Ivanka Trump married a guy just like the guy who married dear old mom, i.e. a guy who suffers from Dunning-Kruger effect. If the term is new to you, it’s a cognitive bias wherein a person who is utterly incompetent nevertheless has an illusion of superiority coupled with a total inability to recognize his own lack of ability. Both Donald Trump and Jared Kushner suffer from Dunning-Kruger and right now it’s even money which one of them is the more delusional. Kushner believes that he is some kind of bureaucratic Jedi knight, imbued with remarkable powers of leadership coupled with philosophical insight. “I learned very early on that when you try to work around an existing government structure, it rarely works. You have to take the machinery that exists and empower it rather than recreate it.” And here’s another one, “The president also instructed me to make sure that I break down every barrier needed to make sure that teams can succeed,” Jared is our life coach, empowering us in our hour of need — in his head. So how well has this empowerment gone? As you recall, Trump made a florid announcement that Google was working round the clock to put together a national screening website, which would provide a mechanism for Americans to be diagnosed and directed to COVID-19 testing sites. It turned out that Google was not working on any such thing, but Kushner’s kid brother Joshua was, at least until he abandoned the project. Weeks later somebody else developed a website along the lines described, but it’s only up and running in four counties in California. Then Kushner tried to get drive-thru locations set up, like the ones that were so successful in South Korea, and he managed to put together a whole five of those, at a Rite Aid in Pennsylvania, two Walmarts, a Walgreens in Chicago and a CVS in Massachusetts, “each of which were set up to run only 250 tests a day, according to two government officials.” Are you underwhelmed yet? I have seen the Girl Scouts of America handle a national cookie drive with greater results than Kushner has handled this pandemic response. And who is his crackerjack team, the covert group that comprises the “shadow” coronavirus task force, or the “Slim Suit Crowd” as they are better known? Ah. Jared got a team of his buddies together to prod and micromanage and that’s going over as well as you would expect. New York Times: Mr. Kushner’s allies said that he had made progress in improving coordination and that it was hardly surprising that agency bureaucrats bristle at outsiders suddenly arriving to push them to speed up or bypass their usual processes. Kushner, who enlisted friends with glossy entrepreneurial backgrounds to help, including Adam S. Boehler … the founder of an in-home medical provider start-up and the former director of the innovation center at the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, [who] joined Brad Smith, who currently holds that job, and Nat Turner, a software entrepreneur. Mr. Turner once ran a snake-breeding business out of his childhood bedroom before growing up to help found and later sell Flatiron Health, a technology company that works with cancer patients and oncologists. In his efforts to help with the administration’s response to the pandemic, he has involved […]
In autocracies people vanish in the dead of night. At least Donald Trump can only victimize Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who received the whistle blower complaint and acted upon it according to the law. That miffed Trump then and obviously he stayed miffed. So off with Atkinson’s head, Trump fired him. New York Times: “As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” Mr. Trump wrote. “That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.” “The inspector general may be removed from office only by the president,” the law states. “The president shall communicate in writing to the congressional intelligence committees the reasons for the removal not later than 30 days prior to the effective date of such removal.” Mr. Trump also wrote that he will later submit a nominee who “has my full confidence and who meets the appropriate qualifications.” The pundits are going to chime in with opinions on what this is all about. One thing to consider is that Trump is feeling more impotent than usual lately over COVID-19 and so he had to do something powerful, like take down an enemy. That is about as deep or thoughtful as his actions get. We really are dealing with a lunatic and wanna be dictator. My God. What did the Senate do by keeping this guy in power?
I thought Joni Ernst was the worst politician in Iowa but Republican Governor Kay Reynolds has her beat to Hell and back. Ryan Foley is a reporter for the Associated Press. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds says her refusal to issue a shelter-in-place order has become a "divisive issue"; chastises Dr. Fauci for saying all states should implement one: "I would say that maybe he doesn’t have all the information" — Ryan J. Foley (@rjfoley) April 3, 2020 Well, maybe he doesn’t Governor. But the Iowa Medical Board unanimously recommended on Friday that you issue a mandatory stay at home order, so why don’t you listen to them? Des Moines Register: Such an order would effectively limit Iowans’ movements to essential work and travel. The board plans to send Reynolds a letter that further describes their recommendation. The move is the latest sign of growing pressure on Reynolds to take more stringent action to further slow down Iowans’ movements during the coronavirus outbreak. While Democratic state and federal politicians have called on Reynolds to issue a mandatory order, the Board of Medicine is made up of Iowa medical professionals. Kent Nebel, the board’s executive director, told the Des Moines Register that the vote, taken at an emergency meeting by phone, stemmed from members’ concern that Iowans are not following social distancing orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. “I think the board believes that a stronger commitment to isolation is in the best interest of the public and health care providers,” Nebel said. Then there’s other information that might persuade the good governor. Illinois is right next door to Iowa and just today Governor J.B. Pritzker asked celebrities if they would encourage people to stay home because Illinois experienced the largest spike of new cases in one day, 1,209 and 53 deaths, including a Chicago police officer, whose death will be considered an on-duty death, thereby providing his family with more benefits. So how Governor Reynolds can look at what’s happening around her and conclude that there’s nothing to worry about and Anthony Fauci doesn’t know what he’s talking about, in essence, is absolutely unfathomable. There are really two pandemics facing the country right now, one, the coronavirus and two, Republican stupidity and dereliction of duty. Of the two, I’m thinking that the latter might be worse, quite frankly.
There is no question but that the coronavirus pandemic is being used as a cash cow for certain unscrupulous people, who are dying to line their pockets with taxpayers’ money. Donald Trump knows it and he said as much. He spoke a great deal about “markets” and “what markets are for.” He also chastised governors, who according to him, “could have bought these supplies a long time ago when there wasn’t competition.” He also told the governors “try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you.” Trump doesn’t want to “disrupt the supply chain” because there are people who are making big bucks off of these supplies and some of it will undoubtedly find it’s way into his pocket — and he’s most likely counting on that, because his properties have been losing about $1 Million a day. A few days ago I posted a story “GOP Fundraiser Leaves Politics To Cash In On Coronavirus Windfall.” In that piece, I pointed out that two GOP fundraisers had incorporated in Delaware on Monday and by Friday one of them was saying that they were a leading global distributor and that he couldn’t say how, but it was “all based on personal relationships.” Now if that isn’t the smoking gun, I don’t know what is. Follow the money is always the best piece of advice you can take. Now today, The Guardian posted a piece filled with anecdotes about how other countries are getting outbid by the United States. The lede is about a shipment of N95 masks that Germany purchased, to protect their police force, and which was pirated. The US has been accused of “modern piracy” after reportedly diverting a shipment of masks intended for the German police, and outbidding other countries in the increasingly fraught global market for coronavirus protective equipment. About 200,000 N95 masks made by the manufacturer GM were diverted to the US as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand, according to the Berlin authorities who had ordered the masks for the police force. Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, described the diversion as “an act of modern piracy” and appealed to the German government to demand Washington conform to international trading rules. “This is no way to treat trans-Atlantic partners,” Geisel said. “Even in times of global crisis there should be no wild west methods.” There shouldn’t be, but there is. With Trump in charge, the situation is now defaulted to where the only ones benefiting are the robber baron class. US states have found themselves competing against each other and the federal government for equipment. The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, said this week that it was like “being on eBay with 50 other states”. State governors learned they could not rely on the rapidly depleting national stockpile, especially after Donald Trump made it clear that federal help would be affected by political preference, saying he wanted governors to be “appreciative”. The governors are going hat in hand, to try to provide for their constituents, and yet Trump and his task force get up to the podium every single day and spew disinformation and try to make the right noises to make it look like things are being handled properly, when in fact, piracy is the order of the day. Fact: Trump delayed in his coronavirus […]
I wouldn’t want to be a television set when Trump sees this one. He’ll probably throw a case of Diet Coke, along with a hissy fit. Republicans For the Rule of Law has put out another gem, this one a compilation of Republican voters nationwide who say they won’t vote for Trump, based upon how he has botched the coronavirus response. YES!! More of this!!
Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of command of the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt for “poor judgement” after writing a memo saying that decisive action was needed to save the lives of crew members affected by coronavirus. He left the ship with a rousing sendoff from a grateful crew. USN Capt Crozier’s send off from his crew after being relieved for putting the lives of his Troops before his career. A great leader, and this video speaks volumes. pic.twitter.com/bKkeG2JlEs — MOTHER DOOM (@MotherOfDoggons) April 3, 2020 The San Francisco Chronicle got hold of a copy of Crozier’s memo to the fleet and that’s what started the ball against him rolling. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly called it “a blast out email to everyone he knows.” CNN: “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN. – Modly said Crozier was relieved because he went outside the chain of command and sent his memo over an unsecured system, adding to the chances it could be leaked. – “He sent it out pretty broadly, and in sending it out broadly he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked, and that’s part of his responsibility, in my opinion,” Modly said. Going outside the chain of command is never a good idea, but with the Trump administration in charge, botching the coronavirus response, I think that reasonable minds could agree that the captain was going to all lengths to protect his crew, and saving their lives was more compelling than following procedure, in a political environment where the so-called Commander in Chief flouts procedure on a routine basis. I’m not advocating anarchy here, I’m saying that the captain had every reason to believe that procedure would be ignored. Trump made it clear from the beginning of the pandemic that he wanted numbers of cases suppressed. In any event, removing Crozier only adds to the chaos of the moment, and that’s what the House Armed Services Committee determined as well. “While Captain Crozier clearly went outside the chain of command, his dismissal at this critical moment — as the Sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt are confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic — is a destabilizing move that will likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet’s readiness,” they said. – “The COVID pandemic presents a set of new challenges and there is much we still do not know. Captain Crozier was justifiably concerned about the health and safety of his crew, but he did not handle the immense pressure appropriately. However, relieving him of his command is an overreaction,” the lawmakers added. Reading between the lines here, it’s pretty obvious that any commanding officer has reason to be spooked in this administration. We’ve all observed military people of credibility, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, Alexander Vindman, any number of people go by the boards, unheeded and disrespected, and it seems perfectly reasonable to conclude that a commander would wonder if the normal chain of military command still exists. Technically, the captain acted outside the chain of command, but in this madhouse political environment, and faced with the need to […]
Donald Trump must be progressively losing it, because he’s dropped a few whoppers into conversation lately. A few days ago he admitted on Fox & Friends that if voting protections were passed, “Another Republican would never get elected president.” Then Wednesday, he was doing his daily coronavirus presser and he openly praised Mike Pence for dancing around a question about the “doughnut hole” of insurance and not answering it — he actually praised Pence’s duplicity and non responsiveness in front of the press corps. Simply incredible. The insurance doughnut hole refers to those Americans who do not qualify for commercial insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid. So they’re just SOL and there are a lot of them. Fox News’ John Roberts posed the question to Pence, how would this matter be handled? Mediaite: Pence speaking to those Americans who are uninsured in the country, stated, “I fully expect, I think as the president does, too, that we’ll see more of that for people that have insurance. We’ll continue to provide flexibility for Medicaid, for people that don’t have insurance and we’ll make sure that medicare has the flexibility to meet this moment, for seniors when we remember that seniors with underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable to serious outcomes from the coronavirus, but we’ll get through this using the full weight of the federal government and the full strength of the American economy.” Trump then stepped into credit Pence for entirely avoiding Roberts’s question, billing his vice president as a “great professional.” “John, I think it’s a very fair question, though, and it’s something we’re really going to look at because it doesn’t seem fair. If you have it, you have a big advantage, and at a certain income level, you do,” Trump stated. “I think it’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question, so I said, that’s what you call a great professional.” What is truly disgusting about this, is that it’s Trump and a smirking Pence (hit the link to the story and see the video) who are up there playing a game, not actually leading or trying to solve problems — not that this is a new insight. For Trump to openly congratulate Pence on playing the game is beyond the pale. That kind of cronyism and self-congratulation belongs in private in the cocktail lounge, not on live television where people can hear how they’re being mocked and see for a fact that the current administration has no intention of helping them and is being non-committal. It’s not a stretch to call these two monsters. They’re up there talking about life and death issues and hoping that Pence’s softball answers will fly. They have no real answers and they have no interest in finding any. It’s all about image and reelection. The hell with actually doing the job. Just look like you’re doing it. Unfortunately, that jig is about to be up.
I’m sure we’ll agree, we’ve got two choices staying at home, get depressed and count the hours while obsessively counting rolls of toilet paper or to laugh in the face of doom. The creators of these videos chose the latter. Starting off, you remember the old song, 1979, by The Knack, “My Sharona?” It’s a natural to be made into a parody song of the coronavirus, “My Corona.” Here it is and it’s a scream. My favorite lyric is, “Then there’s Donald Trump, what the fuck, why you shaking hands, telling us nothin’s up, and everything’s gonna be fine fine fine? Whooo!” And here’s another. “Stayin’ Inside” after the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.” Now kareoke is always good, and never more so than when you’re going stir crazy. So here’s “Coronavirus Rhapsody” with the lyrics on the screen. And here’s a parody of the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” with a video to match. This poor guy has his hands full. I sincerely hope nobody on this blog is in this bad a shape. If we’re gonna die, we might as well die laughing.
Last week Priorities USA issued a stellar ad (see below) compiling notable Trump quotes and lies about the coronavirus. The ad hit such a nerve that Trump immediately had a lawyer write a cease and desist letter to broadcasters, and he threatened to revoke networks’ licenses. Now, here’s the latest salvo in this particular theater of the cultural war, an attack ad on Joe Biden, featuring doctored audio. The media is giving a pass to a pro-Biden TV ad that doctors and deceptively edits audio of President Trump, even though every independent fact checker said President Trump DID NOT call the coronavirus a hoax. Joe Biden, on the other hand? This sounds authentic… pic.twitter.com/YY6vN5gTM6 — Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 2, 2020 The ad is done in retaliation and to see if Twitter will enforce its manipulated media standards on both sides. The campaign feels that Twitter is pro-Biden and will only enforce the standard against the Trump campaign. The Hill: “Twitter has so far effectively instituted a ‘Biden protection rule,’ refusing to apply their manipulated media label to video and audio of President Trump that every independent fact checker says is false,” a Trump campaign official said. “This tweet forces the issue and makes Twitter decide. It can enforce its arbitrary rules fairly and equally, or it can have its policy exposed as totally ineffective or a partisan sham. It’s their move.” […] Several videos promoted by Democrats, including the Priorities USA ad, have been viewed millions of times and feature audio of Trump saying: “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.” Fact-checkers at The Washington Post, Snopes, PolitiFact and FacCheck.org have determined that it is false to claim that Trump called the virus a hoax. Rather, he used the term while talking about Democratic efforts to politicize the virus. Trump’s full quote was: “Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. … And this is their new hoax. But you know, we did something that’s been pretty amazing.” Ugly is as ugly does and this is totally in line with who Trump is and how his campaign has been run so far. The only way they know how to win is by cheating or voter suppression. The 2020 campaign is going to be down and dirty, like nothing we’ve ever seen. It will make the 2016 campaign look genteel by comparison. Here’s last week’s video that got Trump threatening lawsuits, if you missed it. Trump refused to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously, now he won’t take responsibility as his administration has been totally unprepared for this crisis. pic.twitter.com/Jdh1GY9HHS — Priorities USA (@prioritiesUSA) March 23, 2020
Roy Moore has found a new crusade, that of defending against coronavirus-related limits on religious worship, which he considers unconstitutional — never mind the pesky point that people are going to get sick and possibly die if they’re infected. Moore wants them to go to the hospital or grave with their freedom to worship intact. To that end, Moore announced that he’s going to the aid of Louisiana Pastor Mark Anthony Spell, who was arrested for holding a church service Tuesday with 1,200 congregants, in defiance of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order limiting the size of public gatherings to no more than ten. The Advocate: Spell did say Wednesday that six of his church members had been fired from their jobs due their attendance at his services since Edwards’ emergency orders. He said Moore would represent him as pastor of Life Tabernacle and the church “for defense of the Gospel, for the people who are losing their jobs, for my name being slandered by (Gov.) John Bel Edwards, for his arrest that I had to undergo yesterday and for the people who are afraid to come back to our church out of fear of persecution.” This is part of a larger pattern of Wingnuttia, galvanized by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh ignoring science and medicine not to mention common sense. Dead State: People leaving the Louisiana church were seen hugging and shaking hands and Spell says he plans to keep the doors open because he doesn’t see the difference between this and keeping Walmart’s doors open. He also said keeping the church open is similar to keeping hospitals open because churches provide “spiritual healing.” “We are needy people,” he said. “Our souls are lost. We need help, and the church is the salvation center of the soul, the sanctuary where we come together and meet.” The pastor told CBS News that 1,265 people attended the service and he defended the gathering. “We have a constitutional right to congregate,” he wrote in an email Monday. “We will continue.” Now here’s one of the leading voices of Wingnuttia, Kenneth Copeland, and he demands that you continue to tithe even if you lose your job, because “your job is not your source. Jesus is your source.” No disrespect to Jesus, or worship generally, but I would like to see somebody sell that argument to a loan officer as proof of income — or for that matter to the local market, as consideration for buying food. “That’ll be $81.72 Sir.” “Jesus will take care of it, just ask him in your prayers.” Maybe this is what it will come to, who knows? Take a moment to listen to Copeland, because this is hilarious. Multi-millionaire televangelist Kenneth Copeland tells viewers that even if they lose their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, they must continue giving to the church: "Whatever you do right now, don't you stop tithing!" pic.twitter.com/Xp154Fm1rn — Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 19, 2020 No, don’t you stop tithing, whatever you do, because Copeland has five airplanes, including a Gulfstream V and he’s bought them all with your stupidity donations. Take a look at the Gulfstream, this is some aviation beast, here. “Debt free” as Copeland proclaims, in the name of Gee-Suss — but it needs a new hangar, so get out your […]