Democracy is not only a myth, it has officially been declared a dead myth. This is especially true when more than a few "experts" and media propagandists have openly asserted that if people have to die so that they and their Plutonomy may live, so be it.
As they plunder the wealth of a nation and a globe in their orgy of disaster capitalism overkill, all remaining shreds of their propaganda masks are getting ripped off their smirking faces at the speed of the avoidable death rate directly attributable to the orchestrated dearth of the cheap face masks essential to protect human beings from infection by COVID-19.
The value they place on money over human life has always been a given. It's just that, until now, they've been fairly subtle about it, succeeding, through their political lackeys, at convincing enough people that this is still a democracy because we are allowed to vote every two and four years.
With their own lives at stake even as they rob and plunder in full public view, they're caught between the rock and the hard place of both despising us and needing us. Their contempt has only served to once again display the abject fear they so nakedly exhibited when Bernie Sanders had briefly appeared to be beating Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination.
Much to their chagrin, the coronavirus is now more threatening to their continuing rule than a million Bernie Sanders could ever be. They can't cheat the virus, red-bait the virus, lie the virus out of existence, or make fun of the virus's odd little spikes the way that they made fun of Bernie's Brooklyn accent, wispy hair and flailing arms.
It seems like only yesterday that MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah went on the air to complain that "Bernie makes my skin crawl." Fast forward a couple of months, and she's got herself an enemy that actually infiltrates your skin and has the potential to drown you to a painful death as your lungs fill up with fluid.
Not that she and her fellow plutocrats had to worry about Bernie, who just caved by not showing up for the final vote for the aforementioned corporate coup and slush fund bailout of the despised billionaire class.
Love all the Bernie stans arguing that for practical reasons he *had* to compromise and do what Schumer wanted. I don’t remember such charitable feelings when Elizabeth Warren organized her Medicare for All plan. Weird double standard.
When Donald Trump says he wants America's churches packed by Easter, what he really means is that he wants the service sector back on the job by Easter so that the oligarchs can enjoy the glorious Slush Fund Resurrection of their wealth and power in ungodly comfort as they feast at the altar of Mammon. Who's going to make all the beds and manicure all the lawns at Trump's properties, maintaining him and his class in the comfort to which they have become accustomed? We certainly cannot expect Melania to load her own dishwasher or Ivanka to do her own hair and makeup.
Or as Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacecic so bluntly puts it, "Healthy workers below about the age of 55... we'll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don't know.... Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you'll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose."
To make matters even worse, with the Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard now full to bursting with off-season wealthy New York City refugees, Flyover Country is actually warning rich potential virus-carriers to stay the hell away. Several upstate New York counties, for example, have informally banned them from entry. These well-heeled refugees find themselves being treated uncomfortably similarly to the "illegal" migrants they have either caged or enslaved at sub-minimum wages, as the need and their whimsy dictates.
Despite the pyrrhic Senate victory which officially turned the Republic into a formal rather than de facto neofeudal oligarchy, the class war is getting turned right on its ear. Now it's the poor who have established gated communities to keep out the rich. The poor all over the world are refusing in ever increasing numbers to return to work and to risk their lives for abysmally low remuneration and no benefits.
We are rightly outraged by pundits and politicians glibly discounting both the working class and the indigent as expendable, and treating our health and survival as secondary in importance to the economic growth that benefits only the few. We purport to be astounded that in Italy, elderly pandemic victims are being denied ventilators in favor of giving younger victims a fighting chance at survival..
Italy has single payer health care, which gave Joe Biden the perfect hook to decry Medicare For All at the recent debate with Bernie Sanders. He didn't mention that the outsourcing of manufacturing of medical equipment in the "free trade" deals he has spent his entire political life championing is what has led to the global shortage of life-saving supplies to fight the virus. The health care systems offering free treatment at the point of entry have nothing to do with the virus's morbidity and mortality rates.
Biden campaign adviser Ezekiel Emanuel, for example, has long advocated for letting old people die when they are no longer useful to society and to the bottom line.
In a controversial 2014 Atlantic piece, the self-described "medical ethicist" and leading Obama administration health official wrote:
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic....
Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.
I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.Emanuel apparently has not advised his own client, the 77-year-old cognitively declining Joe Biden, that he is already two years past "the pretty good age to stop." But perhaps instead, he has suggested that Biden be kept out of the public eye as much and as long as possible to stop all the public speculation about his cognitive decline.
(For more on Emanuel's neoliberal ethic, please read "Medicare, Doctor Mengele, and You.")
To mangle both the Mengele metaphor and the late great George Carlin: not only is it a big club that you ain't in, they want to club you over the head with it.
While they're wielding their weapons, let's wield ours with a massive general strike. Let's stop making their beds, mowing their lawns, tutoring their pre-Ivies, paying their rents, building their mansions, cooking and delivering their food, fighting their wars, and manipulating their balance sheets to effectuate their tax evasions.
As soon as this pandemic ends, and it will end, we must don our yellow vests. We might not win, but at least it will feel good trying. At least we can make them feel moderately uncomfortable about killing people in new record numbers.