Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sean Hannity's Death Toll

When the coronavirus pandemic started Donald Trump and most of his lackeys at Fox News lied about its severity and said it would go away "like magic." The worst offender at Fox was Sean Hannity. However, Tucker Carlson, another Fox host, realized the serious nature of the coronavirus and warned viewers.

This provided researchers an opportunity to study how news coverage affects transmission of diseases:
The results are stark: greater exposure to Sean Hannity versus Tucker Carlson shows a measurable increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths throughout March and early April. . . .
Carlson began regularly covering the virus in January. During February, he did so with a growing sense of alarm that the United States could experience a heavy death toll—the same month that saw much inaction on the part of the federal government.

By contrast, Hannity gave the virus almost no attention in February. And when he began to discuss the virus at the same frequency as Carlson during the first two weeks of March, it was to minimize the threat compared to the number of annual deaths attributable to car crashes, shootings, or seasonal influenza. Additionally, Hannity also accused the Democratic Party of exaggerating the threat as a way of attacking the president. However, by mid-March, Hannity changed his tune once President Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency.
The result?
[C]ontrolling for a rich set of county-level demographics (including the local market share of Fox News), greater local viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight is associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases starting in early March and a greater number of deaths resulting from COVID-19 starting in mid-March. In a set of permutation tests across socio-economic, demographic, political, and health-related covariates, as well as across geographical fixed effects to account for unobservable factors, we show that the established relationship is highly robust. Indeed, the estimated effects of exposure become stronger as we control for more factors.
Watching Sean Hannity got people killed. And it's not just abstract statistics. There are actual people we can put names to who died from Covid-19 because Hannity lied about the severity of the disease, like Joe Joyce, a bar owner in Brooklyn.
On March 1, Joe Joyce and his wife, Jane, set sail for Spain on a cruise, flying first to Florida. His adult children — Kevin, Eddie and Kristen Mider — suggested that the impending doom of the coronavirus made this a bad idea. Joe Joyce was 74, a nonsmoker, healthy; four years after he opened his bar he stopped drinking completely. He didn’t see the problem.

“He watched Fox, and believed it was under control,’’ Kristen told me.

Early in March Sean Hannity went on air proclaiming that he didn’t like the way that the American people were getting scared “unnecessarily.’’ He saw it all, he said, “as like, let’s bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.”
Joe Joyce listened to Hannity and then he died:
[His] children were checking in from New York and New Jersey, and on March 27, when Kristen got off the phone with her father, she called an ambulance. He was wheezing. His oxygen level turned out to be a dangerously low 70 percent. On April 9, he died of Covid-19.
It's like Trump and the hydroxychloroquine debacle: he started hawking it like a snake-oil salesman at his briefings before there was any real data about its efficacy. He pushed it hard, stupidly, constantly, and some poor fool and his wife took some and he died. When Anthony Fauci was asked a question about the drug at Trump's daily campaign rally/clown show coronavirus briefing Trump wouldn't let Fauci answer because Trump doesn't want the truth or facts to get in the way of his preening, lies and bluster.

Trump even fired Rick Bright, the guy running the coronavirus vaccine program, because Bright wanted to actually do controlled tests of hydroxychloroquine before handing it out like candy.

Now it turns out that Trump was totally, utterly wrong about hydroxychloroquine according to a study of Veterans Administration data:
In the study of 368 patients, 97 patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a 27.8% death rate. The 158 patients who did not take the drug had an 11.4% death rate. 
"An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone. These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs," wrote the authors, who work at the Columbia VA Health Care System in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia.
Now Trump and his people aren't saying anything about hydroxychloroquine. They're banking on his voters being too stupid to notice how consistently wrong he is about almost everything.

"What have you got to lose?" Trump famously asked.

If you listen to Trump, your life.

Making Scapegoats

Monday, April 20, 2020

Joe Biden Saw It All

Joe Biden has been taking a lot of shit lately about his stutter during his interviews. If that's all his critics have, he's not going to have many problems in the election. Remember what happened in 2016 when people made fun of Trump? People still voted for him.

The recent revelation that Biden posted an Op-Ed in USA Today on January 27 of this year, in which he detailed the mistakes Trump made prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, will add to his margin of victory in the fall election. Here are some choice cuts.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus, which has already infected more than 2,700 people and killed over 80 in China, will get worse before it gets better. Cases have been confirmed in a dozen countries, with at least five in the United States. There will likely be more.

Well, he was certainly right about that, wasn't he?

Trump has blithely tweeted that “it will all work out well.” Yet the steps he has taken as president have only weakened our capacity to respond.

Trump has rolled back much of the progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. He proposed draconian cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for International Development — the very agencies we need to fight this outbreak and prevent future ones. He dismissed the top White House official in charge of global health security and dismantled the entire team. And he has treated with utmost contempt institutions that facilitate international cooperation, thus undermining the global efforts that keep us safe from pandemics and biological attacks.

To be blunt, I am concerned that the Trump administration’s shortsighted policies have left us unprepared for a dangerous epidemic that will come sooner or later.

It's almost as if he knew what was going to maybe his experience and competence would have saved American lives as opposed to what Trump has done which has cost thousands of American lives.

As president, I will reassert U.S. leadership in global health security. My policies will always uphold science, not fiction or fearmongering. I will ask Congress to beef up the Public Health Emergency Fund and give me the power to use the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to declare a disaster if an infectious disease threat merits it.

I will also renew funding — set to expire in May — for the nationwide network of hospitals that can isolate and treat people with infectious diseases, and fully fund the Global Health Security Agenda so the world is ready for the next outbreak. And I will rebuild public trust, make sure we have dedicated resources to help us respond to crises quickly, and better harness the capabilities of the private sector to protect the American people. Our national security requires nothing less.

So, it's clear that Biden (or really anyone, Democratic or Republican), would have done a better job. Heck, even W knew how important this was.

When you allow ideological buffoons to run a nation, people die.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Why People Are Dead, Why Our Economy Sucks

My favorite part is the rally where he mentions the coronavirus and his cult followers boo. These assholes should never be in charge of anything again. Ever. All they do is kill people and destroy our economy.

He is exactly what we said he was going to be and you assholes made fun of us (orange man bad, Trump Derangement Syndrome). Well, got anything to say now, fuckholes?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What Wisconsin Tells Us About the Election in the Fall

The recent primary in Wisconsin tell us that the Trump Party should be shitting themselves and I'm talking explosive diarrhea. The ploy by the GOP to have the election anyway in the middle of a pandemic completely backfired as democratic turnout was massive. Even with only 5 of 108 polling places open in Milwaukee, Jill Karofsky still managed to defeat conservative Justice Daniel Kelly.  So, what does this tell us?

Democrats are fired up, want Trump gone, and won't even let potential death from Covid1-19 stop them. This is exactly what Rachel Bitecofer has been saying. Trump is toast and will get his ass kicked in November...assuming he doesn't quit before then. He's looking awfully shaky these days and really out of it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Trumpy Orwell

I was reminded of George Orwell's 1984 recently when President Trump yelled, "Check the tape" in a response to a reporter at a recent press briefing. The reporter asked the president what he had done to prevent the outbreak of Covid-19. He claimed that he shut down travel with China.

In reality, he half shut it down and allowed around 40,000 people to still come in. He also allowed travelers from Europe to come in as well which is what likely accelerated the spread of the virus.

Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that he is on tape making fun of the virus and also saying it would magically go away. He further went on to say that we had it under control. All of these statements can be seen in this video.

Right-wing bloggers and commenters are quite fond of accusing the left of the very thing they are doing...who are you going to believe--me or your lying eyes and ears? Call them on it.

Every. Single. Time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Own It, Assholes

From conservative David Frum

"That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not."

And thus we have the end of "Orange Man Bad" and whining about Trump Derangement Syndrome. We warned you, Trump supporters and apologists. You acted like adolescent assholes and didn't listen. How many people have died from this because Trump didn't take it seriously? How much money has been lost? Whose lives have been destroyed? That's on YOU, assholes!

I've repeatedly explained to the right-wing bloggers and commenters who read this site daily that this would happen. They laughed and pretended like Trump was actually competent. Now, they've gone silent. You fucking assholes aren't anywhere close to comprehending how to run a country. All you have is digital bile that results in American deaths.

I don't know how you can get up in the morning and look at yourselves in the mirror.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Good Riddance, Old Moldy

Between the time I set out to write about the firing of Captain Crozier and the time I was done, this had happened:
Thomas B. Modly, the acting Navy secretary, resigned Tuesday after his bungled response to an outbreak of the novel coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt engulfed the Navy in a public relations disaster, Defense Department officials said.
Mr. Modly’s departure is the latest in a string of events that began last week, after The San Francisco Chronicle published a letter in which the Roosevelt’s commander, Capt. Brett E. Crozier, pleaded with the Navy to help contain the virus that had spread rapidly through his ship.

The Navy has announced more than 170 coronavirus cases aboard the Roosevelt since the outbreak started in late March, after the ship had docked in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Mr. Modly fired Captain Crozier on April 2 after accusing him of circumventing the Navy’s traditional chain of command by copying more than 20 people on the emailed letter.

The firing sent shock waves through the crew, which was only exacerbated Monday when Mr. Modly flew to Guam, where the Roosevelt is now docked, and said Captain Crozier was “too na├»ve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.”
"Too naive or too stupid?" Old Moldy is the naive and stupid one. He claimed Captain Crozier had endangered the operational security of the aircraft carrier by copying so many people on his letter. Crozier was far from naive: he knew his concerns would be completely ignored by Old Moldy if he followed the chain of command, resulting in the needless deaths of sailors aboard his ship.

And endangering OPSEC? What a joke. Numerous reports had already appeared in the news about the outbreak on the TR. Everyone knew about it. What's more, the TR is an aircraft carrier. It is 1,092 feet long and displaces 177,000 tons. This huge ship can visit only a limited number of ports, where there are quite certainly numerous Russian and Chinese spies. And you can see it from orbit.

And it's not like someone can take advantage of this: Russia and China are fighting COVID-19, just like we are, and Iran, the country most likely to cause trouble for us, has half a million cases of the infection.

The thing is, Old Moldy was just doing what Trump wants: fire anyone who expresses the slightest bit of independent thought, courage, honesty, moral fortitude or a desire to do the right thing. Crozier had embarrassed Trump, and he had to go.

But this time Trumpian revenge backfired, exposing Old Moldy and Trump for the vengeful weasels they truly are.

The other thing this incident points out is the sorry shape the Trump administration is in. Old Moldy was the acting secretary of the Navy. This chaotic dumpster fire of a presidency is in a shambles in large part because of a shockingly high turnover rate and Trump's complete failure to take his responsibilities seriously: no one stays around around long enough to know what the hell they're doing. Trump has had literally hundreds of vacancies and "acting" secretaries and deputies. These people haven't been fully vetted by the FBI and approved by the Senate. Trump likes acting positions because they're easier to threaten and get rid of. And he's just too god-damned lazy and stupid to give a crap about anything other than his ratings among "his voters."

The people in the Trump administration aren't there because they're competent or have any experience in the job they're doing. They're almost to a man clueless idiots whose only qualification is their servile ability to fawn over Trump and tell him what a big boy he is.

These acts of horrendous stupidity, heartless quests for vengeance and gross incompetence will just keep happening until the "only one that matters" is gone: Donald Trump.

More Blood on Trump's Hands

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic the Trump administration has taken the opportunity to gut air pollution regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Most car companies didn't ask for this, and when four auto manufacturers sided with California Trump retaliated against them.

Now we learn that Trump's changes will mean even more people will die from coronavirus in the future:
Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates. 
This makes sense, and explains in part why New York City has been hit so hard: it has some of the highest pollution rates in the country.

Fine particulate pollution -- the kind Trump wants more of -- lodges in the alveoli, the tiny air sacks in the lungs. When you get sick with coronavirus the alveoli get clogged with mucus and blood, and you suffocate. If your alveoli are already filled with pollution particles, your chance of dying increases significantly. (It also emphasizes that everyone should immediately stop smoking and vaping.)

Why does Trump want to do this?
The Trump administration asserts that the new rule will save lives because Americans will buy newer, safer vehicles. But Carper and other critics point out that the agencies' own analysis finds there would be even more premature deaths from increased air pollution.
Trump knows his regulations will kill more people. But he doesn't care, because he thinks that propping up the oil business by gutting pollution regulations will get makers of big, heavy high-profit cars and the oil giants to spend more on his reelection. Though they all may go bust if the price war between the Russians and the Saudis doesn't abate soon.

This is just another example of how Trump is either a complete idiot or a soulless monster completely devoid of empathy or concern for American lives.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Where Is The Middle Ground?

Folks, I have to add to my rant from the other day and it’s something that has built up a seething rage in me. Hopefully, me getting it out will dispel it.
I’ve absolutely fucking had it with the “whoever cancels/shuts down things and does it the farthest out” wins the Most Responsible Government Award. The vilification that is going on with states that haven’t issued stay at home orders needs to be qualified by studying each state’s demographics, how they live their lives, and the rules they already have in place. I have zero problem ripping the leadership in Florida or Georgia, for example, because it’s warranted. They were morons who have literally killed people. But Iowa and Wyoming are different states and their policies won’t have any effect on you unless you live near them. And just because they haven’t officially issued stay at home orders doesn’t mean they are out dancing naked in groups in the street. Different parts of the country are going to be affected differently
The simple fact is that we are just buying time so health systems won’t get overrun. The people who are getting their rocks off in breathlessly relating that we need to be shut down for months aren’t being realistic. Their energy would be better spent demanding a national policy for testing. Because we do have to consider the economic impact of this on people’s lives. No doubt, we have a leader (Trump) who is really doing a poor job in acting on this. Staying at home is a band-aid and short term solution.
And the amount that we don’t know about this virus is enormous. It’s likely that large swaths of our population are immune already to this. Some may have had it, never had symptoms, and are no longer contagious. This is why the only thing people should be screaming about is testing. Screaming about how we all have to hide in our homes until 2021 and if this line of thought isn’t accepted than you are “naive” is fucking nuts.
I get that people are scared but being fatalistic and demanding the same for everyone isn’t helping. Being overly hopeful is just as bad. We must all strive to find a happy medium that at its core relies on action items based on data. If our leaders are doling out big asks, they need to provide us with the big data that led them to that conclusion. That data is going to be different for each area of the country and people need to live with that.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Trump's Body Count

I used to say that President Trump wasn't as bad of a president as our worst presidents because he didn't have a body count. Well, now he does. As I write this, we are nearing 7,000 dead Americans. Consider those families of lost loved ones when you watch this video.

So, how can he fix it? Mandatory testing of every American by May 31. Otherwise, our economy is truly fucked and his presidency is effectively over. Of course, the stalling on testing has another explanation.

He wants the corner market on it.

The blame doesn't just go to Trump, though. I blame all those assholes out there who fetishize small government and blow loads over how neutered it could be. How do you fuckos feel now that our citizens are dying?

The shit response to this back in January by the Trump administration led us to this point. There is zero doubt that Hillary would have done a far better job and fewer people would be dead. But we allowed our irrational feelings about her and liberals to get in the way, didn’t we?

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Who Is Essential?

Millions of Americans are staying home from work because they're not deemed essential.

In Minnesota the people still going to work include doctors, nurses, police, and firefighters. But also emergency shelters, child care providers, grocery stores, take-out restaurants, farmers, agricultural workers, news organizations, power, gas and water services, wastewater treatments, sanitation, public works, critical manufacturing, transportation and logistics, construction, and financial services.

What are non-essential services? Stadiums, theaters, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, printers, auto dealers, furniture stores, lawn and garden supplies, shoe stores, jewelry stores, florists, administrative serves and advertising.

That means garbage men, nannies, stock boys, janitors, truck drivers, pilots, flight attendants, cashiers, cooks, electricians, construction workers, reporters, linemen, cable installers, iron miners, etc., are all essential to keep the country running.

It must really suck for Trump that a TV network like CNN is essential, but his hotels and golf resorts are not. It must also suck for him that undocumented farm workers, the people he won the presidency trashing, are deemed essential but real estate tycoons like him are not.

Times like these really put things in perspective.

Most of the people who are absolutely essential for this country to continue functioning get paid very little. You can run a country without any golf courses or fancy five-star hotels and casinos. But you can't run a country without the people who butcher chickens and cows, plant crops and harvest them, prepare the food, transport the packaged food, stock it in the markets and sell it to customers. And you need the janitors, truck drivers, construction and utility workers, etc., that those people need to keep their workplaces functioning.

So why do the people we absolutely need the most constantly get the shaft? They don't get vacations, they don't get sick leave and they make little more than minimum wage. If all the golf course owners, luxury hotel magnates, real estate tycoons and reality show hosts died of the coronavirus no one would bat an eye lash. If all the farm workers died we'd all starve.

Worse, as these essential workers continue to show up on the job they are risking their lives for us: they're constantly being exposed to the virus.

It should be obvious to even someone as dense as Donald Trump that these people should be compensated according to their worth to society. Wages for these people should all be raised to a living wage -- and for a family of four that's something around $30 an hour in a place like Minnesota, and even more for New York and California.

They should also get paid sick leave, and their employers should require them to stay home when they're sick, because we don't them working when they're contagious. Laws should be passed that permanently require this for all companies, instead of the bogus temporary law Trump signed that exempts companies with more than 500 employees.

Those wage increases don't have to increase prices by all that much. Management and owners of companies like Walmart take a huge portion of the profits and stick it in their own pockets. In the past 40 to 50 years management salaries have gone up almost 1000%, and employee salaries have been flat. Companies took the money from Trump's give-away tax cuts and bought their own stock back, driving the stock market into what they thought would be an ever-increasing spiral.

Now the market has crashed, and all the gains made since Trump's election and the infamous tax cuts have been lost. And Trump frittered away all the gains Obama made since 2008. All the "Trump gains" were fairy dust and unicorn farts, immediately lost when Trump's lies and spin met with the harsh reality of a pandemic.

Conservatives love to wax nostalgic about the good old days of the 1950s. Let's return CEO pay back to what it was in the 1950s and give their bloated compensations packages to the people who need and really deserve them: American workers.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Blame Trump For This List

From Republican George Conway:
"For Trump supporters, let me make one thing VERY clear!
For the record, NO ONE is blaming the President for the virus. Let me repeat. Coronavirus is not Trump’s fault. 
Here’s a detailed list of what we are blaming him for:
* Trump declined to use the World Health Organization’s test like other nations. Back in January, over a month before the first Co-vid19 case, the Chinese posted a new mysterious virus and within a week, Berlin virologists had produced the first diagnostic test. By the end of February, the WHO had shipped out tests to 60 countries. Oh, but not our government. We declined the test even as a temporary bridge until the CDC could create its own test. The question is why? We don’t know but what to look for is which pharmaceutical company eventually manufactures the test and who owns the stock. Keep tuned.
* In 2018 Trump fired Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossart, whose job was to coordinate a response to global pandemics. He was not replaced.
* In 2018 Dr. Luciana Borio, the NSC director for medical and bio-defense preparedness left the job. Trump did not replace Dr. Borio.
* In 2019 the NSC’s Senior Director for Global Health Security and bio-defense, Tim Ziemer, left the position and Trump did not replace the Rear Admiral.
* Trump shut down the entire Global Health Security and Bio-defense agency. Yes, he did.
* Amid the explosive worldwide outbreak of the virus, Trump proposed a 19% cut to the budget of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention plus a 10% cut to Public Health Services and a 7% cut to Global Health Services. Those happen to be the organizations that respond to public health threats.
* In 2018, at Trump’s direction, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries including China.
* Trump didn’t appoint a doctor to oversee the US response to the pandemic. He appointed Mike Pence.
* Trump has on multiple occasions sowed doubt about the severity of the virus even using the word hoax at events and rallies. He even did it at an event where the virus was being spread. Trump has put out zero useful information concerning the health risks of the virus.
* Trump pretended the virus had been contained.
* Trump left a cruise ship at sea for days, denying them proper hospital care, rather than increase his numbers in America.
Repeat. We do not blame Trump for the virus. We blame him for gutting the nation’s preparations to deal with it. We blame him for bungling testing and allowing it to spread uninhibited. We blame him for wasting taxpayer money on applause lines at his rallies (like The Wall). We blame him for putting his own political life over American human life. I hope this clears things up."