“In Wisconsin, Republicans have proven that they’re willing to get people killed to protect minority rule.”
— New York Magazine writer Eric Levitz tweet.
“You are incredibly safe to go out.”
— Wisconsin speaker Robin Vos in full PPE saying we’re safe to vote from an April 7 tweet.
This Is Trump’s Fault
Author David Frum, The Atlantic headline.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/9/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Before going there…
Wisconsin held a primary election on Tuesday. The Wisconsin Republican-led legislature successfully fought any initiative by Democratic Gov. Toney Evens (D) to postpone or even to extend a deadline for voting by mail. Assembly speaker Robin Vos disingenuously enacted his own Potemkin Village by appearing in full personal protective gear (PPE) — unavailable to voters and poll workers statewide — to assure us, ‘all is safe’. (You really need to see the picture.)
Remember, Vos and the GOP are prioritizing voter disenfranchisement to hold power with a minority of voters over the safety of Wisconsin citizens. This is the part Trump said out loud with his, if you allow high voter turnout “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again”. Party of Trump political self-preservation puts your life at risk whether it is forcing a vote to proceed during a pandemic or a refusal to expand Medicaid to benefit the health and well being of people in need.
The Nation’s Justice correspondent Elie Mystal notes, “SCOTUS Just Set the Stage for Republicans to Steal the Election” When was the last time you could cite the US Supreme Court finding in favor of fairness and justice with election decisions – from Bush-Gore in 2000 to 2018 weakening of the Voting Rights Act to Wisconsin 2020, SCOTUS is not a voter’s friend. It’s a consequence of not winning elections – we have a minority party — in cahoots with the courts — enacting barriers to fair voting and we will see this again and again.
Another updated story affecting Wisconsin and Milwaukee – the Washington Post is taking a national view to the story carried here about the heavy impact of COVID-19 on black Americans in Milwaukee. “The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate”. Alarmngly the pattern is repeated beyond Milwaukee ,in places like Louisiana, Chicago, Detroit, D.C. and other locations.
In Vernon County, Wisconsin, Dr. Chakoian posted a FB update crediting local disciplined social distancing with limiting the spread of COVID-19 here, but he does also sign off with “please keep up your efforts like the lives of your loved ones depend on it.”
As of Wednesday (3/8) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care with severe COVID-19 symptoms, but is reported in stable condition.
On a broader level let’s consider the latest from two locations key to COVID-19 experience. In a New York Times article titled “Italy Is Sending Another Warning” warns of the social and economic impact of extended lockdown. The subtitle provide a summary: “desperate, hungry and scared.” A “father of five how runs a small flower shop in the north of Naples” offers this:
“Since then I’ve had nothing coming in at all,” he said. “As of yet, I haven’t received any government assistance. We have nowhere to turn.”
This is a stern reminder, if we heed Dr. Chakoian’s advice, our recovery will be easier. There are some positive signs “Even as deaths mount, officials see signs pandemic’s toll may not match worst fears” but if we relax our discipline we invite the spread of COVID-19 to get worse. Early signs the pandemic may ‘not getting worse’ in New York City is hardly a guarantee that areas yet to be impacted, like much of rural America, is now safe.
Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the spread of COVID-19 is ending its lockdown with some remaining restrictions in place; “healthy residents be allowed to leave Wuhan.” Imagine that health checks as a condition for travel, access to events, returning to work – could become a norm.
Now to turn to the main point I want to highlight.
Trump decided his reelection depended on a robust economy and a global pandemic not taking root in the United States. Being the charlatan he is, he felt the sheer will of personality could achieve his desired outcome. Why not? Trump’s history of his relationship with Russia, his extortion of Ukraine, his remaining in office after impeachment suggests he’s right.
Trump says as much – his interpretation of presidential leadership is as ‘cheerleader’. It’s when he’s at his ‘best’ – lying, criticizing, finger pointing, vilifying and not taking responsibility – no Trumanesque ‘the buck stops here’ for this guy. Trump laid it out for all to see on Tuesday and here’s the response from CNN host Chris Cuomo (himself dealing with a case of COVID-19), “Chris Cuomo slams Trump calling himself a ‘cheerleader’: ‘Most asinine statement of leadership’”.
We’ve learned ‘most asinine statement’ by Trump is an ever moving target, but maybe Cuomo has a head of steam following his own horrific story of his experience fighting COVID-19; it’s worth a watch, especially the final few minutes.
Trump struts forward yet again to attack the truth, rewrite history with himself as the hero instead of the jester he is. Here are three core parts of his script:
- no one could have known…
- he reacted quickly and shut down travel from China, and
- we are testing better than anyone
instead, the reality is: US ‘wasted’ months before preparing for coronavirus pandemic
There are now a handful of news reports of Trump having been warned of the pandemic in early January. Note various US entities were aware even earlier. We’ll see much, much more on this but this AP report came out just after my last column.
“After the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.”
It seems like a fair connection to make that Trump’s failure to act early and fast to build up the stockpile of critical medical supplies is tied to his and son-in-law, senior adviser Jared Kushner’s Animal Farm reframing of the role of the national stockpile as backup to state initiatives, not the primary emergency response vehicle. Caught not doing your job? Change the rules retroactively.
Set aside how Trump’s own director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned of a pandemic in 2017, or Microsoft founder Bill Gates warned of a pandemic in 2018 or how even the Obama administration warned Trump of a possible pandemic while handing over the government to the new presidential elect.
We have Trump’s own Department of Defense receiving “an intelligence assessment on COVID in China last November from the National Center for Medical Intelligence.”
Head cheerleader Trump didn’t just downplay risk, he failed to take any action – that’s his style – make sure that nothing happens that might question his dumb-assery work view. So we get this:
Trump wasted weeks while his own advisers worked to convince him there was a problem.
The second key to Trump’s rewrite of history…
The next lie: Trump’s claim that he imposed the first ‘China ban’
“40 countries imposed travel restrictions on travel from China by the time the U.S.’s restrictions were in place”. Even Trump’s purported ban was fraught with delays, he offered this 10 days after the CDC announced the first travel-related case in the US.
Not only had 400,000 persons traveled from China to the US by that point, Trump’s ‘ban’ did not include Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao.
But the third lie, the one that matters the most right now…
Trump’s lies about testing are too many to list here. But there are two key lies. History – test kits were not a required response to a pandemic as late as mid-January and the first CDC test kits were finally received “at a public health laboratory on the east side of Manhattan” on February 8.
AND THE TEST KIT FAILED. Fox News watchers point the finger at failures with Chinese testing, but the reality falls to the CDC and the ensuing “21 days that followed, as Trump administration officials continued to rely on the flawed CDC test. Many lab scientists eager to aid the faltering effort grew increasingly alarmed and exasperated by the federal government’s actions, according to previously unreported email messages and other documents reviewed by The Washington Post, as well as exclusive interviews with scientists and officials involved.”
Now Trump wants us to see the World Health Organization as the villain following his attempted characterizations of China, Obama, Biden, the media, Democrats, Governors…
Oh, but you have a hard time buying into Trump’s denials as making the problem worse. Okay, once again, I’ll give Trump the final word to set the record straight.
“Fox News reporter: “Testing is still a big issue in this country. When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turnaround of these test results?” Trump: Not my job. Stop being so horrid. (Watch the video.)
I bet you are not surprised that on Tuesday Trump lied, saying the US was doing more testing than any other country. On the metric that counts – tests per thousand persons — you can see how the US started late and still tests half as many persons-per-thousand than Italy, here.
If you want to know what happened to all that toilet paper – go here for inspiration:.
And if you want to do some inspiring travel from home, here’s a digital tour of iconic Chicago Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
Be safe, be well!