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Is Reopening Schools As Easy As Trump Seems to Think?

The following was recently shared on Facebook by Gary Mack. It illustrates quite well the contrast of Donald Trump’s call for the reopening of schools with the reality of what would be involved in actually doing so in a responsible manner. In terms of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and this country’s response to it, the likelihood of such an opening being even worse than, say, opening bars, is real.

Our President is trying to rush state and local officials into reopening this vital element of our society regardless of the effects on teachers, school administrators and staff, as well as everyone else these people come into contact with outside of schools. As has been the experience of those states that chose to open other activities too quickly, this approach places ever increasing danger of exposure of even more people to the virus than has already been the case. The President thinks this will save the economy from the devastation his totally incompetent response to the crisis and save his chances for re-election.

Our children and everyone else placed in added danger are more valuable and do not deserve to be used as cannon fodder for Trump’s determination to save his political ass by making the rich richer and more of the rest of us dead. This is a raw deal and if Trump can sleep with this on his conscience (which he goes out of his way to prove he doesn’t even have) he needs to be removed from office by defeat in the November. Preferably sooner. Time to protest at the White House again. – rjc

A retired administrator posted this. A lot of food for thought! Parents and teachers, some tough questions re: schools opening

Betsy DeVos, we have a few questions for you:

• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

• What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

• Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

• What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

• What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?

• How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?

• How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?

30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.

We are choosing to put our teachers in danger.

We’re not paying them more.

We aren’t spending anywhere near the right amount to protect them. And in turn, we are putting ourselves and our kids in danger.

Why Trump won’t resign

Another excellent effort by Robert A. Vella. Since I doubt Trump would voluntarily leave office if defeated in November, it seems obvious that Trump would never abandon his post before such a defeat could take place. He has only been emboldened by the fake impeachment trial in the Senate which refused to even question witnesses let alone convict and remove him from office.

President Trump’s consistent authoritarian streak needs to be reigned in and confront in order to defeat him in November and mitigate the damage he is able to wreak between now and the end of his term. Expecting him to change his words and deeds at this late date is a waste of time and effort better spent ensuring his electoral defeat and planning policies to undo the damage he has already caused due to his economic, health care, immigration and Covid-19 mismanagement. He’s not the only one who needs to go. His Congressional enablers and most of his cabinet and other appointees will rightfully join him in leaving government “service” if you can call what they have been doing serving the public. Strengthening democracy in this country demands it. – rjc

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

Shortly after Donald Trump took office in January 2017, evidence of corruption erupted into political scandals and constitutional crises which have only grown worse over time.  In May of that year, after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned (in February) and FBI Director James Comey was fired just a week before Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel to lead the Department of Justice investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, I speculated on this blog that Trump wouldn’t finish his first term as president and would probably resign beforehand (see:  Trump’s megalomania is running amok, and it will eventually destroy him).  Obviously, that speculation was wrong and it is why I am typically averse to guessing about future events which are never certain to occur.

Today, after a staggering level of political corruption and calamities wreaked upon this nation…

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Silence In the Face of Evil Itself: A Dark Meditation of Resistance in Trump’s America

Another highly insightful essay by Padre Steve Dundas ( who writes an outstanding blog that I encourage others to follow as well). Gives excellent reasons to make sure our would-be king/dictator Donald Trump is defeated this coming November.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote the words “silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”

This is a very difficult article to write because truthfully I believe that civility and mutual respect should be an ideal that we as Americans should not retreat from, as John F. Kennedy noted:

“So let us begin a new remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

I have written about that a number of times, the last being on November 22nd 2016 shortly after President Trump’s election and on the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. However, since that time I have seen the President lead a descent into depravity that I fully comprehended then, though I hoped for a different outcome. In the past three…

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And the Beat Goes On

As the national conversation has considered the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and spread to a reexamination of the role of police violence and race relations in the United States of America, President Trump and his Administration have come up short in their efforts to effectively deal with some of the most important issues of the day. The President seems stumped by the fact that huge demonstrations have been conducted across the country and the world at large in reaction to police brutally treating George Floyd and other African Americans while in their custody, resulting in the death of Floyd and others while in their custody.

Brutal mistreatment of Floyd and many others, some of whom were innocent of any crime and all of whom did not deserve the extrajudicial execution which they did, in fact, receive at the hands of the police sworn to serve and protect their fellow human beings within their jurisdictions. The demonstrations were initially dealt with rather harshly by police using tear gas, rubber bullets and other riot control techniques more suited to violent demonstrations than the mostly peaceful demonstrations that were conducted in hotbeds of racial tension throughout the nation.

Trump, in his consistently authoritarian messaging, has sought to quell the resistance by calling for city and state governments to use brute force to restore order and civility to their local cities and states by invoking curfews and calling in the National Guard to pacify the populace. He has gone so far as to threaten bringing in active duty armed forces troops should the states fail to subdue the violence on their own. He has even turned to making the White House itself into more of an armed fortress than ever to protect himself and his staff from the angry hordes of marauders at the gates. Looting and other forms of violent and otherwise illegal actions accompanying some of the demonstrations (leaving aside the mere refusal to obey an imposed curfew) have not been definitively proven to be a goal of the vast majority of demonstrators. There is doubt as to whether such conduct is sanctioned by those seeking to express their deep disgust at the conduct that brings them to the point of expressing their civil liberties (remember the First Amendment, anyone?) or merely agents provocateur trying to justify a more violent confrontation as Trump and others of his mindset seem to desire.

Like his severely inadequate response to the pandemic and his calls for opening up the economy prematurely (which has resulted in fresh outbreaks of the disease and a resurgence in areas which were not as badly hit early on by Covid-19), his response to the civil unrest which has come to the forefront in public debate in the last few weeks has seen his poll numbers fall significantly as a result. Former members of his Administration, including his former Chief of Staff, former Secretary of Defense, several retired senior military officers and former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell have been but a few of the high profile people who reacted extremely negatively to the President’s proposal to use the US Military active duty units to crack down on our own civilian population seeking to express and take advantage of their Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties to make themselves heard by THEIR government.

People marching in streets in defense of others who are being mistreated by authorities based upon their  race with no accountability for the people guilty of the mistreatment is not a threat to our national security unless one considers any threat to authoritarian rule to be unacceptable. This is supposed to be a society based on individual civil rights and civil liberties, not a dictatorship complete with secret police and military units whose job it has become to thuggishly ensure that the will of a monarch or dictator is carried out regardless of its impact on the rest of us.

In the mind of Donald Trump, he cannot be defeated in this election by lawful means. He is more than willing to let people die or be prevented from voting against him through any means necessary. Rather than making voting easier by permitting more people to vote by mail, he seeks to allow state and local election officials to manipulate the number of polling places and the complexity of the voting mechanisms to cause long lines to discourage people he doesn’t think will vote for him and other GOP candidates from voting at all. A perfect example of this was the Georgia primary election held earlier this week, where polling places serving urban and predominantly minority voters saw long lines punctuated by faulty new voting machines while more conservative predominantly white suburban voters could stroll in and vote at their leisure without needing hours to stand in line and wait before they could vote.

Voting by mail has caught fire like never before precisely for this reason. Trump’s objections claiming widespread voter fraud using absentee and other vote by mail options is both hypocritical and utter hogwash. He himself votes using that method, and nobody in the country could vote more comfortably in person then the President of the United States of America. Yet the man who wastes more American taxpayer dollars than any of his predecessors going golfing on courses he owns doesn’t have the wherewithal to vote in person? Give us a break. Especially in this day of a pandemic that places us in danger of serious infection at polling places – election volunteers in particular – voting by mail is far safer with no proven dangers of fraud that are graver than voting on hackable machines with no paper trail.

Trump will lose in November. More Americans want him out of office than in it. That was true in 2016 and will be even more so this November. The questions that remain will be can he suppress enough of the vote in key states to win the electoral college despite being opposed by millions of more votes than he is approved by? Will he make some more authoritarian maneuvers to delay or cancel the election? Will he refuse to leave office even if he is soundly defeated for all the world to see? Will his stacking of the courts allow him to remain in office despite all of the above? Do what it takes to make your vote count in November and refuse to be ruled by a self-absorbed megalomaniac for one more minute than he has already achieved.

Further Suggested Readings:

Trump Tells States to “LIBERATE!” Contradicting Own Administration’s Guidance

Now, Trump-Encouraged Rightwing As*sholes Might Kill You By Rejecting Covid-19 Safety Rules

‘Democrats Cave’: Senate Interim Funding Bill for Coronavirus Relief Spurns Progressive Priorities

$300 million in ‘small business’ COVID-19 emergency loans went to some very big companies

On state aid, Trump sees ‘another opportunity for a shakedown’

As Millions Stripped of Health Coverage Amid Covid-19, House Dems Unveil Bill for Emergency Expansion of Medicare and Medicaid

As Covid-19 Shoots US Unemployment to Great Depression Levels, Europe’s Worker Safety Net Stems Mass Layoffs

And So It Goes… COVID 19 Continues It’s Deadly Swath, With the Help of the Uncaring

Pandemic spreads to rural white America posing another political problem for Trump and the GOP

Opinion: McConnell’s Opposition to Providing Relief to States Will Starve Americans

CDC Scientists Defy Trump And Leak Guide To Safely Reopen America

READ: President Trump’s Rose Garden speech on protests – CNNPolitics

This appears to me to be headed towards an authoritarian act intent on waging war on the American people – a top/down coup orchestrated by a president bound and determined to have his way and remain in office no matter what he feels he needs to do to retain and extend his power beyond the next election. We don’t need martial law. We do need one who leads rather than dictates – who solves problems rather than trying force everyone else to be content to live lives of increasing desolation and quiet desperation. What will happen if his calls to violent action are allowed to escalate   on a continually increasing.

Trump needs to learn in no uncertain terms that a president is not above the law and will not be permitted to shred the Constitution on a whim. We need a government of, by and for the PEOPLE, not Donald Trump. We must make sure this blatant power grab is not successful. We owe that to ourselves and those who succeed us. – rjc

Source: READ: President Trump’s Rose Garden speech on protests – CNNPolitics

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.

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