Sep 17 2020

Herd Immunity V. Herd Mentality

During his ABC Nwes Town Hall with undecided voters, Donald Trump discussed his Cov-19 policy mistakenly (or maybe not) saying he wanted to create “herd mentality.” Perhaps he did mean to say “herd immunity” or perhaps he just doesn’t know the difference. There is, however, a distinct difference:

Herd Mentality describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.

That definition sounds like most of Trump’s followers.

This is the definition of ‘herd immunity”:

Herd Immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

Trump would like you to believe that this is a good idea. It is but only if you have an effective vaccine which we do not at this point. Trump is ignoring his the advise of his own experts to wear a mask, socially distance and stay out of crowds. He has even brought in his own “expert” a doctor who has no background in immunology or epidemiology, Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuro-radiolologist who used to be at Stanford University in California. Yes, he takes MRI’s of the brain. Most recently, Dr. Atlas had turned to be a purveyor of false information on Fox News about CoVid-19, its prevention and spread, pushing herd immunity without a vaccine.

So why is that so bad? It’s bad because of the mortality rate of CoVid-19 which, with the current number of infections and deaths in the US, is nearly 3%. That’s high. To achieve herd immunity 60% to 70% of the population must somehow develop antibodies to the disease either through a vaccine or the disease itself.

The population of the US is 328.2 million. Between 229.7 million and 196.9 million would need to be infected with CoVid-19. With a 3% mortality rate that would result in between 6.8 million and 5.1 million Americans dying. This is what Trump, Atlas and their ignorant acolytes are proposing. That is frightening.

The other huge problem is the experts aren’t sure herd immunity can be achieved with CoVid-19. Form the Mayo Clinic:

there are some major problems with relying on community infection to create herd immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. First, it isn’t yet clear if infection with the COVID-19 virus makes a person immune to future infection.

Research suggests that after infection with some coronaviruses, reinfection with the same virus — though usually mild and only happening in a fraction of people — is possible after a period of months or years. Further research is needed to determine the protective effect of antibodies to the virus in those who have been infected.

On her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow walked through the qualifications of Dr. Atlas who gave Trump that idea and why he has no idea what he’s talking about. In the first video, Rachel showed side-by-side examples of the recommendations sent to states with growing COVID-19 infections and how they have changed since Dr. Anthony Fauci is no longer Trump’s chief adviser on the virus.

In the second part, she goes through the numbers:

Even if there were effective medication and treatment, millions would still die. That doesn’t even take into consideration the millions who will struggle with heart inflammation, will need lung transplants, may lose all sense of taste or smell or suffer from other coronavirus after-affects. I didn’t even discuss the overwhelming impact on our hospitals. This is what Trump is telling the American people and the world. Sadly, there are enough people suffering from herd mentality to believe this deadly propaganda.

Sep 17 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer: This Is How Bad It’s Gotten at the Justice Department
The authors are law professors at Georgetown.

When civil servants resign, skeptics often ask what difference one person really can make by leaving. The answer is: a lot.

In his time as the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr has alienated many federal prosecutors. The latest appears to be Nora Dannehy, a longtime prosecutor who has resigned from the department, where she was part of a team looking into the Russia investigation.

We don’t know for sure exactly what happened; she isn’t talking, nor is Mr. Barr. But The Hartford Courant, which broke the story, reported that Ms. Dannehy’s colleagues said that she departed because of Mr. Barr’s politicization — in particular, because Mr. Barr is evidently eager to break drastically with past practice and issue an incomplete report intended to help President Trump in his re-election efforts. [..]

When civil servants resign, skeptics often ask what difference one person really can make by leaving. The answer is simple: a lot. Ms. Dannehy’s departure isn’t just likely a major assertion of integrity by her; it’s also a big problem for Mr. Barr — and therefore for Mr. Trump.

Greg Sargent: Trump is losing control of his own propaganda

A fiendishly clever scheme to hoodwink the public goes awry.

President Trump is sometimes said to possess an almost mystical level of control over the news cycle and the public narrative, an otherworldly dominance that is usually depicted with well-worn phrases like “Trump is flooding the media zone” or “Trump thrives on chaos” or “Trump’s distractions are working for him.”

But if Trump ever did possess such paranormal powers, the real story of the moment is that he’s losing control of them, and they are now operating against him.

The battle over the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine perfectly captures this emerging dynamic. It’s now becoming a major issue in the presidential race, but not on the terms Trump originally intended. [..]

The obvious game plan here is to create the impression that a solution is right around the corner, due to Trump’s stupendous leadership, even if it ends up not materializing, and rely on credulous media to amplify the message in the run-up to the election.

But why would the public believe anything the White House says about this, let alone trust Trump to manage the fiendishly complex rollout process that will follow, after seeing him explicitly declare that he should be believed over his own scientists, and after we’ve seen so much other naked subversion of the public interest to Trump’s political needs?

Amanda Marcotte: Right-wing talk about “sedition” and the Insurrection Act has one purpose: Stealing the election

Barr and other Trump allies are lining up excuses to use force against pro-democracy protests after Election Day

There has been a ton of news about Bill Barr — official title, “Attorney General of the United States;” actual job, Donald Trump’s capo — crawling across cable news chyrons in recent days, so much so that it’s hard to keep track of it all. There’s that thing he said about quarantine restrictions being nearly as bad as slavery. And the thing where he whined about the Justice Department staffers that’s more interested in enforcing the law than protecting Trump’s political power. And where he compared such people to preschool children, for having the temerity to question his decisions.

All that is bad, but probably the worst news this week is a report from the New York Times that “Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who had committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition.”

He also asked federal prosecutors “to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle for allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer.”

This is especially alarming in light of Barr’s assertion, in the same speech where he made offensive comments about his own staff and about slavery, that he believes he has “virtually unchecked discretion” in determining what cases to prosecute.

Barr was talking about cases stemming from the protests in various cities over the summer. Although the vast majority of those protests were peaceful, there were a few incidents of violence and looting, though absolutely no evidence of plots to overthrow the U.S. government (which is what “sedition” means). Barr’s eagerness to overreact, however, is another alarming sign that he is exploring ways to assist Trump’s public and obvious plans to do whatever he can to steal the presidential election.

Dahlia Lithwick: Bill Barr Would Like to Undermine Your Faith in the Election

The attorney general cannot stop making evidence-free claims about threats to the election.

Bill Barr is on yet another one of his charm offenses. Well, you can’t really call it charming—but it is most certainly offensive. [..]

But even as his dedicated employees race for the exits, Bill Barr trundles on, offering up a coy new interview with the Washington Post this week that characterized him as “lumbering and generously jowled,” a sort of Yogi Bear for the unitary executive set. He also did a friendly sit-down with the Chicago Tribune on Friday, in which he chuckled with John Kass about steakhouses, Chicago crime bosses, and re-upped his entirely imaginary claims about the perils of mail-in voting. And then there was this barnstormer appearance on CNN, when he assured Americans that their votes would be stolen. America’s lawyer is hard at work at the critical task of freaking out the electorate.

In recent days, Barr appears to have inched away from his earlier claims that voting by mail was uniquely susceptible to foreign election tampering. Having pressed that particular hypothesis in early June in an interview with the New York Times, then in a July House Judiciary Committee hearing (a hearing in which he also testified he had no reason to believe the election would be rigged), he parroted the president’s unfounded talking points about foreign interference for just mail-in ballots. Barr was asked about it again this month by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who requested some basis for his now-frequent claims that “a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people, and it might be impossible to detect.” Barr replied, “I’m basing that—as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.” Barr continues to insist then that foreign counterfeiting of mail-in ballots is a legitimate threat for which he has no evidence or proof.

Carissa Byrne Hessick: Bill Barr’s Argument for a Political DOJ Is Very Convenient for Bill Barr

His comparison of career prosecutors to preschoolers was not only insulting—it’s also deeply self-serving.

In a speech at Hillsdale College Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Barr insulted career prosecutors at the Department of Justice while once again taking aim at the prosecutions arising out of the Russia investigation.

Barr drew an analogy between career prosecutors and preschoolers, saying, “Devolving all authority down to the most junior officials does not even make sense as a matter of basic management. … Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.” The insulting comparison attracted the most attention. But his open disdain for his employees is not simply bad management. The comments are part of his broader argument that the political appointees at the Department of Justice should be making all the important decisions, not the career prosecutors. According to Barr, because he is appointed by the president, he is democratically accountable and so his decisions are more legitimate than the decisions of career prosecutors.

This argument is very convenient for Barr personally. He has taken a lot of heat for interfering in the prosecutions of President Donald Trump’s allies Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, prompting career prosecutors to abruptly resign from the cases. Some have argued his involvement in those cases was highly inappropriate, if not corrupt. It appears that his actions are now the subject of an inspector general investigation. By crafting a vision of the DOJ in which only his decisions are legitimate, Barr can swat away questions about the career prosecutors who resigned in protest of his interference.

Sep 17 2020

The LRAD

LRAD stands for Long Range ADevice and while you may think, “Oh, this is the perfect thing to crank up the volume on Wall of Voodoo’s Ring of Fire Album cut and really annoy my neighbors,” and it can in fact be used as a (very) loudspeaker, it is designed by the U.S. Military as a “non-lethal” Area Denial System.

It fires a Six Foot Wide Beam of high frequency sound waves that, if you’ve ever used an Ultrasonic Cleaner, you’ll know has the effect of heating things up.

Quite a bit actually, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns across 20% of your body which qualifies you for a extended stay in the ICU.

It was deemed too dangerous to use in Iraq or Afghanistan but not against peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park on June 1st. Fortunately they couldn’t find one in time.

Federal officials stockpiled munitions, sought ‘heat ray’ device before clearing Lafayette Square, whistleblower says
By Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post
September 16, 2020

Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.

D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.

DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.

DeMarco, who provided his account as a whistleblower, was the senior-most D.C. National Guard officer on the ground that day and served as a liaison between the National Guard and U.S. Park Police.

A Defense Department official briefed on the matter downplayed DeMarco’s allegations, saying emails asking about specific weaponry were routine inventory checks to determine what equipment was available.

The Defense Department, U.S. Army and D.C. National Guard did not respond to specific questions about munitions and their intended use.

The chaos that erupted on the evening of June 1 played out before millions of viewers on split-screen television broadcasts as President Trump strode through the emptied park toward St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he delivered remarks and posed for photos with a bible.

U.S. Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan has testified that protesters were given clear warnings to disperse via a Long Range Acoustic Device. But DeMarco told lawmakers that is impossible because there was no such device on the scene at the time.

Just before noon on June 1, the Defense Department’s top military police officer in the Washington region sent an email to officers in the D.C. National Guard. It asked whether the unit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, also known as an LRAD, or a microwave-like weapon called the Active Denial System, which was designed by the military to make people feel like their skin is burning when in range of its invisible rays.

The technology, also called a “heat ray,” was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings.

Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, the New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border — an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.

But in the email, on which DeMarco was copied, the lead military police officer in the National Capital Region wrote the ADS device “can provide our troops a capacity they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and nonlethal manner.”

The email continued: “The ADS can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior or depart through application of a directed energy beam that provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual.”

Federal police ultimately were unable to obtain a heat ray device — or an LRAD — during the early days of protests in D.C., according to the Defense Department official.

DeMarco said without an LRAD device, which can be used to make booming announcements to large crowds, Park Police officers instead issued dispersal orders to the crowd using a handheld red-and-white megaphone.

Laws and court rulings require police to give demonstrators repeated, clear warnings of officers’ intentions to escalate and to allow people adequate time and avenues to disperse peacefully.

DeMarco told lawmakers he was standing about 30 yards from the announcer but could barely make out the order. The chanting crowd, which was even farther from the officer with the megaphone, did not appear to hear the warnings, DeMarco said.

But in the email, on which DeMarco was copied, the lead military police officer in the National Capital Region wrote the ADS device “can provide our troops a capacity they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and nonlethal manner.”

The email continued: “The ADS can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior or depart through application of a directed energy beam that provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual.”

Federal police ultimately were unable to obtain a heat ray device — or an LRAD — during the early days of protests in D.C., according to the Defense Department official.

DeMarco said without an LRAD device, which can be used to make booming announcements to large crowds, Park Police officers instead issued dispersal orders to the crowd using a handheld red-and-white megaphone.

Laws and court rulings require police to give demonstrators repeated, clear warnings of officers’ intentions to escalate and to allow people adequate time and avenues to disperse peacefully.

DeMarco told lawmakers he was standing about 30 yards from the announcer but could barely make out the order. The chanting crowd, which was even farther from the officer with the megaphone, did not appear to hear the warnings, DeMarco said.

Protesters, journalists and humanitarian aid volunteers who were there that day have repeatedly said they never heard a warning before police began to move on the crowd. Advancing on foot and horseback, they pushed protesters back as explosions sent clouds of smoke and chemicals into the air, and officers fired rubber pellets into packs of retreating protesters.

Monahan has said violence by protesters spurred his agency to clear the area ahead of the D.C. mayor’s 7 p.m. curfew — instituted as a response to looting, vandalism and arson amid demonstrations on previous nights — with unusually aggressive tactics.

Monahan also told members of Congress in July that Park Police had followed protocol in issuing three warnings “utilizing a Long Range Acoustic Device” — although DeMarco’s testimony indicates no such device was in use.

U.S. Park Police did not respond to a request for further comment this week.

His attorney, David Laufman, said DeMarco hopes lawmakers will continue to investigate the federal response.

“That anyone in the Department of Defense referred to American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights as ‘potential adversaries’ and even contemplated the use of an ADS on the streets of our nation’s capital is deeply disturbing and calls for further investigation,” Laufman said.

DeMarco also testified that a stash of M4 carbine assault rifles was transferred from Fort Belvoir to the D.C. Armory on June 1 and that transfers of ammunition from states such as Missouri and Tennessee arrived in subsequent days.

By mid-June, about 7,000 rounds of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition rounds had been transferred to the D.C. Armory, DeMarco said.

He did not specify what the ammunition was for, and the D.C. National Guard did not respond to questions about the weapons transfers.

And Live Rounds and Bayonets in addition to the usual Tear Gas, Dogs, and Fire Hoses. Thank goodness we live in a “free” country.

Sep 17 2020

Cartnoon

Like, Fire!

What about Global Warming and Beavis do you not understand?

Sep 17 2020

Deplorable Focus Group

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Spoilers- These people are screened, paid, and usually highly motivated. I did a study with Plumbers to get a take on what level of subsidy would get people to opt for off-peak, high efficiency water heaters (I did other things than traffic, Cell Phones and Acne Cream for instance).

I did facilitating and was also ‘behind the mirror’ data recording.

The answer is regardless of long term cost, people will buy the absolute cheapest that will deliver all the hot water they want.

The not so deplorable-

Techno.

Sep 17 2020

The Breakfast (Taking Action)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

The Battle of Antietam sets a bloody record during America’s Civil War; Work ends on U.S. Constitution; Israel and Egypt’s leaders sign Camp David Accords; Singer Hank Williams born; ‘MASH’ premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.

Honore de Balzac

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 16 2020

More About Cops

Pigs, three different ones.

Big man, pig man
Haha, charade you are
Wooh!
You well-heeled big wheel
Haha, charade you are
And when your hand is on your heart
You’re nearly a good laugh, almost a joker
With your head down in the pig bin
Sayin’, “Keep on digging”
Pig stain on your fat chin
What do you hope to find
Down in the pig mine?

You’re nearly a laugh
You’re nearly a laugh, but you’re really a cry

Bus stop rat bag
Haha, charade you are
You fucked up old hag
Haha, charade you are
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass
You’re nearly a good laugh
Almost worth a quick grin
You like the feel of steel
You’re hot stuff with a hatpin
And good fun with a handgun

You’re nearly a laugh
You’re nearly a laugh, but you’re really a cry

Hey you, Whitehouse
Haha, charade you are
You house proud town mouse
Haha, charade you are
You’re tryin’ to keep our feelings off the street
You’re nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
You! Gotta stem the evil tide
And keep it all on the inside

Mary, you’re nearly a treat
Mary, you’re nearly a treat, but you’re really a cry

PBS Frontline.

Sep 16 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Michelle Goldberg: Trump’s Shredding of Civil Liberties Won’t Stop With Antifa

An American was killed by federal agents and the president called it “retribution.” We are so far gone.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the killing, early this month, of Michael Forest Reinoehl.

Reinoehl, a self-described antifa supporter, was a suspect in the shooting of Aaron J. Danielson, a backer of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, during an August street confrontation in Portland, Ore. Prosecutors charged him with murder. Reinoehl, speaking to Vice News, said he acted in self-defense. There will be no trial to sort out what happened, because the federal marshals sent to arrest him gunned him down. [..]

If it’s the official posture of the government that the antifa movement constitutes a major security threat, that will influence how individual agents behave. Trump has repeatedly sent American law enforcement the message that members of antifa are terrorists who should be treated with extreme violence, and that protests against racial injustice and his administration are dominated by antifa.

There are many ways the presidential election could go sideways, leading to mass demonstrations over ballot counting. In the same Fox News interview in which he gloated over Reinoehl’s death, Trump was asked what he would do if his opponents “riot” on election night.

“We’ll put them down very quickly,” he said. All those who’ve demonstrated against this president should know that what’s done to antifa today can be done to them tomorrow.

Jennifer Rubin: Trump’s disastrous town hall shows he should never have made mental acuity an issue

Trump’s performance was embarrassingly bad.

It was not simply that President Trump resorted to obvious lies at the ABC News town hall Tuesday night, or that he was rude and ineffective in addressing the terrific, substantive questions from real, undecided voters. His campaign’s bigger worry is that he came across as confused, lost and incoherent. He really should not have gone down the road of challenging his opponent’s mental acuity. [..]

Imagine how much worse it will be for Trump when he has a prepared opponent willing to deliver a tongue-lashing for such silly lies and excuses. Biden could ask when we can finally expect Trump’s magic health-care plan and demand he bring it to the next debate. Biden could laugh and roll his eyes when Trump blames him for not assuming the duties of president (“C’mon, man — you are president, not me!”). We saw in Trump’s devastating interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan that Trump short-circuits whenever confronted with a new piece of information outside his limited frame of reference. When he tosses up another word salad, Biden surely can say, “You just talked for a minute and said nothing. Answer the question.” There might be less fact-checking, but the Biden team can put out a split-screen version of the debate with a rolling fact check. More important, the Biden team stands to receive a bountiful gift of soundbites for its next round of ads.

Erin N. Marcus: A Roger Stone protege is interfering in important CDC reports. It’s appalling.

Erin N. Marcus is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and a Public Voices fellow.  

In 1981, a report appeared in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) about five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles who had developed a severe pneumonia caused by an unusual organism, Pneumocystis carinii. None of the men knew each other. Their main shared trait was that they had each engaged in sex with men.

The article was the first case series in the medical literature to describe the syndrome that we now call AIDS. It was extremely important — both clinically, in that it alerted doctors to think about Pneumocystis carinii when evaluating pneumonia in men who have sex with men, and scientifically, in that it spurred researchers to investigate why these otherwise healthy men were suddenly dying.  [..]

This is characteristic of the MMWR, known as a trustworthy scientific publication. Its high standards of evidence and its reliability have made it an important source of data for clinicians and public health researchers for decades.

That reputation is now at risk. According to recent news reports, the spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo — a political appointee and protege of Roger Stone who worked as a consultant for President Trump — has tried to force the CDC to delay the MMWRs and coerce the CDC into altering wording on its findings. He has also demanded that the CDC retract published MMWR articles. Caputo’s rationale has been that CDC scientists are part of a “deep state” opposed to Trump’s reelection and that the reports contradict Trump’s statements about covid-19 and make him look bad.

Caputo’s manipulation is appalling. If left unchecked, it could have disastrous consequences for the reputation and reliability of the CDC, which has already been battered by the U.S. response to covid-19. It could also prove devastating for medical practice in the United States more broadly.

Amanda Marcotte: Dr. Bleach-Injector and his death cult want you to get “herd developed”

Don’t expect Trump’s latest idiocy to lose him followers — they’d rather get COVID-19 than admit they were wrong

Donald Trump was doing spectacularly bad science again, this time during a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday night. The event went about as well for the president as anyone who has been awake during the past four years could have predicted, which raises the important question: Wasn’t his new campaign manager supposed to be competent?

When asked about an audio clip captured by journalist Bob Woodward in which Trump talks about the coronavirus pandemic and how much he “wanted to always play it down,” Trump slid right into his don’t-believe-your-lying-ears mode, claiming that he, in fact, “up-played it.” Whatever that means. Then the “very stable genius” currently squatting in the Oval Office rolled out his brilliant plan to lick the coronavirus problem (as transcribed by the invaluable Aaron Rupar of Vox):

TRUMP: It is going away.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Without a vaccine?

TRUMP: Sure. Over a period of time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths.

TRUMP: It’s gonna be herd developed.

He also used the phrase “herd mentality.” [..]

Right now, somewhere around 2% of Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus — which is still a whopping 6.6 million people, more than any other nation on Earth — and of that group, just over 196,000 have died as of Wednesday afternoon. I leave it to readers — who, unlike Trump, didn’t pay someone to take their SATs for them — to figure out how many more people are likely to die if we go with Trump’s brilliant plan of infecting perhaps 35 times as many people with the virus as have now tested positive.

(Or, skip the algebra and read this article from the Washington Post, which estimates that Trump’s “good brain” plan would kill nearly 3 million people.)

Here I thought that Trump had crammed thousands of his followers, without masks, into an indoor rally in Henderson, Nevada, just because he’s a terminal narcissist who prioritizes his insatiable need for applause over the lives of the very swing-state voters he would need to win the election. But hey, it might also be that he’s using the bodies of his own supporters — who tend, on average, to be older and likelier to die of COVID-19 — for his grand experiment in “herd development.”

Move over, Burning Man: It’s time for a new desert festival! Donald Trump’s Coronafest 2020: The drugs aren’t as good, and you’re way likelier to end up dead.

Heather Digby Parton: With no end in sight, Trump’s lies just keep making the pandemic worse

Trump has risked his followers’ lives and damaged the credibility of science — and for what? It’s not nearly over

With the release of Bob Woodward’s book “Rage,” we’ve been given the opportunity to revisit the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic with the added insights of comments the president made in private at the time. Unsurprisingly, we have learned that Donald Trump was lying to the public every step of the way. Day after day, we hear more of the Woodward tapes, and each one reveals Trump to have been even more reckless and self-centered than we knew, leaving Woodward and millions of others unable to tell “whether he’s got it straight in his head what is real and what is unreal.”

The president had the presence of mind to tell Woodward in April that the virus is “a killer if it gets you,” but shortly after that told the public, “The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!” By July, he had stopped even trying to explain away his failure. [..]

Trump likes to say that “nobody’s ever seen anything like this,” and in this case, at least, he’s right. The consequences of the president’s psychological and intellectual shortcomings, which led him to downplay the pandemic, are so devastating that it led Scientific American to endorse a candidate for president for the first time in the magazine’s 175-year history:

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.

It is hard to see how any rational person could come to any other conclusion.

Sep 16 2020

Choo Choo

Chugga, chugga, chugga.

I think this is the whole thing from ABC News, but it’s inconveniently cut up in pretty random chunks

So hopefully that pulls up the playlist. A transcript.

Trump’s ABC News town hall: Four Pinocchios, over and over again
By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post
September 15, 2020

At the ABC News town hall Tuesday night, President Trump was challenged by ordinary voters in ways that he rarely experiences in the safe spaces of Fox News, where he regularly answers questions. But he still retreated to false or misleading talking points that he offers in his usual venues. Here’s a quick tour through 24 claims made at the Philadelphia town hall.

Sep 16 2020

Cartnoon

I am really tired of Alaska, like, every other Discovery show is filmed there. But it’s Les Stroud so it’s ok.

Older posts «

Fetch more items