COVID-19: Grifters run wild and the Trumps make absurd statements

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It was so absurd I had to check several sources to see if it was true. I first saw it on Brian Karem’s Facebook page and he’s a very reliable source. But still, what member of Congress, a doctor no less, would say something as stupid and ignorant as poor and homeless people don’t want health care and they won’t take care of themselves. It is indeed true, a Republican (of course) congressman Roger Marshall of Kansas.

He believes Medicaid hasn’t helped people — I know at least two people personally who finally got health care when the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid. Marshall actually said, “Just like Jesus said, the poor will always be with us,” and “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Of course Jesus said that. He told the lepers, “Yo! Some of you are just gonna have to take one for humanity and die.”

Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Republicans are saying stupid things every day during this coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t feel an urgency for another stimulus bill that sends money to the regular folks, the taxpayers who are out of work and have no idea if and when they’ll be back at the jobs. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said, “I don’t see the need right now.”

Now that you have had your face palm moment: 36-plus million people getting unemployment, millions more unable to apply for unemployment, people on the verge of losing their homes because they can’t pay their rent or mortgages; others with catastrophic health emergencies, not related to COVID-19, small businesses struggling to stay open, even if they have opened, but with restrictions.

You may recall that two years ago they saw a need to give big business and the ultra-rich over a trillion in sweet tax breaks. But give the hoi polloi a couple grand a month until the pandemic is behind us — no bueno.

And by the way — I usually hate starting a paragraph with the word “and” — It isn’t just the few protestors wearing and carrying SWAT gear that want to reopen the economy. No siree Bob. The vast majority of the hoi polloi (I like that term) thinks it’s a better idea to stay at home, rather than go to work.

The vast majority of workers that continue to work during the shut downs, other than the frontline and first responders, are the low to minimum wage workers, like the people being coerced into working in meat packing plants. Or the grocery store personnel, baristas, fast food workers. You can see it on social media, especially since a store security guard was killed for trying to enforce the mask wearing rule — these people are afraid of working. They could get infected with the virus, get horribly sick or pass it on to a loved one. But they are deemed essential and really, I get stuff from the stores and use Door Dash, so yeah, I am very grateful they show up. I wish them all well.

Former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson nails it with these tweets

The people that are really behind the push to reopen the economy, the true power behind the reopening: the monsters of the universe that control the levers of this capitalist society. Hell, they aren’t going into a crowded plant or factory floor where the coronavirus is spreading, hell no! That’s your job! The CEO’s, company president and shareholders, they, my friends, are working from home … whichever of their homes that happen to be at that day.

Years ago, shortly after Ronald Reagan became president and our society began to change back to a slave wage economy, I realized the adage, “Great American Work Ethic” was a myth, or at least becoming an old story told around the campfire when grandpa was talking about the good ole days.

This is what the power elite want you to believe, that there is something noble about working longer hours for less money, that it’s a pride thing to know we Americans work harder and longer for less than their Western European counterparts.

They rob us blind, not just in terms of money, but dignity. You pay more for your health care than any European country, and the for profit health care system reserves the right to raise the costs on us while denying coverage if they choose.

Do you have maternal or paternal leave? How about free daycare for those parents that can’t stay at home with their children?

No, we don’t get any of that because the profits — and massive tax breaks — go to the wealthiest one percent. The so-called American Work Ethic is just a slogan for the rich people that means “you make us rich and we’ll give you a couple weeks off each year, if you’re not afraid of losing your job.”

Those are the people that want you, us, going back to work while a pandemic rages around us. That’s why the Republicans want to stop any further stimulus going to the working stiffs of America.

If this COVID-19 crisis has shown us one thing it’s this: the class structure of this nation has made this capitalist economic system nothing more than a slave wage economy.

If people didn’t have to worry about their economic stability, if they received a universal basic income of $3-4k per month until a vaccine could be created, they wouldn’t feel so desperate about going back into a crowded work environment in the middle of a pandemic.

American Work Ethic my ass. It’s the “Make Me Rich You Fucking Peons” ethic.

In my last post I lamented how each post is obsolete by the end of the day because the orange man in the Oval Office says something stupid and/or dangerous. As former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt put it one day on MSNBC, “Every day is the result of a new stratosphere of abject idiocy from the White House.” Watch the clip here.

You should watch the entire clip. He calls Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham and Judge Janine “Spectacularly nuts.” Steve Schmidt is a great wordsmith, even when he was working for Republican candidates I enjoyed listening to him speak, but the rise of Donald J. Trump has raised his game considerably. Maybe I believe that because now he isn’t destroying one of my talking points.

What’s the latest stupid and dangerous thing the president is saying? Bear in mind Trump may say something even more despicable and dangerous tomorrow. But, in front of news cameras and microphones Trump claimed he is taking hydroxychloroquine with a zinc supplement every day. He knew that would surprise everyone in the media … although I didn’t hear any crazy reactions from the few journalists covering Trump’s little press rally. Trump even claimed thousands of frontline workers were taking hydroxychloroquine … which now has thousands of frontline COVID-19 workers scratching their heads and asking their colleagues, “Is he talking about you?” “No! I thought it was you!” Or, “He’s lying again. Look, his lips are moving.”

Now there are Trump supporters out there who believe Trump is taking the malaria drug and see it as their green light to take the drug to ward off the disease they (Trump fans) believe is a hoax. The British actor Tim Curry once talked about how much he enjoyed living in the United States but lamented how much he missed irony. Well, the Trump years must be making him positively giddy.

Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-n-Furter in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Just an aside: How old were you the first time you saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show and what did you think about all the food getting flung at the screen? I was 21 and being so stoned thought I was hallucinating when people were throwing the toast and rice.

There is an Arizona congressman who actually claimed he and his family were taking the hydroxychloroquine, like the president. Keep in mind they are not taking it because they have symptoms, but as a prophylactic, i.e. to prevent the disease. There’s absolutely no evidence the drug would work that way — no scientific evidence that can be verified.

Who knew that saying “rely on the science” would be a political statement?

Many, if not all, Trump supporters despise science and scientists and there have been signs at these anti-Stay-At-Home demonstrations that say Dr. Anthony Fauci should be hanged. So, telling a Trump supporter not to do something the president suggested is just a waste of breath.

Yet, there was Neil Cavuto of Fox News telling his viewers. many of whom are older and in the high risk group, not to take hydroxychloroquine because it will kill them. Not Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC saying it, but Neil Cavuto, a fairly reliable conservative voice. Trump was not happy with that. Fox News is supposed to be his mouthpiece, goddammit!

Trump must have realized he stepped in a large pile of dogshit with his lie about using hydroxychloroquine so he began walking that back, claiming he was only going to take it for a few more days. On Thursday he was Trump-splaining and spewed out this gem of a word salad. “I tested positively toward negative, right? So no, I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative. But that’s a way of saying it. Positively toward the negative.”

The doctors from the CDC are no longer a part of his press rallies. They are not willing (we presume) to go along with his dangerous ideas about restarting the economy right now and the incredibly stupid claim that he won’t be closing the economy when the second wave hits.

Social media meme

We know he won’t close anything down because he didn’t do anything when COVID-19 first hit. It was all up to the governors. Sure, many governors are going along with Trump’s ideas: George, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona — and in Florida, Iowa and Arizona the governors are actively trying to keep secret the number of new coronavirus cases, especially in high density work places like meat packing plants.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida was in front of the cameras berating the news media for reporting on the state’s poor response to the pandemic, claiming the state’s numbers were low … and then we found out he was trying to cook the numbers to fit his story. The state of Arizona is arguing, in court, that releasing the data about which nursing homes have COVID-19 outbreaks would harm those businesses.  It will be bad for business. Having people die from the pandemic isn’t as bad as the public knowing about it. These states are spending a lot of money and energy trying to cover up what the coronavirus is doing in their states, money and energy that could be spent on testing and contract tracing, along with new equipment.

Because the coronavirus curve has been flattened in the New York Tri-State area and California, Americans are being fed the notion that the entire country is flattening, which could not be any more wrong. Yet these governors are following the lead of Trump, denying the disease is spreading. If they don’t count the cases, or at least publish the numbers, then the coronavirus pandemic is over, right? As of this moment there are 1.64 million reported cases in the U.S. with 96, 370 deaths. In my previous post, a week ago, there were 1.47 million confirmed cases with 88, 237 deaths. Pulling out my calculator: That’s an increase of 170,000 cases, roughly 24,286 new cases per day. Plus 8,133 new coronavirus deaths, or roughly 1,162 deaths per day. That number is actually down from a few weeks ago, which is encouraging, but with the spread of the disease in rural areas accelerating, it looks like it’s growing.

In California we have 88,444 cases with 3,630 confirmed deaths. A week ago the number were 74,936 confirmed cases and 3,108 deaths. Not quite 2,000 new cases per day, and 522 deaths recorded in the past week.

A doctor’s waiting room in L.A. (Claudia Gestro)

In what has to be a policy of either total irony or complete ineptitude (or both) President Trump sent a letter to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the director of Los Angeles County’s public Health Department, Barbara Ferrer, warning them against an “arbitrary and heavy handed approach” to the mayor’s Safer-At-Home orders.

On the very same day Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator said the CDC had been asked to investigate three cities, Los Angeles being one of them, for their persistent spread of COVID-19.

It was suggested by Ferrer that the mayor’s orders could be extended two months, but the scientists believe the orders have slowed the spread of the virus. We do know there are high density businesses, like meat packing plants, where the disease can spread fast, plus the state is having trouble trying to test everyone at all the assisted living and nursing homes.

California has its issues with COVID-19, but the greatest obstacle, from the very beginning, has been in the inaction and misinformation coming from the orange guy in the Oval Office.

Which brings this up: Trump just declared that houses of worship are essential and therefore not covered by Stay-At-Home and social distancing orders. Even though churches have proven to be some of the where COVID-19 spreads the quickest. A church in Texas reclosed because the pastor and his wife came down with the disease. Them and a bunch of their parishioners.

Basketball fans over the age of 35 might remember the Georgetown and New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing. He’s currently the head coach for Georgetown’s men’s basketball team. On Friday he announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 He is currently at a Washington, D.C. area hospital. He tweeted to his followers, “This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”

The apples haven’t fallen far from the tree: Eric Trump said the Democrats cooked up COVID-19 and that it will magically vanish after election day. He lies like dear old dad.

Barack Obama gave his televised commencement addresses. He ripped the Trump Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He said, ““More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Former V.P. Joe Biden (YouTube)

That about sums it up, except that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, was on the Breakfast Club radio program with Charlamagne the God and said something incredibly stupid. He said it in jest, but it was nonetheless insensitive and … stupid.

In 2016 some Black people did vote for Trump and many more of them stayed home. If Biden wants to turn out the vote the way Barack Obama and Bill Clinton did, he can’t take them for granted. Nor can he give Republicans ammunition to use in the campaign.

He’s since apologized.

While we’re concentrating on the coronavirus the Trump administration is laying waste to the environment by rolling back regulations at the EPA. The Attorney General is making no attempt to hide his use of the Justice Department as the enforcer of the Trump re-election campaign.

On top of that Trump has fired four inspectors-general in the past two months, one of whom was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and another who was investigating Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. That inspector’s replacement has already been vetted by Chao’s husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. How cozy is that?

Comedian Bill Maher made a really interesting observation about Trump and the Republicans. The impeachment of Trump has backfired on the Democrats because it has emboldened Trump to do whatever he likes. He doesn’t care what the Democrats will say or do because he knows the Republicans in Congress have his back and they control the Senate.

If we don’t want more of the same we have to vote him out of office and the GOP out of control of the Senate.

Before I could even get this posted it was just reported by Huffington Post that the Trump campaign has been secretly paying the spouses of Eric and Donald Jr. $180,000 a year. These grifters have no shame.

You can read all of my posts here.

Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of President Trump claiming to use hydroxychloroquine