My father’s favorite poem, which I read at his funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery in 2010—-was it really that long ago?—is especially relevant and valuable now. Some of the woke-addled have “canceled” Rudyard Kipling because of his offenses against presentism (and because he ended “If” with female-excluding nouns). This is like cutting off your nose to spite your face, or perhaps lobotomizing yourself to spite your character. However you choose to describe it, not being able to channel “If” when all about you are losing their heads—like now—is a severe and unnecessary handicap.
1. “Forget it, Jake. It’s The Times.” Nobody at the Times protested, as far as we know, when the paper, over the weekend, ran a story titled, “Vote for Trump? These Republican Leaders Aren’t on the Bandwagon” that claimed, “Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump.” The article attributed this revelation about George W. Bush’s intentions (and Jeb’s) to unnamed sources “familiar with their thinking.” This is the variety of fake news Ethics Alarms categorizes as Psychic News, based on mind-reading and nothing else. Speaking on behalf of Bush 43, a spokesman told the Texas Tribune, “This is completely made up. He is retired from presidential politics and has not indicated how he will vote.” Ford reiterated this statement to the Times, indicating that the former president would stay out of the election and speak only on policy issues. Has The Times retracted or corrected its claim? Of course not.
I would personally be shocked if George or Jeb voted for Trump, given how much the Bush family hates him for his personal insults against them, but that doesn’t mean a newspaper can declare as fact that they won’t. Their other big scoops were that Colin Powell wouldn’t vote for Trump, against based on those who have read his mind, though we know he voted for Clinton in 2016 (he said so) and that Mitt Romney, who voted to convict Trump in the impeachment trial just to stick a metaphorical thumb in the President’s eye, would also abstain. Oh…I almost forgot Cindy McCain, who wouldn’t even invite the President to her husband’s funeral. The Times says she’s not supporting him either. Stop the presses!
The silver lining here is that the evidence that the mainstream news media is biased and untrustworthy is becoming so obvious that those who deny it increasingly brand themselves as fools or liars.
2. Perhaps locking up the “Incompetent Elected Officials of All Time” award, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council have announced they intend to defund and dismantle the city’s police department following the police killing of George Floyd.
“We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe,” Council President Lisa Bender said. “(We need) to listen, especially to our black leaders, to our communities of color, for whom policing is not working and to really let the solutions lie in our community,” she said.
Are communities, white, black and in between, being overrun by robbery, murder and other crimes? If not, policing is working. Obviously it is not working as well as it needs to when cruel thugs like Derek Chauvin can cause the death of a helpless man on video without thinking, “Hmm, maybe I should stop kneeling on his neck now.” Is throwing out the entire system in favor of a rainbows and lollipops no-police system that is undefined and untested a rational response to a public uproar over a single incident? Calling the response irrational is an understatement.
The silver lining is that this craziness should stifle anti-Second Amendment craziness for a while. As Charles C. W. Cooke said in the National Review,:
“Only the cops need guns” simply could not live forever alongside, “The cops are racist and will kill you.” And so, at long last, the two circles of the Venn Diagram have filed for an amicable divorce. In the end, the differences proved irreconcilable.”
A lawyer colleague told me today that his passionately gun-phobic wife asked him if he was stocked up on ammunition for his own gun.
3. NOW you tell us? The World Health Organization announced yesterday that government responses to the pandemic should focus on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, because while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is “very rare.” The fact that people without symptoms of the viral infection could still infect others was the primary reason for the economic shutdown and stay-at-home orders. Between the “masks are useless/masks are essential” yo-yoing and the CDC’s “It’s no big deal”/”ARGH!!! We’re all gonna die!” vacillations, and now the “See, it’s not dangerous to protest in mobs when we like what you’re protesting for” hypocrisy coming from the “public health professionals,” there is no escaping the damning conclusions that the experts thoroughly disgraced themselves over the Wuhan virus, and recriminations over President Trump’s response, flying blind through a crisis with malfunctioning instruments, are biased, dishonest and unfair.
The silver lining? Nobody should be bemoaning the President’s decision to stop funding these hacks.
4. More from the experts… The medical journal Lancet published a statement from the researchers who authored a widely publicized report saying that hospitalized Wuhan virus patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine had a sharply higher risk of death and heart-rhythm problems compared to those who did not receive the drug. This, in turn, was used a club to beat President Trump with, since he had talked about the promise of the drug and even announced that he was taking it. The researcher told the Lancet that they were unable to complete an independent audit of the hospital data underpinning their conclusions, and “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
How widely was this retraction publicized by the media outlets who used the original report to attack the President as an irresponsible fool? How many of my Facebook friends who search through the news every day find anti-Trump pieces to share noted this reversal?
To be clear, the President is irresponsible to be promoting an unproven drug, and whether hydroxychloroquine turns out to be a cure or a dud is pure moral luck. However, that does not excuse the promotion of false information to discredit him.
Do you think the Lancet rushed an improperly vetted study into print because they wanted to undermine the President? And I see a silver lining in the public self-destruction of yet another profession’s claim to integrity. If onlt that other disgrace profession, journalism, would inform the public about it.