Paranoia to Ponder

I have learned to roll with run-of-the-mill partisan excess, but this is of a different nature. So dispiriting.

From “A Single Gesture Behind Trump Fuels an Online Conspiracy Theory” in The New York Times.

“An analysis by The New York Times found over 70 accounts on Twitter that have promoted the hashtag #FauciFraud, with some tweeting as frequently as 795 times a day. The anti-Fauci sentiment is being reinforced by posts from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group; Bill Mitchell, host of the far-right online talk show ‘YourVoice America’; and other outspoken Trump supporters such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who has falsely claimed to be the inventor of email.

Many of the anti-Fauci posts, some of which pointed to a seven-year-old email that Dr. Fauci had sent praising Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State, have been retweeted thousands of times. On YouTube, conspiracy-theory videos about Dr. Fauci have racked up hundreds of thousands of views in the past week. In private Facebook groups, posts disparaging him have also been shared hundreds of times and liked by thousands of people, according to the Times analysis.

One anti-Fauci tweet on Tuesday said, ‘Sorry liberals but we don’t trust Dr. Anthony Fauci.’

The torrent of falsehoods aimed at discrediting Dr. Fauci is another example of the hyperpartisan information flow that has driven a wedge into the way Americans think. For the past few years, far-right supporters of President Trump have regularly vilified those whom they see as opposing him. Even so, the campaign against Dr. Fauci stands out because he is one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts and a member of Mr. Trump’s virus task force, and it is unfolding as the government battles a pathogen that is rapidly spreading in the United States.”

And today, Trump is tweeting angrily about journalists not naming their sources. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this bullshit? Trump’s behavior, including emboldening his supporters who attack his critics on his behalf, is a major reason sources are requiring anonymity. His supporters will connect those dots soon. Right?

 

A Playwriting Renaissance

Yes, Broadway is closed, but there’s lots of time for casting, learning of lines, and individual rehearsing.

Homeschooling, a story in 8 tiny acts, by Kevin Van Valkenburg, Senior ESPN writer.

-Ok seriously let’s focus now

-Um … let dad look that up

-You’re grouping numbers why?

-Sit in your chair please

-Do you talk to your teacher this way?

-I HAVE A CALL. HERE IS A SNACK

-It looks close enough to right

-(sobs quietly)

The Haircut, A comedy in one act, by one of my more talented siblings.

Setting: Two adults sitting at kitchen counter eating french toast and bacon.

In-law: Want to cut my hair?

Sib: Absolutely not. Do I look that stupid?

In-law: Maybe.

The End.

Call it nepotism, but if I’m funding one of these, it’s “The Haircut”. The last line, “Maybe.” is pure genius. A bold, compelling, humorous, utterly shocking twist that no one will anticipate.

 

 

E Unum Pluribus

US television viewers’ deeply disparate responses to the daily Trump coronavirus briefings means it’s time. Time to update the motto of the US, “e pluribus unum”, Latin for “out of many, one”; to “e unum pluribus”, out of one, many.

Out of one country, many factions with diametrically opposed perspectives on reality.

Exhibit A. How large swaths of liberal Democrats, like your favorite blogger, think about the pressers as described in The Trump O’Clock Follies by Susan B. Glasser of The New Yorker.

Her opening paragraph:

“During the Vietnam War, the United States had the Five O’Clock Follies, nightly briefings at which American military leaders claimed, citing a variety of bogus statistics, half-truths, and misleading reports from the front, to be winning a war that they were, in fact, losing. Richard Pyle, the Associated Press’s Saigon bureau chief, called the press conferences ‘the longest-playing tragicomedy in Southeast Asia’s theater of the absurd,’ which, minus the ‘Southeast Asia’ part, is not a bad description of the scene currently playing out each evening in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, in the White House. We now have the Trump Follies, the nightly briefings at which President Trump has lied and bragged, lamented and equivocated, about the global pandemic that poses an existential threat to his Presidency. Just as the Vietnam briefings became a standard by which the erosion of government credibility could be measured then, historians of the future will consult the record of Trump’s mendacious, misleading press conferences as an example of a tragic failure of leadership at such a critical moment. There will be much material for them; the transcripts from just the first three days of this week runs to more than forty thousand words.”

Shortly thereafter, Glasser adds:

“The disconnect between Trumpian reality and actual reality has never been on starker display than in the past few days, as the true face of the horror we are facing in the United States has shown itself, in New York City, with overwhelmed morgues and emergency rooms, a governor pleading for ventilators and face masks from the federal government, and heartbreaking first-person accounts reminiscent of the open letters sent from Italy a few weeks back, which warned Americans: this is what is coming for you—don’t make our mistakes.”

But there’s a problem with Glasser’s analysis. Many, many of the Presidents’ supporters see a completely different reality. In ways I don’t understand, they literally do not see “horror” or “overwhelmed morgues and emergency rooms” or “a governor pleading for ventilators and face masks”. What do they see?

Exhibit B. How large swaths of conservative Republicans think about the pressers as described by the President’s daughter-in-law in “Trump’s handling of coronavirus crisis shows America what real leadership looks like”.

Lara Trump takes a little longer to warm up. From her second paragraph:

“Unprecedented times call for a strong leader. My father-in-law, President Trump, is showing what leadership looks like in a time of crisis. He is taking bold and historic steps to combat COVID-19.

While Democrats and the media were obsessing over impeachment, the president took early and effective actions to stop the spread of coronavirus. He ordered travel restrictions on China and Europe and restricted our southern and northern borders. Less than a month after learning of the virus, the CDC began working on a vaccine. By March, the president announced that the first potential vaccine entered a “phase one” trial, breaking records for the speed it moved to trials.

While these scientific developments were taking place, the president and the administration led efforts to support states, small businesses, jobs and American families. They’ve waived interest rates on federally held student loans and afforded borrowers the option to suspend payments. They have prioritized the health care of our most vulnerable veterans, and deployed tens of thousands of masks, gowns and other medical devices to states in need.”

Liberals will laugh this off much more quickly than they’ll acknowledge that the President’s approval ratings have gone up quite a bit since the daily pressers began. You can tell the President knows his ratings are trending up as he grows more informal, verbose, and cocksure with each passing one.

How will the (dis) United States resolve this dilemma of its citizens seeing things so differently? Through the electoral college on November 3rd, 2020. I just hope not too many people die unnecessarily between now and then.

 

 

 

When The President Has a “Feeling”

There’s a premium on medical advice during pandemics. Which begs a very difficult question everyone will answer differently, turn to a reality t.v. host for his specialized knowledge or medical professionals?

People in Ohio are torn. As Ohio goes, we go?

From the Columbus Dispatch, via big brother, Don Byrnes. Feds, Yost will prosecute doctors who abuse power with personal coronavirus prescriptions.

“Federal authorities and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Tuesday they will prosecute any doctors who abused their power to prescribe themselves or family members experimental drugs to try to preventively treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Ohio’s pharmacy board, in an emergency meeting Sunday, issued strict guidelines for the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine after pharmacists across Ohio said they were seeing hoarding by doctors of the pills for themselves or their families and friends.

The prescriptions started, pharmacists said, after President Donald Trump said during a news conference that the drugs could be effective in treating the disease. Doctors have refuted that assertion and have reiterated that there is no established cure or treatment for COVID-19 other than to support patients with breathing, pain and headache relief.”

This, it turns out, is a double negative:

“The drugs being prescribed are used to treat lupus and arthritis. Pharmacists said the rapid jump in prescriptions has created a shortage for patients who need the drugs to treat their pre-existing conditions.”

Our Pandemic Progress Report. Failing history, science, and math, and we’re utterly lacking critical thinking skills. Beyond that, our future is bright.