Pandemic Of Stupidity

I’m not a fan of name-calling and don’t much like applying the term ‘stupid’ to people.  But there are times that no other word will fit, times when you just have to ‘call a spade a bloody shovel’, as my friend Mary says.  Of late, there seems to be a pandemic of stupidity in the United States.  A few examples …


louie-gohmertU.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, a republican from Texas, has contracted the coronavirus.  Now, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise, for ol’ Louie has steadfastly refused to wear a face mask or observe the precautions that most of us are following.  Louie, though, doesn’t think he contracted the virus from breathing in other people’s germs, or from picking up the germ on some surface he may have touched.  Nope, ol’ Louie thinks he got the virus from … wait for it … wearing a mask!

“It’s really ironic because a lot of people have made a really big deal out of my not wearing a mask a whole lot, but in the last week or two, I have worn a mask more than I have in the whole last four months.  I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some germs, some of the virus on the mask and breathed it in.” 

Well, there’s a new one for the record books, eh?  But Louie’s stupidity doesn’t stop there.  On Wednesday morning, after being informed that he had tested positive for the virus, he returned to his Capitol Hill office and told staff he wanted to inform them ‘in person’ instead of them finding out from news reports.  WHAT … a phone call or an email wouldn’t have worked just as well?  And this man has a Juris Doctor degree from Baylor Law School and has held a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005 – fifteen years!  How did he manage all that with so little intelligence?


vince-ginnThen there’s Vance Ginn, another Texan.  Vance is the chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  In Texas, as in most states, minorities make up a disproportionate number of the deaths from the coronavirus, as do the elderly.  Mr. Ginn, citing the demographic data of the coronavirus deaths, tweeted this …

“Why not #openschools, end universal mandates, target vulnerable & check those from #Mexico?”

First of all, while the elderly may be more susceptible to the illness and more likely to die, and while the Hispanic population may not have access to the same level of medical care, therefore more likely to die, the total number of deaths also includes non-Hispanics and young people.  Second of all, is he saying, then, that Hispanics and the elderly are expendable?  And third, of course, is the fact that children bring the virus home to parents and elderly relatives such as grandparents.  Ginn has since taken the tweet down after a hue and cry, but … how do people as utterly stupid as him get into such high-level positions in the first place???


At the North Dakota state GOP convention earlier this month, Republican delegates voted on a package of 53 resolutions that “determine the group’s values and stances on various political and moral issues”.  Among them was Resolution 31 which advances the common Republican position that marriage should only be defined as a union between one man and one woman, but it also includes a rejection of any laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, often referred to as “SOGI.”

  • “SOGI bills grant protection to voyeurs who wish to prey on members of the opposite sex.”
  • “Research has shown that causes of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) compulsions are primarily developmental and not genetic as in color and gender.”
  • “SOGI laws empower those practicing LGBT behaviors to assume positions of mentorships of minors often over objections of parents, influencing their emotions and thereby recruiting for their lifestyles.”
  • “Many LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large.”

The final line of the resolutions says the party “opposes the passage of legislation which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our Century code as protected classes.”

Party Chairman Rick Berg said Wednesday, July 22, that the resolution relates to an individual’s religious liberty and protecting business owners from lawsuits such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission suit from 2017.  North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued a statement denouncing the resolution last Thursday …

“As I’ve long said, all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination. There’s no place for the hurtful and divisive rhetoric in the NDGOP resolutions.”

Y’know, folks … the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and everyone in this nation has the right to choose what to believe, what, if any, religion to follow.  HOWEVERnobody has the right to impose their own religious beliefs on others.  Nobody has the right to insist on discriminatory laws based on their own religious values.  It is the same with abortion.  If you don’t wish to have an abortion or hang out with LGBT people, then fine … don’t.  But don’t shove your bigotry and narrow-mindedness down the throats of the rest of us who believe that everyone has a right to be who they are!

Good People Doing Good Things … This ‘N That

I hope you’re in the mood for a few ‘good people’ this morning, for it just so happens that I’ve found a few!  Most of what I write for this blog is on the dark side, but we need balance in our diets … our emotional diets as well as our nutritional diets.  Good people serve to remind us that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.


A win-win

In March, when restaurants in most every state in the U.S. closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers immediately lost their restaurant contracts and many ended up having to plow their crops under, taking a huge loss for the year.  On the other side of the coin were people who had lost their jobs due to the shutdown and were unable to earn the money to buy food.  But in the State of Washington, there was George Ahearn …

When George Ahearn heard that farmers in Washington state were giving away onions and potatoes they suddenly couldn’t sell, his instinct for goodwill kicked in and George went to work.  Thinking of the food banks in Seattle that were overwhelmed, George asked on Facebook to borrow someone’s truck or trailer for the day, to haul around 2,000 pounds of restaurant-grade onions and potatoes. The response to his altruistic post was dramatic, and soon 4 trucks and 2 trailers had hauled 9.3 tons of crops grown in the east to feed hungry people in the west.

On that first inaugural run, Ahearn learned that food banks originally couldn’t accept a semi-truck load of ‘loose’ potatoes.  Enter Zsofia Pasztor, a farmer and fellow nonprofiteur who began donating crates and boxes for transporting the crops.  As these things tend to do, the movement grew and became a nonprofit organization called EastWest Food Rescue. Ahearn-1One person who donated a truck on that first day, Nancy Balin, is now one of the program’s directors, as is Zsofia Pasztor.  Says Balin …

“The whole thing was extremely organic and took on a life of its own almost immediately.”

Thus far, EastWest Food Rescue has saved over 2.4 million pounds of food from fields and brought it to those who really needed it, while also amassing enough donations to help compensate farmers for their loss.  The goal is to rescue 10 million pounds of food, for which Ahearn is trying to raise $250,000. Ahearn says one of the most important priorities is to get refrigeration capacity for fruit and other produce, as well as for milk and eggs.  Ahearn had originally planned to shut down the operation after they reached 70 tons, so he could spend more time with his family, but that was long ago, and he accepts that in this moment he “can’t stop.”Ahearn-2What a good man … and so many others … yes?


Kind hearts start young

Bike Planet of Memphis donated a bike to celebrate the grand opening of Covington Parks and Recreation Bike Park.  A young boy named Chase was the winner of the bike.  Only one thing, though … Chase already has a bike.

His neighbor and friend Daniel, however, didn’t have a bike, so … you can guess what’s coming, right?  Yep … Chase gave the brand-new bike to Daniel! chase-danielMethinks he’s been taught well!  Good job, Chase!

And then there’s 11-year-old Cartier Carey, a young entrepreneur.  Cartier has a lemonade/snack stand, like so many kids his age, but his is just a little bit different.  You see, rather than trying to earn money for that new toy or a puppy, Cartier is raising money for single moms to buy such things as diapers and other essentials.  So far, he has raised close to $5,000 through the stand and donations and all proceeds go directly to the single moms.

cartier-carey

“I wanted to help mothers who were struggling.”

And this isn’t Cartier’s first foray into altruism.  Earlier this year, Cartier created care packages called “Carti packs,” filled with deodorant, soap and tissues to give to the homeless population.cartier-carey-2He founded his own non-profit organization called Kids 4 Change 757 about a year ago. Cartier says he was motivated to create the movement so he “could help the community and make the community better.”

Chase and Cartier are our reason to hope for a brighter future, my friends!


Welcome to Ontario …

Maurice Ellis, his wife Caroline Leslie-Ellis, and their daughter, Amara, immigrated to Ontario, Canada from Jamaica to create a better life for their family.  Maurice works two jobs to support his family and put his wife through college. Caroline has earned top marks in the hospitality and tourism management program at Fanshawe College, but the expenses are tough for the family to manage.

Shortly after they moved to Ontario, in an effort to become a part of their new community, Maurice joined Dad Club London, a club for fathers and pending fathers, where they can network with other like-minded dads, give and receive help, and become more involved in their community.  One day, Dad Club London founder and president, Jeremy McCall, posted a Black Lives Matter message on the group’s Facebook page that started a conversation, and Maurice admitted that he was the target of a number of racial slurs at his second workplace.

McCall didn’t just commiserate or offer words of sympathy … he leapt into action to show the Ellis family that those who directed racial comments at Maurice were not representative of their community.  He organized a secret fundraiser to show Ellis and his family how much the community supported them.

Contributions came in from the local police union, 70 families, and numerous businesses. The group was able to raise nearly $7,000, and McCall arranged a get-together last month to surprise the family.

First, their daughter Amara was given a gift—the biggest LEGO set the club could find, and then Maurice was given a prepaid Mastercard to help with family living expenses. Finally, smiles turned to disbelief when Caroline unfolded the check for her college tuition.  Said McCall to the gathered ensemble …

“What happened to you doesn’t represent this community. We don’t stand for that. When you said, ‘I guess that’s the way the world is,’ it broke our hearts because it can’t be that way, and we won’t let it … We, together, stand as a community against racism.”

maurice-caroline-ellisNeedless to say, there was no shortage of tears all around.  What good people, yes?


good-people

The State Of The Nation …

A number of serious issues are deeply concerning in the U.S. today, and obviously the coronavirus pandemic is at the top of the list.  Well, it’s obvious to some of us, at any rate. Trump’s horrific bungling of the pandemic has caused the U.S. to have the absolute worst record on the globe, with now 27% of the world’s cases, while we only account for over 4% of the world’s population.  With less than 100 days until the November election, Trump apparently decided it would be easier  to draw public attention away from the virus, than to try to allow the experts to take over and fix the problem.  His distraction?  Attack the cities and the people who live in them. Today, I would like to share the esteemed Robert Reich’s Sunday column from The Guardian on this topic …


Trump can’t shift public attention from coronavirus to the streets of America

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

Donald Trump has said he has “no responsibility” for the coronavirus pandemic, fobbing it off on governors and mayors whose repeated requests for federal help he’s denied. Yet he’s now sending federal troops into cities he says are controlled by the “radical left”, whose mayors and governors don’t want them there.

The president wants to shift public attention from the virus, which he can’t “dominate”, to the streets of America, which he and his secret police can.

It’s an especially cynical re-election strategy because coronavirus deaths are rising again. More Americans are on track to be hospitalized with the virus than at any other point. Rates of new infections repeatedly shatter single-day records. As a result, the US economy is backsliding.

Trump has never offered a national strategy for testing, contact tracing and isolating those who have the disease. He has provided no standards for reopening the economy, no plan for national purchasing of critical materials, no definitive policy for helping the unemployed, no clear message about what people and businesses should do. He rushed to reopen without adequate safeguards.

The hapless White House “coronavirus taskforce” is in perpetual disarray. Trump has downgraded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His Department of Labor hasn’t even put out standards for workplace safety.

Trump won’t use the Defense Production Act to secure supplies to perform tests – swabs, chemicals, pipette tips, machines, containers – so public health officials can’t quickly identify and isolate people who are infected and trace their contacts.

It’s been an abominable, chaotic mess – which is why the virus is back.

Yet when it comes to assaulting Americans, Trump has been asserting strong leadership. He’s deploying unidentified federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon: attacking them, pulling them into unmarked vans, detaining them without charges.

Trump is also sending troops to Kansas City, Albuquerque and Chicago. He says he’ll send them to New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as well – not incidentally, all cities with Democratic mayors, large black populations and no violent unrest.

Trump can’t find federal personnel to do contact tracing for the coronavirus but has found thousands of agents for his secret police, drawn from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Trump doesn’t want to know about the coronavirus but he’s keeping careful track of the battles in the streets, demanding up-to-the-minute briefings from the front.

Public health authorities don’t have adequate medical equipment to quickly analyze coronavirus tests but Trump’s police have everything they need to injure protesters, including armored vans, teargas, and tactical assault weapons – “the best equipment”, Trump boasted last week.

There is no legal authority for this. The founders denied police power to the national government. The local officials in charge of keeping public order reject Trump’s troops. The mayor of Portland was teargassed this week. The mayor of Kansas City calls them “disgraceful”. Albuquerque’s mayor announced: “There’s no place for Trump’s secret police in our city.” Chicago’s mayor does “not welcome dictatorship”.

The one encouraging note – analogous to Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark – is the absence of the US military. Unlike Trump’s lapdog attorney general, William Barr, the generals don’t want any part of it.

The Trump campaign is running fictitious ads portraying cities as overrun by violent leftwing mobs, and Trump’s shameless Fox News lackeys are depicting protesters as “rioters” and the “armed wing of Democratic party”.

At the same time, Trump is trying to suppress the truth about the coronavirus. The White House is instructing hospitals to report cases to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than to the CDC. Trump has muzzled the federal government’s most prominent and trusted virologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, while the White House tries to discredit him. In the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, Trump doesn’t even want to fund more testing and tracing, or the CDC.

After railing against the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools as “very tough [and] expensive”, Trump this week pressured the CDC to issue more lax guidelines, some of which were written by White House officials instead of CDC experts.

Yet Trump won’t be able to shift public attention from the virus to the streets of America. The violence he’s trying to fuel and exaggerate is far less frightening to average voters than the virus, which is worsening by the day, especially in Texas, Florida, and other states that went for Trump in 2016. His blatant failure to contain it is causing people to die.

The only “Them” that Counts is all of “US”

Fellow blogger and author Peter S Ironwood has written a post that frankly chills me to the bone and that is well worth taking three minutes to read. Thank you, Peter, for putting what many of us fear to say aloud into words.

petersironwood

usa flag waving on white metal pole Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Read history, folks.

Totalitarian regimes do this: they divide the citizens agains each other. Trump starts by trying to prevent Muslims from coming to America (unless, of course, they are Muslims from countries where he has financial interests).

grayscale photography of woman Photo by Lucxama Sylvain on Pexels.com

Then, he ignores the needs of Puerto Rico and kills 3000 American citizens with his ineptness and attempts to throw the business for rebuilding the infrastructure to a small inexperienced shell company.

Then, he cages kids and tears babies from their mothers because — after all — they are “illegals.” It is NOT illegal to come to the US border and ask for asylum! No-one IS an illegal. A person is a person. If you sped once and got a speeding ticket that doesn’t make you an “illegal” does it?

two girls doing school works Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com

The above are only…

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Snarky Is The New Normal

Try as I might, I cannot seem to keep the snarky at bay these days.  I wake in the morning to an overflow of ‘breaking news’ on my phone, and it’s downhill from there … every story either causes my jaw to drop or an expletive to issue forth before I can stop it.  It amazes me, as I sit here looking out the window, that the grass is still green, the birds are still flying about and stopping to help themselves to the bird seed on my patio, the flowers still bloom, children are out playing and laughing … everything appears to be ‘normal’, just as it was before, just as it has always been.  But it is not … nothing is ‘normal’ in these troubled times.  ‘Twould seem that snarky is my new ‘normal’, so …


Assault on the 1st Amendment …

During the protests that have resulted since the brutal murder of George Floyd in May, law enforcement officials have assaulted and arrested journalists who were reporting on the protests.  When Trump sent unwanted and unneeded federal forces into Portland, the violence only escalated, as did the attacks on members of the press.  This, as I see it, is a direct assault on the 1st Amendment right to a free press.  U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed with me in his ruling this week that …

“When wrongdoing is underway, officials have great incentive to blindfold the watchful eyes of the fourth estate. The free press is the guardian of the public’s interests and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.”

And with that, he issued a temporary restraining order not to arrest or assault journalists and legal observers for doing their jobs.  Trump & Co have said they will appeal the order.  This should concern us all, for if the press are stifled from reporting on such things as the brute force being used in Portland, Oregon, how do we know what is happening?  Or, as Attorney Matthew Borden, representing the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said …

“These are not accidents. These are not inadvertent shots. These are trained marksmen and these are the actions of a tyrant. They do not have a place in Portland, Oregon and they do not have a place under the First Amendment. If you do not have the press reporting on events first-hand, then you only have the version put forth by the government. And that’s what you have under a totalitarian state.”

If assaulting and arresting the press when they are doing their job, performing their duty to We the People, is allowed to become the ‘norm’, then we will no longer be a “free” nation, but as Mr. Borden said, a totalitarian state.  What will follow will not be pretty, my friends.


Like a bad penny …

You’ve heard the expression about a bad penny that keeps turning back up?  Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one such bad penny and yes, he’s back in the news and back on the campaign trail, this time running for Sheriff of Maricopa County once again.  The ‘man’ is 88 years old, for Pete’s Sake … shouldn’t he just crawl off into the sunset and die or something?

Arpaio-2In case you’ve forgotten, Sheriff Joe ran the most corrupt law enforcement department in the nation from 1993 until 2017 when he lost his re-election bid to a democrat, Paul Penzone.  Thing is, Sheriff Joe was convicted of criminal contempt of court in 2017, but soon thereafter was pardoned by his partner in crime, Donald Trump.  After losing his position as Sheriff, in 2018 he made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate.  He never got out of the starting gate on that one, came in with the lowest percentile in the primaries, and I thought surely that was the last we would hear from Sheriff Joe.  But no …

And Joe Arpaio has not learned a damn thing despite having been the target of numerous lawsuits charging abuse of prisoners, entrapment, racism and much more.  In his campaign announcement, he vowed to bring back things that the courts have either deemed illegal or his successor has done away with — immigration crackdowns, a complex of jail tents and other now-discarded trademarks.

“I’m telling you right now: I am going to do 90% of what I did during my 24 years. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

I don’t expect Arpaio to win … but let’s face it, we are living in strange times and if a television comedian can become president … need I say more?


Sinclair to do WHAT???

Most every city in the U.S. has a Sinclair Broadcasting channel, including my own.  Here in Cincinnati it is WKRC, channel 12 … a station that was once among the most reputable but has apparently slunk to sleaze.  This weekend, local television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group are set to air a conspiracy theory that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.

This sort of broadcasting is beneath even Fox ‘News’, let alone what was once a reputable media company!  This is something I would expect from Alex Jones or Breitbart.  The baseless conspiracy theory is set to air on stations across the country in a segment during the program “America This Week” hosted by Eric Bolling.

Bolling, by the way, is a former Fox ‘News’ host … no surprise there, eh?  I sincerely hope that Dr. Fauci files a libel suit against Sinclair, and perhaps Bolling personally.


Republicans wearing blinders?

It’s probably a good thing the Republican Party wasn’t in existence in the mid-1300s when the Bubonic Plague was around, else the entire human species might have died out then.  On second thought, perhaps that might not have been such a bad thing.  A recent PEW Research study shows that while 85% of democrats say the coronavirus pandemic is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population, only 46% of republicans see it as a major threat.  WTF???

good griefThere are, as of this writing, 4.3 million cases reported and very nearly 150,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, and the majority of republicans don’t think it’s a major threat???  We have more deaths than any other nation on the planet, and more than double the number of every other nation with the exception of Brazil, who have just over half as many deaths as the U.S.

Were the republicans brainwashed in the spring when Trump told them it wasn’t a big deal – 15 cases and they would soon be gone?  Or do they not see death as a threat to human survival?  What if we had a government run by non-republicans who take such things as a pandemic seriously?  Perhaps we would have had only 30,000 deaths and fewer than a million cases?  We will never know, will we?

The World Is ONE!

We don’t need a world leader; we need world team players.  We need nations to work together to solve some of the most pressing problems that affect all people in all nations, such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, world-wide poverty and food insecurity.  Instead, we cannot even achieve cohesion within a single nation.  Instead, half the population of the U.S. believe climate change is a hoax and refuse to do so much as turn their thermostat down and don a sweater.  Instead, we add more nuclear weapons rather than supporting the reduction of the global nuclear arsenal.  Instead, we pander to the already-wealthy and turn a blind eye toward the poor.  We continue to populate the earth, even knowing that the earth cannot support more people.

On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, no later than Friday.  Why?  According to a spokesperson for the State Department, “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”

“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs and other egregious behavior.”

Funny, isn’t it, that the ‘United States’ is perfectly willing to not only tolerate but encourage Russia to violate our sovereignty and intimidate our people.  Have you ever felt intimidated by anyone from China?  I haven’t, but I’ve damn sure felt violated by Vladimir Putin and his henchmen who interfered in our 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump, leaving us on a ship headed for an iceberg.

That same spokesperson intimated that China was in violation of the Vienna Convention, that they had somehow breached the requirement that diplomats must “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State” and “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.”

And yet … the U.S. State Department had no problems with Trump bullying the United Kingdom into banning Chinese tech company Huawei from the UK’s 5G telecoms network. No problem with Trump attempting to blackmail the president of the Ukraine into creating false data to bolster Trump’s own bid for re-election.  No problem at all demanding that other members of the G7 accept Russia back into the fold.

The demand for closure of the consulate appears to be in retaliation for two Chinese nationals accused of hacking into U.S. pharmaceutical companies doing coronavirus research.  Russia has also been accused of hacking into drug companies research in the UK, U.S., and Canada, but … no Russian facility has been ordered closed. No sanctions have been applied to Russia.  In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned by any in the government.  Double standard?  Oh yeah, definitely.  China didn’t help Trump in 2016 and isn’t helping him now, so they are not entitled to the ‘special privileges’ that Russia is.  Trump is Russia’s puppet, not China’s.

China vowed to retaliate, likely by forcing the U.S. to close either the embassy in Beijing or one of the five consulates it has in various cities in China.  This, my friends, is how tensions escalate and wars begin.

But let’s talk for a minute about countries hacking into the virus vaccine research.  Mind you, I am not in support of hacking at any level … ever.  However, I think we need to consider some extenuating circumstances here.  We have a pandemic that is killing people in every nation around the globe.  The pandemic is also killing businesses and economies around the globe.  This is not unique to the U.S. or the UK, though these two nations have done possibly the worst jobs of any in dealing with the virus.  Donald Trump has already made it abundantly clear that he is pushing drug companies in the U.S. to rush through a vaccine by election day, November 3rd, in order to give him a campaign advantage.  It doesn’t matter whether it remains effective in the long-term, nor whether there are devastating side effects down the road, just so long as he can tout that he was the reason there is a vaccine. Worse yet, he has declared his intent to buy any and all vaccines for the U.S. and keep other nations from having access to them.  So … other nations will do what they must to attempt to gain access to a vaccine in order to keep their people from dying.  It’s simple.

If you have no food in your house and no way to get any, but your neighbor has so much food that he must store his potatoes on his back porch, yet he refuses to give you so much as a single potato to feed your poor starving children, will you not be tempted to steal a few potatoes from him?  Greed and arrogance go hand in hand, and Trump has a triple dose of each.

People like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and others seem to have lost sight of the fact that the people in China, Russia, Mozambique and every other nation on the globe are … human beings.  There is nothing that makes citizens of the United States any better than the people of Afghanistan, Ghana, or India.  They are no more deserving of life than any person in any other nation.  If a vaccine is developed that is proven both effective and safe, the ‘recipe’ should be freely shared with every pharmaceutical company in the world so that enough can be manufactured to help every person on the globe.  This should not be about profit … but it is.

This should be about human life, about people.  It should not matter in what country or on what land mass those people live.  It should not matter the colour of their skin or what religion, if any, they follow.  It should not matter if they are rich or poor.  But it will.  It will because the leaders of some nations are arrogant and greedy.  It will matter because people who have more money than they could possibly need in a lifetime are more concerned with making even more profit than they are with the lives of people.

Imagine if the top 1% of all people on the economic scale gave … oh, say 5% of their net wealth to providing the vaccine, once developed and fully tested, to every man, woman and child on the planet?  The 1% would still be ultra-wealthy by any standards, and how many million lives would be saved?  Call it socialism if you wish, but in my book, it is simply humanitarianism.

I end as I began … we don’t need a specific nation to step up and become the “leader of the free world”, as the U.S. was once known.  We don’t need China or Russia or the U.S. to be the “leader” who dictates how the world should be run.  We need teamwork among nations, we need all of our leaders to put the greater good ahead of personal profit, ahead of their own desire for power.  We need people of conscience at the head of every nation, not the bungling Trumps, Johnsons and Bolsonaros we see today.  We simply cannot stay on this path we are on and still survive.

Tell me why (an underused question)

Our friend Keith has a question … well, quite a few of them actually, and they all begin with “Why?” These are not easy questions, not ones that any of us can answer, but they are the questions we should ALL be asking. Check out his questions and see if you can add a few of your own. Thanks Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The Beatles sang, “Tell me why…., you cry and why you lie to me.”Why? A question we do not ask enough, especially of those who need it asked again and again. I witness politicians, business leaders, experts and regular people like us say things as if they are fact, but the comments are merely opinion or conjecture. And, in the case of one person in particular, any comment is likely untrue.

So, here are a few why questions.

– Why does a person who claims things that run contrary to his narrative are a hoax, actually made money off hoax strategies? We have heard words like Climate change hoax, Russian hoax, Ukrainian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, etc. from this person, but he made a lot of money off selling his name to developers for projects he had nothing to do with. The name was supposed to bring in more customers…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 7/18

And to end the day with a bit of humour, I bring you TokyoSand’s excellent selection of political cartoons from last week! Thank you, TS!!!

Political⚡Charge

ByJack Ohman, The Sacramento Bee

Every week, I enjoy searching for editorial cartoons responding to the news and sharing them with you on Saturdays. This week, there are some recurring themes plus some new ones.

Let me know which ones resonate the most with you in the comments!

Rest in Power, John Lewis

ByAndy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal

Back to School?

ByBill Bramhall, New York Daily News

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByAndy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

COVID

ByMonte Wolverton

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByGraeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator

ByBill Bramhall, New York Daily News

ByKevin Siers, Charlotte Observer

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Goya

ByBill Bramhall, New York Daily News

ByLalo Alcaraz

ByRick McKee,

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183 Days …

183 days.  That’s how many more days Donald Trump has to complete his destruction of the United States.  183 days until January 20th, 2021, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration.  Can we withstand the onslaught that is increasing in cruelty and utter stupidity?  Can we retain a shred of our sanity for another 183 days?  The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind … the answer is blowing in the wind.

There is so much on which I could opine today, but I’ll keep it to a couple.


Relief for whom?

First … Trump insists that the coronavirus relief bill currently under construction in Congress must have two things, else he will veto it:  a payroll tax cut, and measures tying school funding to the reopening of classrooms.  A payroll tax cut???  Who will that help?  I’ll tell you who it will help … employers!  Large corporations will benefit the most.  You, the average worker, will benefit only slightly, and those who are currently unemployed will not benefit by so much as a single penny!  Additionally, the tax cut would be only a deferral, meaning that taxpayers will ultimately be held responsible for repaying whatever money they save this year.  Think about the unemployed worker who does not benefit but is employed when payback time comes and must repay what he never received!  And, at the end of the day, there’s that pesky little fact that the U.S. is so far in debt that there is no chance in hell of us pulling out of it in our lifetime, and this will further decrease revenue.

As for tying school funding to the reopening of physical classrooms … bullshit!  In essence, Trump is saying point blank that the children of this nation must become the sacrificial lambs in order to boost his re-election chances.  Period.  I sincerely hope that every school district in this nation remains closed for the safety and lives of our children.  Short of that, I hope that every parent gives Trump a middle finger and has the courage to refuse to send their children, that every teacher refuses to teach, and that every bus driver refuses to drive. Already in Florida, one teacher’s union is suing Governor DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for an order insisting that all schools must be open five days every week.  Florida is in the throes of one of the worst surges of the virus in the nation … in the world … yet the children will be sacrificed so DeSantis can bow to Trump’s demands.

Even the republicans in Congress are against both of these measures, yet I am told that they will likely include them in the bill, just to keep Trump from vetoing it.  There is, of course, another option … write the bill with We the People in mind, leave out Trump’s bloody ‘demands’, and pass it with a veto-proof 2/3 majority in both the House and the Senate.  C’mon, republicans … find your damn cojones and do what’s right for a change, instead of what Trump wants.  Just once, remember your oath of office!  You let us down on February 5th … don’t let us down again!


Resumption of b.s.

Remember those almost completely useless briefings Trump held on a daily basis for a time, ‘til he got bored with the coronavirus and fed up with his experts giving advice he didn’t like?  Surely you remember him saying he thought that injecting household disinfectant into the human body would cure the virus?  Well, I said all along they turned into naught but a campaign rally for him, for he spent much more time patting himself on the back and lying about what a great job he had done than anybody spent actually talking about the virus.  They were basically useless, a waste of time, and most of us were relieved when he stopped them.  Well, they’re coming back starting today.

Why?  Because his poll numbers are dropping … have dropped … Biden is leading him by a fairly healthy margin, and he can’t get out and hold the big rallies that have been his trademark.  Tulsa was proof that people actually care more about surviving than paying homage to Donald Trump, and some states are refusing to allow him to hold rallies at this time.  So, what better way to get his campaign message across than a daily briefing covered ad nauseam by every major news outlet?  He’s already said he doesn’t care about the virus, about the surge in cases … and deaths … that he believes the virus will just disappear on its own someday.  So it isn’t about that … it is only about Trump and his re-election campaign.  I wish there were some hope that the mainstream media would boycott his daily briefings, but they won’t … they are as intimidated by him as his staff are.  You and I may boycott them, but others, notably his fan base, will sit in front of their televisions drooling for the hour or two he spends rambling on about himself.  Bah humbug!

Rumour has it that his staff tried to dissuade him, likely realizing that every time he opens his mouth he digs his own grave a little bit more with the sane people in this nation, but his lead bimbo, Kellyanne Conway, said …

“I just think the people want to hear from the president of the United States.”

WRONG, Kellyanne … dead wrong.  We the People want to hear less from Donald Trump … in fact, if he never opened his mouth again, I’d be happy.


Well … I still haven’t talked about Trump’s threat to essentially declare martial law in cities across the nation … only the ones “run by liberal democrats”, as he tells it.  And I still haven’t covered the de-funding of the CDC and reduction of funding for testing, and the plan for Trump to replace Justice Ginsburg … while she’s still on the bench! But, it’s late and I’ve ranted enough for now, so those will wait until later.

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David Brooks pens an editorial – President Biden’s first day

Last week, I posted a column by Michael Gerson, a conservative and Republican, who pointed out the failures of Trump and posited that 2020 will NOT be a repeat of 2016. Today, our friend Keith posted a column by another conservative Republican writer, David Brooks, who paints a comforting picture of what a Biden presidency will look like and why both parties will benefit from such a presidency. Take a look for yourself … thank you, Keith!

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David Brooks has long been my favorite conservative pundit. I first became aware of him as he teamed with more liberal Mark Shields to do a recap of the week on the Friday show of PBS Newshour. They epitomized the PBS doctrine of civil discourse. I have read two of Brooks’ books – “The Social Animal” and “The Road to Character” – which are excellent reads, and have had the good fortune of hearing him speak.

Like other conservative pundits, George Will, Michael Gerson, Erick Erickson, et al, Brooks is deeply disappointed in the actions, verbiage and temperament of the current US president. So, when he penned the editorial, “President Biden’s first day,” I was intrigued and not surprised. Here are a few quotes that shape the article.

“The first thing you’ll notice is the quiet. If Joe Biden wins this thing, there will be no disgraceful tweets and no…

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