“Come, said my soul

Such verses for my

Body let us write.”

– Walt Whitman

My apologies for the long delay since my last loquacious discourse. I haven’t written a socio-political essay since just before the January 6th Insurrection. The ugly political landscape of the past several months has been distressing. Socially distressing in the middle of winter intersects with seasonal depression, which effectively interferes with my writing process.

The unwinding of democracy is proving to be dismally discouraging. History will not be kind when evaluating the last few years of America’s political presence; I expect culturally constructed American identity myths from this historical moment to rival the Liberty Bell and Fort Sumter, but I likely won’t be around to see those creations. Neither will you.

Tax season complicates my creative process as well, particularly when it drags on for an additional month into spring. Analytically methodical work can have a dispiriting impact on creativity, particularly in combination with seasonal affectations.

I spent the last several months wrenching a diminutive output of pitiful poetry from my rhetorical soul instead of writing political discourse. It was a moderately effective attempt at avoidance behavior given the grievous cultural and political landscape.

I don’t share my poetry on either Facebook or the Lawless Politics blog; if you want to read my poetry, you’ll have to follow me on Twitter.

I’m provisionally working on a palaverous piece concerning Identity Politics, Transphobia & Bigotry as American as Apple Pie: the Politics of Difference (for determining the manner in which we choose to treat our fellow human beings). I’m pondering what it reveals about our value systems in determining human worth, which is a burdensome and troubling writing engagement. So while I’m struggling with it, sometimes the most important discussions are also arduous and demanding, which indicates the necessity of completion. Two dominant issues in the current public and political spheres pertain to how we construct gender and how we are currently conducting ourselves toward children in particular within a larger dialogue of transgender human identities.

Teaser: we sure as fuck aren’t conducting ourselves in a caring, respectful, and kind manner. Regrettably, reaching for understanding doesn’t appear to be something in which America currently prides and identifies itself.

But in the meantime, I’m finishing up my forthcoming piece on the rise and fall of the GOP, which is a long time coming. It’s beyond time to finish writing it, before they finish off themselves. Or our democracy.

Enemies of the State

January 8, 2021

“Be not so hot; the duke
Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he
Dare rack his own; his subject am I not,
Nor here provincial. My business in this state
Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble
Till it o’errun the stew: laws for all faults,
But faults so countenanc’d that the strong statutes
Stand like the forfeits in a barber’s shop,
As much in mock as mark.”

– Duke Vincentio, Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare

Senator John Hawley, Republican from Missouri, a man former CIA director John Brennan described as the “most craven, unprincipled and corrupt senator” for pandering to Donald Trump’s base and advancing his own personal agenda, joined by 139 Republican House members, challenged the election results when Congress met to certify the Electoral votes.

This was after domestic terrorists invaded the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

Twelve other United States Senators, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, also planned an objection to the election’s certification by demanding a ten day “emergency audit” of votes (votes already determined legitimate) despite the fact that they have no power to do so. The list of Senators brown-nosing the Cult of 45 included Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, and the soon departing Kelly Loeffler of Georgia; and the list of Senators-elect included Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Eight Seditious Senators followed through with their objections (after domestic terrorists invaded the Capitol Building): Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy-Hyde Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), one of the House members objecting to Electoral counts, after losing a court case attempting to force Vice President Mike Pence to throw out legitimate Electors and replace them with Trump loyalists, suggested the ruling meant street violence was the only option for Trump supporters who believe the president’s baseless voter fraud claims.

All of these members of the United States Congress should be effectively considered Enemies of the State.

The Second Clause of Article 1 Section 5 of the United States Constitution reads:

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

The United States Senate and House of Representatives need to use Article 1 of our United States Constitution, which determines the powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Branch, to deal with their “disorderly” members of Congress who endangered their colleagues’ lives for insurrectionist political theater.

These codependent Congressional apostates are enabling political criminals. But the president of the United States, well, his behavior is another whole level of malfeasant depravity altogether: he is the prevailing source of decay sitting at the heart of our Constitutional Republic, and on January 6th, he encouraged his supporters to engage in violent action at our Capitol Building, incited their ire and seditious activities, and then walked away to relish the carnage he pointedly instigated from his safe space.

President Donald J. Trump, a man of raging incompetence, habitual failure, and destructive megalomania, spent his entire term in office engaged in almost no governing whatsoever, enabled by the gratuitous appropriation of his predecessor’s economic recovery in conjunction with the Senate Majority Leader’s political avarice; he did nothing to contain the pestilence of pandemic, allowed 400,000 people to die in his last year in office, and is pissing all over Democracy on his way out the fucking door.

His reality shit show is one of the worst productions we have ever had to endure; network cancellation cannot come soon enough.

I hope the live series finale involves the inimical lead being removed from the White House in handcuffs. It would get great ratings.

This madness, all of it, is the very definition of Lawless Politics.

There is rarely any substantial consequence for society’s ruling elite when engaged in Political Crime in America. That needs to change now; otherwise it is likely this will not be the last time we experience political leaders attempting to undermine our Republic with seditious activities empowered by their voracious feasting upon the discontent, willful ignorance, and utter stupidity found within fractured segments of the American populace.

“In seasons of pestilence, some of us will have a secret attraction to the disease—a terrible passing inclination to die of it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

It’s the end of December 2020, and the world is a burning fever.

A little more than a year ago, the first person contracted the novel coronavirus of 2019. There were a total of nine coronavirus infections in Hubei Province during the month of November 2019, and the earliest known confirmed infection was a 55 year old Hubei woman who contracted the virus on November 17th. On December 16th, the earliest noted coronavirus patient, a 57 year old Wuhan resident, was admitted to the hospital with infections in both lungs.

At the end of March 2020, I wrote my first coronavirus timeline (four pages), and have updated its content three times: in April (seven pages), July (six pages), and October (twelve pages), as additional information became available and as we delved deeper into the experiences and consequences of our global health pandemic.

So let’s finish out this year of our global pandemic, say good-bye to 2020, and update the coronavirus timeline once again.

December of 2019, American intelligence agencies begin to raise normative alarms about a potential health crisis in China while Dr. Li encounters infections appearing similar to SARS and notifies Chinese authorities of his findings.

Chinese authorities tell Dr. Li to shut the fuck up, and on December 31, 2019, China confirmed cases of a new virus infecting its citizens in the city of Wuhan.

An. Entire. Year. Ago.

On January 1, 2020, the WHO set up an Incident Management Support Team (IMST) in response to China’s disclosure.

Early transmission data reports through January 2, 2020 (compiled and peer reviewed in the scientific medical journal The Lancet) revealed that 41 patients had been admitted to the hospital in Wuhan and identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus infection. 27 of the 41 patients had been exposed to the Wuhan seafood market. One family cluster was found. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT; complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute cardiac injury, and secondary infection. 13 patients were admitted to ICU and six died.  In those first six weeks, if this new, highly infectious and aggressive viral pneumonia had been identified in those 41 hospitalized cases, containment may have been an effective method of disease control.

January 8, 2020, the CDC issues its first warning to clinicians to watch for patients showing respiratory symptoms who had a travel history to Wuhan.

January 9, 2020, China has mapped the coronavirus genome.

On January 10th, the WHO assembled their first technical package of information on how to detect, test for, and manage potential cases of the novel coronavirus based primarily on their experience with SARS and MERS respiratory infections.

From January 11 – 17th, the Wuhan health commission insists there are no new cases of the disease and Chinese authorities report that there is no clear evidence of sustainable human to human transmission of the virus; accordingly, the WHO remains unsure about human-to-human transmission rates.

During this time, U.S. intelligence agencies are ringing louder alarms about the serious nature of this impending health crisis.

By January 20th, when the WHO makes its first brief visit to Wuhan, the virus has knowingly spread to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and the United States. More current analysis indicates the virus may also have been present in Europe as early as the end of December 2019.

On January 23, 2020, the WHO determines there is evidence for human to human transmission, but needs to conduct further investigation. On the same day, China quarantines Wuhan and three other cities in Hubei province with a total population of 36 million. Five million people leave the cities anyway without being screened for infection.

On January 23rd, there are 582 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 17 people have died from the virus.

On January 24, there are 854 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 25 deaths. China begins building a new hospital in Wuhan at lightening speed. It should have been clear by this point that some serious shit was going down.

On this day, the president of the United States tweets praise for the Chinese government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, even though it’s already too fucking late to contain the spread from Wuhan.

From January 24-30, China celebrates the lunar new year, and hundreds of millions of people travel around the country. On January 28th, Chinese officials finally agree to allow the WHO to bring a team of international scientists into the country in an attempt to get a handle on the virus: something that should have been done weeks earlier. The following day, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergency Program warns that the whole world needs to be on alert for any cases of the novel coronavirus and prepared to take action.

On January 30th, the WHO declares a global health emergency. The same day, the president of the United States, while attending a campaign rally in Iowa prevaricates, “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great. They [China] have somewhat of a problem, but hopefully, it’s all going to be great.”

On January 31, 2020, there are 9847 cases of coronavirus infections and 213 patients have died. In seven days, the known infections and deaths have increased ten-fold. Also on January 31st, Donald Trump restricts travel from China, which is too fucking late, since the first case from China had already arrived on the west coast fifteen days earlier, and the plague was arriving on the east coast via European travel as well.

On February 10th, the WHO sends an international team of scientists into China to begin assessing the situation in Wuhan.

On February 11th, the WHO named the new infection Covid-19, an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019.

On February 13th, there are almost 15,000 new infections in Hubei Province; total infections are now over 60,000. Four days later, Dr. Li, China’s coronavirus whistleblower, dies of complications from coronavirus infection.

February 14th thru February 28th: during this 2 week period, the virus spreads all around the fucking world.  And the stock markets begin their fall.

On February 28th, Donald Trump holds a rally in South Carolina and downplays the virus once again, stating the Democrats are politicizing the virus, making it the new Democratic hoax. This occurs at the same time the president was telling Bob Woodward in a recorded telephone interview that he knew the virus was serious and was intentionally downplaying it.

On the following day, February 29th, the United States records its first coronavirus death (since then, we know at least two people died undiagnosed with Covid-19 several weeks earlier after autopsies).

On March 3, the CDC lifts federal restrictions on coronavirus testing after their own attempt to create a diagnostic test kit failed.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic, the stock markets continue to drop like a lead balloon, and the president restricts all travel from Europe: too late, again, as the U.S. is its own hotbed of viral infection and the president is in abject and negligent denial of reality.

On Friday the 13th of March, 2020, two months after the first infected patient knowingly arrived on the west coast of the United States, President Donald Trump finally declares a national health emergency.

On April 1, 2020, after some governors have shut down their states without central leadership on how to do so properly, the United States has surpassed everyone else to have the highest number of reported infections and deaths in the world.

By April 2, New York state had more coronavirus cases than China (assuming China’s official numbers are not simply a fabrication): by the end of April, over 300,000 cases and over 23,000 deaths.

On April 7, 2020, after months of bungling the country’s response to managing the containment and treatment of Covid-19, the president of the United States criticizes the WHO for mishandling the pandemic. Even at this early and painful juncture, while blaming others for the pandemic, the president still continues to do absolutely nothing to manage and contain the spread of disease in the United States.

On April 14, 2020, in the middle of a global health crisis, the president of the United States threatens to halt funding to the World Health Organization.

On April 19, 2020, the United States has 765,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and has suffered almost 41,000 deaths. The death toll doubled in the past week, but armed idiots would soon be protesting outside their state house buildings to be allowed to do shit they likely didn’t need to be doing while we fight a pandemic.

For the month of April, we watched as the country continued to engage the battle of coronavirus state-by-state, a rather ineffectual method for fighting a pandemic, as evidenced by our inability to ever flatten the curve. We also watched certain actors in the federal government interfere with the appropriation of necessary medical supplies by the states they had told would have to take care of those needs themselves. The Executive Branch could do nothing but make the situation worse.

Meanwhile, the president continued to gaslight the public while refusing to face the problems of an infectious epidemic like the competent leader we truly needed because he doesn’t know how to lead. Encouraging civil unrest, undermining public safety, concerned solely with the numbers on Wall Street’s ticker tape, enabled by our Justice Department and complicit members of both the legislative and judicial branches of governance, the president of the United States really just doesn’t fucking care about any of us.

On April 20, 2020, the price of American Oil turned negative for the first time in history and the stock market followed suit by dropping once again. Two days later, prices rallied a bit after the president of the United States tweeted that he had instructed the Navy to shoot down and destroy Iranian gunboats in the Persian Gulf.

While the threat of war during a global pandemic isn’t anything if not fucking stupid, it’s all bluster and show from the reality-tv president of the United States: the president is derelict in his duty to act in time of crisis, attend to the real problems we face, and has to rely solely on political theater in order to deflect from his raging incompetence. It’s a constant con, a slight of hand, built with impotence on a house of fucking cards: his modus operandi.

The daily infection rate for the month of April – around the world – begins to climb significantly. From 900,000 cases of coronavirus infection on April 1 to almost 3.5 million cases thirty days later. The CDC warned that reopening states too soon could lead to a second wave of the coronavirus that would be much worse as it would coincide with the flu season in America, but the truth is that America’s first wave has just kept going and growing: a disastrous rogue wave.

Then on May 25, 2020, a police officer pinned to the ground and knelt on 46 year old George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while George pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. He called for his mother. And we all watched the recording of his pleas and murder. On May 27, as coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surpass 100,000, protests against police brutality began spreading across the country, and then across the world, as people step up and out to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter in collective anti-racism action to demand change.

Early protests were plagued by police violence toward protestors while opportunistic rioting and looting muddied the waters conflating grass roots social action with criminality. Protests increased fears of further spreading the coronavirus at the same time the president of the United States announced he would be pulling the U.S. out of the WHO.

By the end of May, the world has 6.3 million coronavirus cases and almost 380,000 deaths.  The U.S. owns a quarter of those numbers.

From May 15th thru June 15th, the U.S. weekly averages about 23,000 new infections per day, and the president of the United States plans to begin holding rallies once again in order to facilitate the spread of a deadly disease. Daily numbers begin to steadily increase over the following weeks, reaching more than 40,000 per day by the end of June, and by July 10th, daily cases have tripled from where they were a month before as the U.S. hits a high of 68,000 new cases in one day. On July 12, the state of Florida sets a record of over 15,000 new infections in one day: were Florida a country, it would have ranked 4th in new coronavirus infections for the day. Disney World reopens the very same day.

The month of July sees President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil test positive for Covid-19, President Donald Trump meekly dons a mask for the first time while formally notifying the United Nations of U.S intent to withdraw from WHO membership, Hong Kong shuts down schools for its third wave of infections, Tokyo raises its pandemic alert level, India reaches a million coronavirus infections, European leaders agree on a new economic stimulus bill while the members of the United States Congress go on summer vacation without arriving at a new stimulus bill needed to assist the millions of Americans who have lost their health insurance and remain unemployed, Herman Cain dies of Covid-19 after likely having contracted the virus attending Trump’s Tulsa event both unmasked and not social distancing, and in the middle of a global health crisis that has seen levels of street crime in the United States decrease overall, Chicago has one of its deadliest months on record for violence and shootings in the city.

By the end of July, the World had 13.5 million coronavirus cases with 582,000 deaths. The United States had 3.4 million cases and 136,000 deaths: with just under 5% of the world’s population, we had 26% of the world’s coronavirus cases and 24% of the world’s coronavirus deaths.

Infections continue to surge and President Trump continues to be a totally incompetent and delusional fuckwit incapable of being anything more than the aging reality television star and habitual hustler who cares nothing for presidential responsibility, the American people, or the consequences of his narcissistic ineptitude.

Undermining of the integrity of the Center for Disease Control, throwing the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the bus, and distracting the public by commuting the prison sentence of criminal Roger Stone while upending the moratorium on federal executions and allowing ICE to set up localized training camps for the brown shirts, it becomes clear that the president of the United States would kill us all rather than take responsibility and do his job.

There has been no positive action to combat our social, economic, and health crisis for months. There has only been shifting the narrative and shifting the blame: deflection, weakness, instability, and failure. The deeper into the Year of the Pandemic we dig, the more political corruption and abuse of power drive the toxicity of our collective dysfunction.

In August of 2020, coronavirus cases in Europe begin a sporadic but upward rise once again, and the United States, which has never had a handle on the spread of infection at all, begins planning for schools to reopen despite the lack of funding and direction for how to do so safely while infections top 60,000 per day on August 7th with America’s sunbelt now leading the country with the highest rates of infection.

The president insists that we have the coronavirus under control, that numbers are getting better, that we’ll have a vaccine before the election, and that the virus will just miraculously go away: all of which are simply outright lies. The abject lack of leadership, pathological lying and gaslighting appear to have no end, while millions of American imbeciles continue to believe Trump’s bullshit and rally for his unqualified reelection.

The month of August also sees the predominantly peaceful protests still occurring in cities around the country demonized and antagonized by the president, as he uses unidentified federal agents to interfere with local law enforcement and violate the rights of peaceful assembly and due process. The mayor of Portland, Oregon chides the president for being the one responsible for the current division, violence, and hate in our country, while President Trump shares videos from white supremacists on Twitter, ruefully claiming to be the law and order president.

At the same time, Joe Biden announces Kamala Harris as his VP running mate, Kanye West’s odd run at the White House comes to an end when he fails to meet the administrative requirements to get on ballots across the country and misses the deadline to report his campaign funding, and Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention is riddled with lies: the man cannot open his mouth without lies pouring out of it.

By the middle of August, the Wall Street Journal is touting the daily coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. as a new low, even though at 46,000 per day, it’s still twice the average number of daily infections as two months earlier, and President Trump enrages the world by trying to negotiate singular access to a coronavirus vaccine (that has yet to be created) for the U.S., while Russia announces it has approved a vaccine and will start giving it to health workers as the rest of the world looks on in skeptical, if not incredulous, belief that Russia has managed to safely create and test a vaccine: scientists worldwide condemn the vaccine over safety concerns.

On August 13th, Dario Vivas, governor of the capital city of Caracas, Venezuela, becomes the first governing political leader to die of Covid-19.

On August 24th, the first case of Covid-19 reinfection is reported in Hong Kong, casting doubt on the concepts of acquired immunity, herd immunity, and the ability of a vaccine to save us all.

On August 28, New York announces its lowest rate of coronavirus infections since the pandemic began with three consecutive weeks of an infection rate below 1%. Half of U.S. states mark a decrease in coronavirus infection rates, as alarming spikes of infection increase across Europe, South America, and India. South Korea stops in-person school instruction at over 2000 schools in response to rising numbers of Covid-19 infection, and the U.S. forges ahead with public school openings as Covid-19 becomes the third leading cause of death in the United States with four months left to go in 2020.

On August 31, there are over 25 million infections and almost 850,000 deaths worldwide from the novel coronavirus. The United States has almost 6 million of those confirmed cases and over 183,000 deaths.

By the beginning of September, Covid-19 cases in Europe have returned to March levels, India sets a record for exceeding 83,000 new daily infections for two consecutive days, New York’s positive test rate has remained below 1% for 30 days, and the west coast of the United States is on fire.

On September 9th, as the world’s infection rates continue to climb in an alarming manner, India records another record-breaking 96,000 new infections, and the U.S. announces it will stop screening international arrivals for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Mike Pence is attending a fundraising event sponsored by crackpot QAnon conspiracy theorists, a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower claims he was ordered to downplay the dangers of violence posed by white supremacists and the Russian interference in our current election, and skies across the west coast turn an apocalyptic shade of orange.

On September 18, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the mighty champion of gender equality, loses her ongoing fight with cancer and courageous attempt to live long enough to see Donald Trump thrown out of the White House, and dies at age 87.

Within hours of the news of her passing, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Trump’s nominee will get a vote on the Senate floor, making no attempt to hide his duplicitous power grab with even the most basic human decency of honoring the fucking dead. McConnell’s single-minded drive to use the worst president in the history of the United States to pack the courts with lifetime judicial appointments at the expense of every piece of neglected legislation sitting on his desk and any hope for mere pretensions at political integrity reached a deplorable climax by providing the grifter in the White House the illicit honor of appointing three justices to the United States Supreme Court: the third just six weeks before election day and after many citizens had already cast their ballots.

On September 22nd, the U.S. reached another grim milestone topping 200,000 Covid deaths. Four days later, the President of the United States holds a festive coronavirus super spreader event at a ceremony in the Rose Garden to announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court wherein over 200 attendees were basically exposed to the plague. After his party of pestilence, Trump attends rallies, the televised shit show that was the first presidential debate with Joe Biden, and then a fundraising event, where one of his aides begins to feel sick. At least a dozen people in attendance at the ceremony will test positive for coronavirus with 35 outbreaks affecting the White House, which does not bother to engage in contact tracing to stop the spread of infection from the Rose Garden event.

At the end of September, there are over 33 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide with over a million deaths. The United States has over 7 million cases and 206,000 people have died from Covid-19. And those numbers are on the rise, once again.

On October 1st, the White House announces that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s close aides, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

On October 2nd, President Trump tweets that he and the First Lady have tested positive for coronavirus, and later that day he is taken by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center. The following day, an infected Trump left Walter Reed briefly to drive by all of his adoring fans outside the hospital in his armored and hermetically sealed limousine, thereby exposing the two secret service agents with him to a deadly virus, while making a plain mockery of all the people who were unable to visit their isolated loved ones dying in hospital intensive care units all over this country from Covid-19.

Despite the danger of spreading the virus through the halls of Congress, the GOP vows to push through the Supreme Court nomination hearings regardless of the fact that three Republican Senators tested positive for coronavirus and cases are on the rise once again, while refusing to take up any stimulus bills to help the American people or attend to the actual needs of our country.

On October 6th, an infectious Trump returns to the White House, promptly removing his mask and waving to his fans from the balcony just like the defective and irresponsible human being he truly is, hell bent on infecting every staff member in the White House employ without a single regard for their health and welfare whatsoever as the number of infections around him continues to rise.

On October 9th, thirteen men were arrested in a terror plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer; some of these men were the dipshits protesting with their firearms outside of the state house building back in April because stay-at-home orders meant they were socially inconvenienced. Meanwhile, President Trump, still sick with Covid-19 but flying high on steroids says that he’s planning to start campaigning and holding rallies once again.

On October 12th, the day Trump resumes his rallies and declares he’s immune from the coronavirus, the first case of Covid-19 reinfection is detected in the United States in a 25 year old Nevada man with no known immune disorders whose second infection with the disease was more severe than the first, which again brings into question the levels of immunity obtained by being infected with the virus and suggests that even if you have already contracted Covid-19, you must still continue taking precautions so as not to contract the disease again. The study of this patient suggested three possible explanations for the increased severity of the second infection: that the second infection resulted from a higher dose of the virus than the first; that the second infection was caused by a more virulent version of the virus; or that previously developed antibodies could make subsequent infection worse.

Meanwhile, the Senate, still unwilling to take up another coronavirus funding relief package, begins hearings to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Included in these hearings is Senator Mike Lee, Republican from Utah, who tested positive for the coronavirus after the White House super spreader event, but spoke in person to the Senate Judiciary Committee without wearing a mask.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who called Amy Coney Barrett a “judicial torpedo” aimed at the ACA in the middle of a mismanaged health crisis, spent his thirty minutes of the hearings not questioning the nominee, but carefully laying out a thorough presentation of what goes on behind the scenes of the Judiciary Committee’s little “puppet theater” to reveal who is really pulling the political strings of judiciary appointments in the federal government and the ingrained corruption of wealthy individuals and corporate money interests silently directing the selection of federal judicial appointments in America. If you watched nothing else of the confirmation hearings, you should watch Senator Whitehouse’s educational twenty-eight minutes.

Moving into the middle of October, coronavirus cases were soaring again across Europe and Russia, India hit 7 million cases, Brazil topped 150,000 deaths, second only to the United States, and early voting in the U.S. sees long lines, long waits, and some of the highest early voter turnout the United States has ever seen despite the hardships involved in voting in person during a global health crisis.

Coronavirus cases begin surging in communities across the country, reaching record highs in 20 states, hospitals begin running out of beds in intensive care units once again, as Trump holds packed campaign rallies in defiance of social distancing orders, while his new medical advisor, Scott Atlas, urges the White House to embrace herd immunity as a strategy for combating the coronavirus, an approach the WHO calls immoral and simply unethical, would result in at least 2.5 million deaths in the United States alone without actually guaranteeing reliable immunity to the disease, and therefore cannot be relied upon to control the pandemic.

In Wisconsin, a state whose Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order last May, a county judge issued a temporary injunction against the governor’s orders to limit the size of indoor gatherings while Wisconsin officials open a field hospital near Milwaukee to deal with the surge of record level Covid patients.

The New York Times reports that the Trump administration gave wealthy Republican donors advance warning about the threat posed by coronavirus back in February as the president was publicly minimizing the threat of Covid-19, and the Trump campaign flouts the health and safety measures in Iowa where Covid-19 hospitalizations are also at record levels.

The GOP ramps up its voter suppression and disenfranchisement schemes across the nation, indicating Republicans fully understand they must cheat to win in America while repeatedly gaslighting the American public about the incidence of voter fraud as if the toxic and codependent relationship we have with politics in America isn’t dysfunctional enough without the abuses of power happening in the light of day to insult our collective intelligence and sensibilities.

As the United States approaches 8 million coronavirus infections and 220,000 deaths from Covid-19, states continue to set new daily records for infections, and the president attacks Dr. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reports that throughout the pandemic, White House officials have made line-by-line edits to official health guidance from the CDC, altering language on social distancing and rolling back limits on in-person gatherings.

On October 21, with the third surge in coronavirus infections set to rival the first two peaks and thirty-one states now qualifying as red zones under the Coronavirus Task Force’s policies, a House committee on the coronavirus releases a report that states the Trump administration has been aware of an alarming increase in rates of infection for over a month while the president openly downplayed the crisis, became sick with Covid-19, and continued holding crowded campaign events that contributed to the spread of the disease.

On Friday, October 23rd, the U.S. broke a new record as reported coronavirus infections exceeded 83,000 new cases, followed by another record breaking day on Saturday. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has increased 40% in the past month, many states’ medical capabilities are stretched to the limit, and health experts warn of a further surge as cold weather sets in and people spend more time indoors.

As a new outbreak in the White House infects at least five members of the Vice President’s staff, Pence continues on the campaign trail rather than quarantine like the average American is supposed to do when exposed to the coronavirus, and Trump says that news about Covid should be illegal just like an aspiring fascist, the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, states that the U.S. is not going to try to control the coronavirus, as if they have done a single fucking thing to actually mitigate the pandemic before this revelation, and if somehow stating this now, at the beginning of our country’s third surge of the disease, is a genuinely new approach rather than a simple acknowledgement of Trump’s incompetent strategy concerning the health crisis since the very beginning.

The president of the United States continues to repeat the lie that the coronavirus is going away, that we’ve turned a corner, and that corner doesn’t lead to more sickness and death; as a truly delusional and incompetent human shit-stain, the president believes that if he ignores the virus, it will simply go away. Every cowardly lackey in Trump’s administration continues to nod enthusiastically like the spineless, pathetic, deplorable excuses for human beings that make up the current Executive Branch of our government, enabling this abhorrent and reprehensible man rotting at the center of our Constitutional Republic.

A new wave of restrictions are implemented across Europe amid an explosion of new cases, the WHO warns countries are on a dangerous track, hospitals across the United State’s Midwest near capacity, and the United States Senate rams through Amy Coney Barrett’s divisive nomination to confirm her unqualified appointment to the Supreme Court just eight days before the presidential election.

On October 26th, the world has over 43.5 million confirmed coronavirus infections and over 1.2 million deaths from the disease; the United States has 8.7 million confirmed coronavirus infections and over 225,000 deaths from the disease. Alarm over the surge of infections and a return to lockdown measures has sent both the stock market and the price of oil falling once again.

Then on November 4, as the American people voted in the 2020 presidential election with the highest voter turnout in 120 years to ensure that Donald Trump would be a one-term presidential loser, the U.S. broke a new record and passed 100,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. We would go on to repeatedly break daily records in new cases like we were auditioning for the deadly lead at the Covid Theater, while Trump continued to show the entire world that he is an abysmal failure at being president of the United States, at responsibly protecting citizens from a global health crisis, and at being even the merest shadow of a decent human being. He truly is the worst president and history will be rightfully unkind to him. The millions of cult members who hold on so tightly to their adoration of this dangerously despicable excuse for a human being also deserve no quarter when the nightmare of the Trump presidency is firmly behind us.

Following his election loss, the president begins a delusional campaign asserting election fraud, even though we all know that the only people who verifiably engage in election fuckery belong to the GOP. Trump will lose 50 court cases trying to overturn the will of the American people by the time the Electoral College meets to cast the votes that will designate Joseph Biden as the next president of the United States of America.

Once the president loses the election, any pretense at governing, even at the abysmally inadequate level we’ve come to expect from his administration, comes to an end as his entire focus moves toward fundraising from his base of suckers and chumps to line his pockets with over 200 million dollars in an ongoing effort to undermine social harmony and poison our democracy.

All while America continues to burn with the fever of pestilence.

On November 9, Pfizer and Biotech announce their mRna vaccination candidate is ready for the process of official approval. By the end of the month, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Moderna vaccine will also be in line for approval.

Yet every day, the numbers continue to climb. The month of November brings a record 4 million new coronavirus cases, doubling the record set in October: the U.S. had more new cases of coronavirus in November than most countries have had all year, excepting India and Brazil. In 24 days, the record number of daily cases has gone from 100,000 new cases per day to 200,000 new cases per day with deaths exceeding 2000 per day and hospitalizations increasing over 100%: for 17 days in a row in November, the U.S. had record hospitalizations due to Covid-19, crippling hospital systems and exhausting healthcare workers around the country. At the end of November, the U.S. has more than 13 million cases of coronavirus and 267,000 deaths, accounting for 20% of the global death toll.

Despite those harrowing numbers and CDC recommendations otherwise, millions of people still boarded planes to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The month of November sees Italy implement harsher restrictions, citizens of Belarus are still protesting, gunmen shoot up people in bars and restaurants in Vienna, Mexico surpasses 100,000 Covid deaths, fighting and military action in the Tigray area of Ethiopia kills hundreds of people and causes tens of thousands of refugees to flee to Sudan, Peru’s interim president Manuel Marino resigns, protests erupt in Bangkok after Thai officials move to amend the constitution, the European region becomes the highest contributor to new Covid cases, Uganda experiences violent protests where police and military fire into the crowds, thousands protest in France over a new law that prohibits filming the police, Black Lives Matter protests emerge in Brazil after a black man was beaten to death at a supermarket, and a Taiwanese parliamentary meeting about pork imports turned violent as officials threw both punches and pig intestines.

At the end of November, the world has over 63 million cases of coronavirus and almost 1.5 million deaths. Texas and California have both passed the ugly milestone of a million coronavirus cases this month while the president of the United States has ceased any pretensions for doing his job or having any fucking empathy at all while hospitals struggle with overcrowding and deaths inch closer to the levels we experienced in April.

On December 1, 2020, Attorney General Bill Barr states that there is no evidence of election fraud, signaling what will become his early departure from the Justice Department with a woefully inadequate redress of the president’s election fraud conspiracy theories, while Republicans in Congress still refuse to publicly acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect until after the Electoral College makes it official on December 14th. Georgia election officials urge Trump to stop inspiring people to commit acts of violence, the White House continues to impede Biden’s transition team’s access to the information it will need to hit the ground running once the Mango Mussolini is finally ejected from the White House, and the United States Congress still has not provided a stimulus bill to assist the millions of people suffering from the economic pain caused by this year of our pandemic.

The month of December sees the Supreme Court refuse to overturn election results in Pennsylvania, the UK becomes the first country to approve Pfizer’s vaccine, Joe Biden begins announcing the most diverse cabinet and advisor picks in history, Argentina decides to tax its wealthiest residents to help pay for medical supplies and other needs for the coronavirus while also legalizing abortion, Kenya’s ICU beds are mostly full as people in lesser populated areas are dying at higher rates because of their inability to receive medical assistance, Venezuelans are taking care of themselves at home while their hospitals are crushed by coronavirus cases, a man in Taiwan is fined $3500 for breaking coronavirus quarantine restrictions for eight seconds, both Russia and Germany reach their highest levels of deaths throughout the pandemic, at least seven people are killed during violent protests in Iran when security officials fire into a crowd and protestors set fire to government buildings, the Netherlands announces a lockdown over the holiday, South Korea considers lockdown after experiencing its largest number of infections since the pandemic began, 344 Nigerian schoolboys are rescued after being kidnapped by bandits, the Vatican gives its OK for the coronavirus vaccine despite the use of fetal cells while healthcare workers across the U.S. begin receiving their first vaccinations; the UK becomes a hotspot for a new variant of the coronavirus that spreads like wildfire, a Wuhan journalist is jailed for 4 years in China for reporting on the coronavirus, 41 year old Louisiana Republican Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies from Covid before ever being seated, and the president of the United States continues to sulk about losing the election while pardoning so many of his best fucking degenerate associates and war criminals instead of doing his damn job while refrigerated trucks handle the overflow of bodies once again and patients line the hallways as hospitals in California simply run out of room for the ongoing sickness and death.

December becomes the deadliest month since the pandemic began with more than 65,000 lives lost to the coronavirus making it the number one cause of death in America. As millions of Americans ignore health officials and travel for the holidays, with the daily average of new infections topping 200,000 per day and deaths topping 2000 per day, projections for January infections and deaths are a fucking nightmare waiting to devastate the lives of Americans during the first month of the new year.

At the end of December, after adding another record breaking seven million new coronavirus infections for the month, Congress finally passes a pitifully inadequate stimulus bill, which the president refuses to sign until after millions of unemployment benefits expire, the president-elect warns that we are falling behind on the roll-out of vaccinations that the current lame-duck president refuses to reliably facilitate, and on Christmas morning, a 63 year old man in an RV camper blows himself up in an act of terror that shakes downtown Nashville while the president golfs, making no acknowledgement of the violence and destruction.

And here we are at the end of December 2020, a full year after China first reported a new virus infecting its citizens in Wuhan: the United States has almost 20 million coronavirus infections, has experienced almost 350,000 deaths, is averaging 200,000 new infections and 2000 deaths daily, and the world has over 80 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and is nearing 2 million deaths.

So hold on tight because it’s unlikely to be a happy fucking new year, folks.

“My characters are more like men than these real men are, see. They’re rough and rude, they got hands and they got bellies. They hate and they lust; break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed.” – Robert E. Howard

I have almost finished the final 2020 coronavirus timeline for the year of our global pandemic, but given the absurd level of lunacy and devastation that continues to happen daily this year, I am reluctant to complete the final draft until the very last day ensures I capture all of the fuckery that ends 2020.

So let’s engage a pithy discourse concerning cultural constructions of masculinity to momentarily distract ourselves from the pestilence consuming our world, while providing me with the opportunity to dump some of the junk in my head that accumulates from several days of relentless captivation with and devotion to composition.

Gender is a social construct: an unstable categorization of human characteristics spread across the history of dichotomous and essentialized anthropocentrism. Even with contemporary society experiencing its own historically unique upsetting of gender norms, boundaries, qualifications, and a diversity of heterogeneous discourse, we are still captivated by the imagined binary, an imperative to invoke and experience this particular Master Status in order to enable the fundamental architecture of its persistent power of identity construction.

Historical representations of masculinity often reveal how the remnants of bygone gender construction persists into the present, sometimes to disrupt normative exhibitions, but often in support of loosely defined traditional or hegemonic creations that work to establish an imagined congenial path through time and space, linking conceptions of masculinity and the importance of its varying interpersonal intimacies to the historical or authentic man required to the play those particular roles.

For example, the handshake is a remnant of 18th century male homosocial behavior wherein masculinity, by its very design, required physical and emotional intimacy in genteel platonic relationships; its vestige unmasks a forsaken yet persistent generative covenant of androcentric affection. Where contemporary constructions of hegemonic masculinity do not expressly permit or encourage the same sort of intimacies and vulnerabilities required of the respectably idealized relationships one finds in antiquated romantic literary traditions, men still feel this need to connect with one another physically and experience the gendered intimacies of being decidedly or essentially male.

One can even see how the barest intimacy of the handshake has been further eroded by sordid modern conceptions of rugged individualism and homophobia into the innocuous, trendy, and perhaps puerile fist bump. So what happened between the 18th century intimacies of male homosocial relationships and modern conceptions of masculinity bereft of those vulnerabilities?

Well, that would be the Victorian era, wouldn’t it? We can rightly blame a lot of our dysfunctional gender bullshit on the 19th century’s social and interpersonal maladjustments to an emerging modern world.

While early Victorian constructions of manliness still experienced a sense of softness and sophistication, a shift began in the mid 19th century with economic industrialization and the gendered separation of the domestic and public spheres. The discourse of domesticity placed the vulnerable, passive, irrational, emotional, and wavering women within the sanctity of the home while the strong, active, rational, unemotional and determined men occupied the public sphere where they worked, engaged in politics and business, and were the protectors of the women occupying the private, domestic sphere. Christianity contributed to these constructions in the 19th century as well, where emerging bourgeois identities such as husband and father situated men as the head of household with a duty to protect his wife and children, ensuring faithfulness and subjugation to spiritual beliefs; and while men were presumed to rule the household, their participation in the domestic sphere was decreasing. The Victorian shift in masculine identities had effectively rebuffed the sense of domestication associated with the affable man to auspiciously embrace the barbarous instead.

By the second half of the century, the Victorian male had become an indistinguishable image of strength, athleticism, and stoicism that worked to effectively stigmatize the experience of emotions and sensitivities wherein the delicate and sophisticated qualities of masculinity valued in the previous century now constituted derogatory designations such as the dandy: the sort of man who most assuredly would be responsible for society’s downfall.

Victorian constructions of masculinity situated men within their bodies, elevating their dispassionate emotional engagements, strength, virility, and sexual dominance at the expense of those gentle, gracious, and philosophical qualities of maleness that had enabled the sort of transcendent intellectual, emotional and physical intimacies of an idealized platonic love. The brutish and sexualized man of Victorian hyper-masculinity, reduced to the consequence of his corporeal existence, would come to replace quixotic and emotionally permissive masculine relationships, giving birth to some of the more problematic elements of masculinity that we often label as toxic today.

By the time Robert E. Howard was writing pulp fiction in the 1930s, creating beastly male identities like the character with whom we’re most familiar, Conan the Barbarian, and the scantily clad women who often accompanied the tales of those untamed men, the Victorian era had firmly cemented modern conceptions of masculinity in the cultural imagination, shackling the contemporary world to essentialist ideas of masculinity with problematic potentials and equivocal limitations that we are still untangling today.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

“No is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott

In order to remain civilized, we have a social contract encouraging the necessary development of healthy boundaries. A boundary marks a limit: geographical spaces, cultural spaces, interpersonal and psychological spaces all include boundaries delineating the manner in which space is conceptualized and utilized. Violating those boundaries is an exercise in deviance, and where some have a difficult time both setting and maintaining boundaries, as well as respecting the boundaries of others, it also marks a level of social dysfunction.

Some boundaries are conspicuous: we don’t threaten others with violence, we don’t engage in harmful felonious activities, and we don’t encourage others to do either of those things without consequence.  What about less menacing social behaviors that can also be terribly inappropriate? At what point do people begin to ignore the social boundaries established for material relationships when they engage other human beings in the virtual world?

Some people will engage virtual relationships in the same manner they engage real relationships in the public sphere: their behavior does not noticeably deviate with regard to personal revelations and conflict management. Others are more willing to reveal opinions, character flaws, and engage combative discourse in the virtual public sphere than they ever would in the real world. And for some, their interpersonal dysfunctions become broadcast across virtual public space because the opaque landscape of the virtual world further hinders their ability to determine social distance for governing the boundaries of appropriate public revelations.

Cognizant adults generally do not reveal private and sensitive interpersonal turmoil in public spaces without experiencing a level of exposure that, depending on the perceived deviance of the behavior being exposed, lends itself to a relative sense of shame. Shame normally evokes a conditioned response of behavioral extinction.

In other words, they don’t do it. They could do it, but they don’t. Most wouldn’t even dream of doing it. They control impulses with unpleasant associations and do not engage the behavior, often as a simple matter of subconscious recourse or a conditioned response.

People with cognitive and/or behavioral issues, including an inability to actualize and respect boundaries, reveal inappropriate personal matters in public spaces.

It shouldn’t be as easy to display your dysfunction like the dirty laundry in your bathroom selfies, but apparently for some, it is a daily imperative. I see inappropriate virtual behavior regularly on social media with varying levels of spectacle. Most of it, I ignore, as one primary impetus for the behavior is attention-seeking: giving it attention just feeds the repetitious dysfunction by rewarding it.

While I prefer to utilize a process referred to as “tactical ignoring” for most of these situations, sometimes I just can’t ignore it. It causes a pain in the right side of my head just above my eye, arousing a compulsory demand to inflict a complementary pain upon someone who desperately needs it.

Virtual spaces often share the publicity of the “public” space without offering the same level of shame associated with questionable public displays in the real world. Manufacturing spectacle is easier online because the social consequences are equivocal and thereby truly innocuous. The virtual stage requires less courage than the exposure of material reality: there’s an imaginary component to virtual space that permits people to forget they are actually revealing themselves to humanity.

I realize it will help very few who actually engage in boorish and discourteous public displays, but just in case one only behaves this way simply because someone forgot to teach you otherwise, let me be clear: it is NOT agreeable to vomit your sensitive personal shit onto social media spaces for all three hundred of your friends or followers to read (and their friends as well, if your friends with loose privacy settings also comment on or share your post). Not all of your virtual friends need to experience the ongoing maladjustment and interpersonal conflict occurring in your life.

Get a journal or a therapist. Learn how to filter. Talk to a close friend or relative. Vet some of that shit in a word doc or scribble it with a crayon on paper from your recycling bin. Hell, get a blog if you really must heedlessly perform, but please understand that social media platforms are really not the place for evidence of your personality disorders.

The people who support your right to “post whatever you want,” even when it’s something you know should be a private matter, are enabling assholes; and those enabling assholes are not the people you should mind when determining how best to conduct yourself in public spaces. Sometimes, inappropriate behavior should be discouraged, especially if the behavior is worthy of judgment and scorn. So, while you do have a right to post whatever you want on your social media account, please understand that you do not have an unmitigated right to do so without recourse. There may very well be consequences, some of which the offending figure will undoubtedly dislike, and thereby routinely provokes an argument about the right to be an asshole in public spaces.

When you have notable problems understanding how the “private” parts of our lives are delineated and handled in a public space, subsequently resent the feedback you receive for putting your shit out there for the world to see, I have to ask what you really expected. You wanted a response. If you didn’t like the responses to your inappropriate sharing in public spaces, that’s probably tough shit. You did it for the attention. You did it to dump your shit on the world. You did it to plead your case. You did it as a declaration of innocence and deniability. You did it to stroke your ego, to justify your attitude, to assuage your guilty conscience. You did it to passive-aggressively attack others or to appeal to a larger voice of public opinion for support and sympathy. You did it to garner an audience. You put yourself on the virtual stage and performed your chosen role for the virtual world. You did it for YOU: a mercurial and maladjusted you.

Once you unleash a boorish performance on the public, the production takes on a life of its own; the dissolute posturing spreads like a highly contagious disease amongst the most benighted and philistine virtual loudmouths. It’s disheartening to see that many assholes.

The repetition of poor behavior and clear lack of social boundaries streamed through a virtual news feed produces a sense of longing for the one thing that cannot be accomplished online, but may be the only thing that would keep the immature, rude, and arrantly shameless from posting their inappropriate drama on social networking sites: punishment.

Since using violence to deal with conflict is objectionable, protracted and discursive censure is as close as you can actually get to putting a virtual foot in the ass of problematic social transgressors. Regrettably, social shaming in the virtual world does not have the same impact and outcomes as in the real world: I despair endlessly searching for the manner in which to effectively extinguish pernicious commonplace melodrama.