Thursday, April 02, 2020

The blame and distraction game.

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Imagine being the leader of a country that could possibly have 200,000 of your people die from a pandemic, and in an address to those people you brag about being number one on facebook. 

First, it's a a lie (both former president Obama and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo have more followers), but it also shows just how much of a narcissist, and ego- driven the individual charged with leading us is. Just watching him up there day after day gives me no confidence that he will be able to handle what we are facing.

We used to be able laugh at trump's buffoonery and his gross incompetence, but given what we are all going through, it's just not funny anymore. Now, more than ever, America needs someone in charge who knows what they are doing. This is trump's first government job, and it shows. The scary thing is that the people around him who might ---and should-- know better are afraid of him, and so they act as sycophants instead of being real advisers.

Sadly, we can't even count on these news conferences to give us information anymore. Yesterday, rather than give us an update on the virus, trump and his political team held a press conference (complete with Bill Barr standing behind him) to tell us what the administration was doing to fight the war on drugs and the Venezuelan President. Yes, that's really what they led with. At this point I am quite sure that must Americans could give a damn about the war on drugs. In fact, quite a few of us are probably saying give us more drugs not less. Lord knows we need something to take us away from this craziness.

Here is the thing, our government is supposed to be protecting us from the scourge drugs, that's kind of their jobs. We need to hear about what's going on with this pandemic that is killing people and making them sick, not the war on drugs. 

But we know why they did it, to create a distraction, because they STILL can't give us any concrete answers about this crisis and how to fight it. It's like Groundhog Day with these people.

Now, predictably, they are blaming everyone else for us being in this predicament but themselves. Yesterday Mike Pence blamed it on the CDC, and Donald trump has blamed the nurses, doctors, the governors, the Chinese, President Obama, and President Bush. 

"The wartime president Harry Truman used to keep a sign on his desk that said: “The buck stops here.” Trump, however, seems eager to wash his hands of the matter, if not actually wash his hands. “Yeah, no, I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time,” he said. “It wasn’t meant for this kind of an event with the kind of numbers that we’re talking about.”'

So much for leadership.


   

  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

When the sucker is the American people.

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"There's a sucker born every minute" ~ P.T. Barnum~

In keeping with my effort to educate you about trump's handling of this coronavirus, I give you the following article from S.V. Date writing for the Huffington Post.  

"Having sold himself as a great business and military leader despite bankrupt casinos and bone spurs, President Donald Trump faces his greatest challenge yet: making Americans forget the two months he dismissed concerns about a deadly pandemic as a “hoax.”

If recent polling showing a significant bump in his approval ratings is any indicator, though, Trump may well be succeeding ― setting himself on a path to reelection.

No question that the president’s job approval has increased as a result of his handling of the coronavirus crisis,” said GOP pollster Neil Newhouse. “Already about topped out among Republicans, President Trump has made gains among both Independents and Democrats.”
To make this work, Trump has been pushing the biggest lie of his adult life ― a revisionist history in which he did everything correctly, that nobody could have anticipated such an outbreak, and his leadership alone is saving millions of lives.

“It’s hard not to be happy with the job we’re doing. That, I can tell you,” he said last week.

“Nobody could have predicted something like this,” he told Fox News Monday morning.

“I can’t tell you what the unfortunate final toll is going to be, but it’s going to be a very small fraction of that,” he said Tuesday afternoon of expert estimates of 2.2 million dead if the country had done nothing to stop the virus. “So we’re doing an awfully good job, I think, with what we’re doing.”
Each of his claims is false. Trump scrapped the pandemic response team that President Barack Obama created after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, part of an overall effort to undo everything that his predecessor had accomplished. Trump ignored warnings from his own intelligence community that China was covering up the severity of the coronavirus epidemic in the city and province where it originated. Trump even ignored a step-by-step pandemic “playbook” the Obama administration had written.

Instead, Trump discounted the threat the virus posed from Jan. 22, when he told CNBC that “we have it totally under control,” straight through until March 15, when he called it “a very contagious virus” but again claimed it was one “that we have tremendous control over.”

Trump had based his re-election campaign on the strength of the economy, and feared that worries about a pandemic would hurt the stock market. “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he wrote in a Feb. 24 tweet. “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Nevertheless, thanks in part to his ability to command a nationwide audience in press briefings broadcast live each day, Trump has been able push his new message to replace the old one.

“History shows that it takes a personal experience of catastrophe to see that the leader has been telling lies,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an authoritarianism expert and history professor at New York University. “In this case, Trump has artfully ‘dosed out’ reality, telling people everything is fine, then gradually telling them it’s not, with lackey medical professionals to back him up. So he may weather even this crisis.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham did not respond to a query about Trump’s new messaging. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh cited China travel restrictions that Trump imposed at the very end of January as showing he took“decisive action” from the start.
“Throughout this crisis, the president has always sought to keep the public calm, but has listened to his medical and scientific advisors in making firm decisions about keeping the country safe,” Murtaugh said.

Key to turning Trump’s actual performance in those critical early weeks into electoral success likely hinges on two efforts underway.

First is redefining success. Trump early on promised Americans that he had “stopped” the virus from spreading in the U.S. through his ban on foreigners who had recently been in China from entering this country. That morphed into claiming that those few cases here were rapidly shrinking to zero, and that the virus itself would disappear on its own with April’s warmer weather.
Those goalposts have now been moved clear across the planet. From the Feb. 26 boasts of having only 15 cases and zero deaths, Trump this week said success would mean hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.

“If we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — that’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000; so we have between 100- and 200,000 — we all, together, have done a very good job,” he said Monday at a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden.

And if Trump’s past is a guide ― he has claimed that running his casinos into bankruptcy starting in the early 1990s somehow represented a business success ― he will keep claiming he handled the crisis well, regardless of how many Americans wind up dying.

“I think he can move the numbers as high as he needs to with his base because he has primed them to accept whatever he tells them and to disbelieve everyone else,” Ben-Ghiat said.
The other piece of Trump’s strategy is relentlessly attacking those who point out his previous statements. Trump has done this repeatedly in his daily briefings, attacking reporters when they read his earlier remarks back to him verbatim.

“Instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question,” he said to a journalist Monday.

His campaign, meanwhile, had set upon the mission of trying to block Trump’s most egregious downplaying of the pandemic: His Feb. 28 description of the coronavirus fears as “a hoax” ― the most recent in a line of Democratic attempts to hurt his presidency.

Campaign officials, realizing the seriousness of Trump’s riff at a rally in South Carolina that evening, soon afterward began attacking journalists who described Trump’s use of “hoax” as misrepresenting what he said.

“Will she apologize for lying?” wrote a Trump campaign staffer on March 23 after Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker accurately described Trump’s use of the word in an NBC News report.
The campaign has even threatened to sue TV stations that were running an ad by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA that used the audio clip of Trump saying “hoax” in a montage of his statements downplaying the virus.

“We will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President’s Trump’s healthcare positions without consequence,” the campaign said in a letter.

Of course, the response to that letter may foreshadow the steep hill Trump faces more broadly in re-writing the history of his coronavirus response. According to Priorities USA, not a single TV station complied with the campaign request to pull the ad, and the super PAC recently released a revised one, using the much higher number of coronavirus cases.

Indeed, while Trump may be enjoying a bump right now in the public support, that newfound popularity could fade as his repeated lies about his performance come up against the reality of the coronavirus’ lethality.

Trump confounded the political class in both parties in 2016, seeming to suffer little consequence for repeated and readily disproven lies about himself, his opponents and the world at large.
Trump falsely claimed he had built “a massive empire,” a “phenomenal company,” starting with just a “very small loan” from his father. He boasted that he knew more about war than “the generals.”
In fact, Trump lost millions of dollars running an airline, vastly overpaid for a midtown hotel he wound up losing and bankrupted his casinos ― a near impossibility, given their business model ― nearly squandering the fortune his father had left him of nearly $1 billion in today’s dollars.

And when the prospect of serving in the Vietnam War presented itself, Trump claimed the ailment of “bone spurs” to avoid the military ― even though he later could not recall which heel had suffered the malady.

Trump countered endless media “fact checks” of his dishonesties by attacking the media instead ― a strategy he openly admitted to in an interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News in 2016. “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you,” he said.

Yet Trump was able to get away with all those lies, as well as a torrent of fresh lies since becoming president, because they did not directly affect the lives of most Americans, NYU’s Ben-Ghiat said.
That will not be the case with the pandemic. In a span of just 30 days, 3,440 Americans had died by Tuesday afternoon, with 1,000 of those happening in the past two days. Which means that even Trump’s most loyal supporters, who crave his professional wrestling-style attacks on Democrats and the news media regardless of their accuracy, are likely to wind up personally knowing someone who has become gravely ill or died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“The ‘Big Lie’ is not applicable in this case,” Ben-Ghiat said, referring to the maxim that people are more prone to believe a massive falsehood than a smaller one, because they do not want to accept that their leaders are capable of telling consequential lies. “For example, saying the virus was a hoax, because people will personally get sick and communities will be devastated.”

She said she believes Trump can continue to hold his base supporters by gradually increasing his assessment of the pain and loss it will cause ― but she and others doubt that his message will fly with anyone beyond that group.

“At some point, reality intrudes on the ‘Big Lie.’ But at this point we don’t know when,” said Norman Ornstein, a scholar with the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute think tank. “One interesting part of this is that the people who bought into the hoax idea, who are still resisting social distancing, are in the red states and in red areas in other states. They may be the ones who will really catch a wave that overwhelms them, especially in rural areas, with the virus a little bit later on.”

If that happens, Trump could quickly lose the “rally around the president” lift he has seen in recent polling. That boost has helped other presidents ― from Jimmy Carter in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 taking of American hostages in Iran, through Obama in 2012 with the landfall of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast. But it can fade away if the president is seen as failing to rise to the challenge.

“Read these polls with a most careful, cautious eye. They reflect the present in a time of crisis,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart about Trump’s higher numbers, pointing out that Carter wound up losing in his reelection bid in a landslide. “The election is far ahead of us, but the challenges facing Donald Trump are as formidable as those that faced Jimmy Carter in 1980.”

Newhouse, the Republican pollster, agreed that Trump’s improved numbers now do not guarantee anything. “As others have said, we are in the early stages of this fight against coronavirus, and the president’s approval score will continue to reflect his handling of this crisis,” he said. “Unlike the recent impeachment inquiry, this crisis is likely to have a significant impact on the November election.”[Article]


*Image from WBUR





  

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Grifter.

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If you watched Mr. trump's daily propaganda "Dear Leader" hour yesterday, you were treated to quite a show.

I think it's safe to say, that given all that's at stake, yesterday's performance was a new low. And when it comes to trump that's saying something. There doesn't seem to be any bottom with this guy.

Mr. trump spent most of his presser bragging about his accomplishments, bashing the governors of two of the states hardest hit by the virus, bashing the free press, bragging about the ratings of the press conferences (which is silly, because most Americans tune in, not because of trump, but to know just what it is their government is doing to stop this pandemic), and making racist and condescending remarks to a black journalist who was just trying to do  her job. It was a sad and pathetic display that was not befitting of the office he holds. But it gets worse. Incredibly, Mr. trump suggested that the healthcare workers, and those involved with hospitals in New York might actually be stealing supplies.

"Donald Trump has accused hospital workers in New York of stealing and possibly selling face masks “out the back door” during an astounding press conference on Sunday evening.

Standing in the White House’s Rose Garden the president asked reporters to look into the supposed illegal activity but provided no evidence to back up his claims aside from increased demand for supplies from hospitals swamped by the coronavirus pandemic.

“For years [suppliers] have been delivering ten to twenty thousand masks. OK, it’s a New York hospital and it’s packed all the time but how do you go from ten to twenty thousand to 300,000?”
“Something’s going on and you ought to look into it as reporters.
Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? And we. have that in a lot of different places so somebody should probably look into that because I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that’s possible.”' [Source]

If you are a healthcare worker in New York, going to work everyday, and risking your own life to save the sick dying, that could not have sit well with you to hear those words coming from the president of the United States. And yet he said it.

The president also declared that 2 million people could die, and keeping coronavirus deaths to 100,000 or less would be a "good job".  Remember when he said that there were only 15 or so people with coronavirus  in the United States, and that it would be down to zero, soon? I do.
Now he declares that were it not for his leadership two million people would have died.

This, my friends, in the grifter game is called the switch.  And no one is better at this game than Donald J. trump.


*Pic from Mother Jones. 


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"Dazed and Confused."

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The following article is from Aaron Rupar writing for Vox.

"One moment during President Donald Trump’s Fox News appearance on Tuesday served as the starkest example yet of how much he does not understand the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic: He urged Americans to flock to churches on Easter Sunday, just 19 days away.
Trump told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer he selected Easter as the day he wants businesses to reopen, saying he’d like to see “packed churches all over our country” — the exact type of large gatherings that the CDC, the WHO, and Trump’s top health advisers have all urged suspended to help stop the spread of the virus.

I would love to have it opened by Easter,” Trump said, speaking about when he sees the country returning to normal life.“That would be a great American resurrection,” Hemmer replied.

Since Sunday, Trump has repeatedly indicated he plans to recommend that the White House’s social-distancing guidelines be relaxed and Americans return to work, even though experts say the country hasn’t yet experienced the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s televised briefings, tweets, and appearances on Fox in recent days raise serious doubts about whether the president understands the threat of the coronavirus or how to best slow it down. As he spreads messages at odds with public health experts, he’s putting real lives at risk.

During Tuesday’s Fox News town hall — which took place a day after the US recorded its highest single-day death toll amid the coronavirus crisis so far — Trump rested his case for relaxing social distancing by comparing possible exposure to the coronavirus with unfortunate things that we just take to be facts of life, like the flu or car wrecks.

Here’s what Trump had to say in response to Hemmer’s question about why resuming something approximating normal American social and business life as soon as possible is a good idea (the video follows):
Look, we lose thousands — I brought some numbers here — we lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off. Now, when I heard the number — you know, we average 37,000 people a year — can you believe that? And actually this year we’re having a bad flu system. But we lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, ‘Stop making cars. We don’t want any cars anymore.’ We have to get back to work.
 Already facing a difficult reelection campaign before the outbreak of a deadly pandemic his government was unprepared to deal with, it’s understandable that Trump wants to stabilize an economy decimated by the social-distancing measures meant to stop the spread. But his comments ignore two big ways in which the coronavirus can’t be compared to the flu or car crashes: It’s far more contagious than either, and far more deadly.

One reason the coronavirus is so concerning is how contagious it is. Without social distancing, experts believe one infected person could infect up to 2.5 other individuals.
Because the coronavirus is so contagious, it could easily overwhelm America’s public health system, leaving hospitals too full to properly treat patients and equipment in short supply. That’s already on the cusp of happening in New York state, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded with the federal government earlier Tuesday to provide more medical gear, including much-needed ventilators to help patients with severe Covid-19 cases breathe.

Car crashes, of course, are not contagious, nor are there so many of them that they overrun hospitals or threaten the nation’s supply of medical masks and ventilators. That’s also the case with the flu. According to epidemiologists, an individual with the flu is at risk for spreading it to up to 1.3 people — about equal to coronavirus’s contagion level with strong social distancing.
Despite this, Trump insisted the flu is more dangerous and singled out Cuomo for criticism. The president blamed the governor for a problem he’s powerless to solve, saying, “He’s supposed to be buying his own ventilators.” (Cuomo and other governors argue it’s suboptimal for states to bid up prices by competing against each other for supplies, and that those purchases are best made by the federal government.)

At another point, Trump attacked Cuomo for not doing more on his own to prevent travel from China as the virus spread there. Experts, of course, argue that at best, travel bans like the one Trump instituted at a national level buy time for governments to act — time Trump failed to use. At worst, they’re useless.

The whole point of the “15 days to stop the spread” campaign that Trump embraced just nine days ago is that strict social distancing is necessary to “flatten the curve” of cases and make sure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. But Trump encouraging people to go back to work runs the risk of allowing the virus to spread out of control at a time when places like New York are already struggling to contain it.
Trump, however, clearly views the situation primarily as an economic crisis (and thus, for him, a political one) instead of one in which preventable deaths can be avoided." [Read more]

Ans that's it in a nutshell: The thing that bothers trump about this crisis is not how many lives will be lost, it's how much money Wall Street will lose, and thus, how his chances of getting reelected will be affected. 

With Mr. trump, it is always about HIM. If you don't believe me just watch his meandering vacuous, and propaganda filled Dear Leader press briefings from day to day. They have gotten so out of hand that major networks routinely cut away from them when trump starts with his lies and pointless bloviating. 

There is a  recently released video that was put out by Priorities USA. trump's campaign team has sent a Cease and Desist letter to television stations airing the video. Don't worry, the letter is not worth the paper it's written on. 

You can watch the video here. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The return of Logan's Run.

Logan's Run
The next time you see right-wingers getting on their soap-box to preach about the value of life, and the pro-life movement, and true believers shout with righteous indignation against the pro-choice movement,  you might want to remember what happened last night on FOX VIEWS.

"As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, forcing people to stay in their homes and causing an economic downturn, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, joined Tucker Carlson Tonight where he made headlines by suggesting we get back to our normal lives to save the economy even at great risk to the country’s senior citizens. Patrick, who turns 70 next week, believes it’s up to older Americans to take that risk.

“Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said, later adding, “My message is, let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves.”

Sorry grandma and grandpa, you have lived your life, it's now time to take one for the team. Forgetting, of course, that thousands and thousands of you are raising your grandchildren. But hey, businesses comes first, and we have to get the economy back open and running again. (Remember when the right was up in arms about  imaginary Death Panels?)

This narrative from Lt. Governor Patrick is now manifesting itself because the president of the United States said yesterday that he wants the country open for business again. This pesky virus is hurting his election chances and he is getting claustrophobic sitting in the White House and not being able to go golfing and holding his rallies with his MAGA cult members.

trump declared that he disagrees with the doctors about how long we should be locked down and staying way from each other, and he believes that we can all go back to business as usual. He believes that we should just be careful about how we interact with each other. trump even believes that there is a miracle cure for this virus, and not surprisingly, the medical professionals disagree with him about that as well.

The scary thing about trump's declarations and his ignorance, is that a man has actually lost his life because he listened and believed in trump's pronouncements. 

It's sad, but the Lt. Governor of Texas would call what happened to the poor man in Arizona a useful sacrifice.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Caption Sunday.



I need a caption for this picture. 


*Image from 10ztalk.com


Thursday, March 19, 2020

No end in sight.

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I am watching yet another trump press conference that is supposed to calm our fears about this virus, and once again I am left wondering how we elected this man to be the leader of this country. He seems to be way over his head, and his meandering tortuous delivery is not helping me to feel any better about where we are.

In in his earlier press conferences he claimed that he knew that there was a pandemic before everyone else, and just yesterday he said that it (the virus) just kind of snuck up on us and no one saw it coming. He just said in the conference going on now that this type of pandemic is unprecedented and no one could have seen it coming.

Someone should remind him that the Obama administration tried to warn his transition team about this very scenario when they prepped them about what to expect. The trump folks, in classic trump fashion, ignored them and actually cut funding to programs that were meant to fight pandemics such as this.

A reporter just asked trump to give the bottom line number of how long we can expect this to drag out. His answer was the one he has been giving us all along: "We should know something shortly."

Heaven help us!

Oh and before I go, does anyone know of any good movies on Netflix or Prime that I should be watching? This shelter in place edict is starting to get to me. 


*Image from The San Francisco Examiner. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

American Nero.

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America is now firmly in the grip of the coronavirus and all the trouble that it brings.
The president of the United States finally stopped lying and pretending that there was nothing wrong, and he finally started telling the American people what they are dealing with. Finally.

Of course he might be the reason that we are here in the first place. His leadership in this time of crisis has been severely lacking, and he has ignored all of the dire warnings from the former administration and health care professionals. His fragile ego and limited capacity to grasp the big picture just would not allow him to come to grips with what we were facing. Thankfully, he seems to have finally gotten it. Only time will tell how much damage his inactivity and lies will cost the American people in the long run.

The following article is from David Frum writing for The Atlantic. 

"At every turn, President Trump’s policy regarding coronavirus has unfolded as if guided by one rule: How can I make this crisis worse?

Presidents are not all-powerful, especially not in the case of pandemic disease. There are limits to what they can do, for good or ill. But within those limits, at every juncture, Trump’s actions have ensured the worst possible outcomes. The worst outcome for public health. The worst outcome for the American economy. The worst outcome for American global leadership.

Trump’s Oval Office speech of March 11 was the worst action yet in a string of bad actions.
Here are the things the president did not do in that speech.

He offered no guidance or policy on how to prevent the spread of the disease inside the United States. Should your town cancel its St. Patrick’s Day parade? What about theatrical productions and sporting events? Classes at schools and colleges? Nothing.

He offered no explanation of what went wrong with the U.S. testing system, nor any assurance of when testing would become more widely available. His own previous promises of testing for anyone who needs it have been exploded as false. So what is true? Nothing.

Layoffs are coming, probably on a very large scale, as travel collapses and people hunker down at home. Any word for those about to lose their jobs? Only the vaguest indication that something might be announced sometime soon.

It’s good to hear that there will be no co-pays on the tests nobody seems able to get. What about other health-care coverage? Any word on that? Nothing.

The financial markets have plunged into a 2008-style crash, auguring a recession, perhaps a severe one. The Trump administration has had almost two months to think about this crisis. It has trial-ballooned some ideas. But, of course, fiscal policy would require assent from the House of Representatives. Trump is still pouting at Speaker Nancy Pelosi. So—aside from some preposterously unconvincing happy talk about the economy—again: nothing.

There was one something in the speech: a ban on travel from Europe, but not the United Kingdom. It’s a classic Trump formulation. It seeks to protect America by erecting a wall against the world, without thinking very hard how or whether the wall can work. The disease is already here. The numbers only look low because of our prior failure to provide adequate testing. They will not look low even four days from now. And those infected with the virus can travel from other countries and on other routes. Trump himself has already met some.

The travel ban is an act of panic. Financial futures began crashing even as Trump was talking, perhaps shocked by his lack of an economic plan, perhaps aghast at his latest attack on world trade. (The speech seemed to suggest an embargo on European-sourced cargo as well, but that looks more like a mental lapse of Trump’s than a real policy announcement. The ban on cargo was retracted by a post-speech tweet, although the ban remains in the posted transcript of the speech.) Among other things, the ban represents one more refutation by Trump of any idea of collective security against collective threats. While China offers medical assistance to Italy, he wants to sever ties to former friends—isolating America and abandoning the world.

This crisis is not of Trump’s making. What he is responsible for is his failure to respond promptly, and then his perverse and counterproductive choice of how to respond when action could be avoided no longer". ....{Article}

Trotting out Mr. sycophant, Mike Pence, daily to praise dear leader might be good for trump's ego, but he has been doing nothing for us. We are still not where we should be with getting people tested, and we continue to get mixed messages from the healthcare professionals and the incompetent lemmings in the trump administration.

I, like most Americans, will have to change how I live my life for the next few weeks. I am pissed, because I happen to love my life, and this is not cool. 

It's not cool, but I get it, it's necessary. If only the president had gotten it months ago. 

*Image from the washingtonpost.com

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Caption Sunday.

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I need a caption for this picture.


*Image from Demotix

Thursday, March 12, 2020

It's time to pay the piper.

Image result for trump images virusRemember  when a lot of you thought that it was funny (and deliciously disruptive) when Donald trump beat a despised Hillary Clinton to become the president of these divided states of America? 
I bet you don't think it's funny now.

Yes America,  the check has come due, the fun and games are over. Literally. 

I suppose that our only saving grace is that this national disaster is not the result of another country's actions against us, but rather our own incompetence and lack of leadership from our leaders.

What's particularly sad about our present government is that they are actually lying to us about important things such as the availability of tests, and how serious this virus is to our health and well being. If you listen to the president you would think that this virus is no worse than the common seasonal flu, and all the hand wringing is much ado about nothing. 

It's sad, really, because most of his followers still believe him. His propaganda network is blaming everyone and everything but their dear leader. This type of sycophantic behavior  is what got us to this point in the first place, and from now on it will only get worse. 

*Image from theoaklandpress.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Democrats -not just Bernie- might have a black problem.

Image result for Bernie Sanders blacks  imagesTonight is another democratic party primary. And then there were two. Ironically, even with all the talk of diversity in the democratic party, we are down to two old white men fighting to take on Donald trump.

For a minute there it looked like Bernie might shock the world. But a funny thing happened on the way to South  Carolina. America forgot that us black folks didn't quite have our say as yet. Iowa and New Hampshire were two lily- white states that did not reflect the makeup of the democratic party in America.

Poor Bernie has never been able to capture the black vote, because black folks tend to be a little too pragmatic for his "revolution". We know that the white power structure will not allow the political system that benefits the few and the powerful to stray far from the status quo. And so we vote with our heads and not our hearts. We want to beat trump, and we don't think that Bernie is the man to do it.

Still, I am a little leery of the democratic party that can always count on us, but we can't always count on them. Republicans see our angst, and that's why Donald trump is cranking up his Negro outreach.

The following article by Steve Phillips appeared in The Guardian. 

"Donald Trump understands the importance of African American voters much better than Democrats and progressives do. Trump and his team are making sizable and smart investments in efforts to chip away at black support for Democrats. Yet those who want to oust Trump from the Oval Office are spraying millions of dollars in election spending in every direction except the African American community.

Had African Americans turned out to vote in 2016 like they did in 2012, Hillary Clinton would be the president of the United States. Instead, Democrats overlooked and underinvested in the community, resulting in a cataclysmic drop-off in black voter turnout. The percentage of eligible African Americans who voted dropped to its lowest level in nearly 20 years, allowing Trump to eke out his razor-thin electoral college victory.

I titled the penultimate chapter of my book “Conservatives Can Count”, and Republicans have indeed done the math and are working overtime to reduce the margins by which they lose the black vote. During the Super Bowl, Trump’s re-election campaign spent $11m on a very effective ad featuring an African American woman who’d been released from prison after criminal justice reform legislation. She says in heartfelt fashion to the millions of people watching the ad: “I want to thank President Donald John Trump.”

That ad is not the sole foray into what was once forbidden territory. Trump’s campaign is opening field offices in 15 cities with large black communities. Conservative donors have bankrolled the creation of The Black News Channel, a new 24/7 news station with reach into tens of millions of homes.
On the other side of the aisle, the silence is deafening. Investment in black-focused political outreach is nearly non-existent. While Trump spent $11m on a single television ad, Democrats can’t even cough up a fraction of that for a voter mobilization program targeting African Americans, 90% of whom vote Democratic. (African American voters make up nearly a quarter of all Democratic voters, 23%.)

The largest Democratic Super Pac, Priorities USA, has announced plans to spend $150m on ads trying to convince Trump voters of the error of their ways. Another Democratic Super Pac, American Bridge, has launched a $10m initiative also focused on ads designed to persuade Trump voters to switch allegiances. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat Trump, but he has not announced plans to back a major, at-scale, black-focused voter effort. (To his credit, Bloomberg has given $5m to Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Initiative, which is combating voter suppression across the country and just announced an additional $2m for black voter registration work.)

The consequences of continuing to overlook the cornerstone of the progressive coalition could be catastrophic in November. It may be tempting to dismiss Trump’s efforts to make inroads into a community that regularly, overwhelmingly rejects Republicans; that, however, misses the real goal of Trump’s strategy. Its objective is not to win majority support, but rather to bring down the amount of black support for Democrats just enough to tip a close contest. Lost in all the analytical obsession over white working-class voters is the fact that black male support for Hillary Clinton was 5% lower than that for Obama in 2012.

The other objective of black-specific messaging is to reassure white voters that Trump isn’t racist (which he is). By showing ads with diverse communities and inclusive content to those more moderate suburban Republicans who defected to the Democrats in 2018, it softens the edges of the most repulsive and racially charged components of this administration. The Democrats, on the other hand, completely let Trump off the hook for his attacks on communities of color – putting brown children in cages at the border, banning Muslim travel, etc – by refusing to even bring up the issue of racism, for fear of alienating the chimera of the white swing voter." [Full article]]

Phillips, of course, is correct.  The one saving grace for democrats is that us black folks can spot a con when we see one.

Still, it won't be long before black folks look around and come to the realization that maybe we are being played by both sides.

*Image from nbcnews.com.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

CAPTION SUNDAY.

Image result for trump virus images 

Give me a caption for this picture. 



Friday, March 06, 2020

The crisis continues, and so does the incompetence.

Coronavirus
Here are a few excerpts from some popular publications regarding the trump administration's handling of the corona virus outbreak in America.

"Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, went on CNBC this morning to finally put to rest concerns that the Trump administration is more worried about how the economy might affect Donald Trump's reelection than about the coronavirus epidemic. Kudlow, who insisted two weeks ago the outbreak was "contained," repeated that claim today, although in between the two TV appearances, 14 Americans have died and the number of states with confirmed cases has increased to 22. Not to worry, said Kudlow: the economy is strong overall, and this little dip in the market is a fine time for smart investors to buy! What's really important, said Kudlow, is that "America should stay at work," as long as America doesn't yet have a fever and chills or a productive cough. " ~Wonkette~ 

"The Trump Administration’s strategy to combat COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, began with a relatively simple focus: keep it out of the United States. In service of that goal, the White House issued drastic travel restrictions, imposed mandatory quarantines, and repeatedly told the public that these steps were working.

“We have contained this. I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview on Feb. 25, echoing Trump’s tweeted declaration that the virus was “very much under control” in the United States. But it wasn’t, and the administration’s rosy messaging was fundamentally at odds with a growing cacophony of alarm bells inside and outside the U.S. government. Since January, epidemiologists, former U.S. public health officials and experts have been warning, publicly and privately, that the administration’s insistence that containment was—and should remain—the primary way to confront an emerging infectious disease was a grave mistake." ~Time Magazine~

"In a life filled with uncertainty, there are a few things we can always count on. One, that death spares no one. Two, that Jared and Ivanka will find a way to profit off of their government positions while maintaining they “sacrificed” everything to join the administration. And three, that when backed into a corner thanks to his own incompetence, greed, or history of undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries, Donald Trump will find a way to pin the blame on Barack Obama, even if the issue is, like, the DVR not recording Hannity or orange streaks on the White House bath towels because he was too impatient to let the self-tanner dry. (Previous, real-life examples have included blaming Obama for: the temperature in the Oval Office; his decision to rehire Mike Flynn, who Obama fired and warned him about; anti-Trump protests; and building a non-existent wall.)
Not surprisingly, today Trump managed to finger the 44th president of the United States for...the botched coronavirus response. Speaking to reporters alongside MikeJesus will sort this outPence one week after his big press conference on the matter, Trump claimed that the insane lack of testing of Americans presenting symptoms of the deadly disease is actually the fault of a guy who left office more than three years ago. “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place at a much more accurate and rapid fashion,” Trump said, before giving himself kudos for supposedly righting the supposed wrong. “That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.” ~ Vanity Fair~ 

"Even as China was announcing that its deaths from the novel coronavirus had surpassed its toll from SARS, President Donald Trump released a proposed budget for 2021 that slashed funding for our chief defender against epidemics by 18 percent.
Within the overall proposed cuts detailed on Feb. 10 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a reduction in spending to guard against “emerging and zoonotic diseases” from $635,772,000 to $550,464,000. 
Zoonotic diseases are those that have crossed from animals to humans, as the novel coronavirus is believed to have done. The $85,308,000 proposed budget cut is less than the cost of 5 miles of border wall." ~The Daily Beast~ 

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Trump's buffoonery and incompetence might have been funny to some of us, and good for cable talk show ratings. It's not funny anymore, and we all knew that the day would come when the most incompetent administration in the history of this country would face a real crisis. 

Now, not surprisingly, they have made a mess of the handling of this corona virus epidemic, and they are trying to lie and spin their way out of it. The thing about science is this, though, facts matter. And all the spinning in the world and FOX NEWS propaganda feeds won't change what is happening in real time: People are getting sick, people are dying, and people are scared.

Of course it all doesn't matter to trump. Getting reelected and making his friends and family richer is all that matters. And if it means lying and spinning his way through a crisis, then so be it. 



Monday, March 02, 2020

The incompetent leader and his clique of sycophants.

Image result for trump coronavirus team images

Now that we clearly have a real clusterf**k on our hands with this coronavirus, I think it's a good time to revisit an article I read a few  years back about the president of these divided states of America.

It was written by Chicago Tribune editorial board member, Steve Chapman, and he might as well have written it yesterday. It's that on point with what is going on now. 

"What do the directors of the Transportation Security Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI have in common?

Easy question, you may think: They are all important law enforcement officials with roles in combating terrorism. But at the moment, they have nothing in common. Why? Because they don't exist.

The jobs, you see, are vacant. Each has to be filled by presidential appointment, and Donald Trump has felt no urgency in filling them. Only this week did he even offer names for the TSA and FBI.
That is not his only lapse when it comes to protecting Americans from danger. In January, 47 U.S. attorneys resigned, and in March, he fired the remaining 46 federal prosecutors. So far, the president has yet to submit a nomination for any of the vacancies.

The people who voted for Trump knew they would be getting a disrupter, a critic of business-as-usual and an enemy of political correctness. Many also realized they were electing a bully and a braggart. But they may not have known what they were getting above all else: an incompetent.
There is no other way to explain most of what he has done in the White House. His most formidable opponent couldn't do half as much to foil Trump as Trump himself has done.

His travel policy was rushed out, blocked by courts, withdrawn, revised and blocked again. Administration lawyers, who hope to convince the Supreme Court it had no unconstitutional anti-Muslim motives, have been undercut by his tweets, which convey the opposite.
So flagrant is the contradiction that some analysts suspect he has a hidden logic. They speculate that Trump might prefer to lose his ban so he could blame the courts if there were a U.S. terrorist attack carried out by foreigners.

Let me suggest that they are overthinking this. Trump has no record of being deviously clever. He has a record of acting rashly out of ignorance, fury and hubris. He makes needless statements that harm his legal case because he's a self-destructive oaf.

His dismissal of FBI Director James Comey followed that pattern. The White House claimed that Trump fired him at the recommendation of the Justice Department because he botched the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

But Trump then admitted making the decision before he got the Justice memo, saying he objected to Comey's probe of connections between his presidential campaign and the Kremlin. He thus helped bring on a special prosecutor, which could be fatal to his presidency.

Nothing about his performance suggests he has any idea how to handle his office. Trump complains that the Senate is obstructing his nominations. But at last count, he has yet to pick anyone for nearly 80 percent of the positions that require Senate confirmation.

On one issue after another, he has had to flee from ill-considered positions. He said the U.S. might junk its "One China" policy — only to be forced to back down by Chinese President Xi Jinping. He lambasted President Barack Obama's "dumb deal" to take refugees from Australia but eventually decided to honor it.

In April, Trump announced that the following week, he would unveil his tax reform plan. This promise, reported Politico, "startled no one more than Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser writing the plan. Not a single word of a plan was on paper, several administration officials said." The "plan" the White House released was one page long.

Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare but had great trouble getting a bill through the House, partly because he didn't know enough about the substance to negotiate with any skill. The legislation finally approved by the House was pronounced dead on arrival in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said recently he doesn't know how a repeal bill would get enough votes to pass.

Trump's incompetence is self-perpetuating. A clueless executive is forced to rely on aides who are mediocre — or worse — because better people are repelled. Vacant jobs and poor staff work, aggravated by bad management, lead to more failure, which makes it even harder to attract strong hires — and easier for opponents to get their way.

Expect more of the same. Trump came to office uninformed, unprepared and oblivious to his shortcomings, with no capacity to recognize or overcome them. He is in way over his head, and not waving but drowning." [Source] 

What's sad is that it took this public health emergency to make some of us realize just how over his head Mr. trump and his team of incompetent sycophants really are.

Now, incredibly, they are doubling down on the blundering. Just look at who Mr. trump appointed as his people from his administration to deal with this coronavirus outbreak. And look who is the leader of that group? Mike Pence. The same Mike Pence who botched an attempt in his own state of Indiana to curb the outbreak of AIDS.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't feel good about this.

Steve Chapman and others tried to warn us. We should have listened.