Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Mrs. Lion and I watched a PBS program on the Vatican, and we saw this scene from the program. Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners as an act of grace and humility, and this explains the ritual better than I could:
Pope Francis told inmates of a central Rome prison Thursday that a leader must know how to serve.
Just before washing their feet on Holy Thursday at Regina Coeli, just a stone's throw away from the Vatican, the pope also told the inmates that he was a sinner, just as they were, but he represented Jesus.

Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates in the same way that Jesus washed the feet of his 12 disciples before sharing the Last Supper with them. The men, selected by prison authorities, were from Italy, the Philippines, Morocco, the Moldavia region, Colombia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Eight of them were Catholics, two Muslims, one Buddhist and one Orthodox Christian.
The visit by Francis to the city's oldest and best-known prison evoked memories of December 26, 1958, when Pope John XXIII became the first pontiff to call on Regina Coeli. 
Since the start of his pontificate five years ago, Francis has celebrated the Mass of Our Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday outside the Vatican. In the past, he has gone to detention centers and a home for the disabled to wash the feet of prisoners, refugees and other marginalized people.
We were both very moved by this, and it was entirely an unexpected thing for two Lutherans to be amazed by a Catholic ritual that seems to be practiced by this Pope out of a need to show the world what someone who is actually humble looks like. Mrs. Lion was moved to tears, and I suspect it was because of the shock of seeing this practice in a time like this. There are few, if any, world leaders who could match the piety of Pope Francis right now. Our own president is a simpering jackass in comparison and can't keep the American people safe.

Anyway, I know that this is a thing Pope Francis has done for years, but to see it and to see him kissing the feet of the prisoners is an amazing thing.

A Million Cases

What's the real story in America?

Trump is a failed president. He failed to act in a timely manner to protect America from COVID-19. He is presiding over a "regime" that has failed to catch up to the disaster his indifference and incompetence created. He has failed to fire the right people, and, so far, the only way to lose your job in Trump's White House is to speak truth to power or stand up for what is right.

That number--one million cases--is entirely on Trump's head. He told us it would go from fifteen down to zero. Hell, we haven't even seen the down slope of this thing.

What a complete and utter failure. A colossal, stinking cock-up of Biblical proportions. Hyperbole is dead and you couldn't write this as a novel and sell it to anyone. They'd laugh at you if you tried. No reasonable person would ever want to take over a country in this bad of shape, but that's every Democrat in a position to do so right now. They're ready to fix everything and remake the country. The Democratic Party is the kid who keeps digging in the manure pile, looking for the pony out of a sense of optimism and good cheer.

Trump is the kid who shot the pony, lost his money down the toilet, got drunk downtown, and ended up married to the whore who invented syphilis.

It is not possible to overstate what a failure Trump has been as president. He is a failson in every sense of the word, successful only in creating two sons and a daughter who might actually be larger failures than himself, if that's possible.

The economy is smashed and broken. Will we see thirty million jobs disappear in a matter of months, shattering every record in existence? Will we see bankers jumping out of windows--don't hold your breath. The nation is a bankrupt shell. The coffers are empty, and every attempt to route help to people in need has been a case study in watching the rich steal from the government and laugh their asses off about it in real time. Trump put Steve Mnuchin in charge and, in about three years, the Justice Department is going to watch Mnuchin end up being ripped apart in Federal Court by a tiger team of prosecutors who will have, by then, figured out what he did to trade on insider information and wreck the Treasury Department.

Then you have the people who will have to be tried for maladministration and making decisions no sane person would make, routing aid to their buddies and abusing the public trust. Somewhere, in the Old Executive Office building, someone appointed by Trump is fucking a goddamned chicken and we're going to have to investigate and prosecute that sick son of a bitch as well. Then there are the staffers who are going to walk off with government laptops on January 20th, 2021. We're going to have to build more jails and fill them, and then build more.

And then it will be all of the other grifters and thieves who will have their days in court. Multiple courts, fraud at an unprecedented scale, so much law breaking that the minor players probably won't end up in the docket until a decade or more has gone by. We haven't even begun to contemplate how we'll handle prosecuting a shitheel like Scott Pruitt, who was gone before it all collapsed but has likely made off with the spoils of being a Trump appointee.

Failure. Have you ever seen so much of it? Even a lucky bastard like George W. Bush has to be holding his sides and laughing in his kitchen when he realizes just how awful things are right now. They've forgotten how rotten he was. No where near this many people died because of his stupid ass. What a comfort it must be for him now. He'll live out every year going forward safe in the knowledge that at least he ain't no Trump.

That's the real story. Trump's failure dwarfs that of all of our other failed presidents in the modern era. It's so bad, it makes it difficult to consider anything else without cringing.

Stop The Briefings

I still don't get why media companies think Trump and his White House are providing them "access" and that, if they anger him, they'll lose it.

There is no "White House" in the sense that Obama and Bush had administrations. This is a regime and nothing more. It's symbolized by how badly Trump wants to ruin things. There's a burning dumpster, it's filled with old tires, and nobody wants to point out that this is how we've been living for years.

When you see people trying to advise the media how to deal with this, all you can do is laugh at how naive it all sounds:
Fifth, don't let the president interrupt your question. Trump often knows where a question is going and barges in before you get to the hard part. Be ready to politely say, "Mr. President, I'd appreciate it if you would let me finish my question before you begin your answer." If he continues to ignore your polite request, he looks like the rude bully he can be. I don't need a poll to tell me that's not a good look. Common sense and a general shared view of manners makes this damaging for the president.
Another strategy is to politely hold the floor and tell the president the answer did not address the question, and say, "I'd like to ask it again." Here's where teamwork really gets involved. Whoever gets called on next should follow up and repeat the question. In most situations, reporters are afraid they'll never get the chance to ask a second question, so they move on instead of working with the previous reporter to pin the President down. But there are now a limited number of reporters and the president often wants to stay out there for hours, so you will most likely get another chance at asking a different question. Work together.
If there's one guy who is not going to be shamed by his behavior, it's Trump. If there's a president who doesn't give a shit about whether he's polite, it's definitely Trump. And the very idea that he won't just walk out of the room because he is accountable to the American people demonstrates just how delusional Joe Lockhart really is.

Has Trump ever improved on the job? Has he learned anything? Has he deviated from his playbook at all? No. And yet, here you have Jake Tapper taking a crap all over himself because Trump acted out in public and did what he would have done a year ago, two years ago, and so on and so forth. Come on, man. There is no learning curve here.

Why are people still acting like this can be turned around? Americans are dropping dead in terrible numbers and the story fluctuates between Trump is trying to come up with a solution and Trump is hollering at the media and nobody has a fucking clue.

Stop carrying the briefings. Cut off the supply of oxygen to this dumpster fire.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Wake Up

Paul Krugman is wrong.

This is Trump's version of the GOP. They will drink the Kool Aid and they will reach out and embrace the oblivion that follows. They don't want to live in any version of America that is run by Democrats. You see that in every single state where Democrats took over the government and started unraveling years and years of fraud, waste and incompetence. You see it in North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. You're seeing it play out in Michigan as well. When more red state governments flip to blue, you will see more of these astroturf protests, a "fake" tea party, even though the Tea Party movement itself was fraudulent.

And while while I love the optimism that Krugman shows here, come on. It's 2020. There's too much water under this falling down bridge of ours. There are still babies in cages, people dropping dead, millions without work, and there is no plan to help anyone other than billionaires.

There is nothing that will shame him, no bottom he will reach, and no moment of clarity is coming. There is no chance anyone working for him will stand up and say what needs to be said. All that is left to serve Trump is a cohort of compromised, damaged incompetents. They don't know the government, they don't know how to do their jobs, and they carry the temporary weight of having an Executive Branch job. In a year, if Trump can be defeated, you'll see these people filing for bankruptcy because they cannot find gainful employment. The whole rotten edifice of modern conservatism is collapsing into itself.

Trump and his supporters hate you and they hate the very idea of America.

I wish I could get that through to people who have larger platforms than mine. Conservatives and Republicans and Trump supporters simply hate liberals. They hate our form of government. They want a fascist state where they can have everyone who opposes them rounded up and killed. They don't just want you to be laughed off of TV and given a job elsewhere. They want you, your family, and everyone you love to die because that's what they believe should be the fate of anyone who opposes their culture of death and destruction.

They want you to die so they can have guns.

They want you to die so they can avoid paying substantial taxes.

They want you to die so they do not have to watch the social justice agenda of the Democratic Party achieve any more gains in our society.

They want you to die so they can maintain their white supremacy.

They don't want to address what Trump said about injecting bleach into their bodies. They want you to die so they can continue to be enthralled by the audacity of a president who acts like an asshole in public.

That's what this is about. They hate you and you better vote as if your life depends on it because it does. And if the last month and a half hasn't woken you up to that fact, nothing will.

Do Not Inject Bleach Into Your Body

Any news organization that continues to broadcast Trump and his "sarcastic" comments to the American people should be held liable for any injuries that result in his medical advice.

We are fast approaching the moment where the lawyers will start to circle the news organizations of America, looking for a whale they can take down. Thousands upon thousands of Americans are dying. An untold number of them are being left with debilitating conditions.

You can't sue Trump. He's broke! Someone will have to pay. It's that simple. If you keep transmitting Trump's bullshit, you will be liable, in my opinion, and you will have failed to protect the public good.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Another Quality Hire For the Trump Regime

If Michael Caputo was really just a bag filled with shit, would you be surprised if Trump hired him?
Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Caputo, a prolific user who often tweeted insults and profanity, recently erased nearly his entire Twitter history from before April 12. CNN's KFile used the Internet Archive's Way Back Machine to review more than 1300 deleted tweets and retweets from late February to early April many of which were regarding the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
While he occasionally weighed in with praise for public officials or more straightforward observations, tweets from this period are also littered with conspiracy theories and controversial language to go after perceived critics of the Trump administration.
In a series of tweets on March 12, Caputo responded to a baseless conspiracy theory that the United States brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, China, by tweeting that "millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters."
He followed up at another user, "Don't you have a bat to eat?" and tweeted at another user named, "You're very convincing, Wang."
Caputo and spokespeople for HHS did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the White House declined to comment.
Nobody should be surprised to find this out about one of Trump's latest quality hires.

I guess if it was early 2017, Caputo wouldn't get the nod in this case. He'd be relegated to the Trump campaign or a distant position fluffing someone who Trump fired by Christmas of that year. Back then, there were oodles of halfwitted slobs begging for a chance to serve yet another odious GOP president. Funny how things change.

Yes, because it's 2020, there are barely a handful of shrieking hyenas left in the bottom of the barrel that can be brought on to push excrement and dead toads out of the back of the White House with their snouts. What a horrible bunch these people are. That means Caputo will likely be Vice President of the United States by August, of course.
    Oh, and Caputo being hired signals something for Roger Stone's pardon, I would imagine, but you already knew the fix was in.

    Meghan McCain's Husband Is a Turd

    When Senator John McCain's daughter, whose name is sometimes pronounced Meghan, got married, she probably suspected that her new husband might be stupid enough to publicly threaten to send his employees to a salt mine if they tried to form a union.

    I guess I'm saying they might have been in on it from the start because look at how culpable he could be when it comes to violating labor laws:
    The publisher of conservative online magazine The Federalist broke federal labor laws when he tweeted last year that he’d send employees “back to the salt mine” if they tried to unionize, a National Labor Relations Board administrative judge decided.
    FDRLST Media chief Ben Domenech’s tweet was an “obvious threat"—not a joke or an expression of opinion shielded by the First Amendment—when viewed in light of workers’ legally protected rights, Judge Kenneth Chu said Wednesday. The timing of the tweet, which came on the same day of a walkout by union employees at Vox Media, supported the conclusion that Domenech was sending a message to employees, the judge held.
    “Obviously, the FDRLST employees are not literally being sent back to the salt mines,” Chu wrote. “Idioms have, however, hidden meanings.”
    The company will have to post physical notices in its offices and send email copies to employees, alerting them that FDRLST Media violated federal labor law and advising employees of their right to organize. That’s a standard remedy for relatively minor violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
    A decent blogger would never dunk on mediocre people who marry into respectability, nor would said blogger ever remind people that Meghan's husband has long been accused of being a plagiarizing turd from the get-go. When we decide to be decent around here, I'll let you know how it goes.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2020

    Here Come the Deficit Scolds

    None of this means anything, of course:

    The U.S. budget deļ¬cit may quadruple this year to almost $4 trillion. Projections from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) say that by 2023 U.S. debt held by the public will surpass records set in the post-World War II years.
    And these projections only include spending enacted so far—in a three-month-old crisis that has seen emergency Congressional appropriations top $2.3 trillion. Additional spending is almost certain as the coronavirus pandemic destroys millions of jobs and thousands of businesses while slashing tax revenues for local and state governments.
    I could write a hundred of these posts. If the entire economy collapses, then what difference does it make if we're running deficits? All this is intended to do is keep Democrats from coming into office and spending money to improve the lives of working people.
    It's the same scam they ran against both President Clinton and President Obama. As soon as a Democrat gets elected, the GOP sends a handful of serious-minded policy wonk jackasses out before the cameras to give us lectures about how we have to live within our means and act responsibly for future generations. This thinking seriously dogged every effort that President Obama made to restore our economy. The media had orgasms every time Paul Ryan would talk about how we had to cut entitlements. This is catnip for people terrified that the poor will finally be taken care of.
    These same hypocrites always vote for massive increases in spending and for ruinous tax cuts when a Republican is in office.
    Ain't buying it, ain't falling for it, get out of here with that bullshit.

    A Merchant of Hate and Intolerance

    There are numerous Americans who have now been exposed to weeks and weeks of abuse. Trump is inflicting trauma upon them, making unhinged, snap decisions in real time without bothering to consider the implications. This has a jarring effect on people trying to make plans and live their lives.

    This is a good example of that:
    Late Monday, Trump made a shock announcement that he intended to close the United States to people trying to legally immigrate into America to live and work, effectively sealing off the nation from the rest of the world. The Times reports that the order will likely come this week and will contain some exemptions in industries that are considered to be critical. The newspaper also said the Department of Homeland Security was mulling a separate move to expand travel restrictions that already prohibit travelers from Europe and China, which would further shrink the number of people able to come to the U.S. even for short visits. Trump’s motivation is reportedly so he can be seen to be protecting American workers from foreign competition when the economy reopens after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as he faces a tough re-election fight.
    From what I've seen, in the business world, everything has ground to a halt. If there are visa holders who were planning on moving to the United States, their ability to come here and find housing and start working has been severely curtailed by all of the travel restrictions. There are holds and freezes on virtually every non-essential hire or movement and there are, in fact, tremendous numbers of layoffs and furloughs. So, I don't get what this order is supposed to accomplish other than throwing red meat to a howling mob of xenophobes and racists, all of whom seem to love Trump.

    Having said that, the courts have not spoken and common sense has never had an airing with the policy devisions that are being made by the shitheads and stumblebums that surround this president. Who gets hurt here? I guess one good example as to how this might be a foolish thing to do would be to consider that there are possibly hospitals that are bringing medical personnel into this country in order to augment their staffs. You could have a hospital system that relies on foreign-based professionals to travel here and work for extended periods when their own staff is depleted. That would be an apt description of hospitals in New York and New Jersey in the very least.

    So, in effect, Trump is preventing us from bringing capable individuals who are desperately needed at exactly the wrong time. Yeah, I can believe that he's stupid enough to do that.

    Saturday, April 18, 2020

    The Wages of Sin

    Trump literally has to pay a woman to be his son's girlfriend:
    President Donald Trump’s campaign is secretly paying one Trump son’s wife and another one’s girlfriend $180,000 a year each through the campaign manager’s private company, according to top Republicans with knowledge of the payments.

    Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump, wife of middle son Eric Trump, are each receiving $15,000 a month, according to two GOP sources who are informal White House advisers and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    They were unsure when the payments began but say they are being made by campaign manager Bradley Parscale through his company rather than directly by either the campaign or the party in order to avoid public reporting requirements.

    “I can pay them however I want to pay them,” Parscale told HuffPost on Friday, but then declined to comment any further.
    The man with all of the receipts is Parscale and he's sitting on top of a billion dollar effort to get Trump re-elected and farm out Trump family business to whoever can stand being seen with Don Junior. Those two things don't have to be separate efforts. I mean, there are ethical considerations, toothless campaign finance laws, and probably a handful of serious criminal implications here, but, really, it comes down to one simple fact.

    Trump has to pay a woman to pretend that she is perfectly okay being photographed and dry humped in public by his worthless offspring. And then he has to pay another woman to be married to the other one.

    Great work if you can get it, especially during the current economic downturn. There really is a price for everything and no shortage of people who aren't afraid to sell out.

    You Have to Be Insane to Support Trump

    Protests around the country have erupted because a handful of snowflakes don't believe in science and want to reopen everything before there is a way to protect people against COVID-19:
    With new guidelines from the federal government, some governors have rolled out plans to begin lifting measures in place battling the spread of the coronavirus -- but other officials say it's still too early.
    In Florida, residents flocked to Jacksonville beaches after officials announced a soft opening Friday night allowing for recreational activities for several hours each day. In Texas and Minnesota, state leaders announced they'd be lifting some of the measures in place in the coming days -- still requiring residents to keep a distance and avoid big crowds.
    But some health experts and medical groups have warned the US is still behind in its testing capacity -- a key factor in the country's reopening process to help determine and track just how many people are infected.
    It can't be because these people know something that we don't because they don't appear to comprehend a goddamned thing. And this comes at no cost to Trump because he has convinced the people who follow him that their deaths are worth the economic boost that a handful of millionaires are counting on to restore their stock portfolios.

    This is greed at work. This is what Trump will do to hold onto power. There is no decency in any of this. It is a purely craven madness.

    Reopening the country puts liberals on the defensive. We can't let people do something that will lead to their deaths. We can't let public safety suffer, nor can we risk the possibility that it a premature reopening will threaten hospital capacity, endanger the lives of first responders, and spread the virus through our population of vulnerable individuals. It's a particularly heartless move on Trump's behalf. The willingness to sacrifice human beings for propping up the economy and helping his re-election chances hits home because so many individuals now know the pain and agony of watching someone die with this illness.

    This thing will kill an untold number of Americans because of Republican incompetence. You can't find any other way to argue otherwise. And yet, here we are, in the face of adversity and a handful of Americans can't seem to get it. This is a terrible time to be alive. The damage that has been done is staggering. And yet, we have to do everything we can to save as many people as possible, even those trying to get themselves sick and even those too fucking stupid to understand that what they're doing is insane.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    Incompetent Any Way You Slice It

    This is the header of an Email that I just received from the Small Business Administration. I checked--it's not a phishing scam, nor is it something that also promises me several million dollars in funds from a dead prince who used to live in Nigeria.

    I am not a small business owner. I've never registered as one, nor have I ever even tried to be a small business owner. This Email going to me is proof that the government has no idea what it's doing right now. It is sending out information to people who don't need it, promising money they are not entitled to, at a time when people who actually do need help aren't receiving anything other than silence and dropped connections.

    If you are a small business owner, I hope you received this Email. I doubt that we even have a government right now that can process your request for a forgivable loan. I hope they get their act together and help you.

    When this landed in my In-Box, I just couldn't believe it. This is the gang that couldn't shoot straight, and they have no fucking clue how to help anyone right now. What a shame.

    Republican Incompetence Threatens America's Bacon Supply

    If you live in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem has made it her life's ambition to be as much of a threat to public safety as possible. Noem was elected to higher office with at least 27 different citations as a ridiculously bad driver, and has long celebrated the fact that she's just another Republican who doesn't believe in science. Her reckless incompetence is going to reverberate throughout the country.

    Well, get ready to go without bacon, proud GOP voters:
    One of the country's largest pork-producing plants closed indefinitely after nearly 300 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. And the company's CEO warned that the coronavirus pandemic is pushing the nation's meat supply "perilously close" to the edge.
    "It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running," Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan said in a statement.
    Smithfield decided to close its plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., which provides 4% to 5% of the pork produced in the United States. The move came after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem urged the company to "do more" to address the pandemic.
    "The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply," Sullivan said.
    Republican governance is killing American citizens, wrecking the economy, weakening us in front of our enemies, and destroying the environment. We're not even in the argument phase for those outcomes anymore. You can add the destruction of American food processing to the pile of things that are being trashed, and a rising star in the GOP is now directly responsbile for denying you access to bacon.

    Whenever things like this are announced, they create runs on products that end up creating artificial shortages. You'd think it would be important to have officials in place who could use common sense and stop these things from happening. If you live in a red state, I hope your governor isn't as bad as Noem.

    The Republican Party can survive a lot of fraud, waste and incompetence. I don't know how it survives ruining America's bacon supply.

    Monday, April 13, 2020

    Thank You, Senator Bernie Sanders

    Today, Senator Bernie Sanders put the needs of the country ahead of his own. He put the need to defeat Trump ahead of any other consideration. He has accepted his place in the Democratic Senate caucus with grace and dignity.

    We owe him a great debt for doing this, and he deserves the praise of the grateful part of this country that wants to do the right thing and destroy Trumpism. We will need Bernie's help to rebuild America.

    Thank you!

    Sunday, April 12, 2020

    The Permanence of Humanity

    The great Molly Jong Fast wonders if we're headed back to the past:
    But why, why have we all gotten so old-fashioned.? Is it out of necessary? Or is it something deeper? I live in New York City, where about 700 people died in the last twenty-four hours, and 700 the day before. There’s a heaviness here, as ambulances roll down empty avenues. What if connecting to the old ways is a way to find comfort, to connect with humanity of previous centuries?
    We have no modern playbook for living through a plague but we do have a Victorian playbook for it. They didn’t have a pandemic in the 1965 but they did in the 1665 (the great plague of London). 2017 didn’t have a pandemic but 1817 was ravaged by Cholera. What if connecting with our historic past selves is a way to connect with the collective unconscious? What if we are trying to find the permanence of humanity? Maybe we won’t live forever, but humanity will continue. Maybe baking and sewing and making our own hand sanitizer are ways to connect with our past and, in some ways, even our future?

    I would take it further and say that we are not only connecting to a simpler way of living but that we are realizing that so much of modern life is a construct of easily-dismissed bullshit that requires us to examine every aspect of how we're living.

    Do you care about your neighbors. Hell, do you even know your neighbors?

    It's beyond simple things. It's a re-examination of everything that used to seem important. Do you need a new phone? Do you need that new car? Or do you need to set aside a couple of weeks every year and take your family to a place where they can connect with nature. Or just stay home and have a staycation. What even matters anymore? Is it status, things, your annual salary or is it more than that?

    I see so many heartbreaking--goddamned heart rendering and shattering--stories of people who have lost their family members and have been introduced to a new reality. I have to believe that we're going to see a changed and transformed country and that it will be a sign of real progress. I hope to hell we don't come out of this without having learned our lesson and without having learned about what really matters to us as a people and a nation.

    What Do You Have to Lose?

    This is a hell of a lot worse than asking the president of Ukraine to do us a favor:

    To "let it wash over the country" equals "let's let a bunch of people die so that the economy and my re-election chances don't take a hit."

    Do you need any more evidence that Trump is a psychopath?

    Here we have proof, such as it is, that the Republican Party is led by someone who places little or no value on human life. Here we have facts that, in a normal time, would mean that Trump should be impeached. In this case, again.

    I realize that this is not a popular idea, but the fact remains that the House should, once again, impeach Trump over the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He should be impeached for diverting supplies, failing to respond to the warnings that were provided to him, and for his belief that letting an untold number of Americans die would be preferable to shutting down the economy, as outlined above. 

    The likelihood that we will go through another impeachment is something I don't even want to contemplate because, once again, the Senate GOP will refuse to remove Trump from office. It would be an academic exercise and it would not save the country from however many more months of Trump that we face until he can be voted out of office.

    If only we could have a return to a time when a failed president would resign rather than face the voters. The precedent being Lyndon Johnson, of course.

    If there was anything in Trump that resembled shame, he would have already quit and gone back to New York. Shame is not a feature this president has access to. He doesn't feel it, doesn't know what it is, and cannot be introduced to the concept. He should be ashamed for what he said in that meeting. An American president does not put his own fate ahead of the lives of Americans. We can't allow that to be our new normal.

    Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Peter Navarro

    At some point, we're going to find out that Trump's buddy Peter Navarro has a stake in a company that could make millions off of this, aren't we?
    There was a heated disagreement in the Situation Room this weekend over the efficacy of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine -- but multiple sources say it was mostly one-sided, as President Donald Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro feuded with other officials over thedrug's unproven effectiveness to treat coronavirus.
    The debate is not a new one inside the coronavirus task force -- and medical experts have repeatedly explained to the President that there is a risk in enthusiastically touting hydroxychloroquine in case the drug doesn't ultimately work to combat the virus. But other aides and outside advisers have sided with Trump, including Navarro, who is still not a formal part of the task force but has wedged himself into the meetings.
    Axios first reported on the disagreement inside the White House about the drug.
    While discussing the latest on hydroxychloroquine this weekend, an exasperated Navarro lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the advisers who has urged caution about the drug, a person familiar with the meeting told CNN.

    Navarro had brought a stack of paperwork with him into the Situation Room on the drug, arguing it was proof that it could work to treat coronavirus, which Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, disagreed with because it was not data.
    "What are you talking about?" Fauci asked -- a question that set Navarro off. He became indignant, and at one point, accused Fauci of opposing Trump's travel restrictions on China, which confused many in the room, given Fauci was one of the initial few to agree with Trump on the move, the source said.
    Here you have Navarro--a fringe thinker who is convinced China is going to sneak into our bedrooms at night and steal our blankets--and Fauci, a man who has been fighting epidemics and pandemics for his entire career. You couldn't come up with a bigger mismatch over scientific and academic achievement if you tried.

    Trump has hired so many kooks and grifters that it's a wonder they don't just jail them when they show up for work on their first day. And we're not even into the phase where we'll be in ten years, which will be one of amazement at the fact that any of us are still alive after this era comes to a crashing halt. They're all crazy, incompetent fools and they're getting people killed every single day.

    What are we going to do with these idiots? How do we survive the idea that an academic hack and a pretend economist can wave around news clippings and tell the government's top immunologist that we need to put all of our faith in some drug that has never been clinically tested as a coronavirus treatment?

    Worst thriller plot ever.

    UPDATE: This screenplay is too implausible to produce. Rewrites are a must:

    Thursday, April 2, 2020

    Go After the Health Care Profiteers

    Harry Truman was a distinguished and accomplished public servant, and he made a name for himself going after war profiteers. Who will be the public servant who will expose the health care profiteers?

    I am not going to give into cynicism here. We desperately need to take care of people, and then we need to go after each and every individual who jacked up prices and created these shortages. I don't know if that has to be Senator Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Adam Schiff, but that would be a hell of a thing. They could join forces on a joint effort to not only figure out what Trump and his goon squad did wrong but how to fix things and ensure it doesn't happen again.

    Republican Ideology Will Kill You

    Deep within the lizard brain of every Republican official exists a fundamental disregard for science and the embrace of a paralyzing ideology:
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) undercut his own stay-at-home order by exempting religious services from that necessary step to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    DeSantis issued the statewide order Wednesday afternoon, telling Floridians to “limit movements and personal interactions outside the house” to only those deemed “essential.” The order followed mounting pressure on DeSantis to do something after he’d said days earlier that he was waiting for the White House coronavirus task force to recommend such an order. In March, DeSantis had resisted calls to shut down beaches as college students from across the country gathered in Florida for spring break.

    If the governor had finally decided to take the threat seriously, his order carved out a large exception for religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship, which are deemed to be “essential business” and thus exempt from the stay-at-home mandate.

    Florida has nearly 7,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The actual number of cases in the state and across the country is likely much higher than reported, but a lack of testing and a White House that has repeatedly downplayed the threat have led to insufficient data on just how many people are infected.
    Megachurch pastors are the new embodiment of that old stereotype of a Typhoid Mary. They have lobbied Republican lawmakers to cut them some slack (not to mention the continuation of tax exemptions which makes no sense these days) when it comes to mass gatherings. They could very easily use the technology of television to reach their flocks but they refuse to do so because butts in seats equals cash in the collection plates. They preach the gospel of prosperity, dress it up in a cheap suit, and sell it like madmen. There is no theological basis for being chosen to receive the bounty of God's will in the form of a fat check. The whole hypocritical thing is designed to make you feel good about not bothering to do anything about anything that's wrong with yourself.

    This is an insidious thing, and it has nothing to do with your local Presbyterian or Baptist church. To me, there are now two forms of religion in this country--the normal kind that involves actually creating a church of like-minded worshippers in a community (I will never have a problem with that) and the commercialized nonsense of for-profit, multi-million dollar ventures that require stadium seating and mass marketing campaigns designed to get people to buy into their feel-good bullshit.

    Voting and thinking and being a Republican is bad for your health and never more so than right now. I guess preaching that it would be better to stay home and do something for the greater good loses out to the idea that GOP politicians don't want to suggest that this is all God's wrath on flocks of sinners who would otherwise have a very high opinion of themselves.