THE WORLD HAS LOVED, HATED AND ENVIED THE U.S. NOW, FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE PITY IT

However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.

Irish Times

April 25, 2020

By Fintan O’Toole

Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.

However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.

Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.

As the American writer George Packer puts it in the current edition of the Atlantic, “The United States reacted … like Pakistan or Belarus – like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.”

It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – wilfully, malevolently, vindictively. It is one thing for governments to fail (as, in one degree or another, most governments did), quite another to watch a ruler and his supporters actively spread a deadly virus. Trump, his party and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News became vectors of the pestilence.

The grotesque spectacle of the president openly inciting people (some of them armed) to take to the streets to oppose the restrictions that save lives is the manifestation of a political death wish. What are supposed to be daily briefings on the crisis, demonstrative of national unity in the face of a shared challenge, have been used by Trump merely to sow confusion and division. They provide a recurring horror show in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.

If the plague is a test, its ruling political nexus ensured that the US would fail it at a terrible cost in human lives. In the process, the idea of the US as the world’s leading nation – an idea that has shaped the past century – has all but evaporated.

Other than the Trump impersonator Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is now looking to the US as the exemplar of anything other than what not to do? How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?

It is hard to remember now but, even in 2017, when Trump took office, the conventional wisdom in the US was that the Republican Party and the broader framework of US political institutions would prevent him from doing too much damage. This was always a delusion, but the pandemic has exposed it in the most savage ways.

Abject surrender
What used to be called mainstream conservatism has not absorbed Trump – he has absorbed it. Almost the entire right-wing half of American politics has surrendered abjectly to him. It has sacrificed on the altar of wanton stupidity the most basic ideas of responsibility, care and even safety.

Thus, even at the very end of March, 15 Republican governors had failed to order people to stay at home or to close non-essential businesses. In Alabama, for example, it was not until April 3rd that governor Kay Ivey finally issued a stay-at-home order.

In Florida, the state with the highest concentration of elderly people with underlying conditions, governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump mini-me, kept the beach resorts open to students travelling from all over the US for spring break parties. Even on April 1st, when he issued restrictions, DeSantis exempted religious services and “recreational activities”.

Georgia governor Brian Kemp, when he finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1st, explained: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours.”

This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity. There is, as the demonstrations this week in US cities have shown, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic. It is fuelled by Fox News and far-right internet sites, and it reaps for these politicians millions of dollars in donations, mostly (in an ugly irony) from older people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.

Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.

The contradiction was made manifest in two of Trump’s statements on the pandemic: on the one hand that he has “total authority”, and on the other that “I don’t take responsibility at all”. Caught between authoritarian and anarchic impulses, he is incapable of coherence.

Fertile ground
But this is not just Donald Trump. The crisis has shown definitively that Trump’s presidency is not an aberration. It has grown on soil long prepared to receive it. The monstrous blossoming of misrule has structure and purpose and strategy behind it.

There are very powerful interests who demand “freedom” in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy. They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that “freedom” is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber (“I Need a Haircut” read one banner this week in St Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection.

Usually when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

And the president, his party and their media allies keep supplying the drinks. There has been no moment of truth, no shock of realisation that the antics have to end. No one of any substance on the US right has stepped in to say: get a grip, people are dying here.

That is the mark of how deep the trouble is for the US – it is not just that Trump has treated the crisis merely as a way to feed tribal hatreds but that this behaviour has become normalised. When the freak show is live on TV every evening, and the star is boasting about his ratings, it is not really a freak show any more. For a very large and solid bloc of Americans, it is reality.

And this will get worse before it gets better. Trump has at least eight more months in power. In his inaugural address in 2017, he evoked “American carnage” and promised to make it stop. But now that the real carnage has arrived, he is revelling in it. He is in his element.

As things get worse, he will pump more hatred and falsehood, more death-wish defiance of reason and decency, into the groundwater. If a new administration succeeds him in 2021, it will have to clean up the toxic dump he leaves behind. If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics.

Either way, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can imagine America being great again.

Daily Wisdom

I wonder how many people will inject rat poison if Trump tell them that it cures stupidity.

A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments. https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html?fbclid=IwAR3B4mVVaTfC5eVswNBs2JQb9R1dD1i4vjEf_cXDUJ8OtbDAySd0TC4uxS0

Daily Wisdom

Who knew?!

Thousands died of corona virus not knowing that the cure was right in front of them!

Inject Clorox in your lungs and get your ass in tanning salon in a harry. Cured!

Thank you our stable genius, our fearless leader, tremendous and unbelievable TRUMP! Our SAVIOR IN CHIEF!

HALLELUJAH !!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/24/revealed-leader-group-peddling-bleach-cure-lobbied-trump-coronavirus?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other&fbclid=IwAR1EInQUhbYTDo-E5EcKZQC69gHPi7bNysA9EbiVnrgZ1VyR-IF4f-hqcxk

Daily wisdom

Coronavirus, religion and stupidity.

21st century wisdom

What can I say? How far did the wind blow?

“American televangelist Kenneth Copeland, who recently claimed that the coronavirus pandemic will be “over much sooner you think” because “Christian people all over this country praying have overwhelmed it,” has summoned the “wind of God” to destroy the novel coronavirus during a recent sermon.

Before blowing at the camera, he said: “I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever, and you’ll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/televangelist-kennth-copeland-blows-wind-194622515.html

Questionable action.

“Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said that the Trump administration showed “poor judgment” in relieving a warship commander who was trying to stem a coronavirus outbreak among his crew.”

Business as usual for Trump administration. Politics first, lives later.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/dismissed-u-carrier-captain-gets-150544641.html

In his four-page letter, Crozier, who took command in November, described a bleak situation aboard the carrier as more of his crew began falling ill.

He called for “decisive action”: removing more than 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them, and wrote that unless the Navy acted immediately it would be failing to properly safeguard “our most trusted asset – our sailors.”

The letter put the Pentagon on the defensive and alarmed the families of those on the vessel, whose home port is in San Diego.

“Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said that the Trump administration showed “poor judgment” in relieving a warship commander who was trying to stem a coronavirus outbreak among his crew.”

Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

I hold Trump and his cabinet responsible for a botched, and frankly criminal response to the pandemic. I hold Trump’s party responsible for mindlessly supporting the disastrous policies of their president and ignoring the well being of our country.

For example: Unexpected expenses are non recurring unpredictable bills – Budget for these by setting aside a fixed amount each week or each month. If your property taxes are $5,200 per year, for example, set aside $100 a week. If your eyeglass exam and lens replacement cost $300 each year, set aside $25 per month.

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/expect-the-unexpected

Why do countries have a military?

Countries have a military during peacetime. Why? Do they expect wars? Maybe. But in case there is a war, armed forces are trained to be ready.

We are at war now. The world is at war with the virus! Are we ready for this war?

Trump disbanded the pandemic team in 2018.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public health and national security experts shake their heads when President Donald Trump says the coronavirus “came out of nowhere” and “blindsided the world.”

Many authorities have been warning about the next pandemic for years and have soundly criticized Trump. The Trump administration made a decision in 2018 to dismantle a National Security Council directorate at the White House charged with preparing for when, not if, another pandemic would hit the nation.

https://apnews.com/ce014d94b64e98b7203b873e56f80e9a

If governments print money to pay off the national debt, inflation could rise. This increase in inflation would reduce the value of bonds. If inflation increases, people will not want to hold bonds because their value would fall…Therefore printing money could create more problems than it solves.

Trump inherited a growing economy from Obama.

He and his party cut taxes during the booming economy.

Any household knows that it is prudent to pay off loans when income is good. So trumpists did the exact opposite. National debt grew additional $4Trillion.

https://www.thebalance.com/trump-plans-to-reduce-national-debt-4114401

https://www.thebalance.com/national-debt-by-year-compared-to-gdp-and-major-events-3306287

So the Trump administration with the support of his party behaved as if good times would last forever. But any adult who’s got a pulse knows that this is not how life works.

Any business, any family, any government should be prepared for unexpected, unforeseen occurrences, crises, i.e.The “rainy day”

A crisis, e.g. one like a pandemic, is not a matter of “if” but “when” The Trump administration has been warned of a coming coronavirus crisis and ignored it.

So the situation right now as the world is struggling with the pandemic:

Due to tax cuts Government debt is skyrocketing.

The Economy is in recession.

The Fed spent its ammunition to fight the recession because they already dropped the prime rate to zero.

In the Trump era of irrational exuberance people spent like drunken sailors.

Consumer debt is at its highest level since 2008.

Consumer debt is at an all time high.

U.S. credit card debt hit an all-time high of $930 billion.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-consumer-debt-is-now-breaching-levels-last-reached-during-the-2008-financial-crisis-2019-06-19

And now that unemployment will jump how will these people be able to pay off their loans?

Well, the government will step in and absorb all debt. How will the Fed get the money? Not from taxes because “Republicans” cut taxes and unemployment is skyrocketing so people and businesses will not pay income taxes. So the Government will have to issue bonds to borrow money. But why buy bonds that have no return, pay no interest?

So the Treasure will have to print money. That most likely will lead to inflation.

Already, the national debt stands at more than $23.5 trillion and will be on track to eclipse $25 trillion. Taxpayers shelled out $574.6 billion in fiscal 2019 on interest payments for the debt and another $229.1 billion in fiscal 2020.

In short, the shock from the COVID-19 spread will blow a fiscal hole through Washington, D.C., that could take years if not decades to patch.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/22/government-budget-deficit-is-about-to-explode-to-fight-the-coronavirus.html

I am not blaming Trump and his government for the coronavirus. I hold them responsible for reckless fiscal policies like the latest unneeded tax cuts and military spending.

I hold Trump and his cabinet responsible for a botched, and frankly criminal response to the pandemic. I hold Trump’s party responsible for mindlessly supporting the disastrous policies of their president and ignoring the well being of our country.

Socialism with social programs. Not the same.

Capitalist countries with social programs have nothing to do with socialism as implemented in a “dictatorship by the proletariat”.

I keep reading all the time about people confusing social programs with socialism and/or communism.

Capitalist countries with social programs have nothing to do with socialism as implemented in a “dictatorship by the proletariat”.

What is Socialism and Communism?

In a pure socialist structure the government owns all means of production.

“In a purely socialist system, all legal production and distribution decisions are made by the government, and individuals rely on the state for everything from food to healthcare. The government determines the output and pricing levels of these goods and services. “

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/socialism.asp

Theoretically no social classes exist in socialist country. But of course classes will form in any society. So, in a socialist country there is a ruling Communist party, then the bureaucracy, then upper management of industry, then the intelligentsia, and lastly the workers.

Any private enterprise is illegal and is punished by law. It is called “dictatorship by the proletariat workers”. So by definition this social system is a dictatorship. There are plenty of examples of countries with a socialism system, and most of them have fallen apart. There are a still a few remnants of this dying system: Cuba, N. Korea, Venezuela. All of them are disastrous dictatorships.

The main principle of Socialism is: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody according to their work.”

Communism theoretically is the next evolutionary step, with the motto: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody by their needs.” There has never been a country with a true communist system.

But socialist countries are ruled by a communist party. The main goal of communist’s is to firmly establish communism everywhere on the planet.

So, to summarize, “social programs” do not mean socialism.