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.
Since the first case appeared in November, and especially since the subsequent flare of cases leading to an unprecedented lockdown in China, the world has known about the coronavirus pandemic for months now. Legitimate fact-based journalism has been reporting on it for months, but the right-wing media, emanating from Trump, have declared it a democratic hoax, impeachment part 2, the flu etc., and refused to acknowledge the gravity of the situation, calling it overhyped and fake news, likely because it would be bad economically, and therefore politically, for Dear Leader. The administration has been intentionally conducting fewer tests so as to “keep the numbers down,” saying that it’s ok for people to socialize and work freely, and generally dismissing concerns about the virus.
But after enduring weeks of brutal losses on the stock market, watching governments around the world conduct emergency shutdowns of the vast majority of activity, and seeing the number of cases double every three days, and reported deaths nearing 100, the right-wing media is slowly starting to change its tune. And these rising numbers are despite the practically criminal lack of tests and a concerted effort to limit the reports of positive tests. And I’m furious. As long as there are no consequences for lies, Trump and his sycophants continued to tell them over and over. Deep State. Impeachment Hoax. Russian Witch Hunt. These were all lies to cover up illegal or immoral behavior by himself and his cronies. But there were no consequences. The Mueller Report, aided and abetted by the Deep State, had its slam-dunk findings misrepresented by Trump’s handpicked attorney general, a report that credibly accused the president of obstruction of justice and found evidence of but was unable to conclusively prove that the President knowingly conspired with Russia to win the 2016 election. Trump also was proven, and was admitted to by Republican senators, to have extorted Ukraine for almost $400 million for damning information on his sure-to-be political opponent.
And now, after lying for years to cover up this behavior and to ensure their political power, and after months of lying to their at-risk supporters about the severity of this disease, now they want to change their tune and say that all of a sudden, it’s real. Well, now is not the time to be ok with that. Now is the time we should call their reversal “fake news.” We should be re-posting their former memes comparing it to swine flu and disparaging Obama. Maybe don’t share misinformation, but don’t help them either. Once they see each other dropping like flies, maybe they’ll begin to again appreciate facts. And you know that as soon as you help them, and they get better, they will turn around tomorrow and stab you in the back. We’ve got to stop encouraging this kind of reckless behavior by acting like everything is ok. It’s not ok, and I’m furious.
It’s actually pretty funny to watch now that the USA is in a full-blown coronavirus epidemic. The administration is asking for trust from the public after it has spent the last three years telling 15000 lies and dismantling or reversing the purpose of every government organization they could get their hands on. The entire Republican party says that government is the problem, until they need the government.