Does anyone read this part? Are you reading this right now? This is just me saying hello and I hope you and your family are good. Just me, the top paragraph. Unloved child of this thing. It’s fine, just skip me for real content. Whatever. I prefer to be alone.
COVID-19 almost certainly wasn’t grown in a lab. YouTube grifters want you to think otherwise, but it’s improbable, and I’m not here to say it was created by Donald Trump to defeat the Oscars or something. That said, it’s so suited to the moment it seems like it could have been created in a lab as a perfect catalyst for crisis austerity.
If I were, for example, an industrialist or banker with a ludicrous level of wealth and power, imagine I was in the market for a bit of a global shake-up. Chaos isn’t a ladder so much as it’s a kind of vacuum for sucking wealth into fewer pockets. Now, war is a bit bloody and usually results in some sort of government change somewhere and, by god, I paid for the officials I have in place already! A war won’t do. Natural disasters are a bit unreliable, volcanoes a bit unimpressed by bribery. St. Helens was fun but I need something that hits both coasts and a bit of Indonesia too. My sweatshops are running a bit cool and I’d love to keep my per unit labour costs expressible in cents.
A disease can be a bit blunt, but what if it weren’t? What if I could take a lettuce-head of virus out of the CRISPR and introduce it in a way that was most conducive to my enrichment? What would be my wishlist?
The basics - it needs to spread like wildfire. It needs to linger on surfaces and mouth droplets need to carry that sucker with the efficiency of Felix’s magic bag or a real mom’s diaper bag. It needs to be spectacular! In short order I want people to second guess answering the door to their home, hugging their families, and filling their car with gas. My yacht is a touch expensive to fill right now, so some surplus there would be fantastic, but the key here is what my agents in government are going to do are going to be unpopular as fuck and I need protests to kill people.
Okay, but my disease can’t just kill off a rally at my doorstep, see, it needs to go after their family. Like a particularly nasty gangster in a Kurt Sutter drama I want their kids, and their parents, and their grandparents gasping for air in a barely capable ICU (I own a lot of private clinics too, you’re welcome). If you go protest my brutalization of the vulnerable and the erosion of the public good I want it kill grandma. That’s my dream virus.
Almost as important? I need it to be bad in a kind of invisible way. The infectivity helps, of course. No visitors in a hospital means people die alone and leave in a shroud. You can’t have your diseases making people bleed from the eyes. Nothing theatrical, just dead lung tissue and some halo symptoms. Expensive to treat and quick to finish. I need it to just walk the line of horrible and terrifying so government is responding to crisis, not full panic. That will make them circumspect in their assistance so people still beg to work, right when the labour pool is big enough for them to accept eroded wages. God it will feel good to get the same work for less money.
I need it to be bad, but my custom disease needs to play Jenga with what my forbears created. We duped them into accepting a health care system that was pretty underfunded but not so bad that they would want revolution, and I need that line to go uncrossed. This is very important. If the hospitals are strained and a few nurses die, the public won’t get too upset. They can handle it if we call them troops and not just victims of a lack of preparation wrought by neoliberalism. If the hospitals close because nobody can work, the game is up. If they bend but not break, not only can we accomplish our other goals, the people will be satisfied enough to accept the cuts to health care when things settle down. Sorry everyone, the credit card is maxed out. Blame the virus. Time to feel the pain.
COVID-19 wasn’t built in a lab, but if I were dreaming up a lab disease to set the pieces on the board in a way that suits my preferred strategy it sure would look a lot like our current novel corona. Getting to break labour solidarity with desperation, keep everyone off my stoop and, if I’m lucky, get everyone downtrodden to an acceptable level without tripping revolution…it’s the dream! It fits in with the reactionary project almost well enough to make me break out the tinfoil. I need a new hat and don’t want to touch the delivery guy.
🧲Elder care privatization has been a colossal failure and has always killed people prematurely, but now we’re seeing what happens when overwhelmed workers are met with an unprecedented health crisis.
🙉Couch pennies are used to buy pipelines, we just found the money lying around. Teachers and assistant staff? Yeah, that’s a layoff. Sorry, we’re broke!
🍳McDonald’s staff are on the front lines dealing with an isolated populace that’s bored and hungry and it’s going to get some of them killed.
🏹There’s still more or less the same amount of people to feed but farms are still going belly-up because they operate in a system that isn’t concerned with feeding humans.
🎳U up? Wyd? Peasant revolt? Lmk.
🦦The rich will always run from disease because they can.
🏍Biogenocide of Iran by Western nations continues.
🥞They’ll do their best to make your doctor an app on your phone and for a lot of North Americans in rural areas that is fucking worthless.
♨️The language of war with regards to fighting a disease is bad in obvious and less obvious ways. A “frontline worker” who dies was a hero in a struggle. A “healthcare worker” provided with inadequate PPE was exploited labour.
🎴YouTube and Google are milking folk cures and dangerous medicine in a pandemic all the way to the bank.
🏰Below-the-fold countries are will go bankrupt servicing debt while trying to fight COVID.
🎾The jobs the market decided are worthless will save our lives (around here we call that leverage).
⏰Amazon will get contracts to provide critical supplies but they still fucking hate you.
🪔The GOP is a death cult and the DNC are members.
💌The union at the Cargill meat packing plant in High River got the goods after 38 members were diagnosed with COVID.
🤹🏽♀️Before his death, Elijah Cummings had Dan Snyder dead to rights about lying his face off about poisoning Flint and was calling in favours to avoid a subpoena. He was seemingly the last American in federal office still thinking about Flint.
♻️Keep in mind that the wealthy are just as susceptible to COVID as the poor, but the latter shelter (if they can) in much smaller spaces with many more people per square foot.
🧄Actual centrist (but we take what we can get) AOC is getting a primary challenger funded by big money. It’s a good indicator of the future for everyone other than mainline Democrats.
📉Citations Needed wonders why nobody seems to give a shit about COVID in prisons.
🎧Big Shiny Takes risks their sanity to read a Jon Kay column.
🔇LA had HK on their PC to talk about his NB about FDR.
💻We might be stuck inside but May Day is still coming. Details are in the offing but a group is committed to bringing International Worker’s Day to your home. Check out the event page and stay tuned for more programming over the next two weeks.
A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article or a petition or a link to an event or just a really funny joke, drop us a quick line at albertaadvantagepod [at] gmail [dot] com. We make no promises, but many hands make light work, and we’d love to hear from you! If you want to send us in the mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan.