A Major Disappointment

Well, Trump’s attempt to restart his reelection campaign with a rally in Tulsa Saturday night didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, to call it “a major disappointment” seems to me to be a gross understatement.

POTUS and his advisers wanted and planned for a packed house, around 20,000. Instead, they ended up with about a third of that number, and I guess the best outcome now possible is the hope that most of those attending don’t end up with the virus. Oh, boy.

Okay, it’s possible that one reason attendance fell short was because young people punked the Prez by reserving tickets online even though they had no intention of attending. I imagine POTUS and crew are wondering where the Russian bots are when you need them. I digress.

In any event, it amazes this citizen journalist that anyone would be silly enough to attend this event in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed around 120,000 American lives and counting. Oh, wait. I forgot the audience.

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Still, the Prez is reportedly livid and distraught by the lackluster showing.

Here’s from NBC News:

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is “furious” at the “underwhelming” crowd at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday evening, a major disappointment for what had been expected to be a raucous return to the campaign trail after three months off because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple people close to the White House.

The president was fuming at his top political aides Saturday even before the rally began after his campaign revealed that six members of the advance team on the ground in Tulsa had tested positive for COVID-19, including Secret Service personnel, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Trump asked those around him why the information was exposed and expressed annoyance that the coverage ahead of his mega-rally was dominated by the revelation.

While the Trump re-election effort boasted that it would fill BOK Center, which seats more than 19,000 people, only 6,200 supporters ultimately occupied the general admission sections, the Tulsa fire marshal told NBC News.

And more:

Many issues could have contributed to the poor attendance in Tulsa: a fear of contracting the virus, concern over potential protests and torrential thunderstorms in 95-degree heat. But outside advisers see the visuals of empty seats overshadowing Trump’s remarks as a significant problem for a president and a campaign that are obsessed with optics.

“This was a major failure,” one outside adviser said.

Yep. A major failure.

And maybe the failure of this event portends even worse times ahead for the Trump campaign. Maybe people have finally caught on to the fact that Trump is both a con man and a danger to this country. And it doesn’t appear to me that he has any compelling argument for why he deserves a second term

Given all that, there are going to be plenty of empty seats at upcoming campaign events.

And in January, we’ll have a new President sitting in the Oval Office, with or without a face mask.

 

Survival Of The Fittest

I assume many (most?) Trump supporters don’t believe in evolution. Otherwise, you wouldn’t think that they would be so eager to test the notion of survival of the fittest by attending their leaders campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m nuts or just overly cautious. But I look at the statistics — and the response by POTUS — and I’m inclined to take this pandemic seriously.

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I guess from the perspective of Trump and the Republican Party leaders the last point on this chart — days till election — is the most important. And realistically, Trump’s  reelection has been the driver in most of the pathetic decisions that the administration has made regarding the economy and public health up to this point.

So with the goal line of November clearly in sight, Trump and his Republican enablers are willing to roll the dice and reopen venues that clearly could lead to another wave of the virus.

Case in point: Planning to pack some 20,000 people nose to nose in a crowded convention hall for a political rally. And apparently there are people willing to disregard all the cautions of the medical experts and expose themselves and others to what is potentially a life ending ailment.

Again, maybe I’m nuts or just being overly cautious, but I’m not gullible enough to put my life at risk to satisfy the political and career ambitions of a handful of elected officials and government flunkies.

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So good luck to those who plan to attend the Trump rally. As they say in the movie The Hunger Games: “May the odds forever be in your favor.”

 

 

The Virus And Beer Festivals

Okay. It’s time to admit defeat and concede that the Trump virus is going to alter life as we know if for months (at a minimum) to come.

I tried to remain optimistic after a scheduled trip to Hilton Head was cancelled in March.

And I kind of just shrugged my shoulders in resignation as the virus sunk my planned European river cruise in early June.

But now shit has gotten real. One of my favorite events every summer is the Breckenridge Summer Beer Fest, set this year for July 11. As I’ve written previously on these pages, it’s hard to top an event that combines a scenic mountain venue, blue skies and sunshine, with the best tasting craft beer from around the state.

Here’s my post from when I attended the festival two years ago.

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Beer And Happy Places

I spent a delightful day last Saturday, July 7, at Breckenridge, attending that community’s annual beer festival. Breckenridge is one of the happiest places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. And since it’s only about a two hour drive from my home in Woodland Park, Breckenridge is a neat little mountain ski town that serves as a delightful venue for a short get-out-of-town vacation.

And sampling craft beer from about 50 vendors from Colorado and other parts of the United States, while being surrounded by mountains at more than 9,000 feet and with music pumping in the background, certainly adds to the experience.

Since moving to Colorado from Ohio I find I am more inclined to go to these kind of events. I guess it has something to do with the near perfect weather, long stretches of blue sky and sunlight, and low humidity.

Also, the mindset of people living in and visiting Colorado is different. Given the excuse to get outside, they appear all too pleased to take it. Me included.

And when you add beer to the mix, well, it’s a pretty happy place.

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Admittedly, it’s hard to hold a beer festival while at the same time asking people to social distance and wear a face mask. Although it doesn’t appear that the protesters — peaceful or otherwise — who have taken to the streets throughout the country are bound by similar restraints or concerns. I digress.

So I guess it should be no surprise that I learned today that this year’s event has been cancelled.

From the organizers:

Hello Friends!
We have come to the very difficult decision to cancel the Breckenridge Summer Beer Fest 2020. I know that we all wanted this event to happen so bad, but for the sake of all of our partners and the health of the community we are going to cancel this year’s event. We will plan to have the event next year. Please enjoy a beer in the sunshine on July 11th and send us a picture of yourselves drinking it!

Grrrrrrrr!

 

 

 

 

The Virus Is Winning

I guess it is a gross understatement to say that 2020 has been a miserable year, what with a pandemic already killing more than 100,000 in the USA, peaceful protests and riots gripping many American cities and dominating the news, and a mentally challenged President still trying to govern by tweet from the golf course.

Wonder how many parents who are trying to home school have turned to Sesame Street for help?

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I digress.

Anyway, for as bad as the year has been thus far, can it get any worse? Sure, why not! After all, we haven’t even reached the official kickoff for summer yet.

The legitimate and important discussion about racism and law enforcement will continue and will continue to dominate the news.

And we are only months away from what most likely will be a nasty, contentious election.

Then there is the virus. For months, many like me have been trying to follow the advice of medical experts: stay home as much as possible, social distance, where a mask, wash your hands and yada, yada, yada.

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The advice of medical experts appears to be wearing thin. And in the absence of any real leadership I guess that is understandable. Americans in principle don’t like to be told that we can’t do something or go somewhere. And financially many are hurting, with businesses closing or struggling to survive and unemployment increasing to numbers not seen since the Great Depression.

Still, like most matters these days, how we respond to the virus has become highly partisan, with Trump supporters on one side and those who still have the ability to reason and think on the other.

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So it appears that we are inviting the virus to make a return visit, one with consequences that could exceed the first bout. Maybe there is a lesson here from the movie The Hunger Games.

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Here’s from an article in The Atlantic, “The Virus Will Win“:

A second wave of the coronavirus is on the way. When it arrives, we will lack the will to deal with it. Despite all the sacrifices of the past months, the virus is likely to win—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it already has.

In absolute terms, the United States has been hit harder than any other country. About a quarter of worldwide deaths have been recorded on these shores. And while the virus is no longer growing at an exponential rate, the threat it poses remains significant: According to a forecasting model by Morgan Stanley, the number of American cases will, if current trends hold, roughly double over the next two months.

But neither the impact of mass protests over police brutality nor the effect of the recent reopening of much of the country—including the casinos in Las Vegas—is reflected in the latest numbers. It can take at least 10 days for people to develop symptoms and seek out a test, and for the results to be aggregated and disseminated by public-health authorities.

Yikes.

And the article continues:

Even so, the disease is slowly starting to recede from the public’s attention. After months of dominating media coverage, COVID-19 has largely disappeared from the front pages of most national newspapers. In recent polls, the number of people who favor “reopening the economy as soon as possible” over “staying home as long as necessary” has increased. And so it is perhaps no surprise that even states where the number of new infections stands at an all-time high are pressing ahead with plans to lift many restrictions on businesses and mass gatherings.

So how did we end up in this mess? The Atlantic’s Yascha Mounk offers an opinion that strikes me as being correct:

In the fullness of time, many books will be written about why a country as rich, powerful, and scientifically advanced as the United States failed quite so badly at coping with a public-health emergency that experts had predicted for many years. As is always the case, competing explanations will quickly emerge. Some will focus on the incompetence of the Trump administration, while others will draw attention to the country’s loss of state capacity; some will argue that the United States is an outlier, while others will put its failure in the context of other countries, such as Brazil and Russia, that are also faring poorly.

I do not intend to offer a first draft of history. We are too close to the events to judge, with a cool head, which factors are most responsible for putting us in our current tragic situation. But I would like to offer a partial list of individuals and institutions who, however central or peripheral their contribution to the ultimate outcome, have helped to get us into this mess:

If the virus wins, it is because the World Health Organization downplayed the threat for far too long.

If the virus wins, it is because Donald Trump was more interested in hushing up bad news that might hurt the economy than in saving American lives.

If the virus wins, it is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, created to deal with just this kind of emergency, has proved to be too bureaucratic and incompetent to do its job.

If the virus wins, it is because the White House did not even attempt to put a test-and-trace regime into place at the federal level.

Well, it looks to me like the virus is winning now — and wait until the fall when schools attempt to reopen.

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Good grief.

 

Making America Great Again. Well, Not Quite

Okay. I’m no fan of the current occupant of the White House. At best he is just a clown, an embarrassment that will be erased in November. At worst he is a dangerous doofus whose lack of leadership skills has put the entire country in crisis.

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Oh well. Was Trump the lessor of two evils in 2016? Or was it Hillary? I digress.

In any event, Trump promised to Make America Great Again. So how is he doing?

Well let’s see.

As I write this, some 40 million Americans are unemployed, the most since the Great Depression.

The virus that POTUS dismissed a few months ago has now killed more than 100,000 Americans, and the count is going to keep increasing.

And many American cities are being patrolled by the National Guard these days as protestors are burning and looting in the wake of another unarmed black man being murdered by police.

Wow. That’s a performance review that would have most employees standing in some serious dog-doo.

But not Trump. His supporters still love him for reasons that escape most of us who still have the ability to think.

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Michelle Goldberg opines in the NYT, “America Is a Tinderbox. Scenes From a Country in Freefall”:

The last two and a half months in America have felt like the opening montage in a dystopian film about a nation come undone. First the pandemic hit and hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed. The national economy froze and unemployment soared; one in four American workers has applied for unemployment benefits since March. Lines of cars stretched for miles at food banks. Heavily armed lockdown protesters demonstrated across the country; in Michigan, they forced the Capitol to close and legislators to cancel their session. Nationwide, at least 100,000 people died of a disease almost no one had heard of last year.

Trump apparently is a TV fan. I wonder if he watches the classics?

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