It's a fuck-you to Obama, so it must be done.
The Trump administration rolled out the final version of its vehicle fuel-efficiency rules Tuesday, meaning that Trump will finally have eliminated tougher standards put in place under Barack Obama. The auto industry didn't particularly want the new rules, and several automakers plan to support higher gas-mileage standards planned by California, but now the rules are here and they're going to make you happy if you know what's good for you. The administration has had a hard time presenting any logical rationale for the rules beyond the fact that Obama wanted to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, which of course is all the reason needed to dump his regulations.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a joint statement with the Transportation Department that the new rules delivered "on President Trump's promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards." No, of course he didn't explicitly spell out what needed "correcting." But clearly, dirtier air is a good thing for everyone:
Our final rule puts in place a sensible one national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment, and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry. This rule supports our economy, and the safety of American families.
The statement reads a lot more plausibly if you imagine a guy in a suit making the universal jerking-off gesture.
We are not in this together if Ivanka's supposedly one of 'us.'
The president's useless daughter, Ivanka Trump, is trying to guide us all through the coronavirus crisis with obnoxiously cheery, uplifting messages. She's not providing a unique service. We already have a Gwyneth Paltrow.
Trump published a press release posing as an op-ed last week where she praised everything Donald Trump had done for the "forgotten man and woman." She neglected to mention how little her father did to stop the spread of a disease that has cost them their jobs and potentially their lives.
Within weeks, a pandemic has threatened the health, safety, and livelihoods of millions around the world — including here in the United States. In order to curb the spread of the highly-contagious virus, we have had to work from home, transition to distance learning, and temporarily manage a new way of life. As we collectively and individually experience this new reality, we have seen firsthand the hardships citizens face when they do not have access to paid family and sick leave.
That's a lot of “we" in there, sister. There's no way Ivanka Trump has witnessed actual hardship first or even secondhand, but maybe she's drawing from the memories of visiting her own sweatshops.
While her husband, Jared Kushner, screwed the tenants in his New York apartment buildings, Ivanka posted some videos of herself, sans makeup because she's real that way, social distancing her heart out. She wants to let us know we'll all be OK, except for the history-making number of unemployed people who might have to sell their teeth and hair while singing “I Dreamed a Dream."
These are really not nice times.
Last week, we told you how Hobby Lobby's leadership had a conference call with God, who informed them that everyone should keep working during the coronavirus pandemic because He had their back. Unfortunately, God isn't an infectious disease expert. The Oklahoma-based crafts store shut down its stores in the state finally after Gov. Kevin Stitt closed non-essential businesses. It wasn't long before the oh-so-Christian organization started firing employees via email. Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green is worth little morally but his bank balance is estimated in the billions. Couldn't he float payroll for a while? That's what Jesus would do, but his broke ass didn't know the first thing about business.
Employees not outright fired will have their pay reduced between 10 and 25 percent for the next two weeks. Afterward, they get to burn through their accrued personal and vacation days. Hobby Lobby's hourly employees earn 48 hours of personal time a year and salaried employees receive 48 hours of paid sick leave. Facebook is more generous, and Mark Zuckerberg doesn't show off his personal hickeys from God.
They’ll pay for their own security, thank you very much.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are coming to America. The one-time royals are currently self-isolating in Los Angeles with their son, Archie, having left their rented home in Vancouver, Canada, shortly before the borders closed last week. The move is reportedly permanent, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have already received a gracious welcome from the president.
Because yes, that's what the president of the United States was focused on yesterday. That and his ratings. But of particular note is that nobody asked him to.
It's your Sunday Rundown!
Greetings, Wonkers, time for your rundown of all the terrible things that happened on the Sunday shows.
We begin with Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," which had South Carolina senator and brett Kavanaugh defender (never forget) Lindsey Graham on to talk about the stimulus passed by Congress. But it was when Bartiromo brought up Nancy Pelosi that Graham got the vapors:
Sen. Graham pins Pelosi's attack on Trump as 'shameful, disgusting' www.youtube.com
BARTIROMO: Well take us behind the curtain to tell us how this all shook out, Senator, because Nancy Pelosi said she did jujitsu on this relief bill...
BARTIROMO: ... to get it where it needs to be.
BARTIROMO: And this morning, this weekend, she is saying that the president is fiddling around while people are dying, Senator.
GRAHAM: No, what she said, she's blaming the president of the United States for people dying because of the way he's led the country. That's the most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history. Let me tell you, we have seen the best of America from our citizens helping each other, delivering groceries, having special shopping hours for senior citizens. She's the first politician to blame another politician for people dying. This is the same speaker of the House who held up the bill in the Senate for days because she wanted same-day voting, she wanted carbon neutrality for the airlines, she wanted $75 million for the endowment for the humanities, and $25 million for the Kennedy Center. She is the one that held up the package in the Senate for days to get the Green New Deal put in a recovery package. So it's the most shameful, disgusting thing I have heard yet. And it needs to stop.
Mind you that Lindsey Graham has been in Congress through Terri Schiavo, Brett Kavanaugh and Dennis Hastert. But the kicker of hypocritical bullshit is Graham's "disgust" at blaming a politician for people dying like THIS motherfucker never heard of Benghazi and how Republicans blamed Hillary Clinton ("another politician") for "people dying" there.
Cruise Ships Ain't Getting No Stimulus Money Just Because They're Not Even American, Isn't That Sad?
You get nothing!
The coronavirus and resulting economic shutdowns have laid waste to such industries as restaurants, hotels, airlines, and, yes, cruise ships, those floating petri dishes where you go to fall in love and catch the measles. The Senate passed a hefty $2 trillion stimulus package this week, but cruise ships won't have access to $500 billion in aid for large employers. That's because they've previously spelled “relief" T-A-X-D-O-D-G-E.
From the Washington Post:
Language in the 883-page bill passed by the Senate says that to be eligible for aid from the $500 billion fund, companies must be certified as "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" as well as having "significant operations in" and a majority of employees based in the United States.
Major cruise companies like to base their primary headquarters overseas, so they can avoid pesky federal taxes and even more annoying US regulations, such as health and safety codes. They staff their ships with workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and India, which they don't do because they're big believers in the global village. No, they pay foreign workers around $2 an hour and work them plantation style. Business Insider reported that cruise-ship employees often work eight to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
All of this is so predictable.
We knew it was bullshit when Donald Trump, freelancing like he so often does, lied at one of his corona-pressers and said all kinds of companies were right now starting to manufacture much-needed ventilators for COVID-19 patients. We knew it was bullshit when, after being pressed by a reporter, Trump said, yes, well, General Motors is doing it! No, they were not.
We knew it was bullshit when he said it again a couple day later at another one of his Dow-killing "briefings." Turns out that, according to facts, and also common sense, you can't just retool an entire auto factory overnight to make an entirely different product. It takes months.
And we also knew that whatever plan the White House had for getting much-needed ventilators to over-run hospitals, the Trump administration would fuck it up, and that Jared Kushner would somehow be involved in fucking it up.
Right on cue, the New York Times reports on one way they're fucking it up. Turns out they were going to announce an Art Of The Deal on Wednesday with GM and a company called Ventec Life Systems, to make "up to 80,000 ventilators." But then they called off the announcement, because FEMA needed more time to find out if TOO 'SPENSIVE, because it was going to cost more than a billion American dollars! And they'd have to put hundreds of millions down too, you know, to actually retrofit a factory to manufacture them! No fair!
Now, maybe they will still make this Art Of The Deal happen, but they need to look at a bunch of other bids, which they definitely have.
No, it gets better, because guess who's directing FEMA?
On the other hand, no name is probably better than ‘Pocahontas’ or ‘Horseface.'
Donald Trump received a long-distance tongue bath from Sean Hannity Thursday night, during which he expressed his contempt for all the governors who keep wanting him to do stuff, like it's his job to care about Americans. He went off on them like they were spoiled college kids asking their parents for more money.
TRUMP: When you talk about ventilators, that's like buying a car! It's an expensive, very intricate piece of equipment ... heavily computerized and good ones are very, very expensive. And Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo and others, they say, “We want 30,000 of them." 30,000! Think about this. You go to a hospital. They have one in a hospital.
That was before the coronavirus, you stupid fucking moron! This virus is turning people's lungs into jelly. Hospitals need more ventilators or patients will die. New York hospitals have already resorted to sharing ventilators.
TRUMP: Now, all of sudden, everyone's asking for these vast numbers ... But remember, we're really the second line of attack. The first line of attack is supposed to be the hospitals and local government and the states. We have people like Gov. [Jay] Inslee, he should be doing more. He shouldn't be relying on the federal government. Gov. Inslee, that's the state of Washington. He was a failed presidential candidate. He's always complaining.
And your governor of Michigan! She's not stepping up. I don't know if she knows what's going on, but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn't get it done, and we send her a lot.
He couldn't even bother to say her name. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced herself to the so-called president on Twitter. Dig the “wave" emoji.
It includes some oversight for the slush fund, so that's something.
After a couple extra days of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus bill aimed at offsetting some of the worst economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the deal in the wee hours this morning, around 1:30 a.m., and the Senate is expected to pass the bill later today after McConnell has had a nap and a nice lunch of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with human misery.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was included in the negotiations and said the bill had the approval of Donald Trump, almost as if Trump had been briefed on and/or understood the details. Mnuchin said he had "spoken to the president many times today; he's very pleased with this legislation and the impact that this is going to have."
Trump, for his part, spent the morning grudge-tweeting, with tweets attacking Joe Biden and sarcastically expressing happiness that Mitt Romney did not test positive for the virus, while saying Romney was "a terrible presidential candidate and an even worse U.S. Senator, but he is a RINO, and I like him a lot!" Trump also retweeted the usual bunch of rightwing idiots who praised him or mocked his enemies, so he's probably finished thinking about this dumb pandemic. Trump didn't tweet his own statement on the deal, but did retweet this fascinating gif depicting McConnell as some sort of wizard or superhero with electric eyes.
He is a very serious president, our Dear Leader.
Shame on their partisan opposition to this partisan giveaway.
A procedural vote on the Republicans' $2 trillion economic stimulus bill failed in the Senate last night after Mitch McConnell brought up the measure even though he knew he didn't have the votes to pass it. The vote to expedite legislation fell far short of the 60 votes it needed, with a 47-to-47-vote tie. Complicating matters for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the fact that five Republican senators are now in quarantine and unable to show up to vote. Rand Paul's trip to the Senate swimming pool yesterday may mean the virus could spread.
Republicans and Democrats agree on many of the broad goals in the bill, like support for small businesses, money to shore up hospitals and state unemployment systems, and checks that would be sent to all Americans to help them get through the economic downturn the coronavirus pandemic has caused.
But one huge part of the proposal, a $500 billion fund that could be distributed to states and corporations at the Treasury Department's discretion, lacks safeguards against bad corporate behavior — like taking the money and then laying off most of their workforce. Democrats weren't about to support that, and wanted to add at least some of Elizabeth Warren's proposed limits on how the bailout money could be used. Instead, McConnell forced last night's vote, and scheduled a second vote today even though negotiations are still ongoing.
So here's why a coronavirus relief bill is stalled: 1) Republicans proposed a no-strings giveaway to corporations that want the Trump administration to make sweet money love to them. 2) Democrats said fuck no to that. 3) Nonetheless, Democrats said they wanted to keep working toward a bill, by adding in better protections for labor and taxpayers. 4) Knowing he didn't have 60 votes to move the bill forward, Mitch McConnell brought it to a vote anyway, so that it would fail and he could blame Democrats. 5) McConnell professed to be shocked, shocked to learn someone was playing politics with the pandemic.
Sadly, Grisham isn't one of the hundred of thousands (or more!) newly unemployed Americans.
Part-time White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham can't avoid the burdens of her job now that the country is facing a global pandemic and economic collapse. Grisham whined to Howard Kurtz on Fox News Sunday about the mean reporters she's just meeting for the first time who won't let up about how Donald Trump destroyed the country. What's done is done. That's Grisham's motto.
GRISHAM: The president didn't have a crystal ball there.
No, Trump didn't have access to fortune teller technology, but he did have intel community warnings in January that China was lying about the spread of the coronavirus. He also had Barack Obama's global pandemic team that he exchanged for a bag of magic beans. He also had researchers in Seattle, Washington, who wanted to test people for the coronavirus as early as January but the federal government refused. (A heroic doctor went rogue and performed tests anyway.) Trump consistently downplayed the impact of the coronavirus until it was too late, and now everyone is trapped at home with their families.
America's national nightmare continues.
Can Democrats and presumptive nominee Joe Biden start doing their own daily briefing to rebut this bullshit? Because if you're gonna be freaked that 55 percent of Americans approve of the job Donald Trump is doing handling coronavirus, then you kinda need to be out there saying WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE TESTS AND THE MASKS AND THE VENTILATORS AND THE FUCKING GODDAMNED PLAN WHERE IS THE FUCKING GODDAMNED PLAN?
We are just saying.
'Nother bullshit White House corona-presser today. Dr. Anthony Fauci was back, so that was good. Tax Day is officially moved to July 15, but if you're getting a refund, go ahead and file anyway if you want.
Trump announced that he has so invoked the Defense Production Act, to conscript American industry to manufacture masks and the like, and claimed that nobody had ever done that before. (It's been invoked a thousand times.)
But wait, to be clear, asked a reporter, has he ordered companies to make ventilators and masks? Yes, a lot of them, he said. Which ones? He'd name them but then he'd have to kill them. Anyway, General Motors, he said. (Maybe not so much.)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US and Mexico are closing the border to nonessential travel, and DHS chief Alex Azar did allllll the ass-licking about how Trump has been working on coronavirus since the very beginning, with BOLD ACTIONS, and that is why America is doing so great right now. (Over 15,000 confirmed cases in the US now with numbers climbing exponentially, which is a bullshit number because America's testing regime is bullshit.)
Because Trump is a xenophobic racist asshole, today's official theme was deporting Chinese Coronavirus Mexicans back to their home countries. Azar talked about the "illegal aliens" giving coronavirus to the poor put-upon border agents, who are definitely the object of America's deepest sympathy right now.
Look at this fucking pig:
Dr. Deborah Birx (one of the non-liars) announced that in Italy, they're finding that mortality for males is twice that of females, but noted that while many youngs are getting sick, mortality is still mostly happening among olds. She did not say any racist things about the border or the "Chinese virus" because she doesn't do that, because she is not a pig-swilling racist. Same for Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Oh yeah, and Mike Pence said some lies about how everything was awesome with the government's efforts to get ventilators and masks and testing, licking Trump's ass the whole way. Hey, did y'all hear hospitals are putting out sewing patterns, should your Nana have some time during quarantine to crochet a couple of mask doilies for healthcare workers who need them? Sewing patterns. Dunno why we felt like mentioning that just then.
Anyway, here was the BIG MOMENT of the briefing. Don't worry, it wasn't Chanel Rion again.
Just when you think they can't possibly find a new way to fuck it all up, the Trump administration goes and outbids state governments on sales of face masks and sterile gowns for hospital personnel dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Oh, we wish we were kidding! But, nope. Here's Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on a phone call with Trump yesterday.
BAKER: We took very seriously the push that you made previously on one of these calls, that we should not just rely on the stockpile and that we should go out and buy stuff and put in orders and try to create pressure on manufacturers and distributors. And I gotta tell you that on three big orders we lost to the Feds.
So, my question is, could you give some of these guys some guidance that says, the states are doing what the Feds want, trying to create their own supply chain on this, and that people should be responsive to that? Because, I got a feeling that if someone has the chance to sell to you or to sell to me, I am going to lose on every one of those.
And then Trump chuckled. FOR REAL. Because, what could ever be funnier than the federal government making it harder and more expensive for the states to get their hands on personal protective equipment (PPE) in a highly contagious viral pandemic?
Sorting out the House and Senate plans because somebody should.
The coronavirus has shut down businesses and confined us to our homes. What is the government doing to save us from economic collapse? Donald Trump signed a $100 billion emergency aid package Wednesday. The bill passed in the House on Friday and bumped around the Senate until yesterday. The coronavirus might take longer to incubate, but damn, let's stop dilly dallying. I've worn the same sweat shirt for five days.
The bill Trump signed will expand paid sick leave and unemployment insurance. The latter is especially critical. Unemployment claims in Oregon, for instance, rose from 800 on Sunday to 18,500 on Tuesday. National levels are even more horrifying at around 630,000 claims in just 15 days. Let's break down the emergency aid package: What it does and doesn't do.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act devotes $400 million to local food banks to provide meals for low-income Americans during the emergency. It'll also provide $500 million in supplemental funds to the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC). Unfortunately, single mothers are among the first to feel the body blows of closures to restaurants and bars and the reduction of retail shifts.
Let’s see if our new “wartime” first lady can finally get her #BeBest on.
Melania Trump, who we hear is the first lady, is stepping up to help during the coronavirus crisis. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump will appear in public service announcements that'll detail "important ways Americans can protect themselves and those most at risk" from contracting and spreading the coronavirus. The PSAs will also feature Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Deborah Birx. They won't be filmed in front of a live audience of schoolchildren, so there's no chance the first lady will get booed.
The PSAs will appear digitally and on all the major broadcast networks, which soon won't have any original programming. Instead of “Ellen" or "Saturday Night Live," you can enjoy "Chillin' with Melania." It's neither entertaining nor informative!
Just a couple weeks ago, Trump was blithely tweeting photos of herself in a designer hardhat looking at plans for a neoclassical tennis pavilion at the White House. Now she's put on her designer surgical mask, but shockingly people aren't taking her seriously -- probably because she says stupid things on Twitter.
Try to understand, Mrs. Trump that if you're working from home, you're still “working." There's not much time for journaling or building tennis pavilions. Schools are also closed in many states, so if you're a parent, you're also trying to keep your kids, who are confined to the house, from going feral. It's The Shining, not a staycation.
He seems to forget these things, somehow.
Donald Trump has the best memory of anyone he knows, which is why no one on the White House staff wanted him to talk to Robert Mueller. It's a very flexible memory. It's a very good memory of things that actually never happened, but he likes to brag about anyway, and absolutely blank when it comes to people he knew and ordered around but doesn't like now. So of course it's not surprising that Trump said last week he didn't know anything about that time in 2018 when he disbanded the National Security Council team charged with planning for a pandemic disease outbreak. He got very angry at "PBS NewsHour" reporter Yamiche Alcindor for even mentioning such a thing, calling it a "nasty" question. (Somebody ought to see whether he calls any white male reporters "nasty." Once? Twice? Ever? Alcindor is at least the second black woman he's called "nasty.")
Problem is, just 16 days earlier, Trump had been bragging about how he dissolved the NSC pandemic planning team (formally, the "Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense"), because he's such an excellent manager. Let's see if we can refresh his memory!
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