Category Archives: economics

Florida man makes lousy governor, and other links

Some cruise lines want to require proof of vaccination from their passengers. Florida Man and Governor Ron DeSantis says if they’re Florida-based, he won’t allow it. He’s a shit, but the media love him.

A new bill headed to DeSantis’ desk will monitor Florida universities for liberal bias. Okay, they talk about “diversity of viewpoints” but I don’t believe for a minute they’re as worried about, say, Holocaust deniers or anti-vaxxers as about tolerance for gays, discussions of slavery and racism in American history or science teachers pointing out creationism is a lie. It’s the old problem for their side: reality is against them, so they have to deny reality. I imagine that in a few years the Legislature will be wondering why schools are denying replacement theory.

Similarly, I’m sure Florida’s anti-protest bill will result in cracking down on Black Lives Matter harder than neo-Nazis or the Klan. Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but we’re past the point at which Republicans are entitled to any good faith in their intentions.

Of course Republicans are rejecting America too. They’ve been in paranoid mode for a while. And they’re still fantasizing about secession. Or that Biden isn’t president. And they’ll try very hard to ensure the next Democratic president can’t be president: “The difference between the 2020 and the 2024 elections will be the difference between a reactive Republican party focused on trying to flip the Electoral College and a proactive Republican party prepared to move past the Electoral College to the next pathway to victory.”

Republicans in Texas want to puts trans kids in foster care if their parents provide trans-appropriate medical care. It’s part of the GOP’s new war against trans kids now that bashing gays doesn’t have as much support.

Anti-semitic preacher/pundit Rick Wiles wants Antony Fauci waterboarded until he confesses the truth about the Trump Virus.

Is the corporate pushback against voting restrictions a game changer? Or just a nine-day wonder? I suspect it’s the latter, but for the moment Republicans are freaking out that corporate America dares question them. More freaking out. Much like Republican concepts of “freedom of religion,” the freedom of businesses to do as they please is conditional on them doing the right things.

A community adapts to surviving without the cops. And Maryland passes laws that radically restructure the rules for bad cops.

Here’s an extreme example of cops’ infamous “blue wall of silence”: the Boston PD believed allegations Officer Patrick Rose was a child molester, but they kept him on the force. Rose went on to molest a lot more children.

John Hopkins University decided the pandemic was a good excuse to cut off contributions to the faculty retirement fund.

 

 

 

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Republicans hate Democrats voting even more than they love corporations?

The Republican stop-people-voting bill in Georgia is very bad. And despite Republican lies, it does indeed ban providing food or water to anyone standing in line to vote. Florida’s now imitating Georgia. I’m sure they won’t be the last Republican-led state to do so.

The remarkable thing is, they’re so committed to voter suppression they’re even turning on corporate America. Mitch McConnell’s suddenly decided corporations should stay out of politics. An interesting take for someone who supports Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that puts unlimited corporate money into play; Moscow Mitch is fine with corporations intervening in politics, just not when it clashes with his agenda. Accirdubg to the new right-wing buzzword the issue is corporate communism which apparently means “a corporation did something I don’t like!” Which is pretty much all communism means to these guys. But they’re all in on outrage of Major League Baseball pulling the All-Star game out of Atlanta: Texas Governor Abbott is refusing to throw out the first ball at the year’s first Rangers game and SC Rep. Jeff Duncan says if Major League Baseball pressures Georgia over its anti-voting bill, the Party will take away baseball’s antitrust exemption. Funny, that’s pretty much how the Communist Party ran the USSR: if you want your business to flourish, don’t piss off the party. It’s always projection with Republicans.

Fox News’ Kat Timpf is shocked that liberals have puritanical objections to Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly committing statutory rape. I wonder what she thinks of Gaetz, when he was in the Florida legislature, playing a game of seducing women for points. Jonah Goldberg weighs in and gratuitously insults a woman he saw with Gaetz as a slut. The Washington Post points out that contrary to Gaetz’ statement his travel records prove his innocence there’s no way to do that. Oh, and would you believe Gaet fought against a revenge-porn ban when he was in the Florida legislature? And that he allegedly sought a blanket pre-emptive pardon from Trump for unspecified acts.

The judge in the Alex “Sandy Hook is a false flag” Jones defamation case sanctioned him a couple of years ago. The Supreme Court turned down Jones’ appeal. They also killed the suit over Trump’s right to block people on Twitter as moot — but Clarence Thomas threw in that Twitter, FB etc. should not be allowed to moderate content. I’m sure if Thomas ever gets his way he’ll next discover a constitutional exception for banning liberals from the Internet.

I am, however, sympathetic to Neil Gorsuch’s argument that employees’ religious rights deserve greater protection.

The Supreme Court also ruled for Google and against Oracle in a lawsuit over Google allegedly infringing Oracle’s Java copyright. Judging from this Twitter thread, it’s a fair use issue. The judges have also weighed in on a Kentucky abortion case though I’m unclear about the significance.

Mississippi pastor Shane Vaughn complains South Africa worked great until black kids started going to college — because of George Soros! So, both racist and anti-semitic.

Arkansas just made it legal for medical workers to refuse non-emergency treatment if they have moral objections to treating someone. This will not go well. And while the governor vetoed an anti-trans bill the legislature overrode him. And Montana’s governor is expected to sign a bill that gives anyone — including corporations — a right to discriminate if non-discrimination violates their religious beliefs. Misssippi’s governor is simply a liar, claiming the deficits under Trump were not because of tax cuts. Montana Senator Steve Daines insists he is totally not being racist when he says the reason Montana has a meth problem is that it’s Mexican meth.

North Carolina’s anti-trans bill includes a statement that “would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth.” That sounds like an excuse to pick on gays or straight cis-kids who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. This is, after all, the state where the anti-trans bathroom bill led to cops hassling cis-women in women’s restrooms because they didn’t look feminine enough.

When Trump solicited campaign donations from his supporters last year, the fine print made the donations monthly.

These days academia is run like a business: less money for employees, lots for top administrators.

One of the Sedition Day traitors later allegedly said he wants to lynch the black cop who shot Ashli Babbitt on 1/6.

A Korean-American Republican insists if she says racist crap about China it’s totally not racist as she’s Asian too. And she’s suing the Texas Tribune for defamation for writing about it.

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Some undead sexist links

“Consent – agreement to sex – should not be conflated with sexual desire, enjoyment or enthusiasm; not because we should be resigned to bad sex, but precisely because we should not be.

Online harassment of women journalists is increasingly vicious. Tucker Carlson thinks they should just shut up about it.

“The Met police warned women in Clapham not to go out alone, following the disappearance of Everard, but of course that places the blame on women, on those of us who are just trying to get from one place to another, especially when the person who is the main suspect is a cop.”

Biden is looking to unmake the Trump administration’s rules for handling sexual assault on campus.

“Several women told The Post the network was part of a larger culture in golf that sidelines women. That included multiple instances of women not being allowed in certain areas of private golf clubs with their male colleagues during shoots because club rules restricted where women could go. (Hughes said Golf Channel raised concerns with the clubs when the issue was brought to them.” — from a WaPo article about Golf Channel sexism.

The Family Research Council and other right-wing groups say they object to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act because it includes transwomen. They’ve opposed it long before that was an issue.

Women have already experienced the damage deepfake photos can wreak.

In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, rape has become a weapon of war.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy says we shouldn’t assume the Atlanta shooter was mentally ill: maybe Asian women just turned him on too much. Which seems to fall into the tradition of “women made him do it” victim blaming.

How NCAA makes it look like women’s basketball loses money.

I take great delight that a group Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blocked on Twitter won a court case against her, and will donate the settlement money to gun-law reform groups. That said, for all the hate she dishes out, she does not deserve death threats, threats against her children or gendered insults flung her way, no matter how horrible she is.

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The Kraken squeals like a stuck pig (and other links)

The Dominion voting-machine company has sued Sidney “the Kraken” Powell for accusing them of fraud. Powell protests that no reasonable person would take her statements seriously. Powell’s tortuous logic is that she wasn’t actually accusing, simply describing her court case, so totally different. The Georgia secretary of state gives Powell a sick burn.

While Powell and Trump’s other lawyers lost their various lawsuits, Mr. MyPillow and other activists are hoping to overturn Arizona’s Biden win. And the Georgia House just passed a bill making it easier to cheat next time: The legislature can appoint most of the state elections board and the board can take over from “underperforming” county boards. Yes, no way that could be abused (I’m sure if the Dems ever win a majority in the state legislature, there’ll be a lame duck session to change things back). And contrary to Ari Fleischer’s lies, the law does prevent providing water and food to anyone in line to vote. A Georgia Democrat vents.

The funny thing is, last year proved Republicans can do well even when voter turnout is high, but they still want fewer voters. One blogger suggests it’s not that they’re afraid, they simply see no reason not to cheat. In a relevant WaPo article, a Latino man discusses why so many Latinos (much fewer Latinos) voted Trump.

Oh, and when Governor Kemp signed the Georgia bill, state police arrested a black Democratic legislator for knocking on his door during the signing. Yet we have pundits arguing that Democrats expanding the vote is just the same as Republicans repressing it.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn condemned Biden for worrying about immigrants instead of homeless veterans. But the COVID relief bill includes help for veterans; Cawthron refused to vote for it.

Speaking of mental illness, a guy in Texas stops an (unarmed) National Guard COVID transport convoy and searches it at gunpoint for a kidnapped women. The cops later manage to take him into custody without shooting him (yes, he’s white). But that weirdness pales compared to the guy who claims he’s copyrighted Canada’s banking system.

Remember when right-wingers said government should be run like a business? As head of the Postal Service, Louis DeJoy thinks that means cutting hours, increasing prices and slowing delivery. Democrats in Congress are pushing back — though I will say DeJoy ending the requirement the USPS fund retirement benefits now for the next fifty years is part of his plan I hope goes through.

A black bakery salesclerk refused to serve a woman unless she wore a mask. So the customer drops the n-bomb.

Rents for the rich are dropping, while rents for the poor go up.

On the plus side, the COVID relief bill includes significant subsidies for families with kids. At the link, an explanation what that means for poor children.

What makes the Dallas suburbs a hotbed for insurrectionists?

Republicans’ prime directive: “owning” the liberals.

Anti-trans feminists and how they may hurt women’s rights.

Trump recently offered his thoughts on potential Republican candidates for president if he doesn’t run. No More Mr. Nice Blog looks at his conversation and thinks he’s not running.

Biden continues cutting away Trumpian deadwood.

 

 

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Who they protect, who they let go

“Soon after he started he was quoted as saying women aren’t capable of writing cover stories. Facing considerable and deserved backlash, he then made a big show of hiring women, many of whom seem happy. I notice many of them tweet his praises. But since he’s taken the helm there’s a wake of women who are no longer there who have signed NDAs. Just last week a woman I once worked with at a different publication was added to that list, and the details I know show me that the men in charge will do everything in their power to save their own hides, usually at the expense of the women they claim to champion.” — Jennifer Barnett, former managing editor at Atlantic, on the current editor in chief, as well as the predecessor she worked under.

Particularly the predecessor: “I left because I blew the whistle on my boss for doing something unethical then abusing the staff and undermining the editorial process during which time I was assured he would be fired but instead he was promoted and after threatening me privately in his office, he marginalized me to the point of being completely invisible.” Barnett’s career ended at 44; her boss, James Bennett, went on to run the NYT, resigned after the Tom Cotton mess and then wound up as guest editor at The Economist for a year. “Why does it matter? Because the same men who continually fuck up are still in charge of the media. They shape the world. If you don’t think that’s true, take a look at the coverage of Hillary Clinton during my former boss’s tenure at the paper of record leading up to the 2016 election. Despite even major public failings, they keep coming back because they work behind the scenes to protect themselves and each other to stay in power and preserve the status quo.”

It’s a depressingly familiar story about men who make the company into a boys’ club, treat women like crap, promote buddies and exclude women from key decisions and meetings. And it’s known, but he sticks around, and he when does go, it’s to the New York Times and then to The Economist. He’s got the connections with enough key men that the glass floor kicks in and stops them falling: “not only are these guys shitty at their jobs, they keep each other and themselves in power so they can continue to be shitty at their jobs.”

It’s depressing how strong that glass floor is. Pixar kicked out John Lasseter over sexual harassment allegations; a year later, he became head of Skydance Animation (the harassment thing? He’s done a lot of work, it’s all behind him, honest!) Bill O’Reilly got a new contract at Fox right after a $32 million harassment-suit settlement. The Washington Football Team paid $1.6 million to settle one woman’s allegations against owner Daniel Snyder. No matter how big the payout or how often it happens, the people in charge (Snyder does have business partners) would sooner pay millions to preserve the status quo and keep the guys in the in-crowd in power (much as cities shell out millions for police misconduct rather than change the way policing is done). And if someone does suffer for their actions, even if it’s only a blow to their reputation, we’re supposed to show “himpathy” and let his life get back to normal fast (not that women can’t be harassers).

The victims who quit their jobs over harassment or sexist bosses? Or get fired for making a complaint? The people who defend “dude process” never care about them. No concerns about how they deserve to get back the normal they had before they were driven out. No sympathy for them. And as long as businesses and organizations protect the harassers, it’s not going to change.

And people wonder why some women are pissed.

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Let’s talk the COVID crisis! (and a couple of other medical links)

It’s almost surreal for me to read about how bad it’s getting. Working from home as I always have, it feels like nothing’s changed, even though I know it has. Reading links like these reminds me how crazy it is, and how shitty Republicans have been.

Pfizer has the vaccine and it works, safely. If we can inoculate 100 million people, it’ll make a real difference in the pandemic’s spread We’re getting 100 million doses — it takes two per person — but the Trump administration passed up an option to buy twice as much. Pfizer says it can’t provide more until the summer.

For Mitch McConnell, the key action the government has to take in this crisis is to protect businesses that throw away employee lives.

Some state governors are as bad in handling the Trump Virus as Trump (though Democratic officials who take a tough line, then break their own rules, are bad too). Even with medical professionals begging them to Do Something. Ron deSantis in Florida has a solution: silence the professionals. But at least the failures of some states to govern the virus has given us the opportunity for an experiment: guess what, masks work! I’m fine with an anti-mask activist doctor losing his state license.

Conservatives claimed 9/11 was such a tragedy it justified invading Iraq and reducing it to rubble. But they’re unwilling to act against Covid rates equivalent to a 9/11 a day. They’re fine with setting up the TSA and requiring us all to take off our shoes, but not with mask mandates.

Right-wing slime Candace Owens compares getting vaccinated against the pandemic to slavery. I’ve heard other people compare it to rape which is an equally appalling and incorrect metaphor. Republicans are inviting a prominent anti-vaxxer to testify before Congress. Blame Wyoming Sen. Ron Johnson for embracing the anti-vaxxers; while he talks about protecting the vulnerable, he’s already on the record saying if 3.4 percent of Americans die to protect the value of his stock portfolio (okay, that’s my interpretation of his “save the economy” argument) he’s okay with it. Small Wonder that Steve M. glumly but plausibly predicts right-wing anti-vaxxers will leave us grappling with Covid long after other nations get back to normal. Case in point, preacher Guillermo Maldonado warning his flock that the vaccine is the mark of the beast.

In other medical news:

A consultant firm working with Purdue Pharma proposed paying pharmacies rebates based on the number of oxycontin overdoses they caused. And Sen. David Purdue may have found a way to make stock market money off the crisis.

And what ancient bacteria will Arctic warming unleash upon the world?

Erik Loomis wonders if the rapid development of the Covid vaccine suggests we could fight other diseases as quickly.

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I’m not cutting Trump any slack because he’s sick.

Trump having the Trump Virus doesn’t make him any less of an execrable human being, so here we go!

I’m sure our narcissist president is weeping at the NYT story on Trump’s tax returns, showing he “has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.” He’s hemorrhaging money and there are lots of loans coming due, leading to speculation his run for the White House was just a Hail Mary play to revive his brand. And his massive losses from various businesses allowed him to offset his taxes and pay $750 in income tax the year he won the presidency (and none in other years). While much of this is probably legal, someof his deductions seem questionable, such as paying Ivanka fat fees as a “consultant” (this Twitter thread lists several). And of course in past years he’s blasted presidents, and the rich in general, for doing exactly what we now see him doing, as the WaPo points out:

“Trump added in July of that year, “Have we ever had a POTUS before @BarackObama who earned over 1/3 of his income from foreign sources and paid taxes to another country?”
The Times reported that Trump earned about $73 million in foreign revenue in his first two years as president. He also in 2017 paid significantly more in taxes to the governments of Panama ($15,598), India ($145,500) and the Philippines ($156,824) than to the United States ($750).
But that’s not the only whiff of hypocrisy in Trump’s past statements about taxes.
In 2013, he retweeted someone who claimed that “Trump is an American that will pay more taxes in one year than you pay in your entire life.” We have now learned that Trump almost always pays less in taxes — not just as a percentage but also as a raw number — than the vast majority of people who are of far lesser means than he.”
If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, the Times also breaks down the key revelations in a shorter piece. Part II looks at how The Apprentice transformed Trump’s image, filled his coffers and enabled him to make more by marketing his new fame: “In the two years preceding the debut of “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s side income was mostly confined to $500,000 for appearing in the Big N’ Tasty burger ad and a small amount of book royalties. But over the next two years, his tax records show, he collected $5.2 million from 11 different ad campaigns and speaking gigs, all propelled by his growing popularity as a reality-TV businessman.”
In hindsight it’s unsurprising he promptly burned through the money, and that a lot of added income from his “brand” was attached to swindles and con schemes. Trump’s a crook and a hustler and he can’t understand not being one: “Anyone who’s not hustling and not transparently “full of shit” is playing some angle he just doesn’t understand. They seem to regard money as less than paramount. They’ve got some other way of keeping score in something other than the game and the hustle that is all that Trump has ever understood. And because he can’t understand such people, he fears them, regards them with suspicion and distrust.”

I doubt this will change any loyalist’s mind, but it sure must sting Trump. He’s built his image as a high-flying business genius, not someone who’s in hock up to his eyeballs. Before he got sick he was tweeting about his “extraordinary assets” and the “impressive” financial statement he may someday release. It’s the usual Trump bluster but it sounds feebler than usual. I drink his tears like fine wine.

Meanwhile, Trumps says he’ll be sending seniors $200 discount pharmacy cards before the election, though the funding is from a program that doesn’t exist yet.

A mine-owner who fought against regulations to protect miners from black lung disease and opposed them getting benefits if they took sick has now filed for benefits himself.

To fight the Barrett nomination, focus on the threat to the ACA. The Nation says while Barrett’s an extremist, it’s not religious extremism that’s the problem. And no, it’s not liberals and Democrats who are biased against Catholics.

By the way, do y’all remember Chris Cantwell, the “crying Nazi” of the Charlottesville protests in 2017? He’s been convicted for threatening to rape a rival Nazi’s wife. And cried some more during the trial. I drink his tears too.

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Sexism costs money

Reading and listening to accounts of women dealing with sexism at work shows how much. Hours spent on problems because they don’t listen to the woman’s view. Talking over the women and prolonging work when listening would wrap things up faster. Delegating crappy jobs to the women that don’t make use of their abilities.

As one of my friends said, what if this went onto the balance sheet? All the work-hours that could have been saved, all the projects that aren’t finished on time because the woman’s cleaning up for someone else’s mistakes. Not to mention talented women who quit because they’ve had enough dealing with sexists and/or harassers. It adds up. In some stories I’ve heard over the years, probably a lot of money.

To say nothing of lawsuits. Fox had to pay $90 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit over sexual harassment at the news channel. They’ve paid more to women who’ve sued over harassment from Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.

If that were tallied up and actually quantified for investors, that would be one hell of an incentive for businesses to treat women better.

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Trump is not manly (and other links)

I’m not a fan of men having to live up to some code of conduct to prove their manliness. However a lot of people do idealize old-school manliness — be honorable, stoic, work hard — so why do they think Trump’s a real man when he’s a whining, petulant man-baby who won’t take responsibility for anything?  Comments at the link focus on racism, but I think misogyny’s at least as much the issue. Trump’s a guy who treats women like shit even when he’s not assaulting them and he never pays a price for it; for guys who value male supremacy, that’s pretty appealing. And also, they love that he’s vicious. Which he is because one of his driving needs is the urge to dominate: “This explains why Trump felt no compunction about lashing out this week at a frequent critic, Joe Scarborough, by falsely accusing him of murder, even in the absence of a shred of evidence to support his claim. Cruelty is second nature to Trump.”

Republicans are so nervous about mail-in voting increasing the turnout (more voters is worse for them) that they’re suing California to stop it.

Adam Smith, the husband of the “reopen NC” leader, says he’s willing to kill people to make it happen. Justified because New World Order! And anti-maskers are now claiming dubious medical necessity reasons for not wearing.

If you’ve seen reports saying doctors think social distancing is worse than the disease, they may be biased. So are claims Congress can’t empower executive branch agencies to draft regulations.

Some branches of Planned Parenthood got stimulus money. Cue the right-wing freakout.

Some anti-gay members of the religious right see helping their neighbors during the pandemic as a way to win converts.

“Under conditions of uncertainty, information that helps direct our negative emotions toward a target is psychologically comforting.”— a look at how conspiracy theories blaming someone for our problems can make it easier to live with them.

One reason Trump’s so angry at China: he’s been showering their leaders with praise (““China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency … I want to thank President Xi!”)

Our government played a major role in developing one drug treatment for the Trump Virus. But they’ve done nothing to prevent the manufacturer from charging huge fees for treatment. This is a common issue: drug companies defend high prices by pointing out the demands of research and ignoring federal support.

Black entrepreneurs use their office-building’s gym. So a man calls the cops on them.

Hertz is going bankrupt. You might think leadership’s at fault or that the company should be careful with its money, but instead Hertz paid its top execs $16 million in bonuses. Meanwhile, two-thirds of its 21,000 employees were laid off.

A Pennsylvania Republican tested positive for the Trump virus. Other Republicans knew but kept meeting with Democratic colleagues anyway.

Houses of worship want to reopen, but they don’t know how to do it safely.

Conservative evangelical Eric Metaxas insists Christianity is anti-racist, but can’t walk the walk. Jerry Falwell Jr. ain’t even trying.

And for no particular reason, I’ll close with a photo I took of a thistle.

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Smoking their own hashish

In the words of the late investigative journalist I.F. Stone, “all governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.” – I.F. Stone.

This is one reason we’re in such a mess: right-wingers in government, as well as out of it, are now true believers in the delusions they’ve been peddling to the public for years. Take Donald Trump. In addition to being extremely stupid, he’s a long-time Fox viewer who thinks Fox talking heads give him better intel than our intelligence agencies, partly because Fox is less likely to challenge his worldview. So it’s not surprising that, believing other nations are sneakily conducting nuclear tests, President TinyBrain wants us to start up again. And that’s he’s trashing other arms-control treaties (I suspect this also relates to the distaste some right-wingers have for diplomacy and negotiating instead of just sending people who aren’t them or their families to fight and die destroying our enemies).

And now more than 40 believes in QAnon, the crackpot theory of a vast cabal of Satanic pedophiles opposing Trump, are running for office. Even if they don’t win, it’s a very bad sign if this becomes acceptable or worse, desirable in candidates (for another example of right-wing gibberish, check here).

But it’s not just people in politics, but also in punditry. Conservative intellectuals have decided that opposing shutdowns, masks and all other precautions against Trump Virus is a sign of cowardice and weakness — don’t we realize that there are higher things than living! By which logic, why aren’t they opposing bicycle helmets and seat belts? Because those are still accepted as sensible solutions, not bludgeons against the left in the culture war.  I think it’s telling that a couple of the pundits quoted at the link frame this is a clash between salt-of-the-earth Real Americans who want the country reopened and the sniveling cowards of the liberal elite who want it shut down. When in reality we have rich elitists (not all of them) and pundits screaming to reopen the country before the wealthy lose any money. The rich can run their companies at a distance; they’re guaranteed great care if they do get sick. And organizing astroturf campaigns to make it look like the people are rising up.

Republicans have embraced a world of unreality where taking sensible precautions against disease is weakness, the government plotted to destroy Trump but held off until after the election and QAnon theories describe reality. Or claiming that the 2018 elections were a victory for Republicans. Honest reporting is treated as partisan lies, an attack on the glorious god-anointed Donald J. Trump. That makes it hard to deal with the reality that Trump has failed at dealing with the pandemic.

And I’m sure Trump’s tossing out baseless conspiracy theories finds fertile soil among his worshippers.

As Fred Clark puts it, we have to respect other’s peoples beliefs — but how do we do that while simultaneously dealing with believers whose views get other people killed? Snake handling or refusing medical treatment to see if God cures you can be fatal, but only to the believer. People who reject masks and social distancing don’t just threaten themselves, they threaten the rest of us.

I wish I had a good answer.

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