Tag Archives: Donald Trump

COVID Vaccinations

New day, new president. Depending on your specific team and taste, this is either good news or bad news. Personally, I am hoping for a break in the incredibly visceral reaction to the recent individuals in presidential politics. From Barack to Hillary to The Donald.

Biden is a welcome dose of vanilla.

Let’s start with one of hi big initiatives that he wants to launch Day 1.

100 million vaccinations in 100 days

On first blush, that’s a fantastic goal. 100 million. 100 days. Very nice repetitive touch of rhetorical skill. The goal is measurable. The goal is soon enough that there is a built in element of urgency. And the idea of the vaccine being rolled out to that many folks gives us hope that we can one day see COVID in the rear view.

But, there is also an element in the goal, and in the news surrounding that goal, that the Biden administration is somehow taking on a Trump vaccine infrastructure that is failing and transforming it into an efficient machine; something that Biden but not Trump, can accomplish.

So, to the data we go.

As I mentioned, 100 million in 100 days is catchy and impressive sounding. Added to that is the notion that it’s a goal the Biden administration is setting for itself to somehow save us from the Trump administration. While there have been problems with the rollout of the vaccination, it would seem that Trump’s mishandling of the vaccination is even more far reaching than many would have guessed: Germany is struggling with their vaccine rollout.

So, how is Trump doing? Reports are that he’s not been doing well:

The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.

Mississippi’s Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over.

In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia.

“It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.”

Ouch. But, while narrative is interesting, I’d like to see the numbers:

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine

The AP article is dated January 14th. The CDC keeps track of vaccine rollout data. Here is a snapshot from today:

As of today, January 20, there have been 14,270,441 people vaccinated. This is an increase of 3.1 million Americans in 6 days, or about 500,000 per day. Interestingly, the AP article has this tidbit:

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The data isn’t clear. From the AP article and the CDC data, it appears that we are vaccinating between 500,000 and 800,000 people a day. If we’re dosing 500,000 people per day, the Biden goal is already halfway there and he hasn’t yet done a thing having only been in office 24 hours. If we’re dosing 800,000 people a day, that is already very close to Biden’s goal of 1 million a day.

While team Biden has done a nice job of articulating a goal, the fact is that team Trump likely is already on pace to meet and surpass that goal already.

On Standards and Principles

What is our guide

The shock of the events of this week have only begun to wear off; and then only the raw jagged edges of that shock. The full impact to my senses will take weeks and perhaps months. It’s been said a thousand times by now; you’ve all heard it I’m sure.

I never thought I’d see the day when the United States Capital would be overrun.

And yet here we are.

Over the years there have been many days that have shocked us, saddened us, horrified or shook us. We’ve witnessed untold tragedy, pain, suffering savagery. We’ve seen human pain brought on by craven humanity. And as each of those events have played out, I’ve tried to resist the temptation to lurch into the ‘politics’ of it all. I’ve tried to observe a period of calm reflection and deliberate fact-finding before commenting, before passing judgements and prevent rushing to conclusions that are inappropriately forged in the fire of passion.

And that’s good; calm minds careful with facts, and processes and deliberate understanding of the events produce superior conclusions and prevent mistakes both in facts as they are known and in causing rifts in relationships between people who might be impacted.

However, I live in a world where such deliberate reflections are not observed by the society that we live in. Like it or not, we exist in a world that is impacted by Twitter, by cable news and its 24×7 drumbeat of information. I am finding that if I take too long to raise my voice and to make myself heard, the moment is lost, the next crisis has pushed this one to the side and the events have been shaped by those who yell; yell loudest and first.

So, I am going to try my best to be quick and be good.

This past Wednesday, January 6, Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC to support President Trump and protest the election that took place this past November. At some point during this rally, this protest, a non-trivial subset of the peaceful protesters overpowered the Capital Police, forced their way into the Capital building where a joint session of congress was taking place, forced lawmakers to evacuate the building and rioted and vandalized the Capital building leaving only after hours of such behavior.

They are the facts as we know them. The details of the day’s events, the names of the perpetrators, the crimes they committed have yet to be recorded, the brushstrokes are straight forward.

A pro-Trump rally degenerated into a riot that resulted in the occupation of the United States Capital by members of those Trump supporters.

In the immediate aftermath, and I mean almost literally immediately after the news hit, blame was being assigned, facts were being disputed and sides were being taken with the usual suspects lined up one against the other. The Trump folks claimed that the riots and the vandalism was instigated by leftist infiltrators; Antifa or BLM members. The other side, the folks in our nation that are critical of the President, were equally quick in their condemnation of all things Trump, republican, and conservative.

The mainstream media was in full force, castigating the rioters [they are correct to do so] and castigating all Trump supporters [they are wrong to do so] as criminals, as terrorists, as enemies of the state. Calls for arrest, for charges of sedition, of treason and of insurrection were immediate and universal. Which seemed strange to me. These same media outlets and reporters had no such language when it came to the reporting of the events of the violent clashes we saw take place across America all year.

In fact, while the cities in America burned, people were being killed and police were being targeted and assassinated, the very same media were extolling us to understand the people, to understand that protests and riots have a long and storied history in American politics. Rather, the tones were now tones of anger and rage; filled with righteous condemnation.

So, I am going to ask you to take a minute. To stop the screaming and the chest thumping and the noble outrage. Just stop. For. A. Minute. Look inside yourself and identify what you would consider to be your ‘guiding principle.’ What is your ‘bedrock principle’, your ‘right principle’? What is it that you expect ‘the other side’ to live up to. Then write that down in plain English.

And apply it to yourself. To your team. To your tribe.

For example, if your ‘Guiding Principle’ is:

“In the pursuit of political freedoms, of liberty and the desire to construct a government that is fair and just and equal, it is permissible for the citizen, or the resident, to engage in protest and to engage in behavior that could bring about occasional damage to property, to bring about occasional harm to human life or even to bring about the occasional death of anther human.”

Then say that. Write that down and own that belief. And then, when faced with an individual who believes in that same principle but not the same politics, be objective in your application of that principle.

Do you think that our black friends, neighbors and families, in pursuit of an equitable claim of freedom, of economic equality, of equal protection under the law are entitled to protest in our cities and in our streets even if it means that buildings, vehicles, businesses – property in general be damaged, destroyed or stolen? Do you think that violent reactions in the face of political opposition is okay? Then you must be prepared to allow for the fact that another human being, in opposition to your politics, has the same right to the same strategy.

On the other hand, if you are of the belief that while protests are fine and understandable, violent and wanton destruction of property are not the acceptable forms of the airing of grievances. If you see the disregard for the rights of the individual to live and exist without fear of harm or of death, if you believe in the rule of law and the authority of the police, then you too, Ought be prepared to extend that same ‘first principle’ to yourself. If it is the mark of a mob to riot in the streets, to occupy police precincts and vandalize and loot businesses, then apply the same to your tribe, your team and your political party.

And so here I am jumping out quicker than I feel that I should but later than almost everybody else. SO late as a matter of fact, that I may be too late; the world has moved on. But, be that as it may, hear I am with my observation.

The democrat party and the media in our mainstream America has no ‘first principle’ that it will apply equally to those of us on the right and to themselves. All year we have been lectured by those who know better that the riots and the violence visited on American cities one after another are not only not illegal, but are noble. Are honorable. Such violence, when even acknowledged as violence as most of the time these actions are described as ‘mostly peaceful’ is excused or even seen as necessary to accomplish the goal of the people.

Wednesday night we witnessed a mob out of control take control of the Capital of the United States. And very nearly every single conservative republican condemned that action. Commentators, politicians and everyday Americans were appalled at the events of that night and called it what it rightfully was; a riot by criminals that needs to see the perpetrators punished.

Now, are their exceptions? To be sure. There are those on the right that cheered the rioters on, there are those on the right who claim that it was antifa or even BLM plants that instigated the violence. These people are wrong and should be called out. We cannot have two working sets of facts.

But make no mistake about it, there is near universal condemnation from the democrat left and the media outlets allied with them of the actions of those criminals that breached the Capital while not a single one of them issued a similar statement of responsibility as America burned.

And THAT is what is wrong with America today.



The Supreme Court

The year was 2009. And things were wacky. The fact that Brett Favre was in the NFC Championship game was, by itself, not at all strange. Brett Favre was a great quarterback having a great year. And he was on the brink of a Superbowl birth. No. The wacky part of that 2009 football season was that ‘ol #4 was wearing the purple and gold for the Minnesota Vikings. And that the game was going to change the rules of football.

You see, the game — and it was a GREAT game — ended in a tie. When the whistle blew the score of that game that would determine who represented the NFC in the Superbowl stood 28-28. The Saints managed to play the Vikings to a tie despite being outplayed the whole game. We’re going to overtime! Now, in the NFL up to and including 2009, the overtime rules were crazy, dumb and outdated. The rule, at the time, was this:

Before overtime started, the teams met at mid-field and a coin toss was conducted. The winner of the coin toss was allowed to declare if they would rather kick the ball or receive the ball. The other team was awarded the decision which end zone they would defend. In almost all circumstances, the winner of the coin toss would choose to receive the ball. The reason was simple; the rules of over time stated that the team to score first would be declared the winner.

This is, of course, stupid.

For example, a team that wins the coin toss gets the ball first and only has to score a field goal to win. And they can do this without the other team even having the chance to posses the ball and impact the outcome. Now, the NFL is not alone in sudden death overtime; hockey also plays extra time with the first score determining the winner. Some soccer leagues also play sudden death. However, other sports are not played in this manner. The NBA plays extra minutes and whoever is ahead at the end of that extra time is awarded the victory. Baseball plays an extra inning; each team is provided an opportunity to bat and if they can score more runs than their opponent during that extra inning, they are the winner.

The NFL’s rule is stupid. And the fact that a game as important as the NFC Championship game is determined by a coin toss only makes that rule more unfortunate. As it turned out, New Orleans won the coin toss, received the ball, moved close enough to attempt a field goal and won the game 31-28. The very next season the NFL changed the over time rules to allow both teams the chance to possess the ball IF the first team scored on a field goal. If they score a touchdown on the first possession, the game is over.

Better – but still dumb.

And here’s the thing; everyone KNOWS that this was a horrible rule. And while the NFL made it better by adjusting for a first strike FG, they still allow sudden death in the event of a touchdown. The rule is a bad rule. It is NOT poorly written or misunderstood. The rule is clear, everyone understands it. But it’s just a bad rule and there hasn’t been a willingness to change the rule.

Now, imagine if the Minnesota Vikings, after giving up that field goal to the Saints, appealed to the refs in the game and made the claim that the decision awarding the win to the Saints wasn’t right. That BOTH teams should be offered the opportunity to score. After all, football should be decided by plays on the field, not the luck of a coin toss. Whats more, there is precedent for such a method and it has been wildly successful. College football has a much better system.

In the college game, when four quarters results in a tie, each team is given the opportunity to score, much like the innings of a baseball game. Rather than have a kickoff, another horribly random play that unfortunately changes the outcomes of too many games, but I digress, the college format dictates that the ball is placed at the opponent’s 25 yard line. From there, each team attempts to drive the ball and score; either by touchdown or by field goal. After each team has had the chance to score, the game is decided by whoever has the most points. In the event of a continued tie; repeat.

Back to our imaginary appeal to the referees after the Saints scored their field goal. The Vikings surly have a case to be made; it is not fair that a team can win a football game by kicking a single field goal based on who wins a coin toss. It is nearly indisputable that the college system is superior. In fact, the college rules not only assure that there will be a winner, in the regular season, an NFL game can end in a tie if no team scores in 15 minutes, but it is superior to the format currently employed by the NHL and most soccer leagues; the dreaded shoot-out. Clearly the rule, as written, is outdated, not fair and has a clear path to a better result.

The referees should absolutely rule in favor of the Minnesota Vikings, award them the ball via Saint’s kick-off and resume play.

Except that’s not how things work.

You see, it is not the job of the referees to write new rules. Their job is to adjudicate existing rules as they are written. It is the role of the owner’s competition committee to write new rules; or not, depending on the will of those owners.

And so we come to my point:

ACB

Amy Coney Barrett

6 – 3

We had a good four years! Perhaps the biggest win for the Trump years was the additions of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. By elevating these three judges to The Supreme Court of the United States, Trump has solidified a conservative majority in the court for a generation; maybe more. But what does it mean to be a “conservative” when it comes to the Supreme Court?

What it’s not is this – A conservative Supreme Court is NOT a court that looks to uphold laws or cases that the partisan right-wing might favor. It is not the role of a conservative Court to see those partisan battle lines and take a side. A conservative Court should not care one single iota if the case being heard is one where a republican President or a democrat President favors the outcome. She should not care a single whiff that the case has the hopes and prayers of a partisan congress or even a partisan electorate writing Op Eds in the Journal or the Times. He should not care that the Senate Majority Leader is stomping on the grounds of the Senate or the Speaker is railing the same in the House.

The role of The Supreme Court of the United States is to adjudicate the law. Before it. As it is written.

Period.

The role of the court is NOT to ascertain what the Founders *may* have thought about certain events today, the changing nature of society today. The court is not to guess what the legislature might say if they could speak today.

The role of the court is to call balls and strikes. Or touchdowns and field goals.

Or overtime rules.

The reason the supreme court is such a hot button topic, and the reason why the liberal left is so emotional about the replacement of RBG by ACB, is that, for them, the court is not a arbiter of rules as written, the court is a process whereby old and archaic laws are to be refreshed, rewritten or reinterpreted. Maybe, maybe, the legislature would have included transgendered rights when they crafted Title VII of The Civil Rights Act back in 1964. Or maybe they wouldn’t have. That’s not important. What IS important is that they didn’t.

Maybe the 2nd amendment would have been written differently if the founders could have conceived a world that we find ourselves living in today. Maybe a just and noble society OUGHT restrict firearms. Maybe. Probably. But all of that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there exists a process whereby legislation can be enacted to reflect current and prevailing views. If you don’t like the laws, change the laws. Elect politicians who will submit the bill, debate the bill and pass it where it will be signed into law by an executive who has also been elected.

And if you are unable to do that, going to the supreme court to get them to change the law from what it actually says into something that you hope for it to say is outside the role of the court.

So yes, Trump getting Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett on the court is a HUGE deal. Because now we will have a court that will interpret laws and not create them. We will have a court that is not trying to ‘catch the country up’ to society that it thinks we live in.

And that right there, is a pretty strong legacy.

Election 2020 – Pino’s Take

Well, it’s over. The great Biden Trump heavy weight bought has come and gone and Biden will be the next President of the United States of America – followed closely by Kamala as Biden is replaced within a year and a half. Going in, I was sure that we were gonna see a blue wave. I’m proud to report that we saw barely a ripple.

While Biden is gonna win his win is much less telling than we all thought it gonna be. There is no mandate. There is no massive shift. In ideology or makeup of the institutions. The House came back to the republicans enough that Pelosi may lose her gavel and the Senate remains firmly in the hands of Cocaine Mitch.

Here in Carolina the republicans retain control of the government even while Cooper will get 4 more years. This as we elect the first black Lt Governor in the state with the Republican Robinson.

So, I’m mixed on Trump. He’s a repulsive human being but he governed as a true conservative – mostly.

And now that we have a democrat in office, covid is cured.

Huzzah!

Tariffs and Trump

Trump likes to think of himself as a free trade kinda guy.  and in some cases, think reduced regulations, he is.  But the idea that tariffs are good for the American economy is just plain bad policy.

Tariffs are nothing more than taxes on goods that consumers wanna buy.  Raise the cost of selling a widget?  Raise the price of buying a widget.

Simple.

And it’s not even about keeping core.  Consider, say, anvils.  Let’s pretend that Elbonia imposes a 10% tariff on anvils imported from the United States and Trump comes along and imposes a 25% tariff  on anvils imported from Elbonia.

Good for the US?  Winning?

No.

All it does is make anvils in America more expensive.

But does it save American anvil manufacturing?  Maybe – maybe not.

Say that at Acme Anvil, a US based company, they can make anvils at a cost of $45 per unit.  But Elbonia is able to bring them to market for $40.  People will, all else being equal, people buy the less expensive anvil moving jobs to Elbonia.

Now comes Trump and imposes that 25% tariff.  Acme now has the price advantage because the foreign made anvil goes from $40 to $50 providing Acme the opportunity to profit at $46.  Maybe Acme is happy with the $1 profit and is able to bring some jobs back from Elbonia.  But, not having to worry about competition, Acme might just price their anvils at $49, increase profits and keep the jobs nearly where they were before the tariff.

All the while the American consumer is being forced to pay an extra 5 bucks – or more.

If you are a free trade guy – you can’t be a tariff guy at the same time.

Facebook

So, it turns out that if you post on Facebook your data isn’t gonna stay private.  You posts, your pictures and your preferences are mined.

And sold.

And used.

I know this.  My kids know this.  Everyone I know knows this.

So how is it possible that the news the Trump campaign used Facebook data is shocking?  Literally, I am shocked that people are shocked?

That aside, the same people who ARE shocked had no issue with Team Obama doing the Exact. Same. Thing.  in 2012.

Seriously.

Perspective

Lots of emotion going on lately.  Thought I’d take a break and see what someone else has to say.  I don’t agree with all of it, or even most of it, but there are friends and family out there that do.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Trump and Immigration

He’s wrong.

America is a nation of immigrants.  We pride ourselves on the fact that the world sees itself and then it sees America.

The world immigrates to America.

Trump’s Transgender Ban

 

President Trump announced a ban on trans-gendered troops in the military this morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly declared a ban Wednesday on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon flat-footed and unable to explain what it called Trump’s “guidance.” His proclamation, on Twitter rather than any formal announcement, drew bipartisan denunciations and threw currently serving transgender soldiers into limbo.

“Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the commander in chief tweeted.

I have multiple reactions:

  1.  How many transgendered folks do we have serving?  And then in combat roles?
  2. This is what happens when you support ‘your guy’ governing by fiat.
  3. This is horrible policy.
  4. Given that no one was talking about this as of yesterday – what conversation is Trump trying to change?

I honestly don’t think Trump cares whether someone is gay or trans.  I’d bet his companies are comparable to others when it comes to the demographics of his employees.  No – I think this announcement is meant to shore up a base he thinks he might be losing or he’s changing the dialogue.

Tyrant

I’m afraid.  Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord walking away from a commitment that we made with virtually every nation on earth.

The science of climate change – global warming – has been debated here and else where for years now.  I don’t wanna get into that now except to say that for the purpose of this post, I have settled that we are not in danger of catastrophic warming.  Because of that, I am fine with the reasons for rejecting Paris.

But before we rejected Paris, we agreed to it.  And that should mean something.

Now, as for the world without American leadership?  Screw ’em.  I am less and less inclined to care what a Parisan sipping coffee at 2.00 pm thinks of America while the rest of the world refuses to act in most cases.  We’re a handful of days away from the anniversary of America’s leadership.

No.  What scares me is that without Obama we don’t have Trump.  But we had Obama, and now we have Trump.

Barack ruled with his phone and his pen.  Paris was illegal.  GM’s bankruptcy was illegal.   His immigration policies were illegal.  Libya?  Illegal.  And the list goes on and on.  So, mostly, as Trump undoes Obama’s work with equal executive orders, I am conflicted.  We are removing oddles and oodles of illegal and wrong minded policy.

But I don’t believe that Trump is going to stop.  He’s going to get used to ruling, aka Barack, and will simply, and horrifically, continue on the trajectory.

The President never should have pulled out of Paris.  But the President never should have entered Paris.  Without the first, we never have the second.