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Digby's Hullabaloo Posts

“I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”

Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right ...

CNN reports:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday that partisanship is hurting the US response to Covid-19 in his latest blunt assessment of the country’s handling of the pandemic.

“You have to be having blindfolders on and covering your ears to think that we don’t live in a very divisive society now, from a political standpoint,” Fauci said on “Podcast-19,” FiveThirtyEight’s podcast on Covid-19.”I mean, it’s just unfortunate, but it is what it is. And you know, from experience historically, that when you don’t have unanimity in an approach to something, you’re not as effective in how you handle it. So I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach.”

His comments come as many states are pausing or rolling back their reopening plans while grappling with record-breaking spikes in the virus. At least 33 states have trended upward in average daily cases — an increase of at least 10% over the previous week.

Fauci said that some parts of the country are doing “really well” at managing the pandemic, including communities where people follow the public health guidelines and have opened gradually.

“But as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”That message continues to be at odds with President Donald Trump, who boasted in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren that “we are in a good place” with the outbreak.”

Dr. Fauci said don’t wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don’t close off China. Don’t ban China. I did it anyway,” Trump said. “I didn’t listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.””We’ve done a good job,” he continued. “I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”


Here’s one of the exact quotes from 538:

On why we’re seeing a surge in cases:

Anna Rothschild: So are you saying that in these states, are you saying that it’s a mix of politicians not following guidelines and people not following orders?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Yes. It is both. I mean, it’s not a unidimensional thing. It’s complicated. There are some governors and mayors that did it perfectly correctly. They stayed exactly. They wanted to open up, so they went through the guidelines of opening up their state. But what happened is that many of the citizenry, said, “You know, well, I’m either going to be locked down or I’m going to let it all rip.” And you could see from just looking, documented on TV and in the papers of still photos of people at bars and congregations, which are a perfect setup, particularly if you don’t have a mask. Yeah, then there are some times when despite the guidelines and the recommendations to open up carefully and prudently, some states skipped over those and just opened up too quickly.

AR: Do you think that Florida and Arizona opened up too quickly?

AF: You know, I think in some respects, in some cases, they did not always. But I think that that certainly is contributing to that. Certainly Florida I know, you know, I think jumped over a couple of checkpoints.

Those states were openly defiant of the guidelines. But let’s face facts. It’s pretty clear that California is full of defiant assholes as well. They shut down here until June and opened slowly and deliberately. But when they opened anything everyone just acted like it was all over. And now it’s exploding.

How many people would have to die for people to take this seriously? A million? I honestly don’t know.

4 months and counting

Here are our most recent presidential approval ratings at this point in their first terms, just four months from election day. The black line is their approval rating. The green line is Trump’s:

Trump and his minions thought he was going to be Reagan. It’s not working out:

He has a nearly 16 point gap. And he’s running out of time.

Always an excuse

The rise in ICU admissions is not because of “elective surgeries.”

Note that she said Dr Birx told her that…

He can’t learn … and now neither can America

Some excerpts from that article:

It didn’t have to be this way. Fighting a pandemic is difficult work, even more so when the disease is “novel,” our understanding of it fast-evolving, and the population, at first, entirely unexposed. From a certain vantage, one can even marvel at just how thoroughly and how quickly the activity of the world was reoriented around fighting this disease. Even here in the United States, with a know-nothing narcissist in the White House presiding over a do-nothing governing party that has — over decades but especially during this administration — kneecapped the federal bureaucracy into a state of say-nothing subservience, its tradition of quasi-separatist libertarianism and its culture of entitled grievance and its all-encompassing partisan culture war, even here the country’s states snapped into lockdown, the vast majority of them by just March 30. At that point, there had been about 3,000 deaths and 164,000 confirmed cases. Today, we are north of 3 million cases and 134,000 deaths. At the outset of the pandemic, Americans were horrified by the experience of Wuhan, which tabulated 50,000 cases officially, in total. The U.S. is now adding 50,000 cases every single day. The death toll has risen 45-fold since the country went into lockdown.

…None of these new outbreaks, defining America’s summer experience of the disease, had really gotten going before New York, the worst-hit place in the country this spring, had gotten a handle on its terrible outbreak. And yet none of them managed to learn from New York’s example.


Distressingly, this has not just been an American problem, though the United States has distinguished itself by not just refusing to learn from the example of other nations but from itself. .. Everyone had to suffer themselves, and learn for themselves, through that suffering and death. 

In Europe, this meant that every nation failed first before ultimately succeeding. In America, it has meant failing once in the spring and now again in the summer, with the prospects increasingly grim for a robust response in the fall, when the pandemic will likely intensify, thanks to the moderate effect of seasonality on coronavirus transmission. In some places, like New York and California, we are not just failing to learn from other states, but failing to learn all that well from our own experience, earlier in the spring.

The first failure is one of hubris: Western nations looking on a disease outbreak in Asia and feeling protected by a sense of cultural superiority and wealth, and disregarding the emergency response in China and other nations as a reflection not of the seriousness of the disease but of an imagined, innate conformist authoritarianism. The second is a bit harder to name, but it does seem peculiarly American — a pattern of failure following failure, with each successive failure normalized by the last, which should have shaken us out of complacency.

If failing to prepare at first is dangerous cultural arrogance, what is it to just give up? Already, there have been a fleet of damning postmortems assessing and picking apart the total failure of the country to respond in the winter. But that failure wasn’t final, or ultimately determinative, since many other countries that failed similarly at first have managed to quite dramatically turn things around. But not the United States, which is failing again every single day. As James Surowiecki joked morbidly, “We’ve tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas.”

He notes that the only bright spot is the falling death rate for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s ticking up as one might expect with the rising rate of hospitalizations.

That is what counts as the good news — the current course of a pandemic disease that has already killed 134,000 Americans. On the side of public response, it is, outside of the northeast, almost all bad news. Where we have built contact-tracing programs, they are failing. There are again looming shortages of PPE. Republicans are less worried about the coronavirus than they were in April, and are not wearing masks at any higher of a rate even though conventional public-health wisdom has hardened around that guidance. Texas senator John Cornyn recently took to Twitter to ask, rhetorically, whether anyone could explain why Houston and Dallas had such similar fatality numbers, despite having very different caseloads, only to be told that the state’s doctors and nurses had set up a call with him to discuss these very questions, which he then bailed on. As Andy Slavitt, Barack Obama’s head of Medicare and Medicaid, has pointed out, the country could have produced enough high-quality N95 masks for every single American to have one by now, but hasn’t. Reopenings are supposed to happen when states get down to one case per million residents; Florida is at 400 cases per million, and growing, and hasn’t yet returned to lockdown. In Spain, the country put a region of 200,000 back into lockdown after just 60 new cases.

In theory, the U.S. could be testing much more widelyindeed even testing every American every single day or every three days as Harvard plans to, generating enough medical surveillance capacity to actually suppress the disease, as so many other countries have, even though the majority of transmission seems to be from pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic patients; instead, the lion’s share of testing is devoted to those with symptoms, meaning the country is, almost by design, missing the majority of the problem. (And the CDC is advising schools and universities against widespread testing, as unfathomable as that may seem.) Symptomatic test capacity has expanded somewhat dramatically, as Donald Trump is so fond of pointing out, but lab capacity has lagged far behind, meaning that, in many parts of the country, patients have to wait five days, sometimes more, before getting results, a delay that renders those results, if not entirely useless, than largely so. In Arizona, the results are taking weeks.

He runs down all the evidence of our massive, monumental failure. But he doesn’t address why.

Two words: Donald Trump.

His presidency has revealed that his office is much too powerful. As long as he has the support of a one-third plus one members of the US Senate a president who cares nothing for the constitution or his own legacy is completely unaccountable during his term of office. This has been demonstrated for everyone to see now. And it is a big problem.

The flip side of that is that an incompetent president has now been shown incapable of using that power to deal with a national crisis, which is why those powers were granted in the first place. We have the worst of all possible worlds in Trump.

This administration, a reflection of Trump’s own chaotic and disordered mind, has refused to muster a national response, largely because the people he’s appointed are incompetent but also because much depends upon a president leading the government and delegating tasks to experts. Trump can do neither because he can’t understand the nature of the crisis or what needs to be done. He has instead fallen back on magical thinking and hoping for the best. (He says over and over again the “the virus is just going to go away.”)

I have written a hundred times over the past four years that “Trump can’t learn.” This is obvious. He doesn’t even try to hide it. And now we know that when the extremely powerful office of president is occupied by someone like that, America can’t learn either.

Mr. Grace Under Pressure

Trump Is Throwing Tantrums And Humiliating Himself When Confronted ...

It’s a bad day for Trumpie. And maybe the worst part is that he was stabbed in the back by his boys Gorsuch and Kavanaugh:

He knows he has a problem. I doubt we’ll see what it is before the election, unfortunately. But Trump knows now that even if he wins re-election he is not protected and that’s something:

President Donald Trump assailed a pair of Supreme Court rulings on Thursday pertaining to his personal financial records in a Twitter rant that called the decisions “not fair.”

In a rambling series of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats and his predecessor former President Barack Obama, arguing he is being unfairly targeted while others don’t face scrutiny.

“This is all a political prosecution” Trump tweeted. “I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”

“Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference,'” he added. “BUT NOT ME!”

The tweets came after the Supreme Court ruled in a pair of 7-2 decisions — in which the majority was joined by Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — that the president is not immune from the Manhattan District Attorney’s efforts to obtain his taxes as part of an investigation into hush payments to two women. The court also left open the potential for House Democrats to obtain his financial records from the Trump Organization’s accounting firm and two banks.

Trump waged a coast-to-coast legal battle to keep his tax information private in the months leading up to Thursday’s Supreme Court rulings. While presidential candidates have traditionally released his or her tax returns over the past few decades, it is not required by law, and though he said he would make public the information during his 2016 run, Trump ultimately became the first major-party nominee in four decades to not do so.Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

The cases will now return to lower courts and the rulings do not mean the president’s tax information will become public imminently. It’s unlikely the cases will be settled before Election Day this coming November.

The president, however, unloaded on the high court in a subsequent tweetstorm.

Complaining that Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden are not under investigation while he has been under investigations for years, Trump said the Supreme Court “gives a delay ruling that they would never have given for another President.”

“This is about PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT,” he added.

In the majority ruling on Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s efforts to obtain the documents, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that in the U.S. judicial system, “the public has a right to every man’s evidence.”

“Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” he said. “We reaffirm that principle today.”

Trump has cited ongoing audits — which take place annually as president — as reason to keep the documents secret.

“We are pleased that in the decisions issued today, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the president’s financial records,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”

Vance called the ruling “a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law.”

“Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead,” he added.

Democrats offered quick responses claiming victory.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “A careful reading of the Supreme Court rulings related to the president’s financial records is not good news for President Trump.”

“The Court has reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people, as it asks for further information from the Congress,” she said. “Congress’s constitutional responsibility to uncover the truth continues, specifically related to the president’s Russia connection that he is hiding.”

“Specifically related to the president’s Russia connection …” is a zinger from Pelosi. No wonder Trump had a meldown.

More tantrum:

After he tweeted out those primal tweets he sat down in the corner and had himself a good old-fashioned cry.

Seriously, what adult except for Trump would write those things?

And again, why would anyone want a blubbering , whining brat like that to be their leader?

Suck it up

COVID-19 survivor Tom Hanks: “The idea of doing one’s part, though, should be so simple: Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands,” Hanks said. “But … let’s not confuse the fact: It’s killing people. … Yeah, that’s right. It’s killing people.”

Given the posturing bluster of would-be patriots and frightened (now unemployed) jerks like this, a post that came across my Facebook feed struck a chord.

Everyone stayed inside. Most people went underground, spending their nights in basements or crammed into Tube stations.

Everyone. Every single night. If even a handful of people had kept their lights on, it would have helped the Luftwaffe find their targets. But everyone did their part.

Here’s what the Londoners didn’t do:

They didn’t argue that they had the right to keep their curtains open.

They didn’t say that the bombings were a hoax or that they would stop on their own.

They didn’t say that it was dangerous to be out at night without any lights.

They didn’t insist that businesses had to stay open in the evenings to prop up the economy.

They didn’t say that the experts didn’t know what they were talking about or insist that their uninformed opinions were just as valid.

Nope. They pulled their curtains shut. They went underground. They took care of each other.

They put the interests of the community ahead of their own personal self-interest, in one of the most remarkable feats of communal courage the modern world has seen.

My father lived through the Blitz. He didn’t talk about it much. He lost almost all his friends in the Blitz and the War. (Many years later, this led him to move to America, where he ended up starting a family (me) 20 years later than most of his peers.)

But he carried the lessons of the Blitz to America with him. He’d seen what could happen when an entire country did what was in the best interests of all.

And when he saw people acting selfishly and stupidly in their own self-interest, he’d brand those people with the phrase. “I’m all right, the hell with you.”

I’m all right, the hell with you.

When you refuse to wear a mask in public, you’re saying, “I’m all right, the hell with you.”

When you insist that bars and beaches and gyms open up because you’re bored, you’re saying, “I’m all right, the hell with you.”

When you demand that other people’s children go back to school in patently unsafe environments, you’re saying, “I’m all right, the hell with you.”

We aren’t being asked to run for shelter the second we hear an air raid siren.

We aren’t being asked to huddle underground all night surrounded by strangers.

We aren’t being asked to emerge every morning, wondering if our homes and everything we own still exists (2 million homes were destroyed during the Blitz — but only 30,000 Londoners died, because of the precautions they took).

All we have to do is stay home and wear masks.

What we need to do to stem the spread of this pandemic is so easy. Almost every other country in the world has managed to do it. But we haven’t.

I wish we had the courage of London during the Blitz.

I wish we had the concern for our neighbors that Londoners showed to one another during the Blitz.

But apparently, we are a country of people proudly proclaiming, “I’m all right, the hell with you.”

Is that who you want to be?

Stay home. Wear your mask.

I knew a WWII British war bride (the late mother of my wife’s oldest friend). She lived through the Blitz too, huddling in the Underground. I can’t imagine what she’d think of these belligerent “Yahoos” (in the Swiftian sense) who refuse to do their part to help the United States and their countrymen survive this national emergency.

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For The Win, 3rd Edition is ready for download. Request a copy of my free countywide GOTV mechanics guide at This is what winning looks like.
Note: The pandemic will upend standard field tactics in 2020. If enough promising “improvisations” come my way, perhaps I can issue a COVID-19 supplement.

Deja vu all over again

Most Americans don't see Donald Trump as religious | Pew Research ...

Oh my God. Here we go again:

The White House is preparing to release new reopening guidelines for schools as President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to “cut off” funding for those that do not reopen this fall.

White House officials said Wednesday that the guidance released earlier this summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was too restrictive.

The White House’s heavy-handed approach and Trump’s mounting pressure campaign on state and local officials to fully reopen schools this fall, viewed by the administration as crucial to economic recovery, comes despite a surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday at a briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force that the CDC next week would issue “a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

Among the CDC guidelines for re-opening schools that the White House finds too restrictive is limiting the sharing of toys, electronic devices and books, a senior administration official said.

“There are concerns they’re overly prescriptive, making it virtually impossible for many schools to reopen,” the official said.

This is, of course, bullshit. CDC guidelines are CDC guidelines, based on science, and if the White house tells states they don’t need to follow them, they won’t.

How do I know this? We’ve been here before:

May 7, 2020

The White House sent back guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month on how businesses, schools and other organizations should reopen with a request for revisions, two administration officials said.

The White House coronavirus task force, which is headed by Vice President Mike Pence, viewed the CDC’s advice as overly restrictive and in some cases thought it undercut the White House’s three-phase guidelines for opening up the country, released in mid-April, the official said.

The White House’s guidelines on reopening and easing social distancing are broad and leave much of the decision-making to governors. Those guidelines say states should see a 14-day decrease in coronavirus cases before reopening but do not set a specific timeline for doing so.

How’d that work out for us?

Stephen Miller’s wife seems so nice

What a gal:

NBC reporter Jacob Soboroff’s new book on Trump’s immigration policies quotes Vice President Mike Pence’s communications director Katie Miller as saying “I believe that if you come to America, you should assimilate. Why do we need to have Little Havana?”

Little Havana is a neighborhood in Miami home to many Cuban exiles who fled the country during Fidel Castro’s regime. Cuban Americans have historically been a solidly Republican voting bloc in Miami-Dade County, although younger Cuban Americans hold more liberal beliefs than past generations.

And, by the way:

“President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is … even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina” — Amy Walters, Cook Report

Miller is also quoted saying this:

‘My family and colleagues told me that when I have kids I’ll think about the separations differently. But I don’t think so … DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself — to try to make me more compassionate — but it didn’t work,’ she is reported to have said. 

Of course she cannot be made more compassionate. She is a soulless monster.

And it says a whole lot that she’s working so closely with the Human Furrowed Brow. What I mean by that is that it says a lot about Mike Pence.