The GOP is pursuing a public slaughter strategy - known to some as "herd immunity"

Thom plus logo People are acting shocked-shocked, I tell you!-that the Trump/GOP strategy on coronavirus is essentially one of promoting herd immunity with the possible downside of as many as 2.5 million dead Americans.

We shouldn't be surprised. It's simply the logical extension of conservative policies on pretty much everything for the past 90 years-policies that have killed a hell of a lot more than just 2.5 million people.

Republicans simply don't believe it's part of the job of government to provide for the "general welfare" of the American people; instead, government-in their minds-should only run the police and the military, while maintaining a stable currency so business can function. Here are some other beliefs driving Republican policies:
  • Government shouldn't help the elderly avoid poverty-Social Security should only go to those who set aside money during their working years, and be run by private insurance companies, as George W. Bush told us in 2005. Republicans have tried to cripple, privatize or destroy Social Security year after year ever since the 1930s when it was created.
  • Government shouldn't pay for health care anywhere, anytime because that should come out of people's own pockets. If they want protection from serious illness or accidents, they can buy private insurance. Republicans have tried to cripple, privatize or destroy Medicare and Medicaid since the 1960s when these programs were created.
  • Government shouldn't protect citizens from being poisoned by industrial pollution or protect our rivers, lakes, oceans or air; these are all the jobs of private industry. Since 1920 when Republican Warren Harding successfully ran for president on the platform of "Less government in business and more business in government," GOP politicians have championed deregulation and privatization as the solution to almost all problems.
  • Government shouldn't provide education, according to conservative theology. As the late billionaire David Koch put into his platform when he ran for vice president in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket, "We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended." Today, billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continues Koch's work.
  • Reflecting conservative philosophy dating back to the 1920s, Koch even called for "the abolition of the governmental Postal Service," "the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency," and "the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration."

After the Republican Great Depression struck in 1929 and about a third of Americans lost their jobs, homeless exploded, and hunger stalked the land, Republican President Herbert Hoover's treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, famously argued that saving the economy and American workers was the duty of the private sector, not government. Instead of helping out working people, Mellon's advice was just to let everything crash, and the very, very rich (like himself) would eventually pick up the pieces and start over.

"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate," Mellon said. "Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people."

Back in 2000, when Mike Pence was running for Congress, he laid out clearly a more modern version of the same philosophy. About 340,000 Americans died that year from smoking-related illness, but, Pence wrote, "Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill."

Instead, much like Trump saying that most people who get COVID-19 don't die from it and that lots of Americans die from the flu, Pence added, "In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer."

Instead, Pence-the man who today is heading up our coronavirus effort-said we should be wary of "Government big enough to protect us from our own stubborn wills."

After all, Pence pointed out, "[A] government of such plenary power, once conceived will hardly stop at tobacco. Surely the scourge of fatty foods and their attendant cost to the health care economy bears some consideration. How about the role of caffeine in fomenting greater stress in the lives of working Americans? Don't get me started about the dangers of sports utility vehicles!"

Which should remind us that Republicans even fought against seat belt laws and other car safety regulations, as well as nutrition labeling on children's cereals and baby food, and country-of-origin labeling on any foods. And they continue to block action on climate change, which is killing Americans from coast to coast via floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and heatstroke.

If Mike Pence was just fine with hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from an entirely preventable tobacco addiction, why would he fret about a mere quarter-million who have died so far from a novel virus?

Republicans simply don't believe that protecting the people of America is a legitimate function of government. And they're strengthened and disciplined in that belief by the hundreds of millions of dollars industry and hard-right billionaires shower on them every year at every level of elected politics.

We're literally the only developed country in the world where this bizarre belief is held by about half of the nation's politicians, and much of that can be traced to the influence of Libertarian billionaires like the Kochs and their network, but it is what it is.

So let's stop being "amazed" that Trump, Pence and their GOP allies refuse to mandate or even federally facilitate widespread testing and contact tracing, or have the Postal Service deliver five masks to every American, or pick up the medical or burial costs of people infected because of this administration's lack of action.

This is nothing new; it's what Republicans always do.

-Thom

Comments

Legend 2 weeks 3 days ago
#1

Why does the media not compare us to other countries? Taiwan 24 million, 527 cases, 7 deaths total. South Korea 52 million, 25000 cases, 428 deaths and they were hit hard. This could have been contained. Why do you think that other countries do not want us to visit them and have in fact banned us?

alis volat's picture
alis volat 2 weeks 3 days ago
#3

There is something wonderfully strange about this culture-clash. The left has been portrayed as the airy-fairy ones saying we can make everything better for everyone in our utopian democracy. But, it turns out the folks that espouse laissez faire capitalism as an answer are the ones living in a fantasy. It's proved to be that the money trickles up, and the goddamn markets don't sort everything out.

We've demanded our democracy and America's common decency be restored, and some really good old fashioned Republicans have joined us. HOPE, as in the Obama watchword, is still among us. Even better, it has played-out in some pretty spectacular ways, those were not airy-fairy people in the streets. We are an army out to annihilate not them, but their destructive fantasies. In the immortal words of "W", they may have mis-underestimated us.

Utopia-schmoopopia, we just want the truth and a society that believes in equal justice. When we say "well, that ain't right" we are just trying to reclaim our country's humanity.

Legend 2 weeks 2 days ago
#4

More about the Swamp! Corporate retreats at Trump properties etc. Various ways to pay and play. Vote!

Legend 2 weeks 2 days ago
#5

Just talked to a neighbor (at great distance) that has Covid. He has had it for 9 days. This is the first actual person I know that has had it. I am retired so do not see a huge number of people. The last 3 days have been his worse. Said that it is really bad to have, by far worse than any flu. Would not wish it on anyone. I told him since he has Trump signs in his yard he should contact Trump to get the good stuff. He asked me to take down the Trump sign. He also admitted to being slack on prevention rules. So far his wife does not have it but has stayed clear of him.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 weeks 2 days ago
#6

Damn! Hope your neighbor gets through it okay. One hates to say it, but it does look like he asked for it by listening to Trump. Lesson learned ...the hard way.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 weeks 1 day ago
#7

Watch out, Donald... Something's fucky.

-- 101 agonizing days to go until the peaceful transfer of power, plus whatever hours, minutes, and seconds left today.

The violent white supremacists in Trump's irregular, right-wing militia groups just don't have the numbers. The nonviolent anti-fascists (the rest of America) will prevail and, if they have to, Biden's secret service will drag this totally ridiculous, yellow-haired, orange-faced clown's authoritarian white ass off that podium at 12:01 pm on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Then he can be fed to the wolves properly. Trump will face real "law and order," which he only embraces as a mere slogan. Even when (not if) he weasels out of all the federal crimes he has committed (is committing) while serving (himself) in office -- sorry -- presidential pardons and cries of executive privilege just don't count for sht against state charges, least of all in the jungles of New York.

According to a well-reasoned article, The People v. Donald J. Trump, the alpha of the pack is the district attorney for Manhattan, Cyrus Vance  Jr., who is investigating Trump's extensive life of crime before the election in 2016: “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” -- meaning insurance, bank, and tax fraud -- a wonderful trifecta of guilt for any prosecutor worth his salt, let alone someone of Vance's caliber. Although this seasoned prosecutor seems to have a worrisome history of sometimes being a little too soft on the big guys, hopefully this time is different.

With a treasure trove of overwhelming evidence and a bevy of key witnesses of serious felonies going way back into Trump's wretched life as a failed businessman -- fixing his books "bigly" and flat-out stealing other people's taxes while only paying a laughable fraction of his own -- all that, and much more, adequately covers any legal requirements for supporting a well-worn pattern of gross criminal conduct by a serial law-breaker.

For the sake of expediency and regardless of the sheer number of crimes, since any further penalties would still result in roughly the same length of jail time being served concurrently, Vance is expected to focus primarily on the two biggest ball busters: falsifying business records and tax fraud.

Anyway, everything else would probably just get lost in the larger legal fog, opening opportunities for Trump to deny, delay, and appeal until the day he mercifully dies. And even if he's convicted on only two crimes for being a worthless, lying, cheating bastard all his life, it would still be immensely satisfying to witness at long last justice served on someone who so hugely deserves it.

Trump's indictment could happen as soon as next April, which would also include family members and employees who don't cooperate. Even after factoring in the anticipated dump truck of delay tactics by the defense, the trial would commence by 2023 and would only last a few short months -- entertainment that calls for lots of popcorn, but not for too long.

Bam! Then it's off to New York City's Rikers Island! New York State doesn't screw around after sentencing, so sitting in a city jail before being assigned to state prison is fine, as long as he remains behind bars meanwhile, even during any appellate process.

I suppose that a little over two years from now ain't all that bad, considering three-plus decades of obvious crimes (What took so damn long?!), for New York city and state authorities to catch up eventually with a life-long, low-life scumbag who happened to have cheated his way into the presidency by hook or by crook, and to finally, finally ...LOCK HIM UP! YOU'RE A LOSER! YOU'RE FIRED!

"Once there, as Trump awaited transfer to a state prison, the man who’d treated the presidency like a piggy bank would receive yet another handout at the public expense: a toothbrush and toothpaste, bedding, a towel, and a green plastic cup." - Jeff Wise

Legend 2 weeks 1 day ago
#8

I have never been too concerned about Trump not leaving office if a winner is declared. But I am very concerned about him declaring the vote over before the count is complete, Marshall Law, Calling out troops, or of course the one that we cannot even imagine. On January 20th the Supreme Court Justice swears in a new POTUS. There is no un-signing ceremony. That is of course is if we get to that stage. A lot of damage can be done in the period between November 3rd and January 20th. A lot of damage can be done between now and November 3rd. He could have Joe Biden arrested. I would not put it past him. His base would love it. He started a rant against Iran on the Rush Limbaugh show, so do not rule out a war. He usually shows his cards. Desperate people do desperate things.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 weeks 1 day ago
#10

101 days of freefall between, let's just say it, good and evil. Hang on.

MagnusReputo 2 weeks 1 day ago
#11

I wish someone would ask the SCOTUS nominee if we should interpret the Bible as written.

rostasi 2 weeks 18 hours ago
#12

"martial"

Because We Don't Have A Right to Vote...

Thom plus logo In America, the country that is supposed to be the world's premier democratic republic, citizens do not have an absolute right to vote.

Because we don't have a right to vote, red state governors can radically cut back on the number of polling places and voting machines so that working class people are forced to stand in line for five, six, in some cases 10 hours to vote.
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