Covidiots and Maskholes

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is angry, and I don’t blame him … I share his angst and anger on this issue. COVID in the U.S. could be but a distant nightmare today, but instead, thanks to politicians, the Republicans, the former guy, and willful ignorance, we are once again seeing surging cases and a rising death toll. We are still … those of us with any sense … confined mainly to our homes. It didn’t have to be this way … Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your thoughts on this, which are the same as my own.

On The Fence Voters

Please know that the derogatory title to this post only refers to those who refuse to do the right thing and help their fellow human beings by getting a shot and wearing a mask when necessary. By no means do I mean to offend anyone. But if I do? I couldn’t care less.

What’s it going to take, folks? How many more deaths? How much suffering must the American people endure? It appears that for a particular segment of society, there is no inflection point. Their minds are already made up, so the carrots our governmental leaders have extended to them are no longer worth continuing. It’s time to use the most oversized sticks we can find to whack them over their heads.

Enough.

I want to submit to you some statistics from the Del Norte County Public Health website that will give you a glimpse of what’s going on…

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Lies, Lies, And Still More Lies!

It was widely published on Monday that the U.S. passed the 200,000 mark of deaths from the coronavirus, but in truth, according to the highly credible reports I get daily, we passed 200,000 around the middle of last week – Wednesday, I believe.  Minor detail, perhaps, but it proves what I’ve been saying all along – you cannot trust a damn thing that comes out of the federal government anymore.  Another example …

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a new guidance acknowledging that the coronavirus can spread through the air.  Well duh … otherwise why would they have been recommending that everyone wear masks when in a public venue?  But then, the CDC reversed itself, took the guidance off their website, saying it was a draft that had been “posted in error”.  More likely it simply didn’t meet with Donald Trump’s approval. toon-trumpAnd speaking of Trump, though I’d rather not, he held a rally somewhere in Ohio yesterday where he claimed that the virus isn’t really that bad, and said that it mostly kills “elderly people” and people with “other problems,” adding, “It affects virtually nobody.”  IT AFFECTS VIRTUALLY NOBODY????????  More than 200,000 people have DIED from the coronavirus and he has the unmitigated gall to tell such a brazen lie???  And what … do those of us who are ‘elderly’ or have ‘other problems’ not count for anything?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  The saddest part is that the damn fools who attended that rally will no doubt believe his every word.  They get what they deserve, but the rest of us deserve better.  This country deserves better than what we currently have.toon-trump-2The one thing that has had the most severe negative impact on Trump’s approval rating has been his bungling of the coronavirus pandemic, so naturally he wants to minimize that, but We the People have a right to be able to believe what our government tells us.  As of today, I don’t think we can believe a single word that comes from this administration.  For example …

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve reported that household income in the U.S. is at a record high, despite job losses as a result of the pandemic.  Interesting that while record numbers of people are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table, household income is “record high”.  Also not true.  What is true is that the rich got richer while the poor got poorer.  According to the Associated Press (AP) …

“The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has regained only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.”

Very few of us ‘average’ people will have seen an increase in our household income, but some people, if told they are better off today than a year ago, will believe it, even as they wonder where next month’s rent is coming from.


The list of lies we are being fed by the very people whose salaries we pay is longer than my arm.  Be aware, don’t believe a damn thing that is put forth by this administration or any of its agencies.  Do your own research, question everything.  And for Pete’s sake, vote this evil maniac out of office in a few weeks!

What We’ve Been Missing …

I started out seeking humour for this post. I felt a deep need for something to make me (and you) smile instead of scowl and utter some choice words.  I searched for a recent Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, or Don Lemon video to give us some chuckles this Sunday afternoon, but found none that made me even crack a smile.  I turned to Alexandra Petri who writes humorous, satirical columns for The Washington Post, and instead of a humorous piece, I found one that moved me, that summed up part of what I and the people in this nation have been missing for the past three-and-a-half years.

jollyI apologize for letting you down with no humour today, but take heart, for tomorrow is Jolly Monday!


Want a president who seems capable of human emotion?

Alexandra-PetriOpinion by

Alexandra Petri, Columnist

August 21, 2020 at 11:29 a.m. EDT

Remember the little things? I barely do.

Remember feelings? Remember having a president who could express a recognizable human emotion? Remember prepared remarks?

Remember when you could make plans for the future? Plans that did not include a step where “a miracle occurs”?

Remember sending emails that did not include the phrase “How are you holding up?” Remember when someone said “How are you?” and you responded “Fine!” automatically without thinking? Remember when you could delight in the sight of the lower halves of strangers’ faces? Remember when there was only one thing that was horribly broken about America that made it potentially terrifying to send your child to school?

Remember time? I barely do. The days since February have been a kind of primordial tar-slick where months melt together and hours vanish in the blink of an eye. To say this year has been not great would be a grotesque and cruel understatement, like “It is what it is.”

Everything in 2020 is so bad in enormous ways that sometimes you forget that it is also bad in small ways. But it is also bad in small ways. And on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, as Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, I remembered.

It’s 2020, and after nearly four years of Donald Trump, the bar for what might conceivably be presidential is so low as to be lodged somewhere in the Earth’s mantle. The moles who were sent to dig it out died of pressure and fumes, and then Elon Musk sent a robot in after them, and the robot also died. So when the Democratic nominee for president said something that sounded like what a human would say to another human in a time of grief, I was actually surprised. It has been so long since I heard anything like that from the current president, or anyone around him, that I had stopped even hoping for it.

We are a nation grieving and in shock, at the point where the number of lives lost has become so big that the brain deliberately breaks rather than contemplate it. We are at the point where people have taken to waving away these preventable deaths as an inevitable fact of life, competing to see who can sacrifice the most grandparents on the pyre of a Speedy Recovery. But by denying that anything is wrong, Donald Trump’s administration also has denied that we have any need of comfort.

“I know how it feels to lose someone you love,” Biden said in his acceptance speech. “I know that deep black hole that opens up in your chest. That you feel your whole being is sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.” These are simple words.

Yet Donald Trump has never said anything like this. “He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” is what the grieving widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson reportedly heard from President Trump in response to her husband’s death.

When Trump lost his brother last week, he mused, “He wasn’t a jealous person, he was a very smart guy. You know, he would be there and he’d be behind me and … if I had the No. 1 show, if I had big success, no matter what I did, even if it’s real estate deals or anything else, he was right there and in many cases helped me very much.”

“It is what it is,” he says.

To be a human being is so ordinary that we forget it is also a miracle. I hate that there is the possibility that we might have to spend four more years with a man who seems to have no idea what this small miracle is like. The first time in these past six months that we heard someone say “I know how it feels to lose someone you love” should not have been from Joe Biden’s acceptance speech.

It’s the little things. It’s the little things that break you.

The Blood on Trump’s Hands — Is Ours

I have shared Nicholas Kristof’s work before, and I do so again today.  Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist whose major interests are human rights and social injustices.  He is more than just an opinion writer – he is a scholar, a deep thinker, and a man of great intellect.  What follows is his column in the New York Times yesterday evening.


‘We Did the Exact Right Thing,’ Says Our Glorious Leader

So why does the United States have 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of coronavirus deaths?

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

What a relief!

I’d worried about the coronavirus, but we’re fine! I’ve been watching the Republican National Convention, and it turns out that while everyone else stood helpless before the pandemic, our national lodestar, President Trump, stepped up and saved millions of lives. Whew!

“From the very beginning, Democrats, the media and the World Health Organization got the coronavirus wrong,” according to a G.O.P. propaganda film shown at the convention. Fortunately, “one leader took decisive action to save lives: President Donald Trump.”

“We did the exact right thing,” Trump said in his speech on Monday. “We saved millions.” He has moved seamlessly from the fantasy that the virus would “go away,” as he has said some 31 times, to the fantasy that he has already dispatched it.

I feel well equipped to cover the Republican convention, having covered personality cults in China, Iraq and North Korea. But this grotesque manipulation deserves a response, for it dishonors and erases the 180,000 Americans confirmed to have died from Covid-19.

“The Trump administration is responsible for the single worst public health failure in the last 100 years,” Peter J. Hotez, a global health expert and dean at the Baylor College of Medicine, told me.

Devi Sridhar, an American who is professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said it had been “astounding” to watch the Trump narrative from afar. In Scotland, she noted, children are now back in school because the government there was committed to suppressing the virus.

“The biggest obstacle to an effective Covid-19 response is President Donald Trump,” Sridhar told me. “There is a path through this crisis, but it requires strong leadership, transparency and letting scientists lead the response.”

That’s the problem in America: Trump fought science, and the virus won — so the public lost.

(The hostility to scientific expertise is also evident in the Republican National Convention’s obliviousness to climate change, even as California is in flames and a hurricane bears down on Texas and Louisiana.)

The consensus among health experts is that while local leaders and citizens sometimes messed up, and that luck matters along with other random factors we still don’t fully understand, huge responsibility lies with that “one leader.”

Some 40,000 confirmed infections are being reported each day in the United States, and another American still dies of the virus every 90 seconds. The University of Washington model projects that about 310,000 people will have died by Dec. 1 — a figure greater than the number of American combat deaths during World War II.

So portraying this toll as a tribute to Trump’s leadership takes real chutzpah.

Trump initially dismissed the coronavirus as like the flu, scoffed that it was “totally under control” and insisted it would disappear “like a miracle.” He imposed some travel restrictions on China (with enormous exceptions), which may have helped modestly, but he fumbled testing, didn’t ensure adequate protective equipment, and offered confused messaging.

The president resisted masks and embraced miracle cures — some dangerous ones, like injecting household disinfectants. He encouraged followers to “liberate” states with lockdowns and his administration pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise testing guidelines to exclude those without symptoms. He has suggested that his aim is to “slow the testing down,” so that fewer people will test positive; that’s like trying to reduce cancer fatalities by ending cancer screening.

Trump still doesn’t have a national Covid-19 strategy any more than he has a 2020 campaign platform.

The United States does not, as many Trump critics believe, have the highest death toll from the coronavirus on a per-capita basis; deaths per million have been higher in Belgium, Peru, Spain, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Chile and Brazil.

Yet while other countries made terrible mistakes — especially initially — they learned from them. China at first put more effort into suppressing warnings of the virus than into suppressing the virus itself. Italy delayed a lockdown. Britain at the beginning didn’t take the risks seriously.

Yet those countries were able to self-correct and bring infections down, although imperfectly and with risks of a return. Italy brought infections and deaths down and currently has a death rate over the last seven days just one thirty-second that of the United States. In contrast, Trump never learned and still tackles the virus with magical thinking while resisting a coherent national strategy driven by science.

Pandemic control involves not a single tool but a broad set of skills, making it a measure of good governance. It’s not surprising that Germany — led by a disciplined scientist, Angela Merkel — has done particularly well, with a death rate now only one forty-eighth that of the United States.

If Trump had managed the pandemic as well as Merkel, some 143,000 American lives could have been saved.

Think about those people’s lives when you see Trump try to rewrite history this week. The indisputable truth is this: The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of the world’s confirmed coronavirus deaths.

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?

fauci-trump