Thursday Reads: Why Is Trump Choosing to Kill Americans?

Five Puppies on the Carpet, by Edvard Munch

Good Morning!!

Yesterday Eric Boehlert asked an important question that the mainstream media never will: Memo to media: We still don’t know why Trump is doing this.

Why?

One month into our mounting crisis and we still don’t know why Trump won’t help key states secure desperately needed medical equipment to deal with the growing coronavirus pandemic. Or why Trump is touting a dubious miracle cure, fills marathon pandemic briefings with ceaseless contradictions and lies, and has silenced scientists. Why he purposefully ignored detailed intelligence warnings about Covid-19, placed his unqualified son-in-law in charge of a national emergency, and refused to invoke the Defense Production Act to compel private companies to manufacture needed medical supplies. Or why the government airlifted 18 tons of donated respirator masks, surgical masks, gowns and other medical supplies to China in February.

Woman with a dog, Fernando Botero, 1997

If Trump had done just one of these things, it would’ve been considered shortsighted and represented a shocking lack of leadership. Trump’s done them all. Yet that still doesn’t prompt most journalists to address the bigger picture and ask disturbing questions about a president who seems to be okay with watching America crumble and decay, in very real ways, on his watch.

As I stressed last week, the media’s preferred storyline that suggests Trump is simply incompetent doesn’t add up because Trump has made the wrong decision every single time in terms of how crises like this are supposed to be dealt with. (i.e. Be consistent, transparent, factual, and credible.) It’s increasingly not believable for the press to suggest Trump has been distracted or inept during this crisis, in part because of the level of White House uselessness has become so staggering.

Maybe Trump’s vengeful. Maybe he wants to wreck the economy to create investment opportunities? He’s under the thumb of a foreign entity? He wants to cause panic and cancel the November elections? He’s a fatalist? Who knows. And honestly, the specific “why” isn’t what matters now. What matters is asking the difficult questions and pondering what the Trump presidency is truly about, no matter what lurks in the shadows.

Read the rest at Press Run.

The evidence is piling up that Trump is helping red states and choosing to let people in blue states die because of equipment shortages.

Los Angeles Times: Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word.

Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Pierre_Bonnard, Woman with Dog and Still Life, 1917

Hospital and clinic officials in seven states described the seizures in interviews over the past week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not publicly reporting the acquisitions, despite the outlay of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, nor has the administration detailed how it decides which supplies to seize and where to reroute them.

Officials who’ve had materials seized also say they’ve received no guidance from the government about how or if they will get access to the supplies they ordered. That has stoked concerns about how public funds are being spent and whether the Trump administration is fairly distributing scarce medical supplies.

“In order to have confidence in the distribution system, to know that it is being done in an equitable manner, you have to have transparency,” said Dr. John Hick, an emergency physician at Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota who has helped develop national emergency preparedness standards through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The medical leaders on the front lines of the fight to control the coronavirus and keep patients alive say they are grasping for explanations. “We can’t get any answers,” said a California hospital official who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation from the White House.

In Florida, a large medical system saw an order for thermometers taken away. And officials at a system in Massachusetts were unable to determine where its order of masks went.

“Are they stockpiling this stuff? Are they distributing it? We don’t know,” one official said. “And are we going to ever get any of it back if we need supplies? It would be nice to know these things.”

Maybe it’s not just blue states if it happened in Florida. So why are they doing this? We need explanations.

Another example from CNN: Colorado Democrat believes Trump awarded ventilators as political favor to vulnerable GOP senator.

Still Life With Puppies, Paul Gaugin

Rep. Diana DeGette, a veteran Democrat, said that President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would send 100 ventilators to Colorado smacks of a political favor to vulnerable GOP Sen. Cory Gardner after the federal government had not fulfilled the delegation’s request for the devices.

“I think this thing that happened with Sen. Gardner and President Trump is very disturbing,” the Colorado Democrat told CNN Wednesday evening. “What is the process here?”

DeGette said that while she wants the state to get every ventilator it can — after initially requesting 10,000 — the process employed by the White House shows that the President appears to be doling out the ventilators to his allies at a time when the virus is affecting people of all political persuasions.

“It seems that way to me,” DeGette said when asked if it appeared to be a political favor to Gardner. “I was totally outraged.”

DeGette said that the decision to award 100 ventilators followed a tortured process after the state’s delegation and Democratic Gov. Jared Polis had been asking for 10,000 ventilators.
But while they were waiting for an answer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Polis reached a deal with a private company for 500 ventilators to be sent to the state. Once FEMA got word of the state deal, the federal agency stepped in to prevent that contract from going through so it could acquire the ventilators instead, Polis said on CNN last week.

Gardner then called Trump on Tuesday night, and the President tweeted Wednesday that the state would get 100 ventilators from the federal stockpile at the Republican senator’s request. Gardner is one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection.

Trump seems to think that rural areas will not be overwhelmed by coronavirus infections, but the places where most Trump voters live will likely be the next hot spots, and they aren’t likely to be as prepared as the big cities.

Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly: Some Coronavirus Hot Spots Are in Rural America.

Pablo Picasso, Woman with a dog

Most of the reporting on coronavirus has focused on its spread in major urban areas, especially New York City. But I was spurred into looking at what is happening in rural America by the fact that the “hot spot” in my home state of Minnesota is not the Twin Cities metro area. The disease has taken hold in the city of Fairmont, which is located in Martin County—an agricultural community in the southwestern part of the state.

While the number of cases and deaths related to coronavirus in Martin County is fairly low (34 cases and 4 deaths), it dwarfs those in the metro counties on a per capita basis. For example, per 100,000 people, Martin County’s numbers represent 170 cases and 20 deaths, compared to 17 cases and 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis.

No one knows why this virus has taken hold in Martin County, but that hasn’t stopped speculation. Here is what Tim Langer, public health sanitarian with Martin County Human Services, ventured.

“My personal opinion is there are some folks listening to some media outlets that were not taking this seriously. That can be a factor, too. It’s hard to prove that. I don’t want to get political. But there were outlets saying it’s a hoax, it’s no worse than a cold, and those are things people listen to.”

Martin County, Minnesota isn’t the only rural area that is facing a coronavirus outbreak. In hotspots like Blaine County, Idaho and Eagle County, Colorado, the explanation is clear: rich ski towns have some of the highest infection rates in the country. But what explains the fact that Greer County, Oklahoma is the hot spot of that state, with an infection rate of 520 and death rate of 50 per 100,000?

Click the link to read the rest.

Susan on a balcony holding a dog, Mary Cassatt

NPR: Small-Town Hospitals Are Closing Just As Coronavirus Arrives In Rural America.

By this time next week, Decatur County, Tenn., will have lost its only hospital, Decatur County General, which has been serving the rural community of about 12,000 people along the Tennessee River since 1963.

The hospital’s human resources director, Melinda Hays-Kirkwood, has already begun laying off people, and she says by next week only a skeleton staff will remain….

The closure will have a huge economic toll locally — with more than 100 on staff, the hospital was one of the county’s largest employers. But the ironic timing isn’t lost on its staff either. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, most nonessential businesses in the area were already closed.

“It’s a difficult time to be shutting down a hospital in the middle of the coronavirus,” Hays-Kirkwood says.

There are currently no known cases in Decatur County, but she says every county around it has reported infections.

Small-town hospitals were already closing at an alarming rate before the COVID-19 pandemic. But now the trend appears to be accelerating just as the disease arrives in rural America. When Decatur County General Hospital shuts down indefinitely by April 15, it will be the ninth small-town hospital to close in 2020 alone. According to a report released this month by the Chartis Center for Rural Health, nearly half of rural hospitals were already operating in the red before the COVID-19 crisis.

What will happen when it becomes clear that Trump is killing his own supporters? Lloyd Green at The Guardian, April 5: ‘Trump is killing his own supporters’ – even White House insiders know it.

On Sunday, initially at least, there was no White House briefing on the president’s public schedule. But the bad news kept coming. Coronavirus deaths continued to climb and reports of the heartland being unprepared for what may be on its horizon continued to ricochet around the media.

In the words of one administration insider, to the Guardian: “The Trump organism is simply collapsing. He’s killing his own supporters.”

By Edouard Vuillard

Members of the national guard, emergency workers, rank-and-file Americans: all are exposed. Yet Trump appears incapable of emoting anything that comes close to heart-felt concern. Or just providing straight answers.

Rather, he is acting like Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America: repeatedly letting governors know the burden of shoring up their sick, their doctors and their people falls on their shoulders first. The national government? It’s the world’s greatest backstop.

Remember when the Republican party freaked out about Barack Obama and the US “leading from behind” abroad? Remember the howls that evoked from GOP leaders? Those days are gone. Welcome to what Martin O’Malley, a Democratic former governor of Maryland, calls the “Darwinian approach to federalism”.

Trump is telling NFL owners he wants the season to start on time. He is disregarding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advice on wearing facemasks in public. And he is touting untested coronavirus cures live on national TV.

Think Trump University on steroids, only this time we all stand to be the victims.

When Dr Anthony Fauci says there is no evidence to back up Trump’s claims surrounding hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, pay attention. The fact Jared Kushner is on the case is hardly reassuring. He’s the guy who thought firing James Comey was win-win politics and promised Middle East peace in our time.

While all this is going on, the Wisconsin Republican party is giving America a taste of the campaign to come in the fall. Right now, the Badger State GOP is fighting in the US supreme court efforts to extend mail-in voting for this Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

In other words, voters will be forced to choose between foregoing their rights and risking their lives. Democracy shouldn’t work that way.

Read the rest at The Guardian.

What’s happening where you live? And what stories are you following today?


31 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Why Is Trump Choosing to Kill Americans?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Another issue in rural areas–no internet.

    Vox: I live in rural America cut off from the internet. The pandemic has made me more isolated than ever.

    I am writing this from my car, which is parked in a Taco Bell parking lot. I have been here for hours now, and I have lost count of the times employees have looked out the glass front doors to see if I’ve left yet. Every time I notice them, I sink a little lower in my seat. I don’t want to be here. I’m embarrassed. But I don’t have internet in my home, and without public wifi, I can’t work.

    When I moved to Drain, Oregon, population 1,169, I did so because it was my dream to buy a small farm and land is cheaper here than in larger towns. What I didn’t realize was that in rural America, internet options are often limited.

    Drain, for example, has satellite, hot spot, and fiber optics. I have tried a satellite and a hot spot, but the Douglas fir forest that surrounds my property blocks the signal. Ideally, I would have fiber optics, the most reliable source available to me, but my property is located behind railroad tracks. That means I have to pay a nonrefundable $1,500 application fee to the internet company to find out from the railroad company how much they will charge me to have a fiber optics line installed over the tracks. The internet company will not give me an estimate other than to say “it is very expensive,” and I cannot afford to gamble $1,500.

    I am not alone — 33 million people in America live without internet, including 15 percent of folks living in rural areas. Though 34 percent of those without it simply don’t want it, 32 percent say they find the internet “too difficult to use,” and 19 percent are like me and cannot afford it.

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Wow. Those briefings are not helping!

      May we witness the bigliest blowout ever…..hahahahaha

    • dakinikat says:

      The problem that i see with this is that huge amount of the popular vote that Hilary won but she still lost because of a handful of stupid ass states. I hate to say this, but most of us don’t matter any more … we need to focus on Wisconsin, Penn.,Florida, Arizona … NC too.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    puppies!!! nice paintings today!!!

  7. quixote says:

    Maybe it’s just me, jumping to conclusions, but it seems pretty obvious why the Dump is doing what he’s done.

    It’s the only way he operates. He’s always been a bully, and bullies work by setting people against each other and then picking off the defenceless with a following of the fearful.

    Doing that with the power of the Presidency amplifying your actions is always going to end with people dying and suffering. People aren’t and never have been real to him. So none of the suffering gives him any kind of second thoughts.

    The really awful point is that’s *why* people voted for him. They wanted someone to inflict suffering. It was just supposed to be on the “right people.”

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    I wonder if this will happen in other areas. It may be only a matter of time.

    King County [WA state] faces 2 outbreaks at once, as hepatitis A spreads amid coronavirus pandemic

    When a hepatitis A outbreak struck San Diego’s homeless population more than two years ago, experts and advocates worried it was only a matter of time before it traveled up the Interstate 5 corridor and landed in Seattle.

    A local outbreak over the last several months has showed their concerns were justified. More than 100 people have been sickened by hepatitis A in King County since the beginning of January, compared with annual totals of five to 16 cases over the last decade, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County. Nearly 50% have been among people experiencing homelessness.

    Officials are now confronting two outbreaks at once: A novel coronavirus pandemic that has proven deadly, as well as hepatitis A, a highly infectious liver disease transmitted through fecal matter that disproportionately harms people who are homeless.

  11. NW Luna says:

  12. NW Luna says:

    Shoulda known he’d do something like this.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I read that he suspended so he could avoid having to report to his contributions to the SEC. It was 2 days before the deadline. Remember he never reported in 2016 either.

      • NW Luna says:

        That rat bastard. Yeah, he did that in 2016 so we never found out what was behind all those very strange contributions.

  13. bostonboomer says:

  14. NW Luna says:

    Yes, he does want to kill us all.

    Trump administration pushing to reopen much of the U.S. next month

    Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.

    In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said. Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said.

    Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

    The White House cannot unilaterally reopen the country. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued federal guidance advising people to avoid social gatherings, work from home and use pickup and delivery options for food, it is state officials who have put the force of law behind those suggestions.

    • quixote says:

      As somebody said on the twitter machine, all these billionaires desperate to have people working tells you that you make their money. Not them.

      • Enheduanna says:

        And even though they have all they need – or could possibly need for a lifetime – it isn’t enough.