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As America once again plunges into a pandemic crisis, with Covid-19 infections exploding across the country, and especially in red states, Trump continues to plot against America's best interests. Refusing to provide any leadership over the last three months, he's made the crisis actively worse by urging Americans not to wear masks, promoting dangerous "cures," ruminating about injecting patients with disinfectants, undercutting government scientists, ordering vital testing regimes to be “slow[ed] down”, or halted all together, walking away from a national tracing program, filling marathon pandemic briefings with ceaseless misinformation, making empty promises about testing, and constantly lying about the state of the crisis, insisting the deadly virus would soon "disappear," "like a miracle." This is treasonous behavior.
All of it is wrapped in a constant flow of confusion and public contradictions, a textbook approach for how to plunge the country into chaos and wreck the economy. It's exactly what an American foe would do. The U.S. today stands as an international pariah, claiming nearly 25 percent of the world's coronavirus deaths, while accounting for just four percent of the world's population. On Wednesday, the U.S. logged an astounding 45,000 news cases.
Yet we still don’t know why Trump is doing this — we don't know why he's plotting against America during a once-in-a-century public health crisis, even as his erratic actions increasingly doom his re-election chances. And it feels like the press is too nervous to ask why.
The media for months has preferred to suggest Trump was merely distracted, "slow" to respond to the crisis; that he simply "missed" the Covid-19 warnings. Trump "ignored" crucial warnings, the Associated Press recently concluded, noting that key aides were unable to "redirect the president's attention" to Covid-19 in January, as Trump's impeachment trial unfolded this winter. The message from seemed to be that if Trump's attention had been directed towards the looming pandemic, the government's response would have been entirely different, and far more robust.
This sanitized explanation is because the Beltway press doesn't want to ask the far more disturbing questions about why Trump essentially ordered the government to stand down for a virus invasion that has claimed the lives of more than 112,000 Americans.
The New York Times recently published a piece headlined, "Why the Coronavirus is winning," in which Trump's name was never mentioned. Instead the paper ambiguously stated, "Government officials, for their part, can slow the virus’s spread by encouraging all of these steps, as well as by organizing widespread testing and competent tracing of people who are likely to have the virus."
It's not as if Trump has simply been misguided and made wrong decisions along way. It's that Trump purposefully refused to use the vast powers of the federal government to protect the country from the virus crisis, and has urged Republican governors to rush ahead with deadly re-open plans. His actions have killed untold numbers of Americans.
Having the worst pandemic response among all developed nations doesn't just happen. It takes a lot of work to screw up this badly. The failure to protect has been so thorough and so complete it's difficult to suggest it’s happened coincidentally.
Maybe Trump’s vengeful. Maybe he's under the thumb of a foreign entity? He wants to cause panic and cancel the November elections? He’s a nihilist? What matters is asking the difficult questions and pondering what the Trump presidency is truly about, no matter what lurks in the shadows.
It didn't have to be this way. "Experts in public health are essentially unanimous that minimizing the toll of the virus depends on forceful federal action to supercharge the supply chain for testing, massively increase the daily number of tests, mobilize a nationwide contact-tracing program and get infected people to self-isolate," Amanda Marcotte wrote at Salon. Trump had limitless resources he could have used to help fight the pandemic.
The huge surge in cases today, largely in southern and western states that have aggressively reopened, is driven by the fact that the administration is purposefully giving states no guidance in terms of how to proceed. It's all by design. Trump sees the virus as being in his "rearview mirror," the Times reported.
Quick example: Trump has repeatedly claimed that when he came into office his administration inherited an "empty" and "bare" Strategic National Stockpile, including no ventilators in stock. In truth, SNS had 16,660 ventilators on hand in January 2017. That's more than the Trump administration has distributed during the pandemic.
His dereliction of duty during the reopen matches his failures back in March when he refused to take steps to protect the country. "Trump was warned countless times of the epidemic threat in his presidential daily briefings, by federal scientists, the health secretary Alex Azar, Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, Matt Pottinger, his Asia adviser, by business friends and the world at large," the Financial Times reported.
America has never faced a national, extended crisis of this magnitude where the President of the United States is so clearly part of the problem. That's a truly radical development and the news media ought to be treating it as monumental story.
👍🏻 GOOD STUFF:
For a good long view of Trump's deliberate negligence, check out the Financial Times' excellent,"Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown":
The president’s leap of faith, which was inspired by Fox News anchors, notably Laura Ingraham, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, none of whom have a medical background, turned Washington’s bureaucracy upside down. Scientists who demurred were punished. In April, Rick Bright, the federal scientist in charge of developing a vaccine – arguably the most urgent role in government – was removed after blocking efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine.
🎸 FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
The Chicks, "March March"
Last week I noted that Nashville super-group Lady Antebellum made welcomed headlines when they announced they were changing their name by dropping the Civil War-associated "Antebellum" from the moniker, becoming Lady A. "We are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery," the trio announced.
This week it's the group formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, who have also dropped the Civil War phrase for their name and now go by The Chicks. "We want to meet this moment," they said in a statement on their website.
Musically for me, The Chicks can do no wrong and it's been a joy to watch their progression over the years from a banjo-based country act to a wonderfully sophisticated pop music outfit today. The upcoming album (incredibly, it's their first in 14 years) finds the group working with pop studio savant Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Lorde, etc), and producing a new glorious sound.
The group's latest single is "March March." Lyrically, it's an exploration of personal independence. In the video, The Chicks tie it in beautifully with grassroots protests.
Brenda's packing heat 'cause she don't like Mondays
Underpaid teacher policing the hallways
Print yourself a weapon and take it to the gun range
(Ah, cut the shit, you ain't going to the gun range)