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I am hoping we do not have to learn about how bad the second wave is before it is too late.

History (Straight from Wikipedia)

Timeline

First wave of early 1918

The pandemic is conventionally marked as having begun on 4 March 1918, with the recording of the case of Albert Gitchell, an army cook at Camp Funston in Kansas, United States, despite there likely having been cases before him.[24] The disease had been observed in Haskell County in January 1918, prompting local doctor Loring Miner to warn the US Public Health Service‘s academic journal.[25] Within days, 522 men at the camp had reported sick.[26] By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York.[citation needed] Failure to take preventive measures in March/April was later criticised.[27]

As the US had entered World War I, the disease quickly spread from Camp Funston, a major training ground for troops of the American Expeditionary Forces, to other US Army camps and Europe, becoming an epidemic in the Midwest, East Coast, and French ports by April 1918, and reaching the Western Front by the middle of the month.[24] It then quickly spread to the rest of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Spain, and in May reached Wrocław and Odessa.[24] After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Germany started releasing Russian prisoners of war who then brought the disease to their country.[28] It reached North Africa, India, and Japan in May, and soon after had likely gone around the world as there had been recorded cases in Southeast Asia in April.[29] In June an outbreak was reported in China.[30] After reaching Australia in July, the wave started to recede.[29]

The first wave of the flu lasted from the first quarter of 1918 and was relatively mild.[31] Mortality rates were not appreciably above normal;[32] in the United States ~75,000 flu-related deaths were reported in the first six months of 1918, compared to ~63,000 deaths during the same time period in 1915.[33] In Madrid, Spain, fewer than 1,000 people died from influenza between May and June 1918.[34] There were no reported quarantines during the first quarter of 1918. However, the first wave caused a significant disruption in the military operations of World War I, with three-quarters of French troops, half the British forces, and over 900,000 German soldiers sick.[35]

Seattle police wearing masks in December 1918

Deadly second wave of late 1918

The second wave began in the second half of August, probably spreading to Boston and Freetown, Sierra Leone by ships from Brest, where it had likely arrived with American troops or French recruits for naval training.[35] From the Boston Navy Yard and Camp Devens (later renamed Fort Devens), about 30 miles west of Boston, other U.S. military sites were soon afflicted, as were troops being transported to Europe.[36] Helped by troop movements, it spread over the next two months to all of North America, and then to Central and South America, also reaching Brazil and the Caribbean on ships.[37] From Freetown, the pandemic continued to spread through West Africa along the coast, rivers, and the colonial railways, and from railheads to more remote communities, while South Africa received it in September on ships bringing back members of the South African Native Labour Corps returning from France.[37] From there it spread around Southern Africa and beyond the Zambezi, reaching Ethiopia in November.[38] The Philadelphia Liberty Loans Parade, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 28 September 1918 to promote government bonds for World War I, resulted in 12,000 deaths after a major outbreak of the illness spread among people who had attended the parade.[39]

From Europe, the second wave swept through Russia in a southwest-northeast diagonal front, as well as being brought to Arkhangelsk by the North Russia intervention, and then spread throughout Asia following the Russian Civil War and the Trans-Siberian railway, reaching Iran (where it spread through the holy city of Mashhad), and then later India in September, as well as China and Japan in October.[40] The celebrations of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 also caused outbreaks in Lima and Nairobi, but by December the wave was mostly over.[41]

American Expeditionary Force victims of the Spanish flu at U.S. Army Camp Hospital no. 45 in Aix-les-Bains, France, in 1918

The second wave of the 1918 pandemic was much more deadly than the first. The first wave had resembled typical flu epidemics; those most at risk were the sick and elderly, while younger, healthier people recovered easily. October 1918 was the month with the highest fatality rate of the whole pandemic.[42] In the United States, ~292,000 deaths were reported between September-December 1918, compared to ~26,000 during the same time period in 1915.[33] Copenhagen reported over 60,000 deaths, Holland reported 40,000+ deaths from influenza and acute respiratory disease, Bombay reported ~15,000 deaths in a population of 1.1 million.[43] The 1918 flu pandemic in India was especially deadly, with an estimated 12.5-20 million deaths in the fall months of 1918 alone.[31]

Third wave of 1919

In January 1919, a third wave of the Spanish Flu hit Australia, where it killed 12,000 following the lifting of a maritime quarantine, and then spread quickly through Europe and the United States, where it lingered through the Spring and until June 1919.[12][44][45][41] It primarily affected Spain, Serbia, Mexico and Great Britain, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.[46] It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave. In the United States, isolated outbreaks occurred in some cities including Los Angeles,[47] New York City,[48] Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco and St. Louis.[49] Overall American mortality rates were in the tens of thousands during the first six months of 1919.[50]

Fourth wave of 1920

In spring 1920, a fourth wave occurred in isolated areas including New York City,[48] Switzerland, Scandinavia,[51] and some South American islands.[52] New York City alone reported 6,374 deaths between December 1919 and April 1920, almost twice the number of the first wave in spring 1918.[48] Other U.S. cities including Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis were hit particularly hard, with death rates higher than all of 1918.[53] Peru experienced a late wave in early 1920, and Japan had one from late 1919 to 1920, with the last cases in March.[54] In Europe, five countries (Spain, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland) recorded a late peak between January-April 1920.[51]

The massive disparity between the social classes in the US make it difficult to find the equality as set down by their law, in their society.

“1. The United States, by the way, is fundamentally unjust. Even before the Trump Virus sparked a depression and corporate bailout that deepened inequality in the U.S., the three wealthiest Americans’ combined wealth already exceeded that of the nation’s bottom 50 percent. The top tenth of the upper U.S. One Percent already had a shared net worth greater than that of the nation’s bottom 90 percent and median Black household wealth amounted to 6 cents on the white median household dollar. The nation has long been riddled by massive, interrelated disparities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and power that make an abject mockery of its claim to represent democracy and equality before the law. Exhaustive empirical research shows that progressive majority public opinion is close to irrelevant in the making of “public” policy, which consistently reflects the preferences of the wealthy Few and their giant corporations and financial institutions. You can learn all about this from mainstream researchers and journalists who never identify with “ideologies such as Marxism” or acknowledge that significant socioeconomic disparity and top-down class rule are inherent to the profits system.”

 

The US would do well to start to manage the current distribution of wealth.  A country that is run for the benefit of a small elite is a society that is doomed to fail.

 

 

This is where ‘patriots’ and others accuse me of hating the West and America.

Good.

Our inflated sense of being the ‘good guys’ and on the right side of history shields us from the monstrous atrocities that have been and are being committed in our name.   The very truth of the matter is that there is no right side of history, only self interested actors on the state and individual level acting inhumanely toward those deemed to be the enemy.  The truth is that being tortured for in the name of democracy or dictatorship is quite irrelevant to those being put to the irons – the only take away is that torture can not be justified, not ever.

The history of US intervention in Central and South America is a history of coups, brutal repression, and torture.  One of the specialists sent to ‘teach the torture trade’ was Dan Mitrone, his legacy is written in the blood and lives of Left activists and innocents across Central and South America.

“The late US journalist and author A.J. Langguth credited US advisers led by Mitrione with introducing “scientific methods of torture” to Uruguay. These included psychological tortures like playing recordings of screaming women and children and telling prisoners it was their relatives being tortured, to more traditional torture techniques like electric shocks applied under the fingernails and to the genitals. According to Manuel Hevia Cosculluela, a Cuban double agent who infiltrated the CIA and spent years in the agency’s Montevideo station, Mitrione said that the key to successful interrogation was to apply “the precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount to achieve the desired effect.”

“A premature death means failure by the technician,” Mitrione told Hevia. “You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist.” Mitrione walked a very fine line between surgical and sadistic when he added: “When you get what you want, and I always, do, it may be good to prolong the session a little to apply another softening up, not to extract information now, but only as a political measure, to create a healthy fear.”

In order to build the perfect underground classroom in which to teach his Uruguayan students the tools and techniques of their torturous trade, Mitrione soundproofed the basement of his Montevideo home. He tested its integrity by blasting Hawaiian music or having an assistant fire a pistol from the room while he listened from different points outside the home. Hevia claimed it was there that Mitrione trained Uruguayan police to torture using “beggars from the outskirts of Montevideo,” a practice he honed to perfection while stationed in Brazil. “There was no interrogation, only a demonstration of the different voltages on the different parts of the human body,” said Hevia.

The Cuban claimed that Mitrione personally tortured four beggars to death in his bespoke dungeon. This fits a historical pattern: At the notorious US Army School of the Americas (SOA), then located in Panama, US doctors supervised torture classes in which homeless people were kidnapped from the streets of Panama City and used as human guinea pigs. According to one former SOA instructor interviewed in the award-winning documentary film Inside the School of the Assassins, “they would bring people in from the streets to the base, and the experts would train us on how to obtain information through torture… They had a US physician… who would teach the students… [about] the nerve endings of the body. He would show them where to torture, where and where not, where you wouldn’t kill the individual.”

This is not the practice of any nation that claims to value human rights.  Yet in death, a clinical, merciless torture teacher was celebrated:

“Back in the US, Dan Mitrione was hailed as a hero. White House spokesman Ron Ziegler lauded his “devoted service to the cause of peaceful progress” as “an example for free men everywhere,” calling him a man who “exemplified the highest principles of the police profession.” To his wife, he was the “perfect man.” His daughter called him “a great humanitarian.” Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis even staged a benefit concert for his grieving family — Mitrione had nine children — in his home town of Richmond, Indiana on August 29.”

Imagine if we could hear the incriminating shameful stories at the same volume as the triumphant patriotic tropes we are taught, we might able to begin the process of reclaiming our shared humanity.

 

Source: Counterpunch – Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione

 

 

 

   The upcoming election in the US, at least from a Canadian perspective, a bit lost in the deluge of media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The American Left business party has a chance to regain the White House, but Webb asks the question in his essay on Unherd, “What if the new American Left is — as the philosopher Richard Rorty put it, exhausted?”

 

“And, he argued, national pride in America is just what the American left had lost — and if that was true in 1998 it is true with knobs on in 2020: to quote the great philosopher, “a spectatorial, disgusted, mocking Left” understands the nation in a way that “leads them to step back from their country and, as they say, ‘theorize’ it. It leads them to … give cultural politics preference over real politics, and to mock the very idea that democratic institutions might once again be made to serve social justice.”
Suggested reading

Rorty, who died in 2007, was not an complete enemy of the new Left’s keenness on race and gender — he thought they had a point — but he knew that it would end in tears. He knew that identity politics would ditch the uncomfortable, sweaty-smelling folks in the unions, the welders and electricians and carpenters and that those (mainly white) men would in turn ditch the Democrats. And so it came to pass, and now we might be post-Rorty with no road back.

Does the American Left have what it takes to knit together the nation when its modern iteration so clearly dislikes so much about it? After the statues ,what else must fall? What other horrors must be uncovered? The jury is out, to put it mildly, on whether American atonement might be over soon or just beginning. If the question is between social solidarity or continued struggle, plenty of modern Democrats have had it with the former and are willing to embrace the latter.

They may or may not be right, or justified, but if America finds no comfort and no direction we will all suffer the consequences. There’s a lot riding on the Biden presidency, if it comes. For them, and, as ever, for us.”

The other problem I see is that Biden may want to return to the status quo which if one recalls – the permanent war economy, gilded age level of economic inequality, and predatory capitalism – isn’t exactly a noble cause.

  Very happy to be in Canada for this particular emergency.  The US administration was all over the map has the pandemic started and is paying the price now for having a doofus as head of state.

 

Long-Simmering Realities

In many ways, the current crisis has, of course, just exposed conditions that should have been attended to long ago. Much that suddenly seems broken was already on the brink when the coronavirus appeared. If anything, the pandemic has simply accelerated already existing trends. As a December 2019 Century Foundation report on “racism, inequality, and health care for African Americans” concluded, “The American health care system is beset with inequalities that have a disproportionate impact on people of color and other marginalized groups.” In fact, in 2019, the London-based Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index had already ranked the American healthcare system 59th in the world for its standard of services.

As bad as Donald Trump and his administration have been, the growing American coronavirus disaster can’t simply be blamed on them. Covid-19 has brought home to the rest of us how over here over there really was. And now, the pathetic White House leadership in this crisis has raised another possibility: autocracy.

The Trump administration’s failure to handle the crisis competently stems in part from the president’s perception that whatever he says, in autocratic fashion, goes — or, as he has often put it, “I can do whatever I want.” From his early assertion that the virus was destined to go from 15 cases to one or disappear in the warmth of April to his fantasy numbers when it came to virus testing or obtaining crucial medical equipment to his recent advocacy of ingesting disinfectants as an antidote for Covid-19, the leader of the United States has come to resemble a run-of-the-mill autocrat spreading disinformation in his own interests. It’s one thing to point to the power-grabbing of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the underhanded machinations of the dictator of North Korea, or the ruthlessness of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. It’s quite another to have a power-hungry leader as our own head of state. Once again, we are not immune. There is here.

With Covid-19, the very idea of American exceptionalism may have seen its last days. The virus has put the realities of wealth inequality, health insecurity, and poor work conditions under a high-powered microscope. Fading from sight are the days when this country’s engagement with the world could be touted as a triumph of leadership when it came to health, economic sustenance, democratic governance, and stability. Now, we are inside the community of nations in a grim new way — as fellow patients, grievers, and supplicants in search of food and shelter, in search, along with so much of humanity, of a more secure existence.

The world, in other words, has turned upside down.

   Another American Presidential candidate that predates on women.  Never fear though, it matters not to most in the US whether predatory males are in power or not.
“But it was something she had forgotten — or at least, put out of her mind for years, LaCasse said. After the mid-1990s, she said she and Reade were not in touch, and it was only a few years ago that they reconnected around the time that Reade’s mother died. And according to LaCasse, it was last year when Reade brought up Biden that LaCasse told her that she remembered their conversation about the alleged sexual assault.
More recently, after Reade appeared on a podcast and went public with her allegation of sexual assault, LaCasse said she let her ex-neighbor and friend know that she would be willing to publicly say that Reade had confided in her years ago.
CNN verified through public records searches, photos and an examination of Reade’s past government identification that LaCasse and Reade were once neighbors.”
   I’m not sure why this is even a story.  Electing rapists is a thing in the US (please please tell me how patriarchy isn’t a thing) and this ‘stain’ on Biden’s history won’t affect his public persona a whit.
   Biden is bulletproof on this issue.  He just needs to stand behind the aegis that the current president has erected.  The Grab them By the Pussy in Chief has got Biden’s back.
   The state of the body politic in the US is revolting – I should not have to be commenting on the normalization of the abuse of women by politically powerful men in 2020, yet here we are.
  It fucking sucks.

We need to flatten the wealth curve for our society to continue to move forward and prosper.  The out of balance economic shakedown that has been the status quo for so long needs to change.  Paul Street writing for Counterpunch lays out the grim details:

 

“+ 23. Capitalist Inequality Puts Anti-Science Fascist Lunatics in Power. The savage economic inequalities that are written into the inner logic of capitalism put a pandemic-spreading anti-science lunatic, the demented fascistic oligarch named Donald Trump, atop the world’s most powerful nation. In his useful book How Fascism Works, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley notes that one of contemporary right-wing nationalist authoritarianism’s key taproots is harsh socioeconomic disparity:

“Ever since Plato and Aristotle wrote on the topic, political theorists have known that democracy cannot flourish on soil poisoned by inequality…the resentments bred by such divisions are tempting targets for demagogues…Dramatic inequality poses a mortal danger to the shared reality required for a healthy liberal democracy…[such] inequality breeds delusions that mask reality, undermining the possibility of joint deliberation to sole society’s divisions (pp.76-77, emphasis added)…Under conditions of stark economic inequality, when the benefits of liberal education, and the exposure to diverse cultures and norms are available only to the wealthy few, liberal tolerance can be smoothly represented as elite privilege.  Stark economic inequality creates conditions richly conducive to fascist demagoguery. It is a fantasy to think that liberal democratic norms can flourish under such conditions” (p. 185, emphasis added).

The political culture of pseudo-democratic duplicity and disingenuousness generated by modern capitalist inequality and plutocracy creates space for fascist-style politicians who “appear to be sincere” and “signal authenticity” by “standing for division and conflict without apology.  Such a candidate,” Stanley writes, “might openly side with Christians or Muslims and atheists, or native-born [white] Americans over immigrants, or whites over blacks…They might openly and brazenly lie…[and] signal authenticity by openly and explicitly rejecting what are presumed to be sacrosanct political values….Such politicians,” Stanley argues, come off to many jaded voters as “a breath of fresh air in a political culture that seems dominated by real and imagined hypocrisy.”  Fascist politicos’ “open rejection of democratic values” is “taken as political bravery, as a signal of authenticity.”

That is no small part of how malevolent far-right politicos – many of them dedicated enemies of science in service to the common good (e.g. the malevolent right-wing narcissist and instinctual fascist Trump and Brazil’s monumentally despicable and ecocidal racist Jair Bolsonaro) – have risen to power at home and abroad. The opening is provided by fake-progressive capitalist neo-“liberals” (in the U.S) and neoliberal social democrats and fake “socialists” (in Europe and elsewhere), whose claims to speak on behalf of the popular majority and democracy are repeatedly discredited by their underlying commitment to dominant capitalist social hierarchies. The demented fascist uber-assholes Trump and Bolsonaro, both of whom have acted to increase COVID-19 deaths in their own nations and thus in the world, are outcomes of capitalism in this and other ways.”

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