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Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Blog, Politics | 0 comments

This is Supposed to Make Us Feel Safer?

 

Vice President Mike Pence

 

Mike Pence For Virus Czar?  Could Trump Have Picked Anyone Less Qualified?

 

So, just now, Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the Coronavirus Task Force.

Not a medical doctor, not a trained professional accustomed to dealing with infectious diseases, not someone familiar with epidemics and pandemics, not someone adept at handling medical and information management.

Nope.

Mike. Fucking. Pence.

My fellow Americans: Feel safe?

This is the same Mike Pence who:

— allowed the Opioid epidemic to spin out of control while Gov. of Indiana.

— once stated in defense of the tobacco industry that SMOKING DOESN’T KILL. (op-ed)

— did nothing for the HIV-AIDS outbreak in Indiana, refusing to allocate funds and resources.

— advocated “prayer” as public policy in a speech to deal with HIV-AIDS while Governor.

— believes in conversion therapy for gay people.

— rejects science; believes global warming is a myth.

— morally opposed to needle exchanges on the grounds that they supported drug abuse.

— quarantines himself from working or socializing with women unless “Mother” is present.

 

Yes, this is the man now leading the Coronovirus Task Force. Not a scientist. Not a trained medical professional.

Mike Pence.

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Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

Will the Coronavirus Become a Pandemic?

 

coronavirus

 

This is an attempt to discuss what may become the biggest health scare of our lives.

Many health professionals predict sizeable percentages of the global population could become infected with a potentially deadly virus. This doesn’t mean mass death, but fears can lead to panic, which can lead to some things that most of us would normally be unthinkable.

My question is — at what point do you begin altering your life and change plans in response to fear?

When do you stop flying?

When do you worry that the person next to you who sneezes might carry the virus?

When do you decide that playing poker in a casino is just too risky or decline attending a sporting event?

These are not frivolous questions.

Yes — it’s early. But, in some way, it might also be too late.

Let’s agree, uncertainty and confusion are real. Virtually all governments and populations are vulnerable and unprepared. A virus knows no borders. A virus doesn’t discriminate. No walls, nor social status, nor privilege will protect any segment of the public. Everyone faces potential danger.

I’ve followed this outbreak but I also lack the background and knowledge to have much of an opinion about it. Hysteria won’t help and I’m reluctant to provoke unnecessary worry. However, when I see the head of the 2020 Summer Olympics coming out with a statement that the Tokyo games could possibly face cancellation/postponement, it’s time to take this matter seriously. When health ministers in the most advanced countries on earth are describing mass infections as “inevitable,” we better start asking questions and thinking about the implications.

This virus has already impacted stock markets. Too bad it takes a financial component to get our attention. This might be just the beginning. Or, perhaps this is much ado about nothing.

I’ve seen very little discussion about the Coronavirus among my contacts on social media. It might be time to begin a dialogue.  I presume others might have questions and worries, as well.

Thoughts? Predictions? Advice?

Do you have fears?

Follow the discussion HERE ON FACEBOOK.

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Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

Uncle Dick for President!

 

Al Pacino in Godfather part 3

 

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!

ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, ANOTHER SHITSHOW, ANOTHER COLUMN

“Uncle Dick in the deer stand.”

Did anyone catch that line? Really, check the record. AKlob muttered that pearl midway into the circus shitshow. But “Uncle Dick in the deer stand” got buried in the avalanche of shouting matches with Bernie, plus Bloomie’s miserable attempt at stand-up comedy, and Uncle Joe’s chuckle-worthy gaffe about “150,000,000” dead Americans from guns, a line that I kinda’ wanted to cheer because that would mean I can now find a great parking spot next time at Costco.

Gee, who would have guessed Marrianne Williamson would ADD to the sanity of the debate? Too bad she dropped out.

I think it’s time Liz Warren gets slapped with a restraining order for stalking Mike Bloomberg. Yeah, I know he’s a fraud, a liar, a cutthroat, a racist, a Wall Street scumbag with a deeply-seeded Napolean complex with the personality of a junior high assistant principal, and pretty much the scum of the earth for trying to buy the nomination of a major political party. But hey — who among us doesn’t have a flaw or two?

Tom Steyer seems like a nice guy. Exactly like Bloomberg — except that he’s likable, honest, a decent speaker, and actually a real Democrat. But Steyer has one thing I can’t overlook. That TIE. Good grief man, it’s a Democratic Presidential Debate, not the office Christmas party. Seriously, has he changed that tie in six months? Bloomberg beats Steyer all to hell on the necktie issue. And if I was either one of these billionaires, I’d take every vote I can get.

Speaking of buying votes, Bloomie is paying social media hounds $2,500 a month to praise him. Really, it’s true. You can look it up. The Bloomster’s people are paying 500 social media activists to like, and post, and persuade, and influence all you readers. So, anyone who jumps into my thread and defends Bloomberg is likely a paid agent.

But that’s not nearly as appalling as Uncle Joe Biden pandering…..oops, I mean promising to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy with “an African-American woman” while speaking in a state where 60 percent of the Dems are Black.  Excuse me Joe, but I just heard five Democrats in the front row say they’d much rather have Bloomberg’s $2.500. But it has to be in cash.

During the debate, Bernie was untouchable for the most part, even though the back of his head must have felt like he’d just driven circles through Dealey Plaza. Bernie did a wonderful job doubling down on Castro, Mao, the USSR, Lenin, the Stasi, Nicolae Ceausescu, and Che Guevara, but at least he didn’t mention Susan Sarandon. Not even once. So, let’s give him that.

Speaking of Sanders, I had a huge problem with him claiming the United States overthrew democratically-elected governments all over the world, multiple times. Who does he think he is! That man needs to read some history. How could we elect a president like that who makes up so much nonsense and won’t tell Americans the truth?

Back to AKlob. Her answer to the final question of the night about ‘the greatest misconception” about her was answered with a grand slam. AKlob sheepishly noted that some people think “she’s boring.” AKlob noted that she’s really not boring at all. Not in person. Wow, I feel much better now. I was terrified Klobuchar’s doddering demeanor and forced smile was a put on. I’m so relieved she’s actually a barrel of laughs in person.

Mayor Pete didn’t damage his chances tonight, but he didn’t do much to help his candidacy either, which might be a win for an openly gay man running for office in South Carolina. I figure if Mayor Pete makes it to his car without getting called some homophobic slur, that’s got to be chalked up as a major step forward in the history of civil rights.

Did I forget anyone?

Oh yeah!

Uncle Dick!

Where’s the deer stand?

UNCLE DICK FOR PRESIDENT!

And THE NAKED COWBOY FOR VEEP!

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

My Current Thoughts on Bernie Sanders as the 2020 Democratic Frontrunner

 

bernie sanders

ANALYSIS NOT ADVOCACY: MY CURRENT THOUGHTS ON BERNIE SANDERS AS THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC FRONTRUNNER

.

Political science doesn’t care about your feelings.

Off the top of my head, here are ten thoughts about Sanders and his future prospects:

(1) Political campaigns are far easier to manage when you’re an outsider and running from behind. Being the frontrunner comes with a whole new crop of pressures and responsibilities. All candidates strive to steal the spotlight. However, once they get the spotlight, some meltdown in the heat. I don’t expect Sanders will melt. But he must be aware the political contest is now very different. He will have to make some adjustments to this new reality.

(2) Sanders has defied all forecasts and exceeded everyone’s expectations to this point. He and his organization deserve extraordinary credit for consolidating much of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and catapulting into the lead over established candidates like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Whatever one thinks of Sanders, his political strategy has been masterful. I have witnessed this firsthand here in Nevada and watched it nationwide on all forms of media.

(3) Now, Sanders faces the biggest strategic test of his campaign, one that will likely determine his fate. He can continue with the same “revolutionary” message and further solidify the Left while attracting some additional working-class support in the center…..or he can inch closer to the center and run a more conventional campaign and chip away at the undecideds. Sanders’ need not abandon progressive causes in order to appeal to more moderate voters. He simply needs to alter his tone a bit, while also stressing more common themes that will attract non-ideologues and apolitical supporters. These voters will be essential to getting the party nomination and general election victory. Sanders MUST expand his base. NOW.

(4) Accordingly, Sanders must begin to pick and choose priority issues. I suggest universal health care be his anchor. I view Sanders’ pandering to other constituencies as unfortunate and long-range disastrous. In the last month, Sanders has stressed universal health care and forgiving student debt/free college (which I oppose) as core issues….but then he’s also broadened promises to include free child care, higher pay for teachers, etc. This is fiscally reckless. Sanders has a difficult time already justifying the costs associated with M4A (it can be done, and I would love to help with his messaging, but Sanders hasn’t handled this effectively). Adding other half-dozen government programs which will cost enormous sums simply isn’t feasible nor realistic. Yes, I’m for all these things, in time. But they must be advocated in a clear and responsible manner. Overpromising what one can deliver isn’t a viable platform nor a winning political strategy (Trump’s numerous lies and broken promises, excepted).

(5) Sanders’ handling of the “60 Minutes” sit-down interview last night (watched by 15 million of the people in this country who matter) was a disaster. He’s no longer on the outside of this race. He’s on the inside with a giant target on his back. Sanders’ dismissive tone, failure to give specifics on policies, and the occasional display of anger don’t gain the confidence of the core constituency that will be essential to victory. He’s got to elevate his game. Giving the same stump speech in a sit-down interview isn’t going to broaden support.

(6) Sanders’ past comments and controversies about so-called “socialism” and regimes including the former USSR and Cuba are entirely justifiable (and for the most part accurate). Sanders has nothing to apologize for. The CEO of Coca-Cola and dozens of other companies were saying the exact same things in the 1980s when they were trying to sell Cokes and tractors in new markets like China and the Soviet Union. In fact, the friendly remarks are nearly identical. However, Sanders does need to come up with a better argument and defense that will deflect mass ignorance about this issue. Forget the old folks who somehow fear “communism” but remain complicit in supporting a Putin enabler in the White House — he won’t win over those doddering fossils anyway.

(7) I cannot stress # 6 enough. New strategy. Better messaging. Stick to the script. Any criticism of Sanders on coddling up to former communists is completely obliterated by Trump’s “love letters” to the leader of North Korea, and embrace of the world’s worst authoritarians (Saudi Arabia, Russia, The Philipines, etc.). Hammer this like a stubborn nail. It’s one thing for Sanders to appreciate some good things accomplished in Cuba 30 years ago in grainy film footage in a town hall meeting with 10 people in Burlington Vermont — It’s quite another level of shock and inhumanity for an American President to stand on the world stage and openly fellate Putin and Kim Jong Un with lavish praise. Sanders has Trump in a box here, so close him in and duct tape it shut with his own abysmal record and history.

(8) Sanders MUST make an attempt to earn the support, or at least the trust of moderate Democrats. I have serious issues with the milquetoast moderates, sure. But they are critical to the greater cause. More important, fears of Sanders’ dragging the ballot in other races are legitimate. It’s time Sanders do something to quell this rising tide of fear. Unfortunately, we can’t sweep out the corporatist Democrats. So, Sanders might be right that the DNC and “the establishment” are conspiring against him. They are! But it looks petty and is counterproductive to bitch about unfairness. This is politics. Politics at the highest level. Get in the game. Do what it takes to win, not appear like an embittered outsider who wasn’t picked first on the team.

(9) What happened to the word INFRASTRUCTURE? It didn’t come up one time in the last Democratic debate. Every American is for this. EVERYONE. So, why isn’t Sanders hammering the essential theme of democratic socialism — that instead of wasteful defense spending, tax cuts for the rich, and so on — why aren’t we building roads and bridges and high tech plants in the United States with our tax dollars? Why are we rebuilding Baghdad instead of Baltimore? I realize this is a more complex issue than simple slogans, but this is a winning campaign message. Trump lied on this. He and Republicans had two years to pass an infrastructure bill but instead, they gave huge tax cuts which did nothing for working-class people. The factory worker, the soccer mom, the single parent — everyone wants and understands the need for domestic infrastructure — good roads, clean water, bridges, airports, etc. Sanders is blowing this opportunity.

(10) Lest anyone thinks I’m now backing Sanders — I’m not. Sure, he will get my vote if he’s the eventual nominee. Anyone BLUE will get my vote. And, Sanders is entirely inside my political wheelhouse. In fact, I’m to the Left of Sanders on many issues (he’s yet to say anything about cutting defense spending, for example). What concerns me is — democratic socialism is a winning message and the ideal path forward for all societies, especially the United States. But the messenger isn’t doing a good enough job explaining it and promoting it. I fear that unless he adjusts and broadens his appeal, all the gains of the past few years on this point will be lost.

My Direct Message to Sanders:

Yeah, I know you won’t read this but…….If you want to win, start acting *presidential.” Sanders needs to morph into someone who resembles a world leader, not an insurgent demagogue from a tiny New England state rambling on with way too many promises to deliver. It’s now time for a reality check.

I have my doubts Sanders will take any of these suggestions. I think the dye has been cast. This is my analysis of where Sanders currently stands and what it will take for him to win.

Comments welcome here or on FACEBOOK DISCUSSION HERE.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 5 comments

The Worst People in the History of Earth (Updated)

 

 

Prompted by a recent discussion on social media, I updated my ranking of the worst monsters and madmen.

The 50 Worst People in the History of Earth — 2020 version:

(1) Donald J. Trump

(2) Fred Trump

(3) Joseph Stalin

(4) Mao Tse Tung

(5) Lloyd Blankfein

(6) Adolf Hitler

(7) Sheldon Adelson

(8) J.P. Morgan

(9) The 2017 Houston Astros

(10) Alex Jones

(11) Idi Amin

(12) Every AT&T customer service representative I’ve ever encountered

(13) Charles Manson

(14) Pol Pot

(15) Britney Spears

(16) Guy Fieri

(17) L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology founder

(18) Sen. Mitch McConnell (hell, let’s just bag every Republican here, except Mitt Romney)

(19) Henry VIII (killed 2 of his 6 wives)

(20) Paula White (Trump’s crazed and grifting evangelical pastor) — Jim Jones (tie)

(21) John Wayne Gacy (killer clown)

(22) Whoever came up with Lexus’ Christmas commercials

(23) Muhammed, the illiterate child molester

(24) Tony Kornheiser (ESPN)

(25) Anyone named Kardashian

(26) David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam

(27) The Zodiac Killer

(28) Whoever took panna cotta off the menu at Carrabba’s.

(29) Ted Bundy

(30) Wayne Allen Root

(31) Whoever gave Dane Cook his break as a “comedian”

(32) Gary Busey (insane)

(33) Gary Busey (sane)

(34) Tie: Ivanka Trump–Donnie Trump, Jr.–Eric Trump–Jared Kushner

(35) Vlad the Impaler

(36) My next-door neighbor

(37) James Earl Ray, MLK’s killer

(38) Caligula

(39) Robert Mugabe, the former bloody dictator of Zimbabwe

(40) Whoever invented hard-plastic packaging that’s impossible to open

(41) Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile

(42) Anyone at the auto service department at any Volvo dealership

(43) Tony “the Ant” Spilatro

(44) Jerry Jones

(45) Yoko Ono, for breaking up The Beatles

(46) Melania Trump, for NOT breaking up with Donald Trump

(47) Flair Bartenders

(48) Cryptocurrency slingers

(49) Tie: Vice President Mike Pence–The Boston Strangler

(50) The daily regulars in the $8-16 Omaha High-Low Split game at The Orleans

BONUS:  (51A and 51B) Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling an NFL game

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