Wake us up from this nightmare!
"The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile," Jared Kushner said during yesterday's coronavirus MAGA rally. "It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use."
"WHO THE FUCK IS 'OUR'?" screamed America in unison. If it doesn't belong to the states, is the stockpile the property of DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico? Or does Jared think he and Vanky own the nation's stash of medical supplies and can dole them out as they see fit?
That's a joke, because, DUH, of course he does.
"The Strategic National Stockpile is the nation's largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out," according to its website. "When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile assures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency."
Oh, whoops! Looks like that's not the case anymore. Since Jared's star performance at yesterday's presser, that language has been removed from the web. Now it says that the president owns those ventilators and masks and can hand them out to red states that might vote for him in November, because, HELLO! read your Constitution, people!
Oh, was that harsh? File a fucking complaint with Wonkette's chain of command.
You knew it was coming, even though the Navy's top officer, Admiral Michael Gilday, said on Wednesday that they certainly were not going to "shoot the messenger."
For some reason, US Navy Captain Brett Crozier felt the need to take a bold step to protect the 4,000 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, the site of the US military's largest coronavirus outbreak (so far). So he wrote a four-page letter up the chain of command that might as well have said, "Hey, just do what I am fucking saying right now! Evacuate the ship! Ever tried to social distance on an aircraft carrier? IT IS NOT A THING. You don't even have to make a plan, because I made it for you! Fucking do it fucking do it fucking do it!" And that letter somehow made it to the San Francisco Chronicle, and PRESTO CHANGE-O, the Trump Navy finally said it would do what Crozier was saying, to protect those 4,000 sailors.
Shame works. But in the Trump administration, whistleblowers must be punished, for exposing the incompetence and/or criminality of the Trump administration, so they relieved Crozier of his command, because of course they did. Because he was trying to save his sailors' lives, which is fine according to the (acting) secretary of the Navy, except for he tried to save their lives the wrong way.
We need to point out something right now: We don't have a confirmed secretary of the Navy, because Trump fired that guy for refusing to follow an illegal order. Just feel like this news should be viewed through that lens.
Nobody could have seen that coming.
Donald Trump is currently attempting the Candide defense for condemning Americans to mass death and economic ruin. The president insists that he did “everything right" in response to the coronavirus, and this is simply the best of all possible worlds. Sorry your aunt is dead and your small business is shuttered. There was never any other way, and according to Mike Pence, it's China and the CDC's fault that other ways didn't exist.
However, a source close to the White House coronavirus task force firmly and anonymously disagrees. The source claims that tougher measures implemented earlier “might have made a difference." Well, duh. While Trump was diddling around in January, the first confirmed COVID-19 case hit Seattle, Washington. Trump didn't ramp up testing but instead dismissed any dire warnings about the virus.
In February, Trump said something pretty stupid that we sort of shrugged off but it turns out it might've been an actual strategic decision.
DR. TRUMP: You know, a lot of people think [the virus] goes away in April with the heat as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We're in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.
What the hell? Did Trump believe the the virus was an Arizona snowbirder? What's strange is that, as someone who lived in Seattle for a while, I can confirm that it doesn't get exactly virus-killing hot in April. The average high is 58 degrees. It still rains a a good deal. The city can't really fool people — especially Southerners like myself — into thinking it's livable until July.
Someobdy must have hit his reset button.
Give Donald Trump a trophy, because he was serious about coronavirus for about nine seconds earlier this week, which as far as we can tell is a personal record. Don't worry, he's back to his old fundamentally unserious and criminally stupid racist self.
Trump did one of his coronavirus lie-pressers yesterday, where he demands his servants perform corona-lingus on him on live TV. We didn't watch it live, because nobody watches them anymore. The networks are increasingly not carrying them, at least not in full, because they are full of lies and public health risks. It's especially pointless after Trump said the quiet part loud a few days back and bragged about the ratings for the pressers. Fuck that.
Aaron Rupar over at Vox is still live-tweeting them, though, so we can see the important information we missed. Like for instance, that Trump is not only number one at global pandemic counts, he is also number one at Facebook, at least according to him:
These douchebags will kill us all.
If you've got a problem, Jared Kushner can make it worse. And America has a big problem.
Vanity Fair's gossip pipeline continues to flow during the pandemic, and it traces the president's shit tweeting this morning about states who dare to "complain" about lack of medical supplies — "Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?)." — back to Jared and one of his infamous book reports.
"This was a total mess," Kushner told people, according to VF. "I know how to make this government run now." So Jared, who faults HHS Secretary Alex Azar for leaving Trump politically exposed with his handling of the whole ICKY DEAD PEOPLE VIRUS thing, swung into action. Never mind that Azar tried to get Trump's attention about coronavirus in throughout January and February, only to get reprimanded for letting the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonier spook the markets with all her gloom and doom about dead Americans. Clearly this shit is all on Alex!
That's how we got Jared's shadow coronavirus task force, which looks to such trusted sources as his brother Josh's father-in-law's Facebook friends for disease prevention strategies. That's why we're all gonna die.
There is slow on the uptake, and then there is Brian Kemp.
Well by God, sounds like a couple of southern GOP governors found Christ yesterday. Mississippi Governor Tater Tater Tater Tater Tater, after struggling mightily with the issue, waited until the very last minute possible and handed down a statewide stay-at-home order. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did the same, finally, because Donald Trump gave him the order, finally, as he runs the state where the coronavirus pandemic is in the process of exploding (the current confirmed cases are 7,773). Don't worry, DeSantis made an exemption allowing Floridians to get coronavirus at church, as is their religious freedom. Texas Governor Greg Abbott made the same exemption.
(And some Democratic governors have done so too, though each state's framework is different. Some of those Democratic governors went early, though, and might want to think about amending their orders. The cool thing about God is that you don't have to go to church to see Him, as He is always riding on your back, according to the famous "Footprints" poem, isn't that the coolest thing ABOUT GOD?)
Georgia GOP Governor Brian Kemp has found Jesus as well, in a state where the number of confirmed cases is set to cross 5,000, over 150 have already died, and outbreaks are happening all over, especially in rural areas. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, those numbers are way behind the real numbers, and they're not just talking about how America's testing regime is a fucking joke and nobody knows how many millions of people have been exposed at this point.
What changed Kemp's mind? Oh, well, what happened was, it was the darnedest thing, but there was a GAME CHANGER! If you live in Georgia, you are going to be so glad Kemp almost certainly stole that election from Stacey Abrams when he was the secretary of state overseeing his own gubernatorial election, because would Stacey Abrams even have known what to do with this GAME CHANGER?
Kemp explained during a press conference on Wednesday announcing his stay-at-home order:
Just kidding, he would never sue a live cow. OR WOULD HE?
Donald Trump is being serious about coronavirus, finally, or at least pretending to be. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finally put Florida under a statewide stay-at-home order, because Trump finally gave him his marching orders, we guess.
But you know which elected official is not buying into the liberal agenda nonsense, and just wants to go out in the pasture and play, and if you think he's gonna stay six feet away from each and every cow, you got another think coming, ALLEGEDLY?
cow pole dancing GIF Giphy
That's right, Devin Nunes is not havin' it.
A couple weeks ago, Fucking Devin was pretty sure when Dr. Anthony Fauci said "stay at home" that Dr. Anthony Fauci was not his real dad, so he interpreted that order as GO TO BARS. (And then got so mad when people reported on what he said.)
Now, weeks later, with the bodies piling up, in an America with more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and growing, with outbreaks shooting forth from all corners of the country like the country is a big udder and the milk is coming out of all kinds of nipples like WHOA HEY! — against this backdrop, Fucking Devin is doubling down.
Once more, just making shit up as they go along.
As we've known from the very beginning, the Trump administration is just making up its coronavirus response as it goes along, largely because that's how it's done everything else since taking office. That would be a huge problem even if Donald Trump didn't ricochet between denying there's a problem at all and his occasional moments of acting like he knows it's serious.
The latest evidence that everything about the pandemic response is on an ad hoc basis comes in the form of a Politico report on the COVID-19 task force's decision to freeze shipments of coronavirus aid to other countries, now that the administration is slowly realizing there's a huge shortage of medical supplies in the USA. The lede gives a pretty good sense of just how chaotic the situation has been. An administration official called officials in Thailand last week to find out if that country could help send protective gear for medical workers in the US. Funny thing about that!
The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok.
Trump aides were alarmed when they learned of the exchange, and immediately put the shipment on hold while they ordered a review of U.S. aid procedures.
Nope, nobody had even thought about the matter prior to last week, at least not anyone who could have done something about it.
ARREST HOBBY LOBBY.
The Hobby Lobby is defying stay-at-home orders because presumably God wants people to die for arts and crafts supplies. How else are Americans going to make party favors for all the parties they can't have? The oh-so-Christian retailer is “quietly reopening" stores across the country, including in Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose governors have ordered residents to shelter-in-place. These orders close all businesses except for those that provide “essential services." Hobby Lobby does not provide “essential services."
Despite literally having the word “hobby" in its name, Hobby Lobby has tried to rebrand itself as an “essential" business. A hastily made sign on the window of one store claimed it's now operating as an essential business because it sells “PPE masks, educational supplies, office supplies, and various components for at-home small businesses." That's absurd. Bars and restaurants offer food, which is essential, but they're all closed except for takeout and delivery.
Hobby Lobby is not an actual grocery, pharmacy, or hardware store. There's no gray area here, and billionaire owner David Green is choosing to endanger his employees, and the communities they live and work in, in service of his bank balance. How evangelical!
Trump says Big Macs are 100 calories and part of any balanced breakfast! Nine billion humans with access to Google disagree.
This morning, we talked about that call Donald Trump had with the governors, where Montana's Steve Bullock told Trump in no uncertain terms that they didn't have the damn coronavirus tests they need to avert catastrophe there. In response, Trump said he just hasn't heard anything about testing problems lately, and if he hasn't heard about it, it must not exist.
The New York Times reported on that too.
Oh for God's sake.
Who's even dying of coronavirus? Let's ask these experts!
Gather 'round, don a lab coat and hold your favorite Bunsen burner tight, it's time for #CoronaChat with known science experts Diamond and Silk!
Did you learn some science in that video of Diamond and Silk? Good!
In case you cannot watch it, the information they imparted was very #publichealth. Silk said that "my president" Donald Trump wanted to open the country up by Easter. "I knew this was going to happen! He said this was going to happen!," exclaimed Diamond. "Instantaneously!" added Silk, without completing her thought. Silk told Diamond, "Now watch the numbers of deaths go up," so the media could hurt Donald Trump, by reporting a lot of new coronavirus deaths. "And! And! And!" added Silk, America is now number one for coronavirus cases! QED!
Clearly, they are just wondering if all of these deaths are a fake news scam, to destroy Trump.
Like we said, science.
How monumentally fucked are we? Let's go to the tape!
We know a few things about Donald Trump's bunglefucked response to the novel coronavirus. For example, we know he's been extorting governors the same way he extorted the president of Ukraine, except instead of his "favor, though" being that he needs them to help him beat Joe Biden in November, he's demanding praise and nut-fondling. (To be fair, we don't know that he isn't hitting them up for fake oppo on Biden.)
But there have been times when things have been reported about the Trump response to coronavirus, and if you like Trump, you might think the FakeStream Media is laming all over him, like when it was reported a few weeks back (few months? few decades?) that on a call with the governors, Trump told them that if they need ventilators and PPE, they should "try getting it yourselves." In that case, knowing Trump's tone and (botched) manner of speaking so well, we were willing to believe maybe he was saying that if the governors could have an easier time than the federal government, then they should do it themselves. And the recording did indeed bear that out. Well, except that the federal government was actually bidding against them.
Oh yeah, and he appears to be telling vendors not to send states supplies if their governors have not adequately kissed his extremely gross butt.
It helps to hear recordings of Trump doing his Art Of The Deal-ing, we think. And CBS News last night released a new leaked recording of a call that happened with the governors on Monday. You should listen to it, so you can feel what America's governors feel in their souls when they deal with the stupidest, most incompetent, most impervious-to-new-or-old-information national leader who has ever walked God's green earth. In the middle of a global pandemic, no less!
It Might Be Good If People Who Know Things Were In Charge, By A Doktor Of Rhetoric.
When histories of the coronavirus pandemic [2019-20??] are eventually written, the role of one libertarian scholar, Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, will deserve at least a footnote, if not a full paragraph. Epstein wrote a couple of articles, published on Hoover's website, in which he suggested that all the public health projections on what needs to be done about COVID-19 exaggerated the severity and danger of the outbreak. According to the Washington Post, the first of those pieces, a March 16 epic titled "Coronavirus Perspective," was a real big hit in the Trumpy circles, where everyone thought it was brilliant and, we presume, staffers read the best parts excitedly to each other, possibly calling in Jared Kushner to help them pronounce the bigger words.
The piece included a slightly optimistic projection for how bad the outbreak would be: no more than 500 deaths nationwide, maybe, which Epstein later revised upward to 5,000, tops, depending on the breaks. As the New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner notes in the preface to his interview with Epstein, published today, "So far, there have been more than two thousand coronavirus-related fatalities in America," and although epidemiologists' projections of possible totals vary, almost all are a lot higher. Chotiner also notes Dr. Anthony Fauci's estimate yesterday that the total deaths in the US could be between 100,000 and 200,000.
We can see why Epstein's work would be popular with Team Trump:
In a follow-up article, published on March 23rd and titled "Coronavirus Overreaction," Epstein wrote, "Progressives think they can run everyone's lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk."
Despite how popular that rosy scenario might be, Trump nonetheless looked at the shadow of death and announced yesterday we'd have at least four more weeks of staying indoors and out of large groups, at least until the next dumbshit thing he sees on Fox News.
Epstein, who is a lawyer, not a biologist, agreed last Wednesday to a phone interview with Chotiner, and wow, you should go read the whole thing. (The magazine's coronavirus coverage won't even subtract from your five monthly New Yorker clicks. Even if it did, OH BOY.) Turns out that however well-respected in conservative law circles Epstein is, he has a whole bunch of flatly wrong assumptions about how viruses and epidemics work, which would be merely sad if his nonsense weren't also helping to set policy. Chotiner lets readers know up front that bullshit will be flung and disinfected:
During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, Epstein made a number of comments about viruses that have been strongly disputed by medical professionals. We have included factual corrections alongside those statements.
Hoo boy. Talk about putting it mildly.
Trump Admin VERY BUSY With IMPORTANT WORK Of DISESTABLISHING RESERVATION Of Native Americans Who Met The Pilgrims!
On Friday, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt decided it was time to take action and ... take land away from the descendants of the Native Americans who participated in the first Thanksgiving. You know. For reasons.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is located in Cape Cod, with its headquarters in Mashpee. Back in the 17th century, the Wampanoag people were a loose confederation of several Massachusetts tribes. Now, the Wampanoag people consist of two tribes recognized by the federal government and three more recognized by the state of Massachusetts.
For the last few years, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has been battling with rich white locals, Republican casino owners in Rhode Island, Trump BFFs, and Trump himself over its plan to put a casino on its land.
Now, Trump's Interior Department has decided to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation and take its land out of trust.
Yeah, that's gonna be a no from them dawg.
In the midst of an epidemic of opioid addiction that has already taken hundreds of thousands of American lives, at least we have the Trump administration looking out for the poor Fortune 500 companies like Walmart that actively encouraged dependence on opiods because they were profiting from addiction.
Don't forget — as Ron Johnson helpfully points out, coronavirus isn't the only thing killing Americans every day.
And in an absolutely wild story broken by ProPublica last week, we learned that despite a years-long investigation that showed horrific complicity from Walmart in the opioid epidemic, Trump appointees blocked federal prosecutors from attempting to hold them accountable.
And why is that, you ask?
Because "We're all capitalists here."
And of course, Laissez les bon temps rouler. Someday soon, hopefully.
There is something that happens to me every time I cross the state line from Mississippi into Louisiana on Interstate 55, or more accurately, a few minutes later, as I pass through the towns of Hammond and then Manchac, where I see Middendorf's, one of the best seafood joints anywhere, off the highway to the left. Right there begins The Bridge, which you only understand if you've crossed it. From there, you've got 42 miles to New Orleans, and it's about the last time you'll see dry land until you get there, as you roll through swampland along the edge of Lake Pontchartrain. It doesn't matter whether it's daytime, late at night, or, as is most often the case, dusk. It doesn't matter if I'm the only one in the car or, as is most often the case, I'm in a car full of joyful people.
Something in my body, in my soul, just exhales, like I've been holding my breath since the last time I was on that bridge. It's a physical and spiritual reaction. Though I've never actually lived in the city of New Orleans — I dream of one day being able to, at least part-time — there is something about that city and that region that just whispers, "You're OK now. You're here." (There are bits of evidence in our family tree that maybe there is a deeper connection with the city running through our genes, if you believe in that sort of thing.)
Cafe Du Monde, Decatur Street, French Quarter, New Orleans… | Flickr live.staticflickr.com
New Orleans, as you might have heard, is fast becoming a frightening new epicenter for coronavirus in the United States. New Orleans, a city that's been through disaster too many times before, and that still bears the scars of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
According to the Johns Hopkins map, there are 1,170 confirmed cases in Orleans Parish, but we're sure that number is already expired. In the New Orleans metro area, it's getting close to double that. New Orleans is experiencing the fastest growth in the world, and the highest number of deaths per capita, in a city where 24 percent of the residents are below the official poverty level and many are homeless.
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