Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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Another Terrific Ad On How the Un-President Copes w/the Pandemic As Thousands Lay Dying

I would honestly like to know what Trump’s exalted base thinks about the fact that he does jack nothing but watch cable TV and golf, even in the midst of the worst pandemic to hit America in 100 years, while almost 100,000 people are dead. In the event that they can ever wake up and smell the coffee, great attack ads are coming out all the time and here’s the latest. 📺 NEW VIDEO Nearly 100,000 Americans are dead. With no plan in sight, Donald Trump has decided to hit the golf course.#TrumpGolfsYouDie pic.twitter.com/VmxeBpRPuj — MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) May 23, 2020 Maybe it’s just a question of time. Maybe when COVID-19 kills enough people in red states, they’ll start to wake up. It’s sad if that’s what it takes, but that may be what it takes.

Trump Plans To Send People Back To Work Against All Advice From Disease Experts

Donald Trump is very upset these days that he’s heading up a crisis, and calling himself a wartime president, even, and he still has rotten approval numbers and nobody appreciates the great job he’s doing. ….us since the beginning of this crisis.” They meant the opposite? Forgot to mention that I closed our Country to China (and Europe) very early, long before it was considered acceptable to do so. Sleepy Joe said I was “xenophobic”, but I saved thousands of lives! Fake News! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020 Thousands of lives saved and nobody appreciates it. Of course, Trump isn’t able to show one shred of evidence that his dinking around with border closure when he did saved even one life, but that’s a moot point. At the very least, he should be getting praised like Dubya did after 9/11. Plus, and here’s the biggy, Dubya got reelected on the basis of being a wartime president. And Trump has decided that playing the wartime president card is the only way to save his bacon. Salon: The lead-up to the Iraq war in 2002 and early 2003 saw the Republicans pick up seats in Congress, while Bush was handily re-elected in 2004 due primarily to being a war president — that whole “don’t change horses midstream” yarn. Trump is starving for some of that adoration now, and he’ll steal whatever he needs to steal in order to get it. Why? It’s what he does, and it’s because he knows that if he loses in November, there’s a reasonable chance he’ll be indicted for one or more crimes. The stakes for the president, as well as Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, couldn’t be greater. If winning means recycling the Bush-Cheney approach from the war on terrorism, he’ll do it. He’ll do anything. Just in case American voters don’t particularly buy into the notion of a faceless microorganism as a terrorist-like villain, the administration is sending out the word that the human enemy in this alleged war is China. Breitbart News and Donald Trump Jr. are accusing China of spreading disinformation about the virus — and even accusing the World Health Organization of being on China’s payroll. So if you’re keeping score, the COVID-19 virus is Trump’s al-Qaida, while China is Trump’s Taliban and/or Iraq. In fact, I keep expecting Trump, during one of his daily Trump Show episodes, to crumple up a photo of COVID-19, throw it onto the ground, grab the nearest bullhorn and announce, “I can hear you, and the coronavirus will hear from all of us soon!” Cue the Lee Greenwood anthem. The other compelling aspect of what is going on, besides Trump’s desperation about his reelection campaign, is that he’s getting pressured day and night by business and media people to get the economy jump started again. And so he’s pretty much decided that it’s time to end what to him is a charade and go back to making money — no matter who dies. As he said on Twitter, “WE CAN’T LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM” — the problem being the economy, not the global pandemic. Washington Post: “America will again and soon be open for business — very soon,” Trump said at the daily White House news conference. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” […] “If it […]

Fauci Puts the Kabash On Trump Campaign Ad Using His Likeness Without Permission

Team Trump just doesn’t bother to get clearances and that’s a no no, but a foreseeable one. Nothing in the White House works like normal. Memos contain typos and misspellings, aides tell lies that are easily exposed, and everybody who works there is cringing in the shadows, wondering whether to be more afraid of catching […]

Mike Pence Tells Staff ‘Avoid Physical Contact’ Signaling 180 Reversal In White House Pandemic...

I wonder if Mike Pence is getting whiplash from the swift turnaround in what he was saying mere days ago about how extraordinary all the measures Trump was taking were and how there was nothing to worry about, with respect to the coronavirus pandemic. Today Pence sent out a memo to all White House staff advocating “social distancing” and “avoid physical contact.” And remember just three days ago, when it was found out that all of the coronavirus meetings were classified, the NSC spokesman John Ullyot said that this administration “has cut red tape and set the global standard in protecting the American people under President Trump’s leadership.” Wasn’t that a great line? I’ll bet he’s self-quarantining in a broom closet somewhere right now, trying to live that one down. You know that things are serious as a heart attack if Mike Pence is paying attention and attempting to keep it together. Axios: Why it matters: This is the first staff-wide email Pence has sent across the complex during his time as vice president — and is the latest sign the White House is shifting its posture against the pandemic. As recently as Thursday, Pence, who is leading the President Trump’s task force to combat COVID-19, told CNN he was still shaking hands with people at the White House. On Friday before the nation’s TV cameras, Trump repeatedly shook hands with industry CEOs during a live press conference in the Rose Garden. But on Saturday the president and his team began modeling different behavior — in line with public health official recommendations. Trump tweeted “SOCIAL DISTANCING!“, said he’d finally been tested for the coronavirus, suggesting that people should be cautious about shaking hands. Trump’s tweeting about social distancing, telling people he got tested for covid-19 (although he claims that the test results will take days, when experts say they take hours) and now Pence is advocating behavior modification at the White House. And this is in less than a day. Kushner’s supermodel sister-in-law’s daddy must have really gotten some medical revelations from Daddy’s Facebook doctor friends for this to be happening. Or, do you suppose that the Trump administration has decided to listen to the experts? Could that be? Pence is backpedaling for some reason, and it’s a compelling one, whatever it is. The masks are coming off now, because Trump and Pence can’t keep up the lie.

GOP Coronavirus Rescue Bill Is License To Raid Public Coffers Without Oversight

The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill is stalled in Congress because the Republicans have included a provision for a  open-ended bailout of large distressed corporations and the Democrats oppose this .  Phil Mattingly summarized the main sticking Monday in a CNN article. “The proposal includes roughly $500 billion in funds for loans and loan guarantees to be doled out to distressed companies, states and localities. What it doesn’t include, however, are strict guidelines as to which companies would be eligible, guarantees that any company that taps the funding pool maintains its current workforce and the ability for the treasury secretary to waive, at his discretion, any restrictions on stock buybacks for recipients. It also doesn’t require any reporting of which companies took loans until six months after the fact. (The italics are mine.) The lack of oversight and significant discretion given to the part of the treasury secretary infuriated Democrats and perhaps just as importantly, their outside allies, and played a major role in unifying the caucus against the proposal on Sunday.” To understand the Democrats’ position, we need to reexamine Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new tax law created two significant changes that are relevant to the current issue. First, as outlined succinctly by Kyle Pomerleau in an article written for the Tax Foundation;  “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. However, corporations operating in the United States face another layer of corporate income tax levied by states. As such, the statutory corporate income tax rate in the United States, including an average of state corporate income taxes, is 25.7 percent. This rate puts the United States in line with the average among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member nations.” Second, as Janet Berry-Johnson points out in an article for Bench on bonus depreciation tax write-offs; “Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), a business can now write off up to 100% of the cost of eligible property purchased after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023, up from 50% under the prior law. Qualified business property includes: Property that has a useful life of 20 years or less. This includes vehicles, equipment, furniture and fixtures, and machinery. It doesn’t include land or buildings. Qualified improvement property. This includes improvements made to the interior of “nonresidential real property” (also known as a commercial building), as long as the improvement is made after the building is open for business. Computer software. Some listed property. Listed property includes property that tends to be used for both business and personal use, such as vehicles and cameras. To qualify for bonus depreciation, the asset has to be used for business at least 50% of the time.” For a good example of how these  tax benefits work, consider an airline that buys an airplane for many millions of dollars. Instead to writing off the costs over the plane’s useful life (generally 20 years), the entire cost can be treated as a deduction in calculating income in the year of acquisition. Then, if the airline still has a taxable income, the federal tax rate is 14% less than it was before  the TCJA. (For accounting purposes, the plane appears on the balance sheet as an asset.) The intent of Trump’s program was to goose the […]

Dow Futures Tank While Trump Talks About ‘Tremendous Control’ Over the Coronavirus

Donald Trump spoke briefly on Sunday and informed us that covid-19 “is a very contagious virus” but something that “we have tremendous control of.” Isn’t that nice to know? Whew, for a moment there I was worried. The only fly in this ointment (and it’s a perfect ointment, as everything Trump says or does is) is that two minutes later, Anthony Fauci contradicted him, and while all this was going on, Dow Futures started to plummet. NPR: Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is entering a critical stage. “The worst is yet ahead for us,” he said. “It’s how we respond to that challenge that will determine what the ultimate endpoint is going to be.” When Fauci was asked whether a nationwide lockdown of bars and restaurants is a possibility, he said: “That could be. Absolutely.” What, this doesn’t sound like tremendous control to you? Oh, ye of little faith. And on National Prayer Day, too. Zeke Emmanuel, a former health policy adviser for the Obama administration, told CNN that this comment was, “really disassociated from the reality that we’re seeing out there. And he does not seem to be listening to the experts that he has.” Trump’s task force assured us that 4,000 people a day will get tested, “many thousands to hundreds of thousands of individuals per week.” “We are going from somewhat manual, relatively slow phases to a testing regiment [sic] that we can test many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of individuals per week and maybe even more,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, who is leading the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts in coordinating coronavirus testing. Nearly 2 million tests will be available this week and more than 10 states have drive-through testing sites, officials said.   Well, which is it? Thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions? Anybody got a clue? And remember, Trump told us Tuesday, on Capitol Hill no less, that the virus “will go away” and said his administration’s response was “really working out.” Meanwhile, back in the real world, a place that Trump has heard about but never visited, Dow Futures were tanking — again. Yes, sigh, againnnnn. Raw Story: President Donald Trump came into the press briefing room to try and calm an anxious nation panic-buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Just before he entered, the Federal Reserve dropped rates again, down to 0.25 percent, which sent Trump into celebrating businesses and the profits they’re scoring as Americans grow more and more fearful about the coronavirus. But the more Trump spoke the more the Dow Futures dropped. Trump’s press conference just before the market closed on Friday helped him spike the market 1,700 points, but the positives seem to be temporary as the cases of COVID-19 as they expand to over 3,200. Dow Future plunges 840 after Fed's second emergency rate cut points as Trump says market should be 'thrilled' at Fed's surprise rate cut. pic.twitter.com/vXzFgh7tEQ — Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) March 15, 2020 Fed launches QE and cuts rates to zero.Futures go lock limit down. Send this tweet to the past and nobody will believe you. — Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) March 15, 2020 Poor Jerome Powell. He’ll catch hell for this tomorrow morning. Maybe he can […]

Trump’s Hydroxychloroquine Announcement is a Microcosm Of How He’s Handling the Pandemic

Donald Trump bizarrely and unexpectedly made an announcement Monday that he was taking hydroxychloroquine. He didn’t specify the dosage or how often he takes it, and those details are up in the air, as are the details of just who the front-liners are that Trump claims won’t leave home without taking it, in essence. As strange as it was, it was also strangely familiar, because it echoes how Trump has dealt with the entire pandemic episode so far — and episode is an accurate word to use here. Everything to Trump is reality TV and the coronavirus pandemic is just one more dramatic development. He’s too self-absorbed to deal with it on any other level. The Atlantic: It’s easy to make jokes—Donald Trump is finally getting a taste of his own medicine—but the president’s bizarre announcement yesterday that he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine is an excellent microcosm of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump ignores doctors and scientists. He grabs onto quackish ideas he hears on TV and won’t let go of them. He emphasizes grand symbolic gestures, while declining to take less splashy ones that could be more effective. His statements are a Rorschach test: Some people believe him instantly; others are sure he’s lying. The main question is whether his medication regimen will prove as disastrous as his national coronavirus approach has been. […] For anyone who treats medical evidence seriously, assesses risk, and acts prudently, Trump’s decision to take a potentially hazardous drug prophylactically is crazy. But it fits with the conservative-media ecosystem that launched Trump’s political career, and in which he continues to marinate, preferring it to hard data and unpleasant truths. Right-wing outlets are full of advertising in which program hosts tout the benefits of this or that snake-oil supplement: mysterious pills with magical oils, or supercharged-vitamin regimes. Trump, who contemplated launching a talk-radio show this spring, is emulating this. He has often treated the presidency as more like a media platform than a leadership position, and now he has the dubious product endorsements to match. (Last week, the FDA also issued a warning about an instant COVID-19 test that Trump has energetically touted.) […] The tragedy about this entire farce of a pandemic response is that it is geared into dramatic presentation and symbolism, rather than presenting and explaining the virus in real time for what it is — a global tragedy and a national health crisis of proportions rarely seen, at least not in the past 100 years. This is why we find ourselves hearing on the news every night what the latest death count is, but there is no evidence anywhere of a nation in mourning or any kind of emphaetic or decent response from the White House, and that is precisely because the man in the Oval Office himself is devoid of emphathy and decency. He’s just trying to field this unweildy public relations problem he finds himself stuck with — and that’s really his take on this, to all appearances — so that he can get onto the important business of the day, which is reelection.  And in the meantime, he’s only concerned with what looks good, and so we continue to watch the Apprentice: White House Editiion, Season 3: Coronavirus plot line. … Trump reportedly believes that wearing a mask is a sign of weakness and is unpresidential; […]

Trump Fires Another Watchdog Inspector General, Settling the Score For Telling the Truth in...

Maybe Donald Trump’s siege against his enemies will be referred to as the Endless Night of Long Knives, because it’s been going on for months, since the senate impeachment vote convinced him that it was his right to be drunk with vainglory and purge the government of either the insufficiently loyal, or former loyalists who managed to annoy him by worsening his situation with their own incompetence. Mick Mulvaney comes to mind. But Trump has gone one step further. Friday he found the perfect minion to fire, a watchdog at HHS who upset him by filing a report last month which highlighted supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals. This is the perfect termination, insofar as it combines Trump’s need to purge the disloyal and cover his incompetence regarding the coronavirus response. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone. The Orange Overlord must be very pleased. New York Times: The White House waited until after business hours to announce the nomination of a new inspector general for the department who, if confirmed, would take over for Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who was publicly assailed by the president at a news briefing three weeks ago. […] Her report, released last month and based on extensive interviews with hospitals around the country, identified critical shortages of supplies, revealing that hundreds of medical centers were struggling to obtain test kits, protective gear for staff members and ventilators. Mr. Trump was embarrassed by the report at a time he was already under fire for playing down the threat of the virus and not acting quickly enough to ramp up testing and provide equipment to doctors and nurses. “It’s just wrong,” the president said when asked about the report on April 6. “Did I hear the word ‘inspector general’? Really? It’s wrong. And they’ll talk to you about it. It’s wrong.” He then sought to find out who wrote the report. “Where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name? No, what’s his name? What’s his name?” And of course, Trump found a reason to blame the “negative” report on the work of partisan enemies and labeled Grimm as such. She had worked for Obama, and so Trump went off on that. The fact that she was a career official who had worked in the Clinton and Bush administrations before working for Obama, was not considered. Actually, as warped as Trump is, hating both Democrats and “Bushies” the poor woman couldn’t win anyway, and Trump went after her in his inimitable style. Mr. Trump was undaunted and attacked her on Twitter. “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report,” he wrote, mischaracterizing the government’s generally praised response to the 2009 epidemic that actually killed about 12,000 in the United States. “Another Fake Dossier!” Trump has nominated Jason C. Weida, an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston to succeed Grimm. The nomination was the latest effort by Mr. Trump against watchdog offices around his administration that have defied him. In recent weeks, he fired an inspector general involved in the inquiry that led to the president’s impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key […]

So Much For the Maryland Anti-Quarantine Protest, Only Three People Showed

There are fizzles, there are flops and then there was the Maryland anti-quarantine protest Monday morning. The “demonstration” was set to go forward at 9:00 a.m. at Church Circle in Annapolis, a block away from the Maryland State House. ABC News sent it’s Maryland bureau chief down to cover the story, live, and it was a waste of gasoline. 3 people on Church Circle in Annapolis this morning as part of the protest aimed at reopening Maryland. @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/fOnLsOrJDB — Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) April 20, 2020 I’ve seen more action at 4:00 a.m. at the all night 7-Eleven in Pacoima. The good news about this is that it shows that what I was arguing yesterday, in my piece on pro-gun activists weaponizing Facebook is true. There’s a minority of Americans who actually disapprove of the stay-at-home orders from governors. The pro-gun activists have picked up the thread of the Tea Party mentality, which was virulently anti-government. That theme in our culture is the source of the social rot that we are witnessing today and that resulted in the election of Donald Trump. I’m glad the people of Annapolis stayed home. Maybe if there are a few more of these non events, the tide will turn and the rabble rousers will be laughed off of Facebook. I don’t depend upon Mark Zuckerburg to remove them, I think we’ll have to do that ourselves by consensus.  

In Worst Totalitarian Move To Date, Trump Threatens To Adjourn Congress, Make Recess Appointments

Whatever programming started out as daily coronavirus updates from the White House, what is in fact taking place is the Daily Meltdown of Donald Trump. Like a drunkard who cannot understand he is irrational and that’s why people are giving him a wide berth and ignoring him, he gets uglier and uglier, and his threats have escalated. In his latest psychotic episode, Wednesday, Trump threatened to adjourn both chambers of Congress and make recess appointments — which the constitution allows him to do, but in limited and specific circumstances. Who knows who he’s been listening to, to feel empowered to make this level of threat? Stephen Miller playing constitutional scholar, perhaps? "Whether it's Russia, Russia Russia, or whether it's impeachment hoax, or whatever it may be, it's always roadblocks and a waste of time" — it's time for therapy time with the president pic.twitter.com/QwokP7fXn5 — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 15, 2020 The Constitution does offer that power to a President. pic.twitter.com/M5aERV8klr — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 15, 2020 Let this one sink in. The President just threatened to shut down Congress. They do that in Russia. They do that in China. They do that in banana republics. Welcome to our new world. — Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) April 15, 2020 If Obama had ever threatened to adjourn both houses of Congress by fiat, Republicans would be driving across that lawn and tackling him at the podium right this moment. — Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) April 15, 2020 In threatening to adjourn Congress, he may be referring to Const., Art. 2, §3. It does not give him authority to randomly close Congress, but some fringe Federalist society member member may be whispering crazy sweet nothings in his ear. Imagine if Obama had — oh, never mind. pic.twitter.com/QSlPMZcxfz — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) April 15, 2020 I don't want to be kneejerk against this just because it's never been done before. But the fact that it's never been done before at least suggests people should think through the precedents this may set. 2/4 — Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) April 15, 2020 I do think the whole long riff about judges and this announcement do not belong in a press conference about a pandemic. Denouncing Democrats (whether merited or not) when you're also calling for national unity in a time of peril is tone deaf. But that's the world we're in. 4/4 — Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) April 15, 2020 DJT: I have all power. No you don't. You're not a King. Congress has power over you. DJT: I'm going to adjourn Congress. <This is going to get far, far worse, folks.> — Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) April 15, 2020 No the president cannot adjourn Congress to create the recess that would justify making appointments without Congress’ consent. What a laughable, transparently dictatorial proposal. — Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) April 15, 2020 This is not and hasn’t been a daily press conference on the coronavirus. it is a daily open air therapy session for Trump, since he doesn’t have his rallies to vent at. We need to get him off the air. Let Pence or Fauci or somebody give a daily briefing — or just send us a memo. This is an affront and a colossal waste of time. Americans are dying and we’re supposed to tolerate bullying and insult […]

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