2019 II
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2018 2015 2012 2009 2006

Jan     Feb    Mar    Apr    


The Trump Administration supports taking down the ACA/Obamacre under the apparent presumption that they can easily replace it. But y'know, it would sure be nice if they understood the ACA in the first place!
Here's the Press Secretary:

McEnany went on to argue that the Affordable Care Act represents a "government takeover of health care" (that's not true), that the White House has "put forward solutions" (that's not true), and that Democrats are moving toward "eliminating Medicare" (that's not true).

Democratic leaders were briefed by members of the Trump Administration on bounties to the Taliban for dead Americans, not by any members of the Intelligence Community! All spin, no substance.

"How Texas Blew It"
Learned about libertarianism back in college. Thought it was a pretty stupid idea. Think even less of it now that it's resulted in a massive spike in coronavirus cases, meaning lots of needless death and suffering in Texas.

No question that Iran is right to seek justice under international law for the aerial assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. They'd of course need to hire someone like Boba Fett or Django Freeman or the lead character from La Femme Nikita in order to enforce it.

"In a surprise, Court smacks down Louisiana abortion restrictions"
Very good news on the pregnancy choice front! Chief Justice John Roberts honored the concept known as "stare decisis" whereas Justice Brett Kavanaugh made Senator Susan Collins look like a fool by sweeping stare decisis aside.

"‘He Just Floored It’: Detroit Police SUV Plows Through Protesters"
Good Lord!
No apparent deaths, but “'multiple people injured' were receiving treatment at local hospitals."
Police car rear window "busted out?" No sound of breaking glass in video, even though screams were clearly audible. Another video shows no damage to the rear window.

Now that there are big spikes in COVID cases in Red (Republican) states, all of the sudden, masks aren't seen as wimpy anymore. As Speaker Pelosi puts it, this realization is long overdue. More on mask-wearing and masculinity and "owning the libs," etc.:

So, the Trump Administration has held a briefing on Russians paying a bounty for dead American soldiers to the Taliban. Problem is, the briefing was for Republicans only. There will now be a briefing for Democrats today. This has rather obvious problems as far as presenting information that both sides deem to be credible. If you give two separate briefings, how do the Ds know they're getting the same information as the Rs?

One of the problems with living in a land with really ancient ancestors is that Poland was in the middle of building a road when they discovered a cematary from the late 1600s-early 1700s. Christianity wasn't firmly established yet, so many of their mouths contain a coin for Charon to take them across the River Styx.

Okay, so someone very clearly shouts "white power" 10 seconds into the video in question, but the President didn't hear that and feels that, gee, for some reason (can't imagine what that reason could be), the people who shout "white power" are "demonized." Hmm. Yes. Quite a mystery.

Speaker Pelosi calls for an all-House briefing on the bounty that Russia allegedly placed on American troops. The White House claims to have set up a briefing, but as Pelosi was not invited to that, that was clearly a meeting of co-conspirators rather than an attempt to inform lawmakers.

VP Pence produces a lot of nice words about respecting Civil Rights figures of the past, but if he can't even get behind taking down Civil War statues, what new Civil Rights measures can he possibly get behind? Where is he willing to push for any sort of progress if he can't even support taking down some of the statues that were erected during the later Jim Crow period (1900-1960)?

President gives an interesting talk on statues. Problem is that people like John C. Calhoun, Braxton Bragg and Robert E. Lee are the ones at issue. Trump defends George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who aren't really the issue. Other people should "learn history?!?!?" $%#@!!!

100% behind the Speaker on this!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday said that it’s “definitely long overdue” for a federal mandate on wearing masks.

A vaccine looks promising. A test with 30k people will take place. If all goes well, we might have a vaccine next year.

"Mississippi Legislature passes bill to eliminate Confederate symbol from state flag"
Good! It's a symbolic action, but gotta start somewhere!

Heh! The Fox News host asks why the President's poll numbers are so poor. The Trade Adviser won't answer the question and instead talks about all sorts of other things. The President is NOT running a winning reelection campaign!
My own answer would be that the federal government has historically been very good about getting front-line people what they need in order to get the job done. Under Trump, our medical personnel are still lacking essential supplies!

The AG puts out a policy on Antifa. Slight problem is that there's no such organized group.
As "Antifa" is short for "anti-fascist," isn't that kind of a "tell"?

Ridiculous side-by-side comparison.  Everything was fine, according to the VP on the 16th, but disastrously bad on the 27th.

"Congress stalls on police reform"
This piece was featured on page A15 of today's Philly Inquirer. A classic example of "BothSides" -ism, where it take until the 15th paragraph to begin to suggest that the problem might actually be a bit more one-sided than that, that maybe just one party is the problem and it isn't the Democrats!

Heh! Fox News host Lou Dobbs says poor, poor, Roger Stone (I kid, of course) is now suffering “Soviet-style justice.” Erm, Stone was tried under the standard judge and jury system and found guilty on all seven of the charges that he was tried on!
Oh,, but that's right! He's a Trump crony, so any real justice is impermissible!

Vice-President engages in idiotic-sounding happy talk: “We have made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward”
Piece shows that US is handling the COVID-19 pandemic very poorly.

"100 degrees in Siberia? Top 5 ways burning Coal, Gasoline is causing Astonishing Transformation of Arctic"
The Laptev Sea, which is usually covered by ice and is where many polar bears live, has a lot of areas where the sea is open to the air.

"Appeals court: Trump can't raid Pentagon budget for 'wall' funds"
Good! I felt this was an open-and-shut case from the very beginning. I know schoolchildren get MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) when "Power of the Purse" is mentioned, but this is a very important issue.
And yes, back during the old days, before pockets and wallets, a "purse" was a man thing.

Aww! The President is realizing he might lose in November. Giving a rambling, focus-less answer to the question as to what he might do in a second term was certainly not a help.

...Trump took to Twitter just before midnight to reignite a losing PR battle over his failures to manage the coronavirus pandemic. He declared that only "embers" remain...

This is simply not true. New York State may be "on the other side of the mountain" as Governor Cuomo put it, but the US as a whole most definitely is still climbing the mountain. No, we're not dealing with "embers," the blazing forest fire is still consuming hundreds of acres at a time!

This is pretty shocking. Several months ago (March), we discovered that Russians were paying bounties to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to kill Americans and their allies in that country. As we know, less than a month ago, the President had a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin about Russia rejoining the G7, long after he was informed that Russia was essentially at war with the US. Our blogger details the steps that the US should have taken back in March.

Press Secretary says neither POTUS no VPOTUS were briefed on Russia offering bounty for dead American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is, of course, not the slightest bit credible and adds yet another obvious lie to the Press Secretary's list. Comment:

Why on earth would the WH wait 24 hours to respond with this given how damning the story is?

Blogger examines some possible reasons as to why Russia would have put a bounty on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

One of the issues Rachel Maddow brought up last night was this Republican Never-Trumper ad by the Lincoln Project that slams the President over his handling of the coronavirus. She says that if Trump loses the 2020 election over this, that's a reasonably good issue over which to decide a presidential election.
I agree and thought of the Swift Boat Veterans of 2004, who were a substantial factor in the election between Senator John Kerry and the younger George Bush. There were bigger issues, but newspaper headlines in August of that year were dominated by (completely bogus) charges from that group and those charges clearly cost Kerry a lot of veteran votes. This was detailed in the book "Lapdogs: How The Press Rolled Over For Bush"

Hmm. So the VP thinks the wearing of masks to make the coronavirus less deadly should be a call for local authorities to make. So masks are good for Maine but not Vermont? Good for Colorado but not Idaho? What a #$@&ing idiot!

Video comes with warning as last few seconds show corpses. A look at Tulsa, OK, before the 1921 massacre.

What are the President's goals for a second term? Essentially, to not do anything as stupid as hiring John Bolton. That is, to not do anything that stupid again!!! Everyone around Trump knew that hiring Bolton was a really stupid move, He basically said "[eff] y'all, I'm hiring Bolton anyway." Years later, he realized what a stupid decision that was.

A piece that explains what the case on the ACA/Obamacre is all about. The reasoning on why Republicans want to blow away the entire structure of the ACA is that it's like a Jenga tower where one of the bottom blocks has been removed. Therefore, the logic goes, the whole structure is crippled and must be demolished down to the last brick.
And please keep in mind, the pandemic is nowhere near at its peak yet, let alone getting better.

"The cupboards were bare when we entered office!" has been the cry of the Trump Administration. Not true.. Never was true. And now, they want to give ventilators to other countries! Generosity is nice, but the pandemic is reaching new heights here!

*Sigh!* So, US coronavirus cases hit a high back in late April, then went through a trough. The new peak is higher than the late April one.

"Amid pandemic, Trump administration asks Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare"
Very happy to see that, right in h very first sentence, this piece specifies that the Trump Administration is "without an alternative health plan of its own." It's been over a decade since the GOP said it would come up with a better alternative and they've got nothing!!!

The decision on Michael Flynn's case by Judge Neomi Rao seems really, really partisan. It's "an exercise in outcome-driven sophistry that barely pretends to be a judicial opinion."

Meet a young, upcoming star of the right-wing media noise machine who says that Aunt Jemima is a symbol of the American Dream.

Is the President ignorant or does his think his audience is? He apparently doesn't know what the "19" in COVID-19 stands for, but his question may just be a way to get the term "Kung-flu" in.

"Barcelona Opera Reopens With An Audience Of Plants"
Heh! Sure, plants can hear you and react! They my not do so in an obvious manner, but that doesn't mean they don't like it.

#$@%#@!!!! NOW Texas decides to take appropriate precautions against the coronavirus!!!

Celebration of Juneteenth with summaries of past several days of news.

After getting about a million requests for tickts, only 6,100 people showed up for the Tulsa rally. The arena holds 19k people and there was an outdoor venue reserved as well. This probably cost the Trump campaign from $550k to $600k. What happened? Hundreds of TikTok users and KPop fans flooded the Trmp campaign phone lines with requests for free tickets.

The really awesome news is that the data that the Trump campaign gained over the past 10 days is completely worthless. They might as well throw it all out,

"More Bad News For Trump: Federal Judge Rules To Bolton’s Book Can Be Released"
But as Bolton might not get any money out of the deal, it may be a win-win for America!

Saw on TV that Bolton did reveal information he shouldn't have. He reveal the decision-making process for responding to a military threat. This is information that's useful to a foreign adversary. And yes, Bolton's a mercenary who put profit ahead of patriotism. He should have volunteered his testimony. If the Senate didn't want to hear from him, the House would have been happy to have provided him with a forum.

"Eric Trump Calls Black Lives Matter Protesters ‘Animals’ at Tulsa Rally"
Yeah, let's just start in with the racism right off the bat! The heck with the whole idea of democracy, where you understand that political opponents nevertheless share a common humanity with you.

"Fox & Friends hosts defend Trump's remarks about slowing down COVID-19 testing: 'That's part of his delivery'"
A rather odd belief on the part of the President:

When you test, when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.

Erm, diseases came many milennia before testing did as the germ theory only goes back to about the mid-1800s.
Also, one of the Fox News people says to look past what the President says and look at what he does. Okay. What I see is a country that, many months into a crisis and several months after the Defense Production Act was activated, still doesn't have enough ICU beds or PPE to tackle the crisis with. What I see is a president who still makes wildly irresponsible statements that have to be debated days later.

Press Secretary goes into detail about what the Trump Admiistraton considers "fake news."  Her first example is one that I remember. Nathan Phillips, a Native American man, came up to a confrontation and tried to break it up by playing some of his music. One of the Covington  Roman Catholc high school students gave him a really amused, challenging look. People reached all sorts of conclusions about the students appearing to challenge Phillips, but the incident was by no means "fake" or in any way misrespresented.

Update (26 Jul): Lengthy Twitter rhread explaining how the case was settled for peanuts. The Covington students simply didn't have a case, but they "won" because it was easier to pay them off than it was to drag out the case.

"Barr announces resignation of U. S. attorney for SDNY, U. S. attorney announces Barr is a liar"

Late on Friday evening, Attorney General William Barr issued a press release indicating that Geoffrey Berman, the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York had resigned and was being replaced by Barr’s hand-picked alternative.

Berman hadn't actually resigned. Good! The attempt to fire the head of the SDNY has blown up in the AGs face.

The President just can't seem to explain why he keeps hiring "wackos and liars" to help run his administration.

Abraham Lincoln had a "team of rivals." Does Trump have any such team? Well, no. He's never hired anyone that's to his political left. Everyone on his team has been a hard-line political right-winger.

*Sigh!* Europe vs the US on the coronavirus. A belief in facts and science vs magical thinking.

"Tough on China' has been key to Trump's campaign, but Bolton's book has made that idea hilarious"
Gotta love the second sentence here:

After admitting that he had not read the book, Pompeo wrote, 'It is both sad and...'

Think I was around college-aged when people first started criticizing books and movies without having first read or seen them.
Thank goodness Biden has obtained a copy of the book and is releasing information on the Trump Administration's policy towards China.

"If Black Lives Matter, must ‘Gone with the Wind’ be gone?"
I agree with the author that we shouldn't take a "1984" approach of simply erasing everything that's no longer politically correct. In the same way that I present pieces I don't completely agree with or want to clarify, GWTW can be preceded with discussions as to what it all means.

The President keeps trying to compare the government responses to H1N1 to that of COVID-19. No. There's absolutely no comparison whatsoever.

"Conservatives Slam Roberts After Ruling To Uphold DACA Protections"
Chief Justice John Roberts may not be a constant friend to liberals, but he's not a rubber stamp for conservatives, either.

President has a pretty wacky theory as to why people wear masks.

...some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventative measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.

DOJ is trying to argue that for the court to contest its decision to drop charges against Mike Flynn is an “unreviewable exercise of prosecutorial discretion” and that the appointment of former US District Judge John Gleeson to review the Flynn case was unconstitutional. Problem is that Flynn is very closely tied to the President and AG Barr has shown himself to be the Presidents loyal servant, so there's a real conflict of interest there.

Blog post repirints an Onion piece from 1999. Horrifyingly relevant in light of Alabama's refusal to require masks.

GOOD!!! The President's Bible photo-op in Lafayette Square was disastrous for him politically!

"Asked If He'd Attend Trump Campaign Rally, Fauci Says "Of Course Not," Citing COVID Risks"
This is why people trust Dr. Fauci! He puts common sense above being slavishly devoted to the President.

"How ‘Karen’ Went From Popular Baby Name To Stand-In For White Entitlement"
Very interesting. The woman in Central Park who was encouraged to leash her dog has been referred to as a "Karen." This explains where the term came from.

Our latest BLM march in Philadelphia.

Good news on the protests. As I've mentioned on my own attendance, I've noticed that just about all of the protesters are wearing masks (and doing so properly, with the nose covered). The result is that only around 1% of protesters are getting the coronavirus. The three critical factors are: 1. Mask-wearing is universal, 2. Protests are held outdoors and 3. People move around a lot. 

Seattle suffers imaginary invasion.

"What Corporations Fear: Best Recovery from Covid-19 Depression is Universal Income and Federal School Funding"
There are ways to handle and minimize the economic problems and dislocation caused by the pandemic, but those ways would distress the people in the 1%.  

This is concerning.

Completely unmarked officers in riot gear holding protesters blocks away from the White House. No badges. No insignias. No name tags. Nothing. Refused to tell us who they’re with

"Bolton Accuses House Dems of 'Impeachment Malpractice' In Forthcoming Book"
It wasn't necessary for Bolton to have testified in the Senate during the Senate trial of the President. Once Republicans in the Senate made it clear that they didn't want to hear his testimony, he could have given a deposition to the House, after which he could have testified there or he could simply have gotten booked on a talk show or could have simply done a podcast. He could very easily have made sure the truth got out.

"Attorney For Elderly Buffalo Man Pushed By Police Says His ‘Brain Is Injured’"
Very sad and absolutely disgusted to hear this.

"Trump reschedules Tulsa rally 'out of respect' for Juneteenth"
Mildly pleased and surprised that someone finally briefed the President on the date that he had settled on for his first big MAGA rally, allegedly "after" the coronavirus (it's by no means over yet). Was the President aware of the significance of his coosing Junteenth as the date for his rally? Ehh, hard to say. No doubt that Stephen Miller knew, of course. And that he fully intended the choice of date to be a big middle finger to African-Americans. .

"Melania Trump used newfound leverage to redo prenup after election win, new book says"
This is cool. Melania knows full well that her hubby will dump her for a younger model as soon as she starts developing wrinkles, sags or other imperfections. She's being smart and protecting herself.

"Two words Trump needs to stop using: 'easily' and 'quickly'"    
Actually, there are "quick" and "easy" ways to begin to address African-American dissatisfaction, such as re-naming military bases and moving statues of Confederates out of public squares, but the President hasn't shown any appetite for even doing that much. So yeah, he really should eliminate those descriptions from his vocabulary.

"A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921"

The President wants to kick off his "post-pandemic" campaign (the pandemic is far from even halfway over) in Tulsa, OK. The jury's still out on whether the President fully realizes that Tulsa was the site of a major massacre or what June 19th means to African-Americans (We all know that Stephen Miller know), but it's still a major "eff y'all" to our black brothers and sisters.

"Womp Womp! Tucker Carlson Lost Five Advertisers In A Day"
Capitalism occasionally kicks back in a liberal direction.

Tucker Carlson has been stoking a race war since the death of George Floyd prompted major Black Lives Matters protests in all fifty states.

I've seen a few random right-wing posts that say keeping everyone at home somehow weakens us. Nonsense. Michigan is doing well with the coronavirus precisely because everyone is staying isolated and at home.

"BREAKING: Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Apologizes For Being Part Of 'Biblegate'"
Absolutely correct! The military needs to be apolitical. Officers and Enlisted people cannot be seen as Ds or Rs, Blue or Red.

Huh! The RNC has decided that, as nothing meaningful has changed since 2016, they won't bother to produce an updated 2020 platform. They'll just keep using the 2016 one.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims he didn't know there was an active, ongoing investigation into his conduct when he recommended that an Inspector General be fired. Kind of a problem with that is that all of his close associates had already been interviewed.

"NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags At Its Races"
Good! The very least that white people can do for their black brothers and sisters is to dismantle and take out the symbols of white supremacy. Not a solution, but a good start.

The recommendation on Flynn's trial is that the judge overseeing the trial should render a judgment anyway, despite the DOJ changing its mind.

John Gleeson, who was appointed by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan as a friend of the court, said Flynn had engaged in “self-serving gamesmanship” that challenged the “integrity of the judicial system.”

It's an absolute disgrace that such a system would be needed, but Lord bless Chef José Andrés for what he plans to do for America!

I’m announcing that On election date I will set up a water, food and restrooms support system to help people standing long hours on a line, on the different States that may have a problem handling voters!

"The Georgia voting debacle is on John Roberts' and Mitch McConnell's heads"
Back in 2013, the Supreme Court said that racism was a thing of the past that no one needed to worry about it any more and so a majority of them kicked out a major strut that was holding up the Voting Rights Act. What happened in Georgia very clearly demonstrates that the Supreme Court was wrong and that the need for the VRA never went away. Only way the VRA is going to be restored is to Turn The Senate Blue by voting for Democrats!

Numerous pro-Black Lives Matter protests in Philadelphia and in the suburbs.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson of the United Methodist Church (She's in charge of Eastern PA, my section):

I don’t often take to the streets and participate in peaceful protest marches. However, recently I joined with faithful people in a number of communities to physically show support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Wildly uneven voting experiences in Georgia. For white people, voting was a breeze. For black people? Ehh, not so much.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proves that he's simply not up to the job as American diplomats worldwide wonder what the US policy as to George Floyd's murder and the aftermath is or should be.

Woo hoo! The President does not appear to have played any role in this, but the military has proposed taking the names of Confederate leaders off of US military bases. Congress passed a bill with that prosal in it.

Update (19 July): The President is not on board with the idea!

"Stephen Miller is preparing Trump’s speech on race relations in America: report"
Bwah-hah-hah! Oh yeah! The racist Nazi to put together a speech that'll bring Americans together over race issues.Yeah, that'll definitely be a classic!

It's good to hear the AG admit that the President went to an underground bunker because yes, #BunkerBoy feared for his safety. But the AG's repetition of the word "perimeter" really bothered me because this is a term used in guerrilla warfare. There is no such warfare taking place. Nobody was planning an assault on the White House. Everybody knows that getting over the White House fence and to the actual building would cost many, many lives!

"Trump accuses 75-year-old peace advocate assaulted by Buffalo police of being 'antifa provocateur'"
Leaving aside the fact that the President's claims are absolutely ridiculous, the real problem here is that the Buffalo police acted as though they were at war with a well-armed and determined enemy. They weren't. They were advancing upon angry, but unarmed American citizens.

Yep, it's all a plot! All those demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd are simply designed to deny the President his re-election this November. Yup. That's the reason!

Examining the complete and utter failure of the US-Iran policy.

This conversation is why I think the idea behind "Defund the Police" is a great one while the rhetoric of it is open to being misunderstood/misinterpreted. Senator Kamala Harris does a very good job of explaining it, but it takes a while to get her points across.  

I completely agree with AG Barr's statement, that the President should be able to walk a block to go to a church. Problem is, it was not necessary for the clearing of his path to be as violent as it was.

"Judge dismisses lawsuit against Michigan governor over coronavirus orders"
Good! What an incredibly obvious no-brainer of a decision!

The picture on re-opening remains very uneven. Some states are ready for limited re-opening, some states really aren't for any sort of it.

"GOP Sen. Jim Risch gives a master class on how Republicans built Trump into a monster"
The President's obviously a wannabe fascist dictator. Problem is, the Republican Party seems all too willing to enable Trump's dictatorial pretensions.

At first, there was no one reporting that any warnings were given when troops started invading Lafayette Square from the White House. AG Barr started claiming a few days ago that three warnings were given. Press Secretary McEnany has now repeated that assertion. No one who was on the other side from the troops has agreed that any warnings were given. Hagerstown Airport (Reprinted from WaPo piece):

None of the witnesses heard verbal warnings issued, they testified.

"Trump Admin Officials Continue Denying Systemic Racism In Law Enforcement"
A large part of the reason that protests contniue is that Trump Administration officials contniue to deny that Black citizens are protesting for a reason!

And yeah, that was a pretty partisan problem:
"Democrats take a knee in US Congress in George Floyd tribute"

So many people are dying from the pandemic in India that crematorium furnaces in New Delhi are running 24 hours a day and still, they have to bring in funeral pyres to keep up with the demand.

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro claimed that China was responsible for the deaths of over 100k Americans. First, this fails my WWDDD theory (if Doctor Doom had created the coronavirus, he would have released it in Chicago and not Wuhan, etc.), but second, note the very different experiences that different countries have had with the same problem. You simply can't explain them by saying it's all the fault of a bad actor. The death rates are different because of deliberate decisions taken in each country.

"New York Times editorial page head resigns after publishing fascist Tom Cotton op-ed"
Sounds like we have an example of the Peter Principle in action, the idea that employees get promoted up until they're no longer competent to do the job. It;s difficult to send them back down to a level they can handle, unless they really screw up, which was the case here.

Senator Cotton goes "Nyah, nyah" at the NY Times because, as I said, the Times accepted and printed his op-ed, the newsroom quite properly objected, the top editors attempted unsuccessfully to defend it (it was indefensible) and they then agreed that it never should have been published. A classic lose-lose situation.

"Protesters tear down statue amid anti-racism demos"
For those who say the current President isn't racist, here's a challenge. Why doesn't he order a few Confederate statues taken down? The statues were largely put up during the later Jim Crow era from the 1910s to the 1960s. Their whole purpose was to remind black people, in an oppressive, daily sense, that white people were in control. The statues wouldn't even have to be destroyed. They could be moved to graveyards and museums.
To me, the answer's pretty obvious. Removing Confederate statues from high-visibility public places would anger Trump's most fervent and dedicated constituents. Is the President personally racist? What difference does that make?

Update (15 July): "Edward Colston statue replaced with sculpture of Black Lives Matter protester" Mayor of Bristol has called for a vote on the new statue, which was put up secretly, at night.

The Punisher is a Marvel Comics character who is an ultra-violent vigilante. His symbol has been showing up on police during the George Floyd demonstrations. Marvel is not pleased to be associated with police violence.

Mercedes Schlapp, who works in the White House, retweeted a viral video of a man chasing away anti-racism protesters while screaming obscenities and swinging a chain saw. Apparently, this guy is a hero to people on the right.

"Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Privately Reached Out To Dem Leadership This Week"
Very sensible as the miitary does not want to be seen as partisan!

Is it dangerous to be protesting during a pandemic? Yeah, probably but

...people have enough pent up energy they were about the violate the protocols anyway, and protesting is the way to do it that provides the most social good

"The Police Are Targeting Protest Medics"

This would be a war crime in a combat zone.

Problem with police trying to simply put down the protests is that, by attacking medics and journalists, they're putting themselves onto the wrong side, against the public and against American values.

"Books and films to help people of all ages learn about systemic racism and violence"

As Black Lives Matter protests continue, here are ways to learn more about the issues at hand.

"Ivanka Trump calls out "cancel culture" after her commencement speech is canceled"
I've complained about this a number of times. A college commencement is not the place for controversial speakers! If politicians want to speak at a college in the middle of the academic year, when students can focus on the content of their speech, go for it, have at it, more power to ya! I understand that it's nice to have a large, well-dressed captive audience, but it's very unfair to the students.

"St. John’s Would’ve Been Open to a Trump Photo-Op. All He Had to Do Was Ask."
Had the President requested the church's permission to do a photo-op on their property, they would have done their best to accoodate him. It's been the mission of that specific church for the past 200+ years to work with Presidents.

The NY Times published Senator Cotton's op-ed about "Send In The Troops" to beat up protesters. There really was no good way to recover from that. They changed their minds and said that publishing it demonstrated poor judgment on their part (True!) But that then permitted Cotton to portray himself as a victim of oppressive, dictatorial liberal thinking. A lose-lose situation. They need a better editorial process and they need to show some awareness of their own history with people like Adolf Hitler.

Is the worst of the pandemic over? Hmm. Maybe. Sort of. The New York/New Jersey/Connecticut region is doing better, which means the aggregated number for the nation has visibly improved, but in more rural areas of the country, it's growing. We're by no means out of the woods.

*Sigh.* Is the US able to $%#@ up vaccine devlopment? Ha, ha, ha! Of course they can!

"Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination"
Good! Biden goes to the Convention as the Democratic candidate! No ifs, ands or buts about it! He knows full well that people like Senator Sanders are more popular with the youth than he is, so he knows he has to make compromises.

I took a look through downtown Philadelphia several days after the demonstrations began.

The national security people and the military itself depend for their legitimacy on the appearance of non-partisanship. The President threatens that by seeking to use them as a president-controlled police force.

"Trump is hoping for a white backlash. None is coming
Black Lives Matter has been polling pretty steadily since last July. The past month has seen a real upsurge in support, coming mostly at the expense of the "meh" people, but a lot of opponents have changed their minds as well. People now understand why Colin Kaepernick was kneeling!

Heh! At about the 3:55 mark, Jessica Tarlov of Fox News starts getting way too close to the truth and the host feels obliged to cut her off! The President is trying to blame antifa for the troubles in the street, but antifa is not an organized group. No, antifa was not placing pallets of bricks so that the bricks were available for throwing. They were there for construction.

Many police are complaining that they feel like Vietnam vets returning home after the Tet Offensive of 1968, that is, after the public no longer supported the war there. Well, it's tough for people to maintain support for the police after an incident in Buffalo NY where an advancing line of police in tactical gear pushed Martin Gugino, 75, to the ground. There were pictures of Gugino's head bleeding as police passed by without stopping to offer assistance.

Update: On July 4th, Gugino was released from the hospital after having sustained a fractured skull and a brain injury.

Very cool! The city of Washington DC has fund a bright, cheerful, positive way to say "eff y'all" to the President and his authoritarian fantasies!

"Dems: Linick Testified That State Officials Tried To ‘Bully’ Him Away From Pompeo Probe"
But hey, it's not like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has anything to hide or anything of that nature! [/snark]

"Trump shares letter that calls peaceful protesters 'terrorists'"
Senator Lindsey Graham is very upset and thinks it's terribly unfair for people to constantly blame the President.
Well, there's a reason they do that. A lawyer for the President makes a wild, hysterical, evidence-free charge about the motives of the protesters in Lafayette Square when Trump decided to clear the square by force. Trump shared the lawyer's letter on Twitter, making it clear that he endorsed it.
So yes, there's a reason people blame the President a lot.

NY Times has declared the President's march across Lafayette Square to be a "defining moment" of his tenure. The number of people who approve is small and shrinking!

"Virginia governor orders removal of Lee statue"
Good! This is exactly the right way to calm the demonstrations that have roiled the country over the past week! It puts the government onto the correct side of history and it's a good visual sign that says "We understand."

A deeper look at Senator Cotton's op-ed. An essential problem with his analysis is that excessively enthusiastic enforcement of the law was the problem that caused the demonstrations in the first place! His send-in-the-troops solution just amounts to tossing more gasoline onto the flames.

Very happy to see the enraged blowback the NY Times has earned by publishing Senator Cotton's fascistic piece.

"White House Defends Use Of Force Against Protesters: 'No Other Choice'"
There were many other choices available to the Trump Administration! First off, it was a photo-op. There was absolutely zero time-urgency to do it. The President could have decided several hours beforehand that he wanted to pose where he did. The Secret Service could have quietly and deliberately cleared the park without any force at all. Also, the Rector of the Episcopal Church could have been given the courtesy of being informed that the President wanted to use her church for a photo-op and she could have geeted him out front.

Very happy to see people really pushing back on this.

NY Times staff is pissed and rightfully so as paper prints outright fascist piece by Senator Tom Cotton. .

Our blogger, who has had few op-eds published by the NY Times, calls bullshit on their publishing Senator Cotton's piece that called for the U.S. military to be deployed in cities across the country to help restore order.

As the map here shows, the pandemic is moving away from the New York Tri-state region and on to more rural states. The South is getting especially hard-hit.

"Nurses Are Going Straight to Protests After Long Hospital Shifts to Help Treat the Injured"
Sort of like patriotism, but broader and deeper than that. More like "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."

The Senate Majority Leader is correct to say that Americans are concerned with the murder of George Floyd and with the resulting demonstrations and riots. But he is incorrect to say that condemning the President actions in violently clearing Lafayette Park is irrelevant or beside the point or the result of Democrats simply hating the President. What the President did was to throw gasoline onto the flames of the national unrest and to heighten the violence that was already taking place.

"White House confirms Trump gave order resulting in assault on St. John's Church"
The President, in clearing Lafayette Park with great violence, demonstrated all the self-discipline and limpulse control of toddler.

"Jimmy Kimmel Does A Great Job Explaining White Privilege"
Good monologue. The explanation in the headline comes at the end of it, but it's well worth it to watch the whole thing.

"Abroad, Trump leaves the US isolated, ridiculed, and pitied"

As someone who spent two years overseas as a Sailor (Gaeta, Italy 96-98), this is heartbreaking. The clearing of Lafayette Square with such brutality makes any US condemnation of human rights by anyone else a pathetic punch-line to a really weak joke.

Police Chief of Houston TX tells the President to STFU because he's doing more to ratchet up tensions than he is to calm anyone.

"It's not about dominating. It's about winning hearts and minds."

Woo hoo! Representative Steve King has lost his primary! The most openly racist, Confederacy-loving Republican has lost his seat! Is it likely he'll be replaced by a Democrat? Ehh, the blogger doesn't think so.

It's amazing to look back on the 1975 TV show SWAT and to see how lightly armored the police were back then. Police are much more heavily armored today. Why was the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper at all involved in the "Great March from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church?" Military police were entirely sufficient to do the job of clearing Lafayette Square, but because the younger George Bush launched the Iraq War, we have an overly militarized police and our cities are now "battle spaces."

"Why Donald Trump will never be 'the president of law and order' "
Again, it's not like anything in the Mueller Report was ever debunked or disproven. The Steele Dossier has largely held up as an accurate document. The Impeachment Inquiry was never shown to be in any way false. The President likes law and order IF the law is on his side!

Trump has also repeatedly abused his pardon power to reward politically connected criminals, dangled pardons to U.S. officials whom he's encouraged to ignore legal limits, and argued that law enforcement should be politicized to advantage his political party.

"Kellyanne Conway Blasts Bishop Outraged Over Trump's Church Photo Op"

Kellyanne Conway denies that Trump's photo op in front of the church was in fact a photo op: 'Is it a photo op because a photo was taken?'
[Narrator: "]That is, in fact, the definition of a photo op.["]

Does the Episcopal Church belong to the Reverend Gini Gerbesi because she's the Rector of St. John’s Lafayette Square Church or is it just as much President Trump's because he wanted to use it as a background for a photo op?

Lots of trouble with the idea of holding the RNC Convention in Charlotte NC in August.

*Sigh!* US still leads in total COVID-19 deaths, but Brazil surpasses us in daily deaths.

In the early evening, a moment that will live in infamy. President tear-gasses peaceful protesters who were in Lafayette Park so that he coul perform a photo-op.

Read and thought about this today. Very interested to see that followers of the President like Ralph Reed appear to take a Medieval view here, that the Church Triumphant is more important than the actual substance of what the church teaches. Reed and the President apparently agrees with Conan the Barbarian, who answers the question: "What is best?" with

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!"

"Trump Flees To Bunker As Protests Over George Floyd Raged Outside White House"
Heh! #BunkerBoy is now trending on Twitter.

In a phone call with governors, Trump berated them for not "dominating" the protesters enough.

This "tuff guy," all-enforcement/no empathy or understanding strategy doesn't strike me as a very good one.

"The Kremlin has confirmed Pres Trump and Putin spoke today, per @Reuters"

The attacks on journalists are no joke and it's clear they're being encouraged from the Oval Office.

People in the press need to pay attention more.

Where is Joe Biden?’ the press howls, as Joe Biden is out in the streets meeting with protesters while the actual President locks himself inside and tweets all day.

Lengthy video from comedian Trevor Noah explaining how Amy Cooper in Central Park was the one who really started the latest set of events off.

Again, the President attempted to be neutral and objective and to take the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protesters seriously, but

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, on Sunday said he spoke with both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden last week
"[With Trump, the conversation] lasted probably two minutes."
"It was very brief. The conversation was OK with him. I was just respecting him, you know listening to what he had to say."

In other words, Trump conducted a strictly one-way converstion with Philomena Floyd with the President doing all of the talking.

As with the pandemic preparations that the Trump Administration abandoned, so there were police reforms that might have prevented the problems we've seen with the George Floyd killing.
This is infuriating as it's just so tone-deaf:

Sessions rolled back police reform even though he conceded he hadn’t actually read any of the DOJ police department investigations he described as "anecdotal."


"Tanker truck barrels into thousands of protesters marching on I-35W"
Doesn't appear to be any protesters hurt. Driver was dragged out of his vehicle. Police soon took him into custody.

President declares "Antifa" to be a terrorist group and tries to blame them for the violence at the George Floyd demostrations. Believe I posted the ADL definition of Antifa before, but here ya go. Antifa is a "loose collection of groups" that is in no way equivalent to right-wing white supremacist groups. In addition to declaring a domestic organization to be a "terrorist" one, which is probably not a legal definition, the President reveals yet again, by not also declaring that white supremacists are terrorist, that they are his people.

A little while ago, Rush Limbaugh tried to make it sound as though deaths in nursing homes from the pandemic was a "Blue" (Democratic) state problem. He didn't deny that it was also a "Red" (Republican) state problem, he just spoke as though it was a problem that only Blue states had. As the piece here shows, pandemic deaths in nursing homes is very much a shared, bipartisan problem.
From my memory, Rachel Maddow started talking about these deaths long before anyone else did.

"BREAKING: Speaker Turzai, House Republicans cover up positive COVID-19 case"
I understand that HIPPA rules means that the Republican Speaker of the PA House couldn't give out personal information on the member who had COVID-19, but he certainly could have informed Democratic members of the House that one of his members had the coronavirus.

Some pleasant schadenfreude here! GOP's fortunes are doing very poorly and President's re-election seems unlikely at this point in time.

Part of the problem that made the George Floyd demonstrations much more energetic than they would have been is that African-Americans have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. His killing was just one more stressing event piled on top of many others.

President tries to convince us he doesn't lead a white supremacist movement. Trump said:

“MAGA says ‘Make America Great Again.’ These are people that love our country. ... “By the way,” he added, “they love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.”

Which kinda seems to indicate that MAGA and black peope are two entirely separate and distinct groups.

The comedian Sarah Cooper does a marvelous send-up of this!

It also didn't help that one of the President's favorite TV hosts came out strongly for "Law 'n' Order!"

Real problem with re-opening economy is that some regions simply aren't ready. Their pandemic cases are still in full swing.

"Trump Vetoes Student Loan Forgiveness Bill"
For me, the really critical sentence is:

DeVos has sought to strike a balance between the needs of students and taxpayers. The Obama-era rules, in her view, could cost taxpayers billions of dollars in unnecessary student loan forgiveness.

But making money is not the concern or even the point of government. Government's role in this case is to see to it that we have an educated population. If that costs a bit of money, then so be it. The President doesn't agree with the forgiveness bill because he's anti-intellectual anyway. Smart people annoy him as they tend to disagree with him and don't automatically praise him.

"Philly Police Announce 8 p.m. Curfew After Fires Are Set in George Floyd Protests"

Philly Police plan to lock down Center City with a curfew at 8 p.m. after several fires were set, multiple buildings were damaged and cars were flipped over Saturday. The damage and vandalism in the late afternoon and evening followed peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd...

Problem is, there's a massive contradiction between Republican economic theory and their own political survival. They can survive politically, but they need to dump their economic theory in order to do so.

MSNBC's Joy Reid says that there are indeed outside agitators taking part in the demonstrations in Minnesota and elsewhere, but they appear to be white supremacists as opposed to any sort of liberal groups.

WTF is the President trying to accomplish here?!?!?! This is the worst possible time to try and cut SNAP/Food Stamps!!! 36 million people don't have jobs!

Update (9 July): "The food crisis shows no signs of abating, either, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the relief measures implemented by the federal government in March are set to run out in a few weeks, and it’s not clear whether children will go back to school, where many get fed."

"READ: Transcripts From Flynn Calls With Russian Officials Released"
These "transcripts" were all produced from after-the-fact interviews between the FBI and Flynn. Mike Flynn and the Russian Ambassador were having serious discussions about the shape that US policy would take once the Trump Administration was in office, meaning Flynn really should have had note-takers and recordings. US policymakers should not have been left with just Flynn's own memory on these discussions. Suppose Flynn had made a promise? Suppose Russia simply pretends Flynn made a promise on behalf of the incoming Trump Administration? There were no offiial records being kept!

Over 100k dead and tens of millions of people unemployed, Eric Trump is like "Ehh." What excites him is that the Dow is doing well! 'Cause hey, priorities.

Was it inevitable that the US would lose so many people to the pandemic? Not at all. Look at Vietnam:

Vietnam, a country of 97 million people, has not reported a single coronavirus-related death and on Saturday had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year

Heh! Starting at about the 1:25 minute mark, Laura Ingraham assures black people that the President knows what it's like to suffer an unfair justice system. Erm, no he doesn't. Nothing in either the Mueller Report or the House Impeachment Inquiry was ever disproven. None of the charges made were ever rebutted.

"Where does the phrase 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts' come from?"
The President calls upon protesters to "Honor the memory of George Floyd!" by protesting peacefully. But it's tough to do that when the rest of his statement included the line:

"When the looting starts, the shooting starts." The phrase was used both by Miami's police chief, Walter Headley, in 1967, and by presidential candidate and segregationist George Wallace the following year.

It's also very, very interesting how the President's views on protesting shift according to the goals and identities of the protesters. Granted the heavily-armed protesters in Michigan in late April didn't cause any actual destruction, but the President didn't seem to mind their intimidation tactics at all.

The Press Secretary defends the President's truthfulness by saying "His intent is always to give truthful information." Erm, no. Politicians either tell the truth or they don't. There is no "trying" to tell the truth. Any misstating of the facts is deliberate, conscious and wholly intentional.

There's a saying on some tweets and blog posts "Well, that didn't age well!" Biden pulls up a tweet of his from October of last year that aged quite well, thank you very much! His critics at the time? Ehh, not so much.
We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.

Every time people point out that the Trump Administration's Iran policy is a complete and total failure, Secretary of State Pompeo pleads for us to just give it time and Iran will sooner or later collapse and give in. There's no reason to think it ever will.

Kellyanne Conway says that standing in line for multiple hours to vote is just like standing in line to buy a particularly desirable cupcake. Kind of a problem with that is that a vote is much more consequential and that making voting harder and more dangerous is not laudable.

"Top 6 Reasons Authorities are Cracking down Hard on Black Protesters while Treating White Supremacist Reopeners with Kid Gloves"
Blogger does a deep dive exploring the issue.

A Republican member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives tested positive for COVID-19 and informed the chamber's human resources department. They contacted people he had been in contact with, but somehow, Democratic members of the body had to learn about this from the press. This is very highly relevant, not just because Democrats might have also been exposed, but also because Republicans have been aggressively pushing to open the state back up for business.

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., posted these two photos side by side (The officer kneeling on George Floyd's neck and football player Colin Kaepernick "taking a knee") with some thought-provoking commentary.

"In my father's words, you're 'more devoted to order than to justice.'"

Glad to see the strong reaction to George Floyd's death.

Thousands flooded the streets at that same intersection Tuesday afternoon to protest Floyd’s death. They packed the area, but were also spread out to try to be socially distant.

Remember these Trump Administration people when they make predictions. Vice-President Pence made a prediction about the course of the pandemic in late April:

"I believe by early June we're going to see our nation largely past this epidemic.... I think honestly, if you look at the trends today, that I think by Memorial Day weekend we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us."


Gotta agree with the Democratic candidate here. Prominent people need to set a good example.

Question: "[President Trump's] trying to belittle you for wearing a mask, making it seem like it's a sign of weakness. Is it?"
Joe Biden: "He's a fool."

I watched the minute-long film clip with "Karen,"* (Sarah Cooper) who hysterically called the police because a black fellow politely asked her to leash her dog
So Candace Owen asks why "Karen" is "being dragged." Uh, it's pretty obvious.

*"Karen" has become the generic term for women who hysterically overreact by calling the police on black people. Urban Dictionary: "The stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women."

Did another car caravan protest. Worked out a bit better than last time.

The milestone of 100k deaths from COVID-19 in the US has been reached.

I can't even...
Of course this cop should be criminally charged!!! This is premeditated murder, pure and simple!

A video is released of a Minneapolis policeman with him knee on the neck of George Floyd, who died.

Update (5 June): All four of the police involved were charged with Floyd's death.

An update on the fellow whose only apparent qualifications are the family he was born into and his marriage to the President's daughter. An object lesson in why nepotism is a bad thing.

This is very good news. Venezuela was unable to pump oil as they lacked the spare parts to keep their pumps working. Iran stepped up to help and their oil tankers got through without incident.

After aiding a town in Italy, a group of Cuban doctors heads back to Cuba with the grateful thanks of the Italian people.

The Republican National Convention (RNC) is scheduled to take place in August in North Carolina. NC is run by a Democratic governor. The President wants the governor to guarantee that the RNC can be held without any pandemic precautions (masks, distancing, etc.). Obviously, it would be incredibly stupid for the governor to agree to that, so of course Trump is insisting on it.

*Sigh!* The White House issued what conservatives usually decry as an "unfunded mandate," that is, they issued an order for the states to do something without providing the resources for the states to actually do it.

Many states said the logistics, costs and manpower needs are too great to test all residents and staff in a two-week window.
Update (11 July): Not much in the way of improvements.
Back in mid-May, nursing homes in [Texas] had reported 561 deaths from COVID-19, according to an ABC News review of state data. By last week, that number had nearly doubled at 1,035 deaths. 

The essential threat to the Supreme Court maintaining Roe vs Wade today is not that anything has changed in society, but that the Court itself has been pushed way over to the political right. It's now very far out of step with society and threatens to favor babies over women.

The study by Columbia University points to a fundamental failure by Trump. It pointed to the death rate being many tens of thousands of people higher than it had to be. Under any other sort of governing system, Trump would have long since been sent home and a more competent leadership would have taken his place.

The blogger examines the fantastic waste of resources that constituted the "Global War on Terror." At the Battle of Aqaba, the artillery was encase in concrete and facing away from where the attack came from. The US has similarly misplaced its attention towards terrorists and away from climate change and pandemics.

"U.S. prepared to spend Russia, China 'into oblivion' to win nuclear arms race: U.S. envoy"
The battle cry of "Spend them into oblivion" sounds like a really great strategy if we ignore that we've already spent over $2 trillion on the Iraq War and nearly a trillion for Afghanistan and let's recall that taxes have been lowered, not raised.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien accuses China of hiding evidence of the coronavirus. This is one of the reasons that we have intelligence agencies, to detect and track threats of all kinds. Our agencies first detected China's COVID-19 back in November of last year. The President has absolutely zero excuses for waiting until mid-March to finally declare that we had a serious national problem.

Does anyone think the President understood "good bloodlines" when he said it in relation to Henry Ford? Whoever wrote his speech clearly understood it! Whether Trump did is open to question.

The last Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, made this same claim about the President that
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien is making today, that Trump maintained such a gruelling, workaholic-type schedule that he barely slept. It wasn't the slightest bit believable when Grisham said it and it isn't any more believable now.

This is cool! A box of crayons with 24 skin colors. A far cry from 1958 when they created a box of 64 colors, one of which was named "flesh." By 1962, they had renamed that color to "peach."

Seeing clips of Trump people trying to minimize the nearly 100k deaths that the US has suffered from the pandemic. Greece is a stark reminder that it didn't have to be this bad. It is this bad because of deliberate, conscious choices.

This clears up a question I had, why oil-rich Venezuela was getting oil from Iran. Venesuela can't get the spare parts it needs to keep its oil flowing. What a horribly, disastrously foolish situation!

Blogger examines two military leaders, Dwight Eisenhower and George Custer and decides which leader President Trump resembles in the war against the coronavirus.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) calls for the complete declassification of the phone call that the unmasking of Mike Flynn was all about.

Lots of news on the pandemic. Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine is, at best, useless and at worst, deadly.
Lots to learn from autopsies.
US deaths going down a bit, but we're nowwhere close to being ready to re-open.

With the news that hydroxychloroquine is clearly more harmful than helpful, Fox News has to explain its dereliction of duty in promoting it.

Siberia, that land of ice and snow, is clocking in at an average of 17 degrees above normal!

As with the US giving China several tons of supplies that we could have used to fight COVID-19 ourselves, the White House is now sending ventilators to Russia. On 30 April (23 days ago) the New England Journal of Medicine said "Critical Supply Shortages — The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 Pandemic"

"Ex-Trump aide won $3 million mask contract for Native American hospitals, but thousands may be flawed"
Big problem with crony capitalism here is that all the aide had to do was to claim that he could do the job. No one from the Trump Administration actually checked his work product to ensure that he was actually competent to do it.

Former Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate with Senato John McCain, Sarah Palin is not responsible for the current state of the Republican Party, but she certainly helped to make it what it is.

Yeah, the President's economic plan appears to consist of re-opening everything and hoping that "pent-up demand" will fix it all. Things like haircuts and pedicures can't be obtained online, but quite a few things can be sent for. It's pretty much just travel and entertainment that's affected and that'll just have to wait until people feel safe.

"State Issues New Defense Of Pompeo Over Saudi Emergency Declaration
The Trump Administration defense is essentially that Saudi Arabia must be defended against Iran. The piece has a link to their criticism of Iran. Quite sad. I followed the link to see how the State Department justified its anti-Iran actions. I was like "What? I'm just a regular citizen and even I know that's BS!"

And this was the very last I ever heard about Joe Biden's accuser Tara Reade. Haven't searched for her name, but neither have I run across any further mention of her. Her credibility clearly crashed hard, burned for a bit, the ashes were swept up and then just disposed of.

"‘Wise Guy’ Biden Apologizes for ‘You Ain’t Black’ Gaffe"
As a blogger put it:

But seriously, Biden made another comment of which wingnuts are hypocritically and furiously making hay. My thoughts about it are as follows: as Biden’s fellow white person, I think it was a colossally dumb thing to say...

Around the 8:30 minute mark, Senator Graham says there was nothing wrong with Mike Flynn talking with the Russian Ambassador in December, well before the Trump Administration assumed office. I strongly disagree. If Flynn wanted to speak with the Russian Ambassador or any other foreign person, he needed to go to the State Department, they would have given him a briefing, would have had a person there to monitor what he said, would have had note-takers present, etc. It was not okay for Flynn to simply call the Russian Ambassador on his own.
One of the big reasons for that is the 1980 "October Surprise" case, where it is alleged that the incoming Reagan people talked with the Iranian Ayatollahs to hold back the US hostages until Reagan could clinch his election. So no, it is not just something w take for granted that Flynn was calling for an innocent reason. 

Current President is copying the playbook that the younger George Bush used against Iraq from late 2002 to early 2003. Trump is trying to blame China for the pandemic and he's using intelligence agencies to provide material to do it. The liberal case is that the exact origin of the pandemic is beside the point. It's how Trump has handled it that's important.

The Flynn case gets messier.

Instead of immediately granting the dismissal, Flynn’s judge, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of D.C., appointed a retired judge to act as a so-called “amicus” (or “friend of the court”) to oppose the DOJ request and to brief Sullivan on whether he is legally obligated to drop the case.

The people who want to re-open the economy are flying blind. They want to open up in Alabama, but there's a critical shortage of ICU beds right now.

"The End of the Oslo Accords: Palestinians pull out of Agreements in face of Netanyahu's Sudetenland Moment"
The Oslo peace process was begun by President Clinton in 1993. That approach is now completely dead.
Reminder: Annexation is a war crime. It was Italy's annexation of part of France in 1940 that was part of the reason for the creation of the UN.

Senator Kamala Harris makes it clear how completely and utterly useless the Senate Homeland Security Committee is in the face of a genuinely life-and-death situation.

...this meeting was to hold a vote on issuing a subpoena to see records related to Hunter Biden's behavior while employed by Burisma.
Senator Harris pointed outthat the committee had done nothing about the pandemic, even though that was clearly under their jurisdiction.

"Government Refuses To Purchase Masks From Black Owned Company | How We Buy Black"
Piece is from mid-April, though a quickie search shows nothing has changed. Is the problem racism? I think it is, but I'd say crony capitalism is just as much at fault. When you conduct economic affairs on personal relationships, that leaves out men from India, women who are black, etc., as these people are highly unlikely to have developed any sort of personal relationship with privileged white fellows from New York. If Trump, Kushner, et al, were running things in a manner that was consistent with the Enlightenment, I think this company would get a contract.

Yeah, the Press Secretary wonders why we don't just take this President's word for anything. Gee, I don't know [/snark]. Just 20 days ago, he expected us to believe that his question about ingesting Lysol to counter the coronavirus was a sarcastic question and that we could very quickly ramp up testing from the low hundreds of thousands to several million "very quickly." Yeah, gee. Just can't figure out why people can't take the President's word on anything.

Just because someone posted a gloom 'n' doom piece about the election this November.
Yes, we could lose and Trump could win a second term, but this piece shows he's slipping with what was his strongest constituency, people above 65.

The Trump Administration appears to have an extremely broad and flexible definition of "emergency," as Pompeo used an "emergency" State Department fund to pay for a series of dinners held with with high-powered guests and very few people that the State Department would actually need to build bridges with.

Well, this is pretty cool! Seems that getting the coronavirus a second time means the virus is "dead" on the second round! It registers on tests as "live," but actually can't infect anyone.

Cool technology! Rolling machine that automatically disinfects hospital rooms.

Found a piece that says that the real problem in the Flynn case is that

someone ... leaked the classified details of his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Later in the piece, we learn that Flynn "was the incoming national security adviser." We also know that Flynn's call to Kislyak was unauthorized. The outgoing Obama Administration officials knew nothing about Flynn making the call because Flynn didn't see fit to inform them he was making that call.

Question: How could anything about Flynn's call have been "classified?" Flynn could classify it after he had assumed the position of the National Security Adviser, but as an "incoming" NSA, he couldn't classify anything.

"Did Trump fire State Dept. Inspector to Protect Shady Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia?"
Looks an awful lot like that's exactly what happened!

Dr. Bright confirms that the main and most important job of government right now is to be what the President derisively refers to as being a mere "shipping clerk." Cures and vaccines are all very fine and well, but the priority since January has been to see to it that our front line health care workers get the gloves, masks, gowns, etc., that they need to do their work!

Amazing how the Trump Administration thinks they can take a "victory lap!" If our current situation is a "victory," one has to wonder, what does failure look like?!?!?!

When CNN's Jake Tapper noted the American death toll -- saying that "the US has less than 5% of the world's population but has 30% of the world's officially reported coronavirus deaths" -- Azar pointed to the high level of complicating medical factors like obesity, hypertension and diabetes in the United States: "Every death is a tragedy, but the results could have been vastly, vastly worse," he said.

Okay. When she was First Lady, Michelle Obama was encouraging the American people to lose weight and to eat healthier. What has the Trump Administration done to advance either goal? I mean, okay, the Trump Administration arrived and found problems. What did they do to fix those problems?

"Eric Trump predicts COVID-19 is a conspiracy against his dad that will ‘magically’ disappear in November"
Wow! SMDH!!! First off, Eric Trump's theory miserably fails the Occam's Razor test, which holds that the simplest theory involving the least work is probably the correct one. Second, Wow! Really? We permitted over 80k Americans and over 310k worldwide to die just so we could deprive the President of full stadiums?!?!?!

No one listens to the First Lady. Hell, she doesn't even follow her OWN prescriptions! The good news is that the Girl Scouts set a good example for her and the President to follow.

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman explores a number of reasons why the Republican Party seems willing to toss thousands of citizens into the furnace "for the Dow."

In Louisville KY, a sleeping Emergency Medical Technician was killed by police when police were executing a "No-Knock Warrant." On balance, such warrants are simply not worth it. Breonna Taylor's boyfriend woke up, concluded their home was under attack by persons unknown and, quite reasonably, grabbed his gun and started firing. It was completely unreasonable to expect him to know that it was police who were violently entering their home.

Senator Rand Paul is usually an idiot, but is correct here.

Obama was pretty political during his cross-platform commencement address.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said. “A lot them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Side-by-side comparison of two states. One did social distancing, stay at home orders, etc. and one didn't. Illinois clamped down, Iowa didn't. Iowa had 30% more cases than Illinois did.

Tara Reade has been accusing Joe Biden of sexually asaulting her. Her credibility is being very seriously questioned. Many rape survivors feel that an attack on Reade's honesty and credibility is an attack on their honesty and credibility. I don't agree. In her book Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller gave us an example of a city police force that replaced all of its men officers that were working on rape cases with women officers. The number of cases that were deemed credible and were prosecuted immediately rose, but it's very important to notice that false claims didn't disappear. The number of false claims shrank to 2%, about the same as for muggings, robberies, etc. Reade's lack of credibility does not reflect on the credibility of rape survivors in general.

I saw a bit of the Press Secretary last night commenting on the Obama pandemic plan and comparing it to the allegedly new and improved Trump plan. It reminded me of the Rumsfeld quote: "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
The correct and appropriate thing to have done was to have started with the Obama plan and then to have made necessary adjustments as they went along. It was not to have sat around twiddling their thumbs until the perfect plan was ready!

Update (7 July): The "plan" at the moment seems to be to surrender and to simply allow the pandemic to run its course.

Heh! Fascinating to see that 3% of Democrats think the President has done a "very good" job handling the pandemic while 4% of Republication think he's done a "very bad" job. Very bad news for him is that over 50% of independents think he's done either "bad" or "very bad."

Apparently the President believes that testing produces cases. Erm, there was no testing for the Plague or Black Death that started in 1347. The theory of germs would be produced several centuries later.

Very sad news! Some men feel that wearing a mask is “shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness and a stigma.” Somehow, we need to either make wearing a mask cool and fashionable or to just tell men to wear it anyway, dammit!

Comparison of China's Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) with Trump Administration today. Being anti-science and afactual is not a recipe for success.

Heh! I got this from the Facebook group Q1NON (Couldn't locate the original link, but here's a Fox News post that says pretty much the same thing):

Are you all aware of the flood of information that has been coming out since Michael Flynn was exonerated?

Had to chuckle at that one as no, Mike Flynn was not "exonerated." He was sprung. The AG is trying to get his case dismissed, but no. no evidence has been presented to say that Flynn is innocent.
Their point #1 says that all of the "lies" about Trump being supported by Russia are being disproven. When they ever provide any such evidence, I'll take a look at it.

After the White House displayed a banner saying: "America leads the world in testing," what are the facts? In numbers of people tested per million, the number for the US is 29,321. Lots of postage-stamp sized countries with far greater tested-per-million numbers, but Germany, Russia, Italy, Canada and Spain are all comparable and they have all tested way more per million than the US has.

After the Justice Department said it wanted to drop the Flynn case (Where he pled guilty twice to lying to the FBI), the judge in the case has said essentially "Ehhh. Not so fast." He has now asked for outside parties to weigh in. More on that.

Woo hoo! Paper book sales are up 5%! People sitting around with time on their hands and deciding to read!

So Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) talks up what a great job Sweden is doing by ignoring lockdowns and social distancing. First off, coronavirus deaths in Finland, Norway and Denmark are, respectively 271, 224 & 533. Sweden is 3,256. Second, this piece from the BBC makes it clear that Sweden is doing social distancing, allowing only so many people into restaurants and not permitting dancing.

"McConnell claims Obama didn't leave Trump a pandemic 'game plan.' Obama very literally did"
Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote out an exhaustive set of instructions for how to occupy a country successfully (He began his military career in Vietnam). People from the younger George Bush Administration went "Uh, yeah. Okay." and then ignored those instructions.
Trump's people got exhaustive instructions and supplies from Obama's people for how to deal with an epidemic/pandemic. As with the Bush people, those instructions were ignored.

A team from Doctors Without Borders has been assigned to help the Navajo Nation. The nation has lots of problems that preceded COVID-19, but the pandemic has made those problems worse.

Doctors Without Borders is best known for sending medical professionals into international conflict zones in the midst of medical crises. The organization has teams in Afghanistan, Iran, Sierra Leone, Venezuela and 66 other countries. It did not, however, have a medical presence in the U.S. — until now.

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old black man was killed by white men who allegedly thought he was engaged in suspicious activities.
Richard Demsick, a former pastor, decided to test that theory.
"A white man ran through a Florida neighborhood carrying a TV to prove that looking 'suspicious' wasn't an excuse for killing Ahmaud Arbery"
Did his neighbors suspect him of anything? Nah, they smiled and waved as they presumed he had an innocent reason for carrying a TV.

Not quite ready to call MSNBC host Chuck Todd a "dirty effin' hippie," 'cause he isn't that good, but good for him! He's right, AG Barr was not upholding the rule of law by giving Mike Flynn a pass.

This is something that liberals have been warning about since 2017 when the Trump tax cut passed. Not the slightest bit surprised to see Jared Kushner playing a big role here.

Trump administration officials are reportedly considering several proposals purportedly aimed at reducing government spending—including a pair of plans that would provide Americans with cash payments in exchange for delays or cuts to their Social Security benefits.

Reminds me of what I saw on TV this morning. Major League Baseball owners want to get some games in, but they'e aware that they can't play with fans in the stands, so that means less money. They've suggested that players take a cut in salary.
Players (Words to the effect of): "So how come you guys never came to us when times were good, offering us extra money because y'all were making so much? Why is it that 'one for all, all for one' only applies when it calls for us to make sacrifices?"
Owners: [crickets]

Is the US a global leader? Ufortunately, only in the President's imagination.

Fun quarantine entertainment! Father and daughter team recreate Beetlejuice scene.

The Lincoln Project ad "Mourning in America" was very successful despite only costing $5k. The President saw it, was enraged by it and talked it up. $5k well spent!

Adult film industry in the US is taking the lead in testing and tracing. The rest of the US needs to follow their lead.

Sorry to hear this.

Little Richard, a founding father and pioneer of rock and roll, has died. He was 87. His biggest hits include “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” and “Lucille."

"Access Journalism Is Killing Us"
Back during the Iran-Contra mess, someone pointed out that during the Watergate hearings, Congress had some leverage over a few witnesses. If the witnesses didn't talk, Congress could bring charges against them. They had no such leverage in the late 80s, so no one got busted. Same problem with "access journalism." The President and his people are under no real pressure. The journalists want the interview more than the administration does. No leverage means no useful or meaningful answers and a public that, at best, gets the illusion of accountability.

Great rant from Senator Kamala Harris on AG Barr trying to drop charges on Mike Flynn! Really looking forward to her being the US Attorney General this next January!

75 years ago today, Nazi Germany surrendered. Good commentary on what V-E Day meant.

"No, Bill Barr. We Will Not Let The Trump Regime Write Our History"
The Attorney General demonstrates precisely why alternative media (blogs, twitter, other social media) exist! No, we will not permit the Trump Administration to write our history, now or in the future!

"New York State Farmers donate 34,000+ pounds of milk, beef and produce to NYC families in need"
This is a very good thing and farmers should be commended, but farmers shouldn't have to pay for this distribution out of their own pocket. The Department of Agriculture should be spending billions to buy produce from farms and to get it to market. Absolutely no question that Democrats would cheerfully under-write such an effort.

I saw a piece earlier that blamed persons like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Stacey Abrams for not supporting Tara Reade and that darkly suggested they had ulterior motives. I think that's very unfair to Gillibrand and Abrams. This piece is from a reporter who has been on Reade's story for two years and he finds that her story has a great many unanswered questions.
Reade is not politically neutral either. She's a fan of Senator Sanders and would clearly like to see the Democratic primary's second-place finisher replace the party's first-place finisher.

"DOJ drops case against Flynn, despite his earlier guilty plea"
Sure hope the Republican senators who voted for William Barr to become the Attorney General are proud of themselves. He managed to shield the President from having to pardon an obviously guilty perp from having to serve any prison time.

Not quite sure the Attorney General has much of a case here. The AGs idea here is that Michael Flynn was perfectly in the clear to be calling Russian officials without having informed any Obama Administration officials.. Kind of a problem with that was that Flynn did so secretly. He could have made those calls from within the State Department and would have been provided with note-takers and advice from the Obama Administration officials who were still, in charge of US foreign policy.

Rural white folks are nowhere near as safe from the pandemic coming to their neighborhood as they seem to think they are.

Lengthy reading on the pandemic:

Rural Americans are more likely to be obese, to smoke, and to have high blood pressure than Americans who live in cities. They have higher poverty rates, have lower rates of health insurance coverage, and are generally less physically active. All of these factors make them more likely to suffer serious complications if they are infected with the coronavirus.

"Report: Melania's Be Best Foundation Has Failed to hit Most of its Goals"
Yeah, the whole "Be Best" effort was always a very modest, boutique operation that will quickly collapse as soon a the current First Lady leaves the White House. It always had the problem that the President made a complete joke out of it. The students of Parkland once appealed to her as right-wingers were harassing them online over the gun safety issue. Melania Trump went to complete radio silence, meaning her efforts were not meant to contradict those of her husband.

It took 10 weeks for the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old black man, to become widely known. The blogger looks at how different demographic groups engage in physical activities such as jogging.

Black men living in predominately white neighborhoods, however, were far less likely to engage in physical activity in the areas surrounding their own homes.

President hems and haws about how the Arbery tape looks bad, but hey, y'know...
Reminder: After Charlottesville, the President made it clear that white supremacists were his people.

The Swedes figured they'd sacrifice some citizens but save the economy by not locking down the way the rest of Europe did. Oops! They achieved the worst of both worlds. They sacrificed the lives of citizens and they suffered a crippled economy!

"Nurse exposes Trump to key information he didn't want to hear"
This was a problem that German commanders had with their Fuhrer during World War II. He kept engaging in wishful thinking instead of responding to what the facts were.

NY Times writes piece about how "we" are respondingto the pandemic. Problem here is that there are some stories that are partisan. There are stories where it matters whether one is an R or a D. Mainstream media is far too polite about such things. They shouldn't be.

"Murder hornet munchies: The horrifying insect makes a tasty treat"
Good to know. Requires extensive marination.

Why does the President reject oversight from the House?

"Because the House is a setup. The House is a bunch of Trump-haters. They put every Trump\-hater on the committee. The same old stuff."

Oh, so if the oversight is "friendly,"that is, run by Republicans, then it's okay.

"Trump vetoes resolution to curb war powers against Iran"
Unfortunately, the vote in the Senate was only 55 to 45, so the veto will stick as senators couldn't muster a two-thirds majority. Glad to see many Republicans voted for it.
President feels insulted? Tough %$#@. The aerial assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani was a really stupid thing to do that damn near started a war. If the 2002 AUMF was used as a legal justification, that's a really good reason to repeal that.

Details on the War Powers resolution and Iraq.

Asian countries are largely over the coronavirus. Nothing mysterious about why. They did the right thing and they kept it up. The US cannot presume that our recovery time will be similar.

Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two vigilantes on 23 February. Recently, the leak of a video that had been available from the very first day, forced police and the Georgia Attorney General to take action. Arbery was jogging and the vigilantes allegedly suspected him of having been involved in a robbery.

President tells us he was too busy with "things" to prepare for the coronavirus. Coudn't "walk and chew gum at the same time." He's utterly and absolutely unqualified for the post he holds.

With all of the happy talk about the country coming out of the woods and pandemic cases declining, please keep in mind that while cases in the Tri-state area (NY, NJ & CT) are indeed declining, they're growing everywhere else!

If the President gets a second term, you can pretty much kiss the New Deal/Great Society programs (Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid) goodbye!

IF there's intelligence pointing to the coronavirus being created in a Chinese lab, the President and Secretary of State absolutely should share that intel with the intelligence committees! There's absolutely no reason to hide that intel from the them!

More on the alleged "wonder drugs," chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

Whuuh?!?!?! Fox News host Sean Hannity gets something right? Armed protesters occupied the Michigan statehouse and Hannity thought, corectly, that was a dumb and dangerous idea.

"Hip hip hooray! The Obamas will hold virtual commencement ceremony for graduating seniors nationwide"
Well, that's pretty cool! As high school seniors all over the country have to make do with virtual graduation ceremonies anyway, the Obamas are going to conduct one for everyone!

To the surprise of probably no one who has paid attention, turns out Jared Kushner is a hugely overrated worker who has surrounded himself with equally out-of-their-depth amateurs who have no clue as to what they're doing. Oh, and the President depends heavily on Kushner!
Rachel Maddow was infuriated tonight at the utter incompetence of the Trump Administration and Lawrence O'Donnell assured us that we weren't missing anything by not ever seeing the President's briefings anymore.

"Trump was watching Tucker Carlson last night when 'Mourning in America' played."
Kind of interesting to read the President raging and storming and fuming about this (very true, very accurate) ad. At no time does he address any of the very real and substantive criticisms that the ad makes!

I understand why cruise ship lines do what they do. They want the best of both worlds. They want the loose regulations of third-world countries while getting bail-outs from wealthy first-world customer nations. Doesn't mean we have to cater to them. Should we help out the employees? Of course. But there's no reason we should support their stock prices. They want bail-outs, they should register with the countries where their customers are.

Between the President's declaration of a pandemic emergency in late March and a week ago, how has the White House been doing? Poorly. No plan, no strategy, reacting in a too little, too late fashion.

It's absolutely crystal clear from the President's answer that he know from little to nothing about the coronavirus issue in meatpacking plants and nursing homes and that wishful thinking is his primary response. He's not responding from any detailed knowledge of the situation.

All the world over, people want to concentrate on saving lives rather than the economy. Well, duh! The economy is a resilient thing that will survive whatever we toss at it. Ya can't recover from being dead!

"Stupid Things Trump Said: 'I'm Treated Worse Than Lincoln'"
Think the President is actually talking about Lincoln's press coverage, which was truly awful. But my problem with statements like this:

"You’re there, you see those press conferences. They come at me with questions that are disgraceful, to be honest, disgraceful, their manner of presentation and their words."

is that the President never gets any more specific than that. He just makes these really sweeping generalizations, so it's impossible to judge the accuracy of anything he says.

A writer on Twitter compares how the President is treated by the press today and how the press treated Lincoln back in his day. Still no comparison

Cool stuff! A team-produced WFH (work from home) fight video!

Woo hoo! Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice opens up the flamethrower and lets the Trump Administration have it! Trump and his people wan to blame Obama for their shortcomings. Rice won't hear of it!

"New DHS Report Claims China Hid Virus' Severity To Hoard Supplies"
This might very well be true, but really, who the %$#@ cares?!?!?! What truly matters right now is that our leadership is majorly %$$@ing up the response and our front-line health care workers are desperately short of needed supplies!!!

Round-up for today shows that the world and the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Tri-state region are doing well, but the rest of the US is seeing an increase in the pandemic numbers.

"George W. Bush: 'We are not partisan combatants' in fight against coronavirus"
Haven't forgiven or forgotten many items in the presidency of the younger George Bush, but I'll cheerfully give him three hearty "Hip hip, hoorays" for this!

As we're going to have to wear face masks for the foreseeable future, here are 30 online sources for them.

The piece makes it clear that "inspector general" is a trigger term, a phrase that immediately causes the President to bring to bear all sorts of suspicion and paranoia. As the blogger said: "These are people who check your numbers and report when you’re lying. And Trump cannot tolerate that."

"Threat to Sea Life: Scientists find 1.9 mn. pieces of Microplastic from our Clothing on 3 Sq. ft. of Deep Ocean Floor"
Under constantly-moving ocean currents, plastic items break down, but the resulting microplastics aren't safe.

President predicted that, by June 1st, we'd be over the worst of the pandemic and on the way to recovery. Efforts to figh the coronavirus are shifted downwards.

Update (June 12th): In the second chart here, "New cases per day in the U.S., "  there is a peak for the country in April, but the coronavirus has spread to other areas and hospitals in those areas are overhwelmed. No, we are by no means ready to take our foot off the gas.

The NY/NJ/CT Tri-state region is improving. Field hospital in Central Park packs up and leaves.

President vs the 50 governors in PR terms. President is running behind ALL 50 governors in terms of who's handling the pandemic better!

Well, whattaya know? A White House Press Secretary actually held a briefing today! The last such briefing was by Sarah Sanders last March. "Her successor, Stephanie Grisham, didn’t hold a single on-camera briefing during her tenure, and her only public appearances were on Fox News."
So how did Kayleigh McEnany do? Her answers about Jared Kushner's delusional assessments and the gun-wielding protesters in Michigan were highly unsatisfactory. She made a promise: “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.”

Update: McEnany started with a bold assertion, saying "I'll never lie to you." Just 15 minutes after saying that, she claimed that charges made against Supreme Court nominee (Now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh were "verifiably false." No, they weren't. The Republican-led Senate simply chose to install him anyway. There were further problems after that.

Biden firmly denies that he ever assaulted Tara Reade. Says that had she ever made a particular report, it would be in the National Archives. He's challenged the Archives to produce that report. Very interesting, Biden says he's never asked anyone to sign an NDA. As we might recall, this was a major issue with Bloomberg as well as with Trump.

Blogger brings up a very good point about Biden and Tara Reade. Does anyone remember any time when we were unpleasantly surprised or shocked by anything that an Obama nominee or appointee did? I can remember lots of that happening with other presidents, but I agree with the blogger. It just seems very highly unlikely they would have missed something like what Reade has accused Biden of.

President was asked about his plans for economic recovery. What he made very clear was that he has no plans of any sort, just "feelings."

This is an extremely important characteristic of the pandemic.

A pattern is emerging... the largest clusters in the US are in people who live or work in crowded conditions and can’t just “stay at home.” Meat packing plants. Prisons. Nursing homes. Outbreak control must start there.

Cool! NASA develops a ventilator for coronavirus patients!

The new machine can be built faster, more easily and with fewer parts than a traditional ventilator, the space agency says.

Ben Shapiro, a strong anti-choicer as far as pregnancy goes, ponders and muses about people of certain ages dying in the current pandemic, thereby saying some lives are worth more than others.

"Trump threatened to pull US Security Umbrella from Saudi if it didn't raise Oil Prices to Help US Frackers"
Wow! Is there any industry on the face of the Earth that's less deserving of government assistance than the fossil fuel industry? Let them all go under!

So the question for Jared Kushner is, if the last few months have been a success,

...the U.S. death toll reached 60,000, the total number of U.S. infections topped 1 million, economic growth retreated to levels unseen since the peak of the Great Recession, and 30 million Americans filed for unemployment.

what would failure look like?

There is no scarcity of food. There's plenty of food. What US producers and consumers lack is leadership. We need to have the Department of Agriculture buy food from farmers and to move it to those who need it.

"China Says We're a Joke. And, Alas, We Are.
China uses LEGO figures to make case.
Couple of odd accusations, but generally an accurate picture of US paranoia and irrationality and blame-shifting.

Deep dive on Tara Reade allegations against Joe Biden. Very serious questions about Reade's veracity and motivations. Major problem is the motivations of the very few people and groups that are supporting her.

April                         back to top

"GOP senator issues stark warning that both Georgia Senate seats are in play"
Lot of good schadenfreude here!

A space rock 1.5 miles wide came within 21 light-seconds of Earth (3.9 million miles away). Perspective: The Moon is about 1.3 light-seconds away or 237,674 miles.

Stacey Abrams defends Biden against his accuser. And yes, we must recognize that Abrams would really like to be Biden's Vice-Presidential running mate. Ehh, we'll see what happens.

"Car Crashes Plummet As The US Sees What It's Like To Shut Down"
An unexpected bit of good news.

This is why we consider Chuck Todd to be a complete, blithering idiot! You'll notice in his talk he mentions three disasters: "...whether it's on WMD's, the great recession, or this (COVID-19)." Notice anything about these disasters? That's right! Democrats had nothing to do with any of them! At worst, one can say that Democrats played an extremely minor role by not warning us or by voting for the AUMF. The problem is far more specific than just "politicians."

Can COVID-19 be contained? Yes, Vietnam has done so quite successfully.

The blogger looks at Jared Kushner's boast: "“We have achieved all the different milestones..." and wonder what the hell he's talking about!

"Trump Walks Back Huge Goal For Tests After His Own Testing Chief Said It Was Impossible"
See, here's the problem. The President wants to brief the nation as to what's going on with the pandemic. It kinda, y'know, helps if he knows what's going on himself! His habit has been to not attend the task force meetings, and to then go to the podium after two or three minutes of reading a summary of what the task force discussed. That means that he has questions himself or just plain doesn't know the answer to a question that he's asked. And then he wonders why he gets criticized.

So Jared Kushner says his father-in-law has been conducting a successful effort? (I trust Italy's figures more than I trust China's)
Italy's population last year was 60.36 million, the US was 328.2 million.
Italy's COVID-19 deaths have been 27,682, US have been 59,692.
Italy's deaths have been 0.046% of their population, US deaths have been 0.18% of the population.
Italy's new cases have been declining since late March. US new cases have been up and down but are essentially level (30k give or take 5k) as of the beginning of April.
Sorry, but Jared's either smoking some mighty powerful wacky weed or he's lying.

BTW, No states have met the guidelines for safe re-opening!

"Trump's press secretary won't stop lying about pandemic — so New York Times toasts her with puff piece"
The NY Times does a puff piece about the new Press Secretary. How can they do that? Well, it requires lots of selective reporting, a lot of overlooking of lots of scandalous behavior, quoting only friendly sources (no critics and/or Democrats are quoted) and generously applying lots of friendly adjectives in describing her.

I had some people strongly advocating the widespread use of chloroquine /hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The piece here says Bayer has donated a large number of tablets so that testing can begin. The people said various foreign countries had achieved good results. Reminds me of when I joined the Navy. "Yes, your doctor may think you're in great shape. We don't care. We want our doctors to make sure you really are in good shape!"

Yep. Just can't imagine why calls to poison control centers are climbing. Such a mystery! A real puzzle. Hint: President suggested about a month that drinking disinfectant might an effective cure for the coronavirus.

NY Times wrote piece that provoked Fox News host Sean Hannity to threaten to sue them. NY Times refused to apologize.

We've collectively made a wrenching change from physical travel (air travel is down 95%) to electricity used for things like tele-meetings (up 775%). Is this the beginnig of the end for oil?

Again, forcing imigrant and non-union labor to produce meat for consumers is not what the Defense Production Act is for!

What exactly does Hope Hicks do in the White House these days??? The blogger suggests Hicks is "Trump's emotional support human." Great snark in this post!

The Vietnam War U.S. Military Fatal Casualty Statistics counts 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties of the Vietnam War. That's from 1956 to 2006.
US deaths from coronavirus is, as of 28 April, now 59,266. The site starts counting cases from February 15th. The site also makes it clear that this is a 50-state problem. The number of cases is not levelling off.

"Pence Visited Mayo Clinic Without Mask, Violating Policy"
"Aw, c'mon libruls! Don'cha know rules are for little people?"

Update: Pence claims he wanted to look people in the eye. Erm the masks in question cover the mouth and nose, not the eyes! Also:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) added yesterday, 'When you don't wear a mask, especially inside the Mayo Clinic, you are not being brave. You are showing that you think the rules don't apply to you. And you are setting a dangerous example by ignoring experts.

"Karen Pence Claims Mike Was 'Unaware' Of Mayo Clinic's Mask Policy"
The Second Lady is clearly under the impression that the viewers of Fox News are brainless morons. Y'know, I tend to think of myself as fairly oblivious to social signals, but if I was in a room with about 20 people and I was the only one not wearing a mask, I would think I'd notice that.

"Trump to Order U.S. Meat Plants to Stay Open Amid Pandemic"
I really don't think the Defense Production Act was meant to be used in this manner.

"Who Makes Life-Or-Death Supply Decisions For Your State? Jared Kushner?"
The President has been informed about the COVID-19 pandemic by our intelligence agencies since at least January. Mid-March, he declared it to be a national emergency. Who's in charge of getting supplies to front-line health care people? After all this time, that's still a complete black box. No one outside the Trump Administration knows. The piece has several action suggestions.

This is very good news! The main lesson here is that the Supreme Court is not going to do the dirty work for the Republican Party. If they want to kill off the ACA/Obamacare, there's going to have to do that themselves.

More expendable Fox News hosts get tossed overboard. "Diamond" and "Silk" are now unemployed for speading conspiracy theories.

AG Barr wants to make sure there's no "overreach" by state authorities, but as these lockdowns SAVE LIVES, it's far from clear what exactly constitutes overreach.

If the US wants to re-open safely, we are well short of the testing that would be necessary to do that. One of the problems is that people can be aymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. With testing, we can find out who can come back to work and who should stay at home. .

"Mike Pence Suggests America Is Too Dumb To See What A Great Job Trump Has Done On Testing"
VP Pence is really good at slingin' the ol' BS around, but if the American people misunderstood, then that's the fault of the Trump Administration. That's a major PR failure on a massive scale. Was the system broken or inadequate in any way? Highly doubtful, but if it was, it was their responsibility to use what was there and to then work to improve it, y'know, to "walk and chew bubble gum" simultaneously.

So what has Jared Kushner been doing these past two months? Very few people actually know, but he seems to be getting a lot of his buddies employed, duplicating a lot of work the government was already doing, to zero good effect. His grifting operation is going full speed ahead of course, so we can be sure he and his buddies are raking in lots of money.

President appears to have a very rich fantasy life as far as the pandemic is concerned and his own performance as president.

Why the small business bail-out was, and remains, so urgent.

Now is not the time to build up the national stockpile, now is the time to use it!!! If that medical equipment is being saved for a rainy day, guess what? It's raining!!!

Trump called it the "Noble" Prize when he obviously meant "Nobel." After all of the mockery and disdain about that, the President tries desperately to bluff his way out. He asks in the last sentence of his tweet if sarcasm ever works.
No, Mr. President. Not for you.

In the President's rant on the "Noble" Prize, he claims he was innocent on  "Russia, Russia, Russia." Not quite. It was shown that the President kept enormous amounts of material evidence out of the hands of investigators. He was cleared but not exonerated.

"Astroturf Group FreedomWorks Applies For $300,000 In COVID-19 Small Business Loans"
FreedomWorks is a group that was behind much of the Tea Party protests during the early Obama Administration. In no possible, conceivable way, shape or form do they constitute a business, let alone a "small" business.

FEMA is doing vastly more harm than good by interfering with supplies. The cost is measured in the lives of veterans. Again, ensuring adequate supplies for our front line health care workers is by far THE most important priority the President has!

Brutal piece from the NY Times. Kinda reminds me of another national leader who spent a lot of time in a bunker. A quote from the piece:

But the president’s primary focus, advisers said, is assessing how his performance on the virus is measured in the news media, and the extent to which history will blame him.…

But obviously, he's very highly selective as to the channels he watches. Trump clearly takes care never to expose himself to too much negativity. And hey, if that means he gets useless and delusional advice, hey well...

Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked who he'd like to have play him. His choice was Brad Pitt. Pitt tthought that was a great idea and played Dr. Fauci on Saturday Night Live!

Alicia Keys sings for the heroes of the pandemic. Grocery store clerks and others had no intention of being heroes, so she sings for them anyway.

Historical perspective on plagues and how some towns handled their outbreaks better than the US is doing today.

If the "wonder drug" hydroxychloroquine wasn't dead before, it certainly is now. FDA rejects it.

Unfortuately, this was an entirely predictable result:

Well, it’s started. Instead of being asked about how we improve our #COVID19 response in the coming months, doctors are being asked to comment on why people shouldn’t drink things like bleach or isopropyl alcohol. This has to stop. This is the problem. This has to stop.

"Celebrate Hubble’s 30th Birthday by Gazing Into This Shimmering Stellar Expanse"
30 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was a huge technological advance.

CNN is not buying the President's BS about his "joking." I agree with the blogger. Good for them!
Also, a really amazing conversation that Governor Cuomo has with a constituent.

Good piece on the bill that spends roughly another $500 billion on the coronavirus. Total spending is about $3 trillion now.

Tweet from the NY Times:

At a White House briefing, President Trump theorized-dangerously, in the view of some experts-about the power of sunlight, ultraviolet light and household disinfectants to kill the coronavirus

What we have here is "The exception that proves the rule." The NY Times struggled for 12 hours to get out the truth that following the President's advice is a really bad idea. This is a one-sided issue that isn't open for debate. That's why the Times is floundering and uncertain. They're far more comfortable dealing in shades of grey, where both sides have a point.

So of course, the Press Secretary says the press corps is taking the President out of context 

...by running the entire press event in full, and then showing clips depicting the whole sequence of Trump’s proposal to treat the inside of the human body like a kitchen counter top.

Why does the Presient say such crazy things as to suggest using Lysol in the body? Well essentially, the reason the President gives briefings where he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about is that he doesn't attend the task force meetings. He spends that time watching TV. He gets the sheets that summarize what the task force has discussed minutes before going on the air.

As the whole hydrochloroquine idea seems to be pretty clearly dead, our carnival-barker-in-chief had to come up with something new! Why are networks covering his press conferences?!?!?!
"Trump goes Peak Batshit Crazy, Urging UV Irradiation and Chlorine Injections, and Cable TV Greedily Broadcasts it"

What he said:

President Trump is asking whether there can be some sort of disinfectant injection, "almost a cleaning," in people's bodies to fight the coronavirus. "It would be interesting to check that," he said. He added, "The whole concept of the light. That's pretty powerful."

This was posted in response:

PLEASE do not inject anything into your body or ingest anything at all to kill the coronavirus. There is NO SUBSTANCE that will disinfect your body of the coronavirus from the inside. Don’t inject or drink bleach, soap, don’t do isopropyl alcohol, lysol, or ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.

President talks about how the US has done more coronavirus tests than everyone else in the world combined, ending with "You people aren't satisfied." Erm, the US has performed about a million tests, the rest of the world combined has performed over 19 million.

The Lieutenant Governor of Texas made such a bat$%#@ crazy comment, he got his own entry on Snopes, saying essentially "OMG! Did he really say that?!?!?!"

TX Lt Gov Dan Patrick: "There are more important things than living ... I dont want to die, nobody wants to die but man we've got to take some risks"
His idea is to sacrifice in order to open the economy back up.

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bulldozes Mitch McConnell For 'Dumb,' 'Vicious' State Bankruptcy Idea"
Really excellent speech by Cuomo. Last few minutes are very good as he compares New York's contribution to federal taxes with Kentucky's.

President makes prediction about the recurrence of the coronavirus after it's been defeated and the economy re-opened.

First, the whole idea of reflecting on whether or not the deadly virus is going to "come back" is ridiculous when it's still here. Thousands of Americans are still dying from the virus every day.
Emphases in original.

Again, this is the problem with "crony capitalism," a capitalism that's based on personal relationships rather than objective criteria. Crony capitalism simply can't handle a 50-state pandemic. HHS Secretary Alex Azar appointed a buddy instead of someone who could do the job.

Meat plants are vulnerable to the pandemic as meat workers typically work very close to each other. This gives pseudo-meat vendors an opening.

Laura Ingraham of Fox News pushes back on reports that Fox has been pressing for a drug that's actually more deadly than it is helpful. My own takeaway is that Fox News and their chief fan, the President, need to not talk up a potential cure until it's been thoroughly tested.

Joe Biden's got a problem. The youth vote is not locked in. Young Democrats may hold their noses and vote for him, but it would be far better if they were enthusiastic about voting for him.

Good, lengthy piece on how the President's son-in-law approaches his job of being kind of a "shadow minister." Kushner is very good at handling problems via "crony capitalism," a system based more on personal relationships than it is on objective criteria. The thing is, the pandemic is a 50-state problem. It's wildly unrealistic for 50 governors and hundreds of mayors to all develop close, personal relationships with someone they never even heard of until a just a few years ago.

One of the real problems with the coronavirus is that it's a "sneaky" disease. It's contagious long before people are aware that they have it. "More than 4 in 10 coronavirus cases are spread by those not obviously sick, a study suggests."

Our planet is around 4.543 billion years old. Plate tectonics has now been dated to have started around 3.2 billion years ago.

Facts vs wishful thinking. Mayor of Las Vegas refuses to believe COVID-19 is more contagious than a list of other diseases.

The Governor of Nevada responds quite reasonably to the Las Vegas Mayor's nutty idea of offering up her city's citizens as a "control group."

"Obama administration asked for funding to tackle future pandemics but Republicans refused"
I recognize the partisan aspect to this. Republicans wanted to sneak away funds that would be needed in a pandemic and then blame Obama for a bad response, But this is also the vital distinction between big and small government. Big government is willing to make investments that don't have an immediate payoff. Small government isn't. Small government saves wealthy people money, but is unable to handle any significant event, such as a pandemic.
Texas doesn't have cities that were built with central planners. Great, but when Houston was hit with massive rainstorms, they found out that, oops!, excess water has nowhere to go as the city never set aside any ares to act as drainage.

Found this piece from exactly a month ago concerning how the Trump Administration had come up with this “great” new method of supplying our front line health care workers. A month later, here we are! The US supply of necessary equipment is in poor shape. The New England Journal of Medicine says the DPA can be very useful, but the supply chain has to be really mobilized.

Nurses protesting the complete mess that is the US supply system for front line health care workers.

Truly insane to see this weeks after the US declared the pandemic to be a national emergency:  "EXCLUSIVE: The Long Strange Trip Of One Shipment Of Millions Of KN95 Masks"

"New study shows drug Trump promoted as 'game changer' in COVID-19 is a bust"
Oops! Turns out hydroxychloroquine isn't the magic, wonderful cure-all that the President promised it was. To quote the President: "What have you got to lose?" Turns out, your life.

Mainstream media, being lazy and irresponsible as usual. The anti-social distancing people are Tea Party II. As with Tea Party I, the media confuses them with a real and meaningful social movement.

"White House's case against World Health Organization crumbles"
Not that anyone really believed the case to begin with

A survivor of COVID-19, a news host, describes what it was like.

President is very upset that governors are buying tests from South Korea and elsewhere. I sorta suspect it isn't the governors who are misinformed about the availability of tests.

Eight days ago, the President was bragging about a "great deal" he had made with Saudi Arabia and Russia on oil prices. Oops! Crude oil is now less than a dollar a barrel!

Because people are driving so much less, there's a huge over-supply of gasoline. Nah, that doesn't mean we'll get free gas!

Long past time to switch over to renewables! Oil is now -$37.63 a barrel.

Since it costs at least $30 a barrel to produce oil in the US, and some fracked fields cost more like $40 or $50 a barrel, we could see a raft of bankruptcies among smaller producers that lack deep pockets or have already taken on a lot of debt.

Saw a short clip of the President's reacting to the reporters question. I give Trump points for a fast reaction. The piece here makes it very clear, however, that he was not celebrating anybody other than himself.
Has the President "re-written the rules" for dealing with a national crisis? He has set a supremely bad example that people will be studying decades from now as a perfect example of what not to do.

See, the problem for the President is that when you've established a cult, you can't retreat into the background. You have to keep the cult members excited with constant harangues. The good news is that everybody who's not in the cult is turned off by the language of the cult.

"Illinois Gov. Pritzker is buying medical supplies in secret so Team Trump won't seize them"
This reminds me of reading about South Vietnam after North Vietnamese troops started their final offensive. Subordinates of the Ambassador to South Vietnam had to act behind the Ambassador's back because he refused to believe all was lost. There was a tree in the courtyard where a helicopter could land, if only the tree wasn't in the way. People snuck out at night to saw away at the tree trunk in a way that the cut could not be seen from the Ambassador's office window. As soon as the reality sunk in, the subordinates quickly finished cutting the tree down.
Governors today have to act as those subordinates did. They need to sneak around behind the back of the federal government to fulfil their mission of serving their states.

So after Chris Wallace asks VP Pence about the President's seditious-sounding calls to "liberate" various states, the Vice-President first describes a completely fictional character, a President Trump who is sincere, hard-working and dedicated. Challenged still further by Wallace, the VP simply filibusters the rest of the time away.

Governors push back against President's call to "liberate" various states.

"The Rich wanted to Strangle a Tiny Gov't in a Bathtub to avoid Taxes; Now it Turns out We need a Competent State"
Those governments where "the heavy hand of the deep state" rules have light casualties from the current pandemic. Those with more "freedom" (see Florida and beaches) have a heavy and growing casualty rate. Conservative theories on how much state we need are clearly in need of being tossed into the rubbish bin of history.

Florida's Governor acts to silence Florida's Surgeon General, thereby endangering the lives of Floridians.

Definitely Tea Party II. An astroturf group, funded by right-wing "sugar daddies," representing the interests of wealthy people, is pressing state governments to re-open .

The good news is that the prospects for a vaccine are very good. Bad news is that the US needs to be testing at three times our current rate in order to reopen and

"America accounts for 24% of worldwide deaths.
"We make up 4% of the world's population."

Seems to me the FBI and DHS should have better things to do than to track shipments of medical equipment coming into the US. Yeah, I suppose it could be trans-shipped to other countries, but if our President had gotten off his butt back in January, that wouldn't be a problem.

Global Citizen had a sort of shut-in Live Aid concert. Good stuff!

Ugh! The stupid! It burns!
Stephen Moore: “It’s interesting to me that the right has become more the Rosa Parks of the world than the left is.”
Either that, or the left is not as full of morons and idiots as, apparently, the right is. I'm mildly surprised right-wingers aren't condemning "that thar book-learnin'."
No, there are no groups that are being privileged here. Liberals believe that certain groups are a bit less vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, but that no groups are safe to go out without masks or social distancing.

From a press conference:

Asked about Stephen Moore’s quote about protesters defying social distancing measures and likening them to “modern-day Rosa Parks,” Trump says “there is a lot of injustice.”

North Korean propagandists have nothing on the new Press Secretary.

McEnany: "Under President [Donald Trump's] leadership we have quickly developed the most expansive and accurate testing system in the world."

WaPo: There is no "system" at all, "...but rather a patchwork of programs administered by states with limited federal guidance."

Pandemic cases might have peaked in New York Tri-state region. That does not mean they've peaked nationwide!

Interesting tweets on how different countries prioritize different things.

Excellent point! This is why I've never been worried about having a right-wing vs left-wing civil war.

Thing about Trump’s call for insurrection: the kinds of people who showed up in Lansing—a lot of old people who wouldn’t get out of their cars—are far from a Freikorps or Bolshevik vanguard.

"Pence briefed Democratic senators on COVID-19. It did not go well."
I was amused to catch a few minutes of the President's daily brief (President wasn't there) that occurred right after the events described here and to see members of the group very nervously tap-dancing around the complete failure of testing. Apparently, VP Pence got quite an earful about the administration's dereliction of duty.

Sorry, but the President has a long enough track record. Any city that hosts a Trump rally without getting full payment up front is run by suckers and losers who deserve to get ripped off. There are currently 14 cities that are awaiting payment for police coverage. Zero sympathy for them.

"Why it matters that Kellyanne Conway flubbed a basic COVID-19 detail"
Classic case of "Ready, fire, aim!" When Team Trump is trying to blame China for the pandemic, it kinda helps if they're aware of basic details like why COVID-19 is named the way it is (Hint: the "19" stands for the year, not the version number).

How the small business loan program is working. In short, overwhelmed.

Why exactly is COVID-19 such a nasty and vicious disease? Good explainer in a little over eight minutes.

So the Trump Administration is getting N95 masks from a start-up company that had zero employees and zero manufacturing experience at a cost per mask of $5.50 as opposed to the industry's usual cost of $0.63 per mask. There's no reason to think the produced masks will be of inferior quality, but this looks an awful lot like "crony capitalism," where contracts are made based on relationships with back-slapping, poker-playing good buddies instead of "Who can produce these items quickly and efficiently?" Is that overly suspicious? Perhaps, but as an NBC report says, the supply chain, where Jared Kushner just happens to have a lot of influence,

...has favored some of the nation's largest corporations and ignored smaller producers of goods and services with long track records of meeting emergency needs....

"GOP Politician: If We Don’t Blame China For Virus, Voters ‘Will Blame Trump’"
Ha! Ha! Too late! I already blame the President!
Seriously, yes I blame China for allowing it to get out of control, but the President is responsible for being derelict in his duty to protect American citizens by getting the Defense Production Act activated and working at full speed to produce tests, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). That failure is far more important than how the coronavirus got started.

Wall Street executives were given only 12 hours to fit the President's conference call into their schedules. As they're getting earnings reports now, many of them couldn't make it. Trump was apparently very disappointed because the executives insisted on widespread testing when he was clearly expecting nothing more than praise for his work so far. Widespread testing is something his administration has been promising for many months.

By mapping garbage pick-ups in New York City, we learn a great deal about how different groups have responded to the pandemic.

If we're looking for a "field marshal" or a "czar" to take charge of the American pandemic response, I'd recommend this woman for the job. Devi Sridhar writes the tweet at the to of this post.

*Sigh!* Typical Trump Administration cluster#$@%. Website to get stimulus check to people who don't aleady have direct deposit crashes and burns on first day.

Live-blogging of the press conference where the President threatens to adjourn Congress unless it stops pro forma sessions that prevent him from making recess appointments.
I would suggest that appointments like that of John Bolton to the position of National Security Advisor are the reason the Senate blocks the President in a bipartisan manner from making those appointments.
Many people warned the President against hiring Bolton. Trump said "eff y'all" and hired Bolton anyway. Bolton then opposed the "drug deal" that resulted in Trump's impeachment. Which means, y'know, maybe the President should've listened to critics the first time!

Competence and hard work matters!

And in Italy, which has taken a tragic beating by the epidemic, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's approvals started out on par with Trump's at 46% but took a giant leap to 71%.

For a while, the President planned on a "re-opening" task force that was to include Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: It was replaced with a list of 220 people . One of the people was contacted and asked how he felt about it and what his mission would be. He replied that he was unaware of having been placed on the list. Typical Trump cluster$%#@.

Really good letter from Speaker Pelosi to House Democrats! Her first charge:

The truth is that Donald Trump dismantled the infrastructure handed to him which was meant to plan for and overcome a pandemic, resulting in unnecessary deaths and economic disaster.

Update: Heh! President finally gets a copy of the letter and does not like it!

This piece made me think of the Jared Kushner quote (a quote that IMHO, will forever live in infamy):

"What this President did is he represented an outsider who came in, brought in a ton of people who never would've been in Washington before who were not 'qualified' by conventional standards..."

The extremely high turnover (Four White House Chiefs of Staff in a bit over three years) and a refusal to trust career civil servants are both major differences between the Trump and Obama Administrations. As we can see, this over-reliance on amateurs is now proving deadly.

Yer classic "throwing stones from a glass house" story. The President had many sources of information other than WHO, but blames the international organization anyway and cuts off their funding. .

Barack Obama endorses Joe Biden for President. A bit over 12 minutes, well worth it to watch it all!

Very cool! Senator Elizabeth Warren chimes in with an endorsement of her own! Yeah, I noticed that she maintained her progressive credentials by endorsing Biden after Senator Sanders dropped out and endorsed Biden as well. Whatever. Glad to have her on board!

When Rachel Maddow asked Senator Warren if she'd be Joe Biden's running mate, Warren shocked Maddow with a quick, one-word answer "Yes."

I was familiar with the basic plot of Mutiny on the Bounty well before I saw the Mel Gibson-Anthony Hopkins version of the story. Yeah, I agree that the President either never saw any version of the film or has remembered the details in a very hazy manner.

Interesting thinkpiece on how things might work out if Trump loses the November election and doesn't surrender power.

Ooh! I like this! War as a "non-essential activity." We should put off all military activity everywhere until the coronavirus is no longer a threat.

The President used some of the pandemic briefing time to show a video that glorified what he felt were his magnificent and heroic efforts. A reporter noticed that his presentation kind of, er, skipped over the entire month of February. That's when things got loud and nasty.

Update: The President was accused of sitting around and twiddling his thumbs during February, a month where the US could have been preparing to meet the pandemic. Trump's people put together a timeline on what they were doing during February. It's a pretty unimpressive list.

Hooo-weee!!! Examples are from a while ago (2012 & 2013), but I think the burden is on the new Press Secretary to show that she's changed her views. I, of course, very seriously doubt she has and I also strongly suspect that the President is fully aware of her views towards black people and heartily approves.

"Michelle Obama to push absentee voting amid coronavirus"
Very cool! Once again, the Obamas locate an issue of general interest to the American public and then take a broadly popular position on it.

Rachel Maddow's first segment last night explored whether the country is ready to re-open (spoiler alert: it's not)

Live-blogging on the President's "total authority" remarks.

Pressed about what authority he has to reopen the economy, Trump claims that there are “numerous provisions” that would allow him to compel states to reopen and that as President he “calls the shots.”

The President's claim “[Governors] can’t do anything without the approval of the President of the United States.” sounds a great deal like the claims of "Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, who established Iran’s Islamic Republic in 1979. Khomeini called his notion, 'The Authority of the Jurisprudent' (vilayat-e faqih)."

Governor Cuomo points out that if governors are in charge of opening up society again, it's because the President put them in charge!

Update: The President backs down from his "total" authority claim. Let us never forget that he wants "total" authority!

This is awesome! The whole point of forcing everyone to vote in person in Wisconsin was to drive down liberal voting. Liberals rallied! There were two statewide races, the Biden-Sanders one where Senator Sanders got, roughly, his usual 30% and a state Supreme Court Justice race, where the liberal candidate won!
People determined to vote - 1
Suppressors of the vote - 0

Update: "67 got COVID-19 after visiting polls in state's April 7 election but tie to voting unclear"

Lengthy, comprehensive report on the Tara Reade accusations against Joe Biden. I found her case to be quite weak and that's not just because I support the Democratic nominee. Lots of people expressed a lack of confidence in her credibility.

This is completely insane! Reads like a bad parody. How can the two goals both be considered serious? Writers should be fired.

Torn over reopening economy, Trump says he faces ‘biggest decision I’ve ever had to make’
...The bankers, corporate executives and industrialists plead with him to reopen the country as soon as possible, while the medical experts beg for more time to curb the coronavirus.

Update: Sweden and the other Scandanavian countries took different paths, Sweden never locked down, thereby sacrificing some citizen lives, but theoretically saving the economy. Oops! Turns out they lost on both counts! 

According to Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, states are doing a bit better than they were last week,, which was a bit better than the week before, but all 50 governors have serious problems and shortages.

"We're in great shape with ventilators," Trump said on Friday. "We're in great shape with protective clothing."

No. No, they aren't and it does the country absolutely no good for the President to sound like he's off on an acid trip, talking about how the trees are dancing and how beautiful the colors are.

"ABC and CBS Sunday shows ignore bombshell NY Times report on Trump’s early failure to take coronavirus seriously"
Unfortunately, there's nothing surprising about this. The mainstream or "objective" media simply can't deal with one-sided stories. How can an objective TV show deal with the President shutting down the pandemic preparations in 2018? There were not two sides to the story. The House, the Senate and the Presidency were all in GOP hands. You can't "Both Sides" that story! MSNBC doesn't care about looking objective, so they covered the story. Mainstream news outlets felt they couldn't.

Better late than never, I guess. Hoo boy, is this late!

The Pentagon is executing its first project under the authorities granted by the Defense Production Act in order to produce more than 39 million critical N95 masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Veiled Muslim Women abruptly Find Acceptance amid Coronavirus Face Masks: 'Nobody is giving me Dirty Looks'"
All of the sudden, Muslim women who wear the niqab, the face covering, are no longer unusual. Now, they look just like everyone else. It's a pleasant change for them.

The continued piracy of medical goods by, apparently, FEMA, is happening quite a bit. It's described as "pervasive."
Continues to look as though Jared Kushner has a hand in this.

“FEMA makes the decision, but it’s not like FEMA is going to do the opposite of what the president tells them to do,” a second official said.

"France Is Reporting Heart Problems In Patients Who Used Drug Trump Is Promoting As 'Game-Changer'"
This really shouldn't be surprising to anyone. When you use a drug for a different purpose, you of course have to do a full battery of tests on it to make sure it's safe.

Israel is demanding the return of remains of Israeli soldiers that were captured in the 2014 war in return for coronavirus aid. Hamas is furious that Israel is trying to trade one for the other as making such a deal would appear to residents of Gaza as Hamas "bending the knee" to Israel.

Ever since the President was impeached, AG Barr has been hot on the trail of those who impeached him, trying to find some evidence, any evidence, any evidence at all, that there was something illegitimate about the initial investigation. He continues to come up dry, but very disturbingly, he keeps trying.

Corruption is just a continual, never-ending problem for this administration.

In an unusual move, even in times of disaster, the White House stepped into the federal purchasing process, ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency to award a contract to AirBoss of America. The Trump administration has rushed through hundreds of deals to address the pandemic without the usual oversight, more than $760 million reported as of this week, but the AirBoss transaction is the single largest no-bid purchase, a ProPublica analysis of federal purchasing data found.

Private citizen Donald Trump was a fierce critic of the Obama family taking an average of 133.3 trips per year with Secret Service protection. What's the average for the Trump family? 1,625. Granted, part of the problem is that Trump has several adult children wheras Obama had two children, the older of who was in high school.

Florida's got a problem. With a huge wave of unemployed battering the unemployment compensation system, the state is having to resort to paper applications. Why is that? Because the unemployment compensation system is working exactly as it was designed to work. For the system to be overly complex and to not serve the unemployed is a feature, not a bug.

For a way to be either infuriated or amused, listen to Rush Limbaugh's rant here. Then, read the CNN description of how thoroughly bungled the process of getting Americans tested for the coronavirus has been.
No, Rush. The American people oppose this President because he's an incompetent who can't do the job.

"Trump Calls WSJ 'Fake News' After They Criticize His Phony COVID-19 Pressers"
Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the sane fellow who owns Fox News, so the criticism here should be taken very seriously.

"Republicans have a message for Trump: Shut. Up."
This is why I believe Captain Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt tried unsuccessfully to work with the chain of command before coming out with a public letter. If the President listened to frank advice given behind the scenes, his supporters wouldn't have to use the media to get him to stop with his two-hour rally-replacement briefings!

Speaker Pelosi is very sensibly pushing back against a hugely premature re-opening of the government and economy.

"Oversight Panel: Trump Admin. Didn’t Distribute Stockpile Supplies Based On States’ Needs"

Trump health officials said that 3.5 billion N95 masks were needed to respond to this epidemic but only 0.33% of that number was distributed to states.

The headline is bad enough, that the federal stockpile is distributing according to just giving each of 50 states an equal amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) despite Texas having almost 30 million people while Vermont has less than a million. What's really bad is what's missing from the piece. What are the federal plans to replenish the stockpile?!?!?! Are there any such plans? That's what really should have happened when we supplied China with PPE. The federal government should have asked for bids to replace those items back in February.


FEMA is denying that it is requisitioning or confiscating supplies anywhere within the United States, except in cases where they suspect criminal activity.

Which is interesting because it very strongly's appears that FEMA is the agency responsible for pirating shipments of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)..

Just to take one state at random, Iowa

...made 353 deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) across 99 counties on Thursday, [Governor] Reynolds said at a news conference.

Iowa has recently received about 120k N95 masks and must tightly ration them so that there are enough to go around. When I was reading World War II histories as a young'un, I understood that logistics, getting the food and ammunition to where it had to go, played a really big role in victory or defeat. The US is losing badly to the pandemic right now.

Update: Searched around on the same site and found prison inmates are having to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) because they won't get PPE otherwise.

How can people deny the science of the current pandemic? Denial of the science of climate change prepared them to do so.

For a short while, the Trump Administration wanted to shut "40 Community-Based Testing Sites that FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services established." As the US is far short of doing the testing we need to do, people immediately and loudly protested this decision.

The US sent a large quantity of masks and ventilators to China after WHO announced that coronavirus was a serious threat to humanity but before the US really did much of anything to protect American citizens. The Trump Administration didn't even need to activate the Defense Production Act, they could have simply called for bids to refill our stockpile.

Biden gives Senator Sanders a gracious send-off from the campaign trail.

"Biden rolls out new policies on Medicare and student debt in effort to court Sanders supporters"
This is why I wasn't all that concerned about Senator Sanders dropping out of the race. Biden's proposals don't go as far as did those of Sanders, but Biden is making a serious play for his prior opponent's followers.

Wow! Aerial views of Philadelphia on lockdown!

OPEC's hitting some hard times. This is excellent news for the environment!

President is eager to get coronavirus behind us. Problem: We're far from being out of the woods. One of the problems concerns supplying front-line health care providers. They're short on personal protective equipment, tests and ventilators. Trump needs to worry about today and the problems of right now!

President says he wasn't aware of the coronavirus until 31 January. I find that claim to be entirely believable. When your main information source is television news, specifically Fox News, it means you're behind the curve. Typically, when news got out to the public during the Obama Administration, Obama had already had meetings on it and had drafted a policy on how to deal with it. For him, it was old news by the time it hit the newspapers. Senator Warren had a plan out for how to deal with the coronavirus before the President claims to have known anything about it.

What's the first step in re-opening the economy? Testing. We need to know who's already had coronavirus and who's still vulnerable. We also need to track where it's going and which demographic populations are being affected. So it's baffling and amazing that the federal government wants to shut down testing sites.

A sort-of, kind-of weaponized drone. It won't shoot anyone wh violates curfew for COVID-19, it just uses a loudspeaker to scream at them.

Senator Sanders sorta, kinda, more-or-less concedes. At the 34:20 mark, just as in 2016, he's only partially conceded and will continue to battle at the convention.

"When you Work for Corporations you Don’t Care about People: How Wisconsin GOP Forced in-person Voting in the Midst of a Pandemic to Suppress Urban Dem Vote"
On the Wisconsin election yesterday.

With the federal government seizing medical masks, it isn't clear they even have the legal power to do that. This just strikes me as utter and absolute insanity:

Project Airbridge – the federal effort to shepherd medical goods into the U.S. for sale by private distributors.

Who benefits other than the "private distributors?" The distributors make money, but how is this in any way beneficial to anybody else?

Ivanka Trump clearly has no idea how to do webcams. Good tutorial from a professional photographer on how to use them.

Good! Very happy to hear the President and Secretary of State have lost interest in calling it the "Wuhan Virus." Why? Duh, China makes medical gear! $%#@ing morons!

"Wisconsin's GOP speaker defends holding election while wearing gloves, mask and gown"
It's the surgical gown that does it for me. If he just had a regular shirt and perhaps an improvised mask made of a bandanna, then okay. in-person votingt might be safe for regular citizens. But the Speaker makes it quite clear that this is something that's highly dangerous and people are taking their lives in their hands. I don't have any swear words strong enough for this guy.

More on the idiot who was telling everyone that it was perfectly safe while buttoned up in full surgical gear.

How delusional is our President? Listen to the President's description of how well he and his people are doing (spoiler alert: he usually gives himself an A+ regardless of how poorly he does), then read the piece I've linked to to understand how completely %$#@ed up the system for getting supplies to the health provider front lines is.

Huh! Stephanie Grisham's being replaced with Kayleigh McEnany as the Press Secretary. Six of one, half dozen of the other. No significant difference between the two. We can expect to hear the same propagandistic crap from McEnany that we got from Grisham.

Peter Navarro advises the President on trade policy. I haven't followed trade policy very closely, but my understanding is that it's usually a complete cluster$%#@. So why is Navarro being taken seriously when he argues with Dr, Fauci?!?!?! Why is he even in the room to begin with?

So Peter Navarro got some bad press but it seems he did warn the President about the coronavirus and warned that we'd need plenty of equipment to counter it. So one "Hip-Hip-Hooray" out of three.

The President's agencies have been telling him for three months now that the coronavirus is a real and present danger. He's done little to nothing to getting our people tested. Instead of taking responsibility, he gets angry and frustrated.

Hmm, one benefit of the pandemic has been clear skies in Beijing.

Because the US has been energetically pursuing sanctions against Iran for several years, regardless of the humanitarian effect, people who might be legally able to sell humanitarian goods to Iran are hesitant to do so now, thereby making Iran's response to COVID-19 much weaker than it has to be. Were the US to make a clear and forthright commitment to ease sanctions, Iran would be able to purchase needed goods. 11 senators have called for this and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights agrees.

This is a case of blatant disenfranchisement. Voters were deprived of their votes through no fault of their own. Because voters were faced with the choice of voting in person, and thereby risking their lives, and of requesting an absentee ballot, tens of thousands of voters chose to request an absentee ballot. But that means those votes came in after the deadline. Yes, Wisconsin was “fundamentally alter[ing] the nature of the election by permitting voting for six additional days after the election.” But there was a very good and compelling reason to do so! Again, as with Captain Crozier, we are not at war and citizens aren't soldiers. Citizens are being asked to take a completely unnecessary risk.

I agree that Captain Crozier, who was relieved of his command of the USS Roosevelt, was fully aware that his communication would be picked up and publicized. My very strong suspicion is that he tried to communicate his concerns to his chain of commend and found people unreceptive, hence his argument that we're not at war, there was no rational reason to risk the lives of our sailors. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said: "I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused." Mmm, no. Modly's remarks didn't cause any confusion. They were nasty and vicious, not confusing. Again, we don't have access to the communications Captain Crozier might have sent before the four-page letter expressing alarm was intercepted.

Uuuh...this is kinda messed up! Right after the Wisconsin Supreme Court said the primary election would go on despite the pandemic, they closed due to the pandemic!!! WTAF!?!?!?

Yeah, nothing to clap and cheer about. These charts both cover March. Sentiment supporting the President over the pandemic shot up mid-month, but has since declined to 2 points over the mean. Dangerously, sentiment that the President has done more harm than good has grown from 10% to 30% over the same period. And we're expecting many more deaths over the next week or so!

Interesting letter from the President to the Senate Minority Leader. Trump cites "anonymous validators" who assert that the Vice-President is doing a "spectacular job." As far as I can tell, the VP is one of five people: the President, Jared Kushner, Dr. Birx (White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator) and Alex Azar (General Counsel of the US Department of Health and Human Services) who all appear to be in charge. President criticizes New York state for being "unprepared." Was it New York's job to be prepared? Or was that the federal government's responsibility?

Israel decides to use pandemic aid as diplomatic leverage.

Interesting for all of the revisionist history that these two put out. If Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) thinks that Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff was overly preoccupied with the Senate trial part of impeaching the President (Impeachment was on 18 December, Senate trial ended 5 February), Collins was not some unknown person who wasn't able to get media attention. Why didn't Collins speak up?

Four governors take strong issue with the notion that the federal government is merely a "backup" for medical supplies and that states should have collected supplies beforehand. Of course, it's kind of ridiculous to introduce this theory long after the crisis has started.

"AP: U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic"
The reason liberals are harping on this is because the Trump Administration is already trying to re-write history and to make it appear that it did not just sit around twiddling its thumbs during a time when the nation could have been preparing.

Peter Navarro is an economist that National Review considers to be kind of nutty, Anthony Fauci is a medical doctor who runs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Navarro wants the US to start making hydroxychloroquine available even though Fauci says the evidence that it works is only "anecdotal." Fortunately, "Most members of the task force support a cautious approach to discussing the drug until it's proven." Unfortunately, the President appears to agree with Navarro.

Update (18 Apr):

New Delhi, Apr 18: Some health care workers in India who self-medicated themselves with anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine have shown side effects like abdominal pain, nausea and hypoglycemia among others, the Indian Council of Medical Research said..... 

I don't appreciate the US engaging in straight-up piracy, taking shipments of medical masks away from foreigners who have ordered them. But taking an order of masks away from New Jersey?!?!?! WTF?!?! I detect the hand of Jared Kushner in this, trying to make a profit at the expense of solving the problem in a timely manner.

"Coronavirus: Queen tells UK 'we will succeed' in fight"
The queen, who was 14 years old during the Battle of Britain, obviously never forgot Churchill's language or spirit. She gives a first-rate speech about defeating the coronavirus.

"Trump campaign donates meals to hospital workers battling coronavirus"
Which would be very nice IF the Trump Administrtation was supplying hospital workers with what they really needed in order to do their jobs!

"Help Grocery Stores #FlattenTheCurve, or I Had No Idea Working In A Grocery Store Would Be Like This"
Good Public Service Announcement.

"In Memoriam: Healthcare Workers Who Have Died of COVID-19"
"Patriots" isn't quite the right word, but they're certainly something akin to that. They sacrificed for the common good of us all.

Yep, the Republican Party is obsessed with oversight of the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration.

While Hunter [Biden's] position at Burisma reeks of nepotism, any reasonable person would agree that this shit should at the bottom of any elected official’s priorities at the moment.

The Scandinavian economic model is getting a good, hard look. It is neither a straight, centrally planned model nor is it a straight free enterprise one. It takes a pragmatic, best-of-both-worlds approach. The blogger is convinced that Senator Sanders is the better candidate for getting this model, but I'm more convinced that a US preference for the Scandinavian model will be driven by practical necessity as opposed to personalities. .

Fox News doctor tells the story of how everybody prior to the Trump Administration screwed up the national stockpile . Kind of a problem with that is that many problems were successfully handled and he completely leaves out the effect that the Tea Party and their recommended economic austerity had on national stockpiles.

Good news from hard-hit Italy! They appear to have passed their peak and the use of ICU beds has dropped!

The campaign of Senator Sanders appears to be on its last legs. As an insurgent campaign that was opposed to the Democratic establishment, it had a natural ceiling with Democratic voters such as older black voters, who were reasonably satisfied with the Democratic establishment.

The President is asked about his firing of the Inspector General who forwarded the whistleblower complaint to Congress that resulted in Trump's impeachment. Trump neatly disposes of the idea that the IG could possibly have been fired for any other reason. The President claims that various people looked at the transcript and said "Oh, okay?" Really? Who were those people? I looked at the first two pages of the summary of the call and thought Trump sounded like a gangster trying to put the squeeze on a shopkeeper. For the Ukrainian President to deny he was the subject of a gangster-style shakedown makes sense.

So let me get this straight, the government is buying up badly-needed goods that the states desperately require and putting those goods back on the market? How can that possibly serve anyone other than black-market speculators?!?!?! And yeah, I'm very highly suspicious as to what Jared Kushner's role is in all this.

US company in China makes face masks for Germany, tries to fly them through US, US confiscates the masks. Modern-day piracy!

So Jared Kushner is apparently one of four people who are theoretically in charge of America's pandemic response: Mike Pence, Deborah Birx and Alex Azar are the other three. Kushner's been on the job for two and a half weeks now. Hard to say what, if anything, has improved in that time. "It led the Times' Michelle Goldberg to note in her new column, 'This is dilettantism raised to the level of sociopathy.'"

Heh! Poor Laura Ingraham tries punching well above her weight! AOC clobbers her.

Gee, wouldn't it be useful, in the middle of a pandemic, for people to have access to the ACA/Obamacare? The POTUS and the VPOTUS filibuster for almost seven minutes without answering the question.

So Jared Kushner tells us what his team is going to do and spends 35 seconds just sort of babbling out a meaningless string of buzzwords, effectively saying pretty much nothing.

Will billionaires save us? Ehh, probably not.

What % of their wealth American billionaires gave to charity in 2018:
Bezos: 0.1%
D. Koch: 0.1%
C. Koch: 0.5%
Zuckerberg: 0.7%
Bloomberg: 1.5%
Gates: 2.6%
Buffet: 3.9%

"Why Hasn't Trump Issued Nationwide Stay-At-Home Order Yet?"

“As both the President and Vice President have said, this is a locally executed, state managed, federally supported response to a global pandemic that this Administration is fully committed to.”

But the system is working very poorly as no one understood the system prior to the crisis. It's all being managed in a improvised, jerry-rigged manner and this administration has absolutely zero talent for doing any such thing. We need centralized command-and-control!

President says he conducted negotiations with the Saudi Prince MBS and with his personal GRU handler Vladimir Putin. Putin has denied any such diplomacy. Stock prices slide in any event.

I'd be willing to grant the President his young boy's fantasy of conducting a war if he were to appoint a "czar" or "field marshal" who would then wage it properly by centralizing the supply of medical equipment and getting it all where it needs to go in time. Instead, the President tells Governor Cuomo of New York, based on feelings and hunches, that "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators."

Wow! I mean...wow! This is just staggeringly stupid!

Mr. Trump said states 'should have been building their stockpiles,' adding that the federal government is a 'backup.'

So why are the states just now being told it's all up to them?!?!?!?! The idea that everybody was following was that the federal government takes over when states can't handle a flood or wildfire or other disaster on their own. No one has been under the impression that stockpiling items like medical equipment was up to the states!!!

"Trump Tells Schumer To 'Stop Complaining' About Alarming Medical Supply Shortage"
Senate Minority Leader Schumer is 100% correct! His recommendations should have been carried out a long, long time ago!

"Navy expected to fire captain who raised alarm about COVID-19 on ship"

The United States Navy is expected to relieve the captain who sounded the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

I was a sailor for nine years and spent seven of those years on ocean-going vessels. I know full well that there s no room on those ships for social distancing! We understood from Day 1 that our lives were subordinate to other priorities That we would be sacrificed if need be. What we did not accept was that we'd be sacrificed for something as trivial as public relations! The Captain's job was to protect his crewmembers!

Watch the way Captain Crozier was sent off by his crew. Tells you everything you need to know about who the hero was in this story!

"'There’s no way to get out': Some 30,000 Americans abandoned abroad after countries close borders"
Kind of suspected this, but didn't know the extent of the disaster. Having done an amount of travel, I can tell y'all that I plan for a certain length of time. I bring so much money, so many changes of clothing, etc. My heart goes out to the stranded Americans all over the place and to the people stranded here and elsewhere!

Food pantries in NY hit hard. Demand has quintupled this season!

What are the President and Fox News concerned with? Why, the allegedly "corrupt" and supposedly "lying" media, of course!

Our military is a highly capable force, but it needs specific instructions from its civilian leaders.

Saw a few headlines about the US threatening retaliation if Iran attacks US forces in Iraq. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story on page 2 (Reprinted from the WaPo). I found it very instructive to compare four sources, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Common Dreams and Informed Comment. If you have the time, all four of them are well worth reading as they all have strengths and weaknesses.
Al Jazeera provides some context to the story. After Iran used smaller missiles in January, the US decided to move Patriot missiles to Iraq. It's not clear whether the US has permission from Iraq's government to do that.
Iran has about three-fifths the number of coronavirus deaths that the US does. 3,036 Iranian to 5,110 Americans.

"Trump says US to send medical supplies to Italy, France, Spain"
This again, shows us a President who has absolutely no idea what's going on in the United States! I have no problem with helping out other countries, but US hospitals are desperately short of all kinds of supplies!!! Let's take care of our people first!

"Pelosi Scorches McConnell's 'Admission' That Administration Cannot 'Handle The Job'"

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the House Speaker said Mitch McConnell's blaming impeachment for the WH's disastrous response to COVID-19 was an admission that they're incompetent.

See, most politicians change the subject and filibuster because they don't have any good answers for the questions they're asked. Speaker Pelosi does that here because she's just stuck a shiv in deep and wants to prevent any follow-up.

Kellyanne Conway seems very confused as to the behavior demanded of the leader of a constitutional and democratic republic versus that of an absolute monarch. She praises several people who spoke with the President because they (figuratively) bent down and kissed his ring. Essentially, they flattered him and asked nicely.
And seriously? Biden is supposed to call up the President and offer advice? t's not like Biden hasn't made plenty of publicly aailable comments.

Good! Manufacturers should have been receiving orders to produce ventilators a long time ago. Manufacturers are stepping up and manufacturing them anyway.

"Washington Post: US intelligence warned Trump in January and February as he dismissed coronavirus threat"
Intelligence agencies gave the President accurate information about the coming pandemic. Why didn't he listen to them? He has no one to blame but himself.

I'm in 100% agreement with Senator Sanders. Let's do vote-by-mail! The pandemic should be over in a few months, but let's just plan on using the safer method. I watched the later part of this interview on TV and also was very pleased to see him agree that defeating the incumbent president is priority #1! He agreed that his path to the nomination was very thin. According to CNN, his polls have collectively moved up very modestly, from 32% to 33%.

As the blogger says, if Republicans thought they did a great job in their initial response to the coronavirus pandemic, they'd be crowing about that. Instead, Senate Majority Leader McConnell is making excuses.
And yes, it's good news for Democrats that the President simply can't admit that his performance on this earns anything less than an A+, which means he can't bring himself to agree with the excuse.

"New York Times continues to privilege Trump's misinformation and lies"
This is a problem I've had with "objective," centrist news organizations for quite awhile. They simply can't deal with a situation where one side is clearly in the wrong. They can only deal in "BothSides" situations where both blame and credit can be found on both sides.

"Iran Covid-19 Deaths Rival US as Trump Blockade blocks Medical Supplies; and Europe Defies Washington"
The Trump Administration's "Maximum Pressure" campaign has been a complete bust, providing no policy successes whatever and is now proving deadly to regular Iranian citizens.

The President needs to stay out of areas he doesn't know anything about. Especially, he needs to stay out of unproven drugs and therapies. He needs to focus on supply problems. Our front line health care workers need tests for the coronavirus, masks, gloves, ventilators, etc. That's the kind of stuff that presidents and other politicians can and should focus on.

Joe Biden shows us how a real president would handle today's crisis.

Piece says that 60% of people with COVID-19 will lose their sense of smell/taste. I've never been very sensitive on either of those, so when I come back into my apartment and smell the last thing I cooked, that gives me a big sense of relief!

"CNN and MSNBC both pulled the plug on Donald Trump today"
Good! I saw the first segment of The 11th Hour on MSNBC last night and they had a several-minute summary, covering all of the important points of that press conference. The President does NOT need to be able to hold his campaign rallies on live TV every night. He simply doesn't have that much useful information to convey.

March                         back to top

"'Sailors do not need to die': Aircraft carrier captain asks Navy for help amid coronavirus outbreak"
Having been a sailor on seagoing vessels, I can testify that there isn't much room for social distancing even on large ships. Sailors work in small offices/work spaces and walk through narrow corridors. We really need to dock every vessel we can and send sailors back home.

"Law Profs Drag Sen. McConnell for ‘Nonsense’ Claim That Impeachment Kept Trump from Focusing on COVID-19"
This piece goes into further detail on Senator Cotton's assertion that he knew that the coronavirus was a serious threat in January. Problem here is that there were 37 days between the President being cleared by the Senate and his declaration that there was an emergency and...really? The President can't "walk and chew gum" at the same time? He was incapable of handling both his impeachment trial and a serious threat to American lives at once?

President treats this reporter a bit better than he did the other day, but it's still amazing to see how far he goes to try and not address her question. She wanted to know why the US was slacking off so badly on testing.

Court obtains complete, unredacted Mueller Report from AG Barr.

Sotheby's auctions off a major collection of DC Comics from 1935 to 2014! Complete runs of many rare collections.

By deciding on having just a limited political base, the Republican President has admitted that if voting becomes easier and less restricted, that means Republicans will die out. Why? The party has essentially driven itself into a corner.

"As the number of fatalities climbs, Trump moves the goalposts"
The President suggests he'll consider settling for a "mere" 100,000-200,000 deaths from COVID-19. At this point, total deaths from China have been a bit over 3,300, Spain over 6,800 and Italy almost 11,000. BTW, early social distancing and shelter-in-place both make quite a difference. New York has had 21,264 casualties, California, which had an early and aggressive lockdown, is 1,616.

There's a huge shortages in medical equipment, masks, gowns, etc. The funeral industry is last priority, but they need that stuff, too.

CBS obtained a recording of the President's conference call with a group of governors. This bit from the President is absolutely astounding:

"I haven't heard about testing in weeks. We've tested more now than any nation in the world. We've got these great tests and we'll come out with another one tomorrow that's, you know, almost instantaneous testing. But I haven't heard anything about testing being a problem."

I knew that Trump had been getting his Cabinet to be just the way he wants it. I guess that meant he got people who only told him good news. As I've been saying, authoritarianism doesn't handle epidemics well.

Truly awful headline-writing from the NY Times, bringing "Both Side" to a cringe-worthy level of awfulness.

A charity sets up tents in New York's Central Park. Quite a difference between that and setting up in Liberia back in 2014!

Has the Chinese leadership lied about COVID-19 (I refuse to use the racist term "Wuhan virus")? Sure.
But I was very highly interested to hear from the senator: "Back in January i knew this virus had the potential to become a worldwide pandemic..."
Really? I sure don't recall him warning anybody about this! I remember the President denying there was a problem well into March!
Also, Cotton says we should produce pharmaceuticals here in the US. Hoo-yah to that! But that would cost more! How does he intend to address that problem?

"CNN chief Jeff Zucker defends airing Trump's life-threatening disinformation briefings live"

CNN chief Jeff Zucker thinks it's a tough call on whether his news outlet should air a steady stream of life-threatening disinformation live every day or pull the plug and responsibly fact check it before injecting it into the ether for public.

I read the Daily Beast article that this piece takes off from and agree that no, this decision, whether or not to continue to carry the President's press conferences live, isn't the slightest bit difficult. Or it wouldn't be difficult to a real journalist who was actually concerned about saving lives. Zucker quite obviously cares only about ratings and money.

In late February, when Mardi Gras was held, the federal government had more than enough information about COVID-19 to have recommended that the celebration should have been canceled. Because of the governments dereliction of duty, New Orleans is "experiencing the fastest rate of growth of cases in the entire world."

Jerry Falwell Jr. certainly deserves a heaping helping of scorn and derision here, but Dr. Thomas W. Eppes Jr., who runs Liberty’s student health service, also deserves a big share of the blame for any student deaths. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,’” Dr. Eppes said in an interview. Why bother having doctors on staff if they can't speak up when they're needed?

Woo hoo! California shows initiative and gets the job done right!

LA received 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile. Rather than complaining, we put them on a truck, drove them up overnight, and had @Bloom_Energy get to work fixing them. Monday they‘ll back in LA--fixed. That’s the spirit of CA.

The Belarus president (a dictator) has some, er, interesting ideas as to how to defeat the coronavirus!

Coronavirus: Belarus president refuses to cancel anything - and says vodka and saunas will ward off coronavirus

Heh! Yeah, Senator Lindsey Graham is terribly, terribly upset that Speaker Pelosi accurately described the President as being derelict in his duty and of causing extra deaths by not doing his job. Interestingly Graham rants and raves about side issues without ever addressing Pelosi's case.

From early February: I'm all for helping other nations, but...

Biegun said the United States has also sent nearly 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China, including masks, gowns and other protective gear.

Astonishing! Just...absolutely...astonishing!
Our people now desperately NEED "masks, gowns and other protective gear." Nothing wrong with having helped another country, but shouldn't those supplies have been replace? Oh, okay (not really, the failure here is still inexcusable)..

Earlier on Friday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told Fox Business Network that the threat to the United States from the virus remained low...

Erm, should getting aid for your state have to include stroking the President's ego?

President called a former baseball player for advice on the coronavirus but not any of our former presidents.

Trump called ARod but said there was no point in calling former Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton & Carter because there was nothing he could learn from them.

Media Matters posts a piece on Rush Limbaugh's hatred and suspicion of experts. Y'know, educated people don't simply have "hunches," but actually y'know, know what they're talking about! Here's the line that really flummoxed me:

And I think it's imperative that we have somebody like Donald Trump, who is outside the establishment, expert class, who has a history of solving problems...

Uuh...whut?!?!?! What problems has our President solved, either in his private business practice or as president? Far as I can tell most of the problems he's worked on have been self-created!

"Trump Considers Coronavirus Quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut"
Erm, is the President aware that the only way people know they're crossing from one state t another on the highway is by a sign and perhaps by a rest stop within two or three miles? Does he not know that there's no practical way to seal the states off from one another?
This sounds just like the travel ban from Europe that the President put into effect long after it was clear that the coronavirus had already spread to the US. It may do a lot in terms of being a power grab. In terms of actually helping with the pandemic, sounds like far too little and vastly too late.

Huh! So let me see. The President wants to quarantine New Jersey and New York from Pennsylvania. Erm, take a look at how long that border is (My own very rough guess is that the NJ-PA border is around 150 miles, much of it in rural areas). "Trump did not detail how such a quarantine might work.

President backs down on the idea.

Unfortunately, unlike Dr. Fauci, who has maintained a bit of distance from the President, Dr. Birx has gone all "Dear Leader" on us and has completely lost all credibility.

"No Mercy even in a Pandemic: Israeli Occupation Authorities Demolish Makeshift Field Hospital in Palestinian Hamlet"
And of course, some priorities just never stop.

We managed to get the $2 trillion rescue bill through despite the actions of this $%#@ing idiot! Good snark here.

WTAF!?!?!? The Defence Production Act is a "negotiating tool"!?!?!?!?! How about we use it to directly combat the coronavirus?!?!?!

The impeachment of the President was over and done with by December 18th. The Senate trial didn't begin until January 16th and didn't conclude until February 5th. The CDC reported on the coronavirus on January 20th.
Senators knew full well that the President was incompetent to handle a pandemic, yet chose to keep him on the job anyway.

"Obama-era pandemic playbook 'was thrown onto a shelf'

It's a common cliche: "there's no playbook" for a specific kind of challenge. But what about a dynamic in which there is a playbook, but it's not used?

As I recall, Colin Powell had written a lengthy document on how to occupy a country you've just conquered. The administration of the younger George Bush essentially used the modern internet code TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read). As we know, the occupation was an utter disaster. Seems the Trump Administration took essentially the same approach to pandemics and written instructions that were left for them.

"Trump Rejects New York’s Plea For Ventilators: ‘I Don’t Believe You Need’ That Many"
The President doesn't have any facts or science to dispute what Governor Cuomo says, just "feelings' and "hunches."

The Governor vs the President. Someone who "operates on facts" vs someone who uses wishful thinking. Who's better? Hmm.

"Trump Admits His 'Issues' With Michigan's Woman Governor Are Affecting COVID Aid" President demonstrates an astounding lack of maturity.

"AI Trained on Moon Craters Is Helping Find Unexploded Bombs From the Vietnam War"
Bombs were dropped and mines laid in Vietnam during the 60s and 70s that are still dangerous! Technology is helping to find and defuse such ordnance.

The US isn't leading the world during the pandemic. It's clear that the US isn't even trying.

In theory, the Defense Production Act (which could have/should have been put into effect back in January) has been invoked, but it's far from clear exactly what the federal government is now requiring companies to do.

Granted, a housekeeper really shouldn't work during a pandemic but it's a terrible idea to not pay them. How else are they going to survive?

Would vote-by-mail be the "end of our republic as we know it"? Yeah, probably. Our voting system was designed for small towns in the early 1800s, so yes, bringing our voting procedures up to date would indeed change our republic to some degree.

Very cool! Four Seasons had to close to regular guests anyway due to the coronavirus so they re-opened to house the medical staff who would otherwise have to travel long distances after long days. That deserves a full, hearty three "Hip-hip-hooray"s!

"Patient Denied Prescription Refill Due to COVID-19 Thanked for Her 'Sacrifice'"

The person being thanked has lupus and therefore really needs the medication! The presons who got the medication instead merely thinks they need it as it's not been prven to have worked. Thanking someone for having unwillingly made a real sacrifice is just cruel!

"Pompeo pushes 'Wuhan virus' label to counter Chinese disinformation"
As I pointed out in my WWDDD* post, it's ridiculous to say that the coronavirus was a deliberate plot by anybody. What possible purpose could it serve to call it a Chinese virus!?!?!?!?

*What Would Doctor Doom Do? If China had created COVID-19 in a lab, why would they release it in China? Wouldn't they have developed a vaccine before releasing it?

Yowza! Jobless claims were over 3 million this past month! All of the jobs that depend on packing people into buildings and having them be physically close to each other are cancelled for now.

Good! Senate unanimously passed the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Palestinians in the Gaza strip are in a crowded, tightly-confined area. They've now documented having gotten their first two coronavirus cases.

Accurate, hard-hitting ad! The Trump campaign hates it!

"Experts, Not Easter, Should Dictate COVID-19 Protocol Biden Says"

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday sided with COVID-19 experts in cautioning against relaxing social distancing measures too quickly.

Absolutely! COVID-19 is not going to follow any schedule dictated by humans.

This is a very positive and hopeful development. It's a test that doesn't look for the coronavirus directly, but for the antibodies that the COVID-19 creates. Much simpler and the results come in much more quickly!

"Governors Across The Nation Are Rejecting Trump's Call To Reopen Economy"
Good! Lot of governors are prioritizing common sense!

Update (23 Apr): President keeps trying to re-open the economy even though it's clealy premature to do so.

But let’s not linger too long under the delusion that Trump smacked down his loyal foot soldier under his own volition. As recently as Tuesday, a source told CNN that he called Kemp to give him a big thumbs up on his decision. But the honeymoon was shattered by the pesky scientists on the coronavirus task force the next day, before the press briefing.

"Right Wing Website 'The Federalist' Suggests 'COVID Parties' To Infect Kids"

Like the "Chicken Pox Parties" of the 1960s. Which killed some children.

If I were an extreme partisan who cared only about the missteps of my political opponents and their foolish, dead-end strategies, I'd be delighted by this. All of the people who die from this idea are fully entitled to a Darwin Award. But as I'm first and foremost a human being, this makes me very sad.

"Pandemic, Distance Learning, Shows Urgent Need Treat Internet As Public Utility"
I and many millions of others have long advocated that the internet be treated like a utility. This is a further reason to do so.

Graph compares two cities, one that adopted physical distancing and one that didn't.

"Trump Suggests States Need to Bribe Him With Praise to Get Federal Assistance for COVID-19"
President essentially reveals that he has the maturity of a three-year old, demanding that governors be "nice" to him in return for needed supplies.

Yep! Back in the good old days of (checks calendar) one month ago, the coronavirus was completely under control! "Deaths from COVID-19 are now above the 500 mark in the United States."

I like Governor Cuomo's answer to the suggestion that older people are willing to die for the economy: "My mother is not expendable, your mother is not expendable. We are not going to accept a premise that human life is expendable.”

"Three words Trump should not utter about epidemiology: 'Just a feeling'"
The younger George Bush based a lot of decisions on his gut. His gut was a pretty damned crappy decision-maker. He then and Trump now need to put "guts" and "feelings" aside and to listen to the experts.

"Trump’s Boosterism Of Unproven COVID-19 Cures Has Huge Unexpected Consequences"
The President pressing for unproven cures has led to a rush on certain medications. Medications that other people with serious medical conditions really need.

Update: In the March 23rd article cited above, the piece warns: "In fact, the drugs’ efficacy against COVID-19 is shaky at best..." Turns out it's actually fatal to some patients.

Coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine, a treatment touted by President Trump, were no less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had higher deaths rates compared to those who did not take the drug, according to a study of hundreds of patients at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers.

Fox News, of course, was a really big booster of the unproven drug. "Trump and Fox News Are Suddenly Silent on Their 'Miracle' Drug Hydroxychloroquine"

"‘I’ll be the oversight’: Trump vows he will personally oversee $500 billion coronavirus slush fund"

At his daily coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump was asked to justify the provision in the Republican stimulus bill that would grant his administration an unrestricted $500 billion slush fund to be distributed to any corporation imaginable with zero oversight or transparency.

Oh, puh-leez!!! The President? Exercise meaningful oversight?!?!?! Yeah, he'll "oversee" that money going straight into his pockets and into the pockets of his cronies!

"Trump lashes out at networks, newspapers: All I see is 'hatred of me'"
Do we progressives "hate" the President? Well, the Defense Production Act should have been activated back in January, a full two months ago. I didn't know anything about the coming pandemic, but our intelligence agencies did and they told you. So yeah, the President is guilty of Dereliction of Duty and, if his rank was anything other than President, he'd have gotten a court-martial for that!

*Sigh.* Yeah, pandemics are going to bring out the quacks. This elected count official seriously suggestd that people stick blow dryers up their noses to deal with the cornavirus!

Also, the opponents of choice are determined to take advantage of any opportunity to control women's lives and bodies.

Good! Long overdue, but good!

President Trump announced that he is activating the National Guard in California, New York and Washington state...

Whoa! Taiwan seems to take its quarantining, uh, rather seriously! Good on them!

My phone, which is satellite-tracked by the Taiwan gov to enforce quarantine, ran out of battery at 7:30 AM. By 8:15, four different units called me. By 8:20, the police were knocking at my door.

"Privatization May Be Killing Us: Mystery of Why the Trump Administration Still Hasn't Sent Out Promised Million CV Tests, as Delay is Facilitating Transmission of the Virus by Undetected Carriers"
The US needs millions of test kits and it should have started obtaining/producing them months ago! Is the excessive over-reliance on private industry the problem? Are the President's good buddies and perhaps he or his family profiting off of tests kits?

Senate Majority Leader McConnell realized that the US was in a crisis and accordingly, wrote a bill that was so bad even conserva-Dem Joe Manchin voted against it!

With the coronavirus having cause zero violence and no disorder, AOC is absolutely right to denounce AG Barr's call for the suspension of habeas corpus.

"Joe Biden Blisters Trump For Lying About Defense Production Act After FEMA Admits Holding It As 'Leverage'"
Biden hits back at a truly moronic statement by FEMA, that the Defense Production Act is better used a "leverage" than as a command-and-control device to get much-needed supplies to our front line health care workers.

Update (21 Apr):

All proposed plans for reopening, incl ours, rely on testing + contact tracing. The US is at ~ 1M tests/wk. @ashishkjha thinks we need 3.5M/wk minimum. ...We have been plateaued at 1M for a while, and there don’t seem to be coordinated efforts to ramp up. Test kits, reagents, swabs, personnel, PPE have all been identified as bottlenecks.

Caitlin Rivers, PhD

"A comparison of the two remaining Democrats"
Where I take a close look at the last two Democrats standing.

The "objective," "just the news" networks really can't handle subjects that are "unbalanced," that is, subjects where guilt appears to be all on one side and where the guilt is pretty clearly established by the facts. MSNBC can handle the story of politicians who are profiting off of inside information about the pandemic that was gained long before the stock market tanked, as MSNBC isn't that concerned about appearing to be partisan. CNN can't handle it because this story can't be told in a way that makes both sides appear to be equally corrupt.

"NBC Reporter Thinks Trump Has Coronavirus Credibility Left To Risk"
Unfortunately, the 55% approval rating for the President's handling of the pandemic reflects lack of information, not paying attention and wishful thinking.

"Dr. Fauci Refutes Trump's Denial Of Medical Supply Shortage: 'It Is Happening'"
Dr. Fauci is fighting hard against the President's misinformation.

*Sigh!* No, the coronavirus didn't escape from a lab.

Sorry to hear that Kenny Rogers passed away. Think I knew him more as an actor than as a musician.

"Trump officials admit the strike on Iranian military leader was a strategic failure: report"
Gee, what a surprise! Not. The Trump Administration's low-level war against Iran has been a complete and utter failure. Now it continues, taking a very high toll in lives while not bringing an Iranian surrender any closer.

"Wall Street Journal Types Wonder Aloud If Nation's Health Is 'Worth' The Economic Hit"
Sure, because people don't matter. Only money is important.
Steven Moore asks a question that comes straight out of Charles Dickens. Srsly, he hasn't learned anything since the mid-1800s.

Update (21 Apr): There have now been several of what I call "Tea Party II" protests against social distancing (the medical advice that people stay six feet apart). The protesters have exactly the same goal that millionaires like Steven oore have: to re-open the economy despite the highly likely death toll.

Why is Jared Kushner relying on his brother's father-in-law for information on the pandemic?!?!?!?! There are so many valuable resources he could go to!

"Small government is no match for tiny virus." It's a nice theory that small government can handle big problems like a pandemic. They can't.

A long time ago, the blogs said we don't need to air the President's rallies live. If reporters cover these rallies and just report on the highlights after the fact, that's quite sufficient for Americans to know what's going on, without providing him with a free platform. Same thing with the coronavirus briefings. They aren't doing anybody any good live. It's perfectly sufficient for reporters to summarize them after the fact with quick televised excerpts.

"Intelligence officials’ early alarms about possible pandemic went unheeded"
Back when I was a young'un, I did number of readings on World War II. One of the things that interested me was that the Soviet Union had three separate spies come up with the exact date of Operation Barbarossa, but Stalin was convinced that Hitler was his buddy and would never invade. That taught me two things, 1. secrets can be ferreted out, even from a totalitarian society and 2. intelligence agencies will usually get it right. Where the screw-ups occur will normally be in the top political leadership.

Interesting sentence here:

As the stock market churned this week, Trump has turned to advisers both inside and outside the White House looking for reassurance that his administration's response to the crisis was not driving the selloff.

President wasn't looking for advice or to sell anyone on a proposal or even to hear suggestions. It was simply get reassurance that he wasn't screwing things up. Of course, he IS screwing things up, so he's just listening to sycophants and yes-men.

When I order products via the internet, the retailer usually under-promises and over-delivers. They usually promise about a week and it's usually at my door in just a few days. This is just smart, sensible marketing. This President over-promises and under-delivers. We're nowhere near a cure and it's insane to talk about one this early in the pandemic.

"'Home Isn't a Safe Place for Everyone': How Coronavirus Is Impacting Domestic Violence Shelters"
Very unfortunate and unfortunately very predictable.

"Why Americans should stop Talking about 'China Flu' and Learn some things from China"
I believe that when the President and his people use racist terms, they're doing so in a politically calculated manner in order to blame foreigners for their own screw-ups. This crap needs to stop, now!!!

"Kushner reportedly helping lead a 'shadow' coronavirus taskforce"
Having multiple chains of command is a really terrible way of running things.
Saw a piece saying Kushner encouraged his father-in-law to treat the coronavirus as a PR problem. A Navy Captain can ask advice from anyone that he or she pleases. If a sailor gives the Captain bad advice and the Captain takes that advice, that's the Captain's fault. It does not exonerate Trump even a little bit that his son-in-law may have given him bum advice.

Update (20 Apr): The supply situation has improved a bit, but  it appears that FEMA is poaching supplies from states, outbidding them. The New England Journal of Medicine published a very disturbing report about a medical executive from Massachusetts having to sneak around like a drug smuggler in order to get supplies into his state from China.

Americans who are overseas are placed in a really tough position. Come home now or wait in place indefinitely.

This is a very serious problem. The President talked about the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort, saying "They’re in 'tip top shape,' Trump said Wednesday, and will likely be launched 'in the next week or so.'” Actually, they're both in the middle of scheduled maintenance evolutions and can't be made ready for several weeks. Does this President just lie uncontrollably or are his people afraid to give him bad news? Neither answer is comforting.

"Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Trump administration has slapped new sanctions on Iran – Mondoweiss"
From the 2003 invasion of Iraq onwards, the US has accused Iran of shipping weapons and other support to Iraqi insurgents. Problem is that Iraqis have never used any weapons that weren't easily available from elsewhere in the Middle East. The accusation that Iran supplied Iraqis with rockets is completely un-provable as Iraqis have every motivation to try and drive American troops out of their country and could have purchased rockets from a wide variety of sources.

"Secret Recording Exposes Senate Intelligence Chairman Knew The Severity Of COVID-19 Weeks Ago And Remained Silent"
What I'm curious about here is if any of those high-dollar donors used this insider information to make low-profile purchases of stock in companies that would get work in the event of a serious epidemic/pandemic.

Huh! Didn't see this coming, though it makes complete sense. The corruption of the Trump regime is just mind-boggling! The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee used his inside information to sell off somewhere between a half-million to one and a half-million dollars worth of stock after learning that the coronavirus would cause major problems for the US while saying nothing publicly that would raise any sort of alarm.

*Sigh* There's never just one. More people profiteering off of insider knowledge.

"Beer Company Now Selling 'Punk Sanitizer' to Help With Shortages"
Woo hoo! American innovation strikes again! Hand sanitizers use plenty of alcohol, so who better to crank out more sanitizers than brewing companies?

Hmm. Gee [/snark] I wonder if the media one consumes is related to how seriously ones takes the COVID-19 pandemic! Spoiler alert: of course it does.

% who say they are worried about the virus, by media they most pay attention to: MSNBC: 74%
National newspapers (NYT/WaPo): 72 CNN: 71
Broadcast news: 68
Local news: 57
Radio: 49
Fox News: 38

"Rand Paul does it again, slowing progress on current coronavirus response bill"
1. How could Senate Majority Leader McConnell not have known that his fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, would pull some stupid, grandstanding stunt like holding up the coronavirus relief bill over "excessive" spending? 2. My guess is that after taking a long weekend (The House passed the bill early Saturday morning, it's been sitting in McConnell's inbox ever since) and 3. establishing a completely partisan "Phase 3" that shuts Democrats out of the process. So yeah, McConnell knew perfectly well that Paul would pull as stupid, grandstanding stunt.

"Senate finally passes second stage of coronavirus response"
The House bill has been watered down, it's not as helpful as it could be, but hey, better than nothing.

"Defending travel restrictions, Trump points at critics who don't exist"
Heh! Yeah, our brave, fearless President carried on a lonely courageous battle against, erm, nonexistent critics! By the time he imposed travel restrictions on China, the coronavirus had already been active and spreading for a month.

With the fight against ISIS being much less of a concern these days, Iraq is putting a lot of pressure on the US to withdraw. If the US withdraws from Iraq, then the fight in Syria against ISIS becomes unsustainable.

CNN's Dana Bash goes way, way overboard in praising the President for having made very, very modest progress.

As a Keynesian, I find the "checks for everyone" idea a very compelling one as the idea of closing down pretty much everything makes a great deal of sense.

"Joe Biden wins Illinois primary"
Biden also won Florida. The Democratic primary is, for all intents and purposes over.

Woo hoo! As a strong anti-choicer, Democrat Dan Lipinski has long been the poster child for "Why is he in the Democratic Party?" He's now been booted out in the primary!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes a plea that is so blatantly and obviously self-serving as to be grimly hilarious!

...McConnell’s campaign called on a potential Democratic opponent — former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath — to stop running political advertisements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reminder: The House passed a bill to deal with the pandemic early Saturday morning (14 Mar). The Senate has yet to act on it. Who's the patriot and who's the lazy slacker? Update: it was passed by the Senate on 18 Mar

"Revising history, Trump makes bizarre claim about pandemic foresight"
The President: "I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.... I've always viewed it as very serious."

The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.
― George Orwell, 1984

Obviously, our President is convinced he's Big Brother and can alter history at will.

Progress report on Jared Kushner and the coronavirus.

Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, explains why a temporary cut in the payroll tax is such a bad idea.

Examining the complete cluster$%#@ that was the Trump Administration's policy on travelling to/from Europe.

She went back through her messages and found the first message about the coronavirus. Perfectly symbolic date, January 1st! The Senate trial of the President went from 16 January to 5 February. 

Update (19 Apr): Newsweek says first date is 17 November. Impeachment investigation began in July 2019 and concluded on 18 December.

California Governor announces a "shelter in place" order. The official word from the epidemiologist on the Rachel Maddow show is very basic. Copy California and shelter in place! Just stop moving around and stay out of groups.

Stopped off at Whole Foods today. Yeah, the whole toilet paper/paper towels section was cleared out. Interestingly, the cleaning fluids section was only partially cleaned out, suggesting that people were not panic buying but saying to themselves "If we're going to be stuck a home for awhile, might as well carry out some cleaning projects."

"Dow drops nearly 3,000 points, worse than any day during 1929 crash"
And remember, this is after the President rated his response to the coronavirus a "10."
Didn't help that he suggested states should rely on themselves for vital, critically-needed supplies.

Again, not the slightest bit surprising. The President was asked to rate his utterly abysmal efforts against he coronavirus: "President Trump on Monday said that he would rate his response a '10.'”

"BOMBSHELL: Trump Tried To Lure German Vaccine Company Here For Exclusive Rights"
Horrifying and shocking that the Trump Administration would try and corner the market on a desperately-needed vaccine. On second thought, it's really not all that surprising. Administration spokesperson denies it and claims news sources are "back peddling," but a quick search doesn't show anyone besides the administration casting any doubt on the story.

"Three Takeaways From The First Biden-Sanders Democratic Debate"
Well, that's a good point. Medicare For All would indeed be helpful, but "Italy has a single-payer system, and the country is currently extremely hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic." So M4A isn't a magic bullet that will solve everything.

Unfortunately, the US is not on the same track that South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong are, with their COVID-19 outbreaks having "flattened the curve." The US is instead in the Germany, Spain, Iran and Italy group with the numbers of cases rapidly climbing.

"Analysis: Trump says the pandemic crisis was 'unforeseen' -- but lots of people foresaw it"
Problem is, just because the President himself didn't understand that a pandemic was a serious potential problem doesn't mean that nobody else saw it.
Obiter dictum (Latin for "by the way") - people were suggesting that Democrats put off impeachment until all of the possible testimony could have been obtained. Democrats went ahead with what they had. If they hadn't, impeachment would have had to have been put off in the face of the pandemic and would probably have never been taken up again. This way, it's a done and finished deal, the President will forever be known as the third US President to have been impeached.

Perfect example as to why we don't want one-man government! The President put out an order without giving it any thought and O'Hare Airport was crowded way beyond safe limits. The Governor's tweet was addressed by an aide who complained that the Governor had criticized the President!

Joe Biden adopts best ideas from competitors.

Bwah-hah-hah! Just desserts for a would-be disaster profiteer! He purchased nearly 18k bottles of hand sanitier, eBay refused to run his ads as he was obviously profiteering, the NY Times did a sympathetic piece on him and the state AG busted him!

The whole point of an Oval Office address is that, unlike a press conference where the President has to think on his feet a bit, a address allows the President to carefully think through what he wants to say and to compose it in a way that everyone understands it. If you have to put out corrections immediately afterwards, the address has failed and the speaker is an idiot.

*Sigh* More "far-sighted and advanced" planning from our oh-so-very-competent Trump Administration. People who wanted to get back to the US from Europe were given very short notice, meaning they'd cram the terminals so they'd be tightly packed together.  Gee, ya think that might cause more people to get infected? SMDH!!!

How the talk shows are handling the pandemic.

Migrants are kept confined in such close quarters, an outbreak could be a disaster.

The House passed a bill at 1:00 this morning to deal with the Coronavirus. The Senate was on a break that won't end until Monday evening. why was McConnell in such a hurry to leave town? "He wants to attend a party for a judge the American Bar Association called “not qualified."

One of the first thing Sean Hannity says here echoes the Press Secretary who claimed that President Trump puts in 12 to 14 hour days. Hannity claims the President took immediate and aggressive action on the coronavirus. In both cases, the President that these people are describing is a mythical figure who exists only in their imaginations. Their descriptions bear no resemblance to the actual flesh-and-blood person who occupies the Oval Office.

"Imagine Arguing in Court That the Women's National Soccer Team Lacks Skill"
The argument was so obviously stupid that team sponsors, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Budweiser, all immediately objected.

"Why Burning Fossil Fuels is to Today's Pandemics as Fleas were to the Black Death"
This anti-science attitude applies to climate change as as to the pandemic.

"Trump falsely claims payroll tax cut is 'only' way to 'make a big difference'"
By far the most useful and important things the government can spend money on is to 1. fund research, 2. cover paid sick leave and 3. cover unemployment compensation for those who usually work with the public. This last point is especially important. If you lose your job because there's no consumer demand for what you do, it's meaningless that you're paying less tax on your income. Tax cuts for people who are already making a paycheck are relatively useless.

If anyone wants to discuss debt and over-drawing on the national bank account, just remember that the government poured $1.5 trillion in  failed attempt to shore up the stock market. Many more deserving and worthwhile programs the money could have been spent on!

Yeah, I remember a comment saying we don't want to over-react. Screw that! Far better to over-react than to under-react! When in doubt, go for the "over" type of reaction! After it passed uneventfully, people though that reaction to the Y2K bug was all much ado about nothing. It wasn't. Many people spent thousands of person-hours and millions of dollars to eliminate the bug before it could harm anything. That was money and time that was well-spent. More on why worrying abou reacting too strongly is a meaningless concern.

A reporter asks about the pandemic office being closed down, the President denies all knowledge of it. Guess what? Senator Sherrod Brown brought the receipts! Brown wrote a letter to the President on 18 May 2018.

Very good to hear that a Fox News producer is concerned about the station's irresponsible coverage of the coronavirus story. He speaks under the condition of anonymity, but better than nothing.

Trump: "No I don't take responsibility at all." Assuredly one of the statements that will define Trump's presidency. And y'know, it would really help with national unity and pulling together if the President wasn't constantly blaming everybody else for all of his failures and shortcomings! He had a perfectly good system set up in 2018, but he dismantled it! Even if the system wasn't perfect ya don't just toss it out, you improve on it! More details.

I find it very disturbing that some on the fringe of the right wing are trying to blame China for a virus. Nobody blamed any of the nations in East Africa for Ebola. Why would any hostile nation start a pandemic on its own population? Wouldn't they have exported it directly here? This whole line of thinking is unhelpful.

"As Trump stumbles in war on Coronavirus at Home, He Bombs Shiites in Shiite-Ruled Iraq"
Here's the problem: The US wants to do battle with hostile groups that are within Iraq. Iraq is not our country. It's getting to the point where Iraq is getting ready to go to war with Americans to remove them from Iraqi soil.

Yeah, I find it difficult to accept "Let's unify the country" messages from Fox News, the channel that constantly demonizes liberals.

Ah, Representative Katie Porter, our hero of the hour! Porter gets Trump Administration official to admit that he can provide free COVID-19 tests to all Americans!

Lawmakers very disappointed by latest briefing on the coronavirus.

"The administration has no good answers, no plan, there's no leadership," Maloney said. "I think members of both parties are frustrated and angry, and they have every right to be."

"Accusing US of 'Medical Terrorism,' Iran Demands Trump Lift Economic Blockade amid Coronavirus"
Iran makes a very reasonable request. US sanctions are helping spread the coronavirus.

"Trump Announces Month-Long Travel Suspension From Europe, UK Excluded"
Not at all impressed with last night's speech. President took credit for things he didn't deserve credit for and blamed others for his own screw-ups.

Huh! Gee! What a surprise! [/snark] Seems Europe was taken completely by surprise by the speech from the Oval Office last night!

Update (2020Apr 17): "With thousands of Americans stranded abroad, private companies often pick up where State Department leaves off" With the President's abrupt announcement leaving many stranded, companies are trying to rescue US citizens.

As far as economic policy goes, providing paid time off is probably the single most effective thing we can do to slow the pandemic. If taking time off means people have unpaid bills piling up, then they won't take that time until they've clearly gotten the coronavirus and have already been spreading it. So of course, Democrats put up a bill for that and the GOP blocked it.

Economic policy - if Coronavirus tests are free, people will take them! If they have to pay hundreds of dollars, then no one will take the tests until it's too late and they've already been spreading it for awhile.

"Trump Waiting on Public-Health Expert Jared Kushner Before Deciding on Coronavirus Emergency: Report"
Nope, I checked. Not a joke, not a parody. The only thing the son-in-law has ever done publicly, the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, was a crash-and-burn failure, that isn't the basis or foundation for anything.

Update (2020Apr17): So what was the shape of Kushner's plan? Basically, he introduced cront capitalism (a system where personal relationships take priority over proven competence) to the mix. He's essentially running a shadow cabinet where no one really knows what he does. What are the results as far as ordinary citizens are concerned? Among many other things, the nation is desperately short of tests for the coronavirus.

Two statements by an administration spokesperson that I found flabbergasting: 1. “From day one of the response to the coronavirus, NSC has insisted on the principle of radical transparency.” Meetings about public health have never before been classified. The Trump Administration's approach sounds like Woodrow Wilson's approach to the Spanish Flu, an approach that cost hundreds of thousands of Americans their lives.
2. The Trump Administration "set the global standard in protecting the American people..." Erm, the US approach ranks in the bottom 25% of all the world's governments in terms of effectiveness.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment, which should have been made public about a month ago and which still hasn't been released to the public, warned about a possible pandemic. Would've been nice to have known about that a month ago!

Excellent answer from Senator Sanders to the first question from the Fox News forum! Piece presents full session.

Q: “What is your assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the [coronavirus] outbreak and what would you do differently?”

A: “Sadly, we have an administration in Washington that has shown the world that it does not believe in science.”

"Russian parliament vote to let Putin rule for life"
And "over there," democracy dies for good. I'm sure our President is burning with jealousy.

"Trump's Press Secretary: He Won't Get Coronavirus Since He Doesn't Sleep Much"
Various people are more susceptable than others and many people are naturally immune or are asymptomatic, but no demographic is reliably immune to the coronavirus. This is some seriously over-the-top "Dear Leader" type of rhetoric from the Press Secretary:

And I'll tell you what, with our President -- this man who doesn't sleep and who I have seen work 15-16 hours a day every day...

"Officials say Trump's promise of a coronavirus economic plan was 'news to everyone on the inside'"
Infuriating because 1. The President caught his own people completely by surprise and they clearly don't have any sort of plan ready for unveiling and 2. why does this have to be a partisan issue? COVID-19 coronavirus affects all Americans, not just the wealthy and/or those who vote Republican.

Our intelligence agencies warned us back in 2019 that the US was unprepared to meet a global pandemic. People who have seen the 2020 report say nothing has improved in the meantime and that the US remains unprepared. The Trump Administration holding back the 2020 report.

Yeah, I've been puzzled as to why the COVID-19 coronavirus hasn't been declared a pandemic yet. Gizmodo has asked the head of the World Health Organization and has not received a response yet.

Progressive Democrats talk as though their approach is guaranteed to win votes. Although my political views and sympathies are definitely aligned with progressives, I have to admit that moderates are more likely to actually win elections.

Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer point out that passing the multi-billion dollar bill to deal with COVID-19 was a good first step. Job is a long way from being finished!

"Trading halted as markets plummet on coronavirus fears and oil price uncertainty"
Huh! That suggests that the President's Happy Talk strategy isn't working! Who could have known?
Well, I mean, besides ,like, everybody!

Good news on the coronavirus front! Singapore's approach has been 100% successful! Bad news is that the US is nowhere near adopting such a model.

"Kushner: US to approve annexation if Palestinians don't negotiate"

Though US and Israeli officials met in Jerusalem two weeks ago to discuss which areas of the West Bank over which the Trump administration is ready to recognize the application of Israeli sovereignty, Kushner has stated that the overall demarcation process will take months.

Erm, kind of a problem with this is that the UN was founded in part because of the 1940 annexation of a part of France by Mussolini. Annexation is favored by both Israeli major parties, but it is illegal under all circumstances.

AFL-CIO takes pro-active measures to avoid getting members infected. Meanwhile, Trump Administration avoids telling elderly and fragile people not to fly.

Update: Elderly and medically fragile people are more susceptible to the pandemic than younger and healthier people are, but no one is immune.

This is the story of a travel agent who's normally very busy this time of year, but suddenly found himself twiddling his thumbs all day.

Someone in the press corps finally asked about the President shutting down the pandemic response team. His response:
"You don't know when something like this is going to happen."
OMG!!!! What a $%#@ing moron!!! That's why you build or just plain keep your department together!!! This is like having a fire department. You don't start constructing the buildings and obtaining equipment and training firefighters when the fire starts!!! You do it well in advance.

Woo hoo! New Dixie Chicks video!
I trust everyone knows what "gaslighting" is? Example: "Why no dear, it's not getting darker (He just turned the gas down a few minutes ago) You must be imagining things!"

A close look at the whole Hunter Biden/Burisma issue. This is a problem because corruption is something we can very clearly hold against the current incumbent President and people (Both the Republican Party and many people in the media with "Both Sides!") are determined to say that Hunter represents corruption. There's no evidence the younger Biden was corrupt and we need to push back strongly against any such accusation.

A review of how completely incompetent the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 coronavirus has been. To use a military metaphor, it's relatively easy to defend a river bank. You can shoot at anybody that tries to cross the river. When the enemy crosses and establishes a "bridgehead," the battle becomes more difficult. You need to attack the bridgehead while still keeping the rest of your side of the river defended. In this case, the President acted as though the enemy (COVID-19) was still entirely on the other side of the river. But the enemy had established numerous bridgeheads by then.

More inside the utter fiasco of preparing for large-scale pandemic testing. The Trump Administration should've begun work on the entirely predictable eventuality that containment would fail, as it did.

Fourth White House Chief of Staff in a little over three years. Normally, presidents might have one, perhaps up to two Chiefs of Staff during their entire term in office.

"Melania Trump tweets about her excitement for a new White House tennis pavilion as the country battles the coronavirus"
The First Lady demonstrates an absolutely amazing level of obliviousness and cluelessness. Unfortunately, the President doesn't seem to be much more aware.

To the President, his re-election campaign is vastly more important than possibly saving the very %$#@ing lives of his supporters! $%&#@$&!!!!

"Melania Is Having A Sadz That No One Is Praising Her Tennis Pavillion Designing Skills"
We're right at the beginning of what looks to be a major epidemic (Don't think anyone's calling it a pandemic yet). Had the project been completed two months ago, no one would care and people might have even praised her.

There are some notable exceptions, but generally, this piece is why I don't regard the NY Times as having the slightest credibility on politics. In 1987, the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev had enormous credibility and goodwill among Americans. Bernie Sanders would have been very unusual if he hadn't sought a sister city relationship at the time!

Good! AOC makes it clear that, although she's supported Senator Sanders, she's a "Vote Blue, No Matter Who!"

"Trump Promises Protection For Pre-Existing Conditions. Yeah, Right."
1. The President wants to get rid of the Individual Mandate. Okay, but that's not just an "Oops" or a technical glitch. It's an important component that makes the ACA/Obamcare work.
2. "But, so, Texas is trying to, it's Texas and many states, they're trying to terminate [the ACA], but they wanna put something that's much better." The Republican Party had from 2010 up to 2018 to try and design something better. They completely and utterly failed. There's no reason at all to think they'll do any better if they get the House again.

We saw a mention of this before, that there was a contradiction between the Trump Administration wanting Iran to survive the COVID-19 coronavirus and between their maintaining of the sanctions (that weren't doing a damn bit of good in any event). Also again, as the US has discovered, authoritarian governments don't handle epidemics well.

Good, concise piece comparing the good and the bad of Senator Sanders with those of former VP Biden.

The blogger introduces this post as "First, the ‘good’ news…." because yeah, in a narrow political sense, it's good that the President's political standing is being damaged, but yeesh! It sure would be really good if we had a competent president in charge now!

"Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul votes against bill funding coronavirus emergency aid"

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve $8.3 billion in emergency aid on Wednesday to combat the novel coronavirus.

Entirely typical for this particular senator to hold up an urgently needed bill so that he could do some grandstanding. The real problem with his proposal (that the billl be held up until equivalent cuts could be found) goes back to the time of Ronald Reagan. There is no line item conveniently labeled "Waste, Fraud & Abuse."

"Elizabeth Warren ends her presidential campaign"
Aww! That's too bad! Ah well, looks like Biden's our standard-bearer!

The problem with one-man rule is that you end up with a lot of half-assed, non-thought-through policies.

(ProPublica) – Even as U.S. immigration officials have pushed to deport hundreds of Iraqi Christians over the last few years, asserting in court that they are unlikely to be targeted in their homeland, another arm of the Trump administration has insisted just the opposite, saying that Christians in Iraq face terror and extortion.

Good Public Service Announcement from the former President plus more updates on COVID-19.

Interesting Alabama Senate primary results. Jeff Sessions will have to do a run-off (He got roughly 227k to his opponents 239k). This is very bad news for Sessions as he had prviously held his seat for 20 years. Oh, and Roy Moore got just barely above 7%.

"Trump Blames Obama For His Botched COVID-19 Response"
Not surprising at all. After the "Nothing to see here! Move along!" approach didn't work and the "But the economy is doing great!" and blaming the Deep State or other obvious villains didn't work, it was time to drag out the ol' "It's all Obama's fault!" card.

Heh! Jill Biden does the whole Xena, Warrior Princess bit on a vegan protester. The video doesn't give us a very good view.

"Bret Baier Corrects Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Lie About Democrats' Turnout On The Air"
Yeah, when it's the Fox News morning news crew vs former Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, I think she came across as full of $%#@, both about what the blogger talks about and the President's view of Senator Sanders vs Biden. I think the President is much more agitated about facing Biden! Both the President and Don Jr. have been very much supporting Bernie Sanders!

"Will Trump outreach to Taliban really bring Peace, or is this another Cheap Election-Year Stunt?"
Operation Decent Interval II continues as it seems pretty clear that the Taliban will take over shortly after US withdraws.

The President seems to think a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine might be ready in time for him to campaign on it. At best, it'll be ready a few months after he's left office (Which is, of course, presuming/hoping he loses in November).

Rachel Maddow comments as incredibly lengthy voting line is shown in Texas. This is not an accident.

Biden did pretty well last night! Out of the 14 states on Super Tuesday, Biden got 10, Sanders 4. Of the really big states, Biden got Texas and Sanders got California.

Kellyanne Conway suggests that she and the President are on the side of senior citizens. Kind of a problem with that is that the President said he was open to cutting Social Security and Medicare less than a month and a half ago.

The President is finding his usual tactics to be very ill-suited to dealing with the pandemic.

So how does Trump handle the combination of the virus and the economic fallout from it? He can’t blame it on a political conspiracy, though he has flirted with the notion—suggesting at one point that the whole thing was a new Democratic "hoax" before denying he had said that. And there’s no enemy here to finger as the villain either. There’s no Robert Mueller, Peter Strzok, or Adam Schiff against whom to rail.

"Trump administration quietly cuts funding to the nation’s poorest schools"
Entirely typical for this administration and alas! Typical for Republicans in general since Reagan - take money away from those who need it the most, give it to those who don't need it at all.

"The former secretary of state’s sworn written answers were 'incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory,' Royce Lamberth says."
My first problem with relitigating "her emails"  is that many, many government people, both before and after Clinton's serving as Secretary of State have used private, non-secure, commercial email services to communicate with people both in and out of the government. Why is Clinton being singled out?
Second, as far as this statement goes: "The FBI investigated, interviewed Clinton and recommended against criminal charges, but it did find dozens of messages in her account that officials said contained highly classified information," it's important to remember that as the SecState, Clinton had the authority to both classify and de-classify information. The FBI is likely talking about information that was "up-classified" long after the fact of her communicating it.

"Assad and Putin have Waged Total Air War on Idlib's Civilians, Learning from US Bombing of Iraq"
The bombing of Idlib is atrocious, but hardly worse than the US bombing of Iraq of almost two decades ago. The US really doesn't have much of a position to complain from.

Why is Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, on the Coronavirus task force?!??!?! What exactly are the qualifications for being on this group?

Saw the singer Lily Kershaw tonight! *Sigh* Who knows what effect COVID-19 will have on gatherings like this?

"Stupid ABC Caves To Meaningless James O'Keefe Smear"
This is sad! James O'Keefe has been a hugely overrated source of information ever since he first appeared on the scene with an anti-Planned Parenthood video.

"The 'Feminist' Anti-Abortion Movement Is Just the Same Old Bullshit"
Essentially a story of some very earnest people who provide grossly inadequate answers to serious problems.

Berning asserted. "The lives that are being lost because a mom can’t pay her rent? Her child is not worth $500. Her child is priceless."

But instead of providing real and serious answers on what to do about the woman's rent*, the group just offers very limited financial aid and lots and lots of rhetoric.

*I'm presuming the $500 is just a supplement. Doylestown PA is a 26 mile drive from central Philadelphia and rents for one-bedrooms are about $1,200-$1,500.

Part of the problem with how the Trump Administration is handling the coronavirus is that they're constantly overstating how well and how much they're doing. VP Pence: "We have taken the most aggressive measures  of any country. " Not even close to the reality!

"Mayor Pete Buttigieg Exits Democratic Primary"
I think it was good to have Mayor Pete in the race and wish him the best of luck in his future political career. I agree with the blogger that going from Mayor to President is just too big a leap and involves a very steep learning curve. Buttigieg needs to hold the office of senator or governor or a few terms as a representative first. Again, good luck to him!

Steve Bannon in a Fox News interview: "This is Trump's Churchill moment," he added. "He's got to bring the country together, which he's doing."
Is the President rising to the occasion and acting like Churhill? Um, no. Churchill didn't make partisan statements blaming the Labour Party for wanting to betray England to Nazi Germany. Seriously, listen to Brian Stelter's talk and see if any of his descriptions of the President or of the Republican Party in general remind you in any way of Churchill or any sort of national unity.

Extremely unimpressed with explanations from VP Pence. His calls for unity are fine, but he really should apologize for extreme rhetoric from his side of the aisle that is blaming Democrats for non-existent extreme rhetoric coming from their side of the aisle. Not helpful in terms of actually getting unity.

Huh! The actor David Schwimmer suggested there could "be an all-Black Friends..." Check out the description for Living Single (which started a year prior to Friends): "Follows the lives of several single male and female roommates and friends in 1990s Brooklyn, New York." Sounds to me as though there was an "all-Black Friends!"

Secretary of State Pompeo was completely unable to answer a simple question about whether the coronavirus was a hoax. Video is good summary of the past week.

"Fox & Friends agrees with Trump that coronavirus is a 'hoax'
Yeesh! The idea that the COVID-19 coronavirus is a "hoax" is now officially Republican Party doctrine! No, Democrats are not saying COVID-19 is the President's fault, but they are saying that the President has very seriously messed up by getting a very late start and has taken a poor approach.

After spending $100 million running in the Democratic Primary, Tom Steyer calls it quits.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was scheduled to go on all 5 Sunday talk shows. VP Pence will appear instead.

February                         back to top

Woo hoo! After doing poorly in the first three contests of the 2020 Democratic Primary Biden wins SC by a landslide!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared before the House to appeal "for support for Trump's policy towards Iran." Kinda difficult when the Secretary comes across the way he does, As the blogger Digby puts it: "His skills are better suited to the WWE than the State Department."
Iranian official makes a very good point in the last paragraph of this piece.

"The claim to help Iran in dealing with corona from a country who with their economic terrorism has created widespread pressure for the people of Iran and even closed the paths for buying medicine and medical equipment is a ridiculous claim and political-psychological game," Abbas Mousavi was quoted by Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying.

More on why I prefer Senator Warren to Senator Sanders. Politics is often a game of inches, of getting into the nitty-gritty details and not of just making grand, inspiring speeches. BTW, this is also why I have no use for the idea of term limits, because nobody is born with political skill. Some may have a bit more aptitude for it, but skill in getting bills passed is something you develop expertise on. It takes accumulated knowledge. Warren has that knowledge! I'm in favor of giving Sanders a strong Cabinet post or the Vice-Presidency.

"US war in Afghanistan: From 2001 invasion to 2020 Taliban deal"

The Taliban and the US sign a deal seen as a step towards ending Washington's longest war.

Will this be "Decent Interval II" or will Afghanistan e happier and more peaceful place? We'll see.

"Broadcast news’ coronavirus coverage has ignored Trump's 2018 firings of pandemic response leadership"
To her credit, I first heard about this from Rachel Maddow and have seen it all over the blogs since. This is important information that citizens should have. If our government is failing us, we need to know that! It does no good to give us false confidence by pretending the government is more competent and on the ball than it is.
Why aren't the networks doing their jobs? My guess is that they like balance. There is no balance here as shutting down the NSC’s entire global health security unit was a purely unilateral move on the part of the President and neither the Republican-dominated House nor the Republican-dominated Senate had anything whatsoever to say about it. Nobody can say "Both Sides" here.

"Trump says he can reassemble a health security team quickly (he can't)"
I like the metaphor of saying that we can't start building a fire department just when fires break out. "Just in time management" is fine when you're dealing with retailing and some production issues, not so for things like this.

Public service message y'all! Corona beer has no meaningful connection to the COVID-19 coronavirus! Yes, enough people thnk there's a connection for Corona to suffer a drop in sales.

"White House's Mulvaney: Coronavirus coverage 'all about' hurting Trump"
No, I don't think coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus is designed to hurt the President. I do think the President has made a series of unforced errors that have made the problem worse.

Heh! Conservatives away from home!

Pornhub, YouPorn and XXXVideo are reporting unusually high traffic coming from the Alexandria and Fort Washington area which coincidentally is where CPAC is currently being held.

Woo hoo! Took over 100 years, but lynching is now a federal crime!

Sad threshold to cross. COVID-19 coronavirus cases outside of China (Where it emerged two months ago) now exceed cases in China.

Entirely typical that the President rated Wednesday's COVID-19 coronoavirus press conference as an A+ while the rest of the world gave it an F. Daily Kos found it "incoherent and contentless." Essentially the only news the press conference made was that VP Mike Pence was appointed to be the "Czar" in charge, an appointment that obviously took Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar completely by surprise, which indicates a lack of planning and coordination. The President offered a vaccine "very soon," but it should take between 12 and 18 months to produce.

"Why Pence is an unfortunate choice to oversee coronavirus response"
Continuing a string of unforced errors, the President appoints a politician with a very unfortunate track record in handling public health emergencies.

Sure would be nice if the VP was, y'know doing something about the COVID-19 coronavirus instead of speaking at CPAC.

A coronavirus vaccine will take 12 to 18 months to produce. HHS Secretary Azar refuses to promise vaccine will be affordable!!!

There's no question the President's response to the COVID 19 coronavirus has been massively incompetent, a classic response of too little and too late. I guess he's just playing to the crowds. It's hard to think he really thinks that insulting the people you need to work with is a good motivational approach.

"Under Bipartisan Pressure, Trump Admin Reportedly Considering Coronavirus Czar"
Good! Both sides of the aisle are putting needed pressure on a laggard and slacker administration!

Update (11 April): Unfortunately, this never happened. Is the President in charge? Is Jared Kushner? The Vice-President? The head of HHS? Dr. Birx? Apparently, they all are, which means none of them are.

With the COVID-19 coronoavirus turning into a possible pandemic, what's the President's priority? Why, purging "disloyal"* members of his team, of course!
* "disloyal" in this case means disloyal to the President personally, not disloyal to the United States.

"Trump is purging those 'insufficiently loyal' just when America needs competence more than anything"

At a time when the United States is facing an international crisis that demands cooperation, coordination, and above all the best possible information, Donald Trump is continuing to gut America’s intelligence agencies of experience and skill.

I'm quite sure the Trump Administration saved a bit of money when they shut down the NSCs entire global health security unit. Problem is, this resulted in what's called an "unforced error," of leaving the US completely incapable of responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"GOP Senator Grills Acting DHS Chief On His Abysmal Ignorance About Coronavirus"
Yeah, it sure is nice that Senator Kennedy (R-LA) is being tough with a Trump appointee. Sure would has been nice had he taken his oversight responsibilities more seriously and earlier.

Good summary of the government's handling of the coronavius. Rachel Maddow did a very sobering show on that tonight.

Saw this Forbes piece from 11 February and checked with the current Trump Administration proposal for 2021. Sure enough, the proposal doesn't appear to have been updated.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request for CDC and ATSDR includes a total funding level of $7,062,906,000 indiscretionary budget authority, Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), and Public Health Service (PHS) Evaluation funds. This request is $707,981,000 below FY 2020 Enacted.

The two most obviously relevant line items are 1. Global Health Security (+$50.0 million) and 2. Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund ($50.0 million) or the same total as is being programmed for Drug Free Communities.
Clearly, the administration plan will not survive two minutes after being presented to the House.

News on the coronavirus is grim and it's even more grim due to the Trump Administration trying to engage in happy talk instead of just plain leveling with us. Sure would be helpful if they admitted that they cut the funds necessary to fight this.

Fox News is busy pretending the President has been doing his job.

When the National Security Council was established, the purpose of it was to provide the president with the best possible, most thoughtful and considered advice. Now it's there to do damage control for an amateur president who doesn't really understand what's going on.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it's too early to declare the COVID-19 coronavirus a pandemic. That's sort of good news, I guess.

Rush Limbaugh speaks words to the effect of:
"The coronavirus is a hoax! It's conspiracy! They're just trying to bring down Our Glorious Leader!"

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now opposed to caucuses. Good! This should be the last year caucuses are held anywhere.

People also point to 20%-30% first time caucus goers as a sign of enthusiasm. Flip it around, & it means a lot of people went once then never did it again.

Good! Quarter-century behind bars for that guy sounds about right to me!

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape in the 3rd degree and criminal sexual assault in the 1st degree. He faces up to 25 years in prison, the New York Times reports.

World leaders have the President's number. They've figured out how to appeal to him. He loves big crowds!

Hoo boy! Yeah, sounds like the upcoming CPAC will be "fever swamp central!" One event is called “Exposing and Defeating the Socialist Plot to Hijack America.”

"Pence Aide Struggles To Justify Trump's Lack Of Concern Towards Russian Interference"
Sounds from this description as though the President might really be concerned:

[Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc]...Short said that he attended the classified briefing earlier this month when intelligence officials warned House lawmakers of Russian interference and didn’t recall "an assertion that Russia is trying to benefit' Trump."

Since we're talking about the contents of a classified intelligence briefing, it sure would be nice from the Trump Administration's perspective if they had some credibility. Unfortunately for them, they've got absolutely zippo.

"Gaslighting National Security Advisor Claims He's Seen No Intelligence On Russia Favoring Trump In 2020"
On the heels of a purge among National Security officials in the government, this has all the hallmarks of an official trying to protect his job by saying what the President wants to hear.

As we might be on the cusp of a pandemic with #COVID19, Dr. Alexandra Phelan provides a set of useful definitions here.

Sad to see Kevin Sorbo has descended to questioning climate change. He did great stuff on TV as Hercules in the late 90s and as Captain Dylan Hunt (Andromeda) in the early aughts (00-05).

"Schiff hits back at Trump's 'false claims' blaming Russia intel leak on him: 'Nice deflection… You've betrayed America. Again'"
1. Senator Sanders made a clear and unequivocal statement detailing how he opposed Russian meddling in our elections. The President has never made an equally clear statement!
2. Chairman Schiff charged that the President "won’t protect our elections in 2020." This is true. Democrats have passed bill after bill to protect election security and all of them have died in the Senate. If Trump gave a rat's ass, he'd get on the phone to the Majority Leader in the Senate and those bills would go through tomorrow.

"National security adviser O'Brien lies on Sunday shows to parrot false Trump intelligence claims"
Okay, so our intelligence people are now clearly compromised. We can no longer expect them to tell the truth about Russian influence operations.

Took a bit over 10 years, but a dwarf planet between Neptune and Pluto has now been named. The dwarf planet Gonggong is circled by a moon named Xiangliu.

"Ric Grenell As DNI Is Trump’s Latest Move To Destroy Our Government"
President is out to destroy our government. Specificaly, he wants to tear down the "Administrative State."

"The Foxification of the intelligence community follows the DOJ script"
Details on how the government is being centralized and expertise is being driven out.

Host Anderson Cooper is annoyed that Blagojevich (Reently pardoned) has learned, but didn't know any better while he was in office and had the effective power to have done something back then.
As the blogger says: "Anderson Cooper burns Blago to the ground, whisks the ashes into a dustpan, deposits them in a toilet and flushes…"

The language the news media uses to describe the actions of the President are far too polite.
It's long past the time when we stop calling attention to "the possible appearance of impropriety" and should be pointing to "impropriety!" Very sadly, Maddow points to an incident where the younger George Bush Administration acted with high principle, in glaring contrast to our current President.

I noted many months ago that there's a real difference in how Sanders and Warren talk about getting things done. Sanders tends to say that the American people will demand this and will insist upon that. Warren tends to map out specific strategies with steps and numbers.

"Trump is 'using the power of the presidency to conceal' Russia's 2020 scheme to re-elect him, says former acting AG"
The critically important sentence here is:
Former intelligence officials told NBC News that "Trump's anger over the briefing led him to push Maguire out."
The President wasn't angry over Russian interference in our election, he was absolutely furious because the American people were being made aware of that interference!

Miss America no more? Eh, can't say anyone will miss it. One of those things that had its day.

Good to have a plain, straight admission that deficits only matter when they occur while Democrats are in office.

Women politicians and the dance they must do to avoid the dreaded "unlikeable" tag

"Trump And Republicans Flip Out Over 'Logan Act'"
Senator Chris Murphy anf fomer Secretary of State John Kerry both spoke with Iranians. Michael Flynn had lots and lots of foreign contacts before Trump's inauguration. Any equivalence? No, because Flynn was operating secretly! Murphy and Kerry were both completey open about what they were doing.

Very interesting! The outgoing DNI apparently made an "error" (Not really) by telling House Democrats about Russian interference in the 2020 election. This is of course only an action that an authoritarian would consider to be wrong. This caused the President to replace a qualified DNI with a complete incompetent who has no idea how to do that job.

"Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months ... start your pardon timers now"
The judge made it clear that she hadn't tossed out the old sentencing recommendation when AG Barr submittted a new one. The judge gave him a hard time about him wearing his oh-so-very-cool sunglasses in the courtroom. The piece has extensive live-blogging notes.
Yeah, the real question is now whether Stone will get a pardon.

"Students push back against Melania Trump being awarded Florida university 'Woman of Distinction' honor"
This was an award that was clearly handed out simply because Melania Trump is the current First Lady. She married an-already wealthy guy back in 2005 and...yeah, that's about it for any signicant accomplishments on her part. She's had the opportunity to undertake meaningful projects, but hasn't done a whole lot there.

"Trump Names Loyalist With No Intelligence Record as Acting Intelligence Head"
The DNI is a fairly new position and it's not like being head of the CIA. The DNI is supposed to coordinate between intelligence agencies (Of which I think there are 11). As commentators have asserted, there are perhaps half a dozen people in the country with sufficient depth of experience to do the job properly. The current ambassador to Germany Richard Grenel has no intelligence experience whatsoever.

Secretary of State Pompeo had a recent run-in with NPR because the interviewer asked him a question he didn't like. Now, he's complaing that China doesn't support press freedom! Kind of a glass houses, throwing stones problem.         

Interesting. Compares the President's disinformation campaign with the mid-90s "New Age."

Yeah, the President is terribly upset over the former president Obama pointing out the fact the the recovery began in 2009 and never stopped.

Speaker Pelosi details her ripping up the SOTU speech as the speech was ending.

"White House effectively admits Iran did not pose an 'imminent threat'"
So when General Qassem Soleimani was assassinated via a drone, there was no legitimate justification for doing so.

"Trump campaign manager deletes Air Force One photo after being told it's from 2004"
Gotta say, I'm completely baffled as to how someone could make a mistake like that. Weren't there captions with the photo? Didn't the photo come in any sort of context? I mean, really? Did the Trump campaign manager Parscale really just search "Air Force One" and "Daytona 500" and just accept the first image that came up without doing any sort of checking?!?!?!

Daily Coronavirus update from this site includes wild, hysterical conspiracy theory from Senator Tom Cotton

"Conway: Bloomberg's Alleged Sexist Remarks 'Far Worse' Than Trump's"

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued that President Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape shouldn’t be compared to Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg's.

Hmm, Michael Bloomberg allegedly uses crude language to suggest that an employee get an abortion ("Kill it!") versus "Grab 'em by the pussy." Different types of comments, but I'd say they're at the same level of seriousness.

"NASA brings Voyager 2 fully back online, 11.5 billion miles from Earth"
When Neptune and the Earth are lined up with each other they're only  2.7 billion miles apart. Voyager 2 is now about 17 light-hours away.

"Rockets slam into US Embassy Compound in Iraq, as Base with US Troops also Comes under Fire"

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (the Movement of the Nobles of the Party of God), led by Akram al-Kaabi, had announced a 'countdown' to the expulsion of US troops from Iraq.

Turns out that fuzzing out images of protesters in a photo of the 2017 Women's March was just the tip of the iceberg. National Archives has also been deleting complaints about ICE!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed: “The West is winning. We are collectively winning. We’re doing it together.” Not really sure how he can claim that. Where is the US succeeding or persuading allies to follow its lead?

"This college was accredited by a DeVos-sanctioned group. We couldn’t find evidence of students or faculty"
The Trump appointee who runs the Education Department thinks everything is fine and there's no need for any regulation of it. I think regulation is urgently and desperately needed!

NY Times and polite, euphemistic langugage.

"North Dakota GOP settles voter ID lawsuits in a major victory for Native American voting rights"
Happy to see this because frankly, it never made any sense to me why the law requiring street addresses on ID cards was passed in the first place unless the purpose was voter disenfranchisement.

Vice-President Mike Pence seems to have remarkably, erm, flexible views towards deficits and economic growth. Strangely ([/snark] of course), those views appear to coincide with whether the Republican Party is in power or not. Yeah, funny how that happens.

"Senate Passes War Powers Resolution Against Trump's Iran War
Bill passes, but 45 senators voted for the President to retain the power to launch a war anyway, so the Senate will not be able to  override a veto.

*Sigh* Both NY Times and NPR, completely failing comprehend the Trump Administration! As I've said, there are certain news sources that are good for some things, but not others. NY Times is good at many things, but is completely useless for politics.

This is why we have grand juries and why defendants don't get to bring lawyers to them. The case against McCabe was obviously so weak that he didn't need lawyers to defend himself. Even though clever lawyers can supposedly "indict a ham sandwich," it seems pretty clear that grand jury people are smart enough to see though an obvious attempt at railroading.

A little over a year ago, we took a close look at MU69, now called "Arrokoth." We figure it's about four billion years old. Interesting theories on planet formation.

"FBI director tries to both-sides abortion-related violence. Reality says there's only one side"
Ugh! "Bothsidersism" for the pregnancy choice advocats vs the extremists.

Representative Adam Schiff warned Republicans that the President would abuse his power if not removed from office. He was right.

Yep, back in 2016. Republican senators considered it a four-alarm fire that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the former President Bill Clinton, when the Hillary Clinton email case was moving to a close (due to a complete lack of evidence that she had done anything wrong), and now, with the President blatantly interfering with a Justice Department sentencing decision on the case of a guilty-on-all-counts Roger Stone, is met with a "Eh, whatta ya gonna do?" attitude.

Good to see this! The legal pushback against the President's actions on Roger Stone.

"They Rocked New Hampshire—but Pete and Amy Still Can’t Win Over Black Voters"
I can understand the critique that applies to both of these candidates. I've never brought into this "Heartland" myth. I don't see "Mid-Western values" as being any better, or really even much differenet, than "San Francisco values" or "East Coast values," etc. If I'm a Mid-Westerner, then sure, It's pleasing to have my region complimented, but that leaves me cold if I'm from anywhere else.

In 2020, Virgina has finally repealed a state law that made consensual sex with an unmarried person illegal. Welcome to the 21st Century, Virginia!

"Israel's Major US Lobby went after the Democratic Party and it didn't Go Well"
AIPAC accused Democrats:

Radicals in the Democratic Party are pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people.

Problem is, one can be antisemitic and anti-Israel or one can be anti-Israel without being antisemitic. It depends on whether you're opposed to the specific policies of the state of Israel or to the existence of the Jewish people as a whole. Good to see AIPAC got smacked over this.

"Sean Hannity Explains His Disappointment Over...Obamacare Repeal"

The so-called president's nightly top advisor says "health savings accounts" are the way to go. In an election year.

Sure, Health Savings Accounts are great if, y'know, you just happen to have $4k just lying around every year. Of course, as the piece points out, a routine and uncomplicated birth can run up to $32k. No, HSAs were never a practical solution.

Donald Trump has a serious "glass houses & throwing stones" problem when it comes to accusing Michael Bloomberg of racism. For the record, Bloomberg apologized for not ending stop & frisk soon enough and y'all know that billionaires and apologies go together like oil and water!

Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro thinks we ought to have political literacy tests for voters. Considering that many GOP members are trying to initiate a recall petition for Senator Romney (There is no provision for recalling a senator), ehh, might not work out to help Republicans.

Republican senators still have no use for election security measures. Gee, I wonder who they expect will benefit from weak election security?

New Hampshire primary. Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet drop out. Sanders does well. Biden not so well.

"Four Prosecutors On Roger Stone Case Bail After DOJ Sentencing Reversal"
Long-time Trump associate Roger Stone is found guilty on all counts. AG Barr takes over case and reduces recommended sentence. Four of the prosecutors quit in protest.

I agree with gay friends that it's awesome that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is making the political progress that he is, but his lack of national political experience means he's vulnerable to deficit hysteria. Deficits aren't bad by themselves. It's what the deficit is for that's important.

Approval-disapproval numbers for all seven Democrats still polling well in the race. Very important, ALL of them beat the President!

Very cool! By a 15-point margin (55% to 40%), Americans agree that the Senate whitewashed the President's conduct and that he's guilty of what the House charged him with!

Heh! Why, of course! According to White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, LTC Vindman was simply "relocated"! Don't long-serving, high-ranking military officers always get escorted out of the building where they've been working for several years, as though they were being "perp-walked"?

Here's a serious problem with living under an Apartheid regime. When Israel and Palestinians disagree over agricultural produce, Israel can simply shut the border to Palestinian produce. Palestinians have no effective recourse,

LTC Vindman gets criticized for not using the chain of command, but Vindman DID use the chain of command!!! He talked to people about how concerned he was that the President was using gangster-type language with the president of Ukraine and the response of White House lawyers was to hide the records of the call on the NSC's super-top secret server. Nah, this guy's criticism is worthless.

"Exiting the 2020 primary, Walsh describes the GOP as a 'cult'"
Liberals have had lots and lots of problems with former Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL), but one thing we agree with him on is the cult-like nature of today's pro-Trump Republican Party.

Speaking of the cult of Trump:

Hey, pundits. Before you rattle on about Democrats being bad at democracy because a few caucuses still exist, do a fucking segment on how Republicans are literally cancelling primaries to prevent Trump from facing a primary challenger.

"El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago" engages in a "Dear-Leader-Grants-a-Wish" activity.

At around the 5:00 minute mark, Jeanine Pirro defends Trump over impeachment, but gives the game away, saying that the President was "obligated" to investigate corruption. If investigating corruption was what the President was doing, why was no one "in the loop"? Why was no one outside a very tight, small group of people aware of why Ukraine's money being delayed? Nah, Romney's a hero for being the lone Republican senator to vote to remove the President and she's got no case.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson splits off from the President over trade deal with China and US aggression towards Iran.

"VP Mike Pence: Pennsylvanians deserve school choice | Opinion"
First study cited by the Vice-President is produced by the Friedman Foundation, a foundation founded by the economist Milton Friedman, who was strongly ideologically favorable to capitalism. What is the actual record of privatizing schools? Basically, it profits investors. School choice is not a movement founded or driven by teachers, parents or students as none of these groups benefit by privatization.

A look at the Iowa caucus cluster$%#@..

Seems the DNC was more involved with the app that caused the Iowa caucuses to blow up than we at first thought. The DNC has some 'splainin' to do.

"It is 65° F. in Antarctica and if the Thwaites Glacier Plops in, Expect 4 ft. of Sea Level Rise"
There's a really massive glacier in Antarctica that overhangs the land mass. The water underneath that is now 2 degrees above freezing.

Joy Reid of MSNBC had an absolutely marvelous, snarky "Dear [Senator] Susan Collins letter" where she just ripped Collins for her spineless, useless centrism. Really, the last time the Senate centrists played any significant role was in early 2009 when they noticed that Democrats wanted to spend a lot of money on the stimulus while Republicans didn't want to spend anything. The centrists took the purely mathematical approach of advocating spending less on the stimulus, something that probably delayed and weakened the recovery and that didn't earn them any points with the Republicans who wanted a total, scorched-earth resistance to anything and everything Democrats wanted.

It is good to have billionaires tossing their momey in coronavirus once in a while! Bill Gates has pledged $100 million to fight COVID-19.
BTW, this site is doing regular daily updates on the coronavirus .

Heh! President wants his impeachment expunged and removed from the records, because of course he does. He'll definitely have to wait for Republicans to get a majority in the House again. Hopefully, that'll take a good, long while!

Good strategy on Speaker Pelosi's part! Ripping up her copy of the SOTU has dominated the news shows! Did the President have a message tha he wanted to get across that night? Eh, who knows?

Oh, good grief! After all the norm-busting and violations of standards the President has engaged in, Now they're getting all upset over what Speaker Pelosi did?!?!?!?!?! Ugh! Puh-leeze!!!

And the "purge" of the President's "enemies" begins with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman being not just fired from his position at the White House but actually escorted out the door.

And the second casualty of the post-impeachment purge, US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, is forced out of his post!

"Bernie Sanders Support with Black Voters Cratered by More Than Half in a Week"
This is a real problem as the support that Senator Sanders had among black voters was real issue in 2016. He got better as the campaign went on, but being from a state that was 95% white meant he was unprepared at first.

So essentially, the Emolument Clause can be enforced through elections or by impeachment, making it pretty much a dead letter with this President.

Truly amazing that the Secret Service is charged so much by the President! I recall some very simple, rechargeable golf carts back during the 60s and 70s. I doubt those  cost more than a few hundred. I looked up some super-fancy two-person golf carts and they go for over $8k, so the Secret Service would actually save a great deal of money by simply buying a few carts outright and keeping them at the golf courses the President frequents most often and then transporting a few of them to those he visits occasionally.

It's pretty clear that Iowa will never be first in the nation again and will also dump the whole caucus idea.

Senator Susan Collins is the most egregious offender, but many Republican senators agreed with her that the President had learned his lesson. No. No, he hasn't.

A fellow on Twitter reproduces an absolutely infuriating sentence from the latest David Brooks column:

Instead of spending the past 3 years on Mueller and impeachment suppose Trump opponents had spent the time on an infrastructure bill or early childhood education?

The President did indeed have an opportunity to split the Democratic Party by pushing for an infrastructure bill. He chose not to because that would have expanded the role of government and would have made his tax cut impossible. Besides which, Rs would have pressed for more coal-fired power plants and fracking, Ds would have advocated clean, renewable energy. It wasn't the choice of Democrats to not have an infrastructure bill.

Kirk Douglas passes away at the age of 103.

Iran was in trouble at home. The Kushner Apartheid plan for Palestinians was a magnificent gift to Ayatollah Khamenei. It also brought Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and even Yemenis on board with Iran and against the US.

Here's one of the things Democrats found so objectionable about the President's SOTU address.

"And working together, Congress can reduce drug prices substantially from current levels. I've been speaking to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others in Congress in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done quickly and properly."

Uh, well, you could possibly have just supported a bill that the House had already passed!!!

New Hampshire has been first-in-the-nation for long enough. It's time for another state to be first.

"Donald Trump Is Acquitted, But Not Exonerated"
Hmmph! Not at all surprising, but it is disappointing to have the Senate acquit the President.

Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that in the cases of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, neither one was convicted by a member of their own party. When Trump was convicted by Romney, this caused a major panic in the White House.

"Susan Collins will vote to acquit Trump, saying he's "learned" from impeachment"
Many yeas ago, O.J. Simpson led authorities on a slow-motion car chase before being apprehended. People held up signs saying they forgave him. Problem with forgiving Simpson long before he had expressed any sort of remorse means they were handing out forgiveness for free. Senator Collins is doing the same here. She's giving away forgiveness to a president who has not confessed nor has shown any sort of remorse. No, Trump has not learned anything.

What some Republican senators are suffering from is termed "wishful thinking."

Bwah-hah-hah! Speaker Pelosi steals the show by tearing up her copy of the SOTU!!! She did so in a way that the President wasn't aware of it until afterwards.

Democratic response to the SOTU was great!

"LIVEBLOG: The State Of The Union Address

Trump just claimed that his administration is working to "end America’s wars in the Middle East," a rich assertion after his attack without congressional approval in December, striking an airport in Baghdad and assassinating one of Iran’s top military officials.

Yeah, I seem to remember the President coming awfully close to starting up a full-scale war with Iran in January!

"Tracking The Main Excuses GOP Senators Are Offering Trump Ahead Of Acquittal"
GOP senators explain why they won't vote to remove the President from office. Very sad. Shows that many of them weren't paying attention to the arguments or just willfully misinterpreted the Constitution.

I completely agree with the blogger. Voting systems are not like other systems. They involve far too many interested parties who have a stake in manipulating the results. The lower the tech, the better. I also agree caucuses has had their day and need to be eliminated.

So after having strongly defended smoking and its effect on health, Limbaugh is now suffering cancer caused by smoking. As they say Karma's, uh, not a nice person and she knows where you live!

The President demonstrates once again that he is not a president of the American people. He just represents the Republican Party. No one outside the Republican Party thinks Limbaugh deserves any sort of reward, let alone a high honor such as the Medal of Freedom.

Very interesting conversation. When Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was asked about the President's racial record, Buttigieg quite properly slammed Trump for an absolutely horrible record. Fox News host Ed Henry didn't have any defense of the President. All he could respond with was criticism of Buttigieg, "Who are you to lead the counter-charge?"

So now that we've been fracking for about a decade, how well does it work at making communities better and wealthier? Not well.

Closing remarks for the President's trial.
Representative Schiff gave it his best.

The Iowa caucus was a complete mess. They couldn't get complete results all night. Nothing sinister about last night's software failure in Iowa, just a poor roll-out and not enough familiarity with the new app.

It's time to leave the Iowa caucuses in the rear-view mirror. In addition to being demographically unrepresentative, the state has a little over three million people, last night's voters added up to fewer than 200k. Caucuses are unrepresentative anyway. They don't give us a good picture as to how people will actually vote in the general election.

Fox News host Sean Hannity interviews President Trump. What I found sad about this interview segment is that all of the President's attacks are ad hominem. They're all attacks on people rather than on policies.

Lengthy piece on the Trump Voter Fraud Commission. The commission kind of shot itself in the foot coming out of the gate. They decided on a very one-sided, highly partisan commission. By the time it requested voter information from all of the states, they had absolutely zero credibility and the states had no faith that the information would be handled in a proper manner. Very pleased to read that when the commission broke up, they had to destroy all of the voter information they had collected.

"Midnight Revelation: The OMB Has Been Hiding Emails That Explicitly Show Trump's Motives On Ukraine"
At the last possible minute, the President's defense team releases evidence that the White House was holding onto emails that demoished the theory that the gangster-style shakedown of the Ukrainian President was anything but a shakedown.

Cool science news! Good a reason as any to get marijuana legalized everywhere!
The piece is undated, but I did a quickie search and found a bunch of articles in agreement. Bees and hemp pollen go together really well! Growing more hemp will help the bee population.

Demonstration to remove the President from office.

The closest PA Senator Toomey comes to making an argument to not remove the President from office is:

"This idea of obstruction of Congress because the president invoked the constitutional rights that every president has and almost all of them have invoked, that’s ridiculous.”

What "Constitutional right" allows the president to not comply with the demands of Congress?!?!?! After that, he suggests that the charges against the President don't rise to the level where removal is warranted, a position with which I strongly disagree.

Not just the Palestinians, the entire Arab League has unequivocally rejected Jared Kushner's "peace" plan.

Kind of amusing that Kushner is suggesting he's tougher or smarter than three people with decades more government and military experience than he has. His Israel-Palestinian "peace" proposal, that he's been working on for about three years, has been rejected out of hand by both Palestinians and the whole Arab League, so it's far from clear that he has the credentials to criticize anybody.


Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, said he has no doubt that House Democrats will now intensify their Trump investigations. "That’s their only agenda," he said.

Little projection here? Yeah, 'cause I remember when the House was held by Republicans while Democrats held the Senate and the Presidency. What did the House do back then? From October 2009 to March 2014, the House voted 54 times to repeal the ACA/Obamacare!

The White House claims that their new travel ban raises the standards for immigration. Why is the Trump Administrtion trying to fix what isn't broken?

*Sigh* The support that Senator Sanders has may be limited and may be hard to extend beyond his current base, but the last thing Democrats need is an appearance that they're trying to rig the primary.

Rush Limbaugh tries to engage in historical revisionism, suggesting that his 2009 statement of "Not my president" was somehow not an attempt to delegitimize the Obama presidency. The “Birther” conspiracy theory was racist, but more to the point, it was precisely an attempt to delegitimize Obama.

Looking back on some of the most wild and wacky assertions made by the President's defense team. One argument that was repeated was that impeaching the President would somehow invaidate the 2016 election. No, it would have indicated "buyer's remorse."

January                         back to top

An assessment of how Speaker Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairmand Schiff did during the impeachment trial.

More on the Dershowitz "Presidents can do whatever they please" comment. Again, this is an entirely self-made problem that Dershowtiz has to take 100% responsibility for.

I saw the Chief Justice refuse to read Senator Paul's comment on TV. I suspected it was about a senator trying to out the whistleblower. Trying to get people killed, are we, Paul?

Wow! Jared Kushner thinks that because he's "read 25 books" on the Israel-Palestinian situation, that he's qualified to work on it. Reminds me of Congressman Tip O'Neill responding to a student question on Vietnam:

Finally a student got him with a question. A student at Boston College, Tip’s alma matter, said, "Sen. O’Neill you have told the public about your many briefings of the war by General Westmoreland, Robert McNamara, the CIA, and even President Johnson but have you ever considered hearing the briefings of the other side?”

I have to wonder how many of Kushner's "25 books" were written from the Palestinian perspective.

Interesting tweet from Ivanka Trump. It shows Palestinians and Iran as "Rejecting" the Jared Kushner "peace" plan. But if there's no Palestinian buy-in, if Palestinians aren't interested in the plan, doesn't that make the plan a failure? As to the countries counted as favoring the plan, there's kind of a problem in that most countries don't trust the President, making the list highly questionable.

Why can't the President make any progress wooing Muslims? He tweeted a picture of Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi wearing a turban and a hijab,, with the Iranian flag behind them and characterizing them as friends to the Ayatollah. This tells Muslims that they are the enemy

Steve Doocy of Fox News on the scandal that got the Presient impeached: "If the president said, 'I'll give you the money, but you've got to investigate Joe Biden,' that'd be off the rails wrong." Doocy's principles have become more, er, flexible since than! The blogger cites other examples.

I'm 100% on board with the Speaker's view on this and 100% against Alan Dershowitz. No, getting election assistance from a foreign power is not okay!

I agree with the blogger. The President shows extremely poor judgment here. He hired Bolton, despite everyone saying Bolton was a bad hire. Now he's saying hey, Bolton was a bad hire! Gee, maybe the President should have listened to the people who said Bolton would be a bad hire?

Elie Mystal makes the brave sacrifice of watching the President's defense team so you don't have to!

Number of US troops who sustained concussions from the Iranian missile attack is now 50.

More love for Senator Elizabeth Warren as she looks at the "spread of infectious diseases," which in this case is the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Woo hoo! There will be witnesses testimony in the impeachment trial!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn't have the votes to block witnesses in Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

So Jared Kushner feels that Palestinians have blown every opportunity they've been afforded and they'll probably blow this latest one as well. Kind of a problem with the offer is that they may get a good deal of money out of it, but they'll be required to surrender large chunks of territory as well. Did Kushner mention that in this little speech of his? Nah, that must have slipped his mind.

"Everything about the plan is farcical."

Essentially just a resurrection of South African Apartheid.

Our galaxy is about 100k light-years in diameter and 1k light-years thick. The exoplanet KELT-9b is right in our neighborhhod, only about 670 light-years away from us. Surface temperature on the "cool" side reach a little over 4k Fahrenheit.

Astronomers have documented a bizarre cycle of molecular destruction and rebirth on an ultra-hot, Jupiter-like exoplanet where surface temperatures exceed 7,750 degrees Fahrenheit.

"By seeking facts, Romney accused of trying to 'appease the left'"
Oh, c'mon Romney! Don't you know facts have a liberal bias?!?!?! Yeesh, all that thar book-learnin' has gone to Romney's head!

Uuh...whut?!?! John Bolton is now a liberal!?! Ooh yeah! Anyone who disagrees with Our Glorious Leader is automatically a dirty effing hippie.

Wow! This is just so incredibly amazing! Secretary of State Pompeo had a minion ask a reporter to come to see him in a private room after their interview. She did and Pompeo does not deny that he screamed at her, using plenty of obscenities. Pompeo now considers it a breach of honor and decency that she told the public about his behavior!!! Good Lord! Did this guy ever graduate from second grade?!!?!?!

Fox News host makes an interesting presumption:

“Constitutionally the House can impeach and that’s what they did,” [Ainsley Earhardt] said. “And now they have to present their case to the Senate but it’s not the Senate’s job to redo what is constitutionally the House’s sole power. They had their chance.”

But the House Managers are not requesting a "redo," they're requesting that the Senate continue what the House started. New information has come up since the impeachment articles were transmitted. Many questions were left unanswered because of the refusal of the President to do his job and to turn over requested documents and to make witnesses available.

Once again showing his "wannabe a fascist dictator" tendency, the President demonstrates a desire to do away with a government-funded media outlet that doesn't toe the Republican line on all issues.

Our President has attempted to lobby the West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas into accepting the US "peace" plan. Abbas was not consulted prior to this, so this is far too little, too late! Abbas, very sensibly, won't even take the President's calls.

"Trump suggests Schiff will pay a 'price' for pushing impeachment"
The President just can't seem to help sounding like a gangster. BTW, this piece comes with a poll. 65% said that it's inappropriate for the President to make threats like that.

"GOP senator: Impeachment should encourage Trump to be more 'careful' next time"

"I think he'll put two and two together," Braun told NBC's "Meet the Press." "In this case, he was taken to the carpet."

I've got a better idea! Let's toss the President's happy little butt out of office so there won't BE a "next time!"

The President alleges that “Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions” by promoting “taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth.”
Is this true? Ehh, sort of. Pro-choicers believe that if delivering the baby poses a threat to the life or health of the woman, then we'd choose to save the woman rather than than the child. Naturally, if both can be saved, we'd prefer that and if the baby is still there after the first three months, it's there by choice. In other words, no one is going to have an abortion at plus-three months unless there were serious health concerns. At no time does the baby take priority over the woman.

NPR interviewer "Mary Louise Kelly has a Master's degree in European Studies from Cambridge University," but somehow Secretary of State Pompeo expects us to believe that Kelly confused Ukraine with Bangladesh (The two countries are about 3,600 miles apart).

"Balloon Juice | Lordy It's The Tape: The President's Fundraising Dinner Tape Has Been Released"
Complete audio of the latest Lev Parnas tape along with a twitter commentary/summary.

"Louise Linton sides with Greta Thunberg after husband Steve Mnuchin takes jab at climate crisis activist"
*sputter* Whuuh?!?!?! My estimation of Louise Linton (wife of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin) just went way, way up!!! She of course, felt obliged to delete her Instagram shortly after issuing it, but kudos to her for standing for science and common sense!

Just saw the opening remarks from the President's side. (paraphrasing) "We're going to present evidence you haven't heard before," after which we heard things that we had heard many times before. "The President took the unprecedented step of declassifying the call." But why was the call summary classified in the first place? As Democrats pointed out, the call records are still on the highly classified server where they're inaccessible to Democrats and to other diplomatic personnel. Nah, the President's side has nothing to mount as a defense.

Iraqis are trying the peaceful method first and are peacefully protesting the US presence in their country. Iran is not popular in Iraq either, but the aerial assassination of General Qadem Soleimani as well as that of the Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis has caused Iraqis to demand that all Americans leave their country.

"'Take her out': Reported tape suggests Trump demanded ambassador's firing"

A voice that appears to Trump's is heard on the recording saying, "Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out."

The President sounds just like a straight-up gangster here.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff is correct. "All that, Schiff argued, constituted the behavior of someone who believes 'he is the state.'” If President Trump is exonerated, he will feel emboldened and will undertake even more dictatorial activities.

Problem with coming up with good metaphors for pregnancy/abortion is that there is simply nothing in the human experience that's analogous. There is even less of an analogy between abortion and slavery. It's simply a stupid comparison. Nah, there's an absolutely zero chance that Education Secretary DeVos will step up to Representative Pressley's challenge.

Secretary of State Pompeo makes an extremely unimpressive case for US diplomacy with Iran over the tenure of the current President. In terms of diplomatic progress, we've clearly moved backwards and have become less safe. Iran is now closer to having a nuclear weapon than it was before this President took office.

First time I picked up on the COVID-19 coronavirus (25 January). One of the tweets reported that hospitals in Wuhan, China, were already being overburdened!

"Trump Reportedly Threatens Senators: 'Your Head Will Be On A Pike'"

CBS News reports that Trump is threatening senators to vote for his acquittal - or else.

As pundits have commented recently, this kind of statement is "on brand" for the President. Seriously, if they support this kind of mob-boss mentality, they deserve the consequences. Problem is, we share this country with them!

An "on brand" Trump subordinate!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had trouble explaining why he couldn't properly protect Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Pompeo was so angry later, he called the reporter back to a private room and yelled at her.

Very happy to see that this story "has legs." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is responsible for the physical safety of our diplomatic personnel. That's why people made such a fuss about that attack on the Benghazi diplomatic facility (it was neither an embassy nor a consulate) back in 2012. I can understand why the physical safety of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is a very sore point with Pompeo, but that's just tough %$#@ for him! If he can't come up with a good answer for why he failed to protect her, he should quit.

The argument that the President was fighting corruption was pretty thoroughly debunked during the House testimony, but is taken out and beaten again.

"Twitter Blasts Sen. Marsha Blackburn After She Questions Vindman's Patriotism"
Someone who was busy tweeting while she should have have been paying attention to the trial taking place in front of her, ignores the fact that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has not only faced great peril in his life, he spoke out a great risk to his career.

Argument in the President's Senate impeachment trial by Representative Schiff. If we don't remove this president from office, we as a country are morally lost.

"America's First Shopping Mall is Being Turned into Affordable Apartments"
Good re-use of space! You've got all of the logistics you need to supply apartment dwellers (parking lots, shops, heating/air conditioning, etc.) Dying malls are a real problem nowadays.

Interesting theory taking off from the Joe McCarthy era, that demagoguery has a limited lifespan and Trump's is just about up. Cool!

I'm normally in favor of incremental change, and had we adopted "muddle through,"  change back in the 1970s, when the climate crisis was discovered and accurately identified, we'd probably be okay. As it is, we need a major effort in order to get through this.

GOP senators are trying to have it both ways at once. They're bored with seeing all of the old evidence re-hashed, but they don't want to see new evidence. I saw on TV last night that a reporter says a few senators were genuinely unfamiliar with the details of the case and really paid attention last night.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell takes a hopelessly muddled and contradictory position.
"McConnell has attacked the House case as a 'shoddy work product' and 'the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history,'” but he doesn't want to correct the House's work product by conducting an investigation in the Senate. As the piece says, this will be a "Pyrrhic" victory that will haunt the Republican Party,

First, a correction. The Trump Administration has not "exerted executive privilege." The administration has asserted a crazy, half-baked theory of absolute immunity, which does not exist outside of their legal arguments and that the courts have so far rejected.
Second, yes. "All hell" did break loose, but Representative Schiff did not put out any version prior to what the President put out. Schiff's mocking comments were made after we got the President's version. What the President put out sounded like a gangster trying to put the squeeze on a shopkeeper!
All that being said, yeah, sure sounds like the President has admitted to holding back evidence that is very highly material to his case.

"World’s Oldest Known Impact Crater Confirmed in Australia"
Earth is a bit over 4.5 billion years old. We've located an impact crater that's an estimated 2.229 billion years old.

Democrats may not win removal of the President from office, but they're digging in and making Republicans pay for every inch. Closer we get to the SOTU address, the more frantic the President will become to want to declare victory. Republican senators adopted strategy of simply bulling everything through with their greater numbers. Not working too well and they're tiring before Democrats are.

Great speech from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff!

This is some really delicious schadenfreude here! Senate Majority Leader McConnell thought he'd pull a fast one and run roughshod over the Democrats. Then he has the sheer gall to try and ask them for some cooperation. Nuh-uh! Ya give none, ya get none!

McConnell is clearly frustrated, because Trump’s team is unprepared, the Democrats in House and Senate are working together well, and this day has turned into free presentation time for the House impeachment team without taking even a scratch.

A possible International Criminal Court investigation is making Israelis very nervous. As the old saying goes: "If you don't have anything to hide..."

The President's latest justification for the aerial assassination of a foreign country's general:

...[Trump] spoke broadly about Soleimani as 'the father of the roadside bomb' responsible for "every young, beautiful man or woman who you see walking around with no legs, no arms.”

Erm, the US invaded Iraq for no good reason. These "beautiful" men and women were the invaders. Initially, a minority of Iraqis thought of Americans as "liberators," but after a year or two had passed, no Iraqis thought that any more.

"Protest Anti Iran War 25Jan2020"
Last Saturday's protest. Got about 150 to 200 people there, even though the immediate crisis appeared to be over.

POTUS and VPOTUS made unannounced visit to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Spent about 20 to 30 seconds there with heads bowed. President later tweeted about low black unemployment number.

Kellyanne Conway says: "The President is preparing for Davos and agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for..."
I'm quite honestly baffled as to what viewpoints the President and Dr. King could possibly have had in common. The President just called for schoolchildren to have less healthy school lunches. How is that in any way even vaguely similar to what Dr. King would have wanted?

The President's legal team submits their official position, a highly problematic position that's absolutely full of holes.

Georgetown law professor John Mikhail explained why the Alan Dershowitz defense of the President is ridiculous.

Again, the Trump Administration appears to be conceding that their case against impeachment is extremely weak. It appears that the CIA and NSA are holding back documents from the House Intelligence Committee that they really should be turning over.

This is an important principle we shouldn't lose sight of. The President sought to pursue his own policy preferences, knowing full well that Congress didn't agree. He did so secretly, knowing he couldn't justify doing so.
The excuse offered by various Fox commenters, that the President didn't violate any actual laws, is false.

This was kind of a stupid move, censoring a large, publicly-displayed photograph so as to not offend certain persons. I can sort of, kind of understand blurring out words like "vagina" and "pussy," though I would think an advisory would have been sufficient to protect delicate sensibilities. Censoring out the anti-Trump nature of the demonstration? That's just Stalinist-type revisionism.

Well, we thought Rod Rosenstein was a hero because he stood by the Mueller Investigation. Turns out (According to the blogger): "Sure, I gave a known character assassin a powerful metaphorical gun, along with the names and addresses of a couple of tempting victims [Peter Strzok and Lisa Page]. But you can’t blame me for the fact that he killed them! I only did it to protect them!"

I was history major in college. When you count King vs Parliament as well as President vs Congress, conflicts over "power of the purse" go back many centuries. In this case, the President refused to spend money on a policy that Congress voted for. If the president can simply refuse to spend money on something Congress says he must spend money on, that critically weakens Congress' power. This is hardly an isolated case. See "The Wall." Yes, I think "abuse of power" is a perfectly legitimate charge in this case. Besides, the GAO has said that the President broke a specific law that goes right to the heart of the impeachment case.

"The 'blossoming' of damning evidence is no accident—Pelosi's strategy worked"
For those who would like some fine, fine schadenfreude for the evening, an examination of how Speaker Pelosi cultivated a garden of thorny, poisonous weeds for the Senate to have to deal with over the next few weeks. .

After a considerable time period of needless and unexplained delay, Secretary of State Pompeo appears to have FINALLY been shamed into launching an investigation into Ambassador Yovanovitch being apparently surveilled by hostile actors. Pompeo claims his office will "obviously" respond if one of their people is being threatened, a claim that would have been far more convincing if he had delivered on it 48 hours earlier.

*Sigh* Yeah. Comparing the credibility of Lev Parnas and the President, I believe Parnas. Fox News people are convinced that's because I have an irrational hatred of the President. No, that's because the President has never proven that he's innocent. The Mueller investigation may not have gotten him impeached, but it did prove that there was a serious amount of obstruction of justice going on.

Here's another reason I don't believe much of anything this administration says:
The President's campaign manager produces statistics about the crowds that attend the President's campaign rallies. My first reaction was that it must be very difficult to get some of this data. Turns out, it's actually impossible to get some of the data he touts. One of the statistics is "57.9% Were NOT Republicans (Yuge!)" but "Wisconsin does not register voters by party preference or affiliation.." meaning that even in the likely event that they had the names of all the attendees, they wouldn't have their party preferences!

Very disturbing evidence that fascism is winning. Chiefs of the intelligence agencies don't want to give their annual threat assessment because last year, the President criticized them for doing so.

Update (31Mar2020): The above piece is dated 16Jan2020. Timing's about right for one of the topics to have been the COVID-19 coronavirus that had appeared in Wuhan, China. Did the cancellation of this briefing mean that the US public was deprived of an advance warning?

This is very good news, that Ukraine is investigating the allegation that Lev Parnas made, that US Ambassador Yovanovich was being surveilled, but what's sadly missing from this account is what the US State Department is doing about these allegations! Why haven't they announced an investigation of a US Ambassador being stalked and surveilled in a foreign country? Both Parnas and Hyde have denied that Ambassador Yovanovitch was going to be "hit" mob-style, but we need to know for sure. Why is the State Department being silent on this?

"The Biggest Reveals From Lev Parnas' Blockbuster Rachel Maddow Interview"
Heh! Wednesday, "WH Claims It’s ‘Extraordinarily Unlikely’ Senate Trial Goes Longer Than Two Weeks" Today? Ehh, not so sure about that! Sounds just a bit overoptimistic to me!

A former Army intelligence officer examines the Lev Parnas interview "And like tonight’s interview some of that information is accurate and true, some is disinformation, and some is agitprop." All of the Parnas information will need to be vetted. Also has interesting criticism of Maddow's questioning.

"The Big Loser in the Iowa Debate? CNN’s Reputation"
Wow! These questions to many of the candidates were seriously loaded! Clear presumptions and editorializing made any good answers impossible. The healthcare questions have a simple answer. The American people save overall, they just shift from private expenditures to public ones.

"Rain finally strikes Australia — putting out deadly bushfires"
Woo hoo! Good to hear this!

Senator Collins is caught between a rock and a hard place. Here's her trying desperately to sound naive and uninformed: "I wonder why the House did not put that into the record and it's only now being revealed," Uh-huh. As though the Trump Administration hasn't been battling tooth and nail to hide everything they possibly can!

"The media keeps refusing to show us Donald Trump as he really is, and it's dangerous"
This reminds me that, back during the 1850s, Northern women would go to the South and report on the conditions that slaves lived under. They used very genteel, ladylike language to describe the sexual abuse of women slaves by the men slave masters. Who did that help? The biggest beneficiaries were the slave masters, whose behavior was sanitized and prettified. When the President's rambling, hate and delusion-filled talks are described as though he were a normal politician, he is the beneficiary!

In order to not appear as though they're taking sides, the mainstream media types downplay how crazy the President is. Who does that help? The President. Who does it hurt? The American people.

The Uranium One story first arose during the tenure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was obvious from the beginning that it was a non-story. Nevertheless, Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened up an investigation two years ago. That investigation, which should never havve been opened, is now closed  Shamefully, the NY Times published and supported the story.

"Trump says it doesn't matter if Soleimani posed an imminent threat"
Yes it does. It matters a great deal. The killing of Osama bin Laden was welcomed because he was responsible for many American deaths, but also because he was the leader of a small group. Al Qaeda was not a country or an ethnicity, it was a small group of mostly Saudi Arabians that shared an ideology. Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was an important member of the country of Iran. The President's own party may have cheered Soleimani's death, but other Americans (of which I am one) saw it as a highly dangerous move that would provide others wth a legal justification for the killing of American officials. The absence of an "imminent threat" means that other groups and nations might now take this as license to kill Americans.

A deep dive into Russian cyber-information gathering in the case of the Ukrainian utility Burisma.

"Giuliani associate Lev Parnas turns over thousands of pages of documents to impeachment investigators"
Woo hoo! Not sure if he's a good guy so much as he's a reformed bad guy, but hey! The good guys win a round!

Yeah, the texts on Ambassador Yovanovitch sure do sound like Parnas, et al, were planning a mob-style hit on her.

More on the threat to Yovanovitch.

"Right-wing hawk attack tactics aren't working this time — and here's why"

First, the Iraq war was such an epic disaster that it casts a pall over any and all tactics that were used to support it. Second of all, Trump is president and no one in their right mind thinks he had good intentions with this Soleimani killing, since Trump has never experienced a good intention in his life.

"Here's what White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has to say about not holding press briefings"
Well, yes. The President is very available and does lots of interviews, but usually on his way somewhere with a helicopter loudly whirring in the immediate background. The only time he does extended interviews in quiet settings are instances like when he had an interview with the sycophantic Laura Ingraham from Fox News, who accepted his assertion about four US embassies being targeted by Iran without any sort of skepticism or rebuttal. With a working Press Secretary, reporters can at least follow up on serious questions.

"Protest - Anti-Iran War 11Jan20"
Our demonstrations on Thursday and Saturday.

I have exactly the same question about this interview that the blogger did. The Defense Secretary

Mark Esper on CBS: "I didn't see the intelligence about Iran posing an imminent threat to 4 US embassies, but I believe President Trump when he says there was one."

Information tends to go up the chain of command, not down. There's no credible, rational reason the SecDef would have gotten threat information after the President did!

The blogger makes a number of good points, but I completely agreed with Representative Gabbard on the Trump Administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. She laughed when Fox News host Bill Hemmer asserted at the 4:05 mark that Trump's policy towards Iran has been successful. "Based on what?" She's correct in that the US has moved backwards from where it was in January 2017. Under Trump, we've lost ground and have moved into a position of greater danger.

As far as we can tell, General Soleimani was up to plotting something, but planning for it was clearly in the early stages. It was a long way away from being an "imminent threat."

All kinds of disappointment and consternation over the clearing of Hillary Clinton for, y'know, "Her Emails!"

"Trump Can't Believe His 'Wag The Dog' Attack Didn't Make Everyone Love Him"

"Maggie, the president, we hear, is angry. Was he surprised that the House took that (war powers) vote?" Alysin Camerota said to [NY Times reporter] Maggie Haberman.
"He actually was surprised this was not more of a unifying event for the country, which is what he expected it was going to be."

I do not support going to war on the basis of secret evidence!!! That was a big part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was this whole "trust us" BS!

According to Pence, there's "compelling evidence" to justify last week's airstrike, but no one can see it, and we should just take the White House's word for it.

Fortunately, Americans take the side of Democrats 52% to 34% that the President is reckless and untrustworthy.

"House Passes War Powers Resolution Curtailing Trump's Iran Authority"

Excellent answer to House Minority Leader "McCarthy say[ing that] Pelosi is 'defending Soleimani'”
Also, Speaker Pelosi was taking some criticism for not sending over the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate right away. She'll send them over "When I’m good and ready." We know from past experience that she means precisely what she says!

"Marc Thiessen: Trump 'took Reagan-esque action' by striking Iran Gen. Soleimani"

...in 1986, Ronald Reagan drew a red line with [Libyan dictator] Colonel [Muammar] Qaddafi is that if you kill a single American, we're gonna come after your regime.

Okay, but General Soleimani hadn't killed any Americans and wasn't in the process of crossing any red lines. He was going about his usual business and, despite the hysterical attempts to claim Soleimani was up to something especially nefarious, there is simply no evidence that he was doing anything that warranted such an extreme and destabilizing measure.

"Iranian missile system shot down Ukraine flight, probably by mistake, sources say
Sad to hear this, but the "mistake" theory  makes sense. The plane was shot down well within Iranian territory.

After the Senate received an

"...insulting’ briefing [that] expose[d] Trump’s hollow policy on Iran," former Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says "You know, I can't think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to take over our foreign policy...."

Huh! I guess it's just a matter of perspective, but I see the President as the screaming child with the lit matches running into a gasoline-soaked room. To me, the House represents the adults in the room!

Usual problem here with a lazy and gullible press corps. Maureen Dowd of the NY Times takes a big hit here as she wrote a very widely-quoted and influential piece on Hillary the hawk vs Donald the dove.

Problem with lying about Obama's record is: Suppose the President gets us into a big, long, messy war with Iran. He's going to need the help of liberals to fight it (He's already alienated Europe and yeah, in 2003, we heard a lot of predictions about a "cakewalk"). Problem with wars is that they need to be fought with enthusiasm. It isn't enough to have people just following orders. The younger George Bush knew a draft wasn't possible because by the time it was clear that a draft was necessary (early 2005, after the Second Battle of Falluja), it was too late. It had been established the year before that the WMDs never existed.

Excellent rant by former Secretary of State John Kerry over how the Trump Administration started off in a good position with Iran and then completely blew it.

Republican Senator Mike Lee was incensed about how the White House approached their explanation of why they provoked Iran, and Fox News was apparently afraid to broadcast it. The briefing apparently caused lots of hate and discontent

Schumer just said at the mics that Pompeo et al walked out of the Iran briefing when the questions from senators got too hard...

Has Fox News host Sean Hannity been directly briefed by the President? Sure sounds like it. Very disturbingly, Hannity seems very, very overconfident! Neither Trump nor Hannity has ever been anywhere near a battlefield. Granted, President Obama never "heard the sound of a shot fired in anger" either, but he was sensible enough to listen carefully and seriously to those who had.

So sounds like the President is just offering more of the same. He doesn't comprehend that sanctions aren't going to work and is doubling down on them. What does he want from a new nuclear deal? Very unclear. Presumably, he just wants a more one-sided deal that benefits the US more while advantaging Iran less.

Australia's still burning, but the situation's getting a bit better. Post contains links to lots of charities that are assisting.

The President is trying to use social media to make official declarations. No.
Representative Justin Amash has good response.

"The Constitution doesn't allow presidents to declare war over social media." states every person with a 4th-grade understanding of American Civics.

"No Take-Backs! Iraq Still Expects US Withdrawal Mistakenly Promised In DOD Letter"
Remember the letter that the US sent to Iraq? Iraq considers the letter the official word of the United States and expects a full withdrawal in accordance with it.

After watching Rachel Maddow tonight, I agree with this assessment. Iranians were trying to make a big noise and were aiming for minimal casualties.

So now that Iran has launched missiles at US bases in Iraq, just how prepared are we to make war?

Reminder that as this crisis escalates, we have no Director of National Intelligence, no Dep Dir, no Homeland Security Secretary, no Dep Sec, no head of CBP or ICE, no State Dept Under Sec of Arms Control, no Asst Sec for Europe, and no Navy Sec.

President essentially says he'll obey international law and the Geneva Conventions if he gol-durn jolly well feels like obeying them.

*Sigh* No, Nikki Haley, Democrats are not "mourning" Qassim Soleimani, the late commander of Iran’s Quds Force. If we're regretting his murder, that's because it was undertaken without consulting or even notifying either Democrats or European allies. It was a stupid move that needlessly escalates our confrontation with Iran. The piece here is correct in stating that Haley's propagandist statements are splitting Americans apart.

Idiot pundit cherry-picks statements by Senator Warren and criticizes her for them. All of the statements are true and accurate. Also, not sure why idiot pndit puts out "U.S. 'assassinated' Soleimani" Why was the word assassinated in quotation marks? It was an assassination!

Very sad! Many Iranians detained at the Canadian border were returning to their homes in the US after having attended a pop concert in Canada. They had no intention of staying for any length of time and now they've had to undergo hours of interrogation or have been denied entry entirely!

Interesting poll result. 58% of the population wants to see a lengthy, detailed impeachment trial with witnesses.

The President continues to threaten to commit war crimes against Iran. His latest statement:

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs...And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

Actually, it does"work that way," and has for many decades. "They" are not "allowed" to torture our people but we most assuredly are not allowed to torture anybody. The younger George Bush tortured. It's not at all clear that the US benefitted from that. The whole point in developing the Geneva Conventions was to limit the damage that war does.

After the President delivered a highly unsatisfactory explanation for the assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, Speaker Pelosi initiates legislation on the War Powers Act.

"White House Refuses to Release 20 Emails About Ukraine Aid Freeze"
Here's the justification:

In her letter, Hardy cited exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act for correspondence involving the president’s staff and internal policy deliberations, suggesting that the disclosure of this material would "inhibit the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision-making.”

Problem is, this isn't a matter of protecting "frank and candid" discussions, it's a matter of protecting evidence of an action that the President was just impeached for.

Fox News host Lou Dobbs delivers some North Korean-style praise of Our Glorious Leader the President: "He outworks them. He outthinks. He is remarkably resourceful. He's bright. His judgment is second-to-none!"
Just in: Iran cancels the 2015 nuclear deal. The President has been pressuring Iran to give the US better conditions than it had in 2017. After two years of increasing pressure, we have less than we did when Trump entered office.

"Australia's Climate Apocalypse: Wildfires Kill half a Billion Animals, produce Smoke Cloud as Big as United States"
The other major story of the say. 15 million acres have been burned!

"Mainstream news outlet headlines uncritically and recklessly repeat Trump administration’s justification for strike against Iranian military leader"
This is why liberals have frequently referred to the Mainstream Media as "stenographers to power." Major news outlets mindlessly repeat what administration figures say. Secretary of State Pompeo is improperly given credibility when he claims a major attack was broken up. There's no evidence that anything of the kind happend.

"Protest - Anti-Iran War"
Around Philadelphia City Hall.

When I score my own political tendency, I give myself a 2 instead of a 1, precisely to distinguish myself from the extreme leftists who denounce Democrats as complicit in the Forever Wars. Democrats have indeed oftn been on the wrong side in those wars (See: 2002 AUMF & Libya), but they've also passed measures against those wars and have provided the legislative vehicle for doing something about them.

Huh! What a surprise! [/snark] European allies aren't thrilled with the assassination of a foreign military leader (The younger George Bush Administration had a chance to kill Soleimani and decided not to as his death could cause more problems than letting him live would). Yep, if the US goes to war over this, it goes in alone!

"McConnell on Trump’s Iran Strike: Just Trust Us!"

McConnell suggested that questioning the wisdom of Trump’s air strike on Qasem Soleimani amounts to partisan hysterics.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer! The younger George Bush ruined the "trust our leaders" argument for a long time to come!

Woo hoo! Success! Iraq and Iran are now united! Um...against the US. Oops!

What Trump did was give the pious Shiites of Iran and Iraq a martyr, and folk artists are already depicting Soleimani at Karbala. This would be like painting a slain American general into a crucifixion scene.

Normally, the "rally 'round the flag" reaction leads people to give the president the benefit of the doubt. It's hard to do that here.

Pondering various scenarios for how Iran might respond. If the US gets attacked directly, a small city is a far more likely target than a big one.

Even if your only source was the statements of the Trump Administration, you'd still be confused.

Trump: We committed an act of war to stop a war. Pompeo: Americans are safer now, but evacuate Iraq immediately, you're not safe. Pompeo: We're de-escalating. Esper: We're sending more troops.

Lots of unsubstantiated claims as to the purpose for killing the Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani. Nothing resembling proof or evidence is offered.

President puts out interesting justification for the aerialassassination.

More actions taken against Iranians. Someone on the news tonight mentioned Vietnam. The whole idea expressed in the book "Best & the Brightest" was that if we increased pressure on the North Vietnamese/Vietcong, that they would eventually break and cry "uncle!" That never happened and the strategy for the past two years has been precisely the same.

Lots of right-wingers appear to be enthusiastic for a war with Iran, IF that just means firing a lot of missiles and dropping tons of bombs. If it involves putting on a uniform and carrying a rifle, their enthusiasm goes way down!

On presidential crediblity, I think if the credibility of the Trump Administration were gasoline and we were to drop a penny in their gas tank, we'd hear it clink and then roll around. That tank is bone-dry!
Looking at the justification given by Secretary of State Pompeo, he doesn't have any more credibility than the President does.

The Trump Administration demonstrates that it just realy doesn't have much use for objective, facual science. Even hand-picked appointees are resisting directives.

"Fox News dialed up Karl Rove, Ollie North and Ari Fleischer to reassure their viewers..."
Because sure, who wouldn't trust those guys? [/snark] And yes, many are saying that the aerial assassination is a direct response t to the siege of Baghdad's "Green Zone."

Could have implications for US troops in Iraq. Yeah, the 1997 film "Wag the Dog" is highly relevant here.

Evidence of the President's lawbreaking contniues to come out.

"Breaking: The US Has Struck Against the Iranian Militia In Iraq Killing Both Ktaib Hezbullah’s Leader and Quds Force Commanding General Qassem Suleimani"
Hard to see how this helps the cause of peace in the Middle East. 

Local peace group calls for protest tomorrow at Philadelphia's City Hall.

"Top Senate Democrats Received No Advance Notice Of U.S. Strike On Iran General"
Our President apparently thinks that because other dictator and strongmen around the world can act unilaterally, that's it's okay for him to do so as well. $%#^ no, it isn't!!!

Senator Lindsey Graham was told, but not Democrats.

Don Jr. praises his dad's hanfling of the unarmed attack on Baghdad's "Green Zone," saying it was better handled than the armed attack in Benghazi in 2012. Ehh, not s sure about that. Baghdad's Green Zone is a large, sprawling complex that was built during a state of active warfare. Protesters got all the way inside the walls. The compound at Benghazi wasn't even a consulate, let alone an embassy. Nah, the President deserves zero praise for his response.

"New evidence suggests Trump's tariff gambit backfired"
I never paid a whole lot of attention to the tariffs issue, but have never gotten the impression they were anything for the President to brag about. Sure enough, the tariffs appear to have been a complete flop.

Update on the unarmed attack on the Green Zone. "...the US Air Force bombed five bases of the Iraqi Shiite militia, Kata’ib Hizbullah (Party of God Brigade)." One would think that the Secretary of State would say to himself "Our embassy will need extra security," but apparently this never occurred to him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still refusing to describe how the Senate trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump will be structured  (Speaker Pelosi won't send ove the Articles f Impeachment until he does). However, The New York Times reports that the Republican leader is clear on one point: no witnesses allowed.

Someone put it out over a year ago that a  Speaker of the House job, like the job of White House Chief of Staff (someone described that job as "spear catcher") is historically unpopular. For Pelosi to be polling pretty evenly with the President is absolutely bonkers!

As I said, the President, by his own choice, is surrounded by sycophants and yes-men.

"Why Saying 'OK Boomer' At Work Is Considered Age Discrimination"
Wow! So Boomers (born 1947-1965) are now considered old and slow and stuck in their fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned viewpoints?!?!? I was born 1959 and always thought the Boomers were at least five years older than me, but the big thing is that we were always advertised as the new, young, daring, innovative generation that would take over the world and improve it.

The President quotes a Fox News lawyer named Brad Blakeman to the effect that the President's impeachment can be dismissed by the Senate without the need for a two-thirds majority. Interesting theory that I doubt will make any headway.

Okay, so the good news is that the siege of the Baghdad "Green Zone," with the arrival of US forces from the region, appears to be over.
The not-so-good news is that we now seem to be in a Vietnam-type situation, with Iran playing the part of the Soviet Union/Red China and various Iranian proxy groups in Iraq playing the part of the North Vietnamese/Vietcong. As we might recall, that story did not have a happy ending.

A fond look back at Speaker Pelosi owning President Trump over the past few years.  Each time Pelosi and Trump have clashed, Pelosi ends up getting carried (figuratively) atop the shoulders of cheering Democrats while Trump staggers away, bruised and bloody.
Presidential candidate Tom Steyer is advocating term limits. Pelosi entered office in 1987. Do you think she could have developed such expertise is just a few terms? Only a moron would fail to recognize the expertise that long-time Congresspeople have built up over time.
Now, Representative AOC won against Representative Joe Crowley, who entered office in 1998. So no, experience isn't everything. Yes, long-time Congresspeople can be beaten by first-timers! Maybe we need to make things even easier for the AOCs of America to get into Congress, but term limits is the wrong way to do it.