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Sunday, July 24, 2022

From MAGApox to MonkeyPox

The hits just keep on comin'
Thus far, the outbreak has been concentrated largely among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, with many occurring in men who have had multiple recent sex partners — a fact that the WHO believes increases the chances the outbreak can be brought under control.

“This is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups,” Tedros said.

But health officials have stressed that the outbreak could spread to more vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, immunocompromised people, and children. And in fact on Thursday, Dutch researchers reported a case in a boy under the age of 10 who had no discernible link to any other infected individuals. Meanwhile, two children in the United States have been infected — likely through household transmission.

More broadly, some experts have expressed concern that it may be too late to try to contain the outbreak and that monkeypox may become endemic in countries worldwide…
Just imagine how our homophobic MAGApox crowd will react to this affliction in light of the reported (albeit non-exclusive) STD vector. Broadly, it comprises "contact-based" transmission pathways, not airborne like the Covid strains.
A new report published as a preprint on from researchers at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) reveals alarming trends in attitudes toward violence, including political violence, in the United States. The survey is the first of its kind to explore the participants’ personal willingness to engage in specific political violence scenarios.

“We expected the findings to be concerning, but these exceeded our worst expectations,” said Garen Wintemute, lead author of the study. Wintemute is an emergency department physician and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program and the California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis.

The survey questions focused on three areas: beliefs regarding democracy and the potential for violence in the United States, beliefs regarding American society and institutions, and support for and willingness to engage in violence, including political violence. Some key findings from those surveyed:
  • 67.2% perceive there is “a serious threat to our democracy.”
  • 50.1% agree that “in the next several years, there will be civil war in the United States.”
  • 42.4% agreed that “having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy.”
  • 41.2% agreed that “in America, native-born white people are being replaced by immigrants.”
  • 18.7% agreed strongly or very strongly that violence or force is needed to “protect American democracy” when “elected leaders will not.”
  • 20.5% think that political violence is at least sometimes justifiable “in general.”
Among participants who considered political violence to be at least sometimes justified to achieve a specific objective, 12.2% were willing to commit political violence “to threaten or intimidate a person,” 10.4% “to injure a person,” and 7.1% “to kill a person.”

Among all participants, nearly 1 in 5 thought it was at least somewhat likely that within the next few years, in a situation where political violence was justified, “I will be armed with a gun.” Four percent thought it at least somewhat likely that “I will shoot someone with a gun.”

The researchers conducted the nationwide online survey in English and Spanish from May 13 to June 22. The questions were designed to gauge current attitudes and concerns about violence in the U.S. and willingness to engage in specific political violence scenarios.

A total of 8,620 people who are adult members of the Ipsos Knowledge Panel participated. The sample was designed to represent the general adult population of the United States.

The researchers note that the findings, coupled with prior research, suggest a continuing high level of alienation and a mistrust of American democratic society and its institutions.

Substantial minorities of the population endorse violence, including lethal violence, to obtain political objectives...
Got clued in to this journal the other day via Digby's Blog.

From "How Viktor Orbán Wins," by Kim Lane Scheppele
…In 2022, with the opposition united across the political spectrum and running neck and neck with Fidesz in the polls for more than a year, it finally seemed that Orbán could actually lose.

Against all predictions, however, Orbán had his biggest election triumph yet. On the eve of the election, polls had put Fidesz at about 5 percentage points ahead of the opposition, within the margin of error. Yet Orbán came out 20 points ahead on election day, winning 83 per- cent of the single-member districts and 54 percent of the party-list vote. Orbán did not just retain his two-thirds majority in parliament—he now has a comfortable cushion with 68 percent of the seats. With the worst opposition showing since the fall of the Berlin Wall, United for Hungary members are trying to figure out what path might lie ahead given that four more years of autocracy are in store.

How did the contest go from being too close to call to a blowout? Elections can be organized to turn a plurality party into a supermajority winner. While the Hungarian case has distinctive features, it demonstrates more generally how autocrats can rig elections legally, using their parliamentary majorities to change the law to neutralize whatever strategy the opposition adopts. Understanding how Orbán won his latest supermajority shows defenders of democracy what they are up against when autocrats lock in their power by law…
The Journal is affiliated with Hopkins, right down the street. It's pricey (outa this retiree's reach), and the articles are mostly paywalled (I managed to get a complete pdf copy of this one). The Washington Post has a good report on the Kim Lane Scheppele piece. Timely, given that our CPAC Republicans have recently been playing Kissy Face with the Orbán regime.

All goes to my "Deliberation Science and Crisis of Democracy" Jones. apropos, see Adam Serwer's recent essay in The Atlantic "Is Democracy Constitutional?"
apropos, from a post of mine back in April.
Been stewing over the "Crisis of Democracy" for quite a while now. 

Corruption, kleptocracy are significant factors.


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