Health experts fear Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa could turn into a coronavirus 'super spreader' event
WASHINGTON – An indoor arena crammed with more than 19,000 fans. Standing shoulder to shoulder. Shouting their approval. For more than an hour. And many without masks. Thank God some people used their brains and the crowd was half the numbers
Like Trump, Ronald Reagan ignored a pandemic that killed thousands
We suppose to learn from our History and to make sure we are not repeating the same mistakes but obviously we are not
I am a gay American, and I will never forgive Reagan’s memory for allowing tens of thousands of gay men to die before he uttered the word “AIDS” publicly. Trump has already outdone his predecessor by allowing COVID-19 to kill several times that number, a disproportionate share of whom are Black and Latino. Each of these men passively eliminated people who didn’t vote for them..
Kudos to Lucks for tracing the roots of President Trump’s racism to that of Ronald Reagan. Indeed, from racist “dog whistles” to prevention of healthcare access, science denial, income inequality and a host of other issues, it is a straight line from Ronald to Donald, and not a very long one at that.
Trump has declared war on American cities
President Trump campaigned in 2016 against an imaginary nation of 1970s-era “inner cities” beset by fear and violent crime. The narrative worked for him then, so he’s doing it again — but this time he has the power to make his dark vision real by sending federal agents dressed like military commandos into those same cities.
He’s done it in Portland, Ore., and is now portraying the deployment of FBI agents to help fight crime in other cities as a similar assault by his forces of law and order against protesters, supposed antifa fifth columnists, and the most dastardly America-haters of all — Democrats."
Trump’s message is that cities led by Democrats are crumbling into chaos, and that demonstrators decrying police brutality and seeking to “defund the police” have decimated local police forces and left innocent people at the mercy of criminals. The supposed threat to public safety is Trump’s pretext for deploying federal agents to cities that not only haven’t asked for them, but may even be suing to have them removed.
He describes his response as a “surge” of federal law enforcement, borrowing a term best known today to describe the large-scale injection of military force in Iraq by President George W. Bush and in Afghanistan by President Obama. The message is unmistakable: The federal government is fighting dangerous insurgents in U.S. cities to keep them from overrunning the nation."
The most worrisome thing about Operation Legend — named for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot to death in June while sleeping in a Kansas City apartment — is Trump’s willingness to use the power of his office for his own political benefit by using federal policy and personnel to promote his campaign for reelection.
Just as he pressed Ukraine to take action that could undermine the political standing of former Vice President Joe Biden — now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president — Trump is gearing the current surge largely for political optics. The goals here include discrediting the Democratic Party and consolidating support for Trump based on fear of crime.
Trump’s lies are strengthened, as lies so often are, by an element of truth.
Following an even steeper decline in crime during the second quarter of the year, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and closures that kept people indoors for weeks, June and July have seen an actual and frightening jump in violent offenses. Shootings and killings are up in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and some other cities. The problem is real.
So is the need for federal help, which could take the form of FBI investigators or crackdowns on illegal weapons by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
But Trump is unlikely to pursue a gun crackdown, tied as he is to the National Rifle Assn. and other pro-gun groups.
When responding to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, one very long year ago, Trump said the fault lay with violent video games and mental illness. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger,” Trump said at the time, “not the gun.”
Now he blames not mental illness but his political opposition. His wicked genius is to deploy federal agents to cities like Chicago, where they can provide real help, while presenting them as part of a phalanx of troops that are rescuing cities from supposedly violent anti-racism protesters in places like Portland.
In this manner he can appeal to white voters feeling anxiety about the Black Lives Matter movement, but without appearing blatantly racist, while at the same time portraying himself as the true champion of embattled Black city dwellers.”
Donald Trump is by far the most racist homophobic white supremacy c...
And, of course, any city suffering under the heel of Democrats. Trump has said that might include Oakland, although violent crime is down there from last year, and Detroit, which also is not one of the cities suffering from a steep increase in shootings.
But both cities have large Black populations, both are thoroughly Democratic, and both have a lingering image — especially in the minds of older voters — of violent crime in decades past.
They are the victims of Trump’s perverse nostalgia for “inner city” meltdown, and his cluelessness about the meltdown of his own making in the form of poor pandemic preparedness and management, and retreat from police reform.
Does he have the ability to lead a domestic law enforcement surge? He certainly seems to think so. On the campaign trail four years ago, he declared himself smarter and better at military operations than U.S. generals.
Perhaps that’s why generals such as H.R. McMaster, John Kelly and James Matti's all left his administration. They just weren’t up to his standards..
Out of Portland tear gas, an apparition emerges, capturing the imagination of protesters
Professional and college sports have been largely shut down for months, following the advice of medical experts who say even limited exposure to a virus with no vaccine can be fatal. The BOK Center has canceled or postponed more than a dozen events, including concerts, since March, including the last month of the minor league Tulsa Oilers hockey team.
Tulsa is seeing its highest spike in coronavirus cases. The number of new cases reached a high of 120 Wednesday, up from 35 at the beginning of the month. The trend mirrors a spike in Oklahoma.
"Why would you hold a political rally in a hot zone?," tweeted Jonathan Reimer, professor of medicine and surgery at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington.
The Trump campaign said it will check attendees temperature as they come in, provide hand sanitizer and issue masks but not require they be worn. Tickets to the rally come with a liability waiver that says the campaign or other parties associated with the event cannot be held liable for exposure to the coronavirus.
She emerged as an apparition from clouds of tear gas as federal agents fired pepper balls at angry protesters in the early Saturday darkness. A woman wearing nothing but a black face mask and a stocking cap strode toward a dozen heavily armed agents attired in camouflage fatigues, lined up across a downtown Portland street.
The agents, dispatched by the Trump administration over vociferous objections of state and city officials, are part of a force that has fired projectiles at and detained activists protesting nightly since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police May 25.
Numerous photos and videos posted on Twitter show the unidentified woman as she halted in the middle of the street at about 1:45 a.m. She stood calmly, a surreal image of human vulnerability in the face of an overpowering force that has been criticized nationally by civil rights advocates..
The agents, in gas masks and helmets, continued firing pepper balls in a staccato “pop, pop, pop” heard on video, aiming low at the asphalt, where puffs of smoke mingled with clouds of gas. At one point, a fellow protester, clothed, carrying a homemade shield, darted in front of the woman, angling to protect her. But the woman sidestepped him..
He jumped out of the way, perhaps realizing that he made them both a target. Before it was over, she struck ballet poses and reclined on the street. She also sat on the asphalt in a yoga-like position, facing officers, before they left. Portland has long been loved, or mocked, for its streak of earnest but quirky organic earthiness, as portrayed in the “Portlandia” television comedy series..
Sometimes the envelope-pushing forms of expression involve nudity. A Portland tavern owner, Bud Clark, gained fame during the 1980s before his election as mayor via a popular “expose yourself to art” poster showing him in a raincoat discreetly flashing a bronze nude sculpture.c Courts have held that appearing nude in Portland is a protected form of political expression, superseding bans on public indecency..
In 2008, a Multnomah County judge cleared a nude bicyclist of indecent exposure charges, saying cycling naked had become a “well established tradition” in Portland as a form of “symbolic protest.” Four years later, a man was acquitted of similar charges by a judge who interpreted his stripping naked at Portland International Airport as a legitimate form of protest against Transportation Security Administration procedures. .
The woman making her statement Saturday was altogether uninhibited, at one point standing on one leg and raising her arms in an arc-type motion. As she struck ballet poses, a patrol car arrived and a dozen officers in blue uniforms replaced the line of agents, whom officials described as having been targeted by protesters throwing rocks, bottles and pieces of metal. .
She sat in the street facing them, legs spread in the headlights’ glare. Later she rolled on her back in a graceful pose, then stood again. The second group of officers, who may have been either Portland police or federal agents, also left. In all, the woman’s appearance lasted about 15 minutes. News photographers said she slipped away, uninjured, into the crowd. .
Images of her on social media harked back to previous iconic — but clothed — images juxtaposing force and vulnerability, such as the 1967 photo of a Vietnam War protester who faced a line of U.S. troops and placed a carnation into the barrel of a soldier’s rifle..
In an ultimate act of defiance broadcast worldwide, a man stood in front of a column of tanks leaving Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, a day after the Chinese military had suppressed protests by force..
Nudity has also served as a form of protest since at least the 11th century, when legend holds that Lady Godiva rode naked, veiled only by her long hair, on a horse through Coventry, England, to protest oppressive taxation..On Twitter, sympathetic commentators were quick to conclude that “Naked Athena,” as they dubbed the Portland protester, caused the officers to turn tail..
But the reason for their departure is not clear from a review of multiple images. Federal officials and police did not comment on the woman. Others on Twitter said the performance, by a white woman, distracted from protests of injustices faced by Black people..
The right-wing Nationalist Review website gave the incident its own spin, stating: “Antifa psychopath loses her mind, strips naked to ‘protest’ Portland police.”.In Washington on Sunday, House Democrats continued to voice alarm at the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal agents to crack down on protesters in Portland, expressing concerns that it could be a precursor to similar crackdowns in cities across the nation. .
A Homeland Security official has said the tactics could well be applied in other cities in the months before the presidential election..
In a letter to the inspectors general of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, leading Democrats called for the watchdogs to investigate the conduct of the federal agents, whose presence was again termed unwelcome Sunday by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”.
“This is a matter of utmost urgency,” wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.)..
Later Sunday, the Oregonian newspaper of Portland posted an account of the mysterious woman’s appearance on its website, OregonLive, quoting one of its photographers, Dave Killen..
He said that he didn’t hear the woman utter a word as pepper balls nicked the asphalt beside her and protesters yelled at officers. “She was incredibly vulnerable,” Killen said. “It would have been incredibly painful to be shot with any of those munitions with no clothes on.”
Why Is Trump So Enthusiastic About Americans Dying?
What is it about right-wing leaders embracing death by pandemic? If Trump was the only leader in the world doing this, it might make it easier to figure out. But wealthy oligarchs who have taken over countries around the world are doing the same thing.
Two weeks after America diagnosed its first case of COVID-19, Republicans in the United States Senate (with the single exception of Mitt Romney) refuse to vote to impeach Donald Trump. They decided he couldn’t do much more damage than he already has, and,
as Senator Susan Collins suggested, he would back down from his most outrageous behavior because his hands had been slapped by the House of Representatives. Now, newly empowered and feeling invincible, he seems hellbent on a crusade to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. Nobody knows why Trump is so enthusiastic about encouraging people to get sick and die from COVID-19,
although there are a couple possibly viable theories. Trump’s and Republicans’ rhetoric all shifted a day or two after April 7, the day that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and other national media reported that Black and Hispanic people were dying of COVID at about twice the rate of white people.
Is it possible Trump and the racists in his Party think this is a good way to reduce the Black and Hispanics population, or at least that it’s not an issue for white people?
Another possibility has to do with Freedomworks, the group that was largely raised to prominence by rightwing billionaires and helped fund the so-called Tea Party movement. Billionaires want their people back at work, be they in refineries or meat processing plants or retail stores, and they know that if some of those workers get sick and die there’s a never-ending supply of poor, unemployed people willing to replace them.
A third possibility is that Trump simply loves the idea of people dying. This is the most bizarre of all these possibilities, but it appears to be a characteristic shared by strongman governments around the world, from Duterte in the Philippines who encourages police to murder drug users to Bolsonaro in Brazil who is enthusiastically taking actions that are killing indigenous people in the Amazon
. As we hit what CNN is calling “apocalyptic levels“ of coronavirus infections, it would be really useful to know why Donald Trump is so enthusiastic about so many Americans dying.
Why did he refuse to allow America to use the World Health Organization coronavirus test kit back in January, February, March—and to this day? Why did he spend two months denying the obvious fact that this virus was coming to the United States and was deadly, leaving us utterly unprepared?.
Why does he refuse to set a good example for Americans by wearing a face mask? Is he more concerned about smearing his makeup than the death of 200,000 Americans? Why did he order his goons to intercept shipments of personal protective equipment and ventilators going to blue states?
Where is all that equipment that he hijacked, and does he plan to offer it exclusively to red state governors? Is all this death just about politics? Why is he shutting down testing sites in multiple states next week after bragging in his Tulsa rally that he told his people to “slow down“ the testing?.
Is it possible he’s trying to let things get so bad that a vaccine in the fall will be seen as an effective October Surprise? Is that why the vaccine companies have gotten billions of federal dollars in what Trump calls “Operation Warp Speed” while rural hospitals across the country continue to close?
vSince the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister just after the American Civil War, the world has known how to deal with infectious diseases. Why has Trump worked so hard to convince his followers to ignore almost 200 years of medical science?
And what is it about right-wing leaders embracing death by pandemic? If Trump was the only leader in the world doing this, it might make it easier to figure out. But wealthy oligarchs who have taken over countries around the world are doing the same thing.
Why do these leaders want their people to die? Why does Trump want more Americans to die?.
Americans—and the world—deserve answers
Trump's Authoritarianism Is Ill-Suited to a Pandemic.
The Trump administration is apparently undertaking its latest effort to make 2020 more of a Kafkaesque nightmare than it already is. Yes, we’ve got murder hornets and a swarm of flying ants that can be seen from space over in Ireland, but maybe the scariest plague of the year is the president.
Since the start of the pandemic, Trump’s only concern has been his poll numbers. He wants to go back to the reality we left behind in 2019: an open economy and no mass casualties from a novel virus.
We can’t do that, so he’s done his best to pretend: downplaying the pandemic, falsely claiming his administration has it under control, urging a quick economic reopening, and inaccurately claiming the economy is strong anyway.
When he can’t pretend everything is fine, he blames the Chinese. But China is not responsible for Trump’s botched response to the pandemic.
Now the Trump administration is actively interfering with the pandemic response.
Hospitals have been instructed to send COVID data to a central database in Washington, bypassing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The information will no longer be accessible to the public, raising concern that the data is being hidden for political reasons and the lack of transparency will make it easier for the administration to mislead the public.
The administration is also blocking CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield from testifying before Congress about the safety of reopening schools. They are attempting to block GOP senators from allocating billions of dollars to the CDC, Pentagon, and State Department for pandemic response. And the administration even opposes sending billions to states for testing and contact tracing.
Trump’s message to states has largely been “you’re on your own,” declining a national leadership role and placing responsibility for handling the pandemic on the states. He’s also suggested that governors should “treat him well” to receive federal aid, using the pandemic as a bargaining chip to silence dissent from governors who disagree with him.
Earlier in the pandemic, when personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies were limited, the federal government was even seizing PPE shipments.
In normal times, I would say the president should not be abdicating his leadership responsibility on the pandemic response. Under this president, I think we’re all better off if he and his political appointees interfere as little as possible and let more capable people do their jobs.
Despite his recent conversion to mask wearing, Trump’s authoritarianism is ill-suited to a pandemic. You cannot lower mortality rates by claiming the pandemic is under control and trying to force schools and businesses to reopen, regardless of the risk to workers. You can’t prevent the economy from tanking by insisting that it’s fine.
Trump’s top concern appears to be his own approval ratings, not our national welfare. He seems to believe his denial will be enough to save the economy — a plan that will fail and cause further mass casualties along the way.
The administration has created a terrible situation. All of our choices between our health and our economy are tough, and no choices will fully protect us. More than 140,000 people have died, and our economy is a mess.
We need to govern with facts instead of fantasy. If Trump can’t handle the job, he should get out of the way.
M I Ro