Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Transition To Treason!


Top officials in the Trump White House were aware in February 2019 that Russia was offering cash bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of American soldiers, a full year earlier than was reported last Friday, according to US officials with direct knowledge of the classified intelligence.

Donald Trump was given the information in his written daily intelligence briefing in late February 2019. Former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues he personally briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The UK government stated that Trump briefed Prime Minister Boris Johnson - but the White House is still sticking to its extremely implausible story that this information still has not been shared with Trump!

In early 2020, Trump was informed of Russia's offer of cash bounties yet again, after the US military recovered roughly $500,000 in US currency in a Taliban outpost raid, which bolstered suspicions that the Russians were offering money to Taliban militants. The White House claims Trump was also unaware of this information.
Fewer than 30 people have been convicted of treason in US history, but Donald Trump has accused at least 12 people/entities of "treason" in the past 2.5 years:
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok
Former president Barack Obama
Congressional Democrats (for refusing to clap during his State of the Union speech)
The news media
The anonymous author of a newspaper op-ed
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page
Former FBI director James Comey
Former top FBI official Andrew McCabe
California Democrat Adam Schiff
The attorney for the Ukraine whistleblower
The Justice Department (under the Obama administration)
A leader of Black Lives Matter

Rand Paul, Senate Coronavirus Hearing: "We Shouldn't Presume That A Group Of Experts Somehow Knows What's Best"

One key characteristic of the United States ever since its founding is the suspicion, disgust, ridicule, and hatred of knowledge.

This disdain of intelligence is nothing new, but I don't think it has ever been so publicly and proudly proclaimed by elected officials as it is now. It's equally frightening and breathtaking hearing people "in charge" insist that downplaying a deadly virus and placing trust in grossly ignorant people who favor prayer over science and have no clue what they are doing is the best course of action.




Kayleigh "I'll Never Lie To You" McEnany Describes Donald Trump As "The Most Informed Person On Planet Earth When It Comes To The Threats We Face"

And yet* . . .
*: . . . Trump:
doesn't know what the "19" in COVID-19 means
doesn't know the Florida MAGA-head yelled "White Power!" in the video he retweeted
doesn't know windmills don't cause cancer
doesn't know it is a bad idea to nuke a hurricane
doesn't know it is a bad idea to drink bleach
doesn't know England is a nuclear power
doesn't know Frederick Douglass is no longer alive (died in 1895)
doesn't know Thomas Edison is no longer alive (died in 1931)
doesn't know the wheel was not invented in the United States
doesn't know Belgium is not a city
doesn't know Paris is not in Germany
doesn't know the difference between North Korea and South Korea
doesn't know the difference between Syria and Iraq
doesn't know Puerto Rico is a US territory
doesn't know that he did not meet the president of the Virgin Islands (because he is the president of the Virgin Islands)
doesn't know that India shares a border with China (it's 2,520 miles long)
doesn't know the difference between England and the United Kingdom (in 2018)
doesn't know the difference between England and the United Kingdom (in 2019)
doesn't know Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom (in 2018)
doesn't know Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom (in 2019)
doesn't know that "Nipple" and "Button" are not real countries
doesn't know that the Kingdom of Wakanda is not a real country (The US Department of Agriculture listed it as a trading partner (it's the fictional home country of Marvel superhero Black Panther))
doesn't know Finland is not part of Russia
doesn't know how to pronounce Tanzania
doesn't know how to pronounce Minneapolis
didn't know there was so many countries in the world ("After I had won, everybody was calling me from all over the world. I never knew we had so many countries.")
doesn't know that Colorado does not border Mexico
doesn't know Kansas City's NFL team plays in Missouri
doesn't know you can't hike on the Tallahassee Trail (because it doesn't exist)
doesn't know that "Nambia's health system is increasingly [not] self-sufficient" (because the country does not exist)
doesn't know that one of the famous American Revolution battles was not fought in Concord, New Hampshire
doesn't know that the Continental Army did not take over the airports
doesn't know Mars is not part of the Moon
doesn't know "Kung Flu" is racist
doesn't know what Juneteenth is, even though it's a recognized holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia
doesn't know people can die from the flu
didn't know how popular the Coronavirus Task Force was, when he planned to disband it in the middle of the raging pandemic
didn't know about cutting the US pandemic response team, despite the existence of video from 2018 in which he talks about cutting the US pandemic response team
doesn't know the difference between a virus and bacteria
doesn't know that not testing for the coronavirus will not mean fewer infections
doesn't know "why was there the Civil War"
doesn't know Andrew Jackson was not involved in the Civil War (he died 16 years before it began)
doesn't know who David Duke is (when asked in 2016)
doesn't know Matthew Whitaker, who served as chief of staff to attorney general Jeff Sessions and then as US attorney general for three months
doesn't really know George Conway, who was a possible choice for US solicitor general and is married to Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's senior advisers
doesn't know E. Jean Carroll, who says she was raped by Trump in the mid-1990s; Trump says he never met her, but a photo from the 1980s shows them talking at a party. (Trump could establish his innocence by giving a sample of his DNA, but he has refused for years.)
doesn't know Gordon Sondland, who Trump appointed as Ambassador to the European Union after he gave $1 million to Trump's inauguration; described by Trump as a "great American"
doesn't know Lev Parnas, despite talking to him on the phone, having dinner with him; Parnas also posed for pictures with Trump and members of his family
doesn't really know sex-trafficker, pedophile, and rapist Jeffrey Epstein, despite saying in 2002 he'd "known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. ... [H]e likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."
doesn't really know Roger Stone, despite saying in 2019 that "Roger is somebody that I've always liked"
doesn't know about his relationship with Stormy Daniels, despite the existence of several pictures of them together
doesn't know about the $130,000 payment to Daniels, made by his personal attorney to keep Daniels's story of sex with Trump a secret
doesn't know George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign, despite tweeting a photo of himself and Papadopoulos from a March 2016 meeting
doesn't really know Paul Manafort, who was the campaign manager of Trump's 2016 campaign for three months
doesn't really know Michael Cohen, despite hiring him as his personal attorney and working with him for 10 years
doesn't know who Vladimir Putin is and has never met him and has never spoken to him and has never met him, despite claiming in November 2013 he had "a relationship" with Putin, bragging excitedly in March 2014 that Putin "sent me a present", boasting in May 2014 of speaking "directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer", and confirming in November 2015 that "I got to know him very well ... We were stablemates".

Trump abruptly did an about face in 2016 and started lying his empty head off.
July 2016: "I never met Putin, I don't know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I'm a genius. ... I never met Putin. ... I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me."
Also July 2016: "I have no relationship with him. ... I have no relationship with Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him. ... I don't know what it means by having a relationship. ... I don't have a relationship with him. I didn't meet him. I haven't spent time with him. I didn't have dinner with him. I didn't go hiking with him."
October 2016: "I don't know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along ... But I don't know Putin."
February 2017: "I don't know Putin."

I'm So Old I Remember When The President Committing Treason Would Have Been A Huge News Story

I'm so old I remember when news of the President of the United States committing treason by doing nothing for nearly 18 months after being told Russia was offering (and paying) cash bounties to killers of American soldiers in Afghanistan would have been an important, stop-the-presses event.


It was reported last Friday that the President was informed months ago that intelligence officials concluded the information was strong. "Officials developed a menu of potential options ... [including] an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step..."

After the information was public, the President waited two days before calling the story "fake" and claiming he was never given this information. It's true the President refuses to read his daily briefing and is unable to sit still and pay attention when the information is presented to him in another way, but his admission of not being told reveals he is not actually in charge at the White House. He gives the impression that he is a mere prop, nothing more than window-dressing. Anyway, US intelligence officials contradicted the President's denial, stating he was briefed in writing in late February 2020, with one official specifically mentioning February 27.

The AP reported late Monday night that the President was first informed in early 2019.

The President knows this information now. What is he doing?

On Sunday, he tweeted:
Nobody briefed or told me, [the Vice President], or [my] Chief of Staff ... about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an "anonymous source" by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us..... ...Nobody's been tougher on Russia than [my] Administration. ... Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax. Who is their "source"?
This statement is quite remarkable. The President is claiming:
1. Not only was he not told, but the Vice President was also kept in the dark.

2. It was reported that money had been paid for at least one killing and the Pentagon is investigating other incidents, but the President refers to these "so-called attacks". Are the dead soldiers "fake" as well?

3. No one except the President is denying this report. The National Security Council, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the CIA have all declined to comment (which tells you something right there).

4. "Nobody's been tougher on Russia"? Dude! Everyone has been tougher on Russia. One administration source said recently that the President was "inordinately solicitous" of the Russian leader's admiration and approval, talking on the phone like a giddy schoolgirl, "mostly about himself, frequently in over-the-top, self-aggrandizing terms". The source said: "He's playing with something he doesn't understand."

5. The President says this is "probably" a phony story? Now he's not sure if it's actually "fake"?

6. The Russia Hoax was most certainly not fake. When US intelligence was certain that Russia had helped the President cheat in 2016, the President chose instead to believe the Russian president when he said it had not happened. He also criticized a bill imposing sanctions on Russia after Congress passed it by veto-proof majorities.

7. Nowhere in these two tweets is there any anger that another country has paid gunmen to murder American soldiers. It's a rare display of reticence from a guy who has never in his entire life been shy about insulting anyone.
8. "There have not been many attacks on us". ... Those eight words give the game away. The President is claiming this story, which now may not be fake, is not such a big deal, because not very many US soldiers were murdered in this "cash per head" deal. This is exactly (one of) the same excuses trotted out when the President was impeached after being caught trying to get Ukraine to help him cheat in the 2020 election: He didn't get any useful dirt on his opponent and eventually released the aid money, so there was no crime. (Which would be like saying you should not be arrested after trying to kill someone because the bullet missed its target, so where is the crime?)
The utter silence from the President's party since Friday is deafening, though logical. They have been quick to condemn the removal of memorials and statues of traitors to the US, so we should not expect any condemnation of the President for also committing treason.

Back on September 26, 2019, the President said:
You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.
Eight Republican lawmakers attended a White House briefing on Monday to learn more about these allegations and eight Democrats will be briefed on Tuesday morning.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted the President STILL had not been given any information. She could not explain why 16 lawmakers from both parties would be freely given extensive intelligence information, but the President would not.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The 6 Worst Days For New US Virus Cases Have Been The Last 6 Days (Nearly 11 Weeks After Trump Claimed Cases Had Peaked)

Donald Trump, April 15, 2020:
"Nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases."


On the same day Trump made this pronouncement, the US recorded a record 30,521 new cases. That number was topped two days later, with 32,368 new cases. On April 24, the US again set a new mark, with 38,958 cases and a record number of deaths (3,179). The US also had more than 36,000 cases on May 1.

While cases declined during May and first half of June, they have been increasing lately. The numbers of new cases are declining in only two of the 50 states (Connecticut and Rhode Island).

June 19 was the first day since late April with more than 33,000 new cases. The US saw more than 40,000 new cases for the first time on June 25 and came close to 50,000 new cases the next day. The six days with the highest number of reported new cases have been the past six days:
June 24:  38,412 
June 25:  40,212 
June 26:  47,341 
June 27:  43,581 
June 28:  40,540 
June 29:  44,734
In the last week, there have been at least 4,149 American deaths from SARS-CoV-2. The US death toll is nearly 130,000.

Although the US has only 4% of the world's population, it accounts for 25.7% of the world's cases and 25.1% of the world's deaths.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Trump Sabotages His Campaign "On An Almost Daily Basis" With Racism, Self-Pity, Childish Behavior, And Other Inanities; Fox News: Tense GOP Operatives Raising Possibility That "Fragile" Trump Might Quit Race If Poll Numbers Keep Dropping

Donald Trump is breathtakingly stupid, easily-triggered, and pathologically desperate for attention that even as his re-election campaign circles the drain - the co-chairman of a pro-Trump super PAC describes his numbers as "atrocious" - Trump refuses to listen to anyone.

Trump's advisors suggest ways to boost Trump's failing campaign, but he sabotages those efforts "on an almost daily basis" with demented, inane, or racist comments.

Trump's advisors tell him "Do X and your support will increase." Trump does Y instead. His support drops and Trump angrily blames his advisors (even though he did the opposite of what they said). Rinse. Repeat.

The Washington Post reports that Trump is "losing traction even among core constituencies" and his campaign team is "grappling with how to resuscitate his imperiled" campaign.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie told ABC News that Trump must change both "the substance of what he's discussing and the way that he approaches the American people". Joe Biden's numbers are rising and he "hasn't said a word. ... No discredit to [Biden] — if you're winning without doing anything, why do anything."

Some of Trump's advisers and allies are pushing for big changes, including the idea of a major staff shake-up. But the biggest obstacle is Trump himself. Various people in his circle are "trying to convince" him to act "more disciplined in his message and behavior". Trump's constant need "to portray himself as the victim" has greatly frustrated them "and they have urged him to stop the public displays of self-pity".

Meanwhile, Trump is asking his advisers if he should coin a new nickname for Biden. Trump is worried that "Sleepy Joe" is not damaging enough. Trump is considering "Swampy Joe" or "Creepy Joe". Some advisers have urged him to stop using the nickname. In a tweet on Sunday, Trump tried out "Corrupt Joe".

In the last week, Trump has made several racist comments about the coronavirus, shared a video of a supporter yelling "white power" at protesters, accused Barack Obama of "treason", and referred to the anti-brutality protestors as "hoodlums", "thugs" and "terrorists", and promised "retribution".

On Sunday, a Fox News (!) reporter tweeted:
GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility that @realDonaldTrump could drop out of the race if his poll numbers don’t rebound. Over the weekend I spoke to a sample of major players; one described Trumps current psyche as “fragile.” ... [T]he speculation indicates how tense GOP operatives are about Trump losing and the party losing the senate and having their entire agenda abolished in a leftist wave election.
Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale rejects the results of public polls and blames the media for Trump's current problems. And Trump does, too. While he is being urged to appeal to a wider range of voters, rather than only his hard-core supporters, Trump has replied that he does not believe the polls. He is convinced there is more enthusiasm for him than for Biden and that "10 points" should be added to his numbers. Trump believes that the public will eventually agree with his stance against tearing down Confederate monuments and statues and appreciate his "law and order" message.

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland:
In conservative places like Ohio, you really wonder if what Trump is selling will work again. NASCAR is banning the Confederate flag at races. Military leaders are speaking out against him. If the NFL starts again, you'll see a lot of people kneeling. This is not the same country that it was in 2016.
Also: Hours before Trump's rally in Tulsa, his campaign ordered the removal of thousands of "Do Not Sit Here, Please!" stickers from seats in the arena that were intended to establish a proper distance between attendees, according to video and photos obtained by the Washington Post.

Removing the stickers was in violation of the arena's safety plan. Management had purchased 12,000 do-not-sit stickers and, on the morning of the rally, put a sticker on approximately every other seat in most of the arena. Trump's campaign told them to stop and then removed the stickers.

In a video clip obtained by the Post, two unidentified men — one in a suit and one wearing a badge and a face mask — can be seen pulling stickers off seats in a section of the arena. Doug Thornton, executive vice president of ASM Global (the venue manager), told Billboard Magazine:
They also told us that they didn't want any signs posted saying we should social distance in the venue. The campaign went through and removed the stickers.
Despite the evidence, the Trump campaign denied removing any stickers.

Trump Posts "White Power" Video; Claims He Was Never Told Russia Paid Bounties To Have US Troops Killed; Issues An Off-Topic "Denial"; Goes Golfing For 365th Day As Prez


He's A Busy Man


The Real Stories


Daddy Issues

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Trump Has Known Russia Was Paying Militants To Murder US Troops For Four Months; He Has Done Nothing But Boast About His "Great Friendship" With Putin

***
Donald Trump has known since late March 2020 that Russia has offered (and, reportedly in some cases, paid) cash rewards to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan for murdering American soldiers.
For almost four months, Trump and his administration have said nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. In early May, Trump boasted of his "great friendship" with Russia and Vladimir Putin. "By the way, getting along with Russia is a great thing."

In mid-May, Trump sent at least 200 ventilators that were desperately needed to save American lives to Russia, in "rapid fulfillment" of a request Putin made during a phone call with Trump.

No Republican Senator or member of Congress has said an unkind word about Trump showing less concern for US soldiers than for statutes of slave-owning traitors to the United States. Not even one.

Trump believes quieting kneeling during the national anthem is "disrespectful", but if you pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers, he will offer you a personal invitation to the G7.

Former FBI acting Director Andrew McCabe was asked if Trump could be an asset of Russian intelligence. "I think it's possible."

It's difficult to believe Trump could be connected with anything resembling "intelligence". At the very least, he is a useful idiot to promote Russian interests.

How Many Electoral Votes Does Fox News Have?

Donald Trump Must Resign

At this moment, we are in the midst of one of the worst governing failures in American history. When all is said and done, it may end up being the worst since the Civil War. There is no country on Earth this far into this pandemic that has bungled it this badly. And we need leadership and a leader to get us out of this. But we do not have that leader. We have Donald Trump.

From the very first day, this has been a terrible presidency. From the first moment, from the first speech, it has been terrible throughout. From his lawlessness to his incompetence, what he has done to immigrants and immigrant children, what happened with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico – which was a canary in a coal mine – for putting his personal interest ahead of the country, which was what he was impeached for. The constant attacks on the rule of law, the disgusting, despicable bigotry, and on and on and on. But we have reached a new depth. As coronavirus cases race back up, the president ignored warnings from his public health experts. That resulted in tens of thousands of preventable deaths. And we're looking at tens of thousands more.

Right now, we are seeing our chance as Americans to get back to some semblance of normalcy, the way other countries have – with work and school and even sports. We're seeing it slip away because of Donald Trump. We are suffering through the incompetence of a man who took a huge inheritance and squandered it on stupid glitzy investments and bankrupted his company six times because he was not up to the task.

If this presidency had creditors, the virus's resurgence this week would have been a default event. Only it is not his creditors who are suffering. It is us. It is the people who could have survived this virus. It is friends and loved ones in nursing homes, and the people on the front lines, and the ones working in meat-packing plants, and the ones serving time in prison. It is everyone who has lost a job and every small business that shut down.

Things are falling apart because of him. And Republicans know it. But all they do is complain about his tone or they send some passive-aggressive tweets while professing their loyalty. The problem is not his tone. There is not going to be some course correction.
Donald Trump does not learn. He is not going to get good at this. He is not going to change. He has failed – definitively. And it is an urgent matter of public health, of public safety at this moment, for the president, Donald Trump, to resign.
Hayes made his necessary and heart-felt plea before the above story broke.

Publisher's Initial Listing For Mary Trump's Book About Her Dysfunctional Family Gave Her Name As "Mary Compson" (From Faulkner)

About 20 years ago, Mary Lea Trump began a new career. As the story below notes, she studied patients who were delusional, hallucinatory and suicidal. Over the years, she contributed to a book on treating schizophrenia, wrote a dissertation on stalkers, and became a clinical psychologist.

She earned a master's degree in literature from Columbia University and a doctorate in psychology from Adelphi University. She has taught courses in trauma, psychopathology, and developmental psychology. She examines her own family's history (including her famous uncle) in Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, which is scheduled to be published next month.

As Michael Kranish of the Washington Post writes, the Trump family is trying to block publication of the book, claiming a confidentiality agreement forbids Mary Trump from writing about her family.

Two days ago, a Queens County Surrogate's Court denied the family's petition, but it was refiled yesterday with the New York State Supreme Court.

A few years after her alcoholic father (Fred Trump Jr., Donald Trump's brother) died at age 42, Mary
attended Tufts University, where she studied the Southern novelist William Faulkner. In a seminar with English professor Alan Lebowitz, Mary and her 15 or so fellow students analyzed the Compson family portrayed in novels such as The Sound and the Fury.

The Compsons bore some similarities to her own family: Like Donald Trump's mother, the Compsons immigrated to the United States from Scotland, and the family was riven by dysfunction. ...

"She was just as smart and accomplished as any I've taught in 40 years," Lebowitz said. "She took a seminar on William Faulkner with me and she wrote two absolutely stunning papers, long, deep and elegant. We studied an enormously complex, interesting writer and she got deeply into it because she is a deep thinker. ... I knew that her father had been a very sad story and that she was carrying the burden of that story." ...

[I]t was around this time [2000], after working on a master's degree in English at Columbia University, that she served in a voluntary role in the study of schizophrenia patients, assisting senior social worker Rachel Miller at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

Miller said Mary Trump showed an intense interest in understanding what drove people into psychological dysfunction. "She went into a situation that is hard to see. Many doctors and social workers couldn't go there, it was so frightening to see somebody losing their mind," Miller said. ...

Later, when Miller needed help on a book she co-wrote, Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, about the study, she said Mary worked long hours to help her research and write the manual, which became popular in the field and with families of people with the disease.

Mary Trump continued her studies at Adelphi University, where she earned a master's degree in psychology in 2001, a master's in clinical psychology in 2003, and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2010, a school official said. ...

Last year, according to corporate filings, Mary created a company that echoed the name of the tragic family in Faulkner's novels: Compson Enterprises. In an initial listing for her book, designed to keep the project a secret, her name was given as Mary Compson.

WH Virus Task Force Holds First Meeting In Two Months; 70,000 Americans Have Died Since Last Briefing; Pence Lies About Isolated Outbreaks, Cases Increasing In 30 States

The White House Coronavirus Task Force held its first press briefing in almost two months today. Since its last briefing, more than 70,000 Americans have died.

Mike Pence led the briefing and pretty much repeated the same shit he was saying two months ago. He said nothing about the testimony under oath yesterday from the head of the CDC that the number of cases is likely 10 times higher than reported. He refused to say that Americans should wear masks in public. He offered nothing more than "hope and prayers" to the sick and dying. He lied and lied and lied and lied ... And then he left, refusing to answer even one question.

Here's one particular lie:
Travel was never suspended and it was never all. Trump has been lying about this for a long time. So has Joe Biden.
For almost seven weeks - from May 2 to June 18 - the United States had only one day with more than 30,000 new cases.

The US topped 33,000 cases on both June 19 and 20.

In the last four days, the number of new cases has been:
June 23:  36,038 (most new cases since April 24)
June 24:  38,412 (first instance of consecutive days with 36,000+ new cases since pandemic began)
June 25:  40,212 (most new cases in US since pandemic began)
June 26:  47,341 (most new cases in US since pandemic began)

Friday, June 26, 2020

"Does Trump Simply Love The Idea Of People Dying?"

At this point, none of the questions asked below are outlandish.

Thom Hartmann, Common Dreams, June 25, 2020:
Two weeks after America diagnosed its first case of COVID-19, Republicans in the United States Senate (with the single exception of Mitt Romney) refuse to vote to impeach Donald Trump.

They decided he couldn't do much more damage than he already has, and, as Senator Susan Collins suggested, he would back down from his most outrageous behavior because his hands had been slapped by the House of Representatives.

Now, newly empowered and feeling invincible, he seems hellbent on a crusade to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Nobody knows why Trump is so enthusiastic about encouraging people to get sick and die from COVID-19, although there are a couple possibly viable theories.

Trump's and Republicans' rhetoric all shifted a day or two after April 7, the day that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and other national media reported that Black and Hispanic people were dying of COVID at about twice the rate of white people. Is it possible Trump and the racists in his Party think this is a good way to reduce the Black and Hispanics population, or at least that it's not an issue for white people?

Another possibility has to do with Freedomworks, the group that was largely raised to prominence by rightwing billionaires and helped fund the so-called Tea Party movement. Billionaires want their people back at work, be they in refineries or meat processing plants or retail stores, and they know that if some of those workers get sick and die there's a never-ending supply of poor, unemployed people willing to replace them.

A third possibility is that Trump simply loves the idea of people dying. This is the most bizarre of all these possibilities, but it appears to be a characteristic shared by strongman governments around the world, from Duterte in the Philippines who encourages police to murder drug users to Bolsonaro in Brazil who is enthusiastically taking actions that are killing indigenous people in the Amazon.

As we hit what CNN is calling "apocalyptic levels" of coronavirus infections, it would be really useful to know why Donald Trump is so enthusiastic about so many Americans dying.

Why did he refuse to allow America to use the World Health Organization coronavirus test kit back in January, February, March—and to this day?

Why did he spend two months denying the obvious fact that this virus was coming to the United States and was deadly, leaving us utterly unprepared?

Why does he refuse to set a good example for Americans by wearing a face mask? Is he more concerned about smearing his makeup than the death of 200,000 Americans?

Why did he order his goons to intercept shipments of personal protective equipment and ventilators going to blue states? Where is all that equipment that he hijacked, and does he plan to offer it exclusively to red state governors? Is all this death just about politics?

Why is he shutting down testing sites in multiple states next week after bragging in his Tulsa rally that he told his people to "slow down" the testing?

Is it possible he's trying to let things get so bad that a vaccine in the fall will be seen as an effective October Surprise? Is that why the vaccine companies have gotten billions of federal dollars in what Trump calls "Operation Warp Speed" while rural hospitals across the country continue to close?

Since the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister just after the American Civil War, the world has known how to deal with infectious diseases. Why has Trump worked so hard to convince his followers to ignore almost 200 years of medical science?

And what is it about right-wing leaders embracing death by pandemic? If Trump was the only leader in the world doing this, it might make it easier to figure out. But wealthy oligarchs who have taken over countries around the world are doing the same thing.

Why do these leaders want their people to die? Why does Trump want more Americans to die?
Media critic Eric Boehlert summarizes the importance of determining Donald Trump's motives this way:
[T]he media's preferred storyline that suggests Trump is simply incompetent doesn't add up because Trump has made the wrong decision every single time in terms of how crises like this are supposed to be dealt with. ... It's increasingly not believable for the press to suggest Trump has been distracted or inept during this crisis, in part because of the level of White House uselessness has become so staggering.

Maybe Trump's vengeful. Maybe he wants to wreck the economy to create investment opportunities? He's under the thumb of a foreign entity? He wants to cause panic and cancel the November elections? He's a fatalist? Who knows. And honestly, the specific "why" isn't what matters now. What matters is asking the difficult questions and pondering what the Trump presidency is truly about, no matter what lurks in the shadows….

Now the press needs to shift some of its focus and ask the truly alarming questions about Trump and his motives. Because we still don't know why he essentially ordered the federal government to stand down for the virus invasion.
Psychologist and psychotherapist John Gartner refers to Donald Trump as a malignant narcissist, whose mental pathologies compel him to hurt and kill large numbers of people — including his own supporters.

Dr. Gartner told Salon back in April that violence and sadism are central to Trump's decision-making. Trump enjoys causing harm and suffering and the 125,000 dead Americans during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is part of his addiction to causing harm.
Malignant narcissists are very sick people. They are sick in such a deep, disturbed and dark way that a normal person cannot comprehend such behavior. Therefore, normal, mentally healthy people cannot imagine or understand the mind of a malignant narcissist. ...

Trump is both denying responsibility ... [and] sabotaging the efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic. This is a very important aspect of Trump's behavior. Trump is not just deflecting blame onto the governors, he is actively interfering with the governors' ability to do their job. Trump is not just incompetent. He is actively engaging in sabotage. ...

That is a function of how the psychology of a malignant narcissist is structured. When Trump says things such as, "I have total power," that's the grandiosity. "I'm in total control" is a function of Trump's paranoia, where everything bad is projected outward. Therefore, anything negative or bad is someone else's fault. ... The grandiosity and "greatness" are all him. Trump's mind runs on a formula which bends and twists facts, ideas and memories to suit his malignant narcissism. This is why Trump contradicts himself so easily. He lies and makes things up. His fantasies all serve his malignant narcissism and the world he has created in his own mind about his greatness.

The fourth component of Trump's malignant narcissism is sadism. That part of Trump's mind is more hidden. People such as Trump ... are driven to cause harm to other people. Trump's life is proof of this. He enjoys ripping people off and humiliating people. He does this manically and gleefully. He has lied more than 16,000 times. He threatens people online and elsewhere. I believe that Donald Trump is also a sexual sadist, who on some basic level enjoys and is aroused by watching people be afraid of him. In his mind, Trump is creating chaos and instability so that he can feel powerful.

Professor of psychiatry and psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg called that phenomenon "omnipotent destructiveness." The bullying, the violence, the destruction, frightening people, humiliating people, getting revenge and the like — such behavior is what Donald Trump has done his whole life. It is who Donald Trump really is. Unfortunately, too many people are still in denial of that fact. ...

I also believe that Donald Trump is democidal. I would even go so far as to say that he is a "democidal maniac". If you look at human history there is one trait that all malignant narcissistic leaders have in common: They kill mass numbers of their own people. Why would Donald Trump be any different? ... Malignant narcissists like Donald Trump view other human beings as kindling wood to be burned for their own personal enrichment and enlargement and expansion. ...

Malignant narcissistic leaders kill many of their own people through wars and political terror, but also through willful incompetence. These types of leaders actively do things that will kill large portions of the population. Causing harm is a type of addiction for them. ...

Like in a relationship, Donald Trump is the abuser. He is the husband or father who is abusing his partner or children or other relatives. The American people are like a woman who is leaving her abuser. She tells her abuser, "That's it! I am done with you!" She has her keys in hand and is opening the door of the house or apartment to finally leave. What happens? The democidal maniac Donald Trump will attack us, badly. Make no mistake. Donald Trump is going to find a way to attack and cause great harm to the American people if he believes that he will lose the 2020 election.
Abby Zimet, Common Dreams columnist, points out "the yawning, murderous void where leadership should have been".
Now, using the demented illogic of avoiding pregnancy by skipping a pregnancy test and halting climate change by not tracking climate, Trump wants to cut federal funding for COVID-19 testing at 13 sites in five states, including some seeing surges, because, in his immortal words, "When you do testing...You're going to find more cases." His malignant idiocy was on full, awful display at his appearance in Arizona, where he flouted both CDC guidelines and state law by packing several thousand maskless Students for Trump into a mega-church that falsely claimed it had purified the air, darkly ranted the "left-wing mob is trying to abolish our heritage," and spewed endless lies about a #TrumpVirus he grotesquely called "Kung Flu" and "China Virus" because he clearly hasn't seen this video - his dumb wall stopped Covid, it's "going away," we'll have a vaccine "very soon," "people get sick from the other," and besides, "some people can't explain what the 19" means. Then, sweating like a pig, he said the quiet homicidal part out loud: "I said to my people, slow the testing down please." Many weeks and bodies ago, some were debating if he was criminally responsible for the mounting death toll. Now, it's clear: Cue hashtag #TrumpKillsUs and two damning, truth telling ads - from the Lincoln Project and the new grassroots Meidas Touch - charging him with mass negligent homicide. Yes. Pass 'em on.

Global SARS-CoV-2 Death Toll Could Be 60% Higher Than Reported

Reading about the claim by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely 10 times higher than the number of reported cases. That would mean approximately 25 million Americans have been infected so far.

That led me to several Financial Times articles from a few months ago discussing under-reported cases and deaths around the world.

FT looked at the average number of deaths in 14 countries from March 1-April 15 for the previous five years and compared it to the same time period this year, giving an idea of "excess deaths". David Spiegelhalter, the Winton professor of public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, says it's "the only unbiased comparison" given the problems measuring deaths and their causes.

In those 14 countries, the death toll from SARS-CoV-2 could be 60% higher than what has been reported officially.

Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico's health under-secretary and coronavirus tsar, admitted the true infection level in Mexico is at least eight times higher than reported. In Brazil, the real number of cases might be 12 times more than officially reported.

In Ecuador's Guayas province, there were 245 Covid deaths reported between March 1 and April 15. But the region saw more than 10,000 additional deaths than in a typical year.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, there were 1,400 more deaths than the historical average, but only 90 reported Covid deaths. Italy's Lombardy region reported 4,348 Covid deaths, but had more than 13,000 excess deaths.

Global Coronavirus Death Toll Could Be 60% Higher Than Reported
John Burn-Murdoch, Valentina Romei, and Chris Giles, Financial Times, April 26, 2020
The death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, according to an FT analysis of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries.

Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods.

If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000.

To calculate excess deaths, the FT has compared deaths from all causes in the weeks of a location's outbreak in March and April 2020 to the average for the same period between 2015 and 2019. The total of 122,000 amounts to a 50 per cent rise in overall mortality relative to the historical average for the locations studied.

In all the countries analysed except Denmark, excess deaths far outnumbered the official coronavirus death tolls. ...

The extra deaths are most pronounced in urban areas with the worst virus outbreaks, and have completely overwhelmed reporting mechanisms in some. This is especially worrying for many emerging economies, where total excess mortality is orders of magnitude higher than official coronavirus fatalities.

In Ecuador's Guayas province, just 245 official Covid-related deaths were reported between March 1 and April 15, but data on total deaths show that about 10,200 more people died during this period than in a typical year — an increase of 350 per cent. ...

In the northern Italian region of Lombardy, the heart of Europe's worst outbreak, there are more than 13,000 excess deaths in the official statistics for the nearly 1,700 municipalities for which data is available. This is an uptick of 155 per cent on the historical average and far higher than the 4,348 reported Covid deaths in the region.

The region surrounding the Italian city of Bergamo registered the worst increase internationally with a 464 per cent rise in deaths above normal levels, followed by New York City with a 200 per cent increase, and Madrid, Spain, with a 161 per cent increase.

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, data on burials shows an increase of 1,400 relative to the historical average during the same period — 15 times the official figure of 90 Covid deaths for the same period. ...
UK Coronavirus Deaths More Than Double Official Figure, According To FT Study
Chris Giles, Financial Times, April 21, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The estimate is more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday, which is updated daily and only counts those who have died in hospitals after testing positive for the virus.

The FT extrapolation, based on figures from the ONS that were also published on Tuesday, includes deaths that occurred outside hospitals updated to reflect recent mortality trends.

The analysis also supports emerging evidence that the peak of deaths in the UK occurred on April 8 with the mortality rate gradually trending lower since, despite the 823 hospital deaths announced on Tuesday, which were sharply up on the 449 in the previous 24 hours.

The ONS data showed that deaths registered in the week ending April 10 were 75 per cent above normal in England and Wales, the highest level for more than 20 years.

There were 18,516 deaths registered during that period compared with the most recent five-year average of 10,520 for the same week of the year. There were similar patterns in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Nick Stripe, head of life events at the Office for National Statistics, said the figure was "unprecedented", especially as the weather had been sunny and warm in the run-up to the Easter weekend.

He added that because the week included Good Friday, when registrations were much lower than on a normal working day, the ONS numbers were also "conservatively" at least 2,000 too low.
Latin American Gravediggers Fear Virus Death Toll Higher Than Admitted
Andres Schipani in São Paulo and Jude Webber in Mexico City, Financial Times, April 20, 2020
Three grave diggers, one dressed in a white protective smock, quickly buried Vítor Batista's wooden coffin. Two weeks ago the 96-year-old was hospitalised with pneumonia but, like others filling graves in Brazil's biggest cemetery, he died before receiving the results of a coronavirus test.

"I am sure he had corona," said Ulisses Frutuoso, the dead man's nephew. "I feel we don't know the real extent of this tragedy, but cases must be . . ." He raised his hand to the sky, signalling that deaths from Covid-19 were probably rocketing well beyond the more than 2,400 that have been officially recorded in Brazil.

Workers at the cemetery of Vila Formosa in São Paulo, who have been busy digging rows of graves — even using a backhoe at times — are similarly convinced that the virus has claimed more casualties than official statistics suggest. "Many like him arrive here before getting the test results," said one, who wished not to be named, gesturing at the coffin while washing his hands. "We have been burying a lot."

Gravediggers, health workers, and researchers in Latin America's two biggest countries, Brazil and Mexico, tell a different story to the official numbers. As of Sunday, Mexico had 8,261 confirmed cases and 686 deaths. But Hugo López-Gatell, the health under-secretary who is the country's coronavirus tsar, has admitted that the true infection level is at least eight times higher. ...

Researchers at a group of respected Brazilian universities and institutes said last week there were probably close to 12 times more cases of coronavirus than were being officially reported by the government in Latin America's largest country, home to some 211m people. As of Sunday, Brazil had more than 38,000 confirmed cases, which would put the true tally at 456,000.

"The rapid course of the pandemic and the low number of tests performed in Brazil make it difficult to estimate the actual number of confirmed cases," the Health Operations and Intelligence Nucleus, or NOIS, said.

"The high degree of under-reporting may give a false impression about disease control and, consequently, could lead to a decline in the implementation of containment actions."

Trump Is Unable To Answer When Asked By Fox News About His Second-Term Priorities

UPDATED: At bottom.


Last night, Fox's Sean Hannity asked Donald Trump what is at stake in the 2020 election and what are his priorities are for his second term.

Two open-goal questions from one of the most Trump-friendly guys on the planet.

And with only four months before the election, Trump could not give an answer.

He couldn't even phone in a bullshit answer. HE WAS STUMPED!!

Hannity:
If you hear in 131 days from now at some point in the night or early morning, "We can now project Donald J. Trump has been re-elected the 45th president of the United States" - let's talk. What's at stake in this election as you compare and contrast, and what are your top priority items for a second term?
Trump:
Well, one of the things that will be really great -- you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I've always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It's a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept in Washington. I was in Washington I think 17 times, all of a sudden I'm the president of the United States, you know the story, I'm riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I said, "This is great." But I didn't know very many people in Washington, it wasn't my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes like, you know, an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to kill people.
And with that, Hannity moved on to his next question.
***

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Unfathomable Evil: Trump Failed To Disperse $14 Billion To Communities Overwhelmed By Virus, Deliberately Causing The Deaths Of Thousands of Americans; Biden Blasts Trump's "Whining And Self-Pity ... He's Like A Child Who Hasn't Grasped The Most Basic Facts"


Donald Trump recently admitted to ordering administration officials to "slow the testing down" as the pandemic surged across the country. It was reported last week that Trump failed to disperse $14 billion in funds approved by Congress back in April.

Several months ago, when Trump publicly told the states the federal government was refusing to help them and that they had better find their own supplies - and then had the federal government secretly outbid the states for that same equipment, likely causing the deliberate deaths of thousands of Americans - Trump also was sitting on $14 billion that could have helped countless overwhelmed hospitals and clinics across the US.

That's evil of an almost unfathomable degree. More than 124,000 Americans have died in less than four months.

Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated, in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar:
While it has been months since these funds were first appropriated, the administration has failed to disburse significant amounts of this funding, leaving communities without the resources they need to address the significant challenges presented by the virus. The United States is at a critical juncture in its fight against COVID-19, and now is the time for an aggressive and fast response. This administration will put our country at grave risk if it tries to declare an early victory, leave lifesaving work undone, and leave resources our communities desperately need sitting untouched.
Joe Biden is a detestable choice for president, but he spoke some rarely-heard truth today:
He admitted telling people, and I quote, "You have to slow the testing down — slow it down, please." He thinks that finding out that more Americans are sick will make him look bad. That's what he's worried about — he's worried about looking bad. ...

If Donald Trump has his way, complications from Covid-19 could become a new pre-existing condition. ...

The number of cases is increasing in 29 states. We are going to be dealing with this for a long time. Trump can't wish it away. He can't bend it to meet his political wishes. There are no miracles coming. ...

I know as Americans, it's not something we're used to [wearing masks in public], but it matters. All the evidence from all over the world tells us it might be the single most effective thing we can do. ...

The president wants you to believe this is a choice between the economy and the public's health. He still hasn't grasped the most basic fact of this crisis: To fix our economy, we have to get control of the virus.

He's like a child who just can't believe this has happened to him. It's all whining and self-pity. This pandemic didn't happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn't to whine about it, his job is to do something about it.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Thursday that the number of Americans who have been infected with the coronavirus is most likely about 10 times higher than the reported 2.3 million cases.

That would mean 23 million Americans have been infected. The New York Times reported:
The C.D.C. is basing those estimates on antibody test results from across the country. The tests detect whether an individual has ever had Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as opposed to diagnostic tests, which detect current infections. Both types of tests have been plagued by accuracy problems, although the antibody tests, which are based on blood samples rather than nasal swabs, have had a higher rate of failures.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress the virus is not yet under control in the United States. "The virus is not going to disappear."

Fauci said the surge of new cases in more than two dozen states is "very troublesome to me. ... The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and other states."

Eight members of Donald Trump's campaign team have tested positive following his rally in Tulsa. The campaign had made assurances that the outbreak was contained and no staff members who had tested positive were in the arena, but that turned out to be a lie. Of course. Trump must somehow be immune.