It’s been almost a month since my last blog posting. And my-o-my how the world has changed!
COVID-19 + Protest = A Cry for Change
These are truly times like no other. We are still in the middle of a mismanaged COVID-19 pandemic. Add to that the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a policeman and you get a cry for change like no other.
It is apparent that a critical mass of people have reached the consensus decision point that something is wrong. Very wrong. The system is broken. The current leadership of the national government is just not working.
It is not just the failure to lead a coherent national response to the COVID-19. It is not just that irresponsible openings are exasperating the situation. It is not just that the number of deaths keep rising. It is the complete and total lack of leadership. It is the inability of that leadership to convey empathy, encourage a united front, speak in a way that brings people across interests together for the common good.
It is not just the rampant killing of Black men by police throughout the country. It is not just the lack of response from the national leader. It is not just the insulting, insensitive Tweets and words. It is the inability of that leadership to convey empathy, encourage a united front, speak in a way that brings people across interests together for the common good.
Michael Moore released a statement regarding how we should not underestimate the Trumpistas enthusiasm and capacity to turn out the vote. Spot on. Trumpistas are a personality cult. And they will definitely come out to vote. The Opposition is not a personality cult. Biden may be the ship captain, but he is not the only reason I am voting Democrat. And that is ok to say. (I personally really like Biden. And, not but, he is not a cultish figure. And that’s ok.) Also: there may be 100,000 Trumpistas in Tulsa today. That number pales in comparison to the number of people the Opposition has brought out to protests. And, these good folks that are protesting are mad. And they (we!) will vote. And, we will bring 20 others with us.
Let the Trumpistas show off their unbending, blind trust of their cultish leader. Their numbers are simply not growing. Let’s us in the Opposition continue our loud, disorganized, cry for change.
And yep: Let’s some of us in the Opposition also continue our sometimes boring, methodological, studious, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, quiet conversations with our cousins, friends, and acquaintances to make sure they vote vote vote… #RESIST
Let’s make sure that through whatever means necessary a cry for change creates a blue wave of voters.
COVID-19 + Protest = A Cry for Change = A Blue Wave of Voters
Let them fester and drown in their own cesspool of cultish crap
From the “you cannot make this stuff up” department:
According to a Yahoo news poll recently 50% of the people that rely mostly on Fox News for their news believe that Bill Gates is pursuing a Covid-19 vaccine only so the world’s population can be tracked by MicroSoft Corporation.
Think about it. Let this sink in.
This is not a fringe group. This is not a small segment of Americans. This is a very large number of US citizens, many who vote.
(What is even more insane is that 37% of the people that voted for Hillary Clinton believe this to be true or are not sure. 75% of the Fox News watchers fall into this category.)
These good folks have chosen to not believe science. These good folks have chosen to disregard the advancement in critical thinking and scientific discoveries of the last centuries. Think flat-earthers. Think moon landing deniers. Think witch burnings fanatics. Think gravity doubters.
These good folks have chosen to get the information that molds their beliefs and forms their opinion from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, and a perverse version of Christianity that justifies their bigoted mindsets.
Self-censorship at its very worst.
In most totalitarian governments where State imposed censorship exists people yearn for alternative information sources. In these societies people go out of their way to find fresh source of news. But under the self-censorship of the Cult of Trump it is a personal choice to believe only a certain fountain of information. Under that self-censorship it is a personal choice to disregard information from any source other than their chosen sources as suspect and untrue. Forget NPR, YahooNews, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC. All suspects; all fake news, these cultish Trumpistas will tell you.
How do you get through to these people? The short answer is you don’t. You let them fester and drown in their own cesspool of cultish crap.
And then you focus on reaching out to the people of good will that are still discerning if they are going to vote and who they are going to vote for.
There are millions of these people of good will that are willing to listen to sensible conversations and reasonable arguments. Reach out to them. And you focus on your friends that are committed to voting, making extra super-duper sure they commit to you personally to go vote no matter what.
If by chance one of these cult members approaches you and engages in an authentic conversation, by all means be there for him or her! Listen carefully and try to understand why they fell into the dilution of their cult. Pray for them if that is your thing to do. Embrace them with a virtual hug in these times of Covid. And empathetically welcome them to a world of diverse opinions where we may disagree greatly and still hold certain truths to be self-evident… And offer them a ride to the polls November 3rd – or offer to take them so they can put their mail-in ballot in the official drop box.
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The craziness continues. No end in sight. Until Nov 3rd.
It has been only four weeks since the last posting and the world has changed so much. Who would have imagined that this pandemic would twist and turn like a slow hurricane that refuses to go away? Who could have guessed the rabid, raging, irrational, partisan response from this Administration? (Well, actually, we all could have probably guessed that.)
Instead of empathetically reaching out to the hurt, Trump has opted to ‘damn the torpedoes’ and irresponsibly focus exclusively on the short-term goals of immediate profit for some – and enhancing his chances for re-election.
Forget earlier guidelines. Forget whatever the scientists say. Forget what hurting America wants to hear. Instead, he has exclusively focused on his on ‘base and his economic cronies. Instead he has – as he always does – deflected deflected deflected, firing anyone who does not think like him, blaming Obama, trashing Biden.
For the historical record, Trump’s Mother’s Day Tweet said it all: ”HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!” That’s it. Nada mas. No ‘I feel your pain’; no ‘thinking about you’; no ‘we are in this together’. Just a cheap 99 cents card. Awful. This man has no sentiments. No feelings. No empathy.
What this pandemic has brought to light is not only the gross incompetence of Trump, his mismanagement of government, and his inept leadership capacity.
This pandemic has also brought to light a much bigger issue that goes well beyond Trump.
Running the risk of getting overly philosophical/theological, it is high times we decouple the basic human needs for shelter, health, and nutrition from the profit motive.
In my conversation with a trusted scientist that does quite a bit of work in Africa as we speak, she tells me that weeks ago the thought was that this was just another pandemic. The thought was that cholera, malaria, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, war, and natural disasters kill a lot more people than COVID-19 ever will. That line of thinking is changing. Daily. The number of deaths brought by COVID-19 in Africa will be devastating. But – and you have to be careful how you say this – the resiliency of the people in that continent runs deep. COVID-19’s impact will be very different in low resource countries vs the ‘first world’ countries.
In the U.S. the current debate is simple: Are we willing to accept 120,000 deaths a year from COVID-19? After all, we accept a similar number of deaths every year from car accidents, gun shots, and drug overdose. One line of thinking – which is crass, but valid – is that “why should we all suffer when the chances dying from COVID-19 is tiny, particularly if you are part of the vast majority of Americans who is relatively healthy and part of the economic system?” The ‘American Way’ is used to accepting a high degree of poverty among those that “don’t look like the rest of us”. And, accepting high number of deaths in prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters, meat-packing plants, immigrant camps, and in low income communities of color in high density neighborhoods is “no big deal”. (All quotes in this paragraph come for some of my Facebook ‘friends’. Ugh.)
In our County we have the opportunity to do it differently. And we have the right leadership for this moment. Glad to be part of this team doing real work at a hyper-local level while the craziness at the national level goes amuck.
This comes from a Facebook response by one of our nephew and niece to the many Trumpista ignorant comments.
Lately I’ve seen a lot of posts about Cuban Americans not forgetting why our parents, and/or grandparents, left Cuba and that we shouldn’t be “slapping” our family in the face by voting or supporting socialism (and/or communism)…and it’s truly upsetting me.
1. For starters, not agreeing with Republicans DOES NOT MAKE YOU A SOCIALIST!
2. Voting Democrat DOES NOT MAKE YOU A SOCIALIST nor a COMMUNIST!
If you know anything about socialism and the Cuban government’s regime, you’ll know that they were not / are not a socialist nor communist regime but a tyrannical dictatorship.
Socialism in Cuba is not Socialism. And Communism, in Cuba or anywhere else in the world, is not Communism BECAUSE COMMUNISM IN THE REAL WORLD DOES NOT WORK!
I spent the better half of my college years sharing the truths about Cuba, Communism, and The Che Guevara with my liberal friends that idealized Communism, Cuba, and Che.
The all too sad truth about Cuban Americans, especially my generation, is that they have NO FREAKING IDEA ABOUT CUBA after the revolution. Almost every single Cuban American I see sharing posts like the one mentioned above have absolutely no family left in Cuba nor do they know anything other than the stories of Cuba past. They speak ignorantly about the current situation and what socialism and communism is in Cuba. Unfortunately, I have an entire side of my family that did not have the luck of getting off the island…and/or had the misfortune of staying to try and change things. I also have family members that nearly died fighting the revolution…something I will never forget.
Nonetheless, I’ve seen the so called socialist/communist Cuba…and it is neither…because, as noted above; 1. Communism DOES NOT WORK IN THE REAL WORLD and 2. Cuba IS NOT SOCIALISM BUT A DICTATORSHIP!
One of my uncles died a slow and painful death from a “small” heart attack because Cuba’s “wonderful” healthcare system did not have the proper equipment to save his life. After waiting hours for an ambulance he waited even more hours as he slowly died of a heart attack…something like 12 hours or so…but Cuba’s healthcare system is “wonderful.”
Months after the death of my Uncle Carlito my Mom’s younger brother, a medically declared schizophrenic, took his own life because he couldn’t deal with the pain of losing his older brother and, though the wonderful doctors in Cuba knew he needed to adjust his meds, the meds he needed ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN CUBA and the US meds couldn’t make it in time.
SO NO! JUST BECAUSE I DO NOT SUPPORT TRUMP, NOR THE CURRENT “REPUBLICAN” PARTY, DOES IT MEAN THAT I SUPPORT SOCIALISM OR COMMUNISM.
I know the truth about both, and though wonderful in theory, in the real world it is pretty damn hard to create a truly Socialist society and IMPOSSIBLE to create a functioning Communist society…and I will never support either……BUT I SURE AS HELL AM NOT GOING TO SLAP MY PARENTS IN THE FACE BY VOTING FOR TRUMP.
For those Cubans sharing the post that started this rant…have you truly forgotten how Castro took power…? For that matter, have you forgotten how any tyrant takes power?
I have been in Cuba visiting my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, living with them for 3 weeks at a time and seen Castro’s propaganda on Cuban television first hand.
Every December there is a commemorative television show that recounts how Castro took power. The glorious revolution is shown on TV and the slogans and speeches from the revolution are re-aired.
And in those slogans and speeches you know what comes up most often….?
Not socialist nor communist rhetoric, BUT DIVISIVE and FEAR MONGERING RHETORIC…the EXACT RHETORIC OUR BELOVED PRESIDENT (and after two years of his presidency, now too almost all the Republican Party) uses to this day.
As I watched the shows retelling the Cuban Revolution I used to think, “How stupid do people have to be to believe this? How ignorant and hateful does a country need to be to allow someone like this to take power? Thank God I live in America…no way this would happen there.”
Well, guess what, it didn’t happen here in the good ol’ USA because instead of us allowing someone spitting nothing but divisive-hate-driven-fear-mongering rhetoric to take power WE VOTED HIM INTO POWER!
BUT HERE’S THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL…as long as we get to vote him into and out of power this is still America. And though not the America I grew up admiring (an America full of love, hope, respect, racists and prejudices….but always getting a little less…an America whose politics where above the trash-talk-disrespecting-vulgarity of the Latin-American Countries I grew up watching), my beautiful America all the same.
In the end, my grandparents and my parents raised me to be tolerant, patient, thoughtful, respectful, and that freedom (and education…education was almost always first), true freedom, is the most precious thing we can ever have. So as long as we all get to share our thoughts out loud (respectfully and thoughtfully) without fear of prosecution, and as long as we get to go perform our civic duty and vote, I am slapping absolutely NO CUBAN IN THE FACE!
Short and sweet. But oh, so true. And the truth hurts. Bluntly speaking:
Is it any coincidence that we are talking about “opening up the economy” now that it is becoming increasingly evident the people dying from COVID-19 are mostly old folks in nursing homes, inmates in jail, laborers in meat packing plants, the homeless, undocumented immigrants in holding pens and camps, and low income people of color in high density neighborhoods? Are these dispensable lives in the eyes of the cult of Trump?
This is their line of warped thinking:
“After all, we already accept over 150,000 deaths a year when people die in car accidents, drug overdose, and gun shots. What is another 150,000 lives a year lost to COVID-19 – as long as they don’t look like us? Hey, it’s the cost of freedom, individualism, and the American Way, right? MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN!“
Our recovery will be a missed opportunity as long as we are driven by a motive which gives priority to profits over people and keeps financial power where it has always been; a motive that wants an immediate reestablishment of the structures and institutions that let this happen; and, a motive that is deathly afraid of acknowledging the need for radical free access to healthcare and a rethinking of how wealth is distributed – and who benefits from capital and wealth creation.
It is as if the world stopped about a month ago, when I made the last posting to this blog. And in many ways the world as we knew it did stop.
The Coronavirus epidemic has marched across the glove, engulfing every corner without regard to creed or race. (Except in the U.S. it is becoming increasingly evident Blacks are dying at a disproportionate number. But that may be more linked to pre-existing bad health – and bad access to health care.)
The Trump Administration has failed miserably in leading the Country through this crisis. The President has insisted in continuing to be himself; and with the rare exception of key scientists, his team keeps fumbling misguided situations and acting seemingly without a clue thus creating an erratic bureaucratic mess.
From his diminishing of the early signs to his inability to gieve for the dead and families, Trump’s total worst is coming out. Rather than writing a synopsis, it might be best to highlight some of the Facebook postings and conversations over the last month.
Here’s to hoping that we only have to keep this blog up for six more months and close it down November 3rd, 2020.
Here are our Facebook Postings over the last few weeks of this ordeal:
TRUMP’s INCREDULOUS TWEETS
… and his quote that will certainly go down in history:
To end it on a good note – and for comparison – here’s the Holy Days message Joe Biden sent:
I blame Trump. 100%. It is his fault. I am staying home.
Two days ago I had my usual throat soreness that comes with allergies. Nothing big. Nothing serious.
I went to CVS, picked up my Alka-Seltzers and cough drops and went on my merry ways. The trajectory of the allergies kept going like they always do. Third day the cough picks ups. My voice starts getting horse.
I know what lies ahead. More hoarseness; runny nose; and dry cough for a few days. Then it will slowly disappear over the course of another week. No fever. No special ache.
In normal times I would have simply continued with my life. I would continue going to meetings, covering my mouth when I cough, drinking lots of water to soothe my throat, and keep taking those Alka-Seltzers. (They don’t work for everyone. They work for me.)
Given the Coronavirus pandemic I am showing an ‘abundance of caution’ and not going to meeting or meeting with folks anywhere. I will not be going to restaurants or bars.
I feel extremely confident that I do not have COVID-19. No fever. No special ache. Yet, I am compelled to nearly self-quarantine along with millions of Americans for the greater good.
And, that’s ok.
What is not ok is that given the incompetence of this Administration and of President Trump in particular I can’t find out whether I have the virus or not. No testing is readily available.
No testing for COVID-19 is readily available because this Administration under the lousy leadership of President Trump has not seen the urgency to develop and deploy testing kits universally – and free – throughout the land.
They know all too well that if testing was universally and free the number of known infected folks will go through the roof. But, the angst of most people – like myself –would be put to rest when they find out they are not infected and they can treat their condition as a regular cold. And, thus I would not feel guilty walking to my nearby beer-and-wine store, refraining from coughing, and picking up my 6-pack.
But this joke of a President we have instead highlights how this virus is a ‘foreign’ virus and we gotta stop people from Europe – except England, for some inexplicable reason – from coming in. He addressed the nation last night and instead of laying out the plan for dramatically increasing testing he reverts to his phobia of foreigners. Yet another shining example of his total lack of leadership maturity, capacity to understand complex issues, and absence of empathy.
If I could get tested – and assuming I am negative – I could partake if in a limited way in the economic system, feel more comfortable around my family, and not be neurotic about my condition. But nope. That’s not an option. Instead I am left to showing ‘abundance of caution’ to the absurd: Stay cooped in my house. How many millions of Americans feels the same way? How absurd is this? How unnecessary is this angst?
All because Donald J. Trump is an inept leader, incapable of managing serious existential crisis like what we are experiencing.
I have no idea how long this is going to last; how long before we get back to some semblance of normal; and whether this situation will be around during election season. But, is there any doubt that Trump would use all of this to cancel the elections?… Stay tuned.
You. Can. Not. Make. This. Stuff. Up.
Enough said. Read on. (Taken from a Politico article.)
President Donald Trump on Wednesday night spun a web of theories minimizing the coronavirus’ threat to Americans, accusing the World Health Organization of dispensing inaccurate facts about the outbreak and suggesting that those with the disease could be safe going to work.
During expansive remarks on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program, the president continued to break with public health officials’ more dire messaging regarding the international crisis and forcefully contradicted the WHO, which earlier in the week pegged the global mortality rate for the coronavirus at 3.4 percent.
“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor,” Trump said.
“You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and — or virus. So you just can’t do that,” he continued. “So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work but they get better.”
The president’s comments came after the House of Representatives approved Wednesday an $8.3 billion emergency spending package to tackle the burgeoning disaster, and as California reported the 11th coronavirus death in the U.S., the first fatality outside of Washington state. But that cost to human life did not align with the WHO’s statistics, the president argued.
“When you do have a death — like you had in the state of Washington, like you had one in California, believe you had one in New York — you know, all of a sudden, it seems like 3 or 4 percent, which is a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1 percent,” Trump told Hannity. Although 11 cases have been reported in New York, no deaths in the state have been officially attributed to the coronavirus.
“But again, they don’t know about the easy cases because the easy cases don’t go to the hospital. They don’t report to doctors or the hospital, in many cases,” Trump said. “So I think that that number is very high. I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.”
On Thursday morning, the president pushed back against media coverage of his interview, insisting that “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
“This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats, in particular MSDNC,” he wrote on Twitter. “Comcast covers the CoronaVirus situation horribly, only looking to do harm to the incredible & successful effort being made!”
Forget the personality failing. Forget the bombastic, lewd, hurtful, divisive, racist, homophobic, misogynist comments.
Let’s focus on policy. Here’s what 4 more years of Trump would look like.
Naturalized citizens denaturalized. Did you hear about his new “Denaturalization Office”? This is a Federal Government office with the sole purpose of aggressively seeking to take away citizenship from American citizens that got citizenship through the naturalization process – i.e.: they were born in another county and came to the U.S. seeking a better life. Yes, this Office has existed in the past. But now its power and directive are vastly increased. Is there any doubt that in another Trump administration they will come out not only against the most obvious criminal violators but also the ‘enemies of Trump’ – i.e.: the likes of me and my cousins and most of my familia?
The total loss of an independent judiciary. With Trump demanding allegiance from federal workers, his appointment of literally thousands of judges, and the possibility of him naming at least two more Supreme Court justices, is there any doubt that the judiciary branch of the federal government under a second Trump administration will be totally subjected to the whims of this President? This will mean more expedient justice – Trump justice, that is. This will touch every area of law: federal protection of women, racial equity, business lawsuits, rape cases; you name it. Trump law will be the law of the land.
A ballooning deficit the likes of what we’ve never seen. You want me to live economically without worries? Just give me a credit card with no limit and no requirement to repay. That is the dirty little secret of Trump’s ‘success’ with the economy. He has borrowed more that any other President ever. The national deficit is going through the roof. And Republicans don’t care. (They used to, but not now that the Republican Party has become the Trump Cult.) With this one the chicken will definitely come home to roost. Not long after Trump leaves his second term – if he leaves and does not demand to stay in power – we’ll have to face the music of having to pay back a debt that will bring our economy to a screeching halt.
The total alignment with Russia. Trump has yet to criticize Putin. Is there any doubt that in a second Trump term he will ‘take off his mask’ and move on (more public) with his intention to align with Russia? Will Trump leave NATO? Will he solidify his new Trump world view by siding with the Saudis, Turkey, and North Korea – all authoritarian despots? Is America ready for that? Is America ready to no longer be the aspirational democracy for the world? Is America ready to continue trashing its neighbors Canada and Mexico and be Russia’s ally instead? Well, that’s where a second Trump term would get us.
More short-term ‘peace deals that are really Trojan horses. The peace deal in Afghanistan turns our back on the Afghans that help us for 18 years. We are denying them visas to come to the U.S. (We’ve done this is the pastin other wars. But that does not mean we have to do it again.) And then there is the Middle East. Empower Israel to expand and give nothing to the Palestinians. Short term gain – and long term mess. 4 more years of Trump will continue this pattern of shallow deals that do nothing to make the world safer.
Unchecked corporate gains. Forget any conversation about overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that gave corporations ‘people power’. Instead, 4 more years of Trump will continue the path already begun with the recent tax changes to favor the higher income earners and corporations with tax laws, deregulation that demeans the environment, and the unchecked opening of federal land to corporate exploitation. If you feel that income inequality is getting out of hand and climate change needs addressing, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Talk about two Americas – well, here we come. Welcome to the world of vertical gated communities in urban areas where the rich safely enter their sanitized, energy hogging neighborhoods while keeping the poor at bay, never interacting with them, and much less caring for them.
Wait! There’s more: Then there is what 4 more years of Trump would mean to our education system, our housing policies, our policing policies, our protection of freedom of the press… On and on.
4 more years of Trump would change the face of America to an extent that would make America unrecognizable. 4 more years of Trump would emphasize everything that is wrong with America – and yes, there’s a lot wrong with America – reviving the ugliest parts of its past, and destroying its aspirational goodness.
Don’t let this happen. Vote ABCD – anybody but crooked Donald.
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