Open thread March 13, 2020 Dan Crawford | March 13, 2020 9:01 am Tags: open thread Comments (5) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
A long way from my first choice, but it is nice to see an adult speak.
“On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office and offered a series of false statements about the global coronavirus pandemic and his administration’s plan to stop it. The United States is “more prepared” than similarly afflicted countries. (No, it isn’t.) He would be blocking virtually all people and “cargo” from Europe. (Actually, cargo could still come, and so could American citizens.) “Testing and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day.” (Only true for the Utah Jazz, it turns out.)
On Thursday afternoon, his likely Democratic opponent took a far different approach. Speaking from a podium in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, former vice president Joe Biden laid out his own plan for combating the crisis: a mix of short- and long-term economic and public health reforms that he argued the nation couldn’t wait until after the election to implement. It was the kind of announcement you might expect from someone who’s already in charge, not someone 10 months away at best. But as the campaign shifts into a new gear amid a global crisis, and Trump and Senate Republicans continue to dither, Biden, like many an eager job seeker before him, is auditioning for the job he wants by just going out there and doing it.
Biden’s “road map,” he explained, wasn’t something he intended to push through if elected. It was “the leadership that I believe is required at this very moment.” A friendly bit of advice, if you will, for Trump and Congress. His plan called for a mix of funding and accountability measures. Tests (and vaccines, when they’re available) should be “free of charge” and made widely available to the communities most in need, such as nursing homes and senior centers, and “drive-through testing” should be available at select locations.
But the problem went deeper than the lack of testing kits, he continued—hospitals need “surge capacity.” He proposed having the Federal Emergency Management Agency work with local governments to ensure they can “establish temporary hospitals” if necessary, and getting the Department of Defense involved in “planning now to prepare for the potential deployment” of “medical facility capacity and logistical support that they can only do.”
“We can do that but we are not ready yet, and the clock is ticking,” Biden said.
The other prong of Biden’s plan was economic. He laid out a list of ideas that would, he believed, serve as both stimulus and safety net—meals for kids who have to miss school, relief for “people who have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage” (something already happening in Italy), interest-free loans for small-business owners. “It’s a national disgrace that millions of our fellow citizens don’t have a single day of paid sick leave available,” he said, and stated that his priority would be gig-economy workers and others on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, not “Google or Goldman.”
This is what the campaign is going to look like for the foreseeable future, as containment measures have effectively canceled the traditional campaign schedule. A few hours before Biden spoke, the Democratic National Committee announced that the next debate had been moved from Phoenix to an audience-free TV studio in Washington, DC. He announced plans for a virtual town hall with Illinois voters, who go to the polls on Tuesday. Biden’s remaining Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders, was giving his own speech on coronavirus later that afternoon.
Whether Trump is going to listen to Joe Biden on any of this, of course, is an entirely different matter. As Biden alluded to, this was not the first time he’d offered advice on how to approach the coronavirus crisis. In January, when the epidemic was still largely confined to China, he published an op-ed in USA Today warning that Trump’s cavalier approach to the virus, his belligerence toward the international community, and his assault on the civil service had made the nation far more vulnerable. “He dismissed the top White House official in charge of global health security and dismantled the entire team,” Biden wrote. On Wednesday, he promised to bring those experts back into the fold. “For some reason I still don’t understand, President Trump eliminated that office two years ago,” he said.
Since he launched his campaign last year, Biden has presented himself to the public very deliberately as a steady hand in turbulent times. There’s never been a more important moment, he seems to realize, to show voters what that might look like.”
Have a nice day, Susan Sarandon.
“Mother of god.
From NPR (via The Week):
‘ In January, Azar “did push past resistance from the president’s political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem,” Diamond said, but he “has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is [Trump] did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential re-election this fall.”‘
Holy mother of god.
From the Los Angeles Times:
‘In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs. But months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven’t taken the necessary steps to give states simple pathways to fully leverage the mammoth safety net program to prevent a wider epidemic.
Holy mother of fcking god.
‘ Just before midnight Wednesday, a doctor asked a group of fellow emergency room physicians on Facebook how they would combat the escalating coronavirus outbreak. “I have direct channel to person now in charge at White House,” Kurt Kloss wrote in his post. The next morning, after hundreds of doctors responded, Kloss explained why he sought the suggestions: Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had asked him for recommendations.
Kloss, whose daughter is married to Kushner’s brother, sent Kushner 12 recommendations Thursday morning. The Facebook crowd-sourcing exercise showed how Trump‘s team is scrambling for solutions to confront the outbreak after weeks of criticism for the administration’s sluggish response, a shortage of tests and the president’s own rhetoric downplaying the pandemic. It is now expected to consume the final year of Trump’s first term and threaten his campaign for a second term’.
This is the response of Camp Runamuck to a global pandemic. Cover the president*’s oversized caboose, fudge the numbers, and give the Dauphin some Internet access? El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago was planning another news conference for Friday, which promised to be a big bag of lies and blame-shifting. (He’s taken to lying about the Obama administration at full volume, so the elderly shut-ins and proud ignorami in his base will have a black guy to blame.) But the fact is that electing a TV clown and real-estate grifter to be president just to own the libs—and because you hate Hillary Rodham Clinton—turns out to have been a bad idea all around. This is an administration that was set up to fail and it has followed its programming precisely…..
It looks like new tests for the virus is not far off; both the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo clinic have announced that they’ve developed one. If we can get Camp Runamuck and the president*’s elephantine self-regard out of the way, we might even be able to catch up to South Korea and Senegal with our testing regime. Senegal has developed a test that produces results in four hours. Our president* can’t put on his shoes in four hours.
As it happens, I’ve been re-watching HBO’s tremendous Chernobyl miniseries. There is a scene in the third installment in which Legasov, the nuclear scientist who is trying to break through the fog of official lies and stupidity, argues that the evacuation zone around the demolished plant be extended from 30 km to 300 km, based on the amount of radioactivity present in the ground. Legasov cannot get Scherbina, the party apparatchik assigned to his work, to listen to him. Finally, Legasov explodes:
‘ Maybe I’ve just spent too much time in my lab. Maybe I’m just stupid. Is this really the way it all works? An uninformed arbitrary decision that will cost who knows how many lives made by some apparatchik? Some career party man?’
Congratulations, Republicans. Congratulations, conservatives. You’re manage to make yourselves into the Soviet party apparatus of the mid-to-late 1980s, when everything was falling apart and the institutions of government were so petrified and stultified that nobody could do anything at all. You’ve dragged us all along with you, too. Vote them out. Vote them all out. It’s all that’s left to do.”
It will take decades to repair the damage. Remember berniebros claiming Clinton was trying to coerce them to vote for her by warning of the dangers of a trump Supreme court?
Well, she was right.
“Former Judge Resigns From the Supreme Court Bar
In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, he detailed why he’s lost faith in the court.
On Wednesday, Dannenberg tendered a letter of resignation from the Supreme Court Bar to Chief Justice John Roberts. He has been a member of that bar since 1972. In his letter, reprinted in full below, Dannenberg compares the current Supreme Court, with its boundless solicitude for the rights of the wealthy, the privileged, and the comfortable, to the court that ushered in the Lochner era in the early 20th century, a period of profound judicial activism that put a heavy thumb on the scale for big business, banking, and insurance interests, and ruled consistently against child labor, fair wages, and labor regulations.
The Chief Justice of the United States
One First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20543
March 11, 2020
Dear Chief Justice Roberts:
I hereby resign my membership in the Supreme Court Bar.
This was not an easy decision. I have been a member of the Supreme Court Bar since 1972, far longer than you have, and appeared before the Court, both in person and on briefs, on several occasions as Deputy and First Deputy Attorney General of Hawaii before being appointed as a Hawaii District Court judge in 1986. I have a high regard for the work of the Federal Judiciary and taught the Federal Courts course at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law for a decade in the 1980s and 1990s. This due regard spanned the tenures of Chief Justices Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist before your appointment and confirmation in 2005. I have not always agreed with the Court’s decisions, but until recently I have generally seen them as products of mainstream legal reasoning, whether liberal or conservative. The legal conservatism I have respected– that of, for example, Justice Lewis Powell, Alexander Bickel or Paul Bator– at a minimum enshrined the idea of stare decisis and eschewed the idea of radical change in legal doctrine for political ends.
I can no longer say that with any confidence. You are doing far more— and far worse– than “calling balls and strikes.” You are allowing the Court to become an “errand boy” for an administration that has little respect for the rule of law.
The Court, under your leadership and with your votes, has wantonly flouted established precedent. Your “conservative” majority has cynically undermined basic freedoms by hypocritically weaponizing others. The ideas of free speech and religious liberty have been transmogrified to allow officially sanctioned bigotry and discrimination, as well as to elevate the grossest forms of political bribery beyond the ability of the federal government or states to rationally regulate it. More than a score of decisions during your tenure have overturned established precedents—some more than forty years old– and you voted with the majority in most. There is nothing “conservative” about this trend. This is radical “legal activism” at its worst.
Without trying to write a law review article, I believe that the Court majority, under your leadership, has become little more than a result-oriented extension of the right wing of the Republican Party, as vetted by the Federalist Society. Yes, politics has always been a factor in the Court’s history, but not to today’s extent. Even routine rules of statutory construction get subverted or ignored to achieve transparently political goals. The rationales of “textualism” and “originalism” are mere fig leaves masking right wing political goals; sheer casuistry.
Your public pronouncements suggest that you seem concerned about the legitimacy of the Court in today’s polarized environment. We all should be. Yet your actions, despite a few bromides about objectivity, say otherwise.
It is clear to me that your Court is willfully hurtling back to the cruel days of Lochner and even Plessy. The only constitutional freedoms ultimately recognized may soon be limited to those useful to wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males— and the corporations they control. This is wrong. Period. This is not America.
I predict that your legacy will ultimately be as diminished as that of Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who presided over both Plessy and Lochner. It still could become that of his revered fellow Justice John Harlan the elder, an honest conservative, but I doubt that it will. Feel free to prove me wrong.
The Supreme Court of the United States is respected when it wields authority and not mere power. As has often been said, you are infallible because you are final, but not the other way around.
I no longer have respect for you or your majority, and I have little hope for change. I can’t vote you out of office because you have life tenure, but I can withdraw whatever insignificant support my Bar membership might seem to provide.
Please remove my name from the rolls.
With deepest regret,
Dahlia Lithwick is a good source
Yes, she knows.