Good Friday Morning, except to Andrew Cuomo, who continues to look worse with each passing day. Late Thursday, the Wall Street Journal released a bombshell report, accusing Cuomo and his administration of purposely manipulating the numbers on COVID-19:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of Covid-19 than the administration had acknowledged, according to people with knowledge of the report’s production.
The July report, which examined the factors that led to the spread of the virus in nursing homes, focused only on residents who died inside long-term-care facilities, leaving out those who had died in hospitals after becoming sick in nursing homes. As a result, the report said 6,432 nursing-home residents had died—a significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population, the people said. The initial version of the report said nearly 10,000 nursing-home residents had died in New York by July last year, one of the people said.
Cuomo’s policies killed them. And he’s lied about it ever since, including, now, evidence of a cover-up. The allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo are bad, no doubt. But those pale compared to his actions on COVID-19 when his direct decisions directly led to thousands of more deaths. Complete with a cover-up. And it’s not just him, it’s his entire administration. CNN deserves to burn for this, too, with the dog and pony show they ran with the Cuomo brothers.
I have no idea if the combination of these stories will force Cuomo out of office. I tend to think not, simply because New York is a deeply blue state right now, even though trendlines suggest it could be in place in a decade or two. But with the reports continuing to pile on, Cuomo isn’t leaving the hot-seat any time soon.
This week, a talk about how we’ve driven ourselves crazy and miserable and how hopefully the end of the pandemic could be an inflection point to shift things.
Where you can find me this week
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The strategic silence of Democrats over liberal failures – The Conservative Institute.
It’s time to celebrate American greatness in ending the pandemic – The Conservative Institute.
Our miserable world that a post-COVID world could end
We live in a society that hates itself. Not every part of society, mind you, but significant chunks forming a cohesive whole. It comes from both ends of the spectrum. It’s the complete incapacity to find good in anything or be optimistic about the future.
On the right, the apocalyptic mindset is so convinced of the ever perilous encroaching proximity of the second coming of Christ that the earth is always one sand grain in the scales away from utter damnation. It might be shocking to this set of people to realize that the last 200 years have nearly wiped out human suffering on an economic level. You can measure by nearly any metric, too—extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality, education, death due to war, and more. For a planet so thoroughly doomed, we are the most blessed generations ever to walk the planet.
On the left, it’s the misery of losing every major argument against liberty of the last 200 years. Communism lost. Socialism lost. It’s not close. The modern world was built by capitalism. You can rage against it all you want; call it incomplete or any name you want. The facts and numbers are right there, and they’re undeniable. George Orwell theorized it was impossible for socialists to be happy. In the conclusion to an essay, he wrote:
Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.
His point on emptiness is apt. That’s what the new forms of socialism and Marxism connect. In my piece on this last spring at the Dispatch, I wrote about how new-wave socialists, the AOCs and Squad, replaced economic socialism with cultural socialism. They can’t prove the world is economically awful, though they still try. So they use cultural ills to make the same points. They target emptiness and try to radicalize those people.
Neither side lives in the world that it thinks exists. The world is sinful, for sure. But saying we’re at the point of ultimate damnation seems like overkill. Everyone generation of Christians to exist has believed they were in the last days. And for socialists, utopia is impossible. The tension these viewpoints create causes self-inflicted misery.
That’s a long way of saying the various cultural flashpoints of the past week were phenomenally stupid.
Did we really spend a week with people arguing about Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss? (This week, I learned about the original Mr. Potato Head, which involved a real potato, metal spears, and resulting in what I can only describe as Frankenstein’s potato monster built to terrify children). I’m not saying there’s not something arguable in there. Like Orwell, the attempt to ban something or make these items of childhood the central thing in all childhood reveals more the person’s emptiness than the validity of the thing being argued over.
And while the right side of my social feeds was all up in arms over that story, the left was throwing a lot of heat at various trans-related legislation. Specifically, an Alabama bill (still in various committees, from what I tell) would ban puberty blockers from being administered to children.
Orwell’s notion of socialists having a vague sense of a utopia that they can’t see or realize is especially apt here. Nothing here makes coherent sense other than they believe that creating more trans people is better than waiting until adulthood.
It’s easy to point out the incoherency. Should we lower the cigarette smoking age just like these puberty blockers? How about alcohol? Or weed? The answer to all these is no, but the reason why makes the left uncomfortable when applied to their new pet project (hint, it has something to do with those things “interfering with childhood development.” Something they can’t acknowledge anymore).
Again, though, at the base of it all is misery with the world. It’s self-inflicted misery. As Orwell points out, these issues point out more about the person than the object. We’re witnessing that emptiness.
And it could be emptiness because we’re not discussing anything. The famous Elanor Roosevelt quote goes, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
I’m not sure we even have minds anymore. We’re discussing things. Or false realities. It’s all made-up figments in an imaginary reality, fought over social media networks with no real interaction. It’s a video game in a way, where everyone thinks they’re Mario and all the other social media accounts are Goombas. And the princess is never in the castle.
All this is playing out while real life happens on the outside. There’s part of me that watches these fights and then looks outside at a mostly normal world. It’s been a beautiful weather week here in Tennessee, and when you see normal people and hear the birds chirping, it brings some normalcy back to the picture.
The pandemic has brought the online to the real world, though. We see that more with each passing day. On the podcast this past week, I said that we were much closer to a post-COVID world than ever before. You could measure it in weeks and months, not years. A lot of people are about to get shoved back out into the world. They will experience shock with normal human interaction again.
For some people, they’ve already resumed normal socialization and human interaction. But there are plenty of others who haven’t. They’ve burrowed themselves away and live in fear. All this online behavior and misery will get thrust out into full public soon, with no masks or restrictions, and who knows what the results will be. Peggy Noonan got at this in her Sunday column:
You can know something yet not fully absorb it. I think that’s happened with the pandemic. It is a year now since it settled into America and brought such damage—half a million dead, a nation in lockdown, a catastrophe for public schools. We keep saying “the pandemic changed everything,” but I’m not sure we understand the words we’re saying.
It will be decades before we fully appreciate what the pandemic did to us, and I mean our entire society—our culture, power structures, social ways, economic realities. We’ll see it more clearly when we look back from 2030 and 2040. A lot is not fully calculable now, and some problems haven’t presented themselves. One is going to be the profound psychological impact on some young people—how anxious and frightened this era will leave them, even how doom-laden. Kids 5 and 7 years old were trapped in a house surrounded by screens, and the screens said “germs” and “death” and “invisible carriers.” The pictures were of sobbing people on gurneys. We should be especially concerned about kids who are neglected and have no calm in the house, because they were left most exposed to the endless vibrations of the adults on the screens and had no schools or teachers to help them.
We hit a pandemic, and the apocalypse didn’t come. Nor have we come to our senses and decided to gallop towards the socialist utopia as some leftists think would happen. No, we appear to be more screwed up in the head than ever. And we’re about to start shaking hands again.
It’s terrifying when you think about it.
We need Germ-X for the brain. A way to wash this pandemic’s effect off of us, and also all the other craziness that’s hopped on us. But we’re America, so that won’t happen. We’re just going to jump head-first into the reopening experience and see what happens. We’ll video the crazies and make memes. We’re either resilient or insane.
What would be nice is that the post-pandemic life rattles the online craziness out of everyone. After experiencing a year of lockdowns, quarantines, masks, and more, everyone just decided that the online rules were insane, and we just needed to change things up. The funniest suggestion I saw was someone say they would do a reverse quarantine, a 15-day bender where they never went home. America could probably use that if we’re honest. Except it’s getting people off their online personas and into more real interactions. This isn’t some anti-screen screed. I’m a fully remote worker now. I live on my screens. But the more online rules slip into the real, the more evidence exists we need the relationship between online and real broken.
At this point, anything that shakes society out of these stupid mindsets that tell them we’re living in an awful world works in my book. In my column on Rush Limbaugh, I wrote that what made him so powerful was that he was, fundamentally, optimistic in his outlook. Rush was always entertaining and optimistic, constantly hopeful in America. Reagan always carried that same sensibility about him.
What I’d like most in a post-pandemic world is more of that. It’s partially why I’ve tried to write more optimistically about the pandemic. We’ve accomplished great things in it. We need to recognize that. But also, if normal is never coming back, we should leave the constant misery and pessimism of the pandemic and pre-pandemic past. There’s no need for it. The world can still be fallen and a pretty cool place to be. There’s no need to live in negativity, especially the toxic negativity that pervades so much of our culture.
America is great. It’s not a utopia, and it never will be. But it is great. And we’ve accomplished great things in the past year. It’s that greatness that keeps me optimistic and rejects the great misery our society has talked itself into. Hopefully, we shake some more optimism into our post-COVID world.
Links of the week
WHO Investigators to Scrap Plans for Interim Report on Probe of Covid-19 Origins: U.S-China tensions rise over investigation as group of scientists presses for fresh inquiry, including into lab escape theory – WSJ
A Chinese Court Ruling Tests American Wokeness – Jim Geraghty
Last Exit to Mulberry Street – Kevin D. Williamson
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Estimated 9 Billion Already Dead From Texas Mask Mandate Reversal – The Babylon Bee
Thanks for reading!