It’s always interesting to me to see how much patience some people have with the pain and suffering of other people.

– Speaker Nancy Pelosi (5-15-2020)

It seems harsh to ask whether the nation might be better off letting a few hundred thousand people die.

– Jonathan Ashbach, “Is Social Distancing Saving LIves or Ruining Them?
The Federalist (3-23-2020)

This week’s featured post is “Trump Has No Endgame“.

This week everybody was weighing economic risks against health risks

Current total: 91K dead. That’s up about 10K from last week, representing a slow decline. The two weeks before both had 13K increases. We’ll see what happens going forward as states relax their anti-virus restrictions in some well-considered and poorly-considered ways.

Probably the worst reopening situation is in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court abruptly threw out the state’s stay-at-home order. The leaders of the state’s heavily gerrymandered legislature (Democrats get more votes from the people, but Republicans get more seats in the legislature) won even more than they asked for: They had asked for the ruling to be stayed for six days so that they could work out a plan with the governor. Instead, the Court just ended the order immediately.

Reading the judges’ opinions is sobering. The majority opinion is an unlikely reading of the law, in which the stay-at-home order is technically a “rule” and not an order, so it should have gone through the emergency rule-making process. The dissenting opinion by Rebecca Frank Dallet shreds that opinion, pointing out that

The emergency rulemaking process set forth in Wis. Stat. §227.24 includes 11-13 steps which the briefing indicates takes a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 49 days.

when the law empowering the Department of Health Services to respond to epidemics uses the word “immediate”. She goes through the history of such orders, going back to the 1918 flu, and finds nothing resembling the “rule-making” the majority sees here.

As opposed to legal analysis, the concurring judges wrote polemics about tyranny and freedom, and made comparisons to the Japanese internment of World War II.

The result is dangerous chaos:

For weeks, Republicans had argued that their lawsuit against the order was needed simply so the legislature could have some say in the reopening plan. … But now it appears their plan all along was to thwart any plan. Now that they’ve been granted a seat at the table, Republicans have set the table on fire and thrown it out the window. …

The ruling leaves Wisconsin without any statewide rule or guidance in place for businesses, citizens and local governments. After the decision, Republicans said they didn’t see any need for any new rules, instead turning the state into a patchwork of local COVID-19 regulations, stretched throughout nearly 2,000 counties, cities, villages and towns.

Bars in various parts of the state opened immediately, producing scenes of no social distancing like the one below.

I was surprised to see this report from my home town, Quincy, Illinois: A bar — I’ve never been inside, but I’ve walked past it many times — defied the state’s stay-at-home order and opened for a day, producing similar scenes of folks standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar. The owner is a woman with oxygen tubes in her nose.

The top British medical journal “The Lancet” posted a rare political editorial about the importance of a strong CDC that is able to lead global efforts to fight pandemics. Final paragraph:

The Trump administration’s further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding WHO. A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic. Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.

The economy-versus-public-health dichotomy we so often hear from the administration and see in the media is a frustrating misframing of the situation. Even though I am liberal — and so presumably pro-health and anti-economy — I would like nothing better than to hear some clever ideas to safely re-open the businesses that I frequented before the crisis. I want to go to restaurants, get my hair cut, attend baseball games, and hang around in coffee shops as much as any conservative. I just don’t want to kill people to do it.

What I’d really like to see is a Mythbusters approach to coronavirus risk. The TV show Mythbusters, if you remember, used to regularly do extremely dangerous things: They blew up a cement mixer, dropped a car from a helicopter, and demonstrated how defective water heaters might blast up through a house’s roof. But the ethos of the show wasn’t to flaunt danger and cheat death, it was to understand risk, analyze it, and find ways to protect against it. One of the show’s operating principles was: Anything can be made safe with enough precautions.

So Adam and Jamie never told each other that it wasn’t risky to blow up a cement mixer; they just figured out a safe way to do it. And after they had a safety plan that worked, they had the courage to carry it out.

But on the right these days, we hear a lot of talk about “courage” and not “living in fear” of the virus — usually from people who reject even easy safety measures like wearing masks or maintaining social distance. But what they’re promoting isn’t courage at all, it’s a combination of denial and self-centeredness. Most people don’t die of the virus, so we should tell ourselves that we’ll be in the lucky majority. Millions of other people might not be, but that’s just their bad luck. It couldn’t possibly happen to us, and that’s all that matters.

For example, here’s Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin:

I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population. But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu … getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.

In other words, he’s OK with the possibility that more than 11 million Americans (that’s what 3.4% works out to; his lower estimate of 1% is about 3 1/3 million) might die horrible deaths, not to mention the millions of others who will survive but suffer long-term damage.

The Republican Party describes itself as “pro-life”, but clearly it isn’t. That claim should never again go unchallenged.

Speaking of clever ideas for safely reopening, here’s how a German cafe enforces social distancing: Customers wear pool noodles on their heads.

There’s no reason (other than Trump’s divisiveness) that safety measures ever had to become a political issue. Yes, pool noodles are goofy, but what’s wrong with looking a little goofy to protect each other from a deadly disease? Looking silly together could be a bonding experience, like karaoke.

But Trump cultists don’t see it that way. In Indiana, a 7-11 clerk was scalded with hot coffee and beaten for telling a customer to wear a mask. In California, two men broke the arm of a Target employee. In Texas, armed men defended a hair salon that had illegally re-opened. The NYT reports:

In at least a half dozen cases around [Texas] in recent days, frustrated small-business owners have turned to heavily armed, militia-style protesters like Mr. Archibald’s group to serve as reopening security squads.

Michigan State professor Matt Grossman explains:

The public doesn’t polarize on its own. It polarizes when political leaders and different parties send different messages. That is happening more in the U.S. than in other countries.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Jess McIntosh, host of the “Signal Boost” show on Sirius XM’s Progress channel, makes a good point. It’s probably not completely true, but I’ll bet it’s mostly true.

It’s not about “reopening the economy.” People aren’t protesting for the right to BE waitresses and hairdressers, they’re fighting for the right to HAVE them. This is about white people demanding service.

Eric Trump accuses Democratic governors of banning large-crowd gatherings just to hurt Trump’s re-election campaign.

After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen. They’re trying to deprive [President Trump] of his greatest asset, which is … that he can go out there and draw massive crowds.

You can see where this is going, right? Very soon now, Trumpist governors will have to sign off on stadium-sized gatherings, regardless of the very real health risk to their citizens. And Trump cultists will have to attend to prove how committed they are. Because the virus is all a Democratic hoax, and 90K Americans (and many more by November) aren’t really dead.

and corruption

Last week I had a special post to catalog the Trump administration corruption that had come to light during that week. But corruption is just how this administration operates, so each week produces new corruption stories. This week Trump fired another inspector general — his fourth in the last few months. This one was the State Department IG, Steve Linick.

Representative Eliot L. Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, from the House and Senate committees that oversee the State Department, wrote to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows:

Reports indicate that Secretary Pompeo personally made the recommendation to fire Mr. Linick, and it is our understanding that he did so because the Inspector General had opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself. Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation.

Their letter does not discuss the substance of the investigation, but the New York Times fills that in:

a Democratic aide said that Mr. Linick had been looking into whether Mr. Pompeo improperly used a political appointee at the State Department to perform personal tasks for him and his wife. … Since starting his current job in April 2018, Mr. Pompeo has come under growing public scrutiny for what critics say is his use of the State Department’s resources for personal endeavors. Mr. Menendez has called for Mr. Pompeo to explain how he can justify frequent trips to Kansas, his adopted home state, using State Department funds and aircraft. He has brought his wife, Susan Pompeo, on many trips abroad, telling others she is a “force multiplier” for him. And CNN reported last year that congressional officials were looking at potential misuse of diplomatic security personnel for personal errands.

Former Moderna executive Moncef Slaoui is leading the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which is supposed to deliver large quantities of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020. He also

still holds over 156,000 Moderna stock options, worth over $10 million at the company’s current stock price, creating a potential conflict of interest if the company’s vaccine is the first to be proven effective.

Moderna announced encouraging Phase 1 results on its vaccine candidate today. But there’s still a long way to go.

The WaPo’s Pulitzer-winning David Fahrenthold is back at it: The US government has paid for more than 1,600 nights at Trump-owned hotels and clubs since Trump took office. Federal records show at least $970,000 of government money has been paid to Trump’s company.

Eric Trump has previously claimed that the Trump Organization gives the government a good rate “like fifty bucks”. This seems not to be true.

But in the 1,600 room rentals examined by The Post, there were no examples of a rate that low. Instead, the lowest room rate was $141.66 per night, for each of the rooms in a four-room cottage in Bedminster. The highest rate was $650 per night for rooms at Mar-a-Lago.

This practice is not just shady, it might also be unconstitutional. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution says:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

The foreign money going into Trump’s businesses is also an issue, since the Constitution also forbids any federal official from receiving “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State” without the consent of Congress.

Lawsuits based on those constitutional principles have had trouble getting traction in the courts, but Thursday a federal appeals court ruled that a suit filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia could go forward.

and Ahmaud Arbery

I should have mentioned this case last week. By now you probably know about it. Two white men in trucks chased down a black jogger and killed him, claiming that he resembled a suspect in a string of local burglaries.

That happened back in February, and the local police interviewed the whites and pretty much accepted their story. A video of the moments leading up to the shooting was posted by a local radio station and went viral. Only then were the shooters arrested.

All the basic themes of the black-lives-matter movement are here: A black man was assumed to be dangerous and killed. Police didn’t seem to care until a public outcry made them care.

That second part is the key point. Whites sometimes kill blacks and blacks sometimes kill whites; that’s not the major issue. The point is that when whites kill blacks, often the police aren’t interested.

and the Reade accusation

PBS Newshour tried to talk to 200 or so people who were on Joe Biden’s Senate or White House staff at one time or another, and they managed to get in touch with 74 of them, including 64 women, to see what they thought about Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault and digital penetration.

The staffers corroborate some of the superficial details of Reade’s account: She did work in Biden’s Senate office. She was let go. Where she says she was assaulted is a real place. The errand she says she was on (taking Biden’s gym bag to him at the Capitol gym) is a credible thing someone in her position might have been asked to do. A supervisor (not Biden) did reprimand her for dressing inappropriately.

And no one, of course, claims to know for a fact that the assault didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened, (though many volunteered that they believe the claim is false).

But that’s about where the corroboration stops.

None of the people interviewed said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade.

… Female staffers who spent countless hours with Biden, including in one-on-one settings, like his small private office in the U.S. Capitol, known as a “hideaway,” said he never made passes at them or behaved in other ways that suggested sexual impropriety.

… “I traveled with him all over the world, all over the country. I was alone with him all the time,” said Elizabeth Alexander, a former Senate and White House aide. “Never, ever, ever did I feel uncomfortable.”

… “You got to know which senators you didn’t want to be on an elevator alone with,” said Liz Tankersley, who was Biden’s legislative director from 1985 to 1993. “No one ever said Joe Biden was one of them.”

A few of the details of Reade’s account were challenged: As a Senate staffer, she would not have been asked to serve drinks at a fund-raiser.

“Never would have happened,” said Melissa Lefko, who was a staff assistant in Biden’s office during the time Reade was there. “We all knew there was a very hard line there.”

The site of the alleged assault would have made it “a brazen attack in an area with a high risk of being seen” by lobbyists, staff, and even tourists.

In response to last week’s summary post, pro-Bernie commenters put forward the theory that the media delayed covering Reade’s sexual assault accusation until it was too late for the issue to help Sanders get the nomination. As best I can tell, though, the timing of the story was due to Reade, not the media. The Newshour story says explicitly: “Reade did not publicly accuse Biden of sexual assault until March of this year.” (The South Carolina primary, which turned the race in Biden’s favor, happened February 29.) Also, pro-Bernie media outlets existed and could have picked up the story, if it had been out there.

The Washington Post’s never-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin debunks the “If you believed Christine Blasey Ford, you have to believe Tara Reade” fallacy.

and you also might be interested in …

The House passed an additional $3 trillion stimulus plan, the HEROES act. It includes direct payments to states, more money for individuals, and a variety of other provisions. Republicans are dead set against it, so it’s unlikely to pass the Senate.

But it does put the ball in Mitch McConnell’s court. Lots of states — and not just blue states — are facing big budget shortfalls. And the virus is still picking up momentum in places like Arizona.

Trump’s latest conspiracy theory, “ObamaGate”, is one he couldn’t even explain himself when a reporter asked what crime it alleged. Vox’ Sean Illing explains it as an example of “flooding the zone with shit”.

The goal of zone-flooding is simple: introduce bullshit stories into the information bloodstream, sit back while the media feverishly covers them (from all sides), and then exploit the chaos that results from the subsequent fog of disinformation.

It’s an approach that thrives on conventional journalistic norms around objectivity and fairness. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, a sharp observer of this process, explained it well in a recent piece. His point, like mine, is that reporting on deliberately misleading stories in ostensibly objective ways serves only to reward the bad-faith actors spreading the nonsense in the first place.

Mikel Jowllett, who I am not cool enough to have heard of before, is the front man of Airborne Toxic Event and author of the just-released memoir Hollywood Park. He tweets:

The President is tested every day. Every single person he comes into contact with is also tested. If anyone tests positive, they are immediately quarantined and their contacts are tested. See? He DOES understand how to stop the virus. He just doesn’t give a shit about YOU.

Try to imagine what it would be like to have been at sea by yourself for the past three months.

and let’s close with something both old and new

Denis Shiryaev has come up with impressive techniques for bringing very old film back to life. Here, he produces remarkably crisp and colorized images of Paris in the 1890s.

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  • Linda Buechting  On May 18, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    This is a frivolous comment, but it’s something I wonder about Tara Reade. I assume there’s a dress code for staffers working in the Capitol, especially since she had been reprimanded for inappropriate dress. Reade said she was wearing a skirt when the alleged assault occurred. So why wasn’t she wearing pantyhose with the skirt? Was she in sneakers and socks? Sandals? The skirt without pantyhose doesn’t ring true to me.

  • Guest  On May 18, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Gosh, maybe I’m reading this wrong, but there seems to be a lot of upholding the myth of the perfect victim when it comes to Reade in these parts, Doug. PBS interviewed a lot of people who worked with Biden. Did they run a follow-up piece interviewing Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, D.J. Hill, Caitlyn Caruso, Ally Coll, Sofie Karasek, Vail Kohnert-Yount, and others who have come forward that Biden inappropriately touched them in one way or the other? We’ve seen Biden on video in public inappropriately touching women. Is it that much a stretch to think he’d do the same or worse in private? From the framing here it certainly seems so.

    Although this is a secondary point in my view, “pro-Bernie commenters” weren’t the only ones lamenting the news coverage timeline, see Kelly McBride’s “NPR Was Too Slow on Tara Reade’s Story” for NPR earlier in May. But let’s grant that there were innocent reasons for soft-pedaling the story, and that the benefit to Biden’s campaign was purely coincidental. Once the story was finally covered by legacy media, the reaction, in contrast to those for Franken or Kavanaugh, has been depressing from a feminist point of view.

    Maybe it’s “bleeding heart liberalism” at work, but I can’t help feeling bad for Reade. In January, Reade went to Time’s Up, presumably before she knew their PR firm’s close ties inside the Biden campaign, and to Warren, presumably before she knew that despite the “woke” PMC framing, Warren is too often not an ally when push comes to shove. We have people corroborating hearing the story contemporaneously, including Reade’s mother calling in to Larry King on the situation. I’m not seeing how this is not as much as we had on Kavanaugh.

    • Kosti Jokinen  On May 19, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      I had resolved to not take up a habit of objecting to something every week until the general and that I’d either post nothing or do some kind of a one-time big picture post of why the DNC lost the credibility it had had in my eyes until recently, but this is so wild I can’t help but go back on that. Nobody suggested the story should have been covered before March. While we’ve learned Reade was trying to bring her story forth in January, it was only in late March that she got anywhere, and that’s when it should have been in the news. In response to your comment a week ago I listed a number of progressive, conservative and foreign outlets that did cover it then.

      The US mainstream media remained completely silent until NYT posted their story on the 12th of April and again I’d like to highlight their words, “We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable”. That’s almost three weeks later, and CNN, NBC and CBS hadn’t had anything before then either.

      Do you think it’s normal to take that long to cover credible accusations of sexual assault against a frontrunner for a presidential candidate of a major party? (And yes, I maintain they are credible, despite you choosing to highlight pieces minimising them. That’s a different issue I’d rather not get into here but for an alternative opinion I’d recommend looking up Nathan Robinsion’s piece.) Do you think the sentence I picked out of NYT’s piece is something you might hear from someone attempting to present the story evenhandedly?

    • weeklysift  On May 19, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      The problem of trying to verify Reade’s account well enough to go to press was laid out pretty well the article I linked to last week “The agonizing story of Tara Reade” by Laura McGann.

      How this is different from Kavanaugh was addressed in an article linked to above “There is a huge difference between Christine Blasey Ford and Tara Reade” by Jennifer Rubin.

      “Is it that much a stretch to think he’d do the same or worse in private?” The question is whether these accounts are of different degree or different in kind. In other words, is the touching we’ve seen sexual or not? To me, leaving your hand on someone’s back longer than they think is appropriate is far, far away from digital penetration in a semi-public place. It’s not just a question of going a little bit further.

      • Kosti Jokinen  On May 19, 2020 at 6:33 pm

        For something short, I’ll quote 3 questions Nathan Robinson presented two weeks ago to Biden defenders:
        – Tara’s husband said in sworn 1996 statement that she was observably traumatized by event that occurred during her time in Biden’s office, and the effect lasted for years. What was it that you believe traumatized her?
        – Tara’s mom said in 93 that Tara had a problem with Biden so bad that was worthy of going to the press. What could have been this significant?
        – Tara’s interns say she was abruptly taken off supervising them. If Tara’s claim of retaliation is false, why were her duties removed?

        For longer pieces, Current Affairs has posted multiple articles responding to the attacks on Tara Reade, for example one very unsubtly titled “The Attacks on Tara Reade are Unbelievable Bullshit” from a couple of weeks back.

        From my point of view, the sources you’re quoting have been incredibly biased towards Biden and establishment democrats in general from the beginning, and of course they would be downplaying Tara Reade regardless of the details. Not that it couldn’t possibly be the right call, but it certainly doesn’t match what I’m seeing elsewhere. Meanwhile they seem to be the sources you trust and I haven’t seen any indication of you even acknowledging that theirs isn’t the only interpretation going around.

        It’s obvious that neither of us is going to be convinced by the other digging up a suitable gotcha, and reconciling our views on which are the trustworthy accounts would be a huge mess to untangle, so it’s probably best I just bow out here.

        For one final thing I’ll just note that myself from a year or two ago likely would have found himself in agreement with you here. Those news outlets you’re quoting have long histories of being reputable and for decades there didn’t seem to be much of a need to question whether the Democrats were the good guys, so it’s hard to fault sticking to that. It’s not a great time for me to try writing a longer version of this but in short, losing my faith in them didn’t happen overnight, but seeing how comically slanted the coverage of the Democratic primaries has been, most strikingly on Medicare for All specifically, was the push that got me to re-evaluate much of what I had believed about the US politics.

    • jh  On May 22, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      And you will note that every liberal is saying … investigate. They aren’t blanket denying Reade. They are skeptical. There are reasons to be skeptical about this “unexpected” accusation. (let’s be real. the moment that Biden became the front runner, aka all the moderates dropped out and endorsed Biden, I was expecting a conservative manufactured scandal. Reade’s “accusation” came right on schedule.)

      At the same time, I’m noticing that conservatives are jumping to believe Reade but they lacked the same rush to belief when it came to Ford. It’s interesting. Frankly, Kavanaugh’s behavior made Ford appear even more credible than she was. I mean, acting as if he was a goody two shoes when the yearbooks presented a very different image of Kavanaugh? (look at Gorsuch’s yearbook. Notice how the liberals didn’t have that big a problem with Gorsuch. It’s because Gorsuch wasn’t misrepresenting himself.)

      Here’s the deal. I’ve been around the block a couple of times. When republicans start their investigations and judgment into Trump’s 20 odd sexual assault accusations, I’ll take notes and apply the EXACT SAME CRITERIA AND STANDARDS. No de jure/de facto nonsense where republicans play games but hold democrats to the letter of the law. Both sides have the exact same standard.

      I’m sure you’re a smart person. So let’s run through a couple..

      1. If somebody told you something, what are some of the things you would do to fact check? Probably look at the person’s history and motives. That seems like a no-brainer. I like Robinson. He’s a Bernie supporter and it’s interesting that he found a view point that demonized Bernie’s opponent. But that’s just one.

      2. We can look at Tara Reade more directly. For example, Ford only came out with her accusations when Kavanaugh entered the public sphere of discourse, namely SCOTUS nominee. In contrast, Reade was remarkably silent during Obama’s VP nomination process, the run up to the national presidential election, the first 4 years of Obama’s administration, the re-election of Obama/Biden for a second term, the following 4 years of Biden…. It’s weird. Surely Reade would have blabbed.

      3. And here’s a thing I read… women talk. They have circles where they quietly inform others of the “weird guy”. For example, Weinstein had one. Women told other women, “Be careful around weinstein”. So where’s the Biden circle? Where is that group of women who say “hey, don’t get on the same elevator with that guy.”?

      4. There are patterns of behavior. men or women just don’t wake up one day and sexually molest or assault another individual. People usually test the boundaries and the norms slowly and quietly. In other words, you don’t wake up and suddenly become a mass shooter. There are warning signs. For example, Trump has and had a lot of warning signs. In contrast, Biden doesn’t. His worst warning sign is being touchy feely. He’s physically demonstrative. Go to Italy and you will be “assaulted” with kisses and hugs. Perhaps Biden grew up to be physically demonstrative so that hugging somebody was a norm. Or kissing somebody on the cheek was a sign of friendship. The one thing I will note is this.. Biden has always known how to be compassionate even with his ideological enemies.

      I’m absolutely willing to have Reade come forth and testify. I want to cross examine her. This is a serious accusation. But I’m a little suspicious about the timing. It’s called “trust but verify”. I’m also highly aware of the conservative attack machine that managed to vilify Kerry in their swiftboating story.

      I also question why am alleged sexual assault victim would want a man who has had over TWENTY sexual assault allegations made about him. Will that make Reade MORE comfortable? Why doesn’t Reade believe the Trump accusers?

      And what about the credible reports of child sexual abuse occurring in ICE detention camps on our southern border? A re-election of Trump will continue furthering more child abuse. I don’t care how much I suffer if it is based of the suffering of innocent children. Trump can’t buy me so cheaply that I will look the other way on that.

      Here’s my advice to sexual assault victims.. document, document, document. File charges with the police. Record it. Make it public IMMEDIATE per legal advice. I know this sucks. If you are a victim, you will be suffering even more. But that’s the way to play that game. It’s not a “Oh, 10 years ago, something happened and I didn’t tell anybody but a few friends (who have motive to believe me) but I didn’t care that I saw that guy all the time everywhere.”

      it’s not that the liberal media (it’s more corporatist) is biased for Biden. It’s that they are skeptical of conservatives after the conservatives PATTERN of lying and manufacturing smear campaigns. They are skeptical when they look at motives and see a clear reason for why Reade might make her accusation public now. They are skeptical given their history with Biden – a public figure for decades – and their experiences of Biden. ( I mean, the pedo Epstein had rumors flying about him all the time. Where are the similar rumors flying about Biden from 20 years ago? 15 years ago? 10 years ago? See what I mean? It’s suspicious as hell.)

      At the end of the day, I have two choices. Smearing and lying to create some Bernie upset isn’t going to change those two choices. I also don’t let perfect become the enemy of good. Shutting down the ICE detention camps is a good. Stopping this unrelenting corruption at the highest levels is a good. Stopping this constant breaking of presidential norms is a good. Having sanity in the federal government rather than having a bunch of yes men who cater to Trump’s latest delusion is a good. Bernie couldn’t have given us medicare for all. That’s a fact. You need Senate. You need a Congress. Historically, the midterms always turn towards the opposing party. So Bernie would enter with a republican senate/democrat congress which means nothing gets done. Medicare 4 all is destroyed and we never talk about it for another 50+ years and let over 40k Americans die from inadequate health coverage. Bernie doesn’t have the support that you imagine he does. America is incredibly conservative. It is incredibly racist. It is incredibly sexist. It’s incredibly short term and ignorant.

      And I recommend that anyone who has the slightest bit of left leaning tendencies get their head in the game. You are dealing with an opposition that are terrorists, a population that supports those terrorists. You aren’t princess buttercup. You are cast member #7 who will be killed off if the lead doesn’t like the fact that you said “hi” to her. This is a numbers game. this is how republicans won. My dear… you’re on the losing side. This isn’t the movies. In reality, the losing side generally…loses. You don’t have the privilege to make demands. (And if you think you do, your whiteness is showing. That you think having a tantrum will effect change and cause a swap between Biden and Bernie is a sign of privileged delusion.)

      Oh.. one more thing that I think is a good. Climate change will destroy us. it will create such an extraordinary upheaval of human society that you can almost guarantee that there will be another world war. In addition, women and children will be trafficked and sexually assaulted and lose many rights. Minorities as well. Entire nations will devolve into warlord barbarism. We’re talking dark ages or worse and this time, we have guns and bombs and tanks. I’d really like somebody in the White House who has a history of caring for the environment and acknowledging climate change. Understand this.. The US has devastating impact on the world and how climate change is addressed. We outsource tons of pollution with our incessant marketing and capitalistic demands for more more more profit or more cheap clothing. The US is setting the world afire and the results will be a holocaust that makes Hitler look like a cute little baby sleeping in his crib. The amount of devastation – and I’m only counting what happens to humanity – is unparalleled. If we added in the other animals and creatures that live in our world… that’s infinity times infinity.

      Think long term. Think strategically. Be pragmatic. Be realistic. And never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Acknowledge that every action you do is going to be potentially tainted. Nothing is perfectly good. people will suffer whether we address climate change or we don’t. As a consequentialist, I’m trying to save the 5 people rather than the 1 person. (Except that if we were to use a numbers to numbers thing, it would be something like sacrificing 1 person and saving 500k. Already nations are being forced to move. In those times, the vulnerable are always abused.)

  • Martha Legare  On May 18, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Fascinating article in the NYT this last week by Justin Wolfers, an econ prof at UMich who wrote about an alternative to “health vs. the economy” thinking. Apparently, during WWII the soldiers’ salaries were counted as “war services” and added to the GDP. He said if we just paid people to stay home to lessen contracting the disease and put it in a different accounting group, we could have great health and our GDP would indicate a soaring economy! Also was listening to NPR Ted Talk commentary “What we value” and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s 1st Minister started “The well-Being Governments Group” which is coming up with additional metrics for a healthy economy, like counting income inequality, access to housing, zero carbon, and happiness of children. I appreciate reading your posts and thought these things might interest you. I’m sure you can Google for more detail. Hope you and your wife are doing well. Cheers, Martha

  • janinmi  On May 19, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Thank you for sharing Denis Shiryaev’s video. I had no idea anyone had slidewalks in 1890. That was a cool thing to learn. 🙂

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