Tag Archive: Trump

Plague diaries, Day 181

Thirsty Thursday evening. Alcohol might not be healthy, but what is these days?

The world is still on fire. My best friend, who had just recently bought a house in Oregon, is about to evacuate with his wife. They’re packing up. All their relatives live even closer to the fire than they do, so the destination is a big question mark. The fires are getting closer to my mom’s place and my little brother in Washington too. I don’t get the sense that this is getting covered on national media.

Today at work, I gave an hour-long video lecture on an important subject. Four people joined. Heh. It’s odd to think who will watch those video recordings later, when 2020 finally ends. Will they just fast-forward past all the parts where I call out the covid-specific planning precautions? Will they care?

I found a local journo on twitter. He was looking for Americans who moved to Toronto. I answered some questions. His publication is more of a booklet, but it’ll still be interesting to see my story – if not in print, then online. I’ll post a link here if and when that happens.

In covid news… Trump spent the day retweeting dozens of posts praising him, then attacked Woodward at the press conference (asking why he didn’t immediately go public if what he’d said was so bad) and, as always, refused to take any responsibility. A few hours ago, Trump flew to Michigan to host another rally. Big crowds, virtually no masks… This will almost certainly end up killing more people. How many?

A bunch of international scientists published an open letter questioning the data behind Russia’s “Sputnik V” covid vaccine. Evidently, the alleged antibodies levels in the study’s participants are almost identical, and that’s not quite how that works. Heh. This reminds me… Back in Russia, one of my classmates was the son of our physics teacher. We were all doing an experiment to see how fast boiling water can cool in room temperature. My classmate faked his numbers: according to him, the temperature didn’t fall at all, and the laws of physics didn’t apply to his test tube. His mom gave him an A. This strikes me as the same sort of uninspired forgery. I’ll be very happy to be wrong, but… The country that got caught cheating in the Olympics, and in foreign affairs, and in human rights, and just about everything else – they probably don’t deserve the usual benefit of the doubt, eh?

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. Here is hoping that’ll be the only ordinary day of 2020, and not some kind of call to action to yet another sick mind.

Plague diaries, Day 180

Wednesday evening. Statistically speaking, some conspiracy theories must be true, but which ones?

I took most of today off: even though it doesn’t feel like it, the year is coming to an end, and I’ve got a giant pile of personal time to use up. After what happened yesterday, that seemed like a fine idea. (I still logged on for two hours to help, but that’s just some background workaholism.)

I’ve finally caught up on my laundry, even though it took three loads. It’s been at least 37 days, and even my reuse/reduce/recycle attitude could only take me so far. Funny thing about a self-imposed lockdown: when you don’t have to go outside, you end up using a lot less clothing – or put much less wear and tear on your work clothes, in any case. The mere act of putting on socks to leave the house is a bit of a special occasion, an unusual sensation that once was common, a Pavlovian trigger followed by setting out into the potentially infected populace.

During the big grocery run yesterday, I finally acquired a pair of 3-volt batteries for my smart scale: so rare and hard to find and, I suspect, overpriced. Weighed myself for the first time in months… I might have been too stingy with ye olde caloric intake, because I’m down to just 157 lbs, which is a bit below average for a 6’2″ guy. No wonder doing daily pushups brought about a small change: literally anything would. Well, at least now I know the “before” stats for when I finish reading that fitness book.

In covid news: Bob Woodward’s new book is coming out soon. He has tapes: Trump had agreed to be recorded, so what follows is not hearsay. As early as February 7th, Trump told Woodward that covid was dangerous and deadly. In March, Trump said he’s intentionally downplaying the severity of the virus. That was six months ago. Hundreds of thousands died while he insisted the virus would magically disappear, while he mocked masks, while he pontificated on the efficiency of injecting yourself with cleaning products.

Bob Woodward is no angel, either: he sat on those revelations for months, saving them for his book. It’s hard to say how much would’ve changed if he’d released those tapes right after recording them, but surely at least someone would’ve been convinced. At least one town would’ve enacted stricter measures, at least one family would’ve started wearing masks. At least one life would’ve been saved. No profit is worth that. If Trump’s criminal negligence and deliberate withholding of vital information resulted in all those deaths, then Woodward is at the very least an accomplice.

And so there we have it, folks. The president of the United States of America spent months deliberately lying about a deadly virus, killing (by the official count) 190,000 Americans, with just as many deaths expected by the end of the year. If you tried going back in time and warning people about this exact scenario (even just a year ago, when we’d already normalized the idea of Donald Trump as president), you would’ve been called mad – and likely would’ve gotten institutionalized for good measure. Maybe that’s why we never encounter time travelers from the future. Maybe they’ve always been here, but their disturbing shouted warnings about bizarre catastrophes have always been dismissed as random detritus of damaged minds.

This is somewhat covid-related: the US west coast is on fire. There are apocalyptic-looking pictures and videos of hellish red sky, of dense and ash-filled air. The wildfires aren’t everywhere, but it seems like every area from Arizona and all the way to Washington is affected. My mom lives just south of Seattle. Some small towns to the east of her have already been evacuated. That’s the new future, with bigger wildfires and hotter summers every single year. It certainly doesn’t help that all the displaced people will likely be stuck together, and there’s high potential for even more covid clusters…

These types of natural disasters were among several reasons I moved to Canada – and to the east coast of Canada, at that. I wonder how different my life would’ve been if my work transfer to Australia had gone through in early 2018. If I hadn’t done so poorly on my interview, I would’ve been there when the entire continent caught on fire in early 2020. (I know, it seems strange that all of that happened just a few months ago.) If not for my failed speech check, I would’ve lived in the country that’ll be hit the hardest by the global warming, as opposed to the Great White North, which will also get hit, but not as soon, and hopefully not as hard…

I’m still asking my US relatives if they’d like to move to Canada and join me here. Who knows, if I keep asking, maybe someday they’ll make that mental leap and join me after all. One can only hope, eh?

Plague diaries, Day 124

Wednesday night. Almost weekend. Almost vacation.

Drove down to xgf right after work today to drop off my digital thermometer and oximeter. She feels better but still has weird symptoms (primarily nausea) that she rarely experiences. It’s still possible that this is just a very strange food poisoning. It’s likely that this is the good day/bad day cycle described by some covid sufferers…

On the way back home, I encountered a very poorly managed Walmart: stopped by to buy some roadtrip supplies and beer, only to discover that their self-checkout doesn’t allow one to buy beer. Oh, technology… When I got home, there were five police cars blocking the way: looks like the neighbour from across the street had a very bad fight with her husband. He didn’t get hauled away, but she got plenty of advice from cops taking her statement. There’s been a spike in domestic abuse and assault cases worldwide ever since lockdowns began… I hope everything ends well for her.

Anecdotally, my California sister (not the Trump-supporting one – that one is in New York) mentioned that a friend of her narrowly avoided getting infected. There was a funeral, and even though the priest felt under the weather, he assumed it was just toothache. There was much hugging and kissing… He tested positive for covid two days later. It’s unclear how many people he managed to infect. (My sister’s friend didn’t attend the funeral, and might end up being the only uninfected person in that entire social circle.)

Moderna announced that their trial vaccine has triggered immune response in every person who participated in the trial. They still need to do more testing, but that was great news. The stock market overall went up by a percentage point before settling slightly in the red for the day. However, cruise companies’ stocks went up by 20% – not so much because of the vaccine news, but because they had been very badly hit by shortsellers. Burn in hell, shortselling scum. 🙂

My company has announced that the WFH (work from home) policy has been extended through January 8th. That may or may not apply to my strange little tribe of warehouse financial analysts: we’ll find out where exactly we stand in two days. Should be interesting, one way or another.

Oh, and the President of the United States of America just had his picture taken with a bunch of Goya food products – it was posted on his official Twitter and Instagram. (The company’s CEO had praised Trump, got some social media backlash, and things escalated from there.) If anyone is reading this in the distant future – please google this. (Do y’all still have google? Heh.) I know this sounds made up, but it really happened. Instead of encouraging his fellow Americans to wear masks or be excellent to each other, the POTUS decided to troll the libs by staging a photo-opp to promote his supporter’s products. All of this is in blatant violation of the ethics rules, but it’s like the old saying goes – “how many divisions do the ethics rules have?”

Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last one, I am so very, very glad I have escaped that strange and violent country.

It’s Monday night, and the United States as we know it is ending. Trump got mocked heavily for hiding out in the White House bunker on Friday. In response, he went outside, and had peaceful protesters assaulted with flashbangs in the background as he posed in front of a church, held a Bible upside down, and promised to send federal troops to fight protesters…

That right there is fascism, pure and simple, set in front of the staged production of police brutality against peaceful protesters who were not violating the curfew. His message was sent loud and clear to all his trigger-happy supporters – civilians as well as those in the uniform. The Illinois governor has already stated that he would not allow federal troops in his state. Others will follow soon.

It’s all moving so fast now… Last night, another black man was shot and killed by the police: he was the owner of a BBQ restaurant that would feed them for free. (If this were a work of fiction, any sane editor would’ve cut this part for being too on the nose.) Tonight, somebody will get an itchy trigger finger, and that’ll make the Kent State massacre seem quaint in comparison. As always, I hope I’m wrong.

I’d never set out to make these plague diaries so political… If you’re reading this at some point in the future, please understand this: you can’t have the story of the pandemic without the United States, and you can’t have the US side of the story without all the political unrest, violence, and rapid descent into fascism that took place at the same time. Someday, all of this will make for a very condensed and confusing chapter in history books – the way the entire Revolutionary War is taught in just two weeks in US high schools. Everything that’s happening here and now may not make sense in the future unless you fully immerse yourself in the news and social media of this period, reading it day by day, hour by hour. Even then, it might not make sense at all.

I’m going to bed now. I don’t want to think what will have transpired by the time I wake up. Good night and good luck to all the yanks who didn’t get out in time…

Wednesday night. Another day, another dollar. Things might be looking up at work, or not – it’s never easy to tell.

The University of Toronto is moving ahead with my educational credential assessment (ECA), the last big piece of paperwork I need for my Canadian permanent residency application. The last little piece of paperwork is the FBI background check. I got lucky: most of the local fingerprinting agencies have shut down due to covid, but one of them is still in business. If xgf feels up to it tomorrow, we’ll take an hour-long drive to Toronto to do my fingerprints, fill out the FBI form, and send it off.

There’s a hypothetical future where my PR application gets finalized within a month, and I become an official Canadian resident within seven months… A bit longer than my initial timeline, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

The New York Times published a huge story about the White House’s shadow task force set up by Jared Kushner and staffed by “volunteers” (mostly because they were too damn unqualified to hold and official government job). Their merry band decided to reinvent the entire procurement process while also keeping a separate VIP spreadsheet and rerouting vital supplies to Trump’s friends and donors. One of the people involved finally had enough and blew the whistle. Makes one wonder how many more grifting affairs have been happening in the background, without any whistleblowers to bring them to light.

In other words, it’s just as I’d written before: the US response is being run by corrupt imbeciles, and boy-wonder Kushner (who was never elected to any position) keeps getting assigned to every initiative, overruling and replacing the actual experts who might be able to help. Meanwhile, Trump is getting bored of the pandemic (probably because he can’t bully the virus into submission), and is calling for the country to reopen. He’s explicitly stated that people will die but the “American warriors” (aka the working class) will get through it. If all of this sounds like unhinged madness from a cheap self-published novel – well, that’s just the world we live in now.

…I can’t wait to officially become a Canadian.

Cumulative death toll in the US as of right now: 74,687; in Canada, 4,232.

Sunday night. Earlier today, I found the only garage in Niagara Falls that did oil changes on Sundays, and finally got it done. (It had been at an alarmingly low level.) There’s this indescribable feeling of freedom, knowing that you have a full tank of gas and can drive anywhere; that your car is tuned up, has enough good oil, and won’t give you any trouble. The freedom to drive away…

Xgf and I went to the actual waterfall today. There were hundreds of people, and many weren’t practicing social distancing. They walked in big groups, stayed side by side waiting for the crosswalk light to change, etc. There were cop cars here and there, so it looks like the social distancing policy was simply being ignored. That’s counterproductive, to say the least.

Trump has officially gone off the deep end. Earlier today, he posted a truly bizarre tweet (“….And then came a Plague, a great and powerful Plague” etc, etc), followed by a barrage of retweets blaming Obama, the intelligence community, and just about everyone else. On the off chance someone is reading this from way in the future (hopefully, Twitter and Facebook are long gone by then), please know that none of the stories about Trump were false. It really was that bad, and you can’t imagine what it was like to live through this madness. The 25th Amendment is supposed to be implemented if the president becomes incapable of doing his duty, but human nature being what it is, no one wants to actually do that, even if the POTUS is senile. With any other person in the White House, the death toll would surely be smaller…

Cumulative death toll in the US as of right now:  68,390; in Canada: 3,795.