Ignorance is Bliss

Our friend Jeff from On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful post about the current state of affairs in the U.S., or rather the ignorance that created the monster who created that state of affairs. There is much food for thought here, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider his words. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The dumbing down of America began long before the current president rose to power. It’s easy to blame the man, but in this case, he’s merely jumping on the bandwagon and taking the ignorance to new and immense heights.

For all of his faults, and there are too many to list here, recognizing the stupidity of so many Americans and capitalizing on their failure to reach even the bare minimum of intellectual curiosity might be his most significant and long-lasting contribution to America’s decline.

All you need to do is scan the news every day for examples of how far we’ve gone from being the envy of the world to a country ultimately coming apart at its seams, flailing and hurtling head-first into a world of conspiracy theories, lies, racial division, and absurdity…

*Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas tests positive for Covid-19 and claims that it was the mask itself…

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Let’s Do the One Thing Trump Is Incapable Of: FOCUS

We are bombarded with so much ‘news’ on a daily basis, much of it designed to raise our hackles, to speak to our worst nightmares, to instill either fear or a sense of hopelessness. Our friend TokyoSand reminds us that in order to win in November, in order to defeat the current regime and begin to restore some semblance of democratic principles, we must maintain our focus. She makes some excellent points that we all need to keep in mind. Thank you once again for your clear thinking and sound advice!

Political⚡Charge

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

How did you feel when you heard that Trump had suggested delaying the election last week?

Outraged? Scared? Angry?

I certainly saw all of these things in articles, opinion pieces, on social media, and in conversations. And people talked and talked and talked. I found it hard to be online, with so much fear and panic in the air.

It didn’t seem to matter when folks–including constitutional professors and scholars–pointed out that Trump can’t delay the election. That the only body that has that authority is Congress, and Pelosi and McConnell would have to agree to a new date. That just is never going to happen.

No, what I saw was people who WANTED to wallow in the fear and “what if” scenarios and dive deeper into the darkness.

Not to be mean, but I just don’t have time for that. I will respond…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/1

As usual these days, the cartoonists have been kept on their toes. Our friend TokyoSand has been busy scouting out the best of the bunch for us. Thank you, TS, for our weekly dose of humour!

Political⚡Charge

ByNick Anderson

Did this seem like a long week to you? It sure did to me. Looking at all of the many topics editorial cartoonists covered this week, I think I better understand why. As always, I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite cartoons from the week. If you have a favorite, do let me know by commenting!

Election 2020

ByJack Ohman, The Sacramento Bee

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByEd Hall

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump’s Goons

By Marian Kamensky

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

By Mark Fiore, KQED News

ByGraeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

ByClay Jones

ByMike Luckovich

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A View From The ‘Other Side’

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was planning to sneak into republican territory to try to gain a better understanding of their ideology … and why they still support Trump after all the death and destruction he has wrought.  So far, I’ve been a bit slow in doing that, for I find I have a low tolerance for much of what I find on the Republican’s turf.  Today, however, an opinion piece by conservative writer Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Post columnist, raised my hackles sufficiently that I had to address it.  I won’t replay the entire piece, but you can find it over at The Washington Post if you feel so inclined.  What I will do is address a few of his more ludicrous statements.

The title of Mr. Hewitt’s piece was telling in itself: The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one.”

I knew right then it was likely to make me growl, and I wasn’t disappointed.  A few snippets from his column, with my responses in blue

“With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.”  Change the word “buttressed” to “battered”.  I’m glad to see he assigns blame for this mess to McConnell, as well.  No wonder ol’ Mitchie has an ever-expanding ego!

“Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world.”  Trump’s tax cuts mostly went to the wealthy, and the unemployment was already low before Trump took office.  He does not get credit for that.  But more to the point … to blame China for “criminal recklessness” is the most ridiculous thing.  China did not, contrary to the conspiracy theorists, manufacture the virus intentionally in a lab!  The only ‘criminal recklessness’ that has led to more than 156,000 deaths in the U.S. was Trump’s horrific mishandling from day #1!  And that ‘massive deregulation’ has contributed to the further destruction of our air, water, and wildlife on planet Earth.

“Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.”  Oh goodie … while people are homeless, going to bed hungry, and cannot afford health care, even more of our tax dollars are going to support an already over-bloated military so that we can start a war with China!  I sure feel better, don’t you?  The U.S. already has the largest military on the globe, and now we have a warmonger in the White House … what could possibly go wrong?

“Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.”  One commenter to Hewitt’s piece said she’d like to have some of what he’s been smoking … I agree.  The environment is in real trouble and the Paris Accords were the last best hope for getting all nations to work together to try to preserve life on the planet, yet Mr. Hewitt is applauding Trump’s decisions that have made the extinction of most living species almost a certainty?  Are you growling yet?  And as for the coal industry in Pennsylvania … coal is on its way out, and nothing … nothing Trump can do is going to change that.  Retraining the miners in another industry, such as renewable energy, would have been much kinder.

“Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with [sic] be 300 miles by September.”  Of the 200 miles, only 3 miles is new, and the other 197 miles replaced existing border barriers.  The funds to build this ‘wall’ have been hijacked from budgets earmarked for other, more important things.  And the cost thus far has been over $15 billion.  Further … the experts have shown that such a structure will not stop illegal immigration.  More of our tax dollars wasted while children go to bed hungry at night!

“Trump has also stripped off the veneer of objectivity from the “fake news.” “Blue Bubble” journalists are the last to know the contempt in which they are held beyond the Acela corridor and outside Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They mistake their small audience share for success.”  Seriously?  ‘Small audience’???  The New York Times had, as of the 4th quarter last year, 3.43 million paid subscribers, and The Washington Post is estimated to have more than 2 million. 

I read around 30 comments responding to Mr. Hewitt, and of those, only one was favourable to Mr. Hewitt, the rest calling his words ‘a spoof’, ‘laughable’, and more.  The one positive comment simply said, “What a wonderful man.”  Not a single comment that I saw supported Hewitt’s premises, and several pointed out a few of Trump’s worst blunders, including his handling of the pandemic that has led to so much unnecessary loss of life.

I went into this in hopes of gaining understanding, but with such views as Mr. Hewitt’s, I am left to wonder how right and left can move closer to understanding each other and finding common ground.  How do we unite two sides that are so very far apart in their views and ideologies?  Is it a lost cause, and are we doomed to be a nation so divided forever?  If so, we will not remain a single nation for long, for the chasm in which we live today is untenable.  The United States of America is not by any stretch of the imagination ‘united’ today.

The Voice Of Reason — From A Republican

Of late, I’ve taken to doing something I had not done, but should have, before – reading opinion pieces by conservative writers.  Not all of them, of course, for some I find to be simply too odious to read more than a paragraph, but those conservative writers who take a more moderate stance, who aren’t so far to the right as to be moronic, have something to say and I want to listen.  I want to understand what makes them tick, why they think as they do.  Yesterday, I came across an opinion essay in the New York Times by Stuart Stevens, a long-time Republican political consultant.  Mr. Stevens joined the Lincoln Project earlier this year. This essay resonates, it helps explain some things, maybe answer some questions we’ve been asking, and I think it is worth sharing here.  I hope you’ll take a minute to read Mr. Stevens’ words.


I Hope This Is Not Another Lie About the Republican Party

But it might be lost forever.

stuart-stevensBy Stuart Stevens

After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, commissioned an internal party study to examine why the party had won the popular vote only once since 1988.

The results of that so-called autopsy were fairly obvious: The party needed to appeal to more people of color, reach out to younger voters, become more welcoming to women. Those conclusions were presented as not only a political necessity but also a moral mandate if the Republican Party were to be a governing party in a rapidly changing America.

Then Donald Trump emerged and the party threw all those conclusions out the window with an almost audible sigh of relief: Thank God we can win without pretending we really care about this stuff. That reaction was sadly predictable.

I spent decades working to elect Republicans, including Mr. Romney and four other presidential candidates, and I am here to bear reluctant witness that Mr. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. He is the logical conclusion of what the party became over the past 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race-baiting, self-deception and anger that now dominate it. Hold Donald Trump up to a mirror and that bulging, scowling orange face is today’s Republican Party.

I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse. Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.

What is most telling is that the Republican Party actively embraced, supported, defended and now enthusiastically identifies with a man who eagerly exploits the nation’s racial tensions. In our system, political parties should serve a circuit breaker function. The Republican Party never pulled the switch.

Racism is the original sin of the modern Republican Party. While many Republicans today like to mourn the absence of an intellectual voice like William Buckley, it is often overlooked that Mr. Buckley began his career as a racist defending segregation.

In the Richard Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips wrote a re-election campaign memo headed “Dividing the Democrats” in which they outlined what would come to be known as the Southern Strategy. It assumes there is little Republicans can do to attract Black Americans and details a two-pronged strategy: Utilize Black support of Democrats to alienate white voters while trying to decrease that support by sowing dissension within the Democratic Party.

That strategy has worked so well that it was copied by the Russians in their 2016 efforts to help elect Mr. Trump.

In the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, on which I worked, we acknowledged the failures of Republicans to attract significant nonwhite support. When Mr. Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative,” some on the right attacked him, calling it an admission that conservatism had not been compassionate. That was true; it had not been. Many of us believed we could steer the party to that “kinder, gentler” place his father described. We were wrong.

Reading Mr. Bush’s 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention now is like stumbling across a document from a lost civilization, with its calls for humility, service and compassion. That message couldn’t attract 20 percent in a Republican presidential primary today. If there really was a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, we lost.

There is a collective blame to be shared by those of us who have created the modern Republican Party that has so egregiously betrayed the principles it claimed to represent. My j’accuse is against us all, not a few individuals who were the most egregious.

How did this happen? How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t. The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held. What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced. I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.

Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.

This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.

This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.

That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.

Snarky … Yes Again … Snippets

After a day off from snarking, I find the snark buildup is bubbling, threatening to overflow.  And so … here we go again …


Remember yesterday when I told you about Representative Louie Gohmert who had contracted the coronavirus and tried to claim he got it from wearing a mask?  Well, I knew Gohmert had been on my radar before, and right after I wrote that, another instance of his apparent insanity hit my inbox.

Last week, Gohmert introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that calls on the U.S. House to bar all Democrats from the chamber because of the party’s historical ties to slavery and racism unless the party is renamed.  Say WHAT???

Said Gohmert in a Breitbart (go figure) article …

“Efforts by Democrats to destroy all public traces of their own history of supporting slavery, the Confederacy, and segregation in an attempt to shift blame onto Republicans must no longer go unchallenged. It is time for Democrats to play by their own rules, and accept the standards they have forced onto everyone else. They must divest themselves of their name that has denied so many the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, we all know that this ‘resolution’ is going nowhere and is naught but Mr. Gohmert’s childish attempt to counter the removal of the confederate statues that he apparently loved from the Capitol building.  But for PETE’S SAKE, people of Texas!!!  Keep this arsehole in Texas!  Please, do NOT send him back to Washington, or I might just go bash his head in myself!

Congress cannot seem to come up with a single meaningful piece of legislation (thank you, Mitch McConnell), they are allowing critical safeguards for people in dire need to lapse at midnight tonight because they are too damn divided by partisanship and driven by egos to uphold their oaths of office, yet we have representatives … people whose salary WE THE PEOPLE are paying, playing these childish games, wasting both time and money … OUR money!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to oversee missions involving anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.  It was created in November 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and began operations the following year.  And yet, yesterday The Washington Post reported that DHS has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon.  Please take a moment to let that one sink in, my friends.  Journalists are NOT the nation’s enemy, but rather the free press is the one thing that stands between us and a dictatorship!

The DHS intelligence reports, which are unclassified, are traditionally used for sharing the department’s analysis with federal law enforcement agencies, state and local officials and some foreign governments. They are not intended to disseminate information about American citizens who have no connection to terrorists or other violent actors and who are engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment, such as a free press!  Said John Sandweg, who previously served as the department’s acting general counsel …

“This has no operational value whatsoever.  This will just damage the intelligence office’s reputation.”

The two journalists were New York Times reporter Mike Baker and Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor in chief of Lawfare.  Baker co-wrote an article on July 28 that revealed an internal DHS memo indicating that the camouflaged federal agents sent to put down the unrest in Portland didn’t understand the nature of the protests they were facing.  Wittes posted, among other information, a DHS memo admonishing department personnel not to give information to reporters.

Once again, my friends, we are being treated as the enemy … our constitutional rights are being trampled!  The Department of Homeland Security is there to keep us safe, but instead they are endangering our very lives by attempting to harm our free press.


On Tuesday, Donald Trump showed us what he is made of.  With, as of this writing, more than 155,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump held a press briefing, the main purpose of which seemed to be to whine that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx had higher approval ratings than he does.

“And yet, they’re highly thought of — but nobody likes me.”

Has it occurred to him that … he has cost this nation so much in terms of our democratic foundation, our human rights, our health, and our very lives that he is not at all ‘likeable’?  Apparently not.  Has it occurred to him that the presidency is not a popularity contest, but a serious responsibility — one that he has failed in over and over again?  Has it occurred to him that his constant criticism of all who disagree with him, his constant bragging about things he has no claim to brag about, and his continual shirking of his responsibility makes him an abomination rather than a ‘man’ worthy of respect?

Please take a moment … well, a few moments, actually, to watch Chris Cuomo explain to “Mr. President” [sic] why the people of this nation trust Drs. Fauci & Birx more than they trust Donald Trump … he makes his case well.

Let’s Embrace The Lincoln Project-For Now

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent post about the Lincoln Project, their work, and how they are helping to oust the current Madman-in-Chief. Please take a look, and especially be sure to watch the videos … especially the first one! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Many of you may not know who The Lincoln Project is, or what they’re all about. But the fact is, the group is currently producing some of the most scathing political ads now airing against the current president. It’s gotten his attention, as well as the rest of the Republican hierarchy.

For some background, the group consists of former Republicans who are self-described “Never Trumpers.” Many of the individuals in the group include former Republican campaign operatives like Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson. They cut their teeth in the political world, working for previous candidates such as John McCain and George W. Bush. George Conway, an attorney who’s married to White House advisor Kelly Anne Conway, is also a group member.

Anyone who has seen Schmidt or Wilson on the various talk shows know that they are two of the most anti-Trump spokespersons. Schmidt, for one, is perhaps the most…

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No, He Cannot Do That …

This morning, Donald Trump tweeted …

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Put your mind at ease, folks … it ain’t gonna happen.

First, his claims about election fraud are unfounded and false.  The reality here is that he is dropping in the polls and isn’t likely to gain much ground in the remaining three months before the election, given the fact that the coronavirus continues to rage out of control, his federal troops are creating chaos in our cities, and he is his own worst enemy.

But more to the point, he does not have the power to postpone the election, the date of which was set by an 1845 federal law placing it the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  The date could move theoretically with action by Congress — but that would require agreement both by the Democrats who control the House and the Republicans who control the Senate. Neither side supports the idea.  Even the ignoble Mitch McConnell rebuffed Trump’s idea, saying that the election date is “set in stone.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over elections, issued a statement saying …

“Americans have voted during the Civil War, in the midst of the Great Depression, in the shadow of World Wars, and in the wake of terrorist attacks. Americans will stand united to vote this November.”

Freedom House issued the following statement:

Washington  –  July 30, 2020 —  In response to President Donald Trump’s latest claims that mail-in voting will enable massive fraud in the November general elections, and suggestion that the elections be delayed, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The president does not have the power to delay the elections,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The danger here is that he is using groundless claims about the integrity of mail-in voting to try to delegitimize the electoral process. Those of us who hold democracy dear must reject this ploy.”

“The president’s baseless attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting are grossly irresponsible and must end before any further damage to public confidence is done. It is extremely unusual, in the United States or anywhere in the world, for an incumbent leader to predict fraud in his own bid for reelection. President Trump has a duty to safeguard the electoral system while in office, and if he is concerned that state officials and the postal service are unprepared, he should ask Congress to allocate more resources without further delay.”

“The fact is that large-scale postal voting has been used safely for many years in several states, and electoral officials of both parties have moved to increase access to vote-by-mail procedures in light of the threat posed by COVID-19,” Abramowitz added. “While authorities should also ensure that in-person voting is safe and accessible, for instance by allowing early voting and extending voting hours on election day, mail-in voting has become an essential component of democratic practice in 2020.”

So, put your minds at ease, folks … the election will be held on November 3rd!

John Lewis’ Final Words …

John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today.  I let his words speak for themselves …


John-Lewis

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

The State Of The Nation …

A number of serious issues are deeply concerning in the U.S. today, and obviously the coronavirus pandemic is at the top of the list.  Well, it’s obvious to some of us, at any rate. Trump’s horrific bungling of the pandemic has caused the U.S. to have the absolute worst record on the globe, with now 27% of the world’s cases, while we only account for over 4% of the world’s population.  With less than 100 days until the November election, Trump apparently decided it would be easier  to draw public attention away from the virus, than to try to allow the experts to take over and fix the problem.  His distraction?  Attack the cities and the people who live in them. Today, I would like to share the esteemed Robert Reich’s Sunday column from The Guardian on this topic …


Trump can’t shift public attention from coronavirus to the streets of America

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

Donald Trump has said he has “no responsibility” for the coronavirus pandemic, fobbing it off on governors and mayors whose repeated requests for federal help he’s denied. Yet he’s now sending federal troops into cities he says are controlled by the “radical left”, whose mayors and governors don’t want them there.

The president wants to shift public attention from the virus, which he can’t “dominate”, to the streets of America, which he and his secret police can.

It’s an especially cynical re-election strategy because coronavirus deaths are rising again. More Americans are on track to be hospitalized with the virus than at any other point. Rates of new infections repeatedly shatter single-day records. As a result, the US economy is backsliding.

Trump has never offered a national strategy for testing, contact tracing and isolating those who have the disease. He has provided no standards for reopening the economy, no plan for national purchasing of critical materials, no definitive policy for helping the unemployed, no clear message about what people and businesses should do. He rushed to reopen without adequate safeguards.

The hapless White House “coronavirus taskforce” is in perpetual disarray. Trump has downgraded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His Department of Labor hasn’t even put out standards for workplace safety.

Trump won’t use the Defense Production Act to secure supplies to perform tests – swabs, chemicals, pipette tips, machines, containers – so public health officials can’t quickly identify and isolate people who are infected and trace their contacts.

It’s been an abominable, chaotic mess – which is why the virus is back.

Yet when it comes to assaulting Americans, Trump has been asserting strong leadership. He’s deploying unidentified federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon: attacking them, pulling them into unmarked vans, detaining them without charges.

Trump is also sending troops to Kansas City, Albuquerque and Chicago. He says he’ll send them to New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as well – not incidentally, all cities with Democratic mayors, large black populations and no violent unrest.

Trump can’t find federal personnel to do contact tracing for the coronavirus but has found thousands of agents for his secret police, drawn from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Trump doesn’t want to know about the coronavirus but he’s keeping careful track of the battles in the streets, demanding up-to-the-minute briefings from the front.

Public health authorities don’t have adequate medical equipment to quickly analyze coronavirus tests but Trump’s police have everything they need to injure protesters, including armored vans, teargas, and tactical assault weapons – “the best equipment”, Trump boasted last week.

There is no legal authority for this. The founders denied police power to the national government. The local officials in charge of keeping public order reject Trump’s troops. The mayor of Portland was teargassed this week. The mayor of Kansas City calls them “disgraceful”. Albuquerque’s mayor announced: “There’s no place for Trump’s secret police in our city.” Chicago’s mayor does “not welcome dictatorship”.

The one encouraging note – analogous to Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark – is the absence of the US military. Unlike Trump’s lapdog attorney general, William Barr, the generals don’t want any part of it.

The Trump campaign is running fictitious ads portraying cities as overrun by violent leftwing mobs, and Trump’s shameless Fox News lackeys are depicting protesters as “rioters” and the “armed wing of Democratic party”.

At the same time, Trump is trying to suppress the truth about the coronavirus. The White House is instructing hospitals to report cases to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than to the CDC. Trump has muzzled the federal government’s most prominent and trusted virologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, while the White House tries to discredit him. In the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, Trump doesn’t even want to fund more testing and tracing, or the CDC.

After railing against the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools as “very tough [and] expensive”, Trump this week pressured the CDC to issue more lax guidelines, some of which were written by White House officials instead of CDC experts.

Yet Trump won’t be able to shift public attention from the virus to the streets of America. The violence he’s trying to fuel and exaggerate is far less frightening to average voters than the virus, which is worsening by the day, especially in Texas, Florida, and other states that went for Trump in 2016. His blatant failure to contain it is causing people to die.