THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2021
"Samaritan" now suggested: Did Donald J. Trump think he had Covid when he debated Joe Biden? What did his aides believe?
Based on current reporting, we can't answer your questions. We can tell you this:
This very morning, on Morning Joe, we watched a thoroughly bogus "discussion" concerning this very topic. Long story short:
The story works better for tribal purposes if we assume that Donald J. Trump did believe—indeed, if we assert that he actually knew—that he did have Covid.
Presumably for that reason, Joe and Mika and Willie—but also Jonathan and Elise—conducted a long pseudo-discussion at the start of today's TV show. During their pseudo-discussion, they kept failing to mention the second Covis test which Trump allegedly took.
According to the current (slender) state of the reporting, that second test had said that Trump didn't have Covid. Presumably for purposes of tribal pleasure, the Morning Joe gang disappeared all mention of that second (alleged) test as they conducted their remarkably selective and thoroughly bogus chat.
For the record, we don't know what Trump knew or believed at the time of that debate. We don't even know if that second (alleged) test actually happened.
We would assume that there were several other tests at that time. At present, the (slender) state of the reporting doesn't address that apparent likelihood.
At any rate, Joe and Mika and Willie and them staged a long pseudo-discussion. The pleasure came from their willingness to disappear a key bit of information—the claim that Trump took a second, more reliable test, and that it came back negative.
The conversation they conducted today was phony as a three-dollar bill. That said, much of American "mews" culture is now built around such performances.
Our failing nation's pseudo-discourse is built around such tribal novelizations. Consider the information which got disappeared concerning the looting and arson in Kenosha.
For this, we return to Nellie Bowles' lengthy, detailed report in the New York Times.
As we noted yesterday, the report was published on November 16, 2020—November of last year. In print editions, the lengthy report was buried deep inside the paper. In print, it appeared on page 5 of Section B, and it carried this slightly odd headline:
After the Protests: Gaps in Small-Business Insurance
Given the nature of Bowles' report, that headline is perhaps a tiny bit comical, but also perhaps instructive. We refer to its use of the phrase, "After the protests."
Bowles wasn't exactly describing the effects of Kenosha's "protests." In reality, she was describing the effects of the looting and arson which had occurred in Kenosha, but mainly the widespread arson.
The pair of headlines which appear online are much more representative of the article's actual content. They don't include the word "protests." They refer to unrest, looting and arson.
Ladies and gentlemen, what's in a word? At any rate, as we noted yesterday, Bowles' nugget went like this:
BOWLES (11/16/20): On the burned-out blocks hit by unrest since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis in late spring, the reality is complicated. Mr. Floyd’s death was the start of months of protests for racial justice led by the Black Lives Matter movement that have left long-term economic damage, especially in lower-income business districts.
While large chains like Walmart and Best Buy have excellent insurance, many small businesses that have been burned down in the riots lack similar coverage. And for them, there is no easy way to replace all that they lost.
In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.
“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.
Bowles referred to "protests" in that passage, but she also referred to "riots." Her report focused on the losses incurred in Kenosha, largely as a result of the arson which took place during the "unrest."
According to Bowles, the big corporate stores tend to be well insured. The little guys often are not.
She described an array of losses in Kenosha. One story went like this:
BOWLES: When people started burning down buildings in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, Tony Farhan prayed that his electronics shop would be left alone.
The Farhans have struggled economically in recent years. Mr. Farhan, his wife and their four sons moved in with his parents while their savings went to one son’s health care. Mr. Farhan’s ambition for a better life was tied up in the shop. So were many of his family’s belongings. They couldn’t fit all the clothes and toys for their boys in the crowded house they shared with his parents, so they tucked things away into the shop storage room. “Half my house was in there,” said Mr. Farhan, 36, who grew up in Kenosha.
The shop, which sells cellphones, charging cords, headphones and speakers, was looted on the night Mr. Blake was shot and burned the next. So was his brother’s shoe and clothing shop next door. The apartment units upstairs burned with them, as did many other buildings in the working-class neighborhood of Uptown Kenosha, a historic and bustling multicultural neighborhood. Weeks later it remained a scene of char and rubble.
They have insurance, though they say it is not enough, and now they are tangling to get the money. But personal items they stored in the shops were not insured, they said. Mr. Farhan does not know how he will pay to replace his children’s winter clothes that were in a storage room.
In the units above the Farhans’ shops, all the tenants made it out alive, but several family pets died in the fires, the brothers said. One upstairs resident started an online fund-raiser the brothers highlighted: “My mom and I lost everything and our 2 cats and now my mom is homeless and I would like to try to raise money to help her with getting a place,” the tenant’s daughter, Ashley Powell, wrote on the GoFundMe page.
According to experts, the lizard brain is capable of explaining all that away. Bowles also tried to milk this transparent sob story:
BOWLES: [T]he pain was broadly felt. At the local used tire shop, the owner, Linda Tolliver, who is white, is waiting for new windows to replace those broken in the riots (her landlord’s insurance is covering it). In the meantime, she estimated she was paying $800 extra each month to heat the shop, which now lacks proper windows, and she is working all day behind plywood without natural light. So Ms. Tolliver said she was making do with less—cutting back on employee hours and forgoing the new winter uniforms her workers need.
The night after her shop was broken into, she stayed inside to guard it and watch what was happening. She was shocked, she said, to see so many white protesters destroying property in the name of Black lives. And they seemed to be well-off young people, with little sense of what a storefront means to a family like hers.
According to experts, the lizard brain is going to say that Tolliver is "a hater." Along the way, many lizards will say, Bowles was willing to play the race and class cards:
BOWLES: One pattern that emerged in the aftermath of the riots in Kenosha: Many white-owned businesses like Mr. Carpenter’s had better, more comprehensive insurance and records than those owned by people of color, according to several leaders in the business community.
The city’s lower- and middle-class business owners were ultimately hit harder than the more affluent. When the riots started on a Sunday night, Kenosha’s wealthier and whiter Downtown organized quickly to board up the storefronts, thanks to a longstanding tight-knit business association. By the next morning at 7, hundreds of volunteers were gathering with hammers and nails. Those who couldn’t hammer came with water and sandwiches. Several shops had already been looted and damaged. But mostly, the area was protected.
Uptown Kenosha, a less affluent area, did not have a well-resourced tight-knit business association. Many shop owners could not afford to buy the plywood boards to protect their businesses in time, though Downtown quickly came to help both financially and physically with volunteers. Still, block after block burned over the course of the week. Protests continued long after the nights of fire and looting, but they became more quiet and peaceful. Now, old exterior walls of stores still stand uptown, but inside many shops are just piles of bricks, melted plastic and twisted chairs.
Lower-income people, and people of color, were harder hit by the arson, the demonic Bowles alleged.
"Still, the pain was broadly felt," her editors made her admit. Eventually, she described this case:
BOWLES: One company that became an iconic local scene of the destruction is Car Source, which sells used cars. Some 140 vehicles in its lot were destroyed by arson. The family that owns the lot, of Indian descent, estimates the damage at $2.5 million. They have been fighting with their insurer, which initially attempted to classify the damage as the result of a domestic terrorism incident—an event not covered by their plan, said Anmol Khindri, whose family owns the business. Most of their business records were destroyed in the fire, and many of the car VIN numbers were burned off, making it hard to prove how much was lost. The family hired a lawyer to help (the lawyer takes a percentage of whatever is paid out).
“I’m keeping my expectations low,” Mr. Khindri said. “I’m already broke. I’ve got no money. It’s been total loss.”
According to Bowles, some 140 vehicles in Car Source's lot were destroyed by arson. On the third night of the "protests," men with rifles—and at least one teenager—stood in front of one of the Car Source lots to try to keep the number right there.
Khindri has said that he didn't ask them to do that. Others have testified, under oath, that he actually did.
Questions arise at this point. Under the circumstances, were the men who guarded the Car Source lot behaving as "vigilantes?"
Posing our question in a less dramatic way, should they have been there at all that night? If so, should they have been there with guns?
Let's return to Linda Tolliver, who stayed inside her used tire shop to guard it during the rioting. Was she behaving as a vigilante when she did that? At times of such breakdowns in normal order, is it OK for owners to guard their shops, but wrong for anyone else?
We ask one final question:
If a person attempted to guard one of those threatened businesses, had that person gone to the scene of "a protest?" Woulf that be the most accurate way to describe where that person had gone?
Bowles described some of what happened in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. Her lengthy report contained a great deal of real information.
Right through the end of the Rittenhouse trial, you were much more likely to be exposed to such information if you were watching the Fox News Channel. On our own gruesome tribe's Cuomo-infested corporate channels, such information was almost wholly avoided, withheld, disappeared.
Tomorrow, we'll return to Bowles' report to describe some of the attitudes behind such selective presentation of information. For today, we'll tell you this:
Our tribe has widely name-called Rittenhouse as a "vigilante"—insanely adding, as if by law, that he even "crossed state lines!" By way of contrast, some experts are calling him a local teenager—and some are even calling him a totally different name.
If you were eager to call him a name, what type of name-calling would you select? Today, we won't mention the new name we've heard, but we will type it tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Who cares what happens to Them?