The “peaceful” protests and the future of America.

Over the past few weeks, protests have escalated into violence in several American cities. The protesters and their protests, we are told, are peaceful. We are cautioned by local officials not to overreact to the scattered and inconsequential violence. When they are referring to the violence, they are not talking about vandalism and looting. This is a part of the “peaceful” side.

As we watch (and how can we avoid watching?), we see windows broken, property destroyed and theft in the form of looting all over. Some of us are again shocked by these actions.

The first time we witnessed anything surprising was at the onset of COVID-19 when our neighbors began to hoard toilet paper and several other grocery items. This was all, of course, legal, but nonetheless how many were taken aback by the window it provided into the character of those we live around?

Now we’ve seen unprovoked attacks on the homeless, the elderly, and on unsuspecting pedestrians. Some attacks are so violent that they can’t help but evoke powerful feelings within those of us who are still in possession of our sense of fairness and respect for law and order.

Where will all of this lead?

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The rule of law and the path of least resistance.

One of the pillars of Western society, for perhaps the last seven hundred years, has been the rule of law. Economists of all persuasions agree that it has been a crucial element in the development and dominance of the West.

That the rule of law has been disparately applied throughout history is obvious. It has always been, however, a bulwark on which citizens depended. Careers, investments, education, even where to live have been decisions citizens made with a heavy reliance on the rule of law.

Recent events in the United States are alarming to those that have made these kinds of decisions. It should not have been unexpected.

Crowds of protesters-turned-rioters have caused millions of dollars of destruction in cities all over the country. Most of it while police stood by and watched.

Small business owners that had an expectation that local authorities would protect life and property have watched – sometimes in disbelief — as mayors have praised the “protesters.”

Some local authorities have warned their citizens not to take the law into their own hands. In other words, don’t try to protect your own property, just vacate for now and clean up the mess later.

America gets the government it deserves. Over the past forty years, the governments of large cities (and several states) have become bureaucracies that stand for nothing except their own sustenance. This is to be expected because organizations exist for themselves and governments are no different.

In times of crisis, the authorities find it easy to disregard any calls of duty and digress to the path of least resistance. Not surprisingly, this path most often favors the offenders at the expense of the offended.

Over the last half century, America has progressed in technology while it has regressed as a society. While people enjoy their creature comforts their propensity is too often to neglect education, morality, propriety, cordiality and much more. As America becomes more and more partitioned, life in society becomes unstable. Instability is bad for society in general and good for the fringe.

In science, unstable compounds take the path resistance. Sometimes the result is an explosion. When governments take the path of least resistance, a societal explosion can result.

America is inching toward a place where she desperately does not want to go.

More on this later…

What’s really going on with these riots?

After having watched the protests the last few days, it is difficult to understand how those that did not participate could come out of it all as anything but cynical. There are those, I suppose, that will believe the best way to get what one wants is to riot, or that somehow what happened to Mr. Floyd justifies the violence.

It is interesting that those that are destroying real estate are being careful as to not damage the booty the loot from inside. Which do they intend as the tribute to Mr. Floyd, the destruction or the theft?

There are no spokesmen. There are, however, many excusers. Most television networks are trying to commend the protesters and filter them from the denunciations directed toward the rioters. Some parents have chosen to bring along their children in order to allow them to share in the “experience.” Some children have “experienced” the feeling of pepper spray in their eyes. But I suppose they, at least, will be able to say, “I was there.”

Perhaps it is unrealistic to assume that after one evening of protest turned ugly, the true protesters elect to intermit — if only for a while.

It is difficult in any downtown area to simply stumble across large blocks of concrete (to break windows) or bottles full of gasoline (to burn buildings down). The destruction was not spontaneous – any more than the raid on the Consulate in Benghazi.

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerate into a racket.”
– Eric Hoffer (1898-1983)

“Some go straight from movement to racket.”
– The Cynic

Is hydroxychloroquine a “game changer”? We don’t know — and that’s about all we do know.

The real proof that the Cynic is more often than not correct can be seen in the coverage and treatment of COVID-19.

This has been astounding to watch — even for the Cynic — although not unexpected. When the virus arrived, we were being told by the authorities (surgeon general) not to wear masks. Now masks are mandatory in several places across the United States.

Very early on, President Trump hailed hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game-changer.” The non-Fox media immediately admonished him as irresponsible and dangerous. Clinical trials were begun. Those trials that were positive were critiqued as not controlled while those that were negative were quickly and repeatedly broadcast as proof positive of the President’s irresponsibility.

Some states even went so far as to ban the use of hydroxychloroquine as treatment of COVID-19. Never mind that the drug has been in use for over sixty years. Never mind that tens of millions of doses have been dispensed. Never mind that the drug has been deemed safe for pregnant women. It was more important to protect the citizenry, especially if doing so would embarrass President Trump.

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I’m still a cynic — and you should be, by now.

Perhaps the absence of the Cynic was unwise given the events of the last sixty days; however, there could be no more potent recruiting for the forces of cynicism than those events.

The Cynic observes sometime ago that Fox News and CNN/MSNBC could not both be correct. Their reporting of Trump-Russia collusion was diametrically opposed. As a consequence, those watching one network will have been watching the truth whereas those watching the other will have come away totally misinformed (it was not possible for both to be correct or for both to be incorrect).

It appears that Fox News had the story correct (at least somewhat) and CNN/MSNBC (along with the other major networks) were anxiously and enthusiastically wrong.

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The state of basketball in 2020.

With the recent death of former NBA commissioner David Stern, the Cynic made the ad-hoc decision to produce a brief treatise on the state of basketball in 2020.

It should first be pointed out that commissioner Stern took over an NBA that had just started a rebound from a state of almost complete public apathy. He left it a healthy, wealthy and growing sports league, with a product that was much different than it was his first day on the job.

The state of basketball is representative of the state of sports in general in 2020. All sports, college and professional, have the same concerns. They can all be summed up in one word: money. Probably the correct concern for the professional ranks since, after all, they are businesses. Colleges, on the other hand, are not. Nevertheless, colleges have bartered their athletic souls to the highest bidders, and the bidders could care less about anything but money.

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Trump’s impeachment strategy (and its possible consequences).

The Cynic has not opined about impeachment for one reason: it seemed like an open-and-shut case — in the president’s favor.

The president asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The Democrats contend that the request was for the express purpose of securing info on Joe Biden to, in turn, rig the 2020 election. The trigger for the entire House of Representatives investigation was the assertion that the president withheld, or threatened to withhold, aid to Ukraine until such an investigation was commenced.

The president then released a transcript of his conversation which he claims exonerates him. The Democrats, MSNBC (Chris Matthews) and CNN (Jeffrey Toobin) insist, on the other hand, that the transcript condemns the president.

So, after a hurried investigation, the Dems in the House voted two articles of impeachment: obstruction of Congress (really?) and abuse of power.

The Republicans keep yelling for anyone who will listen that the aid was in fact delivered to Ukraine in spite of the conversation, or in American vernacular, “no harm, no foul.”

But this argument by the Republicans seems shallow. It encourages the dismissal of the articles without addressing the alleged transgression. The president’s request to Zelensky to investigate continues to dangle untouched, for any of Trump’s opponents or enemies to point to as evidence of the president’s unfitness to hold the world’s highest office.

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