Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Dark Enough

Boris Izrailovich Anisfeld

I heard Willie Nelson say on NPR the other day that these times are the worst he's ever remembered.  He is older than most of us,  but he was too young to go the War.  And he was a little young to remember the great depression given he was born in 1933.

Things have been bad before.  The so called Spanish Flu, which probably came from American soldiers, was pretty rough. This from the CDC:

"The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919.  In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.

The US at 135,000 deaths is 1/5 of the way towards that number.

Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic. While the 1918 H1N1 virus has been synthesized and evaluated, the properties that made it so devastating are not well understood.

With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly."

I used to know Willie back in the old Armadillo days.  As the owner of an advertising agency that catered to the 18 to 30 demographic, I promoted hundreds of shows and I sold thousands of pants through my Pants South account.  We even promoted Willie's first big picnic. I remember standing on the stage looking out at the crowd.  I had only about 30,000 tickets sold but my boy scout measurement of the crowd seemed to indicate twice that amount.

Someone was selling counterfeit tickets out on the road to the event.

Even so, those were great days.  We actually took the two suit cases of money to the Austin National Bank in the back of a red pick up truck bed.  I notified my banker that I was coming in and walked into the lobby with about a quarter of a million dollars.  We were nervous about the same hombres that set up shop out on the road, so the transfer was totally secret in the wide open.

That was about 47 years ago.  Willie was 40 and I was almost 24.

And we had a bad president then too.  Richard Nixon had just won a second term, totally destroying George McGovern.  This from Wikipedia:

Nixon emphasized the strong economy and his success in foreign affairs, while McGovern ran on a platform calling for an immediate end to the Vietnam War, and the institution of a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon maintained a large and consistent lead in polling. Separately, Nixon's reelection committee broke into the Watergate complex to wiretap the Democratic National Committee's headquarters, a scandal that would later be known as "Watergate". McGovern's campaign was further damaged by the revelation that his running mate, Thomas Eagleton, had undergone electroconvulsive therapy as a treatment for depression. Eagleton was replaced on the ballot by Sargent Shriver.

Nixon won the election in a landslide, taking 60.7% of the popular vote and carrying 49 states while being the first Republican to sweep the South. McGovern took just 37.5% of the popular vote.

It was about the time of Willie's picnic that Nixon's misdeeds were coming home to roost.  Things were bad, especially for Halderman and his colleagues:

Several major revelations and egregious presidential action against the investigation later in 1973 prompted the House to commence an impeachment process against Nixon.[9] The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Nixon must release the Oval Office tapes to government investigators. The tapes revealed that Nixon had conspired to cover up activities that took place after the break-in and had attempted to use federal officials to deflect the investigation.[10][11] The House Judiciary Committee then approved articles of impeachment against Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. With his complicity in the cover-up made public and his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974.  (Wikipedia)

Now, we have the pandemic of 1918 and the corruption of 1973 and Willie probably is right. This is about as bad as it gets. Well hold on there partner.

1918 was at the tail end of the Great War. You know, the one where we were taught that "The spark that ignited World War I was struck in Sarajevo, Bosnia, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand—heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire—was shot to death along with his wife, Sophie, by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. Princip and other nationalists were struggling to end Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina."

Actually, World War 1 started because the Germans were building a railroad through the Turkish Empire to the newly discovered riches of the middle east.   By the end of that war, not only did we have a pandemic, we had a completely reorganized Turkish Empire that had been carved up by French, British, and American diplomats so that all that new found oil would be available to us all.

The empire came to an end in the aftermath of its defeat by the Allies in World War I. It was officially abolished by the Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara in November 1922.

Throughout its more than 600 years of existence, the Ottoman Empire has left a profound legacy in the Middle East and Southeast Europe, as can be seen in the customs, culture, and cuisine of the various countries that were once part of its realm. (Wikipedia)

Things could get worse....way worse

And another Empire might be at stake.  As the Worst President in American history faces defeat, what mischief will he and his Maga hats initiate?

Willie might sing Turn out the Lights

I say, "Let's leave the Light On".

It's Dark Enough.

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