NPR Story on botched COVID-19 demonstrates the Single Scandal Theory of the Trump Administration

From NPR’s Fresh Air

“Secretary Azar has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is he did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.

Meanwhile, Seema Verma, since being added to the team, has announced all kinds of actions that could be seen as cracking down on the problem – dispatching a team of investigators to Washington state, where there has been a major outbreak of corona virus, predominantly in local nursing homes. But I’ve talked to officials who say that Seema Verma, in an effort to show that she’s cracking down, may actually be creating more problems by having her investigators demanding paperwork, demanding answers at a moment when these nursing home officials are just trying to provide basic patient care to people who have been infected by coronavirus.”

This isn’t a new Trump scandal. There isn’t a string of unrelated scandals with a new one piled on each news cycle. There is only one which has been going on for three years now. To quote Adam Serwer in the Atlantic:

There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.

I call this the Single Scandal Theory.

From: npr.org

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/12/814881355/white-house-knew-coronavirus-would-be-a-major-threat-but-response-fell-short

Republicans love Socialism almost as much as they hate Americans

All the current discussion about Coronavirus bailouts for hotels, hospitality,  skittish markets and the energy sector reminded me of this chart from a few weeks back.

Trump’s signature domestic policy is a big government socialist wall built on confiscated private property just like Khrushchev built. His signature economic policy is tax payer funded subsidies to guarantee equality of outcome for farmers hurt by his anti-market policies. Nothing about that should surprise you, the GOP has made it perfectly clear that this is an endless supply of dirty socialist money for the demographic that votes for, fights for and funds the campaigns of the Republican party. Everyone else can drop dead.

If you have trouble understanding the process that leads the GOP to defend 19 billion for farmers to not sell food while cutting 2.5 billion in food stamps for people who would like to buy food then just think back to these core narratives of the 2016 campaign:

  1. Poor white people in the rust belt are poor because of Mexicans and China and bad trade deals. They need a person to put them first and act on their behalf to correct this injustice that others have done to them. People who disagree with this are commies/hate America/are out of touch elites.
  2. Poor people of color in urban areas are poor because they are lazy and have a bad culture, they have a victim mentality. They need to learn to take care of themselves, stop claiming victim status and expecting other to fix their problems. People who disagree with this are suffering from white guilt/being politically correct/are SJWs.

So it doesn’t count as socialism if the people getting the redistribution are white Republican voters in red states. Or industries that fund Republican campaigns. And as sure as the sun sets in the west; every time a tornado, hurricane or flooding ravages a deep red state you can count on the same GOP that blocked money for injured 9/11 first responders to trip all over themselves to air drop money into rural white communities to make them all whole again.

Republicans love socialism. For themselves. Everyone else can drop dead.

Rubio's Statement on the President’s Impeachment Trial is Incoherent Nonsense

“ultimately, voters themselves can hold the President accountable in an election, including the one just nine months from now.”

If Rubio really wanted to voters to hold the president accountable he would have asked for documents and witnesses so the voters could get the full story and make their choice as informed citizens.

By allowing the president to block all documents and block all first hand testimony, Rubio is actively preventing the voters from making informed decisions. Instead, the voters will hear a he said she said debate without all the relevant facts and be unable to hold the president accountable for his actions.

Let’s apply this simple test: If Rubio’s goal was to get voters to vote without knowing what the president did thereby being unable to hold the president accountable; is there anything Rubio would have to do differently?

From: medium.com

View at Medium.com

I think I know why 70% of Republicans want Bolton to testify.

The gap between GOP voters who want John Bolton to testify (70%) and GOP senators who want witnesses (somewhere between zero and 4/51) can be completely explained once you consider that GOP voters think Trump is innocent because they believe the Fox news version of events and GOP senators know he is guilty because they actually know the actual truth.

This also explains why right wing media has turned on Bolton.

“New poll says 82% of all Americans want John Bolton to testify for Trump’s removal trial, including 70% of Republicans,” Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, tweeted Wednesday morning, using the trending hashtag. “So the GOP Senators have a choice to make. They can side with the American people, or they can be traitors for life and side with Trump.”

From Newsweek  #WeWantWitnesses Trends After Report That Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Have The Votes To Block Witnesses In Trump Impeachment Trial

Never Trump Jurassic Park

I find myself warning my liberal friends about Never Trumpers too often. I am imagining myself as a tour guide at a Jurassic Park themed Sunday talk show, calmly warning my liberal friends to keep a safe distance from those Never Trump Raptors knowing damn well my liberal friends are being fooled by the Raptors feigned timidity just enough that we are all in danger of being eaten by those same Raptors when we least expect it. That will be during the next mid term, we have all seen this movie before.

We all want to believe that there is some common ground that supersedes the GOP desire to run up the deficit and gut social security and medicare. We have all convinced ourselves that there was common ground not that long ago. But we should never fool ourselves into thinking that the Never Trump Republicans represent a way forward to a return to common ground. This just isn’t the situation we find ourselves in today.

Case in point:

Chomp chomp chomp. See what Raptor Evans is doing? He’s trying to divide someone from the pack before going for the throat.

False equivalency aside, I don’t particularly dislike Evan. My biggest issue with him is his complete shock and dismay that his party would jeopardize national security for political gain. Well, Evan, a quick look at your bio shows that you were in the CIA in 2003. That is the same year Valerie Plame’s career in intelligence was destroyed to settle a grudge with Ambassador Joseph Wilson after he exposed George W Bush’s lie about Yellowcake Uranium from Niger during the build up to W’s disastrous Iraq war. All of this happened when Even was serving his country in the CIA. Did he not notice that his party jeopardized national security for the sake of political gain while he worked on behalf of out national security? No one talked about this around the CIA water cooler?

Every single Never Trump Republican, minus a few here and there who were too young; were part of the Bush years. They saw the exact same culture of lies, of foreign policy disasters. They all saw an aircraft carrier turned into a backdrop for a campaign commercial. The torture memo. This simply can not be stressed enough: they were all totally ok with it.

This gets me to the bigger point here. As much as Evan might dislike Trump, there is no reason to think Evan or any other never Trump would be happy with any Democratic candidate. As soon as a Democrat is in the Whitehouse, those Raptors are going to be much less timid. They’re all going to discover the deficit went up. They’re going to decide that we need a grand bargain. Do you think they’re going to be in any way open to the idea or working with Bernie or Warren or anyone on improving services? Or bringing the troops home? Or doing anything that would help a Democrat win a second term?

When looking at a never Trumper, always ask yourself “What side of the containment gate are they?”

David Brook’s Stupid Opinion in The New York Times

Is David Brooks suggesting we hold random twitter commenters, late night hosts and salad bar denizens to the same high standard that we hold the president? Or did he just rush to meet the deadline and come up with the most lavy BOTH SIDES argument ever?

Democratic leadership in the House have actually had really intelligent conversations about Iran. Left leaning media has done that as well. Even the mainstream media is doing a reasonable job. You paper is doing a good job. The facts and analysis are out there.

Is he imagining some rouges gallery echo chamber the rest of can’t see?

But the events of the past week have shown that the anti-Trump echo chamber is becoming a mirror image of Trump himself — overwrought, uncalibrated and incapable of having an intelligent conversation about any complex policy problem.

Source: Opinion | Trump Has Made Us All Stupid – The New York Times

Senate Republican blocks unanimous consent on resolution calling targeting cultural sites a war crime

Remember when Bush43’s administration argued for Waterboarding and everyone thought that was the rock bottom for the GOP? Or when all those people critical of Obama’s drone war were totally OK with Trump escalating it again? Well those same people are against calling out war crimes if it makes dear leader look like a war criminal.

 

The page-long resolution states that “attacks on cultural sites are war crimes.”

Source: Senate Republican blocks unanimous consent on resolution calling targeting cultural sites a war crime | TheHill

Understanding the Trump years by watching someone eating mayonnaise out of a jar with their fingers.

Conservatives do you really want to understand how liberals feel about Trump?

Imagine how you’d feel if you walked into your kitchen and saw someone eating mayonnaise from a jar with their fingers. Just standing there in front of an open fridge with a jar in one hand and the mayo being licked off the other hand. After they lick that greasy hand to their perverse satisfaction, they just dip it back into the jar and repeat the process. You stand there in shock as they repeat this over and over and over again.

Like any sane person would, you take a long calming breath and confront them by letting them know how just how gross it is to eat mayonnaise that way. This is simply not the way to eat mayo. In this home we have always consumed mayo by spreading it on out food, never to excess and always with proper utensils.

Rather than admit that it’s gross, or admitting it isn’t the customary way to consume mayo they loudly respond “but hey! you eat mayonnaise too!” with all the phony outrage they can muster. You respond that this is correct, you do in fact eat mayonnaise. In this home we all consume mayonnaise. But we all use silverware to spread some on a sandwich. We don’t eat it out of the jar with fingers. We don’t put those saliva dripping fingers back in the jar. In this home we eat mayo the way we have always eaten mayo, by spreading it on out food, never to excess and always with proper utensils.

They take another lick. Their greasy hand goes back into the jar. They turn to you and say “Well, you just admitted you eat mayonnaise too, you hypocrite. I’m not going to bow down to you and your condiment correctness. I am going to Make Mayo Great Again.”

The one difference from the W years

One thing has changed in the Trump years. Prior republican administrations could be shamed into not eating mayonnaise that way. This administration insists that mayo should always be eaten this way, because it drives liberals crazy. This is why they can not be shamed. When you caught Karl Rove eating mayo that way he would lie and say he was drinking a glass or water. After being caught in that lie he would lie again and say it was leftover potato salad. The Trump years are the years of proudly saying “fuck you, this how we eat mayonnaise now. Offended? Good!”

When you hear some MAGA uncle defend the Trump resorts kiddy concentration camps by saying “Obama built those facilities!” totally ignoring that those facilities were designed to hold kids traveling alone, not taken from their families, that those kids would be held for a few days, not several months. That uncle wants to eat mayonnaise out of a jar. With his fingers. And insist that he is right. That this is the correct way to consume mayo. And anyone saying we always used a knife to put mayo on a turkey club is fake news. All those pictures of people putting mayo on turkey clubs that way? Also fake news. George Soros took those pictures. He paid people to make those sandwiches.

Your MAGA Uncle is going to insist that it killing and Iranian Quds force commander without proper oversight, after tearing up the Iran treaty is basically the same as Obama having Bin Laden killed. Trump’s threat to commit war crimes is basically the same as Obama’s tough talk on deploying defensive missiles. What? You’re against killing bad guys? Mayo. Fingers. That’s how this works now.

This is how liberals feel about the Trump era. All the norms, conventions, basic decency and restraint we value are being shamelessly shattered. Those destroying them are dismissing any criticism with false equivalence, whataboutism and cries of fake news. You can not shame them anymore because they want this to be the disgusting new normal.

Liberals aren’t just angry, we are genuinely disgusted.

Take your fingers out of the jar already.

From The Atlantic: The Rust Belt Didn’t Have to Happen

Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana, thrived while other cities declined, because J. Irwin Miller, its wealthiest and most prominent industrialist, remained deeply rooted in and committed to his city. He used his clout, money, and a visionary progressive approach to build up Columbus for long-term success. A new biography of him called J. Irwin Miller: The Shaping of an American Town, by Nancy Kriplen, reveals not just the story of a city but one of a lost model of American leadership that the country badly needs to recover if many of its communities are to ever turn around.

Miller’s approach was superficially similar to many of today’s public-private partnerships. The difference is that his program invested in building up public goods and services, whereas all too many of today’s partnership’s are about enriching private parties at the public’s expense.

That moderation also helped Cummins and Columbus avoid the labor strife of other Midwest cities. When national unions attempted to organize Cummins, the employees instead elected to form their own, independent Diesel Workers Union, over the objections of the United Automobile Workers. The relationship between the Diesel Workers Union and firm was much warmer than usual, with Miller given honorary union membership. As he put it, “Unions are management’s mirror. They tell you things your own people won’t admit.”

The results speak for themselves. Cummins has remained a successful global enterprise. And Columbus has prospered, never experiencing a major period of decline. Today it’s still growing in population and adding jobs faster than the nation as a whole. It’s more educated than the country at large and boasts a GDP per capita higher than Portland, Minneapolis, and Houston.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/the-rust-belt-didnt-have-to-happen/603523/

Worth reading.

The key take away is that Columbus Indiana’s story is not one of laissez faire tax cuts and deregulation. It’s one of the private sector making use of public goods and then funding those public goods. It is one of human capital development, trade and shared prosperity.

Sadly there is no sign Pence learned anything from his home town.

We already know they are willing to abuse national security for partisan politics.

Since long before he was a politician, he’s lied frequently and even written in multiple books about his profound belief in the value of lying as a means to get ahead. And he’s good at it. After his Atlantic City casinos went bust, he successfully duped a bunch of mom-and-pop equity investors out of their money to get out of debt and had them pay him a salary for the privilege. He then got himself elected president and immediately started bullshitting about everything from the size of his inaugural crowds to the way NATO works to Chinese currency manipulation.When someone has proven over and over again that they are not trustworthy, you can, and in important situations should, stop trusting them

Matt Yglesias is right here but the bigger point is that they have shown themselves willing to make this exact kind of lie, as so has the Republican party. The GOP has made it clear they are OK with abusing national security for partisan politics when they lied us into a disastrous Iraq war. They outed Valerie Plame. They lied about the Iran treaty. They pardoned everyone involved in Iran Contra. It just keeps happening.

You can’t trust Trump not to abuse national security for partisan gain because you can not trust the Republican party not to abuse national security for partisan gain.

Source: Trump and Pompeo are untrustworthy on Iran – Vox