Tuesday, June 16, 2020

BTRTN: Call It By Its Rightful Name… Donald Trump’s American Genocide

Is it fair to charge Donald Trump with a word reserved for the most heinous and egregious crimes against humanity?  Here’s Steve’s opinion.

This past Saturday was that big day we’d all been waiting for: it was the day that Donald Trump would be addressing the graduating class at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

I was on the edge of my seat

I mean, this was the speech that was so important that Trump demanded the graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy be reassembled to hear it. Like virtually all other college students in the United States, the cadets had long since been sent home due to concerns about the coronavirus. Trump literally commanded that they be brought back from their homes all across the United States – and risk exposure to the coronavirus – in order to hear this vitally important speech

Would he make the definitive statement of the Trump doctrine of global defense strategy? Maybe he wanted this grand stage to cast a stirring vision for coping with long term climate change? Perhaps he was planning on announcing a comprehensive new game plan to bring the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic under control? Or would he pivot from prepared remarks to speak passionately, candidly, and with resolve about the urgent need to eradicate the systemic American racism once again laid bare in the murder of George Floyd?

Uh, no

This was just another one of those lackluster teleprompter speeches, and once again it appeared that Trump was reading it for the very first time as he addressed his audience. The way Trump views things, it would be so booooring to read the same speech twice! It turns out the news coverage of the speech centered on two items: Trump’s walk from the podium after he finished, during which he appeared to be halting and unstable, and the fact that once again, Trump needed two hands to drink a cup of water. Not much coverage on what he actually said.

If there was a critical new Trump administration initiative being launched, I missed it. So did everybody else, including the cadets who had been required to return and shelter-in-place for two weeks, far from the parents and loved ones who were not allowed to participate in the ceremony. 

No, President Bone Spurs just wanted to fill his aching, empty cavity of self-esteem by standing up in front of a big crowd of legitimate military achievers and requiring their supplication.

Stated another way: this President actually used his authority to command the U.S. Army to put the lives and health of its brightest new officers at risk, all so that he could stand at the microphone at West Point for what was essentially a photo op. 

Where have we heard that before? 

That's easy. It was only last week that Trump’s thugs waded into a throng of peaceful protestors in Washington’s Lafayette Park with flash grenades and tear gas, all for a photo op intended to make it appear that Trump was not cowering in the White House basement. 

Ah, it is a recurring theme: American lives put at risk for Trump’s political self-interest and vanity.

Trump is now re-instituting his large MAGA rallies, and – get this – attendees at the opening Tulsa event will be required to sign a release absolving the Trump campaign of liability if they contract COVID. Hey, MAGAmerica! The coronavirus is ancient history! America is ready to re-open for business, and all you have to do is release us from responsibility if you die from the coronavirus! 

Trump has insisted on moving the Republican Convention from North Carolina, where the Democratic Governor is steadfast that any public gathering must adhere to the social distancing guidelines issued by Trump’s own administration. Trump, however, is raging to stage his convention in a venue where his audience is packed like sardines in adulation – just like the good old days – even if this exponentially elevates the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

What was that leitmotif for the day again? Oh, yes: a President who puts the health and safety of American citizens at risk for his own personal self-interest.

Trump, of course, has been aggressively pushing governors to re-open their states for commerce on the hope that he can restore the country’s economic momentum prior to election day. There is considerable evidence that Trump’s efforts to re-open the country too quickly are simply prolonging the period in which the virus spreads. Consider this stunning fact: the combined population of five largest countries in Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain) is roughly the same as the population as the United States – and yet the number of new cases reported last week in those five countries was 19,000 -- again, combined. In the exact same time frame, the U.S. – with the same population – reported 143,000 new cases. The leaders of all five of these European nations have been far, far more successful in containing the virus than Trump’s performance in the United States. 

Donald Trump would likely argue that the fault for that horrendous statistic lies with the governors, who he claims have the responsibility for managing the pandemic response in their states. It’s an interesting point, as Trump has been more successful exerting pressure to re-open on Republican governors who generally give Trump their unquestioned fealty and who most fear his wrath.

Here is a statistic that should, well, sicken Republicans. 

In the past week, states with Republican governors witnessed an increase in infections of 19%. 

In that exact same time frame, states with Democrat governors experienced a decline in overall reported cases of 15%.

Vote Republican. Make America sick again. 

Columbia University recently released a study that held that 54,000 of the deaths from the coronavirus would have been avoided had the Federal government implementing social distancing protocols just two weeks earlier. 

Why did the Federal government not act earlier? Donald Trump’s behavior and actions regarding the pandemic in the month of February are a matter of public record. Trump radically downplayed the potential impact of the virus (predicting it would “magically go away by April”), he minimized its very existence (“15 cases, soon there will be none”), and he ignored the advice of the medical community to institute social distancing practices, sheltering-in-place, and masks. 

He delayed for weeks any plan to exert the Federal government’s option to order private manufacturing organizations to shift production to medical supplies. He sat on the sidelines for roughly six weeks, doing nothing, until he finally abdicated any Federal responsibility and announced that the management of the global pandemic – including medical supplies and testing -- should be the responsibility of state governors. 

Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of the pandemic and to take action to contain it on a timely basis is widely viewed to have been based on his fear that bold steps to lock America down would destroy the economy… the sole justification for the re-election of a President who had failed miserably by virtually any other measure. Further, there was broad speculation that his refusal to institute broad scale testing was out of his concern that such a program would reveal that the extent of contagion was far, far worse than he had been saying.

Please, Mr. or Ms. Republican, do not hide in denial by shrieking that “Donald Trump did not cause the coronavirus.” You are correct. He did not. I am not holding him accountable for all 117,000 American deaths attributable to the coronavirus. I am, ah, merely blaming him for the 54,000 deaths that were caused by a failure to impose the measures that were already known at the time to retard the spread of the corona virus: social distancing and sheltering-in-place.

I am holding him accountable for failures that continue to cause disease and death today: the lack of a national testing program, his failure to model correct behavior by refusing to wear a mask, and of course for the actions he is taking now to eliminate social distancing practices at his mass political rallies. 

Oh, yes, I still hear you, Mr. or Ms. Republican: how can I hold him accountable for government failure when so many other nations experienced the exact same human carnage? Well, that is simply and scientifically not true. We can cite chapter and verse of other nations that acted more rapidly, acted on the basis of scientific evidence and medical expertise, and have been able to mitigate the long term impact of this disease far more effectively than Trump has in the United States. The numbers cited above from large European democracies alone speak emphatically and directly to that point. And New Zealand – led by a strong, brilliant, scientifically grounded young leader – has eliminated the coronavirus completely. You say you want to throw away your mask, freely stroll down Main Street, shop, grab a latte, and have an intimate chat with a group of friends? Move to Wellington. It is 100% open for business and back to normal.

Ah, your final retreat in defense of the indefensible: you disagree when I say that Donald Trump’s actions were willful and that he fully understood that his decisions would result in mass death. You refuse to believe that he made the decisions that caused 54,000 deaths because of political calculation.

Here’s the problem with your argument: the only way to justify your position is to claim that Donald Trump was appallingly lazy, actively ignored a torrent of scientific information that was broadly available in late February and March, or perhaps was simply too stupid to understand the implications of the information at his fingertips. Either he acted with the full knowledge that mass death would result, or he was so stupid, lazy, and ignorant that he was unable to grasp the carnage that would be wrought by a global pandemic..

So, Republican, which do you choose? 

Don't get me wrong, I find your reasoning compelling… because I agree with you: Trump is appallingly lazy, ignorant, and stupid.

But in this case, I’ll give him more credit than you do. I think he knew what the consequences would be, and he went ahead anyway. 

Which means that 54,000 people died needlessly because Donald Trump was more concerned about his re-election than about the science of the virus and the health of the American people. 

In our column today, we have listed a series of actions on the part of Donald Trump that have one thing in common.

In each of the instances cited, Trump has put American citizens in risk of harm and, yes, death, all for the purpose of satisfying Trump’s ego and his political needs. 

Wait, I’m not done. There is more

On July 28, 2017, Trump addressed a political rally in Long Island, and he spoke specifically on the topic of how police should act while they are apprehending people suspected of crime: 

“Now, we’re getting them (criminals) out anyway, but we’d like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. Don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay.” 

Yes, that was Donald Trump encouraging the police to be rougher with the people they are arresting, essentially endorsing the idea that it is fair game for suspects to experience physical abuse at the hands of the police.  Donald Trump overtly encouraged police violence against American citizens to score political points. 

We will never know how many Derek Chauvins in towns and cities all across American happened to see that news clip of his President urging that law enforcement be more brutal in their handling of suspects, and that cops should mete out their own form of street justice as they transport suspects who have not even been formally charged with crime.

All we know is that George Floyd is dead, and all Donald Trump can talk about now is that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

We have a President who has prioritized his ego and political needs over and above the health, safety, and lives of its citizens. By reasonable count, 54,000 Americans died needlessly because of this morally bankrupt self-involvement.

And that does not count one George Floyd, the latest in a long and ugly history of barbaric behavior on the part of our police toward Blacks in America. 

Make that at least 54,001 lives lost, needlessly, callously, shamefully, willfully.

You see, it’s not just one questionable action. It’s not just one flawed decision. It’s not just one horrific misunderstanding or action taken in ignorance. It is a pattern of behavior. Patterns suggest willfulness.

Cognitive awareness of consequence. Prosecutors have a word for it: pre-meditation. 

Yes, when at the very least 54,001 people die as a direct result of an intentional pattern of actions taken on a premeditated basis, there’s a word for that. 

When a President orders men and women in our military into harm’s way to defend our nation against a clear and present danger to the United States of America, that’s called being the Commander in Chief. But when a President intentionally, knowingly, and repeatedly places the health, safety, and lives of citizens of the United States in jeopardy for his own political gain or vanity, there is a different word for it entirely. 

When Donald Trump was running for President, he talked a lot about how he couldn’t stand all the “political correctness.”

You know what? 

Neither can I. 

There’s a word that describes the most horrific crime a person can commit against humanity.

The word describes willful, intentional, pre-meditated action that results in the mass deaths of innocent victims. 

It is time to start saying out loud the crime that Donald Trump is guilty of committing.

It is a word that is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation."

We are witnessing Donald Trump’s American genocide.

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  1. America's Orange-utan-in-Chief is America's number one looter; he and his group of carpetbaggers will leave the offices they serve thrashed and empty of all valuable assets. Unfortunately that value also includes human lives that did not have to be lost, twisted, and brutalized. It was all so unnecessary, except for those who are profiting now.

    Who could favor such utter thievery? The truth is Trump supporters are watching the courts. The courts hold the key, because that is how little fortunes become big ones (if you are not on the top tier of social pillagers). Trump supporters are not thinking about America either --- they are thinking about their businesses. The courts force an equality except when they can be biased, and Trump supporters are not above trying to pre-load their end of the scales. Oddly not enough is said about this in the press, but this is happening day after day, COVID-19 or not. Win the courts, and more lives will be able to be led peacefully.

  2. If Trump were competent, he might be able to conceive of an effort to eliminate a group -- but I think he more likely tolerates the efforts of some around him, but doesn't have his own commitment to wiping out a group. Instead, he seems focused on "winning" -- and the topic of his winning can cycle to anything which makes him look like he prefers to see himself.

    If Trump were consistent, he would maintain a focus on eliminating a group. But he wavers, getting into feedback loops on a variety of topics with Fox News and others who were willing to idolize him.

    The US of A appears to have muddled through again. In addition to his lack of talent, he has a host of characteristics which allow him to be mocked. Everything from his hair and makeup, to his sense of fashion, to his indifferent intellectual gifts, to his meals, to his multiple families and their dramas, to Congress and the Courts refusing to policy endorse his whims -- in all those ways, Trump allows the population to subvert his efforts. And then, as you point out here, he is unable to effectively use his bully pulpit and other communication channels to broaden his support. If we can hold on another 140 days to the end of the election, and the 78 beyond that to the next Inauguration, the healing can begin.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. The nice thing, Anonymous, is I can just delete you! :)


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