Gregory’s Web for May 17, 2020
by Ron Gregory
Pandemics may bring out the worst in people.
We’ve witnessed that during the past three months with the coronavirus threat causing havoc all across the nation and world.
In many cases, of course, it also brings out the best. The front line workers have performed brilliantly, for example.
But those on social media, and a few even in public, who have become “virus police” as a result of little or disputed scientific data are troublesome.
These folks become irate because you and I don’t follow a politician’s “order” to wear masks in public. Even a few will confront fellow shoppers.
“You’re not wearing a mask,” one young bearded man told a senior citizen in one grocery store I visited. “Step back six feet. Get away from me!” he snapped.
The older fellow didn’t bat an eye. “YOU step back if it bothers you. I was already standing here.”
Nobody moved; they just glared at each other until the younger man took his turn moving to the register.
The point is there is no basis for that sort of confrontation in a supermarket. The young man was obediently following what public officials and fake news had fed him. The legality of the “order” to wear a mask is highly suspect. Although he was dutifully following their commands to wear masks in public, the old man wasn’t doing his part. Therefore, according to this theory, the older fellow was threatening his life just as surely as if he had a gun aimed at him.
It’s not nearly that simple.
The theory that the masks will prevent spread of the deadly virus is dubious at best. It might filter a few “droplets” of the disease but some think it will trap the particles inside and make the wearer more virus susceptible.
There is also the “herd immunity” belief. If everyone went out unmasked, the immune systems essentially would create a barrier to the illness for most people.
I’m no expert on this subject, so I have no idea who’s right. But I’m not going to blindly follow either line of thought.
Not everyone agrees on what’s best. It remains scary that such a large percentage of the population is simply willing to do what “the government” says. A significant part has remained “quarantined” in their homes just because public officials told them to.
I guess it might be nice if governors and mayors could have all the answers to life’s difficulties. Unfortunately, they don’t. Blind followers are handicapped: they’re consistently blind.
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It’s blind following that contributes to ridiculous editorials like the one featured in the Ironton Tribune about my friend, Huntington radio talk show host Tom Roten.
The Tribune clearly resents the support and following Roten has developed over the past 20 years. They chastise the station owners for allowing Roten to be a spokesman for the station because he has the nerve to call out public officials on his show. Since Roten does not adopt the “me too” standard of many others in the media, they want WVHU radio to silence him.
I was taught that journalists present opposing points of view. Not apparently for the Tribune. Toe the popular government line or else, they say. They may have gotten their training from the Chinese People’s Daily.
It’s rare for one media outlet to attack another. Roten must really concern the newspaper. The truth can be bothersome to those who pedal something else.
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I will make one bold prediction: no matter if we EVER get to no new coronavirus cases, you will NOT be getting $2,000 stimulus checks for the rest of the summer or year.
Republicans in Congress will be bold enough to shut that down, even in an election year.
The government can’t afford it. Pure and simple.
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Strange things get stranger. Some state newspapers are seeking donations in addition to selling newspapers and advertising.The state’s largest circulation daily, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, sent notices to subscribers recently asking for handouts.
In an appeal that rivaled the best Jimmy Swaggart ever did for cash, the paper’s publisher Jim Heady pleaded hard times and claimed the paper needs money to survive.
I have one note I must throw in here. If The Gazette had not spend 50 years doing its level best to shut down every business in the Kanawha Valley, times might not be so tough.
With thousands of jobs now gone, in part thanks to their efforts, it’s difficult to see them as lambs in need of nourishment. When the jobs left, people moved away. Charleston’s population is half what it once was. It stands to reason that subscriptions and advertising revenues are in the tank.
Newspapers are struggling everywhere, as the publisher mentioned. But it didn’t need to be this bad in Charleston.
“Sustained Outrage” may end up biting the hand that fed it.
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Speaking of newspapers, one would think they and seasoned candidates would know the rules.
But recently, the Point Pleasant Register featured a bright ad above its masthead promoting the State Senate candidacy of Republican Delegate Jim Butler in District Four.
Missing was a paid for disclaimer. Unless the paper is so thrilled with Butler that they’re running his ads free, that’s a no-no. In fact it would be wrong if they weren’t charging because that would be an in-kind contribution.
That’s the race where Butler claims Senate President Mitch Carmichael is not conservative enough. Amy Nichole Grady is also contending for the GOP nomination.
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You say you want a revolution?
Governor Justice may get one if his haphazard handling of business reopenings continues. The closed today, open tomorrow approach isn’t working.
One question is where the consistency is. Somehow, after being deluged with calls regarding tanning salons, Justice just decided to open them up. Based upon what medical theory nobody knows although he said it came from medical authorities. It seemed those same “experts” were giving him the opposite advice 24 hours earlier.
Many business owners wonder how fair the rules are being applied. When Putnam County Republican State Senator Eric Tarr was permitted to open his health club, Snap Fitness, when others weren’t, there was outrage.
The solution? Give everybody else in the business an opening date. Thanks to some obscure interpretation of the rules, Tarr was allowed to remain open while others twiddle their collective thumbs a few days.
Then there are disputes aimed at the Alcohol Beverage Control authorities. Some bars approved by local health departments were shut down by ABCA because they supposedly didn’t comply with the outside dining rules. Other bars seemed to merit no attention from the regulatory group whatsoever.
Late in the week, a frustrated Justice said, “I wish some way, some how, that we could leave this politics stuff aside and deal with the fact that we’re dealing with a pandemic that is the most, the biggest event that any of us have ever dealt with or will deal with in our lives. So West Virginians, stay together. Please don’t listen to the noise.”
Many would give the same advice to Justice. Leave the politics out of it, Governor.
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How sheltered a life must one lead? Justice says the pandemic is the “biggest event that any of us have ever dealt with or will deal with in our lives.”
A bit dramatic, isn’t it?
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As George W. Bush might say, Republicans just can’t stand prosperiety.
Young phenom Joshua Higginbotham, who is the incumbent in House District 13, has been portrayed as not conservative enough by some.
Recently, Kathie Hess Crouse, a Republican for State Senate in District Eight, has joined in attacking Higginbotham. She claims a mail piece she received from Higginbotham “was full of inaccuracies concerning his voting record and those candidates running against him for the house of Delegates.”
She used harsh language in her comments referring to the mailer. “This type of deceptive campaigning demands a response, it is simply unacceptable to lie and deceive voters.”
Crouse then describes her version of what happened when she ran against Higginbotham in 2016 for the House seat.
She says Higginbotham contacted her right after she filed that year and asked for a meeting where he tried to persuade her to drop out of the race. Incredibly, Crouse claims Higginbotham said “he would GIVE me a seat on the School Board and the Republican Executive Committee.”
It’s safe to say the delegate denies that happened.
She adds that in 2019, Higginbotham tried to convince her to change addresses if she ran for the House again so both she and he could be elected. She subsequently filed for the House again using her original Buffalo address.
She goes on to claim, “that there were many lies and manipulation of facts (in Higginbotham’s mailing). He made claims that he is the ONLY 100% Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Jobs Republican, which is simply not true.”
Crouse goes on to endorse incumbent Delegate Scott Cadle and candidate Jonathan Pinson.
Crouse has enough problems on her hands trying to beat incumbent Democrat Senator Glenn Jeffries. She is not a political power that should be inserting herself in a different race, which cannot possibly enhance her own election chances.
As noted earlier, there would have been a time when Republicans would have been so delighted to have a delegate of their own, the entire party would have united behind that delegate. No more.
Crouse is obviously unhappy because she lost to Higginbotham in 2016. She placed third in the primary for the two-member district with Higginbotham number one. That’s clouding any good political judgment she may have.
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In Senate District Four, which I mentioned earlier, the lone Democrat, Bruce Ashworth, takes a different approach.
Ashworth’s social media and other campaign offerings are clearly liberal in what is that solidly conservative district.
Recently, for example, he reposted video of former President Barack Obama criticizing President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
That won’t play well in that district in the fall.
It’s just one example of novice candidates losing votes by involving themselves in issues they have nothing to do with. Criticism of Trump is not the key for Democrats to take that district.
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Jackson County Prosecutor Katie Franklin has taken an unusual stepbyy endorsing Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger in the Democrat race for Sheriff.
Although elected on a partisan basis, prosecutors normally try to stay away from other partisan activities. It would be shocking to see most prosecutors endorse any other candidates.
Franklin is opposed in the GOP Primary by David Moore. It will be interesting to see if there is any backlash from her support for Mellinger. He is being opposed by Mark King for the Democrat nod. Franklin’s fellow Republican, Noel Braley, is the only Sheriff candidate on the GOP side.
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear his political commentary each Monday at 7 a.m. on the Tom Roten Morning Show on NewsTalk 800, WVHU, Huntington.