1. says

    Wow: The ICC ruled its chief prosecutor can pursue an investigation of possible US war crimes in Afghanistan, including alleged ‘acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence’ against detainees”

    WaPo link and opinion atl.

  2. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Akira: “When this happens, I want to fight, I want to yell, I want to tell off the world…”

    Don’t resist that–but fight like hell to make your life better, calmer and more fulfilling. Fighting to better things is good. Thrashing doesn’t help and may only hurt you and those close to you. You deserve a better life. Don’t give up. It can get better.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 459

    Donald Trump has a plan for nothing. So why did voters reject the candidate who has a plan for, well, everything?

    My own take: Because most Americans reject the notion of “planning” as technocratic and potentially totalitarian. Real American’s don’t think and think and think like some wimpy, undeceive bookworm! They ACT! When they got a hunch they go with their gut! People with grandiose, complicated plans, made up of too many pages for any person to read, are just Ivory Tower intellectual elitist eggheads, trying to tell the common man with common sense and God’s wisdom learned on their pappy’s knee what to do with their lives. Stalin had ‘plans!” Real American’s DO!

    Throw in Sen. Warren’s gender and the disdain becomes much worse. Not only do you have an Ivory Tower intellectual elitist egghead trying to tell the common man with common sense and God’s wisdom learned on their pappy’s knee what to do with their lives, but it’s also a WOMAN doing it! Women aren’t supposed to plan! They’re suppose to obey!

  4. says

    Trump still sees coronavirus outbreak as a public-relations problem

    Trump said he “hated” to bring Americans with the coronavirus to U.S. soil because it might “look bad” from a “statistical” perspective. That’s ridiculous.

    During his latest Fox News interview, Donald Trump told Sean Hannity last night about his administration’s decision to bring Americans with the coronavirus back to U.S. soil. To hear the president tell it, he was directly involved with the decision-making — though he grappled with it.

    “I felt we had to do it. And, in one way, I hated to do it statistically. I hated to do it from the standpoint of having people coming in. It’s going to be — is it going to look bad?”

    It’d be one thing if Trump struggled with the decision because he received conflicting guidance from experts. […]

    But note [Trump’s] own phrasing: Trump hated to bring Americans with the virus to U.S. soil because of the “statistical” impact. In context, the president seemed to suggest that he had certain talking points he wanted to use, and the numbers he wanted to cite would be adversely affected by the return of these ailing Americans. […]

    Alas, the problem isn’t limited to an unscripted comment during a friendly interview. The Washington Post reported this week that administration’s coronavirus effort “has been undermined by mixed messages, contradictions and falsehoods — many of them emanating from the president himself…. The White House is handling the rapidly expanding coronavirus as a public relations problem as much as a public health crisis.”

    The evidence to bolster the point is increasingly common. On Tuesday, for example, officials appeared in the White House press briefing room to provide coronavirus update, but reporters were told that there could be no audio or video from the event. If the goal was to help provide information to an anxious public, the imposition of media rules like these was difficult to understand. […]

  5. says

    More rounds in court coming soon:

    The House plans to file a request Friday with the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking for it to review last week’s decision by a thee-judge panel of that court in the Don McGahn case. The decision severely hamstrung the House’s ability to force the Trump administration to comply with its subpoenas.

    Specifically, the appellate panel refused to enforce the House’s subpoena of President Trump’s former White House counsel and said that courts have no authority to settle subpoena disputes between the legislative and executive branches.

    Since the decision, the Justice Department has already started citing the ruling to seek the dismissal of separate cases dealing with House subpoenas.

    The announcement that the House will appeal the McGahn decision on Friday — ahead a Monday deadline to do so — came in one such case, where the House is seeking a court order that the IRS comply with its subpoena of Trump’s tax returns. […]

    The tax returns case is not the only case where the Justice Department has looked to quickly exploit the appellate panel’s decision in Trump’s favor in the McGahn case.

    The administration made a similar argument in a court filing submitted Monday to the judge overseeing a House lawsuit that he order administration compliance with subpoenas issued in the House’s probe of the census citizenship question.

    Once the House files its appeal of the McGahn case, it could take months before the full D.C. Circuit can issue a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit. But the House could also ask the full court to stay last week’s decision. If successful, such a move won’t prevent other district courts from adopting the position of the appellate panel in the McGahn case, but district courts would not have to treat that decision as binding precedent while they waited for the entire appeals court to fully weigh in. […]

  6. says

    Sen. Kamala Harris grills Homeland Security head on deportation threats to DACA recipients

    During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris pressed acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf about deportation threats to hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients should the Supreme Court end the program. Harris cited a recent statement from acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Matthew Albence that the agency has in fact been set to target DACA recipients should the justices side with the Trump administration in a ruling that could come any day now.

    “Mr. Secretary, last year Chief Justice Roberts said that the administration has ‘said they’re not going to deport’ DACA recipients and instead ‘work authorization and these other benefits are what’s at stake,’” she told Wolf. “Yet in January, acting ICE director Albence said that ‘if DACA is done away with by the Supreme Court—we can actually effectuate these removal orders.’ So that sounds to me like if the Supreme Court rules in your favor that you’re going to start deporting DACA recipients. Does the administration plan to deport DACA recipients?”

    “That would not be our priority, no,” Wolf claimed, but when later asked by Harris if a Supreme Court ruling would change “what you’ve been doing as it relates to DACA recipients that have remained productive law abiding members of their community,” he told her, “Again, it’s hard for me to say yes or no in a blanket. Obviously, they have a certain legality to be here in the U.S. If that is changed, we obviously have to access that. But again, what I’m telling you is—our focus will remain on removing criminals from the general public.”

    But we know that what ICE claims before legislators and what it then does outside of a hearing room are two different things, because while Wolf keeps repeating that ICE’s focus “will remain on removing criminals from the general public” […] agents assisting in raids have reportedly been told to, as The New York Times reported, “[a]rrest as many undocumented immigrants as possible, and ‘flood the streets,’ as one official involved said his bosses had put it.” Harris was not assuaged by Wolf’s response and continued to press for more clarity.

    “Ok, but what I’m trying to understand is this—there are many organizations out there right now who have as their business to concern themselves with the wellbeing of immigrants, who are very concerned and making contingency plans based on what the Supreme Court might rule,” she continued. “I find it very hard to believe that your agency is not also making contingency plans […] Are you telling me that you don’t have any contingency plans?”

    “No, I’m not saying that,” Wolf responded. “I’m saying that our focus will remain on removing criminals from our community.” […] Once again pressing for a definitive response, Harris got Wolf to commit to handing over ICE’s plans “based on what might be the Supreme Court ruling.”

    ”I will go back to ICE and we will look at that, yes,” Wolf said. “And can you have that to us by the end of next week please?” Harris asked. “Let me check … let me confer with ICE. I have not seen those contingency plans personally, so let me look with ICE and review those—and we’ll get those up,” Wolf replied. “And you’ll get those to the committee?” Harris asked. “We will get those to the committee,” he replied.

    Undocumented immigrant youth and their advocates have every reason to be cautious, following reports that ICE had been reopening some DACA recipients’ long-closed cases ahead of a Supreme Court decision, including those of people “who kept their noses clean,” immigration attorney Mo Goldman told CNN. Goldman said that he was so shocked by receiving two notices in as many days that he got in touch with ICE to see if this was a terrible mistake. It wasn’t. “I contacted the office of chief counsel at ICE, to see—they’re the ones who file these motions—to see if it was an error. The response was, that it was not and that they are re-calendaring people with DACA,” Goldman said.


    Yeah. Kamala Harris was right to press hard on this issue.

  7. says

    This is good news. The Democratic challenger to Republican Martha McSally in Arizona, Mark Kelly, is leading by five points according to Public Policy Polling.

    Kelly led McSally 47 percent to 42 percent. 12 percent of voters indicated they were still unsure.

    We certainly need another Democrat in the Senate. I hope Kelly wins.

  8. lumipuna says

    It’s the very fact that many in the USA – and the UK – will feel economically unable to call in sick that makes it likely the virus will not be contained as it reportedly has been in China.

    Eh, I suspect most people in China can’t take sick leave either, unless the government literally orders their workplace to be shut down.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    SC @ 7

    I’m sure Paul thinks that if the American consumer really wants a Coronavirus response, the Invisible Hand of the Free Market will provide one that’s better than any that would come out of some wasteful and inefficient government agency. Indeed. the fact that no John Galt or Howard Roark of microbiology have a cure for sale means that their just isn’t’ any demand. Besides. any attempt from the government is just tyrannical coercion and Big Government statism, stripping the free individual of their freedom to die of a disease if they so choose.

  10. says

    On leave after Iraq, I visited a friend’s 1L contracts class expecting boredom.

    Saw a masterclass in the combined power of preparation, precision, persuasion & moral force.

    Saw what I hoped I could to learn to be. Left the army. Went to law school.

    The professor was @ewarren”

  11. says

    NEWS: Michael Bloomberg will form a one-man super PAC to support the Democratic nominee, oppose Trump and support down-ballot Democrats running in November, a campaign official tells @JoshNBCNews.

    It will include field offices in six battlegrounds: AZ, FL, MI, NC, WI and PA.”

  12. says

    Charlie Pierce in Esquire – “Elizabeth Warren Was More of a Threat to the Money Power Than Bernie Sanders”:

    …I’m not going to dwell on the sexism that so regularly cropped up during Elizabeth Warren’s now-suspended presidential campaign. Proud, accomplished women, writing about what happened to this proud and accomplished woman, already have done so thoroughly enough that what little I could add would have to walk a tightrope between repetition and presumption that I am not able to navigate. This one hurts them in ways I can’t even imagine. Except to say, as the father of yet another proud and accomplished woman, fckabuncha all of y’all, including all you women who joined in. I suspect I am not alone in saying this.

    …Accepting that sexism and misogyny were marbled throughout everything about the campaign, I think what did her in was her ideas. She committed herself to a campaign specifically to fight political corruption, both the legal and illegal kind. As an adjunct to that, she marshaled her long fight against the power of money in our politics and monopoly in our economy. And, opposed to Bernie Sanders, whose answer to how to wage the fight is always the power of his “movement,” which so far hasn’t been able to break through against Joe Biden, she put out detailed plans on how to do it. That made her much more of a threat to the money power than Sanders, who is easily dismissed as a fringe socialist by the people who buy elections and own the country.

    If I were Jeff Bezos, and I heard Elizabeth Warren talk about how monopoly can distort an economy, I’d have been worried. If I were Mark Zuckerberg, and I heard Elizabeth Warren talk about how the concentration of social media perverts our public ideals, I’d have been worried. If I were the folks at Comcast, and I heard Elizabeth Warren talk about how media concentration damages the national dialogue, I’d have been worried. I’d have been worried not simply because a presidential candidate was saying this, but because she was able to make people understand it, and because she was able to show people how she would do it. That would keep me up nights.

    …This was most obvious in the campaign’s most curious episode—how she was “disappeared” from news coverage after finishing third in Iowa. This was the period in which an NBC poll refused to even include her because, basically, the pollster didn’t want to. Amy Klobuchar was included, but Amy Klobuchar wasn’t going around explaining how media monopolies gouge their consumers and marginalize certain issues and the people fighting for them.

    However, this is not a country that is ready for what she called, endlessly, “big, structural change.” This is a country fearful of any kind of change at all, a country longing for a simpler time—which, these days, does not mean the flush 1950s or the pastoral 1850s, but 2015. The election of Donald Trump has lodged in so many minds a longing for the status quo ante that there’s no room for intelligent experimentation. When Pete Buttigieg talked about how his campaign was about “humility,” he wasn’t simply being banal, although he certainly was. He was responding to a national mood that everybody who has been around this campaign has sensed.

    The problem is that the damage done by this administration* is so deep and lasting that the last thing we need to follow this president* is a humble president with a humble agenda. For example, Joe Biden has no desire to break the monopoly power, and Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the first idea how to do it. But it’s still going to be there, distorting the economy and perverting the public discourse, no matter who gets elected in the fall. You might be frightened by the idea of Big, Structural Change but, without it, the deterioration of the republic will continue apace. We have been rendered such a timorous people that even someone as open and lively and welcoming as Elizabeth Warren was considered too much of a risk.

    Oh, and she wasn’t “likable,” either. Remember? God, what a load of bollocks that is….

    More at the link.

  13. says

    Wow – southpaw:

    Judge Walton: “The Court has grave concerns about the objectivity of the process that preceded the public release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report” …

    “Attorney General Barr distorted the findings in the Mueller Report.”

    just blockbuster stuff

    A judicial finding that the Attorney General of the United States lacks candor and cannot be trusted without independent verification.

    “with great consternation”

    tl;dr This judge will read the unredacted version of the Mueller Report and decide whether the Barr DOJ’s redactions comply with established FOIA exemptions.

    DOJ has been ordered to submit the unredacted Mueller Report to the court for review by March 30th.

    Excerpts at the link. This is how everyone in the courts, media, and public should approach them – with total skepticism in recognition of their pattern of dishonesty.

  14. says

    WOW: Federal Judge Reggie Walton says he doesn’t trust DOJ to represent the need for redactions in the Mueller report and suggests Barr intentionally created a misleading summary to perpetuate a ‘one-sided’ narrative.

    Walton also says Barr showed a ‘lack of candor’, which is a very specific term in legal circles.”

  15. says

    This is an extraordinary opinion. A federal judge finds that Barr exhibited a ‘lack of candor’ and ‘made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump’ in releasing his letter summarizing the report

    By ‘extraordinary’, I mean that I’ve never seen a federal judge accuse the Attorney General of personally misleading the public and lacking credibility.”

  16. says

    Elie Mystal in the Nation – “Sexism Sank Elizabeth Warren”:

    But what makes the Warren experience all the more frustrating is that she is the candidate Democrats asked for back in 2016. This is the candidate Democrats said they wanted when they were busy calling Hillary Clinton “inauthentic” and “uninspiring” and “pandering.” She was the candidate progressives used to explain that, while Clinton was a “corrupt, neoliberal shill,” they were totally not sexist and would vote for some other woman.

    Elizabeth Warren was the “Stacey Abrams” of 2016: the woman, not in the race, that people who are voting for men say they would totally vote for if she would just run. I’m sure by 2024, these same people will find all sorts of problems with Abrams. I know they will, because they always find a problem with a woman once she’s actually asking for power.

    Democrats are not going to be the ones to get a woman elected president. This party, as currently constituted, is never going to fully get behind a woman candidate, because no real woman can match the pubescent fantasy of a woman Democrats seem to want. No woman can be explicitly feminist enough while also nonthreatening to male swing voters. No woman can be laughably overqualified compared to her male opponents while still being a “new” and “fresh” face to lead the party. No woman can be strong, sweet, tough, flexible, brilliant, accessible, fiery, motherly, and attractive, but not distractingly so, all at the same time. And if a woman can’t be all those things, well, why take the risk of promoting a woman when we can find a perfectly mediocre man just lying around waiting for somebody to give him a chance?

    Democrats will never agree on their perfect woman candidate, but Republicans will. That’s because, while Democrats are easily intimidated by a woman who runs to free other women, modern Republicans are quite comfortable with women who hold other women back. The essential qualification for a Republican woman candidate is that she must be willing to participate in the project of upholding the patriarchy. As long as she loudly and aggressively does that, Republicans will get to yes.

    Democrats will not elect a woman who supports the patriarchy. They also won’t elect a woman like Warren, who means to smash it. They will excoriate a woman as a “weak” “flip-flopper” who tries to do something in between. And one day we’re going to wake up and Nikki Haley or Ivanka Trump is going to be president, and we’re all going to wonder how the hell that happened.

    It will happen because Republicans are comfortable with their sexism, while Democrats refuse to confront their own. Democrats won’t embrace misogyny like Republicans, but won’t examine it long enough to overcome it.

    A woman absolutely can win the presidency. If she’s magic.

  17. says

    Chris Hayes: “Seriously running out of ways to communicate how dire the lack of testing is in the US. We are way way way behind and every day that goes by without testing at the scale we need, the worse it’s gonna be.”

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren is being interviewed by Rachel Maddow on her show. Link to follow when available and I’m awake enough to find it, if not beaten to it.

  19. johnson catman says

    re SC @16:

    US Sen Jim Inhofe (R), 85, announces he will seek reelection this year.

    I bet he has better than a snowball’s chance in Congress of winning.

  20. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 24

    Democrats will not elect a woman who supports the patriarchy. They also won’t elect a woman like Warren, who means to smash it

    This accurately describes the Democrats on just about any issue. They don’t support injustice in theory, but they always balk at actually doing anything substantive about it.

  21. says

    Thread from Angelo Carusone: “I run Media Matters (a media watchdog organization). I want to say something about @ewarren’s departure from the race. Horserace, polls, nomination aspect aside aside, we will all feel the effects of Warren’s absence from the race, whether you realize it or not. Here’s why…”

  22. says

    Time – “‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work”:

    The Trump Administration’s strategy to combat COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, began with a relatively simple focus: keep it out of the United States. In service of that goal, the White House issued drastic travel restrictions, imposed mandatory quarantines, and repeatedly told the public that these steps were working.

    “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview on Feb. 25, echoing Trump’s tweeted declaration that the virus was “very much under control” in the United States.

    But it wasn’t, and the administration’s rosy messaging was fundamentally at odds with a growing cacophony of alarm bells inside and outside the U.S. government. Since January, epidemiologists, former U.S. public health officials and experts have been warning, publicly and privately, that the administration’s insistence that containment was—and should remain—the primary way to confront an emerging infectious disease was a grave mistake.

    In congressional testimony, in medical webcasts and in private discussions with health officials, they warned that the unique features of this flu-like virus made it impossible to control, and that the administration must use any time that containment measures might buy to prepare the country for an inevitable outbreak. The administration was using all its resources to blockade the doors, they warned, but the enemy was likely already in the house.

    “The current U.S. policy to deny visas to travelers from China and to quarantine returning Americans is not the right approach,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and expert in disease outbreak detection and response at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, testified to Congress on February 5. “I am deeply concerned that these measures will make us less safe by diverting public health resources from higher priority disease mitigation approaches.”

    Two days earlier, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb had warned “we have to assume it’s already here and circulating.”

    When it finally became indisputable that an outbreak was underway in Washington state, the administration was slow to catch up. There were not enough COVID-19 testing kits, hotlines were overwhelmed, and hospitals and public health departments were hobbled by a lack of reliable statistics on the spread of the disease. Experts say the U.S. response is now likely weeks—if not months—behind schedule.

    …In a world linked by tens of thousands of flights a day, it’s nearly impossible to completely contain the transmission of an infectious disease like COVID-19, in part because people carrying the virus do not necessarily show symptoms. An effective response, experts say, would have required that administration officials capitalized on the temporary delay of new infections offered by containment strategies in order to aggressively prepare for inevitable outbreaks. But not one of the dozens of experts, doctors or former public health officials who spoke with TIME thought that the Trump administration used that delay effectively.

    The problem, they say, is partly that the administration misallocated limited resources. By being told to focus on monitoring a small number of quarantined travelers returning to the U.S., public health departments were not fully engaged in preparing mitigation efforts in communities, where we now know the virus was already infecting more people. Healthcare workers could have used that time to coordinate with hospitals, track suspected cases, funnel resources to diagnostics, prepare vulnerable populations, like nursing homes, and promote mitigation measures, such as isolating known cases outside of a hospital.

    In ideal circumstances, infectious disease experts tell TIME, the government would also have focused on mobilizing capacity to test for COVID-19 prior to the first reported case on U.S. soil. It would have sent test-kits to hospitals and clinics around the nation to identify any new infections and, armed with that data, officials would have tailored a rapid response, issuing public recommendations on sanitation practices, when to seek medical treatment, and how to limit the spread of the disease.

    Instead, public health departments in some parts of the country were blindsided. As experts predicted a month ago, some state coronavirus hotlines and hospitals have been overwhelmed.

    The administration’s failure to quickly disseminate enough working COVID-19 test-kits has also had lasting repercussions, likely exacerbating the spread of the disease and robbing public health officials of vital data about the spread of the virus.

    Because medical professionals have been forced to limit the number of tests administered, there is no clear picture today of how many people, including those with mild symptoms, have been infected. (Until recently, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that tests only be administered to those who had known exposure to someone with the virus, travel history to an affected region or had symptoms of a serious respiratory illness.) It’s unclear how many, Americans contracted COVID-19, but only had mild symptoms, and so were not tested and quarantined. It’s also unclear how many other people those patients infected.

    The CDC is struggling to gather state testing data, which isn’t being publicly shared, on where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring or how many Americans total have been infected. A new genomic analysis by the Seattle Flu Study suggests that COVID-19 has likely been spreading in Washington state since mid-January, weeks before the U.S. implemented travel and quarantine measures.

    Even as the coronavirus spread from Asia to Europe, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and North America, and tracking and quarantining travelers became increasingly ineffective, the White House doubled down, insisting that containment was working. For weeks, both the President and administration officials repeatedly claimed that the decision to impose travel restrictions and quarantines was the reason for the low number of cases, and that the media and Democrats were exaggerating the threat. In fact, the low number of cases appears to be due to the fact that very few people were being tested for the disease….

  23. says

    Daily Beast – “On Monday Netanyahu Was Toasting Victory. Now He’s Toast.”:

    An elated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu roared “this is the biggest victory of my life!”—but that was Monday.

    By Thursday, his voice hoarse, a tired Netanyahu growled, “We won’t let them steal the election!” In the words of Netanyahu’s centrist rival and Israel’s probable next prime minister, Benny Gantz, “Someone here celebrated too early.”

    Then came a remarkable cascade of bad news for Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, and its first to be indicted while in office.

    Avigdor Lieberman, his onetime defense minister and now a fearsome nemesis, announced his support for a law proposed by Gantz, a former army chief of staff, which would bar an indicted legislator from being appointed to form the government.

    Such a law would eliminate any route to immediate political survival for Netanyahu, whose trial in three separate cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is scheduled to open in Jerusalem District Court on March 17.

    In an almost unseen instance of Israeli multi-partisanship that Israeli media call “the anti-Bibi coalition,” this law enjoys the support of 62 members of the 120-member Knesset, from the majority-Arab Joint List through the left-wing Labor Party, and now, unto Lieberman, a hardline secular right-winger.

    Further, Lieberman, who holds seven potentially king-making Knesset seats, announced that he would recommend Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin choose Gantz to form the next government.

    It is the third election in under a year in which Netanyahu—and Gantz—have failed to secure an operating majority of the Knesset, but for Netanyahu the stakes are higher.

    Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former consul general in New York and adviser to former prime minister Ehud Barak, noted in an interview with The Daily Beast, that, “For the third time in one year, Netanyahu pushed for an election with one goal in mind: getting a 61-seat majority to grant him an immunity from prosecution over three severe indictments he is facing. For the third time he failed.”

    Netanyahu “could not form a government in April 2019, September 2019 and he cannot and will not form a government following the March 2020 election,” said Pinkas. “Cut the electorate however you want, in all three instances a [slim] majority sent a resounding ‘no’ to his anti-democratic, anti-legal, it’s-all-about-me message.”

    And Netanyahu was about to receive another blow.

    Late Thursday, Moshe Yaalon, another former army chief of staff and the most hardline rightist in the Gantz centrist coalition, agreed to support a minority government led by Gantz, with the support of the Joint List, the Arab-majority party that leapt from 13 Knesset seats to 15 even as Netanyahu intensified his attack on Arab citizens, who form 21 percent of Israel’s population.

    “Gantz is joining forces with terror supporters!” Netanyahu declared in a meeting of his coalition members. “Gantz’s move undermines the foundations of Israeli democracy and subverts the will of the voter. We’ll stand strong against it.”

    Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, 45, a Haifa attorney and one of the election’s biggest winners, replied that, “Netanyahu wouldn’t recognize what democracy is.”

    “Pack your things, Bibi,” Odeh tweeted. “You’re going home.”

    As the situation unfolded Thursday night, Netanyahu asked his attorney general to “immediately” open a criminal investigation into alleged Lieberman electoral shenanigans a decade ago. Lieberman responded with a press release: seven laughing/crying emojis and not a single word.

    By dawn on Friday, an increasingly cornered Netanyahu was accusing Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel, who chairs Israel’s electoral commission, the body responsible for counting the votes, of criminal malfeasance. Netanyahu promised to petition the supreme court to investigate Hendel’s political affiliations.

    The commission condemned any implication of impropriety and Gantz posted that “counting all the votes, including those of citizens under quarantine due to fears of the coronavirus, is the basis of a democratic country, and one must respect the results and the voters’ choice—and no less the work of the Electoral Commission.”

    Former Chief of Staff Yaalon noted darkly that, “Netanyahu is refusing to respect the results of the election. His incitement could lead to a political assassination.”

    Acknowledging Netanyahu’s “cult following of around 20 or 30 seats that thinks he’s a god-send and indispensable national treasure,” Pinkas said, “a majority thinks perhaps it’s time to go.”…

    Much more atl, including Netanyahu’s reported attempts to blackmail an opposition politician and the blowback from his racist 2018 Nation-State Law. The commonalities across corrupt authoritarian movements are striking.

  24. johnson catman says

    re SC @40: So, if 1% of US citizens died because of that, it would only be 3 million people. Yeah, definitely acceptable odds. Fucking idiot.

  25. johnson catman says

    re SC @39: If The Orange Toddler-Tyrant does manage to lose in November, we can expect the same type of behavior from him. Not only that, but without a doubt, he would do as much damage in the two months as a lame duck as he could possibly do.

  26. says

    Sara Gideon:

    BREAKING: A new poll shows our campaign leading against Senator Susan Collins BY FOUR POINTS.

    We can win this race and replace her in the Senate this November—but we need your help to do it:…

    Link to donate atl.

  27. johnson catman says

    re SC @46: If they are dodging, they most likely support the lawsuit but are afraid to come out and say it for fear that it would hurt their re-election chances.

  28. says

    TPM – “Heckler Waves A Nazi Flag During Bernie Sanders’ Rally In Phoenix”:

    A heckler unfurled a Nazi flag as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the only Jewish 2020 candidate, held a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday night.

    A video posted by a rally attendee shows a man in a white shirt waving a swastika flag before members of the crowd ripped it away from his hands.

    “Whoever it was, I think they’re a little outnumbered tonight,” Sanders said in response to the commotion after the man was escorted out by police, per a video posted on Twitter by another rally attendee. “And more importantly they’re going to be outnumbered in November.”…

  29. says

    Greg Sargent: “A judge’s extraordinary rebuke of William Barr’s dishonest shilling for Trump absolutely demands that House Democrats step up oversight of AG Barr. This is about what’s coming. It’s about being prepared for Barr to assist Trump’s reelection. New piece:…”

    WaPo link atl.

  30. says

    NEW: @MittRomney will NOT block subpoenas in the Homeland Security Cmte as a part of the GOP investigation into Burisma (which he has criticized, saying the investigation ‘appears political’), per a spox.

    If Romney had voted AGAINST subpoenas in the Homeland Security Cmte, it would have resulted in a tie, & a tie fails.

    Romney spox says Cmte Chair Ron Johnson ‘has confirmed that any interview of the witness would occur in a closed setting without a hearing or public spectacle’.”

  31. says

    Quartz – “UN study finds almost 90% of men and women are biased against women”:

    The world is sexist. No country—not Iceland, not Denmark, none—has achieved gender parity, and women continue to face enormous struggles in large parts of the world to see their basic human rights recognized.

    But does that mean everyone is sexist? Pretty much, yes.

    A new United Nations report, which looks at gender inequality and attitudes towards women around the world, put a staggering number to it: Nearly 90% of all people—that is, both men and women—are prejudiced against women.

    The research checked biases around seven indicators by asking whether or not men make better political leaders; women and men have the same rights; university is more important for men than women; men should have more rights to a job than women; men make better business executives; physical violence by a partner is ever justified; and, finally, whether or not women should be granted full reproductive rights.

    According to the findings, published today as part of the Gender Social Norms Index (pdf, p. 8), only 14% of women and 10% of men are free of bias against women. This is a data point that correlates with gender inequality, the study found: Where biases against women are stronger, inequality between genders tends to be higher….

    (I’m not quoting the parts about the bias allegedly increasing because I highly doubt the differences are statistically significant.)

  32. says

    “Ocasio-Cortez says she’ll support Biden if he wins Democratic nomination”:

    Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thursday she would support former Vice President Joe Biden if he became the Democratic presidential candidate.

    “I’ve said throughout this entire process that what is so important is that we ultimately unite behind who that Democratic nominee is,” Ocasio-Cortez, who has endorsed Biden’s main rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic race, told Seth Meyers in an appearance on his late-night show.

    “I think it’s a two-way street. I’ve been concerned by some folks that say if [Sanders] is the nominee they won’t support him and the other way around,” she continued.

    The progressive firebrand, who also canvassed for Sanders in 2016, added that the general election in November is “more important than all of us.”…

  33. says

    SC @34:

    […] the administration must use any time that containment measures might buy to prepare the country for an inevitable outbreak. […]

    And that’s exactly what the Trump administration did not do.

  34. says

    SC @49, what I took away from this was:

    […] Terrorism studies expert Marsha Crenshaw and Iran scholar Abbas Milani, challenging the notion that the maximum pressure campaign is working, argued that the tactic is an erratic strategy that hurts the Iranian people without leading to change in the Iranian government. […]

  35. johnson catman says

    re SC @55 from the twitter thread:

    Who the hell is playing tennis at the WH? Not Trump!

    Not unless it can be played from a golf cart.

  36. says

    A discussion of the response to coronavirus in rural areas of the USA:

    […] some of the hospitals that most frequently treat the poorest, sickest, and oldest patients — in other words, those most susceptible to suffering from serious COVID-19 symptoms — are already in a precarious position.

    Outbreaks threaten to collide with the little-noted but significant rural health care crisis that the U.S. has undergone over the past decade.

    Since 2010, 126 rural hospitals have closed. And according to statistics from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, 47 percent of rural hospitals in the U.S. were in the red in 2019. […]

    Absent aid from the federal government, experts told TPM, the outbreak could strain many rural hospitals that are already financially on the brink.

    […] “Who is actually going to pay for the care?” […]

    rural hospitals operate on extremely tight margins, and serve poorer and sicker parts of the U.S. population than urban providers. These hospitals — like Tenorio’s in New Mexico — predominantly rely on Medicare and Medicaid to reimburse patients, tightening the margins.

    Maggie Elehwany, vice president at the National Rural Health Association, told TPM that policy changes over the years — including a provision of recent accounting standard that cut into the amount of bad debt that hospitals can write off and 2 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursement — have made it significantly more difficult to stay afloat.

    “What we found was when states didn’t expand Medicaid, we ended up with people in rural America getting sick and not being covered,” Elehwany said. “And even if they did have insurance, what we found was that private insurance plans on the exchanges weren’t working in rural America.” […]

    Gerald Kominski, a UCLA professor who studies health-care finances, pointed out to TPM that Medicare and Medicaid pay the least to providers, in that order, ahead of no insurance at all. Private insurance pays the most. […]

    Cases of chronic respiratory disease, for example, are 75 percent higher in rural areas than urban, while the proportion of people 65 and older is far higher. […]

    for Tenorio, the rural New Mexico assistant administrator, the problems are less financial than material.

    He told TPM that in the event of a large outbreak, his hospital would discharge whatever patients could be discharged to open up additional room, before using a nearby assisted-living facility as spillover.

    Elehwany emphasized that these hospitals “are stressed already simply because of the narrow financial margins.”

    “If we don’t have stable rural hospitals, it’s gonna be a significant crisis out there.”


  37. says

    An elected official in Colorado threatened Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke … and he delivered the threat while holding an assault rifle.

    Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District is a special kind of stupid. This is a man who voted against the coronavirus funding on Wednesday, because … well, maybe Mr. Buck believes he can defend himself from COVID-19 with a gun.

    In a video Buck tweeted out this morning, he threatens former Vice President Joe Biden and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke for wanting to “take everyone’s AR-15s.” In the video, filmed presumably in the congressman’s office, Buck stands before a decoratively painted AR-15 hanging on the wall and says, “I have a message for Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. If you want to take everyone’s AR-15 in America, why don’t you swing by my office in Washington, D.C., and start with this one?” Then he takes the gun off the wall, holds it, and says, “Come and take it.” […]

    He pointed the gun directly at the camera person.

    Here’s a reminder of how dumb and terrible the man who retired from the U.S. attorney’s office in Colorado back in 2001 under a cloud of rumors of malfeasance actually is. Mr. Don’t-Tread-On-Me was sued in 2005 for violating American citizens’ constitutional rights, after he seized the tax information of over 5,000 people in a raid during his time at the Colorado district attorney’s office. […]


  38. says

    Trump acts like a cowardly asshat … again:

    [Today] Trump was slated to make a visit to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. But at the last minute, Trump cancelled the visit, with the White House stating that Trump did “not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.”

    But shortly after that statement, Trump provided a different reason for why he wouldn’t be making even a token gesture at leadership by visiting the people who are engaged in a desperate struggle to save hundreds of thousands of Americans. Asked about the abrupt cancellation, Trump said, “There was a problem with CDC with somebody who had the virus.” That suspected case has since tested negative, so Trump allows, “I may be going.”

    But he will definitely be heading for Mar-a-Lago for a few rounds of golf while the nation faces confusion and crisis.

    Update: After widespread criticism, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham says Trump’s CDC visit is on again. Or at least .. “probably” on.

    There will “probably be a tour,” said Grisham. She also confirmed that the reason for cancelling came over concern that someone at the CDC might be infected with coronavirus, so Trump cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.” The possible tour is now happening only because that “person tested negative.” […]


    Why does Trump think Mar-a-Lago is virus-free?

  39. says

    Coronavirus update, (it’s not from the Trump administration, so it’s more likely to be accurate):

    The effects of the coronavirus epidemic ricocheted around the globe, with cases surpassing 100,000 worldwide.

    Developments unfolded rapidly despite global efforts to check the outbreak’s advance. A French lawmaker tested positive; the Vatican reported its first case; the Netherlands recorded its first fatality; the number of cases in New York increased to 33; a cruise ship remained quarantined off the California coast; the University of Washington announced that it will shutter classrooms through March 20; and Iran’s death toll surged to 124.

    In the United States, the death toll rose to 14, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, and several states, including Maryland, confirmed their first cases.

    The Senate voted to approve $8.3 billion in emergency spending, but concerns remain about how far the outbreak will stretch the system.

    China, still the worst-hit nation, reported 143 new cases and 30 new deaths Friday, far lower than just a few weeks ago. But South Korea’s total neared 6,300 with 42 deaths, as its officials chided Japan for imposing “unreasonable” new travel restrictions. […]

    Washington Post link

  40. says

    Not political, but good for a laugh, which I needed: In what looks like a church service program, someone failed when it came to proofreading the cover. The text: “Remember that you are butt dust and into dust you shall return.”

  41. says

    AP – “Officials say gunmen kill 32 at ceremony in Afghan capital”:

    Gunmen opened fire Friday at a ceremony in Afghanistan’s capital attended by prominent political leaders, killing at least 32 people and wounding dozens more before the two attackers were slain by police, officials said.

    The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its website.

    Militants from IS have declared war on Afghanistan’s Shiites, and many of those at the ceremony were from the minority Shiite sect. The ceremony commemorated the 1995 slaying of Abdul Ali Mazari, the leader of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras, who are mostly Shiite Muslims.

    The Taliban said they were not involved in the attack, which came less than a week after the U.S. and the group signed an ambitious peace deal that lays out a path for the withdrawal of American forces from the country.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said 32 people were killed and 81 wounded in the attack in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul. The Health Ministry gave the same death toll but said 58 were wounded. All of the casualties were civilians, Rahimi said….

  42. says

    “Line from White House today on #COVID19

    ‘Frankly, so far it looks relatively contained’. — Larry Kudlow

    ‘This has been contained because the president took action’. — Kellyanne Conway”

    Epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, director of Harvard’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics: ‘In the US it is the opposite of contained’.”

  43. says

    Aaron Rupar:

    “First I want to thank you, for your decisive leadership … I also want to thank you for coming here today … I think that’s the most important thing I want to say” –CDC Director Redfield slathers Dear Leader-style praise on Trump during his tour of CDC headquarters

    I regret to inform you that CDC Director Redfield is a Trump sycophant

    CDC officials are unable to explain why they didn’t just use the WHO’s coronavirus test instead of trying to develop their own, which ended up being a failed effort that got in the way of efforts to promptly test more Americans

    Videos atl.

  44. says

    WSJ confirmed the rumors that have been circulating: Mohamed Bin Nayef, the former crown prince, and Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz, King Salman’s brother, have both been arrested today.

    These are two of the most prominent figures in the kingdom.

    This is a huge story, and quite the escalation from what seems to be a paranoid MBS.

    NYT also confirms news: The former crown prince who was arrested, Mohammed bin Nayef, is also the former interior minister and a longtime favorite of Washington.”

  45. says

    Chris Hayes: “Ok, the CDC appearance was the most disturbing one yet from Trump. He literally said experts were telling him to take sick Americans off a cruise ship but he doesn’t want to do it because it WILL MAKE THE NUMBERS GO UP and it ‘wasn’t our fault’. Holy Jesus.”

  46. says

    Rambling, incoherent Trump on a the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):

    We want to terminate Obamacare because it’s bad. Look, we’re running it really well, but we know it’s defective. It’s very defective. We got rid of the worst part. And that was a very important thing. You know getting rid of the individual mandate was a very important thing.

    But we want to get something — if we can get the House, you’ll have the best health care and health insurance anywhere on the planet. But we have to get the House back. Now, that means we have to hold the Senate. We have to get the House. We have to, obviously, keep the White House.

    But, what we’re doing is managing it really well.

    Now, it’s a case; it’s called Texas vs. — you understand — it’s Texas who is suing. They want to terminate it. But everybody there is also saying, and everybody — we have our great senator from Pennsylvania. Thank you very much, Pat, for being here. And Pat Toomey. And — but, very important — and our — by the way, our great congressmen, I have to say, they were warriors. Right? Real warriors, in terms of the fake impeachment. I will tell you that. But, so Texas is trying — and it’s Texas and many states — they’re trying to terminate, but they want to put something that’s much better. They’re terminating it to put much better. And they’ve all pledged that pre-existing conditions, 100 percent taken care of.

    Trump talked about Texas as if the case has nothing to do with the Trump administration. Yes, Republican officials at the state level filed the case. Guess who is championing the case. Guess who is backing Texas up. Guess who asked to courts to side with Texas (and with its co-litigants) in order to destroy the ACA entirely. Yes, the correct answer is the Trump administration.

    Trump’s ramblings above indicate that he did not understand the question he was asked at the Fox News town hall: Trump was asked how he reconciles trying to kill the ACA while promising to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

    And please note that in 2017 and 2018, Republicans did control the House, the Senate, and the White House. They tried “repeal and replace” a few times, but failed miserably because every plan they cam up with was ridiculous, wildly unpopular, promised more harm than good, or was so vague it could not be implemented.

  47. says

    SC @79:
    “Trump on coronavirus testing: ‘Anybody who wants a test, gets a test. And they’re beautiful’.”

    Trump can’t back that up at all. His administration cannot even back up their recent claim that “one million” tests would be available by today. Instead, about 75,000 test are available.

  48. says

    Lynna @ #95:

    Trump can’t back that up at all. His administration cannot even back up their recent claim that “one million” tests would be available by today. Instead, about 75,000 test are available.

    Now Pence, with no acknowledgement of his previous false promise, is saying the million tests will be available by Monday; a few minutes later, the others said they should be available “early next week.” And there’s no indication that the states have the capacity to test people at the necessary scale. I just saw a researcher on MSNBC saying only a couple thousand people in the US have been tested. The magnitude of this is difficult to comprehend.

  49. says

    When Pence was asked about the AIPAC news during the briefing, he said it was the first he’d heard the news (he lies, but seemed genuinely surprised – he attended and spoke at AIPAC).

    Note to anyone reading this: Please do not comment celebrating the possibility that people in congress or other AIPAC attendees will get sick or die. I saw it in the responses to the tweet @ #92 above, and it’s gross.

  50. says

    Sen. Schatz: “I get that the media has done some historic and some heroic work in this dark time. So have a few elected officials and lots of ordinary citizens. But how they cover this megalomania, dishonesty and incompetence very much matters for the future of this country.”

    I’ve suggested in the past that people who work in law should read Vichy France and the Jews. I think people who work in the media should read The Long Night: William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (not of the same quality, but more immediate) (and of course Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich!).

  51. says

    Another quote from Trump when he was speaking at the CDC today:

    Everyone of these doctors said, “How do you know so much about this stuff?”

    Trump told a bunch of lies and then pretended that the professionals at the CDC were amazed by his grasp of the issues with which the CDC deals.

    Clown in a red hat.

  52. says

    SC @97, for one thing, I think team Trump is lying on two levels: they’re lying about the number of tests available; and they are falsely equating availability with some future date when some tests kits will actually be mailed out. Some of the tests have not shipped yet.

    Experts say it looks like enough tests will be available “in a few weeks” or “over the next few weeks.” That’s too slow. That’s too late. Officials in Singapore have already tested all of the patients there with pneumonia or similar respiratory disease. Officials in South Korea have tested tens of thousands of people. In the USA, testing is a clusterfuck.

    Tests being developed for use at the state level cannot/have not met the need. That’s true in NYC.

    You are right to note that it is a confusing mess.

    Meanwhile, Trump says that, “Anyone who needs a test can get a test … and the tests are perfect!”

    A nurse who is showing symptoms of illness, a nurse who worked to care for a coronavirus patient, can’t get tested. He doctor ordered a test. Her county officials ordered a test. She is on a waiting list to get tested.

  53. says

    Tea Party doofus and Trump lickspittle, Representative Mark Meadows is replacing Mick Mulvaney and White House chief of staff. Mulvaney will be shunted off to northern Ireland as “special envoy.”

    Meadows was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. He was too conservative/bugnuts crazy for John Boehner.

  54. says

    Followup to comment 104.

    From HuffPo:

    Mulvaney, who is also stepping down from his job as head of the Office of Management and Budget, has been a staunch Trump loyalist. The president named the former Republican congressman acting White House chief of staff in December 2018 to replace John Kelly, hailing Mulvaney as a “great patriot.”

  55. says

    Followup to comment 102.

    From The Washington Post:

    […] The upshot was that the self-proclaimed medical savant [Trump] came off looking less interested in his administration’s unsteady efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus than he was in bolstering his own status in a campaign year. Trump repeatedly sought to judge his administration’s performance by the numbers of how many have been shown to have contracted the virus and comparing it to other nations — and, in doing so, appeared to be making judgments based solely on that scorecard. […]

  56. says

    From Dana Milbank:

    Do you have a nagging medical concern? A rash that won’t go away? Unexplained hearing loss? Are you currently bleeding out from a severed femoral artery?

    Well, fret no more. America now has a leading medical expert — some say the best — who will dispense diagnoses and prognoses to all — for free! This bold new telemedicine initiative, “Ask Dr. Trump,” will be offered on an unpredictable but highly frequent basis to all Americans (whether they like it or not).

    Dr. Donald J. Trump, of course, is the pioneering scientist who first determined that climate change is a hoax and, more recently, discovered that windmills cause cancer. In between, he proved that forest fires could be contained by “raking” and identified a previously unrecognized tropical cyclone pattern targeting Alabama.

    Dr. Trump acquired what he calls “a natural instinct for science” not through formal education but because “my uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years.” Sadly, the elder Trump didn’t live to see his nephew’s greatest discoveries in the medical field: The flu shot is basically “injecting bad stuff into your body” and exercise can shorten your life. Dr. Trump used his instinctive grasp of medicine to become “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” with an innate life expectancy of 200 years.

    To the relief of millions, this extremely stable genius has turned to the challenge of solving the novel coronavirus, or as Dr. Trump spells it in the Latin, “Caronavirus.” Early on in the outbreak, Dr. Trump was among the first to determine that the virus “miraculously goes away” in April. Dr. Trump’s pathbreaking epidemiology enabled him to determine that the World Health Organization’s report that 3.4 percent of “reported” cases of the virus have died is a “false number.” Trump’s research, based extensively on “my hunch,” puts the true figure at “way under 1 percent.”

    Related research by Dr. Trump found spread of the virus is not “inevitable,” that cases in the United States are “going very substantially down” — and that they “are all getting better.” This informed Dr. Trump’s reclassification of the coronavirus as a “new hoax” by Democrats — though he later clarified that the illness itself was not the hoax, only Democrats’ attempts to blame him.

    In fact, Dr. Trump’s DNA research has determined that neither he nor bats nor pangolins caused the virus’s spread but rather President Barack Obama. “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing,” Trump disclosed, a finding that eluded experts.

    Given the reduced virulence that Dr. Trump discovered, he concluded there could be “hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work” — though he “NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.” But even if they did, Dr. Trump’s pharmaceutical advances have put us “very close to a vaccine,” within “months” — about a year ahead of other experts’ forecasts
    This breakthrough is possible because while other medical authorities have classified coronavirus as “novel,” Dr. Trump has determined that “this is a flu” and he renamed it the “corona flu.” Therefore he suspects that “a solid flu vaccine” would have efficacy, and “we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this.”

    Now that Dr. Trump has beaten the virus and sent the sick back to work, it would be a tragedy to waste his medical expertise. Hence, the demand for an “Ask Dr. Trump” column, which should go something like this:

    A reader asks: Dr. Trump, the left side of my body has gone numb and immobile. What should I do?

    Dr. Trump replies: If you are healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.

    A reader asks: Dr. Trump, I am experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. Should I call 911?

    Dr. Trump replies: It’s very seasonal. It’s like a flu. And it is a little bit different, but in some ways it’s easier and in some ways it’s a little bit tougher. But we have it so well under control.

    A reader asks: Dr. Trump, my mother is in a persistent vegetative state. Should I continue life support?

    Dr. Trump replies: That’s a problem that’s going to go away. People get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work.

    A reader asks: Dr. Trump, we’ve got a mass casualty situation at the ER. Can you advise us on triage?

    Dr. Trump replies: When somebody sneezes — I mean, I try to bail out as much as possible. […]

    Washington Post link

  57. KG says

    SC@457, 458 in older comments,

    Yes, Trump is undoubtedly a serious public menace. I wonder if any of his worshippers will finally wake up to this, now that his narcissism and incompetence are an immediate threat to their lives. Trump will still be boasting about how the “corona flu” virus has been contained, thanks to him, if the US reaches a stage where the streets are littered with corpses.

    I made an error in the comment of mine you were responding to there: the “3.4%” death rate Trump said was a “false number” was not derived from Chinese sources, apparently – it was just the proportion, at one specific time, of deaths among total diagnosed cases worldwide. So, nothing “false” about it, although it may well be higher than the eventual percentage of deaths among those infected.

  58. says

    Adam Jentleson: “Trump’s entire life has taught him that he can say whatever bullshit he needs to say to get through the day, and no one – not the press, not law enforcement nor anyone else – will eve really catch up with him. Now he’s trying to bullshit his way through a global pandemic.”

  59. johnson catman says

    re SC @110:

    President Trump is heading to the Trump International Golf Club.

    But of course he is. He does his best work on the golf course. And he is a TOTALLY honest golfer, believe me!
    I would very much LOVE to see some PGA officials follow him on one of his outings and calculate his ACTUAL score including penalties and such.

  60. lumipuna says

    A slightly exaggerated timeline on some recent world events

    China in early January: “We’ve got this coronavirus thing contained & under control. Now let’s get down to celebrating New Year.”

    USA in early January: “What coronavirus? We just eliminated an urgent security threat from foreign terrorist regime. No US soldiers were harmed in the process.”

    Iran in early January: “What coronavirus? We just eliminated an urgent security threat from foreign terrorist regime, and paid blood with blood.”

    China in early February: “We will contain and stop this epidemic, no matter what the cost. Hopefully, other countries will appreciate our sacrifices, and join the effort to prevent any establishment of new outbreaks from the stray international cases that originated from New Year’s travel.”

    USA in early February: “We’re closely monitoring travel from China, to catch any possible spread of the new coronavirus. There’s been only a few confirmed cases in US, and we trust that China will get their problem under control very soon. There’s no reason for American citizens or local authorities to worry at all.”

    Iran in early February: “We don’t have this coronavirus thing here. Now let’s get down to voting in the election.”

    China in early March: “We’re winning the battle against disease! Hopefully, after all these sacrifices, we can soon return to normal life.”

    USA in early March: “We’re closely monitoring travel from China and Iran, to catch any possible new spread of the foreignervirus. The spread of the virus in US remains very small, and we will get this problem under control very soon. There’s no reason for American stock markets to worry at all. Now let’s get down to election campaigning.”

    Iran in early March: “The election results are in, and also, it looks like half the government are sick with coronavirus. Dunno about the other people. Now let’s get down to celebrating New Year.”

  61. says

    Reality checks we may need (over and over again in the coming months):

    […] Nothing untoward has ever been proved against Hunter Biden, not even alleged (beyond generic) “corruption,” and the search for something untoward is all an effort to create this cycle’s version of “but her emails.”

    Key to the Republican argument is the notion that the younger Biden had no qualifications for the job. […] Donald Trump lawyer Pam Bondi said at his impeachment trial. “Hunter Biden had no experience in natural gas, no experience in the energy sector, no experience with Ukrainian regulatory affairs. As far as we know, he doesn’t speak Ukrainian.”

    Trump being Trump, he’s whittled all that down to the claim that Hunter Biden was appointed to the board because he “didn’t have a job.”

    Since we’re going to be hearing about this nonstop for the next eight months (ugh), here’s the reality.
    Hunter Biden is a graduate of Yale Law School, by far the best and most prestigious law school in the country (sorry, Harvard). Notes Trump fact-checker extraordinaire Daniel Dale, at the time that “Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.”

    […] His teaching gig in Georgetown’s foreign service program, which is focused on international development, shows that Hunter did have expertise and an active interest in international relations and development. That makes sense, because World Food Program USA is focused on ending global hunger (and is currently raising money for relief efforts among Syrian refugees).

    Rosemont Seneca was co-founded by Christopher Heinz, son of Teresa Heinz (of ketchup fame) and stepson of John Kerry. There’s little information about the firm online, but it looks like a garden-variety hedge fund. No one has alleged anything shady about it yet. But what it does show is that Biden had connections to the world of high finance that would be of interest to any conglomerate looking to raise capital and expand into new markets. […]

    Was he on the board, likely, because of his last name? Probably. Was it a stupid idea to join such a board while his father was vice president? Of course. […]

    We now get to spend the rest of the year playing the “both sides are corrupt” game, muddying the waters on an issue (corruption) we should own easily. But pretending that Hunter had zero qualifications for the job, or worse, had no job? It’s utter horseshit, and we should be very clear to call it out as such.

    Republicans are going to believe whatever they want to believe. That’s the power of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. If Trump says it’s okay to go to work even when infected with COVID-19? Okay then! Mission accomplished. All is well.

    But we should fight and make sure the traditional media doesn’t repeat those claims as fact. Because, like pretty much everything else that comes out of Trump’s mouth, it’s utter horseshit.


  62. says

    Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, joined MSNBC anchor Yasmin Vossoughian yesterday to discuss the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

    VOSSOUGHIAN: “Do you think the United States, the federal government, was adequately prepared to deal with an outbreak of the coronavirus?”

    REDLENER: “That’s the last way I would think about describing it. This is the most egregious level of incompetence in an administration that I think we’ve witnessed, at least in my memory.

    We have problems with how the government responded to Katrina. That was minor league compared to this.

    It’s extraordinary when you contrast the level of what we’re dealing with as a public health challenge and the absolute gross amateur-hour incompetence coming out of the White House. It’s actually stunning. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a kind of an objective assessment of what we’ve been doing, when we got started, why we haven’t involved the private sector a long time ago, the fact that we’ve done maybe a thousand, maybe a little bit more tests, when South Korea has done 75,000, 100,000 tests. This whole thing is out of control.

    … Preparedness is not just about developing a vaccine and giving it to people and the appropriate drugs. It’s also about, are we prepared for a major national, international emergency in terms of preserving our economic stability and confidence of the public and so on?”

    Entire MSNBC interview

  63. says

    Competent, “perfect” testing for the coronavirus was available. Doofuses in the Trump administration chose not to use it.

    On Saturday Jan. 11 — a month and a half before the first Covid-19 case not linked to travel was diagnosed in the United States — Chinese scientists posted the genome of the mysterious new virus, and within a week virologists in Berlin had produced the first diagnostic test for the disease.

    Soon after, researchers in other nations rolled out their own tests, too, sometimes with different genetic targets. By the end of February, the World Health Organization had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries.

    The United States was not among them.

    Why the United States declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily as a bridge until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce its own test, remains a perplexing question and the key to the Trump administration’s failure to provide enough tests to identify the coronavirus infections before they could be passed on, […]

    The slowness of the testing regimen — which, administration officials acknowledged this week, is still not producing enough tests to meet the national demand — was the first, and most sweeping, of many failures. So far there have been confirmed cases in at least 23 states, and at least 15 deaths, while the stock market plunged and an otherwise healthy economy braced for a major disruption.

    But neither the CDC nor the coronavirus task force chaired by Vice President Mike Pence would say who made the decision to forgo the WHO test […]

    “Please provide an explanation for why the Covid-19 diagnostic test approved by the World Health Organization was not used,” Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate health committee, [asked]

    So far, none has been provided.

    “We developed a test very rapidly after China produced the [genetic] sequence. We are in the process of validating that and that’s the test we’re going to be using,” said the CDC’s Stephen Redd, a 30-year veteran of the agency, at a recent briefing, even as members of the presidential task force acknowledged that the pace of testing had lagged.

    Azar, who initially led the White House response and has now been sidelined by Pence, also has kept defending the testing regime.

    “We’ve actually been progressing with this on par with our peer countries,” he told reporters recently. [Lie!]

    The government’s incapacity to conduct widespread testing slowed diagnoses, creating chains of infection. It also deprived epidemiologists of a map that could have told them how far and how fast the virus was traveling and where they should concentrate efforts to slow it down. […]

    From the start, the White House focused on containment, trusting that a limited ban on travel to and from China could somehow force a fast-moving virus to stop cold when it hit the Chinese border. […]

    “They needed and still need to be searching for where the cases are, instead of trusting that limited travel bans were keeping out a virus that was probably already on the march,” said former FDA Commissioner David Kessler.

    That wasn’t how the president viewed it.

    “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” […]

    James Lawler, a global-health expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Global Center for Health Security, where some coronavirus evacuees are being treated and the possible course of the epidemic is being modeled, said the government’s failures have been so extensive that when asked what went wrong, he parried, “What went right?” […]


    More at the link.

  64. says

    From Chris Hayes:

    Trump said that the coronavirus tests “are all perfect like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect, right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

    He’s right that the original CDC tests were “perfect” the way his Ukraine phone call was “perfect.” As in: a disaster.

    This is what happens when you elect a BS artist to the most important job in the country.

  65. KG says

    Eh, I suspect most people in China can’t take sick leave either [like those in the USA and UK economically unable to do so], unless the government literally orders their workplace to be shut down. – lumipuna@10

    Likely enough, but then, the Chinese government can and will issue and enforce such orders when they deem it necessary – and indeed, have done so in the current emergency, reportedly with considerable success (I stress “reportedly” – we are after all pretty much completely reliant on what they tell us). The ideology of individual selfishness and greed promulgated by the right in the USA, UK and elsewhere over the past few decades has deeply eroded the sense of social solidarity and sacrifice for the common good – the only form of it they have any time for is MAGA-type boasting and hatred or contempt of outsiders – as well as leaving a large proportion of the workforce in precarious employment, but their governments will not take actions such as those the Chinese government has taken, because they would seriously affect the profits of important capitalist constituencies.

    In short, in an emergency such as the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to get people to behave in ways likely to contain the spread of the disease, you need either genuine social solidarity and a properly functioning welfare system, or a sufficiently effective authoritarian government able to override special interests (other than its own,of course).

  66. KG says

    A noteworthy point about the pandemic* is that in at least three countries – Iran, Italy and France – members of the political elite have contracted the infection. This makes me somewhat doubtful of the claims that most cases are now being detected, because such elites consist of at most a few thousand people, out of populations of tens of millions. Of course, elite members are more likely than most to attend large meetings and mix with people flying in from many countries, but is that enough to account for the observation?

    *Come on WHO – you know it is one, why not say so?

  67. says

    NBC – “Millions locked down in Italy as government announces sweeping quarantine”:

    More than quarter of Italy’s population has been placed under lock down by the country’s government as it took it’s most drastic measures to date to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

    It applies to some 10 million residents in the Lombardy region, including the city of Milan and another 6 million in provinces throughout the country, including Venice, Parma and Modena.

    As a result people will be restricted from leaving or entering designated red zones except for ”undeferrable work needs or emergency situations” starting Sunday through at least April 3, Conte added.

    The government made the announcement Sunday, after Italy saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since an outbreak erupted there last month.

    More than 230 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and as of Sunday, a total of 5,883, people have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness. Close to half that number — 2,651 — hospitalized.

    “We want to protect the health of all citizens,” Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said. “We are aware that this will create unease and that these measures will be a sacrifice, big and small. But this is the time to be responsible.”

    Sunday’s decree restricts anyone from leaving or entering designated red zones except for ”undeferrable work needs or emergency situations” starting Sunday through at least April 3, Conte added.

    Residents everywhere were instructed to avoid public gatherings. Cinemas, theaters, dance schools, bingo halls and pubs will also be closed. Restaurants will be allowed to remain open only if they can keep a 1 meter distance among customers.

    Shutting down the city could have a devastating impact on local businesses. Italy is the European Union’s third largest economy, but tourism officials are projecting 32 million fewer foreign visitors and a loss of $8.1 billion in the second quarter alone.

    Foreign airlines are canceling flights to Milan, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. is screening all passengers from flights originating in Italy and other countries with coronavirus outbreaks….

    I’m not sure when this screening began (if it’s to be believed that it’s happening), but I read as recently as two or three days ago accounts from people flying into the US from Italy and just walking through with no special screening at all.

  68. says

    CNN – “CPAC attendee tested positive for coronavirus”:

    The American Conservative Union announced on Saturday that one of the attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, has tested positive for coronavirus.

    President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials attended the conference, though the ACU says the attendee did not come into contact with the president or vice president, nor did they attend events in the main hall.

    When asked by reporters if he was worried about being exposed to coronavirus after he attended CPAC, Trump said, “I’m not concerned at all.”

    Trump, who was speaking alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ahead of their dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, also noted that the administration would not cancel any political rallies as the virus spreads.

    “We’ll have tremendous rallies. We’re doing very well. We’ve done a fantastic job, with respect to that subject, on the virus,” Trump said….

  69. says

    Politico – “Trump’s mismanagement helped fuel coronavirus crisis”:

    …For six weeks behind the scenes, and now increasingly in public, Trump has undermined his administration’s own efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak — resisting attempts to plan for worst-case scenarios, overturning a public-health plan upon request from political allies and repeating only the warnings that he chose to hear. Members of Congress have grilled top officials like Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield over the government’s biggest mistake: failing to secure enough testing to head off a coronavirus outbreak in the United States. But many current and former Trump administration officials say the true management failure was Trump’s.

    “It always ladders to the top,” said one person helping advise the administration’s response, who noted that Trump’s aides discouraged Azar from briefing the president about the coronavirus threat back in January. “Trump’s created an atmosphere where the judgment of his staff is that he shouldn’t need to know these things.”

    Interviews with 13 current and former officials, as well as individuals close to the White House, painted a picture of a president who rewards those underlings who tell him what he wants to hear while shunning those who deliver bad news. For instance, aides heaped praise on Trump for his efforts to lock down travel from China — appealing to the president’s comfort zone of border security — but failed to convey the importance of doing simultaneous community testing, which could have uncovered a potential U.S. outbreak. Government officials and independent scientists now fear that the coronavirus has been silently spreading in the United States for weeks, as unexplained cases have popped up in more than 25 states.

    As the outbreak has grown, Trump has become attached to the daily count of coronavirus cases and how the United States compares to other nations, reiterating that he wants the U.S. numbers kept as low as possible. Health officials have found explicit ways to oblige him by highlighting the most optimistic outcomes in briefings, and their agencies have tamped down on promised transparency. The CDC has stopped detailing how many people in the country have been tested for the virus, and its online dashboard is running well behind the number of U.S. cases tracked by Johns Hopkins and even lags the European Union’s own estimate of U.S. cases.

    After senior CDC official Nancy Messonnier correctly warned on Feb. 25 that a U.S. coronavirus outbreak was inevitable, a statement that spooked the stock market and broke from the president’s own message that the situation was under control, Trump himself grew angry and administration officials discussed muzzling Messonnier for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, said two individuals close to the administration. However, Azar defended her role, and Messonnier ultimately was allowed to continue making public appearances, although her tone grew less dire in subsequent briefings.

    The pressure to earn Trump’s approval can be a distraction at best and an obsession at worst: Azar, having just survived a bruising clash with a deputy and sensing that his job was on the line, spent part of January making appearances on conservative TV outlets and taking other steps to shore up his anti-abortion bona fides and win approval from the president, even as the global coronavirus outbreak grew stronger.

    “We have in President Trump the greatest protector of religious liberty who has ever sat in the Oval Office,” Azar said on Fox News on Jan. 16, hours after working to rally global health leaders to fight the United Nations’ stance on abortion rights. Trump also had lashed out at Azar over bad health-care polling that day.

    Around the same time, Azar had concluded that the new coronavirus posed a public health risk and tried to share an urgent message with the president: The potential outbreak could leave tens of thousands of Americans sickened and many dead.

    But Trump’s aides mocked and belittled Azar as alarmist, as he warned the president of a major threat to public health and his own economic agenda, said three people briefed on the conversations. Some officials argued that the virus would be no worse than the flu.

    Azar, meanwhile, had his own worries: A clash with Medicare chief Seema Verma had weakened his standing in the White House, which in December had considered replacements for both Azar and Verma.

    “Because he feels pretty insecure, about the feuds within his department and the desire to please the president, I don’t know if he was in the position to deliver the message that the president didn’t want to hear,” said one former official who’s worked with Azar.

    The jockeying for Trump’s favor was part of the cause of Azar’s destructive feud with Verma, as the two tried to box each other out of events touting Trump initiatives. Now, officials including Azar, Verma and other senior leaders are forced to spend time shoring up their positions with the president and his deputies at a moment when they should be focused on a shared goal: stopping a potential pandemic.

    “The boss has made it clear, he likes to see his people fight, and he wants the news to be good,” said one adviser to a senior health official involved in the coronavirus response. “This is the world he’s made.”

    Trump’s unpredictable demands and attention to public statements — and his own susceptibility to flattery — have created an administration where top officials feel constantly at siege, worried that the next presidential tweet will decide their professional future, and panicked that they need to regularly impress him.

    The most obvious practitioner of this strategy is Azar, who became Trump’s second health secretary after the first, Tom Price, failed to bond with Trump and was ousted over a charter-jet scandal. Azar decided early in his tenure to have “zero daylight” with the president, said three individuals close to him, and the health secretary routinely fawns over the president in his TV appearances on Fox News….

    Meanwhile, Trump’s political allies have tried to circumvent the policy process, causing further headaches for the overwhelmed health department….

  70. says

    We must figure out how to protect the most vulnerable from #COVID19. At [Life Care Center of] Kirkland, of 120 total residents living there, 26 (20%) have died since Feb 19 and many more are sick.

    Of 170 staff, 70 (40%) showing symptoms.

    We must anticipate this elsewhere.

    The vulnerable here include not just the elderly, but of course the healthcare workers who are exposed potentially many times per day.

    Protecting our front lines of defense against disease is crucially important in both biology and society.

    Resources should focus there first

    In addition, This is a serious vulnerability for the Whole of the US healthcare system. Spread within a few retirement/nursing homes like this in a major city can alone overload our healthcare system and critical care / ICU beds….

    If discussions are not already ongoing, we should be considering makeshift healthcare facilities for some cities. Perhaps unused apartment buildings or warehouses.

    These discussions should be ongoing now, in event of need later. This is time to be precautionary vs reactionary.

    Though watching & waiting before making high consequence decisions seems efficient, we can look to Seattle and elsewhere to see the future for cities not yet hit. Let’s be smart: Stop gatherings, scrutinize healthcare facility visitors, work from home policies…. These all help.”

  71. says

    Trump tweeted: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!”

    Greg Sargent: “Trump’s pathologies have been exposed as an active and ongoing danger to the country, and Democrats and the media need to describe those pathologies clearly and bluntly in exactly those terms:…”

  72. johnson catman says

    re SC @138: OMFG that is funny! Kate McKinnon can hardly contain her pleasure. We really lost the best candidate.

  73. says

    johnson catman @ #140, right after I read your comment I saw the president of the Association of Flight Attendants on MSNBC telling “lawmakers and everyone in government” to “take a very close look” at Warren’s plans/recommendations for addressing coronavirus. “Elizabeth Warren has a very fulsome plan, and we really encourage everyone to look at that and implement it immediately.”

  74. says

    From SC’s link in comment 133.

    If @DrJillStein keeps on spouting Putin Propaganda it will be an agonizing 8 months ahead. And you know she won’t stop.
    It’s far worse than that. She’s helping push a Russian false-narrative they are trying to start about Biden being in cognitive decline. Remember the whisperings in early 2016 that Clinton was secretly in bad health? This is the same type of crap coming from the same source.
    Dr. Stein, didn’t you do enough damage last election, helping (aided by Russian media outlets) to deny a historic opportunity for Americans to elect the first woman ever as the U.S. president? Given the damage you did to Clinton in 2016, “Dems” should not listen to you in 2020.

    From Jill Stein’s Russian propaganda tweets:

    Biden’s lies & record are bad enough, but the biggest risk is his obvious cognitive decline. He said he’s running for Senate, confused wife & sister, forgot Obama’s name etc. This isn’t going away. If Dems close their eyes & keep pushing Joe, it’ll be an agonizing 8 months ahead.

  75. says

    More on misinformation, or outright blocking of facts, by the Trump administration:

    […] The Associated Press reported late Saturday that the White House overruled a CDC warning that elderly and physically fragile Americans be advised not to fly on commercial airlines. Trump administration officials denied the report.

    Politico Link

    More from the Associated Press story:

    On Friday, the CDC quietly updated its website to tell older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid crowds. It urges those people to “take actions to reduce your risk of exposure,” but it doesn’t specifically address flying.

    Pence, speaking Saturday after meeting with cruise ship industry leaders in Florida, targeted his travel advice to a narrower group: older people with serious health problems.

    “If you’re a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this would be a good time to practice common sense and to avoid activities including traveling on a cruise line,” Pence said, adding they were looking to cruise line officials for action, guidance and flexibility with those passengers.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested older Americans and those with health problems should avoid crowds “especially in poorly ventilated spaces.”

    Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Fauci said people with underlying conditions — particularly those who are elderly — should take steps to distance themselves from the risk of infection, including avoiding crowds and long plane trips “and above all don’t get on a cruise ship,” he said. […]

    Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, last week warned U.S. lawmakers against minimizing the viruses risk for vulnerable people. During a Congressional hearing, he said the coronavirus “is like the angel of death for older individuals.”

    Some experts said they’ve been hoping for clearer and louder guidance from the government, to prod vulnerable people to take every possible step to avoid settings where they might more easily become infected.

    “The clear message to people who fit into those categories is; ‘You ought to become a semi-hermit. You’ve got to really get serious in your personal life about social distancing, and in particular avoiding crowds of any kind,’” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University expert on infectious diseases.

    That can include not only avoiding essential commercial travel but also large church services and crowded restaurants, he added.

    Dr. Tom Frieden, a former CDC director, said whether to recommend the frail and elderly avoid air travel is “a difficult question,” but clearly this is a time when such conversations should be taking place. […]

    Official: White House didn’t want to tell seniors not to fly

  76. says

    Yep, for Republicans it’s still about her emails:

    […] Clinton was responding to a question from Zakaria [CNN’s Fareed Zakaria], who noted that on Tuesday the most-searched article on Facebook was a Fox News story about a judge granting a request from the group Judicial Watch for Clinton to be deposed over her State Department emails.

    “What that said to me,“ Clinton said, “was here it’s Super Tuesday: The Democrats are trying to decide who they want to nominate against Donald Trump, the coronavirus is spreading — we now have more and more reports from different places in the country — but led by Fox News and Breitbart and others, it’s going to be about my emails — a totally bogus, finished, nonsense attack on me.”

    She added: “They know how to deliver those stories through the algorithms into the feeds of millions and millions of people.” […]

    “They’re not interested or even worried about Trump saying that the coronavirus is a hoax. They don’t want their listeners, their viewers, you know, the people that they’re frankly feeding this other narrative to, to be focused on that,” she said.


  77. says

    Paul Farhi:

    President Trump, on the coronavirus, a timeline:…

    Feb. 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China…so, we’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.” More…

    …Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

    Feb. 25: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare forCoronavirus.“ (Congress approved $8.3 billion on March 4).

    Press conference: “At that time, nobody had ever even heard of Ebola or ever conceived of something where you basically — the people would disintegrate. And we’re still working on Ebola…

    The level of death with Ebola — you know, at the time, it was a virtual hundred percent.” (Ebola death rate 27-88 percent).

    Feb. 26: “I don’t think it’s going to come to [closing schools]…especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up.

    We’re going very substantially down, not up.” He added: “We have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.”

    March 2: “We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies, and they’re going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon…

    And they’re going to have something that makes you better, and that’s going to actually take place we think even sooner.” (Experts say a vaccine is a year or more away).

    March 3: “There’s only one hot spot, and that’s also pretty much in a very — in a home, as you know, in a nursing home.” (CDC had already announced “community spread” in Oregon and California).

    March 4: “ The Obama administration made a decision on testing and that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago.” (Not true).

    Hannity interview: “So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.” (And they infect other people by doing so).

    March 6: “I like this stuff. I really get it… People are really surprised I understand this stuff…. “Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.”

    “Anybody that needs a test gets a test. Anybody that needs a test…As of right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test can get one.” (Production is ramping up, but tests — and the labs and equipment necessary to run them — are still very limited.)

  78. says

    BBC – “Coronavirus: Italy death toll soars amid travel ban”:

    The number of people to have died from the coronavirus in Italy has shot up by 133 in a day to 366, officials say.

    The total number of infections leapt 25% to 7,375 from 5,883, according to the Civil Protection agency.

    The jump in figures comes as millions adapt to new measures introduced on Sunday in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

    Up to 16 million people in Lombardy and 14 provinces need special permission to travel under new quarantine rules.

    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.

    The radical measures will last until 3 April.

    The latest figures mean Italy now has the highest number of confirmed infections outside of China, where the outbreak originated in December. It has overtaken South Korea, where the total number of cases is 7,313.

    Among the latest people to test positive in Italy is the army’s chief of staff. Salvatore Farina said he felt well and was self-isolating.

    The strict new quarantine measures affect a quarter of the Italian population and centre on the rich northern part of the country that powers its economy.

    The health system is under immense strain in Lombardy, a northern region of 10 million people, where people are being treated in hospital corridors.

    The number of infections worldwide is more than 107,000, with about 3,600 deaths.

    In the US more than 400 cases have been reported, and the death toll is 19.

    Among other countries to report a rise in the total number of cases are: France (to 1,126); Germany (939); Spain (589); the UK (273); the Netherlands (188).

    Colombia, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Malta, the Maldives and Paraguay have, meanwhile, all reported their first cases.

  79. says

    More on the lies coming out of the Trump administration:

    […] Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced in front of the Senate on Feb. 13 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had begun working with five cities that were ready to begin testing for the coronavirus.

    But the CDC pushed back when Azar sent the agency his prepared comments because the cities were not prepared, and the tests were not working, according to The Washington Post.

    In addition to the malfunctioning tests, the administration had narrowed testing to those who had visited China or come in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. Only about a dozen labs outside the CDC could test for the virus at the end of February, further limiting the number of people who have been tested so far to 1,583.

    The president himself has made statements that conflict with experts, such as saying the virus being “very much under control in the USA” in late February. Trump claimed on Friday that “anybody that needs a test, gets a test,” contradicting other administration officials.

    The coronavirus has killed at least 17 people in the U.S. and infected more than 430 people, with cases extending to 28 states. Worldwide, more than 107,000 people have contracted the coronavirus, leading to more than 3,600 deaths and more than 60,000 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


    Azar lies like Trump lies: sometimes outright, and sometimes by exaggerating or by obscuring facts.

  80. says

    From Wonkette:

    Just a few years back, it seemed that things like COINTELPRO and “Nixon’s habit of spying on left-leaning groups and people” were things everyone collectively agreed were wrong and bad. […] But hey! I also thought that about anti-immigrant fervor, freaking out about “the reds,” and scientific racism were not ever really going to be things again […]

    Today, The New York Times is reporting that Erik Prince, of Blackwater and also of being Betsy DeVos’s brother has been working in conjunction with James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas to recruit ex- CIA and M16 spies to infiltrate liberal groups for the purpose of discrediting them. Not just “antifa” affinity groups, but Democratic congressional campaigns, unions and other groups on Trump’s enemies list.

    Via New York Times:

    One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. […]

    Using a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. […]

    Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups.

    Wow! What an incredibly strange coincidence that these people would have chosen to spy on a teacher’s union, when the guy helping them out is Betsy DeVos’ brother, and she is the public-school hating Secretary of Education.

    This is not the first time Project Veritas has been recruited to work on Trump’s behalf, either.

    In a book published in 2018, Mr. O’Keefe wrote that Mr. Trump years earlier had encouraged him to infiltrate Columbia University and obtain Mr. Obama’s records.

    This is not the first time that Prince’s connections to Project Veritas has been exposed, either. As The Intercept reported in 2019:

    In the winter of 2017, Prince arranged for a former British MI6 officer to provide more surveillance and elicitation training for Veritas at his family’s Wyoming ranch […] Prince was trying to turn O’Keefe and his group into domestic spies. For his part, O’Keefe posted photos on Instagram and Twitter from the Prince family ranch of himself holding a handgun with a silencer attached and wearing pseudo-military clothing. He described the ranch as a “classified location” where he was learning “spying and self-defense,” in an effort to make Project Veritas “the next great intelligence agency.”

    The American Federation of Teachers of Michigan is now suing Project Veritas for $3 million for planting a 23-year-old Liberty University graduate named Marisa Jorge in their organization to steal their files, let Prince know when people working inside the organization were saying mean things about Betsy DeVos, and to otherwise spy on them. […]

    While we don’t know if Marisa Jorge is planning to continue her career in espionage (though she does hope to be on the Supreme Court one day!), it’s always best to err on the side of caution. So if you see this girl anywhere, run. […]

    Project Veritas Exposed has a number of profiles on Project Veritas agent provocateurs, so definitely check that out before you hire any interns. […]

    Someone you don’t know shows up at a meeting and starts suggesting some crazy shit that seems very out of touch with the page everyone else is on, they’re probably a narc, so keep your mouth shut. Some new person seems a little too curious about activities and stances that might look bad blared across the front page of Breitbart? Keep your mouth shut. If someone comes up to you after you are leaving a meeting and seems curious about who was there, you don’t know anyone, you don’t know anything, keep your mouth shut. Someone corners you at a party and wants to “rap,” run. Because they are either a narc or they are going to bore you to death […]


    All the best people.

  81. says

    From Jennifer Rubin, writing for The Washington Post:

    […] Trump’s statements about the coronavirus, filled with self-congratulations, inanities, falsehoods and non sequiturs, remind us that he is unable to cope with reality; his sole aim is to elevate himself (although his antics make him look ridiculous). He wants a cruise ship to stay offshore so the number of reported cases in the United States will remain artificially low? That’s just nuts, and worse, it is dangerous.

    Trump seems to believe that he “knows more about” everything (energy, medicine, diplomacy, nuclear weapons, intelligence, law enforcement, trade, etc.) than anyone, and yet his gaping ignorance and refusal to learn the basic facts imperil the country and the economy. Bloomberg should point this out over and over again. […]

    It is not simply that Trump is an ignorant narcissist; rather, the concern is that his ignorant narcissism poses a risk to the country — one that brings us to the brink of war with Iran, emboldens Russia and leaves the United States vulnerable to a pandemic, which in turn may bring on a recession.

    […] Now there is no excuse to keep him in power. And Bloomberg’s bottomless wallet should pay for ads to blanket the airwaves reminding them just how dangerous he is.

    […] It is time to fix in voters’ minds that Trump is not only morally reprehensible but also so unfit as to pose a threat to their safety and security.

    Washington Post link

  82. Pierce R. Butler says

    Lynna @ # 147: From Jill Stein’s Russian propaganda tweets:

    Biden’s lies & record are bad enough, but the biggest risk is his obvious cognitive decline. He said he’s running for Senate, confused wife & sister, forgot Obama’s name etc. This isn’t going away. If Dems close their eyes & keep pushing Joe, it’ll be an agonizing 8 months ahead.

    Not that I want to defend either Stein or her Putinganda, but it seems that each of those claims is true.

    I had not seen any of those blunders mentioned before, and I spend hours each day reading (mostly progressive) news sites. The first page of results for each query I posted includes at least one somewhat reputable source, except the third, which showed only right-wing or open-source (YouTube, etc) sites on the first two pages of results.

    Have the left and “center” created their own info bubbles to conveniently elide inconvenient facts? That, among other problems, plays into the apparent Kremlin gambit of undermining everyone’s confidence in understanding reality.

  83. says

    Pierce R. Butler @ #156,

    As much as I hate the term “baked in” – particularly as applied to Trumpers’ acceptance of his sociopathy – my take is that Biden has been saying and doing these sorts of things for the entire campaign, and for years really, so it’s probably less that people are avoiding it and more that they’re expecting it. Democratic primary voters had plenty of options who weren’t pushing 80 and not enough people voted for them, so these old men are the choices we now have.

    Stein isn’t a Democrat; she’s a Russian asset. The “obvious cognitive decline” narrative is being pushed by Trump, the Kremlin, and many in the Sanders campaign. I’ve seen the same tropes and phrases over and over. Some putative examples are more or less broadly accurate, though they don’t necessarily demonstrate any marked decline, while others are deceptively manipulated. I saw in 2016 – when, incidentally, Hillary Clinton was allegedly on death’s door (see #46 above) – that Stein doesn’t care about truth or accuracy. She’s a propaganda agent and needs to STFU.

  84. says

    Just 1 event: MA announces 15 new presumptive cases; all connected to Biogen conference. (this was what led to the commotion of 60 people tested at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital other day). Hope it’s not really a 1 in 4 positive rate.”

  85. says

    ABC – “Portugal’s president self-isolates amid virus outbreak”:

    The office of Portugal’s 71-year-old president said Sunday that he has canceled all public activities and will stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa recently received a group of students from a school which has since been closed following the detection of a student with COVID-19.

    His office said that the president had no symptoms. It added that the infected student wasn’t included in the group that visited the presidential palace. His office said that he decided to self-isolate “to provide an example of taking preventative measures while continuing to work at home.”

    The president’s office specified that although he took photos with the group of students, he didn’t greet them individually. Rebelo de Sousa is known as being an effusive and affectionate president who is extremely popular in Portugal.

    Portugal has recorded 25 coronavirus cases and no deaths.

  86. Pierce R. Butler says

    SC… @ # 158: … Biden has been saying and doing these sorts of things for the entire campaign, and for years really…

    An already-low level of coherence does leave less room for a decline. I’d like to see a comparative review, by a competent and neutral source, of Biden’s present gaffe frequency/severity against, say, his campaigning in ’08 and ’12.

    … these old men are the choices we now have.

    Sigh. A worst-(or close-)case scenario: whichever one of the three wins in November keels over between election & inauguration. Then what?

    Stein isn’t a Democrat; she’s a Russian asset.

    As I said, I don’t want to defend her; in fact, I may bite the head off the next Green who approaches me parroting Stein. But if the Russian strategy involves promoting any/all potential disruptors, even good guys like “the Squad” may serve that purpose…

    The “obvious cognitive decline” narrative is being pushed by Trump, the Kremlin, and many in the Sanders campaign.

    Lots of commenters here say that about a certain incumbent president too (and not without cause). Biden’s cognition strikes me as deficient going way back (e.g., he seems not to have caught on yet to what Obama took 6 years in the White House to figure out about the bad faith and unreasonableness of the Repub leadership); in any case, I’d rather see the question addressed under bright lights than have more smoke blown at us.

  87. says

    BREAKING from me & @AlexNBCNews: Members of Congress are becoming increasingly anxious about coronavirus and there is growing pressure on leadership to take steps to protect lawmakers — even potentially recessing for a period of weeks, according to two Democratic sources”

    Good to know that in this time of crisis lawmakers are coming together in the interest of…themselves.

  88. johnson catman says

    re SC @166:

    Good to know that in this time of crisis lawmakers are coming together in the interest of…themselves.

    So . . . business as usual?

  89. says

    An already-low level of coherence does leave less room for a decline. I’d like to see a comparative review, by a competent and neutral source, of Biden’s present gaffe frequency/severity against, say, his campaigning in ’08 and ’12.

    in any case, I’d rather see the question addressed under bright lights than have more smoke blown at us.

    To be clear, my main point is that, while Biden and Sanders are both quite old and it’s reasonable to expect some decline, “Biden’s cognitive decline” is not, like, a thing. It’s a Trump/Putin propaganda trope along the lines of Hillary Clinton’s failing health in 2016. Biden’s a shitty campaigner, he’s struggled with stuttering since childhood, he’s long said and done strange things, and he’s old. Sharing and spinning cherry-picked and manipulated video clips, speculating that he has dementia, spreading hashtags insinuating that he’s being hidden from the public, and generally treating this as a major campaign issue only serve Trump’s and Putin’s purposes. It’s not something anyone is obliged to address, because there’s no evidence it’s a real thing. Amongst many other considerations, people can and should consider candidates’ relative mental acuity when making their decision (in Biden’s defense, I’d suggest he’s the most likely to choose able advisors and officials), but there’s no evidence anyone’s hiding some dark secret from the public. These coordinated propaganda campaigns and how many in the Sanders camp will be drawn into them if Sanders isn’t the nominee will be a major issue going forward. I think Sanders himself and some of his surrogates (AOC, Ro Khanna) are doing a decent job right now, but others not so much.

    Lots of commenters here say that about a certain incumbent president too (and not without cause).

    Trump is patently a moron with Foxrot, and quite possibly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but it would cause a small fraction of the harm if he wasn’t also a deranged, hateful sociopath.

    (He was also mysteriously rushed to Walter Reed a few months ago, which they continue to lie about, and hasn’t had a physical in more than a year, for which no explanation has been given.)

  90. says

    “Circuit-breakers today:

    If the S&P 500 declines 7%, (208 points), trading will pause for 15 min
    If declines 13%, (386 pts) trading will again pause for 15 mins
    If falls 20%, (594 pts) the markets would close for the day.”

    The first happened a few minutes ago.

  91. says

    Heather Caygle, Politico:

    The Capitol physician sent an update late last night:

    “The ill individual …was able to recall specific names of people he had contact with [at CPAC] …Members of the Congress, were identified and were contacted on evening of March 7 by Office of Attending Physician.”

    “The public health authorities assessed each person’s contact with the ill individual.

    The overall findings are considered to be a ‘low risk’ to acquire SARS-Cov-2 (coronavirus) infection and they were advised on courses of action specific to their unique level of exposure.”

    On some members (Cruz, Gosar) choosing to self quarantine (also seems to be a nudge to others):

    “Supported this overall prudent individual choice…due to the unique requirements of Members of Congress and their travel, professional work, and frequent interaction with…public.

    “The Office of Attending Physician is monitoring the health of these individuals and at this time, 11 days post exposure, they remain in good health.”

  92. says

    This week: CPAC attendees going into self quarantine, including members of Congress.

    Last week at CPAC: Mick Mulvaney says media coverage of coronavirus is all about bringing down the president.”

    (And then coughs and wipes his mouth with his hand. Hope Northern Ireland is screening.) Video atl.

    And this appears in the responses.

  93. says

    Preet Bharara:

    Donald Trump is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on America

    He is a liar

    He is a cheat

    He is a bad businessman

    He can’t spell

    He doesn’t read

    He doesn’t listen

    He has no principles

    He doesn’t give a shit about anyone

    He is profoundly disloyal

    He projects his every flaw on others

    He doesn’t know facts

    He doesn’t respect science

    He doesn’t get math

    He doesn’t acknowledge history

    He doesn’t even understand weather

    He wanted to buy Greenland

    He wanted to nuke hurricanes

    He says he’s a genius

    But he won’t release his grades or tax returns

    He attacks war heroes while he pardons war criminals

    He accuses others of nepotism while he privileges his own children

    He whines about criticism as he spews nothing but bile

    He calls patriots “human scum” while surrounding himself with scumbags like Roger Stone

    He claims to be alpha while he endlessly whines like stuck pig [sigh – SC]

    He says he’s for America though he cozies up to despots

    He said no one has more respect for women than he does

    He said he knows more than the generals

    He suggested he has a special talent for infectious diseases

    I am angry and worried right now. As are tens of millions of Americans. I don’t know what will happen next but what I do know is this:

    Donald Trump is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on America

  94. says

    Victoria Kim, LA Times:

    At a S. Korean gov’t briefing on COVID-19 response:

    “The gov’t is covering the financial costs for related testing and treatment instead of saddling individuals with those expenses. The gov’t is also reimbursing medical facilities for losses incurred from imposed quarantines.”

    Face masks were a prerequisite for journalists at the presser — no mask, no entry.

    An official with the central disease control HQ says the country is proactively testing patients with pneumonia for the coronavirus, for early detection. Because of the country’s experience with MERS, they early on set up separate test centers so as to not jeopardize hospitals.

    South Korea’s number of the infected are still increasing, but by a small margin daily since Feb 28, when more than 900 were diagnosed in a day. On Monday, the country announced 248 more cases, for a total of 7,382. 51 dead.

    Tests take a minimum of 6 hours, max within a day, the official says.

    South Korea has 50 of these drive-thru testing centers, where the sample collection takes 10 mins.

    “Public trust can only be earned and harnessed through full openness and transparency,” vice minister of foreign affairs Lee Taeho says.

    Lee is also defending South Korea’s decision to not impose travel bans on those coming from China early on, for which the government has taken a beating. “Maintaining this policy has been a daunting challenge,” he says, noting that international experts say they aren’t effective

    The president of the Korea Society of Epidemiology though, cautions against declaring victory just yet, saying neither South Korea nor China, or any other country at this point can claim to have controlled the current outbreak.

    He says the biggest on-going challenge is the strain on medical resources the explosive surge in the Daegu area that may have perhaps resulted in some preventable deaths. He’s also warning other nations about long-term care facilities for the elderly.

    Official says the outbreak surrounding the Shincheonji church/sect was analogous to mass-infections on cruise ships elsewhere, but even more challenging without a readily available list of passengers and because the attendees had spread throughout the community….

  95. says

    Trump is melting down on Twitter this morning, including this from a few hours ago: “The Obama/Biden Administration is the most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country!”

  96. says

    What is wrong with us??? ‘Officials in NYC said they would close public schools only as last resort, in part because about 114,000 students in school system are homeless and may have nowhere else to get hot meals, medical care or even a place to wash their dirty laundry’ @nytimes”

  97. says

    SC @168, that’s a thoughtful response. Thanks for posting that. I agree.

    This was one of the good points you made: “in Biden’s defense, I’d suggest he’s the most likely to choose able advisors and officials”

    Also, this was well said: “Sharing and spinning cherry-picked and manipulated video clips, speculating that he has dementia, spreading hashtags insinuating that he’s being hidden from the public, and generally treating this as a major campaign issue only serve Trump’s and Putin’s purposes.”

  98. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 181

    “What is wrong with us???”

    Let’s see, a culture of capitalist greed and callous hatred for the poor, systemic racism and misogyny, generations of “Red Scare” anti-socialist paranoia that has infected both major parties preventing meaningful social or economic reform… Need I go on?

  99. says

    The misinformation campaign on the Republican side is well under way.

    Donald Trump and his team promoted a video via social media over the weekend that took Biden wildly out of context, making it seem as if the Democrat had endorsed the president. Twitter alerted users to the fact that the video included manipulated content, while Facebook made no effort to notify its users to the deception.

    More here:


    […] The video came from a stump speech by Mr. Biden on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., where he appeared to struggle through a sentence and with halting words said, “We can only re-elect Donald Trump.”

    But the rest of Mr. Biden’s sentence was selectively edited out. In full, Mr. Biden was stressing the need for Democrats to unite against Mr. Trump.

    “We can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s got to be a positive campaign,” he said.

    Through Saturday, manipulated video of Mr. Biden’s words caught fire.

    Dan Scavino, Mr. Trump’s assistant and the White House director of social media, shared a version of the video on Saturday on Twitter and Facebook.

    “Sleepy Joe in St. Louis, Missouri today: ‘We can only re-elect @realDonaldTrump. #KAG2020LandslideVictory,” Mr. Scavino wrote with a link to the video.

    Mr. Trump then retweeted Mr. Scavino’s post late Saturday.

    “The video was not manipulated,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump re-election campaign, said. “Joe Biden really is that bad.” […]

    Murtaugh lied. Selective editing is manipulation. How do you think Veritas damaged Planned Parenthood?

    After users flagged the video to Twitter on Sunday, the company said it had determined the video violated its rules against synthetic and manipulated video and labeled the video as manipulated content. By that point, it had been viewed more than five million times and retweeted more than 20,000 times. […]

    “Facebook’s malfeasance when it comes to trafficking in blatantly false information is a national crisis in this respect,” Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

    “It is also an unconscionable act of putting profit above not just our country, but every country,” he added. “Facebook won’t say it, but it is apparent to all who have examined their conduct and policies: They care first and foremost about money and, to that end, are willing to serve as one of the world’s most effective mediums for the spread of vile lies.”

    Mr. Biden’s campaign has complained about false online ads by Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign before, beginning last October with an ad that ran on Facebook and other social media outlets that asserted that Mr. Biden had bribed the Ukrainian government to stop an investigation into Mr. Biden’s son.

    Facebook refused to remove that video, saying false speech by politicians and their campaigns was permitted as an important facet to political discourse. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, reinforced that view with a speech on free expression at Georgetown University last October where he explained that political speech was one of the most vetted forms of discourse and that it was important for the public to hear from politicians, including lies. […]

    Biden is never going to be a politician with a smooth delivery of his ideas and policies. If you look at his gaffes in just this campaign season, there are many. Look carefully, in context, and you will see that he often self-corrects. Fox News is never going to include the self-corrections. As SC already noted, some of Biden’s surrogates do a good job of discussing both his flaws and his good attributes. I wish Biden were younger, but he’s not. Let’s fight this battle against Trump with whatever Democratic candidate wins the nomination.

    Biden may choose well when it comes to a vice presidential running mate. I hope so.

    Let’s avoid joining the Russian amplification of misinformation. That’s just inexcusable. I’m looking at you, Facebook.

  100. says

    Trump bumbles and stumbles when he tries to explain why he disbanded the US government’s global health team:

    […] It was two years ago when Trump ordered the shutdown of the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit. […]

    It was against this backdrop that a reporter asked Trump late last week about whether he was prepared to “rethink having an Office of Pandemic Preparation in the White House.” The president replied:

    “I just think this is something, Peter, that you can never really think is going to happen. You know, who — I’ve heard all about, ‘This could be…’ — you know, ‘This could be a big deal,’ from before it happened. You know, this — something like this could happen…. Who would have thought? Look, how long ago is it? Six, seven, eight weeks ago — who would have thought we would even be having the subject? … You never really know when something like this is going to strike and what it’s going to be.”

    It’s worth emphasizing that this is Trump’s second explanation related to his decision to disband his global health security team. “I’m a business person,” he explained two weeks ago in response to a similar question. “I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

    As it turns out, the administration cannot actually reassemble such a team “very quickly,” […]

    It set the stage for this new argument: Trump dissolved the White House’s pandemic team because he had no idea he might need a pandemic team. […]

    The whole point of having a team focused on epidemiological threats is (a) viral outbreaks can happen; (b) one never knows when they’ll happen; and (c) countries want to be prepared when they do happen.

    According to the president, “you can never really think is going to happen,” but the National Security Council’s team existed precisely because officials recognized the possible hazard. Indeed, as the New York Times noted overnight that President Barack Obama established the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, making clear that some folks were acutely aware of possibilities like these. […]


  101. says

    BBC – “St Patrick’s Day: Dublin cancels its St Patrick’s Day parade”:

    Dublin has cancelled its annual St Patrick’s Day parade amid fears about the spread of coronavirus, Irish broadcaster RTÉ has reported.

    Earlier on Monday, Cork moved to cancel its parade, the second largest in the country attracting up to 50,000 people.

    The city council said public welfare was paramount and cancellation was the correct decision.

    Irish Health Minister Simon Harris has said the coronavirus situation is very serious.

    He said it was going to require not just a whole of government approach, but a whole of society approach.

    Mr Harris told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that there was a moderate-to-high risk that Ireland would follow a pattern seen in other EU countries with regard to the Covid-19 outbreak such as Italy, France and Germany.

    The Irish cabinet sub-committee dealing with the coronavirus decided to cancel the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.

    Irish opposition party leaders are currently meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings in Dublin.

    A press conference is expected to take place at the same venue later on Monday….

  102. says

    A timeline of some of Trump’s delusional statements about coronavirus:

    […] Here, for example, was Trump on Feb. 2, reflecting on the coronavirus outbreak.

    “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. We’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

    It’s now obvious that neither Trump nor his team “shut it down.” And yet, the president kept traveling the same path, making these comments on Feb. 26:

    “[W]hen you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

    It did not go down “close to zero.” In fact, as of yesterday, the number of Americans with the coronavirus was at least 500. And yet, there was Trump again on Friday

    “This came unexpectedly a number of months ago. I heard about it in China. It came out of China, and I heard about it. And made a good move: We closed it down; we stopped it.” […]


  103. says

    Trump minimizes the coronavirus outbreak … again. And he mistakenly compares it to seasonal flu … again.

    So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!

    From Health Secretary Alex Azar:

    This is a very serious health problem. Nobody is trying to minimize that.

    Commentary from Matt Shuham:

    […] The mortality rate for the seasonal flu is around 0.1%, while the coronavirus mortality rate — while not known for sure due to variabilities in testing from region to region — is at least .6-.7%, based on current estimates South Korea and China (excluding the hardest-hit city of Wuhan), and perhaps much higher.

    And even aside from mortality, differences abound: There is a vaccine for the seasonal flu, while there is none for the novel coronavirus. Also, the global spread of the seasonal flu is well-established, while the extent to which coronavirus spreads across the world is still an open question.

    “We’ve reached a predictable tipping point where there’s going to be a rapid acceleration in cases here in the United States,” said former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on CNBC Monday morning.

    Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, made a similar point at a press conference Thursday.

    The spread of the flu, he said, is a global constant for which vaccines and therapies can play a role in minimizing damage. He drew a contrast with coronavirus, which he said may still be possible to control or slow down.

    “In that calculation you now have two chances to save lives,” Ryan said. “If you contain and suppress the virus you save lives by making sure that vulnerable people in your society are not exposed. And then if they are exposed, you have more time to get your system ready to save their lives. You get another shot at lifesaving interventions.”


  104. says

    Always slow, always behind, always wrong:

    Anyone visiting the page on Monday morning would have seen crystal-clear information on “COVID-19: U.S. at a glance.” That information showed that this morning America had 164 confirmed cases and 11 deaths. Which is odd, because tallying up the actual information shows that at that moment, there were at least 545 confirmed cases and had been 22 deaths.

    How did the CDC come to miss the target so wildly? Easy. The CDC information page on COVID-19 is only being updated Monday through Friday, and even then the information is updated only once a day with data as of 4 PM Eastern the previous day, so that it is always a day behind. In the midst of the crisis, the Trump White House is not just failing to place any importance on providing the public with up-to-date information; it’s also running a system designed to underreport the true extent of the spread of the disease. […]

    Not slow, not wrong:

    […] South Korea has managed to flatten the curve on its coronavirus outbreak only about 20 days after its initial outbreak. More than that, South Korea has held down the number of deaths to 53, less than 1% of all confirmed cases, while Italy has had 366, putting case fatality there over 5%.

    Why the difference? Testing. Testing. Testing.

    At the first sign of an outbreak, South Korea snapped into a program of extended testing that has now tested over 200,000 people. Using reliable kits from the World Health Organization, and supplementing them with things such as sidewalk and roadway checks for fever, South Korea doggedly followed every connection for every case, expanded the testing in widening circles, and conducted a program of sampling of the populace. The result was the ability to constrain the growth of an outbreak that, from a distance, appeared to be unstoppable. It increasingly appears that South Korean officials who presented an upbeat assessment of the situation there were correct.

    Even better, because of the widespread testing and follow-up, South Korea now has the best available set of data on the 2019 novel coronavirus—including showing that over 90% of all cases in that country can be traced back to the creepy Shincheonji death cult church.

    But perhaps best of all, South Korea did this without taking the kind of draconian measures that were required to bring the outbreak under control in China. In fact, when members of the Shincheonji church refused to be tested, South Korea took them to court, even though that meant a delay of several days. The secret to South Korea’s effectiveness was no secret at all, because it keeps data updated and visible to the public, while being consistent on policy and messaging. It tested. It tested early. It tested often. And it practiced quarantine and isolation sensibly in response to that testing. […]

    Making matters worse:

    In the midst of all this, the United States under Donald Trump has continued to be unable to find a measured approach. It didn’t test early. It hasn’t tested broadly. It’s not being transparent, and it’s not providing consistent guidance to local communities.

    As a result, do not be surprised to see the United States lurch in the other direction by resorting to the kind of regional lockdowns that Italy is facing now—at a greater cost to both lives and the economy.


    More at the link, including graphs and maps.

  105. says

    Ugh. Ugly thoughts, unethical approaches:

    […] Trump and his team are talking up the opportunity to finally achieve stricter border security, wider tax cuts and reduced reliance on Chinese manufacturing amid the spread of the coronavirus throughout the U.S. Some officials see it as a narrow opening to offset the political damage from the coronavirus outbreak and deliver — or at least, talk about — some of the president’s longstanding promises.

    “Whether it is the virus that we’re talking about or many other public health threats, the Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and well-being of all Americans,” Trump said at a recent rally in South Carolina. “Now, you see it with the coronavirus. You see it. You see it with the coronavirus. You see that. When you have this virus or any other virus or any other problem coming in, it’s not the only thing that comes in through the border.”

    Shutting down borders or cutting taxes would not halt the spread of the virus, which is now being spread person-to-person within the U.S.[…] the outbreak gives both the president and his top aides a new space to re-introduce their favorite approaches amid the uncertainty. […]

    The coronavirus outbreak has given the Trump administration’s China hawks the chance to highlight the a core trade concern — how the U.S. leans so heavily on China for drugs, medical equipment and key elements of the supply chain.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close Trump ally, is calling for the White House to enact a one-time tax credit for companies that move manufacturing from China back into the U.S., one of many stimulus ideas that Trump advisers and allies are floating amid concerns about an economic downturn related to the spread of the virus. […]

    Similarly, Trump spent time last week promoting the need for middle-class tax cuts amid severe volatility in the stock market and fears of a coronavirus-induced recession. […]

    On the economic front, Trump has also employed the coronavirus as a means to call for the Federal Reserve to further cut interest rates. “I think what happens is the Fed should cut and the Fed should stimulate,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “And they should do that because other countries are doing it, and it puts us at a competitive disadvantage.” […]

    “This is an excuse for him to beat up the Fed,” said one Republican close to the White House. “He is using another event to beat the Fed up, but it will not fix the problem.” […]


  106. says

    From Wonkette:

    There is more voting tomorrow in the Democratic primary, so everybody wash your hands so you don’t get the coronavirus at the polls!

    Anyway, tomorrow is Not-Quite-As-Super Tuesday, and if you live in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, or if you are a Democrats Abroad, it’s your turn to vote. Sorry if your candidate is not in the race anymore, just kidding, your candidate is obviously Tulsi Gabbard, and she is still in the race, so you get to vote for her!

    Yes, that’s right, in lieu of a serious forecast-y blog post about what is likely to happen on Not-Quite-As-Super Tuesday — Biden is going to clean up, and tomorrow’s states are the most favorable map for Bernie Sanders left on the schedule, and the math nerds at FiveThirtyEight are now giving Biden a 95 percent chance of winning the nomination, but we guess things could change! — we have chosen to just be mean to Tulsi Gabbard, for no reason[…]

    There are two important #TulsiFacts you need to know going into tomorrow’s voting, and especially on Saturday for the long-awaited Northern Mariana Islands primary, which Wonkette will of course be liveblogging all day.

    She Ain’t In The Next Fuckin’ Debate

    The DNC did a #RIGGED again, by saying that if a candidate wants to be in the March 15 debate, they need to have quote-unquote “delegates” to qualify, now that people in a number of states have actually voted. They say you have to have 20 percent of the delegates, how unfair is that! Tulsi Gabbard currently has two. No, not two percent, two delegates. […]


  107. says

    A second Seattle-area nursing facility is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases.

    A nursing facility in Issaquah, Wash., has disclosed that three of its residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.

    The Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is about 20 miles south of Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., where at least 16 residents and visitors have died of the virus, according to county public health officials. […]

    according to its website, all three are being treated at the unnamed hospitals where they were transferred earlier in the week. The Issaquah facility only disclosed the cases after testing confirmed that the patients had the coronavirus. Issaquah is 17 miles east of Seattle.

    The company said that it is in contact with health authorities, and that physicians from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visited the facility Saturday to observe and assess cleaning and care. […]

    Meanwhile, as the virus swept through the Life Care Center to the north, the number of residents there fell to 55 on Sunday as more were taken to a hospital. That’s down from 120 on Feb. 19. Life Care also said that 70 of the 180 staffers there are showing signs of having the coronavirus.

    Washington Post link

  108. says

    A few thoughts from Jennifer Rubin on populist leaders:

    Populist leaders present themselves as the only authentic voice of the “people.” Therefore, critics in the media are enemies of the people, for to take on the leader is to attack the people. When the leader is rejected at the polls, it cannot be an authentic expression of the people. The system must be rigged; the establishment must be out to get the candidates and, by extension, the people.

    We have seen this for the three years President Trump has been in office, and previously in his 2016 campaign. The deep state, the fake news and the elites (not “real” Americans) are out to get him, he says. He insists that all these forces do not respect the people, his followers and the only real Americans.

    We are reminded in watching Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as his presidential campaign fizzles, this mind-set is not limited to the right. Sanders had this exchange on ABC’s “This Week”:

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: When you joined us last Sunday, you were leading in delegates, look poised for a big lead coming out of Super Tuesday. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg all still in the race. How surprised were you by Super Tuesday and how do you explain it?

    SANDERS: Well, one of the things that I was kind of not surprised by is the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg, who, you know, really worked extremely hard as well, out of the race.

    What was very clear from the media narrative and what the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around [former vice president Joe] Biden and try to defeat me. So that’s not surprising.

    We are taking on, George, as I think everybody knows, the establishment. We’re taking on the corporate establishment. We’re taking on the political establishment. And what you are seeing now just in the last few weeks is Wall Street, the health-care industry, the billionaire class putting a lot of money into Joe’s campaign.

    This is bonkers. Other Democrats got out of the race because voters across the country did not vote for them. Sanders sneers at them as if they are puppets on a string, yanked out of the race by nefarious forces.

    They actually looked at the facts, saw they could not win and decided Biden had a better chance to unify the country and beat Trump than did a self-proclaimed socialist who cannot resist the urge to pick fights with his own party. This is akin to his waving off South Carolina voters, predominantly African American, and instead attributing Biden’s win to “corporate Democrats.” […]

    Washington Post link

    I do not think that Klobuchar or Buttigieg were forced out of the race by a faceless “establishment,” nor were they forced to endorse Biden.

    Sanders said, “Well, one of the things that I was kind of not surprised by is the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, […]” I agree that that is bonkers. Buttigieg made the point that anyone who runs for president is not likely to be the kind of person who can be “forced” into a decision to quit. He says he made the decision himself.

    Sanders may be up against some structural and/or cultural disadvantages, but I think he is making way too much of this “power of the establishment to force” any outcome.

  109. Pierce R. Butler says

    SC… @ # 168 – all good points, as Lynna said @ # 182.

    I had a high school history teacher who liked to point to Lincoln & FDR to point out how the US has had leaders pop up to save the Republic in times of crisis; wish I had some way to inform him that process doesn’t seem to work any more.

  110. tomh says

    The GOP’s ‘Hunterghazi’ probe is about to get much worse
    By Greg Sargent
    March 9, 2020

    By shocking coincidence, Senate Republicans are set to take a huge step forward with their efforts to investigate Hunter Biden — at exactly the moment when Joe Biden is likely to cement his hold on the Democratic nomination.

    This push by Senate Republicans to investigate the former vice president’s son has been widely pilloried for its suspect timing. But what’s happening here could actually prove much more cynical than it appears, and the public discussion of it has not been adequate in capturing this.

    So let’s be clear: Senate Republicans appear to be in such a rush that they are not doing basic due diligence on one of their star witnesses, thus leaving the proceedings highly vulnerable to getting polluted by disinformation spread by a source utterly lacking in credibility.

    Of course, Senate Republicans may view such an outcome as a positive, not a negative.

    On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security Committee will vote to subpoena someone Republicans view as a crucial witness against Hunter Biden: Andrii Telizhenko, a political consultant who represented Burisma in the United States.

    Telizhenko has long played an active role in spreading the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine colluded with Democrats in 2016. Our intelligence services have told senators that this is central to Russian disinformation efforts.

    So Homeland Security Committee Democrats want all senators on the committee to get a classified briefing from the intelligence community on Telizhenko — to demonstrate that intelligence officials don’t view him as credible.

    The committee chair, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), has defended subpoenaing Telizhenko, claiming the investigation he’s currently pursuing isn’t about validating the Ukraine-hacked-our-election falsehood. Instead, he wants records from Telizhenko that are relevant to his work as a consultant for Blue Star Strategies, Burisma’s representative in the U.S.

    But when you look closely, this sure starts to look like a fishing expedition.

    The current GOP focus is on creating the impression that Hunter Biden improperly used his connections to his father — then the vice president — to influence State Department policy to the benefit of Burisma.

    Sen. Johnson noted in a letter to the State Department that the committee has obtained department emails that purportedly show another Blue Star employee dangling Hunter Biden’s name while seeking a meeting at State to influence Obama administration policy toward Burisma. Johnson has demanded additional State documents to examine this question.

    But as Johnson’s own letter concedes, it’s not yet clear anything even came of this effort. Nor is it clear that Hunter had any role in that lobbying. Nor has any evidence yet emerged that State Department policy changed in any way as a result of these efforts.

    What remains inexplicable is why Republicans don’t want a classified intelligence briefing on the very person they see as a key witness, given his known role in spreading disinformation.

    “This should not be a hyper-partisan issue,” Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the committee Peters told me. He added that Johnson “seems to want to act very quickly. You’d have to ask him why.”

  111. says

    New: The CPAC attendee w/ coronavirus didn’t just have general admission, but a higher-level ticket which gave him special access. CPAC staff are in direct contact w/ the patient & are relying on his memories, as well as their own, to reconstruct his experience at the conference.”

  112. says

    More from the Gabe Sherman Vanity Fair piece @ #203 – “‘He’s Definitely Melting Down Over This’: Trump, Germaphobe in Chief, Struggles to Control the Covid-19 Story”:

    …The problem is that the crisis fits into his preexisting and deeply held worldview—that the media is always searching for a story to bring him down. Covid-19 is merely the latest instance, and he’s reacting in familiar ways. “So much FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted this morning. “He wants Justice to open investigations of the media for market manipulation,” a source close to the White House told me. Trump is also frustrated with his West Wing for not getting a handle on the news cycle. “He’s very frustrated he doesn’t have a good team around him,” a former White House official said. On Friday he forced out acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and replaced him with former House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows. Trump thought the virus was “getting beyond Mick,” a person briefed on the internal discussions said. Trump has also complained that economic adviser Larry Kudlow is not doing enough to calm jittery markets. Last week Kudlow refused Trump’s request that Kudlow hold an on-camera press briefing, sources said. “Larry didn’t want to have to take questions about coronavirus,” a person close to Kudlow told me. “Larry’s not a doctor. How can he answer questions about something he doesn’t know?”

    Trump found a willing surrogate in Kellyanne Conway, but Conway’s dubious claim on Friday that the virus “is being contained” only made the P.R. situation worse.

    Trump’s efforts to take control of the story himself have so far failed. A source said Trump was pleased with ratings for the Fox News town hall last Thursday, but he was furious with how he looked on television. “Trump said afterwards that the lighting was bad,” a source briefed on the conversation said. “He said, ‘We need Bill Shine back in here. Bill would never allow this.’”

    As Trump pushes a nothing-to-see-here message in public, sources said he’s privately terrified about getting the virus….

    Stories about Trump’s coronavirus fears have spread through the White House. Last week Trump told aides he’s afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One, a person close to the administration told me. The source also said Trump has asked the Secret Service to set up a screening program and bar anyone who has a cough from the White House grounds. “He’s definitely melting down over this,” the source said.

    But thus far Trump’s private concerns haven’t affected his public response. Pressure from the public health community is mounting on Trump to cancel his mass rallies, but Trump is pushing back. “He is going to resist until the very last minute,” a former West Wing official said. “He may take suggestions to stop shaking hands, but in terms of shutting stuff down, his position is: ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’”

    The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

    This is one of the craziest fucking things I’ve ever read. He’s completely mad.

  113. says

    Per the AP, Germany has more than 1,100 confirmed #Coronavirus cases, but so far just two deaths.

    Experts say rapid testing early on likely resulted in more diagnosing of the infected and gave the country a chance to contain and prepare for the virus.”

  114. says

    Doug Collins tweeted: “This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for #COVID19.

    While I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.”

  115. says

    Josh Marshall: “I wish all these quarantined officials the best. But the turnabout of this year’s CPAC from a multi-day COVID-19 trolling event to a vector of the contagion is something that would scarcely be believable in a movie script.”

  116. says

    TPM – “Several Newsrooms Asking Reporters Who Covered CPAC To Self-Quarantine”:

    The Washington Post, Politico and other news outlets are asking the journalists who reported on this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to self-quarantine after news emerged of at least one CPAC attendee who tested positive for COVID-19.

    Per internal memos obtained by the Washingtonian, higher-ups at the Post, Politico, Mother Jones and the Daily Beast all requested on Monday that those reporters who covered the four-day conference a little over a week ago work from home.

    The Post and Politico’s memos both state that the outlets had made the decisions “out of an abundance of caution.”

    “Self-quarantine of well individuals who may have been exposed is simply a precautionary measure that helps mitigate spread of the virus and is a step that we will continue moving forward,” the Politico memo said….

  117. says

    The French Minister of Culture has tested positive for coronavirus.

    Israel has 50 confirmed cases, and is requiring everyone entering the country to be quarantined for 14 days.

    INBOX: US Army Europe commander may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a recent conference.”

  118. tomh says

    Justices to tackle disputes over access to Trump financial records
    Amy Howe
    Posted Mon, March 9th, 2020

    On March 31, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a trio of cases arising from efforts by a New York grand jury and congressional committees to gain access to the president’s financial records.

    The first two cases slated for argument on March 31, Trump v. Mazars USA and Trump v. Deutsche Bank, involve subpoenas issued by congressional committees. In the Mazars case, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform issued a subpoena in April 2019 to Mazars, the president’s longtime accounting firm, for financial records relating to Trump and his businesses. The committee said that it wanted the documents as part of its investigation into the adequacy of current government ethics laws.

    Trump asked a federal district court in Washington to bar Mazars from complying with the subpoena, arguing that the committee’s investigation into his finances does not serve the kind of legitimate legislative purpose that the Supreme Court’s cases require. The district court rejected that argument, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.

    In the Deutsche Bank case, the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, the president’s biggest lender, and Capitol One, seeking records for the president, his family and the Trump Organization as part of an investigation into possible foreign influence in U.S. elections. The Trumps and the Trump Organization asked a federal court in New York City to block the banks from complying with the subpoenas. The district court turned down the Trumps’ request, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed with the district court that the subpoenas did not exceed Congress’ power. The justices agreed to take up both cases in December, scheduling them for a combined one hour of oral argument.

    Decisions in the cases are expected by late June.

    Details at the link.

  119. tomh says

    #218 continued
    The third case mentioned above, which I forgot to include, is a grand-jury subpoena to Mazars, seeking tax returns and other financial documents. The president went to federal district court in New York, arguing that the subpoena cannot be enforced while the president is in office.

    The District Court dismissed the case, the Appeals Court upheld that ruling, and last December the Supreme Court agreed to hear it. All the details are at the same Scotusblog link above.

  120. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    SC: “Gaetz learned after Air Force One lifted off from Orlando that he had been in touch with an infected person at CPAC. He then essentially quarantined himself, sitting in a section of the plane alone.”
    At least that’s what he told himself when no one would sit with him.

    And it felt like Middle School all over again.

    Oh, there is so much potential for ridicule here!

  121. blf says

    Strictly FYI (apologies if the link has already been provided), but the John Hopkins University dashboard, Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE, is an excellent / widely-cited resource on the current Covid-19 situation. At the moment, it shows 605 detected cases in the States (22 deaths and 8 recoveries); and of more immediate concern to me, 1209 detected cases here in France (19 deaths and 12 recoveries).

  122. Pierce R. Butler says

    2020 Becomes the Dementia Campaign

    Biden and Trump partisans trade charges of senility in an era of aging candidates.:

    … a subject that in a previous era would be in no way a laughing matter is being treated in this era as in many ways a laughing matter.

    Trump—seemingly indifferent to the glass-houses maxim—in recent days has upped the ante in what is becoming the senility sweepstakes. …

    … there is no solid consensus about how to assess cognitive health, what types of medical records should be in the public domain especially for aging candidates, and no way to enforce that consensus if it existed. The issue is especially acute now that so much power in American government is held by people older than 65. While rates of dementia are going down gradually in the United States, 65 is the age at which 20 to 25 percent of people have mild cognitive impairment and 10 percent have dementia, according geriatric researcher Kenneth Langa at the University of Michigan. Six members of the Supreme Court are over 65, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will turn 80 on March 26, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month turned 78. …

    … a kind of ghoulish gallows humor about the issue is widespread in political circles in both parties, in part because people simply don’t see much alternative. My colleague Marc Caputo said on Twitter that a Democratic operative with presidential campaign experience described the likely 2020 race like this: “the nice old guy with Alzheimer’s against the mean old man with dementia.”

  123. says

    Time – “The Trump Administration Is Stalling an Intel Report That Warns the U.S. Isn’t Ready for a Global Pandemic”:

    An annual intelligence report that has been postponed without explanation by President Donald Trump’s administration warns that the U.S. remains unprepared for a global pandemic, two senior government officials who have reviewed a draft of the report tell TIME.

    The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was scheduled to deliver the Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12 and the hearing has not been rescheduled, according to staffers and members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The DNI’s office declined requests for a comment on the status of the report. Democratic staffers say they do not expect the report to be released any time soon.

    The final draft of the report remains classified but the two officials who have read it say it contains warnings similar to those in the last installment, which was published on January 29, 2019. The 2019 report warns on page 29 that, “The United States will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”

    The 2019 warning was the third time in as many years that the nation’s intelligence experts said that a new strain of influenza could lead to a pandemic, and that the U.S. and the world were unprepared. “Although the international community has made tenuous improvements to global health security, these gains may be inadequate to address the challenge of what we anticipate will be more frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases because of rapid unplanned urbanization, prolonged humanitarian crises, human incursion into previously unsettled land, expansion of international travel and trade, and regional climate change,” the 2019 threat assessment warned.

    Rather than acting on these recurrent warnings and bolstering America’s ability to respond to an outbreak, the Trump administration has instead cut back money and personnel from pandemic preparedness. In May 2018, Trump’s aides dismissed the National Security Council’s global health security staff and moved to cut its budget. The White House also cut the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services, and closed the federal government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund.

    The postponement of the threat assessment is a concern beyond what it says about the dangers of pandemics, administration critics [FFS] say. As worrying as the current global outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 is, it is hardly the only threat the U.S. faces worldwide. Other dangers flagged in the 2020 report, according to the two sources, include Iran’s return to nuclear enrichment, North Korea’s accelerated launching of missiles and the increasingly urgent national security risks posed by climate change.

    Trump’s 2021 budget proposal would cut the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency by 31% and the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 37%….

  124. says

    OF NOTE: @ACUConservative President @mschlapp, along with his wife @mercedesschlapp, a former WH comms aide now working for Trump’s reelection campaign, are both under self-quarantine, a Republican familiar with the situation told me.”

    Matt Schlapp is still trying to minimize the risk, so I won’t quote his response.

    There are now 732 confirmed cases across 36 states in the US, and 26 deaths, according to CNN.

  125. says

    Another thread about what’s happening in Italy.

    “…Some of our colleagues who are infected also have infected relatives and some of their relatives are already struggling between life and death. So be patient, you can’t go to the theatre, museums or the gym. Try to have pity on the myriad of old people you could exterminate….”

    The ridiculous “briefing” yesterday provided essentially zero information on what if anything is being done to prepare hospitals and medical workers.

  126. says

    ‘To be clear:

    MDs per 1,000: Italy 4.0, USA 2.6

    Hosp beds per 1,000: Italy 3.2, USA 2.8

    The problem is surge of COVID19 has overwhelmed northern Italian hospitals

    This can happen here’.

    @ashishkjha (Director of Harvard’s @HarvardGH, incoming Dean @HealthyBrown).”

  127. says

    #Breaking: Jerusalem District Court rejects Netanyahu’s request for delay. PM’s trial in 3 corruption cases will begin in a week, March 17, as scheduled.”

    There are two B&W members blocking the formation of a government and they need to stand the fuck down.

  128. says

    SC @239, that’s a thread everyone should read. Here are a few excerpts:

    First, Lumbardy is the most developed region in Italy and it has a extraordinary good healthcare, I have worked in Italy, UK and Aus and don’t make the mistake to think that what is happening is happening in a 3rd world country.

    The current situation is difficult to imagine and numbers do not explain things at all. Our hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19, they are running 200% capacity

    We’ve stopped all routine, all ORs have been converted to ITUs and they are now diverting or not treating all other emergencies like trauma or strokes. There are hundreds of pts with severe resp failure and many of them do not have access to anything above a reservoir mask.

    Patients above 65 or younger with comorbidities are not even assessed by ITU, I am not saying not tubed, I’m saying not assessed and no ITU staff attends when they arrest. Staff are working as much as they can but they are starting to get sick and are emotionally overwhelmed.

    We have seen the same pattern in different areas a week apart, and there is no reason that in a few weeks it won’t be the same everywhere, this is the pattern:

    1)A few positive cases, first mild measures, people are told to avoid ED but still hang out in groups, everyone says not to panick
    2)Some moderate resp failures and a few severe ones that need tube, but regular access to ED is significantly reduced so everything looks great
    3)Tons of patients with moderate resp failure, that overtime deteriorate to saturate ICUs first, then NIVs, then CPAP hoods, then even O2.
    4)Staff gets sick so it gets difficult to cover for shifts, mortality spikes also from all other causes that can’t be treated properly.

    Everything about how to treat them is online but the only things that will make a difference are: do not be afraid of massively strict measures to keep people safe,

    if governments won’t do this at least keep your family safe, your loved ones with history of cancer or diabetes or any transplant will not be tubed if they need it even if they are young. By safe I mean YOU do not attend them and YOU decide who does and YOU teach them how to.

  129. says

    Trump remains delusional when it comes to polls:

    Referring to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on Twitter this morning, Donald Trump declared, “Polls say they BOTH lose to ‘Trump’.”

    There may come a day on which the president learns how quotation marks work, and while that will be glorious, today is not that day.

    […] While Trump apparently wants people to believe that polls show Biden and Sanders trailing in hypothetical 2020 match-ups, just yesterday two leading pollsters pointed in the opposite direction.

    Take the latest Quinnipiac findings, for example.

    In head to head matchups with President Trump among registered voters, Biden gets support from more than half of registered voters against the incumbent president, while Sanders does not. Biden leads Trump 52 – 41 percent, and Sanders leads Trump 49 – 42 percent.

    The report quoted Quinnipiac University Poll Analyst Tim Malloy saying, “Perhaps most troubling for the Trump camp in these numbers is the comparative assessment of which candidate can handle a crisis: it is Biden hands down. Couple that with an approval rating frozen in the low forties and comparatively terrible numbers on leadership, honesty, and empathy for fellow Americans, and team Trump has a formidable fight ahead.”

    The results coincided with the latest national CNN poll, which pointed in a very similar direction: the survey found Biden leading Trump by 10 points (53% to 43%), while Sanders had a seven-point advantage over the Republican (52% to 45%).

    Trump’s tweet this morning notwithstanding, it’s not great for an incumbent president to be trailing the rival party’s top candidate by double digits eight months before the election. […]


  130. says

    BREAKING: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces containment zone around New Rochelle, lasting until 3/25; National Guard to be deployed to assist in food delivery, cleaning.

    ‘This is the single greatest public health challenge we have in the state right now’.”

  131. says

    There are Democratic primaries in the following states today: Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Washington state. North Dakota is holding Democratic caucuses.

    In other campaign news: after Montana Gov. Steve Bullock kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign yesterday, three Democratic candidates vying for the position ended their candidacies. That should Bullock a good chance to win a Senate seat in Montana.

    Sensible use of Bloomberg’s money: Bloomberg has “poured $2 million into efforts to boost turnout by African-American voters in eight key states.

  132. says

    Trump lied about his economic plan yesterday. He promised to provide details of his economic plan today. That plan does not exist.

    At a White House briefing yesterday on the coronavirus outbreak, Donald Trump started sketching out a vision for an economic package, intended to address the threat of an economic downturn. The president didn’t go into a lot of details, but he touched on a variety of measures, including a payroll tax holiday, small-business tax breaks, and targeted aid to the hospitality industry.

    Those seeking more information about the plan were effectively told they’d only have to wait a day for more information. After describing the economic package as “substantial” and “dramatic,” Trump declared, “I think what we will be doing is having a news conference tomorrow to talk about various things that we’re doing economically.” He added the plan would be “very major.”

    […] CNBC reported this morning:

    The White House is not ready to roll out specific economic proposals in its response to the widening impact of the coronavirus outbreak, administration officials told CNBC…. [I]nside the administration, some officials were stunned by Trump’s claim Monday that he would hold a press conference Tuesday to announce an economic plan.

    […] “That was news to everyone on the inside.”

    The report went on to quote an official who said actual details of any economic plan are unresolved. “It’s not there right now,” an official said. “A lot of details need to be worked out.” […]

    either the White House will quietly pretend the president never said anything about holding a press conference to discuss economic measures, or Trump’s aides will scramble to throw together a vague outline of bullet points that will be presented as if it were an actual plan.


    Meanwhile, the Democrats have the appropriate bullet points already, and they are fleshing out a workable plan. Maybe Trump will take credit for that.

  133. says

    Partial transcript from the on-air rant from Fox Business host Trish Regan:

    The chorus of hate being leveled at the President is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him—and only him—for a virus that originated halfway around the world! This is yet another attempt to impeach the President, and sadly it seems they care very little for any of the destruction they are leaving in their wake –losses in stock market.

    This is impeachment all over again. [she played clips of Democrats criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak] And like with the Mueller investigation, like with Ukraine-gate, they don’t care who they hurt.

    [Regan also compared the death toll of the coronavirus in the U.S. to that of the swine flu that emerged in 2009.]

    And was there any criticism? No. Because why? Because the media didn’t want to insult their precious President Obama, I suppose. [she snorted]

    How irresponsible can you get? Trish Regan should read that thread about conditions in hospitals in Italy (see comment 238). She could also just listen to the Governor of Washington state. Link to Maddow interview.

  134. says


    A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s ruling that the House of Representatives can see information from the grand jury former special counsel Robert Mueller empaneled to investigate Russian election meddling.

    The fight over the Mueller evidence focused on the rules surrounding grand jury secrecy, which include an exception to provide materials for a judicial proceeding.

    Lawyers for the House of Representatives argued that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump constituted such a proceeding. In October, District Judge Beryl Howell ordered the DOJ to give the House portions of Mueller’s report that had been redacted due to the secrecy rules, as well as “any underlying transcripts or exhibits referenced in the portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted” under the same rules.

    D.C. Circuit Court Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote in her opinion that the House Judiciary Committee “has established a particularized need for the redacted grand jury materials it seeks.” Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote a concurring opinion and Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, dissented.

    “The Committee’s request for the grand jury materials in the Mueller Report is directly linked to its need to evaluate the conclusions reached and not reached by the Special Counsel,” Rogers wrote separately, adding: “Courts must take care not to second-guess the manner in which the House plans to proceed with its impeachment investigation or interfere with the House’s sole power of impeachment.”


  135. says

    Actually, I don’t blame Trump for the existence of coronavirus. That would be mega stupid. I blame him for making the situation worse.

    Trump has a way of making every crisis worse.

  136. says

    Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar should know how many people in the U.S. have been tested for coronavirus. He does not.

    […] Tuesday morning. Azar admitted to having absolutely no idea how many people have been tested for COVID-19 in the U.S., even as the number confirmed to have the disease keeps growing.

    Asked by CNN’s John Berman how many Americans have been tested, Azar responded, “We don’t know exactly how many because hundreds of thousands of our tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals that currently do not report in to CDC.” Doesn’t that seem like something public health officials should have some idea about?

    “We’re working with the CDC and those partners to get an IT reporting system up and running, hopefully this week, where we would be able to get that data, to keep track of how many we’re testing,” Azar continued. He suggested that up to 10,000 people a day could be tested now, with the number potentially rising to 20,000 by the end of the week—but that sounded extremely hypothetical and is based on a study by the American Enterprise Institute, not on, say, CDC predictions. […]

    Azar tried to present that absolute lack of information as a sign of his honesty. […]

    Okay, so you’re leveling with us … that you don’t know anything about how the Trump administration is coping with the major disease outbreak you are supposed to be taking a lead role in responding to. That is not confidence-inspiring.

    South Korea was testing more than 10,000 people a day within a week of its first coronavirus infection, Berman said, while it’s been more than two weeks since the first case of community transmission in the U.S., but “we may not have tested 10,000 people total.” Azar’s response? “We don’t know that.” Not a good defense, dude! That is exactly the kind of information you are supposed to know! […]


  137. says

    Elizabeth Warren Just Told Private Prisons to Release Their Coronavirus Plans

    Her former rivals joined her to demand action.

    […] In a group of letters to BOP [Bureau of Prisons] and three companies that contract with the agency—CoreCivic, Management and Training Corporation, and the GEO Group—Sen. Warren lists a series of questions she wants the companies to answer. “Thousands of incarcerated people, their family, and friends, and correctional staff move in and out of federal prisons every day,” the former 2020 presidential hopeful wrote. “As a result, the uncontained spread of coronavirus in privately-contracted federal prisons endangers the prison population, correctional staff, and the general public.” […]

    More at the link.

  138. says

    From Trump:

    There is another Russia, Russia, Russia meeting today. It is headed up by corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff, so I wouldn’t expect too much!

    From Adam Schiff:

    Mr. President, you are wrong. As usual. Today’s briefing for all House Members focuses on the threat of foreign interference in our election. The briefers are agency heads and senior officials. They are your own people. We will insist on the truth, whether you like it or not.

    From Mitch McConnell, being sensible for once:

    I encourage all my Senate colleagues to attend today’s briefing on election security. A subject this serious demands some bipartisanship and unity. Let’s keep the focus on fighting against foreign interference, not fighting each other.

    From Chuck Schumer:

    Senator Mitch McConnell: Does this mean you’ll stop blocking election security bills and actually let the Senate vote to protect our elections?

    My bet is that the election security bills will remain blocked by Moscow Mitch. He will say the right thing occasionally. He will always do the wrong thing.

  139. says

    Ah, mormons. Well, at least the mormons at Brigham Young University took one tiny baby step in the right direction:

    Back in February, seemingly out of nowhere, Brigham Young University in Utah changed its honor code to allow gay students to date. Because in case you didn’t know, Brigham Young University’s honor code prohibited gay students from being involved in romantic relationships and those found to be engaging in them could be punished or suspended. Much like Bob Jones University did with interracial couples until the late ’90s.

    Upon this announcement, BYU finance professor Jim Brau put out a video (which has since been taken down) explaining to his students why this was a blessing, especially for those of them who did not want BYU to do this — because after they leave BYU, they will have to live and work in a world where LGBT people exist and they will lose their jobs if they are shitty about that at work.

    Via Salt Lake Tribune:

    “BYU just did you a massive favor,” he said.

    He offered a practical perspective, noting that students who later get jobs will work with LGBTQ individuals and need to be welcoming. He pointed out that a former student of his was recently fired from “our No. 1 recruiting company” for making homophobic comments to a gay co-worker. “I’m just saying, we need to be more Christ-like,” Brau suggested. […]

    “I do realize for some of us, including me, who have been praying for this moment for years, today is a massive watershed,” Brau said to his students. “For others of you, this is a huge struggle and I understand that. … But if you see same-gender couples walking around campus, being respectful, acting like straight couples, that’s really going to get you ready for the real world.”

    Now, most normal people in the year 2020 are going to read that statement and go “Wow, he sure is being delicate with those homophobes!” But the homophobes, it turns out, very much disagree. “Alt-right online groups,” Brau says, have been threatening to hurt him, his wife, and his kids, and in order to keep them safe he says he will no longer post his class discussions online.

    And yet the homophobes do not even have that much to fear. While BYU’s newfangled policy will allow gay students to engage in romantic relationships, that is on their own time only. When many gay students celebrated their newfound freedom by performing such illicit acts as holding hands in the hallway, BYU was quick to mention that “gay behavior” was still “not compatible” with their honor code, right up there with drinking tea or coffee.

    Since then, there have been daily protests from LGBTQ students at Brigham Young, which is actually just so cool. These kids felt freed by the changing of the honor code and don’t want to go back in the closet.

    It was the most Mormon of rallies Friday afternoon as hundreds of young people — many draped in rainbow flags and carrying signs about God’s love — gathered in Salt Lake City to share their concerns about Brigham Young University’s changing position on “romantic behavior” by same-sex couples.

    Demonstrators were organized, orderly and unfailingly polite. They sang LDS hymns, including “Love One Another” and “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” They chanted “Love means love,” “Let all students date,” “Love is a human right,” “Trans lives matter” and “L, G, B, T, God loves you and God loves me.” They carried signs, saying, “God would not renounce me,” and, “I learned to rise & shout at BYU.”

    As shitty as it is to think of the assholes out there sending death threats to a professor for saying that not being shielded from the existence of gay people was good preparation for the outside world, it’s incredibly heartening to see all these kids who were raised in one of the most homophobic of environments standing up in this way. That is not something a lot of people would expect to see at a place like BYU, myself included, and it should give us all a little bit of hope that things will keep getting better all around. Good for them, and good for that professor.


  140. tomh says

    How the Trump Campaign Took Over the GOP
    By Danny Hakim and Glenn Thrush
    March 9, 2020

    WASHINGTON — President Trump’s campaign manager and a circle of allies have seized control of the Republican Party’s voter data and fund-raising apparatus, using a network of private businesses whose operations and ownership are cloaked in secrecy, largely exempt from federal disclosure.

    Working under the aegis of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, with the cooperation of Trump appointees at the Republican National Committee, the operatives have consolidated power — and made money — in a way not possible in an earlier, more transparent analog era. Since 2017, businesses associated with the group have billed roughly $75 million to the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and a range of other Republican clients.

    Mr. Parscale’s flagship firm, Parscale Strategy, has billed nearly $35 million to the Trump campaign, the R.N.C. and related entities since 2017

    According to two people with knowledge of the matter, Parscale Strategy has also been used to make payments out of public view to Lara Trump, the wife of the president’s son Eric, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., who have been surrogates on the stump and also taken on broader advisory roles. Their presence makes for an odd dynamic between a campaign manager and a candidate’s family.

    During a campaign appearance last summer in Orlando, Ms. Guilfoyle confronted Mr. Parscale: Why were her checks always late? Two people who witnessed the encounter said a contrite Mr. Parscale promised that the problem would be sorted out promptly by his wife, Candice Parscale, who handles the books on many of his ventures.

  141. says

    Liam Martin, CBS Boston:

    BREAKING: Massachusetts has just announced 51 *new* cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of presumptive cases to 92 — a 124 percent increase from yesterday. Seventy of the cases are related to the Biogen conference in Boston. Six people are hospitalized.

    BREAKING: Governor Baker declares a state of emergency in Massachusetts for coronavirus.

    Details on the coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. Middlesex County is the most affected….

  142. says

    MMFA – “Alex Jones is hawking his supplements as ‘literally a stopgap’ against coronavirus”:

    Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is touting the “great antivirals” that he sells as “literally a stopgap” measure against the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

    Ever since the outbreak of a novel coronavirus was first reported in late December, Jones has largely devoted coverage at his Infowars outlet to promoting conspiracy theories about the disease. In particular, Jones had been using his coronavirus conspiracy theories and claims that the disease will cause society to collapse — leading people to resort to cannibalism — to sell bulk food at his online store. Media Matters previously documented that the price of bulk food packages at the Infowars store has doubled in recent weeks, with the most expensive package now costing nearly $3,000.

    Jones is now linking coronavirus preventative measures to the supplements that he sells. On March 7, Infowars’ video platform posted an “emergency report” from Jones about the spread of coronavirus in which he said that “having antivirals, getting your immune system healthy, that is the answer.” He then said: “And yes, folks, we sell great antivirals like DNA Force Plus or great other systems out there that empower the mitochondrial DNA. And our SilverSol products like the Superblue toothpaste and other products. That is literally a stopgap against this.” The video has been viewed more than 350,000 times.

    The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission recently sent warning letters to several companies “accusing them of marketing illegal, unapproved drugs and making deceptive or scientifically unsupported claims” in coronavirus-related product pitches, The Washington Post reported. According to an FDA and FTC press release, “The products cited in these warning letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.” As FTC Chairman Joe Simons explained, “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step.”

  143. says

    Politico – “Italian doctors on coronavirus frontline face tough calls on whom to save”:

    In Lombardy, the wealthy region at the heart of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, a shortage of beds and medical supplies is forcing doctors to make increasingly difficult choices.

    As the number of infected keeps rising — the number of reported cases in Italy topped 7,900 Monday, more than 70 percent of them in Lombardy — hospitals are scrambling to increase the number of beds available in intensive care units. Some have closed entire wards to dedicate them to severe coronavirus cases. Others have transformed operating rooms into intensive care units. Doctors are working grueling shifts to cover for colleagues who fall ill.

    With no clear sign of when the epidemic will spike, anesthesiologists and doctors are being called on to make increasingly tough calls on who gets access to beds and respirators when there are not enough to go around.

    “It is a fact that we will have to choose [whom to treat] and this choice will be entrusted to individual operators on the ground who may find themselves having ethical problems,” said a doctor working in one of Milan’s largest hospitals.

    Lombardy has some 900 beds available for patients needing intensive care, but in some provinces, particularly in Bergamo, Lodi and Pavia, hospitals are “near saturation,” the doctor said.

    For now, the marching orders are: Save scarce resources for those patients who have the greatest chance of survival. That means prioritizing younger, otherwise healthy patients over older patients or those with pre-existing conditions.

    “We do not want to discriminate,” said Luigi Riccioni, an anesthesiologist and head of the ethical committee of Siiarti, the Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care, who co-authored new guidelines on how to prioritize treatment of coronavirus cases in hospitals. “We are aware that the body of an extremely fragile patient is unable to tolerate certain treatments compared to that of a healthy person.”

    By issuing recommendations, Riccioni said he wants to ensure doctors and medical staff are not left alone “in front of such a difficult ethical choice.”

    “Many colleagues are afraid of the dizzying increase of the epidemic,” he added.

    The pressure on doctors is extremely high, with many feeling increasingly stressed, said Giulio Gallera, welfare councilor for Lombardy, who said he saw some practitioners cry over the dire situation in their hospitals. They are afraid they can’t give everyone the care they need as demand outpaces resources, he said.

    Health experts are now bracing for the arrival of the virus in southern Italy, which has so far only registered fewer than 300 cases, said Giuseppe Sofi, an anesthesiologist at the Policlinico hospital in Milan.

    Italy’s northern and central regions are not only the richest of the country — they produce 40 percent of national GDP — they also have the best health care systems.

    “In the south, we would risk a catastrophe,” said Sofi.

  144. tomh says

    Mazars and Vance may be political blockbusters, but they aren’t legal ones

    This is a detailed analysis of why these cases should be a slam dunk to enforce the subpoenas. Of course, with the current makeup of the Supreme Court…it’s anybody’s guess how they will contort themselves to support Trump.

    The final paragraph of the article:

    In short, the court’s precedents make clear that the powers of Congress and grand juries to investigate are broad, and the court should uphold the subpoenas in these cases. And that would be a good thing—the court’s answer in each of these cases not only will determine whether these congressional committees and this grand jury can access these financial documents, but also could affect the ability of all future congressional committees and grand juries to properly carry out their important investigative functions.

  145. says

    Barack Obama: “In the midst of campaign season, it’s important to look squarely at what’s at stake. This article speaks to one of the disturbing long term trends that we as voters and citizens need to expect our government to address….”

    Wow, these graphs.

  146. says

    People – “Russia Is Trying to ‘Inflame Racial Tensions’ in America as Part of Election Interference: Report”:

    Russia has escalated one front in its ongoing attempts at disinformation and manipulation, “stepp[ing] up efforts to inflame racial tensions in the United States as part of its bid to influence November’s presidential election,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

    The “primary goal … is to foster a sense of chaos in the United States,” according to the Times, which also noted “motivations are under debate and difficult to decipher” but that “some American officials said” any such chaos was thought by Russians to be beneficial to President Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign because he could argue he was the candidate of stability.

    Russian measures include “trying to influence white supremacist groups,” “prodding white nationalists to more aggressively spread hate messages and amplifying their invective” and “trying to push black extremist groups toward violence,” according to the Times.

    These efforts have relied less on open networks of social-media activity — given heightened scrutiny on how companies such as Facebook and Twitter respond — and moved toward the internet’s closed-off corners: anonymous forums such as 4chan and private social media groups, the Times reported.

    The paper cited “seven American officials briefed on recent intelligence” for its latest article….

    LOL at Trump as the candidate of stability.

  147. says

    Holy shit – BBC – “Coronavirus: Health minister Nadine Dorries tests positive”:

    Health minister and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries says she has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

    Ms Dorries, the first MP to test positive, said she had taken all the advised precautions after finding out and had been self-isolating at home.

    It comes as a sixth person died from the virus in the UK, which has a total of 382 cases.

    The latest person to die was a man in his early 80s who had underlying health conditions.

    Meanwhile, GPs are warning that routine appointments at surgeries may have to stop as the number of coronavirus cases rises.

    Ms Dorries, who has been an MP since 2005, said in a statement: “I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus.”

    She added: “Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.”

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted that she had “done the right thing” by self-isolating at home and wished “her well as she recovers”.

    He added: “I understand why people are worried about this disease. We will do all we can to keep people safe, based on the best possible science.

    Earlier, England’s deputy chief medical officer defended the decision to delay closing schools and introducing other stringent measures, saying experts were assessing new cases on an hourly basis to achieve a “balanced response”.

    The number of total cases for the UK include 324 cases in England, 27 in Scotland, 16 in Northern Ireland and 15 in Wales.

    There are 91 in London, with the next highest infected area being south-east, with 51 cases….

  148. says

    NC: Five more North Carolina residents have tested positive for coronavirus, public health officials said Monday, bringing state total to seven. All 5 attended a conference biotech firm Biogen held in Boston last month, officials said.”

  149. says

    Inbox: President Donald J. Trump will be in Milwaukee, WI on March 19, 2020 to launch the ‘Catholics for Trump’ coalition. The event will bring together Catholics from across the nation who support President Trump’s re-election.”

  150. blf says

    Mexican women stage nationwide ‘Day Without Us’ strike (video):

    Shops were left eerily empty and the labour ministry was particularly hard hit on Monday as Mexico’s female population staged a nationwide “Day Without Us” strike to protest against gender-based violence. […]

    An average of 10 women were killed in Mexico each day in 2019. It is a death toll that prompted millions of mothers, daughters and sisters to walk out of their jobs on Monday to underscore what a society without them would look like. The nationwide wildcat strike, which is expected to cost the Mexican economy $1 billion, follows a series of protests held on International Women’s Day to protest violence against women.

    At the country’s labour ministry, where 62 percent of the workforce are women, men have been temporarily deployed to work the counters.

    “Today, I have had to replace one of my colleagues. I used to do this job, but I’m out of practice because usually there are mostly women sitting in these seats,” [said] one male employee of the labour ministry […]

  151. says

    Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Inquirer – “Joe Biden needs to say now who’ll be in his White House. It’s the only way he beats Trump”:

    …A November election that turns off young voters who see it as a mano-a-mano between two aging septuagenarians is a guaranteed lose-lose. It might guarantee the most cynical of outcomes, four more years of Trump. On the other hand, if Americans come to see the contest as Team Sanity against Team Sycophancy, and not simply “a return to normal” but the promise of “a better normal” for the struggling, the priced-out, the marginalized, and also for the planet, 2020 could be a landslide for the Democrats. And such a blow-out could also bring a Democratic Senate, which could actually implement some of these policies.

    No, it’s not the normal way to run for president. Maybe you’ve noticed, but these are not normal times. A burned-out electorate wants to see Joe Biden’s team, and we want to see it early. Ending Trumpism in America will not be a solo sport.

    I don’t agree on some of the specifics, but completely agree with the gist.

  152. Paul K says

    I’ve meant for some time to say thanks to those who keep this forum going. I read it several times a day as my own clearinghouse for the political insanity going on around us. Reading rational, compassionate reporting and summaries of good coverage has helped me keep my sanity in this crazy time. I don’t have the income to buy access to the media that charges for it, so the summaries here are great. And I feel that gratitude every time I come here. So, thanks!

    But what made me stop reading and actually write was the coverage from Italy. I know the virus has affected other places just as harshly, but the coverage — at least that I know of — has not been so heart-crushing. When I considered having to make the decisions they are making, on the fly, in the moment, again and again; I just broke down. And then, when I think about this happening all over the world….

    Take care of yourselves, people, and of each other!

  153. says

    SC @270, even Norah O’Donnell on the CBS news this evening noted that the hospital in her area still did not have any coronavirus tests. None. No tests.

    Surely, most people in the USA now know that Trump is lying about the number of tests available.

  154. says

    Some excerpts from the article mentioned by SC in comment 291:

    […] This virus is such a threat [in the USA] because it is both highly infectious and lethal, and not enough people are being tested, despite significant recent effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the time cases are confirmed, significant community transmission has likely already occurred. This is a classic tip-of-the-iceberg phenomenon. […]

    The best way to put out the fire is a vaccine, but that is over a year away. In the meantime, we must focus on reducing the height of the outbreak curve. [See SC’s reference to graphs of the outbreak curve, in comment 284] This requires coordination and implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. School closures, isolation of the sick, home quarantines of those who have come into contact with the sick, social distancing, telework and large-gathering cancellations must be implemented before [my bolding] the spread of the disease in any community reaches 1 percent. After that, science tells us, these interventions become far less effective.

    Simply put, as evidence of human-to-human transmission becomes clear in a community, officials must pull the trigger on aggressive interventions. Time matters. Two weeks of delay can mean the difference between success and failure. Public health experts learned this in 1918 when the Spanish flu killed 50 million to 100 million people around the globe. If we fail to take action, we will watch our health-care system be overwhelmed.

    Starting now, public health messaging should be framed in light of this clear objective. Community-based interventions are needed to delay the outbreak peak. […] Aggressive interventions put off and ease the peak burden on hospitals and other health-care infrastructure. […]

    Consider the actions taken in Italy. On Feb. 20, Italy reported three instances of infection and no known deaths. On Feb. 21, Italy had 20 cases and its first attributed death. Officials implemented interventions, including school closures, the following day and instituted a cordon sanitaire affecting 50,000 people. That’s aggressive, but it was too late. On Feb. 22, Italy reported 63 cases and a second death. A little more than a week later, there were 2,036 cases, with 140 patients in serious condition and 52 deaths. Today, the numbers continue to climb, with more than 9,100 cases and 460 dead, and on Monday the government expanded travel restrictions to the entire country.

    By contrast, Hong Kong and Singapore acted immediately and are still holding the line, literally. Through isolation, quarantines, contact tracing, canceled gatherings and widespread surveillance, they have achieved linear growth of the virus, meaning a reproduction number close to one. What they are doing is working.

    Working parents without child care have a legitimate concern, and we must find ways to help one another. But school closings can be the single most effective intervention. Amid an influenza pandemic, schools would be closed to protect the students themselves. Because children are not among the groups most vulnerable to coronavirus, schools should be closed in an effort to reduce community transmission and to protect the children’s parents and grandparents.

    How long? Epidemiologists suggest eight weeks might be needed to arrest this outbreak. […]

    The United States and other liberal societies must mount a significant, coordinated response with public buy-in. Panic must, of course, be avoided. Most people who become infected are likely to get what feels like a mild case of seasonal flu. Many will not develop symptoms. But the elderly and otherwise infirm are at risk, and the number of Americans likely to be hospitalized and the subset of those who will require some form of critical care could still be significant. […]

    Washington Post Link

    The number of people needing care will probably still overwhelm hospital systems in the USA … mainly because the Trump administration is acting too slowly.

    I can work from home, so for the most part, I am being a hermit.

  155. says

    Paul K @300. Thank you.

    SC @293, since the Russians are using hidden (sort of hidden) internet sites to push white supremacists to increase racial divisions in the USA, my bet is that the Russians will also push the white supremacists to infringe on the voting rights of black and brown people. I wouldn’t be surprised to see actual physical intimidation, and threats.

  156. says

    Thanks so much, Paul K @ #300.

    But what made me stop reading and actually write was the coverage from Italy. I know the virus has affected other places just as harshly, but the coverage — at least that I know of — has not been so heart-crushing. When I considered having to make the decisions they are making, on the fly, in the moment, again and again; I just broke down. And then, when I think about this happening all over the world….

    It’s so awful, and so traumatic for the medical workers, and I’ve seen pretty much nothing about it on the news. I’ve seen reporters on the streets of Rome talking about how sad it is that the tourists aren’t there, and I’m at a complete loss.

    Lynna @ #304, thank you for the excerpt. Yet again, the news isn’t conveying the sense of urgency. They should have been talking about that oped today.

  157. says

    Mike Baker, NYT:

    For weeks, thousands of flu samples sat in Seattle as researchers sought to test and flag them for coronavirus. The C.D.C. wouldn’t allow it.

    When testing did happen, it was too late. The virus was upon us.

    Emails and interviews show that after the weeks of C.D.C. rejections, researchers in Seattle decided to defy regulators and test anyway. They ended up finding and reporting the first case of community-transmission in the region.

    By that point, we now know, the virus had already spread undetected. Two people had already died. A nursing home now linked to 19 deaths hadn’t yet learned that their sickness troubles were coronavirus.

    NYT link atl.

  158. Akira MacKenzie says

    Once again, the AmerIcan people prove they are too fucking stupid for democracy.

  159. says

    CNBC – “NYC coronavirus cases are ‘coming in so intensely now,’ Mayor de Blasio says”:

    Private labs that began running coronavirus tests in New York City on Friday are reporting so many new cases that public officials are having trouble keeping up, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday.

    “They’re coming in so intensely now that being able to give you a detailed case breakdown, we’re not in that position to do that at this moment because there are so many coming forward,” de Blasio said, speaking at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. “As of 12 noon … the number of confirmed cases in New York City is 36. That’s 16 new since yesterday and 11 new even since this morning at 7 a.m. when I last spoke about this.”

    Almost 2,000 New York City residents are in voluntary isolation while 30 people are in mandatory quarantine, he said.

    COVID-19 has infected more than 173 people across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters earlier Tuesday. Of that, 108 confirmed cases are in Westchester County, just north of New York City.

    Dr. Mitchell Katz, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, said local hospitals are bracing for an onslaught of COVID-19 cases, adding that local hospitals are preparing to discharge current patients to handle incoming coronavirus patients….

  160. says

    Wajahat Ali: “My wife, a doctor, said some patients are refusing to see Asian American doctors due to #coronavirus. People, curb your fear & racism. It won’t help you or the country. Plus, you will be behaving like an ignorant a-hole. The virus, unlike us, doesn’t discriminate.”

  161. johnson catman says

    re SC @314: Unfortunately, if that happens, we are assured to get another four years of The Orange Toddler-Tyrant. In the meantime, Bernie should do all he can to work towards getting the nomination himself. If Milqetoast McTouchy does win the nomination, Bernie should be VERY CLEAR that he supports Biden and work to get him elected (and vice-versa, of course). The present administration has already done so much damage to the US that recovery may be nearly impossible. We have to unite behind whoever wins the Democratic nomination to rid ourselves of the disease in the White House.

  162. says

    Daily Beast – “Dr. Fauci Schools Hannity on Dangers of Coronavirus”:

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, set Fox News host Sean Hannity straight Tuesday night on the dangers the novel coronavirus outbreak presented to the United States, pointedly telling him that the virus is much more lethal than the seasonal flu.

    “But Sean, to make sure your viewers get an accurate idea about what goes on, you mentioned seasonal flu,” he continued. “The mortality for seasonal flu is 0.1 [percent]. The mortality for this is about two, two-and-a-half percent. It’s probably lower than that, it’s probably closer to one. But even if it’s one, it’s 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. You gotta make sure that people understand that!”

  163. says

    johnson catman @ #315:

    In the meantime, Bernie should do all he can to work towards getting the nomination himself.

    It doesn’t look like he has a realistic path to the nomination at this point. AOC seems to be trying to move him and his other supporters towards that realization. It’s tough and painful, especially since things turned around so suddenly, but it’s important to accept reality and work to advance progressive goals within the Democratic coalition.

  164. says

    Eric Bradner:

    @AOC on an Instagram livestream, on her future: “We can’t swing from one savior to another. And there’s a lot of saviorism in politics, like ‘Who’s next, who’s going to save us?’ And the answer is you.”

    She says progressives need to focus on shifting attitudes on issues.

  165. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 318

    I keep asking some variant of the following question, but no wants to even try to answer it: How long are those suffering under the present system going to have wait while people like AOC attempt the futile task of educating and convincing the stupid?

    I keep telling you, we don’t have generations, decades, or even a few years to delay the massive, radical change we need to survive. Our civilization is dying NOW, and some of us don’t feel like dying with it no matter what the centrists say.

  166. says

    The Guardian (support the Guardian) has a coronavirus liveblog. From today’s:

    Turkey has announced its first confirmed case of Covid-19, ending weeks of speculation over whether the tourism and travel hub will be able to avoid the fast-spreading virus….

    Angela Merkel has said 60-70% of Germany’s population will be infected with Covid-19, unless measures can be found to slow down the spread and develop vaccines in the time won.

    “When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60% to 70% of the population will be infected,” the German chancellor told a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday morning.

    Merkel said the main focus of her government’s measures were to avoid overwhelming health services, and advised other European countries to set similar priorities….

    The number of Iranians contracting Coronavirus and dying from the disease hit a new daily record, the Ministry of Health revealed on Wednesday. It announced that 956 had caught the disease in the past 24 hours and over the same period a total of 68 deaths had been recorded.

    The numbers take the total number of deaths to 354 and the number of those infected to around 9,000. Some nurses on social media said the peak may not be around April or May, but government officials say they hope the worst to have passed by the end of next week. President Hassan Rouhani has again appealed for Iranians to restrict their travel. Friday prayers have been cancelled for the third week in a row.

    Calls have been growing for Iran’s Rouhani to personally take charge of a crisis by forming a committee that meets every day to manage the nationwide fight against a coronavirus epidemic that has gripped several provinces….

    Spain has confirmed 2,002 cases and 47 deaths. Half the infected are in the Madrid region, where 31 people have died.

    A member of Nadine Dorries’ staff has tested positive for coronavirus, a party source has confirmed.

    Amid growing anxiety in Parliament over the spread of the disease, sources said the staff member was tested after the MP discovered she had the disease.

    Dorries, who began feeling ill on Friday, wrote to fellow MPs saying that one of her staff has contracted the illness and she is now in self-isolation for the next fortnight.

    Dorries’ symptoms began on 6 March – the 14-day incubation period means she could have been first exposed to coronavirus on 21 February. She met hundreds of people at meetings in Westminster and in her constituency before she felt poorly.

    Her parliamentary office in the Norman Shaw North building close to Whitehall and her ministerial office in the Palace of Westminster are both sealed off – as are some corridors leading to them – after the MP and a member of staff fell ill with the virus that has killed six so far in Britain and 4,300 globally.

  167. says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #319, AOC’s saying in that quote that people shouldn’t wait for others to do anything. I understand that your personal situation makes it harder for you to be politically involved right now, and I very much sympathize. But you appear to have two speeds – violent revolution and bitter passivity – and neither is productive under the circumstances. AOC seems to be a smart and pragmatic politician and activist, so maybe take some cues from her on how to move forward? I have the feeling you expect others here to answer for the Democratic Party or “establishment” and how they keep doing you wrong, which we’re not obliged to do. It upsets me that you’re hurting, but I don’t accept the premise of your questions in this vein. We’re all just citizens (of one country or another) here, and Sanders, AOC, Biden, etc. are just politicians. No one has any magical powers.

  168. says

    Josh Marshall: “The Democratic Party is a coalition of often very disparate groups. As we move now into a critical period it’s really important that each treat the others in a way that makes future unity possible. We must all disenthrall ourselves so that together we can save our country.”

  169. says

    Jeremy FLATTEN THE CURVE Konyndyk:

    I have been highly critical of the administration’s COVID19 response, and with sound reason – they have left us perilously unprepared.

    But at this point we are where we are. Accountability will come someday but first we need action. Here is an attempt to outline priorities.

    And I say with profound regret that we cannot rely on federal leadership to carry us through this.

    If you think this overly harsh, I refer you to the folks at @nro, with whom (to put it mildly), I rarely agree on anything. But they’re right on this:…

    So this will be won or lost by leadership at state, local, civil society, and private sector levels. Look to mayors, governors, community & biz leaders, and fight this city by city.

    What we’re up against: a trajectory that puts US [less than] 2wks behind Italy.

    The core objective, as I argued over weekend, is slowing spread enough to buy time for hospitals to stay on top of critical cases. Need a multi-track strategy to suppress the outbreak while expanding clinical bandwidth to treat. That’s the ballgame….

    This is past the point of urgency, as @mlipsitch argues in this grim but compelling thread.

    Wuhan-level spread here would overwhelm our hospitals, and undermine intensive care for *everything*, not just COVID. That’s already happening in Italy….

    So – how to achieve this? Need strategies that adapt broad shared priorities to local conditions and local epidemiology.

    We won’t have one monolithic US outbreak. We will have a series of interconnected locality-level outbreaks, each with their own dynamics.

    Unifying idea everywhere is you have to trigger measures that seem too extreme for the current circumstances.

    Far easier to overreact and dial back than to underreact and have to catch up. Catching up becomes disproportionately harder the longer you wait.

    Priority 1: Understand the epidemiology.

    It is hard to fight what you can’t see. Being at points 1, 2, or 3 on this curve has huge implications for strategy options, even if those points only differ in time by a matter of weeks….

    How you work to flatten the curve depends on where you are on it. But without aggressive surveillance and testing, it’s hard to know that. So understanding the epi is the foundation.

    Priority 2: Flatten the curve.

    The further you are up the curve (point 3 vs point 2 or 1), the more aggressive and widespread the measures must be. At point 1, contact tracing and targeted quarantine are relevant; at points 2 and 3, they can’t keep up.

    So as spread increases, contact tracing and targeted quarantines should be de-emphasized in order to focus on macro social distancing and promoting behavior change.

    @cmyeaton has a good thread suggesting social distancing made a big difference in Taiwan:…

    Large gatherings, conferences, events, parades should be suspended. There is still debate about schools closures given uncertainty about how COVID behaves in kids. But halting large events is a no-brainer. And yes, this most likely mean playing March Madness to empty stadiums.

    You – average citizen – have an important role here. Begin promoting social distancing. Minimize travel. Ask questions of your schools and workplaces (at our kids’ school we found the kids weren’t getting time to wash hands before eating; we complained loudly).

    Make noise.

    Call on public leaders to cancel events. Stop going to those events yourself (I’m skipping a long-planned 10k this weekend). Vote with your feet.

    Priority 3: Targeted protection for high-risk groups.

    Public health officials should review vulnerabilities and monitor for cases at every nursing home, prison, senior community.

    Staff working travel screening should be refocused on this. That’s a sideshow; this is main stage.

    But don’t leave this to public authorities. Support this in your own community.

    If you have loved ones or neighbors who are high risk, ask if there are ways you can help them in minimizing their forays beyond their home.

    Protecting the high risk means fewer people in hospital.

    Priority 4: Protect hospital bandwidth. The above priorities, if done comprehensively, can delay spread and reduce peak volumes. But depending on how late they are triggered, it may not be sufficient.

    Also need to protect/expand hospital capacity.

    Must reinforce training, PPE, and infection prevention to minimized damaging exposures of health workers.

    And must find creative ways to expand ICU capacity and plan for in extremis patient volumes.

    Excellent overview here:…

    Priority 5: Mitigate economic shocks and other second order impacts. Many social distancing measures have economic disincentives – e.g. it’s hard for gig or hourly-wage workers to decide not to work, or decide to stop interacting with customers. Need targeted econ help.

    Priority 6: Clear risk communication. @EIDGeek is the expert here. Build trust through transparency over time. Don’t hype the risk but don’t downplay it artificially. Provide clear, actionable guidance that validates people’s fear while channeling it into action instead of panic.

    The specific tactics under each of these priorities will differ by community, depending on where they are along the curve and other local factors. But these are priorities that local leaders and local citizens can begin meaningfully taking forward.

    Let’s do this.

  170. says

    I hope Weinstein will look at the bright side of this: His lawyer asserts that he wouldn’t survive a five-year sentence, so he’ll only have to serve, say, four and a half years! And maybe they’ll let him carry his child-sized Zimmer frame around so he’ll feel secure while he’s running up and down the stairs.

  171. says

    (1/2) DC Health Advisory

    DC Health recommends that non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled. Mass gatherings are defined as events where 1,000 or more people congregate in a specific location.

    (2/2) We also recommend that any social, cultural, or entertainment events where large crowds are anticipated be reconsidered by the organizer. This recommendation is in effect through March 31.”

  172. tomh says

    A remarkable screed by a federal judge.

    ‘Assault on Democracy’: A sitting federal judge takes on John Roberts, Trump and Republicans
    By Fred Barbash
    March 11, 2020

    Lynn S. Adelman, a U.S. district judge in Milwaukee, has riled conservatives by publishing a blistering critique of the Supreme Court’s record under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., focusing on a string of decisions that he argues have fostered “economic inequality,” “undermined democracy” and “increased the political power of corporations and wealthy individuals” at the expense of ordinary Americans.

    Adelman also criticized President Trump, who he wrote ran as a populist but failed to deliver “policies beneficial to the general public. … While Trump’s temperament is that of an autocrat,” Adelman wrote, “he is disinclined to buck the wealthy individuals and corporations who control his party.”

    The article by Adelman was all the more unusual because it went after the chief justice directly. Roberts, he said, was “misleading” in his 2005 confirmation hearing testimony when he pledged to be a passive “umpire” calling balls and strikes.

    Adelman called that metaphor a “masterpiece of disingenuousness,” saying the court under Roberts “has been anything but passive” as its “hard right majority” has actively participated in “undermining American democracy.”

    The article, entitled “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” is scheduled for publication in an unspecified forthcoming issue of the Harvard Law & Policy Review, which describes itself as the official publication of the liberal American Constitution Society. It was published in full at SSRN this month.

    The WaPo piece is long, with excerpts, but the 35 page Adelman article is a free pdf download fron SSRN.

    This is the abstract, which gives the tone.


    This article argues that economic and political developments in the last fifty years have in many respects undermined America’s democratic institutions and that, instead of working to strengthen democracy, the Supreme Court over which Chief Justice Roberts presides, is substantially contributing to its erosion. The Court has done this in two ways, first by carrying on a sustained assault on the right of poor people and minorities to vote. The Court has virtually eviscerated the landmark Voting Rights Act, it has upheld strict voter identification laws that serve no purpose other than to make voting more difficult, and it has authorized states to purge thousands of people from the voting rolls. In addition, the Court has abdicated its responsibility to end the anti-democratic process of partisan gerrymandering. The second way in which the Court is weakening democracy is by reinforcing the enormous imbalance in wealth and political power that has developed in recent decades and that has contributed to undermining democracy. The Court has done this by consistently strengthening the economic and political power of corporations and wealthy individuals, as, for example, through its campaign finance decisions, and by reducing that of ordinary Americans as, for example, through its decisions involving labor unions, forced arbitration and the expansion of Medicaid.

  173. says

    Rep. Cooper: Are there plans to have drive-thru coronavirus testing so we do not panic emergency rooms when people cough?

    Dr. Redfield: ‘Not at this time … we are trying to maintain the relationship between individuals and their heath care providers’.”

    What the fuck?

  174. says

    Reuters – “Exclusive: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations – sources”:

    The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials.

    The officials said that dozens of classified discussions about such topics as the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions have been held since mid-January in a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a key player in the fight against the coronavirus.

    Staffers without security clearances, including government experts, were excluded from the interagency meetings, which included video conference calls, the sources said.

    “We had some very critical people who did not have security clearances who could not go,” one official said. “These should not be classified meetings. It was unnecessary.”

    The sources said the National Security Council (NSC), which advises the president on security issues, ordered the classification.”This came directly from the White House,” one official said.

    The White House insistence on secrecy at the nation’s premier public health organization, which has not been previously disclosed, has put a lid on certain information – and potentially delayed the response to the crisis. COVID19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed about 30 people in the United States and infected more than 1,000 people.

    One of the administration officials suggested the security clearances for meetings at HHS were imposed not to protect national security but to keep the information within a tight circle, to prevent leaks.

    “It seemed to be a tool for the White House – for the NSC – to keep participation in these meetings low,” the official said.

  175. says

    He’s not dropping out. He’s talking about how he’s looking forward to the debate on Sunday. He’s going through the questions he’s going to ask Biden at the debate, but…he’s not a moderator. It’s odd.

  176. Akira MacKenzie says


    I imagine the candidates will be interacting with each other. After all, it’s supposed to be a debate, isn’t it?

  177. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 325: “Large gatherings, conferences, events, parades should be suspended.”

    And yet, Trump is still planning to hold rallies. Pence said that “in this business, we shake hands.”

  178. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 320: ““When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60% to 70% of the population will be infected,” the German chancellor told a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday morning.”

    Very straightforward, and correct. Trump is the opposite.

  179. says

    What Trump said on Monday:

    I think what we will be doing is having a news conference tomorrow to talk about various things that we’re doing economically.

    What Trump did NOT do on Tuesday: he did not hold a news conference to talk about “some of the economic steps we’re taking, which will be major.”

    Trump is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    From the New York Times:

    […] Trump and lawmakers began negotiations on Tuesday for an emergency relief package to bolster an economy battered by the coronavirus crisis, with lawmakers and administration officials expressing optimism despite partisan divisions about what to include. […]

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […] Trump is clearly interested in a payroll tax holiday, which leaders of both parties are skeptical of.

    Complicating matters, Bloomberg News reported yesterday that the president specifically told Republican senators that “he wants a payroll tax holiday through the November election so that taxes don’t go back up before voters decide whether to return him to office.”

    I believe that’s part of a phenomenon known as saying the quiet part loud. Indeed, it reinforced concerns that Trump isn’t just looking for a stimulus package that would boost the economy; he’s also looking for a plan that would boost his re-election prospects.

    The Times’ report added that Republicans are also eyeing aid to the shale oil industry and oil companies hurt by recent price drops. The president himself added this week that he’s eyeing financial support for the hotel industry, which seems problematic given that Trump continues to own and profit from hotels that bear his name.

    Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have a dramatically different direction in mind, focused on paid sick-leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, improved food security, and expanded medical treatment options.

    Rumor has it, the House Democratic leadership will unveil a plan today, with a vote coming as quickly as tomorrow. But with Republican opposition to the progressive package likely, and GOP officials eyeing a very different kind of approach, the prospects for a quick compromise and speedy reaction aren’t great.

    Congress is scheduled to be out next week. As I type, the Dow is down another 1,200 points today.


  180. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @343: The Orange Toddler-Tyrant would rather contract the coronavirus than not have his ego stroked at his rallies.

  181. says

    Trump was repeating and amplifying Russian propaganda at about 1:00 am this morning:

    Pocahontas, working in conjunction with the Democrat Party, totally destroyed the campaign of Bernie Sanders. If she would have quit 3 days earlier, Sanders would have beaten Biden in a route, it wouldn’t even have been close. They also got two other losers to support Sleepy Joe!

    In other news, this is from Hillary Clinton:

    You’re not just protecting yourself by working from home, minimizing travel, and washing your hands.

    You’re protecting people in your community who may have a greater risk of complications from COVID-19 than you do.

    We’re all in this together. Let’s act like it.

    In other, other news, Rachel Maddow noted last night that Andrew Yang endorsed Joe Biden.

  182. says

    Trump must have seen the polls showing him losing to Joe Biden in Michigan. Here’s the batshit bonkers tweet from Trump:

    If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible, especially if they are powered by gasoline. Remember also, no more than one car per family. I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!

    Trump lied. There are no Democratic proposals to ban cars. Even the Green New Deal proposal does not eliminate automobiles.

    Trump lied. Trump made up the “one car per family ” line. He often adds “remember” in front of lies like that.

    Trump lied. The claim that new plants are being built all over Michigan has been thoroughly debunked.

    […] TRUMP: “They’re coming in at a level that we haven’t seen for decades. Car companies are coming in — Japanese car companies, in particular. Although, Germany called to say that they’re going to be announcing some very big movement with respect to a certain company that I’ve demanded has to come, because they sell us a lot of cars but they make them in other places. We want them making them in the United States. But Japan has 12 different companies building plants in Michigan, in Ohio, in North Carolina, in Pennsylvania. One is going to be announced in Florida. We are doing things that nobody thought were possible.” […]

    THE FACTS: There’s no evidence that car companies are coming to the U.S. at a rate faster than in previous decades, and industry observers know of only a few Japanese automotive companies building or expanding factories in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina or Pennsylvania — nowhere near a dozen. All four are key states for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

    In Ohio, Honda has filed paperwork for a small expansion of its engine plant in Anna, Ohio, near Dayton, but also has announced production cuts without layoffs. A parts supplier announced plans last year to expand in Springfield, Ohio. In North Carolina, transmission maker Aisin in April announced plans to bolster manufacturing operations with 900 jobs by 2021, but gave few details.

    The only Japanese automakers building a new U.S. assembly plant are Toyota and Mazda, which are jointly constructing a factory in Alabama that will build SUVs. At least three parts companies have announced plans to build factories in Alabama to serve that facility.

    Also, spokesmen for German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG say they haven’t been told of any coming new factory announcements. […]

    Trump’s frequent claim, repeated this week during a made-in-the-USA event, that “we hadn’t had auto plants built in many, many years” is false.

    Government statistics show that jobs in auto and parts manufacturing grew at a slower rate in the two-plus years since Trump took office than in the two prior years.[…]

    AP News link

  183. says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #342, interacting, yes. But they’re both candidates. The idea that his main role in a debate is to fire questions at the other candidate is odd. That wouldn’t really be a debate. I do think Sanders has a hard time sometimes seeing himself as a candidate for the party’s nomination rather than a leftwing critic and gadfly. I think he might be moving toward the possibility of withdrawing but having a difficult time accepting the sudden change of fortunes, which is completely understandable. But while he stays in the race I think he should approach it like a candidate.

  184. says

    From the G liveblog (linked @ #320): “The death toll from the coronavirus in Italy has risen from 631 to 827 in a day, Reuters reports. At the same time, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country rose by more than 2,000, from 10,149 on Tuesday to 12,462 today, it says.”

  185. tomh says

    Supreme Court says Trump administration may continue ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy for asylum seekers
    By Robert Barnes
    March 11, 2020

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Trump administration may continue its “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers while lower-court challenges continue, after the federal government warned that tens of thousands of immigrants amassed at the southern border could overwhelm the immigration system.

    The justices reversed a decision of a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which had ordered the policy be suspended Thursday on parts of the border.

    The Supreme Court’s action marks another case in which the Trump administration has asked the high court to immediately intervene after an adverse ruling from a regional appeals court.

    The court on a 5-to-4 vote in January allowed the administration to begin implementing new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States because they have used or might use public-assistance programs.

  186. says

    !!! – Richard Engel is reporting on MSNBC on a German company that has produced a coronavirus test being used in multiple countries that gives a result in about an hour. They say the machines are already in the US and used to test for other things, but people aren’t allowed to use them to test for coronavirus because they don’t have FDA approval. He says that if that approval were granted, tens of thousands of people could be tested per day in the US.

  187. says

    #BREAKING: SUNY and CUNY schools will be moving toward distance learning beginning March 19 Gov. Cuomo announced in a press conference today.”

    Not only is that inadequate, but the CUNY page specifically dealing with the coronavirus hasn’t even been updated.

  188. says

    Followup to tomh’s comment 201.

    Senate Homeland Security Committee chair Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) backed down on issuing a subpoena to a controversial witness in his investigation of Joe Biden, just one hour before a hearing on the demand was set to take place.

    The subpoena was to be sent to Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat and political consultant who has peddled explosive, unsubstantiated allegations about the Democratic Party and the Biden family since President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

    Johnson said in a statement that he had chosen to “postpone” a vote on subpoenaing Telizhenko for records and testimony “out of an abundance of caution.” [That sounds like bullshit.]

    Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), the ranking member on the committee, had tried to block a subpoena to Telizhenko in part due to concerns that his testimony would form part of “disinformation efforts by Russian or other actors.” Peters had demanded defensive briefings from the FBI and the intelligence community “specifically regarding Mr. Telizhenko.”

    Telizhenko was caught unawares by the senator’s decision to pull back, […]


    From the readers comments:

    the Dems will just pull out that nice photo of Johnson shaking hands with the dude and start asking about Johnson’s roll in Ukraine.

    He doesn’t want to go there, this is just bluster.
    It was always intended to scare Dems from voting for Biden in the Primary
    “Abundance of caution” = Abundance of clear evidence that our star witness is a corrupt, lying POS.

  189. says

    SC @354, inadequate and too late.

    In other news: Intelligence hearing designed to show that Russia hadn’t helped Trump … showed something else

    […] The entire hearing—held in the Trump-friendly confines of the Senate, with Republican leader Mitch McConnell helming the affair—was designed from the outset as a counter to the earlier briefing that Pierson gave to the House Intelligence Committee. [Shelby Pierson is an intelligence specialist assigned to investigate threats to the U.S. election system. He warned Congress that Russia wanted to see Donald Trump reelected and was planning to interfere in the 2020 election because Russian President Vladimir Putin finds that Trump is “more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests.”]

    As The Washington Post reports, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, “tempered” the early statements from Pierson. He did so in an exchange with McConnell that was so clearly designed to generate a nothing-to-see-here response that a second official present said, “Both question and response were clearly pre-drafted.”

    The call-and-response between McConnell and Evanina generated just the statement that Republicans wanted to carry out of the hearing: Russia has done nothing to help Trump. And all of them seemed prepared to ignore the other half of the message that came from the same hearing: Trump has done nothing to keep Russia out.

    Evanina wasn’t alone at the hearing. Other officials, including NSA Director Paul Nakasone and FBI Director Christopher Wray, were mum when it came to describing anything that the United States has actually done to secure the election in 2020. And neither of them offered any kind of assurance that the kind of threats that Pierson had warned about in the earlier hearing—and in earlier public statements—had been addressed. So if one official was claiming that Russia has done nothing overtly so far to help Trump, the rest were admitting that the U.S. has done nothing to stop it.

    Or, as the Post put it, Nakasone and Wray “did not give senators an impression that the Trump administration has a solid grip on dealing with foreign interference in the coming election.”

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the hill, the briefing did not go as smoothly. Evanina’s attempt to press the same line ran into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who refused to play the game and pointed out that the whole appearance seemed designed to push back against the assessment delivered by Pierson. The result was a hearing in which participants were much less willing to call it a day when Evanina gave his statements.

    And what did Trump’s new acting director of national intelligence have to say about all this? Exactly nothing. Because, as we mentioned, Grenell was a no-show.

    Grenell, who split his time as German ambassador between sending out tweets promoting neo-fascist leaders in Europe and sending out tweets promoting conspiracy theories, “declined” to attend the hearings in either the Senate or the House. According to the man Trump put in charge of national intelligence, he was “apprehensive” about being prepared enough to address the subjects of the hearing. Which is terrifying … but also kind of refreshing. At least Grenell seems to realize that he’s incompetent. That’s more than can be said for Trump.

  190. says

    An update on yesterday’s primary vote results: Joe Biden won in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, and Idaho. Bernie Sanders won North Dakota and currently leads in Washington state. Sanders’ lead in Washington State is narrow, and that indicates tat both candidates will walk away with some delegates from Washington, and that Sanders will not get the big boost he needs.

    Washington state is still counting votes. As of today,The New York Times delegate counter shows Biden with 823 delegates, and Sanders with 663.

  191. says

    Coronavirus infections in the USA now top 1,000.

    Yesterday afternoon trump said, “It will go away, just stay calm. Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.”


    […] No. Good things are not going to happen. The coronavirus isn’t just spreading rapidly; it has already spread widely. A massively undersupported testing program hasn’t even begun to probe the extent to which, in both area and numbers, the United States has been overrun by the novel coronavirus. That state officials have logged so many cases in 38 states at a point when testing has barely begun shows that the nation is farther up the curve toward a full-bore epidemic than anyone wanted to accept—and that is information the White House refuses to acknowledge. […]

    Meanwhile, state officials are reporting that they still lack adequate test kits, people are getting nothing like adequate preparation for what’s ahead, and the White House appears to be doing nothing to arrange for the hundreds of thousands of additional hospital beds that are going to be an absolute necessity to avoid the disaster that is costing lives in northern Italy.


  192. says

    G liveblog:

    In France, the health minister Olivier Véran said that, because the virus is not spreading in a uniform way, we have to have specific approach ready everywhere to adapt to the situation.

    He outlined two new clusters: in Corsica and around Montpelier in the south of the country, where all schools would be closed until 29 March. Vulnerable people are advised to stay at home.

    We have to protect ourselves those who cannot do it individually we have to do it collectively especially for the elderly.

    There would be no external visits to old peoples’ homes for “several weeks”, he said, and “all measures will be taken to make situation more simple for the elderly and their relatives”.

    Jérôme Salomon gave the updated figures in France. There are now 2,281 confirmed cases in 10 main cluster in France and 48 deaths, 25 male and 23 female.

    blf, are you close to Montpelier?

  193. says

    A reporter went to CPAC, and all she got was exposure to coronavirus:

    Last month, I spent three days at the country’s largest conservative political conference, CPAC. More than 19,000 people attended the event at the Gaylord National Resort outside of DC, where they flocked to hear from virtually everyone who matters in the Trumpist firmament. Almost the entire Trump family was there—the president himself; Don Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle; Ivanka and Jared; and first daughter-in-law Lara Trump. Also, the vice president, half the White House coronavirus task force, and new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were on hand […]

    At one point, I was walking through the conference center with my husband, a Washington Post reporter, and surveying the sea of MAGA-hat wearing activists. I turned to him and said, “There’s going to be an outbreak here isn’t there?” The crowd was so large, with people from all over the world, including hard-hit countries like Korea and Italy, and many were senior citizens, a group particularly vulnerable to the illness. […]

    Administration officials at the event took the opportunity to aggressively downplay the risks of a global pandemic and hype what Pence called the “unprecedented actions” Trump had taken to contain the virus. “We are ready for anything,” he told the CPAC crowd. […] Earlier that morning, Mick Mulvaney, the former White House chief of staff, accused the media of overhyping concerns about the virus, which he compared to the flu. “They think this will bring down the president,” he warned the gathered faithful, “that’s what this is all about.”

    And owning the libs, trafficking in conspiracy theories, and underplaying the seriousness of what was spinning into a global health crisis of unknown proportions, was what CPAC was all about.


  194. says

    Lynna @ #358:

    Yesterday afternoon trump said, “It will go away, just stay calm. Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.”

    I still almost can’t believe that happened. Yesterday! He doesn’t even rise to the level of unfit. He’s like contrafit.

  195. says

    False news and incorrect ways to deal with coronavirus are being spread on Facebook, as you know.

    Here is a description of a particularly bad Facebook (and Twitter) post that you should know about:

    If you’ve opened Facebook or Twitter in the past few days, you might have come across a post with alarming information about the coronavirus attributed to Stanford University.

    The post goes something like this: People with coronavirus may not show symptoms for several days, but if you can comfortably hold your breath for more than 10 seconds, you’re probably not infected. You should sip water every 15 minutes to wash the virus into your stomach, where stomach acid kills it, to prevent the virus from entering your windpipe and lungs. And if you have a runny nose, you have a cold, not the coronavirus.

    Most of this is false.

    I emailed Stanford’s Office of Communications to check the post’s authenticity. “The post is not from Stanford,” Lisa Kim at Stanford Health Care wrote back. She directed anyone who is confused to the University’s actual coronavirus information page.

    Then I called Loren Rauch, a community ER doctor at Antelope Valley Hospital in Los Angeles with a master’s degree in epidemiology, to dispel some of the rumors circulating online. The statements in bold are quotes from the viral Facebook post, and Rauch’s responses—lightly edited for length and clarity—follow.

    “The new coronavirus may not show signs of infection for many days. By the time you have fever and/or cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50 percent fibrosis.”

    That doesn’t mean anything. Fibrosis is a late scarring process. You may have 50 percent of your lung affected by the virus, causing pneumonia or fluid in your lungs. But fibrosis—that is not correct.

    If you can breathe fine, do not go to the doctor. Only go if you cannot breathe or are very ill.

    “Taiwan experts provide a simple self-check that we can do every morning: Take a deep breath and hold it for more than 10 seconds. If you do this successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, there is no fibrosis in the lungs; it basically indicates no infection. In critical times, please self-check every morning in an environment with clean air.”

    That’s not true. That can check if you are anxious or have respiratory compromise.

    “Everyone should ensure your mouth and throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach aid will kill all the virus. If you don’t drink enough water regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and then the lungs. That’s very dangerous.”

    Totally bogus. That’s not real.

    “Drinking warm water is effective for all viruses. Try not to drink liquids with ice.”

    No. […]


    More detailed debunking is available at the link

  196. says

    NEW: Biden campaign rolls out a Public Health Advisory Committee ‘to provide science-based, expert advice regarding steps the campaign should take to minimize health risks for the candidate, staff, and supporters’. Here are its members:…

    Not to mention that former Obama Ebola czar @RonaldKlain is on Biden’s team and understands how to manage the federal government’s response to a virus outbreak.”

    Meanwhile, Trump’s meeting with, as KG would call it, a wunch of bankers, and is planning to make some statement tonight. He’s still planning to fly to Las Vegas tomorrow for fundraisers and other events.

  197. says

    G liveblog: “The US president, Donald Trump, has hinted that he may advise Americans not to travel to Europe and will discuss declaring a national emergency when he gives a televised address later on Wednesday. He is due to speak at 8pm EDT (midnight GMT).”

  198. says

    Norwegian Cruise Lines Pushes Staff to Sell Trips by Lying About the Coronavirus

    Norwegian Cruise Line managers are pushing dangerous lies in an attempt to drum up and maintain business as the tourism industry is going through a significant slowdown prompted by concerns over the coronavirus.

    The company’s sales directors are reportedly asking team members to lie about the coronavirus to protect bookings, according to the Miami New Times. As one anonymous employee told the paper:

    “These discussions take place every day. And even during our department meetings, managers tell us that it isn’t a big deal, that more people die from other things…[They’re] constantly underestimating it.”

    An email shared with the Florida publication outlines false talking points that sales team members were reportedly told to use use on customers who are considering canceling their trips because of the virus.

    “The Coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise,” one talking point reads.

    “Scientists and medical professionals have confirmed that the warm weather of the spring will be the end of the Coronavirus,” a second says.

    Another line instructs that “the Coronavirus cannot live in the amazingly warm and tropical temperatures that your cruise will be sailing to.”

    These claims, particularly the one citing unnamed scientists and medical professionals, are patently false. The medical community does not firmly know what will happen with coronavirus as the weather gets warmer. While colds and flus happen more frequently in the fall and winter, they can strike year round. Scientists do not yet know enough about the coronavirus to assume that it will behave similarly in warmer temperatures. […]

  199. says

    ITV – “‘Healthcare on brink of collapsing’: Doctors share stories from inside the Italy coronavirus quarantine”:

    …I start with a voice recording of two Milanese doctors speaking on WhatsApp about the situation at their hospitals.

    The first identifies herself as Martina, but I believe she is Martina Crivellari, an intensive care cardiac anaesthesiologist at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

    She said: “There are a lot of young people in our Intensive Care Units (ICUs) – our youngest is a 38-year-old who had had no comorbidities (underlying health problems).

    “A lot of patients need help with breathing but there are not enough ventilators.

    “They’ve told us that starting from now we’ll have to choose who to intubate – priority will go to the young or those without comorbidities.

    “At Niguarda, the other big hospital in Milan, they are not intubating anyone over 60, which is really, really young.”

    She added: “This virus is so infectious that the only way to avoid a ‘massacre’ is to have the least number possible getting infected over the longest possible timescale.

    “Right now, if we get 10,000 people in Italy in need of ventilators – when we only have 3,000 in the country – 7,000 people will die.

    “Rome right now is like where Milan was 10 days ago. In 10 days there has been an incredible escalation.

    “Lombardy, which has the best healthcare in the country, is collapsing, so I don’t dare to think what would happen in less efficient regions.

    “We’ve had no critical cases among children but with children, viruses are much less aggressive – think chickenpox or measles.

    “But the very young are crazy carriers.

    “A child with no symptoms will go to visit its grandparents, and basically kill them. So it’s essential to avoid contact between them”.

    The other voice on the recording is a male doctor who we have so far not been able to identify, except that he works at Niguarda Hospital in Milan, one of the biggest in the city.

    He added: “You have no idea how many young people are here, I mean even 20-year-olds with no underlying conditions, in need of assisted breathing because of horrible pneumonia.

    “There aren’t the resources to screen doctors for Covid-19 anymore – they’re just telling them ‘stay home if you have symptoms, otherwise come to work’.”

    He continued: “Non-specialised medical graduates are being brought in.

    “At Milan’s Policlinico hospital they are dealing with 50 new pneumonia cases every day”.

    The World Health Organisation ranks Italy second in the world for health care provision, with only France rated higher. The UK is 18th.

    That is across the whole country, but Lombardy is the richest region in Italy and likely to be way ahead of some regions in the south.

    And yet even a system as good as this is teetering on the brink.

    How would the NHS cope if – or perhaps we should say when – our infection rate is as high as Italy’s?

    Let’s hope the Italian experience is giving us time to prepare.

  200. says

    Trump is concerned that declaring an emergency would hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu.

    […] Trump is reluctant to declare an expansive emergency to combat the escalating coronavirus outbreak, fearful of stoking panic with such a dramatic step, according to three people familiar with the situation.

    Instead, the president is expected to sign within days a more limited designation to allow the federal government to cover small business loans, paychecks for hourly workers and delay tax bills, the White House said Wednesday. An emergency declaration would go significantly beyond that move, bringing in the Federal Emergency Management Agency and freeing up funding and resources for states struggling to contain the rapidly spreading virus.

    Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu, said the three people familiar with the discussions. […]

    “The president isn’t persuaded because [an emergency declaration] contradicts his message that this is the flu,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump. […]


    SC was right when she said in comment 361, “He doesn’t even rise to the level of unfit. He’s like contrafit.”

    Yes. As I said before. Trump makes everything worse. It galls me that he is so intent on spreading misinformation. I know that the many conservatives in my community will believe him.

  201. says

    BREAKING: Wall Street ended an 11-year bull market with another steep tumble in stocks on mounting coronavirus worries. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 6%, pushing the market to a drop of more than 20% from its high — indicating a bear market.”

  202. says

    Stock Market update: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 1,400 points today. We now have a bear market, or a 20 percent decline from a 52-week high.

    This news is bound to make Trump more nervous, and even more apt to lie. I am dreading his address to the nation tonight. He is going to speak from the Oval Office in an attempt to wear the mantle of authority. He has proven so far to be an unending source of misinformation and happy-talk. I think that his address to the nation is bound to make things worse.

  203. says

    Trump team now ‘racing’ to allow federal workers to work from home—after killing prior programs.

    The Washington Post reports the Trump administration is now (just now?) “racing to develop contingency plans” allowing hundreds of thousands of federal workers to work remotely rather than in federal buildings. The plan does not seem to be robust. […]

    Yeah, no plans coming out of Trump’s White House are “robust.” His “plans” are all knee-jerk reactions, and all are poorly planned. I am reminded of Trump’s fondness for saying, “On time and under budget,” or “Ahead of schedule and under budget.” The opposite is true. With him, the opposite is always true.

    […] Trump team actually reversed federal work-from-home practices when they took office, with multiple agencies scaling back existing programs because Team Trump did not believe workers could be trusted to work hard enough from home. Now, yet again, they are scrambling to redo something they pompously disassembled.

    Also as usual for Team Trump, this is almost certain to become a rapid clusterf–k. Swiftly moving hundreds of thousands of workers to telecommuting status is likely to require substantial technological fiddling. Are there enough computers? What network security measures need to be altered, in what ways, to allow remote data access? How many workers need to take calls during their workdays, and how will each office keep track of new, private numbers?

    But it’s also going to be necessary. We are about to enter a new phase in attempts to slow coronavirus spread to “flatten the curve” enough for hospitals to not be absolutely overwhelmed with critical patients. It is likely that large public gatherings nationwide will be cancelled. Ordering businesses to provide paid sick leave, rather than obliging symptom-having workers to come in instead of losing pay, is absolutely essential, but any company that can have a sizable number of workers do their work from home needs to have those plans finalized immediately.

    Again, the goal here is to slow the virus down, not stop it. We need to slow the number of patients entering hospitals ten days from now, and twenty. […]


  204. says

    Oh, FFS!!

    Matthew Schlapp is the chairman of the American Conservative Union […]This means that Schlapp was at the recent conservative hand shaking and fist shaking event known as CPAC. Because of this, he has been getting a ton of air time on Fox News the past few days. His job is to assure Fox viewers that everybody at the conference used tons of hand sanitizer and washed their hands frequently. He has admitted to having interacted with the VIP-level anonymous CPAC attendee who contracted the virus and has sent people like Reps. Matt Gaetz and Doug Collins into self-quarantine. But good news for Schlapp—he tested negative for the virus.

    This small bit of anecdotal evidence has empowered Schlapp to go on Fox News to tell everyone that the coronavirus isn’t a big problem. His main, scientifically inaccurate thesis is that because—so far—no one seems to have contracted the virus from the ill CPAC individual, that means it’s not very contagious. […] “I think coming out of CPAC, one thing we’ve learned is, even when there’s an infected person among thousands, in our case over 10,000 people, it is very, very difficult to contract this virus.”


    More commentary:

    ”We” haven’t learned that. “You” believe that, because you shook a guy’s hand, and luckily didn’t contract the virus. Schlapp’s assertion isn’t a real thing. […] Researchers at Johns Hopkins have put the incubation time of the virus (the period after contracting, before someone begins to show symptoms) at a little over five days. This makes the 14-day quarantine time a safe and protective number. It also doesn’t take into account that most viruses are less contagious during incubation and more contagious once symptoms begin. But, again, scientists studying the virus have not been able to conclude anything definitively.

    This hasn’t stopped Fox News from misinforming their predominantly high-risk demographic. Schlapp went on fairytale goblin Laura Ingraham’s show to give the same unscientific assessment of events.

    Ingraham, because she still owes Beelzebub her soul, used that to attack Democratic-leaning Americans. […] […]


  205. says

    From the G liveblog:

    A cabinet minister is self-isolating while they await test results, a government source has confirmed, [though] they would not confirm the identity of the minister.

    Brazil’s confirmed coronavirus cases jumped from 34 on Tuesday to 52 on Wednesday, the health ministry said, as fears about its spread in South America’s biggest country grew.

    São Paulo state has the largest number of cases, with 30, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 13. And 907 suspected cases are still being investigated. The president Jair Bolsonaro’s press secretary Fabio Wajngarten is one of them, according to the columnist Monica Bergamo. He was with Bolsonaro on last weekend’s US trip during which the Brazilian president dined with Donald Trump. Wajngarten denied the report in a tweet shortly after.

    An analysis by the Pensi Institute, reported by the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper’s site, said that once Brazil has passed the 50 cases mark, it could reach 4,000 cases in 15 days and 30,000 cases within three weeks. The University of São Paulo suspended geography lessons after a student tested positive for the virus.

    The education minister, Abraham Weintraub, said in a video schools and universities had been told to prepare plans for remote classes should they prove necessary. “When I go out in the car, I hope I don’t hit anything, but I put on the safety belt,” he tweeted.

    But supporters of Bolsonaro, who has called the virus “oversized” insisted pro-government, anti-Congress demonstrations will go ahead on 15 March. “Let’s go to the streets this Sunday,” tweeted Central Bank economist Renan Leal, attacking coronavirus “hysteria”.

  206. says

    Josh Marshall: “It is remarkable, scarcely plausible in cinematic terms that little more than a month ago Adam Schiff was on the floor of the Senate saying you know in a crisis Donald Trump will think of himself and not the national interest and that that made him a danger to the country.”

    And he said all the Senators knew it full well, which they did, and all but one Republican voted to protect the sociopath rather than the public.

  207. says

    I couldn’t possibly keep up with all of the countries that have instituted new travel restrictions, closings, and cancellations: Ukraine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Poland, Guatemala, Greece,…

  208. says

    “The UK health secretary said earlier that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is due to chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra committee on Thursday. The Press Association is reporting that ministers are expected to decide at that meeting whether or not the UK’s coronavirus response should move on from ‘containment’ to ‘delay’.

    Moving to delay would mean social distancing measures could be brought in, such as restricting public gatherings, and more widespread advice to stay at home.”

    DO IT for the love of god.

  209. says

    The Coalition @CJTFOIR confirms more than 15 small rockets impacted Iraq’s Camp Taji base hosting Coalition troops, March 11 at 7:35 p.m. (Iraq Time). Assessment and investigation ongoing, follow @OIRSpox & @SecMedCell for updates.”

    Al-Monitor – “Multiple US troops dead in Iraq after rocket strike”:

    Two Americans and one British servicemember were killed in a rocket attack on Iraq’s Camp Taji base, just north of Baghdad, a security source confirmed to Al-Monitor. One American contractor was among the dead in the attack that took place at around 8 p.m. local time March 11, the source said.

    President Trump, flanked by top military officials, insisted in a White House speech in January after the ballistic missile attacks that Iran appeared “to be standing down” after a 12-day spell that saw an American contractor killed and US retaliation that began with strikes on military caches of Iran-backed groups.

    But experts insist that Iran was never likely to stand down for long after a Pentagon drone strike took out Iranian Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, whom US officials credited with extending Iran’s paramilitary reach into Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Soleimani would have turned 63 today.

    “Iran was never going to sit back after the Soleimani episode, and folks who said it was over were jumping the gun,” said Ariane Tabatabai, an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation. “So, if this is them, then it was to be expected.”

    The scope and lethality of Wednesday’s attacks could indicate that Iran has further extended its willingness to escalate the ongoing tit-for-tat with the United States. “Seems in line with their modus operandi, but they appear more willing to inflict casualties, which was seen as a red line for a while,” Tabatabai added.

    The episode marks the second fatal episode for US troops in Iraq this week. On March 8, the Pentagon confirmed that Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, California, and Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, of Germantown, Maryland, assigned to a Marine special forces battalion were killed in a raid against IS forces in Makhmur, a city in northern Iraq.

  210. says

    G liveblog: “After UK authorities decided the parliament should stay open, Reuters reports that the US Capitol has confirmed it will close its doors to visitors.

    Concerns were expressed in the Commons on Wednesday that remaining open – including to visitors – could worsen the situation in the UK.”

  211. says

    TPM – “Limbaugh Says Coronavirus Outbreak Panic ‘Just Not Warranted’”:

    Rush Limbaugh downplayed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak during his radio show Wednesday afternoon, even as the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic.

    After Limbaugh warned listeners of the “many red flags about things happening out there,” the recent Medal of Freedom recipient said that the panic surrounding growing fears of the coronavirus outbreak is “just not warranted.”

    Limbaugh then launched into a rant comparing the coronavirus to the common cold, which he said he concluded “based on the number of cases” and “the kind of virus this is.”

    “Why do you think this is ‘COVID-19’? This is the 19th coronavirus,” Limbaugh said. “They’re not uncommon. Coronaviruses are respiratory cold and flu viruses.” In fact, the 19 refers to the year 2019, when it was discovered.

    Limbaugh went on to blame the media for the panic.

    “There is nothing about this, except where it came from, and the itinerant media panic that — you can’t blame people reacting the way they’re reacting, if they pay any, even scant attention to the media,” Limbaugh said. “If you read just two or three media headlines a day — pick one, pick two, pick three at random — you’re going to think that if you leave your home you’ve got a good chance of dying — and you don’t.”

    Limbaugh added that what he finds “really more scary than anything” is how some Americans “seem to be OK” with giving into the panic.

    “Some Americans, I don’t know how many it is, seem to be OK with being told they can’t do this, and they can’t go there and you’ve got to stay here, and we’re gonna quarantine you there, and we’re gonna wrap you up over there, we’re gonna put you in this cocoon here, and you can’t leave and you — ‘Okay, okay, fine with me!’” Limbaugh said. “No, not OK.”

    Limbaugh’s remarks were aired the same day that the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19, the disease resulting from the novel coronavirus, is now considered a pandemic….


  212. says

    Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam at CNN – “Fact check: A list of 28 ways Trump and his team have been dishonest about the coronavirus”:

    President Donald Trump has been comprehensively misinforming the public about the coronavirus.

    Trump has littered his public remarks on the life-and-death subject with false, misleading and dubious claims. And he has been joined, on occasion, by senior members of his administration.

    We’ve counted 28 different ways the President and his team have been inaccurate. Here is a chronological list, which may be updated as additional misinformation comes to our attention….

  213. blf says

    SC@259, “blf, are you close to Montpelier?”

    (Minor correction) It’s Montpellier (two el’s); from memory, the one-el version is James Madison’s plantation (and Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge implies it’s not only a common spelling in the States, but also a widely-used name).

    Sort-of, but not too much… I’m a few hundred kilometres away, a few hours by train. Apropos of nothing much, I used to live in Montpellier, but haven’t been there recently. I am concerned about my friends there, but… (in no particular order) France has an extremely good health-care system; Montpellier happens to be where a major medical University is located; and hair furor is not in France.

    On the other hand, I do feel a bit “surrounded” and anxious: N.Italy is to the East, Montpellier (and Marseille) is to the West, and Paris &tc is to the North; and there are good train connections to all said places. Plus, this village is a (super-)yacht port, so there are a fair number of people from around the world (a good thing), potentially including Covid-19 carriers.

    At the moment, other than a fairly bland “what to do” notice at some official / municipal offices, I haven’t noticed anything out-of-the-usual (for this time of year). France is the 5th(? after Big China, S.Korea, Iran, and Italy) site of known cases, but with the exceptionally poor test coverage in the NKofE (UK), States, Indonesia, and possibly other places (including “Africa” albeit for different and understandable reasons compared to those named laggards), not necessarily the “5th most risky” (waving hands).

    Thanks for asking, and for your obvious concern.

  214. says

    blf @ #390:

    It’s Montpellier (two el’s); from memory, the one-el version is James Madison’s plantation (and Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge implies it’s not only a common spelling in the States, but also a widely-used name).

    Yes, one l is the spelling for the capital of Vermont (pronounced “montpeelyer”). I believe I’ve been through the one in France with two ls on the train a few times.

    Stay safe and practice social distancing.

  215. says

    There’s a new Guardian coronavirus liveblog:

    There is another sea of red on stock market boards in Asia Pacific on Thursday morning.

    The Nikkei in Japan has dropped 2.3% and the Kospi in Seoul is off 1.2%. As we’ve seen already, the Australian market has fallen almost 3% despite the announcement of a federal government emergency stimulus package.

    Comparisons being made with the massive household giveaway by the Kevin Rudd government in 2009….

    The Australian stock market has given the thumbs down to the Morrison government’s stimulus package.

    Shares, which were already down about 2% when Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and treasurer Josh Frydenberg began talking at around 10.35am, fell as the politicians spoke.

    Within 10.50am the benchmark ASX200 was down 3%. After some choppy trade, it was off by 2.9% at 11.30am.

    The package relies heavily on money for business, which gets around three quarters of the stimulus, and while there is cash for people on benefits the amount is less than that handed out by the Rudd government during the global financial crisis and there is nothing for workers without families.

  216. blf says

    SC@392, “Stay safe and practice social distancing.”

    Thanks. That advice is sensible and applies to everyone. And may I add a reminder of the best current recommended practice — frequent thorough hand-washing (WHO, CDC, NHS How to wash your hands (particularity recommended), etc…).

  217. blf says

    Figures. The NKofE (i.e., the UK) is not doing a particularly convincing job of testing for Covid-19 — apparently the guidelines for who should be tested are so strict doctors cannot use discretion / expertise to order a test (as one general example) — so that is the one “European” nation hair furor is not banning travel with…

    As reminder, the testing in the States is even less-convincing than the paltry efforts in the NKofE…

  218. says

    I talk on the phone for a while and…

    In the US, the NBA announced that it will suspend the season after Wednesday night’s games until further notice, as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

    The announcement came after a player on the Utah Jazz preliminarily tested positive for covid-19 ahead of a game between that team and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was called off moments before tip-off, and the player had not been in the arena.

    The league said it would use the hiatus to determine next steps amid the pandemic.

    Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are working in Australia and have both tested positive for coronavirus.

  219. says

    Breaking from @PressSec: ‘Out of an abundance of caution from the Coronavirus outbreak, the President has decided to cancel his upcoming events in Colorado and Nevada’.

    Trump was scheduled to leave tmrw for 3-day trip that included Las Vegas speech to RJC conference Saturday.”

  220. says

    G liveblog:

    The total number of coronavirus cases worldwide now stands at 126,135, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

    These are the highest infection figures globally:

    China: 80,932
    Italy: 12,462
    Iran: 9,000
    South Korea: 7,755
    France: 2,284
    Spain: 2,277
    Germany: 1,966
    US: 1,311
    Switzerland: 652
    Japan: 639

  221. says

    Trump’s claim tonight that health insurers ‘have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments’ seems to be news to them.

    ‘For testing. Not for treatment’. a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby AHIP says.”

    This is/was the basis of Elizabeth Warren’s argument: as long as these companies exist as health “insurers” they’ll be politically powerful.

  222. blf says

    More on the lunacy, Trump suspends travel from Europe, excluding UK, amid coronavirus outbreak:

    […] During the speech, Trump defended his administration’s response while laying blame on the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the foreign virus, saying US clusters had been seeded by European travelers.


    Daniel Drezner, a professor of International politics at Tuft University and a contributor to the Washington Post, said the European travel restriction was not likely to have a significant impact on the spread of the coronavirus in light of the fact that the virus is already here.

    “We’re long past containment. We’re in mitigation, and mitigation means dealing with the transmission of the virus here,” Drezner told the Guardian.


    “It seems to me that Stephen Miller was looking for a boogey-man and he found one in Europe,” he said, referring to Trump’s aide, who is an anti-immigration hardliner.


  223. blf says

    Nothing to do with Covid-19, EU plans ‘right to repair’ rules for phones and tablets:

    European commission says linear growth model of ‘take, make, use, discard’ has reached limit

    Manufacturers of phones, tablets and laptops will face legal obligations to make their products easier to repair and reuse, under a far-reaching recycling plan from the European Union executive.

    The European commission wants to drastically increase recycling of electronic goods, which are often difficult to repair, replace batteries or upgrade. Less than 40% of electronic waste in the EU is thought to be recycled.

    Billed as “the right to repair”, the European commission will extend an eco-design law to cover phones, tablets and laptops, setting technical standards so these goods consist of changeable and repairable parts. The current eco-design directive sets energy efficiency standards for computers, TVs, dishwashers and washing machines.


    The law will have to be agreed by EU member states and the European parliament.

    The commission is also considering an EU-wide scheme that would enable consumers to sell or return old phones, tablets and chargers. It also wants to introduce a common charger.


    There are quite valid criticisms the plan doesn’t go as far as it could or should (i.e., too little and very late). Nonetheless, it is a step in a good direction.

    Furthermore, equipment which (presumably) already meets the requirements already exists. For instance, my own smartphone is a Fairphone 3, which “can be easily repaired and is made as ethically as possible”. As a (trivial?) example, the battery can be removed, recycled, and replaced — by me, without using any tools — unlike, say, a certain well-known Very Expen$ive propriety (and not very ethical) company. So can other components (albeit a simple tool is needed), with the notable exception of the main processor. (At the moment, I must admit, it is the only piece of computing kit I have with is specifically so-designed, albeit the older equipment is more easily repairable (in principle) than the newer kit, albeit none — except the ‘phone — seems likely to meet the EU’s proposed regulations, with the possible exception of energy efficiency.)

  224. blf says

    Apropos of not much much, all ten of the current “top ten” stories in the Grauniad are Covid-19 related (most links omitted):

    ● Live Coronavirus live updates: Trump suspends all travel from Europe to US for 30 days, excluding UK
    ● Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should I see a doctor?
    ● Tom Hanks coronavirus: actor and Rita Wilson test positive in Australia
    ● Super-rich jet off to disaster bunkers amid coronavirus outbreak
    Super-rich jet off to disaster bunkers amid coronavirus outbreak
    ● Live Australia coronavirus stimulus package: $750 cash for welfare recipients in $17.6bn plan — politics live
    ● Trump suspends travel from Europe, excluding UK, amid coronavirus outbreak
    ● Coronavirus facts: is there a cure and what is the mortality rate of the virus?
    ● Can a face mask stop coronavirus? Covid-19 facts checked
    ● El Salvador bans mass gatherings as virus spreads — as it happened
    ● What is a pandemic?

  225. says

    G liveblog:

    Every member of the Spanish cabinet is being tested for the coronavirus after the country’s equality minister, Irene Montero, became the latest politician to test positive for the virus.

    Her partner, the deputy prime minister and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, is in precautionary quarantine, the government said in a statement.

    The government also announced that the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will be using videoconferencing for all his meetings and press conferences once today’s cabinet meeting is over.

    News of Montero’s diagnosis comes days after Javier Ortega Smith, the general secretary of the far-right Vox party, was diagnosed with the virus. Vox also apologised for holding a 9,000-person rally in Madrid on Sunday as cases of the virus rose. Ana Pastor, the former speaker of the congress of deputies, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

    Spain has now confirmed 2,277 cases of the virus, making it the second most affected country in Europe and the fifth in the world after China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. So far, 55 people have died from the virus in the country.

  226. says

    Nancy Pelosi:

    Tonight, we introduced the #FamiliesFirst Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation focuses directly on providing support to America’s families, who must be our first priority in this emergency.

    #FamiliesFirst includes:
    -Free #coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test
    -Paid emergency leave for workers
    -Enhanced unemployment insurance
    -Strengthened food security initiatives
    -Clear protections for frontline workers
    -Increased federal funds for Medicaid

    We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone who needs to be tested knows they can get tested for free. We cannot slow an outbreak when workers are stuck w/ the terrible choice of staying home to avoid spreading illness & the paycheck their family can’t afford to lose.

    Read my full statement here:…

  227. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Ireland’s taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced the closure of all schools, colleges and childcare facilities from tomorrow as part of a partial lockdown that will apply from 6pm tonight until 29 March.

    All indoor gatherings of 100 people or more and outdoor gatherings of 500 or more will be cancelled.

    Public transport will still run and shops will remain open. He said:

    I know that some of this is coming as a real shock. And it’s going to involve big changes in the way we live our lives. And I know that I’m asking people to make enormous sacrifices. But we’re doing it for each other.

    Staff should work from home where possible with meetings online if possible.

    Varadkar said he was acting on new medical advice the government had received following a meeting of the national emergency team last night.

    “The virus is all over the world, it will continue to spread but it can be slowed,” he said in an address outside Blair House in Washington ahead of a breakfast meeting with the US vice president Mike Pence.

    “Acting together as one nation we can save many lives our economy will suffer but in time it will bounce back,” he warned.

  228. blf says

    The John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard is a popular and reliable source of data on the pandemic. Which means fraudsters are trying to take advantage of it, Coronavirus Downloadable Malware Map App Clarification (text quoted in full, images omitted):

    March 11, 2020 — An increasing number of articles have been published on the Internet with unclear and sometimes misleading information concerning one of the primary dashboards for awareness concerning the spread of the Coronavirus. To be clear, the online map posted by John Hopkins University at does NOT contain any malware (and NEVER contained malware). This popular dashboard web application is hosted by Esri as part of our ArcGIS Online offering.

    The confusion comes from an issue where a malicious person created a downloadable Windows-based application containing malware whose display is practically identical to the John Hopkins Coronavirus browser-based dashboard (see comparison figure below). Whomever posted the malicious downloadable app is attempting to take advantage of the hype around the Coronavirus, but it requires the user to either download the app executable, or it could be distributed by email for the user to then install onto their local Windows system.

    The malicious app once downloaded and installed deploys malware called AZORult which is designed to steal credentials in the background (among other activities). To make the user think they are getting a Coronavirus map viewer, the app calls the URL of the John Hopkins dashboard and displays the results inside the application window.

    Bottom-line, you are fine browsing the Coronavirus dashboard on the web with your browser as no software needs to be downloaded. If you come across someone offering a Coronavirus dashboard where you need to download software to view it, don’t use it!

    We have contacted other resources about this issue and will continue to monitor it closely. The malicious executable was removed from it’s initial download location hosted on a malicious site (not managed by Esri or John Hopkins), but it may appear again. If you receive an email containing a link to download such an item or come across the code for the malicious app please report it immediately to our incident response team through the ArcGIS Trust Center security concern page. For general questions/concerns feel free to reach out to our team

  229. blf says

    US Congress votes to limit Trump’s war powers against Iran:

    The resolution now goes to President [sic] Donald Trump, who has threatened to veto the measure.

    The United States House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a War Powers Resolution aimed at limiting President [sic] Donald Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran.

    The passage of the resolution was yet another rebuke of the president [sic] over his decision to order the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January amid escalating tensions with Tehran.

    The Senate voted 55 to 45 — with eight Republicans joining Democrats on February 13 — to approve the resolution. […]

    The measure requires that Trump get congressional approval before engaging in further military action against Iran.


    Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the resolution directs the removal of US forces from hostilities against Iran that have not been authorised by Congress.

    The resolution fails to account for present reality, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

    […] Trump administration officials have offered shifting justifications for the drone strike that killed Soleimani and three others in a car at the Baghdad airport. They initially said Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on US troops and sites, but have only offered vague details. Later, a legally-mandated White House report to Congress did not cite an imminent threat.


    Wednesday’s vote is the latest in a series of actions by Congress that signal Trump does not have support for a potential conflict with Iran.

    The Democratic-led US House of Representatives previously voted on January 30 to approve two measures aimed at constraining Trump’s ability to direct military action in the Middle East.

    A bill that would block funding for any use of offensive force against Iran passed by a 228–175 vote. A second measure, repealing Congress’s 2002 authorisation of the US invasion of Iraq, passed 236–166. The House also voted 224–194 on January 9 to rebuke Trump for the killing of Soleimani.

  230. blf says

    ‘Access to clean water is a basic human right’: Detroit suspends shutoffs over Covid-19 fears:

    Water to be temporarily restored to thousands of households who had service disconnected due to unpaid bills amid public health outcry

    Running water will be temporarily restored to thousands of poor Detroit residents disconnected due to unpaid bills, amid an outcry about the public health threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

    At least 141,000 Detroit households have been disconnected since 2014 as part of a widely condemned debt-collection programme, according to records obtained by Bridge, a news magazine. Just last year, taps were turned off in more than 23,000 homes, three-fifths of which were still without water by mid-January 2020.

    There is no vaccine or treatment for […] Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization, good hygiene, specifically frequent handwashing with soap, is crucial to prevent the virus spreading.


    Water affordability is a growing problem across the US, as low-income households struggle to pay increasingly expensive bills. Numerous public water utilities have increased shut-offs, ostensibly to encourage people to pay up on time.

    But many low-income households struggle to keep up with rent, gas and other bills too and in 2016, according to research by Food and Water Watch (FWW), an estimated 15 million Americans were disconnected from running water after failing to pay.

    “The United States has been facing a water affordability crisis for years,” said Mary Grant, director of an FWW campaign which calls for federal action to stop shutoffs and introduce affordability programmes nationwide.

    “Now, threats of the coronavirus are finally making it clear to our elected officials: water shutoffs are not only inhumane but also a public health nightmare.”


    The UN described the shut-offs as “contrary to human rights” and condemned the disproportionate impact on African Americans, who account for 80% of the city.


  231. says

    Tom Bossert:

    I have a great public health colleague who manages outbreaks by asking: Two weeks from now, what will we wish we had done today. He puts that question in a little time capsule, and asks you two weeks later what you wish you had said, in retrospect.

    In two weeks, we will regret wasting time and energy on travel restrictions and wish we focused more on hospital preparation and large scale community mitigation.

  232. blf says

    List of world’s worst ‘digital predators’ stretches from India and Brazil to US:

    Freedom of expression group names and shames alleged offenders on online censorship and orchestrated repression

    A freedom of expression group has launched a list of “digital predators”, ranking what it says are 20 of the world’s worst offenders for cyber-censorship and orchestrated online repression.

    Published on Thursday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to coincide with World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, the list [RSF unveils 20 / 2020 list of press freedom’s digital predators] names and shames entities around the globe whose activities it regards as “tantamount to preying on journalism”.

    It documents state and non-state actors allegedly responsible for what the group describes as “a clear danger for freedom of opinion and expression” guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    RSF classifies the digital predators under four broad headings: harassment, state censorship, disinformation and spying or surveillance. The inventory includes authoritarian regimes and private-sector companies, based in western countries such as the US, UK, Germany and Israel, specialising in software that can be used for targeted cyber-espionage.


  233. says

    NPR – “Singapore Wins Praise For Its COVID-19 Strategy. The U.S. Does Not”:

    …Both Hong Kong and Singapore continue to find a few new cases each week, but they’ve avoided the explosive outbreaks that have occurred elsewhere.

    Ashish Jha, who runs the Harvard Global Health Institute, says the response to the coronavirus has varied dramatically around the world. “Some countries have been very aggressive and have actually done quite a good job,” he says. “Other countries have been quite lackadaisical and, I think, have suffered immensely from it. And I think there are lessons to be learned for all of us.”

    Italy and Iran both fall in the latter category. Jha says that before cases of COVID-19 were first diagnosed, Italy and Iran appeared to be in denial about the disease.

    “I mean, you had the Iran deputy health minister coughing on national television talking about coronavirus,” Jha says. “But really not taking it seriously.”

    That deputy health minister later tested positive for the virus.

    As people started to get sick, neither Italy nor Iran did much testing. They were slow to stop mass gatherings. Eventually both countries were overwhelmed with cases.

    So how has the United States’ response been?

    “Our response is much, much worse than almost any other country that’s been affected,” Jha says.

    He uses the words “stunning,” “fiasco” and “mind-blowing” to describe how bad it is.

    “And I don’t understand it,” he says incredulously. “I still don’t understand why we don’t have extensive testing. Vietnam! Vietnam has tested more people than America has.” (He’s citing data from earlier this week. The U.S. has since started testing more widely, although exact figures still aren’t available at a national level.)

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started screening overseas travelers for coronavirus in mid-January. But the initial test kits developed by the CDC were flawed, and it took weeks to sort out the problems. It’s only this week that wide-scale testing has started to become available in the United States.

    Jha believes that the weekslong delay in deploying tests — at a time when numerous other tests were available around the world — has completely hampered the U.S. response to this crisis.

    “Without testing, you have no idea how extensive the infection is. You can’t isolate people. You can’t do anything,” he says. “And so then we’re left with a completely different set of choices. We have to shut schools, events and everything down, because that’s the only tool available to us until we get testing back up. It’s been stunning to me how bad the federal response has been.”

    He says right now there are probably five to 10 times as many cases out in the community as have actually been detected. Until these individuals are found, they are likely to infect more people, he says, and the outbreak in the United States is just going to continue to grow….

  234. says

    G liveblog: “Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced a ban on gatherings of over 500 people in Scotland.

    She also said that at the Cobra meeting it was decided that the UK had moved from the ‘contain’ phase into the delay phase.”

  235. says

    Fauci this morning: Says other countries more prepared for testing, says US should be doing better and isn’t there yet.”

    Says it’s the CDC’s fault. Trump is now doing a press gaggle, talking about the Dem primaries. Why is no one asking him or the experts testifying in the House about whether he should be quarantined given that he was in close contact with at least one infected person over the weekend? Why is Varadkar even there with him?

  236. says

    Alexander Nazaryan:

    Coronavirus testing numbers:

    -CDC tested 77 people this week **total** as of Wednesday

    -States are testing an average of 50 people per day.

    -A single private lab is up and running w. coronavirus tests. The next soonest will be ready to go on 03/16.

  237. says

    McConnell ally says Senate won’t take up House #coronavirus bill until after recess. ‘The Senate will act when we come back and we have a clearer idea of what extra steps we need to take’, Sen. Lamar Alexander told reporters.”

    It’s journalistic malpractice to air this Trump presser. He’s spreading disinformation.

  238. says

    G liveblog: “The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is self-isolating after his wife began suffering from flu-like symptoms after returning from the UK.

    According to his spokesman, Trudeau ‘will spend the day in briefings, phone calls and virtual meetings from home, including speaking with other world leaders’.”

  239. says

    Matt McDermott:

    Earlier this week Mike Pence announced that 4 million COVID-19 tests would be available by week’s end.

    The current best estimate of capacity?

    18,525 tests nationally.

    At the current rate of COVID-19 testing, it would take the United States 216 days to complete the same 4 million tests that Mike Pence promised would be available this week.

  240. says

    G liveblog:

    The Brazilian government has confirmed that president Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary Fabio Wajngarten has coronavirus just days after meeting Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Dom Phillips, in Rio de Janeiro, reports.

    It said in a statement, confirming an earlier newspaper report:

    The medical service of the Presidency of the Republic adopted and is adopting all the necessary preventative measures to preserve the health of the president of the Republic and the entire presidential committee which accompanied him on the recent trip to the United States, as well as presidential palace staff.

    It added:

    This is because one of the members of the group, Fabio Wajngarten, secretary of communication of the presidency of the Republic, is carrying the new coronavirus Covid-19, confirmed in a control test.

    Wajngarten shared photos of himself with Trump and Mike Pence during the trip, as well as Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro and Trump dined on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. In one video Wajngarten (wearing glasses) is seen just behind Trump and Bolsonaro.

    The US government has been informed “so that they can adopt the necessary cautionary measures,” the statement said. Wajngarten is in home quarantine.

  241. says

    Presidential primary votes are still being tallied in Washington state. Surprisingly, Bernie Sanders has fallen behind Joe Biden in that count. The current count is 408,083 for Biden, and 391,880 for Sanders.

    Biden has changed upcoming events in Chicago and Miami to “virtual events.”

    Michael Bloomberg donated $500,000 to Voto Latino, an organization that is focusing on registering Latinos to vote.

    The Texas Democratic Party is ramping up its voter registration campaign in that state.

  242. says

    Trump’s bullyboy feelings are still hurt from the whole impeachment thing, so now he refuses to negotiate with Nancy Pelosi to get some emergency measures enacted to deal with the coronavirus. Yeah, that sounds like Hair Furor.

    There’s a fair amount of agreement in the nation’s capital about the need for an emergency economic package, and under normal circumstances, Americans might expect to see their president negotiating with congressional leaders over the terms of a deal. […]

    But that doesn’t appear to be happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had several discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about an economic response to the coronavirus outbreak, but she hasn’t yet sat down with the president himself. As The Daily Beast reported, that’s because Trump “can’t stand the idea of negotiating one-on-one with his chief counterpart.”

    Two senior Trump administration officials described a president who, out of an intense bitterness toward the House Speaker, has shuddered at the prospect of being in the same room with her during the ongoing public-health crisis and economic reverberations.

    “At this time, the president does not see it as productive to [personally] negotiate directly with Nancy Pelosi,” said one of the senior administration officials.

    The report came on the heels of CNBC’s Eamon Javers telling MSNBC this week that Trump won’t get in a room with Pelosi because he’s still personally wounded over his impeachment.


  243. says

    Followup to comment 448.

    From Politico:

    […] for all Trump’s omnipresence on Twitter and cable TV, Pelosi remains the dominant figure on Capitol Hill when it comes time to actually getting something accomplished.

    Pelosi ignores Trump taunts as she steers through another crisis

    The speaker has taken charge of the economic rescue plan as the coronavirus spreads.

    […] “She understands what has to be done, and will do so in a very limited time frame and scope while trying to be inclusive with a very diverse caucus that also has a lot of their own ideas on how to solve the problem,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “While there can be some consternation going forward, at the end of the day, she has the trust of the caucus.”

    “It feels like we have someone who is competent, who is gathering folks around to come up with clear thoughts on how to move forward in a time of crisis,” added Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.). […]

  244. says

    Wow. Katie Porter cites law that lets CDC pay for costs of diagnostic testing for anyone when needed. Asks CDC’s Redfield if he’ll commit to invoke that authority to make it free of charge for anyone. Redfield ducks, but Porter badgers him into saying ‘Yes’.

    Couldn’t upload all of it. but it really was some ace badgering by Katie Porter getting the pledge for CDC to pay for everyone’s tests. She summed up: ‘Do not let a lack of insurance worsen this crisis’.”

    Video atl.

  245. says

    SC @450, Katie Porter is great. She is intelligent, well-informed, and persistent. She is the opposite of Trump’s lickspittles.

    On a related issue, Trump complained about all the time it would take to call all the European leaders before he unilaterally invoked his travel restrictions on people coming to the USA from Europe. The European Union has a governing body. Trump could have just called them.

    From European leaders:

    The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” said a joint statement from Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, presidents of the European Commission and European Council respectively. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” they added. “The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”

    Trump really does not communicate well when it comes to global issues.

    From the Washington Post:

    European officials strongly condemned President Trump’s decision to severely restrict travel from Europe to the United States on Thursday, a sudden move that took them by surprise and that many saw as politically motivated. Of all the slights between Washington and Europe in recent years, the new travel restrictions represented a blow an order of magnitude beyond previous disputes.

    Yeah, I agree. Trump’s stupid travel restriction is politically motivated (and probably also the result of input from Stephen Miller, lickspittle in charge of xenophobia).

  246. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @452:

    Trump really does not communicate well when it comes to global issues.

    Six words too long.

  247. says

    Trump’s UK exemption to travel restrictions raises eyebrows

    Why did Trump exempt the United Kingdom from his travel restrictions? Does it have anything do with Trump-owned properties?

    One of the most newsworthy elements of Donald Trump’s Oval Office address on the coronavirus came early on, with an announcement about new European travel restrictions.

    “There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.”

    The White House clarified soon after that the president talked about prohibitions on trade and cargo, Trump actually meant the opposite of what he said.

    But there was another lingering question: why is the United Kingdom exempt from the administration’s new restrictions?

    NBC News’ report noted, “Ireland and the U.K. are exempt, although it is not clear why because the virus is also present in Britain.”

    Quite right. In fact, according to the latest tallies, the United Kingdom has among the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the region. As Rachel and Ron Klain discussed on the show last night, many European countries with far fewer confirmed cases are now subject to the administration’s restrictions.

    For now, this is a question without an obvious answer, and the White House brought no clarity to the matter last night. That said, Politico published a report overnight with a provocative headline: “Trump’s travel ban sidesteps his own European resorts.”

    […] Trump’s new European travel restrictions have a convenient side effect: They exempt nations where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located. […] The United Kingdom, which is home to Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links, and Ireland, which is home to another Trump-branded hotel and golf course at Doonbeg, do not participate in the Schengen Area.

  248. says

    From the Washington Post:

    Although he read from a prepared script as he delivered a rare prime-time televised address to the nation from the Oval Office, Trump incorrectly described his own policy.

    Yep. That is what happened according to Trump’s own staff, who are now trying to clean up the mess. Even Trump is trying to clean up his own mess.

    […] The travel ban does not apply to European trade or goods, though Trump suggested that that was the case during his prime-time address. The White House scrambled to fix his apparent misstatement, clarifying that the restriction applied only to people. Trump himself tweeted out a clarification moments after his speech ended.

    Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.

    There were other mistakes as well: the inaccurate description of what costs insurance companies have agreed to waive (already covered up-thread); no details were provided concerning how the administration will correct the lack of coronavirus testing in the USA; etc.

  249. says

    Another lie from Trump:

    Trump claims (falsely) all Americans returning to country are being tested: “We have heavily tested. If an American coming back or anybody coming back, we have a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested … if it shows positive … We have to quarantine.”

    This is completely false.

    Trump said that on live TV today, when he was answering questions from the press. It is counterproductive to give the Liar in Chief air time.

  250. says

    Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy is dangerous for asylum seekers who want to enter the USA. We know that. Now we have proof that officials in his administration also know that.

    In explosive audio obtained through the work of a leading human rights group and released by CNN, a Trump administration attorney is heard finally admitting what experts and advocates have been insisting from the start: Remain in Mexico, the administration policy forcing tens of thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers to wait for their U.S. immigration court dates in Mexico, is in fact dangerous.

    Government attorney Kevin Terrill made the admission in the court hearing of two cousins seeking asylum. Only one cousin was present that day, however: The other had been kidnapped by cartels after being sent by the U.S. to Mexico. In audio obtained by Human Rights First, Terrill argues against granting the kidnapped man asylum, and admits the danger of the policy in the process. ”Your honor, the circumstances that they’re concerned with is potentially a reality for every respondent,” he says.

    The news of the admission broke on the same day that the Supreme Court despicably allowed the administration to continue enforcing the policy, which to date has forced out 62,000 people. In blocking the policy last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it “likely violated federal immigration law by ousting undocumented asylum seekers who are supposed to be allowed to apply for protection inside the United States,” The Washington Post reported, citing “multiple examples of Central American asylum seekers who feared kidnapping, threats and violence in Mexico.”

    In a recent report, Human Rights First tracked over 800 reports of murder, torture, rape, kidnapping, and other violence against returned asylum-seekers. “Asylum seekers returned to Mexico are targeted for kidnapping and assault in shelters,” the report said, “in taxis and buses, on the streets while looking for food, work, and shelter, on their way to and from U.S. immigration court, and even while seeking help from Mexican police and migration officers.” The cousins were similarly targeted after being returned to Mexico.

    The administration finally admitted these threats in court, debunking the administration’s lie that Remain in Mexico has “successfully provided protections” to asylum-seekers sent to Mexico. Terrill then argued that granting asylum to the kidnapped man “opens up the floodgates because everybody doesn’t have to show up as long as they have counsel.” Branding all people at the southern border as criminals and fraudsters is a popular trope in this administration, and thankfully one that Judge Danny Santander appeared to dismiss in disbelief at Terrill’s arguments.

    “I think what I’m hearing from the government is, and I’ll be honest, I don’t like it,” the judge said, according to the audio. “What I’m hearing is, that well everybody has to take that risk and that chance, and you get kidnapped, you get kidnapped, that’s the risk you take for being in Mexico, and wanting to apply for asylum here in the United States … I don’t think it’s humane. But we’re talking about human beings and lives. It’s not a piece of paper in my opinion. And I really don’t like what I just heard.”

    CNN reports that the kidnapped asylum-seeker was released physically unharmed after five days, and a judge waived deportation orders against the two cousins. While they remain in the U.S., it’s unclear whether they were granted asylum. When CNN correspondent Nick Valencia asked them what they thought about the administration’s claim that Remain in Mexico has “successfully provided protections,” one of the cousins was blunt. “It’s completely false,” she said. “At no moment are we safe. It’s a lie.”


  251. says

    Financial news:

    The Federal Reserve today announced that it will launch a series of massive cash injections into funding markets and begin buying longer-term government bonds as panic over the coronavirus pandemic increasingly stresses the nation’s financial system.

    The announcement that more than $1.5 trillion will be pumped into the banking system over the next two days comes as the Treasury market has shown signs of strain. Interest rates on U.S. government debt recently plunged to record lows, as investors poured money into safe assets, but now trading in that market is not flowing smoothly.

    “These changes are being made to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak,” the New York Fed said in its announcement.

    The stock market, which had been plunging all day, cut its losses after the Fed announcement.


  252. says

    Major League Baseball is suspending spring training.

    Trump finally admits that he is likely to cut back on, or cancel, campaign rallies while the coronavirus outbreak is ongoing.

  253. says

    With more votes tallied in California, Bernie Sanders has finally won the presidential primary race in that state.

    We don’t yet know how the delegates from California will be divided. Currently, Biden has a delegate lead over Sanders, but with the California delegates being apportioned soon, those margins will tighten. I don’t expect the results to make much difference, since Biden will also get some California delegates. (Sanders won 34.3% of the vote in California, and Biden won 27.5%.)

  254. says

    Megachurches were mentioned earlier. Here are some details:

    Joel Osteen, pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church megachurch, is a “prosperity gospel” grifter. The televangelist, whose Texas church was once known as the Compaq Center and home of the Houston Rockets NBA Team, has decided “the money show must go on,” as they are keeping services going amid a global pandemic.

    […] Osteen had his church open Wednesday night and plans on having the church continue for four more services Saturday and Sunday night. With a seating capacity for 16,800 churchgoers each service and a size of 606,000 square feet, that is a potential of 67,200 moneybags churchgoers being put at risk. With TV shows, concerts, parades, professional and college sports events going without audiences, postponed or cancelled for public health safety as instructed by the CDC & World Health Organization (WHO), it’s especially egregious that Osteen would put his flock at risk like this.

    […] So while Osteen holds services to up keep his reportedly $10.5 million mansion, expensive-looking suits, arena-sized stadium and private jet, he needlessly risks the health and safety of all in the Houston area.

    Wonkette link

  255. says

    Vaccine update:

    […] Trump says we’ll have a vaccine like next Tuesday at lunch, while actual scientists who aren’t afraid to speak say 12-18 months. Well, kids, I’m here to say it may actually be never. Let that sink in for a minute. “Never” is actually the most likely. Look, don’t kill the messenger. Vaccine development is pretty fucking hard. Notice we don’t have an HIV or HCV (Hepatitis C) vaccine. We know a TON about those two viruses and have been throwing a zillion dollars, people and resources at developing vaccines for those with not even a glimmer of hope.

    Again, vaccine development could be an entire grad school class, so I won’t go into too many details. The biggest challenge is to find a virus protein that will give you a Goldilocks immune response. One that will give you that immune memory/Quicksilver effect without a super crazy, over the top response where your whole immune system goes nuts (us cool science kids call that a “cytokine storm”) and makes you super sick at best or kills you at worst. Sometimes, you just can’t find that protein. That’s what’s been the case so far for HIV and HCV.

    Okay, but let’s say we DO find a good vaccine candidate. It’s two years before you can get your shot, baby. You need to first do your animal studies (three months AT BEST), then file the Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA that allows you to inject human subjects (another three months AT BEST). And THEN you do your Phase One safety studies in humans (three months if you’re super fast, but honestly six months to get this done is more realistic). And THEN your real study, the biggie Phase Three study to prove that your vaccine is preventative, that’s six months at least. And THEN another three months to crunch the data, and another two months if you’re amazing to pull everything together and file with the FDA.

    If they are crazy nuts they could emergency approve you in three months (nine months is the super accelerated version now, but hey, scream “PANDEMIC!” and who knows) and then the vaccine is available. And THAT’S if you have some vaccine candidate ready now, which some companies and labs claim to have. […]

    Wonkette link

  256. blf says

    Lynna@465, States-side megabuck churche$ are not the only magic sky faerie cult sites denying reality, so is (e.g.) the Greek Orthodox cult in Greece, No coronavirus risk from holy communion, says Holy Synod:

    Amid fears of a broader coronavirus contagion across the country, the Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Church, on Monday issued a statement saying that the disease does not transmit through the distribution of holy communion by the chalice.

    For the members of the Church, attending the Holy Eucharist… certainly cannot be a cause of disease transmission, the Holy Synod said.


    The Geek federation of hospital doctors has stressed that no exception “for religious, sacramental or metaphysical reasons” should be made to state health warnings to please the Church.


    As the VoA points out (Coronavirus Sparks Church-State Controversy in Greece), “With Orthodox Easter approaching in April, church attendance is high, mainly among older followers.” Elderly people seem to be more at risk, and also more likely to have other health issues, making them much much more vulnerable.

  257. says

    Sanders is saying congress has to take responsibility – appoint a commission on a bipartisan basis to address coronavirus based on science and facts; set up a hotline staffed by competent people (this would be great); provide funding for paid medical leave; expand community health centers; determine status of testing and processing; work to make ICU beds, ventilators, and medical workers available/trained/equipped with protective equipment. He’s pointing out that 87 million people in the US are uninsured or underinsured. Have to ensure that people can get healthcare without cost, including any coronavirus vaccine that might be developed.

    Speech is still ongoing. He’s talking about the economic aspects.

  258. says

    Trump won’t be tested after having contact with member of Brazil’s delegation at Mar-a-Lago this weekend that has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, per spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. She says contact was limited, though the Brazilian official was in a pic w/Trump.”

    This is absurd.

  259. Pierce R. Butler says

    Lynna… @ # 459 (quoting … the administration policy forcing tens of thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers to wait for their U.S. immigration court dates in Mexico, is in fact dangerous.

    Not yet as dangerous as when (not if) the new coronavirus enters the refugee camps along the border.

  260. blf says

    Macron is currently speaking. (I’m listening in simultaneous translation on France24.) After thanking the healthcare workers, he rather pointedly discussed the responses are science-led… All schools will be closed from Monday. Priorities are protecting the vulnerable, making available the needed healthcare facilities and people, and delaying / limiting the spread… Practical advice is through washing hands with soap, not shaking hands or kissing on the cheeks, limiting contact with the vulnerable, …

    Paraphrasing, “What this pandemic shows us is medical health care must be free, and that is essential”.

    (Lots more of course… above is snippets… didn’t catch if France has been moved to “Phase 3” measures or not…)

  261. says

    Pierce @475, good point.

    SC @477, thanks for that. Here is a link to the article suggested by Daniel Dale: Fact check: A list of 28 ways Trump and his team have been dishonest about the coronavirus


    […] Trump has been comprehensively misinforming the public about the coronavirus.

    Trump has littered his public remarks on the life-and-death subject with false, misleading and dubious claims. And he has been joined, on occasion, by senior members of his administration. […]

    February 10: Trump says without evidence that the coronavirus “dies with the hotter weather” […]

    Facts First: Experts were not saying this. They were saying, rather, that it was too soon to know how the coronavirus would respond to changing weather. “It would be reckless to assume that things will quiet down in spring and summer,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, told CNN. “We don’t really understand the basis of seasonality, and of course we know we absolutely nothing about this particular virus.” […]

    February 24: Trump baselessly claims the situation is “under control” […]

    Facts First: “Under control” is subjective, but by any reasonable definition, the coronavirus was not under control in the US — and there was no way for the government to fully understand how dire the problem was given how few Americans were being tested. There were 53 confirmed cases and no deaths on the day of Trump’s tweet; as of March 11, there were more than 1,000 cases and 31 deaths. […]

    March 4: Trump falsely claims Obama impeded testing
    Trump claimed he had reversed a decision by President Barack Obama’s administration that had impeded testing for the coronavirus, saying that “the Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with.” He said on March 5: “They made some decisions which were not good decisions…We undid some of the regulations that were made that made it very difficult, but I’m not blaming anybody.”

    Facts First: There is no Obama-era decision or rule that impeded coronavirus testing. The Obama administration did put forward a draft proposal related to lab testing, but it was never implemented.
    When asked what Obama administration decision Trump might be referring to, Peter Kyriacopolous, chief policy officer at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said: “We aren’t sure what rule is being referenced.”

    Dr. Joshua Sharfstein […] said, “There wasn’t a policy that was put into place that inhibited them. There was no Obama policy they were reversing.”

    March 4: Trump wrongly says as many as 100,000 people died of the flu in 1990
    Speaking about deaths from the flu, Trump said on March 4: “I think we went as high as 100,000 people died in 1990, if you can believe that.” He said on March 6 that as many as 77,000 people might die in a given year, then added: “And I guess they said, in 1990, that was in particular very bad; it was higher than that.”

    Facts First: While the 1989-1990 flu season was considered bad at the time — the CDC declared that it was an epidemic — Trump greatly overstated the number of deaths. A CDC analysis in 2010 estimated that there were 26,582 deaths from the seasonal flu in 1989-1990. […]

    March 4: Trump falsely claims the Obama administration “didn’t do anything” about H1N1
    Trump said of H1N1, also known as swine flu: “And they didn’t do anything about it.”

    Facts First: The Obama administration did respond to H1N1. On April 26, 2009, less than two weeks after the first US cases of H1N1 were confirmed, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency. Two days later, the Obama administration made an initial $1.5 billion funding request to Congress. (Congress ultimately allocated $7.7 billion). In October 2009, Obama declared a national emergency to allow hospitals more flexibility for a possible flood of H1N1 patients.

    The Obama administration did face criticism over the pace of the government’s vaccination effort, but “they didn’t do anything” is clearly false.

    […] March 6: Azar wrongly claims there is no test shortage
    Azar said: “There is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been.”

    Facts First: Vice President Mike Pence had said the day prior: “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.” Doctors, health authorities and elected officials in various locations around the country indeed said they did not have enough tests
    March 6: As the number of cases and deaths in Italy rises, Trump says the number is “getting much better”
    Trump said: “…I hear the numbers are getting much better in Italy.”

    Facts First: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Italy was continuing to increase at the time Trump made this comment. As of Saturday, March 7, the day after Trump spoke here, Italy had 5,883 confirmed cases and 233 deaths; as of Monday, March 9, there were 9,172 cases and 463 deaths. (The Italian government announced a national lockdown on Monday.)

    March 6: Trump falsely claims anybody can get tested if they want […]

    Facts First: That wasn’t true. There were an insufficient number of tests available, as Pence said the day prior, and Americans could not get tested simply because they wanted to get tested. […]

    March 6: Trump falsely says US coronavirus numbers “are lower than just about anybody”
    Trump said that “we have very low numbers compared to major countries throughout the world. Our numbers “are lower than just about anybody.”

    Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. The US did have fewer confirmed coronavirus cases than some countries, including China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France and Germany. But it had more confirmed cases than big-population countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia and Nigeria, plus neighbors Mexico and Canada, plus many other high-income countries.

    In addition, the number of confirmed cases is dependent on how many people are tested. The US was conducting fewer tests than some countries with much smaller populations. […]

    March 9: Pence says Trump’s “priority” was getting Americans off the ship
    Vice President Mike Pence said “the President made the priority to get — to get the Americans ashore.”

    Facts First: Trump may have eventually been convinced to get the Americans ashore, but he had said three days prior to this Pence claim that he wanted passengers to stay on the ship so that “the numbers” of US coronavirus cases would stay low.

    “I have great experts, including our Vice President, who is working 24 hours a day on this stuff. They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision. I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship,” Trump said on March 6. “That wasn’t our fault, and it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship, either. OK? It wasn’t their fault either. And they’re mostly Americans, so I can live either way with it. I’d rather have them stay on, personally. But I fully understand if they want to take them off. I gave them the authority to make the decision.”

    More at the link.

  262. says

    Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the latest member of Congress to announce that he is self-quarantining amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    There are now a total of 9 members of Congress taking steps to isolate after coming into contact with an infected individual”

    This is the list, per his tweet (note that they weren’t all exposed to the same infected individual):

    Sen Lindsey Graham
    Sen Ted Cruz
    Sen Rick Scott
    Rep Matt Gaetz
    Rep Doug Collins
    Rep Paul Gosar
    Rep Mark Meadows
    Rep Julia Brownley
    Rep Don Beyer

    I thought Sen. Maria Cantwell was as well…

  263. blf says

    Donald Trump is the very worst person to handle the coronavirus crisis:

    The president [sic] responded to the pandemic with denial and blaming foreigners. His incompetence and selfishness will be lethal

    Coronavirus is the first major crisis Donald Trump has faced that is not of his own making. People who know what it is like to be in charge when disaster strikes have warned us this moment would come eventually — and we can now see why they were so terrified.

    Trump in a time of coronavirus is a lethal combination. Everything about the president [sic] — his reliance on his gut instincts in place of expertise, his overwhelming selfishness, and his unfailing tendency to lash out at others when things go wrong — make him the worst person imaginable to hold the world’s most powerful job in the face of pandemic.

    Confronting the threat requires global cooperation, perhaps more than at any time since the second world war. But Trump and his junior imitators around the world have taken a sledgehammer to the very notion of international solidarity.

    Macron, in contrast, spoke for the need for “solidarity”, compassion, and coordinated science-led action in France, within the EU, and internationally — and said he’d be calling hair furor tomorrow in hair furor’s role as host of the next G7 summit.

    The president has dealt with coronavirus the same way he approached every other challenge in his administration, first trying denial — and when that failed, blaming outsiders. The disease has slid from a Democratic hoax to the foreign virus. It came as little surprise that his speech had been written by Stephen Miller, the author of the administration’s cruellest anti-immigration policies.

    The declaration of a European travel ban was only the second time Trump has addressed the nation from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. The first time was to announce the building of a wall on the Mexican border. The administration has made xenophobia its defining ethos.


    On the one strategy known to be effective in curbing the pandemic — screening for the virus and organised social distancing — the US is far behind most of the countries it has now cut off.


    The CDC director, Robert Redfield, an evangelical conservative with no previous experience in managing a large state agency, revealed how out of touch the administration was with the reality on the ground on Wednesday.

    When asked by the House oversight committee why the US was not providing drive-through tests, as have been introduced elsewhere — he replied: We’re trying to maintain the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers.

    Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat pointed out to him that most Americans do not have a regular doctor, and certainly do not see a physician often enough to have a “relationship”. When they get seriously ill, most head for the emergency room of the country’s overstrained hospitals.


    When the country is struck by the inevitable wave of sickness and deaths, sweeping aside Trump’s reassurances, it is hard to predict how he will react.

    We do know he will see it through the prism of his prospects for re-election, and we can be fairly certain he will look for someone to blame along with a distraction, most likely some form of conflict at home or abroad.

    The scale of the debacle will require a major distraction. Awful as the coronavirus pandemic looks now, Trump’s backlash could be even worse.

  264. says

    blf @486: “It came as little surprise that his speech had been written by Stephen Miller …” [Bitter laugh] Yes, I thought the address from the Oval Office sounded like that asshat. Who else would come up with “foreign virus” for Trump to gladly read from the teleprompter.

  265. blf says

    In both the States and Hong Kong, Vulnerable prisoners ‘exploited’ to make coronavirus masks and hand gel:

    Inmates making masks and hand sanitiser to ease shortages are among most vulnerable to Covid-19, prison reformers warn

    Prison labour is being used to shore up supplies of face masks and hand gels in Hong Kong and the USA as campaigners warn that inmates are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19 infections.

    Women inmates at the Lo Wu prison in Hong Kong have reportedly been asked to work night shifts to make 2.5m face masks a month after a huge rise in demand according to Reuters.


    On Monday the governor of New York announced the state will also be using prison labour to produce 100,000 gallons of hand sanitiser for schools, prisons, transportation systems and other government agencies.


    Campaigners at the National Prison Project warned that prison inmates are among the most vulnerable populations to the spread of Covid-19: “There is ample opportunity for a virus to enter a prison or jail, and for it to go back out into the community. Once a contagious illness enters, conditions in correctional facilities are highly conducive to it spreading.”


  266. says

    Both Biden and Sanders have presented plans to deal with coronavirus, and both have spoken in front of a camera to deliver a presidential-like, fact-filled address to the nation. They sure make Trump look even worse.

    […] Biden stepped in front of the cameras to provide an address that was the polar opposite of Donald Trump’s own shambling address on Wednesday evening. Where Trump was plodding and hesitant, Biden was forceful and direct. Where Trump focused on using the coronavirus creating a global pandemic as an excuse to promote xenophobia, Biden went straight to the issues that most concern Americans. And where Trump offered nothing that addressed either slowing the spread of the virus or dealing with the coming strain on the U.S. healthcare system, Biden provided a sound plan for both—along with an economic plan that was directed at saving people, not corporations.

    […] “Our government’s ability to respond effectively has been undermined by hollowing out our agencies and a disparagement of science. And our ability to drive a global response is dramatically—dramatically—undercut by the damage Trump has done to our relationships around the world.” […]

    Biden’s prescription for the nation went far beyond hand sanitizer. Repeatedly, Biden insisted that the nation should be “led by science” and should look to the counsel of experts when determining policy. Noting that the World Health Organization had officially designated COVID-19 a pandemic, Biden went on to say, “Downplaying it, or being overly dismissive or spreading misinformation” will only result in greater damage. And Biden called out the elements of xenophobia in Trump’s speech, saying that “labeling COVID-19 a ‘foreign virus’ does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken so far by the Trump administration.”

    “The coronavirus,” noted Biden, “does not have a political affiliation. It will affect Republicans and Democrats alike.” Biden warned that neither wealth nor position was protection against being infected, or against suffering a severe risk to health.

    When it came to the travel restrictions that were the only real policy offered in Trump’s speech, Biden described them as something that might “slow, but will not stop” the spread of coronavirus. He also said that when those restrictions are based on “favoritism rather than risk,” they will do more harm than good—a clear reference to Trump’s continuing to allow free travel between the U.S. and the U.K. even as countries with far fewer cases were restricted.

    Biden spent a good portion of his speech laying out his own plan to deal with the crisis. In doing so, he said that he was not providing a plan for what “he would do 10 months from now,” but instead offering it as a road map for what should be done today.

    That plan takes a three-pronged approach: curb the spread, supply treatment, and provide an economic response.

    To start with, Biden declared, “Anyone who needs to be tested should be tested at no charge.” He called Trump’s failure to provide adequate testing “colossal,” saying that it was “a failure of leadership, planning, and execution.” […] Biden demanded that there should be a website showing at all times the number of tests ordered, the number of tests completed, and the number of tests with positive results.

    In addition, Biden called for “hundreds of mobile testing sites, at least 10 per state, along with drive-through testing sites.” […]

    I liked the idea, offered by a doctor commenting on MSNBC, that self-tests should be given to everyone currently under self-quarantine.

    Even more importantly, Biden addressed the need to prepare the nation’s healthcare services for an influx of new patients and the need for critical care. Biden called for a “surge in capacity” to make sure that communities across the nation have additional beds available and that healthcare professionals have protective gear. He called for the use of both FEMA and the