Sunday, December 20, 2020

Trump’s Future – It Ain’t Looking Good

November 20, 2020 – 1:15 pm ET
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (

Why is Trump so adamant about refusing to concede the election? On some level he knows he will leave the White House by January 20th, so why continue the charade? Does he genuinely think he can still perpetuate his election fraud narrative, or engage in a martial law coup, or manage to keep his base’s adoration at heightened levels after his presidency, or even run for the office again in four years (there are rumors that he may announce his candidacy on the day of Biden’s inauguration; there are other rumors that Ivanka may run, and other rumors that Lara may run for Congress)? If so, this would be a good time to appear calm and forward-thinking, not to be seen as a rabid, foaming at the mouth, incalcitrant sore loser.

What may be behind all this? Let’s deconstruct and get into Trump’s head ...

First, he knows that on January 20th there are dozens of serious criminal indictments waiting for him in New York, from tax evasion, bank fraud, rape and other sexual offenses, to a plethora of engagements in syndicated crime-like activities. Of equal importance is that they will come from a variety of courts, where he will be shuttling across court jurisdictions. He cannot pardon himself out of these, nor ignore them. Who knows how indictments on the federal level might unfold, but the New York State and the New York City cases alone have the potential to put him away for the remainder of his lifetime, not to mention potential D.C. and Maryland cases. Interesting, Michael Cohen recently said that Trump will not pardon his children because such pardons would negate their ability to plead the 5th as subpoenaed witnesses in court cases against Trump, and they would be forced to testify (and Cohen noted that Trump doesn’t care about his children’s legal battles, only his own).

Second, he has few attorneys left in which to engage in a serious defense. His top, middle and even low tiered firms and individual lawyers have abandoned him in an effort to keep themselves from further disgrace, and he is, at best, scraping the bottom of the barrel with the craziness of Sidney Powell and Ian Northon. Rudy is a buffoon (and may be disbarred), and Trump can no longer utilize the U.S. Attorney General and DOJ for help. Not only can these cases result in prison, but also repossession of Trump financial assets for back taxes, fees, penalties, etc. Even at the New York State and New York City levels, these could be significant, where a self or Pence pardon would have no standing, and Trump would desperately be searching for legal representation.

Third, detailed information about Russian hacking and cyberattacks, bounties and the use of Trump as a tool for the Russians will most likely surface in the Biden administration. There may be access to detailed information as department staff and others may speak out publicly once Trump leaves. This will further discredit Trump and his administration, and a new understanding of Trump as a Russian asset may become clearer with potential confessions, tape recordings, files, etc. that may surface. Once Trump is out of office, there may be an abundance of people coming forward. In addition, people may come forward on other fronts, demonstrating ways in which Trump acted to harm the American people while in office which are not yet know by the media. Such a narrative with supporting evidence would further erode Trump’s plans for a come-back, and he may be overwhelmed with worry that these kinds of connections will surface with genuine supporting documentation and witnesses, and not just conjecture.

Fourth, Deutsche Bank, through whom Trump accessed Russian banks (at a premium cost, because reputable U.S., European, Asian or Mid-Eastern bank would not loan to him), will be made to appear in court, and soon will be calling on his loans as they come due within the next two years. Deutsche Bank recently made it clear that no further lending facilities or assistance will be provided to Trump. And there are other separate lenders in line for additional loans that are coming due as well. Forbes estimates that there are over a billion U.S. dollars Trump owes in upcoming loan payments. Trump does not have that kind of cash available, which will require him to liquidate real estate or the bank/lender to repossess properties, depending on the amounts due and the current valuations of those properties (and he won’t be able to fudge the valuations as he has in the past - these will be conducted by independent 3rd parties). In any event, it will become a battle of Trump vs. the lenders (spoiler alert: usually the bankers win).

Fifth, he finds himself in a conundrum relative to housing. He’s afraid to go back to NYC and the charges that await him there. Yet, he will soon be involved in another lawsuit, now with the city of Palm Beach if he attempts to live at Mar-a-Lago, which is zoned (Trump did this to create his private Mar-a-Lago social club) as a private club and not as a place for primary residency, with strict limits on the number of days one can stay at the club. The city has long tried to restrict Trump’s use of the property as a city nuisance. Sure, he owns many properties elsewhere, but they are not in locations he prefers, and they lack the culture of sycophancy and the sheer square footage that Mar-a-Lago offers and that Trump needs for his ego. He will no longer be on the social A-list, and in many places he will be treated as a pariah, no longer the darling of the jet-set world of the glitterati he once commanded. He and his family may soon become socially ignored has-beens.    

Sixth, he may soon find himself served with divorce papers. We know that Melania re-wrote her prenup as a condition for moving to D.C. after a long period of remaining in NYC after Trump’s inauguration in 2017. This document may soon surface and she, along with Baron and Melania’s parents, might part from Trump and his family. If so, Trump will have no-one at his side, even for the optics. Interestingly, it appears that Trump’s adult children may not be living with him in Mar-a-Lago (we know that Ivanka and Jared are not going back to their NYC home, but moving to Bedminster in New Jersey; they also bought land on an island an hour from Mar-a-Lago for a future building site, keeping their distance). For whatever reason, his family may not want to be part of Trump’s household or the legal battles with the city of Palm Beach. Trump may be living alone.

Seventh, he is of no value to foreign governments once he leaves office. There is no reason for them to take his calls, stay at his properties, invite him to events, or provide him with financial support. He can comb through his contact list on his cell phone of foreign dignitaries, but there will be little reason for them to talk with him. Biden and Antony Blinken now act as their contact points, and Trump has nothing further to offer foreign leaders. He will soon learn that those who showed interest in him were not because of their adoration of Trump, but because of his title, and without that title he has no worth on the international stage. 

Eighth, Trump will lose many media outlets for his daily barrage of messaging. His presidency was based on his social media, press conferences, a cadre of communications spokespeople, his regular appearances and call-ins on Fox News, and his coverage in mainstream media based on the incessant drivel he would blather minute-by-minute, typically but not restricted to Twitter. On January 20th, he will no longer be able to use Twitter as he had, He will not have an in-house, on-call national media audience at the Rose Garden with communications staff to speak on his behalf. He is currently at war with Fox News, and who knows how that will resolve itself. Will he become a regular on Fox or other cable outlets? Will there be a split among the viewers on the far-right who will leave Fox and join other further far-right nascent outlets? Will Parler become a vehicle for Trump? Who knows, but in any event Trump’s presence in the mainstream media will diminish, and he will lack the ability to have a broad national audience and presence as he has been accustomed. Certainly, daily Trump news and interviews with Trump staff will no longer abound on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, etc., and in the written media of the NYT, WP, WSJ, HuffPost, Bloomberg, Newsweek, Time, etc. Most of the nation will no longer be interested in what he has to say. He may, ultimately, become ignored and irrelevant by most of the media, which for Trump translates into a special kind of prison.

Ninth, the empty and decaying Trump Plaza hotel in Atlantic City is to be dynamited by the city on January 29, 2021. It is Trump’s last casino of the four he owned in Atlantic City. All declared bankruptcy over the years. Atlantic City is holding a charity auction for the “joy” of pressing the button to activate the explosion (the auction will end on January 19, 2021). Trump left the city with a wake of unpaid bills, and the city holds no allegiance to him. All funds go to the Boys and Girls Club, and they expect it to raise over $1 million for the button-pushing event. This should be quite the national media event next month and further humiliation for Trump.    

Finally, all of the above may leave him in a very different financial situation, and without the U.S. government, foreign governments, the GOP and the mainstream GOP donor base, and other funding sources, he may find that his lifestyle diminishes. Sure, he raised $200 million for his special PAC from his core supporters, and we are now learning that he has skimmed large sums from the GOP and other conduits while in the White House. We are now learning that Jared had much of these contributions and funds laundered into Trump family personal accounts. He may be able to continue to extract funds from his cult base through paid rallies and other initiatives, but the use of all this money may come under scrutiny. These sources may provide some relief, but with potential cases facing him, Ivanka, Jared and Don Jr., the entire family may find themselves in a financial squeeze (along with the legal peril his children may face as well). Certainly, the Trump brand as a high-end marketing device has tarnished (perhaps a K-Mart Trump clothing line at their few remaining stores, or Ivanka handbags/jewelry at the Dollar Store).

Most Presidents and their families leave office respectfully and with dignity, not worried about legal, financial and personal ruin. They hand over the reins to the next group, and go on to write their memoirs, give speeches, engage in charity and education work, build a presidential library, and understand their new role as a former President. They focus on their legacy. This kind of thinking is simply not part of the Trump psyche. It requires maturity, perspective and self-assuredness, something Trump lacks. He’s like a child who can’t stop pushing the balloon until it explodes, and then cries that the balloon has been taken from him. His history is clear: his endeavors consistently result in bankruptcies, lawsuits, divorce, shame and ultimately anger. He doesn’t know how to end things gracefully, and that pattern won’t change as he exits the White House.

These are all reasons for Trump to feel isolated and panicked. They all based on potential upcoming disasters for him, and demonstrate that he is indeed a “loser,” a depiction he despises. For Trump, these are humiliations that go against everything he believes in himself. Above all, Trump is a narcissist and a sociopath who operates on a childish level of intellect and emotion. He only cares about his image and the power he can brandish, and he lacks any sense of introspection and resolve. He deludes himself and lives in a fantasy world of mythological greatness, and he believes it. For him, it’s not a political game; no, for him, his narrative is real, and he is incapable of seeing himself otherwise. Losing the election is horrific enough for him, but to add to that disgrace and shame are the potential indignities noted above that, unlike most Presidents before, he will start to face in just one month, and they may each unfold, one-by-one, over the next two years. He is unable to accept anything but a perfect self-image (“I am the smartest person in the world”; “I have the best brain”, “I can do anything”), and he does not have the psychological character to face his new reality. He is a deeply disturbed and damaged person, with severe and dangerous psychiatric issues, and unable to accept his fate of personal, legal and economic humiliations and other challenges that may lie ahead. 

So he denies and clings to his cult base that remains faithful. It’s all he has now. And he watches, one-by-one, as the GOP appointed judges provide no relief, and as the GOP leadership ultimately accepts the humiliation of the countless and baseless lawsuits denied, and as they come to accept Biden as the new President. Some of them are simply done with the Donald. And the demons in his head cannot deal with what is unfolding. Trump is terrified and psychologically in an unbridled rage.

What will Trump do? To quote Rhett Butler, “Quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I think it will be highly unlikely (but not impossible) for him to seriously run in 2024. He may try, but he would need to start that effort soon. It would take a lot of money and ground support, and the barriers that the above potential hurdles present over the next four years may be too much for him to overcome. He’s not an outsider anymore; he’s a failed insider. Sure his core cult base still adores him, and many in the GOP are unwilling to disengage from him, but “build that wall” and “lock her up” have long lost their MAGA luster. He has shown himself to be a humiliated loser on many fronts, and that’s not the narrative that gave him the 2016 win. And, others want the crown jewel, such as Pence, Cotton, Rubio, Haley, etc. For sure, Trump will be divisive, and the GOP may fracture into the pro-Trump camp (his cult and the emerging “Patriot Party”) and the non-Trump camp. Unifying that party may become a serious barrier. I’m hoping that along with the implosion of the Trump Plaza hotel next month, there will be a concurrent implosion of the GOP. It may not come to be, but the seeds are there. 

In any event, the path for another Trump presidency diminishes with time, and I am looking forward to a fantasy day when we all say, “Whatever happened to Trump after his divorce and after he lost all that money and was sent to jail? Haven’t heard much about him lately.” A day when we have to google his name to see if he hasn’t already died.

CAVEAT: The Democrats need to make sure that they remain unified and don’t allow fractions within the party and base to distract from the Biden/Harris presidency. This is not a time for in-fighting among the Democrats. Picking apart Biden/Harris, their administration and programs will not serve the nation. Biden/Harris need support in order to undo and move forward from the broken nation Trump leaves behind.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Anit-Vaxxers and Anti-Semitism - A Long History Together

December 16, 2020 – 5:00 pm ET
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (

Western pandemic conspiracy movements are not new. Their origins are to be found in the anti-Semitism of the “poisoning of the well” narrative, which developed as a Christian trope at the time of the bubonic plague in Europe in the 1300’s, when Jews did not typically succumb to the disease. Jews were usually physically isolated from the non-Jewish world, with strict Kosher laws forbidding the contact or consumption of many kinds of animals that spread disease, rules for maintaining clean and separate food chains from the general population, and having strong religious demands for daily personal washing and household cleanliness (from cleanliness requirements of bodily functions and sex, to how dishes and other cooking/eating utensils are cleaned and stored, to how farm animals are separately housed and managed outside of the home, to a ban on hunting as animals in the wild might contain disease, etc.). These rules and customs, which were quite different from the rest of Europe at that time, and they allowed the Jews to survive the plague when others did not. And so the Christian world blamed the Jews for the pandemic and committed atrocities against them in the name of this conspiracy.

The narrative has continued throughout the centuries and is still alive in modern times and poses conflict with many important vaccines and medicines that have been discovered by Jewish scientists, including, in part, today’s COVID-19 vaccines. Although the world has generally adopted a science-friendly set of values, the conspiracy theories of the “poisoning the well” trope continue as anti-Semitism continues to be an unspoken foundation of the current anti-science and anti-vaxxer movement (see the British government report findings below, in which they found 79% of all anti-vaxxer networks world-wide advocate anti-Semitism as a basis for rejecting vaccines). Most of us don’t read the postings, articles and discussions among the anti-science and anti-vaxxer networks, so many of us are unaware of these insidious conversations.

In addition, Jews have traditionally played a critical role in the science of discovering vaccines and medicines, including Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine, who discovered the vaccines for cholera and the plague in France and India in the late 1800’s, through Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine in the U.S. in the mid 1900’s. Over the past two centuries, Jewish scientists have helped discover and develop vaccines and methods for inoculation of smallpox, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, bacterial meningitis, and many others, including the ground-breaking discovery of penicillin. Jerome Horwitz discovered AZT antiretroviral medication, which became the nascent foundation for combatting AIDS, a field in which many Jewish scientists worked. It was Jewish scientists who discovered the mammogram, leukemia pharmaceuticals, infant exchange transfusion for Rh hemolytic disease, fluid flow drip method for intravenous injection (invented by Dean Kamen, someone I personally knew in my childhood on Long Island, and who has 440+ patents for his work, many in the medical field, but also including inventing the Segway), and many other critical disease-fighting discoveries. (Henry Judah Heimlich himself was Jewish – he discovered the Heimlich maneuver). The list goes on, and while it may evoke pride within the Jewish community, it evokes a different sentiment among the Christian right – a distrust of “Jewish science.”

This role of anti-Semitism in the anti-vaxxer movement was recently studied in-depth by the British government who released a detailed report in October 2020 (“From anti-vaxxers to antisemitism: conspiracy theory in the COVID-19 pandemic” by John Mann, Britain’s independent government adviser on anti-Semitism), which began with an historic overview of blaming the Jews for the great plague through other epidemics up to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This study of anti-vaxxers across the globe concluded, “Most people are desperate for a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, as are governments across the world. Once a vaccine becomes available it will be essential to quickly sideline the conspiracy theories and misinformation of the antivaxxers. Exposing their links to antisemitism and age-old conspiracy theories can only assist the public health message, but in doing so government and civil society organisations must also combat the resurgence of antisemitism that, as this report evidences, is present in 79% of antivaxxer networks. Exposing the level of antisemitism amongst the anti-vaxxer movement now is therefore of the utmost importance.” The report noted one of the current anti-vaxxer movement’s symbols is the Nazi yellow Star of David used to identify Jews during Hitler’s time, only now replacing the term “Jude” (German for “Jew”) with the term “no vax” in the center made to look like Hebrew letters (see below).

ADL (Anti-Defamation League, the American organization focused on anti-Semitism) in their April 2020 report analyzed the underlying anti-Semitism of the anti-vaxxer movement. They, too, noted that the basis of the current anti-vaxxer movement is the idea that COVID-19 is seen as a tool for Jews to expand their global influence,” where “Jews will not only profit from a vaccine but will also exploit desperation by overcharging for it and limiting availability.” The report states that, “As the coronavirus continues to surge globally, virus-related conspiracy theories are proliferating online. These antisemitic, xenophobic, hateful messages spread misplaced blame and misinformation, making it more difficult to access accurate information while elevating fear and anxiety. While some of these messages are new, many are simply old tropes repackaged for a modern pandemic.” They noted the use of the “greedy ugly Jew” meme pushing the sale of COVID-19 vaccine (see below).

These kinds of beliefs and symbols further perpetuate the abundance of centuries of historically Christian conspiracy theories about the dangers of “the Jew,” such as the age-old “blood libel” conspiracies about Jews murdering Christian children, the conspiracies about Passover where Jews were believed to need Christian bodies for ceremonies, the Good Friday “perfidious Jews” conspiracies, and many others, all aimed at a distrust of the Jews and their nefarious motives against the Christian world. These conspiracies formed the foundation for atrocities throughout the centuries, including giving permission to the Nazis for the Holocaust.

What is behind this? Judaism, as its core, is not a religion of belief, but one of debate. Over the centuries, the Talmud teaches Jews to question everything and to propose alternative hypotheses through thoughtful examination and discussion. Education and intellectual discipline are pervasive Jewish values. And these values have inspired Jews to seek scientific methodology as a mechanism for understanding the universe, the world and humankind. In addition, Judaism is a religion that focuses on the key concept of “tikun olam” (Hebrew for “fix the world”). Judaism demands that each Jewish person is obliged to improve the world in a meaningful way during their lifetimes; legacy is the Jewish concept of life ever-after. And so, Jews are disproportionately attracted to the pursuit of scientific research and development, including the area of medicine. Over 22% of all Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Jewish people, including such names as Albert Einstein for creating the discipline of modern physics, Emmy Noether for creating the discipline of abstract algebra, to name a few. And yet, Jews only represent 0.2% of the world’s population (and only 2.5% of all people in the U.S.). Intellectual analysis is simply a crucial part of the Jewish experience, psyche and aspiration.

As a result, Jews are often equated with scientific and mathematical thinking and are viewed as the enemy by the anti-science and anti-vaxxers, throughout history and now during the COVID-19 pandemic, questioning the legitimacy of the vaccines that can eradicate the disease. It is important to understand the role of bigotry in this movement. It is real and it is based on centuries of distrust of the “other,” particularly of the Jews.

For COVID-19, the two key players in the vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are heavily Jewish, and include Muslim, people of color, and immigrants. Albert Bourla is Jewish and the CEO of Pfizer and the son of Holocaust survivors. Mikael Dolsten, the head scientist at Pfizer, is Jewish. They are working with Ugur Sahin and his spouse Ozlem Tureci who are Muslim and founded BioNTech in Britain and they developed the BioNTech’s vaccine, which is now part of Pfizer. For Moderna, Kizzmekia Corbet, a black American scientist is the key scientist behind their vaccine. She works with the Israeli Jewish scientist Tal Zaks who is Chief Medical Officer at Moderna. And, the scientists responsible for the groundbreaking work in creating the new mRNA vaccine technology (which is the basis of the COVID-19 vaccines) is Jewish scientist Drew Weissman (no known relation) who worked under Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health, and at the world-renowned Weizmann Institute of Science outside of Tel Aviv for his Ph.D. work, along with Katalin Kariko, an immigrant from Eastern Europe. Both of them worked at University of Pennsylvania in the research and development of new vaccine methods.

The COVID-19 vaccines are the works of a diverse and brilliant group of scientists in the U.S., Europe and Israel, with many Jews and other minorities among them, who are often viewed by the Christian right as people who are undeserving of trust, even though these people are heroes saving the human race from this horrific pandemic.

Yet, the anti-science and anti-vaxxers continue, and we all need to understand that much of their call to conspiracies is based on centuries of anti-Semitism, and for these people, that kind of hatred continues and expands to include other minorities whom they view as deceitful as well. We must uncover these ugly truths if we are to inoculate the nation and squash these dangerous conspiracists. We must embrace a culture of medical progress based on scientific analysis, and not age-old tropes of fear and prejudice.


Embrace Biden’s New Cabinet – It’s the Anti-Trump Team

November 25, 2020 – 3:00 pm ET
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (

 To anyone who is displeased that their Democratic primary candidate or other favorite politician isn’t included in the Biden administration: We voted to end Trumpism and its politics of cronyism, grifters and political payoffs. Biden is the anti-Trump (and that’s why he won), and he is assembling a thoughtful, professional (yes, professional) cabinet and group of advisors based on expertise, experience and ability to implement change. He has many issues to immediately tackle (COVID, economy, climate change, racism, women and LGBTQ equality, immigration reform, American leadership in world affairs, voter suppression and election reform, Supreme Court reform, electoral college reform, undoing all of the horrific executive and other orders introduced by Trump, etc.). He needs to have people on his team who can day-one take on the job and quickly effectuate change in the U.S. and on the world stage. He doesn’t have time, and he needs to immediately operate and win on multiple fronts concurrently and have an administration that can within months can clean house.

For the past four years we have been screaming that Trump’s team was one of pure kleptocracy and personal gain, and that we needed a President and team who focused on moving the nation forward, not padding their pockets or furthering their political careers. And we won, and we now have a President who embraces a future without political cronyism. Hooray! Sure, there are people we would each personally love to see in the administration but who won’t necessarily be offered a position because they are not the foremost professional fit for a job based on hiring the best and the brightest with demonstrable leading expertise and experience in a particular field.

As an example, Janet Yellen has a Ph.D. in economics from Yale, taught at Harvard and other institutions throughout the world, and was head of the Federal Reserve. Clearly, she’s most qualified to head up the Treasury. Antony Blinken, who will be Secretary of State, served as Deputy Secretary of State, Special Assistant to the President and Sr. Director for Strategic Planning, NSC Senior Director, to name just a few foreign affairs positions this Harvard alum has held. The bios of others named Biden cabinet members thus far are equally impressive and show depth in their fields of professional expertise.

In addition, there are considerations for moving people from the Senate to the cabinet, particularly in states with Republican governors (e.g. Massachusetts and Vermont). This could further undermine Biden’s ability to move legislation forward. We need to see the big picture and support Biden in his efforts to create a cabinet that has the experience and expertise to tackle the job at hand, while growing the Democrats in Congress, hoping for wins in the upcoming Georgia election, so that Biden has a friendly House and Senate. That is more important than egos or self-promotion.

So, proponents for the cast of the primary runners and other political supporters of Biden may be disappointed. I understand, but they (and we) supported Biden not to get a job offer (that’s a strategy of the likes of Betsy DeVos), but because Biden could move the nation away from the evils of Trumpism. Executive positions shouldn’t be pay-back jobs and they shouldn’t be currency (that would be Trumpism); they are professional jobs for the most qualified. Hats off to Biden for doing just that, and hats off to those who have supported Biden’s initial choices. If some Democrats complain, then they are no different from the cronies of Trump.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Why Won’t the GOP Step-Up and Declare Biden the
Winner – Why Do They Continue to Appease Trump?

November 13, 2020 – 3:00 pm ET
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (
The GOP accepts the Senate and House races, the various state races, and the Presidential races where Trump won. All of those ballots are deemed valid. But, they don’t accept the Presidential races where Biden won, even in states where the Senate, House and state races are accepted and were on the same ballot as the Presidential race. Trump is now busy in the courts, and thus far has lost every court case. Every one of them. He has no evidence of voter fraud, and not one state has claimed voter fraud. Not one. And the few instances in which fraud was suggested (e.g. the lone postal worker) were found to be themselves fraudulent claims of ballot stealing (and the postal worker admitted to he lied after having received over $130,000 in funds – now that’s fraud). The absurdity and insanity raises one simple question… Biden will be the next President in January; there are reports of GOP leaders secretly admitting to Trump’s defeat; so why is the GOP hell-bent on supporting Trump’s delusion, what possible benefit does this provide to the GOP at this point?

Any political science expert would point the GOP in the direction of moving on. Allow the winner to enjoy the honeymoon period so that the euphoria of the opposition wears off (and it typically does at a rapid pace), and then pick the next battle and prepare for upcoming elections and political disagreements. After all, the Georgia Senate races are upon us; COVID is still active, as is the weakening economy (and soon both will be Biden’s problem to solve), and the GOP should be focused on 2022 when the House is up for re-election, and on 2024 with Pence as a possible Presidential candidate. Add to the equation the distinct possibility that Trump and his family will be facing criminal charges in the new year, knowing it will get vicious. Wisely, the GOP should view Trump as history, understanding that his delusions and the need to appease him is now a path that leads to nowhere. The pathetic scene at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping lot (next to the porn shop and the crematorium) should have clearly signaled the end of Trump. The moment the Trump campaign allowed this absurd and pitiful press conference to happen should have marked the end.

Do they genuinely think they can somehow pull this off? Trick the nation into believing some grand scheme to undermine Trump? No. Biden won by a landslide (yes, his victory meets the definition of a landslide) in historic numbers and percentages of votes and voter turnout. He is the winner, and we can count and we know it.

For Trump, we can all understand his unwillingness to deal with realities. He never has shown an ability to engage in an adult and rational way that puts the best interests of anyone (or the nation) ahead of his own delusions of grandeur. He lives in his own narcissistic and sociopathic mind in which he cannot accept a loss even when it’s clear. In a few weeks, his casino in Atlantic City will be torn down, but he will still claim to be the winner. It’s his pattern. We get it.

But for almost everyone else in the GOP, what is their driver?

I believe that the answer is quite simple. The GOP is lost. Lost in the cold waters as they spin in their lifeboats and watch the ship sink, unable to process the event and unable to see a way to survive without the ship. They cannot see a future for the GOP without Trump; he is the party. And now they are unable to envision what lies ahead without him and without his base (aka cult) who continue to worship him. 

At this point, the GOP has long lost any serious ideology, vision, or strategy to differentiate itself from the Democrats. They have become the party of Trump, without any purpose other than to believe in and enrich Trump. He, his behaviors and fantasies became the core of the party. The party created Trumpism, they created and enabled Trump, and they now cannot figure out how to survive without him. He is their monster and they can't envision a political world where he is not at the top. The GOP has no platform. Remember, they decided this summer not to bother with developing one. All they represent is adoration for Trump. They have nothing else. To accept Trump's loss and move on would require seeing beyond Trump, and that is a bridge too far for them. They lack that ability, and their base simply cannot accept a Trump loss. For them, he is their god and their Trump religion cannot exist without Trump as lord.

Let’s unpack it further. What about Trumpism does his base and the GOP adore? Is it the specific policies? No, the GOP is not about any economic growth plans or monetary discipline through conservative ideology (they have created the largest budget deficit ever). The GOP is not about a balanced budget or fiscal responsibility (quite the opposite with the tax breaks for the wealthy). The GOP is not about education (they have cut it to the bone). The GOP is not interested in fighting COVID (they have politicized wearing masks and other safety measures). The GOP is not about American leadership in the world and a strong military and foreign policy (they have exited from key international agreements and organizations). Business leaders and conservative thinkers have abandoned Trump (including those who headed up the GOP and acted as key GOP strategists), and regardless of how one feels about these positions, the GOP has evolved into one in which positions and results are irrelevant. He failed at COVID, the economy, international relations, and all other aspects of managing the federal government. Except for the Mara Lago crowd who wanted tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and wanted to buy their way into power, the core principle of the party is unquestioning support for the idolized Donald Trump.

What about Trump keeps his followers in line? I believe it is about two things: First, unequivocable belief in conspiracies and a complete unwillingness to see realities. If Trump says it happened, then it happened. Second, unabashed supremacy. Trump started his political career with birtherism, claiming that the black President was not born in the U.S. and not a legitimate American worthy of the highest office. And Trump’s people got on board. Then, Trump’s campaign began with calling Mexicans rapists and murderers who were destroying the economy and need a wall to keep them out. “Build that wall” was the foundation of his primary run and 2016 election. He has supported Nazis, the KKK, Proud Boys and Q . He brought in the most reactionary and hateful Supreme Court justices who have demonstrated their commitment to supremacy. He portrayed black Americans as dangerous looters, and supported the continuation of the Confederate flag and other such racist icons as part of American culture. He dismissed Black Lives Matter. He even invited Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who pointed guns at peaceful black protesters, to speak at his convention. He demonstrated a complete disdain for women, and in the most vile ways spoke about and treated them as sexual objects to be used by men, including rape. He placed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. He created a conspiracy that Democrats (including Biden) would take Christmas away. He signed the most virulent anti-LGBTQ executive orders. And he brought about the resurgence of the supremacist American Firsters and disassociated from the democratic nations of the world, while cozying up to the most hateful dictators. We have witnessed four years of horrific supremacy. Trump stands for nothing other than himself and American white, male, Christian, heterosexual supremacy. Period.

We haven’t heard one leader of the GOP admit that the party needs to move on and find a new path forward. We haven’t heard of any kind of introspection and need for serious re-assessment. We haven’t seen widespread outrage at Trump’s recent firings in critical Defense, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and other areas of the federal government, as if Trump is planning a coup. And we won’t. Trumpism is alive and the GOP is without a moral compass to redirect.

As I've always said, the issue isn't about how we remove Trump; the issue is about how we remove Trumpism. Fascism is always about the single leader, and when the leader is destroyed or pushed aside, the fascists are lost. Today, the Trumpians are lost, and their party is without leadership or direction. They have no other leader who can manipulate the Trump cult of supremacy in the same way, and the GOP knows it and is unwilling to fight the core supremacy values of Trumpism. That’s the danger. Biden is right. This is a battle for the soul of our nation.

Where do we go? Quite frankly, all we can do is call out the GOP for what they are: Trump apologists and supremacists. There is no strategy for coddling or rationally dealing with Trumpism and its basis in conspiracies and supremacy. Biden, Harris, and their team need to go forward, boldly, very boldly, and decisively, not waiting for the GOP (that’s futile) and not attempting to find a “middle ground” on supremacy. It’s not possible. This will be a tough next few months and some tough years ahead. This isn’t about the Democrats vs. the Republicans; it isn’t about disagreements on policy issues (and please, let’s not in-fight with ourselves over policy – we have a bigger battle to wage during these next four years); it’s about defining the moral core of America. That’s what the Biden-Harris Presidency will be about, starting now. Scary times ahead and lots of uglies that will surface. Trumpism won’t die easily, and even with Trump potentially in prison, his legacy will live on among the millions and millions who voted for him and among the GOP who refuse to confront who they are.


Miscellaneous Musings – Random Thoughts from April thru November, 2020

November 13, 2020 - 10:30 am ET
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (

Here are some random posts I wrote from April thru November, 2020 (in date order going back)...

November 11, 2020:

Let’s be sure to pay serious attention to this incredibly important story: When Trump loses his ability to hire quality legal firms to represent his campaign for the next months, and later to represent him personally after January, the game changes significantly. Typically, the DNC is represented by the legal firm of Perkins Coie as their primary counsel (and that remains so, along with other top tier firms), and the GOP is represented by the legal firm of Jones Day as their primary counsel (also along with other top tier firms). These are both among the largest and top tier firms in the nation. I have a close friend who works at Perkins Coie (and he took the marriage equality case to the Oregon courts and won). They are top-notch. It so happens that Jones Day was the firm that represented the buyer that purchased my tech company, and they were on point in legal negotiations. I, too, had a top tier firm, and having quality attorneys on both sides made it easier and all worked out well. But in today’s NY Times (“Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits”), it is reported (and in other sources, too), that Jones Day is tiring of working with Trump. The same is true of Porter Wright Morris and Arthur, another large top tier firm that the GOP/Trump uses. And, it was reported today in the Washington Post that the Lincoln Project has developed ads targeting Jones Day and Porter et. al. shaming them into resignation from these cases. Trump has been reported “shopping“ attorneys, and has been unsuccessful in finding large firms of quality. They are turning him down. Trump is being forced to use low tier, more local attorneys, and that’s when they are unable to put together and execute a national legal strategy of value. Trump's people are saying they are now working more with “boutique” firms. Really! The debacle with Giuliani and the Four Seasons (the landscaping business parking lot situated between the porn shop and the crematorium, not the hotel!) shows the sophomoric level of the current legal activity in the Trump campaign. Nothing wrong with working with small and local firms, but not when you are the GOP and the President working on a national level. Without national firms with access to attorneys and a vast staff in all geographies with a wide range of experience and expertise, the legal staffing issue becomes a real barrier for Trump. Now just wait until January 2021, when he and his family will personally need their own cadre of attorneys, and Trump won’t be able to use the resources of Barr and the DOJ anymore. This aspect may not have been foreseen in the equation, but it is fascinating to watch it unfold. Karma.

November 7, 2020:

Let's all send a clear message... Mr. Trump, tear down that wall around the White House. In America, the White House is not a bunker for the fascists. Today, we defeated fascism (again) and returned to the values of truth, decency, compassion, fairness, equality, inclusiveness, respect of the law, democracy. Mr. Trump, tear down that wall - President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris won't be needing it.

November 5, 2020:

The nation has voted. Let’s not rush the counting.

1) National elections always take many, many days for votes to be counted. We are often unaware because we frequently know who has won before all the votes are counted. But they are ultimately counted and the final numbers take time.

2) In many states, typically few people vote-by-mail, and often these states wait until all in-person votes are counted before tackling the vote-by-mail ballots (including absentee, military, international, provisional, and ballots that need correcting). Some states have such a timing process embedded in their laws. It’s not that they are counting “late ballots,” but only starting to count all mail-in ballots when the polls close.

3) This year we have the highest level of voter participation in decades. And, because of COVID, so many people chose to vote by mail. Trump supporters didn’t because Trump frightened them into voting in-person.

4) The postal service deliberately slowed down the mail as an act of voter suppression, so valid ballots are still being delivered. We want them counted. The result of all 4 factors in close races means we need to wait. This is how the process works. So at this point, let’s be calm and patient, and let’s allow the poll workers to do their jobs correctly. We all benefit from a methodical ballot counting process.

November 4, 2020:

I’m a data scientist, a statistician, a researcher, a social, and am asked again how the pollsters can still be so wrong. Good question...

1) What people say they will do (poll) and what they actually do (vote) are two different things, and the greater the barriers between the intent and the behavior, the less likely the intent will prevail. Sure, at New Year’s I intend (and I believe it with my heart) that I will lose 10 lbs. That’s easy to say. But then I don’t. I join the health club meaning to go, and then I don’t. The public tends to equate intent to vote (and intent to vote and to do so in a particular way in a simple questionnaire) as an absolute measure (even taking into account +/- error) of what will happen. It’s not. It’s one thing to say I intend to get bread when I go grocery shopping and then write it on my list, because I am almost certain of that outcome. There’s little barrier to the purchasing behavior. But it’s an altogether different thing when assessing future voting. There are many barriers (including those self-imposed and those that result from voter suppression). I need to be registered and check that I’m still registered at my current address, and I need get my ballot in the mail or go to the polling location. If I am voting by mail, I need to be home during the election season to get my ballot, and I need to take the time to fill it out, to be sure to fill out correctly, to sign my ballot correctly and to either mail it or find a legitimate ballot box drop-off. I need to pay attention to timing of when I mail it or drop it off, and I then need to follow-up to make sure my ballot was received and counted. If I am voting in-person, I need to find out the polling locations and times, and I need to find a way to get there. I need to think about having valid ID just in case, and I need to find the time to stand in line to vote. I need to know what to do if I’m questioned. These are steps that remove the intent from the behavior. And, of real importance, I may very well change my mind in the process and vote for a different candidate or issue than I originally intended. And, people aren't always honest and give survey responses based on what they think is a socially acceptable response. Voting is complex, and polling assumes a simple linear connection between stated intent and behavior, and that’s simply not how most human behavior operates.

 2) In a more complex world of sampling and various sampling vehicles (text, online, cell phone, landline, etc.), with more demographic, psychographic, geographic segments and subgroups within, sampling becomes more complicated. The pure “random” sample is no longer viable, so pollsters rely on clusters, stratifications and known population segments to assess intent, utilizing a variety of weights and algorithms to combine them into population estimates. It’s flawed and makes the projections less certain. Even with “perfect” intent to behavior measures, the methodology of algorithmic sampling makes it highly variable based on the assumptions of the underlying model weights. And don’t confuse sampling error with the inaccuracies of the weighting behind the models (which is what caused the Hillary polling mess). It’s not the same. No longer are the days where researchers can conduct a random digit-dialing telephone landline sample of a population. Research sampling has become more complex, and with that comes lower confidence in the ability of the samples to project outcomes.

3) Fundamentally, research is about noticing trends, not predicting a specific outcome. Only fortune tellers can do that. Uncovering trends, projecting outcomes, and “predicting” the future are all quite different. The general population assumes that the research predicts the outcome. It doesn’t. It merely suggests where the population might be headed.

I know we all want certainty, and we aren't comfortable with nuance. Unfortunately, political polling does not provide that. And we need to live with this reality.

November 2, 2020:

Some things are time-specific, others are event-specific. It’s important to differentiate between them. Independence Day is always on July 4th and starts at midnight. It’s time-specific. When will COVID end? That’s event-specific, when there is a safe and reliable vaccine available to all. When will the election results be final? That’s event-specific, when all the votes are counted. You can be sure of the time of your next birthday, you can be sure of the time of your next teeth cleaning appointment. But you’ll have to think differently about when the final results of the election are known. It will only be over when every mail-in, absentee, military, overseas, early and day-of in-person, provisional and other ballots are counted. If that takes a few days or a week or more, then that is when the election results will be finalized. So everyone has to learn to appreciate that election results are event-specific. Not too hard to understand, as democracy is about counting all the votes, no matter how long it takes. Let’s be patient.

November 1, 2020:

On Tuesday, people just like those in the photos below will go to the polls and vote. The photos are from the 1940’s at Solahutte, a country resort just 18 miles from the Auschwitz concentration camp (the largest death camp in Europe). It was a quiet place for the Auschwitz staff to relax on their days off from the hard work of genocide. Over one million Jews and 100k other people (LGBTQ, Gypsies, political enemies, etc.) were gassed, killed and burned in the crematoria at Auschwitz in a short period of just a few years (including many from my family). These Solahutte guests were the 20th century deplorables, “innocently” following Hitler’s “make Germany great again” creed. And today, we have Americans who are truly no different – they relish in lies and conspiracies; they lack concern for the 230k+ who died from COVID; they don’t view all people as full human beings and they provide support for those who cause hatred and the deaths of black people, immigrants and other IPOC, and the disabled; they don’t care if children are separated from their parents and kept in cages; they openly deny LGBTQ people and women equality; they hate the Jews, Muslims and any religion that isn’t their own specific brand; they applaud those who run down and kill protesters (after all, there are “good people” on both sides); they engage in voter suppression; they support those who plot to kill Democrats who are leaders, and they even try to cause the bus carrying their opponent to crash on a highway. Yet, they seem to be like everyone else, no different from the people in the photos below, enjoying their day off, laughing and unwinding with their co-workers of death and destruction. Just think, the day before the photos were taken these people were lining up human beings in front of the gas chambers and then managing the process of moving the dead bodies to the crematoria. And the next day they are laughing and singing. The obscenity of these photos is alive in the era of Trump. Please, please vote and vote blue on every spot on the ballot. We need to outnumber those who in the last century would have enjoyed their visit to Solahutte.

October 18, 2020:

If I bumped into the realtor listing the house for sale on my street, and I was told that the house had sold to black, or indigenous, or Latinx, or Asian or any other people of color, or an LGBTQ couple with children, or a single parent, or immigrants, or Muslims (or Buddhists, Hindus, etc.), or people with disabilities, or any combination, I would say, “Wonderful, we need more diversity, and let the new owners know that I’m here to help out if they need anything.” Once they moved in, I’d invite them over for a “welcome to the neighborhood” party and invite everyone on the block.

 But if a Trumpian moved in, I’d be worried. They might not believe that the law matters and the social rules of civil behavior apply to them; they might constantly lie and spread viscous and false rumors and conspiracies; they might believe they have the right to sexually assault people; they might think they can harm me for my same-sex marriage or the OBGYN down the street for abortions; they might call the police whenever I have black friends over; they might think they can stop people who aren’t Christian from celebrating different holidays; they might own guns and think it’s okay to walk around with guns and threaten people on the block; they (or their pets) might not be vaccinated against diseases and pose a threat to the health of the neighborhood; they might refuse to recycle or engage in other forms of mandated carbon footprint mitigation, and they might try to stop neighbors from getting solar panels installed; they might not pay their property taxes or HOA fees; they might take my morning newspapers (NY Times, Washington Post, etc.) which they view as fake news which should be banned; they might even steal my mail looking to take my voting ballot so I can’t vote.

And certainly, the property values would decrease if they fly confederate and/or Nazi flags, or have hateful signs in their yard or bumper stickers on their car. Having them for neighbors would be a nightmare and we would all be shaking our heads saying, “there goes the neighborhood.”

Humor aside, it’s time to articulate the dangers presented by the Trumpian culture and those who follow it. We need to see them for what they are.

October 5, 2020:

Look what just came out in the Desert Sun (local newspaper serving Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley in Southern CA):

Give Middleton Another Term

I live in Lisa Middleton’s district, and here’s why I support her re-election:

First, Lisa is an accessible listener. She begins to work on an issue by listening to her constituents, experts and other stakeholders. She starts with an open mind and gathers thoughts, ideas and information. She takes this step seriously so as to best represent the community.

Second, Lisa brings integrity to her position. She speaks openly and honestly, and always respectfully to those whom she represents. Her word means everything, and she can be counted on to deliver.

Third, Lisa focuses on the community at large. She always asks what the right thing is to do for the city, both short-term and long-term. She truly represents all of us, and no one is left out or viewed as unimportant. Lisa is a caring person, who genuinely brings compassion, empathy and inclusiveness to her position.

I have talked with Lisa about many issues. I have watched City Council meetings on TV, and I am always impressed with the depth, concern and thoughtfulness that Lisa brings to discussions. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful councilperson representing us, and we need her to be reelected.

Rich Weissman, Palm Springs

October 3, 2020:

With Trump having contracted COVID, we are now told to show compassion. Here’s a way to think about that request …

A wealthy man, with a long record of speeding in his collection of sports cars, drives 85 mph in a front of an elementary school where children are at the school crossing with red flashing lights, and runs down and kills 12 children and the 2 adult crossing guards, along with seriously injuring an additional 9 children. The man was seriously injured as well when he crashed into a tree after plowing down the children and the guards. He had previously been cited and warned about his speeding, and he had been forced by the court to take a course in safe driving (which he reluctantly took and then mocked). For whom do we mourn and feel sympathy, and for whom do we send our wishes for recovery? Pandemic ignored and dismissed, masking and social distancing mocked, and now millions of Americans infected and 210,000 dead, and my heart goes out for whom?

September 19, 2020:

On Rosh Hashanah, Trump tells American Jews, "we love your country" and asks for their vote. This is an age-old anti-Semitic trope in which Jewish people are considered to be "guests" of the "host nation," but certainly not citizens. No, J.D. and I, and my family, and all other America Jewish people are full citizens of the United States. We may love Israel, but we are Americans. Italian-Americans may love Italy, Irish-Americans may love Ireland, but Trump wouldn't think of saying to them "we love your country." The claim that Jews are somehow citizens of another nation other than the "host" is that which incited the Holocaust. And let's be clear - RGB was a true American and American leader. This blatant anti-Semitism is just another example of the hatred and divisiveness that Trumpism has engendered. BTW, the vast majority of American Jews won't be voting for Trump. We know how to read the tropes.

September 9, 2020:

The losers and suckers comments about fallen military men and women, the admission of knowing about the dangers of the virus, and the denial of climate change make it clear. Trumpism is about admiring one who relinquishes personal responsibility and duty, and who embraces selfishness and narcissism. It’s all part of a culture that relishes in lies, cheating, hatefulness, bigotry, ignorance, and that which is uncivil and lacking in empathy. It’s not about overlooking these behaviors; it’s about venerating them. That’s the key, and doing so as a religious experience, viewing these as somehow divine. No data, no fact-checking, no serious discussion changes the equation. It’s not about that which is moral and true; it’s about that which is self-absorbed and egotistical. And the more Trump and his cohorts engage and gloat in self-indulgence, denying that which we feel - the sadness for fallen soldiers, the fears of the pandemic, the anxiety about climate change, the disgust of the actions of bigots, the concerns for the economy, the worries of health care - the more the Trumpian followers worship him. No evidence, no science, no historical context will change any of this. No dialogue, no debate will matter. The Trumpians have managed to create a culture in which they are not responsible, in which they are not required to participate in society in a civilized way, where they can ignore the norms and the realities of the consequences of their behaviors, all under the guise of their religion in which they have no accountability nor need for personal or social conscience. This is what we are voting against in November; this is what is at stake - an election of the century, defining who we are as a people. We all must vote for a culture in which selfishness and narcissism are disdained. It’s that simple.

September 10, 2020:

Why would Trump have given all those interviews (and on tape!) to Woodward? Really, why would he do that? It's simple - Donald is a narcissist and a sociopath, and these kinds of people are incapable of understanding future consequences of their behaviors. The believe in their own omnipotence and cannot see how they can lose. They genuinely cannot imagine a scenario where they cannot talk themselves out of any situation. Donald believes he can outsmart, outdebate and out-present "his side" without failure. He cannot image a script in which he does not win. And when such scenarii do happen, he blames others as he is incapable of seeing his role in any way other than positive. So he talks with Woodward, says it all, and he thinks that he will somehow look good in the end. No need for further analysis - it's pure narcissism and sociopathy. And when it goes wrong, blame someone else because he simply cannot see his role in a negative outcome. This is who he is (and not pretending to be), and all of his actions are grounded in this core personality disorder. It's that simple.

August 18, 2020:

I'm confused. We don't talk about the "dire" financial condition and revenue losses of the military, the secret service, the coast guard, homeland security, IRS, federal parks, highways, the branches of government, the courts, etc. These are costs, not revenue producers, so why is the post office viewed as product that needs to produce more revenue than it costs. Would we shut down the IRS because it doesn't generate sufficient fines to cover its costs? Would we shut down the White House because the gift shop doesn't cover the costs of the president and the administration? Would we shut down the courts because their fees are far less than the costs of running the judicial system? Of course not. Government is not in the business of making money. It's in the business of collecting tax revenues and distributing them as Congress mandates. This notion that the postal service needs to be a profit center, and cover its operating and retirement benefits costs, is an abomination. Let's call it what it is.

August 13, 2020

Great strategy and, of course, Trump takes the bait. Rather than ignoring the VP opponent (Kamala Harris), Trump's going after her and creating a debate between Trump and Harris. It elevates her and allows her to take him on in ways that Biden cannot. Whereas Pence is not a factor, it's now Biden AND Harris against Trump. Trump has allowed himself to be in a position where he is attacked from two sides by both opponents, each of whom can attack him and excite voters in different ways. Notice how silent Pence remains. It's Trump who is taking the lead against Harris. Mark my word, the Biden-Harris team will now be in a position to attack at a new level, and that seems to be their strategy (often called a flanking strategy), knowing that Trump is incapable of resisting the bait. So when you see Trump attack Harris, my thinking is that it's all good and all part of a smart Biden strategy. She will keep prodding him and he can't resist. In strategic terms, one never wants to be flanked, but Trump is who he is, and this may be one additional component in selecting Harris.

July 29, 2020:

I asked myself what I would do if BLM protesters were marching in front of my house. The first thing that came to mind would be to grab a folding table, a few cases of bottled water and boxes of protein bars, and set it up at the sidewalk. I would thank the protesters for speaking up about this important issue and offer them refreshments. Imagine how different things would have turned out for the McCloskeys if they had done that. But, the Trumpians only know the impulse of fear and violence, not the response of compassion and kindness; they see the protesters as the enemy, not as fellow human beings. And that’s the fundamental problem we face.

(Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the couple who wielded guns at Black Lives Matter protesters, St. Louis MO)

July 12, 2020:

I saw these numbers today, with a clear answer to those who suggest we should all “just get infected and get it over with, and only 1% to 2% will die.” First, it sounds low as a percent but not when put into numbers; second, it assumes that if one doesn’t die, then all is good.

The US population is 328.2 million people. If 1% die, that’s 3.3 million people dead. At 2%, 6.5 million people dead – imagine that!

What about the people who survive? For every one person who dies:

19 more require hospitalization.

18 will have permanent heart damage for the rest of their lives.

10 will have permanent lung damage.

3 will have strokes.

2 will have neurological damage that leads to chronic weakness and loss of coordination.

2 will have neurological damage that leads to loss of cognitive function.

So with “only” a 1% fatality rate:

3.3 million people dead, along with:

62 million hospitalized.

60 million with permanent heart damage.

33 million with permanent lung damage.

10 million people with strokes.

7 million with muscle weakness.

7 million with loss of cognitive function.

 Add up those with permanent damage (after those who died and excluding the hospitalizations), that’s 117 million people sick and disabled. If one includes deaths, over 37% of the US population will be personally devastated, not to mention the impact on their families, friends and communities. Almost four in ten people you know, including yourself, will either die or be physically and permanently disabled if this disease is not contained. 

And when Betsy DeVos says that only 1% of children will die if we open up the schools, we’re talking about millions of children facing death or permanent disability, not to mention spreading the disease to their families, teachers and communities. 

But Donniedeath and his cohorts don’t care. All they think about is the economy of the moment and the visuals between now and the election. But how can the US have a strong economy when over a third of our population can be so severely impacted? We can’t, and our nation is at risk of failure in economic, public health and social terms with these kinds of potential numbers. This is a crisis, and ignoring it to keep things going for an election (or because we’re “bored with the pandemic”) is heartless. If we don’t take immediate action we will regret it for years and generations to come, and the devastation noted above will become our new normal.

June 22, 2020:

I leash my dog and clean-up after him because I want to live a healthy life in a healthy community. I take my garbage to the trash can because I want to live a healthy life in a healthy community. I use the bathroom in my house and then wash my hands because I want to live a healthy life in a healthy community. I stay home with the flu because I want to live a healthy life in a healthy community. We all do lots of things for our health and for our community's health, even if there are times we don’t want to. It might be easier to let my dog loose and not clean up after him, or throw my trash in the road, or go to the bathroom in the street and not wash my hands, or go shopping with the flu. But that wouldn’t be healthy for me and my community. And that’s why I always wear a mask outside my house and maintain social distance. Sure it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, but I want to live a healthy life in a healthy community. That’s what civilized people do. Kinda easy concept.

 June 13, 2020:

Eleven southern states initially created the Confederate States of America in 1860, and it existed for less than 5 years until 1865. ONLY FIVE YEARS! And the Confederate (aka rebel) flag was created in 1863 and lasted less than 2 years. ONLY TWO YEARS! They declared themselves to be independent of the United States after Lincoln was elected, so as to form a separate nation with highly limited central government and with the institution of black slavery at its core. So let’s get real. Although based on centuries of brutal and horrific slavery and racism, the Confederacy itself was defeated and represented an ugly and short period in which an enemy of American democracy and the Constitution emerged and was vanquished. There is NO reason to celebrate it or its flag other than to continue to promote racism and treason. And let’s put it in perspective and list American periods which lasted longer than the Confederacy: Obama’s presidency, Shirley Chisholm’s Congressional seat in the House, Wanda Sykes’ career, Kwanzaa, tv shows “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons,”, and even RuPaul’s “Drag Race,” to name just a few. Let the south (and others) put up statues of these and take down anything and everything related to that which celebrates slavery and treason.

June 11, 2020:

I was thinking... Imagine being afraid to walk outside in your neighborhood or in a local park, imagine being afraid to drive your car, imagine being afraid to go shopping in a store, imagine being afraid of the door bell as it might mean danger, imagine being afraid of sending your kids to school or worrying about your spouse going to work. Imagine living like this every day. I'm not talking about COVID; I'm talking about being black in America and living one's life afraid because of the ongoing racism and injustices that make each day an anxious and potentially deadly one for black people. White people like me need to begin to try to understand. We'll never experience it; we'll never fully understand it; but we need to try to empathize and then get on board and fight for change, because black lives matter and black people should not have to live lives in fear. Racism is a white problem and we have to own it.

June 7, 2020:

Interesting idea that hit me today: It seems that almost all I see are white policemen who are brutalizing people of color and protesters. Not surprising, since among all police in the US, less than 15% are women, and over 75% are white. It is dominated by white men. With the recent talk about defunding police, how about cities/counties/municipalities require specific minimum levels of women and people of color in order for police to receive funding, where half the force must be women and half must be people of color. Perhaps approximately 25% women of color and 25% men of color, with 25% white women and 25% white men. This way, white men would be only a quarter of the force, and a minimum of half the force would be women and a minimum of half the force would be people of color. Otherwise, no funding. Until we change the composition of the police force, brutality and racist policies/activities will continue. I certainly trust women and people of color to more humanely and equitably provide policing to all communities. Mind you, we should also move many of the policing activities to social services (domestic disputes, drug usage, homelessness, etc.) that are not policing issues but are better served through social service intervention. Just a thought.

April 26, 2020:

Your car’s gas is near empty, and you’d like to go for a long drive. Question: Do you want to get gas or go on a road trip? Clearly, that’s a ridiculous question - it’s a false dichotomy. You can’t go on a road trip if you don’t first get gas, one action is dependent on the other. The same is true of the false dichotomy we are asked to select: do you want to get the economy moving or stop the spread of the pandemic? That, too, is a ridiculous question. We are a consumer-based economy (70% of our economy is consumer spending), and only when consumers feel confident in their personal lives and their futures do they spend money. That’s why the consumer confidence index is the key leading indicator for economic growth, and it’s down 46% since end of January, 2020, with over 60% of Americans now perceiving both the beginning of a long epidemic and economic recession/depression. If people don’t feel safe, healthy and on comfortable footing, then they spend less. We are seeing among the highest rates of savings, declines in credit card outstandings and loans, and other activities that typically represent a worried populace, making fewer purchases. Simply “letting” people go back to shopping, restaurants, travel, etc. without addressing the underlying issues of consumer anxiety will not ultimately help the economy recover. Dealing with the pandemic in a rational, proactive way with widespread testing, mandatory safety (e.g. masks/distancing/limited indoor activity) and confidence that the federal government is reliably and honestly reporting and handling the situation, and behaving in the best interests of the populace is what is needed FIRST. Otherwise, most people will not simply return to their old spending habits. People are worried about their jobs (with many now unemployed and without any income), declines in sources of income, loss of health insurance, inaccessible childcare, 401k and other retirement income losses, and most importantly, worried that they and their loved ones will get sick and potentially die. Not everyone - there are the crazies on the right who refuse to accept the current dangers - but most Americans are concerned. That is the issue that comes first. Just as you have to get gas before you can start your road trip, the American people need to be assured that the pandemic is under control before they will venture out and resume spending. Donniedeath doesn’t understand (he fails at the most basic economic and business concepts) and his cronies don’t care. So they present this false dichotomy. Don’t buy it; it’s ridiculous (and dangerous).

April 20, 2020:

Last week on FOX News, Sean Hannity asked Dr. Oz (a FOX medical expert) what steps should be taken to restart the economy. Oz replied: "Schools are a very appetizing opportunity… Opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3% percent in terms of total mortality… [which] might be a trade-off some folks would consider.” And Hannity was okay with that idea. They didn’t give the math, but I will: there are over 76 million children in schools in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau). A mortality rate of 2 to 3% would result in 1.5 to 2.3 MILLION deaths among children. Let me repeat, 1.5 to 2.3 MILLION children. And FOX and its GOP base see this as a reasonable “trade-off.” This is the depth of depravity which Donniedeath has brought upon this nation, where GOP supportive newscaster and medical expert (Oz is a surgeon, educated at Harvard and U of Penn!) talk casually about murdering 1.5 to 2.3 MILLION children. Oz later tried to explain and talk it back, but I for one cannot accept any explanation or forgiveness. I'd rather see my stock portfolio go to zero than to kill children. But these people are monsters and this, yes this more than anything else, has to unite us all against the Donniedeath regime. Let me repeat, 1.5 to 2.3 MILLION children are viewed as expendable for economic growth. This is what Nazism looks like. The horror of it all!