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May 9, 2020

Hal Brown's blog

This is a blog with my own opinion plus some of each day's stories that piqued my interest. A few of them are from websites you are unlikely to read. I hope they interest you too.... Click on my photos to enlarge them. The photos are meant as moments of zen. They date back many years and many were taken when I lived in Massachusetts. -  Read  My 1000+ Daily Kos stories


May 9, 2020

 Is The Coronavirus Mutating And Becoming More Contagious? 

Here's what you should know about a study that claims a new dominant strain of the virus could spread faster than the original.

I enlarged the yelling Trump

Trump Met With GOP Lawmakers For An Hour. Nobody Wore A Mask Or Stayed Apart.

Are these guys begging to get the coronavirus?

Skeptical judge could hold up Trump administration's bid to clear Flynn, legal experts say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The notoriously independent-minded federal judge who once said he was disgusted by the conduct of Michael Flynn could block the administration’s bid to drop criminal charges against the former adviser to President Donald Trump, legal experts said. 

The Department of Justice on Thursday told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington it wants to drop the case against Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, following a pressure campaign by the Republican president and his political allies. 
While judges typically sign off on such motions, Sullivan could refuse and instead demand answers from the DOJ about who requested the sudden about-face, said Seth Waxman, a former federal prosecutor now at the law firm Dickinson Wright. 

“If Judge Sullivan wanted to he could conduct an inquiry and start asking a lot of questions,” said Waxman.

May 8, 2020
New image on the news that a member of the Pence staff also was diagnosed positive.

We sit at the most consequential moment in a generation and it is now clear that it is not the case that President Trump doesn’t want to change his behavior. It’s that he is congenitally incapable to moderate it even for a single day.
The malignant self-obsession and childish vitriol only scratches the surface of the man’s flaws. His compulsions aren’t hidden or covered up. They are broadcast for the entire country to see, for hours on end, every day, late into the night.
Here is where the final corruption takes place. Trump’s behavior is so far outside the realm of acceptable that even his supporters have been forced to concede it.
And so, because they are unwilling to abandon Trump, they have chosen to embrace his vile abnormality and wear it as a badge of honor, turning it into a rallying cry to attack anyone who is bothered by the behavior.
“Orange Man Bad,” they say.

As if, by taking ownership of this fact, it somehow invalidates it.

Fox News’ Pete Hegseth Encourages Healthy People To Show ‘Courage,’ Leave Their Homes and my comment:

Remember the chicken run climax of "Rebel Without A Cause" where Jim, the James Dean character, jumps out of his car before it careens over the cliff. Buzz, played by Corey Allen, plunges to his death when the strap on his jacket sleeve becomes entangled with his door-latch lever before he can leapfrog the car proving how macho he is. Covid-19 is the door-latch lever. Would it be unkind to wish that Pete Hegseth's jacket sleeve coaches on it?

May 7, 2020 

Trump's personal servant tests positive... below what many of us are thinking 

Watch video

Trump calls the pandemic ‘worse than Pearl Harbor’ — and declares a cease-fire, Dana Milbank


In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote secretly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the potential need for “quick action” toward the development of atomic weapons.
After Roosevelt received a scientific briefing, he is said to have called in his military aide, Gen. Edwin “Pa” Watson. “Pa! This requires action!” FDR said.

Thus began what would become the Manhattan Project, a sprawling collaboration among the military, academics and corporations, ultimately employing 130,000 and spending the then-extraordinary sum of $2.2 billion in successfully building the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oak Ridge, Tenn., worked on uranium; Chicago worked on plutonium; Hanford, Wash., built reactors; Los Alamos, N.M., designed bombs; and Alamogordo, N.M., held testing.

One can imagine how things might have gone if Donald Trump had been the president who received Einstein’s letter: After two months, he would have congratulated himself for a “phenomenal job,” wound down his atomic task force and left the whole nuclear thing to the states.
Trump’s idea of a Manhattan Project is apparently to install a Manhattan real estate investor — Jared Kushner — in charge of a group of volunteers prioritizing protective-equipment requests from Fox News personalities. Without a federal government empowering a real Manhattan Project, some scientists, billionaires and industrialists have tried to form their own, the Wall Street Journal reports. But group members recognize their ideas “could be ignored altogether by the Trump administration.”

Of course they’ll be ignored. Trump has already declared an early and unilateral cease-fire with the virus. In his perverse version of a Manhattan Project, the Enola Gay has taken off, but the pilot has no flight plan and the bomb is still a prototype in the model shop.

Trump campaign manager brutally mocked for comparing his operation to the Death Star that gets destroyed — twice - He's supposed to be so smart but doesn't know zip about Star Wars

Here's a Trumpian protest in my home state of Oregon

Trump Rebukes Nurse On National Nurses Day And Critics Are Livid: ‘How Dare He!

HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a bipartisan group that he believed infected employees w
ere bringing the virus into processing plants where a rash of cases have killed at least 20 workers and forced nearly two-dozen plants to close, according to three people on the April 28 call.

Those infections, he said, were linked more to the "home and social" aspects of workers' lives rather than the conditions inside the facilities, alarming some on the call who interpreted his remarks as faulting workers for the outbreaks, the people said.

"He was essentially turning it around, blaming the victim and implying that their lifestyle was the problem," said Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), who told POLITICO that Azar’s comments left her deeply concerned about the administration’s priorities in fighting the pandemic. "Their theory of the case is that they are not becoming infected in the meat processing plant, they're becoming infected because of the way they live in their home."

As for the United States’ power, the Trump administration’s chaotic management has left an indelible impression around the world of a country incapable of handling its own crises, let alone anybody else’s. More important, the United States seems set to emerge from this period as a more divided polity rather than a more united one, as would normally be the case following a national crisis of this magnitude; this continued fracturing of the American political establishment adds a further constraint on U.S. global leadership.
For different reasons, the United States does not come out of the crisis much better. The world has watched in horror as an American president acts not as the leader of the free world but as a quack apothecary recommending unproven “treatments.” It has seen what “America First” means in practice: don’t look to the United States for help in a genuine global crisis, because it can’t even look after itself. Once there was the United States of the Berlin airlift. Now there is the image of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crippled by the virus, reports of the administration trying to take exclusive control of a vaccine being developed in Germany, and federal intervention to stop the commercial sale of personal protective equipment to Canada. The world has been turned on its head.

The Virus:

AP Exclusive: US shelves detailed guide to reopening country

May 6, 2020

In March, after months of ignoring the looming threat of the novel coronavirus, Donald Trump decided to recast himself in a new role, declaring he was now a "wartime president," clearly imagining himself in the mold of FDR or, more likely, as Bill Pullman's presidential character in the 1996 film "Independence Day."

This was a total joke from the beginning, as Trump's behavior wasn't hard to predict. As a sociopath and narcissist, Trump would enjoy a stint play-acting as president while doing nothing. But when it began to dawn on him that waging war is like, hard work, he would just drift away, letting the "war" effort fail.

Unsurprisingly, that is what exactly happened. As Heather Digby Parton explains in her Wednesday column for Salon, what has "become clear in the last few days is that the Trump administration has made a decision" to give up any semblance of trying to flatten the curve, stop the spread or do anything meaningful to defeat the coronavirus. 

Instead, Parton writes, Trump and his advisers "have apparently decided to let the virus 'wash over the country' as Trump wanted to do from the beginning."
The ostensible reason for pressuring states to "reopen" and for maybe-kinda-sorta winding down the federal coronavirus task force — which, despite the presence of incompetent Trump flunkies, still had some value thanks to actual medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx — is that the coronavirus is behind us and the focus needs to be on restarting the economy. (At least for now, Trump has apparently backed away from his threat to ditch the task force permanently.)

I didn't write this about Daily Kos but it does interest me

May 5, 2020

Portland, strip club capital the United States: Drive-Thru Strip Club Serves Up Sexy (And Safe) Solution For Coronavirus Blues


Putting the "Sigh!" in science and the "Eek!" in economics: 

White House economic adviser struggles to explain his pandemic ‘model’ that shows zero deaths by May 15 

The Donald Trump and Abraham Lincoln Chronicles

During this harrowing episode in our national history, we're faced with two unprecedented calamities: an economic crisis and a health care crisis. Each one is being aggravated by a garishly costumed villain in the White House who lacks any interest in a rational, sustainable resolution. Sadly, this villain also possesses a base of loyalists who simultaneously recognize him as a serial liar while also insisting he's the only government official who's telling the truth. No wonder they're so unspooled. 
The Trump fanfic on display around the clock on Fox News and elsewhere continues to bash up against reality — and it's the suckers who believe in these obvious fantasies who will become the next round of victims as the virus juggernauts into the red states. 
Neither they nor their cult leader appear to understand that a national crisis requires a national solution. We all need to make the sacrifice — self-isolating and social distancing no matter how nice the weather is, or how badly your Red Hat uncle wants to own the libs. The alternative is for Trump, even while he knows the true cost in lives predicted by the CDC, to continue energizing the protests, guaranteeing that this goes on far longer than it should, while the economy dissolves and the death toll continues to give us a new 9/11 every damn day. 

I came across this when replying to a comment in my Daily Kos story about whether Trump will fire Fauci.

The “horseshit” (Trump's belief that the virus was made in a lab in Wuhan) is relevant in what it tells us about Trump, not about the virus. It shows him to be be an ignoramus when it comes to science but we already knew that.

Most tellingly it demonstrates another one of the aspects of his psychopathology which has nothing to do with malignant narcissism. It is his what is called paranoid ideation. This is from the deep state of the NIH: Gut feelings, deliberative thought, and paranoid ideation: A study of experiential and rational reasoning


Rapid intuitive hunches or gut feelings may be a compelling source of evidence for paranoid ideas. Conversely, a failure to apply effortful analytic thinking may contribute to the persistence of such thoughts. Our main aim was to examine for the first time the associations of persecutory thinking with experiential and rational thinking styles. Five hundred individuals recruited from the general population completed self-report assessments of current persecutory ideation, general reasoning styles and personality traits. Persecutory ideation was independently associated with greater use of experiential reasoning and less use of rational reasoning. The correlations were small. Persecutory ideation was also positively associated with neuroticism and negatively correlated with extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. There was no evidence of an interaction between neuroticism and experiential reasoning in the prediction of paranoia, but high experiential reasoning in the context of low rational reasoning was particularly associated with persecutory ideation. Overall, the study provides rare evidence of self-reported general reasoning styles being associated with delusional ideation. Perceived reliance on intuition is associated with paranoid thinking, while perceived reliance on deliberation is associated with fewer such thoughts. The dual process theory of reasoning may provide a framework to contribute to the understanding of paranoid thinking.

This research study so aptly describes Trump that it is eerie.

This is a relevant part of the discussion:


In a large general population sample, the self-reported use of intuitive gut feelings was associated with higher levels of persecutory thinking, while the use of deliberative analytic thinking was protective. These are novel findings. The associations were small, explaining little of the variance in paranoia. However it should be borne in mind that it is rare for a self-report of general reasoning style to be linked to delusional ideation, and, moreover, the questionnaire items did not ask about reasoning in relation to the kinds of fearful feelings that are typically associated with delusions. A reliance on experiential thinking is likely to be significantly exacerbated in anxiety-provoking situations. Consistent with previous findings, rational and experiential thinking were found to be independent reasoning processes. The combination of experiential thinking without the check of rational thinking was most closely associated with paranoia.

May 4, 2020

Yesterday my story about Tara Reade had 228 comments by the end of the day but some were my replies. A majority of them were ad hominem attacks against me. Today with the story about her only having been on for five hours it already has over 90 comments excoriating and insulting me. I am not going to reply to any of them because it only encourages the people making them.

Why Trump’s failure to show empathy will be used against him

Little Harbor Beach, Wareham, MA before there was a reason for social distancing

May 3, 2020


Many in Trump’s administration suspect that he is unhinged—a potentially disastrous prospect since his finger is on the button of thousands of nuclear warheads. During the impeachment process, mental health professionals warned that the president’s mental health was deteriorating rapidly. A petition signed by a Yale psychiatrist and a top CIA profiler read, “He is unable to take responsibility for any error, mistake, or failing. His default in the situation is to blame others and to attack the perceived source of his humiliation.

These attacks of narcissistic rage can be brutal and destructive.” The diagnosis of psychologist and psychotherapist John Gartner, who contributed to the bestseller The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, is that the president is a “malignant narcissist” whose “democidal behavior” delights in hurting and killing a multitude of people, including his own supporters. When emergency hotlines saw a spike in calls regarding the president’s advice to drink disinfectant, he denied responsibility; “can’t imagine why,” he added.

Trump’s hatred of officials who don’t play along is part of this pathology: he lambasted Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm for publishing a report critical of the federal coronavirus response calling it “Another Fake Dossier”. He sacked inspector general Glenn Fine, who was overseeing coronavirus relief. Now, the White House has found a scapegoat in a junior official for the drink bleach fiasco. Persuaded by advisors, who include son-in-law Jared Kushner who has zero experience in epidemic control, the experts were either fired or cowed into silence. 

Cape Cod Canal

May 2, 2020

Click above to enlarge

Coronavirus gets a promising drug. MAGA world isn’t buying it.

On the heels of positive early signs for remdesivir, several prominent Trump boosters are downplaying the results and continuing to promote hydroxychloroquine.

Secrets, cash and Deutsche Bank

The answer to Pelosi’s questions (what does Putin have on Trump) may, nevertheless, emerge and I expect that what Trump most fears is disclosure of possible deep ties between his businesses and Moscow. 
Trump continues to fight diverse efforts in assorted U.S. courts by public prosecutors and committees of the Congress to release his tax returns and to enable Deutsche Bank, the major bank lender to the Trump Organization, to reveal information. 
A New York state court and the U.S. Supreme Court are both set to address these issues in the next three months.
The Deutsche Bank situation is acute, because the Trump Organization has seen its income decline sharply as a result of the pandemic lock-down. To cope with this business downturn, it is seeking some relief on its outstanding $300 million of debt to Deutsche Bank.
The German bank finds itself in a tricky situation. If the bank agrees to the request, then once again it may be seen as striving to pursue a special relationship with the U.S. President. 
This would just add to the mountain of reputationally bad news that the institution that once upon a time had a spectacular reputation has been accumulating.

Deutsche Bank as a channeler of Russian interests?

There have long been suspicions that a considerable amount of funds supporting the Trump Organization have come from Russian oligarchs, either via secretive holding companies based in offshore tax havens, or through Deutsche Bank.
Owing to the coronavirus crisis, the pressure is rising sharply on all the creditors to look after their loan assets. After all, most of Trump’s hotels and golf clubs are closed, and the few that remain open are virtually empty. 
And the recent U.S. legislation to provide loans to companies in the current crisis specifically bars any funding for businesses tied to the President and his family.

Trump cash squeeze

The Trump Hotel a few hundred yards from the White House has just a 5% occupancy rate, yet still making lease payments to the U.S. Government of around $260,000 per month. 
Any lowering of those payments by the United States Government Services Agency will be seen for what it is – an outrageous conflict-of-interest by the President. Which does not mean it will not happen!

May 1, 2020

Trump perceived as abnormally sadistic and narcissistic by both conservatives and liberals, study finds

Articles I find with a search for malignant narcissism: The time has come for Republicans to climb out of the Trump hellhole or be consumed by its flames

Republicans who lost their way and want a second act in American politics now have a leader. He has shown that they can improve their political fortunes by escaping the incompetence and immorality of Trumpism. That leader is Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio.

After DeWine stopped subjugating himself to Trump’s malignant narcissism his approval numbers rose. Asked about DeWine’s handling of the pandemic, 85% approved, compared to only half for Trump. That’s not surprising since Trump’s declarations about opening the economy as if the coronavirus is magically vanishing aren’t resonating.

Brutal poll shows ‘the erosion in Trump’s hard-core base is very real’: WaPo columnist

CDC eyes tracking coronavirus through human waste

Several days old but relevant in
 light of Biden's denial today
EXCERPT: Surprising new research in a niche area of immunology suggests that certain live vaccines that have been around for decades could, possibly, protect against the coronavirus. The theory is that these vaccines could make people less likely to experience serious symptoms — or even any symptoms — if they catch it.

At more than 25 universities and clinical centers around the world, researchers have begun clinical trials, primarily in health care workers, to test whether a live tuberculosis vaccine that has been in use for 99 years called the bacillus Calmette-Guérin, or B.C.G., vaccine, could reduce the risks associated with the coronavirus.
Another small but esteemed group of scientists is raising money to test the potential protective effects of a 60-year-old live polio vaccine called O.P.V.

It’s counterintuitive to think that old vaccines created to fight very different pathogens could defend against the coronavirus. The idea is controversial in part because it challenges the dogma about how vaccines work.

But scientists’ understanding of an arm of immunology known as innate immunity has shifted in recent years. A growing body of research suggests that live vaccines, which are made from living but attenuated pathogens (as opposed to inactivated vaccines, which use dead pathogens) provide broad protection against infections in ways that no one anticipated.

“We can’t be certain as to what the outcome will be, but I suspect it’ll have an effect” on the coronavirus, said Jeffrey Cirillo, a microbiologist and immunologist at Texas A&M University who is leading one of the B.C.G. trials. “Question is, how big will it be?”

Scientists stress that these vaccines will not be a panacea. They might make symptoms milder, but they probably won’t eliminate them. And the protection, if it occurs, would most likely last only a few years

Birx has been a team player to a fault, careful not to aggravate Trump by tempering his wild medical ruminations and exaggerations about testing capacity. On the contrary, last month she told the Christian Broadcasting Network: “He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. I think his ability to analyse and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.”

‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists’: Trump destroyed for calling armed Michigan protestors ‘very good people’

A virus rages on one of her planets, but the sun is in doldrums...

SCIENCE MEETS TRUMP: Mars Needs Money: White House Budget Could Prompt Retreat from Red Planet

Proposed cuts could end decades of U.S. leadership in exploring that world

\April 30, 2020

These lawyers say Trump’s name on stimulus checks might be a crime (WaPo subscription)


Politico reported that Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), plans to introduce the No PR Act, short for No Politics in Pandemic Recovery Act, to prohibit using tax money for any publicity or promotional activity that includes the names or pictures of the president or vice president.

 “President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,” Schumer said in a statement. “The No PR Act puts an end to the president’s exploitation of taxpayer money for promotional material that only benefits his re-election campaign.”

 Nader, Fisher and Fein requested a special counsel to investigate Trump’s name on the checks because it would be a conflict for Barr’s staff to investigate his boss.
Trump should be investigated, their letter said, “for allegedly commanding a federal employee to engage in political activity, the unprecedented, gratuitous placement of Mr. Trump’s signature on the memo line of tens of millions of United States Treasury checks disbursed to eligible citizens under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).”

 Trump’s name, not his signature, is printed on the lower left side of the checks. Be it his printed name or his distinctive scrawl is of no matter, the three said in separate interviews. The impact is the same.

Directing a “Treasury employee to place [Trump’s name] on Cares checks for the purpose of affecting the 2020 presidential election,” Fein said, is a violation of federal law that prohibits the “use of official authority or influence for the purpose . . . of affecting the result of an election.”

 Rein reported that “Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, that he allow the president to formally sign the checks. . . . But the president is not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the U.S. Treasury.” Furthermore, to ensure against partisan use of government funds, it is standard practice for civil servants to sign Treasury checks.

 Trump’s printed name or his signature “on the CARES checks in the middle of his 2020 presidential campaign,” the lawyers wrote, “is a prominent symbol that benefits his re-election by making it appear that he has alleviated the financial plight of tens of millions of voters.”

 There have been no prosecutions, however, under “this section of this little-known part of the criminal code,” said Nick Schwellenbach, an Obama administration staffer with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates civil Hatch Act violations.

“But just because it hasn’t been previously enforced doesn’t mean it should not be when the facts warrant it,” added Schwellenbach, now a senior investigator with the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight. “There’s enough smoke to warrant an investigation, such as the reportedly unprecedented nature of having a president’s signature on Treasury checks. And it is an election year.”
The letter was signed by Ralph Nader, a progressive icon; Louis Fisher, a constitutional scholar who served both parties for four decades with the Library of Congress and who now is with the College of William & Mary; and Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department and for congressional Republicans. The Justice Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.


In total, almost five years since Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign, the American news media continues to demonstrate that it does not understand who or what he really is. 

The news media's primary shortcoming of inference and reasoning: What Donald Trump says does not matter as much as how he says it. To focus almost exclusively on his words, and not his style and presentation, is to not understand Trump's cult-like hold over his followers and larger movement — and the danger he and they represent to the United States and the world.

Here's a first principle: Donald Trump is a character who is playing the real-life role of president of the United States.


What is the best way to understand Donald Trump, the human character and persona? 

Trump is perhaps one of the greatest performance artists to ever live. He is of course a human being. But he has played a role for so long that somewhere along the way the real Donald Trump became subsumed in the performance.

He has great comedic timing. His facial expressions, his body language, his crudeness, his unvarnished lack of self-awareness, his pure unrestrained id, his obvious failings of character and intelligence, his greed and shamelessly immoral behavior are, considered as a whole, hilarious. 

Such an observation is not an excuse or mask for Trump's evil, malfeasance and cruelty. A person can exemplify the worst of humankind while still being an extremely skillful performer.

As if those of us who live in the northwest need this....

April 29, 2020

Just an observation: Is Ivanka looking like she may have an eating disorder?

"For an extreme NPD case like Donald Trump..." David Frum

The monster lie that paved Trump’s way to the presidency — and how to defang it

Not a link, click to enlarge

The lies spewing from President Trump clearly cannot be stopped. But they can be defanged, and the place to start is with the one monster lie that paved the way for all that followed.
This mother of all Trumpian lies first began to take shape on July 17, 2015. It seemed fairly harmless, and even amusing, at the time. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump famously groused about Senator John McCain during a Republican primary event in Ames, Iowa. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Click above to enlarge
Trump’s villainous insight was that a long-simmering disdain for propriety, and the white collar rewards it bestows, had boiled over and folks were itching to vote for someone whose only demonstrable talent was for pissing all over it.
Truth-telling was suddenly for wusses. Bald-faced lying was but a tactic, shrewdly used only by the boldest of men. Good manners, conventional norms, good government, even the very concept of law-abiding citizenship were accused (and found guilty) of turning the country into a humorless, over-regulated chicken coop paralyzed to the brink of suffocation by namby-pamby sensitivities.
Enter the loudmouth hooligan hell-bent on cleaning up this mess. He alone would refuse to gussy up his opinions. He alone would tell it to us straight.
He alone would speak the unvarnished truth.
And there you had it, in all its garish horror. The monster lie that got Trump elected President was that he alone could be trusted to tell the truth!

My tweet of maskless Pence as an angel fo over 2000 impressions.

Pence Starts Wearing Mask After Fauci Says It Will Protect Him from Women

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Vice-President Mike Pence has started wearing a mask after Anthony Fauci told him that it will protect him from women, Fauci has confirmed.

After seeing video of a maskless Pence touring the Mayo Clinic, on Tuesday, Fauci said, “I knew I had to come up with something fast” to get through to Pence.

Fauci immediately got on the phone with the Vice-President and informed him that “clinical research” had demonstrated that a mask is “an effective female-repellent.”

“I told him that wearing a mask would protect him from 99.99 per cent of all women,” Fauci said. “He seemed very impressed.”

In an official statement, the Vice-President thanked Fauci for his excellent advice and indicated that he would start wearing a mask at all times, including at home.

April 28, 2020

My evening tweet (my photoshop)
Click above to see on Twitter

Trump returns to White House briefing, subdued but no less shameful

President retreated over the weekend after his bizarre musing that disinfectant could be injected into coronavirus patients

His autocratic tendencies are well-known. His sudden absence from public view prompted fierce speculation and rumour. One headline suggested that he was “brain-dead”.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s whereabouts remain unknown. But after a lost weekend, Donald Trump bounced back into the spotlight on Monday determined to prove that he is not only healthy but working very, very hard.

“The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history,” Trump had tweeted on Sunday, apparently stung by a New York Times report that said he spent all morning watching TV and clocks into the Oval Office around noon. “I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!”

Trump’s aides fell into line with a Pyongyang-like lockstep. Mark Meadows, the new White House chief of staff, told the New York Post he got a call from Trump at 3.19am. “I can tell you that the biggest concern I have as a new chief of staff is making sure he gets some time to get a quick bite to eat,” he said.

It was the Gordon Gekko argument from the 1987 film Wall Street: “Lunch is for wimps.”

For those who don't subscribe here a quote from Dana Milbank Washington Post OpEd:

Some totally non-sarcastic praise of Trump’s comic genius

When he said he had asked federal scientists to study whether household disinfectants could be taken internally to fight the virus, he later explained “I was asking a sarcastic, and a very sarcastic, question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”

Without a hint of sarcasm, I say: I am currently doubling over and slapping my knee.
In conventional usage, sarcasm, from the Greek “sarkasmos,” or sneer, means to use irony in a cutting way — often enthusiastically stating the opposite of what one means. But like all pioneers in the field of comedy, Trump has shifted the boundaries so that “sarcastic” means, roughly, “a term applied retroactively to something I wish I hadn’t said.”

For example, when Trump asked Vladimir Putin’s help in 2016 hacking Hillary Clinton’s email (“Russia, if you’re listening . . .”) his joke was so nuanced that nobody knew it was a joke until Trump disclosed it much later. “I made the statement quoted in Question II(d) in jest and sarcastically,” he (or his lawyers) declared in his written deposition to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Likewise, Trump said during the 2016 campaign that “I love WikiLeaks” because it released Democrats’ emails. But he was so bone dry that we did not learn until three years later that Trump had been joking — and then only from his press secretary.

The incorrigible wag fooled us again when he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens. It was all a lark!

Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus 'cure' wrote to Trump this week

Mark Grenon wrote to Trump saying chlorine dioxide ‘can rid the body of Covid-19’ days before the president promoted disinfectant as treatment

Trump adds to confusion over Kim Jong Un's health status

April 27, 2020

Is 6 feet enough? Some experts say 30 feet.

Furious Trump Strikes Wildly At Fox News And Other Media, Insists Reporters Return ‘Noble’ Prizes

April 26, 2020

I like the photoshop they made for this story. Lots of people in comments to my stories on Daily Kos and the Facebook group Duty to Warn  have asked what it would take for Pence to initiated the 25th. The answer pretty much is shown in this picture. He will have to start ranting in panic about an alien invasion, not over our border but malevolent actual outer space aliens landing on the White House lawn.

Sexual Abuse Survivors Grapple With Putting Trauma Aside To Vote For Joe Biden


According to an associate of Cohen, “The stories that will be in the book aren’t privileged. The stories wouldn’t violate attorney-client privilege. They are stories about Trump’s personality and behavior that would raise an eyebrow. There are stories about what it’s like being around this man and things that he did that most people typically do not do. A lot of it will be about looking at things he’s said and done with women and other [politically incorrect] things. It’ll be an insider’s look about what it was like to be alongside the president for 12 years.”

April 25, 2020

The viral Trump song.


Donald Trump's behavior is very predictable. He has a very simple mind. Why do so many people treat him as some type of mystery? Why do they claim to be so "surprised" by his vile behavior?
Yes, Donald Trump is simplistic. But an atomic explosion is also very simple.  
How does the human mind remain in denial about Trump's nature when on an almost daily basis he reveals his true nature through his cruelty, lies, violence and other anti-social behavior? There are many Americans who oppose Trump who continue to claim that they are somehow surprised by his behavior? 
Malignant narcissists are very sick people. They are sick in such a deep, disturbed and dark way that a normal person cannot comprehend such behavior. Therefore, normal, mentally healthy people cannot imagine or understand the mind of a malignant narcissist.

I’m Honestly Scared Trump’s Going to Drink a Bottle of Lysol


From the mayor of Las Vegas and my reply.

Click above to enlarge

On April 22 and 23, 2020, in interviews with MSNBC’s Katy Tur and CNN’s Anderson Cooper during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, Goodman stated that she wanted to reopen Las Vegas' casinos and hotels. When pressed about procedures necessary to ensure the safety of the patrons from contracting the Coronavirus she argued, it wasn't her responsibility, and it was up to the businesses.[21]

During the interview with Cooper, Goodman questioned the impact of social distancing. She said, "We [referring to the city] offered to be a control group" to test what would happen if casinos reopened, but was advised against it "because people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city." Goodman went on to suggest that social distancing should be subjected to a placebo test, adding, "We would love to be that placebo." When Cooper asked if she would be willing to go to one of the casinos if they were soon opened up, she replied: “First of all, I have a family... I don’t gamble."[22][23] Wikipedia

Trump is abandoning his COVID-19 press conferences because he is ‘finally getting scared’: conservative columnist


 Calling it “a fitting end to one of the most bizarre weeks in the most bizarre periods in American history,” Lewis went on to write, “Friday’s abrupt departure, coupled with those reports that we may have seen our last daily coronavirus briefing, constitutes a rare, if tacit, admission of failure. Coronavirus is a serious problem, and Trump simply can’t talk his way out of this one.”
 “It has been said that Trump’s superpower is that he has no shame. He doesn’t get embarrassed, primarily because he isn’t self-aware enough to realize he should,” Lewis continued. “Trump normally prevaricates with abandon, attempting to gaslight us into believing we’re the ones with the problem. But on this occasion, he seemed self-aware. Finally, Trump seemed to realize that he was naked.”
“It takes a lot for a man this delusional to come to terms with reality. And while I’m not delusional enough to think he is maturing, or that avoiding the media will last (he craves attention too much for that), Trump might finally be getting scared,” he added. “Look at the polls. He could very well lose his re-election to Joe Biden. I think he finally realizes that.”  

Disinfectant riff is latest of many Trump science clashes

HuffPost story about the caustic new nickname

EXCERPT But it is their disparate backgrounds and personalities that truly set Trump and Netanyahu apart and which have now launched them on completely contrary trajectories. While both have been labeled by lay critics as narcissists, Netanyahu is of the pessimistic and alarmist variety, while Trump is certain that his very presence will inevitably set things right. Perhaps that is because Trump was born a narcissist while Netanyahu had narcissism thrust upon him as he progressed in life.
Netanyahu is a learned man while Trump is essentially a dilettante. Netanyahu still respects science, Trump believes he’s larger than life. Netanyahu was raised by a father who devoted his life to the Spanish Inquisition; he grew up believing calamity was just around the corner. Trump was raised by a real-estate shark; he grew up believing the world was his plaything, if he played his cards right.

Psychologists would say both leaders are insecure at their core. Trump and Netanyahu are self-aggrandizing politicians who exaggerate their own achievements and belittle and ignore those of others. Netanyahu, however, recoils at criticism and tries to avoid it; Trump seems to thrive on rebuke, and often seems to purposely provoke it.

Notwithstanding his myriad faults, Netanyahu shares Israeli society’s relatively low tolerance for loss of life, amplified by his own grief at the Entebbe death of his brother Yoni. Decades of traumatic concern for soldiers and collective grief over their deaths have spilled over into the civilian arena.  As of Wednesday, Israel had recorded 21.26 coronavirus fatalities per million. If the rate was anywhere close to the U.S.’s 136 per million and rising – never mind the U.K.’s 255, Spain’s 455 or Belgium’s 517  the country would be in utter turmoil, if not total meltdown.
Netanyahu’s has wielded his inherent alarmism to frighten his citizens and unite them in the face of a common enemy. He has thus stifled his opposition, brought its leader Gantz to his knees and forged a so-called “national emergency government” that could also fulfill his overarching objective of averting his criminal trial. If elections were held today – rather than in six months, say, when the full impact of the economic paralysis will be felt – he would be shoo-in.

Trump, on the other hand, has antagonized his governors, appalled the federal bureaucracy, galvanized his opposition and split America in two. He is now actively campaigning against health precautions, encouraging his followers to risk their own lives in pursuit of his hare-brained theories on the progression of the epidemic. If elections were held today – rather than November 3, by which time Trump’s election campaign will reach full-on hysteria mode – his opponent, Joe Biden, would be shoo-in.

Netanyahu and Trump haven’t changed. They still share striking similarities: Both are cynical political manipulators, masters of division and incitement, blind to their own transgressions, steeped in self-victimization and increasingly touched by megalomania.

The coronavirus crisis, however, has exposed their deep dissimilarities as well: Netanyahu’s alarmism and caution have saved Israeli lives: Trump’s ignorance and recklessness have, tragically, taken the lives of many thousands of Americans. Even the most ardent of Trump’s Israeli fans would admit that in this case, Vive la Difference.

Melania Trump Sparks Angers With ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ For Coronavirus Victims

Critics slammed the first lady’s “empty words” and recalled Donald Trump’s haphazard handling of the pandemic.

April 24, 2020

Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected

Don't drink the bleach: Why is the elite press still covering for Trump's profound stupidity?

A new media low: "Both sides" coverage of Trump's suggestion that injecting cleaning products might be a cure

White House tried to kick CNN out of their briefing seat — but backed down after press corps solidarity

Still the actual risk outside remains low, but not zero:

Why you’re unlikely to get the coronavirus from runners or cyclists

Understanding the key concepts of transmissibility and infectious dose should reassure you.

How long does the virus live? Click image to enlarge:

Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon

The president's financial dealings with the state-owned bank complicate his attacks on Biden.

From Politico - their founding editor John Harris offers a sober and in my view realistic view about the post-Covid-19 future. My view is that optimism may spring eternal, hope may be more pleasant than hopelessness, but if you cling stubbornly to wishful thinking you may be setting yourself up for a terrible crash into despair.
My comment:

You offer a sober, and in my view realistic, view about the post-Covid-19 future. My view is that optimism may spring eternal, hope may be more pleasant than hopelessness. Look with clear eyes and don't deny what you see. If you cling stubbornly to wishful thinking you may be setting yourself up for a terrible crash into despair. Therapists like me call this magical thinking. Leave the magic to real magicians.

When the oncologist tells you that only 5% of patients will be alive several years after chemo for stage four cancer you may not hear that chemo often makes living unbearable.

Pay heed to the turth tellers willing to peer over the abyss and telling you what they see.

Hal Brown. MSW Duty to Warn therapist

EXCERPT: In case you wondered whether Trump’s soft spot for crank potions and cures matters, Rick Bright, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who was removed from his post this week, is filing a whistleblower claim. The Post reports on Bright’s lawyers’ statement: “In our filing, we will make clear that Dr. Bright was sidelined for one reason only — because he resisted efforts to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine, a drug promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly.”

In other words, a respected scientist performing valuable duties in the interest of public safety was removed because he refused to go along with Trump’s unapproved and potentially dangerous prescription. That not only deprives the American people of a skilled scientist at a time they need the best minds working on the coronavirus; it also inhibits truth-telling and promotes dangerous sycophancy. Less remarked upon but also preposterous, Trump falsely insisted we are close to a vaccine — only to contradict himself seconds later — and then publicly disagree (absent any basis in fact) with Anthony S. Fauci’s assessment that we are not as far ahead on testing as we should be.

Instead of amplifying Trump’s disinformation and misinforming the public about a life-threatening pandemic, the media should report only after the briefings on any actual news and on the list of untruths Trump uttered. Frankly, by not showing these fiascoes live, the media would be doing the science-addled president a favor. They surely would be performing a public safety function.

My life:

I thought I overdid it with my most recent grocery delivery order by buying too much beef. I am an unrepentant carnivorous omnivore.
Then I read this:
Americans could start to see shortages of pork, chicken and beef on grocery shelves as soon as May as major packing plants swept by the coronavirus remain shuttered and the nation’s massive stockpiles of frozen meat begin to dwindle.

Any empty shelves to date have been the result of bumps in the supply chain, with stores being unable to restock as quickly as customers are buying. But bacon, pork chops and ham could be the first to face actual shortages: The amount of frozen pork in storage nationwide — more than 621 million pounds — dropped 4 percent from March to April, the USDA reported this week. Slaughter rates are down 25 percent, and 400,000 animals are backed up in slaughterhouses.

And with meat plants of all kinds operating at 60 percent of capacity, shortages loom for beef and poultry as well. That could also lead to higher prices and a financial squeeze for farmers, who are collecting less per animal slaughtered.

April 23, 2020

The rapid COVID-19 test repeatedly hyped by Trump poses risk of infecting lab workers with coronavirus: report ||| Related: WATCH: Dr. Birx appears utterly horrified as Trump babbles about killing coronavirus with disinfectant injections


Something else for Trump to ignore: A Potential Game Changer In The Struggle Against Coronavirus

April 22, 2020

American Carnage: How Donald Trump Is Killing Us

Arrogance and chaos define the federal response to the pandemic.

April 21, 2020

A really good parody video song

You may notice I changed the picture here.

Americans are now officially at war with a sociopathic monster


Trump’s Excuse For Holding Rallies Amid Growing Pandemic: He Can’t Remember Them

The president claims he hasn’t left the White House in months despite holding six campaign rallies in February and March.

President Donald Trump on Monday resorted to questioning whether a campaign rally he held in March had actually taken place after he was caught in a lie claiming that he hadn’t left the White House in months.
“I don’t know about rallies, I really don’t know about rallies,” Trump said at his press briefing when PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor mentioned his continued campaign events during the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
“I know one thing, I haven’t left the White House in months, except for a brief moment to give a wonderful ship, the [USNS] Comfort,” he said.
When Alcindor pointed out that he had held a campaign rally on March 3, Trump said: “I don’t know, did I hold a rally? I’m sorry, I hold a rally. Did I hold a rally?”

Plymouth, MA

April 20, 2020

Here's a good Daily Kos story which had a sentence which led me to make this illustration from a DonkeyHotey caricature.
Such impenetrable ignorance: A solid steel shell of ignorance that Donald Trump wears on his head like a space helmet; and that facts, knowledge, and reason simply bounce off of like tiny meteoroids, to protect his even tinier brain from anything that he doesn’t want to know about.

She can't spell believes.

"Very, Very Scary’: Officials Dumbfounded as Florida Beaches Reopen, 3 Days After Death Spike

Bill Barr is about to take the fall for Trump’s coronavirus policy: report

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