Monday, April 27, 2020

Your Money or Your Life

The big news around these parts last week was the coup our governor, Larry Hogan (R-MD), pulled off by obtaining 500,000 COVID-19 tests directly from South Korea.

The beautiful part of it is that they kept the deal on the down-low, so the Trump Administration didn’t know anything about it until the goods were in-hand.

From the Baltimore Sun, “Hogan administration officials said they decided to keep the developing operation quiet after Massachusetts reported 3 million masks it ordered were impounded in March at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.”

Naturally, Trump was pissed about getting shown up. He claimed Hogan didn’t know what he was doing, wasted money on an outside resource, and was unaware of federal lab facilities within the state.

Sounds damning, but remember, it’s Trump. His understanding of anything is hazy at best. The biggest issue is that Hogan knew all about the federal labs, and these were the issues:

·        The labs only come into play after you’ve administered the tests! No tests on hand, no use for the labs.
·        Hogan DID inquire about using the labs’ testing facilities and was told it was for federal use only.

I think Trump was just miffed because he lost a chance to commandeer more supplies to lay on his business cronies.

The key was that Hogan’s wife, Yumi, is a 1st generation immigrant from South Korea, so she acted as interpreter between her husband and the South Korean government. In fact, months earlier, at a reception with America’s governors at the South Korean embassy, Hogan quoted President Moon as saying this about his wife: “He said that Korea was so proud of my wife, and that they considered me a… a ‘son-in-law’ to the Korean people. I considered it an honor for him to say that, but I had no idea just how much it would truly come to mean these two very long months later.”

I’ve briefly sideswiped this before, but I have to say, Governor Hogan is doing a damned good job on pandemic response. He’s a Republican, but more of an old-school Republican. He was a businessman who thought he could do better for the business community in Maryland than the others, so he ran for office.

He’s not a hard-core social conservative, nor a bible-thumper, nor Trump fanboy, and I credit him for that. He doesn’t seem to play the self-destructive games of political “chicken” like so many others do, perhaps because he’s an outlier… a Republican governor of a deep blue state. The last Republican Gov who played that shit got run out after one term.

But while I may disagree with a number of Hogan’s positions, (canceling a new light rail line set up by his predecessor, diverting money and resources from blue Baltimore to the red outer counties), I have to call them like I see them. This guy is doing a stellar job of fighting this pandemic. He closed up the state very quickly (especially for a Republican, but even faster than some Democrats), and has been holding “no-BS” press conferences full of vital information and zero misdirection or puffery.

He’s converting emissions testing sites into COVID testing sites, has commandeered our convention center and a city-run Hilton to turn into extra hospital beds. He gives real stats, like Governor Cuomo (D-NY) and lets the chips fall where they may. He’s been honest about what it will take to reopen state businesses and his guidelines are in step with health officials and experts.

It’s sad anymore that one is surprised when an elected official turns out to be competent.

So, nice job, Gov. No when your term is up, please retire. I’d hate to see the Dems have to run against you in 2024.

The Russian troll farms are working overtime to circulate their bullshit defenses of the Current Occupant.

Not hard at all.

To a Democrat, Obama was a huge success by any measure. I consider him the greatest president of my lifetime. Under his watch we addressed same-sex marriage, got Plan-B contraception to OTC status, set up an agency to keep banks from screwing us or gambling with house money, killed bin Laden, reduced our military footprint in the Middle East, addressed gender-based pay inequity, saved the auto industry and revived the stock market. What the fuck else would we want from the guy?

The economic numbers alone should have made Republicans giddy, but they were too butt-stung to consider giving the man credit. They sure crowed about the (pre-pandemic) numbers when Trump’s administration continued the momentum at a similar pace. The difference was that Obama turned steep downward slide into an upward climb. Trump merely let the momentum carry on unimpeded. (And then blew up the deficit with a massive tax cut for the richest among us.)

Hillary was innocent. I mean, the Republicans launched investigation after investigation looking into her various activities and found exactly jack shit. Not a single chargeable offense, despite desperately trying to find something… anything, to use against her. And after all that, all they have is inference and innuendo.

And for the shit people think she did, it pales to what we know Trump did. But Republicans only care about the law when it applies to someone else.

And as for Biden, we’ll have to find out if he’s a competent president. He was a more than competent Vice President and was an important player in the Obama White House. He probably did more than anyone to move Obama into supporting same-sex marriage. Once he came out publically in favor, the president had to come along.

He’s also a guy who knows how the government (in general) and an Administration (in particular) is supposed to work. Remember when they had to sit Sarah Palin down and teach her about the three branches of government? Hell, they still need to do that with Trump.

So I had all these reasons in mind to debunk this meme when my dad posted something that did it just as well in a fraction of the time.

Mic drop on that topic. And now some short takes:

I’m pretty sure neither Ozzy nor Joe will tell you to inject yourself with disinfectant.

No, we don’t. We consider Greta to be just like us, the people who listen to climate experts because they’ve spent years and careers studying the science and we haven’t.

You wouldn’t argue with a surgeon because Karen on Facebook said you can eliminate an unsightly scar by removing your spleen through your asshole.  You trust the experts. That’s all Greta has been telling us and there is a significant segment of the population who need to hear that.

Who says those big stores CAN open without killing us? But even if we accept that premise, it is plausible to maintain social distancing in a big box store. How are you going to do that in some small-town hardware store or donut shop? And are these small stores going to be able to afford/acquire masks and hand sanitizer?

I think this is just another attempt to minimize the pandemic threat and get the economy going again, despite the risk to our lives. And speaking about the Republican’s alleged concern for human lives:

This is a look at current events through a religious wingnut’s perspective.

First off, I’m going to ignore the thing about “fat acceptance.” Is there even a political “side” that reveres fat acceptance? The writer seems to think it’s the Democrats. But if you look at the red state health data, they tend to be among the country’s highest in obesity.

The issue I have here is the continuing mischaracterization of abortions. “…murders 860,000 infants annually.” Numbers aside, which don’t factor into my point, calling them “infants” is a complete misnomer and the use of emotionally loaded language is meant to sway the reader outside of the truth.

I do not call a grape-sized glob of jelly an “infant.” No rational person does. But those grapes account for over 95% of all abortions. But it doesn’t sound quite as inflammatory as saying the other side is killing infants.

So, in essence, she’s saying that governments (inferred to be blue) are keeping people at home, not to save their lives (which it does) but to control people for some nebulous, nefarious reason. And it has to be nefarious because the same (blue) states don’t condone forcing women to bear children against their will and allow them to terminate a pregnancy consisting of a fingertip-sized ball of genetic material.

This encapsulates what I’ve believed about religious conservatives for years. The GOP platform is to support and enable big business at all costs. They don’t care about things like abortion, not at the top, not where the money is. They USE social issues like abortion to reel in social conservatives who they can rile up with lots of talk about killing infants so that these people vote in the Republicans, who can then go about the very mundane business of enriching themselves.

For all the hue and cry about the “Sanctity of Life,” it’s an afterthought, an illusion, or a mirage. You know how to tell? Look at what’s happening right now. When the Money issue comes into conflict with the Life issue, Republican leadership sides with the money.

Throwing open the doors of businesses in the midst of a pandemic will cost lives. Everyone, even the conservatives, acknowledges that. But do they shrink from putting people, innocent people, in danger? Is their moral compass keeping them up at nights wrestling with the dilemma? Nope. These ghouls talk about how a few lives are expendable in the face of reactivating the economy. Georgia is opening small businesses and beaches. Florida is on its heels. South Dakota never issued a stay at home order and refrains from closing meatpacking facilities that are riddled with the coronavirus. Texas wants old people to volunteer to die for the economy. The red states are itching to get back to business, citizens’ lives be damned.

That’s money vs life, and the 21st Century GOP is picking the money. Every time.

Final note: Remember how I wondered in my last post about how Trump even let electronic deposits go out because he couldn’t get his name on them? Now I know. We got this in the mail today

He just has to get his name out there, at taxpayer cost, of course. This is just one more piece of evidence that shows how Republicans look at money. It’s perfectly fine to use federal money to advertise and promote the president’s “brand” and next campaign, but when someone else is in charge, there’s no money for anything, not feeding the poor, not roads and bridges, not advocacy bureaus, no money for anything that helps the average non-rich citizen.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I too think your governor has been awesome. We just spoke about this in our home this past week. I have always thought he was a good governor, Rep or not. You know the kind that works for his people not against them. Rare sadly.

bluzdude said...

At least he realizes he can't govern Maryland the way another Republican might govern Alabama. We're a blue state who saw Democrats run stiffs in three of the last four races. He's an anomaly.

Lady M said...

You got it - the "man" will always use the beliefs of the common people to serve his cause. Religion is just a way to control lots of people while they rich line their pockets. Follow the money I say.

bluzdude said...

They have to provide some kind of reason for people to vote for them, because "We're going to siphon your tax dollars to the richest 1%" wouldn't win them elections. And that's what they're truly about... everything else is just bait.