234 Comments

Excellent commentary on this autocratic buffoon. If you listen closely, you can hear the whine in DeSantis’ voice. He won’t last. Whiners become tiresome to everyone eventually.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2022·edited Dec 17, 2022

I've subscribed to Bulwark+ for, oh, about six months now, and am blown away by the wit and intelligence of JVL and the other proprietors, and also by the writers in the comments section. I subscribe to several Substack writers, and while I enjoy their work, there is a fair amount of viciousness and right-wingery in the comments. That's not to say all the commenters are vicious or Trumpian; they are not, I found some lovely commenters there. But there is NONE of that tribal crap here.

I came here for calm and reasoned views, and stayed for the rimming :-) Thanks, gang.

Expand full comment

I also want to point out that there is a lot of evidence that Governor De Santis and Governor Kristi Noem encouraging travel to thier states seeded outbreaks in dozens of other states.

Again its something that is really hard to directly attribute since its a mix of individual actions and private policy.

However, if they do run for federal office, I think its fair that they be questioned about their willingness to help their own states economy at the expense of other Americans health and lives.

Expand full comment

Cases of COVID shot up all over the upper Midwest and Great Plains in the weeks immediately following the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Because of the inability to do really good contact tracing we'll never know for sure just how many people caught COVID as a result of that event, but the numbers have to be high.

Expand full comment
Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022

The Economist Magazine published an excellent interactive chart for 415,000 Covid outcomes in the US in 2020 (pre-vaccines). see: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/covid-pandemic-mortality-risk-estimator These are classic exponential curves that show that the risks of hospitalization and death increase exponentially with age. So, it is even more indicative of a depraved contempt for human life that DeSantis is ramping up has anti-Covid-vaccine conspiracy theory hoax and witch hunt in Floridah which has more than an average share of old people. Clearly, given his education, he knows better. Who has words for how stupid this is? And beyond that, many members of Trump's own party take every opportunity to trash what was by far and away his administrations greatest accomplishment, namely, and childishly named at that: Operation Warp Speed. As a nerdy engineer said to me many years ago: The difference between genius and stupidity is that stupidity has no limits.

Expand full comment

The Disney thing seems like textbook first amendment violation. The government tries to punish a company for its political speech. The fact that he had support for that shows that first amendment only applies to speech the far right supports. Twitter turning you off is not a first amendment violation. DeSantis’ behavior was.

Expand full comment

"DeSantis has a theory about the Republican electorate: He believes that Republican voters do not care whether or not a politician makes their lives better in any meaningful way. What they want is a politician who will punish their enemies."

Precisely! Substitute "Republican politicians" for "DeSantis" and you have the most important fact to grasp about American politics today. If mainstream journalists tattooed it on their foreheads and read it every morning in the mirror, the world would be a better and less confusing place. Performative politics has existed since the dawn of human society -- in fact, throughout history there has been much more of it than policy-based politics. That's because politicians throughout history share one basic motivation: to retain power. If your policy positions are widely unpopular because, let's say, they are designed to satisfy your rich supporters, distract the masses by waving the bloody shirt, or today perhaps the bloody Tweet. Once you have power, you can enact any policies you wish. Most of the leaders history has labeled "charismatic" have been masters of performative politics. In some cases, of course (FDR comes to mind), performative leaders can use their power to benefit the vast majority of their subjects/citizens, but that has been rare in political history...

Expand full comment

DeSantis may have a reason to think that people don’t always want their lives to be better. Have you ever read “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland” by Metzl?

Expand full comment

I have never had a team- my thought processes and inclinations have always followed something of a ragged path. Maybe I read too much, and let too many different ideas take up residence in my head. I know I have to clean house regularly. And yet, very slowly, and with great wariness and trepidation, I find myself coming closer to a team feeling with this group. So very many articulate people, responding to such impeccable writing. I do know that I appreciate it very much, and I have not had the feeling that I need to scrub with bleach when I read either the newsletters or the comments. Thanks to you all! Time will tell how this all works out.

Expand full comment

I was not at all surprised at the brilliance of Amanda Carpenter's essay. I always find myself singing her praises to Scooter as I read her work out loud to him.

However, that JVL actually received the same encomiums from me today caused Scooter to look up in dubious head-tilt and reluctant tail-wag.

Needless to say, I assured him that JVL's essay was indeed absolutely brilliant, too, and we should never, ever doubt his perspicacity, wit, and elegant style again. (However, I did have to explain "edging" to Scooter.)

Expand full comment

Yes and yes on DeSantis and the vaccines. Keep bringing the heat!

Expand full comment

"The impracticability of DeSantis’s abuses of power are a win-win situation for him with Republican voters. They’re the governing version of shitposting.

The MAGA nationalists get stroked by them. And by the time the abuse of power is countered, DeSantis has given them a tease in some other erogenous zone. He’s edging the MAGAs and they are INTO IT."

This. This right here is why The Triad is my favorite newsletter. Nowhere else can I consistently find such smirk-inducing turns of phrase like "the governing version of shitposting" and especially "edging the MAGAs". Chef's kiss to JVL.

If you don't know, look-up "edging". As JVL has demonstrated, it's widely applicable.

Expand full comment

Somewhat more. There were always some. The demographic changed from sort of all-natural (and they usually did some vaccines, and either waited on or refused specific ones) to religious and political concerns. Also, this is purely anecdotal to my practice, but I noticed that more often recently, it was the fathers who were the more suspicious. Sometimes, after a split from the anti-vax dad, the mom would go ahead with vaccines.

Expand full comment

A few comments:

1) My first thought when I read about DeSantis’s grand jury was it reminded me of Trump’s voter fraud commission in 2017 which was launched with such fanfare and then just sort of dissolved. But there are two key differences: (1) Trump was kind of forced into his charade because he made such a big deal out of claiming that he really would have won the popular vote if only legal voters had been allowed to vote; DeSantis seems to be instigating this just for the fun (or maybe the attention) of it, and (2) Trump’s charade didn’t really do any harm – DeSantis’s just might depending on how he stacks the deck in staffing his panel if it encourages people not to get vaccinated (and, of course, not just people in Florida).

2) This also reminds me of the Benghazi hearings. It would have been good to have honest hearings to figure out what went wrong at Benghazi, but neither side had any interest in doing that. Dems wanted to protect Obama and all the Reps wanted to do was tarnish him (until after Obama won reelection and attacking him didn’t have the same cachet; then they shifted to go after Clinton). Color me cynical, but it’s extremely hard for me to believe that DeSantis is really interested in finding out the unvarnished truth. Just looking at the three goals being assigned to the committee says it all – “we know there’s malfeasance going on here; we just have to find out how bad it is”.

3) The Right has been up in arms about big tech “censorship” without bothering to understand that only the government could be guilty of true censorship. And then they ignore what DeSantis did in Florida vis-à-vis Disney which is practically the textbook definition of true censorship. Imagine that!

4) One of the arguments used against having preventative measures against COVID was to downplay the seriousness of the disease by claiming that the COVID death count had been greatly inflated. There was a lot of on-line back-and-forth about how the COVID death numbers were not correct (the standard arguments were that people listed as having died from COVID had other underlying health conditions and that’s what really killed them and that hospitals had a financial interest in inflating COVID deaths).

I won’t dignify the second reason with a counterargument except to say it is BS.

I assume that there is often some ambiguity about a cause of death given that many people do have multiple health conditions. That’s why the excess death count seems like a good tool for evaluating COVID mortality. After all, regardless of the cause, the number of deaths is the number of deaths.

I got into an on-line “discussion” last year about COVID deaths in 2020. At that time, the official count was about 350,000, but most commenters in the “discussion” said that it was much, much lower (owing to the reasons listed above). I argued then that the number was likely higher simply based on the excess death numbers. This is what I wrote:

“The basis for my argument is simply the number of excess deaths (522,368) in 2020. Think about it this way. For many years, the death count had remained relatively steady (the increases for 2017, 2018, and 2019 were 2.5%, .9%, and .5%, respectively). Then a deadly pandemic is unleashed upon the country and the number of deaths increases 17.6%. That doesn’t prove anything by itself, but it seems awfully suspicious to me. I looked up the top 11 causes of death in the U.S. in 2020, and it shows roughly that, outside of COVID-19, the number of deaths from the other 10 causes increased by about 70,000 from 2019. That leaves more than 450,000 unaccounted for. What other choice is there for the cause of the majority of those missing deaths than COVID?

“There is also the related argument that most of the people that died from COVID-19 had other health conditions. While that is true, my argument is those health conditions likely existed in 2019 as well and the death count did not spike in that year (or the year before that). So it seems logical that a lot more of those people would have been alive, absent COVID-19.

“This argues that the 350,000 number is too low, not too high.”

Needless to say, no one else on that “discussion” seemed to care about my logic.

4) The best part of Amanda Carpenter’s piece in today’s Bulwark was her link to the article in Science Based Medicine. I would really love to have the “other side” respond to that.

Expand full comment

DeSantis understands what it takes to wrest MAGA from Trump. Youngkin doesn't.

OTOH, if Youngkin believes there's a non-MAGA Republican plurality if DeSantis and Trump can split MAGA voters close to 50-50, it'd be interesting to see whether DeSantis would support him. Trump won't, and an independent Trump general election candidacy may be the surest way to achieve a Biden reelection.

Expand full comment

Look, I was anti Trump, coloring Hitler moustaches before he came down the golden escalator. But I gotta say. I'm really defending him on this NFT thing, lol. I actually want one. What better way to commemorate the shit show of all his followers. The day they realized that they were in a cult, lmfao. I was never obsessed with Trump. I was always obsessed with his followers.

Expand full comment

#TeamVirus

Expand full comment
founding

Wow, two shout outs for Hadestown JVL. I wasn't quite as taken with it as you were. I loved the choreography and the set. Hades (Page) and Hermes (De Shields) were great, as you noted today. I was just underwhelmed by Orpheus (Carney) and his song. I guess I was expecting it to be a song that would make the mystical guardians of death bend to his will and should reduce me, a mere mortal, to jelly . Instead, it really felt like Eurydice was supporting a middling singer-songwriter who didn't have the goods. I guess writing a musical that has to have "the greatest song ever" is a tall order and there is no way to make it work for everyone.

Expand full comment