In Trump’s own words

A Dana Milbank column at The Washington Post is to funny and to sad to bear

A Trump fireside chat — in his own (unfortunate) words

This blindsided the world! Who could have ever predicted a thing like this? This was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country.

I’ve always known this is a real, this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.

It’s a constant stream of contradictions and incoherence.

Walmart, opioids, and Trump administration

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.:

Opioids dispensed by Walmart pharmacies in Texas had killed customers who had overdosed. The pharmacists who dispensed those opioids had told the company they didn’t want to fill the prescriptions because they were coming from doctors who were running pill mills. They pleaded for help and guidance from Walmart’s corporate office.



Investigators had obtained records of similar cries for help from Walmart pharmacists all over the country: from Maine, North Carolina, Kansas and Washington, and other states. They reported hundreds of thousands of suspicious or inappropriate opioid prescriptions.



Before the Texas prosecutors could file their case, however, Walmart escalated concerns to high-ranking officials at the DOJ, who then intervened. Brown was ordered to stand down. On Aug. 31, 2018, Trump officials officially informed Walmart that the DOJ would decline to prosecute the company

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran

Interesting article in the NY Times about how scientists in nuclear research labs in the US aided the negotiations with Iran

It was over one of those dinners in Vienna last summer that several of the experts began wondering how they might find a face-saving way for Iran to convert its deep-underground enrichment plant at Fordo, a covert site exposed by the United States five years ago, into a research center. That would enable Iran to say the site was still open, and the United States could declare it was no longer a threat.“The question was what kind of experiment you can do deep underground,” recalled a participant in the dinner.

Source: Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran – NYTimes.com

Middle East Friendship Chart

Slate has a great interactive chart showing friend/ambivalent/enemy status between middle eastern countries. In the interactive version you can click on each cell and see the explanation.

Examples such as:

Graphical version

Ranking friendliness

Taking a -1, 0, +1 to rank the entities it seems Iraq is the only country with a surplus of friends and the US isn’t looking as bad as you’d think:

  • Al-Qaida: -10 (friends with no one)
  • Egypt: -6
  • Hamas: -3
  • Hezbollah: -2
  • Iran: -2
  • Iraq: +1
  • ISIS: -12 (everybody’s enemy)
  • Israel: -6
  • Palestinian Authority: 0
  • Saudi Arabia: -3
  • Syria: -5
  • Turkey: -4
  • US: -1

Making it friendlier?

If we ignore Al-Qaida (no one’s friend) and ISIS (everyone’s enemy) the results become a little more positive but still not an outpouring of friendship:
– Egypt: -4
– Hamas: -2
– Hezbollah: 0
– Iran: -1
– Iraq: +3
– Israel: -4
– Palestinian Authority: 2
– Saudi Arabia: -1
– Syria: -3
– Turkey: -2
– US: +1