Saturday, September 5, 2020

American Carnage: A Republican Tradition

By Isaiah Thomas
Board of Editors
with Medical Correspondent Vincent Boom-Batz, M.D.

So many despicable Republican outrages, so little time.  What to choose?  The noise out of Washington this weekend is the entirely already known revelation that President Pussy Ass  Bitch hates and contemns those who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives in service to their country.

Of course, the Tangerine-Faced Grifter claims the story is as fake as the equally true story about how he was installed as President thanks to Russian election interference or was rightfully impeached for extorting campaign assistance from a foreign government in desperate need of U.S. support and military assistance.  To date, not a single ranking officer who has served with or under him since January 20, 2017 has disputed a single word of the reporting now confirmed by multiple mainstream sources (The Atlantic, AP, The Washington Post).  We'll go with the dogs that aren't barking.

Or we could dilate on the continuing efforts of the Bigot-in-Chief to foment white racist resentment over the entirely justified protests by Black citizens and their allies over the continued killings of Black men and women by out-of-control police forces.  Hello, Rochester!

But we think we'll go with the ever increasing stack of bodies in the corner: the 190,000 victims of President Tiny Toadstool's inept refusal to take effective measures to protect the nation from the coronavirus epidemic.  Lost in the other news was the latest prediction of the American body count by year end:

You can read the appalling details here.  To be fair, we should point out that some non-crazy public health experts think that figure is too high and the butcher's bill for 2020 could be closer to a mere 300,000.  What a relief!

To put this into perspective, this is about 300,000 times the number of persons allegedly killed by violent leftist agitators this year, the horror of which has consumed President Tiny Toadstool and his Trumpublican fake outrage machine for months.

And yet, the Trumpublicans don't appear to be too worried about the death and suffering.  They have stonewalled the Democratic bill to prevent the epidemic from leading to mass hunger, suffering, and homelessness.  They continue to insist that effective prophylactic measures, like compulsory mask wearing in public, constitute the greatest attack on freedom since fundamentalist pharmacists were told they had to do their jobs and fulfill prescriptions for contraceptives.

To us, the most remarkable aspect of the callous Republican indifference to human life, not to mention the extent of suffering and deprivation across the country, without precedent since 1932, is how many are surprised.  After all, they are proud to be the “pro-life” party.

There are a number of plausible reasons for this, as suggested by this thoughtful piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

There are also circumstances unique to the United States that have led to our absence of national mourning. President Donald Trump has shied away from his role as consoler in chief, shifting focus away from the dead to deflect criticism of his leadership during the crisis.

But a president who fails to project empathy isn’t the only one to blame, said University of Connecticut history Prof. Micki McElya, who has written extensively on the politics of mourning.

“There’s been a failure among the American people,” she said. “Sure, the administration sets the tone, but it speaks to deeper divisions, and also to structural inequalities in this country,” she said.

Marginalized groups are overrepresented among the severely ill and deceased, particularly people of color, whose more limited access to good health care has led to chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“The disproportionate impact on these populations is such clear evidence of how structural inequality works,” McElya said.

She also noted that people of color are more likely to work in jobs that increase their risk of contracting the virus — caring for the elderly, processing meat, fulfilling online orders — or live in institutions such as prisons and homeless shelters, where it’s easy for infections to spread.  . . .

While some American coronavirus victims have been honored in the media, there haven’t been events with the broad traction of a national moment of silence, like those recently observed in China, Italy and the U.K.

With the populace so siloed, and those most affected going largely unseen, it’s difficult for many of us to feel we have anything in common with those who have died of the virus.

As the article implies, the real question isn't why there hasn't been more of a outpouring of grief and outrage over 190,000 mostly preventable deaths.  The question is why anyone is surprised.

The last 56 years have shown us that indifference to the loss of innocent lives, especially when those lives can be deprecated as those of persons of color, and to effective measures to save those and similar lives is as integral to Republican beliefs as putting high powered assault weapons in the hands of angry loons (leading to the slaughter of scores of innocent students) or outlawing legal abortion (leading to the deaths of desperate women forced to find lethal alternatives).

It's especially easy for Republicans to ignore the toll of death and suffering when the alternative – effective action such as health care for all – can be categorized as, you guessed it, an intolerable burden on “freedom.”  Don't believe us?  Just check out the album pictured above featuring that guy who seems to be falling over at his desk.  Whatever happened to him?

Just don't ask him how many old people would have died unnecessarily had they not been afforded, since 1965, health insurance under Medicare.  More generally, a study from two far-left institutions, Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance,  concluded that in 2009 (prior to Obamacare and Medicaid expansion), lack of health insurance led to 45,000 unnecessary deaths.  

Now 45,000 a year is a far cry from 400,000 COVID-19 deaths a year, but when you consider that Republicans still oppose national health insurance and expanding Medicaid to states ruled by Republicans (notably Texas and Florida), you multiply it by say the 6 years since Obamacare took effect and you get another 270,000 preventable deaths.  Now that's American carnage!

But with Republicans, it's never just one thing, it's every f***in' thing.  They have fought not only guaranteeing health care for all, but also guaranteeing adequate food for all.  Remember when Republicans tried to cut food stamps by threatening a default on the national debt?  

They wanted to cut $13 billion a year in 2012.  Then, Pres U Bum, whom Republican flacks and hacks tell us is such a gross departure from great Republicans like Earl Butz, in the middle of the pandemic that has ravaged America, wanted to kick another 700,000 persons off as recently as May. Of course if Republicans had their way, there would be no food stamps at all. 

Even St. Ronald of Bitburg tried to starve children: 

 After all, it's a core Republican belief that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

And what would happen without food stamps? Well, here's how things are going with the current inadequate program, according to Sunday's New York Times Magazine:

In numbers, it's like this, said the Times:

In one week in late July nearly 30 million Americans reported they did not have enough to eat, according to a government survey. Among households with children, one in three reported insufficient food, the highest level in the nearly two decades the government has tracked hunger in America, said Lauren Bauer, who studies food insecurity at the Brookings Institution. (emphasis added because you people are lazy)

Is that bad?  Sadly we let our subscription to Pediatrics lapse but here are the conclusions of one recent study from Boston Medical Center:

As we awoke this month to another dispiriting report of the numbers of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections and deaths, a new set of horrifying statistics hit the airwaves. By the end of April 2020, 2 in 5 households with children <12 were food insecure (meaning they were unable to afford enough food for all household members to live active, healthy lives), and, in nearly one-half of these households, parents reported that their children were directly experiencing food insecurity (FI). These levels exceed those found at any time since FI measurement was implemented in the late 1990s, including during the previous Great Recession of 2007–2009. . . .

Ample scientific research establishes that FI experienced at even the mildest levels has acute and later chronic effects on health, cognition, and socioemotional adaptation. Young children raised in food insecure households are at a greater risk of fair or poor health, hospitalizations, developmental delays, cognitive impairment, poor academic performance, abnormal weight and BMI, and decreased social [end of free excerpt; emphasis added]

We're going to guess that if Republicans succeeded in ending food stamp assistance to those who rely on it, the carnage, both short- and long-term, would be even greater and Republicans would care less.   

Speaking of carnage . . .

Then there's the decades-long Republican denial of global warming and refusal to do even one f**kin' thing to slow it down.  How many corpses will that anti-science insanity generate, beyond the current plight of those picking crops in the Central Valley of California in record-high 120℉ heat or clearing the rubble of their Louisiana homes destroyed by Hurricane Laura?

According to Jim, Jen, Stephanie and the other Antifa bombthrowers doing business as The Weather Channel, global warming will lead to 250,000 deaths per year around the world by 2050.  Of course most of those deaths won't be Americans, so maybe the Republicans will need to change their slogan to “Global Carnage.”

So when you hear people saying they can't believe that our current ruling Republicans are so determined to ignore the 190,000 deaths already racked up by their inept non-response to COVID-19, just remember that it's the same bunch that for decades didn't give a rat's a** about equally high and horrible body counts caused by lack of health care, hunger, and uncontrolled global warming.

And we haven't even touched upon Republican indifference to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost from their misadventures in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iraq, and, most recently by proxy, Yemen.

We suggest the Republicans unite the various supposedly warring factions of their party around a common vision embodying the best of Republican thinking past and present.  They could simply boast “American Carnage – Mission Accomplished!”

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