Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A Failure to Lead

Here's the Vice President of the United States of America, out and about during a global pandemic, ordering food in a restaurant that is half-assing its way into oblivion.

Not only is this irresponsible and reckless and a demonstration of Pence's incompetence, it's also ridiculous to the nth degree. There are almost 100,000 dead Americans who would love to be eating out today, but because of Pence and his boss, they'll never get that chance. There are countless Americans who are wearing masks and staying home and doing the right thing. Pence has set such a poor example for them that you can't help but wonder how much more crazy people will get when they go out into public places and run into any kind of pushback for failing to wear a mask.

It's nonsensical to expect any of them to "get it." They won't perform the mental gymnastics necessary to understand the need to sacrifice something personal for the common good. They won't arrive at a common sense moment, ever. You don't wear the mask for yourself. You wear it to minimize the possibility of infecting someone else. That's because the experts have told us that this is one way to return to social interaction with some degree of safety.

Fuck it, they say. No egghead is going to tell me what to do! And then they drown in their own liquified, blood-soaked lungs. Down comes the curtain! No learning necessary. On to the next human tragedy.

The default setting for those who take their cue from Pence is, "I will do whatever I want and fuck you if you die because I'm not giving up my freedom."

Pence is a lickspittle and a toady, and that will never change.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Trump is Destroying Our Customs and Traditions

No one really pretended that George W. Bush "liked" the Clintons. The scene shown above is from the summer of 2004, and the supposed niceties of this event were probably strained. We know that Bush hated to be managed in these types of events. The impeachment of President Clinton was probably fresh in everyone's minds, and neither man was a big fan of Al Gore.

Trump will provide numerous exceptions going forward. He is actively trashing the spirit and the letter of the office that he holds. I sometimes wonder how badly he and his "family" will leave the facility when they are hurled out of office. Will they smash things and leave shit stains on the carpets and soil whatever they cannot steal?

And I can say that because all of the norms, all of the customs, and every single tradition are just things that can be destroyed to further his ego:
It's been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity.
Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa — even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.

"We may have our differences politically," President Barack Obama said when he hosted former President George W. Bush for his portrait unveiling in 2012, "but the presidency transcends those differences."
Yet this modern ritual won't be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush.
Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he's made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.
Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.
How would you like to be the White House employee who has to tally up the damages when the Trumps are flushed out of the place? How would you like to go around after his vicious, howling people are finally removed? I fully expect half of them to show up the next day thinking that the Biden people will want to tap into their expertise and seek out their advice. How many armed men will it take to extricate these goons? You gotta break some eggs if you want to have a Fiasco Presidency like Trump's.

Anyway, ceremonies and portrait unveilings are supposed to relieve us of our concerns and show us examples of how normal things should be. It should reassure the American people to see these figures pretending to smile and get along even if there are underlying hatreds and grudges. It really was extraordinary to see things go from the Elder Bush to Clinton and then to George W. Bush, all in the span of an eight year presidency that was marked by witch hunts that flew in the face of the reality of the peace and prosperity that Clinton delivered. Were it not for the debacle of the second Bush presidency, we might have been comforted by that example.

Instead, we get to wonder what Trump's demise will look like. Hey, they might even cover it in the papers.

Monday, May 18, 2020

When a Morbidly Obese President Takes Unapproved Drugs

I could watch this again and again all damned day long.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described President Donald Trump as “morbidly obese” during an interview Monday night with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Asked by the anchor for her reaction to the news that the president is apparently taking the unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against COVID-19 against the recommendations of the FDA, Pelosi said, “I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say. So I think it’s not a good idea.”
The funny thing is, we're now going to be treated to a litany of comments from Trump and his surrogates that will try to deflect attention and change the subject and keep people from paying attention to the fact that someone in the White House has a massive pant load of dough that he's been walking around with since day one.

When you can stand next to John Daly and look like the lazy out of shape one, there's a problem.

The real scandal here is that the medical personnel who are supposed to treat the president are, essentially, paid liars who cannot be trusted and have no credibility. We've been subjected to several years of outright lies and obfuscations that cannot be allowed to stand.

I mean, this is ludicrous and isn't worth the paper that it's printed on:

We need someone, when Trump is finally hurled out of office, to take a look at his medical records and own up to the fact that the office that treats POTUS should be independent and above reproach. It should be made up of a rotating team of doctors from the military whose first oath is to the country and not someone's vanity. And when the president is on medication, we need to know what it is and why. It's a national security issue, through and through.

Anyway, what a stupid time to be alive. Get ready for weeks and weeks of White House comments along the lines of "look how fat Joe Biden got in 2007" and "Biden is the real tubby tubby in the race" because there's no way this will fail to provoke a tremendous amount of rage.

And let's dispel the notion that you can't fat shame Trump. There's no way to shame him, period. He doesn't register that human emotion. Republicans tell us that he's the manliest goddamned man on the planet, and I just can't process that, given what we've seen with our own eyes.

In other words, fuck this fat boy. Nancy SMASH! wins again.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

All the People Who Did Not Need to Die

A comparison of deaths between the United States and South Korea is a way to frame the debate as to what's happening in this country right now.

We are witnessing one of the greatest crimes of neglect and incompetence in American history. Tens of thousands of Americans have died because the Trump Regime did not properly develop a way to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not a matter of making overly cautious decisions that did not pan out. It was not a matter of moving resources to the wrong place or of making a choice between two different paths.

Trump turned to the worst possible people in America and empowered them to deal with the crisis.

They did nothing.

They worried about the stock market instead.

They realized their error and then moved to enrich people "friendly" to Trump's re-election.

This failure of leadership abandoned the idea of acting for the common good and replaced it with a brokedick version of disaster capitalism.

It's that simple.

All those people did not need to die. They could have been saved. If there had been someone, anyone in January willing to marshal the resources of this country, shut things down, and move to a strategy of testing and contact tracing people, an untold number of Americans could have been saved.

Trump did the opposite.

At every juncture, he went with the worst possible choice and the bodies piled up.

Trump fired the professionals who could have helped. He switched out people who were competent and replaced them with children. He got rid of his Acting Chief of Staff and brought in a bawling sycophant. He listened to his worthless son in law and he ignored common sense advice. He watched his own friend die, and that's saying something because it is hard to imagine Trump ever having a friend. Let's call the wealthy acquaintance of his in New York something more human, such as a former associate of the criminal occupying the White House. He has fired Inspector Generals and relieved people who know how to make things work. He has berated those who could have helped and acted like a toadying jackass in front of a bunch of clueless businessmen.

His briefings confused the American people, empowered an untold number of defiant buffoons, and left the public uninformed and adrift. He has complained more about how this has affected him than he has ever expressed condolences to the people who lost family members. It has been a non-stop pity party for the president of butt-hurt feelings and pathetic self-aggrandizement.

If someone were to tell you what the 2020 election should turn on, it should be a referendum on Trump's inability to lead the country and tell the goddamned truth.

You've heard it before, but, yes. It is that simple.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Double Standard

Does Trump even know what a double standard is?

In this short video, you will see the entirety of his character reveal itself. He hates women who stand up to him.

Your ears do not deceive you.

The President of the United States of America stood in the Rose Garden, waggled his goddamned mini finger at an adult woman, and said "I understand you very well. Better than you understand yourself."

There is no bottom. There are only more opportunities ahead for Trump to destroy any chance that he has of acting like a decent human being in public. Republicans keep throwing themselves into the breach like cannon fodder, trying to defend this president from his enemies. They do not seem to realize that, every time he opens his mouth, more Americans decide they will vote to throw every goddamned Republican out of office as soon as humanly possible.

It's impossible to be shocked anymore, but there you have it.

Smug Jackass Refuses to Resign

Joe Lockhart seems pretty naive to me:
By the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974, virtually every major newspaper in America had called for President Richard Nixon's resignation. During the investigation and impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, more than 100 newspapers called for him to resign.
But President Donald J. Trump? He could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody... and not a single major daily newspaper would call for his resignation. I admit that -- just like the original Trump quote it references -- that Fifth Avenue statement is a bit hyperbolic, but think about it:
After three years of political and actual carnage under Trump, including Robert Mueller's description of acts that amounted to, he told Congress, obstruction of justice; Trump's "fine people on both sides" reaction to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville where a counter-protester was killed; his rampant conflicts of interest and credible accusations of his violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution; his close to 17,000 false statements; a travel ban that primarily targets mostly Muslim-majority countries;impeachment for alleged extortion of a foreign government (he was acquitted in the Republican Senate), and the gross mishandling of a deadly pandemic, you'd think somebody on an editorial board might say it's time for the President to leave.
There is a dizzying double standard at work here. Just one Trump press conference from the last three years contains enough actual evidence of cognitive decline, moral bankruptcy, and deranged self-pity to justify writing a thousand editorials that would call for resignation. The only thing keeping Trump in power is the Republican majority in the United States Senate and an elite media complex that is making a ton of money by trading in outrage and insanity.

The Senate majority's game is just about up. As the polls come rolling in, you'll see otherwise safe incumbents who will be looking at double-digit deficits that they won't be able to make up before November. And this is with no one campaigning in the real world, only the virtual world. Every single day the news is so bad for Republicans that they can't escape the growing desire of the American people to throw every one of them out of office as soon as possible.

Our media elites are a failure unto themselves. Trump is fucking crazy! We see it every day on TV! We watch this and no one says it out loud. When Trump says something on TV that's crazy, the last thing CNN or the big networks wants to have happen is for their on-air person to say "wow, that's pretty fucking crazy right there."

Sure, you have Don Lemon and Nicole Wallace channeling what we all feel, but this has to be communicated at virtually every level of news coverage. It's not enough for opinion programs to tell us what we're seeing. The major networks still have evening news programs that reach a dwindling but underserved audience. The entire culture needs to be acquainted with the fact that Trump doesn't care how many people die because his golf courses are empty right now. This is a bloodthirsty regime and not enough of you people are dying fast enough to keep the rich afloat right now.

Why is all of this happening? Because not enough Democrats voted in the last decade. Let's get that out there and own that and fix it.

Newspapers could definitely call on Trump to resign but then a conservative with butthurt feelings and a Twitter account that hasn't been shut down yet would complain to his 50K bot followers and then the paper would back down. There isn't enough shame in the world to get Trump to do the right thing so why would a pack of newspaper editorials matter? Instead of printing denunciations that they'll disavow when the pushback occurs, print voter registration instructions on the front fucking page. Open up a dialogue on how we should all be voting by mail. Quit with the posturing. Trump has been good for business if you're selling stories of terrible events to people who care about the world. This business has to end.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

An American Failure

This photo was taken today somewhere in Virginia. It's a picture of a classically attired stumblebum demonstrating his rights under the U.S. Constitution in a way that looks as ridiculous as it seems.

I will heap scorn and abuse on this individual because it is reckless, irresponsible, and childish to display such a weapon in a public place. In the United States of America, we do not do this. We don't do this in front of old women and young children. We do not do this in front of other Americans. We do not brandish weapons of war because this country prefers peace and the scenes of calm and tranquility. The fetishization of war implements is a pop culture phenomenon. We might put an old cannon up in front of the VFW or whatever but we do not do ostentatious displays of military power. That's the goddamned Russians, son. That's banana republic bullshit.

That's not America.

Given that there is no threat to this man with regards to his life, liberty or property, the fact that he is open carrying an AT-4 rocket launcher represents failure.

A failure to understand that he does not need to carry this weapon.

A failure to understand that he doesn't need to carry any weapons because this is America, you jackass. You're out and about, run your errands and go home, like a normal person.

A failure to understand that carrying what is most likely a dormant AT-4 used for training purposes (I believe it's the one where you can load a .556mm tracer round in the rear adapter and fire that through the weapon) is absolutely fucking insane.

A failure to comprehend the greater good, which is encapsulated in the idea that we should do what we can as a country to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Put on a mask and act like an adult.

I mean, it's the embodiment of failure all the way around. What a dumb fuck. What a stupid country. What a terrible time to be an American.

He's not accomplishing anything. He's ordering Subway. He's carrying oversized pistols like a movie character. he's strutting around in a tank top. He's not even in possession of a wallet like a normal man.

Good God, what a shithole country this is. Are there no wallet stores anymore?

And I know, I know. There have always been nut jobs like this in our midst. Every town has a chucklehead like this guy in it. I get that.

I used to live in a country where they would take this guy to the hospital and get him checked out. He's got 72 hour mental hold written all over him. I used to live in a country where someone would point and laugh at this stupid motherfucker and shame him. I used to live in a country where his right wing behavior would be answered with someone offering to take him to the clinic where they do penis enlargements. I used to live in a country where there were mechanisms that would kick in and correct this sort of behavior and push it to the margins where it belongs--a place where he would be shunned, discredited, and mocked relentlessly for being an absolute twat in public.

The transformation of this country into a place where these cosplaying dipshits are able to walk around like this is certainly a success for the Russians who wanted to divide America into warring camps, but even they can't believe how lucky they were to pull it off.

When you see a man looking like this, know that it is because of our failure to find the better path forward. We are going to pay for this for a long, long time.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Trump's Pack of Grifters

James Carville rightly points out that the Trump Re-election campaign is largely a useless exercise now that the bottom has completely fallen out of the economy. There is virtually no chance a president with 25% unemployment could get re-elected in our modern political system. That's not to say that it isn't possible, but Carville is right to point out that it is far too steep of a hill for someone like Trump to climb.

Look what his campaign is doing. They’re a pack of grifters. His campaign manager got two condos, a Ferrari, a yacht, a Range Rover and they’re all just fleecing the campaign. This is all about making money and they’re going in there and giving him fake polls.

How do you make the case that Trump should be re-elected when jobs have disappeared and when the country has been battered by coronavirus largely because his incompetent administration is too busy stealing everything to do anything for the American people? The Republicans in the Senate probably want to do more for the working class. However, they know the game is up. Virtually every vulnerable Senator up for re-election is under water with the voters in their home state. Some, like Cory Gardner and Martha McSally are already looking for lobbying gigs because the math is working against them.

Americans are suffering like they haven't suffered in three or four generations. The fear, the uncertainty and the hardships ahead are going to break people. If you don't already have sympathy for those who are going to lose their loved ones, think of the kids that are going to be asked to live through the years ahead. These experiences shape the American conscience and make activists and crusaders out of individuals who would otherwise have grown up without looking for a cause of their own. There will be nothing ordinary about how they remember these days and what they do from now on. You have kids who are laying the groundwork right now for fifty or sixty years of making sure Trump never happens again.

Don't tell me this is going to pass and allow everyone to go back to "normal."

Normal is gone.

Normal ain't coming back, at least not in the way we remember it.

Normal has been sold out of the trunk of some weasel's car, and anyone working for Jared Kushner right now should understand that prison attire is in their future.

You have jackasses like Mitch Daniels saying that we should avoid the partisan blame game. Hello, that's wrong. When we face a crisis, holding leaders accountable is the American way. People rewarded President Obama with a second term precisely because he carried himself with dignity and worked every single day to make things better. We forget to appreciate the fact that he did so in the face of apathy from Democratic Party voters, a hostile Republican Congress that refused to do anything to make the lives of average Americans better, and the kind of sickening racism that could only have produced Donald Trump.

Hold on and prepare for a shit storm ahead. Crawl over broken glass to vote in November. Change the control of the Senate, give Nancy more members of Congress, and throw Trump out on his ass. Believe me when I tell you this, there are hundreds and hundreds of prosecutors waiting for the call. Every single one of them who worked in the Obama, Clinton, and even Bush administrations are going to be asked to help with the reckoning ahead.

But let's revisit what Carville had to say about Brad Parscale, the kid who Trump will likely fire soon because he's been making too much money and doing nothing to break through to the voters. Parscale is stealing so much of Trump's money that it isn't even funny. Much of it is probably already overseas, and Parscale probably has one hell of a bug out plan when everything goes south. Hell, he's going to need it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Experts Weigh In

Well, do I base all of my decisions on what Megan McArdle thinks or do I adopt Nate Silver's tone of mighty overcorrection and go down with guns blazing?

Listen, the mustard man is on to something here. We should listen to epidemiologists, but perhaps not the ones that are afraid to speak up in case Trump fires them.

Never in American history--and I don't use this comparison lightly--have we been less prepared for a disaster and more inundated with the foolhardy opinions of wankers than we are right now. People who have zero experience, training, or credentials are writing opinion pieces seen by millions without any regard for the harm or disinformation they are spreading.

The coronavirus sure is dangerous, but what's more of a threat are the hacks and weasels who think they understand it better than the experts.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Governor Mike Parson

This is an example of the poor leadership being provided by Republicans in this country.

It's an appearance by Missouri Governor Mike Parson. He is visiting a facility run by disabled veterans and he and what looks to be his staff are not wearing masks. It is entirely possible that they wore masks during other parts of their itinerary today but this is what is critical. When given a chance to appear in public and show support for the idea of protecting the health of veterans, Parson decided he was not going to be inconvenienced.

Parson should have put on mask in order to help normalize this as a means of keeping people safe. Wearing a mask isn't about you. It's about what you're willing to do to stop the spread of the virus. If a leader like Parson isn't willing to show the citizens of his state that it is the right thing to do when it comes to wearing a mask, then why is anyone surprised to see people refusing to wear masks?

These piss poor examples of leadership should be remembered the next time someone like Parson has to face the voters, but it will all go down the memory hole. We do not learn, we do not remember what's important, the only thing that will matter is if liberals cried real tears when the governor showed everyone what stuff he's made of.

What a goddamned disgrace.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Economic Anxiety

There are so many things wrong with this picture. It was taken during the "protest" at the Michigan State Capitol on April 30, 2020. The domestic terrorism at work here really doesn't hit home until you realize that the jackass with the mohawk and the strapped assault rifle decided to wear his perfectly tricked out Load Bearing Vest assembly with a role of black tape affixed with a carabiner.

Really, who goes on a domestic terrorism operation with a role of electrical tape? Was he prepared to use it to hotwire his way into the computer vaults and server rooms of the capitol? Was he going to pull wires out of the wall and rearrange them and seal them up nicely with that roll on his left side?

These types love to affix patches and doo dads and bullshit to their "body armor." I know we're supposed to think that they are tough guys and frosty veterans and a hundred percent committed to the glory of Don't Tread on Me America but, come on. They're just ambulatory toddlers, and they went to a tactical gear store and dropped hundreds of dollars in order to feel good about themselves. You couldn't pay me to own or wear that shit. It's ridiculous.

The "economic anxiety" of these people is laughable. They have money for Ranger cosplay but they don't have money for car payments and can't feed the kids they had with their baby mama? They can go out in public looking like something out of a Hollywood story featuring mercenaries who are there to Fuck You Up but they can't be bothered to actually serve in the military?

Trump has unleashed holy hell in this country. Putting it back together is going to take a good long while. And these people are going to have to be sorted into the deplorable bin.

Quit Falling For This Crap

Vice President Joe Biden went out and hired a bunch of worthless advisors and now you see the results of his decision to listen to them and talk to the media about Tara Reade. He does not have to dignify this bullshit with anything other than a polite statement issued through his campaign. He should have pointed out that there will likely be more of these accusations because they are, literally, the only things that can be used against him because he's clean and fully vetted otherwise.

You're watching a disinformation campaign spin out of control. It has bubbled up from the dirtbag left and now it has caught fire because Biden and his goddamned campaign have given it the oxygen it needs to burn into the minds of the Morning Joe crowd and whoever else gets paid big bucks to write about politics and does so without ever glancing past the idea that "both sides" are corrupt so let's have a chuckle about those stupid Democrats.

Biden could submit to a hundred in-depth hour-long interviews over this subject from now until Election Day and there would still be headlines that talk about "unanswered accusations" and "troubling developments" and "credible allegations of rape" and that's because the media has no idea how to handle the manipulations of the Trump era.

Hey, they wanted to find Biden's Benghazi and his Emails and now they have their catnip. Women who have credible allegations against powerful men will be used as a cudgel against throwing Trump out of office. Yes, the very same Trump who wouldn't sit for a single interview about his sexual assaults or his lawlessness or his abuse of the rule of law or his tax returns.

The Democratic Party and the Biden campaign are going to do their damndest to make a blowout election as close as possible, a real squeaker if you will. They are running against an incredibly unpopular president who has been impeached. They are trying to beat a guy who shitposts about his ratings while his incompetence is actively killing tens of thousands of Americans and creating a second Great Depression. And this is all because he couldn't be bothered to look at a Presidential Daily Brief that was more complex than a kindergarten lesson on how to wash your hands. And they're making the mistake of thinking that this media climate is favorable to them.

It ain't. The media companies in this country are salivating at four more years of Trump. They want the ratings that his dumpster fire presidency brings to the table. They are making hay out of your outrage and they want more of it, so much more of it that they don't care if everyone is sleeping in rubble when it's all over.