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Obama speech: Former President criticizes leadership on coronavirus response, gives three pieces of advice – CNNPolitics

Hopefully, by this time next year, we may begin to recall what life was like in this country under a President who could lead. – rjc

Source: Obama speech: Former President criticizes leadership on coronavirus response, gives three pieces of advice – CNNPolitics

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Getting Trumped by Covid-19

Excellent essay by Ann Jones via Common Dreams summarizing Trump’s utter mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis. Definitely food for thought by those who insist on continuing to buy his refusal to admit that his actions and words have been anything short of superhuman and, to use his own words, “Perfect”.

To get long-term relief from the virus, we need to vote out of office the man who refuses to act as his most knowledgeable advisors recommend in order to further benefit the wealthiest among us at our expense. We also need to remove from their positions of power the other elected officials, be they members of Congress or members of state and local governments who insist on supporting both his policies (despite their deleterious effects on the lives of most Americans) and his authoritarian agenda in general. – rjc

via Getting Trumped by Covid-19

America’s Virus

An eloquent essay by Sally Edelstein on the transformation of America into Trumplandia ( my word, not hers). It’s a sad spectacle to behold. We cannot continue down this road without even more dire consequences occurring under his guidance, which amounts to nothing than political skulduggery. We need to do everything in our power to make sure his reign does not exceed this term. A botched election like in 2016, where he defeats his opponents despite losing the national popular vote by millions of votes through the use of voter suppression and winning a majority of Electoral College votes by winning more states by small margins and losing others by huge majorities.

We need a compassionate, progressive that takes care of all its people, not merely the elite oligarchs such as himself and his fellow billionaires. Making voter registration and actual voting easier, while informing voters of why it is not in our interests to subject ourselves and the world at large to still more of his authoritarian rants and policy debacles. Register and vote, be it in person, by mail, early or in person on election day and get this man as far from the reigns of power as possible without further delay. – rjc

Envisioning The American Dream

Trump, angry protestors and corona virus

There is a virus in America; a contagion multiplying, embedded so deeply in our nation no amount of soap and water can wash it away. It is causing a stench so foul, no face mask can contain it.

In reflection, our immune system was vulnerable. We became complacent. Weakened as a society we were susceptible to an outside infection which allowed us to be contaminated by the deadliest virus our country has ever known. No, not the Coronavirus. Donald Trump.

The virus that has crippled our country is not only COVID 19 that is killing our citizens in record numbers but from the toxin that occupies our  White House.  The stench coming from the rotting corrosion of our core values is breathing the very life out our democracy.

The American century, it has been widely reported,  has expired, passing fitfully in its slumber.

Trump’s infectious venom of hate, xenophobia, and…

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It Begins Again: Trump Supporters Embrace Life Unworthy of Life

Another outstanding missive from Padre Steve regarding those who, seemingly with the backing of our current President, seek to abandon the policies put it place to stem the Covid-19 pandemic in order to reinvigorate the economy despite the fact that doing so invites an even more deadly resurgence of the disease.

Donald Trump is running for another four year term as our President (leaving aside the doubt of many that four more years in power would be enough to satisfy his lust for power) and realizes the damage currently being done to the economy by the policies put in place to deal with Covid-19 are seriously damaging his chances of him winning in November. There is no shortage of right-wing activists willing to cast caution to the wind in a bid to reopen our economy. There is even plenty of support for doing so even if more people will be killed by the pandemic should their attempt to reverse course on these policies precipitously before more is done to alleviate the damage it can still cause or treat/cure those who become infected as a result.

Trump has been and continues to be all over the place on dealing with this crisis. His twitter rants and “press briefings” have merely become excuses for more attacks on any journalists or others who question his policies or point out his false talking points and serve him as propaganda tool for free campaign speech more than educating the American people.

Rather than uniting the American people to defeat the crisis, he is using it to place even more divisive, non-compassionate, purely partisan arguments into the mix and maintain his power by dividing and conquering his victims ( who to me seem to consist of most of humanity) to benefit mainly himself and those oligarchs who share his motivations.

The fact that many of these people protesting mainly against Democrats and Progressives in blue states proclaim themselves to be pro-life Christians does not change the fact that what they want to accomplish is likely to create more misery than it alleviates just does not strike me as being morally consistent. The racist nature of many of the protests and Trump’s public statements (how has Anti-Asian sentiment been aroused in the process?) also does not seem to be particularly Christian in nature.

Let’s fix the problem by uniting against the virus, not by letting it run rampant against those not us. -rjc

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The United States is now engaged in a life or death battle on multiple fronts. The first is against the novel Coronavirus 19 pandemic that has killed at least 47,650 Americans and infected at nearly 849,000 more, of which almost 717,000 are still active cases.  Of course we now know that the first deaths occurred in California during February weeks before the first officially recorded deaths began to be counted, there is a strong possibility that many more deaths were chalked up to the Flu and Pneumonia. With barely 1% of the population tested the probability is that hundreds of thousands of others who are probably out roaming about and spreading the virus. Of course many people still go without observing social distancing, unless they are forced to at the grocery store, or do not wear any kind of face mask. The May not care…

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Minimum-Wage Workers Are Dying to Keep Everyone Else Alive. They Deserve More.

Outstanding essay by William Rivers Pitt. This definitely cannot be over-emphasized. Millions of people often taken for granted by our society while performing jobs that keep us going for little pay and often even less recognition for the risks they take on a daily basis. They definitely deserve better treatment from all of us – including better pay, better working conditions and recognition of their value as human beings and people working to improve the lives of us all while supporting their own loved ones. -rjc

Low-wage workers are standing between our society and calamity. They deserve health care and a living wage now.

Source: Minimum-Wage Workers Are Dying to Keep Everyone Else Alive. They Deserve More.

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus – The New York Times

No doubt, President Trump has plenty of vehement “FAKE NEWS!” rants to share about this story. His denials concerning what he knew when and attempts to blame everyone from Barrack Obama to the World Health Organization and Democratic state governors for the unnecessarily deadly reaction to the pandemic are far exceeding what little credibility he has retained through more than three years of his term in office.

For the sake of millions, if not billions, of people both here and throughout the world, we need to end his reign and gain some semblance of sanity in our government through our elections this coming November. Far from being the only person capable of fixing this, our current President is perhaps the one most likely to make the situation irreparable. – rjc

An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

President 10-Out-Of-10

 What, exactly, is life-sustaining work? In this day and age, it is becoming more and more apparent that work that produces an income that sustains families’ ability to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothing and health care coverage when they need it is life-sustaining. Of course, this includes the workers who are almost universally recognized as life-sustaining and essential workers due to the nature of their jobs. Health care professionals, police, firefighters, grocery store and pharmacy employees and those who make it possible for the rest of us to attain what we need in order to survive.

When President Trump resumed his contemptuous relationship with the press recently by starting daily press releases to inform us all of updates relating to how his Administration is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic he was asked to rate his team’s response on a scale of 1-to-10, to which he replied it would be 10-out-of-10. At the time, he was totally misleading the American people about the seriousness of the crisis – even going out of his way to say that it wasn’t even a crisis. The illness wasn’t affecting many Americans at all, and would completely, miraculously, disappear in a matter of days, or at most weeks.

Those of us among the vast majority of Americans who have been living under statewide stay-at-home orders proclaimed by our governors are very glad we did not hold our breaths waiting for the crisis to end. Hundreds of thousands have been diagnosed as positive for the virus. Thousands have died. The end is nowhere near our line-of-sight. We don’t know where the end of the tunnel is – let alone see light at the end of it. At his campaign rallies (which these press briefings have really become for Trump, since his normal political rallies would violate the guidelines for mass gatherings and distance between people published by his own Administration as standard conduct these days) he constantly goes out of his way to blame state and local government officials, foreign officials and the unforeseeable nature of the developing crisis as excuses for the situation turning out to be far worse than he initially predicted.

The way in which Donald Trump dumps on every other possible culprit (except, perhaps, for extraterrestrial evil beings) as being responsible for any shortcomings of his policies (if they can be called that) while repeatedly and utterly completely refusing to take even one smidgeon of blame for shortcomings on his own part has become nauseating. He not only refuses to answer direct, highly relevant questions posed to him by professional journalists seeking to inform US of what is going on and why, he does so in such a manner as to belittle and ridicule the persons asking the questions. Often, he doesn’t even let the reporter ask a question at all, but rather continually interrupts them with his rants about the reporters’ biased views and unwillingness to do anything other than report fake news that shows him in a poor light.

The informative nature of the briefings is itself a symptom of how Trump has been putting his heels to the necks of even the most professional of those on his task force as they explain what they are doing. Almost everyone on his task force makes an opening statement praising Trump to the high heavens for saving us from death and destruction we would be experiencing if any other human being were serving in his post. Break out the Pepto. Then they delicately go about wording their responses in such a way as to contradict what he has been saying without drawing his ire by doing so.

When asked about resource shortages faced by state and local officials in the more hardly hit regions of the country, Trump blames the Obama Administration, state governors, even hospital administrators and the individual health care professionals themselves for squandering the limited resources they do have. Donald Trump accusing doctors and nurses of wasting Personal Protective Equipment or saying they need more of certain items of equipment (such as ventilators) than they really need is simply Donald Trump proclaiming his own omniscience, which should not even be allowed to show itself – it gets people killed, plain and simple.

For the most part, lately, our President has gone out of his way to say other people should be following guidelines that he openly admits he refuses to abide by himself. Wearing a mask is but one example. Testing for the virus has been a shortfall of the response since the onset of the crisis, and is still causing the illness to spread unnecessarily. As it gets ramped up, the true expanse of the problem becomes more apparent. His main expressed concern is to get people back to work before it is safe to do so. He has consistently been far more concerned about bailing out big businesses and making billionaires richer than it has been about taking care of the unemployed workers his policies have helped to create or feeding and housing their children and other dependents.

Donald Trump is more concerned about raising the price of oil to mollify American petroleum producers, whose environmentally destructive fracking practices cause their production costs to be non-competitive when the Saudis and Russians are ramping up production competing for market share than he is with the further strain that energy cost inflation will cause working Americans – not to mention further acceleration of climate change. This President does not try to empathize with the vast majority of Americans. He can’t and does not even put forth the effort. Born to wealth and privilege, he seems to feel himself entitled to do and acquire anything his heart desires, just because he is Donald Trump. Too many people have been enabling this behavior for too long. The result is more suffering and misery for people at or near the bottom of his economic pyramid.

I regularly get to watch press briefings by both Tom Wolf (my governor in PA, whose briefings are extensively covered by the local press) and Andrew Cuomo of New York, the current focal point of the most urgent needs in this crisis (which are extensively covered by cable news). Both of these governors are, in my opinion, doing a far better job of trying to alleviate the problems faced by average people living under their jurisdictions. Other governors, not as widely covered where I live, appear to be doing likewise for their people. They may not be candidates for Trump’s job and may not even be good choices to replace him, but as far as looking out for their people, in general and especially in this crisis, they would certainly be an improvement.

Donald Trump made a point of concentrating a large amount of his daily rant today denigrating the performance of the Inspector General he fired for putting forward the whistleblower complaint filed pertaining to his now infamous phone conversation with the President of Ukraine, which formed part of the basis for his impeachment. He further assailed the character and performance of the person who was the whistleblower. Another attempted distraction from the topics relevant to the alleged purpose of his press “briefing”. Further proof that Trump is a ruler, a would be authoritarian dictator, not a leader who looks to advance the interests and well-being of ALL people he is supposed to be governing, not just the few oligarchs with whom he dines and golfs while pocketing their donations and allowing them to fatten his wallet by patronizing his company’s ritzy properties.

Donald Trump should not have ever been our President. He proves himself morally, temperamentally and philosophically unfit to hold the position on a daily and often tweet-by-tweet basis. He was properly impeached by the House (though he is guilty of many more transgressions – some even more egregious than those he was charged with) and should have been convicted and removed from office by our sorry excuse for a Senate. For the sake of the future lives of those living in this country now and in the future, as well as the rest of humanity, he must not be allowed to remain in office past the end of this term, and must be held to account for his past, present and any future misdeeds he has/will perpetrate. Make America a democracy for a change.

Suggested Further Readings:

Trump Keeps Using Racist Wording To Describe Coronavirus, And Here’s Why

Who’s in Charge Here?

“Without these workers, everything ceases to exist”: How coronavirus is coming for your produce

Playing With Fire in a House Filled With Gas: Trump Places Stock Markets and Profits above People

Texas’ Dan Patrick: many seniors willing to sacrifice for economy

States Should Designate Grocery Workers as “Essential Personnel” Without Delay

This doctor works in an ER in NYC. Here’s her open letter to President Trump and why she thinks if we follow his coronavirus plan, it won’t just be dangerous, it’ll be deadly

Deaths in United States linked to coronavirus surpass 1,000

Seth Meyers Clobbers Trump: ‘Emotional Maturity Of A Middle Schooler’

AOC went off on the massive corporate bailout while Americans get ‘crumbs for our families’

Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us

Gig workers are doing essential jobs, but tech companies still insist they’re not employees

‘Insulting’ Frontline Health Workers, Trump—Without Evidence—Accuses Hospital Staff in New York of Stealing Protective Gear

U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Hits Highest Any Country Has Suffered in One Day

Keep Calm and Carry on Voting: How to Vote By Mail During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Voting by mail is increasingly being investigated as an alternative to traditional voting methods for use in many, if not all states in both primaries and general elections. Here is a state-by-state guide for choosing this method in upcoming primaries.

Computerized paperless voting has come up as being vulnerable to hacking and other forms of election fraud. In my state of Pennsylvania, this method has predominated in recent years, with new procedures being put in place this year to supposedly address these concerns. Voting by mail may or may not have different drawbacks. I have not seen it in action, but know that it is very common in several Western states, where people seem to be very favorably disposed to using it.

While security concerns may still exist in voting by mail, it certainly is not prone to computer hacking, dependent on new technology, or subjected to the problems of long lines, technical difficulties, or problems inherent to gathering large numbers of voters in one place to place their votes. This is a great concern to many – especially in light of the new concerns of many in dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

While voting by mail may not be a perfect solution to our faulty election system, it would eliminate some of the more prevalent forms of voter suppression experienced in recent years and promising to prevent untold millions from casting ballots this fall. It doesn’t require anyone to travel long distances to stand in long lines for hours to vote.

Voting by mail is definitely an alternative which deserves wider discussion in every state. I have heard nothing but praise for this method from those living in states where it has become the preferred method for voting. It certainly could increase turnout and result in a more representative government for all of us, while simultaneously eliminating voter suppression techniques which have resulted in extremely unequal opportunity for political expression such as gerrymandering and difficulty in getting to the polls and actually casting a ballot. – rjc

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot and there’s still enough time to do so for most states with upcoming primaries.

Source: Keep Calm and Carry on Voting: How to Vote By Mail During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Preparing to shelter in place for coronavirus: A printable guide to what you need at home – Vox

For what it’s worth. I’m not sure how difficult it is to follow this guide, but I hope folks find it useful. – rjc

Our recommendations for surviving boredom, loneliness, and the coronavirus.

Source: Preparing to shelter in place for coronavirus: A printable guide to what you need at home – Vox

Fiona Hill warns about Russian political meddling in 60 Minutes interview – CBS News

For those who missed 60 Minutes on 3/8/20. Given the fact that our government has been meddling in foreign elections (not to mention fomenting coups to topple foreign governments we don’t like) for decades, her points certainly do not seem far-fetched. Arguing over which candidate(s) this benefits most seems trivial compared to the fact that we know it has been going on at all – with little or no effective countermeasures being employed to try to stop it. Hell, Trump has on several occasions even encouraged such foreign intervention. – rjc

 

President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia talks with Lesley Stahl about the differences between briefings in the Trump and Obama administrations, how Vladimir Putin operates and how both Republicans and Democrats have played into his hands.

Source: Fiona Hill warns about Russian political meddling in 60 Minutes interview – CBS News

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