This is not America

49 days from today, America heads to the polls in what is, without a doubt, the most consequential election of our lifetimes.  Now, before I loose you with that opening sentence, a sentence so oft repeated that it borders on cliché, let’s just look back on the last twenty four hours, day 1334 of a presidency which has resulted in 6.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and 195,000 deaths.

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By any metric available, the size and scope of Donald Trump’s failure is unparalleled.  I will provide you with a link to my source for every claim made in this post because, unlike President Trump and his band of sycophantic cronies who fawn over him like a teenage girl over Justin Bieber, I can back up my claims with facts.

Over this past weekend, we learned from The New York Times that political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) repeatedly demanded that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revise or delay weekly scientific reports on the coronavirus pandemic they believed were unflattering to Trump.  The reports are written to update scientists and public health officials on trends in infectious diseases, including the coronavirus.  In one e-mail to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials, Paul Alexander — a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs —  accused CDC scientists of trying to “hurt the president” with the reports, which he referred to as “hit pieces on the administration” because they didn’t align with Trump’s rosy, “it’s all good" message about the pandemic.

Hurt the president?  When Trump held an indoor campaign rally in Nevada last Sunday, in defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak accused Trump of “reckless and selfish actions” and called the rally “an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves.”  Trump said he was not afraid of catching the coronavirus at his rallies, because, as TRUMP himself told NBC News“I’m on stage and it’s very far away.”  He’s obviously not thinking or even caring about those attending the rally.  Because, you know, like he’s safe.

But let’s go back to HHS and Michael Caputo for a moment.  In a livestream on Facebook, Caputo claimed, “there are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”  As reported in The Hill, Mr. Caputo also encouraged his followers to buy ammunition, predicting that Trump would win the 2020 election and that Biden would refuse to concede — “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin … The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.  If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”  Caputo later deleted his Twitter account after he suggested tear-gassing reporters.

Meanwhile, back at HHS, Paul Alexander, remember him? (see three paragraphs back), tried to prevent Dr. Anthony Fauci from speaking about the risks that coronavirus poses to children.  In e-mails obtained by POLITICO, Mr. Alexander was attempting to dictate what the government’s top infectious disease expert should say during media interviews; he specifically told Fauci’s press team that he should not promote mask-wearing by children.

California is on fire, as is Oregon and Washington state.  That is not a metaphor.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the wildfires have turned the sky orange, made noon feel like midnight, have killed 24, burned 3.2 million acres, and left 60,000 homeless, in the middle of a global health crisis.  Trump suggested that the record-breaking temperatures in California would cool down on their own after California’s Secretary for Natural Resources urged him to not “put our head in the sand” and ignore climate change.  Mr. Trump replied, “It’ll start getting cooler.  You just watch,” and then added, with a smug laugh, “I don’t think science knows, actually.”  Ahem, yes it does.  Anyway, President Trump blamed the wildfires on poor forest management practices and claimed, according to Bloomberg News, that the leader of an unnamed European nation told him his country has “trees that are far more explosive than they have in California, and we don’t have any problem.”   Well, Mr. President, readers of this blog remember when you claimed it was the President of Finland as you toured the burnt-down ashes of what once was the town of Paradise, California two years ago:

You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it’s a whole different story.  I was with the president of Finland, and he said, ‘We have a much different — we’re a forest nation.’  He called it a forest nation.  And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.  And when it is, it’s a very small problem.  So I know everybody’s looking at that to that end. And it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well.

Christ, we’re back to the raking again!

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Trump announces he’s sending new “fire trucks” equipped with the latest Finnish raking tools to aid in California wildfire disaster

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This is not normal.  This politicization of health and safety, of science and medicine, this attempt to bend truth to serve one man’s ego — what is going on in America today has existential consequences for tomorrow.  Think of your children.  Think of your grandchildren.  Think of your nieces and nephews.  The twin catastrophes of the coronavirus and the wildfires in the western states have done two things:  first, they have revealed what an unqualified, unserious, self-centered, dangerous charlatan Donald Trump is — how can someone claim to love America while murdering Americans with his reckless disregard for facts that don’t serve his purposes?, and second, they have demonstrated the moral imperative that he be voted out of office on November 3rd.  The men and women who defeated fascism in the second world war are, today, called “The Greatest Generation.”  If we fail in our duty to stop Trump and bring an end to this corrupt, narcissistic, evil administration, history will record us as “The Worst Generation."


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