Ruminations II

As I write, 667, 878 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus with 33, 534 dead.

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The Trump Administration needs to show patience on how and when businesses can reopen and social isolation guidelines can be lessened. Today Trump offered a Powerpoint instead of a well thought out plan. I think Trump wants to avoid leading on this effort. He wants to distance himself from any blame if things go south and a second wave to this pandemic develops.

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I’m reading End of a Berlin Diary by William Shirer which provides his notes at the end of the war with Germany and its immediate aftermath. Shirer noted that Hitler was still popular and supported by many Germans even at the end of WWII with their cities and homes bombed, food shortages, Russians at the door and defeat inevitable. I make the parallel comparison to Trump whose indecision on testing has led to tens of thousands of deaths and a national shutdown that has cratered the economy. Yet I still see support for Trump in the polls and I read it on social media.

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Nursing homes are the concentration camps in this pandemic war. So many elderly have died.  No care, little concern for patients. Many died alone. Families were unable to provide any consolation or solace when the end came.

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Dr Oz suggested on Sean Hannity’s show that it may only cost 2-3% of student lives if universities are open. So we may have moved beyond having just older people over 65 as willing victims to re-open the economy. I see more and more right wingers make the same argument. These are the type of people who would be sitting on the shores of England during D-Day and letting front line people get killed who actually storm the beaches.

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Just like any war or crisis, some heroes, some cowards. Wonder why the First Lady has not gotten involved, for example, doing visits to hospitals to show support and boost morale like Eleanor Roosevelt did in WWII.

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The Battle of Midway was the turning point in our war against Japan. We desperately need a turning point which would consist of a drug or treatment that is effective against the disease and saves lives.

How to Reason with a Die Hard Trumpster

You can’t.

I am somewhat sympathetic to those Never Trumpsters who try on social media, news show, tweets, Facebook posts or in private conversations to convert their family, friends, fellow employees or others to convert from the Darkside. I sense your frustration but you are largely doomed to failure. Unless you can magically transform yourself into a Fox talk show host wearing a flag pin and/or the obligatory crucifixion on a cross, your message will not get through.

Now you could try various arguments to convince a Trumpster that DJT is incompetent, ineffective or worse. For example, you could point out that our self professed “war president” has inflicted over 433,000 casualties on his troops and over 14,000 deaths (as of 4-8-20) by his refusal to act over warnings provided by members of his own administration. Regrettably the numbers will become much larger. You might also point out that our “war president” has sent many of his troops out to war without the necessary armament and protection that they need to stay alive. Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel have treated coronavirus patients without the adequate protections of masks, gloves and protective gear. Not surprisingly many of these front line soldiers are being infected and some have died. Imagine FDR before committing troops to Guadalcanal in World War II sending soldiers out without rifles, helmets and and other needed armaments to fight a battle. Or imagine FDR saying that the nation’s governors, not he, have the responsibility to ensure that our frontline soldiers are provided adequate gear. You could point out that our self professed “war president” measures his success in this war by his television ratings from his daily banal news conferences, how the stock market goes up in a given day or if he can keep deaths below a certain projected number. For him that’s “winning.”

Convincing argument? Not to the Trumpster!

You could change your strategy and suggest that the overall economy will probably not recover under DJT. There are no magic bullets left to combat a deep recession much less a potential depression. At Trump’s insistence, interest rates are already near zero. Many companies took advantage of the low interest rates to borrow but now they are over-leveraged and unable to pay. Regrettably this is also the fate of many American consumers. Businesses can’t pay their rents, consumers can’t pay their rents so the mortgages supporting these properties can’t be paid either. Delinquencies rise and banks begin to suffer. Credit markets close suffocating the abilities of mostly small businesses to recover. Trump does not have a record of success in bringing back failing companies or industries. (USFL, Trump University, Trump casino’s etc.) The government does not have the luxuries of defaulting or declaring bankruptcy. The Chinese have outmaneuvered him on trade talks and are becoming closer financial partners with our once friendly allies.

Convincing argument? Again, not to the Trumpster!

You might offer as an argument the horrendous chaos, lies, inabilities to deliver on promises, senseless fights with the press, rampant corruption and mediocre appointees that pervade the Trump administration. When you take time in a news conference in a middle of  national health crisis to bring up a pillow huckster pumping the Bible and prayer instead of Dr. Fauci offering science and possible solutions, you have demonstrated that you have no feel for the moment. When a reporter provided the President an opportunity to address Americans who were fearful and needed reassurance, Trump lambasted the reporter. FDR provided soothing Fireside Chats for Americans suffering through depression and war. Trump promotes his sagging re-election campaign to those who have not tuned out his meandering news conferences replete with misinformation on coronavirus treatments, testing capabilities and actual results.

Convincing arguments? Again, not to the Trumpster, but to everyone else who wants to see this nation and its citizens become healthy, economically secure and whole again, they are.

Thoughts from the Bunker

As I write, I am reading stories of people unable to get needed medical care. A 73 year old woman has been sitting in a chair for over 29 hours with a high fever, coughing and experiencing breathing issues in  a New York City hospital emergency room. Hospitals are overrun with patients like her and do not have the beds and staff to help her.

At 67, I can’t promise wisdom but I can offer perspective and a little history. I remember times before computers, cell phones, the Internet, 24 hour news, cable TV and e-books. Back in 1960s, our biggest fear was an atomic war with Russia. School children endured air raid drills which was basically huddling under your desk and closing your eyes. I wax nostalgic as I now huddle at home and my worry is not radiation from an atomic bomb from Russia but catching a virus from China. Unfortunately this is not a drill and casualties are rising every day.

In 1960, I remember a young President who suffered some early growing pains like The Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba but grew steadily competent in the job. Even though I was only 10 at the time of the Cuban Missile crisis, I understood how his leadership and good judgment pulled us out of a major nuclear confrontation. He was assisted by a number of very smart people like his brother, Bobby Kennedy. Donald Trump is now being assisted by his inept son-in law Jarrod Kushner, who inspires as much confidence as Barney Fife in a fire fight. From JFK to Trump, how did this country deteriorate this fast in sixty years!

How did we slide downwards from a President who pushed this country to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade (and succeeded) to one whose major campaign promise (other than a tax cut for the rich) was to build an ineffective wall? Kennedy’s program landed astronauts on a target 238,900 miles away. Trump can’t deliver masks, breath equipment and other needed medical supplies to a battered New York City 225 miles to his north.

In our current crisis, we have a President more concerned about his television ratings than the number of people suffering and dying from coronavirus. His press conferences are replete with self praise, false information and dangerous life and death advice that his medical experts are forced to quickly disavow. He uses press conferences as replacements for his public campaign appearances in front of fawning audiences. At a recent news conference, he had a pillows huckster lecture the press instead of using the time to have a doctor or scientist provide guidance to a fearful public. Trump describes himself as a “war time President.” Trump is, like Mussolini.

Though Trump has garnered and deserved most of my ire, there are also too many in the public disregarding social isolation guidelines. Maybe if they can imagine themselves, their parent or other loved ones in a desperate plight like the 73 year old woman above, maybe they will act responsibility and Americans can start to move out of their self imposed bunkers and into the Spring sunshine.

Apocalyptic Thoughts from the Bunker

Crystal Ball April 2020

 

“The governor of Georgia said he only just learned people who have coronavirus but are not showing symptoms can spread the disease, but the CDC and even Georgia’s own department of public health have been warning of asymptomatic transmission for months.”

So much stupidity. Trump, Pence, Limbaugh, Fox News, Fallwell, Hannity, Ingraham, Trish Regan, Brian Kemp, Jared Kushner…

Not to mention what I have read and continue to read on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.