Gadfly | February 4th, 2023
By Ed Raymond
Can a Sick Society Recover from Plagues, Pandemics, and Pandemonium?
I wanted to check the dictionary definition of “pandemic”: Widespread; general; universal. In medicine: Epidemic over an especially wide geographic area. A pandemic disease.
Just under pandemic was the word “pandemonium”: “Any place characterized by uproar and noise. The capital of Hell in Paradise Lost. A demon, spirit.” I thought I’d better check “plague” before writing about the three: “A pestilence, affliction, or calamity, originally of divine retribution. A highly infectious, usually fatal epidemic, especially the bubonic plague.”
Our country has a wide geographic area in the world and has 336 million souls as the theocrats love to say. We have plagues and pandemics and certainly a lot of pandemonium going now. It’s a big country from the tropics to ice islands. We have been an empire for 244 years. Many empires don’t last that long. I think ours is on “day-to-day.” As the old saying goes: “Chances are slim to none we will survive—and Slim is out of town.”
Here is a list of pandemics we are suffering from:
1. Life expectancy in the Divided States of America has dropped precipitously in the last two decades because we die at an ever-increasing rate in pandemics harassing our citizens. We lead the world in pandemics. One of them is the death rate from COVID-19.
Our president at the start was a malignant narcissist named Donald J. Trump, who was known by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians as the “Orange Jesus” and by Make America Great Again (MAGA) adherents as the “Orange Genius.” That last title was endorsed by Trump himself, who aided and abetted world records for the rate of COVID deaths by never covering his pretty face with an N95 mask and by recommending that drinking bleach would kill the virus. What a distinctive role model to prevent the virus!
We had 3.46 million total deaths in 2021 from old age and heart disease—and 1.2 million considered to be excess. As an example, there were 416,893 deaths from COVID in 2022, an increase from 350,831 in 2021. Life expectancy in 2019 before COVID was 78.5 years. It fell to 77 years in 2020 and 76.4 in 2021.
In contrast, in 2021 Japan led world life expectancy with 84.5 years, Belgium was next with 82.4 years and Sweden third with 81.4 Years.
Americans lose eight years of life because we have plagues, pandemics, and group pandemonium from firearms, drug overdoses, individual instead of universal healthcare, and “despair” suicides. Slim is out of town, waiting in line (297th) to climb the summit of Mt. Everest.
2. In 2021 we had 106,699 die from drug overdoses. We have averaged 15% increases for each of several years. Evidently life is getting more difficult while death is more welcoming. That’s why Slim is in Nepal, seeking the help of the Dalai Lama.
3. Washington, D.C. should be renamed Pandemonium: 50 states are involved in a civil war because of race, religion, economic inequality, and an old “original” Constitution which requires amending to cope with the growth of a modern empire.
Slim is out of town looking at the fentanyl recovered by police—which was enough to kill every “soul” in the Divided States.
The forces of government are battling over ideologies, idiosyncrasies, and hypocrisies, wasting critical time on voting laws, abortion, the LBGTQ+ community and gay rights, education, taxation, and whatever obstructionists can dream about.
As an example of political idiocy in a period of climate change, lawmakers in Wyoming, often called the most-red state, proposed a bill that would ban the sale of all electric vehicles in the state because California banned the sale of petrol-powered cars after 2035. A politician named Boner proposed the bill. I guess he’s trying to prove he has one.
California has 40 million, Wyoming 580,000. Both are represented by two senators in Washington, D.C. What a governmental travesty. Slim is out of town trying to find a reliable therapist.
We have 39 states that have one-party rule, in other words, house, senate, and governor. Here’s how some of these states spend their time. Missouri Republicans spent hours debating how female legislators should dress. The legislators were concerned about bare arms and elbows exposed on the respective floors. Men telling women what to wear. I would suggest that the female members bring a bill that requires men to wear tight jockstraps while in the capitol. If they continue to be aroused by bare arms, pass a bill allowing them to use campaign funds to buy a sex doll for the office so they can rape them when aroused by a sexy elbow.
Republican Texas gunslingers like to keep their women barefoot, pregnant, and worshiping, so they are proposing to eliminate tax incentives for any company in the state which has approved funding abortions for employees.
The two largest Democratic states, California and New York, have a combined population of 59,147,474, and are represented by large majorities of Democratic liberals. The two largest Republican states, Florida and Texas, have a combined population of 51,274,888, with Texas almost turning purple, and Florida, a 50/50 state tinting red.
“I’m not supposed to compare Republicans to Nazis but the only difference between DeSantis and Abbott and Hitler and Goering is that they want to kill liberals and gays instead of Jews and gays. They are both little Putins. When they grow up, they will kill without remorse.
Putin kills Ukrainian kids every day so he can become another Stalin and fill the gulag with his enemies. He kills opponents on Moscow streets, on airplanes, and in London hospital beds with bullets and Kremlin poisons. I wonder if Putin has read Dostoyevsky: “Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!”
Let’s remember that Trump tried to kill all federal prisoners on Death Row before he left office.
DeSantis thinks he can take over Trump’s base and get elected if he can pass enough trans and gay “education” laws to really satisfy Franklin Graham’s and Billy’s old base. DeSantis is trying to destroy the Florida Teacher’s Union. He puts Blacks in jail for voting and forces trans kids to commit suicide. If he can destroy the strongest union, the weak ones will disappear. He uses a combination of B’s—Bullshit and Bigotry—to keep the MAGAs happy.
These three are “fine” fascists like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Putin. Trump is a crazy chameleon, becoming a splotchy red or blue, depending what color his parasites are. Slim is on a Pacific island, hiding from the tax collectors.
4. One can buy .223 ammo for an AR-15 Bushmaster for 42 cents a round.
Well, “conservative” members of the gun culture, hunters, and those who love the sound of shots and bullets flying, do you recognize that one round can cost society as much as $2 million in healthcare costs? Does the Second Amendment refer to an individual American or to the National Guard units of each state?
A Democratic Congress and a Democratic president finally appropriated funds to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control to invest in firearm injury prevention research. Let’s use the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017 as an example of what the gun culture is costing us.
Stephen Paddock of Vegas, 64, had 23 firearms in his Mandalay Hotel room, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and telescopic sights. Of 20 rifles, 13 were AR-15s equipped with bumpstocks which made them fully automatic. He fired 1.049 bullets in ten minutes into a crowd of 20,000 attending a country music festival, killing 59 and wounding over 800, with 124 victims having multiple gunshot wounds.
If we followed the lifetime costs of healthcare for the seriously injured, the loss of income due to injury, the total costs of hospitals, doctors, nurses, surgeries, and all associated costs such as travel and housing costs, how many billions would we spend before the last victims died off?
What is the Second Amendment, erroneously interpreted because of “originality” Supreme Court ideologies, confusing “militia” with individuals, worth? The National Guards of each state need to be armed. No civilian should possess firearms that have more than six-round magazines or clips, and military ammunition should not be sold on the open market.
But I see no hope for any solution while we are still fighting in the 159th year of our civil war. Slim is out of town, firing machine guns at a Las Vegas range. The gun culture formed by the National Rifle Association and the firearm manufacturers has killed more than a million Americans, more than in all of our wars.
With more than 400 million firearms, including millions of AR-15s, available on streets in the Divided States, a do-nothing Congress, a country loaded with White Supremacists, and 64% living paycheck to paycheck, it’s going to get so bad people will have to steal to stay alive. How about keeping flags at half-mast until assault rifles are banned and confiscated?
How do you cure a gun culture pandemic when you have a manufacturer make child-sized AR-15s (.22) and then promoting them in magazines with cartoon skulls showing a young boy with a mohawk and a girl with ponytails? You can get one from Schmid Tool and WEE1 Tactical of Chicago. I doubt the CDC can come up with a cure for this plague.
After hunting ducks, a man’s dog jumped into a pickup seat, stepped on the trigger of his master’s shotgun, and killed him. If a person doesn’t realize he has death in his hands, he should never touch a gun.
5. The worst plague in this country and the world has always been economic inequality.
Bad stuff happens to people when corporations are more powerful than people. Here’s what happens to people in the Divided States of America each day because of economic inequality:
*** 293 die of drug cartel-manufactured fentanyl because “something” is missing from their lives.
*** 130 die of suicide because they lack “something” in their lives. 12 of them are teenagers, with some being trans. 44 are military veterans who fought in wars caused by economic inequality.
*** 9 million children went to school and bed hungry. Only three of 50 states have agreed to follow European countries in providing free lunches for all students.
*** 40% of families have less than $400 to cover an emergency.
*** 12,000,000 households do not have a relationship with a bank or other financial institution. They are constant prey of corporate loan sharks in the payday and check cashing industry.
*** 55% of mature working people are way behind in saving for retirement.
These critical facts are listed in a poll by We The People. The report contains a concluding statement: “We are not stuck, mired or imprisoned by this miserable hour of indecency, corruption and absurdity in which ignorance competes with delusion against fraudulence in a twisted spectacle, where depravity is valued more highly than conscience.
“We have it within our power to demand better. We have it within our power to summon the winds of change that can sweep away the foul tide of decay, meanness, despair, injustice, greed and selfishness that has hobbled America for most of this still new century.”
This statement sounds optimistic, but Slim won’t be back in town. He was killed in a mass shootout yesterday at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.