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Wed, Apr

Ranch Covidians: The Deep State Is Infiltrating Your Daily Greens and We Are Doomed

VOICES

COVIDIOT WATCH - Despite the apparent existence of a free, handy, plentiful vaccine that can keep you alive, right-wing anti-vaxx buffoonery is still at lethal work, and it's not a pretty sight.

With U.S. cases now over 42 million, deaths inching toward 700,000, both numbers rising - most horrifically among kids - and science repeatedly finding that, yes, masks and vaccines do work, livid mobs of Covidiots nonetheless continue to turn up at school board meetings in what's become a ritual "tag-team display of anger and angst," with anyone willing to wear a piece of cloth on their face to save humanity unfathomably assailed by idiot cretins screeching "Loser sheeple!," "Racist Pedophile!" and "Fucking commies, all of you!"

In hot-spot Idaho, which has one of the country's lowest vaccination rates, over a quarter million people have gotten COVID, new cases are soaring - now almost 9,000 a week, predicted to reach 21,000 by November - and last week the number of kids hospitalized rose 10% even as schools struggled to stay open. Witnessing more than 20 people a day dying, morgues running out of space and frontline caregivers "just going through hell. Every day" - notwithstanding, of course, a vaccine that could stop it - the head of the state's largest hospital system describes a deep and surreal sense of helplessness: "It's like we're seeing the de-evolution of humanity, right before our eyes."

Meanwhile, the stubbornly, stupidly, often vociferously unvaccinated keep dying and getting sick. The latest high-profile anti-vax COVID case is Montana cartoonist Ben Garrison, who with his wife put out a book of anti-everything cartoons called "Make America Well Again." Now they're both sick. But because their friend who inspired Alex Jones' infamous "child slaves on Mars" conspiracy died when he went to the hospital so obviously the hospital killed him, they never will. Instead, they'll keep taking ivermectin and beet juice. And - duh - no vaccine: "We will never take their foul spike protein-producing jabs." They have so much company among sick and dying yahoos that a subReddit group - now 337,000 members - has begun giving out Herman Cain Awards (posthumously). "Nominees (have) made public declaration of their anti-mask, anti-vax, or Covid-hoax views, followed by admission to hospital for Covid," they explain. "The Award is granted upon the nominee's release from their Earthly shackles." Blocking last names and photos, daily posts tell the sorry tales. Bob was 68, his wife had just celebrated 5 years cancer-free, his son gave him the virus, he died after 2 weeks, his wife died 5 days later, their daughter is in the ICU: "He receives his HCA with distinction." Terry made it off the ventilator but brain and lung damage have rendered him almost comatose. Blake, 24, got a rare, brutal "redemption award": "Blake was vaccine hesitant. Blake went to a concert and contracted COVID. Blake has two new lungs," and then got the vaccine. "We aren't here because we like to point and laugh like some common internet trolls," notes the moderator. "Do the right thing and put us all out of business. Get the shot. Shut us down. We fucking hate it here."

For now we suspect they're stuck there, given the cabal of evil clowns traveling the country as part of a misinformation-spewing, Jesus-loving, COVID-spreading ReAwaken America Tour, aka Health and Freedom and/or Michael Flynn tour. Organized by a Tulsa evangelical podcaster, the tour features gonzo luminaries like Flynn, Roger Stone and the Pillow Guy touting the evils of the vaccine, the wonders of horse deworming paste and hydroxychloroquine, and ah yes the great victory of the former guy. Often joining them are "doctors" like Stella Immanuel, who in 2020 declared COVID came from demon sperm, evangelical "pastors" offering lectures like "Why You Must Not Apologize for Loving Jesus, the U.S. Constitution and Our God-Given Rights," and about-to-be-disbarred "lawyers" like Sydney Powell and Lin Wood. Other speakers include a New Jersey gym owner who refused to shut down during lockdown - "Why We All Must Fight Back Against the Seizure of Our Rights" - a God-loving, commie-hating pastor - "What Does the Bible Say About What Is Going On with China?" - a syntax-challenged, one-stop-shopping mom - "Promoting Mom's (sic) Who Are America Fighting Back Against the Critical Race Theory Indoctrination of Our Children, Medical Tyranny and Unconstitutional Tyranny That Is All America" - and many screeds about mass-murdering COVID protocols, fighting back with not  vaccines but "the armor of God," and "Why America Will Die If We Comply." Last week, they were in Colorado Springs; in November they'll be in Texas. Many of their upcoming dates are listed as "Sold Out," though an August stop in Michigan posted just 58 visitors. We're confused. They wouldn't lie, would they?

For sure Michael Flynn, their headline act with a presentation titled "Why We Must Celebrate the Lives of the 13 Soldiers and American Heroes Recently Killed While Serving In Afghanistan" - where over 70,000 Afghan civilians definitely weren't killed - wouldn't lie, right? The former general, (convicted) liar-to-the-FBI and (pardoned) Trump National Security Advisor turned seditionist and QAnon conspiracy nut has long argued COVID was a hoax to control Americans and deflect from the election stolen from whatzizname, though he's not worried about it 'cause he's been taking hydroxychloroquine for 30 years. Last week, he took time off from the tour to appear on a wingnut podcast where he charged the ever-sneaky Deep State is trying to covertly vaccinate you through your salad dressing because some guy sent him some story about it or something. "These people are seriously thinking about how to impose their will on us in our society," he said. "And I'm thinking to myself, 'This is the Bizarro World,' right?" Well, yes. Also, seriously misinformed. Wading through the crazy, many decided he was referencing a report about research to see if edible greens can be grown with enough mRNA, a key vaccine component, that could replicate the benefits of the vaccine. No mention of dressing, but details, details. The claim from a guy who believed there was a baby-eating cult in the non-existent basement of a pizza joint prompted considerable hilarity on Twitter about wedge issues, croutons/croosters, microchips in ivermectin, which dressing the booster comes in, which food item would more likely attract a famously beefy MAGA crowd - steak sauce, cheese whiz, mayo, gravy, Mountain Dew - and the dazzling options now before us: Ultra Hidden Valley, Balsamic Pfizer, Classic Moderna, Johnson and Caesar, Russian all around. The winning entry, which we stole, came from DeathMetalViking: "Ranch Covidians." We are amused, but still doomed.

(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.)