Discover more from Pandemic Accountability Index
Pandemics as Opportunity: The Dismantling of the American Regulatory State
As Many Americans Embrace a "Post-Pandemic" Fantasy, Wealthy Interests Work Overtime to Cripple Public Health
It's fascinating how people can look at disaster through entirely different lenses. Some look at a global calamity like a deadly pandemic and will do everything they can to try and save lives - doctors, nurses, activists, engineers, the list goes on. Others can look at that same calamity and will do everything they can to line their own pockets off the backs of others' misfortune - scams, schemes, snake oil - the list goes on, and on, and on, ever more depraved.
In a previous article titled What Is a School? we discussed how wealthy interests are using the pandemic, and the mass repeated infection of children & educators as an attempt to destroy public education for their own personal profit.
There is a much larger macro-political shift taking place in America, deep beneath the shadows of the ongoing mass death & disability of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, in which nefarious interests like the Federalist Society are moving to fulfill their delusional libertarian fantasy: that there is no regulatory or state authority to punish bad actors & protect the public from the sadistic whims of the wealthy.
I. Employee Safeguards: Drowning Labor in Pestilence
On the Death Panel episode Unlimited Liabilities with Nate Holdren, enforcing legal SARS-CoV-2 protections for labor & their families is found to have "the potential to destroy businesses", and is an "intolerable burden on society." according to a judge legislating from the bench that crime is now legal if enough rich assholes are doing it. As Nate Holdren explains:
It's clearly like, for the nobodies at the bottom of the hill, they get one set of outcomes. And for people who matter, further up the hill, well, we don't even imagine this would happen to us.
A judiciary that refuses to uphold the law, simply because it's difficult, especially in defense of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working Americans, is a fundamentally unserious judiciary.
II. The Crusade to Destroy the FDA: Junk “Cures” and Those Who Shill Them
Law Professor Dorit Reiss over on Skeptical Raptor has an excellent article about a recent Circuit Court decision condemning the FDA for merely recommending that Ivermectin, a common anti-parasitical drug, not be prescribed to treat the disease COVID-19, which is caused by a viral infection. In “Circuit Court decision about ivermectin is legally flawed,” Dorit writes:
The FDA is the regulator that approves products, and draws conclusions from the data. It should be able to speak about those conclusions to people in plain language, and that generally means “This is what you should do based on that.”
But the court seems to disallow that. That seems harmful and without any benefits. What about other agencies that issue guidance? The CDC, which has no governing statute, but which issues guidance as one of its primary roles, comes to mind. Is that now forbidden?
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit include Mary Talley Bowden, a notorious anti-vaccine grifter who personally profits from shilling quack junk. Reiss' expert opinion is worth reading in full and well argued, but she was unfortunately not the judge in this case.
Instead, the judiciary legislated from the bench to restrict the Food & Drug Administration's ability to speak up against those who personally profit from selling ineffective junk - creating legal precedent that could kneecap federal regulators to protect public health in the wake of the current or future pandemics, and protect anti-vax quack grifters like Mary Talley Bowden, who spends most of her time tweeting garbage like "I hope Elmo doesn't die in his sleep" after a Sesame Street post encouraging child vaccinations for COVID-19.
A judiciary that fights to protect cranks that snarkily fearmonger about children's television puppets over federal regulators to defend the public from exploitative cranks is a fundamentally unserious judiciary.
III. The Airline Mask Mandate - Spreading the Virus Across the Friendly Skies
In April 2022, a Trump-appointed Federal Judge Kathryn Mizelle struck down the airline mask mandate. A 30-something handpicked by the Federalist Society, a far-right group working to remake America by legislating via the judiciary, Kathryn had zero medical, engineering, or scientific expertise. In her delusional opinion, Judge Mizelle spouts off an entirely unscientific, delusional, and utterly farcical diatribe about the ineffectiveness and potential dangers of PPE for an airborne pandemic:
"Wearing a mask cleans nothing. At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither sanitizes the person wearing the mask nor sanitizes the conveyance."
All of this is complete nonsense and scientifically illiterate. It should have zero legal standing. Any serious judiciary branch would have struck this ruling down immediately, stripped this woman of her title, and left her begging for change out of a cardboard box under the freeway overpass.
Instead, it seems that now you can just make up bullcrap as evidence, legislate from the bench, and create legal precedent to strike down any sort of PPE mandate now or in future pandemics. Great work, everyone!
Research has since shown that nearly every commercial plane in the air flying today contains at least one contagious individual spreading one of the many SARS-CoV-2 virus variants around to hundreds of other passengers, from all walks of life. Global SARS-CoV-2 saturation contributing to a mountain of death and disability for years to come, at least until climate collapse disrupts major supply chains and cripples the ability of commercial airlines to operate.
A judiciary that can legislate from a platform of outright fiction is a fundamentally unserious judiciary.
IV. The California Misinformation Law: Profiting from Destroying People’s Health is Now “Free Speech”
In 2022, California introduced a new law titled AB2098 to curb the profiteering of quack cranks by punishing those that actively engaged in spreading and profiting from misinformation. Charles Koch, who previously funded the 2008 Tea Party movement that not only accused Barack Obama of being a Kenyan socialist, but later evolved into the Trump-worshipping "MAGA" cult, funded a litigation group to sue California & protect craven leeches like Tracy Beth Hoeg, a sports physician who actively discourages vaccination, even using her own child as a political prop.
A full breakdown from earlier this year by Walker Bragman can be found here, running through the many nefarious characters and their pro-viral grandstanding. In “Koch-Funded Litigation Group Fights to Protect Covid Misinformation” Walker writes:
"Throughout the pandemic, a number of doctors and other medical experts have leveraged their credentials to promote misinformation and build large social media followings, styling themselves as bold whistleblowers challenging a tyrannical medical establishment. Many of these professionals have been promoted by the political Right, particularly business-aligned groups like those in Charles Koch’s influence network that oppose public health measures and workplace safety requirements for businesses.”
Unfortunately, America's judiciary has seen fit to reward this perverse & sadistic legal thuggery. A judiciary that defends profiteering cranks simply because they're funded by wealthy interests is a fundamentally unserious judiciary.
V. The CDC’s New PPE Standards
Unfortunately, elaborate fictions and delusional misrepresentations of scientific fact are not solely the domain of Trump supporters, anti-vax grifters, and libertarian vultures. The Biden Administration, which has seen fit to convert the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention into a Biden 2024 campaign office, has also gone to bat for wealthy interests - namely the corporate overlords of privately owned hospitals across America. This runs contrary to guidance produced by the Department of Labor over a decade ago, in simple to understand terms.
CDC's HICPAC recently convened, and declared that surgical masks, a tool for the prevention of droplet-transmitted diseases, was an effective precaution standard for airborne viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, cherry picking data to suggest that they were equivalent to engineered N95 respirators. This ludicrous decision not only saves money for privately owned hospitals when bulk-purchasing PPE, but also enables greater human turnover as more doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are disabled and killed by COVID-19, replaced by those paid by a lower salary, whether it be overseas immigrants or homegrown "Noctors."
Absolutely click through on that last hyperlink.
All of these events are connected as part of a larger political project: the craven profiteering enabled by the dismantling of the American regulatory state. From snake oil salesmen to the billionaires of the ownership class, there is no level of craven depravity they won't sink to in order to pocket a few extra bucks. As this organized assault on civil society and its institutions unfolds, most liberals and many "leftists" are found to be silent in the face of this opportunistic calamity, buying into the Biden Administration's propaganda that the pandemic is somehow "over" via some arbitrary standard that fails to recognize tangible reality, placing feelings over scientific fact.
Any serious political movement going forward is going to have to address this venomous chimera & challenge it head-on. As modern liberalism is reduced to little more than bearing witness to suffering, with Anthony Fauci smiling on TV as he remarks about the vulnerable "falling to the wayside," we find ourselves reliving the many failures of Germany's Weimar Republic; constantly giving eugenicist fascism inch after inch until they wind up taking the entire nation.
As of right now, Americans are being caught up in something Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) of The Expanse would identify as The Churn:
"You're a loose end, not a person...Like water's wet, the sky is up...We're just caught up in The Churn, is all...This boss I used to work for in Baltimore, he called it 'The Churn.' When the rules of the game change...The only game: survival. When the jungle tears itself down, builds itself into something new. Guys like you and me, we end up dead. Doesn't really mean anything. Or we happen to live through it, well that doesn't mean anything either."
In the larger context of our unfolding climate collapse, the rules of the game are changing, with the destruction of public health, and the larger state’s basic regulatory authority, as a primary goal. The legal authority of the State to prevent the worst outcomes as entire cities are burned and flooded off the map, overnight, is being stripped for parts before our eyes. The current SARS-CoV-2 crisis is a test of resiliency, between those willing to adapt & fight a world in decline, and those who adamantly demand their fantasies of comfort & luxury can never change.