Tag Archives: donald trump

outrage is lacking

Where’s the outrage?

As of right now — 2:38 pm on May 26, 2020, about 99,162 Americans have been killed by Covid-19. This should make people outraged but it isn’t. That is nearly 100,000 people killed in approximately three months. For perspective, that is more than 33 9/11s or 25,000 Benghazi attacks. President Donald Trumps’ inability to face reality or care about anyone has meant tens of thousands of people died who didn’t have to. Think that is hyperbole? Columbia University looked into this and found that 36,000 people would still be alive if we stated social distancing a mere seven days earlier. Yet, the response has been muted. I live in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic and a state Trump no longer cares for. Wherever I look, I see how damaging this pandemic has been.

If you were angry about Benghazi, why are you complacent now?

Between September 11 and 12, 2012, militants in Libya attacked two American compounds and killed four U.S. officials and contractors. At first the attacks were blamed on a protest but then that was changed to premeditated attacks by a militant group in the country. For people on the right, “Benghazi” turned into a dog whistle for people who hate Hillary Clinton. It remains such today. T-shirts, bumper sticker, and more were made with the claim, “Hillary lied, people died.”

A flurry of investigations followed. None unearthed any evidence of wrongdoing. The Republican-led Congress put together six investigations. They went so far as to convene the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was chaired by then-Congressman Trey Goudy (R-SC) and would go on to clear the,-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After two years of investigating these events, he told FOX News that nothing could have saved these four people. When asked if the U.S. military could have been deployed to arrive in time to make a difference, he said, “Whether or not they could have gotten there in time, I don’t think there is any issue with respect to that — they couldn’t.”

Where are the “Trump lied, people died” signs?

Since it struck China in December 2019, President Trump has made a number of misleading statements (aka lies in any other reality). CBS News has a great timeline of what Trump has made up, when he lied, and what the actual situation was. Their list goes through April but the lies have continued through today.

To recap, Trump denied the virus was a problem or threat to the country for months. When it was too real to deny, he switched to “I always said this was a pandemic.” When people started looking into how his administration responded to the crisis, he switched to talking up the job he has done and fell back on his normal pattern of blaming and bashing everyone who disagrees with him or anyone he thinks is vulnerable. I can’t think of anyone who thinks Columbia University is not a venerable institution but after they reported on Trump’s ineptitude, he called them “discredited.” (Don’t take my word, you can Google this and find it yourself.)

Despite all of this, there are no calls for hearings or investigations. The Republican Party is so fully up Trump’s ass, they no longer can see the harm this dangerous man is doing to the nation.

This revolution will be televised and Tweeted.

Maybe the most disheartening part of the Trump response has been the way he, his party and his news network (FOX News if you have not been paying attention) have turned this into the ultimate culture war. When Trump was busy denying the impending crisis, so were the anchors on his favorite network. More than one survey came out showing that people who relied on FOX News were less concerned (if they cared at all) about Covid-19 than people who relied on other sources for their news. The NY Times wrote this about the pro-Trump media response. In it, they note:

Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators turned a pandemic into a battle of us vs. them — the kind of battle President Trump has waged for much of his life.

The NY Times

I have talked to people at FOX News who dispute the reports about its viewers by saying no one outside of the network have access to data about them. That may be true but anecdotal evidence I have collected supports the general thesis that people who support Trump and pay attention to right-wing “news” are less likely to care as much about the pandemic.

More than just convince FOX News viewers and their ilk not to worry, the Trump message to get back to work and not wear a mask has also found support in the anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theory communities around the country. And the worst part? Conspiracy theorists are winning the communications game. New polling suggests that 40 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats think Bill Gates is going to use any vaccine against Covid-19 to implant microchips into people to track their movements. (Side note: those smartphones we all love already do that. Where’s the outrage about that?) Groups that support opening the nation back up talk about “government oppression” (wearing masks violates some right they think they have) and an “upcoming rebellion.” Again, this is anecdotal but people I know say a revolution is going to start if states do not open up and stop asking people to wear masks.

For these people, who think the government is always up to no good (yet many support Trump, head of the government, go figure), vaccines are inherently shady and bad for you, and that Bill Gates works for Satan (I KNEW CLIPPY WAS EVIL), any efforts to slow the spread or flatten the curve of the pandemic really want to control the American people. Note: Many of these Trump supporters and rebels also do not see any racism in U.S. police departments (again, go figure). They feel all of the outrage but not at Trump. It’s the corrupt/evil/larger-than-life system!

But where’s the anger about the death toll?

Way back in 1996, Bob Dole (presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Kansas) had a meltdown of sorts. At a rally in Texas, he listed off all of the problems he attributed to Bill Clinton’s unscrupulous behavior and questionable moral character (his opinion, not mine) and asked, “Where is the outrage?” I pose that same question today.

People I know and respect who were outraged about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya say their anger is not at the number of people who died but the coverup that followed. To that argument, I call bullshit. The GOP has become of the party of gaslighting. In claiming to look into a coverup for political purposes, they launched investigation after investigation to hurt Hillary Clinton. Gowdy called his hearings “a failure” but Kevin McCarthy admitted they hurt Hillary and that was the reason they were hell-bent on investigating. He told FOX News:

“Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

FOX News

PS, Congress spent more money investigating Benghazi than they did looking into 9/11. Apparently, national security only matters when you can prove nefariousness on the part of Democrats.

Trump is incompetent and needs to go.

No one can say for sure if the nation should open up. Will more people get and die from Covid-19? Will there be a second wave in the fall? Other waves after? Will the outrage come then? (The 1918 flu had between four and five waves, the second was worse than the first.) One thing we do know is Donald Trump’s incompetence killed Americans. If 100,000 people dead in under three months is not enough to convince you he needs to go, what will?

PS. People have asked me “were you worried about pandemics before this?” Yes, yes I was. In fact I wrote this in 2013. And, while at least three people died in February from the coronavirus, people didn’t really start dying until March so that is why I say it is nearly 100,000 over three months and not four is because that is more accurate.

This is how genocide starts

This was reprinted from Firebrand Left. As that website is no longer up and running, I found it on the Way Back Machine. I think we are past three and have reached five.

Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of things I have heard Donald Trump say to be upsetting, frightening or just plain confusing, nothing I have heard him say comes even close to what his supporters say. They say the United States Constitution is “outdated.” They do, support the Second Amendment but the rest was written by people who did not have to deal with modern-day terrorism. This is how they justify hating Muslims. Islam, they say, is not a religion but a political ideology.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-11-13-03-am

This is not helpful for any real conversation but that is not the real problem. While I do not think it is appropriate to define 1.6 billion people this way but that is not the real problem either. The problem is not even that anti-Muslim rhetoric makes gives the extremists more ammunition to use against us or that it makes it harder to fight terrorism. The problem is that when you start defining this way, we are taking the first step towards genocide. That’s not the America I think we want to live in.

You may be thinking, “That’s pretty extreme.” It is but there is something that people do not realize about genocide. If you look at the phenomenon across centuries and continents, you will see genocide follows a predictable pattern. From Armenia and Germany to Rwanda and Sudan and then to Cambodia, there are ten steps all of these genocides follow. They are (per Genocide Watch):

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanization
  5. Organization
  6. Polarization
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

We are hovering somewhere between step one and three. We have not quite gotten to the point of actual discrimination but there are measures that have passed or considered to ban Sharia law in all but 16 American states. Who is behind all of this? A number of high profile Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have spearheaded the “anti-Sharia” movement.

This belief, that Americans need to be protected from Muslims, has been advanced by the Trump campaign. HIs famous promises to build walls along the Mexican but not Canadian border and to ban entry by Muslims advance the cause of racism and Islamophobia. We need to be protected from what we see as “them.” Americans are Christian (and sometimes Jewish). That’s the ‘us.” Muslims are not true Americans who pay their taxes, love their families and serve in our military, they are outsiders to be feared and demonized.

Trump and his supporters point out the recent attacks throughout Europe, in Orlando and in New York and New Jersey. They do not mention the fact that the gunman in Orlando was born in New York nor do they talk about the Oklahoma City bombing by a United States born terrorist or the multitudes of shootings by Americans. No one was talking about religion when they looked at the massacres in Sandy Hook, Columbine or at 101 California Street. We are not being killed in mass numbers by Muslims coming into the country. We are too busy killing ourselves.

The problem with the people who think, and my feeling is that they really believe the things they are saying, that we are facing an existential threat. Adolph Hitler really believed that the world was engaged in an epic battle for survival against the Jews.  When people say things like, “there are no good Muslims and bad Muslims…” they are reading right out of the Nazi Germany playbook:

This is not what this country is all about. We cannot become complicit to the mentality that is promoted by the Trump supporters. We are better than that. I hope.

Photo by Gage Skidmore 

What just happened?

Last week, life was just so simple. Donald Trump was a narcissistic sociopath and I disagreed with everything he did. This week, he is still a narcissistic sociopath but I agree with something he did, what the hell happened?

English: Brasilia - The president of the Syria...

English: Brasilia – The president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad during a visit to Congress Português do Brasil: Brasília – O presidente da República Árabe Síria, Bashar Al-Assad, em visita ao Congresso Nacional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Syrian President Bashar al Assad decided to up the game in the civil war in his country by dropping Sarin gas on Tuesday. People say, “That doesn’t make sense, he is winning. Why would he do this?” Well, there are some ideas as to why Assad would gas his own people. None of them are good reasons but there are some ideas.

This is from a piece in the New York Times

“Militarily, there is no need,” said Bente Scheller, the Middle East director of the Berlin-based Heinrich Böll Foundation. “But it spreads the message: You are at our mercy. Don’t ask for international law. You see, it doesn’t protect even a child.”

This is not the first time Assad has gassed his people. More from the NY Times piece:

The fall of Idlib led to another turning point: Russia’s full-on entry into the conflict, adding its firepower to the Syrian government’s. Russia said it entered to fight the Islamic State, but directed most of its strikes at places farther west, like Idlib, where rival insurgents more urgently threatened government forces.

Chlorine attacks continued — investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations concluded the government had carried out at least three in 2014 and 2015 — with little international reaction.

Now, I am in the strange position of supporting Trump and military action. Liberal friends of mine say, “Yeah, this is like Iraq.” There are a number of reasons that this is not like Iraq. In the first place, we bombed an airfield. If it worked, it knocked out a way for Assad to bomb more people. In the second place, the Iraq invasion was misguided for a number of reasons and that country wasn’t six years into a violent civil war that had caused one of the largest refugee crises of our time. There are five million refugees because of this.

To equate this conflict with other things going on is silly. To say what we did was a “war crime” is crazy. I do not support Trump but I support what he did in Syria last night. I suspect hell is freezing over.

Donald Trump has done some amazing things. Seriously.

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do not care for Donald Trump. Not even a little bit. This is not because I am a Democrat and he is a Republican. I am more of a Republican than Trump and I have a Democratic donkey tattoo. If I had the chance to talk to Trump, I might say something like this, “I have known Republicans and you are no Republican.”

Having said that, Trump has done some amazing things. Here are a few:

  • I feel badly for Paul Ryan. While it is true that I have admitted to having a small crush on the speaker but that is not it. I disagree with him on everything but … he talks to Trump every day? That sounds cruel. I think the 8th Amendment to the Constitution should make that not happen.
  • Trump made me feel badly for Ted Cruz. At one point, Senator Lindsey Graham said Cruz could be murdered on the Senate floor without being convicted (by people in the Senate). That shows how unlikeable he is. When Trump went after his wife for her appearance and then said his dad was involved in the assassination of JFK, I was like, “Wow, that is just mean. Mean and crazy.”
  • Trump has made me miss George W. Bush. When “Dubya” was president, I thought we were scraping the bottom of the barrel but I was wrong. Dubya was not my first choice (or 500th choice) but we lived in a reality that involved facts and a common sense of things. He never said President Clinton wiretapped his offices or had his people defend his tweets by saying our microwave ovens can be used as spy devices. Dangit, I miss Dubya.

Trump is a narcissistic, sociopathic, thin skinned prick who thinks that he can mold reality to what he wants it to be. This is how he operated on reality TV and in Trump Tower where his word was it. That is not the way the rest of the world works.

Oh, Trump has also made me feel badly for his supporters, who voted for someone who will make their lives worse.