Viewpoint by Bill Dahl*
QUERETARO, Mexico (IDN) – Donald Trump lost the U.S. Presidential election. Trump garnered 73.9 million votes to Joe Biden’s 80 million (47.2% to 51.1%). Yet, Trump refuses to formally concede his loss. His attempts to win legal challenges based upon assertions of widespread voter fraud have been unanimously rejected by U.S. courts. The official certification of the election results is scheduled for December 14, 2020.
However, as Trump continues to rage about the fiction that the election was stolen from him, he is engaged in ongoing destructive actions designed to impair the incoming Biden administration and the safety and welfare of the American people. This article explores Trump’s attempts to pave a highway to hell for the U.S.
The average human torso is somewhere between 10″ and 12″ thick. I will use 11 inches (27.9 cm). The average adult in America is 5 feet 9 inches tall (69 inches or 175.2 cm). At the time of this writing, Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. total approximately 265,000 souls. If you laid these bodies head to toe they would stretch for 289 miles (465 km). Imagine driving from Los Angeles International Airport to Las Vegas with bodies laid head to toe alongside the road the entire way. That is 289 miles. This is Trump’s highway to hell.
The Las Vegas Strip, as it is known, is about 4.2 mi (6.8 km) long. If you stacked the 265,000 U.S. fatalities from Covid-19 on top of one another along one sidewalk beside the entirety of the 4.2-mile Las Vegas Strip, these bodies would be 63 feet or 19.2 meters tall. Unimaginable.
During World War II (1941-1945), the U.S. military suffered 291,557 casualties. Deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S. are projected to total 470,974 by March 1, 2021 (University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – November 2020), or 160% of the total US military casualties in WWII. When you add the U.S. military fatalities from WWI (117,000), the Korean War (40,000), and Vietnam (48,000) to the U.S. military deaths incurred during WWII (292,000) the total is 497,000 dead – comparable to the Covid-19 death projection in the U.S. on March 1, 2021– in a time frame of 14 months.
Needless to say, the horrific and ongoing loss of life from Covid-19 in the U.S. is likely to be recalled by historians as one of the most regrettable and avoidable failures of governance in the history of humankind. Frankly, in U.S. law this failure should be considered criminally negligent homicide (Criminally negligent homicide occurs when the perpetrator acts in a reckless, dangerous, or negligent manner which causes the death of another person.).
It is unequivocally the failure of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Remember, he is the one who has stated; “it will go away, it’s a hoax, no need to wear a mask, it will disappear, get the children back to school, we have turned the corner, go to work, get the economy going again, the virus is under control, it’s up to the governors and other elected officials to get personal protective equipment for their hospitals and healthcare workers” etc.
As the U.S. continues to be strangled by out-of-control Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths during the final 50 days of the Trump presidency – don’t expect anything to change from Trump’s standpoint. With essential pandemic leadership and assistance from the U.S. federal government further delayed by Trump’s negligence, the severity of the challenges for the incoming Biden administration become immeasurably more difficult. As Trump has declared that he intends to run for election as U.S. President again in 2024, perhaps creating a highway to hell for Biden is his strategy. We will examine several examples below.
Trump Officially Diagnosed with ED
While suspected for some time, a week after the election results revealed he lost; Trump was officially diagnosed with “ED.” (Election Dysfunction). His claims of a “rigged election and pervasive voter fraud,” accompanied by a cascade of baseless legal actions to challenge the results produced no tangible results that concurred with his allegations. Many of the court rulings used similar language; “your allegations lacked proof and had no merit.”
The Trump appointed Director of the General Services Administration delayed acknowledging Biden’s win for 3 weeks and compromised national security by obstructing a smooth transition of power (including access to classified national security briefings, access to strategic federal government agency heads and the information they control, access to the White House Covid-19 task Force, and millions of dollars in funding designated for a seamless transition of power from Trump to Biden).
Trump’s obstructionist strategy also included firing the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Director of Cybersecurity, and numerous officials in the Homeland Security and government intelligence apparatus. In some cases, he replaced those he dismissed with political cronies and those he deems loyal to him; some of whom are protected by U.S. government civil service employment – who will be difficult to remove by the incoming Biden administration.
As the second dimension of his official “ED” diagnosis, it was also confirmed that Trump suffers from “Empathy Dysfunction.” The outcome of the 2020 presidential election reveals that Trump lost 5 states that voted for him in the 2016 election (Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania). These 5 states have been ravaged by Covid-19 and their economies have suffered accordingly. State and local governments employ an estimated 13% of the U.S. workforce. Their tax revenues represent approximately 9% of U.S. GDP.
The Great Recession taught us a terribly important lesson in the U.S.: Cutbacks by state and local government can be a significant impediment to the robustness of economic recovery. In this case, Trump has refused to consider the essential economic aid required by states and local governments declaring that the “states which require more federal assistance are all run by Democrats.” Thus, he swings, once again, to a concern for personal/partisan political advantage versus the needs of the people and the nation he was elected to serve.
An estimated 14 million American workers are expected to lose their unemployment benefits by December 31, 2020. These benefits were approved by the U.S. Congress in March via the CARES Act coronavirus relief law. Also set to expire are protections for renters and homeowners who have lost their employment due to Covid, deferrals of payments on student loan debt, and those suffering from hunger. Half of American households confirm their income has diminished during the pandemic. The Covid-19 federal legislation (CARES Act) financial protections provisions are set to expire at the end of December 2020.
Some 14 million Americans are at risk of losing Covid related unemployment income assistance. Another 30-40 million are at risk of losing their shelter (pauses on evictions for renters and mortgagees), and an estimated 22 million student loan borrowers will lose their payment deferrals protections. On top of all this looming financial devastation, you may have seen the lines of cars in numerous U.S. cities with American families seeking food. According to several sources over 5 million U.S. households struggled to garner adequate food in the past week.
President Trump has exercised no leadership whatsoever in attempting to extend these essential protections and provide additional Covid related financial assistance to U.S. citizens, government entities, and the business community. Due to the militant polarization between the U.S. House of Representatives (Democrat party majority) and the U.S. Senate (Republican party majority) no agreement for additional fiscal stimulus and extension of existing financial protections will be forthcoming by December 31, 2020.
All the above are behavioural symptoms of a President and elected officials suffering from empathy dysfunction. Furthermore, it is evidence that the Trump administration is engaged in making existing American challenges more severe, before the Biden Administration takes office on January 20, 2021.
Finally, the third dimension of Trump’s confirmed ED diagnosis is his propensity for Exaggeration and Deception. Throughout his presidency, Trump has displayed his captivity to the confirmation bias. As defined by author Robert Trivers in his book, The Folly of Fools – The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life, the following serves to characterize the Trump presidency and Trump as a person:
“In the words of one British politician, “I will look at any additional evidence to confirm the opinion to which I have already reached.” So powerful is our tendency to rationalize that negative evidence is often immediately greeted with criticism, distortion, and dismissal so that not much dissonance need be suffered, nor change of opinion required. Facts counter to one’s biases have a way of arousing one’s biases. This can lead to those with strong biases being both the least informed and the most certain in their ignorance.” (pp. 152-153).
According to the Washington Post, Trump has spoken more than 20,000 false or misleading claims since taking office in 2016 (as of July 9, 2020). His ability to attract seventy million votes in November 2020 confirms he is a master of manipulation, fully capable of spinning narratives that create faux realities; believed by tens of millions of people.
In his book Sapiens– A Brief History of Humankind, author and thinker Noah Yuvall Harari suggests that some 32,000 years ago humans developed the capability to imagine “things that really do not exist” – and to do so collectively (pp.23 & 25). Harari writes that speaking fiction is the most unique aspect of the languages of Homo Sapiens (p.25). Finally, Harari characterizes (my interpretation) the amazing quality that shall endure as an integral part of Trump’s legacy – The Magician of Myth:
“The ability to create an imagined reality out of words enabled large numbers of strangers to cooperate effectively. But it also did something more. Since large-scale human cooperation is based on myths the way people cooperate can be altered by changing the myths by telling different stories. Under the right circumstances myths can change rapidly. (p. 32.).
The wandering bands of storytelling Sapiens were the most important and most destructive force the animal kingdom had ever produced.” (p.62).
Trump will continue to obstruct the incoming Biden administration. This will also be true after he leaves the White House on January 20, 2021. Trump and his wandering band of storytelling Sapiens have left a reality for the U.S. and the incoming Biden administration that is complex, multi-faceted, urgent, and will take decades to surmount. Such is the nature of the highway to hell Donald J. Trump has paved for the U.S.
The drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas will never be the same. [IDN-InDepthNews – 11 December 2020]
* Bill Dahl is a Queretaro, Mexico, based investigative journalist. He is an award-winning photographer. He is a former Senior Vice President for Bank of America based in Los Angeles, CA USA. His analyses of international financial topics are published by numerous international media outlets.
Image credit: Mango News YouTrube
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