It Is Time For A Change

So what I am saying to the American people is this: the violence that is happening all over the country by leftist criminal groups supporting Biden is unacceptable and would never happen under my watch. Never. You want an end to this mob violence? Re-elect me. And the covid epidemic. You want that to end? Elect me. It has been handled so poorly by Biden. He has just been sitting in his basement sulking. Plus no more masks. Ever. I will make them illegal. If you elect Biden it will just get worse. And all the unemployed, you want to get them back to work? Elect me. We can’t have four more years like the ones we have had.

But Mr. President, weren’t you the  one who was in charge during the past four years? Wasn’t this on your watch?

Police, arrest this man.

The Stakes

We are about to enter the home stretch of the 2020 race for President. In 2016 Hillary had a comfortable lead over Trump on Labor Day. Few gave Trump any chance of winning.  On Labor Day 1988 Michael Dukakis had a comfortable lead over George H.W. Bush. Then came the Willie Horton negative ad campaign. Bush carried 40 states and won by a landslide. A lot can happen in September and October. Remember the Comey, last minute, October surprise in 2016? Biden looks pretty good right now, but we should not take anything for granted. The Republican convention is a signal of the divisive times to come.

What we do know is that in our lifetimes the stakes have never been higher. In some ways democracy itself is on trial.

There are three potential outcomes as I see it:

Biden wins by a comfortable margin. The results are clear on election night even though it will be weeks before all the mail-in votes can be counted. Trump calls foul play due to mail-in balloting and calls for a new election. Weary Republican leaders and confidants say enough is enough and persuade Trump to call it quits. He bitterly protests that he was robbed but realizes he will never win, and his time now can be better spent on reality TV shows and developing new hotels. He bitterly concedes on the third day after election day, vehemently arguing that he really won and that he will go down in history as the best U.S. President ever.

The Democrats also take the Senate and control the legislative branch as well as the executive branch of government.

This best-case scenario results in a Biden mandate and the equivalent of a New Deal ushering in a new wave of progressive legislation addressing climate change, income disparities, universal, affordable health care, fair tax policies, and racial inequities.

This does not mean that it will be smooth sailing. Congress will still be divided; and with the filibuster, it will still be hard to get progressive legislation passed. But compared to what we have now? Oh, my goodness!

Biden wins by a thin margin. It takes weeks for all the mail-in ballots to be counted, and Trump refuses to concede when the final tally favors Biden, who narrowly wins the electoral college while piling up a five million popular vote margin. This results in a Constitutional crisis, and the country finds itself on the verge of civil war. Right wing militias and paramilitary groups take to the streets and  plot ways to reclaim the White House. Trump eventually concedes but urges his followers to take up the mandate and restore his rightful place as president, but for almost two months the country is bordering on anarchy.

Under this scenario, the country continues to be deeply and bitterly divided. The Democrats gain seats in the Senate but not enough to control it. Progressive legislation remains at a standstill. A period of uncertainty follows but gradually improves when it becomes evident to both political parties that the pandemic and the economic crisis are worsening, resulting in more deaths, business failures, massive evictions, homelessness, and despair for tens of millions of Americans. The Democrats ditch the filibuster, enabling progressive legislation to pass, preventing another Great Depression and strengthening the social safety net. The next three-plus years are a slog, but despite conflict, progress is made. Two progressive Supreme Court judges are sworn in, and some progress is made on job growth, tax reform, climate change, mending wounds with our allies, and reigning in the police. The election of 2024 promises to be a continuation of the fight for the soul of America.

Trump wins by a thin margin. Biden wins the popular vote by almost four million votes, but Trump pulls out another miracle win by narrowly carrying four of the six key battleground states. There is evidence of wide-spread meddling by the Russians and other foreign powers along with a successful effort by Republicans to reduce voter turnout in minority precincts, curtail mail-in voting, and disallow tens of thousands of votes from inner city precincts due to slow mail delivery. Trump declares martial law to try to restore order. To save the country from civil war Biden concedes once the final vote tally is in, but it takes many weeks for this to happen, during which time the country is paralyzed resulting in increased rates of infections and more business failures, layoffs, evictions and massive protests.

The second Trump Administration is a continuation of the first except more sinister and corrupt with little or no progress made on fighting climate change, achieving racial justice, reforming immigration, reforming tax policy, creating good jobs, strengthening the social safety net or uniting the country. He disses our allies and cozies up even more with Putin and other authoritarian leaders. Many more than should die of covid-19 absent a national pandemic policy. Two extreme right-wing, Supreme Court Justices are sworn in setting the stage for the end of Roe v Wade.

This time it is the Left Wing of the Democratic Party who rebel. Massive demonstrations take place in the nation’s capital and across the country, some turning violent. Using the Insurrection Act, Trump calls out the U.S. Army to restore order. Under emergency martial law, there are restrictions on freedom of the press. The Left abandons the Democratic Party and forms a new movement, called The Resistance. The Radical Left calls for violence. Some believe the country is already in a civil war. The 2024 election is seen as the only viable way to change course, but now the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is deeply divided. Trump taps his son, Don Junior, to be his rightful heir. Biden announces he will not run, and everything is again up for grabs.

So what is your take on the three scenarios? Can you think of an outcome that has a happier ending? Can you think of a more realistic or more likely scenario? Do you really think that Trump will concede the election without grandstanding or a fight? And what do you think will happen if Trump continues to refuse to step down and there is controversy in key states regarding whether all mail-in votes should be counted? How will the next president be selected when there is no playbook for anything like this?

Where I come out on the three scenarios is this: While the first scenario is a long shot, the other two spell disaster. The Democrats have to win, and we have to win big. Maybe a landslide would do it. Maybe it will be so obvious to Trump and to the country that he has lost to Biden that he will concede on election night or the morning after. Maybe he will rise to the occasion to prevent what could well be a civil war, which would end up ripping America apart. But would you be willing to place a bet on this happening? Would anyone?

Folks, we are in desperate, trying times. We are facing the greatest domestic crisis since the Civil War. What can we do?  Certainly, giving money to Biden and to Democrats in key Senate and House races is important. In these covid times, house to house canvassing is for many people not practical, especially for old folks like us. (Embry and I have done this in N.C. in the last three presidential elections but not this year, thanks to covid-19.) Calling and helping out with phone banks might help; but, frankly, I have to admit that I am sick of getting on average about six telephone calls a day along with 10 emails, text messages, and letters from Democrats begging for money. Embry and I are writing postcards in support of a progressive woman running for a house seat in the NC legislature. Will that help?

We know that voter turnout is the critical factor. Getting Democrats and independents and anti-Trump Republicans to vote and making sure these votes are counted will determine the outcome. There should be opportunities to help here—poll watching, driving people to the polls, telephone and email reminders. Will it be enough?

I want to be optimistic. I want to be hopeful. I do believe in America. We are a good people. We have been a beacon of light and hope for so many countries despite our many failures—especially in the areas of race and class. We can do it. We can beat back the nativists and those turning our country toward totalitarianism. We won’t succumb to these forces of darkness as did those in Germany, Italy, and Japan in the first third of the 20th Century.

But then what if Trump wins?

We will win this fight, won’t we? Tell me we will. The thought of failure is simply too much to bear.

The stakes have never been higher.



Practical Things You Can Do To Make A Difference


  • If you are voting by mail, do it very early to give it the best shot of being counted.
  • Give generously to the Biden/Harris campaign. If you have already been doing this, you know that they will continue to badger you on a daily basis for more money. No good deed goes unpunished. But keep doing it anyway.
  • Give to Democratic PACs and advocacy groups like Move On and the American Way. The Lincoln Project (Republicans who hate Trump) is also worth supporting.
  • Give to the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and the DSCC (The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee). They know the best places for your contributions to produce results.
  • Give money to the Senators who have the best chance of being elected in elections that are now too close to call or where the Democrat is at least given a fighting chance: Doug Jones in Alabama, Mark Kelly in Arizona, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, Jon Ossoff in Georgia, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, Barbara Bollier in Kansas, Amy McGrath in Kentucky, Adrian Perkins in Louisiana, Sara Gideon in Maine, Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts, Debbie Peters in Michigan, Tina Smith in Minnesota, Steve Bullock in Montana, Ben Ray Lujan in New Mexico, Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, and  Jaimie Harrison in South Carolina.
  • Give to Democratic voter turnout efforts in the six most critical states, all of which went for Trump in 2016: North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin. Biden has a fighting chance in every one of them.
  • Give extra money to defeat Lindsley Graham and Mitch McConnell.
  • If you live in one of the key battleground states or know anyone who does, talk up Biden and the Democratic candidates and the need to vote. Speak up. Use social media. Tweet. Blog. Tik Toc. Whatever it takes. Do this even if you don’t live in a battleground state.
  • Give even more money to defeat McConnell and Graham.
  • Contact the state Democratic Party in the state where you live and ask what you can do to help. They may need help on voter turnout on election day and on poll watching. Consider door-to-door canvassing if you believe the health risks are manageable.
  • Don’t give up. Never, never give up!




Trump’s Pledge To the American People

I accept your nomination and assure you that I will continue being the greatest president to ever live for at least the next four years because if I do not win, I will refuse to step down if mail-in ballots are allowed. They are fraudulent, illegal and unconstitutional and are being used by the Democrats for one purpose:  to defeat the greatest president ever. Me. It is my solemn duty to honor the will of the American people and continue being president.  

Faux News Exclusive: As Campaign Heats Up, Barr to Arrest Biden

Faux News has learned that this weekend, Attorney General William Barr will order presidential candidate Joe Biden arrested for being the leader of a “Deep State conspiracy” promoting child pornography, pedophilia and human sacrifice to Satan. Barr will argue that he has “iron-clad evidence” presented by lawyers representing the organization, QAnon, that Biden was working in concert with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when several years ago a member of  QAnon entered Comet Pizza in DC, only blocks from the corporate headquarters of Faux News, armed  with an AK 47 and prepared to liberate the children imprisoned  in the basement of the restaurant where they were  being tortured by Clinton and Biden.  Although the armed QAnon representative was unable to find any children in the basement of Comet Pizza, representatives of QAnon argue that they now have new evidence that the children were in fact imprisoned on a hidden, lower level of the restaurant and that Biden’s secret campaign headquarters is now located on that level where human sacrifice continues to be a daily ritual.

Faux News has not been able to confirm that the facts alleged by Barr are valid. It remains unclear as to how this will impact the election.

Faux News Breaking News: Trump Taps Marjorie Taylor Greene for Republican Keynote Address

Faux News has learned that today Trump will replace the keynote speaker at the upcoming Republican Convention with Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avid supporter and spokesperson for QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy group now gaining national attention. Ms. Greene won her Republican primary in Georgia and is expected to win a seat in Congress by a wide margin. Trump praised Greene as a “wonderful American” and endorsed the controversial QAnon as “expressing true American and Christian values and a welcomed addition to the Republican Party.” Numerous Republican elected officials praised the president’s decision and voiced support for what is becoming a national movement.

QAnon remains a mystery for much of the American public. The group believes that an evil cabal of “Deep State” technocrats and elitists—many in Hollywood and the media– rule America and are responsible for the problems that persist in the country. They have information provided by an inside informant–“Q” — that those in the cabal are Satan worshipers, pedophiles and engage in religious rituals where they consume human blood. Trump is viewed as a savior of the world, who will support the group’s violent overthrow of the Deep State, and usher in a post-apocalyptic, utopian world. Some are reported to be forming vigilante, paramilitary groups to carry out the messianic mission of what is now a loose affiliation of like-minded people, but which appears to be growing exponentially. Some Christian churches mainly in the South have endorsed QAnon as fulfilling the Biblical promises in the Book of Revelations.

Trump is reported to have told associates that he has his own inside information that Hillary Clinton is a “Satan worshipper” and is one of the leaders of the  evil cabal along with her husband and Barack and Michelle Obama. Many insiders in the Trump administration confirmed that he intends to make this a center piece of his re-election bid against Joe Biden.

Those learning about QAnon for the first time are expressing bewilderment and consternation.

“How could anything this crazy be happening here in the United States?” said one person  who was briefly  in the Trump Administration, who asked that he remain anonymous for fear of his life. “Have we gone completely nuts?”

It is not clear at this point where all this will end up or how it will affect the campaign or the future of the country.

When Is The Second Shoe Going To Drop?

Whenever you meet a friend on the street or get a friendly email asking how you are doing, how often do you say “fine”? I say it a lot. I am fine in the sense that I am managing to endure what is now approaching six months of modified house arrest without getting sick or going insane or knowing anyone who has. I am fine because I realize how much better off I am than so many others. I am fine because I do not feel I have the right to complain. But to be honest, these are pretty low bars. In this strange time when we do not know who might get sick next or what will happen when businesses  start opening up more, or when colleges “sort of” start up again or  when our grandchildren start going back to school or when more people start eating indoors at restaurants or going to religious services or when people just give up and quit wearing masks–well, no I am not fine. And my guess is neither are you. Nobody is fine. We are all coping, some better than others.

So let me be clear: finding a way out of the grips of this global health monster is and should be the number one priority. I do believe we will find a vaccine that works and  we will  move on. Eventually. How much water will pass under the bridge before that happens, who knows?

But then there is also the economy. This I would call “the second shoe.” The reason that the U.S. economy has managed to muddle through this disaster as well as it has —and it has hardly been what you would call great, except for maybe the stock market rebound—is due mainly to the initial bailout and the $600/week boost in unemployment benefits. Republicans complain that this was poorly designed in the first place since many people who received this check actually made more money than they were when they were working. There are said to be at least twenty Republican Senators who will never vote for an extension or any more bailout money under any circumstances. In any event that unemployment benefit was huge. It was the lifeline not only for the 30 million people who have lost their jobs during the Covid outbreak, about half of whom are still not working. It was the lifeline for the economy. And it is now gone. There are at least 16 million American adults in our country right now whose incomes just dropped by $2,400/ month from what they were receiving a couple of weeks ago when they were getting the extra $600/week in bailout money. Few, if any, just sat on that money. Few, if any, put it under the mattress. They spent it. They paid the rent or the mortgage, bought food for their families, made the car payment, the student loans and credit card payments, and maybe had enough left over for a treat or two. But at this moment that money is gone. Trump’s executive order appears to be neither legal nor practical.  Maybe Congress will find a way to restore it. Maybe not.

Forget for a moment what it means to try to live on an income closer to $12,000-$15,000 a year (the standard previous benefit in most states pre Covid ) instead of $30,000-$40,000/year during the bailout. What do you think this will mean for the economy?

Well, what it means is that  this money will be sucked out of the economy. Losing, say, $600 a week in consumer spending  for 15 million consumers translates to about $9.6 billion a week! That money is the money that would have found its way to mortgage companies, landlords, grocery stores, banks, doctors and dentists, and businesses small and large. If these companies are not able to sell their goods and services, they lay off employees. These unemployed people now have about $300/week to get by, hardly enough. That leads to failure to pay rent, car payments, student loans, health care bills. That translates to even more layoffs and to business failures.

There is a  name for this. It  is called a recession. When the economy tanked  in 2008 due to the mortgage crisis, it was called the Great Recession. What is staring us in the face right now is another Great Depression. It is the second shoe that could drop.

I am not an economist or an expert in such matters, but I do know something about housing. And it is no secret that  when people have their incomes slashed, they are not able to pay the rent or the mortgage. Getting food on the table for their families comes first. I also know that in July over 25% of all U.S. households were at least a month overdue in paying the landlord or the mortgage company. The August numbers are estimated to be over a third of all U.S.  households. I also know that the moratorium on evictions in federally assisted properties has ended and that a third of all households—about 30 million households and  over 50 million people—are at risk of finding themselves out on the street.

Simply evicting these households is not the answer for the banks and lenders either. With such high unemployment, fewer people can afford to move in. Many banks and mortgage companies will fail. Remember 2008-2009?

Folks, we are looking at an economic disaster of perhaps unprecedented proportions. And the tragedy is that we know it is coming and we have the tools, if not to fix it, to soften the blow. The first step is to continue the $600/week unemployment payment for as long as it takes to get us through this. The second is to establish a housing relief fund to help with the ensuing eviction and mortgage crisis. The third is a massive jobs program focusing on green energy and infrastructure. And the fourth is a revamped tax code where the rich and superrich pay their fair share of footing the enormous cost of recovery. And bailing out the beleaguered states should also go into the mix. You got it: pretty much what the House passed several months ago and as things now stand has no chance of passing in the Senate.

And  before we  can really fix the economic crisis we have to get control of the pandemic. So it is a vicious circle.

Let’s hope the Biden-Harris ticket will win. Let’s pray that they win. Let’s do everything we can to help them win.

But even if they do win—and I believe they will—it still will be a tough slog, and there is still uncertainty when we will land on our feet. A lot depends on who gets elected to the Senate.

The alternative—another four years of Trump—is unthinkable.

God help us. God help the people of the United States.  And the world.



Trump Takes Charge As U.S. Pandemic Worries Grow

In order to assure my re-election, I am stepping in by myself to save the nation. What the inept and stupid and dumb Congress won’t do, I will do. By Executive Order I am extending unemployment benefits and preventing all evictions  until election day, eliminating all payroll taxes, which I will make permanent if I am re-elected, which I will be, thanks to the Russians and misinformation and not allowing any mail-in voting, which is unconstitutional anyway according to my flunkee, er AG , Bill Barr, and hereby I declare illegal by Executive Order. And I am declaring the China-flu a fake flu and a hoax. I am firing the inept Fauci and the pathetic Birx at this very moment. No one in the world has done a better job fighting the fake China-flu than me. Anyone wearing a mask from now on or staying home from school will be arrested.

And while I am at it, by Executive Order I am declaring the Congress a fake congress and am directing them to stay home permanently. We don’t need them anyway, and we do not need the fake press either, which I am, by Executive Order, also declaring unconstitutional and illegal. And , by Executive Order, I direct the Homeland Security Police and Park Police to report to me personally from now on and also by Executive Order, I order all protests about Black Lives to be illegal, and anyone who promotes this hoax will be arrested by Homeland Security. And I and I and I…..Oh yes, I am declaring the election illegal if I lose–but I won’t lose–because by Executive Order, I am postponing the election indefinitely, and I and I and I….Oh yes, I am declaring Obamacare unconstitutional and illegal and I and I….


Hey, do you think he may be going too far?


A Faux News (Serious) Editorial: Apocalyptic Times?

I am sitting at my desk  in my home office watching the trees violently thrash this way and that  as tropical storm winds gust to over 50 miles an hour in  blinding rain.

I learn today in the Washington Post that deaths from Covid-19 have topped 155,000 and are continuing to add about a thousand a day with no end in sight. Known infections from the pandemic now top 4 million though many public health experts believe the number could be as much as 10 times higher. Most experts see these numbers rising in the weeks and months ahead, until we can get a vaccine. But when will that happen? Will it happen? We have never come up with a vaccine to prevent AIDS.

Apocalyptic times?

I also learn today that the more than 30 million people who have lost their jobs and who were receiving an extra $600 a week in unemployment insurance saw their benefit cease yesterday, and Congress appears stuck in an effort to try to keep the money flowing. Republicans and Democrats appear so far apart that there is no certainty that any comprehensive, additional federal support will come out of this. Over 25 percent of the households in the United States missed either a mortgage or rent payment in July—and that is when most struggling households were receiving additional unemployment benefits. More than five million have lost their employer-based health care and now have no health insurance.

It could get worse. The federal halt on evictions also ceased on Monday. It is only a matter of time before hundreds of thousands of people could be thrown out on the street. Yet our ability to deal with homelessness is already inadequate.  It is also only a matter of time before the real estate portion of the economy could collapse. When landlords don’t get rent, they can’t pay the banks or mortgage companies for the loans they have taken out. When banks or mortgage companies do not receive payments, they foreclose on properties. When banks or mortgage companies do not receive income, they go under.

And the same could be said of many state and local governments who have lost tax revenues while they have had to add services. Many are laying off workers now because they do not have the funds to pay them, and this includes teachers and other essential workers. Unemployment numbers are likely to rise. Yet there is disagreement between Republican and Democrats about whether  bailout money is needed and who should get it.

And all the while our president sits on the sidelines complaining of potential voter fraud and news networks he does not like, and lashing out at  people like Doctor Deborah Birx, who have dutifully stood by the president at the risk of their own reputations hoping they could make a difference.

Apocalyptic times?

Perhaps not. Perhaps we will come out of this ok. We will elect Joe Biden, and the Democrats will control both houses of Congress. Responsible legislation will pass. But this is by no means guaranteed; and even if this does happen, huge challenges still remain. The pandemic will not magically go away, and there are no quick fixes to the economy. And the answers are not all that self-evident. For example, we know that getting kids back into the schools is critically important and that virtual learning is not an answer long term. Yet going back into classrooms risks lives of teachers and kids and their families. And what about the colleges and universities that are now trying to re-open in a Covid-world? Does anyone think they can do this without serious outbreaks? Yet the on-campus college experience is so important. Where do you draw the line?

Apocalyptic times?

And what about the vast majority of the country who has not gotten sick? We are the fortunate ones. Yet we are also paying a price. We miss getting together in person with friends and family. We are sick of having to wear a mask when we are out of our home. We want to be with real people—not just Zoom images. We want to go out to eat inside a restaurant, to see a show or a performance, to attend group or club in-person meetings, to go to religious services. We want to go back to the office, to go to work, and to go back to our familiar lifestyles. And so many of us live at home alone. My goodness, how will they get through this? How will all of us get through this? Just think of all the weddings postponed and all the cancellations: the milestone birthday parties, the graduations, the retirement parties, the vacations and trips, the family reunions, the in-person funerals. Lord have mercy, these are the kinds of things that keep us going. When will this nightmare end?

Apocalyptic times?

Well, yes. At least in my experience. My generation has experienced nothing like this. We are living in an historical moment.

But wait! As I look out my window, I am stunned. The rain has ceased. The wind is calm, and  a tiny hint of blue is peeking through the clouds. Suddenly a flash of sunlight lights up the drenched tress. The storm has passed.

I think as I conclude this writing: This hideous pandemic, like the storm, will pass. This divided country of ours will come through this. We will become a kinder and gentler nation. The world will make progress. Yes, this is a statement of faith, not fact. But what I do know is this: Only a hour or so ago the sky was almost black, the wind was howling and the rain pounding on my window. There seemed to be no end in sight. Right now the sun is shining brightly.