Category Archives: national news

Pandemic response becomes overarching 2020 campaign issue

Should the federal government’s stumble-bum response to the coronavirus pandemic take center stage for the 2020 presidential campaign?

Oh, boy howdy, hoss! Damn straight it should!

This very moment might not be the right time to start campaigning on Donald Trump’s belated call to urgency. However, once we reach our “apex” and we start seeing declines in the infection rate among Americans, then I do believe it would be an appropriate issue to raise in the contest for the White House.

Are you listening, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.? I’m talking to you.

Even though it might be premature for a presidential contender to raise the issue, I consider it fair game for, oh, those of us on the outside, such as bloggers.

Donald Trump has done a terrible job coordinating the federal response. He has politicized the effort all along the way, and that came after he said initially that the pandemic wasn’t that big of a deal.

Nine thousand American deaths later, it most certainly a huge deal. It is so huge that it boggles my mind — and the minds of others — that the Trump administration would disband a pandemic response team assembled as part of the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

Trump’s supporters, of course, are quite willing to accept the president’s non-response as OK. Some of them are readers of this blog and are critics of what I post on this blog; they are likely to respond to this brief post. That’s fine. Let ’em have at it.

I am not going to remain silent, even in this terrible time, over what I see are egregious shortfalls in the president’s response. Donald Trump has been far too slow to get off the proverbial pot.

When the time comes to make this non-response a campaign issue, then my hope is that Trump’s adversaries zero in and remind us of what many Americans already know: Donald Trump is unfit to lead this nation.

Trump undermines IG’s authority, ability to serve the public

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff — to no one’s surprise — has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to fire the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.

Why did the president can the IG? Because, in my view, Atkinson was doing the job to which he was assigned, which was to root out allegations of government fraud and abuse of power.

Trump, though, sees it differently.

Atkinson had revealed to Congress a report from a whistleblower who had reported that Trump had placed a phone call to the president of Ukraine in which he sought a political favor in exchange for weapons that Congress had approved for Ukraine’s fight against Russia-backed rebels.

The phone call led ultimately to Trump’s impeachment by the House and a Senate trial that acquitted him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump this week called Atkinson’s report “fake news.” He said Atkinson did a “terrible job” as inspector general and that the report of alleged abuse of power was discredited by his acquittal in the Senate.

Indeed, the report was not “fake.” It was credible. The acquittal in the Senate trial came about only because insufficient numbers of senators voted to convict Trump.

So, for Trump to fire an inspector general simply for doing his job amounts to one more example of presidential bullying.

As for Schiff’s criticism, the congressman said that Trump is trying to undermine the independence of the IG. As Newsweek reported: The congressman warned that the president was “retaliating” against perceived enemies and placing “cronies” to lead oversight, all while the nation is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Retaliation against “perceived enemies” sounds completely believable to me.

What? POTUS stays off the golf course?

Am I the only American who has noticed that Donald John Trump is staying close to the house, as in the White House, while we fight this coronavirus pandemic?

There have been no trips to Mar-a-Lago or to Bedminster or to anywhere outside of Washington, D.C., for this president.

Not while the rest of us are staying home, away from others — even extended family.

I just have to say that Trump’s outward attentiveness to the crisis at hand has not gone unnoticed.

Praying for and criticizing POTUS … we can do both!

A goofy social media meme showed up overnight on my Facebook feed that demands we do something at the exclusion of another thing.

It says that “instead of criticizing” Donald Trump over his mishandling of the response to the coronavirus pandemic that we should “pray for him.”

Well … these are not mutually exclusive activities.

I am going to do both, actually. I will to continue to look critically at the way Trump has botched the federal government’s response to the pandemic. I also will pray that he finally gets his sh** together sufficiently to save lives.

I believe in the power of prayer, in that I also believe that God answers our prayers. The answer might not always be readily recognizable in the moment. Let’s face the fact that the Almighty doesn’t send emails to us telegraphing the answer.

However, God also gives us sufficient cognitive and intuitive ability to make up our own minds on whether we should criticize those among us wield power. Donald Trump wields power and, thus, we are entitled to demand that he do so with wisdom and discernment.

The president is our head of government and our head of state. He is the nation’s chief governmental executive. He once boasted that “I, alone” can fix what ails the nation. You know, it’s not unfair to hold him to that foolish, feckless and futile bit of braggadocio.

Therefore, I will do so … while at the same time praying that this goofball president finally gets it.

Oregon governor makes me proud

The governor of the state of my birth has demonstrated a generous streak in a time of peril for another one of our 50 states.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is sending 140 ventilators to New York to help that state treat patients afflicted with COVID-19, the strain of coronavirus that has paralyzed the planet. China also is sending 1,000 ventilators to New York.

It doesn’t sound like much of a help, given the huge number of patients who need treatment. But the very idea that one of our state governors would reach out in such a fashion speaks well of the generous spirit among Americans.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked Gov. Brown publicly today and pledged to return the gesture in the event Oregon suffers the kind of surge in coronavirus cases that has fallen on New York.

And get a load of this: Donald Trump and Mike Pence both congratulated Gov. Brown for the gesture she extended to Gov. Cuomo. How about that?

This is a case of crisis bringing out the best in this great country.

Well done, Gov. Brown.

Listening to the docs, tuning out the politicians

As a general rule I am not inclined to criticize politicians simply because of their profession.

I view politics more as a noble craft than one that is inherently corrupt. However, there clearly are exceptions to both ends of that measuring stick.

That said, too many politicians commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are wrapping themselves up in this madness in search of ways to further their own fortunes.

I want to hear from the doctors, the researchers, the scientists … those with practical knowledge and experience dealing head-on with mounting crises.

To be clear, the nation is full of noble men and women who consider their political path to be paved with commitment to serving the public. You know who they are: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, California Gov. Gavin Newsom come to my mind immediately. These men have stood up, stood tall and have spoken of their abiding concern for their constituents while offering sincere and heartfelt salutes to the men and women who are battling the virus on the front lines.

Too many of the rest of them have offered confusion and chaos when we need calm and comfort. And you know who I consider to be the prime culprit there.

The scientists are the truth-tellers. They are individuals who have no political axe to grind. The physicians among them take a solemn oath to “do no harm.” Indeed, it has been the politicians’ initial denial of the pandemic severity that has more than enough harm around the world.

My mission now is to glean the information I need from the experts, the pros. If a politician wants to fill my TV screen, he or she had better talk seriously about the crisis … and not at all about what a great job they think they’re doing.

And, yes, Mr. President, I’m talking about you!

No one expects perfection, but … c’mon!

A family member of mine — someone with whom I joust occasionally about the president of the United States — says that no one could have responded to the coronavirus pandemic perfectly.

I guess that is his way of suggesting that Donald Trump has done the best he could do and that we should appreciate all he’s done in the wake of the crisis that has killed thousands of Americans.

I need to respond briefly to my dear family member.

He is correct in suggesting that perfection is too high a hurdle to clear in times like this. Indeed, I haven’t heard a single Trump critic say that the president should have or could have responded perfectly. What I do hear are concerns about the utter incompetence of his response and that he failed to respond immediately to the very beginning of the crisis as it developed.

Trump’s downplaying of the crisis severity initially is what slowed the national response. Of that there can be little doubt, and yet he told us he responded “perfectly.” He used that word, as if to compare it to that infamous phone call he made in June 2019 to the Ukraine president. It was Trump, no one else, who ascribed perfection to a national response that was far from it.

I am never going to say that a fallible human being — even the president of the United States — is going to do anything with utter and absolute perfection. The very nature of our humanity accepts that all of us make mistakes.

I should add, too, that the framers of our nation’s government stated in the preamble to our U.S. Constitution that they intended to “form a more perfect Union.” You see, even those great men knew that absolute perfection was unattainable even in creating this marvelous governing document.

I have not expected perfection from our president in his handling of this monumental crisis … but I damn sure expected a lot better than what we’ve gotten so far.

Trying to connect seemingly disconnected dots

Three issues are swirling about that seem on the surface as though they might be disconnected, but they are hooked up in curious and confusing ways.

They are the coronavirus pandemic, the state of the U.S. economy and the 2020 presidential election.

Let’s see where this brief trip takes us.

The health crisis has erupted across the globe, affecting economies on every inhabited continent on Earth. The United States is not immune from the pain.

Today’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed a shedding of 700,000 non-farm jobs in March. If you think that number hurts, wait’ll the April figures come out in early May.

Americans are hunkering down. States are issuing stay-at-home orders; all but 10 states have done so, I believe. The federal government hasn’t done so. Indeed, the feds at this moment still appear to be playing a supporting role in this national crisis, which leads me to the third issue: the election.

Donald Trump surely didn’t cause the coronavirus outbreak. He is not responsible for the crisis that began in China and then swallowed Planet Earth whole. The president’s responsibility begins with his cavalier initial response to the crisis as it was worsening before our eyes. Therein lies what might become the signature issue of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Is the president doing enough to lead the nation in this fight against the “invisible enemy” known as COVID-19? Has Donald Trump actually donned the mantle of “wartime president” and is he acting like the leader he professes to be? No and … no again!

I’ve wanted this fraud off the nation’s political stage since the moment he rode down that escalator with Melania to announce he was running for president. He has done not a single thing to persuade me he deserves a second term.

On top of that, this buffoon has bluffed, blundered and blathered his way all over the coronavirus crisis. He contradicts the health geniuses with whom he has surrounded himself. He said the virus was not a big deal, then he changed his tone. All the while, Trump keeps congratulating himself for doing a “fantastic job” of coordinating the federal effort. He hasn’t done jack-diddley-squat!

Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign guru James Carville once made famous the quip that “It’s the economy, stupid.” It well might be the economy once again that drives this upcoming election.

To think it all began when the current president once told the nation that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems. He’s got his hands full.

‘Wartime president’ whiffs yet again

Donald Trump wants to be known as a “wartime president.”

Got that? Then someone has to explain to me how a wartime president can call himself “a backup” to states and local governments that are waging the war against an “invisible enemy” in the form of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wartime presidents don’t cede leadership to governmental underlings. They take charge. They take command. They lead. They inspire. They unify the nation behind a common goal: to defeat the enemy.

Yet there was this president, writing a crappy, whiny letter to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, telling Schumer that the president is a “backup” to governors demanding more masks, more ventilators, more assistance in the fight against the killer virus.

Trump also called himself a “backup” during his daily White House briefing today, when he complained about governors making too many demands of the federal government.

Wartime president? Really, Mr. President? This individual is nothing of the sort.

Trump to Sessions: I don’t love you any longer

This is a political story I don’t recall ever seeing … until now.

Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign has told U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions to cease saying that he’s a 100-percent Trump supporter as he campaigns for election to the Senate from Alabama.

You see, Sessions once served as attorney general in the Trump administration. Then he recused himself — properly, in my view — from any active role in the “Russia thing” involving allegations of collusion with Russians who were interfering in our 2016 presidential election. He enraged Trump, who fired him.

Sessions had served previously in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Trump. He and Trump were joined at the hip.

That was then. The seat he once occupied is now filled by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Sessions has been declaring how much of a Trump fan he remains. The president is having none of it. He wants Sessions to stop using the Trump name in his campaign ads.

Trump’s campaign says the president does not favor Sessions’ election to the Senate. He has backed Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach at Auburn and Texas Tech.

I just want to note that none of the Sessions ads I have seen has said a word that declares that Trump wants the former AG back in the Senate, only that Sessions is with Trump all the way.

Hmm. I guess the grudge-bearing president wants to make a point that one would figure he wouldn’t need to make.