Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

What Have I Been Saying?


I suppose it was that obvious, wasn’t it?  Because this is clearly the view from 9th Ave., which is no longer plagued by covid-19.

The Narrative is EVERYTHING!


The topic of conversation is Swan asking Trump about the Tulsa rally:

“I was trying to ask him about public health, whether it was responsible as a president to hold what is still the largest indoor gathering of Americans since this virus took off in the country. That’s what I was asking about,” [Jonathan] Swan said.

CNN host Brianna Keilar started to talk about the crowd estimate provided by the local fire marshal, but Swan interjected.

“I don’t care!” the Axios reporter said. “Who cares? Who cares? It’s not important.”

“He cares,” Keilar noted, “so the interview gets hung up [on that.]”

“Why put 6,000 people who weren’t wearing masks in an arena, that was the question. I don’t care what the number was,” Swan remarked.
Who cares, indeed?  The President is a blithering idiot.  He doesn't deserve any more respect for his idiocy just because he's the President.

"Be Like John"




Sounds about right:

The Texas City disaster is generally considered the worst industrial accident in American history. Witnesses compared the scene to the fairly recent images of the 1943 air raid on Bari and the much larger devastation after the atom bomb was dropped at Nagasaki. Of the dead, 405 were identified and 63 have never been identified. The latter remains were placed in a memorial cemetery in the north part of Texas City near Moses Lake. An additional 113 people were classified as missing, for no identifiable parts were ever found. This figure includes firefighters who were aboard Grandcamp when she exploded. There is some speculation that there may have been hundreds more killed but uncounted, including visiting seamen, non-census laborers and their families, and an untold number of travelers. But there were also some survivors among people as close as 70 feet (21 m) from the dock. The victims' bodies quickly filled the local morgue. Several bodies were laid out in the local high school's gymnasium for identification by family or friends.

Parking lot 1⁄4 mile (400 m) away from the explosion
More than 5,000 people were injured, with 1,784 admitted to 21 area hospitals. More than 500 homes were destroyed and hundreds damaged, leaving 2,000 homeless. The seaport was destroyed, and many businesses were flattened or burned. Over 1,100 vehicles were damaged and 362 freight cars were obliterated; the property damage was estimated at $100 million[10] (equivalent to $1.1 billion in 2019).

A 2-short-ton (1.8-metric-ton) anchor of Grandcamp was hurled 1.62 miles (2.61 km) and found in a 10-foot (3 m) crater. It was installed at a memorial park. The other main 5-short-ton (4.5-metric-ton) anchor was hurled 1⁄2 mile (800 m) to the entrance of the Texas City Dike. It rests on a "Texas-shaped" memorial at the entrance. Burning wreckage ignited everything within miles, including dozens of oil storage tanks and chemical tanks. The nearby city of Galveston, Texas, was covered with an oily fog that left deposits over every exposed outdoor surface.

Although in some ways, it could have been worse.  Maybe.  I shouldn't say, that video is about all I've seen of the blast.  Well, except for this:

Still, let's "Be like John."  Not like this asshole:



Literally the Nicest Way of Putting It That's Possible


Except it's not that "Trump can't remember his lines," it's that Trump doesn't understand reality, doesn't accept it, doesn't understand how to explain his version because he's incapable of imagining any other (try explaining something to somebody sometime without some glimmer of how they understand it first), and, worst of all, the POTUS is a blithering idiot.

He sounded like the guy in "Spinal Tap" explaining how his amp went to "11."  Beyond repeating that phrase, the guy had no explanation.  Neither does Trump.

The difference is, this is not a comedy.  And frankly, we really should be beyond excusing the President's obvious cognitive and emotional limitations.

ADDING: Rob Reiner to my rescue:

Just Because I Had A Meemaw

And also:
uhhh....

And a teacher can face upwards of 180 people a day.  I want to see a nurse who comes in close contact with that many people a day in an ICU setting, even a hospital setting, and without wearing any PPE beyond, maybe, a cloth mask. (and how many masks do you see in that picture?  2?  Maybe 3?  By the end of the week, it'll be down to zero.  Nobody does peer pressure like teenagers.)

The comparison of teachers to nurses is absolutely ludicrous.  Not to mention teachers aren't the only people in school buildings during the day, or who come in contact with the children.

People really need to stay in their lane.

Nothin' to see here....


Just the President's usual verbal diarrhea.  Don't pay any attention to him, unless we tell you too.  He's not really in charge, after all; or responsible for drooling words about issues he flatly doesn't understand.

It's fine, it's fine.

If Florida Were a Country....



Or Texas:
1,527 deaths in a week.  In Texas.  Alone.

This Production of "Godot"


...is neither as clever nor as entertaining as the original.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The President of the United States


Don't try to tell him; it will just make your head hurt.


In other mind-bending stupidities:


He can't even direct the IRA to change the way payroll taxes are paid, because it would be an illegal order.

Why yes; yes, he is.

Aaaaand, let's recap:


Meanwhile, from a former President who is not terminally stupid:
I'm beginning to think Texas might be in play. Thanks, Donald!

Lessons


"Only Connect"--E.M. Forster


Here.

And here.

Heaven Help Us




I suppose this means testing creates cases.

Notice those graphs in his hands have almost no text, and bright, almost primary, colors.

Morning Gleanings






The view from 9th Avenue:

Than Lincoln; than LBJ; than MLK

Sociopath-In-Chief

Ideology Uber Alles


Gee, wonder why?
Think about it. If you were a president who let a pandemic get out of control, because you thought it would hurt enemies more than friends, you’d want your team, in this case the Senate Republicans, to dump as much cash as possible onto the economy in the hope that saving it would bring victory. Knowing that’s your best shot (aside from cheating in various and sundry ways), you tell your team to stop bickering and vote for the Heroes Act, the $3.5 trillion aid package already passed by the House. But while your team was on board last time, pushing $2.2 trillion into the economy, almost certainly preventing a drop in GDP from being worse than nearly 10 percent, this time is different. This time, your team is worried about debt. It’s worried about people being “overpaid.” It’s worried about things getting in the way of your being reelected.

Something happened between last time and this time. That something is obvious: poll after poll showing the incumbent behind the challenger by double digits in swing states (or ahead of the challenger within the margin of error in normally safe states). The Republicans, especially in the Senate, seemed to be losing faith in this president and now are looking toward a day when they will need to stand on conservative ideology to oppose a Democratic agenda. The president, meanwhile, can’t see what’s happening, not even when his own Cabinet member goes on TV and uses the same talking points cosplay fiscal hawks use to justify why they won’t support any measure to batten the economy. (Maybe the president didn’t notice, because he was golfing!) Trump can’t quite see he’s being snookered into believing the House Democrats are threatening his reelection by holding things up. They are not. The Republicans are.
The fact is, the rich made out fairly well in the Great Depression.  They were then, as now, shielded from the worst effects of a collapsed economy.  They expect to be again.  Besides, Europe is recovering, and it's a global economy. And the ideology of Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell is expected to serve them well; and probably will.

Host Nicolle Wallace said that it’s clear Republicans don’t know their own districts if they’re fighting back against unemployment stimulus. She cited a special over the weekend that showed the long lines at food pantries where people driving expensive cars in Dallas were hoping to get canned goods.
John Cornyn may find he's expendable, because the Big Idea can never fail, it can only be failed, and Ted Cruz is its messenger and vanguard for at least four more years.  What is the GOP "strategy"?  To serve the Big Idea that brought us Donald Trump, obviously.  Besides, got to have some way to blame the Democrats for the countries problems, even as the Democrats solve them (again) and put the country on the road to fiscal responsibility and financial restoration (again).  That's the "strategy" so the GOP can take control and wreck it all (again), in the name of "conservative ideology."

The Lincoln Project, among others, claims their gonna cleanse the Augean stables this time.  We'll see.  As usual, it all comes down to "we, the people."  We vote for this clown show, over and over and over again.  In the meantime, I stand with Kurt Vonnegut:

"The winners are at war with the losers, and the fix is in.  The prospects for peace are awful."

(And Garrett Haake still think the "narrative" is the guiding light of the Capitol, and only Democrats can be in "disarray":

“I do this for a living and I don’t know what their unified position is on those unemployment benefits,” confessed Haake on MSNBC Monday.
The idea that they have no "unified position" is one he cannot conceive.)

The Future Is Now!


Coming soon to a school near you.

I'd like to say this doesn't have to happen.  But, apparently, it does.

When will they ever learn? (and if you don't get that song reference, you're too young to be reading this blog!*)


*Punks!

Monday, August 03, 2020

The Real Surprise is, there won't be an "October Surprise"


Greg Sargent is partly right:

In the end, it’s likely that Trump’s long trail of deliberate uses of the government to bolster his deceptions, agitprop and corrupt designs will itself undo any vaccine Hail Mary. Even if Trump does manage to rush forward such an announcement, why would voters trust him to carry forward the long and complex process to follow in good faith or out of any meaningful conception of what’s in the national interest?

But there are two primary factors working against Trump unveiling an "October surprise," and one is the value of an "October surprise."

1) Timing.

Even announcing the vaccine in October is too late.  If Trump can't announce it now, and back up his announcement with deliveries of vaccine even just to "front-line" workers in just the hardest hit states (14, at current count), it's too late and it's another empty lie.  Trump has trotted those out so fast and furiously (recently denying federal officers were leaving Portland, while claiming "hundreds of thousands" would soon descend on Chicago) now it's impossible to ignore them.  So for a vaccine "October surprise," it's now or never.  He can even proclaim it in September; but if deliveries aren't already on the way, fuggedaboutit.

It's actually not clear even Trump understands that:

While White House officials do not specifically mention the election during the board’s discussions, people familiar with the conversations say they ask regularly about October, a date that hangs over the effort. Trump campaign advisers privately call a pre-election vaccine “the holy grail.”
Reality, however, is a cruel teacher.

Besides, teachers and students aren't going to get it, so what benefit will it really be to Trump?

2)  Efficacy.

It's little remembered now, but Salk pushed hard for his polio vaccine to get to market, even as Sabine moved cautiously to develop his.  If you've forgotten, or never knew, the Salk vaccine was an injection, and was developed from live poliomyelitis bacterium.  The Sabine vaccine used dead polio cells.  Both worked, but the pressure to produce and distribute the vaccine led to a catastrophe:  a lab insufficiently vetted and incapable of meeting requirements, produced vaccine with live polio, and distributed it.  Almost all the children vaccinated got polio, not protection from polio.  That was only one batch, and one time; but it was a horror that could not be repeated.  This is the primary reason vaccines take time to develop and get distributed.  And yet do not doubt the Trump administration prefers not to learn from that example:

Scientists have argued that it would be unwise to cut corners on a vaccine that is to be injected into some 300 million Americans, adding that a failed effort would fuel public distrust of vaccines generally.

But a senior White House official, who discussed the matter on the condition of anonymity, said that it would also be unethical to withhold an effective vaccine for an extra three or four months while more people died just to check the boxes of a more routine trial process.
That was the argument used against Sabine's approach and in favor of Salk's.  But Sabine's vaccine never gave anyone polio.

I'll admit I don't remember who paid for the Sabine vaccine I remember taking on a sugar cube (I'm fairly sure I had the Salk vaccine earlier in my life.  I had a lot of shots.  But nobody was taking chances on polio; belt and suspenders were the order of the day).  I just know it was paid for, and not, I think, by my parents.  The public health need was too great to leave vaccination to those who could pay.  That was a massive effort; it took time to organize and implement.  Even if Trump makes a vacuous claim in October (or September), who is going to see the benefit of it?  Nurses and hospital staff?  Deserving, surely, but what does that do for teachers, school staff, students, parents, grandparents?  Not a damned thing.  Surprisingly, not that many people suddenly change their minds based on promises that have no chance of being fulfilled until months later, if at all.

We need a vaccine; there is no question about it.  But even as it is distributed, the disease will persist. The dangers of contagion still exist until a majority of the world's population can be vaccinated.  The dangers of contagion within cities will persist until a majority of that city's population can be vaccinated, and a majority of the state residents, and a majority of the country.  We have 335 million people in this country, and in 6 months we've still only managed to test less than 10% of them, while our President insists it's our "excellent" testing that makes us think we have so many cases of covid-19.  If he starts bellowing about a vaccine that will save us all, I honestly wonder how many people will even listen.  The problem then is not what his premature announcement would do to the election outcome; it's what it would do to public health.

I'm Just Surprised....


...he hasn't broken his arm patting himself on the back.

Let's Count Noses

Ah, dem was de days!
“You’re so right to pay attention to Texas,” Costa replied. “I was with the president in Texas last week. There’s this image politically of Texas being this rural state and I was in Odessa, Texas, home of “Friday Night Lights,” covering President Trump.”

“When you look at Texas politically, I love being in Odessa and Midland, but that’s not necessarily Texas when you look at the political map, it’s major metropolitan areas in Texas,” he added. “It’s in many ways a suburban state. Dallas, Houston, other major metropolitan areas in Texas. Those voters in 2018 and recent other years really moved the state more to the left. You see Senator Cruz is right when he says it’s a battleground state. But Governor [Greg] Abbott (R) he is sticking with President Trump.”

The total population of Midland-Odessa is about 230,000.  Probably majority die-hard GOP.

The total population of the DFW area is about 6,301,000.

The total population of the Houston area is about 7.1 million.

The total population of the Austin area is about 2,053,000.

The total population of the El Paso area is about 844,818.

The total population of the San Antonio area is about 2.550,960.

The total population of the Brownsville-Harlingen area, one of the hardest hit by coronavirus, and part of the most solidly Democratic areas of the state, is about 415,557.

Trump went to one of the smallest "big" cities in Texas.  I'm not sure about San Antonio (home to a lot of retired military and a lot of military bases), but the other major metropolitan areas in Texas are pretty solidly Democratic, and becoming more so.

Greg Abbott's approval rating is at 38%.  Even his own party is railing against him, though not for the reasons I would be.

And frankly, Texas stopped being a rural state long before Robert Costa (born in 1985) was a twinkle in his Daddy's eye.

Old narratives take a long time to die; or catch up with reality.

WTF is He Even Talking About?


Does he think TikTok is broadcasting on public airwaves?  Does he imagine it pays a license fee of some kind?  Does he think government gets "a cut" because you don't do business in this country without a little "taste" for the "boss"?

And then he mindlessly compares it to a landlord/tenant situation, which is almost vaguely comparable to broadcast (again), but not really.  Even Al-Jazeera doesn't have to have permission from the U.S. government to contract to be available on cable services.  There may be some issues with foreign ownership and access to the U.S. market very broadly, but not in any manner like Trump is discussing here.

As I said earlier:  penicillin is a very effective anti-biotic; but it won't help to cure cancer.

This man really is just as dumb as a bag of hair.

What Is Wrong With These Pictures?



I mean aside from the fact I've seen more people at a Starbucks buying Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Is the GOP in "disarray" yet?


In recent weeks, all signs pointed to Nielsen reneging on his promise to not take office. He showed up to a meeting with state Senate district chairs last month and left the impression that he was reversing himself, and last week, he announced an Aug. 18 meeting with precinct chairs in an email that he signed as the "chairman-elect."

Nielsen never publicly confirmed his intentions as questions mounted about whether he was going back on his word. Meanwhile, some of the prominent GOP officials who had initially pressured him to step aside reiterated their calls. The group included Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, of Conroe.

"A bigot whose word is no good," Brady tweeted Tuesday. "This is not what the party of Lincoln stands for. He needs to be removed. Now."

It was not immediately clear how Nielsen could be ousted.

Asking for a friend:

According to co-host Joe Scarborough senior Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are blocking bills because they are trying to enhance their prospects to replace Donald Trump as the face of the party after he’s gone and they’re ignoring their colleagues’ plight.

“Right now, Mitch McConnell is more than just a majority leader who is worried about where he, you know, where the caucus is,” Scarborough began while also noting that McConnell has been returning to his home state because his re-election is not assured. “He’s got to worry about his own race. Look at Martha McSally (AZ) who’s in a lot of trouble politically. Look at Cory Gardner in Colorado. Joni Ernst in Iowa is probably in trouble. Susan Collins in Maine in big trouble.”

“Yesterday in North Carolina this poll came out on Thom Tillis, and Thom Tillis is getting beaten by nine points in North Carolina — the deep south,” he continued. “I’m sorry, it seems the Republicans are just sitting on their hands, not doing anything about voting, economic relief for working-class and middle-class Americans in many states like Arizona, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina. Can Mitch McConnell and the Republicans really sit back and let Donald Trump rig the election and let Donald Trump basically tell millions of Americans, let them eat cake?”

“The real challenge, if you look at middle-class Americans is Republicans coming up with a plan to help these vulnerable senators, it’s Tom Cotton, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz,” Morning Joe contributor Jason Johnson offered. “The guys who want to run in 2024; the safe Republicans who think that, hey, ‘Donald Trump may be out of here and I want to set myself up to be one of the new leaders of the party.”

“They’re also the people standing in the way of creating the kind of relief that would help Susan Collins, Thom Tillis, Martha McSally and Joni Ernst,” he added. “The Republicans are in the vulnerable position of having to defend what the president is doing and they don’t know how to come up with a valuable plan. You know, it’s not just that we had the Susan Collins of the world and the Cory Gardners of the world, the fields they’re in is more competitive than six weeks ago. I don’t think Mitch McConnell realizes how tenuous his position of power is, that’s the reason everyone is scrambling for the doors.”

"We Don't Need No Education"


Might as well inject bleach, right?  And stick black lights in our orifices?  I mean, it's all just opinion, right?

Let's run naked through the nettles, too.  What could that hurt?

Do you think I exaggerate?

“Doctors opinions are a dime a dozen,” the trade adviser continued. “And you’ve got some doctors who say it doesn’t work, you’ve got some doctors who say it does.”

“But it’s not a both sides thing,” Sciutto observed. “There’s a process for approving drugs in this country. There’s a reason the FDA hasn’t approved it. And this hasn’t passed muster so why all the focus on that drug? Why not focus on things that work like remdesivir?”

“Actually, a study that came out just last week showed that hydroxychloroquine works better than remdesivir,” Navarro remarked. “Look, my views on this are well known. I think it’s well known that there’s a difference of opinion on this.”

“The science on this is pretty simple,” he continued. “If you administer this drug in early treatment under the advice of a physician, number one, it’s unlikely to hurt you at all. It’s a drug that’s been used for over 60 years. And, two, it’s likely to help you.”

Penicillin is a drug that's been used for over 60 years.  But if you have cancer, it isn't likely to help you.  And when somebody tells you a complex subject is "pretty simple," guard your money and run away.  He's either a thief or a fool.

He also wasn't through:

“We’ve got a great negotiating team,” Navarro insisted. “I think what’s important to understand is President Donald Trump is a working class president and cares deeply about the people of America, particularly who work with their hands who are now on the unemployment lines.”

Hand Donald Trump a shovel and see if he knows how to use it.  I have three graduate degrees and work from my computer teaching college, and I'm stlll closer to "working class" than he's ever been.

Absolutely Out Of Touch With Reality


Yeah, about that:

I would excerpt from it, but you really just need to read it.  We are heading for a second-wave disaster across the country as schools are forced to reopen.  It makes as much sense as trying to move back into an area where the forest fire is raging, just because everybody wants to "get back to normal."

This is utter madness.

The Divorce from Reality is Contagious!



Meanwhile, the rest of the world is going back to work, and banning travellers from America.  Maybe coronavirus isn't the only contagion?

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said....


To speak of many things....




What was the first sign?

Or maybe it's this:

Or the fact he's just delusional:

Ah wish ah could quit yew....



Honestly, what color is the sky on his planet?

I think it did have to be this way, the minute so many of us thought voting for Hillary was just a bridge too far.

Anybody heard from Susan Sarandon lately?

Coulda Sworn....


....he'd banned Tik-Tok and wasn't gonna let Microsoft have it, either.

Huh.

Why does this seem so familiar?

Yeah, pretty much in that ballpark.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

(Im)moral Hazard


“Unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement,” the Treasury secretary told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. “So it should be tied to some percentage of wages.”

“We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid,” he continued. “And we want to make sure there’s the right incentives.”

“Do you do think it’s a disincentive to find a job if you have that extra $600?” Raddatz asked.

“There’s no question,” Mnuchin replied. “In certain cases, where we’re paying people more to stay home than to work, that’s created issues in the entire economy.”

Raddatz interrupted by pointing out a Yale study which found that there is no evidence that the $600 weekly payment is a disincentive to return to work.

“I went to Yale,” Mnuchin replied. “There are certain things, I don’t always agree.”

Most people trying to survive on $600.00 a week never darkened the campus of Yale.  Asshole.

$600.00 a week is basically 40 hours a week at $15.00 an hour, without taxes removed.  Or what should be minimum wage.   1.3 million Texans had filed for unemployment as of April 23, 2020.  That's the most recent overall number I can find.  Not all of those people were making minimum wage.

I heard an economist (?) quoted on an NPR story, in passing, saying the CARES Act had given Americans "too much disposable income."  According to some economic theory he was espousing.  Moral hazard, no doubt; pretty much in line with Mnuchin's statement.  My response to Sec. Mnuchin is that we take away his assets and investments and savings, and see how much moral hazard he finds in living on $600.00 a week in unemployment compensation.

These people have to look up to see the soles of the feet of the mole people.

"Useless As Tits On A Boar Hog"


In NYT-ese.

I Took A Nap


...and woke up in 1968.

Still on the right side of history.

When Even WaPo Is Finally Paying Attention


I'm used to seeing this done-to-death on political Twitter.

And the political genius behind it is none other than Sen. Lindsay:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who regularly meets and golfs with the president, said the health-care plan that Trump has referred to would come in the form of an executive order that Graham called “fairly comprehensive.” However broad, an executive order would fall short of a full legislative overhaul.

As in:  completely meaningless, except in telling the exchanges to stop selling policies, or something like that.

Graham said what Trump has in mind now would ensure that consumers do not risk losing their health plans if they get sick, but he did not give details.

Gee, Lindsay; you don't have any details either?

“He’s pretty excited about it,” Graham said of the president.

Let's not get started on the things that excite this President.  There are children in the country.

The ACA’s consumer protections for people with preexisting medical conditions is one its most popular facets with the public, and it is the one part of the law Trump consistently says he would preserve if he could get rid of the rest. How he could do that while containing costs after he and congressional Republicans remove the law’s requirement that everyone has to purchase health insurance remains the question.

Graham said it is politically astute for the White House to present an alternative to Democratic proposals close to the election, including the idea of Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, to build on the ACA so that more people could get coverage.

Sure; what could be wiser than messing with people's health care in the midst of a pandemic when the GOP Senate can't even agree on what to do about the economic debacle that is now America the Bountiful.

Still, senior Republican aides on Capitol Hill who are steeped in health care said they had little knowledge of any White House planning for a comprehensive replacement of the ACA.

But the President's real excited about it!  Just like his beautiful raiment no one can see but his sycophants say looks very regal!

Maybe some intrepid reporter will raise the question at the next "covid press conference."  If that's still a thing.

Or they could just write a story that "Some people say the Emperor is stark naked."

Me, I think Trump is still waiting for his investigators to get back from Hawaii.  They found the plan, too.

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

An old man announcing this on Pirro’a show is an extra-special way to reach out to young voters who use Tik Tok.

Greatest Economy Evah!

School Starts In A Few Weeks




Shit is gonna hit the fan.  Meanwhile, the POTUS has his priorities:

We Ain't All Roughnecks and Rednecks

"Wunnerful Thing, Supeenies"

Wilford Brimley made “Absence of Malice” watchable by showing up in the last 20 minutes of the film and stealing it from Paul Newman and Sally Fields. I still watch that movie just to see him say “Wunnerful thing, supeenies.”



Maybe we need a "Project Franklin"


I understand the cranks who think competition will win the day, and the state will wither away except for the DOD (an arm of corporate America; Ike was right to warn us) and a police force to keep the browns and blacks and non-cooperative whites ("white trash" no matter their socio-economic level) in line.

Their thinking is the same strategy as the white supremacists who think it only needs the right spark to start the race war in America which will purge this company of all non-whites and the whites who "love" them (you know the phrase I mean, if you're of the right age).

But destroying the Postal System makes about as much sense as defunding Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.  One part of that we starve already, but try getting rid of it.  Kind of like public libraries; who needs 'em, except we all do.  I still mail cards (not just at Xmas) and still receive packages in the mail (not just UPS).  Everybody does.  Destroying the postal service makes as much sense as destroying physical phone lines; or public swimming pools.

These people are cranks.  They will do more damage in the next six months, but we have to remove them expeditiously, and see that the damage they have done is repaired.

And frankly, if you're gonna vote by mail, do it as early as you can.  The country you save may be your own.

Coronavirus Claims Another U.S. Institution!


I know the purpose of conventions back when conventions actually chose the candidate for the party. But that hasn't happened in some 50 years, and the conventions have become largely commercials for the party freely aired (though the convention itself ain't free) on network news without commercial interruption.

Everyone knows the outcome of the two conventions.  What happens at them now is so purely stage managed (that part goes back to '72, when Nixon was re-elected.  The script leaked and everyone freaked out.  Of course, everyone was appalled to learn the Presidency was being sold like laundry soap in '68, too.  We got over that, and now a carefully scripted convention is a bad omen for the campaign season.  So it goes.*) it hardly constitutes news.

And yet here we are, with the journalists complaining to each other that they weren't invited to the party with the kewl kids.  Please.  There will be plenty of catty reports about what happened behind those closed doors, and plenty of other reports denying the reports of what happened behind those closed doors, and a splendid time of round-robining will be had by all.  The real news is that the GOP doesn't want the nomination, the whole purpose of this conflab, to be a public spectacle.  But then, what is the purpose?

It's lagniappe that this new wrinkle in the inevitable decline of conventions is the reporters who will get to whine like children that they were left out and ain't that a terrible thing.

I think the Republic will survive.  I know I will. Best thing to do is to end the conventions altogether. Waste of time; waste of money.  Biden's gonna announce his VP pick before the Dems virtual convo; that's the only question left except:  how badly is Trump going to lose?

Trump would like to keep that behind closed doors, but he won't be able to.


*and you wonder at my cynicism.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Next Week We Solve the Problem of Teen Pregnancies....


...by eliminating pregnancy tests! *

And "Now Europe sadly has flare ups"?

Name one country in Europe that has that death rate!

*Actually we "eliminated" it by no longer talking about it.  Hey, Trump should try that!

Wish In One Hand....


Match this up....

With this.  If you can.

Frankly, I'm more concerned about this:

Attempts by the bureau's workers to conduct in-person interviews for the census will end on Sept. 30 — not Oct. 31, the end date it indicated in April would be necessary to count every person living in the U.S. given major setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Three Census Bureau employees, who were informed of the plans during separate internal meetings Thursday, confirmed the new end date with NPR. All of the employees spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs.

"It's going to be impossible to complete the count in time," said one of the bureau employees, an area manager who oversees local census offices. "I'm very fearful we're going to have a massive undercount."

Asked why and when the decision was made to move up the end of door knocking, the Census Bureau replied in a written statement Friday: "We are currently evaluating our operations to enable the Census Bureau to provide this data in the most expeditious manner and when those plans have been finalized we will make an announcement."

Most likely the reason is this:

After the coronavirus outbreak scrambled the launch of the census this spring, the Bureau had reworked its operational timeline to give itself until the end of October to finish its data collection activities. To accommodate the need for this extra time, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in April requested that Congress postpone by four months the statutory deadlines for when the Bureau is required to deliver the data for congressional apportionment and redistricting. Those deadlines are normally Dec. 31 and March 31, respectively.

But with the announcement that President Trump wants undocumented immigrants excluded from apportionment data, it appears the administration is now walking away from that request — presumably because the delay would let a Joe Biden administration reverse Trump’s apportionment policy, which stands to reduce political representation for immigrant-rich states. The extensions were absent from Senate Republicans’ recent coronavirus legislation, even though House Democrats had already agreed to the delays in their proposal.
One wonders if the voters of Texas are listening.....

That it is political, is perfectly clear:

During a hearing Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Steven Dillingham — the bureau's director and a Trump appointee — gave lawmakers little insight into why the timing change was made.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., repeatedly asked Dillingham whether he supports the bureau's request to extend the census deadlines.

But Dillingham did not answer the questions.

Asked by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., if he was aware that the Trump administration reportedly wants to wrap up counting quickly so that the president can receive the census apportionment numbers by the end of the year, Dillingham replied: "I'm not aware of all the many reasons except to say that the Census Bureau and others really want us to proceed as rapidly as possible."
.....

The director of the Census Bureau testified that he first learned about Trump's plans to attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used to reapportion seats in Congress not from any internal discussions, but from a news report "late on a Friday" that said "such a directive may be coming down."

"I will swear to it all day long under oath," Dillingham said after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., looking incredulous in a remote video feed, reminded him that he was testifying under oath.

Gomez, another House member who joined the hearing remotely to question Dillingham, left the bureau's director with a stern warning before stepping away from the camera.

"It seems like there's an obvious pattern that you're not in control of the Census Bureau," Gomez said. "Your name will go down in history if this is the worst census ever conducted by the United States government. You're not going to run away and say that this was only because of the Trump administration later on. You will be responsible."
Trump isn't going to delay the vote or incite riots or take authoritarian actions.  He's all bark, no bite.  But he is going to fuck up basic government functions, and there's nothing more basic to our Constitutional system than the census.

But The Rest Of Us Won't


Maybe it's time to stop jumping everytime he says "FROG!"

It WAS the WHCA Dinner After All

Is Anyone Surprised?

How To Tik Tak

I don’t know how he does that. I don’t mean legally (does he have the authority?).  I mean practically.  This isn't China, the U.S. doesn't control the internet that narrowly.  Nor is the U.S. the same as Amazon:  we can't reach into phones and remove apps.

Meanwhile:
Meanwhile: coronavirus.

Meanwhile: it’s the economy, stupid.
Meanwhile, I’m not that worried about TikTok:
Because:

Friday, July 31, 2020

Laurence Tribe and I Agree


“They’re trying to make it look chaotic but there’s a fail-safe mechanism built into the constitution itself,” Tribe said. “No matter how much dust he throws into the gears, at high noon on January 20th, 2021, if there has not been a new president elected, at that point, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House become president of the United States.”

Tribe explained that “all of the enablers at that point would risk committing federal felonies if they were to exercise power, which they no longer have, because Trump would no longer be president.”

And all the nervous nellies who think that if Trump denigrates the electoral process, the republic will fall.  As if democracy were a fairy tale we all agreed on, a god we kept alive only by our "faith" in it, and if we collectively realize there is no Santa Claus, the whole thing goes "poof!"  If that's all it is, a collective delusion, then good riddance to it.

But the fact is, voter turnout in this country is a joke and always has been.  Why?  Probably because those people don't trust the electoral process or don't think it's fair or don't think it matters.  How do you think we got Trump in the first place?  And now, because of Trump's loose tongue (and what, did these pundits and pooh-bahs suddenly notice Trump says remarkably stupid things and the best course of action is to ignore him completely?), suddenly the foundations of the republic are built on sand and that sand is about to disappear because the national believe in the electoral bedrock is about to turn it into fairy dust?

Get real.

Trump will complain, his handful of supporters (it ain't 30% of the country, not by a long shot) will complain, and you know what?  That'll be status quo.  There's always been some group complaining that everything was illegitimate including daylight savings time and time zones, and that the earth is a sphere instead of a plate.  Get over it.  Civics is not pretty, and suddenly realizing democracy in America is a blood sport is not an excuse for retiring to the fainting couch in fear of the barbarians who've been living here too, all along.  What, you think Steve Bannon came here from Mars?

Cross the Hudson.  Get out of D.C.  Stop "bigfooting" places like Texas or Ohio or Florida. Hell, Molly Ivins tried to tell the NYT what Texas was like:  they didn't want to hear it.  Didn't fit their narrative.

Let the narrative die.  It's fiction anyway, just like the fiction that all will be well when we go back to believing in Constitutional Santa Claus.  The system was not supposed to put a clueless clown like Trump in the Oval Office, but it did.  And the system has survived it.  He's not a fascist dictator because he has no clue how to govern:  period.  And on January 20, 2021, if he's still in court declaring "HOAX" and "FRAUD!," his time runs out.  But he won't be in court.  He won't spend his own money on that process.  And if the DOJ tries to, by the time it gets to court it'll be 1/20/21, and the legitimate ethical question anyway will be:  why is the DOJ carrying candidate Trump's, lame-duck Trump's, water?

We will actually survive this.  There are worse consequences to the presidency of Donald J. Trump than what he said in a tweet.  Like the death and chaos and economic collapse the country is in right now.  Like the fact we were once a shining city on a hill, and now we're the international lunatic asylum.  Those should be our much bigger concerns.