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So the coronavirus is now starting to hit *hard* in Europe. Countries that once were smug about their handling of the situation, like Germany, are now finding out that nope, they’re not immune either. Germany’s infection rate is going up and up, and their death rate is rising too. France is even worse, the death rate in France is higher than in the United States.

I haven’t been posting on a daily basis because my job depends on having one product available and ready for a major billion dollar corporation next week. If we don’t have money from them, we’re out of business. So I’ve been basically working 9 to 9 on that. At least I don’t have to commute anymore, and can take breaks to do things like e.g. go shopping this afternoon.

Shopping was a weird experience. There was no shortage of bread, eggs, and milk, the basics I was looking for. They even had some luxury items in like Nathan’s All-Beef Franks and ‘kraut. I didn’t check on toilet paper, paper towels, or hand sanitizer, since I still have plenty of those. Most people were masked. Most people did social distancing, but not all. We had lines on the floor 6 feet apart to keep us 6 feet apart while waiting in line to check out. Reusable bags aren’t allowed anymore inside the store anymore because they’re a possible source of infection, so instead my groceries got put into the cart and I got to bag them at the tailgate of my Jeep. I was gloved and disinfected everything including my gloves, then when I took off the gloves, made sure to use the sanitizer on my hands (and on the key I’d used to unlock the Jeep!) before touching anything inside the Jeep. Unfortunately a few people did not do the social distancing, they were the same people wearing neither gloves nor mask.

They say that this thing is mostly being spread by asymptomatic people and the normal droplets they emit. So wearing a cloth mask is now recommended to keep you from infecting other people, even though it won’t stop you from being infected. We’ll see how that goes.

It looks like the red states are going to be failed states shortly. Meanwhile we seem to have flattened the curve a bit here in the SF Bay area by being out in front so early in social distancing and closing things down. Meanwhile distribution of gloves, gowns, and masks to hospitals has completely broken down. Some hospitals have hoarded closets full of the stuff, and other hospitals can’t get any no matter how much they want to pay. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that much of our supply of these goods come from China, and huge amounts were recalled because of contamination. Back in WW2 we dealt with that by having the Federal Government handle rationing via ration tickets and allocating critical goods so that they got to where they needed to be without any hoarding, and also price controls to keep profiteers from driving up prices of goods beyond the ability of ordinary citizens to pay, but that was when we had a functioning federal government with a competent President. Unfortunately we have neither of those now.

The Captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt jumped on a grenade for his crew. He knew he was ending his career when he sent a letter above his chain of command, a chain of command which was doing nothing to help his sailors, but he did it anyhow. He was relieved of his command quite loudly and publically… and his sailors were, let us say, respectful of him as he left his ship for the last time. To say the least. Many of those sailors, off the record, say that Captain Crozier was the best skipper they ever served under. I’ll also note that the TR didn’t have the running rust that I see on so many of our supercarriers today… it looks like a ship that’s taken care of. That’s what a good captain does, he inspires his sailors to go above and beyond.

I was somewhat surprised, actually, by the very public way in which Captain Crozier was relieved of duty. Usually the Pentagon, when a flag officer makes them look bad like that, said flag officer is “asked” (ordered, actually) to retire. A couple of weeks later he slinks off quietly to a rocking chair in civilian life, underneath the notice of the press but a warning to the other skippers that stepping out too far is not going to be tolerated. But for some reason the Trump Administration wanted to make a huge spectacle of this. It’s par for the course with the Trumpanzees, it’s all about spite with them, not about the good of the service. So now they’ve told the sailors in the U.S. Navy that they’re supposed to die of coronavirus in order to avoid making the perfumed princes in the Pentagon look bad. You know that has to be making moral go into the crapper, as well as causing a lot of powerful people like Senators to Have Questions that the Pentagon has no good answers to.

BTW, for those who say that his letter let our adversaries know that we had a disabled task force — no. Every single carrier task force out there has a Chinese submarine following it around reporting on its movements, as well as satellites, spy planes, and outright spies. The moment the TR came into dock in Guam and started offloading sick sailors, the Chinese knew what had happened. They knew the TR had stopped in Vietnam just as Vietnam’s COVID-19 epidemic was getting started. They aren’t idiots. They had civilization with cities and agriculture while we Europeans were still hanging out in caves with spears while dressed in bearskins. Expecting our adversaries to be stupid is, well, stupid. Because he stepped outside the chain of command Captain Crozier’s career was over the moment he jumped on that grenade for his crew, but usually that kind of thing gets handled quietly with no drama — the captain gets quietly told to retire, he retires, a new captain takes over, no drama. Now we’ve told our adversaries that we have fucking amateurs running our Navy. Yay.

Basically everybody at a local nursing home has the coronavirus. Nursing homes have been hell on Earth for at least the last 40 years. Nobody gave a shit because the prunes went there to die anyhow, so who the fuck cared if they died a little sooner rather than later? Now all the understaffing and lack of basic cleanliness and infection control is coming home to bite the assholes who own these hellholes on the ass. Well, at least we won’t have to worry about overcrowding in the nursing homes anymore. Because they’ll be fucking empty, yo.

Goodbye to Bill Withers, who passed away due to heart failure:

Ain’t no sunshine where he’s gone, six feet under.

So, Hobby Lobby illegally reopened stores in two states…. then when braced on it, Closed all stores and furloughed all employees without pay and without allowing them to use vacation time. Which, by the way, is illegal as hell here in California — you gotta pay them their vacation time. And by furloughing the employees rather than laying them off, Hobby Lobby also fucked with their unemployment benefits in many states. Hopefully state regulators come down on these sick Christofascist fucks like a ton of bricks and their shitty-ass stores never re-open. Assholes. Fucking assholes.

So in the red states, you still got the dumbasses insisting that the “beer virus” ain’t real. This shit is starting to knock them down like pins at a bowling alley, but they aren’t going to admit they ought to be paying attention to experts rather than deranged megachurch pastors and talk radio gasbags. But hell, these stupid-ass motherfuckers are gonna be denying there’s a such thing as COVID-19 all the way until the time they cough their lungs out in the middle of a Walmart and gasp their last breath as they slump over the handlebars of their Hoverrounds. These are some stupid-ass motherfuckers.

Oh yeah, the #Covidiots keep coming up with more conspiracy theories. Rush Limpdick’s conspiracy theory above was only one of them. Another one is that the whole coronavirus thing is actually because of the gay agenda. Which apparently flies over America with its gay ray of gayness sprinkling magic coronavirus particles everywhere or some shit.

Sprinkling gay coronavirus all over America since 2006

I dunno, these religious dumbasses don’t make sense, they don’t have to, because their sheeple are even dumber than they are..

Meanwhile the refrigerator trucks keep rolling into New York City to collect the bodies of the dead….

– Badthx the Plague Penguin

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I have to laugh at the ammosexual boobs who think the Viet Cong guerrillas won the Vietnam War and thus this proves that unorganized peasants with AK-47’s can defeat the US Army. They didn’t. They were totally destroyed as an effective fighting force in 1968 when the North Vietnamese deliberately sent them all into battle as a distraction against regular U.S. Army units.

All fighting after that was by regular units of the North Vietnamese Army vs regular units of the U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The NVA were armed with artillery and tanks and surface to air missiles but had trouble moving these into South Vietnam when they infiltrated units into South Vietnam, thus the illusion that the US was fighting a bunch of peasants armed with light weapons. But they weren’t. It was just that U.S. bombing made it hard to move the heavy weaponry into South Vietnam. Once the U.S. left the war and quit bombing, it turned into conventional warfare between conventional army units of the North Vietnamese Army and the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. It was regular units of the North Vietnamese Army backed by Soviet-provided tanks and Soviet-provided artillery, surface-to-air missiles, and other such heavy weapons who conquered South Vietnam, not some random civilians with AK-47’s.

The myth that the Viet Kong won the Vietnam War is an old one and a deep one, fed by stupid newspapermen and stupid movies and racism on the part of Army grunts over the course of decades. But in the end, it took tanks and artillery and other heavy weaponry to win the war for North Vietnam — not a buncha peasants armed with AK-47’s. All that the peasants ever managed to do was become dead bodies. Which is all that would happen if the ammosexuals decided to take on the U.S. Army, too.

– Badtux the Military Penguin

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So, you have the former director of the FBI saying this:

“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

And you have the news media following the aftermath of the raid on Twitler’s lawyer’s office, allegations that his fellow oligarchs paid off former mistresses, and so forth.

What to do, what to do….

Oh yeah, that thing.

So, Cheeto Mussolini fired off $224M worth of Tomahawk missiles at Syria to distract from all the bad news coming out about him. Meanwhile, Flint, Michigan, needs only $55M to replace its pipes so it’s no longer poisoning children.

But apparently a dictator poisoning his own people somewhere overseas is more important than our own children getting poisoned. Make America first! TruMp! tRump! TrUMp!

Yeah, are we tired of all this winning yet?

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End result: an Israeli F-16 is shot down after Syria launches a barrage of anti-aircraft missiles in response.

Well, there’s $30M down the drain. Bibi is apparently about to be indicted for corruption. So he needed a distraction. But this was one helluva risky distraction, and could have cost lives if the pilots hadn’t ejected when they couldn’t shake the missiles off their tail.

I wonder if the supposed Iranian drone was as real as the imaginary poison gas that Assad used against his own people?

– Badtux the Skeptical Penguin

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I made a funny, LOL. Because IOKIYR. Duh.

But the facts on the Niger incident are damning for the Trump administration. First, let’s talk about Niger for a bit. Niger is one of the most desolate, poorest countries on the planet. The Niger River passes through a small part of the country in the far southwest, but that’s the only large scale water supply, and it’s passing through mostly desolate desert with no attempts at large scale irrigation and large scale farming, meaning that most of the country’s food is imported. The imported food is paid for by exporting uranium, Niger’s one and only export — Niger accounts for about 8% of world-wide uranium production. Not enough to drive up the price of uranium enough to pay for developing the country, but enough to make it utterly dependent on the few customers for uranium. The country has virtually no roads of any kind beyond the southwest, and settlement away from the southwest is concentrated around wadis, small water holes. There are no roads to most of these wadis. You’ll be flying along over the desert on Google Earth, seeing a few tracks in the seemingly endless sand dunes, and suddenly you’ll pop over a hill and there’s a settlement built around a wadi. With no roads to it at all. It’s all mud brick walls and flat roofs and thousands of people living in these compounds. Any outside goods arrive via caravan over the trackless desert, where the moving dunes swiftly wipe out any attempt at building roads.

Niger has the ill fortune to border Libya to its north, so groups claiming to be ISIS have been filtering south to use Niger as a staging place for raids into Libya. The Niger military mostly doesn’t do anything in the north. Until recently Chad was part of an African Union force that was fighting ISIS in the north, but recently pulled out after President Trump dissed Chad by putting Chad onto a list of countries with a travel ban — despite the fact that there are no ISIS affiliates operating in Chad, period. Niger also has the ill fortune to border Mali to its west. Mali has been the source of an ISIS-affiliated terrorist group that Mali soldiers and French soldiers have been fighting for years, and which occasionally strays across the border into

But this event didn’t happen in the north where Chad until recently had been operating. This event happened in the southwest of the country, near a community called Tonga Tonga. At one point there was a road that went through the desert to Mali, but that road was never completed, it peters out in the desert roughly 20 miles before it gets to Mali. This part of the country isn’t the rolling sand dunes of the north. This is plateau and wash territory, dry arid gravel plateau with washes. The road roughly parallels one such wash, which serves as the final destination for water from hundreds of miles around and thus even though it rarely flows, water is not far beneath the ground. If you look at this wash on Google Earth, there are small towns that are between the wash and the road. One of these small towns is Tonga Tonga.

A delegation of U.S. specialists protected by a small number of Niger soldiers went to this town to talk to the village elders about digging wells, improving security, all that hearts and mind stuff. Leaving the town they were ambushed by what appears to be members of the ISIS-related group from Mali. This may seem surprising, in that you’d have to walk across the desert to get from Mali to the road. But the wash goes all the way into Mali, and is littered with wells and camel stockades and camel herders’ shelters. It’d be easy enough to walk down the wash from well to well, taking shelter during the day in camel herders’ shelters, until you got down to where the ambush happened. Doing so while going unnoticed, on the other hand, would be pretty much impossible. This is a desert wash. There isn’t any place to hide in it, no jungle, no trees, it’s just gravel. Clearly the village elders at this village knew that the ISIS militants were there. Indeed that was the first hint that something was wrong — as the Americans left the village, someone on a motorcycle took off ahead of them to warn the ambushers to be ready because the Americans were coming.

So anyhow, the U.S. and Niger soldiers were lightly armed, in regular pickup trucks and other light vehicles rather than in armored vehicles, and there was no backup from other U.S. soldiers. They were pinned down by the ambush. It took an hour even for them to relay a call to the French asking for help because they didn’t have any communications protocol set up for combat support. Then the U.S. Embassy detached some of its mercenaries to mount a rescue mission as the French fighter jets were circling overhead not knowing who it was they were supposed to be bombing, and it was mercenaries who ended up pulling their bacon out of the fire. Mostly.

Four Americans ended up dead. The question of how they could have been sent into danger without any kind of support hasn’t been answered. The question of why the U.S. didn’t send any of its other 1,000 troops in Niger to rescue them hasn’t been answered. Why there was no communications between the soldiers on the ground and the French jets overhead that were looking for a target to bomb, any target, hasn’t been answered. From my perspective it appears these kids were sent into a situation without intelligence, without the proper training and equipment to coordinate with the local allies or even their own forces, and basically hung out to dry. In short, a whole lot like Benghazi.

So when will Trey Gowdy start investigating His Fraudulency Donald the Trump’s Benghazi? When will the Secretary of Defense be called to the Senate Intelligence Committee to be grilled about the multiple failures of intelligence and support that led to these Americans dying in the desert? How many hearings will we have over the next three years grilling American officials about the multiple failures that led to these Americans’ deaths?

Oh wait. I forgot. It’s Okay (to have Americans killed by terrorists because of inadequate support) If You’re Republican.

Alrighty, then.

– Badtux the “Ben who?” Penguin

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Another one on Faux News. John Garofalo, 72, did some pro-Trump artwork and claimed to have served seven years as a Navy SEAL during Vietnam with numerous commendations and medals. Turns out, however, that he was lying. He was an aircraft handler — one of those guys wig-waggling the pilot to direct him where to park his plane, and moving planes around on the ground so they could be maintained. He never served in Vietnam. He never was awarded any medals. It was all a lie — a lie so that he could seem like a tough guy down at the VFW, I guess.

What I don’t get is this: What’s the point? When my dad got out of the Navy, he was happy to tell people that the only reason he joined the Navy was to avoid being sent up Hamburger Hill in Korea with a rifle in his hand, and he spent the entire war bobbing safely in the middle of the Pacific in a submarine tender, cooking spuds to serve to squids. He was happy to talk about his adventures — snorkeling in the crystal clear waters around Midway and the gooney birds there that made the whole place a giant shithole as well as made aircraft operations hazardous, a knife fight in San Diego, adventures in Tijuana — but combat? He wanted no part of that, and never claimed to want part of that. Not because he wasn’t an asshole — he was an asshole of major proportions, abusive and negligent in equal measures and ridiculously racist. But he just never had the need to blow himself up that way into something bigger than what he was. He may have been small-minded, but he wasn’t that kind of small-minded.

Not like Garofalo. Or like another person that I know of who has done much the same thing, claiming that injuries he got from an auto accident actually happened in combat, claiming that he was a SEAL when he was actually a cook at a Navy base, that kind of thing. Just baffling.

– Badtux the “WTF is with these people?” Penguin

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Donald Trump calls the mother of a dead soldier a liar a day after he told his widow that her husband “knew what he was signing up for”.

What an ass. Even George W. Bush of “Heckuva job Brownie” fame wasn’t that kind of ass. I mean, fuck. Donald Trump makes George W. Bush look good? How fucking bad is that?!

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump: No, when I walked into that recruiter’s office, I wasn’t signing up to die. I was signing up to, hopefully, make sure the nation’s enemies died. A bit of a difference there….

– Badtux the Military Penguin

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