Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, December 14, 2020

Holy shit!

"Holy" being just a figure of speech, but holy shit it's been since Sep 28 that I created a post. Time flies. Mask it or casket. 

Somehow the wife and I have thus far avoided catching the Covid. I had a negative antibody test in October, but she has yet to have any type of test, and she has been feeling fine. 

Except for the existential dread that we feel from all the death out there, from Trump still screaming like a child that he won! I won! I won! And from all the Republicans who are still apparently clinging, some violently, to the idea that Biden and the Democrats stole the election. 

Just. Stop. Explain, please, why we horrible, suddenly all-powerful Democrats engineered a Biden win, but we decided NOT to take a bunch of Senate seats, or even a few, which would have paved the way for multiple Biden policies. Explain why we didn't steal more seats in the House, instead of losing several. 

Fortunately, we are not having to share in the economic angst that many are feeling. We have retired, relatively comfortably.

T**** has inflicted a lot of pain on America. He has drawn out the worst in us, the greedy, the hate, the racism, the misogyny, all to further his own ambition. It's so sad to think that either millions of Republicans are still being FOOLED by this accomplished con man, or they actively buy into the racism and white supremacy that he spouts. But we have to make peace with the fact that a LOT of Americans are really ASSHOLES.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Open Letter to America

489 retired military, ambassadors, and national security officials published a letter as to why they are supporting Joe Biden. One basic reason: Biden is a good man, while Trump is a racist, a lying cheat and a poor businessman. America deserves better than Donald Jackass Trump.


NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS FOR BIDEN

We are 489 retired Generals, Admirals, Senior Noncommissioned Officers, Ambassadors and Senior Civilian National Security Officials supporting Joe Biden for President.


AN OPEN LETTER TO AMERICA


September 24, 2020

To Our Fellow Citizens:

We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States. We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven America needs principled, wise, and responsible leadership. America needs a President who understands, as President Harry S. Truman said, that “the buck stops here.”

We the undersigned endorse Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. He is the leader our nation needs.

We believe that Joe Biden is, above all, a good man with a strong sense of right and wrong. He is guided by the principles that have long made America great: democracy is a hard-won right we must defend and support at home and abroad; America’s power and influence stem as much from her moral authority as it does from her economic and military power; America’s free press is invaluable, not an enemy of the people; those who sacrifice or give their lives in service of our nation deserve our respect and eternal gratitude; and America’s citizens benefit most when the United States engages with the world. Joe Biden will always put the nation’s needs before his own. 

Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help. 

We believe America’s president must be honest, and we find Joe Biden’s honesty and integrity indisputable. He believes a nation’s word is her bond. He believes we must stand by the allies who have stood by us. He remembers how America’s NATO allies rushed to her side after 9/11; how the Kurds fought by our side to defeat ISIS; and how Japan and South Korea have been steadfast partners in countering North Korean and Chinese provocations. Joe Biden would never sell out our allies to placate despots or because he dislikes an allied leader.

While some of us may have different opinions on particular policy matters, we trust Joe Biden’s positions are rooted in sound judgment, thorough understanding, and fundamental values.

We know Joe Biden has the experience and wisdom necessary to navigate America through a painful time. He has grappled with America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges for decades, learning what works – and what does not – in a dangerous world. He is knowledgeable, but he also knows that listening to diverse and dissenting views is essential, particularly when making tough decisions concerning our national security. Many of us have briefed Joe Biden on matters of national security, and we know he demands a thorough understanding of any issue before making a decision – as any American president should.

Finally, Joe Biden believes in personal responsibility. Over his long career, he has learned hard lessons and grown as a leader who can take positive action to unite and heal our country. It is unthinkable that he would ever utter the phrase “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

The next president will inherit a nation – and a world – in turmoil. The current President has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small. Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us. Climate change continues unabated, as does North Korea’s nuclear program. The president has ceded influence to a Russian adversary who puts bounties on the heads of American military personnel, and his trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers. The next president will have to address those challenges while struggling with an economy in a deep recession and a pandemic that has already claimed more than 200,000 of our fellow citizens. America, with 4% of the world’s population suffers with 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Only FDR and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.

Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire. That is why Joe Biden must be the next President of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.


Sincerely,


Go to the ORIGINAL for the list of signers.


Friday, September 11, 2020

7 Reasons

...to vote EVERY Republican OUT!

Seven reasons to vote every Republican out of office

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin (a Republican) 
Sept 10, 2020

There are no innocent Republicans running for reelection to the House or Senate. Their grievous misdeeds, whether of commission or omission, were intentional. Their desire to maintain their good standing in the Trumpified Republican Party and avoid the wrath of President Trump’s deeply dishonest right-wing media allies overrode all considerations of decency, honesty and constitutional probity. Let’s review just a few of their disqualifying actions.

No Republican House or Senate leader tried to restrain Trump’s financial misdeeds, including his apparent receiving of foreign emoluments, promoting of his own properties, and his daughter’s and son-in-law’s serving in government while feathering their own nest. Congressional Republicans laughed off repeated possible violations of the Hatch Act and cheered a political convention that turned the White House into a GOP playhouseRepublicans facilitated corruption.

Republicans with rare exceptions (e.g., Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who wound up leaving the party, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah) refused to acknowledge the evidence of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. Other than Romney and Amash, no Republican would acknowledge the ample evidence presented in impeachment proceedings suggesting that Trump had violated his oath by extorting the Ukrainian president for personal gain. Republicans thereby enabled Trump’s abuses of power.

Republicans routinely echoed Trump’s Russia propaganda and castigated the U.S. intelligence community. They parroted a Russia-based conspiracy theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 election. They did not seek Trump’s removal or even censure for siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who falsely denied Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has refused to raise with Putin the bounties that Russia reportedly placed on the heads of U.S. troops. Republicans subverted U.S. national security.

We have heard and seen Trump publicly slur American prisoners of war, ridicule commanders as warmongers and enlist the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a political stunt in which peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared outside the White House. We have heard him publicly call the late Republican senator John McCain a “loser.” We have seen unrebutted reports of Trump’s contempt for military personnel (“suckers,” “babies”) and his aversion to including wounded veterans in a parade. Republicans have supported a commander in chief unfit to lead men and women in uniform.

Trump has openly incited racism; tried to stoke White people’s fear that Blacks and other minorities will “destroy" suburbs; denied overwhelming evidence of systemic racism in policing; insisted on retention of military base names of traitorous Confederate generals; cheered White provocateurs who went into Portland, Ore., with paint guns; deployed camouflaged federal agents in unmarked vans to Portland, where they illegally grabbed protesters off the streets; singled out majority-Black countries for crude insults; and praised “very fine” people on “both sides” of a clash between White nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Members of his own party in Congress almost uniformly avoid repudiating Trump’s blatant appeals to racism. Republicans have thereby helped foment racial division and violence.

We have heard Trump admit that he understood the severity of the coronavirus threat but downplayed it to the American public. He refused to take prompt, aggressive action and peddled dangerous quack remedies. He goaded governors to reopen their states prematurely and scorned mask-wearing. Knowing that the virus was an airborne, deadly disease, he continued to hold rallies without social distancing or a mask requirement. His actions almost certainly contributed to the death toll of 187,000 Americans — tens of thousands of lives might have been saved by prompt, effective leadership. Republicans have indulged his prevarications and still refuse to hold him responsible for the deaths and economic ruin that have occurred on his watch. In short, Republicans have put their own political survival above the lives of Americans.

Trump has sought to delegitimize the November election in advance, fanning patently false claims of massive fraud in voting by mail and telling Americans he will not pledge to respect the results. He vowed to hold up funding for the U.S. Postal Service so "that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.” Republicans have not condemned such utterances, let alone vowed to ensure Trump’s exit if he loses. Republicans have thus helped undermine the central attributes of democracy — free and fair elections, and the peaceful transfer of power.

There is no doubt that if President Barack Obama had committed any of these offenses and Democrats had been as derelict in their constitutional and moral duties as Republicans, the entire right-wing media and political universe would have called for Obama’s impeachment and removal, and for the defeat of every spineless member of his party. Over and over again, Republicans’ hunger to retain power at all costs has triumphed over their obligations to their fellow citizens. They have put Americans’ lives and the nation’s democracy itself at risk. In doing so, they have lost the moral authority to hold power. All of them.

Original.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Strangeland.blog

Borrowed from Strangeland.blog.

"It’s about right versus wrong.

It’s about common decency.

It’s about truth versus lies.

It’s about honoring our system of government and how the founders intended it to work.

It’s about checks and balances.

It’s about empathy and compassion.

It’s about serving all of the people, not just a minority subset of them.

It’s about being a humble public servant.

It’s about the rule of law.

It’s about the common good.

The shattered families and friendships are not about political differences. It was never about that. Political differences are as old as the country itself.

This isn’t about policy differences. We’ve always had different ways of looking at the same issue.

This is deeper and more sinister. A large portion of the United States population has decided to hitch their wagon to a person who has done absolutely nothing to deserve their support or their vote. A person who drives wedges between us rather than doing the job of the President, which is to unite us. A person who has no desire to govern the country but only to wallow in the adulation of people wrapped up in the cult of his personality.

The MAGA hat wearers support him because of his lies. Because of his crassness. Because of his lack of intellect. They love it when he tweets and retweets all the things they think but, up until now, didn’t feel comfortable saying out loud. I don’t care about them. Not one bit. They are the minority of the minority. Their glorification of the con artist isn’t surprising. It’s just professional wrestling to them. It’s entertainment, not politics. They don’t care one iota about the workings of their government. They just want to be part of the show.

But what of the rest of them? The rest of his supporters. The ones who don’t wear the hat or wave the campaign flag? The ones who don’t treat him like a rock star?

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how otherwise good, moral and yes, intelligent people can continue to support him. I lay awake thinking about it. How can they not see what I see? A small-minded man totally driven by his insecurities. He ran for President for the attention and publicity. He never thought he’d actually win. But now that he has that microphone and people all over the world are watching his every move, he is not about to give it up easily.

An amoral person will not think twice about lying, cheating, and stealing to get what he wants. He’s been doing it his whole life. He doesn’t hide it. He does it out in the open because he knows it throws us off.

And other amoral people will cheer him on. Because it validates them.

But what about those people we thought we knew? What of them? What are we to think when they tell us they still support him? What does that tell us about these people we thought we knew?

I don’t have the answer to that. I spend hours each day worrying over it. Trying to figure it out. Trying to see what they see. But it’s impossible.

This isn’t about politics. It’s about character and goodness and generosity and empathy for each and every human being. It’s about holding on to what is great about America, if you can even manage to find it anymore.

Why are the good people in that minority of Americans willing to trash everything? Why do they want to tear it all down? Why do they think that’s necessary?

This election is the most critical in American history. You can argue about others, but this one right here will decide if the great American experiment can be revived. It’s currently on a ventilator with little chance of recovery if this administration is allowed to continue. You can kiss everything that we thought was great about America goodbye. Unhook it from life support and bury it.

And while the majority of us will mourn it’s passing the minority of the minority will cheer, yell, and pound their chests because they got exactly what they wanted. More of the show, more of the entertainment.

And the others? The ones we thought we knew? What will they think? Will they quietly celebrate the passing of America? Or will they finally realize that they were the ones who unplugged the life support?

Two men are vying to be our next President. One lies as easily as he breathes. One cannot manage to show an ounce of empathy or compassion. One cannot put his own needs and desires aside for the greater good of the American people. One is tearing apart our institutions on a daily basis. One spends every waking moment trying to game the system. One enjoys dividing us.

The other is the exact opposite.

This is not about politics. And if you think it is, you would be wrong."

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Al Franken

Al Franken has been re-emerging from his self-imposed exile, fortunately. 

Al was drummed out of the Senate, largely by other Senate Democrats, for behavior that pales in comparison to what others have done. But I think Al has plans again to get re-involved in politics, and I expect him to run again in the future. For what? Not sure, but he is very popular with rank-and-file Democrats, and he is smart. Judging by what he writes below on his blog, he is considering getting back into politics. 


Trump Will Eventually Disappear


July 23, 2020
by Al Franken

Until the coronavirus hit, Trump had not faced a real crisis in the Oval Office. A global pandemic is a doozy of a crisis. Still, it is inconceivable that anyone could possibly have handled the coronavirus any worse.

The fact is that no matter who was president (Hillary Clinton comes to mind) we still would have faced a pandemic in the United States. What we did not have to do is face a completely out-of-control pandemic. 

There were the six weeks to two months that Trump assured us that everything was “totally under control.” That our cases would soon be down to zero. That the coronavirus would magically disappear.* All this was in direct contradiction to what he was being told by his team. On January 18, when Health and Human Services Secretary Azar warned Trump about the grave threat posed by the virus, Trump called him “an alarmist,” and moved onto what he wanted to talk about – “that f*cking vaping thing.”  That’s right – vaping. The president was very, very angry that he had been dragged into banning fruity and mint-flavored vaping products. Of late, he had been receiving a lot of political blowback from that decision, one that he bitterly regretted. 

We know that there were similar warnings in the Presidential Daily Brief during that period.  But, then again, this president doesn’t read the PDBs. Recently, Joe Biden announced that, as president, he will read the Presidential Daily Brief. And get this. He promised to read them daily!

When pressed about his months-long dismissal of the coronavirus, Trump explained that he was being “a cheerleader” for the American people. Alright. OK. Thing is – I’ve been to a lot of high school football games, and I have never seen the cheerleaders turn around and fire AK-47s into the bleachers. We have lost more than 140,000 Americans to Covid-19. There is no question that had Trump acted – as any president before him would have – tens of thousands of Americans who have died from this horrible disease would still be alive today. This is American Carnage. And Donald Trump is responsible for it.

I was in the Senate during the Ebola crisis. I saw first-hand how the United States led the global response to Ebola. Because the CDC was on the ground in Africa at the time of the outbreak in Liberia, we identified it before it got out of control and sent medical teams there to treat people and staunch the epidemic. The Trump administration cut 80% of the CDC’s funding for just that kind of presence in 39 countries – including a huge cut in our footprint in…China.

Before Trump, most of the world thought of America as the indispensable nation. And so did Americans. Now, after three-and-a-half years of Trump, neither is true. Not only did Trump choose not to lead a global response to Covid-19 – he decided against a national response. Instead, he kicked it down to the states. It’s as if, after Pearl Harbor, FDR said, “This is really Hawaii’s problem now.”

Because he is incapable of admitting any mistakes, Trump has refused to adjust to the realities on the ground. It took until this week for him to finally urge Americans to wear masks. (I must admit that I share one discreet area of agreement with Trump. He did say, in so many words, that he would look like an idiot in a mask.)

If you look at all the countries that have handled this pandemic successfully (and have been able to reopen safely), the path to getting the virus under control is clear. Absolutely essential components are social distancing and masks, testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Nothing could be dumber than saying that we’d have fewer cases if we had less testing.  By that logic, we could finally get a grip on global overpopulation by prohibiting pregnancy tests.

Three months ago, a bipartisan group, including former Trump administration Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb and former Obama head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Andy Slavitt, put together a comprehensive plan for contact tracing and isolation.  It cost a lot – an estimated $46.5 billion. But it included $12 billion to expand the contact tracing workforce by 180,000 people and $4.5 billion for using vacant hotels as self-isolation facilities. Testing, tracing, and isolation is the only way we can start to safely reopen and begin to get our economy back on track. In the end, the program would pay for itself and more. And, yet, Trump has insisted that Congress reduce the funding for testing that is in its latest coronavirus relief package.

Now Trump has declared that he will withhold federal funds for any school district that doesn’t reopen when the school year begins. Clearly, there are very compelling reasons to want our children to get back to school with friends and teachers. In many cases, a school lunch can be the most nutritious meal a child gets that day. Virtual learning is better than nothing, but, as so many parents and kids have discovered, it’s just not the same. Add to that the fact that, disgracefully, too many kids in our country do not have access to the internet. And, of course, millions of parents would like to be able to get back to work.

But, of course, It would be completely irresponsible for schools to open in those areas of the country where Covid-19 has been spiking. The idea of a blanket national policy is just another example of the insanely backasswards way this president has been approaching everything in this crisis. PPE? Let every state fend for themselves and have to bid against each other for masks and for ventilators. But schools? Open or no funding from the federal government.

There are actual rational, intelligent, measured ways to approach these problems. But we have been held hostage by a malignant narcissist. And not just any malignant narcissist. This one. Yes, it would be nice if the president had empathy. But I’d settle for a malignant narcissist who couldn’t give a fig about anybody, but who at least was smart enough to understand that he (and the country) would be a lot better off if he had just followed the science. Who knows? Maybe that malignant narcissist would have had a good shot at being reelected. 

___

*Trump continues to defend that statement, insisting that at some point, the coronavirus will indeed disappear. Of course, on that score, Donald Trump is absolutely correct. Then again, eventually, the sun will also disappear – in the sense that it will burn out. In about five billion years.

Original.

truth

truth