Time Travel. Do You Believe?

I am not speaking of the ability to get into a time machine and transport back in time or forward in time. I am writing about that moment of magical moment when a song comes on the radio and you immediately get transported back to a wonderful time in your life. The song ends and you just stop. Time stops. Maybe a tear forms in your eye. Maybe you just sit in your car for a few minutes after you reach your destination.

These songs may remind you of something in your youth or maybe something just last summer. It may be a song that rem minds you of your first love, of a love lost, of a friend who you miss. It could be a song that helped get you through a dark time or a song you may have sung to your children or had sung to you by a parent.

As I get inevitably older there are more of those songs and moments.

Early this morning I was leaving our lake house in Northern New Hampshire to head to work. Given where this house is there are very few radio stations for the first part of the journey. I am an NPR junkie and no day is complete with out me catching up in the news or listening to a program. I found NPR on satellite radio and tuned in to a re-run of CAR TALK.

BOOM- I was instantly transported back in time. When I first started listening to car talk I was newly married. We had just bought our first house. Life was so exciting. So filled with possibilities.

I remember that excitement. As I sipped my coffee my mind was filled with memories and hope.

The Covid cases are on their rise again across the world. BUT- there is a vaccine that should be available before next summer. Some day in the future there will a day where you are driving and a song will come on and you will have a GOOD memory of life right now. There is always something good going on. You just need to look for it.

Maybe Time Travel is Possible

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5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Source: 5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

 
 

A Supreme Court hero, and all-round wise woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87 surrounded by family at her home in Washington, D.C.

She was the second woman justice to serve on the highest court in the land—a pioneer in her field, when there were few females in the halls of legal offices or law schools. But there were other reasons we will always remember her.

1) She proved that mothers get things done—and then some. 

RBG showed that being a mother can prove an advantage and not an impediment to a woman’s professional life.

In a 2016 essay for the New York Times, she wrote that she believed her success at Harvard and Columbia Law School—where she graduated joint first in her class in 1959—was actually down to having an infant to care for.

“My success in law school, I have no doubt, was in large measure because of baby Jane. I attended classes and studied diligently until 4 in the afternoon; the next hours were Jane’s time, spent at the park, playing silly games or singing funny songs, reading picture books and A. A. Milne poems, and bathing and feeding her.

“After Jane’s bedtime, I returned to the law books with renewed will. Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law studies lacked.”

2) She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Despite coming out of law school with top grades, no law firm in New York City would hire Ginsburg, who was, by then, a mother of two.

She began teaching at Rutgers and Columbia. Those positions gave RBG the opportunity to advocate for women’s rights. She forged a name for herself that led to her 1980 appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. Thirteen years later, President Clinton nominated her for the Supreme Court.

As one of nine, Ginsburg was known as the “Great Dissenter.” She had special neckwear that she donned, even calling one her Dissent Collar.

The cases on which Justice Ginsburg dissented weren’t trivial: She spoke up on matters of affirmative action, employment discrimination, access to abortion, and controlling political campaign spending.

She demonstrated how, when you believe something’s wrong, to use your voice.

3. She showed there’s value in stoicism. 

In an interview with legal academic Jeffrey Rosen, published in the Atlantic, she spoke of ignoring ‘useless emotions’.

“My mother’s advice was, don’t lose time on useless emotions like anger, resentment, remorse, envy. Those, she said, will just sap time; they don’t get you where you want to be.”

One way I coped with times I was angry: I would sit down and practice the piano. I wasn’t very good at it, but it did distract me from whatever useless emotion I was feeling at the moment. Later, I did the same with the cello. I would be absorbed in the music, and the useless emotion faded away.”

Perhaps that’s why RBG loved listening to classical music all her life—even during her famous workouts.

4. She lived by her morals.

The late justice was never interested in being the loudest, showiest person in the room.

In fact, those who knew her described her as a quiet, “almost retreating” woman with a soft voice.

So what drove her? Her advice to others gives a clue. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

5. She had hope for the future. 

Speaking with Rosen in late 2019, she said, “Our country has gone through some very bumpy periods. But, I’ll tell you the principal reason why I’m optimistic: It’s the young people I see.

“My lawyer granddaughter, my law clerks, are determined to contribute to the good of society. And to work together. So the young people make me hopeful.

“They want to take part in creating a better world. Think of Malala. Think of Greta Thunberg in Sweden. What is she, 15, 16? Yes, I’m putting my faith in the coming generations.”

Posted in Current events | 1 Comment

WHY PEOPLE SUPPORT TRUMP

I find it funny that many so many enable Trump and follow him blindly when clearly Trump does not care about anyone but himself. Last night President Trump was asked if he was worried about his latest rally and the virus. He said he wasn’t worried because he was far enough away from everyone. He obviously didn’t care about his adoring fans who are now risking life to go and see him.

For decades Donald Trump has been a masterful marketer. He created controversy to keep his name in the news. His entire empire is based on his cult of personality. He viewed compassion as a weakness. If he was with just one woman it was unmanly. He brought the same attitude and bravado to the White House. The presidency is about him not about America. He is the boss who will take all the credit and none of the blame. Anyone who contradicts him is not around a very long time!

The reality is that the Presidents supporters are not as fond of him as he would like to believe. He is just a manifestation of their anger and sense of loss of status. I find it ironic that many of the same people who say that, “people should pull themselves up by their boot straps” and that “any form of a social welfare is going to make a person lazy” are the same people who blame Latin Americans for taking their jobs. Who blame undocumented immigrants for crime (statistically undocumented immigrants are the least likely to commit a crime). Any success they have is because they are hard workers. Any shortcomings they experience is someone else’s fault. Forget facts, they just need someone to blame. One of the favorite groups is “those damn liberals”. They are just coming to take our guns (has anyone on the last 40 years had a gun taken?!). They are coming to close our churches and make us follow sharia law (laws have to go through the court system). So, in my opinion, there is not so much love for Donald Trump, but a hate of Liberals.

I saw this on FB this morning and wanted to share.

“Dana” posed this question: “Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?” A lady named Bev answered it this way:

“You all don’t get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence.
They don’t give a shit what he does. He’s just something to rally around and hate liberals, that’s it, period.

He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it.
The fact that people act like it’s anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.

If you keep getting caught up in “why do they not realize this problem” and “how can they still back Trump after this scandal,” then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It’s fuck liberals, that’s pretty much it.
Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they’ll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense?

Because they’re not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it’s irrelevant. Fuck liberals is the only relevant thing.

Trust me; I know firsthand what I’m talking about. That’s why they just laugh at it all because you all don’t even realize they truly don’t give a fuck about whatever the conversation is about.

It’s just a side mission story that doesn’t matter anyway. That’s all just trivial details—the economy, health care, whatever.
Fuck liberals.

Look at the issue with not wearing masks. I can tell you what that’s about. It’s about exposing fear. They’re playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.

You’ve got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that’s what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness.

And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I’m not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that’s what proves they’re strong, their passionate hatred for weakness.

Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they’re in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that’s an obvious sign of weakness.
– Kindness = weakness.
– Honesty = weakness.
– Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn’t hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it’s that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.

Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.”

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Why Masks Work BETTER Than You’d Think – Just Give Me Positive Good News

Source: Why Masks Work BETTER Than You’d Think – Just Give Me Positive Good News

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This is the End

This Is the End

There’s a simple reason why this election really is different. byNATHANIEL A. G. ZELINSKY  AUGUST 31, 2020 5:16 AM The Bulwork

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Until this election, I’ve never felt as if everything was on the line, that if my preferred candidate lost, something devastating and irrevocable would occur.

In the past, when I met people who felt this way, their mindset puzzled me. How could my conservative friends seriously have believed that four years of a Hillary Clinton administration could somehow end America as we know it? How could my liberal friends really have thought that Mitt Romney’s presidency could do the same? This impulse always seemed like a naivety that prized an artificially short-term view over the longer arc of American history.

Believing in liberal democracy means accepting a very particular bargain: that your team will lose some, win others, and that by and large, the world won’t end either way.

Sure, you might not love what happens to your marginal tax rate. You might favor stricter or looser environmental regulations. You might like or dislike certain judges appointed to the federal bench. But you also get to make a course correction two or four years later. Nothing can be fundamentally broken from one election to another.

And the truth is that adopting a sky-is-falling view undermines the every-day workings of politics. When you view your policy opponents as the devil, you refuse to engage in the compromises necessary for liberal democracy to function. Instead, you buy into a mindset that you must stop at nothing, adopt any tactic, and make common cause with any ally, no matter how noxious, in order to defeat evil.

Liberal democracy depends on a give-and-take across parties. But when you see the other side as inimically opposed to each one of your values, how can you possibly trade horses with them?

It’s not entirely the voters’ fault that they tend to see every election as monumental: We’re a country that brands anything as “historic”—from the Super Bowl to Labor Day car sales. Most of the time, though, presidential elections aren’t “historic” in the sense of defining events for years to come. They’re just referendums on a particular set of policies that, give or take, will nudge the polity in one direction or another.

I know all of that. I believe all of that.

And yet, this time, I can’t shake the feeling that the election has us on a looming precipice that’s pretty important. Historic, even.

I have a sense that if Donald Trump wins, the American project as we know it may not fully recover. The Republic will limp along, some pale echo of former glory, but it won’t ever fulfill the promise of offering “the last best hope of earth.”

So why is it that this time seems different?

The reason is actually pretty simple:

After his acquittal in the Senate, Donald Trump has fully internalized just how much the American constitutional order runs on the honor system.

And Donald Trump couldn’t care less about honor.

So he’s willing to torch the basic bargain of liberal democracy, just to get reelected: He has openly mused about postponing the election and acknowledged that he would like to defund the Post Office in order to prevent people from voting by mail, which would disenfranchise large swaths of Americans. He has said, over and over, that the election is rigged against him. He has refused to say that he will accept a loss. He’s figured out that, though he can’t use the military domestically, he can deploy various federal law enforcement agencies to assault protestors.

From his official perch in the White House, he has toyed with the idea that the opposing vice presidential nominee can’t legally run for office. He has dismissed the intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia is interfering in this election on his behalf. Meanwhile, if the lastgo around is any guide, his campaign will eagerly seek assistance from Moscow or other foreign powers. (Actually, they already have.)

Put another way:

Trump finally knows that he really does have a free hand to do whatever he likes because 40 percent of the country will support him, whether or not it’s legal.

And his responses to breaking the law have devolved from dissembling evasions or shaky rationales into—this is quite literally what his own chief of staff just said—“nobody cares.”

On top of all of this—and I didn’t even imagine this was possible—Trump and his surrogates have somehow managed to lean even further into a strategy of dehumanizing his opponents, making it all the easier to convince his supporters to permit extraordinary measures against ordinary Americans. Repeatedlychanting that Biden will “destroy suburbia” with an “invasion” doesn’t even pretend to hide the ball.

In truth, I shouldn’t be so surprised. Embracing bigotry has been Trump’s modus operandi from “Mexicans are rapists” through “ban all Muslims.” I honestly just didn’t realize it would reach this level of constant dehumanization so quickly.

These are authoritarian impulses, plain and simple, and they are dangerous precisely because they seek to undermine the social compact at the heart of liberal democracy: Even when you lose, you obey the result because the process was fair and you can try again the next round. You know your fellow Americans, your neighbors, have just as much of a right to govern the nation as you do.

But now one side is not-so-quietly saying, “Maybe not.”

With this election what’s at stake isn’t policies so much as the basic bargain that governs our political system. And for the first time in my life, I’m genuinely fearful that, should the other side win, I might not be able or allowed to right the national ship in the next election.

That’s new. That’s different.

And it’s why this really is a defining moment for the country.

My own notes:

I am a frequent international traveler. I have spent extensive amounts of time in Iceland, Italy and Germany as well as Canada. I have spent time working in Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

When I was traveling it was obvious that the USA was the envy of the world. Many people wanted to know how we would handle a situation. How our government worked. They wanted our help.

Covid19 has exposed the mean and ugly truth about our country. We have no working healthcare system. A large part of the country is not intellectually curious and denies scientific evidence when it is inconvenient.

We have seen the frustration with the authorities and the police because it is those authorities which have broken our social contract.

This all became evident today when I had a phone call from a friend in Iceland because he is worried about us.

Posted in Current events, Politics, Travel | Leave a comment

COVID cases top 5 million as Trump and his base reject experts, science

On average I spend about 3 months each year working in Europe. Mostly Italy.  I am not used to Europeans expressing concern about events in USA.  Honestly, the last time was when my wife and I were in Italy days after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Now, I am getting calls and messages from European colleagues and friends checking in. Making sure we are OK.  They do not understand how this happened to us.

  • How did wearing a mask become a political issue
  • How did social distancing become such a hot topic

Covid19 did not break our healthcare system. It exposed the cracks in it.

I have written before that it is the lack of power that some parts of society feel that pushes them to rebel against wearing masks.

Source: COVID cases top 4 million as Trump and his base reject experts, science

ROME (AP) — With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million Sunday, by far the highest of any country, the failure of the most powerful nation in the world to contain the scourge has been met with astonishment and alarm in Europe.

Perhaps nowhere outside the U.S. is America’s bungled virus response viewed with more consternation than in Italy, which was ground zero of Europe’s epidemic. Italians were unprepared when the outbreak exploded in February, and the country still has one of the world’s highest official death tolls at 35,000.

But after a strict nationwide, 10-week lockdown, vigilant tracing of new clusters and general acceptance of mask mandates and social distancing, Italy has become a model of virus containment.

“Don’t they care about their health?” a mask-clad Patrizia Antonini asked about people in the United States as she walked with friends along the banks of Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. “They need to take our precautions. … They need a real lockdown.”

Stephanie Grant, left, and Tiffany Barker joins others during an anti-mask rally Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Orem, Utah. (AP

Stephanie Grant, left, and Tiffany Barker joins others during an anti-mask rally Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Much of the incredulity in Europe stems from the fact that America had the benefit of time, European experience and medical know-how to treat the virus that the continent itself didn’t have when the first COVID-19 patients started filling intensive care units.

Yet, more than four months into a sustained outbreak, the U.S. reached the 5 million mark, according to the running count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Health officials believe the actual number is perhaps 10 times higher, or closer to 50 million, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40% of all those who are infected have no symptoms.

“We Italians always saw America as a model,” said Massimo Franco, a columnist with daily Corriere della Sera. “But with this virus we’ve discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent.”

President Donald Trump prepares to sign four executive orders during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bed

President Donald Trump prepares to sign four executive orders during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. Seizing the power of his podium and his pen, Trump on Saturday moved to bypass the nation’s elected lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and extend an expired unemployment benefit after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza hasn’t shied away from criticizing the U.S., officially condemning as “wrong” Washington’s decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization and expressing amazement at President Donald Trump’s virus response.

After Trump finally donned a mask last month, Speranza told La7 television: “I’m not surprised by Trump’s behavior now; I’m profoundly surprised by his behavior before.”

With America’s world’s-highest death toll of more than 160,000, its politicized resistance to masks and its rising caseload, European nations have barred American tourists and visitors from other countries with growing cases from freely traveling to the bloc.

France and Germany are now imposing tests on arrival for travelers from “at risk” countries, the U.S. included.

“I am very well aware that this impinges on individual freedoms, but I believe that this is a justifiable intervention,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said last week.

Passengers queue at a Corona test center at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst

Passengers queue at a Corona test center at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Mistakes were made in Europe, too, from delayed lockdowns to insufficient protections for nursing home elderly and critical shortages of tests and protective equipment for medical personnel.

The virus is still raging in some Balkan countries, and thousands of maskless protesters demanded an end to virus restrictions in Berlin earlier this month. Hard-hit Spain, France and Germany have seen infection rebounds with new cases topping 1,000 a day, and Italy’s cases inched up over 500 on Friday. Britain is still seeing an estimated 3,700 new infections daily, and some scientists say the country’s beloved pubs might have to close again if schools are to reopen in September without causing a new wave.

Europe as a whole has seen over 207,000 confirmed virus deaths, by Johns Hopkins’ count.

In the U.S., new cases are running at about 54,000 a day — an immensely high number even when taking into account the country’s larger population. And while that’s down from a peak of well over 70,000 last month, cases are rising in nearly 20 states, and deaths are climbing in most.

In contrast, at least for now Europe appears to have the virus somewhat under control.

Utah school teacher Emily Johnson protests with other teachers at the Utah State Capitol, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake

Utah school teacher Emily Johnson protests with other teachers at the Utah State Capitol, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“Had the medical professionals been allowed to operate in the States, you would have belatedly gotten to a point of getting to grips with this back in March,” said Scott Lucas, professor of international studies at the University of Birmingham, England. “But of course, the medical and public health professionals were not allowed to proceed unchecked,” he said, referring to Trump’s frequent undercutting of his own experts.

When the virus first appeared in the United States, Trump and his supporters quickly dismissed it as either a “hoax” or a virus that would quickly disappear once warmer weather arrived. At one point, Trump suggested that ultraviolet light or injecting disinfectants would eradicate the virus. (He later said he was being facetious).

Trump’s frequent complaints about Dr. Anthony Fauci have regularly made headlines in Europe, where the U.S. infectious-disease expert is a respected figure. Italy’s leading COVID-19 hospital offered Fauci a job if Trump fired him.

President Donald tours the Whirlpool Corporation in Clyde, Ohio, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald tours the Whirlpool Corporation in Clyde, Ohio, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump has defended the U.S. response, blaming China, where the virus was first detected, for America’s problems and saying the U.S. numbers are so high because there is so much testing. Trump supporters and Americans who have refused to wear masks against all medical advice back that line.

‪“There’s no reason to fear any sickness that’s out there,” said Julia Ferjo, a mother of three in Alpine, Texas, who is “vehemently” against wearing a mask. ‪Ferjo, 35, teaches fitness classes in a large gym with open doors. She doesn’t allow participants to wear masks.

‪“When you’re breathing that hard, I would pass out,” she said. “I do not want people just dropping like flies.”

And health officials watched with alarm as thousands of bikers gathered Friday in the small South Dakota city of Sturgis for an annual 10-day motorcycle rally. The state has no mask mandates, and many bikers expressed defiance of measures meant to prevent the virus’s spread.

Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who is leading a team seeking treatments for COVID-19, decried such behavior, as well as the country’s handling of the virus.

“There’s no national strategy, no national leadership, and there’s no urging for the public to act in unison and carry out the measures together,” he said. “That’s what it takes, and we have completely abandoned that as a nation.”

When he gets on Zoom calls with counterparts from around the globe, “everyone cannot believe what they’re seeing in the U.S. and they cannot believe the words coming out of the leadership,’’ he said.

Even the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has taken the unusual step of criticizing the U.S. when she urged Washington to reconsider its decision to break ties with the WHO. She also issued veiled criticism of U.S. efforts to buy up stocks of any vaccine that might prove effective, vowing the EU will work to provide access to everyone “irrespective of where they live.”

Many Europeans point proudly to their national health care systems that not only test but treat COVID-19 for free, unlike the American system, where the virus crisis has only exacerbated income and racial inequalities in obtaining health care.

“The coronavirus has brutally stripped bare the vulnerability of a country that has been sliding for years,” wrote Italian author Massimo Gaggi in his new book “Crack America” (Broken America), about U.S. problems that long predated COVID-19.

Gaggi said he started writing the book last year and thought then that the title would be taken as a provocative wake-up call. Then the virus hit.

“By March the title wasn’t a provocation any longer,” he said. “It was obvious.”

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COVID cases top 4 million as Trump and his base reject experts, science

Source: COVID cases top 4 million as Trump and his base reject experts, science

As America tops 4 million COVID cases, the cult of Donald Trump has become a death cult

People who refuse to wear a mask are bolstering their sore egos. Their national motto is not ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ it’s ‘You’re not the boss of me.’

Tom Nichols
Opinion columnist

America has now passed the milestone of 4 million COVID cases, and we’re still arguing with doctors and epidemiologists about masks and school closures. I expected some of this, because I literally wrote the book over three years ago on why so many Americans think they’re smarter than experts. What I did not expect is that this resolute and childish opposition to expertise would be hijacked by the president of the United States and an entire American political party, and then turned into a suicide cult.

It did not take a lot of foresight to know, even before the coronavirus arrived, that the United States was leaving itself vulnerable to a crisis that would require the public to trust experts. We long ago became a narcissistic nation whose citizens believe they can become competent in almost any subject by watching enough television and spending enough time on the internet. But I was certain that a true national crisis — a war, a depression, or yes, a pandemic — would snap people back to reality.

I was wrong to be so optimistic.

Endangering others as empowerment

Some states (including Rhode Island, where I live) have had great success in asking their citizens to cooperate for the common good. Other communities, unfortunately, have had to endure shouting matches with bellowing ignoramuses who think it is intolerable that they be asked to wear a mask while shopping or ordering food — two things people in other countries would gladly do wrapped in aluminum foil and with prayers of thanks on their lips if they got to do it in the United States of America.

There is no one more responsible for this particular moment than President Donald Trump, but all he has done is play to a gallery whose seats were already full by the time he ran for office. Trump appealed to a powerful sense of narcissistic grievance among millions of Americans, nurturing it and feeding it. An entire claque of enablers joined in, knowing there was plenty of money to be made feeding this self-centered, anti-social nihilism.

When the pandemic arrived, these enablers in the conservative media and among the cowardly Republican political class took their cues — masks, no masks, closing, opening — from Trump, whose statements for months were a fusillade of nonsense that reflected only his own pouty anger that Mother Nature had the sheer brass to mess up his presidential grift.

Michigan United for Liberty protesters at the state Capitol in Lansing on April 30, 2020.

Not all of those who have been reckless and irresponsible are Trump supporters. There are, as always, young people who believe they are invincible. And some experts inflicted a huge wound on themselves right in the middle of this crisis by blessing the Black Lives Matter protests rather than repeating stern warnings they gave to other Americans that such events are dangerous.

But the Americans who are now driving the pandemic are not sudden skeptics about masks or distancing or expert opinion because of street protests. Some of them reject expertise because of the previous “failures” of experts. This is always one of the reflexive explanations for the refusal to listen to the educated and experienced. Expert failures are real and happen every day, but the people who sullenly refuse to wear a mask during a pandemic are not doing so because the United States failed to find Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, or because the housing market crashed in 2008.

Non es dominus meus,

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Opinion | If you aren’t filled with rage at Trump, you aren’t paying attention – The Washington Post

The Plum Line

Opinion

If you aren’t filled with rage at Trump, you aren’t paying attention

Let me take you for a moment to a fantasy land. In this place, the coronaviruspandemic was bad for a couple of months but now it is largely under control. If you lived there you’d still be a little uncertain about going to a concert or a movie, but your life would have largely returned to normal.

You wouldn’t have lost your job; the government would have had a comprehensive support program that kept unemployment low. You’d be able to see your family and friends without fear. Your children would be returning to school in September. There would be some precautions to take for a while longer, but there would be no doubt that the pandemic was on its way to being defeated.

To us here in the United States, this picture seems magical, like a dispatch from the far future. But it isn’t. It’s the situation that exists right now in many of our peer countries around the world. And the fact that our situation is so different? That shouldn’t just make you feel disappointed, or anxious, or upset.

It should make you enraged. That is the proper response to where we find ourselves today.

Let’s begin with the situation in other countries. Here are new case totals from Monday for a few of our peer countries:

  • France: 580
  • UK: 564
  • Spain: 546
  • Germany: 365
  • Canada: 299
  • Japan: 259
  • Italy: 200
  • Australia: 158
  • South Korea: 52

And the United States? 55,300.

Some of these countries were in extremely bad shape for a time, but with sane leadership and a population willing to work together, they’re in the process of defeating the pandemic. But not us.

There are many reasons we have experienced this catastrophe (and it quickly became two catastrophes, an economic crisis added to the public health crisis), but one stands above all others: President Trump.

Is there a single aspect of his response to this pandemic that has not been a miserable failure? For weeks he ignored warnings and denied that the pandemic would be a problem. He didn’t prepare the equipment and systems we’d need to respond.

We have no national testing strategy — still! There is no national contact tracing program. Trump turned over the effort to coordinate the distribution of supplies to his incompetent dolt of a son-in-law. He responded to efforts by governors to impose strong lockdowns by berating them and calling for their states to be “liberated.” For months he not only refused to wear a mask but also belittled those who did, successfully turning a vital public health tool into a polarized political issue.

And he demanded that everyone around him echo his insane claims that everything is under control and the pandemic is being vanquished. It was a month ago that Vice President Pence pathetically proclaimed that “we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” and the administration’s great success was “cause for celebration.”

And now, rather than working harder to contain the pandemic, the White House has begun a furious campaign to discredit the federal government’s chief infectious-disease specialist, Anthony S. Fauci, who has had the temerity to admit that things aren’t going well. Trump himself has clearly decided that he’s bored of worrying about the pandemic, so he’ll stop trying to do anything about it. With over 135,000 Americans dead and counting.

How can you look at what has happened to us and not be enraged?

Just consider the economy: the tens of millions of people unemployed, the millions who have lost health coverage, the tens of thousands of businesses going under, the tens of millions of people who could soon be evicted. None of it had to happen. In other countries it hasn’t. But it happened to us.

Or think of the millions of children who will wind up losing a year or maybe more of their lives, without the opportunity to be educated, to build and sustain friendships, to just be kids.

Even if you’re lucky enough not to have gotten sick or lost a loved one, you’re the victim of a robbery. Trump stole so much from all of us — our time with friends and family, our mental health, even our faith that our country could meet a challenge.

Anger is often toxic in our political lives. But there are times when our leaders — or in this case, one leader in particular — ought to be the target of every bit of anger we can muster. To give him anything less is an affront to the truth. To let our anger dissipate into a miserable resignation is to give him a kind of forgiveness he doesn’t deserve.

Before the pandemic, Trump was one of the worst presidents in our history. But now he has laid waste to our country, with his unique combination of incompetence and malevolence — and he’s not done yet. Once we finally rid ourselves of him, it will take years to recover. But as we do, we should never for a moment forget what he was and what he did to us. And we should never stop being angry about it.

Source: Opinion | If you aren’t filled with rage at Trump, you aren’t paying attention – The Washington Post

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Trump may be no good at leading America – but he’s really, really good at lying

Source: Trump may be no good at leading America – but he’s really, really good at lying | US politics | The Guardian

Trump may be no good at leading America – but he’s really, really good at lying

Richard Wolffe

US credibility has been contorted to protect the feelings of one man-child. No wonder he finds Anthony Fauci so offensive

Anthony Fauci and Donald Trump at a White House coronavirus response briefing, 17 April 2020

It’s outrageous to say that Donald Trump is good at nothing.

He may be no good at leading the country through a pandemic and recession. He may be no good at healing a nation that is deeply scarred by racist power. He may be no good at diplomacy with his allies, or even recognisingAmerica’s enemies for what they are.

But he is really, really good at lying. An Olympic-standard, Guinness Book of Records fabricator of falsehoods. He regurgitates lies as rapidly and copiously as Joey Chestnut swallows hotdogs.

Trump represents the historic high-water mark for verbal cheating, which is surely the only part of his short legacy that will feature in US history exams in 2030.

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Dilbert’s Scott Adams is the prototypical Trump fan | Eclectablog

Source: Dilbert’s Scott Adams is the prototypical Trump fan | Eclectablog

Dilbert’s Scott Adams is the prototypical Trump fan

Rich, whiny, with an unconscionable grudge against women and minorities

Imagine after staking out a very successful career peddling flabby, relatable office humor when you dare to announce that you’ve made the discovery of a lifetime. You — a trained hypnotist and heretofore unacknowledged Master Persuader — have spotted a gifted manipulator whose Persuasion skills may even exceed your own.

You go all in. When everyone still thinks the whole thing is a joke to sell steaks or timeshares, you say, “This genius, my genius, could be president.”

Because most people think your genius is vile and you love to troll, you argue that you’re not actually going to vote for the guy. You just have so much game that you are obligated to recognize game.

And then? Your genius wins. Sort of.

Wow. Score. His genius vouches for your genius. And versa vice. You write books taking all the credit yet none, because you’re just Boswelling your genius’ Johnson.

But it doesn’t end there, you keep creating your comic, which has been running on autopilot since Windows 2000, but now you’re able to get on Fox News for your gifts related Persuasion. Somehow this turns into you defending everything awful your genius does, pioneering the approach of calling any news that’s bad for your genius a “hoax.”

Smart. Because if you admit that this genius is only president because of a world historically bad memo from the FBI Director, lots of help from Vladimir Putin, and heinous voter suppression made possible by a gutting of the Voting Rights Act, you’re not a genius anymore.

Think about it. If you admit that you backed a guy who calls neo-Nazis and Klan members “very fine people,” your fandom just looks gross. If your whole thing is Persuasion, who is being Persuaded a the president of the United States standing up for racists who chased a congregation out the back door of a synagogue because they love Confederate statues so much?

Or maybe none of this is an accident.

Maybe there’s a reason you were so turned on by the world’s most famous birther, a clown who called for the execution of five innocent black teenagers for sport, a network TV star accused of more than a dozen sexual assaults, a walking trust fund who spent his career dependent on undocumented labor and immigrant wives yet decided to smear immigrants to death for some political advantage.

Maybe you see yourself in a world-class bullshitter and aspiring totalitarian who wandered into George Wallace’s central epiphany, “The whole United States is Southern!”

Maybe, it turns out, you’re nearly as furious at women and minorities as Donald Trump is.

This the story of Dilbert’s the very divorced Scott Adams’ love affair with Donald Trump.

It’s the story of a rich dude settling a score against non-white males. Why? They were in his way.

Adams was born into the one generation where something was being to done to overcome the tremendous advantages white males in America have long taken for granted. So he has a score to settle. And like millions of other older, whiter, richer males, he is doing it through Donald Trump.

I admit it, I was very intrigued by Scott Adam’s Persuasion grift in 2017. It fed into the notion pushed by many messaging experts on the left — including George Lakoff and Anat Shenker-Osorio — that Republicans’ electoral success — despite the awfulness of their policies and brand — relies on successful framing and repetition of said framing.

I read Adams’ Twitter feed, listened to him on podcasts, studied his feed. I mostly ignored his need to tell the story again and again how he’d left a previous job because he’d been informed that as a white male, he could never advance any further in the company. But I didn’t process him as someone driven by a racist grudge, even when he gave comfort to Trump giving comfort to neo-Nazis. But recently, since the murder of George Floyd, the grudge has been impossible to miss. Mostly because he keeps pinning it to the top of his feed.

Adams has made his insistence that systemic racism doesn’t exist and his perceived beef about affirmative action a centerpiece of his simpering.

Maybe he’s doing this because there currently aren’t many or any examples of Donald Trump’s genius Persuasion to Trump up these days. Or maybe he just has a grudge he’s playing out in public to the pleasure of leagues of older, whiter dudes who — like Donald Trump — imagine their lives would be so much easier if they’d been born non-white non-males.

Of course, Adams’ creation myth drips with the milky condensation of white privilege. Maybe was really too white, too male to succeed in his field, unlike the 89-90 percent of CEOs who are white males. Maybe his boss was trying to let him down easy. Maybe he just made up a story that justifies the rest of his life.

Regardless, in his own story, he was “told” why his career was stalled — a luxury few minorities or women ever get.

The ways that black people are held back in America aren’t disclosed by a supervisor. One study found that African-Americans who simply “whitened” their names improved their ability to just get job interviews. Minority students are far more likely to attend worse schools, generally because those schools often receive less funding and are expected to fix poverty. And their families start off with far less wealth that would put them in the position to make up for the lack of advantages they get when it comes to education or connections. Because even when black people get college degrees, they’re still twice as likely to be unemployed as all other college graduates.

If you don’t believe that the overwhelming evidence that shows systemic racism exists, if you don’t believe black Americans start with less and face more obstacles, you have to argue that black people are either inherently lazier or less capable than white Americans. In other words, you’re a racist — no matter how many times you quote the one line from a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech that you know.

Adams’ refusal to acknowledge any racism that isn’t explicitly wearing a Klan hood isn’t novel. Nor is his grudge against any effort to rectify historic bias. It’s the basis of the modern conservative movement and the prevailing view of the five Republicans on the Supreme Court. It’s the dog whistle that Republicans have used to undermine  anything our government does to help working people, while letting rich people loot us to their heart’s content.

You can see why he thinks Trump is so damn Persuasive.

And you can see why guys like Trump and Adams have a existential interest in pretending white privilege does not exist.

They want to pretend their advantages were disadvantages. And Adams needs to justify supporting a racist president who has led America into the worst response to a public health crisis in at least a century and the greatest job losses in the history of the country — at the same time.

If you deny racism exists, you don’t just get to justify lathering Trump for a living, you can pretend birtherism was a healthy way to bring citizens into the political process, ignoring the obvious racism of humiliating and undermining a non-white president by questioning his essential American-ness with the demand made to runaway slaves, Jews in Nazi Germany, and refugees everywhere: “Show me your papers.”

There is something to the argument against white privilege.

Race doesn’t actually doesn’t exist. It was an social construction created largely to justify and perpetuate chattel slavery. In that system all white people — whether they owned slaves or not — were endowed with with a participation prize for not appearing black. The creation of whiteness was, essentially, as a privilege.

But Adams has no interest in seeing anything that questions his myth that despite the racism he endured, he overcame the odds with pluck. Instead, who calls anyone who doubts his belief that anything that aspires to correcting historical injustices is oppression to him a “racist.” Apparently, he does believe in racism, against him.

There’s nothing new about white dudes crying, “That’s racist!” It’s standard “Racist Theater,” as described by Ian Haney López.

And as the dead bodies and job losses pile up from Covid-19, “That’s racist!” has become the central schtick of Tucker Carlson and, of course, Donald Trump.

Of course, what Adams is preaching isn’t even Persuasion — it’s compliance gaining.

“There’s an important difference between persuasion and forced compliance,” writes Jennifer Mercieca, an expert on Trump’s rhetoric and author of Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump. “Persuasion is democratic; it requires consent. Compliance is authoritarian; it is a kind of force.”

And as far as politicking goes, it’s not great either.A former political consultant who has helped design communication strategy for several major winning campaigns told me, “I bet he couldn’t manage a city council campaign.”

But I bet Adams wouldn’t want to mess in actual politics.

Wanting credit for things you haven’t done is the essence of privilege. He recognizes that takes a remarkable amount of work for very little influence. Pontificating on the internet, as I well know, takes almost no work. Stapling yourself to the biggest popular vote loser elected in 140 years, the only president elected by inviting the help of a foreign power and the most corrupt failure to ever hold the office is bet. And there’s no reason to back off now, given the horrors  you’ve already backed.

There are people who liked the Dilbert cartoon who are very bummed by Adams’ heel turn. They thought the comic was about mocking managerial incompetence and unearned arrogance. But now Adams is John the Baptist for the clearest example of managerial incompetence and unearned arrogance in human history.

And that’s the sad punchline.

You spend your whole life mocking the management only to reveal your main beef with the boss was that he wasn’t racist or misogynistic enough to give you the promotion you probably didn’t deserve.

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