Food Banks Need Help

When the Suffolk Democratic Committee meets once a month at LeOtis Williams’s LW Center in Suffolk, members often leave food donations for the food bank that Mr. Williams’s runs in the same building.

But the committee hasn’t met recently.

With all the turmoil going on in the nation – lost jobs and canceled events from Covid-19, and now destruction and fear, it’s important to remember that food banks are suffering right at a time when they’re needed the most.

The Guardian listed increases in demand reported by several food banks throughout the nation, and the figures vary with some reporting 8 fold increases and others at about 20 percent. The Suffolk News Herald noted in April a 14 percent increase in people asking for help from the Suffolk Christian Fellowship.

I spoke to LeOtis Williams by phone last month, and he said he is still accepting donations at his property management office at 615 E Pinner St. His office can be reached at 757-925-0747. The April article in the Suffolk News Herald recommended the “Donate Now” link at foodbankonline.org, the website of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore.

food basket

Image: Food basket by johnny_automatic, openclipart.org

Peaceful Rally at City Hall in Suffolk Virginia

I attended a Black Lives Matter rally at City Hall tonight, in light rain, although it was still going on when I left at about 7:15. As far as I could tell, it was primarily organized by Eric Knight who is active in Suffolk. It was peaceful and dignified. Mr. Knight and other speakers called for peace, unity across demographics, and in what might even please the “what about Black on Black crime?” crowd, said that he was tired not only of crimes committed by police, but by people in the neighborhoods.

There were no nasty insults against the police, although there were calls for rules to ensure police accountability. For their part, a few officers where parked across the street near the library at a respectful distance.

City officials who were in the crowd were invited to speak, and among those who spoke where Clerk of Court Randy Carter, who spoke about the importance of registering to vote and voting.

I was proud that a rally in my city could be so peaceful, but mindful of the fact if we want rallies to be peaceful, then peaceful rallies have to make a difference.

Why isn’t obvious to everyone that Trump is a coward?

Trump's face on cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz

Trump dodged Vietnam. I wouldn’t be as bothered if he dodged the draft but at least had enough courage to protest the war if he didn’t think anyone should kill or die for it. But when someone lies to get out of a war and is happy to have others go in his place, that is cowardice.

We know it took him almost two years to visit troops in combat zones, and when he did so he did with extreme precautions, and took no more risk than his wife did.

Now in recent days we’ve seen him tweeting with outrage as he hid in a bunker after turning off the lights in the White House. Later, in an attempt to show bravery, he had the military violently clear Lafayette Square of protestors so he can safely walk across for a quick photo shoot before scurrying back to the White House.

Why can’t so many of us see that he’s a coward?

Some of us think he’s brave because he talks like a tough guy. It’s the same reason so many thought John Wayne was brave. Trump has cultivated his tough guy image for decades. Back in 1991 he had the New York Daily News publish a story about Trump stopping a mugging. That story quoted an anonymous witness to describe Trump’s heroics, but at least one real person disputes it.

Another reason we think he’s brave is he’s reckless. But Trump isn’t reckless with his own safety. As a born-millionaire entrepreneur, he can afford to be reckless. If you have enough money, you can try one thing after another and you don’t have to win them all – you just have to win more than you lose. It doesn’t hurt Trump when any one of his businesses fail because he has others. It only hurts people who lose their jobs, pensions, or investments.

Trump took that recklessness with him to the White House. Trump was reckless when he taunted Kim Jong Un with childish name-calling. But who would suffer if a nuclear armed madman in Asia were to retaliate? Not Trump. Most likely, just our allies in South Korea and Japan. And what a rallying cry it would be if Kim were to harm innocent people on the other side of the world. We’d nuke North Korea and hail Trump as a hero.

Which brings me to the final reason so many fail to see Trump for what he is. He’s dangerous. We’re not wired to see the difference between danger and bravery. Think about at how many organizations use dangerous animals as their logo. But a cobra doesn’t bite because it’s brave. It bites out of fear. And that’s the same reason Trump had peaceful protestors tear gassed at Lafayette Square.

Thinking about what a coward Trump is and why so many can’t see it, it becomes clear why so many of his fans feel the need to arm themselves for Starbucks.

(edit notes: I fixed some grammatical errors since originally posting)

Words of a Friend on Facebook

Eric Cannon:

This has been a tough couple of weeks for our country and I feel compelled to post some thoughts that have been boiling in my head.

Twitter’s recent decision to fact-check Trump for blatant lies that are easily disproven through academic research, studies and empirical data is not the same as “deciding what is true”, or “being an arbiter of truth” as Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying. When drawn out to its logical conclusion, that ludicrous line of thinking is so incredibly dangerous. Are we to place no value on the scientific method? Is all research & data suspect? THIS is why our institutions are crumbling. Because rich jerkoffs like Zuckerberg would rather look out for their bottom lines than lift a finger to curb the cesspool of misinformation Americans digest EVERY SINGLE DAY. Zuckerberg is also obscuring the fact his own company explored algorithms to reduce misinformation, but scrapped it because it was too expensive. He KNOWS this is a problem for his stupid little website, he just doesn’t want to lift a finger or spend any capital to fix it.

Also, spare me that “social media discriminates against conservatives” bullshit. MAYBE STOP SPREADING LIES TO KEEP YOUR DYING PARTY PROPPED UP, JOIN THE REST OF US HERE IN TRUTH-WORLD, AND YOU WON’T FEEL SO OPPRESSED. Maybe stop supporting a morally bankrupt megalomaniac President who called for the MURDER of black American citizens in Minneapolis, while calling the white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville “very fine people”. The same guy who gassed & shot rubber bullets at peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park so he could get his yearbook picture taken with someone else’s Bible in front of a church whose clergy are horrified, I repeat HORRIFIED, would be used as a prop in that fascist’s re-election effort.

Take one moment out of your day and digest this statistic: Despite only making up 13 percent of the United States population, Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by law enforcement. Let that sink in. Let that TRUTH wash over you. Now, remember that statistic the next time you open your mouth to criticize the chosen tactics of protesters, or to dismiss them as looters, rioters, or “left-wing extremists”.

Justice for George Floyd. Justice for Breonna Taylor. Justice for Ahmaud Arbery. Justice for Eric Garner. Justice for Sandra Bland. Justice for every black American who’s had their lives snatched away by some racist white asshole.

I understand that I was born into privilege as a white man, and I will NEVER fully understand the depth of racism, police brutality, and inhumanity the black community must face every day living in America. That said, I’m here to listen. I’m here to support black communities and black businesses in any way I can.

BLACK LIVES MATTER. FUCK WHITE SUPREMACY. FUCK TRUMP.

Love each other.✌️

Check your facts

Given
Facebook’s resistance to checking statements made by politicians,
and Twitter under heavy heat for doing so,
and with new technology allowing us to create fake videos of people saying things they never said,
and with scores of foreign and domestic players spreading lies and misleading content,
I beg you to be wary of false information and to check your facts before re-posting.
And if you can, support fact checkers and journalists because they’re fighting for truth under difficult circumstances

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