Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Warns Of ‘Massive Disenfranchishment’ In Wisconsin After Supreme Court Ruling

This is a sad day in America because partisan politics has dominated over not only basic constitutional rights, but human safety as well during a public health crisis. Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers had pushed to delay the election until June, but the GOP-led legislature refused to do so, and one can only think that it’s the old Republican tactic, depress the turnout, because that’s how they win. That caused a federal district court to step in, and they extended the day to return an absentee ballot until April 13. Then the Supreme Court overturned them and now election day is tomorrow, stay-at-home orders be damned. If you don’t show up at the polls or return your ballot by tomorrow — and not all voters have even received them yet — you’re out of luck. The Supreme Court vote was split five-four, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing for the minority. Alternet: “[Under] this Court’s order, tens of thousands of absentee voters, unlikely to receive their ballots in time to cast them, will be left quite literally without a vote,” she wrote. “This Court’s intervention is thus ill advised, especially so at this late hour.” She noted that the conservative majority cited concerns about the lower courts intervening in an election so close to the day ballots are cast. But, she pointed out, this unusual step is warranted by a “grave, rapidly developing public health crisis.” And she argued that, even if this point were true, the Supreme Court’s intervention now is “all the more inappropriate.” “The majority of this Court declares that this case presents a ‘narrow, technical question,’” she continued. “That is wrong. The question here is whether tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens can vote safely in the midst of a pandemic. Under the District Court’s order, they would be able to do so. Even if they receive their absentee ballot in the days immediately following election day, they could return it. With the majority’s stay in place, that will not be possible. Either they will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, though no fault of their own. That is a matter of utmost importance— to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin’s citizens, the integrity of the State’s election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation.” The election will go forth April 7, on the Democratic presidential primary, a Wisconsin supreme court judgeship and a number of local issues. Donald Trump went on record saying that, “I hear what happened is his [Justice Daniel Kelly] poll numbers went through the roof. And because of that, I think they delayed the election.” What else would you expect? Trump sees everything as a witch hunt. That’s as far as his teensy intellect will stretch. The only good news is that over a dozen states, and even some that are controlled by Republican governors, did agree to postpone their primary due to COVID-19.

Is There No TOO Low For The GOP?

Being a lifelong political junkie, I’m no stranger to a politician making some high falutin’ moral statement, and then almost immediately thereafter getting caught doing what he had just ranted and raved against. And when they get caught, rather than getting all red faced and apologizing, they bullshit it away, and keep right on being hypocritical douches on the subject. The example that immediately comes to mind is GOP congressional rockhead Louis DeJarlais. A bombastic right to lifer, he wanted doctors locked up for life for daring to perform an abortion, and their patients could rot in the cell next to them. That was before DeJarlais, a doctor, was exposed for having an affair with a patient, getting said patient pregnant, and then pressuring her to get an abortion, even driving her out of state to try to hide it. His basic response was to almost completely ignore the scandal, run for reelection, and unbelievably enough win, while still running on the identical pro life platform he had just defiled. But in the world of Trump and the McConnell GOP, I keep asking myself, shouldn’t there be some point, at which either a politician or even a party crosses a line that is so low, that the only possible response is abject shame?Not just for obscuring their own personal prejudices and quirks, but when they sink to the level that they show nothing but disdain and even disgust for the very people who voted them into power? Apparently now. I was heartbroken last month when I learned that the demographic with the fastest rising coronavirus explosion per 100,000 people was the Navajo nation. Native nations and indigenous tribes without the cushion of a casino on tribal lands tend to have the deck stacked against them to start with. After all, the US government wasn’t going to cede land to them that was good for much of anything else. But it was still tragic to learn that the situation had deteriorated to the point that Doctors Without Borders had sent a team into temporary housing to help deal with the crisis. That being said, those with a cold enough heart could at least seek to exonerate the US government for the neglect, simply by stating that after all, just like any other tribe, the Navajo are a sovereign nation, with their own laws. Of course, you will come off as a completely heartless prick for even suggesting such a thing, but the argument can be made. Bit not now. Not anymore. Thanks to their Fuck it, let’s see what happens attitude towards reopening their never completely shuttered state, Florida is seeing massive spikes in their reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Even worse, the GOP DeSantis administration is actively doing everything in their power to make things worse, while putting on a cheery public face. For instance, DeSantis fired the state official who was responsible for putting out accurate information on the case numbers. He fired her for putting out accurate information on the case numbers! Rather than go away, the woman has continued to use her sources and access to gain legitimate numbers, and started a public website where Floridians of a mind can get accurate information on how their government is trying to kill them. There is at least one community in Florida that is feeling terribly underserved by their own state government. […]

Louie Gohmert Tests Positive For COVID-19, Worries Abound That He Infected Bill Barr

Irony has been dead for quite some time and we miss her, but Lady Karma has stepped up in her place. Texas Congressman and anti-masker Louie Gohmert has tested positive for COVID-19 and so that throws the kabash on his plans to accompany Donald Trump on his trip to Texas. Plus, as an extra added bonus, Bill Barr will now be tested for coronavirus, because he was paling around with Gohmert in the hall before they went into the congressional hearing. ACTUALLY… here is a video of AG Barr and Gohmert. While Barr arrived with a mask, it was off when he walked into the hearing room, so both men were not wearing masks at this time. pic.twitter.com/xm6wuq6QvW — Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) July 29, 2020 My criminal law professor described the difference between negligence, gross negligence and criminal negligence thusly: “It’s the difference between being a fool, a damn fool and a goddamn fool.” Gohmert is the third category of fool, flying blindly in the face of catastrophe, somehow believing himself to be omnipotent. The virus can never touch him, the voices in his head tell him. And he’s not the only GOPer in the House that is flagrantly irresponsible. Jerry Nadler had to correct a few others at Tuesday’s hearing. Politico: “I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee,” Nadler said, referring to Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, three GOP lawmakers. “To stop violating the safety of the members of the committee. To stop holding themselves out as not caring by refusing to wear their masks.” “Is it permissible to drink a sip of coffee?” one of the members asked. “It is not permissible,” replied Nadler. In a tweet, Nadler wrote, “I want to wish ⁦@replouiegohmert⁩ a full & speedy recovery. When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk. I’ve regularly instructed all Members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson by all my colleagues.” This will only exacerbate Trump’s arrival in Texas. The Editorial Board of the Houston Chronicle has a few choice words for him, as he wings his way to Texas. “When you visited Dallas back on June 11, Texas was leading the stampede to reopen for business, spurred on by Gov. Greg Abbott’s aggressive plans and your administration’s false assurances that the outbreaks were ‘under control/ At the time, the United States had reported a little more than 2 million confirmed cases and almost 114,000 deaths. Texas was reporting about 85,000 cases and 2,000 deaths. Seven weeks later, as Air Force One descends on the Lone Star State, the United States has more than 4 million cases. America is closing in on 150,000 dead — nearly the population of Midland.” “One important thing you could do on your visit, Mr. President, is to make an unequivocal commitment to improved testing, social-distancing and getting your followers in the Republican Party to give up their rebellion to Gov. Abbott’s face-mask order,” the Board writes. “We are almost certain you won’t, but that would be a good start to something resembling leadership.” Once again in the Trump administration, the bar has been lowered. Texans aren’t asking for leadership, they’ll settle for “something resembling” it. Well, at […]

Global Health Conference Trump Was Set To Speak At Canceled Due To Coronavirus

Months ago I made the crack, “Irony is dead. She said, ‘fuck it’ and put her head in the oven.'” I can’t say that, or much of anything, about this headline, because it is too sobering to mock. That’s hard for me to say about anything, with my propensity for dark humor, but here we are. Donald Trump was set to speak Monday at the global Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s global health conference in Orlando, Florida and it just got canceled due to coronavirus fears. So much for Trump’s insistence that concern for the virus is overblown. WESH: “Today, following recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIMSS announced it is clearly necessary to cancel the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition,” a statement from HIMSS said. The cancellation is a huge loss for the Central Florida economy. The convention was expected to bring in more than 40,000 people to the area. Some companies, including Amazon, which has limited business travel, and Cisco, had already announced they will not be there. The conference is the second to be canceled at the Orange County Convention Center over coronavirus concerns. This is what happens when a public health crisis is treated as a public relations crisis. Convention management is looking to protect it’s people. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a president who thought the same way about us?

Trump Takes No Responsibility For Coronavirus, Calls Question About Firing Pandemic Chief ‘Nasty’

If the shade of Harry Truman is wandering the White House, he’s probably ready to slap Donald Trump up the side of the head. Truman was famous for posting his sign, “The Buck Stops Here.” Even his political adversaries acknowledged that it was a good moral for any president to live by. Today, Trump got on the airwaves and told the American people that he had “two big words” for them, “national emergency.” Yep, those are poly-syllabic words alright, and to a man with a two hundred word vocabulary and whose expressive syntax runs along the lines of of See Spot Run, he probably was impressed that he could say them in the same sentence without stumbling. The press conference went pretty much as you would expect. Trump was asked if he took responsibility for the failure of the coronavirus response. Hell, no. Him? Not my yob, mon. No, it was Obama’s job and he dropped the ball. Here's the clip. On the lack of testing #Covid_19 and the "failure" of the response, @realDonaldTrump: "No, I don't take responsibility at all." #COVID pic.twitter.com/rpTh5DcILr — Kyle Morse (@Kyle_A_Morse) March 13, 2020 And it got better. Trump dismantled the pandemic response office, but when asked about that, he characterized the question as “nasty” and said he didn’t know anything about it. He fired Rear Admiral Rear Timothy Ziemer who was the head of the global health security team of the NSC and he didn’t replace his position — but probably Obama made him do it. I’m waiting for that line, I don’t think it can be too far off. What did we think of her question? #TrumpPressConference pic.twitter.com/pEW68gvjMH — DC Young Democrats (@DCYDs) March 13, 2020 Trump lives in a world of self-imposed delusion. When he is out of the White House, which will take place, sooner or later, he will shuffle along the rest of his days talking about his “perfect” response to this or that, how he was the “best president” in history, and how reports of anything to the contrary are either the result of a deep state plot or fake news or both. This is the only way he can survive. If he had the psychological makeup of a normal person and the self-awareness and maturity of a ten-year-old, it would occur to him that taking responsibility for one’s errors in life is a sign of character, and one that gets respect. Trump has never known, nor ever will know, what respect is. Respect is earned. Trump only knows what it is to inspire fear and compliance in toadies, or gin up his fans from the TV set to cheer for him. But nobody respects this guy. Donald Trump lives in an alternate reality and unfortunately he’s dragged America through the looking glass and in there with him. This can’t be over soon enough.  

Trump Says Being No. 1 In COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Is ‘Badge of Honor”

This is not the least bit unexpected, because it’s exactly the kind of double speak and sophistry for which this mal-administration is known. In true Orwellian fashion, Donald Trump explains to us how it’s a wonderful thing to have all these cases on the books, and all these deaths, because that shows that we’re doing it right — or something. You take a listen. Trump says the U.S. having the most COVID-19 cases in the world is "a badge of honor": "I don't look at that as a bad thing. I look at that, in a certain respect, as being a good thing. Because it means our testing is much better." pic.twitter.com/1Q7vKt0ybx — Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) May 19, 2020 Common sense is telling you, the cases are there, whether we test or not. That’s why the more we test the more we find. But no, Trump has his own quasi-metaphysical Shroedinger’s cat philosophy of this. If there’s a COVID-19 case and you don’t find it, then is it really there? Because remember, he said from the beginning, that if you want to keep your COVID-19 numbers low, don’t test, don’t let people on cruise ships dock, nothing. Just stick your head in the sand next to the other ostriches. And that, my fellow Americans, is why we lost two months of precious time and we are now paying for that delay and folly with our lives.  The only trouble is, Fox News will find a way to megaphone this idiocy and it will enter the record of the New Abnormal, the era in which we live.

Trump Goes Banana Republic ‘Somebody Should Sue His Ass Off’ About Inspector Gen’l, Whistle...

Donald Trump is on a mad power binge right now, doing a purge of all who are “disloyal” to him. Michael Atkinson, the inspector general who forwarded the whistle blower complaint to congress, has long been on Trump’s hit list and for whatever reason, Trump decided that Friday was the day to pull the plug. This is certainly not surprising and actually is part of an overt pattern of disabling the intelligence community. This isn’t what a democracy looks like. New York Times: The slew of late-night announcements, coming as the world’s attention is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, raised the specter of a White House power play over the community of inspectors general, independent officials whose mission is to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the government. […] The administration official described the move as part of a broader shake-up of the intelligence community that Mr. Trump has set in motion in the past several weeks. He recently installed Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany known for his combative conservatism, as the acting director of national intelligence, a position where presidents typically look to install career officials or apolitical appointees. And Mr. Trump has nominated one of his top allies in Congress, Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas, to the take over the post permanently. The ouster of Mr. Atkinson came as the White House announced five nominees for inspector general positions. They included Brian D. Miller, an aide to Mr. Trump in the White House counsel’s office, who was tapped to be the newly created special inspector general for pandemic recovery. Trump hasn’t given a solid reason for firing Atkinson, “loss of confidence” not being good enough. Trump also put Atkinson on administrative leave, rather than give a thirty day notice to him and the rest of the government that he’s making the change, as he is required to do by law. This is no different from when he had Alexander Vindman walked out of the White House and fired his brother, Yevgeny, as well, although the man had nothing to do with the impeachment hearings. His only infraction was being the brother of Alexander Vindman and in Trump world that’s enough. These are banana republic machinations, and in true form, Trump gave a total banana republic performance at his press briefing Saturday. Pure vindictiveness and rancor oozed. Trump is a bombastic buffoon most of the time, but today he showed another, creepier side. He showed the creature under the rock, the one that envies, the one that schemes, the one that hates. Take a look at this. You can tell your grandchildren, either now or in the future, if they haven’t been born yet, that this is what it looks like when a petty, authoritarian personality gets too much power. The President admits he fired the ICIG over the whistleblower report pic.twitter.com/UwJ7wLJC1B — Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 4, 2020 “That man is a disgrace to IGs… He’s a total disgrace.. That’s my decision. I have the absolute right… He’s a fake whistleblower and frankly somebody should sue his ass off” pic.twitter.com/Sz4SotQJMs — Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 4, 2020 It’s not clear whether Trump is talking about suing the ass off the whistle blower or the inspector general, but I’m sure either or both would be fine with him. At least […]
Dave Winer / Flickr dan rather...

Dan Rather Just Figured Out A Way To Solve the Immigration Problem and Save...

This is wonderful. This is Dan Rather using pure Trumpian logic. Let’s take it to its logical extreme shall we? You well recall Trump saying that if we didn’t do so much COVID-19 testing that we wouldn’t be finding cases, and so in Tulsa he shared that he wanted his “people [to] slow down the testing.” So the logic is no tests, no cases, no pandemic, right? Here’s how Dan Rather is applying this law of logic. Here’s an idea for the president. We can apparently solve the issue of undocumented immigrants by just not counting them? — Dan Rather (@DanRather) July 18, 2020 Isn’t this great? We’ll save $20 Billion Dollars, because that’s what ICE and CBP spend keeping track of things and enforcing laws. But we don’t have to spend a dime. We can solve the illegal immigration problem right now, tonight. We just stop counting. Voila. Zero illegal immigrants. And let’s do the same for COVID-19 as our stable genius *president* is begging us to do. And then we’ll have zero cases. BOTH problems will “just disappear one day, like magic.” I love it. I’m going to stop paying my bills and then I get to live for free. Why didn’t we listen to Donald Trump earlier? Denial is a wonderful thing. Cleopatra may have been queen, but Donald is King of Denial.  

Expert From Trump Golf Says A Bottle of Vodka a Day Will Cure COVID-19

Yes, I know, it’s another headline straight from The Onion, and you’re saying, “What’s the gag?” I assure you there is none, this is on the level, like everything else in this brave new world of Trumptopia. The character in the video below is an aficionado of Trump Golf, and I would suggest we nominate him for the Pickled Onion Award, inspired by W.C. Fields. Not only is there a profound physical resemblance, but this guy says he only has one drink a day — as did W.C. Fields. Here’s what one of our fellow Zoomers, Panzergeek, wrote me about that recently. In the 1920s, the studio Doctor (where he was under contract) limited him to one glass of alcohol per day.  So Fields went to a glassblower, and commissioned a special glass that would hold 4 bottles of gin, one bottle of vermouth and a jar of pickled olives or onions.  He also had a 3 foot long glass stirrer made to accompany this, and modified the floor of his limo so that he could lash this behemoth to the floor of the car whilst he traveled hither and yon. Ergo, my nomination for the Pickled Onion Award, is this MAGAt. A big thank you to @PGA_JohnDaly who has always been one of our biggest fans. John thank you for the friendship. Everyone at @TrumpGolf truly loves you! #StaySafe #AmericaTogether pic.twitter.com/coWifMSa3W — Trump Golf (@TrumpGolf) April 9, 2020 You laugh now, but wait. You might see him being appointed to the task force any day now with Pence and Fauci, or maybe he’ll assist Jared and Ivanka with the economy. Mark my words. Your and my assessment of a joke is Trump’s idea of one of the “best people.”

Paul Krugman Nails Trump Administration ‘The Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight’

Paul Krugman has a gift for boiling down complex subject matter into simple statements. He nails the governmental mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic here. This is the blueprint for why we’re in the mess we are and where we’re going. First, we have a man-child as president: not only does he judge everything solely in terms of whether it makes him look good, he has a very short-term focus. Downplay the threat to win today's news cycle, never mind what might happen down the road 2/ — Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2020 He demands obsequious displays of personal loyalty from all around him — which means that everyone with principles, and almost everyone with expertise, has been driven out. We're led by the team that couldn't think straight 4/ — Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2020 Remember, the Bush administration crippled FEMA before Katrina; the degrading of epidemic response under Trump is the same kind of thing 6/ — Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2020 Finally, a lot of what you need to contain a pandemic is social rather than strictly medical. You need to get people tested, and have them stay home if the test is positive. But we have a society in which cost deters people from getting tested 8/ — Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2020 I have American friends currently in Europe considering whether to extend their stay in the belief that universal health care and leave policies will make them safer. They may well be right 10/ — Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2020 The main takeaway here, for me, is that our social system is what is going to put us the most at risk here. We don’t have a medical system that allows for medical care for all. Like the criminal justice system, there is one system for the rich and one for the poor. And there is no set up for testing and common sense containment efforts like staying home, because people need to eat and keep the lights on. And for many that means you go to work no matter what. We’ve got a lunatic at the wheel and we’re heading into crisis. If you don’t believe that Trump is totally out of it, listen to the clip below. He actually is qualifying himself as an expert in the field of epidemiology. Don’t fall off your chair and hurt yourself, just listen to this. Trump: CDC "doctors say how do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability." pic.twitter.com/NUSJJL8SQJ — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 6, 2020 This is vintage Trump. He alone has a grasp on it and he alone can fix it — whatever it is. He told us who he was during the campaign and unfortunately too many people believed him. So here we are, in a pandemic, with a lunatic in charge. This is Katrina on steroids.

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