Category Archives: economics

I’m not cutting Trump any slack because he’s sick.

Trump having the Trump Virus doesn’t make him any less of an execrable human being, so here we go!

I’m sure our narcissist president is weeping at the NYT story on Trump’s tax returns, showing he “has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.” He’s hemorrhaging money and there are lots of loans coming due, leading to speculation his run for the White House was just a Hail Mary play to revive his brand. And his massive losses from various businesses allowed him to offset his taxes and pay $750 in income tax the year he won the presidency (and none in other years). While much of this is probably legal, someof his deductions seem questionable, such as paying Ivanka fat fees as a “consultant” (this Twitter thread lists several). And of course in past years he’s blasted presidents, and the rich in general, for doing exactly what we now see him doing, as the WaPo points out:

“Trump added in July of that year, “Have we ever had a POTUS before @BarackObama who earned over 1/3 of his income from foreign sources and paid taxes to another country?”
The Times reported that Trump earned about $73 million in foreign revenue in his first two years as president. He also in 2017 paid significantly more in taxes to the governments of Panama ($15,598), India ($145,500) and the Philippines ($156,824) than to the United States ($750).
But that’s not the only whiff of hypocrisy in Trump’s past statements about taxes.
In 2013, he retweeted someone who claimed that “Trump is an American that will pay more taxes in one year than you pay in your entire life.” We have now learned that Trump almost always pays less in taxes — not just as a percentage but also as a raw number — than the vast majority of people who are of far lesser means than he.”
If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, the Times also breaks down the key revelations in a shorter piece. Part II looks at how The Apprentice transformed Trump’s image, filled his coffers and enabled him to make more by marketing his new fame: “In the two years preceding the debut of “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s side income was mostly confined to $500,000 for appearing in the Big N’ Tasty burger ad and a small amount of book royalties. But over the next two years, his tax records show, he collected $5.2 million from 11 different ad campaigns and speaking gigs, all propelled by his growing popularity as a reality-TV businessman.”
In hindsight it’s unsurprising he promptly burned through the money, and that a lot of added income from his “brand” was attached to swindles and con schemes. Trump’s a crook and a hustler and he can’t understand not being one: “Anyone who’s not hustling and not transparently “full of shit” is playing some angle he just doesn’t understand. They seem to regard money as less than paramount. They’ve got some other way of keeping score in something other than the game and the hustle that is all that Trump has ever understood. And because he can’t understand such people, he fears them, regards them with suspicion and distrust.”

I doubt this will change any loyalist’s mind, but it sure must sting Trump. He’s built his image as a high-flying business genius, not someone who’s in hock up to his eyeballs. Before he got sick he was tweeting about his “extraordinary assets” and the “impressive” financial statement he may someday release. It’s the usual Trump bluster but it sounds feebler than usual. I drink his tears like fine wine.

Meanwhile, Trumps says he’ll be sending seniors $200 discount pharmacy cards before the election, though the funding is from a program that doesn’t exist yet.

A mine-owner who fought against regulations to protect miners from black lung disease and opposed them getting benefits if they took sick has now filed for benefits himself.

To fight the Barrett nomination, focus on the threat to the ACA. The Nation says while Barrett’s an extremist, it’s not religious extremism that’s the problem. And no, it’s not liberals and Democrats who are biased against Catholics.

By the way, do y’all remember Chris Cantwell, the “crying Nazi” of the Charlottesville protests in 2017? He’s been convicted for threatening to rape a rival Nazi’s wife. And cried some more during the trial. I drink his tears too.

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Sexism costs money

Reading and listening to accounts of women dealing with sexism at work shows how much. Hours spent on problems because they don’t listen to the woman’s view. Talking over the women and prolonging work when listening would wrap things up faster. Delegating crappy jobs to the women that don’t make use of their abilities.

As one of my friends said, what if this went onto the balance sheet? All the work-hours that could have been saved, all the projects that aren’t finished on time because the woman’s cleaning up for someone else’s mistakes. Not to mention talented women who quit because they’ve had enough dealing with sexists and/or harassers. It adds up. In some stories I’ve heard over the years, probably a lot of money.

To say nothing of lawsuits. Fox had to pay $90 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit over sexual harassment at the news channel. They’ve paid more to women who’ve sued over harassment from Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.

If that were tallied up and actually quantified for investors, that would be one hell of an incentive for businesses to treat women better.

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Trump is not manly (and other links)

I’m not a fan of men having to live up to some code of conduct to prove their manliness. However a lot of people do idealize old-school manliness — be honorable, stoic, work hard — so why do they think Trump’s a real man when he’s a whining, petulant man-baby who won’t take responsibility for anything?  Comments at the link focus on racism, but I think misogyny’s at least as much the issue. Trump’s a guy who treats women like shit even when he’s not assaulting them and he never pays a price for it; for guys who value male supremacy, that’s pretty appealing. And also, they love that he’s vicious. Which he is because one of his driving needs is the urge to dominate: “This explains why Trump felt no compunction about lashing out this week at a frequent critic, Joe Scarborough, by falsely accusing him of murder, even in the absence of a shred of evidence to support his claim. Cruelty is second nature to Trump.”

Republicans are so nervous about mail-in voting increasing the turnout (more voters is worse for them) that they’re suing California to stop it.

Adam Smith, the husband of the “reopen NC” leader, says he’s willing to kill people to make it happen. Justified because New World Order! And anti-maskers are now claiming dubious medical necessity reasons for not wearing.

If you’ve seen reports saying doctors think social distancing is worse than the disease, they may be biased. So are claims Congress can’t empower executive branch agencies to draft regulations.

Some branches of Planned Parenthood got stimulus money. Cue the right-wing freakout.

Some anti-gay members of the religious right see helping their neighbors during the pandemic as a way to win converts.

“Under conditions of uncertainty, information that helps direct our negative emotions toward a target is psychologically comforting.”— a look at how conspiracy theories blaming someone for our problems can make it easier to live with them.

One reason Trump’s so angry at China: he’s been showering their leaders with praise (““China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency … I want to thank President Xi!”)

Our government played a major role in developing one drug treatment for the Trump Virus. But they’ve done nothing to prevent the manufacturer from charging huge fees for treatment. This is a common issue: drug companies defend high prices by pointing out the demands of research and ignoring federal support.

Black entrepreneurs use their office-building’s gym. So a man calls the cops on them.

Hertz is going bankrupt. You might think leadership’s at fault or that the company should be careful with its money, but instead Hertz paid its top execs $16 million in bonuses. Meanwhile, two-thirds of its 21,000 employees were laid off.

A Pennsylvania Republican tested positive for the Trump virus. Other Republicans knew but kept meeting with Democratic colleagues anyway.

Houses of worship want to reopen, but they don’t know how to do it safely.

Conservative evangelical Eric Metaxas insists Christianity is anti-racist, but can’t walk the walk. Jerry Falwell Jr. ain’t even trying.

And for no particular reason, I’ll close with a photo I took of a thistle.

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Smoking their own hashish

In the words of the late investigative journalist I.F. Stone, “all governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.” – I.F. Stone.

This is one reason we’re in such a mess: right-wingers in government, as well as out of it, are now true believers in the delusions they’ve been peddling to the public for years. Take Donald Trump. In addition to being extremely stupid, he’s a long-time Fox viewer who thinks Fox talking heads give him better intel than our intelligence agencies, partly because Fox is less likely to challenge his worldview. So it’s not surprising that, believing other nations are sneakily conducting nuclear tests, President TinyBrain wants us to start up again. And that’s he’s trashing other arms-control treaties (I suspect this also relates to the distaste some right-wingers have for diplomacy and negotiating instead of just sending people who aren’t them or their families to fight and die destroying our enemies).

And now more than 40 believes in QAnon, the crackpot theory of a vast cabal of Satanic pedophiles opposing Trump, are running for office. Even if they don’t win, it’s a very bad sign if this becomes acceptable or worse, desirable in candidates (for another example of right-wing gibberish, check here).

But it’s not just people in politics, but also in punditry. Conservative intellectuals have decided that opposing shutdowns, masks and all other precautions against Trump Virus is a sign of cowardice and weakness — don’t we realize that there are higher things than living! By which logic, why aren’t they opposing bicycle helmets and seat belts? Because those are still accepted as sensible solutions, not bludgeons against the left in the culture war.  I think it’s telling that a couple of the pundits quoted at the link frame this is a clash between salt-of-the-earth Real Americans who want the country reopened and the sniveling cowards of the liberal elite who want it shut down. When in reality we have rich elitists (not all of them) and pundits screaming to reopen the country before the wealthy lose any money. The rich can run their companies at a distance; they’re guaranteed great care if they do get sick. And organizing astroturf campaigns to make it look like the people are rising up.

Republicans have embraced a world of unreality where taking sensible precautions against disease is weakness, the government plotted to destroy Trump but held off until after the election and QAnon theories describe reality. Or claiming that the 2018 elections were a victory for Republicans. Honest reporting is treated as partisan lies, an attack on the glorious god-anointed Donald J. Trump. That makes it hard to deal with the reality that Trump has failed at dealing with the pandemic.

And I’m sure Trump’s tossing out baseless conspiracy theories finds fertile soil among his worshippers.

As Fred Clark puts it, we have to respect other’s peoples beliefs — but how do we do that while simultaneously dealing with believers whose views get other people killed? Snake handling or refusing medical treatment to see if God cures you can be fatal, but only to the believer. People who reject masks and social distancing don’t just threaten themselves, they threaten the rest of us.

I wish I had a good answer.

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The Great Reopening (and other Trump Virus links)

“Unlike wealthier, more advanced countries like, say, South Korea, Vietnam, or Senegal, the United States just doesn’t have the capability or the leadership to produce the kind of testing and contact-tracing system that would allow us to “re-open” safely.” — Slacktivist delivers what I believe qualifies as a sick burn.

While calling for his state to reopen, Alaska Republican state Rep. Ben Carpenter says a)quarantine is very Nazi, and b)Hitler wasn’t a white supremacist, he was just scared of Jews. Apparently he doesn’t think Republicans advocating for thousands to die for the good of the state is at all Nazi.

Public-health experts on where they will, and won’t go after reopening.

As we reopen, some people are fixated on the real threat: 5G cellular! A look at conspiracy thinking and pandemic.

A reliable vaccine would make reopening easier but the anti-vaxxers are organized to stop people taking it.

Here’s a look at the real issues and challenges for developing a vaccine.

An ice cream parlor reopens … and then closes due to customer behavior.

Governors who’ve already opened are proclaiming victory over the Trump Virus — but they’re fooling themselves.

So why reopen when it’s likely to lead to more deaths and not a recovered economy? No More Mr. Nice Blog suggests it’s not about money but about control: “They just don’t want to be told that they can’t have their wishes immediately gratified.”

Like the Tea Party protests of a decade ago, the reopen protests are a mix of genuine anger and a lot of astroturfing. And some people believe in “plandemic.” More on that here.

A Texas company offered to mass-produce some N95 masks. The government said no.

A New York restaurateur looks at her shuttered restaurant and wonders what the point was.

How COVID-19 starves us of oxygen.

Federal employees’ retirement plans are invested in China. Trump wants to stop that.

Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos is funneling a disproportionate amount of Trump Virus relief for education to private schools.

A farmer uses Facebook to keep their farm going in pandemic times.

Four reasons reopening may be worse than staying closed.

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The Republican response to the Trump Virus is sub-optimal

The Trump Virus situation looks worse and worse as the virus looks deadlier and deadlier. For one example, it may be causing increasing numbers of strokes in younger people. This is the time for smart people to look for solutions and a smart government to implement them. Instead we have Jared Kushner running the White House show, and Kushner’s as convinced as his father-in-law that he understands things perfectly (spoiler: he doesn’t). And a president who suggests internal use of disinfectant could cure COVID-19 — and it may be taht some people are listening. And President Tinybrain himself is mostly sulking about being criticized when he’s the most awesome president ever (I take a petty satisfaction in his myster).

Moscow Mitch’s big requirement for supporting more federal aid is immunizing businesses against COVID-related legal liability if they put workers at risk. And as Scott Lemieux says, gives the lie to the crisis being over: “That McConnell thinks that companies that ‘help’ to open up the economy face a high risk of being sued shows that he is aware of what a huge gamble is being made with the lives of working Americans” — who right-wingers denounce lazy bums living high on unemployment (and make it absurdly hard to obtain). Given his way, though, McConnell would sooner have states declare bankruptcy (which NC Senator Thom Tillis is cool with). If he thinks that would only hurt blue states, he’s, as LGM says, “high on his own supply” — Republicans can’t accept that we need massive state intervention to keep the economy going.

Although federal guidelines call for a decline in COVID cases over two weeks, the Trump administration is pushing harder to get everything reopened without waiting. And when things go wrong, it’ll all be other people’s fault. Though the speed with which several states are moving guarantees it’s not being done well. And the impact will hit employees and small businesses. (“If we tried to open on Monday, we’d be closed in two weeks, probably for good and with more debt on our hands.”).The Michigan GOP is trying to strip the governor of lockdown authority.  Medical personnel are confronting end-the-lockdown protesters, but Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward says even if they’re real doctors and nurses, they’re just actors.

And while Trump has refused to use his authority to force the mass-production of safety equipment, he’s using it to force the meat-processing industry to get back to work (poor widdle man-baby can’t do wivout his nummy burgers!). So a low-paid, immigrant force will have to choose between supporting themselves or risking death (hmm, could this be why Moscow Mitch is so big on immunity?). And if workers don’t go back to work, oops, they no longer qualify for unemployment.

As for the Supreme Court, the Republican members are not on our side, as witness their view of voting by mail.

Meanwhile, right-wing theocrat lawyer Matt Staver claims Christians facing social distancing are being oppressed like Jews under Hitler. Anti-semitic whackaloon Rick Wiles claims the Trump Virus is a deliberate attack on America and never affected China.

How much did Senator Richard Burr make by selling off stocks after being warned about the Trump Virus? If you look at the number of lives that might have been saved with more preparation, it works out to between $5 and $14 a head.

A high schooler posted online that she thought her illness was COVID-19. The county sheriff forced her to take it down. Florida likewise told some medical examiners to stop posting Trump Virus statistics online (they were higher than the state has claimed).

After a reporter tweeted that Mike Pence was told in advance to wear a mask while visiting a hospital, the Pence team threatened to ban the reporter from Air Force Two.

To end with some upbeat news, Rep. Ihlan Omar wants SNAP recipients to be able to use their benefits to buy food online. That’s a great idea. And here’s a local business in Durham, finding ways to stay open and keep their employees on staff (I’d support them, but I’d have to buy coffee. Ugh).

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Even in a pandemic, Republicans gotta be scum

Case in point, Republicans in Kentucky overrode the Dem governor’s veto and now require photo ID voting. But the offices for getting a photo ID are currently closed; funny how that works out. Oh, and the Trump Virus relief bill has some hidden provision to benefit the rich. The USPS, meanwhile, may run out of money because Republicans hate funding it (speculation on the reasons here).  Of course, Republicans have been trying for years to gut the government and Trump Virus is the result.

And we still have Republicans, such as Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who figure it’s worth millions dying if the rich don’t lose money. Why yes, he is rich. While I know disease is not a judgment from god, I really would derive a shameful pleasure from seeing Hollingsworth and the others who make this argument come down with a bad Trump Virus case. A standard argument against stay-in-place is that we didn’t do it for Ebola or SARs, so it’s all political. But those diseases were either harder to spread or less lethal. And it seems the protests we’ve seen against Democratic pro-quarantine governors were coordinated by conservative groups, not spontaneous uprisings (more here). Small wonder judges such as Justin Walker figure deranged rants passing as judicial opinions are a good way to get noticed.

Trump lies a lot. He was on the Trump Virus from day one! We don’t need lots more testing because everyone’s getting better. His small-business pandemic loan program is cumbersome and slow. But hey, the administration paid $55 million for N95 masks to a bankrupt company with no relevant experience. And Vince McMahon, wrestling kingpin, is on the recovery team. No wonder states are searching for their own solutions. Of course, while Trump can’t force governors to reopen their states, he can withhold resources to pressure them. But even if they submit, I could see him refusing out of spite. Ditto him shutting down Congress to get some executive-branch positions filled, though as explained at the link, it wouldn’t benefit him much.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to pretend they care about the federal deficit and a lack of civility in politics.

In other COVID news:

A post I’ve seen pasted and shared on FB claims that yeah, Trump may be crude and loud but he’s doing a fantastic job! Asking the right questions! Listening to the experts! All of which is a lie. To everyone posting a parroting that crap: you voted for Trump. You still support Trump. You helped break the country. Own it.

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta says he did the 45,000 workers he laid off a favor, because they’ll get unemployment that much quicker. With $4.8 billion, he could have given every one of them $50,000 and he’d still be a billionaire.

The Florida nursing home industry would like the governor to ban negligence lawsuits against them during this terrible and trying time.

Jim Bakker’s ministry is apparently floundering due to increasing troubles over pushing a quack Trump Virus cure. A bishop who refused to stay in place and boasted about preaching to packed pews is dead of COVID-19. Several more thoughtful Christian leaders reflect on Easter in a time of plague.

I keep seeing conservatives argue that as we didn’t shut down the country for SARS or MERS or swine flu, that proves the shutdowns are political! No, it’s because those disease either didn’t spread as easily or weren’t as lethal.

Food-delivery services struggle to cope with surging demand.

The far right and radical Islam are using the Trump virus to push their own agendas. Mike Pompeo is just as keen to push extremist Christianity. And abusers staying in place have easy access to their victims. Meanwhile, criminals and drug cartels are enforcing quarantines and distancing at the point of a gun.

My fellow Atomic Junkshop blogger, Greg Hatcher, blogs about his frightening situation.

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And it’s another Trump Virus news roundup

In late February, President Tinybrain claimed that the Trump Virus cases would soon be down to zero because he’d done such an awesome job. He now insists nobody had briefed him on how many people were going to become infected. And he’s still freaking out that anyone denies his crisis performance has been perfect. Trump also claims that his stopping travel from China was perfect, a big, life-saving game changer, but it wasn’t an effective travel ban. And the federal government is now seizing medical supplies from hospitals without explanation. Since red-state Republican governors who’ve toed the Trump line are getting hit too, I’m baffled what the angle is, but I’m sure Trump has one.

Evil, of course, is making hay while the sun shines, as they say. Red states are claiming abortion is nonessential, so going to a doctor violates stay-in-place orders. The Supreme Court isn’t supporting mail-in ballots as an alternative to in-person voting, because as Trump himself admitted, more voters means less Repubican victories (LGM adds some commentary). The right-wing Heritage Foundation wants to set the terms for the post-Trump Virus recovery. And the Religious Right is backing parts of the stimulus that will pay pastors’ salaries while being exempt from any conditions such as nondiscrimination requirements.

The stupid and evil: Bill O’Reilly claims he’s just a simple man speaking the truth when he says Trump Virus victims around the world were on their last legs so it’s no big deal. And Rush Limbaugh claims that flu shots aren’t a real vaccine.

The smart: Bill Gates discusses where we go from here. And the WaPo rounds up more suggestions on how we can adapt, from ways to find more doctors to using prepaid cards instead of stimulus checks.

If grocery-store workers and delivery drivers are essential, why is their pay crap?

Black men worry that if they wear masks for their health, they’ll be seen as criminals.

Now, some less political stuff:

One of my Atomic Junkshop co-bloggers recommends Alan Brennert for reading during isolation.

Which cleaning products are good for countering COVID-19?

Is social isolation getting to you?

Exercise routines you can do at home. Though in my case, not the pushups —too much strain on my impinged shoulder.

Camestros Felapton on the role of the arts in a time of plague.

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Black comedy and the Trump Virus

A number of political bloggers have described our current situation — idiot authoritarian putting his useless son-in-law in charge of a medical crisis — is a banana-republic kind of thing. Me, I’ve come to see it as a kind of black comedy about the British aristocracy at its worst. Only very black, and not very funny.

In this view of things, Trump is a duke from some hideously inbred line of aristocrats. He’s stupid and feckless, but with his distinguished pedigree and his vicious willingness to lash out at anyone who questions him, lots of people are perfectly willing to treat him as if he were worthy of respect. Jared is the equivalent of an airheaded fop, the kind of nitwit who populates so many P.G. Wodehouse stories. Except Wodehouse’s protagonists are invariably decent; in a pandemic they might have no idea what to do, but if it were pointed out, they’d do the right thing. Kushner not so much. Whoever’s behind seizing state Trump Virus supplies, for instance, they’re not doing the right thing.

And this article about Trump’s endorsement of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment has Trump, Giulani and an economic adviser admitting they don’t know nothin’ ’bout medicine, but they did stay in a Holiday Inn last night — well about that level of rationality.

And we have the Republicans horrified, like countless earlier generations of aristocrats, that doing anything to help the peasantry will give them ideas they have rights. That they can get better treatment! They might realize Medicare for all is affordable! BBut I’m sure right wingers will be happier with new proposals such as “pitching a payroll-tax cut, a capital-gains tax cut, creating 50-year Treasury bonds to lock in low interest rates, and a waiver that would clear businesses of liability from employees who contract the coronavirus on the job.” Yes, the poor and small business owners suffering from the Trump Virus will certainly be able to survive on their 50-year-treasury bonds!

But looking at the effects on the ground, it’s not funny. It’s true all governments struggle with the unexpected, but Trump’s White House has been exceptionally bad. “It took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.” Doctors are going above and beyond — why isn’t Trump? Okay, the question’s rhetorical, it’s because he cares far more about avoiding any blame than actually solving the crisis. See, easy?

And does Trump’s support for using a malarial drug to treat the Trump Virus have anything to do with the manufacturer paying for access to him? (or, as noted in that hydroxychloroquine article, that he and a lot of people in his orbit have investments that would benefit). I’ve heard similar points made about our government scooping up N95 masks — privatized contractors will get to distribute them and profit thereby. More on the science here.

In other Trump Virus news:

Sean Hannity now insists he took the virus seriously from day one. He lies. And lies some more.

With Diamond, the only remaining comics distributor, shutting down for now, comics companies are searching for solutions.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is streaming his musical on YouTube for free.

More on the Internet Archive undermining copyright during the crisis. And the incredibly intrusive proctoring/data gathering checking on college students taking tests online.

 

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I am not a doctor, nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn last night—

(If you’re reading this post when that joke is no longer comprehensible, sorry) — but here’s a roundup of posts about our current COVID-19 crisis.

So we’re now officially in a pandemic. And President Tinybrain has declared “I don’t take responsibility” for being unprepared despite his gutting the CDC’s pandemic prevention budget (with more cuts proposed) and bungling our response. And making that medical marvel Jared Kushner (who needs time to research it) his point man. Failing to use existing tests for the virus. Massively behind on testing. And tanking the stock market (which is unimpressed by his calls for calm). Heck his own staff had to contradict his big speech.  We’re doing less well than Italy and South Korea; we’re a wealthy failed state. And it’s overwhelmingly Trump’s fault (“More people will get sick because of his presidency than if someone else was in charge.”) because he’s both egocentric and inept. And a liar. None of which would change if this was, in fact, unleashed from a Chinese bioweapon facility (of which there’s no evidence): he still failed by every possible standard.

He’s kicking people off food stamps at a time when many people might lose pay or jobs. And using the pandemic to justify handouts to oil companies (whose primary problem is the oil market, not coronavirus). But not allowing states to use Medicaid funding for this crisis. And suspending Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes benefits the rich more than the poor.

In a sane world, he’d be gone in November, guaranteed. But quite aside from possible Russian interference, vote suppression and the Republican advantage in the electoral college, his followers have their rationalizations for supporting him already in place (once again I recommend Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians for insight into the need to belief the Great Leader). If we slow the spread and it isn’t a massive U.S. problem, that proves he was right and the fear was just a dempanic. If it goes very bad, it’s a Chinese/Democratic/Deep State/liberal/Satanic plot against God’s chosen president. Trump himself claims it’s a foreign virus and his immigration restrictions are saving us. Either way, they’ll agree it’s not his fault. They certainly won’t think this says anything bad about the U.S. because we’re the greatest country in the world, just by default (that mantra is the equivalent of the participation trophies people are always mocking). Never mind how badly designed our medical system is for this threat even with the monster at the door.

And Trump followers will have plenty of support for that view:

Jerry Falwell Jr. claims it’s a North Korean bioweapon.

It’s a cover to blindside the Satanic pedophile conspiracy that Trump’s about to arrest them. In the Qanon world everything that goes wrong is just a cover for the imminent arrests; that they never happen doesn’t faze anyone.

Satan is targeting Christians with COVID-19 because they won’t take the Mark of the Beast.

Social distancing proves you have no faith in God!

Rod Dreher is outraged a teacher would criticize students for racists reactions to the pandemic.

Rush Limbaugh says COVID-19 is no more dangerous than hurricanes, which aren’t dangerous at all.

Alex Jones is hawking toothpaste he claims kills coronavirus.

If China gave Christians more freedom God would stop the outbreak.

Now, useful or interesting articles:

What you need if you’re quarantined at home.

Consumer Reports’ COVID-19 FAQ.

The Intercept argues the stock market slump is not the real issue.

Kentucky voted for Andy Beshear as governor instead of anti-vaxxer Matt Bevin. Good choice.

The Poynter Institute salutes the media for first-rate journalism in a crisis.

What if we tackled climate change as seriously as the rest of the world is taking COVID-19?

Twenty activities to occupy you while stuck at home. Or take a virtual museum tour.

A Portland distillery is turning alcohol waste into hand-sanitizer and giving it away. Other distilleries are doing similarly.

 

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