Rational animals flounder: Later today, we expect to start a series of afternoon posts, "Epistles to the 9-year-olds."
As the Irish saved civilization, it will fall to the 9-year-olds, in future decades, to rebuild our crumbling culture. Hopefully, these epistles will still be floating around, providing one way they can start.
For now, we'll list a few quick observations and peeves. We'll start with yesterday's daily briefing, which accidentally bled over into prime time.
Here at THE HOWLER, we appreciate the kinds of people who voice appreciation. So it went late yesterday as corporate leaders kowtowed to President Carsale right there in the Rose Garden:
MR. KAUFMANN (3/29/20): Thank you, Mr. President, and thanks for your leadership on this. Because of that leadership, we have really seen the government agencies working with industry like no time before...The president's incredible leadership is really working well. It's working like no time before. Everybody seemed to agree on these basic points!
MR. PESICKA: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me first start by thanking the administration for all the support you have provided to the industry...
MS. LANE: Thank you, Mr President, for the incredible leadership. I will share with you that UPS is really proud to be part of this effort...
MR. TYLER: Well, thank you, Mr. President. I would certainly like to echo my colleagues’ comments that the collaboration amongst many of the government agencies and the private market and the distributors represented here today has been incredible. It has been increasing and ramping up over the past weeks.
MR. MILLS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And thanks to FEMA and HHS. I think great leadership, and it’s really working well...
MR. CONNETT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. We appreciate the opportunity to work with your administration on a lot of collaborative fronts...
You can't necessarily blame these people for kowtowing to President Sell-A-Wreck. People have to treat him this way, due to his condition.
His condition might be a "mental illness." It might be a "personality disorder."
As far as we know, sociopathy isn't a formal technical term, but a certain percentage of people qualify for the nearest diagnosis. Presumably, they didn't choose to be sociopathic, but many people are.
We can't tell you that President Junker isn't so afflicted. With that, a few observations and peeves:
Shocked, shocked: Kevin Drum has done fantastic work down through the years, That's especially true concerning his work on lead exposure. In that area, he tried to open an important discussion. His work was, of course, ignored and disappeared.
That said, it seemed to us that Drum entered the realm of newly discovered casino gambling in yesterday's post. Like so many others, he continues to be "shocked, shocked" by the latest manifestations of Trump's fairly obvious mental illness.
Now we know why Trump holds those briefings? On what planet was that comment hatched?
Donald Trump seems to be mentally ill. We're amazed by the lengths to which people will go to avoid making this obvious statement and advancing the discussion from there.
Seeing no evil: Yesterday, at 11 AM Eastern, we watched a 20-minute panel discussion hosted by MSNBC's Joy Reid. One chyron said this:
HOW NEWS OUTLETS ARE COVERING TRUMP'S RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKReid and her pals talked about Fox, but no one mentioned the elephant in the room. The major news outlet which sends them their checks is airing a maniac's daily briefings live.
They're airing his "briefings" live in prime time! None of the overpaid cable stars mentioned this unfortunate fact. These people are paid for their silence.
Hearing the very loud voices: Way back in 1988, Candidate George H. W. Bush defined himself thusly: "I may be a quiet man, but I hear the quiet voices others do not."
Maybe so, possibly not! This morning, it seemed to us that Charles Blow had been hearing a very loud voice which is basically no longer there:
BLOW (3/30/20): Donald Trump has tried in every way to make fighting the pandemic feel like fighting a war. As he tried to frame it: “We’re at war, in a true sense we’re at war, and we are fighting an invisible enemy.” But an invisible enemy doesn’t work as well as a visible one, so Trump now regularly refers to the virus as the “Chinese virus.”Does Trump "now regularly refer to the virus as the 'Chinese virus?'" We'd have to say he pretty much doesn't.
Calling the virus “the Chinese virus” is the closest Trump can get to a target, to racist, cultural scapegoating. Regardless of where the first case of this virus was identified, the United States now has more confirmed cases than any country in the world.
We searched all his daily briefings from last Monday on. We also searched his virtual town hall performance on Fox.
He used the term "Chinese virus" at one point in his Thursday, March 26 briefing. But that was the only usage we found.
Make no mistake! This blatantly disordered man is running a wide assortment of distractions, misdirections and scams. It would be helpful to see high-profile journalists like Blow trying to list them out.
That said, our tribe loves the "racist" narrative, so Blow has been hearing something regularly said. It's a preconceived tribal narrative, and our journalism is based on little else.
This is the way our press has worked all the way back to the Whitewater pseudo-scandals, followed by all the claims about all the crazy things Candidate Gore was imagined to have said. The novelized sliming of Hillary Clinton continued through November 2016.
That's the way rational animals actually work! This is one of the obvious ways Trump ended up where he is.
A certain lack of focus: In his daily televised briefings, Trump has been luxuriating in the gong-show of large numbers. In this way, he is convincing many people that his incredible leadership has resulted in the shipping of incredible amounts of supplies to our beleaguered hospitals.
Yesterday, he actually began suggesting that medical workers have been stealing and selling the mountains of material they've been sent thanks to his own incredible leadership. Because of his obvious but undiscussed condition, this sort of thing is never going to end.
No one has ever seen anything like it! In the last week, this has been the commander's play, much more than any racist attack on the Chinese. (Also, the endless claim that things were a mess when he got there.)
To what extent is testing now available? To what extent are necessary materials—masks, gowns, ventilators—being supplied to hospitals?
This is the basic blocking and tackling of our nation's attempt to respond to the worldwide virus. We're surprised by the lack of dedicated pages to these basic topics in our most famous newspapers. Also on cable, where human interest and interviews tend to prevail.
Masks, gowns, ventilators, tests? These are the basic building blocks of our nation's response. We need to know 1) how many have been provided, but also 2) how many will be needed.
Those items also constitute the basic building blocks of a certain maniac's relentless attempts at widespread public deception. Each topic should have a dedicated page in our daily papers.
The basic facts about these topics should be updated daily in a highly visible way. Would that require a type of focus our "journalists" tend to lack?