3/25/2020

Trump Doesn't Care About What You Have to Lose

It would have been so easy, so unbelievably easy, for Donald Trump to have been the hero when it came to coronavirus. He had his chance, his bullhorn on the wreckage, his "tear down this wall." And it would have been with absolutely minimal effort. With a wave of his hand, the signing of a couple of documents, and a speech to the nation, Trump could have so easily done what was needed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 before it started its snowballing rampage. He could have quickly hired a pandemic team, as he said he could, then ramped up testing early, used the Defense Production Act to produce what's necessary if the pandemic got out of hand in the U.S., and instituted a national lockdown policy. If he had told his MAGA hordes to stay at home, they would have done it in a heartbeat and thanked him for his wisdom. Fox "news" would have extolled him for his powerful foresight. Much of the country would have looked at Italy and Spain and breathed an enormous sigh of relief that Trump had listened to the scientists and acted.

At so many points along the way to where we are now in this increasingly dire situation, Trump could have acted to mitigate the shit-twister that's about to engulf us. But he didn't. He didn't and now we're sitting here like people in the basement, hearing the horns and alarms, and watching all the idiots in our town run around and tell us it's all fine, come on out. And we're wondering when the shit-twister is gonna hit and knowing that even if it doesn't wipe out our house, it's gonna fuck up a lot of other places and leave it all covered in shit.

Instead of action, we get Trump's entire mobster ethos on steroids: threatening anyone who crosses him and lying about everything in order to make him look good. We know that Trump inflated his worth when it benefited him so he didn't seem like a broke loser to lenders. We know that Trump lied about how much his properties were worth when it came to real estate taxes. We know that Trump lied about his investment in properties that he hadn't invested in at all. We know that Trump lied about how many units were sold at developments. He lied about the quality of his fuckin' steaks. He's a fucking con man, always trying to get people to buy into the grift.

We know that. It just had always been about money until now. That it's actual life and death at stake during our COVID-19 pandemic makes his response that much more flagrantly callous. At his fucked up hate rallies, Trump is fond of saying to African Americans, "What the hell do you have to lose?" when it came to voting for him, as if electing a president ought to be a roll of the dice at a ten-cent table at a cheap casino. Now he's saying it when it comes to using drugs that aren't proven to be effective on coronavirus patients. At one of those worthless press conferences he has daily, he said about the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, "Let’s see what happens.  We have nothing to lose.  You know the expression: What the hell do you have to lose?  Okay?" Except, you know, for everything they have to lose.

Back when it was money, people could sue him and his bullshit corporation, but he could tie shit up in courts until they gave up. Now, the people affected are dead so...no lawsuits. It doesn't matter if he doesn't know anything beyond what he's seen on Fox "news" or its inbred, mutant offspring, One America News.

And when he's cornered or threatened or even contradicted, Trump has two responses: brutish denial (as in his response when asked about firing the CDC's pandemic task force) and brutish bullying. Trump sees the Treasury of the United States as his piggy bank and the agencies of the United States as his Mafia. Quid pro quo-ing like a champ, Trump said of governors who ask for help, "It’s a two-way street.  They have to treat us well also.  They can’t say, 'Oh gee, we should get this, we should get that.'" Why the fuck shouldn't they? Why the fuck shouldn't a governor advocate for their state? Why should they have to pleasure the king to get what they need? Motherfuckin' New York has been propping up the country for decades now, sending far more income tax money to DC than it receives in benefit. Fuckin' Alabama would be a graveyard and a parking lot without New York (and other states that give more than they get).

You know what this savage cockflea of a fake president probably thinks? Right now, most of the states with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases are led by Democrats. That's gonna change when Texas and Florida explode and Tennessee and Georgia peak, but right now, New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Michigan, and Louisiana are where the highest numbers of cases are, all with Democratic governors. He can blame governors for now because he's just draggin' the Dems.

And look at the way he talked about the Defense Production Act: "Private companies are heeding our call to produce medical equipment and supplies because they know that we will not hesitate to invoke the DPA in order to get them to do what they have to do.  It’s called leverage.  You don’t have to use it from the standpoint of — actually, it’s been activated, but you don’t have to use it.  But the threat of it being there is great leverage.  And companies are doing as we ask...We didn’t have to exercise or utilize the DPA in any way.  The fact that we have it helps, but we didn’t have to."

The DPA is not a threat. It's actually a guarantee to companies that what they produce will be purchased. It's a help, not a hindrance. And this fuckin' cut-rate Corleone is wielding it like a knife at the throat of the children of CEOs. That's why governors are confused by Trump's refusal to put the DPA into action. It's not a negative thing.  And the reason is that it's more important that Trump look like a tough guy who can cajole and make deals than that he's just fuckin' following the law.

This gets us to the delusional idea that the country will be able to get back to normal on Easter. It's purely marketing. This week, Trump has been on a phone call with "religious leaders" and another with "conservative leaders." You know these fake Christian motherfuckers wanted to have a branding tool, like "America will be resurrected just like Jesus" (which means somehow they'll blame the virus on the Jews). And this also taps into Trump's usual con: his promising of something amazing - a wall built by Mexico, for instance, or an incredible health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act  - that will never happen, but it convinces the dumbasses who believe in him that he's magical and mighty.

It won't matter that, come Easter, we won't be crowding into the streets to watch bonnet parades or into churches to celebrate when Jesus fucked a bunny into laying eggs or whatever happened then. And, like he did today in goddamn tweet, Trump will blame the media and the Democrats, and those same people who believe him now will believe him then. We better get used to the idea that hundreds of thousands of MAGA idiots could die from coronavirus, and the rest will still fucking love Trump.

Fuck, I hate this motherfucker.

Honestly, if I saw a grizzly bear raping Donald Trump, I'd give the bear Viagra.

3/19/2020

Why It Matters That Trump Is Calling COVID-19 "the Chinese Virus"

Let's get a couple of things straight right off the bat regarding some virus names:

"Zika" and "West Nile virus" were named before 1950, when things were even more racist-y than they are now. "Ebola" got its name because scientists, including ones from the Centers for Disease Control, decided to name it for a river near the village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) where the first case was discovered. They didn't want to name it after the village because they didn't want to stigmatize the people living there.

MERS, or "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome," was named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which has a Coronavirus Study Group and works with the World Health Organization and researchers. Originally, the name contained "SA" in it because the first reported case was in Saudi Arabia, which pissed off the Saudis (and, it turned out, the real first case was in Jordan), so it was changed.

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) got its name from the WHO because "we didn’t want the press or some other group to name it with a stigmatizing name." H1N1 is a shortened version of "A/H1N1pdm09" and, yes, it was nicknamed "swine flu" because it originated from human contact with pigs. The WHO has guidelines for how this shit is done, and now they specifically avoid animal and location names because it gives the wrong idea about the virus. "Swine flu," as you might imagine, caused people to stop eating pork because people are fucking idiots.

The coronavirus we're fighting now was given the name "COVID-19" by the WHO. It's got a damn name. But it originated in China, so, of course, conservative media started calling it the "Chinese virus." And, of course, that meant President Donald Trump, who loves racism as much as normal human beings love babies and puppies, started calling it that.

And, of course, that means that all of MAGA-world, who are loyal cumgobblers anxiously awaiting with open mouths for the next ejaculation from their orange jizz master, will repeat it and justify it and stand by it and fight for it and shout about it and insult anyone who defies them or their orange jizz master and accuse us of loving commie China, and they'll do that until we all just give up saying that it's wrong or Trump stops saying it and then says he never said it and that the media is just out to get him and the cumgobblers will tell us we're liars for saying what's on video for everyone to see. Repeat endlessly with a new load.

It's not a distraction that Trump is calling COVID-19 (which isn't that difficult to say) the "Chinese virus." On so many levels, it's significant. It gives fuel to rising anti-Asian hate crimes and attacks. It allows Trump and his assorted douches and dicks to deflect blame for the Trump administration's catastrophic fuck ups in preparing for and dealing with COVID-19 onto China. At today's petulant press conference, he said, "[I]f people would’ve known about it could have been stopped in place. It could have been stopped where it came from, China." Except, of course, that "people" did know about it for over a month before Trump took any action at all beyond closing the border to people coming from China (which Italy did before us and then they never saw COVID-19 again...oh, wait). And who the fuck is defending China?  Someone ought to say to Trump, "Motherfucker, you're the one who always talks about how good you get along with President Xi. What did that get you?"

So, sure, in many ways, the whole "Chinese virus" bullshit is of a piece with Trump's refusal to accept responsibility for anything and his use of racism to keep his white troglodyte minions all hot and sweaty and ready to fuck some shit up.

But I think something else is at work here. It's also part of his anti-immigrant rhetoric, that Stephen Miller crap that has created a humanitarian nightmare at our southern border that is going to turn into a catastrophe. If you keep telling people that invaders from the outside are harming us, then you better be able to fuckin' prove that. Caravans of brown drug dealers? You fuckin' bet. Virus-ridden yellow menaces? Hell, yeah. Fuckin' stop that shit cold. Once this real and frightening crisis is over, if not before, Trump is likely going to use it to institute even more draconian policies on immigration. If you don't think that's possible, you haven't been paying attention. What better way to get his base all ready to fuck when it comes to the election in November than to tell them that they are battling to keep diseased foreigners out of our precious white America?

Coming to Trump's defense today was the white nationalist/conspiracy mongering One American News Network (motto: "Fox 'news,' but dumb") and reporter/insane person Chanel Rion. She really asked Trump, "Do you consider the term Chinese food racist?" Believe it or not, Trump doesn't think that's racist. And he's right, unless you're being a racist while saying it. Then Rion, who is oddly allowed in the same room with actual reporters, really asked, "Major left wing news media, even in this room, have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives, and they are claiming you are racist for making these claims about Chinese virus. Is it alarming that major media players...are consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicalism, Latin gangs and cartels, and they work right here at the White House with direct access to you and your team?" Honestly, that's not a dog whistle. That's a full-fledged racist blow horn.

Trump answered, in part, "Well, I think they do. I mean, they are siding with China. They are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. They’re siding with many others. China’s the least of it."

We'll be lucky if this doesn't end with them rounding people up and turning them into soylent green. Hell, he'll rebrand it soylent Trump: "Only the best people."

3/14/2020

Trump Vs. the Virus Is Really Trump Vs. Us

I've been trying for the last couple of days to wrap my head around, well, fucking everything. Yes, there are the ways the coronavirus pandemic affects me personally and professionally (I'm not just a tenured liberal professor; I'm the tenured liberal chair of a whole goddamn department).  But I've been trying to get used to the idea that if this turns out to be even a fraction of the crisis that it may very well turn out to be, the ignorant, barely literate goon in charge is going to make it far, far worse.

To say that Donald Trump has been flailing about like brain-damaged squirrel is an insult to all those brave squirrels with brain damage. After lying about COVID-19 for weeks, his speech on Wednesday night was the rhetorical equivalent of a shitty older brother being forced to apologize to his little sister for ripping the heads off her dolls. He doesn't mean it, he doesn't really give a shit about her feelings, and, given the chance again, he's gonna rip off more heads, but, hey, fine Mom, here's an apology: "I'm sorry and go fuck yourself." (Trump would never utter the words "I'm sorry," but go with the analogy.) The cascade of lies and misstatements was so reprehensible that I've actually heard from people that some of their MAGA cretin relatives have finally lost faith in their Orange God. But, then again, they've been gobbling shit from his bleached anus for years now, so I don't trust a fucking word from their brown-stained mouths.

And then at his press conference yesterday, he uttered perhaps the Trumpiest line ever: "I don’t take responsibility at all." It was in answer to a question about the pathetic failure of the United States to start widespread testing until now. He continued, "We were given a-a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time. It wasn’t meant for this kind of an event with the kind of numbers that we’re talking about." And that's just another fucking lie. It's been three and a half years since this bitch lumbered into office. It's been two years since he shitcanned the officials who looked out for pandemics and such, which Trump pretended he had nothing to do with and knew nothing about (which, if true, is even more damning than having done it). The only way Trump could be more responsible for the situation the United States faces is if he went around personally infecting everyone, which, at the rate he's prancing around in public and shaking hands and more, he may very well be.

There was always going to be some reckoning for the American conservative philosophy of "Government is bullshit." Republicans spent decades tearing down and turning enough Americans against the very things that could help us - a national heath care program, a fair taxation system, family and medical leave, and so much more. Now you can add into that a cruel immigration system that discourages millions of people in the country from seeking medical attention for fear of deportation. This was always going to happen, like a cataclysmic earthquake on the west coast, and that inevitability shows just how fucking idiotic that ideology of individual over society has been, how deadly it has always been. The coronavirus response has been like our gun policy: we're watching other countries take logical steps that will reduce deaths and suffering, but, fuck it, we're not doing it because America or some such shit.

There is a rage that I can't get past here. I'm trying. Really. It's not just a rage at the Trump administration, which is as blitheringly incompetent and dangerous as we always knew it would be. No, it's a rage at the people who voted Trump into office. Seriously, at this point, if you still support Trump, you are a savage, deranged idiot who needs help. It's gotta be madness. It has to be some kind of mental illness when you keep believing that someone is good when they are trying to kill you, like some kind of dissociative disorder. Diagnose this shit and get them some help. Oh, wait, we fucking can't because we don't have a health care system that could handle it.

And I'm just fucking embarrassed for this country, ashamed of how we have mistreated our allies, how we have isolated ourselves from the world in order to feed the ego of this sniveling mancunt who forces people to praise him endlessly, who sees himself as impervious to everything: sickness, responsibility, the law, and whose very affect and tweets demonstrate that he couldn't give a single dry rat turd about the lives of the people he allegedly leads. He's fucking golfing as I write this. Don't say a goddamn word about him unless it's preceded with, "Fuck that guy. Fuck him with every dick everywhere."

We don't know how fucked we're going to be by the coronavirus. But we know, with absolute clarity, that those we depend on fucked up the response. We know that Democrats are saving our asses again with the bill that Nancy Pelosi got through the House (after Republican fuckery weakened it) and that Trump has said he would sign once Mitch McConnell gets his saggy ass back to DC to pass it in the Senate. We know that Democrats are once again going to have to clean up the wreckage that Republicans and their fucking mindless voters have created.

It's what we're damned to do.

Trump isn't really fighting the virus. Trump is fighting with us, the people in this country, for demanding that he do a job that he simply can't do, for asking him to feel things like empathy that he is incapable of feeling. He's never had to give a shit about anyone but himself, and now he's found himself in a situation where he has to. He's a fish out of water or, more appropriately, a cow drowning in a flooded stream that gonna drag him away.

(Note: If you want to know more about the shit I've been dealing with as my college shuts down, it'll be up at the ol' Patreon page, but you gotta sign up and become a donor. Hey, you've got extra time and some money you're not using on movies or concerts or dinners out.)

3/10/2020

Trump Vs. the Coronavirus: Which One Is the Worse Disease?

It didn't have to be like this. If Donald Trump ever truly gave a damn about being widely beloved instead of just being worshipped by a brainwashed cadre of farting goons and foul geeks, he could have stepped up his game (or, you know, started his game) once the first hints surfaced that the coronavirus was going to head to the United States. He could have risen to the severity of the occasion and demanded that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention start testing people immediately. He could have...oh, wait, no, never mind. He couldn't have done any of that because he had already gutted the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services of the staff and funding it needed to control and prevent diseases and provide health services to humans. So fuck that. And fuck us.

Instead, Trump has taken the truly deranged position that everything is just fine and that COVID-19 can't do dick to Americans and, besides, he'd sue it for slander if it made him look bad. He told us that it was no big deal when it was 15 cases in the U.S. He waved off any idea the virus is that much of a threat when it was 240 cases. And, today, he said, really, "As you know, it’s about 600 cases, it’s about 26 deaths, within our country.  And had we not acted quickly, that number would have been substantially more." Except back when it was 15, he said, "[W]e're going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time." It's like he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

He's not just dangerously unreliable. He's dangerously dangerous. More people will die from coronavirus in the United States because Trump is president. It's truly that simple.

So what's the goal here with this unmerited optimism? With this lowballing of numbers and touting of action that objectively did not happen (Washington doesn't even have enough tests to deal with the single nursing home and its staff where the virus exploded)? I have a dumb theory, and, because it's fuckin' Trump, it's probably dumb enough to be true.

I think Trump's banking on coronavirus doing like the flu and sharply decreasing in severity when warm weather hits. By this wishful thinking, the number of cases will plummet and he can prance around like toddler prince in fancy new breeches, demanding our admiration for his rightness and his prowess at rasslin' a virus.  He's thinking he'll be viewed as the motherfuckin' hero. He would hope that victory lap could last until the election, just as the flu season is kicking into gear and, possibly, the coronavirus resurgence. But the scientists who know things (no, really, they do) think pinning hopes on summer is a fool's game. So, of course, it's Trump's.

So we're forced to endure this mad dance of false competence that the White House puts on several times a day, with event after event to reassure us, to tell us of things happening that we already fucking knew and to take credit for shit that they really had nothing to do with. Today, at a meeting with the leaders of various health insurance companies, Vice President and loyal ass remora Mike Pence said, "I’m pleased to report, as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here — either today or before today — have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans." The implication here is that the insurers agreed to do this because wise ol' President Trump asked 'em to. Except that's not what happened. For instance, when Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and AmeriHealth announced no co-pays for testing a couple of days ago, there was no mention that this was done at the behest of the White House. They did it because it's one way to not seem like the predatory monsters that they are.

By the way, the number of times that Pence and others have praised Trump at these events is fucking embarrassing. Pence said Trump is responsible for directing the federal government to produce "helpful information for every American family," and that Trump said it should be a "whole-of-government approach" to the virus, as if that is something special. Except you know Trump didn't do shit but sit there like largest carbuncle in history, wondering if it was Friday so he could fuck off back to Mar-a-Lago where he could golf and bitch about how his hotels might lose business and how he needs a government bailout.

It's just fascinating to see Trump insist, as he did again today, that "when people need a test, they can get a test.  When the professionals need a test, when they need tests for people, they can get the test." That is objectively untrue. And even if everyone could get tested, it doesn't matter if there aren't enough places for the tests to be completed. As Jake Tapper reported today, in Kirkland, Washington, the first responders who were tested after contact with the patients at the nursing home there now have to get tested again because the samples were kept too long without being processed.

And once we are testing at the levels of other countries (in the U.K., for instance, over 25,000 people so far), the number of patients is going to skyrocket. That's pretty much guaranteed. But the systemic failures of this administration, its delay in reacting, and its abdication in responsibility for the health and well-being of the nation, that shit ought to be impeachable. It ought to at least lose you an election. And any asshole who stood by Trump during this should be tainted forever with his flop-sweat stink.

3/07/2020

What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (CDC Visit Version)

So it was that our hairless yeti of a president lumbered into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in order to show that he can pretend to be interested in what's being done to slow the outbreak of COVID-19, the coronavirus that is breeding exponentially and spreading with seemingly little pushback in the United States, sort of like Trump's lies. Of course, he ended up doing what he always does, bullshitting, lying, and self-fellating, all while wearing a stupid fucking KAG hat because he's always campaigning.

Trump repeated something that ought to be utterly soul-shreddingly shocking. In his continuing effort to dismiss the coronavirus as essentially the flu (which it decidedly is not), he said, "[L]ast year we had approximately 36,000 deaths due to what’s called the flu.  And I was — when I first heard this four, five, six weeks ago — when I was hearing the amount of people that died with flu, I was shocked to hear it. " You got that? The motherfucking president of the goddamned United States just heard a few weeks ago that tens of thousands of Americans die of "what's called the flu." (Note: It's called "the flu" because it's the fuckin' flu.)

That level of giving a shit about the lives of ordinary Americans is, to use a phrase he would understand, par for the course for Trump. In the same response to a reporter's question, he then bragged about the ratings for his ludicrous Fox "news" interview. No, really, he totally did: "I heard it broke all ratings records, but maybe that’s wrong.  That’s what they told me.  I don’t know.  I can’t imagine that." You can imagine that on a regular basis some groveling toad tells Trump that something he did is the biggest or best, and reality can go fuck itself.

And then he literally repeated, "Over the last long period of time, when people have the flu, you have an average of 36,000 people dying.  I’ve never heard those numbers.  I would — I would’ve been shocked.  I would’ve said, 'Does anybody die from the flu?'  I didn’t know people died from the flu — 36,000 people died." Just to repeat myself: The President. Of the United States. Didn't know that people die from flu. That's not just sheltered or ignorant; that's "I live in a cave that only shows me Fox and reruns of The Apprentice" level of ignorance."

When asked about the effects on the economy, he bragged about the latest jobs numbers and said he liked that people are staying and spending their money in the United States. Which just makes you want to scream, "What about all the people who aren't traveling from other countries to here?" And then he fucking said again that he was too fucking dumb to know that flu kills people: "You know, they were telling me just now that the common flu kills people and old people is sort of a target." Asked about any concerns about his Nuremberg rallies, he bragged about the size of the crowds and offered this regarding catching coronavirus there: "It doesn’t bother me at all and it doesn’t bother them at all." Of course not. Because they're already sick and damaged if they're going to a Trump rally.

Regarding the ship that's near San Francisco, Trump expressed concern not for the sick people on the boat but for how that would make his coronavirus stats worse: "I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them.  I told them to make the final decision.  I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are.  I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship." The number did go up and not because of the pathetic cruise ship passengers. And then he lied about the availability of tests.

Every fucking thing got turned around by him so he could say how awesome he thinks he is. Asked about cooperation with South Korea, he weirdly said, "We are working very closely with South Korea. As you know, we’re allies.  Even though they’ve made much better trade deals in the past than we did, we’re allies with South Korea.  You have heard that, right?"

The two absolute weirdest moments were, first, when Trump once again brought up his goddamn uncle who worked at MIT and used that to assert his superior intelligence: "I like this stuff.  I really get it.  People are surprised that I understand it.  Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability.  Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President."

I can totally imagine a scenario where Trump walks into a lab and picks up something and says, "You know they call this a test tube? Imagine that" and everyone compliments him and tells him they didn't know that and thank him for sharing his knowledge, fearing he'll go into his gorilla rage if they contradict him. It's why everyone has to suck his dick.

The other weird beyond weird moment came not when Trump insulted Washington Governor Jay Inslee for not properly kissing his ass. No, it was when Trump stood there like a petrified lump of shit and compared the test for COVID-19 to other stuff: "The tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect.  The transcription was perfect, right?  This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good." Yep, the word "perfect" tripped something in his deformed brain and he had to bring up other things he's called "perfect."

It was all a goddamn embarrassment and a clear demonstration that we are on this road by ourselves. The federal government took so long to get its shit together that we are going to be hit harder than we would have by the coronavirus. We're fucked in that uniquely Trumpian way that we've been fucked. It's not just incompetence and ignorance; implicit in Trump's "understanding" of the medical science is that he doesn't fucking care about any of us, certainly not the people who voted for him who live in states without a Medicaid expansion. That idiot horde bought the ticket to ride this locomotive that's run on bullshit. Take it all the way until you run out of track.

3/03/2020

The Coronavirus Reveals the Need for a Strong Federal Government

Since Ronald Reagan drooled and gibbered his way into the hearts and souls of idiot America, it's been an article of faith among the right and among too many in the center that the government that governs best, governs least. It was always bullshit meant to distract the rubes as Reagan and Bush amped up military spending (the Defense Department being a part of the, you know, government) and anxiously passed restrictions on abortion and LGBT rights. But, still, Republicans stuck to the weird idea that shrinking the federal government was the project of government. And how did that work out under W. Bush?

It wasn't until the Obama administration that it became possible to speak again about the necessity of a strong federal government in protecting the life, liberty, and property of Americans so we might be able to pursue some motherfuckin' happiness. And while Obama didn't and couldn't go further than he did, he at least reintroduced the notion that government can do good beyond the military, the polar opposite of Reagan's self-hating doctrine of "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" God, the 1980s were just such garbage for so many reasons.

In addition to racism, you could make a case that one reason Republicans reacted to savagely to Barack Obama was that he was making people trust the government again, that he was making things safe for expanded government programs. The shit-themselves panic they went into over the Affordable Care Act wasn't because of fear of a commie takeover of health care. It was because they knew it would likely work: they knew that if they didn't try to tear it apart, it would prove that federal government programs can make life better, and, holy fuckballs, that would shred a generation of conservative arguments.

The backlash against Obama and (most of) the Democrats dragged us through the Republican fuckery during both of his terms and, of course, to the election of Donald Trump, a man who has a hatred of government except in how it can enrich him. In other words, a typical capitalist dogfucker.

But, like Katrina and the financial crisis, it takes a catastrophe or the possibility of a catastrophe to reveal how pathetically empty the conservative approach to the federal government is. And, with President Whiner McRageface in charge, the gutting of the federal government has gotten to a point that has put us in this utterly precarious, outright dangerous position with the rise of this strain of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

We don't know yet how bad it's gonna get with coronavirus. It might be fucking awful, with millions infected and tens of thousands (or more) dying. It might fade as more and more measures are put into place to deal with it. Or not. We don't fuckin' know. We know it kills more people than the regular flu. And, right now, we know that the Trump administration has fucked it up something awful.

For instance, we knew that the virus was spreading quickly in China in late January, and we knew that Americans had traveled there and returned, along with whatever visitors came to the United States from there. But the federal government didn't really kick into gear until a little over a week ago. Yep, we could have been doing shit to get ready for this for weeks before we did, but Trump didn't want anyone to think a virus would be able to get across the border while he's president or some fucking thing, so we waited and now we're scrambling to get to where South Korea and the EU are now. (By the way, the EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is an awesome resource.)

As the number of cases and the number of deaths rise, as Trump displays his brand of breathtakingly confident stupidity, the nation is getting a simple lesson: We need a fucking strong federal government precisely for shit like this instead of the toxic soup of incompetence, cruelty, and narcissism that's running things now.

And there's a related lesson: this is why you have health care freely available to everyone. Every-fucking-one. Otherwise, you have a bunch of sick people in your country who aren't getting treated because they can't afford it or are afraid some depraved fuck is going to have them deported. And a country might get away with that cruelty when it's just regular ol' flu. But when shit gets real and you don't have that infrastructure even close to in place? You might just get fucked by some new disease.

Now that they're scared, even some Republicans are saying, "Well, fuck me. Okay, fine, on this the government needs to step up and pay for shit or we're all fucked." Except guess who's been helping the president take a wrecking ball to the CDC and other agencies? Look in the mirror, fuckos.

Yes, back in 2009 and 2010, Democrats didn't get the job done on health care. But fuckin' Republicans stood as a bloc in the way. They are more to blame than just a couple of Democratic senators (although fuck them, too). The Republicans need to pay for an ideology that has actually led to more death and suffering in the United States, and if this virus gets really bad, that check is gonna be high.

2/28/2020

The Other Batshit Appearance Trump Made This Week

Yes, President Donald Trump acted more like a cartoon bear that had been hit in the head with a frying pan than the Leader of the Semi-Free World at his coronavirus press conference on Wednesday. But it was just as bad at another event he held the next day. It was a meeting with African American "leaders" in the Cabinet Room of the White House, and its purpose was to show that Trump could be in a room with multiple black people and that multiple black people could be in a room with him. The level of batshittery there was astonishing, and that's not even counting Diamond and Silk.

Trump started the event by bragging that polls show he has rising African American support, or, as he put it, "I could say 'black,' I could say 'African American,' or I could say both." That was a weird aside since he pretty much settled on "black" for the rest of the thing. "I won’t be satisfied until I get 100 percent, because nobody has done more for black people than I have," he explained. "Nobody has done more." Putting aside, say, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson and, well, Martin Luther King, Trump's essentially saying, "Goddamn, I'm so fucking needy. Love me. Please love me."

Fortunately, the rest of the event was a series of vigorous blow jobs from the gathered black leaders. It was the typical thing Trump does where he goes around the table and demands that those present work the shaft and the balls. And, man, they did. A few said he was "the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln."

Some of the praise was really just stupidly wrong. Stacy Washington, host of the podcast Stacy on the Right, said, "You are the first President since I’ve been an adult...who’s ever said we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan." I don't know how long Washington's been an adult, but Barack Obama said we need to bring the troops home, and, after the surge to 100,000 in 2010, he reduced the number to 8400 when he left office. Trump has reduced that number to (checks notes) over 12,000, with a plan to leave 8600 there. But, of course, Trump took credit for doing nothing, responding, "And we’re doing it. We’re doing it."

After more sucking and gag reflex suppression, things just got weird, with Bruce Lavell, executive director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, saying, "Guys, he’s losing money. He is the only President that comes to the — and loses money. Everybody else that serves makes money. He loses money. And everyone knows that, sir." He went on to say that Trump doesn't owe anyone because he doesn't take money from anyone, which is utter fucking bullshit since Trump doesn't self-fund his campaigns, probably because he's both a greedy prick and not a fuckin' billionaire.

Trump commented, "I will say this: I do lose a fortune being President — (applause - yes, applause) — because we’re doing very important work. But it is — and, you know, something I don’t talk about but I give my salary — it’s $450,000. I give it. And surprisingly, it — now, it may be back in George Washington’s day, but they don’t think any other President has ever given the salary. It’s $450,000." I love the idea that Trump believes no one could possibly have that super-secret knowledge about other presidents. Except "they" know the reality: that both John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover donated their salaries to charity. Kennedy did it even when he was in Congress.

There was honestly one moment of clarity in Trump's thinking the entire time, one of those brief windows where the clouds part and he is able to have a second or two of real self-reflection. Talking about the media, in the midst of his usual railing against it, he said, "We have tremendous media in this room. We have tremendous media no matter where I go, I guess. And I can honestly say that’s been true before I was President too, so I don’t know what it is. Someday, somebody will explain that to me, but that’s what it’s been." And then the crystallization happened: "I guess that’s how I got to be President, to a certain extent." You think, motherfucker? You think the fact that you exploited the mass media who groveled like starving curs to get one nugget of word kibble from you and kept you at the top of the news heap for the entire election helped you win?

However, then he was off on the incoherent highway, leaping from subject to subject like a morbidly obese lemur on meth, lurching from branch to branch so that to most of us it simply looks like he's falling. Seriously, he went from crowd sizes (with a slam at Warren) to how great he says he's making the country to Democrats hating him to his handling of the coronavirus outbreak to Joe Biden's gaffes to his press conference the day before to well, this peak of Trumpian echolalia:

"I got criticized because I said $2.5 billion. That’s a lot of money. See, $2.5 billion is a lot of money. And the Democrats said, 'How dare he only ask for $2.5 billion?' But this never happened to me before. Usually, I ask for $2.5 billion, and they said, 'We’re going to give you 10 cents.' And I asked for $2.5 billion. My people came, 'This is what we need: $2.5 billion.' And I said, 'That’s a lot. That’s a lot of money.' Because, you know, if you’re in business and you say, '$2.5 billion,' — what I can build for $2.5 billion — what I can do for that."

What the Jesus-humping fuck?

It kept going, to the China deal and back to how amazing he is for black people and then to an attack on NBC because their reporter left the rambling nightmare that everyone was stuck in. He returned to his line to black Americans, "What the hell do you have to lose?" and Van Jones crying to him and how much he hates CNN and how he's so much better for black people than Obama and then to his legal fees for impeachment to how much money he's losing (billions, apparently, sure) to "If a man from an Arab country goes into one of my hotels, they say, 'Trump is getting rich.' They don’t realize I don’t even take foreign — if somebody gets in, you lose billions of dollars, but if a person rents a hotel room for 300 bucks, it’s like a major event. These are very dishonest people." What about when the Secret Service has to pay $650 for a room?

And then they all prayed for him when they should have been praying for all of us.

(Oh, and Diamond and Silk were there because, of course, they were. Man, I really hope it's all an act and that they go home and laugh their idiot asses off at how much they've tricked these white assholes into making them rich.)