Trump in 2016: Us Against Them. Trump in 2020: Us Against Us.

Thanks to Janine Robinson for sharing their work on Unsplash.

It took almost four years but here we are.

Trump used to rally his base with innuendo about shadowy others who threatened America: Mexicans are rapists and members of obscure, violent gangs. A Muslim travel ban would keep out terrorists. Orphaning the children of parents fleeing Central America by locking them away and concealing them from their families would ensure that only Americans would receive benefits from paying taxes.

Where we are now was a gradual and incremental shift but it’s easy enough to look back and see it coming. After all, Trump made his mark on the political scene by questioning Pres. Obama’s legitimacy and refusing to acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya.

We know the cascading inflection points ever since. Good people on both sides. Pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio before he could be sentenced for what the U.S. Dept. of Justice called “sadistic punishments” of Latino inmates. Trying to shut down the NFL because Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in response to police killings of Black people. Calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas. Labeling a free press the enemy of the people. Saying the members of “The Squad,” four Democratic congresswomen, should go back to their countries although all but one were born in America. Calling Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal.” Retweeting white supremacists. The list is endless and neither of us has that much time.

Now, as Poltico’s Michael Kruse, Renuka Rayasam, and Myah Ward note, Trump is no longer talking about us versus them. He’s ginning up the base by making it us against us. […]

Their Lips are Moving Again

Trump claims he’s going off-label again

While denying he was using it but saying he’d be willing to, Vice President Mike Pence committed some other lies today about hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the drug Trump claims he is taking to prevent COVID-19.

Asked during the Fox interview if he had concerns about the message Trump’s use of the drug sends, Pence noted that the FDA approved the off-label use of the drug so physicians could prescribe it if they deemed it appropriate.

Yeah, no.

First of all, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t “approve” drugs for off-label use. That’s an oxymoron. Here’s the FDA’s own explainer on the subject:

When you are prescribed a drug for its approved use, you can be sure:

    That FDA has conducted a careful evaluation of its benefits and risks for that use.

    The decision to use the drug is supported by strong scientific data.

    There is approved drug labeling for healthcare providers on how to use the drug safely and effectively for that use…

If you and your healthcare provider decide to use an approved drug for an unapproved use to treat your disease or medical condition, remember that FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Keep reading. […]

So This is What Living In a Failed State is Like

Marc Maron

I know most of you realize, I don’t need to tell you, that obviously we are living in a failed state.

And that our government’s reaction to this was too late, and that it was not enough. and a lot of what the federal government is supposed to do they’re not doing.

Because over the last few years — but certainly over the last 20 — whenever possible, Republicans tried to dismantle the government, everything they see as non-essential. And some of that being what was needed to respond to this properly.

So this is the goal: the failed state. This is the Republican vision. Let private enterprise take care of it. Great. So now we have people who need ventilators and masks and there’s a bidding war going on over who is going to make a profit on those items and which states they’re going to sell to. It’s all working out.

— Marc Maron, speaking on his WTF podcast about the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of Adam Schlesinger from the disease, the consequences and reality of running government like a business, and the catastrophe that is the Trump administration.

Keep Talking Trump. You’re Getting Less Popular Each Day

From RealClearPolitics.com

New polls are showing the limits of Americans rallying around their leader in times of crisis.

The more Trump crows during his daily free TV rally that his poll numbers are excellent, the more they show signs of declining. After Trump tweeted a New York Times quote that said, “President Trump is a ratings hit,” Never Trumper Rick Wilson responded:

“This is what you are to him, Americans. An audience. Not his constituents. Not the people who hired him. Not even humans. You’re boxes in a spreadsheet of his Nielsen ratings.”

[…]

If They Had Evidence Trump Was Innocent, They’d Be Demanding to Testify

“If Mr. Mulvaney had information that contradicts the consistent and incriminating testimony of numerous public servants, Mr. Mulvaney would be eager to testify, instead of hiding behind the President’s ongoing efforts to conceal the truth.”

CNN, quoting a statement from an official involved in the impeachment inquiry.

We’re Drowning in Guns and Trump Throws Us…Video Games?

This email subject line is the mother of all non-sequiturs
No amount of banned video games or advances in access to mental health treatment could make up for the sheer numbers of guns in America

Reading isn’t Trump’s greatest strength but in his speech addressing the two-for-one mass shootings inspired by his recent campaign trail red meat, he recited the words like a man with a gun to his head. Which is appropriate since, statistically speaking, as an American, he is likelier than citizens from any other country to be near a gun.

But no amount of banned video games or advances in access to mental health treatment (both initiatives which have been blocked repeatedly by conservatives, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) could make up for the sheer numbers of guns in America. Residents of the old Wild West would be afraid to live with what you and I are facing. […]

The King of Debt, as Trump Called Himself, is Earning His Crown

As tempting as it is to tune out news about the debt ceiling and budget deals, it’s time to pay attention. The excellent Daily 202 from James Hohman and the Washington Post breaks down how bad red ink has gotten under Trump.

Estimated deficit for 2019: $1 trillion +
Deficit for 2018: $779 billion
Deficit for 2016: (Obama) $587 billion

National debt as of July, 2019: $22 trillion
National debt at Trump inauguration: $19 trillion

As we remember, Pres. Obama used debt to successfully stimulate an economy that was collapsing as he took office.

Trump used debt to finance a huge tax break for corporations and rich folk, which he and the Republicans said would make things better for us average Joes.

Here’s the full quote: […]

A Tale of Two Lifestyles

As federal workers borrow from their kids, max out their credit cards, sign up as dog sitters, and even write paid online makeup reviews, federal elected officials are enjoying a very different lifestyle.

Don’t look into the eyes
Florida’s new senator, Rick Scott, is set to be feted tonight by the New Republican PAC at an event they’re calling the “Sunshine Ball” at the ritzy Andrew E. Mellon auditorium in the heart of D.C.

Donors/clients/customers/johns who attend at the “platinum level” will pay $100,000 but in return they’ll get ten tickets plus a photo opportunity, presumably with Voldemort himself.*

Not only that, but attendees will enjoy the rarefied atmosphere of the Mellon Auditorium. A D.C. venue review site describes the circa-1934 building’s, “dramatic roman doric columns, marble floors inlaid with gold, and spectacular auditorium standing more than 60 feet in height and embellished with limestone pilasters, gilded relief carvings, and polished oak where colossal luminaries, made of brass and burnished aluminum, are suspended from the ceiling.”

[…]