The COVID Pandemic Is Getting Worse

   Cold weather is arriving in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it is a rising tide of COVID cases, especially in the United States. To anyone paying attention to what has been going on, this should come as no surprise.
   Other viruses such as the common cold and flu often seem worse in terms of numbers during colder weather as compared to warmer weather. There are a variety of possible causes for this phenomenon that we won’t delve into here.
   Now, consider how the United States as a whole has done a terrible job in trying to deal with the COVID pandemic. The Trump Administration has grossly mishandled the crisis with confusion, incompetence, false information, and a lack of coordination coming from the White House. States have in many ways been left to their own devices in battling the pandemic far more than they should have been. Their tactics have varied with some being more effective than others. The result has been a kind of ad hoc, patchwork approach instead of a coordinated national strategy. On top of this is the fact many Americans (including Donald Trump) are not taking this pandemic seriously and frequently disregard social distancing and mask wearing guidelines.
   As a result of this confused quagmire of a response, it is no surprise that we are now seeing record numbers of cases throughout the country, and tragically, it will get worse. Many more people are going to die.
   Since Trump is president until Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, we cannot expect much, or any, new help from the federal government for the next couple of months. It will primarily be up to local and state governments to do what they can in addition to every day people.
   Each and every one of us has a responsibility to do our part in combating COVID.
   Practice social distancing and mask wearing whenever you are in public. Educate yourself in what you need to do in fighting the pandemic. Avoid big crowds, especially when indoors. Don’t have big holiday gatherings with people coming from all around because doing so would spread the virus.
   Remember since people can carry the virus without even knowing it, this is more than keeping yourself safe. It’s about keeping everyone you come in contact with safe as well.
   By working together, we can get through this.
   It’s up to all of us!

Trump Proves Over And Over How Unqualified He Is As President

   Let’s get one thing out of the way. I’m an Independent politically and don’t blindly follow anyone or anything. I look at the evidence and make the best decisions I can.
   It’s very clear how horrendously bad a president Donald Trump is. His outrageous hurtful rhetoric, colossal scale of lying, authoritarian tendencies, xenophobic behavior, and gross mishandling of the COVID pandemic are well known. Trump seems to go out of his way to avoid upsetting Russia and has not held the adversarial nation accountable for its ongoing cyber attacks on the United States. He has also not adequately addressed the serious accusations of Russia paying bounties for killing US and Coalition soldiers in the Middle East. On top of that, he and other Republicans are using the courts to try to take away Obamacare in the middle of this pandemic without having any replacement whatsoever. If they succeed, millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions would be at risk of losing their health insurance during the COVID 19 crisis. Think about that. If you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, I bet you know someone who does. Trump is also engaged in voter suppression with his baseless, unfounded attacks on mail in voting. He is clearly trying to hinder the ability of people (whom he fears will vote against him) to vote. This sort of behavior goes against the very foundation of our country and democracy itself.
   Now consider this: Trump is totally disregarding social distancing and mask wearing guidelines at his political rallies. During these events, people are gathering in very close quarters (often shoulder to shoulder) and the majority are not wearing masks. The September 26 White House event in the Rose Garden has already proven to be a COVID super-spreader event that led to over 20 confirmed cases and has potentially led to the exposure of hundreds (or even thousands) more people. Some of these rallies could end up being even worse super-spreader events. How many people are going to get sick from these Trump rallies, and how many will die? Think about that. This exemplifies how horribly the Trump Administration has been handling the COVID pandemic.
   I could go on and on. The point is that whatever your political views, it’s time to unite behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because we must vote Trump out of the White House. We also need to vote a Democratic majority to both Chambers of Congress in order to start trying to repair the damage being done to this country by Trump and numerous other DC Republicans.
   The United States cannot afford 4 more years of Donald Trump.
   It’s time to bring back decency, thoughtfulness, respect, humanity, empathy, and service to the White House and Federal Government.

The White House Event On 9-26-20 Likely Spread COVID To Multiple Attendees

   The event held September 26 at the White House Rose Garden announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is the latest example of how badly the Trump Administration has botched its handling of the COVID pandemic.
   Look at photos of the event and think about what you are seeing.
   Go ahead.
   While in the midst of a pandemic which is costing lives, the majority of attendees, including Trump and Melania, were not wearing masks. On top of that, most were crammed in like sardines, virtually shoulder to shoulder, in the seating area where again the majority were not wearing masks.
   To the COVID 19 virus, this was like an invitation of please come to spread and multiply.
   And the virus did just that.
   Multiple attendees have tested positive for COVID in the week following the event. At the time of writing this piece, Donald Trump, Melania, 3 Republican Senators, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kellyanne Conway, and Rev John Jenkins have tested positive. Several other White House officials and reporters have tested positive this week as well.
   The way this event was so badly set up and carried out is just the latest in Trump Administration’s gross mishandling of the COVID pandemic. Trump has been dangerously downplaying the seriousness of the COVID pandemic from the beginning. He has lied and exaggerated about it over and over, disregarding the advice of scientists and other experts. Trump has frequently spread false information about COVID and the pandemic that goes against what his own government scientists are saying. The United States has been desperately needing effective leadership that includes national mask wearing/social distancing rules with the President setting a good example. Instead, there has been a serious lack of leadership from the Trump Administration resulting in terrible confusion and disorganization. People don’t know where to turn for reliable information. States have varied in their responses with differing degrees of effectiveness and in an inefficient ad hoc manner devoid of federal leadership or coordination. Add to that the way Trump himself has flagrantly ignored mask wearing and social distancing in his personal activities and you can see how and why the United States’ response to COVID has been so abysmally ineffective.
   Thus, it is of no surprise that Trump, Melania, and others who attended the Rose Garden event now have COVID 19. The gross mishandling by the Trump Administration of the COVID pandemic led to this as well as unnecessary suffering and loss of life for people all across this nation.

White House Continues Mishandling This Pandemic, And It Is Likely Costing Lives

   We are in the middle of a pandemic, yet the Trump Administration continues to grossly mishandle this crisis.
   Trump has tried to downplay the seriousness and severity of this pandemic from the very beginning.  He wasted weeks early on instead of being proactive, and as COVID 19 has continued to spread, his response has been erratic, irresponsible, disjointed, and disorganized.
   Social distancing and mask wearing in public are vital to controlling this pandemic, yet Trump almost never wears a mask. This alone is sickeningly irresponsible since millions of Americans follow his example. As a result, because he doesn’t appear to take COVID seriously, neither do they. This has clearly increased the number of people who are not social distancing or wearing masks like they should.
   On top of that is Trump’s being all over the place in terms of what he says and does with regards to the pandemic. He has blatantly exaggerated and lied numerous times, undermining his own scientists and other government officials. Because of this confused, chaotic behavior from the White House, governors have been left to their own devices far too much, resulting in a disorganized, patchwork response to the COVID pandemic where some states have done a decent job and others have done an abysmal one.
   Now, the White House is ordering hospitals to report new COVID cases directly to Washington, bypassing the CDC. This is deeply disturbing. The CDC is a key organization in the fight against COVID. Will it still have access to all the data? Will it be allowed to make the information public as it has been doing, or will the White House attempt to restrict access for political purposes?
   The consequences of this grossly mishandled response to the crisis is plain to see when you compare how the US is doing compared to other places like South Korea, Europe, and Canada. To this point, the US has not dropped the curve like these other nations have done, and the American rate of infection is going up significantly.
   We need to speak up and demand that the government do a better job at both the state and federal levels. They should work together in a more responsible, proactive, organized way.
   Unfortunately, I doubt this will happen until Trump is voted out of office.
   Whatever your political beliefs, it is time for everyone to unite behind the Democratic presidential nominee, Biden, in order to vote Trump out of office because like it or not, the next president will be Trump or Biden. We cannot afford 4 more years of Donald Trump. Too many lives are on the line.

Trump Administration Trying To Invalidate Obamacare During Pandemic

   The Trump Administration has asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. If they succeed, over 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance because Republicans have no replacement. Not even a bad replacement!
   Think about that. We are literally in the middle of a pandemic, and Trump, along with other Republicans, is still trying to sabotage Obamacare.
   Obamacare is not perfect, but it has helped millions of Americans obtain health insurance who couldn’t get it otherwise. This has literally saved lives. One of the most popular parts of Obamacare is how it protects people with pre-existing medical conditions so that they can get affordable health insurance. Otherwise, many would be outright rejected by insurance companies, or their premiums would be so astronomically high that they couldn’t afford to get it.
   Guess what folks, when you have a serious case of cancer and can’t get health insurance, unless you are incredibly rich, you will likely die, and much more quickly.
   Now consider this: many of the people who could lose their health insurance, if the Trump Administration succeeds here, are in high risk categories for COVID 19. If they lose their health insurance and catch a severe case of the coronavirus, they will be much more likely going to die.
   We should fix and improve Obamacare, not obliterate it without a replacement!
   The obsession of Trump and other Republicans with trying to destroy Obamacare has gone too far. They are risking the lives of innocent people for what? Politics? Because they don’t like Barack Obama?
   This is sickeningly outrageous. We must all speak out against this horrible move, and we need to vote Trump and the other Republicans who are doing this out of office!
   Lives are literally at stake folks…

Firing The State Department Inspector General Goes Against Our Democratic Values In My Opinion

   I am deeply disturbed by the Trump Administration’s firing of the State Department’s Inspector General, Steve Linick. I think this is another example of Trump trying to surround himself with people who will only follow him and not raise questions or push back. This is yet another in a series of actions that undermines the vital principal of checks and balances in American democracy.
   It is well known that Trump seems to favor foreign leaders who are authoritarian and diminish democratic values in their own countries. Look at Vladimir Putin of Russia.
   We have seen a whole string of Administration officials forced out of their positions. A number of these were individuals who appear to have been willing to question or stand up to Trump, and that is something Trump clearly does not like. So, the officials were pushed out and replaced with individuals the Administration hoped would be more likely to bow to Trump’s will without raising questions.
   This undermines good leadership and democracy itself. An effective leader should seek out and listen to different points of view as well as be willing to accept other people’s ideas.
   In addition, oversight is vital to maintaining appropriate checks and balances in a democratic government. This is to ensure that an individual or branch does not exceed their power and threaten our democratic values.
   Removing Linick, who was from I have read was doing his job in providing proper oversight, is yet another example of the Trump Administration’s dangerous trend of trying to avoid and even quash dissent in government as much as they can get away with. It goes against the core principal of democracy and good leadership.

The Middle East Crisis Needs To Be De-escalated

With the current crisis in the Middle East churning and violence flaring, I hope cooler heads will prevail and the tensions can be de-escalated.
   We don’t want lives lost needlessly in a war that could have been avoided. History is full of crises that resulted in wars because the countries involved kept escalating events instead of trying to calm the situations down.
   Both sides have said and done things worsening the situation. I think the Trump Administration’s leaving the Iran Nuclear Deal was a big mistake which added fuel to the fire. And although Soleimani was a ruthless individual with plenty of blood on his hands, assassinating him also inflamed the conflict even further. It certainly did not calm things down.
   We are at this point now, like it or not.
   We should try to de-escalate the tensions and work on other ways to deal with the ongoing conflict.

Trump Administration May Be Holding Up Funding For A CDC Study of PFAS In Drinking Water

It appears that there may be a dispute going on between the CDC and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over a CDC study on the effects of PFAS.  PFAS are chemicals which are used in the production of non-stick cookware, water resistant clothing, food packaging, carpets, and military firefighting foam. They are apparently unregulated  and are contaminates in the drinking water of millions of Americans.
The CDC wants to study the potential effects of this contaminated water to see if people drinking it are being harmed.  But the funding of the study is apparently being held up by the OMB.
Is the hold up an example of typical bureaucratic red tape, or is it another instance of the Trump Administration trying to quash science that Trump doesn’t like?
I am concerned it may be the latter.
In my opinion, it is sickening and hurtful to everyone the way the Trump Administration has been ignoring and at times trying to suppress scientists and scientific evidence. We could all end up paying the price. This USA Today article goes into more detail.

Report That Trump Administration Ignored Free Flu Clinic Offer For Detained Migrants

A Newsweek article says a group of physicians offered to do a free flu clinic for detained migrants and asylum seekers and were ignored by the Trump Administration. What is wrong with people?! Where is decency and humanity. The United States is s supposed to be better than this! Here is the link to the full article.