I saw a lot of people die that I feel like shouldn’t have died

Two people can keep each other sane

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There has been a lot of shitty disingenuous talk about student loan relief of late and this Hell World from a couple months ago is relevant to the discussion. Read it if you haven’t. Also keep in mind a significant portion of student debt is held by people who went to community college or went to a semester or two and didn't graduate. The stereotype of a person holding student loans as some elite class is nothing more than culture war bullshit and can be safely dismissed as unserious.

I’m not stupid (citation needed) but there was at least a small part of me that hoped as I was writing my new book that by the time it came out we might at least have some vague glimmer of hope on the horizon in terms of the pandemic ending but where we stand today is worse than it has ever been reports of a vaccine notwithstanding. The past week we recorded one million new cases of coronavirus for the first time and we’re breaking new records for infections and deaths every day. Over 250,000 have died and there is still no additional stimulus forthcoming and no nationwide mask mandate and no clear guidance on what to do from anyone besides governors scolding us for getting together with friends while keeping bars and gyms and salons open. The virus can’t spread when you’re spending money apparently.

In fact a lot of Democrat leaders even the “good” ones are still blaming people for their individual behavior while absolutely chunking their own institutional response — all the while not even demonstrating good personal practices themselves!

“If you’re socially distant, and you wore a mask, and you were smart, none of this would be a problem,” Andrew Cuomo said yesterday in one of the more ignominious press conferences (non-Trump division) I’ve seen in a good while. “It's all self imposed,” he said. “If you didn't eat the cheesecake you wouldn't have a weight problem.”

Gavin Newsom another big time chode was recently caught attending a birthday dinner at the French Laundry literally one of the fanciest restaurants in the country alongside top state medical officials despite insisting other Californians refrain from such gatherings.

“While our family followed the restaurant's health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” he said after an uproar.

Nancy Pelosi was shamed into canceling a fancy dinner for incoming House members after getting dragged to hell over the hypocrisy.

“‘It’s very spaced,’ the California Democrat assured reporters, arguing Friday evening that the post-election reception she was about to host for just under 50 incoming and reelected members was socially distanced and approved by the House physician,” the Washington Post reported.

“It was the latest in a series of moves by the speaker, who has routinely knocked Republicans for acting irresponsibly during the pandemic, that have played into the hands of critics who see a double standard.”

Speaking of Nancy recall how insane it makes you when some Trump toad lies about him like this.

Thanks as always to Tyler Littwin for his work designing Hell World logos and such like this one.

Just this week a case of the virus was reported on a cruise ship — the first to set sail in the Caribbean since the pandemic began — and it’s had to immediately go into lockdown. We’re at the point where history is rhyming already and the first note of the song hasn’t even resolved yet.

What are we doing here? That’s an impression of me on a cruise ship of any kind under normal circumstances never mind one during a pandemic. It’s a question that can also be generously applied to everything else everywhere.

What are we doing here?

At least Facebook is handling Trump’s constant lying and crying every day about the election he ate shit in responsibly.

Please be sure to gaze upon — if you dare — the forbidden post.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching and people everywhere including the but I’ve been so careful this whole time ones are going to travel to see their stupid fucking families and eat some shitty turkey and bring the virus back home to wherever they came from. The government has failed them and all of us and they deserve the brunt of the blame to be sure and yet… maybe don’t do it anyway?

I just saw a headline from the Mississippi Free Press: After Big Thanksgiving Dinners, Plan Small Christmas Funerals.

AND STILL A GOOD PORTION OF THE COUNTRY DOESN’T BELIEVE ANY OF THIS IS REAL.

I read a thread on Twitter from a nurse named Jodi Doering in South Dakota a state that is currently being absolutely pummeled by infections although I guess they all are right now it’s just a matter of degree.

“I have a night off from the hospital,” she wrote. “As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have Covid because it’s not real.”

“Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them.  And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.”

Then I watched a video from a nurse named Lawanna Rivers working in El Paso. She said patients in the hospital there —where they’ve currently got ten mobile morgues set up and are using inmate labor to move the bodies — are being left to die. 

“What I saw there this past month was horrific,” she said near tears in a video that soon went viral. “For some reason the doctors there did not aggressively treat the Covid patients.”

“I saw a lot of people die that I feel like shouldn’t have died. Y’all that assignment there broke me. I was put in what was called ‘a pit.’ It was eight patients. I was told whatever patients go into the pit they only come out in a body bag.”

Because they had Covid she said the policy was they would only get three rounds of CPR. Six minutes of attempting to save their lives. Not a single patient that coded during her shifts made it out alive. 

“If those doctors there would aggressively treat those patients from the beginning a lot more would make it,” she said. “The nurse that orientated me had one patient, she was called the 'VIP' patient, she was a doctor's wife. And when I say they pulled out all the stops for that woman... It was nothing that they didn't do for that woman, and guess what, she was the one patient that made it out of that ICU alive.”

Meanwhile at one prison in Texas 6% of the population has died from Covid and the lawyers for Lisa Montgomery the only woman on federal death row — a victim herself of trafficking and childhood abuse with severe mental illness — have requested a stay of execution because they’ve contracted the virus themselves and Bounchan Keola an incarcerated man in California who was gravely injured and nearly killed while fighting wildfires earlier this year two weeks before he was set to be released has been transferred to ICE custody where he’s being threatened with deportation to Laos a country he left thirty five years ago when he was four according to the Guardian.

“I just want to go home and give my mom and dad a hug,” Keola told the Guardian in a recent call from ICE detention. “All I know is I’m American. I’ve never thought of myself not being a citizen. I’m just asking for that one second chance.”

Keola grew up a US permanent resident, and is the latest refugee to face deportation as a result of California’s controversial policy of transferring certain foreign-born prisoners to Ice after they’ve completed their prison sentences, a practice governor Gavin Newsom has supported. Lawmakers across the country, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called on Newsom to end the transfers in September, in response to the story of Kao Saelee, another prison firefighter and Laotian refugee sent to ICE.

In other California news here’s a headline from NBC Los Angeles:

“McMansions” for the Homeless: Some LA Tents Are So Big They Have Showers, AC and Even Tiki Bars

One tent near downtown LA occupied by a homeless man had a working shower, kitchen, water heater, electricity and even a doorbell.

In Hollywood, another tent installed a 15-foot slide for entertainment.

And, in Venice, a tent had its own wading pool, while another had its own tiki bar to serve drinks to other homeless people. The tiki bar was removed by city sanitation workers in April.

Residents and business owners in these areas call these “McMansion tents,” and say they've created dangerous living conditions for the people inhabiting them, and serious public health and safety problems for everyone else.   

FUUUUCKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Maybe they should’ve gotten a reservation at the French Laundry instead?

Wait now that I think of it McMansions for the homeless sounds like a great idea. How many of them in Los Angeles alone are sitting empty?

It’s all quite a lot right now and if you’re feeling despondent of late no one could blame you. On the other hand I just read a striking essay by a writer named Kevin Killough of the Powell Tribune in Wyoming that is worth thinking about.

It begins like so:

One of my tasks here at the Powell Tribune is handling the obituaries. I type up handwritten copy for those who can’t use or don’t have access to computers. I track down photos when families forget to attach them to the email, and I work with the families to make any changes or corrections before it goes to print. When you’re grieving, it’s not always easy to be organized.

Unless it’s a younger person, obituaries don’t usually mention the cause of death. There are many reasons why a family would keep the cause of death private, but if it’s a younger male, especially, often it’s because the deceased took his own life. In these obituaries for young, healthy males, the omission is hard not to notice.

There’s a privacy around suicide, and decorum demands we be respectful of that. While it’s understandable families want to keep such a detail private, it has the unintended consequence of sweeping a serious problem under the rug, especially here in Wyoming. Every year in the U.S., about 48,000 people take their own lives. About two-thirds of those are men. In Wyoming, it’s the seventh-leading cause of death and the second for people ages 10 to 44. Yet, there is such a silence that surrounds those who take their lives and those who have lost someone to suicide.

There’s a stubborn stigma attached to suicide and all its associated mental health problems, and it’s a contributing factor for why people who are thinking about suicide don’t seek help.

It’s something I understand all too well. In 1999, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, I pointed a loaded rifle at my head. I was in my 20s at the time. Problems that now seem quite surmountable — even trivial — were like looming shadows climbing up the wall and across the ceiling. I felt swallowed by a darkness so much larger than myself — and utterly alone.

Please read the rest here.

I included a poem by Marge Piercy in here the other day and a reader named Keith wrote in to share this one from her which I had not read.

The Low Road

by Marge Piercy

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can't remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can't stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again and they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know you who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

Man what a day that might be when we finally start thinking We.

OK BYE FOR NOW.