Filosofa’s Frustrations …

Several things crossed my radar this morning that I find relevant … I’m defining relevant as rant-inducing here.


A brief update about the pandemic

Two days ago, Thursday November 12th, the U.S. set yet another record, with 161,541 new cases and 1,190 deaths in a 24-hour period.  Yesterday, Friday November 13th, we broke even that record with 183,527 new cases and 1,395 deaths.  To all those fools who still believe Trump when he says it’s going away … I’ve got a lovely bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you really cheap.


Hazards of the job?

When a person applies to become a Secret Service agent, they obviously accept that they will sometimes be in danger, might even be in the literal line of fire, as Special Agent Tim McCarthy was when he stepped in front of President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt of March 30, 1981, and took a bullet to the chest.  What they do not expect, however, is that they will recklessly be exposed to a potentially lethal disease.

It was reported yesterday morning that more than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers.  This amounts to roughly 10% of the agency’s core security team, and the infections are believed to have stemmed from the series of campaign rallies that Trump held in the weeks prior to the election.

Now consider that not only are the agents themselves affected, but most have families – spouses and children – who are now also at risk. Donald Trump owes every single one of these agents and their families an apology, yet he has not so much as mentioned the pandemic for days now.  I guess he still thinks it just … went away.  Way to go, Donnie – kill the very people who risk their lives every day to protect your sorry life.


And justice for all???

Justice Samuel Alito has been on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court since January 31, 2006 when he replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  Alito is a textualist, meaning he takes the words of the Constitution literally, not allowing for the events that have changed the times over the past two centuries.  He is also a conservative thinker, but until yesterday, I did not realize the extent to which he refuses to consider any opinion that does not fall in line with his own.

Alito delivered an unusually inflammatory public speech Thursday night to the Federalist Society where he said that liberals pose a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech.  Say WHAT???  What has this man been smoking?

His premise was, in a nutshell, that liberal support for LGBT rights such as the right to marry as confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges in 2015, was a direct assault on religious freedom, for some religions insist that marriage be defined as being between a man and a woman.  Okay, welcome back to the 19th century, Mr. Alito.


The never-ending election

Yesterday evening, the results for the last two states were announced:  North Carolina for Trump, and Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden.  This brings the total electoral votes for Biden to 306 over Trump’s 232 … a comfortable margin.  Biden also leads in the popular vote … by more than 5.2 million.  And yet … Trump and his cronies such as Mike Pompeo and Kayleigh McEnany continue to claim that it will be Trump who is inaugurated on January 20th.

I said a few days ago that we should, and I would to whatever extent possible, ignore his rhetoric … pay no attention to what he says, but focus on actions.  Trouble is that his continual tweets and threats are doing significant damage to the people of this nation … perhaps irreparable harm.  A PEW Research survey shows that 70% of republicans believe the election was not fair.  All of us are on pins and needles, and the U.S. is a tinderbox waiting for just the right spark to set it off.  I am surprised that there has been no major violence in the streets, but how long can that last, with the tension and vitriol that abound?

A top committee made up of officials from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its election partners refuted Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in a statement Thursday, calling the election “the most secure in American history.”  And still he throws his tantrum, saying the election was ‘stolen’ from him.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Every other president since George Washington has had more respect for We the People than Donald Trump has.  My proposal, if I had the ear of people like Mike Pence, is that he needs to be removed NOW, not in 67 days.  It could be done using the 25th Amendment, and frankly if Pence or Trump’s ignoble cabinet members had a conscience, it would have already been done.  Instead, they will drag the uncertainty and planned chaos out all the way up until noon on January 20th, by which time I and many like me will already be dead from either stress-related illness or from jumping off a tall building.


toon-1

A Most Dangerous Game

Blogging friend Brosephus has put into words what, I think, the majority of us are thinking right now. Thank you, Brosephus.

The Mind of Brosephus

The election is over, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are president-elect and vice president-elwct respectively. Even after the dust around the recounts and lawsuits settle, those two will still retain those titles. America has spoken, and it is done.

Nonetheless, Republicans are playing a very dangerous game or should I say games. Let me explain. I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but this needs to be said.

There was no voter fraud in 2020 enough to affect the outcome of the election. Unlike 2016, there was more attention being paid to security efforts, and that attention appears to have paid off.

Yet, we have Trump and his syncopants going on Fox News with alleged evidence of fraud. Fortunately for America, Fox News is not a court of law. When these allegations are made in court, they have been shown the door all across the country.

So, we…

View original post 725 more words

One Good Reason …

Well, folks, we have set records three days in the past week.  On Friday, October 23rd, we exceeded 85,500 new cases of the coronavirus.  Then on Thursday, October 29th, the U.S. saw 91,834 new cases, with 1,041 new deaths.  And yesterday, October 30th, we shattered the record yet again with 101,461 new cases and 988 deaths.  Think about that one … more than 100,000 new cases in a single day.  Around 1,000 deaths each and every day.

This is the pandemic that in every single rally he holds, Trump says is ‘going away’, or we have ‘rounded a corner’.  We’ve rounded a corner alright … we’ve rounded the corner into darkness, death and despair.  Meanwhile, Donald Trump says he is tired of hearing about it.

“The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!” he tweeted.

“Covid, covid, covid, covid,” he said in Nebraska.

“Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid,” he said in North Carolina.

“Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid!” he railed in Michigan

toon-covidThere are more reasons than I can cover in a single post as to why Donald Trump is unfit to be in the Oval Office, why he belongs in an orange jumpsuit in a prison cell rather than in the White House.  But, if there is one reason … one single main reason that people should by now have wakened and realized his ineptitude, it is his complete, unconscionable bungling of the pandemic from the moment it arrived on our shores until present.

It isn’t only that he lied to us time and time and time again, telling us that there were only 15 cases and that it was nothing to worry about, or that it would disappear with warm weather, or that it was no worse than the seasonal flu.  It isn’t only that he has mocked people for wearing a mask, it isn’t only that he holds rallies in crowded venues where social distancing is all but impossible.  It isn’t only that he stupidly taunts governors who are trying to keep the people of their state safe … even riling the masses in Michigan to the point that a well-planned kidnap/execution plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in process until it was foiled by the FBI.  It isn’t even just that he has demanded that states re-open businesses far too soon, causing the number of cases in some states to spike during the summer.  No, my friends … the worst of it was summed up by Trump himself when he said, “It is what it is.”  Five little words, but those five little words tell us all we need to know about the character, or lack thereof, of Mr. Trump.

Donald Trump does not value the lives of the people of this country.  Donald Trump could not care less whether you or I die tomorrow or not.  Donald Trump is incapable of empathy, of compassion, and there is truly some part of his psyche that is lacking … ask his sister or his niece.

We the People of the United States … are paying a high price for a ‘president’ who not only takes a salary (yes, he does take his salary), but spends our money on personal entertainment such as near-daily golf games, trips to his Florida resort, entertainment at his many hotels and casinos, and much more.  Meanwhile, while he is swinging an iron golf club, we are working hard to pay our taxes so that he can live a life of luxury, and more importantly … WE. ARE. DYING.  And he does not care.  He cares about his fortunes, he cares about the power of his office that he has abused time and time again, and he cares about his re-election.  He does not care if you live or die, my friends.

If you haven’t already voted, please plan to do so and please, I beg of you, vote this bastard out of the White House, out of the Oval Office, out of our lives.  Thank you.

A Low Bar — Negative Expectations

If you have two children of approximately the same age, one is of average intelligence with normal capabilities for her age, and the other is developmentally delayed, has difficulty with the fine motor skills, then you have a different set of expectations for each.  Alicia, the fist example, might be expected to not spill her food, chew with her mouth closed, place her napkin in her lap and use it as necessary, while Sammy is praised if he merely manages to get the food onto the spoon and into his mouth.  We set the expectations for our children, our friends and our family members based on their abilities.

We should not have to lower our expectations for the president of the country based on his past behaviour.  The bar shouldn’t be moved up or down depending on who is speaking – Donald Trump is not a child, but a world leader, albeit a highly unqualified one.

I have read many opinions of Donald Trump’s debate performance this past Thursday night, and far too many gave him an A+, praising him simply for not constantly interrupting Joe Biden, and for toning down his bombast somewhat.  People … this is the ‘man’ who has spent four years as president of the United States, the ‘man’ who holds our very lives in his hands … and he is to be congratulated for toning down his vitriol, while still maintaining a steady stream of lies and partial truths?  He still continued to completely ignore the moderator who repeatedly had to say, “Okay, we’re moving on to the next question now”.  He repeatedly smirked and made other facial gestures reminiscent of a teenage boy.  And he lied … over and over and over again.

The first sentence out of the gate was a lie when he claimed more than two million Americans were “expected” to die from the coronavirus, therefore America’s current death toll of 220,000 isn’t so bad.  From there on, he lied consistently for the entire 90 minutes, about the Russia investigation, climate change, Hunter Biden, the pandemic, and much more.  But rather than call out his lies, the press, for the most part, has chosen to focus on his lower-than-usual level of bombast.  This, then, is how they would judge the president?  He can lie ‘til he’s blue in the face, as long as he is reasonably calm?low-bar-1One person gave him kudos, saying she was “very impressed” with his “self-control” … excuse me, but world leaders are expected to have self-control … all of the time, not just for 90 minutes once in a while.  If he finds self-control so difficult, why in hell are we entrusting him with the nuclear codes?  Why do we allow him to attend meetings and events with other world leaders?  Why do we allow him to sit in the Oval Office?

There is a standard to which we hold our elected officials accountable, and it is a bit higher than simply not bulldozing, bullying and threatening.  It is a standard that Joe Biden met when he said …

“I’m an American president. I represent all of you. Whether you voted for me or against me. And I’m going to make sure that you’re represented. I’m going to give you hope. We’re going to choose science over fiction. We’re going to choose hope over fear.”

This, my friends, is — or at least should be — the way we expect a president to speak … giving us hope and encouragement, not differentiating between democrat or republican, but speaking to all of the people.  Donald Trump speaks only to his base, and makes it abundantly clear that he is not considering the rest of us, doesn’t care about the rest of us.  Being ‘presidential’ is a standard that Donald Trump is incapable of meeting, but we cannot simply say, “Oh, well, at least he didn’t use vulgar language or interrupt Joe Biden more than a few times, so he wins!”  No, no, no, and again no.  Trump was Trump and that is not good enough for this nation.  It is a sad state of affairs when we have gone so low that we hold our collective breath when he opens his mouth, and are relieved when he manages not to say something totally stupid.

I had no intention of writing more about the debate, but I couldn’t let the undeserved praise for Trump, as well as the media’s lack of conscience go unnoted, for it is simply wrong.  No, he wasn’t presidential, he was his usual oafish self, as dishonest as ever, just not quite as loud and obnoxious.  What a standard, eh?  Perhaps next time ‘round, the GOP will offer up Jeffrey Toobin as their candidate of choice.

Snarky Rides Again

I suspect the snark will keep on rolling for the next few weeks, don’t you?  I wonder who’s to blame for that?  Maybe a whole bunch of people!


Ol’ Lindsey strikes out …

Good ol’ Lindsey Graham just doesn’t know when to sit down and shut up, does he?  For those who may not be aware, Graham is running for re-election to the United States Senate this November.  There was a debate scheduled for last Friday between him and his democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison.  Lindsey was exposed to the coronavirus on October 1st, when he attended a hearing with Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who has since tested positive.  Jamie Harrison, a diabetic, requested that Graham be tested for the coronavirus prior to their debate, and Lindsey refused!

Now why would any sensible person refuse to be tested before such an event where other people could be exposed?  Some speculate that he has tested positive already.  At any rate, on Thursday evening, Mr. Harrison issued the following statement:

“If Sen. Graham will not take a coronavirus test, I cannot responsibly debate in person tomorrow night and allow politics to put my family, my campaign staff, Sen. Graham’s staff, and members of the media at unnecessary risk.”

graham-harrisonInstead, each of the two men took part in an online forum that replaced the debate.  During the forum, Lindsey was asked how to address civil unrest in his home state of South Carolina.  His response …

“If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”

GASP!!!!!!  That statement alone should cost him his re-election!  Lindsey won by a whopping 17 points back in 2014, but this year he is in a dead heat with Jaime Harrison.  My bet is that this unconscionably racist statement will doom his campaign and we will finally be able to bid adieu to Mr. Graham.


Transparency???

Sean Hannity is another person without a conscience.  Well, he works for Fox ‘News’ and is a close confidant of Trump’s, so it goes without saying that he has no conscience.  But yesterday I read this statement by Hannity that caused my jaw to drop …

“First, we do start with a simple fact. The level of transparency in the Trump administration is unmatched. This president communicates with you, we, the American people often, he does it without a filter, he answers a million questions across multiple platforms, he does it each and every day.”

Say WHAT??? 

Now, Merriam-Webster defines transparent as:

a: free from pretense or deceit : FRANK

b: easily detected or seen through : OBVIOUS

c: readily understood

d: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Not a single one of these can be said to be true of Donald Trump, any of his cabinet members, his press secretary or other spokespeople!  Think about it a minute …

Free of pretense or deceit?  How many proven lies has he told now?  Last I checked it was something over 20,000 in just three-and-a-half years.  He didn’t even tell the truth about when he first tested positive for the coronavirus!  And as recently as yesterday, his “White House doctor” lied and said he was no longer a contagion risk, when scientists tell us otherwise.

And … he answers “a million questions” a day?  First, that isn’t humanly possible, especially for a person who spends half his day watching television and playing on Twitter.  But more to the point, during press briefings, he only chooses to answer the questions he likes … otherwise, he insults the reporter and moves on, or simply leaves the room.  And even when he does answer a question, he answers it with a lie, so … what’s the point?

And the last one, (d) … accessibility of information?  What about those tax returns and financial records?  What about his continuing refusal to make public the results of his medical condition and when he last tested negative for the virus?  What about ordering people not to testify before Congress?  I could go on and on … I could make a whole post about Trump’s blatant lack of transparency, but why bother?  You guys know the truth … Donald Trump has lied and lied to us since before he even took office, and there is not a damn thing transparent in his administration.  Sean Hannity is every bit as much a liar and conman as Donald Trump is … just another clown in the GOP Circus.Hannity-clown


Buses, planes & trains – stay off them!

Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drafted an order requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States.  It makes perfect sense if you think about it … in each of these venues, passengers are in very close proximity, sometimes nearly touching shoulder-to-shoulder, and given the airborne nature of the coronavirus, of course masks should be worn, as well as gloves if you ask me.crowded-busHowever, Mike Pence, as the “head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force”, nixed the order from the start.  He refused to even discuss the matter, with no explanation.

So, since he doesn’t wish to discuss the matter, we are left to draw our own conclusions that Pence, like his boss, does not believe in the wearing of masks or simply does not care if we live or die.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who oversaw the drafting of the order, said …

“I think masks are the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid and we all need to embrace masks and set the example for each other.”

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure was highly critical of Pence’s refusal …

“It’s especially outrageous because the science is so clear: masks save lives. The millions of Americans who work in and use our transportation systems every day — from bus drivers, train conductors and flight attendants, to the frontline workers who rely on public transit — deserve to know their president is relying on experts’ best advice and doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

Y’know … this whole thing has gotten out of hand.  People who insist on going about their business in public and refuse to wear a mask are a danger to us all, and they frankly don’t care who they put at risk – even their own families.  I’m currently reading a book that takes place during World War II, and at the mention of blackout rules and rationing, I had the thought … I suppose half the people in the U.S. would refuse those, too, and put the entire nation at risk.  There is such a thing as taking personal freedom too far, and insisting on riding a crowded bus sans mask is a step too far.  Thanks, Pence, for showing us how little our lives are worth to you and your boss.

A Snarky Snarky Filosofa

snarky-2Filosofa is feeling very, very snarky tonight!  The probable cause is that I watched the vice-presidential debate earlier this evening and growled through much of it.  Or it could be a lack of sleep.  Or the fact that my rent just increased by another $60 when they won’t even fix the @#$% door or lights or leaky faucet!  Whatever the cause, the snark must be vented so that I can catch a few hours sleep shortly.


Lies … again

So, Trump’s “White House doctor” says Trump has been ‘symptom-free’ for over 24 hours.  Don’t believe a word of it … it comes, after all, from White House staff, a doctor in Trump’s employ.  Nope, I don’t believe it for one minute, but neither do I particularly care.  I care more about the idiocy he is proliferating … the notion that the coronavirus is not anything to worry about, not to be taken seriously, despite the 216,000+ lives lost to date … many that could have been prevented if he had not acted like a jackass, if he had been honest with We the People back in the beginning.  But, he wasn’t honest then and he isn’t being honest now.  He is LYING to you, people.  The coronavirus is potentially deadly, especially for those of us who have any sort of underlying condition such as chronic respiratory problems, heart problems or diabetes.

I have no idea why Trump is still lying through his teeth about the coronavirus … he could have manned up and used his own experience to help us, to admit that he was wrong and that yes, we should all be observing the guidelines such as mask-wearing and ‘social distancing’.  Instead, he made a clownish attempt to show the world his ‘strength’, which is among the biggest jokes of the 21st century, and placing those who foolishly hang on his every word in jeopardy.

So no, don’t believe a damn thing you hear.  Like as not, he is still quite contagious and has continued to infect more and more of those whose presence he demands.  Any ‘man’ who would put his own son at risk of death, cannot possibly be a ‘man’ I could look up to or call anything other than ‘asshole’.


Debatable

I watched the vice-presidential debate earlier this evening.  Sigh.  I’ll have a more detailed analysis later, but for now, I will only say that Mike Pence is a bigger idiot than I first thought, and that Kamala Harris conducted herself well, made valid points, and in most cases actually answered the moderator’s questions.  But there was an unexpected highlight …

Yep, folks, a fly landed right on Pence’s perfectly coiffed hair … and stayed … and stayed … for what seemed like at least two minutes, though I was laughing so hard I lost track of time.  I’m thinking the poor fly had a hard time disengaging his little legs from all that hairspray.  I kept expecting someone to tell him, but he remained oblivious.  I imagine he was greatly embarrassed when he watched the clip later.

And as for next week’s presidential debate #2 … Joe Biden is prepared …biden-flyswatter


Fickle stock market

On Tuesday, after Trump told republican lawmakers to cut off talks with democrats over a new round of pandemic aid stimulus and declared he would not further discuss it until after the election, the stock market plummeted with the DOW losing as much as 413 points.  On Wednesday, Trump said he would be open to further discussion after all, and the stock market rebounded.  Now, we’re used to this crap, but Trump uses the stock market as a measuring stick for the economy, and this simply proves what I’ve been saying all along … the stock market is not necessarily indicative of the economy!

Sure, we all have a small stake in the market, most of us through our 401(k), pension plans, or other source, but the biggest chunk of the market is held by corporations and corporations are manipulators of the market.

Worse yet, Trump’s declaration that he is open to a ‘stand alone’ stimulus bill is one that would aid … wait for it … the airline industry, corporations owned by uber-wealthy people who want We the People to keep them afloat so they don’t need to dig into their billion dollar investment portfolios!  Not people who are struggling to pay their rent, medical bills, and put food on the table, but one to keep the airline industry afloat.  And to think how Trump bitched about the Obama administration bailing out the banking industry!

No doubt Trump’s base will listen to him as he points to the stock market as a sign of his success, but … it just ain’t so.  Better indicators are the unemployment rate and cost of living, both of which are higher than they should be, thus the economy, while not ‘in the tank’, is certainly not healthy.  Spin that one, Trump!


Okay, well, I think I feel better now, so I will answer a couple of emails and head for my bed!  Thanks for letting me vent!

September Surprise?

No, my friends, it is NOT fake news.  Yesterday afternoon, the New York Times published a report about Trump’s taxes for the past decade or so.  Not surprisingly, we have learned from this report that Trump is a lousy business manager, that he has lied and cheated to keep from paying taxes, and that his businesses are profiting from his position as president, among other things.

Trump immediately held a press conference to deny deny deny, but his denials fell flat.

According to the report:

  • In both 2016 and 2017, Trump paid exactly $750 in federal income taxes. Look back at your own taxes for those two years … I bet you paid a significantly higher amount in taxes, though you aren’t a billionaire or even a millionaire.  In 2016, my daughter, a nurse earning under $50,000 per year, paid $3,431 in federal income taxes, and in 2017 she paid $3,969.  She paid more than 5 times what Donald Trump, a billionaire, paid.
  • Trump had paid no taxes at all in 10 of the 15 years prior to his election. Think about that one for a minute, folks … he paid no taxes … not a single dime … 2 out of every 3 years.  If you’re not angry yet, then please go get a cup of coffee to wake yourself up!
  • In 2010, Trump claimed and received a tax refund of $72.9 million. The IRS has reportedly been auditing him over this and he stands to owe more than $100 million to We the People if when they find his refund requests were fraudulent.  $72.9 million of our money went to this jackass!
  • He has claimed as business expenses … his personal/family residences, the cost of the aircraft he uses to shuttle him between residences, and even $70,000 to style his “hair” … what hair??? He wears a critter atop his bald pate!
  • And speaking of ‘hair’, his ‘daughter’ Ivanka has been paid over $100,000 to be his hair and makeup ‘artist’. So, she gets paid to make his skin turn orange and place the critter on his head???  And he uses his payment to her to reduce his tax burden?
  • Trump is often hailed by his followers as a “successful businessman”, yet his golf courses alone have lost more than $315 million, and his Washington hotel, which opened in 2016, has already lost more than $55 million.
  • Within the next four years, Trump has $421 million in loans coming due, much of which he is personally responsible for.

A good businessman?  Hardly.  It should come as no surprise, for we already knew that Trump has declared bankruptcy six times due to his inability to pay his massive debts.  A good conman is more like it, for he conned some 40% of this nation into believing his outsized lies.  The Times promises there will be more to come about Trump’s taxes and financial records, and even that will be only the tip of the iceberg.  This conman has been living a life of luxury … paid for by other people’s money.  We always suspected it, I always said that if he had nothing to hide, he would have put the issue of his finances to bed by releasing his tax returns as every other president has done for decades, but now we have proof.  Stay tuned for more …

Claytoonz


In other news, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, a lifetime Republican, penned an OpEd in The Philadelphia Inquirer stating that …

“I will cast my vote for Joe Biden on Nov. 3. It will be my first vote for a Democratic candidate for president of the United States. But it is not the first time I have said ‘no’ to Donald Trump. I urge my fellow Pennsylvanians to join me.

Donald Trump has proven over these last four years he is incapable of such leadership. It is not within him. He lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect and maturity to lead. 

He sows division along political, racial and religious lines. And he routinely dismisses the opinions of experts who know far more about the subject at hand than he does — intelligence, military, and public health. Our country has paid dearly in lives lost, social unrest, economic hardship and our standing in the world.

Vice President Biden and I both know that supporting his candidacy now certainly won’t dissuade me from speaking out later when I disagree with him. But we surely will do so with civility and respect, not with childish name-calling and Twitter tirades.

I believe the responsible vote is for Joe Biden. It’s a vote for decency. A vote for the rule of law. And a vote for honest and earnest leadership. It’s time to put country over party. It’s time to dismiss Donald Trump.”

It’s time to put country over party … that says it all, my friends.  Maybe it’s also time for the Republican Party to reassess its values, or lack thereof, to put the people of not only this country, but the world, ahead of corporate greed and profit.  Think about it.

“It Is What It Is” Says He

According to the latest reported numbers, the U.S. now has 6,676,601 total cases of the coronavirus, and 198,828 total deaths.  Both of those statistics are under-reported.  Let’s be clear, the daily “new cases” number has been significantly smaller of late, but NOT because we have fewer cases!  It is a result of a combination of things, including less testing being done, per Donald Trump’s orders.  Remember when he said that if we did less testing, we would have fewer cases?  Only an imbecile would make such a statement, but it is Trump we’re talking about here.  But there’s more … there seems to be some outright manipulation of the numbers.

From a Politico report yesterday …

The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.

In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messages [emphasis added] about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation.

Now listen, folks.  I know all about political gaming and I know that with Donald Trump, everything is a game, is all about him, his image, his profit, and what benefits him.  BUT these are our lives he and his adoring sycophants are playing with and I’m sick and damn tired of it!  We are not simply Donald Trump’s chattel to play with as he wishes!

The story continues …

But since Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background, was installed in April as the Health and Human Services department’s new spokesperson, there have been substantial efforts to align the reports with Trump’s statements, including the president’s claims that fears about the outbreak are overstated, or stop the reports altogether.

Caputo and his team have attempted to add caveats to the CDC’s findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior, according to the individuals familiar with the situation and emails reviewed by POLITICO.

Caputo’s team also has tried to halt the release of some CDC reports, including delaying a report that addressed how doctors were prescribing hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug favored by Trump as a coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The report, which was held for about a month after Caputo’s team raised questions about its authors’ political leanings, was finally published last week. It said that “the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks.”

As a CPA, I once worked for a company that asked me to make the monthly revenue numbers match the predictions the managers had sent to the corporate offices earlier in the month.  In other words, alter the facts to mirror the projection.  I refused and gave my notice the next morning.  It’s called ‘integrity’.  Facts and statistics cannot be tampered with to make a corporate manager or politician look good, for at that point they are no longer facts and statistics but are mere fantasy. Just as financial reports should have integrity, so should reports about how many people are sick and dying because of the greed and cruelty of the so-called president.

We the People cannot make wise decisions if we don’t have the facts.  Period.  If we had believed Trump back in the first quarter of this year, we would have gone on about our merry way, exposing ourselves on a daily basis … oh wait, that is what a lot of people, mainly Trump supporters, did, and that is why our death toll will surpass 300,000 by the end of this year!

And we now know, thanks to Bob Woodward’s book, Rage, coming out on Tuesday, that not only did Trump lie to us, but he did so fully knowing that lives would be lost as a result of his lies.  And now … he’s trying to fit a square peg into a round hole as he has his minions trying to manipulate the actual numbers.  Now, we have no credible source of information.  Now, we are entirely on our own to try to figure out what is safe and what isn’t.  And we will never know how many cases there actually were in the U.S., nor how many died as a result of the pandemic when they could have been saved if only Trump had put us ahead of his own financial & political gain.  Remember last month, when in an interview where he was being questioned about the death toll, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “It is what it is.”  That is how much he cares about you, me, or anybody else.

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Conspiracy Theories Abound … From The Oval Office

Conspiracy theories abound, more than any other time I can remember, except perhaps in the aftermath of 9/11 when the theories ran rampant for a brief time.  WHY??? There is no simple answer, but in part it is because this nation is so divided right now.  In part, we can blame the pandemic that has kept people from many of their everyday activities and given them too much spare time to sit around making up stupid shit.  And in part, we can blame the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office and his minions who lick his boots clean on a daily basis.

conspiracy-2Take, for example, his statement on August 31st during an interview with the nefarious Laura Ingraham of Fox ‘News’:

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.  It’s under investigation right now. But they came from a certain city. And this person was coming to the Republican National Convention. And there were like seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people on the plane, to do big damage.”

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Perhaps Trump has missed his true calling … perhaps he should be a writer of Science Fiction, for that story is as far from reality as I am from the planet Jupiter!  There was no such plane, no such ‘thugs’, and no such plot.

Remember the conspiracy theory he is most famous for, the ‘birther’ theory that President Obama was not, in fact, born in the U.S.?  Obama was born in Hawaii, but apparently Trump failed history/geography in school and did not realize that Hawaii actually became the 50th state in 1959, two years before President Obama was born?

Or a month ago, when he said …

“And you have people coming over with bags of soup — big bags of soup. And they lay it on the ground, and the anarchists take it and they start throwing it at our cops, at our police. And if it hits you, that’s worse than a brick because that’s got force. It’s the perfect size. It’s, like, made perfect.

And when they get caught, they say, ‘No, this is just soup for my family.’ And then the media says, ‘This is just soup. These people are very, very innocent. They’re innocent people. These are just protesters. Isn’t it wonderful to allow protesting?’”

Bags of soup? Seriously???  How can anybody not question his sanity?

And he has engaged in some of the QAnon conspiracy theories, such as the ridiculous notion that the world is run by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles that is plotting against him while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.

Lately, a few republican members of Congress have begun parroting Trump’s unsubstantiated lies to their own constituents.  (See Keith’s post from yesterday) There is a very real danger in all of this, my friends.  Yes, it’s laughable when he spews some of this, such as bags of soup being used as a tool of the anarchists, but the danger is in the people who listen to him.

Don’t believe me?  Step back, if you will, to October 2018.  It began on October 22nd, when a package containing an improvised explosive device (bomb) was found in the mailbox at the home of Democratic donor George Soros in Katonah, New York.  Over the course of the following week, similar packages were mailed to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters, John Brennan, Joe Biden, Robert DeNiro, Cory Booker, James Clapper, Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, and the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

The FBI, with assistance from other federal agencies and law enforcement organizations, arrested Cesar Sayoc in Southern Florida.  Sayoc had a history of mental illness and criminal activity, but what prompted him to target the above-named individuals was that after watching Fox ‘News’ and viewing social media platforms, he concluded that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil.  At his sentencing, Sayoc said his idea was “first was how to tone down the liberal left violence platform.” He wrote that he believed prominent Democrats were encouraging violence.  Again, yes Mr. Sayoc has a history of mental illness and violent episodes, but where did he get the idea to send mail bombs to prominent Democrats?  From hearing conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric.

Most of the targets were people who Trump had targeted in his campaign of hate, such as Hillary Clinton, whom he has not shut up about even now, nearly four years after the election in which she beat him, but he walked away with the electoral vote.  John Brennan pointed directly to Trump’s rhetoric, saying that Trump …

 “… fuels these feelings and sentiments that now are bleeding over into potential acts of violence … Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump, too often, has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger, if not violence, when he points to acts of violence or also talks about, you know, swinging at somebody from the press or the media.”

Or, consider Kyle Rittenhouse about whom I wrote a few days ago, the 17-year-old punk who took an assault rifle into an area where violent agitators were mingling in with peaceful protestors, and killed two people.  What was his inspiration?  Well, he was a Trump supporter and was in the front row of a Trump rally in January in Des Moines, Iowa.  Just speculation on my part, but I think he absorbed every word Trump said and thought he was carrying out Trump’s wishes.

Brennan’s words are no less true today than they were two years ago.  There are people in this nation who are not deep thinkers, who have little or no moral compass, and who will believe anything they hear from Donald Trump, and some will act on their beliefs.  It makes no difference how many times his conspiracy theories and hate speech are debunked, for they hear only what they choose to hear.  For the ‘man’ who holds the highest office in the nation to engage in such dangerous rhetoric is unthinkable … and yet, that is where we are today.  And sadly, with the easy availability of all sorts of firearms in this country … it is a recipe for major disaster.  Take a look at some statistics regarding people who buy into conspiracy theories.  Note, especially, the 2nd one …conspiracy-theoriesI believe that Trump will dial up his hate speech, conspiracy theories and ridiculous rhetoric even more over the next nine weeks.  We are already seeing enough violence in this nation today … if Trump has his way, what we see today will seem like a day in a kiddie zoo compared to what we will see in October.  We cannot control what people think, but we should have some control over what the ‘president’ says in a public forum.  Never before has it seemed necessary, but it sure as hell does today.  A roll of duct tape for his mouth?

Where Is The Real Threat?

This week there has been enough news to boggle the mind, to make one want to hide in a closet until sometime after November 3rd … maybe even until around 2025.  The coronavirus is out of control in the U.S., but we no longer get accurate numbers of new cases because testing has slowed to a crawl.  The shitshow last week put on at our expense by the Republicans was depressing … was naught but an expensive circus with the nastiest clowns ever seen, half of them with the last name “Trump”.  Multiple times during that circus, we were told that only Trump will bring “law and order” to the streets of the nation, but … it is he and his enablers who have created the most disharmony and disunity this nation has seen in more than 100 years.  Robert Reich, a man with much more experience and understanding than most, sums it all up nicely for us, thankfully, for I am too tired to do so today …


The real threats to American law and order are Trump’s craven enablers

The president railed against ‘violent anarchists, agitators and criminals’ but he surrounds himself with lawless lackeys

Robert Reich-4By Robert Reich

One week ago, Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, police department, fired at least seven shots at the back of a Black man named Jacob Blake as he opened his car door, leaving the 29-year-old father of five probably paralyzed from the waist down.

After protests erupted, self-appointed armed militia or vigilante-type individuals rushed to Kenosha, including Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old who traveled there and then, appearing on the streets with an AR-15 assault rifle, allegedly killed two people and wounded a third.

This is pure gold for a president without a plan, a party without a platform, and a cult without a purpose other than the abject worship of Donald J Trump.

To be re-elected Trump knows he has to distract the nation from the coronavirus pandemic that he has flagrantly failed to control – leaving more than 180,000 Americans dead, tens of millions jobless and at least 30 million reportedly hungry.

So he’s counting on the reliable Republican dog-whistle. “Your vote,” Trump said in his speech closing the Republican convention Thursday night, “will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”

“We will have law and order on the streets of this country,” Vice-President Mike Pence declared the previous evening, warning “you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

Neither Trump nor Pence mentioned the real threats to law and order in America today, such as gun-toting agitators like Rittenhouse, who, perhaps not coincidentally, occupied a front-row seat at a Trump rally in Des Moines in January.

Pence lamented the death of federal officer Dave Patrick Underwood, “shot and killed during the riots in Oakland, California”, earlier this year, implying he was killed by protesters. In fact, Underwood was shot and killed by an adherent of the boogaloo boys, an online extremist movement that’s trying to ignite a race war.

Such groups have found encouragement in a president who sees “very fine people” supporting white supremacy.

The threat also comes from conspiracy theorists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the recently nominated Republican candidate for Georgia’s 14th congressional district and promoter of QAnon, whose adherents believe Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. Trump has praised Greene as a “future Republican star” and claimed that QAnon followers “love our country”.

And from people like Mary Ann Mendoza, a member of Trump’s campaign advisory board, who was scheduled to speak at the Republican convention until she retweeted an antisemitic rant about a supposed Jewish plan to enslave the world’s peoples and steal their land.

Clearly the threat also comes from hotheaded, often racist police officers who fire bullets into the backs of Black men and women or kneel on their necks so they can’t breathe. Needless to say, there was little mention at the Republican convention of Jacob Blake, and none of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.

And the threat comes from Trump’s own lackeys who have brazenly broken laws to help him attain and keep power. Since Trump promised he would only hire “the best people”, 14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W Giuliani – who ranted at the Republican convention about rioting and looting in cities with Democratic mayors – has repeatedly met with the pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach, whom American intelligence has determined is “spreading claims about corruption … to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party”.

In addition, federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine with two men arrested in an alleged campaign finance scheme.

Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who had been a major Trump campaign donor before taking over the post office, is being sued by six states and the District of Columbia for allegedly seeking to “undermine” the postal service as millions of Americans plan to vote by mail during the pandemic.

Not to forget the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who spoke to the Republican convention while on an official trip to the Middle East, in apparent violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits officials of the executive branch other than the president and vice-president from engaging in partisan politics.

You want the real threat to American law and order? It’s found in these Trump enablers and bottom-dwellers. They are the inevitable excrescence of Trump’s above-the-law, race-baiting, me-first presidency. It is from the likes of them that the rest of America is in serious need of protection.