Independence Weekend Reads

Rick Beerhorst Into Her Book

Good Afternoon!!

I’m filling in for Dakinikat. She is having serious computer problems and it looks hopeless. She will have to find a way to buy a new computer. If anyone can help, she could really use some donations.

I’m getting a very late start–so this will be brief. Tomorrow is Independence Day, but this year it is being celebrated on July 3–today. The annual 4th of July concert and fireworks display on Boston Common was cancelled, and there will be a “virtual concert” tomorrow night. I assume other cities have also called such huge gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Trump has to have his childish events so he can fill up the empty whole inside him with narcissistic supply. His last mass rally in Tulsa bombed and I hope his events today and tomorrow will also be massive failures.

Tonight he’ll be in South Dakota for a super-spreader event at Mount Rushmore.

CNN: Trump set for another massive event during national pandemic.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump head to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to celebrate an early Fourth of July at a gathering of an estimated 7,500 people during a global pandemic.

No social distancing is planned for the event despite the record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States. And the event takes place amid environmental concerns over the use of fireworks in the dry land and as the country engages in a reckoning over its own monuments and racist history.

“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing,” Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said during a Monday appearance on Fox News.

There may be health screening for ticketed guests in one area, according to recreation.gov. A recording on the park’s main telephone line Monday said: “There are no social distancing requirements in place at this time.”

Native Americans are not happy about the Trump event.

The Yellow Books, 1887, Vincent Van Gogh

The Independent: ‘It’s going to cause an uproar’: Sioux president says Trump not welcome to visit Mount Rushmore.

The president of the Oglala Sioux tribal council has said that Donald Trump should not attend Mount Rushmore’s fourth of July fireworks celebration in South Dakota on Friday.

President Julian Bear Runner cited health fears over the coronavirus and also said that Mr Trump’s attendance is an insult to Native Americans on whose stolen land it was built.

“Trump coming here is a safety concern not just for my people inside and outside the reservation, but for people in the Great Plains. We have such limited resources in Black Hills, and we’re already seeing infections rising,” Mr Bear Runner said in an interview with The Guardian.

Several Native American groups are planning to stage protests over the president’s scheduled appearance, the newspaper reported.

“It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed,” Mr Bear Runner added.

Politico: ‘Complete disaster’: Trump’s fraught ties with Native Americans on display at Mount Rushmore.

Trump is planning to visit Mount Rushmore on Friday to kick off Independence Day weekend with a glitzy fireworks display and a military flyover — and has run into strife and contention over his decision to celebrate at a national landmark built on land stolen from Native Americans at the same time the country is reassessing the offensiveness of such monuments.

LÜBECK ORPHANAGE (1894) Gotthardt Kuehl

In the days before his visit, some Native American leaders called for destruction of the massive sculpture — built in the Black Hills on land taken from the Lakota tribe to honor several presidents they say were hostile to Indigenous people.

And protesters are expected to greet Trump on his trip and express Native Americans’ broader grievances. Tribal leaders have criticized the president for what they describe as harmful policies, delayed and watered-down measures to help their community and his offensive language.

“Symbolically, he’s been a complete disaster for most people who follow Indian affairs,” said Matthew Fletcher, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University.

Tomorrow Trump will put on a tasteless military display in Washington DC, with flyovers in some cities. I heard we’re getting one in Boston. Instead of supporting and protecting our troops, Trump uses them as pawns in his endless desire for attention while refusing to condemn his pal Putin for putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan.

ABC News: Despite pandemic, Trump promoting July 4th fireworks in DC over mayor’s objections.

President Donald Trump is promoting a big July Fourth celebration and fireworks display in the nation’s capital this weekend, with administration officials expecting large crowds on the National Mall and nearby, despite the mayor’s objections the event may spread the coronavirus.

The dispute comes amid spikes in coronavirus cases around the country – with over 50,000 COVID-19 cases reported in just one day this week.

Madame de Pompadour (1756) Francois Boucher

“We’ve communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC and Department of Health guidance. But this event will take place entirely on federal property,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference.

The city is currently in phase two of its reopening plan, which encourages its residents to continue to engage in social distancing, keep wearing a mask, and to avoid congregating in confined space with more than 50 people.

But Bowser said since she does not have jurisdiction over federal land, she could only urge D.C. residents to exercise caution this weekend, advising people to stay home if they don’t think they can remain physically distanced from others.

The Washington Post: Trump to hold Fourth of July gathering at Mount Rushmore as coronavirus surges.

The Washington Post: Fourth of July in Washington includes fireworks, military flyovers and protests.

Even as local officials are discouraging people from joining the traditional Fourth of July festivities on the Mall out of fear that crowds could spread the novel coronavirus, President Trump has decided the tradition will continue and, come Saturday, fireworks will light up the skies of the nation’s capital, the Interior Department said Wednesday.

The year’s festivities also will include flyovers by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels, and a showing of World War II aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang fighter and the B-29 bomber.

It’s unclear how many people will show up for America’s freedom celebration, but those who do will be joined downtown by scores of protesters.

The protests spurred by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May are expected to continue this weekend and draw large crowds. As many as 20 protests are scheduled for Saturday, and they could extend through the night.

Anyone who goes to either of these event is nuts IMHO.

More reads to peruse today:

READING (CLARA) (CIRCA 1865) FEDERICO FARUFFINI

The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Hillary Rodham Clinton (‘Hillary’)

The New York Times: Splitting 5-4, Supreme Court Grants Alabama’s Request to Restore Voting Restrictions. Not good.

Politico: Supreme Court blocks judge’s order loosening Alabama voting requirements due to virus

Newsweek: How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President | Opinion

The Daily Beast: Mary Trump: You Can’t Gag Me Because Settlement Was a ‘Fraud’

HuffPost: America Spends Billions To Get The Best Intel In The World But Can’t Make Trump Read It.

The Daily Beast: Trump Whines He’s Not Getting Praised for a Recovery With 25 Million People Still Out of Work

David Rothkopf at New York Review Daily:

Politico: The week that shook the Trump campaign

The New York Times: Why June Was Such a Terrible Month for Trump<

The New York Times: Federal Officials Turn to a New Testing Strategy as Infections Surge.

Paul Krugman: Trump’s Virus Is Spreading, and His Economy Is Stalling

The Atlantic: The Week America Lost Control of the Pandemic

Robin Wright at The New Yorker: To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful

Have a great weekend and stay safe!


Monday Reads: Good News First

See the source image

Vivian Maier is often considered one of America’s greatest street photographers.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Today’s pictures are of women artists and their self portraits from the National Geographic and other sources.

There’s some very good news out of the Supreme Court today for Louisiana Women and women every where in the country!  From NBC News: “Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The measure would have required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic.”

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.

The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.

Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.

The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”

Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

Even small victories based on stare decisis are still victories.

 

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Self Portrait By Paula Modersohn Becker

Well, Iran always makes things interesting.  You have to give them that. From The Sydney Morning Herald: “Iran issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump, requests help from Interpol.

Tehran: Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol to help detain US President Donald Trump and others it believes carried out a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly says.”

While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and more than 30 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face “murder and terrorism charges,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.

From BuzzFeed News: “Democrats Won’t Let Republicans Speak In Coronavirus Hearings If They Won’t Wear Masks.  “We’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this,” Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn told Republicans.”

Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are threatening to bar Republican members from participating future meetings in-person after they showed up to a hearing on Friday without masks.

Subcommittee Chair Jim Clyburn is sending a letter to ranking member Steve Scalise, warning he would not recognize members in hearings and meetings without proper face coverings; the chair must recognize members to speak and participate in committee business.

“Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance,” Clyburn said in a letter to Scalise. The letter further recommends members participate remotely if they insist on not wearing masks.

The letter comes after a monthslong debate in Congress where Republicans have repeatedly disregarded recommendations and then a requirement from Capitol health experts to wear face coverings. The disagreement on the topic came to a head at the end of a Friday hearing when Clyburn reminded his Republican colleagues they were in violation of a mandate handed down by the attending physician, even as disposable masks were stationed outside the hearing room for members to use.

“For the United States House of Representatives meetings, in a limited and closed space such as a committee hearing room for greater than 15 minutes face coverings are required,” Clyburn said, reading the Capitol health official’s order. “And we’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this. I will stay in the safety of my home as I would ask all you to do.”

Scalise responded to Clyburn by saying members of the House are following guidelines on how to social distance just fine, suggesting mask-wearing is an additional precautionary measure.

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Self-Portrait, Lois Mailou Jones

From Kyle Cheney at Politico: “House Dems propose strengthening Congress’ contempt power to break administration stonewalls. “We’ve seen unprecedented and illegal obstruction by the Trump administration to Congress,” Ted Lieu said.”

House Democrats increasingly frustrated by the Trump administration for defying subpoenas are proposing legislation that would ratchet up their power to punish executive branch officials who reject their requests.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and five other membersof the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled a rule change Monday to formalize and expand Congress’ power of “inherent contempt” — its authority to unilaterally punish anyone who defies a subpoena for testimony or documents.

Though Congress has long had inherent contempt power, it has been in disuse since before World War II. This power, upheld by courts, has included the ability to levy fines and even jail witnesses who refuse to cooperate with congressional demands.

But such extreme measures have fallen out of favor over the years, as Congress has relied instead primarily on litigation to enforce its subpoenas and officials across government have acknowledged the unappetizing prospect of using force to impose its will. It’s even trickier when applied to a coequal branch of government, which may have its own privileges and protections to assert.

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Frida Kahlo Self Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

More news is coming forth about the Russian bounties.  This is from WAPO: “Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments.”

Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by members of Afghan security forces, which are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.

The intelligence was passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March, the people said.

 

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Joni Mitchell Self Portrait

This is really unfolding in a particularly quick way.  Here’s an opinion from Greg Sargent at WAPO’s Plum Line: “As Trump’s corruption gets worse, some Democrats want a tougher response.”

The big revelations of the moment — the reports that Russia may have paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, and the news that a U.S. attorney was ousted after investigating Trump cronies — are a reminder that Trump has found a gaping hole in our system.

If a president refuses to cooperate with congressional oversight in just about every conceivable way — and if that president has the near-total backing of a party that controls one chamber of Congress — any such scrutiny can basically be ground to a halt, with no repercussions.

But a group of House Democrats is now calling on its chamber to get a lot tougher in this regard.

This group of Democrats — which is led by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and includes other high-profile lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee — is introducing a resolution Monday that, if successful, would dramatically increase the House’s ability to compel compliance with oversight.

This resolution would create a new, modernized mechanism by which the House could seek to levy stiff fines on officials who defy subpoenas for testimony or documents. It would in effect bring into the 21st century a power that Congress has used only rarely in the past — the power to enforce its own subpoenas.

“The administration can simply choose not to have witnesses appear and not produce documents, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lieu told me, noting that “we’ve seen the Trump administration getting worse, not better, in terms of both obstruction and engaging in reckless conduct.”

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Self-Portrait by South African Visual Artist Zanele Muholi

One last OpEd piece from WAPO by Elizabeth Spiers: “Trump’s ‘silent majority’ isn’t a majority, and it’s far from silent. But the rhetoric lays the groundwork for crying foul when the true majority wins.”

The Trump team’s declaration that a silent majority lurks, ready to return Trump to the White House, is at odds with almost everything else the president says and does. His efforts to make it harder to vote by opposing voting by mail in the middle of a pandemic, and his repeated claims that Democrats are plotting election fraud, suggest a distinct nervousness about the majority’s true will. He appears to be laying the groundwork for explaining away a Democratic victory in November, as the result of deception and trickery. On June 22 he tweeted, in typical fashion: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” In a system where success usually depends on grasping what a majority of the electorate wants, the sound strategy might be to reach out from one’s base to voters in the middle. Trump instead is heavily invested in the assumption that his enthusiastic minority will determine the outcome — even if it means that the people who don’t like him are prevented from voting.

These are hopeful signs in a fight to stop some of the most disturbing trends of the Trumpist Regime.  However, the fight is on so many levels and we battle the rich and powerful and the firmly entrenched like Mitch McConnell. Take this idiot as an great example. He’s not on the front pages like Police Reform and Abortion Restrictions.  And we still don’t make enough noise about voter restrictions in so many Republican-controlled states.

 

They’re killing our land, our children, our hopes and dreams, our democracy, our economy, our climate and its ecosystems, our indigenous peoples,  Black Men, and just about everything with their greed, racism, misogyny, and rigid theocratic ideologies that punish women, the GLBT community, and science and rational thought.

We just have to hang in there.

Remember we have leadership that will stand up to it all

Have a great week Sky Dancers!  Do be safe!  Stay home if possible!  Wear a mask!  Be kind, gentle, and giving to yourself and others!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Memorial Day Reads: Unfit for Duty

Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington - Find A Grave Cemetery

Washington State’s National Cemetery (This is where my parents are buried.  Dad served in WW2) This national cemetary is in Kent, King County, Washington, USA

Blessings to you on this Memorial Day!

We used to picnic at the gravesites of our greats while cleaning the area and planting flowers when I was a kid.  Most of them were in Kansas and some in Missouri and some of them had paid the ultimate sacrifice to make all peoples free and our country whole. One of my favorite ones was in a very small town in Kansas and had a rather stunted version of a marble Egyptian obelisk and looked a bit like someone had the idea of copying the Washington Monument.  It was stunted because some time between its erection and the time we showed up to rake the leaves and twigs from around it a tornado had torn it in half and a shorter version was the result. It was on a raised bit of land that was just right for small feet to circumambulate it many times.

I always like to meditate a bit on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice because it seems like a noble, and brave, and somewhat reckless thing to do. But, if you’ve ever visited Arlington or any of the national cemeteries you can see the many headstones of those who do make that ultimate sacrifice as well as others–like my Dad–that signed on and  survived–and are proud to be buried alongside their many comrades. One of the members of his flight crew is also buried in the same place as Dad and my mom.

This brings me to Cadet Bonespurs who is undoubtedly out golfing again in Virginia.  You know, the Russian Potted Plant in the White House that tweets insane, ugly, mad things from atop his loo who some figured would make a great president.  This headline is all too poignant today on the day we recognize those who made that ultimate sacrifice so we could keep our republic.

From WAPO and the Plum Line: “Can we stop pretending Trump is fit to be president?”  Yes please!!! Can we just stop this now?  Paul Waldman writes what I’ve been thinking for years now.

At various times over the past three and a half years, many of us have asked what would happen if President Trump truly went over the edge or if his behavior became so frightening that his unfitness for the most powerful position on Earth could no longer be denied.

But the human capacity for denial is apparently almost infinite. Let’s review what our president has been up to in the past few days:

  • With the death toll from covid-19 about to top 100,000, Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of tributes to the dead, sympathy for their families, or acknowledgement of our national mourning. By all accounts he is barely bothering to manage his administration’s response to the pandemic, preferring to focus on cheerleading for an economic recovery he says is on its way, even as he feeds conspiracy theories about the death toll being inflated. This weekend, he went golfing.
  • In a Twitter spasm on Saturday and Sunday, Trump retweeted mockery of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s weight and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) looks, along with a tweet calling Hillary Clinton a “skank.”
  • Eager to start a new culture war flare-up, he urged churches to open and gather parishioners in a room to breathe the same air, threatening that he would “override” governors whose shutdown orders still forbade such gatherings. The president has no such power.
  • He all but accused talk show host Joe Scarborough of murdering a young woman who died in 2001 in the then-congressman’s district office, bringing untold torture to her family from the conspiracy theorists who will respond to his accusation.
  • He has repeatedly insisted that the upcoming election is being “rigged” because states run by both Republicans and Democrats are making it easier to vote by mail, seeking to delegitimize a vote that has yet to occur, despite the substantial evidence that mail voting advantages neither party.

The truth is that Trump is not much more despicable of a human being than he has always been; it’s just that standard Trumpian behavior becomes more horrifying when it occurs during an ongoing national crisis. It is reality that changed around him, and he was incapable of responding to it.

Just go read it all.  The death toll from this Pandemic has surpassed the number of dead from the Vietnam War.  Please, can we get some one competent in before it surpasses that of many more of our wars.

Also from WAPO and Anne Gearin: “On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims and plays golf”.

As the death toll in the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000 Americans this Memorial Day weekend, President Trump derided and insulted perceived enemies and promoted a baseless conspiracy theory, in between rounds of golf.

In a flurry of tweets and retweets Saturday and Sunday, Trump mocked former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s weight, ridiculed the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and called former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.”

He revived long-debunked speculation that a television host with whom Trump has feuded may have killed a woman and asserted without evidence that mail-in voting routinely produces ballot stuffing. He made little mention of the sacrifice Americans honor on Memorial Day or the grim toll of the virus.

In fact, Trump’s barrage of social media attacks stood in sharp contrast to a sober reality on a weekend for mourning military dead — the number of Americans whose lives have been claimed by the novel coronavirus has eclipsed the combined total of U.S. deaths from wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guide to Visiting Arlington National Cemetery | washington.org

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Yes, there’s more today on this than maybe any day I can remember and BB and I discuss this frequently. Why the fuck do so many in the media still try to normalize this madman?

Annie Karni / New York Times:
Trump Promotes Posts From Racist and Sexist Twitter Feed

Peter Baker / New York Times:

Tom Nichols  of The Atlantic writes this: “Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President ” which seems a bit of an odd thing to write about on a day like today.

Not every working-class male voted for Trump, and not all of them have these traits, of course. And I do not present these beliefs and attitudes as uniformly virtuous in themselves. Some of these traditional masculine virtues have a dark side: Toughness and dominance become bullying and abuse; self-reliance becomes isolation; silence becomes internalized rage. Rather, I am noting that courage, honesty, respect, an economy of words, a bit of modesty, and a willingness to take responsibility are all virtues prized by the self-identified class of hard-working men, the stand-up guys, among whom I was raised.

And yet, many of these same men expect none of those characteristics from Trump, who is a vain, cowardly, lying, vulgar, jabbering blowhard. Put another way, as a question I have asked many of the men I know: Is Trump a man your father and grandfather would have respected?

The surprising history of Arlington National Cemetery

Young visitors to Arlington

Frankly, Trump is a man from which I would hide both daughters and silverware .  This essay that explores the white male psyche is just odd all over but go read it and let me know what you think.  It has the classic trope of the white working class man that Joe Biden carries with him so choke back the scream and read it knowing that at least its criticism and maybe it will hit the audience who needs to see this in another man in order to stop voting for Trump.  But, again, I’m just tired of idea of the noble working class man.

One was a 94-year-old veteran of World War II who was the first of his 11 brothers to enlist in the military. One was a Vietnam veteran who lost his leg overseas and was always touched when people thanked him for his service. Another was drafted into the military at 18 and was awarded a Purple Heart.

They are among the untold number of veterans who served and survived during times of war only to die in recent weeks from the coronavirus.

This year’s Memorial Day will pay tribute not only to those who died on the battlefield but more recent fallen soldiers. And in a reminder of the way coronavirus has transformed American lives and traditions, many of the usual Memorial Day gatherings have been either canceled or curtailed — mindful of the pandemic that has already killed more than 90,000 people in the U.S.

It’s making the situation even more painful for the relatives of those veterans who have died from the virus.

Robert Hopp was one of at least 79 residents of a veterans home in Paramus, New Jersey, to die from COVID-19, making the state-run facility one of the nation’s worst hot spots for the virus.

He served two and a half tours during the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart after he was hit with enemy fire while in a helicopter. Everyone else on board the chopper died, but Hopp managed to climb into the pilot’s seat and fly to safety.

After being hospitalized recently for diabetic complications, his health deteriorated quickly and he died in April. He was 70 years old.

His family is at a loss about how they will mark the occasion.

I am thankful for all of those who gave their lives in battle to make our a country a more perfect union.  I am saddened by the presence of a man in the white house so unfit for duty that he cannot take time away from twitter, politics, self aggrandizement, and golf to walk in one of the Virginia National Cemeteries and salute the sacrifice these folks made for our country. He doesn’t see how much he disgraces their memory and our lives every single day he breathes.

Strict rules in place for visitors to national cemeteries for ...

“Strict rules in place for visitors to national cemeteries for Memorial Day “in Hampton Virginia.

Families visiting Hampton National Cemetery and national cemeteries across the U.S. are asked to follow CDC, state, and local health and safety guidelines.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Test Test Test!

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, plant and outdoor

New Orleans Covid Testing is actually some of the most available in the country. We have a large number of folks that are endangered by the pandemic so it’s a good thing.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Well, I spent a good deal of this morning in a socially distanced line wearing a mask in the first hint of the summer heat and humidity to get Covid-19 Testing.  I received both the swabbing test for active virus (unpleasant for sure) and then the blood test for antibodies.  This is part of the city’s Drive up testing that is showing up in every one’s neighborhood now.

I had to walk down to the Sister of Charities facilities where a closed Catholic church and elementary school have been morphed into a public clinic and elderly residence by Catholic Charities.   My way up town hospital system was the one running the testing site for the Med Center’s effort to determine the city’s pandemic status at this location.

So, I’m grading the final tests and essays written by students this semester and wondering when any one will see a class on campus again.  I guess we’ll wait and see here.  Our Governor and Mayor are letting the numbers and the science guide them. Hence, we have tests and only do things when the numbers are in keeping with CDC Guidelines.

But, the federal level continues to test the Public Health communities’ patience while hrumpffing off  testing their patients. Trump continues to push the narrative that we should blindly fight through this pandemic like they did in the Dark Ages and the Black Plague. After all, Wall Street and a November election await improved consumer spending which I refuse to die for.  Do I look like a Guinea pig to you?

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I watched all those crazy ass Wisconsin people crowded into a bar on TV last night and wondered which ones Fortuna will bless with a horrible death. It occurs to me that Trump simply thinks let them drink Lysol. Via Newsweek:

Governor Tony Evers said the decision turned the state into the “Wild West” with no restrictions in place, as he urged residents to remain at home, despite stating his team had “no authority” to compel people to do so following the ruling.

After the measures were lifted, crowds were seen flocking to bars as they reopened.

Following the court ruling, the Tavern League of Wisconsin, a trade association “dedicated to serving the needs of the retail beverage alcohol segment of the hospitality industry,” posted an update which read: “The Supreme Court Order is effective immediately. There is no stay included in the decision. It is legal to open your business today.”

It urged business which chose to open to review guidance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which suggested employees wear face masks or cloth coverings. It also recommends reducing the customer-facing side of hospitality businesses as much as possible, underscoring the need for continued social-distancing of six feet between patrons and staff.

Despite the suggestions, photos and videos emerged in which bars appeared packed, with patrons seated next to each other as they joined friends for drinks.

We could be Sweden and we would be if Trump lived his dream of killing us all in the name of some morbid economic recovery led by higher demand for body bags and funerals.  The Swedish Experiment of seeking herd immunity through let the entire thing play out is showing itself to be quite deadly as the experts have been warning us.

Fortuna | 52 To Do

Ah!  Fortuna!

From the NYT’s today: “Sweden Stayed Open. A Deadly Month Shows the Risks.”

Sweden’s outbreak has been far deadlier than those of its neighbors, but it’s still better off than many countries that enforced strict lockdowns.

By late March, nearly every country in Europe had closed schools and businesses, restricted travel and ordered citizens to stay home. But one country stood out for its decision to stay open: Sweden.

The country’s moderated response to the coronavirus outbreak has drawn praise from some American politicians, who see Sweden as a possible model for the United States as it begins to reopen. “We need to observe with an open mind what went on in Sweden, where the kids kept going to school,” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, said at a hearing on Tuesday.

But while Sweden has avoided the devastating tolls of outbreaks in Italy, Spain and Britain, it also has seen an extraordinary increase in deaths, mortality data show.

In Stockholm, where the virus spread through migrant communities, more than twice the usual number of people died last month. That increase far surpasses the rise in deaths in American cities like Boston and Chicago, and approaches the increase seen in Paris.

Across Sweden, almost 30 percent more people died during the epidemic than is normal during this time of year, an increase similar to that of the United States and far higher than the small increases seen in its neighboring countries. While Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia, all have strong public health care systems and low health inequality across the population.

“It’s not a very flattering comparison for Sweden, which has such a great public health system,” said Andrew Noymer, a demographer at the University of California at Irvine. “There’s no reason Sweden should be doing worse than Norway, Denmark and Finland.”

 

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Not only is testing uncool to Republicans but so are masks. We’re used to masking here but how did this become so partisan?  Well, Floridan Man is at it again.  This is from CNN’s Manu Raju: “GOP congressman on why he’s not wearing a mask: ‘There’s just no need’.”

Republican Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida was spotted Friday walking around the Capitol and on the House floor without wearing a mask.

Asked why not, he told CNN: “There’s just no need.”

Told that the Capitol physician suggests wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, Yoho cited no need because of “herd immunity.”

CNN noted to Yoho that medical experts haven’t determined that herd immunity applies to the novel coronavirus. Yoho responded: “Viruses do what viruses do.”

Asked if he thinks he’s protected by herd immunity, Yoho said: “I think the only way you’re going to get it is to get exposed.”

Anyway, I’m pretty worn out and that’s why this post is so late and so short. But, I am interested in hearing about your community.  Are tests available?  Have you had any?  Do most of the people wear masks? Do they social distance?    Is any one actually planning on hanging out with a crowd of strangers soon?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Trumpist Chaos is on an Exponential Growth Path

Hackwhackers: Today's Trump Cartoon Trifecta - The Meltdown

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The Chaotic Trumpist Regime continues to wreak havoc on the peace, health, and stability of our Democracy.  Looking at headlines today creates the impression that we are under attack from within in so many ways that it’s hard to understand and counter them all.  It’s also difficult to prioritize what we should be reading about. Here’s my list and I know there’s more!

Trump has cut funding to Doctors and Scientists working on a Covid 19 vaccine and insisting this pandemic will go away without a vaccine.

 

 

Cartoons

Meanwhile, back in reality, Sarah Owermohle  of Politico writes: “Why the U.S. isn’t prepared to meet overwhelming demand for a coronavirus vaccine.  The nation’s supply chain isn’t anywhere close to ready. What I want to know is how  could we possibly be preparing for this when Trump thinks we don’t need a vaccine?

The nation is already grappling with a shortage of the specialized glass used to make the vials that will store any vaccine. Producing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses will also require huge quantities of stoppers — which are made by just a handful of companies — as well as needles and refrigeration units. Low stocks of any one of these components could slow future vaccination efforts, much as shortfalls of key chemicals delayed widespread coronavirus testing.

A massive manufacturing effort is already gearing up to produce hundreds of millions of doses of promising vaccines now in late-stage trials, as scientists and the government gamble that at least one of the shots will prove safe and effective. The effort could rival the urgent national campaign to vaccinate children against polio in the 1950s.

“Probably the biggest challenge will be scaling up the actual vaccine. It’s one thing to have clinical trial samples and materials in lab quantities,” said George Zorich, a pharmacy expert and CEO of ZEDPharma. “It’s another challenge actually scaling that up effectively.”

Potentially making it even harder is that the U.S. is striking out on its own. The administration has snubbed an international collaboration spearheaded by the World Health Organization, while the president readies for a November election that could be a referendum on his coronavirus response.

 

Sack cartoon: Anti-stay-at-home protests | Star Tribune

This is really no way to run a country or a response to a nationwide threat.

The Flynn Travesty has caused a number of former DOJ employees to call for investigation by Congress and for judicial action.

This is probably even scarier than the Pandemic.  As I said before. this is truly Banana Republic territory.

 

 

Bruce Plante Cartoon: The Protesters | Columnists | tulsaworld.com

You’ll just love the Republican plan for any more monetary help to people hold on to their lives.  Hand them your social security and you’ll get diddles for now. So, your choice on when to fall of the financial cliff.

 

 

Coronavirus cartoons: Protesters denounce stay-at-home orders

And we still have to deal with angry Trumpist mobs wanting access to strip clubs, nail salons, and gun stores. From Steve Neavling / News & Views of the9 Detroit Metro Times:  “Gov. Whitmer becomes target of dozens of threats on private Facebook groups ahead of armed rally in Lansing”

Dozens of angry Michiganders, fueled by conspiracy theories and disinformation about the coronavirus, are promoting violence and mobilizing armed rallies against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Facebook, in violation of the social media company’s policies.

Metro Times gained access to four private Facebook groups that can only be seen by approved members. The pages, which have a combined 400,000 members, are filled with paranoid, sexist, and grammar-challenged rants, with members encouraging violence and flouting the governor’s social-distancing orders.

On Sunday, after being contacted by Metro Times, Facebook removed one of the groups, Michigan United for Liberty, and deleted posts on others for violating the company’s policy against inciting violence. Facebook announced last month that it will remove groups and events that encourage people to defy social-distancing measures. Facebook also is investigating the other groups.

“We removed one group for violating our policies and will remove any other violations as we continue our review,“ a Facebook spokesperson tells Metro Times.

Assassinating Whitmer is a common theme among members of the groups. Dozens of people have called for her to be hanged.

“We need a good old fashioned lynch mob to storm the Capitol, drag her tyrannical ass out onto the street and string her up as our forefathers would have,” John Campbell Sr. wrote in a group called “People of Michigan vs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” which had nearly 9,000 members as of Monday morning.

Steve Doxsie had the same idea: “Drag that tyrant governor out to the front lawn. Fit her for a noose.”

“Either President Trump sends in the troops or there is going to be a midnight lynching in Lansing soon,” Michael Smith chimed in.

Others suggested she be shot, beaten, or beheaded.

“Plain and simple she needs to eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the democrats that they are next,” James Greena, of Fennville, wrote.

Chris Rozman said, “She needs her ass beat. Most of these politicians need a good ass whooping. Just. Punch there lights out.”

When someone suggested the guillotine, Thomas Michael Lamphere responded, “Good ol’ fashioned bullets work better, but I like the enthusiasm.”

“Wonder how long till she’s hit with a shotgun blast,” Chris Parrish wrote.

Matthew Woodruff had another idea: “Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down,” he asked.

Lynching seems to be  the “in” remedy with Trumpists these days.  Black Americans are still the primary target and there is no lack of it in the news these days either.

 

 

 

 

Hands on Wisconsin: Impeachment taught Donald Trump a valuable ...

I continue to wonder how we can rid ourselves of all of these Trumpists even if we do rid ourselves of Trump.  It is truly discouraging that such a vile minority could overtake our government. The Pandemic Mismanagement chaos is being used by many Republican States to suppress the rights and well being of minority citizens.

The majority of Americans continue to support Public Health measures taken to make every one safe and are appalled by the Open Up Demonstrations.  (Via The AP)

A majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread the coronavirus, according to a new poll that also finds the still-expansive support for such limits — including restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders — has dipped in recent weeks.

The new survey from the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 55% of Americans disapprove of the protests that have popped up in some states as some Americans begin chafing at public health measures that have decimated the global economy. Thirty-one percent approve of the demonstrations.

Political Cartoon US Whistleblower Identity Schiff Liar Pants On Fire

How many will continue to all prey to Trumpist Gas Lighting?  (Via WAPO an Greg Sargent.)  Certainly more folks can see9 he’s really the Psycho in Chief.

The news that the novel coronavirus has invaded President Trump’s inner circle — and that the White House is implementing aggressive testing and tracing to combat it — is a devastating story on an obvious and immediate level, but also on a deeper and longer-lasting one.

Most palpably, it has revealed the sort of glaring double standard that’s catnip to political media: The White House is taking extensive steps to protect Trump and his top advisers with resources that are largely unavailable to the rest of us, in part due to his own dereliction.

But new reporting about the White House’s handling of this points to something more fundamental. How will Trump persuade the country we are returning to a normalcy that makes it safe to resume economic activities when his own advisers are panicked about its invasion of their own spaces, even as they can protect themselves in a way we cannot?

According to CNN, Trump’s advisers grasp that this story has become a deadly problem for them. But note why they have concluded this:

An official said there is extreme sensitivity inside the White House at the current state of affairs with officials recognizing the contradiction in telling states to reopen while the White House enhances protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The problem isn’t just that this story is revealing that Trump and his advisers benefit from testing and tracing that the rest of us mostly do not enjoy, though that’s damning enough.

It’s also that this shatters the larger illusion Trump is trying to weave with his magical reality-bending powers — that the coronavirus has been so tamed by his stupendous leadership that it’s now safe to reopen the country, setting the stage for an equally spectacular Trump-marshaled comeback.

Approximately 14 days after the open up America protests ...

The most interesting office pool game right now is which of this gang of feckless nitwits is now under quarantine and which ones are still running around coughing on people?  This tool is obviously following the example of his master.

 

 

 

 

It appears Dr Fauci and a few others may be the only ones in the administration following its own guidelines but this also seems pretty convenient.

 

 

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So, there’s plenty more headlines out there today if your mental health and blood pressure can handle it.  Just check out the ones on SCOTUS then light a candle for the health of Notorious BRG

Be safe!  Be kind to yourself and others!  Stay your ass home as much as possible!

xoxo,

Dakinikat, not afraid to wear a mask and still not afraid to speak out against injustice!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?