The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


The President's rich fantasy life

 The President sure has a rich fantasy life. This is from a recent tweet:
"The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am  the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history."
Trump's fourth Press Secretary says:

"[White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows] looks at the president's schedule and he made the point the president is so busy and so hard at work, his concern is making sure he gets a bite to eat here and there, so you gotta put that in context."
Yet, Slate says:

...the wealthiest country in history cannot seem to provide basic medical equipment to doctors and nurses and lifesaving care to its citizens during an emergency.

Slate says the problem is the same as in Eastern Europe during the 1980s:

One of the most enduring images of 1980s Eastern Europe is people queuing up outside of stores for scarce goods. But people were resourceful; they leveraged personal connections to skip lines and made do with ersatz products when something simply wasn’t available.

What characterizes a "failed state?" More than any other one factor, corruption.

An extremely consequential example of corruption has been FEMA seizing medical supplies from those states and institutions that have ordered and paid for those supplies. When someone orders supplies from a vendor, it's because they've calculated that's what they need. When the Veterans Health Administration orders 5 million masks, it's because they've calculated that's what they need, not because "Hey, it'd be cool to have 5 million masks."

How well has the US responded to COVID-19?
Reported US coronavirus deaths on date:

Feb. 26: 0 deaths
Mar. 26: 1,195 deaths
Apr. 26: 54,856 deaths
Italy has been very hard hit and has suffered 26,640 deaths. Their death rate has declined to "only" around 400 a day. At their peak, they were around 750 a day, give or take 100. But Italy's daily death rate has been declining since late March. That of the US is still growing.

So yeah, it's a really nice idea that our President thinks he's working really hard, but he declared that COVID-19 was a crisis on 13 March, 46 days ago. Trump likes to grade his own performance as an A+, regardless of how well he actually does. I'd say his response to the coronavirus rates about a D-, at best.


Jared Kushner: Progress Report on Dealing with COVID-19

Jared Kushner is the fellow who came up with an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that was so awesome, Palestinians want nothing to do with it. So naturally, Kushner's father-in-law, President Trump, asked Kushner to help him with the coronavirus. The President later
...said Google had developed a coronavirus testing website that did not exist. Mr. Kushner was deeply involved in both efforts, and had sold his father-in-law on the website as a smart concept.By Sunday evening, Mr. Trump was raging to aides that the press coverage was terrible after the promised national website failed to materialize.
So Kushner succeeded in coming below even my very low expectations for him and failed to contact Google about the website?!?!?! Now, that's not just Kusher's fault. The President also failed by not asking any questions about the website and thereby making false assurances.


Why I prefer the unvarnished language of the blogs

When I was in college (78-82), I saw the Bertolt Brecht play Galileo and was powerfully impressed by one line in particular (quote is according to memory) "There are scholars who insinuate in Latin. I prefer to speak in plain German." 
Today: "The sub-headline for a New York Times article on the Vindman controversy announced that Trump's move represented, 'one sign of how determined the president is to even the scales after his impeachment.'"
The blogger who quoted this went on to express amazement. "Even the scales, what?? That suggests the 'scales' were ever tipped against him. The Nation's Joan Walsh suggested a more accurate headline for the Times story: 'Trump's reign of lawlessness enters new stage.'"
That's why I prefer the language of the blogs. They call thieves and criminals what they are without engaging in overly polite, euphemistic language.


Travel and immigration standards

Based on an article in TPM, I looked up the original statement on the newest travel ban (1 February 2020). One of the claims: 
President Trump’s security and travel proclamations have immeasurably improved our national security, substantially raised the global standard for information-sharing, and dramatically strengthened the integrity of the United States’ immigration system.
There's an old American saying: "Don't fix what isn't broken." Let's look at the statement: "raised the global standard" Okay. But from WHAT? Appears to me the "global standard" was raised from a standard that was already satisfactory
How many terrorists were we getting on a yearly basis from "Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria"? Heck, how many terrorists had we ever gotten from any of these countries? How many did we ever get from "Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia"? Wouldn't we be far more likely to be shutting the door from people trying to escape from these countries?
Of course, there was the typical Trump Administration cluster$%#@ of failing to communicate: "...the additions appeared to take some foreign officials by surprise." Because Trump's people never thought to work out anything quietly. 
Update: And yes, despite the date of the new foreign travel ban, this ban had nothing to do with the COVID-19 coronavirus. ,