Friday, March 31, 2023

The Second Civil War

We have multiple states in open rebellion against federal policy. They are led by Texas and Florida, which is turning into a theocratic fascist state under the leadership of religious fanatic and retired torturer Ronald Dion DeSantis. There is a hostile Supreme Court, also dominated by the theocrats. There is talk of secession. This is not dissimilar to the situation which Lincoln faced, before the first Civil War broke out. Only–what are the seceding states protecting? Racism, to be sure, but we don’t hear open talk of that. We do hear open talk of the evils of sexual minorities, but there are not that many of them and they are not useful as wealth. It is not like the old South, where much of the wealth of the slave states was bound up in slaves. So, what are the secessionist states fighting to protect?

Masculine supremacy, especially white masculine supremacy. Women forced to work. Women forced to bear children. Women forced to accept rape and harassment.

The Second Civil War is a War on Women.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Abortion, Dobbs, and Health Care

Here is an account from Texas explaining that obstetricians, gynecologists, and obstetric nurses are now either leaving or planning on leaving the state and, in some cases, the profession. They don’t want to be required to harm patients. They don’t want to watch patients get sicker and sicker until, finally, a life-saving abortion can be carried out. Some facilities are shutting down their obstetrics units. Others are unable to care for people with serious complications of pregnancy – obstetricians don’t want to work in rural Texas and don’t want to face the risks of practice in a state where they are likely to be subject to terrorist attacks, even if they follow Texas’s draconian laws. Here we have a report of an Idaho hospital planning to stop delivering babies, because they cannot hire obstetricians.

In anti-abortion states, and sometimes in pro-choice states where “Christian” hospital systems are involved, medical personnel are now expected to watch patients sicken and die because of arbitrary misogynistic laws and rules. In some cases, they are expected to lie to patients as well. In a well-known case in Bellingham Washington, a pro-choice state, a woman nearly died miscarrying because the physicians at the Roman Catholic PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham were unwilling to perform an abortion until she was in agony – didn’t even inform her she was at risk.

In states where abortion is outlawed, the health care system becomes, when a patient needs an abortion, a system of brutal control and punishment. This cannot fail to corrupt all participants in the system. What kind of people stand by and watch a woman suffer, possibly die, when they know they could prevent it? And yet this was the norm for a century before Roe. A generation of practitioners will be corrupted and go on to work in other states.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall --but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." – Lincoln

Monday, March 6, 2023

Tracking: tweets and elephant cries

[This has been an exceptionally depressing two weeks in political news. Somewhat edited for clarity.]

  • I will remember March 4, 2023 as the day when, echoing the Nazis, Michael Knowles, a “conservative” religious fanatic, called openly for the erasure of transgender people.

Covid, Three Years On

This is an attempt to organize at a very high level what we have learned about covid in the past three years. It is much more for myself than any broader audience, and is not a completely or extensively footnoted article; if I were going to provide cites for what is now largely common knowledge it would have to be a much longer and more extensively researched piece. I have generally stuck with moderate sources and information, attempting to avoid both denial and unreasonable fear.

The disease is real and the reality is enough.

Where sources conflict, for instance studies of the risk and incidence of long covid, I have attempted to chose plausible median data. This reflects both skepticism of extremes and of over-precision; many people demand precise numbers, and on these matters precise numbers are difficult to come by.

Once I post an article, I usually leave it standing with only minor changes, but in the case of this article I will correct errors as they are reported to me.