Biden on a Staggering Statistic

From Joe Biden and his team:

Today, we learned that another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of new unemployment claims since this crisis began to more than 40 million. This is just the latest evidence of D—- T—-’s utter failure to do what a president should and must do: lead in a crisis. He ignored the warnings, refused to prepare the country, and wasn’t honest with the American people about what was needed — and we are all living with the horrific results. Now, nearly a quarter of the American workforce has filed for unemployment — a figure so staggering that it would have seemed unthinkable not long ago.

Though the coronavirus is to blame for planting the seeds of this damage, we know that D—- T—-’s persistent failure to act is responsible for the tragic and unprecedented scale of the crisis. T—- was warned for months about the urgency of the situation, but sat on his hands — undermining public health experts and spinning false promises to the American people to prop up his political standing at the expense of public safety.

Germany, by contrast, had its first reported case of coronavirus almost a week after the United States, but has suffered only a tiny fraction of the unemployment we’ve faced thanks to a swift and effective public health response. Millions more Americans would be employed today — and our lives would have a far greater semblance of normalcy — had T—- responded with similar resolve. A devastating study released last week found that 36,000 people could have been saved had [the Toddler] taken action even one week earlier. Instead, more than 100,000 Americans have been lost forever, and the day-to-day lives and future dreams of 40 million people and their families have been thrown off course.

Even now, T—- refuses to focus on getting help to those who need it most. The largest single recipient of relief funds intended for small businesses was a hotel executive and major T—- donor who claimed more than $58 million in taxpayer bailout money. A private jet company founded by a T—- donor received another $27 million. And a cell phone location-tracking company that has been hired by the T—- campaign to target voters obtained nearly $3 million.

Meanwhile, actual small businesses and mom-and-pop entrepreneurs — the lifeblood of local economies — are being turned away in droves. As if that weren’t enough, T—- has also used the cover of this crisis to brazenly fire five inspectors general, the public watchdogs whose job it is to guard against corruption — including the official responsible for providing oversight of pandemic relief funds.

The corruption is obvious — the incompetence even more so. Two months after Congress passed the CARES Act to speed relief to the American people, not one dollar allocated for the Main Street Lending Program — a $600 billion fund designed to help small and medium-sized businesses across America — has been disbursed. Not one dollar, as businesses keep laying workers off and struggle through some of the most brutal months in modern history. Wall Street has gotten the help it needs; Main Street is still waiting. There is no excuse for this Administration’s lack of urgency or care given all that the American people are enduring right now.

I oversaw implementation of the nearly $800 billion Recovery Act — with less than 0.2 percent waste, fraud, and abuse. That response didn’t happen by magic. It took sustained focus and constant pressure and personal engagement at the highest levels to make sure we were implementing the program efficiently and effectively on behalf of the American people. We need that type of response right now — albeit on a dramatically larger scale.

D—- T—- should be laser-focused on getting relief out as fast as possible to the people who actually need it — with no favoritism and no fraud. That he continues to occupy himself with self-pitying tweets and dangerous conspiracy theories in the face of an ongoing, world-historic crisis killing thousands of Americans each day and putting millions more out of work is beyond comprehension. I pray that the President thinks of them.

Unquote.

Don’t bother praying. God helps those who help themselves in November.

Headline: T— Accuses Obama of Being “Grossly Incompetent”

From political activist Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion:

If you’re a thief, accuse your enemies of thievery. If corrupt, accuse your rivals of corruption. If a coward, accuse others of cowardice. Evidence is irrelevant; the goal is to dilute the truth and the case against you with “everyone does it”.

T—-’s unfounded attacks on others of the things he is demonstrably guilty of aren’t mere projection. They are a tactic to lower the moral bar for all, to wave off his corruption and abuse as normal.

This has been the ploy of dictators for decades, to say that anyone accusing them of crimes is a hypocrite. Not to say they are good, but that we are all bad, that there is no good or evil, no truth, just power.

Unquote.

Although T—–, being a fool, takes it one step further. He brags that he is, for example, the most competent person in the world, making himself look ridiculous, in addition to monumentally dishonest.

Getting Ahead of Themselves

As pressure builds to “reopen” America, it should be noted that if you remove the New York metropolitan area (which includes northern New Jersey) from the statistics, the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing. The New York metro area has been hit the hardest and is now showing improvement. But the situation is getting worse elsewhere, including states where Republican politicians are eager to move past all this unpleasantness.

ScreenHunter_3952-May.-09-19.12 (1)

Here are the trend lines for four states with right-wing governors in thrall to Dear Leader:

ArizonaMissNebraskaTexas

From Andy Slavitt, former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid:

Like many countries, we picked a strategy to beat COVID-19. We just decided not to stick to it. It’s a long and difficult road, and after we climbed halfway we decided it was too hard and chose to roll back down the hill.

There is, however, a plan to slowly and steadily bring the economy back, but only by solving the public health crisis. It was put forward by [the] White House all of three weeks ago. It had gates and stages, and hinged on conditions on the ground. But none of the conditions have been met.

Rather than wait, [the Toddler] grew impatient. He wants life to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. He wants the economy growing. [He wants to be re-elected, not judged a “loser”!]

Our expectations are simple. The truth, no matter how hard. To know that our safety matters. A plan which uses all our tools and best thinking that we stick with. Candor in discussing the tough trade offs.

We’re not getting that.

Instead, in Slavitt’s words, we’ll get:

… a food fight between the hardened realists who can tolerate death to “get our country back”, and the “public health mafia who are willing to kill the economy for the sake of a few people who will die soon anyway.” And if those people say that the death toll is going to be big, they’re just alarmists.

Many in the news media will present this as one more political controversy requiring balance between “both sides”. Dana Milbank of The Washintgon Post sees it as something else:

This is state-sanctioned killing. It is a conscious decision to accept 2,000 preventable deaths every day, because our leaders believe the victims [will be] poor schlubs who work in meat-processing plants… It is deliberately sacrificing the old, factory workers, and black and Hispanic Americans, who are dying at higher rates….

All we can do is pray for a vaccine breakthrough and hope summer weather helps. That’s because our president abandoned the fight. [He] can lie all he likes about the adequacy of testing and supplies, and blame his predecessor, his opponents and the media for his incompetence. It [won’t] matter to the virus.

Finally, some not exactly optimism from Tom Tomorow:

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We’ve Been Hoping for a Tipping Point

Yet a tipping point, the last straw, will probably never arrive. A number of citizens of this formerly great country will spray disinfectant on their corn flakes before pouring the milk, but President Lysol will stumble and bumble on for nine more months. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see the word “resign” appear in a reputable publication, not the feverish musings of a humble blogger.

From Jack Holmes of Esquire:

Of course there are people who will defend him no matter what, but it’s hard not to think that the watching Elite Political Media’s refusal to say what is right in front of them has also aided and abetted the madness. Could he have made it this far without people who are so scared of being accused of Bias or not being Objective that they can’t bring themselves to call a loon a loon? The latest example comes via The New York Times…They did not feel they could just say this is dangerous, not to mention fucking crazy. … if a guy walked into the lobby of the New York Times building yelling at people to drink bleach, he would be removed from the premises in short order. But when the president does it, we’ve got to check in with the experts to know what an 11-year-old knows….

In fairness, [the] Times story was delivered with some trademark low-key Times humor. But we need to get a little more direct here. Something really has to give. At what point are you misleading your readers by not pointing out that what just happened was fucking crazy, and they’re not crazy to think so? There is a need among some, particularly in Washington, to believe the president is not completely batty. The prospect that he has no idea what he’s doing, and in fact may not be all there, is psychologically difficult for some to grapple with. It’s also scary for some folks to think about just saying what’s in front of them and feeling the backlash from his supporters. So evening-news programs and newspapers spend a lot of time cleaning up what the president says, pruning the overgrown hedges into something vaguely coherent in their reports.

…. When are we going to demand more than a circus from the people in whom we now have so much of our futures invested, willingly or not? We should be calling for this guy to resign on a daily basis. He should be impeached again for gross incompetence. Mike Pence looks like fucking FDR by comparison. Most of the president’s supporters will never hold him to any standard that he might not meet. In fact, they will continually lower the bar to accommodate him, because they have already invested too much of themselves in this to go back. The sunk cost is too high. It’s up to everyone else to plainly say that he should not have this job any longer. We hired him, on a temporary basis, to manage the Executive Branch of our government. He should be fired.

Unquote.

Note: A spokesman for the governor of Maryland says that after receiving more than 100 calls, the state issued a reminder that “under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through the injection, ingestion or any other route”. 

And just think, the 100 people who made those calls are some of the smarter ones.

Experts Urge Caution?

From the NY Times:

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?” he asked. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

After the president’s comments, searches soared for cleaning products like colored laundry detergent capsules, or Tide Pods, leading the Washington State emergency management division to tell people, “don’t eat tide pods or inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant.”

The maker of the disinfectants Lysol and Dettol also issued a statement on Friday warning against the improper use of their products.

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company said. The words “under no circumstance” were highlighted in bold.

Unquote.

Times editors want to be so balanced and calm in their headlines that they put this under:

Trump extols the powers of sunlight and household disinfectants. Experts urge caution. 

A reasonable alternative would have been:

Trump extols the powers of sunlight and household disinfectants. Experts and normal people cite injury and likely death.

Update:

A member of the cult said the president was merely being “inquisitive”, but would anybody outside the cult disagree that the president of the United States should not be bringing up absurd, extremely dangerous treatments on national TV, unless it’s to strongly warn the public against them? It’s not a subject to be “inquisitive” about, certainly not in public. He made it seem plausible and nobody there disagreed.

Meanwhile: 

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The owners of The Onion saw the phrase “some experts” and decided to close up shop, finally accepting that they can’t compete.

Update #2:

It took them several hours, but they finally offered a correction. The comments are excellent.

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Poor Grammar Leads to Justified Ridicule

One of the worst members of Congress expressed himself on Twitter last night with these words:

The United States has tested more than anyone in the world by far. Txxxx is the greatest testing President God has ever created.

You could read the second sentence as suggesting that President God — whoever that might be — created Txxxx as the greatest testing ever. This president has certainly tested us in many ways. But a Republican member of Congress would never acknowledge that reality.

Instead, thousands of Twitter-based smart alecks seized on the words “President God” as a great opportunity to express themselves. As well they should have.

Now, we sticklers will point out that the congressman should have put in a hyphen and used lower case, making it “the greatest-testing president” or maybe “the greatest testing-president”. He could have avoided some of the justified ridicule, but not completely.

Of the few replies I looked at, this was my favorite:

EV4kxNuXgAIETCA

A perhaps more apt reply was this:

Every time President God brags about how well he has done combating COVID-19, remember these FACTS:

The United States has just 1/23 of the world’s population.

The United States has had 1/4 of all COVID-19 deaths.

Actually, it’s 1/5 of all deaths (based on the available statistics), but the point remains.

Melting Down? Is It Stroke City Yet?

Some networks (they know who they are) are still broadcasting the Toddler’s demented “briefings” — despite many calls for them to stop. According to the internet, yesterday’s performance was especially toxic. Maybe the guy will finally have a stroke? Here’s most of an account from The Guardian that gets bonus points for (1) referring to him as a “toddler” and (2) bringing up his resignation (it’s gratifying to see that a talented journalist reads Whereof One Can Speak religiously, as everyone should!):

A toddler threw a self-pitying tantrum on live television on Monday night. Unfortunately he was 73 years old, wearing a long red tie and running the world’s most powerful country.

[DT], starved of campaign rallies, Mar-a-Lago weekends and golf, and goaded by a bombshell newspaper report, couldn’t take it any more. Years of accreted grievance and resentment towards the media came gushing out in a torrent. He ranted, he raved, he melted down and he blew up the internet with one of the most jaw-dropping performances of his presidency.

This was, as he likes to put it, “a 10”.

[His] Easter had evidently been ruined by a damning 5,500-word New York Times investigation showing that [he] squandered precious time in January and February as numerous government figures were sounding the alarm about the coronavirus.

With more than 23,000 American lives lost in such circumstances, some presidents might now be considering resignation. Not [him]. He arrived in the West Wing briefing room determined to tell the world, or at least his base, that he was not to blame. Instead it was a new and bloody phase of his war against the “enemy of the people”: the media. Families grieving loved ones lost to the virus were in for cold comfort here.

A CNN chyron is a worth a thousand words: “[DT] refuses to acknowledge any mistakes”; “[He] uses task force briefing to try and rewrite history on coronavirus response”; “[He] melts down in angry response to reports he ignored virus warnings”; “Angry [DT] turns briefing into propaganda session”.

The thin-skinned president lashed out at reporters, swiped at Democrat Joe Biden and refused to accept that he had put a foot wrong. “So the story in the New York Times is a total fake, it’s a fake newspaper and they write fake stories. And someday, hopefully in five years when I’m not here, those papers are all going out of business because nobody’s going to read them,” [he] said.

With a dramatic flourish, the president ordered the briefing room lights dimmed. In a James Bond film, it would be the moment that poisoned gas is piped into the room. What happened wasn’t far off: a campaign-style montage of video clips, shown on screens set up behind the podium. There was footage of doctors saying in January that the coronavirus did not pose an imminent threat, Trump declaring a national emergency, and Democratic governors praising him for providing federal assistance.

Veteran White House reporters said they could never remember such a film being played in that room….

Jon Karl of ABC News asked in consternation: “Why did you feel the need to do that?”

[DT] replied: “Because we’re getting fake news and I like to have it corrected … Everything we did was right.”

Over and over, [he] highlighted his decision to ban some flights from China in late January before there were any virus-related deaths confirmed in the US – even though nearly 400,000 people travelled to the US from China before the restrictions were in place and 40,000 people have arrived there since.

The CBS News correspondent Paula Reid was having none of it and cut to the chase. “The argument is that you bought yourself some time,” she said “You didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing. Right now, nearly 20 million people are unemployed. Tens of thousands of Americans are dead.”

[The president] talked over her: “You’re so disgraceful. It’s so disgraceful the way you say that.”

Reid demanded: “How is this newsreel or this rant supposed to make people feel confident in an unprecedented crisis?”

[He] reverted to his China travel restrictions but Reid continued to push him on his inaction in February. [He] was unable to muster a reasonable response. It was a case study in how, when he loses an argument, his instinct is to attack the accuser. He trotted out his frayed, timeworn insult: “You know you’re a fake, your whole network the way you cover it is fake … That’s why you have a lower approval rating than probably you’ve ever had before …”

…. The briefing went on for well over two hours. Even Fox News gave up before the end. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee, spoke for many when he tweeted: “Why do reputable news organizations carry these daily Trump press conferences live?

“They are filled with misinformation and propaganda. From the president himself, no less. The country would be far better served and informed if they used highlights [Note: I wouldn’t use that word] later. Enough is enough.”