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Willfully stupid

Senator Rand Paul, who unfortunately did not grow out of his Ayn Rand phase, is deliberately misstating the numbers on Covid because he is assuming his audience is stupid.

Watch this response from Tony Fauci. You get to be this confident and forceful when you really know your subject.

Accurately stating the facts on Covid should not be a matter of politics though Rand Paul would like to make it one. It’s a matter of science. To me, it wouldn’t matter if Obama was President or Trump or Teddy Roosevelt. I’m on the side of science.

And as we are seeing, science has a strong liberal bias.

Well, not literally. That Stephen Colbert paraphrase was supposed to be satirical. I know, I know, not everyone develops an understanding of satire. Nevertheless, Fauci is being accurate and necessarily forceful in correcting Senator Paul, who stages his turn so he always gets the last word while he gets off bashing New York and Cuomo. As if epidemiology has a party affiliation.

(It’s liberal.)

(I’m kidding.)

(No, I’m not.)

***************

Btw, this is the reason why you want to keep the number of cases as small as possible:

Massive genetic study shows coronavirus mutating and potentially evolving amid rapid U.S. spread

Coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 are relatively stable as viruses go, because they have a proofreading mechanism as they replicate. But every mutation is a roll of the dice, and with transmission so widespread in the United States — which continues to see tens of thousands of new, confirmed infections daily — the virus has had abundant opportunities to change, potentially with troublesome consequences, said study author James Musser of Houston Methodist Hospital.

The more people infected, the more individual incubators walking around cooking up mutations. Could the mutations make the virus less harmful? Yeah. Could it make the virus easier to spread? Yeah. Could it make the virus more lethal? Yeah. Can we predict in advance what’s going to happen here? Nope.

Go ahead, go to that Trump Tarmac rally with thousands of personal incubators. You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?

Bottom line: Trump’s refusal to curb the number of infections in the US has potentially made the virus worse, and by extension, has made Americans more dangerous to the world.

This response to the right wing about Catholics is wrong.

Says Hugh Hewitt:

The comments section is chock full of Democrats saying our House Speaker is a practicing Catholic, our candidate is a practicing Catholic, JFK was a Catholic, my Democratic congressional representative is catholic (Conor lamb), the Republicans have never nominated a Catholic yadayadayada.

This tweet by Hewitt puts us on the Defensive. This is a bad response. Here’s why.

At the present time, 75% of the US Supreme Court justices have a catholic background. Gorsuch is an Episcopalian but he was raised Roman Catholic. I’d like to think Gorsuch’s conversion to a mainstream Protestant church makes a difference but I suspect his formative years as a Catholic has had an influence on his perceptions of the infallibility of authority, male dominated authorities at that, as well as a strong pro-motherhood mindset.

From Gorsuch’s Wikipedia page: “Gorsuch was born in Denver, Colorado, and attended Christ the King, a K–8 Catholic school.[14] Both of Gorsuch’s parents were lawyers, and his mother served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1976 to 1980. In 1981, she was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, becoming the first woman to hold that position.[15][16][14]At his mother’s appointment, Gorsuch’s family moved to Bethesda, Maryland. He attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a prestigious Jesuit prep school, where he was two years junior to Brett Kavanaugh, with whom he would later clerk at the Supreme Court and eventually serve with as a Supreme Court justice.”

If I were to guess, it’s not so much anti-Roe but the bias towards male authority that drives this, like so much of American life.

The tendency to appoint Catholics to the court is wildly out of step with the country as a whole. According to the chart below, there are more unaffiliated Americans than there are Catholics.

Just think of that. There are more people who don’t follow any religion or call themselves spiritual or are outright atheists or pagan than there are Catholics. And among the catholics, there are quite a few who are progressive.

Despite this, every one of the conservative justices on the court are Catholic or were raised Catholic. And among those 5, they have by and large acted in a way that would make a conservative Catholic proud. John Roberts is now considered the swing vote. Take that in.

So, the right response to Hewitt’s assertion that the left hates Catholics is not a list of famous Catholics that are Democrats. The right response is when will we have enough Catholics on the court since they are already over-represented? Are we saying that we can’t find any other justice but a catholic or former catholic to be appointed by a Republican White House? Shouldn’t the White House explain itself?

If it’s just because of abortion, then are they saying that no other religious affiliation will assure an anti-Roe vote? Wouldn’t a fundamentalist evangelical work? Or is there some reason why someone from Liberty University wouldn’t qualify? How about a Methodist?

And what about all of the rest of Americans who are not catholic or Christian? Are there no anti-Roe justices available in that cohort?

Why do we think that is?

Why put Democrats on the defensive? Why not put Republicans on the defensive and make them tell us exactly why the next justice can’t be a Baptist or a Sikh or an atheist or a Hindu?

The preference for Catholics is rather obvious. They need to explain that.

************

Lololol:

I get his point and I respect him for it. It shows that he’s been gaming it out in his head and all the eventual repercussions down the road.

But it’s sort of like going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq was an optional war. It was unnecessary and caused all kinds of collateral damage. The US was never seriously under threat from Saddam Hussein.

This is more like Afghanistan. The initial action was direct, aggressive and could seriously damage the US and the rule of law. If Republicans ram through a justice before the election, there will need to be a retaliatory strike or the country as a whole loses all credibility as a sovereign nation where the citizens choose their government and the rules are enforced.

No offense, Larry, but we wouldn’t have a choice but to pack the court.

Things I thot I’d never hear myself say: Joe Scarborough makes a good point.

So the discussion this morning is perceptions of voter strength based on Trump vs Biden campaign events.

Yesterday, Trump held a superspreader campaign event at the Pittsburgh Airport. It looked well attended but for all I know, every Trump voter in the area went to it. There are only so many people you can squeeze onto an airport tarmac. Allegheny county is still going to vote for Biden. I can’t speak for Washington, Butler, Beaver or Westmoreland counties but Allegheny is blue and it won’t even be close. Plus Allegheny has to largest population in the area so I don’t get freaked by these events except I don’t know anyone who’s been to one and if I did, I would avoid them like the plague, pun intended.

The problem is that it appears that Trump is so passionate and believes so much in his abilities to run the country that he will go all Atilla the Hun and stage these events where his campaign’s reckless overconfidence puts his voters at risk.

Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign is so cautious and abiding by local public health regulations that his presence is largely absent. Campaign volunteers are doing phone banking from home.

Aside: My impression of signage here in the Pittsburgh suburbs is that there are a LOT FEWER Trump signs than there were in 2016. It’s a dramatic difference. The Biden signs are popping up here and there but the campaign should be giving them away in mass quantities and asking volunteers to plaster them everywhere. This year looks like a school board election in terms of signage. Now is a good time for Biden to step it up, take advantage of the void and encourage some herd mentality. Otherwise, a sense of learned helplessness will set in and voters will feel overwhelmed by the odds against them going to the polls and resisting Russian disinformation. Please take this seriously, Biden people. You want a good turnout. It’s not going to be enough to win Allegheny county. You’re going to want to “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their MAGA heads.” You want your people to be chewing red meat everyday and ready to go to battle for you.

So, anyway, I’m listening to Joe Scarborough this morning. Ok, ok, I know this show is bad for me but I can’t take the C-Span operatives that call in every morning to concern troll the Democrats. I don’t know why they don’t spend some effort screening those people out but I digress.

Joe made this really good point. It’s a given that Trump’s campaign events are the personification of evil. In the not too distant future, we’re going to be able to graph the spread of coronavirus through the country based on his airport superspreader events.

But the Biden campaign events are too small and appear to be too cautious. He’s got to step it up. That doesn’t mean he has to cram thousands of supporters on a tarmac where they can breathe an airborne virus on each other. It does mean that he can arrange for bigger events with more social distancing. Like, is anyone using the parking lots at dormant malls these days? Set up more drive in rallies. Maybe you don’t want canvassers going house to house. But scattering your people outside of grocery stores to canvass then might work. Everyone maintain their distance. Use iPads. Get their voter reg info, fill out form, hit “send”. This can be done and should be done.

Here’s the thing that Joe said that hit home with me: we just witnessed a whole summer of Black Lives Matter protests, the good peaceful kind, where protestors maintained their distances and did dancing in the street, etc. They do not have to turn into superspreader events if public health recommendations are followed.

If Biden can’t at least arrange for more and bigger public events while at the same time championing BLM protests, then we have a problem.

It’s fixable. It can be done responsibly. I think Biden and Harris need to do it. ASAP.