Three Things: Death, Death, and More Death

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

By now most folks who pay attention to the intersection of politics and COVID-19 news have heard about Axios’ Jonathan Swan’s interview with Trump.

This is, in my opinion, the key few seconds at 7:25 minutes into the interview:

Trump just doesn’t give a damn about a thousand Americans dying each day or the total number of COVID-19 deaths to date.

“It is what it is.”

As if this wholly preventable mass death event was inevitable.

As if he was powerless to stop it after being warned in November 2019 there was a risk of pandemic due to an unknown pathogen in China.

As if he was powerless to stop it after the risk was communicated in the Presidential Daily Briefing in early January, after Chinese media published stories about an unknown pneumonia-like illness.

As if he was powerless to recover and relaunch the pandemic response team he disbanded in May 2018 after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the U.S. on January 21.

As if he was powerless to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase production of personal protection equipment and ventilators in the U.S. at any time from January to mid-March to get ahead of the surge in cases he failed to stop.

As if he was powerless to expedite production under the DPA instead doing nothing for months as production floundered and the Federal Emergency Management Agency stole PPE from health care providers for the national stockpile.

Every step along the way Trump failed to do what was necessary to save American lives.

Every action he took when he did take any it was late — like shutting down travel to China, when COVID-19 was already here on the west coast. Or like shutting down travel from Europe in a manner which caused maximum confusion and chaos and likely accelerated an explosion of cases from Europe.

He repeatedly throttled the experts, preventing them from communicating openly what the public needed to know.

He shared bullshit happy talk — it’ll be down to zero, it’ll soon disappear, he said.

He shared dangerously erroneous medical information — like hydroxychloroquine is safe and bleach will kill the virus.

He harassed and harangued blue state governors like “that woman in Michigan” when they had the audacity to demand more from the federal government to deal with COVID-19.

He ignored the threats to these same governors from armed protesters who didn’t want to change their habits to mitigate COVID-19’s spread.

He undermined any and all messaging intended to encourage the public to act responsibly to reduce COVID-19 cases.

Because the entire point has been this non-choice, the no-plan, the void strategy.

Because no choice, no plan, no strategy is a plan. Its outcome is death.

There is no choice on Trump’s part to do anything except play golf.

There is no plan to do anything because Trump is fine with the current outcomes.

There is no strategy because that would interfere with the outcomes.

There is only death, death, and more death.

~ ~ ~

Unless you’re a Trump supporter. Then you would have received an email which said “wearing masks is patriotic.”

And if you’re a Floridian with whom Trump identifies because of his residency and his businesses, you would have read this tweet

For you exceptions Trump will exert himself because you represent something he needs, whether your vote or your campaign contribution or the narcissistic supply you’ll provide him.

Lucky you.

Not so lucky you if you’re a Nevadan because your state only has a tenth of the population of Florida, only six electoral college votes compared to Florida’s 29, only ~280,000 residents age 60 or older, and too many brown people who vote Democratic. Nope, you will not be encouraged to wear masks and voting by mail will be strongly discouraged.

~ ~ ~

And now Trump has denied that COVID-19 can be transmitted to, sicken, and even kill children. Fortunately social media platforms are beginning to wise up:

For the first time, both Facebook and Twitter acted to remove content shared by the campaign to re-elect President Donald Trump from their platforms, citing policies against spreading false claims about COVID-19.

Both the @TeamTrump campaign Twitter account and the official Donald Trump Facebook account shared a video late yesterday in which Trump claimed children are immune from the novel coronavirus. The video was a clip from an interview in which the president spoke by phone with Fox & Friends hosts about schools reopening this fall. “My view is that schools should be open,” Trump said. “If you look at children, children are almost—and I would almost say definitely—but almost immune from this disease. So few, they’ve got stronger, hard to believe, I don’t know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem. They are virtually immune from this problem.”

COVID-19 may not result in many hospitalizations among children, but we simply do not know how the disease affects them and if the results are long term or permanent. Unlike adult cases there hasn’t been an adequate number of postmortem examinations of children who died of COVID-19, let alone comprehensive follow-up studies given the relative recency of the pandemic.

It’s grossly irresponsible to say children are immune when they do get infected, can become sick, and do spread the virus. From the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report:

Summary of Findings Reported on 7/30/20:
(Note: Data represent cumulative counts since states began reporting)

Cumulative Number of Child COVID-19 Cases*

  • 338,982 total child COVID-19 cases reported, and children represented 8.8% (338,982/3,835,573) of all cases
  • Overall rate: 447 cases per 100,000 children in the population

Change in Child COVID-19 Cases, 7/16/20 – 7/30/20

  • 97,078 new child cases reported from 7/16-7/30 (241,904 to 338,982), a 40% increase in child cases

But Trump just doesn’t care to do the right thing, keeping American children safe.

Unless that’s the point: He will do the opposite of the right thing.

By actively choosing gross negligence and malfeasance, Trump will ensure not only that American adults continue to sicken and die from COVID-19 but that children will also be increasingly exposed because it’s not the right thing.

He’s going to kill us all.

.

This is an open thread.

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85 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    As of 5:00 p.m. EDT, there have been at least 158,875 deaths due to COVID-19.

    There have been many excess deaths which may have been COVID-19 as well; Financial Times estimates U.S. excess deaths at 23-24%, which means total COVID-19 deaths may already exceed 200,000.

    Nearly all of these deaths were preventable had Trump done ANYTHING effective in January and February to stem contagion. His lame travel restrictions on travelers from China as of February 2 was already too late and ineffective.

    But that’s probably what he wanted.

    EDIT: Image in magazine slot is from NBC’s Saturday Night Live, December 17, 2016, with Kate McKinnon playing Hillary Clinton in a parody based on the film, Love Actually. It aired four weeks before Inauguration Day.

    • P J Evans says:

      The first few weeks it was affecting blue states, places where he knew he wouldn’t win. And his advisers were probably telling him to let people die who weren’t part of *his* base. It’s depraved indifference, at the least, and he should be charged for it – if he were really President, instead of just playing a role in his own mind, he’d have done far more for the country, from the start of his term, and far less for himself.

      • Rayne says:

        I think former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner has a solid point about Trump committing manslaughter:

        Kirschner explained the three elements, in general, that make up the crime of manslaughter. First, is a person “acting in a grossly negligent way when having a duty to act,” with Kirschner adding, “Trump had a duty to act as President and violated that by knowingly failing to warn the public about the known threats of the virus.” In fact, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused Trump of that very conduct on Monday, stating that Trump’s actions constitute “gross negligence” for his “attacking science,” thus “jeopardizing public health.”

        Second, Kirschner added, “knowing that your action or failure to act is likely to produce death or serious bodily injury,” which again Kirschner believes Trump has fulfilled by knowing the true threat of the virus but failing to share that with the public. Finally, the former federal prosecutor explained the third element is that, “your action or failure to act was a substantial factor in causing the death of others.”

        Sure hope all the medical and public health professionals who’ve advised Trump since late last year have kept good notes about any counsel they provided. I find it hard to believe he took any of their advice about handling the pandemic when in full view of the public he pointedly avoided doing whatever epidemiologists and virologists and public health experts recommended.

      • madwand says:

        This idea of not helping blue states is brought out well in this Vanity Fair article by Katherine Eban.

        https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/07/how-jared-kushners-secret-testing-plan-went-poof-into-thin-air

        Since Kushner’s plan would have helped blue states it was shelved, by either Kushner, Trump or both. And, its not like there are not a lot of conservatives in the northeast who were sacrificed right along with all those blue state guys and gals. Sounds a little like “Death Race 2000” where one contestant wiped out his pit crew to get points.

    • Legonaut says:

      That SNL still of Kate McKinnon is perfectly apt and an outstanding choice. It’s tragic & heartbreaking that it’s no longer funny.

    • ducktree says:

      Dear Rayne ~ the Kate McKinnon tableaus have filled my early morning dreamstate . . . thank you!

  2. Re entry says:

    i’ve eternally hated the saying ‘it is what it is’. now it is downright sublime that the president would blurt it out

    Can someone explain to the remedial bleachers how his re election could run out the clock via statute of limitations?

    When are crimes past their due date and what type does that entail?

  3. viget says:

    This will all pale to what is about to happen in 4-6 weeks when we have an absolute explosion of cases in the Midwest and the south from kids and young adults going back to school.

    We need to really focus on limiting the number of bodies in classrooms and mandating masks for everyone. And bars and indoor restaurants have got to close.

    We just don’t have the test-trace-isolate infrastructure in place, so mitigation is it folks.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s what Team Trump wants. 4-6 weeks puts us less 30-45 days from the election. They want mass incapacitation.

      That’s not all but that’s another post.

      • BobCon says:

        Schools are also a top polling place around the country, and I can bet at least a few of the ghouls want those polling places shut down in November.

        I am a lot less sure this works out the way they want. I think a lot of this is the scheming of a bunch of wannabes, but even so the collateral damage will be awful in a lot of places.

      • viget says:

        Looking forward to it, your post that is. Not the horrors that might await us.

        Also, the LGM are coming to a city near me. St. Louis and Memphis apparently are next up for the Operation Legend treatment. Great….

      • posaune says:

        Even the Fed’s Kashkari (Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari ) recommends a complete shut down to permit a real economic recovery. (nytimes)

    • Ed Walker says:

      Happy to say Chicago is going on-line full time. My granddaughter will be fine, but there are lots of kids who can’t deal with on-line learning, and I worry about them and their families.

    • madwand says:

      I’m in the south and my county’s schools have been back to school since Monday with the Superintendent of Schools touting the benefits of face to face instruction. Three days later, after a few positive cases, she is now saying students may have to learn from home. The first week of July the county had 400 cases and because the Gov opened up early we have jumped to 2100. So in the teeth of the gale we have set sail. What don’t they understand about this?

    • Chris.EL says:

      Responding to Viget Aug. 6, 2020 6:35 pm

      A more immediate outbreak may result from the Sturgis motorcycle event!!!

      HUGE crowds coming from ALL ACROSS THE NATION, forced by the sheer numbers in the crowds to be WAAY too close to each other!!!

      Partying, partying, partying, close drunk talking, yelling, fighting — then they break and go back home! Yikes! SMH.

      Off topic: this Sunday morn saw photo of Trump’s motorcade (what? like 20 vehicles long) going to HIS Bedminster NJ golf course for a going-round-the-govt. photo op press conference/mini campaign rally.

      Motorcade was briefly stymied by a group of goats (maybe under a dozen) that are the premise for an $80K reduction in property tax!!! Agricultural tax break! My thought: how many NJ citizens could be assisted by that money? Here’s proposing an enterprising attorney brings an action challenging that exemption as a friend of the citizens. The goats look like pets…

        • Chris.EL says:

          Responding to P.J. Evans Aug. 9, 2020 12:58
          … don’t know how many acres in the Bedminster golf course, and the goats’ “farming” exemption apparently only applies to a portion of the acreage.

          Years ago I acquired a goat to assist with blackberry brambles. Soon it was apparent to me that I’d need to anchor him to a spot to get him to focus.

          Later, his true value was put to use as he fathered a “kid” (I got the male baby goat as stud fee) and man was that little goat a terror!!! He loved to scramble on top of cars and dance about! I also had to buy goat milk to feed him since he was removed from his mom.

          My point is that the goats are just going through munchly motions (for show — not really accomplishing much) but “getting paid” — exactly mirroring the current president.

          The goats are much happier and cuter!

  4. Summertime blues says:

    I’m fully expecting a surge in cases due to school opening without meeting sufficient mitigation standards, followed by widespread disregard for social distancing and masks over the Labor Day weekend. Our ICU for covid patients is at capacity, so a surge in cases will reduce the capacity to care for other critically ill patients and further stress staff. The need for a rational national policy cannot be overstated.

    • Rayne says:

      And yet when the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Oversight met last Friday to hear from experts about development of a national strategy, the GOP members treated the hearing like a circus, failing to focus on the hearing’s objective.

      The GOP is fully complicit in the no-plan/no-strategy strategy; they are aiding and abetting Trump’s mass manslaughter event.

      • P J Evans says:

        I wish there were a way we could cut their pay to unemployment-benefit level, since they’re obviously not doing their jobs. (That includes the senators, also.)

  5. Raven Eye says:

    If there was any doubt that Trump is not really a businessman…

    We can argue the pros, cons, and flavors of capitalism, but I think there might be just a little difference between a real estate speculator and a capitalist – or at least a capitalist who is in it for the long game.

    I’ve been ruminating the past few days about health care in America, and then overlaying that on the idea of making America great (again, or otherwise) – being globally competitive industrially and intellectually. We know that Americans pay a higher percentage of GDP than many other industrialized nations, but with less effective outcomes. While the number of deaths from COVID are deeply disturbing, so too are the long range effects to those who became infected and have “recovered” to some extent. We (our health care system) will be dealing with those effects for the rest of this century.

    So I wonder: Is anyone in the administration looking past November 2020 and wondering where America’s place will be in a post-pandemic world? We know that Trump is incapable of that sort of thinking and questioning…But someone? Anyone?

    America was fortunate following both World Wars, when industrial nations were recovering from direct and indirect losses to infrastructure and labor. But in this pandemic, we may end up taking a higher toll than those industrialized Asian and European nations that took proactive and effective public health measures.

    The end result is almost certainly further erosion of America’s position in a range of international areas of influence — beyond the “normal” stupid stuff that Trump has been doing since he was elected, even before being sworn in. Trump will never see the relationship between MAGA and COVID response, but the biggest of the global bankers are surely thinking about this.

    • DrFunguy says:

      “‘There are plenty of alternatives’: The pandemic is threatening to dethrone the U.S. dollar”

      “The decline in domestic saving in the U.S. and its “squandered global leadership” have put the U.S. dollar under pressure, says former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach. He predicts the broad dollar index will drop by 35% and foresees legitimate challenges to the greenback’s status as the world’s dominant reserve currency.”
      https://fortune.com/2020/07/23/usd-crash-stephen-roach-alternatives-global-reserve-currency/

    • Stacey says:

      I was just thinking today about the nuclear bomb of medical debt/bankruptcies that will follow this period of all of these people who ‘survived’ Covid after days or weeks in the ICU on a ventilator.

      That speeding train is heading for the same station as the one marked “commercial foreclosures” from the closed businesses and the “devaluation of commercial property” when all of those companies realize they don’t need these big buildings after operating just fine all of this time having their employees pay their own office expenses! Ut-Oh, I think Kushner’s 666 Fifth Ave is even more over-valued now than it was when he talked whoever it is he finally got to launder, I mean loan, him that money.

      Then there’s the evictions and mortgage crisis, worse now than the 2009 housing crisis because we didn’t nationally do anything to prevent that bubble from re-inflating and this one will include rental contract failures–which I want to point out were largely run through the same process as mortgage debt obligations had been. Meaning between the housing crisis and now large investors purchased pennies on the dollar housing stock, sat on it until they could get top dollar again for rental contracts and then THOSE debt obligations were put into the same kind of aggregated investment vehicles that people and institutional investors sucked up as “solid” investments–over-valued rental contracts like time bombs. Lots of landlords were doing anything they could to get new contracts on their renters, like remodeling their apartments, so they could have this fuel to put into the furnace just like the mortgage machine, complete with the exorbitant fee structure and over-valuation, and “I be gone, you be gone” attitude regarding the ultimate outcome of implosion. So that fuse is also now lit and ready to blow.

      The consumer credit bankruptcy spike that has to be waiting in the wings as well is another break-less train heading for the same station from another direction.

      Corporations have been borrowing almost free money from the normal avenues, and from the PPP, and from the infusion of prop-up money to the stock market which is essentially loans to corporations when the Fed buys their inflated stock–all of that will come crashing down as well.

      This is all like storing a bunch of ammonium nitrate in a storage facility for 6 years until it destabilizes and then lighting a fire next to it…oh, wait, that just happened and we’re about to see our own financial mushroom cloud at the point of fate’s choosing.

    • dude says:

      The economic aftermath will no doubt take years to resolve. I think Nouriel Roubini is saying it is going to take at least a decade and refers to it as a depression. But if we are thinking about the long term health of the American Experiment, I want to know whether it is necessary to make fundamental changes to the system of government itself. And if you deem it necessary, where do you begin?

      It is clear from the Trump years that the rule of law can be thwarted or dismissed by an Executive who is negligent in his duties or even hostile to the national interest. The Constitution and the derivative rules or codes of conduct in all the departments of the Administration fail when there is a clear and present danger. So too has Congress.

      You might argue there has been no ‘failure’, only a grindingly slow process to address the dangers. Fine. So what do you do when there is exceedingly fast destruction of national polity?

      It seems to me that the most often used argument against fundamental change to American representative government boils down to: the People can be trusted to make the right decisions and the politicians that represent them are all basically on the honor system at every level. Swear an oath and your done. That puts the burden, then, on the People in the first instance. When they are divided, so is the government. When they are at each others’ throats with guns and bombs, should the government be that way also? Is government about leadership or followship? Or is there precisely to be a drag on sudden change even as conditions are explosive?

      I don’t have any great ideas, but I know you solve problems first by defining them. The next Presidents (several, not just one) are going to tasked with mending much more than a decade of economic damage delivered by Trump and company. If Biden is the next one, he will spend his entire four years trying to get the country back in balance, but it will take much, much more than spending programs. We will have to decide whether the basics of the American Experiment itself are still fundamentally sound and suited to the task.

      • dude says:

        Also, it is a popular notion to suggest that surviving a Civil War exempts us from having to worry about the durability of our national principles. You don’t need to look far down Black Lives Matter avenues to see that isn’t so. Or talk to women about the trajectory of their rights and expectations. If you can hear the voices at the remote edges of Trump-land, you will also hear that the Civil War was just a prelude—Civil War 2.0 is brewing.

        I am not sure I believe it is that bad, but that is the problem. I am not sure.

      • Stacey says:

        I for one do think we have reached the ‘sell by’ date on our little carton of Constitution that we bought in 1776. I don’t at all mean to imply that it was a bad idea/document/experiment or attempt. But the best way to kill an idea, a company, a country is to identify with and tie oneself inexplicably to an original notion, as if to grow past it or advance it at all is some kind of betrayal to it. It is not!

        America is so identified with our marketing bullshit about how great everything we do is and how exceptional we are, that we are unable to see that we are NOT a rich country any longer. We are a poor country where a minority of hyper-wealthy oligarchs live as civically separate from us as possible on the same continent–and of course, most of them have homes on other continents, so not even that.

        Every creation, organization, company, etc. has a life cycle that must be respected and when the original ideas and directions in its founding documents start to become the illusory identification that outsiders laugh at, death is not a possibility–it is a certainty, time is the only factor at that point.

        In many ways, we’re like Kodak that thought it was a film manufacturer instead of realizing it was an image curator which would have been easier in the transition away from traditional cameras. I’m not saying Kodak has any business becoming a drug manufacturer, the same way I’m not saying America should give itself up and become the next rogue ass-hole nation on the order of China or Russia, oh wait, at the moment, we sort of are.

        There are a LOT of wonderful, unique, forward-consciousness things in our DNA, obviously, but this immature “Chris-Christian goes to live in a frat house” phase of our development that we’re in right now, is UNSUSTAINABLE. And yet, the selfish libertarian powers that are pulling us so far to the side of our demons right now are also too powerful to safely convene a Constitutional Convention any time soon.

        Generally the way humans progress, individually and collectively, is by pressing into the notion they currently possess, their theory of how things work and how to work things, their self-story, and to experience whether that helps or hurts them. When people experience competitive survival pressures from outside their ‘home rooms’ they war with the other home rooms. At some point they realize that warring gets everyone killed and they start making rules they can agree to follow to stand in for physical war. When the overly legalistic rules start becoming a hindrance they start focusing on the pragmatic instead of the legalistic. When the pragmatic starts feeling cold and harsh, they start rediscovering the emotional connection and the warmth of their home rooms, before the ‘outsider wars’ pulled them away from that simplicity. Eventually, they discover more of a free agent thought system where each of these phases they’ve passed through has a time and a place and they can use each perspective when it’s appropriate but flex into other options when that’s appropriate.

        For instance, I am really hoping that the Kumbaya phase of the Democrats will give way any day now to the free agent phase where kicking ass when ass needs to be kicked and loving legalistic rules when that’s appropriate and just “gitt’r done” can be an attitude tool we pull out when needed. And honestly having the Republicans take off the gloves, put on their savage war paint, and pursue the scorched earth tactics they are currently pursuing is EXACTLY what will cause the Dems to realize that they need to stop JUST hugging each other and putting flowers in their hair and protecting everyone’s imagined feelings, and pull in some other tools we’re capable of using. I personally feel like Elizabeth Warren exemplifies this flexibility the most obviously of anyone in public view right now on the Dem side. She combines that Momma Bear, gitt’r done energy, that administrative rules and policy wonk legalism, the genuine how to knowledge of making the trains run on time, and the empathetic warm fuzzy compassion that undergirds all of it. I’m not trying to pitch her for VP in saying that, I just think she gives us the most readily accessible version/example of what the Democrat we need now looks like. For that matter, a LOT of the new House Dems bring that as well. I think if we can get through the birth canal of this moment, we might be okay. But it’s a dangerous time, to be sure!

  6. Chris.EL says:

    In Jonathan Swan’s Axios interview with Trump, DJT seemed to become most animated when discussing KILLING!

    Oh, and there is the “10 year rule!” … “you touch a courthouse, you go to jail for 10 years!” (something Trump doesn’t need to worry about!) [what me go to court? They may put me under oath! I may have to touch a Bible! No, not the one in Ivanka’s bag!]

    Ruth Marcus in Washington Post today, terrific column on qualified immunity.

    U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves wrote amazing 72 page cri du coeur surrounding Jamison v McClendon and since the third of three claims wasn’t addressed in McClendon’s Reply, that part is going to trial!

    A quote from Judge Reeves’ decision:

    … “Instead of slamming shut the courthouse doors, our courts should use their power to ensure Section 1983 serves all of its citizens as the Reconstruction Congress intended. Those who violate the constitutional rights of our citizens must be held accountable. When that day comes we will be one step closer to that more perfect Union.” …

    Awesome!!

  7. rattlemullet says:

    Trump is the epitome of all that is wrong with mankind. Lack of empathy, lack of compassion, unable of being faithful to his wives, 4, pays for sex, greed, filing 4k plus frivolous law suits, being a racist, lies constantly and clearly has never supported and defended the Constitution of the United States as the oath of office requires.

    Clearly the Constitution has failed the American people and the justice system has too failed the citizens of America. Without money it is very difficult to participate in the rule of law.

    • Rayne says:

      The Constitution hasn’t failed. The people failed the Constitution — particularly the GOP senate which could have removed Trump in January but refused to do so.

      • rattlemullet says:

        Rayne, I read this blog for an education and insight into the political activities of these times as well as all the subject matter contained with in. I have the highest amount of respect for all the bloggers. I accept your comment about the Constitution but the document has no means of enforcement for the committing of crimes by a president when it is subverted by political hackery. I believe the delegates at the time assumed that if a true violation of the criminal code was committed by the president that the elected representatives would put aside the partisan politics and judge the president on the facts of the case. As the oath requires them to do when sitting in judgement. As you point out the GOP failed the Constitutional process. Clearly if putting aside partisan hackery was the intent and I believe it was then they were mistaken. The current president has violated his oath of office enshrined in the Constitution but suffers no consequence for his violations. The misuse of the pardon power also enshrined in the Constitution actually being used to subvert cases before the federal courts he also suffers no political recourse because of partisan hackery. The document clearly has short comings with lack of enforcement for criminal activity. It may not be a failure but surely knocks on failures door. Just as the pardon power has been used to let criminal presidents off after leaving office. I’m certain the writers did not intended for that to happen. But hey I am a neophyte in the studies of Constitutional law. But they were for the most part a bunch of rich white mostly looking out for their interest. Hence the exclusion of Indians, women, slaves and the propertyless. Only through time and determination of those left out of the Constitution and its process have some of these wrongs been righted. We now see the fragility of the document when one bad man can dismantle the document without suffering any consequences to day other than impeachment. A process that was debased by the GOP before with its misuse. We are on the cusp of a reckoning let us just hope it falls the right way.

        • Rayne says:

          The Constitution isn’t the only law of the land — it tells us Congress is supposed to write laws, and it tells us that Congress as well as the Cabinet have a means to correct a failed executive. The people who compose Congress failed, both to use the Constitution’s tools and to approve a competent Cabinet which is not corrupt.

          This: The current president has violated his oath of office enshrined in the Constitution but suffers no consequence for his violations.

          That’s Congress’s fault. The GOP Senate could have removed him and allowed the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel’s investigation to execute the law. But the GOP Senate is weak if not corrupt.

          Now it’s up to us to fix Congress. That, too, self-described neophyte, is provided for in the Constitution.

        • Raven Eye says:

          “I believe the delegates at the time assumed that if a true violation of the criminal code was committed by the president that the elected representatives would put aside the partisan politics and judge the president on the facts of the case. ”

          Consider the context of the framers. They had embarked on a perilous enterprise, fueled but resentment, anger, outrage, and — finally — force of arms. The first try at organizing into somewhat cohesive nation flopped. Then we got the Constitution. But as that foundation weathers, divergent interests and methods appear, and there is more opportunity for discord.

          Look at Poland. I’ve worked in the DC area with Poles, Polish Americans, and naturalized Poles. And also spent time in their homes on Christmas eve, grilling in the backyard, doing home projects, meeting their friends and relatives from “back home”. We spent a lot of time talking about the “New Poland” and their perspectives. But as we’ve seen, and the “rush” of liberty waned, the reality of partisanship and destructive nationalism rose.

          Whatever the framers had hoped for in terms putting aside partisanship has withered. On the question of whether (1) the Constitution has failed or (2) contemporary politicians have failed: The answer is “yes”.

          • darms says:

            this conversation +10
            in the face of politics, constitutions, laws, et al., are meaningless – the very definition of rule of men, not law. I don’t want to hear any of that “both sides” crap, either, it’s the R’s who have been breaking these laws since Nixon’s betrayal of the Vietnam peace talks in 1968, not to mention the Kennedy assassination(s). (J. Edgar knew of the ‘two Oswalds’… https://whowhatwhy.org/2015/11/25/the-cia-mafia-mexico-and-oswald-part-4/ )

      • Vicks says:

        I have the book and I can’t seem to get past the introduction. It might just be the fact that it’s not likely to contain anything I haven’t heard already, or it might be the writing style doesn’t appeal to me but after going through the motions of considering it each time I look for something to read, I think it’s time to admit there is a good chance I just don’t have the stomach for taking it all in at once in such an intimate way,
        Mary’s message is clear, it is imperative that every American knows who and what Trump is before they cast their vote.
        The most important mission to me is how to communicate this information to my family, friends and neighbors in a way that they will listen.

        • Jenny says:

          Vicks I understand. I have the book. Almost done. The behind the family scenes, very telling to how Trump behaves today. Certainly validates the cold and cruel family values. Removing the book jacket cover was helpful to move through it.

        • Raven Eye says:

          If nothing else, go to the Epilogue (“The Tenth Circle”), since you already bought the thing.

          It’s really the executive summary.

        • Max404 says:

          I read it. I found it an exceptionally good time spent. Mary Trump is a fine writer, and I couldn’t put it down. Insightful, thoughtful, truthful, at times self-deprecating, at times witty, and deadly serious. I recommend it highly.

          It is true, one who has been attentive over the last few years will not have “learned” many new facts from Mary Trump, but the argument of the book, the sociopathy of Fred Trump Sr., and the consequences of that sociopathy, is devastating. One almost (but not really, not yet ready for that) has pity for Donald.

          The book left me with a thought. Donald is a product of his twisted environment. But Fred Sr. was as well. When you think about it, he was formed in the Gatsby years. The perversion of the single-minded quest for riches at the expense of any morals, that describes the sociopathy of the Trump family, is the sociopathy of Jay Gatsby as well.

          I read this book bookended by “Behold America: The Entangled History of ‘America First’ and ‘the American Dream'” by Sarah Churchwell. Churchwell is a Fitzgerald scholar and the best moments of her book are the Gatsby ones. That is when the concept of the ‘American Dream’ took on its current meaning of rags-to-riches, losing its previous one of a shining city of justice and equality.

          I recommend reading both these books together, as I did. It was a powerful couple of weeks.

    • Chris.EL says:

      Adding to the list: tax fraud (must read NY Times’ master work on Trump family tax shananigans (sorry don’t have the link handy, read it months ago).
      Trump Org. tax trickery, past and current.
      Trump University frauds.
      Trump charity misdeeds (involved the kids too!).
      Trump’s “jacob marley chains” are getting heavier and heavier…
      Wouldn’t be surprised if “D.T.” occasionally trotted to the liquor store to get his brother a bottle.
      Fewer heirs…

      • puzzled scottish person says:

        Thank you very much for the Aimee Mann reference. The final verse runs:

        ‘Now there is no story left for me to tell
        So I think I’d rather just go on to hell
        Where there’s a snowball’s chance that the personnel
        Might help to carry Jacob Marley’s chain
        Help to carry Jacob Marley’s chain’

        How many of the people Trump has shafted over the years will be willing to carry his ‘Jacob Marley chain’? And how many of them are just biding their time to stick the knife in (oh, I’d better add Pink Floyd’s Dogs, then, lol)

        Aimee:

        and Floyd:

  8. bokeh9 says:

    There’s been a flap over Mercedes Schlapp’s following up her crash-and-burn CNN interview with an attack on Brianna Keilar and her Green-Beret husband. I haven’t heard much noise about how Matt Schlapp, *her* husband, was part of the Brooks Brothers Riot that led to the SCOTUS appointing W as President. As Charlie Pierce says, Ratfckers gotta ratfck.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Matt Schlapp seems to enjoy his asymmetrical warfare from behind the safety of his wingnut welfare desk. His pretense that he has to defend the non-existent honor of his White House gagperson spouse from the slings and arrows of a CNN presenter’s criticism is laughable. But since he did, it is added proof that his spouse is not qualified for her job.

      Brianna Keilar’s husband, Fernando Lujan, is a decorated Green Beret officer. He cannot participate in this dust-up, which leaves Schlapp free to throw rotten tomatoes. Were the table turned, however, I would wager Matt could not pass a boot camp fitness test, let alone survive in the wilds inhabited by a special forces operator, someone thoughtful enough to be posted to the White House staff. If he has any, Matt Schlapp’s decorations are the, “standard awards for cocktail courage and dinner-table heroism.”

      https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/snotty-low-class-trumpies/

      • Rugger9 says:

        It’s typical chickenhawk GOP behavior. What should happen but won’t is that the Schlapps become pariahs with no invites. However, given the cheers by the members at Bedminster it’s clear social banishment won’t happen.

        Perhaps someone needs to ask Dan Crenshaw what he thinks about this sliming.

  9. LaMissy says:

    Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa have been pointing out for two years that Trump doesn’t care if people die.
    A divided, weakened, less populous US, irrelevant to and dismissed from the world stage, is Putin’s dream come true. #MissionAccomplished

    • Rayne says:

      I noted in 2017 that the failure to act post-Hurricane Maria looked deliberate.

      We know with certainty the U.S. government was aware from NASA and NOAA reporting that Maria was a Category 5 storm as it approached Puerto Rico. The National Hurricane Center issued 17 reports over four days warning of the storm’s size, strength, and timing of landfall. I can’t imagine government agencies offering any less now than they did under the last administration.

      And yet the Trump White House did virtually nothing to prepare for storm response.

      You’d think that a guy with experience managing real estate and businesses for continuity would have utilized these best-on-earth notifications to mitigate and recover injury and damage to Puerto Rican Americans and their property. But for some reason this same guy now occupying the White House spent his time harping about NFL players and golfing instead.

      And yet the Trump White House did virtually nothing to prepare for storm response.

      Just replace “storm” or “hurricane” with pandemic or COVID-19.

      Gee whiz, that sounds familiar: Hurricane COVID-19.

      • bluebird says:

        As you said above “There is only death, death, and more death.”
        “He’s going to kill us all.”

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s fine as long as the people dying aren’t *his* people: they’re minority, or immigrants, or female, or Democrats, or live in states run by Democrats.
        I wish he had some empathy, but that’s not gonna happen, and the GOP-T hasn’t had much of that in decades.

      • Stacey says:

        I thought the most useful part of Mary Trump’s book (and I listened to it all in one day and highly recommend it) was where she describes that Fred Trump Sr. dissociated himself completely from the news that his eldest son had died when he told Mary that he was ‘in the hospital’ for something he said was ‘not serious’. She found out the next day he was already dead when her grandfather had told her of the hospitalization and implies he KNEW that. He literally could not stand in the same room emotionally with his son’s death! Donald went to a movie while his older brother lay dying in the hospital and none of the family was there with him, Mary having not been told yet that he was even ill.

        I was reminded of his attempts to visit the Parkland shooting victims and the girl who reported that Trump just kept saying “boy, oh boy, oh boy” over and over again. She said “he was the singular least impressive person she’d ever encountered in her life!”

        I see his dissociation from the death he can’t stand in the same room with now every time he comes in contact with death–natural disaster, shootings, pandemic, you name it–he can’t associate himself with it. Mary said, anyone in her family that was associated with anything that wasn’t awesome did not emotionally survive the exposure! It was a death sentence for them in the eyes of her father. Like a contagion that would get on them if they looked at it. See if looking at him through that lens isn’t helpful.

        • puzzled scottish person says:

          Is there something similar going on in his approach to firing people?

          His TV catchphrase was famously: ‘You’re fired!’ But, from what I have read in the media, he is notoriously reluctant to actually do the deed himself. Face-to-face, anyway. He either gets a stooge to deliver the message or tweets it.

          I guess the famous germophobe doesn’t like to get his tiny hands dirty. Or he can’t handle real emotional involvement.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It does seem par for the course that a sociopath – and malignant narcissist – would only care about what’s in it for him, regardless of who suffers along the way. But the MSM has been painfully reluctant to acknowledge it. Not even when tens of millions suffer, millions sicken, and hundreds of thousands die because of it. Sites like this one – and there are few – lubricate the fault line and make adjustment to that reality more likely.

      We all have to pick up the pieces. The press makes that harder, because of its addiction to less honest bothsidesisms. But first we have to make sure that we throw the bum out, literally if need be.

  10. gmoke says:

    Mary Trump on her uncle: “If he can in any way profit from your death, he’ll facilitate it, and then he’ll ignore the fact that you died.”

    For Trmp et alia, the pandemic has been a profit center. They made money on PPE, on the drugs to help cure it (real or false), on the rush to produce a vaccine, and, I’m sure, are investing in funeral parlors and cemetaries as I write.

  11. DrFunguy says:

    Many people are saying: ‘this could be his biggest legal jeopardy’
    Drip, drip, drip…
    “This February, a group of Scottish Parliament members began making the case that Scotland should use an investigative tool under UK law called an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) to scrutinize Trump’s transactions. It can’t be wielded against just anyone; it’s designed to make inquiries into the finances of “politically exposed persons” suspected of money laundering.”
    Donald Trump dumped $400 million into his clubs in Aberdeen and Turnberry. Now, lawmakers in Edinburgh want to investigate him for money laundering.”
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/08/the-biggest-trump-financial-mystery-where-he-came-up-with-the-cash-for-his-scottish-resorts/

    • P J Evans says:

      IIRC, most, if not all, of that money was cash – and that’s very unusual.
      (I’m hoping still for his Palos Verdes course to finish sliding into the ocean. I’m sorry that it will probably require fixing the street outside – but it’s been sliding for decades, also.

      • MB says:

        I’d never heard this – do you have any sourcing? They just finished some major work on the driving range portion of the PV golf course recently and re-opened that to club members. The Portugese Bend area has been sliding for years, but that’s a mile or so west of the actual TNGC property. I’ve recently been taking weekend bike rides with the golf course as the endpoint of my rides (actually Marilyn Ryan Park, which is directly above the driving range). Encountered protesters at the entrance during the first 3 weeks of June, but they have since petered out completely. BTW, they have to allow the general public on the property even if they’re not using the facilities, for public coastal access, that was part of the original agreement before the golf course was built.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL I wish I’d read your comment sooner because I needed this bit when I did some research after reading it:

          Landslides have wreaked havoc throughout Palos Verdes over the years. In 1999, the 17th and 18th holes of what was then Ocean Trails Golf Club fell into the sea in a slide that would eventually contribute to the course being sold in foreclosure to Donald Trump in what would become Trump National Golf Club. A landslide geologist reportedly stood on the 18th tee box watching his subject matter occur before his eyes.

          Source: https://easyreadernews.com/slip-sliding-away/ c. 2012

          Trump benefited from a foreclosure in Palos Verdes. Benefiting from foreclosures may be a habit of his.

          • MB says:

            Hmmm…so the 17th & 18th holes slid into the ocean in its previous incarnation before Trump bought it. I wonder if he hired mafia-related contractors to “fix” the problem like he used on his NY properties…

            The work I saw being done on the driving range involved huge trenches and appeared to be related to sewage and/or water drainage. The trenches have since been filled in and dues-paying members are now merrily perfecting their golf swings there once again.

            And the restaurant was re-opened in May – a 16 oz. ribeye only costs $69!

            https://www.trumpnationallosangeles.com/files/Restaurant%20All-Day%20Menu,%20Summer%202020.pdf

              • ducktree says:

                I remember hiking in the slide zone of PV in the very early 60’s (when we lived below in Redondo Beach). Houses’ roof lines and eaves were less than 2′ above ground level, with most of the structures swallowed into the slumping clifftop. Awesome!

                Portuguese Bend!

                https:/ /www.rpvca.gov/719/Landslide-Management-Program

                • P J Evans says:

                  There are places where you can see where the streets were, but mostly it’s been turned into parks. (If you run the Google camera car down the coast road, you can see the water mains on the south side. Because they’re above ground instead of being buried.)
                  That view is spectacular, though.

                  • ducktree says:

                    Thanks, P J. I still live adjacent, now on the south side of the peninsula and have nothing to do ~ with the whole weekend to do it. I may take a tour!

          • Raven Eye says:

            A county building official — in a California county with a lot of seismic activity and also prone to “earth movement” from severe winter storms — advised me: “Never buy a house with a view, and never buy a house below a house with a view. Gravity always wins.”

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              “Gravity always wins.” Raven Eye, your building official was quoting Marilyn Monroe. In the last year of her life, she was talking about what happens to our bodies. But wise woman that she was, she understood the universal application. All things tend toward entropy.

            • P J Evans says:

              Friend lived in a house with a view – but it was back from the edge by enough to have another lot behind him. (He’s sold it and moved to Oregon – on flat land.) And family had a house built for them way out in Malibu, but it got two geological checks as part of the permitting, increasing the cost by a few hundred thousand. (It sits on steel beams driven well into the side of the mountain. And isn’t right at the edge, either.)

      • Chris.EL says:

        That scenario calls for a cartoon depiction!

        D.T. cartoon-pres. with overlong red tie standing on U.S. western shore cliff pointing out to sea: there’s my beautiful Palos Verdes golf course!

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