A Few Coronavirus Thoughts …

With some 156.2 million people in the U.S. partly or fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, there is much to be pleased about.  That is, after all, nearly half the population of the country.  But wait … it’s not quite time for cheering and bow-taking just yet, for there are still the other half that are not yet vaccinated.  A large number say it infringes on their “rights” and they do not plan on being vaccinated.  Others are still convinced by the conspiracy theories that the pandemic is a hoax, or that the vaccine is the government’s way of implanting a microchip in their body, though for what purpose is anybody’s guess.

The bottom line is that while at one point last month, 100,000 were being vaccinated every day, the number has slowed down significantly, and many states are requesting that the government send them less than originally requested.  I have a couple of points to make about the current status quo.

First, the State of Ohio, a state that is withholding the extra $300 per month in federal unemployment benefits passed by Congress and signed by the President as the American Rescue Plan, is now planning to use those funds to establish a lottery to bribe people to get vaccinated.  Yes, you heard me right.  Rather than use the money for the purpose for which it was intended – helping people buy groceries, pay bills, seek medical treatment – it will be spent to award five $1 million prizes to people who get the vaccine in five weekly drawings beginning on May 26th. Talk about a reverse Robin Hood — taking money away from those in need and giving it to those who will never again struggle to buy food, if they ever did. We have to PAY people to protect their own health???  What the hell is the matter with people???  Meanwhile, struggling families will still be facing unpaid rent and utility bills, and wondering how they will feed their children.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

This is not and never was the purpose of those funds!  Governor Mike DeWine, who I have long considered to be one of the saner, more moderate Republican governors, made the announcement in a speech last Wednesday and seemed quite pleased with himself.  I find it abhorrent that he’s playing a lottery game with people’s lives, and I strongly suspect his decision to redirect funds that were supposed to be used to help the unemployed survive, to providing a financial windfall for just five people is illegal.  Remember folks, this is federal money, so your tax dollars are in play here!  In addition, he has said that he would be lifting all health orders that were enacted during the pandemic on June 2, except for those affecting nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.  That includes the mask mandate, social distancing rules for bars and restaurants, and more.  Which brings me to my second point.

The CDC suddenly reversed course and said that it is no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask in public venues.  I think this is the height of stupidity for a number of reasons.  First, how can you tell who has been fully vaccinated at a glance.  You can’t.  Republicans have been running around sans mask whenever they could get by with it since day one, and we all know there are many who will simply shed the mask whether vaccinated or not.  Second, over just the past two days, there have been 65,000 new cases reported in the U.S.  Granted, that number is significantly smaller than it was a few months ago, but 65,000 is nothing to sneeze at, either.  I may not be as bright as the scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but when I hear we’re still averaging over 30,000 new cases each day, then I know the virus is not gone, is not ‘under control’.

So, what happens in the coming few weeks when every Tom, Dick and Harry sheds his mask and goes back to living a ‘normal’ life, frequenting bars, restaurants, amusement parks, sitting within inches of others, nobody wearing a mask?  Take a wild guess?  Yep, the number of cases will rise, the number of deaths will rise, and we’ll be halfway back to square one.

I have as much difficulty wearing a mask as anyone.  Last week, I wore one for 20 minutes and almost passed out for lack of oxygen.  But I will continue to mostly stay home, go only to the grocery store once a week with a mask on my nose and mouth, and a bottle of hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes in one hand.  If I can nearly die of suffocation from wearing a mask but do it anyway, then surely the rest of the fools in this country can wear one too.

I saw a comment on Twitter yesterday where a guy said “I will continue wearing a mask in public, because I don’t want to be mistaken for a Republican.  That would be so embarrassing.”  I have to agree with him.

Look, people, I think President Biden and his team have done one hell of a good job getting the vaccine where it is needed, encouraging the public, but the truth is we are not out of the woods yet.  Let common sense be your guide, please.  Remember that there are a number of new variants out there, and it has not yet been determined whether the current vaccines are fully effective on each of them.  Oh, and yes, I will be getting the vaccine soon, along with my granddaughter, and no, I will not enter that damn illegal lottery!  They can keep their blood money.

Government Of, By, And For The People … Going Once, Going Twice …

I have always believed that in order for democratic processes to work properly, we need two viable political parties.  It just makes sense … in theory, it leads to a meshing of ideas and results in compromise that is good for the nation, good for the people.  It also ensures that no one person or party will hijack the power of the federal government, turning it into an autocracy.  Today, those two parties are so polarized that they are destroying the nation and the people are paying the price.  I guess the keyword in my first sentence is ‘viable’.  I don’t believe the Republican Party of today is a viable party, certainly they are not representative of the people of the United States, nor do they any longer even pretend to represent us.  One case in point …

Just over a week ago, on March 11th, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus stimulus bill, but also much more to help people, small businesses, and cities recover from the pandemic that has thrown a wrench into our lives and prosperity for over a year now.  Not one single Republican in Congress voted for the bill, though a few are not above taking credit for it.  But now … Attorneys General around the nation are actually suing President Biden over the bill!  Thus far, 22 states’ Attorneys General have filed lawsuits, the latest being Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

According to The Washington Post …

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued the Biden administration Wednesday over its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, alleging the federal government sought to impose “unconstitutional” limits on states’ ability to access some of the aid.

The lawsuit from Yost, a Republican, follows a day after 21 other GOP attorneys general issued their own veiled legal threat in a move that ratcheted up tensions between states and Democratic policymakers in Washington over one of the largest rescue measures in U.S. history.

Republican attorneys general threaten key element of the $1.9 trillion stimulus

The Ohio lawsuit centers on a $350 billion fund meant to help cities, counties and states cover the costs of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus law opened the door for cash-strapped local governments to tap federal aid to pay for expenses, including for first responders, although it prohibited states from using the money to directly or indirectly offset new tax cuts.

This is akin to a child suing their own parents for trying to take care of them!  In essence, the argument is that in order to qualify for the federal funding, states cannot pass new tax cuts.  Well, folks, every tax cut that has passed anywhere in the last four years has benefited only the wealthy in our nation, the big corporations and their stockholders.  The tax cuts of 2017 did not benefit the average working class one damn bit, and they did absolutely nothing to help the poor.  As a result, this nation is now in debt to the tune of $28 trillion, which comes to about $223,893 per taxpayer!  Why? Because many corporations and most wealthy people pay relatively no taxes and others pay a lower percentage of their income than you or I do!

It seems unconscionable to me that when we finally, after 4 long, dry years under the former guy, have a president who cares about the people as well as the true economy, not just the damn stock market, the Republican Party is showing its true colours, fighting him at every single turn.  Another case in point …

Mitch McConnell has made threats to “blow up” the Senate if the Democrats attempt to alter the filibuster rule.  McConnell, in a floor speech, called out Senate Democrats who believe eliminating the rule would be a “tidy tradeoff” that would allow them to pass major legislative priorities free of the need for 10 Republican votes.

Nobody in the Senate, McConnell warned, can “imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” asserting that it would make the partisan gridlock that defined the last three presidencies look like “child’s play.” McConnell warned he could gum up the works in the minority by requiring at least 51 senators be physically present in order to proceed, which would grind the chamber to a halt given that Democrats have 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris wouldn’t count.

The minority leader also laid out a laundry list of policies his party would try to ram through if they retook the majority, including “sweeping” abortion restrictions, a “hardening” of the U.S.-Mexico border, nation-wide right to work, defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities and passing concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states.

In other words, Mr. McConnell would, without so much as a pang of conscience, ensure that not a single piece of meaningful legislation would pass in the Senate for at least the next 21 months, and that if his party wins a majority in the Senate as a result of the 2022 elections, he will pass legislation that would harm every person in this country.  Because to him and his cronies, it’s all a big game … see who can wield the most power.  The 330 million people in this country?  Oh, they’re fine … just as long as they keep paying their taxes, it’s all good.

So, we have the Republican Party suing the president and his administration and making threats against We the People.  If you ever had any doubts before, let me clarify that this is no longer Abraham Lincoln’s government “… of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  That concept has been dead for a while now, largely since we elected a Black man to lead the nation, not once but twice.  If you have any doubt that most of what the Republican’s are attempting has its basis in racism, put those doubts to bed.  Almost everything they support would take this nation back into the Jim Crow era.

I end where I began … this nation, in order to survive as a democratic republic, must have two viable parties, an exchange of ideas, and compromise.  Today, the Republican Party is not working for the people, and therefore is not a viable party.  If they do not clean up their house, come up with a platform that supports the people of this nation, then they must be replaced.  There is entirely too much at stake — voting rights, minimum wage, gun regulation, women’s rights, police reform, civil rights, climate change, immigration and more — to let Mitch and his band of not-so-merry men bring our government to a crashing halt.

Check out what Late Night Comedian Stephen Colbert has to say about McConnell’s threats and other newsworthy events

The Media Misses the Former Guy

Ted Cruz (of Cancun fame) referred to President Biden’s first 50 days as ‘boring’. Heck yeah, and I’m loving it! He’s getting things done, quietly and without the hoopla & controversy of the former guy. Just working and getting things done … things that are for the people. Whatever can he be thinking, eh? The former guy liked to hear himself talk, but accomplished exactly nothing positive for We the People. Biden is quiet, but is accomplishing much for us. Jeff has written about how the media is in withdrawal and seeking to stir things up! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The mainstream media’s bored. I can imagine what it must be like for them. No longer can they start their day’s news cycle by elevating an insulting tweet, an abundance of lies, or some other kind of moral outrage.

I get it. It’s the same for me these days. I wake up now, grab a cup of coffee and see what’s happening in the news. By my second cup, I’m still maintaining my sanity and my blood pressure. How nice it is to have an actual president of the United States after four years of chaos, incompetence, division, and gas-lighting to the millionth degree.

The American people deserve the break. Our collective mental anguish couldn’t take much more. The Former Guy ruled the media universe for nearly five years, and most of us had had enough. The media, however, must have felt like a jilted girlfriend or boyfriend.

What are…

View original post 1,020 more words