We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, April 19. 2020
I'm not sure if it's unfortunate fallout or collateral damage, but I had a conversation with a friend who, like me, battled Covid. Their battle was much worse than mine as they were in an at-risk group. But they survived, as did other family members who eventually got milder cases. The net result is this person is now virulently anti-Trump, blaming him for a host of things that simply have no basis in reality. Previously, we'd shared a belief that Trump isn't our favorite president, he's badly flawed, and while I'd been more ambivalent, we basically weren't too far apart.
Yesterday, I realized his experience caused him to jump the shark and become a full-on Trump hater. I don't understand how you can blame Trump for a virus, or even the response to it. This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. H1N1 was, so far, more damaging than Covid worlwide, and it also cut a broad swathe across demographics. Covid has not finished its tour yet - but is clearly very specific in its opportunism. The primary difference that I have noticed in the nature and spread of H1N1 and Covid is that Covid erupted mightily in New York City (media capital) while H1N1 was more damaging to other regions of the US. There could be much to discuss here. What's clear is H1N1 will be seen as less damaging to the US because fewer people died (lower population in affected areas, more diffuse, etc.), while the media attention of Covid was heightened because our media elites felt threatened and made it the #1 story to scare people. Few people will remember Obama's slow (and ultimately meaningless) response to H1N1, nor will they remember that nobody blamed him for over 13,000 deaths. It was a virus.
A newly released study shows how widespread Covid likely is. I shared this with my friend, but was rebuffed entirely. No interest in viewing useful information.
The one thing we did agree on was that information, as presented by mainstream news, has been politicized and is, therefore, almost useless. My POV is that's the natural outcome of the last 30 years of increasing divides caused by the Leftists in the US, who have been using intersectionalism and engaged wedge politics. The POV of my friend is "it's Trump's fault. If we had a good leader, it would be managed better."
While we both agreed many of the people presenting information have an agenda, not the least of which is saving their job, I am of the view that government is not an impartial arbiter of information. The CDC, gutted or not (and I don't adhere to this belief) would not have done a substantially better job with Covid than we've already seen. After all, they are also government employees seeking to save their jobs (I've searched on H1N1 and found various results on infection rates and deaths...clearly the CDC is not viewed as the be-all-to-end-all manager of information). They cannot be as impartial as one would like to believe. I also pointed out other nations, with presumably more "advanced" health care systems are faring far worse than the US. So the idea the CDC could somehow be saving lives today is at best hypothetical and unprovable. At worst, it's an absurdist dream.
Where we diverged the most, however, was regarding the shutdown. It seems to me supporters of the shutdown view the economic damage as 'reparable' and just 'collateral damage' in this fight. They do not (as Dr. Bhattacharya does in the video), stop to consider the lives lost due to people avoiding hospitals for remedial items, because they fear Covid. They don't consider lives lost to (so far, anecdotal but understandable) stories of increased child abuse, spousal abuse, alchohol abuse, drug abuse and suicide. These are real lives that are lost not due to Covid, but the scare tactics used to 'save' us from Covid. If these see even a 10% increase, the last month had 600 additional alcohol deaths, 700 due to drug abuse, and 400 more suicides. There are no good statistics for domestic violence deaths, but the point is made. The longer this goes on, there more non-Covid deaths we will have. Given the long term economic damage, I'd take a SWAG and say the non-Covid deaths will eventually match Covid, as these issues build up, and we add others, such as starvation - no longer a sci-fi dystopian nightmare.
What is shocking to me is speaking with all my friends who agree that this situation is, or should be, non-partisan in nature. Most of us probably agree it SHOULD be. So why, then, do some who think this way make it political? Why would anyone blame Trump any more than they'd blame Cuomo or di Blasio? Political solutions are, by their very nature, trade-offs. You hurt some to benefit others. The premise is 'greater good' but this is not something easily proven or justified. It's just a political viewpoint.
I'm sad to see people take such sharp turns left. I may not like Trump, but I certainly don't feel his presence (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint) has meaningfully impacted this in any way. It is a virus. It does what viruses do. We might be able to mitigate it slightly, but we've developed tools to do this in the past to avoid shutting down altogether. I know lack of testing has limited our choices in those tools. If I can say one thing I appreciate about Trump, it's that he allowed governors to make their own choices based on their regional exposure and needs. Sadly, once a political path is chosen, it's hard to reverse course. I'm afraid that's true on a personal level, too.
I don't make my decisions, politically, based on a single item or a crisis. I look at a broad swathe of information and events. This single item, this crisis, may define politics for some people. But it's not one which alters my views fundamentally.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I blame Rove.
Ok, that's a stretch, but the "we're not like that" response to Democrat attack lines for the better part of 2 decades left the GOP and anyone with that tag open to ridicule (and worse).
We're left with a media (in every field, be it news, sports, or entertainment) that constantly portrays anyone affiliated as buffoons or worse. That has an effect...
One wonders how much of your friend's Trump hatred was suggested to him by a media which is non-stop in virulent Trump hate?
My wife of the, "Hilary Clinton is awesome and I love her." demographic has hated everything Trump has done and it has been interesting to see her using media cliches in her criticism of Trump over the years. A couple of weeks back, Newsom and Cuomo both praised Trump for the way he was handling the crisis, and lo and behold, the wife suddenly found something nice to say about Trump. Now the media is back to saying Trump is mishandling the crisis and she is a fierce critic again.
Your friend caught the bug and perhaps he's one of those people whose misfortune is always someone elses fault? Even so, I can see how the media's negative coverage of Trump may have played into the equation.
And now he's a Trump hater.
On a macro scale, one wonders about the political fallout for Trump? I don't think there have been enough infections to sway the election, but what of the people who have/will lost their jobs/businesses over the next couple of months do? There are millions of 'em. Will they blame Trump for their circumstances and vote him out in the fall? In addition, there are 10s of millions more who have been made poorer by the shut down. Will they punish Trump as well?
They could be game changers.
I think all this will wind up being a positive for him. Those who don't see it or understand why, never will.
My mother and aunt both drank deeply from the so-called mainstream media's liberal narrative and over time became true believers. In debates with my mother, she would quote media pundits, e.g., Obama was only 12 years old (or thereabouts) when the Weather Underground were operating; ergo, even though he launched his presidential campaign in the home of Weather Underground terrorists, he could not be in league with such thinking. My aunt was even more fanatical.
My point is, once you've made the transition from ordinary person to a liberal or leftist, everything personal becomes political and everything is viewed through that prism. It made for difficult times between me and my mother and my cousin and his mother completely split from one another.
Maybe he’s one of the millions caught up in social media hysteria, fed by media lies, hidden context and partisan narrative framing. It’s a disaster in slow motion and a perfect recipe for mental health deterioration — what can you really do about any of it? Not much except vent and bitch.
Literally millions of people brainwashed by propaganda every day all day 24x7, and they cannot escape it because they’re addicted to social media for dopamine hits from a phone screen.
Talk about a virus and how it can destroy lives, there you have it.
I've given up trying to get my head around people who are Never-Trumper's. During the reign of Obama I resented every single law-breaking activist act, but still managed to stay in touch with reality.
Back when I was chasing drilling rigs in deep East Texas (1980's), occasionally I would come across a hard-core Born-Again Christian, bedrock Church of Christ type, who would be equally immune to the forces of reason when discussing the aspects of the Bible (hint: it's all literally true). It's impossible to have a discussion on common ground, because besides speaking in a common language, there isn't any.
Never Trumper's are the same - there's no point to having a discussion, because Reason has left the building on the heels of Common Sense. The only fact that matters is that Trump exists. No other facts are relevant enough to mitigate that outrage.
Thanks for the video, I think all people are slowly coming to the rationale that further shutdown is more damaging to humanity than the virus. Politicians are bickering again - a sure sign that the worst is over.
It has often been said that liberalism is a religion. I wrote about it for a decade over at my site, but now just consider it part of the furniture in this country. (Conservatism is a culture, in contrast.) Once converted, people don't easily drift out, they have to de-convert. It is tribal, and takes on aspects of seeing yourself as a good person, a smart person. Which implies, of course, that your opponents cannot be good or smart.
Buckley had a quote I have been unable to locate to the effect that people are much more convinced of propaganda when they believe they have come to these conclusions themselves, though they have in fact been carefully steered into them.
The truth is we have only recently found out about Obama's reign of terror and the things his cabinet did. What pisses me off is that still no perp walks, no charges, no one in jail. The Republicans are going to kick that can down the road and after the election the new president will bury it and there will be no price to pay for the FISA, FBI, NSA and DOJ going full anti-constitutionally anti-American rogue on us.
For those Trump haters, the good news is Joe Biden will win, His VP (probably Stacy Abrams) will run the country and between them and the cabinet will finish the job that Obama began. They will get what they voted for good and hard.
Because of the shutdown, there aren't any dentists open.
I had to pull a broken molar out by myself.
CHINA IS ASSHOLE
So is Cuomo
our dentist is open for emergencies - did you call yours? Might need stitches or antibiotic. And the governor didn't close dental offices in my state the ADA did.
All state ADA's closed all dental offices if they are closed. Dental emergencies are ending up in ERs.
The proper construction is China is Asshoe
China is to blame.
If I were inclined to play the domestic blame game, I'd look at performance, which puts DeBlasio and Cuomo at the bottom of the barrel.
But I'm not. It's a new communicable disease. Nobody had the ability to stop it.
One of the worst things about this is seeing formerly rational people lose their minds. It's becoming difficult to maintain friendly relationships with people who've reduced themselves to being irrational rageoholics who believe everything they see on their idiot boxes and Facebooks.
Best thing I've done is shun social media. Lot's of people I like are making fools of themselves, and I'd rather not see it. I'll talk to them again when the hysteria dies down.
Fallout: My fiance's colonoscopy, way overdue, in a genetic pool that is close 100% likely to get cancer and at the same age as when his mother and brother did get cancer, has been cancelled till...; my father (elderly) isn't going to go to the dentist; my 'female issue' with a waiting list of months, cancelled.
None of the above is likely to kill us immediately. And so they were all elective issues, hence the long wait times already.
Plus, of course, the cut hours of my job, the stress of my fiance's job, and the massive hit to my dad's retirement accounts. On the other hand, the liquor store is doing Amazing! business.
The lockdown has all kinds of irrational aspects, but there's a big difference between closing medical offices and closing a retail store. The liquor store never thought it would need to reserve all its capacity for a completely different type of impending emergency, for instance. Now, it turns out the medical facilities probably didn't either, but we had good reason to fear otherwise at first.
Also, the liquor store doesn't require extraordinarily intimate physical contact between the owners and their customers, as a medical or dental office does. If you decide selling liquor is pretty important (the weakest point of the argument here), it's easy to arrange to sell it fairly safely.
For me the weirdest thing is leaving liquor stores open but not allowing people to buy, say, garden supplies. That's just plain irrational. I chalk it up to sound political instincts: don't get between people and their booze, ever, for any reason, if you want to get re-elected. Also, all your fellow lawmakers are boozehounds.
Distilleries are shut down too.
Hopefully the increase in liquor sales will have plenty of warehoused alcohol....
I still like Trumps confrontation with the deep state administration. Even other politicians that I could tolerate are not nearly as effective as Trump at calling them out and getting them held more accountable than anyone else has done. With some luck he may get more of them fired and then jailed. It is funny to watch the state politicians foaming at the mouth and dodging responsibility for poor leadership in their state. Let them eat ice cream while their states burn.
I wonder if those that say Trump is a flawed person have ever looked into the mirror at themselves, how they truly are in side.
Did I need another reason NOT to live NYC? The media is hiding the fact that a "mutated" virus is now spreading out from NYC. How else can it be said that the NYC stuff came from Europe unless the NYC type some how difference than what we have on the West Coast?
San Francisco on Saturday; 20 deaths out of 800,000 people. But we may be a whiplash from the East Coast
Lets expose those who are sheltering at home with the full boat; salary, pension and ice cream.
Viruses always mutate. I don't know any evidence yet that this one mutates more dangerously than average.
In all the comments, and the article, there is one central thread. That is, what is happening to people who watch a lot of TV. I know shut up already, but it bears repeating because not enough people do it. Turn off the TV!
I have it on for 30 minutes a day now.
Today, when a news break came on (we wanted to see Gronk on Kelly and Ryan and it was interrupted), we turned it off.
Gronk is always worth watching. di Blasio telling me more people died and I need to be afraid is not.
Does anyone think that any political leader other than a tough SOB like Trump could have gotten on top of this? I say that in respect; Trump has been going through fights like this his entire life. I have huge respect for Trump now, especially the fact he is staying in Washington and fighting this every day when Congress called a 4 week recess and literally ran away from D.C. because they are scared of the virus.
I can picture Obama's response. He would be making flowery speeches every day while the disease ravaged the country.
I can't figure out Hillary's response, she would be hitting the bottle hard, and the Clown she had as her VP would be nowhere to be found.
Sadly, it Covid-19 can have severe effects on some people's brains. It sounds as if your friend might have been so affected. Hopes for his healing and recovery.
Just to throw my two cents in - your friend's reaction might be somewhat attributable to the fact that his case was worse than yours. Human beings aren't just rational creatures, they're rationalizing creatures and they must have a reason for everything. A brush or an encounter with death tends to focus the mind on the question of the meaning of it all and if your friend got the coronavirus for no good reason, well, it must have been that he got it for a bad reason and a bad reason implies a bad actor.
It's why conspiracy theories are so popular, if it's obvious from looking around that there aren't benevolent forces running the world, it's perversely more comforting to humans to believe that there are malign forces running things than to accept that nobody at all is running things.
People who tend to be a little more orderly and organized and a little less spontaneous than most (at the extremes you might call them "control freaks") I would think would be less likely to accept that things might happen for no reason - is your friend by any chance retired military or some other sort of profession that tends toward rules-based orders and actions?
My impression is that the medical "system" is not really much help in treating severe cases. 80% of those put on ventilators die.
Once you're admitted to a hospital, what what can they do for you other than make you less uncomfortable and maybe intravenous fluids?
Now that the quinine pills and maybe some other new drugs seem to help, but other than that?