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Aunty Acid Comic Strip for April 03, 2020

or is it the door of the White House?


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Stable Genius has struck again. In the pursuit of undoing the Obama Presidency and associated actions TOTUS and his minions have put us all in jeopardy. MA
Emily Baumgaertner, James Rainey
LA Times

Two months before the novel coronavirus is thought to have begun its deadly advance in Wuhan, China, the Trump administration ended a $200-million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat.

The project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2009, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. The initiative, called PREDICT, also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories — including the Wuhan lab that identified SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Field work ceased when the funding ran out in September, and organizations that worked on the PREDICT program laid off dozens of scientists and analysts, said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a key player in the program.

On Wednesday, USAID granted an emergency extension to the program, issuing $2.26 million over the next six months to send experts who will help foreign labs squelch the pandemic. But program leaders say the funding will do little to further the initiative’s original mission.

“Look at the name: Our efforts were to predict this before it happens. That’s the part of the program that was exciting — and that’s the part I’m worried about,” Daszak said.

“It’s absolutely critical that we don’t drop the idea of a large-scale, proactive, predictive program that tries to catch pandemics before they happen. Cutting a program that could in any way reduce the risk of things like COVID-19 happening again is, by any measure, shortsighted,” he added.

It is unclear whether another five-year grant would have dulled the impact of the current pandemic. But the Trump administration has come under increased criticism for its past moves to downgrade global health security, including proposals to slash funding to science agencies and the elimination of the National Security Council’s key global health post.

A spokesman for USAID said PREDICT was “just one component of USAID’s global health security efforts and accounted for less than 20% of our global health security funding.” He also said a new initiative to stop the spillover of viruses from animals to humans is scheduled to be awarded in August.

The PREDICT project, which operated on two five-year funding cycles that formally concluded last September, enrolled both epidemiologists and wildlife veterinarians to examine the types of interactions between animals and humans that researchers suspect led to the current outbreak of COVID-19.

The pandemic “didn’t surprise us, unfortunately,” said Jonna Mazet, executive director of the One Health Institute in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who served as the global director of PREDICT for a decade. “The work had been ongoing for some time. And when the crisis hits, everybody stands up and takes notice and says, ‘OK, we believe you.’”

The PREDICT project, launched in response to the 2005 H5N1 “bird flu” scare, gathered specimens from more than 10,000 bats and 2,000 other mammals in search of dangerous viruses. They detected about 1,200 viruses that could spread from wild animals to humans, signaling pandemic potential. More than 160 of them were novel coronaviruses, much like SARS-CoV-2.

They also took blood samples from people in rural China, and learned that, in living among wildlife, they had been exposed to coronaviruses — a clear sign that, if those viruses spread easily among humans, they could take off. That “raised the red flag,” said Mazet.

“Coronaviruses were jumping easily across species lines and were ones to watch for epidemics and pandemics,” she said.

The program also trained nearly 7,000 people across medical and agricultural sectors in 30 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to help them detect deadly new viruses on their own. One of those labs was the Wuhan Institute of Virology — the Chinese lab that quickly identified SARS-CoV-2, Mazet said.

The Wuhan lab received USAID funding for equipment, and PREDICT coordinators connected the scientists there with researchers in other countries in order to synchronize tracking of novel viruses before SARS-CoV-2.

The project’s second funding cycle concluded on Sept. 30, 2019, less than two months before the new coronavirus probably began spreading. It was granted a zero-dollar six-month extension — through March 2020 — to write up final reports.

Dennis Carroll, a widely respected scientist who headed USAID’s emerging threats division, oversaw the initiative for its duration, but retired around the time it was shut down. Carroll did not respond to an inquiry from The Times, but told the New York Times last year that by January 2019, the program had “essentially collapsed into hibernation,” and that its conclusion was due to “the ascension of risk-averse bureaucrats.”

Other members of the consortium included Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity and several institutes that manage major U.S. zoos.

Earlier this year, as COVID-19 took off, U.S. lawmakers expressed frustration over the program’s end.

“Addressing and preventing the spread of coronavirus and potential pandemic disease outbreaks is a serious matter that requires adequate resources for and cooperation between experts throughout the federal government,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Angus King wrote in a letter to USAID’s administrator earlier this year, asking for details on the decision.

On Wednesday, the PREDICT program was extended through September to offer emergency technical assistance to foreign labs battling the coronavirus pandemic. To date, PREDICT-supported labs in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are actively testing for coronavirus cases, Daszak said, and he has been sending reagents and other supplies to assist them.

Meanwhile, in Rwanda, scientists who had been trained in the PREDICT program triggered early social distancing measures, Mazet said. “I do think that what we were doing has changed the outcomes for a lot of countries,” she said.

“But unfortunately, not our own,” she added.

Daszak said he’s eager to further examine the hundreds of wildlife samples collected during the PREDICT initiative over the years, looking to identify whether any of them could have been intermediate hosts for the virus currently sweeping the globe.

But with the limited budget and timeline, efforts to continue in-depth field work under PREDICT will be minimal. Most of the extension funding will be focused on squelching the current outbreak, not preventing the next.

“It’s common sense to know your enemy,” Daszak said. “Instead, we’re all hiding inside our houses as we wait around for a vaccine — that’s not a good global strategy to battling a dangerous virus.”


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This is the person TOTUS gave the high profile “Medal Of Freedom” the nations highest civilian honor. TOTUS has again reduced the office of President to yet another low point. Coupled with the refusal to extend the enrollment period for ACA aka “Obamacare”, it should be apparent to ALL voters that we as a country are going downhill with the least of us suffering the greatest harm. This is not about party, race, religion or any other malediction uttered by this administration, it is about the health of our country and its future which in my opinion will continue a backwards trend under this administration and its associates in Congress. MA

Rush Limbaugh: Economy Being Destroyed ‘Under The Guise’ Of Saving Lives

The right-wing radio host pushed conspiracy nonsense about Democrats plotting with communists to ruin capitalism in the coronavirus pandemic.

(See the video below.)

“Are we just going to sit by and watch $22 trillion — that’s the value, that’s the sum total of the GDP, that’s the U.S. economy — are we just going to sit by here and watch it evaporate?” the right-wing radio host said on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” “Because that’s what we’re doing, under the guise of not losing any unnecessary life — meaning we want to try to save as many lives as we can.”

After fielding a phone call in which the caller said the crisis was the product of “the communist virus” invading America, Limbaugh piled on:

You’re the only person I know who thinks it’s happening without the cooperation of the Democrat Party, however. Most people tell me they think the American left is the worldwide Communist Party now, and that they are willingly subverting this economy and destroying it, for the purposes of eliminating and wiping out capitalism.

And whether that’s happening of — whether that’s the design or not, that is happening. This economy is being shut down. That’s why this is not sustainable. I’m sorry, I’m sounding like a broken record on this, but it is not sustainable.

Are we just going to sit by and watch $22 trillion — that’s the value, that’s the sum total of the GDP, that’s the U.S. economy — are we just going to sit by here and watch it evaporate? Because that’s what we’re doing, under the guise of not losing any unnecessary life — meaning we want to try to save as many lives as we can.

Limbaugh has previously claimed the outbreak was exaggerated to make President Donald Trump look bad. He also had dismissed COVID-19 as “the common cold.”


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Samuel Pepys, 1665English diarist, parliamentarian, on the bubonic plague


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Totus has gone on Faux News again announcing an extension of the stay at home time frame after stating we should be “OK” by Easter. This is just another instance of his creating a problem then retracting it as if  he solved the problem. If anyone who currently supports him has any doubt as to his fitness to lead, this should allay all doubts. With the cooperation of the GOP (most of them) TOTUS has in 3 years brought the US to a level of some third world countries in some areas. Our standing in the world has been eroded while the bad actors have ascended to fill in the void created by our lack of engagement and ill advised actions. Voters have the opportunity to right the ship of state starting with Congress and ending with TOTUS out of office. If it is possible to prosecute elected officials for poor performance and damage to the country, that is where we should be going. First we need to elect the best people we can or at the least the ones who have a clue of how to run a government not more self serving miscreants.


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Trump’s message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead

Neil J. Young
The Week

Heading into 2020, it seemed like those online election prediction maps would be the most exciting thing to watch over the coming year. But now, a different map may tell us much more about what the future holds.

While the coronavirus spreads across the nation with no regards to state borders, the nation’s governors are taking wildly different approaches to tackling the disease, resulting in a patchwork national map that undermines our ability to stop COVID-19 effectively. Coupled with the disastrous leadership of a president more interested in retaliating against his perceived enemies than employing his powers for good, the fractured response to coronavirus reveals how much has to be healed in our nation’s system. It also sets in motion an inevitable showdown between Trump and those state leaders who are taking coronavirus seriously, a divide that is only going to get worse given Trump’s toxic tendency to blame others for his own shortcomings.

Trump’s sickness was startlingly evident in his interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer last Tuesday. Asked about his administration’s coordination with the states, a basic function of the federal government and a critical one in a crisis moment, Trump’s response displayed his typically transactional view of how things get done under his watch. “It’s a two-way street,” Trump childishly whined, “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'”

That’s been Trump’s approach to working with others, especially those in need, from the start, a twisted outgrowth of the manipulation tactics he’s used throughout his personal and professional life.

As president, his self-interest and demands for personal loyalty always guide his decision making. At the depressingly dysfunctional level, that has meant a revolving door of White House staffers and administration appointees, including Jeff Sessions, who didn’t satisfy Trump’s insatiable ego enough to stay. At the lawbreaking level, it has meant his bald quid pro quo demand that Ukraine investigate a political rival in order to receive congressionally-mandated foreign aid and putting extreme restrictions on federal aid to Puerto Rico, seemingly in retaliation for how government officials there had criticized his handling of Hurricane Maria.

But where Trump’s pay-to-play expectations of Ukraine, despite the Senate’s judgments, were unconstitutional, his praise-to-play demands of state governors while the health of the nation hangs in the balance are nothing short of unconscionable. Trump’s refusal to take federal action against the virus may be the most disastrous decision of his presidency. His petty privileging of red states and his punishing of blue states may be the most deadly, with consequences for all Americans no matter their politics.

After Andrew Cuomo requested 30,000 ventilators for his coronavirus-ravaged New York, Trump coughed up only 400 machines while, as usual, freely blaming the governor for the state’s situation. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators,” an exasperated Cuomo asked at a recent news conference. “You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”

On Thursday, Trump lashed out at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her criticisms of the administration’s inaction. “We’ve had a big problem with the… woman governor,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “We don’t like to see the complaints.” He later said he’d told Vice President Mike Pence not to call “the woman in Michigan.”

Meanwhile Florida, a state run by a loyal Trump supporter, Gov. Ron DeSantis, has fared better, not surprisingly. Despite DeSantis’ failure to take the disease seriously and limit its escalating spread through the state, Florida has received all the medical supplies it has requested from the federal stockpile, and then some. New Jersey, on the other hand, a state with currently the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, initially got only a small fraction of what it requested.

Other Republican state leaders are making Trump’s abdication of responsibility even easier, propping up his fantastical and fatalist thinking and actively undercutting public health measures. Trump’s arbitrary selection of April 12 as the date he wants the country “opened up” has outraged public health officials who warn we need much more time. But Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s horrific recent comments that grandparents should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy is merely putting the public voice to the sort of Machiavellian logic shaping red states’ policies.

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring almost all the businesses in the state as “essential,” thereby invalidating any local mayors or state agencies that have tried to implement social-distancing requirements. Reeves’ decision also included religious facilities, despite an earlier directive by the state’s Department of Health that Mississippians avoid church services, weddings, and funerals to help curb the virus’ spread.

In other Republican-led states, the continued lack of prohibitions against public gatherings will spell disastrous consequences. Blue states and places like Ohio and Maryland, led by reasonable Republican governors, cannot combat the virus alone. If Trump keeps picking favorite states to help in the absence of a national approach, everyone will lose.

A moment like this requires leadership, but Trump is no leader. Sulking that he can no longer hold the public rallies that give him life, Trump is incapable of rallying the nation in defense of its own. With potentially millions of Americans at risk of dying from coronavirus, Trump’s only interest, as always, is in tending to his bruised ego, and he’ll ruthlessly play governors against each other to fulfill his needs.

In his Friday press conference, Trump told reporters, “All I want [governors] to do… I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.” All those governors want is a president who cares about the lives of their constituents, regardless of whether they voted for him.


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Trump: a U.S. coronavirus death toll of 100,000 would mean his administration did ‘a very good job’

Catherine Garcia
The Week

President Trump on Sunday said if his administration can keep the coronavirus death toll to 100,000 in the United States, it will have done a “very good job.”

Earlier in the day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the coronavirus pandemic could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the United States. Trump said while 100,000 is “a horrible number,” if the U.S. can keep its death toll to “100,000, so we have between 100,000 and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job.”

Trump also announced he is extending social distancing guidelines to April 30, a departure from his earlier declaration of having the U.S. “opened up” by Easter on April 12. That proclamation was “aspirational,” Trump said.

As of Sunday night, there are more than 139,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the United States, and at least 2,400 people have died from the virus.


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It is apparent that TOTUS either has no idea what his job is or he doesn’t care if he is not the center of attention. MA



UPDATE: President Donald Trump announced in a press conference Sunday afternoon that the country’s social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30 and that the peak death rate will hit in two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won. Therefore we will be extending our guidelines to April 30,” he said.

Previously, Trump wanted the U.S. economy reopened by Easter Sunday, April 12, despite medical experts around the country saying that deadline would be unlikely. Trump said he hopes the country and everyone will “be well on our way to recovery” on June 1.

On Sunday morning, Trump also boasted about his growing TV ratings, while Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that up to 200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19.

Trump quoted an article from the New York Times that provided recent viewership statistics of his coronavirus press conferences. The article states that they have averaged 8.5 million viewers, roughly the same size as audiences for ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Last Monday’s conference drew nearly 12.2 million viewers, putting it on pace with “Monday Night Football.”

Donald J. Trump


“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise…

Donald J. Trump


…On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watched Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen — ‘Monday Night Football’ numbers. Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites, and the audience is expanding. On Monday, Fox News…


Trump went on to praise Fox News’ 6.2 million viewers, a number normally seen on hit primetime TV shows. He also quoted the New York Times article saying that a recent poll shows only 13% of Republicans trust the news media for coronavirus information. However, the president left out that the article also says that 72% of Democrats trust the media.

Donald J. Trump


Replying to @realDonaldTrump

…alone attracted 6.2 million viewers for the president’s briefing — an astounding number for a 6 p.m. cable broadcast, more akin to the viewership for a popular prime-time sitcom…

Donald J. Trump


…The CBS News poll said 13 percent of Republicans trusted the news media for information about the virus.” Michael M. Grynbaum @NYTimes


Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told CNN on Sunday that coronavirus could kill between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans and infect millions of people.

There are about 125,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. as of Sunday morning, the highest of any country in the world. At last 2,000 deaths have been reported.

Fauci also spoke about the president’s previous hope that the country’s economy will be back on track by Easter on Sunday, April 12.

“To put a time on it, I don’t know, it’s going to be a matter of weeks, it’s not going to be tomorrow and it’s certainly not going to be next week,” he said. “It’s going to be a little bit more than that.”


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Recent and ongoing rantings of TOTUS have further shown the ineptness of this administration and it’s titular head. The failure of TOTUS to do his job as a National leader was inevitable from the first day. Every rollback of Obama anything regardless of the long and short term effects on the country as a whole and individuals in general has dire consequences. The egocentric actions of TOTUS has alienated us from trusted allies and allowed long time adversaries to rise exponentially. As the current health pandemic continues, TOTUS has threatened to quarantine some and restricted medical supplies to others primarily due to his dislike of the Governors and other administrative officials. The state of this  emergency is essentially the result of TOTUS’ ignorance on the subject and his inability to listen to experts on the subject. It is clear that any situation that does not afford a platform for his “genius” is unimportant (paper towels for Puerto Rico). After trying to urge “normalcy” in this Pandemic, TOTUS has failed to lead and thereby exacerbated the situation while pointing fingers at anyone he can including the Obama administration (which put in place a NSC playbook to deal with this type of situation after the Ebola and Flu out breaks). TOTUS ignored that playbook which gave guidelines as to how to deal with just this type of situation and reduced the funding for the CDC. There appears to be no other reason for TOTUS’ actions or lack of other than ineptitude or his own need to be the most important person for which we all bear the ill effects of.


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It is fairly obvious that we have a little bit of incompetence in the current administration and Congress. The list of negative sobriquets (some serious) is long but here are some that include the ending of “in Chief”:

Liar In Chief                      Conman in chief          expounder in chief

Moron in chief                 miscreant in chief        Braggart in chief

Ignoramus in chief          blusterer in chief         tweeter  in chief

Bloviator  in chief           ranter in chief                racist in chief

ego maniac in chief        Accidental President in chief


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