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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As with many stories about President Donald Trump, this one may toss you into a familiar cycle: first you laugh, then you cry, and then you fantasize about November 2020.

The president’s latest round of nonsense began on Sunday when he announced on Twitter that, among other southern states, Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Hurricane Dorian, which was making its way toward the East Coast.

Just shortly after that tweet, the National Weather Service branch in Birmingham, Alabama, refuted the president:

When Trump was speaking with reporters Sunday after the tweet, he reiterated that Alabama was in the storm’s path, even though, as CNN reported, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed this was false.

But Trump doubled down, again and again, saying that Alabama was likely to get hit and lashing out at the media for reporting on his discrepancies. Then on Wednesday, the White House posted a video on Twitter showing the president referring to an outdated weather forecast, which, nevertheless didn’t show Dorian hitting Alabama. But there appeared to be an additional line, possibly drawn in sharpie, that falsely extended the projection of the storm’s path into Alabama.

Later on Wednesday, when pressed about this bizarre map, Trump flailed in response. He said he didn’t know where the falsified map came from.

“Actually, we have a better map than that which is going to be presented, where we had many lines going directly — many models, each line being a model — and they were going directly through, in all cases, Alabama was hit,” he said.

Asked specifically about the sharpie line, he just said: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…”

As CNN reported:

CNN Weather meteorologists say one forecast on Friday afternoon showed one-tenth of one county in extreme southwest Alabama was included in one model. But that map bears little resemblance to the one Trump showed on Wednesday. And the official track from the National Hurricane Center never showed Dorian’s track entering the Gulf of Mexico, as Trump also claimed.

One available map, shared on Monday by the National Hurricane Center, showed a projection of Dorian’s path that did somewhat overlap with the state of Alabama. But the section covering the state only represented a 5 percent chance of receiving 39 mph winds in a narrow region; it did not suggest at all that Alabama would likely be “hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

If Trump wants to defend his false claims, he would have been wiser to use this map, rather than one with a clumsily drawn line.

But he shouldn’t just be worried about defending himself. He should be worried about trying to get things right, because his decisions and credibility actually matter. But as always, Trump finds it impossible to admit he was ever wrong.

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If Boss Trump is headed for defeat, he's getting his revenge early. His revenge upon his deluded supporters and the people they love, that is. Trump's re-election campaign now consists mainly of what epidemiologists call "super-spreader" events: large-scale rallies of unmasked, non-socially distanced Trumpists yelling in each other's faces while the Big Man emits a non-stop barrage of falsehoods, exaggerations, and barefaced lies.

Let me put it this way: If, say, the Rolling Stones decided to put on free concerts at airports around the country, they'd likely end up being taken into custody and deported as undesirable aliens. Of course, they'd also draw far bigger crowds than Trump, but that's not the point. The point is that Trump's actions are reckless and immoral; the peacetime equivalent of war crimes.

"Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid," he hollers. Trump claims that the United States is "turning the corner" on the pandemic, and that the accursed news media will quit reporting Covid-19 fatalities come November 4. He claims that health officials are motivated by greed because "doctors get more money and hospitals get more money" if they report that the virus was the cause of death.

Surveys have shown that more than a thousand physicians and nurses have died fighting the disease nationwide.

As ever, what he accuses others of doing is an excellent guide to the question: What would Trump do? Answer: he'd steal the silver dollars off a Covid victim's eyes and demand an investigation of Joe Biden

According to the Washington Post, the Trump campaign organization signed an agreement with officials in Duluth, Minnesota to limit attendance at a September 30 fly-in rally, in accordance with public health guidelines. Hours before the event, it became clear that no effort was being made to honor the agreement; some 2500 Trump supporters bunched up without masks on the tarmac, ten times the agreed limit.

Health Department officials' protests were simply ignored. Three days later, Trump himself was taken to Walter Reed Hospital by helicopter. Three weeks after that, the following headline appeared in the Duluth News-Tribune: "St. Louis County sees another record-breaking week of COVID-19 cases."

Any questions?

The Trump Circus subsequently performed in Janesville and Waukesha, Wisconsin in the midst of a record-setting pandemic outbreak there. "It took us 7 and a half months to reach our first 100,000 cases, & only 36 days to reach our second," the Wisconsin Department of Health tweeted. "In just two short months, the 7-day average of new confirmed cases has risen 405%."

But the show must go on. Trump regaled his Janesville audience with a veritable torrent of lies. The New York Times did a thorough fact-check of his October 17 speech. Reporters documented 130 false statements during Trump's 87 minutes onstage. Nearly three-quarters of his factual claims were untrue. The most egregious concerned Covid-19, probably because the disease represents his single greatest failure and most damaging political liability.

Another question: Does Trump count upon his supporters' invincible ignorance or simply share it? I fear it's a little of both. In Janesville, Trump made this absurd claim two minutes into his harangue: "When you look at our numbers compared to what's going on in Europe and other places," he said "we're doing well."

Any regular newspaper reader knows that this is simply nonsense. As the Times reports, "America has more cases and deaths per capita than any major country in Europe but Spain and Belgium. The United States has just 4 percent of the world's population but accounts for almost a quarter of the global deaths from Covid-19."

Germany, to choose the most striking comparison, has suffered only 122 deaths per million of its population, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has recorded more than five times as many: 686 per million. Neighboring Canada, meanwhile, is at 264 per million. Several Asian countries, have handled the pandemic even better.

It's a matter of capable leadership and public cooperation.

No wonder Trump appears to have succumbed to a case of dictator envy. "COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by [the 'Fake News' media] in total coordination" he tweeted the other day "in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!"

Yeah, well they all report the same World Series scores too. Furthermore, if Trump had good election numbers, he wouldn't whine so much. Has there ever been a bigger crybaby in the White House?

(In related news, Vladimir Putin has issued a mandatory mask mandate after a surge in Russian Covid infections. Go figure.)

Meanwhile, the rallies go on; a bizarre spectacle people treat as if it's normal. Trump has become Covid-19's Typhoid Mary, an Irish cook who unwittingly infected 53 people back in 1906.

But unlike Mary, he should know better. If anybody should be locked up, as his rapt admirers chant, it's the Super-Spreader in Chief.