“Trump’s” Farewell Address

I’m here to save you 20 minutes of your life.

The Address is not really his. At minimum, the first half was written by people with no feel for his syntax and rhetoric. I suspect this announcement was made in the White House. “Would any remaining staff please report to the conference room to help write the President’s Farewell Address. Thank you.”

Just a few of the examples where the authors’ insult our intelligence.

To his children:

“You fill my world with light and with joy.”

On the advice of his attorneys, after passively watching the insurrection go down on television and not commenting on it for two days:

“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol.”

From the President of Red America:

“Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor. . .”

From the Narcissist-in-Chief:

“America had given me so much, and I wanted to give something back.”

From the person who repeatedly tried to wish Covid-19 away:

“We grieve for every life lost, and we pledge in their memory to wipe out this horrible pandemic once and for all.”

From the person who continually protested against protesters and fought the principle that every citizen is entitled to equal dignity, equal treatment, and equal rights:

“We fought for the principle that every citizen is entitled to equal dignity, equal treatment, and equal rights because we are all made equal by God. Everyone is entitled to be treated with respect, to have their voice heard, and to have their government listen.”

Half way in, there’s a dramatic shift in tone. These two boasts sound very, very much like Ex-President Trump:

“Incomes soared, wages boomed, the American Dream was restored, and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years. It was a miracle. The stock market set one record after another, with 148 stock market highs during this short period of time, and boosted the retirements and pensions of hardworking citizens all across our nation. 401(k)s are at a level they’ve never been at before. We’ve never seen numbers like we’ve seen, and that’s before the pandemic and after the pandemic.”

And:

“Another administration would have taken 3, 4, 5, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.”

Finally, at the very end, a return to creative writing. From the most angry President of my lifetime.

“I go from this majestic place with a. . . joyful heart.”

LOL.

Monday Required Reading

1A. QAnon’s ‘Meme Queen’ Marches On. Loneliness is a scourge.

“What attracts Ms. Gilbert and many other people to QAnon isn’t just the content of the conspiracy theory itself. It’s the community and sense of mission it provides. New QAnon believers are invited to chat rooms and group texts, and their posts are showered with likes and retweets. They make friends, and are told that they are not lonely Facebook addicts squinting at zoomed-in paparazzi photos, but patriots gathering “intel” for a righteous revolution.

This social element also means that QAnon followers aren’t likely to be persuaded out of their beliefs with logic and reason alone.”

1B. The Unlikely Connection Between Wellness Influencers and the Pro-Trump Rioters. Sigh.

2. Why Chamberlain Built a $3,000 Automatic Garage Door For Your Dog.

3. The Golf World Hardly Deserves Praise for “Breaking” With Trump. News Alert: Not everyone is impressed by my newly woke sport.

4. He Just Wanted To Play Catch. La ultima feel good story.

“I think people want to reconnect a little bit right now.”

5. Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet – and Often Your Budget, Too.

“The federal government offers a tax credit for some new electric vehicle purchases, but that does nothing to reduce the initial purchase price and does not apply to used cars. That means it disproportionately benefits wealthier Americans. Some states, like California, offer additional incentives. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged to offer rebates that help consumers swap inefficient, old cars for cleaner new ones, and to create 500,000 more electric vehicle charging stations, too.”

All of today’s QAnon reading necessitated at least one President-elect Biden reference. I don’t want any PressingPausers losing touch with reality.

Orwell On ‘Solid Reality’

The perfect addendum to Brook’s essay*. Absent this reminder, liberals may read Brooks and conclude, “Wow, my team is so completely grounded in reality,” thereby succumbing to group narcissism themselves.

“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

*credit to John Gruber

Paragraphs to Ponder

From David Brooks, moderate Republican, “Trump Ignites a War Within the Church“.*

“The split we are seeing is not theological or philosophical. It’s a division between those who have become detached from reality and those who, however right wing, are still in the real world.

Hence, it’s not an argument. You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts. You can’t have an argument with people who are deranged by the euphoric rage of what Erich Fromm called group narcissism — the thoughtless roar of those who believe their superior group is being polluted by alien groups.”

My new mantra, “You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts.”

*A reminder, you don’t have to subscribe to The New York Times to read my NYT links, but you do have to register.

How Many Have Died?

Like everything else in the (dis)United States, the Covid-19 death toll has been politicized. Many conservatives claim the death totals have been exaggerated by liberals intent on weakening Trump, which recent events prove, he’s fully capable of doing himself.

One of the more conservative newspapers in the country has completed a comprehensive study of the worldwide death toll. Their conclusion:

“To better understand the pandemic’s global toll, the Journal compiled the most recent available data on deaths from all causes from countries with available records. These countries together account for roughly one-quarter of the world’s population but about three-quarters of all reported deaths from Covid-19 through late last year.

The tally found more than 821,000 additional deaths that aren’t accounted for in governments’ official Covid-19 death counts.”

Not the recorded death count of 2 million, 2.8 million. Because it’s the Wall Street Journal, I’m sure the death count deniers’ false claims will cease and we’ll see a corresponding rise in empathy for the deceased and their families.

John Eastman “Retires” From Chapman University

Eastman is a Southern California law professor who has been telling Trump exactly what he’s wanted to hear, that the election was stolen and Pence could help undue it. This fiction lead to him rising through Trump’s “elite legal strike force” so fast that he ended up speaking from the stage pre-insurrection with Rudy on January 6th. Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, his Chapman University colleagues and students were organizing. They pressed the University President to fire him, but the President forcefully explained why he couldn’t and wouldn’t.

Until yesterday, when he flipped and announced Eastman had agreed to retire. So what happened to cause the sudden and drastic reversal? Conservatives will no doubt say “cancel culture” struck again, but my guess is the University’s legal team and Eastman’s lawyers agreed to craft the “retirement” exit to avoid a lose-lose situation with respect to exorbitant legal fees both sides would incur if they dug in.

So is the case of John Eastman’s retirement, as conservatives will claim, another example of the hypocrisy of progressives who advocate for diversity writ large while simultaneously reducing ideological diversity by pushing Eastman out the door? No, because this isn’t a difference of opinion about the role and size of government, gun control, or social justice, it’s about what a law school does when one of its professors refuses to accept a bipartisan legal consensus—that it was a free and fair election—in the most visible way imaginable. How much harm is done to the law school’s and University’s reputation?

Ultimately, the university had to have worried that many of the mostly liberal recent college graduates applying to law schools were less likely to apply to Chapman because of Eastman’s affiliation with it. They had to have known his flight from reality was going to lead to fewer applications, meaning a weaker and smaller entering class, meaning a loss of revenue during higher education’s great retrenchment.

Undoubtedly, the University paid Eastman a tidy sum to “retire”. A sum they deemed less than the long-term loss of revenue from keeping Eastman on the payroll.

We know it wasn’t really a retirement because Eastman said he will direct the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Claremont Institute.

Watch the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence retract their offer sooner than later. Hope his fifteen minutes of fame was worth it.

Making History

Many people understate Trump’s accomplishments. He is the first president to lose the popular vote twice and to be impeached twice.

And one more thing, he received 74,222,593 votes. A lot, but not the 75 million nearly everyone is stating. In the interest of accuracy, can we stop rounding up? And for the record, Biden/Harris earned 81,281,502. Electoral college. . . 306 to 232.

Am I undercutting my own argument?