really well

I’m old enough to remember this:

Washington state officials confirm first coronavirus death in U.S.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t yesterday, though. It was 78 days ago. The first reported Covid-19 death, according to the news reports, was “a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions.” This article also included this stunning news:

“This marks the first virus-related death in the U.S. amid an outbreak that has exceeded 85,000 confirmed cases around the world.”

Let me repeat that. 85,000 confirmed cases around the world. NOT deaths, just confirmed cases. NOT in Washington state, NOT in the United States, 85,000 cases in THE WORLD. 78 days ago. The United States had 22 confirmed cases.

When I started writing this, there were 90,203 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in the US. Let me repeat that as well. In the last 78 days, we’ve had an additional 90,202 confirmed Covid-19 deaths. Deaths, not cases. Deaths. By the time I finish writing this, we’ll likely have another thirty or forty more.

This morning, Comrade President Trump tweeted this:

More than 90,000 Americans dead in 78 days. That’s more than 1,100 Americans every day. Almost 50 Americans dead every hour. We’re doing REALLY well, medically? What the fuck does that even mean?

Just 78 days ago, Trump said this:

“Additional cases in the U.S. are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover and we think that will be a statement we can make with great surety now that we’ve gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus. So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine. Since the early stages of the foreign outbreak, my administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease.

There’s no reason to panic, at all.”

No reason to panic. Healthy people will probably be fine. Probably. Unless they’re one of the 90,000 Americans who died in the last 78 days. I know I keep repeating that, but Jeebus on toast, we’re talking 90,000 dead in 78 fucking days. And it’s not stopping. There were 90,203 when I started writing this; now there are 90,311 (although, in fairness, I did take some time to play with the cat and make myself a late breakfast, but Jesus suffering fuck that’s still a hundred more dead folks in just the last hour or so).

You’ll probably be fine. We’re doing REALLY well, medically.

Yesterday 38 of the 50 states reported more deaths. Despite that, Comrade Trump is encouraging every state to relax pandemic precautions in the name of ‘the economy’ (whatever that means). You know that question folks always ask — your house is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what do you grab? Most folks say they’ll grab something of irreplaceable sentimental value. Family photos, something like that.

The United States is on fire. Trump grabbed the economy and he’s leaving the rest of us to burn.

One more time. 78 days. 90,332 dead. We’re doing REALLY well, medically. Nothing makes sense anymore.

 

fuckwits on parade

You remember those folks who were too afraid to go to Target or Starbucks unless they were allowed to carry their semi-auto assault-style firearms? You know, the folks who believe freedom’s just another word for ‘I have both the right and the duty to carry an AR-15 into the local Dairy Queen even if (and maybe especially if) it scares liberal snowflakes because it’s just possible that some day somebody carrying another AR-15 into the local Dairy Queen might start shooting people and I want to be able to return fire and I will sure as hell shoot straight and kill the bad guys and not accidentally kill innocent people, then you’ll be glad I was armed because I’m doing this for you and America.’ Yeah, those folks. Now they’re standing up to the novel coronavirus.

Fuckwits with flags.

Conservatives in Michigan, manfully pissed off because ‘that woman in Michigan’ wants everybody to stay inside and be safe and healthy, organized a protest. ‘Operation Gridlock.’ They gathered their guns, their MAGA hats, their ‘Trump 2020’ signs, their Confederate battle flags, their Gadsen ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags, and they loaded up their pickups, and headed to Lansing to teach a lesson to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and show that pesky Chinese virus that real Americans aren’t afraid to gather in large groups and create patriotic vectors of viral transmission.

fuckwits in pickups with Confederate flags.

Michigan, right now, has more active Covid-19 cases than California. They’ve had a couple thousand confirmed Covid-19 deaths (and who knows how many unconfirmed deaths) — the third most deaths in this entire sad, gutted nation, behind New Jersey and New York. Gov. Whitmer ordered non-essential businesses to close and people to stay home and self-isolate in an attempt to mitigate the deaths. So of course these fuckwits decided to gather together, to chant ‘lock her up’ about the governor, to wave their flags and Trump signs, and block traffic in front of a hospital. Seriously, during a goddamn pandemic, these yahoos thought it was cute to block the emergency entrance to a hospital. Jesus suffering fuck.

Gov. Whitmer’s order for Michigan citizens to stay home, they said, was tyranny (SPOILER: if you can gather in public and accuse the government of tyranny without fear of arrest, it’s not tyranny). They repeated Ben Franklin’s claim that ‘security without liberty is called prison’ (SPOILER: if you can drive your pickup to Lansing, Michigan, you’re not in prison and you have liberty). They chanted “Lock her up!” and “Keep America Great!” (SPOILER: if your nation was warned a pandemic was coming and didn’t bother to prepare for it, your country isn’t all that great, and a populace that wants to lock up a governor for trying to mitigate that pandemic isn’t particularly great either).

Fuckwits with firearms.

I kinda sorta semi-support the right of these fuckwits to gather together. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble’, after all. On the other hand, legal scholars agree that the State has the power and an obligation to regulate behavior when there’s a compelling interest vital to the protection of public health and safety. Like, say, a pandemic. There’s no pandemic exception to the First Amendment, but courts have ruled that states and localities have the right to limit the size of gatherings when it’s in the interest of public health and safety. Which is exactly what Gov. Whitmer did.

In the end, you can’t fully protect stupid people from being stupid and doing stupid things with other stupid people. Some of these fuckwits on parade will possibly/likely get infected with the Covid-19 virus. If that happens, they’ll possibly/likely pass that infection on to others — some of whom didn’t behave stupidly. This the way of the fuckwitted; their stupidity is splashed onto the innocent.

Conservatives are fond of quoting Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The tree of stupidity, it seems, has to be refreshed on a regular basis with the blood of the innocent.

relax guys, trump is dealing with the pandemic by bringing in carnival cruise ships

Legit question: why are news media still covering Comrade Trump’s Covid-19 briefings? They know he’s going to spread misinformation; they know he’s going to lie. It’s bad enough that Trump misinforms and lies about political stuff, but when it comes to public health his misinformation and lies actually endanger lives.

Another legit question: IF the news media feel the MUST cover Trump (because he’s the president, after all), why do they have to clean up the nonsense he spouts? When he says something incomprehensible, which he does all the time, they edit it so that it appears to make sense. Why?

“I’m hearing good things on the ground.”

Here’s an example. Yesterday the network evening news accurately reported this part of Trump’s statement: “I also just invoked the Defense Production Act to help facilitate distribution of essential supplies if necessary.” That makes Trump sound reasonable, proactive, presidential — none of which is true. They did NOT report his responses to some of the questions asked about the Defense Production Act.

Q: You “enabled” — I guess, is probably the best way to put it — the Defense Production Act yesterday, but you didn’t pull the trigger on it.

A: No, because we hope we’re not going to need that.

So he invoked the DPA, but he hasn’t actually used it. The entire point of invoking the act is to require manufacturers to produce material needed in a national emergency. Like a pandemic.

Here’s another question.

Q: Under what conditions would you put the Defense Production Act into action?

A: Well, if we were desperately in need of something — and we, frankly, will know about that very shortly. We want to be ahead of — we don’t want to do it as it happens but before it happens. We’re going to know a lot over the next two or three days. We’ll know a lot.

“We don’t want to do it AS it happens, but BEFORE it happens.” We’re going to wait a few days to see if we’re really as desperate as every doctor and every nurse in every hospital and clinic in every state claims we are. Then we’ll act before it happens. Trump fails to comprehend simple causality. He doesn’t understand you can’t wait until AFTER an event to act BEFORE the event.

“No, really, I’m the president. I’m NOT a shipping clerk.”

But wait, there’s more:

Q: I wanted to just follow up on John and Kaitlan’s question. So it’s not just masks. Doctors are saying now that they are desperate for other personal protective gear — gloves, other equipment. Governors are saying that they don’t have access to respirators, and they’re terrified. What is your reticence about invoking the Defense Production Act?

A:  Governors are supposed to get it. The states are supposed to get it. But we’re helping the states.

Q: But people are saying there’s nowhere to buy them, that there aren’t enough in the country.

A: Well — look, for years, they bought them, and now, all of a sudden, they’re coming to the federal government.

Q: They need more now.

A: We are working with the states. We’re working with the governors. We’re working with everybody. The relationships are great. One of the things that happened this morning: I spoke with Micky Arison of Carnival Cruise Lines, and he’s going to make ships available.

He’s invoked the Defense Protection Act because it’s a national emergency, but it’s up to the governors of the individual states to get the equipment — the equipment that isn’t being rushed into production by the DPA. Besides why do they need this stuff ‘all of a sudden’? Why aren’t they prepared? Good news, though. Micky is going to provide cruise ships — I guess because of their stellar record public health record.

“Yeah, I don’t know where the buck stops. It’s got to stop someplace. But it’s not stopping here. We’ll see how it goes.”

But wait again, there’s still more.

Q: But, Mr. President, what is your reticence about invoking the Defense Production Act?

A: I’ve done it. I’ve done it.

Q: But you said that you don’t want to invoke it yet.

A: Yeah, if we find that we need something, that we will do that. And you don’t know what we’ve done. You don’t know whether or not we’ve ordered. You don’t know if we’ve invoked it. You don’t know what’s been ordered, what’s not been ordered.

Did you wash behind your ears? Yes, I did. But your ears are still dirty. I’ll wash them if they need washing and you weren’t there so you don’t know if I washed them or not stop picking on me.

None of that was seen on the evening news. None of the wildly contradictory claims, none of the childish tantrums. Just ‘Trump said something that sounded presidential’.

But wait one more time, there’s still more.

Q: Could you explain the gap in — for the American people — in what you’re saying here today about there being tens of thousands of tests available, about how there being a huge amount of masks available and what we’re seeing on the ground, which is really the opposite of that? People are — people are saying that they can’t get tested even when they have symptoms. People are saying that they — doctors are telling us they don’t have access to vital equipment. Can you explain that gap?

A: Well, I can’t. I cannot explain the gap. I’m hearing very good things on the ground, and we’re dealing with — look, they had to ramp up. They had an obsolete system, and they had a system, simultaneously, that was not meant for this. It wasn’t meant for this. Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.

He can’t explain why people are saying they don’t have necessary equipment because he’s hearing very good things about people having equipment, but whatever the problem is, it’s not his fault. Who knew there might be a pandemic?

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. I blame it on Obama.”

I know the evening network news doesn’t have the time to include news segments that take more than a couple of minutes. They can’t show six or seven minutes of the president blathering like a nincompoop; they have advertisers to please, and there’s a sports team scandal, and there was severe weather someplace, and of course they need to have final feel-good segment about a high school play that got canceled but the kids did it anyway on Skype and boy you just can’t hold back American spirit, can you, no sir.

But Jesus suffering fuck, surely the American people need to know their president is a bonehead without a gram of compassion and entirely lacking in the skills necessary to deal with an interoffice squabble let alone a national crisis. Don’t they? Shouldn’t that be newsworthy? Shouldn’t the news media report the actual news?

comrade trump has thoughts about a dog

This is the actual transcript of Comrade Trump presenting Conan the dog to members of the news media. For the sake of brevity and my own sanity, I’ve edited out most of Vice-Comrade Pence’s lickspittle remarks. Okay, here we go.

“Good morning. So this is Conan — right now, probably the world’s most famous dog. I don’t think — I have to use the word ‘probably.’ And Conan is an incredible — it’s an incredible story. I learned a lot about this particular type of dog. And it’s trained that, if you open your mouths, you will be attacked. You want to be very, very careful. But Conan came over from the Middle East — just arrived — with some of the great people from the Special Forces that did the incredible fl- — it was a flawless attack. And al-Baghdadi is gone. But that was a flawless attack. And I just met quite a few of them. And we just gave Conan a medal and a plaque. And it’s really — and I actually think Conan knew exactly what was going on. But a dog that is very, very special and we could maybe say — Mike, come on over. Maybe you want to say something about the type of dog and — They were going to put a muzzle on the dog and I thought that was a good idea, but then it gets even more violent, John. So I had a choice. But, no, the dog is incredible. Actually incredible. We spent some good time with it. And so brilliant, so smart — the way it was with the Special Forces people that it worked with. And for obvious reasons, they can’t be out in front of the media. But they did a fantastic job. Conan did a fantastic job. And we’re very honored to have Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award that we’re going to put up in the White House.

Mike, would you have something to say?

Vice-Comrade Pence spent the next couple of minutes licking Comrade Trump’s butt. He reminded Trump that it was his decision to launch the mission that “took down the leader of ISIS” and that “having this extraordinary dog here today is all a reflection of our armed forces” and also that “it’s a real joy to be able to help welcome him here to the White House with you.” He gave the president a look that might have been an approximation of an expression he thought of as ‘joy’. Then it was back to Trump.

“It’s true. And Conan was very badly hurt, as you know. And they thought maybe was not going to recover. Recovered, actually very quickly and has since gone on very important raids. As you know, we captured 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate. When I took office, we had almost nothing. It was as though they were just forming again, and now it’s 100 percent. And we have done a lot of work since then. We have done a lot of work since the raid. Certain things have happened that are very important. So we’re in very good shape. We’re in very good shape. We’ve had a lot of help, too, from other countries. We’ve had a — we’ve really done a job. I just want to thank you all. So, this is a special time for Conan. And we really appreciate it. And I was told about the breed. I was told about Conan himself. And Conan is a tough cookie. And nobody is going to mess with Conan. I asked one question. I said, ‘So, what chance, with Conan…’ I got to see how fast Conan can move. I said, ‘What chance would a strong man have — really strong, tough, a fighter — what chance would this person have against Conan, without the guns? What chance? And I guess the answer, pretty much, was ‘none.’ He would have no chance. So, it’s amazing. And yet, you see how beautiful and how calm, during a situation like this, is. And you’re very lucky he doesn’t — he’s not in a bad mood today, Jeff. [Laughter] Not in a bad mood. You’re safe. Anyway. So I want to thank you all. Thank you very much. And this is a great honor to have Conan here. A great honor to have the Special Forces here. They’re in the Oval Office.”

Two members of the press asked Trump 1) are you going to adopt the dog, and 2) is the dog retiring. Seriously, those were the questions.

“I love this dog. No, Conan is not retiring yet. Conan is primetime, age-wise. Primetime. I asked that question. They go for about six years — like an athlete. Six years. They start — they like to get them at one and a half or two years old, and they’ll go for about six years from that time. After that, it happens where maybe the reflexes aren’t quite as good. You know, things like that happen. It would never happen to us. But the dog, primetime, is those six years after two. And they’re very special dogs. They’re very hard to get. This particular dog is — this is the ultimate fighter, ultimate everything. Ultimate in terms of sniffing drugs. We have a — we’ve spent a tremendous amount of money on drug equipment at the border. And I was talking to the people, and I say, ‘Well, is there anything better than this equipment?’ ‘No, sir. The only thing better is a dog.’ A dog — this type of dog, exactly, because it’s a certain type of dog. And it’s pretty amazing. But they are really better. We had a case where we had drugs in a — the cylinder of a car. And it was undetectable by this very expensive machinery, which is really amazing machinery. But still, it was undetectable. The dog came in — wah, jumped on the hood, pointing — you know. Opened the hood and knew exactly. It’s incredible, the sense of smell or whatever it may be — probably sense of smell. So they’re incredible animals. And thank you all very much.”

The entire episode was cringe-worthy. Trump never touched the dog. Melania looked slightly scared. Pence managed to resist the urge to hump Trump’s leg. Even the dog seemed to understand there was nothing normal about this — which maybe proved Comrade Trump said at least one thing that wasn’t a lie: Conan knew exactly what was going on.

the trash party

There used to be Republicans I disagreed with, but still respected. I could list names, but it doesn’t really matter because that Republican Party no longer exists. It’s gone, it’s history. Republicans with integrity are now creatures of myth.

The Republican Party as it exists today is…well, trash.

I kinda hate saying that. To call someone ‘trash’ has been insulting since the 16th century; even Shakespeare used trash to refer to worthless, contemptible people. But if the adjective fits…well.

It’s not just that the GOP has abandoned an internally consistent conservative ideology (or anything resembling an internally consistent ideology), or that they’ve completely abdicated any interest in governance, or even that they have no respect at all for truth, decency, law, compassion, science, or the U.S. Constitution. I mean, all that is horrible, but that’s not what makes them trash.

What makes them trash is the joy they seem to take in pissing all over the traditions and norms they claim to represent. Wednesday’s stunt was a perfect example. Matt Gaetz pulled together a squad of knuckleheads and decided to interrupt a deposition being held in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility used for sessions involving issues of national security. Why would they do such a boneheaded thing? There are their stated reasons (all of which are the most rancid types of bullshit) and there are the real reasons.

You can put them in suits, but they’re still trash.

Here’s how Gaetz introduce the event to the media (because of course they alerted the media):

“I’m gathered here with dozens of my congressional colleagues underground in the basement of the Capitol, because if behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election, we want to know what’s going on.”

Gaetz got a couple of things right. The basement is underground and the doors to the SCIF were closed. It was underground because that’s where basements are, and the doors were closed because 1) you always close the doors to keep out the noise made by fuckwits in the hallway, and 2) when you’re deposing a witness about issues of national security, the operative term is security. The entire point of holding it the SCIF was because it’s right there in the goddamn name. The information is sensitive.

But the claim that the point of the deposition (and the impeachment hearings) is to ‘overturn the results of an American presidential election‘ is stupid on a galactic scale. Overturning the election would mean Hillary would become president if/when Comrade Trump is impeached and convicted. That won’t happen. We’d end up with Mike Pence. So impeaching Trump is basically like curing Ebola and getting genital herpes. Nobody wants that, but with treatment it’s something we can live with.

Another thing — if Gaetz and his cadre of chucklewits wanted to know what was going on behind those closed doors, all they had to do is ask their Republican colleagues who are attending those sessions. About half of them could have actually attended the deposition if they’d wanted; they sit on committees that are cleared to attend. But there’s no drama in that.

Comrade Trump, Trash-in-Chief

Those are Gaetz’s stated reasons for crashing the SCIF. The real reasons? There are a couple of those. The first is because that’s all they’ve got. Lies and stunts and insults and scams. That’s all the Republican Party is now. A party of head-fakes.

They barely make any pretense at legitimate governance. Legitimate governance requires political parties to propose policies grounded in principle. Different parties have different principles, of course, but the policies would still be directed in good faith toward what the party sincerely believes is the common good of the public.

Principles, good faith, sincerity, common good of the public — that shit is gone from the Republican Party now. It’s been replaced with naked self interest. And even that self interest can be set aside for the perverse glee of publicly ‘owning the libs’. And that’s the second real reason Gaetz and the Chucklewits invaded the SCIF —  because they knew it would piss off Democrats, and because they knew they’d get away with it.

That’s what makes them trash.

weather report

Comrade Trump: I got it! I got it! Why don’t we nuke them?
White House Aide: Yes sir, we will. Who are ‘them’?
Trump: Hurricanes!
Aide: Hurricanes?
Trump: Nuke the shit out of them!
Aide: We’ll look into it, sir.

Aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Other aide: What the fuck?
Aide: Yeah, I don’t know.
Other aide: Why does…wait, he…fuck me with a chainsaw.

Other aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Journalist: What the fuck?
Other aide: Yeah, I don’t know. Don’t use my name.
Journalist: Okay. But how does he…I mean, why would…fuck me with a chainsaw.

“I got it! I got it! Nuke the shit out of ’em!”

Journalist: Mr. President, there are reports you’ve suggested nuking hurricanes. Your response?
Comrade Trump: I never said that! Fake news!
Journalist: Sir, you…
Trump: Excuse me. Obama had eight years, never did anything about hurricanes! Nothing! His hurricane policy was a total disaster!
Journalist: But Mr. Presi…
Trump: Excuse me. Nothing! Democrats love hurricanes! And open borders and crime! The Trump administration has done more for hurricanes than almost anybody, I can tell you that! By the way, you think it’s a coincidence that every hurricane is coming from south of the border? We’re building wall! New wall!
Journalist: Are you saying a border wall would…
Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me. Nobody knows more about hurricanes than I do! Nobody! Obama was weak! A disaster. I didn’t say nuke! I never said nuke! I could do nuke if I wanted, but I don’t want nuke! But I could! I inherited the hurricane situation from Obama! There were hurricanes before Trump! Long before! But I’m not saying nuke! I never said that! You’re fake news!
Journalist: Thank you Mr. President.

Journalist: Today President Trump stated he was instituting a ‘no-nuke’ policy regarding hurricanes, separating himself from previous administration policies.
Other journalist: It’s a complicated situation. Democrats have so far failed to come up with a hurricane proposal that’s acceptable to the president.
Journalist: Both sides need to work together to come up with a solution.
Other Journalist: Hurricanes shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

People of the World: What the fuck?

ag-gh! help!

Tomorrow evening Comrade Donald Trump will stand up on his hind legs and bark at the American people. Afterwards, he’ll probably call it ‘maybe the greatest State of the Union speech ever given in history.’ I’m pretty confident it’ll mostly be bullshit.

I don’t say that because I dislike Trump (though I do — I really do — Jesus suffering fuck do I dislike Trump). I say that because the speech will be meaningless. Why? Two very fundamental reasons. Reason One: the state of the Union is Ag-gh Help! Reason Two: nobody really trusts or believes anything Comrade Trump says anymore. Last I heard, WaPo had Trump at just over 8000 lies since he assumed office (and really, that’s the best use of ‘assumed’ ever).

The state of the union is Ag-gh Help! largely because Trump is really bad at being president. Why? Because he’s ignorant of the functions of government, he has no interest (and probably lacks the capacity) to learn the functions of government, he seems incapable of putting the nation’s interests before his own, he’s incapable of establishing a coherent policy and abiding by it, and none of the other nations of the world trust him or believe him when he makes a promise (on account of all that lying). All of that is in addition to the fact that Comrade Trump is effectively a Russian intelligence asset. In other words, ag-gh help!

Yes, he IS giving a State of the Union speech.

This is how bad Trump is at being president. Right now the Trump administration doesn’t have a chief of staff, it doesn’t have an Attorney General, it doesn’t have a Secretary of Defense, it doesn’t have a Secretary of the Interior, it doesn’t have a Director for the Environmental Protection Agency, it doesn’t have Director for the Office of Management and Budget. The people who held those positions have all either resigned or been fired. All of those positions are in the hands of ‘acting’ directors. We don’t even have nominees for many of those positions. Ag-gh help!

Again, why? Because competent people don’t want to work for Comrade Trump. Nobody trusts him (there’s that lying business again, plus the fact that Trump has no concept of loyalty to his staff). The fact is, Trump treats being POTUS like it was a part-time job. Seriously. A member of the White House staff recently leaked three months of Trump’s private daily schedules. The very fact that his own staff is actively undermining him is evidence of how badly he sucks at his job. Worse, the schedules show that for the past three months, Trump has spent about 60% of his day engaged in ‘executive time’. Which is basically watching FoxNews and tweeting. (If you’re interested, you can look at those schedules yourself.) Ag-gh help!

So it’s really no wonder the state of the union is Ag-gh Help! When Trump bothers to actually attempt to do his job, he’s bad at it. He can’t say that in his speech, of course. Which means he’s pretty much limited to having to lie a lot. Which is what everybody expects. Which is why the speech is meaningless.

That said, Comrade Trump can count on his fellow Republicans to give him several standing ovations. Why? Why why why? Because they’re as responsible for the state of the union as he is.

Ag-gh help!