Sorry for the inelegant headline, but…

We’ve all gotten used to hearing about the continued shenanigans of this corrupt administration: the purge of federal employees who earned Trump’s enmity by actually doing their jobs; the continued rollback of environmental protections; the cushy contracts with friends and supporters; etc.

We’d have had to be blind to have missed the central policy imperative motivating Trump–overturning anything and everything Obama ever did, no matter how sane, helpful or appropriate. That’s why one of the first things he did when he assumed office was dismantle the pandemic preparation task force Obama had established.

We’re also well aware of the incredible ineptitude of this administration. Governors and public health officials are pleading for coherent policies, for protective gear, for straight talk–none of which they are getting.

Okay. So we know he’s corrupt, insanely jealous of the black guy who preceded him, and totally ignorant of how government (and much else) works. But what explains this? 

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall reports

Let’s talk about these seizures of PPE goods by federal authorities. There are a number of instances of this and as I noted in the post below a number of reasons why it might be happening. There are numerous cases where orders placed by states or hospitals have been canceled after they have been outbid by federal authorities or federal authorities have ordered vendors to sell to the federal government. According to Kaiser Health News, those compelled sales appear to be pursuant to an executive order President Trump signed on March 18th under authorities granted by the Defense Production Act.

But what I’m more interested in are reports of federal authorities confiscating physical shipments en route to states, local governments or regional hospital systems. The most publicized case of this came at some point in March when, according to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a shipment of 3 million masks ordered through BJ’s Wholesale was seized by federal authorities in the Port of New York. Baker did not say which agency confiscated the goods or under what authority. That incident was what led to the widely reported and successful effort to fly goods in from China using the New England Patriots jet.

Another case happened just yesterday when the top county official in Somerset County, New Jersey, Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson, announced that a shipment of 35,000 masks had been confiscated by federal officials. According to this report in the Franklin Reporter and Advocate, “As of early in the afternoon of April 3, Robinson said that the county was told the surgical face masks would be delivered that day, but that the federal government had taken the N-95 masks.

Evidently, there have been a number of other, similar incidents reported, including what Marshall says is a “reliable report of a major non-governmental entity in the western United States having a major shipment seized by federal authorities at an airport in California.”

This is inexplicable–and just nuts. (Hence the “headline” of this post.) Every time Trump holds one of his briefing-cum-political-rallies,  he insists that the states are responsible for getting their own supplies and should only appeal to the federal government in emergencies. Why, then, would federal authorities be seizing shipments that states, local governments and major medical organizations have managed to locate and purchase?

As Marshall says,

In any case, we need to know more. States have been asking the federal government to take over the process of provisioning the country with these critical PPE goods. That at least would avoid states being forced to bid up prices by bidding against each other. After having FEMA swoop in and purchase ventilators that Colorado was in the process of buying, Gov. Jared Polis (D) said: “Either be in or out. [Either let] us know what we’re going to get and when we’re going to get them or stay out and let us buy them.” But these seizures of shipments are at best causing confusion for desperate states and hospitals. And they seem so haphazard that they are raising legitimate questions about whether they are being allocated to states in a preferential or politicized fashion.

If this was part of a legitimate FEMA effort to allocate supplies more equitably, the narcissist-in-chief would undoubtedly have bragged about it. So I repeat: WTF is going on?


  1. Thanks Sheila.
    I have been saying WTF just about every day since Trumpty Dumpty came out of his cave, “blessed” us with his “wisdom,” and graced us with his royal presence. Keep up the good work. Your blog is a first read almost every morning. And thanks to Pat McCarthy for introducing me to your website.

  2. What’s to understand? Simply put they are all greedy, unethical, immoral bastards. So move on to what you can do. As Camus put it, “The only way to fight a plague is with decency.”

  3. I’ve come to believe that there is no bottom to which the Trump criminal enterprise will sink. That said, the Republicans in Wisconsin and the courts – all the way to SCOTUS – have determined that the election will proceed today irrespective of the distancing and stay-at-home requests/edicts. They have given Wisconsin voters the choice of voting or risk getting a fatal disease. WTF? indeed.

    Then there is the firing of the U.S. Navy captain who attempted to protect his crew. The “acting” Sec.Nav. called is actions “stupid” in front of the crew that praised Capt. Crozier. Who is stupid here? It just keeps going and going.

    Well, Trump still has nine months in office to completely destroy the country and help in killing thousands more Americans because of all the traits listed in today’s blog. EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES, and now he is touching all of us. Stay tuned.

  4. Did anyone else see the MSNBC report yesterday afternoon regarding the “route taken” by the Governor of Illinois to outbid other states and the feds and to outright purchase much needed masks for their entire state’s medical personnel? If you saw the report, the term “route taken” will be understood. Can – WILL – Trump use his perceived cover-all presidential powers to intercept the delivery of these bought and paid for masks before they reach their destination? The ongoing medical, politi-feud between Trump and the Illinois Governor (I apologize for forgetting this man’s name) is only one of the uglier aspects of the Covid-19 Pandemic with thousands of lives at stake in this country. The ugliness is one-sided; the opposition where decency is based, is with the governors fighting the federal government for life-saving supplies for medical staff and all first-responders as well as the thousands of patients in their home states.

    Trump has told one truth, we are at war; but we are at war with our own government on a national level never before seen, more total and more dangerous to this country than the Civil War. Trump’s illegal and inhumane seizure of medical supplies, materials and equipment can result in a higher death toll than the Civil War and it is another internal war based on FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    WTF? needs no apology!

  5. This might be stating the obvious, but Trump is stalling because he intends to blame the governors for his own incompetency come November.

  6. Yes David, we heard that right from the horse’s mouth at one of those campaign rally news conferences! That admiral or whatever he was, talked about bringing in all of this PPE from overseas and then distributing it to the private middleman sector as mentioned in the article, so the government is using it’s pipelines and authorities to prop up specific vendors, interesting wouldn’t you say?

    Just like “Teflon Don” Trump and his family owning all of this stock in the manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine IE plaquenil. If you follow the money, you can best believe that these distributors in the private sector have some sort of financial connection to the family!

    Just like any mob or mob connected entity, they have to get their cut or nothing moves! If it wasn’t such a desperate time, it would be laughable, as it is so obvious!

    This Emperor Nero, figures if he loses money in the stock market, he can make it back in other ways.

    Like was mentioned earlier, in other threads, we are nothing but commodities! Huge piggy banks to be manipulated at the whim of Emperor Nero.

  7. Todd,

    Oh, absolutely. He’s lining up the Democratic governors, Adam Schiff, the impeachment process, etc., etc., as the blame game nears its November conclusion. Some of Trump’s acolytes are still screaming about Hillary’s e-mails and Benghazi. Why? Because the orange hairball simply cannot accept that he LOST the popular vote to her. Since Mrs. Clinton was among the worst campaigners ever and the inept DNC threw up on themselves constantly, she STILL beat Trump by almost 3 million votes.

    And we know and see every day what the yellow muskrat thinks, says and does with those who oppose him. It’s pure psychopath behavior and we’re stuck with it until January. Will any of us still be alive by then?

  8. The only thing that leaves me more speechless than this f’ing moron is the love and adoration his supporters heap on him.

  9. By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Sunday, November 2, 2014:

    “The infamous sign bearing the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work will set you free”) at the former Dachau concentration camp has been stolen, German police said on Sunday.

    The theft of the historic wrought iron gate, measuring 75 by 37 inches, happened overnight, police said in a statement, the Agence France Presse reported.

    The site has no surveillance system but is monitored by security guards, and the theft apparently took place between their rounds of the camp, AFP reported.”
    An unsubstantiated rumor has it that Trump stole it to help “kick off his Presidential campaign.” However, its exact location is still a mystery.

  10. You are all correct but don’t think Putin is not in on all of this. He is!

  11. Now this makes sense:
    Donald Trump Has Stake In Hydroxychloroquine Drugmaker: Report.

    Trump “has a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine, The New York Times reported Monday.

    In addition, Sanofi’s largest shareholders include a mutual fund company run by major Republican donor Ken Fisher, the paper said. Trump’s three family trusts, as of last year, each had investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding was Sanofi, according to the Times. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also had ties to the drugmaker, the Times reported.

    Really people the scramble is on, – How can Corporate America and the 1% profit off of misery and death???

  12. Come on now, don’t we all need a good laugh once in a while? Let’s don’t be so serious. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

  13. WADR to Sheila and all, the headline is more than “inelegant” , it is a sad reminder of the degeneration of our culture and communication. We are indeed again in the “roaring 20’s” where “anything goes” as long as it makes me feel good – the “libertarianization” of America, epitomized by the President who is loved by his followers because “he talks like I do”. He is in your head and mouth…

    We are better than this….

  14. As bad as Trump is, nothing compares with the Wisconsin Republicans requiring the primary go forward today (Tuesday) with in person voting to keep down voter turn out because of a State Supreme Court election on the ballot.

    Politics over exposing voters to coronavirus. I’m physically ill.

  15. Lester,

    He’s in their head and in their mouth, LOL! That’s a bad visual brother. But hey, it’s true!

  16. David–before I read your response–I thought to myself. Oh, we all know why the Feds are doing this and the reason is nefarious and that somebody is getting their pockets lined for it. Just think the worst because it is usually dead on with this administration and too many in the GOP.

    Who cares people are dying from this? Some donor’s or friends are getting rich off of the working class backs again. I am waiting for the military and police to be sent to our homes and forcing us to get to work–gotta save the billionaires–the rest of us are just expendable resources.

  17. The RNC as a business, following the one rule of business, make more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever, realizes that corrupt and incompetent governing has, or should have, electoral consequences. Like many businesses today they rely on advertising to control consumer’s minds as their primary avoidance of the fact that they have junk products. The advertising they use is primarily of the blame and brag variety and is based on Trump’s one competence, brand management through celebrity.

    The flow of campaign donations, their income, is used to advertise their candidates, their product line, to recruit votes. They have been on this business plan for decades and made it as effective as possible by sorting from the electorate those home team fans most loyal to the brand and most easily swayed by blame and brag. Simple politics as a business.

    Can simple competence and ethical governance compete with this RNC business plan?

  18. Monotonous – The one percent has always (with the notable New Deal exception) profited off misery and death. It’s called wage inequality, and when this disease is added to one percent-sponsored absence of universal healthcare coverage, Koch-sponsored right to work state legislation, Koch and other captures of university business schools (and thus their philosophies), and tax and bankruptcy codes that favor the rich and corporate class over the proles along with various other lord-serf arrangements under cover of law, we have (irrespective of our current mores and folkways and scientific advances) an essentially medieval arrangement, the only real difference being that in medieval Europe divinely-appointed royalty made no pretense that their serfs were not slaves, while here and now we bribe politicians to make or fail to make laws designed to cover such arrangement while the propaganda machines of the rich and corporate class incessantly tell us that we never had it so good, all when a cursory look at the economies and societies of the Nordic and other European countries tell us otherwise.

    So is capitalism at fault? I think that depends upon whether the one percent are willing either by consent or by force (as in Europe) to accept a measure of public control by us serfs which lead to a sharing of the wealth and income of our economy. Absent such an arrangement, I think that the one percent is asking for a new ism. Time will tell.

  19. As I’ve continued to point out, we are dealing with two epidemics at the same time:

    “A factor that Richardson neglected is the impact of the mass media of communication on the spread of attitudes of hostility or friendliness. Epidemics of ideas, attitudes, and fashions are not only carried by simple contagion of face-to-face communication but are air-borne by the swift dissemination of messages in news-papers, radio, television, and so on. [written before the internet]. The rapid spread of hostile attitudes, for instance, at the outbreak of a war may be attributed not to simple contagion but to the fact that almost everyone is in the same state of mind of a precarious balance between overt friendliness (or neutrality) and covert hostility and almost everyone receives the same information at the same time through the press and the radio, which tips the balance and causes a large-scale reversal of attitudes. At this point, simple epidemiological models are not particularly helpful, for what are involved are the symbolic aspects of the national image.
    Richardson’s COVERT-OVERT model may throw light on a good many dramatic phenomena in history—mass conversions, mass defections, and revolutions. Sometimes the existing social group retains the overt loyalty and support of the people at the same time that covertly, this support is being eroded away. This is particularly likely to be the case where the fear of violent consequences is an important element in the support of the existing group or regime. It is hardly too much to say that every group that attracts support by violence and terror will suffer an erosion of its covert support and that, if this goes on long enough, the group will be suddenly overthrown by a mass transfer to another group. The relative impermanence of particular tyrannies is clear testimony to this principle, even though the problem of replacing a tyranny by a better system rather than by another tyranny involves a deeper level of social dynamics THAT IS NOT ALWAYS ACHIEVED.”

    “Conflict and Defense-A General Theory” by Kenneth E. Boulding [Chapter 7, The Group As A Party To Conflict: THE EPIDEMIOLOGY MODEL] (Harper & Row, New York, 1962) pp. 143-4.

    See for a more in-depth understanding.

  20. In other words, the US government has become an armed gang that steals medical supplies from states, municipalities, and hospitals in the middle of a pandemic, then hands them off to political cronies to auction for the highest payoff.

    This isn’t a government. It’s a mafia.

  21. dateline NYC,mob hijacks semi truck, driver o.k.
    this is typical scenario of a mob hit,two guys walk up to a truck at a lite or dock produce weapons, drivers are well aware of the this move in the city, no one get hurt,you get out of the truck and walk away, smoke a cigarette,and then call your dispatcher first.. seems our own gov,has taken a page from trumps burg,(hometown)..imagine that..unless the u.s. marshall service has a warrent to sieze my load,or, my dispatch/broker contacted me by cell,and sent a email also, the original reciever gets his freight..i would also like to know,what the name of this trucking company.s is, and see if they are investor owned,and have a gov. contract.if the freight is on the dock, it takes a court order,papers served etc… pitting states against each other reminds me of how any foreign powers, carteels, banana republics,russia,, may act,when they have less than a reliable goverment.
    the wisconsin primary,we have now seen how states will back trump this november. we have now real time proceedures in state legislatures and courts that will undermine any laws.the thinking of wisc,supreme court,then the roberts court,maybe a view to the republicans plan.. this type of argument before the very court that is suppose to define the intent,of a law,those courts now say the health of the people,,be damn..its insanity to send a voting public into cold weather,during a pandemic,stand in lines and find only 5 places to vote in milwaukee are open..might as well told the democrates,GFYs,backbone is severly lacking in our own ranks. i read daily 6/8 news sites(various),and few if any,provide any opinions or any WTFs..i havent heard from chris hedges in awhile.. though he like a few others,breathe facts that are shoved up the ones involved ass, we politely read and listen… i will still say that wall street is the decission makers here.the republicans led by the rich,have taken over almost every detail now to thwart any move by any liberal entity,while the band plays on… the greed factory is pissed because we stopped the economy for,our needs,over theirs..greed is why,the shipments are reconsigned,without regard, its play by our game, make money,and screw the end user.. after all, we are all,going to pay for another bailout,designed by those we continue to elect..i received a letter from charles schumer,his flip the senate move..he wants me to danate and commit by signing his snowflake crap,useless…heres where the gloves should come off and have schumer take the podium in the senate and have some backbone to call mcconeel what he is, and call mcconnel out on his end game..instead we have this snowflake decorum and manners… we sit to watch the game,while few do any real time conversations about the real issue.. our elected all have failed,again..
    The WTFs are present,visable,and never openly discussed. we avoid conflict,and making the matters worse,,, thats the WTF?
    best wishes,washdapaws..

  22. Felix,

    Yup. Thing is, the information was available on Trump’s criminal enterprise for decades. But nobody had the balls to jail his ass. He’s been getting away with scamming everybody since the day he hit the ground. Criminals are criminals and cannot, psychologically, change. In Trump’s case, he has so internalized his own behavior that he has become a psychopath.

  23. Simple answer – Total ineptitude, starting at the top. The President is mentally ill.

  24. Vern,
    to be more realistic, that Capt was relievd of duty because he made a security risk on the preparedness of that ship. im fomer Navy,, and it has been done many times before.
    if the crew sees Capt Crozier as a man of the crew,then they have the sole right to
    commend him..the Capt makes daily decisions of that crew and ship. im sure they all
    had a very real reason why,they cheered him on his way out..

  25. Felix
    the has two previous stories in one article by bob dreyfuss 8/3/17
    about trump and kushners money laundering. theres two combined stories by james henry and greg unger,of newrepublic,in that story,about how russians used trumps buisness to launder money,and how russians who stole money, here,sent ot back to russia. many ties to manafort if ya keep reading from that onwards.

  26. The fact that we know we’re dealing with organized, political, crime is worthless, if you can’t do anything about it or if you just don’t have the necessary CIVIC COURAGE, as Pastor Deitrich Bonhoeffer so eloquently put it, before his execution by the Nazis in 1945.

  27. When Jared stood up and said, “It’s OUR stockpile,” I figured that I knew what was happening. To the Entitled Rich the point of having a stockpile is HAVING it — not using it. The rainy day the stockpile is for never comes because it’s about ownership.

    Remember when Trump accused doctors and nurses of “hoarding and doing worse than hoarding” the emergency supplies? Once again, the king of projection signaled what HE, not the medical professionals, is doing.

  28. So the NYT reports that Trump “has a small financial interest”in the French company that makes the compound he is touting? How do we know that the French company that makes the compound he is touting isn’t paying (as advertising fees) millions to Trump in some multi-layered trustee account in Europe (probably Zurich) for his post-presidential enjoyment or, as was the favorite method of money laundering of the Russians via shell corporations and other such legal ruses via third parties, substantial overpayment for his Florida real estate? We don’t.

  29. Gerald,

    “How do we know that …….We don’t.”

    At this point in time, coming from a former state, as well as, federal prosecutor, we sure as hell can bet on it. Just bet against him on any rotten action you can think of. That’s the best way to have a high batting average against a crook like Trump. If not, you will have to watch him day and night.

  30. Jack,

    Oh sure. When you have a CO who stands up for the troops/sailors, they will follow him anywhere. Crozier will become an instant martyr on that ship forever. Trump, of course, lacks the mental capacity to understand any of that.

  31. Vern,
    i met with many a draft dodger,and many had the reason why,,after the war, i seen why..
    trumps dodging was a plan,and made good by the likes of his dads influence,like many others. from that type of influence,i made alife long work, to make sure we knew who,and what, made such decisions. money,is not a name,but it is the reason..

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