America Needs an Election Intervention

Jeff over at On the Fence Voters, like most of us, has been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming election. He shares some of those thoughts and a possible solution to the dreaded scenarios that have played through our heads, in his post tonight. Please take a minute to read his thoughts, and let him know what you think. Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Since the year 2000, we’ve had three presidential elections that we could easily question the final results. We know about the fiasco with George W. Bush against Al Gore and the hanging chads, not to mention the purging of African-American voters by his brother and then Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Oh, and of course, the Supreme Court weighing in by stopping the recount as well.

There was also the election of 2004 when John Kerry lost Ohio by roughly 118,000 votes. Still, there were questions at the time of voting irregularities and purges of Democratic voters by then Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. It didn’t matter in the long run because Kerry conceded the election and never demanded a recount.

And in 2016, with a little help from the Russians and voter suppression, the future worst president of the United States was elected. Here we are on the…

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♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

Concentrating on my ‘good people’ post this evening, I hadn’t even given a thought to my music post.  But, after finishing the ‘good people’, and turning to comments from yesterday’s posts, I came across one from friend John Howell that led me to this song.  I’ve posted it before, and will do so again, for it carries a message that we need to be reminded of over and over.  John provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

There Is NO Smoking Gun …

It seems there’s a new conspiracy theory making the rounds, and while I typically try to ignore them, this one seems to have a few of my own readers despairing over Joe Biden’s chances to beat the face of evil in November, so I felt I must address it.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach released edited fragments of recordings of phone conversations between Joe Biden and then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that took place in 2015.  In the calls, Biden can be heard saying that the United States will withhold $1 billion in promised aid until Ukraine replaces its then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. True enough, and Biden himself revealed that conversation during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in January 2018.  The rumour, however, is that the threat to withhold aid was somehow tied to Burisma Holdings, where Biden’s son Hunter was employed.  Not true.  In the calls, Burisma is never once even mentioned, nor is Hunter Biden.  The aid was being held contingent on the replacement of the Prosecutor General because at the time, both the U.S. and Western European governments were trying to push the Ukraine to combat malfeasance (including the firing of corrupt officials).  At the time Biden and Poroshenko spoke, Ukrainian activists were taking to the streets to accuse the prosecutor general of neglecting his duty to prosecute corrupt officials and business figures.  Once again, these conversations had nothing to do with Hunter Biden or Burisma.  Nothing.

Now, it should be noted that Andriy Derkach is the son of a Soviet-era KGB officer, is a graduate of the KGB academy in Moscow and has ties to the Russian intelligence services.  I would remind you that our own intelligence services have warned that they have evidence that Russia is meddling in our November election and has been since at least sometime last year.  Evidence.  Facts.  Is this yet another attempt on the part of Putin and his band of thugs to keep Trump, his puppet, in office?  I believe so, especially in light of the fact that Russian state-controlled media outlet RT has actively promoted the rumour.

The rumours of wrongdoing on the part of Hunter and/or Joe Biden have been thoroughly investigated and no evidence of any wrongdoing was found.  PUT IT TO BED, people!  There is no smoking gun.  The only conspiracy here is that of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump who, fully realizing that Trump stands little or no chance at winning the November election honestly, have set out to defraud the American people, to convince them that they are seeing shadows where there are none, and to steal the election from a man who might restore the democratic principles that have been shredded over the past three-and-a-half years.

Joe Biden may not be the most exciting candidate you’ve ever seen, but he is a solid candidate with no skeletons that I’m aware of in his closet.  He’s not a showman, like Trump is.  He doesn’t screech and yell, doesn’t demand denigrating chants from his audience, doesn’t threaten his naysayers, doesn’t contort his face to look like the phantom of the opera.  He is soft-spoken, yet intelligent and if you take the time to listen to him … really listen with an open mind … you will find he has good ideas, moderate ideas that may actually lead to compromise between Democrats and Republicans.  But, if voters sit on their fannies in November, saying that it doesn’t matter, then we’ll never know what Joe Biden might have accomplished for the people of this nation.

Now let me tell you what I think will happen if Trump is awarded another four-year term.  Some will say that if we can vote a Democratic majority into both the House and the Senate, he will be unable to continue on his present path of destruction, for just as the Republicans rendered Obama largely a lame duck for the last term of his presidency, the democrats would do the same for Trump.  But no, there’s a difference, a monumental difference … two of them, actually.  First, President Obama played (mostly) by the rules and though no doubt he was often highly frustrated at his ability to accomplish certain things, he respected the U.S. Constitution.  Donald Trump does not.  Second, during President Obama’s tenure in office, the Supreme Court leaned toward the left, especially after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  With the retirement of Justice Kennedy, and the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the court, as we have seen in recent months, now leans largely toward … Trump.

I think that, emboldened by being handed a second term, though I fully expect him to lose the popular vote again, he will override Congress and impose his will via such machinations as executive orders, declaring a state of emergency, and along with his cadre of lawyers, taking anything he cannot accomplish otherwise, to the Supreme Court.  I believe he will further shred the principles laid forth in the Constitution and that by the next scheduled election in 2024, we will live under a full-fledged autocracy.

We are on a fast track to becoming a banana republic, some would say we already are.  The foundations of democracy that have held up well for 233 years are crumbling under the weight of Trump and his band of thugs.  He has fired Inspectors General who were tasked with keeping the administration honest.  He has filled his cabinet with people whose only qualification for the job is their oath of fealty to Donald Trump, not We the People.  Who will take a stand against him for the next four years?  I believe that chaos would reign, but that at the end of the day, he would be nearer a king than a president.

I cannot stress just how important it is that we remove Trump from office.  Already he has done damage to this nation, to our alliances, and to our reputation, some of which will take many decades to repair, and some of which will forevermore be a dark cloud over this nation and its people.  Please, my friends, do not let the rumours spread by Republican groups and Russian trolls cause you to lose your faith in Joe Biden.  This is just what Trump and the Republican Party are hoping … that we will become discouraged and let our guard down.  Joe Biden will be a solid leader, he will abide by the U.S. Constitution, and he will make a start at restoring the principles set forth in 1787 by the likes of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and the rest of the Founding Fathers.

Happy World Bee Day!!! 🐝

Never fear, my friends, my good people post is only on delay for a short time, for this morning there is another special day that I have promised a special young man I would celebrate in fashion!  Good People will be published later this afternoon!

Bee-1While every critter, every plant has its place in the ecosystem on planet earth, there is perhaps none more important than the bee.  Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.  Pollination is, however, a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land.

bee-thumbs-upTo raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the United Nations designated May 20th as World Bee Day. The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.

bostjan-noc

Boštjan Noč

As it was told to me by dear friend Ellen, a Slovenian beekeeper by the name of Boštjan Noč was driving home one day, listening to a program about “World Days” and their meanings, and he wondered why bees did not have their own day.  After all, as important as they are, surely they deserved a day as much as any.  As President of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, Noč was in a position to rally the others and launch the World Bee Day Initiative.

cute-beeThe initiative was supported by the Slovenian Government, which strove to make it happen.  It took some time … three years, to be exact, but finally on November 17th 2017, the resolution was unanimously backed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, thus designating May 20th as World Bee Day. The initiative was supported by all UN states, while 115 countries also acted as co-sponsors, including major countries such as the USA, Canada, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and all EU Member States.

Why May 20th?  Because May 20th is the birth date of Anton Janša (1734–1773), a Slovenian beekeeper, the pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest authorities on the subject of bees. The Austrian Empress Maria Theresa appointed him to the post of permanent teacher of apiculture at the new School of Beekeeping in Vienna. He became well known even before his death in 1773. After 1775, all state beekeeping teachers had to teach the subject in accordance with his teachings and methods.anton-jansa

bee-1So, now that you know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind World Bee Day, what can we do to help the bees?  For one thing, we can plant bee-friendly flowers in our gardens, and … don’t mow down those dandelions and clover … bees love those, and frankly, I think they are just as beautiful as any hothouse-bred flowers!  Another is we can help force companies like Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and others to stop using bee-killing pesticides on their crops.  How?  First, stop buying their products.  I’m not a fan of buying organic produce, for it is over-priced and doesn’t keep as long, but … if that’s what it takes, then so bee it.  You’ll find some other ideas and suggestions on the World Bee Day website … be sure to check it out, for there is a wealth of information there, including lists of bee-friendly (honey) flowers and much more.

I don’t know about other countries, but in Slovenia some beekeepers decorate their bee hives with some fun artwork …bee-artwork

And speaking of coincidence, as I began writing this, I reached for my coffee cup and realized I was drinking out of one of my favourites …bee-cupI think the words of Mr. Noč speak as well as any I can offer ….

“I believe that we all agree that every human being on this planet deserves food every day. We have to produce more food every day, and every day more food is dependent on pollinators – with honey bees in the lead. Talking about reducing global hunger without ensuring the conditions for the survival of bees and other pollinators would simply be like throwing sand in people’s eyes!

It is time for everyone to listen to bees, in particular, leaders and decision-makers. From today on, 20 May will be a worldwide celebration of bees and beekeepers. I believe that – with the proclamation of World Bee Day – the world will begin to think more broadly about bees, in particular in the context of ensuring conditions for their survival, and thus for the survival of the human race.” – Boštjan Noč

And, I thought a cute bee video might bee just the thing to wrap up this post!

Happy World Bee Day!!!bee-day

 

Wearing a Mask in Public-Liberal Snowflake?

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders about our society, how we are responding to the current crisis, and how Trump is further stretching the Great Divide that led to his unconscionable election three+ years ago. I can especially relate to his last sentence … I no longer recognize the country I once respected. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

These days everything is up for grabs. In today’s hyper-sensitive political climate, it doesn’t seem to matter. One would think that if you’re told to wear a mask in public to protect you and the people around you from possibly contracting a dangerous virus, it would be a no brainer to wear the mask.

But these are not normal times if you didn’t know that already. We have an abnormal president with a group of followers whose main goal in life now is to “own the libs” at all costs–no matter the consequences.

And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the mask issue is only the beginning. What we’re seeing is the political strategy of the current president becoming more evident by the day. And if the Democrats aren’t up to the task to counter-punch, we may be in for a sad day on November 3, 2020.

As we all know…

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Trump Has A Plan — We Should Be Afraid!

Trump apparently has a ‘plan’, a four-step plan, to open the U.S. for business again. His intent has nothing to do with the well being of the people of this nation, but is a thinly-disguised attempt to restore the economy and thus his approval rating prior to the November 3rd election.  The esteemed Robert Reich tells us why his plan is an abomination, why it will be lethal to the people of this country …


Donald Trump’s four-step plan to reopen the US economy – and why it will be lethal

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The president and his allies are hiding the facts and pretending ‘freedom’ conquers all. As a result, more Americans will die

Donald Trump is getting nervous. Internal polls show him losing in November unless the economy comes roaring back.

But much of the economy remains closed because of the pandemic. The number of infections and deaths continue to climb.

So what is Trump’s re-election strategy? Reopen the economy anyway, despite the risks.

Step 1 – Remove income support, so people have no choice but to return to work.

Trump’s labor department has decided that furloughed employees “must accept” an employer’s offer to return to work and therefore forfeit unemployment benefits, regardless of Covid-19.

Trump’s ally, Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, says employees cannot refuse to return to work for fear of contracting the disease. “That’s a voluntary quit,” making someone ineligible for benefits.

GOP officials in Oklahoma are even threatening to withhold the $600 a week of extra unemployment benefits Congress has provided workers, if an employer wants to hire them. Safety is irrelevant.

“If the employer will contact us … we will cut off their benefits,” says Teresa Thomas Keller of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Forcing people to choose between getting Covid-19 or losing their livelihood is inhumane. It is also nonsensical. Public health still depends on as many workers as possible staying home. That’s a big reason why Congress provided the extra benefits.

Step 2 – Hide the facts.

No one knows how many Americans are infected because the Trump administration continues to drag its heels on testing. To date only 6.5m tests have been completed in a population of more than 200 million adults.

Florida, one of the first states to reopen, has stopped releasing medical examiners’ statistics on the number of Covid-19 victims because the figures are higher than the state’s official count.

But it’s impossible to fight the virus without adequate data. Dr Anthony Fauci, the administration’s leading infectious disease expert, warns that reopening poses “a really significant risk” without more testing.

Not surprisingly, the White House has blocked Fauci from testifying before the House.

Step 3 – Pretend it’s about “freedom”.

Weeks ago, Trump called on citizens to “LIBERATE” states like Michigan, whose Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, imposed strict stay-at-home rules.

Michigan has the third-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in America, although it is 10th in population. When on Thursday Whitmer extended the rules to 28 May, gun-toting protesters rushed the state house chanting: “Lock her up!”

Rather than condemn their behavior, Trump suggested Whitmer “make a deal” with them.

“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire,” he tweeted. “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!”

Meanwhile, the attorney general, William Barr, has directed the justice department to take legal action against any state or local authorities imposing lockdown measures that “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens”.

Making this about “freedom” is absurd. Freedom is meaningless for people who have no choice but to accept a job that risks their health.

Step 4 – Shield businesses against lawsuits for spreading the infection.

Trump is pushing to give businesses that reopen a “liability shield” against legal action by workers or customers who get infected by the virus.

This week, he announced he would use the Defense Production Act to force meat-processing plants to remain open, despite high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths among meatpackers.

“We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump said.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, insists that proposed legislation giving state and local governments funding they desperately need must include legal immunity for corporations that cause workers or consumers to become infected.

“We have a red line on liability,” McConnell said. “It won’t pass the Senate without it.”

But how can the economy safely reopen if companies don’t have an incentive to keep people safe? Promises to provide protective gear and other safeguards are worthless absent the threat of damages if workers or customers become infected.

The truth – The biggest obstacle to reopening the economy is the pandemic itself.

Any rush to reopen without adequate testing and tracing – far more than now under way – will cause a resurgence of the disease and another and longer economic crisis.

Maybe Trump is betting that any resurgence will occur after the election, when the economy appears to be on the road to recovery.

The first responsibility of a president is to keep the public safe. But Donald Trump couldn’t care less. He was slow to respond to the threat, then he lied about it, then made it hard for states – especially those with Democratic governors – to get the equipment they need.

Now he’s trying to force the economy to reopen in order to boost his electoral chances this November, and he’s selling out Americans’ health to seal the deal. This is beyond contemptible.

Text dividers

Isn’t it a damn shame that the person charged with seeing to the well-being of the nation actually poses the gravest danger to the people of that nation?  Think about it.

Did You Get Money You Don’t Need From the Feds? Here Are Some Ideas of Where to Donate It.

Blogging friend Brendan from my old stomping ground of New York City, has written a post with some ideas for those who have received stimulus checks from our bankrupt government that they do not need. Please, people, if you don’t need your $1,200, give it to someone who does! Thank you, Brendan … great work! 👍👍

Blind Injustice

Those of you who have been following the weekly updates on how I’m doing, and how my city (New York City) is doing with the coronavirus, will know that I am in a pretty stable situation professionally. As a result, I didn’t need the federal government to give me $1,200…yet I was given it anyway since many of us are receiving somewhere between $1,200 and $4,700.

If you are a person struggling to make ends meet, you need not feel guilty about using the money to help yourself financially. In fact, you’re the kind of person who was envisioned as benefiting the most from receiving the money.

However, if you are like me in that you don’t need the money, I strongly recommend that you give away the money in ways that help those less fortunate (because there are so many people less fortunate than you, in that case). However…

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WHY???

hungry41 million people in the United States alone do not have enough food to eat.  That’s more than 12% of the population in a nation that sells itself as a “great” country, and where some people have billions of dollars sitting in offshore accounts and investment portfolios that are doing nothing for anyone.  Worldwide, although enough food is produced to feed the world’s population, some 820 million people go hungry each day.  That’s 1 in 9, or approximately 11% of the people in the world.

Think about those numbers for just a minute … and now consider this from an article in the New York Times

In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge ditches to bury 1 million pounds of onions. And in South Florida, a region that supplies much of the Eastern half of the United States with produce, tractors are crisscrossing bean and cabbage fields, plowing perfectly ripe vegetables back into the soil.

After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation’s largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell.

The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. And even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses.

The amount of waste is staggering. The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.

WTF???  I urge you to go read the rest of the New York Times article for yourself.

Mothers cannot get enough milk to feed their children … while farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of the life-sustaining stuff every day???  And the United States bills itself as the ‘richest nation on earth’?  I think not … perhaps the greediest, likely the stupidest, but obviously whatever wealth is in this country is not available to keep people from starving.

To be fair, some farmers have been donating some of their surplus to food banks and Meals on Wheels programs, which have been overwhelmed with demand. But there is only so much perishable food that charities with limited numbers of refrigerators and volunteers can absorb.  So … why isn’t the federal government helping to coordinate the efforts to move the food to where it is needed?  Why can’t they do something decent just for a change?  Why, for that matter, aren’t trucking companies volunteering their labour and resources to help move that food to the people who are starving???

And where are those damned evangelical churches who rake in millions of dollars … what are they doing?  Not a damn thing … Joel Osteen (net worth $60 million), Franklin Graham (net worth $12 million), Robert Jeffress (net worth $18 million) and Rick Warren (net worth $28 million) could make a huge difference if they coughed up some of their ill-gotten gains to help move the food.

This, to me, is the single most unconscionable abomination of recent times!  And those wealthy philanthropists like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates … yes, I know they have contributed to other causes in this, the era of the pandemic, but why the hell can’t they dig a little deeper into those pockets, rent some trucks, find ways to transport the produce and dairy products from the farms to the cities where people are literally starving to death?  Why is it that the only people who seem to care about this are those of us without the resources to do more than make small donations or volunteer a few hours of time, while those with the resources either don’t know or don’t care?

This global pandemic has already taken nearly a quarter-million lives worldwide, more than 54,000 in the U.S. alone.  But you know what, folks?  At the end of the day, we’re going to find that number is actually higher because of people around the globe who couldn’t get much-needed food, while farmers were plowing it back into the ground, planting new crops in hopes they will be able to supply … not people who need it … but hotels and restaurants and the people who can afford to patronize them.  I am very nearly at the point of declaring that I will never again eat in any restaurant, but unless I can get a substantial number of people to join me in that protest, it would be meaningless.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it is ours.  Turns out that on average, Americans eat more veggies when meals are prepared for them in restaurants than when they cook at home.  I am the opposite, for I cook fresh veggies every night, but … what a lazy society we have become!  And now, the price is being paid by those who can’t even afford a gallon of milk, let alone a restaurant meal.  Tonight in what is touted as one of the richest countries on earth, some children will go to bed hungry and not wake up tomorrow, while farmers will wake to destroy more food, and the wealthy will wake to Eggs Benedict and steak.  Think about that one.

Search for the Hero.

Yesterday our friend David wrote a short post about staying connected to people, even in this era of fear and isolation. He reminds us to not lose our humanity, and that hugs are still important, whether from a distance of 6 feet or 4,000 miles. Thank you, David, for reminding us that we are not, cannot be, insular beings.

The BUTHIDARS

Like many others these days I guess you’re bored with your very limited view of the world through just a TV screen. I wonder if you’ve given any thought to taking a walk. It probably feels foolish just walking round your garden. Maybe you can take a longer walk if you have somewhere you’re unlikely to meet another person or where you have at least the 6 feet clearance between them and you.

Probably you’re quite an observant person. In the houses round about you there’s probably some indication of whether there’s a single occupant or a family. If you know there’s a single person maybe you could knock on a window and back away. This could easily be a person who hasn’t spoken to another human for days or even weeks. Maybe it’s a person in need of a chat or maybe even foodstuffs that you could get for…

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Two Political Fools …

A crisis of major proportions brings out the best in some people, but it also brings out massive doses of idiocy and foolishness on the part of politicians.  Today there are two such foolish idiots on my radar …


Priorities?

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is back on my radar again.  You may remember a post I did in August 2018 titled Fools Rush In because at that time, he was running for the office of governor in the State of Georgia.  At the very least, you may remember these pictures …

He won the election and is now Governor Kemp.  He’s no less a fool today than he was in August 2018.  Kemp has a plan for re-opening businesses in his state.  Not all businesses, mind you, but as soon as this Friday, the day after tomorrow, he plans to allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen.  Think on that one a minute … tattoo parlors???  Hair salons???  Is this seriously where the priorities lie?  Not libraries, but gyms?  Is this what the people of Georgia think is important, or does Mr. Kemp have friends that own such businesses and who have asked him to do them a little favour?

I hope those businesses are shown by the people how very non-essential they are, but it may be the case that some people have got ‘cabin fever’ so bad that they’ll be willing to go have their hair & nails done, get a new tat, and then go for a nice game of bowling with a few friends.  And it may also be the case that Governor Kemp will be on the chopping block when cases of coronavirus skyrocket in his state because he screwed up.

Kemp said that businesses would still be operating under restrictions including monitoring employee health, enhancing sanitation, and separating workers.  But what about the customers, Kemp???  Every customer who walks through the door will be up close and personal with the employees and other customers, and every one might just be carrying the germ.  You can’t tell a tattoo customer to stay six feet away from the tattoo artist, unless the artist has very long arms.  And the woman who’s cutting your hair?  Again, she’d have to have 6-foot-long arms.  Why are these particular businesses considered a priority?  There’s a reason, and the people of Georgia should be asking that question.

Stacey Abrams, who only narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018, and likely would have won in a fair and honest election, was appalled by Kemp’s announcement …

“By trying to push a false opening of the economy, we risk putting more lives in danger.  There is nothing about it that makes sense.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms disagrees with Kemp’s decision, but cannot do much about it, however she said she will be urging the people of Atlanta to continue to stay at home.  How many will listen?  It remains to be seen, but my guess is most will not.  I sure would like to be either a psychiatrist or a lawyer when all this is over.


And south of the equator …

trump-bolsonaro

Trump & Bolsonaro — two peas in a pod

I have long said that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump must have some shared DNA, for they are both power-hungry, corrupt, greedy bastards.  And, just as Trump is rallying his base to protest against the continued shut-down of most businesses, prodding them to demand businesses be allowed to re-open far too soon, Bolsonaro is doing much the same. 

Last Sunday, as the number of cases and the death toll were on the rise in Brazil, Bolsonaro himself took to the streets to egg on the protestors who were demanding a return to … wait for it … a military dictatorship!

Among the demands their banners listed were an end to the social distancing measures opposed by Bolsonaro, the closure of Brazil’s congress and supreme court, and a re-run of a dictatorship-era decree used by military rulers in the late 1960s to suffocate their political opponents.

After mingling with the masses, Bolsonaro climbed into the bed of a truck and gave a little speech, while coughing numerous times … apparently done for effect …

“The era of roguery is over. Now it’s the people who are in power.  Everyone in Brazil must understand that they must yield to the will of the Brazilian people.”

bolsonaro-1bolsonaro-2Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso tweeted …

“Deplorable for the president to join anti-democratic protests. It’s time to unite around the constitution against all threats to democracy.”

Another former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said …

“The same constitution that allows a president to be democratically elected also contains devices to stop them leading the country to the destruction of democracy and a genocide of the population.”

Eduardo Paes, Rio de Janeiro’s former mayor said …

“There have always been morons going around ranting against democracy … Generally they’re minorities whose tickles you don’t even feel. But it’s something quite different when it’s the president – a democratically elected one – joining this kind of movement. There’s no way to remain quiet and not repudiate this.”

Like Trump, Bolsonaro has attempted to downplay the pandemic, calling it media hysteria.  Last week Bolsonaro fired his popular health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who had clashed with him for undermining health ministry recommendations designed to protect Brazilian lives.  Sound familiar?  If someone doesn’t agree with you, fire ‘em.  And these are world ‘leaders’??????????


Often I refer to a quote by the cartoon character of yore, Pogo, and this seems an appropriate time to repeat it …

pogo