A Little History Lesson

Today, I am posting another writer’s post. I am doing so without his permission, but I have a feeling the author will not object. Jonathan, if you’d like me to take this down, please shoot me an email at aaronbp@gmail.com.

This appeared March 22 on a Facebook page owned by Jonathan Glassner. It is so well compiled that I felt I wanted to store it someplace for reference. This one is important.

So I thought I would throw up a little history lesson for everyone on both sides of the political divide. I think it’s important that we understand the truth, especially come November when it’s time to vote. Forgive the length. But, hey we all have time on our hands to read, right?

In December 2013, an 18-month-old boy in Guinea was bitten by a bat. Then there were five more fatal cases. When Ebola spread out of the Guinea borders into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone in July 2014, President Obama activated the Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The CDC immediately deployed CDC personnel to West Africa to coordinate a response that included vector tracing, testing, education, logistics and communication.

Altogether, the CDC, under President Obama, trained 24,655 medical workers in West Africa, educating them on how to prevent and control the disease before a single case left Africa or reached the U.S.

Working with the U.N. and the World Health Organization President Obama ordered the re-routing of travelers heading to the U.S. through certain specific airports equipped to handle mass testing.

Back home in America, more than 6,500 people were trained through mock outbreaks and practice scenarios. That was done before a single case hit America.

Three months after President Obama activated this unprecedented response, on September 30, 2014, we got our first case in the U.S.. That man had traveled from West Africa to Dallas, Texas and had somehow slipped through the testing protocol. He was immediately detected and isolated. He died a week later. Two nurses who tended to him contracted Ebola and later recovered. All the protocols had worked. It was contained.

The Ebola epidemic could have easily become a pandemic. But thanks to the actions of our government under Obama, it never did. Those three cases were the ONLY cases of ebola in our country because Obama did what needed to be done three months before the first case.
Ebola is even more contagious than Covid-19. If he Obama not done these things, millions of Americans would have died awful painful deaths like something out of a horror movie (if you’ve ever seen how Ebola kills, it’s horrific).

It’s ironic that BECAUSE President Obama did these things – we forget that he did them, because the disease never reached our shores.

Now the story of Covid 19 and Trump’s response that we know about so far:

Before anyone even knew about the disease (even in China) Trump disbanded the pandemic response team that Obama had put in place. He cut funding to the CDC. And he cut our contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trump fired Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the person on the National Security Council in charge of stopping the spread of infectious diseases before they reach our country – a position created by the Obama administration.

When the Outbreak started in China, Trump assumed it was China’s problem and sent no research, supplies or help of any kind. We were in a trade war, why should he help them?
In January he received a briefing from our intelligence organizations that the outbreak was much worse than China was admitting and that it would definitely hit our country if something wasn’t done to prevent it. He ignored the report, not trusting our own intelligence.

When the disease spread to Europe, the World Health Organization offered a boatload of tests to the United States. Trump turned them down, saying private companies here would make the tests “better” if we needed them. But he never ordered U.S. companies to make tests and they had no profit motive to do so on their own.

According to scientists at Yale and several public university medical schools, when they asked for permission to start working on our own testing protocol and potential treatments or vaccines, they were denied by Trump’s FDA.

When Trump knew about the first case in the United States he did nothing. It was just one case and the patient was isolated. When doctors and scientists started screaming in the media that this was a mistake, Trump claimed it was a “liberal hoax” conjured up to try to make him “look bad after impeachment failed.”

The next time Trump spoke of Covid-19, we had 64 confirmed cases but Trump went before microphones and told the America public that we only had 15 cases “and pretty soon that number will be close to zero.” All while the disease was spreading. He took no action to get more tests.

What Trump did do is stop flights from China from coming here. This was too late and accomplished nothing according to scientists and doctors. By then the disease was worldwide and was already spreading exponentially in the U.S. by Americans, not Chinese people as Trump would like you to believe.

As of the moment I’m posting this, the morning of March 22, 2020, we have 15,220 CONFIRMED CASES in the U.S. The actual number is undoubtedly much higher. But we don’t know because we don’t have enough tests. Why don’t we have enough tests? Remember back when Trump turned down the tests from the W.H.O. and prevented our own universities from developing them? Remember back when Trump had cut the funding to the CDC?

Every time Mr. Trump goes on camera and blames the previous administration for the mess we are now in, I scream at the reporters from FOX, CNN and MSNBC – “Why aren’t you reporting the actual historical facts?!” How dare Trump try to blame Covid-19 on Obama. He has no one to blame but himself.

I hear Republican pundits try to put the blame on China. And they are correct – after all, the disease started there. And the Chinese government handled it poorly and dishonestly. So it’s fair to blame the government of China for the EXISTENCE of the Covid-19 virus. BUT THAT MISSES THE POINT. Obama didn’t blame Ebola on Guinea. He helped them stop it. Trump let the disease invade the U.S.

And he is still not doing all he could to save lives. He keeps talking about invoking The Defense Production Act, but hasn’t actually done so. He’s making the same mistake twice – waiting until it’s too late to take action.

Invoking that act would require factories with the right equipment and know-how to start producing life saving ventilators for our hospitals, protective masks and other gear for our front line health workers. And the plus is it would actually employ people to do so. UPDATE: he just invoked it, FINALLY, way late.

Them’s the facts. Take them as you will. I’ll go back to trying to find toilet paper on-line.

Two Roads Diverged

There’s the other part, though.

I talked to my Dear-Old-Dad on the phone yesterday. Among the things we are is long-time lunch companions. If there is a bar with a good variety of beers and some interesting food, my Dad and I are interested in visiting that place.

This of course is no longer possible these days.

I think it was two Saturdays ago when this coronavirus stuff was just starting to creep into our consciousness, and we were discussing our lunch plans, and he said, maybe we’ll just be safe and I’ll bring Amiel’s over to your place for a movie. And that’s what we did, and we watched American Animals. And we thought this was safe.

As we began to learn more about this thing, its potential lethality, its powerfully contagious nature, its mystery to science, and not to mention the Trump’s pathetic failure to lead on this catastrophic development; as we learned more, it became obvious that a visit like that isn’t safe, him over here, me over there, it just isn’t. There are five people who regularly reside in his realm over there, and every one of them is high risk. And I don’t think this thing would suit me very well, either.

I asked him about it on the phone, if he thought I was being silly not even entertaining a quick visit with everyone. And, if you know my Dad, you know that he’s often more liable to say the phrase “fuck it” than he is to ever say the phrase “well, maybe that’s not such a good idea.” It is one of his best qualities. This is why I asked. I was trying to gauge if I was being weird about this and maybe aw, fuck it, come on over and have a dinner. Plus, I do miss these people.

My Dad did not say “fuck it.” He said he thinks this is what we need to do, that social distancing means social fucking distancing. I am paraphrasing. That this is bleakly serious enough that I need to keep my as-of-yet untested schnoz over here, and they should keep theirs over there.

I do spend too much time steeping in the news of all of this. I can’t not. I am a newshound down to my brain stem, and this is the news now. So when I wake up I watch the Andrew Cuomo Entertainment Hour, then I might keep the news on or listen to some talk radio, then I sit down to do my job, probably with some news on in the background, and I vacillate about whether or not to listen to the Giant Orange Head stand up at his podium while himself ignoring the very dictates of social distancing and lies about the urgency of the problem, and talks up treatments that do not exist, and attacks the reporters who are just trying to access information for the American people, and as he just makes it all up as he goes along with his stupid hair.

And I do, usually. I do usually end up at least listening.

I wish I could say I think this preznit’s shitty performance in this tied-to-the-mast moment is enough to sink his electoral chances, but I think it’s more like Geraldo in Al Capone’s vault, a dismal, humiliating failure followed by a weirdly promising and lucrative career anyway. We thought we had Dubya in 2004 with John Kerry, didn’t we? Thought we had him. Were sure we had him. Dubya will be a one-termer just like his daddy.


Trump said he hopes the virus will miraculously go away. He said this in February. All his opponent should have to do should be to play this clip on national television over and over and over and over and over again, and his opponent should win. Actually, all that should need to happen is that we should have to live through this under the shitty poopy lack of leadership that Fat Phlegmy Orange Dicknozzle is providing, as we all have lived through it. By any normal measure, Trump should see a landslide so huge in November that it actually literally buries him.

But I don’t think this universe supports such input any longer. I just don’t.

Anyway, to summarize, I miss my people, but I don’t want to get nor give sickness.

And Donald Trump is a feckless dick.

Why I Went To The Woods

I am finding that I am rather well-equipped for self-imposed solitude. I live alone and do not mind being at home. I’m not one who craves a time out on the town, never really was one of those and now, in my 50s, I am relaxing more into my general disposition of “homebody.” My creature comforts in this small apartment are many and adequate. I have Internet. I have podcasts and books and films to catch up with. And, I am so far blessed to be able to continue my job from home.

It is astonishing how seamless a work-at-home gig can be. My team uses Slack, Google Hangout, and our many other online tools to maintain a collaborative effort, which is essential for what we do. I am grateful to get to keep working for now, though I do not pretend this will continue indefinitely. This economy is about to become a black hole. I hope my job will prevail. I am certainly grateful to have the opportunity to keep working for now.

I have nearly finished my first week working from home, plus a few days. I have ventured out once, Monday, for wine. Priorities. Granted, I was in the liquor store in the morning, so perhaps it is always so barren and buttoned-up that time of day.

I doubt it.

SARS-CoV-2 is what it’s called, and it’s quite a character. A virus. Little shitty particles that are currently really fucking the world up. Get one inside you and it may or may not reek havoc on your lungs to the point where you will require a invasive respiratory assistance and therapy, including intubation and a running respirator. Or you might get a tickle and a chill. Fucking thing is a tease.

So the lucky thing is that I seem to be all set for this “social distancing” lifestyle. I reside in a comfortable apartment (can you imagine me having to do this when I lived in my small stupid studio downtown, oh, I would have leapt from the window); I have good Internet; I can procure good food; and I am not averse to long periods alone.

Perhaps those of us who grew up as onlies will have an advantage in all of this.

However: The pantry has gotten to a pathetic point. I intend to venture to the grocery in the morning.

Wish me luck.

Meanwhile. It’s time to watch Ken Burns’ Jazz again. Oh yes.

Bernie. Maybe.

Folks who have dealt with me in the political realm have often had to hear me tell them, point blank, that I do not like Bernie Sanders. This has not always been the case. I listened to his “Brunch with Bernie” segments weekly on The Thom Hartmann Program and generally agreed with his positions and appreciated his astonishing ability to communicate them. But then we experienced the election of 2016, when I feel like I saw what some people didn’t, that Bernie Sanders in 2016 stayed in the race and claimed a path to the nomination even when one was not mathematically possible. And while I am loathe to re-litigate 2016, let me summarize how I know this is what happened.

March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday. Hillary, 606; Bernie, 415. Clinton leads by 191 delegates. March 5, Clinton 653, Sanders 467. Clinton leads by 196 delegates. March 8, Clinton 765, Sanders 556. Clinton leads by 209 delegates. March 15, Clinton 1,166 Sanders 852. Clinton leads by 314 delegates. March 22, Clinton 1,219, Sanders 930. Clinton leads by 289 delegates. March 26, Clinton 1,257, Sanders 1,034. Clinton leads by 223 delegates. April 5, Clinton 1,295, Sanders 1,082. Clinton leads by 213 delegates.

April 19, the New York primary. Sanders takes a rare lead in delegates. Clinton 1,141, Sanders 1,197. Sanders leads by 56 delegates.

April 26, Midwest states vote. Clinton 1,667, Sanders 1,364. Clinton leads Sanders by 303 delegates. May 3, Indiana, a surprise Sanders victory. Pledged delegate TTD: Clinton 1,706, Sanders 1,408. Clinton leads Sanders by 298 delegates. June 4, Clinton 1,781, Sanders 1,492. Clinton leads Sanders by 289 delegates.

I hear arguments that Hillary Clinton unfairly pocketed the un-pledged delegates and therefore unfairly took the nomination. But if you were an un-pledged delegate, and you were looking at those pledged delegates numbers, who would you support? The people spoke. They chose their nominee. And it was Hillary, fair and square. This was clear all along and quite clear by June.

Bernie didn’t concede until July 12. Trump had been the Republicans’ presumptive nominee since May 26.

Yinz don’t see the problem?


There was a debate Sunday, and I’ve been mulling over Biden’s and Sanders’ positions regarding this lovely corona virus gizmo that we’re all going to such Mad Max measures to avoid. And, essentially, if I had to sum up their positions, Sanders’ position was that our country’s pathetic failure to be prepared for this pandemic in large part is due to a greater disinterest on our country’s part in public health, that the problem is large and systemic, and that it points directly and with neon lights to a need in these Untied States for a national health care system.

Joe Biden argued that, well, nuh-uh. It’s just like an emergency, man, and the larger inequities and the systemic failures in our health care is a separate issue.

Which one of those positions do you know in your heart is right?

So while I’m still leery of Sanders’ continued insistence on bolting at windmills such as the “Democratic establishment,” I am finding myself in this age of “social distancing” to feel a bit more militant about our shitty health care system and about the broad mindset, the grist of horrible Ayn Rand novels, that makes so many things in these Untied States so wrong. I cannot hold Joe Biden’s argument in my head and entertain it as truth or inspiration. I am terrified and drenched in Purell. And I may just be feeling the Bern.

‘That’s Not Going to Do It’

The kid really did want that hooch for “medicinal purposes.”

I spotted him walking up and down the aisles, until he finally settled on a nice cheap bottle of vodka and another bottle that I think was gin. I myself had no wine to go with my planned repast tonight of one DiGiorno’s pizza, so my only errand necessary at this time, when we are being encouraged to be hermits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was a quick trip to the local booze store. The kid, who in another multiverse likely cruises with his crime-sleuthing pals and talking dog hunting down ghosts and goblins, told the cashier specifically that he was buying the hooch because he couldn’t score a bottle of sanitizer anywhere.

The cashier assured our young Shaggy that no amount of Skol vodka one would apply, externally nor internally, would be useful in countering this particular corona virus. Tito’s said so.

As I ventured into the parking lot with my box of Franzia Cabernet (nothing bet the best for this connoisseur) I observed the kid loading up his Magic Machine. He was stacking his new medicine into a box, and I also saw loaded in his truck several gallon bottles of water. No lie. The kid was getting ready.

This was my second observation of peoples’ prep plans for this emergency. Friday night’s lunch break at work was a quick trip across the road to Top’s supermarket. I needed some hand lotion, as I get this weird seasonal eczema that craves that stinky aloe and menthol cure from the green bottle, and I was running out. That’s all I needed, well, that and a carton of grapefruit juice. Look, I’m a single dude living alone. I get to go on weird grocery runs.

That place was a madhouse. People were stacking their carts higher than they stood. And Tops was out of bread, and they were especially out of toilet paper. They were so out of toilet paper that the store put up signs in that aisle that said WE ARE OUT OF TOILET PAPER. I got in the lightest line I could find and paid for my skin lotion and my citrus juice. That, I think, was my first inkling about how much this pandemic was fixing to hit everyone’s lives.

And now, somewhere, some kid who looks exactly like Norville Rogers (yes, Shaggy had a real name) is somehow applying booze as a topical in the hopes of defeating a particle that can survive in the air for several hours an aerosol.

I have lived through a good many emergencies in my day. I have experienced an active shooter situation (long before they were called that). I have hunkered down during hurricanes. I had to dodge and weave as I pumped gas while two maniacal snipers terrorized Washington D.C. I saw the Pentagon’s smoke as I walked home from downtown D.C. to Arlington on September Eleventh. And I was trying to think if any of those events caused me to wish I had gone on a panic shopping spree. I can think of only one: Snowmageddon, Washington, D.C., 2010.

I grew up in the Cleveland metropolitan area. So I know from snow. But I have never in my life ever seen snow like this. And neither have you. I couldn’t walk to the car for several days, to the car. I was stuck inside. Literally. Fortunately, my housemates were better prepared than I was, and I bummed off of them.

Aside from that, hoarding isn’t useful. Nor, according to the local booze cashier, is washing in vodka.

I hope that kid has a bunch of orange juice.