Monday, April 06, 2020


This story must come out
As the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.
The Trump administration didn’t order ventilators or masks until mid-March

Trump’s Pandemic Response Creates More Chaos
Pressed by Trump, U.S. pushed unproven coronavirus treatment guidance
Dr. Oz is advising Trump on coronavirus
The White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday, pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. At issue: How enthusiastically should the White House tout the prospects of an antimalarial drug to fight COVID-19? This drama erupted into an epic Situation Room showdown . . . [read on]
Trump Keeps Promoting Unproven Drug for the Coronavirus: “I’m Not a Doctor. But I Have Common Sense.” 

Quote of the year
“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here… and isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama.” 
           — Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnamy, February 25

We are about to face "the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives"

[NB: Here’s the danger. We are going to have a bad couple of weeks. Then the worst may be over FOR NOW. Numbers may stabilize or even begin to come down. You can bet that Trump will then want to rush to reopen things prematurely -- which could mean a second cycle of infection. The smart thing is to keep the status quo until AFTER it no longer seems necessary. But Trump is going to have a hard time listening to the doctors. This won't be truly over until there's a vaccine.]

Official Counts Understate Coronavirus Death Toll   

This explains everything
Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May . . .  

In investigation news . . .

Michael Atkinson doesn't go quietly
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson suggested in a statement Sunday President Trump fired him for acting impartially in carrying out his duties following a whistleblower complaint. . . .

The statement:

In other news . . .

The Captain Crozier story
Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the firing of the Navy captain who was relieved of command after raising concerns over the spread of COVID-19 on his ship, during Sunday morning interviews. . . .
Biden says dismissal of aircraft carrier captain is 'close to criminal'
Sailors Cheer Navy Captain Removed For Pleading For COVID-19 Help 
Thank You, Captain Crozier 

And now this:
Capt. Brett Crozier Tests Positive for Coronavirus
I hate this 
During an appearance with Jeanine Pirro, Franklin Graham blamed the pandemic on "a fallen world" which has "turned its back on God" . . .

The Trump campaign is going to push the limits of what is permissible advertising on TV and online

Biden says he will wear a mask in public
“Yes. Look, I think it’s important to follow the science, listen to the experts do what they tell you. He may not like how he looks in a mask but the truth of the matter is that — follow the science. That’s what they’re telling us. So if I go out in public, and I have not gone to commercial places of late I haven’t gone to my local church … but my generic point is that you should follow the science.”

It's only a question of when
Some Senior Sanders Aides Are Urging Him to Drop Out of Presidential Race 

Bernie Sanders insists he has a “narrow path” to the nomination. But he and his aides refuse to say what it is. . . .

Bonus item: Trump and Fox World's moronic coronavirus lies, day by day

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Sunday, April 05, 2020


A guide to masks

Trump’s reaction to the mask-wearing recommendation—fine for the rest of you, but that’s not for me—is of course far from the only illustration of his feeling that he need not set a personal example. See also: military or civic service; marital fidelity; scrupulousness about the appearance of financial conflict or family favoritism; recognition of “no person is above the law”; etc. It is also not the most unreasonable stand he has taken. As NPR noted, everyone he meets is tested for the disease—so he is not likely to catch it from any of them, and they will be monitored after contact with him. . . .

What Trump did -- and didn't do -- that has made the coronavirus worse

Trump Axed Massive Mask Manufacturing Plan in 2018

After saying for weeks that the virus was no big deal, Trump is now saying . . .
'There will be a lot of death'  

How to make him pay politically:

This big dummy keeps thinking that he is in charge
President Donald Trump told major sports league commissioners that he’s expecting the NFL’s season to start, as planned, in September despite the current coronavirus outbreak. According to ESPN, he added that he hopes fans will be able to come back to stadiums by August. . . .

[NB: HE expects . . . HE hopes. . . . What does it matter what HE thinks?] 

A minute after Dr. Fauci says that social distancing is our best defense against the virus -- and it's working -- Trump steps up to say it has to end soon
"We have to open our country. I had an expression: The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself."

An expression he picked up from Fox World: 

How doctors and nurses are experiencing the coronavirus
Chaos. Fear. Dwindling stockpiles of equipment. Impossible choices. Patients dying alone. These are some of the things that health-care professionals describe facing while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. . . . [watch]  

The partisan pandemic

Fox World is still trying to undermine the "stay at home" regime
"I mean, I just wonder -- and I know David is sort of in this camp with me -- I wonder, in the long run, when we look back at this, it does seem like it spread all over New York. At this point, I don't know about the efficacy of staying inside indefinitely . . . I'm just saying, it's everywhere already. I don't know -- at this point we are destroying our economy. We are going to talk about this later. But that part is so scary to me. I don't know about this continued stay inside. I'm losing faith in it."

In investigation news . . .

Trump declares war on inspectors general
Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government, after his Friday night removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community I.G. who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered impeachment . . . Conservative allies of the president have told him that these I.G.s are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view. . .
President Donald Trump addressed his Friday night firing of the inspector general for the intelligence community Michael Atkinson, calling him a “disgrace to IGs.” . . . [read on]

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) should be allowed to work free of any “pressure” after President Trump fired its top watchdog in what critics say was an act of political retaliation. . . .
Trump defends firing ‘terrible’ intel community watchdog as Republicans question sacking

More score-settling
Trump Rages About Whistleblower: 'Someone Oughtta Sue His Ass Off!'
‘It Was Terrible What He Did’: Trump Rips Navy Captain Who Sounded Alarm On His Sick Sailors

When President Donald Trump exacted revenge Friday night by ousting the chief watchdog for the intelligence community, it was just one more instance of the president’s addiction to sideshows -- in this case, closing out a personal vendetta in the middle of a global pandemic that has already claimed more than 8,000 American lives. . . .

In other news . . .

Perfect. Trump is ready to go golfing again
“He has consistently failed to lead by example in this crisis and is continuing to do so,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who worked on the 2014 Ebola response under then-President Barack Obama. “And that sends a bigger signal to his followers than anything he reads off a TelePrompTer.”

[NB: People are dying, and Nero plays golf. I can't wait.]

Campaigns aren't allowed to coordinate with PACs. But Trump doesn't care about campaign finance laws

Two stories
A New York City landlord told tenants in 18 of his buildings not to worry about April rent payments as the city grapples with a pandemic that has left record numbers of people unemployed. . . .
Kushner’s Real Estate Firm Pushes Evictions During Crisis

The Old Pro shows how it is done
Trump then praised his veep: "I think it’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard, because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question." [read on]

Never waste an opportunity!
How GOP Is Using the Pandemic to Suppress Vote

Bonus item: Things to do while you're stuck as home: "recreated art" (thanks to GA for the link)

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, April 04, 2020


Leadership, Trump style
“President Trump on Thursday said states need to work out competing bids for medical equipment among themselves, and continued to blame states for failing to stockpile medical equipment like ventilators. Governors are sounding the alarm that they are bidding against themselves, as well as the federal government, for much-needed medical equipment and supplies” . . . Said Trump: “Well they have that, and they have to work that out.” 

[NB: Here's the problem with Trump's state-by-state approach. They are not only competing (and overpaying) to buy scarce resources. Their needs are going to come in different phases: NY is approaching its peak soon; other states will face theirs later. NY will need a certain number of ventilators at its peak -- but won't need them all afterwards, as other states are starting to spike. There should be a plan for coordinating the phases of when and where equipment (and personnel) will be needed. This takes federal action -- it's what we have a federal government for. Trump's "you're on your own" callousness is more about distancing himself from responsibility than it is realistic planning and leadership.]

America has no federal response to this crisis 

Jared Kushner Ripped For Saying ‘Our Stockpile’ Isn’t Meant For States To Use
Jared Kushner’s ventilator remarks contradicted a government website. Hours later, the site was changed. [read on]

[NB: So, the Boy Genius comes to his very first health briefing, and already says something stupid and untrue, that they have to MAKE true by back-filling the facts. Sounds familiar.]

Administration officials told The New York Times that they expect White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner's coronavirus team to come under congressional scrutiny after a series of questionable moves stunned government officials. Kushner has recruited friends with business and start-up backgrounds to create what he calls an "impact team," but administration officials describe it as "the Slim Suit Crowd" and the "shadow" White House coronavirus task force. Kushner has enlisted Adam Boehler, a former start-up founder who now heads the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and software entrepreneur Nat Turner, who founded the technology company Flatiron Health. Turner has brought his own former employees into the fold, some of whom have "issued orders to health agencies," leading to "resentment" among senior officials, The Times reported. One senior official described Kushner's team as a "frat party" that "descended from a UFO and invaded the federal government," according to the report. Officials have also been alarmed by the group's use of personal email account in "delicate policy exchanges" and their decision to use to "arrange high-level meetings." . . . 

GOP voters speak out

Every step Trump has taken with this crisis he has taken late, and reluctantly
Fauci Urges Federal Stay-At-Home Order: ‘I Don’t Understand Why That’s Not Happening’
Why Is Trump So Timid With the Defense Production Act?
Trump Sows Uncertainty and Casts Blame

More from Fauci:
Dr. Fauci Shuts Down ‘Fox & Friends’ on Coronavirus Cure: ‘We Don’t Operate on How You Feel’

Trump really, really wants people to get out of their houses, working, and spending money. So he pressures the CDC to announce that it's okay to go out with a mask ("or a scarf wrapped around your face") -- even though medical experts say that non-N95 masks do nothing to protect you and only give a false sense of security. And. . . . Dr. Fauci doesn't show up at the briefing. Any connection?

Trump's thin skin is more and more in evidence during these daily briefings. He hates anything that sound like criticism, and he constantly attacks the press for doing their jobs. Does he feel things slipping away? Watch!

“We happen to think that Cuomo’s well-served with ventilators. We’re gonna find out.”
           -- President Trump

Hyping the death estimates
By standing in front of a chart that showed not only a projection of 100,000 to 240,000 dead, but also a peak indicating that 2 million might die if the government did nothing at all, Trump wasn’t being “sober” and he wasn’t finally “getting it.” He wasn’t only demonstrating one of the skills that he’s utilized over and over, seemingly with zero political cost: Moving the goal posts. This is the same guy who, three weeks earlier, said that the number of cases in the United States was on its way to zero, and who dismissed the estimated rate of death because his “hunch” was that it wasn’t even as bad as the flu. He tossed a marker out there on the sand to say that 240,000 dead Americans isn’t just possible; it’s a “win.” And he’s absolutely prepared to do it again. . . . Politico reports that Trump’s team is hard at work on the numbers. Not in the sense of preventing deaths, but in finding the right metaphor. The proper talking point. The way to make this “good” for Trump. . . .

The small business loans in the coronavirus bill are being handled with all the competence and professionalism we have come to expect
Millions of small businesses are anxiously awaiting their slices of a $350 billion relief program that forms part of the government's $2 trillion economic support package. However, with just hours to go before launch, it wasn't until Thursday night that banks received their 31 pages of guidance from the Treasury Department on how to lend the money — and some haven't even decided whether they can participate on the opening day. . . . "It's utter chaos," said James Brower, a partner at Marks Paneth, a New York City-based accounting firm . . . "We're now hearing from bankers that they may not want to get into the program because the law doesn't have a whole lot of specifics in it, yet the phone lines are jammed with business owners begging for loan applications," Brower said. Banks "don't know what the rules are, and they're afraid if they lend money to someone they shouldn't have, they'll be required to pay it back to the government."

Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general

But, but, but . . .  Trump got his photo op!
The Navy hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort chugged into New York City at 10 a.m. Monday to on a mission to help alleviate the surge in patients during the coronavirus outbreak, but after days of being up and running, on Thursday morning officials said in a briefing that just three patients had been admitted to the facility. The Navy said later in the day Thursday, the number transfers had risen to 20 patients. . . . Officials say a similar Navy hospital ship docked on the other side of the country in Los Angeles has seen a total of 15 patients. . .

In investigation news . . .

Nancy Pelosi sets up an oversight committee, as she should, to monitor how the coronavirus stimulus money gets spent. For Trump, this is another outrageous "witch hunt"

One less Atkinson in government
Trump Fires Inspector General Who Sounded Alarm On Ukraine Call

In other news . . .

The coming war over who gets to vote in November

Pelosi wanted another round of coronavirus stimulus. McConnell didn't. She won

Of course
Leaked Border Patrol Memo Tells Agents to Send Migrants Back Immediately — Ignoring Asylum Law

Stephanie Ruhle makes Marco Rubio look like a fool 

The rush to get more judges approved means ideology and loyalty mean more than qualifications and experience
More evidence that Senators made stock decisions with privileged information

Bonus item: Seth Meyers asks why the hell Jared Kushner is in charge of the virus response

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***