One of the things that very much doesn’t matter, and I can’t stress this enough, is Donald Trump’s opinion on anything.
After five years of being a windbag who dominated the press, he has been silenced. His last messages were “Go down to Congress and tell them…” followed by “We love you; you’re special; go home.” He is now off Twitter, off Facebook, and if Parler were still functioning— but of course it’s not.
Well, all right; last time it was personal too — and political. It’s a pop culture reference, not an epitaph; it’s not graven in stone.
So — yes, Trump is getting impeached — again. And, even though the Senate won’t reconvene until the Inauguration is over, it’s actually meaningful. We all know that the first penalty that can be assessed is removal from office, but they could well pursue the second penalty, which would forbid him from ever again holding any office of trust. This process is thus unlikely to get dismissed as moot.
All Cops Are Bastards, until they’re beat up by a right-wing mob. When that happens, they’re heroic defenders of our proud democratic institutions, and the flag goes to half mast. They should be defunded — until you don’t have enough force to stop that angry mob. Which, by the way, was a tenth the size of any of the other angry mobs we’ve faced this year. We’re horrified to watch police violence on television, until the moment when the dumbass eating the nightstick is wearing the wrong color of hat — or the wrong color of skin, as some news outlets would leap in to mention, salivating over their ratings bump.
Oh, I get rooting for the home team. You’re a Democrat; you hate when Democrats get beat up. You’re a Republican; you’re embarrassed when Republicans riot and do dumb shit on a selfie cam. That’s perfectly normal. Last thing you want to do is identify with the loser, so naturally you justify the riot and blame someone else. All summer BLM has been blaming the right wing fringe for the fires and looting; now, Republicans are blaming antifa for busting down the doors. Yet it’s perfectly obvious to all and sundry that there’s plenty of room for copious and extravagant dumbassery on both sides of the political aisle.
Happy New Year, and welcome to the first year of the Twenties. May they Roar!
In case you’ve been overwhelmed by headlines and internet trends, here’s a few happenings you may have missed over the past few days. For those of you who have been avoiding all media but this, I’ll mention a couple of recent events that everyone else will recognize. I’m sure they won’t mind.
I was posed a question over Christmas. It was respectful and well-meaning, but the gist of it was, “Why do you bother to do this? You’re no expert, and sometimes you’re wrong.”
And that’s perfectly true: I have no degree in political science, nor even one in journalism. From time to time I’ll make a mistake — sometimes an egregious one. It’s even possible that the entire premise of an article might be completely off-base. These are all quite valid points, and it’s worth remembering them when you read: I might be wrong.
On the other hand, it’s occasionally possible everyone else is wrong.
In early July, we released an exhaustive article on COVID-19 trends. It was meticulously researched, with dozens of subordinate links to data sources. In it, we cited our earlier prediction that, unless Americans were to act with unprecedented foresight and responsibility, we were looking at between one and six million deaths by the end of autumn. Our tracking gave us cause for cautious optimism.
Winter officially begins in one week, and the official COVID-19 death count just passed 300,000. Given the standard two to six week lag time in reports combined with a 3000+ person daily increase, the final numbers will be closer to 400,000 by that point. Advances in hospital treatment protocols combined with local lockdowns and responsible behavior in much of the country have prevented, at great cost, the loss of millions of American lives. Our optimism has proven justified.
I’m going to be frank with you, and I want you to know why.
The thing is, we spend so much time pussy-footing around dangerous thoughts and ideas these days because we feel we can’t discuss them openly. Cancel Culture has taken its toll; the list of former celebrities only ever grows. Attrition is less among politicians, but pundits and journalists vanish almost daily, because they say something that society refuses to accept — there’s invisible lines, and they cross them, and that’s just something that cannot be borne.
Without judging this phenomenon, I want to acknowledge it and explain in terms accessible even to the meanest understanding why it does not dissuade me from being brutally open and honest about this topic.
Congress has been fighting for months over the size of the next stimulus package. Now that the election has been more or less decided, there remains a chance that the lame-duck session might pass something in time for Christmas. But should they, and if so how much?