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It Is What It Is

Most politicians make promises. Donald Trump issues threats. He continues to insist that the only way he can possibly lose the upcoming election on November 3rd is some sort of illegal and unfair shenanigans on the part of people willing to go to any lengths to thwart the will of the American people who overwhelmingly desire that he remain their exalted ruler for at least another four years upon the completion of his current term in office.

From a trial balloon speculating that we may need to postpone the election to deal with the dangers of conducting elections during the current Covid-19 global pandemic(which he has, for all intents and purposes, acted in such a way as to aggravate the state of affairs rather than alleviate it), to unfounded allegations that absentee voting by mail would suddenly be fraught with massive voter fraud, he is setting the stage to declare any scenario in which he is defeated as null and void. Exactly as he speculated had a similar outcome been reached in 2016.

Attempts at voter suppression are evident in many areas across the nation, instituted by state and local governing bodies controlled by Trump acolytes and making it more difficult for people belonging to groups which have been negatively affected by policies initiated under his Administration. Making voting safer by encouraging people to vote early by mail (using procedures which have proven to be secure and fair for years in many states) is anathema to Trump and those in his party wishing to retain and solidify their hold on political power indefinitely. Reducing the number and location of in-person poll locations forces more people to travel longer distances and face often interminable waiting lines at those locations that still exist. Arbitrarily removing legitimate voters from voter registration rolls is another common method of preventing potential and expected people from expressing their disapproval of Trump and his policies by voting against them.

A recent tactic, viewed by most to even be illegal, which Trump has publicly espoused to his followers, is encouraging people to vote twice by mailing in a ballot then showing up at their designated polling place to cast a second vote in person. Along with recent attacks on the United States Postal Service making it increasingly difficult to cast ballots by mail in a timely manner, such statements actually make Trump a key purveyor of the very election and/or voter fraud that he’s claiming to decry as making the entire election null and void.

Ever since his inauguration, Donald Trump has gone out of his way to do exactly as he pleases and not allow himself to be limited by the Constitution he has sworn to obey and defend. He barely batted an eye when the House of Representatives impeached him for such acts because he knew he could count on the almost unanimous support of the Senate GOP at trial. He has made the American people persona non grata when it comes to travelling outside of this country in most of the rest of the planet by his intentional mismanagement (or bungling, if you wish to be more generous) of the response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, which conveniently for him is disproportionally affecting those being negatively impacted by his other policy initiatives.

Trump appears to be angling for yet another last minute political stunt designed to even further advance his chances in the upcoming election with the unveiling of a new vaccine and mass inoculation effort to stem the tide of the pandemic in one fell swoop. For those old enough to remember, Gerald Ford’s attempt to do something similar during the swine flu epidemic of 1976 fell flat because the vaccine wasn’t properly tested prior to release. Ford lost the election that year to Jimmy Carter. Trump’s heavy-handed approach to dealing with issues great and small in important matters of foreign and domestic policies has met with stiff opposition in Congress, the judiciary and the court of popular opinion.

Contrary to the President’s persistent pronouncements to the contrary, his handling of issues such as immigration, health care, education, the economy, race relations and the overall treatment of people and the planet alike have been far from perfect. Portraying himself as the one and only solution to our problems as a nation, a society and as individual human beings would be laughable if not for the fact that, in many extremely important respects that portrayal is dangerously inaccurate and often deadly. I don’t personally know many – if any – who can objectively declare themselves better off than than they were when Barack Obama left the office. Trump no doubt does, since the vast majority of those who can do so belong to the rarified (though undeservedly so) social and economic as he does.

Trump’s cooptation of Richard Nixon’s campaign for law and order falls flat, since the last person he wants to ensure behaves in a lawful and orderly fashion is himself. We may have never been and possibly may never be Great Again as a nation and a civilization, but we can certainly do better than we have been at reaching such heights. But I can honestly say I doubt this is likely to happen with Donald Trump at the helm of our ship of state.

Further Suggested Readings:

Watch Obama’s full eulogy of John Lewis, ‘founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America’

Despite US law, Trump raises specter of delaying election

Trump’s Election Delay Threat Is a Coup in the Making

Trump Demands That All Election Results Be Known On Election Night

‘Our Obligation Is to Defend Democracy’: Bolivians Join Mass Marches Against Election Delay by Right-Wing Coup Government

‘We Are Teetering on the Edge of Autocracy,’ Warn Critics After Trump Suggests Election Delay

Postal Service says it has ‘ample capacity’ to handle election after Trump casts doubt

The Deaths of 150,000 Americans Are on Trump’s Hands

Leading Demand for IG Probe, Warren Accuses Trump and New Postmaster General of ‘Sabotaging’ Postal Service

‘Morally Obscene,’ Says Sanders as McConnell Adjourns Senate for Month-Long Recess Without Deal on Coronavirus Relief

Pelosi calls House back to act on Postal Service “sabotage”

Michelle Obama delivers epic speech on the opening night of the Democratic convention

The former First Lady had plenty of truth to deliver in the ongoing fight to chase Donald Trump from the White House. Might she have a future in elected office? -rjc

Source: Michelle Obama delivers epic speech on the opening night of the Democratic convention

WATCH: Joe Biden’s full speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention – YouTube

For those who missed Joe Biden’s speech at the DNC convention. -rjc



Obama: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t’

This is a link to the speech delivered virtually by former US President Barack Obama at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. – rjc

Source: Obama: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t’

The President Who Poisons All He Touches: Donald Trump, the First American Dictator

Yet another outstanding essay from Padre Steve. Barely a day goes by that Donald Trump does not fit the description provided in the title. Whether he’s spewing lies about voter fraud while simultaneously trying to dismember the USPS to prevent people from voting against him in November, or expounding about how perfectly he has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump never shows any indication that he can change the aberrant direction in which he is ruling, rather than leading, this country.

Small wonder neither Trump nor anyone associated with his Administration or campaign organization is publicly asking the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ For the vast majority of Americans would be a resounding, “NO!” Needless to say, most of us know that another four years would be even worse. His joking about a third and fourth term does not seem to me to be a joke at all – which is why he must be defeated before he can even be inaugurated a second time. – rjc

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

It has been a bit over three and a half years since President Trump took the oath of office as President of the United States. Over that time his actions have been similar to other leaders of history who have gravitated towards authoritarian rule, and his Party has only emboldened him. Former GOP House Majority Leader John Boehner noted on October 26th of last year: “There is no Republican Party, only the Party of Trump.”

Today I want to share the words of British military theorist and historian B.H. Liddell-Hart and some others of note as to what happens when authoritarian, or authoritarian leaders gain control of a government. His Liddell-Hart’s words, from his short, but profound book Why Don’t We Learn from History are worth the considered read for anyone with an open mind who can, despite the proliferation of propaganda can still…

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Article: John Lewis Eulogy | OpEdNews

Eulogy delivered by Former President Barack H. Obama at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis.

Can anyone imagine Donald Trump giving a speech like this about anyone or anything? Didn’t think so. It is a fitting farewell for John Lewis. I doubt such praise will be heaped on Donald Trump when the time comes. – rjc

Source: Article: John Lewis Eulogy | OpEdNews

Opinion | John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation – The New York Times

Words John Lewis wrote and designated to be made public on the occasion of his own funeral. They are truly words to live by. – rjc

Pandemic Economic Stimulus Coming to an End

Some months ago, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a fairly comprehensive package of measures designed to mitigate the economic difficulties resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s reaction to it, such as it was. Now, many aspects of this package, designed to mitigate the deleterious aspects of the economic slowdown resulting from massive surges unemployment caused by the sudden lockdown of major sectors of business and industry are in the process of expiring.

A onetime payment of $1200 to most Americans is likely but a faded memory to most of the recipients. Billions of dollars to pay newly unemployed workers an extra $600 will expire at the end of the month. A moratorium on evictions of renters unable to pay rent and foreclosures on homeowners unable to keep up with mortgage payments have already expired and could well spell homelessness for millions of Americans still out of work and likely to remain that way as state and local governments struggle from the upsurge in cases of Covid-19 due to premature re-opening of businesses and public gatherings at the urging of a President and Administration hellbent on fixing the economy before the November election regardless of the effects on the working people, their children and the elderly most susceptible to the ravages of the pandemic.

The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats and led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passed legislation to authorize much-needed additional expenditures to adequately meet the needs of people and businesses still needing assistance in light of the continuing health and economic emergency and the failure of the Trump Administration to adequately address the pandemic. After that legislation passed the House, it was sent to gather dust in the Mitch McConnell (affectionately known to many as #MoscowMitch for his unwavering support for virtually anything Trump says or does – including his pretend impeachment trial earlier this year) led Senate. Not only has McConnell, Trump and the rest of the GOP leadership steadfastly refused to pass similar legislation in the Senate, they have procrastinated to the edge of yet another fiscal cliff without even discussing it.

There is no excuse for Trump’s or McConnell’s refusal to do their jobs by acting in ways that further the interests of the American people as a whole instead of materially benefitting the wealthy and major corporations at the expense of working people, the aged, children, and small businesses. Making millions of us homeless, destitute, without access to health care during a health emergency may be what he thinks will get him re-elected. Dead people can’t vote (though his claims of voter fraud say otherwise). Making millions of others despondent enough to give up and not vote at all may work to his advantage. His distractions of blaming liberals and Democrats for peaceful protests made violent by his insertion of shock troops reminiscent of Hitler’s Gestapo and SS may set the stage for further authoritarian acts on his part to strengthen his grip on totalitarian power. But we must not let him steal another day in the White House – let alone another four year term.

Another aspect of Trump’s inability or unwillingness to adequately lead us through these crises is the fact that state and local governments are facing what will amount to catastrophic budget shortfalls that they may not be able to handle without direct assistance from the Federal Government. Virtually all sources of income for state, county and local governments at all levels across the nation are falling at a time when they need to spend more, not less in order to meet the needs of their residents. While the Federal Government can, and historically has, run deficits in order to deal with crises (self-imposed or otherwise – as in the case of endless wars of choice), state and municipal governing entities do not have that luxury – by law and/or Constitution. Forcing these levels of governance to abandon programs vital to the well-being of their most vulnerable people is inhumane and downright cruel.

None of this is news to our fearsome leader or his happy puppets. Using a rising deficit to excuse calling people on unemployment lazy for not risking their lives to work under unsafe conditions is laughable, especially when accompanied by using funds designated for saving small businesses to augment wealthy denizens of big business while refusing to be transparent about how those fund are being distributed or to whom. Trump and the so-called governors falling all over themselves to outdo his lunacy by ordering schools to open as scheduled this coming school year have no compassion whatsoever for how difficult that is to do safely or how impossible it is to accomplish with seriously diminished funding.

Rather than taking recesses to campaign for new terms in which to live off the public trough while doing nothing to earn their pay or serve the interests of those they are supposed to be representing, Mitch and the rest of the Congressional GOP need to do their jobs BEFORE they create a new catastrophe. Oh, and they need to wear masks while doing so – until the job is done. I wish at least a million people would each send Trump one beautiful orange mask – so he could never claim he ran out of them. My request for a mail-in ballot has already been sent. It will be filled out and sent back as soon as it is received. Donald Trump will not win Pennsylvania again in 2020.

Further Selected Readings:

Mitch McConnell Tells Millions Of Unemployed No More $600 Benefit

The $600 federal unemployment benefit ends this month. GOP senators say enough already.

Despite Job Gains in June, Recovery Will Slow Without Congressional Action

Congress stares down funding cliff for virus aid

Coronavirus Is Creating a Crisis of Energy Insecurity

The coronavirus relief act paused adverse credit reporting, but that’s going to change at the end of the month.

Congress’s Covid-19 rescue plan was bigger than the New Deal. It’s about to end.

‘Prolonged Recession’ Could Be on Horizon as Covid Economic Crisis Leads to State and Local Budget Shortfalls

Raising Corporate Taxes Could Help Cities Facing COVID-19 Budget Crises

Millions of Americans will soon find out just how badly they’ve been screwed by Trump and the GOP

COVID’s Painful Side Effect: Deep Budget Cuts At State And Local Levels

Sanders Calls on ‘Do-Nothing’ Senate to Approve $2,000 Monthly Checks, Cancel Rent, and Expand Medicare

‘Lives and Livelihoods Are on the Line’: Progressive Ad Campaigns Target GOP Senators for Blocking Relief as Covid-19 Rages

‘Something’s Gotta Give Here’: Urgent Action Demanded as 23 Million US Families Face Possible Eviction by October

We need new stimulus now

‘The Real Fiscal Cliff’: McConnell Drags His Feet as 30 Million Are Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits in 10 Days

On Tax Day, Analysis Shows Billionaire Wealth Growth Since Start of Pandemic Exceeds Total Budget Deficits of 23 US States

Bolstering Case for Extending Unemployment Relief—and Higher Wages Overall—Study Shows Recipients Spent More During Pandemic

What Lies Ahead

States, Localities Need More Federal Aid to Avert Deepening Budget Crisis

Unemployed are on ‘precipice of financial disaster’ if Congress doesn’t act now

The Eviction Ban Worked, But It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready

“Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

Mary Trump, President Trump’s niece, wrote a book with this title (which became an instant bestseller once the judicial system squashed his attempt to block its publication). Below is a link a transcript to her subsequent interview with George Stephanopoulos, former Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton and current ABC News anchor. She makes a lot more sense than her rich and famous uncle, in my opinion. – rjc

Source: Opinion – “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

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.

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