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Thoughts on Events the Week of September 14

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 23, 2020

RBG – RIP: Justice Ginsberg died. She was a force. We are lucky to have had her.

I hoped Ginsberg would survive until the next administration, because her passing is going to unleash a storm of hypocrisy the likes of which we haven’t seen even in Washington.

The Republicans, led by Moscow Mitch McConnell, who denied President Obama from naming a new Justice to replace Scalia eleven months from the next presidential election, are now screaming that a new Justice must be selected immediately, less than two months out from the 2020 election.

This hypocrisy goes both ways. The Democrats who insisted, rightly, that Obama should be allowed to replace Scalia immediately, are now saying the Senate should wait until the next election before replacing Ginsberg.

Should the Democrats get their way? Will two wrongs make a right? Or should Republicans be allowed to appoint the next Justice?

Of the two options, in the interest of intellectual honesty and respect for the Constitution, the Constitution language should prevail. The president should be allowed to propose a nominee. Perhaps then, the Senate can return to normal practice, not that I’m optimistic this will ever happen with Moscow Mitch in charge.

That said, Democrats should be sure the public knows what’s at stake here, and perhaps a public outcry will put some pressure on some Republican Senators. They are a cowardly bunch, and there’s nothing a politician fears more than a voter. Perhaps they will have second thoughts.

And should the Republicans prevail on the appointment but lose the Senate in the November election, the Democrats should take vicious revenge. Unlike Trump, they must represent all the voters, but they should make the lives of Republican Senators a living hell.

I’m not sure if the Court can be saved at this point, or how to fix it. The Court is already severely damaged, but the drama that is about to unfold could ruin the Court irreparably, which, as I think about it, may not be a completely bad thing. I can remember when we chose the best legal minds we could find to be on the Court. Now, it’s finding the most baldly partisan. Tom Cotton? Really?

The fights over the Court have warped our entire justice system and elevated the subject of abortion to the level of slavery prior to the Civil War, which is nuts. Maybe we should let an ultra-conservative Court run amok for a while and see the response from the other branches. History tells us that when the Court gets too far behind the public will, it is in danger of losing all its credibility, and backs down.

Who’s crazy now?: Michael Caputo, a Trump minion who, like most, is unqualified for his position, lost his mind publicly on color TV, spouting crazy talk. Shortly thereafter, Caputo took a leave of absence until his sanity returns or hell freezes over, whichever comes later.

But the irony here, which seems to be lost on many, is that when Caputo was talking crazy, he sounded just like Trump and was saying the same things Trump says. So, who’s the crazy one? The one who says crazy stuff because he sees the boss doing it and wants to please him by emulating him, or Trump himself? Don’t answer; it’s a rhetorical question.

Kabuki in the Middle East: The Trump administration announced breakthrough agreements that Israel reached with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This was not a breakthrough, but a coming out of the closet. These two Arab countries have been cooperating with Israel for quite a while, because they have a shared perceived enemy in Iran and because they no longer trust the U.S.

What these agreements do reveal is that Arab countries don’t give a rodent’s rectum about the Palestinians, who were thrown under the bus with this agreement. But then they never did. They just used the Palestinians’ plight and their alleged support of it to distract their own citizens from their poor governance.

Worst state: Kansas, who birthed the pompous whale Mike Pompeo, who told the United Nations it should sanction Iran for violating the terms of an agreement with America that America itself opted out of. Not even the U.N could stomach that hypocrisy.

Thoughts on Football – Week One

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 17, 2020

College Football: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners took care of business Saturday and looked good doing it, as did West Virginia and Texas. The rest of the Big XII teams playing this first weekend – Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas – laid big eggs against their respective tomato can opponents. (Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech were idle.)

This is typically a weekend when big schools invite smaller ones they can beat easily for a warmup before their conference schedules begin, and the small schools come because they get a big paycheck for it. However, for the three humiliated teams, it was like Nero threw Christians into the arena with lions and the Christians ate the lions. How embarrassing for the conference.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys: How do you like the new look Cowboys? Looked like the old look Cowboys to me, including widespread underperformance, predictable play calling, injuries at center linebacker, and a coach dumb enough to coach his team right out of a potential win.

First, the play calling. I was slack jawed when Dallas kept Kellen Moore around as offensive coordinator. When you have a staff as stained as Jason Garrett’s, you have to excise the entire thing. Moore is just another Garrett, and he called the game like Garrett Sunday night. Amazing.

One more time, here’s how to call offensive signals broadly, per Norv Turner, the best OC Dallas ever had: On first down, be unpredictable – 50/50 pass/rush. If successful, keep being unpredictable. If only short yardage gained, run the ball to try to shorten the yardage needed for a third down pass, which will probably be necessary. If you get a third and short, continue being unpredictable, unless you have Zeke Elliott. Wait, we do! We can run with confidence of getting a first down. What’s so complicated about that? Oh, the unpredictable part. It’s not in Garrett, not Moore.

Now, the coaching. Mike McCarthy is a believer in metrics, and he is a believer that most NFL coaches are too conservative too much of the time. I agree with him on both counts. But there are times when the right call is glaringly obvious, and McCarthy blew the most important one of these.

With 11+ plus minutes to go in the game, trailing by three points and with a short field but a fairly long fourth down, McCarthy eschewed the field goal and went for it, which failed, and the ball went over to the Rams.

This was inconceivably stupid. Dallas went chasing those points desperately for the rest of the game. If they had kicked the field goal, it would have tied the game and put the pressure back on LA, and the Rams would be chasing points. I expected Dallas to lose this game, but I didn’t expect them to give it away.

So, here we go again: underperforming players, predictable play calling, poor coaching and without our center linebacker. Could we be looking at another 8-8?

Belichick v. Brady: In the grudge match that this season has become between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the player won the first round on points, 3-2. The Patriots won their game with Cam Newton (congratulations, Cam), and Brady’s Buccaneers lost to a very good team, perhaps the best they will face all season.

But in the tie breaker, The San Francisco 49ers, quarterbacked by Jimmy Garoppolo, for whom Belichick wanted to release Brady and to take over at QB in New England, lost to a spunky Arizona Cardinals team led by Kyler Murray. Garoppolo looked shaky, which made coach Belichick look not so prescient.

Arizona Cardinals: Speaking of the Cardinals, they took a step forward by signing DeAndre Hopkins and giving Murray another quality receiver. Hopkins lit it up Sunday and made Phoenix appreciably better. Now, they just need some more linemen on both sides of the ball.

Miscellany: Cleveland, and Baker Mayfield, are still struggling, and Kansas City is not. The Chiefs looked in midseason form in their opener. And, since the rich get richer, as the Super Bowl winner and so having the very last pick of the first round in the draft, KC struck gold with running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who looked like an all pro in his first game.

Aaron Rodgers looked good for Green Bay and most of the rest of the teams looked like teams usually do for the first game, including the referee crews. The better ones generally won, the lesser ones generally lost, and they all looked a little rusty. This is to be expected, especially with the odd preseason protocols required due to Covid-19.

Thoughts on Events the Week of September 7

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 16, 2020

Covid-19: Trump is on tape telling Bob Woodward how easily the virus is transmitted airborne, and that it is seriously deadly, while he was telling us not to bother wearing masks and the virus is no big deal and will go away soon, harmlessly.

This is a blatant abuse of his office for partisan political purposes. He misled the American people to catastrophe, without a thought to our lives.

Some are criticizing the journalist for not telling us what Trump told him as soon as he heard it, to which I say lay off Woodward. This criticism is misplaced. Woodward’s job is to sell books. It’s Trump’ job to protect us. Who did the better job?

I do not think for a minute that this revelation will shatter Trump’s base. They are solid as a block of granite. And twice as smart. But I think it will chase more voters away from him at the margins.

What I do expect, in fact am counting on, is that people will get into the voting booth and realize how exhausted they are from four years of Trump’s chaos, lies, vulgarity and plain mismanagement, not to mention corruption beginning with him and down through his entire administration, and deciding they can’t take another four years of it. It used to be we wouldn’t put up with this nonsense. I hope we will make a major correction this November.

National Deception Director: The Director of Homeland Security reportedly ordered that intelligent reports be withheld from states and local communities, Congress, the press, and sometimes even the president, because the news upsets him.

If this is the case, what’s the point of having a DHS? It’s a bloated bureaucracy that that has been completely politicized and corrupted and is only gumming up the works. Tear it down.

Benefit of incumbency: Trump wants desperately to hold onto Florida in the election – without it, he is toast – so he is doing them favors, or at least is trying to appear to. He extended the ban on offshore drilling around Florida, which will please its residents, though was an unnecessary gesture. The current ban runs years longer, and it would have been extended when the subject next came up.

On a related note, Trump also announced he is drawing down 3,000 more troops from Afghanistan, another empty gesture. Trump has said he would get us out of Afghanistan but has done little to nothing about it throughout his term until this symbolic, political move . And even with this drawdown, we still have thousands of troops there. This was another feint to give the appearance of action.

Worst state: The worst state this week, hands down, was Wisconsin (which is not even on the worst state list), due to its odious voter suppression shenanigans, abetted by a blatantly partisan Supreme Court. So, the usual suspects get a pass this week.

(Note: I never thought I would say this, but if Wisconsin keeps it up, they may have to be Considered for the worst state list. A once progressive state with good education standards, it has become an embarrassment to democratic governance.)

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 31

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 7, 2020

Joe Biden’s Speech: Biden followed up his acceptance speech with another excellent one, I thought, in which he calmly, clearly, and persuasively debunked every one of Trump’s present lies and smears against him. When Biden was finished, Trump’s boxer shorts were down around his ankles and his, er, inadequacies fully exposed.

I’m not certain why Trump lies and smears as excessively as he does. Speculation includes that he is such a pathological liar that he doesn’t know how to tell the truth. Since most of his smears of others are actually reflections of his own character flaws, perhaps he is just trying to shrug them off of himself to preserve his fragile psyche. But I think he recognizes that his true self is so despicable that he must pollute our minds with distractions to hide who he knows he really is. For this, he seems to have a true gift, his only one.

Trump v. Military. Spoiler alert: Trump loses: Trump stepped into a hot mess messing with the military, deliciously for telling the truth for once, though at the wrong places at the wrong times. People who were willing to admit it overheard him.

Trump loves the trappings of being Commander in Chief, just not anything having to do with the responsibility for actual military leadership. He is especially averse to dealing with gravely wounded vets, whose wounds are considerably more serious than bone spurs.

I’ll skip over many of the president’s smears of the military and its members to the one when, it is reliably reported, he called soldiers who fought in Vietnam (my generation’s war) “suckers,” and wondered aloud why they would have done it. Well, most of them were drafted, that’s why, something Trump was able to evade.

Trump is correct that Vietnam was a stupid, stupid war. I opposed it then and I still hate it now. I would have gone to Canada before Vietnam, though fortunately I didn’t have to. But I would never denigrate those people who did go, either because they had to or wanted to. (My charity does not extend to the military and political leadership at the time. Any still living should be hanging by their scrotums in a dungeon somewhere.)  

Trump’s base may be willing to excuse even this, but I sense this offense is different, and if not his base, many others are noticing.

Don’t vote, but if you do, vote often: Trump has proposed that North Carolina voters vote twice. Seriously, as part of his campaign to try to delegitimize mail in voting, Trump said that voters in North Carolina should vote once by mail and then in person, to test his premise that mail in voting is ripe for fraud.

Both ideas – mail in voter fraud and voting twice are so stupid, and the latter so illegal, they expose Trump’s incurious mind and tenuous connection to common sense, not to mention our laws.  

By the way, you low functioning moron of a president, the specific reason for expanding mail in voting during in this unique voting cycle, though smart anytime, is precisely so people won’t have to go to the polls and risk exposure to Covid-19. Asking voters to go to a poll after they have voted safely by mail is not only stupid, but chillingly cynical.

Evidence that Trump isn’t the least serious about this is that he suggests an exception – Florida – whose voters should be able to vote by mail because it has a Republican governor and Trump wants to vote by mail there himself. What a putz.

Trump doesn’t care that it makes infinite sense to expand mail in voting in the age of Covid-19. Also, he doesn’t seem to care that his idea throws vulnerable Colorado Senator Corey Gardner under the bus because most Colorado voters already do vote this way. Trump just wants to distract with shocking, moronic statements.

But even worse than Trump, AG Barr is such an ass kissing sycophant that when asked, our nation’s top justice official could not acknowledge that voting more than once in the same election is a felony. He gurgled that he wasn’t familiar with North Carolina law. Wolf Blitzer had to remind him that voting more than once in the same election is illegal in any election, period, from local to state to federal ones. What a putz.

Worst state: We have a winner this week – Arizona, my own personal state at present. Arizona wins because a rather large group of socially distancing-averse students at Arizona State University held a rally to raise money for the legal defense of the total wingnut 17-year-old who shot and killed two protesters recently.

These students are presumably among Arizona’s best and brightest. What does that say about us? Don’t be too confident that Arizona is about to turn purple in November. Maybe for Kelly over McSally, but beyond that, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 24

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 1, 2020

Republican National Convention: I watched even less of this convention than the Democratic one, because I have a weak stomach and because I knew I would get plenty of coverage by MSNBC. Here are a few takeaways:

This convention resembled more conventional ones in that there were events with crowds packed together and maskless for the president’s speech, endangering themselves and those with whom they will come in contact, and setting a bad example for the nation. If at this point you are this obtuse, you deserve what’s coming to you.

It differed from others in that speakers said the opposition would flat out literally destroy the country. I’ve never heard language like that from a sitting president.

It also differed in that Trump and most of the other speakers said that what was happening in the country now is all Biden’s fault, apparently hoping we wouldn’t notice that Trump is the incumbent and has been in office the last several years. How can one be in office for four years and claim not to have had anything to do with what has happened during that time, including some spectacular executive branch failures?

I was happy to hear from Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow that Covid-19 has been eradicated. I was concerned about the pandemic. I was surprised to learn, however, that it was eradicated so long ago that many in the Trump administration seemed never to even have heard of it. “What pandemic?” seemed to be the theme of the convention.

I was intrigued by the Republican platform, which boils down to “whatever Trump wants.” There is no platform. It’s just every Trump whim or impulse. What could possibly go wrong? There hasn’t been anything like this since the Know Nothing Party of 1854-56. The membership of this short-lived party were ignorant bigots and xenophobes, too. How can Republican leaders look at themselves in the mirror?

It was unprecedented, but not surprising that Trump appeared on all four nights of the convention. Not only must Trump be in front of the camera, he can’t stand for anyone else to be in front of it.

I didn’t listen to Trump’s speech, but I heard excerpts. I don’t think I could have stayed awake for more than an hour of that flat monotone voice Trump uses when he is reading from a teleprompter. He is a remedial reader.

As disgusted as I was by this event, I have no doubt that some of his disillusioned base will return and that the race will tighten. This is the way of conventions. But I don’t see suburban women returning. I hope I’m right. After 2016, they still owe us one.

Violence in the streets: It is extremely important to differentiate between protesting, a form of speech protected by the Constitution and looting and rioting, which are crimes. Protests, crimes. Protests, crimes. You see the difference, don’t you? It’s important that everyone does.  

While we’re on the subject of rioting versus protest, what sane society would allow protestors and rioters to be in the same space carrying firearms? It’s asking for easily avoided disaster.

Violation of institutional norms: Why are we even talking about this? Trump breaks actual laws! Why would he have any respect for traditions, rules, or norms? We should stop wringing our hands every time Trump drops a turd in the punchbowl of protocol and focus on his crimes only. Hammer them. They are what really count.

Worst state: What, are the crimes and misdemeanors of the national government not enough for you?

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 17

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 28, 2020

Democratic National Convention: I usually consume these conventions like I do other political events and books: skip them and pick up the highlights on the news. But I watched some of this one because I was curious how they would handle the new challenges of a virtual convention. On the whole, I thought they did a competent, even creative job. They certainly put on a responsible convention in the age of Covid-19, setting a good example for the country.

My favorite virtual event was when they canvased their delegation by state to hear the votes for the various nominees, though this year there were only two:  Biden and Bernie. There was a camera crew in each state where a spokesman gave their respective tallies and a brief pitch for their state. My favorite was the calamari served up in Rhode Island. Did you know Rhode Island was the major player in calamari? Neither did I.

It was charming and more interesting than the typical shouting from the convention floor. I hope future convention consider doing this.

However, the most poignant moment in the convention for me, even more than the brave, stuttering boy who was befriended by Biden, a former stutterer, was the speech by President Obama. It brought tears to my eyes to be reminded what a president should look like and behave.

Steve Bannon got busted: And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow. But his arrest raises a question I have posed before: are all people who come into the administration crooks, or do some become crooks when they get there? Channeling Forrest Gump, I would say both, maybe.

Most are already crooks. Trump doesn’t really seem to know many people who are not. But some are mere venal people of poor character who, when they see the president breaking the law, think it is okay for them to do it too. Either way, they’re pretty much all crooks. Everyone and everything that Trump comes in contact with is diminished.

Worst state: I haven’t paid the least attention to what any of these states were doing when actual statesmen and women were on the national stage this week.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 10

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 17, 2020

Kamala Harris: Joe Biden selected Senator Harris (D-CA) to be his running mate. Harris was my first choice and my first guess who he would select. She checks all the boxes.

I usually don’t favor U.S. Senators for higher office because the Senate hasn’t functioned properly for two decades, and senators have lost touch with how to govern responsibly. But Harris has executive experience as Attorney General of California, a big job.

I think Trump is rightly afraid of Harris. She’s a strong woman, and all strong women scare him. (Can you see Harris letting Trump, or Pence, stalk her across the stage like Hillary did?)

Given the political and demographic landscape, I think that with this nomination, Harris becomes the likely first women president, and a lot of other firsts, including the first women candidate to wipe up the floor with Mike Pence in the VP debate and leave him crying for Mother.

Amazon Cabinet: Looking over the finalists for the VP nomination, I am struck by what an impressive group of women they are. Ditto some of the men in the list of primary contenders. I think many will have a bigger future in the Democratic Party, some quite soon.

You’ve heard of Andrew Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet,” but how about a Biden Amazon Cabinet? These women are so impressive I can imagine them filling up most of the posts in Biden’s administration.

I expect to see Susan Rice there as Secretary of State or National Security Advisor and I would love to see Elizabeth Warren become Secretary of the Treasury so I can watch bankers cry for their mamas. Tammy Duckworth as Secretary of the Army? Make Bernie Secretary of Education, a position from which he can work on his dream of free, quality education for everyone.

As for Director of Homeland Security, I would choose no one. Break it back into its original parts, discarding a whole lot of bureaucracy, and put competent leaders in each one. Biden has a deep bench from which to choose.

USPS BS: President Trump is trying to strangle the Post Office Department to suppress mail-in voting. This is worse than garden variety voter suppression, odious as that is. This is an insult to the Constitution, and the sleep of reason among Republicans.

In our present circumstances, a healthy, functioning democracy would be investment spending like crazy on the USPS to expand its capabilities, at least temporarily, to handle the anticipated surge in mail in voting during a pandemic. Instead, we’re doing just the opposite.

It is jaw dropping how much damage Trump seems willing to visit on the Constitution and American citizens to win an election. He has vowed to veto any Covid-19 relief package that includes money for the Post Office or to help states prepare for increased mail in voting.

Hypocrisy abounds as Trump says mail-in voting is OK in Florida where he votes because it has a Republican governor, and that he plans to vote there using a mail-in ballot. In other words, he gets to do it, but he doesn’t want anybody else to do it.

Trump seems not to realize that his own voters are voters too, and many of them may be as worried about in person voting as Democratic voters just now. I’m surprised that other Republican elected politicians haven’t pointed this out to him.

I don’t know how this is going to be resolved, but I think this puts Republican legislators in a bad fix. Trump has positioned himself, and therefore Republicans, as the obstacles to any relief package, and as the ones endangering voters’ lives. I don’t think it’s going to sit very well with voters. It will be interesting to see what Republicans hear from voters about this over their fall break.

Birther Redux: President Trump paused from playing his racist and xenophobic cards for a moment and played his misogynist card against Harris (Trump only has three cards to play), but I don’t think it’s going to stick. We’ve all seen these tropes before, and they are becoming shopworn. And I sure don’t think it’s going to help his standing with suburban women.

Football: I don’t think there is going to be college football this fall, and I’m doubtful about pro ball. I think the NFL will try to start a season, but I expect it to have to end due to Covid-19. It’s a personal loss, because I love football, so one of the myriad reasons I hate Trump as our president is that if he had addressed the virus properly the first time, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Worst State: There’s been so much national news – good and bad – this week that I haven’t had time to check the usual suspects for malfeasance, so they all get a pass this week.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 3

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 11, 2020

TikTok: I don’t know much about this social media website, other than that it is wildly popular among young teenagers. On it, they post and share amateur videos. This fact renders Trump’s stated reason for threatening to ban it particularly stupid, and almost certainly disingenuous. One of these days, the Republican Party is going to need voters who are not pasty old white guys. Banning TikTok risks alienating younger voters before they are even eligible to vote.

Trump says he’s worried that China will be able to hack these teenagers’ private information. What Trump doesn’t understand is that China already has this information, because teenagers give their private information away indiscriminately already. You don’t have to hack to get it. The difficulty is getting teens to shut up about it. Like it or not, and I don’t, this younger generation has a vastly different take on privacy than previous ones.

No, I suspect Trump is upset because a Chinese company developed it, thus demonstrating that they know what they are doing. The poor man has TikTok envy, perhaps the only adult in the world who does, with the exception of Mark Zuckerberg, who now is facing some stiff potential competition.

Trump now is threatening to ban all Chinese companies from selling communications technology in America. The Chinese claim, rightly, that this is mere garden variety protectionism. Trump is trying to set up his own Smoot-Hawley Act specifically against China. We know how well Smoot-Hawley worked during the Great Depression; It exacerbated it

Novel Coronavirus: I’ve heard this term used as a name for Covid-19. It has too many syllables to become popular, but I like it as a description because it informs why there is so much confusion about it.

Covid-19 arrived brand new. We didn’t know anything about it. It was inevitable that starting from scratch with our knowledge of Covid-19, mistakes would be made about, which would be corrected as we gathered more data. We learn as we go. Well, everyone but Trump, who has sung the happy tune regardless of what the experts are able to learn. Trump is impervious to facts.

Stock market: There is a simile about addicts that they are like a person with two broken legs. You can lift them up, but when you let go, they fall down again. The only remedy is to let the legs heal so the addict can walk on his or her own again.

This analogy could also be applied to the stock market. The reasons the stock market is standing up while the rest of the economy is falling down, hard, is that Congress and the Fed are holding it up. This can’t go on forever, and eventually, and sooner rather than later, I think, the stock market is going to fall down.

Disclaimer: I have never understood the stock market, even when I was more heavily engaged in it, so my thoughts could be all wet. It is said that stock buyers buy on promise and sell on data. I don’t understand why, looking at the facts in front of us now, anybody is still buying on promise.

My biggest take away from the stock market’s performance – that it is going up while the rest of the economy is going to hell – is that the stimulus efforts are helping the wrong people, those who need it the least, and not the people who need it. In my view, the Fed tries to help the banks and Congress tries to help its wealthy donors, which is why there are always loopholes in legislation that allow the rich to get the biggest bite of everything.

(Am I a populist? Yes, and many other things.)

USPS: Broadly speaking, I am more sanguine about the upcoming election than many others, for a number of reasons including that Trump has been a disaster of a president, and a large majority of the voting population knows it. (Spoiler alert: I was certain Clinton would win in 2016.)

And I don’t worry about the Post Office doing its job very much. Post Office employees despise Trump, and if the mail is slowed down, I’ll bet a paycheck the postal carriers will see that mail-in ballots will be delivered timely – going and coming – even if they have to kick everything else to the curb for a while. The mail is already backed up anyway.

Covid 19: It doesn’t take a medical expert or a statistician to see that the U.S. has the worst record against this virus among advanced countries (Apparently, we’re not as advanced as we think we are). Trump carries on about absolute numbers, which he clearly doesn’t understand, and uses them to lie about how we are doing. But the numbers are only meaningful if they are calibrated on a per capita basis.

For instance, the states with the largest number of cases are California, New York, Texas and Florida. Well, duh. These are states with the largest populations. But on a per capita basis, things look different.

For instance, Arizona, my personal state, with a sparse population, ranks 22 in most Covid-19 cases, in the middle of the pack. But on a per capita basis, Arizona ranks 3rd! (Arizona’s governor wants kids back in school despite this deplorable ranking.)

President Trump has returned to giving daily briefings, ostensibly on the status of the virus. But in reality, he uses them as campaign rallies to smear opponents, his own experts, the press, and to air his countless grievances. If I were in charge, for every one of these briefings Trump segues into these tangents, I would send his campaign a bill for the event, rather than asking me to pay for it with my taxes.

Worst state: Trump’s attacks on our election system distracted me from reading about state malfeasance, so I don’t have enough data to pick a winner this week. See? Data.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 27

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 2, 2020

The election: Trump floated the idea of postponing the election, which went over like a fart in a diving bell. (My spell checker doesn’t recognize that word.) It’s not going to happen, though not for want of Trump’s trying. Congress sets the date for elections, and Nancy Pelosi, nor even Moscow Mitch McConnell, is going to change it. The election is perhaps the only way we are going to get rid of Trump, though I’m still holding out hope he will quit before he does much more damage.

Don’t expect Trump to stop trying to thwart the election. It suits his purposes. He’s getting ready to be beaten to a bloody pulp and this gives him an excuse to blame it on someone or something other than himself. In the meantime, it has created some distraction – not enough, but some – from the disastrous economic news resulting from his mismanagement of Covid-19, and the whole country broadly.

Sudden thought: have we come to the point – politically and demographically – where the Republican Party, or whatever it has become, simply cannot win an election based on its ideas, which is a shame; Republicans used to have some good ideas? Its only options are to suppress voter turnout, which is obscenely contrary to democracy, or in Trump’s case, try to avoid the election entirely.

“It’s China’s Fault”: Trump is trying to blame China for Covid-19. Well, it may have originated in China, and they didn’t handle it very responsibly at first, but it’s not China’s fault any more than it is Africa’s fault that some monkey came out of the jungle and gave us Ebola.

Frankly, I don’t care where Covid-19 came from. It’s here now and I’m more interested in what we are doing about it, which is precious little, and what we are doing isn’t working. In fact, Trump’s utter incompetence is making matters worse.

Consider that Trump is still hyping some drug I can’t spell, which has been proven not to be effective, relying on the “expertise” of Stella Immanuel, a doctor so far from science that she says some diseases come from patients having sex with demons in their sleep, for instance

And while we’re on the subject, I’m sick and tired of blaming China for everything. It’s nothing but garden variety xenophobia. Yes, China does some things I don’t like, particularly the theft of our intellectual property, but we should be addressing China like global grownups, not petulant school yard bullies.

And while we are at it, Russia has been stealing our technology for a lot longer. Remember how they got the atom bomb? Why isn’t Trump berating Russia? Don’t answer that; it’s obvious.

Sudden thought: Maybe Thomas Malthus was right. Maybe Covid-19 is nature’s way of telling us there are too many of us and we are living packed too tightly together. Could Covid-19 be a mini “Malthusian catastrophe?” It’s certainly a “natural check” on population. On second thought, the catastrophe is Trump.

 Liar-in-chief: In his almost four years in office, President Trump has told literally thousands of lies. And those are just his public pronouncements and tweets. Who knows how many lies he tells in private?

But his saddest, most pathetic lie yet occurred this week when he said he had been asked by the New York Yankees to throw out the first pitch at their opening day baseball game. The Yankees immediately said they had issued no such invitation, which makes sense because Trump is despised in New York (he is booed roundly if he even shows up at a Yankees game), and why would the Yankees lie about a thing like that? They’re not Trump.

How flawed and broken must a person be to tell such an easily disproven lie in public over such a trivial matter? The man simply cannot tell the truth. If it weren’t for all his other odious flaws, I could almost feel sorry for him over this one. 

It’s been opined that Trump blurted out this lie over envy of Anthony Fauci, who was invited to throw out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals opening day game July 23. Trump just had to try to one up Fauci, even if it meant telling a foolish lie. If that is the reason, and it is plausible, then the whole episode is even more pathetic. How shallow and needy must our president be to behave like that? Don’t answer; it’s a rhetorical question.

John Lewis: Former President Obama gave the eulogy at the funeral of the great advocate for civil rights. It was so refreshing to see and hear an eloquent, reasoned president speak to all of us again, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

Worst state: Texas runs away with the cup this week because U.S. Representative Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), who refuses to wear a face mask even in the well of the House among his colleagues, and even opines that masks may cause the virus, has tested positive for Covid-19. Who says there’s no justice in the world?

I don’t want Gohmert to die of Covid-19. I enjoy making fun of him too much, and I would have to stop calling stupid people Gohmerts. I don’t want anyone to die from the virus. But I wouldn’t mind if it made Gohmert sick enough to think a little deeper on the subject of masks, if he is capable of it. Gohmert is about as stupid as a man can be. Spoiler alert: Texas elects him routinely.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 20

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on July 27, 2020

Portland: While President Sick Twist was subverting our Constitution with his police state tactics in Portland, some moms there reminded us what patriotism really looks like by forming a line between peaceful protestors and Trump’s goon squad. The goons tear gassed the moms. Portland’s mayor came to show his solidarity with the moms; they tear gassed him too. I have never been so disgusted with nor so worried about my country.

I am not defending people who destroy federal property. Let the goons surround the building and arrest those who try to damage it. Just don’t go into the city streets and assault peaceful protesters. And while you are at it, get a new wardrobe, one with insignia and your name on it.

You would think there is more we could do to deal with an authoritarian wannabe president, but absent some restraint (read courage and cajones) from his own party’s leaders, apparently there is very little, in practice. The only sure remedy is the election in November, which seems a depressingly long way away. If the election doesn’t rid us of this sick twist, I’m done.

Arizona’s primary election is August 4th. I have already mailed in my ballot, as I have done with every election of every kind for more than a decade, without incident. But I already know who the two candidates for president are. Can’t I have a presidential ballot right now? And BTW, if we want to know who won on election night, let states start counting mail in ballots before election day and have the numbers ready.

Sudden thought: I don’t think many statues of Trump will be erected any time soon, even in red states, at least until it is determined whether he will go to prison, and none for Attorney General Bill Barr.

Department of Homeland Tyranny: I was opposed to the Department of Homeland Security (NHS) from its beginning and blogged against it. It was/is a ludicrous idea. President Bush formed the department after 9/11, ostensibly to better coordinate the efforts to fight terrorism, but really to make it look like he was doing something, when in fact he had no idea what to do.

In effect, Bush placed another layer of bureaucratic sediment over the existing ones and made things less efficient, not more, when all he should have done is tell the disparate departments to do their job and put people in charge who could.

In the hands of Trump and Attorney General Barr, the DHS has morphed into an authoritarian regime’s goon squad. Let’s dismantle it back to its separate parts, revisit their charters and put insignias and name tags on them.

Covid-19: President Trump reinstituted daily briefings on the pandemic, sans any actual pandemic experts, apparently forgetting how badly these went for him before. On the first briefing, he read a prepared script in a monotone voice, both sure signs that he didn’t believe a word he spoke. This explains why the speech was more realistic. It was written by his staff, full of empathetic points none of which Trump really believes.

American Carnage: Was Trump being prescient when he spoke those words? If so, what was he describing: Covid-19 and his utter failure to cope with it; or the quasi-military assault on protesters in Portland? Trump says that if Biden is elected, the streets will be unsafe. Hell, they’re unsafe from his goon squads now.

Ghislaine Maxwell: This woman is allegedly the late Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, pimp, and Judas goat. She’s in jail without parole pending her trial as his accomplice in sex trafficking of minors, among others.

Maxwell’s name came up in the Covid-19 briefing, though I can’t imagine why. Sick Twist wished her well, which is his code for, “Don’t rat on me and I will pardon you.”

If Trump does pardon Maxwell, it will be interesting to see how much, if any of his base and Republican legislators might peel off. Nothing has dislodged their lips from Trump’s ass so far, but this may be the tipping point. Maxwell is accused of truly disgusting crimes.

In the meantime, that sound you hear is the patter of suburban white women’s feet scurrying away from Trump. Perhaps they don’t like the thought of having their daughters sold into sex slavery. Who knew?

Worst state: It is becoming monotonous selecting Texas and Arizona so frequently. And while Texas still richly deserves it, Arizona has actually backtracked and is beginning to see a slow decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

But a dark knight has come to the rescue of Texas in the form of the Senior Senator from Oklahoma, one James Inhofe. Inhofe is the dumbest sombitch in this Senate and that is not just my opinion; it’s the consensus, even among Senators.

Inhofe stated on the Senate floor that he will hold up the National Defense Authorization Act until the clause requiring the military to rename bases currently named after traitorous Confederate Generals is removed. (Did you have any idea these bases were so named? I didn’t; I was asleep at the wheel.)

Since almost the same clause is in both the House and Senate bills, which passed with veto proof majorities, experts say it won’t be possible for Inhofe to succeed, but just the fact that this Gohmert threatened to do it is enough to earn Oklahoma the worst state cup this week.