Tag Archives: Covid 19

Mr. POTUS, you have failed this test

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The juxtaposition of two events is startling to behold.

Donald Trump told Fox News that he gives himself an A+ grade in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that on the day the U.S. death count from the virus surpassed 200,000 people. Their lives have ended and the lives of their loved ones have been changed forever.

Outside the White House, a reporter asked Trump how he responds to the death count. His answer? He turned to another reporter and asked, “Next question?”

The commander in chief cannot speak to the death count, he won’t answer for it, he won’t hold himself accountable at any level for the misery that has occurred on his watch.

Yet he grades himself with an A+?

Is this guy serious? Of course he thinks of himself in the most glowing, glorious and gleeful terms.

The rest of us know better.

Trump lives in parallel universe

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump’s existence in a parallel universe simply is something to behold.

Here’s the latest. Trump said the United States has “turned the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic and is hurtling toward something resembling a normal life prior to the pandemic’s arrival.

Not so fast, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus pandemic response team. We haven’t turned anything like a corner, Fauci said. He explained that the infection and death rates continue on their upward trajectory.

“I have to disagree with that,” Fauci said of Trump’s assessment.

This is precisely what many of us have been saying about Trump’s inability to speak the truth about matters that demand only the truth. Accordingly, Trump the politician cannot be trusted to tell us the truth when he is in the midst of a political campaign in which he is fighting desperately to keep his job.

It is no great scoop to realize that Trump thinks first of his political fortunes. The rest of us? Hah! Trump will continue to soft-pedal the consequences of the pandemic for as long as he continues to run for re-election.

Here, though, is the real rub: Trump’s base of supporters will believe the self-serving politician before they trust the learned opinion of a man who has spent his entire adult life waging war against infection diseases. They will forgo masks in large gatherings of fellow Trumpkins. They won’t heed the advice of Dr. Fauci and other medical experts who warn them of what can happen to them if they fail to follow proper preventative measures.

Trump will continue to lie about “turning the corner.” Medical experts such as Dr. Fauci will seek to correct him. Trump won’t care what the experts say. The experts will continue issue warnings.

Parallel universes remain impenetrable. In this instance they also are profoundly dangerous.

No ‘fake news’ here

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A Donald Trump campaign staffer laid it on the line.

“Hard to say fake news when there is audio of his comments,” the staffer said.

What we have here are Donald Trump’s own words saying things that have caused yet another eruption on the 2020 presidential election campaign trail.

Donald Trump spoke at length with legendary reporter Bob Woodward, who’s about to release a book, “Rage.” What did Trump say that has caused such an upheaval? Oh, only that he knew in February that the COVID-19 pandemic was a deadly event, but that he deliberately withheld any warning signs of doom because he didn’t want to cause “panic” among Americans.

So, let’s see how we connect a few dots.

Donald Trump vowed to protect Americans when he became president of the United States. Then in the earliest weeks of 2020, a virus was detected overseas. Donald Trump’s initial public reaction was to declare that the coronavirus would disappear, that it would vanish like a “miracle.” No sweat, he said. Nothing to see here, he reminded us.

Except now we hear that he knew early on that we had a relentless killer knocking on our door. And that Donald Trump refused to do a damn thing to protect Americans.

Good ever-lovin’ grief! Is this a “promise kept” or is it a sacred oath violated?

The word now is that the Trump campaign and the White House are “scrambling” to craft — or concoct — a cogent message to respond to Trump’s own words.

There, indeed, can be no “fake news” retort from Team Trump, or from Trump himself. Although, and this point should be made, not a damn thing ever has prevented Trump from invoking that phony excuse even when the evidence has been laid directly at his feet.

Why sit on this news?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I didn’t originate this thought, but I want to forward it to you on this blog?

A good friend of mine wonders why Bob Woodward, the esteemed Washington Post reporter and editor, didn’t tell the world in February what Donald Trump told him in the moment: that he knew the COVID crisis could be deadly, but he kept it from us because he didn’t want to “cause panic.”

Woodward tells us in an upcoming book titled “Rage” that Trump knew all along that the pandemic could kill a lot of folks, but decided to downplay it.

As my friend wonders, that was in February. Now we know what Woodward knew back then. That was 191,000 American deaths ago from the COVID-19 virus.

Hmm. That is a fascinating matter to ponder.

I do hope that when Woodward hits the TV news interview circuit to talk up his book that the talking heads have the good sense to ask him why he sat on that news for as long as he did … and whether he is as complicit in the deaths that have occurred as Donald Trump!

Accepting the new normal

I just completed an errand run that took me to a grocery store, an automobile parts department, a battery shop and a bank lobby.

What do these places have in common? Every customer and business employee were masked up.

This is the new normal, or at least part of the new normal that I am finding more acceptable by the day. Actually, wearing a mask before entering a business has become virtually second nature to me.

This is how we must cope with life in the Age of the Pandemic. Or, at least until they find a vaccine that makes us (more of less) immune from it.

I don’t wear my mask out of some patriotic fervor, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has suggested as a reason to wear a mask. I don’t wear it to make a political statement of any sort, which is what fans of Donald Trump have suggested.

Oh, no. I wear the mask because I subscribe the theory promoted by medical experts that they help keep us clear of the killer virus.

I maintain social distance whenever possible; at times it isn’t, such as at the parts department today when several of us got crowded in a corner of the room. But we were all masked up!

Of all the new normal activities that still annoy me, I have to say this fist-bumping, and elbow-bumping when we greet people drives me a bit nuts. I am a handshake guy. I have a firm handshake and I enjoy grasping someone’s hand — be it a stranger or a friend — just to let them know I am glad to see them. I don’t have a bone-crushing grip … you know, like the one Superman used in “Superman II”  where he pulverized Zod’s hand.

The mandates about masks, social distancing and all the other preventative measures are OK by me. Indeed, it seems a bit strange to look around and hardly even notice that everyone is wearing a mask.

It’s called adaptability, man.

Be safe, friends … and others

We have some dear friends on the Texas Gulf Coast who are made of mighty stern stuff, as are all the residents living from Orange all the way down the coast to Corpus Christi … and beyond.

They have been fighting, along with the rest of the nation, the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they are facing another sort of wrath delivered by Mother Nature.

Hurricane Laura is bearing down on the Golden Triangle, which comprises the territory around and including the cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. Our friends live throughout the region. The National Weather Service has just elevated Laura to a Category 4 storm, which it defines as “very dangerous.”

I am hearing from a number of my friends. They’re vowing to power through it. One family that lives in Orange County is high-tailing it to the Hill Country to stay with their son while the storm comes calling. They remain confident their house will survive.

Another friend in Beaumont tells me not to worry, that they’ve been through this before, they’ll go through it again and that he is fully stocked with cold beer and ice for his other adult beverages. OK, dude. Be safe as well.

I am proud of their toughness and their fortitude. My pride in them does not forestall our concern for their safety.

Many of them will read these words. So this message is directed to them as they prepare to face the storm that will bring high wind, plenty of rain and that dreaded storm surge off the Gulf that might sweep as far as 30 miles from the shoreline.

We went through a few of those storms ourselves during our nearly 11 years of living in Beaumont. I have plenty of empathy for them.

My heart is pounding and hoping everyone in the path of the storm stays safe.

Way to go, Joe

I am joining the chorus of Joe Biden supporters to declare that Thursday night’s presidential nomination acceptance speech, while perhaps not a grand slam home run, could pass as a stand-up triple.

I am giving the Democratic presidential nominee credit for stepping up his game, for offering a glimpse into the future he foresees if he gets elected president and for reminding us — without overdoing the rancor — that Donald Trump has failed in his primary mission as president, which is to protect Americans.

The former vice president had a big hurdle to clear. It was erected the previous night by vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and, of course, by former President Barack Obama and their respective speeches to the nation.

Biden cleared the hurdle. I am more than satisfied with how he comported himself and how he delivered an important message to those of us who wanted to hear what the nominee had to say.

My major takeaway? Joe Biden intends to lead us out of the darkness and into the light.

Even on his best days, Donald Trump cannot stop alleging that America has lost its way, that we no longer were great, strong and economically healthy when he took office. Trump has told those myriad lies for too long.

Joe Biden reminded us that the pandemic needed Trump’s attention from the very beginning. As a result of his early denials of the seriousness of the COVID crisis, we have lost too many American lives and seen too many more infected by the killer virus.

Trump and the Republicans get their turn next week. They, too, will conduct a virtual convention, with Trump set to accept his party’s nomination with a speech delivered from the White House.

I’ll state it once more: My mind is made up. There is no way on God’s precious and fragile Earth that Trump will earn my support. However, I intend to watch the Republican show if only to see how they intend to defend the indefensible … which is Donald Trump’s record in the only public office he ever had sought.

The more the better

Democracy is a “participation sport.”

That is to say that the more citizens who participate in the democratic exercise of voting, the more representative the government that results is of the people it is designed to protect and defend.

This is my way of furthering an argument I used to make while working in daily print journalism. I aimed the argument at voters who failed to participate in local elections. Local government elections generally draw abysmal voter turnouts. I witnessed it in Oregon and Texas, where I worked for nearly 37 years as a journalist.

I sought to urge voters to cast their ballots so they would have a voice in the government that sets tax policy, determines the quality of law enforcement and fire protection, picks up the trash and provides water for us to drink.

So … how does this logic play out now as the nation prepares to elect a president of the United States? The same argument applies.

However, Donald Trump and his Republican pals want to suppress voter turnout. We have a pandemic raging across the country. Millions of voters are afraid of getting sick by voting on Election Day; they want to vote by mail. Trump opposes that idea, promoting a specious argument that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt. Except that it isn’t corrupt.

The Trumpkin Corps wants us to believe we cannot vote by mail without our ballots being stolen or compromised in an unspecified nefarious manner.

It is imperative that we do all we can to encourage more voters to decide this election. Not fewer of them. I do not want others to determine who we elect as president of the United States.

If we are able to vote by mail, I intend to cast my vote in that fashion. Absent that, I intend to vote early in Texas, even though I have a lengthy history of reciting on this blog my loathing of early voting. My preference is to vote on Election Day as a hedge against the candidate of my choice doing something stupid or criminal that makes me regret my vote.

The pandemic changes that dynamic for me.

Thus, it should be imperative that we allow more people to vote. The reasons are as straightforward as they are regarding local elections.

Democracy works better when more citizens — not fewer of them — take part in this fundamental element of living in a free society.

Success slips away in COVID fight

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

The signs all around us tell a grim tale of failure, not success, in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 virus that continues to sweep across the world’s wealthiest, most advanced nation.

The U.S. death toll has surpassed 170,000; the infection toll is more than 5 million. More telling is that that infection rate is accelerating, meaning that more people are getting sick every day than they were, say, a month ago.

And yet, Donald Trump keeps telling us we’re succeeding. Really, Mr. President? How in the name of medical science can this fellow possibly claim a success rate when we’re getting sicker by the day and when the fatalities keep mounting.

Remember, too, this little factoid: The United States comprises roughly 4 percent of the world’s population, but we account for roughly 25 percent of the world’s infection from the coronavirus.

Four percent vs. 25 percent. Hmm. That comparison simply blows my mind.

Against all of that, we’re going to hear from Donald Trump’s re-election team that we’re doing great. The nation’s economy is adding jobs at a stupendous rate. They will look straight past the monumental job loss that occurred when the pandemic tightened its grip on our business community, costing us roughly 30 million jobs over a three-month span.

That job loss, I should add, eliminated all the jobs created during the decade-long economic expansion that began on the watch of President Barack H. Obama, who took office in January 2009 amid the then-worst economic recession since the Great Depression. The current economic collapse makes the 2008-09 Great Recession look timid and tepid by comparison.

I mention all of this because I will await word on how Donald Trump intends to defend his response to the global pandemic. To my way of thinking — and perhaps the thinking of most Americans — his initial non-response has produced the infection and death rates that are now savaging our nation.

So, yes, Donald Trump must take responsibility for the misery he caused by failing to respond quickly and decisively enough when the pandemic first presented itself.

How does Donald Trump defend his pitiful record against what we know has transpired?

It’s no ‘hoax,’ Mr. POTUS

Joe Biden vows to restore our nation’s soul.

The presumed Democratic Party presidential nominee wants to lead the nation into a battle against the pandemic. I get it. I want him to take the reins of power soon.

His first order of business if he is able to assume the presidency in January is to wipe out the “h-word” from our political glossary of phony, fraudulent terms.

Donald Trump has called the pandemic a “hoax,” cooked up by Democrats, the “enemy of the people fake news” media. He refuses to enact a national strategy. He has sent myriad mixed messages, all of which do nothing but confuse governors, city and county officials, school administrators, and just plain folks like, um, you and me.

Trump’s initial response to the pandemic was to declare it would vanish like a “miracle.” The warm weather of the spring and summer would kill those nasty germs. Kill ’em dead.

Well, here we are, with 165,000 Americans gone forever. That number will climb and, so help me, we have no idea on Earth where it will top out.

Trump continues to boast about the job he and his response team are doing. Therein, I submit, lies the hoax. Trump’s so-called “success” is every bit the hoax.

Joe Biden promises to lead the nation. He vows to take charge. He promises to heed the science at every turn.

I am going to hold him to all of that. As you should, too. We all must demand that the new president deliver on this promise. The stakes for letting this status quo continue are too grim to even ponder.

The former VP wants to restore our national soul. I support that noble goal and want him to keep that promise.

The place to start is to eradicate the word “hoax” from the context of the grievous battle against a killer viral infection.