Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mr. Irrelevant

Bernie Sanders has never been more irrelevant than he is today:
Bernie Sanders is making it increasingly clear that his presidential bid is far from over, even as he faces long odds of winning the Democratic nomination.
Less clear, however, is whether his game plan is to pursue victory or to continue promoting his progressive agenda as nearly all aspects of American life — including the election — are upended by the coronavirus crisis.

While some former top advisers acknowledge the difficulty Sanders has in overcoming Joe Biden's significant delegate lead, other allies of the Vermont senator note that his message and his agenda are well-suited to a moment when millions of people are filing for unemployment and losing their health care while large corporations seek billions in bail out funds.
When there is no path to victory--and Sanders should know because he's been in this position once already--a candidate is obligated to drop out of the race and support the eventual nominee of the party. A candidate is obligated to not harm or injure the party's chances for victory.

With Sanders and his toxic legion of supporters, there is no playbook. It's just shit flinging with this organization. Every day that Sanders stays in, he creates more problems for the Democratic Party. He clings to this because he probably feels that they'll need his vote in the Senate.

If it's a blowout this fall, and I hope to God that it is, then maybe Sanders won't be so important after all.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Media is Failing America

Eric Boehlert makes some very important points here:
t’s time for journalists to stop expressing shock regarding his erratic and heartless behavior, because that unwarranted shock just helps normalize Trump's dangerous behavior. It plays into the idea that Trump at times behaves rationally, and picks and chooses when he should act like a leader, and when he does not need to — that Trump can mimic the actions of a sane person when the situation calls for it.

If we take a step back, the scale of government’s failure is so complete and so sweeping it borders on the incomprehensible. After a while, explaining this away as Trump being unfocused, or not having a plan, or being shortsighted just doesn't add up. The failure to protect has been so thorough, it's difficult to suggest it’s happened coincidentally.

Why is it taboo? The possible answers are too disturbing for the press to ponder, therefore they're deemed off-limits. Instead of addressing the reality, the press prefers to stick with the safe narrative that the White House is muddled and disorganized. To address the other possibilities would raise stunning questions about the President of the United States —the types of questions that have never been asked about any president in this nation's history.
I would agree that there is very little evidence that Trump's White House is "muddled and disorganized." I think the opposite is true. It is geared specifically for maximizing profit and advantage for Trump's business interests and it is organized to inflict maximum damage on the Americans who have expressed opposition for Trump's personal agenda. It's time to stop thinking of Trump's White House team as a bunch of stumblebums and recognize them for what they are--an anti-American hit squad that looks for any opening in which to shove a knife.

Yes, they are incompetent. But that's almost on purpose. If you want things to run smoothly, you hire qualified people who have experience. In Trump world, the only people considered for positions of responsibility are those who have been deemed sufficiently loyal to Trump. That usually means that they are hiring people who would never be considered for gainful employment anywhere else. They're putting the dregs into positions of responsibility. At this stage, Trump's regime has three college kids in positions that would normally go to people with at least ten years of government service. And we all know what a debacle it has been just trying to find appointees.

To properly run the government, you need to fill most of the appointed positions and Trump has refused to accept qualified individuals who would perform those functions. The next Congress needs to pass a series of laws that will force the Executive Branch to name qualified individuals to appointed positions or, more importantly, reduce the number of appointed positions and staff them with career civil servants.

There can be no question that Trump's personal agenda is funneling government money into his businesses and hiding this from the American people.  Not only is the media failing to properly assess how they are handling COVID-19 but they haven't even begun to wake up to the fact that Trump is dealing out insider information to business allies.

Don't fall for the idea that William Barr's Justice Department is actually investigating Republicans in Congress who have been involved in overt insider trading. They are going to carry out a sham investigation and purposefully foul the evidence against them so that the next Democratically-controlled Justice Department can't actually take three or four Republican Senators to the woodshed. The media used to be able to ferret out all kinds of criminal activities. They sometimes find an acorn in the mud, but a blind pig would still be able to do a better job.

If you begin to evaluate every facet of Trump's organization as a criminal conspiracy to defraud the government, it all makes sense. Trump has ties to people who are going to make millions in profits from COVID-19. They're appearing before the press every time he gives a briefing and lets them make self-serving speeches that are barely disguised as feel-good ads. The conspiracy is right out in the open. The crimes are happening as we speak. But a heavily-compromised media is still beholden to the idea that Trump is what drives their profits. They pretend to present information designed to outrage people but they never follow through on what is obvious. To do so would kill their ratings and frighten away advertisers who are able to handle a little truth telling but not nearly enough.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Trump Does Not Possess Humility or Humanity

Trump will be remembered as a president who lacked the humility to do the right thing and the humanity to understand the suffering of the American people.

I'm not even going to link to this wretched article. It is behind the Wall Street Journal's paywall, and it is entirely a political screed unworthy of being answered in detail. It's the sort of fluff piece someone cranks out when they are suffering from withdrawal.

Trump is definitely suffering from not being in front of adoring crowds and supplicants in one of his vermin-riddled resort hotels. He is an attention junkie and all he sees now are the hangdog faces of the sons of bitches who can't do anything to fix the crisis in which we find ourselves.

When you're incompetent, you can't even see the path to redemption. The only path forward is to be fired from your position so that someone better can step in and fix the problems you couldn't solve. If Trump wasn't president, and if he was simply running his own company, he would have to go back to Deutsche Bank for more cash to stay afloat. You can't do that when you're in charge of the world's most important enterprise.

Trump has expressed no sympathy for the suffering of those infected with COVID-19. He had to be talked into the idea that he had to abandon trying to link it to the Chinese. He had to be convinced that it wasn't working to refer to this as many other racists do, "the Chinese virus." In this, he fails the most basic test of decency.

He doesn't have a shred of humility either. He takes no responsibility for what he has failed to do. Anyone who suggests that Trump is suddenly going to begin acting presidential has been in a self-induced coma for the last five years. He is human scum and he is the last person on Earth who should be running things.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Don't Take Trump's Advice

Trump is literally killing people, and there's no way to stop him:
US President Donald Trump claimed at a White House briefing last week that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the "very powerful" drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus.
"It's shown very encouraging -- very, very encouraging early results. And we're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that's where the FDA has been so great. They -- they've gone through the approval process; it's been approved. And they did it -- they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we're going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states," Trump said.
He added: "Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it's -- it was approved very, very quickly and it's now approved, by prescription."
However, the FDA after the briefing issued a statement saying it had not approved the drug for use against Covid-19 and is still studying its effectiveness against the disease.
We all know that there was a man in Washington State who died after using it, and his wife is in critical condition. Did you know that it's now sold out on some websites that carry the drug?

Part of the problem is, there are no warnings about how the drug should be used and the old marketing language is still up, likely misleading people:

Thanks to Trump, people are going to be injured or even die from using something that he has been hyping. Welcome to the Idiocracy.

A Modest Proposal to Rebuild America

I suppose I should post this and mark it down as a call to arms, but I really believe this list should be a dozen or more items in length. The first five items are post-Coronavirus and should be a part of the Democratic Party's efforts to make the country function properly again.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Kill the Poor

I want you to realize that our governing elites are making plans to move on without you:
President Donald Trump and his team face a painful dilemma: If they take the draconian measures necessary to halt the coronavirus pandemic the economy will likely fall into not just a recession, but even a depression. On the other hand, if they take only half measures to halt the spread of the virus we could see the worst pandemic in American history.

The Trump administration has, by default, fallen into something of a middle ground between these two paths that is likely to lead both to a bad pandemic and a deep recession.

The costs of letting the disease spread uncontrollably were laid out in sobering detail in a study published last week by Imperial College, London. It found that as many as 2.2 million people could die of Covid-19 in the US if the disease were to spread completely uncontrolled. By way of comparison, 675,000 American died of the Spanish flu in 1918.
Right now, twelve American states are mandating that their citizens stay home. The rest don't give a damn or are hoping the Coronavirus does not ravage their cities and towns. I don't know what that hope is going to bring them, but there it is.

We are living in a world where we might as well admit what Trump wants to do. He wants to kill the poor so the rich can keep their cash. You can sugar coat it any way you want. The stock market is plummeting, and the wealthy are screeching for their bailout.

The Democrats are fighting against that bailout, but they might have to fold in order to help others. Let's just call it the kill the poor strategy. Kill the poor and make the impact of a global pandemic a little lighter here. Let's watch and see who invests in funeral homes and crematoriums, or in those clever tributes that will be shot into space so that people three hundred years from now can read how goddamned awful we were in 2020 to those unfortunate enough to get sick.

Not making light of this. We're debating whether to kill the poor. This is an examination of what people value. Do they place human life above economic prosperity? If there's a way to keep people alive, and if it costs us all, then what are we talking about here? An embrace of economic Darwinism?

Look, gramps and grandma, you were the Greatest Generation but we're sick of your bellyaching. We'll keep you alive if you can contribute to the economy or have the means to pay for a ventilator and some bullshit miracle drugs. If you can't, well, you're out of luck. We already have a medical system for the poor and a separate one for the rich. We already live in separate communities, some completely walled off from the populace and patrolled by armed guards. Don't worry, the nice place outside of town where we're going to spread your ashes is ready.

America has continued to sink to banana republic status, and it has accelerated under Trump. They're giving us a shrug and they're saying, "well, we gotta kill the poor or we're going to be uncomfortable and have to sell one of our eight houses." What a dilemma for our betters.

If we become the country that says, "let's let millions die so that a handful of rich men can keep their obscene piles of money intact," then we will stumble around without our souls forever.

I don't want anyone to die. If you gotta take my money to keep them alive, here you go.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Trump Attacks the Media Again

I think it is more than clear that Trump is so unfit to be president right now that there should be serious conversations about what should be done to bypass presidential authority and save American lives.
In an extraordinary exchange on Friday, President Donald Trump viciously attacked an NBC News reporter who asked what his message would be to Americans who are frightened by the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the country.
The exchange, which occurred at the White House's daily coronavirus task force briefing, began when NBC News reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump whether he was giving Americans "false hope" by touting unproven coronavirus drugs.
Toward the end of the exchange, Alexander cited the latest pandemic statistics showing thousands of Americans are now infected and millions are scared.
Alexander asked, "What do you say to Americans who are scared?"

From there, Trump went on an unhinged rant. His attacks on the media are shameless. His anger control issues are there for all to see.

The fact that he is failing is self-evident. He knows he and his flailing regime are responsible for widespread misery and the collapse of our economy. He has no plan, no answer, and no one within earshot with the courage to tell him the truth. We have to turn to others for direction and guidance. Fortunately, there are a number of competent governors in the United States who are working overtime right now. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is the antidote to all of this. His briefings are organized, factual, and brutally honest. Cuomo is giving her personalized and informed guidance to millions, and it could end up saving an untold number of lives. Contrast that with the raging, pitiful performance Trump is giving because he wants to be known as a "wartime president." He is anything but that.

This was evident the week Trump was inaugurated. We've been through numerous scandals - a full blown impeachment trial, Charlottesville, Helsinki, the firing of James Comey, every G7 summit, and practically all of 2019. Today was all of that, ramped up to a full-blown crisis entirely of the GOP's making. The fact that they protected Trump and kept him in power when they knew that they should have removed him from office is something entirely new to our present politics.

We're in broken record territory once again. I could have written this three years ago, easily. As Americans wake up to a new reality--an entirely changed existence--it's important to realize that all of this could have been prevented. None of what's happened was inevitable. The United States Senate could very easily have ended our long national nightmare and they chose to stick with Trump.

I am not pretending everything would be just fine under Mike Pence. If anything, Pence is just as compromised, more than completely out of his element, and paralyzed by his quaint religiosity and his belief that God has put him where he is. No, God didn't put him there. Trump put him there to convince people that he was going to be a normal president.

That has not been the case, ever.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

America Faces a Shortage of Hospital Beds

As news filters in about the use of the Army Corps of Engineers to build out the capacity for more hospital beds in regions that are likely to face shortages, it's worth noting that we have tremendous shortages all over the country:
In most scenarios, “vast communities in America are not prepared to take care of the COVID-19 patients showing up,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who led a team of researchers that developed the analysis.
Under the researchers’ best-case scenario, Americans will act quickly to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing, and the infection rate among adults will remain relatively low at 20%, or 49.4 million people over the age of 18, less than twice the number of people who get the flu each year.
We're talking about the entire country:
For hospitals with fewer resources, there are measures that can be taken to counter bed shortages. Hospitals can limit elective surgeries and discharge healthier patients earlier. Hospitals can also screen patients before they enter the hospital to decrease the risk of spreading the disease. Critically, staffers also need to stay healthy, so they can continue to treat patients instead of taking up the needed beds themselves.
The experts and health workers that ProPublica spoke with fear that the U.S. is only two weeks behind Italy’s infection rate and will be faced with the same tough decisions. A paper published in the Lancet last week highlighted Italy’s Lombardy region, where a flood of patients is overwhelming the intensive care system.
“I can't imagine being in that position, and none of us want to be in that position,” said UCSF’s Raven. “The reality is that you can't create unlimited hospital beds and ventilators. We have what we have, so we really have to hope that it's enough, and that we're prepared enough.”
When all of this is over, we should plan accordingly and fund efforts to expand our capacity to deal with the next pandemic or natural disaster.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Help Feed the Hungry

There are some great resources out there, and now is the time to share them so that people can get the help they need.

Feeding America is one place you can go. Plug in your ZIP code and find a local food bank that probably needs your help right now.

Here are the twelve most wanted items, courtesy of the San Antonio Food Bank:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Presidential Harassment!

Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed.
BREAKING: The Dow plunged nearly 3,000 points for its worst one-day point drop in history and worst percentage decline since “Black Monday" in 1987. Stocks fell to session lows after Pres. Trump said the coronavirus outbreak could last until July or August
In the days and weeks ahead, you will find yourself randomly screaming into the void because the media will help the Republicans escape accountability for throwing nothing but sand into the gears of the American way of life. They'll get away with letting people die. They'll get away with people being thrown out of their homes. They'll get away with letting untold numbers of people go hungry. They'll get away with all of the people being detained right now getting sick.

Did your 401K go to hell this week? Well, that wasn't Trump's fault. That's what happens when you elect Republicans. In short order, they have destroyed the economy. We get to spend the next few years crawling out of the same goddamned hole they dug for us in 2008.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

King Trump Has No Time For the Peasants

Who in their right mind would appear in a blue hat, dress shirt, no tie, and a cheap suit coat designed to make a fat boy look reasonable?

The ongoing farce that is our life right now is punctuated by Trump's inability to act or function like a normal president. He has to make every briefing, every appearance about himself. He is surrounded by people who would never be allowed to work in any other Republican administration. He acts like the head of a fading junta, one that just had all of the generals shot for insufficient toadying. And the toadies that are left fawn all over Trump as if he just got done screaming at them because they weren't praising him enough.

Normalcy. A return to things that seem normal. A normal life, a normal president, a week or two that could sail by without having to think about who's running the goddamned country. This is all we want.
The Washington Post has reported that a second person who visited President Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago estate last weekend has tested positive for coronavirus. It’s the second person in as many days who’s had coronavirus and been near the president, a widely reported germaphobe.
International passengers are still stuck on the Grand Princess, the stricken cruise ship that docked in Oakland early this week. Fourteen passengers will likely remain there for the weekend. Officials initially said it would take three days to clear all passengers from the boat. It’s now day 5.
Trump blasted PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor for pressing him on whether he takes responsibility for axing the Global Health Security team in the National Security Council, which was set up in the wake of the Ebola outbreak to make sure that the government response to a pandemic would be coordinated. Former officials describe it as the lynchpin of the response mechanism. Trump called the question “nasty.”
Yamiche Alcindor is a great journalist. There was no justification for this. The entire press corps should have stood up and walked out when Trump did that. But no, they are cowards and they stayed, hoping for more access and for a moment of normalcy that will never come.

Do you want to know who you should turn to for information? Not Trump. Not the CDC or the various Federal agencies that are supposed to protect Americans and their health. Look to your state governments or whoever runs your city. If they happen to be a bunch of goddamned wingnuts, vote them out as soon as possible.

Americans are suffering and dying because Trump is incompetent. He is surrounded by incompetent assholes. Never forget that this is why you have to register and vote them out and keep them from ever getting into a position of power again.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Here's a Free Tip For the Media

Stop letting Trump go on live television. That's it, that's the entire tip.

Stop this insanity.

Stop allowing Trump to mislead, misdirect and outright lie to the American people about what is being done and who is responsible.

Stop the Trump Regime's efforts to offload blame and divide the American people with hatred and xenophobia.

Just stop running his remarks live. Cut off the flow of information from Trump to the American people, who are being manipulated and terrified and panicked on purpose in order to ensure that there is no accountability for incompetence and greed.

Republican ideology brought us to this moment. An emphasis on privatizing and profiting from coronavirus testing resulted in no tests being available. The virus itself is seeded deep into the American population, and has been for weeks, because of an inability to properly plan for and react to this crisis. Trump fired the people who would manage and mitigate a pandemic. Trump cut funding for the social safety net.

The Republicans did this to the American people. Pretending that Trump is a normal president who should be allowed to speak to the population unfiltered is journalistic malpractice.

Stop the madness.

Instead, present facts and guidance as to what should be done and how people can protect themselves. Allow this information to proceed without comment from any Republican who rejects science and information.

We are on the cusp of mass panic. The lies have to stop. This is what I'm talking about:

Nothing in that Tweet is decent or helpful. It is a profane, screeching rant from someone who doesn't care about your family or anyone else on this Earth. It is well past the time when we should look to this man for anything other than a self-serving howl of pitiful bullshit.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Trump is a Failure at Everything

Whatever you do, don't look at your 401K or cash it out:
U.S. stocks recovered some of their steep losses on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced extraordinary funding actions to ease strained capital markets in the wake of the coronavirus sell-off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 826 points lower, or 3.5% after plummeting more than 9% for its worst drop since the 1987 market crash. It was on pace for the sixth-worst decline for the Dow in history, according to FactSet. Even the worst one-day drop of 2008 financial crisis did not reach this magnitude.

The S&P 500 traded down 4.4%, joining the Dow in a bear market on Thursday. The main U.S. stock benchmark is now down 22% from its record set just last month. At one point, however, the S&P 500 was down more than 9%. The Nasdaq Composite recovered slightly, trading about 4.5% lower after plummeting more than 7%.
One of the reasons why I supported Senator Elizabeth Warren for president was her avowed interest in fixing the rigged casino game that is the modern stock market. Trump's horrible tax cuts for the rich and his equally horrible fiscal policies are setting us up for disaster, and Warren knows what that looks like because this is how every Republican governs in the modern era. They cut taxes, fudge the numbers, let Wall Street run wild, and leave the Democrats to pick up the pieces, cut spending, and fix everything they've broken.

I don't have much hope for Joe Biden, beyond being a decent human being who will surround himself with smart people. But one thing he could do to break this cycle is to throw a lot of people in prison for insider trading, most of whom are currently working for Trump. That would be a big help.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Stay Calm Because There Are Still Pancakes

Day after day of watching the news and being exposed to the media meltdown that is happening right now have taken their toll on me, and now I'm going to write about pancakes.

When I worked for some great people last year, I discovered that they were enthusiastic about bringing in food and sharing it with the whole team. This made the place somewhat happier, maybe a little more productive, and definitely reinforced my decision to work there. I really liked it, but I had to move on. These things run you over but you find a way to keep going.

Someone brought in a big can full of pancakes! What a fantastic idea. If you want to make your corner of the world a better place, crank out a bunch of pancakes and share them. There are worse things that you could do.

We are being inundated with bad news right now, scary news. Terrifying things are happening. Our current government is a dumpster fire of incompetence and chaos. We all know this.

What we don't know is what this means for our neighbors, our friends, our families. It's okay to focus on all of that and turn away from current events a bit. Think locally, and consider that resources are about to come into play for people who have been living on a thread. Be prepared to give and share and act in the public good. If that means staying home, you should do so. If that means helping others, you are doing a great thing.

Our economy is about to take a sustained hit. People living on the margins of our society are going to suffer. Keep them in your thoughts and, if you can, stay out of the horror show of panic and rage that exists right now. Adding to it accomplishes nothing. Acting in the best interests of others, no matter how large or small of an effort, is the most positive thing anyone could do.

Joe Biden Is Ready to Fight

Joe Biden will not put up with your bullshit:
President Donald Trump turned insulting big-name rivals and celebrities into a form of modern political art. His top Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, has refined it into a post-modern name-calling style exhibited in limited fashion to voters who confront him with cheap shots.
"Don't be such a horse's ass," Biden scolded a worker at an auto plant in Detroit on Tuesday as Michigan voters went to the polls.

The worker had falsely asserted that Biden wants to "end our Second Amendment right" to own guns. Biden, the author of a decadelong 1994 ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, has proposed new gun control measures but not a repeal of the Second Amendment — which as president he would have no formal role in adopting.
But the heated exchange, in which Biden threatened to slap the man and said he was "full of s---," was just the latest example of a tough-talk tactic the former vice president has deployed repeatedly to push back on critics on the campaign trail. While allies of Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders say the aggressive approach will backfire politically, many Democrats and some anti-Trump Republicans like the unusually muscular response.
They see a candidate who has risen in the polls and in early state primaries by demonstrating his resilience to Democratic voters and one who is telegraphing to the broader electorate that he's ready to go toe-to-toe with the bombastic Trump if he wins his party's nomination.
"Kind of amazing that anybody thinks this video makes Biden look anything other than terrific," David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush who supports Biden, wrote on Twitter. "He shushes the aide who wants to lead him away — and then engages a hostile critic face to face, fact to fact. Impressive."

Of course, there will be a media backlash centered around the fact that this is a Democrat who is acting like "daddy." The media hates it when Democratic politicians upend their belief structure and present a public image that goes contrary to their preferred way of seeing the world. There is the storied example of John McCain and his Straight Talk Express. Really, that was just granted executive club access to a handful of political journalists and serving them some juicy quotes and barbecue.

I don't expect Biden to karate chop anyone. I do expect that he will add some savvy people to his team that will help him ferret out the attempts by the alt-right (which still exists) to trip him up in public events and use videos of Biden stumbling to paint him as infirm and weak. The opposite appears to be true. Biden is the strongest of all the candidates running in terms of being able to connect with voters and speak to their experiences.

In other words, I hope to hell we are not going to see John Kerry's goddamned wind surfing or trips to the Hamptons. I want to see Biden running around all summer with his sleeves rolled up, throwing trolls into the fire.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Last Days of Pompeii

The Trump Regime is the city of Pompeii. Coronavirus is Mt. Vesuvius.

There, I said it.

What About the People?

This tubby bitch is always worried about the wrong thing:
During the tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters, Trump was asked by a reporter what measures he was considering to help offset the widespread economic and social impacts of the crisis. The president responded by saying the seasonal flu was worse with 36,000 deaths in the U.S. last year, compared to 240 confirmed cases of COVID-19. “When I first heard this I was shocked,” he said. “As of the time I left the plane with you we had 240 cases, that’s at least what was on a very fine network known as Fox News, don’t you love it? That’s what I happened to be watching and, how was the show last night? Did it get good ratings by the way?” he asked as he turned to a Fox reporter. “I don’t know,” the reporter responded. “Oh really, I heard it broke all ratings records, but maybe that’s wrong,” he continued. “But what happened if you look at the number, by the time we left, it was 240 cases and 11 deaths. That’s what it has been. Now, you look throughout the world and other countries—South Korea, Italy and particularly China, have many.”
What about the suffering? This president focuses on TV ratings instead of people. You would think that a media complex that is easily outraged would make hay out this. Nah, just a shrug.

It's all Obama's fault, who could have seen it coming, and no, we didn't fire all the experts who were in place to deal with this pandemic. The lies keep coming, the horror continues, and innocent people are dying because of Trump's incompetence.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Republicans Will Threaten to Shoot Anyone

They're not even bothering to hide it anymore.

Today's GOP is completely out of control and unhinged. Chances are, you're like me and you had no idea that there even was a Representative Ken Buck from Colorado's Fourth District. I can't even remember writing about this guy before today, what with all the other batshit crazy nut jobs currently serving in Congress.

Here, you have an American politician who has been alive for the last fifty years or so and he's threatening the former Vice President of the United States of America and a former member of the House of Representatives with gun violence. I would hope someone has taken note of this and is moving accordingly to protect them from this lunatic. He seems to be a danger to the people around him.

Buck represents Eastern Colorado, the flat part, mostly, and hasn't had a real challenger since 2010. If I were a part of the Democratic Party out there, I would be helping to send Buck home.

You see, both sides don't threaten to shoot each other. The Republicans do that. The Democrats simply organize themselves and throw you out of office on Election Day. That's how that works.

UPDATE: Yes, the rifle in Congressman Buck's office is "inoperable." Through an agreement with Capitol Police, he has a trigger lock on it and the bolt assembly is back in his home state.

As we know from watching Raising Arizona, that outdated adage "It ain't armed robbery if the gun ain't loaded" does not apply here. A threat with a weapon, inoperable or not, is still a threat.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Elizabeth Warren Was a Threat to the Evil That Grips America

Today, Elizabeth Warren ends her presidential campaign.

It's like getting punched in the gut. It is the moment I was dreading and couldn't bring myself to face.

What Warren brought to the run for the White House was a reality that far too many Americans can't face, either. One, we are overdue for a woman to be president. Two, we need someone who can speak to the nexus of money, corruption, political power, and the destruction of the Middle Class. The people who have a death grip on this country's throat were actually terrified that she would win the presidency and unravel their Gordian knot of criminality. Wall Street was particularly in a shit-your-pants mode from the start.

Well, the bastards won.

Warren had plans, solutions, fixes, and explanations for every goddamned thing that's wrong with this country and her reward for it was a media-enabled racist nickname and being erased from polls, coverage and analysis. She was the smartest person running and the most capable.

To the Democratic Party primary voters who didn't understand what this fight was about, oh well. Don't let my disappointment ruin your smug moment of victory. You stopped another woman from being president. I hope we can keep her in the Senate. If I know Warren, she's already planning to pivot towards helping to send Mitch McConnell home to Kentucky for good.

The only word that works right now is 'ugh.'

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

What Deadly Weather Can Do

The Nashville area has been devastated by a tornado:
The storms left numerous homes and other buildings in ruins across several counties, and left tens of thousands of people without power and hundreds at least temporarily looking for another place to live.

In Nashville, 48 buildings collapsed, others were damaged and about 150 people have been taken to hospitals because of the storm, Mayor John Cooper said.

In Nashville's Germantown area alone, parts of apartment and other multi-story buildings were ripped open, with bricks, roofing material and glass strewn about, images from CNN affiliate WTVF show.

"As tragic as this is -- and our hearts are broken -- we are certain that we'll surround these folks and we'll do what is necessary" to recover, Gov. Bill Lee said.
Incidents like this make me wonder if people really understand the link between funding for first responders, keeping hospitals in business, and whether we have the capacity to deal with natural disasters. The impact of coronavirus is about to be felt in every region of the country--hospitals are going to be inundated with patients on respirators if this thing blows up.

Now add to that the impact of a single tornado sending 150 people to the hospital. Are we prepared for such a thing? What happens when it affects an area where the local hospital has been shut down or when a state has enacted draconian budget cuts to disaster relief?

We currently don't have much of a functioning Federal response to anything right now. Their response to coronavirus has engendered panic. Add to that the Trump regime's horrible response to any natural disaster--flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like--and you have all the makings for a mass panic and unnecessary fatalities.

More of This, Please

We should put pressure on universities to adopt this approach to keeping college affordable:
The University of Houston will waive tuition for students with family incomes at or below $65,000, in an effort to keep college accessible.
The announcement comes weeks after the University of Southern California made a similar move.
The University of Houston's policy is part of a program called Cougar Promise, which began in 2008 for families with incomes up to $30,000. Before this latest expansion, families with adjusted gross incomes up to $50,000 were eligible for waived tuition and mandatory fees, but this extension furthers the reach.
Students starting school in the fall will be eligible.
"Making college education affordable and accessible is at the foundation of our mission and critical for so many aspiring students across the income spectrum. By expanding our financial support program to reduce financial barriers, we will help more students fulfill their dreams of earning a college degree," said university President Renu Khator said in a statement.
There are probably a number of things driving this, but we have started to see the effects of socializing the idea that college should be affordable or free in order to life people out of poverty. There will always be an elite ring of universities that cater to the wealthy and insulate them from society. But what we need in order to expand and transform the Middle Class is a path that allows people to get an education and move into a way of life commensurate with how hard they are willing to work at educating themselves. If this leads to good things, it should be universally accepted and schools like the University of Houston should be commended for getting the ball rolling.

I also think the noise being made in this primary season has helped as well. Getting out ahead of the push for free college isn't a bad business model.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Endorse Biden and Reap the Whirlwind

In American politics, it's never a good idea to waffle like this:
Former President Barack Obama congratulated his old buddy Joe Biden for his victory in South Carolina—but reportedly warned him that an endorsement could work against him. CNN reports that Obama called his former vice president on Saturday night. While Obama was reportedly full of praise for Biden’s comprehensive victory in the primary, he said an endorsement won’t be coming any time soon. “We are skeptical that an endorsement coming from us could truly change the political winds right now,” a person close to Obama reportedly told CNN, adding that, if Obama were to endorse Biden, there is “a very real chance it backfires.” Obama still believes his most useful role in the nomination process is as a unifier, with the confidant adding: “If he were try to put his thumb on the scale now, it would take away his ability to do so when it's most needed—the general election ... Weighing in now likely only divides things worse and weakens his standing for when the party will need it most.”
First of all, this "non-endorsement" of Biden is all about being afraid of a backlash from one particular group--the online troll army of Bernie Sanders. It's not about a backlash from Bloomberg or Warren, nor will it lead to an avalanche of hot dish hell from the Amy for America people.

Second, why does President Obama need advisors at this point? What is he running for? He should be ready to endorse the person who he thinks can beat Joe Biden. He should not be afraid of a backlash. He should be more afraid of being ignored.

Third, President Obama's endorsement is not as powerful as that of Rep. James Clyburn in that it probably wouldn't help Biden on Super Tuesday as much as it helped him in South Carolina. This is because President Obama does not have any weight based on where he lives, which is Washington D.C. 

If they're thinking is, if Biden can come out of Super Tuesday with some victories and match Sanders in delegates, then an endorsement could be forthcoming, I would say that this is the wrong strategy. Now is precisely the time to put the thumb on the scale because doing so would help Biden get past his biggest challenge. It might sway supporters of Pete Buttigieg to move decisively to support Biden.   The language quoted above just seems like waffling to me. They're waiting to see if Biden can pull it off. They don't want to help, and that's devastating.

There are no Sanders supporters who are going to peel off and do the sensible thing, at least not online. We're headed for a bloody convention and a tough nominating process if this continues. Someone has to bury Sanders and reach 1,991 delegates and even then I believe it will be a massive fistfight. President Obama could help, but he won't.