Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pence Threatens Reporter Who Tweeted That Journalists Were Told They Would Need Masks For Clinic Visit

Vice President Mike Pence's office has threatened to retaliate against Steve Herman, a reporter for Voice of America, who tweeted that Pence's office told journalists the day before they would need masks for the visit to Minnesota's Mayo Clinic on Tuesday.

Pence did not wear a mask during his entire visit. It was newsworthy and there have been three official explanations (so far) as to why.

1. Pence said he wanted to look the patients "in the eye". (But (a) the masks don't cover the eyes and (b) the patients were all wearing masks.)

2. Pence said he tested negative for the virus and so, since he could not spread it to anyone else, he did not need a mask. (It's likely that most of the doctors and nurses do not have the virus and yet they wore masks because it increases safety. And it's the clinic's policy. At the very least, it sets a good example.)

3. Karen Pence (the VP's wife) appeared on Fox News today, claiming her husband was unaware of the clinic's policy until his visit was over.

It could not have been easy to top Pence's two excuses for idiocy, but Karen came through with flying colours. Pence is the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. AND he was a key participant in the formation of safety guidelines during the pandemic, such as wearing masks in hospitals. AND every other person in the entire building was wearing a mask (whether he or she tested positive or negative). AND the clinic had emailed Pence's office, reminding them of its no-exceptions policy regarding masks.

Pence's wife is saying he (a) did not remember his own guidelines, (b) did not notice a mask on every else's face, and (c) has a staff that doesn't inform him of important things throughout his day. Not a good look for the Veep.

I'm looking forward to Official Story #4.

Herman tweeted: "All of us who traveled with [Pence] were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required by the @MayoClinic and to prepare accordingly."

The Washington Post reported that the tweet "enraged Pence's staff". Herman was told he had violated the off-the-record terms of the planning memo for the clinic visit.

A friendly reminder to bring a face mask before your visit to a medical clinic during a pandemic. That's not exactly something that might compromise national security, is it?

Herman said he was notified that he was banned from further travel on Air Force Two. However, a spokesperson for Pence said punishment had not been decided, pending an apology from Herman or VOA.

A recent article in Vanity Fair ("Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner's Two Months of Magical Thinking") included this tidbit:
The same day [February 23], Trump finally pushed [Health and Human Services secretary Alex] Azar aside and put vice president Mike Pence in charge of the White House's coronavirus task force. ... He also knew that Pence could be controlled. ... In the West Wing, Trump often belittles Pence in front of others. "Pence lives in mortal fear of being booted off the ticket. Trump constantly reminds Mike that he almost didn't choose him," a Republican that heard Trump make the comments told me.
It seems likely that the real reason Pence refused to wear a mask was because Trump (who also refuses to wear a mask) told him: "I better not see you on Fox wearing a fucking mask! Now I want you out of my fucking sight .... as soon as you finish shining my shoes."

If These Guys Had Been Black, Things Would Have Gone A Little Bit Differently

White privilege in action.
Dave Chappelle Sticks & Stones):
I've given this a lot of thought. I don't see any peaceful way to disarm America's whites. There's only one thing that's going to save this country from itself. Same thing that always saves this country from itself. And that is African-Americans.
And I know the question a lot of y'all have in your minds is, should we do it? Fuck yeah, we should do it. No matter what they say or how they make you feel, remember, this is your country, too. It is incumbent upon us to save our country. And you know what we have to do.

Every able-bodied African-American must register for a legal firearm.

That's the only way they'll change the law.

Thursday, April 30: Donald Trump's Alternate Universe — Incoherence, Paranoia, Self-Aggrandizement, Diminishing Mental Stability — Population: 1

The "Are You Tired Of Winning Yet?" Edition

Last Night: Just Gotta Tweet A Few Thoughts From My Sharp, Logical, Dementia-Free, Big A-Brain Before Bed

Does The Very Stable Genius Understand This Tweet Direct Contradicts Everything He's Been Saying For Weeks?

Up And At 'Em!

In the hour between 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM, Trump posted 39 times (5 tweets and 34 retweets).

In the last 13 minutes of the hour, he retweeted 17 times.

At 7:32, he retweeted three of his own tweets in a span of only 16 seconds.

Are You Ready For Star Time?

Act Two

It's Always All About Him


The Leader Of The US Coronavirus Task Force Did Not Know He Should Wear A Mask During A Hospital Visit During A Pandemic (Yup, That's The Revised Lie He's Going With (And He Sent His Wife Out To Say It))

This Is Reality Under Trump Rule: States, Having Been Abandoned By The Federal Government During A Worldwide Pandemic, Are Forced To Have Military Personnel Guard Essential And Life-Saving Medical Supplies In Hidden Locations Because They Fear (Justifiably) That Trump's Goons Will Steal Them

Note: Black Americans Have Been Murdered By Police While Carrying Toy Guns

Happy Anniversary!

Is It February Again?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Trump: American Voters Are Smart And He Doesn't Think They "Will Put A Man In [The White House] Who's Incompetent"

I don't believe the polls [showing Biden ahead of Trump]. I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don't think that they will put a man in who's incompetent.

And I don't mean incompetent because of a condition that he's got now. I mean he's incompetent for 30 years. Everything he ever did was bad.
Donald Trump, April 29, 2020
I'm honestly at a loss for words.

Did reporter Steve Holland keep a straight face and, if so, how on earth did he do it?

Trump Fuming And "Unnerved" Over Dropping Poll Numbers, Blaming Everyone But Himself, Incapable Of Understanding Aides' Advice And Threatening To Sue His Campaign Manager

Post story added.

Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, April 29, 2020:
President Trump's advisers presented him with the results of internal polling last week that showed him falling behind former vice president Joe Biden in key swing states in the presidential race, part of an effort by aides to curtail Trump's freewheeling daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations. ...

One call on Wednesday — with Parscale patched in from his home in Florida and McDaniel from hers in Michigan — was designed to present grim polling data to the president to encourage him to reduce the frequency of coronavirus briefings or to stop taking questions, after seeing his numbers slip for several weeks, officials said.

Trump resisted the pleas, saying people "love" the briefings and think he is "fighting for them," a person with knowledge of the Wednesday conversation said. Trump has long been distrustful of polling data presented to him when the numbers are negative, aides say. ...

His political team has grown more concerned in recent weeks, as the briefings became more combative while the economy cratered and coronavirus deaths continued to rise.

On Thursday, Trump set off a new uproar with his suggestion that injecting bleach or other disinfectants could help kill the novel virus — prompting a scramble by the administration to contain the damage. ...

Aides described Trump as in a particularly foul mood last week because of the polling data and news coverage of his administration's response to the pandemic ...

Trump told Parscale that he did not believe the polling that had been presented to him, even though it came from the campaign and the RNC.

"I'm not losing to Joe Biden," Trump said at one point, both of these people said, adding that the president used profanities throughout the call. ...

Trump ranted to other aides for several days about a story in the New York Times that described him as spending much of his day watching television and calling people on the phone.

He was also angry about coronavirus testing — telling advisers that he was unfairly getting crushed in the media over shortages in the United States. ...

"He was just in a terrible mood with everyone late last week," a fourth official said.

Parscale came to the Oval Office on Tuesday ... He brought polling numbers that were more positive for Trump, and the president seemed in a far better mood, people with knowledge of the meeting said.
If Trump doesn't believe bad polling numbers, why would he get upset at them? After all, they are fake, right? He obviously knows the shitty polls are legit. That's why he was throwing fits and yelling at everyone. The anti-Times rant lasted "several days"! (But seriously, isn't it common knowledge he watches Fox and makes phone calls all day?)

I guarantee those later more positive polling numbers were fictional, put in front of him solely to get him out of his sour mood, like waving a shining toy to quiet a crying infant.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, April 29, 2020:
As he huddled with advisers on Friday evening, President Donald Trump was still fuming over his sliding poll numbers and the onslaught of criticism he was facing for suggesting a day earlier that ingesting disinfectant might prove effective against coronavirus.

Within moments, the President was shouting — not at the aides in the room, but into the phone — at his campaign manager Brad Parscale, three people familiar with the matter told CNN. Shifting the blame away from himself, Trump berated Parscale for a recent spate of damaging poll numbers, even at one point threatening to sue Parscale. ...

Faced with an increasingly uphill battle for reelection and aides trying to steer him in new, sometimes conflicting directions, Trump has grown increasingly unnerved in the last week about his reelection prospects. ...

"He's pissed because he knows he messed up in those briefings," one Republican close to the White House said of Trump lashing out.

Last Wednesday, two days before Trump lashed out at Parscale, his campaign manager and several other top political advisers briefed him on internal campaign and Republican National Committee data showing the President was heading for defeat in key battleground states. Parscale, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other advisers urged him to scale back his daily, combative news conferences and pointed to data showing that the briefings were hurting him with critical swing voters in those states.

Trump has complained to aides that his restricted travel has hurt his numbers, not the briefings.

One person familiar with the call said the message didn't appear to sink in with the President, who instead changed the subject away from the issue of briefings.
Digby comments:
I think it's interesting that he really, truly believes that his rallies are key to his re-election. The truth is that his rallies only make him feel good about himself.
Trump's rallies do absolutely nothing for his chances at re-election. At this point, is there any voter in the country still on the fence about this clown? He's addicted (literately) to the ego-boost of the cheers and chants. But beyond that, they are worthless. The rallies are a textbook definition of preaching to the choir - or, more accurately, "babbling incoherently to the choir".


A former White House official told Gabe Sherman at Vanity Fair that "Jared [Kushner] is running everything. He's the de facto president of the United States."

Wednesday, April 29: Donald Trump's Alternate Universe — Incoherence, Paranoia, Self-Aggrandizement, Diminishing Mental Stability — Population: 1

The "Tyranny Is The Government Telling You You Can't Go To A Hair Salon Because There's A Plague" Edition

First, A Spot-On Impression of Orange Foolius

The Main Act

Round Two

Trump Includes The Word "Sir", So You Know The Story Is Fiction

And 60,000 Was The Lowered Projection

"He's Also Doing The Rockets. He Likes Rockets. And — He Does Good At Rockets, Too, By The Way."

The New York Times Continues Its Crusade To Normalize Trump's Unprecedented, Murderous, Psychotic Behaviour


Harper's Weekly Review (April 29, 2020)

Harper's Magazine, April 29, 2020:
It was reported that in January, the Department of Health and Human Services' initial pick to head the U.S. pandemic task force was a former Labradoodle breeder. ...

New York City shut down its social distancing "snitch line" after the 3-1-1 text line was bombarded with pictures of penises and Adolf Hitler. ...

After stealing over 300 pounds of flour from a warehouse, a Chilean man was apprehended when the police followed a trail of flour to his home. ...

Police officers in Spain fined a man for taking his goldfish on a walk ...

Thailand's environment minister traveled to a zoo to demand that it stop making a chimpanzee ride a bike through the premises, spraying disinfectant ...

In Florida, officials removed from a highway an alligator that was "being aggressive with traffic" ...

New images from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico indicated that an asteroid that will fly by Earth next week has the shape of a face mask.

April 9: Fauci Estimates Final US Death Toll At 60,000
April 29: Number Of US Deaths Now At 60,495

ABC News, April 9, 2020:
[T]he nation's top health expert said Thursday that he thinks the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could be far less than the original White House projection of up to 240,000 lives ...

[Dr. Anthony] Fauci confirmed on Thursday morning that social distancing and behavior changes are "starting to have a real effect" and that the virus death toll may look "more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000" initially predicted.
The US passed 60,000 deaths less than three weeks after Fauci made those comments.

As I type this, deaths are at 60,495.

Trump: Wants To Give Big Corporations $500 Billion With No Oversight, Thinks Fox News Is Too Liberal, Wants Corporate Immunity When Businesses Re-Open During Pandemic, Has Allowed Millions Of Pounds Of Food To Rot As American Families Are Starving, Spent 4.5 Minutes Out Of 13 Hours At Briefings Expressing Empathy For Virus Victims (He Praised Himself 10 Times As Much), Banned Immigration But Made An Exception For Workers In His Vineyards, Stole 5 Million Masks From Veterans Hospitals, And Claimed (For At Least The 12th Time) That The Coronaviorus Will Simply Go Away One Day

The U.S. Plans To Lend $500 Billion To Large Companies. It Won't Require Them To Preserve Jobs Or Limit Executive Pay.
Washington Post, April 28, 2020
"The change to the term sheet between March and April is the smoking gun on the Fed's own culpability here," said Gregg Gelzinis, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. "The basic principle of the Cares Act was that if we're going to provide taxpayer funding to private industry, we need conditions to make sure it is in the public interest. This violates that principle."
McConnell Wants Corporate Immunity From COVID-19 Suits
Common Dreams, April 28, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding that Congress use the next COVID-19 stimulus bill to shield corporations from legal responsibility for workers who contract the novel coronavirus on the job, throwing his support behind a proposal pushed in recent weeks by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other right-wing organizations.
Mitch McConnell's Refusal To Grant Federal Aid To States Risks "A Prolonged Depression"
AlterNet, April 27, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been slammed by everyone from New York Times liberal Paul Krugman to Washington Post conservative Jennifer Rubin over his recent assertion that he has no desire to "bail out blue states" and that individual states that are struggling should apply for bankruptcy.

Journalist Robert McCartney, in an article for the Post, reports that according to "officials and analysts," McConnell's proposal is "a recipe for turning a potentially short recession into a prolonged depression."
Barr Orders Justice Department To Take Legal Action Against "Overbearing" Coronavirus Restrictions; Trump's Attorney General Claims That The Constitution Forbids "Undue Interference With The National Economy"
As the Department of Justice explained recently in guidance to states and localities taking steps to battle the pandemic, even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers. The Constitution also forbids, in certain circumstances, discrimination against disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy. If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.
Trump Administration Hijacked 5 Million Masks From Veterans Hospitals
Salon, April 27, 2020
The chief physician overseeing the Veterans Health Administration acknowledged that the Trump administration redirected a shipment of masks to the national stockpile after officials denied claims that health care workers were forced to work with inadequate protective equipment.

"I had 5 million masks incoming that disappeared," Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the veterans health system, told The Washington Post. ... After VA Secretary Robert Wilkie appealed to the agency, FEMA provided the VA with 500,000 masks, about 10% of the shipment they ordered. ...

[N]umerous governors and hospital officials have similarly reported that FEMA confiscated ventilators and protective equipment sent to their states. Some officials have started smuggling supplies from China, going as far as disguising the shipments in food trucks. ... Nurses in Florida and Georgia have staged protests outside VA facilities in response to the supply shortages.
Eric Trump Promotes "Quarantine Wine" On The Same Day That His Dad Spares Visas For Vineyard Workers
Salon, April 27, 2020
Though [Donald Trump] he initially vowed to "temporarily suspend" all immigration to the country, the president ultimately signed a more limited order. The ban did not suspend the visas for agricultural workers from which Trump Vineyards benefits. ...

Trump Vineyards is eligible to access a $9.5 billion agricultural federal relief fund during the pandemic, which has a carveout for grapes ...

Though the president initially said he would not access any Trump Org. funds during his administration, he quietly changed his Trump Organization contract a month after his inauguration, which allowed him to withdraw money at any time without disclosure. ...

The Trump administration has granted Trump's vineyard business dozens of hard-to-get migrant laborer visas over the past three years, which helped the president profit off of the backs of about 30 non-American workers. He has also increased H-2B visas, which benefit many of his other properties, while increasingly rejecting visas for skilled technology workers.
Out Of 13 Hours Of Trump's Coronavirus Briefings, Just 4.5 Minutes Of Empathy For Victims; Trump Spent 10 Minutes Praising Himself For Every 1 Minute He Spent Expressing Condolences For The Dead Americans
Common Dreams, April 26, 2020
As the world runs out of words to account for or describe the unhinged rantings of President Donald Trump when it comes to his daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic that has rocked the United States and other nations, a new analysis published Sunday details a shocking lack of sympathy expressed by the nation's highest ranking elected official. ...

The president has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60 percent of the time that officials spoke, according to a Washington Post analysis of annotated transcripts from, a data analytics company.

Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump – including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims. ... Trump also said something false or misleading in nearly a quarter of his prepared comments or answers to questions.
Mika Brzezinski Skewers Trump's Management Of Pandemic: "You're A Moron, You're An Idiot, You're A Joke"
Raw Story, April 27, 2020
"These people that were once, quote, movement conservatives, are nothing more than a Trump cult, personality cult," [MSNBC's Joe] Scarborough said. "That's why they can't even admit that this president is unfit for his office and that people are going to die in the future because of this, unless somebody figures out a way to get him to focus, be serious, and put seniors first, put people with pre-existing health conditions first, put this nation's health and safety and well-being first."

[Mika] Brzezinski pushed back against critics who say she and Scarborough have been overly wrought in their response.

"A lot of the president's pawns, whether they're in the media or whatever, will say, 'Oh, Joe and Mika, so upset,'" she said. "I want to point out something you said on your Instagram live this weekend. You would love to see the president be competent in this crisis. Unfortunately, that's not what we're getting, and people are dying. If you see a lot of emotion coming from this show, it's because we are frightened for the American people at this point, given the fact that the White House has shown zero competence in this crisis."
Trump Demands An "Alternative" To Fox News As He Accuses The Network Of Spreading Misinformation
Salon, April 27, 2020
Trump demanded an "alternative" to Fox News over the weekend as he accused the right-leaning network of disseminating Democratic talking points "without hesitation or research." ...

Trump also lashed out for the second weekend in a row at longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. The president called the veteran journalist "nastier to Republicans than even Deface the Nation or Sleepy Eyes" ... The president put the outlet on notice that its viewers, himself included, were "angry."
Yet Again, Trump Pledges That The Coronavirus Will Simply Go Away
Washington Post, April 28, 2020
During a news media availability at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump was presented with a comment he made more than two months ago.

"Today the U.S. hit a grim milestone of 1 million cases of the coronavirus," CNN's Jim Acosta said. "Back in late February, you predicted that the number of cases would go down to zero. How did we get from your prediction of zero to 1 million?"

"Well," Trump replied, "it will go down to zero, ultimately."

This reply [is] completely disingenuous. His comments in February weren't a vague assertion that the threat posed by the virus would pass. Instead, they were an assertion that the government was capably containing the virus and that the number of cases already presented would quickly winnow away. Obviously, he was wrong.
[The article provides evidence of 11 previous times Trump claimed the virus would simply disappear: February 10, 25, 26, 27, March 6, 10, 12, 30, 31, April 3, 7, 2020. On February 26, 2020, Trump said the 15 current cases in the US "within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero".
Why didn't Acosta use that phrase "within a couple of days" in his question? Trump would have been unable to give his usual bullshit answer.]

Trump's Vegas Hotel Is Accepting Reservations For Mid-May Despite The Ongoing Pandemic
The Daily Beast, April 27, 2020
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has recently been calling for resorts in the city to reopen, contrary to the advice of most medical experts.

The Trump Hotel in Vegas is situated just off of the Strip. It does not contain a casino, unlike most other high-end resorts in the area.
[Donald Trump is the only person in the history of the universe to go bankrupt running a casino.]

Jared Kushner Is MIA From WH Coronavirus Response After Stepping Into Lead Role
Salon, April 27, 2020
President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner "has been notably removed from coronavirus-related operations" in recent weeks after taking a leading role on supply chain issues, multiple White House officials told The Daily Beast. ...

The Daily Beast reported that the president has privately been "defensive" about his son-in-law's role and complained to aides that Kushner has not gotten the praise from the media which he deserves.

"[Jared] could be in his office just googling 'coronavirus,' show the results to the president and still get a gold sticker from his dad-in-law," one senior administration official who works with the coronavirus task force told the outlet. "He is solving the coronavirus like he's bringing peace to the [Middle East]."
Gaslighting On Lysol-Gate: Now Trump Is Denying He Said What We Heard Him Say
Salon, April 27, 2020
It's gone mainstream in recent years, but the word "gaslighting" used to be an esoteric term from the world of psychology and domestic abuse counseling. The word refers to the 1944 film "Gaslight," in which Ingrid Bergman plays a woman whose husband tries to drive her insane by hiding her belongings and otherwise manipulating her environment, and telling her that the changes she perceives are all in her head. Experts in domestic violence developed the term to describe the way that abusers in real life try to manipulate victims. The gaslighter works by denying reality, often when the facts are plain as day, with such conviction and repetition that the victim starts to question themselves and the evidence of their own senses.

For instance, this might take the form of the abuser denying that he hit his victim or falsely claiming that she provoked it, and then browbeating her until she accepts the lie and even starts to wonder whether she imagined the whole thing.

Under Donald Trump's administration, however, the term has ventured into politics. It's become a way to talk about how Trump and his defenders won't merely tell lies, but will stand by even the dumbest and most obvious lies, holding their ground until the defenders of reality simply give up fighting. This started from the very beginning of the administration, when Trump and his administration claimed his inauguration crowd was bigger than Barack Obama's, and insisted on repeating that lie and intimidating government agencies into backing it up. ...

With garden-variety lying, the liar tends to assume the target doesn't know the truth and so can be made to accept the lie as if it were truth. Gaslighting differs dramatically in that the target actually knows what's true. They experienced it, heard it or witnessed what really happened themselves. So what the gaslighter must do is convince the target to reject the evidence of their own eyes and ears.

Gaslighting is a useful term to explain what Trump did throughout this past weekend, in response to what we at Salon are calling "Lysol-gate," in which our president went on national television and suggested that injecting household cleaners into people's lungs might be a clever idea to fight the coronavirus that the medical profession clearly hadn't thought of yet.

The reason doctors haven't considered this idea is that it will kill the patient – and, I guess, also any virus lurking in his or her lungs. Trump is literally too stupid and lazy to know that fact, which was deeply embarrassing for him and anyone who supports him.
Fox Nation's Tomi Lahren Compares Compliance With Social Distancing Regulations To "Willful Slavery"
Salon, April 28, 2020
Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren on Monday compared compliance with social distancing regulations to "willful slavery" in a since-deleted tweet.

The slavery comparison was widely criticized on Twitter, including by the conservative commentator S.E. Cupp. "This is so offensive," the CNN host tweeted. "Not because it's politically incorrect, but because it's politically incoherent, dangerous, and straight up stupid."
Fox News' Tucker Carlson Downplays Coronavirus Death Toll: It "Isn't Nearly As Deadly As We Thought"
Salon, Igor Derysh, April 28, 2020
"Six weeks later, we are happy to say that curve has been flattened. But it's likely not because of the lockdowns. The virus just isn't nearly as deadly as we thought it was ...," Carlson said of a virus whose spread has caused more than 50,000 people in the U.S. in a matter of weeks. "Hospitals never collapsed. Outside of a tiny number of places, they never came close to collapsing ..."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, has both argued that the lockdowns and social distancing guidelines absolutely worked and questioned why they were not implemented on a national scale. Fauci also said that lockdowns could have saved more lives if they were implemented two weeks earlier.
Hannity Pledges To Treat 500 "Hero Medical Workers" To Yankees Game, But Play Is Currently Suspended
Salon, April 28, 2020
Trump backer Sean Hannity accepted a coronavirus charity challenge tossed his way by a Fox News colleague, posting on Twitter that he had purchased 500 Yankees tickets for medical workers in New York.
[Major League Baseball has made no decisions on when (or if) the 2020 season will be played. Will the schedule have 100 games? 50? 30? Where will the games be played? Will fans be able to attend?No one knows the answers to any of these questions. No tickets are being sold. Hannity is lying.]

Leader Of Anti-Lockdown Protest To "Reopen" North Carolina Reveals She Tested Positive For COVID-19
Raw Story, April 28, 2020
A leader of an anti-lockdown protest group in North Carolina says that she has tested positive for COVID-19 – and she's angry that she was forced to quarantine for two weeks to avoid spreading the virus to other people.

Local news station CBS 17 reports that Audrey Whitlock, a leader of the ReOpen NC protest movement, posted on Facebook this week that she has been under quarantine for the past two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19. ... "I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied my 1st amendment right of freedom of religion," she wrote.
American Vandal: Trump Reveals Our Staggering Incompetence Before The Whole World ... And It's Not Just About Trump
Salon, April 27, 2020
[I]t has been clear to me from the moment Donald Trump came down that elevator that if he won, the world order as we knew it, which was already unstable, was going to be turned upside down with no coherent plan to replace it. ...

Donald Trump is a completely incompetent leader – we know this. Literally any other president would have done a better job. He couldn't accept that the crisis was real and that his "plan" to spend the year holding fun rallies and smearing his Democratic rival was going to be interrupted by his duties as president. So he lived in denial until the situation was completely out of hand. ... [N]o other president would be so witless as to waste precious time and resources with magical thinking about quick miracle cures.

But it's not just him, is it? The U.S. government seems to have lost its capacity to act, and the private sector is so invested in short-term profit-making that it's lost its innovative edge. The result is that the United States of America, formerly the world's leader in science and technology, now only leads the world in gruesome statistics and body counts.

It's still unclear exactly why the CDC felt it had to make its own test when another test, created by a German lab, was already available. According to those in the know, Americans just don't use tests from other countries, ostensibly because our "standards" are so high. Apparently, they aren't. In this case, the test we created was faulty, causing weeks of delay, and there was some kind of contamination in the lab. ...

The government's inefficiency and ineptitude in producing, locating and distributing needed medical supplies, combined with Trumpian corrupt patronage toward his favored states, is staggering. ...

Not only is the U.S. not leading the response, it's barely participating in it.

The election of Donald Trump was about more than just this presidency. It signaled that America was no longer capable of competently governing itself, much less leading the world. Our devastatingly disorganized, scattershot response to the COVID-19 crisis has revealed that this problem goes much deeper than our politics.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Trump Cares More About Burgers Than He Does For American Lives

Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday, declaring US meat-packing plants essential businesses. Worker and food safety during the coronavirus pandemic is not even on Trump's list of concerns.

"We only wish that this administration cared as much about the lives of working people as it does about meat, pork, and poultry products," Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union president Stuart Applebaum said.

Food & Water Watch's Tony Corbo said Trump's order "is even worse than his suggestion to use disinfectant to treat sick people. It's deadly and foolish and will cause catastrophic harm."
Bloomberg News:
The order sets the stage for a showdown between America's meat giants, which have been pressing to reopen plants, and some local officials and labor unions who've called for closures in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.
The federal government should be stepping in to supplement food distribution networks to get our abundant frozen meat supplies to stores and food banks that need them. Instead, they're currying favor with giant corporations that have continuously put their bottom line above worker workers' health, food safety, and the vitality of our food supply chain.
The Environmental Working Group's senior vice president for government affairs Scott Faber:
Sending workers back to meat-processing plants without proper protection is tantamount to a death sentence. Rather than escalating this danger with reckless fiats, President Trump should be ensuring food and farm workers have adequate PPE, plenty of space to work safely and free testing—not to mention paid sick leave and medical care if they do get sick.

About 50% of all US workers would bring home more money each week from slightly-increased unemployment insurance than they would from their regular full-time jobs.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that's an argument in favor of raising wages, not rolling back benefits. A Wall Street Journal analysis found that the average weekly unemployment payment for a laid-off worker will rise to around $978 once the temporary $600-per-week increase from the CARES Act kicks in.

"Maybe we should pay people more," said AOC. Michele Evermore, National Employment Law Project, agreed: "We should be asking ourselves why underpaid workers are being expected to labor for too little money in the first place."


The Trump administration promised there would be 27 million testing kits available by March 31. That date came and went and soon Trump was patting himself on the back when the US had passed two million tests.

Trump has lied dozens of times, continually claiming the US is the top-testing country in the world. With the third-highest population of any country on the planet, of course the US will have a lot of tests. Looking at tests per capita, which puts every country on the same level, the US currently ranks 42nd in the world. (Do you think Trump knows the word "percentage"?)

These 41 countries doing a more comprehensive testing job are: Faeroe Islands, Iceland, UAE, Falkland Islands, Bahrain, Malta, Gibraltar, San Marino, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Kuwait, Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, Israel, Isle of Man, Ireland, Qatar, Channel Islands, Norway, Italy, Brunei, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Latvia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Russia, Greenland, Czechia, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and Belgium.

Trump now says approximately six or seven million tests is plenty. A senior Trump administration official told the Wall Street Journal that each state will be able to test at least 2% of their residents. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said: "If that's one-time, that doesn't do anything."

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
It doesn't set specific, numeric goals, offer a timeframe, identify ways to fix our broken supply chain, or offer any details whatsoever on expanding lab capacity or activating needed manufacturing capacity. Perhaps most pathetically, it attempts to shirk obviously federal responsibilities by assigning them solely to states instead. What we need is a clear, aggressive national strategic plan to dramatically ramp up testing and make sure tests are fast, free, and everywhere—and then we need the administration to implement it like people expect the president of the United States of America and his team to do.
Donald Trump is utterly incapable of doing anything for anyone at any time for any reason without getting something in return for himself. When he goes to a friend's birthday party, he probably expects a gift in return.

It's too bad Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are cowards who will not even consider impeaching Trump again.

On Tuesday, Trump publicly stated his latest "quid pro quo". He has heard the "blue states" are requesting some financial relief from the federal government, what with the ongoing and worsening global pandemic that Trump was told about in mid-November 2019 and then sat on his ass for four full months.

Well, blue states, relief might be coming. But he'd like you to do him a favour, though.

This time, Trump's quid pro quo is domestic. He's extorting and bribing US states with millions of Americans lives in the balance. He is not  a novice at this sociopathic behaviour. He was responsible for numerous deaths in Puerto Rico after withholding financial relief following a devastating hurricane (and the president of Puerto Rico did not seem to mind).

Someone want to ring up Susan Collins and ask her if she still thinks Trump learned his lesson from getting impeached?