Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Oink! The pigs are out. And they're eating up the money.

Much of the $350 billion intended for mom-and-pop businesses
instead got snarfed up by corporate pigs at public companies. Oink!
Silly me! I looked at all the small businesses currently closed in my New York nabe — the nail parlors, barbershops, hardware store, shoe store, clothing stores, restaurants, picture framer — and I foolishly thought the recent Federal $350 billion loan program enacted by congress was for them.

You know, maybe a fifty grand loan to the local Greek diner so they could pay the rent, keep the power on, and pay the cooks and waiters until the curve flattens out enough for them to open.

Maybe ten grand for the shoemaker, so he doesn’t lose his lease before he’s permitted to open his doors and let me safely bring in my shoes for new heels.

Maybe the bikini wax lady who…well, you know what she does, although I don’t understand why anybody other than a porno performer would want it done to them, but who am I to judge?

As I said, silly me.

Here are bits and pieces of an article from the New York Times explaining who really got the biggest and juiciest pieces the nearly $350 billion bucks.
Another company, AutoWeb, disclosed last week that it had paid its chief executive $1.7 million in 2019 — a week after it received $1.4 million from the same loan program. 
Intellinetics, a software company in Ohio, got $838,700 from the government program — and then agreed, the following week, to spend at least $300,000 to purchase a rival firm. 
Several others have recently showered top executives with seven-figure pay packages.

And furthermore, we may never learn who the biggest pigs of all are, or what they got by shoving everybody else away.
The government isn’t disclosing who receives aid, leaving it up to individual companies to decide whether to disclose that they obtained loans. That makes a full accounting of the loan program impossible.
But you can find a list of the 40 largest PPP loans disclosed by public companies, here. And they ain't the neighborhood nail parlor. Who are they? Big manufacturers. A radio and TV station conglomerate. A company that distributes natural gas. And on and on. Read ‘em and squeal.

However, just because the pigs are snarfing and gobbling up a trough full of money meant for the little business guy doesn’t mean you’re going to find any pork on your own table. Or beef. Or chicken. A big meat shortage is coming. (On your mark, meat hoarders, get set, go!)  Turns out our very stable genius of a president has decided that meat processing plants are “critical infrastructure” and has ordered them to stay open.

Well, I’d be for that, except 

• A lot of the people who used to work in those plants were deported by the same very stable genius. The work is backbreaking, dangerous, exhausting, and pays chickenfeed. So who do you think is going to replace those workers now that the borders are sealed off to immigrants? Right. Nobody. Trump's people have painted themselves into a corner and then stepped in the paint bucket.

• Lots more meat plant workers are sick and dying of COVID-19. At least 20 of them have already died. Even if they don’t drop dead into your chopped meat, do you really want to eat any kind of meat after infected, deathly ill people have been handling it, breathing on it, packing and shipping it?

So our very stable genius has a problem. It's that food shortage he's been warned about by the chief high poobah of Tyson Foods. Because if everybody’s too sick to come to work, and maybe even attached to ventilators in intensive care units, the food processing plants can’t process the food. I mean, you try slaughtering a pig by beating it over the head with a presidential proclamation. 

At least that's the way I see it. But there's another point of view:

By declaring meat processing plants as critical infrastructure and ordering them to process on, the Trump administration, in its own words, will insure — insure! — plenty of “protein for Americans.” Because heaven forbid we should get it from peas, legumes, soy, eggs, milk, cheese, or anything but chicken and red meat until the plague dies down.

Of course, some of the unions don’t seem prepared to necessarily go along with our very stable genius, so there could be an, umm, confrontation.

Then what to do? If we simply can’t give up our chicken, pork, and most especially our red meat “hamberders,” there’s always another solution.

We could eat the pigs who’ve been eating the money. As the old Wall Street saying goes, bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.

With any luck next November, the voting booths of America will be a Republican blood bath.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dr. Trump teaches a medical school class

Professor of Pandemic Medicine Dr. Donald Trump, M.D., V.S.G.
Good morning, class, and welcome to Pandemic Anatomy 102 here at the Trump University Institute of Intuitive Medicine. Before we start, who is Miss Alcindor?

You? You’re Alcindor? Get the hell out of my class! Get out! Right now! You’re fired! Why? Because you never even sent me a thank you note expressing your gratitude when I allowed you to be taught by me. Not a word of thanks. You don’t how to be grateful, you don’t know how to be nice, you’re nasty, so get the hell out. Now! Go ahead! Get her the hell out of here! Go!

Boy, I’d like to waterboard her, and a whole lot worse. Now where was I? Oh yes, I am Dr. Donald Trump, M.D., V.S.G. Does anybody know what the letters in my degrees stand for? Yes, that bright-looking young man with the skinny suit. Correct! M.D. stands for Medical Dictator. And VSG? No, I’m afraid you’re wrong. It stands for Very Stable Genius. I know because I was awarded both degrees, on the very day this medical school was founded, by the Board of Trustees — you know, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and me. So that’s how I know what it stands for.

Anyway, we are currently dealing with the Corona Virus Pandemic. Can anybody define “pandemic” for me? Yes, that young lady in the tight blouse? No, and don’t pull any of that academic Greek prefix stuff on me. A pandemic is obviously an epidemic that can be put in a pan. Now, right behind me you can see a hotplate with a frying pan on it. Does anybody want to guess what that green and purple stuff in the pan is? That student with the white hair and the rigid look of a possum playing dead. Yes, you. 

Mr. Pence is it? I’ll just call you Whitey. So Whitey, what’s that stuff in the pan? Right. A huge mess of corona viruses…Is it viruses, or viri? What’s the plural of virus? Viri? Okay, Corona viri in a nutritious jelly. And if I wanted to kill them, Whitey, what’s all I’d have to do? 

Right, flip the switch on the hotplate. Watch! Okay, it’s flipped. Now wait for it….wait for it…wait for it…Wait for it! There! The jelly is boiling and the viri are dying. If I did this on television, I could get higher ratings than Doctor Oz. People love science! That’s why they love me. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they love me because I know so much about science. I'm more loved than any other scientist in the world.

Anyway, wheel in the patient. Very good, but does he have to wheeze like that? Okay, you’re right, Mr. Mnuchin. The wheezing might be caused by a viri-related lung condition. And we’ve just seen that heating the viri on a hotplate kills them. So can anybody guess how we might cure this poor man’s infection? Yes, that young lady, the one dressed like the usher in a 1948 movie theater. What’s your name?

Okay, Mis Conway, how could we cure this sick man’s Corona viri lung infection? Yes, you’re right. Making him sit on the hotplate would certainly kill off a lot of Corona viri from the bottom up. But it would also cause some very bad burns, and who knows how far inside him the heat would go? So can anybody suggest another way to kill his Corona viri? 

What’s that? You’re right. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. You know what famous person said that? Justice who? Never heard of him. I said it. Me. I'm very quotable. But if the viri are inside his body, how do we get the sunlight inside his body to kill the viri? Anybody? Anybody at all?

Well, I can see this class isn’t as bright as I was told. I’ll have to answer my question for you. You’d have to get an ultraviolet lamp inside of him, to zap the viri from the inside out. I’ve had the people in our very excellent Trump Labs, the best medical labs in the world, solve that problem by building this. As you can see, it is a very long, very flexible, very skinny ultra-violet lamp that can be inserted rectally. But can anybody tell me what we ought to do before we insert this long thin lamp into the patient’s rectum and push it up through his intestines? Yes, Miss DeVos? 

Very good, Miss DeVos! A lubricant would help but there’s something else you’re forgetting. I see that it takes a VSG like me to think outside the rectum and identify potential problems. All that ultra-violet light might sunburn the patient’s intestines. Fortunately, we have Ivanka Trump SPF 50 Suntan Lotion, which, umm, kills two birds with one stone. It both lubricates and reduces the likelihood of intestinal sunburn. And it’s only $50 an ounce, for sale at the Trump Tower. So we are going to spread this Trump lotion on the lamp...like this...and now very slowly push it, push it, push it into the patient.

Wait a second, that noise I’m hearing is very, very annoying.The one coming from that TV screen above the patient's bed.  It was quietly going beep-beep-beep. Now it’s just going beeeeeeeeeeee. I think it’s broken. It was drawing a very nice up and down graph. Now there is  nothing but a flat line. Maybe an electronic glitch did it. Class, can any of you explain what broke the machine? 

Oh, you think so, Mr. Pompeo? Well, he probably had a pre-existing condition. That’s what happens when you have to work on very sick patients. Before you can stop what’s killing them, something else kills them. I can’t be responsible for that. But, there’s one more solution. Let me put it to you this way, class: if viri are a form of infection, what else could you use to kill the infection?

Right, Mr. Esper! A dis-infection. Or disinfectant. Like Lysol or Chlorox. If you want to put an end to the suffering of a person suffering from pandemic viri, all you have to do is tell him, “Drink two glasses of Chlorox and call me in the morning.” There! Problem solved. I hope you’ve all been taking notes, because at some future date there may be a pop quiz. Class dismissed.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Gasps, growls, and curses from Corona Virus Central, here in the cranky heart of Manhattan

  Is it true that once this man is out of office, Crayola 
will issue a new orange crayon Called Burnt Trump? 
Just wondering.

Donald Trump isn’t the only chief executive who can’t handle the Corona Virus.  New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio appears to be in  over his head, too. 

Writing online at Medium.com, journalist Carolyn Cakir chronicles her bout with a barely-responsive and totally discombobulated New York City Corona Pandemic Bureaucracy after she fell ill with what was presumed to be COVID-19. 

After days of frustration calling all kinds of city and medical agencies that are presumably assigned to deal with Corona-infected victims like her, she was left with nothing save a bag of hazardous (and probably highly infectious) medical waste that city workers left in her apartment, with instructions to give it to the team that was supposed to show up (but didn’t) the next day. 

She also concluded that her experience was “Kafkaesque.” Personally, I think that’s putting it nicely. (She finally got treated for her COVID-19 infection by completely ignoring city advice and taking herself to a decent hospital’s emergency room.)

De Blasio, as you might recall, until recently focused his first-thing-in-the-morning attention on getting from his mayoral mansion, high up and way east on the Upper East Side, to his favorite gym in a Y in the BoCoCa section of Brooklyn. (Regardless of what it sounds like, BoCoCa is not a form of excrement. It’s a New York real estate agent acronym for Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, three adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods.) De Blasio worked out there until the day before gyms were officially closed for social distancing, when perhaps he should have been working harder on dealing with the coming chaos. 

I encourage you to read Cakir’s horrifying tale of a De Blasio bureaucracy tangled in its own confused entrails. Again, it's here, but I would advise you to wrap a leather belt tightly around your skull before starting. Otherwise your head might explode.

If Donald Trump wrote history like Shakespeare…but of course I jest. All the same, the Bard could have had a field day with the likes of Trump. 

That thought came to mind when I read that, in the midst of a world pandemic, Trump has decided to cut off our nation’s annual contribution to WHO, the World Health Organization, and shift the blame for the American part of the pandemic onto them. Imagine that if, instead of writing “Julius Caesar,” Shakespeare wrote “Donald John.” We could then have been forced, in school, to memorize public addresses like this:

Friends, Republicans, Confidence Men
Lend me your ears.
We have come here not to praise the WHO
But to disparage it.
The evil men do is oft interred with their bones
While the good is something I’ll take all the credit for,
Thank you.
I accuse WHO of doing 
That very thing of which 
I have been accused
Thus transferring the blame
To someone else’s bodkin. 
‘Tis fake, fake news, this accursed virus
And this be why I have no choice
But to cut them off even as they bleed
And ask with a sneer,
WHO’s on first now?
And that’s enough from you, young reporter.
Sit down.
Shut up.
Next question?
I said next question.
I answered  that question already
Next question.

Panic among the hookers. One of my  former advertising colleagues — let’s give him the pseudonym Harry — describes his favorite passe-temps as “hobbyist.” Turns out that “hobbyist” is argot on certain fringes of the demi-monde for people who have only one hobby. And that hobby can't be purchased in a kit at Hobby Lobby. It involves paying very substantial amounts of money, on a regular basis, to have sex with representatives of what is said to be the world’s oldest profession.

With the COVID-19 Pandemic reaching its slimy tentacles into every corner of society, it’s little wonder that the hooker business is going to hell in a handbasket along with the restaurants, bars, barbers, and beauty shops. Harry the Hobbyist explains:

“So you’ve got a few of these women. Their hourly rate is about equal to a partner in a white shoe law firm. And suddenly, the whole business is kaput. They’re scared of their customers. We’re scared of them. It's this Corona thing. Who knew you could get a fatal lung infection from sex? Or not even from sex. Just from being close to somebody. It’s like, umm, supposing we had a brand new STD epidemic and condoms weren’t invented yet.

“Now they have a problem. They can’t apply for unemployment insurance, because officially they were never employed. They're in an off-the-books business. They can’t get fill-in gigs modeling, or waitressing, or topless dancing because all those people are out of work, too. They probably won’t even get that $1,200 dollar check with Trump's signature on it. 

"So a bunch of them who were pulling down $800, or $1200 or $1,500 an hour are now trying to sell phone sex for some pathetic handful of small change. I don’t think they could make a living that way even if they charged their full escort rates. It's too hard to get the customers. I mean what’s the point of paying fifty bucks to have somebody talk dirty into your phone when you can get a whole action packed sex orgy free on the Internet, with closeups and sound effects?”

So what’s the solution?

“Don’t be surprised if they start Go Fund Me pages,” Harry the Hobbyist said.

The arc of justice bends toward Staples, or, what goes around comes around. Maybe. Remember when stationery and home office supplies were a mom-and-pop business that also printed wedding invitations and maybe even developed film? (What?! You don’t know what film is? Ask your grandfather.) Then along came Staples. It smothered the hapless moms and pops. The giant Staples stationery stores discounted the living crap out of everything — and drove poor mom and pop either to impoverished retirements or suicide. Then, when Staples and maybe Office Max were the only games left in town, guess what happened?

Well, two things happened, actually. First, prices shot right back up again. And second, Staples, which had been everywhere, started closing stores faster than a lap around the Indy 500. When you're all but the only game in town, you don't need stores everywhere. People have no choice but to come to you. 

Then along came the pandemic. And guess what?

According to Brad Thomas, who contributes to an online stock market commentary called "Seeking Alpha," Staples has joined The Cheesecake Factory and other mass market retailers in telling various landlords to go shove it. Business is bad, so landlords ain’t gonna get Staples’ rent check. 

Can Staples get away with this?

Thomas points out that a lease is a legal agreement. And unless that agreement has a “force majeure” clause, allowing for an “event” beyond human control, Staples and the others are legally on the hook. And few leases contain force majeure agreement these days.

So it could be that the landlords and the Staples of this world will be duking it out in court until the end of this decade. In which case, mom and pop’s ghosts can rub their hands in glee. But I’m not getting my hopes up too high. 

If Trump stays in power, I foresee a bailout for Staples, the cheesecake people, and their landlords (remember, Trump is a landlord) even if it means no more $1,200 checks for the starving little guy. Or perhaps the money will be found by raiding the Social Security trust fund to save those precious Staples executive bonuses. And their orange-faced landlords.

Orange-glazed cheesecake, anybody?

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Trump Administration and right wing pals find a cure for the COVID-19 epidemic: Arrest the press!

May 11, 1933: Adolph Hitler's followers express their for disdain for reports
and thoughts that displeased them by burning them on a huge bonfire.
Everything old is new again.
Every time you think things can’t get any worse, things get worse.

Blistering under the heat of press criticism, caught in lie after lie on public health issues as Corona virus infections spread, Donald Trump has decided to get even with the press. He’s starting with CNN, but you can bet that if the other news media don’t buckle under — and buckle fast — he’s coming after them, too.

I learned about this from the conservative — pointedly not liberal, or progressive, or socialist — National Review:
Vice President Mike Pence has blocked Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, as well as other top U.S. health officials, from appearing on CNN following the network’s decision to not air the White House coronavirus press briefings in full.
Vandals smashing the presses?

As I said, the National Review is anything but the kind of whiny, left wing outlet that Trump and his band of servile sycophants (am I getting redundant here?) generally attack. I don't know why they've chosen to play this up. However, I believe that regardless of their political orientation, the National Review folks do have a genuine regard for the First Amendment. 

Maybe they can also foresee, with dread, the day when the Trump government will be walking into newspaper, magazine and television newsrooms around the country, smashing the presses and the cameras, and computers, burning the news they don't like, arresting editors and reporters and throwing them into dungeons. That day might not be far away. Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Junior has already sworn out an arrest warrant for two people who dared to write for the New York Times about the university he runs. More about that further on.

But back to Trump vs. CNN. It all began with the hour-long briefings on the Corona Virus pandemic, starring Donald Trump, who helpfully instructed us to get just a teensy-weensy bit racist by calling it the “Chinese Virus” and the “Wuhan Virus,” and otherwise filled a good part of the daily hour or more with dog whistles and adulations of his glorious self, rather than useful information, or a useful strategy to help the nation cope with the virus. Perhaps it’s this way because he has no useful strategy, at least none that is timely, other than forcing us to watch him stroke his own id.

Truth is the only reliable guide to keeping your story straight, and Donald Trump wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up to him, stuck its tongue down his throat, and grabbed him good and hard by his pussy. (Why do I want to think that he has one?) And so, for not dutifully broadcasting the daily combined press conference and thinly disguised Trump campaign rally precisely the way the White House choreographed it, CNN has been blocked from the briefings. It’s as if the Soup Nazi of the Seinfeld era has transmogrified into a real Nazi in the Trump administration: no Fauci and Birx Soup for you, CNN. 

What should the news media do about all this? I’d suggest doing what the New York Times did:

Give baby Trump a time out

The New York Times, another outlet that has been a target of the Trump administration’s ire, stopped airing the briefings on its website entirely.
“We stopped doing that because they were like campaign rallies,” Elisabeth Bumiller, the paper’s Washington bureau chief, told the Washington Post. “The health experts often have interesting information, so we’re very interested in that, but the president himself often does not.”
Remember, for Trump’s ego, media attention is like oxygen. Cut it off and his persona smothers, dies, and shrivels away. If the entire press — or even most of the press — embargoed him for a month or two, perhaps the increasingly outrageous behavior of the six-year-old brat in the Oval Office would check itself for a while. 

Maybe,  the next time a reporter gets berated by Trump for asking a “nasty question,” (i.e. a question that is meant to elicit real information and doesn’t obsequiously praise the president) if the entire White House press corps stood up and walked out of the briefing room, that noisy, not-very-bright boor would begin to behave better.

Think it’s worth a try, AP? Newsweek? Washington Post? ABC? NBC? CBS? Chicago Tribune?  Anybody? 

Meanwhile, Jerry Fallwell Jr. 
has a meltdown, too

Poor Jerry Falwell, Jr! What he has to put up with! His daddy founded Liberty University, a Christian fundamentalist institution. Of all the people on the entire planet, you’ll never guess who was deemed most qualified to be its president and chancellor now that Falwell Senior is gone? 


And everything was going along just swimmingly until Falwell reopened the university after Spring break, while most other colleges were staying shut and teaching via distance learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

And you’ll never guess what happened next!

Right! The New York Times just happened to show up. And the Times reported, after talking to the doctor who serves the campus, that “nearly a dozen” students were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

O, those nefarious journalistic bastards! 

What’s a poor university that needs the tuition money and nothing but favorable publicity to do?

Right again! You’re so smart! Junior swore out arrest warrants against the two people who reported the story. And he also must have given that doctor a stern talking to, because I'm guessing it's awfully hard to maintain the university, to say nothing of Junior's salary, with a 10 percent occupancy rate. Politico reports:
A statement on the school’s website says the physician denies “he ever told the reporter that Liberty had about a dozen students were sick with symptoms that suggest COVID-19” and that he “gave figures for testing and self-isolation that are consistent with Liberty’s numbers but the New York Times preferred to go forward with sensational click-bait that increases traffic.”
Falwell defended his decision to allow students back to campus, saying there was “maybe” less than 10 percent occupancy on campus and that some who remained on campus were international students or were afraid to go home and live with high-risk family members. 
Falwell, a fierce supporter of President Donald Trump, was among those who were portraying reaction to the virus as overblown as recently as a month ago, accusing opponents of the president of weaponizing the outbreak to hurt him politically and suggesting the virus might be the work of North Korea and China.
When Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia commanded higher-education institutions in the state to stop in-person teaching last week, it was viewed by some as a swipe at Liberty, which said it had canceled its remaining in-person offerings.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Minor notes and petty observations from New York in the time of Donald Trump's Great American Plague

Thanks to Donald Trump, America is so great again that we've gone
straight back to the 17th Century.
Hart's Island, a possession of New York City, is a bleak, Godforsaken clump of rocks, mud, tumbledown buildings, weeds, untended and wind-twisted trees, and graves in Long Island Sound, just off the coast of the Bronx. It has been the last resting place of the unknown, the unfortunate, and the uncelebrated since about 1868, when the City of New York purchased it from a private owner as a dumping ground for unwanted human bodies. 

Now the dead on Hart's Island can expect quite a bit of fresh company, thanks to COVID-19. Early this week, New York had 40,000 cases of the disease, and since the numbers were compounding like investments in a runaway stock market, it is almost certainly considerably higher by now. Some of those infected New Yorkers have begun to die in such extraordinary numbers (considerably more, as of this writing, than perished on 9/11) that not only are the hospital morgues full, but so are the some of the refrigerated trailer trucks that were sent to handle the overflow. 

Bring out your dead — 
and toss 'em in the truck

So now FEMA is reportedly sending 85 more refrigerated trucks to hold the frozen stiffs. (I dare to make light of this because I am a New Yorker of a high risk age with a high risk medical condition to boot. It's quite possibly my own funeral, and I'll write the gags for it if I want to.)

However this is New York. Parking is a problem, even if your vehicle is a truck with 40 frozen human bodies in it. So now prisoners from nearby Riker's Island, the city's prison complex, have been recruited for $6 an hour, hardly more than a third of the city's minimum wage, to dig giant ditches for a "temporary mass internment." 

The ironies compound like the victim count of the epidemic. Yes, the city explains, the prisoners will be paid peanuts. But as a bonus, they'll get their very own personal protective equipment. Which might afford them an opportunity to survive the plague in crowded prison conditions. So dragooning prisoners to dig graves for substandard wages so they'll stand a better chance of staying alive is a good thing, right?

And don't expect the "temporary mass internment" to stay temporary. If we can't even find the parents of immigrant kids who we ripped out of those parents' arms, who  do you think will be contacted, and by whom, to reclaim dead relatives, after the relatives have been buried in a long ditch on Riker's Island? People got sick. They died. Now we're literally ditching them.

Where the hell is Charles Dickens now that we need him?

Do I blame Trump?
Damn right, I do!

A searing indictment of Donald Trump and his co-conspiring thieves, bumblers, self-dealers and incompetents appeared online at the New Yorker's website yesterday. Written by Susan B. Glasser, it's enough to make you want to pick up a torch and a pitchfork and march on the White House.

It's instructive to read the entire thing, but if you cannot take time to do that, I commend at least the last paragraph to you.
Watching the Trump carnival from afar, the former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt summed up the week’s events, and those of the many painful weeks to come: “This is the first great crisis of the post-American world,” he wrote on Twitter. “The UN Security Council is nowhere to be seen, G20 is in the hands of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the White House has trumpeted America First and Everyone Alone for years. Only the virus is globalized.”
So much for the greatness of America under Donald Trump.

A nightmare for
our times

I've commented before that the Trump Administration is like a terrible nightmare from which the nation seems unable to awaken. But even nightmares have their lighter moments.

In one of mine, last night, I had a box seat to the day's guillotine executions in Yankee Stadium. It wasn't a major day. They were only doing some low-level Trump cabinet officials and a few Republican Senators. Sitting in the next box was Madame Defarge. Yes, that Madame Defarge. And yes, she was knitting.

I engaged her in conversation, hoping to practice my French, but it turned out she spoke fluent English.

"What are those things you're knitting?" I asked her, pointing to one of the little tricolor, red, white and blue rectangles she had made.

"Face masks for my grandchildren," she told me. "The paper ones tear. And these can be laundered."

See? Even terrifying dreams can have some pragmatic content.

Better Business Bureau
flunks Trumpy friend

From the pages of Vanity Fair Magazine:
At his Monday briefing—in addition to insisting that his hair is real and inviting MyPillow founder Mike Lindell to urge the importance of prayer—Trump insisted that the current production of ventilators will so outweigh U.S. demand that the country could send the excess to hard-hit European countries. “As we outpace what we need, we’re going to be sending them to Italy, we’re going to be sending them to France, we’re going to be sending them to Spain, where they have tremendous problems, and other countries as we can,” Trump said. “But the fact that we’re doing so many so quickly is a tribute to our great companies.” The president also suggested that the shortage of personal protection equipment for U.S. health care workers was also on its way out, as he promised to send “approximately $100 million worth of things, of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy.”
Somehow, I think Lindell smells a profit opportunity in all those shipments of "surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy." Americans are still dying in droves in American hospitals, in American cities, while Trump promises to ship the stuff we need out of the country. 

Maybe he could ship the stuff on the nearly-useless Navy hospital ship he sent to New York Harbor. It has been refusing to accept COVID-19 patients, and so far has only accepted 20 patients of any kind. If you're walking the streets of New York, I'd be careful if I were you. You might get impressed and taken aboard for "treatment" just to make Trump look good.

But Mike Lindell. As long as Mike stuck his head up in support of Trump's incompetence, I figured I'd go check out all those rumors I've heard that Lindell has lots of unhappy customers of his own. So I went to the Better Business Bureau web page. And guess what?
"BURNSVILLE, Minn. - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has revoked the accreditation of Minnesota-based MyPillow, lowering its rating to an F based on a pattern of complaints by consumers."
You'll find many of the sleazy details here.