Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Ruins Of Trump's Personality Meet The Powers Of The Presidency: "Mass Death By Public Policy", "Genocide By Default"

Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist and co-director of Yale University's Global Health Justice Partnership, asks some blunt questions regarding the absolute debacle the US government has made of handling the coronavirus pandemic:
This is getting awfully close to genocide by default. What else do you call mass death by public policy? ... [W]hat is happening in the US is purposeful, considered negligence, omission, failure to act by our leaders. ... [W]hat does it mean to let thousands die by negligence, omission, failure to act, in a legal sense under international law?
Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, writes:
The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible — by telling the governors they're in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by "flooding the zone with shit," Steve Bannon's phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call "search costs" for reliable intelligence.

Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving, and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default. To succeed this will require one of the biggest propaganda and freedom of information fights in U.S. history, the execution of which will, I think, consume the president's re-election campaign. So much has already been made public that the standard script for a White House cover up (worse than the crime…) won't apply. Instead, everything will ride on the manufacture of confusion. The press won’t be able to "expose" the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable.

"The plan is to have no plan" is not a strategy, really. Nor would I call it a policy. It has a kind of logic to it, but this is different from saying it has a design — or a designer. Meaning: I do not want to be too conspiratorial about this. To wing it without a plan is merely the best this government can do, given who heads the table. The manufacture of confusion is just the ruins of Trump's personality meeting the powers of the presidency. There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives.
I find it impossible to argue with anything Rosen says. He points out a headline in today's Washington Post as a perfect example of the "manufacture of confusion": "Trump Cheers On Governors Even As They Ignore White House Coronavirus Guidelines In Race To Reopen".

States are "racing" to open. Racing! ... As the virus is accelerating. (It's racing, too.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today: "The United States nationally is in the acceleration phase of the pandemic."

The CDC defines "acceleration" as "the upward epidemiological curve as the new virus infects susceptible people".

The complete disregard for human life and the maniacal urgency for maximum short-term profits is somehow still hard to believe, even as it's happening. (Which is what Rosen writes above: The facts are know and simultaneously inconceivable.) That likely has been a common feeling in the past as people watched their society crumble, as the horrors of what would follow came into slightly sharper focus. It's a vision all Americans (myself included) have been indoctrinated since birth to believe we would never see. And now it's happening. Right now.

Gonsalves says Rosen's short essay "has left me shaken to the core":
Most, if not all of us, will not react, we may complain, we may be angry about it, but we'll see it as someone else's responsibility to deal with. ... We don't need to ask how horrible tragedies unfolded in history, we see it now. Good people go about their days, grouse a little about the state of the world, then move on. ... This is a culture, a country that has lost its moral compass.
I want to be clear that Gonsalves has plenty of blame (and rightly so) for the Democrats, also - for being true to who they always are.
[I]t's also @SpeakerPelosi's lack of vision, small-bore solutions & pre-emptive surrender to the @GOP [that] makes things worse. If @TheDemocrats won't fight now for real change, will they ever? ... She goes for what the @GOP will accept up front, she's all realpolitik when we're expected 3,000 bodies to start piling up day by day before the month is out. ... When will business as usual be insufficient? ...

[W]hy does the store get given away from the start? We don't have what we need right now to get us out of this hell--epidemiologically, economically--and @TheDemocrats' leadership won't ask for it.
Forget about impeaching him again. Pelosi could request a 72-hour mental health hold (or evaluation) for Trump this afternoon.

Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and founder of the World Mental Health Coalition and the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, told Salon last December that Pelosi "has the right [as a co-worker] to have him submit to an involuntary evaluation".
Anyone can call 911 to report someone who seems dangerous, and family members are the most typical ones to do so. But so can co-workers, and even passersby on the street. The law dictates who can determine right to treatment, or civil commitment, and in all 50 U.S. states this includes a psychiatrist. The advantage of a co-worker starting this process is that a court can mandate a mental capacity evaluation before the dangerous person returns to work. The committing physician is preferably the patient's treater, but does not have to be.
One week later, Lee added:
A 72-hour hold does not require court intervention and is enough for a solid evaluation. There is no shortage of mental health professionals willing to put their names to commitment papers, and multiple legal groups have offered to file for a court order for security staff to cooperate. All we need are auspices so as to show it is not a coup or something nefarious. This is common in mental health settings, and we apply the proper treatment according to standard anyway with the hope that patients will improve enough to see that you have helped them — which happens most of the time. It is this nature of mental disease that has allowed for civil commitment laws to be possible in a country that protects civil liberties.
Trump must be removed from power immediately, because his actions will directly result in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Otherwise, how many of preventable deaths will occur in the six months before Election Day?

Every hour that the Democrats remain silent on this issue, every day they refuse to say out loud what many of them (and many Americans) believe - that Trump is mentally ill and an imminent danger to the public - they increase their complicity in Trump's on-going plans for mass death.

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