Weekend Open Thread

“Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.”

–Douglas MacArthur

43 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    Worth reading…


    He's bluffed his way through his entire career and into the White House. But the coronavirus finally took him out..



    • kwtree says:

      Sweetly written, and grimly funny, because true. Thanks for posting, Duke.I’d been thinking along those lines – that this was one crisis $rump can’t postpone or shift blame or bs his way out of.

      Trump could bluff his way through marriages, sexual abuse allegations, bankruptcies … hell, he could even bluff his way into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But he couldn’t bluff the virus. He doesn’t owe the virus any money. He hasn’t left the virus sobbing in some Reno hotel suite with no one to turn to. He can’t divorce the virus and remarry another, younger, prettier virus. He can’t slather the virus with orange pancake makeup and spray it into submission with swoops of combover cotton candy and fool everyone into believing it wasn’t really there. 

      Trump bluffed his way through everything else in his entire life, but he has finally tested positive. He’s on life support. He didn’t catch the virus. The virus caught him. 

      • MichaelBowman says:

        It was a sad day when the virus caught our #StableGenius.  

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          “Jared just told me that this Corona thing, this bacterium or whatever it is, has gotten so darn brilliant . . .

          . . . it made itself into a virus!  Nobody ever told me it would do that!  Who knew that?  Nobody knew that!

          In light of my new discovery, I’m now ordering all our top scientists to drop whatever it is they’re working on right now, and to immediately go back to school.

          I told ‘em, they’re all gonna’ have to get much, much smarter; and I gave ‘em a firm deadline of Easter to do it by!”

          I just can’t be the only genius working on this, anymore . . .

    • MichaelBowman says:

      (and 'some people' are worried about Uncle Joe's mental state?)

      Tweeted y.e.s.t.e.r.d.a.y. 

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Truscott has become a favorite for me.  He's written a whole series of valuable takes on Trump and his minions, compared to others he's known in his long and varied life.

      He grew up with and went to West Point with Bill Taylor, two-time Ambassador to Ukraine.  Truscott's comparison of the two "first in their class" people — Taylor and Pompeo — will stick with me for a long time:  https://www.salon.com/2019/11/23/mike-pompeo-secretary-of-nothing-unlike-bill-taylor-hes-a-disgrace-to-west-point/

  2. harrydoby says:

    Our parents might have been part of the “Greatest Generation”, but we Boomers are probably the “Luckiest Generation”.  Our kids?  Not so much

    The scale of the economic damage is breathtaking. In one recent poll, more than half of all Americans under the age of 45 said that they had lost their jobs or suffered a loss of hours.

    And on top of that, their incomes were never as generous as ours, and their college debt is overwhelming.  We really need to invest more in that generation if we are to maintain a healthy economy. 

    Debt slaves can’t afford to buy homes, major appliances or raise a family.


  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    You can’t say you weren’t given adequate warning about “all this winning” . . . 

    America has now reported more deaths from coronavirus than any other country

    American deaths from the coronavirus passed Italy’s, affirming the U.S.’s spot as the epicenter of the global pandemic.


    Deaths from the virus reached at least 19,563 in the U.S. after New York reported 783 new fatalities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News and Johns Hopkins University.

    The heavy toll in the U.S. — and much of Europe — is linked to the failure to enact widespread measures like mass testing and social distancing early enough to prevent the virus from taking hold. Parts of the U.S. were still not locked down in recent days, creating the opportunity for wider spread in places that haven’t suffered as much as hot spots in New York and Detroit.


    Thank you, Jared!
    Thank you, Sean!
    Thank you, Mitch!
    Thank you, Cory!
    Thank you, Donnie!!!

    • Duke Cox says:

      "It's just the flu."

    • MichaelBowman says:

      And we aren’t even counting those who have died suddenly without attribution to COVID because they were already in an elderly, fragile state.  I realize the current leadership couldn’t give a rat’s ass about this data but a friend of mine, whose wife is a nurse in Nevada, said they are seeing significant numbers in her care group that fall into this category.  It happens so fast they’re just shipped off to the morgue. No time or capacity for autopsies.  

      • davebarnes says:

        The way we will measure Covid-19 deaths in history will be much different than today.

        Today, we only measure those that are stated to be due to the virus.

        In the future, we will measure the deviation in death numbers from normal.

        The WSJ recently had an article about how Italia is undercounting. By a lot.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        "The daily tally of New York City residents who died at home with coronavirus-like symptoms exploded from 45 on March 20 to 241 on April 5, according to Fire Department of New York data."

        "Before the coronavirus outbreak, the lieutenant said, the five boroughs averaged 10 to 20 calls a day that resulted in death. " …  "

        Between March 20 and April 5, the number of Covid-19-like cases, including patients who survived, tripled, from 94 to 322, according to fire department data.

        The percentage of calls in which paramedics could not save the person rose from 48% percent to 75%."

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    If you're bored and want to learn something new old – there's COBOL.

  5. Duke Cox says:

    I just spotted this on Kos:

    Dr Fauci yanked from Trump's daily 'Briefing' after saying "I just don't understand why we're not.."

    Anderson Cooper asks if it wouldn’t make more scientific sense to have a national Stay At Home order. 

    Dr. Fauci starts out by saying:  ‘I think so Anderson. I don’t understand why that’s not happening” and concludes with“I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be”

     Trump took offence to Dr Fauci presuming to say what is the medically best course of action for the nation to follow. Because of course only Trump can fix it, in Donald’s infantile mind. So accordingly Dr. Fauci was removed from today’s  ‘briefing' for fear he would show more signs of disloyalty to the First Man-Baby.  

    And there goes the most trusted member of the whole Trump Administration. Dr Fauci is now on Trump’s non-sycophant list (someone not to be trusted). 


    Bye, Bye, Tony.




  6. harrydoby says:

    Another accounting of all of Trump’s failures in the face of crisis

    I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up.

    The people most victimized by his lies and fantasies are the people who trusted him, the more conservative Americans who harmed themselves to prove their loyalty to Trump. An Arkansas pastor told The Washington Post of congregants “ready to lick the floor” to support the president’s claim that there is nothing to worry about. On March 15, the Trump-loyal governor of Oklahoma tweeted a since-deleted photo of himself and his children at a crowded restaurant buffet. “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans at the @CollectiveOKC. It’s packed tonight!” Those who took their cues from Trump and the media who propagandized for him, and all Americans, will suffer for it.

    So what is foremost on Trump’s mind at the moment?

    As the pandemic kills, as the economic depression tightens its grip, Donald Trump has consistently put his own needs first. Right now, when his only care should be to beat the pandemic, Trump is renegotiating his debts with his bankers and lease payments with Palm Beach County.


    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Add to that this other Gem of the day:

      • Despite Mr. Trump’s denial weeks later, he was told at the time about a Jan. 29 memo produced by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, laying out in striking detail the potential risks of a coronavirus pandemic: as many as half a million deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses.

      • Inside the West Wing, Mr. Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, was widely seen as quick-tempered, self-important and prone to butting in. He is among the most outspoken of China hawks and in late January was clashing with the administration’s health experts over limiting travel from China.

      • Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, warned that a pandemic could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

      • So it elicited eye rolls when, after initially being prevented from joining the coronavirus task force, he circulated a memo on Jan. 29 urging Mr. Trump to impose the travel limits, arguing that failing to confront the outbreak aggressively could be catastrophic, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses.

        The uninvited message could not have conflicted more with the president’s approach at the time of playing down the severity of the threat. And when aides raised it with Mr. Trump, he responded that he was unhappy that Mr. Navarro had put his warning in writing

      He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus


      And when aides raised it with Mr. Trump, he responded that he was unhappy that Mr. Navarro had put his warning in writing“. . .
      . . . let that sink in.

  7. Duke Cox says:

    Well, of course…..

    GOP lawmakers: Fauci may be doing more harm than good

    Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) criticized Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, for the impact of his social distancing recommendations, claiming that the stay-at-home policies informed by those recommendations have forced businesses, workers and corporations into economic turmoil. 

    “For Fauci, is it merely a societal or economic inconvenience that about 17 million workers are unemployed because of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with many more to come in the weeks and months ahead? The economic calamity lies largely with the origination of policies resulting from Fauci's recommendations,” the lawmakers wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner published Saturday.

    Biggs and Buck, both members of the conservative Freedom Caucus and staunch allies of President Trump, join others on the right in criticizing public health officials on the administration’s coronavirus task force. On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson, a conservative commentator on Fox News, said that Fauci “shouldn’t be making economic decisions.”



  8. kwtree says:

    The Passover story, based in history, has some lessons for us today. The Jewish people were sheltering in place from a plague (one of 10). The Pharaoh, a cruel, selfish, and power-hungry autocrat, stubbornly refused to “Let the people go!”

    Boils, Locusts, frogs, fire and ice, cattle dying in the fields, virulent pestilence- nothing could change his mind. The final plague came down on the first born of each household- except for the marked houses of those Jews who were sheltering in place. 

    Finally, they were released to leave their enslavement in Egypt, but had to leave in a hurry, in case Pharaoh changed his mind. Hence the Seder foods that we commemorate today. This year, Passover will be celebrated from April 8-16. Early Christians also celebrated Easter on Passover, and the two holidays are closely linked. Modern heathens echo the ancient matriarchal fertility rites of Astra/ Eostre/Ostara, with hares and eggs symbolizing rebirth and growth.

    So….we have a Pharaoh, we have a plague, but (sorry, Uncle Joe), we have no Moses. Science is our Moses. We will shelter and take care of each other and grieve our dead and our losses, and keep faith in science and in Democracy, and in better days to come. Pharaohs can’t rule the unwilling.

    This has been one of many Holy Week messages, and it is worth what you paid for it.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!Celebrate Spring 🌿🌳🍃🌷🌸🌞🌦💒🕯

    Credit to Joy Reid’s guest Reverend Warnock for the reminder that we can learn from our spiritual leaders how to survive pandemics.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Exodus 4:10 says that when God asked Moses to speak for him, Moses came up with the excuse that he was “slow of speech and tongue.”

      Actually, there is a long tradition that shows Moses, like Biden, had a speech impediment.

      Mohilever posed this question. Why did God choose someone with a speech defect to lead the Jewish people? …. Moses was chosen not only to speak to Pharaoh but also to bring the Jews to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. If Moses was eloquent and knew how to persuade people, the cynics would later claim that the Torah was not from God but rather from Moses who knew how to mesmerize the Jewish people into believing. Then R. Mohilever continued: Many powerful people come before you with their proposals, and with their eloquence they try to impress you and obtain your financial backing. I also come with a proposal, but I am a man of heavy tongue and have great difficulty communicating to you the great reward this proposal has for you and for our people. But therefore, if you accept this proposal and heed the request of your people to revive this desolate land, you will know that it is only because the lot of this ailing and oppressed people has touched your heart.

      Biden has the basis to truly make the campaign "Not me. Us."  Develop a team which includes a talented wordsmith / orator.  Set the direction out of our current wilderness and toward a promised land — but not arrive there himself.

      • kwtree says:

        I like that- it humanizes Moses. And I agree that Biden will need a strong veep and cabinet to lead us out of the desert.

        For women, it’s going to be especially challenging supporting Biden  this year, as the allegation of sexual harassment is credible. If we’re saying “Believe women”, we should do that. Given that Biden has long promoted female-friendly policies, that balances the scales somewhat. But this was the cab that establishment Dems called when they were so spooked by Sanders and Warren’s policies that they promoted a largely unvetted “unity candidate”. The main thing that’s going to work for Dems is that Trump is an existential threat, and Biden is not.

        Getting back to the spiritual topic, We have a plethora of modern day spiritual Moses figures – (Pope Francis, Rev. William Barber, Sister Rosemary, the church and secular people providing aid and comfort to immigrants on the border and in detention, and many more). 

        But on the Left, we don’t claim the moral high ground in the way that we should. Right wing Christian Dominionists have claimed that ground, and no amount of cognitive dissonance (cruelty in separating immigrant families, rationalizing coronavirus deaths as “thinning the herd”, starving the poor, breaking every other One of Moses’ Commandments). 

        Maybe it’s because we progressives have these “failings” of doubt, tolerance of opposing views, and a long term vision. We see nuance and spectra, not black/white good/evil choices.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          I dunno’ . . .

          . . . forty years is a long damn time!

          And, anyway, what’s so often omitted and overlooked from this cozy  “promised land” fairytale of divine deliverance is all the slaughter and carnage and ongoing war that logically followed:  — “and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.”  — like any war, all in the name of our God is greater than yours.  But, we can always make another great hero story about the real true heroes (us, of course) out of that! Hooray, team!  “Here’s another nit, captain . . .”

          So, yeah, promised land — now just go kill all them natives and in just a few centuries from now they’ll have a day where your descendants stuff themselves with turkey and dressing and pie, and drink gallons of lite beer between commercials, while they honor your generations’ great righteous piety, moral clarity, and dedication to personal freedom (for the “right” persons, of course).

          3,300 years and we’re still tied to the paeans and heroic mythologies of war and our divinely-favored providential group-superiority for our narratives of hope ???   We learn nothing . . .

          Me, I’m sticking with the magical bunny, and maybe a celebration of the regularities of planetary motions and tilting.

        • Voyageur says:

          "Unvetted"?  Joe was in the Senate 33 years and vice president 8 more!  That's four decades under a microscope.  By comparison nobody really heard about the mayor of Burlington, Vt. or the former Oklahoma school marm until a few years ago.

          Sorry that the American people again rejected Eugene V. Debs but it is ridiculous to claim Joe Biden is "unvetted."

           and it is ludicrous for you to claim to speak for "women" when you sang in the "We hate Hillary" choir long after her nomination.

          Hillary led us to the promised land.  Tragically, she didn't enter it.

          Maybe kamala, Amy or gov. Whitmer can complete the journey.

    • The realist says:

      Thanks, kwtree. 

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Thanks for this Kim – and the Passover narrative.  Being Catholic I have a slight traditionalist streak that runs through my veins; I enjoy a Seder meal with friends.  Have a blessed Easter (to all of you here), however you may or may not be celebrating this pagan-turned Holy Day! 

  9. Duke Cox says:

    A commenter on Salon called Tenebrous submits this:

     Donald Trump comes in to a bar and sits down. The bartender suddenly noticed that a tiny man playing a tiny piano is sitting next to Trump. "Where did he come from?" the bartender asked. Trump explains, "I found a magic lamp and the genie granted me a wish." The bartender asks, "So how did you end up with your little friend?" And Trump says, "It turns out the genie is a little hard of hearing, and I ended up with a twelve inch pianist!"


  10. Duke Cox says:


    This just in…

    Lawmakers cry foul as Trump considers retreating from Open Skies Treaty


    Supporters of a treaty meant to reduce the risk of accidental war are sounding the alarm President Trump could withdraw from the agreement as the world's attention is consumed by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Open Skies Treaty allows the pact's 35 signatories, including the United States and Russia, to fly unarmed observation flights over each other's territories with the intention of providing transparency about military activities to avoid miscalculations that could lead to war.

    Administration officials insist a review is ongoing as four top Democrats warned this week that withdrawing "in the midst of a global health crisis is not only shortsighted, but also unconscionable."



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