This is my fight song.
My livin’ light song.
Rah Rah. Bagpipe blow song.
First, you took on the Social Darwinists, but with bluff. Gave ’em backhanders they would soon forget. They rebuffed our bluff with heavy handed stuff. Chico, the local chapter Marxist organizer, occupied a stuffed lounge chair, while you the street theater clown took it on the chin. Then the Righties locked you two away in an attic room, while they went about their business of stealing the signals at the game, and you Lefties had a breakdown of communication, the silent partner has a porno mind and can’t understand simple directions. Who’s in charge? How will this end? What agency will stop the Dastardlies in their tracks?
This year I’m gonna try to be more upbeat. But I admit my Lefty self is more akin to Harpo than Chico. But I think I can opine in such a way that I offer up value added textures rather than dogma and dog meant and alpha dogs from Australia chasing their omega tails and thinking themselves gods when they light up with bliss on the connection. The fascists are on their way. Weeeeeee! Down the waterslide into the gene pool they come. Adventureworld is here. King Turd Blossom rules.
That gusty wind aside, I’ve decided to revamp my daily schedule. And, once I clear my inventory of backlogged poems and reviews and stuff, I will try to pay attention to the Important Three Things that Noam Chomsky says we must keep in mind to save our civilization: The ever-impending threat of Nuclear War; Climate Change; and, the End of Democracy. Starting with this latter point, I have to ask myself a question:
Well, like the Bard from Duluth said, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” Of course, that was a while ago, and before the Bard’s art art was scene on set walls of the TV series Billions and he sold his back catalog. I’m pretty sure it’s Dark Now and negativity won’t pull us through.
According to one gloomy tome of a report, democracy is pretty much already gone and we have given the lowdown yet. The Global Trends 2040 report is hoping we can give it another go in 2040. I guess we ended up doing that Don’t Look Up thing after all: We shrugged ourselves off the shoulders of good ol’ Atlas.
Positivity. Let’s see. To save democracy in America, or at least tweak it kindly and gently, I’ve decided we need to institute Term Limits. Most congresspersons have nice cushy secondary professions to go along with their mattress-on-the-back money-on-the-table ways, such as doctors and lawyers. One guy has a CCNA. As the late great cranky Ed Asner put it in his wonderfully engaging book, The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs:
…if a congressman can’t steal enough money in three terms, he’s too dumb to hold the job in the first place.
That’s about it. Simple. Succinct. Not carrying on. With Trills and flourishes. Like the imagined Reader had nothing better to do with their time. Three terms, then ixnay, hombre. The ladies can stay, though.
More on improving our Democracy. Extend the FDR. How? let me tell you how we could it better immediately. Think HEW. Health Education and Welfare. We already have (or had) a cabinet department, so it ain’t radical, since we already have or had it. What is it. Health. Universal health. Free for everybody. Sure, call it socialized medicine. That’s what we call it here in Australia. Nobody goes untreated here because they can’t pull out insurance papers as they’re bleeding to death. Hyperbole? You still have to be on a waiting list for most specialists, but nobody gets turned away for GP work. There’s even free dental thrown for the indigent.
Education. Check it out. Here, the government sets aside more than $100,000 for each person to pursue any degree or degrees they want, with the loans government issued and pay back tied to your ability to repay in the future. You can study to be a lawyer or a doctor or an artist without financial hindrance or worry because you pay back only once you start earning a living and reach a specific earnings threshold. So, for instance, if your bliss is to be an artist and, and after your studies, you earn only $40,000 per year (hungry artist territory these days) you’ll never be required to pay back anything. No hyenas, vultures or predators coming at you. No ruination by Credit Report execution. Simple. Sensible. Doctors pay back, of course. (On the other hand a lot of them brain-slide out to other countries.)
Welfare. Touchy stuff. Here they have — by comparison to the US — a generous social safety net system. There’s a Youth Allowance that gives university-aged lads and lasses living expense money while attending uni. It even extends to overseas study. So a young Aussie can go to a sister university overseas — anywhere — and have the tuition and expenses paid. People who fall out of employment have a New Start program to fall back on (it’s not perfect). And there are annual family allowances. And other programs that allow one to stay afloat with a buoy until you’re back in the float boat republic healthy again.
All of this largesse used to be even better (university education was once totally free), but Gough Whitlam, the prime minister who started it all, was, some say (shhh!) chased out of office by conspiracy theorists from the Nixon administration.
The amazing thing is that this is well and truly a conservative country with much of the Lefty rhetoric merely ornamental (I could get killed for that thought. Just kidding.) Great social safety net. But no Bill of Rights. No guns (no way to fight the rise of tyrants or protect your family). But everybody stays afloat. And Capitalism is doing just fine here. So, that said, if such generosity can happen here in a self-described “conservative” society, the US Repugnicans don’t have a leg to stand on in their greedy trough piggy arguments to squeeze people more at home.
So HEW and Term Limits. Add in: End the Electoral College process, which has proven to be the Achilles Heel of our Exceptional Democracy, because, as Greg Palast has pointed out repeatedly, secretaries of states — Democratic and Republican — can decide what counts as a vote, often, he writes, with corrupt values in mind. A Must Read.
As for Climate Change. Lissy up. You, me, him, her, LGBTQA+ and all the other alphabetters implied by that plus sign at the end, are water balloons on stilts with an electric jelly fish floating at the top. Put differently, we need potable water. Stuff we can drink without worry. It, too, is a dwindling supply, and you are well advised to buy stocks in it immediately, as it may allow you to go off-grid rich and buy up the last supplies of it.
No, but seriously, according to the latest polls, we humans are largely water vessels. Check it out:
Isn’t that something?! Your head aches for a good scratchin’ when you read that kind of thing. Damn, you go, that much?
Well, as with the AI bees that are scheduled to replace the doofy shits who sit around all day in petal dens as if the pollen were opium to smoke, DARPA has plans to extract water from the atmosphere. Got a machine they’re trying out that brings air through a filter and voila. Turns out the air is a fresh water spring. Can bottled spring air be far behind? And water is H2O now, but DARPA is fuckin with molecules, so who knows what the configuration of water will be in the future. But it is nice to know they have our needs and well-being in mind as the end approaches. Of course, they’ll be wars over water. Pirates will looking to steal the ice cubes being towed behind from trawlers coming out of Antarctica. The penguins down there are already giving us the finger — and they don’t have any. Must be telepathy, because when I see at a David Attenborough, they seem to finger me. It’s like Abbie all over again.
Well we probably would if we knew what they were getting up to. If the MSM, instead of lulling us to lethargy with Trump stories ad nauseum and pretending that Jan 6 was the equivalent of the Boston Tea Party, although a couple of the heigh-hoes were dressed engine gear for the task of dumping the electoral college votes into the thoughts of democracy they harbor.
The US government probably did not start the Covid-19 pandemic (sorry guys), but a framework they set up in 2017, shortly after the election of an infantile maniac to head the presidency, a framework for developing Biodefense in the Age Of Synthetic Biology. In the framework, a consortium of American scientists working within the governmental rubric The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine rationalize the development of new weapons based on the manipulation of natural phenomenon — specifically in the fields of biology and chemistry. If it worked out well, we’d have a universal vaccines, cures for cancers, new molecules that could bridge gaps and change biochemistry forever, and, also, they said, new cosmetics might be in the offing (apparently a consortium of Pentagon secretaries demanded it in return for omerta-level silence).
Unfortch, if you just read the report, without any need to read-into the text, it’s clear that things like gain-of-function R&D have been carefully planned for. Our government sees the need. Why? I dunno. Do you know? But I know one thing: That’s not all I know. But they did say this: We have to have super upset viruses booted up (their term) in order to solve their vicious ways to be ready with solutions in case our enemies develop them first. It’s right there in the report plain as the nose on Cyrano de Bergerac’s face:
Although synthetic biology is being pursued overwhelmingly for beneficial and legitimate purposes, such as addressing disease, remediating pollution, and increasing the yield of crops, there are potential uses that are detrimental to humans and other species. To inform investments to mitigate potential threats, those responsible for protecting the security of nations must consider how these emerging approaches and technologies might be used in acts of warfare or terrorism, the intent and capability of adversaries to effect such uses, and the potential impacts of such attacks.
So, in other words, we want to develop the evil first, because we need to fear that “adversaries” could get there first and do things to us. If we’re first, and we have to be, if want to be safe, then we co-develop tools that lead to fats vaccine development. The mRNA therapies that came out so quickly seem to be a product of this development.
But I’ve been reading other disturbing information in the last couple of days that me worry that the Herr Doktors with their Strange Loves have been responsible for dangerous spillovers that — at least from what I read — could be almost impossible to contain quickly, comprehensibly, or at all. In a June 2020 NYT piece, “How Humanity Unleashed a Flood of New Diseases,” Ferris Jabr takes us through a typical example of how we unintentionally bring back alien life to civilization when we visit caves with bats we don’t fathom:
Although he didn’t realize it, the hunter had caught much more than his quarry. Like all animals, the bats were planets unto themselves, teeming with invisible ecosystems of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Many of the viruses multiplying within the bats had circulated among their hosts for thousands of years, if not longer, using bat cells to replicate but rarely causing severe illness. Through chance mutations and the frequent exchange of genes, one virus had acquired the ability to infect the cells of certain other mammals in addition to bats, should the opportunity ever arise. When the hunter entered the limestone cave, he provided the virus with a new path to follow, one that led out of the damp crevices it had always known, out of the countryside, into the world at large.
As the US military is always saying after they lose a war, it was a failure of imagination. We go into the foreign habitat with a dominator’s perception — even the Lefties — we presume we’re a “better” class of species.
So lost are we in some ways that we forget our own bodies are alien mysteries. We’re surprised when we’re told that all humans have herpes and tinea, for instance. But the best summary bit I’ve ever heard came from a “scientist” in the film The Andromeda Strain (a relevant film still, BTW). There’s a scene where the doctor describes the human body in such a way that you want you to cold co*k him. But then you, holy sh*t, what if he’s right in calling our bods filthy?
In a January 19, 2022 NYT piece, “Animals Infecting Humans Is Scary. It’s Worse When We Infect Them Back,” Sonia Shah moves us from bat sh*t to mink poop. You’d think sh*t is sh*t, but apparently the nose says otherwise. She writes of the spillover coming from the “Devil’s butthole,”
The Covid-19 pandemic has familiarized the world with the word “spillover,” which means when microbes in the bodies of animals spread into those of humans. Less discussed is spillover’s mirror image, “spillback,” also known as “reverse zoonosis,” by which microbes move from humans into nonhuman animals. Not every pandemic-causing pathogen can spill back into nonhuman species: Some become so genetically partial to Homo sapiens that they can no longer make the crossing, while others may never get the chance. But those that can spill over and back expand their reign in the natural world, with unexpected results for both human and nonhuman animals. A spillback can ignite epidemics in wild species, including endangered ones, ravaging whole ecosystems.
Say what? Shah’s piece is an excellent read and I suggest you take the time. All of this new dangers comes from meddling with the climate.
Expect rolling pearlharbors.
So aside from reactionary politics this year, I, speaking for myself, will be concentrating on things that matter, such as matter. I’ll have a review on water in the coming weeks, if the fates casts that spell this way and the Furies f*ck off another day.
Okay, let’s get going into the New Year together. It’s a long walk to the polling booth: