Loving Trump in the Time of Coronavirus


David Atkins, Trump’s Coronavirus Comments Endanger Millions of Americans: The president calling the outbreak a “hoax” sets an alarming new low.

Atkins minces no words. Among other things, he points out that Trump and Fox are encouraging their elderly audience to take no steps to protect themselves. The most likely result is that some non-trivial number of them will die before they get to vote in November.

But let us take a step back.

Harsh as he his, Atkins may understate the problem. It’s not just words. It’s also deeds.

On the one hand, I hear some experts saying that pretty much all of us are going to get the virus. And for every fifty who do get it, 49 will survive while the one who is most medically vulnerable will die before his or her time.

If that is so, and we are morally certain it is so, then the logical course of action would be just go about our business, keep on making widgets in our factories, keep the supply line to China open, and keep on watching concerts and sports events in mass crowds.

On the other hand, I turn on the teevee and what do I see? I will tell you what I see. I see very large numbers of people in South Korea dressed in space suits, spreading Clorox in all directions. I see Italian cities and towns in lockdown. I see news that Japan is shutting down all its schools for a time. I hear of authorities all over Europe contemplating similar measures.

So, that means that Orange Man has a choice, n’est-ce pas?

When experts start wanting people in space suits to start spraying Clorox in all directions, Orange Man can tell them no. When the experts tell us to shut down the schools—and, BTW, stop attending the mass Nuremberg rallies—Orange Man can fire their butts, if they work for the federal government. And the schools in the red states will stay open and the Nuremberg rallies will keep on a-happening.

And we will see what transpires.

If All You Have is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail



This morning, Dana Milbank painfully elucidates the obvious: For Trump, a reckoning has come.

There is a limit to giving demeaning nicknames to your adversaries and making them go away. The coronavirus does not care about Trump’s nicknames. Trump can overturn political norms, and he can disregard the laws of Congress, but he cannot repeal the laws of science.

Here at Happy Acres, there is a table you pass by on the way to the dining room. On the table, there is information about who died last night.

I assume that, come a month or two or three, a lot more pictures will be showing up on that table each morning.

So this is personal. I take no pleasure in the particular reconing to which Trump has come. I grieve for the fact that all he has is a hammer.


On Predatory Unregulated Capitalism, and Other Thoughts from a Happy Acres Guest Op-Ed Writer


Introduction, By Arius Aardvark

The progressives of Happy Acres met a couple of days ago. About 35 showed up—representing a respectable percentage of the population here. When our leader asked who we were supporting, most showed the same hesitation that others show throughout the country. A few thought Bloomberg is the most electable. Buttigieg had one strong supporter. Bernie has his supporters, but others loudly proclaimed that he can’t be elected.

I had a followup email exchange with one of the group, Bramwell. I thought it was worth sharing, and she kindly gave permission to do so.

Bramwell Speaks

I voted for Bernie in the last Democratic primary and may do it again.  i am disgusted about all the Democratic handwringing and fretting about the “socialist” thing. I wish the party would start figuring out how to support Bernie or any other Democrat who comes out ahead in the primaries and prepare to do it with gusto and conviction.

 We should be talking about one of our greatest Presidents, FDR, who was at least as socialistic as Bernie and lead the recovery from Hoover’s Great Depression and was a major factor in saving the world from Hitler. We will be in a hell of a mess if we continue to leave America to unregulated predatory capitalists, and I think we should say those words five times to every time the Republicans say “socialist.”

 Somebody said that “America was born in sin and that sin was slavery.”  I believe that Trump is President partly because he gave the racist 30% permission to be racist and talk about reverse discrimination and deny the necessity of dealing with the long-term legacy of slavery. Why else would so many well-brought ladies here ignore his immoral and criminal behavior and join his cult?

Going Soft on Sanders

Bernie Can't Win

Seemingly concerned that I am going soft on Sanders, and perhaps soft in the head as well, a friend has shared an op-ed in the Financial Times: Janan Ganesh, Democrats are targeting the riches of the 1 percent. (Sorry, I don’t have a link.)

The burden of Mr. Ganesh’s argument is that—contrary to what you may think you are hearing—Bernie does not in fact want to drive America toward the type of political economy prevalent in Denmark and other European democratic socialist countries. That’s because Bernie says he plans only to tax the very, very rich, all the while giving a pass to those who are just very affluent, those who live in “the handsome suburbs around Tampa.” In Europe, he allows, they finance their social safety net by placing heavy taxes on the upper middle class as well as the very rich. But Bernie’s “appeal is less to Nordic universalism and solidarity than to the noblesse oblige of a remote overclass who will not miss the money.”

Ganesh seems to think—though he doesn’t fully develop his argument—that Bernie’s plans to finance his socialist paradise are unethical and dishonest, that affluent folks will see through them, and that they will be driven into the arms of Trump. He concludes, “And so even the most leftwing bunch in decades proposes a social democracy that is not very social, nor all that democratic, and as European as the Eiffel Tower that disfigures the Vegas Strip.”

I shall not dispute the accuracy or the cleverness of Mr. Ganesh’s observations. The point I have been making recently is quite different: it is that, whatever downsides you see in Bernie Sanders—and let us stipulate, for the sake of the discussion, that these faults and downsides are as numerous as the sands of the sea—Bernie appears to be the one viable candidate who has grasped what may be the one most important thing to a vast part of our population: that vast and growing inequality is making their lives a misery.

Bernie sees the elephant in the room. Bernie is willing to talk about the elephant in the room, not just the color of the wallpaper or the design of the chairs.

Robert Reich makes more or less the same point in a recent op-ed:

Robert Reich, Calm down, establishment Democrats. Bernie Sanders might be the safest choice: “Moderate” candidates won’t be electable if they can’t speak to middle- and working-class frustrations.

My estimation of Mr. Reich’s wisdom and perspicacity has greatly increased, due to the fact that he and I seem to think along the same lines.

And, BTW, if you still think that “Bernie can’t win,” you may wish to check out

Steve Phillips, Bernie Sanders Can Beat Trump. Here’s the Math: Most available evidence points in the direction of a popular vote and Electoral College victory.

Starting to Spread