Headlines Answer Ya Questions

As the flotsam and jetsam of current events wash around in my head, it’s just funny how I keep coming up with issues of “I wonder” and then I find a headline that answers the question. Must just be something in the air.

I was thinking, for example, about the social media meme that goes around listing all of Impeached Preznit Carnage’s accomplishments. A really great blog entry would be to go through and debunk that list (3/4 of them are voice votes in Congress and so not actual “accomplishments.”)

It turns out that the Washington Post has already done this story: A Fact-Checked List of Trump Accomplishments

Then I start thinking, well, maybe it’s time to take a close look at that new “health care plan” that Impeached Preznit Carnage “unveiled” last week. Hey, look! the Washington Post did that already!

After years of promising his own health care plan, Trump settles for rebranding rather than repealing Obamacare

Thanks, folks!

So then I’m in the shower and wondering what the Biden administration might do differently on Middle East policy, specifically, how in the wide wide world of sports would we ever rejoin the Iran deal and try to stem the development of a nuclear program in that rogue nation?

A little upstart publication called al-Monitor has a succinct analysis of this: Why rejoining the Iran nuclear deal isn’t so easy, even if Biden wins

Did you know that Iran is a little pissed at us due to the US sanctions, and that they for some reason or another have not been excited about complying regimen via the JCPOA? Shocker. Re-entering the previous deal or creating a new one has been severely complicated by Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from the previous framework.

What I Expect From President Biden, Part One

It may be an unreasonable ask, but I don’t want any inaugural balls.

Sorry, Beyonce, sorry Garth Brooks, sorry John Legend, sorry Courtney Barnett and Brandi Carlisle, in my version of 2021, there will be no stages for you, not even virtually.

I mean, don’t you feel like Joe and Jill taking the stage in tux and gown for a first box step would be pretty fucking in appropriate while that COVID death toll marches on; while we’ve watched the Impeached Preznit Carnage Butthole Mississippi golf through most of it in his weirdly tight-fitting white polos and his belt-strangled Dockers? Don’t you think President Biden and Dr. Mrs. Joe Jill Biden attending 17 inaugural balls would smack of tossing paper towels to the masses? I sure do.

Take your oath. Go check out your new digs. Have a few meetings. Go to bed. No time for inaugural dress-up time.

We have shit to do.

On day one, I want a fresh new pandemic response. I want so many pronouncements from this new White House that it feels like four weeks in a day. It has to be immediately razor-edge clear to everyone in the world that this is a change. That this president wears masks. I want a publicly televised roundtable with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx, and I want Biden to be nodding his head a lot. I want an immediate, full-stop activation of the Defense Production Act, and I want clearly-stated benchmarks for that effort. I want a strong statement from the president encouraging governors—especially those in high-positivity states—to once again roll back on social interaction, on economic activity, on large gatherings, and to encourage masks and keeping a safe distance from other humans.

I want a federal commitment to contact tracing and announced partnerships with Apple and Google to create a single, cross-platform, universal contact-tracing app that is utterly intuitive for the end-user and yet robust enough to collect adequate data to contribute to widespread tracing and quarantine efforts. I want this and a universal test that delivers results in an hour, an antibody test that works, and honest, warts-and-all disclosures about the efficacy of a vaccine.

I want work started on day one to fix the Affordable Care Act, but with a new focus on public health. And that focus shouldn’t just be a domestic effort. The United States needs to repair its standing with the World Health Organization as the rubber meets the road and needs to reclaim its position as a global leader on public health. Even George W. Bush understood this.

I want words from the new president that anchor economic success to the eradication of SARS-CoV-2. And I want an unprecedented stimulus package to leave President Biden’s for consideration by the newly-minted Democratic Senate and the now-stronger Democratic House.

Then we can get to Jan. 22.

It’s the pandemic, stupid.

Vote Him Out

Sometimes, this blog is a challenge.

It’s always been that way to some extent. Some of the things one must type sometimes. It’s like there’s a curse of Captain Obvious, and I was feeling like that quite a lot even before the reign of Impeached Preznit Carnage Creepy Ghoully Fantastic.

Of course the most recent rout was Trump’s weaseling about his willingness to cede to a loss, and I’ve been sitting with this for some time, waiting for right way to say it. It finally came. Let’s review exactly what he said, including the question he was asked:

“Will you commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the election?”

“We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

Impeached Preznit Carnage was asked, specifically, if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

The correct answer is “yes.”

That Trump cannot simply answer “yes” to this question is troublesome. If you do not also find discomfort with this, then you’re part of the problem.

Vote early, people. And, as they shouted yesterday from the steps of the Supreme Court, vote him out.

Embellishing a CNN Fact Check

I am reprinting a CNN fact check here to add a bit of a point to it. As for the errors reported, yes, the Biden campaign should be more disciplined than this. There is, however, a however, however.


Washington (CNN) Former Vice President Joe Biden made false claims in a Sunday speech in which he urged Senate Republicans to let the winner of the presidential election fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

We’re still poring over the transcript of Biden’s address in Philadelphia, but here are two initial fact checks.

The Trump campaign’s demand for a list
Biden argued that it would be inappropriate for him to release a list of prospective Supreme Court nominees, as Trump did during the 2016 campaign and did again this month.

Biden also claimed that the Trump campaign had not asked him to release such a list until after Ginsburg died.

“We can’t keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances. That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward. They’re now saying, after they — after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, they said, ‘Biden should release his list.’ It’s no wonder the Trump campaign asked that I release the list only after she passed away. It’s a game for them. It’s a play to gin up emotions and anger,” he said.

Facts First: This is just wrong. The Trump campaign and Trump himself had repeatedly said prior to Ginsburg’s death that Biden should release a list of prospective Supreme Court nominees.
When Trump released his latest list on September 9, the Trump campaign’s statement said in its title that “Biden must do the same.” The campaign repeated the demand for a Biden list in a statement on September 17, the day before Ginsburg died.

Trump had previously issued the same demand himself. In an August 24 speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump said, “I’m demanding, actually, a list: let Biden put up a list of the judges he’s going to appoint.” And in a June 22 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said, “You ought to ask a guy like a Biden or ask his campaign: give a list of judges, see where they stand on pro-life, see where they stand on it.”



However
It is completely inappropriate for the Preznit of these Untied States to preemptively release a list of potential justices. It is doubly inappropriate, bullying, and horrible for the opposition candidate to dare his challenger into doing so. The vetting process for this office should be nuanced, careful, and thoughtful. More important, it should be untainted. One does not achieve this result by posting one’s list on a corkboard like some glee club casting process. This is an occasion calling for some reserve, some diplomacy. Just ask Dubya George Bush how important the vetting process is in selecting a Supreme. Or just walk up to him and do the old pretend like you’re sneezing thing and shout “Harriet Miers” and see what his scrunchy little war-criminal face does, and please get a picture of it for me before the Secret Service takes you out back to break your kneecaps.

You don’t dangle out a list. It’s wrong and stupid, and fact-checking Biden’s misstatement, which I concede was also wrong and stupid, without mentioning that this is wrong and stupid is wrong and stupid.

CNN also wrote this:


Supreme Court dates
To bolster his case that the Senate should wait to confirm the next justice, Biden said: “By the way, there’s no court session between now and the end of this election.”
Facts First: Biden’s claim is simply inaccurate. The court’s next session is scheduled to begin on October 5, nearly a month before Election Day on November 3.


Fine. Fuggit. How about “we’re gonna have a vaccine soon,” or “it’s just gonna go away,” or “it’s gonna get cool sooner?” There are lies, and then there are huge pits dug into the ground just waiting to suck your body and your soul into the phantom zone as ether and burnt moss.

But both sides are just the same.

The Rose Goes In the Front, Big Guy

If you had to take municipal government where I went to college, I hope you had Gargan.

What a funny man. Middle-aged, always sporting Dockers that he was treading water in, funny looking mouth, cheap eyeglasses, and one of the most lasting impressions I had of college. Because on day one of his class, Gargan, who lectured in a spinny sort of Socratic method of his own device, laid out the thesis statement of the rest of our semester. He spoke of salience and made sure our young wet minds had a grasp of the word’s meaning. Ahem:

the quality of being particularly noticeable or important; prominence.

Then he went on to argue that people, Americans, tend to obsess incredibly over the goings-on of the federal government but pay little attention to what’s going on in Columbus or Albany or even in what they’re doing in your township hall down the street. Gargan argued that this was backward because, in truth, what they’re doing in that dingy little gymnasium, where they discuss the state of the roads and the water treatment plant, those government activities actually possess more in the way of

salience.

This particular lecture and its substance has always since girded my thinking about such matters, though it clearly does not affect my actions much because I could not tell you a single detail about how government works in Albany.

Regardless, the seeming counter-intuitiveness of this idea, I think, can also be turned on its side be 45 degrees to provide an interesting benchmark, almost a measurer of quality to some extent. I mean, ideally, then, the machinations of the federal government should capture as much awareness to you as, say, the new Hobby Lobby down the street (that’s right, gang, come on down, we got us a Hobby Lobby!).

By this mark, then, as by many others, the Trump Administration is an abject failure.

By its inaction to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the federal government stopped being a faraway distraction of defense budgets and tax cuts and jumped right into your fucking lap. There is nothing right now that could possibly affect your individual life right now than the fact that you cannot freely walk about the country, you are reluctant to see your loved ones, and if you do, you are unable to give them hugs, or at least, you sure shouldn’t be. Me and Dad just do the ol’ hi sign.

President Obama’s presidency was pretty boring, I mean comparatively. I think that is one mark of a good presidency: When Obama did things like this

it made the White House Press Corps oooooooh and ahhhh (I think there was a WHOOOOOOO in there) and made their flashes shutter like crazy. I mean, they *applauded*. This asshole (I am referring of course to Impeached Preznit Carnage Meat LaLoosh himself) pulls this move every fucking day, at least when he’s not out holding massive covid-spreader event himself all over the country.

My point: That Donald John Trump is in our faces all the time is not a sign of a good presidency. It is, in fact, terrible. He should not be on your television screens more than Ryan Seacrest. He should not be tweeting more than @aplusk. And, certainly, his horrible nasty no good failure to rise to the current occasion should not be sitting in your lap like a bucket of plague.

Impeached Preznit Carnage’s salience to your life right now speaks volumes of the depths of his failures as Preznit.

Dude’s goin’ down.

Dr. Mengele to the Courtesy Phone

So Rachel Maddow last night reminded viewers of a twisted thing she had reported previously: That under the purview of rabid anti-abortionist Scott Lloyd, the Office of Refugee Resettlement had created a spreadsheet to track the pregnancies and menstrual cycles of detainees. Lloyd, you will recall, tried everything he could a few years back to prevent a 17-year-old rape victim from ending her pregnancy.

He fortunately did not succeed.

Now we are hearing whistleblower reports that some doctor in the system is performing hysterectomies on women without their informed consent.

These are merely the reports that are getting out. In the early days of Trump’s “no-tolerance” policy in regards to folks entering the country, there was more reporting, including a story I remember in my bones of a young man who sat in a cell alone and died of what they then described as the flu.

You think it was the flu? Hmmmmmm.

Anyway. I hope I don’t have to point out the horror of all of this to anyone. This is near Dr. Mengele shit going on right here.

See, Look. It’s a Snowball!

California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot: From our perspective, there is an amazing partnership on the ground, and there needs to be. As the Governor said, we’ve had temperatures explode this summer. You may have learned that we broke a world record in the Death Valley, 130 degrees. But even in greater [Los Angeles], 120-plus degrees, and we’re seeing this warming trend make our summers warmer but also our winters warmer as well. But I think one area of mutual agreement and priority is vegetation management. But I think we want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests. And actually work together with that science. That science is going to be key. Because if we ignore that science and put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together on protecting Californians.

Trump: Okay. It will start getting cooler. You just watch.

Crowfoot: I wish science agreed with you.

Trump: I don’t think science knows actually.