The first case of the omicron coronavirus variant on US soil has been confirmed in California. CNN reports that the individual in question flew "from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29." And this person, who is fully vaccinated and said to be on the mend, was on planes for hours and hours and hours. Why people are flying all over the place for such long periods of time during a pandemic is really the only question we should ask. And the answer is not hard to find: A major sector of the capitalism that currently dominates the West extracts its value from the commodification (packaging) of experiences: cruise ships to Alaska or the Caribbean, flights to Hawaii or Mexico, and so on.
The French philosopher and political theorist Andre Gorz called this “compensatory consumerism” (e.g. "alienated workers are supposed to recover their spirits through a package holiday on a tropical beach"), but the British-born geographer David Harvey sees it as the ideal form of consumption for a society that faces the old monster of secular stagnation due to overproduction. Harvey calls it "instantaneous experiential consumerism."
David Harvey writes in "Anti-Capitalist Politics in the Time of COVID-19":
The flood of investments into such forms of consumerism had everything to do with maximum absorption of exponentially increasing volumes of capital in forms of consumerism that had the shortest possible turnover time. International tourism was emblematic. International visits increased from 800 million to 1.4 billion between 2010 and 2018. This form of instantaneous “experiential” consumerism required massive infrastructural investments in airports and airlines, hotels and restaurants, theme parks and cultural events, etc. This site of capital accumulation is now dead in the water, airlines are close to bankruptcy, hotels are empty and mass unemployment in the hospitality industries is imminent.
As I pointed out in another post, vaccinations certainly help, but they do not fulfill the fantasy of a final fix. They are only an important part of a mix that includes reduced national and international travel, the wearing of masks, and social distancing. And that's not all. Coronovirus shows that we live in a world with robust institutions for the management of financial transactions and the flows of capital goods, and weak institutions for the management of human welfare and the social intercourse of public goods. The world needs more than ever a WHO with teeth and a planet-wide Green New Deal. And in case you didn't know this, FDR did actually try to set up a global New Deal in his day.
We should not depend on chance to transmit information that is of vital importance to the global human community. We need a WHO that is even more powerful than the IMF, an institution that, for the past 40 years, has been stuck with the thuggish job of twisting the arms of losers in the rigged game of globalization.
What we know about Omicron variant
“because of efforts of South African scientists, countries have been warned about risks posed by Omicron far sooner than they were about Delta, which had already spread widely from India before the world was alerted.” https://t.co/XIyPmYcG3F
— Carrie Byington, MD, FAAP, FIDSA😷💉 (@carrie_byington) November 26, 2021
Our beautiful neighbor, British Columbia recorded its first case of Omicron yesterday. The variant that's causing so much alarm because of its numerous mutations was also detected "in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta."
The local organization Shout Your Abortion spent the day at the Supreme Court shouting ABORTION PILLS ARE IN OUR HANDS & WE WON’T STOP. Keep up the good work. Stay strong. And to hell with the Supreme Court, an institution stuffed with nutters who don't even represent the majority of Americans.
Los Angeles is more expensive than San Francisco? Now this is news to me.
Read it for yourself. It's all in that commie pinko rag called Bloomberg: "Fattest Profits Since 1950 Debunk Wage-Inflation Story of CEOs."
KOMO reports that three lion cubs were "euthanized" by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game not long "after they appeared in the backyards of homes in the small town of Sugar City." KIRO 7, on the other hand, reports that a "12-week-old cat was rescued Wednesday morning after being stuck in a tree in [Bellevue, Washington]." Make of this what you will.
When 12-week-old Phoenix got herself stuck high up in a tree, her owners reached out to us. We tried to help, but she was beyond the reach of our ladders. @CanopyCatRescue came to her aid and was able to reunite the kitten with her with her relieved family. #HappyStoryEnding pic.twitter.com/M21INDI2cA
— Bellevue Fire Dept (@BvueFD) December 1, 2021
The Michigan boy (Ethan Crumbley, 15) accused of killing four Oxford High School students and injuring seven others with a gun, a 9mm Sig Sauer, owned by his father, was denied bail and will be tried as an adult. This decision represents yet another victory for the insane logic of American individualism.
What's to be done about all of these guns in our schools and our homes and our streets?
We should rename guns “critical race theory”
— Jena Friedman (@JenaFriedman) December 1, 2021
And yet another one gone: CNN reports that Marcus Lamb, a "prominent Christian televangelist and anti-vaccine advocate" needlessly kicked the bucket "after being hospitalized with Covid-19."
Trump tried to kill Biden with COVID during the first debate. For real, for real. Read all about it in The Guardian: "Trump tested positive for Covid a few days before Biden debate, chief of staff says in new book."
At that moment in the pandemic, before the vaccine, covid was a potential death sentence.
If true, Trump participating in that debate *while covid positive* was nothing less than attempted murder — of Biden, and everyone else in close proximity.https://t.co/PbRfDcOByS https://t.co/rs7vsJrb1p
— Greg Olear (@gregolear) December 1, 2021
The great human being Stacey Abrams is "running up that road, be running up that hill, be running up that building" again. She wants to become the governor of Georgia, a state that she helped make purple. The hope at this point is that Trump dumps Kemp, the present governor, for not helping him destroy America's democracy in 2020, and that he selects a loony that's even loonier than loony Kemp.
Sing your song:
I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power. #gapol
Be a founding donor to my campaign:https://t.co/gk2lmBINfW pic.twitter.com/z14wUlo8ls
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) December 1, 2021
Speaking of powerful black women, let's end with Marian Anderson's exceptional, utterly moving interpretation of Bach's "Erbarme dich, mein Gott":