Category Archives: Critique

Big Corp America Is No Country For Small Biz Or Individualism

Business, Conservatism, Critique, English, Ilana Mercer, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, War

Face it, we live in a country in which, increasingly, big corporations with political clout prevail in the economy. In politics, it’s the factions with the biggest corporate donors and the slimiest lobbyists: their politics and policies rule the day.

What is particularly sick-making is not only that a (subsidized) sham like “Tesla is allowed to reopen in defiance of the shelter in place order,” applied diligently to small companies—but that Tesla doesn’t care to protect its employees.

Hardly a good corporate citizen.

Resentment Builds When COVID-19 Reopening Rules Apply To Some Businesses, But Not Others“:

“At the beginning we immediately closed our store, shut off our lights, put up messages to the community saying ‘we’re all in this together and we’ll be back,” said Marcy Simon, co-owner of Ashby Flowers.
But even now, the tiny shop is not allowed to bring flowers outside for curbside pickup by customers. It’s legal in the rest of Alameda County but Berkeley has its own health rules that say florists can only deliver. Meanwhile large Whole Foods Market right next to it–which also sells flowers—has a long line of people waiting to get inside.
Simon is like a lot of others who thought they were doing the right thing, but are now starting to get mad.
“I think that many people are now definitely looking for ways to get around the rules, there’s no question about it,” she said.
Clinical psychologist Judye Hess says that shouldn’t be a surprise. She says people naturally lose respect for laws when it feels like they’re being unfairly applied.

This mentality applies across the board. How many times, over 20 years, have I heard the shameless refrain from conservative outlets that, “We won’t syndicate a column that doesn’t come from the major syndicator”? To be syndicated by a major syndicator you have to parrot received opinion pretty much on everything. Neither can you be a stylistically risque, interesting writer. With few exceptions, monotony of style and mind are a must if you are to be syndicated.

Other than “too idiosyncratic,” there were the other refrains around the time my column was first syndicated unsuccessfully (2001 or 2002), chief among them were these: “You are neither Republican nor Democrat. And you don’t support Bush’s war.” (The Iraq onslaught was supported by most members of the duopoly.)

The idea that the gritty little gal or guy carries the day, or that individualism is cherished in the USA: These are fallacies in my experience.

*Image via Mises

China Vs. Uncles Sam And Gates

America, China, Critique, Globalism, Nationalism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Economy, Republicans, Science, The State, The West

I understand the honest, plaintive anger expressed below by American Greatness reader Major Rage, directed at my argument in Who Invited The World To Infect America?” (“Hate the Chinese government if you wish, but hold your own government responsible for hollowing America out like a husk.”)

The reader had done everything right. He’s a good, obedient American who has served Uncle Sam. And now I’m suggesting he reconsider; that he consider turning on Uncle Sam and its corporate-industrial-complex.

I’m disturbed by this article because at the end of it – I felt as though I was supposed to hate myself……as if I had betrayed my family and community. But, I don’t recall ever doing such evil things.

I’ve served my country, started and run a legitimate and profitable business, paid taxes out the ying-yang, put my children through good schools and universities, been faithful to my wife, and generally stayed out of trouble.

Now, a foreign sourced plague has been introduced into our lives – threatening our existence and livelihoods and I’M SUPPOSED TO FEEL GUILTY! Guilty……for what? For not stopping the rich from becoming richer? For not exposing the corrupt for conniving and cheating society? For not preventing mad scientists from monkeying with Mother Nature? For not standing at the jetway with a gun to prevent immigrants coming into my country?

Please tell me, Ilana Mercer, WTF am I guilty of?

The answer is that NO ONE OUTSIDE OF WUHAN OR BEIJING is guilty in this affair. Feelings of guilt are nearly identical to feelings of shame for being a helpless victim. On reflection – this writer strikes the absolute wrong chord by suggesting that we, ourselves, are to blame for this disaster. How can the victims be to blame? She suggests we did this horrible thing to ourselves. But, did we? NO. I’m outraged at the mere suggestion. No one is going to put the crown of thorns on my brow.

Ms. Mercer……take your guilt trip and shove it!

Not a word did the article say about ordinary Americans betraying their own. To that end, “Who Invited The World To Infect America?” was even divided into clear thematic headings that made that clear:

Trade Goods, Not Places (allusion to top-down population replacement)
Economic Elephantiasis
(the endless expansionism of the American multinational)
No Multiculturalists in China
(self-evident: Chinese are a homogeneous, chauvinistic people) 
Where Accountability Goes to Die
(Uncle Sam’s “investigation” of COVID)

But I fully understand “Major Rage’s” rage. He wanted the warm smell of the herd—he wanted to hear amplified (as from most other pundits) that it was China v. America: “USA, USA, USA!”

Instead he was challenged thus:

If the United States must rely on the Chinese government to keep its citizens safe, then what kind of a Micky Mouse country is it?
If the American people can be convinced by their government to saddle a foreign power with the responsibility for their existential welfare—what kind of people are we?
China didn’t force the traitors of the American economy to shift crucial production lines to its country and strand Americans without surgical and N-95 masks and medication; homegrown turncoats made that decision, all by their lonesome.

Less do I understand Dan @ Twitter @deltajulietx
Apr 30
Replying to @IlanaMercer

Ilana, are you losing your way? What price liberty? 61,349? 250,000? 1 million? Etc? What was it that Benjamin Franklin said about exchanging liberty for (imagined) safety? I would reflect long and hard before sacrificing liberty to any government for any reason. Full stop!

Dan was reacting to this:

On March 31, the number of Americans dead from the Chinese coronavirus stood at 3,900! A mere month on, at the time of writing, and 63,801 Americans have perished.

American deaths by COVID-19 account for a quarter of the world’s, including those in the undeveloped world. To ignore this Third-World-like specter is to dismiss the dead and the dying. It’s tantamount to cancel culture.

Dan, like many, conflates the honoring of the dead, the seriousness of the disease and the magnitude of COVID devastation with betraying liberty. In Dan’s cohort, unless you put on a tinfoil hat about COVID science–you are considered a liberty hater. Crap. Unless you dismiss the dead, you are betraying the Great Leader.

Since I wrote the lede to my essay, the number of Americans dead by COVID has reached 68,602. 4801 souls dead in three days. Rest in peace.

* Photo via iStock. Thanks for fair use.

UPDATED: HOW COVID-19 WAS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN (Or, ‘Pass The Biscuits,’ My Lips Are Sealed’)

China, Critique, Ethics, Healthcare, History, WMD

This is a remarkable account, by LA Times’ James Rainey and Kiera Feldman, of how killer COVID19 was loosed on the world. Terrific writing. (What a change from Washington-Examiner type syntactical tics and grammatical infelicities, not to mention “Dear Leader” adulation):

Impeachment. Primaries. Kobe. Coronavirus rushed in while our focus was elsewhere“:

It began for Peter Daszak, a British American scientist, a couple of days after Christmas. While the rest of the world trundled along, the president of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance was in his office in lower Manhattan, picking up the first clues of something amiss.

Weibo, China’s Twitter, carried the warning signals: An odd illness in the city of Wuhan. Patients in respiratory distress. Some developing pneumonia. A few dying, or so said the reports, unconfirmed. Most of the sick had worked in, or visited, a “wet” market in the central Chinese city, where live fish, crabs and livestock are sold, gill-by-jowl, alongside more exotic fare, such as snakes, hedgehogs and bamboo rats.

An ebullient zoologist and parasitologist, Daszak had associates around the globe in the One Health movement — the professional community trying to prevent the spread of disease between the animal and human worlds. But, as New Year’s approached, his colleagues in China suddenly went mum.

“They were all saying ‘I’m sorry, I can’t talk. We’re very busy. We’ll talk to you soon.’ They wouldn’t respond, even to a ‘Happy New Year’s’ message. That wasn’t normal,” Daszak recalled. “That’s when you know, you just know, something serious is going down.”

Those fleeting days of 2019 and the first three months of 2020 have passed in a blur for America and the world, turned upside down by a virus previously not identified by humankind and now responsible for a death toll that has climbed past 100,000.

For the 54-year-old Daszak and his fellow germ trackers, it’s been a period of long hours and roiling emotions — anxiety about the trajectory of the killer they spotted in its first days, a queasy satisfaction that their years of warnings had not been misplaced and a stolid determination to do more to prepare the world for the pandemics yet to come.

There’s also frustration, and some anger, as they watch world leaders move too slowly to marshal healthcare workers, set aside medical supplies and, especially, to isolate millions of people with no immunity to the new invader. …

MORE.

UPDATE:  “China didn’t warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days.”

UPDATED (4/18): Con Inc. And Their Vintage Neocon, COVID Culpability Theories

China, Communism, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Democracy, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, Iraq

Without fail, American pundits and pols, especially Con Inc., apply to COVID the same theories of culpability that have undergirded U.S. invasions of backward people in the Middle East: It’s the Chinese government, not the people. Free the Chinese and they’ll show their Jeffersonian propensities and their capacity for enlightened self-interest (not to mention a cuisine less craven and cruel).

What I wrote in 2006 about Iraqis applies in spades to the Chinese and their culpability for COVID (I’ve substituted Iraq with China):

“The government of [China] doesn’t stand apart from the governed; it reflects them.”—ILANA (November 6, 2006)

We’re accustomed to the Dysnified depiction of neocons or neoliberals intent on interventions that damage America. Accordingly, a noble Chinese people, a freedom-loving civilized nation, was set up by their scheming government.

Look, the Chinese government is no good, but the people get the government they deserve. My guess is that, if anything, the Chinese government here is likely covering for the people’s despicable habits. These caused previous epidemics and have brought us the coronavirus.

Here are the excellent points published in my friend Christopher DeGroot’s journal, The Agonist:

Rightists were happy making bat eating jokes and mocking the “filthy” Chinese back when Covid was an Asian problem. But now that it’s become an epochal event, only the grandest of explanations will suffice. Surely Covid was cooked up in a commie mad scientist’s lab, or perhaps in the lair of a genocidal James Bond villain like Ernst Blofeld or Hugo Drax. But a bunch of common Chinese selling wild animals in a stinking, filthy market slum? A bunch of scummy gluttons who take pride in the fact that they’ll eat anything that moves, and they’ll eat it raw? These people ravaged the world, just by eating animal testicles and anuses? No way, man. Next you’ll tell me that the entire course of history was nearly altered by a college dropout failed songwriter who wanted to impress a dyke actress.

 

* Image: Asia’s Busiest Wet Markets Courtesy Jo-Anne McArthur

UPDATE (4/18):  RNA doesn’t lie. Dr Fauci rejects claim that disease escaped lab.

Dr Fauci also rejected a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab.

The precise origins of the novel coronavirus are still unknown, leading some to question whether it was developed by scientists in a lab.

However, Dr Fauci said studies of the virus’ genome have strongly indicated that it was transmitted from an animal to a human.

While speaking at the daily White House press briefing Dr Fauci was asked if COVID-19 was “man-made” and may have originated in a laboratory.

He said a study by a group of evolutionary virologists examined the genome sequences of the coronavirus and other bat viruses that evolved.

Dr Fauci said: “The mutations that took to get where it is now is totally consistent with a jump from a species to an animal to a human,” he said.

However there are some in the Trump administration, including the president, who are investigating the claims.

MORE.