Tag Archives: covid-19

Well, the 2021 rollout was never going to be perfect …

Unsurprisingly, the vaccine rollout was not as fast as Trump promised. It would take a decade to inoculate everyone at the current rate (some details in this twitter thread). Small wonder; his only interest in the vaccine is getting credit for it. And let’s not forget the new, improved mutant version may make the pandemic worse. I hope Biden can fix the rollout speed; unfortunately I don’t know he can fix the suspicion and paranoia driving healthcare workers out of small towns.

Will we see more vaccine-destruction incidents like this one?

Anti-American Senator Josh Hawley Tweets that he’s challenging the electoral votes this week: “74 million Americans are not going to be told their voices don’t matter” as if “didn’t win” was the same as “don’t matter.” And if the 81 million voters who went Biden get their votes canceled, he’s fine with that. Ted Cruz is shocked that while Democrats talk about bringing the country together, they say the coup supporters like himself are seditious — well, it is. But I see Republicans have already gotten over the whole “fuck your feelings” thing and are back to “why must people hurt our fee-fees like this?” It’s a card they’ve been playing since the Clinton years, and it’s always bullshit: civility is just an excuse for “Shut up and never criticize us!”

Jim Jordan has Tweeted “why are Democrats scared to have a debate on election integrity?” Simple, Republicans aren’t debating in good faith. This isn’t a debate, it’s a bunch of liars demanding they be taken seriously, instead of as the Anti-American shits they are. The Rasmussen polling organization has embraced Stalin’s approach to winning elections. This relates to the truly bizarre belief that the true intent of the Constitution authorizes the vice-president to single-handedly decide the election.

Last year, a lot of distilleries made hand sanitizer to cope with shortages. Legally, the FDA has to charge them fees for this. Again, I hope this is something we can fix.

Trump’s pardoning murderers. And sadists. Some of his pardons may have violated international law, but why would he care?

While our country has a poor history of late in taking down rich, powerful people, I’m hopeful there’s enough pressure to see Trump pay for something that some of the legal efforts against him go forward. Like this one.

Can students curse out their school on their personal social media? A school district says no; the Supreme Court will decide.

“When only half the divide is being tasked with making the peace, there is no peace to be made, but there is a unilateral surrender on offer. We are told to consider this bipartisanship, but the very word means both sides abandon their partisanship, and Mitch McConnell and company have absolutely no interest in doing that.” — Rebecca Solnit on why compromise is no longer possible or good.

“But 2020 has taught me that I am, for better or worse, someone who wants to hope for things. To believe in the people who developed vaccines. In the people who administered them. In Sandra Lindsay. In the people who delivered groceries, who sewed masks, who have long cursed America’s imperfect systems and long fought to change them, who still donate $10 to a sick teacher’s GoFundMe.” — Monica Hesse on hope in 2020.

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2020: not my most productive year

And I can’t even blame the pandemic: after all, I was working at home long before the Trump Virus made it a life-saving option. TYG working from home has in some ways made my work easier, as I don’t have dogs all day. I do, however, get randomly called to take over dog-car for her when she gets busy or Plushie gets fidgety, but it’s still mostly a win.

Nevertheless, I didn’t get anywhere near as much done as I’d anticipated. Partly that’s because pandemic stress did slow me down the first two or three months. Plus Undead Sexist Cliches took much more time to complete than I’d planned (Which is typical. Nonfiction always eats into my fiction-writing time). Redrafting Impossible Takes a Little Longer did too — so much more that I didn’t get beyond four chapters in, though they’re much better chapters. I finished two short stories, submitted shorts 27 times, and sold three (two of them reprints), none of which met my goals. And I fell just a few hundred dollars short of my income goal for the year, due to Leaf work stopping in early December. But I did finish Undead Sexist Cliches, and I’m almost done with Questionable Minds; I’d wanted them finished and published, but I’m still pleased to know they will be done soon.

Plans for travel and for local social events didn’t happen, obviously. Neither did a lot of my personal goals for doing stuff with TYG: she had some ultra-demanding personal projects going on the first couple of months of 2020 and by the time they wrapped up, we were hunkering down at home. The brightest spot of the year for us, though, was her working from home and discovering she not only liked it, she could be more productive even when dealing with dogs. So she’s not going back. It’s much less stress for her, no time spent driving to work, and having added help with the dogs is easier for me.

I donated more money this year, and contributed regularly to a local food bank. Didn’t do as much to contribute to the commonweal as I’d intended to, even so; I’ll work on doing more in 2021.

Wisp was a big success. She’s gone from occasionally coming in the door to eat and get petting to coming in and snuggling on the couch. Last weekend we brought her in late in the evening and left her downstairs all night; I wasn’t sure she’d be happy with that, but it turned out fine. We’re still some ways from making her a permanent indoor cat (we’d like to do that — much safer for the birds) but maybe it’s not as impossible as I was starting to think. In any case, she’s definitely part of our family now: like Plushie and Trixie she has her own Christmas ornament.

And I did accomplish two personal goals. In 2019 I got out of the habit of baking bread regularly so I set myself a goal for 2020 of baking at least twice a month (including muffins and scones). I succeeded. And for the first time since moving up here—okay, and a long time before that—I cleared all the new books out of my to be read shelf. Yes, I know, that just means I’m not buying enough books, but seriously, having a book sit on my shelves for three years before I get to it just annoys me. We’ll see if I can keep up in 2021. Total books read, 214, if you’re wondering, including about 40 percent graphic novels.

Despite the disappointments—all those submissions and only one new story sold?—this was overall a good year for me. Even with all the things I missed, like visiting my family and friends in Florida, it turns out TYG, writing and our pets can keep me pretty happy.

Still I’m ready for the vaccine, though it’ll be a while before TYG or I get a dose. Ready for Trump to be gone. Ready for 2021.

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Comics, Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Reading, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Before we say goodbye 2020, here’s some links

“On Friday, Trump met with several allies, including Giuliani, Meadows, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. Trump asked about deploying the military to rerun the election an idea that Flynn floated during an interview on Newsmax.” — gotta say, I think the Washington Post should have led with that instead of tossing it off in an article about how Trump’s staff are sadly preparing to move on. Oh, Trump’s also proposed appointing Sidney “release the Kraken” Powell as a special counsel investigating voter fraud, though I can’t see what good that will do. Hopefully calls for civil war won’t do any good either.

Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly says the staff working under Trump were decent people serving their country and shouldn’t be shamed or suffer in their future careers. Jennifer Rubin’s response: “These people are not victims. Their reputations have been besmirched for the best of reasons: They participated in an administration unparalleled in its corruption, meanness, racism and authoritarianism.”

Fox’s Lou Dobbs linked the Smartmatic election tech company to voter fraud. Smarmatic threatened legal action. Go figure, Dobbs changed his mind.

I suspect lobbying efforts by companies to get vaccines for their workers will be even bigger in 2021. Unfortunately so will lies from anti-vaxxers.

The efforts to manipulate the narrative around the Ahmaud Arbery murder case won’t go away either. I see from the article they’re already going with the “he was no angel” defense.

Trump mismanaged the pandemic in almost every way possible (Scott Atlas, White House advisor, was a big help). And now that a vaccine is available, Republicans are still screwing up The first link, by the way, points out how insanely Trump turned his administration into a device for protecting his fragile fee-fees: his staff organized rallies because he felt so sad without them, they stopped bringing up the Trump Virus because he got so cranky. But hey, Trump’s not spending his last days idle: his new executive order makes classical architecture the default style for public buildings. I cannot imagine who thinks this is important (I’m sure President Tiny Brain doesn’t).

With a vaccine now available, it’s now only a matter of waiting. Distance a while longer, go masked a while longer. But Florida’s Governor DeSantis is having none of that.

“Donald J. Trump will exit the White House as a private citizen next month perched atop a pile of campaign cash unheard-of for an outgoing president, and with few legal limits on how he can spend it.” Remember this when a Trumper talks about how President Shit Gibbon gave up billions to serve his country. In reality it’s bee his most successful business venture.

Despite Trump’s repeated failures, Republican Loren Culp, who failed to unseat Gov. Jay Inslee in Washington, is following Trump’s playbook: crying fraud, filing lawsuits and raising lots of money. Meanwhile Kimberly Klacik, who lost her run for political office in Maryland, is Tweeting that Mark Zuckerberg and Mitch McConnell have both married Chinese Americans (“I just post facts.”). I’m really amazed how fast the right has seized onto Biden as Chinese Puppet, but I shouldn’t have been (a point I’ll have more to say about later). I’m more than a little worried about how many cops side with the conspiracy crackpots. In hind sight, the Jade Helm conspiracy theory of a few years ago, was a foretaste of where we are now. Some of what we’re seeing may be just posing for the base, but eventually it turns real.

If Biden stops the border wall it will save $2.6 billion. I have a feeling the Republicans who are suddenly getting all deficit-minded again will not be pleased.

Trump’s followers aren’t enthusiastic about the vaccine, but they still think their president should get all the credit for it.

Along with worrying about the deficit, Republicans will once again start worrying about the tone of our national conversation: Sen. Marco Rubio has decided it’s just awful Biden’s prospective chief of staff, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, referred to Republicans as “fuckers.” Roy Edroso puts this in perspective. That’s why I’m with Rubin; if these shits want to be called anything else, start earning it.

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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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Worlds in collision (and Republicans in transition)

Well, Trump’s frantic efforts to defy the will of the voters have come to naught — even Bill Bar admits it. But that doesn’t mean things are stable, or that Republicans are getting saner. Take Ted Cruz, who claimed in July that if Biden won, Democrats would lift Trump Virus restrictions after the election. And the belief the election is rigged against Republicans goes back a long way.

Trump attorney Jenna Ellis claims she’s a constitutional law professor. She ain’t. Not that Sidney Powell is any prize. But hey, Trump’s only standard for good lawyering in the fight to stay in power is fighting — it doesn’t matter they’re spewing bullshit, they’re Fighting! For! Him! If the customer doesn’t demand quality, he won’t get it.

And then there’s Lin Wood who claims that since the governor wouldn’t swear on a Bible that he didn’t take money from China, he must be guilty!

And Rep. Mo Brooks says even after the electors certify Biden, he’s going to challenge the outcome.

Trump has had discussions about pardoning Giulani, Ivanka and his sons, though for what is not clear. I wonder if he realizes he can’t pardon them for state crimes?

One right-wing pastor suggests Trump is preparing to save us by imposing martial law.

Republican voters are now turning on the party for failing Trump. I doubt it’ll last but if it gives us a Democrat for Georgia senator, I’m good with it. But not so much violent threats against Republican officials.

Meanwhile, a wealthy Republican donor is suing a group for failing to expose any election fraud. And Trump’s raised $495 million to fight election fraud, but most of it goes to his PAC.

Meanwhile, Republican state legislators in Ohio want to impeach the Republican governor because his COVID-19 restrictions have made the state “a hostile work environment.” Libby Ann points out that Republicans say they want law and order, but they also encourage breaking pandemic restrictions because freedom! Of course the Supreme Court is doing its best to make restrictions illegal.

Ben Shapiro thinks Hulu’s airing a lesbian rom-com, Happiest Season, as an attack on Christianity.

If you click on only one link in this post, make it this one. Portraying A-OC as a sexy feminazi Marxist dominatrix suggests the creator has fantasies they may not be aware of.

Poor rural states will find vaccinating the public a challenge.

President Man Baby thinks being called “Diaper Don” on Twitter is a national security issue. Meanwhile he’s stripping job protections from OMB civil servants so he can fire them for disloyalty. Trump is also racing to deregulate everything and bring back firing squads.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has placed the unused Trump Virus relief funds where they can’t be tapped without congressional approval.

“arguments about policy are the vestiges of a notion that Trump has killed off: the idea that an election is a contest for the support, or at least the consent, of a majority of voters. Such arguments implicitly concede the possibility that there is another, equally legitimate choice. That is precisely what the posthumous Republican Party cannot and does not accept.”

To end on an upbeat note, one guy in Michigan did the right thing and insisted on certifying state votes.

And for another happy note, Tom Tomorrow reminds us everything is fine.

 

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Science and SF comics covers again

Along with preserving artifacts and sights of the past some scientists want to preserve smells.

Can we make a mummy speak?

A century ago, a British barrister bought Stonehenge at auction for £6,600.

The government spent tens of millions to get a treatment for chemical weapon attacks. The maker won’t guarantee it works.

Why we have too many ventilators. Not incompetence, just changes in medical procedure.

If you think social media and disinformation are bad now, deepfakes will make things worse. Forensic science can exposes fakes, but let’s face it, most of us (myself included) aren’t likely to probe that deeply.

Some ESP research may not have proved psi exists, but it shows a boatload of problems with psychological research. Not that psychology is unique in this.

Annie Jump Cannon developed the modern system for classifying stars. Like so many women in science, she didn’t get the credit she deserved.

I’ve read speculation that AI could eventually replace writers. Here’s an example.

Experiments question the fundamentals of quantum theory.

#SFWApro. Covers top to bottom by Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Nick Cardy, Kane, Kane and Kane

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Lying to us and maybe themselves: links about delusion and grift.

No More Mr. Nice Blog suggests that Trump refusing to concede isn’t some elaborate scheme: he really thinks he’s won. Heck, he’s even tweeting that now. Trump believing this sounds plausible, but it still leaves him stewing in resentment and watching TV. Not that this is surprising — when has he ever been a hard worker? — but it’s bad to have the White House out of action until Biden’s voted in. For example, ignoring the pandemic even more than usual.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Trump’s sucking out money raised to fight election fraud to pay down his campaign debts (while campaign funds go into Trump’s pocket). Pastor Darrell Scott of Ohio says that’s perfectly legitimate: Trump’s getting the money either way, what does it matter how he spends it? Libby Anne looks at Scott’s own er, colorful history in such matters.

And then there are the two prominent evangelists who raised $4.5 million for Holocaust survivors, but apparently want some of it for other projects. They’re now in court fighting over how it was divided up.

Or consider pastor Robert Jeffress who declared Biden the winner of the election — as he did for Trump the day after the 2016 election — then backed off and announced there’s no official winner yet after his fellow Trump supporters criticized him. Meanwhile a prominent law professor says if Biden has nothing to hide, he should support all Trump’s lawsuits to get at the truth. Right, just like Obama had some obligation to pull out his birth certificate to prove he was born in this country.

Libby Anne says anyone who calls themselves pro-life and refuses to take any steps to reduce the Trump Virus is fooling themseves.

For political scammers, we have Rep. Louie Gohmert, who claims it’s proven that 10,000 dead people voted in Michigan. Spoiler: it hasn’t. But Trump supporters still tell themselves Trump was robbed.

I can’t help but think companies promising to spot cheating in distance learning — they can analyze eye movements and know if you’re looking the answers up! — are grifters of another sort. Sure, they say science is with them, but I’ve heard graphologist say the same thing (companies that use handwriting analysis tests for job applicants can discover the TRUTH about them! It really works!).

Some people have ranked J.D. Vance, “working class people whisperer,” as another grifter. Even by that standard, the movie based on his book doesn’t work. The Newsmax TV channel, however, is gambling that moving to the right of Fox News — not calling the election for Biden, for instance — will be a winning media strategy.

 

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For some reason I was distracted after Tuesday evening’s events

Like a lot of people I bought into the polling which turned out to be even wronger than in 2016 (discussion to come on Monday). And the possibility that on top of everything else, President Shit Gibbon would win another term? I’m feeling much more hopeful today, even though the outcome is not completely certain.

The tension Wednesday left me too out-of-sorts to do anything creative so I stuck to Leaf articles the whole day. And wasn’t even fast with them. So no work on Questionable Minds this week. And the shift off DST threw me as it always does. I don’t mind it getting dark earlier as much as I mind the abrupt, unnatural way it happens. It leaves me feeling like the CHUD are about to swarm out of their tunnels and devour us all. End the madness! Stop switching times!

So the fact I got anything accomplished this week is a win. And I did. Footnotes proofed on Chapters Five and Six of Undead Sexist Cliches. Final draft done through Chapter Three. Several movies watched for Alien Visitors and some work on the text. That part isn’t going as fast as I’d planned: Netflix deliveries have been slow (curse you, DeJoy!) and so I haven’t been able to concentrate on films for specific chapters. That makes it hard to write about a subgenre such as “Alien Superheroes” or “ET Monsters,” even after I watch the core film for the chapter.

And the trips to the rehab vet this week actually felt like a vacation. Getting out of the house! Going somewhere new! Letting the dogs walk around the parking lot (while carefully social-distancing, of course)! It was startlingly refreshing.

Oh, and Draft 2 Digital reported one of my ebooks sold! Only one, but hey, whoever you are out there I appreciate you spending money on a no-name author.

On that note, have a great weekend.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

 

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Trump infected, QAnon and other links

“You cannot expect the White House to exhibit any regard for the health of others. The president knowingly exposed his wife, his adult children, his staff, his donors, and his supporters in the Cleveland debate hall. He refused and forbade the most basic safety precautions in the close quarters of the West Wing and on Air Force One, except for testing, which was intended to protect him personally.” And since coming back from the hospital, he’s been removing his mask. Of course, he has the advantage of getting the world’s best healthcare. And doctors who keep contradicting themselves.

It’s alarming enough that people think Jewish bankers are behind various conspiracies. Now they’re claiming George Soros is part of QAnon; accusing a Jew of belonging to a cabal that drinks the blood of children is just a revised version of the classic blood libel against Jews (that they made Christian children’s blood into Passover bread). Fred Clark suggests the anti-Semitism is part of the appeal. Also the delusion of your own virtue in standing against the pedophiles: “they couldn’t straight up say, ‘no, we’re anti-BLM’ — they kind of had to grasp onto this other basically fake story to make it seem like they are the ethical crusaders.

The New Yorker, however, was able to independently confirm several of the assistant’s accusations. The allegation that she was required to work at Guilfoyle’s apartment while [Kimberly] Guilfoyle was barely clothed or naked was substantiated by several of the assistant’s confidants, including an eyewitness, who recalls being surprised by the sight. “It was provocative in a way that made you want to get away from this person,” the eyewitness told me.” Apparently Trump likes harassers even when they’re women.

I’m sorry, armed groups that insist they’re just patriotic citizens while discussing the Marxist conspiracy behind Black Lives Matter doesn’t pass the smell test. Neither does Rush Limbaugh’s claim that there’s a conspiracy to infect Republicans with the Trump virus. But of course, Limbaugh never passes the smell test. Ditto David Barton who claims government restrictions during the pandemic violate the Third Amendment.

Trump was originally overriding FDA rules that would make it impossible to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine before the election, though the White House has since reversed course.

Former congresswoman Michelle Bachmann says all the non-Christians and non-Jews moving into Minnesota have ruined it.

The Southern Baptist Conference has several hundred rapists in its hierarchy and done nothing to remove them. But they can sure move fast revoking the minister’s license of a man who endorsed Biden on social media. The SBC says this is nothing to do with politics, a claim Slacktivist dissects and dismembers.

U.S. intelligence sees a potential surge in extremist threats around election time. And Trump’s cool with that so long as it’s violence on his side.

Federal duck stamps now have to include hunting-related images. Which may reflect that Trump has no idea or ability to appeal to anyone outside his base. As Jamelle Bouie says, Trump’s really a bad politician as well as a bad president.

Matt Gaetz proposed his friend Joel Greenberg, a Florida official, run for Congress. Greenberg has now been indicted on sex trafficking.

I’ll end with a batch of good news. Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to recognize legal same-sex marriage or let her subordinates do so, lost her job, then filed a religious freedom lawsuit. She lost, appealed to the Supreme Court and they’ve turned her down (though Alito and Thomas seem ready to overturn Obergefell). And with the Proud Boys banned from Twitter, gay groups have taken over their hashtag. And anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer’s run for Congress is tanking. And the IRS is investigating the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre for tax fraud.

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It’s not about feelings

I believe I’ve blogged before about the right-wing meme that tells “those who hate Trump” that Trump supporters felt exactly the same about Obama when “he went overseas and apologized for America,” when he said “America was no longer a Christian nation” (actually what he said was we’re not just a Christian nation) and told them all bathrooms would be genderless (no, not accurate). But they “bore him as much as we could. We waited and prayed for a president who would take a stand for America.”
The point of the meme, of course, is that Trump is Obama’s mirror image; he upsets liberals the way Obama upset conservatives. But that’s bullshit. You’ll notice they don’t cite Obama policies (except the alleged genderless bathrooms), only how he made them feel. He hurt their fee-fees by saying America had done bad things (which we have) and that America isn’t a Christian nation, which is correct. We’ve never been a Christian nation, just a nation with a Christian majority, which is not the same thing (and for most of our history it was conceived as a Protestant nation rather than Christian), and was a historical interpretation largely made up in the 1930s. The meme doesn’t suggest that Obama’s policies discriminated against Christians because he didn’t (except in the sense some conservatives think not getting what they want is anti-Christian). In short Obama saying that other countries can be as exceptional as ours and that other faiths are as American as theirs was seen as an attack.
Which may be the point of the meme. Living for years in a Bible Belt community, I’ve seen how many people think not embracing their worldview is anti-God. A world where they see black people shopping in “their” stores or women being independent and unsubmissive and gay people walking around openly is an attack. So if Trump creates a world we don’t like, that’s payback.
Then again, maybe it’s to suggest that all our objections to Trump policy — locking children in cages, separating them from their families, discriminating against Muslims, failing to be even minimally effective against the pandemic — are less about policy and about our own feelings being hurt, just like they were. We’re haters. We’re victims of “Trump derangement syndrome.” We’re the real crybabies so nobody needs to listen to us!
Or it could be both. Either way it’s a comforting lie to tell themselves so they can disregard the evidence they’re on the wrong side of history.

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