End of the weekend musings

This old body is weary from various chores. I am still slowly cutting down cedar trees that had fallen during a particular windy storm and decided to clean out the gutters that appeared in need from the ground. I sit here with ibuprophen inside and aspercreme on the sore muscles.

Here are a few random musings for the end of the weekend:

– the president needs to stay away from impulsive travel bans; his first one in 2017 was so bad it was pulled after two days; this one has left US people coming home in long lines for hours heightening risk. One person said folks were referring to the process as Dystopian.Apparently, vetting, planning and communicating are not in his to-do list. Of course, he likely does not use a to-do list.

– Biden looks to have the mojo to carry him to the Democrat nomination. I am hoping Bernie will help convince his more ardent followers to support Joe. And, I hope Joe will be open to at least listening to Bernie. Yet, he needs a good VP choice and he should also involve some of the young and talented tbinkers like Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke on his team. Abrams has been rumored as one the VP candidates, but also being rumored are Senator Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren among others.

– if you want a good microcosm of how untruthful the president is, please refer to the compilation below which summarizes his various and sundry statements on the coronavirus dating back to January. His priority has always been himself, so rather than tell Americans the truth, the president has covered his behind.

– I personally don’t see how the economy can avoid being affected by the restricted to travel, canceled events, fewer outings, etc. This will have an echo effect.

That is all for now. Have a great week. Be safe.

**************
Compiled by my friend Scott on his Facebook.

All direct quotes ….

“I know more about viruses than anyone.” 🦠
January 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
February 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
February 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
February 25: “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
February 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
February 26: “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
February 26: “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”
February 27: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
February 28: “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
March 2: “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
March 2: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
March 4: “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
March 5: “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
March 5: “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
March 6: “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
March 6: “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
March 6: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
March 6: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
March 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
March 9: “This blindsided the world.”
March 13: “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.”

—direct Trump quotes on coronavirus

Wednesday wanderings with a head full of wonderings

As I do a walkabout, thinking deep thoughts along the paths, I wonder about a few things. In no particular order:

If these climate change naysayers believe they are right, what is the downside of moving toward more renewable energy that uses less of our dear water and does not pollute the environment? What is the downside of planting more trees and protecting mangroves in marshes? If they are wrong and we don’t do enough, we cannot reset the clock. From a risk management standpoint, it is beyond foolish. Quoting the conservative former prime minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, he refers to the beliefs of the naysayers in his own party as “idiotic.” I should add a key reason I left the Republican party in 2007 was its stance on climate change.

The UK decided to forego sending its bigwigs to a global security conference in Munich last week. It is not surprising the level of pushback they received from other attendees and fellow Brits. Regardless of Brexit, that global security thing is a tad important. Call me crazy, but when you go it alone, it becomes more important to make sure the country is secure. I have long worried about Brexit and I do not have a great deal of confidence in those leading the country to do what is needed to govern these issues. I hope it goes better than I fear.

Of course, having just said the above, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in those leading the US efforts either. I would love to trust the US president, but I find it hard to do so given his track record of corruption and deceit before and after the election. What the president is doing now is no different than how he has always operated, he is just on a bigger stage. I think we should put the onus on the followers of the president asking them to convince us why we should not believe the incumbent is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, which includes Richard Nixon, who was crook.

Many years ago, I believed the US Congressional leadership was privy to the best information to make informed choices. Sadly, I do not believe that to be true. The information may be there, but I see a terrible tendency to listen to much less informed opinion hosts and, even worse, conspiracy peddlers. When Obama was president, Senator Ted Cruz pushed a conspiracy theory that Obama was taking over Texas, when he knew the military was merely doing exercises. Rather than be a leader, Cruz became part of the problem.

Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton pushed a conspiracy theory that China invented the coronavirus as a weapon, without any proof. We already must contend with an untruthful president who listens to conspiracy theories. He was even impeached over a discredited theory being pushed by the Russians, but he is still pitching it, not having learned his lesson. “60 Minutes” even noted Sunday night that Trump refers to an Ukraine owned entity in his conspiracy discourse, but the entity is actually owned by US investors with no Ukrainian involvement. Sadly, the president’s lying is par for the course. Back to my earlier point, why not trust the president? He needs to give me reasons to do so.

Well, the walkabout at least gives me exercise, even though it does not permit me to solve any problems. We need people in position of leadership to act like leaders. At the very minimum, they should tell the truth more than they do not. As for the US president, taking him at his word is a fool’s errand.

Sober and bigger questions for White House actions

To me, judging sober testimony from an entertainment vantage point shows poorly. I found Messers. Kent and Taylor credible, honorable, duty-bound and courageous. The context they offered was helpful. I am proud we have public servants like these gentlemen. I also think when Taylor answered a question saying what the president did was “wrong,” that actually resonated with a few Republicans. We should not forget these people have testified under oath, one that it appears they take seriously.

Yet, a point made near the end should be highlighted. The aid was not released until after the whistleblower issue was made public and there waa bipartisan frustration with the president. Mr. Nunes and friends need to be reminded of this point and Taylor’s point that what the president did was wrong.

A huge question should be asked and asked again. Why is president Trump asking Rudy Guiliani to run a shadow diplomacy? Even if Guiliani was Gandhi, he has not been vetted by the Senate. There is an even bigger issue of which this is a part. Other countries do not know who speaks for America. Those are not my words. These words come from other countries’ diplomats. This creates chaos and mistrust.

It matters not the party of the president. What he is doing is “wrong.” He needs to be held accountable even if it does not lead to his removal from office. It is that important.

A talented person

Below, is an edited version of a letter I forwarded to the USA Today which they graciously improved and used in their Weekend Edition.

“President Donald Trump is a talented person.

It consistently amazes me how the most untruthful president (including Richard Nixon) in my memory can convince his followers that everyone else is lying about him.

His biographers have noted the president has a problem with the truth.

So, on any issue about which Trump denigrates critics saying they are lying, Americans should dig further.

As an independent, I don’t mind people being more conservative or progressive than me on various issues.

What I do mind is when politicians lie or forget what they said earlier pretending as if it never happened.

That practice is especially bad when the person doing it is our president.”

What I found interesting is in the same section of the USA Today, the front page said the two people arrested for campaign finance fraud had dinner in the White House. Why is that important? The president said he did not know these people the day before.

The climate of untruthfulness has become more untethered with the departure of more reasonable voices and as the president has painted himself into a corner with rash decisions and inappropriate actions. His lying as a means of defense seems to have ratcheted up. It will only get worse as more people testify.

 

The day the earth stood still

Monday. October 7, 2019, will be known as the day the earth stood still. It is a tipping point when the Republican party leadership started to realize their leader is a cancer on their party and the country. Many have had their concerns, but more than a few are voicing them now.

Two factors are converging. A second whistleblower has come forward with credible concerns the president may have broken the law. Further, the lawyer for the second said there are multiple whistleblowers not just one more.

The other is the president announcing the abandonment of US support for Kurdish forces in Syria. The Kurds were a key backbone in fighting ISIS. This announcement by an ill-informed person in leadership is bad on many levels. There is bipartisan pushback including from GOP Senate leadership on this move which paints the US in a very poor light. It is so bad, even a Fox and Friends’ host was critical of the president.

I need not get into the continual attacks on the Federal Reserve chair, the announcement of more tariffs on Europe or the prolific attacks on the Bidens and all critics. As Anthony Scaramucci said two months ago, the president is “off the rails.”

And, it will get worse. The president is a wounded animal. His inability to be truthful is worse. His bullying and beligerance is worse. As Fox News host Shep Smith said, the president has committed crimes right in front of our eyes.

The group Republicans for the Rule of Law said the president must be held accountable. Addlng his poor Syria decision to abandon the Kurds, he is also showing his ignorance of issues and allegiances is a danger.

For momths, I have shared my concern the US president is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our planet and his own party. Now, more and more are realizing this. This may not lead to impeachment, but it shows the president’s currency within his party is devalued.

A nice thing about our country

Our country is weary of having a person in a leadership position who is seemingly in the eye of every storm. He seems to be the lone constant in personal, political, company, country and media attacks. Even his supporters lament some of his tweeting habits.

Yet, our imperfect country has some nice things going for it. Here are a few thoughts.

– when our leaders do not address our real problems, companies, cities, states and people can step up and do more;
– when the president cannot get out of his own way and then has his people spend time, energy and their integrity defending his inane comments, we can choose to tune him out;
– when the president is untruthful more than he is not, we can choose to not believe a word he says or tweets;
– when leaders rationalize indefensible comments as normative, we can push back on them;
– we can choose to act on conservation, climate change and guns by voting with our feet; companies pay attention. Why? What creates profits and jobs are customers.

To this last point, companies like Google, Amazon, IKEA, Walmart, Facebook, etc. and states like California, Texas, Iowa, North Carolina, etc. are active in renewable energy. Walmart, Dick’s and Albertson’s are stepping up on gun sale restrictions. Even ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell are paying attention on climate change due to shareholder pressure.

If leaders choose not to lead, we can all do more. It sure would be nice if they helped some, too. If they do not, they become less relevant.

Tantrums, vapes, and hurricanes

The week that was had serious issues that threatened the lives of people mixed in with self-inflicted issues that caused temper-tantrums. In no particular order:

The Bahamas was truly devastated by Hurricane Dorian. The aftermath pictures are sobering. Okracoke, one of the southernmost Outer Banks islands in North Carolina, was hit hard, but the US mainland was spared the brunt of the storm, although damage occurred and lives were lost. That is the big story.

Yet, way too much time and effort has been spent trying to save face for the US president after ham-handed and unneeded efforts to play weatherman. Rather than admit he over accentuated the threat on Alabama, he had his staff spending valuable time coming up with a story that does not let the president’s little feelings to be hurt. What he fails to realize, it is the “rationalization” efforts that paint him in a bad light. It is akin to dressing up the “dog ate my homework” excuse.

Since we are talking about blowing smoke, the dangers of vaping are raising their ugly head. More kids are entering the hospital with breathing concerns traceable to some form of vaping. What has always concerned me is the amount of smoke the vapers exhale from their lungs. It far exceeds the amount of smoke a cigarette smoker would exhale. Call me crazy, but that cannot be good for one’s health.

Still on the subject of blowing smoke, ex-president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe died yesterday at the age of 95. After being initially praised for liberating and founding Zimbabwe, he proceeded to kill any opposition and become an autocrat. While so doing, he blew smoke at the world to mask his efforts.

Our British friends are realizing that having Boris as prime minister is not necessarily a good thing. Even pro-Brexit folks are likely lamenting this ego-centric choice. When time is of the essence, shortening the time to discuss a complex topic is not good stewardship. But, all of Parliament needs a “get out of the pool” order to allow them to check their egos, decide what they want and get their fannies to Brussels. A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous and would be felt immediately.

Finally, the US president acted on another temper-tantrum when the Department of Justice sued the State of California and four automakers for an agreement to comply with a higher mph standard than the Federal government wants. These automakers feel being good stewards will help sell cars and help them compete with other automakers. It is sad that Attorney General William Barr has stained his career being the president’s personal attorney and attacking people that disagree with him – that is autocratic behavior.

Have a great weekend all.