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Three Wednesdays That Shook the Nation

January 31, 2021

It didn’t take long for 2021 to rival its tumultuous predecessor.

2020 was a tough act to follow: a global pandemic that wouldn’t quit… prominently publicized police killings of black people… Black Lives Matter protests that spiraled into nationwide riots and anarchy… an insistent and pervasive “reckoning” about America’s history of racism… the mainstreaming of “woke” politics on the left and increasingly militant Trumpism on the right… a contentious presidential campaign followed by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to concede defeat.

It’s not easy to top such a year, but 2021 opened with the promise of even greater national discord and derangement. The first three Wednesdays alone were enough to both shake us and stir us, with reverberations heard around the world.

Wednesday, January 6: the insurrection

President Trump claimed the election was rigged, as we expected he might. He challenged several of the swing states and didn’t get the results he wanted. Then, on January 6, he incited his base to march to the Capitol and stop the official electoral vote as it was being tallied.

Did Trump incite them to storm the Capitol, wreak havoc and disrupt the vote by force? Not explicitly, but he knew the situation was potentially explosive and he lit the fuse. Still not convinced? He watched on TV as the mob rioted, broke into the Capitol and rampaged through the halls as our representatives stopped counting the votes and ran for cover. He needed to condemn the attempted insurrection on the spot; he didn’t, and that made him complicit by default.

Video footage of the assault was terrifying to watch: hundreds of deranged protesters, many of them armed, broke down doors and windows, attacked police and screamed death threats against House Speaker Pelosi and even Vice President Pence. They might have carried out their bloody revenge if a heroic Capitol police guard hadn’t lured them away from their intended targets. As it was, at least five people died – police and rioters alike.

The relative ease with which the mob broke into the citadel of American democracy raised suspicions that at least some Capitol police were complicit in the attempted coup. Unsubstantiated rumors swirled that Trump himself had ordered them to stand down and let the insurrectionists proceed.

Had Trump lost the last vestige of his sanity? Was our president a deranged man or just a diabolical one? Whatever his mental state, he had finally ventured into the land beyond the pale.

Trump’s name, already tarnished by his congenital narcissism, serial lying, reckless tweeting and contempt for civil discourse, will likely enter future American history books as a synonym for villainy: the first president to incite an assault on the Capitol, Congress and the electoral process. Whatever good he accomplished (and yes, this moderate acknowledges that at least a few of his policies were praiseworthy among the many that weren’t) will be lost amid his final act of belligerent megalomania. In a weird twist, he’ll achieve the immortality he undoubtedly feels he deserves.

Wednesday, January 13: the impeachment. 

We could see it coming: Trump needed to be punished, and Congressional Democrats wouldn’t let the chance slip away. Although the president would be leaving the White House the following week, he’d be subjected to the humiliation of another trial in the Senate: the first president in history to be impeached twice.

It would be a mostly partisan affair: every House Democrat voted for impeachment while 201 out of 211 Republicans voted against it. Would impeaching Trump just generate more bad blood between our already antagonistic parties? Would it satisfy the revenge fantasies of the “Never Trumpers” who detested him from Day One – at the price of further enraging his fanatically loyal base? Wasn’t the incoming Biden presidency supposed to be about reconciliation?

As a moderate who voted against Trump in 2016, I had hoped that this most immoderate of men might grow into the presidency. I could see him using his rogue populist bravado to govern with blunt common sense, break the power of the corporatist establishment and send the lobbyists packing. Yes, he definitely turned out to be a populist – the kind of populist demagogue who veers dangerously close to fascism. And yes, he definitely went rogue – his rude nature, erratic pronouncements and alarming deficit of empathy alienated most of the nation’s thinking class.

When he finally went off the rails after losing the 2020 election, twisting arms to “find” missing votes and still desperately insisting that he won by a landslide, it was clear that his term would come to an ugly end. And so it did.

But the question remains: Why go through the motions of impeachment when 1) Trump had only a week remaining in office and 2) there was virtually no chance of a conviction in the Senate? Wouldn’t a censure have been enough? Couldn’t we wait for his inevitable downfall in the jumble of lawsuits that are certain to plague him in the coming months? The short answer: Trump needed to be punished by whatever means possible for inciting a rebellion.

Wednesday, January 20: the inauguration and the first executive orders.

As Joe Biden took the oath of office on the same Capitol steps that witnessed the insurrection two Wednesdays earlier, hope seemed to permeate the air. Immeasurable relief, too – because a dark episode in American history was finally behind us. Or was it?

Biden’s inaugural address soared with almost Lincolnesque appeals to our better angels — for binding up the nation’s wounds and moving forward as a united people.

”With unity we can do great things, important things,” the fledgling 78-year-old president told us. “Without unity, there is no peace. Only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

He pledged to be “a president for all Americans.’ And he promised that “I will fight as hard for for those who did not support me as for those who did.”

Biden eloquently addressed the deep divide in the polarized nation whose leadership he inherited. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this – if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

Wise words, but would they stick? And would Biden himself stick to them?

That very evening, the new president signed 17 executive orders. Most of them were fair enough: COVID-related measures, extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, an ethics pledge for Executive Branch employees, and reversals of Trump’s anti-environmental policies.

But he also ventured into controversial areas that were sure to ruffle feathers on the right: stopping ICE deportations, canceling the Keystone Pipeline project, and halting construction of the Mexican border wall.

He also tossed Trump’s controversial “1776 Commission,” which sought to combat the leftist 1619 Project with a “patriotic” rewriting of American history. Was Biden’s executive order a tacit approval of the white-bashing Critical Race Theory being disseminated in classrooms and boardrooms across the country? Probably not, but of course he issued no executive order discarding CRT as a teaching tool.

Biden also issued an EO banning workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. Fair enough, right? But some conservatives interpreted this order as a green light allowing male-to-female transgender athletes to compete against honest-to-God women and use their locker rooms. There was nothing in the order to explicitly support their concerns; at the same time, there was nothing in it to dismiss them.

In short, Biden has raced to undo Trump’s legacy by fiat, just as Trump raced to undo Obama’s. Many if not most of Biden’s executive orders have been praiseworthy; some have been questionable; all of them have been one-man proclamations. Is this Biden’s interpretation of “unity”? Is he forging a new model for centering more power in the presidency?

When a new alpha lion takes over a pride, he generally kills all the cubs sired by his predecessor. With a savage display of raw power, the new monarch eliminates the defeated lion’s DNA from the group and promptly impregnates the lionesses with his own DNA. (Who would have suspected that lions were four-footed geneticists?)

Joe Biden is a man of decent instincts, so we moderates should probably wait a little longer before we start questioning his unilateral approach to national unity. He’s doing what he believes is necessary to dispel the nightmares spawned by four years of Trumpdom. If he moves too far toward compulsory “wokeness,” we need to speak up.

A larger question: do we even need unity to move forward together as a nation? Moving forward together is essential; unity on all issues is not. We can be friendly adversaries who debate politics over dinner and drinks. We can trade lively barbs like the college students of an earlier generation, hear each other out, disagree heartily but forget our differences when we stop arguing about politics and enjoy the common humanity that binds us. That’s the ideal, and we need to pursue it now more than ever.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available in e-book form on Amazon (and elsewhere) for just $2.99 each.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2021 12:43 am

    Rick, there is no “moderate” in government at the federal level, except for maybe Susan Collins and Joe Manchin. could be a couple more, but their numbers are so small they have no influence.

    “Moderate” only exists in the minds of some voters that are left to accept the crap the extreme of each party gives them. Biden is no moderate. He is just less extreme than those he ran against in the democrat primaries. Joe Biden of the 90’s was a moderate. One can look back years and find that more politicians were moderate than extreme. That no longer exist. Nixon and Ted Kennedy was on the brink of introducing a healthcare plan for America until Watergate blocked that in a heart beat. Kennedy would not agree to anything Nixon had his name on, but it is an example of who were moderates years ago and how they compare to politicians today.

    So don’t expect any miraculous awakening on either side of the isle and any legislation to occur that has bipartisan acceptance. The right will continue in its hard line on immigration, denial of climate change, expectations of personal responsibility and fewer environmental and worker protections. Democrats will continue to invite illegal immigrants into the county (since offspring are legal and vote democrat), create unreasonable requirements on Americans to control climate change that China does not have to match and support laws that force individuals to accept social norms like Trans women competing in womens sports.

    this country is divided because it is to the advantage of political parties to have it divided. Just look at the record turnouts in voting this past year due to how divided the country is. Which ever party does a better job in division and energizing their base ends up in control.

    No longer is it which party has the better agenda. It is who can create anger better that gets elected.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      February 2, 2021 5:41 pm

      Good observations, Ron. I understand your pessimistic outlook. There would have to be a moderate movement within both parties to combat the excesses of their resident extremists (who make all the noise, of course). Or, if it looks as if the extremists have a stranglehold on both parties, it might be time for the remaining moderate Democrats and Republicans to join forces and create a new party.

      When was the last time a new party succeeded and took root? In the 1850s, unfortunately. But that was a sharply polarized era like ours, so the climate might be right. I know this much: there are still enough moderates in the electorate to support such a party — and their numbers might grow now that a polarizing figure like Trump has retreated to the sidelines. I’m encouraged by mainstream Republicans like McConnell speaking out against the nutjobs in the party.

      You also made a good point about both parties thriving on the anger they generate. Same holds true of the media. It’s all about stirring the tribal instinct, and that will be hard to overcome.

  2. rondabellelane permalink
    February 1, 2021 8:18 am

    Morning Rick… You know I’m a bit more liberal than you, so I’m sure you can figure out the points where I disagree… although not to any huge extent. That should serve as a counterpoint to the rather bleak opinion above – people CAN disagree without putting a wrench in success.
    Yes – our country is terribly divided, and many judgements are askew on what we need in order to establish a proper and fair pathway to what (I truly hope) most citizenry desire.
    I’ve always said, and I will continue to say, that the solution is education. An education at home that does not discriminate, and an education in school that does the same.
    So many our age accepted these environments without question, and continued on doing the same – displaying anger rather than learning as new findings and changes occurred. We need to do better.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      February 2, 2021 5:55 pm

      Ronda: Education is one of the keys to an informed electorate. Being open to opposing ideas is also important, and unfortunately our schools and media are telling us that there are “acceptable” and “unacceptable” ideas. (Of course, some ideas, like communism, fascism and terrorism, really are unacceptable.)

      But you’re right that too many Americans (across the political spectrum) simply respond with anger whenever their ideas are challenged. I’ve seen it happen on Facebook. People align themselves with those who reflect their own biases. They derive all their ideas from their own isolated amen corner. They form a cohesive tribe, and they’re hostile toward anyone who disputes the tribal beliefs. They’re regarded as heretics, and you know what the Church used to do to heretics in the old days: they “canceled” them. Not much has changed.

  3. Vermonta permalink
    February 1, 2021 12:33 pm

    Nice piece Rick you and I are on the same page these days. One thing I will disagree on, trump did not “finally go beyond the pale”, he behaved no differently during and after the election than he did for his entire presidency. Simply, his populist revolution reached its obvious next stage, which it was building to for the last 5 years.

    As usual I am torn two ways about trump having successfully taken over the minds of the vast majority of GOP voters. As a democrat I can see that the new form of the GOP, which I call the TIP, the trump insurrection party, is likely to be shut out of the POTUS for a very long time, perhaps even for the rest of my lifetime. The GOP could hardly win the POTUS, the TIP will have an even less likely path to produce the POTUS. They are going to face a strong headwind at every level. This is a disaster for the party that Romney, Bush, McCain, and even Reagan led. As well, its very likely to be a disaster for the party that trump, along with vile jackasses like green, carlson, gaetz, hawley, cruz, etc. now are the chief forces in. Perhaps I am mistaken, perhaps America will let me down, but I suspect not, I do not think the TIP can do much winning, other than killing the GOP.

    The flip side is that while this is good for the Democrats, its bad for America. A cult of tens of millions who no longer can tell right from wrong or truth from nutjobbery (and already for many years) is not a good thing. My biggest political question is, how soon and to what extent will they turn to more and more violence? Certainly if they lose future elections to the extent I believe they may there is going to be an ever stronger impulse to forsake democracy.

    A quote from David Frum

    “Maybe you do not care much about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. The will reject democracy.”

  4. Rick Bayan permalink
    February 2, 2021 6:35 pm

    Roby: True… even a marginalized nutjob wing of the GOP presents a threat to democracy — especially if they’re denied access to power. (And of course we NEED to deny them access to power.) I’m heartened that even a GOP stalwart like McConnell has come to his senses and denounced the kooks within his party. As a hyperpartisan politician, he naturally wants to see the Republicans succeed. But like a stopped clock, even a hyperpartisan like McConnell is occasionally right.

    I have to wonder if Trump will still be mesmerizing his gullible base from exile in Florida, Russia or wherever he ends up. If not, there are enough outspoken loonies in the GOP to assume his mantle. The key is to deprogram the old Trump base. How? First, the elite left needs to stop showering contempt on them; that’s a start. Second, the woke left needs to tone down its anti-white rhetoric, much of which comes from radicalized whites. And finally, people need to stop regarding those on the other side of the divide as aliens or worse.

    I’ll never forget my Alaska cruise three years ago. My son and I entered the dining room on our first day out and heard all those country-boy (and girl) accents. I was surprised that I reacted like an East Coast elitist; I assumed we’d be breaking bread with yahoos (middle-class yahoos, but yahoos all the same). Well, as it turned out, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these people, all of whom struck me as friendly and decent. If they were Trump voters, we never knew it — because we never talked politics. Maybe that’s the key: try to find and enjoy what we have in common instead of what divides us.

  5. fran8302 permalink
    February 2, 2021 11:31 pm

    I saw a video not too long ago in which a young woman was replying to another woman who was asking “Where are all the Biden fans?” The answer- Most people that voted for Biden aren’t his “fans.” He was elected into public office to do a job, and if he says something we don’t like, we’re perfectly capable of criticizing him- that’s the difference between Biden voters and Trump supporters. I know that statement sounds very generalized, but it gets the point across. We’re not Democrats and Republicans anymore. We’re pro-Trump and anti-Trump. Democrats didn’t storm the Capitol because we didn’t like election results. I’ve heard a lot of right-wingers make comparisons of the insurrection to the BLM riots. While I obviously do not condone violence either way, there’s a huge difference between a civil movement to stop perceived injustices getting out of hand (mostly due to agitators and opportunists) and a planned attempted coup to change election results. I understand some concerns and apprehensions about Biden by some folks on the right that he might position himself to be a “puppet” for the woke left-wing cancel culture agenda. It’s too early to tell, but at the very least, do what I and many other “moderate” folks did in 2016 for Trump: give him a chance. If he really messes up and you feel alienated, then by all means, go out and protest, but right now, we need to take a step back from the extreme. Let’s all try to find common ground in the world before Trump. I know a few Trump supporters who have moved on to new hobbies besides ranting about politics on social media 24/7 and guess what? They seem happier, calmer, and definitely less angry. It’s kind of nice, and this is exactly what I was hoping would happen. While 2021 may have gotten off to a rough start, at least we have been mostly united by sharing the hilarious Bernie memes on social media and cheering on Redditors for taking down the powerful hedge fund managers by beating them at their own game in the stock market. So already we have some glimmers of hope for unity. My hope is that we’ll look back on these last four years as a lesson learned. I would love to be able to civilly debate conservatives on the issues again and agree to disagree.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      February 10, 2021 9:13 pm

      Well said, Fran — and welcome to our strangely deserted message board. Your comment practically encapsulates what it means to be a moderate. It’s unfortunate that outspoken moderates seem to be in such short supply when we’re needed now more than ever.

      Like you, I gave Trump a fair chance to grow in the office, and he fell short — alarmingly short. I voted for Biden, but I’ll definitely be speaking up if he veers too far to the left. I assume he needs to throw some red meat to the “woke” wing of his party, but I’m hoping his common sense and decent instincts prevail.

      • fran8302 permalink
        February 12, 2021 12:56 am

        Thank you! I’ve actually been reading for years, but only recently started joining in on the comments. I may be a little more on the “liberal” side, but I’m definitely one of the more moderate ones and it’s nice to find some like-minded people here to discuss politics with. I’ll definitely be on here more.

  6. Vermonta permalink
    February 3, 2021 9:38 am

    You are ever the idealistic optimist Rick.

    I am not of your belief here. I am appreciating McConnell these days but he and people like Cheney and Kiplinger are fighting a losing battle. The trump election lies followed by the insurrection have produced many polls that reveals just how large a percentage of republicans remain firmly in the grip of every type of lie and conspiracy theory. This did not wake them up, it stiffened their resolve. For having finally spoken up much too little much too late Mitch will simply be rejected by conservatives, as they have rejected a very long line of people like Ryan, Boehner, Romney,and on an on. These people are lost to reality and I repeat, cannot tell right from wrong. Their souls belong to the people like tucker carlson and kelli ward who will provide their heroin. You cannot deprogram adult people, its not legal. They have to deprogram themselves and they won’t. They will remain in this state for the ret of their lives, with a small number of exception. They live in an alternate universe of lies and bullshit, and much of the bullshit is not harmless, its vile.

    I have no desire to look kindly on them, they are dangerous and have to be kept from power .

  7. Vermonta permalink
    February 3, 2021 10:48 am

    This is the reality, Greene is very popular among her voters and has the full enthusiastic support of the TIP. Cheney is wildly unpopular, as is Kiplinger who has been disowned not once but twice by his relatives since voting to impeach trump. The Arizona GOP, having lost both of its senate seats and the the Arizona POTUS electoral votes has reelected Kelli Ward and censured Cindy McCain and the state’s GOP governor, among other trators to their trumpian cause .

    Following the insurrection polls showed that less than 20% of Republicans thought trump had done anything wrong. However, a majority of conservatives believed the Biden had incited the insurrection. These people do not know right from wrong or reality from bullshit. And, they are going to stay that way.

    This is the reality, the GOP is dead and the TIP is the new conservative party.

    https://www.npr.org/2021/02/03/960575854/gop-discord-once-again-has-trump-at-its-center

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      February 10, 2021 9:30 pm

      Roby: It’s astounding to me that a flaming nutjob like Marjorie Taylor Greene is the right’s new matinee idol, while conscientious Republicans like Cheney draw contempt from the GOP faithful. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; as you noted, the Trumpophiles dominate the party now — vocally if not in terms of sheer numbers.

      I’m still hoping that the sane core of the GOP has enough courage to denounce Trump and marginalize his deluded base. If enough Republican senators vote to convict Trump, it could cause a much-needed schism in the party. The far-right loonies could go off on their own — or if they insist on remaining in the GOP, the more moderate Republicans could form a new centrist party. That way, they could attract moderate Democrats who might be alienated by the woke folk in their party, and we’d have a whole new playing field in American politics. (I can hope, anyway.)

      • February 11, 2021 12:18 am

        Rick I think there is a minority in each party that are very vocal that make it seem like the extreme of each party is the norm.

        They dominate because most people don’t really care until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Then they vote.

        Problem is, what they have to vote for is the individuals that a very small percentage of voters in each party choose for them to pick from. For instance, in 2016 Donald Trump received a total of just over 14 million primary voters. In the general election he received 63 million votes. So 22% of the GOP voters actually picked Trump to represent the GOP in that election. In total 31 million people actually voted in the GOP primary which was less than 50% of the general election turnout. And remember, there were many “never voters” that turned out in 2016 to vote for Trump and were part of that 14M primary voters.

        People need to stop complaining about who they end up with as president and start complaining about the real problem in this county. People who really dont care one way or the other until it hits them personally.

        It is not that the sane core of the GOP needs to denounce Trump and marginalize his diluted base, it is people in both parties need to get off their dead ass and make their views known when the next primaries come around.

        Maybe then and only then will we end up with some sane politicians that have the country as their primary interest and not special interest groups, their party or their career as the most important issue.

      • Vermonta permalink
        February 11, 2021 2:15 pm

        Rick, believe me I wish that the few sane members of the GOP would turn out to be able to defeat its most extreme members and the gop would again resemble, say, the party of Reagan. When I read the polls of republican opinion I see little to give me hope. Its no longer 20 or 30% of republicans who are extremists and morally and factually lost, its 80+ percent.

        The GOP senators, with a very few exceptions, will exonerate trump, because they are well aware that republican voters overwhelmingly want that. They would fear for the careers and perhaps their lives, to do otherwise.

        I used to believe that most republicans and conservatives believed in individual responsibility. It was one of the parts of conservative philosophy I admired. That day is totally over.

        It is hard to believe that 50 or 60 million people have abandoned reality, sanity, and decency and joined a trumpian populist cult based on the ideology of obviously crazy people such as say lou dobbs or Giuliani, or vile poisonous and truly hateful grifters such as tucker carlson, but that is what has happened. Few of these people are going to deprogram themselves. The media will find the few that do repent and publish their stories, but its going to be a very small number of the trump voters according to what I have seen so far. The rest are, as sarah palin once said, reloading.

        It is essential that these voters, inspired by the worst of the Fox commentariot and the worst of the elected far right politicians like Hawley not be able to win ever again and never are in a position to do this again. Only election losses in national races and failure to win the House, Senate, or POTUS for a very long period of time will take the steam out of the worst of this madness.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2021 7:16 am

        I agree with Ron about the nutty minority getting all the attention. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a bit of a loon, and her politics are based on a powerful allegiance to Trump that is much like, if not exactly like, a cult of personality. But, it’s the media that has made her seem like “the right’s new matinee idol,” it’s not the everyday Republican or Trump supporter. They have other priorities, if only anyone would listen.

        I get so tired of listening to people who have elected a man with early stage dementia, and a woman who slept her way into politics, clutch at their pearls and act as if they have no nut cases, or worse, on their side too. Eric Swalwell was literally sleeping with a Chinese spy, for god’s sake! And Ilhan Omar is a flaming anti-Semite, not to mention corrupt as hell, but they both get plum committee assignments from Queen Nancy, while MJT is stripped of hers. All of this attention on Greene is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

        As far as I’m concerned, members of the House are reflective of their individual districts, and most are reasonable people, so why do we hyper-focus on the few whack jobs and renegades? Because the media tells us to , that’s why.

        If we had a responsible media in this country, or national politicians who were actually interested in doing something about the issues that matter to the people who elected them, we might be having discussions that go beyond the gossipy, shallow arguments over personalities. But, we’ve become sheeple.

        Here’s a good example. I mentioned on the last thread that I know the family of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol cop who was supposedly bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher, by bloodthirsty Trump supporters. Brian, himself, was a huge Trump supporter. But, more importantly, he was NOT bludgeoned to death. Even the NYT has quietly retracted that story. He died a couple of days after the riots, most likely of a stroke. But Nancy Pelosi had him (or actually, his ashes) lie in state at the Capitol, only the 5th private citizen in history to be so honored. Were any of the victims of the summer BLM/Antifa riots honored? Of course not… politicians and the media had no use for them, because they couldn’t create a narrative that would help them score political points.

        Now that Trump is out of office, and impeachment is over, I’d like to see Democrats and liberals shut the hell up about him and get to work. Yes he was larger than life, yes, he was a strange and quirky president, one who apparently had never even visited Washingtoon D.C. before he was elected. Yes, he is a terribly flawed man. But, the election is over, Biden was declared the winner, and it’s his show now. I don’t see where things have calmed down much, and, for all the talk of “unity,” the Biden administration has thus far focused on kissing China’s and Iran’s backside, gas is already on its way to hitting highs of $4 by year end, the teacher’s unions are refusing to open schools, and no one is saying they have to go back to work, and Congress has spent its time impeaching and trying a private citizen. Washington D.C. looks like Baghdad, with barricades, razor wire, and armed security checkpoints, all to create the impression that people like me are going to storm the barricades and overthrow the government. It’s theater.

        Let me know when the unity starts…

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2021 7:20 am

        MTG not MJT.

      • February 15, 2021 8:19 am

        Priscilla, Please be careful when commenting on the price of gas. My son-in-law made the same comment about gas going up and I told him to please check what the Saudi’s and the oil producers in the middle east have done the past month to 6 weeks. They still set the price per barrel of oil globally and when they cut production by 1 million barrels, the price went from $40 to over $60. What Biden has done so far has had no impact on oil prices and gas.

        I do not support much of anything Biden has done, but he is not responsible for this rise.

      • Vermonta permalink
        February 15, 2021 12:20 pm

        “I get so tired of listening to people who have elected a man with early stage dementia, and a woman who slept her way into politics, clutch at their pearls”

        “…we might be having discussions that go beyond the gossipy, shallow arguments over personalities.”

        Bleh. Same old nasty brainwashed crap. Listen to yourself. Ugg. We just need to keep your team of criminals and nuts jobs out of power. Sadly its not just a few conservatives who are “a little bit” nutty, the polls make that clear, its a large majority and not just a little bit but very nutty.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 22, 2021 9:37 pm

        Thou sanctimonious ill-bred contriver! Thou pestilent fool-born codpiece! Thou obscene flap-mouthed execrable-wretch!

        Ok, now it’s your turn.
        http://www.literarygenius.info/a1-shakespearean-insults-generator.htm

  8. Vermonta permalink
    February 3, 2021 10:53 am

    And on top of all that insanity , there is this aspect of the conservative world in 2021:

    https://www.businessinsider.com/south-dakota-governor-virus-response-better-than-every-other-state-despite-conflicting-numbers-2021-2

    Covid has killed tens times as many in SD as it has in Vermont, for perspective.

    • February 3, 2021 12:47 pm

      Roby, Please consider data more closely.

      For example, your comments concerning South Dakota. Remember, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. Every one of those numbers that are published by any organization concerning C-19 can be manipulated to fit any narrative.

      So look at just South Dakota. They have a death per million at 2,011. Vermont has one at 282. Now look at the population demographics. South Dakota has 14.3% of their population over 65. They have, according to infoplease, 16,000 residents over the age of 85. Vermont has 12.4% of their population over 65, with only 10,000 over 85. South Dakota has 50% of their population under the age of 35. Vermonts is 46%. So just looking at those statistics would indicate a larger number of younger individuals refusing to adhere to social distancing than Vermont and a larger population that would be more adversely impacted if they contacted the virus.South Dakota has a much smaller 35 to 64 age group.

      Now add to that the fact that we have two Americas. One that believes in that they are going to do whatever they want regardless of government when it comes to social interactions, and one that follows every guideline government puts forward. In Vermont, the state that continues to elect Bernie Sanders, the supporter of most all government intervention, you find a much higher number of individuals willing to follow state rules. In South Dakota, that is just the opposite. It would not matter what the hell the Governor did or said, they will do what they want. That is why they elected her in the first place.

      Now, look at Rhode Island. Look at the extreme measures taken to control the virus in that state. They have a death rate of 2,064 per million compared to South Dakota at 2,011.(All stats from virusncov.com)

      The point in all of this is one can look at North Carolina where tight rules have been in effect and it has had little impact on the spread of the virus. California has been locked down almost like a communist country and they lead the nation in cases.It all comes down to age, health issues and the willingness of citizens to look out for each other.

      As for TIP or whatever you call Trump Support, once he has been out of office fro 6 months, one will see many moving away from his idiocy.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2021 7:27 pm

        Nice analysis, Ron. I’ve had similar discussions on the failure of lockdown measures in making any significant impact on the spread of the virus.

        It’s not as if social distancing, masking, and handwashing don’t work at all. They do, but they don’t prevent infections entirely, they just “slow the spread.” Which, if you recall from the early covid days, was the whole idea. We weren’t locking the economy, the schools and most forms of socializing down to eradicate the virus, because, without effective vaccines, there is no eradicating it. And, even now, with vaccines available, I don’t think that we’re going to eradicate covid entirely, just as we haven’t eradicated the common cold or the flu. Sure, the virus may mutate itself out of existence, but, if that doesn’t happen, we’ll need to continue to rely on vaccines and/or our own immue systems.

        Keeping klds out of school strikes me as the worst thing we are doing, and for a lot of reasons. For one, young kids (as opposed to teenagers) are almost naturally immune to the virus, and teens, even when they get it, have such mild symptoms that most don’t even know it. Young kids and teens really need to spend time with their peers, not only for their social and intellectual development, but for their immune system development! If you’ve ever seen George Carlin’s bit on developing immunity to diseases, it’s not only hilarious, but largely true. Suicide and addiction rates among young people (and not so young) have skyrocketed. Kids of all ages are being taught to be terrified of large groups, for fear that they will become sick and/or kill their grandparents. And they’re not learning much in their “Zoom schools.”

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage everyone, of all ages to strengthen their immune systems through healthy lifestyle and use medications and/or supplements for those who need them to stay healthy? A recent study shows that supplementing with calcifediol can sufficiently boost Vit D levels in those who are deficient and largely prevent the most serious cases of covid pneumonia.

        I’m of course in favor of common sense public health measures like masking and good personal hygiene. I do think that the recent recommendation of wearing 2 and 3 masks at once is ridiculous, at least for most people, but one, maybe with a filter, seems prudent, if you’re in a crowded indoor environment.

        I don’t think it’s a bad thing that SD and Vermont are so different. I thought diversity was our strength.

      • February 15, 2021 12:54 am

        Priscilla, Had we had a president that would have used the positions that you and I have on covid and communicated that to the public in a rational way, we may be talking about a second term and how things are getting better. But that was not the case and now we have what we have and Trump is where he is because he refused to accept the majority of people rejected the way he conducted business. And the division in America is far greater than ever.

        As for the schools, i agree completely, but they are closed because the teachers union runs schools. There are ways to safely conduct school without the virus being a problem and private schools have proven that. Two of our grand daughters have been in school all year. Those that are in public school are progressing normally while those in the group where internet connections are not available and computers are not available are the ones suffering and are behind at least 12 months in learning. And they are the ones in that group that were probably behind before this started.Blacks and browns especially will be complaining about unequal education in the next few years because their kids got left behind, not due to racism, but due to political decisions made to appease the teachers unions.

        But politics trumps logic, so doing what is right, like making sure phase 1 people are vaccinated before phase 2 and then 2 is done before 3 does not happen. The CDC has been saying for months open the schools and the teachers union is still fighting that until they get vaccinated. Everyone want to jump the line and because politicians are bending to the demands of special interest, we still have +80’s trying to call telephone numbers while computer literate individuals in their 60’s are filling the appts before the phone even rings.

        But few people actually pay attention, they just read or listen to the whatever wing media they belong to and accept whatever those people say without ever questioning their facts and positions. That is why this country is so screwed up,absent of covid.

      • February 15, 2021 12:56 am

        Sorry second paragraph, “those in private schools are progressing normally”

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