Donald Trump

Grifter-In-Chief: Trump's efforts to gain control of COVID 19 vaccine

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Because blackmailing the rest of the world is apparently good business:

According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, which first reported the story on Sunday, Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. The newspaper quoted an unnamed German government source who said Mr. Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.”

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But two senior American officials said that some of the German news accounts first reporting the story were overblown, particularly with regard to any effort by the United States to secure exclusive access to a vaccine.

In this day and age, when verifiable facts are described as "fake news" by the Trump administration, calling something "overblown" is a tacit admission of guilt. Trump simply has no ethical boundaries, and I don't doubt for one minute that he would use that exclusive control of a vaccine as a lever to get other things he wants. To put it bluntly, Germany is pissed off:

Looming restrictions on SNAP benefits due April 1st

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For many, hunger is just around the corner:

The analysis notes that if the policies had been implemented in 2018, an estimated 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households would have received SNAP benefits in an average month. According to the study, the combined impact of the policies would have been to reduce overall SNAP participation by at least 15 percent in 13 states and make almost three-quarters of households with gross incomes above 130 percent of the federal poverty level ineligible for the program.

Losing much-needed food benefits would cause millions of individuals and families to lapse into food insecurity—defined as “the uncertainty of having, or unable to acquire, enough food due to insufficient money or other resources.”

Aside from the sheer cruelty of tightening restrictions on food stamps, it also represents sheer ignorance of economic forces. Instead of bailing out farmers, an expansion of SNAP would inject capital into not only the agricultural sector, but others, as well. But that is apparently way too complicated for the Liar-In-Chief. Here are the changes that are coming in a couple weeks:

Judge will allow offshore drilling case to move forward

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Apparently Trump isn't the legal eagle he thinks he is:

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston has denied the Department of the Interior’s motion to dismiss lawsuits filed by several groups, including the South Carolina Attorney General’s office.

What it means is that the case will continued to be tried, said attorney Amy Armstrong with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, one of the drilling opponents. Meanwhile, the department at any time could issue permits to start the work anyway — a possibility that opponents say they are ready to fight.

Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing, and can communicate with each other at vast distances. Their tympanic plate/membrane is in direct contact with sea water, and they use echolocation to defend against predators and avoid obstructions (like the rising shelf of landfall). Seismic blasting by oil companies looking for deposits can do permanent damage to their abilities, but even a short period of confusion can disrupt their migration and eventually prove fatal. Back to the lawsuit:

Queen Aldona picked to be Canadian Ambassador

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We really should not insult our Northern neighbor like that:

In the 2018 election cycle, Wos gave more than $760,000 to Republican candidates and causes, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Wos led the state Department of Health and Human Services for about 30 months.

While her boss, former Gov. Pat McCrory, gave her high marks for controlling Medicaid spending, her term was marked by threats from the federal government to sanction the state for food-stamp failures, a temporary shutdown of food benefits to low-income women and infants, and questions about no-bid contracts and the hiring of an executive from her husband’s firm to a high-paying, contract position as her assistant, The News & Observer previously reported.

In her defense, she had her caterers box up what was leftover from her bi-weekly dinner parties and gave that food to her housekeepers and landscapers. Except for the Flan. She kept the Flan.

Trump brings his idiotic observations to Charlotte

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At least a babbling brook is actually going somewhere:

"You saw what happened," Trump told the crowd at CPCC's Halton Theater. "It was the 'impeachment hoax,' and now that’s a thing of the past. They have the 'failed impeachment hoax.' They can put that on their resume. It’s a failed hoax. Every one of them have to put that right on their resume. It was a fix. Until it got up to Congress."

It didn't "get up" to Congress, it started in Congress. I was going to mention the "bicameral" nature of Congress, but that's too complicated to fit on one of Trump's pre-k flash cards. It doesn't take a mental health professional to detect some serious cognitive issues in his stream of unconsciousness, constantly repeating words like "hoax" until it's replaced with another that tastes right (resume). I watched a video of that speech (I won't subject you to it), and it's plainly obvious that Trump is taking some form of medication, prescribed or not. It's not helping.

Thanks to Trump, election meddling is now acceptable behavior

Republican voters are being encouraged to skew SC's Democratic Primary:

South Carolina has open primaries where voters can choose which party’s primary, if there is more than one to choose from, to vote in. But the Republicans pushing their members to vote for Sanders want to change that, saying on Facebook they want to ”point out the consequences of not closing the primaries in SC to just those voters who participate in each party” — a goal they can accomplish if enough Republicans turn out at the polls on Feb. 29.

They also see another benefit in helping Sanders win. “We want to be able to have a say in giving Donald Trump that opportunity in November to face Bernie in the debate, give a clear look to American voters, here’s your capitalist success story and here’s your socialist,” said Karen Martin, who is the organizer of the Spartanburg Tea Party.

They're not the sharpest tools in the shed, to say the least. Supposedly worried about SC's open Primary, and how (imaginary) Democrats abuse it, so they're going to abuse the hell out of it just to make a point. Isn't that like shooting up a school full of children just to expose how vulnerable they are? Yes, it is. It's also a common development with people who have held a paranoid delusion too long without uncovering evidence to back it up; they create their own evidence. Operation Chaos was originally dreamed up by Rush Limbaugh back in 2008, to sew discord in the Clinton Obama Primary. And it's very likely this new effort isn't just SC Tea Party nonsense, it's part of a broader effort by Republicans to meddle in Democratic affairs. Like flooding the Iowa Caucus Hotline with prank calls to clog the line:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Meadows oozing into Chief of Staff position

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Yes, the Trump administration can get more incompetent:

When it comes to filling the chief of staff role after the impeachment dust settles, Trump has suggested his first choice remains retiring Rep. Mark Meadows, sources familiar with the talks said. During Thursday's post-acquittal speech, Trump thanked Meadows at length for his support during the impeachment proceedings and called him "an extraordinary guy" and "very special."

Meadows, in turn, was the only other person who spoke during the President's address -- rising from his seat in the audience to praise Trump. "I just wanted to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country," Meadows said. "We've got your back."

And there goes my gag reflex. With the prospect of Meadows being in charge of pretty much everybody who works in the White House, now is as good a time as any to remind people of his lack of concern and leadership when his own office was a stalking ground for a serial sexual harasser:

Trump tariffs are forcing NC farmers into bankruptcy

This is not fake news, but he will try to spin it that way I'm sure:

The number of family farms filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy last year spiked 20 percent nationally, according to a study by the American Farm Bureau Federation. That’s the highest increase since 2010, the year after the Great Recession ended. In the Southeast, it swelled 48 percent from 2018.

The $87 billion agriculture industry plays a crucial rule in North Carolina’s economy, according to N.C. State University. It employs 17 percent of the state’s workforce. According to the Farm Bureau, there were 16 filings in North Carolina in 2019 — a 33 percent jump from 2018 — and 10 in South Carolina, more than three times higher than the 2018 total.

Funny thing, you hardly ever see one of these bankrupted farmers on the news, except maybe in some deep-dive documentary where the producers spend weeks tracking people down. It's actually not funny, because when they are finally forced to give up, the last thing they want to do is admit their failure to a large audience. It's a hard life, making one or two paydays a year cover all your costs and feed your family until the next harvest. The last thing they need is a toddler knocking over that fragile formula by disrupting their market. But by and large, farmers still support Trump, even though he has thrown them under the bus in favor of Big Ag numerous times:

Richard Burr: Witnesses won't change our minds, so why have them?

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Whatever credibility he once had is long gone:

“I personally feel that even if they invited witnesses and witnesses confirmed, yes, the president had a quid-pro-quo or something like this, if it doesn’t rise to the level of removal from office than why would we put the American people, the institution, through this process, when we know what the outcome is going to be at the end of the day,” Burr said.

It would take 67 votes to remove Trump from office. Republicans control 53 seats, so 20 of them would have to vote to remove Trump along with all 47 Democrats and independents.

In other words, even if he is guilty, we don't care. Understand, Richard Burr is Chairman of the Committee that has been investigating foreign interference in American elections for about two and a half years now. The President not only invited foreign interference, he demanded it, holding up military assistance that likely cost Ukrainian soldiers their lives in the process. It's no wonder Tillis has been such an embarrassment. Burr is senior, and arguably should be a mentor for the first-term (hopefully single-term) Senator. But apparently Do Nothing Burr has nothing to offer along those lines.

Mark Meadows: The anatomy of a brown-noser

Being a towel-boy for Trump must be exhausting:

“Congressman Meadows is in regular contact with the White House and the president’s legal team and is a crucial ally who amplifies the president’s views and the president’s case to the American people,” said a source familiar with his involvement, who added that Meadows has been to the White House at least once in the last week.

The White House counsel’s office and Meadows and his staff are also in touch by phone. Meadows has made multiple media appearances, a willing interview at a time when many senators are avoiding the press. He went on Fox News on Thursday morning, accusing House Democrats of “intentionally misleading” the American people about Trump’s actions.

We should probably start ignoring Meadows, since he's not running to keep his seat this year. Way too many other moles to whack. But when I see crap like this:

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