Category Archives: Trump 45

What is the American thing to do?

UPDATED BELOW

There is a strongly held belief amongst many Americans that the Constitution (in particular the Second Amendment) not only protects the right of citizens to revolt against their government but in fact encourages them to arm themselves in case of an oppressive government. At the same time, America’s founding document – the Declaration of Independence – sets forth the oppressive conditions upon which a people have a right to revolt and seek independence from an oppressive government. Yet these same Americans NEVER take the side of African Americans when they are regularly abused by police. To the contrary, they take the side of the agents of the government, and deride them both when they protest peacefully as being unpatriotic and then as barbarous and counterproductive when they burn and loot.

The question is: how should an American act when treated with violence by the state that is supposed to protect them?

It is June 2020. Imagine having witnessed the following:

  • One hundred thousand Americans have died due to a pandemic. A disproportionate amount of the victims have been African Americans. While wealthy and suburban White Americans are able to either work from the comfort and safety of their homes or take private transportation to work, many African Americans in places like New York do not have these luxuries. They have to take mass transit and are required to work from the office. The White House refuses to roll out mass testing yet tests all of its personnel on a daily basis to keep the President safe. And just as the White House was pushing factories and working-class people to return to the office with no absolutely no health or legal protections for workers – ignoring its own experts’ warnings – Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar blames African Americans for their high death toll as if it were caused by their own moral failings.
  • Who is looting whom? The billions in Covid aid have gone to the wealthy and their businesses, including those close to the president — with only a couple of trinkets going to the average Joe. The President regularly milks the tax-payer for the costs of trips and events held at his personal businesses and resorts. Meanwhile, the police are constantly looting African Americans. After the Ferguson protests, the DOJ investigated the local police department finding coordinated efforts between the police, prosecutors and judges to shakedown African American citizens to get them to pay fines to make up from shortfalls in tax revenues caused by reducing taxes on the wealthier citizens. Then you have civil forfeiture that allow for police departments to keep any cash they seize during drug raids and stops even if the police do not prevail at court. That is looting.
  • A lynching
  • A white woman playing the race card to threaten a Black man.
  • More police violence and murder
  • Concerted efforts by the president to make it more difficult for African Americans to vote.
  • A president who constantly whines that he is uniquely the victim of law enforcement abuses while constantly accusing other of crimes and threatening them with prosecution from the Central Park Five to Ted Cruz’s father, Hilary, Biden and Morning Joe.
  • After years of calling on the NFL to fire athletes who exercise their First Amendment right of free speech through peaceful protest, President Trump whines about Twitter oppressing his rights by putting a caution label on tweets where the President himself is threatening violence.
  • Small groups of white people – though highly publicized in the press – protest against social distancing and mask-wearing ordinances imposed to protect society. Some of them protest heavily armed, forcing the Michigan legislature to close – a threat of violence for political gain is terrorism by definition. Nevertheless, none of these White protesters were treated with the type of hostility and show of might that are so common whenever African Americans protest.

So now all hell breaks out on the streets of many US cities. At first, I agreed with this impassioned speech by Killer Mike:

Ultimately those who believe they can overthrow oppression with force have no means to stand-up to the militarized police, not even the White Second Amendment Crew decked out in the favorite costumes. Plus, we all know that Trump will spin the protests to only increase tension.

Then I saw this monologue by Trevor Noah of the Daily Show:

And he is absolutely right: when the people do not believe the rules of the game protect them, then they will stop playing by the rules. This is a truth as old as time. So why not loot? Plus, there is an argument that these past days of rioting have achieved more attention than a QB taking a knee or years of peaceful BLM rallies?

I definitely don’t know the answer to how people should act. But I do know that I cannot stomach when the oppressed are told violence is not the answer, especially after their peaceful protests are constantly mocked and when done by those who ALWAYS resort to violence or the threat of violence as the solution to any dissent.

Last night I went on a Facebook rant:

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One thing I find so astonishing about America is this particular group of conservative psychopaths who are obsessed with cosplay/fantasy military fetishism. They dream of playing GI Joe and are convinced the Constitution gives them the right to be terrorists. Well, they don’t call it terrorism. They call it arming themselves against a potentially abusive government. Ironically they are the same people who worship unfettered police power and the militarization of police. What is more representative of big government out of control than a militarized police force that is almost never held accountable or “personally responsible” for their actions? These same role play fanatics get to protest against having to wear masks during an unprecedented pandemic. And how do they protest? By threatening violence, decked out in full fetish military costumes. How does the police react? They do nothing!!!!!!

Then you get a group of people who are protesting against being killed and hunted by the police and lynched in 2020 and the police show up dressed in military gear like they’re about to invade Iraq. Do the conservatives who believe in standing up to oppressive government support them? No! Of course not, they’re too busy having boners watching the police in their sexy military gear.

And there it is folks, I just revealed the dark secret of American culture. The same people who worship violence and the military, who use the threat of violence ALL THE TIME, have the gall to tell others that violence is not the way to protest.

When has Trump not threatened every American or foreign country that has disagreed with him? He either insults, belittles, threatens with incarnation, sanctions or invasion and violence. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I am against violence. Is anyone else in America? I have been living abroad for 20 years. No one else in the world talks like Americans. No one else throws around the threat of violence like Americans. No one!!!!

You can’t make this shit up. As if to prove my point that Americans – even when denouncing violence, always turn to violence as the solution — President Trump then uses tear gas (a form of violence) to disperse peaceful protestors so he can give a speech. And what is his message? Does he stand arm-and-arm with African American leaders and police forces to march as a symbol of peace? Of course not. He holds a Bible and threatens the citizens of the United States of America with military force if they cannot behave.

Somehow along the way, the President forgot that this all started with the police killing people with impunity. Yet again We the People can only seem to muster up two types of solutions to all our problems: violence or tax cuts. Wait, when White people are killed by other armed White people there is another option: thoughts and prayers.

So what is an American to do? If violence doesn’t work, then why is violence always the answer?

UPDATE June 5, 2020: Who is looting whom?

How is the stock market reacting to having received billions in bailouts will 100,000 Americans have died, we have record unemployment, and a social unrest? Not too shabby. We’re seeing one of the greatest transfers of wealth in modern US history. So how is looting whom?

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So What is the White House’s Official Position on the Virus?

Can anyone tell me what is the White House’s official position on the virus? Is it a deadly virus and national security threat or no biggie, like a flu that kills lots of people too? If it’s not a big deal, then how were the Chinese government and WHO underplaying its significance?

If the virus is not so deadly – at least not for White people or those with optimal health like the Healthiest President in History™ then why does the president say he needs to undergo an experimental preventive treatment that has yet to be approved by the government that the president himself administers?

Do we need more testing to be safe or not? If we don’t need testing, then why is everyone who works at the White House tested on an ongoing basis? Is that for their protection or for the president’s? Why should White House personnel be tested and not, for example, workers at meat packing facilities?

And if the virus’ threat has been over-hyped by the lame-stream media, then why must the U.S. close its boarders. Are we supposed to be afraid or not?

So if 90,000 dead isn’t such a big deal, we don’t need to wear masks or be tested, and we should drop all these silly restrictions, then:

  • China and the WHO did not do anything wrong
  • White House personnel don’t need tests either
  • Trump does not need to take preventative medication
  • We don’t need to close the boarders, and
  • Obama is definitely not to blame

 

 

 

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Filed under The Quarantined Life, Trump 45

Everything Trump Accuses his Rivals of Doing, He Excuses himself of Doing

Hypocrisy from a politician, especially from Trump, should come as no surprise. And now after three years with Trump, we’ve seen that whenever Trump’s poll numbers look real bad or when Trump has almost no excuses for his own incompetence, misdeeds, or misuse of power, Fox News will always run headlines about Obama or Hilary (or accuse his rivals of felonies. This is to remind Republicans that even though Trump may be scum, the reason they support him is because they hate Obama and Hilary.

So with the Covid-19 death toll now exceeding 80,000 with no plan or end insight, Fox News and Trump are – you guessed it — focusing on Obama. But what I find most interesting is how all of Trumps’ defenses to his own misdeeds are a direct contradiction to every allegation he makes against his rivals.

Trump has two defenses:

  1. those who accuse him are partisan, and therefore per se those accusations are illegitimate (unfair, no due process and fake news), and
  2. as his entire legal team argued before the Senate, a president is essentially above the law. A president does not commit a crime or engage in wrongdoing as long as he believes it is in the country’s best interest, and if the president believes it is in his own political best interest then it is per se in the country’s best interest.

So if Trump and Republicans are accusing Obama or Biden (in the case of Ukraine) of having acted improperly shouldn’t we then have to apply #1 above and disregard these accusations as being political motivated and therefore illegitimate? How is there due process and impartiality in leading crowds with “lock her up”? Furthermore, if Obama believed it was in his own political interest to have Flynn investigated (or if Obama and Biden believed it was in the White House’s best interest to have Hunter on the board of Barisma), then according to Trump’s own defense in #2 above, it was 100% kosher.

Next you have the Trumpsters telling us that Americans should be extremely concerned that if the government can spy on Flynn, they could be doing it to you too. I would definitely agree that from Bush to Obama to Trump, the unfettered surveillance of American citizens is appalling. So are Trumpsters now calling Edward Snowden a hero or demanding an end to the Patriot Act or FISA? Of course, not. In fact, Mitch McConnell is expanding the Patriot Act to make it easier to do exactly what Trump is accusing law enforcement of having done to Flynn.

And finally, the epitome of hypocrisy here is Kenneth Starr. Remember Ken Starr? Ken Starr who just a few months ago was part of that entourage of Trump lawyers arguing tooth and nail in the Senate that presidents can do whatever they like. Now Starr suddenly thinks those novel rules would not apply to Obama and just as he previously believed they didn’t apply to Bill Clinton. Ken Star who — together with none other than Brett Kavanaugh — deliberately orchestrated a series of salacious questions about sex acts to entrap Bill Clinton into perjuring himself (knowing it would be a major personal and political embarrassment) because they didn’t have enough evidence to get him on the underlying crimes they were investigating. Now that same Ken Starr is arguing that the FBI improperly entrapped Mike Flynn into perjury, and therefore Flynn’s guilty pleas should be withdrawn, and all charges dropped. Like magic!

Absolutely everything that Trump, his Republican henchmen and Fox News have excused Trump and his entourage of doing, they now accuse their rivals of doing. You cannot make this stuff up !

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Filed under Obama 44, Trump 45, We The People

The US is Not Leading and No One is Asking

One of the most newsworthy but least reported stories to come out of Covid-19 is the geopolitical irrelevance of the US on the international stage, signaling the demise of Pax Americana and the US’ role as the indispensable nation.

I have already written why I believe that China will emerge as the new global leader in the same way that the US did after World War II. Surely the Chinese government has its degree of responsibility for this outbreak (without getting into a debate about the virus’ origins). Nevertheless, China is now taking advantage of the vacuum in US leadership to wield soft power in ways that the US used to. China is sending supplies, experts, and aid throughout the world. The US is at home, making a fool of itself.

Think about every major geopolitical and humanitarian crisis since World War II and how the world has looked to the US to lead. But now for this first time since World War II, the US is playing absolutely no leadership role in alleviating the global crisis, and quite frankly, no one is asking.

Some of this makes perfect sense. First, right-wing populists have always played the anti-multinationalism and isolationist game. This has generally been lip-service. A huge part of US hegemony has been making sure the world is absolutely dependent on our disproportionate military, financial and commercial muscle. So while we may whine about the US having to play global police or subsidize more than our fair share, it has always been in our selfish, best interest to pay that price and maintain our dominance. But because Trump has mainstreamed populism – ignoring the leverage that we have had, pulling out of treaties and threatening to pull US financial and logistics support to NATO and international organizations – the rest of the world is simply moving forward without us.

Second, the US failure to take the lead globally with Covid-19 relates to the fact that this is the first time in our country’s collective memory that we have faced a sustained and significant threat on U.S. soil. Even Pearl Harbor and 911 were one-time attacks and we were able to mobilize against them by fighting abroad with the vast majority of fatalities occurring abroad. Ironically, a small group of Americans are protesting the lockdown, social distancing and confinement as unduly hindering their personal freedoms without considering that what they are living through is a mild peaceful version (without constant bombings) of what people in Iraq and Afghanistan have had to endure when the US took revenge on the wrong people after 911. The US has always been able to fight its battle without feeling the imminent threat at home, and Covid-19 has changed that.

In her recent article, “The Rest of the World is Laughing at Trump,” Anne Applebaum describes how Trump has left a “leadership vacuum” being filled by China and how we have becoming a laughing stock. Even in Spain which has been one of the hardest hit countries with dismal numbers, the Spanish vice president was able to defend her administration’s response by contrasting  it with a “country who was recommending ingesting bleach.”

Most of the world still remembers the lies and fraud leading to the Iraq war, so imagine how those in the rest of the world perceive the absurdity of Trump’s press conferences, binge tweeting and more importantly the total absolute lack of an American plan even after months. This may likely be the nail in the coffin. Applebaum writes:

I wish I could say for certain that a President Joe Biden could turn this all around, but by next year it may be too late. The memories of the prime minister at the airport, welcoming Chinese doctors, will remain. The bleach jokes and memes will still cause the occasional chuckle. Whoever replaces Pompeo will have only four short years to repair the damage, and that might not be enough.

And if Trump wins a second term? Any nation can make a mistake once, elect a bad leader once. But if Americans choose Trump again, that will send a clear message: We are no longer a serious nation. We are as ignorant as our thoughtless, narcissistic, ignorant president. Don’t be surprised if the rest of the world takes note of that, too.

Most likely the geopolitical impact of Covid-19 will be that countries tighten borders – as the biggest threat to countries that have best controlled the virus will be from those entering the country from abroad – meaning more domestic travel and trade, less transboarder transactions, and increased nationalism. This sounds very much like Trump and his supporters worldview.

But as I wrote previously, the world didn’t want American style democracy after World War II because of its ideals. They wanted to live prosperous American lives with big cars and big houses. They wanted to live in a country not destroyed by war. When a country — especially a developing country – looks at who is prospering and who they want to become, they will see two models. One will be where there is lots of political bickering, childish insults, partisanship, gridlock, nepotism, gerrymandering, inequality, and social unrest. The other will be a utilitarian and authoritarian regime that prioritizes the economic growth over individualism and was the first out of running. And most likely, they’ll remember the airplanes full of supplies, not the conspiracy theories from the one that sold them WMDs even before their Reality TV star was pushing miracle cures.

Not convinced? Yes, everyone is hoping the US quickly develops a vaccine or treatment, but dozens of other countries are also hard at work. But in the meantime, the red phone in the Oval Office isn’t ringing, and no one is knocking on the White House door to come to the rescue. That in the past 100 years is unprecedented.

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Filed under The Quarantined Life, Trump 45

Either Trump is an Idiot or He is Convinced You Are

Trump announced yesterday that the U.S. will close its borders to immigrants. That was news to be me because I would have thought that in Trump’s infinite wisdom this was already the case. Most countries in Europe, for example, took those steps in March and have strictly limited not only the entrance into the country but even domestic travel.

Come on! What impact would this announcement have. Hasn’t almost all travel been halted?

But another thing confuses me. We keep hearing from Fox News and the president himself that we should immediately open up the economy and remove restrictions. They say things aren’t so bad after all. So we should open up, then why do we need to keep the borders closed?

Oh, there’s the jobs arguments. If we don’t let in foreigners, then they won’t take the jobs of unemployed Americans. But who is going to work the fields? Who is going to take the jobs that Americans don’t want or aren’t qualified to do? How can you get your economy back on track if your food supply chain is severely hindered by not having field workers or if your companies cannot compete with the best workers? Didn’t Republicans tell us for years that regulating the labor market was bad?

Maybe Covid-19 has finally lifted the veil of the American lie and has George Packer writes, “We Are Living in a Failed State”:

When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

Jared – the expert – has become the poster-boy for the final nail in the American-greatness coffin:

So when his father-in-law became president, Kushner quickly gained power in an administration that raised amateurism, nepotism, and corruption to governing principles. As long as he busied himself with Middle East peace, his feckless meddling didn’t matter to most Americans. But since he became an influential adviser to Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, the result has been mass death.

. . .

To watch this pale, slim-suited dilettante breeze into the middle of a deadly crisis, dispensing business-school jargon to cloud the massive failure of his father-in-law’s administration, is to see the collapse of a whole approach to governing. It turns out that scientific experts and other civil servants are not traitorous members of a “deep state”—they’re essential workers, and marginalizing them in favor of ideologues and sycophants is a threat to the nation’s health. It turns out that “nimble” companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that. It turns out that everything has a cost, and years of attacking government, squeezing it dry and draining its morale, inflict a heavy cost that the public has to pay in lives. All the programs defunded, stockpiles depleted, and plans scrapped meant that we had become a second-rate nation. Then came the virus and this strange defeat.

You almost wonder whether the president is an idiot. Or maybe he just thinks you are the idiot who is going to buy one of his steaks or a degree from his university.

We need to being screaming “the Emperor is naked” at the top of our lungs or we’ll never survive !

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What’s the Plan, Jerry?

 

Jared F-ing-Krushner, folks. Jared Krushner has addressed the nation. Jared did a bunch of research and, despite his lack of a scientific background or any academic training in how to conduct research, Jared Krushner has pulled it off again. He is now qualified to address the American people on undoubtedly the biggest humanitarian and national security crisis in American history since World War II.

I did a little experiment. I posted a few lines on facebook to see if my two or three (out of 1000) openly Trump supporting friends would bite, knowing full well that it would take a huge leap of intellectual dishonesty and hours of Fox News to come up with a rationalization for (i) why Jared even has a position in the White House, and (ii) more importantly, why Trump’s son-in-law is more qualified than any of the other +300 million Americans to address the nation in a health crisis where hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk, as well as Pax Americana.

Here is what I posted:

Sorry for the political nature of this, but at the time of the biggest crisis facing the world since WWII, why is Jared Kushner addressing the nation? Who the hell is Jared? Besides what he is saying makes absolutely no sense, He clearly has never taken a civics course. We mind as well ask Hunter Biden give press conferences! Please can we let the adults do their jobs and leave the children at home!!

I also recognized that in this press conference, Jared sounded just like I do whenever I have to speak publicly about something I don’t really understand. No beating around the bush: Jared doesn’t understand the science, and he doesn’t understand civics. He seemed to believe there was some Federal territory where the Trump family lived where stuff belonged to them, and then the states where everyone else resided where people had to make do. It was surreal. Maybe in a small family-run business you can get away with play-acting, but this is not Reality TV.

My personal favorite defense of Jared (which I alluded to above) was but Jared did all of this research. Again, I don’t care how much research he has done. Jared has no training in how to do scientific research of this nature. You don’t agree? Then let me ask you a question: if your life was in danger and you needed an urgent medical procedure, would you allow Jared Kushner to perform the operation because he done a lot of research? Why not call Hunter? Maybe he’s free.

Then, of course, there is the fact that absolutely everything the Trump administration has said about Covid-19 since the first reported case has been absolutely wrong. They have had to walk back every statement from soon there will be zero infections to there will be a miracle to it will be over by Easter Sunday. We now know that the US will be one of the worst hit countries hit in the world. Meanwhile, South Korea which reported its first infection at the same time as the US has been incredibly successful at controlling the virus. We have not.

Many leaders around the world have made mistakes, so I am prepared to forgive some of these fatal missteps assuming that our leaders have a plan. So as Jake Tapper just raised “Mr. President, what is your plan?” Shit, I’d like to know.

Or should we wait for Jared-when you meet him you’re going to love him … only the best people-Kushner for the answer? Forget about his inability to fill out a security clearance form or his billion dollar real estate losses. But for his father-in-law being the president, would anyone ever ask Jared for his opinion on anything let alone on how to save hundreds of thousands of live?

Sure, Jared’s no microbiologist or doctor, but he’s read up a lot. He’s not an expert and therefore technically does not have an expert opinion. But as the president’s official son-in-law, we’d like him to address the nation. Can we really trust anyone else?

So Jerry, what’s the plan?

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Remember 911? You haven’t seen nothing yet!

I moved to Spain in September 2000. Almost a year to the day later 911 hit and the world changed. Once I made all the necessary calls to make sure my friends and family were safe, my next thought was that this was going to be really, really bad. I never considered that the terrorist would win but that the U.S. would over-react, ignore its traditional allies and take revenge. That is in fact what the U.S. did. We singlehandedly destroyed Iraq and went on to occupy Afghanistan for 19 years and counting, the longest war in American history against an enemy that likely cannot find the U.S. on a map. None of the terrorists were even from those countries!

And now nineteen years after 911, the U.S. and the world are facing another unique national security and health crisis. Again, I am sitting in Spain watching it all unfold before my eyes. Already the U.S. president is calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus”. Why is only the U.S. president trying to turn this into an enemy with a name and place? Besides obvious concerns that China will benefit from the outbreak, when American leaders feel threatened outside of their control (and/or it is an election year), their instinct is to fabricate a new enemy, take advantage of the situation and then funnel trillions of dollars to the benefit of special interest groups and government contractors. Covid-19 will surely kill more Americans than at 911 and all the terrorist deaths since 911.  So forget the Patriot Act, enhanced interrogation, or warrantless surveillance (the kind Trump thinks were unfair when applied to his campaign staff). Expect our leaders and their donors’ companies to have a field day! Any criticism of the steps they take will be tantamount to blasphemy. Have you seen this movie before?

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

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If you think the Cure is Worse than the Disease You are either a Psychopath or in Self-Destructive Denial

UPDATE BELOW

Are there really lots of smart people debating whether the economic pain is worse than the cure? I honestly don’t think that anywhere where people are dying in the hundreds per day anyone is having that argument. That argument is murder. Make no mistake.

This is funny coming from people who claim to be Pro Life or who complained that Obama Care would create Death Panels. But precisely what these people are saying is that we should sacrifice potentially tens of thousands of lives (maybe hundreds of thousands) in order to avoid short or mid term economic loss. That is literally the government deciding who lives and who dies.

But before we get there, a little context: I live in Madrid, Spain. In a country with a population of 40 million, as of March 25, 2020, some 3,400 people have died in the past two weeks (more people than died in China). Today alone, 738 people – all human beings like you and me – died. Life over! Yesterday the number was +500, the day before +400, the day before +300. So many people have died in Madrid that there is no place to put the bodies. In fact, they have converted the shopping center literally across the street in front of me – the only place I go these days to buy groceries and to go to the pharmacy – into a make-shift morgue. I kid you not. This isn’t a fucking joke. This isn’t a fat lady that Trump can insult.

A friend’s sister is a nurse here. She says that her hospital sees 4-5 new ICU patients every hour. These are not just grandma and grandpa. They are people of all ages who desperately need respirators. All of the medical staff at her hospital have tested positive, but they work on. They have no other choice. Either they work or even more people die. Again, this is not a fucking joke. This isn’t a fumbling, senile Democratic presidential candidate Trump can make fun of.

Just to give you another quick example, I spoke to two people on the phone today who are positive. They haven’t been tested because hospitals and the authorities don’t have time to waste testing people. They ask you a few questions about your symptoms and make a quick determination. Both of these people are at home, their children are also positive, but the hospitals won’t take them until they are on the verge of respiratory failure. There is just no space in the hospitals. Not enough doctors. This is not a fucking joke. This isn’t CNN you can whine about on Fox News for treating you unfairly.

Sorry, but if your biggest concern is the economy, then you are a psychopath. According to Wikipedia, psychopathology is “a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, and egotistical traits.”

OK, maybe saying that we should prioritize jobs over the lives of tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of human beings in Trump and Biden’s age range is rational and not psychopathy. Fine, I will concede that point if those making the argument agree to forgo treatment if they become ill. Any takers? And guess who is infecting all of the elderly? You guessed it: younger people who are asymptomatic or have yet to show symptoms.

So far the best article I have read about the current predicament is the Hammer and Dance. If governments and people take responsibility now – meaning that they engage in extreme social distancing and make some economic sacrifices, in a few months this pandemic will likely be under control. In the meantime, governments should be using what resources and expertise they have to ramp-up medical supplies like protective gear for health care workers, urgently manufacture mechanical respirators, and order tests. After they have taken those measures, then they can engage in aggressive spending initiatives to protect business and individuals affected by the short and mid-term economic impacts of the absolutely dire measures to protect lives. But saying that we should merely accept the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives (which would otherwise be preventable) for short term economic stability and to maintain the comfort of our daily routine is EXTREMIST by definition. It is also delusional.

Imagine what would happen if we did nothing. No quarantines. We let people go to the stores, get on planes, hang out at Mar-a-Lago. What would the economic impact be? Clearly it would be worse than the cure. Not only would more people get sick, more people would need hospitalization and instead of people Trump and Biden’s age dying, people in their 30s and 40s would be dying because the current infrastructure simply cannot manage the increased volumes of patients. The infrastructure can’t manage under quarantine conditions, so it certainly cannot manage without them.  What would happen next? People would start social distancing anyways. People wouldn’t go to the store, to a hotel or get on a plane. It would never be worth the risk! The hospitals would be so overloaded that they would have no bandwidth to manage even the run-of-the-mill medical emergencies you have during normal times, like kidney stones, appendicitis, car accidents, or kids needing stitches. Unless of course you just stop treating anyone with Covid-19 and left them to die on the streets.

Even in places like Hong Kong, South Korea or Singapore where they have engaged in less social distancing, they have imposed very strict testing and control measures, and no one is traveling. No one! I was told today by a colleague in Singapore that anyone entering the country is put in a hotel for quarantine for 14 days, and if you are a non-citizen resident who leaves the country and comes back infected, the national health care system will not cover you. Everyone wears masks to work, and everyone wipes the button on the elevator with alcohol before selecting their floor. Is America ready for that?

So please stop saying that the cure is worse than the disease. It is bull shit propaganda. It is about politicians who are too scared that that an increase in unemployment or a poor economy will ruin their chances at reelection. If they are not sociopaths, then they are in absolute denial – straight from The Plague — that their own lives are at risk. Don’t ask me, walk across the street from where I live. It is full of dead bodies.

If you are not convinced then ask yourself these questions: are you willing to reject a respirator in favor of helping the economy? Would Trump reject a respirator to protect the Dow Jones or his chances at re-election? Would you rather save your job or your parents’ lives?

I can promise you that until it hits your neighborhood – and when it hits, it hits so sudden you never saw it coming — you have no idea what you are up against. This is no joke.

And what is the US government about to do? It will pass the largest stimulus bill in American history. But it will do so without first taking the absolutely necessary measures to protects the lives of its citizens. It will prioritize the livelihood of its economy first. That is by definition … well I don’t need to say it. You already know what it is.

UPDATED March 26, 2020:

Let me explain it another way: Covid-19 presents the moral test of our time. The only way to save lives is for individuals — people like you and me — to make sacrifices to our normal, daily way of life. We need to stay indoors, limit our outings to a bare minimum and to the bare necessities. We need to manage life with our children at home, instead of outsourcing their care to schools. More importantly we must assume that we ourselves are infected but asymptomatic. Therefore, we — each one of us —  are the biggest risk to our fellow human beings and to society. If all you care about is your job or your routine, then you are the one killing your neighbors. This will only be resolved by each individual taking personal responsibility for the situation.

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Will China Emerge from Covid-19 like the U.S. did after WWII, the Indispensable World Leader?

There are already conspiracy theories out there that Covid-19 – what only Trump calls the Chinese Virus – is either a weaponized virus created by China or one that leaked accidentally out of Chinese laboratories. I am not one for conspiracy theories, but when reading yesterday news stories about China – not the US – coming to Spain’s rescue, it became clear that China will end up being the great victor when the dust settles and all is said and done.

Let’s look at the current situation. The U.S. (and many European countries) have known at least for 2 months about the impending humanitarian and economic crisis that Covid-19 presented. Nevertheless, they sat on the information and did not take urgent steps. In the meantime, China – a country with significantly less political restraints – was able to take drastic and extreme measures, all of which in hindsight seem reasonable. Now we are starting to see the fruits of those measures with factories coming back online and the number of new infections dropping.  In other words, China will be able to prosper while the rest of the world, in particular the U.S., is devastated.

Does this sound familiar? After World War II, the U.S. became what Americans called the world’s “indispensable” nation, taking on the role of global leader. Americans often think this is because of some inherent merit or intrinsic moral superiority of democracy or American values. But this is not the case. The U.S. was simply the only industrialized nation not in rubble after the war. We were the last man standing. In John W. Dower’s Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II about the U.S. military occupation of Japan following the war, he writes,

“What made America “great” was that it was rich; and, for many, what made “democracy” appealing was the way to become prosperous.

The U.S. walked away from World War II (without the preexisting conditions of World War I) unscathed, with the positive aftereffects of having put the economy into overhaul to build and supply the war effort abroad while suffering absolutely no infrastructural damage on the mainland. We were young, thriving, optimistic, ideological and ready to rebuild the world to our own massive benefit.  We have reaped those benefits until today: economic, military and cultural dominance.

While the first impression that the rest of the world had of China three months ago when reports came out about the Covid-19 was that China was a totalitarian regime covering up a major PR nightmare and lying to the rest of the world – flash forward to the end of March, and let’s not lie to ourselves. European democracies and the U.S. have engaged in the same type of political deception. In Spain – where I live and am in total lockdown – the Socialist government is taking major heat from society for having waited so long to react – even though Spain has imposed some of the strictest measures in Europe. Meanwhile, the Trump administration spent the last two months assuring Americans that Covid-19 (which again it suddenly dubbed the Chinese Virus) was absolutely nothing to worry about, that soon zero Americans would be infected, and that the good weather would make it dissipate.

Unless the US intelligence community, national security team reporting to the President and the President are idiots, then they must have known since the beginning of the outbreak in China months ago that there was a risk of pandemic and that China were covering it all up. The US leadership may have had good reasons to lie -like to avoid a panic or economic meltdown – but they lied. In other words, Americans have been just as dishonest as the Chinese, either that or they have been fatally incompetent, with a potential death toll that will outnumber 911 and terrorist-related deaths by the thousands.

Now the world is watching. They see the incompetence of the Americans and the Europeans. At the same time, they see the Chinese coming out of their nightmare able to lend material support and medical expertise, all while the Americans are arguing over how much money to give to corporate slush funds. I am already hearing people say that the democracies of the world are not able to achieve what the totalitarian Chinese could. So when all is said and done and countries are decimated, who will they look to for models of success and for a helping hand?

It is as if everything that was achieved since World War II to improve civic and political rights, peace and prosperity has ended in a last few desperate gasps of respiratory  failure.

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How are those Tax Cuts looking today?

Tax cuts are always popular. Big government is always the enemy. Yet in times of real crisis Big Government – think the massive military operation at Normandy – comes to save the day. And when there is a massive tax cut – like the one passed by Trump – no one ever asks who is going to pay for it or how will we afford the next big crisis.

As I have seen posted by a number of people on Twitter in recent days, “everyone becomes a democratic socialist when a pandemic hits”. Everyone wants governments to step in and bail us all out.

Those tax cuts you all wanted don’t seem so smart now do they?

And what about all those conspiring Deep Staters? Who do we want telling us how to stay safe? Politicians – who told us this was not biggie — or the professional health experts who have dedicated their professional lives to civil service?

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