If we don’t know our history, we are destined to repeat it

My jaw dropped when I read the first sentence in this thoughtful and thought-provoking post by our friend Keith. I think yours will too. Trump’s desire to teach revisionist history can only lower us even further in the eyes of the world … it can only be thought of as the ‘dumbing-down of America’. Please take a minute to read Keith’s post and ponder on the direction we are headed. Thanks, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

I read this week from a UPI article that 60% of millennials and Gen-Zers are unaware that 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust by the Nazis in World War II. I use the word “exterminated” as that is what the Nazis did by gassing Jews after they rounded them up. If the brashness of this statement offends – I apologize for the needed candor. It is meant to wake people up.

But, the Nazi genocide of Jews is among too many persecutions around the world and over time. The United States has had three persecutions of groups of people, two of which leading to many deaths. We should never forget these sad parts of our history or white-wash (word intentionally chosen) them away.

– European settlers of the US over time seized land from, killed many and moved Native Americans over the course of three centuries. Even today…

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Trump’s Attack on History: The 1776 Project, Racism, Nationalism, and Fraudulent Patriotism to Conform History to his Twisted Ideology

Today, in yet another extreme abuse of the power of his office, Trump signed an ‘executive order’ to demand that public schools teach revisionist history, that they exclude the darker past of this nation. I tried to write about this, but was too furious to put coherent words on paper. Fortunately, Padre Steve was more successful than I, so I share his work with you. Please do read this … it is another step … a huge one … in the destruction of the United States. Thank you, Padre!

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Today President Trump launched a major attack on the history of the United States by announcing what he called The 1776  Project, a direct attack on the 1619 Project which aims to tell the story of how the English Colonists introduced what became the institution of slavery and entrenched racism in the United States. I know the subject well, my book which will be published sometime in the next year “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!” Racism, Religion, Ideology and Politics in the Civil War Era and why they Continue to Matter” deals extensive with this history, and I can say based on his actions and utterances that the President is using this to further divide the country on racial lines and to open American history as his next front of his culture war.

Trump said he would create a national commission to promote a…

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No Longer The Country We Think We Are

Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times today speaks for itself …


‘We’re No. 28! And Dropping!’

A measure of social progress finds that the quality of life has dropped in America over the last decade, even as it has risen almost everywhere else.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

This should be a wake-up call: New data suggest that the United States is one of just a few countries worldwide that is slipping backward.

The newest Social Progress Index, shared with me before its official release Thursday morning, finds that out of 163 countries assessed worldwide, the United States, Brazil and Hungary are the only ones in which people are worse off than when the index began in 2011. And the declines in Brazil and Hungary were smaller than America’s.

“The data paint an alarming picture of the state of our nation, and we hope it will be a call to action,” Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the chair of the advisory panel for the Social Progress Index, told me. “It’s like we’re a developing country.”

The index, inspired by research of Nobel-winning economists, collects 50 metrics of well-being — nutrition, safety, freedom, the environment, health, education and more — to measure quality of life. Norway comes out on top in the 2020 edition, followed by Denmark, Finland and New Zealand. South Sudan is at the bottom, with Chad, Central African Republic and Eritrea just behind.

The United States, despite its immense wealth, military power and cultural influence, ranks 28th — having slipped from 19th in 2011. The index now puts the United States behind significantly poorer countries, including Estonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Greece.

“We are no longer the country we like to think we are,” said Porter.

The United States ranks No. 1 in the world in quality of universities, but No. 91 in access to quality basic education. The U.S. leads the world in medical technology, yet we are No. 97 in access to quality health care.

The Social Progress Index finds that Americans have health statistics similar to those of people in Chile, Jordan and Albania, while kids in the United States get an education roughly on par with what children get in Uzbekistan and Mongolia. A majority of countries have lower homicide rates, and most other advanced countries have lower traffic fatality rates and better sanitation and internet access.

The United States has high levels of early marriage — most states still allow child marriage in some circumstances — and lags in sharing political power equally among all citizens. America ranks a shameful No. 100 in discrimination against minorities.

The data for the latest index predates Covid-19, which has had a disproportionate impact on the United States and seems likely to exacerbate the slide in America’s standing. One new study suggests that in the United States, symptoms of depression have risen threefold since the pandemic began — and poor mental health is associated with other risk factors for well-being.

Michael Green, the C.E.O. of the group that puts out the Social Progress Index, notes that the coronavirus will affect health, longevity and education, with the impact particularly large in both the United States and Brazil. The equity and inclusiveness measured by the index seem to help protect societies from the virus, he said.

“Societies that are inclusive, tolerant and better educated are better able to manage the pandemic,” Green said.

The decline of the United States over the last decade in this index — more than any country in the world — is a reminder that we Americans face structural problems that predate President Trump and that festered under leaders of both parties. Trump is a symptom of this larger malaise, and also a cause of its acceleration.

David G. Blanchflower, a Dartmouth economist, has new research showing that the share of Americans reporting in effect that every day is a bad mental health day has doubled over 25 years. “Rising distress and despair are largely American phenomenon not observed in other advanced countries,” Blanchflower told me.

This decline is deeply personal for me: As I’ve written, a quarter of the kids on my old No. 6 school bus in rural Oregon are now dead from drugs, alcohol and suicide — what are called “deaths of despair.” I lost one friend to a heroin overdose this spring and have had more friends incarcerated than I could possibly count; the problems are now self-replicating in the next generation because of the dysfunction in some homes.

You as taxpayers paid huge sums to imprison my old friends; the money would have been far better invested educating them, honing their job skills or treating their addictions.

That’s why this is an election like that of 1932. That was the year American voters decisively rejected Herbert Hoover’s passivity and gave Franklin Roosevelt an electoral mandate — including a flipped Senate — that laid the groundwork for the New Deal and the modern middle class. But first we need to acknowledge the reality that we are on the wrong track.

We Americans like to say “We’re No. 1.” But the new data suggest that we should be chanting, “We’re No. 28! And dropping!”

Let’s wake up, for we are no longer the country we think we are.

Good People Doing Good Things — Quietly

Yesterday, I thought my frame of mind was going to make it difficult to get in the mode to go in search of ‘good people’ for this morning’s post, but … I was wrong.  Once I got started, good people just began pouring onto my screen and I had to pick and choose just a few!


Investing in the future …

As most of you know, I don’t have a lot of respect for ‘Corporate America’ … I see capitalists as a greedy bunch, unwilling to pay their fair share and always on the lookout for ways to take shortcuts, to further their wealth while reducing ours.  However, every now and then a corporation does something that makes me sit up and take notice, and today, Hormel Foods is one such company.

Hormel Foods announced last week that it will begin offering two years of free college tuition to all the children of their U.S. employees beginning next year.  Not based on achievement in test scores or GPA, the new program is a way to create equality in education admissions—and the company hopes many who take advantage of the offer will be first-generation college students in their families.

Called “Inspired Pathways,” the program will begin in the fall of 2021. A spokesperson for Hormel Foods said the company has 16,000 domestic employees and the program is open to any dependent child of those workers. The company has more than 30 plant and office locations in the U.S., primarily in the Midwest, and the kids can attend any community college of their choice as long as they graduate from high school and meet the school’s entry requirements.

Hormel’s President and CEO Jim Snee said …

“When you think about how a college education can change lives and start a ripple effect that will be felt for generations, that’s the change-maker Hormel Foods wants to be.”

Additionally, the company offers tuition reimbursement for current team members who go back to school while working at Hormel Foods.  There can be no better investment than in our children’s education, and my hat is off to Hormel for making that investment in our children, our country, our future.


One good turn deserves another …

Jocelynn James of Franklin County, Alabama, used to have a drug problem – she was addicted to opioids and supported her drug habit by stealing and breaking the law.  She wasn’t very good at that law-breaking thing, and was arrested numerous times between 2007 and 2012, most often by Officer Terrell Potter.  She finally managed to get back on track and has now been drug-free for eight years.

Officer Potter, however, recently found out that his kidney was failing and that the waiting list for a donor kidney was so long that he would not live long enough for his name to come to the top of the list.  Ms. James found out from a Facebook post and she decided to help if she could.  She was tested and turns out she was a perfect match to donate a kidney to Officer Potter, and that is just what she did!James-PotterThe surgery was performed a month-and-a-half ago, and Officer Potter is doing well, grateful to Ms. James, who says it seemed only right that she could save his life, for she believed that he had saved hers all those many years ago.


One meal at a time …

In St. Louis, Missouri, Chef Tyler Davis is on a mission to feed St. Louis area kids who are out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic.  His good deed started with a handful of volunteers preparing nutritional meals for students in a small kitchen in south city. Just this week, Davis and his team fed another 400 children. As of April 10, they’ve distributed a total of 1,600 lunch kits to area children.  Says Davis …

Tyler-Davis“I’m not trying to let anybody go hungry and if I can do anything you know to feed one or two individuals, then that’s what I want to do.  So many people were very, very receptive and were asking me, ‘How do I help? How do I donate and how do I volunteer?  It started out kind of being like just three, four, five and then it grew to 120 delivered during our first round. Now, it’s blown up. I’m very, very grateful for all the help from my volunteers, all the donations we’ve received, and we will keep doing this as long as this pandemic continues. I don’t even have to receive any ‘thank yous.’ I just want to help people “

What a wonderful man!


A bunch of helping hands …

A Warwick, Rhode Island, police officer just reminded the world that while the coronavirus pandemic can claim lives, shut down cities, and change life as we know it, it can’t take away kindness.

The Warwick Police Department received a call on Friday night from a community service organization alerting authorities that an 87-year-old woman had no food in her home.  Officer Jill Marshall, who works with the department’s Community Services Division, volunteered to conduct a welfare check and found the elderly woman, who was living with her disabled son, had nothing to eat.  Officer Marshall offered to go food shopping for the family — and their cat.

Marshall visited a local grocery store, which donated $25 to help cover the cost of groceries. When other people in the store heard of what Marshall was doing, they donated enough money to buy $100 worth of food for the family.

“I was ready to use my own money to help them but the generosity of those shopping and Shaw’s (grocery store) paid for her list. I would have never left them and make them wait for food. That’s just not humane.”


See, folks … there are still people out there doing good things to help others.  They just don’t make quite as much noise as all the assholes do, so maybe we don’t notice them as much.

“Un-American Propaganda”??? Seriously???

Just a few short years ago, this nation seemed like a sane place.  Sure, we had problems … plenty of them.  But we always thought there were systems and safeguards in place to keep any single person or any branch of government from overstepping their bounds.  Never did we dream, say back in 2010, ten years ago, that one person could make such a power grab that the norms would all be shattered within a single administration.

Today, we realize what fools we were … or at least the majority of us realize it.  A madman was elected with a minority of the vote, and nothing has been right ever since.  The Constitution that every president and member of Congress takes an oath to uphold has been shredded by a president who knows no boundaries, who has been enabled by his sycophants in Congress, in his administration, and yes, even in the Courts.  Where are those ‘checks and balances’?  They are only as good as the people who are tasked with enforcing them.

The latest thing to send me into a fit of temper is Trump’s order to Russell Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to cease the government’s racial sensitivity training.  Trump calls such training “un-American propaganda”.  That’s right, folks … it is un-American to try to teach people not to discriminate, to try to remove the systemic racism that exists within our government and law enforcement community.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  🤬

Does this man understand that Black people are citizens of this nation with the same rights accorded to white people???  Does he understand that we have a huge problem in this nation with racism running rampant throughout our police departments?  Does he realize that we are on the brink of a race war that he will have been responsible for starting?

Trump’s former attorney and ‘fixer’, the man who, for a price, made Trump’s problems such as sexual liaisons just disappear, testified under oath to Congress in February 2019 …

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”

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He is a racist.  Was there ever any doubt?  Cohen went on to cite some examples …

“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. He told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Four decades ago, Trump and his father were sued by the federal government, which accused the Trumps of discriminating against people of colour trying to rent the Trump company’s apartments. Donald Trump was also sued for his mistreatment of black workers in his casinos and, according to a former hotel executive, once said “laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Then there was the Central Park Five case.  A group of African American and Hispanic teens named Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back in 1989 when a white female jogger was attacked and raped.  The five teens were arrested, tried and convicted on false evidence and coerced confessions, and they served prison sentences until 2002 when the real assailant confessed to the crime.  Donald Trump spent $85,000 placing the ads in local papers calling for the five teens to be executed.  Even though the five young men were exonerated, Trump has since repeatedly reiterated the guilty verdict of the men and has refused to back down or admit his mistake.  What if the teens had been white and the victim Black?  I don’t think Trump would have had a word to say about it.

Yes, Donald Trump is a racist, but are we going to allow him to make this nation even more racist than it already is???  How many more George Floyds, Breonna Taylors, Botham Jeans, Atatiana Jeffersons, and Jacob Blakes do we want?  How many more will it take until the thus-far peaceful Black Lives Matter protests turn into an all-out race war?  We have a serious problem with all forms of bigotry in this nation, but particularly racism, and the very person who should be dealing with it, trying to find solutions for the problem and bring the people of this nation together,  is instead pouring fuel on the fire.  It should NOT be his decision to cancel the training that might … just might be a start toward a better understanding between the people of this nation.

Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities.  He is not only a racist, but a misogynist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, and more.  This is a diverse nation with people of every nationality, religion, and ethnicity.  That the nation is led by a person who cannot tolerate any who aren’t white, Christian and male is the ultimate hypocrisy.  Will the people of this nation give him another four years to further our global reputation as a racist nation?  Remember, my friends, we will all carry the stigma of that label, not just those who voted for Trump.  Is this really how we want to be viewed?  Is this really a nation we even want to live in?

Bouncing Snark

Today, I have a bouncing mind that is filled with snarky thoughts – never a good combination!


The right choice …

Of course, the big news yesterday was Joe Biden’s announcement that he had chosen Senator Kamala Harris for his running mate.  No surprise, for all along I’ve thought she would be the one, and in truth, she makes the most sense for him.  A) she’s a woman; B) she’s a black woman; C) she is highly qualified; D) she is young enough to be a perfectly viable option in the quite possible event that something would happen to Biden, who will be 78 years of age by the time he takes office next January.  While I loved the idea of a Biden/Warren ticket, I realized that Elizabeth Warren was too white, too socialist, and too old to be a viable option in a year when overthrowing the current regime has to be the #1 goal.

Let’s be clear on one thing:  Trump & Co would have denigrated and slung mud no matter who Biden chose.  They will find Kamala’s Achilles heel (and yes, she has a few) and they will play that record ad nauseam.  But they would have done the same with Stacey Abrams, Tammy Duckworth, Val Demings or Elizabeth Warren.  They already had their little black books filled with whatever they could dig up on any and all of the candidates Biden was considering.  Bottom line, though, is it doesn’t matter.  Yes, you heard me right.  It does not matter.  All it does is it speaks to Trump’s own failings and shortcomings.  If the only way you can look good is to make others look bad, then you’re in trouble before you even get to the starting gate.

In 2016, Trump’s only selling points were “Build the wall and make Mexico pay for it”, and “Lock her up”.  This year, he doesn’t even have those … he quite literally has no selling point other than the economy, which is currently in the tank. So, he will use mud-slinging, lies, and a loud, obnoxious voice with lots of facial contortions and wild hand movements to make his points, whatever those points are.

I urge you, folks, to keep your eye on the ball, to remember that “actions speak louder than words”, and to look back at what he has actually done in his first term … nothing positive, lots of destruction, hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.  Whatever he and his little loyal lapdogs say about Biden or Harris … it’s laughable.  It’s grasping at straws.  It’s desperation.  Ignore it.  The republicans, or at least Trump’s base, will lap it up like a cat does cream, but they have proven their ignorance, have proven they will not listen to facts or reason, so … don’t waste your time on them.  Concentrate, instead, on convincing everyone to get out and VOTE!!!  Concentrate instead on talking to the people who aren’t wearing rose-coloured glasses and drinking Kool-Aid.  Don’t allow yourself to be dragged into a mudfest by those too ignorant to understand the true significance of this year’s election, to see the parallels between another 4 years of Trump and 1933 Germany.


What are they thinking???

Just yesterday morning, I wrote about a number of QAnon members running for congressional seats, and as I recall (it was, after all, a full day ago!) I predicted that none was likely to win their primary.  Well guess what?  Yep, my predictive skills have once again failed to hit their mark, for the one I highlighted yesterday, Marjorie Taylor Greene, won the Georgia primary runoff!  What the Sam Hell is wrong with people in Georgia???  First, they elect a gun-toting ding-dong, Brian Kemp, for governor, and now a conspiracy theorist, gun-toting member of QAnon to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives!

Greene has spouted numerous conspiracy theories, is a racist, an Islamophobe and anti-Semitic … just what we need in a lawmaking capacity, eh? Even Republican lawmakers Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy have publicly condemned her candidacy!  In November, she will face Democratic challenger Kevin Van Ausdal.  To date, Ausdal trails Greene by a margin of 38% to Greene’s 62%.  Let us hope that the good people of Georgia wake up and realize that Ms. Greene is not … I repeat NOT … congressional material!!!

Trump, naturally, congratulated Ms. Greene profusely …

“Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!”

More like a real NUTCASE, but then, he likes conspiracy theories and theorists, remember?


And speaking of Georgia …

Cherokee County School District re-opened their schools on August 3rd, against the advice of experts, and by the end of the week, ten of the schools in the district had sent letters home to parents warning that children had tested positive for the coronavirus and that their own children had been exposed.  As of today, some 925 students in that district are under quarantine, and this is only the beginning.

I predict a wave of lawsuits when children start dying, when parents and grandparents contract the disease via their children and start dying.  This rush to open the schools, to play Russian roulette with the lives of children, was ill-advised … in fact was downright stupid … and there will be a price to be paid: human lives.  But I’m sure Trump will shrug his shoulders and say, “It is what it is”.

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A Bit Of Un-Masked History

Comparisons have been made more than a few times between today’s coronavirus pandemic and the pandemic of 1918 known as the Spanish Flu.  Turns out that one of the issues we are grappling with today, mask-wearing, was a big issue back then, too.  I thought this bit of history from the New York Times was quite interesting!


The Mask Slackers of 1918

As the influenza pandemic swept across the United States in 1918 and 1919, masks took a role in political and cultural wars.

christine-hauserBy Christine Hauser

Aug. 3, 2020

Updated 12:29 p.m. ET

flu-1The masks were called muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps. They gave people a “pig-like snout.” Some people snipped holes in their masks to smoke cigars. Others fastened them to dogs in mockery. Bandits used them to rob banks.

More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged in the United States, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial front lines in the battle against the virus. But as they have now, the masks also stoked political division. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of disease. And then, as now, some people resisted.

In 1918 and 1919, as bars, saloons, restaurants, theaters and schools were closed, masks became a scapegoat, a symbol of government overreach, inspiring protests, petitions and defiant bare-face gatherings. All the while, thousands of Americans were dying in a deadly pandemic.

1918: The infection spreads.

The first infections were identified in March, at an Army base in Kansas, where 100 soldiers were infected. Within a week, the number of flu cases grew fivefold, and soon the disease was taking hold across the country, prompting some cities to impose quarantines and mask orders to contain it.

By the fall of 1918, seven cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Pasadena, Calif. — had put in effect mandatory face mask laws, said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics and the author of “Quarantine!”

Organized resistance to mask wearing was not common, Dr. Markel said, but it was present. “There were flare-ups, there were scuffles and there were occasional groups, like the Anti-Mask League,” he said, “but that is the exception rather than the rule.”

At the forefront of the safety measures was San Francisco, where a man returning from a trip to Chicago apparently carried the virus home, research archives show.

By the end of October, there were more than 60,000 cases statewide, with 7,000 of them in San Francisco. It soon became known as the “masked city.”flu-2“The Mask Ordinance,” signed by Mayor James Rolph on Oct. 22, made San Francisco the first American city to require face coverings, which had to be four layers thick.

A ‘pig-like extension of the snout’

Resisters complained about appearance, comfort and freedom, even after the flu killed an estimated 195,000 Americans in October alone.

Alma Whitaker, writing in The Los Angeles Times on Oct. 22, 1918, reviewed masks’ impact on society and celebrity, saying famous people shunned them because it was “so horrid” to go unrecognized.

“The big restaurants are the funniest sights, with all the waiters and diners masked, the latter just raising their screen to pop in a mouthful of food,” she wrote.

When Ms. Whitaker herself declined to wear one, she was “forcibly taken” to the Red Cross as a “slacker,” and ordered to make one and put it on.flu-3The San Francisco Chronicle said the simplest type of mask was of folded gauze affixed with elastic or tape. The police went for gauze masks, which resembled an unflattering “nine ordinary slabs of ravioli arranged in a square.”

There was room for creativity. Some of the coverings were “fearsome looking machines” that lent a “pig-like aspect” to the wearer’s face.

Mask court

The penalty for violators was $5 to $10, or 10 days’ imprisonment.

On Nov. 9, 1,000 people were arrested, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. City prisons swelled to standing room only; police shifts and court sessions were added to help manage.

“Where is your mask?” Judge Mathew Brady asked offenders at the Hall of Justice, where sessions dragged into night. Some gave fake names, said they just wanted to light a cigar or that they hated following laws.

Jail terms of 8 hours to 10 days were given out. Those who could not pay $5 were jailed for 48 hours.flu-4The ‘mask slacker’ of San Francisco is shot.

On Oct. 28, a blacksmith named James Wisser stood on Powell and Market streets in front of a drugstore, urging a crowd to dispose of their masks, which he described as “bunk.”

A health inspector, Henry D. Miller, led him to the drugstore to buy a mask.

At the door, Mr. Wisser struck Mr. Miller with a sack of silver dollars and knocked him to the ground, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. While being “pummeled,” Mr. Miller, 62, fired four times with a revolver. Passers-by “scurried for cover,” The Associated Press said.

Mr. Wisser was injured, as were two bystanders. He was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting an officer and assault. The inspector was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

In Los Angeles, ‘To Mask or Not to Mask.’

That was the headline for a report published in The Los Angeles Times when city officials met in November to decide whether to require residents to wear “germ scarers” or “flu-scarers.”

Public feedback was invited. Some supported masks so theaters, churches and schools could operate. Opponents said masks were “mere dirt and dust traps and do more harm than good.”

“I have seen some persons wearing their masks for a while hanging about their necks, and then apply them to their faces, forgetting that they might have picked up germs while dangling about their clothes,” Dr. E.W. Fleming said in a Los Angeles Times report.

An ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. John J. Kyle, said: “I saw a woman in a restaurant today with a mask on. She was in ordinary street clothes, and every now and then she raised her hand to her face and fussed with the mask.”

In Illinois, the right to choose, and to reject.

Suffragists fighting for the right to vote made a gesture that rejected covering their mouths at a time when their voices were crucial.

At the annual convention of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, in October 1918, they set chairs four feet apart, closed doors to the public and limited attendance to 100 delegates, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported.flu-5But the women “showed their scorn” for masks, it said. It’s unclear why.

Allison K. Lange, an associate history professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, said one reason could have been that they wanted to keep a highly visible profile.

“Suffragists wanted to make sure their leaders were familiar political figures,” Dr. Lange said.

‘Four weeks of muzzled misery’

San Francisco’s mask ordinance expired after four weeks at noon on Nov. 21. The city celebrated, and church bells tolled.

A “delinquent” bent on blowing his nose tore his mask off so quickly that it “nearly ruptured his ear,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported. He and others stomped on their masks in the street. As a police officer watched, it dawned on him that “his vigil over the masks was done.”

Waiters, barkeeps and others bared their faces. Drinks were on the house. Ice cream shops handed out treats. The sidewalks were strewn with gauze, the “relics of a torturous month,” The Chronicle said.

The spread had been halted. But a second wave was on the horizon.

By December, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was again proposing a mask requirement, meeting with testy opposition.flu-6Around the end of the year, a bomb was defused outside the office of San Francisco’s chief health officer, Dr. William C. Hassler. “Things were violent and aggressive, but it was because people were losing money,” said Brian Dolan, a medical historian at the University of California, San Francisco. “It wasn’t about a constitutional issue; it was a money issue.”

By the end of 1918, the death toll from influenza had reached at least 244,681, mostly in the last four months, according to government statistics.

1919: A new year

In January, Pasadena’s city commission passed a mask ordinance. The police grudgingly enforced it, cracking down on cigar smokers and passengers in cars. Sixty people were arrested on the first day, The Los Angeles Times reported on Jan. 22, in an article titled “Pasadena Snorts Under Masks.”

“It is the most unpopular law ever placed on the Pasadena records,” W.S. McIntyre, the chief of police, told the paper. “We are cursed from all sides.”

Some mocked the rule by stretching gauze across car vents or dog snouts. Cigar vendors said they lost customers, though enterprising aficionados cut a hole in the cloth. (They were still arrested.) Barbers lost shaving business. Merchants complained traffic dropped as more people stayed home.

Petitions were circulated at cigar stands. Arrests rose, even of the powerful. Ernest May, the president of Security National Bank of Pasadena, and five “prominent” guests were rounded up at the Maryland Hotel one Sunday.

They had masks on, but not covering their faces.

The Anti-Mask League.

As the contagion moved into its second year, so did the skepticism.

On Dec. 17, 1918, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reinstituted the mask ordinance after deaths started to climb, a trend that spilled over into the new year with 1,800 flu cases and 101 deaths reported there in the first five days of January.

That board’s decision led to the creation of the Anti-Mask League, a sign that resistance to masks was resurfacing as cities tried to reimpose orders to wear them when infections returned.

The league was led by a woman, E.J. Harrington, a lawyer, social activist and political opponent of the mayor. About a half-dozen other women filled its top ranks. Eight men also joined, some of them representing unions, along with two members of the board of supervisors who had voted against masks.

“The masks turned into a political symbol,” Dr. Dolan said.flu-7On Jan. 25, the league held its first organizational meeting, open to the public at the Dreamland Rink, where they united behind demands for the repeal of the mask ordinance and for the resignations of the mayor and health officials.

Their objections included lack of scientific evidence that masks worked and the idea that forcing people to wear the coverings was unconstitutional.

On Jan. 27, the league protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting, but the mayor held his ground. There were hisses and cries of “freedom and liberty,” Dr. Dolan wrote in his paper on the epidemic.

Repeal came a few days later on Feb. 1, when Mayor Rolph cited a downturn in infections.

But a third wave of flu rolled in late that year. The final death toll reached an estimated 675,000 nationwide, or 30 for every 1,000 people in San Francisco, making it one of the worst-hit cities in America.

Dr. Dolan said the story of the Anti-Mask League, which has drawn renewed interest now in 2020, demonstrates the disconnect between individual choice and universal compliance.

That sentiment echoes through the century from the voice of a San Francisco railway worker named Frank Cocciniglia.

Arrested on Kearny Street in January, Mr. Cocciniglia told the judge that he “was not disposed to do anything not in harmony with his feelings,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.

He was sentenced to five days in jail.

“That suits me,” Mr. Cocciniglia said as he left the stand. “I won’t have to wear a mask there.”

Is this what a president for the common man does?

Trump supporters seem to be unaware of the many ways in which they are voting against their own best interests, or effectively shooting themselves in the foot, when they vote for Trump. Keith provides a few of these examples in his excellent post this afternoon. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Many of the Trump base have no idea they are voting against their economic interests. This advertised populist, common man president, fails to let folks know the following:

– in his first two hours of being president, he repealed a regulation that would have reduced homeowners insurance premiums for securing mortgages with the less than 20% down, that was scheduled to go in effect February 1, 2017. This would have helped about one million low income homeowners.

– he has hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was very successful, but banks and credit card companies did not like it. The CFPB penalized these companies for fraudulent and aggressive lending practices, with 95% of the fines going to cheated consumers. In short, the CFPB helps folks who are targeted.

– he eliminated a new requirement that said all investment advisors have to be fiduciaries, meaning they must put your interests…

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A Presidential Tribute To John Lewis

The incumbent in the White House chose not to honour the late John Lewis as he lay in state in the U.S. Capitol, but that incumbent is irrelevant in this case.  More relevant are the words of former President Barack Obama who wrote a beautifully touching tribute to Mr. Lewis, and so I share President Obama’s words with you today …


My Statement on the Passing of Rep. John Lewis

ObamaWRITTEN BY

Barack Obama

Dad, husband, President, citizen.

America is a constant work in progress. What gives each new generation purpose is to take up the unfinished work of the last and carry it further — to speak out for what’s right, to challenge an unjust status quo, and to imagine a better world.

John Lewis — one of the original Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years — not only assumed that responsibility, he made it his life’s work. He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

Considering his enormous impact on the history of this country, what always struck those who met John was his gentleness and humility. Born into modest means in the heart of the Jim Crow South, he understood that he was just one of a long line of heroes in the struggle for racial justice. Early on, he embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience as the means to bring about real change in this country, understanding that such tactics had the power not only to change laws, but to change hearts and minds as well.

In so many ways, John’s life was exceptional. But he never believed that what he did was more than any citizen of this country might do. He believed that in all of us, there exists the capacity for great courage, a longing to do what’s right, a willingness to love all people, and to extend to them their God-given rights to dignity and respect. And it’s because he saw the best in all of us that he will continue, even in his passing, to serve as a beacon in that long journey towards a more perfect union.

I first met John when I was in law school, and I told him then that he was one of my heroes. Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders. When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made. And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly.

It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterwards, I spoke to him privately, and he could not have been prouder of their efforts — of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office. I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books.

Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss!!!

From Columbus, Ohio …maskless

It appears that there is a side effect of the coronavirus that affects only those who do not contract the virus itself … it isn’t a new disease, but rather one that has surged over the past five months: Ignorance.  And note that the leader of the ignorance that has a chokehold on our country is this ‘man’ …

TrumpNow, before I begin my tirade, let me clue you in on something.  When you read that “The White House says …” or “The administration has decided …”, please understand that both “White House” and “administration” mean only one person, Donald Trump.  The White House is actually just a brick and mortar building that has no voice, no opinion, and ‘the administration’ consists of a bunch of mouthpieces who speak only when told by Donald Trump that they may speak, and what they may say.  All orders filter down from Trump himself, for he is the de facto dictator.

The headline in The Washington Post reads …

Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill

Think about this one, folks.  Trump does not want to spend money … OUR money … for testing or to support methods of controlling the coronavirus.  OUR MONEY … OUR LIVES!!!  He, King Donnie, would prefer to spend OUR money on such things as his golf outings and trips to Mar-a-Lago, Secret Service protection for his grown children as they jet-set ‘round the world on Trump Organization business, than on saving our bloomin’ lives!!!!

A month or so ago, Trump & Pence decided that the threat of the pandemic was over, and it was time to move on with “business as usual”.  After all … there is an election in just over 100 days and … well, let’s face it, the only thing Trump had in his favour was the economy, so he has to do whatever it takes, including taking our lives and the lives of our children, to boost the economy so that he can show his base what a “wonderful job” he is doing.

Trump has said more than once that if we didn’t do so much testing, we wouldn’t have so many new cases of the coronavirus.  In his utter ignorance and inability to comprehend, he seems to honestly believe that theory and is, thus, trying to slow or even halt the testing by cutting off funding.

“Think of this, if we didn’t do testing, instead of testing over 40 million people, if we did half the testing we would have half the cases. If we did another, you cut that in half, we would have, yet again, half of that. But the headlines are always testing.”

This ludicrous thinking is analogous with saying, “If I don’t get on the scale, I won’t have gained any weight.”  Or, “If I don’t take my child who is coughing and has a fever to the doctor, he won’t be sick.”  It is utter stupidity!

That he is trying to cut off funding for testing and the CDC, is an abomination and must be stopped, but even worse is that his followers have contracted his disease and are clamoring for schools to re-open as if nothing were amiss … business as usual … nothing to see here, folks!

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The people in the pictures above are perfectly willing to subject not only their own children, but all children in this country, all teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, family members … to sickness and potential death.  WHY???  Because they are in the throes of this disease called ignorance, because Donald Trump, the chief of the Ignorant Brigade, has told them it’ll be fine, and that by sending their kids back to school, they can themselves return to work and the economy will boom almost overnight.  To me, this is criminal negligence.

I’m seriously considering setting up a website to see how many times I can sell the Brooklyn Bridge to these people!!!

I don’t care if you space kids 6 feet apart in the classroom and mandate mask-wearing … kids will be kids and you aren’t going to be able to enforce any of it, especially with younger children.  Plus, they will be touching surfaces that other kids have touched, both contracting and spreading germs.  It isn’t rocket science, folks … it is plain ol’ everyday common sense!!!  Keep the kids home.  If we don’t, I guarantee you that teachers in many areas will strike, and sensible parents who care about their kids will keep them home anyway.

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And not that it matters much to me at this moment, but the damned economy isn’t going to re-bound overnight anyway!  There is absolutely nothing that is going to restore the economy to its pre-pandemic state in short order … it is going to take a long time.  Period.  And it isn’t going to happen while we are seeing between 50,000 – 75,000 new cases of the coronavirus per day and nearly 1,000 people are dying from it on a daily basis.

The question, then, becomes how do we fight this pandemic of ignorance, how do we convince people that their lives and the lives of their children and other family members are, in fact, at risk?  We better find a way soon, for this nation cannot maintain this status quo much longer.  We are in self-destruct mode.  I have no answers, but I sure hope somebody comes up with some soon!

breathless-end-of-rant  End of Rant.