home 

 photos

    One of many guiding principles
    "I find two opinions are better than one, particularly if one is mine,"
Sister Monica Joan, PBS Call The Midwife TV series


Tulsa Health Official Says Trump Rally Contributed to Surge in Virus


16 days after Trump's MAGA rally in Tulsa ... and we're seeing another spike

Time magazine reported yesterday: "Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa that drew thousands of people in late June, along with large protests that accompanied it, “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said."

Tulsa County reported 261 new cases Monday & 206 on Tuesday. “In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,” Dart said.

If any of these people, or the folks they infect, happen to die ... can we charge Trump with manslaughter?  Negligent homicide?  Knowing this, how about the Donald's upcoming appearance in New Hampshire, the "live free or die" state?

While posting this I've been listening to Asleep At The Wheel the Western Swing musical group playing their rendition of "Tulsa Straight Ahead."

Tulsa
There's a detour sign on the road that winds
Out on the broad highway
But the place for me is the sign I see
T U L S A straight ahead ...

posted with pride Friday 07.10.20

breaking news headlines ... stuff you'll have to read for yourself ... like this NPR report:

Trump's Fortune Could Be In Jeopardy With Supreme Court Decision

the Donald lost another case brought before the court he 'packed' [link]

posted  07.10.20    [sidebar: "Is it just me or does Trump’s neck look like ..."]


Why Biden's 12-Point Lead Over Trump Worries America (& Mike)

History justifies the need for Americans to worry, fret, & work non-stop for the next 120 days to GET OUT THE VOTE!

This morning's USA Today had a cover story: "Dems Still Haunted By '16 Loss.".   Uh, yea!  And with good reason.  Hillary won the popular vote by over three million votes ... but Trump pulled enough votes in 3 key swings states (like Michigan where he won by 10,000 votes, and PA, & WI) to win the electoral college.  It's the 2nd time the past 5 elections that the will-of-the-people would be ignored, and serves as my personal justification to eliminate the electoral college system. 

It just makes no sense today though I realize the GOP will never agree because they are the party in decline - they need to restrict the vote thru assorted acts of voter suppression in order to have a chance.   Just look at what they accomplished through the Supreme Court last week: another 5-4 conservative decision that allows the red-state of Alabama to not expand mail-in voting during the pandemic.  Kentucky normally has some 3,700 polling stations in a major primary election - this year: 200.  Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas & Arizona had similar declines in the voting places.  Reduced locations, reduced options for mail-voting, purged voter registration lists, and the ever popular technique: voter ID ... a tired argument, but it builds this belief among some radical right-wing extremists that there is a ton of voter fraud to worry about.  Fact is, that's false ... but its nearly impossible to have a discussion with a wing-nut when facts are involved ... they'd prefer to make up their own or just listen to Donald Trump's hunches.

The fact that Joe Biden leads Trump by as many as 12 points in some polls is not terribly reassuring to me.  Voting experts call it a landslide - personally, I just hate the thought that half of America thinks this guy is acceptable ... he's not!  I just can not figure out why Biden's lead isn't 40-pts.  Barely 32% of Americans say Trump's doing a good job.  I would assume the balance of Americans will support Biden, but that's not assured.  There is the "crazy factor" where countless voters just opt to sit on their hands & not even bother to vote.  "Why bother wasting time to stay informed; my vote won't make a difference; besides, I hate politics," they say.  It's that sentiment that contributed to Clinton's 2016 defeat; had as many voters turned-out in 2016 in Detroit as those who voted in 2008 when Barack Obama was leading the ticket, we would have never experienced the chaos and division that America has seen the past three years.  One city - Detroit - and their apathy allowed the state to go red and usher the Donald into the White House.

So until November 3rd I know I'll be a basket-case, and I suspect millions of Americans will too, which is why we can not let up - we must get the early vote in where its allowed by law ... we must keep encouraging people to make sure their registration to vote has not been tampered with, and encourage people to avoid 3rd party candidates.  Another vote for Jill Stein or Ralph Nader and we'll see a 2nd Trump term, and the end of America as we know it.

posted 07.06.20

Here's a headline that caught my attention (seems like a reasonable assumption to me) ...

Trump Believes That He Is Losing Because He Hasn’t Been Racist Enough

New York  Intelligencer  Magazine

Link - posted 07.07.20


Welcome to the Coronavirus Class War

Those who have suffered the least financial harm are the most supportive of reopening businesses.
An essay in the Atlantic magazine prompted thoughts: "why are we not together in this fight?"

Being the history buff that I am I enjoyed several shows on TV over the 4th of July weekend and was struck by the sense of national patriotism that's largely blanketed the country in times of crisis: be it wars or a response to being attacked, we'd come together.  Heck, following 9|11 George W. Bush's popularity doubled.  In past battles we'd come to the aid of our allies, we'd not leave a soldier behind.  "Over there, over there ... Send the word, send the word over there ... That the Yanks are coming ... And we won't come back 'til it's over, Over there!"  (George M. Cohan's rally cry for Americans heading off to save Europe in WW1, 1917).

So how is it that we've failed so terribly in our fight against this virus?  And why is it that it's become a political dog-fight, at least you feel that way after listening to Trump speeches, and or Fox News?  To hear these guys tell the story: Republicans are the good guys, eager to stomp out "hot spots" as they "reopen the country" and keep the economy rolling. They just never get around to explaining how these "embers" get stomped out, and by whom? 

Meanwhile, those evil mask-wearing Marxist, Commie, Socialist Liberal Democrats are portrayed as simply making a big deal out of the virus just to make the Donald look bad and thereby lose the re-election to 4-more-years of this insanity that the GOP thinks they deserve.  Mask wearing, recommended by the CDC, is avoided by the Trump base ... social distancing is ignored and folks flock to the beaches & parks so they can enjoy their annual 4th holiday picnics. 

My sub-headline above mentions an article in the Atlantic.  It's a worthy read.  Staff writer David Graham says:

"The coronavirus has created the same gulf between imagination and reality. It’s no accident that the iconic images of anti-lockdown protests feature not a beat-up old Accord or Taurus, but a gleaming, late-model Dodge truck. Putting that together with the polling, what emerges is a picture of a revolt against social-distancing guidelines that is mostly composed of wealthier Republicans who have been less directly affected by the economic fallout of the closures. Trump has described Americans who are ready to go back to work as “warriors.” If so, the war they’re fighting seems not to be against the virus, but against the working class."

The Atlantic link to read the full article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/class-war-over-social-distancing/611731/
The Atlantic article - text only: http://www.michaeldawson.com/051520-atlantic-graham-class-war-over-social-distancing.txt

posted 07.06.20


Trump Putting More American Lives At Risk

He could give Mt. Rushmore commemorative quarters if he wants to celebrate our heritage

The US Mint cranked out a millions & millions of America The Beautiful® Quarters, and get this: they are still just 25˘.  The Mount Rushmore commemorative coin was released in 2013.  There really was no need for the President to travel to S. Dakota; he could have just stayed home and handed out these beautiful keepsake coins in Lafayette Square and saved the nation over $1.8 million.  The added benefit to staying home?  How 'bout not risking the health of Americans at another selfish campaign rally at the iconic national park.   Oh, wait, those coins were issued during the Obama administration ... scratch that thought.

Speaking of big money, the former Fox News celebrity legal scholar famous for her impersonations of a street walker (or, lady-of-the-night, if you prefer) Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of President Trump’s eldest son who traveled to South Dakota is now the 3rd person closely associated with the administration to be tested positive for COVOVID-19.  Yikes.  Still got that mask handy, Mr. President?

Someone might say: "Whoa that pony, Mr. Big Shot Bean Counter ... what blue sky did you pluck that figure from?" Good question, Grasshopper ... round trip it's 3,260 miles from Washington DC to Mt. Rushmore.  According to Factba.se tracking of the official WH calendar the President & First Lady's entourage left DC @ 4:45 pm Friday returning  in the wee hours Saturday at 4:25 am ... a long day of campaigning: 11-hours, 40 min. @ an estimated $2,614/minute (*) ... or about $1,829,800.  Huh?  Yeah it sounds like a bunch of dough, but when you consider everything involved, the Donald probably would say its a big, beautiful bargain.  In addition to cases of MAGA hats, there are also a lot of cars, and trucks.  The typical motorcade requires 40-50 cars to reach airports at both ends of the trip so some have to be flown to the destination site by one of those beefy C5 Galaxy Cargo Planes that's also packed with helicopters.  Then we add staff, multiple security details, 2-pints of blood matching the president's blood type.  It takes up to 5 helicopters just to get to Andrews AFB, and Air Force One doesn't fly solo; there's at least one other 747 plane to serve as a "back-up" and/or diversion defense.  *travel cost fun facts compiled by WendoverProductions & shared on YouTube ... watch & learn.

Besides all the folks attending his rally in SD mentioned above that he put at risk, he's also endangered American lives thru his failed leadership of the pandemic - no country on Earth has anywhere near the deaths we've experienced in the US.  Need a refresher course on other Trumps actions that cost lives?  I posted an article below in March with a similar headline "Trump Supporters Put Lives At Risk - Over & Over".  You may wanna' read it.

It has been reported that the Russians were paying rebel fighter a bounty to kill US soldiers earlier this year, effectively placing a target on their backs.  The Donald initially said he wasn't briefed, then switched his excuse to "the acts couldn't be verified" to "some intelligence officers claim it never happened".  Perhaps he meant the intelligence officer at Fox News?  Tell us the name or department of this officer, Mr. President.  He has a habit of these non-specific references: "Leading Generals tell me..." or, "...a lot of people tell me" followed by a series of non sequiturs, and other head-scratching statements.  He's so full of it, it's disgusting.

Whether the Donald was or wasn't "briefed" by intelligence officers ... the item was in his Presidential Daily Briefing (PBD) February 27.  Likely, the man who avoids such details, preferring to govern by his hunches and the seat of his pants, influenced by the last guy to have his ear, never read the most important report presented to the President and his closest advisors, daily.  Regardless, he's aware of the matter now ... so what's he doing about it?  Nothing - he's calling it another "hoax".  Sorry Donald, the facts are against you on this one, too.  It's been reported that analysts have tracked and confirmed payments by the Russian intelligence agency to factions of the Taliban. 

So how can we deal with this guy?  He must know when prosecutors tried to put gangster Al Capone away for good they had to charge him with tax evasion ... not murder or racketeering.  Sometimes you just have to take whatever guilty sentence we can get that can't be appealed to end this disastrous stretch of ruination and carnage brought to the world by the Republican Party and that basket of Deplorable Wing-Nut Voters. Perhaps the day after President Joe Biden is sworn-in we can begin prosecution of Trump so that he'll never be out of custody - ever again.

As I'm writing this I'm listening to some of my favorite patriotic-like tunes to celebrate the 4th of July: Mitch Miller's Orchestra playing an invigorating rendition of the March From The River Kwai.  Earlier: Democracy by Judy Collins, Graham Nash's military madness, Crosby Stills Nash Ohio, Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan and others ... just to get me into he mood.  Might be good if you did the same while reading more about this disgraceful man.

Happy Birthday, America!   07.04.20

We Can Do This If We Employ National Health Policies

(like we used to in the good old days)

The Trump administration wants to simply "will it away" and we have plenty of mindless citizens who either don't care, don't give it a thought, or doubt that the virus is not really a big deal.  Several of my former co-workers have expressed thoughts like "cloth masks, the ones being made out of t-shirts, hankies, fabrics, do nothing."    Um, actually that's terribly false - other commercially manufactured masks may be more effective, but given the shortages of PPE people will do what they can - and yes, homemade masks can and does reduce the spread of the disease. [source]

Maybe they agree with the Donald when he says: "it's a hoax ... an effort by the "fake news" to discredit his presidency.  No Mr. Trump, you're doing that nicely all on your own.  America is No. 1 for all the wrong reasons when it comes to managing this pandemic - even though his predecessors had multiple action plans for just this sort of catastrophe.  Last evening Rachel Maddow interviewed Dr. Howard Koh one of the persons who was trying to help us prepare a federal response for the Obama administration during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.  Dr. Koh makes a compelling case given the surge in outbreaks (new cases now exceed 50,000 cases daily) that what America needs is a national mask policy as other countries have done who successfully mitigated the spread and transmission of the virus.

Length of the video clip is 7:49 ... on YouTube.

07.02.20

Why Republicans Made It Political To Wear A Mask (and why its just so wrong)

Why is wearing a mask or protective facial covering suddenly a political football?  Because Republicans have come to realize that all down-ballot elections including the fate of the Senate is based on their ability to demonize Democrats & Independents as evil, law-breakers who favor anarchy, looting, civil unrest and the destruction of our heritage (tearing down Confederate statues).  Republicans (and Trump) want to pretend that Coronavirus is fading and it's the "fake news media" and Democrats who continue to make the virus an issue.  Forget the fact that this past week America has experienced more new cases of the virus than any week so far in this pandemic ... hundreds of times more cases per capita than any other country on the planet. 

Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask - as previously reported he's been seen wearing a mask in public only once.  As a result, few people in the West Wing wear masks - one exception, according to Politico is "Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, has sometimes worn a mask. Maybe he knows something: his wife is a former CDC microbiologist."  The opinion page of this morning's USA Today includes a piece "Not wearing masks is suicidal - Hong Kong proves they prevent virus spread" written by Scott Harris, an American reporter now working from Hong Kong.  The Washington Post reports that increasingly even some Republicans are pushing back against Trump's position that mask-wearing is a sign of weakness or political correctness.  Some 58% of Republican voters wear masks most of the time when they're away from home, compared to 89% of Democrats.

I've worn masks for years ... had one on yesterday while mowing the lawn due to the pollen and dust.  Wear 'em too when woodworking to minimize the amount of dust I inhale.  When visiting Florida the 1st time in my life, as pictured above right, my parents made sure to cover their fair-skinned, blue-eyed boy.  But many of my relatives refuse to wear 'em - insisting the masks do nothing to keep them safe from the virus ... some incorrectly reference current OSHA and CDC recommendations, others claim masks are an infringement on their civil liberties ... though they can't specify any details of what they call their "Constitutional Rights!"  It's a sign of the times and illustrative of this political divide that seems to work its way into all aspects of life.  In the same issue of USA Today another article addressed mail-in voting plans for our upcoming general election ... and we have the same sort of manufactured nonsense with voting this year thanks to Trump's Scare Tactics claiming potential fraud (even though he regularly uses absentee ballots).  Republicans fear losing badly this fall, and want to blame it on everything but their own crazy notions and shameful rhetoric.   Fox News host Laura Ingraham illustrates the wing-nut posture as she makes-up an objection to voting by mail: “social control over large populations is achieved through fear and intimidation and suppression of free thought” and “conditioning the public through propaganda is also key, new dogmas replace good old common sense.”  I'm just glad that the number of Republicans in America is dwindling fast ... and voters can help expedite the process by voting 'em out of office up & down the ballot.

[Note: I wrote about this on 06.29.20 and posted it on my generic "index" page ... which is a minor mistake that I have no problem admitting and correcting unlike Kayleigh McEnany, Trump's disgusting Press Sec't].  I had thought the retro vintage mask photo from my youth may give this topic some cross-over appeal.  Wrong.  It is overtly political and also just common sense ... so I moved it here with other political observations.)

07.02.20


Memo to Washington DC: We Need Leadership To Guide A National Plan

And we need it now.  The lunatic in the White House thinks the pandemic is bad for his re-election chances so rather than guiding his administration to lead, they've opted to obstruct and pretend it's going away.  NEWSFLASH: it's not going away - yesterday we set another new record for daily new infections.  The $600/week stimulus program is slated to end next month, as is FHFA's Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium.  Meanwhile your taxpayer dollars paid for the Donald to appear with Sean Hannity at a Fox News Town Hall-style campaign gathering in another battleground state: Wisconsin ... not wearing a mask even though the audience was required to wear essential protective covering as several members of Trump's Secret Service detail are quarantined because they were exposed to the virus during Trump's recent campaign appearances in another battleground state: Arizona.  About the only good news about those trips is the latest polling that shows Trump is losing badly in both of those states as well as PA, FL, and MI ... all states where Trump barely won in 2016.

What the nation really needs is leadership.  Trump's administration has put the people who know how to manage this pandemic on the back shelf, insisting the he alone knew how to fix it.  Think back to his disastrous daily mini-campaign rallies disguised as "press briefings" when the president claimed there were only a handful of cases and we'd be down to zero in a matter of days.  Then flash-forward to today's total body count ... more than 124,416 Americans have died from the virus since March 1st.

We really do know a great deal about how to minimize the affects of this virus and how to keep people safe and eventually how to keep our economy rolling again.  The trajectory we're currently on is not sustainable.  The virus in states to the South & Western USA that are currently raging & spreading like crazy are jeopardizing citizens states that are currently managing the spread nicely (like NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI, VT, NH, ND, RI, DC, PA, MI, IN, IL, ND, SD, ME, & VA where the rate of new infections are flat of declining - see article below).

What virtually all the experts advocate is a coordinated national plan, including funding & direction, that includes more testing (not less, Donald), contract tracing to identify outbreaks and specific people who may have become infected, and plans for isolation & quarantine those who can not safely shelter in their homes.  That's what other countries have done throughout Europe and elsewhere that have succeeded in "flattening the curve".  American's need to insist that the CDC be allowed to do their job as they used to without Trumpian interference.

posted 06.26.20


America Didn’t Give Up on Covid-19 ... Republicans Did

Partisanship has crippled our response

by Paul Krugman
"Earlier this year much of America went through hell as the nation struggled to deal with Covid-19.  More than 120,000 Americans have now died; more than 20 million have lost their jobs. But it’s looking as if all those sacrifices were in vain. We never really got the coronavirus under control, and now infections, while they have fallen to a quite low level in the New York area, the pandemic’s original epicenter, are surging in much of the rest of the country."

"And the bad news isn’t just a result of more testing. In new hot spots like Arizona — where testing capacity is being overwhelmed — and Houston the fraction of tests coming up positive is soaring, which shows that the disease is spreading rapidly. It didn’t have to be this way. The European Union, a hugely diverse area with a larger population than the U.S., has been far more successful at limiting the spread of Covid-19 than we have. What went wrong? ... "

" ... Americans didn’t fail the Covid-19 test; Republicans did. After all, the Northeast, with its largely Democratic governors, has been appropriately cautious about reopening, and its numbers look like Europe’s. California and Washington are blue states that are seeing a rise in cases, but it’s from a relatively low base, and their Democratic governors are taking actions like requiring the use of face masks and seem ready to reverse their reopening. So the really bad news is coming from Republican-controlled states, especially Arizona, Florida and Texas, which rushed to reopen and, while some are now pausing, haven’t reversed course. If the Northeast looks like Europe, the South is starting to look like Brazil..."

Yes there is more!  And you too can read the rest of this NY Times opinion article:  text version (ad-free)
or online @ NY Times website: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/opinion/coronavirus-republicans.html


29 States Where Virus Spread Is Increasing ... Not Surprising

California is the exception, the outlier.  After initially embracing mitigation efforts when the Coronavirus first began raging, the West Coast shifted & embraced "reopening" and returned to living dangerously.  Like most of my relatives, they avoid wearing masks, they ignore "stay at home" recommendations, and behave as if they can simply "will this away" and engage in variations of mindless Trump Happy Talk.  Sorry to say you can not just will it away; it doesn't work that way.  New cases of the virus immediately began to spike in states like:  Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, both Carolinas ... okay, it's easier to simply say: deep South & Western states who largely ignored mitigation efforts previously, are now overwhelmed with new infections.  I don't feel sorry for them but I am pissed because their carelessness is jeopardizing the health of the entire nation.  Especially when you add the fact that leadership from our national government is virtually non-existent.

If your brain processes this sort of information better when graphics & charts are displayed along side the numbers, there is a great info source you should consider bookmarking (and checking daily).  I've mentioned the source previously where you'll find these graphs & data for each county of each state as shown below at the following website: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html  
Perhaps you can share it with your friends and relatives who continue to deny the severity of this crisis.  BTW: unlike financial reports and that snapshot of your 401K plan you have framed in your den ... where "up" is good, down is "bad" these illustrations are just the reverse "upward" trends signify a rise or increase in the virus spread ... which means an increase in sick people.

posted with pride 06.25.20


Trump Continues To Baamboozle His Base ... Slowly They're Bolting

LA TIMES: "Trump campaigns on border wall progress. There’s not much of it"
Washington Post:  "People are sawing through and climbing over Trump’s border wall"

Likely every evening news program in America included images of President Trump at his famed border wall Tuesday when he took his campaign back on-the-road-again ... spending tax-payer dollars to promote is 2016 campaign pledge to build a wall (and make Mexico pay for it).   Yep, the Arizona trip and cost of transporting his staff and Secret Service detail is being covered by your tax dollars and mine ... and sadly very few members of the "fake news media" bothered to cover the real story ... which is: to-date just 3 miles of new border wall has been constructed during the Donald's reign of terror, which is one mile more since I last wrote about the  Donald's Shell Game  2-months ago.  And get this: even though Trump has spent $15 billion on the project so far ... migrants are cutting holes in the wall to sneak into the USA!  I was glad to find 2 stories that confirmed these facts, and both articles were published in two of the country's finest newspapers:

Los Angles Times reporter Eli Stokols writes: "President Trump, whose plans to campaign on a booming economy were ruined by the coronavirus, traveled Tuesday to the southern edge of Arizona to highlight completion of “more than 200 miles of powerful border wall” with Mexico. He didn’t mention the fine print. Nearly all 216 miles built since Trump took office replaced outdated or dilapidated fencing. Only about “three miles of new border wall system [have been] constructed in locations where no barriers previously existed,” according to Homeland Security’s June 19 status report on the wall. Trump repeatedly pledged during and after his 2016 campaign that he’d make Mexico pay for “a big beautiful wall” on the entire 1,954-mile border. So far, the Trump administration has spent $15 billion on the project. Mexico has not contributed anything."  [link to Eli Stokols complete report]

Washington Post - June 4, 2020: "U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked contractors for help making President Trump’s border wall more difficult to climb over and cut through, an acknowledgment that the design currently being installed along hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico boundary remains vulnerable."  [link to WAPO article]

In a perfect world the facts (3 freaking miles of border wall at a cost of $15 billion US taxpayer dollars) would have been the lead story about the trip - instead, the media wanted to dwell only on the dinky crowd who largely opted to not wear masks.  So it bears repeating, particularly for those voters who are beginning to doubt President Trump's leadership ... to date only 3 miles of new border wall has been constructed ... and criminals have found ways to get around it.

posted in disgust 06.24.20


A Public Trump Campaign Rally During Pandemic: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

NY Times - Annie Karni & Maggie Haberman report: "President Trump and several staff members stood backstage and gazed at the empty Bank of Oklahoma Center in horror ... The president, who had been warned aboard Air Force One that the crowds at the arena were smaller than expected, was stunned, and he yelled at aides backstage while looking at the endless rows of empty blue seats in the upper bowl of the stadium, according to four people familiar with what took place. Brad Parscale, the campaign manager who had put the event together, was not present."  Just love that voters are increasingly being shown how unstable this self-proclaimed genius really is.  Unstable, unqualified.

CNBC reports: "they did have empty seats. Approximately 13,000 of them, according to the Tulsa Fire Marshal, who counted slightly less than 6,200 attendees at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Arena on Saturday night.  Shortly before Trump took the stage, construction crews dismantled the outdoor “overflow” space near the arena, after it was clear there wouldn’t be enough people to fill it. Trump and his campaign were quick to blame protesters outside the arena for scaring away prospective rally goers. They also blamed the media for reporting extensively on the risks associated with attending a massive indoor gathering during the coronavirus pandemic, especially one where neither masks nor social distancing are required. Early Sunday morning, it was still unclear precisely what had accounted for the massive discrepancy between the number of ticket requests the Trump campaign said it received, and the number of people who showed up in Tulsa."

Associated Press: "huge swaths of empty seats remained in the downtown arena before Trump was to take the stage. And that came on the heels of the campaign revealing that six staff members who were helping set up for the event had tested positive for the virus."

Forbes: "The rally has been marred by controversy since it was first announced, both for the fact that it was originally planned on Juneteenth, a holiday of great significance to African Americans, and due to the dire public health implications of a large indoor rally during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Public health experts, including some from the Trump administration, had warned against the rally."

Laughable:  hoodwinked, shrinking base of Republicans blame others for their own failures. 
posted 06.21.20 updated 06.22.20


Another Bad Day ... Bad Week For Your Incompetent, Failing President

1. Photo Op at West Point Graduation Didn't Go Well ... 2. National Polling Shows Trump Support Tanking ...
3. Defense Sec't & Joint Chiefs Chairman Express Regret About Trump's Other Photo Op ...
4. Judge rules: 'Gross abuse' of power in Flynn case

Perhaps the strain is beginning to affect Donald Trump.  The New York Daily News was one of the first national news sources to report it:  "He’s trembling again. President Trump struggled to lift a glass of water Saturday during his speech to U.S. Military Academy graduates at West Point."

After all, his polling numbers have tanked as voters question the lack of a national, coordinated response to the pandemic.  No national plan on testing, no contact-tracing guidance to states, no orchestrated approach to secure PPE (personal protective equipment).  The administration's CORONA-Virus Task Force has stopped it's daily or even weekly meetings; no regular updates from the CDC ... Trump just wants to put on a happy face, and engage in happy talk at events where he refuses to display any sense of leadership by wearing a mask or respecting social distancing. "Not a good look," he says.  Meanwhile, with his wind-swept comb-over this sweaty, obese figure addresses the solemn audience in New York where he struggles, Marco Rubio style, to gulp a bit of water.  The smattering of applause from his staff belies the indifference displayed by the graduating audience.   Embarrassing.  

Nineteen straight days of protests from coast-to-coast has over-shadowed the administration's efforts to change the narrative.  As badly as Trump wants to run away from the pandemic, and who can blame him  after his disastrous daily briefings backfired on him (Trump asks about injecting patients with disinfectant' and UV light to treat coronavirus ... doubt me? Watch the freaking video.)

The 4th example of the Donald's bad week on Pennsylvania Avenue involves one of his first official acts, barely a month into the job, when he fired his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying.  Trump convinced Attorney General Billy Barr to drop prosecution of the case even though Flynn admitted multiple times that he was guilty.  The trouble with Barr's interference was not appreciated by the U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, the judge in Flynn's case, who sought out the opinion from retired Federal Judge John Gleeson.  Gleeson's scathing 82-pg opinion says in part that Bill Barr's argument is  “preposterous” and a "gross abuse of power".   [news source

Overall, another bad week for our one-term President.

posted 06.14.20


Time For Republicans To Grow A Spine & Neutralize This Incompetent President

Let Him Complete His Term ... But Temporarily Remove 100% Of Trump's Ability To Destroy Our Nation

I've had this thought for months but have stifled the temptation to post it here on my web-page.  I figured:  WTF, our election is just 142 days away (14 hours, 26 minutes, 43 seconds).  But after the latest disgraceful act of total incompetence, Trump has proven that he's too dangerous, too flawed, to spend another week in office.

He needs to be impeached and removed from officeNow.  The final straw, for me, was Trump's order to deploy the US Military against Americans engaged in a legal protest in Lafayette Park across from the White House.  The related charges against President Trump are well documented below. 

In his 3-yrs in office Trump has "accomplished" just 2 things: he's gotten a slew of judges approved to lifetime appointments to assorted federal courts and, his tax cuts for the wealthy ... everything else that has happened is either a negative development (like providing zero leadership helping the world deal with the pandemic) and/or some bizarre stance or position on matters that virtually no one else on the planet advocated such as withdrawing from the Iran Nuke Deal, or pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, or defunding NATO and the WHO, or building a border wall that supposedly Mexico would pay for, etc., etc.  Some whack-a-doodle Republicans may claim today that they support the president but they're a dinky minority and likely those same hypocrites were previously card carrying members of the "never Trump" coalition.  I'm giving a nod to Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, and more. 

And yes, Fox News loves the Donald.  He's good for their ratings.  Consider Trump's unofficial kitchen cabinet advisor, Sean Hannity, who previously advocated multiple harebrained ideas like the "penny tax" (cut one cent from every dollar of federal spending for five years).  Considering that Hannity's prior work experience that qualifies him to guiding the President included stints bartending and working as a construction site grunt (his description, not mine) one has to wonder.  But then again, I have wondered about a great number of things since Hillary Clinton secured roughly 3 million more votes than Trump in November 2016 ... how on Earth did this happen?   Well, that's a topic that's been debated and hashed over for 3+ years including plenty of thoughts below - but the issue at hand today is simple: are we going to do something before it's too late and the nation is embroiled in more fighting, perhaps even attacks from foreign powers who see the weakness Trump has brought?  Are we going to risk deeper Constitutional battles?  Consider this: what do we do when Trump is beaten badly by Joe Biden but refuses to acknowledge the results of the election & refuses to leave?

We can't risk it.  The Donald must be afforded  the option of being removed from office through impeachment, or agreeing to a series of conditions which puts the so-called Gang of Eight (GoE) in-charge until such time as Joe Biden is inaugurated.  The Gang of Eight refers to the Congressional leaders (House & Senate minority & majority leaders) as well as the House & Senate Intelligence committees.  [read more about 'em.]

So Trump can agree to exit now and turn the keys to the WH over to VP Mike Pence.  Or, he can stay essentially as a figure head until Biden wins and moves in ... with the GoE handling all official business normally tackled by the President's administration.  Trump relinquishes the "nuclear football" and all launch codes are revised, and agrees all Twitter messages he wishes to post between now and January 21, 2021 must be approved in advance by the GoE.  Trump can not sign any Executive Orders and the White House staff will report to the GoE, not to Trump.  Naturally Jared & Ivanka are furloughed, as are most other non-essential Trump appointees.  Rather than the President signing any future legislation passed by Congress, the GoE will serve in that capacity.

In the event there is disagreement among the GoE, like a silly 4-4 tie ... Nancy Pelosi will have the authority of make the final decisions.  Why Pelosi?  Well, since the Republicans did not have the courage to confront Trump until now when things have gotten so desperate they've sort of lost the nation's confidence.  In short: they're not worthy.

Foreign governments will be advised: contact the GoE on any serious international matters.  Trump will be permitted to stay in office to finish his term of office, period.  On the day Biden is sworn in, the legal proceedings against Trump can begin.  What legal proceedings, you ask?  Well, there are a laundry list of matters that have piled up these past 3-yrs that can now be adjudicated:  such as the bribes paid to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, income tax evasion prior to 2017 as well as campaign financing violations (like those which sent his former attorney Michael Cohen to prison). 

Trump will also be held to account for violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and other manners in which Trump attempted to enrich himself and his family during his reign of terror.  Trump will also reimburse the federal government for all excessive fees paid to any of his properties (like the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Secret Service details paid for rooms, meals, golf cart rentals, and such). Any class-action lawsuits for violating immigrants rights to due process may proceed as part of Trump's agreement with the GoE whereby the Donald voluntarily waives any rights he may have thought he had for immunity from prosecution. 

Any public appearances or communications with the media (including Fox and One America) must be approved in writing in advance.  No interviews from the White House lawn, no rallies or any travel that requires a Secret Service detail (because the current headcount of Secret Service agents will not be increased, and current staffing now must protect the GoE).  The GoE has the right to replace members of the Trump cabinet including appointing a new Attorney General for the duration of the current term.  The GoE also has the right to release the un-redacted version of the Mueller Report allowing all citizens to see for themselves the evidence that Republicans have spent the past 3-yrs attempting to hide. Trump also loses the ability of issuing pardons and clemency for the remainder of his current term.

[Mike's still pondering this proposal...and welcomes any feedback from thoughtful persons.  The genius of this fundamental, novel solution to America's critical moment in time is breathtaking and yet simple...let's get it done!]

posted 06.13.20 - updated 06.14.20 ... see article above: "Trump has trouble lifting glass of water and walking down stairs at West Point graduation" reports NY Daily News.


It Should Matter To Voters: Early lockdowns could have saved lives

Through all the distractions created by Mr. Trump we can't lose sight of the facts - he is unfit for the office

USA Today reports: " The United States responded later to the pandemic than the rest of the world, implementing lockdown and social distancing restrictions in mid-March. A study from Columbia University published in MedRxiv shows the delayed response may have cost thousands of lives in a matter of weeks. According to the report, if the country had adopted lockdown measures one week earlier, it would have avoided 703,975 confirmed cases and 35,927 deaths as of May 3." 

The President could change his administration's policies and actually demonstrate leadership to mitigate early failures in handling the pandemic, but I doubt seriously that he will because in his dinky brain that would require that he admit he's been wrong.  That's something he has refused to do ever since he was elected.  Instead his day is filled with activities, Tweets & political stunts geared to deflect the focus on his failures and distract the American voters in an effort to hold onto the White House.  That is what makes this the #1 story of the year and will remain at the top of this page until some other development becomes more significant ... like: "Trump Hospitalized With Virus"  or "GOP Senate Tired Of Trump's Failed Leadership & Votes to Re-open Impeachment Trial" something along those lines.

posted 05.28.20  [see original story about the Columbia Univ. study below.]


Trump's Dwindling Base On Wrong Side Of History

Crybaby President sends CNN "cease & desist letter"
when the network reports Trump trailing the former vice president Biden by 14 points, 55%-41% 

CNN's news reports based on SSRS Research polling shows "the President's approval rating at 38% ... roughly on par with approval ratings for one-term Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their reelection years -- and his disapproval rating at 57%." 

Personally, I am amazed that Trump's polling is that high.  Seriously, I can not understand why any voter would be in support of this buffoon. 

His "law-n-order" pledge last week to clear out legal protestors from Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, using tear-gas, pepper-spray and federal troops has been critiqued by hundreds of retired U.S. Generals and other military experts. 

"Walking like lapdogs behind a five-time draft dodging coward who is more interested in looking like a leader than actually being one," said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both legs in combat as a military helicopter pilot in Iraq, said of Esper and Milley, "sends a horrifying message to our troops — including our black and brown troops — that our military's leaders will not protect them from unlawful orders."  But Senator, the Donald wanted a photo-op moment to appease his base.

posted 06.10.20


Trump’s version of the Gettysburg Address

The other night on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon dug up & read the Gettysburg Address as if it were written by Donald Trump.

Video clip (jump to 3:30 mark); Audio only

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers – terrific people,
fantastic fathers – brought forth on this continent a new nation
conceived in liberty – beautiful thing, liberty – and dedicated to
the proposition that all men are created equal, the most equal,
couldn’t be more equal. We are met on a great battlefield – a
great classy field everyone says it’s really classy and we’re
going to dedicate it to those who gave their lives. But, in a
larger sense, we’re going to dedicate it to me. We’ll put up a
sign, a big beautiful sign that says “Lincoln Field” in huge
gold letters, with golf course and a pro club and cabana
bar. Now we are engaged in a great civil war – and it’s very
unfair how I’ve been treated during this war. The newspapers
have not treated Lincoln nicely. They’ve said nasty things.
Very nasty. You don’t see them saying these bad things
about Sleepy General Sherman, or Creepy Custer
Sad! We here highly resolve that this nation, under God
great God by the way – good friend of mine, shall have a new
birth of freedom … especially when it comes to the 2nd
amendment. Everyone has the freedom to fire a rifle, place a
new bullet from a pouch in the barrel, bite off the end of a gun
powder pouch, take out a long stick shove all of that down
into the barrel, and fire again. And if the people want to fire as
many as one bullet every three minutes, no government should
be able to stop them. Not even a Lincoln government. And
that government of Lincoln, by Lincoln, for Lincoln, shall
not perish from the Earth. OK, if you need me, I’ll be in my
bunker. Be best.

posted 06.05.20


Initially DJT's Advisors Were Split: Should He Side With Protestors or Oppose?

President tried a middle-of-the-road strategy for about 1/2 a day & then did a typical Trumpian 180°  flip-flop

It didn't last.  Perhaps Sean Hannity had called POTUS and mapped-out the strategery ... or, maybe it was Steve Bannon who called because about 6-hrs after Trump Tweeted this "80%" message [left] he sighted a story from Breitbart News with a similar rant.  By the evening, after posting this conciliatory sort of Twitter message Saturday, the President pivoted and called the protestors "THUGS" and terrorists.  That really is more like the President the majority of Americans have come to know (53% disapprove of his job performance says Quinnipiac*).

Trouble is, the outside agitator argument appears not to be true.  USA Today studied the info about protestors arrested, and those actively Tweeting during the violent stages of the protest and determined: "Agitators at protests are mostly are homegrown".   Sort of shoots down the popular narrative, doesn't it?   And here I was thinking that the white supremacist instigators had driven north from some Confederate state only to party-down & cause mayhem ... which only proves I can be wrong once in a while, too.  At least I have no problem admitting it ... and the Donald can never admit when he's wrong.  Regardless, I support the peaceful protestors and think the violence and destruction only hurts the chances that anything positive can come from all of this mess.  And with the virus rampant, I can't help but think these communities where protests took place will see a spike in COVID-19 infections over the next 2-weeks ... further impacting minorities and people of color.  

Anyway, USA Today continued: "Experts said the “outside agitator” trope can unite local politicians looking to assign blame without taking a side."  The Donald fell into that camp for a while before flip-flopping and claiming terrorists were on the run.  [Mental Soundtrack: "Band On The Run" by McCartney & Wings.]

"The overwhelming majority of people who posted on social media from the precinct fire and those arrested Friday night at the protests in the Twin Cities live in the area, according to USA Today’s review of police jail records and more than 100,000 tweets."  Similar analysis from other American communities-on-fire: Los Angles, St. Paul, Detroit, Nashville, Louisville discovered much the same. Minnesota officials have begun walking back their statements.

As protestors raged in Washington DC ... a wee-bit too close to the White House to suit our Secret Service, the Donald was hustled to a "secure bunker" aka' the state-of-the-art Presidential Emergency Operations Center.  The Sun newspaper and Fox News reported that 50 Secret Service Agents were injured.   (What is  wrong with people?) 

* the problem I have with this polling data is:  why the heck do 47% of the voters polled think Trump's doing a good job?

posted on this lovely 1st day of June [2020]


Twitter Finally Has The Courage To Fact-Check Your President

When will Mark Zuckerberg & Sheryl Sandberg grow a spine at Facebook?

As a way to deflect attention away from his terrible leadership regarding America's response to the pandemic and over 100,000 lives lost Donald Trump has increased his unsubstantiated claims about widespread fraud in mail-in voting.  And finally his favorite social media outlet: Twitter has begun to fact-check him.  Finally. 

This past Wednesday the president established a new record: "most Tweets posted in a single day: 142 "tweets" and "retweets" - which beat his previous all-time record of 123 Twitter posts established December 12, 2019 (the day he became only the 3rd US President in history to get impeached). 

All told, Mr. Trump has posted 49,404 Tweets.  Think about that for a moment.  I've never posted a Tweet, don't even use it ... and barely 31 million Americans do.  But posting 49,404 messages has to represent a lot of wasted time.  And, the Donald even tried to delete 857 of them.   What's also amazing to me is there are people who keep track of this stuff and have it indexed and accessible to anyone who cares to dig deeper.  Factba.se. (Yep, that spelling is correct.)

My only complaint about Twitter fact-checking our president ... ok, I have 2 complaints:  1) what took you so freaking long? and 2) why the namby-pamby baby blue notice: "Get the facts about mail-in ballots"?  I'd prefer we got a bit more aggressive with liars and cheaters and call 'em out directly.  My suggested modification to the Fact-Check Alerts appear to the right ... in red, although I suppose brilliant bright orange could work as well.

posted 05.29.20


USA Today Editorial: 100,000 U.S. deaths reflect a leadership failure

Lingering thought after reading that headline: Leadership Failure

USA Today editorial: "President Donald Trump has called the safety and security of the American people his “highest obligation.” During his first year in office, he vowed that he would “never forget that my responsibility is to keep you, the American people, safe and free.”

"Now, with 100,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus epidemic and large sectors of the economy on life support, it’s time to assess whether the president has lived up to his obligation and responsibility.

"The inescapable conclusion is that he has not. Some disarray is inevitable during a rapidly evolving crisis, and COVID-19 is the worst health disaster the world has faced in a century. But Trump has compounded the damage by undermining his administration’s scientists, heralding a risky anti-malarial drug as a potential coronavirus game changer, ruminating about injecting patients with disinfectants, promoting magical thinking about the virus disappearing, and refusing to lead by example by wearing a mask in public."  [read the rest of the editorial]

posted 05.28.20

Wingnut Republicans In House Clearly Signals To Voters: "GOP Is Unworthy"

Yep, Republicans think it's a bad idea to keep the public safe while also keeping government running & functioning

USA Today reports: "20 Republican lawmakers file lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over new proxy voting system ... The House developed and passed its new — and historic — proxy voting rules earlier this month, allowing members unable to come to Capitol Hill due to the coronavirus pandemic to designate another lawmaker as their "proxy" and cast floor votes on their behalf."  The idea behind proxy voting was to ensure lawmakers who are not able to travel safely still maintained a voice in negotiations and lawmaking during this unique phase of life on Earth.

The proxy voting system also helps to reduce unexpected exposure to Americans working in "essential services" all along the travel path: airport services staff, TSA, airport & airline staff/pilots, drivers, food service personnel, transportation folks (bus/taxi/Uber drivers). Also included in the list of unnecessarily exposed Americans: the folks who are required to keep the capitol building running: like Congressional office staff, pages, clerks & security personnel.

Actually, what is needed is the ability for House members to vote from home - and not thru a "proxy" which requires the House of Representatives to be "open" thus impacting many of the above mentioned staff.  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's lawsuit claims the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, responsible for over 675,000 deaths in the US, did not cause lawmakers to change their rules, nor did the House change it's rules after the terror attacks of 9|11. 

Gotcha', Kev-man ... back in 1918 we didn't have communication tools like the internet which can provide secure connections.   Neanderthals.  Reference to 9|11 confirms that Republicans are really struggling to maintain some degree of relevance as they've become the laughing stock for the world to ridicule as they've allowed Trump to get away with so many evil things.  The GOP didn't have the courage to remove Trump from office when the compelling case for impeachment was tried in the US Senate.  And, the Republicans have allowed the Trump administration to essentially do nothing about managing a national response to the coronavirus: no national testing or contact tracing protocols, no coordinated supply chain or stockpile of personal protective equipment.

Republicans have stood by idle as team Trump has diminished the once hallowed CDC.  Today the Republicans resemble the caricature of Rudi Giuliani originated by Joe Biden back in 2007 when he said the Republican required just three things to make a sentence: "a noun, a verb, and reference to 9|11." 

Surely each day more and more former Republican voters are determining they'll change their vote in November.  Pray for a big global Blue Wave.

posted 05.27.20

British View of Trump

Article shared by Democrats Abroad “sent by a friend, that encapsulates the man we must beat in 2020"

Someone asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?"   Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief. Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman. But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

 

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness. There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully. That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a sniveling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down. So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that: #1: Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are. #2: You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss. After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish: 'My God… what… have… I… created?'"   If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."

link: https://www.democratsabroad.org/angelogoode/british_view_of_trump
posted here at mkd.com on Memorial Day 2020

 

Landmark Decision For michaeldawson.com To Publish Opposing Point Of View

Mike's thinks it's best to be armed with facts is preferred over a sea of mindless dweebs, but there are limits ...

The proceeding article came to my attention from an email Louise received from a friend who apparently agreed and appreciated the "British View of Trump" above.   I appreciated it too - instantly.   But hesitated publishing it for the same reason I hesitate re-printing political cartoons and other manufactured content.  I saw enough despicable Photoshopped content (from 2008 thru 2016) of Michelle & Barack Obama dressed in traditional Kenyan fashions and other sickening, fake depictions.  But then Louise received a 2nd email ... this item advocates a position that's 180-degrees in the opposite direction ... published over a year ago on "theFederalist.com" an ultra-conservative venue that Mike says he rarely (if ever) agrees with:  "I dare readers to spend some time at that website and see how long it takes before you get sick to your stomach ... a sensation much like one may experience after listening/watching an hour of Fox News and a smattering of Rush Limbaugh between his obscene profit breaks," Mike says.

One added caveat:  Republicans love to filibuster whenever they get a chance to control the microphone.  The Federalist.com article is significantly longer ... 78% more words, 69% more paragraphs, 95% more characters.  So, to offset this disparity, Mike says he'll add appropriate commentary to the Federalist.com piece (most likely fact-checking).    

In the interest of fairness I present the following essay "Why I Like Trump".   Due to it's length and the age of the article, written over 6-months ago, Mike has opted to use his famous "archive format" ... click any portion of the image below to access the complete article, or go to the Federalist.com website and read it there (without Mike's commentary/fact-checking).


[Link to the balance of the article]
posted by Mike 05.26.20

Is It Possible For Donald Trump To Be A Bigger Jerk Than He Already Is? (no)

Fore!  (Supporters duck when facts surface like: Trump has taken more "play days" than any president in history)

Associated Press: Donald Trump has played golf at least 218 times as president.  He frequently criticized Barack Obama's regular golf outings when he was president.  "Can you believe that with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.  Worse than Carter," Trump tweeted in October 2014 during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.  What is laughable is after Trump enjoyed his 2nd day in a row of golf the President took to Twitter this morning to defend his playtime by doing what he's famous for doing:  1. lying and making stuff up; and, 2. attacking everyone who comes to mind as a way to deflect attention off his personal flaws.

Trump Tweets Today:  "...in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin - I knew this would happen! What they don’t say is that it was my first golf in almost.......3 months and, if I waited 3 years, they would do their usual “hit” pieces anyway. They are sick with hatred and dishonesty. They are truly deranged! They don’t mention Sleepy Joe’s poor work ethic, or all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to.......Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint? He also played moments after the brutal killing by ISIS of a wonderful young man. Totally inappropriate - and it was me who shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. I was left a MESS!"

Actually the above quote spanned 3 Tweets ... and WOW, did he ever sound like he was a bit unhinged this morning - likely part of the reason he was so late to arrive at Arlington National Cemetery for a memorial service.  Trump's targets:

  1. Fake News media coverage of Trump's golf outing simply highlighted the hypocrisy of his attacks on President Obama whenever he played golf or took a vacation ... ignoring the truth that no modern day president has taken more play days than Trump.  [Washington Post: "Nearly a third of the days he’s been president, Trump has visited a Trump-branded property"]
  2. Biden, Obama, climate change, Middle East conflicts and taking credit for "shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate" which is absolutely FALSE.
  3. Also false is his repeated assertion that the Obama administration left him with nothing but messes, which is also demonstrably false.

One golfing website says: "Since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017, Mr. Trump has reportedly been on the grounds of his golf courses or played golf elsewhere 266 times - as of May 24, 2020.  The cost of Trump's golf rounds to the American taxpayer varies by round and course, but it has totaled so far in the tens of millions of dollars. The Secret Service has spent at least $550,000 in third-party golf cart rentals and over $500,000 to stay overnight at Trump-owned properties, including his New Jersey country club."   

Washington Post reports that Sunday as America's death toll from the virus approaches 100,000 American lives lost, the Donald took to Twitter attacking Stacy Abrams, Nancy Pelosi, and of course what would a holiday weekend be like without attacks on Hillary Clinton?

posted 05.25.20

54,000 Fewer USA Deaths Had Lockdown Began Just 2-Weeks Earlier

Columbia University Estimates a majority of U.S. fatalities caused by the coronavirus could have been prevented

The New York Times reports: "if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided."  Ouch.  So much for Trump's claims "the situation is under control" and “it’s going to be just fine”.  [NY Times link]

For months, the president downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his "policies" as he bragged about unproven treatments (hydroxychloroquine) as President Trump blamed others (your pick: all Democrats, blue state governors, the "fake news" media, China, WHO, Mary Barra, Barrack Obama & Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, CDC testing) as he tried to rewrite the history of his response.  The New York Times published a great article on March 27th: "Patterns in Trump's Falsehoods About Coronavirus" - well worth reading.

The researchers are quick to point out the real value to their study is not simply providing a revisionists view history or looking backward thru a rear-view mirror ... rather, giving society a guidepost for the future to more effectively manage any subsequent outbreaks as the nation attempts to "reopen".

Read the report for yourself: .pdf file

posted 05.22.20

Trump Visits Ford Motor Factory & Violates Law, Disregards Safety Of Others

Selfish Act of Disobedience - Lock Him Up?  Naw, Mike's gotta' better idea ...

The President came to Michigan today to tour a Ford Motor Company factory that had been converted to manufacture medical ventilators in Ford's patriotic gesture to help relieve the shortage of this vital medial equipment.  Donald Trump refused to wear a mask through much of the tour, despite the fact that wearing masks in public is a state law in Michigan, and company policy at Ford.

Trump claimed he wore one earlier in the tour (see article below) but he didn't want "to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."  He then pulled a mask from his pocket as proof that he was prepared to do the right thing - but he just couldn't resist being a rebel.   

"Not necessary," Trump said when asked why he refused.  "I've been tested," was the 2nd part of his lame excuse, ignoring the reality that the testing equipment used in the White House has a 50% failure rate. The fact is Trump could have been exposed between the time he was tested and his arrival in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  Besides, mask wearing is meant to protect other people, not the president ... so Trump's selfishness puts the rest of society at risk and gives his wing-nut base an excuse to be just as reckless.  Some role-model we have as our president.  Pathetic.

His act of disobedience is so blatant I do think there oughta' be consequences - and as badly as I'd like to "lock him up" I suspect that could be a bit harsh ... and his base of supporters would just turn him into a martyr.  So a better solution ... in my humble opinion: find him guilty of a misdemeanor and charge him with 80 hours of community service in a hospital COVID-19 ward.  It's perfect.  Let him work as an orderly or some sort of support staff & require he adhere to proper utilization of the complete array of personal protective equipment (PPE) ... and ban all rallies and press encounters during his community service stint.  No calls to Sean Hannity, no Fox-n-Friends appearances.  And, no Secret Service detail; why put more people at risk?  Pence can run things for 2 days.

posted in disgust 05.21.20

L-to-R above: Trump's MAGA image on mask; Trump wears mask briefly at Ford plant; New Yorker magazine parody

"The president is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules"

... says Michigan's popular Attorney General Dana Nessel

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford had "encouraged" Trump to wear a mask when he arrived for a tour of Ford's ventilator manufacturing center; the president later removed the mask for the remainder of the visit the Ford statement said.  [NBC News link]   Given the president's ineffective pandemic response & leadership failures, perhaps the New Yorker magazine parody (with his eyes covered by the mask) accurately captures how clueless Mr. Trump really is.

NBC report aired May 21st 2020 @ 05:55 p.m. EDT

166 Days Until Election ... 166 Days For Trump To Be Makin' Stuff Up

Guaranteed - from now until November 3rd Donald Trump will find 166 ways to keep himself in the news thru a series stunts all of which will be manufactured to deflect attention away from his despicable record and failed leadership.

America's worst President in history has just 5˝ months left.  But these 5˝ months are sure to be some of the nastiest public display of shameful, self-centered politics that most of us will ever see in our lifetimes.  It never should have happened.  Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States and has spent the past 1,217 days hood-winking Republican voters.  Thankfully, there are plenty of Republicans who have a heart, a mind, and enough smarts to realize that this buffoon occupying the White House is a danger to this country and this planet ... and have bailed on the Republican Party for not having the courage to address some of the many wrongs this President has committed. 

Doubt me?  You need to learn more about the Lincoln Project.  “Trump put his political ambitions before the health, safety, and economic security of the American people," says Lincoln Project co-founder Jennifer Horn.  "Due to his utter failure in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are now sicker, poorer and worse off than they were four years ago. If there is one thing we can count on in the coming weeks it’s that Donald Trump will continue to fail and embarrass the people he is elected to serve.”

The developments and news of the past 7-days is pretty typical and totally unacceptable in this alternative universe Trump has created (where up is down, where right is wrong).  In less than a week, Donald Trump has ...

  • fired his 4th Inspector General - State Department I.G. Steve Linick. [link to FactCheck.org]

  • threatened to pull the US membership & our financial support from the W.H.O. [link to USA Today]

  • threatened to punish the good states of Nevada & Michigan in retaliation for allowing vote-by-mail [link to Washington Post].  Keep in mind, Michigan just experienced devastating flooding in the city of Midland, home of Dow Chemical.

  • admits he's taking Hydroxychloroquine (and has been for nearly 2-wks) despite warnings from his own Food & Drug Administration after preliminary studies indicated potential adverse effects. [source: NY Times]

  • claimed once again - incorrectly - that he was named "Man of the Year" in Michigan back in 2013.  FALSE.  Trump supporters are encouraged to read: FactCheck.org - a project sponsored by the conservative Annenberg Public Policy Center.  (Walter Annenberg, as reported previously on this webpage, served as US Ambassador to the U.K. when Dick Nixon was President.)

Oh, yeah ... it's only Thursday.

posted 05.21.20

Daily He Says Stuff That's False - How Can His Base Keep Supporting Him?

The President makes things up - deflects the truth - and displays zero leadership skill.

At Trump's re-election rally Friday in the White House Rose Garden the sound of blaring truck horns intruded on Donald's campaign speech. When asked about the noise and interruption Trump claimed that the truckers had staged a pro-Trump protest. "And you hear that outside, that beautiful sound -- those are truckers that are with us all the way. They are protesting in favor of President Trump, as opposed to against," Trump said. He made a similar claim when his TV interview with the former "money-honey" Maria Bartiromo from Fox News was interrupted in the same fashion. "Well, they're not protesters. They're supporters of me."

FACT-CHECK:   False.  Make that triple-false.  The truckers were indeed protestors, and their anger was directed at Trump, personally.  They are protesting a variety of issues affecting their jobs, not protesting in favor of Trump.  Thirty-years in the  trucking business Greg Anderson told CNN that Trump had "lied on national television" with his remark to Bartiromo about how the protesters are not protesters at all.  [source: CNN]

Posted 05.16.20 ~ Who is that in your rear-view mirror, Mr. President?
.

It's A Process ... Developing Articles On This Web Page

1st step: identify a news story that needs to be explored;
2nd: find a graphic item that can be modified or enhanced;
3rd: time to write and pull it all together - the facts & my personal take on the news.

News that is based on facts that can be linked or referenced to source material is what many folks grapple with, it seems, particularly those who reside in Fox News' alternative universe.  Take for example:  Jim Flynn who pleaded guilty in December 2017 for lying to the FBI.  According to the Washington Post "Flynn was convicted of lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador about easing U.S. sanctions during Trump’s presidential transition in late 2016." 

You likely won't hear that on Fox ... they'd rather blame former President Obama for the entire mess (ignoring the truth & fact that Mr. Obama met with Mr. Trump and recommended the new administration avoid hiring Flynn).  

During a sentencing hearing nearly a year later U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan repeatedly admonished Flynn, telling him, “Arguably, you sold your country out” ... nonetheless, Sullivan granted Flynn with more time to cooperate with investigators. 

Flynn had initially repeated to Judge Sullivan that he was guilty of lying, that no one had coerced him to admit his guilt and that he had no intention of taking back that plea.  "Flynn also said he took responsibility for wrongdoing that also culminated in his firing by Trump for misleading Vice President Pence, White House aides and the public," the Washington Post reported.

Politico reported that Flynn also acknowledged that he "lobbied for the Turkish government during the election campaign without registering as a foreign agent, although he has not been charged in that case."

Sometimes voters forget the details, particularly when the Trump strategy for most issues is "to run out the clock".  They delay, obstruct, ignore, or bring legal action as a way to resist doing the right thing.  This Flynn case has been going on since Trump's inauguration.  And it would seem, given the facts and Flynn's repeated admission of guilt ... on multiple charges ... that Trump's attorney general Bill Barr is sticking his nose into something that is already settled ... and smacks of extreme political interference with our legal process ... maybe Barr & Trump oughta' join Flynn - where all 3 of 'em belong: in jail. 

posted 05.13.20  [in response to a common question: "Mike, how do you think of these things?"]

Trump Continues To Exaggerate & Mislead Public On Testing

Trump displays "melt-down" at WH Rose Garden press briefing

The Washington Post reports: "President Trump claimed Monday that his administration is besting the world in testing and that it will help states expand such efforts."  The trouble for the President and his supporters, it's not true. 

With large banners hanging from the WH pillars claiming (inaccurately) that "America leads the world in testing" the press asked several questions in an effort to clarify.  Trump has proven repeatedly during his tenure that he does not appreciate being questioned, especially by journalists, especially if they are female.  Weijia Jiang of CBS News asked why does he keep saying the US is doing more testing than any other country. “Why does that matter?” she queried. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?”  The President became visibly disturbed by the question and responded:  “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me.  Ask China that question.  I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”  No, the question was: why does Trump view the testing as some form of competitive distinction when so many lives are being lost.  But he's obviously not thinking clearly ... the President turned on his heels and abruptly left the Rose Garden in a huff.  [Watch the video if you doubt my assessment.]

The Washington Post explained how wrong the Trump administration is when it says the US leads the world in testing:

"The United States as of Sunday had completed nearly 9 million coronavirus tests, according to the Covid Tracking Project. ... equivalent to just 2.74 percent of the U.S. population ... There are far higher levels of per-capita testing in other parts of the world. In tiny Iceland, the figure is an extraordinary 15.4 percent, but that amounts to about 54,000 tests across a population of 352,000 people. Yet major industrialized economies with large outbreaks also have fared better in testing than the United States: Italy has conducted tests equivalent to 4.31 percent of its population, and Germany is at 3.35 percent. The United States also is still behind its northern neighbor, Canada, where its 1.09 million tests are equivalent to 2.95 percent of the county’s population." 

Global Change Data Lab, sponsored by Oxford University, confirms the above figures and provides a mountain of data about rate of infections, testing, and deaths from most all countries on Earth.  [It's a great source to "bookmark".]

posted in disgust on 05.12.20

Coronavirus Spread Inside White House Prompts New Focus On Testing

Trump Valet, Pence Aide, Ivanka's Assistant, and now eleven Secret Service Agents ... all tested positive

The national guidelines require symptoms to be present before a test for Covid-19 could be performed, which has caused distress among most state & federal health officials who have sought a more robust testing and tracing programs lead by the national gov't. 

Trump has said before that he’s not crazy about tests because all they do is make him look bad. Now he’s going further: he seems unsure the tests are even measuring something real. They’re negative one day and then positive the next.  "She (Katie Miller, Pence communications director) was tested very recently and tested negative and today I guess for some reason she tested positive," Trump said.  For some reason? hmmm, like perhaps she exposed to someone who was positive causing Miller herself to become infected?  

The Washington Post reports: "As deaths mount, Trump tries to convince Americans it’s safe to inch back to normal and the administration is effectively bowing to — and asking Americans to accept — a devastating proposition: that a steady, daily accumulation of lonely deaths is the grim cost of reopening the nation."  Grim indeed - the death count this Mother's Day morning in America stood at 78,763 (over 1,700 more than the CDC was reporting as of May 10th).

Fact-checking links to other infection news:  Trump's valet ... Eleven Secret Service staff infected, 60 are in self-quarantine.

posted 05.11.20

The IRS Sent Coronavirus Relief Payments To Dead People

Treasury Dept hasn't responded to Qs: what you should do if a deceased loved one has received a payment?

National Public Radio reported this morning: "The IRS has paid out more than $207 billion in Coronavirus relief payments to individual taxpayers, as part of the $2 trillion package passed by Congress known as the CARES Act."  This from the administration that says "mail-in voting fosters fraud".  

Home big is the problem?  I'd say it's substantial.  NPR says: "The CDC estimates that 2.8 million Americans died in 2018, for example. And there are signs that people who died more than two years ago have received payments."   That must be part of the reason the voting public has little confidence in this corrupt, ineffective, clueless administration.  What a mess ... many people who are qualified for the stimulus payment have yet to receive 'em (Mike raises hand to self identify one such taxpayer).  Even the "Get My Payment" short-cut on the IRS website malfunctions.  [read more

Did you know that the U.S. stimulus spending program pales by comparison to many foreign countries?  Yep. And some of these foreign economies are in much better shape than the US where shortages of food, protective personal equipment, and even some medications have become common place.  So much for this business about "making America great again".  Treasury Sec't Steve Mnuchin, facing questions from Congress, can not explain this away.

  • Japan: "emergency support" phase -- about $2,760 -- to families losing income to the outbreak in one of the months between February and June." [source]

  • UK: "80% of freelance workers' average monthly income, up to 2,500 pounds ($3,060) per month for three months, if they earned 50,000 pounds or less annually on average over the past three years. Distribution is set to begin in June. " [source]

  • Denmark:  "covers 75% of wage bills...Employees must take five days of their vacation entitlement or time off from work. The offer lasts for 3-months and aims to encourage firms to send home employees rather than fire them. [source]

posted 05.06.20

Mitigation Crumbles - Estimated Death Rate Doubles (now nearly 3,000 per day)

No state has met the President's coronavirus task force guidelines ... but some 38 states "open anyway"!

With nearly 3,000 Americans dying DAILY from the coronavirus that has spread from coast-to-coast and now settles in the country's heartland, why bother issuing guidelines if there is no intention to enforce them?  The President urges citizens to "liberate" and go back to work even though efforts by Trump's task force did manage the outbreaks & has proven to be successful ... & likely saved lives. 

Well lives be damned - Trump's political operatives (Fox News, Sean Hannity) want to end the "lock-down" and put the country back-to-work.  This hypocrisy has embolden radical right-wing extremists, brandishing long guns and MAGA hats, to mount protests from coast-to-coast which Trump views as his only hope for re-election ... to divide the country. 

Meanwhile he fires another inspector general who had the audacity to issue a report identifying critical medical supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.  Christi Grimm, the principal deputy Inspector General at the Dept of HHS, is the 3rd I.G. fired this year. The others: Glenn Fine, Coronavirus Oversight I.G.; Michael Atkinson, Intelligence Community I.G.  Anyone who does not march in lock-step with the President could face the same threat.  [source]

NY Times also reports: "Rick Bright, the ousted chief of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, said he was pressured to steer millions of dollars to the clients of a well-connected consultant." Dr. Bright has filed a whistleblower complaint.

Also gone are the president's Task Force Happy Talk references to any models managed by IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington).  That's the lab that produced death toll estimates the President and his top medical experts kept pointing to thru the 1st two months of the administration's pretense of 'managing' the Federal government's response to the pandemic.  They predicted if the nation's mitigation efforts continued there may be 60,000 or so deaths in the U.S. by August 4th.  Now, with 38 states boasting no restrictions or relaxed rules the estimated death count has more than doubled ... so naturally Trump's administration has stopped referencing data from this model (IHME now an estimated 134,475 Americans could die by August 4th ... read more).  If the dangerous actions by the right-wing protestors would only impact fellow protestors, I'd say: "have at it ... knock yourselves out."  Let's hope they don't do something stupid with those AK47s as they spew droplets of the virus on the faces of innocent people or law enforcement officers who are merely trying to protect citizens.  Trouble is these wing-nuts likely will be taking the virus home with them only to infect & endanger innocent relatives & neighbors.  That's how this virus spreads: human to human and it knows no boundaries.

05.05.20 

Donald's Shell Game: The Border Wall ... How To Spin The Truth

No matter how much spin Trump puts on it (in plain view) only 2 miles of new primary border wall has been built!

In the shell game, three or more identical containers (which may be cups or shells) placed face-down on a surface.  A small ball or even a pea is placed beneath one of these containers so that it cannot be seen, and they are then shuffled by the operator in plain view ... encouraging onlookers to select where the ball is now hidden.  [Unfamiliar with the "shell game" reference?  Amaze your friends & neighbors with this demo on YouTube]

Interesting, Mike ... but what's your point?  Well, grasshopper, there is a lot of balderdash being spread about President Trump's No. 1 campaign pledge (build a wall and the votes will come ... I mean - "Mexico will pay for it").  Anyway, someone has to off-set the fiction with facts.   Often even the media gets hoodwinked so let's delve into some of the details just to be clear.  I did find more than one example of tradition "mainstream media" that mindless published falsehoods ... like this story from CNN, of all sources ... considering how much Trump loves to attack them.  (The story says "The Trump administration has built 100 miles of new wall" which you'll see, based on the info below, is not exactly accurate.)

At the April 20th  Daily Dump  in the White House James S. Brady Press Briefing Room President Trump invited General Todd Semonite of the Army of Corps Engineers to describe the progress his team had made with building dozens of shelters & temporary hospital facilities all across this highly fractured and infected nation.  Earlier this month, I shared my praise and admiration for General Semonite and his "can-do" approach to his mission [link] and the General once again delivered an impressive summary of the great work his team has done in coordination with local and state groups.  At the end of his remarks related to the virus ... which was supposedly the point of the press briefing, Mr. Trump decided to take advantage of the situation and invited Gen. Semonite to branch out into the real purpose of the Daily Dump: his political re-election campaign.

Trump: "...while you’re here, we’re building — the general is in charge of the wall on the southern border, and we want to build 450 miles of wall, and it’s very much under construction. You might give them a little bit of an update: how are we doing with the wall."  (For those who question the accuracy of any of this report including Trump's broken sentences and mangled speech, please be advised: the quotes and facts come directly from White House transcripts and official government reports.)  General Semonite confirmed that building the border wall along our Southern border is underway with the target of completing 450 miles by the end of December 2020.

THE PRESIDENT: And we’re over 160 miles.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SEMONITE: A hundred and sixty-four as of today, Sir.

What is missing in the text are the words "new" and "where no barriers previously existed" because like the shell-game analogy previously mentioned the administration is being purposely deceptive.  As some news outlets have reported, and government documents confirm, much of the border wall construction completed to-date has involved replacement & repair of dilapidated, existing wall ... portions of the border wall that were built by previous administrations.  And when you dig-onto this slight of hand and realize the President and his administration are intentionally misleading the public you will begin to feel as if you and the entire nation have been violated.  Lied to. 

Once again, doubters need to shove-a-sock-in-it (oral orifice or pie-hole) until you've read the US Customs and Border Protection Border Wall Status Report dated April 17, 2020.  For your convenience a .pdf copy of said report is provided here.  If you think I have doctored or manipulated this info/material ... well, I suggest that you Google it for yourself ... the report is out there in the public domain.  Quit complaining and go fetch it.

And for those reading the report, much like that shell game, you too will see it is written in a way that will likely confuse many.  But those who read carefully will find the following statement ... the truth ... "2 miles of new border wall system constructed in locations where no barriers previously existed."  The remaining 160 miles of border wall construction replaced existing wall, or represents portions of "secondary border wall."  Like the claim during the 2016 election campaign that Mexico would pay for it ... much of what Donald Trump says is meant only to placate his base.  And its not true.  Trust me, after you take the time to read the intentionally confusing report from the CBP report you too should desire joining the majority of American voters who plan to not only remove the creepy guy from office, but hopefully most other Republican office-holders, too.  We will enjoy life ... restored to "normal" ... only when a vaccine for COVID-19 proves to be effective, and the majority of state legislatures and the US Senate and the White House are no longer controlled by Republicans. 

posted on May Day, 2020

Trump's "Liberate" Tweets Inspire Whack-a-Doodle Fox News Coverage

Fox News and GOP's Trump re-election campaign launches it's new favorite issue ...
lives & health be damned, we've got an economy to worry about
!

I don't doubt the average American voter is more than a little tired of "stay home" mitigation efforts & finds the wall-to-wall pandemic news coverage to be overwhelming.  But Trump's base would rather get back to "normal" by returning to work & when its time for TV viewing they'd prefer: Dancing With The Stars, or America's Got Talent, or the latest installment of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.  And for updates & pandemic info they tune into Fox News even though they continue to provide a steady diet of factually-challenged material that's easily debunked.  Just a few examples:

Fox News Tucker Carlson advocates GOP's "open for business" case as he introduces two California doctors who incorrectly state the data shows the death rate for COVID-19 to be just "0.03%".  YouTube wisely removed the doctor's video (though Fox continues to broadcast it) as most experts agree not enough of the population has been tested to draw conclusions. [read more]
Laura Ingraham is a lawyer for goodness sakes so why is she on the wrong side of issues so often when she knows facts will prove her wrong? "We were told the virus was far more lethal than the flu. Now, we know it's likely to be closer on a really aggressive flu season," Laura asks.  Wow.  This is after 50K Americans died in a month. Salon magazine called Laura out 2 days after her mindless statement was aired.
"Left & media blaming Trump for coronavirus outbreak," says Trump's leading unofficial cabinet member, Sean Hannity.  The former bartender & construction grunt (his description, not mine) can tell at this early date that his buddy's re-election will be in jeopardy, so the political blame-game begins.  The reality is Trump is not being blamed for the virus outbreak but rather our nation's woefully weak, ineffective response. 

Deadly Ignorance On Full Display At The White House

The US Is Failing The Test Of The Century - says the Financial Times

A new spike in infections, the 2nd  spike or wave of infections will cause our second lockdown to be a bigger hit to wealth than a cautious return to work ... but Donald Trump is refusing to listen.  And now months after the initial outbreak we still have no idea how many people have been infected by the Coronavirus.  Epidemiologists say that if shutdown had taken place just 2 weeks earlier, 90% of deaths would have been prevented ...  [more]

Disinfectant spokesman investigated for misconduct
- says the Associated Press

Bill Bryan, the Acting Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology who presented research findings on Coronavirus mitigation when disinfectants & UV light are applied.  Bryan's comments appear to have been the springboard for a number of comments by President Trump such as "... it sounds interesting to me so we will see but the whole concept of the light the way it kills it in one minute that's--that's pretty powerful."  Random thoughts like these were captured on video live and caused the WH to waste 5-days trying to explain what the president meant to say, or was trying to say, or what he shouldn't have said.  Blah, blah.  What few reporters did address however is: who the heck is Bill Bryan?

Turns out Bill Bryan is just latest shameful example of Donald Trump's "drain the swamp" hypocrisy.  The president hired Bryan even though he has minimal credentials related to his gov't job (Alex Azar, Sec't HHS would be another).  And Bryan is not unfamiliar with a bit of controversy: "he's been under investigation for abusing his gov't position with energy consulting work in Ukraine," says the Associated Press in a report titled: "Bryan Accused of Abusing Position As Consultant."

President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat - reports Washington Post

Thirty-four times President Trump has downplayed the coronavirus, the Washington Post reports.  "U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than dozens of classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.  The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats."  [read the entire article]

Do Trump voters really need another reason to bail out on the most corrupt, ineffective President in US history?

posted 04.28.20

Incredulous Trump Must Be Debunked (and ridiculed) ... Daily

Testing Is Our Only Hope While We're Lacking Vaccine

"Anyone who wants a test can get a test."
Not true.  The flaws in our testing protocols for coronavirus continue to be at the root of the problem - data of the spread of the outbreak is skewed by inaccurate tests and shortages of testing materials (in some regions of USA compared to others).  Trump blames states & Governors for not being prepared.  So how does that answer why the VA hospitals and Federal penitentiaries lack adequate supplies of PPE?

Trump admin falsely claims testing flaws are Obama's fault

"Initially speaking, the tests were old, obsolete, and not really prepared," Trump says over & over.  He can repeat it hundreds of times, but it's still not true.  CNN reported:  this is a new virus that was first identified this year, the tests couldn't possibly be "old" or "obsolete."

CNN's fabulous fact-checker Daniel Dale reports: "He is lying. He is lying 100%. He is lying because he is trying to shift blame to others, even if the attempt is totally nonsensical," said Gregg Gonsalves, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health.  Tara Smith epidemiology professor at Kent State University said the claim "doesn't make sense because it is false. This a new virus.  No test can be created until the DNA can be captured."

Doubters & disbelievers & Fox News viewers: read it for yo-self ... https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/06/politics/fact-check-trump-coronavirus-briefing-april-6/index.html

Instant Branding ... Courtesy of Your Commander-in-chief

The Donald's attempt to diminish Michigan's Governor Whitmer backfires ... badly

Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Governor, gave the Democratic response to Donald Trump's campaign-rally-style State of the Union address which put her squarely in Trump's sights for predictable attacks.  He demotes or fires professionals within his administration who have the courage to disagree with him.  He has silly nickname names for his GOP rivals (Lyin' Ted, Little Marco), as well as Democratic rivals (Sleepy Joe, Pocahontas). He attacks the Postal Service, the news media (fake), his own intelligence agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA.  Heck, he even attacks many of his own appointees (Sessions, Generals Kelly/Mattis/McMaster, Kirstjen Nielson, Mick Mulvaney).  And now, gives his dwindling base of voters yet another reason to support just about anybody-but-Trump!  191 days from now we get to give him the boot!

Testing...1, 2, 3...testing. Is this [tapping microphone] ... is this thing "on"?

Botched response is costing lives - disorganized testing means we have no idea how bad it is.

We have no idea how many people have been infected by the Coronavirus. Only guesses & estimates, and every day it seems data reveals it's more widespread than we thought. Just yesterday researchers announced the actual first known death in the US of A was not February 26 in Seattle, WA as originally thought, but rather 3-weeks earlier ... February 6th in Santa Clara County, CA. [read more]  At the President's Daily Dump on April 21st Mr. Trump claimed the US has tested its citizens in the US of A more than all other countries combined.

“I think I read yesterday a report that we’ve done more than everybody — every other country — combined,” Trump said on Tuesday, adding later: “We’ve tested more than every other country in the world even put together.”  The quote is accurate and lifted directly from the White House website.  It's not the first time he's said it - and even when proven with facts to be wrong ... he keeps repeating it. 

Trouble is, he's wrong ... and it's not even close.  Here are the actual numbers according to a global data tracking firm:
    US tests     4,326,648
    all others  19,700,009   ... 4˝ times more testing globally than in USA

data source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
WH Daily Dump transcripts:  plenty of good sources including the WH itself, but I prefer the independent sites 'cuz frankly I don't trust our reality show TV star pretending to be president ... such as rev.com because it has both the text and the audio file. Pretty slick.

posted with pride 04.23.20

Debunking Trump's Attack On U.S. Postal Service

Sorry, the Donald's not right - in fact he's wrong in so many ways...

At the President's Daily Dump on April 6th Mr. Trump claimed “the Post Office is losing billions of dollars … because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost. And that’s not fair to the United States. It’s not fair to our taxpayers.”  Yes, that quote is 100% accurate ... Trump says the Post Office "delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost".  Aside from the fact he struggles to complete a sentence, little else in that statement is accurate. 

1. No one disputes that the Postal Service "loses" a lot of money, but there are reasons - and Democrats have proposed changes that would resolve much of the issue. “The Postal Service has incurred cumulative net losses of $65.1 billion from 2007 through 2017,” according to the 10-K form that it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017. The largest single contributor to its red ink is a requirement Congress imposed in 2006 that it prefund its retiree health coverage costs, a requirement no other government entity has to account for.

2. The implication that taxpayers are  “subsidizing” Amazon’s deliveries and covering the debt is also false but the U.S. Postal Service does not receive any federal funds for its operating costs and hasn’t since 1982.  The requirement for the USPS to pre-fund their pension obligations was meant to ensure postal liabilities wouldn't become a taxpayer responsibility, though Democrats contend the amount required to cover pensions is excessive. 

Trump also has said "every time they deliver a pkg they're losing one dollar and 47 cents."  Also not exactly true.  Trump got the figure from a Citigroup research project that estimated how much growth the USPS would need to see over the next three fiscal years FY2017 - FY2019 to cover actual operating costs plus their inflated pension obligations.

The reality is Trump has a conflict with Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos who also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper Trump does not respect and takes personal offense at the coverage he receives in one of the nation's leading newspapers.  It's personal and it's petty. 

One ironic sidebar to this story: CNN reported today that the Trump family business is asking the General Services Administration (GSA) to give Trump International Hotel a break on monthly lease payments on the Old Post Office Building the Trump family rents from the federal government.  Why on Earth would Trump be entitled to a reduction?  CNN says Trump properties have furloughed nearly 2,000 staffers across the country including some 237 employees in Washington DC.  Fortunately the Democrats were smart enough to block Trump and his family from securing and funding from the $2 Trillion coronavirus stimulus plan.

posted 04.22.20  Friendly fact-checking of postal story above: FactCheck.org

Trump Re-election Campaign Alters Video To Attack Speaker Pelosi

Trump-2020 figures their base will never bother to question any attack on Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the challenges of the next virus rescue bill with Chris Hayes on MSNBC 4/14/20. »

Typical.  Trump's chances for re-election have become so strained his campaign has resorted once again to lying.  They've taken an MSNBC interview of Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week with sharp-as-a-tack host of "All In" Chris Hayes, edited the sequence of her comments while deleting complete portions of the interview, says FactCheck.org.  The Trump re-election ad was posted on Twitter by campaign mgr. Brad Parscale, illustrating how desperate the GOP has become given the Trump administration's disastrous, disorganized, ineffective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Pelosi famously pushed back on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who was trying to ram-thru on a unanimous voice vote for small business relief (PPP-2: Paycheck Protection Program).  Nothing more.  No help for states, many with balanced budget amendments, and hospitals who are in a world of hurt, financially, as they deal with the virus and forgo lucrative elective procedures. The Senate bill also ignored the reality that no money had been allocated to broaden the scope of testing that has plagued the Trump administration response for over a month ... March 6th: “Anybody that wants a test [for the coronavirus] can get a test.”   That was false then, and it still is not true.  America has no freaking idea how many people in have been infected. 

Pelosi supported the 2nd phase of small business loans but wanted to also include funding for states, hospitals, and more testing too.  Ultimately this broader approach to support by Pelosi & Democrats appears to be victorious, ensuring the funding would address multiple problems caused by the pandemic ... with final voting to take place today.

One other topic Pelosi & Hayes discussed was Donald Trump's ongoing attack on the US Postal service ... but that's simply another shameless example of how the Donald will do and say most anything to attack a rival.  But the story is complex enough to warrant a separate article - stay tuned.  [Mike's Strudel-like* notes: the postal squabble for Trump stems from his disputes with Jeff Bezos, owner/founder of Amazon ... also owns the Washington Post, which is famous for publishing less than flattering articles about the President. Trump contends that the USPS gives Amazon volume shipping/delivery pricing that jeopardizes the postal service solvency ... which is the least of the their problems & is only a tiny fraction of the post office's challenges to remain viable.  *Strudel layers ... one story leads to another, to another, to another ... ]


Another noteworthy observation from Mike: Since many Neanderthals on the radical-right imply that most "fact-checking" is supported & sponsored by Democrats on center/left ... it's noteworthy that's not the case with FactCheck.org.   The Annenberg Foundation endowed at the University of Pennsylvania, and they're totally independent - they accept no advertising revenue or support from any political party.  It should also be noted: the fund was created by conservative business tycoon Walter Annenberg & his wife Leonore ... both served as US Ambassadors back in the day.  Walter was Ambassador to U.K. '69 - '74 appointed by Dick Nixon and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Reagan in '86. (If your brain is groping for context, that's the award Trump gave to Rush Limbaugh at the last State Of The Union.)  Leonore served as Chief of Protocol of the US of A  (hence the designation Ambassador) and Assistant Secretary of State by President Reagan in '81.  And, Americans ... including the radical-right-wing extremists who struggle to differentiate between fact & fiction ... fret not.  You too can learn more about the Annenberg Foundation by expanding your mind, & enriching your life with knowledge gleaned thru a wee-bit of personal effort - like, reading [website].   Parents of home-schooled kids, for example, will be delighted to learn the Annenberg Foundation supports remote learning lessons - vital during the pandemic as local schools are closed throughout the US of A?  True story ... aw, gwan ... read it.)

posted 04.22.20

Trump Keeps Repeating Crap That's Been Proven (to be crap) Because He Can

" ... the ammo cupboard is bare ... "

It's been happening every day for weeks now during the Daily Dump - the Donald's re-election rally from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House ... the man elected to lead & serve as President ... stands at the podium and lies.

TRUMP: "When I took over our military, we did not have ammunition. I was told by a top general, maybe the top of them all, 'Sir, I'm sorry sir, we don't have ammunition.'"

FALSE.  You can Google that one for yourself pretty easy - the internet likely has a thousand or more articles all saying much the same thing.  IT'S NOT TRUE.  But, since I realize that his base loves the story, true or not, I suspect they'll never take the time to research it ... so I'll freaking spoon-feed 'em a few facts:  1.) The US Military spent $611 billion in 2016, the year before the Donald moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (the White House).  2.) The funds, appropriated by Congress, allows the military to determine in large part how it's spent, so if it were true, the Defense Department would be the culprit, not President Obama.  But it's simply false - a made-up story that has actually evolved over Trump's term in office.  Did Trump increase military spending?  Sure.  Did we need to?  Debatable.  We now spend more on our military than 144 other countries - combined.  [source]

Trump repeated "the ammo-cupboard is bare" tale in September 2019 in the Oval Office to reporters ... yep, the same folks the president refers to as "the fake news media".  Trump said when he took office, General Jim Mattis — his future defense secretary told him the country was “very low on ammunition.”   Seriously, 2˝-yrs after his inauguration, Trump's still inaccurately complaining about the Obama administration. “You know, when I came here 3-yrs ago almost, General Mattis told me, ‘Sir, we’re very low on ammunition.'"  On a campaign stop 09.16.19 in Rio Rancho, NM he repeated the lie with a new twist ... now, instead of being "low" the military was plumb out of bullets ... saying: the country had “very little, slash, no ammunition” when he took office.   Doubt me?  Watch the freaking video.  Why does he feel the need to lie about it?

Trump says he inherited "Empty Shelf" of emergency medicine & supplies

Again, FALSE.  During the WH Press Briefings that are meant to convey information & some degree of hope for the American people your president prefers to use the national TV exposure as his Daily Dump of politics and personal rants. 

“We took over an empty shelf. We took over a very depleted place, in a lot of ways.”  The president made sure he brought up the same topic several times in the past week even though virtually all news sources had already debunked the notion.  Why would he keep saying something that's false?  Perhaps its because Fox & Friends keeps repeating it and the president knows his base will never even hear or believe the fact-checkers.

“The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) was definitely not an empty shell,” says Dr. Tara O’Toole, former homeland security official during the Obama administration. The SNS began in 1999 and has to be actively managed. Much of the equipment requires maintenance and some material/products have a limited shelf-life.  The CDC shared proposals with the incoming Trump administration in 2017 with a number of "opportunities to improve efficiency" for the nation's Medical Countermeasure Stockpile.  Did they do anything over the subsequent 3-yrs?  Nope.  Except to cut the CDC staff.  As Reuters reported instead of upgrading the SNS ... the staff at CDC was slashed.  “The Trump administration cut staff by more than two-thirds at a key U.S. public health agency operating inside China, as part of a larger rollback of U.S.-funded health and science experts on the ground there leading up to the coronavirus outbreak."  [read more @ FactCheck.org]

Instead of maintaining the reserve equipment, or doing anything substantive in response to the pandemic, the reality TV star would rather rely on performance art and bluster:  "Nobody's ever seen anything like it," the Donald keeps saying.  But, the world has seen something like it; it's called the 1918 Flu Pandemic (some call it inaccurately the "Spanish Flu") and roughly 1/3 of the world's population died. Americans will have a choice in November.  Four more years of this sort of madness? 

posted 04.19.20

Liberal Challenger Defeats Conservative Incumbent in Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

Republicans’ voter suppression efforts appear to have backfired.

During the WH Briefings on the pandemic, reporters asked the President if he thought the Wisconsin primary election last week should have been delayed, and he went off on a lengthily, angry, hate-filled tirade accusing democrats of wanting the election postponed simply because HE endorsed a state supreme court candidate.  It's always about the Donald, isn't it?  No. The democrats were concerned about the safety of Wisconsin voters in the midst of a national disaster. 

But, voters turned out in droves even though Republicans had cut over a hundred polling stations due to lack of volunteers - which resulted in long lines and in many cases, hours of waiting.  Through the court challenges and subsequent news coverage the GOP and President Trump were justifiably excoriated ... and now the vote count is out: voters punished Republicans, too.  Hopefully that's another sign of things to come this fall in the November election!  [news report about WI vote]

Polls Show Americans Angered By Team Trump's Slow, Disorganized Response

USA Today: Trump squandered a week or more
NY Times: Trump Lashes Out at Fauci Amid Criticism of Slow Virus Response
Press & public ignoring Trump's daily political mini-rallies as he dominates WH Press Briefing lectern

"69%-21%, Americans endorse a nationwide lockdown through the end of April, requiring people to stay at home except for essential work. The idea is backed by solid majorities across partisan lines, by 8 in 10 Democrats and 62% of Republicans," says a poll by Ipsos Research & USA Today reported this morning, April 13th.  "Those surveyed express more concern about the health risks of reopening the country too soon than of the economic risks of keeping it closed for too long," according to USA Today & Ipsos Research. [source: USA Today "Golf, handshakes and a Mar-a-Lago conga line: Squandered week highlights Trump’s lack of COVID-19 focus"]

So it's particularly puzzling why Trump would be attacking via Twitter the federal government’s top infectious disease expert: Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. [source: NY Times]  The Times reported that doctor Fauci told the press "more lives could have been saved from the coronavirus if the country had been shut down earlier."  

The facts are clear ... the Donald can be pissed all he wants but the response has been slow as documented in the timeline below.  Facts are our friends, and Dr. Fauci's approval rating far exceeds Trump's ... another fun fact that you can also glean from the above mentioned USA Today polling article.

As the daily WH Press Briefings have become the Donald's personal outlet for attention and launch-pad for his political attacks the media has learned there's really no point paying attention until the experts like Dr. Fauci & Dr. Birx take the lectern.  Cable news stations including CNN & MSNBC opt to broadcast only the highlight of Trump's remarks, particularly when fact-checking is required.  

And speaking of Dr. Birx ... as the Donald is rants about every negative thought that pops into his warped mind ... some journalists have said they pass the time reading the latest fashion news in Vogue which reports: Dr. Deborah Birx’s Many Scarves Now Have Their Own Instagram Account.  "Day after day, Dr. Birx has turned up in front of television cameras, a scarf affixed to her person in the most creative of ways. They’ve become something of a highlight at press briefings—perhaps unintentionally, she’s captivated the American people with her scarf du jour,"  writes Lilah Ramzi.

posted 04.13.20

Trump Base Ignores Truth - Cares Only About Winning Elections & Packing Our Courts

The Donald Chats With Sean Hannity Nearly Every Day, Offers Little Substance Except Attacking Others
... Meanwhile, States Languish To Protect Citizens - Even Those Who Don't Seem To Care

"Anyone who wants virus test can get a test," says President Donald J. Trump on March 6th while touring a CDC facility, sporting his resplendent "let's go golfing" garb: MAGA Hat, black windbreaker, dress white shirt with collar wildly open, and his famous Buy-n-Large off-white slacks. [Click here to view an unaltered video of DJT, in his own words repeating empty promises and pathetic falsehoods]

False.

Keep in mind who paid for the trip (US taxpayers) as Trump sports his campaign rally MAGA hat as he visits the CDC on official business with HHS Sec't Alex Azar, the  former pharmaceutical lobbyist.  The trouble for Americans, however, is that was not true then, and its still not true over 5-weeks later.  Instead, we're waiting, praying, and hoping the past 37-days that just one or two of his promises actually come true.  None have. 

"Now, mail ballots — they cheat. Okay? People cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters. They go and collect them. They're fraudulent in many cases," Trump said on April 7th.

Again, that's FALSE says PolitiFact sponsored by the Poynter Institute - "There is no evidence that any candidate or group has executed a mail ballot fraud scheme of this magnitude in modern elections," said Michael P. McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist. "In this day of social media, it is nearly impossible to keep anything secret, much less a scheme involving thousands of people."

posted with pride on Easter Sunday 04.12.20

Clear Fact Checking ... More False Claims Made By President Trump

Lack of clear testing policy will limit the speed of nation's recovery

"We're now conducting well over 100,000 coronavirus tests per day," President Trump said (Thursday 4.9.20). "It's over 100,000 tests a day. And these are accurate tests, and they're moving rapidly, which is more than any other country in the world, both in terms of the raw number and also on a per capita basis, the most."

False.  NPR reported today that while testing in US of A has slowly improved "it still lags behind Germany and South Korea in terms of per capita testing.  Over 1.2 million tests have been taken to date in the U.S. which equals about 1 for every 273 Americans.

In addition to the raw numbers, there are several problems with testing.  Early on the US experienced manufacturing defects with initial round of testing kits, inadequate supplies, not having enough of the general population tested to properly judge the true number of cases of infected patients.

Testing protocols and reporting procedures are not being coordinated by the federal gov't but rather controlled at the state, county or city level. States: New York, Washington, Oregon and Louisiana have done the best job with testing in the country.  Until testing issues are resolved, and without the benefit of a vaccine, it's hard to imagine the wisdom of relaxing the mitigation procedures & "getting back to normal".

posted 04.10.20

Wisconsin proves it: Republicans will sacrifice voters' health to keep power

Deliberate chaos & unthinkable images from the state’s primary marked Republicans’ dress rehearsal for Nov

The following excellent report comes from the Guardian:

"If any lingering doubts remained, Tuesday should have erased them all. Republicans will weaponize anything – even in-person voting during a deadly pandemic – to maintain power, avoid accountability and bend electoral rules in their favor. Worse, the US supreme court will have their back.

"Make no mistake: the deliberate chaos and unthinkable images from Wisconsin on Tuesday (04.07.20) ... Americans on line for hours, wearing homemade masks, risking a gruesome respiratory disease to exercise their right to vote – wasn’t just a warning sign for November’s elections. It was Republicans’ dress rehearsal.

"It’s scarcely 200 days until the real show. The coronavirus has already pushed more than a dozen states to postpone primaries and forced fearful Ohio and Wisconsin governors into court the day before an election, desperate to avoid worsening a public health crisis. It’s quite likely that the virus will threaten in-person voting in many states and cities in November as well.

"That’s why a growing non-partisan chorus has called for expanding vote-by-mail options this fall. It can be done; five states already conduct all their elections this way and every state allows some level of mail-in voting. It doesn’t favor either party – just ask Republicans in Utah and Colorado. It’s safer during a pandemic, but also secure: a study of hundreds of millions of votes in Oregon, ever since it became the first to adopt all-mail elections, found fewer than 15 fraudulent ballots cast over more than a decade."

[A note from Mike:  originally I stopped my copy/paste of this wonderful news piece from the Guardian and suggested the "rest of story online, free ... click here".  But after re-reading the remainder of the article multiple times I decided to publish the remainder here - it's too important of a story to take a chance that readers do not see it in it's entirety.]

"Republicans, however, have fought efforts to fund expanded voting options this fall. President Trump recently told Fox & Friends: “If you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” On Wednesday, he tweeted that vote by mail creates “tremendous potential” for voter fraud and mused that “for whatever reason, [it] doesn’t work out well for Republicans”. Georgia’s state house speaker knows that reason, opposing it because it “will certainly drive up turnout” and “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives.”

Nothing about the Wisconsin election was normal

"But while the quiet part sometimes comes out louder than expected, most of the Republican party’s anti-vote-by-mail excuses are ludicrous. If the president’s intention is to conjure phony visions of voter fraud, others hope to simply slow-walk reform. When Senate Democrats attempted to add election protection safeguards to the first coronavirus stimulus package, the Republican senator John Barrasso insisted they “have no place in an emergency rescue package for the American people”. Election assistance funding, sniffed his colleague Marsha Blackburn, “has nothing to do with Covid-19”.

"On Tuesday, however, the connection between voting and the virus should have been clear enough for even a Republican senator to see. When Robin Vos, Wisconsin’s Republican assembly speaker, tried to deny it, he wore a mask and full personal protective gear. He looked like one of those mean government agents looking to capture ET, which only undercut his assurances that voters stacked up in the five available Milwaukee precincts had absolutely nothing to fear.

"Nothing about the Wisconsin election was normal. Not voters in homemade masks, not the immunocompromised woman whose requested absentee ballot never arrived voting in full bubble wrap, not the plaintive signs that read “this is ridiculous”. But the five conservative Republican appointees to the US supreme court, concerned, ruefully and almost comically, that something might “fundamentally alter the nature of the election”, stepped in … on the side of forcing tens of thousands of Wisconsinites to brave the pandemic and vote in person.

"Along a dreary 5-4 party line vote, the supreme court’s conservative majority, most appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, overturned two lower-court rulings that had extended the vote-by-mail deadline until next week, despite evidence that tens of thousands of absentee ballots had yet to be delivered to voters who requested them, and that untold thousands more might not be postmarked in time. Ruling comfortably from their own living rooms, the five conservatives required these voters to leave their homes during a shelter-in-place order and placed them in the path of a virus. (On Wednesday, the day after the election, reports came of absentee ballots piled in post offices, undelivered.)

"That the supreme court intervened not on the side of voters and fair elections, but in order to protect particular Republican partisan interests, should be saddening, yet unsurprising. Chief Justice John Roberts arrived in Washington almost 30 years ago as a young justice department appointee with a particular interest: eroding the protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under his leadership, this court has embraced his cramped vision with gusto.

"The Roberts court has made clear that it should not be looked to as any guarantor of the foundational right to vote. Not in an emergency. Not at all. In 2013’s Shelby County v Holder, a 5-4 court defanged the enforcement provisions of section V of the VRA and laid the groundwork for a decade of voter ID requirements, precinct closures and voter roll purges from states with documented histories of racist voting inequities.

"The legislatures behind those efforts, a 5-4 court decreed in 2018’s Abbott v Texas, must be awarded the “presumption of good faith” – even for naked racial gerrymandering schemes. Those voter roll purges were upheld in 2018’s Husted v A Philip Randolph Institute, where the court, again 5-4, created a non-existent loophole that justified canceling registrations if a voter had not casted a ballot in two consecutive elections. Then last year, Roberts authored a, yes, 5-4 decision – Common Cause v Rucho – which slammed the federal courthouses closed to partisan gerrymandering claims at precisely the time a growing number of decisions, by judges appointed by presidents of both parties, saw both an urgent role for the courts and a clear standard for when politicized mapmaking crossed a constitutional boundary."

Elected Republican officials have proven that they are willing to see Americans die rather than hold fair elections

"Gerrymandering and voter purges were at the heart of the GOP urgency to hold this election, this week, with this diminished turnout. A critical state supreme court seat was on the ballot. The winner could sway an upcoming appeal over whether Wisconsin can purge about 240,000 voters from its rolls ahead of November – keep in mind, Trump only won this state by 22,000 votes in 2016 – and could also determine whether Republicans, once again, have a free hand to gerrymander the state’s legislative and congressional maps in 2021. The maps the party carefully engineered in 2011, behind closed doors at a Madison law firm, delivered a 63-36 Republican edge among state assembly districts in 2018, even though Democrats won nearly 54% of the statewide vote, and a statewide edge of about 200,000 votes.

"Non-partisan electoral reformers, Democratic congressional leadership, and even some apostate Republicans like Bill Kristol and the former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele have been battling to ensure that November’s election doesn’t look like the one this week in Wisconsin. After all, even if Congress does nothing to create a national vote-by-mail standard, there’s still likely to be record demand for absentee ballots this fall. And just as the underfunded election administrators and US Postal Service were overwhelmed by an unprecedented 1.2m requests in Wisconsin, it’s easy to imagine a creaky system collapsing under similar strains in November.

"The Republican strategy is clear: drag their feet so it’s difficult to properly fund vote-by-mail. Mislead the public with fictional claims of voter fraud that get amplified on Fox News and by Russian bots on Twitter. Finally, count on John Roberts and the court’s partisan 5-4 majority to backstop any efforts to make free, fair and safe voting more difficult.

"If this plays out according to the Republican plan, it will plunge this nation from an unprecedented public health crisis into a dark constitutional emergency that threatens the legitimacy of the White House, the courts and American democracy itself. That’s a frightening sentence to write. But it’s long past time we call this what it is: elected Republican officials, and the conservatives who they have handed lifelong tenure on the federal bench, have now proven that they are willing to see Americans die rather than hold fair elections that might oust them from power. They have used a pandemic to suppress votes.

"The warning sirens are real. The dress rehearsal is over. There are barely 200 days until election day."

Related story: "Yes, Wisconsin Republicans used the pandemic to stop people from voting"  < That's pure evil.  As voters wake-up and realize what is happening, they may very well NEVER vote for a Republican for the rest of their lives.

posted 04.10.20

Groping for positives during Pandemic? Next to the phone there's nothing better.

Noticeable decline in robo-calls and unwanted telephone solicitations

Knock-on-wood, our home phone hasn't been ringing anywhere near as often as it was 2-months ago.  It was typical to receive 6-8 calls daily from scam-artists trying to extract cash from my wallet.  Or, those trying to get us to sign-up for their Medicare plan ... or, a low-low interest credit card.  How about someone from Microsoft (or Apple) struggling to communicate in their broken-English: "may I speak to Louis?" Sorry, sport, no Louis here.  Then a chemical lawn application firm offers to rid our home of unsightly weeds, bugs, critters & wildlife [your pick].  Or, perhaps we need to show our appreciation for our nation's wounded warriors, fire fighters, police [again, your choice].   All this silence got me thinking back ... sort of a flashback when phone calls were far more rare and far more exciting!  We'd all come a running to the phone strategically located in my parent's house.  The vintage Bell System ad (right) reminded me of this delightful phenomenon.  Likely this will be just a brief pause from telemarketing calls that always seem to come during meal-time ... likely call centers had to shut down in hotbed communities due to the spreading virus.  After all, these robo-callers have to be chomping at the bit with all of their prospects staying home. "It's like shooting fish in a barrel!"

The ad copy below the headline:

"Is it for ME?" You kind of hope it is - for good news and good times often come your way by telephone.  Maybe it's a date for sister Sue. Or a business call for Dad. Or Bill asking if Jimmie can go to the movies.  Or Grandma calling Mother to find out if things are all right.  And everything is more likely to be all right when there's a telephone in the home.  In many, many ways, the telephone is a real friend of the family. And the cost is small - just pennies a call. 

Aw, reminds me of those swell Hallmark card ads from that Leave It To Beaver world ... "when you care enough to send the very best".

posted 04.10.20 by a retired "Bell-head"

GOP Tries To Ram Thru Emergency Aid With No Debate, Discussion

Meanwhile Mitch Says Nothing About Trump Firing Inspectors General

"Our country needs us to be nimble to fix urgent problems as fast as we can, to be able to have focused discussions on urgent subjects without turning every conversation into a conversation about everything," Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Oh really?  This from the guy who does not want to see process and rule changes to allow Congress to handle their business remotely? ... this from the guy who is ignoring President Trump firing multiple Inspectors General? ... this from the guy who REFUSED to a single hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court nomination (Merrick Garland) 4-yrs ago?  Hopefully voters in Kentucky will replace their senior Senator. And, hopefully, American voters nationally will have had enough of all of this obstruction and craziness, and vote to remove virtually all Republicans from elected office: local, state & federal positions. McConnell loves to repeat: "elections have consequences" - it's time to agree on that point, and consequentially kick these creepy people to the curb.  [source]

posted 04.09.20

Trump Turns WH Coronavirus Briefing Circus Into Political Rants & Attacks

News networks stop broadcasting some of Trump's non-virus rants

Fox News covered the White House press briefing live yesterday.  CNN carried only limited highlights, avoiding Trump's political rants and attacks on journalists and democrats and anyone/anything associated with the previous administration.  MSNBC did much the same - alternating between live coverage, and fact-checking analysis.  I'm just glad to have a DVR to capture the daily campaign rallies, er, WH press briefings ... to view when time allows.

Trump has no evidence of election fraud

But that doesn't stop him from trying to brainwash his base of supporters into believing that mail-in-voting options are fraught with ballot-box stuffing.  “Where is the evidence?” asked Jim Acosta of CNN.  Trump: "I think there is a lot of evidence, and we will provide you with some,” the president replied, citing Judicial Watch’s settlement with the state of California “where they agreed that a million people should not have voted.”  Actually, no voter fraud or illegal voting was involved - it was a case of "cleaning-up" voter registration lists to remove names of deceased voters and others who no longer qualify to vote in a given CA district (perhaps the voter moved or is now incarcerated).   When Carol Lee of NBC News asked how he justified his own use of "mail-in" ballot in the latest election, the Donald says: "Because I’m allowed to."  Such a hypocrite.  [more info]

Attacks on W.H.O.

The World Health Organization has become Trump's latest foil for his on-going attacks on multi-nation peace bodies like NATO, and the United Nations - accusing them for a number of things that simply are not true.  Trump said he's considering withholding funding to the WHO ... which is such a stupid thing to do right when the world is wrestling with a pandemic.  [read more about this manufactured, factually challenged rant]

Trump Has ‘Financial Interest’ in Hydroxychloroquine Manufacture

It figures, given the way the Donald keeps touting an anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a “game changer” in treating coronavirus ...  news broke this week indicates his trust owns investments in Sanofi, the maker of hydroxychloroquine.  "I'm not a doctor," Trump repeats, and then reveals more of his twisted mind when he repeats (over and over) "but it may be something really powerful - what have they got to lose?"  Um, well, maybe their life, Mr. President.  Trump's Commerce Sec't Wilbur Ross holds investments, too, in the pharmaceutical firm.  [source]

posted 04.09.20

Trump Keep Trying To Re-write History ... Travel Restrictions

It's become his trademark.  When the Donald doesn't like the press he's getting he tries to submit his alternative facts. 

Case in point: “I cut off China very early.  And if I didn’t, we would have a chart that you wouldn’t believe. So how would I know to do that?  How would I know to cut off Europe? I cut off Europe very early.  I mean, you have to make a decision. People knew that some bad things were going on, and they got off to a late start.  And some others got off to a late start also. But we cut off China. If we didn’t cut off China, we would have been in some big trouble. And we cut it off.” — President Trump, remarks at a campaign rally described as a "news conference" April 2, 2020

Most of that is false or truth that has been greatly altered.  Read it for yourself:

  • Washington Post FactChecker: Trump’s claim that he imposed the first ‘China ban’
  • Mike's archived text of FactCheck.org summary ... preserved just in case the Donald tries to scrub the internet.

Trump Avoids Taking Responsibility ... "because we're just the back-up"

Much of the suffering and death coming was preventable. The president has blood on his hands.

No Mr. President, you are not just the "back-up".   When you declared a National Emergency (March 13th - see timeline below) ... you triggered two federal statutes that grant the executive special authorities and responsibilities in times of crisis: the National Emergencies Act and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.  The law says: "coordinate all disaster relief assistance (including voluntary assistance) provided by Federal agencies, private organizations, and State and local governments".  Doubt me?  Read it for yourself

It's gotten to be quite tiring & sickening to hear Trump repeat, a dozen or more times a day at his Happy Talk Daily Press Briefing "the states were unprepared".  He may be right, but I'd suggest most all of us were not fully prepared - including the Federal gov't.  But it matters not ... 'cuz when he declared "it's a National Disaster" he was not just telling Americans the status of the pandemic or how serious things were across the globe ... no, he was engaging & enacting a legal step and course of action.  Hospitals across the country are experiencing shortages of supplies not limited to the protective equipment (masks, gowns, swabs) but also growing shortages of staff and medicine and other supplies required.  It's been a mess for more than a month and Trump refuses to take charge ... preferring to manage his Happy Talk Briefings and tell the nation he's just the "back-up".

Well, Mr. President ... much of what you and your administration is doing is not all that effective.  On Friday April 3 the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that nearly 10 million people had filed for unemployment benefits (and millions more were unable to complete their applications due to technical glitches). Also on Friday Rachel Maddow reported on the above consequences of Trump's National Disaster Declaration ... you owe it to yourself and your family to view the streaming video clip of the show & share it with everyone you know.  As Rachel often says:  'these are difficult events to accept & swallow ... time to buckle-up'.   (The 11-minute mark of the program is most "on point" ... if you're pressed for time.)

Additional reading on topic: "Federal Executive Emergency Authorities to Address COVID-19."  Lawfare Institute

04.05.20 

Coronavirus timeline [helpful for those with selective recall]

The outbreak that began in China demanded a White House that could act swiftly and competently ... which we didn't do.  News reports indicate that US intelligence agencies reported frequent advance alerts of pending health & safety issues, but as we've come to know this president holds US intelligence agencies in contempt & in such low regard, he ignored the news. Trump typically avoids the traditional NSC Daily Briefing which all modern day presidents have relied upon.  That is until we elected our 1st reality TV star who views his role quite differently.  Suggestion: clip the following summary, laminate it if you must to preserve the facts of the timeline ... because guaranteed: this president will develop his own alternative facts ... which Fox News and One America News Network and Sinclair Media will quickly adopt as "truth". You need to be prepared. 

NOV. 17  The first case, a 55-year-old, may have been known, but not publicly acknowledged, according to the South China Morning Post, which tried to track the virus back to patient zero. 

DEC. 31 China informs the World Health Organization it has detected unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million. The cause, China says, is unknown.

JAN. 8  U.S. CDC urge physicians who treat patients with pneumonia-like sickness to consider a possible link to the Chinese outbreak and wear protective masks.

JAN. 9  China's state media reports the viral pneumonia cases are caused by a new type of coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, with no specific treatment or vaccine. Symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

JAN. 20  China reports a third death and more than 200 cases, and acknowledges the virus can be passed from human to human. A 35-year-old man, examined in an urgent care clinic in the Seattle area after returning from visiting family in Wuhan, becomes the first American case.

JAN. 28  U.S. evacuates personnel and some private citizens aboard charter flights. The virus also has spread to Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Australia.  The U.S. confirms more cases in Chicago, S. California and Arizona. Stock market tumbles.

JAN. 30  The WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern as China reports thousands of coronavirus cases. The U.S. state department warns not to travel to China.

JAN. 31 President Trump restricts some travel of foreign nationals from China.  Americans traveling back to US however are screened but allowed to return to US.

Since Trump continues to tout his restrictions on air travel to portions of China as the cornerstone for his administration's feeble policies to manage the coronavirus spread into the US, it's important to not engage in revisionist history as the Donald has been doing.  Smart citizens will read and save the following FACTS:
   1.  "The Facts on Trump’s Travel Restrictions" by FactCheck.org or,
   2.  see Mike's handy text file captured to ensure the above information doesn't mysteriously vanish
.

FEB. 14  France announces first virus death in Europe.

FEB. 19  About 600 passengers disembark from the Diamond Princess in Japan. Chinese officials release data suggesting the virus could be 20 times more deadly than the flu.

FEB. 22  About 325 people in Michigan are monitored for coronavirus and self-isolating. There are more than 76,000 cases globally, with more than 2,200 deaths. There are 34 confirmed cases in America.

FEB. 23  A dozen towns in northern Italy go into lockdown as outbreak there surges to more than 150, and the U.S. braces for a pandemic. In the next few days, Univ of Mich football cancels trip, the Dow tumbles, and the president asks Congress for $1.25 billion to fight the virus.

MARCH 5  The public begins to panic, stocking up on extra food, cleaning products and hand sanitizer. The Fed cuts the federal funds rate to stimulate the economy.

MARCH 10  Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declares state of emergency after confirming the state's first two cases of the new coronavirus, an Oakland County woman and a Wayne County man tested positive.

MARCH 13  Trump declares a national emergency from the White House Rose Garden.  Confirmed cases in Michigan rise to 25.   Gov. Whitmer limits visits in hospitals & bans gatherings of more than 250 people.

MARCH 16   Gov. Whitmer orders bars, restaurants, theaters, and casinos to close and restricts gatherings to less than 50 people, while the CDC recommends social gatherings be limited to 10 or less. The governor expands unemployment benefits as the number of infected cases rises to 54.

MARCH 27  President Donald Trump slams Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as he weighs disaster request for Michigan.

MARCH 28  The president trashes General Motors & CEO Mary Barra. Using the Defense Production Act the Donald orders GM to begin making ventilators (which they have never done before, and had volunteered days earlier to explore the potential to help the nation). Go figure.

MARCH 31  Reversing course, Trump praises GM, says it's doing a 'fantastic' job.  ("Trump likely heard for his advisors that he'd never get re-elected without sweeping Michigan in Nov ... 'cuz he barely won in '16 when the majority of Wayne County voters sat at home," says Mike.)

APRIL 2  Gov. Whitmer cancels remainder of public school year. Grocery delivery and curbside pickup services are running days behind.

source: Detroit Free Press which I've subscribed since 1972.  posted 04.05.20

Must Read for All: "A president unfit for pandemic" says Boston Globe

Much of the suffering and death coming was preventable. The president has blood on his hands.

March 30, 2020 - Boston Globe editorial board:  "While the spread of the novel coronavirus has been aggressive around the world, much of the profound impact it will have here in the United States was preventable. As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis, it’s worth remembering that the reach of the virus here is not attributable to an act of God or a foreign invasion, but a colossal failure of leadership.

"The outbreak that began in China demanded a White House that could act swiftly and competently to protect public health, informed by science and guided by compassion and public service. It required an administration that could quickly deploy reliable tests around the nation to isolate cases and trace and contain the virus’s spread, as South Korea effectively did, as well as to manufacture and distribute scarce medical supplies around the country. It begged for a president of the United States to deliver clear, consistent, scientifically sound messages on the state of the epidemic and its solutions, to reassure the public amid their fear, and to provide steady guidance to cities and states. And it demanded a leader who would put the country’s well-being first, above near-term stock market returns and his own reelection prospects, and who would work with other nations to stem the tide of COVID-19 cases around the world.

"What we have instead is a president epically outmatched by a global pandemic. A president who in late January, when the first confirmed coronavirus case was announced in the United States, downplayed the risk and insisted all was under control. A president who, rather than aggressively test all those exposed to the virus, said he’d prefer not to bring ashore passengers on a contaminated cruise ship so as to keep national case numbers (artificially) low. A president who, consistent with his mistrust and undermining of scientific fact, has misled the public about unproven cures for COVID-19, and who baited-and-switched last week about whether the country ought to end social distancing to open up by Easter, and then, on Saturday, about whether he’d impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A president who has pledged to oversee the doling out of the $500 billion in corporate bailout money in the latest stimulus package, some of which will go to the travel industry in which his family is invested. A president who spent a good chunk of a recent press conference complaining about how hard it is for a rich man to serve in the White House even as Americans had already begun to lose their jobs, their health care, and their lives. A president who has reinforced racial stigma by calling the contagion a “Chinese virus” and failed to collaborate adequately with other countries to contain their outbreaks and study the disease. A president who evades responsibility and refuses to acknowledge, let alone own, the bitter truth of National Institutes of Health scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony: that the country’s testing rollout was “a failing.”

"Timing is everything in pandemic response: It can make the difference between a contained local outbreak that endures a few weeks and an uncontrollable contagion that afflicts millions. The Trump administration has made critical errors over the past two months, choosing early on to develop its own diagnostic test, which failed, instead of adopting the World Health Organization’s test — a move that kneecapped the US coronavirus response and, by most public health experts’ estimation, will cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American lives. Rather than making the expected federal effort to mobilize rapidly to distribute needed gowns, masks, and ventilators to ill-equipped hospitals and to the doctors and nurses around the country who are left unprotected treating a burgeoning number of patients, the administration has instead been caught outbidding individual states (including Massachusetts) trying to purchase medical supplies. It has dragged its heels on invoking the Defense Production Act to get scarce, sorely needed ventilators and masks into production so that they can be distributed to hospitals nationwide as they hit their peaks in the cycle of the epidemic. It has left governors and mayors in the lurch, begging for help. The months the administration wasted with prevarication about the threat and its subsequent missteps will amount to exponentially more COVID-19 cases than were necessary. In other words, the president has blood on his hands.

"It’s not too much for Americans to ask of their leaders that they be competent and informed when responding to a crisis of historic proportions. Instead, they have a White House marred by corruption and incompetence, whose mixed messages roil the markets and rock their sense of security. Instead of compassion and clarity, the president, in his near-daily addresses to the nation, embodies callousness, self-concern, and a lack of compass. Dangling unverified cures and possible quarantines in front of the public like reality TV cliffhangers, he unsettles rather than reassures. The pandemic reveals that the worst features of this presidency are not merely late-night comedy fodder; they come at the cost of lives, livelihoods, and our collective psyche.

"Many pivotal decision points in this crisis are past us, but more are still to come. For our own sake, every American should be hoping for a miraculous turnaround — and that the too-little, too-late strategy of the White House task force will henceforth at least prevent contagion and economic ruin of the grandest scale. But come November, there must be a reckoning for the lives lost, and for the vast, avoidable suffering about to ensue under the president’s watch."

posted 04.05.20 - the preceding was written by the Boston Globe editorial board; I support the overall conclusion. - Mike

Facts Matter: Much of Trump's "War on the virus" is Happy Talk

And much of what the administration says it's doing is false

March 19: "We're not shipping clerks," President Trump says in an effort to defend himself from critique of his team's poor response to the virus.  Doctors and nurses, hospitals and clinics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and ambulance drivers from coast-to-coast all say the same thing: "we have inadequate supplies of masks & gloves & gowns needed to keep everyone safe & avoid spreading the virus further.  Help us, please."  The professionals have been saying it for weeks and the administration's response has evolved ... first, they were saying: "not our job ... call your governor."   Then team-Trump started getting attacked for not employing the Defense Production Act to force manufacturers into producing goods the country needs much like Roosevelt did during WW2 (Michigan famously became knows as the "arsenal of democracy" for producing planes & tanks needed in the war effort).  Then when he decides to invoke DPA to force General Motors to make ventilators ... the company said: "chill-out ... we already VOLUNTEERED to do this for the good of the world."  How can the president arbitrarily select a manufacturer and order them to make something they have no expertise making?  Why not tell the 'My Pillow' guy to make Trump's ventilators?  (Because it makes no sense to do so ... Trump was just continuing his assault on Mary Barra at GM.)

At the daily WH press briefings VP Pence has been saying things like this almost every day for weeks: "We've vastly increased the supply of medical masks, and we're going to continue to put a priority on making sure that we are calling on industry at every level, calling on major suppliers that the president met with this week, to make sure those personal protective equipment are there." Trouble is: its not happening ... and was unable to offer any specifics. Or, said another way, it's bull-pucky. Given the negative press they've received over the lack of coordination of supplies, if Pence HAD actually shipped the materials, he'd have details to share - like how many pieces shipped, dates, destinations, and even the signature of the receiving party. He had no such info to share because the Federal gov't HAD NOT shipped the items Pence mentioned.  They may have ordered the stuff ... or located the stuff ... but the needed materials had not been shipped to the medical people who needed it.  Doctors & nurses are using the same freaking, virus infused masks for days.  The same thing is happening with tests to determine who does or doesn't have the virus.  Just a total disaster.

posted in total disgust 04.02.20  [source for more examples of incompetence]

Only Voters Can Make America Normal Again

Even before coronavirus outbreak voters knew what they needed to do  

The polls have been consistent since the Donald's inauguration in 2017: the Donald would go down in history for having the lowest approval rating for any US President in modern history.  His penchant for exaggeration, and not being completely honest or truthful is legendary.  Several journalists immediately began tracking the incidents and details about each time President Trump inaccurately stated the facts or details on a host of topics ... over 16,000 lies & inaccurate statements have been documented in just the first 3-yrs of this disastrous presidency. [Doubt me?  Read the list: source]

Congress had an opportunity to take action which could have had a positive impact on our nation's response to this pandemic, but lacked the moral courage to remove Trump from office.  Only one Republican joined the Democrats (100% of 'em voted to dump Trump).  This failure will prove to be one of many reasons that tens of thousands of American lives will be lost that could have been spared with rapid, decisive action.  Our next election can not come soon enough.

Louise shared with me a cute slogan she read online: "watching Fox News to learn about history or politics ... is like watching "Green Acres" to learn about farming!"  And to the radical right-wing extremists who think I'm being unfair or unreasonable consider the Donald actually volunteered to appear in this hilarious video.

posted 04.02.20

Trump Commandeers WH Briefing & The Evening News Hour

Briefings take the place of the Donald's political rallies

It's not a coincidence the Trump administration has monopolized the evening news hour to present their politically charged press briefings and their version of manufactured facts.  They know the world is watching.  They also know local TV stations will likely broadcast the event live, thus controlling the narrative.  Trump is ensuring his story & his version of the "facts" are seen by his base ... which means the local newscast is shorter, likely abbreviated.  It also means there is a good chance his base of supporters will not hear the truth about what's actually going on.

Take the laundry list of personal protective equipment (PPE) that our health care system so desperately needs to keep themselves healthy and not spread the virus further.  Masks, gowns, gloves, gowns.  The life sustaining machines like ventilators are in limited supply to meet the needs across the country.  The Trump administration has one excuse after another for the public to chew upon, as well as a mind-numbing list of materials that have either been ordered or shipped - it's difficult to say which ... and whatever the message - the reality in the field ... the reality in our hospitals from coast-to-coast are telling a different story.  But Fox News and One America Network viewers rarely hear the truth, and proceed eating dinner under the mistaken impression that all is fine and the gov't response is "spot-on" perfect, just like the Donald's phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.  (The call was not perfect, nor are most messages the WH circulates.) 

posted 04.02.20

Resource: awesome searchable Coronavirus map and case count data

Revised 04.02.20 © New York Times

Stumbled upon the mapping program above in the NY Times.  You can search by state, by county.  Check it out.

"At least 4,800 people with the coronavirus have now died in the US and more than 200,000 people are known to be infected, according to a NY Times database. The death toll has quadrupled over the last week and now exceeds the number of people known to have died from the virus in China, where the pandemic started in December," says the NY Times. 

Do you not find it to be strange that our Federal government response, as incomplete and disjointed as it is, really didn't begin until mid-March?  Well I do ... and hopefully at least 50.1% of American voters agree.  There's plenty of evidence supporting the removal of Donald J. Trump from office - replaced with a new, professional administration in November.

Access map and data for yourself: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

posted 04.02.20 in memory of my aunt Dorothy


Trump's Glam Anchor Given 'da boot' on Fox News For Inaccurate Report

Will Remainder of Fox Personalities Face Similar Fate?

Trish Regan's ratings were not as rich and full-bodied as her radiant, luxurious locks ... nor as gleaming as many of her peers on Fox News.  It's typical: Fox needed to give the appearance of being 'fair & balance' by admonishing the weak link in their anchor lineup.  Regan was expendable even though her commentary was similar to the rest of the conservative fact-challenged network. 

"I’m setting the record straight," TR boasted on Twitter after the axe had fallen on her crumbling career.  One viewer responded: "Glad you ‘set the record straight’ as the virus spreads and kills his base. The record seems more important though."  Another viewer agreed & acknowledged: "The median age of Fox News viewers is 65. The irony is FOX viewers contain a lot of people in the highest risk group and they're glued to a network (and talk radio) that's telling them this virus is really no big deal.  CDC is telling people over 70 to stay indoors."  Let's face it: there are plenty of horny old men who are somewhat addicted to the Fox News eye-candy.

Options to salvage her career appear to be limited. CBS had given her a pink slip in '07, CNBC dumped her in 2012, as did Bloomberg TV.  The good news for Fox: they'll pocket Regan's estimated $7 million annual salary as the virus pandemic crushes advertising revenue.  Think of that, Fox viewers ... seven million dollars per year ... ninety-four times greater than the national average ... no wonder you're coughing-up, on average, $150/mo. for the privilege of seeing all the ads on cable TV.  "I am grateful to my incredible team at FOX and for the many opportunities the network has provided me," Regan said.  [one of many sources]

posted 03.29.20


Citizens Step-Up In Virus Response ... Trump Continues To Flounder

Goodness prevails over evil when it matters most

As promised yesterday for those who crave something positive, here are a few acts of kindness & general good news that caught my eye:

 ... like an iconic Ironwood, Michigan-based small manufacturer called Stormy Kromer ... makers of fine wool hats & more since 1903 "you can't fake your way to legendary" ... now making personal protective equipment (masks) for medical first responders.

... As a means of thanking school custodians for going the extra mile, making sure school facilities are kept clean and sanitary during the COVID-19 outbreaks, appreciative parents from all over the country have raised thousands of dollars for the janitors in their district. [story]

... as with past national emergencies, like 9|11, Americans have rallied around the president and given bipartisan support.  GW Bush saw his approval rating bump some 25-30% after the attack on Sept. 11th.   For Trump his response, or lack of, to the coronavirus has attributed to a 5-7% bump.  Not very impressive.  (Gallup says 49% of Americans approve ... sort of.  Read the full story.) 

 


Petty President Proves He's Incompetent In Time of Our National Crisis  

"Hey, President Trump: Her name is Gretchen Whitmer," says Mitch Albom / Detroit Free Press

It's become his trademark.  When President Trump perceives he is being disrespected or "not appreciated" he attacks.  Viciously.  Last week our reality show TV star president turned his venom on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her unforgiveable sin of asking the Federal government for help in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.  “The governor of Michigan, she’s not stepping up,” Trump complained to Fox News. “I don’t know if she knows what’s going on, but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government."  Actually, I think Trump takes aim at Gov. Whitmer because she gave the Democratic response to Trump's State of the Union address.  Sorry Donald ... Whitmer's remarks were spot-on perfect.  [Those who missed Whitmer's Feb. 4th speech can view it now & decide for yourself.] 

While I realize Whitmer commands overwhelming support from native Michiganders there have been a few conservatives in the state legislature who resist some of Gretchen's policy actions ("fix the damn roads") ... but when it comes to handling matters related to the virus, her support seems to be nearly universal within the state.  So it's refreshing to see comments from some conservative-leaning voices like Mitch Albom, author & Detroit Free Press columnist. 

"We have come to tolerate an infantile person in a grown man’s job, a baby in a suit," writes Albom. 
Well said, Mitch.

posted 03.29.20


Dangerously Inept Federal Government Response

"Nobody in their wildest dreams..."  Trump falsely claims

"Nobody in their wildest dreams would have ever thought that we'd need tens of thousands of ventilators," President Trump repeats almost every day as he commandeers the WH briefing room microphone. "Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before ... Nobody ever thought of numbers like this."

That obviously is false ... as the previous administrations of H.W. Bush, William Clinton, G.W. Bush, and Barack Obama all had detailed, written action plans with staff assigned to the tasks.  It turns out the Trump administration had practiced the government responses in the event something like COVID-19 actually happened.  Yep, the Donald's team "gamed out" an eerily similar pandemic over the first half of 2019 as reported in The New York Times.   The Trump administration even issued a report with recommendations in October that highlighted how unprepared the US of A was to deal with such a respiratory virus outbreak.  You too can have the facts to dispel silly Fox News reports by reading for yourself the .pdf written by Trump's staff: "Crimson Contagion"

Table A.1 (upper right) comes from page 44 in the Pandemic Influenza Plan which was just updated in 2017 by the US Dept of Health & Human Services ... look at the bottom-line "very severe" with 20% of the US population infected.  Dire.  

Was every issue the world faces today discussed or covered in the report?  Goodness no.  But the NY Times article and copies of these types of reports, along with the organization charts the Trump administration inherited, there were plenty of people assigned to, and working on, these critical matters such as the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS).  But many of the positions were vacant.  Time magazine reports: "key roles at the State Dept, the US Agency for International Development, the Dept of Homeland Security, the Dept of Veterans Affairs and the Dept of Health and Human Services are being carried out by temporary, unconfirmed officials." 

Last week Reuters reported that "the Trump administration eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China."  Doubt me?  Ask the Google: Linda Quick.  Or try researching Timothy Ziemer, he was a Director on Trump's National Security Council focused on Global Health - Security & Bio-defense ... Tim left team Trump in 2018 & was not replaced.  Ziemer's vacancy was just one of many failures highlighted in a November 2019 report ... back when there was still time to be proactive ... from a leading think-tank CSIS - Center for Strategic International Studies.  [read report]   And for the radical right-wing Trump supporters who may be thinking: "Yeah, sure, Mike ... another one of your progressive, liberal non-profit organizations?"  Hardly.  Current CSIS co-chair is former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

Bottom-line: we're in a terrible mess and the lack of a coordinated, calm, effective response from the Federal government is a glaring failure that most Americans are just not used to.  America is country that turned the tide in two world wars and kept the world a bit safer for generations.   As I finish this article I am already thinking more positively and will include future notes about some amazing steps that people and businesses are taking all over the country to fill the void caused by Donald J. Trump. 

posted 03.28.20


Positive News Begins To Trickle ... States Take Charge As Trump Fails

Lives lost due to lack of coordinated Federal response

Our President insists he's not a "shipping clerk" which is causing states to compete with each other for dwindling resources and supplies needed to keep our first responders healthy & safe.  But last night Rachel Maddow interviewed Lt. General Todd Semonite, Chief Engineer with our fabulous Corps of Engineers who are tasked with helping expand a series of temporary medical facilities across the country in coordination with FEMA.

Finally.  A professional with a clear sense of urgency.  If you missed the interview, fret not ... I located a YouTube clip just for you.  Please share it with others!


Greed Destroyed Our Social Immune System. It’s Time to Rebuild It.

This crisis is about a lot more than a virus, says Mother Jones

I stumbled upon a quick article in Mother Jones (it's a magazine), and decided to put a link here to the full text.  The greed that I see is today's "win at all costs" strategy deployed by the GOP who seems to tolerate Trump just so long as he keeps packing the courts with conservative jurists and shepherds tax cuts for the wealthy thru Congress.  

The trick though for this retired, balding Midwestern "blogger" (wanna-be journalist) is to provide just hint of the Mother Jones article ... a snippet to whet your appetite:

"...We knew Trump would make the crisis about himself (and his family’s personal gain). We knew he’d soon look for scapegoats, and find them among people of color and the media. We knew it because that’s what he always does. What we don’t quite know yet is how much further the president’s allies will follow him into his narcissistic fantasy ... here is what gives me hope: So much of it is happening. People are sewing masks, giving blood, filling out census forms. They are building mutual aid groups to support neighbors and raise money for restaurant workers. And they are finding new ways to organize politically now that no one will knock on doors or go to meetings in person."  Mother Jones March-April 2020 issue

The magazine seems to really be interested in your opinions:  "What do you think Mother Jones’ biggest priority in covering the coronavirus should be right now?"

Hmmm.  Why not tell 'em what's on your mind?


Trump Ignores Early Warnings; Threatens Media Over Ad

(the ad is made using only words uttered by the Donald) 

Such thin skin ... our Commander in Chief has a hissy fit over an ad that summarizes his administration's pathetic response to the global pandemic.  Whoa fully inept.  Not removing the ad about rising U.S. coronavirus cases “could put your station’s license in jeopardy,” the Trump campaign warned in a "cease & desist" letter.  Trump's attorneys extended the threats which make him appear more & more like a lunatic mob boss: "... not removing the ad could put your station’s license in jeopardy with the Federal Communications Commission."  Oh really?  Is this the next example how he plans to deal with his enemies?  "Lock her up!" became the campaign rally cry.  What's your next move ... unleashing the IRS on your opponents?

Haven't seen it?  No problem-o ... try this link

After China reported the outbreak of a new coronavirus in December, U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the Trump administration in classified messages about the potentially devastating threat, The Washington Post reported Friday. Yet President Donald Trump largely ignored the warnings and delayed action that might have slowed the spread of the COVID-19 disease, according to the newspaper.  [source]

posted with pride 03.27.20

"We can't let the cure be worse than the problem," Trump

Trump administration has failed in virtually every aspect of federal government's response to crisis

Virtually no health official or medical expert agrees with President Trump that efforts to halt the spread should be relaxed to ease negative affects on the economy.  The Commander in Chief says decisions meant to combat the pandemic should not solely be left to medical professionals. "If it were up to the doctors, they may say, 'Let's shut down the entire world,'" Trump said, adding, "You know, we can't do that."  He argued much of this reasoning at the White House briefing on Monday and again later that day at a Fox News town hall which is why his lunatic base of supporters agrees with him.  Forget the data ... forget the fact that his administration's response to the virus has been an absolute failure.  Trump gives himself a perfect "10" - I say he has failed by not following the federal pandemic response plans.  Trump credits his decision to issue "travel ban" on China on January 31st for saving America.  Regardless what Trump says now in retrospect the travel ruling was not a complete ban - there were so many exceptions - the "ban" was close to worthless in containing the virus. The action was also not "bold" as Trump loves to portray - because he knows if he says if often enough, his base will believe it to be true, but even his Health & Human Services secretary Alex Azar said at the time, the decision stemmed from "the uniform recommendations of the career public health officials here at HHS." Trump also loves to create a villain in every issue he faces and complained Democrats “called me a racist because I made that decision ... they loudly criticized and protested.”   False.  As Factcheck.org points out "None of the party’s congressional leaders and none of the Democratic candidates running for president have directly criticized that decision".

Beyond that, testing protocols have been an abject failure - forget the fact that his administration opted to produce their own tests rather than use the COVID-19 diagnostic tests produced by the World Health Organization (WHO).  Heck, why not reinvent the wheel, Donald?  Why pass on testing that had proven to work in China, Korea, and throughout Europe?  Critical weeks have been lost, and most likely American lives ... and testing is still one of the largest problems.  Add the issues of limited supplies: masks, gowns, gloves, shields, ventilators - and we have problems, Houston.  And to compound those problems, we have a president who longs for the days when he could embrace the adulation of his supporters at his MAGA constant-campaign rallies ... so he has been commandeering the podium at the WH Press Briefing Room that had been mothballed prior to current crisis because Trump press briefings typically generated little more than additional controversy & negative news.

Instead of communicating calm and reassurance to American citizens, Trump has used the briefings to attack the media and Democrats. Nothing new there.  But experts say the notion that world and the U.S. government has been blindsided by the pandemic is "an onion of layered lies."  So says Max Brooks, an expert on planning for pandemics and other disasters.  Brooks has lectured at the US Naval War College and a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Brooks appeared on NPR's Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross [yep, the link leads to a podcast of the program and for those who love detail as much as I, there's even a freaking transcript].

Brook debunks the Donald's misunderstanding of the Defense Production Act, and offers local & state governments with a road map to help resolve some of the equipment shortages.  Brooks also offers the facts that could have been used at the water cooler to dispel Trump's claim that use of the DPA is the equivalent of nationalizing private industry in America. No, it's a process, Donald, to ensure that needed resources actually produce material & goods that are needed in this moment crisis.  "what you can do is identify a supply chain in order to make it work," Brooks says.  There are also numerous tips to the military who could and should be playing a more vital role - and that involves more than commanding 2 medical ships to report for duty "in the not too distant future" as Trump likes to say when asked for specifics.  It could be worth your time to listen to the podcast.

posted 03.25.20

Trump Supporters Put Lives At Risk - Over & Over

Like no other US President in history, Donald J. Trump puts lives at risk ... and his base of supporters allow it to happen.  Most likely America has never seen a political leader more focused on his approval ratings then our reality TV show president ... and what he sees is a disappointing but consistently low approval rating somewhere in the mid-forties.  Just think: of the 10 registered voters who live closest to you - four or more still support Trump.  And that is after numerous documented evidence that the Donald has lied thousands of times in the past 3-yrs* and he's repeatedly put human lives at risk.  Lives of Americans and our allies, jeopardized due to his or his administration's incompetence and bad decisions on his part. 

* Two of the best Trump fact-checkers have not updated their lists in months likely because the volume of inaccurate, false information that spews from Trump & his administration has become so voluminous and consistent its become a full-time job for many.  Washington Post is stuck at 16,241 false or misleading statements and hasn't updated the list since January 20, 2020.  Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief for The Toronto Star listed 5,276 false statements through May 2019 ... Dale continues to frequently post his current fact-checking analysis on Twitter but I can not locate Dale's comprehensive 3-yr list ... given the daily volume of inaccurate things Trump says it's gotta' be a challenge. Dale posted over 60 Tweets identifying specific Trump gaffes just Sunday (03.22.20).

Trump has a long history of destroying careers, reputations, and putting lives at risk which is disgusting since most past presidents and most Americans would say he's not fulfilling his oath of office: "I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."   (Just remember: Trump does much of this crap because he thinks a huge chunk of Americans support him - which I will counter and say: Trump supporters are too lazy to keep up with the truth and seem to buy-into the argument that the media is unfair in their reports, and his own intelligence agencies are staffed by Never-Trumpers.  Same with the Justice Department, the FBI, and the CIA ... all have conspired against Trump, or so he says ... and "money-honey" Marie Bartiromo has proof ("tune in to Mornings with Maria on Fox Business and learn more about the shocking evidence from Devin Nunes...").  How on Earth are we ever going to convince the lunatics who support Trump of the facts if they don't believe journalists or career government employees throughout our justice and intelligence communities?  It's really quite absurd that the "law-and-order" party - the GOP - would be trashing our law enforcement & intelligence officers.  Need a quick refresher of the facts? 

  • family separation policy - Southern border - snatching babies from their mother's arms
  • drastic cuts to LEGAL immigration & increases to deportations within the US of A
  • canceling US participation in Iran nuclear agreement (which was working)
  • terminating US involvement in Paris Climate Change Accord ("its all a hoax")
  • Trump cuts provisions in the Affordable Care Act without advancing his health care "plan"
  • reneged on DACA Deal with Democrats just hours after saying: “My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” the president said [see video if you doubt me].
  • increase in white supremacist rhetoric & hate speech ("He's done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country," says Senator Elizabeth Warren.)
  • Trump's solution to end school shootings? Let arm the teachers ... what could go wrong?
  • manufactured trade war (China, Canada, Mexico) & tariffs - especially hard hit: farmers
  • mangled hurricane response & rescue (Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Atlantic Coast)
  • entered into agreements with Kim Jong-Un of N. Korean without consulting his own State Dept staff
  • fractured NATO ally confidence in US of A
  • added trillions (and counting) to national debt ... for future generations to resolve
  • abandoned Kurds in Syria 2019 & put remaining US forces in Middle East at risk
  • withheld Congressional aid for Ukraine - blackmailed Pres. Zelensky to manufacture "dirt" on Joe Biden - meanwhile Ukraine soldiers killed by Russian attacks which the funding was supposed to safeguard
  • dismissal of gov't employees Trump views as "disloyal" (such as Lt. Col. Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch, Gen. H.R. McMaster, Omarosa Manigault Newman, and dozens more)
  • ignored early national security intelligence reports four months ago about potential pandemic
  • dismissed importance of early reports of the coronavirus - blamed the media & Democrats
  • delayed official US Gov't response to virus testing (and lied about & continues to do so)
  • Trump mentions chloroquine was being tested as possible a COVID- 19 therapy: man dies [news link]

posted 03.23.20 - updated 03.25.20

Fox News is evil (as if more proof is required)

The challenge for headline writers is to be thought provoking & concise, using the fewest words possible.  I don't have that finely tuned skill.  I actually wanted to say: "Fox News and everyone who religiously watches Fox News are evil."  I might even go so far as to say Fox News viewers ARE the problem.  Not but six or 7 yrs ago Fox News and the opinions expressed by their "news analysts" and guests and their staff were on the fringe.  A bit whacky.  Not a crowd to be taken seriously.  Flash forward a bit and the Tea Party emerges, though tiny and still considered to be fringe.  We survived Freedom Works and the Koch Brothers.  But they've become mainstream now: Steven Miller, Steve Bannon, Mick Mulvaney, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan & more. 

Then Donald & Melania Trump glide down their golden escalator and claim the GOP nomination for President and a cast of Republican "Never Trumpers" emerge.  Literally everyone in the GOP establishment were card-carrying members opposed to the Donald ascension to the White House ... Lyin' Ted, Little Marco, Low-energy Jeb, Truly weird Senator Rand Paul.  Even Trump's so-called insiders were victims of the Donald's juvenile name-calling.  Jeff Sessions became Mr. Magoo, long-term Apprentice aid became Wacky Omarosa. He called his eventual VP as Mike Pounce

Gradually, the establishment Republicans see the courts being packed with conservative fire-brand judges they'd only dreamt of in the past, and see virtually every advance made during the Obama administration now over-turned & nuked.  Even things that were working and keeping the world safer like the Iran nuclear agreement, and the Paris Climate Change initiative from 2016.  Gone, erased.  [doubt me? read this article: "How Trump is rolling back Obama’s legacy"] 

So Republicans and especially Fox News viewers have drunk the Kool-Aid and now claim they support they Donald ... because "winning" is more important than any of the issues the nation and the world face.  And, those who prove to be disloyal face Trump's wrath & retribution.

Sean Hannity says Dems & "media mob" are weaponizing COVID-19 against Trump [read for yo' self]
Hannity says: "They want you to believe that the spread of corona is the president's fault and he's not doing enough to protect you."  No Sean, that's typical of you and other Republicans to make things up, but no reasonable Democrat or the "media mob" are saying the virus is Trump's fault ... but they'll repeat that line so many times that faithful Fox News viewers will have it memorized and will repeat it at Trump rallies or other public venues.  What Democrats and the media are saying is that Trump's his own worst enemy ... he contradicts his health experts daily and does not state the facts accurately.  'There are only 15 cases,' he essentially says, 'and 10 or those are better, so we're down to 5, and we'll be at 0 in a few days - we're fine - we'll have a vaccine in a few months & then the virus will just vanish.'  False.

FACT CHECK: Trump makes 14 false claims at Fox News town hall  [read & absorb truth]  I won't bother to repeat the list here ... serious readers will have already clicked-the-link and read the CNN story.  Trump's base will see that source and say: "CNN is fake news" ... even though nearly 17,000 documented, substantiated lies, misstatements, & exaggerations have been recorded.  Suffice to say, anytime the Donald appears before a camera he can not help himself ... he wants to make himself look good - he wants to stamp all issues with his hunches and his brand, his version of "reality" which is rarely accurate.  [more proof on Trump's lies]

posted 03.07.20

Super Tuesday reveals Joe Biden, hiding in plain sight

USA Today editorial board writes this morning:

Most important, Biden is the one thing that Trump is most conspicuously not: a man of good character. That is no trivial matter for voters looking to restore a sense of decency to the White House.  For Democrats desperate for someone with a fighting chance to beat Trump, they may have found their guy, hiding in plain sight.

Personally, I'd edit the above comment ... replace "Democrats" with "Americans" ... so that it reads:  "Americans desperate for someone with a fighting chance to beat Trump, they may have found their guy, hiding in plain sight."  Yep.   You go, Joe!

posted 03.06.20

In Search Of Joy (or, maintaining my sanity in these crazy times)

The past several months I'll admit, I've been on the brink of losing it.  I am referring to what's going on in Washington DC and all across this once great land in the midst of an election year.  Rather than re-hash all that has happened in past three years I decided to archive previous articles written here and just pick up with the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives - which built a compelling, but incomplete case against Donald J. Trump.  His administration was blocking every reasonable attempt to secure documents & testimony, and fighting them in the courts would have extended the battle past the November general election.  Trump and his Republican defenders were essentially running out the clock ... so Democrats & Independents had little choice but Impeach the President.

Disagree with my assessment?  Prove it.  Actually, I'd say you likely have watched far too much One America TV or too much Fox News ... because the facts are quite clear.  And no, Trump never released a real transcript of his call with the Ukrainian President ... just an incomplete summary.  Have you read it?  You oughta'.  We can pause here while you dash off and do that.  And while you're at it, try reading some of these fact-checking articles:

  • Opening statements from President Trump's legal team at Senate trial:  fact-check link
  • Trump's attorneys claim he was locked out from participating in impeachment proceedings. That's false. fact-check link
  • Trump's false claim that US is the only country providing aid to Ukraine  fact-check link
  • Did Trump really care about corruption in Ukraine? The evidence suggests no  fact-check link
  • Breaking down Adam Schiff's account of Trump's Ukraine call  fact-check link

Even though many Republican Senators admitted that the Democrats made their case and proved Trump was guilty, they claimed there was no need for further testimony & evidence 'cuz the infractions didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.  What kind of nonsense is that???  Only Mitt Romney of all people, displayed an ounce of integrity, voting to remove Trump from office.  But the GOP "won" and they kept the most dangerous man ever to hold the nuclear football to remain in office.  "Winning" is all Mitch McConnell & today's Congressional Republicans care about ... which is why all of them need to be voted out of office (except Mitt). 

Following the impeachment trial Trump proceeded to act as if he was vindicated of the charges (he was not) and proceeded to embark on a shameful "victory lap" as he began to feel embolden to further attack and punish anyone who he perceived to be "disloyal".  His factually challenged, highly partisan State of the Union address was indeed “a manifesto of mistruths” as House Speaker Pelosi explained after the red-meat speech was delivered. 

Yet through it all some 40+ percent of American adults continue to support the guy.  That's just insane ... and its the reason I have to pull back from this craziness and find joy elsewhere.  Oh, sure, I'll still watch more news & read more government reports than the average buffoon, but I'm going to post fewer comments here about politics for a little while as I attempt to not go bonkers and shall immerse myself & flood my brain with material other than cable news ... Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams & Nicole Wallace ... who you may recall worked in the Bush-2 W.H. as communications director ... a Republican. 

step 1:  explore diversions based on decency

One source of joy for Louise & I is music.  The other day I mentioned that Harry Nilsson's classic production: The Point  turned 50-yrs old.  "Impossible," my brain responded.   So naturally, I've been playing more of Harry's tunes & through this fun diversion I've re-gained my appreciation for his music and even formulated a connection with our activity the past 2-years: exploring vintage sports cards from the golden era of sport.  Goodness, you may be thinking ... that's quite a stretch.  What does Oblio & The Point have to do with my beloved 1933 Babe Ruth baseball card?  Or, Red Grange? 

Glad you asked.   Take the 3rd song from the Point for example ... Poli High.  (Yeah, it's best to listen to the tune while reading this little thought.)

Poli-high, Poli-Technic, Poli-Technically High
Poli-high, Poli-Technically High
Valley Low, Valley Low, Valley so low
Valley Low, Valley Low, Valley High

Poly Tech.  It's a technical name.  Technically high.   A school?

Had a game, had a game, had a technical game
By the name, by the name, called a technical game
Valley High, Valley High, Valley High
Poli, Low

Alright, now we're getting somewhere. We have a game ... with a technical name. (Triangle Toss: the object is for participants to catch the triangle on the point of their heads ... or in Oblio's case, on Arrow's pointed snout.)  But the tune can easily be adapted to most any contest, especially when good vs. evil is involved.  Kinda' like: Decent Americans vs. Donald J. Trump.  Valley high ... valley so low.

Then de whistle blow
Then de whistle blow
Second half, second half, Poli come from behind
Hold that line, Hold that line, Hold that line

The lyrics suggest sport ... whistles blowing, 2nd half ... but also optimism:  Biden comes from behind.  Boy how I love rooting for the underdog.  And of course we need a strong defense - 2nd half, 2nd half ... to the next phase.   Hold that line, hold that line ... quit caving-in to the wingnuts who want to re-create the national education system with faith-based charter schools.  Hold that line, hold that line!  Send Betsy DeVos packing.  Oh, but wait ... are there charges that need to be brought against these criminals as their reign of terror on America comes to an end?

Far to go, going, slow, Poli come from behind
Running out of the time
Number Two, dressed in blue
Make a run with the ball

The effort never ends - its a battle: sometimes slow.  Far to go but it's worth the effort to preserve freedom and not accept the radical red-meat arguments or rolling back regulations simply because they were passed by the nation's first black president & his administration.  Dressed in Biden blue, #2 (like the Veep he was).

Hurry up Poli, pass Valley by
Then the rain start to fall
Making fools of them all
And so it ends in a technical tie

The struggle ends in a tie?  How unsatisfying ... the rain, fools.  Reminds me of the nonsense line in MacArthur's Park: "... someone left the cake out in the rain ..."  That can't be good.  But as depicted in the graphic above, Oblio & Arrow's victory over the bratty Trump-like son* of the Count was well-received by the citizens.  (* yep, another confession: in my mind's eye I do see Donald Trump, Jr. when I hear reference to the evil Count's Son.   It's a sickness; I admit it, but it'll be over soon.)
 

step 2:  let history be a guide


The moral or larger lesson gleaned from The Point is that while everything has a point ... a point in all directions is the same as no point at all.  Yes, I borrowed that analysis directly from Nilsson's story.  "He's got a point there!" said one observer.

So the references to sports & games is part of the joy for me.  The vintage cards have lead to books & articles, and life-long learning, and a sense of better understanding people and past generations.  Sports can help one develop personal goal setting and striving to achieve and do your best.  Poli High ... then de whistle blows ... reference to the second half suggests a football contest ... which I can not watch now without hearing Nilsson singing: "hold that line" and "come from behind!"   

The kids who collected these cards back in 1933 may have had access to a radio - my father didn't.  Information about the Babe's latest home run, or the other Babe's latest track & field victory at the Olympics out in L.A. could be found mainly in the newspapers or on the news-reels at the Bijou (theatre).

Sport Kings was a collection of cards that spanned multiple sports: football, hockey, golf, track, baseball, basketball, tennis, wrestling & boxing and more.  And, get this: two of the cards were girls!  Imagine a bratty, snot-nosed little freckled face boy with a penny burning a hole in his pocket, racing down to the local Sugar Emporium & Tobacco Shoppe to fetch a wax-sealed pack of Goudey's Sport Kings which had a card and a slab of bubble gum ... hoping to get a Jim Thorpe or a Carl Hubbell card ... only to find they got a girl.  Aaaaugh! Eeeuw!  The two girls?  1. Babe Didrikson, track star & future professional golfer; and 2. Helene Madison, gold medal Olympic swimmer.  "Say, maybe I can trade it to Roy," the little conniver says as he hatches his scheme.

-- see more of Mike's limited sports card collection (link).   -- The Point the movie ... streaming link.

Lists of Shame (Trump summary websites):
* Trump's Twitter index
* Washington Post's Long List of Lies
* Factba.se - the most awesome depository of all Trump speeches, Tweets, & policy
home
07.10.20 - many articles published earlier are being sorted - I may have a new "archive" soon ... or not.