BR’s COVID-19 Parallel Universe

By Peter Galuszka

Almost every morning, I wake up a little before dawn, make coffee, let the dog out and feed her and start reading the news.

I take The Washington Post in print along with The New York Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, NBC News, various television stations and, of course, Bacon’s Rebellion online.

Later in the morning, I check out Blue Virginia, Virginia Mercury and RVA.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, every morning I step into two different universes.

One gives me the global and national view that jumps right in and explains where we are with the virus and who and what are at risk.

The other view, that of Bacon’s Rebellion, mostly paints a very different picture. This view insists that the pandemic is exaggerated and overrated, needless regulations are being enacted by a dictatorial governor, our school system and housing trends are at risk and we should open everything up right now.

Coincidentally, these arguments are precisely those made by President Donald Trump, despite overwhelming advice and evidence to the contrary, even by his own science advisers. They are basically the election platform of the Republican Party. I have a close, long-time friend from high school who is a Republican and lives in Montgomery County, Md. He is active in politics and hosts a public television talk show about county and state politics. These are exactly his views as well.

So, I thought it would be interesting to contrast recent headlines from national sources and those from Bacon’s Rebellion.

One of the more disturbing trends is that the European Union might seriously restrict travel to Europe by Americans because of Trump’s failed COVID policies. Having once been a foreign correspondent, that is hard for me to fathom.

I will be getting lots of comments about how BR is a “Virginia” blog and what goes on in places like Texas and Arizona are of no moment here. My response is that BR has a policy of enforced parochialism that is regrettable and insular. I am sure that the coronavirus has the good manners to know that it should not cross Virginia’s borders since it is unwelcome.

Here are the headlines and stories:

E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus

breaking hospitalizations ‘overwhelm’ Arizona, Texas as governors struggle to contain surge

Fauci, top health officials warn of covid-19 surge, contradict Trump on testing

Live updates: Federal government to scale back testing support even as hospitalizations reach new highs

From Bacon’s Rebellion:

Open The Schools

COVID Regs Unclear, Unneeded, Contradictory

Why Hasn’t Northam Acted Yet on the Great COVID News?

From Moon Walking to Slow Walking

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44 responses to “BR’s COVID-19 Parallel Universe

  1. Your comments are valid, to a degree. Many on this blog have been dismissive of the stay-at-home and face mask policies and point to the relatively low number of deaths, with nursing homes being the primary location of those deaths. They ignore the distinct probability that the state’s death rate is as low as it is largely because of those policies they detest.

    But, currently, there are two “universes” for the virus. Infections and hospitalizations are down on the East Coast, while surging in a lot of states that did not adopt the same policies that Virginia, Maryland, New York, etc. did. The Northam administration is beginning to reopen the economy and society gradually, just as other states, such as New York, are doing, while the governor of Texas is urging residents to stay at home.

    A question on this blog has been what to do about schools. You did not include this recent headline concerning Europe:
    “Early school reopenings quell virus concerns (for most)” So, the universes are not always parallel, they do converge sometimes.

    You are right; the virus does not respect state borders. We do need to be aware of what is happening in other parts of the country and adjust accordingly. However, I, for one, welcome the Virginia focus of this blog. I certainly don’t chafe under any “enforced parochialism” as you call it. We can focus on the state without losing sight of bigger pictures.

    • Yes, I believe the exact amount is called the “Nth degree.” And, the East is faring well as long as GA, AL, and FLA, are assumed to be on Mountain Time.

      I would offer an augmentation to Peter’s reporting on “the European Union might seriously restrict travel to Europe by Americans because of Trump’s failed COVID policies,” with “along with restrictions on Russians and Brazilians.” Woohoo, we made the big leagues!

      Schools will be a problem for about 3 months after opening and plans fall to practices. The grossly exaggerated effect on children, the most adaptable and resilient segment of society, just flies in the face of past realities. The only argument the conservatives could possibly put forth is that school desegregation of the 50s and 60s irreparably damaged the Baby Boomers… they might be right too, considering Boomers were Trump’s strongest supporters. Now, it’s just uneducated white men in general.

      • I like your comment about “plans falling to practices”. That is usually the case with plans, they give way to reality.

        • You have my unconditional permission to replicate as often as necessary. In fact, your direct lineage is hereby granted full rights as well.

          Others here, please apply for rights.

  2. As the old saying goes, all politics is local. It’s great to have the high-altitude perspective that the major media provide. But they miss the granularity of what occurs locally. You know this from your own experience as a journalist in Russia/Soviet Union. As I recall you telling me, your editors in New York had a pro-globalism narrative and they wanted their articles to reflect it. I also recall you saying that what you saw on the ground didn’t always fit.

    So, we need both perspectives. There are plenty of media providing the national/global view. There aren’t many providing the Virginia view, very few that provide the Virginia view from a center/right perspective, and none other than Bacon’s Rebellion that invites criticism of that perspective from people such as you, Dick, and various guest contributors.

    • Providing contrast and counterpoint is the whole idea, Peter. Falling in line with the automatons of the MSM is not an activity I’m interested in. (And if you read the business coalition comments on the regs, my headline merely summarized them — something you’d see in a paper. With more space it have made clear I was citing them, but unlike others I try to avoid two-line headlines here.)

      And the Post covered it only after I did here :). That’s another reason why I continue, to find stories getting missed by others.

    • I have never read a reporter more parochial, unimaginative, and closed minded than Peter. To read his work is akin to listening to a broken record. Each story contains the same refrain, same slant, same prejudices and ideology locking his every story into the very same iron box.

      This is the opposite of news.

      It is little more than political propaganda aimed to achieve the reporter’s private political ends and ideological views.

  3. Mr. Galuszka has had an epiphany, if not a road to Damascus moment.

    The self-serving preening about how informed he is notwithstanding, apparently Galuszka has noticed that, like him, the vast majority of the media have abandoned accurate reporting for anti-Trump and anti-Republican propaganda and narrative engineering which in this case requires hyping and sensationalizing the pandemic and belittling anything the administration is doing.

    Typically, Galuszka throws in his unsupported smears, to wit “Trump’s failed COVID policies”. Nary a sentence on what those failed policies are. Ventilator supplies perhaps? Mask availability? Meat shortages? Mortality rates? Total deaths?

    Galuszk’a attempt to belittle BR in this posting, ironically, may actually highlight why BR’s readership is increasing and why national polling is showing downward trends in the public’s trust of the media which today is the lowest in, if not history, a very long time. Perhaps, if you want facts and understanding, it’s best to stay away from all those links he supplied as well as those who put unquestioning credence in them.

  4. “Stay away from those links he supplied?”’hope you haven’t planned a European summer vacation!

  5. Hey, guys, I appreciate the defense of B.R. And by all means feel free to criticize Peter’s logic, selection of facts, and line of argumentation. It should be like shooting fish in a barrel! But please refrain from the personal pejoratives. They don’t add anything to your counter-arguments.

  6. Jim B. Thanks for the support. I thought it was bad form to make ad hominem attacks on this blog (except in my case, of course).

    • “I thought it was bad form to make ad hominem attacks.

      No, not ad hominen at all. I was simply speaking the truth as I see it based on facts of Peter’s highly baised reporting here and his unrelenting insults and smears of those he disagrees with here.

  7. Reed. My contributions here are commentary not reporting. They are supposed to have a point of view. Sure they are biased and so are your comments. I don’t have a problem with that.

  8. So what is an ad hominem argument? “Do not believe that person’s argument or accept the facts being offered….” because the person cannot be trusted, is a member of a disfavored group, or beats his or her spouse. In other words, to argue against the person…..a diversion from the subject at hand. Peter’s go-to is “the Thomas Jefferson Institute is a Koch brothers tool” or, say if former Governor McDonnell comes up, he’ll talk about the trial and thereby dismiss whatever Bob might say. “Climate Denier” is a great example. In the other direction, the most obnoxious examples are all the references to “Governor Blackface,” which is a classic piece of ad hominem trash debating. And….I would agree that Reed’s note immediately above is getting there, too.

  9. Steve H. When was the last time I trashed the TJ Institute? A Web check shows it DOES have ties to KOCH, the State Police Council ALEC and other Kock-related entities. You have quoted the Beacon Hill Institute that seems to have two goals: preventing hikes in cigarette taxes and opposing a regional approach the carbon containment. Suffolk University dropped Beacon Hill which does have ties to Koch. Anyway.
    As for McDonnell, I sat through the trial almost every day for six weeks. The evidence clearly tarnished McDonnell. There’s nothing to deny here. What should we do? Pretend that Jonnie Williams Sr. never happened?

    • My case is made…..Never met a Koch family member, don’t take orders from them, I’m told there was one check years ago that lives on and on, but there you go again, Peter….

  10. The fact that Peter does not take WSJ tells you everything you need to know about someone supposedly well-read across the spectrum. I also lived in DC for a while. We took WSJ, NYT, WAPO, and Evening Star. Very different viewpoints needed to accurately form opinions. But, as Peter says, everyone’s entitled to Peter’s OPINION, without REPORTING nasty facts to support them.

    • Ohhh. Classic ad hominem! Don’t trust him because he doesn’t take the WSJ…

      • Steve. Not exactly. Ad hominem attacks are things such as “this person is lazy, rich, poor, married or unmarried, discreet or indiscreet, a blowhard, etc. ” things clearly irrelevant to the subject at hand. Or, as Larry says below, “Trump is an Asshat”

        What I have done is challenge Peter as an Unqualified or Unreliable Source of opinion, a subdivision of the fallacy of Questionable Testimony, though my challenge is only valid if you think that properly formed opinion requires the consideration of facts on both sides of a question. By my argument, Peter is an unqualified source in this instance because by appearance, he did not consider WSJ, which generally presents a different set of facts than WAPO or NYT. Without delving into what parts of WSJ he considered, which he needn’t do in the then current posture of the discussion, he corrected the overall appearance in his response (below).

        Compare to someone who says, “I don’t think very much of that painting because as Art Laffer, a leading economist, has said ‘Representational art is worthless because a camera can do as well'” Laffer may be a decent economist, but his expertise in art is surely challengeable and no better than a layman’s opinion unless he establishes his credentials in the field.

        It is not an ad hominem attack to challenge the thought process in someone’s argument. Name calling is. I did not call Peter a name; I challenged the thinking of someone who I argued apparently thinks his opinion is worth considering without supporting facts. Dick is a very good example of someone who thinks further left than I or most on the blog do, but supports his opinion with facts. His stuff is always worth reading and considering, even if I wind up disagreeing with his conclusions.

        I do not argue that you must be an expert to post on the blog. But it helps. Most such as Jim and Dick prove their qualifications/expertise on the fly by their recitation of facts in support of their posts/arguments.

        Everyone, including me, should remember that old saw about mere opinions being like backsides: everyone’s got one.

  11. Follow the money. Want a map?

  12. Crazy. I do check the WSJ but had to cut back on subscriptions as I did with the NYT. Their reporting is excellent; less so their editorials. I especially liked their Saturday features section. Be advised Crazy that am friends with some WSJ contributors and used to play softball against them in New York. Thanks for the education, however.

  13. What’s happening above (with the exception of DHS) is exactly the reason I will not read the comments anymore. Once upon a time, BR had thoughtful articles with thoughtful comments about land use, zoning, planning issues that initially drew my interest. I guess those were not controversial enough, not enough vitriol in the comments to attract whatever attention BR sought. So, everyone go ahead and slug it out about who is a traitor to what cause, who should go back to Russia, or who does or does not love Trump, Northam or whoever. A plague on everyone’s house. Oh, wait a minute, there is a plague. Out. Bosun

    • yes. And the thing is – there are STILL issues like this worthy of discussion.

      BR has caught the same disease as other blogs… I’m afraid… and now some commentors get personal… to boot.

  14. Bosun. I miss those days, too. BR did groundbreaking work on key and farsighted issues like land use. I played a small role. Then the lobbyists took over.

  15. Oh my.
    Two of the snarkiest, most consistently insulting, mocking, sneering commentators are missing the kinder, gentler good old days. Glad to hear it.
    I’m all for applying Jim’s criteria above to all comments–“logic, selection of facts, and line of argumentation”. That would eliminate most of the comments of these two.
    Instead of all the “Geez….”, whatabouts…, and in Galuska’s case calling writings BS (full spelled out), post something thought out and useful. Rewritten posts from other sources and a list of links don’t qualify.
    That might lead to some good days.

  16. SGillispie. It is Galuszka not Galuska. Try to get get control of yourself. Ok?

  17. Larry. Good point. Jim tells me that SGillispie, who owns local sign company, has made some money contributions. I am told that I met him nearly 10 years ago at a dinner but I do not remember him. His current role as curator of comments is curious (forgive the alliteration). You and I have put in thousands of hours of gratis work in this blog. Is Gillispie now in charge? Bacon owes us an explanation.

  18. Ah, more slurs from the the group that can’t tolerate what they so consistently dish out. Because Gillispie is actively challenging the leftist propaganda, constant smearing, misdirection (spelling Galuszka) and more, BR is now bought?

    “I don’t remember personal attacks”. What disingenuous nonsense. Most every comment from them not congratulating each other on their superior insights is mocking, smearing, scorning.

    I am not a curator of comments. I am just one who is consistently offended by your treatment here of those with whom you disagree. And since you feel you can so freely dish it out, occasionally I find it therapeutic to dish it back to you.

    • never had all these problems in the good old days… it was a very collegial group! They’d different on the issues but never attacked each other!

      • I’ve been hanging around for a long time, too, often hiding behind a pseudonym. I’ve been paid TWICE what you have Peter! (2 x 0 = 0) Your memories are rosy and selective. But….it is correct there were more topics that generated less passion than in today’s super-heated atmosphere. I’m all for banning pseudonyms. Because the real offender right now is Nasty Nancy.

        • re: ” often hiding behind a pseudonym. …….I’m all for banning pseudonyms.”


          it ought not be the passion – folks can disagree on the points and it used to be on the front page of BR if I recall:

          “Bacon’s Rebellion is unique among Virginia’s leading blogs in having no partisan affiliation and entertaining a wide range of ideological viewpoints from its contributors. ”

          “We have managed, so far, to avoid posting elaborate rules for participating in this blog. We simply urge contributors and commenters to maintain a collegial atmosphere. ”

          see – this part:

          “Direct all the fire and fury you want at another person’s argument, but do not engage in ad hominem attacks.

          The publisher reserves the right to delete any comments that violate this basic rule. Additionally, blog contributors have the right to delete any comments on their own posts only that they feel detracts from the quality of the dialogue.”

          now some folks have an expanded view of what Ad Hominem means… that any pejorative towards any other, e.g. Trump is an asshat – is also an Ad Hominem – and then, apparently, that allows others to attack you personally.

          If you look at the meaning of Ad Hominem – ” of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining”

          At any rate, I don’t remember much of this going on way back when… lots of fire and fury over positions but personal attacks were rare…

          Now… every other day – we’re seeing them… like this morning with Peter’s post…not just one… then Jim steps in… and it even continues after that…

          “snark” does not give one the right to attack someone personally…

          nor does any variety of other methods of discussing…

  19. SGillispie. What is Your relationship with this blog? Did you make payments? If so, how much? If you did, how do you reconcile the for-free contributions so many have made? What are your plans for this blog?

  20. shit Haner! I got $3k over 15 years! You are obviously better at business.

  21. Well well, GaluSZka your hypocrisy is again on display.

    Your appalling hubris, arrogance and self-importance that you have any business knowing my relationship with the BLOG notwithstanding, the latest post is disgusting — a glaring personal attack just dripping with all kinds of nefarious implications not just toward me but the editor and the BLOG. Standard liberal democrat playbook. Discredit the opposing opinion with nasty implications and smears. Great headline; “BR compromised by interference from contributors.”

    Clearly, personal attacks are not remembered because they are only personal if the criticism is directed at them.

  22. Whatever. But you haven’t answered the questions regarding those of us who contribute freely to this blog:who are you? What us your financial relationship to Bacons Rebellion? If you own it or face a financial interest, why should we bother contributing?

  23. full disclosure – I too donate to BR!

    Help Bacon’s Rebellion grow bigger and better.

    Your contributions will be used to pay for faster download speeds and support other initiatives. Make a one-time donation by credit card or contribute a small sum monthly.”

    yep… that “small sum monthly”.

    That’s ought a put me even with SGillispie, no? 😉

  24. Larry. I will make a contribution, too, although not on the level perhaps if the great Gillispie.

  25. Is that another personal attack oh righteous one who so opposes personal attacks?

  26. SGillespie. Of course it is a personal attack! You don’t seem to be a player.

  27. GaluSZka,
    Thanks for finally coming out of the closet as to the standards you really play by and the principles or lack thereof which really guide your contributions to this BLOG.

    By the way, get hold of yourself. My name is spelled SGillispie.

    As someone above said, I rest my case.

  28. Hey, guys, call a truce. If you don’t, I’ll just delete the thread.

  29. Bosun
    I would have to agree that it does seem very difficult to find any useful information in the comments. I am not sure what type of attention BR is attempting to gather by them. At this point it almost seems to be a waste of time to post any comment as all of them appear to be targets of attacks by one group or another. Can this be what Jim had in mind when he started the blog? Perhaps he could gather more support by being more transparent.

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