Bearing Witness to Trump Month 45 Oct 18 – 24

Due to the Trump Administration’s lack of leadership, coronavirus infections have soared past 80,000 per day across the country and its territories, the highest ever, as the third wave gains momentum. Total cases reached 8.4 million with now just under 125,000 deaths. Hospital admissions are rising in 38 states with nearly all of them having hot spots. Health experts warn the new wave is far more dangerous than the first two as it is spread across the entire country in urban and rural areas, and across all age groups. Before this new surge it was possible to move health care workers around in a state or region to meet demand. Now, that is far more difficult with shortages of staff and critical drugs being reported. Read More

Bearing Witness to Trump Month 45 Oct 11-17

A third wave of coronavirus cases has clearly begun across much of the country. New daily infections are rising in 44 states with now over 50,000 new cases per day and daily death tolls are above 500 and marching toward 1,000 once again. The week ends with the grim milestone of 8 million cases and 220,000 fatalities in the US, and 40 million with 1 million respectively worldwide. The number of cases as well as the death rate in the US remains the highest of the developed world. The positivity rates in some Midwest red zone states are in excess of 20% and a staggering 30% in the Dakotas. Some health experts are predicting that at the one-year mark of the pandemic in March of 2021 the total number of US deaths may approach a staggering 400,000-500,000.

Despite these gruesome numbers, the public has become so skeptical of claims by the Trump administration that less than half of the population says they will get a vaccine immediately after it is approved. The skepticism is justifiable. White House was reported to have installed two political appointees and Trump loyalists at the CDC to control the information and messaging it releases to the public. One was assigned to become the chief of staff to CDC Director Robert Redfield. The CDC, the one organization with clear mission to protect Americans from infectious diseases, was largely sidelined and then discredited by the Trump administration in the early months of the pandemic. Read More

Bearing Witness to Trump Month 45 Oct 4-10

In the week following the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis the virus has struck more than a dozen members of the President’s family, cabinet members, advisers, White House staff, and fellow Republicans. The list includes First Lady Melania, Son Barron, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and her two aides, Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, Advisers Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller, Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, Utah Senator Mike Lee, former Governor Chris Christie, members of the White House press corps, and likely others who have yet to be announced. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley along with most of  rest of the Chiefs went into self-quarantine. Most of the infected all had in common of working closely with the President, attending a Rose Garden event for Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett where few wore masks or practiced social distancing, or traveling with the President onboard Air Force one. It appears that the President and one or more of his events may have been the super-spreader common denominator.

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Bearing Witness to Trump Month 45 Sept 27-Oct 3

A coronavirus infection strikes the President of the United States this week who after two days of illness is transported to Walter Reed Hospital in Marine One helicopter. The President is said to be at high risk due to his age, high blood pressure, and obese weight. However so ironic, and yes sad, is that it struck a man who had shunned wearing masks, refused to practice social distancing, held public events, disputed the guidance of his public health officials, bickered with his pandemic task force members, openly mocked others including Joe Biden for wearing masks, and admitted to intentionally delaying the country’s response to the growing health emergency back in the early spring. Read More

Bearing Witness to the Pandemic September 2020

Week of Sept. 1 – 5, 2020

The month starts off with 6.2 million confirmed cases and over 187,000 deaths in the US. With the fall season rapidly approaching, a shocking new projection of deaths by year end is now over 400,000. The rate of infections of children and young adults has skyrocketed in recent weeks with hospitalizations and deaths up by several hundred percent.

Timed perfectly to impact the presidential election on Nov. 3, the CDC has notified states to be prepared to distribute a vaccine in late October or early November.  The FDA says it may issue an emergency use order before clinical trials have been completed. Phase 3 clinical trials to validate safety and efficacy have just begun on the leading vaccines. Some believe that is overly optimistic propaganda, and just more politicization of public health agencies. This administration has not been able to get a nationwide testing program in place so why should we believe them about a nationwide vaccine program? Read More

Bearing Witness to Trump Month 44 Sept 20-26

This week President Trump confirmed what we all have been worried about for a long time. He refused to say that that he would accept the results of the upcoming election and commit to a peaceful transfer of power.  He went on to remark he would have to “see what happens” as he is not sure the election will be “honest.”  Political wonks are warning that Trump will not concede and step down, and that Republican operatives are busy planting the groundwork to dispute the results should he lose. This moment in time and his statements are without precedent in the history of the country. Citizens at home and allies abroad were left shocked as to the further decay of America’s democracy and political institutions. Trump’s forewarning of an act of sedition and the death of democracy was even too much for members of his own law-and-order flag-hugging Republican Party. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to state that there would be an orderly transition of power like there has been every election since 1792. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change September 2020

Pope Francis begins the month with an appeal to help the planet and a message of hope. On the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation he said “In some ways, the current pandemic has led us to rediscover simpler and sustainable lifestyles. Already we can see how the Earth can recover if we allow it to rest: the air becomes cleaner, the water clearer, and animals have returned to many places from where they had previously disappeared. The pandemic has brought us to a crossroads…..constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world….creation is groaning.” Amen to that, Holy Father, amen. Read More

Bearing Witness to Trump Month 44 Sept 13-19

As if we don’t have enough sadness, conflict, and crises in the country, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies after a long series of illnesses and cancers. Her death leaves a seat open on the Supreme Court less than two months before the next presidential election. RBG, who was only the second woman to serve on the high court, was widely respected by both sides for her devotion to advocating equal rights and opportunities for all Americans, especially women. Buy it did not take two days after her death before Republicans and the President began announcing that they would proceed with nominating a replacement, giving them a hearing, and seating a new justice before the end of the year all while Trump is still in office. What hypocrites they are who love power much more than they do the American Constitution. When Justice Scalia died in February of 2016 the Republican-dominated Senate refused to even hold a hearing on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. They argued that the next President should make such an important decision. The seat sat empty for nearly a year until Trump nominated his first of what will likely become three nominees, Neil Gorsuch. Read More

Bearing Witness to Trump Month 44 Sept 6-12

Excerpts from a new book “Rage” by Bob Woodward are released along with audio recordings of his 18 on-the-record interviews with the President. Trump admits to Woodward he knew early on how dangerous and more deadly the coronavirus was but chose to downplay the risks to the public. He did more than play it down to avoid panic; he purposefully misled and lied to the country time after time. And in doing so he kidded himself, thus failing to lead and mobilize the nation to confront it early enough that would have saved tens of thousands of lives.  Presidential candidate Joe Biden called it a dereliction of duty, a disgrace, and life-and-death betrayal of the American people. I would ask why isn’t the President guilty of negligent manslaughter and having committed a crime against humanity?

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Democrats Defending Democracy

The Democrats are truly pathetic when it comes to marketing and branding. I suppose that is one of the reasons I  like them as I don’t trust any political organization that is just too slick at marketing arts with no substance behind the rhetoric. Perhaps their deficiencies are due to the fact that Democrats are not a homogeneous well-choreographed party machine that marches in one direction, like Republicans do even if it is off a cliff. Instead, Dems are a fragile loosely-coupled coalition of special interests that sometimes overlap but are going every which way most of the time with a cast of characters and distributed leadership. And of course we Dems reject overly strong authoritarian leaders in our own party while prematurely canceling out flawed shepherds who may have relatively minor shortcomings compared to Republicans.

Say what you want about President Trump and Republicans – and I have plenty of times in the Bearing Witness Heartland Trump blog these past 43 months – but they are masterful at picking one theme and building a brand around it with relentless, shameless, ruthless fervor. Everyone knows that Trump wants to Make America Great Again and that now he along with most Republicans are running as the Law and Order regime. Of course Trump has made America anything but great again and his White House may go down as the most lawless and out-of-order administrations we have had in our country’s history. Read More