Saturday, April 04, 2020

Trump's Gonna Trump (But The Media Still Expects Him To Eventually Mature)

When Donald Trump pretended to be "somber" for maybe five minutes last week, the mainstream media acted like the estimates of up to 200,000 deaths had (finally) made him take the pandemic seriously. His alleged "pivoting" did not even last to the end of that press conference.

The next day, Trump was back to his usual self, ranting incoherently, repeating his few catch phrases, insulting multiple reporters, and making wisecracks about having had sex with models.

On Saturday, Trump said that various governors were demanding unnecessary equipment because "it gives them that extra feeling of satisfaction" and he urged professional athletes to "get back" to playing their sports because "the whole concept of our nation wasn't designed for it. (It's true. The Founding Fathers were adamant that in this new nation baseball players must never be idle in April.)

Why the mainstream media doesn't understand by now that Trump cannot not act like a self-absorbed five-year-old is beyond me; or if they do know it, why they persist in lying to their readers. Trump's gonna Trump, as Digby says:
One might expect the president to understand by now that putting 50,000 people close together in a petrie dish (aka a football stadium) might not be all that smart ... [W]e'll be fighting him every step of the way to stay alive. ... [H]e has to convince the American people that he was a big hero who led the country to victory. I guess we're going to see if his powers of bullshit are strong enough to overcome the pile of dead bodies that will have piled up by then.
The United States's response to the coronavirus has been the worst of any country on earth by far. The Washington Post has published a long article looking at how the US came to be so "catastrophically overmatched" in the first 70 days of the crisis. The Post conducted 47 interviews with administration officials, public health experts, intelligence officers, and others involved in fighting the pandemic.
The failure has echoes of the period leading up to 9/11: Warnings were sounded, including at the highest levels of government, but the president was deaf to them until the enemy had already struck.

The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President's Daily Brief.

And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus ... as a lethal force that had outflanked America's defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered. ...

In recent days, Trump has bristled at reminders that he had once claimed the caseload would soon be "down to zero." ...

"This has been a real blow to the sense that America was competent," said Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the government's senior-most provider of intelligence analysis.
Other Articles:

"It's Not Like We Have a Massive Recession or Worse," Says Trump After 10 Million Lost Their Jobs in Two Weeks
"It's artificial because we turned it off," Trump said of the economic crisis, a distinction that makes no difference to the millions who have lost their jobs and their health insurance.
Common Dreams, April 3, 2020

Under Cover of Pandemic, Trump's NLRB Moves to Make Unionizing "Nearly Impossible for Workers"
"The Trump NLRB takes this moment to publish a rule that will make it harder both for workers to unionize and to keep unions they have. Shameful does not even begin to describe this."
Common Dreams, April 3, 2020

Fox News Stars Now Pretend They Never Said What They Said About the Coronavirus
Democrats and the media are the real downplayers of the coronavirus, claim two of Fox's biggest stars who spent weeks peddling dismissive talking points about the pandemic.
The Daily Beast, April 3, 2020

430,000 People Have Traveled From China to U.S. Since Coronavirus Surfaced
There were 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities before President Trump's travel restrictions. Since then, nearly 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have made the trip, some this past week and many with spotty screening.
New York Times, April 4, 2020

When the Invisible Hand Gives You the Finger
Corporate media shrug as elite declare loss of profits worse than loss of lives
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, April 1, 2020

Reagan-Era Medicare Changes Leave Us Vulnerable To Covid-19, Experts Say
In 1983, Congress, under Ronald Reagan, changed the reimbursement system for Medicare, transforming hospitals from institutions providing comprehensive care to factories shuffling patients in and out as quickly as possible. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the high price of these cost-cutting measures.
Who What Why, March 31, 2020

New York City Has Done Almost Nothing To Protect 70,000 People In Its Homeless Shelters From Coronavirus Spread
Approximately 100 people living in city shelters have tested positive for the virus. In other large cities, the number remains in the single digits. New York has done little to protect the approximately 63,000 people living in shelters or the streets, the result of years of poor decisions by Andrew Cuomo, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio.
The Intercept, April 1, 2020

Trump Administration Says Millions May Have to Wait 5 Months to Receive $1,200 Relief Check
"That's not even remotely fast enough for the millions of working people who have seen their hours slashed, their expenses rise, and their government refuse to take sufficient action."
Common Dreams, April 3, 2020

As Millions Struggle to Meet Basic Needs, Trump Organization Requests Financial Relief
"I'd be interested in knowing what help Trump and Jared are extending to their tenants as they ask for help themselves."
Common Dreams, April 2, 2020

Amid Critical Supply Shortage, Fema Is Spending Millions To Protect Trump Properties
FEMA has provided a small fraction of the necessary masks and ventilators. Federal officials knew of these shortages, but did nothing. Since 2017, FEMA has earmarked $41 million every year to provide security for Donald Trump's properties.
The Intercept, April 4, 2020

Coronavirus Hasn't Stopped Jared Kushner's Real Estate Empire From Hounding Tenants With Debt Collection, Eviction Lawsuits
At least 15 tenants in New Jersey and Maryland have been on the receiving end of lawsuits from Kushner-owned properties even after both states declared states of emergency.
The Intercept, April 4, 2020

"There's Going to Be Scandal Involved in This Bailout. It Is Unquestionable"
Here We Go Again! A discussion between Bill Moyers and Neil Barofksy, former chief inspector general of the TARP program, on big corporate bailouts.
Common Dreams, April 3, 2020

WaPo, April 8, 2017: "Trump Administration Ill-Prepared for Pandemic"

Bits and pieces from Jeffrey St. Clair's Roaming Charges of April 3, 2020:
+ Matt O'Brien: "New rule: anyone who thinks the cure is worse than the disease should be given the disease first."

+ NBC News: Week of April 13 is earliest Americans will see direct deposit relief payments from the government; paper checks could take as long as 20 weeks – nearly 5 months – for some Americans.

+ The Trump Administration is now saying seniors on Social Security must file a tax return to get a $1,200 check. This extra hurdle means millions of Americans will likely miss out on the payment.

+ At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that viciously attacks the lungs of humans, the Trump administration is rolling back the clean cars rule, permitting a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

+ The Thalidomide Solution: On March 11, the Food and Drug Administration said that it was postponing most inspections of foreign manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, medical devices and food imported into the United States.

+ Trump's new rule gutting the Migratory Bird Treaty Act could end up killing billions of birds. The American Petroleum Institute suggested in a regulatory filing that "the birds themselves are the actors, colliding or otherwise interacting with industrial structures."

+ The federal government has listed the coal industry to its list of critical infrastructure that's considered vital to public health, the economy, and national security, which is kind of like saying "virus" is essential to the public health.

+ It's not like the Trump administration is totally incapable of taking prompt actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Case in point: they moved swiftly to add firearms to the list of critical pandemic infrastructure.

+ While searching for something else, I came across this article in the Washington Post headlined: "Trump Administration Ill-Prepared for Pandemic." The date: April 8, 2017.

+ FEMA is warning states not to expect any shipments of ventilators until they are within 72 hours of a crisis. Crisis? What crisis?

+ After announcing he is finally utilizing the Defense Production Act to make ventilators, Trump says, "C-O-V-I-D 19. You know what that is. Right? Become a very famous term. C-O-V-I-D. COVID." [Yes, he really said that.]

+ I understand why Don Jr. and Eric didn't volunteer for military service (brain spurs). But that incapacity should in no way deter them from volunteering as human guinea pigs in clinical trials of untested potential COVID vaccines.

+ "We don't do body counts": The Pentagon this week explicitly barred military commanders from publicly reporting COVID-19 cases.

+ We don't do body counts, but we do place body bag orders: 100,000 for FEMA alone. Since our own funerals will probably be DIY affairs, I wonder how many are left on the shelves at Costco.

+ Only the Best People: The White House wanted to give Native American tribes $0 in the $2 trillion emergency stimulus bill. (Better than infected masks, I guess.)

+ Carnival Cruise CEO Arnold Donald is pleading for a bailout:
•They're registered in Panama
•5% of their workforce are American
•They pay less than 1% federal tax
•Many of their workers earn $500/mo despite working 12 hour days 7 days a week
+ Mike Pence Wednesday on CNN: "We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point." ... [L]et's be clear what he's admitting: Italy currently has the WORST death COVID-19 death rate in the world at 218 deaths per 1 million people ... That's an admission of staggering incompetence and negligent homicide. [The US is currently at 25 deaths per 1 million people. If the US had Italy's death rate, the toll would be at 72,800 right now.]

+ In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic’s human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.

+ South Korea had the same "intelligence" about China's COVID-19 crisis as Trump, yet skillfully and methodically managed to shackle the spread of the virus two weeks ago, while it rages here like a climate-change driven wildfire.

+ Biden surrogates have spent the last couple of days going back in their timelines to delete Brett Kavanaugh-related Tweets and Facebook posts in order not to have their "Believe the Women" standards invoked against Joe the Groper. But, hey, our sexual predator isn't as crude as their sexual predator.

+ Some things Biden doesn't equivocate about. For example, his unyielding opposition to single-payer health care. ... Joe Biden says he still opposes Medicare for All as the coronavirus crisis grows: "Single payer will not solve that at all." (Please go back to sleep, Joe. No one except Trump wants to hear you talk.)

+ Biden was asked by Chuck Todd if there's blood on Trump's hands. He responded: "I think that's a little too harsh."

+ Inmates at Rikers Island are being offered $6 an hour and protective gear to dig mass graves. Who will they get to dig the gravediggers' graves?

+ A rural Minnesota county has unexplained spike in coronavirus cases. Local public health expert thinks it's because of Fox News coverage dismissing the danger of the virus.

+ At some point, the people of Detroit and Flint are going to risk up and exact a mighty vengeance for two decades of unconscionable misery that has been inflicted upon them, as water shut-offs continue during a time of pandemic.

+ The National Zoo has euthanized Ambika, the elephant. She was 72 years old and had lived in DC for 59 years. ... Her keepers called her "The Queen." They gave her bok choy as her final meal.
Smithsonian Magazine:
The Zoo's other elephants Shanthi and Bozie, who had long bonded with the elderly female, were not present for the procedure, but were offered time to be with their deceased herd mate.

Scientists have long suggested that elephants undergo a grieving process that includes the exploring of the body as recognition of the death. "Elephants will commonly touch the temporal glands, ear canal, mouth and trunk tip. Often, they will make a rumble vocalization while inspecting the body. For approximately 15 to 20 minutes, Shanthi and Bozie walked around Ambika. They sniffed and touched her with their trunks. Although the pair usually communicate with squeaks, honks and trumpets, they were fairly quiet during this encounter."

CNN: "You Would Think [Trump] Would Be Humbled By Being Wrong So Many Times"

Trump Screws Over More American Workers, With An Assist From The Democrats, Of Course (75+% Of Workers Are Employed By Companies Exempt From Providing Paid Leave)

Donald Trump's daily praise and promised support for "the American worker" has turned out to be as false and meaningless as every other promise he has made in his life that didn't involve shoving fist-fulls of cash into his own pockets.

Who could have ever guessed?

Igor Derysh, Salon, April 3, 2020:
The Trump administration has quietly issued new guidance that will exempt many small businesses from having to provide some workers with paid leave during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Labor issued a temporary rule Wednesday that effectively exempted businesses with fewer than 50 workers from being required to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers whose children are suddenly at home from school or child care under the coronavirus stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump.

Democrats already agreed to exclude workers at large companies with more than 500 employees from being eligible for sick leave during negotiations with Republicans. As a result, more than 75% of American workers are employed by companies not required to provide them with sick leave during the pandemic.

The bill passed by Congress said businesses with fewer than 50 employees could be eligible for exemptions if they prevent the business from being able to function, The New York Times reported. The Trump administration's guidance has effectively exempted these businesses entirely from having to provide paid leave to workers who have to take care of their families, though it still requires them to provide paid leave if employees themselves get sick. ...

Economists also sounded the alarm over a provision that exempts health care workers. ...

"And just like that, the Congressional oversight provisions for the 1/2 TRILLION dollar Wall St slush fund (which were *already* too weak) are tossed away the day the bill is signed," [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.] tweeted. "This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt admin [with zero] accountability."

Two Weeks

Covid-19 in the United States, in the span of only two weeks:
March 20:  19,383 cases and   266 deaths
April  3: 279,068 cases and 7,396 deaths
The CDC recommends that all Americans wear cloth masks in public. Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the surgeon general, urged all Americans to comply:
The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, for example coughing, speaking or sneezing, even if those people were not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends and the task force recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult.
Naturally, Donald Trump refused:
You don't have to do it. I am choosing not to do it. It may be good. It is only a recommendation, voluntary. Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don't know. Somehow, I just don't see it for myself.
Dr. Steven Choi, the chief quality officer and associate dean at Yale New Haven Health System and Yale University School of Medicine:
For anyone, particularly the president of the United States, to ignore recommendations from the CDC is not only irresponsible but selfish.
Irresponsible and selfish? That's our man! But come on, who wants to meet his favourite dictators wearing a hospital mask on? It's embarrassing. Shows that you're weak, cowed by a germ or a scourge or a whatever you want to call it no one really know what to call it. ... The Times points out that Trump stopped receiving foreign dignitaries weeks ago.

I understand why he is refusing. He is extremely vain and wearing a mask sends the wrong message to his cult. If Trump is wearing a mask, then that must mean the virus is real, right?

I support Trump's right to not wear a mask. It increases his chances of getting the virus and then perhaps (fingers crossed) he'll get very sick and die a slow and painful death, with his only thoughts in his empty head a lifetime of humiliations and the knowledge that his enemies will laugh and laugh at him dying of a disease he didn't believe truly existed.

How Many New Yorkers Will Die Because Trump Refuses To Send Ventilators After Cuomo Was Mean to Him? ... The Trump Show Offers A Cliffhanger: "We're Gonna Find Out!"

Almost three years ago:

No One Knows Icebergs Better Than Me
Thanks, Obama.
#TheOrangeDeath Soap Opera

This Shitbag Is A Disgusting, Loathsome Human Being
Just Because We Are In The Middle Of A Global Pandemic Doesn't Mean We Don't Need Trump To Remind Us That He Has Fucked Several Models
He's Pissy Because He Didn't Get To Wank To Fox All Morning
All The Best Words
Kushner Says Some Outrageous Shit ("That's Our Stockpile, Not The States", i.e., Government Supplies Belong To Trump) And Trump Has The Government Website Re-Written To Match The Outrageous Shit)
Ask Him About This And His Head Will Explode (Assuming He Understands The Question)
Donald Trump – As Seen By The Rest Of The World