Have you seen the coronavirus numbers today from the CDC? Over 800,000 infections (that we know about) and 46,000 deaths. Not to mention the myriad and oft overlooked other afflictions that sufferers endure including everything from ‘covid-toes’ to strokes.

Those numbers are huge and getting huger (is that a word?). Especially compared to 0 where were last year at this time, and every other year before that. So when I hear about a gradual easing of restrictions and politicians speaking about “opening things up”, I wonder to myself, “in what universe?”. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. In order to open back up we need to have the following things at a minimum:

  1. Universally available testing for both antibodies and the virus itself so we know who’s got and has had what.
  2. Universally available personal protective equipment so we can feel safe out in public.
  3. A vaccine, or at the very least, an effective drug therapy to fight the infection.
  4. A solid understanding of the virus’ true penetration numbers in our society.
  5. An executive branch that works better with, and with less acrimony towards our state and local governments.
  6. A sustained negative trend in known infections – we’re not even flat at this point.

Right now, we don’t have any of that stuff. And it’s unlikely, given the flat-footed nature of our national response, that we’ll have it any time soon. Plus, some of these things on our wish list take time. Vaccines need to be developed, tested, augmented, tested again, etc. Many versions fail, and some make things worse. We also have no idea if there’s any immunity for those with antibodies, and if there is, we don’t know how long that will last. We don’t know if the virus will mutate next flu season. We don’t know lots of important things at this point.

When I hear politicians talking about “opening things up” it reminds me of the person who buys low and sells high. We’re not better off than we were 6 weeks ago. About the only thing we’ve managed to do is educate the public, who routinely wear masks and form socially distant lines at the grocery store – at least near where I live. But elements of the public are still lax in their observance. Right now, many states have conservative groups protesting and blatantly ignoring distancing guidelines. Others are fighting for the right to congregate at churches and other venues, public health be damned.

Can anyone here say “second wave” or “latest hot-spot” or “this might last a while”? Because I don’t see anything that would prevent it, do you?

Donald Trump, faced with a spiraling catastrophe that is arguably partly of his own making, has a new approach battling coronavirus. Pretend it’s not really his problem at all and blame as many other people as possible for the failings of the federal government. While America now has the most COVID-19 cases on Earth and the prospect of a quarter million dead citizens, the White House has figured out exactly where all the fault lies. Pretty much with everyone but Trump.

First, the White House is blaming each individual state for not being prepared for a pandemic on their own. ‘The federal government isn’t responsible‘ is their new argument. Trump’s White House is also blaming the Obama Administration, who left office over 3 years ago. Clearly it’s that administration’s fault for the Trump government’s failure to prepare or even notice they weren’t prepared for a challenge. And he’s blaming the Chinese even though we had ample warning of the disease before virus came here and began infecting people. And he’s blaming the impeachment, of course, even though it was over long before March of 2020 when cases went from close to 30 to a quarter million or more.

But I’m not done. There’s more blame to go around. There’s the media for having the audacity to raise the red flag and start telling Americans about a dangerous virus circulating in Asia long before it made it to American shores. Then there’s the democratic party for amplifying those timely and necessary warnings. There’s also the individual governors of states like Michigan and Washington where Trump doesn’t like the person in charge and can’t get over it long enough to help his own citizens. There’s blame for Nancy Pelosi who Trump hasn’t spoken to in almost a half year because he’s, you know, mad.

What a shit show.

But when you ask Trump how much blame is his? None, absolutely zero. How dare you for asking? How dare you for insulting the United States Government with aggressive and treasonous questions, you bastard.

By now you probably know I’m not fan of Donald Trump. But honestly, folks, is this the guy we really want running things when there’s a global pandemic? We’re talking about Donald Trump here–a guy more interested in maintaining his dyed hair and unnaturally white smile than the welfare of the half of the country who doesn’t like him.

First of all, Trump is well known for ignoring experts and acting impulsively. People come and go from his revolving door administration and science-based institutions under his rule, like the FDA, are being attacked from within. He has already publicly doubted his own expert’s information based on his personal hunches. Climate change is just a myth and for the first several weeks of this pandemic, so too was COVID-19 – at least according to the president. How might things be different today if the United States had taken this more seriously when it began?

Second, we know Trump is a ruthless, narcissistic leader who openly deals out unapologetic retribution to the disloyal. He recently fired a decorated lieutenant colonel’s brother after his sibling dared to testify in front of the US Congress during the impeachment hearings. We know many others have been treated similarly and it shocks no one that many of the employees that leave his administration are castigated as outright enemies of Trump. Look at how he treated Jeff Sessions just last week when Trump tweeted out a glowing endorsement of his former AG’s senate campaign opponent. Sessions wasn’t out to get Trump when he recused himself from the Russia investigation. He just did what he thought was lawful and appropriate at the time. But Trump demands unwavering fealty and he’ll show no mercy if he doesn’t get it.

Recently, and in the midst of this unfolding crisis when seriousness should have been the top priority, Trump referred to Gov. Jay Inslee as ‘a snake’ after a meeting with the Vice President and others over the COVID-19 response. This at a time when our leaders need to be pulling us together more than ever before. Is it that farfetched to wonder aloud whether he would use his power to delay aid and allow Washington State residents to suffer or die as a way to pay Inslee back for some perceived slight? What about others with whom he has a bone to pick? Trump’s very impeachment was over holding back aid to Ukraine. Why not Washington or California or Michigan?

I’ll be frank: Trump is not the right man for this job. At all. He doesn’t have the right temperament. He’s not willing to work with those who have opposed him and he’s openly and ruthlessly vindictive. If Americans are going to get through the next twelve months of this coronavirus, we’re going to need to pull and work TOGETHER, and Donald Trump hasn’t shown the desire or ability to make that happen. Trump supporter or not, no one could make the argument that this isn’t the most polarizing time in a generation. He’s divided the country and whether it was intentional or not isn’t really important anymore.

Like it or not, we’re stuck with this guy – for now — but I wish we weren’t. And we all need to make sure there’s an election in November. Virus or not.

While conservatives are only too happy to tell us there was no war in the Middle East with Iran, and a terrible person was eliminated (to use an antiseptic term for assassinated), they seem oblivious to the recklessness of the entire, surreal episode. Let’s be clear: Killing Soleimani could have sparked a war, and anyone who thinks the violent fallout has passed is sadly naive.

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So to protect us from the country that Trump started shit with when he pulled out of the WORKING nuclear agreement, Trump bombed someone who he knows would DEFINITELY respond in kind. How’s that protect us, exactly? Oh wait- its an election year and he was just impeached. Now I get it. Welp, where’s my checkbook? We need to pay for the 4000 new troops headed back to the much calmer Middle East.

Today Lawrence O’Donnell was forced to apologize to the world for airing a story on Donald Trump that had not been properly verified. The lawyers for Trump had pounced earlier in the day after the airing the previous night, demanding an apology, retraction, and a correction to the story.

Fine. They got him, but now there’s an elephant in the room. Is this really the one time he’s had to apologize to Trump? No other letters from the president’s lawyers after yeasr of stories? I guess they just consider the rest of it true enough not to bother with the demands.

For instance, where were they during all the Stormy Daniels stories?

Here’s the link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/lawrence-o-donnell-apologizes-russian-023149279.html

Once again our fearless leader has Mr. Beaned himself into a near miss with his about-to-attack, about face gambit over Iran. He claimed it was because 150 people would die. What a nice guy, eh? Once again casting himself in the role of both the bomber and compassionate leader as he saves the day from a disaster of his own making. But what does all this really say about the guy with the nuclear codes?

Well, let’s begin with a few relevant questions. First, and most obvious, how in the hell did it get to be ½ hour before bombs drop and Trump had no idea what the casualty count would be? That’s insane. The leader of the free world has planes in the sky and it never occurred to him to ask about casualties? (It’s frightening, by the way,  to read into the implications of that.)  And that begs the question. How did this information not make it to Trump’s desk, even if he didn’t have the moral compass to care about asking? What kind of military geniuses order and launch an airstrike, presumably using our most cutting edge military equipment, without having a clear idea of the estimated casualties?

But handling questions aside, what does all this say about the way Trump and his people think and strategize? I think it’s a flimsy excuse, frankly, but also one so stupid for its implications it’s hard to imagine what these people could be thinking for presenting it. 

Let’s assume it’s true for the moment. If Trump doesn’t think far enough ahead than planes in the air to ask about casualties, then are we not total idiots to trust this guy with all the other important things he’s monkeying with?

Keep in mind, this is the guy we’re also trusting to create a winning strategy with his Chinese trade war, not to mention his other tariffs and policies. I think something of this gravity, if true calls into question his fundamental ability to lead. This is a guy who almost dropped bombs on a country without having key details about the ramifications of such an act. Chilling. 

If Trump ever does something really egregious, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s not like we couldn’t have seen this coming.  

Forest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does”, America. Let’s listen.

President Trump is in a pickle. He’s picked a fight he didn’t really want, goaded on by the unbending and unending voices of the far right echo chamber that fill his day with endless talk. If he backs down now, that’s would amount to a devastating political defeat that would serve only to embolden Pelosi. And it would also make his 2020 campaign nearly impossible. His followers will lose faith in his ability to execute their agenda and win fights, many would revolt in disgust. The hardcore people that back Trump have a view of winning that is only meaningful if the other side loses. With Trump all in on the shutdown for border wall funding, he has painted himself into a corner and he’d rather burn the country down from atop his ivory tower than fold his cards. He’s got nothing to lose in this fight.

Meanwhile, he’s also inadvertently boxed in Leader Pelosi. His aggressive posturing has only served to create an atmosphere where she feels she needs to stand up to his bluster and intimidation. A more subtle and less confrontational Trump could possibly have earned concessions by now. But his approach to governing by fiat has only hardened the will of Democrats in general who see this as a major test with Trump and believe that backing down must be avoided at all costs.

If Pelosi were to back down now, she would disappoint the millions counting on her to finally stand up to Trump. But that’s just one problem. The other problem she faces is that she too would lose the respect of Democrats were she to cave. She would be seen as weak and so for her, backing down from a confrontation with Trump is out of the question. She’s forced to go all-in as well.

So how does it all end? Painfully for everyone. The kind of pain that Americans will need to acutely feel before they really start picking up the phones to their congressmen. The only way this ends is for large numbers of congressmen to break with their own party who have also been put into this untenable position by Trump’s hardball approach. That’s why I think Republicans will ultimately be the ones to cave. Everyone knows this shutdown is due to Trump. We didn’t usually have these smack down, bare knuckle confrontations before he came to power and no one wants to look bullied or intimidated. I also think Republican congressmen, while publicly supporting him, privately gripe about the chaos caused though his poor leadership. Ultimately he’ll lose his coalition long before the Democrats reach a breaking point. No one has an appetite to let Trump strong arm negotiations but hardcore Trump backers and there aren’t enough of them to win.

Since neither Pelosi or Trump can afford to give into the demands of the other, the task will fall to members of congress who aren’t feeling the same pressures as Trump and Pelosi. That leaves Mitch McConnell as the only player with the ability to end the stalemate allowing both Pelosi and Trump to save face, and again, why the Republicans will ultimately be the ones to cave in.

The only possible resolution here leads to Trump being overridden by a veto proof majority from congress. Trump would rather shoot himself than concede defeat in such a public fight with Nancy Pelosi. And Pelosi simply can’t give in to Trump without destroying the morale of the entire Democratic party in the process. Its going to have to be others who end the shutdown. It won’t be Trump or Pelosi.