I blame Trump. 100%. It is his fault. I am staying home.

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.

#RESIST

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You can not make this stuff up. Trump’s Coronavirus incompetence

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!”

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Visualizing 4 more years of Trump – it ain’t pretty

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.

#RESIST

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Tolerating the unthinkable to gain a feeling of safety and certainty

Most Americans seem to be tolerating the unthinkable to gain a feeling of safety and certainty.

Trump is proof that many Americans are ready for a strong-man President that provides a feeling of safety and certainty. It seems many Americans have little appetite for debate or discerment. They don’t want to hear about the nuances, the outliers, the exceptions. Neither do they want to hear about the unintended consequences, long term implications, or theoretical possibilities of his actions, directives, or policies.

Most Americans seem to just want to feel safe, feel they can make money, and feel America is winning. In supporting Trump most Americans seem to be accepting of his shenanigans and misconduct. They seem to feel that his bad behaviour, Tweeting, and personal failings are but a small price to pay for the America they want. To these Americans, Trump is their ‘useful idiot’, expressing what they have been wanting to say publicly for decades but felt that the politically correct crowd had them in a corner. To them, Trump is implementing policies that may be a tad draconian, hurtful to some, or inconvenient for others, yet these policies make them feel safe and provide them certainty. (Whether they do or not is irrelevant; they make them feel good – and that is all that matters.)

These Americans seem to love that Trump does not complicate things, keeps it simple, and is brazenly blunt. They like that. They have better things to do than to be consumed with politics. They just want to vote for him. Again. And again. The alternative – they seem to be thinking – is unthinkable.

He is clearly playing to the American addiction to hyper consumerism, self imposed censorship, escapism in sports and entertainment, fear of the unknown, and simplistic dual thinking… And – to most Americans – that’s ok. 

Never mind that he is appealing to our worst selves:
– envy,
– greed,
– selfishness, and
– tribalism.

(That’s ok too. Whatever works, baby!)

Never mind he is questioning basic assumption of how our government works.
> Why should the judiciary be independent of Presidential pressure?
> Why can’t we use military force to accompany immigration raids?
> What is wrong with soliciting foreign assistance to squelch a political opponent?
> What do you mean the President can’t shift money around to pay for his political promises?
> So what if the President publicly favors one news source over another?
>If he can’t pardon friends after being indicted, what good is the Presidential power to pardon?
> Who cares that the National debt is mushrooming as we pay for corporate socialism and bail out farmers?
> Who says judges have to be Ivy League intellectuals or be impartial in the face of social issues like abortion and LGBTQ+ rights?
> Why can’t the Commander in Chief choose to align with Russia more than Europe, Saudi Arabia more than Mexico, Vietnam more than Cuba, Israel more than Palestine?
> Why shouldn’t a President benefit from the Presidency?

In most every case above, there may be a legal rationale to question it, or a practice or protocol that set precedent for presidential behaviour. But in most there is simply no black/white, hard and fast, universally accepted argument that is beyond question – as the recent impeachment trial demonstrated.

In Trump we have a new type of President: A strong-man who rules by brute force, Tweets, and brassiness. He does not need a Congress. The Judiciary is here to serve him. And so is the Military… And that seems to be ok with many Americans.

The only check to this situation that many other Americans see as right out dangerous and an affront on America is that old school process called ‘elections’. But, even elections are not beyond the President’s capacity to shape for his purpose of staying in power. Now he can direct voter suppression, social media fear mongering, and blatant propaganda.

Nothing short of a massive voter turn-out and clear landslide victory will get Trump out of the White House. And even with that, there is no guarantee he would not fabricate a crisis where he stays in power. If he wins in 2020 and is still around in 2024, we will definitely have a very different America for decades to come… And that seems to be ok with many Americans.

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Welcome to Trumplandia

Note: This one is a work-in-progress… I will add to it as different feelings come and go over the next few days…

Welcome to Trumplandia.

The United Sham of America.

Boys, grab them pus@#$.
Men, rape them women.
Rich guys, get richer by cheating.
Politicians, lie yourself to power.

It’s all about you, baby!
It’s all alright.
It is all alright because your President says it is. He has done it and therefore it is alright.
You too can do it.

Just don’t cross him. Or his wrath will be unleashed on you.
He will eat you, chew you, and spit you right out.
You might have been with him yesterday, but that ain’t good enough.
Thou shall be blindly with him. Or else.

He got you the wall, he got you the judges, Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, the economy is soaring, gays know their place, we are dropping big bombs and assassinating bad people. What more do you want?

Now go watch that Super Bowl, entertain yourself, buy more stuff whether you need it or not – you don’t want to fall behind the Joneses.

Heard about the new movie?
Seen that new car?
Tried that new gadget?

Don’t worry. Tomorrow there’ll be another news cycle.
Then, all of this will be but a figment of history. We’ll be on to the next crisis.
And summer will come early. (Climate change has its benefits.)

Welcome to Trumplandia.

If this is the America 1/2 the voting public wants, you can have it. I ain’t going nowhere. I will be a thorn on your side, a rebel with a cause, and part of the persistent opposition. Been there before – that’s where I come from.

See you at the ballot box – if there’s an election. For we now know that if the President feels an election can work against him, he can abolish it. Or postpone it. Or rig it. 

Because: If the President does it, it’s alright.

Welcome to Trumplandia.

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Let’s end this nightmare

Oh America what have you become?

I guess in many ways you have become nothing that you have never been. For you are a bunch of renegade misfits that have come together under different trying circumstances and are trying to become one people – or not.

Trump’s America is definitely not one America of different peoples singing kumbaya. His America harks to the illusion of an America controlled by whites for whites. In Trump’s America others are tolerated in as much as they remain subjected to whites’ demands.

Trump’s America is an aberration of the aspirational American Dream, that elusive lie we instill in our head from birth in – or arrival on – this land. The American Dream to pursue happiness is interpreted in many different ways by the many different peoples in America. Most realize that this ‘dream’ – this American experiment – is not supposed to work. Through the ages never has there been a nation of peoples from elsewhere coming together and coexisting as equal, with no sect disproportionally in economic control or political power. Yet dream on we must.

Other nation states have peoples more diverse than America. China, India, and Russia have more diversity than America. However, these are nation states where diverse peoples were in their native lands as the nation state grew.

America is different. This nation was formed by people who came from elsewhere, some forced others by choice. They were mostly destitutes, misfits, or renegades. They had no illusion of forming “a more perfect union” or a sense of “manifest destiny”; they were just seeking – or forced to endure – a new beginning. But the energy of ‘can do and possibilities’ quickly instilled in most that uniquely American drive to achieve the American Dream.

They clung together in klans, finding comfort in like minded communities – but mostly hanging around folks that looked like them.

The American original sin of slavery and the European pride quickly cemented whites as owners and everyone else as subjects… And that is exactly the America Trump wants to make again. Nevermind that the historical America Trump wants to bring back is a convenient figment of the imagination for most white. In that old America real control and power was concentrated in the hands of a few, mostly white Europeans – as it remains so today.

The  Trump America of today has little patience for the messiness that is the increasingly urbanizing, interconnected, complicated, democratic America. They seek the idyllic rural life, disconnected from those that don’t look like them, and where simplicity rules. Or, in the denser urban areas they seek to build vertical gated communities with police state security ensuring safety in the neighborhood.  But most important they seek predictability and clarity; they don’t want many choices; and, they are all comfortable with self imposed censorship to ensure they are all being formed – getting information – only from those that think like them.

Never mind that the America they yearn comes at the price of keeping others down, quenching dissent, and abhorring sharing power. Their America can only exist under the leadership of a strong man who is commanding, has no room for discourse, and no use for diplomacy. In their ‘democracy’ only their vote counts.

There is another America that could be.

There is the possibility of an America where rather than be governed by the politics of fear would governed by the values of inclusion, collaboration, decency, and mutual respect… An America where democracy would mean democracy… An America where we would learn from each others’ heritage rather than curse at cartoon characterization of our worst selves.

Trump’s America is the antithesis of all of that. It is no longer just the crassness of the top leader. It is not just about Trump himself. It is also about his policies.There is no policy position and no economic gain that can justify the damage this Administration is doing to the spirit of America.

As tarnished as that spirit is, as bruised as America’s history is, America still has unrealized potential to be harvested, a collective dream to which aspire… But four more years of this Administration could be the tipping point, taking America down a path of no return and turning the American Dream into the American Nightmare from which we may never wake up.

It is that dire. Let’s not risk it. Vote Democrat.

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What to make of this madness – regardless of impeachment

What to make of this madness – regardless of impeachment.

We have us a President that in the zeal to relate to the common man has degraded the Office of the Presidency to a reality t.v. showman who insults, demeans, and belittles anyone who disagrees with him.

His persona is one that has more in common with someone at a bar brawl than a person with the heavy responsibility of the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America.

His demeanor is such that no parent can be proud of presenting him as an example to be admired, a role model, or an exemplary leader.

A President that blatantly lies. A President who refuses to indicate that he is willing to be President for those who did not vote for him – the majority of the votes in 2016. A President who clearly feels more comfortable spewing insults than singing praises; more often coercing than collaborating; and more likely to chew you out than to break bread with you.

… And all of this without mentioning his hateful policies.

Should this matter to the voters? Does it matter to the voters?

You can have a vibrant economy, a strong police state style feeling of safety, and less immigrants in the country. You can appeal to part of America with more conservative judges, increasing restrictions on abortion, and gays “in their place”. Fine. We get that a part of America vehemently believes in these things – and some believe in some of these things at most any cost.

However, will these God-fearing Americans be willing to give up on the “success” of Trump just because he is a conceited jerk with a warped sense of reality? Will they hold their nose and vote for him yet again? Or will they simply walk away and not vote at all?… Or, will they be so afraid of the alternative (i.e. a Democratic Administration) that they will be re-energized to blindly support Trump even if he shoots someone on 5th Avenue – or tries to make a deal with a foreign country to investigate his political opponent?

We don’t know. Nothing is certain. Don’t risk it. #RESIST and #VOTE.

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Trump’s latest Cuba ploy: Doing Putin’s bidding yet again

Is there any doubt that what Trump is doing with Cuba will lead to Cuba strengthening Cuba’s relationship with Putin’s Russia?

Here we go again. For sixty years – sixty years! – the U.S. has done the same thing to try to change Cuba: Used the same tactics. Employed the same tools… And failed miserably.

The only ray of hope was when Obama took a markedly different approach. It fast became evident that the possibility for substantive change was real. But, it seems that’s the last thing Trump wants – excuse me, what Putin wants – is real change in Cuba.

What Trump seeks in Cuba is simple: For Cuba to remain in Russia’s sphere of influence.

It is safe to say that Trump does not care one iota about freedom, democracy, and such ideals in Cuba – or in Syria; or in Venezuela; or in Ukraine. Or anywhere else.

All Trump seeks is to do Putin’s bidding. All Trump seeks is to establish a new world order. It is paradoxical that after all Tump’s criticism of globalization what he is trying to do is establish a new world order. All he is trying to do is establish a new world order where strong men control capital.

Forget communism, capitalism, socialism. Whatever you call it, Trump’s world order is one where a few strong men are in complete and total control of capital  – be them duly elected, be that they came to power via a military overthrow, be that they are from a country where the economy is centrally controlled or an economy that is more free market driven.

His mentor and guide is clearly Putin. And Cuba is paying the price. Dearly.

Can you blame the Cuban government for seeking security from Russia, oil from Iran, and infrastructure from China?

Clearly the fact that the Cuban government is totally dysfunctional, totalitarian, and mafia-like is not the reason Trump is against them. There are other governments that are totally dysfunctional, totalitarian, and mafia-like and Trump just loves, especially Russia – and Saudi Arabia. These are two countries Trump admires and obviously wishes he could be like them.

Yet Trump is bullying Cuba, abusing American companies engaging Cuba, and most important he is hurting the Cuban people in the island and their relatives in exile.

His latest move is to limit flight to Cuba only to Havana. Why? What will this accomplish but difficulties to Cubans in the island and extra expenses for their exile families?

I get that this will have the effect of convincing some Americans that the changing sands and instabilities don’t merit the hassles of arranging for travel to Cuba. First it was the cruise ships. And now this.

[1] Does Trump really think that this move will bring the Cuban government to its knees?

[2] Is he just trying to get some votes in Florida?

[3] Or is he simply ensuring Cuba turns to Russia?

I’d say to the first question, forget it; it is not going to happen. To the second, sure he’ll get a few more votes – but don’t discount the possibility that he will lose more. And to the third question: Bingo! That’s it. That is all Trump is looking for: To do Putin’s bidding yet again.

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