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.

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.

Snarky … Yes Again … Snippets

After a day off from snarking, I find the snark buildup is bubbling, threatening to overflow.  And so … here we go again …

Remember yesterday when I told you about Representative Louie Gohmert who had contracted the coronavirus and tried to claim he got it from wearing a mask?  Well, I knew Gohmert had been on my radar before, and right after I wrote that, another instance of his apparent insanity hit my inbox.

Last week, Gohmert introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that calls on the U.S. House to bar all Democrats from the chamber because of the party’s historical ties to slavery and racism unless the party is renamed.  Say WHAT???

Said Gohmert in a Breitbart (go figure) article …

“Efforts by Democrats to destroy all public traces of their own history of supporting slavery, the Confederacy, and segregation in an attempt to shift blame onto Republicans must no longer go unchallenged. It is time for Democrats to play by their own rules, and accept the standards they have forced onto everyone else. They must divest themselves of their name that has denied so many the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, we all know that this ‘resolution’ is going nowhere and is naught but Mr. Gohmert’s childish attempt to counter the removal of the confederate statues that he apparently loved from the Capitol building.  But for PETE’S SAKE, people of Texas!!!  Keep this arsehole in Texas!  Please, do NOT send him back to Washington, or I might just go bash his head in myself!

Congress cannot seem to come up with a single meaningful piece of legislation (thank you, Mitch McConnell), they are allowing critical safeguards for people in dire need to lapse at midnight tonight because they are too damn divided by partisanship and driven by egos to uphold their oaths of office, yet we have representatives … people whose salary WE THE PEOPLE are paying, playing these childish games, wasting both time and money … OUR money!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to oversee missions involving anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.  It was created in November 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and began operations the following year.  And yet, yesterday The Washington Post reported that DHS has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon.  Please take a moment to let that one sink in, my friends.  Journalists are NOT the nation’s enemy, but rather the free press is the one thing that stands between us and a dictatorship!

The DHS intelligence reports, which are unclassified, are traditionally used for sharing the department’s analysis with federal law enforcement agencies, state and local officials and some foreign governments. They are not intended to disseminate information about American citizens who have no connection to terrorists or other violent actors and who are engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment, such as a free press!  Said John Sandweg, who previously served as the department’s acting general counsel …

“This has no operational value whatsoever.  This will just damage the intelligence office’s reputation.”

The two journalists were New York Times reporter Mike Baker and Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor in chief of Lawfare.  Baker co-wrote an article on July 28 that revealed an internal DHS memo indicating that the camouflaged federal agents sent to put down the unrest in Portland didn’t understand the nature of the protests they were facing.  Wittes posted, among other information, a DHS memo admonishing department personnel not to give information to reporters.

Once again, my friends, we are being treated as the enemy … our constitutional rights are being trampled!  The Department of Homeland Security is there to keep us safe, but instead they are endangering our very lives by attempting to harm our free press.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump showed us what he is made of.  With, as of this writing, more than 155,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump held a press briefing, the main purpose of which seemed to be to whine that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx had higher approval ratings than he does.

“And yet, they’re highly thought of — but nobody likes me.”

Has it occurred to him that … he has cost this nation so much in terms of our democratic foundation, our human rights, our health, and our very lives that he is not at all ‘likeable’?  Apparently not.  Has it occurred to him that the presidency is not a popularity contest, but a serious responsibility — one that he has failed in over and over again?  Has it occurred to him that his constant criticism of all who disagree with him, his constant bragging about things he has no claim to brag about, and his continual shirking of his responsibility makes him an abomination rather than a ‘man’ worthy of respect?

Please take a moment … well, a few moments, actually, to watch Chris Cuomo explain to “Mr. President” [sic] why the people of this nation trust Drs. Fauci & Birx more than they trust Donald Trump … he makes his case well.

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?

Dreaming of a Real President

Jeff has a dream … a bit different than mine, but the end result is close. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Breaking News…..

Ladies and Gentleman, from the Oval Office, the current president of the United States:

“My fellow Americans, It’s been a tough five months for our country. Tonight, I’m coming to you with a heavy heart and a heavy mind. After weeks of study and deep soul searching, I’ve concluded that my administration’s response to the Covid pandemic has been inadequate. Presently, we’re losing the battle, with cases now approaching seventy-five thousand a day with deaths and hospitalizations on the rise exponentially. At the current rate, we will break the one hundred thousand mark in less than a few weeks. I’ve been told that we may even reach one million cases by the fall without drastic changes, with nearly a million deaths.

For that reason, I’m announcing the following changes that, according to my top health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, will immediately begin to turn the page for our…

View original post 638 more words

Trump vs Dr. Fauci — Round #1

fauciDr. Anthony Stephen Fauci is a well-respected member of the medical community who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.  As a physician with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for over 50 years, and has been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan.  He has made contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiencies, both as a scientist and as the head of the NIAID at the NIH, and from 1983 to 2002 was one of the world’s most-cited scientists in scientific journals.

Here is a list of Dr. Fauci’s awards and honours through the years:

  • 1979: Arthur S. Flemming Award
  • 1993: Honorary Doctor of Science, Bates College
  • 1995: Ernst Jung Prize (shared with Samuel A. Wells, Jr.)
  • 1995: Honorary Doctor of Science, Duke University
  • 1996: Honorary Doctor of Science, Colgate University
  • 1999: Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • 2002: Albany Medical Center Prize
  • 2003: American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award
  • 2005: National Medal of Science
  • 2005: American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2007: Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award
  • 2007: George M. Kober Medal, Association of American Physicians
  • 2008: Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • 2013: UCSF medal
  • 2013: Robert Koch Gold Medal
  • 2013: Prince Mahidol Award
  • 2015: Honorary Degree, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2016: John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award
  • 2018: Honorary Doctor of Science, Commencement Speaker, American University
  • 2018: Honorary Doctor of Science, Boston University

Dr. Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the National Academy of Medicine; the American Philosophical Society; and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters; as well as other numerous professional societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation; the Infectious Diseases Society of America,; and the American Association of Immunologists. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals; as an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine; and as author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,000 scientific publications, including several textbooks.

In contrast …

Donald Trump is, according to his former lawyers, biographers, and nearly anyone who has ever had business dealings with him, a racist, liar, conman, and cheat, to name just a few.  He has received no notable awards or honours, has written no books (those that carry his name were ghostwritten). His father bought his degree in Business from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He has been involved in more than 5,000 lawsuits and has been accused of sexual misconduct more than twenty times.

Which one of these two are you going to entrust with your life?

Dr. Fauci has a long record of telling the truth, while it has been documented that Donald Trump has told the people of this nation more than 20,000 lies since January 2017.

From the very beginning of this pandemic, Dr. Fauci has issued warnings that Donald Trump did not, on behalf of the nation, heed.  Today, we are paying the price for Trump’s perfidy.  And yet …

Donald Trump and his cadre of White House clowns have publicly sought to undermine Fauci in at least five separate instances over the past four days, even as the coronavirus surges across the US, with the death toll now above 140,000 and 3.6 million cases.  Rather than address the problem, they have decided to go into attack mode against one man:  Dr. Fauci.  They published what they refer to as an “opposition research paper”, listing a number of instances — on community transmission, asymptomatic transmission and mask wearing in particular — where Dr. Fauci’s views have shifted over time.

Given the unique nature of the coronavirus, there is no perfect information available even today, but certainly in the early days, perfect information was not available and the health experts, including Dr. Fauci, used their best judgement based on their knowledge and the data available.  As more data and research has become available, it is natural that their views will shift.  But Trump & Co have decided to use this as a weapon to discredit the man who is probably the most knowledgeable of any in the nation, to discredit Dr. Fauci.

The question is:  why???  Because it gives Trump a scapegoat for his own horrific failure in containing and controlling the virus.  If there was a misstep to be made in this entire pandemic, Trump has made it.  He has put our lives and the lives of our children at risk and continues to do so even today with his ‘demands’ that schools re-open and that we send our children into the lion’s den.  Trump has lost followers even within his own party as a result of his bungling response to the pandemic.  So, he needs somebody to blame, somebody to publicly shame.

Even the two-faced Lindsey Graham, typically a Trump sycophant, had this to say …

“Has he been right all the time? No. We don’t have a Dr Fauci problem, we need to be focusing on doing things that get us where we need to go. So, I have all the respect in the world for Dr Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly.”

For Graham, that is a strong statement of support for Dr. Fauci.  And Dr. Fauci is stronger than many may have thought.  Although he doesn’t get down and wallow in the mud with Trump & Co, he makes himself heard in an interview with The Atlantic in which he responded to Trump’s criticisms …

“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that. I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.  I stand by everything I said. Contextually, at the time I said it, it was absolutely true … [The White House document] is totally wrong. It’s nonsense. It’s completely wrong. The whole thing is wrong. The whole thing is incorrect. I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it.”

Now I pose the question again.  Which of these two, Donald Trump or Dr. Fauci, do you trust with your life and the lives of your loved ones?


A Dangerous ‘Promise’

Donald Trump makes lots and lots of ‘promises’ that he cannot keep about things over which he has little or no control.  He promised to “drain the swamp”, but brought in bigger, nastier alligators than we had ever seen before.  He promised to “build a wall” and that “Mexico will pay for it”.  Well, there are bits and pieces of a wall along the southern border, already proven easily scalable, and YOU paid for what’s been built so far, while Mexico sat back and laughed.  He promised to “make America great again”, but has only increased the divisiveness that already existed, driven off our allies, cozied up to dictators, caused the further destruction of the environment, botched the response to the coronavirus, increased racial tensions, and … well, you get the idea.  Thus far he has bungled every promise he made in one way or another, and frankly most of his promises were not things that would enhance our lives anyway.  His latest promise, though, has medical experts concerned.

In May, in one of his “Rose Garden press conferences”, he promised that a vaccine for the coronavirus would be ready by the end of the year.  This, despite the fact that nearly all the medical experts are saying that it’s a pipe dream.  The fear now, though, is that Trump will force rushed testing in order to push through his ‘promise’, which could be disastrous.  We could end up with a vaccine that doesn’t work, or one with devastating side effects.  Obviously, since Trump has made it perfectly clear that our lives do not matter to him, he won’t care, just so long as he looks like a hero to his base and wins the election on November 3rd.

Two professors at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Dr. Paul A. Offit wrote an OpEd in the New York Times on June 8th, where they imagined this scenario:

Oct. 23, 2020, 9 a.m., with 10 days before the election, Fox New releases a poll showing President Trump trailing Joe Biden by eight percentage points.

Oct. 23, 2020, 3 p.m., at a hastily convened news conference, President Trump announces that the Food and Drug Administration has just issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a coronavirus vaccine. Mr. Trump declares victory over Covid-19, demands that all businesses reopen immediately and predicts a rapid economic recovery.

Far-fetched?  Hardly.  Given Trump’s self-dealing and his lack of both intellect and empathy, I can certainly envision that happening.  And perhaps millions of people rushing to take the vaccine, without any guarantee of its effectiveness.  And, in a few years or less, I can picture a rash of new cancer cases or people suddenly losing their hair or having debilitating muscle spasms or brain tumours, all because the vaccine wasn’t well-tested.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Astra Zeneca are planning to move forward with human (guinea pig) testing in July and August, as is the National Institute of Health (NIH).  They plan to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers (guinea pigs) on whom they will test the vaccine, but results will take many more months before the vaccine can be marketed to the public.  And where will these volunteers (guinea pigs) come from?  Would you volunteer?  I sure as hell wouldn’t.  According to Dr. Fauci, it will likely take months to line up the volunteers (guinea pigs), and then medical experts say it will be between 8-12 months before the efficiency of the vaccine can be determined.  The effectiveness trial for the rotavirus vaccines took about four years and the human papillomavirus vaccine studies to prevent cervical cancer took seven years.

Would Trump be able to force a drug company and the NIH to claim a vaccine was effective before they were comfortable doing so?  Well, remember last month when top vaccine official Rick Bright was demoted because he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency” and raised health concerns over a drug repeatedly pushed by President Trump as a possible cure for coronavirus.  Today, the FDA revoked the use of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, for emergency treatment of coronavirus patients, saying that “it is no longer reasonable to believe” that the drug has any effect on the coronavirus, but it is known to have serious side effects in some patients.

And remember how he has been purging the administration of those whose jobs was to provide oversight?  And remember how he’s planning a big rally in Tulsa on Saturday and telling people not to wear masks?  So yeah, Trump would try anything.  After all, come late October all he needs is a short-term fix … an October Surprise … just enough to boost his polls through November 3rd.  After the election, any vaccine can be recalled, scrapped, or people can start dying and he won’t care.  He only cares about one thing:  winning.  For himself, not for you or I.


Patience, Grasshopper …

There are those … a great many, from the so-called ‘president’ down through the ranks … who advocate for opening everything back up right now.  My own friend Scott (sklawlor) has very strong views that to keep businesses shuttered is draconian and is hurting people.  Yes, it is hurting people, hurting small businesses, but the alternative may well be 1,000 times worse.  So, I’d like to paint a scenario of what I think will happen in those areas that choose to re-open now.

First of all, if every business opened tomorrow, most would find themselves without adequate staffing.  Some people will be afraid to return to work, as the U.S. is still seeing more than 1,000 deaths per day.  Others will not be able to return to work, for they will have no childcare with daycare centers and schools closed.  Still others will not be able to return to work for they, themselves, are ill.

So, here’s Mr. Bob with a dine-in restaurant to open, but only about half his staff, if that, have returned to work.  Plus, Mr. Bob is trying his best to order beef, pork and chicken, not to mention fresh vegetables, and finding it’s hit and miss.  He can get half his order of ground beef the middle of next week, but no guarantee on the chicken breasts.  Also … he is mandated to change the seating arrangement in his restaurant so that he has only about half the tables he usually has, and NO bar seating.  Oh, and did I mention that he must also have printed disposable paper menus?  The printer will put his order in, but as there’s a backlog and the printer is understaffed for the same reasons Mr. Bob is, it may take a couple of weeks.

So, a couple of weeks pass and finally Mr. Bob has his ducks lined up, he’s ready for his Grand Re-Opening.  He has advertised on the ‘net, sent out flyers, and bought a small spot on a local radio program.  He opens his doors … and there are about 30 people in total.  The first group, a party of five, aren’t wearing masks, which Mr. Bob has been told they must do (though for the life of me, I don’t know how one eats with a bloomin’ mask!).  The party of five leave to go elsewhere, and Mr. Bob gives the red carpet treatment to the remaining 25.

The day progresses, people trickle in, but there is no surge of people who have just been chomping at the bit to dine at Mr. Bob’s.  At no time throughout the day or evening are all the tables filled, and at the end of the day, the receipts did not even cover the direct costs, let alone the overhead.

Why, you ask, did Mr. Bob, who’s restaurant is normally very popular, get so little business?  A number of reasons.  Very credible health experts who have dedicated their lives to the study of virology, have warned that there WILL be a resurgence, and most of us, after listening to the experts and thinking, realize it’s true, so we are in NO hurry to venture out on unnecessary business.  Second, during the two months of isolation, we have learned a few things.  We have learned that we really don’t need to go out for dinner every week, or shopping every weekend.  AND … when we did our end-of-month financial accounting, we realized that we had saved hundreds of dollars by staying home the past two months!  With times as uncertain as they are … we think for a few minutes and decide that for now, anyway, perhaps it would be best to continue staying home, keeping safe, and saving money, for who knows what tomorrow brings?

Time passes and the regulars start trickling back in to Mr. Bob’s restaurant, but not in any great numbers.  Worse yet, three of the servers on Mr. Bob’s staff have called in sick this week … he knows he should have his entire staff tested for coronavirus, but how?  At what cost?  By the end of the week, two other employees have tested positive for coronavirus and others are calling in saying that they simply cannot risk picking it up and bringing it home to their families.  The national daily death toll is now around 2,000 per day, and the total U.S. deaths have passed 120,000.

Saturday, Mr. Bob’s best day … he is down to two servers, one cook, and no hostess, so he will be wearing many hats.  By 10:00 p.m., when things are usually just starting to hop, Mr. Bob has one lone customer drowning his sorrows and a couple making google eyes over their steaks & salads.  Once they leave, Mr. Bob decides to hang it up and places the ‘Closed’ sign on the door for the last time.  He will call his attorney and ask him to file the bankruptcy papers tomorrow morning.

This, my friends, is NOT partisan bullshit, as Scott would likely say it is.  This is the scenario as I, an accountant for nearly 40 years and a thinker, a person with the ability to reason for far more years, think it will play out for small businesses across the nation.  I didn’t just come up with this scenario last night but have been playing the various possibilities in my head for weeks now.  In the above scenario, who gained anything?  Not the staff, some of whom were sickened, all of whom are now permanently out of their job.  Not the customers, some of whom no doubt picked up the virus at Mr. Bob’s and spent money that they may well need for food and rent in the coming months.  And not Mr. Bob, whose entire life just went up in smoke.

And there’s another aspect … earlier today I read that Trump is calling for schools to reopen so that parents can return to their jobs.  I was stunned that our children mean so little.  Would you be willing to send your children back to school right now?  I don’t have school-age kids, but if I did, I would be homeschooling for at least the rest of this year and maybe next year, as well.  No, we aren’t sending our children into the lion’s den just so businesses like Mr. Bob’s restaurant can re-open for a while.  NO!

In the words of Kwai Chang Caine played by David Carradine, “Patience, Grasshopper”.

Saturday’s Snarky Snippets

nightmareThe weekend is here and one of my readers told me I should ‘relax’.  Relax???  What the heck is that?  I’ve got laundry to do, need to get out and get some Mother’s Day cards, and just because it’s a weekend, the news cycle doesn’t stop … there is still much out there to stir my ire and make me snarky (or perhaps snarky is just my natural personality?).  So, here are a couple of snippets for you to ponder upon …

Last year, various committees of the House of Representatives sought witness testimony from people in the know about Trump’s gross negligence and abuse of power.  They asked people to please come and testify, under oath.  Few did.  They issued subpoenas.  Few were honoured.  Why?  Because Donald Trump ordered them not to testify.  A few found their cojones and testified anyway, but very few.  First, this was an abuse of power, but since he has surrounded himself with ‘yes-men’, he got by with it.  But more to the point, if you have nothing to hide, then why on earth would you stop people from testifying honestly and clearing your name?  Thus, the only conclusion was that Donald Trump was a corrupt, likely criminal person who holds the highest office in the land, despite having lost the election by nearly 3 million votes.

fauciWhy, you ask, am I re-hashing old territory?  Because it’s happening again.  The House Appropriations Committee, looking into the government’s bungled response to the coronavirus, requested testimony by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  Dr. Fauci has been a prominent figure, until recently, at Trump’s daily ‘press briefings’ and has been the only one willing to correct Trump’s erroneous statements, the only one willing to tell the public the truth.  But … Trump will not allow Dr. Fauci to testify.  The committee is looking into the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the chaos that followed Trump’s obfuscation and lies, the resulting excessive deaths that might not have happened, if the leader of the nation had used halfway good judgment.  For Trump to forbid Dr. Fauci from testifying is yet another example of obstruction of justice and abuse of power, but … that is the norm for this administration.  Are we really willing to, as Mick Mulvaney suggested we should, just “get over it”?  I’m not.

fauci-2From what I’ve seen, Dr. Fauci seems to be a straight shooter who isn’t afraid to tell the truth, who isn’t afraid to correct or contradict Trump.  I would like to think that he will do the right thing and voluntarily testify, despite Trump’s orders.  Will he?  Does he have cojones, or is he just another coward like Don McGahn, Wilbur Ross, and others whose loyalties lie directly to Donald Trump, and not the people of this nation?

White House press secretaries … ho-hum

In past administrations, there have been some very reputable people in the position of White House Press Secretary.  Not so in the Trump administration.  It began with Sean Spicer who was the first in the administration, on inauguration day, to utter an ‘alternative fact’, to be defined as such the next day by the ignominious Kellyanne Conway.  Sean said the crowds for Trump’s inauguration were the biggest ever, or bigger than Obama’s in 2009, or some such nonsense which was so far from the truth as to be laughable.

Then came the hateful Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who defended the indefensible for nearly two years.  If Trump said “Jump!”, she asked, “How high, sir?”  Presumably it took a toll on her and she left in July of 2019.

Next up was Melania’s personal servant, Stephanie Grisham who held the title and received the pay for nine months, but never held the first press briefing, and in fact turned her nose up at reporters and screeched at them like a banshee.  She really doesn’t even count, except that We the People paid her out of our own hard-earned tax dollars.

mcenanyAnd now, we have a new one … rather an idiot, if you ask me.  Her name is Kayleigh McEnany and she held her first press briefing yesterday.  Now, she started out by promising that there would be more press briefings than there have been for the past year.  Um … there have been none for the past 13 months, so she already beat that average.  She also made another ‘promise’ …

“I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.”


And then she proceeded to tell a lie, that the Mueller investigation had amounted to “the complete and total exoneration of  … Trump.”  And then she told another lie, referring to “salacious, awful and verifiably false allegations that were made against Justice Kavanaugh.”  And another that “not a single American has died for lack of a ventilator.”  After a few more lies and misquotes, she ended with …

“Everyone should watch the Fox News town hall with the president from 7 to 9 p.m. [on Sunday]. It will be can’t-miss television, much like the highly rated President Trump coronavirus task force briefings have been.”

I would rather take a bath in a puddle of pig manure than waste two hours of my life watching that crap!  And “highly rated … briefings”?????  They have been the brunt of jokes and criticisms, for they have not been briefings, but campaign rallies, ego trips for the Oaf in the Oval Office!  Ms. McEnany fits right in with the concept of Trump staff … no concept of the difference between fact and fiction, and a blind loyalty to a ‘man’ who deserves none.  My prediction is that she will be even more obnoxious and disgusting than Sarah Huckabee Sanders was, and that’s a pretty tough act to beat.

Well, folks, it’s Saturday, so I will stop at only two snippets today and leave you with a ‘toon.  Have a happy weekend!toon

Very Snarky Snippets

For starters, yes the stock market gained some 7% yesterday … ho hum.  Don’t get too excited, for it’s going back down … maybe today, maybe tomorrow, but there is no foundation for the gain and it is inevitable that it will plunge again.  As I said … ho hum.

Despite the fact that Trump claims to know more about everything under the sun than all the experts, he actually knows very little about anything.  So, early on when Trump visited the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), he claimed that all the scientists and medicos there were astounded that he knew so much about it all.  Funny, though, that we never actually heard any of those experts say they were astounded … no doubt they were astounded when they met him up close and personal to find that the ‘man’ who filled the seat of the highest office in the land was such an egotistical moron.

But now, he has taken his ‘genius’ to a dangerous level.  You may remember that I have referred to him as a snake oil salesman more than a few times.  Well, he is truly selling snake oil now, and lives are in danger, for he has no idea what he’s doing.  He is telling people to take some drug called “hydroxychloroquine” (please do not ask me to pronounce that!) that used to be a treatment for malaria.  He has no idea what it does, only that some country bumpkin doctor wrote to him and told him it would work, and now he is telling the public, on national television, to take this drug.

If you or I did that, we would be sued.  Doctors and people who really do know something are cautioning against it.  One man has already died as a result of taking the drug.  Trump says, with cameras rolling, “What have you got to lose?”  Um … perhaps our lives?  Apparently on Saturday, Trump and the real expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, got into a rather heated “discussion” about Trump touting a drug for which there is no evidence it will work against the current pandemic.  Trump sycophant Peter Navarro said, in response, that “Doctors disagree about things all the time.”  Um … yeah, maybe, but only one of the two in question is a doctor.  Donald Trump isn’t even a human, let alone a bloody doctor!

In Trump’s ego-trip that some are calling a press conference on Sunday, a reporter asked Dr. Fauci for his thoughts about the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug in treating coronavirus patients, and Trump interrupted before the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases could answer. “He’s answered that question 15 times,” said Trump, which was an outright lie, but what’s new, right?

So, in essence, We the People are not to be allowed to hear the truth from the experts, but will be fed the passel of lies that Trump in his warped mind has made up.  A word to the wise, do not bother to watch his pressers and for Pete’s Sake do not take his medical advice!  He is not a doctor, but a circus clown!  But wait …

A pastor in Fairland, Oklahoma, Curt Landry, told his congregation to listen to Trump’s advice over that of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, because Trump has “God’s authority.”  SAY WHAT??? 

curt-landry“I am not a scientist, I am not a doctor, and I do respect [Fauci’s] knowledge, I respect where he comes from, and I respect him in his position that God has put him in. But in the order of spiritual alignment, Donald J. Trump is the Cyrus above him … As believers, we need to agree—I believe that God puts kings and leaders in their place, I believe God has put Donald Trump in his place as a Cyrus—and we need to agree with what he’s saying.”

Fool!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

You’ve all heard of the concept of ‘separation of church and state’, right?  Well, for three years now, Trump has been trying to erase that line of separation, largely to appease his evangelical base who want the laws of this nation to align with their own narrow-minded religious beliefs in such areas as women’s rights and the rights of the LGBT community.  But now … guess what?  Part of that $2.2 trillion bill that was passed last week to help people suffering financially because of the coronavirus pandemic is going to be used to … wait for it … help churches pay the salaries of their pastors!

Yep, folks, even if you don’t attend a church, are not religious, are a non-believer, your tax dollars will be used to help support specific churches!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  One more corner of the U.S. Constitution burned to a crisp.

This country, the U.S., is not the country I grew up in.  It is not the country that gave us such great men as Martin Luther King, John and Bobby Kennedy, and so many others.  I no longer recognize nor respect this country.  It is no longer the country where we were told that ‘all men are created equal’.  This is no longer the country that adheres to the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty …

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This is a country filled with bitterness and hate, with racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, and most any other ‘phobia’ you can think of.  It is no longer a nation that I recognize, or that I can respect.  It is a nation burning itself from within.