Wednesday, April 22, 2020


- Our dear president at a recent edition of his now daily press question and answer claimed he hasn't been out of the White House 'for months'. In fact, he has been out at least four times in the last month. He also claimed not to remember having held several election rallies in the month of March.
- We all know about his monstrous lying.* What's your point?
- I hope it still seems monstrous to you and that you are not becoming accustomed to it.
- I'm not.
- Glad to hear it. I want to go back to Bernie Sanders calling Joe Biden 'his good friend'. Do you think he was lying?
- No. Aristotle divides friendship into three types: for pleasure, for usefulness, and for living the best life. Bernie Sanders finds Joe Biden useful.
- No doubt. But we're talking here about more than usefulness, about the higher kind of friendship.
- Maybe that is not what he meant.
- He's said many times that he considers Biden a very moral man, a good man. That is, the kind of man that could be a friend that helps you to live the best kind of life. Is that not true?
- It's true.
- Do you think that choosing someone who leads a life of one of the worst kinds for a friend to help you live the best life is without consequences?
- No. But I don't see clearly what they would be.
- One of Sander's latest actions is his vote, with the entire Senate, for the COVID-19 stimulus law on the 27th of last month that tied together aid to individuals and small business with aid to big business. The aid to big business was unnecessary loans and grants to companies that are hugely profitable but had spent all their cash to buy back their own stock, to airlines that should have been allowed to go bankrupt and be reorganized. Protection of workers' jobs is almost entirely forgotten. The law includes a hidden provision to reduce the taxes for 43,000 very rich people who will each save 1.7 millions dollars and cost the government somewhere between 90 and 170 billion dollars. Private individuals would get a one time payment of 1,200 dollars, which now almost a month later almost no one has received. What explains his vote?
- In later rounds of stimulus aid he could, as he is doing, propose a $2,000 a month payment to all individuals, paid sick leave, paid health care for all for as long as the epidemic lasts. 
- Why didn't he hold back his vote, why didn't he protest the outrageous million dollar tax cut for millionaires, the gift of trillions of dollars to hugely profitable companies that pay little in tax, the so-called Employee Protection Loans for small business that have been already exhausted, grabbed up** by first-in-line hedge funds and large businesses?
- That's not his style. He is willing to criticize the state of affairs that results from law making, but not criticize the individuals that make the laws.
- Because they are his friends.
- Because of wanting to stay on friendly terms with them so he can be a more effective legislator.
- But Sanders was or is also a leader of a movement?
- Yes.
- Is the movement composed of people who find each other's company useful, or people who want to help each other lead the best lives?
- The latter.
- Could Sanders not have called upon his supporters to protest this perhaps largest financial crime in history, surpassing even the 2008-9 bailout?
- I think he could have. Still could do, if he wanted.
- But he doesn't. He doesn't want to offend his friends in congress.
- Your argument is that instrumental action over a period of 50 years, mechanically repeating the same words and phrases, even with the best of intentions disables one from acting for the best purposes?
- What do you think?
- I've always thought the saying correct that each lie you tell makes it harder for you to tell the truth.
- And saying a friend who is merely useful will help you live the best life is obviously a lie.

Further Reading:
COVID-19 Stimulus Law
My Friend Joe Biden
Disease Control
* According to The Washington Post, Trump has made more than 18,000 false and misleading claims during his presidency, 350 of them on the coronavirus alone.
** List of the largest public companies taking payroll loans meant for small businesses.