WTF: August 14, 2020

Breeder Hipped Failson of a Felon Returns!

There’s been a lot of reporting about the shrill Madam Tussaud’s animatronic, Jared Kushner lately, whose prediction that the country & economy would be “rocking” by July. If “rocking” is a symptom of the coronavirus, I guess we can give him partial credit. In regards to the economy, if “rocking” is his way of describing throwing a large rock in a body of water, well that’s pretty descriptive. More partial credit! Jared gets a perfect 10! 100%! A+++, 1600 on his SATs and a million dollar bonus! Young Jared whose jailbird daddy slipped a $2.5M check in with Jared’s Harvard application has been groomed for this moment — his specialized knowledge of how to subordinate oneself in order to maintain power that is doled out by capricious men, failsons themselves, really, has been the antihero in a couple of different articles of late. But would you expect any different from the dude who wildly overpaid for 666 Fifth Avenue — the building where all the missing thirteenth floors of American have been piled on top of each other to create one giant backchannel to Vladimir Putin? Okay, I made that last bit up — the thirteenth floors, but it probably does house a secret communication apparatus for apparatchiks.

The Atlantic: How Jared Kushner Became Trump’s Most Dangerous Enabler.

But by July, the nation was manifestly not rocking. Kushner had expanded testing, but, according to recent reporting by Vanity Fair, he also seems to have stifled the development of infrastructure that could have matched the scale of the problem. The Slim Suits had conceived an intricate blueprint for a robust testing and contact-tracing regime—a set of policies that likely would have helped slow the spread of the virus across the nation. But instead of executing those plans, Kushner appears to have permitted them to wither. And as the president claimed the virus would miraculously disappear, politicized the wearing of masks, and held an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that contravened the administration’s own recommendations, Kushner offered no public words of contradiction or caution.

Despite his initial anxieties, Kushner had demonstrated the technocratic skill to take on the pandemic. In the end, what he lacked wasn’t competence, but the courage to challenge his father-in-law’s fantasies. He seemed to have adopted Trump’s delusions as his own. Privately, Kushner blamed Democratic governors for stoking hysteria about the virus for the sake of wounding the president. “There’s only so much we can do here. They’ll keep on blaming us,” he told one public-health expert. “I’m done.”

Emphasis mine. But there’s more. I know that I already featured it, but it is just so, so, so depraved and the fact that he hasn’t been hauled into some court to answer for crimes against humanity is mind boggling.

Vanity Fair: How Jared Kushner’s Secret Testing Plan Went “Poof Into Thin Air”

Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

I’m reordering this article because a. I cannot believe the above wasn’t the headline and b. it leads well into our third story on Jared, corruption & incompetence. In late March, 3.5 million useless contaminated covid tests arrived at the Embassy of the UAE and then the US Government was presented a $52M bill — without any records of the order or any of the other requirements of government procurement designed to prevent waste and fraud.

Over the next three months, the tests’ mysterious provenance would spark confusion and finger-pointing. An Abu Dhabi–based artificial intelligence company, Group 42, with close ties to the UAE’s ruling family, identified itself as the seller of 3.5 million tests and demanded payment. Its requests were routed through various divisions within Health and Human Services, whose lawyers sought in vain for a bona fide contracting officer.

During that period, more than 2.4 million Americans contracted COVID-19 and 123,331 of them died of the illness. First in New York, and then in states around the country, governors, public health experts, and frightened citizens sounded the alarm that a critical shortage of tests, and the ballooning time to get results, were crippling the U.S. pandemic response.

But the million tests, some of which were distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to several states, were of no help. According to documents obtained by Vanity Fair, they were examined in two separate government laboratories and found to be “contaminated and unusable.”

ProPublica: The White House Paid Up to $500 Million Too Much for These Ventilators

Citing “evidence of fraud, waste, and abuse,” a congressional subcommittee investigating the federal government’s purchase of $646.7 million worth of Philips ventilators has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to launch its own investigation of the deal…

The (subcommittee) investigators reviewed thousands of pages of emails and other records obtained from Philips and concluded that “inept contract management and incompetent negotiating by the Trump Administration denied the country the ventilators it needed.” And the subcommittee’s report, which it shared with the inspector general’s office, named names: Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s director of trade and manufacturing policy, was the administration’s point man on the deal. In addition, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar participated in calls with Philips’ executives.

It all makes you long for days where nepotism was unacceptable and we only had to deal with EITHER incompetence OR corruption but rarely both at the same time in a life or death situation.

Speaking of corruption and incompetence, I just watched the Righteous Gemstones on HBO. It’s insane and completely over the top and also very 1980s in that a lot of that crazy shit actually happened. I mean, look at Jerry Falwell Jr. and the recent midriff baring vacation photo with the Satan beard that cost him his cushy job at Liberty University and tell me this isn’t believable.

The Sideshow: Other stuff you should read today.

‘Do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done?’: A reporter’s blunt question to Trump goes unanswered

For more than half an hour on Thursday, President Trump sounded familiar themes at his coronavirus briefing: blasting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, arguing that the rapidly spreading virus is being effectively managed, and questioning the security of voting by mail. Then he called on S.V. Dáte, HuffPost’s White House correspondent.

No Title

“That would mean they would have to go to a voting booth, like they used to, ” Trump says. “They will have to feel safe, and they will be safe, and we will make sure they’re safe. And we’re not going to have to spend $3.5 billion dollars to do it.”

President Trump requests mail-in ballot for upcoming Florida primary, despite rhetoric

For the second time as a Palm Beach County voter, President Donald Trump has requested a vote-by-mail ballot ahead of Florida’s primary election on Tuesday. And the president who has just spent the past few weeks excoriating mail-in voting has less than a week to cast it.

Opinion | Trump’s attack on the Postal Service is now a national emergency

You’ve heard the joke about the boy who kills his parents, then pleads for mercy from the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan. That’s essentially what President Trump is doing – except the victim is the U.S. Postal Service. The Post reports: President Trump says the U.S.

American Passports Are Useless Now

But in this Year of the Pandemic, that promise rings hollow. My German passport, which I was able to retain when I naturalized, currently entitles me to travel almost anywhere in the world. My American passport can gain me access to only a handful of countries-not including Germany or the majority of developed democracies in Asia, Europe, Australia, or South America.

Opinion | Joe Biden and the Great Leaders of 2020 Are Part of a Club

They’re the graduates of public universities, and they’ve stepped into the void of presidential leadership. By Contributing Opinion Writer Since the Harvard-Yale game that was the 1988 general election, all U.S. presidents, including the Wharton School graduate currently occupying the White House, have been Ivy League alumni.

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