In another completely predictable failure, Mike Pence, the soon-to-be-former vice-president shouted from Twitter that thanks “to the public-private partnership forged by President @realDonaldTrump, @pfizer announced its Coronavirus Vaccine trial is EFFECTIVE, preventing infection in 90% of its volunteers.” But in reality, Pfizer took no government money, and thus, was not influenced by anything the President has done. From this administration, this is not just a faux pas — it’s another in an endless string of failures that could easily be overcome with even the slightest bit of investigation, i.e., work. It’s not even that I hate the administration. I don’t like most of their policies, yeah, but I do approve of their aggressive approach to China for example, so I am not completely opposed to the administration because of who they are as opposed to what they do. I see Trump as a joyless, hateful idiot who we should feel sorry for, like when you get mad at your dog when he poops in the house, but you can’t be really get that upset because dogs are innately pretty dumb. But it’s these imminently avoidable fumbles by the supposedly competent people around him that solidifies to me that they are just hapless morons who have no business anywhere near the levers of power, regardless of their politics, and more importantly, that an administration that caters to the President’s narcissism above all else is a dire threat to the security of Americans at home and abroad, especially a President whose hyperinflated ego claims the world’s vilest despots as his best friends.
There’s been quite a transformation in the USA since the scorched earth policies of Newt Gingrich and the “nuclear” tactics the GOP has employed since then. While Democrats talked about having the government help people by providing access to healthcare, by mandating a living wage, and many other things that would make Americans’ lives better, Republicans, for years, for decades, have decried “government” as the problem itself and crowed about “free market solutions” to problems that Americans face rather than government intervention, even when there is no capitalistic reason for the free market to be involved (i.e., there is no profit to be extracted from it). But because of conservative purity tests and “getting primaried from the right,” the tables have turned — the Republicans now deny or ignore problems or suggest “solutions” to immigration like shooting immigrants in the legs if they cross the border, while Democrats propose free market solutions. Let me make that clear: Democrats are now running to the right of where Republicans were 20 years ago, leaving the GOP with precious little ground on the extreme right to back up into. But it’s clear what the ground they are backing into is: it’s authoritarianism and suppression or destruction of democracy, and they’ve burned through all their credibility to get there. For example, when Texas Senator Ted Cruz was asked about deficits only being a problem under a Democratic president, he agreed. So he confirms there’s no principle underlying the Republican opposition to deficits and debt, as we’ve all seen for decades. When the President claimed that the country was “turning the corner” on Covid-19 on the DAY that the USA set a new record for daily reported infections, he mocks his voter’s intelligence. In fact, it’s clear he doesn’t even like his supporters, after whining about having to campaign in the last days of the campaign, showing that Republicans don’t even care about their own voters except to the extent where it gives them political power and that power aligns with their voters’ grievances. And just yesterday, a prominent conservative commentator’s claim that “authentic, damning” evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden’s son had been lost by a “large national carrier” just strains credulity even more. So “the dog ate” the most important smoking gun information that could have a direct impact on Trump’s re-election chances? Nobody thought to make a copy? This shows exactly who the Republicans are — in the most charitable view, they are completely incompetent, and in the more realistic view, they are completely mendacious. Either quality should disqualify a TV commentator from their job, and even more so, it should disqualify Republicans from serving in positions of power until they can start telling the truth again (or miraculously become competent), and that includes the current leader of their party.
Recently, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina refused to get tested for Covid-19 before his debate with challenger Jaime Harrison, forcing a change to the format and raising numerous questions, which the article lays out immediately. Why wouldn’t Mr Graham agree to a test? Well Senator Graham tweeted a doctor’s note that said he did not “meet the criteria” based on CDC guidelines for “close contact” after attending Judiciary committee meetings with known positive cases. According to those guidelines “15 minutes of close exposure can be used as an operational definition” of “close contact,” but that other factors should be considered, such as symptoms being present or being coughed on by the infected person, whether or not the infected person was wearing a mask. Did the doctor make his medical assessment based on viewing the video of the Judiciary hearing meetings? How can the doctor, who didn’t attend the meetings, be able to accurately determine the Senator’s risk? And given that these are just guidelines and that the science is still evolving, what’s the harm in taking the test “out of an abundance of caution?” Well, the harm is that were Senator Graham to test positive now, the day before hearings will commence (while the Senate is in recess!) to jam through an ultra-conservative lifetime Supreme Court justice, it would seriously harm the committee’s ability to advance the nominee to a vote as they have a narrow majority in the committee, requiring all members of the majority party to be there to override possible Democratic opposition. We know this party lies, constantly and desperately. So whenever they say anything that defies common sense, like refusing to take a test for the plague after known exposure and before a face-to-face indoor meeting without masks, it makes perfect sense to see why exactly that is.
Recent news has emerged in the Senate race for North Carolina between Thom Tillis (Covid-19) and Cal Cunningham (D) — texts have been revealed that show the Democratic challenger as having had inappropriate texts with a woman that is not his wife. Which in normal times would be a scandal. But attempts by Republicans to express outrage at sexual indiscretion no longer have the weight they used to have. They say nothing when the party figurehead admits on tape to sexually assaulting women because “they let you do it” while he is simultaneously credibly accused by dozens of women over decades of everything from sexual harassment to outright rape. This means that their concerns for the importance of personal morality amongst the elected representatives is being met with what it should be met with — credibility issues. You can’t very well accuse your opponent of something you are happy to accept in shockingly higher degree and number in the leader of your own political party. What this also means is that their ability to take the moral high ground in the future in this and other issues in the future is greatly diminished. You can’t be pro-life when your party doesn’t care about the deaths of 200K+ Americans in six months. You can’t be pro-military when you stand silently by as the troops in Afghanistan have bounties put on their heads. And you certainly don’t get to talk about the sanctity of marriage vows when your figurehead is a three-times married bareback porn star adulterer.
According to this article, a third US Senator, Ron Johnson, has been confirmed as positive for Covid-19. Three more, James Lankford, Ted Cruz, and Ben Sasse are self-quarantining after coming into contact with known infected individuals. 87-year old Chuck Grassley refuses to be tested under similar circumstances. Rick Scott “misspoke” about testing positive. They join Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis who have already tested positive. That is EIGHT Republican senators who will be unavailable for the next two weeks in case Mitch McConnell was planning to jam through a new lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court before the election. That does not include Murkowski and Collins, two Republican senators who’ve both already stated they would not vote for a new Supreme Court justice this close to the election. Last I checked, you need 51 votes to approve a new justice (or 50 if the vice president is needed to break a tie) so that means that even if a vote came up, THEY DON’T HAVE THE VOTES TO APPROVE THE JUSTICE! What an on-brand rake-handle-to-the-face from a party of denialists, fearmongerers, and Russian disinformation dealers. Just as they attempt to do something they swore up and down they wouldn’t do four years ago, another set of lies has caught up to them.
I don’t think most people are particularly happy about political correctness or cultural appropriation, as they are imperfect solutions to a problem. But the problem it’s trying to address, racism, is the real source of these tactics. If American would have a reasonable, rational discussion about race and start implementing solutions, I don’t think political correctness would be that big of a deal. PC culture exists BECAUSE racism has been resisted by those in power in America. So yes, these social strictures are annoying at times, and prevent people from freely speaking their mind and expressing their ideas, but they only exist because there seem to be few effective options for regular people to address racism. Protests aren’t causing change. Boycotts aren’t doing it. Community organizing isn’t either. There seem to be no good solutions. So let’s address racist policing, and then maybe we won’t have to police language and behavior.
The USA seems in chaos. Over the past two weeks from July 27 to August 9, the US has confirmed deaths of 15,727 from COVID-19, according to google. Over the same period, Germany had 79. France: 132. Japan: 46. United Kingdom: 828. When you combine the populations of these four countries, supposed equals on the world stage, the population is approximately 343 million people to 328 million people in the USA, based on 2019 population figures, so a reasonable comparison. That total is 1085 deaths vs 15,727 over the same time period for those counting with me. The USA is far richer than any of them, yet look at that disparity, an entire order of magnitude higher, and then some. How can this be? Much of this has to do with right-wing propaganda that infects much of middle america, which is now experiencing an extended first wave. First the virus was a hoax, then nothing to worry about, it was just the flu, then after being forced into lockdown, re-opening without a scientifically-backed method of action to contain the virus. Then, the anti-maskers, the ultimate trolls, undermining scientific advice meant to reduce the spread.
It becomes harder and harder to see it as simply negligence, and more and more due to malice or disregard for human life. Combine that with the deaf ears on which desperate pleas for police accountability fell on, the story becomes clearer and clearer every day: this is extermination. Incarcerate them, making it impossible for them to get normal jobs. When they are forced to make a living in the street, intimidate and kill them, and let the taxpayers pay the significant financial penalties they will be assessed, while holding no LEOs criminally responsible. And then when the oppressed rise up in the streets by the millions, deny their legitimate calls for reform. Rinse and repeat until you have a cowed, fearful and unstable black and minority population. The backup plan? Starve the poor and minorities by denying them FOOD in the richest country in the world. Deny them healthcare. Let food companies exploit their human physiology without oversight. Decrease funding to their schools by redirecting it to private charters. Prevent them from getting bank loans, and thus, permanent housing. Let credit card and payday loans companies exploit them mercilessly. In short, keep them a subordinate class whose life is always worth less. This is not negligence, this is policy. And as such, it is mass murder.
Around the world right now, right-wing politicians have risen to power, in places like the USA, UK, and Brazil. Russia could also be called right-wing, but it doesn’t appear to be a full democracy. But look at these numbers of cases:
Brazil and USA lead the world in number of cases, with the UK in the top 5. What do they have in common? Right wing governments are in power, and they continually talk about how the coronavirus is fake, or that it’s not fake but their political enemies are using it to harm them, or whatever other nonsense billows from their angry nostrils.
And on a state-by-state level in the United States, a predictable pattern emerged: Republican-led states, in lockstep with Republican leadership in the White House and the Senate, refused to acknowledge the reality and severity of the situation, refusing to mandate mask-wearing, and rushing the re-opening of the economy without meeting the guidelines necessary to slow the spread. To be fair, some Democratic-led states like California tended to rush back too quickly, but likely under intense pressure from the business community. And, these red states are trying to spin the latest frightening figures, with Governor Ron DeSantis saying the spike is caused by “young people” or “hispanics”, as if those somehow weren’t citizens or constituents.
But it also highlights a feature that has been obvious for a long time, but could be hidden behind political statements until now…the inherent cruelty of the Republican Party. There is one King in the GOP, and that is money. If anything comes in the way of money, health and life for example, they are pushed aside so that people can make money. It shows every time they try to kill any type of health care reform. It shows when they refuse to raise the minimum wage. It shows when they fight civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights. It shows in the treatment of prisoners. It shows in the brutality of the police. It shows when meat processing plants are forced to stay open even during a massive outbreak. It’s baked in to everything. And now that once again, they have denied science and government suggestions on how to re-open safely, they are reaping the fruits of this cruelty. The US is now very close to 130,000 lives lost since March. The only war the US has ever fought with more casualties was the Civil War, and it looks like those numbers will be surpassed. How can citizens remain in power? It is important to tie the millstone of these deaths around their necks. They must always be burdened with the fact that they didnt’ do all they could to save lives. And they must never be allowed to lead again. A new political movement needs to spring up from what surely are the ashes of what passes for right-wing conservatism, and that movement can still be conservative, but it must value life and health and liberty above money.
In this article, the National Review stresses the importance of law enforcement regaining control of the protests raging around the country. After I read article after article from the conservative news media and pundit world, I keep coming back to the same thing…none of it is based on principles of anything. Not one word was written about WHY people are protesting. Nor is there a mention that the very people enforcing the protests are the same people who are being protested against. And the statute they site is the “Insurrection Act” which allows the President to intervene in state affairs with the US military by violently putting down any disturbance. So the “conservative” National Review is calling for the US Military Armed Forces to attack its own citizens. This after 2 or 3 days of rioting. It seems like it isn’t real. Do they want a Kent State II? Yet these same people giddily go after the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency as being corrupt whenever they feel like it. “THIS police is corrupt but THIS police is not” doesn’t seem like a very effective backdrop for a call for military putdowns of protests of that very power.
It all just feels convenient. It seems that the end is never what is being stated, “Law &Order” in this case. Law and order has a definition that means something, it’s not just a term you can throw around. One of those concepts is equal treatment under the law. OK we’ve got the “Order” part, now where’s the “Law” part? The order part should only be necessary if the law part isn’t working. Well, is the law part working? After fighting for order, are they then fighting to better the law? No, they are not. In almost all cases, these calls are just efforts to keep power consolidated. Any threat to that will be put down with the resources that consolidated power control, and they will be used against their own citizens, without hesitation.
Senator Ron Johnson (R, Wisconsin) recently said, in reference to the novel coronavirus, “maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population” will be affected by the disease and that “We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.” First of all, let’s do the math. There are approximately 329 million Americans, so 3.4% of them is 9 million. So, says the venerated senator, 9 million lives should not prevent us from making money. This blows open what hasn’t been much of a secret anyway: they don’t care about you, at all. To them you are just a number, your life is a meaningless statistic on the way to making money and amassing power. It showed when Republicans fought gun control reform after dozens of small children were murdered in cold blood. It showed with their pathetic attempts to address opioid addiction, a circumstance made possible by lax government oversight of corporations and doctors. This is the same people and party that broke the Constitution by not allowing a sitting president to name a Supreme Court vacancy. And yet, these same people have the audacity to claim to be pro-life when it comes to fetuses. It’s all a sham, and Ron Johnson is just another example of the undeniable proof of it all.