If this is a war, are there war criminals among us?

At least some people think “war” is the proper metaphor for a pandemic, but these tend to be the same demented loons who think poverty, drugs, crime, and disease all have to be dealt with as a “war”. I think it’s overused and inappropriate myself. But then you see some of the shell-shocked victims and you realize that, at least for some people, this is a battle.


I wouldn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse right now. Those are important jobs, and I don’t think I could handle the pressure.

We aren’t even anywhere near the peak yet, either. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

We aren’t prepared. Hospitals are running out of PPE gear; this New York hospital is improvising gowns with trash bags. That’s got to help patient confidence, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell Jr is reopening the Liberty University campus and encouraging students to return. The University of Minnesota Morris has not done that, because we can see the trends in the data and actually think it’s more important that our students stay healthy than that we curry favor with a delusional president.

Even worse, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi has explicitly countermanded all the local limitations in his state.

One of the immediate consequences of Reeves’ order is the formal declaration that most of Mississippi’s businesses qualify under it as “essential,” and thus are exempt from restrictions on public gatherings. As of press time, the Jackson Free Press has received reports from businesses in the Jackson area that have, as of today’s executive order, scuttled plans for work-from-home and ordered their employees back to work on-site.

You are hereby ordered to mingle, Mississippians.

I suggest that, after all this is over, that Tate Reeves, Jerry Falwell Jr, and Donald Trump all be held accountable for every death from COVID-19 on their watch. They belong to the “party of personal responsibility”, after all.


  1. Sean Boyd says

    Pretty sure this isn’t what the MAGAites had in mind when the shitgibbon blathered about making America “great again”. But then again, maybe it was. After all, nothing like a raging pandemic to trigger the libs, amirite?

  2. says

    Well, at least this will take care of Trump’s big enemy, globalism. Because as the rest of the world keeps fighting this, thying to eradicate it, the US will become a permanent hotspot, cut off from the rest of the world.

  3. microraptor says

    Based on the way things are going with this crisis, I fully expect that this will be the event that finally end’s America’s position as a global power.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    So much for the “limited government” and “local control” that right-wingers love so much, eh? It’s tyrannical “socialism” when you insist that employers cover birth control or pay them a living wage, but you can command them to get back to work during a public health disaster, endangering your workers, just to save your precious stock portfolio?

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 8

    Oh! So I suppose John Kerry can now sue the Switboat Veterans for Truth for defamation? How about Michael Dukakis? Can he challenge the Bush estate over the Willie Horton ad?

  6. brightmoon says

    NYC won’t let people board Public buses by using the front door . They have to use the back and the front of the bus has a chain preventing you from sitting there. Obviously you can’t pay the fare as you can get nowhere near the fare box . Then I come on here and see this moron’ s idea that people can breathe money instead of air. Not even their own money but money for someone else. SMH and glad I don’t live in Doltsville

  7. says

    @#3, Giliell

    Unfortunately, no. In about 2 years, this particular pandemic will have burned itself out, no matter what happens. (By that time, vaccines will be tested and presumably widely available, the death tolls will long since have been declining, and if there’s anything capitalism is good at, it’s ignoring mass death when there’s money to be made.) From that very particular and grim perspective, Trump’s reaction to coronavirus is almost irrelevant.

  8. jrkrideau says

    @ 13 The Vicar
    if there’s anything capitalism is good at, it’s ignoring mass death when there’s money to be made
    Internally to the US, perhaps but I think that Giliell @ 3 is talking about the rest of the world much of which dislikes the USA already. If Trump and the rest of those idiots keep throwing fuel onto the hotpot, the rest of the world will just have to adjust and find new markets and suppliers. Once the markets are lost, good luck getting them back. The US has almost certainly lost China as a market for soybeans for example.

    Taken a bit further a lot of consumers might be will to pay more to avoid buying a US-made product or decide to holiday in Australia or Chile rather than the USA.

  9. fishy says

    I work at a factory. Today they announced that next week they would be issuing spray bottles with a bleach-water mixture to aid us in sanitizing our work areas. They are including paper towels.
    I’m hesitant to describe what we produce, but it is part of the construction industry.
    I’m not sure what to make of this other than a way to keep the business going while pretending they are doing all they can to stop the spread of the virus. I’m wondering what it will take for them to shutter their business for the safety of the workers.
    Of course there’s also the people I work with…I was talking to one today and he is simply fed up with the constant din of corona virus news and the total lack of sports.

  10. methuseus says

    Can my family live in your garden if we move before the borders close? I took German in high school and have been brushing up. I promise to be fluent in 3 months at any cost

  11. chrislawson says


    It would take a Black Death-level event to end US hegemony in one hit. But I think you’re right from a long-term view. This is one of several critical events that I see as the fatal blows to American power, starting with the stolen election of Bush Jr and his cynical Iraq War Jr cash grab, Hurricane Katrina, and others.

    A bit like the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 was the blow that killed the Byzantine Empire even if it took nearly 400 years for the empire to officially end (and not because of the direct loss in battle of Byzantine military power, but because of what it did to the political structure of the empire, with among other factors the corrupt generals being the ones who pulled out of the battle early and returned to Byzantium to take over the polis before the city could react to their treachery; to put this in context, before Manzikert the Byzantine army had around 110,000 soldiers; they lost around 30,000 in the battle, which is indeed a huge chunk of their army but still left around 80,000; under the new kleptocratic rulers, administrative incompetence and diversion of funds reduced the army to only 25,000 a mere six years after the worst military catastrophe in their history and with a newly-enthused expansionist power at the eastern border).

  12. chrislawson says

    “I wouldn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse right now. Those are important jobs, and I don’t think I could handle the pressure.”

    That’s very kind of you to say, PZ, but it’s not that bad (by which I mean the added work stress, not the severity of the epidemic). Of course, I’m lucky to work in Australia where our political incompetence has just been everyday, as opposed to the US or the UK where the political incompetence is wilfully malignant. The people who will have it the worst are the staff in ICU/high dependency. When there are crunch decisions about who gets the last ICU bed, these are the people who will have to make those calls, and even if you do everything as well as humanly possible, we know that many will experience severe psychological distress that can last a lifetime.

    My added causes of stress are (in ascending order) [1] patients lying to get face-to-face consults they don’t need — mostly due to their anxiety getting the better of them so while I don’t exculpate them, it’s at least understandable, [2] stupid political leaders making stupid decisions that affect the way we practice because they won’t listen to expert advice over the concerns of industry leaders/donors who don’t want to lose profitability (guess what? those profits are DEAD ALREADY, they can’t be saved, all we can do is NOT MAKE EVERYONE ELSE’S LIFE WORSE WHILE YOU DEMAND WE RESUSCITATE THE CORPSE OF YOUR WORKHORSE), and worst of all [3] the significant number of my medical colleagues who have behaved utterly unethically, e.g. in stockpiling Plaquenil for their own use despite the fact there is no good evidence that it works and, more importantly, there are people who need it for their rheumatoid conditions who now cannot access their medications (and of course, if Plaquenil does turn out to be essential treatment for COVID-19, that would only make this ethically worse).

    There are other examples of unethical behaviour among my colleagues that I don’t feel like talking about given I comment here under my real name. But suffice to say that if you could see some of the things going on at the coalface, you might not hold health professionals in quite the same esteem. And I’m not saying I’m doing everything perfectly myself. Fortunately most people — health professionals and patients alike — are acting with great consideration for others in trying circumstances. Which to me more than balances out the bad behaviours. And weirdly, some things are getting better as our governments are forced to implement improvements that they’ve been resisting for many years based on stupid, stupid ideological blinkering.

  13. says

    I’d welcome you, but aren’t borders closed already?

    As for US hegemony: Yes, with no intervention the pandemic will burn out in two years. The questions is: what is left of the country at the end of that time. Say we get a vaccine by autumn. What’s the difference between a country with a million deaths vs. one with 10.000 deaths? How much has society deteriorated? How much medical infrastructure have you left? At what point can you restart, from what position, how well will others trust you? This will set all countries back* and the US are currently doing their best to make sure they’re not in the position to reclaim leadership.

    *I prefer not to think about Africa and many parts of the developing world. Not because I don’t care, but because I can’t do shit but am smart enough to understand what Corona can do there.

  14. jack16 says

    @19 chrislawson
    The shortage of vital equipment introduces a huge danger factor.

  15. methuseus says

    You’re right, I wasn’t thinking. Except that things are just going to get worse in the US.

    Also, I’ve seen some Twitter posts coming out of Nigeria that leave me hopeful for at least that country.

  16. unclefrogy says

    I read this morning that the Trump campaign is suing to try and get that add removed, sounds like it must be stinging a little
    keep up the good work
    uncle frogy