The Danger Of Willful Ignorance And Incompetence

Ignorance is excusable and a fact of life. It is impossible to know everything. A personal example is that as I entered what I call Phase II of my retirement late last month I joined a classics book club which I will attend my first meeting of later this week. Reading the classics was a gap in my education and I’m trying to plug it a bit. Willful ignorance is not knowing on purpose and acting as if you did. That is how the Trump administration is operating and it is a danger to America and the rest of the planet. Let’s explore.

My first example is very serious but received almost no news coverage. I’ve lived all but a few months of my life well east of the Mississippi River. There are a few differences between life east and west of the Mississippi. The biggest one is the issue of water. East of the Mississippi water is relatively plentiful (except if the Republicans took over your town like in Flint, Michigan). In the West, particularly down river, that is a different story. The main river of the West is the Colorado. Last week I caught a blurb in the Washington Post that due to decreased snowfall attributed to climate change more than 1.5 billion tons of water less, (about a 20% reduction), flowed down the river. Remember the region already had less water than it needed and downriver states like Arizona are increasing in population and thereby their demand for water increases. At the same time Trump and his minions are saying climate change is a hoax. You take it from there.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the coronavirus outbreak would actually be a U.S. jobs program. President Trump told the foreign press that we had it completely under control and he was not worried about it. Rush Limbaugh said it was a weaponized version of the common cold aimed at Trump, in other words a hoax.

Monday the Dow Jones fell over 1,000 points or over 3.5%. As of about noon on Tuesday (the time of this writing) it was down an additional 300 plus points or a bit over 1%. Finally Monday night the Trump administration asked Congress for $1.8 billion dollars to fight coronavirus. Was the drop in the Dow the stimulus? While I’m not against the new money (the over $500 million that is being taken from funding to fight/prevent Ebola is another issue) this would never have been necessary hadn’t the Trump administration basically gutted previously existing disease research and prevention programs.

I have never held up Wall Street as a valid measure of the economy but even the rich boy gamblers there are now admitting this is bad for business. (Since it’s measured in dollars; something Trump and his people care about.) I’m certain the numbers are underreported, but still the pandemic has already taken well over 1,000 lives on three continents. (Something Trump and his people do not care about.)

One of the most recent controversies revolves around the IC reporting to Congress that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to favor Trump and Bernie Sanders. Trump fired several members of the IC including acting DNI Joseph Maguire over that. Now the latest defense Trump and his minions have taken is that they have not been briefed about Russian interference favoring Trump but conveniently they have been briefed about Russian interference favoring Sanders.

Trump replaced Maguire with the unqualified and implicated in Ukrainegate but sycophant Richard Grenell. Now it has come to light that Grenell acted as a foreign agent for the government of Hungary which is led by Trump friend and right wing strongman Viktor Orban without registering as such which is a clear violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). That is one of the reasons Paul Manafort is in jail and Michael Flynn is now a convicted felon. Anybody want to take my bet that Bill Barr’s Justice Department won’t investigate Grenell?

Instead of firing people who are doing the jobs the taxpayers pay them to do I suggest Trump do something about the ongoing Russian interference in our elections. Step one might be to pick up the phone and call his buddy (or should I say boss?) Vladimir Putin and tell him to immediately cease. Then he could release the transcript of the call. A real transcript; not an edited summary that he tells his adoring crowds is a transcript – there is a huge difference!

An economy that includes a $1 trillion deficit whose primary accomplishment has been to give big fat tax returns to the president’s buddies is not a booming economy. Trump is currently in India where even he admits that the anticipated trade deal will not happen soon if at all. Why did he go there on our dime? If he wants to play tourist I suggest he pay for taking his wife to see a non-bankrupt Taj Mahal with his own money.

If you want to survive in the Donald Dome I guess one of the rules is that while you may see and hear evil you cannot mention it to Congress, the press or Trump. We have had incompetent presidents before; but an incompetent one operating in an environment of enforced ignorance is truly dangerous.

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One thought on “The Danger Of Willful Ignorance And Incompetence”

  1. Please Larry, save us your suggestions for how Trump should behave. I know you mean well, and the fact that you are still of a hopeful mind is reassuring. But Trump is NOT ever going to respond to any external suggestions. His deliberate ignorance is beyond correction. He must be replaced! Meanwhile the Democrats need to get past this internecine warfare and focus their attacks on Trump.

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