November 17, 2018

How Blame Replaced Fear In America

“Why aren’t we afraid anymore? The only emotion of which there has not been a public surfeit in a week that began with explosive devices addressed to Bill and Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats and ended with 11 people dead at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is fear.

One reason is that the bombing suspect does not seem to have been very good at what he was doing. His bombs were crude weapons, some of them perhaps incapable of detonating. If one of them had made it past the Secret Service or private security and actually blown up, goodness knows where we would be now.

I’d like to think that if one or more of his targets had been injured or killed, we would be having a different sort of national conversation. But the response to Saturday’s attacks at the Tree of Life synagogue — where the worst did happen — suggests the truth is much darker: that no matter what happened we would be where we are now, a few days into a deflating spectacle that has shown everyone from President Trump to various CNN anchors to right-wing commentators and hangers-on in the worst possible light.

The immediate reaction to the bomb plot from the media was unequivocal: This is President Trump’s fault. What petulant nonsense. (This is the same thing we heard a few months ago when a man in Annapolis, Maryland, shot at the offices of the Capital Gazette. It turned out that the shooter had brought a defamation suit against the paper years earlier.) By Friday, it had become clear that the suspect in these attempted bombings, while obsessed with the president, was also a lunatic who had threatened to blow up a local power plant after receiving a shut-off notice all the way back in 2002. He has been arrested for assault, larceny, drug possession, and many other crimes. He first registered to vote in 2016, when he was 54 years old. At the time of his arrest he was living in his van after being kicked out of his parents’ house. He is about as typical of the GOP activist base as Theodore John Kaczynski is of Harvard alumni.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"You are being watched. Right now, cookies are tracking which websites you visit and what you click on while you’re there. Your smartphone is logging your location."

"The US placed sanctions on 17 Saudis on Thursday as punishment for their alleged involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi... according to experts, the move doesn’t go far enough to reprimand the kingdom."

"If the slow-motion crisis that is Gaza ever has a turning point, then this week’s deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, or what’s left of it, and Hamas leaders, under siege, is what the turning would look like."

"Nicholas Parisi's new biography, 'Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination,' fails to present a complete picture of the legendary screenwriter who did his best work outside the TV show that made him famous."

"Nearly a year after the tax cut, economic growth has accelerated. Wage growth has not. Companies are buying back stock and business investment is a mixed bag."

"By shifting accents, Australian expatriates are seen to be shifting class and status, indicating a sense of superiority to those who remain in Australia. The quickly acquired faux-British accent in particular has been associated with pretension..."

"Denim, usually in the form of the humble pair of jeans, is arguably the world’s most popular fabric. Over the years, it’s been worn by everyone from supermodels to soccer moms."

"Capitalism disadvantages women along several axes. The dawn of the industrial revolution enshrined a division of labor that largely confined them to the domestic sphere."

"In the past five or so years, hosting a Thanksgiving meal among friends a week before the actual holiday has become a standard part of the celebration for many young adults."

"Are these business owners trying to keep out certain customers? What about children? Or people who are paid in cash, or others who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t open a bank account..."

"Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram."

"...the more modern form of the movement has its roots in late 19th-century Europe... The sole focus of some missions based in England and the U.S. was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity..."