I love a raucous debate, ever since my firebrand 9th grade social studies teacher, Gerald (“Jerry”) Eggen, taught me how to be a respectful liberal, always mindful that the other side has facts, too. But the sad conclusion about most Trump supporters is that facts, reality, science, and expertise are out the window. Blind passion, inane fantasies, and dangerous idolatry are in. Critically thoughtful discussion is not possible when one group dishonestly refuses to accept baseline facts, engages in chronic projection and wholesale logical fallacy, and cites arguments only from Trump World propaganda sources with little or no journalistic standards. When you deny things you know — and wish not — to be true, you are a waste of time. When you deny the veracity of legitimate information sources, because your leader tells you to, you are a waste of time. When you ask for proof that the sun rises in the east, you’re not an honest debater. By those standards of (non-critical) thinking, all truth is deniable, and there is no reality except your leader’s. Once this intellectual insincerity has been exposed, any further attempt at critically thoughtful debate is a colossal waste of time. Still, how can we get through to them? A few stragglers might come around, might see a Trumpian line not yet crossed. For the majority of MAGA devotees, there are no lines left, no bridges too far, no bottom. (scroll down for full article)
— RECENT HEADLINES –
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“PANDEMIC: Neb., Ga. Cases Exploding; GOP Governors Push on w/ Reopening States” (4/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Remdesivir Showing Promise in Drug Treatment Trials” (4/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Continues to Use Pandemic to Extract Favors, Punish Enemies” (4/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Dr. Fauci Issues Dire Warning to States Reopening too Early, w/o Guidelines” (4/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Rare Statement From Office of Director of Intelligence: Virus Not Manmade or Modified; Contradicts Trump Who Has ‘secret info’ That Virus Came From Wuhan, China, Lab” (4/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: 21 States (R) Reopening, Half-Dozen (D) Not, Largely Along Party Lines” (5/1/2020)
“Joe Biden Personally Addresses Sexual Assault Charges: Clear, Credible, Respectful Denial” (5/1/2020)
“ECONOMY: $1B+ Meant for Small Businesses Went to Large Publicly Traded Companies, Many w/ $Multi-Million CEO Compensation; White House Enabled Guidelines” (5/1/2020)
“PANDEMIC: WH Blocks Dr. Fauci From Testifying to House Next Wk., ‘Can’t spare him’” (5/1/2020)
“PANDEMIC: McConnell Defies Congressional Physician, Calls Senators Back to Ram Through Judges; Attending Physician Says There Are Not Enough Tests to Test all 100 Senators” (5/1/2020)
“PANDEMIC: After 20K+ Nursing Home Deaths, WH Finally Plans to Form Cmte. in Late May” (5/1/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Announces Intention to Deny Aid to States w/ Sanctuary Cities” (5/2/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Fires Career Health Expert From HHS IG Post for Report He Didn’t Like” (5/2/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Continues to Violate His Own WH Guidelines, Pushes U.S. Reopening” (5/3/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Admin. Skips World Vaccine Summit Raising Money for Development” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Secret New WH Projections Leaked: Deaths Will Nearly Double to 3K Daily This Mo.; New Models Factor in Poor Leadership, Less Social Distancing; Trump Outraged at Leaks” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Adjusts Predictions for 5th Time, Now Predicts 100K Total Deaths” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Models Show Outbreaks in NY Decreasing, (Rural) Red States to Explode” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Senate Returns; in Joint Statement, McConnell, Pelosi Decline Testing for Legislators in Favor of Saving for Frontline Workers; Tacit Admission of Massive Testing Shortage” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: WH Blocks all Congressional Testimony From Staff w/o Approval” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Pushing Hard, GOP Govs. Oblige, for Reopening U.S. Despite New Hot Spots of Meat Plants, Prisons, Nursing Homes Producing Dramatic, Record-Setting State Cases, Deaths” (5/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Fired Tom Brady of Govt. Vaccine Development, Dr. Rick Bright, Releases Whistleblower Complaint: Consistently Pressured to Award Politically Favorable Contracts for Unproved Drug Production; Refused to Allow Corrupt WH Influence to Affect His Decisions” (5/5/2020)
“PANDEMIC: WH Preparing to Disband Coronavirus Task Force This Mo.; Not Necessary” (5/5/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Admin. Is Pushing to Loosen U.S. Nursing Home Infection Control Regulations” (5/5/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Poll: 63% of Americans Fear WH Is Reopening U.S. Economy too Soon” (5/5/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Reverses Self: ‘I had no idea how popular the task force is’” (5/6/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Says ‘country’s got to reopen, though there will be more deaths’” (5/6/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump: ‘Virus will pass, with or without a vaccine,’ Likely With No Recurrence” (5/6/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Admin. Orders all U.S. Meat Plants to Open, Regardless of Testing, Guidelines” (5/6/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Dozens of States Reopening Without Coming Close to Meeting WH Guidelines” (5/6/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Vows to ‘terminate’ Obamacare During Pandemic, Defying Own Aides” (5/7/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Current U.S. Mortality Rate: 6% and Holding” (5/7/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Stops CDC Issue of ‘overly specific instructions’ for Reopening Bus.” (5/7/2020)
“ECONOMY: U.S. Jobless Claims: This Week, 3.2M; 7-Week Total, 33M+” (5/7/2020)
ECONOMY: Economists Warn 40% of Job Losses Could Become Permanent” (5/7/2020)
“PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 1.2M/3.8M Cases; 73,431/264,189 Deaths; 8:26 a.m. EST” (5/7/2020)
2/06/2020 — U.S.: 1 | World: 620
3/05/2020 — U.S.: 12 | World: 3,293
4/02/2020 — U.S.: 5,137 | World: 48,284
4/09/2020 — U.S.: 14,808 | World: 89,435
4/16/2020 — U.S.: 30,985 | World: 138,008
4/23/2020 — U.S.: 46,785 | World: 184,372
4/30/2020 — U.S.: 60,999 | World: 228,057
5/07/2020 — U.S.: 73,431 | World: 264,189
(COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; approximately 8 a.m. each day)
Good Debate or Waste of Time
I love a raucous debate. I’ve been interested in political debate since my firebrand 9th grade social studies teacher, Gerald (“Jerry”) Eggen, taught me how to be a respectful liberal, always mindful that the other side has facts, too.
But the sad conclusion about most Trump supporters is that facts, reality, science, and expertise are out the window. Blind passion, inane fantasies, and dangerous idolatry are in — the latter being that much more surprising for Ten Commandments adherents.
Critically thoughtful discussion is possible between two groups of people who fundamentally disagree on issues. But it’s not possible when one group dishonestly refuses to accept baseline facts that reasonable people on both sides of the argument do. It’s not possible when one group engages in chronic projection and wholesale logical fallacy to disguise its critical weakness on the facts. It’s not possible when one group cites its arguments only from Trump World propaganda sources with little or no journalistic standards of critical analysis and credible corroboration.
When you deny things you know — and wish not — to be true, you are a waste of time. When you deny the veracity of legitimate information sources, simply because your leader tells you to, you are a waste of time. When you ask for proof that the sun rises in the east, you’re not an honest debater. By those standards of (non-critical) thinking, all truth is deniable, and there is no reality except that which your leader deems to exist. Once this intellectual insincerity has been exposed about a person or group, any further attempt at critically thoughtful debate is a colossal waste of time.
Still, how can we get through to them? A few stragglers might come around. There might still remain for them some Trumpian line not yet crossed. For the majority of MAGA devotees, there are no lines left, no bridges too far, no bottom.
On the other hand, somehow, some way, the middle must be educated, and we must outvote the cult. American democracy depends upon it.
The sad, sad state of affairs in America is that it remains business as usual at the top of government: President Trump still is corrupt, incompetent, and amoral; coronavirus testing still is widely unavailable; the White House still is demanding to reopen the U.S. economy at the expense of almost-certain dramatic increases in (second-wave) pandemic deaths; and Donald’s “Little Monsters” (— apologies to Lady Gaga), the MAGA devotees, still refuse to acknowledge his galactic transgressions, which now include MAGA-cide — red state citizens are dying, not just New York (commie) “reds.”
While Trump’s own Task Force head, Dr. Anthony Fauci, passionately urges states not to reopen too soon and to follow the White House’s own guideline prerequisites for reopening, the president prevaricates as if the good doctor doesn’t exist: “The country must reopen — rapidly.” “The virus will disappear, with or without a vaccine.” “More deaths occur from staying home than disease.” “The story is a Democrat hoax.” “If it’s not a hoax, it’s China’s fault.” “Anyone who wants a test can get one” (said months ago, and still not true).
Models are showing red states — Donald’s coveted flyover country — are about to explode with pandemic cases and deaths, emanating from existing new hot spots at meat plants, nursing homes, and prisons. President Trump knowingly is sentencing tens of thousands of people to unnecessary deaths to prop up the economy for the sole — and I mean sole — purpose of getting reelected.
Revised CDC projections, leaked by someone in the administration, predict that daily COVID-19 deaths will nearly double to 3,000 in the coming weeks. Another prominent forecasting institution has revised their prediction, doubling total U.S. deaths to 135,000. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (which the White House formerly trusted) incorporated two disturbing factors into their updated projection: 1) poor White House leadership; and 2) poor adherence to social distancing guidelines due to that poor leadership.
Just to top off the insanity, note these additional developments. President Trump said Tuesday that he’s preparing to disband the Coronavirus Task Force this month — as deaths are rising exponentially. He’s blocked the CDC’s release of guidelines — “overly specific instructions” — for the safe reopening of businesses because he wants them open as soon as possible, looking totally normal. The president regularly refuses to wear a mask at pandemic-related photo ops, telling aides it “sends the wrong message.” The administration is pushing to relax nursing home infection control regulations. And Donald vowed this week to put a complete end to Obamacare — during a pandemic — even in the face of vehement objections from his aides.
The White House is blocking its entire pandemic-related staff from testifying before Congress. It already fired the Tom Brady of government vaccine development, Dr. Rick Bright, because he wouldn’t succumb to corrupt pressure to push Trump’s (unproved) pet drug, hydroxychloroquine. And Trump has already fired his Health and Human Services inspector general, a career health expert, because the IG issued a factual report the president didn’t like.
President Trump reversed himself a day after announcing plans to disband the White House Coronavirus Task Force: “I had no idea how popular the task force is.”
All these developments are solely — and I mean solely — an effort to achieve the appearance of pre-pandemic normalcy, jump-start the markets (stock, job, and retail), get reelected.
Virtual murder, betrayal of country and oath, and massive government larceny still are not enough to dissuade MAGA devotees of the cult dogma.
I still have hope, though. I’m picturing an open-mic moment like the one set up by his long-aggrieved, disillusioned manager for the media-made shyster Lonesome Rhodes (Andy Griffith) in the prophetic 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd.
“Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got ’em like this. You know what the public’s like? A cage of Guinea pigs. Good night you stupid idiots. Good night, you miserable slobs. They’re a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.”
(Kazan, Elia: director; Schulberg, Budd: writer; A Face in the Crowd [motion picture]; 1957.)
Lonesome Donald. That’s got a really nice ring. ■
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget