Thursday, April 30, 2020


Who says Trump isn't doing enough to deal with the coronavirus?
NYC ignores social distancing for Blue Angels, Thunderbirds flyover  

Meanwhile, on testing . . .
Trump says the US is "getting very close" to conducting 5 million tests per day (the US is currently conducting about 200,000 tests per day, so this is a lie) . .  [watch]

Testing Chief Says Trump’s Claim Is Impossible
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump retracted his claim that the U.S. will soon be able to administer 5 million COVID-19 tests every day . . . “Somebody started throwing around five million,” Trump told reporters . . . “I didn’t say 5 million,” Trump said, despite the fact that he had said exactly that the day before. . . .

[NB: "Somebody."]

Still can't keep their stories straight
Kushner predicts much of the country will be 'back to normal' in June
Fauci: Second wave of coronavirus 'inevitable' 

President Trump said the federal government will not be extending its social distancing guidelines when they expire Thursday at the end of the month, CBS News reports. Trump added that the guidelines will be “fading out” because of work that governors are doing in their states. . . . 
Deborah Birx says “social distancing will be with us through the summer” 

The rush to get a vaccine accelerates
'Operation Warp Speed'

Jared in charge 
“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States," a former White House official said
Jared Kushner: We’re Doing Amazing 

The term "credibility gap" started with Viet Nam: endless "rosy scenarios," lies and false statistics, countless "turning points," constantly receding "lights at the end of the tunnel." Eventually, of course, there just wasn't any credibility left at all. Now we're seeing that happen all over again
“The impact on the American economy will be very, very, very small, if any… We really haven’t seen any economic impact. There may be some out there. Our own internal numbers say maybe two-tenths of a percent in the first quarter, but that’s not going to end this growth cycle.”
         — White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, on Fox News, February 7, 2020.
The US economy shrank 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020 — or a 4.8 percent annual rate of decline — according to data released Wednesday morning by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s the worst result on record since the Great Recession of 2009 . . .

WH model now predicts more than 74,000 deaths

Deaths are being seriously underreported by some countries around the world. . . and by some U.S. states

The warnings Trump received, and ignored

The plan to blame China ramps up 

Trump Says China Wants Him to Lose Election

Meat packing plants have become breeding grounds for the virus. Trump wants to force them to stay open -- without safety measures

Meat Plant Employees Say They Won’t Go Back to Work

What is Mitch McConnell's game?
There is no political debate in the US more important right now than the ongoing fight over how the federal government should spend to help the economy recover. Currently, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting the pace of stimulus and the terms of the debate. Democrats are being baited into negotiating “victories” that consist of measures every reasonable economist agrees is necessary. Efforts to secure even those basic measures are being denounced as hostage-taking, and Democrats in the House, forever attendant to their skittish purple-district “moderates,” have proven typically easy to scare. “We’re terrified that we’ll look like obstructionists,” one Democratic Senate aide told Politico reporter Michael Grunwald. The fear, like most Democratic fears, is overblown. There is an enormous amount of bluffing going on among Republicans, who need ongoing stimulus just as much as Democrats. Sooner or later, if Democrats don’t want to get steamrolled, played, and blamed for the next six months, they are going to have to call some of those bluffs. . . . [read on]

The Dem strategy:
Senate Democrats unveil bill tapping Pentagon to federalize medical supply chain, sidelining Trump

In investigation news . . .

In other news . . .

A really savage Anti-Trump ad from the Lincoln Project 
President Pine-Sol . . .

Trump is warned by his staff that he is losing the election because of his wild and undisciplined behavior, to try to get him to change. Instead, his reaction was . . . to threaten his campaign manager

[NB: He threatened to SUE him! Or, here's a good one: threaten not to pay him!]

It's still early, but. .  . 
Biden Leads In North Carolina
Poll shows Trump, Biden in tight race in Texas
GOP Senator Says Georgia Is In Play
Biden Has Small Lead In Florida

Irony dies
President Trump told Reuters he does not believe opinion polls that show his likely Democratic presidential opponent, Joe Biden, leading in the 2020 race for the White House. Said Trump: “I don’t believe the polls. I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent.” 

A win for voter rights
Proof of Citizenship for Voter Registration Found Unlawful

John Bolton book release pushed back again 

Biden names VP selection team

Kevin Drum's take on Tara Reade -- what do you think? 
Did Joe Biden sexually assault Tara Reade in 1993, as she claims? I don’t know. As is so often the case, there were no witnesses and no physical evidence, so it’s literally her word against his.  Generally speaking, I’m not interested in defenses like “it was a small thing and it happened a long time ago.” I’m interested in actual guilt and actual innocence. And all I can say is that my best guess right now is that Biden is actually innocent. But that doesn’t mean Reade is lying. Again, this is just my best guess, but the totality of what I’ve read about Reade leads me to believe that Biden perhaps treated her in a typically Bidenesque way once: that is, he put his arm around her shoulder, kissed her head, or something similar. This bothered Reade, but it wasn’t sexual assault and she didn’t report it that way when it happened. But over the years the incident grew in her mind until eventually her story gelled into what she says today: that Biden pushed her against a wall and stuck his hand up her dress. Along the way she told various friends and family about the incident, but without including much in the way of particulars.

There is, frankly, not much to back up Reade’s story. She’s always been vague about some of the details of the assault, which is unusual for something so traumatizing. The things she says she did at the time—filed a complaint with the Senate, complained about sexual harassment to her boss in Biden’s office—don’t seem to have actually happened. At least, there’s no evidence of the former and a strong denial of the latter. Since then, there’s been 25 years of offbeat behavior, name changes, varying obsessions, changing stories, and finally, only after Biden ran for president, her current allegation. On the other side of the coin is a mountain of opposing evidence. No one besides Reade has ever accused Biden of sexual assault. No one in Biden’s office remembers Reade complaining about Biden. Literally every single person who’s ever worked with Biden says he’s never done anything like this. “Men who do what Reade says Biden did tend to do it more than once,” says Joan Walsh. “Also, once an allegation like Reade’s surfaces, others usually follow. They have not, at least so far.”

To coin a phrase, being a progressive is not a suicide pact. We can agree to always take accusations of sexual assault seriously without feeling that we have to automatically believe every one of them. People are people, and they aren’t always reliable narrators of their own lives. In this case, the evidence is so massively on Biden’s side that I see little reason to believe Reade’s current story unless new and damning evidence presents itself. If you want to catch up on this story, I recommend reading both the exhaustive New York Times examination of the charges and this equally exhaustive examination of Reade herself from the muckraking Krassenstein brothers on Medium.

WaPo editorial board calls for Biden to address Tara Reade allegations

Bonus item: Mike Pence's turn
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Happy talk versus science
Pence Says Coronavirus Outbreak Could Be Over by Memorial Day
White House adviser Dr. Deborah Birx says social distancing will be with Americans through the summer . . .

Pence wants you to believe the White House fulfilled its coronavirus testing promises. Not even close. 
America still needs more coronavirus testing. Trump’s new plan falls short. 

He can't stop saying it
"Tremendous progress has been made, we think, on a vaccine. You always have to say think and then you have to test it, and that takes a period of time. But uh, a lot of movement and a lot of progress has been made on a vaccine. But I think what happens is it's going to go away. This is going to go away. And whether it comes back in a modified form in the fall, we'll be able to handle it, we'll be able to put out spurts, and we're very prepared to handle it. We've learned a lot, we've learned a lot about it, the invisible enemy."

Me, me, me, me, me!
Trump Claims His ‘Talent’ Or ‘Luck’ Saved Lives As COVID-19 Death Toll Approaches 60K

One of Trump's top advisers warned on February 23 that coronavirus could kill 2 million Americans. Four days later, Trump said publicly the virus would go away on its own "like a miracle." . . . [read on]

Because the Boss said so, I am sure
Pence Ignores Mask Requirement While Visiting Mayo Clinic In Minnesota

[NB: He's visiting a HOSPITAL!!!!!]

More: Mayo Clinic deleted its Pence mask tweet ...

Science or tin-foil hats?
Trump Slashes Funding For Coronavirus Study Linked To Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory

Said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley: “Donald Trump is the most anti-science and anti-environment president we’ve ever had.” [read on]
What is Jared's coronavirus role, behind the scenes?
Who Makes Life-Or-Death Supply Decisions For Your State?


Trump will withhold coronavirus aid from states that have "sanctuary cities"
McConnell says he won't support infrastructure spending
Once states reopen and businesses are up and running, employees will be forced back to work whether they feel safe or not
States tell workers they'll lose unemployment benefits if they refuse to return to jobs 

Trump and the GOP face a "coronavirus cliff" 
In other news . . .

Biden's VP search heats up

Sanders allies launch super PAC to rally progressives behind Biden 

Those of us who opposed Brett Kavanaugh need to think carefully about how to deal with the Biden sexual misconduct allegations
“Prominent Democrats, including some women thought to be on Joe Biden’s running-mate shortlist, have lined up behind the former vice president in the month since Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer, made public an allegation he sexually assaulted her once in the 1990s . . . Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California and former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams all have said publicly that they respect women making such allegations and take them seriously. But they haven’t wavered in their support for Mr. Biden.”
Gillibrand addresses Reade allegations: 'I stand by Vice President Biden'

The Witness Who Saw Nothing
What Is Disturbing About Tara Reade’s Allegations
Why Have Women’s Groups Gone Dead Silent on Biden Sex-Assault Accusation?
How anxiety influences politics  

A third party bid that might help Trump?
Trump still thinks he can get black votes
President Donald Trump, the head of the American Conservative Union, and a number of other MAGA boosters have rallied behind right-wing vlogging superstars Diamond & Silk after Fox News cut ties with the duo over their relentless peddling of coronavirus conspiracy theories and misinformation. . . .

After Trump loses, how will the GOP de-Trumpify itself?
“I don’t know anyone who thinks that this is the future of the party.”
              — Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

[NB: I will have a lot more to say about this later, but no one is talking about what a post-Trump environment looks like. Here is my guess: (1) He will continue to control his Twitter feed to tens of millions of followers, and will use it to settle scores and try to influence events. (2) He will be the most visible ex-President ever, and the media will continue the mistakes they made pre-2016, of covering his screeds as if they were relevant news. (3) He will constantly attack and undermine the administration to follow, and they will be pushed on a daily basis to respond to him. (4) He will try to play kingmaker for the choice of Republicans to succeed him, including promotion of his own kids. (5) He will continue to rewrite history to shape public perceptions of his "legacy" -- and will certainly keep lying about it. There is no chance that he will ride off into the sunset; he craves the media attention, he will still have Fox World personalities to promote him, and he will still be an adored figure to the base who follow him.]

***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.***

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Trump wants to tell us what a great job he is doing on the coronavirus -- 600 times, in fact

Three straight cancellations of the coronavirus press briefings after Trump's disastrous disinfectant advice 

The White House on Monday signaled it is changing the way it will handle messaging on its response to the coronavirus amid growing GOP fears that President Trump is hurting his party's chances in this fall's elections with his daily White House briefings on the pandemic. Advisers have urged Trump to scale back his presence at the briefings, which the president often uses to air political grievances and make inaccurate statements. Officials familiar with discussions said there is an effort to get Trump to focus his messaging on the economy while leaving public health experts to discuss the pandemic. . . .

The task force is cutting back its meetings too:

Where is Jared?
Over the past two weeks, Kushner has been notably removed from coronavirus-related operations, according to four officials working in coordination with his team. One official working in the White House said it was “unclear” exactly what he and his team had actually done over the last two weeks. . . .
“He is solving the coronavirus like he’s bringing peace to the [Middle East]," one official says

Hopey to the rescue?
For Hope Hicks, it marked a challenge unlike any other — trying to develop a communications strategy for the president to carry with a wartime footing in an election year. As one of the few aides Trump implicitly trusts, the former White House communications director urged the president to act as a frontman for the coronavirus crisis — a leader who could offer calming messages, critical health information and important updates on the progress of the White House’s response efforts . . . She must position the president in a way he wants to be viewed as the man in charge, while guarding against the threat of overexposure that many aides and allies say poses a substantial political risk to Trump and his party just six months before a general election. . . .
“Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.” [read on] 

Then at the last second, the Monday press event was reinstated. And he's right back at it again
"So, yeah, we've lost a lot of people," Trump said during a press briefing in the Rose Garden. "But if you look at what original projections were, 2.2 million, we are probably heading to 60,000 to 70,000."
“To the surprise of exactly no one, President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus news briefings on Monday, just two days after tweeting that they were ‘not worth the time & effort’ and just hours after his own White House officially canceled the planned appearance . . . The lure of cameras in the Rose Garden proved too hard to resist. For a president who relishes the spotlight and spends hours a day watching television, the idea of passing on his daily chance to get his message out turned out to be untenable despite his anger over his coverage. And so he was back, defending his handling of the pandemic and promising to reopen the country soon.”
President Donald Trump said Monday that he is not taking any responsibility for the reported spike in people seeking help related to unsafe disinfectant use, even though he floated the idea of using disinfectant as a potential COVID-19 cure last week. Trump denied that his comments had played any role in those reports at his Monday briefing, the first time he’d taken questions at a press conference since his remarks about injecting people with disinfectant and sunlight faced nearly universal condemnation . . . “Do you take any responsibility?” the reporter continued. “No. I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine that,” Trump said before quickly moving on to another reporter’s question.
He chided one reporter for asking an “unfair question” about Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, complained about the treatment of former national security adviser Michael Flynn amid his pending case, and denied a suggestion from former Vice President Joe Biden that he was aiming to move the date of the election without taking aim at his presumptive Democratic presidential foe. . . .
The president wants you to believe the deficit was falling before the coronavirus hit. In fact, it increased each year of his presidency. . . .
“There has been so much unnecessary death in this country. It could have been stopped and it could have been stopped short, but somebody a long time ago, it seems, decided not to do it that way. And the whole world is suffering because of it.” 


[NB: So now we know who to blame for the mismanagement and misinformation that have needlessly increased death and suffering from the coronavirus: "somebody a long time ago." Oh, okay. Got it.]

Trump obviously sees it in his interest to keep escalating his war with the media
“There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now . . .” 

“It drives me crazy, frankly, because part of being the president is to rise above, to ignore certain things,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under President George W. Bush . . . “And I think at a time like this he should leave a lot of the gauntlets on the ground and rise above. But that’s not him.”

Gee, maybe someone should tell him that "sarcasm" isn't the best modality for presidential public statements
Trump keeps using “sarcasm” to explain away his embarrassing statements

Dr. Fauci warned that Trump might misunderstand information about disinfectants
As the Washington Post reports, the whirling finger of blame has landed on Department of Homeland Security undersecretary William Bryan. And what did Bryan do? He had a briefing for Trump in which he discussed how UV light and disinfectants were effective in removing coronavirus from surfaces. Apparently, when giving this information to Trump, Bryan neglected to say that surfaces doesn’t include the interior of lungs or veins. Apparently, a number of White House officials had deep concerns about this demonstration of cleaning something being taken in front of Donald Trump. Several people seemed to believe that Bryan had a lot of information in his presentation, and that the whole thing “was not ready” to go in front of Trump. Dr. Fauci seems to have predicted where Trump would take it, with worries the presentation might be taken as “the cure for humans.” . . .

Trump was warned repeatedly about the virus, early on, in his intelligence briefings. Unfortunately, he doesn't pay attention to those briefings
“U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat,” the Washington Post reports. “But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience even for the oral summary he now takes two or three times per week.”

Trump told governors to reopen schools -- despite the advice of his own task force

Trump says the coronavirus death toll is being inflated to make him look bad 

Trump isn't interested in expanding his base
During times of war and strife, national leaders often aim to unite a broken country and, in the process, broaden their appeal beyond their most loyal supporters. Not President Donald Trump. . . . [read on]

The stimulus checks have been delayed so that Trump can put his signature on them and get credit. But he blames Democrats for the delay

Trump's view seems to be that there is "America," and then there are blue states led by Democrats
"Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help? . . ."

[NB: Not only is this deeply ignorant about why some states have higher rates of the virus to deal with than others do, it ignores the fact that the biggest blue states are net EXPORTERS of tax revenue.]

Cuomo says NY has been bailing out other states for decades

We had the howler the other day that Trump said he has been stuck in the White House for "many months." Here are the cases that prove the lie

Another example of using the virus as an excuse to do what you want to do anyway

"The world has loved, hated and envied the US. Now, for the first time, we pity it" (thanks to JG for the link)


One of Trump's worst decisions as president was unilaterally withdrawing from the carefully worked-out Iran deal WHICH WAS WORKING in restraining Iran's nuclear development. And, of course, he had nothing to replace it with. Now Sect'y of State Pompeio is saying the US hasn't really withdrawn, and the agreement is still binding on Iran

In investigation news . . .

The Supreme Court DOES NOT want to decide the case about Trump releasing his financial records

In other news . . .

More proof that women are smarter
Women now support Biden 53%-30%. That’s a 23-point deficit for Trump among women, compared to a 13 percent deficit in the 2016 election. Women really, really don’t like Trump these days.... 

Support for vote by mail continues to rise  

Some good news from the Supreme Court
A Republican effort to sabotage Obamacare was just rejected by the Supreme Court 

VP Pence likes to brag that the US has given the most tests (confusing again total numbers with per capita) -- but it's still nowhere near enough 

Here's how NOT to reopen
Tennessee Opens Restaurants as New Cases Surge 

The kind of people they are
Dr. Kelli Ward, the head of the Republican Party in Arizona, told those planning to protest stay-at-home orders aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to dress in scrubs and masks on Twitter . . . "Planning protest to #ReOpenAmerica? EVERYONE wear scrubs & masks - the media doesn’t care if you are really in healthcare or not - it’s the “message” that matters!” Ward tweeted on Friday. 

Now that businesses, farmers, and other GOP constituencies have received trillions in stimulus money, when it comes time to help states, workers, and other groups Mitch McConnell suddenly becomes a deficit hawk again

A new ad: 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “the next coronavirus relief legislation must include liability protections for business owners who reopen” . . . 

Mitch McConnell wants to rush though the nomination of another unqualified judge

Are Senate Repubs starting to realize they might have to cut Trump loose to survive themselves?

Why we call her "McAninny" 

Irony alert! Trump NOW warns us that Fox World is a font of disinformation 

[NB: But we already knew that, Donald!]  

Fox dumps Diamond & Silk after duo claims COVID-19 death toll was fabricated to hurt Trump 

[NB: Yes, as you just saw, this is just the lie that Trump himself is spreading.]

Trump posts his first deepfake video against Biden, admitting as much

Bonus item: Normalizing Trump's idiotic disinfectant ideas

***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.***