Ben Shapiro: Don’t Talk About Homelessness Or Infrastructure During Pandemic Reply

The Republican Party ultimately stands for only three things: advancing the class interests of the right-wing of the plutocracy (the old-bourgeoisie and the Sunbelt industries), advancing the war-profiteering of the military-industrial complex, and advancing the expansionist objectives of Israel. Guys like Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin are merely mouthpieces for the Republican elites, who put on the veneer of a faux conservative/libertarian hybrid (a scam known as “fusionism” that was cultivated by the National Review crowd in the 1960s and was essentially the strategic/propaganda line of the GOP from the Reagan era until Trump). Trumpism combined with the shrinking size of the Republican constituency and the economic decline of the WASP working class has pushed some Republicans toward faux populism, much to the frustration of these unreconstructed fusionists like Shapiro.

Fear and Loathing In Coronaville Volume 3: Forced Social Media Distancing Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

It has recently become abundantly clear that Facebook hates my fucking guts. I’ve suspected as much for a while now but this week it became pretty much undeniable. After posting my praise for the latest victories of the fabulous Houthi rebels, those faceless censors at America’s biggest social media juggernaut regretfully informed me that I had violated their pristine standards by supporting “dangerous individuals and organizations”, and since this was my third offense, they’re blocking me from posting on all their platforms for thirty days. They tossed another 7 days of forced isolation from instant messaging on the fire when I attempted to finish a comment on a friend’s post that I was in the middle of when they spanked me. Apparently, I’ve been a bad bad girl. Pappa Zuckerburg needs to send me to bed without supper thirty times in a row, all at the height of social distancing season with my clinical depression already in full bloom. I can’t even message my epileptic bestie back in plague ravaged England to make sure she’s not ice cold on the kitchen floor of her girlfriends flat. And for what exactly? What the fuck even is a dangerous individual or organization?

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Is Marriage Over? Reply

By Manvir Singh

Aeon.Com

At 17, John Humphrey Noyes thought a lot about women. An awkward teenager with a gangly neck and slouching shoulders, he fretted over how good looks were the key to success, especially when pursuing women. And he was shy. ‘So unreasonable and excessive is my bashfulness,’ he wrote in his journal, ‘that I fully believe that I could face a battery of cannon with less trepidation than I could a room full of ladies with whom I was unacquainted.’ Little did he know that he would go on to have sex with dozens of women, fathering children with at least nine in a ten-year period.

Noyes was born in 1811. His father was a Congressman for Vermont. His mother worked to instil in her son a religious reverence, hoping that he would become a ‘minister of the Everlasting Gospel’. In 1831, her wish seemed likely to come true. Noyes, then 20, announced that he would devote himself to the service of God’s truth, and entered a seminary in Andover, Massachusetts. Rather than accepting his teachers’ doctrine, however, he became consumed with the revivalist furore sweeping the northeast like a prairie fire. He left Andover for Yale University and started an uproar when he began preaching Perfectionism, the heretical notion that a religious life must be free of sin. Argumentative and charismatic, Noyes became a local celebrity and attracted small crowds of supporters, opponents and gawkers.

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Tom Cotton Deserves No Credit for Getting the Coronavirus Right Reply

One of the nuttiest guys in Congress actually got it at least partially right on COVID-19, not because he’s actually smart, but because he’s a hysterical Sinophobe.

By Matt Purple

The American Conservative

Tom Cotton is the Senate’s anti-Cassandra. Whereas Cassandra’s apocalyptic visions were never believed and always come true, Cotton’s are seized upon despite usually being ludicrous fantasies.

Thus did Cotton once claim that ISIS was teaming up with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the southern border and launch attacks in Arkansas. In 2013, he warned a constituent that she shouldn’t sign up for the Obamacare exchanges because Russian mobsters might steal her identity and sell it on the black market. In 2015, he suggested that ratifying President Obama’s arms deal with Iran could lead to nuclear war. Two years earlier, he’d contended that the threat from Iran was so grave that the family members of those who violated sanctions should be thrown in prison.

Now he’s being hailed as a prophet.

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Doug Casey on the Coronavirus Fallout Reply

The always interesting Doug Casey. Listen here.

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Doug Casey, whose book Crisis Investing spent 29 weeks at the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list, joins me to assess the fallout from the various governmental responses to the coronavirus, as well as his own approach to a crisis like this.

You Want Your Grandmother Dead, Says the Herd Reply

Tom Woods and Dave Smith on the primitive instincts of the herd. Listen here.
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Dave Smith and I discuss the approach being recommended to cope with COVID-19. Is “if this saves one life, I’ll be happy” a sensible way to think about the world? If you object to shutdowns for indeterminate amounts of time, does this mean you want your grandmother dead? This episode is taken from my recent appearance on Part of the Problem, Dave Smith’s podcast.

End of “WOKE” & the Politics of PROSPERITY #CANCELLED Reply

Will Coronavirus and Great Depression Two be the end of “wokeness”? I doubt it. “Wokeness” actually increased by an order of magnitude after the Great Recession. I see no evidence that the “culture wars” have subsided in the context of the present crisis. If anything, extremist movements, left and right, will become more commonplace in the context of rapid economic decline.

Why are Middle-class People so Left Wing? Reply

Historically, totalitarian revolutions have been driven by the left-wing of the middle class during times when the middle-class (or at least segments of the middle class)  is rising on a socioeconomic level but has its political ambitions frustrated by deeply entrench elites. I believe this theory explains the French Revolution as well as the Marxist revolutions from the 20th century as well as any.

Today, in the West, we see that the primary constituency for “totalitarian humanism,” is among the upwardly mobile strata of the middle class, which tends to be highly educated, urban-centered, and with highly cosmopolitan cultural values. The actual proletariat (or today’s “post-bourgeois-proletariat,” i.e. the sinking “working to middle-class” in countries like the US) and the peasanty (or rural, agricultural populations generally) tend to be reactionary.

Within the context of today’s US politics, the “Center” (establishment) is comprised of the neoliberal managerial elites (represented in politics by Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer and Republicans like Romney and McConnell).  The right-wing of the Republican Party (both “ultra-conservatives” and Trumpian populists) and others further to the right (white nationalists, Alt-Right, fascists, etc.) represent a coalition or agglomeration of forces that were once dominant but have been losing power for generations (the old-bourgeoisie, the post-bourgeois proletariat, WASP culture, rural culture, traditional religion, etc). While the “turn-back-the-clock” politics of these sectors may be retrograde and self-defeating, many people from these sectors can be very insightful in their critiques of what I call “totalitarian humanism” because they see its growing influence and correctly view it as a threat to their own interests.

The left-wing of the Democratic Party represents a wide range of sectors that collectively comprise the constituency of “totalitarian humanism” including:

-The left-wing of the middle class (predominantly, the urban, professional class)

-The lower strata of the managerial elites (what the neocons’ have called the “new class”)

-Elite and upwardly mobile sectors of traditional minority groups: the civil rights bureaucracy/industry (typically led by the bourgeois sectors within minority groups), “Women’s March” types(Big Pink), the gay rights establishment (Big Lavender), what Norman Finkelstein calls the “Holocaust industry”, the organized atheist movement (secular fundamentalism), rising religious minorities (e.g. bourgeois sectors among Muslim-Americans, Linda Sarsour, CAIR types, or New Age clerics like Marianne Williamson)

-Rising business interests challenging dominant business interests (the green energy industry’s challenge to the fossil fuel industry-Big Green vs. Big Oil- is an obvious example, Big Tech vs. traditional Chamber of Commerce types is another)

-What the Maoists/Third Worldists call the “labor aristocracy” (upper strata working class and the business union bureaucracy)

-Moral entrepreneurs and secular priests responsible for disseminating the ideological values of totalitarian humanism (the SPLC or Tim Wise-types, for example)

There is also the question of where those to the left of the Democratic Party stand in this paradigm. Clearly, groups like the Green Party or DSA share the same basic values as the left-wing of the Democratic Party while rejecting the Democratic Party as an organizational vehicle with which to achieve their goals. The hyper-SJW types found primarily in the academic world and the activist left might be considered ultra-fundamentalist versions of totalitarian, with the Antifa sectors simply representing “totalitarian humanism for sociopaths.” Much of the Anarchist left has been regrettably co-opted and subsumed by these sectors. Historically, the Anarchist left has had a very unfortunate tendency to attach itself to left-wing totalitarian tendencies, only to be subsequently backstabbed and purged.

Interestingly, at least some actual Marxist-Leninist tendencies (predominantly, those with Eurasianist or Third Worldist inclinations) seem to be functioning outside the paradigm of totalitarian humanism and have even embraced some criticisms of the managerial elites which overlap those voiced by the right.

Axios editor blames ‘conservatives on Twitter’ for how certain red states have responded to COVID-19 Reply

By Becket Adams

Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei holds conservative and right-wing media responsible for how certain red states have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Congratulations, Rush Limbaugh. You are the first person in history to rule as the unofficial governor of multiple U.S. states. Stacey Abrams must be so jealous.

VandeHei’s remarks came Thursday amid a broader discussion ripping into Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who announced recently that he just learned that asymptomatic victims of the virus are as contagious as those who are obviously ill, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who only recently issued a “stay-at-home” order for the Sunshine State.

“What you’re seeing here, and this is a bigger problem for society, is information inequality,” VandeHei said during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Like, why did DeSantis do what he did? Why did Georgia wait so long?”

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What Will Happen When Red States Need Help? Reply

By Peter Nicholas

CNN

It shouldn’t be all that remarkable when two leaders talk in a crisis. On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump got on the phone with Mayor Bill de Blasio to discuss what New York City needs to survive a white-hot outbreak that is only getting worse. De Blasio asked him to send more ventilators and military personnel, warning that in a week’s time, the health-care system could be overwhelmed.

Yet with these particular leaders at this particular point in history, it is remarkable. Until recently, de Blasio told me, none of his calls to the upper reaches of the White House were returned. Two weeks ago, the Democratic mayor said publicly that Trump was “betraying” his native city by not sending more life-saving medical equipment. Ever sensitive to criticism, Trump said, in turn: “I’m not dealing with him.”

Defeating a pandemic is hard enough, but Trump has introduced another layer of complexity: He has personalized the battlefield. He calls COVID-19 “the invisible enemy,” but he also seems fixated on the visible variety—all Democratic leaders, who in his view have been insufficiently grateful for the federal government’s response. A stray complaint about equipment shortages invites a public feud with the man controlling the spigot. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” the president said at a news conference last week.

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How we can combat coronavirus and political division at the same time (opinion) Reply

By Julia A. Minson

CNN

If you are like me, you have had several encounters with friends, neighbors and relatives who, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, behaved in some way that almost made your blood boil.

These could range from general assertions that we are “overreacting,” to concrete plans to take that vacation or hold that birthday party because “It’ll be ok.” This perspective violates the scientific consensus supported by most of the medical and public health community — and is contributing to putting lives at risk by helping to spread the pandemic.

Even people who wholeheartedly agree with the scientific consensus have sometimes responded in unhelpful and dangerous ways, including hoarding face masks, toilet paper and even guns.

What do you do when in the midst of a life-threatening, economy-destroying, terror-inducing public health crisis people around you seem to disregard their government — or behave in otherwise irrational ways?

Most responses I have seen involve condescending and ever-less-patient explanations of why the person in front of you is wrong; public shaming, often on social media, often in ALL CAPS; and gradual escalation into eye-rolling and raised voices. It doesn’t help that, according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on March 14, the attitudes and beliefs about coronavirus have become politicized: for example, while 68% of Democrats believe that coronavirus is a serious threat to the health of their family, only 40% of Republicans think so.

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Even in states hit harder by the coronavirus, views of the outbreak correlate to partisanship Reply

By Philip Bump

Washington Post

One of the interesting and alarming aspects of the steady spread of the coronavirus across the country is the extent to which views of the pandemic differ by political party. Republicans consistently report less concern about the virus and that they’re taking fewer actions meant to slow the virus’s spread.

This partisan difference is clearly in part a function of President Trump’s approach to the emergence of the virus, an approach that has only sporadically deviated from unrealistically optimistic predictions and assessments of the administration’s efforts. It may also be a function of geography: Three-quarters of the coronavirus cases in the United States were confirmed in blue states. The virus has been slower to emerge in more rural states, which tend to vote more heavily Republican, though even smaller states are seeing exponential growth in confirmed cases.

This raises an interesting question. Are Republicans more skeptical of the effects of the virus because they’re Republicans or because they live in places where the virus isn’t as prevalent?

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The pandemic is dividing blue cities from their red states Reply

By Ronald Brownstein

CNN

The struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic has opened a new front in the long-running conflict between blue cities and red states.

Across a wide array of states with Republican governors, many of the largest cities and counties — most of them led by Democrats — moved aggressively to limit economic and social activity. State officials, meanwhile, refused to impose the strictest statewide standards to fight the virus.

A chorus of big-city officials in red states from Florida, Georgia and Mississippi to Texas, Arizona and Missouri urged their governors to establish uniform statewide rules, arguing that refusing to do so undercut their local initiatives by increasing the risk the disease would cluster in neighboring areas — from which it could easily reinfect their populations.

On Tuesday afternoon, after weeks of complaints from local officials and medical officials, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide order restricting social interactions to essential activities (albeit with some conspicuous exceptions). Others have followed suit.

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Partisan reaction to uneven COVID spread Reply

By Dante Chinni

NBC News

WASHINGTON — The spread of the COVID-19 virus has not occurred evenly around the country. Urban areas, such as New York City, have been harder than rural locales and that difference in impacts follows some of the deep partisan political splits in the country.

Democrats and Republicans seem to be experiencing the coronavirus differently and that may be playing a role in how they see the pandemic – at least for now.

As of Friday this week, there were more than 102,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States and roughly 1,700 counties had at least one confirmed case, according to data from USAFacts, which is updating maps of virus data daily. But look at those numbers through the prism of the 2016 election and they are hitting Democratic-leaning counties much harder.

About 77 percent of those confirmed cases were in the 490 counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. And the overwhelming majority of those Clinton counties, 81 percent, had at least one case. Meanwhile, there were more than 2600 counties that voted for President Trump in 2016, but they hold only 19 percent of the cases. On the whole, only 50 percent of those Trump counties have a single case.

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Partisanship is the strongest predictor of coronavirus response Reply

By David Roberts

Vox

The US is a land divided. Americans have sorted themselves into opposing factions, with different values, sources of authority, and shared understandings. In some ways, there is no longer any meaningful US “public,” but rather two publics that want and believe different things.

The current state of deep polarization in the US is the subject of a great deal of discussion and research right now, including in an excellent new book by my colleague Ezra Klein. One aspect of it that I have highlighted in a number of posts (start here) is what I call America’s epistemic crisis. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy having to do with knowledge and how we come to know things; the crisis is that, as a polity, we have become incapable of learning or knowing the same things, and thus, incapable of acting together in a coherent fashion.

I have been wondering when that epistemic crisis might spiral out into a full-fledged political crisis. I wondered if it might happen around the Mueller investigation, or when Trump sent 5,000 troops to the southern border to stop a phantom migrant invasion, or when Trump was impeached.

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In states’ coronavirus response, a red/blue divide Reply

By Jess Bidgood

Boston Globe

It was Saturday night on a main street in the South, but locals described something odd: One side of the street was almost normal, if quiet, with restaurants serving dinner and groups of young people milling around. The other side of the street looked practically vacant.

“There was no foot traffic on the left side,” recalled business owner Janet Atwell, 51.

Both sides of State Street are in cities called Bristol, but the left side is Virginia, the right side is Tennessee and the yellow line down the middle of the road is both a state border and a new frontier in this country’s uneven response to the coronavirus outbreak that often is breaking down along partisan lines.

The different scenes on either side of the pavement reflected the differing pace of the two state’s governors as they seek to contain the pandemic. On that Saturday night on March 21, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, had established stricter limits on public gatherings than Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee, a Republican. Since then, both governors have banned dining inside restaurants and public gatherings of more than 10 people, but Northam has ordered a larger swath of nonessential businesses to close.

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Whoopi Goldberg’s outrageous treatment of Bernie on The View Reply

Guinan needs to stick to bartending.

It’s rather remarkable that a lame FDR liberal like Bernie is considered too much for the professional celebrities/neoliberal puppets at The View. That Bernie endorsed Hillary in 2016 (as opposed to, say, Jill Stein) is a blight on his record, not a brownie point.