ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- Down The Memory Hole

[ Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 – 18:15 UTC ]

From time to time, we occasionally use the word "Orwellian" in our writing, usually to describe some governmental action or individual who seems to have stepped straight out of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Today, this term seems more appropriate than perhaps any other time we've ever been moved to use it. You be the judge. Here is the original text from the novel, explaining the protagonist Winston Smith's use of "memory holes" at the Ministry of Truth:

Winston dialled 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother's speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened. Or again, The Times of the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a statement of the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly wrong. Winston's job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a 'categorical pledge' were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.

What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs -- to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.

Got that? Now here are some excerpts from recent news stories about the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The first deals with First Son-In-Law Jared Kushner:

The official government webpage for the Strategic National Stockpile was altered Friday to seemingly reflect a controversial description of the emergency repository that White House adviser Jared Kushner offered at a news conference Thursday evening.

According to a brief online summary on the Department of Health and Human Services website, the stockpile's role "is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well."

But just hours earlier, the text characterized the stockpile as the "nation's largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out."

The previous language stated that when "state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency."

Also stripped from the new summary is a sentence that affirmed the stockpile "contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously."

The revisions come after Kushner argued at the White House coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday that the stockpile's reserves are the property of the federal government, not the states.

"The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use," he said. "So we're encouraging the states to make sure that they're assessing the needs, they're getting the data from their local situations, and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we've given them."

Katherine McKeogh, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement Friday that the edits to the stockpile's webpage had been in the works prior to Kushner's remarks.

"This is language we have been using in our messaging for weeks now," McKeogh said. She added that the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response "first began working to update the text a week ago to more clearly explain to state and local agencies and members of the public the role of the [Strategic National Stockpile]."

Another HHS spokesperson also told POLITICO Tuesday that the role of the stockpile "is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies, limited displacements, localized disasters and terrorist attacks."

Earlier, President Trump had tried to defend his refusal to provide any sort of federal leadership in the supply chain for critical supplies, stating: "We're not a shipping clerk," which was doubtlessly why Jared said what he did. And, if they can be believed, why the H.H.S. was already moving to send the original definition of the stockpile's purpose straight down the memory hole. Because you simply cannot contradict the Dear Leader, either in the present or in the past.

Here's the second news story which caught our eye in this particular regard, this time dealing with Trump-Toady-In-Chief Mike Pence:

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is merely being "optimistic" with remarks that downplayed the coronavirus outbreak.

Pence was pressed during an appearance on CNN by politics anchor Wolf Blitzer to explain why Trump hadn't ordered a national lockdown in the days since he had stopped "belittling the enormity of this crisis." New White House projections, Blitzer noted, suggest as many as 200,000 people may die from COVID-19 in the U.S. if the current state-by-state advisories and restrictions are maintained.

Pence rejected the criticism.

"I don't believe the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus," Pence said, adding: "He expressed gratitude and confidence in health care workers in this country, and the American people can be assured President Trump is going to continue to be confident that we will meet this moment."

. . .

"The president is an optimistic person," Pence responded. "We've been from the very beginning -- when the president suspended all travel from China, stood up the White House coronavirus task force in January -- we have been hoping for the best but planning for the worst. And that's been being worked out every single day. And what the American people can see in this president every day is a leader who knows that we will get through this."

This is the new party line: Trump never downplayed the crisis, has been swiftly acting all along, and any video clips to the contrary should be sent straight down the memory hole, because they simply do not exist. As Orwell put it: "Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date."

Fortunately for us all, we're not quite in Winston Smith's world yet. Because while the Trump administration would dearly love to have the power to rewrite the past, it simply is not possible. The videos do exist, and people do notice when official government webpages suddenly change to reflect the new political reality from the top.

Also, we are free to mock and ridicule them for trying, as happened to both Pence and Jared, after their Big Lie tactic fell flat. Journalists have been pointing out Trump's Big Lies falling flat as well. In fact, the worst irony came from Kushner himself, who stated during the same briefing: "What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you're trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis." He better hope that one doesn't come true, because if it does he and his father-in-law will be out of a job next January.

Here's just one example of how reality-based journalists are pushing back on the fantasy past that Trump is now insisting happened. The story deals with Alex Azar, the secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, and how he warned Trump and the White House very early on how serious this was going to be, and how they responded:

Indeed, CNN's revelations about Azar's early concerns are particularly interesting -- and damning -- in light of other aspects of the timeline. As Politico reports, as early as mid-January, the HHS secretary urgently tried to warn Trump to take the coronavirus extremely seriously, but Trump's aides "mocked and belittled Azar as alarmist."

This shouldn't need saying, but given that officials inside Trump's own administration were sounding the alarm and understood the dire nature of the threat, the China excuse is absurd.

What's more, the vast bulk of the catastrophic failures on the administration's part, the ones that could have vastly mitigated the situation once it was upon us, occurred after the administration fully understood what was happening.

Trump regularly downplayed the threat for weeks and weeks as confirmed cases and deaths mounted. Some of this was because Trump feared rattling the markets -- and harming his reelection chances.

Then came the massive failure to ramp up testing, which allowed the virus to rage out of control, and the failure to deploy federal power to secure needed lifesaving equipment in time to be prepared when cases swamped hospitals. All of that took place long after everyone knew what was happening.

Let's make this simple. We know how to fight pandemics, having done it before. Many officials inside the government fully understood that a pandemic could come along, and that when it did, it would pose a dire threat. Many officials knew (and know) how to spot threats early. In fact, in this case, that actually happened.

In other words, actual honest memory beats Trump's memory hole tactics. As indeed it should. Because otherwise we'd be living in a very Orwellian world indeed.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Perhaps we are biased, being based in California, but we've been more impressed with our own governor's response to the coronavirus pandemic than that of any other Democrat out there. New York's Andrew Cuomo has become a media darling for his sometimes brutal attacks on Trump and his lies, but we'll get to him in a moment. Instead, we feel that some praise is due for Newsom's forward-thinking. He was singled out (with five other governors) by Politico for the best pandemic response in the entire country:

[O]n March 19, [California Governor Gavin] Newsom was the first governor in America to issue a statewide order to shutter businesses and keep people at home. (Newsom had help when, three days earlier, public health officials in six Bay Area counties went first and issued a joint stay-at-home order.)

The strong action appears to be bending the curve. California's number of Covid-19 confirmed cases and deaths is rising slower than in hard-hit states like New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Michigan. (The death number may be a better indicator of spread than the confirmed cases number, because testing has been so poorly administered.)

National media outlets are starting to notice. Even Trump, who has repeatedly tangled with Newsom over the past three years, conceded this week that California has done a "good job." But both Newsom and Trump acknowledge that California may still be facing a surge of cases, and that could strain its hospital system. Newsom is scrambling to fortify the system with additional hospital beds on ships and convention centers, and with an effort to enlist medical retirees and students in joining an expanded health care workforce.

Whether he succeeds may ultimately determine if Newsom is heralded as a skilled administrator who might warrant a promotion to the presidency someday.

Newsom is no stranger to getting out in front of ideas and movements that later become safe for other Democratic politicians to back. He has shown such leadership on gay marriage (he was the one marrying gay couples on the courthouse steps in San Francisco, many years before gay marriage was actually made legal) and marijuana legalization, just to cite two examples. So that "promotion to the presidency" wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Newsom's early and decisive action has made California a model for other states to emulate. And it appears to be working well to flatten the curve, exactly as designed:

Six Bay Area counties were first in the country to adopt aggressive tactics with an enforceable March 16 order requiring residents to stay at home. Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly followed with a statewide order three days later restricting the state's 40 million residents from all but essential activities.

After 14 days -- the outermost period at which symptoms are believed to emerge post-infection -- doctors at area hospitals are now reporting fewer cases than they expected to see at this point, and officials credit the lockdown with stemming the tide of patients they feared would flood into emergency rooms.

The Washington Post ran a similar story as well.

Perhaps, as we said, it's because we live here, but we honestly think Gavin Newsom has been the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week, not only this past week but throughout the entire crisis.

[Congratulate California Governor Gavin Newsom on his official contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Originally, we thought we'd give the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to Wisconsin's governor, Tony Evers. Here's why:

In Wisconsin, like many states, a governor cannot decide to move the primary himself or herself. They need the state legislature to weigh in. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) did not ask the Republican-controlled legislature to consider postponing the primary. Instead, he asked the legislature to mail absentee ballots to every voter.

The legislature said no. (Republicans in other states, and President Trump, have openly expressed concerns that more voting by mail will increase Democratic turnout. Republicans in Wisconsin have not said that, but they do have a competitive state Supreme Court election on Tuesday. And Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have a history of playing politics with elections to benefit their party. Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states, and two years ago, the Republicans in charge tried to move a state legislative election to a different date to help their candidate win.)

So there was a stalemate between the governor and the legislature, with each accusing the other of not doing anything about it. "If I could have changed the election on my own, I would have," Evers said in a statement this week, "but I can't without violating state law."

National Democrats, however, were confused about why he didn't at least try. He could have called a special session, or he could have applied pressure to the legislature to seriously consider it. "He seemed unwilling to use any political capital to do this," said Carolyn Fiddler, communications director for the liberal elections blog Daily Kos and a state elections expert.

Even the Wisconsin Democratic Party and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged Evers to find a way to postpone that election.

However, today we get the news that Evers is now trying to redeem himself:

In a reversal, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he wants to postpone his state's Tuesday election. He called the state legislature into a special session on Saturday to take up legislation that would avoid in-person voting and create an all-mail election with a deadline of May 26 to return ballots.

The Republican-led legislature has previously rejected a call from Evers, a Democrat, to send ballots to every voter who hadn't already requested one.

So we're just going to give him a (Dis-)Honorable Mention, for delaying this decisive action for so long, which has led to an enormous amount of confusion.

Instead, we're going to take a look at what else Andrew Cuomo has been up to of late, because while he's been charming television audiences with his press conferences, he has apparently also been making indefensible deals when the cameras are off.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has struck a deal with state lawmakers to enact a budget that cuts billions of dollars a year from the state's Medicaid system and other social programs, and punishes his political enemies in the progressive Working Families Party.

Cuomo, whose daily press conferences about the COVID-19 pandemic have turned him into a national media darling, had endured some pushback in recent days for his plan to take $2.5 billion a year out of the Medicaid program. As they were initially structured, the cuts would have made the state ineligible for $6.7 billion in emergency federal assistance for the state's Medicaid program for the duration of the pandemic, since the money requires states to preserve existing program standards and eligibility guidelines.

At the very end of Cuomo's press conference on Thursday, though, Cuomo's budget director, Robert Mujica, announced that they had found a solution: Putting a delay on the cuts until after the pandemic crisis passes so the state can get its share of federal money and slash the program later.

This is both inexplicable and shocking. But then Cuomo's never been any kind of real progressive, as anyone in New York can tell you. But making a deal to cut Medicaid in the midst of a medical pandemic easily earns Cuomo the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, no matter how strongly he stands up to Trump in his pressers.

[Contact New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 568 (4/3/20)

We can't possibly cover all the COVID-iocy coming out of Trump over the course of a week, so we didn't even try in our opening segment. This means the talking points are going to be a little longer than usual to make up for it.

To begin with, a commenter at my site made a nomination that is worth repeating as many times as possible in order to drive home the message. Donald Trump is quite obviously going to win "The Biggest Lie of 2020" this year, and this is the obvious choice that will win it for him:

Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That's what the bottom line is.... Anybody right now and yesterday -- anybody that needs a test gets a test. We -- they're there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.
-- Donald Trump, March 6

We are three days away from that statement being one month old, and it still isn't true -- not by a longshot. And as for Trump's disastrous leadership failure, mere days ago, Trump seemed downright astonished that lack of tests was still a problem, telling Montana's governor: "I haven't heard about testing being a problem.... I haven't heard about testing in weeks." Over a month after Trump promised the country that "anybody that wants a test can get a test," we still don't even know at what future date this will come true. Trump, of course, wasn't the only one overpromising and underdelivering, which brings us to the Lie Of The Year runner-up:

Over a million tests have been distributed... before the end of this week, another 4 million tests will be distributed.
-- Mike Pence, March 9

Pence said that in an article whose headline included the phrase: "U.S. Cases Top 700." We are now north of 270,000 cases (as of this writing), which equates to being almost 400 times worse off than we were when Pence said that, and what he promised still isn't true. Five million tests? Tell that to the state governors, because they'll tell you why it is laughable, even now. Maybe someone should, you know, tell Trump there's still a problem?

Here is Illinois Governor J.. B. Pritzker this week, trying to explain:

"The White House has promised millions of tests for weeks now, and they're just not here," the Democratic governor said at his daily press briefing. "I'm not going to wait on promises from the federal government that may never be fulfilled. We need this testing capacity now. So, we're building it ourselves in Illinois."

The governor called the "loss of essentially the entire month of February" without major testing as leading to an "exponential" increase in coronavirus cases in the state. He attributed it to the "profound failing of the federal government" to deliver promised tests.

Here is the Republican governor of Maryland saying the same thing:

"President Trump has suggested that the testing problems are over," NPR's Rachel Martin told Hogan during the interview.

"Yeah, that's just not true," said Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association. "I know that they've taken some steps to create new tests, but they're not actually produced and distributed out to the states. So it's an aspirational thing."

He added that the Trump administration has some new testing measures "in the works," but for now "no state has enough testing."

Just for good measure, here's the former governor of Maryland telling Trump what he really needs to do:

"That is a Darwinian approach to federalism; that is states' rights taken to a deadly extreme," said Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor who served for eight years on the Homeland Security Task Force of the National Governors Association. "The better read of federalism is that the states and federal government work together when the U.S. is attacked, whether it is by imperial Japan or a pandemic."

"For all of the good work I see governors doing, only the president has the intelligence and resources to tip the shores, the power to invoke the Defense Production Act and control over whether there are adequate stockpiles for the threats of our day and the FEMA reserves," O'Malley added.

And it's not just tests that haven't been delivered, either. The mask shortage grows more acute with each passing day. So far, we haven't had anyone die for a lack of a ventilator, but that could be coming very soon if the current chaos continues.

So today's talking points mostly deal with the serious situation we now find ourselves, although the first two highlight a problem that will come later on, and is so far is being fought in the background. But it really is important enough for Democrats to start making a honkin' big deal of it right now, due to the lead times involved.

 

1
   Let everyone vote!

This has the chance to be an enormous issue in November, but that shouldn't stop Democrats from starting to use it now.

"While Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are trying to get the federal government to force the states to be prepared for an all-mail-in election in November, the Trump campaign is actually suing in court to restrict the spread of vote-by-mail. Yes, you read that right -- Democrats want to ensure that every eligible voter can safely cast their ballot, should the coronavirus be a problem in November, while Republicans are spending millions of dollars on lawsuits to stop it. The voters should be aware that this is already happening. This is a national emergency. Our very democracy is at stake, because if some states don't allow voting by mail and we're in the midst of a second outbreak wave then it could invalidate or at least call into question the presidential vote in this country. Democrats are fighting as hard as they can to avoid this, but Republicans are fighting efforts to allow everyone to vote. Voters, take note -- we're the ones who want you to be able to safely vote, no matter what. Think about that when you cast your ballot."

 

2
   Would that be such a bad thing?

Of course, there's a secret reason why Republicans are so worried. Although they usually don't come right out and admit it.

"You want to know why Republicans are fighting allowing everyone to vote by mail? Donald Trump helpfully explained this to Fox News recently, when talking about how House Democrats wanted a national vote-by-mail mandate in the last coronavirus relief bill. Here's how he put it: 'The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you'd ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.' In other words, he said the part out loud that you're not supposed to say out loud -- that more people voting means more Democrats elected to office. Need further proof? Here's the state house speaker from Georgia, echoing Trump: 'The president said it best -- this will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia. Every registered voter is going to get one of these. Now I ask you... what was turnout in the primary back in 2018 or 2016. Was it 100%? No. No. It's way, way, way lower. This will certainly drive up turnout.' In other words, the more people vote, the harder it is for conservative Republicans to get elected. No wonder Team Trump is suing every state they can to try and prevent the horrors of (gasp!) full participation in our democracy."

 

3
   More GOP voices speak out

A roundup of what some Republicans are saying about Trump. No wonder his "bump" in the polls has all but disappeared.

"There's a new ad up by a conservative group called Republicans for the Rule of Law, led by Bill Kristol. Here's what five Republican voters in key swing states have to say about Trump's handling of the crisis:

Even though I've been a Republican all my life, I can't support Trump, and his response to the coronavirus is exactly why.... He told us this infection would just go away, even as it ripped across other countries.... He's been lying to us about available testing. He has squandered the one advantage that America had: time to prepare.... He says he puts America first, but it's clear he only knows how to put Trump first. This is a crisis, and we need real leadership. Donald Trump is incapable of it.

Kristol himself put it even stronger:

[President Trump] lied about the coronavirus, about its seriousness, and about the government's response to it, he damaged the very foundation of our government. The coronavirus is a threat to our people. But the president's mendacity is a threat to our Constitution.

And a staunch Trump defender in his hometown, sports radio talk show host Mike Francesca, had also had enough of the lies, telling Trump:

We're watching one thing happen in our city on the 11 o'clock news every night. We're watching people die, and now we know people who died. And we're not seeing one or two people die now in our neighborhood. We're seeing them die by the tens and twenties by the day.... So don't give me the MyPillow guy doing a song-and-dance up here on a Monday afternoon when people are dying in Queens. Get the stuff made, get the stuff where it needs to go, and get the boots on the ground! Treat this like the crisis it is!... How can you have a scoreboard that says 2,000 people have died and tell us, 'It's OK if another 198,000 die, that's a good job,' How is that a good job in our country? It's a good job if nobody else dies! Not if another 198,000 people die! So now 200,000 people are disposable?"

 

4
   Still no leadership at the top

Chaos reigns at the White House.

"Every day that goes by gives us more evidence at how incapable Donald Trump is of handing a national crisis. Governors are left squabbling with each other over supplies, because Donald Trump refuses to step in and use the power available to him to direct the supply chain. Because of this, price-gouging and profiteering is rampant, which is costing taxpayers untold billions of dollars. There is still no national stay-at-home order, because the president doesn't want to act even though his own medical advisors are flabbergasted by his inaction and are begging all the remaining governors to follow this life-saving policy (Dr. Fauci: "I don't understand why that's not happening.... I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be."). Instead, chaos reigns. The White House never had a clue how to deal with this crisis, and they still don't have a clue. All Trump knows how to do is attack journalists who point out his incompetence, attack governors who dare to disagree with his rosy-tinted view of how things are going, attack any Democrat who tries to get Trump to admit reality, and attack hospitals and even first-line responders -- who Trump insinuated rather bizarrely must be stealing all those masks 'out the back door' of the hospitals. This is not leadership -- it is the exact opposite of leadership. In fact, it's exactly what we've seen from Trump on a number of issues, except this one happens to be one of life and death for thousands of Americans."

 

5
   Heckuva job, Trumpie!

Yet another thing Trump was never supposed to admit out loud became clear.

"Trump let the cat out of the bag in one of his press conferences this week, fully admitting that he expects everyone and anyone to kiss his ass before he will give them the time of day... much less some masks or ventilators. Here he is, fully admitting his own childish petulance:

When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps, they're not appreciative to FEMA, it's not right. I say, 'Mike, don't call the governor of Washington; you're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan. It doesn't make any difference what happens.' You know what I say: 'If they don't treat you right, I don't call.' He's a different type of person; he'll call quietly anyway.

It's been reported that the state of Florida, for instance, has gotten everything it has asked for immediately, while other states are left twisting in the wind. But even being a successful Trump sycophant doesn't guarantee good results, apparently. Florida's governor just instituted a stay-at-home order, about three or four weeks after he should have acted. Georgia's governor just stated he just found out in the past 24 hours that the virus can be spread by people who aren't showing any symptoms. Dr. Sanjay Gupta was aghast at the governor's stupidity:

This is inexcusable... It's just inexcusable. My kids who go to school in Georgia knew that a month ago. We've known this. For a long time. To say that we just found out in the last 24 hours and that's why we're doing this? This is just not right.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci -- the one person working for Trump that the public still trusts to any degree whatsoever -- has had to increase his personal security because of all the threats he's been getting from Trump supporters who think he's somehow responsible for reality not matching what Trump tells them. The best response to such idiocy came from Twitter user Denise Wu, who responded to Ben Carson saying Trump had shown 'courage' by tweeting:

Ben Carson and other MAGA, social distancing means get your head out of Trump's ass.

That just about sums it up, don't you think?"

 

6
   Blood on his hands

So far, we haven't noticed much of what we'd call genuine outrage on the part of the media, which is somewhat puzzling. But this Boston Globe editorial made up for the lack. It does not mince words at all. Here are the two most damning paragraphs, but the entire thing is well worth reading in full:

While the spread of the novel coronavirus has been aggressive around the world, much of the profound impact it will have here in the United States was preventable. As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis, it's worth remembering that the reach of the virus here is not attributable to an act of God or a foreign invasion, but a colossal failure of leadership.

. . .

Timing is everything in pandemic response: It can make the difference between a contained local outbreak that endures a few weeks and an uncontrollable contagion that afflicts millions. The Trump administration has made critical errors over the past two months, choosing early on to develop its own diagnostic test, which failed, instead of adopting the World Health Organization's test -- a move that kneecapped the US coronavirus response and, by most public health experts' estimation, will cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American lives. Rather than making the expected federal effort to mobilize rapidly to distribute needed gowns, masks, and ventilators to ill-equipped hospitals and to the doctors and nurses around the country who are left unprotected treating a burgeoning number of patients, the administration has instead been caught outbidding individual states (including Massachusetts) trying to purchase medical supplies. It has dragged its heels on invoking the Defense Production Act to get scarce, sorely needed ventilators and masks into production so that they can be distributed to hospitals nationwide as they hit their peaks in the cycle of the epidemic. It has left governors and mayors in the lurch, begging for help. The months the administration wasted with prevarication about the threat and its subsequent missteps will amount to exponentially more COVID-19 cases than were necessary. In other words, the president has blood on his hands.

 

7
   Trump lied...

Which means it is now time to dust off a previous political slogan, and update it for the 2020 campaign season. Because this is what it really comes down to, in the end:

"Trump lied. People died."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

98 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Down The Memory Hole”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I didn't know about talking point #1 but, I did hear what president Trump said about mail-in ballots today the WH briefing.

    He said it wasn't going to happen because that's how cheating happens … people need to show up in person and SHOW THEIR VOTER ID. (Trump's emphasis, not mine)

    I couldn't believe it.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Maybe talking point #8 might be something about what president Trump said today when asked about whether the situation that uninsured Americans don't have to worry about getting a test or treatment for COVID-19 would also apply to the 11 million undocumented people who have been living in the US and paying taxes for many years.

    He said in a very dismissive manner, we'll look into that later. Period.

    He really doesn't care about anyone.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris, your Governor has been a very good example and a great choice for the MIDOTW award.

    The actions put in place by Governor Newsom are the actions that will ultimately let us get ahead of and in control of this virus which is indicative of up-wing leadership.

    Love to see it!

  4. [4] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Just how serious this is has really hit home for me.

    Now all the new stuff on other sites I visit is all money shots on the facemask. :D

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Boston Globe piece is as excruciatingly frustrating as it is welcome. It would be nice to see many more editorials in the same vein.

    Governments of countries in the developing world are responding to this crisis in a more intelligent way that the Trump administration.

    Americans really do need to take things into their own hands and follow the recommendations of the WHO. If the world's only superpower comes out of this crisis in one piece, it will be despite a lack of enlightened leadership at the top.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This piece should win an award for Best FTP Column of this Year, or any year!

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    cuomo is also planning to cancel spring break for all the state's schools. fun, right?

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I like Cuomo when he's clowning around with his little brother … it makes me laugh out loud every time!

  9. [9] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    A day after the Navy abruptly fired the captain of a carrier over the way he made a plea for resources amid a novel coronavirus outbreak, more than 120,000 have signed a petition calling for the service to put him back in charge.

    Capt. Brett Crozier's Thursday firing from his post as captain of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt sent shocks far beyond the defense community. Videos shot from the carrier and shared to social media showed Crozier departing to applause as sailors chanted his name.

    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/04/03/petition-reinstate-fired-carrier-captain-goes-viral-lawmakers-call-probe.html

    This captain put his career on the line in order to save the lives of those under his command, and Trump’s ego couldn’t handle it.

  10. [10] 
    dsws wrote:

    A lot can change in seven months. The sexual-assault and sexual-harrassment allegations against the Democratic nominee for president could get widespread attention, for example.

    In fact, I think that's nearly certain to happen.

  11. [11] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    For anyone interested in the actual number of tests for your state:
    https://www.politico.com/interactives/2020/coronavirus-testing-by-state-chart-of-new-cases/

    Note the steeply-upward trend only in the last couple of weeks, longer after Trump's statement. (Thanks, Chris, for reminding us of the date.)

    And no surprise that no U S state has implemented comprehensive testing. A friend in Arkansas works for the police department of her city. She says that 2 police officers have COVID-19. Despite that, only officers and staff who exhibit symptoms are getting tested.

  12. [12] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Chris, I admit I am one of the millions who has never read '1984'. Did the novel also imagine that those who dared to speak out would be silenced, not by the authorities, but by their fellow citizens?
    'A law enforcement official told CNN that the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General, the agency's law enforcement arm, asked the US Marshals Service for assistance following threats to Fauci. The Marshals then deputized HHS officers to act as personal security for the doctor.'
    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/01/politics/anthony-fauci-security-detail/index.html

  13. [13] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Chris, here's a suggestion for a future FTP: "Trump, record-breaking President". Here are a few of his accomplishments:
    * Longest government shutdown in American history (2018)
    * Biggest budget deficit, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP (even before COVID-19 causing the world economy to crater.)
    * Record number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in a week (and that record may be broken in a couple of weeks)
    * Fewest days to 100,000 COVID-19 cases of any nation in the world.
    * Highest turnover in political appointees, retirements, etc of any administration

  14. [14] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    And I will exit the stage with this reminder:
    Italy has been under 'extreme measures' since March 9. This week, many news outlets celebrated the 'hopeful' news of ONLY 4,500+ new COVID-19 cases daily for the past few days.
    And most regions of Italy, where health policies are determined, have implemented comprehensive testing.
    Here are the latest statistics ('Casi totali' = total cases, 'tamponi' = tests administered):
    http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_notizie_4392_0_file.pdf

    * No U S state has implemented anything approaching the restrictions on movement and productivity of Italy.
    * No U S state has implemented - nor even has the capacity for - comprehensive testing.

  15. [15] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    "Trump lied. People died."

    So FUDGING what.

    If it doesn't matter that Perez and Biden lied and people died then it shouldn't matter that Trump lied and people died.

    But it actually does matter to the people that knew the people that died.

    I wonder if any of the irony experts here will point out the irony of you using the memory hole comparison to Trump while flushing the Perez-Biden murders down the memory hole.

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    DSWS-
    I would love to be able to say that sexual allegations against Biden will take a back seat to the allegations of murder, but that would require people to actually be paying attention, thinking and not allowing things like murder to be flushed down the memory hole.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Will you still need me?
    Will you still feed me?
    Here in 1984."
    -When I'm Sixty-Four parody

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    FTP this week stands for Funny Terrible Propaganda.

    Fuuny how funny doesn't carry the same effect as the word it must replace if you are not Samuel L. Fudging Jackson to avoid distressing those that are too sensitive to handle adult language.

    Also funny that when the message/idea attached to the offensive language is directed at someone else it is okay but it is not okay when directed at the people that then become sensitive to offensive language.

    I'll leave to the irony experts to determine if that is irony or not.

    But it is definitely Bullshirt.

  19. [19] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    This song (Mary Hopkins, 1968) is almost eerily prescient for those of us now in our 70s. Of course the last verse is currently out of the question for most of us. :-(

    Once upon a time there was a tavern
    Where we used to raise a glass or two
    Remember how we laughed away the hours
    And dreamed of all the great things we would do

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    For we were young and sure to have our way.
    La la la la...

    Then the busy years went rushing by us
    We lost our starry notions on the way
    If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
    We'd smile at one another and we'd say

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
    La la la la...

    Just tonight I stood before the tavern
    Nothing seemed the way it used to be
    In the glass I saw a strange reflection
    Was that lonely woman really me

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
    La la la la...

    Through the door there came familiar laughter
    I saw your face and heard you call my name
    Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
    For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
    La la la la...

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Pretty sure anyone here can either remember or find the lyrics to "Won't Get Fooled Again".

    Of course, it won't surprise me if no one here can help pretending they can't or ignoring the point because I know that the hypnotized never lie.

    Except maybe to themselves.

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Perhaps, as we said, it's because we live here, but we honestly think Gavin Newsom has been the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week, not only this past week but throughout the entire crisis.

    Yes! A totally deserved MIDOTW, in my opinion... I would even say Most Impressive Democrat of the Month. Although the six Bay Area counties had issued their joint stay-at-home orders on March 16, I still believe Gavin Newsom was the catalyst for the decisive actions taken all over the State of California because it was Newsom who started the ball rolling on March 15 when he ordered the isolation at home of all residents 65 years and older and additionally ordered the closure of nightclubs, wineries and bars, and the purchase by the state of hotels in order to facilitate the shelter of California's homeless. Upon these orders by Newsome, the ripple effect began to occur across America.

    While I have no idea how many cities/counties followed suit to protect their citizens because of the decisive actions of Governor Newsome, I can tell you that in my county, we've been ordered to stay at home since March 23 -- just 4 days after Newsome's order -- and running through April 30 when they'll decide whether or not to further extend it.

    Great choice, CW. What Newsome has done is a huge game changer... one that history will show was a "BFD."

    Has Newsome's decisive action in the absence of leadership at the federal level saved thousands of Americans? You bet your life.

    Would a county in Texas have instituted stay-at-home orders as early as they did were it not for Governor Newsome? Don't bet on it.

  22. [22] 
    Kick wrote:

    And yes, I definitely spelled "Newsom" wrong the majority of times in my post above... because of course I did! :)

  23. [23] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Re TP 1

    "Dems want to ensure that every eligible voter . . .etc"

    I totally agree, but we may differ slightly on that "eligible" part. Eligibility should be defined as "All male property owners over the age of 40", everybody in agreement??

  24. [24] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: To begin with, a commenter at my site made a nomination that is worth repeating as many times as possible in order to drive home the message. Donald Trump is quite obviously going to win "The Biggest Lie of 2020" this year, and this is the obvious choice that will win it for him...

    Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That's what the bottom line is.... Anybody right now and yesterday -- anybody that needs a test gets a test. We -- they're there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.
    -- Donald Trump, March 6

    Wait, what!?

    Well now, looky there. A commenter had an idea that made its way above the comments section, and they neither asked nor trolled to make it happen. *grin*

    And if that turns out not to be "The Biggest Lie of 2020," God help us all for what is... because we're only one quarter in with three quarters to go, and the goalposts never stop moving.

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Amendment to [43]

    In view of modern definitions, we'll likely need to modify that terminology to read "All male property owners in possession of a penis . . ."

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    I say we make your proposal a ballot question. But only citizens that are not male property owners over 40 can vote on the question.

  27. [27] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW

    This! Exactly this!

    When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps, they're not appreciative to FEMA, it's not right. I say, 'Mike, don't call the governor of Washington; you're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan. It doesn't make any difference what happens.' You know what I say: 'If they don't treat you right, I don't call.' He's a different type of person; he'll call quietly anyway.
    ~ Donald Trump

    Takes me back to the impeachment hearings and the analogy made by Pam Karlan in her testimony in December 2019, where she explained in no uncertain terms why Trump's action of withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for a quid pro quo were an infinitely impeachable offense:

    Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that's prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for? What would you think if that president said, 'I would like you to do us a favor? I'll meet with you, and send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.'

    Wouldn't you know in your gut that such a president has abused his office? That he'd betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process? I believe the evidentiary record shows wrongful acts on those scale here.
    ~ Pam Karlan

    And here we are now, with Trump responding to states depending on their use to him politically/personally and refusing to respond to certain other states unless he can get that quid pro quo he demands. #Pathetic

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    dsws,

    What was the purpose of your post and what on earth are you talking about?

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan, I didn't even realize you were absent.

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @dan,

    i agree, the allegations against biden will definitely have to be addressed. and i'm certain the skill with which he addresses them will bear on whether or not he becomes the next president. the economist has a pretty good article on the subject.

    https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/04/04/how-to-weigh-an-allegation-of-assault-against-joe-biden

  31. [31] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Ntpoet-
    Typical of you to want allegations of pie violations by Biden addressed while ignoring the people that are dying because he did not act in a timely manner to try to delay the primaries while he had momentum. :D

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    by all accounts, it was not a pie that biden is accused of violating. that, if proven, would be unforgivable.

  33. [33] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [10]

    dsws wrote:

    "A lot can change in seven months. The sexual-assault and sexual-harrassment allegations against the Democratic nominee for president could get widespread attention, for example.

    In fact, I think that's nearly certain to happen."

    Are you kidding? Trump has tons of sexual assault victims, at least one rape accuser and paid off two um, models, to hide evidence of extramarital booty. And unless you think the Access Hollywood tape is "fake news" it's pretty clear that this is an issue Trump doesn't want to bring up.

  34. [34] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [33]

    ... aaaand, don't forget that a majority of those polled during the Senate impeachment trial wanted witnesses and wanted Trump's removal.

    Trump never tried to reach the 56% of Americans who don't support him.

    And this doesn't consider how many Americans will DIE due to his incompetence.

    So, keep watching Faux News or OANN and keep believing that Cheetogod is going to win in a landslide. In fact, such a landslide that you probably don't need to bother voting.

  35. [35] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    dsws,

    Strange that Biden’s accuser suddenly changed her story to include far worse details than she shared the last time she came forward with accusations. It’s almost as if she did not get the response that she had hoped for the first time she made allegations, so she hopes these new details will provide her with the results she longs for.

    Biden is more touchy-feely than some people are comfortable with —which is why almost all of those who have spoken out against him have said that Biden did not make overt sexual advances towards them. We are now getting a “grab them by the pussy”- like story against Biden...something that doesn’t fit his personality or even the MO of the accusations made against Biden in the past.

    Just based on how dramatic of a change in their legal seriousness that her allegations have undergone, I doubt any prosecutor would give her much attention until after they run an investigation into her private life and finances. It sounds like something Trump has done in the past many times; Biden not so much!

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Who is this woman and why don't I know about her!?

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Obviously, I'm participating in the wrong blog.

  38. [38] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CW,

    GREAT article! Spot on!

    Does anyone else feel like we are seeing a repeat of Katrina when it comes to how Republican presidencies handle emergencies? Blaming the mayor and governors for not being able to handle the emergency properly to explain the federal government’s failure to respond seems to be the Republican’s playbook for these situations.

    On March 13th, President Trump declared a national emergency for the coronavirus in this country — an action that took the response out of local and state hands and gave all authority to respond to the emergency to the federal government.

    We have no one truly in charge of combating this emergency thanks to Trump’s fragile ego. Trump has placed just about everyone around him “in charge” at one point or the other, but they still have to run every step they want to make by Trump to get his approval.

    At first I thought it was because Trump feared that if they failed it would be seen as being his fault — which is not untrue. Still, Trump should put an experienced person in this roll, and that person could take the blame for any criticisms that his administration faces.

    Sadly, I realized that I had it completely backwards. It wasn’t failure that Trump was worried about, he never accepts responsibility for anything...why would he suddenly start now??? No, it’s the possibility that they will do a great job and the public cheers the job that they do that keeps Trump from putting any competent person in this role — he WANTS the cheers all to himself!

    Trump freaked out when Pelosi announced she was starting a bi-partisan committee to investigate the administration’s handling of this epidemic — and for good reason! Trump keeps touting how great the administration is handling everything, but no one actually believes that is true. The supply chain is in chaos, as states are pit against each other, the federal government, and foreign governments in their bids to get medical supplies. The pentagon has sat holding 2000 ventilators for two weeks because no one at FEMA will tell them where they need to go.

    What Trump should fear most is people finding out that he’s ordered federal suppliers to cancel deliveries of much needed supplies to states that have not showered his every move with praise. Michigan’s Governor said that she was told by medical suppliers that her state’s orders had been canceled by the federal government.

    That and the fact that he’s allowed companies to price gouge the most needed supplies and then refused to put “America First” by allowing companies to ignore our countries’ needs and instead send ventilators and PPE equipment to foreign countries willing to pay their outrageous prices. Trump’s refusal to put the DPA into action allows companies based here to ignore our needs and allows them to set the prices for their much needed products. GREED FIRST! As long as they make money, they don’t care how many die.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let me tell you the feeling I'm starting to get, just based on reading this particular blog.

    Trump will be re-elected, if there is an election at all. And, I don't even want to think about all that it means.

  40. [40] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,

    I had to follow nypoet22’s link to find anything on this story. The woman worked for Biden for 9 months in 1992-93. I don’t think the press — other than Fox News — will give this much attention.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks, Russ … you know, I went to google it but I couldn't put Biden and sexual assault in the same sentence.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I couldn't read the whole thing, mercifully.

    Biden's campaigns for president have been rejected by the American people for a number of reasons. If they reject him on the basis of these allegations, then I could say with great confidence that the American people deserve at least four more years of Trump.

    Of course, I wouldn't say that because another day of Trump would be bad for the rest of us out in the world.

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,
    I am not saying I believe the allegation. I am saying that biden will have to address them with his supporters in a way Donald doesn't have to with his.

  44. [44] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    So... if one person here thinks Crozier was not looking out for the wellbeing of his crew and ship, well, they better do some 'splaining.

    He not only gave up his certain promotion to admiral, he saved the lives of his crew and prevented a major catastrophy from happening to his ship.

    I have been to commands that have had the "triad" removed for "lack of confidence" and this is not one of them....

    You do not get a send off like this if you are a bad leader....

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-2144630/Video-USS-Roosevelt-crew-salutes-Captain-Crozier-leaves-ship.html

    TL/DR a leader saves lives and prevents a major catasrophy, the trumpistration punishes him, but somehow cannot find the time nor the energy to help the states that make up this union... and claims his has been the best. Great fucking job trumpie...I guess it takes alot less time and energy to be vindictive and petty VS. compassionate and caring.

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I guess it takes alot less time and energy to be vindictive and petty VS. compassionate and caring.

    That's one of many reasons why teaching is so hard.

  46. [46] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    36

    Who is this woman and why don't I know about her!?

    She's an ex-staffer of Joe Biden who is a Bernie Sanders supporter who has very recently decided to change her decades old "Biden touched me in 1993" story into a "Biden sexually assaulted me in 1993" story.

    https://www.salon.com/2020/03/31/a-woman-accuses-joe-biden-of-sexual-assault-and-all-hell-breaks-loose-online-heres-what-we-know/

    I haven't read any posts beyond EM's question... so if the link above to a piece that does a "deep dive" into the subject is a repeated link, my apologies in advance.

    Interesting to note: The name of Putin -- as in Vladimir -- appears multiple times in the article. The accuser was apparently a huge fan of Putin's on social media but has recently "changed her mind" about that too.

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    I'm not able to read that but it would certainly make sense if this involved some sort of Russian propaganda effort. That's the only thing that would make sense, in fact ...

  48. [48] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    38

    On March 13th, President Trump declared a national emergency for the coronavirus in this country — an action that took the response out of local and state hands and gave all authority to respond to the emergency to the federal government.

    Exactly! Friday the 13th, the day President Pathological Liar and the Fox News talking heads did a complete 180-degree turn and decided to stop portraying Trump as the victim of a "Democrat hoax" designed to de facto impeach Poor Donald and then began explaining how they always took the virus seriously and never referred to it as a "hoax."

    At first I thought it was because Trump feared that if they failed it would be seen as being his fault — which is not untrue. Still, Trump should put an experienced person in this roll, and that person could take the blame for any criticisms that his administration faces.

    Right... so what they didn't blame on Barack Obama could then easily be blamed on Mike "smoking doesn't kill Pence." I was originally under the impression this was the plan, but it seems Daffy Donald just can't shut his mouth.

    Did you see that insane news conference Saturday where Donald again implores Americans to take a questionable off-label drug regimen? "What have you got to lose? Take it"... "try it," Donald says in sotto voce; so creepy it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Maybe he's right and it helps; maybe it doesn't because the results are skewed:

    Some of the research — and confusion — stems from Professor Didier Raoult in France, whose work has resulted in both enthusiasm and skepticism around the medicines. In a Los Angeles Times column, writer Michael Hiltzik outlined flaws. In one of Raoult's studies, for example, six patients dropped out in the first six days; those patients either died, were transferred to the ICU, couldn't tolerate the drug, or dropped for another reason.

    "Those six results, however, were not included in the results, meaning that Raoult 'cured' only 100% of those who didn’t get sicker, die, or leave the study," Hiltzik wrote.

    https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/europe-locks-down-chloroquine-scripts-as-researchers-china-report-positive-controlled-covid

    What do you have to lose? Your life. Why on Earth would a POTUS instruct Americans to ingest Plaquenil® (brand name) -- a drug prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis -- before its efficacy has actually been determined by the FDA? Why not wait for the results of the FDA-approved clinical trials before you repeatedly encourage Americans to pop pills? Just saying.

    Sadly, I realized that I had it completely backwards. It wasn’t failure that Trump was worried about, he never accepts responsibility for anything...why would he suddenly start now??? No, it’s the possibility that they will do a great job and the public cheers the job that they do that keeps Trump from putting any competent person in this role — he WANTS the cheers all to himself!

    Yep. It's the memory hole dump and the Trump rewrite, setting himself up to take credit for whatever goes right and mete out blame for whatever goes wrong to anyone else not named Trump. Unfortunately for Donald and the MAGA useful idiots, they have already spent months spewing heavily documented words like "hoax," "common cold," "flu," "decidedly non-serious," etc., and claiming it would down to near zero in a couple days and ridiculing and anyone who dared to speak the facts on the ground... and now here we are.

    What Trump should fear most is people finding out that he’s ordered federal suppliers to cancel deliveries of much needed supplies to states that have not showered his every move with praise.

    Wouldn't surprise me a bit. There's already been a whistleblower at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that complained more than a dozen workers who received the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, lacked proper training and protective gear to prevent coronavirus infection.

    The whistleblower's report states that staff were sent into quarantined areas without PPE and training, putting themselves and the American public in danger. These Americans were evacuated from Wuhan and the majority taken to military bases in California... where not coincidentally the first case of community acquired coronavirus was confirmed by the CDC weeks later, and now here we are.

    The whistleblower also reported that when the staff raised safety concerns to their superiors, they were admonished, accused of not being team players and had their emotional stability and mental health questioned.

    I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that keeping your mouth shut is emphasized ad nauseam in federal communications, and believe me when I tell you that the Thursday firing of Captain Crozier and Friday firing of the CIA watchdog were reminders to employees what happens if you deign to disseminate the truth about the facts on the ground. It ain't pretty.

    Hi, Russ! Glad to "see" you're doing well. :)

  49. [49] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    39

    Let me tell you the feeling I'm starting to get, just based on reading this particular blog.

    Well, just so you know, the current -- operative word to your left -- data don't portend that outcome at all. In fact, the states Trump won in 2016 by a sliver are all currently projected to flip, flip, flip back to blue and toss in an Arizona flip. Obviously, things can change, like multiple unemployment numbers that'll be off the charts coming in May 2020. Count on it.

    I think Americans would be wise to prepare themselves that there are a lot of things that have just been permanently changed by this pandemic and that life as we knew it in so many ways has been altered and shall remain that way, but I digress and that is an altogether different subject that would be interesting to discuss later... just how much our lives have been changed permanently by this -- in so many ways that will definitely affect our economy and the jobs in America that are now likely permanently gone and aren't coming back.

    Trump will be re-elected, if there is an election at all. And, I don't even want to think about all that it means.

    There will be an election; if there isn't one, the 20th amendment to the United States Constitution states that the current president's four-year term ends at noon on January 20. Precisely at that time, Trump and Pence will no longer be President and Vice President, and as such, constitutional rules of succession kick in and the Speaker of the House would be sworn in as POTUS until an election was held. That's Pelosi... the GOP's worst nightmare. So you needn't worry about an election not being held. It's on. Donald Trump will no longer be president on January 20 unless Congress agrees to a change (no way in Hell) or unless he is reelected via the Electoral College that barely put him in office by less than 80,000 votes dispersed across three states.

  50. [50] 
    Kick wrote:

    goode trickle
    44

    Great post, GT.

    Is it just me, or does the back-to-back firing of Crozier and the ICIG on Friday seem like a huge message... along with oral and written communication flailing attempts at revisionist history, of course.

    So... if one person here thinks Crozier was not looking out for the wellbeing of his crew and ship, well, they better do some 'splaining.

    I know, right!? Anyone found trying to help people by attempting to disseminate facts and therefore exposing the prattling and driveling of Hair Dick Tater will be dealt with accordingly.

    TL/DR a leader saves lives and prevents a major catasrophy, the trumpistration punishes him, but somehow cannot find the time nor the energy to help the states that make up this union... and claims his has been the best. Great fucking job trumpie...I guess it takes alot less time and energy to be vindictive and petty VS. compassionate and caring.

    Very well said. :)

  51. [51] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Based on what I have read here, it would seem the woman is woman is still working for Biden.

    It seems a bit too convenient that the woman has said nice things about Putin and then changed her mind as well as her story.

    What could be a better way to get people talking about something other than the people that died as a result of Perez and Biden not delaying the primaries.

    It sure seems to be working here.

    Typical magicians trick.

    Look at false accusations of sexual misconduct over here instead of noticing the murder that happens over there.

  52. [52] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    GT-
    "Great fucking job trumpie"

    LANGUAGE!!!!!!!! :D

  53. [53] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    Guess you missed that as well as the woman. :D

  54. [54] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    And the false accusation against Biden opens the door for discussing Trump's transgressions.

    Too convenient.

  55. [55] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    now that's a level of conspiracy theory i haven't heard before.

  56. [56] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don[52]

    GT's use of colorful language was appropriate, because it was directed at a public figure who it is reasonable to believe has earned it. this is different from responding to a [mis]perceived slight by cursing out the owner of the blog on which your permission to write is growing ever more tenuous.

    You have been fairly warned by the owner of this blog... to refrain from using bad language in the comments sections of this blog because you don't seem to understand what and where and when and in what context colourful language should be used in the comments sections of this blog.
    ~liz

    chill out and have some pie
    ~me

  57. [57] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    You think GT use was appropriate and mine was not.
    Liz does not think my use is appropriate.

    I think my use has been appropriate and am pointing out the inconsistency of those that find my use inappropriate.

    And the determination of inappropripate seems to depend on whether the person making the determination agrees with the idea attached to the language.

    CW is a public figure.

  58. [58] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Have some pie while people die.
    -me

  59. [59] 
    dsws wrote:

    [33]
    Are you kidding? Trump has tons of sexual assault victims

    So? That doesn't make any difference. Anyone who objects to sexual assault per se wasn't going to vote for Trump anyway. A scandal is important as a political weapon, in our system, and that doesn't depend on the wielder caring about the issue. People who see no great difference between the major-party candidates are less likely to vote. That's a loss of votes for the Democratic side, relative to what they would have been if we'd found another Obama to nominate.

    Trump wouldn't have to bring it up himself. There are plenty of proxies. But he can. None of his supporters would have any problem with the hypocrisy.

    [36]
    Who is this woman and why don't I know about her!?

    Tara Reade. Partly, presumably, it's because you only read reputable sources: the major media mostly aren't sufficiently satisfied with their investigation to cover it.
    https://www.salon.com/2020/03/31/a-woman-accuses-joe-biden-of-sexual-assault-and-all-hell-breaks-loose-online-heres-what-we-know/

    Partly, it's that it's lost in the noise. There are less-extreme accusations from Lucy Flores, Caitlyn Caruso, and D.J. Hill -- stuff that's problematic but wouldn't necessarily be disqualifying. And there are outright bum-rap incidents, where a single frame from a video appears to show something completely different from what the full video actually shows, for example. Those are the stories that spread most effectively, because they generate polarizing discussion.

    My impression is that Biden truly believes that of course there is such a thing as normal social touch that doesn't require any consent from the person being touched: for example, if you need to get someone's attention in a noisy place, it's perfectly ok to tap them on the shoulder. And he believes that, because he has never intentionally gone beyond the boundaries, there's no real problem, nothing for him to apologize for. His understanding of where the boundaries are is within the normal range, but it's well toward the touchy end.

    That covers all the other cases, but not Tara Reade. With Tara Reade, it sounds as though he thought she was interested in him, so he made a move, and he stopped when she didn't respond favorably.

    If I'm reading it right, this will drive a wedge right through the middle of Democratic thinking on consent. He does regard women as people, fully human, equal to men -- not as mere objects that exist for men's gratification. He didn't intend any wrongdoing. For a lot of people, that's good enough. For a lot of people, though, it isn't. You need actual consent before you touch someone sexually, and you have to have it whenever they consider the touch sexual even if you don't. It's not good enough to just say "actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea".

  60. [60] 
    dsws wrote:

    [49]
    There will be an election; if there isn't one, the 20th amendment to the United States Constitution states that the current president's four-year term ends at noon on January 20. Precisely at that time, Trump and Pence will no longer be President and Vice President, and as such, constitutional rules of succession kick in

    Sounds as though ordinary law kicks in. Here's the relevant text from Amendment XX:
    the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

  61. [61] 
    dsws wrote:

    A passage that may help illuminated the wedginess of this issue:

    A lot of how Biden got to be vice president in the first place had to do with the idea that he would help Obama appeal to the kind of voters — older, less educated white Northerners who aren’t evangelical Christians — who we know eventually ended up defecting to Trump.

    These voters didn’t identify with the GOP of the George W. Bush era and certainly didn’t love Republicans’ regressive economic policies. But they also don’t particularly identify with the self-consciously woke brand of liberalism practiced in big cosmopolitan metro areas. For the purposes of winning votes from this cohort, the fact that Biden’s 2008 primary campaign was continually derailed by racist gaffes probably made him a strong running mate. To voters confused — and at times angered — by shifting cultural norms, the fact that Obama would elevate an old white guy who clearly wasn’t up to speed on all the latest PC thinking was a powerful demonstration that he was one of the good ones.
    https://www.vox.com/2019/4/2/18290345/joe-biden-lucy-flores-amy-lappos

  62. [62] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan,

    The reason Biden was selected to be president Obama's running mate had everything to do with the expertise he would bring to the Obama administration and the key role he would play with respect to policymaking, domestically and internationally.

    Just to be clear, you know.

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan,

    On the issue pertaining to Biden and the allegations, do intentions matter?

    I think in every case I heard of, including the 'hair-sniffing' case … hair-sniffing!!!??? … y'all will give me a freakin' break on that one … Biden was in the process of giving encouragement or empathy, or the like, to the ladies.

    Yeah, I know … I better brace myself. :(

    There is no way that any of this can be compared to anything that is remotely akin to sexual anything!

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That covers all the other cases, but not Tara Reade. With Tara Reade, it sounds as though he thought she was interested in him, so he made a move, and he stopped when she didn't respond favorably.
    If I'm reading it right, this will drive a wedge right through the middle of Democratic thinking on consent. He does regard women as people, fully human, equal to men -- not as mere objects that exist for men's gratification. He didn't intend any wrongdoing. For a lot of people, that's good enough. For a lot of people, though, it isn't. You need actual consent before you touch someone sexually, and you have to have it whenever they consider the touch sexual even if you don't. It's not good enough to just say "actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea".

    Is this where your country is? Because, that is just a lot of moose poop.

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that, over the course of the next several months worth of FTPs, Biden will be the unworthy recipient of more than one MDDOTW award for his alleged sexual whatever and the occasion(s) will be just one more reminder of the hypersensitization - no, make that the original FEMINIZATION of America.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  66. [66] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    I think my use has been appropriate and am pointing out the inconsistency of those that find my use inappropriate.

    on the question of what is and is not appropriate on this blog, there is only one opinion that matters, and it isn't yours.

    as liz has tried to gently point out, and as kick has not-so-gently pointed out, this is CW's space, and it is his decision. CW has been incredibly tolerant of your dissent where the use of profanity is concerned, but even he has his limits. if you want to comment about him in your own space, you can say anything you want. on his space, what he says goes.

    "you don't bust in your friend's house and start telling him what's what"
    ~samuel l. jackson ('jules'), pulp fiction

    Have some pie or people die. (FIFY)

    those deaths could have been prevented if only more people stayed home and had pie instead of going out and infecting others.

    JL

  67. [67] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    while it is possible that reade is fabricating allegations in service of russia and their chosen candidates, it is also possible that dan is right and there was a real incident of mistaken intentions back in 1992 (or whenever it was).

    in that respect, we must acknowledge that the mainstream media are being more cautious than they were in the past with other public figures.

    JL

  68. [68] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No, Joshua, it is not possible that Dan is right.

    in that respect, we must acknowledge that the mainstream media are being more cautious than they were in the past with other public figures.

    Of course, we must. But, that doesn't give the media or anyone else the right to fabricate things out of whole cloth … which is precisely what some of them are doing with Biden.

  69. [69] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    of course it's possible, however unlikely we may believe it to be. and on that count i'm probably closer to your opinion than dan's.

    JL

  70. [70] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You haven't been following Biden for the last thirty plus years.

  71. [71] 
    Kick wrote:

    dsws
    60

    Sounds as though ordinary law kicks in.

    Sounds as though you believe the Democratic House of Representatives and Republican Senate could come to some kind of agreement regarding an extension for Trump/Pence -- when the House has already impeached Trump -- or to name someone outside the line of succession to become POTUS.

    I cannot fathom what type of pure insanity would possess them to pass any such agreement out of the House when the Speaker of the House is a Democrat who would take charge on January 20 sans such agreement and could have prepared Executive Orders at the ready to enact upon signature in order to reverse the entire Trump fiasco with a few strokes of a pen.

    So... Donald Trump will no longer be president on January 20 unless Congress agrees to a change (no way in Hell) or unless he is reelected via the Electoral College that barely put him in office by less than 80,000 votes dispersed across three states.

  72. [72] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    68

    No, Joshua, it is not possible that Dan is right.

    The facts depict a woman who worked for Joe Biden a total of approximately 9 months who has changed her story from actually praising Joe Biden's work for nearly three decades until only very recently making accusations in April 2019 when several women accused Joe of unwanted touching their neck. Recently, she's changed her story and accused Joe of "digital rape." In other words: Seems like ridiculous BS where the story keeps changing.

    She leaves a paper trail of inconsistencies... so judge for yourselves:

    https://medium.com/@eddiekrassenstein/evidence-casts-doubt-on-tara-reades-sexual-assault-allegations-of-joe-biden-e4cb3ee38460

    There are lots of links in the article to keep you busy for hours if you're bored and curious.

    Bottom line: The facts don't support her brand new claims, and there's some weird stuff in there.

  73. [73] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @kick,

    i'm not saying it's at all likely, just that it's possible. if we discount the possibility just because it looks suspicious, then we risk having the same done in return, no?

    JL

  74. [74] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Don Harris,

    What could be a better way to get people talking about something other than the people that died as a result of Perez and Biden not delaying the primaries.

    It sure seems to be working here.

    Dear GOD, why are you repeating this massively ignorant accusation that has no basis in reality? Tell me again how Biden or Perez had the authority to delay the states from holding THEIR primaries? Because you are claiming that they COULD have delayed the primaries that cost....hmmmmm, remind us all just how many people died as a result of their voting?

    Even for someone as delusional as you, this is a doozy!

  75. [75] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    I think the so-called Me, too! whatever has gone way too far! She's accusing him of digital rape!!!!!!?????

    Oh, man. HA! Yeah, no wonder I haven't heard about her. And, I won't hear about her. And, I better not ever hear about it in the headlining pieces above these comments sections either or that will be the end.

    And, I'm done with y'all on this issue.

  76. [76] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Except for this, Joshua.

    Some things in this life of ours are impossible.

  77. [77] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The impossibility of Biden digitally raping someone is one of them. Period. End of story.

  78. [78] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    New column coming up tomorrow! :)

  79. [79] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Keep your powder dry.

  80. [80] 
    dsws wrote:

    It doesn't much matter what any of us here believe about Tara Reade. What matters is that millions of US voters will believe various versions of the story, and Biden will lose.

    Sounds as though you believe the Democratic House of Representatives and Republican Senate could come to some kind of agreement ... .

    No. I'm talking about existing statute, not new legislation. That it goes to the speaker of the House is specified in the presidential succession act of 1947.

  81. [81] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    you don't think it's possible that there was some consensual hanky-panky going on and there was miscommunication about what was consented to?

    JL

  82. [82] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i mean, this was nearly thirty years ago we're talking about, just a couple years after the anita hill testimony, and the rules for social conduct were still evolving.

  83. [83] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    even that scenario is pretty dubious mind you, but not impossible.

  84. [84] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @dan,

    i think the mainstream media have been burned enough times by russian disinformation campaigns that if the story is an active measure rather than a legitimate complaint they'll make it widely known.

    JL

  85. [85] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listen-
    Perez and Biden are both leaders in the Democratic Party. If they had said the primaries should be delayed then it is likely that the primaries would have been delayed and the story would be how they tried but did not have the legal authority to delay them.

    They didn't.

    Perez criticized the Ohio Governor for delaying the primary.

    Perez is a Biden supporter and probably would have gone with Biden if Biden had said publicly or privately that the primaries should be delayed.

    After the 2016 primaries there is no way the Dems deserve a presumption of innocence. It is reasonable to assume that Perez and Biden communicated about this and passed what they decided on on to those with the authority to delay the primaries.

    Even if they made the decision that it was not that serious and did not lie, they still made the wrong decision.

  86. [86] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    NYpoet-
    Yes, it's CW's blog and he also has his opinion and the final say.

    And as long as he says I can comment here I can post my opinions that CW's opinions are right or wrong.

    "Those deaths could have been prevented if only more people stayed home and had pie instead of going out and infecting others"?

    Which deaths are those?

    The ones that resulted from the primaries not being delayed?

    Or were you referring to some other deaths?

    Survivors of expiring minds want to know.

  87. [87] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Thanks to the Republican legislature in Wisconsin I will have to ask my daughter NOT to vote.

    For the Republican legislature in Wisconsin:

    "Grandma got corona virus this year
    'cause they did not delay the primary
    They may say that she just did her duty
    but as for me and grampa we just grieve."
    -Grandma got run over by a reindeer dark parody

  88. [88] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Maybe the poll workers will just say they will not show up and not show up to open any polls.

  89. [89] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    It was reported in article at Commondreams that Biden says the primaries should go forward because it is a decision for the people of Wisconsin to make.

    Bold leadership.

  90. [90] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    In NJ eligible voters are always mailed a sample ballot before the primary or general election.

    It seems that if this is the practice in most states that it would be easy to change over to mail in voting for remaining primaries and the general election by simply sending everyone eligible a mail in ballot instead of a sample ballot.

    It would take some new procedures for counting, but if counting takes a week or so to get results it is worth it.

  91. [91] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    And we would have a paper trail.

  92. [92] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ONE WORLD, TOGETHER AT HOME

    April 18, 2020

    Be there!

  93. [93] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Voting by mail is probably the best option in the present circumstances, and is probably the best option for quite a lot of people--for example, those who can't get time off work to vote or have round-the-clock caring responsibilities, as well as people who are disabled or don't have reliable transport to polling stations.

    The paper trail is good, too.

  94. [94] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    73

    i'm not saying it's at all likely, just that it's possible.

    My post wasn't meant in any way as a rebuttal to yours, but since you asked: Possible? That a victim would praise her attacker for nearly three decades and then suddenly characterize him as digitally raping her? No. Victims don't generally praise their attackers. This woman is a bullshit artist. Full stop.

    if we discount the possibility just because it looks suspicious, then we risk having the same done in return, no?

    We risk having our new claim of alleged sexual assault of nearly 30 years ago that we've suddenly decided to characterize as "digital rape" after multiple decades of praising our "old boss" for his work?

    One would hope so... since it's this type of revisionist history BS that causes genuine victims of sexual assault to be discounted and ignored.

  95. [95] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    75

    I think the so-called Me, too! whatever has gone way too far! She's accusing him of digital rape!!!!!!?????

    That's how they're characterizing it... yep, and it won't surprise you that it's a bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters and she's a Bernie supporter and seems to be a Vladimir Putin lover... except she denies that now and has deleted all her published articles... excerpt:

    And like most women across the world, I like President Putin… a lot, his shirt on or shirt off.

    Most women across the world? Is she nuts? This is truly one of those times a curse word applies... so choose your own expletive.

    And, I'm done with y'all on this issue.

    I hear you.

  96. [96] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Amen.

  97. [97] 
    dsws wrote:

    There are strong pressures not to report sexual assault and sexual harassment, and even to try to convince yourself that it wasn't. And consent is still necessary, even if the person is someone who will turn out decades later to become a Putin-worshiping ditz.

    It seems that if this is the practice in most states that it would be easy to change over to mail in voting for remaining primaries and the general election by simply sending everyone eligible a mail in ballot instead of a sample ballot.

    In what state(s) do they send everyone a sample ballot? Has any state ever actually done that?

  98. [98] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Has any state ever actually done that?"

    New Jersey every year since I started voting in the seventies and probably even before that. Unless it is just a county thing but I don't think it is.

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