Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Cleaning Face Masks, Questions to Ponder, the Filthy Rich Support Him and Raising your Blood Pressure


What do YOU think!


·         Do you feel that public schools in your area should reopen while the “positivity rate” still shows that an increasing number of those tested for the Coronavirus in your community still testing positive?  (It really doesn’t matter how many ‘cases’ or positive test results are reported.  What matters is how big a chunk of those tested these ‘cases’ represent, what is called the “positivity rate.”  An example:  2,000 positive tests out of 100,000 people tested, or 2%, may be a larger number, and send more people to hospitals, but it is more encouraging than 500 positive tests out of 5,000 people tested, or 10%, even though there are fewer cases and resultingly fewer sick people.) 

·         Assuming we get a handle on the virus’ spread, and see some reduction, do you feel schools should be reopened, recognizing that there will have to be significant modifications in the size and configuration of classes, staffing, transportation options, doing in-school testing, requiring masks, frequent hand washing and some school work still being done at home on line? 

·        Do you feel that sports requiring physical contact (football, basketball, wrestling) should be continued on the professional, collegiate and secondary school levels?

·         In your mind, how much reduction in the virus’ spread would justify opening up athletic events to spectators, theatres, cinemas, gymnasiums, bowling alleys and restaurants to full capacity?  To 25% or 50% of capacity?

·         In your mind, how much reduction in the virus’ spread would justify eliminating masks, physical distancing and frequent handwashing from our lives.

·        How long do you think it will it be before things go back to ‘normal,’ or how they were at this time in 2019?   Six months?  One year? Two years? Longer?  Never?

Think about your answers to these questions and discuss them with others.


                             *   *   *   *

Giving SOME of the Trumpies a Pass


Let’s excuse the millions of Americans, ignorant of the facts about the Coronavirus Pandemic, and sufficiently gullible to believe the lies repeatedly spewed out by the President, seen on Fox News and voiced on the internet and talk radio by scumbags like Rush Limbaugh, the recipient of the Medal of Freedom, an act which lessened the significance of that decoration forever.  Let them wear their Chinese-made red MAGA caps.  These pathetic idiots are more to be pitied than scorned. 

Instead, vent your spleen on the millionaires and the corporate executives with eight-figure annual compensation who donate millions to Trump’s re-election campaign and associated Political Action Committees (PACs).  They don’t particularly like Trump (he’s not one of them  … all he ran was a not very successful rinky dink small real estate business) but they do it anyway because of the tax breaks he has provided to the wealthy and to businesses, the destruction of the regulatory structure which kept them from being more crooked than most of them are to start with and pulling the ”safety net” out from under those who cannot take even one step up the economic ladder, usually through no fault of their own.  They want four more years of the same and are willing to donate big bucks to Trump’s campaign to get it. 

It is in their interest to keep Trump in office and elect as many Republicans as possible to Congress and to State offices, to keep it that way.  It is NOT in your interest.  And if you think it is because you are not on public assistance nor worrying about coming up with your next mortgage or rent payment, or perhaps made a few bucks on Wall Street last year, you are greatly mistaken.   

Calling yourself a Republican used be something in which a cautious, conservative person could take pride.  That is not the case today, so long as the Grand Old Party enables Donald Trump to destroy the United States.   Being a Republican today is a mark of shame.
JL

                                                              
                                   *   *   *   *

 

Low Blood Pressure? 

Watch any of these people on Fox News and I guarantee at least a thirty- point rise in your blood pressure.   That isn’t healthy.   Actually, if you suffer from hypertension, you should not watch them ever!  Having a stroke is not ruled out.

Martha MacCallum, who rarely lets those
 she interviews get a word in edgewise
Tucker Carlson (temporarily gone fishing as his racist chief writer squirms),
Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, either of whom confuse Donald Trump with God
     But Millions of Americans Do ... Every Day.  So Be Sure to Register and to Vote!
                                                                
                                 *   *   *   *

Clean those Face Masks


Repeated Wearing of the Same Face Mask Without Cleaning it is not Recommended.  It may have blocked some virus droplets from a previous wearing which remain on it.

The wearing of cloth masks is recommended during the Coronavirus Pandemic primarily to prevent those who are infected (whether or not they know it) from spreading the virus through droplets coming from their nose or mouth when they cough, sneeze or even just talk.  The masks also may prove useful in protecting the nasal and mouth openings of anyone who wears one from exposure to these droplets which may be in the air or come from an infected person.  (This latter use is what most mask wearers are trying to accomplish.)  But a mask is “not forever.”  The CDC recommends that cloth face coverings be cleaned in the following manner after their use.  Here in their words is their recommendation:

"How to Wash Cloth Face Coverings  -  Updated May 22, 2020

Cloth face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings. 
Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.
How to clean them

Washing machine
·         You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
·         Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

Washing by hand
·         Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
o    5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
o    4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
·         Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
·         Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
·         Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.

Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.

How to dry

Dryer
·         Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.

Air dry
·         Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.

That’s it.  When it looks like your cloth face mask is wearing out, discard it."

                                                      

                                  *   *   *   *

Attn:  N95 and KN95 Mask Users


Note:  If you use a ‘respirator’ type face mask, like  3M’s N95, or the recently approved KN95,  both of which in addition to performing like a plain cloth one, also filter out undesirable substances, including viruses, the above instructions do not apply.  

These masks, commonly used by health care workers in hospitals (as well as for industrial purposes), are not readily available but some of them are around for the general public if you look around for them.   Re-using, or cleaning, them presents further challenges which are explained by CLICKING HERE. or by visiting https://www.vaniman.com/how-to-sterilize-or-disinfect-cloth-n95-kn95-face-masks/ if the link doesn't work.  

There is a lot a good general material there on cleaning face masks but if you have an N95 or KN95 face mask, please read this material, particularly the cleaning instructions attributed to a Dr. Tsai toward the end.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Reliability of Florida Covid19 Data and "Positivity"

How Good are Florida's Coronavirus Numbers?

Continuing the theme of yesterday's posting, where the impeachment of Florida's Governor was suggested, is this op-ed piece from Sunday's Palm Beach Post (July 12) by Rebekah Jones, the State employee who had been charged with maintaining Florida's web site containing Coronavirus data.  She had been fired for not agreeing to post numbers making the virus' impact on Florida less severe that it was (and is).  Obviously, in any impeachment hearing, she would be a witness.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DATA
COVID-19 data reporting by state of Florida is unreliable
By Rebekah Jones
Florida has a data problem. While the rest of the world drowned in third-party, speculative and non-scientific coronavirus data at the onset of the pandemic, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) stood proudly and steady in its position as the singlepoint- source of information in the state.
That monopoly over COVID data in the state is partly my fault. I worked very hard for several months to ensure DOH was the only authority over COVID-19 data, and since I was the sole creator and publisher of that data, I trusted its authenticity and accuracy above all else.
I learned a hard lesson about data integrity when I was fired in May for refusing to manually manipulate that data at leadership’s request. Data is only as trusted as its keeper, and DOH’s credibility evaporated faster than dew on the grass in the Florida morning sun after news of my firing spread across the globe.
A few weeks later, on the day Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the full reopening of K-12 schools in August, Scott Pritchard, the lead epidemiologist for Florida’s COVID-19 response since January, abruptly quit after 15 years of service.
The Miami Herald cited a former DOH employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, who said Pritchard was afraid DeSantis would use him as a scapegoat once cases “started exploding.”
Trust in DOH tanked — also partly my fault — and consequently, secondary and nonauthoritative data resources have popped up left and right.
Public distrust in the officials who are supposed to lead us opens up too many avenues for amateurs and pseudoscientists to take advantage of the data hole by filling it with unreliable, unvetted and unsourced information. The public information sphere became flooded with, based on my experience at DOH, gross misuse of data.
Still, there were other reliable state agencies pushing back against disruptive disinformation.
The state Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) emerged as a more prominent figure in publishing COVID data during the last several weeks, its data services established in April but growing in prominence only since June. AHCA tracks the number of available beds in all of its reporting hospitals (307 as of July 3). AHCA data tells us exactly how many ICU beds, isolation beds, pediatric beds, etc. are available in every hospital in the state, updated every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day.
As the only state data available regarding hospital capacity, AHCA’s data should have been added to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard months ago, but never was. I was told the public data wasn’t “ours” to use. Two weeks ago, that data became an issue of intense controversy.
That notoriety is probably partly my fault, too. Once I published AHCA data front and center on my new Florida COVID Action dashboard, the public began asking questions about it, demanding answers from the state about why political messaging wasn’t matching the state’s own data.
As a government agency, its authority over data relating to hospitalizations should be unquestionable.
After the governor’s unexpected intervention in hospital reporting, however, even that data elicits more questions than it answers.
And during a review of the data others are publishing, including several colleges and universities publishing their own data supposedly based on AHCA data, myself and several other scientists found numerous inconsistencies with DOH case data, and far-fetched proclamations of how all-encompassing AHCA and DOH case data is. Much of the case data doesn’t match the AHCA data, and the AHCA data these third parties are publishing doesn’t match the data AHCA publishes themselves.
Adding to the confusion, the DOH communications team revealed recently that some sort of actively-hospitalized case data will be published “alongside other publicly available case data”.
But DOH has never maintained data on the number of cases actively hospitalized. They did not monitor admission and discharge dates, and would often only learn of a case hospitalization weeks or even months afterward. We had syndromic data from hospitals through the Merlin reporting system, but it was limited to key words listed in ER visit notes.
When asked directly about the communications team’s announcement about adding active hospitalization data, the DOH epidemiologists confirmed that they’ve never had active hospitalization data for cases and would not be adding it to their daily reports. They added they did not know about and couldn’t speak to what data other agencies were publishing.
That lack of communication and data sharing between DOH and AHCA causes a headache for those who know the data well and
Rebekah Jones, who helped create the state Department of Health’s virus statistical dashboard, said she was fired because she would not change data. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
who see the inappropriate use of DOH data as a proxy for active hospitalizations.
The misuse of DOH hospitalization data stretches from bloggers all the way to the New York Times.
Taking the number of people hospitalized today versus the number reported yesterday doesn’t tell you how many more people were hospitalized in the last day — it tells you how many reports of hospitalizations DOH received, which could include hospitalizations from cases back in March. The same is true of death data, as well.
On top of the issues about data completeness and accuracy of conducting AHCA and DOH data, there remains a void of other data sets that are either not reported at all or reported incompletely.
The state currently publishes zero data about testing and cases in state prisons. They also don’t publish data about testing, cases and deaths in jails.
DOH stopped publishing demographic data about who’s being tested after firing me in May, so we have no idea if recent surges in cases by age, gender, race or ethnicity are truly spikes or if they’re proportional to the number of people being tested within those demographic groups.
DOH has never published testing or death data by zip code, either. And they don’t publish dates of deaths, making it difficult to measure and monitor trends.
Another black hole in data publishing centers on contact tracing, which DOH claims to be doing, but won’t publish any data on at all.
If Florida is to come out of this pandemic stronger, they need the help of scientists like myself and those across the state. To do that, we need data.
It’s time for Florida officials and step up fix the data problem they created.
Rebekah Jones, a data scientist who helped create the state Department of Health’s virus statistical dashboard, said she was fired because she would not change data.

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'Positivity' is What Counts

Over the past few postings I have stressed the importance of data showing what percentage of all those tested for the Covid19 virus tested "positively."  An increase in that percentage shows the virus is still spreading.  A decrease would show that the spreading has been reduced.

Increasingly, that number has appeared in news reports (have they seen my blog?) indicating that a reasonable goal would be for the 'Positivity' percentage to be  10% or lower.  Right now, in Palm Beach County, Florida, it is 20%.  That is bad news.

It is the result of social and business activities being opened prematurely by the Governor.  The only way to reduce it is by adhering to the following guidelines, some of which are required by law: 



·                     Wear a mask when out of your home.
·                     Wash you hands frequently.  
·                     Use disinfecting gels.
·                     If necessary to go outside of your home, observe social distancing.
·                     Ignore efforts to "reopen" businesses, bars, restaurants, etc. despite any governmental okay to do so.
·                     Pay no attention to anything Governor DeSantis or President Trump say on this subject.  They know nothing about this.  
·                     The best source of information is Dr. Fauci.


                                                      *   *   *   *

JL

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Losing the Coronavirus Battle and Impeaching DeSantis



Others Share the President’s Guilt

Saw on the TV this morning that the President was speaking at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. It is beyond my comprehension that any American can contribute to this person’s re-election funding without becoming a party to his incompetence and unwillingness to recognize and deal with the Coronavirus pandemic in this country. 

Other nations have managed to reduce the numbers of their people who are infected and spreading the disease.  We have not and the reason is that we have an ignoramus in the White House and gullible and ignorant office holders throughout the country who are willing to listen to and believe what he and his appointees say.   (Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, where the Coronavirus is raging, thinks he knows more than the doctors and scientists fighting the disease and criticizes them.  There are “Dan Patricks” all over the country.)

Reopening the gates of Disneyworld in Florida, one of the most affected and infected States in the country, are the acts of madmen.  Governors like Florida’s DeSantis, and anyone who supports him must share the President’s guilt.  (See following article on this posting.)  Elsewhere in the world there is leadership.  In the White House, we have a fool.  And many Americans do not see that.  They fail to recognize that the Emperor has no clothes, as the story goes.

When the history of the Coronavirus in the United States is written sometime in the future, the responsibility for its toll in lives will be pinned on those who supported the President and that includes any and all Americans who voted for any Republican who failed to recognize the truths about the spread of the Coronavirus as backed by medical evidence.  And that describes most Republicans.  Ask one.  One who is an exception is columnist Michael Gerson who recently asked (and was quoted on this blog) whether Americans will have to be “jerked toward sanity by the sight of rapidly filling graves”?

Without his enablers, the President is nothing.  The Coronavirus will be conquered when his enablers desert him.   Sadly, many are too gullible or ignorant to do that.  Some even cheer him and pledge money at his fundraisers, which amounts to digging some other American’s grave.  Waiting for his defeat on November 3 will be too long to wait for the many who will unnecessarily contract and spread the virus until then, some of whom will become sick with Covid19, some of whom will die.
JL

                                                                   *   *   *   *
Impeach Governor DeSantis

The misfeasance, non-feasance and possibly the malfeasance of Florida’s Governor in dealing with the Covid19 infections arising from the Coronavirus Pandemic certainly, in my opinion, rises to the level of a misdemeanor. 

In “opening up” Florida’s business and social environments contrary to the criteria established by the CDC and the sound advice of medical professionals, he has permitted the spread of the virus and an increase in the number of deaths attributable to it, which would not have occurred if the CDC’s criteria had been adhered to, preferring to follow the recommendations of the President of the United States, who also disregards the CDC’s recommendations and those of the medical profession.  Both put political agendas before the health of Americans.

This makes him subject to impeachment by the Florida House of Representatives (Florida Constitution - Article Three, Section Seventeen).   Because this requires a 2/3 vote of the Florida House, this is unlikely to happen unless the spread of the virus and the resultant deaths, which have already turned Florida into an epicenter of the Pandemic, causes the otherwise docile Republican voters of the State of Florida to exert pressure on their Representatives and the Governor, opening the door to his impeachment.   The Democratic minority in the Florida House of Representatives is already at this point.  All they need is the support of the Republican majority and that is up to the pressures the citizens of Florida can and should exert. 

The impeachment of Governor DeSantis is a matter of life and death for Floridians.  

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Gerson on Pandemic Control, Supreme Court Rulings, Frequency of Testing and News from the Butterfly Garden



Supreme Court Decisions


Two Supreme Court rulings this morning said that Trump’s financial records have to be made available to the Grand Jury investigating him in New York, but they do not have to be made available to the Congressional committees investigating him.  Availability of these financial records to the public may remain unresolved by the upcoming election.  But when they are, ex-President Trump (a certain loser in November) will be a private citizen and subject to civil and criminal litigation, just like you and me.   Michael Cohen, move over!  You may have a roommate next year!


A RIGHT WING CONSTITUENCY FOR PREVENTABLE DEATH

Here is an excerpt from a recent column by Republican conservative columnist Michael Gerson, addressing the control of the Coronavirus. 

”The successful control of disease is ultimately a matter of individual behavior. To improve such behavior on a large scale requires a consistent message from all the commanding heights of a culture — the medical profession, the government, the church and the media.

But the government (see Trump), the church (see Trump’s evangelical enablers) and the media (see Fox News and talk radio) have encouraged broad skepticism about essential health measures. In the processthey have created a right-wing constituency for preventable death.


There are two options here. Either Americans will be rudely jerked toward sanity by the sight of rapidly filling graves, or leaders of determination and talent will rise above the self-destructive strife and make deliverance from illness and death a unifying national cause. The president has left this role vacant. It needs filling.” 

Michael Gerson is a columnist for The Washington Post and a former speechwriter and aide for President George W. Bush.


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Miami Marlins Seem to Know the Score Regarding Testing  - - - Do Our Schools?   Do You?

The Miami Marlins, scheduled to take part in an abbreviated 60 game schedule, want to make sure their players are not infected by the Coronavirus, and at risk of spreading it among other players.  With this in mind, they are testing their players for the virus EVERY OTHER DAY.  They know things can change rapidly.

Kids in School

If schools reopen next month, or whenever, we owe it to our children and the families they go home to each day to do as much, so that the presence of the virus among them can quickly be identified and the infected students isolated for the protection of all, including those with whom children associate after school hours.  Such frequent testing would be difficult and expensive, but if a baseball team's management deems it necessary, our School Boards should consider it..

And while on the subject of testing, as I recently pointed out, whether the Coronavirus Pandemic is spiking upwards, and if so to what extent, can only be determined if we know what percentage of the total number of individuals tested produced positive results.   If that percentage does not drop, or at least remain level, it means the spread of the infection continues unabated.

And even if the spread is controlled (social distancing and mask wearing can accomplish this), the number of those already testing positive unquestionably remains large, some of whom already have symptoms of Covid19, requiring medical care and/or hospitalization.  (Blame for this rests with those who promoted “opening up” before the virus was under control.  The imbeciles who did this, including the President and many Governors, are the cause and should be punished.) Most of those infected, fortunately, will remain symptomless.  Some, on the other hand, will not and some of them will die.  We must remember that all of them, with or without symptoms, tested or not, can pass on the virus.  That is the real danger.
JL


·                     Wear a mask when out of your home.
·                     Wash you hands frequently.  
·                     Use disinfecting gels.
·                     If necessary to go outside of your home, observe social distancing.
·                     Ignore efforts to "reopen" businesses, bars, restaurants, etc. despite any governmental okay to do so.
·                     Pay no attention to anything Governor DeSantis or President Trump say on this subject.  They know nothing about this.  
·                     The best source of information is Dr. Fauci.

                                                      *   *   *   *

News from the Butterfly Garden


Broadwing Zebra
Things are looking up in the Butterfly Garden, running along the entire south side of my home.  Take a look at it any warm sunny morning, preferably before noon, and you will see dozens of Broadwing Zebras, the State butterfly of Florida, a few Gulf Fritillaries (they are orange), and if you are lucky, a Polydamus Swallowtail (black with yellow trim along back wing tip.  If you see one, it is likely to be toward the back of the house) flitting around.

Even larger, and rarer, are the Giant Swallowtails, (black with yellow trim along both front and back wing tips), usually seen at northern corner of screened in patio.   Seeing one or two a month is par for the course.

Of the plants, the purple flowers on the maypop (passaflora incarnata) are beautiful and smell great.   There also are numerous caterpillars from which these butterflies evolve through a cocoon stage.  There even are Monarch caterpillars munching on the milkweed plants but seeing a Monarch butterfly (there had to have been some around for the caterpillars to be there) is a rarity.  Monarchs seem to be dying out throughout the country and my Butterfly Garden is no exception.

The large plant near the air conditioner compressor is a Senna.   It is there to attract Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.  I had seen one or two a few months ago, but thus far, there are no caterpillars on the plant.  The Broadwing Zebras love it, though.

Come take a look.  If you have time, try first googling the species I have printed in red and see what to look for in the Garden.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A Michelle Goldberg Column to Treasure


Michelle Goldberg has been a columnist for the New York Times since 2017, one of the up and coming young journalists who set the pace for what Americans are thinking.  Here is a recent Times column by Michelle, reproduced as well in other newspapers a few days later.  She also appears occasionally on MSNBC. 

What a wonderful column this is.  She tells it like it is.  Read it!
JL


Goldberg
"A lot of Republicans are acting puzzled about Donald Trump’s reelection pitch. “He has no message,” one Republican source told Reuters. “He needs to articulate why he wants a second term,” said another. Some have expressed hope that Trump would find a way to become less polarizing, as if polarization were not the raison d'ĂȘtre of his presidency.

It’s hard to know if Republicans like this are truly naive or if they’re just pretending so they don’t have to admit what a foul enterprise they’re part of. Because Trump does indeed have a reelection message, a stark and obvious one.
It is “white power.”

The president started this week by tweeting out a video that encapsulates the soul of his movement. In it, a man in The Villages, an affluent Florida retirement community, shouts, “White power!” at protesters from a golf cart bedecked with Trump signs. “Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” wrote Trump. Only after several hours and a panic among White House staffers did the president delete the tweet.

His spokesman claimed he hadn’t heard his supporter’s extremely clear words. Trump, naturally, never disavowed them.

And why would he? Republicans might act as if they don’t know why Trump’s fans are so unfailingly loyal. Some commentators spent the first year or two of his presidency dancing around the reason he was elected, spending so much time probing the “economic anxiety” of his base that the phrase came to stand for a type of willful political blindness.

But Trump understands that he became a significant political figure by spreading the racist lie that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya. He launched his history-making presidential bid with a speech calling Mexican immigrants rapists and adopted a slogan, “America First,” previously associated with the raging anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh. Throughout the 2016 campaign, he won the invaluable prize of earned media with escalating racist provocations, which his supporters relished and which captivated cable news.

People voted for Trump for reasons besides racism. There was also sexism. Some voters were just partisan Republicans or thought that reality TV is real and that Trump was as successful as “The Apprentice” made him seem. I once met a young man at a Trump rally who’d voted for Obama but was worried about the taxes he’d pay when he inherited his family’s car dealership.

Trump, however, seems to grasp that racism is what put him over the top. It’s what made his campaign seem wild and transgressive and hard to look away from.

Now Trump’s poll numbers are cratering, we have double-digit unemployment and our pandemic-ravaged nation has been rendered an international pariah. America is faring exactly as well under Trump’s leadership as his casinos, airline and scam university did. It’s not surprising that he’s returning to what he knows and what seemed to work for him before.

In fact, Trump appears to think his problem is that he hasn’t been racist enough. On Wednesday, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that Trump regrets listening to his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “woke” ideas — as a source put it — including on criminal justice reform. Instead, he wants to double down on law and order. “He truly believes there is a silent majority out there that’s going to come out in droves in November,” a source told Swan.

And so last week, as if to prod that silent majority, Trump tweeted out videos of Black people assaulting white people. (“Where are the protesters?” he asked.) He has made a point of calling the coronavirus the “kung flu.” At a time when even Mississippi is removing Confederate imagery from its state flag, Trump has thrown himself into the protection of what he calls “our heritage.” 

He signed an executive order directing federal law enforcement to prosecute people who damage federal monuments — threatening them with up to 10 years in prison — and withholding funds from municipalities that don’t protect statues. (Whether this latter provision is enforceable is unclear.) He said he’d veto a $741 billion defense bill over a provision, written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, requiring that military bases honoring Confederates be renamed. Apoplectic over New York City’s plans to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, he called the slogan “a symbol of hate.”

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he was considering scrapping an Obama-era housing regulation that required localities to address illegal patterns of residential segregation. He claimed that the initiative, which his administration had already put in limbo, was having a “devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas.”  His message to his white supporters seemed clear enough: Trump is going to fight to stop people of color from coming to your neighborhood.

The Times reported on the president’s rationale: “Mr. Trump and his campaign team, already concerned about his weakness in battleground states, have become increasingly alarmed by internal polling showing a softening of support among suburban voters.” Trump sees clearly — more clearly than most of his party — that racism is the main thing he has to offer.

There’s good reason to think that he’s misjudging these suburban voters. Polls show that a growing number of them, particularly women, are repelled by Trump’s race-baiting and divisiveness. But Republicans who complain that the president is undisciplined, that he can’t adhere to a strategy, miss the point: Bigotry has always been the strategy.

The Republicans who support him are yoked to that strategy. Their real frustration isn’t that it’s ugly but that it’s no longer working."

By Michelle Goldberg
c.2020 The New York Times Company

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Can't wait for Trump's niece's book (confiming what WE knew all along, that we have a nut job in the White House) to come out next week.  It might be the straw that breaks the camel's back and result in the Republicans nominating someone else.  Mitt Romney? Nikki Haley? Lamar Alexander?  Condilezza Rice? Lindsey Graham?  Marco Rubio?  Marco Polo?  Matt Gaetz?  (only kidding with those last two).  They really have no one.
JL