Nel's New Day

August 4, 2020

Bad Leadership Worsens COVID-19 in U.S.

“It is what it is.” That’s the comment last night from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about the 150,000+ deaths from COVID-19 in the past five months. A few days ago, Axios’ Jonathan Swan pressed DDT about such issues as his not talking to Vladimir Putin about paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops; yesterday, Swan’s 37-minute interview elicited DDT’s casual attitude toward people dying in the U.S.  [visual – Trump Swan]

The cumulative number of deaths from COVID-19 since the first identified one in February:

  • End of February: 2 deaths
  • End of March: 4,780 deaths
  • End of April: 64,943 deaths
  • End of May: 105,165 deaths
  • End of June: 128,062 deaths
  • End of July: 154,360 deaths

About these deaths, DDT says, “It is what it is.” With a daily average of 1,000, the number of deaths will rise to 300,000.

The Guardian’s John Crace described DDT’s “performance” as “a full torrent of subconsciousness. Incoherent, deluded, out of his depth. An object lesson in unchecked, X-rated narcissism. The only wonder was that Swan managed to keep a reasonably straight face throughout the best part of 40 minutes.”  Some jarring statements by DDT in Swan’s interview:

“You can’t do that!” DDT told Swan when he corrected DDT about his system of determining percentage of deaths in the U.S. DDT wants to use statistics of death as a proportion of cases—which makes the number seem fewer—instead of death as a proportion of the population used by most major scientists. 

“I don’t know John Lewis.” Swan had asked DDT how he thought history would memorialize the famous civil rights activist. DDT complained Lewis had not come to his inauguration ceremony. 

“Yeah, I wish her well.” DDT repeated his warmth for Ghislaine Maxwell, a predatory who provided under-age girls to Jeffrey Epstein in his child-trafficking operation. “I wish a lot of people well,” DDT continued although these people have not been women.

And more

“We had the highest rating in the history of Fox television.” Swan asked him about the Tulsa (OK) rally and health concerns. DDT also lied about the number of people who attended. It was 6,000—not 12,000. 

“You can test too much.” Asked who said that, DDT answered, “Read the manuals, read the books,” but he had no specifics.

“When I took over, we didn’t have a test.” DDT ignored Swan’s comment there was also no virus to be tested.

“I’ve done more for the black community than anybody, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.” Swan asked if DDT “did not than Lyndon Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act.” DDT said, “Yeah” before he questioned whether the law was “working out.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) tested positive for COVID-19 after DDT insisted that the hearing about clearing protesters from Lafayette Square be held in person instead of with video. A staunch anti-mask committee member attended the hearing, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who tested positive earlier when he wanted to fly on Air Force One with DDT. Grijalva commented on the members of Congress who “routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

DDT called Dr. Deborah Birx “pathetic” after she publicly warned that the virus is “extraordinarily widespread,” worse than in the spring. She also argued against reopening schools at this time.

Gilead backed down in March from a monopoly on remdesivir after the drug showed promise as a COVID-19 treatment. Now, an investigation discovered that Gilead and HHS ignored a similar drug, GS-441524, which could be a better option. Gilead’s patent for GS-441524 expires several years before the one on remdesivir, making the latter drug much more profitable for Gilead even it is shown to be less effective for the virus. Gilead’s revenue of $22 billion last year equals $100,000 a day for over 600 years.

DDT and his Republicans want to cut off employment funds in the midst of the pandemic, but DDT gave a $2.1 billion contract for developing a COVID-19 vaccine to French drugmaker Sanofi and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Former GSK executive Dr. Moncef Slaoui, DDT’s “Coronavirus Czar,” is exempted from federal conflict of interest rules with a $1 million contract. Slaoui has kept all his GSK stock acquired during the past 29 years at the company. Concerned about DDT faking a vaccine to get reelected, people cite Slaoui’s history at GSK misrepresenting scientific research on Avandia, a diabetes drug increasing risks of heart attacks and deaths in tens of thousands of patients.

Thanks to DDT’s new system of using a private company instead of CDC to collect COVID-19 statistics, states don’t know how many people are hospitalized with the virus and capacity for bed and intensive care capacity. The private website hasn’t been updated since July 23. HHS has also told hospitals to stop reporting the total number of deaths since January 2, the total number of COVID-19 deaths, and the total number of COVID-19 admissions. As Texas experienced a peak in virus hospitalizations, the state department of health was “reporting incomplete hospitalization numbers.” HHS stated it is “pleased with the progress.” Unknown is which hospitals did not report, how large they are, whether the reported data is representative, and if the information is accurate. The new system reports only one-third of people current hospitalized in New York and few than half in Louisiana.

DDT spent $500 million on ventilators that won’t arrive until 2022 after repeatedly delaying an order by President Obama in 2014 for 10,000 ventilators to be delivered in June 2019. The delay led to DDT paying five times the cost as President Obama’s price, partly because DDT didn’t even bother to negotiate the cost.

Canada has upped its border patrols to prevent “caravans of Americans” from crossing over—reminiscent of DDT’s opposition to those “caravans” headed for his southern border during 1918 election campaigning. Eight in 10 Canadians want the U.S. border to stay closed due to the coronavirus. Thirty-two other countries have barred people crossing their borders from the U.S.

Iowa’s GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds threatened students with not receiving credit if they attended schools not providing at least 50 percent in-person instruction. Schools in at least three different states opening for in-person education have already sent home hundreds of people either infected or exposed to infected people. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blames Democrats for the delay in passing a COVID-19 bill while he ignores the bill already passed in the House last May.

Charlie Kirk, a DDT youth co-founder in the collegiate alt-right racist organization Turning Point USA, is erasing tweets ridiculing COVID-19 on his social media after his friend and TPUSA co-founder Bill Montgomery died of the virus last week. Suddenly the pandemic became more serious—and personal—to Kirk. He had attended DDT’s campaign rally in an Arizona church resulting in a virus outbreak among Secret Service and organizers, including Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. Arizona has the second-highest rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. which has the highest rate of critical cases in the world.

Churches throughout the U.S. have flaunted the need for masks and social distancing, sometimes suing governments to let them gather during the pandemic. Several weeks ago, one of them set off a surge of COVID-19 in a small Oregon county, infecting hundreds of people in the community. Following the biblical verse “you reap what you sow,” at least 60 more people were infected in three separate churches last week, and the number is expected to climb. Thus far, only one minister has apologized for sickening his congregation, but the remainder follow conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine who claims that she will “prefer to have faith.” Her type of faith caused 100 guests secretly attending a wedding in San Francisco to take the virus home with them. The Andrew Wommack Ministries’ conference already infected 22 people, despite warnings from health authorities. The same thing happened from a week-long revival in Alabama’s Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church.

According to a new NPR/IPSOS poll, 65 percent of in the U.S. think the nation is handling the pandemic worse than other countries, and almost 60 percent support a nationwide order to stay home for two weeks although DDT rejects any lockdown. Ten days ago, 73 percent agreed the coronavirus situation is getting worse, and 83 percent believed it will disrupt their lives through at least the end of 2020. Satisfaction with how things are going in the U.S. is down seven points to 13 percent from early June and 32 points lower than February’s 45 percent. It’s the lowest “satisfied” since November 2011 and just six points above the all-time low in 2008.

August 4: USA virus infections – 4,918,420; deaths – 160,290. (The number of COVID-19 cases will hit 5 million in two days. But “it is what it is.”)

July 30, 2020

DDT Tries Disastrous Distractions

My plan for the week is one blog post on the weekend to give details about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). This morning, however, my Inbox was so full I decided to start early to report on DDT’s disastrous and failing distractions.

DDT’s MO, when attempting the outrageous, is to tweet a trial balloon to see how much people object. Today’s completely outrageous tweet:

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

For 24 years, Oregon has peacefully conducted mail-in elections with almost zero “fraud”—one example being a county clerk completing partially filled-out ballots to favor GOP candidates, something that can happen with any paper ballot system. Four other states will follow Oregon’s vote-by-mail in the 2020 election, and people in all other states are begging for permission to mail in their ballots. DDT, however, watched his plummeting poll ratings and hopes he found a solution by putting off the election. He’s been working up to presenting the idea with his and AG Bill Barr’s lies about fraudulent mail-in voting and their legal machinations to stop it.

DDT tweeted his unconstitutional idea on the same day as the funeral of former Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the publication of Lewis’ posthumous op-ed, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation” about the importance of voting.

Law experts claim DDT cannot change the date for the election because the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the “time, place and manner” of general elections. The 20th Amendment also specifics term endings for the president on March and for members of Congress on January 3. DDT, however, is not a strong believer in the constitution, and Republicans have followed his lead in the past. GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have vigorously disagreed with DDT’s idea, but they are also not known for having a spine. His balloon burst, DDT sent a later DDT tweet about how he managed “to get the very dishonest LameStream Media to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).” AG Bill Barr, however, said he hadn’t studied whether the president could move the election date. DDT also demanded, “Must know Election results on the night of the Election.”

In April, DDT’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh ridiculed Joe Biden for suggesting that DDT might attempt a change in the election date. At that time, DDT said:

“I never even thought of changing the date of the election. Why would I do that? November 3rd. It’s a good number. No, I look forward to that election.”

To please Vladimir Putin, DDT is moving 12,000 military members out of Germany at a cost of billions of dollars. Even Republicans see DDT’s action as a threat to U.S. security: 22 GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee wrote DDT to warn him about encouraging Russian aggression and opportunism. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the plan “a gift to Russia coming at a time when we just have learned of its support for the Taliban and reports of bounties on killing American troops.” DDT said the reason for withdrawing troops was that Germany doesn’t pay its NATO fees; Defense Department Secretary Mark Esper said the reason had nothing to do with NATO payments. There are no fees, but DDT’s feelings may have been hurt when Chancellor Angela Merkel wouldn’t come to the G7 summit in the U.S. as COVID-19 surged.

In an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan, DDT admitted he had not asked Vladimir Putin about paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in their eight or more calls since DDT was told in late winter about Russia’s plans to murder U.S. soldiers. DDT lied that the intelligence “never reached my desk” although he received a written briefing about it in February and excused Russia for giving military support to the Taliban. With Russia’s continued interference on the part of DDT in the upcoming election, he will benefit by ignoring negative information about the Kremlin’s activities.

On the home front, DDT is sending his personal militia to Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit after having deployed them to Kansas City (MO), Albuquerque, and Chicago. AG Bill Barr stated, “We work together,” but that wasn’t the case in Portland (OR) where violent agents vastly increased the downtown protests where they operated as secret police. Oregon officials announced the feds were withdrawing their troops after they created almost four weeks of havoc in Portland; DDT and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf disagreed with the deal to replace federal agents with state police officers. Last night after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the departure of federal agents on Thursday, their violence because worse than earlier nights.

During his campaign, DDT claimed all crime in the United States would stop on the day he was inaugurated. His term has seen a slight uptick in crime, which he now blames on opponent Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in the cities he targeted.

After DDT overturned the Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act to eliminate housing discrimination, he tweeted:

“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…”

In “Trump Is Dog-Whistling. Are ‘Suburban Housewives’ Listening? Jennifer Weiner points out suburban moms (who DDT calls “housewives”) “are organizing protests and reading groups, posting links to bail funds, discussing antidotes for tear gas. They’re starting groups in their kids’ schools to talk about white privilege and how to continue the fight once the current wave of protests is done. Many feature some version of the sign ‘When George Floyd Called for His Mama, He Summoned All the Mamas.’” [Right: Suburban moms from Aurora, Colorado.] 

In a classic piece of disinformation (aka lying), Rush Limbaugh said:

“There aren’t any mothers. There aren’t any veterans. These are people that are actors — they are paid. They’re antifa. They are Black Lives Matter. And they are all being paid, and they’re putting on different uniforms — different T-shirts and so forth — to look like veterans, to look like mothers. But they are all violent, leftist, anti-American protesters, in association with the Democrat Party.”

DDT will desperately try to hide the bad news about his economy. Instead of running on his earlier projected GDP increase of 4 percent, he faces the 9.5 percent decline during 2020’s second quarter, leading to a 32.9 percent GDP reduction for the year. Since 1937, no other quarter has seen a decline of even three percent; this one was the worst  since at least 1875. Runners up are the third quarter of 1893, after a panic and run on the banks, and the fourth quarter of 1937, when Roosevelt tried to please conservatives with spending cuts. Respective declines were 8.4 percent and 7.2 percent. The one-quarter decline of 2.6 percent in 1958 came during a depression coinciding with a pandemic called the “Asian flu” which has parallels to COVID-19. Republicans who want a smaller stimulus bill this time around should take notice. They want to skip people states and individuals in the current bill while allocating funds to the Pentagon and other non-virus purposes.

For the 19th consecutive week, over one million new unemployment claims were filed, much higher than the worst time of George W. Bush’s recession. The 1.43 million filings last week were the second consecutive weekly increase, partly because the virus surge is causing business closings. Consumer spending dropped 10.1 percent in the second quarter with a fall of 13.3 percent spending on services after a near-total collapse in restaurants and recreation. Patients’ canceling elective procedures and delayed routine care resulted in plunging spending on health care. Goods expenditures rose, however, especially with a nine-percent increase in recreational vehicles and related goods. Other parts of the economy dropping by double digits included business investment, residential construction, and trade—both imports and exports. Federal government did rise by 4.1 percent.

These serious problems come from COVID-19, which DDT does nothing to alleviate, meaning recovery is not imminent. DDT could brag about an increase in personal income of 7.3 percent between the first two quarters, but the money comes from stimulus funds disappearing this month without more infusion. If Congress does nothing to help unemployment payments, something Republicans oppose, tens of millions of people will no longer have places to live except the streets.

DDT’s pettiness shone again this morning when he called reporters to the White House for an unscheduled press briefing at exactly the time President Obama began the eulogy for Rep. John Lewis (R-GA). The ostensible subject was an event with the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen. And DDT doesn’t understand why “nobody likes me.”

The U.S. “Trump Virus” (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s term) has sickened at least 4,634,985 and killed 155,285 people.

October 30, 2018

Voters: ‘Don’t Take the Bait’

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came up with a new diversion today. He doesn’t want people to notice that the Republicans plan to get rid of pre-existing conditions on health plans and eviscerate Social Security and Medicare. He doesn’t want people to notice that the national debt is ballooning and the deficit is rapidly increasing because he is giving money to the wealthy and big business that he had promised to use for help to the other 80 percent. And he certainly doesn’t want people to know—right before the midterm elections—that they will suffer from his new policies. His strategy is to tell them that he is taking care of the non-existent immigration problem.

Today he told today that he plans to sign an executive order to overturn an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to strip people in the United States of their citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment that specifically stated that almost everyone born in the U.S. automatically becomes a citizen was to erase the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford that blacks are “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

People are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. if they are bound by its laws. Removing citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants would make these children immune to U.S. law altogether: the federal government could not arrest, detain, or deport them.

A decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) gave a “limited exemption” that excluded children of members of Indian tribes, children born of alien enemies in hostile invasion and occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign state—the latter two already exempted from citizenship by earlier law. Wong Kim Ark, a laborer, was born in the United States to “persons of Chinese descent, and subjects of the emperor of China.” The Supreme Court ruled that he was a citizen.

DDT’s appointee to the federal bench, Judge James Ho, may be the most conservative person to reach that position via DDT. His first judicial opinion ruled all campaign contribution limits unconstitutional, railed against the Affordable Care Act on an originalist basis, and laments—in his terms—the “moral tragedy of abortion.” Even this judge firmly from the lunatic fringe agrees with the 14th Amendment and not DDT. Or at least he did in 2011.

Even a racist Supreme Court rejected the idea over a century ago; the question is what the current GOP Supreme Court will do. Is allowing a president to arbitrarily overturn the constitution a bridge too far for Chief Justice John Roberts?

Republicans fought President Obama in any change of federal immigration law. That, however, may not block DDT’s power over immigration policy. They will probably agree with DDT that his position on citizenship is good campaign fodder.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is back to cozying up with his buddy DDT with his announcement that he will introduce a bill to replicate DDT’s executive order for ending birthright citizenship. Success for Graham requires two-thirds majorities in both congressional houses and ratification by three-fourths of the states. DDT has announced—wrongly, as usual—that an act of Congress can overturn the constitution and maybe even an executive order can accomplish that goal. Despite DDT’s lies, most countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Canada, have forms of birthright citizenship.

VP Pence followed his claim that “we all cherish” the 14th Amendment by saying:

“The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally.”

Axios, which tries to give the appearance of a mainstream internet media source, is in DDT’s pocket. That’s the reason that DDT gave Axios’ Jonathan Swan his press release about his new non-existent plan to change the constitution with an executive order. Like Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Swan passively nods to every crazy GOP idea designed to hurt people. DDT delivers his wacko message, and Swan says, “Exactly.” Swan did tell DDT that his plan is “very much in dispute.” No, it is completely unconstitutional. But Swan tweets:

“Excited to share with you the first snippet from our interview with President Trump yesterday, ahead of the launch of Axios’ HBO show this Sunday evening.”

For Swan, it’s all about the ratings through enabling DDT, not the horrifying possibilities of DDT’s plan.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) urged voters not to “take the bait.” She added:

“He’ll say anything before the election. Don’t take the bait. Focus on ending the hate. Hug a kid. Be nice to someone you don’t know or agree with. And vote. Please vote.”

Klobuchar is right about not being distracted and being sure to vote. DDT uses his craziness to club people over the head with his immigration distractions. At the same time, he encourages white supremacy throughout the United States and puts everyone of color into great danger. He promotes his racist hatred to incite violence and killing, to reinstate the white genocide of the 19th century in the United States and promoting the election of only Republicans who will protect no one except wealthy white people.

The FBI concluded a year ago that white nationalists are as threatening to the U.S. as ISIS and that the threat of white nationalists will only grow. White supremacists have carried out three times as many attacks in the United States as people associated with ISIS, but the government holds no congressional hearings on white nationalist attacks. For the first 20 months after his inauguration, DDT protected and supported white nationalists; this past month he moved forward to declare that he is one of them by calling himself a “nationalist.” DDT has affiliated himself with white supremacists to help them drive everyone of color out of the United States. He follows his belief that he can do anything he wants without losing any support.

DDT claims that his self-identification of “nationalist” isn’t racist, yet his speech excoriating people of color overcomes this false claim. He also claims that he has nothing to do with any of the increasing violence in the nation; people are just doing it on their own without attention to his words, according to DDT. If his words mean nothing, why does he keep talking? Why does he keep attacking women and people of color? Because he loves the control and knows that some of the people will follow his “dog-whistles” to commit violence in his name.

If you want to protect democracy, if you want to keep the United States from being an armed battleground where no one is safe either inside or outside homes, don’t be discouraged by the GOP voter suppression that tries to keep everyone except the Republican base from casting ballots.

Vote! (And the deadline is November 6, no matter what Republicans tell you.)


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