On 3 separate trips to 2 different Whole Foods Market locations as well as a Wegman’s, I was confronted with the idiocy of humans. First, there was a young Black man at the Wegman’s in the produce department, talking on his cellphone with his mask protecting his chin. I took a deep breath, then got his attention, asking if he would please cover his nose & mouth with his mask. He complied without complaint, and I thanked him for doing so.
A few days later, I ran into the Whole Foods and came across a twenty-something White man whose mask barely covered his mouth, leaving his entire nose exposed. Emboldened by my positive interaction at the Wegman’s earlier, I called out “Excuse me!” to get his attention, and then asked him to pull his mask up over his nose.
This time, what I got for my trouble was his snappy reply that “A mask ain’t gonna save your life”.
My mature response, of course, was to tell him to stick his mask up his ass then.
Maybe that wasn’t the best way to encourage mask mandate compliance, so I decided to make up some business cards with friendly reminders about how not to wear a mask (see photos above) with factual information about the benefits of using them to stop the spread of Covid on the back.
The benefits of masking go both ways – the person wearing the mask & those around them are safer. Universal mask wearing can help avert the need for future lockdowns, especially when used with social distancing and good hand hygiene.
We are all in this fight together, so please consider it your patriotic duty to cover your nose & mouth in public. Your freedom to do as you please ends where it meets someone else’s freedom not to be infected in the store.
I’ll admit it, without pretending to be remorseful.
When I heard that the Trumps and many in their circle are now positive for Covid-19, I cheered out loud. I know that this will offend some out there, and I couldn’t care less. The people who are offended by the schadenfreude are those who cheered while Trump pretended everything was fine, mocking the scientists and professionals who had the good sense to update their recommendations as more information became available, suggesting the widespread use of masks early on in this pandemic.
These are the same people who were encouraged by Trump as they stormed unmasked into various state governments armed with automatic weapons, complaining that their ‘rights’ were being violated by the Democratic governors in their states who had the audacity to issue orders specifically intended to keep the majority of citizens safe from the virus. This happened in large part because of the lies Trump continued to spew into the ether until his reckless behavior brought the virus home to roost. The Trump supporters who have steadfastly refused to wear masks in public, based in no small part on the Fox Spews circle jerk of disinformation that provides the majority of their ‘facts’, are now at the heart of a new superspreader event that apparently originated at The White House.
I know that those in the media who have reported on this all insert the caveat about hoping for the complete recovery, blah, blah, blah. I suspect that most of them do so because it’s what they’re expected to do, given that Trump is still president; maybe some of them truly feel that way. I, however, am under no external requirement to say the ‘right thing’, given my lack of corporate, or actually any, sponsorship and admit that I hope Trump and those around him have long-term problems as a result of his rejection of science and facts. Karma happens, and his irresponsible and selfish behavior is the number one reason he is now infected with this highly contagious virus.
Trump has never been held accountable for anything he’s ever done through his entire life, from childhood up to and including his old age. He was never required to follow instructions or do an actual job ever, using his father’s wealth to disguise his massive failures while he used the court system to wear down those who opposed him until they gave up, out of money or time to continue their fight in court.
Trump has consistently used misdirection and hyperbole to distract everyone – media, tax assessors, insurance brokers, local politicians, television viewers – from the obvious truth of his complete and total lack of talent, intelligence, business acumen, or basic human kindness and compassion. While that may work if you’re selling a condo or convincing someone down on their luck to enroll in Trump University, it is ineffective in the face of a highly contagious virus. In fact, Trump’s lies about Covid-19 have been shown to be the biggest source of Covid-19 misinformation in the world!
His cult followers seem undisturbed by this, continuing to gather in large, maskless, non-socially distanced campaign rallies to ‘own the libs’, as if their gathering in these huge, foolish crowds will in some way make us on the left sorry? For what? That we don’t have an idiot like Trump at the top of our ticket, too? That we’re smart enough to follow the science behind viral transmission in order to stay safe? Or that we can’t gather together in equally idiotic groups to create our own superspreader events? Please, give me a break!
Those of us who lean left, who believe that government run right is a good thing and regulations are in place to keep the people safe, are not going to be intimidated by the fools on the right into tossing out our masks. Most of us understand that the only way out of this pandemic is for everyone to do what has been proven to be most effective – both now, before there is a vaccine as well as after one is available – and follow the recommendations of healthcare professionals and epidemiologists to stop the spread. Social distancing, correctly wearing masks to cover both the nose and mouth and effective hand washing are still our best options for stopping this pandemic from taking another 200,000 lives, and it will only work if we do it all over the country, in red and blue states, cities, suburbs, small towns, and farmlands everywhere.
I know it’s annoying and can be a hassle to wear a mask. I was an RN for over 20 years, and I hated having to don masks and gowns whenever I had to enter an isolation room, but I also knew that the whole point was to avoid spreading the infection from patient to patient. I tend to perspire a lot, and I firmly believe that my profuse sweating has had the added benefit of keeping my skin clear and less wrinkly as I’ve entered my 60’s. Regardless of my subjective skin observations, I know how one can become uncomfortable when wearing a mask for long periods of time, and I don’t envy those who are working and required to keep a mask on for hours every day (I am retired). However, in order to keep everyone safe, the only thing we have to work with right now (thanks to Trump and his minions inability to do anything that remotely benefits the country as a while) are physical barriers to keep our respiratory secretions apart.
I’m unconcerned about the feelings of those who have believe that their right to spew respiratory secretions unhindered by any facial coverings overshadows the rights of the rest of us leave our homes without fear of inhaling their wayward exhalations. Since when in this country does the desire of individuals take precedence over the public good? Or, as Spock said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” The needs of the many requires everyone to do the responsible thing and cover their nose and mouth when in public, maintain physical distancing, and avoid crowds, indoors and out. Period.
Trump and his followers have been forced to admit that their fantasy about Covid-19 is a farce, as the virus runs through many of those who participated in yet another large gathering at The White House and in campaign rallies in states with large numbers of Covid-19 cases. That has not made a whit of difference in Moscow Mitch’s plan to force through another young, unqualified, extreme right wing judge on the Supreme Court, nor has it changed his opinion about extending additional financial assistance to the millions of Americans who have been so screwed over as a result of the continued malfeasance of the Republican Party during this once-in-a-century disaster. It has done nothing to swing the Republican’s views on systemic racism or the disproportionate killing of Black people by police across the country, nor about the importance of allowing extensive use of vote-by-mail in November.
Trump continues to lie about the security of our election, when the biggest threat to the integrity of our election is in fact Trump himself. The complicity of the Republicans in this is mind-numbing, as they do everything they can to remain in power by preventing everyone else from voting. This is not new, but it has become so much worse during Covid-19 as those of us who have facts and science to guide us try to use mail-in ballots to have our voices heard while remaining safe at home. The Republicans have succeeded in convincing their own followers to vote in person on election day, exposing all of them to Covid-19 in doing so. This again reveals their callous disregard for the lives of anyone outside their own elite circle of wealthy donors and their peers in power.
Trump was never the person who could ‘grow into the office of the president’ and magically develop empathy and concern for others. As someone only interested is himself, there was no possibility of a Trump administration developing any policy or plan that provided a benefit that didn’t first and foremost benefit Trump. The acquiescence of the Republican Party to this self-centered and dictatorial direction Trump took them in is the culmination of decades of Republican planning. Gerrymandering, voter disfranchisement, voter suppression were always part of their playbook. Moscow Mitch’s plays during Barack Obama’s eight years in office – preventing his appeals court nominees from being brought votes, refusing to do his job and hold hearings when Merrick Garland was nominated in early 2016 – has allowed the Federalist Society/Leonard Leo to funnel hundreds of right-wing extremist and often unqualified judges to lifetime appointments throughout the federal judiciary along with two (possibly three) Supreme Court Justices who will have decades to force their minority opinions on the rest of us.
Trump and those around him deserve no sympathy now that their foolish, irresponsible and selfish refusal to listen to the professionals and follow the best and most scientifically sound advice has led to the most likely outcome – catching the virus. They could not keep the country safe because of their complicity. Trump could not even keep himself and those closest to him safe, despite having what was thought to be the premier infectious disease agency in the world on speed dial.
How anyone, anywhere in the country, can look at the mess we are now in and believe that any of them deserve another minute in office defies logic. All of them need to be drummed out of public life, forced to live in hovels alongside of their foolish followers. Unmasked, without any social distancing.
I suppose after 3 1/2 years of Trump’s bloviating, it’s not unexpected that I’m reacting to hearing words that any other president would say by starting to cry. I haven’t actually had tears streaming down my face, but have for sure on multiple occasions on both nights of the convention have found myself getting choked up, both by the politicians and the everyday Americans who have been featured.
I think the format, which doesn’t focus only on politicians and eliminates all the crazy hats and loud cheering, has brought more sharply into focus how things could have been had Hillary been elected. The fact that there are Republicans (or former Republicans) willing to stand up and throw their support behind Joe Biden should be a huge sign to those still supporting Trump that there is something seriously, malignantly wrong with him. Although anyone who has been watching this shit show since January, 2017 already knows that, the media bubble and his enablers in the Senate, along with his sycophants in state governments, have chosen to go all in on his lies and conspiracy theories.
Or maybe I should say that Trump has gone all in on the Republicans’ lies and conspiracy theories. Despite the fact that there is almost no fraud in mail-in voting, they continue to spew their voter-suppressive crap to discourage people from using this safe, convenient and easy means of having our voices heard. His donor DeJoy, who has already removed too many mail sorting machines and street mail boxes, slashed overtime and insisted on carriers leaving mail behind, has now said he will stop all these stunts until after the election. Problem is, saying that isn’t worth a pint of cricket piss – not only is there no means of ensuring he does what he says he’ll do, there’s also been no mention of reversing the damage he’s already caused.
Since there is no way for us to be sure that the mail-in ballots will be delivered with their usual speed, so we have just a few options to make sure our votes count. Here are my suggestions for what each of us can do to give our ballots the best chance of being counted:
Carefully read the entire ballot and instructions before making any mark on your ballot. Many ballots are discarded or deemed ineligible because the voters made mistakes when marking or signing their ballots.
Make sure to follow the instructions for marking and signing. Some states require a witness or two to verify the identity of the signer (although they have signatures to compare to in their own records), so make sure to do this part to the letter. Ballots without signatures are tossed in the trash.
Return the ballot as soon as possible to avoid it being invalidated because it’s returned too late. Trump has said out loud and on camera that he wants to interfere with the mail to stop Democrats from using mail-in ballots. If you have any concerns that your ballot won’t make it through the mail, find out where you can bring your ballot and drop it off in person to take that out of the equation.
If you can’t vote by mail for some reason, learn where you can access early voting in your area. By voting early, you can avoid the crush of crowds bound to happen on November 3rd while still ensuring your vote is counted.
And if you’re forced to vote in person on Election Day, make sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing to keep your chances of contracting Covid-19 to a minimum. In an effort to avoid the rush of working people in the evenings, vote as early in the day as possible.
I have never been more concerned about a Presidential election outcome as I am the one we’re preparing for now. Sure, I was freaked out in 2016 because Trump was on the ballot, but I was naïve enough to think that there weren’t enough people in our country stupid enough to vote for him. Clearly, that was a mistake, and that makes what could happen in this election exponentially more dire. Four years of Trump have done so much damage to our country, our standing in the world, the environment, and so many other things. He has become more and more emboldened in his corruption and authoritarianism as we get closer to the likely end of his term that there is a real chance that a second Trump term will end the United States of America as we know it.
We have only this chance to remove Trump and as many Republicans as we can from office before they succeed in enacting laws to further entrench their minority rule over the majority of us. I for one will do whatever it takes to ensure that this doesn’t happen. For me, that means voting for the Democrats from top to bottom.
What about you? Do you see a viable future with another Trump term? Or do you want to throw away your vote by choosing someone other than Joe Biden for President? Are you willing to gamble the future of the planet by voting for Kanye, or maybe by refusing to cast a vote for President in protest?
Sure, an individual vote is a little thing, and by itself doesn’t make a huge difference. But every one of us who votes together for the good of the country and the population for Joe Biden can be sure that their vote will be instrumental in getting Covid-19 and the resulting financial disaster under some kind of control, address racism throughout the country, work to stop climate change and ensure that everyone has affordable healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. Voting for anyone else is simply unacceptable.
How can it be acceptable that the President says out loud on camera that he is intent on preventing the US Postal Service from delivering mail-in ballots in time for them to be counted in the upcoming election and receives no rebuke from anyone in the Republican Party? Polls show that 60% of Democrats intend to vote by mail, with an equal number of Republicans expecting to vote in person. This is in no small part because we on the left receive our information from reputable sources that provide actual facts, while Trump’s cult believes the bullshit they’re being fed by Fox and others. A recent study revealed that people whose source of pandemic information included Sean Hannity took significantly more time to follow recommendations about mask wearing, social distancing and the like. Culling the herd, I suppose. This voter suppression effort does not seem to consider that the pandemic Trump refuses to responsibly address or even honestly discuss will be so much worse in the fall, when the flu makes its annual visit across the country. Closer to the election, when more Republicans watch their friends get sick and die because they of their denial of the facts, it will be too late for them to obtain a mail-in ballot because of Trump’s interference. Sad.
What more does the 38% cult need to see before they recognize that they are complicit in an authoritarian takeover of the country? To revise the well known Martin Niemöller quotation for the present…
First they came for the undocumented, and I did not speak out – for I am not undocumented. Then they came for refugees, and I did not speak out – for I am not a refugee. Then they came for the mail-in voters, and I did not speak out – for I am not a mail-in voter. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
The US Postal Service is older than the country and enshrined in our Constitution; it provides millions of us, especially our veterans, with life-saving medications, and Trump’s callous disregard for anyone other than himself is on full display as he’s doing everything he can to break the Post Office by cutting funds, removing sorting equipment, firing workers, and letting mail just sit without being delivered. He’s so certain that he cannot be stopped from doing whatever he wants to remain in office that he no longer feels it necessary to keep his thoughts to himself.
How does the ‘leadership’ of the Republican Party sleep at night? Do they not realize that the majority of their base includes the elderly, who are far and away the demographic most at risk of dying if they contract Covid-19? Do they think that somehow their own voters’ mail-in ballots will make it through the sabotaged postal service by magic? Do they so lack in foresight that the can’t envision the massive protests throughout the country if their inability to react and stop Donald Trump’s interference with the postal service and mail-in ballots prevents millions of legitimate votes from being counted, conceivably allowing him a second undeserved term in the White House?
Trump keeps pretending that there will be a ‘civil war’ if he loses in November. What he seems incapable of understanding is that the protests for Black Lives Matter will pale in comparison to the uprising that will occur if he succeeds in stealing a second election using the awesome power of the office he illegitimately occupies to do so. People are willing to risk their lives in demonstrations in order to ensure that everyone is able to have their votes counted.
Trump forgets that he isn’t just keeping Democrats from having their voices heard. Almost all of those serving in the military around the world have to use mail-in ballots (many of whom vote Republican), while veterans receive all their life-saving medications exclusively from the post office. Here’s the ad.
Republicans seem to think that this is all going to be fine, that we will all just roll over and acquiesce to this fascist turn Trump has displayed to the world. Not only are they mistaken – they are forgetting that elections have consequences. It is not beyond the imagination that Joe Biden’s Attorney General will open investigations into all the corruption that this administration has had it’s hand in, and those investigations will no doubt reach into the party elites who have refused to stand up for the Constitution as Trump has run roughshod over it. They would do well to keep this distinct possibility in mind.
We will vote in numbers too big to manipulate, forcing these authoritarian dictatorial wannabes out, because our democracy cannot withstand the assault of a second Trump term. It is unthinkable and must be prevented at all costs. Anyone who cannot see that should consider packing up and moving to Puten’s Russia for a closer look at what could be our future. Or maybe they should just gather together, unmasked and without social distancing, in a large arena somewhere to share their views (and their respiratory secretions). After all, if the virus is a hoax, what’s the harm?
I sent a few of my Facebook contacts an invitation to my page and didn’t think about it again until one of those invitees sent me a message to tell me that he wasn’t going to my page because he has “zero interest in politics”. Before the 2016 elections, I too thought of politics as something that other people cared about, despite voting the Democratic ticket starting with Jimmy Carter in 1976. I got most of my information from watching local and national news on the ABC affiliate WPVI out of Philadelphia along with listening to KYW 1060, the AM all-news-and-traffic radio station. All things considered, I got enough accurate information to know which party had my best interests at heart.
Today, I have no concept of how anyone with skin in the game (like my 61 year old diabetic smoking friend) can be indifferent about politics. This election is for all the chips, because if Trump and the Republicans are not soundly defeated and removed from power, we will be living in an authoritarian dictatorship during all future Trump terms. I want my friend will read this one post in the hopes of inspiring him to participate in the democracy that has been so good to both him and his family by voting for Joe Biden and the Democrats down ticket. I’m going to refer to my friend as “Billie” (not his real name).
Billie, I read your message declining my invitation to my Facebook page and was disappointed that you have no interest in politics. I don’t believe that’s true; I think that there are a multitude of places where your life, health, financial well-being and future comfort are directly and inextricably intertwined with the outcomes of elections, such as right now, in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century. If the federal government was being led by a capable, competent, empathetic and caring leader who placed the good of the country over all else, the awesome power of the office of the President would have done everything to contain and control this virus, issuing national orders for staying home, social distancing and mask wearing while also putting a robust, nationwide testing and contact tracing system in place to find everyone spreading the virus and limit the spread. Instead, we have a person so incapable of ever admitting he’s made a mistake that he prefers to watch more than 150,000 of our fellow Americans die while he exhibits magical thinking by insisting that the virus will “just disappear”.
The Republicans have been laser-focused since the Affordable Care Act was passed on overturning it and stripping health insurance from millions of Americans while making those of us with preexisting conditions like diabetes, emphysema/COPD and osteoarthritis pay exorbitant premiums if we can even obtain health insurance coverage at all. Trump and his cadre of former fossil fuel executives, Wall Street bankers and right-wing media pundits have used his presidency to roll back rules and regulations to benefit corporate interests at the expense of all the rest of us and the planet. Trump’s delusional belief that he is the holder of all knowledge has made him incapable of accepting input from those in his own government with specialized knowledge of all manner of subjects versus taking the word of assorted hosts on Fox News and OANN. There are millions of Americans out of work because Trump is unable to do his job to put people in positions throughout the federal government with actual experience and skills to handle a crisis like the one we’re living through now. Instead, Trump appoints sycophants who agree that their first priority is to praise the dear leader no matter the reality on the ground, while their second priority is to allow Trump’s corporate donors to run rampant over everyone and everything in their paths.
Billie, you mentioned that your roommate has Covid-19 and that he’s still sharing the house with you. Your diabetes and smoking history make your chances of having a negative outcome if you contract the virus much higher than a healthier individual. The reason you’re in this position right now is because enough people in the right states decided that voting for the most prepared individual in history to run for the presidency wasn’t an option if that person also had a vagina, so they instead voted for the most incapable, incompetent, incurious, inept, undiplomatic and self-serving individual to ever seek the office. A lack of ‘interest’ in the actual issues combined with centuries-old, systemic misogyny led millions of voters to either stay home, vote third party, or actually cast votes for Trump because they thought Hillary was going to win and their individual vote didn’t really matter. Sadly, some 70,000 of those individual votes mattered way more than they should have.
I know you don’t have kids of your own Billie, and I’m sure that affects your attitude about ‘politics’, but your brother does have kids that I’m sure you love like they were your own. Think for a while about the world that will be left to them and their kids, and ask yourself if maybe the things that we’ve been doing to the planet for the last 100 years or so have helped or hurt the environment. I don’t know what the weather has been like in Vegas recently, but I can tell you without qualification that the heat and humidity here in New Jersey has been oppressive and unrelenting. We have always had our hottest days of the year in July and August, but I can’t remember in my lifetime having so many consecutive days of high humidity and high temperatures like the one we’re in the midst of now. Your brother’s offspring will have to deal with the climate disaster that our generation has been particularly loathe to address, given the propensity for the Republicans to claim that some climate ‘scientists’ don’t agree with the 97% of actual scientists that climate change is caused by humans releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. They don’t mention that their ‘scientists’ are actually employed by the fossil fuel industry to spread their bullshit, or that those same fossil fuel companies are full of their political donors.
Billie, I know that Whitey was your grandfather by blood, but you only saw him occasionally. During the ten years that my Mom and I lived with Whitey and my grandmother, I spent every day with him, and I think I can say with some degree of certainty that he was NOT just interested in the Phillies and the Eagles. Whitey knew that politics wasn’t just about the people in Washington; it’s about all of us, and what we want for ourselves and our families as part of a functioning democracy to which we pay taxes for services that said government is supposed to provide to us all when things happen that affect a large swath of us here in the United States. There is no way that Whitey would have remained completely uninformed and uninterested in the damage being done throughout our government and around the world by a lawless, incompetent president and the complicit Republicans. I know that he watched the evening news on a daily basis, because we all watched the evening news together back then, and I used to watch him reading the entire paper – not just the sports section – so I know he had a pretty good idea of what was going on in the government and the world before he exercised his right to vote.
The Republicans’ goal for decades has been to prevent as many people of color as possible from entering the US from anywhere else; had they been successful back in the fifties, it’s quite possible that you and your brother wouldn’t even exist. Your Mom marrying a man from the Philippines back in the fifties was a big deal back then, and I’m sure that your parents were on the receiving end of a lot of racist crap during their marriage. The point is that the people who win elections get to make the rules about who to let in and who to keep out. It is abundantly clear that leaving Republicans in charge of anything related to immigration or equality for all is very much like the fox watching the hen house. Electing a person uniquely unqualified for any of the tasks a US president must address along with keeping Republicans who have not interest in governing or legislating in office leaves all the rest of us subject to Trump’s whims and his inability to ever let any real or perceived insult or negative opinion go without a fight. Trump has never cared at all about the country; he entered the 2016 election in order to get free publicity so that he could start his own cable network; then, the unimaginable happened.
Trump didn’t want to win; he’s spent his whole life not working at a job he couldn’t get fired from that he didn’t have to apply for – just like his three older children have done – and the last thing he wanted was an actual job that required him to focus for more time than he ever had to in his entire life on someone other than himself. The look on his face in the photo above says all that and more.
Billie, right now the Republicans in the Senate, after refusing to consider the HEROES Act that the House sent to them May 12th to provide additional stimulus during the pandemic have taken two whole days to ‘legislate’ the Heals Act behind closed doors that gives businesses, hospitals and schools five years of liability protection retroactive to 2019 while cutting the weekly emergency unemployment payments from $600 to $200, because of course Republicans have to insist that it’s the $600 weekly benefit check preventing people from going to work, not the pandemic raging through a country without any plan to stop it or even slow it down. Apparently, these professional politicians don’t understand that the only reason that the “economy” has done as well as it has through the pandemic so far relative to the number of people out of work has been that $600 bonus, which has permitted millions to remain in their homes, buy groceries and other necessities, and keep their heads almost above water. Republicans also fail to see the irony when they indignantly point out that some people are making more money now than when they were working – because of course the answer to that wouldn’t be increasing the pay for those workers, right? The moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and other legal actions due to a lack of payment are going to expire, and who knows how many families will be forced our of their homes in the midst of a pandemic; state and local governments are going to have to significantly reduce services to help their citizens because the HEALS Act includes only funds for schools, although just a tenth of what the House proposed. Student loan deferments are also ignored in the HEALS Act.
The HEROES Act addresses state, local, tribal and territorial governments and provides stimulus funds for them all; along with the HEALS Act, it recommends a second $1,200 stimulus payment to every adult, but that is the only major similarity in the two. The House bill expands paid sick days, family and medical leave, nutrition and food assistance programs, housing assistance, unemployment, and payments to farmers. It also eliminates cost-sharing for Covid-19 testing and treatment in addition to a range of other policies. The bill passed because of the Democrats – only one Republican supported the bill.
Elections have consequences, Billie. An uninformed electorate distracted by social media posts that often have no basis in fact while they avoid any of the actual journalism still available in multiple formats is a large part of how we ended up here. Once upon a time, when it was unthinkable that someone so completely lacking in ability, restraint or a willingness to follow norms and laws could be elected to the highest office in the country, it may have been acceptable to proudly proclaim yourself to have “Zero interest in politics…” The last forty years or so have demonstrated that those among us who have chosen to abdicate their civic responsibility by simply ignoring everything political including refusing to vote is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million. It is unacceptable in the time of viral social media posts and massive disinformation from the president’s Twitter account for anyone eligible to vote to remain on the sidelines, or to stay ignorant of the facts before they cast their votes.
Billie, you owe it to your country, your fellow citizens, and the next generation to take some time out of your life (maybe every time you go outside to smoke) to learn why you should care about these things.
I hope you understand that I’m only telling you this because I have been paying attention to ‘politics’, not because I like them, but because what those people do matters. No one should sit back and let others make the big decisions, because everything that the government does and does not do has an effect on every one of us. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the cars we drive, how our homes are built, how efficient our appliances are…. All that and more than I can write in this post are affected by the government, and how much or little you are personally touched by those things is also a function of some part of government. You have no legitimate excuse for remaining uninformed and disinterested in the political landscape while your country literally burns around you.
I spent twenty-three years as a registered nurse and had occasion to administer the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) to patients who were residents in the long-term care facility where I was employed. The various tasks assigned to the patient are part of a very rudimentary screening tool designed to determine if there is a need for more specialized evaluations and scans for diagnosis and treatment. The questions are therefore not meant to be ‘hard’, as they do not require any actual knowledge of anything, only the ability to follow directions and remember things someone just told you to remember.
Trump challenged Fox’s Chris Wallace to take the MoCA, particularly the last 5 questions. Wallace recalled the one calling for “counting backwards by 7 from 100”, and Trump repeated his claims that the person administering the test was impressed by Trump’s ability to answer those questions correctly. Wallace is heard saying “93…” while Trump speaks over him as he usually does. The point is the last portion of the test after the animal drawing identification section are:
Memory (No points here, see below)
Read subject list of 5 words (face, velvet, church, daisy, red), have subject repeat list twice to reinforce retention. Do recall test in 5 minutes (see Delayed Recall below)
Attention (6 points total)
Read list of digits at 1 per second (0-2/2)
(2 1 8 5 4) – subject to repeat in forward order (0-1/1)
(7 4 2) – subject to repeat in reverse order (0-1/1)
Read list of letters. Subject must tap hand at each letter “A”. (0-1/1, no points for ≥ 2 errors)
F B A C M N AA J K L B A F A K D E AAAA J A M O F AA B
Serial 7 subtraction (4 or 5 subtractions) starting at 100 (4 or 5 correct = 3/3, 2 or 3 correct = 2/3, 1 correct = 1/3, 0 correct = 0/3)
93 86 79 72 65
Language (3 points total)
Repeat the following: “I only know that John is the one to help today.” (0-1/2) “The cat always hid under the couch when dogs were in the room.” (0-1/2)
Name maximum number of words in one minute that begin with the letter “F”. (1 – 10 words = 0/1, ≥ 11 words = 1/1)
Abstraction (2 points total)
Identify the similarity between two words (i.e., broccoli – asparagus = vegetable):
train – bicycle (0-1/1)
watch – ruler (0-1/1)
Delayed Recall (5 points total)
Recall words from Memory above (face-velvet-church-daisy-red)
With no cue (0-1/5)
With category cue (0/5)
With multiple-choice cue (0/5)
Orientation (6 points total)
I’ve had issues with the day and date since I stopped working; after all, if you don’t have to be anywhere in particular ever, what difference is it what day or date it is? I have an iPhone that reminds me when I do have somewhere to be, and I’ve gotten lazy about actually knowing without looking at my phone the day or date. It’s the same with phone numbers – I can still recite from heart ALL of my previous telephone numbers, and I used to be able to call anyone I knew simply by dialing their numbers from memory, but not anymore. In fact, the only telephone number besides my own that I can dial without looking it up first is my daughter’s cell which I had to dial into the phones I used at work. Now, I only use my cellphone and so never actually punch in the numbers anymore, and I know that it’s no longer necessary for me to remember them, so that information is now lost to me. It seems that the information I no longer keep top of mind is that which is easiest to outsource to my technology, and I think that makes sense. Also, anytime I’m being checked by medical professionals for my cognitive status, I’m there because I have an appointment, so have had the present day/date information brought to my attention and have no trouble remembering it if asked.
Anyway, my point in bringing all this up is, once again…
What is wrong with the people around Trump who are willing to let him display his rank incompetence and questionable cognitive status on camera? Are they also delusional? Doesn’t anyone in Trump’s circle of suck-ups have the insight to acknowledge that this ship is going down in a big hurry, taking all of them with it? Or are they so craven in their greed that they intend to hold on to power until they are forced out in January when Biden is inaugurated? How can any of these cult followers claim to care at all about the country, its citizens, or our democracy? Each new breach of the Constitution Trump and Barr perform in full view of the world takes our reputation further into the gutter and our ability to right this mess harder. Apparently, no one in the Republican Party has any shits left to give about any of the rest of us, especially their own constituents, as they refuse to do what’s best for us all to stop this pandemic. I’ve said before that thinning the herd of cultists may not be so bad, especially when it’s due to their own stupidity.
Someone who has to keep ‘boasting’ about how well they did on a screening for dementia isn’t showing how smart or cognitively intact they are – they are revealing their massive insecurities in their own mental abilities. Trump has used misdirection, hyperbole and repetition since he was a child under Fred’s tutelage to force those around him to treat him like the successful real estate tycoon he was convinced by his father he was, despite having copious proof to the contrary. His tactics are ineffective and outright dangerous, to us as individuals and as a collective democracy, when faced with a pandemic and his own upcoming election. Trump cannot lie or perseverate away more than 144,000 dead Americans, and his refusal to recognize that nothing he has done while in the White House has earned him another four years of destroying our government and our place in the world at large is yet another example of his inability to function within the reality that face everyone else on the planet.
Trump’s behavior since he was inaugurated, facilitated by his cadre of sycophants and lackeys, has caused so much damage throughout not just our country, but the entire world, will take generations to roll back. During his tenure, he has wasted TRILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS on vanity projects and lawsuits, defense of his own illiberal and illogical ‘executive orders’ and of course, by paying outrageous sums of money to his own company by visiting them at every possible chance on our dime.
Everyone who has in any way supported this lawless administration and executive should find no doors open to them when they are removed from office in January. No corporate offices should be welcoming any of them into the suites; no institutions of higher education should provide them with the platform to spread their propaganda to impressionable young minds. The Republican Party as a whole must be firmly and effectively frozen out of all possible opportunities to do anything except make a middle-class income for the rest of their lives, since they have proven themselves completely lacking in the qualities necessary to actually run anything meant to benefit others beyond themselves.
I have to believe that this is the administration that will finally put to rest the practice of ‘moving on’ and refusing to address the illegal actions of the preceding administration, often one of the opposite political party. This is not meant to encourage specious, illegitimate ‘investigations’ like those now being sought in the Senate and Barr’s ‘Justice’ Department; rather, it is to hope that those who were responsible for so much of the corruption during the Trump administration will be investigated, tried and convicted of their misdeeds, especially Trump and his family.
Why is it so surprising to anyone how well Joe Biden is doing pretty much every legitimate poll there is? We all know that the reason Hillary isn’t President of the United States right now had nothing to do with her ability to do the job and everything to do with her lack of male genitalia. That’s the reason why so many people hated her, since there was actually no logical reason for those who never met her to be so vehemently opposed to her being in the highest office in the land. Consequently, Joe Biden’s white male persona doesn’t elicit the same intensely negative feelings, and Trump finds it difficult to trash talk Biden the way he still does Hillary. Trump believes men belong in charge, specifically white men, so he’s now limited himself to a dangerous comparison – Biden’s cognitive and linguistic abilities compared to his own. Somehow, Trump still believes his own bullshit; that he has the capacity to debate Joe Biden on camera and somehow come out looking like he has one functioning brain cell. Seriously, how can his family (excluding his cousin Mary, whose new book I’m halfway through) who are purported to love him not convince him to resign instead of continuing to make a fool of himself live on camera every time he opens his mouth to speak?
For all those old white people, particularly men, who just couldn’t hold their noses in 2016 to vote for Hillary to keep Trump from winning are now perfectly content voting for white, male Joe Biden. This is unsurprising and yet still so sad. How can it be that in the 21st century there are still men too insecure in their own masculinity to find it palatable to have a woman as commander-in-chief?
I’m happy to have all of them vote for Joe Biden in November; anyone with the common sense to recognize that the most important thing in this election is to remove Trump from the White House is welcome onto our bandwagon, but there is one caveat to that welcome. If you want me to be excited because you finally realized what’s happening in the real world, outside the Fox media bubble, then I need to hear you acknowledge that this is exactly where the Republican Party has been heading since the Reagan years, that Trumpism was the only next step the GOP could take given it’s trajectory. I need to hear you admit that none of the awful things Trump has done since being turned loose in the Oval Office in 2017 were a surprise, that they really didn’t bother you all that month, because the main concern of your Republican Party was always to keep all the goodies for yourselves while essentially starving all the rest of us out of the country. I insist that each of you look me in the eye and tell me that your party, so focused on maintaining male white supremacy without regard for the consequences of your actions, has participated without fear of reprisals or a scintilla of empathy for all those you’ve hurt with your regressive policies for decades because it benefited you and helped you maintain your grasp on the power at the highest levels. I don’t want to listen to your false claims that Trump was an aberration, or that your party’s refusal to actually govern since the Reagan administration has been anything other than what it so clearly has been – outright greed, both for money and for power.
Nothing the Republican Party has done during it’s time in power over the last forty years has been on behalf of the actual people of this country – the tax breaks, regulation roll backs, judicial nominations were all done to benefit themselves and their donors while simultaneously hurting everyone else, including their own voters who for reasons I will never understand continued to support these greedy bastards. They have touted their supposed ‘faith’ as a reason to withhold reproductive healthcare from more than half the citizens of this country, because of course women lack the ability to decide what to do with their own bodies and for sure the continued existence of a parasitic being not yet born is ALWAYS more important to them than actual living, breathing beings. That has been brought home to roost during the raging Covid-19 pandemic that Trump and his cronies have so successfully allowed to spread without check throughout much of their voting base.
Brian Kemp, the scumbag who as the Georgia secretary of state oversaw his own election for governor and stole said election from Stacey Abrams, has passed a rule preventing all local officials in his state from mandating the use of face masks to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Greg Abbott, governor of Texas and fellow Trump sycophant, refuses to mandate masks in his state or allow local leaders to put out their own mitigation efforts as well while the largest hospital system in the world is overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. And then there’s Ron DeSantis, another Trump ass leach whose stupidity is on display every day as he continues to refuse to address the pandemic raging through his state that may have the highest percentage of white elderly people in the country. They and they ilk clearly have no interest in preserving the lives of those already born, many of them in their twilight years and a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown skinned, since they, like Trump, don’t believe that most of those people are ‘their voters’. This is what the Republican Party has come to, after decades of public policy almost laser focused on their white supremacist ideals. Trump’s birtherism during the Obama presidency fit right in with their plans; Mitch McConnell’s complete obstruction of anything to benefit the public proposed by the Obama administration only served to further their cause, and Trump determined to do everything he could to erase the legacy that Obama and his scandal-free eight years in office accomplished for the good of the people.
For his entire life, Donald Trump has been able to repeat his lies over and over until everyone else accepted them as the truth, even when they knew it wasn’t. Because he never had to get a real job anywhere other than at his daddy’s company, Donny was never required to follow rules or listen to anyone outside his own head. Thus, we are living in a pandemic as though we were a third-world country. Because he was deprived of love or affection by his father’s sociopathy, he lacks any ability to feel empathy for anyone. He has never been able to care about anyone except himself, despite his three marriages and numerous children. Trump recognized that a beautiful woman and children on his arm and trailing behind him made him look more successful, so he made sure to find women equally interested in his money. Not that I blame them for being mercenary – Trump is just a complete asshole to be around, self-absorbed and selfish, and would never have had a wife or any kids if he’d been broke. I can say that with confidence even though I’ve never met him in person; beauty may be skin deep, but assholery goes all the way through to the bone!
Trump has caused so much destruction, both intentionally and through his ignorant negligence of the way the federal government works, that it will likely require more than two continuous terms of Democratic administrations to put things not just back to the way they were, but more importantly, better in ways that help bring financial, social and legal equality to all the marginalized communities while also enshrining into law requirements for those holding higher office in this country to prevent someone like Trump, whether on the right or the left, from ever taking advantage of our system of norms again. It should not be possible to allow a clearly lawless individual like Trump to continue to break the law simply by virtue of winning an election – no one should be above the law, especially the person in the most powerful position in the country!!! It should not be acceptable for the Attorney General to politicize the workings of the Justice Department to benefit a lawless president without fear of recriminations. And the time has come to put into place requirements for some realistic prerequisites for everyone who wants to run for president in this country, including comprehensive psychological evaluations and cognitive testing that verifies that everyone trying to get the job has the ability to handle the responsibilities and evaluate the information necessary using written words (not just pictures) to make actual informed decisions versus our current straits with an ignoramus who consults with his own brain. No one who lacks the basic ability to express empathy for others should be able to throw their hat into the electoral ring regardless of their political leaning; ditto for those without compassion or who have a known history of repressive behavior towards minorities, people of color or women.
My son, who turned forty this past May (I know – I was an infant when I had him!) has fallen into some kind of cynical hole that has convinced him that almost everyone involved in politics does so for personal financial gain. He is still unable to even lie to me by assuring me that of course he’ll be voting for Joe Biden in November. He continues to insist that Hillary as president would have done a better job handling the pandemic only because it would have helped to get her elected to a second term, not because it was the right thing to do, and I can’t figure out what to say to him that will help change his mind. A few weeks ago, I asked him to forward to me his ‘news sources’, since last I’d heard he was listening to some guy on YouTube, which honestly is no different than reading this blog and assuming everything I opine about is true. Yes, I try to fact check the things I can, but much of what I’m writing here is my opinion, which, like assholes, everyone has. He sent me a couple of links, which I found were commentary and not fact-based, and I disputed his sources by advising he seek out those with actual journalism. After that first attempt, I’ve received no new links and still he insists that his skewed perceptions are reality. It’s disturbing, to say the least.
I don’t know if I’ll succeed in convincing my son to cast his single vote in Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, and I think it’s unlikely to matter by then as Trump continues to be ignore that hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are dead because of his sociopathic incompetence and millions are infected with Covid-19 and may have lifelong health problems as a consequence. Even Trump’s repeated lies cannot outpace the virus, and his own followers have found themselves forced to make an existential choice….
Is sticking your thumb in the Democrats eye worth risking your life?
When Covid-19 first hit and PPE was scarce, I read online that pillowcases and sheets were good material to use for making face masks. My habit of keeping items I’ve stopped using for their intended purchase but are still good for something around the house was justified when I was able to go upstairs and grab several pillowcases, which I immediately ripped apart at the seams to use as a flat piece of cloth to cut out face masks. After I made multiple masks from the same boring, solid-colored red, blue, white and tan pillowcases I had to work with, I went online and ordered a pack of ‘quilting squares’ that were 11″ x 11″, just big enough to get one mask from each square. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited.
Late last month, the package of fabric squares finally arrived, and I picked through my assortment way more excited than I should have been, given the point of the whole thing. I took the patterns I wanted people to see and cut them for the outer layer, then cut the flowery ones I wasn’t inclined to wear anywhere and used those to line many of the masks, falling back on my old solid-colored pillowcases when I ran out of the squares.
Over the course of about two weeks (during which time I also worked on an attempt at re-opening my above-ground pool (a horror for another day!) and other outside chores common to many homeowners around the world during the summer months, I made forty-seven unique face masks. Thanks to my friend Mikey (who donated some funds to my purchase of a replacement sewing machine), I’ve now got a gently-used sewing machine that I expect will last the rest of my life to make, hopefully, something more than face masks. That remains to be seen.
Mainstream media outlets such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, should not continue to allow both-siderism to take up space anywhere in their publications, including within the opinion sections.
While all media outlets should do everything possible to ensure that their reporting is fair, there is no reason to provide space to right-wing nut jobs to spout their lies and conspiracy theories, like Hugh Hewitt did in The Washington Post recently.
In Hewitt’s opinion, the bogus ‘crime’ committed by the Obama administration that Trump has decided to call Obamagate (because following any word with ‘gate’ makes it a scandal) was the “intentional interference with the peaceful transition of power” in an effort to “cripple President Trump’s ability to govern…”
Let’s be really clear here – President Trump’s ability to govern has been crippled by his own lack of any coherent strategy to do so, under any and all circumstances. Trump’s only plan throughout the last three years has involved destroying everything that Obama did that benefitted the citizenry, the environment or the world while making bullshit claims of success. Instead of working for the American people, Trump’s sole focus has been to make himself and his cronies richer at our expense, with complete disregard for the future of the country and the planet.
Now, after spending billions of our tax dollars by stealing the funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes to build his stupid wall along the southern border, along the way stealing private property and destroying sacred sites of native Americans and wildlife sanctuaries, he’s tanked the economy and cost the lives of almost 100,000 Americans by virtue of his complete refusal to listen to anything that does not meet with his own preconceived notions about almost everything, regardless of the accuracy of his beliefs. His mind is so small, he simply lacks the basic self-awareness to admit that no one person can know everything.
As thousands of Americans die every day as a direct result of Trump’s refusal to listen to anyone with actual information (that now has been shown by a Columbia University model could have saved 83% of those who have died had social distancing and stay at home orders been put in place a mere two weeks earlier), Trump and the Republicans focus on everything except addressing this pandemic in a thoughtful, rational manner. Republicans continued refusal to legislate relief efforts that benefit the public on the basis that it will “discourage people from going back to work” are beyond outrageous and an outcome of their years of robbing the poor to finance the rich.
Instead of investigations about the mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, Republicans in the Senate are ginning up nonsense about Hunter Biden. Instead of working on passing a stimulus that doesn’t help just their corporate donors but the people, they focus their time pushing unqualified, Federalist Society freaks into lifetime appointments throughout the Federal Judiciary.
We deserve having representation that cares about something other than maintaining their status quo. The time for complacency is over.
Today, I had an interesting conversation with a 30-something young man I’ll call Jim, who told me that he does not vote. This young man has volunteered for the armed forces, but does not think he has any need to participate in the democracy for which he was willing to sacrifice his life in the Middle East, and I still don’t really understand his lack of interest in voting. He has a young daughter who will have to survive in the world after we’re all gone, so why does he not feel the need to cast a ballot?
The fact that he (like me), lives in New Jersey, where the only likely outcome in November will be for Joe Biden, doesn’t excuse his lack of participation. He told me he’d been a Bernie supporter in the 2016 primary against Hillary, and has come to the conclusion that no matter who we cast our votes for, the system is rigged, sounding more like Trump than Bernie. It sounds to me as though Bernie may need to step up to a microphone to try to put this conspiracy theory to bed and disabuse his followers of their cynicism about voting.
This is not my first conversation with Jim about voting. Previously, we discussed the Democratic primary, and I encouraged him to vote with his heart for the candidate he most wanted to see as the candidate, but that, in the general, we all need to vote for the winner of the primary to get rid of Trump. Even then, before Biden became the presumptive nominee, he wasn’t willing to agree to do that. Now, it seems, his decision has become refusing to exercise his franchise at all, including at the local level, where things that matter to us happen, too.
I’m not sure what I need to say to Jim to help him to understand that his refusal to vote ensures that his voice is not heard at any of the levels of government that influence his life on a daily basis. Sure, one vote out of millions may not matter much at the national level, but he isn’t the only one with this attitude in his cohort group. His cousin, my daughter’s partner, hasn’t even registered to vote since returning to the state in 2018 (although I did print a registration form for him last week). He too was in the army in Afghanistan; he too joined after 9/11. I’ve tried to talk to him about politics but had to stop when he kept insisting that things wouldn’t have turned out any better if Hillary had beaten Trump in 2016. I don’t want to alienate him by arguing when I’m unlikely to succeed in changing his viewpoint.
I’m saddened by both these young men’s lack of interest in participating in the democracy that both of them fought for. I know that both of my adult children learned from me that voting is something we as citizens should view as our duty, and they both accompanied me to the voting booth when they were young. I’ve always felt that voting should be mandatory, not optional, although in order to do that it must be easier for everyone to do, whether by making the time available to vote longer than one weekday or by using universal mail ballots, and it’s interesting that now, during Covid-19, mail-in ballots are the one way we have of keeping everyone safe from the virus while allowing votes to be cast.
I know that my kids vote, especially for the president, although my son Chris doesn’t necessarily vote the same way I do. In 2016, he cast his presidential ballot for Jill Stein because he too thought Bernie had been treated unfairly by the Dems; as a resident of Pennsylvania, his third-party vote was essentially a vote for Trump, and we have had several heated discussions about it in the interim. I hope he sees his way clear to voting for Biden in November, since doing anything else is, per Bernie, “irresponsible.”
I have cast a ballot in almost every election since I voted for Jimmy Carter for president in 1976. Some of my votes have gone to the winner, while others have not, but I haven’t let that keep me from voting during subsequent elections. When the younger members of society abdicate their responsibility and leave voting to those in my age range, they end up with representatives who in fact do not necessarily represent them in government. Climate change is happening at an alarming rate, economic inequality is worsening, and things can only improve if everyone is fighting on the same side. Having a swath of the population choose to stand by and do nothing is unacceptable. So please – REGISTER AND VOTE. It’s your responsibility as both a citizen and a parent. Your kid deserves better.