Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, April 6, 2020

I Want to Buy Your Rock

What have you got to lose if you take a drug and weren't going to die anyway and then miraculously don't die. and what would anyone else have to gain? (I mean, what do you have to lose except maybe your hair or vision or life or whatever.) The thing with a certain kind of con artistry isn't that the con artist believes everyone is dumb, it's that they know there are always some people who want to believe.

I think it would be great if there was a good, not terribly expensive treatment. It's that I'm hearing a hard sell approach that makes me extra-skeptical (oh, yeah, and the source of the hard sell). But I'm cheesed off at people who say that people urging caution are "fearmongering" or "just don't want it to work". Drugs aren't magic. They also aren't like sports teams--they don't work better if people are rooting for them. That's just weird.

Saturday, April 4, 2020


When pastors try this "God won't be ignored" line out, I guess they think it sounds like God is all-powerful and therefore, meager, suffering man should toe the line, but what I hear from it is that God is needy, and will wreck you if Attention is Not Paid. It says a lot more about the person (or parson) who has cast God in their own image. They want open ears and open wallets. They won't be ignored.

The deaths from COVID-19 are indiscriminate as to devotion or sinfulness. It doesn't matter to a virus how many times you pray, so much as how many times you wash your hands. But it always sets me seething a little when disasters (hurricanes, or earthquakes, or diseases) are blamed on the victims of them. Where is the comfort for the living in "Well, you all should have behaved yourselves, you damn fuckups!" It is the theodicy of a sadist. God kills people in horrible ways because he can, so love him for the lesson of pain. Love the abuse. Worship the vastness of his means of destroying the things you love. And thank the nice helpful men of god who explain so cheerfully why this is the proper way of the world. And make sure you tip them well.

Don't forget that part.

Because after all, who is going to blow all this sin and disease away? (Or at least sell you something that will?)

Faith might fill a need. Bullying fills coffers. I believe in science. I'll give to people who need it, and ask anyone, who exactly needs a message that "God is Disappoint" right now?

Friday, April 3, 2020

Ain't No Sunshine

The man could repeat "I know" over and over in way that seemed to convey paragraphs. The lyricist of some of my favorites. "Just the Two of Us" popped on the radio in the limo when I got married and became "our song" almost 18 years ago. I know I just wrote about not being an obits blog, but Bill Withers is an exception.

But He Reads Books!

It was kind of awkward when the slim lad who married the boss's daughter said he had a great Middle East plan because he had read 25 books, but it is getting very unfunny to think he's got his library card out now to bone up on federal disaster preparedness and whatnot, and believes he is "getting smarter". And still, somehow, in all of this, does not understand what the federal stockpile has to do with these whiny little states.

He is, in short, a fucking moron. In other words, his father-in-law's idea of smart.

UPDATE: Big Dumb Brother is Big Dumb Brother-ing:

I don't know what is more sinister--that they changed the website knowing people were LOOKING RIGHT AT IT or that they seem to feel that changing the present language changes past practices.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

COVID-19 and the Suckularity

I have discussed the "Suckularity" on the blog before,  and have tried to avoid commenting on the passing of people of note of late for fear of turning the blog into an obituary page. 2016 was brutal. 2017 continued the trend. And so on. Some passings have been mentioned, but it's an idiosyncratic thing, isn't it? 

2020 will doubtless be even more brutal. Social media makes neighbors of us all. In a way, every passing is that of someone "of note". Everyone will be personally, meaningfully affected by loss this year. 

But I don't yet know how I want to deal with that fact here. I only know that I'll have to.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The America First Problem

It's hard for me not to hear that Trump envisions ventilators sent all over the world "as we outpace what we need" without sarcastically wondering if he might consider "America first". After all, in the weeks after the first COVID-19 case was detected in the US, instead of ramping up national stockpiles and proceeding with a plan for testing and containment, the administration thought to bundle up medical supplies for China. Which was awful nice of the US, truly. Maybe it was supposed to help with trade talks or something. But it didn't do much for us here (and makes a bit of a mockery of the claims that the Obama Administration left stockpiles so low--so, after three years, we had enough to give away? And Trump and friends couldn't figure out how to fix that? At some point, Trump gets to own the results of his particular form of leadership. (And yes, the problem is his.)

I guess I also wonder about this because there's a nonzero possibility that all states are not going to be treated equally. Beyond his petty slams at Governors Whitmer and Inslee for not being sufficiently grateful for his interest in doing his job and his fairly straight-forward discussion of the need for Governor Cuomo to basically kiss his ass publicly to get what he needs (for the people of New York, who last I checked were Americans), there's little things like the 170 broken ventilators that were sent to California. I'm not saying something like that was on purpose. I've just got no reassurances from available data that it can be ruled out. When Illinois gets a shipment of the wrong type of masks, certainly it could be just a clerical issue, but is it, though?

I note with a little irony that some stooges for the administration are admitting that Trump didn't have his eye on the ball, but whiffed the potential pandemic response because of the impeachment. To which I guess I'd have to say, he should have realized he didn't have the range for the job before he tried fancy extras like extorting foreign allies if he couldn't hang. Also, too, the Republicans in the Senate acquitted him (despite his having pretty much used Godfather-esque language to shake down a foreign leader) even if they should have realized his general attitude towards government was self-directed. Except for the one guy who--get this, was a nominee for that job and had an appreciation for the intelligence involved. Also ironically, this scenario was a part of the discussion for whether this exact attitude of Trump's was reason enough for him to be removed:

Serving as one of several expert witnesses in the first public impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Karlan said:

"Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that's prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for? What would you think if that president said, 'I would like you to do us a favor? I'll meet with you, and send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.'

Wouldn't you know in your gut that such a president has abused his office? That he'd betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process? I believe the evidentiary record shows wrongful acts on those scale here."

Karlan used this analogy to contextualize Trump's broad efforts to urge Ukraine into launching investigations that would aid his reelection campaign.

And just like a Republican president before him, it wasn't that he was never warned that there would be a problem with a potential pandemic, or that he had inadequate warning about this one (regardless of whatever happy horseshit we suspect China was putting out so as not to looked weakened). We had the intelligence. Trump just didn't see fit to act. Maybe he might have even considered waiting a virtue, against messing up his economy with uncertainty, or letting bad infection counts mess with his poll numbers. He could allow a little epidemic (as a treat) and then somehow, things would shake out (a vaccine or a cure) and he'd be golden again! (He doesn't know any better. He doesn't know that you can't just change the label on a flu vaccine and confuse the new bug with it. His fixation with chloroquine stems from the same hope for a miracle delivery.)

And he believes his flummery over how good testing is going now ("we're testing more than anyone else!") as if in denial that we're doing more testing, in part, because of the poor start we had. He has told governors he "hasn't heard" there was a problem with testing, which is dangerously absurd.

Trump hasn't. in all of this, been putting America first at all. He's using press conferences with random CEOs who praise his leadership to the high heavens (like the "My Pillow" guy!) to look in charge when he should probably shut the heck up, and leave the talking to the experts. "America First" was always just a racist slogan to discuss a certain kind of white, English-speaking American who Trump wanted to represent. And now his failure to actually know how to put anyone besides himself first is going to get that American's mom-mom killed. And his Administration's attitude to non-citizens, like the folks who plant and pick our food and work in our food producing factories? Here, in what some people still call a "first world" nation, we very probably will even see food shortages.

How was anyone, so unaware and ignorant of what even made America livable, going to make America great? How would this flag-humping signifier pretend to put America First, when he himself is only tolerable to a certain population (who somehow can't separate his reality show self from the one in the mainstream news) once he wrapped himself in a flag and had solemn grifting snake oil squeezers rap Biblically over him? His core is nuclear waste.

Of course he's incapable. He will never put America first, and will play games with aid, and people will die. Didn't you all watch Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria? When he threw paper towels and lied about how much aid they already got and slandered people because he didn't want them to get more? And how he denied the death toll because it made him and his response look bad? And they are Americans. And we are all seeing what that Puerto Rico treatment looks like when applied all over the rest of the US.

"America first" was a slogan. The truth is Trump does Trump. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ride it Like a Cowboy

So, this was a thing that got said out loud where the people could hear yesterday:
“Ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through,” Trump said, as seen in the C-SPAN video below. “And I thought about it,” Trump admitted, adding that 1.6 million to 2.2 million people would die if he had simply decided to “ride it.”
And he thought about it. So, you know, if the US manages to pull out of the pandemic with deaths in the low six figures, you should be feeling pretty good about things. Because he was thinking about it.

Yee hah, motherfuckers.

(Also, he was probably given to listening to the low-ball figures, of course.)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Post-Pandemic

As is sometimes the case, regular commenter Formerly Amherst got me to thinking a bit on a different tangent. I don't like the idea of prognostication where serious events are concerned all that much, for the most part, because I think people have a tendency to ascribe their own meanings and desires on things. Where the coronavirus is concerned, I've already noticed with distaste that some people are viewing it in "cleansing" terms--always a bad sign. I don't think much of people who imagine that a random RNA replicant was sent by some fate to rid the planet of, well, you name it. Old folk. The sick. The poor. The Blue State liberal menace. The Red State conservative menace. The people of XYZ religion. The lousy secularists. To give us something greater than war to worry about. To wipe out the lesser virus, humans, who have been mucking the planet up. Etc. It's a very ugly game some people play--and the only way to win at being human is not to play.

I also don't like the habit of thinking that a sufficiently tragic episode of history will necessarily be didactic. The idea that "Now people will--(do the thing I've always really hoped they would)" is natural, but people often do carry multiple, mixed, and even muddled messages away from events. There is a logic to assuming that people will, after a massive worldwide healthcare crisis, come away with dramatically different opinions about how health care is managed, such as incurring an interest in truly universal "free" (as in "provided as a fully-funded right of all planetary citizens") healthcare--but logical assumptions seem to have little to do with actual human behavior. The human mind has a weird trick of using current events to reinforce one's own priors, even when counter-intuitive.

We're talking monkeys. If that sounds like I'm shrugging at the business of guessing what folks will do--bingo. Look at the differing responses people are having right now to the potential for disaster staring them in the face. The aftermath won't look much different. Fingers of blame will be pointed, but it will be spread around enough to be thinned out. Some people will look back, after a plausible or even implausible interval, to say "Things weren't even all that bad."

Friday, March 27, 2020

Disease Rules Everything Around Me

My work schedule this time of year usually disrupts my posting somewhat, and in that sense, nothing has changed. The staff of the floor of the building where I work has been reduced to something like a tenth of the usual workforce. It's about the same throughout the downtown area. My usually forty-odd minute commute is a near-thirty minute breeze. But there's a pulse of low-level stress, dislocation and uncertainty. Some of the people I'm talking to in the course of my work have lost their jobs or have their money-making opportunities severely reduced. They might love to go back to work, and yet--

They don't want to be sick. They don't want the people around them to be. They can't afford to be out of work, but they also sure as hell don't need corona in their lives. I'm in the NY/PA/NJ tristate area, and there are people who don't want to be outside if they can help it. I sympathize. I feel weird about that "Everybody wants to get back to work" construction though--Trump doesn't talk to everybody, and not everybody even stopped working. I want people to stay home. I want vulnerable people to stay safe. I want people to avoid having to go to the hospital right now, because things are not, as Trump wants to believe, levelling off. I want health care workers not to be worked to death. Things won't be miraculously better by Easter, for a kind of special resurrection of our social life.

I hate posting about everything through the view of the pandemic. For me, so far, it has mostly been a bloody boring inconvenience, but tinged with the incredible sorrow that it has been a nightmare and a tragedy for others, and was nursed along at the teats of ignorance and neglect. The voices of people who think it is okay to send people back into regular contact with one another for the stimulation of the economy are something worse than fiends--they are fiendish fools. Billionaires want people to go back to work--and they are the class of people who think they can finagle their own personal ventilator, if it worst comes to worst. Imagine this line of thinking:

Dick Kovacevich, who ran Wells Fargo & Co. until 2007, wants to see healthy workers below about 55 or so to return to work late next month if the outbreak is under control. “We’ll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don’t know,” said Kovacevich, who was also the bank’s chairman until 2009. “Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you’ll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose.”

This "flu-like experience" of which Kovacevich speaks? Can involve death and orphaning of one's little children. Is this tough-minded capitalism pose prepared for the widows/widowers and orphans? ("Are there no prisons? Are there no work houses? If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.") Young workers, it turns out, are not invincible. It isn't that "some may even die"--some most certainly will. Without mitigating the spike in infections and hospitalizations, this supposed "stop the financial bleeding" thinking is simply wrong, though. The workers are also your customers, the consumers. The workforce itself, the lifeblood of everything, is at risk. Fuck the capital--save the people!

For those who need a religious lens to look at this, think of this as a time of jubilee. Let's put a pin in the stock market for a minute, and release the bonds of the worker and consider paid the debts of the bondman. (See also: Do not muzzle the ox that treads the grain.)

And for what it's worth, there is a spirit of judgment from a certain giddy and ignorant corner about the affliction of blue states over red states, which seems to be in the same state of mind as Trump's potential determination to withhold aid to states that don't flatter him aren't working with him acceptably. Trump has singled out Cuomo, Inslee and Whitmer as being governors that haven't directed the correct pleasant-smelling offering in the general direction of his taint. This isn't too far away from being a self-fulfilling prophecy--at first. But I wonder what exactly red states will be going through in the future as the disease continues, and whether, once things are proceeding, they have the infrastructure to save lives and hold back the human toll. And I hope they do. But they need to heed science, not Trump.

I don't think I can avoid my future posts being at least tangentially concerned with covid-19 (Hey 19-no we can't dance together--no we can't talk at all!) for the foreseeable.

But just to leave a little bad taste in your mouth, I came across one of Trump's former serious fans who might have spit him out because he was lukewarm, Pastor Wiles (anti-Semite bigot). Trump has enjoyed saying that no one knew how much covid-19 would be a wasting force in our world, but Wiles as early as January 29 viewed this as a "purge". Even though some of the people who succumb to covid-19 will be of the formerly faithful and COVID-19 denying, still some will enter out from the mouth of the crucible, and feel no heat. This is because, verily, they are numb. (But they could fucking read a book or something.)

And don't get me started on the paranoia of the president who thinks that governors could even be asking for ventilators and all just to fuck with him. Or his belief that "the media" (journalists) might cover whether things he says and does happened and/or actually helped at all, instead of what they generally tend to do, which is not helping.

Anyways, everything looks like viral content to me. How are you all doing?