Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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The Latest Brewing Trump Administration Scandal

But what if it wasn’t accidental Scully? What if the government actually knew what was happening?   Fox Mulder   The X-Files If you spend as much time as I do in the company of CNN and MSNBC, you might have noticed a subtle, yet discernible shift the last couple of days. As the desperate situation in New York finally appears to be stabilizing, and possibly even easing slightly, and as more American cities appear to be getting a better hold on the coronavirus, the media coverage is shifting slightly. There is a little more time for news not expressly dealing with the death and devastation of the viral outbreak. And if that trend continues, the next Trump administration mega scandal is simmering quietly away, just waiting for the lid to be lifted. With the initial coverage, it began almost as a joke, although a joke in bad taste. But when you’re dealing with El Pendejo Presidente, almost every administration action or policy undertaken is a joke in bad taste. It began last week with a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show, later retold by yours truly, about the somewhat unbelievable situation of the federal government sending the FBI and DHS to confiscate shipments of medical supplied and equipment purchased privately by states and hospitals, and adding them to the FEMA national stockpile, presumably under the Emergency War Powers Act. The story seemed too ridiculous at its face to be true. The federal government refuses to supply hospitals and states with emergency equipment, telling them to fend for themselves in a series of endless bidding wars, and when the states comply, the federal government swoops in with a series or armed, strong arm hijackings, and confiscates the shipments under the War Powers Act that the administration refused to implement to boost domestic production and distribution. That is, until Illinois Governor JB Pritzker appeared on Rachel’s show to outline the Len Deighton spy novel shit he had to pull to keep the FBI and DHS from hijacking his own shipment of supplies. But here’s the real scandal of this whole thing, and whether it’s the media that twigs to it, or whether it comes out in some kind of after action investigation, it’s going to come out, and it’s going to be ugly. The federal government left the states and hospitals to fend for themselves in order to obtain this equipment, correct? Then how, pray tell are the FBI and the DHS coming by the information of these shipments created by private transactions? Look, at their inception these are private, presumably e-mail or phone conversations between private hospital administrators or official emissaries of the governors offices, and private businesses, often foreign. How in the ever living hell is the federal government obtaining the information that these contracts are being negotiated, finalized, and fulled? How is the federal government managing to get their grubby little mitts on the shipping and arrival information? Is the Trump government illicitly monitoring private communications between governors offices and hospital staffs to private foreign companies? What kind of surveillance, electronic? Wire tapping? If surveillance is being used, is it authorized with a valid court order? And if it is, what possible justification could the government be using for said illicit surveillance? There has to be some form of intelligence gathering going on here, because states and hospitals have […]

GOP Plague Rat Refuses to Tell Pennsylvania Democrats He is Infected with COVID-19

I’m grown tired of the Daily Outrage stories. “Trump said this! What an asshole!” “McConnell did this! What an asshole!” There’s just so fucking many of them, each of them more shocking and morally reprehensible than the next. Honestly, if you made me king for a day, I’d channel Travis McGee, who had similar thoughts (from The Empty Copper Sea; go read the quote): I’d go through the land in disguise, rewarding the good and lopping the heads off of the assholes. By the time I was done, the place would look like a macabre bowling alley. I have violent thoughts, I know. Usually, I just move them aside and try to continue conducting myself in a civilized fashion. Who knows what lurks inside the hearts and minds of men, indeed? But this one is special. This guy…well, I honestly don’t know what we, as a civilized society, should do with this one. Pennsylvania State Rep. Andrew Lewis (R-Plague Rat) is a special kind of asshole. On May 27, he announced on his Facebook page that he had been “secretly self-quarantining” for a few days after being tested positive for COVID-19. He began feeling ill the second week of May, was tested on May 18, and told he was positive on May 20. He chose not to go public “[o]ut of respect for my family, and those who I may have exposed.” He said in the comments on his Facebook post that he privately told family members and some who might have been exposed, and said members of his staff “who met the criteria exposure was immediately contacted and required to self-isolate for 14 days from their date of possible exposure.” At least one fellow Republican, and possibly two more, were advised that Lewis may have infected them, and they should self-quarantine. Bad enough, right? He decided who he should and shouldn’t know about him breathing the Coronavirus on everyone and everything he encountered. But it gets better. Lewis told his Republican caucus’s Human Resources Department. He did NOT tell any Democrats. Neither did the GOP caucus. So the House Democrats who came into contact with him didn’t know he was blowing his Corona breath in their faces. Democrats found out…yesterday. Yesterday. No one told them. For almost a week. Like many in the Rattus Norvegicus Caucus, Lewis didn’t participate remotely in legislative business, and he refused to wear a mask. The idiot who was told to self-isolate, Russ Diamond (R-Sewer Rodent) has openly boasted that he goes in public without a mask. Apparently masks are for sissies. (No word if Macho Man Russ Diamond is currently battling a scorching case of COVID-19 as you read this. He says he’s fine, and intends to keep showing up, unmasked and apparently untested.) Democrats are not happy. Democrat Kevin Boyle, who chairs a House committee that both Diamond and Lewis breathe all over, says he is outraged that he and his fellow Democrats were not told. Most Republicans, he says, refuse to wear masks in the committee. “Whoever knew this in the Republican leadership and did not inform the broader membership and staff, they need to resign immediately. This is outrageous and immoral.” Boyle intends to get tested within a day or so. Boyle’s committee has been at the center of a pitched […]

REVEALED: Trump’s Treasury Dept Gives Green Light To Debt Collectors To Seize $1,200 Stimulus...

We know Donald Trump thinks he’s God, but we didn’t know how literally to interpret Trump giveth and he taketh away — and that is exactly the case with the $1,200 stimulus checks. 20 Million Americans have been thrown out of work in the past month and many of them are depending upon their stimulus checks for food, but they may not get them, because banks have been given the power to seize the money to pay off outstanding debt. American Prospect: The Treasury Department effectively blessed this activity on a webinar with banking officials last week. In audio obtained by the Prospect, Ronda Kent, chief disbursing officer with Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, can be heard explaining that banks had posed questions to her about “whether these payments could be subject to collection from the bank to which the money is deposited, if the payee owes an outstanding loan or other payments to the bank.” She responded—twice—that “there’s nothing in the law that precludes that action,” while counseling that the banks’ compliance officers should consult with their legal offices about what policies their banks will implement. “You will want to know for your bank what your bank has decided to do,” Kent said. An official at a financial institution who was on the call and wishes to remain anonymous said that Kent’s comments, translated from regulator-ese, mean: “We don’t want to say anything explicitly and are telling you to make a business decision.” In other words, the statement was a green light for banks to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to collect prior debt. “At a time when people are desperate to buy food, the idea that anybody would grab [the $1,200 payments], let alone the banks they trust with their money, is appalling,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director with the National Consumer Law Center. Fascinating, isn’t it, how when there’s a Republican in office, the rich always benefit no matter what? Trump has been peacocking about what a great thing his administration did by the CARES act, and in point of fact, if this draconian loophole is allowed to go unchallenged, people in the greatest need may get nothing at all, and the rich will get richer. This is a new low in a mis-administration known for bottoming out it’s last bottom on a routine basis.

Trump Is A No-Show At His Own Briefing and McConnell ‘Detests’ His Economic Plan,...

Donald Trump teased on Monday, “I will be here tomorrow afternoon to let you know about some of the economic steps we’re taking, which will be major” — and then nothing happened. Trump had a meeting with Republican senators at the Capitol, which was the right optics for the occasion, but now there’s no payoff, no plan, just empty promises. In other words, vintage Trump. Bloomberg News: “You’ll be hearing about it soon,” Trump said at the Capitol. He told senators that he’d like a payroll tax holiday until after the November election, according to three people familiar with his closed-door remarks. The coronavirus briefing was the last event on the White House’s public schedule for Tuesday. During the briefing, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said that Trump would like a payroll tax holiday to extend to the end of the year. But he declined to answer questions about how much the plan would cost or how it would work. […] But Trump’s no-show at the White House briefing may raise new concerns. U.S. stock futures opened lower Tuesday evening as investors grew concerned economic stimulus from the Trump administration was not imminent. […] “He’s calling for payroll tax relief,” Pence said of the president’s plan. “We’re going to be working with Democratic and Republican leadership to move an economic package.” In your dreams, Mike. Mitch McConnell is not pleased with this. And when McConnell is not pleased, things move at glacial speeds, if that. Trump went out there and shot off his mouth about the “dramatic” economic relief he was seeking and he did not check it out first with the powers that be, because in his delusional world, he is the powers that be. Wrong. Washington Post: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has privately told several allies in recent days he personally opposes the payroll tax cut idea Trump has endorsed, according to two veteran Republicans briefed on the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly. McConnell has made clear he “detests” pursuing this particular policy, which would probably add to federal debt and deficits, and he has said many conservative GOP senators share his view. Still, he will hear out the White House on Tuesday, they said. There was crickets from the White House on Tuesday, so as far as we know, McConnell is still not on board for this policy, and neither are Democrats, who are working on a relief package for normal people affected by the coronavirus, and not billionaires. If this payroll tax cut, opposed by McConnell, is the best plan that Trump has to roll out, his worst nightmare of an election-year recession may come true. Somebody at Fox News better cobble together policy fast, because it seems right now that Trump is not only clueless, he may be in hiding. And it is interesting to see Trump and McConnell at odds. This may be the moment we’ve all been waiting for, when McConnell decides that Trump’s more of a burden than a benefit.  

Trump’s Former Homeland Security Adviser says ‘We’re 10 Days Away From Hospitals Getting Creamed’

The White House apparently is out of control, as rumored, as a result of the coronavirus. Trump met with insurance company CEOs and the press wanted to ask questions about coronavirus, naturally. Stephanie Grisham would not allow it and screamed like a fishwife at reporters to get out of the room. Listen to this, you’ve never heard anything like it — not at the White House, you haven’t. In a barroom, maybe. Now what is uncanny about this, is that Trump did make a statement on Capitol Hill a short while later. He assured reporters that if everybody just “stayed calm” the coronavirus would “go away. It’s really working out.” This directly contravenes the assessment of Trump’s former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, who says, “We are ten days away from the hospitals being creamed.” NBC News: In an op-ed in The Washington Post published Monday, Bossert said that unless the U.S. closes schools, halts public gatherings and takes other steps to reduce community transmission, the country is headed for the sort of crisis Italy is now facing, with hospitals overwhelmed by elderly people in need of critical care. “Simply put, as evidence of human-to-human transmission becomes clear in a community, officials must pull the trigger on aggressive interventions,” Bossert wrote. “Time matters. Two weeks of delay can mean the difference between success and failure. Public health experts learned this in 1918 when the Spanish flu killed 50 million to 100 million people around the globe. If we fail to take action, we will watch our health-care system be overwhelmed.” In addition to that, the stock market rose in the morning hours, apparently hopeful of some actual leadership from this administration and then it fell back down again. Wall Street rallied Tuesday morning before sinking back into the red, as sentiment waned that President Donald Trump would introduce a robust economic package in time to shore up the growing financial impact from the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank to a loss of almost 100 points just hours after a surge of 945 points. That, in turn, came just one day after a historic rout that saw the blue-chip index drop by 2,013 points, the most ever. While Trump said Monday he would be meeting with congressional Republicans on Tuesday to discuss a stimulus package, White House officials and analysts threw cold water on that idea, noting that there was no evidence such a plan had been floated. Trump has hit the wall with the coronavirus crisis. There is no way he can lie his way out of this one. Soundbites and platitudes won’t work. He needs actual answers and he hasn’t got any. And if he thinks Mike Pence can perform legislative miracles, especially in the area of health, then he’s as stupid as the evangelical wingnuts that voted for the two of them. Honestly, it’s impossible to know whether it’s time to laugh or cry. I guess we’ll wait ten days and see how accurate Bossert’s prediction is, and see whether the stock exchange is even opening it’s doors.

Donald. Trump. Is. Insane.

You know, when you cover Donald Trump, you hear a lot of shit. And after covering Donald Trump for more than five years now, I have enough of a stockpile to organically fertilize every farm in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and still have a clean 4ft ground cover for Bitch McConnell’s front yard. But even with all of that said, today took the cake. Even with all of the years of covering Trump, I have not seen such a weak, pathetic, whiny, infantile, self indulgent, pissy fit of temper since my grandson turned two years old. It was like watching Baby Herman when his cigar fell out of the pram in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. If Mike Pence weren’t such a pathetic, invertebrate little toad himself, he’d be running from door to door collecting cabinet signatures on his 25th amendment petition, like a kid running for class president. The Toddler in Chief pissed me off early and often today. He started almost immediately, prefacing some “new numbers” with a petulant little snit about the stock market. He whined like a jet engine about how tremendous the stock market was doing until this stupid virus came along. I swear to God, if you watch it, you can almost see his lower lip stick out as he cries about how his reelection chances are going into the shitter. But Donnie Depends was just getting warmed up. After a little more introductory pissing and moaning, he started to get warmed up. He decided to give us a crib note course on the origin and development of the crisis, which went something very much like this: This crisis started a few weeks ago, and it was something that nobody saw coming. But it started out as a purely medical crisis, and is turning into a financial crisis. It started out as a purely medical crisis, and now it’s turning into a financial crisis. And we can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen. Sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Let’s just forget the fact that every reputable expert in the field was predicting for weeks exactly what was coming, while Trump was busy calling it a Democratic hoax. The only moron in the world that didn’t see it coming was Donald “Mr MaGoo” Trump! But here’s where the delusional insanity starts to kick in. It’s starting to turn into an economic crisis, and we can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen. News Flash. shit-for-brains, the two have always been intertwined. Now, if you had gotten your head far enough out of your fat ass to take counsel, and if you had anybody around you intelligent enough to give it, and if you had listened, there were a myriad of things you could have done to mitigate the worst parts of the economic crisis. But no!  You were too busy telling Wall Street that that rumbling noise they heard wasn’t the dam collapsing upstream. So please. Great and omnipotent Oz, enlighten me. Just how in the fuck are you going to keep it from happening?!? But then the delusions became dangerous. Because Donald Trump is through dicking around, and he has an announcement! In 15 days, we will convene. All of us up here will convene, and we will decide the time, and the method, with which we will reopen. And by that I mean reopen the […]

Trump Calls For Violent Overthrow Of State Govts While His Campaign Accuses Dems Of...

History is being made every day of this sordid debacle of a Republican administration, but Friday, April 17 will unquestionably be tagged in the history books under sedition. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only time in American history that a sitting president has called for the violent overthrow of a democratically elected state government. I’m no virologist but encouraging civil unrest during a pandemic seems ill advised. pic.twitter.com/UxwpHFtqFH — Molly Jong-Fast???? (@MollyJongFast) April 17, 2020 Molly Jong-Fast is Editor of the Daily Beast. David Rothkopt is the author of “Traitor: A History of American Betrayal From Benedict Arnold to Donald Trump” Of course, this will get people killed. Not necessarily in insurrections but because he is making pretending a deadly disease doesn't exist a centerpiece of being a MAGApublican. They will ignore the quarantine. And they will get sick. And some will die. Because of Trump. — David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) April 17, 2020 Here’s the bottom line: Donald Trump wants to win reelection at whatever cost. He is oblivious to reality and the cost to America in what he is trying to do. He doesn’t care. He will do anything to stay in power. To that end, early afternoon EDT, the Trump campaign released their weekly email/fundraiser, accusing Democrats of stealing the election via “ballot harvesting.” Trump is calling for insurrection with reference to guns at the same time his campaign is falsely claiming that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election. This is what despots do. It’s dangerous. He’s laying the groundwork for his supporters to reject results and use violence. pic.twitter.com/pNCeqq0Phz — Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) April 17, 2020 And this batshit tweet was written just three days ago. GET RID OF BALLOT HARVESTING, IT IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD. THE USA MUST HAVE VOTER I.D., THE ONLY WAY TO GET AN HONEST COUNT! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020 Trump is referring to absentee ballots, and the sublime irony of this is that the only case of “harvesting” absentee ballots was on the part of a Republican congressional candidate in 2018, Mark Harris, North Carolina District 9. Huffington Post, February 19, 2019: …investigators had evidence that McCrae Dowless, a political operative working on behalf of the Harris campaign, filled out and mailed in incomplete or blank ballots from both his office and home. She said Dowless paid people in cash to collect requests for absentee ballots and the ballots themselves. The state board also has evidence, she said, that Dowless paid people to falsify signatures on absentee ballots indicating that they had witnessed those ballots being filled out (North Carolina requires two witnesses to someone filling out an absentee ballot). It is not illegal to help someone request an absentee ballot in North Carolina, but it is illegal for anyone other than a close relative to take custody of the actual ballot. [Kim] Strach [Board of Elections Director] said Dowless took several steps to conceal the fraud. Those measures included using the same color ink as the voter who filled out other parts of the ballot, mailing the ballot from a post office close to the voter and placing the stamps on the envelopes in a certain way not to raise red flags. And don’t forget the story of the campaign worker in Florida changing voter registrations […]

Wonder Where the Surgeon General Is These Days? He’s Been Benched for ‘Racist Dog...

Surgeon General Jerome Adams used to be out there on TV everyday with the coronavirus task force carrying their message. He even amplified Donald Trump’s absurd notion that “the flu would be more dangerous than coronavirus.” So where has he been since April 10 and why haven’t you seen him?  Politico: Adams’ disappearance on the airwaves and at the White House podium followed comments at a press briefing on April 10 that progressives attacked as racially insensitive for shifting responsibility to minorities. But health officials also fear that minimizing Adams means the White House is retreating from questions about its work on behalf of minority communities, a perennially sensitive issue for President Donald Trump and his administration. Early data from Chicago showed that black communities represented about two-thirds of the city’s Covid-19 deaths, despite representing about one-third of the population. […] “Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs,” Adams said that afternoon, as he urged communities of color to “step up” to fight the disease. “We need you to do this, if not for yourself, then for your abuela. Do it for your granddaddy. Do it for your Big Mama. Do it for your Pop-Pop.” The comments were immediately questioned by a PBS reporter, who said they’d stirred outrage online, and roundly condemned by progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who said they amplified claims about minority populations engaging in risky behaviors. “Donald Trump has found a new vessel by which to spew his racist dog whistles: his Surgeon General Jerome Adams,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said in an April 10 statement. “Jerome Adams used his five minutes of fame to do Trump’s dirty work and insult African Americans and other communities of color.” The office of the Surgeon General has been a respected one and one that is described as “the nation’s leading spokesperson on health matters since 1871.” Public relations is the essence of the job. Adams’ remarks on April 10 were defended by Anthony Fauci, who said he didn’t find them offensive at all, he thought they were “appropriate.” Be that as it may, the Trump White House stopped putting Adams front and center. He’s off speaking to Breitbart and doing radio interviews. Maybe it wasn’t these remarks which sparked the decision, but more the fact that Adams didn’t believe hydroxychloroquine was the miracle that Trump touted it as. With this group, who knows?  

Israeli Paper Reports Trump Knew About COVID-19 In November, Told Israel, NATO But Not...

Did Donald Trump hide news of the coronavirus outbreak in China from Americans in November, because it suited his political agenda, yet he told Israel and NATO? That is what the Times of Israel Is reporting: US intelligence agencies alerted Israel to the coronavirus outbreak in China already in November, Israeli television reported Thursday. According to Channel 12 news, the US intelligence community became aware of the emerging disease in Wuhan in the second week of that month and drew up a classified document. […] US intelligence informed the Trump administration, “which did not deem it of interest,” but the report said the Americans also decided to update two allies with the classified document: NATO and Israel, specifically the IDF. [Israel Defense Forces] Last week, ABC News reported that US intelligence officials were warning about the coronavirus in a report prepared in December by the American military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence. The Times of Israel also credits the Associated Press with saying that the outbreak was in China six days before it was reported to the World Health Organization. and that was after hundreds of patients were admitted to hospitals in Wuhan and across China from January 5 to January 17. A six day delay is not insignificant but it’s not like the four month delay we had in this country, before the coronavirus was deemed important by the Trump administration, if in fact this was known about in November. It’s on record already that Trump knew about the coronavirus in late January, because when he was at Davos he said, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. it’s going to be just fine.” Trump has repeatedly denied getting memos in January or February from Peter Navarro about the possibility of millions of Americans dying. Therefore, if the Trump administration knew about the pandemic in November, and chose to do nothing to protect the United States, but deemed it prudent to give a couple of allies a tip, this is beyond incredible. Trump met with Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in late January. I did a Media Bias fact check on the Times of Israel. They are rated left of center and given a high factual rating. So this report seems entirely credible. Why isn’t everybody screaming about this right now? Here’s that report. Factual Reporting: HIGH Country: Israel World Press Freedom Rank: Israel 88/180 History Founded in 2012, The Times of Israel is an online newspaper published in English, Arabic, French, Chinese, and Persian which covers “developments in Israel, the Middle East and around the Jewish world”.  In addition to publishing news reports and analysis, The Times of Israel hosts a multi-author blog platform. Its headquarters are in Jerusalem. The co-founder and editor is David Horovitz. The other co-founder is American billionaire Seth Klarman, founder of the Baupost Group and chairman of The David Project. Klarman is the chairman of the website. According to their about page “The Times of Israel has no partisan political affiliation. It seeks to present the news fair-mindedly and offers a wide range of analysis and opinion pieces.” Funded by / Ownership The Times of Israel is co-owned by David Horovitz and Seth Klarman. Revenue is generated through advertising. I don’t know why this isn’t a huge story. Maybe we’ll find out.

Another Day, Another Bat$hit Presser This Time Trump Calls Reporter ‘Loudmouth’ and Threatens To...

This is what it is, and this is what it is going to be, if the networks keep indulging Trump in daily press briefings. The man is a raging fool, he doesn’t know where the lines are drawn, and he’s more stressed out than normal, so this is what we’re going to get. "Governors are supposed to do testing. It's up to the governors. Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. The governors are doing the testing. It's now not up, and it hasn't been up, to the federal govt … if you keep talking, I'll leave … just a loudmouth" — Trump unloads on @BrianKarem pic.twitter.com/NAhrR4Xkbs — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 14, 2020 Now everything is up to the governors. Yesterday Trump had “total authority” absolute power, etc. etc. and now it’s all up to the governors, not my job, man. Ask them. I honestly think at this point the press should just pull the plug and not carry these. All that is truly being accomplished is that the man disgraces himself on a daily basis, and disgraces the country. Since he communicates little or nothing of value, we would be better off not hearing him. That said, it should provide good attack ad fodder. I can’t wait to see what Priorities USA or The Lincoln Group do with this. The guy is out of control.

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