Strange Defeat

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Ulysses
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Strange Defeat

Unread post by Ulysses »

We Are Living in a Failed State

An excellent dissection of how the Trump presidency has failed in the face of an all too common threat.
Donald Trump saw the crisis almost entirely in personal and political terms. Fearing for his reelection, he declared the coronavirus pandemic a war, and himself a wartime president. But the leader he brings to mind is Marshal Philippe Pétain, the French general who, in 1940, signed an armistice with Germany after its rout of French defenses, then formed the pro-Nazi Vichy regime. Like Pétain, Trump collaborated with the invader and abandoned his country to a prolonged disaster. And, like France in 1940, America in 2020 has stunned itself with a collapse that’s larger and deeper than one miserable leader. Some future autopsy of the pandemic might be called Strange Defeat, after the historian and Resistance fighter Marc Bloch’s contemporaneous study of the fall of France. Despite countless examples around the U.S. of individual courage and sacrifice, the failure is national. And it should force a question that most Americans have never had to ask: Do we trust our leaders and one another enough to summon a collective response to a mortal threat? Are we still capable of self-government?...

Trump acquired a federal government crippled by years of right-wing ideological assault, politicization by both parties, and steady defunding. He set about finishing off the job and destroying the professional civil service. He drove out some of the most talented and experienced career officials, left essential positions unfilled, and installed loyalists as commissars over the cowed survivors, with one purpose: to serve his own interests. His major legislative accomplishment, one of the largest tax cuts in history, sent hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations and the rich. The beneficiaries flocked to patronize his resorts and line his reelection pockets. If lying was his means for using power, corruption was his end....

In his first week on the job, in mid-March, Kushner co-authored the worst Oval Office speech in memory, interrupted the vital work of other officials, may have compromised security protocols, flirted with conflicts of interest and violations of federal law, and made fatuous promises that quickly turned to dust. “The federal government is not designed to solve all our problems,” he said, explaining how he would tap his corporate connections to create drive-through testing sites. They never materialized. He was convinced by corporate leaders that Trump should not use presidential authority to compel industries to manufacture ventilators—then Kushner’s own attempt to negotiate a deal with General Motors fell through. With no loss of faith in himself, he blamed shortages of necessary equipment and gear on incompetent state governors.

To watch this pale, slim-suited dilettante breeze into the middle of a deadly crisis, dispensing business-school jargon to cloud the massive failure of his father-in-law’s administration, is to see the collapse of a whole approach to governing. It turns out that scientific experts and other civil servants are not traitorous members of a “deep state”—they’re essential workers, and marginalizing them in favor of ideologues and sycophants is a threat to the nation’s health. It turns out that “nimble” companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that. It turns out that everything has a cost, and years of attacking government, squeezing it dry and draining its morale, inflict a heavy cost that the public has to pay in lives. All the programs defunded, stockpiles depleted, and plans scrapped meant that we had become a second-rate nation. Then came the virus and this strange defeat.
Buh-Bye, President Plump...

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neoplacebo
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Re: Strange Defeat

Unread post by neoplacebo »

Just yesterday trump was squawking about how we have "been taken to the cleaners" for decades by other nations; he was referring to how global supply chains have resulted in shortages of goods needed here and that those goods should be manufactured here.....specifically drugs. I thought to myself "well, hell, it's our own fault that this is the case." For fifty years, corporate America and politicians beholden to them have sold out the American worker and American manufacturing ability to other nations, sacrificing those abilities and capacities on the altar of cheap labor (corporate profit). Side effects of this include the near total destruction of the American middle class, as well as labor unions. When I was a kid, me and the vast majority of my friends dads worked at the same company their entire career. This is a rare thing now. In any case, the situation noted above has been going on for so long now that it will be impossible to reverse it. The only chance to alleviate it is to develop new industries in areas like alternative energy and other non traditional things. But I have no doubt that should this begin to happen, the bean counters that run companies will sell us out again in favor of the short term quarterly earnings statement. They are looking the wrong way and have been for decades. It makes me somewhat grateful that I am in the twilight of my own life. I fear for the future for American children.

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billy.pilgrim
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Re: Strange Defeat

Unread post by billy.pilgrim »

I've been trying to convince my son to move to another country for years.

The puppet masters in the 80s set this all in motion. They play a long game to end all New Deal type Rights of the People, while the dems are all about short term fixes - 1 step forward and 2 back. Trump wasn't their choice but he has worked well with mitch and the "rightful" transfer of wealth back to the "rightful" owners is almost complete. Fuck the worthless peons.

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neoplacebo
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Re: Strange Defeat

Unread post by neoplacebo »

billy.pilgrim wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:05 am
I've been trying to convince my son to move to another country for years.

The puppet masters in the 80s set this all in motion. They play a long game to end all New Deal type Rights of the People, while the dems are all about short term fixes - 1 step forward and 2 back. Trump wasn't their choice but he has worked well with mitch and the "rightful" transfer of wealth back to the "rightful" owners is almost complete. Fuck the worthless peons.
It all goes back to when Nixon "opened up China." They all thought it was fucking great. What was great about it was windfall profits for corporate titans via cheap labor. The irony of it is that the gains in those companies stock prices and corporate profits are dwarfed by the amount of money that flows out of the country to purchase those goods that are made with that cheap labor. I would guess it's about a one to one thousand ratio at present and will only increase as time goes on. They either did not care or were too stupid to realize what it would do to the American worker, middle class, labor unions, or even how strategically ignorant it was to put the nation at the mercy of a foreign country to provide us with things we used to make here. You can't eat, wear, watch, or store your food in tanks and planes. I have a very dim hope that this virus outbreak will open some eyes as to the wisdom of being a nation of consumers reliant on others for virtually everything we need or want. But I suspect the short term quarterly bottom line fools will succeed in contributing to our own demise.

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