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April 18, 2020

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Beevor's version doesn't have this, from Wikipedia

From somewhere in the auditorium, someone cried out the motto "¡Viva la Muerte!". As was his habit, Millán-Astray responded with "¡España!"; the crowd replied with "¡Una!". He repeated "¡España!"; the crowd then replied "¡Grande!". A third time, Millán-Astray shouted "¡España!"; the crowd responded "¡Libre!". This was a common Falangist cheer. Later, a group of uniformed Falangists entered, saluting the portrait of Franco that hung on the wall.

The medium changes, the message remains the same...

Just a note:

A good many of the contributors and commentariat at The American Conservative, many rightwing Catholic, like their Godfather, Pat Buchanan, others of some orthodox Christian ideological complexion or another look fondly upon Generalissimo Franco and his dictatorship, just as they now fully support other rightwing dictatorships and the cessation of democratic institutions such as in Hungary under Victor Orban (Dreher just doubled down on his Orban crush last week; I would link, but why, they censor my commentary because it isn't politically correct and respectful enough toward their fascism, so fuck em).

There's quite a lot of Putin-love there too. Not Putin the Commie, the KGB operative, no, Putin the right wing conservative who boasts the full backing of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Their program is extraordinarily radical. Nothing short of rolling back western civilization (the New Deal is but a speed bump in their revanchist inclinations) all the way back to before the Enlightenment.

Except for THEIR creature comforts, of course.

Larison remains a bright spot, of course. He's a Christian as well, but he doesn't get it all over you, like the Covid.

Dreher, for his part, has taken on these Coviidian Death Cult Christians who believe the virus is a sacrament that they should be free to share with all of us, but, inevitably he steers everything back to his peculiar fixation on what he views as the scourge of LGBT political correctness.

And, one of their contributors wrote a pretty good paean to the U.S. Post Office the other day.

And we can't afford first-rate villains anymore since we seem to be in the repeat-as-farce phase. Not that the difference means much to those who fall victim to it.

But itching powder could be a proper reaction to these specific clowns. Sneak on the roof above them and blow a liberal (pun intended) dose down. No tear-gas or the like (too visible and also makes the targets seem victims instead of ridiculous).

A subtle and timely post, lj.

Yes. They're fascists.

To JDT's point, back in my RedState days I had a number of conversations with folks arguing for the virtues of the Pinochet regime.

It was eye-opening.

They're fascists.

TBH I don't know what to call them.

"We need to go to the hairdresser" doesn't really have the same fanatic militant xenophobic nationalist vigor of "Viva la muerte!". There's something else going on here, I think, and I'm mostly at a loss to describe it, much less explain it.

It's like some weird form of petulance. I don't live where all the sick people are, I personally am not sick, so why should I have to change anything about my life because those people over there are sick?

Plus, a kind of distorted understanding of what "rights" mean in a complex democratic society.

Plus, the whole if I don't get my way I'll shoot you thing. Always a great way to persuade others of the legitimacy of your concerns.

I understand that the virus has been enormously disruptive, to a lot of people, and that it is imposing enormous hardship on a lot of people. But it's a freaking virus, nobody asked for it. And if you have the time and health to spend the day running around yelling at people you have it better than a lot of other people.

What I make of all forms of this stuff - the whole "You're not the boss of me" "Come and take" bullshit parade - is that these people don't have the skill set to negotiate complicated situations in a complicated world.

That's tough for everyone. But most people don't respond to that by fucking up the world for everyone else.

The folks who really worry me are the people who sponsor and bankroll all of this "I'm oppressed" theater. The folks who feed these people a daily diet of "those people are looking down on you", "those people are trampling on your rights", "those people aren't real plain old honest hard-working Americans like you are".

Those folks - the folks feeding the puke funnel - are not fascists, they're kleptocrats. They'd be fine with fascism if it means they get to have all the cookies. And they don't give a crap about whether the dudes running around with their AR-15's live or die, from the virus or any other thing.

the snark version.

The whole topic deserves a more serious understanding and discussion than snark, but sometimes that's all that's available.

Better bitter laughter than we take you up on your offer to fight it out mano a mano. For now, anyway.

"What I make of all forms of this stuff - the whole "You're not the boss of me" "Come and take" bullshit parade - is that these people don't have the skill set to negotiate complicated situations in a complicated world."

It's not that they have a point, or the right to a point of view, or they need to fucking work to survive and going broke while no one around them is sick seems ludicrous. It's that they "dont have the skill set".

Why would they think people look down on them?

The people who dont have the skill set seems to be everyone in charge from Trump to Cuomo to Baker to DeSantis to Pelosi.

They just sit around in a big circle jerk blaming each other while the most they can come up with is everyone stay home and watch the death toll rise. That's not likely to increase the stress on everyone, meaning some people will react negatively to the anxiety.

Every time one of them puts out a list of"must haves" to reopen society, most people shake their heads and go we're fucked. Because most people realize that shit ain't happening.

We dont have anyone in this country responsible for tracking 330 million people, testing them, identifying who they might have had contact with and quarantining all those people. Nor do most of the 330 million people want to be tracked. So putting that as number one on your list is just saying we have no plan for how to open so if you dont have a job, well get used to it.

Everyone stayed home for a month in Mass, and the numbers go up every day, in NY on a good day its 7000 new cases, on a bad day its 10k. After a month. California is slower but steady.

Trump, Cuomo, Other governors all have to address an actual plan. When these six things happen, that no one can say when that would be, isnt a plan, it's a way to say we dont know what to do or how to do it.

So people are protesting.

They should leave the guns at home, it diverts from the message.

they need to fucking work to survive and going broke while no one around them is sick seems ludicrous.

And that's why they block ambulances and doctors going to work to deal with patients with CoVID-19. And Trump can't get the checks out because he wants his name on them.

I'm sure you have a plan. Don't keep us in the dark, do tell...

They should leave the guns at home, it diverts from the message.

Yeah, but they don't, do they?

And they block access to the hospital while they're at it. Which requires hospital staff to come out and plead with them to get the fuck out of the way.

All of which is why I say they don't have the skill set to negotiate a complicated situation. A situation that includes people fucking dying.

What do you think the situation in MA would be without Baker's lockdown? Four people I work with have COVID. How many would have it if those folks had been coming into the office, along with everyone else, for the week or so that they were infected, but not symptomatic?

Are you out and about? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing not. Why not, if it's all just bullshit?

Everybody's entitled to a point of view. And it sucks to be up against the wall with bills etc. and no income.

But there are ways to make yourself heard without being a fucking dick. Maybe they should try those.

In any case, good on them, they got their 15 minutes. I hope, sincerely, that none of them get sick. Because then they well and truly will be fucked.

We dont have anyone in this country responsible for tracking 330 million people

This in particular makes me SMH.

You're on the internet, reading this, right? You're being tracked.

You have a smart phone? You're being tracked.

Everything you read, every place you go, every question you ask here on the great intertoobs, tracked. Unless you are going to some unusual lengths to prevent it, and then that fact is noted and tracked.

It's not the government, it's just a bunch of people trying to sell you shit, so that's OK.

All of that's an aside to the overall point of the thread, it just strikes me as ironic that we are fine with accepting people using technology to sell us J-random whatever, but not to keep us alive.

Funny world we live in.

I agree that we require new words to describe what is happening.

Fascist, Republican, Conservative, even asshole, just don't do it justice.

I'm warming to Nazi, but Trump seems too much like Colonel Klink for it to sound menacing.

Though the actor who played Klink was Werner Klemperer, the renowned German conductor, who in turn was first cousin to Victor Klemperer, about whom I've written briefly here regarding the bombing of Dresden.

That history repeats as farce doesn't make the deaths and killing the second time around the least bit farcical.

I've noted many times that our decent conservatives here should find a new label, because the current rampaging radicals have ruined the word for everyone, as Casey Stengel remarked about a certain New York Yankee third baseman.

That said, there was plenty of random, unfocused petulance bubbling up in Russia circa 1915-16, Germany circa 1929 and on, Cambodia circa Sihanouk, the Confederacy for years before the first shots of the Civil War, just about anywhere historically that has gone off the rails.

It took a purposeful organizing force to exploit the petulance in every instance and bring it to dreadful fruition, and I would now say that we have that.

Robespierre before the French Revolution could be described as merely petulant.

Not that the inhabitants of Versailles weren't petulantly clueless.

It takes two or more to fuck the world.

In Denver tomorrow, there are two demonstrations to protest our Governor's efforts to limit the spread of this killer.

Natch, the Libertarians will do their thing, maybe boil a live bat* and serve it with pangolin au jus and then shout thru bullhorns that ""Whaddaya gonna do about it, libtards?"

The other, maybe larger demonstration is organized by something called the Peace, Love, Hippie Juice Collective, which is going to cause a traffic jam on a Sunday at the Capitol, except that there is no traffic, especially on a Sunday during the shutdown, except for their cars, idling and giving off carbon dioxide I imagine against whatever other environmental druthers they harbor to come at the other end of the libertarian constitutional Overton whining window to protest their constitutional right to give me the Covid-19 while they work and bake muffins for me, I guess.

I'm thinking of heading down there on my bike, fully masked up, hooded, and so forth, and see if can break one libertarian jaw and one hippie jaw if the Covidiots want to fuck with me.

I notice this latter bunch of losers had a guy on their twitter feed calling me a snowflake. Last time a pitcher called me that from the mound while I happened to be holding a baseball bat for its rightful purposes, he ended up on the disabled list and I got a two-game suspension for chasing him around the infield.

He pulled a groin muscle, I think, running away.

Not sure I want to go to jail, which would just be getting closer to the virus, but I at least have to see this and yell rude things.

We'll see.

I'm pretty sure, once the curve is flattened enough not to kill me (is the Lt. Gov. of Texas dead yet, because he should at least set a good example for the rest of us, money where masked mouth is, etc), which is to say, totally flattened, and some semblance of eating out returns, it would be sure wager to think that you could tempt a crowd of petulant libertarians with a bat soup themed menu.

Bat croquettes, bat tacos, bat fritter with a covid crema, bat bacon ice cream.

The special tonight is pangolin lasagna accompanied by a chloraquine infused martini.

A shuddering snowflake shall be standing by for your have it on with the libtards delectation.

Pay no attention to the ambulance parked out front.



it's a way to say we dont know what to do or how to do it.

Because they don't know what to do or how to do it. Because nobody does. At all. Because it's a new virus in the human population and it's not completely clear how to deal with it.

So the people you name are trying to figure it the hell out. And the things you claim are "impossible" are the things that, so far, have seemed to be the best available approach to keeping the virus from spreading to everybody on the damned planet, in a remarkably short amount of time.

What's your big idea? Everybody go back to work? Open the restaurants, theaters, bars? Re-start all of the sports seasons and get everybody up close and personal with tens of thousands of their friends and neighbors? Re-open the malls so everyone can mill around with thousands of their fellow shoppers? Get those hairdressers and barbers open again, so you can sit in a chair and breath the same air as the last fifty people who just sat in the same place?

That's what "re-opening the economy" is. Essential businesses are still open, in one form or another, and they cover a hell of a lot of ground. Here is the list in MA. It's a really long list.

A lot of people are out of work. We should pay them to stay home, period. For months, if that's what we need to do. I'm fine with that, you can raise my taxes to do that if that's what we need to do.

You fine with that? Or would you rather than all of the folks running around with guns, blocking traffic, go back to work, right the hell now, even if that means a lot of them get sick.

No small number of them would probably be fine with that. Unfortunately, that choice would not be confined to them, they'd make other people sick, too.

And those other people have a voice and a point of view.

It took a purposeful organizing force to exploit the petulance in every instance and bring it to dreadful fruition, and I would now say that we have that.

yes.

“We can get this rally done and stay within the social distancing guidelines,” Marian Sheridan, a co-founder of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, said in a statement. “Citizens are frankly tired of being treated like babies. As adults, we now know what needs to be done to stay safe. We also believe the liberal attack on the economy is becoming a serious threat right now. Join us in Lansing. We need to stop the madness and Whitmer needs a plan to re-open Michigan’s economy before it is too late.”

yes, it's a liberal plot to destroy the economy.

these fucking morons are just looking for a platform on which to perform their Fox-brand conservatism. they think they're in some kind of fucking war, because that's what Fox et al tell them, 24/7. and now they get to play soldier. Booo! on the liberals! yeah, the fucking liberals are behind this. no liberals own businesses, and we all love staying locked in our goddamned houses. but sponge-brained coplayers are going to kill a bunch of people because they don't have the mental capacity to sit down and STFU until we all figure out how to deal with this virus.

the GOP is a cult.

Unfortunately, that choice would not be confined to them, they'd make other people sick, too.

-- "We have a right to own enough firepower to destroy Genghis Khan's army even if thousands of innocents die for it in schools and churches and synagogues"

and

-- "We have a right to go get a can of paint and a haircut even if people die because of it"

Same message.

"Right to life" indeed.

Four people I work with have COVID. How many would have it if those folks had been coming into the office, along with everyone else, for the week or so that they were infected, but not symptomatic?

FWIW:

COVID apparently has an R factor of 2.5. So, absent some kind of isolation protocol, one infected person will infect 2.5 others.

It seems like you can be infected and contagious for about 5 days before you're symptomatic.

That gives us 4 x 2.5^5, or 390 people. Which is basically everybody in the Cambridge location of my company.

Feel free to check my math.

The virus sucks. It sucks for everyone. It sucks that nobody has a bulletproof, ready-to-go plan for how to deal with it.

Running around with guns and blocking access to the hospital is not going to convince anyone of the virtue of your point of view. It just makes you look like a big fucking baby.

Hence, my comment.

I’m guessing opening the county for these people who are entitled to their points of view doesn’t include opening the borders. It would be funny to get a few “open the borders” signs in their hands accidentally at their astroturfed protests.

I have to wonder what the correlation is between whining about being entitled to your point of view and your point of view being f**king stupid. Seems kind of high.

Looking for ... and finding Death.

The conservative, crypto-religious, nationalist Death Cult is a worldwide scourge:

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/04/18/hindu-nationalists-are-using-covid-19-to-fuel-a-humanitarian-disaster-in-india/

Trump and Pompeo love them some Modi, but mass murderers communicate with each other even in solitary confinement in maximum security prisons.

I'm warming to bringing the death penalty back, especially at the Hague.

russell: "We need to go to the hairdresser" doesn't really have the same fanatic militant xenophobic nationalist vigor of "Viva la muerte!". There's something else going on here, I think, and I'm mostly at a loss to describe it, much less explain it.

It's like some weird form of petulance.

It's not quite petulance, but it's definitely not xenophobia (regardless of her views otherwise). It's a reflection of simply not seeing those others, who may suffer or die, as really human. Are you willing to be inconvenienced, even slightly, because something might happen to a weed?

Of course, that requires either being willfully blind to the very real threat to you and yours.
Or sufficiently credulous as to believe your supposed leaders who say you're not at risk. (Even though their personal, off camera, actions say otherwise.)

because most prominent conservatives™ are telling them it's something on the spectrum between a Democratic hoax and a Chinese bio-weapon, they think it's liberals making them stay at home for no good reason.

so, they're gonna go strut their conservatism in defiance.

they have no idea how anything works because they live in a fairy tale world.

The jackasses in Michigan blocked a hospital emergency room entrance, preventing a patient in an ambulance from being offloaded.

I can find nothing about whether the criminals were removed and/or punished.

This raises a question for decent armed conservatives here: If you were the patient being transported in the ambulance and you were prevented by these goons from receiving care, and if you carry your weapon with you, would you have been justified in discharging that weapon with deadly force at the goons in self-defense?

See, these guys are going to be like the Malheur Wildlife Refuge federal property invaders, arsonists, and property vandals. The latter weren't set upon by law enforcement with armed force, like say a black kid minding his own business on a city street routinely is, instead they were negotiated with and treated with kid gloves and given mere slaps on the wrist as punishment, not to mention that Bundy senior is still a tax cheat, who should be executed.

And now THEY are back threatening armed force.

Just as Trump did not have the bones in his face re-arranged early in life when he bullied the first or second time (look where he is now), so these Michigan thugs will be back in the Fall to disrupt legal elections and if Biden wins, they will become even more lethally dangerous to the Republic.

The patient in the ambulance can kill them now or we can face them later when are even more intent on killing us.

This lecture is one I've memorized over the years from numerous big swinging dick conservatives who thought they knew how to fuck back at being fucked with by armed jackals stealing their record collections, instead of all this pussy-footing, shilly-shallying, limp-wristed cowardice we witness now.

"I'm warming to bringing the death penalty back, especially at the Hague."

Yeah, me too, for some time now.

Because Dubya showed me the error of my ways. The death penalty for penny-ante crooks isn't worth it, but when a national leader kills thousands of his people, tens of thousands of innocents, whose responsibility for the carnage is absolutely beyond doubt? SCRAG 'EM.

Saddam, also, too.

National leaders need to have some "skin in the game", methinks. Like in ye olde days.

"That Michigan is one of the first places seeing substantial pushback against state stay-at-home orders is no random occurrence. Whitmer has instituted one of the nation's most severe stay-at-home policies, banning everything from the sale of paint to the use of motor-powered boats (but not canoes) while the state-run lottery remains "essential." The whole mess highlights the sadly symbiotic relationship between authorities taking things too far and people (some reasonably and strategically, some carelessly and imprudently) reacting in ways that provoke more draconian policies.

Americans have proven quite willing to play along with social-distancing directives when these directives are narrowly tailored to stopping the spread of COVID-19. If there's a lesson from Michigan for other states, it's that imposing overly-strict rules or trying to sneak pet policy transformations into precautionary measures will provoke a backlash that makes public health goals even more difficult to reach. If state and local leaders want their people to consent to COVID-19 emergency measures and be partners in public health, rather than antagonists, they should look to Whitmer's examples as what not to do."
It Figures That Michigan Is Among the First States To See Protests Against Social Distancing: Plus: Puerto Rico criminalizes fake news about COVID-19, wide geographic disparity in U.S. income growth, and more...

I can't wait to visit Puerto Rico and yell "Fire" in a crowded non-burning theater so I can secure more constitutional leg room.

I'll take Whitmer over any number of red-state Governors who have deliberately given free reign to a virus, as if viruses are protected species or maybe very small automatic weapons.

How bout I come down to Texas, find your local hospital emergency room entrance, and block the entrance into it should that time come.

No doubt you'll be arriving in a private ambulance, so I'll keep a look-out.

I'll see your Reason cite and raise you a Bridge MI. Whoever they are. I make no claims for their objectivity, the article provides what seems to be a reasonable synopsis of the MI lockdown order. Use it as your launching pad for actually, you know, getting some factual information.

MI has the third highest number of COVID cases in the country. NY, NJ, then MI.

If people object to whatever their state or local government is doing about the virus, they should by all means state their case. Just freaking do it in a way that doesn't put everybody else at risk of getting sick.

And don't block the damned hospital entrance. And leave the fucking guns and Red Dawn cosplay BS the hell at home, it just makes you look like an idiot.

It seems to me that the ways people choose to express their points of view are actually part of their points of view. It's not just "I disagree with A, B, and C" and then a separate matter of how that gets expressed. The mentality is generally one of "You can't tell me what to do." So they not only say that, they go out and demonstrate it through their actions. You can't tell them not to block hospital entrances or carry their guns around threateningly in public any more than you can tell them to stay home during a public-health emergency. It's all knotted up in one big mess.

mos people grow out of that stage

[Microsoft Office Specialists, that is]

The more I read about Governor Whitmers, the more I am impressed.

Those idiots who beshat our public space in several states recently need to be subjected to extreme political isolation measures and drowned beneath the power of tens of millions of votes this coming November to convey in no uncertain terms, YOU LOSE, MOTHERFUCKERS.

The more I read about Governor Whitmers, the more I am impressed.

Ya gotta love someone who won the governor's office on a slogan of "Fix the damn roads!"

And you can understand the upset of those who lost it, because they insisted on strangling the government, so the had ignored the roads. Maybe rabid libertarianism just ain't gonna fly. Oh, who'd a guessed? .

isn't it strange how every "conservative" protest ends up being a bunch of overweight white guys waddling around in their camo pants and gear vests, brandishing their expensive fetish objects for everyone to fear?

to be fair, most left-ish protests end up with somebody with bright pink hair and a lot of piercings pounding on a drum while shouting "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE" through a megaphone.

what they all have in common is that somebody is always Hitler.

I don't really have much hair anymore, so the bright pink thing is above my pay grade. I do have a drum, though, several in fact. Conversely, no gun, nor much interest in having one. No camo, either.

Looks like it's the lefties for me.

Everybody's got their own brand of silliness. I just like the kind without the threats of violence better.

what they all have in common is that somebody is always Hitler.

What's true is that they are Hitler. Or maybe Mussolini. Or at least Franco. Please see the OP.

"Everybody's got their own brand of silliness. I just like the kind without the threats of violence better"

I agree with this, and I am firmly in the camp that protests shouldnt block streets much less emergency vehicles.

But somehow every protest seems to be designed to inconvenience someone.So complaining about anything except the guns seems to be saying they got the attention they wanted.


I just got back to this so I will just add that certain things set me off, some of what was in the original comment I referenced made lots of sense.

People dont like to feel they are dependent on the government to get their Bill's paid, not because it's the government but because it takes the control away from them. They like to feel like they have some control of their destiny.

I would prefer a clearer staged plan that says which companies can reopen if they follow certain guidelines. That doesn't mean we shouldnt continue to push testing out , but we have more lab capacity than is being used today, both at Quest and Labcorp.

It is a long road to having testing, identification and tracking. Even if we think we can sustain it, the first thing I would like to see is a plan for who is going to do it. It will necessarily be a local activity, perhaps managed by the state and paid for by fed, state and local. That's how emergency response is structured
in our country.

More realistic seems to be to create guidelines for a business to open. Masks, testing, and response guidelines. You need an office? Make sure it's as safe as possible. Then buildings can put in screening the way they secured elevators after 9/11, it becomes a selling point for your leases.

Want to open your small business, implement distancing guidelines.

Even if there is a reason that whatever I think of cant work, there should be some set of criteria for opening before there is universal testing.

There needs to be a plan, not just a list of things we hope will happen. Someday there will be a treatment, adequate testing and then a vaccine, then we can start opening. That's not a plan. If all those things suddenly happened we wouldnt need a plan.

Stephen Moore compares the armed louts to Rosa Parks.

Wasn't she shot in the head by cracker cops for carrying a loaded AR-15 on to a city bus, or am I getting her mixed up with Trayvon Martin? They all look alike, especially dead.

Moore is looking a little more like Pol Pot every day to me. I dread digging up all of the mass graves he has filled when this thing is over.

Silly of me, I know.

I feel for decent conservatives, the half dozen or so that still exist across this great land of ours, not counting Joe the Tiger King.

They must feel like Ronald McDonald after asshat clown John Wayne Gacy's crawl space was dug up to reveal the latter's night job.


Pro-plague has a certain ring to it, like pro-rat during the Black Death or pro-cholera during all those years the miasma theory persisted.

https://digbysblog.net/2020/04/the-pro-plague-confederacy/

Many Americans were pro-polio when it really counted as a team sport.

It would be nice to see a plan. My guess is that the plan was thrown out with the pandemic response guidelines that Trump inherited from the Obama administration.

But, yeah, state governments, local governments, families - all of us should have a plan. But the plan depends on what is available, and some of those things are PPE, testing (both of which should be available, and shouldn't be a "plan"), then later treatment and/or vaccine. Let's remember that vaccines aren't a given. Not all diseases have vaccines available. There is no vaccine for the common cold (coronaviruses). Flu vaccines are extremely helpful, but not foolproof. There is no vaccine for HIV. Antivirals seem promising, but are not a panacea.

Yes, I do think there should be more definitive discussion about how we open up what and when, but I'm not going to violate social distancing guidelines anytime soon.

If we had a reasonable federal government, it could help people in need. Of course, no one WANTS to be dependent on government. But a choice between resuming a stupid meaningless job in an office, meanwhile killing people, or taking some cash from the government? No brainer. (Sure, some jobs aren't meaningless. In fact, some are "essential." Lots of people are still working.)

"They like to feel they have some control over their destiny."

When their destiny is asymptomatic, control is an illusion, a Bronx cheer from the Gods.

It's more Fate than Destiny.

Ask the ancient Greeks and Romans.

I love that the word Covid includes Ovid.

The first is mutating as we speak for some fresh Hell in the future, and the second wrote Metamorphoses.

Steak-umm: https://twitter.com/steak_umm/status/1251193468451520520

Worth thinking about.

I recently learned that the Steak-umm twitter feed was worth watching. Clearly we need to know more.

"What they all have in common is that somebody is always Hitler."

The lack of respect for Genghis Khan is appalling.

This piece reminded me of another about the Spanish Civil War: Orwell's "Looking Back on the Spanish War." Here's part iv:

The struggle for power between the Spanish Republican parties is an unhappy, far-off thing which I have no wish to revive at this date. I only mention it in order to say: believe nothing, or next to nothing, of what you read about internal affairs on the Government side. It is all, from whatever source, party propaganda – that is to say, lies. The broad truth about the war is simple enough. The Spanish bourgeoisie saw their chance of crushing the labour movement, and took it, aided by the Nazis and by the forces of reaction all over the world. It is doubtful whether more than that will ever be established.

I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History stopped in 1936’, at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism in general, but more particularly of the Spanish Civil War. Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories, and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’. Yet in a way, horrible as all this was, it was unimportant. It concerned secondary issues – namely, the struggle for power between the Comintern and the Spanish left-wing parties, and the efforts of the Russian Government to prevent revolution in Spain. But the broad picture of the war which the Spanish Government presented to the world was not untruthful. The main issues were what it said they were. But as for the Fascists and their backers, how could they come even as near to the truth as that? How could they possibly mention their real aims? Their version of the war was pure fantasy, and in the circumstances it could not have been otherwise.

The only propaganda line open to the Nazis and Fascists was to represent themselves as Christian patriots saving Spain from a Russian dictatorship. This involved pretending that life in Government Spain was just one long massacre (vide the Catholic Herald or the Daily Mail – but these were child’s play compared with the continental Fascist press), and it involved immensely exaggerating the scale of Russian intervention. Out of the huge pyramid of lies which the Catholic and reactionary press all over the world built up, let me take just one point – the presence in Spain of a Russian army. Devout Franco partisans all believed in this; estimates of its strength went as high as half a million. Now, there was no Russian army in Spain. There may have been a handful of airmen and other technicians, a few hundred at the most, but an army there was not. Some thousands of foreigners who fought in Spain, not to mention millions of Spaniards, were witnesses of this. Well, their testimony made no impression at all upon the Franco propagandists, not one of whom had set foot in Government Spain. Simultaneously these people refused utterly to admit the fact of German or Italian intervention, at the same time as the Germany and Italian press were openly boasting about the exploits of their ‘legionaries’. I have chosen to mention only one point, but in fact the whole of Fascist propaganda about the war was on this level.

This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history. How will the history of the Spanish war be written? If Franco remains in power his nominees will write the history books, and (to stick to my chosen point) that Russian army which never existed will become historical fact, and schoolchildren will learn about it generations hence. But suppose Fascism is finally defeated and some kind of democratic government restored in Spain in the fairly near future; even then, how is the history of the war to be written? What kind of records will Franco have left behind him? Suppose even that the records kept on the Government side are recoverable – even so, how is a true history of the war to be written? For, as I have pointed out already, the Government also dealt extensively in lies. From the anti-Fascist angle one could write a broadly truthful history of the war, but it would be a partisan history, unreliable on every minor point. Yet, after all, some kind of history will be written, and after those who actually remember the war are dead, it will be universally accepted. So for all practical purposes the lie will have become truth.

I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously coloured what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that ‘the facts’ existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost everyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘science’. There is only ‘German science’, ‘Jewish science’ etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs – and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement.

But is it perhaps childish or morbid to terrify oneself with visions of a totalitarian future? Before writing off the totalitarian world as a nightmare that can’t come true, just remember that in 1925 the world of today would have seemed a nightmare that couldn’t come true. Against that shifting phantasmagoric world in which black may be white tomorrow and yesterday’s weather can be changed by decree, there are in reality only two safeguards. One is that however much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing, as it were, behind your back, and you consequently can’t violate it in ways that impair military efficiency. The other is that so long as some parts of the earth remain unconquered, the liberal tradition can be kept alive. Let Fascism, or possibly even a combination of several Fascisms, conquer the whole world, and those two conditions no longer exist. We in England underrate the danger of this kind of thing, because our traditions and our past security have given us a sentimental belief that it all comes right in the end and the thing you most fear never really happens. Nourished for hundreds of years on a literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter, we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in the long run. Pacifism, for instance, is founded largely on this belief. Don’t resist evil, and it will somehow destroy itself. But why should it? What evidence is there that it does? And what instance is there of a modern industrialized state collapsing unless conquered from the outside by military force?

Consider for instance the re-institution of slavery. Who could have imagined twenty years ago that slavery would return to Europe? Well, slavery has been restored under our noses. The forced-labour camps all over Europe and North Africa where Poles, Russians, Jews and political prisoners of every race toil at road-making or swamp-draining for their bare rations, are simple chattle slavery. The most one can say is that the buying and selling of slaves by individuals is not yet permitted. In other ways – the breaking-up of families, for instance – the conditions are probably worse than they were on the American cotton plantations. There is no reason for thinking that this state of affairs will change while any totalitarian domination endures. We don’t grasp its full implications, because in our mystical way we feel that a régime founded on slavery must collapse. But it is worth comparing the duration of the slave empires of antiquity with that of any modern state. Civilizations founded on slavery have lasted for such periods as four thousand years.

When I think of antiquity, the detail that frightens me is that those hundreds of millions of slaves on whose backs civilization rested generation after generation have left behind them no record whatever. We do not even know their names. In the whole of Greek and Roman history, how many slaves’ names are known to you? I can think of two, or possibly three. One is Spartacus and the other is Epictetus. Also, in the Roman room at the British Museum there is a glass jar with the maker’s name inscribed on the bottom, ‘Felix fecit’. I have a vivid mental picture of poor Felix (a Gaul with red hair and a metal collar round his neck), but in fact he may not have been a slave; so there are only two slaves whose names I definitely know, and probably few people can remember more. The rest have gone down into utter silence.

History is always with us - these days more than most.

I will just add that certain things set me off

no worries, we all have our own personal list of those.

There needs to be a plan, not just a list of things we hope will happen.

In general I agree. And, I think folks - by which I mean governors and local leadership - are trying to understand what a good plan looks like. Your suggestions are reasonable, but not necessarily the best idea in all places. And, in places where it's feasible to do so, lots of places are re-opening, with the kinds of safety precautions that you refer to.

I completely agree that everything about the virus is frustrating. At a. bare minimum. And, I agree that people like to feel competent and able to take care of themselves, so being told they need to stand down from work is, for a lot of people, also frustrating.

It may even be that Whitmer's latest round of lockdown regulations goes further than they need to go. I don't know the answer to that, because I don't know the details of what the lockdown regulations require.

All of that said, the protests in MI put people at risk of infection from a highly contagious virus that is making a lot of people seriously ill, and killing a lot of them. The people involved in the protest appear to be well aware of that, many of them wore masks. And, when they leave the protest site, they will bring whatever they came in contact with there back home with them, to their own families and communities.

Risk your own life, fine. Risk other people's, much less so.

I have no patience with the gun business. I don't care about guns per se one way or the other, some people enjoy them, that's fine, they're just not interesting to me.

But they have no place whatsoever in any gathering that claims to be a "peaceable assembly", as protected by the 1st A. There is nothing whatsoever "peaceable" about brandishing semi-automatic rifles at a public gathering. It's intended to signal some kind of threat about insurrectionist violence if they don't get their way. Don't take my word for it, just ask any of them.

The threat itself is actually kind of risible, the dudes on the front steps in Lansing are highly unlikely to actually kill anybody. And it damned well better stay that way, because if and when that ever changes, it will not by god be tolerated, and the camo boys will have some surprises coming to them. But laughable or not, it's an offense to me, to everyone who doesn't agree with these dudes, and in fact to the fundamental Lockean concept of liberty that makes it possible for the variety of kinds of people that live together in this country to do so peaceably.

That, and not "you're not the boss of me", is the concept of liberty that is what this country was founded on.

Wear camo if that floats your boat, leave the fucking guns at home. You - rhetorical you, not you, Marty - aren't the boss of us, either, camo boy. Learn to get along with the rest of us and maybe we'll get somewhere. Threaten the rest of us with violence, however clownishly, and your petitions will fall on deaf ears.

I hope none of those folks get sick, but if they don't it'll just be their own dumb luck. If they do get sick, the rest of us will nonetheless do what we can to help them get better.

a correction:

And, in places where it's feasible to do so, lots of places are re-opening

For "lots of places", kindly read "a very small number of places".

It's gonna be a while before it's actually safe for all sectors of the economy to ramp back up to pre-COVID levels. It just is. That sucks, but it's a freaking highly contagious and dangerous disease.

Nobody asked for it, it's just here, and we're all just trying to deal with it.

Work with us, camo boys! And maybe we'll all, or mostly all, get through it.

nous, thank you for the Orwell.

I would prefer a clearer staged plan that says which companies can reopen if they follow certain guidelines.

The federal government has (or used to have) the broad and deep expertise at hand to make such plans and provide guidelines to state and local governments. Meanwhile, our so-called president wants to look into the case of Joe Exotic. The executive branch, at the top, as an organization, is a clusterf**k - a revolving door of unqualified sycophants.

I know you don't like paragraphs about El Naranja, Marty, but he happens to be an enormous problem right now. So it's a topic.

here's my plan: i'm not going back to work until there's much less chance of me getting this than of getting the flu. because this is potentially much worse the the flu.

here's musician Thomas Dolby announcing that the bassist for The Soft Boys died of COVID19:

Very sad news from Kevin Armstrong just now: "Friday: Matthew Seligman has suffered a catastrophic haemorrhagic stroke from which he won't recover. It is expected that he will not survive longer than 12/24 hours. His ventilator will be gradually withdrawn until the inevitable end. I am so sad to have to bear this terrible news. I have loved him as a friend and a fellow musician for 40 years.”

Matthew has been on a ventilator in an induced coma for two weeks, after being admitted to St George’s London with Covid-19. He has a partner and two kids living in Wimbledon. Kevin has been liaising with them. He has no other close relatives, as his parents are gone and his brother passed away a month ago.
I don't have words.
I will update this group when I know any more.

nothing about that sounds like anything i'm willing to go through, or would wish anyone else would go through, just because some loudmouth assholes with delusions of "tyranny" wants to go buy some fertilizer for their lawn.

It may even be that Whitmer's latest round of lockdown regulations goes further than they need to go.

I hear she's setting up a new governmental department. The Department of Constitutional Overreach...

haha! good one, Charles.

Unfortunately, you heard wrong.

But somehow every protest seems to be designed to inconvenience someone.

Earlier, you claimed that the protests were just the natural reaction of people who had just had too much and were going out to vent. So which is it? Venting or inconveniencing people?

Though it is great that you added 'seems to be'. Baby steps.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/far-right-coronavirus-protests-restrictions

Placards identified the Michigan Proud Boys as participants in the vehicle convoy. Near the state house, local radio interviewed a man who identified himself as “Phil Odinson”.

In fact the man is Phil Robinson, the prime mover in a group called the Michigan Liberty Militia, whose Facebook page features pictures of firearms, warnings of civil war, celebrations of Norse paganism and memes ultimately sourced from white nationalist groups like Patriot Front.

The pattern of rightwing not-for-profits promoting public protests while still more radical groups use lockdown resistance as a platform for extreme rightwing causes looks set to continue in events advertised in other states over coming days.

In Idaho on Friday, protesters plan to gather at the capitol building in Boise to protest anti-virus restrictions put in place by the Republican governor, Brad Little.

The protest has been heavily promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), which counts among its donors “dark money” funds linked to the Koch brothers such as Donors Capital Fund, and Castle Rock, a foundation seeded with part of the fortune of Adolph Coors, the rightwing beer magnate.

If these protests are being ginned up by right-wing groups, that 'seems to' sounds pretty fucking ominous.

So complaining about anything except the guns seems to be saying they got the attention they wanted.

see above

nous pulled a great section of Orwell and this was amazing

I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History stopped in 1936’, at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism in general, but more particularly of the Spanish Civil War. Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie.

The only difference was that this time, the stopping of history was trumpeted as a triumph.

haha! good one, Charles.

But not mine.

"looking for death...in all the right places", it seems.

Sounds, almost familiar. And yet SO apropos.

Government coercion in response to health crises -- nothing new. I may have seen this link here in the first place, but it's worth another mention. TL;DNR: just check the section headings, in bold, to see what a dumb joke Charles's 6:35 is, right along with the "you're not the boss of me" cosplayers in Michigan and elsewhere.

Two things that, if they turn out to be common (#1), and true in the end (#2), make for a situation almost too dire to imagine:

1. The virus seems to have the potential to attack the body in a lot of ways (the brain, blood vessels, the lungs).

2. If a vaccine can't be developed...imagine, just for comparison, HIV -- but spread by breathing in the same space as someone carrying the virus.

But hey, a bunch of toddlers with automatic weapons can't be patient until we find out, apparently because us big bad liberals hurt their little fee-fees.

*****

I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie.

Sounds famliar.

The lack of respect for Genghis Khan is appalling.

For his day, Genghis Kahn was a very forewardthinking monarch. And provided good, competent governance to his people.** Which would leave the far right (and the libertarians) right out.

** A bit rough on the neighbors, admittedly. But none of the current schmucks care about anyone else either.

The racist Asatruar contingent really get me. They are the most reprehensible possible combination of naziism, romantic nationalism, pseudoscience, occultism, and religion - equal parts Sgt. Rock, Thor, and Mein Kampf with a twist of Golden Dawn for garnish.

Worst LARP ever.

"But somehow every protest seems to be designed to inconvenience someone.

Earlier, you claimed that the protests were just the natural reaction of people who had just had too much and were going out to vent. So which is it? "


Both

Interview of a Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital professor and emergency room doctor.

"Faust stresses that attempts to reopen businesses, schools, and other parts of everyday life will need to based on local conditions and that effective containment has to rely on the voluntary participation of people who are given reliable information rather than bullied by political and medical authorities. "It's not a weather system that we can track beginning, middle, and end," says Faust. 'We make the weather. If people believe in what their participation is, it's a hell of a lot easier to achieve [containment] than through some sort of draconian enforcement.'"
'We Make the Weather': Why Voluntary Cooperation Is Key To Battling Coronavirus: Dr. Jeremy S. Faust talks about battling COVID-19 in the emergency room and how to safely reopen American society.

CharlesWT thanks for pointing to Ramirez. While what is on his site is not his body of work, it is.. interesting

This one is striking when you realize that he must not have any empathy for anyone else in the world.
https://www.michaelpramirez.com/here-there-and-everywhere-04-13-20.html

He's also got this thing about stupidity

https://www.michaelpramirez.com/san-francisco-bans-reusable-bags-04-06-20.html

And a not a small bit of yellow peril fever
https://www.michaelpramirez.com/chinas-wet-markets-reopen-04-04-20.html

https://www.michaelpramirez.com/world-health-organization-defends-china-04-18-20.html

https://www.michaelpramirez.com/in-the-pocket-04-03-20.html

https://www.michaelpramirez.com/coronavirus-ground-zero-04-01-20.html

Whatta fucking prat...

slightly out of order
it's a hell of a lot easier to achieve [containment] than through some sort of draconian enforcement.

I didn't see anyone getting arrested in these protests. I would think that blocking emergency vehicles is against the law. Of course, putting them all in a holding cell together would guarantee spread, I suppose. It's like the baseball commisioner saying that pitchers who throw at cheating Astro players are going to get tossed. Hey, dig in, the comissh says it's cool!

containment has to rely on the voluntary participation of people who are given reliable information

thus ruling out the Fox New demographic.

Marty opines

Both

Maybe you missed it from above, but I was curious about your proposed plan. What should we do? I'm all ears.

I didnt miss it

nous, thank you for the Orwell.

Seconded, with feeling. That piece is magnificent. When I first read Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting I thought the following was good enough to copy out and put in my commonplace book, but the Orwell (unsurprisingly) is in an entirely different league.

Mirek rewrote history just like the Communist Party, like all political parties, like all peoples, like mankind. They shout that they want to shape a better future, but it's not true. The future is only an indifferent void no one cares about,but the past is filled with life, and its countenance is irritating, repellent, wounding, to the point that we want to destroy it or repaint it. We want to be the masters of the future only for the power to change the past. We fight for access to the labs where we can retouch photos and rewrite biographies and history.

That Kundera is pretty good.

I'm always a bit ambivalent about Orwell. I think he's got some complex contradictions and knots in his thinking that land him a bit further into alliance with colonialism and conservatism than I'm comfortable with. But then when I look at his lived experience, I think that he must have been conflicted about all that himself, and not seen any way of avoiding that.

The sewer man can't be squeamish about getting into shit or nothing gets fixed.

Which was how I recently ended up registering as a Democrat after years of grumpy independence. They're the only US party left that owns a pipe wrench and a set of waders.

So, just to be clear, you like to ask me questions, but you don't feel like you should answer any that are asked of you? Noted.

If that's the case, I'd prefer that you didn't ask me any questions, which I think is fair. Though I've got no idea what you think is fair or not. And I don't really care...

lj, good good.


I didnt miss it, I did talk a little about a plan in my 5:04. But if you feel it wasnt responsive I'm ok with not asking you any questions.

Actually, I will go back to avoiding that either way.

I didn't see anyone getting arrested in these protests. I would think that blocking emergency vehicles is against the law. Of course, putting them all in a holding cell together would guarantee spread, I suppose.

The good news is, since they all don't believe in distancing, at least they couldn't complain about being unable to do so.

And it would be focusing the spread among those who are similarly minded. Karma!

They're [the Democrats are] the only US party left that owns a pipe wrench and a set of waders.

Never mind a pipe wrench and waders. Could we get back to a second party with at least a pair of pliers and sandals?

If people believe in what their participation is, it's a hell of a lot easier to achieve [containment] than through some sort of draconian enforcement.

What if what people "believe" about their participation is based on bad information? What if people don't have the background or context to make good choices with whatever information they do have?

What if people are motivated by pure self-interest to the point that they don't really give a crap what effect their actions and decisions have on other people?

Here, on planet earth, people do stupid things. People do selfish things. People do rash and impulsive things. All of those things may harm other people.

With all due respect, libertarians are unbelievably naive.

The quote is from Dr. Faust who, as far as I can tell, hasn't identified as libertarian.

For his day, Genghis Kahn was a very forewardthinking monarch.

Contra the impression left by phrases like "Mongol hordes' we should recognize that the Mongol armies were, in most respects, superior to European forces.

They had better weapons, better communications, better tactics, more mobility, better officers.

And it's quoted in....?

I doubt that anyone disagrees with the idea that people are more likely to go along with things they believe in.

Unfortunately, that fails to account for a lot of real life.

Which was how I recently ended up registering as a Democrat after years of grumpy independence.

It's never easy.

Nor should it be, I guess.

One his last point Orwell is a bit mistaken though (and doubly so). The names of numerous slaves of antiquity are indeed on the records. The upper levels of imperial bureaucracy ran on ex-slaves (liberti) and there are discussions whether or not at least one emperor was one himself. Actors and gladiators were majority slave and many of them are known by name.
But the names we know are usually not their birth names but those given to them when they became slaves (if born free). Spartacus was not born under that name. And how could Orwell forget Tiro, Cicero's secretary and literary executor? When Cicero first mentions him, he still is a slave and we learn about his manumission only later. Btw, 'Tiro' simply means 'recruit' or 'apprentice'. When slaves got manumissioned they usually took their master's name and added their slave name as family name, so Tiro became Marcus Tullius Tiro.
I'd say we could possibly know more names of slaves and ex-slaves than of free commoners* as far as Rome is concerned, if we exclude veteran lists.

*i.e.lower class, not nobility or rich businesspeople

What if what people "believe" about their participation is based on bad information?

what if it's all a coordinated astroturf ?

George Orwell.

The writer who is useful fodder for every ideological way station along the political continuum from, say, Ayn Rand Hitler way over there, to the Love, Peace, and Hippie Juice Stalinist Collective way over to the other end, all of whom love them some Covid on a windy libertarian day, and then around the back where radical, off-the-charts right and left join up to exchange clubby clever secret handshakes for a friendly pot-luck among fellow assholes.

Utopia ... Dystopia ... WTFtopia .. he's your man.

I'll have to go back and read him again.

I like his "down and out" musings.

He was great on Dickens.

It would be fun if Dickens could reappear just to write a novel with a spot-on supporting emblematic character among the cast of thousands named Orwell U. Topia.

My only first-hand knowledge of Orwell is having read "1984" in high-school (I think it might have actually been the year 1984) and not being terribly impressed - way too unsubtle for my liking.

Oddly enough I remember liking the film though but that might have been due Hurt, Burton, and having a bit of a crush on Suzanna Hamilton - also the cinematography (Deakins!) and production design was amazing.

Nowadays, Orwell seems to have been co-opted by a particularly annoying type of middle-aged, pseudo-liberal, pseudo-intellectual macho chauvinist, e.g. Hitchens, Packer, Aaronovitch.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/americans-at-world-health-organization-transmitted-real-time-information-about-coronavirus-to-trump-administration/2020/04/19/951c77fa-818c-11ea-9040-68981f488eed_story.html?outputType=amp

Speaking of Orwell, I wonder what former commenter double-plus-ungood is up to these days.

hsh, this can hardly be a surprise. Absent any other (i.e. hard) information, if Trump says something, pretty much anything, the smart bet is that reality is not just different but 180 degrees. (And thus, those who claim he is lost to reality are, technically, incorrect.) See, for example, his habit of accusing his opponents of whatever offensive thing he has done.

So of course WHO had told us. Just as our own intelligence organizations had, independently, told Trump. The only question ever was how long would it take for that to be demonstrated.

"That's why it's important for those criticizing misguided protesting efforts—including media figures who increasingly appear to be taking the view that you would have to be a deranged rightwinger to want social distancing to end—not to resort to sneering at the less fortunate. (For example: A guest on MSNBC recently called the protesters, "the Fox News Nazi confederate death cult rump of the Republican Party.) These are terrifying times, and the prospect of hundreds of thousands of deaths means there is very good reason for policymakers to proceed cautiously with reopening. But both federal and state governments must consider the long-term practicality of their coronavirus prevention plans, including whether people will be willing to obey stay-at-home orders for much longer."
Celebrities and the Media Shouldn't Sneer at Coronavirus Lockdown Protesters: The gatherings are ill-advised but understandable given the harms of government-enforced shutdowns.

Still laughing at the idea of Christopher Hitchens being any kind of liberal, even a pseudo one (although I do know that, for example, he was called a liberal by that authoritative source, Forbes Magazine).

He described himself as being a socialist, or a Marxist, during most of his adult life (his brother Peter called himm a Stalinist in 2001, which led to an estrangement between them), and even his extraordinary metamorphosis in late life starting with the fatwa against his friend Salman Rushdie, ending with his support for the Iraq war, was so mixed up with other attitudes as to be (unless you were simpleminded) unclassifiable. Just like Bob Dylan says (justifiably) of himself in the song he dropped a couple of days ago, Hitchens contained multitudes. The world is rather poorer for being without his extremely complicated but always stimulating presence in it.

Indeed, it's quite odd to hear protesters chanting "Fire Fauci" while waving MAGA signs: Trump has praised Fauci incessantly and never fails to heed his advice, the media's attempt to create a narrative of mounting tension between the two notwithstanding.

Robby Soave knows not WTF he's talking about.

At the American Conservative, nearly in the same Covid-laced breath, one guy will praise Franco to the sky, ostensibly consigning Orwell to jail or death during the time the latter served leftist militias in Spain, and the next person will condemn the 1984 Orwellian goals of the transgender movement, which is roughly 12 people, if you count KellyAnne Conway.

Orwell is the WD-40 of intellectual argumentation thesea days ... when his name comes up, almost any rusty bit of discourse can be set loose.

It's a wonder Godwin didn't come up with a cleekism for the guy.

Hitchens was a pip, alcohol infused. As you say GfnNC, he became unclassifiable, but his irreconcilable multitudes were contained in gorgeous sentences, particularly when speaking off the cuff, and whirling like knives against whatever poor soul thought debating him in public might be a good idea.

I would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall when Hitchens, Amis, Rushide, and was it Ian McEwan got together for a pint.

Marty and Charles,

You do realize that these protests are pure astroturf, funded by right-wing pro-Trump groups?

It's not a spontaneous assembly of newly unemployed factory workers, or anything like that. It's a sponsored Trump campaign rally. Complete with assholes.

Astroturf or not, real people showed up, misguided or not.

these protests are pure astroturf, funded by right-wing pro-Trump groups?

Hence the Confederate flags. Getting to wave them is more important for staffing (I think that's a justifiable term) these events than pay. That's the kind of people involved.

I'll provide my review of the real people who showed up at the Denver Covid wet market exchange demonstration some time tomorrow.

I'm showering at the moment as I have been for the past two hours.

I'm a real person, and I am fucking really pissed off.

Astroturf or not, real people showed up,

right. they had to be real, unless Westworld is already reality.

Astroturf or not, real people showed up, misguided or not.

Real people, me among them, have showed up again and again over the past three years to protest, among other things, brutal and vicious policies toward immigrants. No one gave us the megaphone of incessant media attention, magnifying our reach a millionfold. Is it the guns that make the media drool over these people?

Astroturf or not, real people showed up, misguided or not.

The militia types are always going to show up for Trump rallies. Covid or not, if someone announced an anti-Whitmer, pro-Trump rally in Lansing these guys were going to be there, waving their effing guns around.

Is it the guns that make the media drool over these people?

Well, the potential for widespread violence (however low their apologists argue, in contradiction to their own words, it is) certainly gets media attention. Doing the backgrounder before, instead of after, the news event, if you will.

But possibly the advertising dollars of the protest sponsors don't hurt either. At the editorial, if not the reporting, level.

I am "real people," along with all the other "real people" here with whom I mostly agree about COVID-19 and social distancing, about immigration policy, about policy in general.

You might almost start to think that some "real people" count more than others, given the way some people wallow in begrudgery on their behalf.


JDT: Yes, everyone who knew him said he was the most brilliant conversationalist in the world, bar none. Better by far in conversation than in writing, and he was no slouch in writing. I wish I could find a long piece Martin Amis wrote about him in the Observer just before he died - it was fantastic, and by no means hagiography.

I don't know what a pip is, but I'm hoping it's something good. As for "alcohol infused", it was so much part of him that it's hard to regret it, the only really bad thing being that when, fairly late in his life he debated George Galloway (a scoundrel, but no mean orator himself) the booze impaired his brilliance and he did not perform the devastating demolition of which he would have been capable at his best. Ah well.

Astroturf or not, real people showed up, misguided or not.

All kinds of people showed up. All of them were "real", some of them were motivated by their own, personal, experience of some level of hardship caused by Whitmer's regulations.

There were also the Proud Boys, who are basically fascists.

There were, in NH, these farging iceholes, who are not showing up because they were furloughed or are upset about not being able to buy housepaint.

The skeleton mask is a nice touch.

The "however misguided" people need to wake the fuck up and think about whose interests they are furthering.

This is for Janie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEqSOst1dg8

This is for Orwell and 1984:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aarB12YaAgE

I am so glad I found this! It wasn't easy.

It is for JDT and for anyone else who is interested, and is the piece Amis wrote about Hitchens as Hitchens was dying. It has much in it that is wonderful, if these are people you are interested in, but what I particularly remembered was this, which I think gets to the heart of one of the very complicated things about Hitchens, and which may have spurred the audacious (to put it kindly), like novakant, to doubt that he was a "real" intellectual:

most literary types, probably, would hope for inclusion somewhere or other on Nabokov's sliding scale: "I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child."

Mr Hitchens isn't like that. Christopher and His Kind runs the title of one of Isherwood's famous memoirs. And yet this Christopher doesn't have a kind. Everyone is unique – but Christopher is preternatural. And it may even be that he exactly inverts the Nabokovian paradigm. He thinks like a child (that is to say, his judgments are far more instinctive and moral-visceral than they seem, and are animated by a child's eager apprehension of what feels just and true); he writes like a distinguished author; and he speaks like a genius.

"The militia types are always going to show up for Trump rallies."

Nah, I keep trying to invite them to the Bowling Green Massacre Zeroth Anniversary celebration, but they just wimp out.

but they just wimp out.

Naturally. They prefer their opponents unarmed. Preferably women (because they've never encountered a trained woman, presumably) and children. You let them think they would actually have to face someone who could and would fight back. So that's the last place they would consider going. Their enthusiasm for something that might actually hurt them is on a par with a pro wrestler, at best.

In short, they are definitely NOT looking for death. At least for themselves.

I actually know a pro wrestler and he's a really sweet guy. Quite amazing skills, the ability to take the falls etc really requires a high level of training. I've done a lot of martial arts and I find that the people who are trained are more often than not quite gentle and do what they can to avoid confrontation.

About these rallies, this from TPM
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/seeing-the-open-the-economy-protests-in-their-proper-light

Look closely and a lot of the turnout is heavily stocked with militia types and the kinds of groups who turned out for the Charlottesville protests a couple years ago. But the bigger thing is that for now they appear highly orchestrated. In Michigan, they appear to be in part in reaction polling showing severe declines in public support for President Trump. They’re organized by groups funded in large part by the DeVos family. These are basically Trump loyalists supporting Trump at his request and mobilized by key rightist groups. The key question, as TPM Reader TS explains, is whether what starts here as orchestrated and largely inorganic takes on a life of its own and gains political traction. They now have Fox and an incumbent President cheering them on as a demonstration of political identity.

Of course, the writers from Reason, who have never met a stray observation that they can't turn into foundational evidence, won't bother to peer under that rock.

The Washington Post is now stepping up in reporting on the goons.

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