Point of View Columns

Three Days in the Life of America – August 8-August 10, 2020

August 8, 2020

4,942,746 –161,365 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

If there was any doubt that we live in the United States of Crazy, the events in Sturgis, South Dakota should remove all doubt. Here are the facts:

  • The United States is in the midst of an historically massive pandemic.
  • Already 5 million Americans have been infected and over 160,000 have died with conservative estimates of 250,000 deaths by October.
  • There are no reality-based expectations of reducing the contagious aspects of this disease.
  • And 250,000 maskless, helmetless motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the United States have decided to continue their annual ritual of gathering in Sturgis, South Dakota – a small town with a population (and attendant resources) of 7,000.

There just aren’t any useful words to describe the folly of this “super spreader” event. We can wish that not a single one of the 250,000 cycle revelers was infected before he/she came to South Dakota – then the accelerant would not be poured on to the national conflagration. But science and common sense tell us that this wish is a forlorn one and that further pain and tragedy will result from this insanely reckless behavior.

Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise that Trump denied that there had been a proposal from his administration that his likeness be carved onto Mount Rushmore. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and the most recent of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.

Including Trump there have been 19 presidents. And there is no way that one becomes President of the United States without having a healthy sense of self-esteem and yet there has never been the hint of a suggestion by any president that he should be on Mount Rushmore – until Trump came along.

He is truly a sad little boy who grew old but never grew up.

 August 9, 2020

5,036,387 –162,851 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

The madness in Sturgis continues. Indeed, it appears that 250,000 people are not only intent in dying for their liberty, they also intend to come back to the other 49 states from which they hail and try to kill the rest of us.

And the only reason that there are not more of these suicidal/homicidal cyclist in South Dakota is due to the implosion of the American economy over the past five months. Of course that will be small comfort to the thousands of men, women and children who will be infected by the returning defenders of personal liberty – public health be damned.

And one has to wonder when did the concept of personal liberty begin to conflict with public health concerns. It is hard to recall the last time we heard of some mass protest against the mandatory seat belt law, although it is hard to come up with a more obvious restraint of personal liberty of movement. The public health benefit has been too obvious for there to be serious argument.

There have been very few protests against laws against public urination. It can be assumed that someone extreme libertarians would suggest that this restriction is an instance of government overstepping its bounds, but the public health concerns are so obvious that even Rand Paul would be reluctant to support the Freedom to Urinate movement.

So what is it about masks? The science seems to be pretty clear that during this pandemic we are all safer with masks than without. And how going without a mask in the midst of a truly lethal pandemic is a legitimate expression of personal liberty is difficult to comprehend.

And, in the meantime, this false conflation of personal liberty and public health strategies will result in millions more infections and tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

And we can be sure that when Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death” he didn’t have this in mind.

And, one of the many problems with Trump being president is that while we are transfixed by his transgressions and his outrageous conduct, real damage is being done by the right wing of the right wing adults who actually know how to wreak true institutional damage.

Take for example, the Office of Postmaster General. Quality postal service has been considered such a priority of the federal government that the office is actually embedded in the Constitution. There have been 75 persons who have held the office – Benjamin Franklin was the first, and now someone named Louis Dejoy runs the U.S. Postal Service.

And who is this Louis Dejoy? He is a multimillion dollar contributor to the Trump campaign. He and his wife have multi-million dollar interests in firms that are in the universe of the United States Postal Service. He is the first Postmaster General in over two decades with no record of experience with the postal service except licking a stamp.

Louis Dejoy is also a passionate supporter of Trump and the Republican Party. And, in the name of cutting costs, he fired 24 senior executives of the USPS, virtually guaranteeing the that voting by mail in November just became more difficult.

Trump is literally sabotaging the Postal Service in order to create sufficient chaos on November 3rd that his almost certain defeat by vote can be salvaged by alleging fraud, mismanagement and a flawed postal service.

All provided courtesy of Louis Dejoy.

That’s who Louis Dejoy is.

If you weren’t worried before, you should be worried now.

 August 10, 2020

5,045,564 –162,938 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

And we wake up to the news that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is in Taiwan meeting with the leaders of this country. By this visit Azar becomes the4 highest ranking representative of the U.S. government to visit Taiwan in decades, spanning Republican and Democratic administrations.

Questions abound, of course.

Starting with why, in the middle of a massive pandemic in the United States is the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in Taiwan instead of being tethered to his desk in Washington helping to craft a rational governmental response to this rolling tragedy?

Second question would be why would Trump choose to provoke China, which considers Taiwan to be a rogue province of China? One would hope that Trump and his minionwould want to focus every waking hour on the pandemic and the continuing collapse of the American economy and leave China the hell alone.

In a partial response China flew several fighter jets into Taiwanese air space shortly after Azar’s arrival. Stern criticism of the visit also emanated from Beijing.

But the question still stands – with 160,000 dead Americans and a pandemic raging throughout the land, why is the Secretary of Health and Human Services flying to Taiwan? The official explanation was to “learn about Taiwanese pandemic measures”.

Which makes no sense. There are so many better ways to get information on “pandemic measures” other than an onsite visit.

It appears that this was nothing more than an effort to once again distract the American people from the Trump-made disaster that afflicts us all.

But Trump may not be such a master of distraction after all.

And speaking of distractions, at the beginning of Trump’s press conference there was an incident of shots being fired outside of the White House and Trump being hustled out of the press conference by Secret Service. Eight minutes later the press conference resumed and Trump basically used the event as a campaign rally.

His attacks on Biden for example, had no connection to fact or logic. When he was asked how he could suggest that a devout Catholic like Biden would “attack God” Trump went on a riff about the Bernie Sanders platform and then he just went into deep outer space.

He spoke about China as having released the COVID-19 virus on the world in some kind of Lex Luthor plot that could only be thwarted by Superman – i.e. Donald Trump. He also offered the absolute lie that the health care plan advocated by Biden would result in 180 million Americans losing their health care.

There is simply no way to fact check a fact-challenged person for whom truth is just a word. But we should be concerned about who believes his lies, because millions of Americans do believe him – even now, even after 10,000 lies and counting, even now after the revelation of scandal and corruption, even now after the brazen degradation of the Constitution and the governmental norms that used to be so very important. Even now after the race-baiting, name calling and childish antics that wouldn’t be tolerated of a five-year-old.

Even now.







One thought on “Three Days in the Life of America – August 8-August 10, 2020

  1. wbarnard says:

    Brother, you hit the nail on the head with your opening statement: ‘If there was any doubt that we live in the United States of Crazy…  Without going into depth here, this should be obvious to anyone capable of critical thinking.  Hating people because of the color of their skin? Feeling superior because of the color of your skin? Duh!! White America have constructed a delusional society and now that a global pandemic has hit them that they cannot control and suddenly we expect them to react rationally? Now, I must admit the leadership in the White House has contributed mightily toward the nurturing of these delusions, but we have witnessed the same nurturing in Congress and governors of many states. Yes, we live in an insane society, and unfortunately this insanity is so widespread it is ‘normal’ in America. I will not belabor the point, but we must be aware of the mental illness of this society as we go forward in history. The end is near: Buckle your seat belts. The ride might get bumpy.  Peace.

    Wes Barnard aka Yosef 

    “Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretence. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” 


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