Ok time’s up

Mar 23rd, 2020 10:37 am | By

Trump is restless. Trump wants all this to stop now. Trump thinks two weeks are MORE than enough, because that’s what he wants.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump tweeted late Sunday night. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

SHOUTING AT US SO THAT WE WOULD KNOW HE REALLY MEANT IT.

Aides say Trump is itching for the guidelines to be eased when the 15-day period ends a week from Monday, but realistically there are few health experts who think that’s enough time to know whether the measures he announced last week– including recommending closing schools, limiting gatherings and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between individuals — will suffice.

So what?! There’s an election approaching!

The dynamic has led to a robust internal debate over how best to balance the actual health of the country — with potentially hundreds of thousands of lives at stake — with its economic health.

By “robust internal debate” they of course mean screaming tantrums.



Senators get inside information

Mar 23rd, 2020 9:47 am | By

Oh did they now.

A review of public statements by Trump administration officials urging confidence in the markets as the coronavirus spread reveals a stark contrast with the private behaviour of some GOP lawmakers. 

While the president and his top economic adviser late February were urging Americans to show confidence in the stock market and invest as the coronavirus spread, at least two GOP senators had already privately dumped stocks — after receiving classified briefings on the damage likely to be caused by the disease. 

In other words Trump and Kudlow were telling people to buy stocks when they knew the market was going to tank. Meanwhile were they putting their own money at risk? Nah.

Deputy Labor Secretary in the Obama admin:

But we now know that lawmakers in Trump’s own party were taking a very different course of action. At least two had been briefed with information from government officials on the likely devastating impact of the disease which contrasted sharply with the White House’s optimistic messaging about the likely minimal impact of the virus.

They lie to us but not to each other.



The giraffes taught him that

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:59 am | By

Zookeepers are the best people.



They have received a number of complaints

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:47 am | By

But wait – people are still thinking about other things. It’s not all pandemic from morning to night.

March 17, less than a week ago – a guy at Leeds City Council sends a hostile letter to someone about a Woman’s Place event at Leeds City Hall more than four months ago. What is Leeds City Council guy so hostile about four months later and during a pandemic? He’s hostile about “alleged statements about misgendering by speakers at the meeting and a Social Media post which was allegedly tweeted by the organisers about the use of gendered toilets and which toilets guests should use.” More than four months later, during a pandemic. Omigod some women talked about misgendering four months ago! Send them a fierce bossy letter immediately! Don’t forget your mask!

Also…”As a service user of a building belonging to Leeds City Council i[t] is not appropriate for any organisers of a meeting using the venue to make such comments on which toilets visitors could and couldn’t use and the post could be classified as offensive.” So…people holding a meeting at Leeds City Hall can’t say the women’s toilets are to the right and the men’s to the left? It’s now forbidden to say which toilets are which and where they are? Or are the toilets at Leeds City Hall now all “gender-neutral”? Or what? Is it really now municipal government policy to bully and rebuke women for using women’s toilets?

All this “could,” the letter says, “be classed as offensive and not in accordance with our equality policy,” the one that says women have to put up with men in the women’s toilets, so “we would welcome your comments on these points which were brought to our attention within 15 working days.”

Within fifteen working days during a pandemic, that is, when everyone is self-isolating and having to deal with the logistics of self-isolation but nevertheless has nothing better to do than send “comments” to Leeds City Council on the fact that some women dared to hold an event and say where the women’s toilets are.

I can think of some comments I would make. Well, two comments. Fuck, and off.



He has his own style

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:01 am | By

Fauci spoke to ScienceInsider yesterday.

Anthony Fauci, who to many watching the now-regular White House press briefings on the pandemic has become the scientific voice of reason about how to respond to the new coronavirus, runs from place to place in normal times and works long hours. Now the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has even less time to sleep and travels at warp speed, typically racing daily from his office north of Washington D.C. to his home in the capital, and then to the White House to gather with the Coronavirus Task Force in the Situation Room. He then usually flanks President Donald Trump addressing the media–and when he isn’t there, concerned tweets begin immediately. Shortly before he planned to head to the White House for a task force meeting today, he phoned ScienceInsider for a speedy chat.

The first question was how is he. He’s wiped but otherwise ok. Neither infected nor fired as far as he knows.

How is he managing the not fired part?

Well, that’s pretty interesting because to his [President Trump’s] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style.  But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.

Yes, he does go his own way, he does have his own style, and…he shouldn’t. His own way and his own style are anti-scientific, anti-thoughtful, anti-careful, anti-reasonable, anti-responsible – they deviate from every quality we need in an emergency. What we need from Trump for a change is a whole lot of conformity. We need him to find out what the norms are and then act according to them. We don’t need a freelance insult comic for this job.

And it’s nice that he listens to Fauci, I suppose, but since he still then goes his own heedless murderous way, it’s not much help.

Q. You stood nearby while President Trump was in the Rose Garden shaking hands with people. You’re a doctor. You must have had a reaction like, Sir, please don’t do that.

A: Yes, I say that to the task force. I say that to the staff.  We should not be doing that. Not only that–we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences. To his credit, the Vice President [Mike Pence] is really pushing for physical separation of the task force [during meetings]. He keeps people out of the room–as soon as the room gets like more than 10 people or so, it’s ‘Out, everybody else out, go to a different room.’ So with regard to the task force, the Vice President is really a bear in making sure that we don’t crowd 30 people into the Situation Room, which is always crowded. So he’s definitely adhering to that. The situation on stage [for the press briefings] is a bit more problematic. I keep saying, is there any way we can get a virtual press conference. Thus far, no. But when you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things 1,2,3,4 times, and then it happens. So I’m going to keep pushing.

When you’re dealing with this White House you have to say things a hundred times before anyone listens. It’s not normal, it’s just this White House.

Q: What happens before each press conference? What do you do as a group?

A: We’re in the task force. We sit down for an hour and a half, go over all the issues on the agenda. And then we proceed from there to an ante room right in front of the Oval Office to talk about what are going to be the messages, what are the kind of things we’re going to want to emphasize? Then we go in to see the president, we present [our consensus] to him and somebody writes a speech. Then he gets up and ad libs on his speech. And then we’re up there to try and answer questions.

While Trump is up there to lie and brag and pick fights.

[Updating to stipulate: I’m not criticizing Fauci here, just reminding myself and others of the truth about Trump.]



Zorro meets Doctor Goop

Mar 23rd, 2020 5:41 am | By

Oh, Gwyneth, not now.

Image


Trump confirms

Mar 22nd, 2020 5:31 pm | By

It’s true about Trump’s letter to Kim.

Washington and California and New York have to wait until most of us are dead, but that nice Mister Kim is a whole other story.



He’s not called Rand for nothing

Mar 22nd, 2020 5:28 pm | By

Rand Paul’s colleagues are not happy that he went scampering around the Senate for days after being exposed to C19 and taking a test.

Jake Tapper has the details:

Then he got the test, and he went straight home, really he did. But it was some days later than he should have.



His usual lie

Mar 22nd, 2020 5:10 pm | By

Trump did another rally packed with lies about the pandemic this afternoon.

He couldn’t just say “veterans’ hospitals,” he had to repeat a chronic lie about himself as a rescuer of veterans.

But Trump said we’re not going to have that. All that’s required, surely.

What great things? What great things will happen? Name them. List them. Tell us when. Explain how. Full details.

Why can’t we let the cruise lines go out of business? They’re grotesque.

In other words hell yes he’ll take bailout money for his own businesses. What do you think he is, some kind of fucking charity?

Fauci wasn’t there today.

Well thank god he’s concentrating on the pandemic.

We’re not.

Take health insurance away during a pandemic! It’s genius!



What’s that about shortcomings?

Mar 22nd, 2020 2:01 pm | By

Kiss the ring or die.

“should you fail”…meaning, we’ll stand here and watch while you’re swamped by the pandemic, and then we’ll bury you. Are we generous or what?!



At the GOP lunch

Mar 22nd, 2020 1:55 pm | By

So Rand Paul has exposed a bunch of senators to the virus.

No social distancing for him, I guess.



You have to be a person

Mar 22nd, 2020 11:48 am | By



What the evidence is

Mar 22nd, 2020 11:20 am | By

Oh those unique challenges:

In a new interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Dr. Anthony Fauci opened up about the unique challenges of serving on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases called it “kind of funny but understandable that people said, ‘What the hell’s the matter with Fauci?’ because I had been walking a fine line.”

I.e. not yelping “Wait, sir, that’s wrong” when Trump babbles about game-changing treatments.

“I’ve been telling the president things he doesn’t want to hear. I have publicly had to say something different with what he states,” he continued, explaining that he’s engaged in “risky business” but insisting that Trump is not and has not been “pissed off” at him to date.

“I don’t want to embarrass him,” Fauci added. “I don’t want to act like a tough guy, like I stood up to the president. I just want to get the facts out. And instead of saying, ‘You’re wrong,’ all you need to do is continually talk about what the data are and what the evidence is. And he gets that. He’s a smart guy. He’s not a dummy. So he doesn’t take it—certainly up to now—he doesn’t take it in a way that I’m confronting him in any way. He takes it in a good way.”

Well…of course he is not a smart guy, and he is a dummy, and he doesn’t “get that,” but no doubt Fauci had to say that if he didn’t want to get the old “ya fiyad” from Mister Smart Guy.



Seaside idyll

Mar 22nd, 2020 11:09 am | By

Back to the orca in the swimming pool.



Dorothea and Will discuss the meaning of life

Mar 22nd, 2020 10:58 am | By

We need something non-pandemic-related, or at least I do. A tweet by a philosopher reminded me of a passage in Middlemarch, so seeing as how it’s long out of copyright I’ll just share it. From chapter 39:

Dorothea felt wretched. She thought her husband altogether in the wrong, on more grounds than Will had mentioned.

“It is better for us not to speak on the subject,” she said, with a tremulousness not common in her voice, “since you and Mr. Casaubon disagree. You intend to remain?” She was looking out on the lawn, with melancholy meditation.

“Yes; but I shall hardly ever see you now,” said Will, in a tone of almost boyish complaint.

“No,” said Dorothea, turning her eyes full upon him, “hardly ever. But I shall hear of you. I shall know what you are doing for my uncle.”

“I shall know hardly anything about you,” said Will. “No one will tell me anything.”

“Oh, my life is very simple,” said Dorothea, her lips curling with an exquisite smile, which irradiated her melancholy. “I am always at Lowick.”

“That is a dreadful imprisonment,” said Will, impetuously.

“No, don’t think that,” said Dorothea. “I have no longings.”

He did not speak, but she replied to some change in his expression. “I mean, for myself. Except that I should like not to have so much more than my share without doing anything for others. But I have a belief of my own, and it comforts me.”

“What is that?” said Will, rather jealous of the belief.

“That by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don’t quite know what it is and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against evil—widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower.”

“That is a beautiful mysticism—it is a—”

“Please not to call it by any name,” said Dorothea, putting out her hands entreatingly. “You will say it is Persian, or something else geographical. It is my life. I have found it out, and cannot part with it. I have always been finding out my religion since I was a little girl. I used to pray so much—now I hardly ever pray. I try not to have desires merely for myself, because they may not be good for others, and I have too much already. I only told you, that you might know quite well how my days go at Lowick.”

“God bless you for telling me!” said Will, ardently, and rather wondering at himself. They were looking at each other like two fond children who were talking confidentially of birds.

“What is your religion?” said Dorothea. “I mean—not what you know about religion, but the belief that helps you most?”

“To love what is good and beautiful when I see it,” said Will. “But I am a rebel: I don’t feel bound, as you do, to submit to what I don’t like.”

“But if you like what is good, that comes to the same thing,” said Dorothea, smiling.

“Now you are subtle,” said Will.

“Yes; Mr. Casaubon often says I am too subtle. I don’t feel as if I were subtle,” said Dorothea, playfully. “But how long my uncle is! I must go and look for him. I must really go on to the Hall. Celia is expecting me.”



When a briefing is not a briefing

Mar 22nd, 2020 9:02 am | By

Margaret Sullivan at the Post reminded us yesterday that Trump isn’t issuing health information, he’s campaigning and vanity-pumping.

More and more each day, President Trump is using his daily briefings as a substitute for the campaign rallies that have been forced into extinction by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It must be awful for him. He loved those rallies – you could tell by watching him for a few seconds (all a sane person can stand). He’s different when he’s performing at those things: he’s no less stupid, of course, but he’s far more fluent and relaxed. He’s at home there, the crowd gives him a high. They assure him that he’s funny and truth-telling and tuff, kind of a mix of Don Rickles and Clint Eastwood. It’s nauseating to watch, his comfort and elation, but it sure does explain a lot about him.

The press briefings don’t do that to him, so clearly they’re far from an adequate substitute, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless.

These White House sessions — ostensibly meant to give the public critical and truthful information about this frightening crisis — are in fact working against that end.

Rather, they have become a daily stage for Trump to play his greatest hits to captive audience members.

His greatest hits are bragging, attacking journalists, and lying.

Trump is doing harm and spreading misinformation while working for his own partisan political benefit — a naked attempt to portray himself as a wartime president bravely leading the nation through a tumultuous time, the FDR of the 21st century. 

FDR would have him summarily and permanently banished, just as he did to the loathsome Joe Kennedy.

It’s important to remember how much Trump’s tune has changed on the coronavirus, from blithely dismissive to self-importantly serious. 

This is what he was saying about the virus in public as recently as Feb. 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

We know, without any doubt, that Trump was ignoring intelligence reports that warned about the likelihood of a pandemic at the same time he was cooing these baseless reassurances. But now he’s claiming that he knew the problem was a pandemic long before others did, and that he took every step possible.

He can lie and brag at the same time. It’s a gift. Mind you it would be pretty difficult for him to brag and tell the truth at the same time.



The fundamental human right to go to a restaurant

Mar 22nd, 2020 7:56 am | By

Trump is retweeting like a rabid squirrel – he’s helping! he’s doing things! he’s busy! – and this is one of the things he saw fit to retweet during this developing pandemic:

Emergency measures during a pandemic threaten our sacred FREEDOM!



I didn’t do it, they did it!

Mar 21st, 2020 3:40 pm | By

If this is true it’s the craziest thing yet. The Daily Beast:

The White House is launching a communications plan across multiple federal agencies that focuses on accusing Beijing of orchestrating a “cover-up” and creating a global pandemic, according to two U.S. officials and a government cable obtained by The Daily Beast.

The cable, sent to State Department officials Friday, lays out in detail the circumstances on the ground in China, including data on coronavirus cases and deaths, the local business environment and transportation restrictions. But it also issues guidelines for how U.S. officials should answer questions on, or speak about, the coronavirus and the White House’s response in relation to China.

The “guidelines”=blame China.

“Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the world of the threat, since they were the first to learn of it,” the cable reads. “Instead, the… government hid news of the virus from its own people for weeks, while suppressing information and punishing doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering.”

In other words they’re accusing China of doing what Trump and his goons did.

I have little doubt that China did fail to put its people first, but I have zero interest in hearing about it from anyone who works for Trump.

Two U.S. officials working on the administration’s coronavirus response said the White House is pushing federal agencies to stick closely to the national security council’s talking points, especially when senior officials take to the podium, to ensure continuity with President Trump. 

And by “ensure continuity with Trump” they mean “not expose Trump as a liar by not echoing his ‘talking points.'”

“These talking points are all anyone is really talking about right now,” one official said. “Everything is about China. We’re being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible, including press conferences and television appearances.”

That’s the urgent thing! Blaming China! Not doing anything for us, just covering Trump’s gangrenous ass.

But the administration isn’t just focusing on criticizing China, it’s also painting America’s response to the global pandemic as “extraordinary humanitarianism”.

“The United States and the American people are demonstrating once again that they are the greatest humanitarians the world has ever known,” according to the cable.

Bollocks. We’re not. Trump and his goons are some of the worst liars of all time though.



Trump says the single-use masks can be re-used

Mar 21st, 2020 11:31 am | By

Next part of the press conference rally:

Why? Why is that preferable? If that’s preferable why have a Defense Production Act at all? The whole point is that in an emergency it’s not preferable. In an emergency some things have to be mandated.

He’s not an expert in medical hygiene.

No he hasn’t, and no they aren’t.

“Contrary to what the useless bozo on my right keeps saying.”

It doesn’t matter what he “feels.”

Imagine being Tony Fauci and having to put up with this.



Walmart’s ok

Mar 21st, 2020 10:44 am | By

Daniel Dale also taking notes.

He had a call with the hospital system. Cool.

That’s the important thing. That’s what we want to know about.

Is the man an encyclopedia?? He knows about everything! Walmart – Hanes – miracle cures – the works!

Fauci Shmauci, Trump feels good about the medicines, that’s what matters.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo they’re not.

Once we’ve buried all the bodies, that is, those of us who aren’t buried.

I.e. none.

All right not exactly none – it no doubt is comforting for a lot of people. But part of that comfort rests on the fiction that prayer makes things happen beyond comforting people, and it doesn’t. Political figures should stick to the real world.

What things? What things happening? What very positive things? What are these very positive things that are going to replace people’s paychecks?