National Guard left DC, this week

Here’s a surreal milestone you may have missed: The more than 2,000 National Guard troops that have been stationing the Capitol in the aftermath of January’s insurrection have finally left.

The departure comes as Republicans increasingly align themselves, and rather brazenly so, to the very false statements that spurred the deadly attack in the first place. Meanwhile, hopes for a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection are looking doomed, thanks to Republicans who presumably don’t have any interest in rehashing just how on earth pro-Trump supporters came to storm the Capitol.

When asked about the GOP insistence to downplay the attack, Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré didn’t mince words. “What I’m afraid of when I hear statements like that,” Honoré told CBS, “is that we have a two-party system that normally would be referred to as the minority party, the opposition, and that scares me. They’ve gone from being a minority party to an opposition party.”

Because the nutball wing of the Republican Party are such idjits – dedicating the efforts of that formerly conservative party to the looney politics of the most recent criminal to occupy the White House – we face the possibility of the National Guard being called out, again, someday to face the next insurrection called for by a fascist-minded gangster. Whether they hold office or not, at the time.

Trump changes his tone. The rest of us try to keep from dying.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that he had never underestimated or underappreciated the seriousness of coronavirus. But for two months, he and some members of his administration downplayed the global threat even as world events and government and outside experts made clear that the health and economic impacts of this disease would be dire.

Here are some of those comments.

JAN 22
“We have it totally under control. … It’s going to be just fine.”
— Donald Trump

The CDC confirmed the first person-to-person transmission in the United States. CDC Director Robert Redfield says “the immediate risk to the American public is low.”

FEB 24
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock market starting to look very good to me”
— Donald Trump

You get the idea. RTFA. Please. Trump is criminally ignorant. He refuses to examine the science behind a serious fightback to this coronavirus. It doesn’t matter whether he’s ignorant or stupid. He is going to keep on killing Americans with his absurd policies. He is not going to change.

The American Medical Association is the least offensive body I can suggest to you to check in with on a daily basis for what you should be doing. Please listen to someone, anyone, who is a serious scientist, an epidemiologist. And ignore that political quack in the White House.

Fake President just invented his own “New Math”

On a drizzly day in January 2018, Jeff Alson, an engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency’s motor-vehicles office, gathered with his colleagues to make a video call to Washington, D.C….They had made the same call dozens of times before.

Speaking from Washington, James Tamm, the NHTSA fuel-economy chief, greeted the EPA team, then put a spreadsheet on-screen. It showed an analysis of the tailpipe rules’ estimated costs and benefits. Alson had worked on this kind of study so many times that he could recall some of the key numbers “by heart,” he later told me.

Yet as Alson looked closer, he realized that this study was like none he had seen before. For years, both NHTSA and the EPA had found that the tailpipe rules saved lives during car accidents because they reduced the weight—and, with it, the lethality—of the heaviest SUVs. In 2015, an outside panel of experts concurred with them….But this new study asserted the opposite: The Obama-era rules, it claimed, killed almost 1,000 people a year.

“Oh my God,” Alson said upon seeing the numbers. The other EPA engineers in the room gasped and started to point out other shocking claims on Tamm’s slide. (Their line was muted.) It seemed as if every estimated cost had ballooned, while every estimated benefit had shrunk. Something in the study had gone deeply wrong.

As you may expect, should expect, it wasn’t an accident. Trump’s flunkies produced a report filled with lies designed to improve the profit structure for companies selling cars into the US market. And screwing the rest of the nation firmly to the wall of carbon pollution. Another Trump trophy for deceit and greed.

Same as it ever was…


Click to enlarge

“On my wall a wooden mask
Face of an evil Japanese fiend, lacquered in gold.
I see with sympathy
The swollen veins on his brow, showing
How exhausting it is to be evil.”
(Bertolt Brecht, 1942)

Different wars, different time. Not much else has changed.

Big Pharma does love our money

Leading drug makers rang in the new year by once again raising list prices of their drugs—this time on more than 250 of them, according to an analysis reported by Reuters…

The larger price tags applied to a range of medications, from blood thinners to cancer therapies and treatments for respiratory conditions, HIV, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Nearly all of the increases were below 10 percent, according to the 3 Axis analysis. So far, the median price increase is around 5 percent, though additional price increases could still be announced.

Don’t worry. They’re not doing themselves any harm. As of November, the 2019 inflation rate was 2.1 percent.