The devils are in the details, and it’s all details.
Spotted in my news feed today:
Has the State of Israel made contact with aliens?
According to retired Israeli general and current professor Haim Eshed, the answer is yes, but this has been kept a secret because “humanity isn’t ready.”
Speaking in an interview to Yediot Aharonot, Eshed – who served as the head of Israel’s space security program for nearly 30 years and is a three-time recipient of the Israel Security Award – explained that Israel and the US have both been dealing with aliens for years.
And this by no means refers to immigrants, with Eshed clarifying the existence of a “Galactic Federation.”
The 87-year-old former space security chief gave further descriptions about exactly what sort of agreements have been made between the aliens and the US, which ostensibly have been made because they wish to research and understand “the fabric of the universe.” This cooperation includes a secret underground base on Mars, where there are American and alien representatives.
But I did. And it turns out that the debate was less awful in the ways I may have expected, and much more awful in a way I hadn’t been thinking about, an awfulness exacerbated by the bulk of the commentary after the fact.
Pundits of course want to address one of my expected sources of dread by analyzing whether this hour and a half moved the needle. And on the one hand the CNN instapoll suggests Trump “lost” bigly; on the other hand some people justly worry that Biden’s infelicity about his oil policy might come back to bite him in Texas — although no one has noted that all the oil giants other than Exxon, a stubborn outlier, have been busy diversifying like crazy into renewable energy because they can see the writing on the wall.
But the overwhelming trend among the commentators I happened to read was to celebrate how this debate was a sign of Trump’s (relative) restraint and thus made it much more the sort of debate needed by a healthy polity.
Others have already pushed back on this nonsense, but let me add my mite to the pile: this ‘debate’ was a disaster for the public sphere.
One of the candidates lied about reality, lied about his record, lied about his opponent’s record, and made allegations about his opponent’s supposed corruption that have support only in the deepest fever swamps where scraps of Russian disinfo get venerated as sacraments. We find ourselves in a world in which this sort of lying and slander is not met with instant and near-universal condemnation as an insult to our intelligence, and as an insult to the democratic underpinnings of our Republic. It is a world so deeply debased that we seem to have abandoned the very tools we would need — not least, ridicule — in order to claw our way back to the normalcy some commentators claim was achieved or approximated last night. I didn’t see that; I just saw rot.
If there is a Biden landslide, and also a decent Senatorial majority, and the election results are not then subjected to endless legal maneuvers of dubious moral legitimacy even if in some cases they might have some shreds of formal legality, then perhaps this will not matter. But note that we have three ifs and a perhaps before we get there.
Is that a light at the end of a tunnel or just another tunnel? Or is the light at the end of a tunnel…a train?
Update: Just saw this fine piece by Paul Waldman in the WashPo. Here’s a taste:
If it were any other candidate, his party would be trying desperately to figure out whether it could replace him on the ticket, because someone so unhinged could only lead it to disaster. But because it’s Trump, everyone says, “Gee, he did pretty well!”
The phrase so often repeated in the early days of this administration — “This is not normal” — has faded away, an absurd understatement of our debased reality. “Normal” has no meaning in this era; it’s like saying “This isn’t the road to Flagstaff” when you’ve gotten so far off track that you just drove into the Arctic Ocean.
Saw this item about Roger Stone,
During his September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.
Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.
Beyond Nevada, Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”
Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”
Real or Onion?