Sunday, July 5, 2020

Facebook Slumming in July 2020


Serious U.S. politics these raise some difficult questions these days, as always.  How does one strike the right balance between protecting public safety through social distancing and restrictions on economic activity during the pandemic, versus enabling workers to earn income and provide for themselves and their families?  What is the right message on property damage associated with civil rights protests?  How do progressives steer the best path between supporting Biden against Trump, while remaining ready to press a Biden administration for worker-friendly reforms and serious progress on the environment?  These and other pressing matters have no clear answers, and the high stakes invite intense and searching debate.  For that, it's a good thing we have Twitter (which I hope someday to get the hang of 😊).

While Twitter might not alway demand your A-game, you'll regret showing up there without at least your B+.  Otherwise you might want to stick to Facebook, where the level of play tends to be substantially lower.  By now, of course, many have departed the platform altogether--whether frustrated with the relentless advertising, tiresome connections, esoteric privacy configurations, whatever arrogant thing Zuckerberg said recently, or Facebook's uncanny ability to draw out the worst in friends, relatives, and the odd acquaintance you'd rather not offend.  Yet for some, especially those who made numerous long-distance moves, abandoning the Facebook is not so easily accomplished.

Take my case, for example.  I grew up and graduated from high school in the medium-sized Midwestern city of Saginaw, Michigan, before heading to college in Ann Arbor.  Then I lived in Louisville, Kentucky, for three years to attend law school.  Upon graduation, I returned to Southeast Michigan and lived there for four more years, then moved to Seattle for nearly 13 years, before pulling up stakes and resettling in Richmond, Virginia--where I now work remotely for an organization headquartered in San Francisco.  My friends list on Facebook, modest as it is compared with some, is littered with names from each of those stops: hometown schoolmates and relatives, college friends, professional connections all over the place.  They're on Facebook and that makes it easy to remain in touch with so many of them--and that's what I'd be walking away from if I closed my account.  

So, I take the good with the bad--remain on Facebook, and quietly hope for something better to come along.  And I'll be honest--from time-to-time I play a part my own part in some of the rancor and vitriol that turns some users off.  I should know better--I do know better.  It's just....

Yeah, okay so this morning I went on a particularly bad Facebook slumming excursion, encountering one of those soul-crushing, depression-inducing convos that has you thinking this country is irretrievably fucked and will always be so.  And I did this to myself, of course.

So the headline here sets the context: some MSM pundit offering up the perfectly predictable opinion that 45 should not have been okay with Russia paying bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops:

 

I'll admit I didn't even read the article.  And that's frankly a tad hypocritical of me because normally I am one to frown upon people who comment on stuff without reading it.  But in this case, seriously--what could be in the article that the headline wouldn't convey?  Still, two demerits for the EGD.  But let's continue, shall we.  

First comment:


Okay, so this is nothing to get exercised about, right?  It's your standard MAGA "fake news" defense, couple with a throwaway line about how DT supports the troops.  Ideally, this could best be ignored, or disposed of if one of the "like" options Facebook provided was "raging jackass."  But I was slumming, and with no jackass button had to resort to dismissive sarcasm:


I'm not sure what possessed me to throw in "pitiful" at the end there.  Probably didn't need to do that.  I'm up to three demerits now.  

I have to imagine it was that unnecessary barb which triggered Mr. Cherwinski's ensuing response.  I mean, maybe he could have left it at 942 scandals, maybe not.  But no self-respecting MAGA tough guy is going to be called "pitiful" and let it go.  (Query: is self-respecting MAGA an oxymoron?).  So there it goes, behold the wall of ignorance:


Alright then, Mr. Cherwiener.  Let's have a closer look at this.
"And your OK with Biden, his close ties and payments from China, his son Hunter on the board of Burisma, at 50,000 to 80,000 a month depending on who reports it."
I am not going to beat up the Cher-dog for his improper use of the possessive "your" in place of the "you are" contraction "you're."  Instead, let's get right to the substance.  First you will see that Cherwin has automatically assumed, based only on a comment that mocks his pitiful suggestion that the latest Trump scandal over bounties on U.S. troops was fake news and calls it pitiful, that I am "okay with Biden" and various insinuations of wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.  

This form of extreme bilateralism seems to be a common malady among the Trump population.  There is a presidential election coming up and it's between Trump and Biden, so either you are on Team Trump or you are on Team Biden.  And if you are on Team Biden then that means you support everything and anything that Joe Biden says or does or stands for, and there are no other teams--only these two.  So because I said something critical of Trump, this rationale enables the Cheramisu to deduce that I must be on Team Biden and fully rocking the colors.  

As a brief perusal of this very blog would undoubtedly reveal, of course, I supported Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary and was never on board with Joe Biden for POTUS.  I have always found him to be a disingenuous politician who pretends to support workers and families, but sides with Wall Street when the chips are down.  I don't believe he adequately appreciates the gravity of the environmental crisis and is insufficiently committed to a meaningful redistribution of wealth and opportunity.  I am also not convinced he's willing to expand the Supreme Court or otherwise tinker with the various structural mechanisms the right has used to maintain and consolidate its power over decades despite being severely outnumbered in the electorate.  So no, I am hardly on Team Biden and in the bag for whatever he does.

But all the Cherm-o actually said is that I am "OK" with Biden, and I suppose I can at least cop to that.  I don't know a damn thing about his son Hunter or the supposed ties to China or what a Burisma is, but whatever.  All my gripes about Biden basically come down to "he does not adequately support the policies I think are necessary to avoid ecological destruction and build a more just and equitable society."  And really that's small potatoes in comparison with the menu 45 has on offer.  So, point Cheerio.  Well, maybe half a point.
Your happy with Bidens accomplishments in Government over the last 46 years, 
Oof, the grammar again--nope, not going to talk about that.  But yeah, uh no--as noted above, I'm not really satisfied with Biden's "accomplishments" over 46 years, whatever those were.  Letting Clarence Thomas get confirmed, I guess?  But still, 46 years is nothing to shake a stick at.  Maybe not as impressive as DT's 0 years, but hey.
your happy that if elected, he will take your tax cuts away, 
Oh, come on, Chermie--did you even have English class at school?  STOP IT EGD.  Okay, somehow he's gone from Russian bounties all the way to tax cuts.  Is Biden even talking about undoing DT's tax cuts?  I have no idea, though I kind of hope he is-the vast majority of the money just goes to the uber-wealthy anyway.  Does benign indifference count as being "happy" about it?  Another half-point to the Chermster.
and drive companies over seas again
Nice work here by the Chermbaba.  First, he implies that DT has somehow either brought companies that had left the US back, or at least stopped companies from leaving.  This is false, of course; DT has talked about keeping jobs in the U.S. or bringing them back from overseas--he just hasn't accomplished it and anyone paying attention can see that he isn't really serious about doing it.  While DT has threatened "consequences" for companies that offshore their workforces or incorporate overseas to avoid U.S. taxes, he hasn't actually imposed those consequences when the time has come.  Most recently, for instance, when firms that incorporated offshore to avoid U.S. taxes received federal Covid-19 relief funds, 45 publicly fired any inspector general who dared ask questions.  But DT knows that his supporters don't actually pay attention.  They believe what he says, and whenever someone suggests DT isn't being truthful, all he has to do is label it "fake news" and it will be ignored.
You do know the Corporations he complains about are owned by Americans. If you have a pension or 401 K it is invested in Corporations.  
Okay, not sure what the Chermeiser is getting at here.  Let's hold on a second and see if he more context will clear this up...
Your happy that no one in the Democrat Party has even condemned the radical Leftest that are destroying America.
Nah, so much for that.  Not sure who these "radical leftists" are in the Democratic Party.  Most radical leftists I know do not identify as Democrats.  I don't identify as a Democrat and I am not even all that radical compared to a lot of people I know.  Nonetheless these mysterious radical leftist Democrats are "destroying America."  Really?  Perhaps the Cheromio will explain how.
the intelligent {sic} services who you on the left critisize Trump of not taking information from seriously and I agree with you at times on that one, but they say it was FAKE leaking to make Trump look bad.
So, here we have a classic example of why Fox News is basically the journalistic equivalent of paint chips ice cream.  Well, see, now I'm the one making assumptions--I guess he could have gotten this from Breitbart or Rush Limbaugh or various other sources within the echo chamber.  That's another demerit; what am I up to, four?  Okay, wherever Chermski got this from, here's the thing: he's factually wrong, but it's probably not his fault.

The thing about intelligence is that its truth or accuracy can very seldom be known with certainty.  I mean, if you get intelligence about troop movements or the location of Bin Laden's hideout or something like that, then maybe you can fly a spy plane over or aim a satellite at it or something and know for sure.  But something like whether Russia is paying bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops, you can't really take a picture of that.  So intelligence agencies gather this information and they report it with varying degrees of confidence.  The Russian bounty thing was evidently corroborated well enough that the intelligence services had enough confidence to include it in a presidential daily briefing.  Yet the agencies didn't know for sure that it had happened, so the administration can accurately refer to the intelligence has having been "unverified."  

While "verified" might not be the standard that a reasonable president or diplomatic official would use to act on intelligence, that's good enough for the 45 crowd, and the likes of Fox News and other RW media that panders to them, to declare the story "fake news" and reaffirm their faith in the supreme leader.  So ChermCherm likely thinks he's responsibly investigated this story and informed himself, when in fact he is a victim of his own cognitive bias and the malignant media entities that prey upon it.
He supports all people in Uniform.
Oh my.  So this is another loaded statement.  Obviously this is not true if DT really did ignore the Russian bounties on U.S. troops.  Even then, of course, DT's basic defenses are either that (i) he didn't bother to actually read his briefing, or (ii) the report might have been false.  Not bothering to read the intelligence that spies are out risking their lives to gather would not seem to be "supporting" them--but I guess technically spies don't wear uniforms.  And if the report was false, that would just be fortuitous--it's not as though Trump considered the report and rejected it because he didn't believe it.  

Then there are other examples of Trump putting his own political interests ahead of the military, such as his firing of U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier over his concerns about Covid-19 among the sailors on his aircraft carrier, or his pardoning of war criminals over the objections of fellow soldiers.  So no, he doesn't support "all people in uniform," even putting the Russian bounty thing aside.  

And then the third meaning here is basically saying that DT supports U.S. police in the face of their much-deserved criticism for brutality and the systematic oppression of Black communities.  So finally the Chermulian says something that's actually true--and the problem is that it reveals his problematic values.  Then he doubles down on that:
What is the left offering, police defunding, radical reform and summers of love that just didnt work out, causing several wounded in Seattle and two dead, Chicago, and New York setting new crime records including murder up by 75%.
So now Cherrasco is really just shooting from the hip.  But once again you can see the extreme bilateralization process at work: either you support "all people in uniform" (even though it's really all people in uniform who agree with DT), or else you are a hippy whose only plan is "summers of love."  

Finally, Chipper changes his tack and goes for an unintentionally hilarious attempt at conciliation:
Common, Trump ain't perfect but I don't know any President that was. They do the best they can. Some decisions do not agree with everybody, some may not make any sense but he loves America and has this economy going stronger than any on the world
Really, you are serious Chomper?  He's just a humble guy trying his best?  Jesus fuck.  He's just a humble guy who demonizes immigrants and locks children in cages.  He's just a humble guy who urges local officials to "do retribution" on people protesting police abuse.  He's just a humble guy who insists Covid-19 is a hoax that will magically disappear.  He's just a humble guy who grabs them by the pussy.  He's just a humble guy who pardons war criminals and fires inspector generals.  He's just a humble guy who plans his race-baiting MAGA rallies to coincide with Juneteenth in Tulsa and plays Garryowen at sacred Sioux lands.  He's just a humble guy who uses the oval office to line his pockets.

He's not just a fucking humble guy!  God dammit Chermax!

But I only have myself to blame.  Should really know better than to go slumming on Facebook. 

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