Friday Post Zeta Reads: We’re all hanging on and the bumpy rides keep comin’Posted: October 30, 2020
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s been a few overwhelming days for me and I’m quite exhausted. New Orleans was very fortunate that Hurricane Zeta was a fast mover because she was like 1 mph off a Category 3 hurricane when she hit and hit she did. We’re going to be digging out of shredded leaves, downed trees, and infrastructure messes for awhile. Fortunately, only six families lost their homes and one person died. It could’ve been way worse.
I was really fortunate that the city and the power company had done several things to stop tree damage on my avenue and in my neighborhood just a few weeks ago. The Tree Trimmers got the old oaks trimmed of dead branches and the power company reinforced the lines with brackets and and pole supports. A large number of homes through out the metro area or still out of power. Mine came back on Thursday morning.
However, both my phone and my cable tv and internet at the house are acting hinky. I was about to check the weather channel one last time last night when I found that the only channel I had on the entire cable set up was MSNBC which was the last thing I was watching. Fortunately, the entire compliment of channels returned this morning. The Wifi has been slow off and on. I couldn’t get mobile data on my phone Wednesday night so I was completely cutoff from everything except texts and phone calls. My understanding is that the Sprint Tower had damage and that network completely went down so something similar must’ve happened with the Verizon Tower. My cable company still is showing a lot of outages and problems in the neighborhood so I’m just lucky I’ve got what I’ve got.
I spent Wednesday night reading the rest of a book on Kindle–which was amply charged for the event–by hurricane lamp light. We were totally in the center of the eyewall when it came through which was the most ethereal experience I think I’ve ever had. The city was texting us to stay inside but I wanted to get Temple out for a quick in and out walk. It was quiet and the clouds to the west, east, and north of me were swirly dark grey clouds with an eerie purple tinge. To the south, over the river, the sky was a brilliant orangish gold. I failed to bring my phone camera out with me but some others have captured the moment so I’m sharing some pictures I took but those were taken by others.
Today, I learned that a lot of polling places may not be up in time since about 70% of our schools are without power or damaged some how. I think my fire station is likely okay but I’m going to go check them out on Temple’s next Trot around the neighborhood.
And the final days of the 2020 presidential campaign look ugly.
I can’t really say I’ve been reading much or watching much TV on any of this because I’m rather traumatized enough from everything going on . But, everything I’ve seen
makes me glad I’ve been incognito for a few days. The desperation around the Trump campaign is just frighteningly damaging to every one including his cult. I still can’t believe they abandoned a bunch of Omahans on an Airfield in freezing weather or let a group of Floridians pass out from heat exhaustion. Both were finally rescued by actions of the local fire departments which the Kremlin Potted Plant in the White House wasn’t going to praise until he found out if it was a friend or a foe. WTF?
The COVID 19 pandemic–despite Trumpist attempts to ignore and downplay it–is getting worse. NPR reports that they’ve been hiding statistics also. No surprise that! “Internal Documents Reveal COVID-19 Hospitalization Data The Government Keeps Hidden”
As coronavirus cases rise swiftly around the country, surpassing both the spring and summer surges, health officials brace for a coming wave of hospitalizations and deaths. Knowing which hospitals in which communities are reaching capacity could be key to an effective response to the growing crisis. That information is gathered by the federal government — but not shared openly with the public.
NPR has obtained documents that give a snapshot of data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collects and analyzes daily. The documents — reports sent to agency staffers — highlight trends in hospitalizations and pinpoint cities nearing full hospital capacity and facilities under stress. They paint a granular picture of the strain on hospitals across the country that could help local citizens decide when to take extra precautions against COVID-19.
Withholding this information from the public and the research community is a missed opportunity to help prevent outbreaks and even save lives, say public health and data experts who reviewed the documents for NPR.
“At this point, I think it’s reckless. It’s endangering people,” says Ryan Panchadsaram, co-founder of the website COVID Exit Strategy and a former data official in the Obama administration. “We’re now in the third wave, and I think our only way out is really open, transparent and actionable information.”
Susan B Glasser writes this at The New Yorker: “Denialism, Dishonesty, Deflection: The Final Days of the Trump Campaign Have It All. The President is ending his reëlection bid with scandals that call into question the legitimacy of next week’s vote.”
Whether or not Trump once again succeeds in pulling an unlikely win out of a near-certain defeat, this fall’s campaign may well go down as one of the most scandalous periods of his norm-shattering Presidency. Trump in recent weeks has openly flirted with white supremacy and bizarre conspiracy theories. He has demanded that the U.S. government investigate and jail Biden—it is not clear for what—and he has publicly threatened to fire the F.B.I. director and the Attorney General for failing to do so. He has held rallies at which his supporters chanted “Lock him up,” and did and said nothing to stop them. He has broadcast so much misinformation that social-media platforms such as Twitter have, for the first time, regularly warned readers about the veracity of his posts. He has lied so much that the Times found seventy-five per cent of his statements during a single rally to be untrue. He has issued orders that threaten to politicize the government long after he is gone, including an executive order, last week, which would remove key protections from the professional civil service; the potential consequences of this move are so significant that, on Monday, the Republican Trump appointee who would have to oversee it resigned in protest, warning that the decision will “replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance” across the government.
In recent weeks, scandalous revelations about Trump’s corruption include the Times’reporting on hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that Trump is personally liable for. (He will not say to whom.) The Washington Post disclosed this week that Trump has used his power to direct at least eight million dollars from the U.S. government—–and his political supporters—into his personal businesses since he took office. The consequences of Trump’s Presidency, meanwhile, include the forcible separation of at least twenty-six hundred migrant children from their parents at the southern border, and last week the awful news came out that five hundred and forty-five of these children are now stranded alone in the United States, owing to the authorities being unable to locate their mothers or fathers.
And this parade of horrors, of course, also includes Trump’s record on the coronavirus, a disastrous performance that, as of this week, has left more than two hundred and twenty thousand Americans dead. Universal mask-wearing could prevent perhaps a hundred and thirty thousand Americans from dying, according to a study in the scientific journal Nature which was released earlier this month. Yet Trump not only refuses to issue a national mask mandate; he has repeatedly and publicly questioned the need for mask-wearing during the fall campaign and has held numerous White House events with packed crowds of unmasked attendees.
Then, yesterday, the NYTs dropped what would be an October Surprise that kills Trump’s chances if we still lived in what was the normal United States of America. Here it is summed up by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait: “Trump Corruptly Meddled With Probe Into Crimes by Bank in Turkey.” The MSNBC coverage of this is evidently what got my TV stuck on the channel. I was glued to the screen. This is like immediate impeachment material for Trump, Barrett, and the Goddesses know who else?
In 2016, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked then-Vice-President Joe Biden to lean on federal prosecutors who were investigating a Turkish bank for financial crimes and to hand over a dissident cleric living in the United States. The requests seemed to be on Biden’s mind when he publicly addressed reporters and piously explained that, in the United States, the justice system doesn’t work like that. “I suspect it’s hard for people to understand that as powerful as my country is, as powerful as Barack Obama is as president, he has no authority under our Constitution to extradite anyone,” Biden explained to reporters. “Only a federal court can do that. Nobody else can do that. If the president were to take this into his own hands, what would happen would be he would be impeached for violating the separation of powers.”
Well, the justice system works like that now.
The New York Times has a comprehensive report on Erdogan’s successful efforts to recruit top Trump administration officials into his corrupt scheme.
Scandals tend to be complicated, especially scandals involving banks. But this one is extremely simple. The basic elements:
1) The Justice Department was prosecuting financial crimes by a Turkish bank.
2) Turkey’s president asked President Trump to quash the investigation.
3) Trump has personally received more than $1 million in payments from business in Turkey while serving as president.
4) Two attorneys general loyal to Trump, Matthew Whitaker and William Barr, both pressured federal prosecutors to go easy on the Turkish bank.
The Times adds plenty of new detail to the last point, which is yet another blow to anybody who hoped Barr might preserve some shred of respect for the rule of law. “In mid-June 2019, when [Geoffrey] Berman met with Mr. Barr in Washington, the attorney general pushed Mr. Berman to agree to allow the Justice Department to drop charges against the defendants and terminate investigations of other suspected conspirators,” the Times reports. When Barr subsequently fired Berman, who resisted his pressure, Justice Department officials cited his stubbornness on the Turkey case “as a key reason for his removal.”
If you read one thing today make it this article. It is imperative he be voted out of office and removed as quickly as possible along with his appointments at the DOJ.
In the eye of a hurricane
There is quiet
For just a moment
A yellow sky
So, we’ve got a bit further to go on our Country’s Bumpy Ride. Tomorrow is Halloween. Sunday is All Saints Day. Tuesday the votes are counted and I take my soul to the poll. Wednesday I turn 65. What a long strange ride this is.
Take care! Check in !
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?