Current Events Write-Up: Solutions, Public Transit, Ahmaud Arbery, Safe Haven, Foreign Aid, Mrs. America

Here is a Current Events Write-Up:

Transcript of ABC This Week, May 17, 2020.

One of my Sunday rituals is to tape and watch ABC This Week. On weekdays, I now watch NBC News with Lester Holt, since he is not as over-the-top in his coverage of Trump as ABC News. But when it comes to Sunday news shows, I like the discussions on ABC This Week. Democrats usually get on my nerves, since they come across as smug self-righteous know-it-alls, and they make a mountain out of a molehill whenever Trump opens his mouth. Rahm Emanuel, though, had an intelligent comment: “And I think on the Democratic side, on messaging we look a little too — messaging — too much about resistance, about reopening, too much about reluctance about reopening, and we should go to a message of rebuilding America. If the president wants to talk about reopening, we want to talk about rebuilding America in the relief. Let’s take the unemployed. If you’re unemployed in the service sector, J.C. Penney, some of these others, those jobs aren’t coming back, so we’re going to give you a coupon, go become a computer coder in six months. We’ll pay for it. You don’t have to pay a penny out of your pocket, go become somebody in cybersecurity in six months and get the certificate. We, the country, will pay. So when when we reemerged out of this, we have rebuilt America. America never lost a challenge by investing in America and Americans. And that should become the Democratic mantra. It’s too much reopening, or reluctance and resistance. We have to go, you want reopening we want rebuilding. Rebuild our infrastructure right now. Rebuild the skills of America, that should be the tone which is affirmative.” How feasible this is, that is a good question, but Rahm does well here to focus on solutions and to transcend the debate between health and the economy. If the Democrats did more of this and less identity politics, virtue-signalling, and Trump derangement syndrome, I would be more eager to vote for them.

The Federalist: “How Public Transit Makes the Nation More Vulnerable to Disasters Like Covid-19,” by Randal O’Toole (Cato Institute).

On the one hand, libertarians make an important contribution to the public debate. They highlight where government hampers competition, makes resources less available, and privileges the already wealthy and powerful. On the other hand, it is articles like this that make me reluctant to vote Republican. This article essentially argues that we should get rid of public transit and everyone should drive a car instead. I cannot refute all of its points, but the fact is that I depend on public transit to get to work. Not everyone has a car.

New York Times: “Where Ahmaud Arbery Ran, Neighbors Cast Wary Eyes.”

First, I listened to the narrative that the people who shot Ahmaud were a couple of racist rednecks who shot Ahmaud in cold blood. Then, I listened to the narrative that Ahmaud had a criminal record, was casing a house-under-construction for a future robbery, and was violent and belligerent when the two men were calmly trying to detain him until the police arrived. This narrative said that Ahmaud visited the house a few times before. Then, I heard that the African-American who visited the house before may not have even been Ahmaud. This New York Times piece offers another explanation as to what Ahmaud may have been doing in that house: he was getting a drink of water, since the house had a water supply. The article also does not demonize the shooters but places what they did within the context of the burglaries and 9-1-1 calls that were occurring with frequency in their neighborhood.

Defense Priorities: “Debunking the Safe Haven Myth,” by Daniel L. Davis.

You know the argument that the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan because, otherwise, the terrorists will find safe haven there, and another 9/11 could then happen? This article disputes that. I am glad that I subscribed to this group’s updates, as it offers cogent and informative defenses of a generally non-interventionist foreign policy.

American Thinker: “The United Nations Is Failing the World When We Need It Most,” by Noah Phillips.

This article criticizes the UN for providing humanitarian assistance to Assad. This article is unlike what I normally read, which tends to defend Assad and to decry U.S. attempts to overthrow him. But it raises important considerations about foreign aid. Foreign aid is often criticized by conservatives because it sends money to oppressive regimes, which may decide not to use it for humanitarian purposes. This article raises the question of whether there are alternative ways to do foreign aid: to send it to localities, for example, rather than the national leader.

Right Now Podcast: “J.D. Vance, Mrs. America, and the Greenwich Republicans.”

This new podcast from the paleoconservative American Conservative, along with this review from the libertarian Reason magazine, makes me a little more open to watching the Mrs. America miniseries about Phyllis Schlafly. Granted, from what I have heard, there are still things that I hate about the miniseries. I hate the way it portrays the relationship between Fred and Phyllis as antagonistic, even going so far as to say that Fred raped her. I hate that it depicts Phyllis as ignorant about a court case in a debate, when she was on-the-ball in debates; meanwhile, some of her opponents had their share of gaffes. I hate that it presents Phyllis as, well, a bitch. And I hate that some in the mainstream media trot out these experts who say that the miniseries is accurate and dismiss those who say otherwise as merely Phyllis Schlafly’s family: I mean, what could her family possibly know about her? Moreover, the miniseries not only portrays Phyllis as a bitch but also her feminist opponents: Brenda Fasteau comes across as calmer in the real debate than her portrayal in the miniseries. But, according to these reviews, the miniseries, on some level, depicts both sides three-dimensionally: the depiction of the Schlafly-Fasteau debate sets the stage for Phyllis to go to law school, and the miniseries presents the leaders of both sides attempting to deal with the extremists in their own ranks. I wish, though, that it had more accurately portrayed Phyllis and Fred’s disagreement on whether she should go to law school: Fred, in reality, was initially upset, but he then encouraged Phyllis to do it. Someone on the podcast said that, if conservatives dislike Hulu/FXX’s portrayal of Schlafly, then they should create their own portrayal. Maybe, but I am skeptical. For one, I do not want a hagiography. Second, many of the actors who have talent are liberal.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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