Nick Cave sends out a Red Hand File every week. This week’s file was about how we should listen to others and how we should speak while we try to adjust to this devastating coronavirus pandemic.
Now is the time to be cautious with our words, our opinions.
Now is a time to listen to those in more informed positions and to follow instructions, as difficult as that may be, as we step into the unprecedented unknowable. We should be careful about the noises we make — especially those with a public voice — and should not pretend to know what we do not. From within the clamour and tonnage of information and misinformation, of opinions and counter-opinions, of blame-games and grim prophecy and the most panic-inducing version of ‘Imagine’ ever recorded, emerges a simple message — wash your hands and (if you can) stay at home.
That sounds like good advice to most intelligent, caring people. But not to one ignorant and destructive man with a pugnacious public voice, him being President Donald Trump. He ignores more informed opinions, and he does pretend to know what he does not. He is now ignoring the advice of experts on his administration’s coronavirus team and he is amplifying lies and misinformation from dubious sources to rationalize his imperious plan to prioritize business-as-usual over the health and safety of people trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
From The Guardian:
[Trump] repeatedly refused to confirm that he would listen to public health authorities if they advised him to keep restrictive public health measures in place, even at a cost to the economy.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
“Our country was not built to be shut down,” Trump said. “This is not a country that was built for this.”
Trump said he expected life to return to normal very soon, much sooner than in three or four months. Asked if he meant the country would be re-opening in “weeks or months”, Trump said: “I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now.”
Asked if Dr Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who has become the public face of the American scientific community during the pandemic, agreed with him on potentially re-opening the economy, Trump said: “He doesn’t not agree.”
He wants to see all of us back at our jobs by Easter, which is April 12th. That’s eighteen days from today. Based on what I’ve been reading about how fast the coronavirus is spreading in NYC and other places like right here in the Seattle area, that’s not going to happen if we all follow the advice of experts. Well at least the “experts” not named Donald Trump.
Jeb Lund writing for The Guardian:
You might have missed it, but Florida has solved climate change. Our state, with 1,300 miles of coastline and a mean elevation of 100 feet, did not, however, limit greenhouse emissions. Instead, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under Republican governor Rick Scott, forbade employees from using terms like “climate change,” “global warming” or “sea-level rise”. They’re all gone now. You’re welcome, by the way.
It’s pointless to call linguistic distortions of reality like this Orwellian: people tune you out when you use that word and, besides, Big Brother at least had wit. These are just the foot-stamping insistent lies of intellectual toddlers on the grift. It is “nuh-uh” as public policy. This is an elected official saying, “I put a bag over your head, so that means now I’m invisible” and then going out looting. Expect to see it soon wherever you live.
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting broke the news on Sunday, stating that the prohibition on the terms “climate change,” “global warming” and “sea-level rise” went into effect after Scott’s inauguration. Former DEP counsel Christopher Byrd and five other former employees stated that the policy was unwritten and “distributed verbally”. Even when working on projects with people outside their department, employees had to scrub reports of any mention of the terms and, when necessary, replace them with euphemisms. For instance, “Sea-level rise was to be referred to as ‘nuisance flooding’” – like your high-rise atop the San Andreas fault features an “increased likelihood of intermittent wobbliness”.
(read the whole thing)
And here’s the perfect comic to go along with it.
Last week Rudy Giuliani was all over the news and late night shows because he said he didn’t believe that President Obama loved America. Then he made it worse with his attempts to back peddle out of it. I was going to put up a post about it, but I didn’t because I didn’t have the time and the site was down and anyway a whole lot of people covered it better than I would have. (The Daily Show and The Nightly Show)
But today I read a post by Jonathan Capehart post for the Post Partisan blog. The post starts with Governor Scott Walker’s response to a question about whether he believed Obama was a Christian or not. He replied with “I’ve never asked him that…You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that.” But there’s plenty of video evidence out there showing Obama saying he is a Christian. The question is really, do you believe what he’s telling you and, if not, then why? Walker avoided the question.
Capehart then cites polls showing 70% of Republicans don’t think or don’t know that Obama is a Christian, he then quotes a few other people who’ve said incredibly hateful things about the president that have absolutely no basis in reality. Read the ignorant, racist remarks by Larry Klayman and David Jackson, and then answer me this:
Why do so many Republicans hate Obama so much? Do they really believe all the lies about him? Can they not believe what they actually hear him say and see him do on television? Their own lying eyes? Amazing to me… frightening that the Republican party can pander to these people for votes and get away with it.
Polling suggests that two thirds of Americans want to see all or part of the Affordable Care Act thrown out by the Supreme Court, the most unpopular provision being the individual mandate.
Many of these are, of course, Republicans whose opposition is mostly mindless: They’re against it on principle because, well, it was pushed by President Obama and a Democratic Congress and that’s enough in itself. The rest are among the 31% of Americans who even after two years still seem to have no clue what’s in the bill according to the Pew Research Center. And this includes many who would benefit the most from the law, as highlighted by the New York Times.
It is simply mind-boggling to have that much ignorance in the country on a major piece of legislation that will benefit all of us in one way or another two years after it was enacted.
Particularly troubling is the extent of opposition to the individual mandate even as other polling shows strong support from many of the same people for keeping popular provisions such as barring insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions. Which begs the question: Do these Americans actually understand how insurance works?
For example, would we compel an automobile insurance company to take on an uninsured motorist who’s just had a prang and then expect them to pay for the damage? Of course not; so how can we require a medical insurance firm to do likewise for a willfully uninsured individual who has just discovered he’s ill. And if we did, what the heck would happen to our insurance premiums? Yes, they’d skyrocket and, furthermore, such a mandate would drive most insurance companies entirely out of the individual market quicker than you can say “pre-existing condition”. And this isn’t guesswork either. We have empirical evidence from states who tried it, including my own state of Washington.
The Affordable Care Act is our last chance to reform the private medical insurance market to make it work for all of us, not just for the industry. And the individual mandate is the pillar which supports the rest of it. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of articles from those who suggest that much of the law’s provisions will survive without it – they won’t.
If two thirds of Americans truly oppose the individual mandate, then two thirds of Americans are idiots, although as Greg Sargent explains in The Washington Post most of them will never know what they missed.
In a post about how the Republicans exist to oppose all Democratic policies and all Obama’s highly qualified agency appointments, Paul Krugman has come up with a word that describes perfectly the Republicans ideal form of government: Ignoramitocracy.
Part of what’s going on here is simply opposition for the sake of opposition. But as Pollack says, the underlying problem is that anyone with actual expertise and any kind of public profile — in short, anyone who is actually qualified to hold a position — is bound to have said something, somewhere that can be taken out of context to make him or her sound like Pol Pot. Berwick has spoken in favor of evaluating medical effectiveness and has had kind words for the British National Health Service, so he wants to kill grandma and Sovietize America.
So what lies down this road? A world in which key positions can only be filled by complete hacks, preferably interns from the Heritage Foundation with no relevant experience but unquestioned loyalty.
And there you have it. Anyone who actually has the education, skills, and moxie to take on a demanding government job can’t have the job, because simply knowing what should be done might destroy the whole charade that Republicans put in place during the Bush years: Idiot puppets controlled by idiot masters on behalf of their moneyed masters.