19 Years

19 years since I and several thousand of my closest friends walked across a bridge from downtown Washington D.C. into Arlington, Va. and ended up seeking a beer and comfort with my Dear Old Dad—who was in Crystal City and therefore felt the walls shake in the conference room he was in—in the most frazzled feeling neighborhood bar I have ever experienced.

I’ve never been one to agree with those who believe these attacks were actually an inside job. I think hubris and stupid on the parts of Dubya and Cheney and their people was what allowed those 19 shits to commandeer and weaponize those planes. Leadership’s inability to “connect the dots” was cited many times to explain it away, as was a “lack of imagination.” I think Dubya and his crew believed that the Republican party had vanquished The Clinton and therefore did not have to listen to their boogey-boogey talk about some swarthy spectre plotting a devastating attack from some cave bunker.

One would think that the events of 19 years ago would have generally adjusted our leaders’ outlook toward the proactive squint, that it would cause an incoming administration to heed and respect the dire warnings of the outgoing, regardless of politics, regardless of that floating feeling of victory and the rush to plant one’s ass behind the Resolute desk.

One would think.

The author who’s had it most right this year is Steve Benen in The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics. Read that, and you will truly understand the landscape on which we traverse today.

Many were lost at once that day, as many are lost in slow motion through the marathon attack we face now. May better times be near.

It’s The Pandemic, Stupid

In the spring of 2016, Ronald Klain—chief of staff to two vice presidents and White House Ebola response coordinator in 2014-2015 wrote an article titled “Confronting the Pandemic Threat” (Democracy Journal).

Klain’s observations were based on experience. In 2014, during a world outbreak of ebola, the United States experienced 11 cases, only two of which were documented as locally transmitted, and they were nurses who treated Patient Zero.

The Obama administration had also dealt with the H1N1 pandemic, which, between April 12, 2009, and April 10, 2010, caused 60.8 million illnesses, 273,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the United States, according to CDC estimates. (But please understand that infection and fatality rates are much worse for SARS-CoV-2 than the swine flu ever presented.)

Among other points, Klain, recommended that the new administration escalate the pandemic danger to the same level as one would consider global terrorist threats. He argued that there is a natural overlap between these dangers, and that a global pandemic should also be viewed as a national security issue.

Klain recommended appointing a cabinet-level position proactively, from day one. He recommended a new, specialized federal agency to more nimbly be able to handle the logistics of a breakout, as well as to build on institutional efforts that had gone before. He recommended continuing efforts of reform at the World Health Organization. He recommended a global infrastructure for the distribution of vaccines. And, in a recommendation he marked as “most important,” he recommended a continuation of President Obama’s Global Health Security Agenda.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology endorsed at least one of Klain’s recommendations, that an assistant to the president for pandemic prevention and response should be part of the National Security Council staff. This advisory group and other agencies, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council also created a “Playbook for early response to high-consequence emerging infectious disease threats and biological incidents.”

Politico made this document public in its March 25 article, Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook. You can go read it. Isn’t the Internet wonderful?

In fact, among the questions raised in the Playbook is this, which might seem rather helpful and relevant these days: “What are the key services and critical infrastructure that need to come back on line for society to return to normal?”

So. You’ve heard that the Trump administration ripped down a lot of these efforts. What, exactly, did they do?

Well:

  • Trump immediately scuttled the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, I mean he ripped them off of the White House website he day after he was inaugurated.
  • He left the Office of Science and Technology Policy sit without a director for two years, and since, he’s demoted that agency from cabinet-level access and has cut its staff dramatically.
  • He reconstituted PCAST, mainly with cronies, and its February 2020 minutes show no discussion of COVID.

And that was just to start. For instance, the first case of COVID was diagnosed in the United States on Jan. 20. Jan. 22, Trump says, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.” Feb. 2, Trump tells news reporters, “We pretty much shut it down, coming in from China.”

Also in February: “The 15 [cases in the US] within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” “This is a flu. This is like a flu.” “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Do I have to continue this litany? Do we have to get up to the day he bizarrely suggested using disinfectant or light to treat a case of COVID?

This guy had a guide book. He was briefed. He was warned. Yet, he failed and has continued to fail on the coronavirus. He bizarrely keeps calling it the “China Virus,” hoping it will stick and Americans will blame anyone but him. Mister Impeached Preznit, stop trying to make “China Virus” happen! It’s not going to happen!

Do you like the sense of doom you feel when you need to make a grocery run? If you’re a parent, have you enjoyed the additional anxiety you’ve experienced about getting your children to school? Have you or have people you know lost jobs and livelihoods over this? Have you lost any loved ones to the COVID? How do you feel about any vaccines released while Trump is in office?

Combatting this pandemic in the United States requires national action and leadership. Trump has failed. He has not done his job. Based on this issue alone, you gotta vote Biden/Harris in 2020.

Drip, Drip, Bang

As I write this just before morning, the same Punch and Judy show that’s been happening in other metropolitan centers is happening in mine. Protesters and cops are going at it in downtown Rochester over the newly revealed death at the hands of cops of Daniel Prude, which apparently happened in March. What a bizarre, sad story. This guy wasn’t even in town for a full day before his lynching happened. Isn’t there a better way to subdue a person? Or, maybe, here’s an idea, don’t subdue them?

Maybe talk to them first?

Anyway, safety and peace to everyone downtown tonight. Keep Rochester weird.

*

So, regarding our man Impeached Preznit Carnage Washington Carver the Third. Wow, what a banner day for him.

I’ve been thinking about this, though I didn’t think it was going to start happening until one of my predicted scenarios—which I have yet to discuss here out of deference to the whatever from high atop the thing, but now I think I gotta—happened. Because I think the end result I have believed would happen is already not collecting moss.

I know this doesn’t seem all that revelatory, but my number one prediction for 2020 is that Biden wins in a landslide. I mean, I’m with new Biden believer George F. Will, I think we’ll know by 9:45 p.m. eastern who the winner is, and it will be Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Either that or Trump squeaks by with a win. I know this is not the tidiest punditry in all the land, but I do not recall promising you a rose garden.

My point, though, is in what happens after. And I think it’s happening now.

You know, many have expressed concern that if Trump loses, he’ll somehow simply refuse to leave office. Others have said that he’ll certainly make it a bumpy ride from the time the networks declare winners until the electors vote on 12/14/2020.

If scenario 2 is breached, then my prediction goes into severe overreach on the part of the Great Impeached Hairball, in which case, the great peeling-off will begin a bit later.

But it will begin, is what I’ve been saying. In either scenario, a Biden win or a Trump win followed by egregious overreach, you’ll see loyalties burst. Support from this sweaty megalomaniac will fall in like my old bed. The tell-all books will burst the dams. The leaks will counter those at some of Papa Trump’s slum apartments. The tales that come forward will paint ugly, blotchy portraits of an ugly, blotchy man. It will be beautiful and it will be only the start, as support among Republicans in Congress wilts like that spinach you left out overnight.

It will be beautiful. And I think it is already happening.

You have a new book out by the former senior to the First Lady, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, which adds a focal point to the matter of hey, where did all that inaugural munny go anyways?

Now today you have a seriously damning piece in The Atlantic, which reveals more bare the bizarre attitude Trump has toward the military. Here’s an excerpt, which just happen to be the first two paragraphs:

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

That’s just the lede.

The reporter on this story, Jeffrey Goldberg, is an award-winning, prestigious reporter and also happens to be editor-in-chief. Of course that didn’t stop Impeachio tonight from disparaging The Atlantic and claiming it was fake news and he loves our troops and he even has some black friends. But we have confirmation of the story from the orange laser beam himself. Like when he claimed John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured. Like when he went after Khizr and Ghazala Khan. This deranged person has some weird attitudes about the military for a guy who is supposed to be Commander in Chief.

All this story does is to fill in some of the blanks.

The leaks. The tell-alls. They are breaking the dam, folks. People who have been holding it all in to hold this impeached moron up have surveyed what four more years of this would be like, and they have decided to take action like Boz Skaggs does the Lido Shuffle.

C’mon, everybody. If you got a whistle: Blow it.

Healthy Joe Biden

One of the most stunning arguments I had with a friend during the 2016 presidential election season was over the relative health statuses of the candidates.

You might remember that Hillary Clinton appeared off-balance following a September Eleventh remembrance in 2016, near the end of it, and that she was later diagnosed with and treated for pneumonia. My friend was telling me that what she heard was that Hillary Clinton was having mini-strokes every day of her life, that she was dying, and that she was lying about her health.

To make a long story short, I compared and contrasted Clinton’s official health disclosure with Trump’s. I did so in some detail. I provided a link to Clinton’s full disclosure and a picture of Trump’s doctor Harold Bornstein. What we know now about Trump’s disclosure is that it was as bull-shitty as it sounded, and that Bornstein later claimed Trump had dictated the bullshit medical disclosure himself and, as a bonus, that Trump’s men had raided his office and taken any records to do with the Impeached Preznit Carnage Wannabe Dictator Boobieface.

And at some point throughout that process, he went on Dr. Oz? What?

So, here we are now, same shit, different election season.

Remember that time in November 2019 when Impeached Preznit Dear Leader was shang-hai’d off to Walter Reed? And later on they were like oh no, that weren’t nothin’, it’s just part of a checkup? A weird checkup that requires an emergency transport to the hospital despite adequate medical facilities on-site and several hours in the hospital?

So a reporter named Michael S. Schmidt is releasing a book called Donald Trump V. the United States, and in this book he broke a bit of news, a little detail we did not previous know: Not-Yet-Impeached Vice President Pence was put on notice that day that he might have to be preznit.

Impeached Trumpenstein is of course denying that, denying one of the most scooping reporters the New York Times has.

Which brings me to my real point: Germans love David Hasselhoff.

Just kidding. I brought up all of this crap to point something out: Joe Biden has released his medical disclosure.

And while it does not say that Biden “…will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” it does state Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.”

The assessment, which you can go online and read, seems to be honest and straightforward (though I personally never made it through my first year of residency). If you have questions about his mental acuity, his fitness, his health generally, yeah, the guy was treated for brain aneurysms and he has some acid reflux issues. There it is for you, bulleted and signed by Kevin C. O’Connor, D.O., FAAFP.

They still won’t tell you why Trump was rushed to the hospital nearly a year ago.