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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
March 18, 2020

Trump's late conversion to reality leaves out his supporters

Behold, the perils of the Pinocchio presidency.

For three years, President Trump told his supporters that the federal government perpetrates hoaxes and frauds, that the media produces fake news and that nothing is on the level except for his tweets. He did the same with the novel coronavirus, portraying it as an ordinary flu that would “disappear” and accusing Democrats of a hoax and the media of exaggerating.

Belatedly, Trump has begun to speak the truth about the virus, which by some estimates could kill more than 2 million Americans without attempts to control it. After an abrupt change of tone Monday afternoon, Trump continued to say the right things, using the same word on Tuesday that former vice president Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have used: war.

“We have to get rid of this, we have to win this war, and ideally quickly,” he said in the White House briefing room. “Because the longer it takes — it’s not a good situation. And I’m not even talking about the economy, I’m talking about the lives of a lot of people.”

But Trump’s late conversion to reality has left behind one group of Americans that will be difficult to convince: his own supporters. Their alternative-facts diet has left them intolerant of anything the government and the media feed them.


March 17, 2020

Trump Adviser Shills For Money During Coronavirus Prayer Session

Paula White, President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser and head of the White House’s “Faith and Opportunity Initiative” program, asked for money Tuesday during a coronavirus prayer session.

As soft music played in the background, White monologued about the importance of churches in a time of crisis before asking for donations to her personal ministry.

“Maybe you’d like to sow a $91 seed, and that’s just putting your faith with Psalm 91,” White said. “Or maybe $9. Or whatever God tells you to do. If you want to be a blessing to Paula White Ministry or City of Destiny, we would love for you to help us and stand with us. We’d love for you to stand with your church.”

Earlier this week, White was scheduled to headline a conference in Phoenix, Arizona that reportedly offered “supernatural protections” against the coronavirus.


Grifters gotta grift. It is their nature.

March 17, 2020

Trump's damage is already done

President Trump’s delay in preparing for the coronavirus might be the costliest presidential bungle in history, one that will likely increase the number of deaths and damage the long-term well-being of Americans. (The pathetic attempt to rewrite history to keep the Trumpian myth intact will not protect his reputation nor that of his enablers, including those who voted for acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial.) He has also poisoned the well of public opinion.

A new NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll finds only 37 percent of Americans “now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president.” Sixty percent have "not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying.” Imagine if in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 60 percent of the population didn’t trust President George W. Bush. The understandable loss of trust in a compulsive liar is itself a crisis that might prevent the public and other politicians from taking action to protect themselves. (Fortunately, reflecting the admirable job they have been doing, “public health officials got the highest level of trust at 84%, followed by those state and local leaders (72%).”

The public’s lack of trust is based on Trump’s performance: He has been following, not leading — playing down a risk that others rose to address. Only 46 percent say the federal government is doing enough, a 15-point drop from February. However, “Americans have more faith in their local governments ... with two-thirds saying their state governments are doing enough.”

Trump has also convinced his followers that they cannot trust information provided by the media (despite his 180-degree reversal to align himself with the weeks-long effort by the media to warn of an unprecedented national crisis). “When it comes to the news media, two-thirds of Democrats trust the information they hear coming from them; independents were split; and Republicans overwhelmingly said they do not trust what they’re hearing from the media,” NPR reports. “Having significant chunks of the country either not believing their president (who controls the federal government’s response), the press (which is a gatekeeper for information), or both, could be dangerous in a pandemic.”


March 17, 2020

A new poll shows Trump's magical lying powers are failing him

It isn’t easy to find any bright spots amid our ongoing slide into failed-state status, but here’s one: Far more Americans trust the news media than trust President Trump to tell them the truth about our coronavirus crisis.

A new poll from NPR, PBS News Hour and Marist finds that only 37 percent of Americans have a good deal of trust in the information Trump tells them about coronavirus. By contrast, 60 percent have little to no trust.

Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 50 percent have a good deal of trust in the news media’s information about the disease, versus 47 percent who lack trust. That’s not ideal, to be sure, but it’s good that far more trust the media than trust Trump.

I’d like to suggest that a great deal is at stake here. Our national response to a crisis with extraordinarily far-reaching destructive potential is more or less under the control of a megalomaniac who, with the eager backing of his media allies, vastly prioritizes protecting his reelection chances over protecting the country.


37 percent of Americans are fucking morons.

March 17, 2020

One Simple Idea That Explains Why the Economy Is in Great Danger

To understand why the world economy is in grave peril because of the spread of coronavirus, it helps to grasp one idea that is at once blindingly obvious and sneakily profound.

One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.

That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.

What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time.


March 17, 2020

'D' word rears head as coronavirus-hit markets brace for recession

The coronavirus shockwaves rippling through U.S. stocks are forcing investors to contemplate outcomes more dire than a recession, including several quarters of declining economic activity, a credit crisis or even a depression.

The rising global toll from the pandemic and the uncertainty over how far it may spread has left investors and economists scrambling to gauge the financial fallout.

“This market looks like it has already priced in most of a garden variety recession,” said Frances Donald, global chief economist at Manulife Investment Management. “It is now on top of that having to price in some probability of a credit crisis.”

Forecasters at Goldman Sachs and other banks are now projecting a steep economic contraction in at least the second quarter as governments in the United States and Europe start shutting restaurants, closing schools and calling on citizens to stay home.


March 17, 2020

Nunes walks back 'go to your local pub' comments, blames media for creating coronavirus panic

Source: USA Today

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., appeared on Fox News on Monday night and walked back previous comments where he had contradicted public health experts and encouraged Americans to “go to a local restaurant” during the coronavirus crisis.

Sunday, Nunes said, “There’s a lot of concerns with the economy here because people are scared to go out. But I will just say, one of the things you can do if you’re healthy – you and your family – it’s a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant. Likely you can get in easily.”

"Go to your local pub," he continued.

Nunes' comments came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, saying people "should prepare to hunker down significantly."

However, on Monday, Nunes, who is one of President Donald Trump’s top allies in Congress, said that "media freaks don't have a clue what's going on out in the real world" regarding the outbreak, and claimed that during his Sunday Fox News appearance, he was encouraging people to do drive-thru or takeout.

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/16/coronavirus-devin-nunes-walks-back-go-your-local-pub-comments/5065469002/

This asshole needs to go away. Preferably to prison.
March 15, 2020

White House Seeks Financial Crisis-Era Powers to Buttress Economy

Source: New York Times

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that he would ask Congress to reinstate powers that were used during the 2008 financial crisis to support the economy as the coronavirus threatens to grind business activity in the United States to a halt.

The comments suggest that the White House is bracing for a widespread downturn that could harm sectors well beyond the travel and cruise ship industries, and that the federal government could need to return to the type of crisis-era measures that were ultimately scaled back by lawmakers in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Mr. Mnuchin and Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, have spoken daily about how to buttress the economy, which faces the prospect of a deep recession as the coronavirus spreads around the world.

“Certain tools were taken away that I’m going to go back to Congress and ask for,” Mr. Mnuchin said on “This Week” on ABC.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/15/us/politics/coronavirus-economy-dodd-frank.html

March 15, 2020

Arizona Boom Draws Californians and Changes Political Hue

Colin Jordan, a 32-year-old software salesman, lists various predictable reasons for his move to Scottsdale from the San Francisco Bay Area. He likes sun and golf and lower income taxes. But beneath all that is something bigger, which is the feeling that Arizona has welcomed him in ways that California — where he grew up — did not.

There are certain expectations you come into after graduating from college and getting a $90,000-a-year job, and one is that you won’t be paying $1,800 a month for a bedroom in a backyard cottage, which was what Mr. Jordan was doing in the Bay Area. He liked living near his childhood home and working at a tech company in the nation’s capital of innovation. But not if there was no path to what he considered a middle-class life.

“I knew for sure I’m never going to own a home,” he said. “So I talked to my girlfriend, and that was our defining moment. I said: ‘I want to buy a house and start a life. Will you move with me?’”

People like Mr. Jordan — now married and living in a four-bedroom house in Old Town Scottsdale — are a big factor in Arizona’s economic boom, a decade after it was hit hard by the recession. They are also part of a changing political identity that has given the once-solidly conservative state, now home to more than seven million people, a more purple-hued electorate.


Arizona's climate is too torrid for me. I stopped off in Gila Bend last year on the way back to San Diego and it was 103 degrees at 9 PM. (But it was a dry heat...)

I think the influx of Californians into Colorado also affected its political direction.

My brother in Tennessee was complaining about how Californians were moving to his area and driving up home prices, but I told him it was a good thing for Tennessee to get a dose of California culture. Don't think he liked hearing that.

March 15, 2020

Trump Administration Is Relaxing Oversight of Nursing Homes

The Trump administration has been working to relax regulations governing America’s nursing homes, including rules meant to curb deadly infections among elderly residents.

The main federal regulator overseeing nursing homes proposed the rule changes last summer, before the coronavirus pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of nursing homes to fast-spreading diseases. The push followed a spate of lobbying and campaign contributions by people in the nursing-home industry, according to public records and interviews.

The coronavirus has killed 13 residents at a nursing home in Washington State; dozens more residents and employees there have fallen ill. Seeking to prevent further contagion, some states, including New York, have banned most nonmedical personnel from setting foot inside nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, which nationally have about 2.5 million residents.

Last July, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., set in motion a plan to weaken rules imposed by the Obama administration that required every nursing home to employ at least one specialist in preventing infections. The proposed rules — which the agency is completing and has the power to enact — eliminate the requirement to have even a part-time infection specialist on staff. Instead, the Trump administration would require that anti-infection specialists spend “sufficient time at the facility.”


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