Remember to Vote in November

Remember Remember to vote in November
Or earlier, if absentee

The nation is falling for fascism’s calling
And now we must act to be free

The right wing is trying to stop you from voting
With lies, propaganda and threats

Remember that curse about interesting times? It’s
As interesting now as it gets

It’s time to be brave since we know we’re in danger
by flag waving bigots with guns

But don’t let them stop us. The stakes are too high we
must think of our daughters and sons

So vote we must do now in gigantic numbers
to make it much harder to cheat

Of course they’ll still try and they’ll cry “Rigged Election!”
when finally they’re faced with defeat

If we do not beat them this coming election
Then maybe it will be our last

Though greatly imperfect we’ll miss our elections 
When they are a thing of the past

Our leader’s the basest of nasty, cruel racists
a dishonest, stupid old dote

We must rid ourselves of this terrible menace
So go do your duty and vote!

Questions for my Non-Sheepy Friends who Believe what Trump Says

Did you cheer Donald Trump when he said Mexico would pay for the wall, then support him when he stole military funds to pay for it?

Did you believe Trump when he said he’d show us his tax returns, but are OK that he still hasn’t done so?

Where you OK that Donald Trump, who avoided service because of “bone spurs” that never stopped him from anything else, waited almost two years before visiting troops overseas, and that when he finally yielded to political pressure and went to Iraq, he lied to our troops about their pay?

Do you remember when Trump promised to sign the 2018 immigration legislation that Democrats and Republicans worked for months to hash out, then changed his mind and decided not to sign it?

Do you care that he promised insurance for everybody?

Do you believe North Korea no longer a threat?

Did 15 cases of coronavirus go down to “close to zero” in “a couple of days”? like Donald Trump said it would?

American Greatness Before Covid-19

Here’s part of an unemployment chart from the Federal Reserve which includes a few years before Donald Trump’s inauguration and a couple of years after, stopping before Covid-19 hit us. Can anyone point out when Donald Trump showed up and made America great?

And here’s one of GDP, a few years before Trump and a couple of years after. Can you pick out when Trump’s policies took over?

This one might be tricky. It’s the labor force participation rate. You might think you can see the turning point where Trump took over and stopped the fall, but you might be wrong.

You can see these charts and more at the Federal Reserve Economic Data website.
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDP
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART

For all of Trump’s deal breaking and tariffs, he kept the economy improving at about the same rate it was improving during the Obama administration.

I’m not saying Trump’s good economy was all Obama’s doing. Trump kept it going for longer than most of us said he could. But he did so by taking reckless chances, antagonizing our trading partners, increasing our deficit with no end in sight, and sacrificing our credibility. All that for the same rate of improvement that was happening before.

With all the Donald Trump’s reckless policies, even without Covid-19, something bad was bound to happen.

If only we had dropped some bombs

The 9/11 attacks killed abut 3% of the Americans that Covid-19 has killed, and we lived through invasive personal searches at airports, more data being collected on us when applying for licenses and services, and more power given to our intelligence agencies to tap our phones, search our emails, and review our library activities.

Now a lot of the same people who approved of these measures are freaking out and threatening murder – in some cases following through – over being told to wear a mask. The difference is we’re not dropping bombs on anybody.

If we started bombing China first and then told people to wear masks, these people would be in balaclavas and shooting people for disregarding their patriotic duty to cover up.

Image source: https://openclipart.org/detail/1086/masked-man-with-slingshot

A Disaster that Waited to Happen

There might be better words to describe this, but Donald Trump likes taking risks where although he’s likely to win, the cost of losing is higher than most people would feel comfortable with.  He likes it more of someone else pays the price.

The kinds of risks Trump takes are like playing Russian roulette on a bet.  With only one bullet in the cylinder, the chances of winning are high, but the cost of losing would be catastrophic.  Except for Trump, the gun has never been pointed at his own head.  It doesn’t matter to Trump if one of his companies goes bankrupt, because he has plenty of others.  It matters to the people who lose their jobs or investments.

Image: https://openclipart.org/detail/185024/roulette-wheel

That strategy works for Trump. He doesn’t have to win a lot, he just has to win more than he loses. For a while, it was working for our country, too.  We enjoyed the benefits of taking risks which, for the most part, seemed to be paying off. We’re like people who every day rode a shuttle driven by a maniac who sped and disregarded traffic signals.  Some of us cheered the thrill of the ride while others worried about crashing, but for a while, most of us enjoyed the advantages of a fast commute.

Each time Trump takes a risk, things will probably be just fine.  He ridiculed a nuclear armed madman, but America is big and scary so Kim probably won’t launch attacks against our allies.  He’s antagonizing our trading partners but America is the world’s economic superpower so they’ll probably keep sucking it up and dealing with us. He plunged us into record-breaking debt during an economic recovery – very risky according to many economists – , but America has deep pockets and we’ve been managing all that debt just fine.  And Donald Trump fired qualified doctors and scientists and put political loyalists in charge of our pandemic readiness.  Maybe it was probable that everything would be fine. How likely was it that a new breed of virus – a ‘novel’ virus – would have plagued us, and that the crisis would overwhelm a CDC led by a religious fanatic with a questionable past, or that it would turn out we really could have used some of those knowledgeable people who Trump got rid of, like the pandemic response team and our experts in China?

Individually, these risks were all risks that probably would have turned out fine. Collectively, something was bound to wrong.

Trump was always a disaster waiting to happen.  If it weren’t COVID-19, it would have been something else.  It still might be something else. 

Now we crashed and over 80,000 of us have died, will we decide that the speed was worth it?  Will we continue to endure the same kinds of risks or will we decide that more sensible leadership, like the kind of leadership which gave us almost eight years of economic stability and growth and provided smart and swift responses to the outbreaks of Ebola and H1N1, is the kind of leadership we’d rather go back to?

Rep. McEachin’s At-Home Education Panel 4/28 @5:30PM

This is an extremely challenging time for parents and caregivers who are working hard to make sure their children are keeping up with their school work at home. In order to bring parents some at-home learning tips, tricks, and best practices, Congressman McEachin will be hosting an At-Home Education Panel.

Join Congressman McEachin and a wonderful group of education experts on Tuesday, April 28th at 5:30PM for an At-Home Education Panel.

Congressman McEachin will be joined by:

Secretary Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education
Mr. Jason Kamras, Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools
Ms. Kathleen Eastman, Director of Child & Family Services at YWCA

Mr. Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year
Mr. Ryan Sykes, 2019 Milken Educator of the Year, Assistant Principal at Carter G. Woodson Middle School in Hopewell

& More

This event will be held on Zoom, and registration is required. Please register today at https://bit.ly/VA04Education.  

A quick note about the Director of the CDC

The Washington post has a new article about the poor lab practices which slowed the CDC production of Covid-19 tests. Reading that article got me poking around and I found this gem of an opinion from Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2018:

“What one wants in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity. What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda”

Peter Lurie, Director CSPI
https://cspinet.org/sites/all/themes/custom/cspi_theme/logo.png

Oh, and here’s a nice quote from Wikipedia:

He was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump, after the President’s first appointee resigned in scandal. His nomination was considered controversial, and was opposed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which cited Redfield’s lack of experience administering a public health agency, his history of scientific misconduct, and his religious advocacy in response to a public health crisis

Wikipedia

Remember the Ebola Scare

In the weeks before the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans did everything they could to keep Ebola in the news, and the media complied. The CDC, fully funded and staffed, responded to the outbreak with largest mobilization in their history. Still, Republicans viciously attacked Obama and Democrats for not doing enough while the media sounded the alarms night and day, and Trump criticized Obama for flying home American medical workers in a plane designated and fitted just for them.

After the midterm elections, we hardly heard a word about Ebola.

There were a total of eleven cases of Ebola in the U.S, and no spread beyond those who had traveled to infected areas.

Today, there are over 60 cases of coronavirus, and it’s starting to spread to people who haven’t traveled. The CDC is underfunded and understaffed because of budget cuts and because Trump’s fired the pandemic response team. People with symptoms that might indicate coronavirus are not being tested, and infected people were flown into the country against the advice of the CDC. Infected patients who arrived in America were greeted by untrained medical workers without proper safety gear, and the scientist who reported the incident was punished. Now Trump and Republicans who exaggerated Ebola concerns to make Obama look bad are accusing the media of trying to make Trump look bad just for reporting the truth.

A Trump Sonnet

A racist and a rapist, a philanderer, a cad
Malingerer, small fingerer, bad singerer. so sad!

An air polut’n tool for Putin lov’n Russian spies
He dallies, holds his rallies, where his fans all cheer his lies

A bankrupter, corrupter than a 13 dollar bill,
A blunderer and plunderer who’s hand is in the till

He steals from children’s charities, he disrespects our vets,
He de-funds our defenses and he doesn’t pay his debts

His deals remain undealt with and his promises are broke
He pleases right wing bigots like that unkempt English bloke

He likes his penthouse golden and his showers just the same,
A deviant vulgarian who brings our nation shame

We must with all our energy remove this horse’s rump
along with all who helped elect the stupid, evil Trump