The COVID Chickens Come Home to Roost

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

Around midnight, as Thursday became Friday, and we learned that the pandemic had reached into the administration*’s innermost inner circle, and then into The Residence Itself, these were the things about which I began to wonder.

1) If we’re serious about contact tracing, where does that leave Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was having a tough day anyway?

2) What in the hell are they going to do about the air-conditioning/ventilation systems on Air Force One and on Marine One? Those must be alive with frolicsome viruses by now.

3) How does Joe Biden feel about this president*’s having spent 90 minutes bellowing at top volume just across the stage from him on Tuesday night? In fact, how does Joe Biden feel, period?

4) Is Section 3 of the 25th Amendment being discussed anywhere by anyone? I mean, the president* is 74 and is a walking co-morbidity.

5) How many handrails do the president* and his traveling party touch over the course of the average campaign road trip?

6) Do they have to disinfect the nuclear “football”?

7) Are all the people who have to be quarantined going to be confined to the president*’s hotel in D.C, and, if so, can they get a rate?

8) Are we all spared the other two debates?

9) Does the White House have enough roosts for all these returning chickens?

The announcement that the president* and his wife are now two of the over 7 million Americans with the virus, and that top White House aide Hope Hicks not only tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, but also was symptomatic when all hands flew to Duluth on Wednesday for one of the president*’s airport wankfests, creates a possibly vast Yggdrasil tree of contagion that now includes the president* and his wife and his children and his Secret Service detail, the entire White House staff, and their spouses and their children, the White House press corps and their spouses, partners, and children, several members of the Minnesota congressional delegation and their extended families, and an entire Air Force air wing based in Duluth, and on and on and on. And if you expand the universe of contagion to include all of the Republican celebrities who flew with him to Cleveland on Tuesday, and everybody who sat next to the unmasked members of that entourage, the whole thing gets ridiculous and it makes you hide under the bed.


More, obviously, to follow.


The President’s Debate Performance Was Pure Fascism

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

The world is closing in on the president* and he wants to wreck everything he can before he’s run to ground. That’s the only possible explanation for his behavior on Tuesday night. None of his idols around the world have to put up with this silly debate stuff, in which somebody can point out with impunity that he is a liar and a clown who should shut up. Vlad doesn’t have to put up with this, or Xi, or Kim, or Erdogan, or Prince Bone Saw in Saudi Arabia. It is one more thing he can shatter. The only thing left for him to break is an election, and he’s getting around to that, too. Connect his refusal to condemn white supremacist groups“Stand back and stand by!“—to this little steamer he left behind right at the end of things.

I’m telling my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. That is what has to happen. I’m urging them to do it. In Philadelphia they went to watch. They are called poll watchers. They were thrown out. They were not allowed to watch because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things. I hope it is a fair election I am 100 percent on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I cannot go along if it means we have a fraudulent election.

He wants his own private Belarus, with his own private militias at polling places, and in the streets if he loses, and he’s fixing things to get it, too.

That’s the only story from Tuesday night: the great, looming, consistent threat emerging from whatever the hell that event became. It was coming from the manic bully who is presently the President* of the United States. It was pure fascism, right down to the set of his chin that he stole from Mussolini, but it was fascism at the behest of a career failure who was sending out a call for anyone else with a sense of failure and a long gun. Continuing to treat this man as a president*, to grant him the privilege of two more debates and, therefore, two more opportunities to gather his forces, is to betray the very idea of democracy. He wants a race war. He wants a civil war. He wants to bring it all down and get rich selling off the wreckage.

There are already patches being sold to the cultists.

No more debates. Call off these freak shows before everything dies.


Turns Out “President Business Deals” Couldn’t Manage a Lemonade Stand

From Esquire, by Jack Holmes:

No one should need to see Donald Trump’s tax returns to know he’s a Businessman in the way Clark Stanley was a Businessman. We have known for some time that Trump initially made his money through a multigenerational tax avoidance scheme that at some points veered into outright fraud. We have known that many of his businesses—six at least—have crashed into bankruptcy, including multiple casinos(!), and he avoided personal bankruptcy by taking his failing business public—the stock ticker was his initials—and leaving investors with the bill. Throughout much of the 1990s, he was not paying taxes because of nearly $1 billion in business losses he incurred during that time, which canceled out any income earned. When he did get some real income again, it was primarily by playing the part of a Businessman on television—complete with a stage-set Boardroom that NBC had to build for the show—and selling the rights to others to use that contrived image.

Still, there’s something about learning from the New York Times that the president paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 because, just as in the 1990s, his businesses were hemorrhaging enough cash to offset any income that was coming in. This is a guy who could not manage a lemonade stand. It’s all smoke and mirrors. And you would think that could prove just as, if not more, damaging than the revelations that he doesn’t pay taxes. While the core of his appeal is to the Republican base’s fear and resentment of a changing world, and the notion that America was made by and for Certain People and everyone else should just be happy to be here, he needs the votes of people outside The Base if he wants to win. At least some people in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania took a punt on him based on the idea he was a Businessman who could Shake Things Up. This notion ought to be thoroughly dispelled now that we know he is simply a crooked deadbeat, though it should never have been convincing.

It’s all the rage these days for savvy observers to say Nothing Matters, or all rich people do this, or this is just the chattering classes talking amongst themselves. But that $750 figure sticks in the mind, and in the craw. It’s almost more outrageous than zero. Even when he was running for and occupying the office of President of the United States, all he saw fit to pay was 750 bucks. Barack Obama paid $1.8 million his first year in office. In 2017, when Trump once again paid $750, Bernie Sanders paid $343,000. Biden paid $3.7 million. Is this really a country where the majority of voters believe everyone who pays their taxes are just schmucks? Or did most people pay more than 750 bucks?

But again, the taxes matter less than the revelation—even if it’s not truly new—that President Business Deals is bad at business and, in fact, can hardly be considered a Businessman. He is a hologram of a real-estate mogul, an invention. His businesses, already poorly run propositions, are now getting battered by the pandemic economic downturn, which raises the prospect of whether the president’s war on lock down restrictions was a personal financial issue. We already knew his foreign entanglements were a mess of conflicts-of-interest. The Times report makes clear that, as he has $300 million in personal liabilities that will come due over the next four years and there’s little indication he has any way to pay, he’s essentially squatting in the White House. His core supporters will never give it up, but if the American republic is to survive a little longer, all that’s necessary is for a few more people on the margins to opt out of this scam.



What We’ve Lost

Sent to me by my friend, Mary L., from an unknown author:

  • I’ve been wondering why this entire country seems to be under a cloud of constant misery. Why we all seem to be Russians waiting in line for toilet paper, meat, Lysol. Hoarding yeast and sourdough starter “in case we can’t get bread”.
  • Buying stamps so that one of our most beloved institutions might survive. Why we all look like we are in bad need of a haircut, or a facial or a reason to dress up again and go somewhere. Anywhere.
  • There is no art in this White House. There is no literature or poetry in this White House. No music. No Kennedy Center award celebrations.
  • There are no pets in this White House. No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat. No kids’ science fairs.
  • No times when this president takes off his blue suit red tie uniform and becomes human, except when he puts on his white shirt khaki pants uniform and hides from Americans to play golf.
  • There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation. No Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments, or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape. I was thinking the other day of the summer when George H couldn’t catch a fish and all the grand-kids made signs and counted the fish-less days. And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB, you got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun.
  • Where did that country go? Where did all of the fun and joy and expressions of love and happiness go? We used to be a country that did the ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity.
  • We used to have a president that calmed and soothed the nation instead dividing it. And a First Lady that planted a garden instead of ripping one out. We are rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great.
  • We have lost our mojo. Our fun, our happiness. The cheering on of others. The shared experiences of humanity that makes it all worth it. The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated. The unique can-do spirit Americans have always been known for.
  • We are lost. We have lost so much in so short a time.