Friday, March 27, 2020

The cost of lies; coronavirus death toll could top Vietnam




     The Vietnam War raged for the first 15 years of my life. I’d sprawl coloring as Uncle Walt read the death toll on TV. When I was older, the war became my benchmark for presidential folly: sacrificing thousands of American lives to avoid admitting the obvious: We lost.
     During the first three years of the Trump administration, I kept pulling out Vietnam like a talisman. Sure, things are bad, but look: They’ve been much worse. We’re lucky.
     When fellow Dems swooned, wailing that we’d reached rock bottom — America broken, democracy dead — I’d try to cheer them up by dangling my lucky token. See this? Within our lifetime Lyndon B. Johnson — a Democratic president, for those unfamiliar — also lied, followed by Richard Nixon, a Republican, and their lies led to the deaths of 58,000 Americans. While Trump is certainly affecting lives, he isn’t taking many. There isn’t a growing body count to lay at his feet.
     I didn’t think to add: “Yet.”
     Citing the awful past was a way to feel good about the present, about our beloved country even as it enshrined idiocy and error. We’ve been here before and recovered. We will do so again.
     That seems like giddy optimism now that we are facing a crisis that Donald Trump can’t lie away. We have no idea how many American lives will be sacrificed on the altar of his ego. A thousand? We’ve passed that already. Ten thousand could be dead next week. A hundred thousand? Easily. A million? Some epidemic experts fear more, warning that as many as 1.7 million Americans could die if we continue bungling our response. The final figure will depend in part on whether Trump really declares the crisis over in mid-April and sends Americans packing their churches at Easter.

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16 comments:

  1. I flat out don't believe the polls that show that Drumpf's approval ratings are up!
    For the last ten years, the pollsters are complaining that because so many people have dropped their landline phones, they can't contact them. As someone who does have a landline, I refuse to answer any pollster that calls, since most of them are as sketchy as they come!
    Many of the pollsters that call use an automated system & want you push one of the buttons on the phone. If they give you a range of pushing 1-5, I just push the other numbers. I have no idea what that does, other than getting the automated reply "That is not valid response", but it makes me feel better, screwing them up!
    As for the live calls, my response is always the same. I ask "Are you getting paid to ask me the questions?". They always reply "Yes." So I then ask, "Why aren't I getting paid to answer them, since you want me to spend 10-15 minutes of my time, answering your questions?" They always are taken back by that response & just say "We don't pay."
    Then I tell them to go fuck themselves!

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    1. Think for a minute, Clark St., if you had to take such a job.

      john

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    2. I don't waste as much time. I swear at phone pests and call them names. Playing games with them can be great fun, and wastes their valuable time, but my time is precious, too. As a geezer, I have less left in the tank to squander. So I often just resort to blowing my Acme Thunderer into their ear. It's a whistle, made in the UK, that may be the loudest on the planet. It can be heard above the noise of the biggest stadium crowds. That's why the NFL refs use it.

      As for Dolt 45 surviving this catastrophe, I'm not so sure. I'm not a praying man, but I'm praying not to die, and praying that the voters realize how Orange Julius killed multitudes by obsessing over the "impeachment hoax"...and by ignoring the urgent warnings (and even labeling them a "Democratic hoax") until it was too late. Two or three months ago, we might have saved ourselves, but it was business as usual, then Mardi Gras, and finally Spring Break. And now the lion is in the streets.

      Most voters vote their wallets and pocketbooks. When countless jobs disappear forever, businesses never reopen and die like flies, and human misery surpasses that of the 1930s, Americans might actually begin to understand how Great Depression II resulted directly from Dear Leader's shrugging off of the Great Pandemic. Then they will kick the Cowardly Liar to the curb. But I'm not holding my breath. Having been crazy enough to elect him once, we might somehow allow The Snake to slither in again. Even though we always knew he was a snake.

      Was it really only three weeks ago that so many of us were cheering Joe Biden's resurgence, and beginning to feel we might soon awaken from this nightmare after all? An aberration, a single term of insanity, without the mad driver taking the bus over the cliff? We were wrong.

      Look through the windshield. There is the abyss, right in front of us. Brace yourselves.

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  2. Applause applause on this column.

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  3. Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people who believe we won the Viet Nam war or at least that we accomplished our main goal of deterring Chinese aggression. For me, it was an object lesson on how it feels to occupy a foreign territory and ride roughshod over the native population: Vietnamese civilian were "same same Viet Cong;" Vietnamese soldiers were despised; and my fellow Americans killed many innocents and assisted in the killing of many more.

    john

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  4. In case anyone thought Trump might grow skin even a millimeter thicker as a result of this crisis: His campaign is threatening to sue to stop Democrats from airing a commercial quoting his own words pooh-poohing the situation, as the toll rose.

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    1. He can sue, but that suit will get thrown out of court if he goes though with it. Bullies tend not to carry out their threats

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  5. The reference to a school play of denial was good!
    Too bad I feel more like crying than laughing right now; I'll revisit when my typical attitude returns. (The Wall always gets to me.)

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  6. The Skipper isn’t worried about the house burning because he has enough extra wood in the attic to build a new house.

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  7. Those years — 1968, specifically — saw the creation of Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy for peeling off white Southern Democrats from their party to support Nixon's election. It was the beginning red states virus blue states, "real" Americans versus "libtards," and a host of other vicious, malign political concepts that still bedevil us. I fear we will soon be told that genuinely patriotic Americans are the ones who ignore the virus, go back to work, and support their addled president, no matter what. If it ultimately costs you your life, well, you probably would've died from something else sooner or later, so no big deal, as long as the stock market rebounds.

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    1. Spot on about the Southern Strategy, John. The impeachment put republicans in a permanent bad mood and on a one way partisan road. Richard Nixon- the gift that keeps on giving!

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  8. Succinct, bitter, and apt.
    Your blog is essential reading.

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  9. In his latest outrage Trump opined that New York doesn't really need all those ventilators. Having once watched an uncle, a lifelong smoker, die of emphysema I would be grateful when my time comes for mechanical help to ease the suffering of lungs that stop working on their own.

    I'm not sure Vietnam is particularly apt. We certainly blundered into it, but the death total was achieved over a number of years. It was a fruit of the Cold War and a lot of well meaning people bought the idea of falling dominoes. In Robert M. McNamara's rueful assessment, "everybody was for it until everybody was against. it."

    That said, a powerful column.

    Tom

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    1. 58,000 dead for nothing. Seeing their names together on The Wall is a powerful reminder of the damage an incompetent leader can do.

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  10. Sad reading about all the lives lost thanks to Johnson’s ego and now Trump’s. The worst part is Trump doesn’t care about lives lost or the effect on families. His main concern during is his TV ratings based on his daily briefings about COVID-19. Despicable! Now people are ingesting disinfectants thanks to this moron who suggested it. His followers are brainwashed and will follow this lemming right over the cliff.

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