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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 6/15/20

Good morning,

I am struck today with the absurdity all around us. Some of it is humorous, some speaks to stupidity, and other is racism perpetrated in full sight. We live in a world where individual liberty has been confused with putting other people at risk, where alleged conspiracies abound, and where statistics are misunderstood.

 

Item #1

How’s this for a headline? “Walmart Will Stop Putting ‘Multi-Cultural’ Hair Products in Locked Cases.” While this apparently did not happen in all stores, it happened in some. Much in the way that all of us can’t be trusted with razor blades, apparently some Walmarts decided that Black Americans cannot be trusted not to steal shampoo. This story is at the intersection of horrific and stupid: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/walmart-will-stop-putting-multicultural-products-locked-cases-n1229461

 

Item #2

Many of us watched with horror when a 75 year old peaceful protester was pushed to the ground by D.C. police. There is something unsettling about watching an elderly gentleman pushed to the ground by peace officers, who then stand idly by as he bleeds. This isn’t nearly the equivalent of squeezing the breath out of a Black man handcuffed and in custody, but it is offensive nonetheless.

Never missing the opportunity to criticize the peaceful protesters who, while perhaps undermining his reelection hopes, do little to undermine our democracy, our president acted forcefully, decisively, and illogically, posting this on Twitter:

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Of course, legitimately and not unexpectedly, the President’s baseless claim (apparently a retweet of a false allegation from a radical right source) has further exposed our country to international ridicule and shock: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/black-lives-matter-trump-martin-gugino-buffalo-protest-antifa-police-a9558441.html

As we all know, America is a haven for crazy conspiracy theories. People spend years struggling to connect dots to explain theories conspiracy theorists no longer need to present a credible claim or engage in any analysis. As perfected by our President, one simply can make an assertion with no support whatsoever and it takes on a life of its own.

For a lighter spin on this stupidity, enjoy “Know Signs How to Tell if Your Grandparent has Become an ANTIFA Agent”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/10/know-signs-how-tell-if-your-grandparent-has-become-an-antifa-agent/. My favorite, which might prove my status as one such agent:

“She belongs to a decentralized group with no leadership structure that claims to be discussing a “book,” but no one ever reads the book and all they seem to do is drink wine.”

 

Item #3

Has anyone else encountered the bizarre behavior of people are wearing masks that cover their mouths, but not their noses? Perhaps this is the concrete evidence proving that these folks really are “mouth breathers.”

 

Item #4

We have politicized health safety. Apparently it is a badge of honor and a statement of rugged American individualism and personal freedom to abandon physical distancing and the wearing of masks. Forget the data that suggests we avoided some 60 million additional infections through these fairly simple methodologies. I’m reading Facebook posts encouraging people to “come on over” where “we don’t practice distancing and we don’t wear masks.” It’s the wild west out there.

I’m still flummoxed by this behavior. The fact that I wear a mask that is primarily to protect you, yet you are exercising your constitutional right not to protect me seems an act of twisted sophistry.

 

Item #5

Air travel is a battleground of individual freedom as well. I spoke to someone who flew in from New York this week. While not nervous at the airport or on the well-organized and distanced TSA checkpoints, on-board was another story. On this United Airlines flight, notwithstanding rules requiring the wearing of masks, most passengers and most flight attendants did not wear masks and did little to avoid close physical contact. For my money, when I’m ready to fly, I’ll use Delta or Alaska Airlines, each of which assures that middle seats will be kept open.

Didn’t we just bail out the airlines? Will the government sit still for airlines to cut the number of flights and fill planes to unacceptable levels once the terms of the bailout end?

 

MORE ON TWITTER

I think it is enlightening to read Mr. Trump’s tweets. Doing so really helps crystalize one’s opinions of what he does and the advice he provides, e.g. this latest:

“The Federal Reserve is wrong so often. I see the numbers also, and do MUCH better than they do. We will have a very good Third Quarter, a great Fourth Quarter, and one of our best ever years in 2021. We will also soon have a Vaccine & Therapeutics/Cure. That’s my opinion. WATCH!”

I read a lot of economic projections and I don’t recall a single one promising “a great fourth quarter.” Being President must provide access to some really great information.

When one visits Mr. Trump’s tweet page, one is conveniently directed to “You Might Like… Sean Hannity, Eric Trump and Tucker Carlson.” Carlson recently lost several of his last remaining advertisers over a series of provocative statements, including his asking why it was “required to be upset” about George Floyd’s death since, after all, Mr. Carlson isn’t from Minneapolis. He also has staked out his ground that the peaceful protests in response are the “Black Lives Matter riots.” You just can’t make this stuff up…

Sorry, no. I don’t like.

Have a great week,

Glenn

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