To the elite, equality looks like oppression

Conservatism traffics in nostalgia. Promises to make things Great Again reinforce the misguided notion that “things were better in my day” and suggest that the path to progress leads right back from where you came.

But in reality, conservatism isn’t about the past, it’s about right now. It’s about ensuring that whoever has money, power and privilege in this moment gets to keep it. The only thought conservatives give to the future is to ensure that the current power dynamic, which shuts out all but the privileged elites, is preserved.

Nostalgia is just the fairy tale conservative elites tell, the attractive wrapper for the real product: fear. Fear of change, fear of the Other, fear of losing ground, status, influence, relevance, things.

As a result, angry white men who never really had much access to meaningful power complain they’re disadvantaged because they are white men, when it’s really about money. So they blame people even poorer than themselves for usurping their advantage and privilege, even though those people have neither. They raise Home Depot patio torches and chant, “Jews will not replace us!” They join militias that play Army in the wilderness in hopes that implicit threats of violence (or actual violence) will restore their whiteness, their maleness, their straightness, as meaningful resume toppers.

They keep score like this: If other groups are gaining, I must be losing. But when you’re accustomed to privilege, even equality looks like oppression. So they long to return to a time when they believe they held the advantage.

But the leaders of the conservative movement don’t actually care about nostalgia. They care about getting theirs and keeping it. Conservatism isn’t about raising anyone up. It is, and always has been, about ensuring that those who are already up can’t fall.

And if you’re not already up, all conservatism has to offer you are stories about how great things used to be — and divert your attention toward who they want you to blame.

Cave man

Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

Is the relief bill inadequate? Of course. But if Trump really felt that way, why did he wait until months of negotiations were complete to make his feelings known?

The weeklong delay in signing the bill has allowed unemployment insurance to lapse for millions of Americans. That’s a curious outcome from a guy who claims to believe that Americans aren’t getting enough support.

Trump issued a face-saving statement about the Impoundment Control Act, implying that he’s going to strip out “wasteful items [that] need to be removed.” In reality, the ICA “prevent[s] the President and other government officials from unilaterally substituting their own funding decisions for those of the Congress.” In other words, the opposite of what Trump’s statement implies.

Fun fact: The items Trump called “pork” track almost exactly with what the White House requested in its annual FY 2021 budget.

Trump wanted to punish GOP congressional leaders for not helping him steal the election. But he picked a fight over a bill that passed with veto-proof majorities.

When congressional Republicans refused to support $2,000 stimulus payments for Americans, Trump — conservatives’ alpha male, their darling genius dealmaker who fights tirelessly for them — did what he always does when he encounters pushback: He caved. He tried to save face with ineffectual bluster about the ICA, but he caved.

He was absolutely right about the bill being a Band-aid on a bullet wound, but instead of engaging with the negotiations process months ago to ensure an adequate relief package for the American people, instead of doing the hard work required to protect Americans, jobs and the economy, He. Just. Caved.

What’s the matter with Kansas?

The stupid is winning.

Early last month, commissioners rejected McKenney’s proposal for a mask mandate. But as COVID-19 cases in the county and across the state surged and Kelly reiterated her call for a statewide policy, they agreed to consider a compromise.
Most of the people who showed up for a public hearing opposed the mandate as an assault on their personal liberty.

Think “stupid” is harsh? Meanwhile, in, um, Kansas:

Researchers analyzed coronavirus infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.

Executive time

Photo by Hayden Dunsel on Unsplash

You could say he’s checked out, but because he’s always been more interested in the perks of the job than doing the job, he never really checked in.

While world leaders met on Saturday to discuss preparation efforts to contain and alleviate the coronavirus pandemic in the next few months, President Donald Trump appeared to be golfing. […]

The G20 Summit is the main event on Trump’s Saturday schedule, starting from 8 a.m. ET with no end time listed.

But during a meeting focused on coronavirus preparedness, White House pool reporters said Trump had arrived at one of his golf courses.

Milking that Cow

Rudy, like trump, is just clawing at relevance that is quickly slipping through his fingers. And all he has to do is tell a chump what he wants to hear. Everyone else is either telling trump that it’s over, withdrawing lawsuits or refusing to get involved.

So we get a few more frivolous lawsuits, parking lot press conferences (which a friend of ours pointed out are a lot cheaper than the Four Seasons hotel), and angry, rambling rants on conservative news channels as Rudy angles for a prime-time slot on the network trump all but certainly won’t launch.

President Trump has put his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in charge of his campaign lawsuits related to the outcome of the election, as well as all public communications related to them, four people familiar with the move said on Friday.

[…] In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth, according to people briefed on the meeting. Justin Clark, the deputy campaign manager, pushed back aggressively on Mr. Giuliani, said the people briefed on what took place.

Either way, we know what he is

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Via Politico:

We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases,” the president added.

Shocking that Trump is still pushing this ridiculous argument. Normally, politicians abandon a position when it’s met with public ridicule, as this one has been. Especially when trailing badly in every poll on the eve of an election.

Sure, Trump’s continued insistence that the U.S. has so many infections only because of the number of tests is laughable. But don’t let that sideshow distract you. Trump’s continued commitment to this flawed logic implies that he might actually believe it. (At the very least, he publicly claims to believe it.)

And if he believes it, that means he sees no difference between an unreported case and a healthy person. If he really believes that an unconfirmed case is not a case at all, he isn’t thinking about these cases as people. People who can’t get tested don’t know they’re infected until the disease progresses, and therefore treatment is delayed, with potentially tragic consequences.

But maybe Trump doesn’t believe it. Maybe he’s just a politician trying to polish the historic turd that is his record. Maybe he understands that people can be infected even if they are never tested. Maybe he doesn’t believe the test causes infection. (Imagine your position is so flawed that “He’s lying, he doesn’t really believe that,” is the charitable possibility.)

Either way, this proclaimed belief is behind the administration’s decision to end federal support for testing. Either way, he’s making it harder for people to get tested so that infection statistics look less bad for him.

Either way, he’s a sociopath.