Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 89: Stop. Drop. Take Cover

Stop. Drop. Take Cover.
Dear Diary,

Showing my age this morning by bringing up the Cold War. 

I was in school, and like school kids nationwide, I was taught to - in the case of an alert - to stop what I was doing, to drop down, and to cover my head with my hands.

Just thinking about that image makes me shake my head at the futility of those actions against a nuclear bomb dropping nearby.

Living During a Pandemic

With the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases across the country the need for people to stop gathering in large crowds has never been more important.

This is not the time to drop safety measures like wearing face masks in public.

It is a time to take cover from the coronavirus by using methods like social distancing and using common sense.

In retrospect, the Cold War seems like a picnic compared to the effects of the pandemic and Trump's lack of leadership. America is a ship that lost it's rudder when Trump was elected. Current events affirm that contention.

Trump doesn't care about the coronavirus, and he's ignoring the advise of top healthcare officials. He just wants to be re-elected and will go to any extreme to make it happen.

Trump's upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is set on the anniversary of the biggest white-on-black massacre in American history. What's more there will be no safety precautions taken.

That's why his election campaign is warning people if they get COVID-19 because of attending his rally... it's tough shit. 
To confirm the message each attendee gets to sign a piece of paper saying they won't hold the organizers (or anyone else) responsible if they get, and die, from COVID-19.

We're in the middle of the biggest economic setback in history. 
We're surrounded by an invisible killer, the coronavirus,
and we have the worst president in American history subverting democracy at every opportunity.

A new generation in America is tired of systemic racism, and our corrupt government run by a sociopath with an ego so big, he believes everyone loves him, when in fact most loath him.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
Growing awareness

It seems Gov. Kate Brown has finally got the message - coronavirus cases are increasing - not decreasing.

So she put a ban on all applications to reopen for at least a week. It may last longer if cases continue to increase.

Oregon recorded another all-time high in COVID-19 infections in a single day on Thursday, with 178 new cases, bringing the state total to 5,237. Thus far, the death toll is 178.

I'm keeping in mind what the effects of the mass protests will surely bring... more cases. 

**Power outage in Medford - I've lived here for nearly eight years and have never experienced a longer power outage than the one we had Thursday night. 

I suspect it was caused by the sudden storm that hit. The damn thing reminded me of the monsoon rains in Vietnam. It was gone in less than 10 minutes after savaging everything in it's way.

Quote for the Day; "We must substitute courage for caution.-Martin Luther King

Friday, June 12, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 88: The Killer That's Still Among Us

Dear Diary,

Alert! The killer is still among us.

More than 1,000 Americans are still dying daily from the coronavirus. 

There's been over two million cases reported thus far as the count climbs amid an unofficial opening two weeks ago when hundreds of cities were packed by protestors against police brutality.

Most of the protestors didn't practice social-distancing as they poured out into the streets, despite CDC regulations against such mass gatherings.

Mixed with the protestors were people who simply had enough of staying indoors. Coupled with Trump's magical thinking that the country was ready to reopen, the flood gates were thrown open.

Too many people are acting like the COVID-19 is no longer among us, or if it is, so what? The danger lies in denial of what's quietly happening as Americans resume activities without proper safe guards.

Coronavirus cases are increasing. Another 1,299 Americans died yesterday. With the country opening up come what may, despite alarming indications that the coronavirus is intensifying its assault, the result is inevitable.

The invisible killer walking among us has no party affiliations, or respect of human life. Healthcare officials are now predicting that another 100,000 people will die by September. 

Over a dozen states have recorded spikes in hospitalization. Arizona is on the verge of having no way to treat the influx with hospitals approaching full capacity. 

People want their lives back. I get that. It's ironic that many who feel liberated and are ignoring healthcare experts and going back to their routines, will die, or will come down with the virus.

It's also ironic that 50 percent of Americans still don't feel safe going outdoors. It's a desperate choice to make. One that every individual will have to consider with the possible ramifications of infecting a loved one or friend.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**A bad decision - A rare and endangered fish found only in Oregon in one lake, was removed from the endangered species list. 

**Troubling news - Oregon uses coronavirus data to make decisions about reopening. But it refuses to release that data. Why? 

It's clear to me that politics are involved. Something I've seen too much of in recent days with governors opening up their states prematurely because of politics.

**Got contact tracers? - In April state officials said they'd need to hire 631 people to do contact tracing. The state used that figure to create county-level staffing targets. Sounded good.

The reality is no one seems to know how many contact tracers have been hired. The Oregon State Health Authority has not provided basic statistics and has been under fire from statewide media to do so. Someone needs to get off their ass!

Quote for the Day; "I only fear danger where I want to fear it." -Franz Kafka

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 87: Trump Tantrum: Reality Spurs Hiring Discredited Pollster

Dear Diary,

Trump has had it with pretending he doesn't live in an alternate world where he's the king.

It's full-on fiction time as negative national polls rattled his cage so badly lately that he's openly using an other-reality fix to prove them wrong.

When Fox News, his favorite propaganda outlet released a poll that showed him behind Biden by eight points, he railed against they're pollster and said he should be fired.

If there's two things Trump can't stand it's the truth and reality. He's counting on an uneducated core base that believes any conspiracy theory he trumpets.

So he hired a Republican pollster McLaughlin and Associates to "analyze" those nasty polls that showed him trailing behind Biden with double figures.

Surprise! Surprise! The firm outdid their selves in telling lies and making up flimsy excuses on why all those other polls didn't like The Donald. This is just a hint about what Trump would do if Biden wins the election.

His inability to see the reality of the situation swirling around in a nation racked by a pandemic and riots over police brutality, is a fatal flaw that will contribute to his loss in November.

Paying people to tell him what he wants to hear is nothing new for Don the Con. His corruption continues to contribute to the chaos in America during a time of much-needed unity and reality.

 But get this... national Republicans are warning candidates to stay away from veteran GOP pollster John McLaughlin who has a history of missing the mark by a wide margin.

It was McLaughlin's poor performance for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that really worries Republicans. He predicted just weeks before Cantor's loss that he was up by a huge margin.

None of this seems to worry Trump who isn't concerned about facts and accuracy. He just needed someone else to hop on the Trump train and help him distort and twist facts for the next 145 days.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
Iggy Allergy!
Our poor Italian Greyhound, Butters, was being tortured by the high pollen count in Medford lately. 

One of his eyes became swollen, and he was scratching his body constantly.

Took him to the veterinarian and she confirmed his problem was an allergic reaction. 

She gave him a steroid shot and eye drops which helped him almost immediately.

As someone who constantly fights allergies, I sympathized with his plight. I'm just glad we were able to do something about it.

COVID stats - There's been five new cases of people dying from the virus. The count is now 169. Confirmed novel coronavirus cases continue to climb. We're at 5,000 now.

In the last 24 hours, the state recorded 70 new cases of coronavirus. These stats are not very reassuring, especially the most recent showing the curve going up...not down.

Quote for the Day; "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." -Philip K. Dick 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 86: Why Biden Should Be a One-Term President

Dear Diary,

I really like Joe Biden.

The country needs Joe's empathy. 

He's a regular Joe. Just like you, and I. He's a people person with a love for this country that guides him.

Biden is what America needs right now. A normal president, and not a wannabe dictator. Joe unites. Trump divides. His ability to reach out to minorities is critical right now, as he enjoys overwhelming support from the black community.

Why one-term is enough for Joe

Biden is no spring chicken. He's 77 years-old. Four years from now he'll be 81.   

He isn't going to be a progressive juggernaut instilling major reforms. His job is to un-do most of the things Trump's done - like neutering the EPA and restoring America's standing with the world and our old allies.

While Joe is the perfect foil in the moment against an unhinged Trump, we can't count on that being the case in 2024. Timing is everything. Right now it's Joe's time.

Regardless of how comfortable most people are with Joe today, the kind old uncle image is only going so far. He's going to be attacked relentlessly in the next four years by Republicans who'll cast him as a doddering old fool out of touch with the country.

The fact that Joe isn't talking about serving two-terms is a good for two reasons; one, the country won't be secondary to a re-election campaign like in Trump's case. Two, whoever he picks as his VP is going to be a woman, and a strong presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 2024.

At this moment in our history the country needs a caretaker, a healer, and someone who'll unite all Americans into a common cause of equality and justice for all.

On the Homestead - Medford, Oregon
I knew it! 
All along I've been wondering why no one's talking about the upward trend of the virus in Oregon. It's been downplayed for reasons unknown to me.

What I do know is more Oregonians have been identified with coronavirus in the past week than any point since the pandemic began, according to the Oregon Health Authority. 

At the same time, residents in the hospital with the virus spiked by 40 percent. There's been 620 confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infections in the past week, including the state's largest and second-largest daily case totals of 146 on Sunday and 114 on Monday.

Quote for the Day; "Empathy healed the moment. Words were not necessary when compassion created understanding in grief." Mala Naidoo 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 85: America's Racial Conscience on Trial

Dear Diary,

Nationwide violence marred many of the earlier protests over George Floyd's murder. 

After two weeks of continued protests, arrests have shown a common denominator among the rabble rousers... they were white supremacists mingled with other groups who hate blacks and minorities

I've read reports that organized gang members also took advantage of the chaos to systematically loot in their own neighborhoods.

As I watched a video of Virginia's Klu Klux Klan leader drive his pick-up truck into a crowd of protestors a couple of days ago, I couldn't help but think about Trump's infamous Charlottesville comment, "There's good people on both sides," - referring to white nationalists on one, and protestors against racism on the other.

The groundswell of outrage and empathy resulting from Floyd's death marked an inflection point in the American racial conscience.

That point turned into a symphony stating the case for racial equality, and reverberated around the world with protests breaking out from London to Paris in sympathy.  

I'm somewhat heartened to see the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that was released Sunday. The results showed Americans by a 2-to-one margin are more troubled by the actions of the police in the killing of Floyd than by violence at some protest. 

But Trump, the great divider, wants to "dominate" protestors and "start shooting when the looting starts." His hardcore approach that police are heroes and protestors are criminals worked in 2016. The so-called Law and Order candidate resonated back then.

This is 2020 and the majority of Americans have had enough of Trump. They see what he's done to the country in just three-and-a-half years, and fear what four more years could bring.

Stopping intrenched racial bias in any police department is difficult and almost impossible unless everyone is fired and all new people hired. Even then there's no assurance that everything will work out between the new hires and the public.

I've seen what I thought were other turning points in history during the last 70 years, and was disappointed when the conversations slowly disappeared into the political maelstrom of politics and polarization.

Therefore, I find myself skeptical this movement for racial equality will achieve what some hope it will. Good things may come out of it. I sure hope they do.

If Trump's hardline handling of the protests becomes another factor in his loss to Joe Biden in November, then some progress has been made. Getting rid of a racist president should go a long way towards healing.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
Portland police chief Jami Resch (Photo by Beth Nakamura/Oregonian) 
stepped down and had an African American lieutenant fill her job.

Not six months into her job Resch resigned from her position yesterday. 

The stunning change in leadership comes as city police are under fire for their handling of massive protests across the country.

Meanwhile protestors took to the streets for the 11th consecutive night of demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.

**It's quiet in Medford - Very few people are out and about downtown. A lot of small local businesses opening to less than 50 percent capacity, following safety recommendations.

I'm still not comfortable enough to eat out yet. The way I see it, cases of the coronavirus are still on an upward trend in Oregon. They may be going up slowly, but they're steady.

Quote for the Day; "In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place." -Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 8, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 84: USA Has Been Going the Wrong Way Since Trump Was Elected

Dear Diary,

If it wasn't for the electoral college America could have gone in another direction.

Away from racism.

Away from calling white supremacists "...good people too."

The day Trump was sworn in, democracy took a hit like never before. A sociopath, con man, and egotist set about stripping away people's rights and protections in pursuit of a dictatorship.

After three-and-a-half years of his ruinous reign, the majority of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction. 
It's official
According to a collection of polls released yesterday, 80 percent of Americans believe we're going in the wrong direction. That's a massive majority of very unhappy, and worried people.

It's taken his total lack of leadership during the pandemic and the national protests for equality and justice, to fully expose what a despicable leader he is.

Fun fact: Trump is approaching 20,000 fact-checked lies this week. Are they finally catching up to him and causing problems? It appears so. You can't lead when people no-longer trust anything you say.

It seems like an eternity between now and November 3rd. That's because I don't know what horrible thing(s) Trump will do tomorrow, or the next day. Continued chaos is guaranteed.

I'm surprised to see the call for racial equality and justice for George Floyd turn into a worldwide protest. There's been a strong fascist movement marginalizing minorities in Europe and other countries for too long. 

The widespread pushback by citizens in major cities got it's spark here in America with the Black Lives Matter movement. We should be proud of that.

Now that the fire has been lit, and the challenge picked up, America has a chance to show the world we are still the leading democracy that bears duplicating.

For this to happen, Americans have to dump Trump at the ballot box.

Whether it's in our police departments, fire departments, or the government itself, we need to set a shining example of democracy for people around the world. 

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
It's beer-drinking time at the bar in our backyard. 

The weather has been nice - a little rain on the weekend - but week days have been warm (80s and 90s); perfect for gardening or drinking beer.

**Not good news
Forestry officials are predicting a severe and complex wildfire season amid a drought and COVID-19. 

To make matters worse, officials are still searching for money to pay for it! I sure hope the Rogue Valley isn't filled with smoke again like two years ago. Our air quality was the worst in the nation for over a week!

**COVID stats - No new deaths - number is still 161. Confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 4,570. We still have a slow upward trend of cases and have not leveled off, yet we've entered Phase Two of the state reopening. Not sure what to think about this.

Quote for the Day; "It's better to walk alone than going with a crowd that's going in the wrong direction." -Anonymous

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 83: A Worldwide Call For Equality Starts in America

Dear Diary,

The spark may have started in the United States with the video of four policeman murdering an unarmed black man, but the tinder was laid worldwide.

Racists - whose actions have become too frequent in Europe and America - were confronted by thousands of people around the globe calling for an end to racism and demanding social justice, for two weeks now.

Fascism has been raising it's ugly head around the world for years now. America is fighting another war with fascist forces from within. The Nazis were easy to identify in WWII. Today's fascists wrap themselves in the cloak of the Republican Party under a wannabe Hitler.

Nationalism and white supremacy has blended into a wealthy quasi- conservative culture led by Trump. What's happening now with the protests is a preview of things to come. Americans are tired of racism. Cities, large and small, have made that message clear.

Equality and justice is the goal of all good Americans. Watching the protests, regardless of where they're being held, I see as many whites as I do blacks participating. 

That is history in the making. Looking back at past civil rights protests in the 1960s, and over the years, most of the people marching were of color.

We're experiencing a societal shift in these protests against fascism and racism. Americans are signaling they've had enough of Trump's clown show. 

The violent death of George Floyd took the cork out of the bottle, and released the genie of change.  

There's no looking back. America has to restore it's honor and work through it's challenges... as a people united in the belief that we are all equal before the eyes of God.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
Protest in Medford -
Unlike the small group of bored youth who were hanging around downtown earlier this week, we had a much more organized protest yesterday. (Photo by Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune)

There was an eight-minute stretch of silence during which protestors took a knee in symbolic remembrance of the length for which George Floyd, was held down by Minneapolis police until he died.

It was a peaceful protest with very little police presence.

**COVID Stats - We had two more deaths overnight to bring the total to 163 today. There's been 4,662 confirmed COVID-19 cases thus far reported.

**We made the cut - Jackson County (includes Medford) is one of 20 counties that have met the required number of reported COVID-19 cases to justify moving on to Phase 2 of reopening. Gyms and restaurants are extending hours and offering more services.

Quote for the Day; "Race, gender, religion, sexuality, we are all people and that's it. We're all people. We're all equal." -Connor Franta

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...