Part 2 of the 6-part series, It’s Getting Late, America
Could He Have Done It Any Wronger?
Like everything else that Donald Trump did and undid during his administration, his inadequate response to the coronavirus emergency was determined by a lethal combination of his familiar ignorance and arrogance. What makes this case more serious than the others was the magnitude of the damage that was done.
This affirmation is not idle. Trump’s lack of leadership in the Covid crisis cries out to be compared to the responses of the leaders of more responsible countries such as South Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, New Zealand, and even China, all of which have managed to outsmart and outmaneuver the virus and put their countries back on the road to normal life and prosperity. At the same time, the United States, supposedly the world’s leading country in science, innovation, and everything else, was not only worse than those countries in containing the virus, but it was–and is–the absolute worst in the world. “The world” includes China, with a population four times that of the United States, but with far fewer Covid victims.
We’re looking at more than 581,516 (https://ourworldindata.org/, May 8, 2021) US deaths, and counting, thus far. President Joe Biden frequently compares the Covid loss of life in the US to statistics from American military combat deaths from World War I through Vietnam. The figure he cites is 395,370 dead. That is after we subtract the 2,977 victims of 9/11, which he included, perhaps, for political/patriotic reasons. If we adjust the numbers of the military deaths by adding the non-combatants the balance is 580,135, still slightly under the cumulative number of gratuitous Covid deaths.
It’s a Prima Facie Case
You don’t have to be a legal eminence to conclude that Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic–and yes, Obama did leave him a written contingency plan for just such an eventuality–constitutes the greatest instance of criminal negligence in American history. It’s a prima facie case against the ex-president that any rookie prosecutor could win in a court of law in any proper country. So what happened in the United States? Is this the maximum expression of American exceptionalism? The voters elevate a grotesquely damaging figure to the head of the government and, when his willful malfeasance converts their country into a human abbatoir, from world leader into world laughing stock, he is not held responsible for the untimely deaths of more than half a million Americans.
Yet he continues to wave his demented flag and to accrue followers around the country, as if he had not just perpetrated the greatest crime in his country’s history. What’s going on here? How does he manage to continue to blunder glibly forward, even after being removed from office by a majority of American voters? What ever happened to justice? Why isn’t ex-president Trump in custody, awaiting trial? Could it have to do with the 234 judges he appointed and saw confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate during his single term of office? Or is there a shortage of prosecutors?
(For a cordial rundown on the cutbacks to essential US government agencies and their hair-raising consequences, pick up Michael Lewis’s, The Fifth Risk, in which he explains with clarity and humanity how the United States government was “under attack by its own leaders.” This is what he had to say about Trump’s disdain for science:
Trump’s budget, like the social forces behind it, is powered by a perverse desire–to remain ignorant. Donald Trump didn’t invent this desire. He was just its ultimate expression.Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk
Smart Social Science vs. Right-Wing Thuggery
It is refreshing to see that the Capital assailants are going before judges. And now there’s an interesting twist in the case. They aren’t who we thought they were. New studies directed by Professor Robert Pape at the University of Chicago, reveal that 45% of the 420 (and counting) rioters who were prosecuted for the assault on the US Capital were not primarily wild kids, radicals nor down-and-outers. They were middle-aged solid citizens, company executives, business owners, doctors and lawyers between the ages of 34 and 46. Ironically, neither are they from from depressed areas, but from thriving, mainly Democratic, counties around the country. Pape also has well-founded notions regarding the principal motive that drives them. It’s one that few of us have heard of: replacement fear. That is, the fear that underprivileged minorities are being favored to the point that they will “replace” the traditional–white–holders of jobs and social standing. It sounds to me like just another of the 57 varieties of American racism. And it’s a distressing indicator of just how deeply right-wing thinking has penetrated in America. Here’s a link to the interview with Professor Pape.
What Else Could Possible Go Wrong?
Not much, really, with the possible exception of:
- the country’s creaky infrastructure
- the war provocations against Russia and China
- the public schools, the non-profit charter schools, the for-profit charter schools
- the privatization of everything
- the infantiloid America-first foreign policy (We know you want to prioritize American interests, Antony. That’s a given. But a proper diplomat doesn’t just say it flat out to their faces on the nine-o-clock news.)
- the off-the-rails clandestine so-called intelligence services (Military intelligence is to intelligence what military music is to music.)
- the deranged illuminati billionaires
- the United States Congress (with few exceptions and Liz Cheney isn’t one of them)
- hypocrisy by the boat load (The world’s premier cyber criminal is the NSA.)
- the traditional media, which Matt Taibbi says is about to disappear and they deserve it
- Los Angeles, which gets everything wrong
- New York, which thinks it’s the center of the world, and used to be
- fracking, coal mining and Monsanto-Bayer (I thought Bayer was Aspirin.)
- super carriers (which cost around $13 billion dollars each and have a foreseeable combat life span of about 17 minutes)
- land mines (which are great for amputating Third World kids’ legs, but not much else)
- the Republican Party
- the Democratic National Committee, which is the brains behind Hillary and Joe
- the culling of wolves (There are plenty of other predators who need culling first.)
- the insane sanctions on Cuba, where they have shown the world how to turn poverty into dignity
- Big Pharma lobbying and Covid vaccination speculating
- mandatory sentences (What the hell do they have judges for?)
- the ruthless persecution of some of the world’s finest people: the whistleblowers.
- golf courses (Maybe the golfers will then wilt away.)
- Mitch McConnell and Whatsherface, his Senate parliamentarian (How the hell did those two ghouls get a stranglehold on the country?)
- Elliott Abrams (He’s decrepit and Latin America has suffered enough.)
- There’s a lot more but it’s getting late, America…
Come back next week for more
news you try not to think about.