Posted on March 28, 2020



Cranial Tumbleweeds

Coronavirus edition


Daniel Clark



* President Trump has compared our nation's handling of the coronavirus to warfare. Does that mean he's going to surrender to it? If so, will that "end" the "forever" virus?

* One of these days, the Democrats should have to make up their minds. Are they really afraid that Trump will act as a dictator, or are they demanding that he do exactly that?

* Nobody listens to Trump anymore when he hollers "fake news," because he does so indiscriminately. It's partly his fault, then, that they persist with the lie that he called the coronavirus a hoax. Obviously, the hoax he was referring to was their premeditated decision to blame him for what they were already calling "Trump's Katrina." For newscasters to say with straight faces that he called the virus itself a hoax is fake news. Really, it is.

* Why should Katrina have been anybody's anyway? To have blamed George W. Bush for the chaos that resulted from a massive natural disaster was a case study in journalistic fraud. The fact that they still refer to the hurricane as his just shows haw determined they are to never develop any scruples over it.

* One reason Hurricane Katrina was so damaging to President Bush was because the media just plain made things up about it, to the point where people got the impression that New Orleans had turned into a sequel to Waterworld, in all its Hollywood post-apocalyptic overkill. Those snipers and rape gangs terrorizing the streets turned out to be nonexistent. Widely reported estimates of 10,000 dead proved to be more than five times too high. If the things that were said to have happened in the Superdome really had, they never would have rebuilt it. They'd have burned its remains to the ground. Yet exposure of all the lies has led to little if any media introspection. In fact, when they snottily speculate over "Trump's Katrina," that means they're prepared to do it all over again.

* Will someone please teach Trump what the word "hoax" means? He also calls his impeachment a hoax, by which he presumably means it was without merit. He was very genuinely impeached, however. It was not a hoax.

* Trump's suggestion that we try to restart the economy by Easter was angrily rejected by the media, even though the holiday was 19 days away at the time. There's nothing irresponsible about saying let's reevaluate the situation in almost three weeks. It was the prospective end to the round-the-clock news coverage before a virtual captive audience that struck a nerve.

* The liberal agenda has always consisted largely of economically punishing people and subjecting them to unnecessary deprivations (e.g., energy taxes, encroachments on property rights, depicting human prosperity as the enemy of The Planet, etc.). Perhaps that's why the liberal media are always so eager to declare life under intolerable conditions to be "the new normal."

* The last time that phrase was so widely used was after the government-mandated subprime crash and subsequent failed attempts to stimulate the economy through massive deficit spending. Liberals told us then that weak economic growth and skyrocketing unemployment were the "new normal," and even suggested that people try to see the lighter side of joblessness.

* The 1980s were characterized by a positive turn in the tide of the Cold War, economic upward mobility, cleaner people, cable television, good frozen pizzas, and positive developments pretty much across the board. Nobody ever referred to it as "the new normal."

* Some analysts are expressing annoyance that there seems to be a political divide about the coronavirus, by which conservatives are taking warnings less seriously than liberals are. This might help explain why. Here in Pennsylvania, the liquor stores are owned and operated by the state, a circumstance we've repeatedly failed to rectify. As part of his response to the virus, Governor Tom Wolf shut them all down. What for? Liquor stores don't attract large crowds of people, at least not until the announcement is made that they're closing. (Wolf ironically created a mini-Black Friday, at the same time he was supposed to be encouraging "social distancing.") This action served no purpose, other than for a liberal Democrat executive to tell the people who's boss.

* You might have heard people calling the phrase "social distancing" Orwellian. It's not, for the simple reason that it actually means what it says. For a phrase to sound as if it had been ripped from the pages of 1984, it must refer to the opposite of what the words actually mean. "Affirmative action" is Orwellian. "Planned Parenthood" is Orwellian. "The People's Republic of China" is Orwellian. "Social distancing" is just kind of silly.

* If the authorities want to convince us of their trustworthiness, they need to make the ubiquitous sign language clowns go away. There is no live audience for any of these press conferences, and deaf people watching at home have got closed captioning. The omnipresence of these translators is a symbolic measure that does not seriously address the problem it pretends to. Hardly a helpful image while trying to convince Americans that reality requires us to indefinitely suspend our lives.

* Before the entire sports world was shut down, the pre-anthem announcement at Pittsburgh Penguin games had been revised to say, "If you are able, please rise." Needless to say, there had never been any expectation that those who are unable to stand would do so. Not only is this unnecessary, it's insulting. What kind of an oaf says "don't get up" so someone in a wheelchair?

* If you've detected a tone of bitterness toward the worldwide cancelation of all sporting events, you're right. If every sports league and governing body in America had concluded on its own that it was necessary to shut down, they would not have all done so at once. The fact that they all fell like dominoes within hours of the NBA's announcement tells us that they were motivated less by concern about the coronavirus than by concern about being concerned about it.

* Nobody wants to be seen as making light of the coronavirus, but it's apparently fine to trivialize the economic effects of the panic. The NCAA canceled its tournaments for not only basketball and hockey, but also baseball, even though the brackets for that tournament aren't drawn until Memorial Day. The absence of this year's College World Series, slated for mid-June, is bound to be devastating for the city of Omaha. The NCAA clearly took no such thing into consideration.

* The last sport standing was Australian rules football, whose season was halted by government dictate after only one week. That week's games were played in empty stadiums, but they did give viewers around the world a chance to watch a live sporting event for the only time in several weeks. In what way was anyone threatened by that?

* As of this writing, the CDC estimates that somewhere between 23,000 and 59,000 people in the United States have died from the flu over the past year. This raises a number of questions that journalists should be asking, but are not. Considering the remarkable vagueness of this guess, how literally should we be taking the death totals form the coronavirus? Is it an actual count, or is it the top end of a range of possibilities? If the worldwide death total from the coronavirus is just now in the same ballpark as the American death total from this year's flu, then how does it compare to the worldwide total from the flu? We're told that comparisons between the flu and the coronavirus are invalid because a vaccine exists for the flu, but doesn't that make it all the more remarkable that the numbers of dead from the flu are so staggering. Why is it considered so callous to question whether the coronavirus justifies turning us all into hermits, when it's perfectly okay to be totally dismissive of far greater numbers of flu victims?

* The danger in making this argument is that, rather than convincing people that we're overreacting to the coronavirus, it could have the opposite effect. By this time next year, we could find ourselves living in a grim, dystopian otherworld simply because of the flu.

* What's not being counted are the people who have been sickened, hospitalized and killed by anxiety-related illnesses that have been brought on by the panic. Whatever those numbers are, they've got to be big.

* This demonstration of people's willingness to accept deprivations is going to encourage other, less innocent emergency declarations in the future. Our next Democrat president might declare some sort of an eco-greenie-planetty emergency that requires the rationing of energy and a ban on the sale of red meat. Does that sound so unlikely? Think about it next time you're driving to a neighboring state to buy booze.

* Aside from Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie's pointless, momentary obstruction of the federal coronavirus relief bill, libertarians have been AWOL since the outbreak of the virus. Right when they have a chance to emerge as the champions of individual liberties that they claim to be, they're probably too busy smoking pot, as usual.

* In case anyone has forgotten, this is a presidential election year, and early indications are that Joe Biden plans to aggressively challenge Trump on his handling of the coronavirus. That's a tricky proposition, considering the 12,500 Americans who died from the H1N1 virus outbreak during the Obama-Biden administration. What, you don't remember watching the rolling death totals from that one every day on the news? Hmmm.

* This promises to be a virtually issue-free campaign, to be decided primarily by which candidate most impresses the voters with his ability to stand up to the other. Trump's one big chance to blow it is to let Biden appear to be the stronger personality. When Biden tries to bully him on the debate stage, Trump must respond forcefully and directly. If, instead, he seeks refuge on Twitter, where he resumes his mean high school girl routine, he loses.

* Last time such emphasis was put on manliness in a presidential race, Al Gore decided to become an "alpha male" by wearing lots of earth tones, taking man lessons from feminist author Naomi Wolf, and making himself up to look like a cross between Ronald Reagan and Peter Boyle. And people think this year's race is going to be entertaining. We didn't know how good we had it back then.

* Biden's greatest danger, and one he seems unable to avoid, is his tendency to attack in the wrong direction. Whereas Trump saves his vitriol for his political enemies, including the media, Biden often unloads on voters he meets on the campaign trail, including some who are predisposed to vote for him.

* The former vice president called one woman at a town hall meeting a "lying, dog-faced pony soldier," whatever in tarnation he meant by that. He claimed it was a line from a movie, and that he was only joking. Not surprisingly, the woman didn't take it that way. He was probably mangling a reference from Hondo, but never mind. Imagine the news coverage if Trump called a female constituent a lying, dog-faced anything.

* Unfortunately, we don't have to imagine. We have Trump's 2015 remarks about Carly Fiorina to answer that for us. The outrage in that instance was totally justified. So where's the same treatment for Biden?

* As long as we're all cooped up, if you happen to have a video of Hondo, do yourself a favor, and watch it.



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