Ryan: The game of politics

Photo by Sean Ryan

Bullfighting is a gruesome art. A hateful, stomach-churning game.

In Spain, bullfighters are called "toreros," and they lead a cuadrilla, or entourage, of assistants and other fighters. Picadors are the men on horses with lances jabbing at the bull strategically, forcing it to keep its head lowered. Banderilleros pace around on foot, and jab decorative barbs into the bull's neck, disabling the muscles so that the bull's head droops and it can't use its horns.

The torero is the star, decked in his garrish traje de luces, an elaborate weave of silk and sequins and pendants of gold and silver.

Toreros are superstitious. They choose their flamboyant outfits' colors with pristine caution. They believe that different colors provoke different reactions from the bulls.

Of course, bulls are colorblind. They do not see red and get pissy. What incites their rage is the torero's sudden, inflammatory movement. Because, let's be real, bullfighting is just the masculine version of flamenco. And this is a parable for politics, as performed by President Donald Trump and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, at this week's State of the Union Address.

*

A bullfight has three stages.

One: eruption.

Two: disaster.

Three: humiliation, confusion, death, betrayal and/or victory.

*

When bull trots out, he is full of rage and confusion and fear. The torero reads the bull. Taunts it with his capote, the red cape.
This stage of the fight is a dance, as the torero boasts his acuity as a dancer.

Distracted by the cape and the undulating torero, the bull is vulnerable to the surgical jabs and lances from the picadors and the banderilleros.

These cowardly bastards are savage.

For me, it's always excruciating to watch.

But, at this point, the bull is spirited and fiery, so the cuts have little effect.

*
In the second stage, the torero prances to safety, to a dugout, and the banderilleros sweep in. They face the bull head-on, then lunge a small lance into its back.

The bull shrieks and moans and rattles its eyes with helpless confusion.

At the start of a bullfight, the bull's gaze is aimed downward, but, as the bullfight progresses, the bull's vision sharpens so that, by the end, they're locking eyes with the torero, straining to keep their head lifted. Then, finally, it's nothing but clotted dirt.

*

So. Who's the bull? Depends on your view of the situation and your particular biases. Maybe it's Trump, maybe it's Pelosi. But also maybe we're the bull. That would be awful, wouldn't it?

Just remember that the toreros wear a montera, the sulky astrakhan fur hat with the velvet lining. The bulbous nubs on each side represent bull horns.

Because, although toreros fight the bull, they do so as a symbolic equal. A man so wild and dangerous that he can defeat a monster. A matador is just a bull in some wacky costume.

Or. You can see the mastery and performance of it all. That Trump and Pelosi are engaged in a mesmerizing dance. Above all, a game.

I have exactly one tatoo: "To do a dangerous / thing with style / is what I call art." From the poem "Style" by Charles Bukowski,

Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art
Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art

*

Also known as the "tercio del momento supremo," the final stage of the fight. When the torero lures the bull closer with each ballerina tilt and side hop.

By now, the bull is panting, coughing gasps, lungs contaminated with fluid, muscles severed, head impossibly heavy.

It moans occasionally, the lonesome bellow of an animal caught in unimaginable betrayal. All alone, facing hate and danger.

From the stands, you can hear its full-bodied exhalations, see the silver piercing quiver in its nasal septum. The torrero becomes the matador only if he kills the bull.

Matador means "killer," from "matar" to kill and the suffix "-dor," which signifies membership to an occupation.

*As his final maneuver, the torero takes his greatest risk. He must plunge a sabre into the bull's back, between its shoulders, dealing the fatal wound.

The toreros often fail to kill the bull on the first try. Only managing to deeply wound the animal.

The toreros repeat this dangerous maneuver until they shove the sword in deep enough that it pierces the bull's heart or severes its spinal cord.

As the bull writhes, the torero slits its throat slit, a spray of dark red into the well-lighted dirt.

Then it subsides. Surrenders. Its life vanishes, mostly.

Men on silly horses tie a rope around the bull's hooves and drag it out of the bullring, blood spurting into the chalky dirt.
It no longer matters whether you were even chanting for that bull, as the politician.

Because the bull seems so childlike and limp as men drag it through the dust and the occasional mud. Especially at the end.

If the matador did well, the crowd whistles, they wiggle white handkerchiefs into the air, and the matador is awarded one of the bull's ears. Or both if he performed flawlessly.

But, occasionally, the bull wins.

It may always die, but sometimes it makes sure not to die alone.

I've seen a few bullfights, in Madrid, and on one occasion the bull nearly won. It gored the torero's calf.

The audience gasped, recoiling, then leaned forward.

And the torrero — who was billed as the finest of the night —limped into a wooden crawlspace. He was young, lanky, all jaw and Roman nose like a jagged anchor. And, all decked in blinding pink, he became ladylike and uncertain.

He tiptoed around when he should have kept gliding. He trained his black eyes on floodlights pouring into the ring.

After a ten-minute pause, he returned with a bandage around his pink-and-gold socks, less mobile but still devilish enough to coax the bull into losing.

*

It's no secret that I dislike politics, and that I strive, in my writing, to transcend ideology and tap into the deeper meaning of life, the human enormities we all face, in the hope that I can find an answer.

Despite the fact that I work at a conservative news site, I'm neither conservative nor liberal, not left or right or center, not anything. I'm a journalist. I believe in the old way: Find the truth, tell it clearly and honestly, then let the people decide. Leave the activism out of it, all of which I will cover in an upcoming installment titled "The Fourth Estate."

The night of the disastrous Iowa caucuses, at a fashionably indifferent dive bar in Des Moines, I had a few beers with bleary-eyed caucusers.

"I hate politics," I blurted out at one point, with a mouthful of popcorn.

A guy my age who'd caucused for Bernie asked, "If you don't like politics, why do you write for a political news site?"

It's a question I get asked a lot, something I've spent a lot of time pondering. And next month, I'll run an installment called "Outcast of the media world," which describes my weird journey from fiction writer to English teacher in Spain to academic to music journalist to reporter at a conservative news network with credentials for the White House. But in the moment, I had no decent answer, thanks to a long day and a row of empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. But the question stuck with me, so here's my answer.

"I write about politics for many reasons," I would like to have said. "Most of all, I want to make people's lives better, or even just a tad brighter, and I've been told by many people over the years that my stories and my words are how I'll accomplish this."

I write about politics because I want to know the wolrd better. And being at political events is so illluminating and electric and surreal. So alive.

I write about politics because I believe that each of our lives matters, and I've worked hard to get here and now I have a platform and, in the words of French philosopher Albert Camus, "Those of us who can speak have a responsibility to say something for those of us who can't."

I write about politics because political writing has gotten so boring and it's time for a fresh voice.

I write about politics because, sometimes, politics is an art, and art is what will save us.

New stories come out every Monday and Thursday. In the next two installations, I'll describe my view of the chaotic night of the Iowa caucuses. Check my Twitter. Send all notes, tips, corrections, etc. to kryan@blazemedia.com As always, thank you for reading.

Bill O'Reilly joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to talk about how he thinks President Donald Trump will fair in the 2020 election given the current struggling economy due to the coronavirus crisis.

O'Reilly said he believes President Trump will win in November if the coronavirus pandemic is under control by this summer, but if schools and businesses are still closed by September, it may be trouble for Trump -- even with former vice president Joe Biden's seemingly declining health.

"What I've said from the very beginning of this whole ordeal, is that if Donald Trump can get the pandemic under control this summer, he wins. If by September, it's not under control, the kids cannot go back to school in many places, people are not opening up businesses again, he loses," O'Reilly said.

However, the Democrats have a major problem because Joe Biden ... is tottering. His mental acute is not what it used to be and everyone around him knows that. That's why Andrew Cuomo is warming up in the bullpen," he added. "But Trump knows that his whole future in politics depends on getting this pandemic to subside."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

BILL O'REILLY: Trump 2020 Election Based on Controlling Coronavirus Pandemic by Summer youtu.be


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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 1,030,324 (up from 950,638 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 54,226 (up from 48,289 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 219,896 (up from 202,631 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization and lower than Spain, where 18% of patients require hospitalization.
  • US has 245,380 Confirmed Cases and 6,095 Deaths, up from 215,344 cases and 5,112 deaths yesterday
  • The US currently has 228,874 Active Cases of COVID-19, with about 1% of the US Population tested
  • 15% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
White House to Recommend All Americans Wear Face Masks in Public https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/02/coronavirus-facemasks-policyreversal/
  • The White House is poised to urge Americans to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, in a reversal of earlier advice.
  • President Trump said Thursday at a coronavirus task force briefing that "a recommendation is coming out," but "I don't think it will be mandatory. If people want to wear them, they can."
  • Later, however, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relate internal discussions, said that the guidance being considered is "narrowly targeted to areas with high community transmission" and that the matter remains under discussion.
  • A new Memo from the CDC states: "In light of new data, along with evidence of widespread transmission in communities across the country, CDC recommends the community use of cloth masks as an additional public health measure people can take to prevent the spread of the virus to those around them."
  • The recommendations represent a major change in CDC guidance that healthy people don't need masks or face coverings.
  • The news comes as Laredo, TX joins more than a dozen American cities or Counties that have mandated the use of face masks for all persons in public spaces such as grocery stores or shopping centers. Violaters without a facemask risk up to a $1000 fine. https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-city-fine-people-who-dont-cover-faces-outside-coronavirus
  • Similar provisions are being considered for the entire State of California, according to Governor Gavin Newsom's office.
Anti-body Tests Getting Accelerated Availability https://news.yahoo.com/antibody-tests-key-ending-covid-19-lockdowns-162305617.html
  • Unlike Vaccine testing and production which could take months or years, SARS-CoV-2 Antibody tests could be available in the US in a few weeks.
  • Such tests could be key in enabling the partial lifting of lockdown and shelter-in-place orders, as authorities could determine who might already have immunity to the virus and could return to work.
  • "If we can determine someone's already had the virus and now has immunity and is no longer contagious to others, that's what we're looking for here," said Anthony Fauci in Thursday's White House COVID-19 Task Force update.
  • However, it should be noted that researchers have yet to determine if anti-body production renders people permanently or only temporarily immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
  • While some Virus immunities, such as Chicken Pox, are generally permanent immunities, others, such as SARS-1 and Rhinovirus (the common cold) grant only short-term, multi-month immunity...which is why people can get a cold each year.
  • Most known Coronavirus immunities in humans are not permanent, researchers have noted. Influenza, for example, grants only seasonal immunity and can be caught again only a few months later.
Lord Have Mercy...Hospital Ships Sit Empty https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/nyregion/ny-coronavirus-usns-comfort.html
  • The much-touted Navy Hospital Ships in New York and Los Angeles sit 95% empty as of Thursday evening.
  • In New York, The USNS Comfort's 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle. "We're waiting for patients," one nurse was quoted by the New York Times.
  • Only 20 patients had been transferred to the ship, officials said, even as New York hospitals struggled to find space for the thousands infected with the coronavirus.
  • Another Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, docked in Los Angeles, has had a total of 15 patients, officials said.
  • "If I'm blunt about it, it's a joke," said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York's largest hospital system. "Everyone can say, 'Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.' But we're in a crisis here, we're in a battlefield."
  • What's the issue? In classic government style: Red Tape.
  • On top of its strict rules preventing people infected with the virus from coming on board, the Navy is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines disseminated to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship.
  • Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy evaluation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship. With 911 call centers already massively over-capacity, ambulances aren't available to take non-infected persons to each ship.
  • Meanwhile, across New York hospitals are overrun. Patients have died in hallways before they could even be hooked up to one of the few available ventilators in New York. Doctors and nurses, who have had to use the same protective gear, again and again, are getting sick.
  • "So many people are dying that the city is running low on body bags," Dowling said. "The Coroner's office told our administrator to start double-wrapping bodies in sheets for the time being."
In Hopeful Sign, University of Pittsburgh Researchers May Have Found COVID-19 Vaccine https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/scientists-believe-they-found-potential-coronavirus-vaccine/
  • Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine believe that they've found a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus.
  • The researchers announced their findings Thursday and believe the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to "significantly impact the spread of disease," according to their study published in EBioMedicine.
  • The vaccine would be delivered on a small, fingertip-sized patch. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies believed to successfully counteract the virus.
  • The scientists say they were able to act fast because they had already done research on the similar coronaviruses SARS and MERS.
  • The Trump Administration ordered the FDA to fast-track the next phase of Animal trials for the experimental vaccine.
  • Officials did warn that even if successful, human trials and ultimate production could still be as many as 12-18 months away.
  • "It's early, but this is a very positive result," the lead scientist said in an interview. "We're well on our way."
Vermont, Maryland Make Buying Seeds to Grow Food Illegal https://www.eagletimes.com/covid_19/large-retailers-stop-in-person-sales-of-nonessential-items-in-vermont/article_c1d0e43c-7432-11ea-8ca9-a30ed891d9fd.htmlimage.png Canada's Farmers Warn of Food Supply Impact Due to Non-Essential Designation https://ipolitics.ca/2020/04/02/the-sprout-canadian-farmers-worry-for-food-supply/, https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/agriculture-sector-scrambling-to-offset-consequences-of-covid-19-crisis
  • Canada's government issues a list of industries and jobs it deemed essential, including food delivery, shipping & logistics, medical care, energy production & delivery.
  • One industry that was glaringly absent: agricultural production.
  • Like the US, Canada's agricultural industry relies on migrant and seasonal workers to plant and harvest foods, especially key fruits and vegetables that must be picked by hand.
  • Industry representatives have begun to petition the government to include Ag production an essential service so travel restrictions can be relaxed to allow workers to travel into Canada and use of public transportation systems to get to where planting activities must occur soon to allow for Fall food harvests.
  • Canada's Federation of Independent Grocers also extended a warning to the Government that it projects food costs in Canada could rise by as much as 90% in the coming months due to COVID-19 related disruptions. https://nationvalleynews.com/2020/04/01/grocers-group-warns-rising-food-costs-come/
Industry Expert Warns Illness Among Agricultural Workers Could Threaten US Food Supplies https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/markets/an-outbreak-among-farm-workers-would-be-catastrophic/ar-BB1257dl
  • Much of the US food supply chain is staffed by low-wage workers, many of them undocumented immigrants with limited ties to health services.
  • The Pew Research Center has estimated that about one-quarter of U.S. farmworkers are undocumented.
  • A 2019 U.S. Department of Labor survey estimated that the share of field workers who are undocumented is closer to half of all farmworkers.
  • The food processing industry also has high numbers of undocumented workers, as do many of the nation's smaller grocers and fast-food restaurants.
  • Immigrant farming communities are often close-knit, with laborers living and working in close proximity, with workers sharing hotel rooms and even make-shift Tents with cots, to save on costs.
  • As the California-based Western Growers Association states, "Social distancing is difficult or perhaps impossible in certain settings such as harvesting, transport (of workers) and housing."
  • One California grower told National Public Radio that if the coronavirus penetrates the agricultural community, "it will spread like wildfire."
  • The news comes as Mexico only recently restricted movements and travel, issuing shelter-in-place orders for 90% of the country.
  • The Trump Administration recently eased restrictions on H-2a Ag Worker visas, but industry experts warned many workers planned to stay in Mexico or other Central American countries due to travel restrictions now in effect in those countries. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-03-27/state-department-eases-requirements-for-h2a-visa
  • The Western Growers Association currently estimates a 30% reduction in labor force this year, which may be further impacted if COVID-19 spreads among workers who live and work in tight close quarters.
LA Mayor: "Snitches Get Rewards" https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/03/31/coronavirus-los-angeles-eric-garcetti-snitches-get-rewards/
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new guidelines for construction sites that continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic while encouraging the community to report businesses that violate the Safer at Home order.
  • Garcetti said that since the stay at home order was put in place, the city has been told about construction sites that have not been following the guidelines set out in that order.
  • "You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards," Garcetti said. "We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe."
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, Garcetti said "business ambassadors" from the city had visited 540 businesses that had not complied with the Safer at Home order. Of those, 144 were visited by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department to ensure compliance with the order.
  • So far, Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney's office for misdemeanor filings.
  • The story comes as business owners across the US have been cited and even arrested for violating House Arrest orders, many turned in by way of anonymous calls to police departments. https://apnews.com/343ed4a8e95dfc8f8dda87b9e450ca57
In Germany, Hundreds of Citations Handed Out Based on Anonymous Reports and Emails to Police Departments https://news.trust.org/item/20200402160625-8y12u
  • (Headline Bloomberg News) Germans snitch on neighbors flouting virus rules, in an echo of the Stasi past
  • Law-abiding Germans are zealously helping police crackdown on people flouting new social distancing rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus by reporting on strangers, neighbors and friends.
  • In a country where denunciation was commonplace under the Communists in East Germany and Hitler's Nazis, police forces across the country are getting tip-offs on anything from "corona parties" to people driving to weekend cottages.
  • Rules introduced in March forcing restaurants, pubs and sports facilities to shut and banning gatherings of people have given police plenty of work. With the number of corona cases and deaths climbing fast, there is no sign of easing enforcement.
  • Since March 14, police in the German capital have ordered 830 pubs, shisha bars and other establishments to shut and recorded 898 crimes.
  • "We are getting tip-offs from the public about open restaurants or large gatherings of people in parks," said a spokeswoman, adding officers were, as always, ready to deal with information from the public.
  • Forces around Germany are in a similar situation. Munich police took up to 150 calls every day last week from citizens reporting alleged breaches of corona rules, according to Spiegel Online.

For weeks now, our political leaders and the media have been repeating the World Health Organization's claim that non-medical-grade face masks don't work when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19. So, why are infectious disease experts now reconsidering their guidelines?

According to the New York Times, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, said the guidance on wearing non-medical masks is "being critically re-reviewed, to see if there's potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected."

In actuality, they didn't trust the American people to do the right thing and prioritize healthcare workers to receive masks first, opined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday. But they do work, and "if we're going to open the country up, we are going to all have to wear face masks," he said.

Listen to the clip to hear more details:

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Face Masks DO Work, US Cases Per Capita, and WHO Lies for Communist China youtu.be

In response to the COVID-19 quarantine, BlazeTV is offering our BIGGEST discount ever! Get $30 off your subscription when you use promo code GLENN. Claim your special offer at https://get.blazetv.com/glenn/.

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William "Bill" Kelly is 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oregon. He lived through the Great Depression.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. And now he has just fought the coronavirus -- and won.

Bill joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to share his experience and a hopeful message about why the younger generations can overcome this crisis.

"I want to tell the people, it wasn't pleasant, but on the other hand, you know, if you do what you're supposed to do, and you have some loved ones around you, and do a lot of praying, why, you'll come through okay. We [American's] have been through a lot. We've been through Pearl Harbor. We've been through the Great Depression, and who knows what else. We're tough. We'll get through it. Hang in there," Bill said.

"You know, it's just -- it's in our American blood," he added. "We're that type of people. We take care of each other, and we are not going to break down. We're going to make it through, every time. Every time."

"There are people that don't think we are those people anymore. That it was the greatest generation -- your generation -- that did it, but now we're not the same people. Do you agree with that? Glenn asked.

"No," asserted Bill. "And the reason I say that is because I remember when I was a young kid, you know, and people, the older people, said 'all those young kids are soft' ... but when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor -- sneak attack, you know -- it's surprising how those so-called goofy kids turned into mighty fine fighting people. And they're very loyal. I have lots of faith in them ... no, I don't have any problems with this new generation. They'll take care of us. We're Americans."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

In response to the COVID-19 quarantine, BlazeTV is offering our BIGGEST discount ever! Get $30 off your subscription when you use promo code GLENN. Claim your special offer at https://get.blazetv.com/glenn/.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.