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CSotD: Popular Delusions

Madam & Eve chimes in from South Africa with an opportunity to see ourselves as others see us.

Well, we always wondered what would happen when Dear Leader had to face an actual crisis, and it’s surprising that it took three years.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic — well, from us though not from Madam & Eve — Boris Johnson was tested much earlier in his reign …

 

…. and Peter Brookes managed to comment with a reference that isn’t all that obscure but will still get past the people who write those aggrieved letters to the editor.

(I like vulgarity to come with a dose of plausible denial or metaphor or misdirection. This is particularly well done, because you laugh both at the commentary itself and at the insider element.)

 

Clay Bennett dispenses with subtlety but still manages a bit of ironic humor with this public service announcement.

Dear Leader’s astonishing performance at the CDC has been jaw-dropped over on-line, and it’s hard to brand Madam & Eve’s take as ridiculous when Trump himself behaves with like a cartoon character.

Aside from his showing up in a MAGA hat — which, in a just nation, would require him to pay for the trip out of campaign funds instead of soaking taxpayers for it — he simply dismissed expert analysis of the dangers of the virus because he had a contrary “hunch,” and admitted straight out that he wants to keep a cruise ship on off-shore quarantine to avoid adding to the number of active cases here.

And boasted that he probably has a natural talent for such things, since he knows more than the doctors.

How can any comedian or satirist improve on that?

 

Which reminds me that the Brennan Center has a report out on Russia’s trollery.

It’s important, but a little dense, and this NPR summary, from which I snatched the above examples of trollbot memes, may be easier going.

It comes down, so far, to the interference being more subtle than in 2016, though, as the researcher suggests, that may ramp up as we get closer to the election.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s refusal to address the issue — as both Twitter and Instagram have — seems more upsetting than the interference itself.

I guess most multimillionaires have worked their way up slowly enough to have gained some sense of propriety, if not any actual sense of decency, along the way. Zuckerberg, having stumbled onto his fortune, appears to have mastered neither.

If Trump makes it hard to create satire, Zuckerberg makes it equally difficult to defend capitalism.

 

And on the topic of the indefensible, we have the fiasco of absurdly long lines at voting places last week.

Matt Wuerker makes the case for on-line voting, though it’s not quite as easy as all that, given foreign interest in interfering with our elections and the history of hackers not only getting into shopping sites, banking sites and even, with the SONY intrusion a few years ago, movie sites.

I’m a fan of paper ballots, though here in New Hampshire, we’re starting to see a problem in that our paper-ballot scanning machines are getting old, the parts are no longer available and we’re having to cannibalize disabled machines to keep the good ones running.

But we’re not standing six hours in line to vote, nor are we as impacted as other states by a Republican Senate that refuses to consider legislation to protect the system from hackers.

Going to the Brennan Center for a second time today, we have this quote from a Quartz article on the topic:

If you look at where there have been proposals for election security, they have died in the [GOP-controlled] Senate, and Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority have not moved any of their own proposals around election security that are of any significance, given the level of the threat.

The headline on that article is “Congress waited too long to start securing the 2020 elections” and it gets more depressing from there.

 

I did hear an interview with a Census official on NPR the other day, in which she explained that the on-line aspect of the Census will involve sending each household a form that they can, as in the past, return by mail, or, by using a 12-digit ID, fill out online.

Which offers us a chance to see how that works, and the Census rolls out over a long enough period that, if it turns out to be as troubled as on-line registration for the ACA was, they can still fix things by traditional means.

And if it gets hacked, well, that won’t speak well for the potential of adapting it for on-line voting.

As for those 12-digit IDs, people do seem to be able to input credit card numbers at shopping sites, but, on the other hand, if you put a list of those IDs on a computer somewhere, you’d better make sure it’s protected.

You know, like the way credit card companies set up security so they are never, ever broken into.

Paper is nice.

A combination of up-to-date scanners and adequate polling sites would be particularly nice.

Meanwhile, the bright point is that, if people are willing to stand in line for six hours to vote in the Democratic Primary, they must really be pissed.

Bring Dear Leader his brown trousers!

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Mike Luckovich mocks the latest GOP gambit, which is that they’re re-opening the investigation of Hunter Biden, following, one presumes, the expert blueprint by which they pissed away millions in taxpayer money over Hillary’s email.

The Hunter Biden thing reminds me of Whitewater in which they didn’t ever quite say what the actual scandal was, and, when they finally did, commercial real estate developers shrugged and said, “That’s how it works. What’s the problem?”

Now we’ve got Donnie Jr and Eric tweeting about what a bad thing it is for Hunter to have used family connections to get a plush job.

None of the little twits were even born when the Kinks explained it all.

 

Community Comments

#1 Laurel strand
March/7/2020
@ 10:00 am

Here in Washington State, we have all-mail elections — no waiting in line! All counties have drop boxes. And most recently, postage paid was added if you wanted to mail it in.

#2 Tara Gallagher
March/7/2020
@ 10:34 am

Yes–imagine government-affiliated couriers delivering paper ballots, and then picking them up again to deliver to the elections board…
Mail-in ballots are also the only system that gently reminds you to vote by showing up at your door.

#3 Mary McNeil
March/7/2020
@ 4:49 pm

Madame and Eve pretty much explains the Mulvaney-for-Meadows swap.

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