The Birus: Our boys, five and three, talk about the Coronavirus quite a bit, and they pronounce it “birus,” which I love. “The pool is closed because of the birus . . . . Donald Trump is fighting the birus . . . . Is the birus there (in reference to most anyplace we drive by)?” You get the idea. So, when I think about saying or writing “virus” it pops into my head as “birus” and I have to consciously translate it back into cognizable English.
Anyway, in Oregon, it seems the birus might be on the run for now. The curve that we desperately wanted to flatten, and did, now has an identifiable downward slope, both in terms of positive tests (even though far more tests are being performed) and in terms of hospitalizations. This is great news.
Even better, in Deschutes County, after a mini-spike last week, we’ve had mostly low numbers with several days with no new cases at all. There was one new case yesterday, and zero the day before, for example. There have been no deaths in the county and there are no COVID-19 patients in the hospital here.
If you were around Bend during Memorial Day weekend, you were in good company. Lots of tourists, including California and a lot of Washington license plates. With the influx of tourists as well as locals getting out and about and around each other more, it will be interesting to see if there’s a spike in cases. Based on everything we’ve been told, we should expect an increase in cases, but if hospitalizations remain low, that’s a really good sign for Summer.
If, somehow, there is NOT an increase in cases in the couple weeks after the busy weekend and the first couple weeks of Phase I, then things really get interesting. To this layman, it sure seems that significant relaxation of the shutdown followed up by no or minimal upward movement in cases would indicate that the causal relationship between keeping people home and containing the birus may not be as strong as originally thought, and the case for a faster reopening gets a lot stronger.
Republicans and Conspiracies: I’ve been a Republican since I first registered to vote largely because the party has presented the most politically plausible vehicle for limiting or even reducing (haha) the government’s size, cost and control over our lives and for protecting individual liberties. And also, nothing says “I’m cool and not weird at all” on an Oregon college campus like being a Republican.
Sometimes the party does things that impede its ability to perform the function I want it to perform, in part because that’s not the function all Republicans want the party to perform, and in part because Republicans, like everyone else, can be stupid. Especially, it seems, Republicans in Oregon.
Which brings me to Jo Rae Perkins, who has won the privilege of being the Republican who will be massacred by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in November. Perkins would be indistinguishable from the conga line of unfunded, unknown and irrelevant candidates the party regularly puts up for statewide office, but for one fact: she’s into a group called QAnon.
If you, like me until a week or so ago, don’t know what QAnon is, let me enlighten you, no, actually let me do the opposite of enlightening you because I promise you will be less intelligent after reading this than you were before. Per the OPB story linked above, “The movement was started by someone posting under the letter ‘Q’ claiming to have inside knowledge of high-level conspiracies aimed at taking over governments and major businesses – while also alleging prominent Democratic figures run pedophilia rings.” Many QAnon adherents believe that Donald Trump is combating and working to expose the conspiracies.
Like all conspiracy theories, QAnon is both palpably false but also impossible to disprove, because of course no one involved in the pedophilia rings would admit to it, and the media and law enforcement are all in on it too, the theory goes.
Perkins isn’t going to win, QAnon or no, so why does this matter? It matters for two reasons, one philosophical and one political.
First, QAnon and similar conspiracy theories are anti-conservatvie. Conservatism is based upon the theory that all people operate with limited knowledge and are flawed, in that they often act selfishly or out of malice or stubbornness or pride. For this reason, the power of government must be limited in order to prevent people who are going to either mess up or intentionally do bad things from doing so with the levers of an all-powerful and force-wielding state.
The U.S. Constitution does all kinds of things to limit our rulers’ ability to make a mess of things: dividing power between the federal and state governments and between three branches of the federal government that can check each other. QAnon and similar hallucinations are anti-conservative because they seek to empower the “good guys” to get the supposed “bad guys,” when a conservative should say, “we’re all bad or at least flawed guys because we’re guys so let’s protect everyone from us.”
Second, Republicans should distance themselves from this kind of thing if they want to have any role in governing Oregon in the future. Any time the New York Times, CNN, NPR and others run stories about a Republican nominee in Oregon, you know something is wrong. Those outlets like nothing better than to make Republicans look like kooks, and too often Republicans make their jobs way too easy.
More importantly, Oregonians desperately, desperately need a competent opposition party that keeps things competitive enough that there’s electoral risk for the majority party when they do things like, oh, failing to pay out about half of the state’s 440,000 unemployment claims during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. One of the reasons why there will be no political repercussions for that scandal, and why there weren’t for the Cover Oregon mess or the Kitzhaber corruption is because voters don’t trust that Republicans can do it better in part because Republicans are seen as being the types of people who are into crazy conspiracies.
So, I urge you not to vote for Perkins. I won’t vote for either Perkins or Merkley; I’ll probably write someone in.
PPP Forgiveness: If your business received Payroll Protection Program, it’d be a good idea to get acquainted with the SBA’s new guidance about how those funds can be forgiven, i.e. you don’t have to pay them back.
MAGA Trains: A week-and-a-half ago, Donald Trump tweeted that he was giving TriMet, the Portland area’s public transit provider, $184 million in federal support to keep it running while revenue suffers due to Covid. I can’t even imagine the moral crisis this presents for many Portlanders. A good Portlander must, in equal measure, love (at least the idea of) public transportation while also hating Trump and everything associated with him. What is a Max-loving #resistance member to do when evil incarnate pollutes the transportation embodiment of all that is good and (in a strictly secular sense of course) holy? Is it morally acceptable to ride the MAGA trains? These are the burning questions for which I and only I demand answers.
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Jeff started EagerLaw PC to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in business. Jeff worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, served as Mayor of the City of Bend, and has been practicing law in Oregon for over a decade. Jeff believes strongly in entrepreneurship and enjoys making the legal side of business transparent and easy for his clients.