Category Archives: Trump

Trump lost, but racism is alive and infused in U.S. history

Source

theconversation.com

Nov 13, 2020

The United States presidential election was a great spectacle. It was also a battle over the nation’s history and its future.

As historians will tell you, how we characterize the past has direct bearing on how we imagine possible futures. What is the vision for a post-Trump America?

In both the lead-up to Nov. 3 and its aftermath, history loomed large. More than 200 scholars of authoritarianism, fascism and populism signed an Open Letter of Concern about the imminent threat to democratic processes and institutions, drawing on histories of past regimes that have curtailed democratic rights and freedoms in moments of instability and unrest.

Fascism historians Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Federico Finchelstein warned that Donald Trump’s narcissism is more than just a character flaw; it is a clarion call to build an authoritarian state. Even in defeat, they argued, strongmen and their followers often continue to undermine institutions — just as Trump appears to be doing following the election with his refusal to accept the results. The answer? See through the rhetoric, exercise caution and remain vigilant.

For others, fascism may not be knocking at the door, but the shock of the 2016 election was not undone by the 2020 results. If anything, the strong showing of the Republican party, despite a platform of xenophobia and hatred, exposed the chasms that divide Americans by race and class.

Trump is reminiscent of far-away strongmen like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A good portion of the electorate likes what he’s selling anyway. That’s a bitter pill for a country that came of age on pledges of allegiance to fundamental freedoms.

As historian Adam Tooze put it in the Guardian immediately after the election, Trump supporters love “his aggression, and his gleeful slaughter of liberal sacred cows.” Will the defeat of a single politician silence his millions of supporters and change a system rife with inequality and abuse?

People carrying anti-Trump signs gather with the White House seen in the background.
Americans celebrate the election’s outcome outside the White House, in Black Lives Matter Plaza, on Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Changed the playing field

Even in defeat, Trump has already changed the playing field. His linguistic disobedience, alternative facts, lies and media manipulation have given false claims some legitimacy, paving the way for others to carry the baton forward in a politics of hate, recriminations and denial of truth.

Without serious social and electoral reform, the next authoritarian to make a play to lead the U.S. may be much more capable. Trump may have been stopped from his “autocratic attempt,” but the party he transformed has yet to renounce his politics. Trump lost, but Trumpism is alive and well, along with the conditions that propelled him to power in the first place.

Trump supporters carry signs alleging an illegal election
Trump supporters protest outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Nov. 8, 2020, a day after the 2020 election was called for Biden. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

At best, the post-election future might be one of regrouping and rebuilding; at worst, there will be more challenges to legal norms and truths by the outgoing president and the Republican Party.

Americans rose to the challenge?

Biden supporters, meanwhile, have tapped into other American pasts. While they acknowledge Trump’s brutalism has been concerning, they saw Americans rising to the challenge, “taking back the conversation” and placing renewed faith in institutions.

They saw glimmers of hope in the record-breaking voter turnout, and in efforts to replace Confederate emblems from state flags and remove racist language from state constitutions.

They revelled in America’s diversity, praising the herculean efforts of African American and Indigenous activists and voters for defeating Trump. But they did so often without recognizing that these same groups had the most to lose from a Republican victory during a global pandemic that hit their communities particularly hard.

Some saw this election as an extension of Civil Rights movement struggles, going so far as to compare Kamala Harris, the vice-president-elect, to Ruby Bridges, the girl who desegregated her Louisiana elementary school. This is a broken democracy, the argument goes, not a defeated one.

Yet American democracy wasn’t under attack simply by the Trump presidency. It has never adequately accounted for minority experiences in the first place.

Trump’s everyday racism is not an aberration. Although it may be extreme, it’s at the core of America’s history.

Tiffany Florvil, a scholar of transnational Black activism, put a fine point on it when she echoed the words of historian Thomas Holt: In the United States, “race lives because it is part and parcel of the means of living.” Racism is woven into the very fabric of American life. It is a feature of American democracy, not any authoritarian aberration.

What this means is the Civil Rights movement is not a thing of the past. It is an ongoing, unfinished project.

Scholars of African American history and law have been saying this for a long time. America’s institutions, economy and media are all built upon a history of what UCLA historian Robin D.G. Kelley has called racial capitalism — a system of exploitation with repercussions into the current day.

As Kimberlé Crenshaw put it in Time magazine, referring to Trump’s directive to all federal agencies to stop anti-bias training to address white privilege:

“It’s an approach to grappling with a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it.”

America’s past — borne of stolen land, slavery, head taxes and segregation — is evident in the dog whistles of Trump’s rigged election speechciting Detroit and Philadelphia as notoriously corrupt, and the chatter on the far right about the need to turn the election result into a justification for another civil war.

But it also surfaces when Democrats too quickly forget the struggles racialized populations endure to safeguard a democracy that has not always protected them.


Read more: Trump has made America nostalgic again for a past that never existed


All of these facets of America’s past and future are circulating right now as Americans ponder Trump’s exit and whether he will go peacefully.

But the lessons drawn from history should not be solely focused on patterns that repeat themselves; they should also guide us in shaping policy and law.

Only an honest engagement with the full scope of American history, including the crushing role racial inequality has played for generations, will help its citizens imagine an alternative future in which freedom and equality might indeed be possible.

Biden Will Be America at Her Best

“…Donald Trump, a psychopathic bumbler with low normal intelligence and a penchant for drawing to him the angry, the fearful and the hate ridden.”
journal-neo.org
Author: Gordon Duff

09.11.2020

BDV341211

For four ugly years, world organized crime, acting through its stranglehold on American government and partner leaders, virtual “capos” around the world, has spiralled the world into madness.

Behind it all, a “perfect storm,” Donald Trump, a psychopathic bumbler with low normal intelligence and a penchant for drawing to him the angry, the fearful and the hate ridden.

For four ugly years, the world has been subjected to a denial of science, a denial of basic human rights and freedoms, economic warfare, continual threats of nuclear war and an America guided by incompetence.

For four ugly years, the level of human suffering around the world has risen at the hands of a cabal lead by American leaders who have hidden behind a veil of fake Christianity while pursuing policies ridden by bigotry and racism.

For four ugly years, the world’s media, social and otherwise, has been infected with cults manufactured by rogue intelligence agencies and their criminal partners, the bizarre mythology of Qanon, supported by Donald Trump, promising a “new tomorrow.”

That tomorrow, and this cult has spread around the world, is dime store fascism of the ilk that infected the planet nearly a century ago.

For four ugly years, up was down, right was wrong, good was bad and too many, drowning in a sea of weakness, sought not only to push the world into conflict but to do so on behalf of principles based not on human progress or social justice but on a return to slavery.

For four ugly years, the United States stood as an example of how a people could lose their souls.

There is a new sheriff in town. From the New York Times:

“ President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is poised to unleash a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office, prompting what is likely to be a yearlong effort to unwind President Trump’s domestic agenda and immediately signal a wholesale shift in the United States’ place in the world.

In the first hours after he takes the oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol at noon on Jan. 20, Mr. Biden has said, he will send a letter to the United Nations indicating that the country will rejoin the global effort to combat climate change, reversing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with more than 174 countries.

Mr. Biden’s afternoon will be a busy one.

He has vowed that on Day 1 he will move rapidly to confront the coronavirus pandemic by appointing a “national supply chain commander” and establishing a “pandemic testing board,” similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime production panel. He has said he will restore the rights of government workers to unionize. He has promised to order a new fight against homelessness and resettle more refugees fleeing war. He has pledged to abandon Mr. Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim countries and to begin calling foreign leaders in an attempt to restore trust among the United States’ closest allies.”

Addressing climate change is a first step for the United States to rejoin the world community, the community of responsible and respected nations. Denial of climate change is only one of the ugly policies embraced as America descended into rule by conspiracy theory, bizarre theories that always enriched Trump’s powerful friends in the fossil fuel pollution business.

Those overseas, subject to deeply censored or carelessly incompetent new media, seldom saw the devastation wrought by Trump and his gangster goons, what they did to the United States and its people.

It was far more than a few thousand children who would spend months, now years, living in cages. 545 of those children no longer have parents anyone can find. Are they dead, deported to the ends of the earth, imprisoned in some hole, nobody knows?

What also became clear to Americans is that the cults that grew up in the 19th century such as the Ku Klux Klan or the Black Legion of the 20th century could somehow rise out of the ashes under the guise of populism and reform, at the hands of the powerful spin masters of Google and Facebook.

Thirty percent or more of America’s population were, to an extent, criminalized and diminished while those who still knew right from wrong were stripped of any voice at all.

That ship has sailed.

Americans learned so much, now a majority of decent Americans, that the law enforcement community inside the United States is utterly corrupt, not just racist, but partnered now, decades, maybe longer, with criminal elements.

The regional fiefdoms set up by what is called “courthouse gangs,” a local sheriff, the public prosecutor and judges chosen by special interest groups, rule rural America on behalf of a blend of privileged elites and traffickers, narcotics, human beings, anything that pays.

Police in not just dozens, but hundreds of communities across the United States embrace membership in fascist gangs while enriching themselves on payoffs from drug cartels and brothel owners.

To an extent, this has always gone on in the United States as corruption is endemic where force without reason rules.

However, for four ugly years, the world of America became the rule of law, supported by daily tweets and endless pronouncements, not just by Donald Trump but by those around him, a cabal of the like the world hasn’t seen since 1933 Germany.

Kushner for Ribbentrop, William Barr for Himmler, two sons vie for the role of Goering with the rest of the cast of the Nuremberg Trials soon to be cast out as well, a litany of small and ugly men and unnatural women.

For four ugly years, lies, so many they are counted and jested about, became the norm. These were not innocent lies, not hardly.

For four ugly years, the rights of Americans were stripped away by “presidential dictates” that should never have been possible, stripping away the authority of courts and the legislative authority. The people lost every role in government, every role in securing and safeguarding their own lives.

Anyone could be targeted news. With a very few minor changes, the famous quote from Martin Niemoeller became an everyday reality for more than 100 million Americans targeted by the Trump regime:

First, they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Yes, as predicted, they even came for the Jews, as QAnon’s bizarre ramblings settled into blaming the Jews for the world’s wrongs while Trump’s followers migrated from symbols of the slave-owning Confederacy to the ever so predictable swastika.

The world is now looking to Biden, Pakistan, Syria, Iran certainly, Yemen, nation after nation waking up to uncertainty as to how to deal with a United States no longer controlled by criminals.

Can Netanyahu survive without Trump’s protection, both drowning in accusations of financial misconduct and, worse still, manipulating events for profit?

How will Russia deal with an America after Trump, a leader superficially friendly to Moscow while also dragging Russia into a nuclear arms race?

Here is the deal; just perhaps things can change and that America waking up may well be a catalyst. The American people have, to the extent allowed, drained their own swamp.

With America turning away from dictatorship, what now can be done elsewhere? There are other hard questions as well, first among them as to how the world allowed the United States to take control, both militarily and economically, of the planet while descending into anarchy at home?

Balance disappeared. Will balance be restored?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of  Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

On Trump and Covid

Oct 31, 2020
On this page, I try very hard not to be political. I have never endorsed a candidate, encouraged my followers to vote on a particular piece of legislation, etc., but I am going to make an exception this one time because Donald Trump is one of the most serious threats to science that we have ever faced. His blind denial of evidence is eroding public trust in science and the value of experts, and it is costing thousands of lives. I’m not just talking about COVID here, his environmental policies are also causing irreparable harm. So, I cannot, in good conscience, stand back without saying anything. Many other science advocates and scientific societies have reached the same conclusion, and this year has seen an unprecedented number of science groups that usually avoid politics coming out and endorsing Biden because four more years of Trump is too grave of a threat to ignore. So I am going to do likewise. If you are an American who cares about science, rational thought, human life, and/or the environment, vote for Biden. He’s not perfect. I disagree with him on a lot, but Trump has to be stopped, and voting for Biden is the only way to do so (see comment at end about third party candidates).
So why am I so adamant that Trump has to go? That would take several books, but let’s hit the highlights.
COVID-19 Concept Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures
First, his response to COVID has been abysmal and is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. The USA has one of the highest death rates (per capita) of any country in the world. If you look at how almost every other country responded, their response was better, and far fewer of their citizens have died.
Trump has repeatedly lied about COVID. He has downplayed its seriousness, incorrectly compared it to the flu, falsely claimed that we have lots of cases simply because we do more testing, repeatedly ignored experts and publicly disagreed with them, and said over and over again that we are “rounding the corner” or “its going to go away” even while cases spike and experts warn that things are getting worse.
A real leader would have listened to experts and used their advice to make plans to save lives rather than, as Kushner described it, trying to “get[] the country back from the doctors.” A real leader would have told the American people how serious this is rather than downplaying it. A real leader would have told the American people that we have to take this seriously and carefully follow health guidelines. Once experts presented evidence that masks work, a real leader would have listened to them, fully endorsed masks, and led by example. A real leader would not flaunt public health guidelines by holding massive crowded rallies. This list goes on and on and on. It’s almost hard to imagine anyone doing a worse job at handling COVID than Trump has.
Look around the world at how other countries are doing. Look at countries like Australia where less than 1,000 people have died of COVID (35 deaths per million people) and compare that to the US where over 230,000 have died (712 deaths per million). There is absolutely no reason why that many people had to die. If you look at other countries, it is painfully obvious that an intelligent leader who listened to experts could have greatly reduced those deaths. Further, if you compare Trump’s actions and statements to Biden’s, it is clear that Biden would have done a much better job. He would have encouraged mask use (and led by example), he would have listened to experts and worked with them, not against them, and thousands more would be alive today (see note at end about Trump’s China ban).
Beyond COVID, Trump’s environmental policies have been horrific. He has rolled back dozens of regulations designed to protect the environment and your health, he has opened up public land for fossil fuel companies to destroy, he has repeatedly denied the seriousness of climate change and refused to take appropriate action, his idiotic border wall is destroying key habitat for countless species, he has done his best to fill the EPA with people who care about business, not the environment, he has attacked the endangered species act, etc. etc. He is probably the worst president for the environment that we have ever had. And look, some of you are probably about to be like, “stupid liberal, America has the best air and water in the world!” but what you seem to be blindly ignoring is that we only have good air and water quality (not the best, btw) because of the types of environmental rules Trump is removing! It’s like someone buying a very well-maintained used car and saying, “this thing runs great, better than other cars, therefore I don’t need to do these oil changes.” The car only runs well because of the maintenance! Keep in mind, prior to environmental regulations, some of America’s rivers were literally on fire due to the waste being dumped into them. Without regulations, companies will destroy the environment which ultimately impacts human health and costs lives.
More generally, Trump has repeatedly tried to cut funding for science and health agencies (fortunately the senate has largely stopped him, but who knows if that would continue to be true for four more years) and waged an all-out war on the nature of facts and truth. All politicians lie, but Trump does so at an extraordinary rate. The non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact has ranked 72% of his claims as “mostly false” or worse. It’s not just that he lies, rather, the majority of what he says is false, then he tries to claim that its really everyone else who is lying. He does this even when he is clearly in the wrong. Do you all remember him feuding with meteorologists about the direction a storm was going, then using a sharpy to draw an extra line on a map like the petulant child he is? That’s insane and, quite frankly, dangerous. People need to listen to experts, especially when storms are coming, and they need accurate information. When the president picks these types of fights, spreads false information, and erodes public trust in scientists, he is endangering lives. Further, it is behavior that is unfathomable from someone like Biden. You honestly think Biden would have picked a fight like that? Do you honestly think Biden wouldn’t have just let things slide rather than fighting experts and drawing on a map with a sharpy? There’s simply no comparison between these two.
This post has become long, and it’s not even close to listing the countless ways in which Trump has attacked science and endangered lives, but I will end it here. We cannot have four more years of this. We have to vote him out. Please, don’t sit this election out, and don’t waste your vote on a third-party candidate.
Note on third-party candidates: The way that America’s system is set up, third-party candidates simply do not have a realistic chance of winning. They just don’t. There is absolutely zero evidence to support the notion that a third-party candidate can win, and no third-party candidate has won even a single state in decades. Even if everyone who actually wanted a third-party candidate voted that way, there is no evidence whatsoever that those people outnumber Trump or Biden supporters.
Note on Trump’s China ban: Trump’s supporters love to cite the travel ban as evidence that Trump did take things seriously and is better than democrats. This is absurd. First, the travel ban was very ineffective (something like 40,000 people still came in from China). At best, it bought us a bit of time, but Trump squandered that time. Second, this does not change the fact that following the ban, Trump did literally everything wrong. Note instituting the ban, but instituting universal mask-wearing, better social distancing, etc. would have resulted in far fewer deaths than we currently have. Third, even the assertion that the ban is evidence of Trump taking things seriously is dubious because he has been feuding with China for years and loves travel bans. It is entirely possible that he simply saw an opportunity to ban a country he doesn’t like and took it.

Schrödinger’s President

 

Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter went on a surprisingly vitriolic anti-Trump rant the other day, calling the president a “complete blithering idiot”, an “actual retard”, and “the most disloyal human God ever created” for his treatment of Jeff Sessions and his failure to build the border wall per his campaign promise.

“Coulter is right,” comedian Tim Dillon tweeted in response. “Trump doesn’t really care about immigration or the wall, it was just the way to win. He likes winning. You don’t live your entire life being a Hollywood star who hangs with the Clintons and Jeffrey Epstein and then decide you actually like people from Ohio.”

Which is true. Trump and his handlers understood that rising anti-immigration sentiment in America was a key to winning the presidency, but he never cared about immigration and never had any intention of going out of his way to do anything about it (which is why even his deportation numbers are still below Obama’s). Just one of the many ways where the popular narrative about Trump–the story everyone’s telling about him–differs wildly from the reality.

Tim Dillon

@TimJDillon

Coulter is right. Trump doesn’t really care about immigration or the wall, it was just the way to win. He likes winning. You don’t live your entire life being a Hollywood star who hangs with the Clintons and Jeffrey Epstein and then decide you actually like people from Ohio.

604 people are talking about this

It is normal to have multiple contradictory mainstream narratives running about a president at the same time, and for none of those narratives to be accurate. Obama was simultaneously a progressive champion of sanity and a socialist Muslim from Kenya hell bent on America’s destruction, none of which was true but both of which were believed with equal fervor by either side of the illusory partisan divide.

What’s unusual about Trump is that there are multiple contradictory narratives running about him at the same time, within the same political factions. His own base is able to hold the belief that Trump is a brilliant strategic mastermind who is commanding a covert counter-coup to overthrow the Deep State, for example, while simultaneously excusing all the many, many establishment capitulations that he makes as being beyond his control. Much like Schrödinger’s proverbial pet Trump exists for them in two mutually contradictory states at once: a skillful hero who is taking down the Deep State, and a hapless victim who can’t control what happens in his own administration because it’s all being controlled by the Deep State.

On the other side of the imaginary partisan divide, Democrats spent years advancing the mutually contradictory narratives that Trump is at once (A) idiotic, (B) mentally ill, and (C) running a covert operation to sabotage America in the interests of Russia–but cleverly evading detection under intense scrutiny. They also hold him as simultaneously presenting an unprecedented threat to American democracy and also perfectly safe to keep voting in support of continuing and expanding his military and surveillance powers.

None of these narratives have anything to do with reality, yet they consume an immense amount of oxygen in US political discourse while Trump continues and expands the many depraved agendas of his predecessors.

Consortium News@Consortiumnews

Biden Can’t Return US to Normal, Because Trump is a Normal President https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/22/biden-cant-return-us-to-normal-because-trump-is-a-normal-president/ 

Biden Can’t Return US to Normal, Because Trump is a Normal President

Wanting America to go back to how it was before Trump is like rewinding the same horror movie, writes Caitlin Johnstone. By Caitlin Johnstone CaitlinJohnstone.com “I am with Joe Biden all the way-…

consortiumnews.com

53 people are talking about this

Trump is not a populist champion of the little guy, nor a closet Nazi working to establish a white ethnostate, nor a Kremlin asset, but is in fact nothing other a miserable rich man from a miserable rich family who did what it takes to get elected to the presidency of a racist, corrupt, bloodthirsty empire and remain there for a full term. Everything else is narrative which is wholly divorced from reality.

The reason we can have wildly popular narratives dominating mainstream political discourse for years on end without their containing a shred of actual reality is because human experience is dictated by mental stories far more than most people realize. Establishment power structures, who have their hands in both parties of America’s two-handed political sock puppet show, stand everything to gain and nothing to lose by using narrative control to keep the public debating fake nonsense instead of the actual horrible things this administration is doing like imprisoning Julian Assange for journalism, vetoing attempts to save Yemen, inflicting starvation sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, and initiating cold war escalations against two nuclear-armed nations.

If people truly understood the extent to which mental narrative dominates their experience of life, propaganda, advertising and all other forms of psychological manipulation would be regarded by our society similarly to physical assault or property theft. For anyone who is interested in the pernicious ways narrative manipulation is used to keep people confused and conflicted while powerful people roll out toxic agendas, Trump is a very interesting case study indeed.

If humanity is to survive, people are going to have to evolve beyond the sticky relationship with mental narrative which enables establishment spinmeisters to keep an entire nation transfixed by fake stories about a very conventionally evil president instead of pushing for the real changes we’ll need to make if we’re to overcome the existential hurdles looming on our horizon. Learning to distinguish reality from narrative will send the whole prison crashing down.

________________________

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Ex-Trumpist Ann Coulter Trashed Online as She Rips ‘Disloyal Actual Retard’ Trump in Twitter Rant

Conservative author Ann Coulter
sputniknews.com
by 
May 26, 2020

Ann Coulter picked up on Donald Trump’s weekend dig at Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, frothing at the mouth with rage saying he “had to recuse” himself due to the president’s actions.

Former Trump defender and author of the book “In Trump We Trust” Ann Coulter has gone on an anti-Trump Twitter tear, trashing POTUS, who she had initially endorsed during his 2016 campaign, as the “most disloyal actual retard that has ever set foot in the Oval Office”. However, netizens were quick to turn the rampage back on Coulter.

She started her multi-post rant in response to the president’s Friday tweet in which he called for Alabama voters to “not trust Jeff Sessions”, his former attorney general, and instead put their support behind Sessions’ Republican Senate seat rival, football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Further branding Trump a “moron” and “lout”, Coulter fumed that the raging healthcare crisis provided an opportunity for him to be “or pretend to be a decent and compassionate human being” – “but he couldn’t even do that”, she said.

Coulter, who has since Trump’s election distanced herself from him over immigration issues, stood up in defence of Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general, asserting – addressing POTUS – he “had to recuse himself you complete blithering idiot”.

Coulter rounded off her online rampage affirming the issues that Trump propagated as a candidate were ditched as soon as he entered the White House.

“The ONE PERSON in the Trump administration who did anything about immigration was Jeff Sessions”, she emphasised, having lines above stated the president hadn’t cherished any plans to build the border wall from the start.

The conservative commentator, who published her “In Trump We Trust” in 2016, added that she regrets once believing in “this shallow and broken man” and his pledges.

It is not the first time Coulter has attacked Trump like that: in February 2019, as POTUS declared a national emergency at the Texas border, she responded by saying that “the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot”.

The detail has been taken note of my multiple netizens: “she’s been ‘mad’ before”, one states, with many more mocking her rage over the fact “Trump didn’t build the wall”:

“Ann Coulter you didn’t keep your word to give President Trump a chance to keep his promise”, another fumed, with many openly jeering at the former Trump associate:

“Ann Coulter has borderline personality disorder”, one giggled, while others tried to figure what she is actually after:

“Using Trump’s name for clout again”, one suggested, in tune with many others’ tweets.

“Build a wall around ann coulter [sic]”, another said.

US pandemic cover-up responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands

Saving Wall Street, not lives

The deliberate efforts by the federal government to muzzle scientists and downplay the disease, combined with massive delays in the roll-out of testing, led states to begin restrictions far too late.

Source

http://www.wsws.org

Andre Damon

May 22, 2020

 

On Wednesday, researchers from Columbia University released a study showing that the massive US death toll, now approaching 100,000, is a direct consequence of decisions made by the Trump administration.

The study, posted on medRxiv.org, found that if the United States had begun social distancing and other control measures just two weeks earlier, it would have saved the lives of 54,000 people. The implementation of such measures one week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives.

These figures quantify the consequences of the Trump administration’s efforts in January and February to minimize the threat posed by the pandemic. Despite clear evidence and warnings by scientists, Trump and his cabinet members systematically downplayed the significance of the disease. As late as February 28, Trump was still claiming that the coronavirus “is going to disappear” like “a miracle.” Trump condemned those saying that COVID-19 was rapidly spreading throughout the country, declaring, “This is their new hoax.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

But within the government, leading scientists had been ringing the alarm for nearly two months in a futile attempt to make the White House take the most basic measures to prepare for a major pandemic. “Public health officials were fully aware of the emerging threat of COVID-19 by early January 2020,” wrote Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in a whistleblower complaint.

In a subsequent interview, Bright added “I knew that all of the signs for a pandemic were present. A novel virus, causing significant mortality, and spreading. All the signs were there. It was just a matter of time before that virus left China.”

Bright’s statements tear apart the administration’s claims that “no one could have predicted” the pandemic, and that to the extent the response was delayed in the United States, it was because China lied about the spread of the disease.

Rather, the Trump administration, Bright said, was “intent on downplaying this catastrophic threat.”

The deliberate efforts by the federal government to muzzle scientists and downplay the disease, combined with massive delays in the roll-out of testing, led states to begin restrictions far too late.

New York State implemented its stay-at-home order on March 22, more than two months after community transmission began in the United States in mid-January. Lockdowns in most US cities came three and a half months after Chinese researchers discovered the virus, prompting fears of a global pandemic.

While the Trump administration and the media blame China for delaying the release of information, it now emerges that as many as 50,000 deaths were caused by the White House’s decision to postpone as long as possible the ordering of a lockdown.

Chinese scientists announced a cluster of unexplained illnesses on December 31, and the announcement was widely reported in the United States, including by Reuters, the Associated Press and the New York Times.

The World Socialist Web Site, on the basis of only publicly available data, was able to warn on January 24 that “evidence has emerged that person-to-person infection is occurring.” Four days later, the WSWS wrote, “The outbreak has exposed the enormous vulnerability of contemporary society to new strains of infectious disease, dangers for which no capitalist government has adequately prepared.”

But for months, US officials did nothing to prepare for the coming pandemic. It was not until nearly eight weeks after the first public statements by Chinese health officials that any systematic testing for COVID-19 began in the US.

Even as Trump did nothing to prepare for the spread of COVID-19, he imposed a travel ban on China against the advice of the World Health Organization and his own scientific advisors. Within the federal government, Bright and other scientists within the administration were desperately warning that a travel ban would not prevent the disease from entering the United Sates.

Why, despite the warnings of scientists within his administration, did Trump implement a purely cosmetic measure, whose aim would be to construct the narrative that COVID-19 would be kept out of the country?

Driving the White House’s response to the pandemic from the beginning was not the threat of COVID-19 to human lives, but its impact on the stock market. The White House was well aware that the pandemic would have a devastating impact. But it would come under conditions where Wall Street was already under tremendous strain. The markets had been artificially inflated through years of ultra-low interest rates and “quantitative easing,” which had fueled a massive rise in indebtedness that was undermining corporate profitability and threatening a collapse of the already wildly inflated stock market.

Trump and his advisers knew that the impact of the pandemic would trigger a market selloff, which could only be contained and reversed through the infusion of trillions of dollars in cash from the Federal Reserve and Treasury. In order to gain time, the White House suppressed information and misled the public while this bailout could be prepared.

An article by Edward Luce in the Financial Times last week provided a window into this process. “Nothing could be allowed to frighten the Dow Jones,” the Times wrote, explaining the thinking of the Trump administration. “Any signal that the US was bracing for a pandemic—including taking actual steps to prepare for it—was discouraged.”

The Financial Times quoted one person close to the White House as saying, “Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it.”

Amid the public silence, there was furious activity in the background as lawmakers were preparing what would be the largest government bailout of major corporations in history. The Trump administration was playing for time, keeping the public in the dark while a complex program for bailing out Wall Street could be put into motion.

This time was used to write what would become an 800-page bill known as the CARES Act, which created the framework for a multitrillion-dollar bailout of the financial system by the Federal Reserve and the funneling of hundreds of billions of dollars into major corporations from the Treasury.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the bill on March 25. Within two days, the CARES Act passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and the House with a voice vote. It was signed into law the same day. In other words, the largest redistribution of public funds in human history took just 48 hours.

An article in Foreign Affairs notes that this bailout would “blur the lines, never clear to begin with, between the public and private sectors and transfer a large portion of the global economy onto government balance sheets. This level of spending has no precedent in history—not even close. Not in war. Not in peacetime. Not ever.”

As soon as this bailout was secured, the media immediately changed its tone. It turned from focusing on images of mass death and overcrowded hospitals to “hopeful signs” and “silver linings” in order to declare that the pandemic was all but over and that workers should get back on the job.

Even as 1,500 Americans continue to die every day from COVID-19, all 50 states have reopened businesses, sending workers back to work in unsafe conditions and setting the stage for a massive resurgence of the disease.

The same total disregard for human life that prompted the White House to downplay the pandemic and hamper the federal response is at work in the back-to-work campaign.

Amid warnings by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield that the United States faces a major resurgence of COVID-19, Trump declared yesterday, “Whether it’s an ember or a flame… we’re not closing our country.”

In other words, no matter how high the death toll climbs, the needs of society will not be allowed to interfere with the profit-making of Wall Street. The priority of the government will continue to be the interests of financial oligarchy, not saving lives.

This is why the fight against the pandemic must be waged not only on the medical front, but on the political front as well. The struggle against COVID-19 is inseparable from the broadest possible fight against the criminal policies of the Trump administration and its supine enablers in the Democratic Party.

As the Socialist Equality Party wrote in its recent statement, “Build rank-and-file factory and workplace committees to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus and save lives,” workers must:

Form rank-and-file safety committees in every factory, office and workplace. These committees, democratically controlled by workers themselves, should formulate, implement, and oversee measures that are necessary to safeguard the health and lives of workers, their families and the broader community.

There can be no “business as usual!” The pandemic exposes the urgent necessity for a complete restructuring of the processes of production, distribution and economic activity in general. The lives of working people and their families must not be sacrificed in the interests of corporate profits and the private wealth of billionaire oligarchs.

We urge all those who agree with these demands to draw the necessary political conclusions and take up the fight for socialism.

 

Europe is abandoning Trump on the world stage as it turns away from the US toward China

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President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has triggered global criticism. 
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  • Recent polling suggests Europeans are turning away from the US under President Donald Trump’s leadership.
  • Public opinion toward America has declined in major European countries since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Seventy-six percent of Germans in a new poll said their view of America had deteriorated because of the crisis.
  • Roughly equal numbers of Germans in the poll favored maintaining close relationships with China and the US in a head-to-head matchup.
  • One poll last week found that just 2% of French people trusted Trump to provide world leadership.
  • China is exerting growing political, diplomatic, and financial power across Europe.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is presiding over the deterioration of the US’s position on the world stage as European countries increasingly look toward China as a future global leader.

This shift is apparent in a series of recent opinion polls that found European sentiment toward the US to be in decline since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

New polling published in Germany this week found that an overwhelming majority of Germans said they had a worse opinion of the US because of the pandemic.

The survey found that 76% of Germans said their view of the US had deteriorated because of the pandemic, compared with 36% who said the same of China.

The poll found:

  • Germans were largely split when asked whether they favored maintaining close relations with China or the US.
  • 37% of Germans said it was more important to maintain close relations with the US, compared to 36% who said the same of China.
  • That was a big drop from a poll last year, when 50% of Germans said maintaining US relations was the priority, compared with just 24% who said China.
  • In a separate question, just 10% of Germans saw the US as the country’s most important global partner, down from 19% last year. Six percent said the same of China, down 1 percentage point from the year before.

Separate polling conducted in the UK also found a deterioration in Britain’s view of the US since the pandemic began.

Asked at the end of last month whether Britain should forge a stronger relationship with Europe or with the US, 35% of Brits told the pollsters YouGov that Europe should be the priority, compared with just 13% who said the US.

That’s a net shift of 6 percentage points toward Europe since early November and came despite Britain’s exit from the European Union in January.

The shift comes amid global shock about recent interventions by President Donald Trump on the coronavirus pandemic.

The president’s comments speculating that disinfectant might be used to treat coronavirus patients caused widespread disbelief and horror in many European countries.

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger,” the Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote last month in response to Trump’s comments.

“But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”

Reports that Trump had attempted to buy exclusive rights to a coronavirus vaccine being developed in Germany also triggered anger on the continent.

Trump’s behavior has highlighted already widespread negative feelings in Europe toward the president, with one survey last week finding that just 2% of French people trusted Trump to lead the world.

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Understanding the sinister agenda being forced upon us