Sunday, March 29, 2020

17.8 Tons Of Medical Supplies...To China!

I'm not blaming Trump or anybody for the coronavirus. In fact, Trump and his administration weren't the only ones to fail to grasp the severity of the coming pandemic. Many in the corporate media downplayed the danger. Denial is a universal human defense mechanism.

An important difference is Trump was warned by intelligence officials in January. Afterwards he downplayed the threat.   

Whatever his reasons for denial, it was still perhaps just a fallibility of human nature. But that doesn't mean he isn't guilty of unconscionable lies and negligence.

How can any sane and compassionate American not be horrified at how this corrupt, impeached Republican president is botching the federal response to the coronavirus? 

We've heard his long string of dismissive lies, minimizing the danger of COVID-19, AFTER he was informed the pandemic would be here soon. In fact, it was already here at the time he was pushing his disinformation.


By January 29th cases were reported in 17 countries. In China, the outbreak surpassed that of SARS. Five cases were confirmed in the U.S. 

By February 2nd the death toll topped 300, including the first fatality outside China. The World Health Organization and U.S declared a public health emergency.

By this time everybody should have known the threat is real. 

Yet...

On February 23rd he declared, “We have it very much under control in this country.” 

On February 26th he said, “And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” 

And his behavior only got worse, even as he signs the stimulus.

Now he and his party are not just picking corporate "winners and losers", as the Right has projected so thoroughly on Democrats. His demented ego is playing personal grievances and favorites into matters of life and death in a national crisis with deadly consequences. 

We've witnessed his childish, vicious, and personal attacks on the governors of Washington and Michigan, and his reluctance to facilitate aid even to his native state.

He wasn't so reluctant at sending offers of help to Iran, North Korea and China, though. He never met a dictator he didn't like.

It's as if he is at war with Americans who dare question his imperious and vengeful rule. His vendetta towards governors who won't praise him is blackmail, bordering on genocide.

Apart from his vindictive self-centered nature, here's one other explanation why our "War President" has been punishing states with governors who fail to praise him. 

Note the date. It is weeks after he had been told we were going to be hit by the lethal coronavirus, and his cronies did this anyway.

~~~~

The United States Announces Assistance To Combat the Novel Coronavirus

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
FEBRUARY 7, 2020

This week the State Department has facilitated the transportation of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to the Chinese people, including masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials.  These donations are a testament to the generosity of the American people.
Today, the United States government is announcing it is prepared to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to assist China and other impacted countries, both directly and through multilateral organizations, to contain and combat the novel coronavirus.  This commitment – along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector – demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak.
This assistance only adds to what the United States has done to strengthen health security programs around the world.  For the last 20 years, the United States through USAID has invested over one billion dollars to strengthen the capacity of more than 25 countries to prevent, detect, and respond to existing and emerging infectious disease threats.  Since 2015, under our commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), this support has helped improve surveillance and laboratory systems, risk communication, outbreak response, and address the rising threat of anti-microbial resistance.
The United States is and will remain the world’s most generous donor. We encourage the rest of the world to match our commitment.  Working together, we can have a profound impact to contain this growing threat.
~~~~~~
Even if this aid had been planned before the pandemic directly threatened us, maybe our leaders could have cared for the health and welfare of Americans enough to reconsider sending to China the supplies that we would so desperately need.

Tragically the president has decided "Let them die" is his policy towards millions of "disloyal" Americans.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Remember?


Remember the Democrats’ stimulus spending?

The Right howled. 

Now they want stimulus spending.

Remember when Socialists said, “We’re all in this together”?

The Right howled. 

Now they say, “We’re all in this together”.

Monday, March 16, 2020

In This Together


Everybody’s going to feel the effects of this one. No border wall could protect us from the Covid-19 corona virus pandemic.

It has finally arrived. We are in a crisis at a time the country is not in capable hands. We have a president who has openly refused to accept any responsibility and a Republican Party that loathes government intervention and public healthcare.

So far, Republicans are essentially obstructing legislation that provides for free coronavirus testing, paid emergency medical leave, extended unemployment insurance, food assistance, and help for health care workers.

Trump wants to cut funding for the CDC, and in his revenge-fueled obsession, did his best to destroy every measure undertaken by President Obama.

“When Bolton became Trump’s national security adviser in 2018, he quickly moved to disband the White House National Security Council’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which President Barack Obama set up after the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak to lead federal coordination and preparation for disease outbreaks.

In April 2018, Bolton fired Tom Bossert, then the homeland security adviser, who, the Washington Post reported, “had called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks.” Then, that May, Bolton let go the head of pandemic response, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, and his global health security team. The team, the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, was never replaced.”

How did our "not-racist", “Disaster President” respond when questioned about this by a woman of color?

PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump if he took any responsibility for dismantling a key pandemics response team in 2018.

Trump: "I just think it's a nasty question ... I didn't do it. We have a group of people ... You say we did that, I don't know anything about it."

Sadly, this pattern of lies, irresponsibility and incompetence has been the norm.

Trump Feb. 26: Vaccine "sooner than expected"
Dr. Fauci Feb. 26: Vaccine a year out
Trump Feb 27: "The 15, within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero"
Public health authorities ten days later: 550 US cases in 34 states and DC
Trump March 4: According to his “hunch”, the World Health Organization mortality rate is a “false number”.
Dr. Fauci March 4: Mortality rate higher than the flu
Pence March 5: Not enough tests
Trump March 6: "Anybody that needs a test gets a test"
Trump: “I don’t take responsibility at all,” for the administration’s lag in rolling out coronavirus tests.


The World Health Organization developed a coronavirus test protocol that the Trump Administration declined, offering no explanation. This resulted in delays.

(Meanwhile, South Korea, which discovered its first case around the same time as the United States, has reported having the capacity to test roughly 10,000 people a day since late February.)

The Disaster President didn’t want infected cruise ship passengers to come ashore because he didn’t want the “numbers” of confirmed cases to go up.

Politico reporter Dan Diamond told NPR host Terry Gross that, based on his own reporting, Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential re-election this fall.”

His March 11th Oval Office address to the nation was a sedated muddled mess, needing retractions and changes. The next day the Dow Jones took a 10% deep dive and nobody was reassured all was in good hands.

And still we are told. "It's a very contagious virus, it's incredible, but it's something we have tremendous control of." 

No, we don't. Mar-A-Lago has become a viral relay center.

This is not the time to let the Fool decide.

Being of the age that puts me in the most threatened demographic, I tend to be somewhat philosophical about this COVID-19 pandemic. While I'm not living in fear, I want to live. And I know what we can do about it. We can mitigate the rapid spread of the virus so it doesn't become a "Coronapocalypse".

We need to put forth our best efforts to wash our hands, avoid crowds and shaking hands, and keep a safe personal distance when possible. Social distancing is not social isolation. Call friends and family. 

Keep up with physical activities including exercise and routine household chores. Find pleasant distractions for entertainment. We found a jigsaw puzzle can be a nicer alternative than focusing on TV news. Catch up on books, movies, and music. Keeping positive and embracing humor are important psychological and physical defenses.

I'm lucky to have had a job that practiced sensible precautions with transmittable diseases. I volunteered to tend to AIDS patients when others got spooked.

But this virus is far more contagious. As we are increasingly aware, the effects will be felt by all of us, whether we contract it or not.

This viral pandemic needs to be seen as a wake-up call. Modern societies and many of their leaders have largely grown comfortable, arrogant and complacent. 

We will lose people. Many more will die. Our social lives will be disrupted. Our economy will take a severe blow and a lot of people will lose jobs and livelihoods. It is that serious. We need government, and we need honesty, competence, and accountability.

Maybe this mess will prompt us to learn the lessons of a crises that few of us in our part of the world have experienced.

One change immediately visible is the progressive motto, “We’re all in this together” is being uttered, even in the Trump White House. Welcome to socialism, boys. 

One thing is certain. Capitalism is not going to save us. The sacred every-man-for-himself delusion of the almighty “free market” will fail, or make things worse. Already we have jerks price gouging hand sanitizer and disinfectant materials.

I'm hoping the silver lining to this crisis will be a more open attitude, respecting science, and understanding the need for socialized public health. Mother Nature is showing us she can cull the herd anytime. That is reality. Global warming is also a reality, and will likely be our next catastrophic event.

The warning bell is ringing, we all need to take responsibility, and we ARE in this together.

Friday, February 28, 2020

"Buh-lieve Me"


“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou

Two years ago today:

In an interview on February 28th 2016, Birther Trump would not disavow David Duke and the KKK.

JAKE TAPPER: I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the racism of former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be treason to your heritage.

Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke. OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know.

I don't know, did he endorse me or what's going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.

TAPPER: But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don't know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don't want their support?

TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about.

You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.

TAPPER: The Ku Klux Klan?

TRUMP: But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.

TAPPER: OK. I mean, I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but...

TRUMP: I don't know any -- honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I have ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. And I just don't know anything about him.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Establishment Outrage


Bernie Sanders tweeted: "I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us."

The corporate establishment media joined the chorus of outraged corporatist establishment Democrats and authoritarian, establishment, Trump loyalist Republicans.

For some reason they all resent any challenge to their establishment privilege and power.

Bernie is in good company.

Bernie is anti-establishment.
Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines are anti-establishment.
Anti racist police brutality Black Lives Matter is anti-establishment.
The civil rights movement was anti-establishment.
The anti-war movement is anti-establishment.
The pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protestors were anti-establishment.
Martin Luther King Jr was anti-establishment.
Rosa Parks was anti-establishment.
The anti-Nazi White Rose were anti-establishment.
Gandhi was anti-establishment.
Harriet Tubman was anti-establishment.
The founding fathers were anti-establishment.
Jesus was anti-establishment.
Moses was anti-establishment.


The establishment corporate media joined the chorus of outraged establishment corporatist Democrats and establishment Trump loyalist Republicans.


Bernie told Anderson Cooper that he’s “very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba,” but said it’s “unfair to simply say everything is bad.”

“When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program,” Sanders said. “Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?” (Never mind President Obama once praised Cuba's public health care and education as well.“The United States recognizes the progress that Cuba has made as a nation, its enormous achievements in education and in health care.”)

Cooper noted that Castro’s regime imprisoned dissidents.

“That’s right, and we condemn that,’ Sanders responded.

And the corporate establishment media joined the chorus of outraged corporatist establishment Democrats and authoritarian, establishment, Trump loyalist Republicans in condemning Bernie as a Castro supporter.


Anti-establishment is anti-monarchy, anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian, anti-corporatism and anti-oligarchy. 

Anti-establishment means pro-democracy, pro-equality, pro-justice, pro-environment, pro-public healthcare and pro-public education.

No wonder the most corrupt and powerful establishment leaders are outraged. 




Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Rush To Judgment


Rush Limbaugh has made his career and fortune in denying truth and science, and scorning decency.

Now lung cancer is taking another smoker, despite his denial of the link between the two.

While he is a repugnant and vile man, I take no joy in his illness, and I wish people would not reflexively celebrate his condition.

However, no one should be surprised that the hate and racism Limbaugh generated has drawn hate back in his direction. In that sense, he asked for it.

I would much prefer that his hate and dishonesty would end by embracing compassion for the people who do not have the wealth and health care he has enjoyed.

That is unlikely, so death will have the final word.

This is sad to say, but our country would have been better off if he never existed, or at least wasn't such an authoritarian purveyor of divisive anger and lies. In that sense Limbaugh has been a cancer on our political discourse.

That said, I truly hate cancer more than I may seem to hate Limbaugh. It kills indiscriminately and cruelly. I will not celebrate his illness and suffering.

I do admit to finding some relief at the imminent end of his toxic and demonizing hate. Like Trump, he is an enemy of truth, decency and democracy.

Instead of rejoicing, I hope for a miracle.

I hope that he discovers he has the power to heal some of the wounds he has opened. I hope that in facing his mortality he realizes millions of people need better health care. I hope he finds a conscience and repents.
~~~

Limbaugh said on February 22nd 2020:

"I have seen what this bunch of people in the intelligence community are capable of. What they've tried with Trump here, this whole Russia meddling, Trump colluding? This whole thing is a gigantic lie, a totally bogus hoax, a silent coup. That's when I began to think the weapons of mass destruction thing was a setup against Bush, too.

"Why should we believe these people? They haven't been right about anything in the last four years. They were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction.” 

He can go to hell, anytime now.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Moral Courage And Its Opposite


On Friday, January 24th we watched House Impeachment Manager Representative Adam Schiff summarize the articles of impeachment against Trump. He spoke meticulously, factually, and eloquently, outlining Trump's abuse of power and obstruction of congress. 

He also reminded the Senate that history will record this sham impeachment trial of no witnesses and no documents allowed by the Party of the accused. He predicted posterity will not reward the defenders of the most corrupt and criminal administration our republic has had the misfortune to endure.

Representative Schiff noted this is the time for moral courage in the Senate, and quoted the relevant words of Robert F. Kennedy:

“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”

Indeed. Moral courage is measured by the willingness to act on one's conscience and to stand for what is right, despite retaliation from those lacking this quality of character. The threat of “heads on a pike” for any Republican daring to express moral courage comes to mind.


Had it not been for the whistle blower's act of moral courage the Deplorable Despot would not have been impeached. One man of conscience made a difference.

Apart from former Republican Justin Amash, we have witnessed neither courage nor morals from elected Republicans. They have been obedient authoritarian followers to the point of serving and abetting the lies, corruption and crimes of the president. They have chosen loyalty to Trump over their oaths to defend the Constitution. 

Maybe a few will surprise us and vote guilty, but we know authoritarian personalities are unlikely to do so. Self interest, lockstep conformity, and power are their only values.

Like their leader, they will parrot Putin before they embrace truth and justice.

In addition to his honest and heartfelt summary, Mr. Schiff gave us a preview of, and rebuttal to, the White House defense team’s arguments. He outlined and refuted their complaints about an “unfair process” and “nasty” Democrats. He refuted their deflections about Ukrainians saying, "No quid pro quo” and their regurgitation of Putin's propaganda that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Sure enough, right out of the gate, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, “If you were really confident in your position on the facts, why would you lock everybody out of it from the President's side? Why would you do that?”

Repeating Schiff’s points, CNN's Kevin Liptak correctly noted, “House Democrats made a formal offer to the White House to have a lawyer present during their proceedings, but the offer was rejected in a politically-tinged letter from Cipollone himself. And Republicans were permitted to participate in closed-door deposition of witnesses during the investigation phase. A total of 48 Republican members of the three committees holding the closed-door hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — were allowed into the SCIF, and they were given equal time to question witnesses.” 


Schiff tweeted this later in the afternoon: "After listening to the President’s lawyers opening arguments, I have three observations: They don’t contest the facts of Trump’s scheme. They’re trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth. And they are continuing to cover it up by blocking documents and witnesses."

I see no need to list any more of these instances. Schiff was spot on, and the pattern will hold for the duration of their defense of the indefensible.

This is their indefensible leader, projecting like a spoiled sociopathic adolescent who just got caught red-handed while committing a crime.

“Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, &; the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN, or Fake News, @CNN, or Fake News MSDNC!” ~ Donald J. Trump

We know the “case”. Mr. Schiff has already exposed their lies, and deflections.

The Washington Post editorial board wrote, “Mr. Schiff pointed out that, whether or not GOP senators demand relevant testimony and documents during the trial, more facts will eventually come out...Those who choose now to disregard the evidence against Mr. Trump and abet his obstruction will be reduced to watching in the months and years to come as the case against him — and against their abdication of constitutional duty — grows steadily stronger.”

Yes, history will remember their immoral cowardice, their treachery, and their betrayal of our Constitution and of our people. The corrupt and criminal Republican Party has sunk to its lowest point ever, and it will either suffer consequences, or our Constitutional republic will certainly degrade and expire.

The enemies of democracy and the Constitution are traitors, and the Party of Trump and Putin will stand before another jury in November. They will face the American voters. The immoral cowards can run, but they can't hide.