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Great article, except for one thing. If you honestly think the anti-lockdown movement is about "MAGA fanatics going maskless and dying of Covid-19 to own the libs" you need to get the hell out of your bubble. It's not about owning libs, it's about pushing back against the biggest top-down ordered upheaval in regular people's lives most of us have ever experienced: affecting most people far more than 9/11, the mortgage crisis, ISIS or the Iraq war. We were not just told to wear a mask at the grocery store and otherwise get on with our lives. Small businesses were forced to shut down and watch their money get vacuumed up by Amazon and the big box retailers. Schools, libraries, sports games, churches, all forcibly closed down. People have been told they are selfish murderers for wanting to visit friends, have been literally arrested for going out to walk their dog after testing positive, or arrested for breaking quarantine orders after traveling to another state regardless of whether they were infected. All this over a disease with a

.04% death rate and most of that in badly managed nursing homes... People have been told by their local government that singing in church is banned, then told by media asshats that they're really just mad because they're racists or worship wall street or are "dying" for a friggin haircut. Suicide rates have gone way up since lockdown started but yeah, let's pretend the anti-lock down protesters are just frivolously unconcerned about human life...and anyone who doesn't trust the corrupt Big Pharma apparatus that stands to make billions from mandated vaccines as opposed to hydroxychloroquine or herd immunity, is "anti science"... I have been to many Reopen America protests since this whole shit started. They attract mostly conservatives but also a good number of Bernie Dems like me, as well as Libertarians and people who don't much like any party. Biden wants a national mask mandate. From the point of view of most Americans wanting to have a normal life with school, church etc and not be under constant surveillance, Donald "kids in cages" Trump is actually the more pro-freedom candidate. Which is crazy, but that's where we are right now. A friend of mine is seriously considering just voting for Kanye West instead.

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If it helps, I've been very critical of those who said it was okay to go out and protest for BLM but then also criticized anti-lockdown protesters. I do understand that the anti-lockdown protests for a lot of people are about re-opening businesses to put food on the table. And I'm against censoring material suggesting alternatives to lockdowns. But I don't get not wearing a mask as a political statement. I'm close to several doctors who treat this disease and... let's just say it scares the hell out of me and I would be happier if everyone was on the same page about it.

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I think there's a lot more that warrants investigation and discussion on this front, though.

A lot of people protesting for the abolishing of police forces seemed to have no problem wielding state power against people who violated lockdowns. Police are good when they punish the right people, as long as they don't kill too many black men on camera?

I think there's also a really scary implicit part of this argument, too: What's the acceptable number of people who get sick and die, and who determines that? It's obviously nothing new that people get sick, and sometimes they die from that illness -- why is it earth-shattering if that number is 0.5%, or 2%, instead of .03%? These are all hypothetical numbers I'm pulling from thin air, of course. The numbers are always changing and people spend days arguing about it, but at the end of the day they're always drawing on arbitrary distinctions by saying, "Mortality rate from this disease is X% and that (warrants/does not warrant) this lockdown." If COVID-20 (or whatever is next) has a 0.03% mortality rate compared to 19's 0.05% mortality rate, should we do less of a lockdown, and who decides that? This feels like a modern, data-driven approach that has truly scary implications to me when used as precedent down the road. Should I get arrested if I go out in public with a common cold? People die from that too, but is that number palatable enough that nobody gives a shit? Is the "new normal", as will be propagated by media and people in power, to stay inside when I have a cold and deny myself fresh air (and a speedier, more pleasant recovery) because I'm a threat to public safety and I need to be mindful of my bacterial footprint (or whatever godawful name people want to give it)? What should the punishment be for disobeying such rules?

Likewise, if wearing a mask reduces your chance of getting/transmitting germs by 48% but wearing gloves AND a face covering made with material X reduces your chances by 73% (again, hypothetical numbers), should the people reducing their chances by 73% look down their nose at the 48%-ers and force them to wear gloves and only buy acceptable face coverings? Which % reduction of germ transmission/receipt is the correct one, and what's the punishment for not adhering to that? I think this ties in largely with the "scolds" you've mentioned before when talking about the new acceptable method of online activism, because in my experience there's no shortage of people in this world who will take opportunities presented like this to scold anybody else who doesn't comply with the latest arbitrary definition of Acceptability. Because these are all arbitrary distinctions being drawn about what's the acceptable rate of reduction, and what's an unacceptable rate of reduction. Why are people not allowed to choose the rate of reduction they're comfortable with? And who decides the punishment for people who don't meet that reduction?

Will people stop living like Howard Hughes when the right experts tell them it's ok to do so? It seems like permanent damage is being done to the collective psyche of humanity, which is scary enough to me, but if the public switches back to "regular" mode at the command of Experts and their state/local executive branch, isn't that also uniquely terrifying? It feels like Radiohead's "Fitter Happier" manifesting before my eyes as people adopt the prescribed way of life with minimal fuss. For people who reject this kind of control over our lives, there isn't a political party in sight that remotely cares about us.

So much is being changed in the name of safety and I see so many un-quantifiable, non-economic reasons to reject that, even if it means getting a disease that might kill you (or wreak long-term damage on your body). I know this disease has a slightly higher chance of killing me, but I'm ok with that risk because quality of life is more important to me than a long & safe life. I want to see live music again and be in the pit at a show, surrounded by other sweaty music lovers, even if that leads to me getting sick. There's no quantifying this, other than me telling people that sharing & reveling in music is the only reason I haven't offed myself yet. Are politicians & scientists actually able to deny me (and other people who feel like me) that basic human joy because the "moment" doesn't allow for it? Apparently they are, because I have no idea when I'll get to enjoy live music again here in Southern California, but am I just supposed to be ok with that? Do musicians now only perform at the convenience of state & local authorities, as advised by disease control experts?

As a bigger philosophical question, do people fear strangers and their germs when experts tell them to? Much of America's horrific cultural changes & atrocities came from fear of strangers -- do we really need more new reasons to be afraid of strangers? We're arming ourselves to protect against home invaders, an oppressive police force, terrorists, or undocumented immigrants. We're turning schools into fortresses with armed guards, metal detectors, and active shooter drills. This pandemic response feels like just the latest in fear-based modern developments that makes life just a little more miserable and undignified. I can't quantify these things, so do they not matter?

I'm truly sorry for the length here, but I think it hits an extremely broad range of concerns that cross political affiliations (and also exist outside any established political parties) and I think these kind of questions are things you touch on more than most anybody else I've read in journalism. Any time I've brought my point of view to a discussion, my friends (most of whom are mainstream Democrats) instantly align me with Trump and the MAGA crowd, of course. Or, they just call me a dumb hippie.

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This comment perfectly captures what I'm feeling about the mainstream covid narrative, which itself seems to be the product of a relatively small clique of elites and so goes hand-in-hand with the original post.

I'm not talking about an actual conspiracy theory here but about the big-media/big-tech echo chamber that is seeded by, for example, New York "journalists" who have literally not left their tiny apartments since March.

Matthew says: "I know this disease has a slightly higher chance of killing me, but I'm ok with that risk because quality of life is more important to me than a long & safe life."

Somehow this attitude, which all of us share to some extent or we wouldn't bother getting up in the morning, has become unspeakably gauche in the last few months. And behaviors that, in February, would have rightly been seen as signs of mental illness, are now so normalized that anyone who questions them is vilified or dismissed as an anti-science crank.

I'm not talking so much about the simple precaution of wearing a mask, but about the layers and layers of incoherent covid security theater that we're all expected to play along with under the rubric of 'erring on the side of caution'. The mask is just a highly visible symbol of all of that.

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The problem is not that Matthew decides he's ok with the risk - that's fine, it's that Matthew can make others sick and that if Matthew gets sick and has to be hospitalized a lot of people have to take care of him putting themselves at risk. His choice can potentially take away other people's choices. As Bernie said, not me - us. This is all about taking care of each other.

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I think things truly got out of hand when people felt it was within their concern & rights to tell other people whether they can go outside and socialize or not. If that most basic act of humanity is deemed dangerous, for any amount of time (and we’re on month Five of it) and enough people go along with that, that’s absolutely insane to me. Same with feeling threatened because somebody’s standing within 6 feet of me and that increases the chance of infection by x% compared to when they’re standing within 7 feet of me. That’s not the kind of world I want to live in, even for a day, so why should I help perpetuate it?

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In what part of the world do you live where you're still told you can't go out and socialize?

It seems this virus has spotlighted two very disturbing characteristics of our country: our government's inept and indifferent response to all but corporate interests, and the remarkable selfishness of our individuals citizens, who see the imposition of wearing a mask or cleaning one's hands more frequently or maintaining a certain basic distance from strangers as Gulag like, even as they have lived in a country whose government has been collecting their every electronic musing, with seemingly no concern about the latter.

I was infected by the virus and was sick for 16 days, but not severely enough, at least as far as breathing, to go to a hospital, and by self medicating and rest, seem fine today, although it is possible my concentration, which was starting to slip before I got sick, as I'm 73, has worsened somewhat. I do believe the fatality rate is lower than we're led to believe, since we've had insufficient testing to know the actual number infected, but the fact our death toll is so much higher than other countries, seems to spotlight a basic immature and selfish outlook that, perhaps to our not being subjected to large scale calamities that so many other countries have had in the past, we lack the ability to self deny for even a limited time. And no, five months, even when the F is capitalized, is not a long period of time.

Right now, we do not know enough about the virus and especially it's long term effects to make a judgment on the proper response, but common sense says taking precautions and considering how our actions impact others seems not too much to ask.

If we can justify our actions after 9-11, when less than 3,000 people were killed, that caused us to invade countries that had nothing to do with it, killing and displacing millions and spending $7 trillion in the process, it seems the measures we've taken due to the virus(and I don't count the government's poor priorities and fumbling response as part of that) are not out of line.

At some point, a final decision will have to be made, weighing the deaths from the virus versus the social/economic costs, but that time is too soon, in my view.

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Matthew you don't want to join the herd and neither do I, but I think you are taking your self-centered attitude to an unworkable extreme. I mean if you just felt like shit if you couldn't go out and kill someone every few weeks, do you think the world should take pity on you and let you go ahead with it?

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I guess to me I think If we had just right at the start taken the view that - ok, this isn't what we want but we're in this together and the way to kill this virus is to deny it hosts so lets just go 100% all in and wear the masks, stay home and get it over with. We might be where other countries are - mostly open and back to at least close to normal. Instead we sort of closed just enough to trash the economy meanwhile doing nothing to prepare a plan for reopening, testing or dealing with outbreaks so we're in a no man's land where we have a mess of approaches - more and more deaths, mass unemployment, people at risk of losing their homes and a virus running rampant. You can't do anything with one foot out the door - that's no way to succeed at anything. The ridiculous thing to me is that this is temporary. We just have to make the best of the situation we're given and then we move on. The main thing to remember is that the virus is setting the rules. No point to arguing with a virus.

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Driving a car puts others potentially at risk. Do you have and use a car? Lockdowns hurt people too. Depending on your situation, you may not relate to that, but I need these lockdowns to end--and much sooner than waiting for a vaccine to be broadly administered.

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Lots of things we do put others at risk but it's a trade off. I do have a car and drive it as little as I can get away with. I do understand the damage done by lockdowns - Growing up my family had a small business - We would have lost everything had we lost that business so I completely empathize with small businesses. If you read all my comments, my point is we had the lockdown which was completely wasted because unlike other countries, we did not get the numbers of infected down to a low enough level before we started re-opening. The government did not use the time of the lockdown to procure and provide PPE or testing materials. We did not use the time to come up with a national plan for reopening. We did not use the time to come up with a plan for schools. The government did not use its vast resources to keep workers, businesses and local governments afloat in any clear and sustainable way. What we did do is turn the lockdowns into yet another basis for fighting among ourselves. The virus doesn't care. We have lost over 150,000 people to this thing and it's just getting started. As I've said repeatedly, if wearing a mask, socially distancing and washing our hands keeps people safe and alive- why not? You're right in that we can't just sit and wait for a vaccine that may never come but we also can't just throw up our hands and do nothing.

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Those who are afraid should take whatever measures they wish. I think there's very little chance of contracting the virus if one wears a mask, gloves, uses hand sanitizer, keeps distant and avoids crowds. But I'm not afraid, so let me live a normal life. I shouldn't have to give up what makes life worth living because of someone else's fear.

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It's not a matter of fear and it should be obvious all the above precautions you mention are only going to work as a means to stop the virus long term if everyone does them. It's called working together and caring about each other enough to temporarily curtail some activities. I think people way over think this - you take the precautions then basically go about your life taking other detours when necessary. it's not that hard. Accepting the virus is the same as accepting reality.

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Mmmm, no, it’s also been about pushing tens of millions into poverty.

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Whose infecting who at this point? Vaccines did not accomplish herd immunity, as was initially promised during lockdowns, nor are they any more permanent or effective in immunity as was media-sold. PCR tests create scary positive “cases” w/o a shred of evidence they can select out C-19 or any current infection therefrom.

Taibbi personally declared his tied-to-the-intended narrative: FEAR. Such fear affects all animals alike: it narrows vision, shunts vital functions into unhealthy patterns, and causes snapping and snarling at targeted enemies, like unvaxxed. How sanctimonious are our politically elected who have been rewarded by exemptions from product that has no list of ingredients and no long term known consequences.

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Matthew, tour de force of a comment. Thank you for taking the time to articulate your thoughts.

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You are not a dumb hippie. You are clear-headed and thoughtful. I've read your comment several times today and it really hits home for me. I keep saying to my friends "We're holding onto life at the expense of living". This virus isn't going to kill me. I might kill myself if this shit continues. Not trying to be dramatic, but when all pleasure is drained from life, what reason is there to live?

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I hear ya. I’d normally go to a coffee shop after work twice a week for their open mic nights. Sometimes I’d play but most of the time it was just to listen to a ton of random people from all over and, good or bad, it always inspired me and motivated me when work was nothing but a drag. Now the best I can hope for is that they won’t close down before they get to start back up again, which is god-knows-when. Work and life in general were getting too overwhelming for me before I started going to that place regularly, and it really did save me from complete despair. I don’t have an encouraging way to end this comment other than to reciprocate your feelings and hope you do alright :)

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Well said Matthew and Matt Taibbi!

Now that the state governments have published their arbitrary and ever changing COVID edicts for 5 months now it is beginning to sink in that they will never end. These unscientific edicts that seemed comical and annoying at first (unless you are an enemy of the state small business owner), become the death knell for our culture and civilization as they extend indefinitely. Regardless of whether you believe the consipracy theories regarding pedophiles in Washington and Hollywood running our government and media, the distrust of both has finally broken the barrier between the economically uber-disadvantaged left and right. Most will accept any outlandish rumor over the government and MSM lies.

More of my liberal friends are questioning things they should have been questioning for years (USA economic solvency and Big Pharma ownership of Medicare for all) ) but instead of becoming more charitable to fellow disenfranchised plodders like themselves they recede into the hate of everyone and anything MAGA as if Trump's defeat will make this COVID nightmare dissipate instantly. Reluctantly, I will vote for Kanye or some other 3rd party hopeless, only because it will make the mentally and emotionally ill TDS friends and family feel better for a few days. They need it. And when President Sleepy Joe wins he will have a half life of 2 or 3 weeks before the FBI, CIA, BLM, Antifa, and CNN will turn on the hate in the hope that Kamala will benefit before the swearing in. God help her from there!I will be praying!

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ANTIFA and BLM? Seriously?

How comical.

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I was dead serious. Notice how Joe is withdrawing from all debates? He has already agreed to resign within a year of his election in favor of his VP. He is unable to speak or function acceptably. In addition, when his dementia and past backing of the 3 strikes laws is evident to all, his unacceptability to the left will cancel him. Not to mention his singlehanded success in stripping students of all loan bankruptcy protections.He is a placeholder for the dem donors who will

call their chips as soon as the VP seems serviceable.

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Matthew, I think you raise several interesting points.

Regarding differentiation between this disease and other common diseases (i.e., seasonal flu), one huge differentiator is that our hosptial system has, over time, come into equilibrium with normal annual cycles of "common" disease. The occurance of illnesses requiring hospitalization are likely consistent and predictable, save natural or manmade acute disasters (9/11). The real issue with COVID is that, if left unchecked, we will have a HUGE influx of hospitalizations that quickly overrun our hospital capacity, as was the case in NYC and Italy. Living in a first world country, we should not knowingly embark on a mad adventure that will lead to infirmed individuals dying on sidewalks outside of the hospital. Keeping all of this in mind, I can easily rationalize a SHIFT in our behaviors to prevent this from happening. Examples include the use of masks, outdoor seating at restaurants, no large indoor gatherings. These are frankly not big inconveniences for MOST of the population. At the same time, the government needs to have a fucking plan on how to accomodate rapid testing responses. Other modern, non-authoritarian countries have done it (Germany comes to mind).

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Thanks for writing this, Matthew. I read all the way through and couldn't agree more.

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Thanks Matthew, that helps me wrap my head around these issues. I'm a huge music fan and musician myself. Going to put on "FitterHappier"

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I don't agree with not wearing a mask as a political statement that says "stick it to them". But not wearing a mask because one's opinion is along the lines that we should be like Sweden is entirely valid. Sweden's cases and deaths just approached zero, and I no longer believe that there is any possible outcome for the United States than "burn-through". Our prevention methods aren't sufficient to get Ro below 1. Simply not going to happen. New York has low spread because everyone in the groups that regularly intermingle got exposed already. California, Texas, etc will end up in the same place over a longer period of time. The question is does it take 2 months, and give Trump a shot at re-election, or 6 months?

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1. As a first gen immigrat, I disagree on mask-less but I respect their right. Somehow this respect for individual choices is missing when it comes to masks but not abortion. (I'm pro choice as long as it's not late term so I think I'm consistent here.)

2. Another idea for you is to write on big tech censorship. The latest debate on HCQ is a great example. Youtube and FB delete any videos that support HCQ+zinc. To shut down a discussion in this fashion is insanity.

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On Point 2: I agree that censorship is not a good plan. I can see it going down many dark roads - we have a lot to figure out here. As for this concept of a "discussion", I think that is off the mark. We are talking about medical sciences - discussions about medical science should be had in the medical community, not on Youtube. Untrained people should not be discussing this topic as if their opinions have any merit. Even most doctors are irrelevant to the discussion because they don't understand the biochemistry like researchers do. I am in a science field myself and understand how controversial certain topics can be, and how an outside observer may be misled by certain "expert" individuals. There are always experts whose opinions diverge from the "scientific consensus" but lay people should not really just pick and choose which scientist they listen to - it's too complicated for that. As an example, think about the tobacco lobby. They would have doctors testify in court that cigarettes weren't unhealthy. Those doctors were technically "experts, right? So how do you decide?

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"I'm close to several doctors who treat this disease and... let's just say it scares the hell out of me".

How about no, let's not just say that. That's straight out of the big-media playbook that has left so many people oscillating helplessly between confusion, panic, and outrage throughout these bizarre 5 months:

Step 1: Tell a scary-sounding but utterly vague and question-begging anecdote

Step 2: Advise all (at least implicitly) to move on because there's nothing to see here, the experts have this figured out, and by the way did you hear that Europe already beat the virus you stupid mag-tard?

Step 3: Throw in a file photo of a body bag or someone wearing a hazmat suit or preferably both

To be fair you stopped at step 1, but to hell with the entire playbook. How about let's actually dig into the data, give serious hearings to contrarian experts like Levitt at Stanford and Gupta at Oxford, investigate the death counts, and try to understand what on earth is going on with this unprecedented world-wide freakout that has paved the way for a massive power and money grab by those who were already extraordinarily powerful and wealthy.

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How anyone is not scared shitless of this disease is beyond me. Maybe they just haven't known anyone that died from it? My wife had a 49 year old friend who died of it and then my friend's elderly mom died of it. The reports coming out are that the disease can damage a variety of organs and in some cases leave even young healthy people debilitated, possibly permanently. There is so much unknown around the disease, but just the fact that 157k people, at last count, across the whole country have died from it and it has spread like wildfire should make people extremely cautious.

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I do not disagree with you Harvey...but..

a) The outlook for a vaccine that is more than 50% effective is not great, at least in the near and midterm and maybe the long term

b) I have higher hopes for reliable treatments but my hopes would be higher if it were not so damn political

c) At some point we are going to have to get back to something like normal. We cannot isolate children and teens forever. Online learning may work for college kids but K-12? Got a 12 yr old, let me tell you, he is missing out on the most important part of his education or at least it is seriously degraded.

We cannot print money forever, at least not the way we have and I just cannot see Wall Street and the politicians they control agreeing to go full on MMT and let the Treasury just print it. So, people are going to need to work. Even old people like me need to play or go insane.

Humans have managed to live with all kinds of highly contagious and deadly diseases from Diptheria to Plague for millennia. We have been fortunate to live through a golden age. It might be over. It probably IS over. Never mind that more and more of our antibiotics are no longer effective.

I have a sick feeling that we are once again heading into a time where we are going to have to live with horrible, communicable diseases and this is just the first.

As awful as it sounds, we may just have to get on with life, mitigate what we can and pray to God we and those we care about are lucky.

There are moments I wonder if God/Fate/Mother nature are just saying we have overpopulated and it is time to thin the herd.

This is one reason that I think cities are dead. One reason that people used to move out of the cities was to avoid exposure to plagues and diseases that were exacerbated by close contact. I think back as far as the Romans and the wealthy fleeing the city to their villas.

Just an anecdote..but..

I live south and west of DC about an hour, right on the border between Northern, densely populated, VA and central, rural VA. My 3 county health region has had a total of 580 cases and 8 deaths. You go north about 30 minutes to Fairfax and the are over 16,000 cases and something like 900 deaths. And, to be perfectly honest, most of my area has been not particularly good at the mask wearing and the social distancing. Not completely blown it off, but much more casual about it than closer in to the city.

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I agree that pinning our hopes on a vaccine is a losing proposition. We can't stop everything forever.

A big problem is that our healthcare system is terrible. You can't tie healthcare to employment and keep a pandemic in check. You can't rely on states to have money available to suddenly come up with emergency supplies to combat something like this. The response at the federal level has to address the problem directly and coordinate the response. The borders between states are porous, there is no provision for keeping movement in check. When it comes to handling a pandemic the country has to be considered as one entity.

Yes, urban areas will be more prone to spread of the virus, but there is no place in this country that doesn't contact an urban area in some fashion at some point. If people were willing to wear masks everywhere it's likely that rural areas could be open by now.

The main problem with letting the chips fall where they may is that you will have bodies piling up in the streets by the time it is all over. People are all fine about risking their lives to the virus until they get sick, at which point they suddenly don't want to die and tie up hospital beds. We have an inadequate supply of both healthcare providers and facilities to handle this.

People keep pointing to Sweden as the way out, but Sweden has had over 5700 deaths compared to Norway, Denmark and Finland with a total of 1200 for all of them and Sweden's economy is still contracting by 6%. So, what's the advantage in letting people die?

Even if we assume a case fatality rate of .5% that's 1,640,000 dead here and if we don't flatten the curve that will happen extremely rapidly. The federal government right now is not directing the response appropriately in any way at all and Trump's psychotic Twitter rants don't help.

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I agree regarding the tying of healthcare to employment.

The honest to God truth about this is just messy. Yes, Trump has not been helpful but there was never much he could do in any case. The fact is that it is up to the states to set shutdown practices. The CDC has not been up to this for at least ten years. (I worked there for a year) They have had so much mission creep that they have almost forgotten what their original reason for existing is. Trump did not offshore all of our PPE production or the production of 90% of our critical medicines. That started 20 yrs ago and has been nothing but encouraged by industry and lobbyists and so politicians because they though it would drive prices down. Same with durable medical equipment like ventilators. Those things could not change with the flip of a switch. Crony capitalism killed the economy. Ironic.

Trump did not tell the Chinese to lie and coverup and neither did he convince the WHO to tow the line. Remember, it was the WHO that believed the Chinese when they said that person to person transmission was highly unlikely. It was the Chinese that imprisoned doctors that spoke out and tried to warn people. Fauci went along. Trump did not control that.

Apart from the bully pulpet there really was nothing he could do directly. Even activating the defense production act was questionably legal but he did it.

No, this mess is systemic and has been building for decades.

Has Trump been helpful? Not particularly, but being an ass does not make him responsible for a lack of national preparedness at the state, local level and in private industry. Heck, even at the national level the CDC, NIH and Congress had roles to play. Hell, Nancy Pelosi was calling for people to come out to Chinese New Year at the same time Trump and Fauci were thinking this was not gonna be a risk. I cannot think of one state, local or national politician or one leader in industry that was screaming about our lack of preparedness.

This is a NATIONAL fuck up not just Trump's. Were you voting on pandemic preparedness issues? I was not. Heck, I had no idea that we could not produce PPE or drugs until this started and I would bet that 99% of the population and politicians were in the same boat.

My point is that the chips ARE going to fall where they may regardless of what we do. This is NOT very likely to get a whole lot better, a vaccine is not going to be a silver bullet even if we get one. Our best hope is that we develop accurate tests that are quick and that we develop therapies that are effective. Then, we get on with things knowing that some or even most of us are going to get this at some point. It is not going away so we can try to hide in our homes and hope or we can get up, accept the risks and go on living.

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The voters cannot be expected to micromanage our Public Health preparedness. We have a right to expect that our leaders will install competent managers where they are needed. So the buck stops with sticky fingered Obama at least as much as Trump, and behind that lies the failure of our political/economic system. Something is fucking rotten in the State of America.

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I agree that we can't blame ALL of this on Trump and that our outsourcing of production to China is bipartisan fuckery of the highest order, but he definitely exacerbated a bad situation and I think you're giving him a pass on a lot of things.

He ignored warning signs for months and increasing numbers of infected both abroad and here in the USA claiming that it would all blow over. In January when the WHO was actually saying there was a high global health risk and we had cases rising in Washington state he was claiming there were no worries about a pandemic.

In early March he downplayed the lack of testing, claiming at various times that, "Anyone that wants a test can get a test." He kept tweeting blaming the Democrats and the media for inflaming the situation saying it was all under control and that there was nothing to worry about. Then on March 17 he held a press conference saying he knew all along it was a pandemic.

Then as states shut down in March Trump basically decides we should open back up by April and starts tweeting about this all the time. Suddenly by the end of April he is advocating for opening everything back up to get the economy going again and a bunch of southern governors decide to throw in with that and we get ourselves another big surge of infected.

At one of his coronavirus briefings in April he suggested off the cuff that ingesting or injecting disinfectant were interesting possibilities for combating the infection.

He continues to point to the number of infections being tied to the amount of testing and that if we didn't do as much testing we wouldn't have as many infections, which is absolute stupidity.

There are so many stories out there about the Trump administrations mess ups on acquiring PPE. The latest is the Jared Kushner dream team one. It took Trump until July to actually recommend wearing a mask and before that he publicly downplayed the risk of not wearing one and both he and Pence were never seen wearing them even when they were visiting locations that required them.

And yes there were many Governors that were looking for a national plan and complaining about preparedness as the virus started accelerating. When they found they were on their own many of them were scrambling to acquire PPE and finding themselves battling other states and the feds for those resources. It's a true clusterfuck and while our system sucks and we were not prepared a lot of the problems with the response falls at the feet of the Trump administration.

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I hear Thanatos speaking in your voice. I think you want to die and want us to come with you. I think you should go right ahead, but don't expect us to come with you. We are busy living. Go about your business.

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I think I shouldn't be so quick with my appraisals. I guess you were just depressed when you made that comment. You sounded fine in later ones.

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Yep. Most people don't know anyone who has died from this virus. Because that is not a common reaction. The vast majority of people who get this only experience mild symptoms. Just as a contrast: I know four people who tested positive for this. Two showed no symptoms. One had cold-like symptoms. One had flu-like symptoms.

I'm sorry for your loss, but it's just not common for most people.

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I know 7 people who got it. One died -- he was already in assisted living for medical conditions -- and the other 6 were only briefly sick and recovered fully. This isn't ebola.

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Matt, while we've got you here, there's an issue I'd be grateful to see you address head on:

Your reporting on the Russia collusion hoax shows that Dems, media, and various senior federal law enforcement and intelligence officials attempted a coup. Some may have been deluded or reckless for a while, but others certainly intended to fabricate a story to oust a duly elected president, and they kept at it long after any conceivable factual basis for the hoax was refuted. There's more evidence of that emerging every day.

I know you find Trump gross, and I get why. But do you support having the coup plotters take control of the executive branch again? Not just the same party, but in many instances the very same people?

You're a great writer, you're a clear thinker, and you've obviously got some cojones. Can you take on this question? Thank you.

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The plotters are still at it. NYTimes manufactured evidence that the Russians are paying the Taliban a bounty for American scalps, and they are demanding to know why Trump lets his friend Putin get away with it.

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What is your support for the position that the NY Times made this up?

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Read consortiumnews. The allegations come from Afghan Intelligence who will cause people to tell them what they want to hear. They want to motivate the US to avoid a deal with the Taliban. There is no need to pay he Taliban a bounty. Killing Americans is their biggest joy. Also other reasons.

It was an oversimplification to say Times made it up. Afghan Intelligence made it up. Then it was cherry picked by people in US Intelligence who liked it and fed it to NYTimes who played it up. The general intent of all parties was to avoid US withdrawal from Agstan.

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Just a side note but if you haven't caught the "great mask debate" clip making the rounds you're missing out on on a pretty good chuckle. I live in NorCal and masks have been mandated from early on. I had a set of tires put on at a Costco recently and spent an hour sitting around outside watching hundreds of people of all ilks come and go. What I saw were people WITH all manner of "masks" including many that were really borderline like bandanas and scarfs etc. Lots of them didn't cover noses or were pulled down when people spoke with each other or removed the second they exited the store. We've had a spike here like in other states and maybe it has to do with this lax mask wearing behavior. One thing I'm certain of..it's not due to political defiance by Trump supporting rubes. At least not here anyways

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Our county recently went under a mask mandate, urged by our mayor, the Hon. Leirion Gaylor Baird, who has a degree from Oxford and worked in the Yale College Deans Office. Our Gov. Pete 'Dimestore Lex Luthor' Ricketts twists in the wind because he's an idiot who got political advice once from Scott Walker. ... As for me, I expect to be wearing a mask this time next year too.

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I know this is an old post and I'm merely providing 'hindsight on 2020' ( :-D ) but this is conclusive evidence that many of the criticisms given back then in regards to things like mask use were completely valid and in some circumstances more accurate than the message we were getting from even medical institutions. I know you were critical of protesters being given "a free pass" but the letter signed by 1500 "medical experts" (even though a significant number were simply students in a medical program) stating that "racism was deadlier than COVID and therefor justified whatever actions necessary" caused me to lose any remaining faith in those institutions. I've long considered myself a man of science, but when the very people who science is meant to be the foundation upon which their institution is built upon discard it in favor of activism, it's not hard to see why something that typically would be seen as an acceptable practice with little to no opposition instead became a position of defiance and a demand for a return to actual scientific principles. The harder they pushed them, the more suspicious I became personally; if they truly provided the effect they purported they did, then there would be 0 need for the mask wearing propaganda we experienced over the last year. If they worked, the data would clearly show they worked and most people would gladly seek them out. But instead we got relentless bombardment of hypothesis presented as established fact which led to it being a symbol of ones virtue more than any sort of "Bulwark against Contagion."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/

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We’re fighting a global pandemic. If the citizens of the world are going to win, it will take all of us to make the necessary sacrifices to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. I think of the sacrifices members of my family, everyone’s families made during WW II. Millions of young Americans sent far away from home to fight a global enemy. More than 400,000 never returned. Those who did return came back with the horrible memories of war that they dealt with for their entire lives. Citizens who stayed home made all the necessary sacrifices to support the war effort. Wearing a mask, maintaining a reasonable social distance...doing the necessary things the scientists advocate to keep us all safe doesn’t seem to be that outrageous.

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This feels like a Walter Sobchak "this guy fucking walks" moment.

Yes the media lies, yes the experts are incompetent and inconsistent, yes the elites will try to use any flimsy basis to exert power over us wherever they can...but all that is independent of the virus. Plagues happen, and they have their own agenda.

The expert's losing streak is all the more reason to keep an extra eyeball on this virus and take precautions.

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The media also tells the truth. You gotta be jussmartenuf to separate the pepper from the fly shit. This administration lies so much the truth is not expected from them and rarely arrives undistorted.

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From the distant perspective of 2024, this comment (and replies) about masking and the danger of Covid illustrates how easy it was to panic the public back then.

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When an M.I.T. professor/employee , what have you, makes a video of himself challenging Dr. Fauci to a debate about masks, on his own dime, it’s clear that folks aren’t on the same page. I’ve been masking from the start. People don’t like living in fear. The fearmongering in the media is too much.

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Absolutely agree that the anti lock-down crowd has many motivations, with the glue being disgust with the media and political class misrepresentations of, for lack of a better phrase, "The Science". I remember when it was all about "flattening the curve", and people were on board because hey, who knows how bad this can really get? When the data showed that it was only the NYC /Northeast area that truly needed triage, but all residents everywhere needed drastic lockdowns "because in two weeks this will be you!", well many in the hinterlands saw exactly the same gaslighting that spawned "Trump is Putin's cock holster".

When I got pissed off? March 12 - there were Covid 6 diagnosed in Ohio but our top health officials told us there were 100,000 that already had the virus. On March 12. Ridiculous and that clear idiocy triggers the "I need to background check every assertion these "professionals" make. Anyone paying attention has witnessed an absolute credibility train wreck from our public health overlords.

It is just horrifying that entire communities and businesses are being obliterated in response to a pandemic that is pushed by people who clearly only follow convenient storylines and bury other viewpoints.

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That is the truth.

To be fair, this is all still so new and the science is so all over the place and really just getting started that you expect some variations, some disagreements.

What bothers me is that you have the media, pundits and politicians taking science out of context or taking science that the scientists have hedged and turning them into absolute truths. Then they end up contradicting themselves later.

Worse, you sense that a lot of the misuse or misreporting of the science is intentional to push a narrative that is more political than in the interest of society.

Lies. Damn lies and statistics.

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That is true. The Liberal Democrats are livid about the anti-science Trumpist thugs but the scientists know that they don't know that much. The people who pretend to know are the Public Health spokespeople whose job is to pretend to know.

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Nah. My take is that the refusal to wear masks is mostly about the same solipsistic denial that Larry Kramer faced from the unbridled hedonists of the gay party crowd in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Denial and rationalizations galore, "supported" by factoids, folklore and superstitions. And in this case, fake statistics like the one you quoted: ".04% death rate" for covid-19? If only. https://covidusa.net/

The Virus is No Fun. It's a buzzkill. A wet blanket. The virus demands serious checks on the carefree existence that most Americans view as their prerogative, and who wants that? Nobody.

Can't we just not care about it? No.

I don't like this situation, either. But I'm not going to delude myself about its reality. My family is determined to ride this epidemic out safely, in spite of the people who are still literally throwing caution to the wind.

I don't know what it will take for the reckless to learn their lesson about this. But they're gambling more than they can stand to lose, and some of them are bound to find that out in ways that are close up and personal.

I'm also noticing a lot of people who are unclear on the concept of indirect consequences- 2nd order, 3rd order, etc. effects. So unfortunately, even some of the people who are acting right and taking precautions are likely to suffer from the heedless behavior of others.

Having to wear a mask when indoors or in close proximity to other people is a 1st World "Problem." SARS-Cov-2 is a Real World Problem.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/research-reveals-heart-complications-covid-19-patients

https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/3000168/complications

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A .04% death rate is 400 per million. The US death rate already exceeds that figure, and no one is suggesting everyone in the US has been infected. The death rate is probably around .5%, maybe a little higher or lower depending on circumstances. Why make up a demonstrably false figure?

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It has run at 0.26% in the latest count, compared with over 1.00% about 10 weeks ago. There will be no definite statistics until we can see how many survive a round 2 or round 3.

There is definitely a correlation between the use of high-quality masks (where possible) and the severity/mortality of infection.

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That certainly seems plausible. Treatments are also being refined and improved from the March/April period.

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I don't get it - Why not just wear the mask? It's such a small ask. If it helps then good. If it doesn't then no harm done. And as far as social distancing, it just makes sense - the virus dies out without hosts. So you don't get to do exactly what you want for awhile - just deal with it. Think of the healthcare workers and other essential workers who have to be out in public. The least the rest of us can do is try to control the spread. The main issue has been the lack of economic support for small businesses and local governments. That's on Donald "pro-freedom" Trump. What good is freedom without life?

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I will answer your question. First, I do wear a mask in some situations, like in a grocery store. I do it not because I think it is smart policy but not to offend my neighbors.

The response to Covid19 is obviously going to kill more people than the disease itself. The UN is predicting millions in danger of starvation due to the contraction of the global economy. Untold numbers have missed normal medical procedures, and have died or will die as a result. Tourist centers and small business are being devastated. Our kids, if they go to school at all, are to be constantly reminded that something deadly is in the air and if they are nor careful they may kill Granny. All in the name of "health." Meanwhile, the government flushes away trillions and trillions of dollars, sums so large that we cannot comprehend.

The benefits of public mask wearing are unproven. As recently as May specialists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine said that mask wearing in public probably provided no benefit. Today I find people waking in the woods or driving alone in their cars wearing masks. These are signs of public hysteria, not prudent health measures.

The media-induced Covid19 is doing infinitely more harm than the disease and public mask wearing - which is getting more common where I live as the disease ebbs - is a constant suggestion that we all might catch a deadly disease at any moment.

Herd immunity is how we get past this disease, like most other diseases, the sooner the better. If masks turn out to be effective, they merely postpone that process and allow successive crops of the sick and elderly to die of the disease.

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I also wear a mask in stores - not because I care what the neighbors think but because it makes sense as a universal way to protect one another. I'm 99.9% sure I don't have it but I realize that if everyone who feels the same doesn't follow the precautions then it's not going to work so I wear the mask and stay put as much as possible. I do not wear a mask in the woods - just bug spray. On the further positive side, I've learned I'm pretty good at making masks.

Deaths from the side effects of the shutdowns are government / societal choices not inevitable consequences. You can open everything back up and most thinking people are still not going to go out because they logically reach the conclusion that it's not safe. To repair the economy, we have to deal with the virus in a coherent way. In the meantime, put money in people's pockets so they can spend at those small businesses, distribute food to all in need, zero out all rents and mortgages and maybe all debt - I'm no economist so I'm not sure about how this might work but we've thrown trillions and trillions of dollars into wars so I'm very confident in our government's ability to spend. It seems like what's standing in the way of economic relief for people is money so maybe it's time to redefine it. In other words, we're not lacking in things - we're lacking in the ability to pay for things. As for doctor visits, my husband has gone to the doctor twice during this time and I've gone to the dentist - perfectly safe.

As for children, this is not a time for fear of killing granny. It is a time to learn about sacrificing your own desires for the good of all and also a good time for learning about viruses, diseases and history. It may not be what they're used to but that doesn't have to be a total negative. I always taught my kids there's not such thing as being bored and I still believe that. What we have to be sure is that we have support for families who are suffering financially.

And finally , herd immunity. I'm not sure of the numbers, but isn't it like 1.5% or so of Americans have been infected? And I'm not sure what the percentage is worldwide but for herd immunity we need like 60-70%. If we've reached 1.5% in about 6 months, then I would say we have years to go to reach that 60-70% naturally. And in the meantime, we have to be sure not to overwhelm the healthcare system which circles us back to masks, social distancing and hand washing. In my opinion, we should never become complacent or indifferent about "crops" of people dying however they might be categorized.

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What's the practical alternative to herd immunity though? Wait indefinitely for a vaccine? Here again, there are reputable, serious experts (Michael Levitt at Stanford; the people at the Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine) who think (a) that effective herd immunity from covid occurs at *far* lower of an infection percentage than 60-70% -- they think it's more like 15-20% in practice -- and (b) that early signs suggest that this has already happened in places like New York City and Sweden. (to my understanding herd immunity is local, not global).

These folks' opinions don't get much air time, though, because they run counter to the Google-approved narrative that "if we all just comply perfectly with this week's Virus Control Guidance as explained by a half-educated, panicked millennial in the New York Times, everything will eventually be fine at some indefinite point in the future, and please pay no attention to the collateral damage".

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What is the road to herd immunity and what is the collateral damage on that road? I'm trying to think of different diseases and have we ever achieved herd immunity naturally or have we always reached this via a vaccine or preventative measures? And, can you really have sustainable local immunity without mandating no travel?

I think everything should be open for discussion and investigation. Whatever we do though has to take into account the capacity of our healthcare system to deal with those who become seriously ill and that's the point of measures to slow the spread. You don't have to panic but neither do you want to go out of your way to catch an unpredictable disease. My main frustration is that we seem to have no coherent plan so we've ended up with the worst of all worlds - a disease run rampant and an imploding economy.

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I think you might be conflating herd immunity with eradication. My understanding of herd immunity is that a local 'herd' can get to the point where enough people in it are immune to a virus that it can no longer spread quickly through that herd.

This doesn't mean that no one in the herd will ever get sick (i.e., eradication), but that the herd as a whole will be epidemic-resistant until there is a substantial and stable change in its overall immunity profile. Casual travel doesn't seem likely to affect that, but maybe that depends on where the herd lives.

I'm wondering why you think the disease is currently running rampant? To me it looks more like we've passed peak almost everywhere in the country: https://covidtracking.com/data/charts/regional-cases-per-million

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What good is life without freedom?

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What is freedom? It's never absolute and varies according to the situation. There are always trade-offs and considerations.

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Infecting other people is 'freedom'?

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This is a dishonest point or "point" to make. No one deliberately infects another person. Sometimes in the course of living life and doing things that one needn't apologize for (making a living, participating in the world in some fashion other than sitting at home watching Netflix and collecting unemployment) the virus gets spread. That's how biology works and we cannot completely control it. There are steps we can take to try to reduce it but, they will never be 100%. It's neither fair nor sustainable to create a mentality that I am responsible for your covid infection because I left my house.

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They don't deliberately infect other people (as far as I know); they just don't care, because they are 'free', which has the same result. I don't see anything dishonest about that statement; indeed, the conclusion seems obvious. As for the belief that one is free of connection to other people and its consequences, I think it's a kind of infantile delusion and it's strange to see it elevated to the level of ideology.

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Yeah, that's exactly what I meant. Just like when I insist that my Second Amendment rights not be infringed upon, I am really asserting my right to shoot other people.

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The nearest analogy would be taking your Second Amendment rights to mean that you can shoot at random in any environment. There are actually people like that. Several years ago some dumb boy got hold of a loaded .45 pistol and fired it at random in a crowded New York City neighborhood, and unintentionally killed a small child, which caused something of a local scandal and outcry. But you know how liberals are.

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Thank you so much. I don't know where I stand in the political world right now ... used to consider myself "liberal" but I thought liberal meant live and let live, anti-war, pro equality. Now it seems to mean exactly the opposite.

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People who don’t know math, know nothing about epidemiology and medicine come out of their holes and voice strong opinions. Studies from various countries show that with the current policies around 5% of people got infected. That means that in the USA the mortality rate is about 1%. Extrapolating, to achieve herd immunity even if it’s possible we would face 3 m dead. I know nothing about hydroxychloroquine and I suspect you do neither.

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Fucking spot on.

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The fatality rate is closer to 4% which is significantly higher than the flu, which is .005% Who was arrested for not wearing a mask? Where? When? Wearing a mask is not about you -- it's about others. Do you think that virus was transported to nursing homes by magic? Someone caught the virus singing in church and then passed to the man who delivers adult diapers who passed it along to a nurse who then gave it to elderly veterans.

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Well, no, neither candidate is a good choice. That’s the point.

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Indeed.

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The death rate of COVID-19 in the US has been about 6% (160,000 deaths/2,500,000 recovered). Worldwide it's at about 5% (700,000 deaths/12,500,000 recovered). https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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How do you get 0.04 percent as the death rate? 158,000 divided by 330,000,000 is higher than that, and obviously not everyone in the US has had covid-19.

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Probably a mis-type, most people find percentage notation a little confusing. I would guess that he actually meant 0.004 simply; i.e., 0.4%, which is right about in the middle of the iFR rates I've been seeing lately.

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Interesting take. However, there is something to consider regarding the upcoming election. In 2016, it was easy for me to vote for Gary Johnson. I don't really like Republicans. All it took was a massive operation to take down a duly elected president and a state sanctioned Marxist revolution in the middle of a pandemic to piss me off.

I went from politically disinterested to borderline activist in less than a year. I'm not a part of that populist right wing demographic. But now, there is nothing that could stop me from casting my vote for Trump. I may be an exception or there could be many other voters who share my sentiments. If so, November could get interesting.

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I voted for Gary Johnson last time too, and I will vote for Trump this year for exactly the reason you gave: the left has become lawless, and the institutions it controls (universities, media) have contempt for free speech, due process, and other individual rights.

Look at the campus kangaroo courts; look at the speakers who have been chased off campus because they would offer a different viewpoint. Universities have been producing graduates who do not understand or respect the basic rights that make this a great country, and those graduates are attaining critical mass in the real world to end freedom as we know it.

Even if the Republicans have poor policies on issues like health care (and they do), it's essential to send the left packing until they show they will respect our Constitution and individual rights. And with any luck, within another four years, the propaganda mills we call universities will implode and be replaced by institutions that actually teach debate, free inquiry, and critical thinking.

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In a couple of years, I will need to actually pre-qualify universities for my daughter based on whether they have incorporated critical theory and intersectionality into the curriculum. It will end up being a very short list.

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I'll be doing that for my daughter in four years. The college where I studied is beautiful and I had a wonderful experience there, but it has since become a pit of post-modernism like the rest. Hillsdale is an option. If my daughter has the grades, I think University of Chicago still upholds some of the classical tradition, and at least protects free speech. But you're right: short list.

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Good luck with that, unless your daughter is pursuing an education in welding technology or something similar. Campus activism demanding inclusion of post-modernism, woke intersectionality and social justice content is making its way into STEM programming now, even at large world-class research institutions. At least the UofChi has stated their commitments to principles of free intellectual thinking and an open learning environment.

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Are they defunding the campus police at the University of Chicago yet? Do you think the tuition will include private security?

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Are you a college grad? It sounds as though you don't understand how colleges work. You, the student, CHOOSES what courses to take! I never, for example, took a course in Women's Studies, Queer Theory, African-American Studies, etc. They were all available, but, others were more interesting to me. Colleges have distribution requirements: 4 semesters of a foreign language, 2 semesters of science, etc. but not a specific course.

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They are actively incorporating critical race theory into everything from history to mathematics. This is well beyond multicultural studies electives.

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May I ask where you get this info?

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1619 Project

https://reason.com/2020/01/28/1619-project-new-york-times-public-schools/

https://newdiscourses.com/2020/07/history-killers-academic-fraudulence-1619-project/

Woke Twitter is currently proposing that 2+2=5. They just don't mention that 2 is a variable. It seems to have something to do with transgender ism. Also, critical thinking and the scientific method is racist.

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Donna, my daughter is an aerospace engineering major at a large state college in a conservative western state -- in other words, hardly the traditional seat of social justice activism -- and her campus is plastered with wokeist platitudes and she is forced to take various webinars and sign commitment pledges to further wokeist goals.

You don't have to take those classes for that ideology to find you. Google the Shut Down STEM movement.

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I understand your reasoning to an extent. I, too, am frustrated by the trend you are describing, though I think the examples you cite are not nearly as common as the media and internets would have us think. However, I can't for the life of me see why voting for Trump will solve this.

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I remember hearing about the Horowitz report in passing on the evening news. The first thing that popped into my head was that it could be as bad as Watergate if it were true. I expected to hear more about it because it was clearly newsworthy. I didn't. That is how I ended up here. As it turns out, it is considerably worse than Watergate.

When that became clear, I knew that I would be voting for Trump. I couldn't directly, or indirectly, support the Democratic party because of the Russian collusion hoax. It was a coordinated disinformation campaign that was intended to defraud the public and overturn an election. It was an attack on our Constitutional Republic and on Democracy itself.

The Democratic party has become an illiberal institution that no longer values the rule of law or the government of the people. They have made that clear by jeopardizing the safety and security of the citizens of this country. They have turned a blind eye to violent insurrectionists who are literally burning Democratic institutions to the ground. Their tacit approval of Marxist principles and those who support them is a direct threat to liberty and justice for all Americans. That is why I am voting for Trump.

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Pelosi, Schumer, et al are Wall Street Establishment to their core! Marxists? Ha!

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You are correct. The Marxists are the petulant children rioting in the streets every night. Pelosi and Schumer are far more selective but they are equally seditious. They merely defrauded the American public by weaponizing our national security apparatus and court system to violate civil liberties and try to impeach the duly elected President of the United States. Otherwise, I'm sure that they are very good people.

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How do you know those kids are Marxists. Frankly I hope they are, but I didn't see that in the news. Have you talked to many of them?

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Yes, they are guilty of this. Voting for another person that flouts the Constitution isn't an answer, though. It's a protest vote. And a useless one. If you really want to protest, vote third party.

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That, in my opinion, is a false equivalency. The DNC tried to fraudulently overturn the will of the people. That is not forgivable. Trump, for all of his faults, hasn't done anything that even remotely compares to that. At this point, voting third party would be indirect support for the DNC. That is something that I cannot do. This isn't a protest vote. I'm voting for our Constitutional Republic.

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The dearth of acceptable alternatives outside of Trump and Biden helps me to at least understand where you're coming from. I won't be voting for either but rather writing in the person I feel represents my views the most. I admit that I have that luxury because I live in a solidly blue state. My main problem with Trump is his hiring of deregulators in regulatory positions-often with glaring conflicts of interest--or even just "acting" heads that are not vetted by Congress. I also have a problem with a President who sincerely believes he is above the law. And then there's the fact that he's such a goddamn infantile boor.

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Would love to hear what you think about Trump's patently obvious attempts to preemptively delegitimize the election results by casting doubt on mail-in ballots.

Also, and please answer honestly, when you listen to him talk about something--anything--do you think to yourself "This guy's talking a lot of sense and he really has people's best interests at heart"?

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Trump signed a dangerous cyberwar initiative that neither W nor Obama would touch!

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But Trump and Republicans in general, don’t hold dear the principles you explain that you hold dear, so why not vote third party? Or refrain from voting. Anything but throwing good votes after bad.

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I wrote in my wife's name in the last election. This election, I most likely will not do so. I now fear for our ability to be free as a nation.

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I am with you about the antidemocratic plotting, but I don't get it about the violent Marxist insurrectionists burning Democratic institutions. In fact I'm not sure how you literally burn an institution. Please tell me what you mean.

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His Secretary of Education promulgated a rule to eliminate the campus kangaroo courts and require basic due process, including the right to cross examine, etc. Biden says he will repeal this regulation immediately if elected. I am also hopeful for a regulation that will withhold federal funding from colleges that do not protect free speech. I'm disappointed we didn't get that this term. But we most certainly will not get it if Biden is elected.

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" I can't for the life of me see why voting for Trump will solve this".

It won't. Voting for Trump will bring fascism, i promise. Mussolini rising.

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Taibbi did a lot of reporting on the Russia collusion hoax. If you believe his reporting--which was well supported and keeps getting corroborated with new documents--the Dems, intelligence services, FBI and media attempted a coup. Do you think returning them to power is a way to fight fascism?

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Did you make the same projection in 2016? Did you learn anything from it?

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“The Left” does NOT control the msm! They are all, from Fox to MSNBC war mongers and Wall Street shills.

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I feel much the same.

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Scott: I feel the same. I did not vote for Trump the first time around. But like many Americans I abhor the use of power to intimidate and destroy those who are weaker or who think differently. I think Matt is being too quick to assume Biden will win in 2020. I believe there are a lot of people who are thinking like you. One other piece of evidence: the jury decision in Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College. Those jurors were members of a very middle-of-the-road community who had enough of leftist bullies trying to destroy and cancel the little guy. No one talks about that verdict as a precursor but I believe it is

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I agree. I know of alot of conservatives that opted out in 2016 by voting third party or not voting at all. I suspect that the majority of those votes will go red. The DNC is not coming from a position of strength right now. They are leaderless and their platform is incomprehensible.

They should be pounding the table for liberal Democratic values. They should be condemning violence and unanimously shutting down any notion of defunding the police. Job number one for any government is safety and security. They are trying to be everything to the mob and the mob hates them for it. The DNC has become the illiberal party.

At this time four years ago, the GOP was fragmented and in a state of denial. Establishment Republicans hated Trump. Bush and Cruz were demoralized. He single handedly hijacked the GOP while he openly mocked them. I've never seen an institution collapse in on itself in a more dramatic fashion.

Now, the GOP is Donald Trump's party and he has the strongest support he has ever had. Support among Republican voters is incredibly high and they are picking up voters like me. Underestimating him would be incredibly foolish. After 2016, I thought that skepticism would be commensurate with polling but I guess not.

Meanwhile, entrenched DNC cities are slashing police budgets while they support, defend and protect petulant children that are actively trying to burn Democratic institutions to the ground. Predictably, crime is spiking to levels that they haven't seen in decades.

How is that a winning strategy? Outside of staffers in the media, does anyone actually like what the DNC has become? It is incredible when you think about it. They have actually become a caricature of the Democratic party.

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What is peaceful about destruction and defacement?

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That was me but that is not in reference to well meaning protestors. I am referring to those who use them for cover so that they can do damage. There is a world of difference.

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You are correct. Peaceful protesting is an American institution. That must be protected. Hurting people and damaging property should not be.

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I think many people are quietly seething and waiting to speak up through the safety of the anonymous ballot.

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Silent Majority 2020

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They say that silence is violence. You must be actively anti-communist.

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$34 million in damages. That, combined with the Covid losses might have hoisted Oberlin on it’s own petard.

The key in that case was a document where an Oberlin diversity dean or some such functionary threatened/promised to “unleash the students” upon the bakery owners.

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Those riots at Oberlin, Evergreen State, and University of Missouri were practice runs for what we now see nationwide.

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Exactly. The smaller riots were children testing their limits. Still waiting for the adults to step in.

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She did not, actually...it was theoretical...Did the jury even see that?

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Aren't all threats theoretical......until they take place.......

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That was the legal basis for holding Oberlin liable. Students are not employees, and a college would otherwise not necessarily be liable for what its students do.

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As an Asian American Republican in Southern California, I also couldn’t pull the trigger for Trump. Instead I also cast my vote for Johnson. But the overwhelming hatred and attacks from all quarters has motivated me to vote straight Republican come November. I have relatives and friends in SoCal who are independent. They are frightened by the images of cities burning, and outraged by the blatant hypocrisy of the press. They’ve told me privately they are voting Trump. These people are watching Fox News and Tucker Carlson, something I never would have thought possible. Will Trump win? Biden is clearly the favorite as of now but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Trump wins again.

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That is what I have seen and heard as well. I cannot understand why Democratic leadership isn't condemning these acts of violence. Anyone who has remotely paid attention knows that these are coordinated attacks on American institutions from far left extremists. Distancing themselves from people who hate them anyway would be the right move. Physical security is a very powerful motivator. I could be completely wrong but I just don't see how this ends in a Biden presidency.

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The hearing today was chilling. It made Ted Cruz look like a hero. How flipped is everything?

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How about "The delivery of 200,000 missing mail-in ballots in Michigan and 600.000 in North Carolina, breaking 90-10% FOR Biden, may assure his victory. What a surprise comeback!"

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This is a deeply weird way to think about your vote. Does Trump support policy outcomes you do? Is he the best choice available to move us out of the pandemic? Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Because to me, those are the questions we should be asking. Whether the press is mean to him is a childish rubric to use.

And to be clear: I'm no Biden fan. Both he and Trump are well to my right, to whatever extent either man has an actual ideology. But there's no universe where I can talk myself into the idea that Trump's actually trying to lead or gives a damn about anyone who earns less than an eight figure salary.

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Trump supports some policy outcomes I do, more so than Biden.

I don't think the President has much to do with "moving us out of the pandemic." Time and science are going to do that regardless of who is in the White House.

Until March I was and so were most people. I don't blame Trump for the emergence of a pandemic.

Your hatred for Trump is clear. But to be clear, your vote is the one that is deeply weird. You are going to vote for Biden despite him being 'well to your right."

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Voting for the lesser of two evils is saner than making your rubric "were some writers being pissy to him?"

Rest of this I just disagree with. And I'd suggest that you take an honest look about what policy outcomes you think Trump wants and his efforts at actually making those happen.

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What rubric are you referring to? I never discussed writers being pissy to him.

The fact that you disagree with my perspectives in interesting...

...Two of the questions you asked were about my policy outcomes and my personal situation...it'd odd that you think you can disagree with my answers. They may not be yours but they are accurate for me.

The only one that was substantive and general was about moving us out of the pandemic. Be specific as to what you think Biden will do that will move us out of the pandemic better than what Trump would do.

Or admit you're just being pissy if you prefer.

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It was a joke about the comment I was originally replying to---voting Trump because people were ganging up on him. I think that's a crappy reason to vote to anyone.

I disagree with the idea that the president is not responsible to move us out of a pandemic, especially taking into account that we no longer have a functioning legislative body.

I also disagree that Trump even has a coherent set of policy outcomes to support but to the extent he does, few are appealing to me. Further consolidation of wealth isn't something I'm keen on. His education secretary is a ghoul and I have a lot of teachers in my family.

Some of his original claims while he ran for president would be lovely to see. An actual investment in our infrastructure would be tremendous. The "better and cheaper" healthcare plan he promised would be great too. He just has shown no capacity for achieving anything outside of starting culture wars. Also, you did not mention a single policy outcome Trump wants that you support.

So yeah, I'm judging Trump by what he's done in four years. You seem more keen to absolve him of responsibility. That's your prerogative. I find it transparent and uninteresting.

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Agreed-I voted for Johnson in 16’, b/c I am a libertarian and Hillary and Trump both annoyed and disgusted me. Not this time-it’s about saying NO to the corporate-woke alliance.

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I do not think your an exception.

I also think that the dems are in for a surprise with the black vote.

Not that blacks will vote for Trump in big numbers, but that they refuse to vote at all.

Why? It will be because of the riots in their cities and the Defund the Police Movement.

Been reading some really interesting articles out of Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis about outraged minorities freaking out about what has happened there and them wanting their cops back.

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100% agree with you. The far left does not speak for the typical Black person in America. For example: I live in a really racially diverse neighborhood, and I work for a really woke company of mostly white and Asian people. On the 4th of July, my coworkers were all like, it's racist to celebrate the 4th. Meanwhile, the people who shot off the most fireworks in my neighborhood? A Black family and a Mexican family. And all of us—Black, white, Asian, old, young—were in our yards clapping and shouting. It was awesome.

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Yes, it's not the disadvantaged who rely on the police for protection from unrest and violence that too often ravages their communities that want to 'defund the police'.

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"state sanctioned Marxist revolution"

what is this cornball nonsense? You think an oxymoron is redeemed by your hyperbole?

The rest of the nations of the developed world have imposed a similar regime of temporary retail business closures, social distancing, and mask regulations. One important distinction between the policies imposed by the US and those of other countries is that every other nation with a similar level of per capita GDP and income has backstopped their population with a level of income support and systems of medical coverage what are an order of magnitude more extensive than anything that we've managed to provide in the US. You know, even more comprehensive policies of the sort that you're deriding in your tantrum as as "state-sanctioned Marxist revolution." As if "Marxist revolution" is the way that Congress operates. As if President Trump didn't sign the relief bills.

Another important distinction between the US and the social democracies of the EU and Japan is that those countries presently have their virus outbreaks in check. And the US does not. Because too many Americans have no sense of the difference between Freedom and Entitlement. Countries where the social consensus accepts the prevailing medical purview- even late adopters like the UK- have active case and death curves that are decidedly on the downslope. For example:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/france/

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sri-lanka/

And the US has an infection/daily death toll curve that looks like this

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

(I don't use Youtube guided meditation clips as medical references.)

I was a Libertarian before you began touting it. Back around 1980, before it was trendy. Oh, we wuz heretics in those days, Scott. There was some actual intellectual ferment going on, before it went sour.

I eventually rejected Libertarianism as a political ideology- it's too dogmatic, just like all of the other monolithic ideological templates. I'm a pragmatic pluralist about ideology these days. I just want to do something that actually works, that's fair. Dogmatic ideologues...well, dogmatic ideology inevitably trends in the direction of extremism, parading as The One True Answer To Questions of Economics and Society. So I'm not surprised that Libertarianism eventually got hijacked by the Ayn Rand cult and the entitled crypto-GOP whiners of the world. But I'll always have a libertarian philosophical bent. (And I know better than to twist the notion of wearing masks to prevent the spread of disease into a political statement, or even more comically as genuflecting to looming tyranny. I was marching and publicly protesting against the War on Drugs in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s... I have some perspective.)

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I'm not talking about COVID-19 and lock downs. I'm talking the woke mob of antifa rioters that have attacked people and property all over the country for several months now. These types of organizations are unapologetically Marxist.

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"Antifa" is not an organization. It's a disorganized pack of attention-seeking young males with too much time on their hands, fueling their egocentrism. In thrall to what Robin Morgan refers to as The Demon Lover in her book by that title. (Speaking of a person of the Left who appears to have been discreetly "canceled" for many years now, which I suspect is due mostly to the fact that she busted Left acquiescence to the domination tactics of terrorism and violence in that 1989 book.) Self-absorbed "activists" trashing Portlandia- a city that's gone out of its way to be environmentally conscious and livable- that's about par for the course for the Antifa mentality.

I've spoken out against those "antifa" imbeciles as long as I've known about them. But I also recall the summers of 1976 and 1968, and nothing has happened in 2020 that approaches that scale of damage and death toll. The ratio of nonviolent protest to rioting is much, much higher nowadays.

That said, the current protest movements in some cities are woefully undisciplined. Moreover, "taking to the streets" has very limited utility as a tactic. And focusing on confronting the police instead of the sources of institutional oppression is like falling for a game of three-card monte.

I support the protests, as a necessary first step in getting people together. People need to get their stories together. And this does include dialogue with those who express disagreements, as long as it's mutually respectful.

I also wish that the protestors showed some reasonable wisdom and compassion toward the police- who are showing up at those demonstrations because they've been ordered there, not because they're counter-protestors. It's summer, they're hot and uncomfortable in those uniforms, they could probably use some cold bottled water instead of having shit thrown at them.

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Agree with everything except the protests. All things considered, most police officers are making the best of a bad job (we ask them to do far too much with too little training). These protests are based on misinformation (e.g., that there is an epidemic of police killings of unarmed Black males--there isn't) and a denial of the reality of higher Black crime (which no doubt is influenced strongly by disadvantages, but exists nonetheless). 1/3 of Black men have felony convictions. Yet, in 2018, only 15 armed, unfleeing whites were killed by the police and 9 Blacks. (Obviously we should work to 0). What are they protesting the police for? Seriously?

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Trump is a full bore criminal. A full bore pathological liar. A capricious vengeful psychological dysfunctional traitor when he chooses.

If you admire those traits in a person, it is your constitutional right to vote for him.

The only thing I have to thank him for is that he is destroying the party first, country last Republican Party.

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But he doesn't actively want to destroy the country. So that puts him one up on those who are driving the Democrat Party bus these days.

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He IS actively destroying the country, this very second. Putin has the goods on him and he puts Putin's word above the 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies who said Russia interfered.

How are Democrats destroying the country by wanting health care and education for all?

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The fact that you are continuing to push the completely discredited Russian collusion nonsense evidences your level of partisan gullibility. That WAS an actual step towards fascism, but from the Obama DOJ and its holdovers, not Trump. However, as its clear you're getting all your news from Rachel Maddow and maybe TPM, I think we're done here.

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I believe everyone of our 17 intelligence agencies over a pathological liar. Maybe you never heard of the Helsinki meet between Putin and Trump. Maybe you did not watch or listen as 15 dedicated state department operatives, including Trumps personal appointment as Ambassador to NATO testified about his lies. Maybe you did not hear Col. Vindeman or Marie Yovanovitch and others who testified to Trumps treason. Mitt Romney it seems is the only Republican with the strength of character to hear the truth and act on it.

Maybe you get all your news from Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Alex Jones.

P.S. The only people to discredit the Russiagate conspiracy is Trump and his goons." Hello, Russia, if you are listening".

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Or, Smaack could be getting their news from Matt Taibbi.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/democrats-have-abandoned-civil-liberties

That doesn't even include the latest revelations. Every American should be, at the very least, concerned about that fraudulent investigation. Some of us are angry about it and we will cast our votes accordingly.

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Don't feed the troll. Ignore it.

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And then, Republican, now, Libertarian, Rep. Justin Amash. He quit the GOP due to Trump and the Yovanovich, Vindman, scandal, et al.

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'How are Democrats destroying the country by wanting health care and education for all?' I would say: they want it, and do nothing serious to bring it about. In addition, they actively support endless imperialist wars and a huge apparatus to spy on the people of their own country, and continue to pursue Identity politics even when it blows up in their faces and damages the fabric of the society.

Spreading fables like Russiagate and engaging in the attendant McCarthyism doesn't help, either.

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OMG. Straight from the pages of NYTimes. I hate to see that gaslighting BS here.

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No gaslighting, none, zero. It seems you can't deal with any opposing opinions. I do not accept Taibbi's opinion without question. I know it is popular for some to discount all journalism but their own. You have your right to discredit who you wish, in so doing you limit your sources and to say nothing credible comes from the NYT or Atlantic is not sensible. You just gotta separate the pepper from the fly shit.

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I was wrong when I called you a troll and I'm sorry about that, but you are exceptionally ignorant and arrogant in your ignorance. There is a word for it that I forgot; the {something} effect, which refers to the experiments that show that the most ignorant people have the highest confidence in their opinions. I resent being expected to waste my time on dummies like you, but I will give you an example. The factoid about 17 intelligence agencies is a lie. In fact a handpicked panel of analysts from about half a dozen intel agencies was convened to say they believed that Russia did it. Go read Consortiumnews.

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Can you name his specific crimes? Yes I thought not.

Perhaps he is guilty of occupying too much space in your head.

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Super easy. How about commuting the sentence of a man who was convicted of federal felonies 7 times because he is a personal friend, all the while degrading military patriots for telling the truth about him.

Just an opener, you can go back and start with his stupid lie that Obama was not a US citizen, which was a racist dog whistle and the flood of lies since. He loves the uneducated because education destroys ignorance.

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1. The commutation power of the President is absolute. It is not a crime to use it.

2. Degrading people is not illegal.

3. Claiming that President Obama is not a US citizen (which he is) is also not illegal.

Perhaps you were using "crimes" in a more colloquial sense to mean "things I disagree with."

If so, you were providing ample evidence of Matt's thesis about cancel culture.

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founding

We officially need a block function on Substack… my favorite was the other guy this morning telling you that he didn't need to come here to get in the same old arguments, when I think it's only these new people like him initiating these same old arguments.

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I don't think blocking is a good function. People wield it like the hammer of God. Signing off with "blocked" as if they have proven something.

I'm happy to take all comers. I've had my share of comments I regretted on other platforms and will endeavor not to do so here. It is exactly the people you want to block that you need to try to reach, at least in my opinion.

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Play the legal vs morality game if you wish. I consider it an abuse of power when someone willfully and knowingly spreads lies (conspiracy theories), takes justice into your own hands in spite of our judicial system and practice character assassination from a bully pulpit just because you can a crime against those ignorant enough to believe you. His crimes are covered up by a Senate majority who cares not one twit for me or you, only their control and power.

I still want to see his tax forms which i bet with odds show interest payments to Russian oligarchs and the money laundering Deutsche Bank.

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In other words, nothing he did is illegal but you consider it wrong.

Using the word "criminal" should still imply an actual crime was committed, not something you disagree with (which is all abuse of power is anyway). There is a significant difference between illegal and immoral. I can only conclude you have no evidence of the former.

To that end, you should clarify your initial comment if you want people to understand your perspective

And you are sure that the Russia hoax is real and the next shoe is about to drop.

Thank you for the clarification of your perspective.

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Fraud with his “university” for which he paid $25m to settle and “a shocking pattern of illegality” with his “foundation” which he was forced to dissolve and pay a $2m settlement.

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Huh, he wasn't charged with fraud was he? Turns out the word crime still has meaning.

And, of course, those things have nothing to do with his Presidency. Calling people criminals and traitors without evidence is in no way likely to provoke productive dialog.

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People talking like this are pushing the less angry people to Trump.

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Logic has no appeal to them. Every word i stated is truth, fact. The senate hearing on the impeachment was a white wash bad joke. Not one single witness, not one scrap of data, zero, nada. Total control by every single Republican senator and their leader except Romney, a complete farce. Logic and honesty does not exist when it comes to party power.

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I agree with your assessment of the malignant narcissist. However, the USA is going over a cliff no matter who wins this election, for reasons too many to count. I despise the smarmy Biden as much as the cretinous moron now occupying the White House. That is why I vote for third party candidates. I also live in a solidly blue state. I still get screamed at by liberals for “giving a vote to Trump” by voting third party. Ask me if I give a rat’s ass.

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Yes, it is and I will.

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Thats the comparison that needs to be made here.

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I agree the Democratic Party needs to re-evaluate. We are sick of establishment control that made Trump our current president rather than Bernie Sanders.

Both parties have flaws, it's just that the Republican Party ignores the fact that Trump is a treasonous fascist liar. The Republicans blocked every witness from testifying. Trump blocked every single piece of evidence requested. He has kept his financial history away from our congress and the American people. Why? Because he is a criminal par excellence.

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Bernie Sanders had no hope of becoming President in 2016. In 2020, the same is true. Right now Joe is getting a pass by saying little in public and having a compliant media that doesn't seem to want to discuss the fact that his numbers don't add up, just as Bernie's never did.

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Bernie had a strong chance. The Democratic establishment along with their media control nixed it in favor of Hillary, a deadly mistake. I quit the Democratic party totally and became independent. Bernie was and is an Independent, a true standard bearer for the common person.

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Whether you want to hear this or not, Bernie is too far left to be elected President today. The current incarnation of Biden would be the most leftist President since WWII.

In 20 years, things may change. Indeed they will change whether we like it or not

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I just don't see how this solves anything. Do you expect that Trump will do anything to quiet down riots based on racial divides? This idea that Marxist revolutionaries are driving the violence has no basis in fact. You've obviously been played by the media as to the level of destruction occurring on the ground. Portland has been thrown out as a wasteland of destruction, but that's far from the case and most of the issues have happened in about a one block radius of downtown.

Violence is instigated on both sides by those trying to delegitimize the protests. You've got a fascist federal government deploying unidentified federal agents in unmarked vehicles to the area to sow discord. On the other end there is video of unidentified black clad individuals breaking windows of businesses and quickly leaving the area while protesters nearby tell them to stop.

If you were to tell me that you wanted to burn the country down to show the Democrats they can't pull the same bullshit with Biden in the same centrist role as every previous candidate I would somewhat understand that, but at the same time there are real people out there suffering due to the miserable handling of the covid-19 situation by the Trump administration. Giving Trump the nod again would basically tell him that everything he has done up till now has been correct and he would double down. That's how the man operates.

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It shouldn't be too much to ask elected officials to enforce the rule of law. Trump has demonstrated that he will do this without the overreach that many accuse him of. He would be well within the authority of his office to invoke the insurrection act but he hasn't done so. If anything, he has demonstrated restraint and he has honored Federalism and state sovereignty to the extent that is possible.

There is no acceptable degree of riotous activity by anyone. By and large, we know that far left extremists are responsible for the vast majority of the damage and unrest. There are relatively few examples otherwise. You aren't going to gaslight me. Either way, it is atrocious and unacceptable. Anyone, of any political persuasion, should be criminally prosecuted for these senseless criminal acts.

I fully support the deployment of Federal officers to Portland and other cities to quell violence and protect Federal property. They are not unidentified officers. To the contrary, all of them have clearly marked insignia and unique identifiers on their uniforms. These people have gone through hell. They deserve our respect and gratitude.

State and local officials are duty bound to enforce the rule of law, protect citizens and property. In the absence of that, the Federal government is duty bound to do so. I expect nothing less than that. Federalism does not equal feudalism.

The widespread rioting and looting in the wake of George Floyd has devestated businesses all across the nation just as many of them were preparing to open. That has affected communities small and large all over including those that are disadvantaged. Recovering from widespread lock downs was going to be difficult but after the riots, it will be completely impossible for many.

This is a time for unity not partisanship but in our political climate, that may not be possible. The lack of coverage for this is media malpractice. Americans are in the dark for the real impact. It's heartbreaking.

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The reality is that covid has devastated businesses and the person most responsible for that continuing debacle is Trump and his administration.

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It's almost as if you don't know what federalism is.

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Current Definition: The excuse Trump uses for letting the whole country go to hell in a handbasket due to his incompetence.

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Pretty sure that's not what is in the dictionary.

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It’s almost as if you don’t know what leadership is.

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Oh, I'm quite clear on what leadership is. I don't have much positive to say about the leadership of any politician.

But that was a nice try at deflection.

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"Covid" burned down businesses and made entire swaths of cities into rubble? Interesting.

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this 'burn the whole country down' line is getting repeated but what is it based on? record low unemployment and solid economic growth (pre Covid), so which parts are being burned down exactly?

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We aren't pre-Covid and we aren't pre-George Floyd either. I'm talking about right now, where Covid has killed 150k+ people and is on its way to killing more and the economy has tanked because Trump is an incompetent boob that has literally said he takes no responsibility for anything and continues to follow up on that by doing nothing at the federal level to mitigate this pandemic.

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Everyone who lives in NYC just need to pay a quick visit to Soho or Chinatown.

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Most of the Trump voters I know were iffy on voting for him again until the pandemic. His mishandling of that scared them away and lost their votes.

I won't pretend this is anything other than anecdotal but if the president is supposed to be a leader and he fails his biggest leadership test, it's going to turn people off. This crisis is personalizing federal politics for a lot of the country. And almost no one's better off now than they were in February.

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Two points: Justin Amash voted to impeach. I respect him. Romney, also, voted on 1 article to impeach. I respect him. But, while I do agree with some of what you say, Trump has neither brought jobs back, nor ended wars, nor “won” the trade war with China, nor made multi national (and other) corps. pay taxes as long as they park their assets in the Cayman Islands or claim it as their “headquarters”. Where is the great infrastructure he promised? But, the truly concerning thing is he has signed a cyber war initiative so dangerous and extreme that neither W nor Obama would touch it with a ten foot pole. That is all in addition to his lies, his constant fanning of the flames of division and contempt, his unwillingness to be even moderately calm and soothing and to attempt to bring Americans together. He pours gasoline on the flames of our discourse. Everyday, he and his tweets keep the country stirred up and at each others’ throats. He and his chaotic administration are a disgrace. Oh, and, all he did with NAFTA is to barely tweak it. Trade deals were supposed to be his signature accomplishment. All pols lie. Trump lies CONSTANTLY and UNABASHEDLY using his 4th grade vocabulary. He gaslights us every time he opens his phone or his mouth: Who you gonna believe, Trump or your lying eyes?

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I'm what's been known as a "Never-Trump-Conservative". I've been railing against him since he was nominated. But the events of the last couple months might force me to vote for him.

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This describes my situation as well. I suspect there are a LOT of us out there.

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Welcome! I wish my GJ-voting husband could do the same.

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Let me guess. You're a "small business owner" who makes more than $100,000 per year?

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You may be missing the point but if you must know, I'm just another deplorable.

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What's evident here is a piece like this is coalescing into a thesis about the state of affairs, what I would characterize as a classical Left wing critique of power structures that tries to transcend party lines in order to describe the objective political reality.

I think you're nailing it. Keep it up.

On a personal level I feel deep alienation and cynicism from cultural Left op eds from places like the NYT that drip with storytelling, narrative goo and aim to spurn calm attempts to interpret data. On the other hand, if I look at the Right wing press I have to read repetitive hand-winging about so-called cultural Marxism, and defense of laissez faire ideas I believe led to this mess in the first place.

So am I a fascist for getting exasperated when I open up a Kindle or an Amazon page and get bombarded with anti-racism nonsense, giant BLM lettering, and reminders of my privilege? Or am I a dumb liberal when I question the Republican project to banish Obamacare and give tax breaks to the wealthiest?

Answer - both! The real Resistance now is to escape the corporate sponsored categories and remain an outcast. And not end up smeared, depressed and obscured. Or just keep my mouth shut.

How long before it's just easier to leave the country and live abroad, Matt?

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I don't think you experience the same degree of stupidity and cupidity in Ireland, for example, nor in Costa Rica, nor in Scotland, maybe not in Spain or Greece or some South American countries. I am, frankly, planning to move abroad. The United States exists only to make war and we have a war economy and hardly anyone cares...at least nobody with any real influence. I know a number of people who are okay with us killing people as long as they are brown and especially if they are Muslim. We have 800 military bases all over the world. I've been doing my best to make this country, to which my ancestors immigrated in the 1600s, a more just, peaceful, and humane place. My Congressional reps (3) could care less what a simple, individual like me thinks or wants, at least not about any controversial issue. Global corporations, foreign lobbies, and other special interests rule this country, not Trump, Biden, Pelosi or any politician and CERTAINLY not us! Young people give me hope. I'm a left winger and I support "the Squad" but already they are being forced to, at times, kowtow to the DNC. I fear one or more of them may lose her seat in Nov. but I pray I'm wrong. I hold some views one might consider "conservative" I suppose but I would never (now) vote GOP or Libertarian.

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I said the same thing when Bush was re-elected! And I've been living in Europe since 2009. I can assure you that people are just as stupid here.

Why, just the other day a man overheard my kids speaking English and excitedly pulled me aside to tell me how much he loved America... and that 9/11 was an inside job, COVID-19 is a deep state conspiracy, 5G is mind control and the American government would soon be replaced with a fascist regime headed by a never-end succession of Trumps. (Ok that last one might just be an empirical observation.) Just this weekend, 17,000 people gathered mask-less in Berlin to protest government over-reach and the tyranny of social distancing policies. And last month 5G towers were burned down in the Netherlands and the UK by people who were convinced that 5G radiation spread the coronavirus. The Gilet Jaunes are ironing their vests right now to protest the French government for mandating, but not paying for, masks... after they're done with their current protests against raising the retirement age to create room in the budget for things like paying for masks.

The good news is that my government representatives don't even have to pretend to represent my views because I'm not allowed to vote (but I am allowed to pay taxes). Also, everyone here is an unapologetic racist against Southern and Eastern Europeans, Africans, Muslims and especially Americans whom they believe to be irredeemably racist. Also Asians. They are very considerate, though, shouting their racist insults in English. It turns out that when the racist white people are the indigenous population, white/liberal guilt just isn't a thing.

I'm planning to move back to the US.

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1) Which city do you live in? 2) Which city in the US are you from/going to? 3) I lived in Stuttgart, Germany and in Italy. I did not experience the things you describe. I lived with a German family in Stuttgart and in Italy, I visited my then-Italian husband’s family and friends and later, I was a summer abroad student. I met and worked with tons of people, none were expats. All were natives of the country or in one case the very brilliant daughter of Turkish Gästarbiters. (They did describe some prejudice against them, though, from Germans.) Also, one executive made some slightly offensive comments about foreign workers but that is fairly typical of CEOs and their attitudes toward labor, imho, anywhere. I liked the healthfulness, the fitness, the value of leisure time, the elegance, the higher level of literacy and knowledge. Very little consumption of junk food. No eating between meals. A sense of style, and a bigger and broader sense of history. It’s like the opposite of going to any mall in America where all one sees are jumbo this and jumbo that and people looking like they should be in their bedrooms watching TV, all the while buying garbage they don’t need to put into SUVs that are too big, and into houses that are twice the size of the average house in 1957. 1 in 4 Americans is an End Times believer who thinks the earth is less than 6,000 years old. Half this country can’t name the 3 branches of government.

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I lived in three different states and nine (or maybe 10) cities coast-to-coast and I've now lived, worked and raised a family in Europe for over a decade. I travel all over the world (and especially in Europe) for work. And my experience is that the US is great, Europe is great, Chile is great, Argentina is great, Japan is great, Costa Rica is great, Mexico is Great, Canada is great, Singapore is great, the UK is great --- there is not greener grass on the other side of the fence, but everyone should live abroad if they get the chance. It's great and it really broadens your horizons.

Stupid people are everywhere, but so are wonderful, kind people. Sure, Europe has a broader sense of history, but go ahead and ask a product of the French educational system about colonialism and their history in Algeria or a product of the Dutch educational system about their involvement in the slave trade or ask a Scott if they know how many streets are named after slave traders. Or, if you prefer civics, go a head and ask --- as I often do --- about their country's legislative system, the female labor participate rate or rudimentary history of a neighboring country and you'll get blank stares. They are just as ignorant as Americans. It just feels bigger because our (American) education is so Americocentric that we're shocked to learn of the rich history of the European continent that is part of the standard curriculum virtually everywhere here. But the reverse is also true; I often find myself regaling the details of American history to my European colleagues. And I've met plenty of Europeans who could not find California or Texas on a map, just as I have Americans who couldn't even tell you what side of the continent Spain is on. I'm not just pulling people off the street, either, I spend most of my professional life interacting with scientists and engineers with PhDs.

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I have to say I agree with you. Though I've certainly had some unhappy run ins with Euro bigots or corporate jerks, altogether the style and quality of life is high for ordinary people in many or most EU countries. And I like what you say about a "big sense of hi