Catching Up with Catastrophe

15

Covid-19

We want to discuss the Biden Plan for jobs, affluence, security and peace. We want to be positive. Of all the positives you may take from this late summer/early fall of 2020, one is that not only the very experienced name Biden, but the names of Harris, and Sanders and Warren and Pelosi and Schumer and regional names like Pritzker and Cuomo and and Newsom are working for you every day. Unlike this President, they take this virus very seriously, and will work tirelessly to shut it down so people can get back to their normal lives.

The Covid-19 virus is an extremely serious matter, one as serious as any the world has faced for over 100 years. We want to be positive in a time which, frankly, for many of us, is a catastrophe. Huge numbers are dead worldwide and others live right on that critical edge between health and potential death.

Let’s just take one example. If you’re over 80, and you have some kind of respiratory problem, especially if you happen to be Black or Hispanic, what do you do? You stay home. Why?  Because, if you go out, you should probably try to go out into the fresh air. You can do it day or night. But if you do go out at night, guess what? You can’t drop in at a bar, or a dance club or a local theater performance or even your granddaughter’s (or great granddaughter’s) music recital. There won’t be one. Governments have already figured out for you that you can’t—and they won’t let you– walk into an area unprotected where you could be infected and, frankly, die.

You have to stay home to stay alive. And so, for some people’s active lives, it is a catastrophe. Too many people running around spreading microscopic particles of respiratory virus all about in places you would never suspect. And just one of these particles—so far as we know—can give you the virus, and at your age, 70,80,90–your chances of death are about one in 7! Far, far too big a risk.

It is a bad time. But let’s get one thing out of the way. No one should blame Donald Trump for a corona virus. But he is guilty of making a shambles of the response. We’re only now beginning to understand the disaster that could have been avoided. Colleges are opening and as they try to enroll students and get a school year underway—something that most of us looked forward to with real excitement—many students are getting Covid-19.Authorities (not the Trump White House unfortunately) will tell us that students will have milder cases and sometime no reaction. But Covid-19 can be deadly to anyone, and to many in the same community with the students, the spread could cause many deaths. Covid-19 is dangerous. Make no mistake. Wear the mask. Take the other precautions.

What’s Happening?

There’s a lot going on these days. The country is in trouble on so many fronts that it is hard to keep up. The Koch Billionaires Club is funding a heavy number of Southern Senators, just in case a more moderate but appealing Democrat like Doug Jones of Alabama comes along. But they should be happy, because Mark Meadows, a full-fledged Republican-Fascist,  is now in the White House simply lying to the public on every important issue. Most recently, he ignored the question and made it sound ridiculous that anyone would think that the President would support QAnon, after he, Trump, made comments about them, said that he knew that they “liked” him and that it was enough for him. To do what? Support the QAnon candidate? He just did, by not addressing the issue further.( “Will you condemn this man who has acknowledged he is a murderer? Silence. “Do you support this murderer?” Silence. So…you tell me if that is not support? ) Meadows has spent some time simply ignoring questions to allow another conspiracy, crazy, lunatic Trump-wacky candidate to be elected from the nutcase area of the country.

Steve Bannon, a former Trump campaign manager in 2016, later a White House staffer has been indicted on fraud charges for embezzling hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars from a private “Build the Wall” fund that he and a couple of others decided to dip into for their own enrichment. Bannon is an interesting character. Let’s hope that now people will see him for what he is, basically a fraud, who, in 2016, portrayed Trump as a “Populist” whereas Trump is most certainly an old-line reactionary Capitalist and in many respects a Neo-Fascist. He told people that when he would do a number of things that were Populist, that is, supported by and done for, the People.

When Trump came to office, he gave tax cuts to billionaires, cut government services, let infrastructure wither, threatened our allies, lined himself up with foreign dictators, and actually used a national police force to pick up and jail U.S. Citizens without a warrant or even any identification.  Far from being a Bannon  Populist, Trump is the kind of person Bannon really works with, like David Bossie of Citizen’s United, the man who led the organization to give billionaires the legal right to spend as much money electing Right Wing representatives as they wanted. This is the same man, David Bossie that Bannon worked for, the man who produced one of the biggest-lies and hatchet-job movies of all time, “Hillary, the Movie.” I watched that movie more than once and took notes and researched the accusations. Nothing, not one thing, was true.

It looks like Bannon will go to jail. It is something of a shame, despite the fact that he deserves it for being a Fascist. He served his country. He seems to have worked his way through college. He served in the Navy for seven years, although some of that was in Washington, working in the government. He has two Masters degrees. Founded a company involved in production of films, then produced his own films, basically Right Wing documentaries.  Became involved with Trump, got kicked out of the administration, edited Breitbart blog and did a Sirius show. Those were canceled after a fall out with major Republican donors. Then he went into “Build the Wall” from which company he was removed and indicted.

QAnon and Jim Jordan. Jordan, House member from Ohio, involved who was interviewed in the Ohio State wrestling teams predatory sex scandals, has apparently given his support to a QAnon member or members running for Congress. This is only an issue because these were the same nuts who claimed that Hillary Clinton, of all people, was running some kind of sex slave operation in the back of a Chinese restaurant or dry cleaners in Washington DC and someone there was actually shot by a nutcase with a gun who came up to Washington from somewhere to check it out. This is all part of a single person’s fantasy about the deep state, that people in government and the entertainment industry are somehow connected for sinister purposes. All total rot.

For one thing, there is no Deep State. There is only one state. It is called the Federal Government and it has been with us since the country began, expanded under Franklin D Roosevelt, and a little bit more each decade except for the occasional pullback. Some pullbacks might surprise you. The years after Reagan were pretty steady. But Clinton and Gore cut back government employment (which may be part of the reason…with higher taxes on the wealthy…that they balanced the budget. Then, under Bush II and Cheney government employment reached an all-time high. Which may be why they added about $9 trillion to the budget in less than 8 years. Outside of people perhaps working with military contractors, not many federal employees got rich during the Bush/Cheney period. During the Obama administration, federal employment fell again. It seems very clear. The Republicans leave saying: clear the swamp. And then Democrats get the job of actually doing it.

Trump said he was going to come in and “drain the swamp.” What did we think he meant by that? I suppose that it was assumed by many that he would get rid of people who were not useful to the work at hand…non-agricultural types at the Department of Agriculture, lets say, or  people with no drilling or mining experience at the Energy Department.  But Trump’s people didn’t even show up for a minimum of a month after the election. When they did, according to long time staffers, all they wanted to do was attack the previous administrations policies. They seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that nothing that went out would be upset anyone in the White House inner circle.

The “swamp” drained itself. As Trump people moved in, experienced, high end officials, in a good economy, with retirement already in their hands, began to leave, as they previously had not, for higher paying jobs in the private sector. As policies began to damage large groups of citizens the departments were meant to serve, more left. Soon, at places like the State Department, as many as 60% of critical, top diplomatic positions were now open, many of whom were Ph.Ds. After all his swagger, Trump did not come through at all. Two years after his election, 350 or so of the 700 top positions in government departments had not been filled.

David Bernhardt  is a perfect example of the Trump transitional catastrophe. A Trump candidate to lead the Interior Department,  Bernhardt was a lobbyist and legal consultant, often working for clients against clean water issues that have been legislated with great difficulty over decades. Although Bernhardt was supposed to stop lobbying and said that he had stopped lobbying, in fact, he continued to lobby for Westlands Water District, a powerful California agribusiness group for months after saying he had ended his lobbying business.

Why is that important? Water is at a premium in California. Mr. Bernhardt just happened to support policies that loosened endangered species regulations, allowing the release of more water from the San Francisco Bay area water supplies into the very commercial farmland that Westlands sought to irrigate.

There are hundreds of stories like these from a Trump organization that came to office to relax regulations for lobbyists and giant corporations while cutting funds for needy citizens in both urban and rural communities.