Friday, April 17, 2020

It has been an odd day. Granted, we’re living in the Strangest of Days and the New Normal would be unrecognizable five years ago, so that’s not saying much. But this was particularly squirrelly.

It’s just hard to wrap the ol’ brain matter around the President of the United States of America, reacting to AstroTurfedprotests” against Democratic-run states’ governors’ social distancing efforts by calling for the “liberation” of these states from their tyrannical rule. Virginia even got a little extra “they’re trying to take your guns away, remember” from Trump. And his faithful are arming themselves for bear and screaming for “liberty,” backed by a conservative organization connected to the DeVos family.

Now, I’m old enough to remember when the wingiest of wingnuts would’ve slit their own throats rather than accept commands from the federal government to go against their home state. Of course, I’m also old enough to remember when the self-declared fans of small government enthusiastically cheered for the largest expansion of the federal government in nearly 50 years after 9/11. So I guess I have no one to blame but myself on that one.

Granted, Trump’s become more and more unhinged as this whole COVID-19 drags on. Apart from his most faithful, people are getting a little tired of his foot-dragging and nonstop whim-wham over his bungling of the whole deal when he wasn’t pretending it was all a minor thing blown to “get him”. When he’s not threatening governors, he’s losing his shit at reporters.

Turns out, his bumbling over the past couple of months have cost him some. From a high of 49% approval in the Gallup polling earlier in the month, he’s dropped down to a 42% approval rate, a rather stunning decline. In CNN’s Poll of Poll, he’s showing a downward trend, as well, dropping to 45% approval and 51% disapproval. It should be noted Trump has never reached the average of 53% approval except on the notoriously unreliable Zogby poll.

Now, I shouldn’t have to say this, but take most polls with a grain of salt. Even at their best, they’re either a small portion of the public’s opinion or one that’s so unscientific and sloppy that it’s almost worthless. Once in a while, you’ll see a news report breathlessly saying a “recent poll” proves something outrageously goofy about the American Public. A little digging will show it represents a too small a sample size or the questions were worded in such a manner to produce a specific outcome.

They have their place, though, and well done polls can give a useful insight into which way the wind blows. Gallup’s has an impeccable resume and CNN’s Poll of Polls is generally pretty good, but still, take it as you wish. That all being said, it has to be seriously chafing Trump’s ass, especially since he can do his big rallies and the daily “news briefing” isn’t given the rush it once did.

Okay, what else. It’s looking more and more like the recent $2.1 trillion stimulus package was what we thought it was. That is, a big cash giveaway to people and businesses who might not need it as much. Interestingly, the PPP loans designed to help small business have run out of the $350 million mostly because it was set up as a cash grab. Businesses, regardless of size, got a hold of the money in a first-come, first-serve manner and businesses with closer ties to banks had a leg up.

Another quirk comes in the form of the announcement that Sonny Perdue will head up another $19 billion to go to farmers. Call me cynical, but I don’t trust Perdue or Trump to adjudicate that money to actually struggling farming families. Instead, I expect this money to go to big agri-business firms, following the pattern of most of that aforementioned stimulus.

And finally. Remember Kelly Loeffer? She was the already stinking-rich lady appointed a senator’s seat for Georgia who used her spot as a part of the January-February closed-door sessions held on the coronavirus to dump a load of stock just before the market went blooey a few weeks back. Apparently, she’s blaming it all on “socialism” and considers any criticism of her actions an “attack on capitalism” and the free market.

Sure. If nothing else, one hopes such behavior would put a stake in the heart of the idea that anyone actually “defends capitalism” when they squirrel away more filthy lucre than they can ever spend. I’m not holding my breath, though, because there are a lot of “displaced millionaires” who’re willing to slit their kids’ throats in defense of people like her.

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