something you hope never happens

This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home.” That’s from Vince Niski, the Chief of Police in Colorado Springs, following the mass murder of six people (and the suicide of the shooter) in the early hours of Mother’s Day.

Something you hope never happens in your own community. As if this was the first mass murder in Colorado Springs in Vince Niski’s experience. As if Matthew John Murray hadn’t killed five and wounded five others in a pair of church shootings (one in Colorado Springs, one in Arvada) in 2007 when Niski was just a lieutenant in the Colorado Springs PD. As if Noah Harpham hadn’t killed three random people in the streets of Colorado Springs in October of 2015, when Niski was the Deputy Chief of Operations. As if only a month later, in November of 2015, Robert Lewis Dear hadn’t killed three and wounded ten at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. I’m sure each time Vince Niski hoped it was something that would never happen again in his community.

Colorado Springs Chief of Police Vince Niski

At this point, they police aren’t releasing the name of Colorado Springs’ newest mass murderer. The Colorado Springs police describe him as ‘the boyfriend of one of the female victims.” Former boyfriend is more likely. Or a boyfriend in the process of becoming a former boyfriend. Or just another angry man who doesn’t feel he’s getting the respect he deserves as a man. Regardless, he drove to the party, walked inside, and began shooting people–including his supposed girlfriend. Then, as happens routinely in these man-angry-at-a-woman mass murders, he killed himself.

As Chief Niski says, this is something you hope never happens in your community. Except it does, all the damned time. Maybe not with such a high butcher’s bill, but it happens all the time in every state in the US. You can hope your fucking heart out, but angry men with access to firearms are going to continue to make it happen. If your community is Colorado Springs–if your community is in a state that doesn’t require a permit to purchase a firearm, it’s more likely that this will happen. If your community is in a state that doesn’t require firearm registration, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community is in a “shall issue” state–meaning local sheriffs MUST issue a concealed weapons permit if an applicant meets certain criteria**–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows people to openly carry weapons without a permit, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows you to make, possess, or own a ghost gun–a handmade firearm without a serial number–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If you live in a state that has actually banned local communities (with the exception of Denver) from enacting their own stricter firearm safety laws, then it’s more likely it’ll happen.

It’s not Chief Vince Niski’s fault that Matthew John Murray was able to assemble a small arsenal in preparation for his angry man murders–a Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic rifle and three semi-auto pistols (a Beretta .22-caliber, a Beretta .40-caliber, and a Springfield Armory 9mm). Or that Noah Harpham was able to buy a DPMS Classic 16 semi-automatic rifle and two handguns (a Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum revolver and a Springfield Armory XD-M 9mm pistol). Or that Robert Lewis Dear bought an SKS semi-automatic rifle (and the multiple propane tanks he’d brought to the Planned Parenthood clinic with the intent to turn them into explosives). Niski had nothing to do with it. But he’s been around the block long enough to know that if those three angry men could find the means to kill sixteen people and wound about that same number, it’s no surprise another angry man could find the means to murder half a dozen people at a birthday party. Which, according to Chief Niski, is something you hope never happens in your community.

But if it’s happened four times in the last decade and a half, it’ll probably happen again. It’ll probably happen again because the people of Colorado LET IT HAPPEN. Because they’ve elected people who have refused to take any step to reduce the likelihood that it’ll happen again. Chief Niski’s hope is fucking worthless unless somebody takes action to implement actual reasons for hope.

What happened on Mother’s Day is NOT Chief Niski’s fault. He’s only guilty of voicing the stupid platitudes that chiefs of police are expected to repeat every time something you hope never happens in your own community happens in your own community.


** What are the criteria for being automatically issued a concealed weapon carry permit in Colorado? You have to be a Colorado resident, age 21 or older. You have to attest that you’re not a felon or mentally incompetent. You have to attest that you don’t chronically or habitually abuse alcohol, and that you don’t use (or are addicted to) controlled substances. You have to be free of a civil or criminal restraining order. You have demonstrate ‘competence’ with a handgun. How do you do that? By 1) having an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces within past three years, 2) having proof of pistol qualification in Armed Forces within past ten years, 3) being a retired law enforcement officer with pistol qualification within past ten years, OR 4) completing four-hour handgun training class within the past ten years.

cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting and depraved

We know this to be true: Wayne LaPierre, the face of the National Rifle Association, is, by any measure on any scale, a corrupt, cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved liar. I’m not going to discuss his corruption or lying. I’m just going to focus on his cruelty, callousness, immorality, self-promotion, and depravity. He’s also, it turns out, an astonishingly bad shot.

In 2013, Wayne went with a film crew to the Okavango Delta in Botswana to kill an elephant. That in itself falls squarely into the cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting and depraved category. Why would anybody want to kill an elephant? I mean, sure, maybe you’d want to kill one in self-defense. Or maybe if the elephant was about to trample a nun, you’d want to take a shot at it. But basically there’s absolutely no point whatsoever to kill an elephant except to prove you’re cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting and depraved.

Wayne LaPierre cosplay as a hunter.

But that’s Wayne, and he wanted a film crew to record him killing an elephant. So he hired some professional elephant-killing guides. Men who make a living knowing where to find elephants to kill, and taking cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved, rich assholes there to kill them.

One of the guides finds an elephant, just standing around in the bush, minding its own business, and he points it out to Wayne. He tells Wayne NOT to shoot just yet, to hold fire because the elephant is partially hidden by the tree and brush. But Wayne is wearing earplugs…you know, to protect his tender ears from the noise made by the rifle…and doesn’t hear the guide. So he does what rich, cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved assholes do. He shot anyway.

And hey, the elephant collapsed. Wayne is delighted. He’s a happy cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved asshole. Until the guide points out the elephant isn’t dead. It’s just lying there, bleeding out, suffering. He brings Wayne to within a few feet of the elephant and tells him, “I’m going to show you where to shoot.” He points to a spot on the elephant’s head that will put the poor creature out of its misery.

Wayne shoots the elephant again. And misses the spot. The guide tells Wayne to reload. He physically moves Wayne to a position where it’s almost impossible to miss. He tells Wayne to stay there, tells him again exactly where to shoot the elephant. Wayne says, “Same spot?” And he shoots the elephant for the third time. And again, fails to kill the poor animal.

At this point the guide walks up to the elephant, points directly at the spot that will end its misery. Wayne says, “Okay, alright, I can shoot there.” And he shoots the elephant for the fourth time. Misses. The poor elephant is still alive.

The guide tells one of Wayne’s companions to kill the elephant, and he does. The companion then turns to Wayne and says, “You dropped him like no tomorrow.” Wayne is pleased by the praise. He laughs modestly, like a cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved asshole, and says, “Maybe I had a little luck.”

Wayne LaPierre holding a prop.

Wayne’s wife–also rich and cruel and callous and immoral and depraved, but less self-promoting although still an asshole–also killed an elephant that day. Only took her two shots.

The film of the LaPierre’s elephant-slaughtering expedition was never shown. Not because it depicted them as rich, cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved assholes. But because it showed Wayne as an incompetent rich, cruel, callous, immoral, self-promoting, depraved asshole. Guy has an image to maintain, after all.

The front feet of the two elephants were later made into stools to decorate the LaPierre home.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I’m not going to link to the video of Wayne LaPierre trying and failing to kill an elephant because it’s awful. If you want to see it, you can find it on YouTube.

and he tried

Sometimes you have to say it like it’s three separate words. Not motherfucker, but muh thur fucker. Because it’s that bad. I’m talking about Kevin McCarthy here. We all know McCarthy is a sniveling coward entirely lacking in integrity, a pathetic soulless wretch with the moral fortitude of a runny blancmange. But even so, his conversation with Chris Wallace this morning was an embarrassing, humiliating display of spinelessness.

Wallace asked McCarthy about a phone call he’d made to Comrade Trump while the January 6th insurrection was in full swing. He asked Trump to call off the rioters, to help stop the violence. During the impeachment hearing–wait, sorry, I mean Trump’s second impeachment hearing–a GOP member of Congress testified under oath that McCarthy had told her Trump responded to his request for help by saying, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” Wallace asked if that was in fact what Trump said.

McCarthy tried to dodge the question, but didn’t deny it. First he said Trump ended the call by saying he’d put something out to ‘stop’ the rioting. Asked again, he refused to directly answer the question by saying, “My conversations with the president are my conversations with the president.” Which, let’s face it, is pretty much an admission that Trump said exactly that.

But let’s look at the transcript of the video Trump DID eventually release.

I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.

“I know your pain.”

But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.

“We don’t want anybody hurt.”

It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us — from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election…

“There’s never been a time like this…”

…but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. 

“We love you.”

You’re very special.

“You’re very special.”

You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.

“You see the way others are treated, that are so bad and so evil.”

But go home, and go home in peace.

“Go home in peace.”

In his interview with Wallace, McCarthy also said this: “I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time and the president said he would help.”

For once, I’m willing to take McCarthy at his word. I believe Comrade Trump DID want to help “stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time.” I believe that because what was going on in the Capitol at that moment in time was a GOP attempt to stop the Electoral College from confirming that Joe Biden had won the election. It was an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer or power–an attempt made violently by the insurrectionists and bureaucratically by Republican members of Congress. They both had the same goal in mind.

McCarthy says Trump wanted to stop what was going on inside the Capitol. And he tried.

the latest news is not the last

Bah, the latest news, the latest news is not the last.”

I wake up and before I finish making the bed, I hear there’s “a mass murder incident” in Indianapolis. A mass murder incident. You know how the meaning of some terms change over time? Like ‘cheater’ used to refer to an officer appointed to look after the king’s escheats — property that reverted to the State or the King when somebody died without a legal heir — and now means a person who cheats? Well, in terms of mass murder, the original definition of ‘incident’ still applies. An incident is ‘something which occurs casually in connection with something else.’

There was a mass murder incident in Indianapolis this morning — the murder of at least eight people occurring casually in connection with…well, with going to work in a nation that has a small but powerful minority who worship firearms. The incident was described as “the country’s deadliest shooting since ten people were killed on March 22.” That was less than a month ago.

Last night in Indianapolis more people were murdered while casually going to work than were murdered three and a half weeks ago while casually shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Colorado. This is how we measure mass murder incidents now.

The authorities have said the mass murder “wasn’t precipitated by any kind of a disturbance or an argument.” As if ‘a disturbance or an argument’ would actually explain in any way why eight people were shot and killed. The authorities are also trying to “understand the motives” of the shooter. Because if we understood the murderer’s motives, we’d be able to…to what? Do something about it? Nobody, it seems, is bothering to understand the motives of legislators who continue to weaken and erode firearm safety legislation. That might be something we could actually do something about.

It could be anyplace. It could be everyplace.

This is just the latest news, and as Samuel Beckett says, it’s not the last. We’ll make the effort to pretend what happened is explainable, that it’s understandable — but it’s not. It never really is. People call it a tragedy — and it is, and it isn’t. It’s an incidental tragedy, a casual tragedy, a temporary tragedy that will eventually become a passing reference in a news story — ‘the country’s deadliest shooting since eight people were killed at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.’

“I know my eyes are open,” Beckett wrote, “because of the tears that pour from them unceasingly.” But the problem with unceasing tears is that after a while, they no longer indicate grief. It’s just crying. Some families and friends in Indianapolis will be grieving, but as a nation we’ll go on today and tomorrow as if this is all normal. Which it is. Our boy Beckett understood too.

To go on means going from here, means finding me, losing me, vanishing and beginning again, a stranger first, then little by little the same as always, in another place, where I shall say I have always been, of which I shall know nothing, being incapable of seeing, moving, thinking, speaking, but of which little by little, in spite of these handicaps, I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always, the same which seems made for me and does not want me, which I seem to want and do not want, take your choice, which spews me out or swallows me up, I’ll never know, which is perhaps merely the inside of my distant skull where once I wandered, now am fixed, lost for tininess, or straining against the walls, with my head, my hands, my feet, my back, and ever murmuring my old stories, my old story, as if it were the first time.

I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always. A FedEx facility in Indianapolis, a supermarket in Boulder, Asian spas in Atlanta, a brewery in Milwaukee — the same place as always. Murmuring the same stories as if it were the first time. The latest news is not the last.

1/6/21 – fick herum, finde es heraus

January 6th. For me, it’s the birthday of Sherlock Holmes (and Joan of Arc, if you prefer religious martyrs). For you maybe it’s the Feast of the Epiphany, which is something of a big deal if you believe in that sort of thing. If you live in Dublin, you might think of the 6th as the anniversary of the Night of the Big Wind in which a storm in 1839 damaged or destroyed about a fifth of all the houses in the city. Speaking of disasters (or martyrs of a different sort), it’s also the wedding anniversary of Henry VIII’s short marriage to Anne of Cleves.

Lots of stuff taking place on the 6th. It’s also the day when both houses of Congress will meet to officially record the electoral college vote, which was taken on Dec. 14 to confirm the results of the 2020 election on November 3rd (SPOILER: Uncle Joe Biden won 306 votes to Comrade Trump’s 232 votes). Normally — as if ‘normal’ still had any meaning — that vote would be just a formality.

But we live in a post-normal grotesque Trump-shaped world. This January 6th, Josh Hawley (the spider-brained junior Senator from Hobby Lobby Missouri) has announced he’ll challenge the certification of electoral votes. That will force every member of Congress to publicly support either the actual election results OR the theory that Satan-worshiping, cannibalistic sex perverts among Democrats and Hollywood elites conspired with Republicans in Name Only, in cooperation with traitors in the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice, to insert an algorithm developed for the dead Venezuelan president Cesar Chavez into voting machines manufactured by a Canadian-based corporation that switched votes from Comrade President Trump to Uncle Joe Biden so that China will…fuck, I forgot what China is supposed to get out of this. Cheap soybeans, maybe?

Comrade Trump and GOP wanker Josh Hawley sing ‘I gotta be me’ at Attention-Seeking WhoreCon.

Anyway, while that freakish shitshow is taking place inside Congress, outside on the streets of DC, there’s going to be a pro-Trump rally. It’s hosted by Women for America First. You may be asking, “Greg, old sock, who are these Women for America First?”

I’m glad you asked. First, stop calling me ‘old sock’. Second, on their website, WfAF describe themselves (and again, I’m not making this up) as a “21st century suffrage movement” which gives “women the tools and a safe place to speak out – even when the haters come after us and try to shut us up just because we are women.” It’s clever of them to assume and anticipate that they’ll be hated, then to preemptively deflect that hate by claiming it’s because they’re women, not because of their fascist totalitarian views. They probably see themselves as modern Joans of Arc; their website is suffused with the self-pitying scent of burning martyr.

The coming God, Guns & Bullshit rally.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in DC on the 6th, but I’m pretty confident it won’t bear any resemblance to a woman’s suffrage rally. Comrade Trump is hot for this rally. He’s tweeted (of course he did) that it’s a ‘protest’ rally, and that it’ll be big. “Be there, will be wild.”

That seems a safe prediction; the previous two pro-Trump rallies (on 11/14 and 12/12) were pretty wild. Proud Boys and other right-wing extremists roamed around the streets, attacking anybody they suspected of being Antifa or BLM supporters or lizard people. There’s every reason to believe that will happen again on the 6th. The Proud Boys are especially upset right now because the Hotel Harrington — their preferred hotel — has decided to close its door to guests from Jan. 3 through the 6th. Why? Out of “concern and desire for everyone’s health and safety.” Basically, it’s because the staff hate the Proud Boys and because the hotel’s management doesn’t want the Harrington to be known as a magnet for racist hooligan fuckwits.

Trump, being Trump, seems to be tacitly encouraging the Proud Boys and the loopiest elements of Qanon — and that’s spooking the hell out of DC’s many law enforcement agencies. The DC metro police, the uniformed Secret Service, the federal Park police, the Capitol police, the Federal Protective Service — everybody is on edge, everybody is worried. Not just because of the potential for violence, but because nobody knows how Comrade Trump will respond to it. WaPo has reported, “Government officials fear that if violence spreads, Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military” in an attempt to ratfuck the results of the election.

Proud Boys slogan — FAFO, fuck around, find out. It’s more impressive in German.

This is basically what Michael Flynn (former US Army general, former Trump National Security Adviser, Qanon dickhead, self-confessed liar, and felon) has advocated. He suggested right out loud that Trump “could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states [won by Biden] and basically rerun an election.”

That sounds like the plot of a bad Bruce Willis movie. Until you remember that in recent weeks Trump has replaced a LOT of career Pentagon officials with a job lot of inexperienced, fever-brained Trump supporters. It sounds ridiculous until you remember that his pet Attorney General recently resigned, and that Trump has threatened to fire both the current directors of the FBI and the CIA. It sounds ridiculous until you remember the vast majority of Republicans in Congress have stood around playing with their dicks while Trump has casually, deliberately violated almost every presidential norm and tradition (not to mention a number of laws). Congressional Republicans might voice ‘concern’ if Trump does try to invoke the Insurrection Act, but there’s absolutely no reason to believe they’d try to stop him.

And if that’s not enough to make you wet your pants, remember this: just a few days ago Trump threatened to attack Iran after Iranian-supported militias in Iraq launched some missiles at the US embassy in Baghdad. Trump tweeted (of course he did), “If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”

Think this over: what would Comrade President Trump consider doing if he thought it would help him stay in power? Destroy the Republican Party? Spark a riot in DC? Start a little war in the Middle East? Burn a third of a million American Joans of Arc in the nation’s Covid wards?

I hate to say this — I truly hate to say it — but things may be owl-shit crazy right now, but I’m afraid things could get even owl-shit crazier starting on January 6th, 2021.

toggle election

Republican Friend: I’ve been a moderate Republican all my life. I voted for Trump last time, but I didn’t think he’d actually win. I can’t bring myself to vote for him this time.
Me: Great. Glad to hear it.
RF: Don’t be too glad. I’m not voting for Biden either.
Me: Those are the only choices. Trump or Biden.
RF: I’m voting for Jo Jorgensen.
Me: Who?
RF: Jo Jorgensen.
Me: Who is Jo Jorgensen when she’s at home?
RF: She’s the Libertarian candidate.
Me: So you’re voting for Trump.
RF: No, I’m voting for Jorgensen.
Me: Same thing.
RF: No, it’s not. I’m voting my conscience.
Me: Bullshit. You’re dodging your conscience.
RF: No, I’m not. I said I can’t bring myself to vote for…
Me: Yeah, I know what you said. And I know what you meant. You mean you don’t want to feel any responsibility if Trump is re-elected.
RF: No, that’s not it.
Me: Bullshit. That’s exactly it. You don’t want to vote for Trump, but you’re not going to do anything to prevent him from being re-elected. You’re more concerned with soothing your conscience than with protecting the Constitution.
RF: That’s not true. Biden won’t fix the nation’s prob…
Me: Does Jo Jorgensen have a popcorn fart’s chance of winning?
RF: No, but that’s not the point. The point is…
Me: Fuck your point. This is a toggle election. The choices are truly binary. Yes or no. Up or down. On or off. Biden or Trump. Those are the only choices.
RF: I have to vote my conscience.
Me: Fuck you and fuck your conscience. You’re a coward.
RF: I’m not a…
Me: You’re dodging all personal responsibility to act for the good of the nation. It’s no different than saying you oppose the pandemic but won’t wear a mask. Fuck you.
RF: It’s not like that at all.
Me: Did I just say ‘Fuck you’? I believe I did. Fuck you again.
RF: Are you angry with me?
Me: Shut up. Go away. Fuck you and everybody you know, you fucking coward.
RF: I understand you’re upset.
RF: Hello?
Former Republican Friend: Hello?

gloom of trump

You’ve heard it a million times, often incorrectly. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. It’s the creed of the United States Post Office.

The Post Office is maybe the most democratic institution in all of These United States. You put any sort of reasonable address on an envelope, slap a fifty-five cent stamp on it, stick it in your mailbox and the Post Office will send somebody right to your house, fetch that envelope right outa your mail box, and carry it to that address, usually within one to three business days.

Delivering mail in the rain during a damn pandemic.

Don’t matter if that address is in Manhattan or Boise or some farm house outside of Broken Bow, Nebraska. Some poor carrier in Sidney, Montana has to drive a mail route nearly two hundred miles long to deliver the mail to 272 mailboxes. There are 176 folks who live along a 30-mile stretch of the Magnolia River in Alabama who get their mail delivered by boat. A native tribe, the Havasupai, who live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon get their mail after an eight-mile trip down the canyon using mules. Mules. You got a legit address, the Post Office will deliver your mail. And yeah, even if it’s raining or snowing or hot or gloomy AF.

Delivering mail by a damn mule train.

The USPS isn’t perfect, but considering the massive scale and scope of their mission they do a damned good job. Again, First Class postage is only fifty-five cents. If somebody asked me to walk the thirty feet to my mailbox in the rain in exchange for fifty-five cents, I’d tell them to piss off.

But Comrade Donald Trump is deliberately wrecking the Postal Service. Deliberately. And he’s doing it for the most corrupt reason: to make it harder for US citizens to vote during a pandemic.

He replaced the Postmaster General — Megan Brennan, a woman whose 34-year career with the USPS began as a letter carrier, who was familiar with every operation inside the USPS from personal experience — with Louis DeJoy, a man with no USPS experience at all. DeJoy is a major donor to the Trump campaign; over the last four years he and his wife have contributed more than US$2 million to the Trump campaign and other Republican causes. Trump is also considering DeJoy’s wife to be Ambassador to Canada. In her financial disclosure statement, she noted she and her husband own “between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors.”

Delivering mail in a damn boat on a damn river.

That’s what we call ‘a conflict of interest’. Any harm DeJoy does to the USPS not only helps Trump, it helps DeJoy’s businesses. He was obligated to divest himself of those holdings within 30 days of his appointment. Has he? We don’t know. He’s stated “I’ve done what is necessary to ensure that I am and will remain in compliance with those obligations” but I confess I find it impossible to uncritically accept the word of any Trump appointee.

Since his appointment in June, DeJoy has 1) instituted policies that deliberately slow mail delivery, 2) discontinued the practice of carriers delivering mail by the end of the day if it results in overtime, 3) informed the states they can no longer mail ballots to voters at the bulk rate of 20 cents but must pay the First Class rate of 55 cents (nearly tripling the cost of mailing ballots), 4) reassigned or displaced thirty-three senior USPS officials who have decades of experience, disrupting the chain of command, 5) instituted a hiring freeze, and 6) encouraged career USPS officials to take early retirement.

That’s just since the middle of June.

Delivering mail in a damn snowstorm.

This isn’t just Trump eroding faith in a trusted US institution, it’s deliberate sabotage of the Postal Service. It’s clearly intended to disrupt mail service as we approach an election that very likely will hinge on mail-in ballots. And Republicans in Congress will aid and abet Trump in another step toward authoritarian government.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. But Trump will.

safe to assume

This is just my opinion, but it seems to me that the Trump administration has demonstrated an uncanny ability to do the worst possible thing at the worst possible moment for the worst possible reasons. For example, changing the process for reporting Covid-19 cases during the biggest spike in Covid-19 cases.

Even if we give the Trump administration the benefit of the doubt (stop laughing, it’s just a hypothetical example) and accept that they just want to ‘streamline’ the reporting process, it’s still a phenomenally idiotic point in time to do it. I mean, the CDC has been collecting and reporting hospitalization data for decades. Everybody is familiar with the system, everybody knows what to do, everybody knows the data is unfiltered by the government and pretty reliable. Everybody knows they can use that data as a foundation for planning.

Why are all these refrigerated trucks parked outside of hospitals? It’s a mystery.

Sure, that system is being challenged by a shocking number of Covid-19 cases. We’re talking about national daily infection rates of more than 50,000 new cases a day. A day, for fuck’s sake. Tens of thousands of cases every day from thousands of health care centers scattered all over the US. The fact that the CDC’s system is handling and publicly reporting all that data shows how stable and robust it is.

But the Trump administration has decided to route that data through a private corporation. A private corporation run by a Trump supporter. A Trump supporter and long-time GOP donor who got the US$10.2 million contract through a no-bid process. A contract that requires health care centers to learn an unfamiliar protocol that includes several additional types of data, some of which isn’t usually collected by some state health agencies. The phrase ‘recipe for disaster’ comes to mind.

The worst possible decision at the worst possible time for the worst possible reasons. Well, I’m assuming the worst possible reasons. It’s safe to assume the Trump administration is acting out of the worst possible reasons, because that so often turns out to be the case. It’s theoretically possible somebody in the administration truly and sincerely believes the shift in data collection is being done to make the process more transparent and more simple. But there are people in the Trump administration who truly and sincerely believe prayer is an effective tool in the fight against gun violence. And teen pregnancy. And climate change. And, I don’t know, forest fires. Halitosis. The outcome of football games.

This isn’t to suggest Comrade Trump is actually driving refrigerated body trucks. He doesn’t have a commercial driver’s licence.

So yeah, it’s probably safe to assume this plan to shift Covid-19 data collection from a familiar robust system used by the CDC to a new protocol created by a private company owned by a Trump supporter is designed to control what information the public gets. To turn the data into a political tool. To cook the books and make the pandemic seem somewhat less catastrophic than it is. To benefit Trump.

It’s safe to assume everything Trump does is to benefit Trump. Everything.