Unabated Evil

I can’t ever remember publishing one of my catch up articles on a Sunday. Generally that day is reserved for the big political news story of the week just ended. While over the last several weeks most Americans – or at least those of us with an above room temperature IQ – have drastically modified our behavior by social distancing and, for those of us who are fortunately enough to be able to do so, self-isolating at least to a great degree Trump and his minions are proceeding as normal. In other words they are lying and generally mismanaging the federal government while purloining from it. Let’s explore some recent examples.  

Early last week it became apparent that the food supply chain was in jeopardy of collapsing, particularly when it came to meat. Among the plethora of problems is that an inordinate percentage of meat processing center employees are contracting the coronavirus. At minimum prudent action dictates that the plants be closed, extensively cleaned, workers tested for the virus and production procedures significantly modified. What did Trump do? He invoked the Defense Production Act to prevent state and local officials from closing the plants. He left the workers (who are disproportionately non-white) the option of losing their jobs or risking their lives. He gave the plant owners (many of whom are his financiers) a “get out of jail free card” for any fatalities. One possible motivation for his action is that someone told him a beef shortage could lead to a Big Mac shortage. OK, that last sentence was an attempt at humor.

Trump’s action is consistent with the Republican Party’s decade’s long deregulation campaign. The coronavirus, like Katrina – remember what W. did with prevailing wage laws – is just an excuse to do harm to the consumer and the worker while help their financiers profit. Keep in mind that the Republicans consistently work to privatize profits while socializing losses. Who has fared better under the Trump Tower Tax Cut and the various stimulus efforts; the people at the top or the masses?

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to insure that meat processing center owners made money but never did to require the production of PPE to protect front line health care providers. This is another example of “Republican logic” where the World Health Organization is bad and the WWE is an essential business.

Trump (a/k/a Cadet Bone Spurs) loves to talk of how much he loves the military. Last week he announced he would be addressing the commencement ceremonies at West Point. This entails calling 1,000 cadets back to a campus that is about 50 miles from New York City. Many will travel there by airplane and land in New York. It costs about $500,000 to get a cadet from the plebe year to graduation as a Second Lieutenant. That means he is risking a half-billion dollars’ worth of talent to satisfy his ego. The announcement came during his comedy hour so as not to have been one upped by his Vice President.

Friday new White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, did something her predecessor of 13 months never did; she held a press conference. She began it by promising she would never lie to the press then proceeded to tell lie after lie. While Sean Spencer was more pitiful and Sarah Sanders more (unjustifiably) arrogant this is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

With the federal government essentially AWOL, to a degree our lives literally depend on the actions of our state and local officials. Attorney General Bill Barr – a Trump sycophant if there ever was one – announced that the Justice Department may challenge state and local leaders who defy Trump by doing their job of protecting their constituents. I wish Barr would simply do his job of being the people’s lawyer and not Don Trump’s Consigliere.

Last week Wednesday it was announced that American GDP sunk by 4.8% in the first quarter. (Keep in mind the economic impact was largely nil in January and February.)  That same day the U.S. coronavirus total passed the 1 million mark and Boy Blunder Jared Kushner praised the administration’s response to it as a, “Great success story”. I can hear the Republican defenses now: “Who knew” and “I could have been worse.” I’ll let you unpack that.

The abuse in the administration of the Paycheck Protection Program is already legendary and will make great fodder for a future Congressional investigation but here is a quickie. At least 43 companies with over 500 employees have received funds. (The defined cutoff to be considered a small business is 500 employees.) Remember that after this is over and you find your local mom and pop coffee shop, corner store, bookstore etc. out of business.

The prior week’s new unemployment claims came in at 3.8 million. That brings the most recent six week total to over 30 million. In other words under Trump’s “leadership” we have now given back all the job growth of the Obama administration and the early part of the Trump administration, which was really little more than an extension (at a slower rate of growth) of Obama’s program. Is the Trump Recession the Trump Depression yet?

As is usually the case with these type of articles I have run out of space (and you time) before I ran out of material. However I think my point is well made.

Medical experts have been bombarding us with good advice on how best to improve your odds of surviving the pandemic without becoming infected. For your political survival I present my modified Wizard of Oz Theory: When Trump or his surrogates speak pay no attention to the man (and in rare cases woman) behind the podium. I suggest that the biggest political story of last week is that Trump used the “distraction” of the coronavirus to continue his evil deeds relatively unabated.

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One thought on “Unabated Evil”

  1. I’ve been hunkering down for six or seven weeks. Now these morons are opening up again. That means that I, and we, will have to be extra vigilant and be prepared for the second wave. Good luck to all of us.

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