted by poffin boffin at 11:37 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Democrats' coronavirus bill only covers about 20% of workers.

And which other party’s bill covers 100% workers?
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:39 PM on March 14 [31 favorites]


However, given that I live in a state with a mandatory sick leave policy, I'm skeptical that a federal one would be of any use

Well... good for you... I guess. But the rest of the nation that has no such policy I bet would beg to differ with you.

Good Christ, you guys. Listen to yourselves.

Are you this desperate to grind your anti-Democratic party Axe that you totally shit on a much needed bill, regardless how incomplete it may be now. It’s a start. And a start we that need.

It would help millions of frightened and possibly sick Americans.

But it isn’t your perfect complete Space Communist Utopia right now... so fuck all them democrats! I guess.
.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:46 PM on March 14 [71 favorites]


You know those evil Democrats are the only ones currently proposing a paid federal sick leave policy, right?

Yeah, I'm familiar with the methodology: make a big noise about a band-aid solutions to the short-term effects of an unjust system while working to further entrench that system.

And which other party’s bill covers 100% workers?

If zero is your bar, you'll never be disappointed.
posted by klanawa at 11:48 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


[One deleted. I'll admit that in these dark days, the tiniest bit of light for mods has been a bit of a decrease in constant, never-ever-ending US POLITICS GRAR ANGRY FUCK EVERYONE AND FUCK YOU stuff, so I get someone becoming annoyed in here, but, gently, this was never the thread to choose to participate in if you don't want that outrage spigot. Everyone, please try to be not awful. Thank you.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:05 AM on March 15 [27 favorites]


it is just galling because what do they fucking expect, a pat on the back for doing the bare fucking minimum? Doing what's fucking EXPECTED of them?

Yes, this is how corporations work. They want a pat on the back for everything. You think a spoiled toddler is bad? Nothing compared to corporate. Here in the UK for example, a "sugar tax" was recently introduced. Now every supermarket you go to is full of products advertising that they're "now 20% less sugar!!" and similar. Everywhere. And it's like, stop trying to sell this as a wonderful new initiative of yours, to give the product this wonderful new feature. It's got less sugar in it because the government started charging you for putting sugar in it. Don't act like it was your wonderful idea, like it's a fucking feature rather than something that compromises the product just so your margin doesn't shrink.
posted by Dysk at 12:27 AM on March 15 [25 favorites]


Walmart will only pay employees on sick leave if they contract the Coronavirus. Personally, this would not incentivize me to stay home unless I could be tested quickly.

Not providing vaccines for everyone via government programs really bothers me. I've seen several statistical comparisons between the Coronavirus and seasonal flu online and in the media. Last year 35,000 US citizens died after contracting the seasonal flu, but what they fail to mention is that less than half of the US population receive the vaccine every year. How many people with carts full of toilet paper are also vaccinated? Is Donald Trump vaccinated? What percentage of people working in the transportation industry are vaccinated? What percentage of people entering the US from foreign locations are vaccinated? How much did productivity suffer when 35 million people contracted the seasonal flu last year, 500,000 of which were hospitalized? How much impact does this have on health care costs and insurance premiums? Ugh.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:06 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


I read somewhere, maybe here on the Blue or maybe in A Distant Mirror, that the Black Death led to social change because there was suddenly a lack of workers (peasants) so they could set demands. I hope we don't get to that exact situation, but it would be interesting if the pandemic gets people thinking about what they want from government and society in a positive sense. Since the 80's so much has been determined by economics and private greed, disregarding all other factors in life. Maybe that can finally end now.
I've inherited my grandfather's library, and I don't even know where to put him on today's political spectrum. He was in a way conservative, and he was an active cold warrior hating the Sovjet Union, but he believed in universal welfare and was extremely socially liberal. Anyway: there are lots of books about economics and in all of them, the economy is in service of the people, not vice-versa. I get the impression that was a fairly mainstream point of view after the war. My granddad very clearly saw what a threat Reagan was to humanity and was depressed when he was elected.
What I'm trying to say is that a lot of what many people regard as a given, a law of nature, was completely different just 50 years back. So we can change it again.
posted by mumimor at 2:02 AM on March 15 [55 favorites]


@mumimor, in the last weeks, as prospects started to get worse and worse, I am becoming a bit of an optimist too.
I suddenly see a potential, positive outcome at the end of this upcoming Armageddon:
I think that many will now die - millions and maybe more - but perhaps after the plague is over, the changes will push the world toward a better cooperation, like it happened after WW2
posted by growabrain at 2:20 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


As part of doing my job, I get to deal with a lot of people who feel that they are in charge, maybe a business, a franchise, a department, whatever. A lot of them are architects, lawyers, or doctors.

The ones who value my opinion end up with a stronger understanding that we live in a highly inter-connected world - "no[one] is an island - ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee."

I spend a lot of time explaining how destructive techniques like "Sigma Six" are (the death of Jack Welch from GE was a highlight of last week). How what two people do in one day, is not the same as what one person does in two days.

Rather than dealing with people, companies have created systems - the labour/capital trade off. Turns out people cope with disruptions better than systems.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 2:47 AM on March 15 [19 favorites]


Although I would love to just point at the USA and laugh, the policy changes really are not limited to them. Even here in “socialist hellscape” Sweden there have been policy changes that make me really doubt the validity of those policies to begin with.

One such thing was the “karensdag” – translated qualifying day – a day for which the state/insurers will not be paying out sick leave. This means that employees always lose out on a day’s pay when they call in sick. This results in situations where people are way more likely to come to work ill on Fridays when they expect to be better on Monday, as calling in sick on a Friday will simply have the same effect as taking unpaid leave.

The government has now temporarily halted this to better contain the virus. They want sick people to stay at home and not risk infecting others. Their argument has been that they should be taking away all thresholds from calling in sick when you are sick.

But in my opinion this should always be the case. If I have the flu, there should be no rule that stops me from calling in sick. Temporarily halting policies because of 1 virus makes little sense to me. Whether it is the USA or Sweden. We are generally healthy and economically well off countries (opinions aside) and I would hope we can all treat our sick with respect.
posted by Martijn at 3:26 AM on March 15 [33 favorites]


A good summation
https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n06/rupert-beale/short-cuts

NOT business as usual
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 3:43 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I ran into a friend yesterday who was on his way to a local coffee shop. He knew he could just make coffee at home and shouldn't be going to crowded coffee shops, he said, but he wanted to support them so they didn't go out of business.

This is how brainwashed we are. We are willing to put ourselves and others in unnecessary mortal danger because we can't imagine any way to support each other than consumption. Going to a coffeeshop every morning and getting each other sick is acceptable, but just plunking a twenty down on the counter and saying "see you next week"-- that's inappropriate. Charitable giving is just awkward, which is why we only feel comfortable doing it through a VC-backed for profit tech company.

We need to find better ways to support each other outside of consumption. We need to fix our culture, fast.
posted by phooky at 4:45 AM on March 15 [93 favorites]


Phooky I actually had this same thought. The baristas at my local shop have become really close to me so I bought a coffee and then tipped them what I would be spending on coffee for the week so it would go directly to them. I’m going to do it again next week.

My department could work from home without issue but my boss is such a control freak he refuses to even allow us the 2 day average WAH time the majority of the company gets. I know he realizes this whole debacle makes him look like a complete asshole, since he has decided to go to the office anyway.
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:57 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


what if your dept decided to all work from home for the foreseeable future? is that possible? he can't fire all of you otherwise he'd have nobody to be a selfish asshole to
posted by kokaku at 5:59 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


> he was an active cold warrior hating the Sovjet Union, but he believed in universal welfare and was extremely socially liberal

So a Trotskyist? /sn

All I can say is that the System doesn’t have to be what it is now, but the problem to overcome is many people’s conservatism / fear of losing what privilege they enjoy now.

This country has become pretty “busted out” (in the mafia sense) since the GOP went hard right with Reagan and Democrats went centrist with Clinton.

This is not a political fight between n parties but rather an ideological fight.

The right’s money has funded more bullshit factories than I can list here, while the progressive left has a meager handful of propaganda counters.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:01 AM on March 15 [14 favorites]


power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest

I agree with a lot in this piece, but this is such glib, abstracted posturing? I've basically stopped flying unless it's absolutely necessary, in part because of the security theater. I think it's degrading, largely ineffective, and helps foster a siege mentality by militarizing public spaces. But without those measures on various occasions I think some of my fellow passengers would have just forcibly denied me access to the plane because of how I look. Large groups of people behave like herd animals. They need constant reassurance / reinforcement or they panic.
posted by dmh at 6:27 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


> This country has become pretty “busted out” (in the mafia sense)

Sorry no idea what that sense might be
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 6:30 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Sorry no idea what that sense might be
here
posted by thelonius at 7:00 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


what if your dept decided to all work from home for the foreseeable future? is that possible? he can't fire all of you otherwise he'd have nobody to be a selfish asshole to.

In this case we were told by the company to go home immediately when someone in the building tested positive for COVID-19. He’s still going to the office because I guess that’s his whole identity and world. He made it very clear that our quarantine is “not a vacation.”

Of course if we all survive and things go back to normal he won’t allow WAH ever again.

I’m a data engineer. There is no reason in this era of tech for me to be in an office except to be monitored.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:13 AM on March 15 [17 favorites]


Beware the ideas of March.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:31 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Useful advice for governments and individuals looking for COVID-19 guidance.
posted by TedW at 7:49 AM on March 15


I tried it on the return trip and, sure enough, nothing happened. But they were making a big deal out of banning them.

On two different occasions, I accidentally walked through TSA screening w/a plastic-handled pocketknife w/a 5" serrated blade. It's obviously a highly profitable charade, and I have no expectation of it going anywhere once COVID-19 has passed over.

Even before we started to think about it in climate terms, my partner and I ad responded to this and to the endless nickle-and-diming and increasing indignities of US air travel by just flying as little as possible. We're down to one flight a year and, once my parents are gone, that will be it permanently. The entire commercial aviation industry can't die soon enough.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:51 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


As much as I want our department to transition to WFH immediately right now, I've always been suspicious that as soon as corporate culture changes enough to deprioritize face to face contact between coworkers, non-public facing jobs are getting shipped overseas as a cost cutting measure. Is this unwarranted?
posted by Selena777 at 7:58 AM on March 15 [16 favorites]


Yep, I was thinking how there may be some future silver linings to all this. It's forcing us to fix ( or at least notice ) some broken systems.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:06 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I once made the deeply terrible mistake of relating, in the presence of a TSA employee, why their gel rules were stupid. Including discussing how TATP is made.

You don't need to make TATP to severely damage a plane with a couple of water bottles of clear liquid.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:07 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Police helping landlords evict tenants in times of financial trouble? Due to the coronavirus, not anymore in New York, Miami, and New Orleans. But—and you see where this is going—why do the police aid evictions when tenants are stricken with other, non-coronavirus illnesses?
  • @nhannahjones: "I'm seeing talk of suspending evictions & water shut offs, of offering base income for people losing work, & sick leave for those without it. It's kind of amazing how we can imagine finding resources to help the most vulnerable when we fear not doing so will hurt the rest of us."
  • @workerism: "So you're telling me mayors can just like suspend evictions and shit, but they just like don't?"
  • @OneTrueShaun: "So...y'all could do this the whole time?"
  • Even Deficit Hawks Support Big Spending to Fight the Virus Slump - "Mankiw, Hubbard, and others say now is not the time to worry about balancing the budget."
Will Democrats prioritize this issue during the campaign?
  • @SenWarren: "The last thing struggling workers should have to worry about during the coronavirus outbreak is falling behind on their rent or mortgage & losing their home. @SenJeffMerkley & I are calling for a national moratorium on evictions & foreclosures."
  • @IlhanMN: "Suspend evictions nationwide!"
  • @JuliaCarmel__: "You know what suddenly seems moderate compared to a complete moratorium on evictions?"
  • @cmkshama: "Seattle's Mayor just announced moratorium on residential evictions! After nearly 7,000 signed this petition from my office. When we fight, we win!"
  • @CDRosa: "BernieSanders is leading the way in putting forward a national coronavirus response that protects and prioritizes the most vulnerable working people. In Chicago, I am working with my progressive colleagues to look at ways we can legislate these policies."
  • The Real Work for Sanders Supporters Is Just Beginning - "Even assuming Bernie loses the primary, progressive youth will change America. It's time to rebuild our society - our civic engagement, our civil service, our sense of trust and solidarity."
the Black Death led to social change

Ebola, and Mongol Modernity
One of the books which most re-arranged my vision of the past was Janet Abu-Lughod's Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250--1350. It gave me the sense, as few other things have, of historical contingency, or more exactly of modernity as a belated phenomenon, and changed my teaching. She depicts an integrated (part-of-the-) world economy, an "archipelago of towns" linked by trade-routes stretching from Flanders to Hangzhou and centered in the Indian Ocean. This archipelago is where modernity should have begun. Beyond the market-oriented, urban-centered economy, China has the beginnings of an industrial revolution (a point explored by Mark Elvin in his Pattern of the Chinese Past, and his sources in Japanese scholars of Chinese economic history, and emphasized by William McNeill in his Pursuit of Power); the beginnings of a truly global perspective. All of this was politically supported by the unification of the most economically and technologically advanced regions (namely China and the Islamic world) under the Mongol Empire, admittedly at the cost of the occasional "shock and awe" campaign, destruction of Baghdad, etc.

So what, according to Abu-Lughod, happened? What happened was Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague, a bacterium transmitted by fleas that live on rodents. It long has been, and is, endemic to the rodents of Central Asia, such as the giant gerbil {\em Rhombomys opimus}, which seems to be perpetually perched at the edge of the epidemic threshold. The Mongol Empire didn't just unify the most advanced parts of Eurasiafrica; it brought them into intimate contact with Central Asia. And then, as usual, the plague followed the routes of trade and imperial travel...
Journalist goes undercover at "wet markets", where the Coronavirus started
posted by kliuless at 8:08 AM on March 15 [32 favorites]


I just don't know how hopeful I can feel about being part of a species that requires catastrophic threats involving the deaths of millions to make minimal social advancements.
posted by emjaybee at 8:16 AM on March 15 [29 favorites]



I just don't know how hopeful I can feel about being part of a species that requires catastrophic threats involving the deaths of millions to make minimal social advancements.


Well presumably you're not like that so take yourself as an example of hope and assume there are many others like you.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:26 AM on March 15 [16 favorites]


One of the books which most re-arranged my vision of the past was Janet Abu-Lughod's Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250--1350.
Thanks! Will order right away.
posted by mumimor at 8:31 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


The Only Treatment for Coronavirus Is Solidarity - "The new coronavirus makes vivid the logic of a world that combines a material reality of intense interdependence with moral and political systems that leave people to look out for themselves."

Financialized capitalism is extremely ill-equipped to deal with a crisis of these proportions:
1. Capitalism depends on the uninterrupted circulation of goods and people to enable continued capital accumulation.

2. Fighting the coronavirus pandemic requires far-reaching restrictions on that circulation.

3. The reason world leaders are delaying 2 is largely because of 1.

The reason financial markets are tanking right now is that investors fear that it will eventually become unavoidable for governments to move towards 2—thus interfering with 1.
The future of socialism in America - "Bernie Sanders seems certain to lose the Democratic nomination. But his movement has changed the party."
posted by kliuless at 8:54 AM on March 15 [16 favorites]


My analysis is that our housing market -- for both home-owners and renters -- puts everyone right on the edge of bankruptcy, for we are forced [everywhere that is desirable to live] to collectively bid up the cost of housing to the point of unaffordability...

% of wages taken by housing:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=oEtD

That Elizabeth Warren was able to suss this out with in her 2004 book made her my instachoice for the Dem nomination, regardless of her following accomplishments in DC.

My parents were paying a $1366/mo (todays' dollars) rent in the mid-70s for a 3 bedroom apartment in the SF East Bay ... rent on the same apartment today is ~$3300...
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:24 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


These are the times in which revolutions are made.

The revolution will not be immunized.
posted by New Frontier at 10:33 AM on March 15 [13 favorites]


(cw: mad cynicism.)

America IS a sham.

I'm upset and frustrated with fellow Americans being nonserious/ joking about coronavirus. And I'm not talking gallows humor, which I sometimes utilize as a coping mechanism...just "I'm trying to break the tension because your fear makes me uncomfortable"-style jokes. People who say stuff like "don't worry, it only affects you if you're like, super old and sick already."

My stepdad has COPD. A close friend of mine is immunocompromised. This is extremely real to me, but not a single person has offered me words of comfort. They all assure me the people I love will be fine, and this is all a lot of fuss over basically nothing. In fact, I've found myself absorbing and assuaging the fears of other people, people whose greatest fear is losing access to Chipotle burritos or having to get refunded for concert tickets, because they're just not at all prepared to feel this pain. They prefer to hear that it's only killing people we don't know or care about, that they will, personally, escape this unscathed, that I'm not afraid and angry and preemptively grieving - because to admit otherwise would be causing unnecessary panic. They can't acknowledge my fear as legitimate.

When will the people in my life come to terms with the fact that this is already a tragedy? Why am I still getting this weird tight-smiled insistence everything will be fine and go back to normal? Maybe because for once it's not just "the vulnerable" who are affected.Everyone is going to lose people. Everyone is going to suffer.

Nothing is ever going to be "normal" again.

Americans are not used to being responsible in any capacity for vulnerable populations, and are accustomed to them existing elsewhere - like those children we put in cages, the refugees we shoved into tent cities on the border, the jails we have stuffed with constitutionally-approved slave labor, the homeless residents of resource-deprived and overflowing shelters and encampments, the countless displaced populations we have victimized again and again overseas, the poor elderly people we warehouse in understaffed nursing homes. These populations are basically invisible. They will remain so, because Americans are psychologically conditioned not to see them or care about them. Even now they barely seem to warrant a mention from our media.

We might learn how to experience real anguish and real empathy for people we can't physically see and touch. Or we might just start stabbing each other over charmin and clorox, fidget-spinning while the world burns.

I am full of despair for us. I would love to have hope that this virus could change our country for the better in the long run, but... our country has been given so many opportunities to reckon with the sociopathic nature of our system, and we have never missed a chance to turn around and make it worse.
posted by captain afab at 11:26 AM on March 15 [63 favorites]


Americans are not used to being responsible in any capacity for vulnerable populations, and are accustomed to them existing elsewhere - like those children we put in cages, the refugees we shoved into tent cities on the border, the jails we have stuffed with constitutionally-approved slave labor, the homeless residents of resource-deprived and overflowing shelters and encampments, the countless displaced populations we have victimized again and again overseas, the poor elderly people we warehouse in understaffed nursing homes. These populations are basically invisible.

In the eyes of many, many people, including most of those in power, these populations are all going to go from "invisible" to "threatening disease vectors" very soon. They're already considered barely human and the actions taken will treat them with even less humanity. I am terrified, for example, of what the state of California is about to do to its homeless population.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:37 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


the Black Death led to social change because there was suddenly a lack of workers (peasants) so they could set demands.

James Burke discussed this, somewhere in The Day the Universe Changed, as well as in one of the original Connections: Faith In Numbers.
posted by Rash at 11:46 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Whenever we get these kind of concessions, we need to just not give them back without a fight. Whenever the situation is reversed, isn't that what governments and corporations do? They strip away rights and options and opportunities little by little all the time, and they give them back so rarely that we hail it as a victory when they're forced to. Why does the Patriot Act keep getting reauthorized, time after time? Because once they've taken something from us, the government does not give it back without a fight. Why do broadband prices keep going up? Because once they've taken something from us, corporations do not give it back without a fight.

So fuck them. Don't give them anything back. Not without a fight.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:18 PM on March 15 [20 favorites]


So fuck them. Don't give them anything back. Not without a fight.

So when things spiral out of control that the military has to be brought in and martial law is declared and people are stuck in their homes...

I mean, at that point I'm not sure what they've actually given us versus what has been taken away.

And THAT'S the outcome I fear that "won't give anything back."

Don't put it past anyone in our government to NOT use this as an opportunity to just become MORE draconian and pit people more against one another and give people more and more reason to stab each other for the Charmin.

To echo Captain Afab, historically, this country chooses the worst path. I am very fearful of the future because I half expect this to end with the boot of America currently on my face gaining about 300 pounds and getting a gun and pointing it at my head WHILE grinding my face into the dirt. I can see the birth of Eco-fascism under these circumstances. It's fuckin scary y'all.

Also, what have they actually given us so far that isn't a fucking half-measure like a few days of sick pay for the whole nation?

I'll be ready to fight to not give stuff back when they start actually rolling out socialized medicine.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:41 PM on March 15 [11 favorites]


Well let's at least call it what it is, then. If we're afraid to fight back against the steady degradation of our rights and privileges for fear of violence against us, too afraid to push back or demand anything more than the diminishing scraps they offer -- if through some circumstance they're forced to give us things that make our lives better, but then we just nod and smile nervously when they take those things away again -- if what's where we are, we're not citizens. We're hostages. If that's the case, we've already lost.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:50 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


[few comments removed - I know this is an angry thread but please be careful with your words and how they might land on people here in the thread, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:06 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


This is all sounding like depressive nihilism dishing as a socialism based critique. "Oh everything sucks, it's so fucking horrible, I hate this existence, so it's a good thing millions of people will die." It's no different from the "Well, after civilization collapses, we'll build our perfect utopia" survivalist rhetoric.

Yeah I know people here get off on being angry. But this thread is sounding pathological.
posted by happyroach at 1:12 PM on March 15 [35 favorites]




I flew from Seattle to Oakland within the last year or so and TSA told us we didn't need to take our shoes of or take our electronics out, so those sound phony, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:09 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


didn't need to take our shoes off or take our electronics out

Yeah the fact that you can pay for TSA Pre✓® to avoid it put the lie to all that security theater nonsense years ago.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:27 PM on March 15 [32 favorites]


Norway weighs in.
posted by doctornemo at 2:33 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Long as we're talking about rage ... why are my family, friends, neighbors, community being exposed to Covid so that ANYONE can freely use air travel to fly into and out of places with epidemics? YOU THERE? YOU STAY!

How many times in the past few weeks did I read that ONE PERSON returned on a plane and infected some place like New Rochelle, Italy, Seattle? Not THEIR fault: POLICY.

In the 1400s Venice's Senate made people wait 40 days offshore because plague. But 600 years later, it's the economy?
posted by Twang at 4:33 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Yeah the fact that you can pay for TSA Pre✓® to avoid it put the lie to all that security theater nonsense years ago.

It's basically a fee to prove that you're a normal person who isn't a threat to society.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:14 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


It's basically a fee to prove that you're a normal person who isn't a threat to society.

So is that $100+ Real ID enhanced driver's license I just got. And my passport is up for renewal, that's another $100+.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I help a woman who is very ill on any good day. So, now I am supposed to go shopping for her tomorrow, while at the same time, isolating my self because I am *gulp* over 65. My daughter texted, no, didn't call, to talk about my self isolating. She remarked I have become very good at self isolating already. I had a lot of help with this self isolating thing. a fee to prove that you're a normal person Bob Dylan covered this with, "While money doesn't talk, it swears!" A fee to prove you belong to the money religion. Going shopping tomorrow. Maybe I will Swedish Death Clean first. See, Sweden knew this was coming. I want one of those Chick a Filet one person rain huts, to be a part of my new Corona Virus wardrobe.
posted by Oyéah at 6:05 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


This was the perfect articulation of the thoughts buzzing around in my head the last few days. Irregular times always expose the ridiculousness of the status quo.
posted by thorny at 7:01 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


gal debored @__acadame
and all of the sudden Housing for All was possible...
Jory Rand @ABC7 Mar 15, 2020
Governor Newsom:
State is procuring hotels and motels to convert to appropriate sites for the 108,000 unsheltered homeless in California.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:58 PM on March 15 [21 favorites]


Social justice in a time of social distancing by Kenneth Bailey & Lori Lobenstine of Design Studio for Social Intervention on "what COVID19 shows us about the hidden (and not-so-hidden) arrangements of our lives."
The American Dream is an individuality project, and it is killing us collectively.

...One opportunity we have with COVID19 is to build our capacity to jump out of our everyday routines when faced with crisis. Although this temporal shift is happening to us vertically (being imposed on us by our government, jobs, schools, or larger logistical operations like airlines, trains and the like), it is shifting us out of our daily routines. Now we have the opportunity to horizontally—collectively—decide to stop living as if everything is okay, when it isn’t.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:03 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


The Utah Jazz consumed 20% of the available Coronavirus test kits in Utah. This indicates to me that the wealthy and influential are exempt from any sort of rationing policy, and I'm curious what other policies do or will not apply to them as the pandemic expands.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:24 PM on March 15 [16 favorites]


and all of the sudden Housing for All was possible...

Substantial percentage of SF's hotels, and substantial percentage of SF's homeless population, are in Haney's district. @MattHaneySF: "We should use emergency power to shelter the homeless in hotels, motels, empty buildings, and schools. Tourism has stopped, hotels empty, schools closed—there's no reason EVER for there to be so many people homeless, now there are countless rooms + available space sitting empty"
posted by kliuless at 10:40 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


not a single person has offered me words of comfort. ... In fact, I've found myself absorbing and assuaging the fears of other people, people whose greatest fear is losing access to Chipotle burritos or having to get refunded for concert tickets, because they're just not at all prepared to feel this pain.

Flagged as fantastic, captain afab. Your entire comment was great. I am so sorry folks are ignoring or refusing to validate your reasonable concerns about the people you love and then whining about cancelled events or whatever. Sure, canceled shit is a drag. But there are more important things. At the moment, it seems critically important to me to find the right audience when I need to share my uncomfortable feelings. I have a lot of feels at the moment about many different things but I can’t just dump them on people randomly. At least, not responsibly.

After my dad died recently, I found myself in the odd position of doing emotional labor for his housemate, who knew my dad for maybe a year and a half, and comforting her because she needed comfort. I get that but I’m trying really hard not to do it again. Suffering is not a contest, and she was suffering. But I don’t think it is appropriate for people who are suffering less to ask to be comforted by people who are suffering more. Of course, that hadn’t occurred to her which is why it was on me to set more of a limit than I did.

On a different but related note, I want to encourage people who need to vent about doom and gloom to consider doing it in the latest fucking fuck thread or on MeFi chat. It’s a great place to complain about canceled concerts AND your fears for yourself, your loved ones, or whom/whatever. In a regular thread that stuff is exhausting for many of us.

This is merely a suggestion. Many thanks for your consideration, and hugs to all from Stockholm. Great FPP, OP. Thank you.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:08 AM on March 16 [8 favorites]


[One deleted from above. Apparently the now deleted tweet that was linked claiming Seattle hospitals were approaching Northern-Italy-level crisis was based on questionable sources. I don't think the original tweeter was intentionally misleading, but let's beware of single tweet sources for significant info.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:00 AM on March 16 [11 favorites]


Covid-19 news from the uh, newly locked down city of NYC

HOW CAN YOU HELP DURING THE CRISIS? NEW YORKERS GET CREATIVE
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]




Isn't hand sanitizer quite flammable? Sure, bring it on the plane. Don't forget matches.
posted by theora55 at 3:42 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


What If Andrew Yang Was Right? - "Mitt Romney has joined the chorus of voices calling for all Americans to receive free money directly from the government."[1,2]
Harris: Even with Mitt Romney’s support, do you think it is something that Congress will do? Where do you place the likelihood of this happening?

Yang: I’m getting more and more encouraged. Because if you look, you see a range of economists from Jason Furman to Nouriel Roubini coming out for it. Commentators from Anand Giridharadas to Geraldo Rivera. And now with Mitt Romney coming out, you have Republicans as well as folks like AOC and Ro Khanna. So people are waking up to the common sense that the only way we’re going to help our people manage this crisis is by putting cold, hard cash into our hands as quickly as possible. I’m increasingly optimistic that common sense will prevail and Congress will pass this before too many lives fall apart.

Harris: So that groundswell of support is giving you that optimism?

Yang: It’s common sense. If you are any American who is exposed to any part of the economy, you see it’s being upended by the coronavirus. And you know there are limited ways that your neighbor or your co-worker or your former co-worker are going to be able to make ends meet—and you know that everything policy makers are talking about will be ineffective except for cash. The people know this. Politicians are quickly realizing it. And one reason I’m optimistic that it’s going to pass is: What is the political downside to giving everyone cash? I don’t see it. It’s like, you pass it and you look like a hero; you don’t pass it, you’re a moron. Even members of Congress can see that calculation.

Harris: And if you had one selling point to legislators who were still on the fence about this, what would that be?

Yang: You are going to be able to say to your constituents in your district: “I got money in your hands during this moment of need. When push came to shove, I came through for you.”
@Ugentilini: "14 countries have so far used some form of #castransfer and #basicincome program as #coronavirus response."

-Congress Weighs How to Pump Cash, Confidence to Virus-Weary U.S.
-Cash handouts are gaining support in Congress as best virus fix

also btw... posted by kliuless at 10:04 PM on March 16 [13 favorites]


It is maddening that the airline industry is called out for a bailout when they spent the past 15 years aggressively using all their spare capital to buy back their own stock to enrich their shareholders instead of holding that money in reserve for, y'know, times like now.
posted by Automocar at 7:21 AM on March 17 [7 favorites]


In the eyes of many, many people, including most of those in power, these populations are all going to go from "invisible" to "threatening disease vectors" very soon.

Yes! We should all be hissing at the young beautiful and seemingly healthy. I have been waiting for this moment my entire life.
posted by srboisvert at 7:40 AM on March 17 [5 favorites]


It is maddening that the airline industry is called out for a bailout when they spent the past 15 years aggressively using all their spare capital to buy back their own stock to enrich their shareholders instead of holding that money in reserve for, y'know, times like now.

Not really. Airline stocks are terrible investments, and AA is cutting their international flights to close to 0 and cutting domestic travel by 20% for who knows how long. Building a business to survive a 20% plus drop in revenue due to factors outside their control is not really feasible. For any business.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:18 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


And then imagine the scenario where they did, which is not difficult because it's leveled at companies like Apple and Google: Airlines are hoarding all this wealth! And that's a legit complaint, because hoarded wealth is causing global income inequality. So what if it gets them through unprecedented rough times like these without a government bailout?
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:22 AM on March 17


What If Andrew Yang Was Right? - "Mitt Romney has joined the chorus of voices calling for all Americans to receive free money directly from the government."

I think we are going to see a lot more support for some kind of direct payment to all. Not because they give the slightest shit about us, but because the investor class' portfolios are going to take too much of a hit without intervention.

You can't keep "stimulating" the economy by giving corporations tax cuts and giving banks more money to lend. You can't keep passing securities back and forth and call it an economy. Eventually someone is going to have to spend a dollar somewhere.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:09 AM on March 17 [8 favorites]




Still, it's strange how mere people are lazy and irresponsible if they don't somehow save and set aside enough money to support themselves without income for a few months; but Corporate Persons are being admirably lean if they have no contingency savings whatsoever.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:57 AM on March 17 [22 favorites]


Hey now they needed to use that money to buy back all their own stocks
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 AM on March 17 [7 favorites]


The airlines now charge for *everything*, reduced space between narrowed seats, and have generally made flying a miserable experience. It's very hard to have sympathy. But in the US, protecting shareholder value has become a higher priority than any social need. Dang, I'm not usually a day-drinker, but when I think about how wretched the US has become, and I'm socially-isolating, what else is there?
posted by theora55 at 10:49 AM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Regarding testing of the Utah Jazz, yes it suggests inequity in testing, but at the same time the team was a significant possible vector for spreading the virus.

The Jazz played multiple games while players were contagious, exposing opposing players, coaches, and staff; referees; staff at multiple stadiums; bus and plane workers shuttling them around; fans; and journalists and broadcast crews.

Already Christian Wood, a center for the Detroit Pistons, has tested positive after playing the Jazz. And five teams have been asked to quarantine after playing the Jazz - the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors.

But not the 76ers, whom the Pistons played after the Jazz. And not the teams the other quarantined teams played after facing the Jazz.

I'm open to the idea that testing the Utah Jazz was a justified act aimed at public health.
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:57 AM on March 17 [3 favorites]


Airlines basically don’t make money off customer flight, it’s a natural field for a national monopoly and we to cut way way down on air travel for climate reasons anyway. Offer a generous parachute plan for the workers and maybe give first crack at jobs in our exciting new national rail service?

The ceos will be shaken Upside down until all their money falls out and then made to get a real job.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on March 17 [7 favorites]


Airlines in the UK have been asking for help to deal with the situation. "Help" here was clarified by them to be permission/the ability to temporarily lay off workers.

If I were in charge, I'd have been all "of course, sure, whatever you need! You can lay off any workers on over £100k with impunity".
posted by Dysk at 12:42 PM on March 17 [7 favorites]


Amazon's Supply Chain Is Breaking and Small Businesses Are Screwed (Edward Ongweso Jr and Jason Koebler, Vice)
Amazon and the global supply chain are faltering under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic. The world's largest retailer announced Tuesday morning that it is suspending all shipments of non-essential products to its warehouses, a move that may help people ordering things like toilet paper and food but will singlehandedly destroy thousands of independent businesses that have come to rely on Amazon’s monolithic platform. [...]

Fulfilled by Amazon is a service in which businesses and individual product sellers ship their products directly to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon then sells and ships those products and takes a small commission from the seller. In recent years, this has, for many product categories, become the dominant way to sell products online, and has allowed Amazon to not only monopolize the consumer-facing online shopping experience but also the back-end of ecommerce. Amazon has strongly encouraged sellers to use this service, which makes products owned by third parties eligible for Amazon Prime and lets people “grow their businesses easily.”

“For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors,” Amazon wrote. “This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers.”

While desperate times call for drastic measures, the effect this will have on businesses cannot be understated, and highlights the extreme control Amazon has over its platform.

“Amazon just put tons of businesses out of business. Destroyed thousands of jobs amidst a crisis,” one seller wrote on Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon forums. “Horrible joke. Absolute joke. No warning. Expect major lawsuits coming from sellers who now will go bankrupt.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:00 PM on March 17 [6 favorites]


“Fulfilled by Amazon” is the counterfeit market, right?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:11 PM on March 17 [8 favorites]


Virgin Australia grounds international flights amid coronavirus crisis
The airline on Wednesday said it will suspend all international flying for two and a half months from March 30 to June 14 and is also set to reduce domestic capacity across Virgin and Tigerair by 50 per cent [...]

As for other Australian airlines, and Air New Zealand:
Qantas on Tuesday flagged an impending 90 per cent reduction in international flights and 60 per cent reduction in domestic capacity.

Air New Zealand will also cut 13 routes to Australia and will run just 20 per cent of regular trans-Tasman capacity.

It will take off from Wellington and Christchurch for Australia just twice a week, to Sydney, and is not ruling out further cuts.

Regional carrier Rex, meanwhile, entered a trading halt on Tuesday pending an announcement to the market.
There are only two really big airlines in Australia: Qantas and Virgin Australia. Airlines have huge fixed and semi-fixed costs because of leasing deals and their need to retain skilled personnel. It's hard to see how Virgin Australia could come back after an interruption like that, especially if it has to keep burning its resources. And then there are all the ancillary businesses like catering and aircraft maintenance, to say nothing of the airports themselves. The whole aviation sector in Australia will now be around 70% smaller (my guesstimate) and Australia will be even more geographically isolated for a long time.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:40 PM on March 17


Amazon's Supply Chain Is Breaking and Small Businesses Are Screwed

Amazon has also quietly removed 1- and 2-day shipping options. Prime Now, Fresh and Whole Foods orders, the ones with the "delivery within a few hours," are mostly shut down (the delivery slots fill up early and then there's no way to put in an order)--but of course, there's no way to filter search results to avoid those. There's also no way to filter searches to avoid items that are out of stock.

Normally, "include out of stock" is an empty checkbox, but Am's algorithm is such that, if there aren't enough results that actually match the search, it fills the page with other items it thinks might be related. This includes out-of-stock items, non-Prime items (even when Prime-only is selected), items outside of the selected price range, and so on.

So it's really damned hard to find out what they actually have right now. Books, their original core item, are showing with 1-2 weeks delivery time, instead of the 2-day shipments that Prime users are paying for. There is no same-day/next day delivery option.

On the one hand, "let's focus on medical and other survival items" is a reasonable thought. On the other, with thousands (millions?) of people working from home and homeschooling for the first time, there's also a great demand for office supplies, school materials, and leisure items for people who can't go out with friends. And it's not like they've got toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and cases of soup to deliver instead.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:25 PM on March 17 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I can still get a pretty broad range of items delivered fairly quickly? A toaster oven and a hard-wire cutter would both arrive by Saturday, and a pack of Uniball pens by Monday. A high-grade metalworking file, however, would take a week (fulfilled by someone else). Things definitely seem slower, but not unreasonably so.

Could be different for different distribution regions?
posted by aramaic at 9:54 PM on March 17


Could be different for different distribution regions?

Probably. Whatever can be had quickly is probably already in their warehouse system.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:28 AM on March 18


Talking Points Memo received a very enlightening reader email from Kuwait. They seem to be handling things well there.
I don’t understand why the US government (and media, to some extent) is treating this as something that’s entirely new and that no one else has dealt with. There is a lot of experience – positive and negative – in countries all over the world. But I know that the idea of American exceptionalism prevents some people from looking around and learning from others (which I guess explains why they decided to make their own tests when they finally started to address this).

I also get tired of the attitude that pitching in to help others is a uniquely American trait. It’s fine to highlight and praise people who sacrifice to help others – just don’t pretend that no one else in the world does that! Individuals and companies have donated large sums to a government fund here and offered their facilities, trucks, employees, etc. to the government for its needs, and individuals are helpign in various ways. Landlords have said tenants didn’;t have to pay rent for now, and I saw a picture of a food parcel that one landlord left for each of his tenants.

Watching the US have to deal with problems like kids who won’t get a decent meal if school is closed, people who will go to work and make others sick because they don’t have sick leave, people who won’t get tests because they can’t pay for it, people crammed into airports for hours trying to get processed… Other countries aren’t impressed when those problems are solved – because what kind of a country would have those problems to begin with? (Then there are the lines at gun shops and stores being sold out of ammo… that doesn’t happen elsewhere, as far as I know.)
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on March 18 [15 favorites]


So they are talking about sending checks to Americans, but they’re means testing them because god forbid someone might get a dollar they’re not “deserving” of or whatever. But how will they do this? Based on last year’s tax info, which may not apply to most who have been fired or are at home running out of sick time?
posted by corb at 8:50 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]


Yeah, means testing is bullshit. Give Jeff Bezos and his friends $1,000 if it means we don't leave people behind.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:19 AM on March 18 [10 favorites]


Could be different for different distribution regions?

Very likely. I'm in the SF Bay Area, very near Silicon Valley, and I expect there are a whole lot of Prime subscribers and while the warehouses normally have some of everything, it doesn't take long for them to start being stripped.

And while there are still a number of items that can arrive on the weekend or next Monday, they've neatly avoided mentioning that Prime is supposed to come with free 2-day shipping for most items, and that feature is gone. Not even, "please be patient with us due to global pandemic; we'll get you your supplies as fast as we can." They seem to be hoping to reduce cancellations.

I lack sympathy for Amazon; they went out of their way to kill a whole lot of competitors who could've been covering various local regions right now.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:27 PM on March 18 [9 favorites]


Prime groceries is essentially defunct in our area. All slots are greyed out in the next few days (as usual for booked times) and if you go farther in the future it says "no slots available".
posted by benzenedream at 9:40 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


The Rich Have a Coronavirus Cure: Escape From New York (Ginia Bellafante, NYT)
When fake rumors inspired a run on toilet paper, the 1 percent made a panicked exodus to their second homes.
False rumors circulating a week ago inspired many of those with 2nd homes to flee NYC.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:25 PM on March 20


They're emulating Prince Prospero.
posted by Rash at 8:02 PM on March 20


And there are a bunch of stories out now how summer home communities for the rich, which are typically in rural areas, are now being flooded by the rich fleeing cities, bringing the infection with them, and stressing out already taxed resources. Sun Valley, I think they said, only has one ICU.a lifelong Southampton man suggested they burn the bridges to keep the rich out.

Meanwhile in Mexico, wealthy residents continue to go on ski vacations in the states and bring the virus to their rural enclaves.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on March 21


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