I do not know how the courts will ultimately deal with all of the aspects of Trump’s latest effort this afternoon to garner unconstitutional power unto himself.
But I am sure that this afternoon’s development will do much toward enriching lots of members of the legal profession beyond the dreams of avarice.
This afternoon, David Brooks sucks his thumb at almost interminable length on the topic of the future of the Republican Party. Will Trump stick around after he loses, bigly? No, David allows: “My guess it that if Trump gets crushed in the election, millions of Republicans will decide they never liked that loser and jerk anyway.”
Nope. Wrong guess.
Proceeding from that incorrect premise, Brooks reasons his way to the conclusion that the “ intellectual future of conservatism will be wrestled over at a series of forums at the Center for Social, Cultural and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.”
I kid you not.
David is a nice fellow. Dr. Aardvark and I look forward to his weekly appearance on the PBS Evening News.
He’s so nice, in fact, that I’m not even going to try to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge.
This afternoon, the Washington Post lets us know that,
A new report suggests the summer’s surge of covid-19 infections and deaths has knocked the U.S. economy off its tentative path to recovery. Hiring slowed dramatically in July, according to an estimate by ADP, as businesses added fewer than 170,000 new jobs compared to some economists’ predictions of more than 1 million.
President Trump showed no sign of admitting the magnitude of the crisis. In wide-ranging, frequently erroneous comments on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, he claimed covid-19 was spreading in a “relatively small portion” of the country (it is spreading nearly everywhere); said children are “virtually immune” to the virus (they are not); and once again insisted the outbreak will “will go away like things go away.”
Saving Lives is Verboten
The truth is forbidden. See John Cassidy in The New Yorker, earlier today:
On June 3rd, according to a running tallymaintained by the Times, the seven-day average for confirmed new cases of COVID-19 was 21,958. On Monday, August 3rd, the seven-day average was 60,202. That’s an increase of about a hundred and seventy-five per cent in two months. Since early July, as the virus has spread across the country, the number of deaths from COVID-19 has more than doubled. Even after a welcome decline during the past few days, the weekly average is still more than a thousand a day.
Confronted with these developments, Trump has become even more brazen in promoting an alternative reality. On Monday, he lashed out at Deborah Birx, the response coördinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, tweeting, “So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”
The President was referring to an interview that Birx gave to CNN’s Dana Bash over the weekend, and if you watch it, you’ll see that she didn’t “hit” Trump or his Administration at all. To the contrary, Birx defended the White House task force, saying that it had shifted course more than a month ago: after it became clear that the pandemic had entered a new phase, the task force adopted a more granular approach, providing individual municipalities and counties with the support and guidance they needed to address the rising number of cases, she said. She also pointed out that, in some places where they have been introduced, mitigation efforts seem to be having a positive impact. In hard-hit Arizona, Florida, and Texas, and in a half-dozen other states, new-case numbers have declined somewhat in the past two weeks, the Times’ interactive guide shows. (Case numbers are still rising in fifteen states and Puerto Rico.)
What was Birx’s offense? She openly acknowledged that the virus is spreading, and she warned people in Trump-supporting areas of the dangers that this presents. “I want to be very clear,” she said. “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as [well as] urban areas. And, to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.” Birx went on to say that people living in rural areas need to socially distance and wear masks—including at home, if they have potentially vulnerable family members. In other words, Birx used her media platform to try to save lives.
Apropos of Trump’s suggestion of election delay, Clarence Darrow, writing from deep within Coaling Forest, explains it all in this here guest post.
He knows he is in for an ass whuppin’. His people have told him as much.
His reptile essence is hunting for an escape. Cancelling the election is the natural response for him and his ilk.
He may have sense enough to know that even his asswipes in the Senate won’t go along with that. (Even they, I believe, badly want this episode over so they can slink back to their old more comfortable ways.)
Upon an impending defeat or, less likely, after one, he will quit and take his band of prehensile tail dragging fans with him—thereby sealing the vault of the GOP grave.
These are some possible other signs to watch for:
- he will replace Pence with Haley and scapegoat Pence for the virus fuckup;
- he will not attend any of the debates (of this I’m quite sure), and
- he will abandon his adopted party at the worst possible time for it to try a recovery in time for November.
Look what he’s up to in Kansas with Kobach and McConnell.
In fact, his vitriol toward the GOP will be worse that his venom toward the Dems.
Politico, Trump floats delaying 2020 election
President Trump drew immediate rebukes from Republicans and Democrats alike on Thursday after floating the prospect of delaying the November election and claiming without evidence that widespread mail balloting would be a “catastrophic disaster” leading to fraudulent results.
The suggestion represented Trump’s latest, and most dramatic, attempt to undermine public faith in U.S. elections, which have grown more regular as polls have shown his political fortunes declining. The president has attacked mail voting nearly 70 times since late March in interviews, remarks and tweets, including at least 17 times this month, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
Thursday’s tweet came on the heels of a devastating report showing that the economy shrank nearly 10 percent from April through June, the largest quarterly decline since the government began publishing such data 70 years ago.
Senior Republicans, who often refuse to weigh in on President Trump’s controversial tweets, overwhelmingly rejected his idea Thursday that the election be postponed because of the risk of fraud.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a television interview with WNKY of Bowling Green, Ky. “We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
Oh, And Then There’s the Part About Illness Caused by Having Sex with Demons
From the—I kid you not—official White House transcript of last evening’s “briefing”:
Q Mr. President, the woman that you said is a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said masks don’t work and there is a cure for COVID-19, both of which health experts say is not true. She’s also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens, and that they’re trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, maybe it’s a saying, maybe it’s not.
Q So what’s the logic in retweeting that?
THE PRESIDENT: But I can — I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought she was very impressive in the sense that, from where she came —
Q It’s misinformation.
THE PRESIDENT: — I don’t know which country she comes from, but she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.
Q But she said masks don’t work. And last week, you said masks —
Yeah, go ahead. Paula.
Q Last week —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q Well, real quick. Last week, you said masks —
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
He’s killing off his base. But, that aside, here’s the real problem: he’s causing a big economic problemas for the National Association of Manufacturers.
And that is something up with which they will not put.
The Association writes,
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers was joined today by several prominent business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, TechNet and Intrax, in filing a lawsuit in federal court opposing President Donald Trump’s proclamation suspending new nonimmigrant visas.
“These overreaching, unlawful restrictions don’t just limit visas—they will restrain our economic recovery at a time when the very future of our country hangs in the balance. Manufacturers and program sponsors are going to court because these restrictions are far outside the bounds of the law and would deal a severe blow to our industry. We cannot let this stand,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly. “Our industry should be laser-focused on leading our recovery and renewal, but these visa restrictions will hand other countries a competitive advantage because they will drive talented individuals away from the United States. These restrictions could harm every corner of our economy, as evidenced by the broad coalition that has come together to oppose them.”
“Our lawsuit seeks to overturn these sweeping and unlawful immigration restrictions that are an unequivocal ‘not welcome’ sign to the engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other critical workers who help drive the American economy,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “Left in place, these restrictions will push investment abroad, inhibit economic growth and reduce job creation.”
“Innovation is absolutely key to surviving the economic crisis currently facing our nation, especially for retailers who’ve seen their stores forced to close and scrambled to find new ways to sell and deliver products,” said National Retail Federation Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Stephanie Martz. “This proclamation is meant to protect American jobs but instead it threatens the millions of rank-and-file workers whose jobs rely on experts coming up with the latest technology to keep retail moving forward. Advanced computer and IT jobs are already hard to fill, and retailers need to be able to bring in talent from wherever they can find it. This sweeping measure could have a significant negative impact on their abiity to do that.”
In his first official press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic since April, President Trump on Tuesday admitted that the public health crisis is likely to worsen as cases surge across the country and asked all Americans to wear masks in public.
While Trump hailed his administration’s response to the pandemic and the work toward developing a vaccine, he bluntly disclosed what many Americans already know: that the crisis is likely to spread more before it can be contained.
“It will get worse before it gets better,” Trump said of the pandemic that has infected close to 4 million Americans. “That’s something I don’t like saying but it is.”
Trump’s comments come after weeks where he either downplayed the virus’ continued spread or focused on other issues – from unrest over racial injustice in American cities to the removal of Confederate statues – despite cases of COVID-19 surging, particularly, in parts of the south and southwest.
Noting the concerns among many of his supporters that facial coverings impinge on their personal freedoms, Trump pleaded with Americans to wear masks out in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re asking everybody when you’re not able to socially distance to wear a mask,” Trump said.
While his comment falls short of a national mandate, it is the strongest endorsement yet from the president who until recently had questioned the efficacy of masks.
He added: “Whether you like masks or not, wear a mask.”
As the medical crisis rages in Trump-friendly southern states, Trump has gone beyond shirking responsibility and spreading pixie dust and happy talk. Now, he’s trying to block new federal money for testing and contact tracing. Oh, and by the way, he’s demonstrating inability to interpret a line graph or to remember what was just said.
We have passed the point of irresponsibility and entered the zone of affirmative lethality.
Three and a half months ago the two candidates were virtually even in trust to handle the pandemic, Trump +2 percentage points, 45-43%. Today, with COVID-19 cases surging around the nation, Biden leads Trump on the issue by a 20-point margin, 54-34%.
Trump supporters, standing on the border of a minefield, and having just witnessed a couple of folks blow to smithereens, are being asked to walk gaily through the minefield because Trump says it isn’t a minefield.
And take note of this: in the paragraph quoted from ABC News, “today” meant July 12 through July 15, when the poll was conducted—just before news broke that Trump was strenuously trying to block money for more testing and contact tracing.
I expect that the cognitive dissonance among the Trump cultists is becoming more acute each day. Many will remain in the cult, but I think we will see yet more conversions as the choice between life and death becomes ever clearer.
As the cognitive dissonance reaches the breaking point, they will each have to answer the question, “What kind of fool am I?”
New York Times, Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus. The roots of the nation’s current inability to control the pandemic can be traced to mid-April, when the White House embraced overly rosy projections to proclaim victory and move on
Both lawyers and historians know there is a classics comic book version of events—where there are no shades of gray, and 256 colors are reduced to eight or so—and then, there is a more nuanced version of what actually happened.
The classics comic book version is that Trump and his enablers had a choice between science and magical thinking—and came down definitively on the magical thinking side.
The Times presents a more nuanced version. Please read it for yourself, if interested. But I’ll summarize a key part. In the Times’s telling, there was significant conflict between Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci. I think we all know what Dr. Fauci’s views are. Dr. Birx, also a highly credentialed medical scientist, placed great emphasis on (relatively) optimistic models—models that proved erroneous, in large measure because they incorrectly assumed that the public would almost always behave sensibly, not like jerks.
Thus, in the Times’s telling, a big source of the debacle was not the Trump team’s rejection of science as such, but instead their acceptance of the wrong scientist.
Of course, Trump’s magical thinking, sociopathy, encouragement of anti-social behavior, and failure of leadership all played important roles. But, alas, he had some help from an able and dedicated scientist who was too optimistic and too interested in being in the middle of the policy making process.
And where are we in mid-July?
We are at a point whether the magical thinking and optimistic models are thoroughly discredited. A point where Trump and his cronies have well and truly dug their hole. Bigly.
And what will they do?
Probably, they will keep on digging.
Because everybody knows that, when you are in a hole, you just need to dig some more.
In the new NBC/WSJ poll, “Trump is ahead among all white voters (49 percent to 42 percent) …”
You know he didn’t get up there by himself.
He doesn’t belong up there.
He doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there.
He’s elevated beyond his ability to function.
And you wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with.
Shared by the Happy Acres Progressives
From the transcript of yesterday’s word salad:
End solitary confinement. Free federal housing for former inmates. So federal housing now can go to inmates, former inmates. Rejoined Paris climate accord, and seek an even higher level of restrictions. Oh, I didn’t notice that. Oh, I see. So they want to rejoin the Paris climate accord and they want to seek an even higher level of [inaudible 00:42:09]. In other words, make it worse than it was. Mandate net zero carbon emissions for homes, offices, and all new buildings by 2030, that basically means no windows, no nothing. It’s very hard to do. I tell people when they want to go into some of these buildings, “How are your eyes? Because they won’t be good in five years.” …
Well, that’s not fair. Abolish educational standards. Abolish, in the suburbs, you’re going to abolish the suburbs with this, and force Obama/Biden’s radical AFFH, that’s the AFFH regulation that threatens to strip localities of federal affordable housing funds or less unless they changed their zoning laws to fit the federal government’s demands. So what you have, I mean, I’ve been watching this for years in Westchester, coming from New York. They want a low income housing built in a neighborhood. Well, I’m ending that rule. I’m taking it out. So I had spoke with Ben Carson the other day. We’re going to be taking it out. I’ve watched that whole thing go, and now they want to make it twice as bad in the suburbs, ib the suburbs. Mothers aren’t happy about that. Fathers aren’t happy about that. They worked hard to buy a house and now they’re going to watch the housing values drop like a rock. And that has happened. Drop like a rock. So we’re not going to do that. We’re going to do the exact opposite.
Charlotte Klein writes,
On Twitter, Trump allies gushed about the president wearing a mask, effectively applauding him for doing the right thing—the bare minimum—amid the coronavirus spikes. Campaign advisers Boris Epshteyn and Jason Miller seemed to see Trump’s move as a political victory, captioning a photo of a masked Trump with “Joe Biden is finished” and “Goodnight, @JoeBiden.”
Yessiree, a brilliant tactical victory, all right.