About Me

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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Trump to be at Fault for 100,000 Deaths and a "Must Read and Forward" Column

Do You Know the Score?

It’s a waste of time for you to read this blog IF you are regularly getting your news on TV from any news source other than Fox News.  You must already know the score. 

And if you regularly read the New York Times or the Washington Post, or any local paper that carries some of their columnists and news stories, you can similarly skip reading this blog.   You must already know the score. 

But if you don’t read such newspapers and get your news from Fox or even worse, from Internet sources, AM radio or newspapers or radio stations owned by the Sinclair group, YOU MUST READ THIS BLOG, every word of it.   Because then, you do not know the score.

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If you don't read any further, please read conservative Republican Mona Charen's recent column by CLICKING HERE.  Then perform a good deed by forwarding it to any one you know who is even considering voting for Donald Trump in November.  That would be about the most un-American thing a voter can do!

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The President, after the doctors on his staff finally hammered it into his skull, has begun to recognize the seriousness of the Covid19 pandemic.  He actually repeated Dr. Fauci’s estimate of somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in this country from it, but did so in a blithe manner, implying that getting by with that 100,000  number was okay, considering that the number might be ten or twenty times that if the Administration were doing nothing.  Actually, other than a lot of talk and providing money to States to get the job done, that well describes what they are doing.  Most of the work in fighting the pandemic is being done locally, primarily under the leadership of governors, and that is the reason these estimates are reasonable, but only if everyone plays by the rules, observes social distancing and stays where they are.  The federal government is primarily a supply source.  The president had even suggested to States to search out their own supplies.

Anyway you look at the numbers, the number of new confirmed Covid19 cases increases daily all over the country, chiefly in urban areas where people live in close proximity to one another.  The good thing is that most of these cases do not require hospitalization and the symptoms go away after a week or two.   But the number of people infected, with and without symptoms, is enormous.  Without adequate testing, we will never really know that number.  That’s why statistics are unreliable.  

It seems to me, from what I read and hear, that no more than 20% of those who are infected manifest symptoms, and of that number, only those who do not recover in a week or two on their own are hospitalized.   Of that number  the percentage who die is about 2% or 3%.   That percentage seems to pertain to those showing symptoms requiring hospitalization.  If you are looking for a mortality percentage for the far greater number of those testing positive for Covid19, including those without symptoms, the mortality percentage probably would be much, much lower.  But we don't have those numbers due to inadequate testing.

In any event, this kind of “modelling” is what resulted in Dr. Fauci’s very general 100,000 to 200,000 total death figure.   Using the lower estimate of 100,000 deaths, and assuming a death rate of 2%, that means about 5 million people will have contracted the virus with symptoms sufficient to call for (but not necessarily get) hospitalization.   That’s a big number.  Obviously, these figures are hairy and tentative.  But since the number of confirmed cases is still increasing daily, they cannot be ignored.  When these increases, State-wise and nationally, level off and start to decrease, we will have a handle on the problem.  The president now says give it until the end of April.  I think that is a bit optimistic.

We must never forget that for months, President Trump did not take the virus seriously, although the government presented him with the facts early in the game.  He even had shut down the Administration’s NSC unit keeping an eye on Pandemics! CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THAT.   Dr. Fauci was not in a cave somewhere all of this time, either.  Trump called it a hoax, saying it would disappear shortly and minimized its effect on Americans.  Republicans in government at all levels echoed this.  Only when the effects of the virus started to affect the economy and the stock market did the President wake up.  His first impulse was to save the economy and get people back to work.  But by then it was too late.  The virus had a two month head start before anything like social distancing was even thought of by governments at all levels.  The large number of deaths mentioned above is the direct result of this delay and is attributed to no one other than the president because of that delay for which he cannot dodge responsibility.  There already is blood on his hands.  There will be more.   No matter how he twists and turns, he cannot get away from what he said and what he didn’t do in a timely manner.  Steps taken belatedly and blame placed on predecessors do not excuse his earlier blunders.

To hear him speak today, he paints himself as the one who leads the nation in solving the medical and economic problems caused by Covid19, when he is the precise opposite, the cause of the problem.  Certainly, Ahab was captain of the Pequod, but that didn’t help in the long run.   Both “captains” share at least a portion of the blame for disaster.

In Trump’s presidential election campaign, he should be reminded each day of his documented misdirections.  His many statements and tweets, minimizing the virus epidemic, and even calling it a Democratic hoax, should be thrown in his face at every opportunity.  Even Republicans should now understand Donald Trump’s shortcomings and desert him.  Donald J. Trump redefines what we always have thought of as the "lowest of the low."  In some way, shape or form, he must be gotten rid of.  His performance in the face of Covid19 is reason enough.  (Forget the rest of his lying and cheating and nepotism.) The 2020 election is the cleanest way.

Any effort to delay or contaminate that election should be fought vigorously.   At a minimum, it should proceed on a "vote by mail" basis.  Congress must act on making this possible.  

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Oval Office Immunity from Covid19 Virus?

We are glad the President signed the bill providing two trillion dollars to be used to fight the Covid19 virus, and to help mitigate the economic damage to businesses and individuals it has caused.  However, note that the folks surrounding the President as he signed the bill are NOT OBSERVING THE SIX FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING recommended by medical authorities.  

This is particularly dangerous since some of those in the picture have had recent contact with colleagues, like Senator Rand Paul, who have tested positive for Covid19 and are now in quarantine!  Or, is it possible there is some secret spray being used in the Oval Office which deters the droplets carrying the Covid19 virus from alighting on any surfaces there or being transmitted (cough, cough) from person to person?  Or are they all, being Trumpublicans, just plain dumb?


Friday, March 27, 2020

The One Statistic to Watch and Other Things

The Statistic to Watch

The only statistic to watch, nationally or by States, is the number of new Coronavirus cases (not positive tests, but newly diagnosed people sick with Covid19) each day.  Until that number stops increasing, we are in trouble. When it levels off, that is the light at the end of the tunnel.  When it starts decreasing, that means the end of the Pandemic, at least here, is approaching.  Until we get to that "end," however, keep washing your hands, not touching your face, practicing social distancing and not going back to work despite the words of the President.  You will endanger yourself and others if you do so while the virus is still circulating.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

To battle the Pandemic, we need leadership in Washington.  We don’t have that.  Nature abhors a vacuum and that is what we have in the White House.  Sooner or later, he will resign, be defeated in the election in November or be removed in a bloodless coup.  We must recognize that a lot of Americans, with weapons, will be unhappy with any of these alternatives, but that is what we have a military for.  At least some States have closed gun stores.  Others have not, deeming them "essential."  It may be ugly.

Voting in Congress

Voting in both Houses of Congress should be possible, at least during the Pandemic crisis, without the Representative or Senator being on the floor.   Travel is difficult and personal contact is dangerous.

The November Election

Steps should be taken right now to guarantee the legitimacy of the November presidential election.  Voting by mail in all states should be available and mandatory.  The Pandemic should not be allowed to reduce the voter turnout.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Trump's Dishonesty, What the Pentagon Thinks and Why NEVER to Trust FOXNEWS

Here are three articles from this morning's AOL/Yahoo Newsfeed.  The first gives you more reason than ever to ignore anything the president says.  He is only interested in an improved economy to help his re-election chances.

The second shows how the Pentagon totally disagrees with the president's position.

The third shows how those who faithfully listen to Fox News for information may be digging their own graves by doing so ... and unfortuanately, infecting others.  Read On!  (And be sure to check out the earlier blog postings which are included.)

Trump again breaks with experts by calling for people to go back to work, claims seniors 'will be watched over protectively & lovingly'

Mar 24th 2020 12:05PM

·         In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible to re-start the struggling economy.
·         "Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly."
·         Public health experts say that because the virus can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, social distancing is the only way to protect the most vulnerable. 
In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible, repeating his common all-caps refrain that "the cure cannot be worse than the problem."
The White House is currently half-way through a 15-day "Stop the Spread" campaign led by the CDC, which is encouraging Americans to work from home if at all possible and practice social distancing by not gathering in groups with other people. 
Yet over the past two days, Trump has begun publicly and privately agitating for businesses to start sending people back to work to boost the cratering US economy, a major concern for Trump as he faces re-election this November. 
On Monday, he indicated that he would re-evaluate the Stop the Spread campaign when it ends on March 30, and possibly even relax social distancing guidelines. 
"Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!"
Public health experts, including the doctors on Trump's own coronavirus task force, have stressed that because the virus has not hit its peak in the US, it's more important now than ever for Americans to practice social distancing 
Experts also say that because the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, aggressive social distancing and containment measures across the board are the only way to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations. 
Despite Trump's claim that people "will practice social distancing," sending Americans back to work in industries that involve frequent person to person contact directly conflicts with the principles of social distancing. 

In many US states and other Western countries, major population centers largely failed at wide-scale social distancing until governments shut down restaurants, bars, and other large gathering centers altogether. 
Indeed, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, and other public-health officials are warning Republican leaders against ending coronavirus-containment measures to restart the economy. 
In an interview on The TODAY Show with NBC's Savannah Guthrie on Friday, Fauci threw cold water on the idea that life could go back to normal in a week.
"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas, it's at least going to be several weeks," Fauci said. "I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now, it's going to be over. I don't think there's a chance of that. I think it's going to be several weeks."
Trump's push to send Americans back into the workforce and re-start the economy is receiving criticism not just from experts but from members of his own party, who argue letting the virus infect and kill more people will be worse for the economy in the long run. 
On Tuesday morning, Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, tweeted: "There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus."
Read the original article on Business Insiderronavirus in the United S


Pentagon leaders suggest coronavirus outbreak could continue for months

Mar 24th 2020 12:16PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Pentagon leaders said on Tuesday that the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak that has hit the United States could continue for months and the military would continue to support efforts to counter it for as long as needed.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 550 people in the United States and sickened more than 43,800.
President Donald Trump said on Monday he is considering how to reopen the U.S. economy when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious coronavirus is spreading rapidly and hospitals are bracing for a wave of virus-related deaths.
"I think we need to plan for this to be a few months long at least and we're taking all precautionary measures to do that," U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said when asked how long the outbreak may last and how long the military would continue the support efforts to counter it.
"I am fully confident that at the end of the day, in a period of months, we will get through this," Esper said during a virtual town hall.OTOS
Coronavirus in the United States

At the same event, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that while it was unclear how long the outbreak would last, taking models from the experience of other countries, which may or may not apply to the United States, the outbreak could last into July.
"If it does apply, you're looking at probably late May, June, something in that range, could be as late as July," Milley said.
On Monday, Esper announced more security restrictions on those entering the Pentagon. The building has seen a drop in the number of people coming into work since measures to combat the outbreak started, with many of them teleworking.
Esper said that those teleworking should expect to continue to do so for "weeks for sure, maybe months."
Over the weekend, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the lockdown affecting large segments of the American public to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks, or until early June.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)

 Fox News' coronavirus denial means 'viewers will die,' media critic says
Mar 24th 2020 11:53AM
As the coronavirus threat intensified in the U.S. in late February and early March, Fox News viewers received different information than Americans who got their news from other sources. Ben Smith, a longtime reporter and editor and the media critic at the New York Times, set out to understand why. His conclusion: Fox anchors consistently downplayed and even denied the existence of the coronavirus, a failure he blamed on Fox chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s laid-back management style, in contrast to the firm hand of longtime chief Roger Ailes, who resigned in 2016. 
No one with real power over the big talent was engaged enough with the network's coverage to rein in broadcasters who asserted that the virus was fake, Smith said. He believes the network's coverage of the virus, which is widely seen as a major black eye for Fox, caused unnecessary deaths.
On March 9, when 700-plus American coronavirus cases had been confirmed, Sean Hannity told Fox viewers that political enemies of President Trump were using the virus to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.” In an interview Tuesday with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Smith told hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman that Fox didn’t just echo the president, who consistently downplayed the virus, but went even further with comments like Hannity’s, which actually called it fake.
Asked for comment, a Fox spokeswoman pointed to a statement that condemned the “cherry picking of clips” from opinion programs as “the definition of politicizing this serious threat.” The statement also highlighted how the story has changed, saying the pandemic “has evolved considerably over the last few weeks.”
As public criticism mounted over the tone of the network’s coverage, News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch — Lachlan Murdoch’s father — reached out to Hannity with a warning to take the virus “seriously,” Smith reported. Fox host Tucker Carlson, whose reporting on the coronavirus was more aligned with mainstream medical advice, is now the object of scorn by rivals within the network who believe he is burnishing his reputation for independence at their expense.
Fox, which remains a powerful and lucrative media outlet with a firm grip on its audience and advertising dollars, might not be punished, Smith said — other than by facing the likely “consequences ... that some of their viewers will die.”
Smith believes the knee-jerk tendency among Fox commentators to defend Trump vigorously against criticism by the mainstream media caused them to lose sight of the substance of the story itself. Internally, some people at the network took the danger of COVID-19 seriously. Smith reported that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott was concerned enough that she took proactive steps to better sanitize the network's cafeteria. But Scott had no influence over on-air coverage, and Fox hosts dismissed the threat until mid-March, when the White House itself began taking a different view.
Fox would likely not have lost its way on a story this major as recently as a few years ago, Smith said. Ailes — the former Fox News chairman and trusted Murdoch confidant who died in disgrace in 2017 after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct and rape — always resisted allowing politicians to dictate Fox coverage. 
Smith believes that is no longer the prevailing attitude at the network. The president is personally close to certain Fox anchors, who Smith said often do not share Ailes’s view that “the politicians worked for him and not vice versa.”
The editor of BuzzFeed from 2012 until his recent hiring by the Times, Smith is known to be an astute media observer. Like many big stories, he said, the coronavirus has put the spotlight on great work from individual reporters, outlets and even platforms themselves. Social media coverage of the virus has been spectacular, Smith said, and has been particularly valuable as a forum for doctors and epidemiologists to speak to the public directly. In January, when many people were inclined to believe the conventional wisdom that the coronavirus was overhyped, Smith said, the “voices of both epidemiologists and doctors and nurses on social media ... cut through” when nothing else did. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Cure Worse than the Disease? And Other Virus-related Items

Required Reading

An article in today’s New York Times suggests that the President is beginning to feel that more damage can be done to the nation by some of the steps necessary to fight the coronavirus than the virus itself is causing.   Massive layoffs, business failures, a collapse of consumer consumption, and a stock market collapse, destroying many businesses, financial houses and investments, in the eyes of some, are worse for the nation than letting the coronavirus wreak havoc on Americans.   Read the article, by Maggie Haberman and David Sanger by CLICKING HERE.   or looking for it at:

Imagine a military commander whose task is to capture a hill.  In planning his tactics, he considers how many of his men will die in the attempt, and that goes into his decision.   That is a wartime decision made every day during a war. 

President Trump seems to think that resurrecting the struggling economy, crippled by restrictions to lessen the impact of the coronavirus, is worth the additional deaths which loosening those restrictions will bring about.   These are bad thoughts coming from the mind of a bad person, our president.

Making Social Distancing Work

The key to making social distancing work is enforcement.   Some beaches in Florida are still open (but not in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties) and that’s fine if they are broad enough to allow beachgoers to stay far, far apart.  (Until they shut the Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park, I went there and was able to stay at least 25 to 30 feet from the nearest other person).  Unfortunately, on many of the beaches still open, closely packed crowds are permitted to gather, often vacationing college students who will bring the virus back to their schools and families.  Florida Governor DeSantis must bear the blame for any resulting deaths.

How does the government enforce social distancing rules, be they state or local rules?  They could arrest violators but anywhere they took them would only amount to more dangerous close contact.  Their names and addresses should be taken and substantial fines eventually levied against them (if they survive.)  This is a matter for governors to deal with since the Federal Government is unable or unwilling to do this.  In one State, Mississippi, the governor suggests prayer as an additional tool in combatting the virus.  Faith and prayer may comfort some, but it loses out in effectiveness to mandatory social distancing.   Mississippians find this a difficult concept to grasp, including their governor.

About Senator Paul

It’s unclear that Senator Rand Paul knew he was testing positive for Covid19 when he visited the Senate gym yesterday morning and lunched with fellow Senators the day before.  Even if he didn’t have the test results then, he must have at least known he was being tested for one reason or another.  Most charitably, let’s concede he was tested and got the results after his Sunday gym workout.

As an MD, he certainly should have been practicing greater social distancing.  But look at his first name, Rand!  He is named after the author of the books which are the bibles of libertarianism (”Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”), of minimizing the government’s role in the lives of Americans.  That might explain his behavior.  After all, although a member of the Senate, his political beliefs swing between republicanism and anarchy, compromising on libertarianism. We wish him, and any he may have exposed to the Coronavirus, well.

Bad Vibes in the Future for a Third World USA?

In my cloudy, take-with-a-grain-of-salt, cracked crystal ball, I see hints that it may only be a matter of time until the Joint Chiefs of Staff realize that our civilian government is not capable of handling the Coronavirus Pandemic on a national basis, despite the efforts of individual governors.  Recognizing that we are a third world country, as evidenced by the way we are presently addressing the problem of social distancing from a national government standpoint, they will do what any self-respecting third world military would do, that is, carry out a coup and take over the government, institute martial law, and start shooting people who disregard social distancing guidelines, and also those who interfere with the providing of needed equipment to doctors, nurses and hospitals, also to become the military “junta’s” responsibility.  If NRA inspired militia oppose the “junta,” the Marine Corps should be used to wipe them out.  The lives of millions of Americans are at stake.  No one wants it to happen this way, but do not discount the possibility.

Adios, amigos.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Pains Me


It pains me to see each State searching for, and bidding for, the medical equipment necessary to equip doctors, nurses and hospitals to deal with the Coronavirus Pandemic.  They are competing with each other, as well as national governments out there, for this stuff.  And, damn it, that is perfectly okay with the Administration in Washington, which is doing some bidding of its own.  If this adherence to competitive business practices, the free enterprise system and to blessed CAPITALISM is all we can muster, it’s time to consider using another system just for a while, one that functions better in a time of crisis, as we now are in.

I suggest that all manufacturing of, bidding for, gathering up of and distributing this material, be centered in the Federal government in Washington which would have and exercise total wartime powers.  A “czar” who understands the problem should be appointed to manage this effort.  The governor of New York or of Washington, both battle-tested, might be the one to be put in charge nationwide, and of course, Obama appointee Ron Klain, who has been there before during the Ebola threat, should be the general running the operation.   As for the President’s efforts, they just are not working.  Dr. Fauci should remain in charge, medically, but the rest of those participating in the daily briefings should just go home, including Donald Trump.


And as for you and your loved ones, keep practicing "social distancing," and right now, go wash your hands again.  Even if not mandated to, stay home.  Carefully ration rare trips out for food and medicines.  And wipe down what you bring back with whatever disinfectant you can come up with.  Stay safe and well.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Watching Fox, a Question and a "Joke"

Stay safe.  Wash your hands.  Practice social distancing.  If instructed to, hunker down in your home.
Even without symptoms, you may be a carrier of the virus.

Watching Fox

Took a few minutes off from the Pandemic crisis to watch a bit of “The Five” on Fox News (one hour of idiocy at 5 p.m. weekdays.)    Of the five participants, the two that really carry Fox’s right-wing message (the show was invented by Roger Ailes) are Jim Watters and Greg Gutfeld.  The others are there just to give the impression that the show is fair-minded. 

Jim comes off, as he spouts Hannity-type invective, as a softer, gentler purveyor of the poison which Hannity peddles.  He seems to be not-so-bright and this creates a bond with his not-so-bright viewers.  How can this nice man say anything hurtful? 

Gutfeld, however, is the "closer" of the show, following this pattern as well.  He comes off as a dumb clown who makes a joke of everything, and this is a fine message for the Fox viewers who are too “deplorable” to face reality.  In Gutfeld, they see themselves, as clowns supporting a dumb clown in the White House, just like them.  See him as the dishonest liar he is and they see themselves just like him.  And they won't do that. That is the problem.

Bill Gates Saw it Coming and a "Joke"

There’s a 2015 video in circulation (JUST CLICK HERE) which shows Bill Gates warning us of the danger of a future pandemic, just like we are now experiencing, and the need to prepare for it.  But Gates wasn't the only one aware of this threat.  Even though people like Trump paid no attention to what he said, scientists and physicians involved in the spread of diseases were aware of everything Gates said.  Though pitifully funded, attempts to prepare for epidemics were made and a government structure established to meet these potential threats.  

But that structure was ultimately dismantled by the Republican administration after gullible and ignorant Americans elected Trump to the presidency in 2016.   A delay in resurrecting a structure to meet the Coronavirus threat took at least two months to assemble, and if you listen to the President on TV, he neither understands nor is fully committed to the battle with the virus. Trump claimed the existing structure was insufficient to deal with future threats, so he got rid of it.  As recently as last month, when it was already wreaking havoc, he still said the numbers would go down in a few days.  The ignorant people who believe him chose to listen to Limbaugh ("It's just a bad cold) and Hannity (who would kiss the Devil's ass to prove his loyalty) resulted in many of them not following the medically prescribed guidelines to stop the virus' spread.  It took local and state regulators to belatedly insist on scatter-shot rules regarding social distancing.  And some Republicans on all levels still take them with a grain of salt.   As for unprepared hospitals facing high patient loads and lack of equipment, the President passed the buck on meeting this national challenge to State Governors.  All of this, resulting from the lack of leadership in the White House, has caused infections, disease transmission and deaths which would not have otherwise occurred.  The buck stops there, with the President!

With this in mind, I am reminded of a humorous email I received the other day which went something like this: “I was in a line at my local post office this morning when two masked men entered.  Total panic ensued.  Then they said...this is a robbery.  We all calmed down.”

I responded to all who had gotten this email with my own email saying this is not time to joke about the pandemic we all face and added that the only joke involved is the one who sleeps in the White House.  I firmly believe that.  This didn't stop one of the people who read my response from emailing me criticizing me for politicizing the issue.  If we cannot place at least part of the blame for the deaths the virus is causing on the President and those gullible and ignorant people who elected him, the "deplorables," we are closing our eyes to the truth.  The Emperor is not wearing any clothes, guys! Wake up.  

A Question

Going, Gong, G_ _ e!

How long do you think it will be before Donald Trump resigns?  He is slowly being backed into a corner.  How long will he fail to recognize the "doctors" on his press conferences are contradicting almost everything he says.  The lies and half truths needed to peddle real estate or get suckers into a resort casino or buy merchandise with his name on it don't work in the time of governmental crisis as we now face.  Hollering at the media won't save him.  Neither will the Republican Party.

The way it looks now, Trump may not carry a single State in November, destroying most of the Republican Party's Senate, House and Governorship candidates. Local State, Senate and House leaders will recognize this, and want to do something about it, even if it means the Senate's re-voting on the Democrat's Bill of Impeachment.  And what do you think Mitch, in a tight re-election race, will tell them to do?  


Monday, March 16, 2020

The Current Crisis, the Blame and His Language

Democracy at a Crossroads

Because we don’t have a true world government, nations are left to deal with the coronavirus pandemic on an individual basis.   There is some international coordination through the World Health Organization, but nations are really dependent upon their own resources.

It is clear that to get the things done (social distancing, testing, hospital availability, relief from economic dislocation, developing a vaccine, providing goods and services necessary for survival, maintaining order in the financial marketplace, etc.) which have to be done, authoritarian governments will fare better than democracies.  They can dictate what their citizens must do and force them to follow prescribed rules.  If some citizens “fall by the wayside” as victims of the sacrifices the government’s procedures demand, that must be accepted.  But in the long run, the authoritarian nation involved will tame the virus. 

In a democracy, however, such forced behavior is not routinely accepted.  People cannot be forced to follow orders.  In such situations, the virus will win out and many people will die.  But by adopting the same approach that authoritarian nations use, democracies can defeat the virus, but at the price of the freedom democracy provides.  Of necessity, that is what they are, and will be, doing.  Compare how authoritarian China and democratic Italy are faring in their struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.  One is winning, one is losing.  The choice is obvious.

In a crisis like this, authoritarian government is necessary.  Once it is no longer necessary, the highest priority will be repairing damaged democratic freedoms and restoring our economic system, which may never be the same as it was before the current crisis.

Where Some of the Blame Layeth

Delayed response to the Coronavirus pandemic is due to Trumpublican refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the threat when it first appeared.  Blame it on their distaste for anything which government agencies (they refer to them as the 'deep state') do which might raise taxes.  It is the fault of Americans who tolerate the stream of falsehoods the Administration has peddled to state its pathetic position.  Here I quote from Republican conservative columnist Mona Charen whose syndicated column recently pointed out that

“on February 24, the president tweeted” ‘The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”  Two days later: ‘The 15 cases within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.’  Rush Limbaugh told his 20 million listeners ‘the truth’ that ‘the coronavirus is the common cold, folks.’  Sean Hannity quoted an ‘MIT guy’ to the effect that ‘coronavirus fear-mongering by the ‘deep state’ will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds …’  

Charen went on to point out that" this crowd that howls about ‘fake news’ is the most pernicious purveyor of it … even on a matter of life and death.”  And that’s from a Republican, a real one, not a Trumpublican.  

It's time for the president to call Limbaugh back to the White House and rip off that “Medal of Freedom” he was stupid enough to give him … and to point out that some of Hannity’s 20 million viewers may be signing their own death warrants by listening to his advice.  And when, I wonder, will Mar-a-Lago be quarantined and shut down, since it is a nexus of the virus’ contagion in Florida? 

Things would have been a little better if the Senate had gone along with the House's Impeachment of Trump.  At least we would be rid of him ... which now will have to wait until the November elections, if he doesn't resign sooner in disgrace.  Pence, no bargain either, would at least, go along with, rather than undermine, the words of our doctors and scientists.

HIS Language

The next time the President speaks, count the times he uses the words “incredible,” “very” and “tremendous.”  (They must have taught him these words at Wharton.)  Here are the Merriam-Webster definitions.

Incredible - adjective
Definition  of incredible
1: too extraordinary and improbable to be believed, making incredible claims
2AMAZINGEXTRAORDINARY, incredible skill, an incredible appetite, I met an incredible woman

Very -  adverb
Definition of very 
1: to a high degree : EXCEEDINGLY, very hot, didn't hurt very much
2: in actual fact : TRULY, the very best store in town, told the very same story.

Tremendous -  adjective
Definition of tremendous
a: notable by reason of extreme size, power, greatness, or excellence, tremendous problems, a writer of tremendous talent - often used as a generalized term of approval, I had a tremendous time
b: unusually large : HUGE,tremendous number of people

“A very large number of people say that our approach to the virus is incredible because of the tremendous things we are doing to fight it."