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.

Contrasts with South Korea Show How Badly Trump Team Failed at Early COVID-19 Efforts

There are facts that won’t change as the COVID-19 virus spreads, and the bungling of the crisis by the Trump Administration is etched in stone.

A story by Reuters contrasts the South Korean response with that of the United States. It ain’t pretty for the U.S. Both countries discovered their first cases on the same day but South Korea acted decisively, pioneered drive-through testing, and slowed the spread of the disease.

South Korea’s swift action stands in stark contrast to what has transpired in the United States…the Koreans have tested well over 290,000 people and identified over 8,000 infections. New cases are falling off: Ninety-three were reported Wednesday, down from a daily peak of 909 two weeks earlier.

The United States, whose first case was detected the same day as South Korea’s, is not even close to meeting demand for testing. About 60,000 tests have been run by public and private labs in a country of 330 million, federal officials said Tuesday.

As a result, U.S. officials don’t fully grasp how many Americans have been infected and where they are concentrated – crucial to containment efforts.

Read the whole Reuters special report.

Forget the Presidential Race. This One is Way More Important

“We’ve already seen how he did, how he acted, the week after impeachment. Can you imagine this man after re-election?”
— Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to Pres. Obama and author

Party affiliation of the Senate of the 111th Congress

If impeachment taught us one thing, it has to be the importance of flipping the Senate from Republican majority to Democratic majority. Had Democrats controlled the Senate during the trial, evidence would have been pursued, witnesses would have been both called and believed, and Donald Trump would have been held accountable for his naked power grabbing.

Likewise, even if Donald Trump wins in November, with a Democratically-controlled Senate joining the Democratically-controlled House, he will get nothing done. He will be rendered the ineffectual red-faced crybaby that he is if he has no enablers to make his dreams reality.

Not convinced that the Senate races are more important in 2020 than the presidential contest? The next president will almost certainly get to nominate two Supreme Court justices — but those people will have to be approved by the Senate. We’ve already seen who Republicans approve. Having two more justices like the first two will change life as Americans, particularly progressive Americans, know it. […]

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.

Why Doug Jones will Lose His Senate Seat to a Republican in Alabama

When a less chewed up and spit out Jeff Sessions vacated his Senate seat in 2017 to become Donald Trump’s first U.S. Attorney General, it forced a special election in Alabama to replace him. And that’s about the only way a Democrat like Doug Jones was ever going to win in that state.

The reason is straight ticket voting (STV). Alabama (and six other states*) still offer this option for those who have one concern when casting a ballot: party affiliation.
[…]

Trump Declared Himself a Proud Nationalist Months Ago

As Trump explained in this October 2018 rally for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), we should take the term “nationalist” literally and use it — a lot. “Use it. Use it,” he told his cheering crowd. The Republican reaction? They hummed loudly, looked into the middle distance and changed the subject.

But now Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a long-regarded racist, is saying almost the same thing Trump said, but leaving in the word, “white” before “nationalist.” Even as he follows the Trump, “Take this literally” line (after all, like Trump, King is white and he is a nationalist), Republicans are reacting like they touched a hot stove.

Well kinda. Cruz said King’s statement was “stupid,” but he didn’t say King is, or that he is racist. Still, why didn’t Ted and all the others call it out when Trump said nearly the same thing? Clearly, it’s those bright yellow stripes down their backs when it comes to criticizing Trump.