Living Large In Carson City: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming Edition

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
                    The end   The Doors 

Okay, so I am not as pessimistic as Jim Morrison and his fanciful cohorts of the LA music scene, but I will confess to having a certain number of questions about just what the hell is going on in the country. The pandemic is, of course, skewing reality into totalling uncharted waters with no end in sight. Trump is said to be considering winding down the coronavirus task force while the death toll is inching its way to 80,000 deaths. Now, Axos reports Trump and some senior administration officials are questioning whether those fatality numbers are accurate. They maintain the numbers are smaller while health officials believe the 80,000 deaths is probably much lower than it should be.

Now, America finds out that Trump is not only an inept commander in chief but totally lacks the interest needed to do his job. Who’s in charge one might ask? Knowing the president’s lack of trust in anyone but his closely knit family, the obvious choice (and one not too surprising) is son-in-law Jared Kushner. In an article in GQ titled “Jared Kushner Is the “De Facto President of the United States”, Luke Darby quoted Gabriel Sherman  from a story for Vanity Fair  who stated, 

“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official told me. The previous chief of staff John Kelly, who’d marginalized Kushner, was long gone, and Mick Mulvaney, a virtual lame duck by that point, let Kushner run free. “Jared treats Mick like the help,” a prominent Republican said. GQ

Kushner was the guy who was going to bring peace to the Middle East and took up the mantel as savior of America from the pandemic crisis. Neither happened. On peace in the Middle East, he was widely criticized as little more than a dilettante with no experience and few ideas. The extent of his mishandling of the virus supply chain is still being investigated, but it is safe to say that his cadre of frat boy gofers at his leadership bungled everything while helping out people who Kushner favored. Did anyone vote for Kushner for president?

Recently, Trump barred Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases from testifying before House panels investigating the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic saying, “The House is set up. The House is a bunch of Trump Haters.” Instead, Fauci will testify in the more friendly Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Trump went on to say no corona task force members will appear before the House without the permission of newly installed House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Considering the Constitution sets up the House as one of the important oversight entities that is meant to rein in out of control executive branch actions, it begs the question, “Who will?” Mitch McConnell? I don’t think so.

Today, word came that Fauci and two other prominent doctors from the coronavirus task force have been exposed to someone who had the virus and will be in self quarantine for the next two weeks. Yesterday, the administration revealed that Stephen Millers wife has been tested positive for the virus. This is important because she is the vice president’s press secretary.  Also, one of Trump’s valets also tested positive. Part of his duties was serving the president his meals. So, now, the virus has entered the inner sanctum of the White House, a virus that Trump said would magically go away with a few days back at the beginning. California marks week eight of the original stay at home order. And so it goes.

Trump’s earlier call to shut down the coronavirus task force received such a public outcry that Trump saw a chance to use its popularity and now says the task force will transform into guiding the nation back to work. Germany, South Korea and China have what appears to be a second wave of confirmed cases of the virus as they too have tried to reopen their economy. It would be nice to have someone in the president’s chair who did not cater to the forces of capitalism and big corporation that are surely going to make things worse, but rather, listens to health experts and what can be see as proof rather than speculation.

The one thing that is becoming clearer as each day passes is that the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has been bungled from the get go. His inability to grasp the seriousness of the problem has been breathtaking. His administration is made up of mindless sycophants who’s only motive is to keep their jobs. This means, of course, kowtowing to Trump’s every whim and not asking the hard questions or give accurate scientifically based information that would help mitigate the pandemic to some degree.

And that’s not all. Attorney Bill Barr took the unprecedented step Friday to throw out the case against Michael Flynn. Flynn admitted not once, but twice that he had lied the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials before withdrawing his pleas. If there was any doubt that Barr is an evil force in the administration, there is little doubt now that he is the head asskisser in support of Trump and the politicalization of the Justice Department. In a story in USAToday written by Savannah Berhmann titled “Michael Flynn: What we know about Trump’s former national security adviser”, Behrmann quotes Rep. Adam Schiff from California as saying,

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, said the Flynn decision “does not exonerate” Flynn and rather “incriminates” Attorney General William Barr, adding that this is “the worst politicization of the Justice Department in its history.” USAToday

Finally, in an effort to reframe the news as his polling numbers plummet, Trump and his minions are pushing the false narrative that China developed the coronavirus in a lab. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is so outfront with this lie that world leaders and his own staff are angry and upset that an official of his stature would would be party to spreading a demonstrably false narrative. Leaders around the world seem to have their feet more firmly planted on the ground than the yahoo leader of the State Department. At a time when cooperation, not false controversy, should be the goal of all world leaders, Trump seems to see his reelection prospects more important than making “big boy” decisions for the good of, not only America, but the world. But we already knew that. Maybe Morrison and the Doors were on to something.

Wacko of the week

In First Briefing, Trump’s Press Secretary Pledges Not to Lie 

 

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