So just a bunch of random thoughts today. Some of them connect to one another. Some of them don’t. Alas, that’s the way my head works.
Anyway, here we go:
1) Drowned In A Bathtub?
So we learn that some libertarian anti-government/small government groups happily accepted money from the Paycheck Protection Program, the Federal program meant to aid small business (not PACs) from the effects of the Covid Crisis.(1) Should we be surprised at the apparent hypocrisy of the “drown government in a bathtub” crew? Of course not. It is like finding out that a homophobic televangelist has been sleeping with a black, transvestite, underage prostitute. Zealots always hate what they secretly desire the most.
2) Bore Baby
Supposedly Trump has been complaining lately about how Covid is “hurting him” politically and might even cost him the election.
I’m sure all those people on ventilators, or in morgues...who wouldn’t have been in those situations if the Trump Administration had acted responsibly from the beginning...feel just awful for him.
So lately there have been two much publicized events in which conservatives told Americans to disregard medical experts. One was Rand Paul, who said that “...we shouldn't presume experts know best about coronavirus response.” (2) By experts, he meant Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.
But Paul was downright benign compared to Texas Lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, who flat out said that Fauci “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” (3) This was in response to Fauci’s expressed concerns about the skyrocketing number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The subtext of these statements is, of course, that we don’t need to pay heed to experts, not even medical ones, when they get in the way of the economy and/or Trump’s re-election.
That being the case, I have a small proposal for Messrs. Paul and Patrick. Next time you get appendicitis, don’t bother with fancy-pants, smart alacky doctors who charge big bucks. Drop by my house. I haven’t got an MD or any experience or anything like that. But I do have a buzz saw and a handy sewer snake.
Won’t take a moment.
I’ve been watching the popular movement to remove statues of Confederate soldiers and other people who are offensive to modern mores. I see that that the movement has extended even to Mount Rushmore, which was built on ground sacred to the Lakota people. Moreover, Rushmore’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum was (among other unattractive things) a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Indeed, Borglum’s own great-grand-daughter has called for Rushmore to be removed.(4)
I understand and even support the movement. Ridding downtown streets of the statues of racist bastards would be a good thing, and would have a powerful symbolic effect.
Sometimes I wonder about the timing. Yes, remove the graven images. But would it be better to focus, for the moment, on dealing with the violence and oppression which actually exists in the culture? Wouldn’t it make more sense to neglect, for a time, statues and monuments, to instead focus our energies in opposing the deadly systemic racism of our society?
After all, flesh may bleed. Bones may break.
But stone...feels nothing, and knows no shame.
5. BLM and Bethel
I have been reading about the sheer fury that some tiny, peaceful, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors have sometimes met. Last month, for instance, in the “tiny town” of Bethel, Ohio, some eighty people showed up on the streets with signs supporting BLM. They were then met by something like 700 counter-protestors who were threatening, abusive, and armed.
Interestingly enough, it turns out the BLM people were mostly local folk. The counter-protestors were a mix of locals and (here quoting the Washington Post) “members of motorcycle gangs, ‘back the blue’ groups and proponents of the Second Amendment.” (5)
In a word, or three words, WTF?
Here was a peaceful demonstration of a tiny number of people who were not going to hurt anyone or break anything. They were just going to stand around a few streets with a few signs. Yet, they were greeted by a violent mob that outnumbered them at more than seven to one, and which was not above physical violence. And, by the way, the local police did nothing, or at least very little, to protect the protestors -- maybe because they were outnumbered, too.
But, for heaven’s sakes, where is this fury coming from? Why were the counter-protestors -- the biker gangs, the gun’s rights types -- so enraged by so small and so pacific a group of people?
Most fury is based on fear. It comes when you think that something is a genuine threat to you. So, they must be afraid...these bikers, gun rights activists, and others. They must be truly terrified.
I’m not usually a big believer in theories of “white fragility,” but I have to confess, there may be something to it. If a crowd of no more than eight score, mostly middle class, men and women, could inspire such a response in groups who make a fetish of their toughness, well...
Something is seriously wrong with the White Psyche. And we need, seriously, to do something about it.
Note: Bethel was also the place where, during the same demonstration, we had a viral video of a white protestor getting sucker punched from behind by one of the bikers...while the police looked on and did nothing, perhaps because they -- like the protestors-- were out-numbered.
I’ve just heard that the individual who did the punching has been identified and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. (6) That would be welcome.
6) Rogue WH Snr Advisor
I was one of the several hundred thousand people who got taken by the individual calling themselves “Rogue WH Snr Advisor.” If you haven’t been following the story, Rogue WH Snr Advisor...whoever he or she really is...has been on Twitter for years, claiming to be a White House insider and providing witty and damning insights into what was happening there.
A few months ago, Rogue WH Snr Advisor said that they were going to reveal their real name to the world on July 4. The hordes of his/her followers waited breathlessly. Gradually, the clock ticked down, and then...
Rogue WH Snr Advisor identified himself as Jimmy Trump, the illegitimate child of Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell. In other words, his revelation was a joke--as was (probably) his twitter campaign against Trump. The question now is whether the whole thing wasn’t just a scam designed to troll Trump’s critics.
Whatever, the joke wasn’t a particularly funny one. And it certainly didn’t sit well with his/her followers, many of whom un-followed him/her right then and there. Since then, he/she has wiped his Twitter account clean, and I have no idea whether the individual will ever post as Rogue WH Snr Advisor ever again. I sort of doubt it.
I don’t much care if Rogue WH Snr Advisor was a troll or not. What bothers me is his/her performance. For a long time, his/her stuff was really funny, and really biting. To have it spiral down to a rather dull and silly Shaggy Dog Story is disappointing.
It’s like the final season of GOT...but without even a decent dragon.
(2) Paul, https://www.newsweek.com/gop-senator-says-we-shouldnt-presume-experts-know-best-about-coronavirus-response-1514508
(3) Patrick, https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/505417-texas-lt-governor-hits-fauci-he-doesnt-know-what-hes-talking-about