…feeling like the last living cell in a dead body…
1. I don’t know about you, but I’m just reaching out to random friends to see how they are doing. Some aren’t doing that well, but they appreciate the contact.
2. More of the name game: From a PR release from two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Gail Heriot and Peter N. Kirsanow…
The Commission makes the ill-advised suggestion that referring to COVID-19 with terms like “Chinese coronavirus” is somehow fueling “[t]his latest wave of xenophobic animosity toward Asian Americans.” It is common to refer to infectious diseases by their geographic origin. Examples include Asian flu, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Brazilian hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, Lyme disease, Marburg virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Pontiac fever, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Spanish flu, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile virus…It is counter-productive to hector the American people (or its leaders) about describing the COVID-19 as “Chinese” or as having originated in China. It did originate there. Ordinary Americans—of all races and ethnicities—who harbor no ill will toward anyone don’t like to have the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights imply that that they are fueling the flames of xenophobic animosity. We can’t blame them. It is insulting.
Our colleagues on the Commission close their statement by writing under the current circumstances no American should be “ostracized solely because of their race or national origin.” That is certainly sensible enough. We would add that Americans should not be ostracized on account of false accusations that their conduct has been racist, xenophobic and hateful. The promiscuous use of those terms needs to stop.
That’s fine and well stated. My position is even more basic. I refuse to participate in mind-control based on the assertion that a factual statement is “racist,” or that someone is the cause of unethical conduct because others choose to behave unethically. Any more Alyssa Milano comments or complaints about Kung Flu jokes, and I’ll be calling the damn thing the Wuhan Virus from the Capital of the Hubai Province in That Big Asian Nation Called China That Endangered The Entire World By The Dishonest, Paranoid Manner In Which It Withheld Crucial Information.
Meanwhile, the country responsible for the pandemic is still lying. That doesn’t mean anyone should beat up Chinese Americans, but I don’t care if the Communist regime’s feelings are hurt.
I’m pretty sure that virtually all Chinese-Americans would rather see institutions like Harvard cease their policies of discriminating against Asian-American applicants in favor of other, less qualified minorities applicants. But I could be wrong…
3. In related news, the execrable Paul Krugman calls the Wuhan virus outbreak the Trump Pandemic in his column today. That’s what the various denizens of the Time op-ed page call fair and informative.
4. And in more related news, Washington Post op-ed writer Michael Gerson, a former Bush speech-writer who joined the family’s vendetta against Trump after he unwisely insulted Jeb and George W. with undo gusto, issued this embarrassment: “Never have GOP votes against impeachment seemed more shortsighted.”
The thesis of the op-ed confirms what I and many others have been pointing out for years now, that the efforts to impeach this President were not about actual impeachable conduct, but a pretense to justify undoing the 2016 election. It’s nice to have one’s analysis confirmed, but Gerson is allegedly an op-ed writer because he is a conservative, meaning that he believes the Constitution matters, and, you know, smart. But no smart pundit who wants to preserve the Constitution could write such corrosive foolishness as this:
“In nominating and electing Trump, Republicans were making the claim that presidential character matters for nothing. That only his policy views and judicial appointments really count in the end….By voting against impeachment for Trump’s abuse of power, they were also denying that presidential temperament and judgment should be given serious weight in our public life. They were saying, in effect, that a trivial leader was sufficient for a trivial time. Who cares about integrity, wisdom and public spirit when the stock market is rising and the economy is booming?”
I’ll leave Trump’s nomination alone, but in electing Trump, more than just Republicans were “making the claim” that they preferred Trump’s obvious character flaws to those of Hillary Clinton that her party and her supporters denied and covered up, That was (and is) a reasonable decision. Gerson is also encouraging historical ignorance, as he knows the aggrieved party in this calculation, the Democrats, championed exactly the fallacy he is condemning when they supported a proven con-artist and sexual predator for President (who, coincidentally, is the husband of the candidate voters rejected) with the cynical, characater denying slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Worse, however, but satisfying, is Gerson’s damning admission that Senators were supposed to vote to remove the impeached President not because of the charges against him, but because they, and Gerson, disapproved of his “temperament and judgment.” If that becomes the standard, then any time a party has a majority in both Houses, it can and will impeach and remove a President who doesn’t do its bidding. Far from being short-sighted, the refusal of GOP Senators to vote with the Trump-haters was in the long-term interests of our democracy. As the Post’s captive token conservative, Gerson is supposed to comprehend that, but Stockholm Sydrome is a terrible thing.
Meanwhile, the whole premise of his essay is that somehow the President could have handled the pandemic better. This is emerging as another Big Lie, #9 on the list.
I’ll add it over the weekend.
5. My legend as the Paper Good Altruist of Alexandria is growing. At the CVS just now I heard two senior women expressing dismay that the shelves were empty of paper towels, and they were completely out of this essential. So I went into my car and got them a big roll of Bounty from the package I had in the trunk.
6. I’m assembling a list of all the varieties of fake news that the news media and its enablers claim don’t exist. Here’s one: a Times headline today says, “New York’s Elite Schools Still Admit Few Black Students.” The story, however is about how only 30 black and Hispanic students scored high enough on their entrance tests to be admitted under the race-blind criteria. That’s not an admission problem, that’s a performance problem. The headline misleads regarding agency. That’s deceit.
7. Boston, hubris. Hubris, Boston. Sports fans from my beloved home town of Boston have been mighty obnoxious in recent years with the success of their sports teams. Now the city is in shock: in a six month period, the Patriots flopped in the NFL play-offs, the Red Sox traded their best and most popular young player, Mookie Betts, for a package of frozen pirogies, a Jay Buhner baseball card and an old Pat Boone album, Sox manager Alex Cora was fingered as the mastermind of the Houston Astros cheating scandal (and maybe a Red Sox sign-stealing plot as well) and summarily fired, Tom Brady abandoned the Pats for Tampa Bay, and yesterday it was announced that Chris Sale, the Red Sox pitching ace, had to have Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm and would miss this season half of the next.
There’s an ethics lesson in this.