Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Responding to Finally Losing It All

(See: Just Above Sunset : Finally Losing It All)

Maybe he should have said, "I’m your president of 'Law ad Order, Criminal Intent’”. After all, it’s hard to think of Donald Trump without also thinking of some sort of criminal intent. (Maybe he could follow that with, “Check local listings.”)

And while it’s been characterized in the media as some sort of "photo-op" of him holding a bible in front of a church, I think it’s actually more than that. This should be taken in its entirety:

* We start with one of his famous “no-questions-from-the-press,-please" press conferences, laying out the contention that governors and mayors are too weak to take care of business the way it needs to be taken care of, which includes a promise to send Federal troops, complete with sticks and shields to hit people with, into any state that refuses to voluntarily invite them in (or something like that), followed by...

* A demonstration of how it’s done: Military guys and cops in various type of uniform, out in front of the White House, on split screen and without warning, start brutalizing nearby street protestors (“peaceful” protestors? “Car-burning” protestors? Hey, for our purposes, no need to put too fine a point on that!), which then clears the way for...

* Generalissimo Bonespurs, surrounded by a gaggle of self-satisfied goons and goonettes, to strut through the newly-emptied Lafayette Park, to the nearest boarded-up church they can find, where he can…

* Okay, let’s pause here. He can do what? It didn’t look like they had fully thought this part through. Say something memorable? … although, right now, I forget what memorable thing he said. Okay, how about pose for a picture? But wait! Do it while holding up a Bible! But signifying what? Something about Jesus being on our side? Who knows! Let people use their imagination! Hey, how about the rest of you crowding into the picture here? Come on, don’t be shy!

(Hey, maybe he was imagining how our boys felt when they liberated Paris! He’d always wondered, but was just too young to serve in whichever war that was.)

So you see? That’s how it’s done! First, a bunch of friendly demonstrators were standing here, but then we had big men with sticks shove them out of the way, and now, WE’RE standing here! Easy as pie! Now all you weak governors, you go ahead and try it!

The whole presentation had all the klutzy grace of a second-grade Thanksgiving pageant, minus the charm.

Apparently he’s been feeling left out lately; first, nobody paying him any attention, and then he finally gets some ink, but it turns out to be the story about him and his family having been whisked off to a bunker, like scared bunny rabbits! They’re making him look like a fool, dammit! He needs to somehow get outside the building and make himself look tough!

The staged theatrics of this, taken alone, were almost comical, in a really bizarre, scary-for-America sort of way. I’m thinking we may all someday ask each other where we were on June 1st, 2020, the day President Trump took his “Funny Walk” across the street.

But is using the military in combat uniforms as part of his little “Passion Play” publicity stunt even legal?

Who knows! Who cares!! It’s not a big deal! Maybe the reason America has gotten so flabby is because they think too much! They take everything sooo seriously!!

Who knew back in the Framers’ day that the concept of what America is all about would end up being too complicated for one of its presidents to comprehend! He thinks our country is no different at its core from all those dictatorships he’s heard about and learned to envy, nasty countries that have mean men in gaudy uniforms, shoving their citizens around this way and that. If the writers of the Constitution were to wake up today and see what they’ve done, they’d scurry back 
into their graves, just to roll around.

And it’s not that Trump had nothing to do with all the craziness going on in the country today. In fact, he had everything to do with it.

First, starting with the easy stuff:

It’s not that nobody warned him about the upcoming virus crisis; it’s just that Trump found it too boring and wouldn’t listen.

Here’s a virus timeline, that includes a corresponding timeline for the rotten economy that sprang from it, from Robert Reich in the American Prospect:

 In 2018, he let the pandemic preparedness office in the National Security Council simply dissolve, and followed up with budget cuts to HHS and CDC this year. That team’s job was to follow a pandemic playbook written after global leaders fumbled their response to Ebola in 2014. Trump was briefed on the playbook’s existence in his first year…

The initial outbreak of the coronavirus began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

By mid-January 2020, the White House had intelligence reports that warned of a likely pandemic.

On January 18, HHS Secretary Azar spoke with Trump to emphasize the threat of the virus just as U.S. diplomats were being evacuated from Wuhan.

[On January 20], the virus was confirmed in both the U.S. and South Korea.

That week, South Korean officials immediately drafted medical companies to develop test kits for mass production. The WHO declared a global health emergency. But Trump … did nothing.

As Hubei province went on lockdown, Trump ... barred entry of any foreigners coming from China … but took no additional steps to prepare for infection in the United States.

He said, “We pretty much shut it down, coming in from China.” He didn’t ramp up production of test kits so we could begin isolating the virus.

By February, the U.S. had 14 confirmed cases but the CDC test kits proved faulty; there weren’t enough of them, and they were restricted to only people showing symptoms. The U.S. pandemic response was already failing.

Trump then began actively downplaying the crisis and baselessly predicting it would go away when the weather got warmer.

Trump decided there was nothing to see here, and on February 24, took time out of his day to remind us that the stock markets were soaring.

A day later, CDC officials sounded the alarm that daily life could be severely disrupted. The window to get ahead of the virus by testing and containment was closing.

Trump’s next move: He compared coronavirus to the seasonal flu … and called the emerging crisis a hoax by the Democrats.

With 100 cases in the U.S., Trump declined to call for a national emergency. Meanwhile, South Korea was now on its way to testing a quarter-million people, while the U.S. was testing 40 times slower.

When a cruise ship containing Americans with coronavirus floated toward San Francisco, Trump said he didn’t want people coming off the ship to be tested because they’d make the numbers look bad.

It wasn’t until the stock market reacted to the growing crisis and took a nosedive that Trump finally declared a national emergency.

By this time, South Korea had been using an app for over a month that pulled government data to track cases and alert users to stay away from infected areas…

Only when the stock market crashed did Trump finally begin to pay attention … and mostly to bailing out corporations in the form of a massive $500 billion slush fund, rather than to helping people. And then, with much of America finally and belatedly in lockdown, he said at a Fox News town hall that he would “love” to have the country “opened up, and just raring to go” by Easter.
So as you may have heard:

On May 3rd, there were 65,307 Covid-19 deaths reported in the United States, while, according to a Columbia University study, had social distancing started just one week earlier than it did, the estimated deaths on May 3rd would have been 29,410!

That’s about 36,000 Americans, maybe even someone you know, who might have survived the pandemic had the delay not happened. 

And that brings us up to the Cops-Killing-Blacks crisis. (Yeah, that’s on him, too.)

This used to be a hot political topic back before the 2016 election. Candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned on it, claiming that, while the police apparently were killing way too many black people, policing was a dangerous job and we need our cops to protect our towns and cities, so somehow, we needed to bring these two sides together and solve it.

Trump, on the other hand, campaigned for the law enforcement vote, mostly ignoring whatever the other side had to say.

By the way, do more blacks really get killed by the cops than whites in America?

Oddly, not really. In fact

According to The [Washington] Post’s database of fatal police shootings, since 2015 police have shot and killed about twice as many white people as black people...

Cops may shoot and kill twice as many white people as black, but there are about six times as many white people as black people in the United States. Proportionally, black people are much more likely to be shot and killed by cops.

If we look at shooting deaths of unarmed people, cops have shot and killed about the same number of whites and blacks, which means an even wider racial disparity as a percentage of the population. This is probably because when interacting with black people, police officers seem more likely to see innocuous movements — or even efforts to comply with their orders — as threatening.
So despite there being fewer blacks living in America than whites, African-Americans are, according to a 2015 study, 2.8 times more likely to be killed by police than whites.

So, is there a problem here? Maybe so, but not if you ask Donald Trump. He never discusses it. Maybe he hasn’t heard about it on Fox News?

And it was already a big problem when Colin Kaepernick tried to remind us about it in 2016, the year before Donald Trump came to office and started mocking Kaepernick, pretending that, by “taking a knee” during the national anthem, the football player was just trying to insult the American flag and American armed forces.

So Donald Trump, who single-handedly ginned up a distraction, can’t claim he wasn’t aware of an important issue that demanded the attention of the American president, and one that finally came back around just this last week to bite him in his more than ample Scottish bahookie.

I know, I know, there’s a tendency nowadays for people like me to trace every American mess back to our very own President Capone, but that's because, let’s be honest, can you think of any evil anywhere on the planet today that isn’t somehow connected to this guy?

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