Incompetence, Stupidity And Evil

The title of today’s article basically sums up President Trump and his most vocal supporters as they have acted over the course of Coronagate thus far. There is plenty to try and unpack so let’s explore.

One of Trump’s latest whipping boys is the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations (UN). Both the right wing and Trump have always hated the UN. In fact the first time the right wing attacked the WHO was in 1948, (the year it was created). Trump claims the WHO has handled the coronavirus pandemic poorly and deceptively. What’s that old saying about the pot and the kettle? Here is the truth: there are more than a dozen Executive Branch agency employees embedded at the WHO’s Geneva, Switzerland headquarters who report back to their superiors. If Trump wasn’t aware of the WHO’s activity in almost real time it is either because his people did a lousy job of reporting up the chain and more likely because they knew Trump doesn’t want bad news opting instead for willful ignorance. In other words the taxpayers provided Trump the needed resources and he didn’t use them.

One of the major problems our health care providers are currently facing is the shortage of PPE. While Trump ignored coronavirus warnings in January and February his Commerce Department – led by Wilbur Ross of the coronavirus American job creation theory – encouraged American firms to export PPE to China.

Many of the early Center for Disease Control (CDC) coronavirus tests were defective. (Trump and his minions have falsely stated it was the WHO tests.) It is now coming out that the main reason the CDC test were defective is because of the unsanitary conditions they were developed in. CDC is an Executive Branch agency.

The tab on stabilizing the economy stands at over $2 trillion as of this writing and may go up considerably before this week is out. I’ll make the not so bold prediction that the stimulus being worked on this week in DC will not be the last. Keep in mind the total American economy is about $20 trillion.

If I went into the problems the administration is having in administering the program I would be writing books (yes, multiple) not a column. Therefore I will take a brief looks at it. What most Americans envision as a small business and what is eligible under the program for small business help is very, very different. To me small business is the mom and pop storefront. One beneficiary of the program got a lot of good press on Monday morning because they gave back a $10 million loan/grant. I’d like to invoke the Schumer principle – they only did the right thing after they got caught doing the wrong thing.

Another firm benefiting from another aspect of the program had a combined $81 million in tax breaks and stock buybacks as a result of the Trump Tower Tax  Cut. How about penalizing bad management for not having a rainy day fund when they were capable of doing so? Isn’t rewarding success and punishing failure the idea of a profit oriented free market?

The biggest current threat to American lives is the coronavirus, but the biggest threat in the not that distant future remains climate change. It has largely flown under the radar but Trump’s EPA has suspended enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. There is no end date to the policy. Does that mean the edict will stand as long as Trump is in the White House? His financiers would certainly like that. Remember with Trump it is all about the money; especially if that money flows to him.

Greed knows no bounds as was illustrated by the WWE (owned by Trump financiers the McMahon family) last week. Two days after being declared an essential industry by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (which saved them a bundle by letting them live up to the terms of some very financially lucrative contract) they laid off many employees. Fake wrestling is essential?

I’m not one to promote Twitter tags but last weekend one worth mentioning was trending: #FloridaMorons. DeSantis reopened the beaches and allegedly grassroots advocates flooded them. In reality they were easily influenced, right wing gun extremists. Now let me be clear, I think everyone has the right to attempt suicide by their stupidity. I just don’t think they have the right to endanger others in the process. The issue is that these morons are going to interact with the rest of us after they willfully exposed themselves to the virus.

The reality is that while a few spots may have peaked, the nation certainly has not. Keep in mind both that I used the word “may” and that there is a deadly downside after we reach the peak. The reality is that little is definitively known about this specific virus and we are very far from “all clear”. Here is something scary to ponder: In South Korea recovered coronavirus patients have tested positive again. Does that mean they can catch it and/or transmit it again? The answer is we don’t know.

It’s difficult to know where the lines are separating incompetence, stupidity and just pure evil.

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