Thursday, April 30, 2020

Fed chair warns of ‘heartbreaking’ scenario as U.S. economy suffers worst first quarter since Great Recession

Mod: If President Chewable Clorox had not spent his many idle hours golfing instead of fighting COVID-19 back in January, we wouldn't be facing a 2nd Great American Depression today. The other shoe is falling, and fast.

Fed chair warns of ‘heartbreaking’ scenario as U.S. economy suffers worst first quarter since Great Recession - While the economy contracted at a 4.8% rate in the quarter, the second quarter is likely to show a decline of 30% — or more (The Washington Post link): The U.S. economy suffered its sharpest decline since the Great Recession — a 4.8 percent drop — from January through March, and the head of the Federal Reserve warned the second quarter would be even uglier as many Americans continued to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that’s worse than any data we’ve seen for the economy,” Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said in a video news conference. He called it “heartbreaking” to witness millions of job losses, especially in minority communities.

There is widespread agreement that the U.S. economy is in the midst of its worst crisis since the Great Depression, and Commerce Department data released Wednesday revealed just how severe it is becoming. Consumer and business spending nosedived in the first quarter, even with the economy shuttered for only half of March. Household spending tumbled 7.6 percent, and business investment sank 8.6 percent. Although Americans flooded grocery stores to buy food and supplies, it was not nearly enough to offset lost spending on dining out, car sales, entertainment and other purchases.

Mod: If we have turned the corner on the pandemic as Jared Kushner claims, why are the Feds buying so many body bags?

U.S. Buys 100,000 More Body Bags, Preparing for Coronavirus Worst (Wall Street Journal link): The federal government ordered 100,000 new Covid-19 body bags, in what officials described as preparations for a “worst case” scenario. The giant order last week for “human remains pouches” comes as more than 58,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The order for 100,000 body bags, costing $5.1 million, was placed April 21 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, federal contracting databases show. The supplier, a small California company, is supposed to deliver the bags by May 4, according to the contracting data.

A FEMA spokeswoman said the agency has been focused on a “worst possible case national scenario” from the start of the response effort. “In order to meet the worst-case demand models, FEMA initiated a broad range of acquisition contracts to augment available stocks and produce more human-remains pouches for future requirements should they be needed,” she said.

The Defense Department earlier this month said that FEMA asked it to provide 100,000 body bags for civilian use, Bloomberg News reported. The latest purchase is separate from that request. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Approval for Trump's handling of coronavirus drops 10 points - Overall approval falls to 41%

Mod: Trump takes a couple of fairly nasty hits in the latest polling.

Approval for Trump's handling of coronavirus drops 10 points: poll (The Hill link): President Trump’s approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus dropped 10 points from last month after an initial bump, according to a new Emerson College poll. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed approved of Trump’s efforts to tackle the outbreak, a drop from 49 percent last month.

The poll, released Tuesday, found that 51 percent said they disapproved of the president's handling of the virus, a jump from 41 percent in March.

The president’s overall approval rating has ticked downward since last month, dropping from 46 percent to 41 percent.

The drops come after Trump’s overall approval rating leapt to new highs before dropping back down to the low- to mid-40s range it had consistently been stuck in since 2017.

The White House has been inundated with criticism from lawmakers in Washington and governors across the country who say states are still clamoring for the necessary personal protection equipment and testing kits needed to combat the virus.

Despite widespread economic hardship, most Americans not ready to reopen, poll says (PBS link): While a growing number of American households have lost jobs due to COVID-19, a majority of U.S. adults say they still are uncomfortable with reopening the country, according to the latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll.

Since March, the nation’s economy has taken a major hit from stay-at-home orders and other measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, roughly 26 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims over five consecutive weeks in late March and April, according to the latest Department of Labor figures, making this one of the worst economic periods in the nation’s history.

Americans are split in how they view President Donald Trump’s handling of the economy, the poll suggested, with 50 percent of U.S. adults saying they approved and 48 percent that they disapproved with relatively little change since March when businesses around the country began to shutter.

When asked about how the president has handled the coronavirus pandemic, 55 percent of Americans said they do not think he is doing a good job, up slightly from 49 percent in March. Most Americans said they do not feel safe about sending children back to school, allowing people to dine inside restaurants or allowing large gatherings for sporting events in this latest poll. About two-thirds said testing for the virus needs to improve before allowing people to return to work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

More than 25% of COVID-19 Deaths in the United States are African American: Is Trump Committing a Genocide?

Mod: Can it be Trump and his creeps did little to stop COVID-19 here because they were gratified and even pleased by the demographics? That it wasn't a real problem for them because they believed the right people were the ones dying?  

The Color of Coronavirus: COVID-19 Deaths by Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. (APM Research Lab link): The novel coronavirus has claimed more than 49,000 American lives through April 23. Data about the race and ethnicity of the deceased is now known for about three-fourths of these deaths, which we have compiled from Washington D.C. and 35 states that are releasing these statistics. While we have an incomplete picture of the toll of COVID-19, the existing data reveals deep inequities by race—especially for Black Americans.

The latest available COVID-19 mortality rate for Black Americans is 2.4 times higher than the rate for Latinos, 2.5 times higher than the rate for Asians, and 2.7 times higher than the rate for Whites.

For each 100,000 Americans (of their respective groups), about 26 Blacks have died, along with 11 Latinos, 10 Asians and 9 Whites. These rates are so disparate it can be hard to appreciate what this means. To put it plainly: If Black Americans had died of COVID-19 at the same rate as White Americans, 6,400 of the more than 10,000 Black residents who have died in these states would still be alive.

Just three days ago, Black Americans’ mortality rate was 23 deaths per 100,000, but rising numbers of deaths and increased reporting have swelled the rate to 26. Mortality rates for all groups have risen, as the virus claims more Americans from coast to coast.

While Black Americans have suffered disproportionate losses in a majority of places, in some areas, their death toll is exceptionally high. In six states and Washington, D.C., mortality rates for Black residents exceed this national rate of 25.5 deaths per 100,000 Blacks, most dramatically in New York state.

Another way to examine disproportionality is by comparing percentage of deaths to percentage of population. Across the U.S., Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at a rate of more than twice their population share. Collectively, they represent 13% of the population in states releasing data, but have suffered 28% of deaths.

In 13 states—Michigan, South Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina—as well as in the District of Columbia, the difference between Black residents’ share of the deaths and share of the population is greater than 15 percentage points. In Washington, D.C.; Michigan; and South Carolina, the difference exceeds 30 percentage points. These are deeply troubling mortality disparities.

Mod: More information can be found at the link.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Trump ripped in the New York Times as a ‘tone-deaf showman’ whose stage is a ‘mountain of corpses’

Mod: A couple of articles posted to the world in the past 48 hours that shell Trump in perfectly appropriate ways, and ought to be read by all.

Trump ripped in the NYT as a ‘tone-deaf showman’ whose stage is a ‘mountain of corpses’ (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump continues to receive harsh criticism for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic as America continues to lead the world in coronavirus fatalities.

Columnist Frank Bruni argued that the reality of Trump’s failures will plague is 2020 election campaign in a New York Times column.

“While Trump may indeed be careening toward four more years, it’s at least as possible that he’s self-destructing before our eyes,” Bruni wrote. “He can read the polls as well as the rest of us can, and they show that while he stands there nightly in the White House briefing room and blows kisses at himself, Americans aren’t blowing kisses back.”

“There’s incessant talk of how fervent his base is, but the many Americans appalled by him have a commensurate zeal. For every Sean Hannity, there’s a Rachel Maddow. For every Kellyanne Conway, a George Conway. She and her ilk may be wily in their defense of the president. He and his tribe are even better in their evisceration of him,” Bruni explained.

“Don’t tell me that his nightly briefings are just a new version of the old stadium rallies; their backdrop of profound suffering makes them exponentially harder to stomach. Americans who take any comfort from them were Trump-drunk long ago. The unbesotted see and hear the president for what he is: a tone-deaf showman who regards everything, even a mountain of corpses, as a stage,” he wrote.

Mod: If you wish to read the entire Frank Bruni column you can do so by clicking here.

Psychologist John Gartner: Trump is a "sexual sadist" who is "actively engaging in sabotage" (Salon link): As of Friday, the coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 50,000 people in the United States. That number is likely to be an undercount, and it's possible we will never have a true reckoning.

At almost every juncture, Donald Trump has made decisions about the coronavirus pandemic that have led to more death. His behavior is that of a person who has no care or concern for the health, safety and welfare of the American people. Nothing could epitomize that more perfectly than his grotesque suggestion this week that "injecting" disinfectants or household cleaning products might kill the coronavirus. This would seem comical, and entirely unbelievable, if it had not actually happened.

Psychologist and psychotherapist John Gartner, contributor to the bestselling book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" and co-founder of the Duty to WARN PAC, has an answer: Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist. Our president's mental pathologies inexorably compel him to hurt and kill large numbers of people — including his own supporters.

Dr. Gartner taught for many years at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and has private therapeutic practices in Baltimore and New York, specializing in the treatment of borderline personality disorders. In our most recent conversation, he explains that sadism and violence are central to Trump's malignant narcissism and his decision-making about the coronavirus pandemic. Gartner also warns that Donald Trump is an abuser locked into a deeply dysfunctional relationship with the American people and that, like other sadists, Trump enjoys causing harm and suffering.

Ultimately, Gartner concludes that Donald Trump is engaging in "democidal behavior" and cautions that the tens of thousands of dead (so far) from the coronavirus pandemic are not simply collateral damage from Trump's policies, but rather the logical outcome of Trump's apparent mental pathologies and the poor decisions that flow from them.

Mod: There is much more to be found at the link.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

With Over 50,000 Dead From COVID-19 Why Hasn't Trump Ordered The Flag To Be Flown Nationally At Half Staff?

Mod: To date 200,000 have died from the pandemic worldwide, with a quarter of those deaths being here in the United States. Three states have now ordered the flag to fly at half staff, the most recent being Michigan on April 10.  

Whitmer Orders Flags Lowered To Honor COVID-19 Victims (WSJM News link): Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor those who have died as a result of COVID-19. The governor’s office has released the following statement:

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan indefinitely starting on April 10, 2020 to honor and mourn those who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating impacts on families across our state,” Whitmer said. “I’m directing flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of those we have lost to this awful virus. The flags lowered will serve to remind us all that every life lost is a story and legacy of a loved one gone too soon.

“As we continue on, we will carry their memories. My deepest condolences to the families of those whose lives were tragically cut short by COVID-19.”

The State of Michigan recognizes and mourns the lives lost to the coronavirus by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.

To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.

A follow-up release will be sent when the flags are to be raised.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him

Mod: You know, if they'd just impeached the dumb bastard the GOP could have avoided all of this. Right? And 50,000 Americans would still be living today.

Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him (The New York Times link): President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and a cascade of ominous public and private polling have Republicans increasingly nervous that they are at risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Mr. Trump does not put the nation on a radically improved course.

The scale of the G.O.P.’s challenge has crystallized in the last week. With 26 million Americans now having filed for unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump’s standing in states that he carried in 2016 looks increasingly wobbly: New surveys show him trailing significantly in battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he is even narrowly behind in must-win Florida.

Democrats raised substantially more money than Republicans did in the first quarter in the most pivotal congressional races, according to recent campaign finance reports. And while Mr. Trump is well ahead in money compared with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democratic donors are only beginning to focus on the general election, and several super PACs plan to spend heavily on behalf of him and the party.

Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.

His daily news briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are inflicting grave damage on his political standing, Republicans believe, and his recent remarks about combating the virus with sunlight and disinfectant were a breaking point for a number of senior party officials.

On Friday evening, Mr. Trump conducted only a short briefing and took no questions, a format that a senior administration official said was being discussed as the best option for the president going forward.

Glen Bolger, a longtime Republican pollster, said the landscape for his party had become far grimmer compared with the pre-virus plan to run almost singularly around the country’s prosperity.

“With the economy in free-fall, Republicans face a very challenging environment and it’s a total shift from where we were a few months ago,” Mr. Bolger said. “Democrats are angry, and now we have the foundation of the campaign yanked out from underneath us.” Mr. Trump’s advisers and allies have often blamed external events for his most self-destructive acts, such as his repeated outbursts during the two-year investigation into his campaign’s dealings with Russia.

Now, there is no such explanation — and, so far, there have been exceedingly few successful interventions regarding Mr. Trump’s behavior at the podium.

Mod: Much more at the link.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon

Mod: Trump has complained about Hunter Biden having done business with China. Yet, and as was the case with Ukraine, a far more obvious culprit turns out to be Trump himself.

Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon (Politico link): Donald Trump is warning “China will own the United States” if Joe Biden is elected president. But Trump himself is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China: In 2012, his real estate partner refinanced one of Trump’s most prized New York buildings for almost $1 billion. The debt includes $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China — its first loan of this kind in the U.S. — which matures in the middle of what could be Trump’s second term, financial records show.

Steps away from Trump Tower in Manhattan, the 43-story 1290 Avenue of the Americas skyscraper spans an entire city block. Trump owns a 30 percent stake in the property valued at more than $1 billion, making it one of the priciest addresses in his portfolio, according to his financial disclosures.

Trump’s ownership of the building received a smattering of attention before and after his 2016 campaign. But the arrangement with the Bank of China — and its impending due date in 2022 — has gone largely unnoticed. The revelation complicates one of Trump’s emerging campaign attacks against Biden: that the former vice president would be a gift to the Communist country and America’s chief economic rival.

Trump’s recent criticisms of China have been muddied by his own mixed messaging as well as by his numerous financial ties to the country. Those connections extend far beyond the Avenue of the America’s loan: Chinese state-owned companies are constructing two luxury Trump developments in United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.

The president and his daughter Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser, have been awarded trademarks by China’s government. And his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has courted Chinese investors in at least one other real estate deal.

Mod: More at the link.

Drudge Report brutally destroys Trump for idea of injecting disinfectants into humans to kill coronavirus (Raw Story link): Conservative internet publisher Matt Drudge brutally mocked President Donald Trump on Thursday.

The leader of the free world openly mused that since ultraviolet lights and disinfectants like bleach can kill coronavirus on surfaces, maybe they could be used inside the human body to treat COVID-19.

The Drudge Report greeted Trump’s comments with a picture of a bottle of Clorox bleach.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Trump Tries to Reassure Seniors He Won’t Let Them Die After Polling Shows He’s Hemorrhaging Their Support

Mod: It turns out that some people 65 and over aren't as excited about dying for the economy as some Republicans have been claiming. Go figure that.

Trump tries to reassure seniors he won’t let them die after polling shows he’s hemorrhaging their support (Raw Story link): Recent polls have shown that President Donald Trump is actually losing support among older voters amid his chaotic handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the president is trying to reassure them that he won’t let them die. In a Wednesday morning tweet, the president promoted the reopening of the American economy while also taking care to note that older Americans will need special protections.

“States are safely coming back,” the president wrote. “Our Country is starting to OPEN FOR BUSINESS again. Special care is, and always will be, given to our beloved seniors (except me!). Their lives will be better than ever…WE LOVE YOU ALL!”

National Journal columnist Josh Kraushaar this week examined polling data showing that former Vice President Joe Biden is now actually leading Trump among voters aged 65 and older.

“The latest Morning Consult poll found that 65-and-older voters prioritized defeating the coronavirus over healing the economy by nearly a 6-to-1 ratio,” he wrote. “And over the past month, they’ve become the group most disenchanted with Trump’s handling of the crisis. In mid-March, seniors were more supportive of Trump than any other age group (plus-19 net approval). Now, their net approval of the president has dropped 20 points and is lower than any age group outside of the youngest.”

Majority Of Florida Voters Against Relaxing Social Distancing Rules: Poll (International Business Times link): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was one of the last governors to enforce a "stay-at-home" order to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Now that the order was set to expire soon, a recent poll revealed the majority of Florida voters think it was not yet time to relax the social distancing rules.

Results of a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday (April 22) revealed 72% of Florida voters think the state should not loosen its social distancing rules at the end of April. Specifically, 90% of Democrats, 69% of independents and 55% of Republicans think social distancing should continue into May.

Further, 76% said the state's economy should only be reopened when public health officials say it is already safe, compared to the 17% who said the economy should reopen even if public health officials warn against it.

"The state's stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire at the end of the month of April, but nearly three quarters of Floridians are not ready to drop their guard," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said. The results came just a day after DeSantis said during an appearance on "Fox and Friends" that Florida already "flattened the curve" even without "draconian orders."

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

University of Chicago study finds people who watched Sean Hannity were more likely to die from COVID-19

Mod: Interesting report from Raw Story about the dire effects of an influential cable news host lying about a plague.

Study finds people who watched Sean Hannity were more likely to die from COVID-19 (Raw Story link): A new study from the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics found that “greater viewership of ‘Hannity’ relative to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ was strongly associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity has been heavily criticized for echoing President Donald Trump’s initial attempts to downplay the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson, his colleague at the right-leaning network who has framed the issue in more nationalistic terms, has been credited with convincing the president to take the pandemic seriously.

Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by the coronavirus from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the risks associated with the virus before gradually adjusting his position starting late February,” the researchers wrote in the working paper.

The two hosts diverged greatly on the issue in February. While Hannity expressed optimism that “zero people in the United States have died from the coronavirus,” Carlson warned viewers that the virus could kill 1 million people across the country.

The researchers commissioned a poll of more than 1,000 Fox News viewers, which found that Carlson’s viewers were more likely to change their behavior earlier than Hannity’s viewers. “We find that Hannity’s viewers on average changed their behavior in response to the coronavirus five days later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed behavior three days earlier than other Fox News viewers,” the paper said.

The researchers then compared the death rate in counties that favored either host, finding “approximately 30% more COVID-19 cases” in areas that preferred Hannity than those that watched Carlson.

“Already by mid-March, we see a statistically significant difference — that there are greater case loads in places that favor Hannity over Tucker,” researcher David Yanagizawa-Drott told The Chicago Tribune.

“Then weeks later, we see a similar trajectory increase for deaths.” After Hannity’s “shift in tone,” however, “the diverging trajectories … began to revert,” the study said. The researchers argued that their findings were consistent with “misinformation being an important mechanism driving the effects in the data.”

Mod: More at the link.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Trump’s Stay At Home Order Protests Have Completely Backfired - Only 22% Support 'Protestors'

Mod: As has been said before, everything Trump touches dies. 

Trump’s Stay At Home Order Protests Have Completely Backfired (Politicus USA link): Via Yahoo News reporting on a new Yahoo/YouGov poll (link), the survey found that a full 60 percent of the public opposes the largely pro-Trump protesters whose calls for governors to “liberate” their states by lifting lockdown measures have attracted intense media attention in recent days — and whose message the president amplified Friday in a series of all-caps “LIBERATE” tweets about three swing states: Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.

Only 22 percent of Americans say they support the protesters. Despite Trump’s messaging, even Republicans oppose the protests 47 percent to 36 percent. Asked whether they agree or disagree with Trump’s “LIBERATE” tweets, only a quarter of Americans say they agree.

Trump has refused to condemn the protesters and has gone as far as to encourage them to defy stay at home orders.

The President has been doing this in a crackpot bid to mobilize his supporters to pressure the states into reopening their economies before the virus is under control.

The protests are transparently fake political operations that are intended to save a sinking president who was set to base his entire reelection campaign on the economy.

Trump’s support for the stay at home order protests has backfired. The American people disagree with Trump. They value their health more than his reelection campaign.

Trump is only digging his hole deeper by going against how the vast majority of Americans demand that the President handle the virus.

Trump Is Getting Depressed About His Poor Approval Ratings (Politicus USA link): Trump sounded depressed as he talked about the polls he sees and the poor marks he is getting from voters for his failed coronavirus response. What many journalists and observers don’t appreciate about Trump is that he believes his own lies.

Donald Trump truly believes that his coronavirus response has been great and that he deserves a 95% approval rating for leading the world in coronavirus cases and deaths. Trump is getting depressed, because the realization is setting in that the virus isn’t going to magically go away, and people will forget about his failures. Trump is trying to blame Joe Biden and China because he can’t run on his own coronavirus response record.

Donald Trump is bumming because he thought that the American people would never notice that he is an incompetent president.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Egging On Social-Distancing Protesters Is Another ‘Bone Spurs’ Moment For Donald Trump

Mod: Once again that infamous orange chicken Trump is nowhere to be seen near the front lines.

Egging on social-distancing protesters is another ‘bone spurs’ moment for Donald Trump (AZ Central link): If the president believes there is no danger in opening up states, he should get out there and join the protesters he is encouraging. If Donald Trump wants states to relax social distancing restrictions why doesn’t he lead the way?

Get out there with the protesters. I mean, if he believes there is no danger, why not?

Although, I’m not sure the protesters even believe it. In Phoenix on Sunday just about all of those who drove down to the State Capitol to urge a reopening of the state did so from within the safe confines of their vehicles.

Video link here
Earlier last week Trump seemed almost conciliatory toward the nation’s governors, suggesting that he was okay with individual state’s determining on their own timetables when to lessen stay-at-home orders and other constraints.

That changed on Friday, however, when the president decided suddenly to encourage the right-wing protests aimed at pressuring governors to ease the social distancing orders by tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA!” If Trump believes this is okay. Or if he believes there is no danger in opening up Michigan or Minnesota or Virginia, or anywhere else, he should fly there and lead the demonstrations himself.

Or would he prefer to have others take the risk for him, as happened during the Vietnam War, when Trump took four military draft deferments while in college and got a fifth after graduation, when a podiatrist with offices in one of the buildings owned by Trump’s father told the draft board Donald had bone spurs in his heels.

If Trump truly believes that states like Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia should drop restrictions then he should get out there and mingle. Or does he only want to talk tough and allow others to take the risks? If so, the incendiary tweets and comments are just another of Trump’s “bone spur” moments.

Mod: A rampant pandemic, economic collapse, and anarchy in the streets. Welcome to Mad Donald Trump's dystopian vision for end times in America.

Pro-gun activists using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests (Washington Post link): A trio of far-right, pro-gun provocateurs is behind some of the largest Facebook groups calling for anti-quarantine protests around the country, offering the latest illustration that some seemingly organic demonstrations are being engineered by a network of conservative activists.

The Facebook groups target Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and they appear to be the work of Ben Dorr, the political director of a group called “Minnesota Gun Rights,” and his siblings, Christopher and Aaron. By Sunday, the groups had roughly 200,000 members combined, and they continued to expand quickly, days after President Trump endorsed such protests by suggesting citizens should “liberate” their states.

The Dorr brothers manage a slew of pro-gun groups across a wide range of states, from Iowa to Minnesota to New York, and seek primarily to discredit organizations like the National Rifle Association as being too compromising on gun safety. Minnesota Gun Rights, for instance, describes itself as the state’s “no-compromise gun rights organization.”

The online activity instigated by the brothers helps cement the impression that opposition to the restrictions is more widespread than polling suggests. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans said they supported a national stay-at-home order, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Ninety-five percent of Democrats backed such a measure in the survey.

Still, the Facebook groups have become digital hubs for the same sort of misinformation spouted in recent days at state capitol buildings — from comparing the virus to the flu to questioning the intentions of scientists working on a vaccine.

Mod: I'm not exactly sure what there is to approve of lately. 40,000 counts of negligent homicide with many more on the way isn't enough for you?

Poll: Majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of coronavirus outbreak (The Hill  link): A majority of American voters disapprove of President Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak and believe he did not take the pandemic seriously enough at the beginning of the crisis, according to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll.

The survey found that 52 percent of voters disapprove of Trump's response to the global outbreak, while 44 percent approve of it. The findings represent little change from a similar poll conducted in March, which found 51 percent of Americans opposed how he was handling the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of respondents said they generally do not trust Trump's rhetoric about the virus, while just 36 percent said they do. This pales in comparison to Americans' trust of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they generally trust what the CDC says about the outbreak, while 60 percent said they trust Fauci. Meanwhile, 66 percent said they generally trust what their governors have said when it comes to the coronavirus.

An overwhelming majority of Americans - 65 percent - also said they believe that Trump did not take the coronavirus seriously enough when it first presented itself as a threat. Forty-five percent of those respondents said Trump is still not handling it well, while 20 percent said that his response has since become effective.

The U.S. has confirmed more than 735,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and roughly 39,000 deaths caused by it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.