Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sen. Richard Burr Under Investigation for Insider Trading

A law called the Stock Act prohibits members of Congress, their staffers, and other federal officials from trading on insider information obtained from their government work. "No one has been charged under the Stock Act since its passage in 2012, and some legal experts consider it a difficult statute under which to file criminal charges" (Devlin Barrett).

According to the WashPost, Senator Richard Burr is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible violation of the Stock Act. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr received frequent briefings on the threat of the Coronavirus. In mid-February, Burr sold 33 stocks including shares in some industries that were later hit hardest by the pandemic’s rapid spread throughout the United States, including hotels, restaurants, shipping, drug manufacturing, and health care.

Melanie Sloan, a senior adviser to the watchdog group American Oversight, said that Burr “cannot be questioned about what he learned regarding the coming pandemic in his role as chair of the Intelligence Committee, making prosecution improbable.” She said the Senate Ethics Committee, however, has jurisdiction over the issue and if it finds Burr traded on inside information, could recommend his expulsion.

That ain't gonna happen. And it's highly unlikely that the Justice Department under William Barr will find anything to indict. However, it's not a good look for Republicans in power. Even the loud-mouthed partisan Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell strip Burr of his committee chairmanship. “Republicans need to do a better job cleaning our own house,” Gaetz wrote.

Monday, March 30, 2020

"I'm Doing a Great Job and 100,000 of You Are Going To Die"

Flattery is everything to Twitterman. Flattery and TV ratings, which are really the same thing.

In yesterday's brag session, Trump said the viewership for his daily virus briefings "are like ‘Monday Night Football’ ratings.” They've taken the place of his MAGA rallies and have the same purpose, puffing up his lordship while insulting his perceived enemies. And of course bashing the press. “I read that CNN doesn’t want to cover them [the daily briefings], except that they can’t help it because their ratings are so high,” Trump said.

He continues to lie, even when the lie is obvious and there's indisputable proof that he's lying. PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor stood to ask a couple of questions, but couldn't get the first sentence out before Trump interrupted her:
“Mr. President, I have two questions,” she said. “The first is you’ve said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting they don’t actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000 …”

“I didn’t say that,” Trump interrupted.
“You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News,” Alcindor responded, accurately.
“Come on, come on. Why don’t you people — why don’t you act in a little more positive? It’s always ‘get ya, get ya, get ya.’ And you know what? That’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.”
You people.

Maybe these daily briefings are improving Trump's poll ratings for reelection. That's what some people are saying. And also suggesting that we shouldn't be attacking Trump for his ineptitude and stone-cold stupidity. (Oops. Did it again.) I dunno. We have the worst possible president at the worst possible time, and I'm too old and set in my ways to ignore that fact.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ignorance Ain't Bliss

"...we have no idea how many people are infected with the coronavirus or how fast the virus is spreading.”
--Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiology expert at Harvard University

“Anybody that wants a test can get a test,” Trump claimed on March 6, six days before Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged to Congress that the government was behind on testing.

Trump has also said that he has “a feeling” about an anti-malaria drug that could treat the coronavirus, even though Fauci and other health experts say it hasn’t been proven. “What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump said. Just what we want to hear from our national leader.

But to answer the question -- "What do we have to lose?" -- in Arizona, a man died after taking fish-tank cleaner that included an active ingredient that Trump was touting as a possible antidote to coronavirus. The man's wife, who was in the ICU after ingesting it, told NBC News they heard the ingredient being talked about on TV. Ignorance can kill.

So can foot-dragging and denial. Now, as health-care workers use bandannas and sports goggles to protect themselves, and the United States has the most confirmed cases of anywhere in the world, Trump questions whether governors actually need what they say their state’s health-care workers need.

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” he told Fox News Sean Hannity, another noted scientific and medical expert, on Thursday night. “You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes they’ll have two ventilators, and now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?' ”

A dunce is pooping in the White House.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Surprised Fauci Has Lasted This Long

Testing for the virus is still woefully inadequate, personal protection gear for medical workers is still alarmingly scarce, and the Trump true-believers are determined to see the only true scientist on the stage with Trump at the daily brag-sessions, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is discredited as a "deep-state" Hillary Clinton stooge.

Twitterman appears all too ready to separate himself from science because, after all, "I have a feeling," and those prepared to bow down to that man's feelings, may they somehow keep safe, even though and after all, the whole thing is a Democratic hoax, ain't it?

Trump insisted to Hannity on Fox yesterday that there was “no way” he would cancel the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for August in Charlotte. 

Y'all go do that. And have yourselves a big old time. The rest of us will keep at least six feet away.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Captain Puddinghead, To the Rescue

This Guy!

Sounds so much like Twitterman -- and has captured his style/content so perfectly. The great J-L Cauvin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Prez Sez, "Virus Ain't No Thang!"

“You can’t call off the best weapon we have, which is social isolation, even out of economic desperation, unless you’re willing to be responsible for a mountain of deaths. Thirty days makes more sense than 15 days. Can’t we try to put people’s lives first for at least a month?”
--Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics, NYU Langone Medical Center
Well no, Professor! Trump made very clear in last night's press briefing that he intends to put his poll numbers first and peoples' lives a distant second. He made his plans exceedingly clear:
“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Trump said last night. “America will, again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. Lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
A good portion of Trump's idolators probably still believe Trump's initial propaganda that the disease is all a Democratic hoax anyway, especially in rural sections where infections haven't shown up yet (mainly because there aren't available tests). Ironically, that's also where many older Americans with underlying health problems live -- the ones who voted for him.

Trump doesn't give a shit about them nor about any of the rest of us. He only wants to see that Dow Jones average come back up.

North Carolina infections, as of March 24th, in reverse chronological order (NandO):

March 24
  • #413: Transylvania County reported its first case. 
March 22-23
    • #411, #412: Iredell County reported two additional cases, for a total of eight.
    • #397-#410Wake County reported 14 new cases, bringing its total to 66.
    • #396Randolph County reported its second case.
    • #395Brunswick County reported a new case, bringing its total to 8.
    • #386-#394Mecklenburg County reported nine new cases on the same day, bringing its total to 106.
    • #384-#385: Cumberland County reported two new casees bringing its total to five.
    • #354-#383: Durham County reported 30 new cases on March 23, bringing its total to 71.
    • #349-#353: New Hanover reported five new cases, bringing its total to nine.
    • #344-#348: Buncombe County reported five new cases, bringing its total to eight.
    • #343: Stanly County reported its first case.
    • #340, #341, #342: Catawba County reported three new cases, bringing its total to four.
    • #339: Wilson County reported its fourth case.
    • #322-#338: Mecklenburg County reported 17 new cases, bringing its total of confirmed cases to 97.
    • #321: Davidson County reported its third case.
    • #320: Johnston County reported its fourth case.
    • #319: Henderson County reported its second case.
    • #318: Northampton County reported its first case.
    • #316, #317: Randolph and Vance counties reported their first case each.
    • #315: Davidson County reports is second case.
    • #314: Alamance County reports is third case.
    • #313: Gaston County reports its fourth case.
    • #311, #312: Harnett County reported two new cases, bringing the total to 9.
    • #308, #309, #310: Union County reported three new cases, bringing the total to 12.
    • #307: Brunswick County’s health department announced its seventh case of the virus.
    • #304, #305, #306: Mecklenburg County added three additional cases to its overall count, bringing the total to 80.
    • #301, #302, #303: Three new cases were announced by the Wake County Health Department, bringing the total to 52.
    • #300: Durham County reported its 41st case.
    • #299: Pitt County reported a fourth case.
    • #297, #298: Two more cases reported in Buncombe County.
    • #295, #296: Two more cases reported in Nash County.
    • #294: The first case reported in Davie County was announced by NCDHHS.
    • #292, #293: Two additional cases were added to the Gaston County count by NCDHHS.
    • #291: A new case was reported in Pitt County by NCDHHS.
    • #287, #288, #289, #290: Four additional cases were added to the Iredell County count by NCDHHS.
    • #286: A new case was reported in Cherokee County by NCDHHS.
    • #282, #283, #284, #285: Four additional cases were added to the Union County count by NCDHHS.
    • #278, #279, #280, #281: Four additional cases were added to the Guilford County count by NCDHHS.
    • #274, #275, #276, #277: Four additional cases were added to the Forsyth County count by NCDHHS.
March 21
    • #273: Nash County reports its first case.
    • #272: Carteret County announces its fifth case. 
    • #256, #257, #258, #259, #260, #261, #262, #263, #264, #265, #266, #267, #268, #269, #270, #271: Wake County announced 16 new cases since midday Saturday. 
    • #255: Durham County announced one additional case bringing the county’s total to 40 reported cases. 
    • #253, 254: Brunswick County announced two additional cases. Both people had been traveling and are now self-isolating at home. 
    • #252: Cumberland County announced a case reported by Womack Army Medical Center. The affected patient is in isolation at the person’s residence on Fort Bragg. 
    • #250, #251: Carteret County announced two more cases.
    • #249: Cabarrus County announced another case, for a total of six.
    • #246, #247, #248: Cabarrus County announced three more cases.
    • #244, 245: Onslow County reported two more cases, including one that “represents community spread with no known source of contact.”
    • #241, #242, #243: New Hanover County announced three additional reported cases. All three cases traveled outside the state, to New York, Colorado and Florida. One person passed through Myrtle Beach International Airport on the way back to North Carolina. One did not self-isolate when becoming symptomatic.
    • #240: Montgomery County announced its first reported case of coronavirus.
    • #237, #238, #239: Cherokee County announced its first three cases. Two other people who had traveled to NC from New York had previously tested positive, but both were included in that state’s figures. 
    • #236: The Alamance County Health Department confirmed a second case. 
    • #235: The Hyde County Health Department reported its first case.
    • #234: The Henderson County Health Department reported its first case
    • #233: The Buncombe County Health Department reported its first case.
    • #232: Wilson County announced its third positive case. This was a man who had traveled out of state.
    • #231: The Robeson County Health Department announced its first case.
    • #228, #229, #230: Three new cases were reported in Union County by NCDHHS. 
    • #226: #227: Two additional cases were reported in Orange County count to NCDHHS. 
    • #223, #224, #225: Three additional cases were added to Guilford County by NCDHHS. 
    • #222: One additional case was added to the Harnett County count by NCDHHS.
    • #221: One additional case was added to the Forsyth County count by NCDHHS. 
    • #220: One additional case was added to the Wake County count by NCDHHS. 
    • #186-#219: Mecklenburg County added 34 new reported cases Saturday morning, bringing the total reported cases there to 77. DHHS also added two additional cases in the county, bringing the total there to 79.
    March 20
    • #185: Granville County reported its first case. 
    • #183, #184: Brunswick County reported its third and fourth cases. The third person was traveling in New York and came home and developed symptoms; the fourth person was traveling in Tennessee and was tested there, then came home and has been in isolation.
    • #182: Scotland County reported its first case. The person was traveling out of state when they became ill, is in quarantine out of state and has not been in contact with anyone in Scotland County, the county said.
    • #180, 181: Carteret County reported its first two cases. One of the patients had recently returned from international travel, the county said.
    • #173, #174, #175, #176, #177, #178, #179Wake County reports seven new cases. A resident of Woodland Terrace assisted living community in Cary testing positive for the coronavirus, Matt Towler, the facility’s executive director confirmed to the N&O Friday. It’s unclear where the person contracted the illness and whether the person is one of the seven Wake County cases reported March 20.
    • #169, #170, #171, #172Durham County reports four new cases.
    • #168: Johnston County reports its third case.
    • #167Pitt County reports is second case.
    • #163, #164, #165, #166: Four cases were reported by Franklin County.
    • #152, #153, #154, #155, #156, #157, #158, #159, #160, #161, #162Mecklenburg County reports another 11 cases. 
    • #151Rowan County reports its second case.
    • #150Catawba County reports its first case.
    • #149Lee County reports its first case.
    • #148Alamance County reports is first case.
    • #147: Gaston County reports its first case.
    • #146Rowan County reports a second case.
    • #145Craven County reports a second case.
    • #144: Cabarrus County reports a second case.
    • #143: Guilford County reports a new case, for a total of four cases.
    • #141, #142: Forsyth County reports two new cases.
    • #137, #138, #139, #140: March 20: Orange County reports its first four cases.
    • #136: Brunswick County reports its second case.
    • #135: Forsyth County reports a new case.
    March 19
    • #134: Pasquotank County reports its first known case on its Facebook page. The resident is at home in isolation, the health department said.
    • #132, #133: Harnett County reports another two cases, for a total of 6 for the county.
    • #129, #130, #131: Durham County reports another three cases, for a total of 35 for the county.
    • #126, #127, #128: Wake County reports another three cases, for a total of 25 for the county.
    • #125: Guilford County reported its third case.
    • #123, #124: The first two cases from Cumberland County reported.
    • #122: Moore County
    • #121: Union County
    • #119, #120: Two cases from Mecklenburg County.
    • #117, #118: Forsyth County health officials announce two new cases.
    • #116: Pitt County health officials announced that a man who traveled outside North Carolina is confirmed to have coronavirus.
    • #115: A second case was announced for Wilson County.
    • #99, #100, #101, #102, #103, #104, #105, #106, #107, #108, #109, #110, #111, #112, #113, #114: March 19: Mecklenburg County announces 16 more cases, doubling their number from the previous day.
    • #98: Guilford County announced its second case.
    • #97: Davidson County announced its first case after a resident traveled within the continental United States.
    • #92, #93, #94, #95, #96: Five more cases confirmed in Durham.
    March 18
    • #81, #82, #83, #84, #85, #86, #87, #88, #89, #90, #91: Durham County and Duke University announce 11 more cases. According to their joint press release, “Most of these individuals traveled internationally, and these individuals were quarantined at their homes off-campus immediately upon returning to Durham. All 11 individuals are isolated at home and will continue to isolate until they receive medical clearance.”
    • #76, #77, #78, #79, #80: Wake County announces another five cases.
    • #75: Iredell County announces its second case.
    • #74: New Hanover County reported its first case. The county believes it’s a travel-related case. The patient is in isolation at home.
    • #73: Moore County reported its first positive case. That person, Dr. John Byron, is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Southern Pines Women’s Health Center and had traveled to Germany, according to The Pilot. He is in quarantine.
    • #72: Union County reported its first positive case.
    • #71: A second case was identified in Watauga County. The person was exposed to a known positive case and is now in quarantine and recovering, AppHealthCare said.
    • #70: Hoke County announces its first case. The person remains isolated at home, and their condition is being monitored.
    • #67, #68, #69: Mecklenburg announced three new cases, bringing the county to 14 cases.
    March 17
    • #66: Lincoln County announces its first case.
    • #64, #65: Wake County announces two new cases. 
    • #49, #50, #51, #52, #53, #54, #55, #56, #57, #58, #59, #60, #61, #62, #63: Duke University in Durham announced 15 people involved with the school tested positive after an overseas trip. All are doing well and are isolated at home.
    • #47, #48: Chatham County has two more cases.
    • #46: Guilford County announced its first case.
    • #42, #43, #44, #45: Four new cases identified in Mecklenburg County, bringing the county total to 11.
    March 16
    • #41: Harnett County announces another case; the patient is in isolation at home. The U.S. Army said the patient is a civilian employee at Fort Bragg, the first known case connected to the installation.
    • #40: Iredell County announced its first case.
    • #39: Wake County announces its 15th case. 
    • #36, #37, #38: Mecklenburg County officials announce three new cases.
    • #35: Sampson County said it has identified its first case. The person traveled internationally and is now in isolation.
    • #34: New case identified at Campbell University in Harnett County. The student is in self-quarantine.
    March 15
    • #33: A Wilson County woman who traveled out of state tested positive. She is hospitalized outside of Wilson County.
    • #32: A Watauga County resident with a travel history tested positive, health officials say. The person is home in isolation.
    • #31: New case in Wake County. No details reported. 
    • #30: New case in Wake County. The resident flew to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. 
    • #29: New case in Wake County. The resident attended the BrickUniverse Lego Fan Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center on March 8 between 2 and 4 p.m. 
    • #28: A 4th Mecklenburg County resident has tested positive and is isolated at home.
    • #27: A third Mecklenburg County resident has tested positive and is isolated at home.
    March 14
    • #26: A second Harnett County resident tests positive, according to county officials who cited a “notice from the State Lab.” The person is isolated at home, officials said.
    • #25: A second Johnston County resident tests positive. Health officials say this person lives in the same household as the other person who tested positive.
    • #24: A Mecklenburg County resident who traveled to the United Kingdom tested positive, health officials say.
    • #23: A Wake County resident reported experiencing symptoms March 2, county health officials say. The patient is home in isolation. 
    • #22: A teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School began feeling sick March 10, Wake health officials say. 
    • #21: A Craven County resident who traveled overseas tested positive. He is isolated at home, local health officials say.
    • #20: Brunswick County announces its first case. Resident is isolated at home.
    March 13
    • #19: A Harnett County resident tests positive at an outpatient facility, Cape Fear Valley Health reports.
    • #18: Wake County announces another case from the Biogen cluster, someone who attended the Boston conference. 
    • #17: A Wayne County resident tested positive for the virus.
    March 12
    • #16: A dependent of a Marine living on base at Camp Lejeune, outside Jacksonville, tested positive after having contact with a person outside the area who had COVID-19.
    • #15: A Johnston County resident tested positive after traveling and falling ill.
    • #13, #14: A Forsyth County couple tested positive after traveling on a cruise where an outbreak was reported.
    • #12: A Cabarrus County patient tested positive after international travel.
    • #11: A person tested positive for the virus in Mecklenburg County.
    • #10: A Wake County patient who had contact with the Biogen visitor from Indiana.
    March 11
    • #9: A Durham patient who tested positive in another state and stayed there to recuperate.
    • #8: A Wake County resident. Another Biogen employee who attended the Boston conference. 
    March 9
    • #3, #4, #5, #6, #7: Five employees at Biogen’s Research Triangle Park facility. Company employees attended a conference in Boston in late February, where an outbreak occurred. A person from Indiana also visited Biogen’s RTP location before traveling back to their home state and testing positive for the illness. 
    March 6
    • #2: N.C. health officials announced a second case, a patient who lives in Chatham County and had traveled to Italy, where the illness has been spreading.
    March 3
    • #1: A Wake County man tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The man had traveled to Kirkland, Washington, and visited a senior care facility where there was later an outbreak of the illness.

      Read more here: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article241168731.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, March 23, 2020

In a Dark Time, the Eye Begins To See

Hypothetical: What would it be like to have the worst possible president in office during a global pandemic?

Unfortunately for us and our republic, it ain't hypothetical.

In a new interview with Science magazine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he works behind the scenes trying to keep President Trump’s statements about the pandemic fact-based. Asked about things that “are being said that aren’t true and aren’t factual” Fauci said he tells “the appropriate people” and they speak to Trump, “be careful about this and don’t say that. But I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time.” Fauci also gave a “no comment” when asked whether he’d been reprimanded for covering his face when Trump referred to the “deep State Department.”

Trump mocked Senator Mitt Romney for self-quarantining himself after being exposed to Rand Paul's infection: “Romney’s in isolation?” Trump said. “Gee, that’s too bad.”

Goddamn our luck at having this guy in the White House at this time.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Self-Interest of Richard Burr Ain't Unfortunately Unique

ProPublica reported late yesterday afternoon:
Senators Burr and Loeffler
Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions.
As the head of the intelligence committee, Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security. His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time, according to a Reuters story.
A week after Burr’s sales, the stock market began a sharp decline and has lost about 30% since.
On Thursday, Burr came under fire after NPR obtained a secret recording from Feb. 27, in which the lawmaker gave a VIP group at an exclusive social club a much more dire preview of the economic impact of the coronavirus than what he had told the public.
Senator Burr's not the only public servant to use inside knowledge to benefit himself. Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia (appointed to the seat on January 6) is coincidentally married to the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. The Daily Beast article that outed her stock sell-off points out that she and Burr were in the same Senate briefing that warned about what was probably going to happen to the stock market because of the Coronavirus:
The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities. 
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the coronavirus.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Moral Compass of Richard Burr

This morning National Public Radio played a secret recording of Senator Richard Burr made three weeks ago in which the senator warned a private gathering of well-heeled constituents -- major business-owners and others -- that the Coronavirus was probably as big a threat as the 1918 flu pandemic which killed millions. He was making these comments in private at the same time that Donald Trump was still claiming the virus was going to disappear quickly.

NPR makes plain that Burr was telling harsh truths to his peeps while concealing that truth from the general public.

Remember: this is the same outstanding public servant who sent his wife to draw out as much money as possible from the bank before the public found out just how bad the 2008 crash was going to be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Body Count -- OPM Director Dale Cabaniss

A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Jumping Off Luxury Liner Trump

Office of Personnel Management chief Dale Cabaniss "resigned in frustration" yesterday after only five months on the job, months full of tension with the White House budget office. The OPM’s government-wide mission is to administer federal health insurance policies, retirement claims, benefits, and workforce policy.

According to reporting in the WashPost, Cabaniss found herself and her agency sidelined by the White House budget office, and as human resources manager of the federal workforce, Cabaniss was unable to communicate clear, timely messages to agency managers on how they should respond to the growing public health threat.

"Cabaniss, 58, has deep experience with federal personnel issues and was respected by her staff and by Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, where she served for two decades as a top Senate aide overseeing civil service issues. Since her Senate confirmation in October, Cabaniss was viewed as restoring morale to the agency after a tumultuous two years of shifting missions and leadership."

You Have To Work Overtime To Be As Dumb as Dan Forest

Yesterday Governor Roy Cooper stepped up efforts to control the spread of the Coronavirus in North Carolina by issuing an order to shut down in-house seating in bars and restaurants, and the Republican who wants to oust Cooper from his job, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, immediately attacked the governor for going too far.

Forest wants to let everyone know that he would keep bars and restaurants wide open in a national pandemic.


Or we'll opt to go with Jeffrey Billman's comment on Twitter: "holy shit Dan Forest is bad at politics."

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"I don’t take responsibility at all"

In the Rose Garden four days ago.
Photo Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
The headline above was Twitterman's memorable line from the Rose Garden press conference on March 13, a day after his disastrous Oval Office address to the nation.

But from mid-January, when the Chinese government published the genome of the novel Coronavirus, through most of last week, Trump was actively muzzling the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to keep all the talk about a pandemic tamped down in order to keep the only thing Trump seems to care about -- the Dow Jones Average -- plumped up and soaring like a fat goose.

Where we are now -- sequestered in our homes as the economy crashes and unknowing what a visitor might be bringing to our door -- is largely because little accurate testing for the Coronavirus existed in this country from mid-January through the end of February, and if you don't think Trump's muzzling of the CDC had something to do with that, then you're possibly eager to attend a big Trump rally right now.

Trump's public performance, whether on Twitter or in front of the press -- until his about-face yesterday -- has been ignorant and dangerous:

Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control.”

Jan. 24: “It will all work out well.”

Jan. 30: “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.”

Feb. 10: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”

Feb. 14: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Feb. 19: “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”

Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb. 25: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re all getting better. … As far as what we’re doing with the new virus, I think that we’re doing a great job.”

Feb. 25: “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world.”

Feb. 26: “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done."

Feb. 28: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What Is Trump Without His Rallies?

An airless balloon. A cheerless buffoon. Michael Kruse, in Politico:

But as America shuts down, as Broadway goes dark and Disney World goes dormant and March Madness goes poof, Trump at the moment has been stripped of arguably his most potent political strength. Entering a new, utterly altered reality, mere weeks after he traveled to India to revel in the adoration of a crowd of 110,000, Trump sat in the White House at a desk called Resolute and appeared out of his element and underprepared—while Joe Biden, his presumptive opponent in the general election, stood the next afternoon in front of a bank of American flags in a hotel in Delaware and spoke to mostly just clicking cameras and seemed not frail or poorly supported but serious and up to the task. Biden’s (small) crowds and Trump’s (large) crowds hardly matter because now there are no crowds at all.