Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Trump Keeps Giving The Democrats Ammo. Use It!

I know I complain about the horrors of covering Trump all the time, but it has its moments of joy too. For instance, he’s so cute when he completely loses all sense of self awareness. And when he loses his self awareness, he tends to lose his sense of awareness completely. Like the guy who, every time he goes to the bathroom, bangs his head on the pipe in the hallway. The same damn pipe that has been in the same damn place for the last 7 years since he moved in. Since the coronavirus started to spiral into something more serious than was originally thought and hoped, Trump has completely lost all sense of awareness, self and otherwise. And in doing so, he has given the Democrats more than one opportunity to lay him low on his performance. Not just now, but golden nugget sound bites for 30 second spots in the fall. There are already two occasions on which they have failed to properly capitalize on Trump’s complete inability to string two coherent words together, and one that is brewing and needs to be watched for timing. When it finally became apparent to His Lowness that this was a problem that actually had to be dealt with, Trump went before the first camera he could find, which was I believe a security cam at Best But, and announced that he was asking congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to fight the virus. Chuck Schumer did a nice job of slapping back at Trump by saying that the Democrats were going to propose $8.2 billion, but it could have been so much better. Something like I would like to remind everybody that it was only two years ago when President Trump sat in the Oval Office, and told Speaker Pelosi and I that he would shut down the entire US government if he didn’t get $34 billion for a vanity wall that wouldn’t fox the problem. He didn’t get it, shut down the government, and still didn’t get it. But now, when the safety and health of every American citizen is at stake, he believes the can deal with a problem of this magnitude on the cheap for $2 billion? This is why the Democrats in the Senate are crafting a bill to provide $8 billion in emergency funding, to ensure that the people tasked with fighting this virus will have all of the tools that they need. See how easy that is? Slap his punk ass down for being cheap, but throw in a sly reminder about how he isn’t cheap when it comes to some vanity boondoggle he’s obsessed with, only when it comes to serving the people who elected him. And don’t think that reminder about the government shutdown won’t drive him insane enough to say something stupid in response either. The second chance was Trump’s patently awful press conference with his “health team” in the White House briefing room. The pundits did a good job of skewering Trump, but the Democrats could have been much sharper, something like: I couldn’t help but notice in yesterday’s briefing at the White House that there was a shocking diversity of opinion on the stage. Trump’s own Secretary of HHS said to expect more cases in the US. The head […]

1 Dead From Coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee Declares State of Emergency In Washington State

While Donald Trump clowns it up at CPAC, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) announced the death of a Washington state man from coronavirus, the first on U.S. soil, and he also declared a state of emergency, which will allow state agencies to tap necessary resources to respond to an outbreak of the disease and also utilize the national guard, if necessary. The Hill: “This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.” “Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic,” he added. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus.” This is probably going to be the template for how the coronavirus epidemic is handled, mayors and governors taking care of business because of the sheer incompetence in Washington, D.C. Trump’s only contribution to today’s coronavirus news is to suggest that he might close off the Mexican border, as if that, and the price of samosas in India, have anything to do with containing the coronavirus. The Mexican government has reported three cases there, from people who traveled in Italy and as of Saturday afternoon, there are more cases of coronavirus in the United States than there are in all of Latin America combined, but yet Trump feels it’s a good photo op to close off the Mexican border. Pure idiocy, but what else would you expect? One thing we can depend upon from Washington, D.C. is that Trump’s administration will botch this, one way or the other, and it’s going to devolve to state and local government to handle the matter — or maybe Congress can step in. This is not business as usual, so nobody really knows. But we’re about to find out.  
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Mitt Romney...

Mitt Romney Goes On Record Criticizing Trump’s Handling Of Coronavirus as “Inadequate”

Mike Pence is all over the airwaves Sunday, telling everybody about all the experts he’s hired and how the Trump administration is completely on top of the coronavirus pandemic and not to worry. One Senator who has made it clear he doesn’t feel so chipper about the subject is Mitt Romney. Romney was present at a closed-door briefing this week and he was among those who found the administration’s preparations “inadequate.” Washington Post: The evening before, the administration had unveiled a $2.5 billion spending plan to combat the virus, and both at the closed-door briefing and in a subsequent open hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a number of Republican senators voiced a variety of concerns. They fretted about the administration’s level of preparation to date, communication failures with Capitol Hill and, in the words of Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the “lowball” funding request. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — a target of Trump’s ire for his vote to convict the president of an impeachment charge — was among those who stood in the private briefing to register objections. “One, I’m very disappointed in the preparation that’s been done over the last few years anticipating the potential of an outbreak of substance,” Romney said in an interview later. “We’ve had SARS, we’ve had MERS, Ebola,” Romney continued, rattling off previous global outbreaks. “We should have stockpiled the kind of protective gear that our medical professionals will need and our citizens will need, and we haven’t. And looking forward, the [spending] number that’s being suggested strikes me as being inadequate to the level of risk.” Just how inadequate may be proven up in the next few weeks, or even days. The first U.S. death from covid-19 was announced Saturday. Donald Trump couldn’t even get the person’s gender right when he announced it. He praised “a wonderful woman” as the victim, and in point of fact it was a man in his 50’s who had died. The key problem with the virus stateside right now, is the fact that the CDC lost valuable time in surveillance testing and is way behind schedule, due to a mis-step in developing its own test, rather than using the World Health Organization’s test. The fact that there are not more covid-19 cases being reported now is illusory. There may be quite a few out there and they’re just not being discovered. Trump, of course, is trying to spin this as great news that everything is under control, because he made mention of closing off the southern border a few weeks ago — as if that has anything remotely to do with this issue. It’s well known, and Alex Azar even admitted it on TV Sunday, that Mexico — indeed all of Latin America — has fewer cases than the U.S. right now. But it sounds good as a Trump sound bite, dissing the scary brown people and claiming to protect U.S. citizens, all in the same breath, so Trump will probably keep up with the same inane narrative — at least until he can’t anymore, and it’s anybody’s guess just how this situation is going to develop. In all events, the infighting and confusion continues and in the words of one staffer, “It’s complete chaos,” a senior administration official said. “Everyone is just trying […]

Coronavirus Case Reported In Rhode Island, 87,000 Reported Worldwide Now

Boy, Donald Trump better hurry up and close off the southern border, stat, because yesterday the first coronavirus victim died in Seattle, some 1,300 miles from the border and today the virus was diagnosed in a person in Rhode Island, some 3,000 miles away. So, yep, closing that border is a crucial element in this matter, and we’re mighty glad that Trump is on top of it. Thank you, Mr. Occupant. For those of you not named Donald Trump, who are actually in tune with the reality of this situation, this is the latest update from the New York Times: Rhode Island on Sunday reported its first “presumptive positive” coronavirus case, a man in his 40s who had recently traveled to Italy, France and Spain, state officials said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. The man was being treated in the hospital on Sunday, and his immediate family had quarantined themselves at home, the officials said. The patient had not been to work and “had limited travel in Rhode Island” since returning from Europe, according to the state’s health department. State officials said that they were trying to reach at least 40 people who had come in contact with the man and were asking those people to quarantine themselves for 14 days since their contact. In related idiocy this Sunday, Mike Pence told Jake Tapper today that prayer will get us through the coronavirus. “I continue to believe that we have an opportunity to come together. And with the proper expertise, and the proper resources and the prayers of millions of Americans, we’re going to get through this.” Friends, Mike Pence decided that prayer would take care of the HIV epidemic in Indiana back when he was governor and you see how well that worked out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for addressing the spiritual dimension of life and being of positive thought and good cheer. But bear in mind that Jesus was the first to say, “Faith without works is dead” and “by their fruits ye shall know them.” And right now, based on those two concepts, I would have to say that we are phuqued. This administration gutted health protections from the get go and now the CDC is behind schedule in surveillance testing. It is reasonable to say that this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Also bear in mind that people without healthcare and without paid sick leave are at particular risk. The image of a runaway freight train comes to mind.  
Bloomberg Politics / YouTube Donald Trump Introduces Running Mate Mike...

This Is What I’m Talking About

If you read my article yesterday, then this should ring like a bell. (Scene One: White House Briefing Room) Trump: To begin with today, all of us would like to extend our sincere condolences, as well as our thoughts and prayers, to the friends and family of the woman in Washington state, who overnight became the first US fatality of the Coronavirus. The hearts of the nation go out to you at this difficult time. (Scene Two: Trump Rally 24 hours earlier) Trump: Is everybody scared? Now we’ve got the Coronavirus, you’ve all heard of that, right? You know what that is? A hoax! Like the Russia investigation and the impeachment, it’s just another hoax by Schumer and Pelosi to try to bring me down! iF THE PRESIDENT HADN’T TREATED THE CORONAVIRUS LIKE A HOAX IN THE FIRST PLACE, MAYBE HE WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO EXTEND CONDOLENCES IN THE SECOND PLACE. iS THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP WE REALLY WANT IN A TIME OF NATIONAL CRISIS? What do you think the chances are that we start seeing a 30 second spot like that sometime after the conventions, and heading into the fall, only with sadly a much higher number than just the one victim in Washington in the voice over at the end. This is exactly what I was talking about yesterday as to how you make Trump pay for his stupidity. To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen

Your Greatest Risk From The Coronavirus

Well, I guess all it took was one death in Washington state for the shit to get real for El Pendejo Presidente, huh? If you caught his rare Saturday press briefing yesterday, the contrast was striking. He was much quieter and more subdued, and ready to let others do most of the talking. Even his sparring with the press was subdued. And he even made a plea to politicians of both parties to not politicize the coronavirus, which I found repulsive, since the only politician in America who’s politicizing the coronavirus is Trump! These sporadic epidemic outbreaks are always scary. While they all share come common characteristics, being viruses, the mechanics of transmission, as well as the affected regions of the country are always different, as are the types of misery that they can visit on the human body. It’s only natural to be concerned about the effects and risks of the coronavirus on yourself and your family. But what if the greatest risk to you and your family wasn’t the coronavirus itself? What if the greatest risk to you and your family wasn’t from the coronavirus itself, but from Brain. Dead. Trump. Supporters? I’m not kidding. On Friday, I heard two different reports on two different news channels, CNN and MSNBC. In both cases the reporters were hanging around the annual DC Trailer Trash Jamboree known as C-PAC. In both cases the reporters were standing in a line awaiting admission to some thing or other, and both overheard people in  front of them relating to friends that They wouldn’t listen to a word that came out of the CDC or NIH, since they were all a bunch of lousy “deep staters” out to bring down Donald Trump. It would be one thing if the doctors at the CDC  were coming out with some kind of radical advice, like boiling your hands for three minutes after using the bathroom, or breaking out the end-of-days rations you’ve got stored up in the bomb shelter, but they’re not! They’re giving the exact same advice they give every time, wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer, avoid crowded public places, stay home if you get sick, just normal, common sense stuff. But because of His Lowness, and a bunch of irresponsible assholes like Hannity, Limbaugh, and Carlson, they are going to willfully ignore sage advice that they’ve been following in public health crises for years. Just think about it for a minute. Right now, approximately 25-30% of the US population is made up of third world, y-chromosome mutants who will gleefully hop on a bus, spend the day running up and down the stairs at Grand Central Station, cleaning the hand rails with their tongues, and then run out and try to French kiss everybody in Times Square, just to stick it to the Democrats! OK, that was over the top, but you get the picture. There is a block of people out there, whether honestly, pathetically ignorant, or willfully, maliciously fuck-all-a-y’all ignorant out there, who will take unnecessary risks just to stick it to  the man in support of the President. 25-30% of the population hates the other 70-75% so badly that they’ll gladly get sick, just so long as they make the rest of us sick as well. That’s the greatest risk to you and your family from the coronavirus. And they’re […]

The Stock Market’s Still Falling While the Coronavirus Clownshow Goes On at the White...

Trillions of dollars were wiped off stocks last week in the most severe market plunge since 2008. And today that trend continues as U.S. stock futures and markets in Europe fell. CNN reports that,“Dow futures are off 180 points, or 0.7% lower, after falling as many as 500 points and gaining as many as 600 points throughout a roller coaster night. S&P 500 futures have slid 1%, while Nasdaq futures have skid 0.4%.” And this is despite assurances from the world’s central banks that they will help limit economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump deals with the first catastrophe not of his own making since he took office, and he is not only woefully out of his depth, his usual coping methods are blowing up in his face routinely. CNN: On Sunday night, the President crowed about a poll that he said showed 77% of adults were confident the government could handle the situation. – “Gallup Poll numbers on the handling of this situation are outstanding, the best. Thank you!” – The poll that he was referring to, however, appeared to be one conducted between February 3-16 — well before the deaths on US soil, the spike of new cases and the stock market routs last week that exemplified growing panic about the coronavirus. And this. “I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives. Dems were working the Impeachment Hoax,” the President wrote. “They didn’t have a clue! Now they are fear mongering,” the President tweeted. So now it’s the Chinese he kept out of the country and not the Mexicans. Our mistake, we thought he closed the southern border, for some incomprehensible reason. And of course we have The Mike Pence Show, which aired on all five political programs Sunday.  Judd Legum, at Popular Information, gives historical context to that particular aspect of this mess: On May 8, 2018, Trump fired Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, who was serving on the National Security Council as the Director of Global Health Security. In that position, Ziemer was responsible for coordinating responses to global health emergencies and potential pandemics. Ziemer was praised as “one of the most quietly effective leaders in public health” — his work on malaria during the Obama administration was credited for saving millions of lives. Instead of replacing Ziemer, Trump eliminated the position. Dr. Luciana Borio, the National Security Council director for medical and biodefense preparedness, left the same month and was not replaced. So when the coronavirus began spreading globally, there was no one in the White House to coordinate the response. As the outbreak grew more severe, Trump reportedly ruled out appointing someone new to help manage the crisis, “worrying that bringing in a person from outside the administration might be seen as a failure — and wondering whether such a person would be loyal to him.” Instead, Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge. Before Pence’s appointment, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was scheduled to appear on all five Sunday political talk shows. But Fauci was ordered to cancel, and Pence made the rounds in his place. Of course he did. Because Fauci isn’t a PR lackey, dedicated to the […]

Politico: ‘Azars In the Crosshairs For Delays In Virus Tests’

While Donald Trump was boasting to his North Carolina rally crowd Monday night about how the United States is “leading” in coronavirus research, the truth is all too sadly just the opposite. While other countries have done a great deal of surveillance testing, U.S. efforts have fallen short due to delays caused by problems in CDC testing, complicated further by problems with a faulty lab. And Alex Azar, replaced on Wednesday by Mike Pence as head of the coronavirus task force, is seen as largely to blame. Politico: Even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes blame for testing delays that may have led to hundreds of Americans being infected with the coronavirus, officials inside the health agency and the White House are increasingly pointing the finger at one leader: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who they say failed to coordinate the response, as agency chiefs waited for instructions that came too late and other deputies were largely cut out of the process. Numerous problems with the Trump administration’s testing regimen have come to light: Coronavirus tests developed by CDC were flawed, possibly because the lab itself was contaminated. The resulting lack of test capacity forced U.S. officials to screen a limited number of patients in January and February, with the CDC testing fewer than 500 Americans at the same time that China was likely testing at least 1 million of its own residents. Meanwhile, public health officials had no fallback testing option until the Food and Drug Administration granted approval for hospitals and other labs to develop their own homegrown tests on Saturday — more than six weeks after the first U.S. case of coronavirus was identified. […] “This was a management failure,” said one administration official, charging that Azar didn’t adequately plan for a worst-case coronavirus scenario that’s grown more likely by the day — even though Azar touted his bona fides as a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, where he helped fight crises like SARS and an anthrax scare. “CDC and FDA should have been working hand in hand to get Plan B, Plan C and Plan D ready to go,” the official said. The ramifications of all this incompetence are simple yet terrifying. We don’t know what we’re dealing with, because we haven’t been doing the testing that China and other countries have been doing. What that means is that since we’re not becoming aware of the dimensions of the epidemic through normal channels, i.e. research, we may only become aware of it on the other end, when hordes of people come down sick and begin crowding out ER facilities. And at that time it will be late to save a of people.

Dow Plummets Despite Fed’s 1/2 % Cut Due To Coronavirus

It is past time to wake up and smell the coffee in Washington, D.C., but I doubt that that will make any difference. We’ve been entrenched in idiocy and ineptitude for three long years. We’ve watched so many essential programs being slashed and important posts either going unfilled, or being staffed by Trump’s clueless cronies, that a reversal at this point in time is well-nigh impossible. Donald Trump did us no favors when, in 2018, he fired Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, who was the Director of Global Health Security on the National Security Council. That was an egregious error. Ziemer was set up to coordinate responses to global health emergencies and potential pandemics, exactly like the situation that we have playing out now. The position existed because of the foreseeability of such events. Trump not only fired Ziemer, he compounded the error by eliminating the position altogether. Another key figure, Dr. Luciana Borio, who was Director for Medical and Biodefense Preparedness left the same month as Ziemer and also was not replaced. In tandem, the elimination of these two posts was a set up for the United States to fall way behind the game in the event of a pandemic, and that is in fact what happened. That takes us up to today, with yet another market plunge, despite the Fed attempting to mitigate the situation by slashing interest rates 1/2%. That band aide didn’t work as well as anticipated and that’s an understatement. Washington Post: U.S. stocks plummeted Tuesday after the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut failed to bring calm, extending the mayhem that has defined the markets for days over growing concerns the coronavirus will blunt economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average sank nearly 3 percent, 786 points, and the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond — a foundation of global finance — briefly fell below 1 percent, before recovering slightly, as investors fled equities for the safety of bonds. Investors are worried that the spreading outbreak will upend the global economy and end the decade-long expansion. And the question also becomes, if the Fed moves early, as they have in this case, what corrective measures do they then employ in the event of a recession? The Fed has been under increasing pressure to take action to quell the anxiety that has roiled global markets for days and filtered down to consumers, who are clearing store shelves of water, disinfectant and shelf-stable food in anticipation of quarantines and shortages. But interest rates were already at low levels, and economists worry that any further reductions will give the central bank less leeway in the event of a recession. […] “The Fed’s rate cut is a psychological palliative, but I have severe doubts it will make a difference to economic growth going forward,” said Daniel P. Wiener, chairman of Adviser Investments. “The rate cut is not going to drive consumers out of their homes and into the malls if they fear contagion.” Vanguard Group, the mutual fund giant with more than $6 trillion under management, called the Fed cut “premature, given the lack of data suggesting a significant drag on the economy.” If it was premature, you know good and well that it was done at the insistence of Donald Trump, whose only concern is keeping his c-suite cronies […]

Mike Pence Announces OMB To Hold Coronavirus Meeting — Without Audio or Video

The Office of Management and Budget is the largest office within the executive branch and the one controlled by Mick Mulvaney. Mike Pence says they’re holding a meeting soon, on what sound like fairly mundane matters, “internal policies” and “State Department advisories,” in connection with the coronovirus crisis. So why does the meeting have to take place without audio or video? Essentially in secret? Officials aren't permitting audio or video of this briefing > https://t.co/K3ARcrJWiW — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 3, 2020 Trump met with Big Pharma yesterday, to make it look like he was doing something and now it’s time to meet with all the major airlines, one presumes for the same reason? Anybody want to hazard a guess what good it does to handle a national health crisis, which is part of a worldwide pandemic, in secret? Doesn’t seem like a very good policy, on it’s face. We know that all information on the coronavirus has to be screened by Mike Pence first, so perhaps that’s what this is. Just the beginning of an information blackout. That’s swell. This is a matter of life and death, but PR concerns trump such trivialities now, or so it would appear.

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