Wednesday, December 01, 2021

We Can't Handle The Truth

The Guardian reports 

Then-President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days ahead of his first 2020 presidential debate with Joe Biden -- though he also had a negative result in that same timeframe, according to excerpts from a forthcoming book from the former Republican president's chief of staff reported by The Guardian.

The previously unknown positive test is disclosed in Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows' memoir "The Chief's Chief," a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian ahead of the book's publication next week.

Trump said in a statement Wednesday, "the story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate."...

The President tested positive on September 26 and

was subsequently tested with "the Binax system" an antigen test for Covid-19, and returned a negative result, Meadows wrote. It is unclear if the first test which returned the positive result was an antigen test or PCR test.

According to the FDA's guidelines, when using the Binax test, "Negative results do not rule out SARS-Covid-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decision."

Later on the 26th, Trump hosted what became a super spreader event honoring Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and that night held a rally in Pennsylvania. The following day, he visited his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, held a White House reception for Gold Star families and an indoor press briefing.

Trump appeared at a White House reception for Gold Star families and held a press briefing indoors on September 27, 2020. He also visited his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, earlier that day, according to pool reports. The next day, he held two outdoor events at the White House and on September 29, debated Joe Biden in Nashville, where he arrived late to avoid being tested. On October 2, the President entered the hospital and was diagnosed with Covid-19.

We had suspected Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus but now that it has been confirmed, Noel Casler, a New York-based comedian and former worker on the set of The Apprentice tweeted "*The Trump I knew absolutely would have purposely infected Biden with covid to help him win election, fyi."

And the niece of the ex-President:

It's an excellent question, but mostly as a rhetorical one. Republican leadership wouldn't cooperate, just as it attacked formation of the January 6 committee. And that was taken in response to a televised insurrection, one which Mitch McConnell and some other Republicans found tactically imperative to criticize in the immediate aftermath.

But there is another reason. Even Democratic officials are afraid of what they might discover.  Casler is right up to a point- if Trump's positive test had been revealed, it might have doomed his re-election bid. However, it also might have interfered with the ultimate objective of the man who once said he preferred people remain onboarda cruise ship on which 35 people had reported flu-like symptoms because "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."

It's the same guy who comment at a rally in September, 2020 "You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn't it, don't you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we're so different? You have good genes in Minnesota."

Five years earlier we had learned that Donald Trump Jr. had once told (emphasis mine) his father's biographer, Michael D'Antonio, "Like him, I’m a big believer in race-horse theory. He’s an incredibly accomplished guy, my mother’s incredibly accomplished, she’s an Olympian, so I’d like to believe genetically I’m predisposed to [be] better than average.” As early as 1988, Donald Trump had told Oprah Winfrey "You have to be born lucky in the sense that you have to have the right genes."

The report from D'Antonio in 2015 was almost totally ignored by the media; the comment in 9/20 was downplayed. It was incomprehensible to journalists and the companies they work for that a major political party could have nominated for President a social Darwinist, committed to the notion that only the strongest survive, and should. 

Mary Trump now legitimately believes a select committee should investigate the policies which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. But the obstacle is not that politicos believe they wouldn't determine the reason for the disastrous statements and policies of the then-President. It is because they probably would uncover the reason- and the truth is singularly disturbing and dark.

Donald Trump is not now merely an ex-nominee of the Republican Party. In a free and (more or less) fair election, he actually was elected by the American people to be President and leader of the Free World,. And he believes that those who died are the weakest- hence the least deserving of life- of the population. Any politician who chooses to disclose to constituents the true nature of this former President does so at his or her own peril.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Divert To Race

I went to the YouTube website, entered into the search engine "Christopher Rufo school choice," and up popped twelve videos pertaining to Christopher Rufo and critical race theory. And that's when I realized we, other than one person, were getting it all wrong.

I did so after finding this thread from Rufo on Critical Race Theory, which he criticized as being anti-white and unpopular (even?) among Latino and Asian parents. Then came the tell:

(The video below, with bad closed captioning, is from 2012 but still generally relevant.)

Provide maximum school choice for parents. Not easy, but eminently possible. If you're wondering what charter schools, vouchers, and subsidized home schooling have to do with Critical Race Theory, you're catching on. While Rufo implies that "nonstop racialist ideology, race essentialism, and collective guilt" exists, and can exist, only in public schools, he is being deceptive, inasmuch as

A website that features a database of information on critical race theory (CRT) curricula and training in higher education unveiled a new study Monday focusing on the controversial ideology infiltrating the top 25 most elite K-12 private schools in America.

The project indicated that some schools openly admit to teaching CRT, while others are more subtle. Of the top 25 private schools, the database found that seven had some form of mandatory anti-racism training for students and a staggering 20 of 25 schools had some sort of curricular requirement change based off of anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), or critical race theory.

William Jacobson, the Cornell Law School professor who founded the conservative-leaning site Legal Insurrection, created earlier this year to track how the widely debated concept is permeating U.S. institutions. His new initiative covers the same information as the higher education database, with a focus on K-12 learning.

Rufo either is unaware of this or dishonest about his ulterior motive.  After she recently spoke to Rufo, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg noted

“We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said. In practice, this means promoting the traditional Republican school choice agenda: private school vouchers, charter schools and home-schooling. “The public schools are waging war against American children and American families,” he said. Families, in turn, should have “a fundamental right to exit.”

Christopher Rufo, like most people, doesn't like CRT. We now know, with help from Goldberg and Rufo himself, that the campaign against it is about far more than how American history is taught. Obviously, most Democrats don't understand, or won't acknowledge, this and continue to focus on possible racial motivations for the crusade Christopher Rufo launched.  That is either a reflection on the party's current obsession or of an approval of the growing privatization of education and ruination of the public school system. The first is bad, the latter worse.



Monday, November 29, 2021

Shoe Merely On Other Foot

There is more than a little truth in the axioms "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" and "turnabout is fair play." 

At a town hall gathering in Pueblo, Colorado, Representative Boebert had given an account of an alleged encounter in Washington, D.C. with Representative Ilhan Omar, well-known Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota. ending with "well, if she doesn't have a backpack, it should be fine."

After the anticipated outcry, Boebert apologized, thankfully not attempting to rationalize the fictionalized story as a joke, which it obviously was, which would not have excused the remark. It clearly does foster an atmosphere encouraging violence against Muslims and as Move On noted, merits accountability.

So there is an obvious solution, one which will be ignored by Congress. In February, 2019 Omar herself posted tweets (thereafter deleted), in which she "accused Israel of having 'hypnotized the world.' She then sparked more outrage with tweets criticizing the influence of pro-Israel lobbying groups. "

Reacting to the congresswoman accusing American Jews of dual allegiance, House Democrats drafted a resolution steeped in bothsiderism, condemning "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, "and other forms of bigotry." The resolution was meaningless and therefore passed easily, avoiding mention of the Minnesotan. Worse than meaningless: in response to a resolution addressing anti-Semitism of a Muslim,  two Muslim members of the House joined Omar in a statement boasting "It's the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation's history."

Coupling the two didn't curtail bigotry, but that never was the point. For Democrats in 2019, it was a willingness to call out anti-Semitism as long as they could do the same with anti-Muslim and anti-black animus. For Republicans now, it could be the reverse: condemning anti-Islamophobia while denouncing anti-Semitism and, for good measure, supporting Israel. 

It wouldn't solve the problem displayed by Omar in 2019 and Boebert in 2021. Many members of Congress, wise enough to keep their preferences to themselves, will continue privately to judge fellow Americans by their religious or racial identity. However, a superficial resolution would offer Representatives an opportunity to make a statement about their values- however twisted- and give them a warm feeling inside.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Could Happen To Any "D"

On November 13, during her diplomatic visit to France, Vice-President Harris spent $580 at "legendary culinary emporium" E. Dehillerin in Paris. The far-right Free Beacon, citing purchase of a $375 pot, charged  “The vice-presidential shopping spree came as Americans stateside suffer from the worst inflation in three decades, putting strain on both consumers and small businesses.” According to the Republican Party twitter account,  "while Americans are struggling to pay more than EVER for the holidays, Kamala Harris is out buying a $375 pot.”

That's pretty rich, considering as of 13 months ago President Trump had

visited his own properties more than 280 times since he took office — hosting summits at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, taking summer breaks at his club in Bedminster, N.J., and pausing international trips to visit his golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland.

These visits brought the president to familiar places, full of friends, family and political supporters.

They also brought his company money, from American taxpayers.

The Washington Post has obtained federal spending records showing that — while Trump was visiting his properties — his company was benefiting from payments from the U.S. government.

The total: at least $2.5 million in taxpayer funds. Much of that spending was triggered by Trump’s travel, or the travel of his family and aides.

By contrast, Harris spent only her own money, and $580 is a little less than $2.5 million.  However, this is not a legitimate defense of Harris:

This response to Nance is more like it.


President Obama was viciously attacked by the right. So, too, has been President Biden and the decades long crusade against the Clintons, culminating in a full court press against Hillary Clinton, is unprecedented in American history. For those such as Nance and others who appear not to have noticed: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden are white.

There were several effective retorts to this criticism of the Vice President. Unlike most cookware purchased by Americans, little if any of Le Creuset's cookware is built under the auspices of the Butchers of Beijing. Harris spent her own family's money, and there are worst things- a Badgley Mischka wedding dress, or a Glock, for example- to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on. And then there is Donald Trump, whose primary objective as President was to rip off American taxpayers.

The worst way defense is to invoke race. And for Nance and others who choose to not to notice, of those three public figures depicted below, two are white men and one a white woman. That's not public service while white- aside from Fauci, that's governing while Democratic.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Indirect, But Real

When Bill Maher recently was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, the host of Real Time maintained that it is Representative Liz Cheney's

job to go after Biden. That's what Republicans do. They go after the - I mean, we did that forever. Republicans and Democrats were cats and dogs, and they fought. But also, Tip O'Neill and Reagan could have a drink, after work. They could work together.

I don't know how we are ever going to work together. How do you - we have how many QAnon members of Congress now? QAnon!

As seen in the video below, The Yong Turks' Cenk Uygur didn't play that excerpt, but instead others in which Maher lamented the contemporary practice of liberals of obsessing about race and gender, which Maher has been sufficiently indelicate to observe has been politically harmful for Democrats.  Maher, who has been warning of a "slow-moving, right-wing coup" by Donald Trump and allies since before the election of 2016, had told Cuomo "I think everyone recognizes, everyone right- thinking, in my view, that still a lot of work needs to be done. Remedial efforts need to be taken still. Racism is part of America." Yet, an incensed Uygur charged (at 9:44) "I think Bill Maher is worse than a right-winger."

Hyperbolic, fact-deficient claims aside, however, Uygur maintained (beginning at 10:04)

"Remember we all agree the left is wrong and he right wing is right." So he says absurd lies like "they're teaching all across the country that groups are- that the kids should be lined up as the oppressed and the oppressor." Show me one example, Bill, show me all across the country. That's not a thing. You just made it up. You just made it up. Because you probably read right-wing trash and think it's real because "all my friends are right-wing, right."

There is no such thing. If they lined up kids and said "you are the oppressors," I'd hate that. I'd be 100% opposed to that. It's not what they do. You liar. You liar.

Oops. In assessing the election of Republican Glenn Youngkin to the governorship of Virginia, Yascha Mounk of the Council on Foreign Relations, Johns Hopkins University, and The Atlantic linked to examples while explaining

The idea that critical race theory is an academic concept that is taught only at colleges or law schools might be technically accurate, but the reality on the ground is a good deal more complicated. Few middle or high schoolers are poring over academic articles written by Richard Delgado or Kimberlé Crenshaw. But across the nation, many teachers have, over the past years, begun to adopt a pedagogical program that owes its inspiration to ideas that are very fashionable on the academic left, and that go well beyond telling students about America’s copious historical sins.

In some elementary and middle schools, students are now being asked to place themselves on a scale of privilege based on such attributes as their skin color. History lessons in some high schools teach that racism is not just a persistent reality but the defining feature of America. And some school systems have even embraced ideas that spread pernicious prejudices about nonwhite people, as when a presentation to principals of New York City public schools denounced virtues such as “perfectionism” or the “worship of the written word” as elements of “white-supremacy culture.”

Mounk argues "It is impossible to win elections by telling voters that their concerns are imaginary. If Democrats keep doing so, they will keep losing." It exists; it's happening. And if liberals and progressives such as Uygur pretend that it isn't, thus failing to heed the warnings the likes of Mounk and Maher, it won't be voters only in Virginia who send the Democratic Party an unpleasant message.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Finally, All Lives Matter

Ten days after the murder by a white police officer of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a senor editor of Good Housekeeping argued "responding 'All Lives Matter' to 'Black Lives Matter' is actually more divisive than unifying. That's because it discounts and diminishes the focus on the violence and discrimination Black individuals face every day in this country."

The following day, a sportswriter named Donnovan Bennett generously offered  "a tutorial on why 'All Lives Matter' is somewhere on the spectrum between tone deaf and offensive." A columnist at labeled it "one of America's most ignorant rallying cries." Joseph Margulies, a professor of law and government at Cornell University, charged "saying that 'all lives matter' is a weapon of racism."

Even John McWhorter, in his naive days, maintained "Black lives matter’ means ‘black lives matter, too.’ The ‘too’ is implied." (It rarely was.)

"What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours," sang Dinah Washington 62 years ago. Twenty-four hours can make a difference, and what a difference 18 months make. Back in those heady days of "black lives matter" and "Black Lives Matter," the slogan "All Lives Matter" was widely considered racist in liberal and progressive circles. 

It seems the worm has turned:

Marcus Arbery should be applauded, and not only for stating "for real, all lives matter, not just blacks. We don't want to see nobody going through this." He said this in the presence of Reverend Al Sharpton, irreverently referred to as "the Rev," by the rude Nicole Wallace and a few others at MSNBC. Sharpton had contended fifteen days after the murder of Floyd "The problem is it has not been equal on the other side, so there’s been no equal need to say white lives matter – that has been a given and the system has worked that way."

Safe prediction: personalities appearing on MSNBC and CNN will either ignore Mr. Arbery's remark or claim the context has changed. The context in the spring/summer of 2020 was racial justice; the context in the autumn of 2021 is.... racial justice.

As Reverend Sharpton knew, virtually no one was saying "white lives matter." Some people were saying "all lives matter." And now the father of Marcus Arbery has said so, also.

                                                HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Symbolic And More

Not only descriptive, also prescriptive.

Early in the video below, Bill Maher can be seen lamenting "Democrats have gone from the party that protects people to the party that protects feelings, from 'ask not what your country can do for you' to 'you owe me an apology.'"

That was eight days after Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as President and (at 5:09), Maher is seen noting "what matters is that while you self-involved fools were policing the language at the Kids Choice Awards, a madman talked his way into the White House."

Everyone has an obsession, and his may as well be a healthful one. Lucky for us, Maher is still at it, and thus it was that when recently interviewed by Chris Cuomo, the star of Real Time inevitably went to the theme he has been hammering home for several years.  He commented

I think there's a lot of old-school liberals, like me, who don't like what's going on, on the far of the left. I always keep - I keep saying, when you're doing something that sounds like a headline in "The Onion," that's when you've gone too far, you know? Land of Lincoln cancels Lincoln. That really happened. They tore down Lincoln's.

It's not Illinois, but it'll do. As Cuomo pointed out, roughly 800 miles to the east

A statue of Thomas Jefferson has been removed from city hall in New York, because the founder and third president enslaved people.

A work crew spent several hours on Monday freeing the 884lb, 7ft statue from its pedestal in the council chambers and carefully maneuvering it into a padded wooden crate, for the short journey to the New York Historical Society.

The city public design commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor, Bill de Blasio, voted earlier in the day to exile the statue, sculpted in 1833, to the society on a 10-year loan.

Some members wanted it to remain on public display instead of standing in the lobby of a venue, on Central Park West, that charges $22 admission, the New York Post reported.

Maher stated that most voters are unaware that Democratic officials nationally are united against "defunding the police" but are associated with the harmful slogan, as they are with critical race theory. It is a "disconnect that the Democrats really better address."  Stating "these are 'Onion' headlines," Maher remarked  "and yet, this is where this party is or - I don't think that's where the party is. It's where the faction that gets all the headlines. And again, it goes in the Blue bin. And the average voter sees that and attaches it."

The political impact plays out less in presidential elections, in which the candidates and their views are well known to the average voter, than in elections down-ballot.  Below the presidential level, the effect, though slow-moving and sometimes indirect, could be fatal to many aspiring and incumbent Democrats.  

We Can't Handle The Truth

The Guardian reports  Then-President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days ahead of his first 2020 presidential debate with ...