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Reading: Trump and Kushner on the Coronavirus: … Revisionist History

From Trump and Kushner on the Coronavirus: … Revisionist History

A little background: When the American deaths in Vietnam were going up and up – as counted nightly by Cronkite – I got thrown out of high school for protesting escalation. A lot of us did. We’re still here to tell you that “One dead on your watch is too many, Jarod.” Step down.

At the same time, the reported death toll from the virus in the United States topped 60,000 — more killed in eight weeks than the 58,000 American troops killed in eight years of major combat in Vietnam. The death toll has already reached where it was expected to be in August, more than three months from now, according to projections accepted by the White House. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now estimates that 73,000 will die by August.

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Reading: Trump Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus

From Trump Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus

Oh yippee. This article is interesting because it counterposes military rationale with Trump’s lack of rationale.

And so last Friday, the day before Mr. Pence was to speak at the Air Force ceremony in Colorado, Mr. Trump, never one to be upstaged, abruptly announced that he would, in fact, be speaking at West Point.

That was news to everyone, including officials at West Point, according to three people involved with or briefed on the event. The academy had been looking at the option of a delayed presidential commencement in June, but had yet to complete any plans. With Mr. Trump’s pre-emptive statement, they are now summoning 1,000 cadets scattered across the country to return to campus in New York, the state that is the center of the outbreak.

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Reading: Trump’s big show of opening the US economy will hide the real story – CNNPolitics

From Trump’s big show of opening the US economy will hide the real story – CNNPolitics

This is not how to handle an on-going crisis. This is marketing, not leadership.

The fact that it is constitutionally superfluous for Trump to authorize states to open up suggests his real intent is an election-year political device that positions him as leading the resurgence and those who oppose him as laggards holding America back.

“We’re going to be announcing guidelines, and we’ll be talking about various states, and it’s very exciting,” Trump said in another rambunctious Rose Garden news conference Wednesday.

“We will be the comeback kids, all of us, all of us. It’s incredible, what’s going on,” Trump said. “Tomorrow is going to be a very big day … We will have some openings that will … exceed our expectations, and they will be safe.”

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Reading: Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

From Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

Julia Carrie Wong in The Guardian traces the movement of the promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a cure/treatment covid-19, and by whom, and for what: to attempt to hold on to legitimacy.

Aaron Shakow, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and historian of medicine, the chief physician of the emperor Nero circulated a recipe for an old miracle cure.

“It was an attempt by Nero to sustain his legitimacy in the midst of this catastrophic event,” Shakow said. “Epidemics are dangerous to rulers.”

Trump’s admin – along with Fox – is setting guesses against expertise; they want a miracle cure that will demonstrate that their power is legitimate. Trump: “But we don’t have time to go and say, ‘Gee, let’s take a couple of years and test it out, and let’s go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories.’” More to the measure: the admin doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to manage a cure.

Instead, Trump helps create a meme to fight a pandemic virus. Fox helps, anti-vaxxers and the right jumps in, and

An 85-year-old medication was well on its way to becoming a Covid-19 meme.

A meme is not a cure.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, has repeatedly warned that there is no conclusive evidence to support using the drug. Asked whether it should be considered a treatment for Covid-19, he said on 24 March: “The answer is no.”

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Reading: When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

From When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

Boris is in intensive care and we’re still seeing willing ignorance.

Neither Jared Kushner nor Donald Trump seem to understand what it means for the federal government to act as a backstop, or what the purposes of a federal medical-supply stockpile could be (given the comparatively tiny size of that government), and how few medical supplies could ever be required by its workforce.

“The notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said Thursday. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpile, which they can then use.”

The more troubling interpretation of that statement is that it isn’t ignorant but strategic and sadistic. The continued messaging from the White House is that at every stage of this pandemic, states and governors will be left to do their own work rather than rely on federal support and — critically — guidance.

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Reading: US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

From US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

Ars Technica reports on business as usual:

The Trump administration changed the Strategic National Stockpile website’s description of the program yesterday after White House adviser Jared Kushner falsely claimed that the medical-supply stockpile is not meant to be used to help states. The description was changed to minimize the stockpile’s role in helping states through crises like the current pandemic, but other portions of the official website still make it clear that Kushner was wrong.

I doubt that the website declares the actual policy – that would be in official government docs – so the change in the site is an attempt at covering Kushner’s tracks. But it’s not the action of responsible leaders.

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Reading: What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

From What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

A little refresher course in lit crit 101. Well chosen articles that lead us back to Richards, Sontag, even Pound and Eliot.

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Reading: An unreal city: lockdown in London

From An unreal city: lockdown in London

A warm, churchy kind of voice.

In the supermarket on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton, south London a middle-aged cashier is keeping order as furtive human shapes grab things from the shelves. The entrance is full of street people, drinkers, people with nowhere else to go. An unsteady-looking man in a long overcoat has already chased the security guard to the back of the shop. “Don’t be upset, darling,” the cashier says in a warm, churchy kind of voice. “Now you’re going to have to stand back. Yes, back. Thank you, darling.”

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Reading: Trump signals growing weariness with coronavirus social distancing as he grows concerned about the economy – The Washington Post

From Trump signals growing weariness with coronavirus social distancing as he grows concerned about the economy – The Washington Post

A fool by any measure. Let ‘em eat cake.

President Trump on Monday said he is considering scaling back steps to constrain the spread of the coronavirus in the next week or two due to concerns that the impact on the economy has become too severe.

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Reading: Short-term thinking plagues Trump’s coronavirus response

From Short-term thinking plagues Trump’s coronavirus response