Nobody Likes Him

So — you know, it’s interesting: [Dr. Fauci]’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good. Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration. And, for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others — Dr. Birx and others, who are terrific — recommended.

And he’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration, with respect to the virus? We should have a very high, because what we’ve done in terms of — we’re just reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen, and the testing at 55 million tests; we tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph that I’d love to show you — perhaps you’ve seen it — where we’re up here and the rest of the world is down at a level that’s just a tiny fraction of what we’ve done, in terms of testing.

So it sort of is curious: A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx also highly thought of. And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.

Or because you’re doing a shitty job.

I mean, can you imagine a more pathetic, whiny statement from any other preznit? Gravity crush, that is astonishing.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert (Asshole Party, Texas), who has spent as much time as possible marching around without a preventive face covering, was diagnosed with the COVID. And, he decided it was best to inform his staff in person.

The schadenfreude needs to not be so out of control. I HOPE HE HAS RESPIRATORY ISSUES FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE shhhhh….

Medicare for All is a Bumper Sticker

This will likely stir many people to want me to shred my “progressive” card, but I see many on social media frothing at the mouth because the presumptive nominee for the preznit of these untied states doesn’t support something called “Medicare for All.” And I think that’s a good thing.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

In March 2009, President Barack Obama held a “healthcare summit.” At the table are doctors, insurers, drug companies, consumers advocates and lawmakers.

In July 2009, he is quoted by NPR: “If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That’s the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we’re not starting from scratch.”

Among the elements of the ACA: An end to cutting people off from medical intervention due to “pre-existing conditions.” Parents can keep their kids insured through age 26. State exchanges, but with subsidies to help the sticker shock. And, vitally, high-risk corridor payments to help insurance providers roll with accepting less healthy people while younger, healthier specimens are shamed and fined into getting covered.

The ACA was made in a brilliant and ideal way. Call all the stakeholders together. Solicit their ideas and concerns. Obama didn’t just get a law passed. He made public policy, one that was a bit of Jenga. But it was subjectively good, so you didn’t reckon some idiots would come along and start pulling pieces out.

Would you?

Of course, they did. Republican states refused to create exchanges, refused to expand Medicare. Sen. Marco Rubio eventually killed the high-risk corridor payments. The Republicans were out to drown the ACA in acid, despite that it was good public policy that actually did what it said it would do, to provide more people with better coverage.

It fulfills that mission to this day, despite more than 70 unsuccessful votes to kill it with a straight vote, despite countless sabotage efforts, including the current effort in court to outright kill it and throw countless Americans off of their current insurance in the middle of a fucking pandemic. The ACA, like The Dude, abides.

So, what the fuck is Medicare for All?

When Bernie Sanders talks about Medicare for All and how it will be implemented, he basically says, “What we’re going to do is, we’re just going to tell the insurance companies to go fuck themselves with their own neckties, and they’ll just then have to eat those neckties for lunch, and they’ll like it! Screw those karens!”

This is, of course, paraphrased.

That is, basically, the only planning I see for how to implement the policy: Tell the insurance companies to fuck off. And, by the way, have we asked the average doctor how they feels about Medicare reimbursements?

This is bad politics. It’s bad policy. And it’s stupidly redundant considering the decade of spent political capital, face swats, and sweaty brows Democrats have endured to establish what I think analysts will one day see as one of the most successful domestic policy reforms of all time: Obamacare.

Get us a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and Joe Biden as Preznit. Stop crowing about “Medicare for All” because “fetch” will happen first, Gretchen. Fix it. Improve it. Add a public option. Add a public option. Add a public option.

That we can get done. Medicare for All is a fucking bumper sticker. And it will never happen.

Heck Of A Job

From CNBC:

~ The U.S reported more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and Saturday, the highest daily totals since May 1, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

~ New cases across the country are surging faster than ever, especially in states in the South, West and Midwest.

~ Seven states hit record cases on Saturday, including Florida and South Carolina, which had their third consecutive day breaking single-day records. Missouri, Nevada, Montana, Utah and Arizona also hit records.

In other news: Hi. IT’S NOT JUST LIKE THE FLU. (SFGATE)

And: Yes, Wearing Masks Helps. Here’s Why (NPR)

We Can’t All Just Get Along

I remember it like it was only yesterday, March 1991. I was in Washington D.C. for a seemingly valuable semester-long internship experience provided by Kent State Universidad. Many of us gathered in our suite and watched a black man named Rodney King having the living shit beat out of him by officers in the Los Angeles Police Department.

When the curtain rises on George Holliday’s tape, King is struggling to his feet as one of four police officers commence to beating him with a nightstick. King stops trying to stand, and another cop seems to kick him in the head. After that, as King appears to try to commit the criminal act of “moving,” the other cops commence to treating this man like a piñata, there is kicking, there is more beating with the sticks. I’m counting like eight cops just in the frame, plus there is a helicopter noise somewhere, so you know, IF ONLY THESE GUYS HAD SOME BACKUP. Anyway, it goes on like that for a while, and King ended up suffering 11 fractures and other injuries.

That he survived this beating was rather incredible.

I was 22 when I witnessed this, the first instance I can comprehend of a citizen with a recording device capturing a horrifying instance of police brutality. It was a special event at the time. There was even a trial, you might recall. Three of the cops charged were acquitted, the fourth was a deadlock. The riots in L.A. following the verdict caused “63 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damage to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses.”

So it’s 29 years later and what’s changed? The latest outrage comes to us from Minneapolis, Monday, when 46-year-old George Floyd was killed when a cop leaned on Floyd’s neck with his knee for five to eight minutes. He did this as several other cops looked on, as onlookers took video and begged the cop to let him go, and as Floyd himself begged the cop for his life with words tragically familiar to any of us by now: “I can’t breathe.” Oh, and the alleged charge?

The cops were trying to arrest Floyd for passing a counterfeit $20. (I am a former reporter who has covered a Secret Service counterfeit investigation, and you can trust me that this is not how it works.)

Oddly, in this case, accountability seemed to be immediately dispatched. Four Minneapolis cops were immediately fired rather than being put “on leave,” and a day after announcing this, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for arrests.

It scares the living shit out of me that this mayor’s statement’s are such a notable exception. It downright pisses me off that, apparently, the only thing that has changed since Rodney King is that the format is digital rather than video.

I Wonder If This Was A Setup

White House Press Briefing by Kayleigh McEnany, Friday, May 22

*Link goes directly to YouTube to a moment when McEnany, beset upon by reporters regarding Impeached Preznit Carnage Sippycup’s weird seeming proclamation that he’s opening churches unilaterally, calls on OAN correspondent Chanel Rion, who of course asks a weird-as-armpits question about the Impeached Preznit “pardoning” President Barack Obama.

Which leads McEnany to a audio-visual gaslighting so over-the-top it brings to mind the scene in Django Unchained with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kerry Washington and the blood and the ball-peen hammer. She uses a slideshow to poke the reporters to ask reporters about a batch of crap that has been already proven resolutely untrue, that even ignores the latest report that Mikey Flynn’s name was not even initially redacted in intelligence.

Then she just flies out of the room like a bat.

If I were in the White House Press Corps right now I would be so fuming angry at Kayleigh McEnany.

Rebuilding Without Remembering Is Not Rebuilding

Now that we’ve clearly solved all the problems related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, everything can go back to normal now. All we need to do is to open stuff back up and all the money will come rushing back in and our economy will come booming back. In fact, GDP will swell so spectacularly that everyone in America who wants a pony can have one.

Of course if you’ve ever utilized the gray matter that resides just behind your eyeballs, you know for a fact that’s nonsense. In three weeks, the numbers we’ve managed to slow by cooling our jets will change direction. So we’ll have more people ingesting this little bug, more people showing up to hospitals, more people stacking up in those refrigerated trucks. Meanwhile, what have you rebuilt? What have you reopened? Is it a decent restaurant experience when a person has to stand outside and count how many are allowed in? Barstools at eight feet apart? Are even half the people who used to go out and spend money going to go out and spend money? And where is all this money that people are going to spend coming from? Oh, right, I forgot, it’s from that generous $1200 check Uncle Sam sent to some of us. You, I mean, you. I still haven’t received mine.

Look. If this economy rebuilds and forgets, it is doomed. Because hard lessons have been presented to us via the events of the last month and a half or so. For instance. We know or are beginning to know what happens when 30 million Americans apply for unemployment in a month. We also know that many of those people had previously become accustomed to living paycheck to paycheck. We know that many of these folks will be unable to pay the rent. We are seeing lines for miles of people lining up for food handouts. We are beginning to experience the true cost of being a society that has forcibly fist-fucked its own middle class for 40 years. What that gets you is a middle class that just can’t. A middle class that cannot sustain an emergency worth $400 or more (and this emergency is worth more). And with such a whipped middle class, you have economic troubles that cannot be rescued with a $1200 shot. Had this country been investing in its middle class instead of fucking them with their pants on, we would have been in a much better space. Rents would not be skipped. Food handouts would not be necessary. People would still buy gasoline. The American economy would not have to orbit a black hole as it now must.

Any rebuilding must remember that or it is useless.

And it must remember too the truth this little virus belied, that is, who the true essential workers are.

And it ain’t me. I get to work from home.

I see the essential workers when I dare to venture out to my local Piggly Wiggly. And I hope not to see anytime soon the other essential workers, the nurses, the doctors, the respiratory therapist. And let’s make sure the rebuilding doesn’t forget them. Doesn’t forget that they are underpaid and constantly fucked. That nice person who hands you your McDonald’s bag is in danger just standing in that little kiosk. They should earn $25 an hour, and not in 2026. Today. And med school should not cost anyone a single thin dime, not for now and not from before. Forgive those loans today without argument. These people are giving more and risking more than they ever anticipated. Let’s at least make sure they can stop writing one check a month.

This economy can’t just re-open. It needs to rebuild. It needs to change. It can no longer leave most of its people living without means. We need our people strong, not counting can rebates as income. We need people building that emergency fund. More people. A strong economy isn’t Wall Street, and I’m saying this as an investor. A strong economy is that most Americans can last a year if everything goes to shit. And we’re not even close.

Rebuilding without remembering is not rebuilding. It’s shite. This outbreak points directly to a need for radical and immediate change. I am not sure our leaders are up for it. So we need to be.

Let’s go.

Masques

For a while, I couldn’t go to the grocery because did not have anything close to a decent mask. Face masks are difficult to snap up these days, even on Amazon, but one lovely Friday morning, Gov. Cuomo told us all we had to wear them. A reporter even asked him how he intended this to be enforced. He said people will probably comply for the most part, and he said non-compliers would be encouraged by their neighborhood busybodies. Great, I thought to myself, now I will have to get my hands on something to put on my face.

I was able to purchase a “Seamless Face Mask Mouth Cover Bandanas for Dust, Outdoors, Festivals, Sports,” but this was one of those things that covers your entire head and neck and is tight–it is exactly like wearing a “panty on your head.” I do not like things over my head and neck and once in fact nearly cold-cocked a barber for making the tissue that goes around one’s neck entirely too tight. I did rig up a way to tie it around my head with a necktie, but this would not do.

Fortunately, my Dad had a source and was able to mail me some decent masks before I became an emaciated wreck, and I have now been to Wegpersons twice since. Neither time was I able to put my hands on a carton of grapefruit juice. These are dark times.

I noticed today that Vice-President Meek Pence, who is allegedly in charge of Dear Leader Preznit Carnage’s coronavirus task force, was nice enough to visit some patients today at the Mayo Clinic but opted not to wear a facial mask just like everybody else in the room including the patients. His explanation:

As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers these incredible health care personnel and look them in the eye and say thank you.

Let us recall that on April 2, Georgia Governator Brian Kemp explained something to us all, something that none of us had never, ever known before about the coronavirus: “Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours. This is a game-changer.”

This means that Kemp, who was either lying or incompetent when he told you that, nonetheless, this means that Brian Kemp knows more about SARS-Cov-2 than does the Veece Preesident of these Untied States of America, Meek Pence, who is allegedly in charge of Dear Leader Preznit Carnage’s coronavirus task force.

How we feelin’?

Bernie Is Just All Right With Me

I was always a strong advocate of the social platform known as Twitter. Professionally, I have attended social media workshops and spent the last year or so of my last Big Professional Gig trying (weirdly unsuccessfully) to advocate to a medium-sized advocacy group in Washington, D.C. to use Twitter. (Since my departure, they have embraced the platform and currently have 10.5K followers.)

The thing with Twitter is its utter immediacy, which I used to call “the fierce urgency of Twitter.” I do think it helps to attend a meeting where you have active tweeters to understand the conversations that can be had in the cloud via Twitter. It can be an effective medium.

So it was via Twitter yesterday that I first stumbled upon the big announcement. Bernie Sanders was endorsing Joe Biden. I clicked in and got to hear the two fellows having a conversation via some sort of video hangout.

It was, I think, a momentous event toward our efforts to retake the White House in 2020. A true detente! It was clear from the conversation that Biden was making a genuine effort to embrace Sanders, and that Sanders wants to bring all of his heft to this effort.

So, thank you Bernie Sanders, thank you, Joe Biden, for doing what’s right and better. I believe the Democratic Party has actually managed to select the absolute right candidate for our times. Joe Biden has an element of empathy that is sorely lacking in the current occupant that will draw a significant contrast.

And the Biden endorsement sweepstakes continue. Look for President Barack Obama to endorse Biden today. On we roll.