The Profiteering of Blame (Dispatches From the Fly On the Wall–3/19-20/2020


Like the other pieces in this series, the names of the individual commentators have been changed not to protect their identities (fuck those people!), but to use them in various contexts to exemplify a common point of view.  All voices are stereotyped, then further generalized, given a blunt name, and slice-and-dice edited into the dialogue as representations of familiar character voices we encounter on social media sites.   If, like me, the fly on the wall, you engage in such verbal warfare in petty, frustrated chat rooms, you know that you can argue about anything.  I have been paying attention to the many distractions people find to take them away from the larger picture of the days, the dread plague barking at the world, eventually bringing it back around to this worldwide obsession.  That beast, of course, is offering the selfish people a chance to quiet down, a time that everyone in the world might actually work together to make the earth a better place for all of us.  Pipe dream, yes, I know.  As self-destructive as I find it, I too am a cynic.


At least there are still plenty of other things that can piss us off:




We begin by discussing this sleazy-looking guy, reporters asking questions he is terrified they already know the answers to.  This sack of shit is Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (Republican from North Carolina).  He is accused of taking advantage of the economic system by using the clear insight someone in his position could not help but see what was coming from Coronavirus.  On February 13, he dumped anywhere from a half a million to a million and a half dollars of whatever tech or industrial stocks he’d been hoarding.  Taking advantage of what he knew?  Obviously.  Is this illegal?  Well, maybe.  It seems less insider trading than someone right in front of a situation that is telling him that he’d better get out while the gettin’s still a little good.  We can fault him, sure.  But I don’t really see the crime.


Now the worse part is something this heartless motherfucker also did.  A few days prior to his selling his stocks, Senator Burr released a statement that claimed the US was “better prepared than ever before” for this “disease” both he and the Trump administration didn’t believe in.  He aloofly brushed it off, like the President at the time, saying, essentially, “We’re Americans.  Ain’t no disease gonna take us down!”  He sold his assets probably more as a “just in case” (does anyone really doubt that this guy also owns plenty of other stocks that are tanking in the market daily?), believing his fantasy of an unconquerable America, and figuring, if not, he might as well make a profit off the horror anyway.

Frustrated with corruption, exasperated, although still morally intact moralist:

  •  Profit should go pay for new ventilators. Every penny.
Ugh, I’m so disgusted with this shit anymore.  I’ve stopped listening!
  • The Swampiest of Swampers.
Dog pile on the rabbit
    •  LITERALLY!!!!!
      He should go to jail for insider trading


I’m always searching for the way those crooks’ll get out of it, always trying to think like them

  • He probably deserves to rot in jail, but it might be difficult to tie his individual trades to specific, material, non-public information. I think he’s safe unless Democrats flip the Senate.
Oh yeah?  Well I know something worse that he did!
  • This is the same guy who told a bunch of elite cronies on FEBRUARY 27 that the virus was going to be as bad as the 1918 flu, while telling the public that we were all safe and fine. He should be arrested and tried for fraud and murder.


I find this particular comment curious.  Burr did say something to this effect to a group of constituents (‘cronies’ is fair), although by this point, two weeks after his sell off, Burr had definitely come to a different mind.  What he actually said was, “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this — it is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything we have seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”


Burr was not as aggressive as the disease in getting this message out to the public, but by then he was no longer telling anyone they were going to be okay.  He was nervous–scared!  He didn’t contradict Trump in public, but to anyone who asked he told them the President was wrong.


The murder charge is questionable at best.  Perhaps negligence?  But fraud?  No.  No no no.  This is one of those morons who honestly thought one way before getting punched in the face and changing his mind.  He was simply wrong.  He wasn’t intentionally trying to put anyone in harm’s way.  He’s just greedy, not someone guilty of genocide.  He’s an asshole, yes!  Put him on a TV show in a chair in the center of a room while everyone shouts at him.  But being moronically wrong about something is not an actual form of deception, and certainly not a crime.


Ha ha ha ha ha!  I think I see a way we can get them once and for all!

  • now that’s Donnie Trump style winning for you… if this s[ch]muck is returned to the Senate, it will say a lot about NC… Recall seems to be in order if permitted.
Dog pile on the rabbit 2
  • Recall for certain!


This drips of unpalatable smarmyness.  Smug joy being taken over exposure of the greed and corruption of the US Government.  The tone is taunting, trying to trap those innocent fools who might still believe that the crooks are looking out for them.  They condemn a state I am almost certain this individual has never visited, and perhaps only know about a small nugget that occurred there before the Civil War, when some monster did something terrible to terrified people just off a slave ship.  And this defines the entire culture to them forevermore.
The ending is flaccid, limp, dangling.  “Recall seems to be in order,” a polite way of demanding impeachment.  Then (and why in an outright statement of opinion?), “if permitted.”  Fuck that!  I mean, seriously, fuck that.  If permitted?  You’re shouting about corruption into a devouring void, all day long during quarantine.  Who cares any longer what’s real?  Condemn the motherfucker to some torture chamber in hell out of Dante.  Give him the deep lake of shit where it never gets lower than just beneath his nose.  He is almost drowning, sniffing some in and gagging not because of what it is (not any longer), but because he momentarily cannot breathe.  The smell he’s gotten used to.  Even the taste.  It is always going in his mouth, is burning the corners of his eyes.  The shit can be hot.  It could literally burn his balls off, and melt off the tip of his cock, if not the entire thing.  His whole body could be one raw sore of burn.  He can be blind.  He can have some flying devil pissing acid on his head every moment of eternity.  Condemn something!  Don’t ask for permission.
Me, defending someone almost indefensible
  • Give the man a break. It was pretty easy to predict an economic collapse weeks before we started taking the virus seriously.
Absolute certainty
  •  JAIL.
Me, seeing this as an opportunity for a deeper discussion
  • Why? Yeah, he’s a scumbag, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t predict what was coming without it being some whispered conversation intending to harm the rest of us


Peacefully trying to explain reality to me
  • He also lied to us about how serious it was going to be while he knew the truth.
Me, attempted logic in an increasingly illogical coversation
  • Even if that is true that is not actually a crime. And to say a selfish, self-glorifying scumbag like him ‘knew the truth’ is a bit of a stretch. This is, after all, someone who believes in numerous versions of truth.
Disgusted and expects nothing good from anyone
  • Plus why should we have a high bar for our elected officials? I mean look at what we’ve elected – we couldn’t set the bar much lower
On the precipice of diving into the murky bog of conspiracy theories
  • especially because we officially delayed telling the people how serious it was to broaden the gap
The ‘we’ is the interesting word here.  While condemning this ‘we’ (which is better than an amorphous ‘they’), they cannot help but also condemn themselves.  This may be a simple rushed typo thing, a semantic worry on the part of a fussy critic like myself, but the meaning behind this fascinates me, sort of a written Freudian slip.
Clearly the statement here is meant as a reiteration of an earlier, more passionate comment made about what Burr is guilty of.  This is declared far more devastatingly in the next response:
The voice of unalterable judgment
  • In a meeting with donors he was comparing it more to the Spanish Flu while downplaying it to everyone else. He knew the truth. (italics mine)
The same thing, not quite verbatim, that this same person said before
  • He definitely knew that it was about to get a lot worse than he let on. Prior to this administration, ethics violations were still a thing. Now it’s just Tuesday. 😕
What’s with the emoji?  The comment here discusses, in a cursory way, the complete collapse of human decency, and the end of government’s role in serving the people.  And yet it is made cute by this not angry face, one that reeks of a shoulder shrugging, hands in the air, what-am-I-supposed-to-do acceptance of such a state of being.
With no direct intention following up another person’s earlier point (mine), although speaking down like an aloof college professor to a group of ignorant fools, not offering anything, but telling us what homework we need to do to understand this statement.
  • I’m not sure what the charge would be. His offense kind of falls in a grey area between trading on non-public info and a pump-and-dump. You might need more data to figure out what he did and whether it was a crime.
Look!  I found something!  Read it and weep, Senator Burr!
  • Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'N Cohen @briantylercohen Here's an fun fact: The Stop Trading on Congres- sional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, designed to combat insider trading by members of Congress, which was signed into law by Obama in 2012, had passed the Senate 96-3. The 3 "nay" votes were: Thomas Coburn Jeff Bingaman and *Richard Burr* 5:16 PM 19 Mar 20 Twitter Web App'
This post is curious.  I suspect that the statement is more or less correct, and is thus particularly embarrassing for Senator Burr but . . . who is Brian Tyler Cohen?  I didn’t know either until I looked him up.  Here:
Seems like a pretty knowledgeable political guy, or at least someone who follows the news.  I am sure that he is too.  But of course we the people tend to get irritated when people such as this express their political views.  After all:
Despite his obviously sincere interest in this issue (as well as a heart-on-the-sleeve political bias, which can be forgiven), he remains an actor from mostly kids movies and TV shows, regardless of his growing political journalism resume.  Clearly his post is an editorial comment.
Me, trying to gently agree with the absolute corruption, but, as I am prone to do, offering historical analysis to essentially say the cliche ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’
  • It was actually midway through the Reagan administration, maybe 1986, when the last our governmental and social ethics disappeared. Oh, sure, there was great corruption before (Red Scare, Watergate, the JFK assassination just to name a few examples of ordeals that destroyed the public trust), and there have even been some honest bipartisan decency since, but if you’re seeking the good of our national interest, congress and the White House are not the direction to look. Various appointees might have the nation’s best interests in mind, although they are usually anonymous until they are truly needed, and fired should they contradict the President.

Unlikely to have read any of the comments, just trying to be cynically funny under the impression that there is nothing left to do

  • While the administration was downplaying it you know they were all on the phone with their brokers. Winning bigly.
I still have a problem not so much with the opinion of this statement (I mostly agree), as will the allegations seeping into its tone.  I simply do not believe that the gang of these corrupt goons was really attempting to fool the public about the virulence of the disease simply to make money for themselves.  Sure, that is certainly in their character, and I understand why this is so easy to believe, but we cannot forget that these are also the assholes who didn’t believe the virus was real in the first place.  They saw the changes in the market.  They were not lying to protect their investments (how would that work anyway, could someone please explain?)  They were simply morons.  Idiots.  Greedy fuckers with no idea what they’re talking about outside of the profit margin side of business
We are going to repeat things that offended us in 2016 and sarcastically sling them back onto the Trump administration, with joy
  • All those trades!?
    Super swampy!
    And Kelly Loeffler from GA too.
  •  Lock him up!
Condescending intellectual moralist who needs to tell those they hate how they should actually live their lives
  • Okay, Republicans. Here’s a simple lesson in ethics, since you apparently need it broken down for you: before you take any action, think about what will happen when people find out. It’s really that simple.
Defines all people on a different side from themselves as a monolithic hive-mind, lacking the ability for independent thought
  • They are incapable. They don’t even know what that means.
Listen people!  Stop whining.  The whole world is already fucked so deal with it.  Pussies.
  • Any of us could have done it. And many did. He didn’t know anymore than any of us. He’s entitled to sell stock, he has a family too! Jesus.
Unrelated by dead on criticism
  • If he didn’t know more than the rest of us, what’s he doing heading the intelligence committee!


Sad but true comedy, a zinger that lands
    • Well…at least one senator reacted quickly to the news of the coronavirus.


So what does any of this jumbled mess tell us?  I suppose it’s that profiteering, war or national emergency or otherwise, has many different sides.  Of course there are those taking advantage of a crisis to profit, the worst being those grotesque misers who gobbled up all the hand sanitizer and masks and wipes, only to try and sell them at the 1000% mark-up.  Desperate people, of course, will buy anything if they think it will save their lives.  Also, regarding such hoarders, isn’t the chief goal the stop the spread of the virus and restore not just the nation, but the entire world to safety, or at least normal?  How, then, does denying people the germ-killing lotions and protective gear allow this to happen?  Mine mine mine! people rave, like Daffy Duck stomping Bugs Bunny down into the ground in a chamber filled with treasure.


Others profiting from the current state of things are us, the critics, those of us pointing out dirty deeds and crooked instincts among the powerful.  Crisis has always been good for critics, to get their views out there and taken more seriously, regardless of how stupid many of those opinions are.  Critics are profiteers of human misery, trying to defend it by arguing that things are even worse than they seem.  And in our internet age of endless conspiracy theories, where anything that has ever happened is somewhere alleged to be not what it seems, and involving a secret agency to control us, all of us have become profiting critics, even those people who lie out of amusement.


This is who we have become (and many of us already were): cartoon characters drooling over the things scattered around ourselves, in our closed in den, mocking the rest of the world with outrage.

© 2020 Lance Polin

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