Major airlines are flying nearly empty planes around the country to be eligible for bailout funds

Much like how the quarantines in Italy resulted in the unintended consequence of people fleeing quarantined regions and helping spread the coronavirus to previously unaffected regions, the American bailout legislation has had a similar impact on the airlines.

At what the MAGA crowd are now ghoulishly calling Trump’s “rona rallies,” Trump pondered out loud why airlines were still flying planes out of coronavirus hotspots and from one hotspot to another.

The answer – had Trump or anyone on his team even bothered to read the $2 trillion legislation he signed mere days ago, and clearly they did not – is that the airlines are required to maintain capacity to be eligible for bailout funds.

So airlines are flying virtually empty planes (the major airlines are operating at less than 10% of normal passenger traffic) all over the country. They are also transporting people from coronavirus hotspots to the places in the country that will still have them. But don’t worry, these folks have a new model to show you.

Germany: Report your neighbors to police for coronavirus violations

Here in the United States, state and local governments are letting thousands of convicted criminals out of prison ostensibly to protect them from the coronavirus. (Just wait until you see what they do when they realize they’ve nuked tax revenues and can no longer afford to operate prison facilities.) Considering that said criminals are returning to neighborhoods where a large fraction of the population is now unemployed or about to be unemployed very soon, that’s probably a brilliant idea.

Cities like Cincinnati have been broadcasting all the crimes police will no longer respond to, which includes things like breaking and entering.

The Germans, however, seem to be filling nostalgic for their Nazi days, as governmental entities are now encouraging citizens to snitch to the police if they see anyone violating quarantine orders. This has even gone so far as to include people who were out hiking in the mountains. Banning solitary activities, which cities and states are also doing here in the US, has been a fascinating tactic for slowing the spread of disease to me, and quite indicative of how out-of-control the authoritarian impulse has become.

This mentality has taken over the UK too, where police are seeing a surge in “second run” calls, where someone is calling to report their neighbor is going out for exercise twice in the same day. Police departments say they are getting “dozens and dozens” of calls where someone wants their neighbor arrested for leaving the house.

Per usual, the only thing necessary to get people to revert to outright fascist behavior is to cultivate an atmosphere of panic.

How do I know if my argument is persuasive?

Republicans these days sound a lot like the worst of the worst progressives.

Here is a guide to help you recognize if you are being awful:

(1) Do you think that everyone who disagrees with you is not only wrong, but demonstrating a moral failing?

(2) Do you believe that you need to shut down the free speech of others, that people should be physically or electronically denied an audience until they get on message?

(3) Do you believe that people who disagree with you should be physically forced to comply with your opinions? That they should be punished, financially or by forfeiting their lifestyle, if they continue to disagree with you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations, your arguments are not persuasive and you should perhaps consider the possibility that you are wrong.

Panic is suddenly the new Republican message

My phone has been blowing up this morning with messages from Republican groups, who had mostly gone dark during this crisis. It’s quite clear that panic is the new Republican message – a dramatic shift from last week. I think they might be surprised at how little ordinary Americans want to hear this garbage right now.

It’s like they had a focus group over the weekend and decided that (1) Americans are pissed about the sudden reversal in our economy, and (2) Americans are pissed at the media relentlessly shoveling Chinese propaganda in their faces, and so they decided to merge these two targets into “China lied and now America is screwed.” And they are going back to models of the spread of the coronavirus that have since been revised dramatically down. They are back to using old, hysterical numbers that are objectively not accurate now that data exists to gauge them.

I wrote back to every one that they can take my phone number off their list and that I am not voting for a single Republican candidate until they cut the crap and put America back to work. This is beyond out of hand.

If I wanted a trashed economy and pork spending as far as the eye could see, I’d be a liberal. And right now, that’s what Trump looks like. If this is the way he wants to run the country, there’s no real difference between him and the corpse the Democratic machine is pushing.

Trump did a good job last week of taking positive steps to repair the economy and giving a message of hope. Now he’s nuked that, which will have the real-world effect of nuking the good he has done. It’s infuriating.

Trump is back to screwing things up and markets reflect that

Last week, mostly everyone was feeling optimistic about the coronavirus response and Trump’s ability to mitigate the economic fallout for the American people. But he’s gone and screwed that all up again in a matter of days. Per usual, the dude needs to get a grip on his personnel and his own circle of influence big-time. This is the side of Trump that I cannot stand.

After sparring with members of the media last week, and making rational, scientific observations like the data do not suggest the dire projections the media keep sharing, Dr. Birx started getting personally attacked by members of the media. Good-for-nothing Maggie Haberman at the New York Times was leading the charge in the ad hominems about Birx. It was all she talked about for days, like some middle school brat trying to start gossip about one of the popular kids.

Apparently it worked, because now Dr. Birx and Fauci are quoting dire models themselves, relying especially on a specific model that has been thoroughly debunked in the medical community for its obviously bad math. They’ve seemingly convinced Trump to push back the quarantine until the end of April. All the cute fliers they put out about “15 days to stop the virus” have been revised to “30 days to stop the virus.” You can forgive Americans for thinking that maybe these people don’t have a fucking clue, and they are going to keep the entire economy shut down because of the experience of the tri-state area, where ten million people live on top of each other like cockroaches and share all the germs.

Trump, for his part, has decided to join Democrats in pushing crisis-era pork spending. This is the time for infrastructure, he screams. Of course, every American knows that the only way he’d get an infrastructure bill through Congress is with an epic ton of Green New Deal bullshit, much like Obama’s stimulus and the hundreds of millions of dollars it gave to defunct solar companies run by his political cronies. You know, the stimulus bill that is mostly known for not doing jack shit for the economy during the financial crisis because it kept money in the hands of a relatively small number of people. There’s a reason why everyone was clamoring to have stimulus structured to write a check to every American rather than do what Obama did: What Obama did was not effective at anything beyond allowing the political class to loot the US Treasury.

I don’t know what the hell happened to Trump over the weekend, but dire projections that are not at all supported by science and very leftist proposals to pump up the pork, pump it up, leave the grandkids with $30 trillion of debt because America freaked out about pneumonia for a month and shut down the entire economy, is enough to make me vote third party in November. This is bullshit, Trump. Complete and utter bullshit.

The amount of waste we are going to have after this episode is going to be amazing. And if Trump wants to keep our country in this shape indefinitely over the whims of a handful of people, that V-shaped recovery he’s betting on is not going to happen and the stimulus bridge-to-the-future he has built will collapse. By May, Trump will have thoroughly torched whatever support he had among ordinary Americans.

Schools are not your daycare and teachers are not your babysitters

Every time I would complain about public schools to a friend of mine who is a public school teacher, he would respond with “You don’t understand how awful most parents are. You are obsessed with your child’s education, but many other parents are not even remotely interested in what happens to their kids. Public school curriculum gets dumber and dumber because parents are getting less and less interested in their kids’ lives. You don’t how hard it is to teach kids to read when their own parents don’t give a shit about whether they learn to read, such that they won’t take even 30 minutes to read to them at home. I’d tell parents their kids are failing the grade, and they’d tell me to take it up with their child because it’s not their problem.”

He’d also respond with this tirade whenever anyone brought up the issue of school violence and bullying. There are a lot of parents who want teachers and school administrators to be wholly responsible for disciplining their child.

What was always surprising to me about these exchanges is that he was not at the stereotypical “forgotten” school. He was not Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds trying to teach British literature to inner-city gangbangers that just wanted to fuck and kill and were going to graduate to prison. He was in a middle class suburb with college-educated parents who could afford all the Baby Einstein they wanted. You ever wonder how celebrities who could afford to send their kids to the best schools end up having to bribe colleges to admit their functionally illiterate children?

Caring about education is not a function of money and class now, assuming it ever was. It’s kind of remarkable how many social problems all come down to the destruction of family life.

After a couple weeks of coronavirus school closures, I totally understand what he was saying. Many parents truly regard their kids’ schools as taxpayer-funded daycare.

Ever since I nixed all my social media accounts, I have a friend here who likes to send me screenshots of all the stupid stuff she sees on social media. It’s kind of nice seeing what’s going around without having to sort through it myself (something my mental health will not permit). Because she’s a homeschooler, the theme from the past couple weeks of her screenshots are parents who are complaining about having to do homework with their children since schools are closed. The memes and comments started off with crazy kid antics, but they’ve become increasingly dark. One said “Day 10 of homeschooling, human biology: testing whether chloroform is really odorless,” and it had a picture of a mother holding a washcloth over her kid’s face. I’m sorry, that’s just sick.

I’m not sure what humor parents take in the fact that they have raised complete hellions that they don’t even like to be around. “Please let this pandemic be over so I can dump my hellspawn off on someone else” doesn’t seem like the kind of sentiment a normal, well-adjusted person would want to share with the world. I would like to think that most parents are not complaining about having more time to spend as a family. That most people think the hours spent with their children are precious because they only get one childhood.

We have a neighbor down the street who works from home on a normal day and sends her child to a private elementary school here. That school has aligned its decisions with the public school system explicitly to avoid liability. They do not want to hold classes when the state is not and then have to deal with lawsuits if kids get sick.

She has sent us two messages so far asking us if we would babysit her child for several hours (during the middle of the work day) so she could be in meetings. No kidding. The notion of fixing your kid a snack and starting a movie for them in another room is too hard? Or handing your child a book to read and telling them that you are going to be on an important phone call, so please be quiet?

I kind of get it now, though. On normal school days, she’s at home but leaves her kid at the school in after-school programs until 5 pm. That only leaves a couple hours in the evening to have to deal with the kid, which is mostly a meal and a bath. During spring and summer breaks, the kid attends a litany of camps – in perfect succession, so the kid never actually gets a break from being managed by adults. There’s no careless summer vacation for that child of racing bikes and building forts. When she’s awake, she waits for someone to tell her what to do and where to be.

This pandemic is quite literally the mother’s first experience of being responsible for her own child for large stretches of time and she’s desperate to find anyone to fill the childcare void that her child’s school served. She’ll even ask neighbors to take a break from earning a living themselves to supervise her child. It doesn’t even occur to her that this might seem insane.

When this pandemic first started, I was skeptical that parents like this existed, but now I understand they do. They are willing to outsource parenthood to any random Joe in their environment. In fact, she thinks that because we have come up with an effective way to homeschool and run our own business simultaneously, throwing her own child into our mix is an elegant solution. Nope.

These are not minor cultural failings. Having parents make it 18 years without assuming any role in their child’s education (and, yes, a child should be getting an education before kindergarten) is a big deal. Having children who need to be professionally managed every moment of the day is a big deal. Even young children should be capable of entertaining themselves and participating in independent activities. And these are really two sides of the same coin. The kids aren’t developing their minds, so they cannot function independently. If your child cannot occupy themselves for a couple hours without misbehaving to get attention, you have a big problem on your hands. And it’s not the kid’s fault. It’s yours. You have neglected a major component of their personal development.

Being a terrible parent is not cute or funny, and you don’t get a mulligan on the responsibilities of raising a child. Being a good parent is also not some impossible task that must be outsourced so you can earn a living. If you can make time to watch seven hours of a gay polygamist meth-head zookeeper on Netflix, you can help your kid with their homework without a bunch of manufactured, self-indulgent drama and martyrdom. And this isn’t just about when your kids are out of school and you’ve lost your taxpayer-funded babysitter.