We’re Better Than This … Or Are We?

More and more these days I am disgusted by the behaviour of some of my fellow humans in this country.  Okay, so we have fools in our government who believe it is okay to denigrate people, to tell lies and issue meaningless threats, but do we really need to emulate them?  I realize there have always been people for whom violence, or the threat of violence, was a way of life, an answer to all their problems, but today I’m seeing more and more of it.  How many times have we read in the past 7 months about someone threatening a store employee for merely doing his or her job, enforcing a store policy to wear a mask while inside the store?  So many that I’ve lost count.

Just last week, a man in Pennsylvania shot a clerk at a cigar store for being told he must wear a mask inside the store.  Then when police went to the man’s home to arrest him, he pulled an AK-47 automatic rifle and fired at police.  The man’s attorney, attempting to justify his actions, said he was “just not handling the pandemic well.”  And this is just one of many such incidents.  Is this, then, to become our new ‘norm’?  Come on, people … surely we’re better than this???


Kill the messenger?

The cruelty of humans never ceases to amaze me.  Dr. Anthony Fauci … you all know the name by now … is probably the most reliable source for information about the coronavirus pandemic.  He is, as I recently noted in another post, highly qualified and a top expert in the field of such things as infectious diseases and pandemics.  Those who respect science and the opinions of experts, listen to him.  Others listen to Donald Trump and his minions who have repeatedly and consistently denied that the pandemic is a big problem … nothing to see here folks, it’s all going away soon … and turned their backs on the recommendations of the experts, much to our detriment.  Okay, fine, but …

fauci“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just amazing. I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are purely public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the word of science, that they actually threaten you. That to me is just strange… I wish we did not have to go through that.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci

Yes, my friends, people are actually threatening not only Fauci, but his family as well … threatening to kill them!  WHY???  Apparently because they don’t like his recommendations and/or predictions.  He recommends wearing masks, recommends certain areas of the country need to remain shut down, recommends schools stay closed, and predicts that the virus isn’t going to magically disappear as Trump claims it will.  So … if you don’t like what someone says, the answer is to threaten to kill them?  This is a sad, sad statement about the values, or lack thereof, of some people in this nation.  No, I don’t believe the majority, or even a significant number of people would do such a thing, but the fact that there are some people who would is appalling.


He didn’t like masks, so …

A Florida man, James Copenhaver, was dining at Ricky T’s Bar and Grille in Treasure Island, Florida, when he spotted a young boy wearing a mask, sitting at a nearby table.  Copenhaver himself was not wearing a mask, and apparently took umbrage at the young boy wearing one.  He walked over to the boy and told him to remove his mask.  He then asked the child to shake his hand, and the boy refused.  What he did next is yet another example of the cruelty of which humans are capable.  He grabbed the boy’s arm, leaned in close to his face and spat in the boy’s face, saying, “You now have the coronavirus.”

He wasn’t, however, content with that, but walked over to the nearest restaurant employee and attempted twice to punch the man … for what reason remains a mystery, other than that Mr. Copenhaver had apparently had a few too many drinks.

CopenhaverThe employee Mr. Copenhaver tried to punch managed to get Mr. Copenhaver outside, wrestle him to the ground and hold him until the police arrived, at which time he was arrested on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct.

Who does this to a child???  Frankly, if somebody did what he did to my child, he would likely be lying in a hospital bed or a morgue right now.  Again, no I don’t think this is representative behaviour for the vast majority of people in this country, but … I do see it happening more and more frequently and I find it highly disturbing.


I repeat what I said in the beginning … this is no way to solve the many problems facing the people in this nation.  I really want to believe that we are better than this, but it gets harder by the day.

A Bit Of Un-Masked History

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


The Mask Slackers of 1918

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

christine-hauserBy Christine Hauser

Aug. 3, 2020

Updated 12:29 p.m. ET

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

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

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

1918: The infection spreads.

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

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

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

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

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

A ‘pig-like extension of the snout’

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

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

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

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

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

Mask court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Four weeks of muzzled misery’

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

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

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

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

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

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

1919: A new year

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

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

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

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

They had masks on, but not covering their faces.

The Anti-Mask League.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was sentenced to five days in jail.

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

Who You Gonna Trust?

If you call a plumber to repair a leaky pipe, and he diagnoses the problem, hands you an estimate for a new piece of pipe and attachments plus his labour, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you don’t need a new pipe, only a piece of duct tape.  If you have pain in your side, you go to the doctor, and he tells you that you have appendicitis and need an operation, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you only need an antacid.  When things go wrong, we rely on experts to diagnose and fix the problem.  Experts have specialized education, training and skills that we lack, so we trust them to take care of the problems that occur, whether with our homes, our cars, or our bodies.

Within the administration of our federal government, we have experts in all fields from the environment to housing to public health and more.  Two of those public health experts are Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.  Let me tell you just a little bit about them …

fauciDr. Fauci graduated first in his class from Cornell University Medical College with a Doctor of Medicine in 1966. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now known as New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine. In 1968, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 1974, he became Head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI, and in 1980 was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. In 1984, he became director of NIAID, a position he still holds as of 2020. In that role he is responsible for an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses. He has turned down several offers to lead his agency’s parent, the NIH, and has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.

He played a significant role in the early 2000s in creating the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and in driving development of biodefense drugs and vaccines following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dr. Fauci has been a visiting professor at many medical centers and has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Dr. Birx received a BS in chemistry from Houghton College in 1976, completing her undergraduate studies in just two years. In 1980, Birx earned an MD from the Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University.  From 1980 to 1994, Birx served as an active duty reserve officer in the United States Army. From 1994 to 2008, Birx was active duty regular Army, achieving the rank of Colonel.

birxFrom 1980 to 1989, Birx worked as a physician at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1981, Birx completed a one-year internship and did a two-year residency in internal medicine. From 1983 to 1986, she completed two fellowships in clinical immunology in the areas of allergies and diagnostics, where she worked in Anthony Fauci’s lab. From 1985 to 1989, Birx was the assistant chief of the Walter Reed Allergy/Immunology Service. Birx started her career as a clinician in immunology, eventually focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research.  From 1986 to 1989, Birx worked at the National Institutes of Health as an investigator specializing in cellular immunology.  From 2005 to 2014, Birx served as the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), part of the agency’s Center for Global Health.

In January 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Birx to be the Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.

I think there can be no doubt that Drs. Fauci and Birx are experts in the field of immunology, infectious diseases, and public health.  In the past week, Donald Trump has dissed both of these experts and their opinions.

Last week, Dr. Fauci testified before a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic.  On Saturday, Trump tweeted …

“Wrong!  We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases.”

This is akin to saying that if I just don’t go down to the basement where that pipe is leaking, it won’t be leaking.

And then came Dr. Birx’ turn.  On Sunday Birx said the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and that the deadly virus is more widespread than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year.  She also did not rule out the possibility that the nation’s coronavirus death toll could double by the end of the year to 300,000 and that most schools should offer only online learning this year.  Trump fired back on Monday …

“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”

And then …

“With the exception of New York & a few other locations, we’ve done MUCH better than most other Countries in dealing with the China Virus. Many of these countries are now having a major second wave. The Fake News is working overtime to make the USA (& me) look as bad as possible!  Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!”

Nancy Pelosi had criticized Dr. Birx last week, saying she had lost confidence in her for she was helping Trump spread disinformation about the progress … or lack thereof … being made in the U.S. in combatting the virus.  Historically, Dr. Birx has tended to paint a rosier picture than Dr. Fauci, less inclined to risk disagreeing with Trump, but she now seems to agree that the virus is spinning out of control here.

In contrast to Trump, Joe Biden took to Twitter in response to Trump’s tweet attacking Birx:

“It’s hard to believe this has to be said, but if I’m elected president, I’ll spend my Monday mornings working with our nation’s top experts to control this virus — not insulting them on Twitter.”

Now, I began with a brief overview of the credentials of both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.  Donald Trump has now denigrated both of these highly respected experts.  Take a look at the credentials of Donald Trump in the field of medicine and public health …

blank-pageYep, that’s it, folks … he has none.  Who you gonna believe, two highly qualified experts who have dedicated their lives to the study of medicine, or a television clown who has dedicated his life to screwing people?  To date, the U.S. has 4,862,174 reported cases, or 26% of the world’s 18,443,484 total.  We also have, as of this writing, 158,929 reported deaths, or 23% of the world’s 697,189 total.  And, most experts agree that the U.S. data is under-reported by at least 30%.  So no, my friends, we are not “doing very well”.  Donald Trump is wrong and the experts are right.  What a surprise, eh?  I strongly advise we believe the experts … our very lives depend on it.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/1

As usual these days, the cartoonists have been kept on their toes. Our friend TokyoSand has been busy scouting out the best of the bunch for us. Thank you, TS, for our weekly dose of humour!

Political⚡Charge

ByNick Anderson

Did this seem like a long week to you? It sure did to me. Looking at all of the many topics editorial cartoonists covered this week, I think I better understand why. As always, I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite cartoons from the week. If you have a favorite, do let me know by commenting!

Election 2020

ByJack Ohman, The Sacramento Bee

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByEd Hall

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump’s Goons

By Marian Kamensky

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

By Mark Fiore, KQED News

ByGraeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

ByClay Jones

ByMike Luckovich

View original post 125 more words

A View From The ‘Other Side’

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was planning to sneak into republican territory to try to gain a better understanding of their ideology … and why they still support Trump after all the death and destruction he has wrought.  So far, I’ve been a bit slow in doing that, for I find I have a low tolerance for much of what I find on the Republican’s turf.  Today, however, an opinion piece by conservative writer Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Post columnist, raised my hackles sufficiently that I had to address it.  I won’t replay the entire piece, but you can find it over at The Washington Post if you feel so inclined.  What I will do is address a few of his more ludicrous statements.

The title of Mr. Hewitt’s piece was telling in itself: The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one.”

I knew right then it was likely to make me growl, and I wasn’t disappointed.  A few snippets from his column, with my responses in blue

“With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.”  Change the word “buttressed” to “battered”.  I’m glad to see he assigns blame for this mess to McConnell, as well.  No wonder ol’ Mitchie has an ever-expanding ego!

“Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world.”  Trump’s tax cuts mostly went to the wealthy, and the unemployment was already low before Trump took office.  He does not get credit for that.  But more to the point … to blame China for “criminal recklessness” is the most ridiculous thing.  China did not, contrary to the conspiracy theorists, manufacture the virus intentionally in a lab!  The only ‘criminal recklessness’ that has led to more than 156,000 deaths in the U.S. was Trump’s horrific mishandling from day #1!  And that ‘massive deregulation’ has contributed to the further destruction of our air, water, and wildlife on planet Earth.

“Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.”  Oh goodie … while people are homeless, going to bed hungry, and cannot afford health care, even more of our tax dollars are going to support an already over-bloated military so that we can start a war with China!  I sure feel better, don’t you?  The U.S. already has the largest military on the globe, and now we have a warmonger in the White House … what could possibly go wrong?

“Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.”  One commenter to Hewitt’s piece said she’d like to have some of what he’s been smoking … I agree.  The environment is in real trouble and the Paris Accords were the last best hope for getting all nations to work together to try to preserve life on the planet, yet Mr. Hewitt is applauding Trump’s decisions that have made the extinction of most living species almost a certainty?  Are you growling yet?  And as for the coal industry in Pennsylvania … coal is on its way out, and nothing … nothing Trump can do is going to change that.  Retraining the miners in another industry, such as renewable energy, would have been much kinder.

“Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with [sic] be 300 miles by September.”  Of the 200 miles, only 3 miles is new, and the other 197 miles replaced existing border barriers.  The funds to build this ‘wall’ have been hijacked from budgets earmarked for other, more important things.  And the cost thus far has been over $15 billion.  Further … the experts have shown that such a structure will not stop illegal immigration.  More of our tax dollars wasted while children go to bed hungry at night!

“Trump has also stripped off the veneer of objectivity from the “fake news.” “Blue Bubble” journalists are the last to know the contempt in which they are held beyond the Acela corridor and outside Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They mistake their small audience share for success.”  Seriously?  ‘Small audience’???  The New York Times had, as of the 4th quarter last year, 3.43 million paid subscribers, and The Washington Post is estimated to have more than 2 million. 

I read around 30 comments responding to Mr. Hewitt, and of those, only one was favourable to Mr. Hewitt, the rest calling his words ‘a spoof’, ‘laughable’, and more.  The one positive comment simply said, “What a wonderful man.”  Not a single comment that I saw supported Hewitt’s premises, and several pointed out a few of Trump’s worst blunders, including his handling of the pandemic that has led to so much unnecessary loss of life.

I went into this in hopes of gaining understanding, but with such views as Mr. Hewitt’s, I am left to wonder how right and left can move closer to understanding each other and finding common ground.  How do we unite two sides that are so very far apart in their views and ideologies?  Is it a lost cause, and are we doomed to be a nation so divided forever?  If so, we will not remain a single nation for long, for the chasm in which we live today is untenable.  The United States of America is not by any stretch of the imagination ‘united’ today.

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!

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.

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?

What Could Happen …???

The race is on and with just over 100 days until election day, most of us know who we will be voting for.  Most every legitimate poll shows Biden leading Trump by somewhere between 8 to 15 points, and that’s comforting for those of us who genuinely believe that the nation cannot tolerate another term with Trump holding the reins.  But we cannot become complacent, for to do so would be a serious mistake.  Trump still has about a 40% following … people largely with a single agenda who will not abandon Trump no matter what he does.  His goal, and that of the Republican Party as a whole, right now is to increase that following, or short of that, to dilute the vote of the majority.  A lot can happen in 100 days!  The Washington Post published an article by a few of the pundits, opinion writers from both sides of the aisle, who have given their views on what, exactly, Trump could do in the next 100+ days to change the tide and actually win the election.  I thought they were worth sharing … some are worth some thought.  Take a look …


Here’s what could happen to put Trump in the lead

Post-PunditOpinion by The Ranking Committee

July 24, 2020 at 9:41 a.m. EDT

Rankings wrangler Drew Goins here for Round 67, which finds President Trump behind in a trailing-by-13-points-in-Florida sort of way. But it is yet July, which leaves time for not only an October surprise but an August and September one, too. Trump might be praying all those aliens pay a visit and reverse his fortunes, but short of that, here’s what the members of the Ranking Committee think could turn the race around for Mr. President.

— Drew Goins


Better pandemic management

He starts wearing a mask regularly and takes covid-19 seriously. Unless he does that well, he doesn’t have the credibility with swing voters to make any Biden gaffe matter.

— Henry Olsen


Pandemic credit-stealing

Trump would gain a huge amount of ground if he (a) set low expectations for his performance during the pandemic and (b) skated by on the achievements of health officials. Trump isn’t about to start handling the coronavirus competently or effectively, but voters often don’t judge presidents on pure managerial ability. They ask themselves, “Are things getting better or getting worse?” and if things are getting better, they tend to give the president credit. So Trump needs to set as low of a bar as possible and cross his fingers that people who work for him — scientists, public health officials, et al. — do their job well and unintentionally push him over the top.

— David Byler


Non-distancing Democrats

The race will close as they always do, but the momentum behind President Trump’s comeback will be significantly fueled by what Democrats and, by extension, Joe Biden don’t do: condemn violence in the streets of Portland, Ore., and elsewhere and repudiate utterly and without equivocation “defunding the police” or “redirecting funding for the police,” which are effectively the same thing in the ears of a majority of voters. As the Democratic Party collapses into apology for the protesters in Portland, Trump will regain ground lost to voters professing “Trump fatigue.” Better that than fear for personal safety.

— Hugh Hewitt


Large-scale retaliation from leftists

It seems obvious Trump is sending federal law enforcement into cities to confront protesters not just because the TV imagery it creates tickles his authoritarian fancies but also as deliberate incitement, to stoke violent civil conflict. But why? One possibility: to provoke a dramatic, large-scale retaliation from a self-described leftist. That might shift the suburbs against the protests and in Trump’s direction. Is that overheated? Perhaps. But ask yourself: Why is Trump actively trying to push the nation to the brink of civil war? Do you have a better explanation?

— Greg Sargent


A Supreme Court vacancy

A spot opening up on the Supreme Court could remind reluctant conservatives of the same deal they made with the devil in 2016 — and help them ignore even the most devilish deeds Trump has carried out in office. This could win back some of the suburban voters the president has lost over his tenure, and maybe energize others who otherwise would have sat this mid-pandemic election out.

— Molly Roberts


A time machine

Trump is so far behind and so personally discredited, I find it impossible to think of something he might realistically do to rehabilitate himself. Even if we developed an effective vaccine (very difficult given the timeline), it almost certainly would not be distributed in time. As for Biden, I do not believe a single gaffe out there could sink him. What I think would pose a real problem is massive voter suppression. Literally preventing people from voting or their votes from being counted is the greatest threat to Biden, and to our democracy. Aside from that, Trump would need a time machine — to go several months back, acknowledge the pandemic and put in place a mammoth federal response. While there, he could react to the killing of George Floyd like a normal, empathetic human and even champion a list of agreed-upon police reforms.

— Jennifer Rubin


Nothing

I genuinely don’t have a plausible scenario. At this point, I don’t think there’s any way Trump can become competitive with Biden in the polls. And I think the only way Trump could even conceivably eke out a win on Election Day would be through voter suppression on an improbably (perhaps impossibly) massive scale.

— Eugene Robinson


So Trump saying, “If elected, I will immediately resign and hand power to my new vice president, Mitt Romney,” doesn’t count? I mean, beyond that, we’re into “Joe Biden is identified as the perpetrator in a gruesome double homicide.” I’m struggling to think of anything else that will save Trump.

— Megan McArdle


My own personal favourite it Eugene Robinson’s, naturally.  However, the others all make valid points and we need to keep our eyes on the ball, my friends.

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.