Editor,

The Biden administration “had” signaled they want to give COVID vaccines to the terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay; terrorists responsible for the murder of 3,000 Americans.

I myself am 73, worked 40 years as a physician, now retired; my wife is 72. We, and millions of other Americans, have worked hard, paid taxes and behaved as good citizens. Yet we are not yet allowed to receive this life saving vaccine. (Now, perhaps because of the outrage of everyday Americans, Biden says he will ponder the decision further). But what kind of president would even consider giving priority to mass murdering Jihadists over its country’s own citizens? Stay tuned for the Joe Biden show. This is just the beginning.

Scott Abramson

San Mateo

Recommended for you

(80) comments

DavidKristofferson

Ray,

I’m glad to see you back online, so will now respond to the following comment. No rush to get back to me on this.

You stated,”Biden's order to open up the border is short sighted and dangerous.”

I saw on the news the other night that they have already scaled back processing of asylum claims because of capacity problems, so it is too early to tell what will happen here.

“I agree with you Dave... we need common sense immigration reform. Why didn't it happen when Barack had a majority in Congress?”

Obama’s number one priority was health care reform and he spent all of his political capital getting that done in the first two years. The backlash against this led to the loss of control of Congress after the first mid-term election, and he was faced with a hostile Republican party that did everything possible to defeat him. He did deport enough illegal immigrants that he was roundly criticized for those actions though.

“Why didn't it happen when Donald had a majority in Congress? Neither party want to solve the problem.”

As I said elsewhere, I think there is a desire to continue to exploit cheap labor unfortunately, and lack of concern about the legalities of doing so. The latest example of disgusting shortfalls in our national character is the McKinsey consulting firm involvement in the opioid addiction epidemic.

“Most Americans... forget red and blue... most Americans see the value of an immigration policy that makes us better as a country. They want to see the borders secured as well as a way for immigrants to enter the US to work, study or to make the US their new home. Those entry programs must also include a realistic path to citizenship. That's what most Americans want... is that what Joe Biden is delivering?”

I agree with your quote above. We’ll have to wait and see what Biden does. He is first faced with the pandemic and getting relief out. Nonetheless he is trying to tackle other critical issues as well.

I should emphasize one again that I do not have the time to become the world’s expert on all of these issues; that’s why we have a government with dedicated and hopefully good people to research and resolve these problems. I have always believed that I will be most effective if I concentrate on local issues and I chose education as my primary concern as my blog cited elsewhere demonstrates.

I, however, desire to be an informed citizen to the best of my abilities, and read constantly. I will be the last person to pretend, however, that I ever have “absolute proof” on anything that I am not directly involved with on a detailed, ongoing basis.

DavidKristofferson

PS to Ray and Wilfred, Besides the Frum article, there is also the South China Sea issue we briefly touched on earlier buried somewhere below. I think in the future I will look for news stories and start discussions attached to them. We are really overloading this LTE. Do they ever close down discussions after a period of time? As I posted earlier, if we get “disconnected,” you can reach me via the Contact page on my blog at www.eduissues.com.

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray and Wilfred,

After Ray is back online, I’d like to get your thoughts on an article that just appeared in The Atlantic by David Frum, former Bush II speechwriter and apparent author of the “axis of evil” phrase in one of Bush’s State of the Union addresses. One can look up Frum’s detailed background on Wikipedia. He is a conservative but disliked Trump so much he voted for Clinton in 2016 assuming the Wikipedia account is accurate.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/trumpism-violence/618010/

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Ray is home and doing well. He sends thanks for all the good karma.

Tafhdyd

Thanks Wilfred, good to hear!

DavidKristofferson

Thanks for sharing this news, Wilfred. Glad to hear it!

DavidKristofferson

Ray,

One brief note on our Harry Truman reminiscing - and this is addressed to anyone reading these notes too.

If one wants to understand the post WWI era up through the 1950s, I strongly urge people to first visit the FDR home and presidential library in Hyde Park, NY, on the east bank of the Hudson north of NYC. I am usually not a fan of poring over museum exhibits, but the displays in the FDR Library dramatically show the vast scope of the challenges facing Roosevelt from the Great Depression up through WWII with many film clips, news articles, and radio recordings of the era. I took my younger daughter there over a decade ago while we were visiting east coast colleges, and she enjoyed it too. I look forward to visiting again with my grandkids some day.

I realize that Roosevelt is still a bogeyman for many Republicans, but I think viewing these exhibits gives a perspective to current Americans that is slowly fading from history unfortunately. The next time someone proposes replacing Roosevelt on the dime (remember the March of Dimes and polio?), they should be required to visit Hyde Park first.

Secondly, I would also recommend the Truman home and library in Independence, MO. I will always remember when walking into Truman’s home that it was very similar to my maternal grandmother’s in upstate New York. He really was a common American who did great things. Couple that with all of his work to end WWII and construct the post-war world (UN, Marshall Plan, etc.), and his library continues and expands on the story that Roosevelt started.

Ray Fowler

Dave

I don't see FDR as a bogeyman, but there is a lot to talk about... later.

Harry... total wow. Funny, FDR's administration did not include Harry in Manhattan Project briefings. Hey, what about Harry and old man Pendergast? Luego...

Yes, the FDR library and the Truman museum have gotta be on a "must see" list for anyone wanting to learn about today by learning about our history.

DavidKristofferson

Ray, this is the final note on another one of the points in your original commentary. After this I think I am close to "written out" on this topic.

You stated "I don’t agree with some things Donald Trump has said, and I don’t agree with some of the things he has done. But criticizing him for turning attention to the economy during the pandemic is disingenuous. After taking action to provide more PPEs and ventilators then pushing for the development of a vaccine, the Trump administration turned to trying to stabilize the economy. Remember, most Americans were not infected with COVID-19 but the economic effect of the virus was wreaking havoc on their lives. Ignoring the economy would be ignoring growing unemployment, business failures as well as the negative effect on the country’s collective psyche and other health problems, e.g., the increasing number of ODs. Suggesting Trump erred by turning attention to the economy while taking steps to combat the virus as if a Democratic party president would have done any differently is… like I said… disingenuous."

I must not have explained myself with sufficient clarity earlier if you read my comments in the manner indicated above.

I agree completely that we need to consider the economic effects of the lockdowns and that these can be worse than the disease as Trump also correctly pointed out repeatedly.

I was not trying to criticize Trump simply for trying to keep the economy going, but rather I believed that there were many times when he took actions like denigrating the use of masks, interfering with scientists, or organizing mass rallies that were motivated more by his political calculations for his reelection than what was good for the country. He often justified these actions by saying that they were good for the economy.

One example would be getting out the vaccine faster "so that people could go back to work" when, in fact, mucking with clinical trials would stir up distrust that the vaccine was safe and thus prolong the economic slowdown. It is hard, at least for me, not to view these actions to speed things up just before the elections as due to personal political calculations more than promoting the national interest.

As another example, even though there were earlier controversies at the CDC and with Dr. Fauci about the effectiveness of masks, after scientific opinion had finally started to gel on this point, if Trump had strongly encouraged people to mask up instead of fighting it, the economy very well might have returned to normal more quickly. The misguided desire to let the virus "wash over" the population, which was tried and rejected in Sweden and also advocated by Dr. Scot Atlas, did not help either.

I hope this clarifies my earlier remarks. That's all that I have time for today unfortunately!

Ray Fowler

Hi, Dave

I'm starting to repeat myself when I say I appreciate your rational and substantive contribution to this discussion or any other discussion for that matter. My rejection of the notion that Donald Trump was interested in the economy over the devastating effects of the pandemic was more of a reaction to some of the strident sloganeering that others try to pass off as commentary. Your thoughts do not fall into that category. OK... now that we're finished patting each other the back, I'm guessing no modern president would want to face the challenges wrought by COVID-19. We were not prepared... I firmly believe Joe Biden would have done essentially the same things... and make mistakes. Unfortunately, we are still climbing a steep learning curve. At this point, it matters none who people voted for on Nov. 3... let's get behind a workable vaccination program and push forward with development of protocols that will open up our daily lives.

I rail against politicization of the pandemic crisis, and I don't to contradict myself, but Joe needs to be more aggressive re: reopening schools.

DavidKristofferson

Ray, this is an easy response! I agree with what you say above!

DavidKristofferson

Ray,

Now to address your quote:

"Senators Rubio, Cruz and Graham’s support of Trump does not signal something seriously wrong with the Republican party. The party was not meeting the needs of its rank and file… Trump filled that void. On the other hand, what does the emergence of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, et al say about what might be wrong with the Democratic party? Do they meet the needs of the Democratic party’s rank and file?"

My comment did mentioning Rubio et al. was not about the needs of the rank and file. I agree that Trump filled a void that the others did not. My concern is rather about the extent of people bending over backwards to cozy up to Trump after bruising primary battles.

We are all used to seeing politicians come back into the party line after the primaries. My concern was that after the 2016 election the level of hypocrisy seemed to me to rise to levels far higher than anything that I saw after earlier primaries.

Rubio's run-ins with Trump were relatively minor ("little Marco" slurs), but Cruz's father and wife were personally attacked by Trump and yet Cruz eventually succumbed after making initial vigorous protestations about Trump's character. Even more disgusting was Lindsay Graham. This guy was supposedly John McCain's best friend at one point. McCain took several stands on principle and was repeatedly savaged by Trump. My jaw literally hit the floor after seeing how Graham later cozied up to Trump following Graham's earlier statements savagely excoriating Trump's character.

Again, unlike the usual election primary battles over various Republican party issues where people came together afterwards to support the party platform, lately we are witnessing an unprecedented level of personal attacks and concern about moral fiber that are later completely dismissed.

I don't know if this bothered you, but it definitely concerned me that Trump was gaining an increasingly authoritarian grip on the Republican Party. I had never seen such kowtowing in earlier elections.

As to "The Squad," I completely agree that they have several times gone way overboard in the opposite direction. Regarding AOC personally though, Fox always takes the most incriminating snippets of quotes from her and misrepresents her positions frequently.

She represents another neglected segment of our country that we ignore at our common peril, just as Trump does for a portion of the conservatives in our country.

Ray Fowler

Dave

"Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." The Tempest, Act II, Scene 2

And now we know that "misery" is politics. Yeah... 2016... what a circus. I was not really surprised that Donald Trump declared his candidacy in 2015, but like most everyone else, I thought he was destined to be cast aside when the "real" potential nominees started campaigning. I was wrong.

Week after week, I waited for the ax to fall... it didn't. As a retired Navy pilot, when Trump insulted John McCain, I thought... that's it, goodbye, Donald. Again, I was wrong. Here's what signaled to me Trump's inexperience in that situation. McCain... RIP... was not as well liked as the media portrayed him. There was plenty for Donald to criticize. Trump should have focused on McCain's positions not McCain's personality. After Trump insulted McCain's POW status, I was sure Trump was through. When that didn't happen, I started to take more notice.

Quite a conundrum for Marco, Ted and Lindsay. Do they oppose Donald or do they cozy up? Once Trump was established as the party's unassailable front runner, perhaps they recalled Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment... "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." They are smart guys and they figured out that Trump was filling a Republican void long before a retired Navy captain in California figured it out. They chose to ride the wave with Donald. Strange bedfellows.

Here is what still amazes me... the Democrats picked the least liked career politician in their stable as the 2016 nominee. Wow. Yes, by all accounts, she should have won. Yes, the polls were inflated but it was her election to lose, and she did. I actually feel sorry for Hillary as a person but as a politician, she did not deserve to win (IMO).

The Squad... I cannot believe they have hijacked the Democratic party. I agree... Fox uses the most incriminating snippets featuring Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, but she keeps providing them. I would disagree that she appeals to a neglected segment of our country... to me, her following is largely made up of those who have stopped pulling the cart and are now trying to ride inside the cart. But I agree with your observation that we ignore them at our common peril.

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray and Wilfred,

I see you have both posted responses which I will reply to this AM, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on the following topic which I posted this AM on the Public Affairs group that I run on Nextdoor in our community.

Dave K.

———-

Last night on the PBS Newshour there was a powerful video on the current situation in Afghanistan:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/targeted-assassinations-against-civil-society-create-a-climate-of-fear-in-afghanistan

We have been fighting that war for 20 years now and negotiations between the Trump administration and the Taliban provided a way out, but the video link shows at what cost to the people in Afghanistan who we have supported with American lives and billions of dollars to date. To me this looks like 1975 redux.

Here is a related new article from The Economist:

https://www.economist.com/asia/2021/01/30/asia-is-hungry-for-reassurance-from-joe-biden

Yesterday I read that the U.S. currently has two aircraft carrier groups conducting military drills in the South China Sea.

https://www.yahoo.com/now/u-navy-says-two-carrier-053717375.html

These drills are taking place in what by international standards are international waters, but the PRC has laid claim to much of the South China Sea, and has ignored international law in that area. The Biden Administration also recently sent an American ship through the Taiwan Strait to send another message to China.

What are your thoughts on the proper balance between our international obligations in places like Afghanistan and Taiwan versus America’s pressing domestic needs?

Ray Fowler

Hello, Dave

I've got some errands to do, but will get back to your post re: the South China Sea before taking a look at today's LTE buffet.

DavidKristofferson

Ray, please be sure to watch the PBS video (~10 min) before responding. Also I hope you do sign up for email alerts from this discussion as it is getting extremely hard to find new contributions due too the convoluted ordering. I have also finally had sufficient time this morning to reply to the rest of your points in your original response today but the last of those responses still seems to be awaiting publication.

Ray Fowler

Dave

I apologize for not getting to this sooner... I am clobbered with stuff to do, today. I have surgery tomorrow and probably won't pop up in the comments section until this weekend.

China's navy... I have not reviewed the linked material yet, so my post today is largely anecdotal instead of analytical...

35-40 years ago, the talk was all about the Chinese building a "blue water" navy. Fleets with the ability to go anywhere on the globe to project their foreign policy. That would be a transformation from a "brown water" navy that spent most of its time close to littoral sites. They're still in transition. Building a blue water navy to compete with our navy is a very, very expensive proposition. The Soviets used to have a serious blue water navy, but they ran out of cash.

The Chinese need boomers and carriers. They would probably take a second mortgage out on the Forbidden City to buy our submarine technology. We are the best at underway replenishment and carrier ops. Let 'em build as many carriers as they want... they'll end up crashing a lot of planes on those carrier decks trying to learn how to match our carrier capabilities... especially all weather and nighttime ops.

Historically, the Chinese were positioned to become the greatest maritime power in the world before the Spanish armada rose to prominence in the 1500s. The Chinese built the world's largest wooden sailing ships in history. Then, at the dawn of the age of discovery, they dismantled their fleets.

Again, I'll have to look over the linked material before weighing in on the recent events in the South China Sea. The good news is that it's just not the US who objects to China's "gunboat diplomacy" in that region. The better news is that the Chinese are smart... they know a wounded tiger cannot do what it does best, and tangling with the US and others over bragging rights might not serve their interests... today.

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray! We’ll discuss the above after your surgery. I hope it goes successfully and is nothing major. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Ray,

I'll be praying for an uncomplicated and successful outcome. TTYL8R

DavidKristofferson

PS - you can also reach me via the Contact page on my blog at www.eduissues.com. It would be fun to actually talk in person some time. You can also see my brief bio at that site if interested. I’d also love to hear more about your career in the Navy, particularly in regards to your note above.

Tafhdyd

Ray,

I hope that the surgery is helpful in removing the blockage that is preventing the single malt from flowing :). Best wishes!

DavidKristofferson

Ray, regarding South China Sea, way too much to write about here. I’d really like to talk with you directly over the phone. Please go to my Contact page at www.eduissues.com if interested and let me know if you are interested to do so. Maybe we could conference in Wilfred too if he is interested. I was wondering if by some small chance you two served together in the Navy.

DavidKristofferson

Now to reply to the following quoted section of your comment. I am going to compose this in MS Word to see if that helps with the formatting and then paste it in to the Comment field:

“Trump rallies…

Absolutely… events need to be planned without creating unnecessary risk. No matter which group is planning the event. Who would disagree with that? Yet, the number of deaths in Democratic congressional districts was more than 130% higher (438 to 190) than losses in Republican districts through July 31. And a disparity between Democratic and Republican districts continued through December 31. Maybe the message is… it’s safer to go to a Trump rally than San Francisco.”

My response:

I have not seen this statistic previously, put it clearly makes the left “look bad,” so I assume it came from a conservative source like Fox.

It is widely known that front line workers who cannot work from home have higher rates of COVID infections than people who can work remotely. The same is true for groups like Hispanics who tend to fall into the frontline worker category and may also live in multigenerational households.

Democrats also tend to be in charge in a number of the larger cities in this country, and often are the representatives for people who are front line workers.

Thus, without taking the time to really delve into the details here, it seems to me that there are very simple explanations for the statistic above that have nothing to do with the policies or competence of the Democrats who represent these districts, and everything to do with the demographics of the people who they represent.

I repeatedly see stories like this on Fox. They take data and put a spin on it in such a way that an eager partisan sympathizer of theirs will soak it in, immediately revel in the result, and not take the time to think of alternate explanations. And, yes, the same thing can happen in the liberal media.

For example, I saw a study being touted in several conservative circles from Denmark that supposedly proved that there was no protective benefit against COVID from wearing masks. I found this so surprising that I looked up the original research paper and actually read it (I am a scientist by training.).

The paper turned out to be a study done earlier in the pandemic when most people in Denmark were NOT wearing masks. The researchers had a group mask up and sent them out into the general populace, most of whom were not wearing masks. The people in the study who wore masks had a slightly lower rate of COVID infection than people in the control group who were not wearing masks, but the difference was not statistically significant. This result is similar to studies that the CDC quoted early on saying that the research on masks was questionable and that they could not prove their effectiveness.

HOWEVER, the Danish study noted very prominently in their research paper that they did NOT study the effect on disease transmission if MOST people in the community were wearing masks. The CDC’s view changed later partly because they realized this scenario belatedly (in addition to the somewhat cynical fact that they were apparently trying to avert initial panic buying of masks when our hospitals were in critical short supply).

Nonetheless, the conservative pundits cited the Danish study as “proof” that masks do not work which is simply what their side wanted to believe. If any of them actually read the study and still made this claim, then their intellectual integrity was highly suspect.

Getting back to being “safer at Trump rallies”, I still find it reprehensible what they did. Trump wanted large crowds to prove how popular he was and to advance his candidacy. Once again, for the sake of publicity, the actions that he and his campaign took to dismiss the importance of public safety measures clearly put his interests above the safety of his supporters. A Republican member of Trump’s coronavirus task force quit precisely because of his “callous disregard for human life.”

Other Trump supporters sometimes justify these actions by saying that if Trump lost “America as we know it would end.” That claim is highly debatable, to say the very least, but, once again, that discussion could go on for hours. That’s all for today, folks!

Ray Fowler

Dave

I always appreciate a thoughtful response. There's a lot to unpack here.

We did not stay connected. It's kinda like a kid on a trike who rides off the curb in his Topeka KS neighborhood then skids all the way down to Biloxi MS before stopping. I have a feeling he's not in Kansas anymore...

Your assumption re: the data concerning COVID deaths needs some amplification. The info did not come from Fox News... it came from Pew Research. And the numbers represent totals for congressional districts... not large cities. Yeah... I think we intuitively know that front line workers face greater risks than folks who work from home. Do more people working from home live in those Democratic urban population centers mentioned in your response or do they live in more rural settings? I'm guessing it's the former. So, even though constituents in Democratic districts have greater opportunities to work from home, the death rates for those districts is still higher than losses in Republican districts. Hmmm...

I did not read the Danish study, and I agree with you, it brings very little to our discussion. I also agree with your observation that both sides of the media spin information to fit the crisis du jour.

Where we may differ on the media... In my experience, Fox News delivers commentary and they also deliver news. CNN delivers commentary but when they purport to deliver news... it's still just largely commentary. That's OK, but it means that the public would be best served by viewing left and right stories with a grain of salt and at the same time look for other sources of information.

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray,

Another point on the statistics debate – if you look at the U.S. map of Red States versus Blue States, many of the Red States tend to have lower population densities than the Blue States. This factor alone would lead to higher death totals in Blue States when a contagious, deadly disease strikes.

I still am waiting to hear convincing proof that these numbers really say anything about politics or effective styles of government. However, I have not seen the Pew Research study, so if you can send me the link, I would be happy to take a look at it.

Sorry if I skidded all the way to Biloxi. MS is one of only three states in the union that I have never visited previously, so that must have been the attraction! As you can tell, I have a tendency to go off on tangents at times. My apologies!!

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hi Dave,

I will not defend President Trump nor attack you for finding flaws in his leadership. I would like to know what you think of President Biden opening our southern border. And your opinion of those claiming the "Trump vaccine" should not be taken. Between the aforementioned and President Trump's baboonery, which do you imagine caused more spread and death of COVID-19?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Dave,

I meant to say... will cause more spread...

Ray Fowler

Dave

No apologies necessary.

Yes... you're correct. We should expect lower death totals in less populated counties. That makes sense even without looking at any data. Tragically, a lot of people died in Democratic districts as the pandemic picked up momentum... way too many. Those numbers were connected to their geography but not because the Congressional rep associated with that geography was a Democrat. The raw numbers continue to be greater than "red" districts, but the rate at which folks are dying in Republican districts has increased. Will the less dense red districts see the trend taper off? I don't know.

Take a look at the Pew report when you get a chance. We have to remember the district data is based on the population per district (about 700K), and there are 221 Democrat districts and 211 Republican districts. Of course, COVID does not care about party affiliation. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2020/12/08/the-changing-geography-of-covid-19-in-the-u-s/

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hi Ray,

Tongue in cheek, have you noticed the contrast in mental and cognitive acuity there is between Dave and our Norwegian "scientist". What a joy it is to have Dave on board.

DavidKristofferson

Looks like there is only the ability to reply at the end of a certain nesting level, so I hope that this response to Wilfred is also seen by Ray in case you have subsequently signed up for email notifications from this thread.

First to reply to Wilfred's question: "I would like to know what you think of President Biden opening our southern border."

Other than I think that it is possibly inaccurate to describe Biden's position using those precise terms, I understand that it probably seems that way compared to Trump's policies. I have not had time to read Biden's immigration plans in detail. However, I have seen articles even in "the failing New York Times" about migrants gathering increasingly at the border again in the increased hope that they can gain entry now. Note, though, that the Obama/Biden administration was chastised and distrusted by Hispanics for the number of deportations carried out, so I think it is very early to know what the eventual policy will be. I completely understand why conservatives are concerned though.

Personally, I have always believed that we need to resolve the situation through immigration reform, i.e., if we need migrant labor (and it sure seems that we do), we should devise a legal way of obtaining it. Personally I have never approved of the current system that makes a mockery of our laws. I am not an expert in this area, but I do not understand why we can not implement a guest worker program. The only reason that I can think of is that there may be too many vested interests that want to pay very low wages by our standards. I assume that these interests are concerned that their businesses would become uncompetitive under a legalized program, and that this has prevented immigration reform (but this kind of issue is never spoken of publicly).

Second, in response to Wilfred's "And your opinion of those claiming the "Trump vaccine" should not be taken. Between the aforementioned and President Trump's baboonery, which do you imagine caused more spread and death of COVID-19?"

The reaction against taking the "Trump vaccine" arose when it appeared that Trump was trying to rush the vaccine out before the election in order to gain yet another political advantage. The concern was that Trump was shortcutting the scientific clinical trial method for political gain and that this could compromise safety. As a scientist, one can only come to conclusions based on sound methods, and I completely understand and sympathize with the concerns that were raised by Trump's unseemly actions. This was also yet another demonstration of the his paranoia (though considering the constant attacks that he was under, his reaction is at least understandable) that the "deep state" was trying to slow the process down to hinder his election. Fortunately, the pharmaceutical and biotech communities pushed back against the pressure and supposedly did not shortcut the process (though with the constant mistrust that Trump promoted against the media, can we be sure of anything anymore???).

In summary, I think that this is a non-issue now. People are lining up by the thousands to get the shots, and thus I doubt that this led to any significant increase in COVID rates compared to the holding of unmasked superspreader rallies and the delays in vaccine distribution.

And finally to Ray, thanks for the link to the Pew study. I realize that congressional districts are of similar population size by law, but their area and population density can vary dramatically as I indicated above. I have opened the link in another browser tab and will look at it after I finish replying to the various other comments here today.

Ray Fowler

Wilfredo!

I will not say anything negative about our lil Viking friend. But you are correct... Dave is a most welcome addition to the daily trench warfare in the comments section.

Ray Fowler

I've only got a couple of minutes...

Biden's order to open up the border is short sighted and dangerous.

I agree with you Dave... we need common sense immigration reform. Why didn't it happen when Barack had a majority in Congress? Why didn't it happen when Donald had a majority in Congress? Neither party want to solve the problem.

Most Americans... forget red and blue... most Americans see the value of an immigration policy that makes us better as a country. They want to see the borders secured as well as a way for immigrants to enter the US to work, study or to make the US their new home. Those entry programs must also include a realistic path to citizenship. That's what most Americans want... is that what Joe Biden is delivering?

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray,

As we dealt with several topics in a single comment, and I am still short on time today, please let me begin by addressing the following section of your earlier response. I will deal with the others later and will also separate out topics into individual posts.

You stated, "Yes, Newsom erred. But his faux pas ... I vote for candidates from both sides of the aisle." I originally quoted the entire text but am trying to determine why the software won't let me post this reponse, so I am shortening your quote as you also indcated having problems posting.

My Response:

The early attempts to acquire PPE all around the country were fraught with problems. This is an area where, had the federal government taken control of purchasing and then distributed items to the states, foreign suppliers would not have been able to play one state off against another in their quest to drive up prices. Of course, there still would have been international competition, but the federal government would have been a much bigger gorilla competing against other countries compared to individual states.

I think that you probably follow California news more closely than I do (I start each morning reading the daily briefing from The Economist). Clearly we hear much more about the things that go wrong in this state, and, because CA has the biggest state economy in the country, our mistakes are larger than others. I would be interested in knowing how many other states had their purchases canceled at the last minute because of foreign vendors (who would be difficult to go after legally) getting a better price from someone else despite a signed contract. We have no reason to expect any love from vendors in the PRC.

What really bothers me is that we allowed this country, in the name of maximizing profits, to become critically dependent upon foreign suppliers in the name of "free trade." This is a topic on which I could write for hours, and one area where I probably agree with many Trump supporters.

A friend of mine recently returned from India and said that he saw many people wearing 3M N95 masks on the street. I used to be able to buy them at Home Depot before the pandemic to protect myself and my family from the annual fire season smoke. As Inspector Clouseau once said after being told that the piano he just destroyed was a 'priceless Steinway', "Not any more!!"

Didn't Pence say early on that 3M was going to ramp up production to something like 40 million masks a month if I recall??? I never heard what happened to that promise! Do you know?? 3M masks were so much better than anything I have seen from China, but currently Chinese masks (KN95s at best) seem to be the only things that we can buy!

So in summary, yes, the Newsom administration had some massive failures, but, as you said in defense of Trump, so did everybody under the war of all-versus-all conditions. California's were bigger because of the size of the state, not necessarily because we were any more incompetent than anyone else (though I have to admit that the massive fraud at the EDD can not be ignored, so maybe our state government is completely messed up, but, in their defense, they (the EDD) were also under the gun to help people immediately!).

Unfortunately I do not have the detailed data to determine which of the 50 states was really worse, nor do I have the time to do the massive amount of work that would be required to look all this up.

As to Andrew Cuomo and the others that you mention, I recall listening to Cuomo's press conferences early in the pandemic and being really impressed with his responses compared to what Trump was providing on a daily basis. Fox News also took note because, all of a sudden, Cuomo started looking like a potential presidential contender at some time. Then the nursing home debacle hit New York, and Fox pounced at a chance to destroy Cuomo as they generally do with every other Democrat (... while they give talk shows to possible Republican presidential candidates).

What actually happened with nursing homes there and how much Cuomo was responsible is still unclear to me. NY apparently had a policy that nursing homes were not allowed to refuse a place to returning COVID patients whom the hospitals had declared had tested negative. At the height of the NYC pandemic, when they were storing bodies in refrigerator trucks, I would not be surprised if hospitals got rid of patients who tested negative only once before they knew how inaccurate some of these tests were (or maybe even intentionally to make room for others stacked up in the halls). Again, I do not know the minute details of this situation, but I definitely do not trust Fox to report them accurately because I have seen far too many cases where they are simply out for blood.

For similar reasons, I do not trust MSNBC reporting. You may not like CNN, and I agree that, with the Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon shows, they are becoming more like Carlson and Hannity, both of whom bend the truth with great regularity. However, I still find CNN to be the least objectionable out of the major cable news channels. I do watch them all on occasion, particularly during major events, to get different viewpoints. Yes, Fox reports on stories that MSNBC and CNN will completely ignore like Hunter Biden, but that bias cuts both ways. For an average Joe like me, it makes it very difficult to know what is really going on, and we could get into an endless exchange of "alternative facts."

If I were banished to a desert isle with one news source, I would bring The Economist personally. It is a centrist source, though they have a strong bias towards unfettered free trade dating back to their founding in 1843 with which I disagree.

Finally, regarding political parties, I remain a life-long Democrat, albeit a centrist. I have some sympathy towards some progressive positions, particularly because I feel that (if you recall Ross Perot's "Great _______ Sound" warning back in the Perot/GHW Bush/Clinton presidential debate) the government left the MidWest for dead, and this gave rise to the populist anger that Trump rode to power. I also think that Wall Street financiers have been at the root of many of our problems and that the deregulation movement encouraged them to profit at the expense of Main Street to put it mildly. However, many progressive policies and political correctness that I do not mention above strike me as far too extreme.

In a nutshell, I wish that we had a truly centrist political party in this country that tried to help citizens in general instead of the rich versus poor divide with which we are currently stuck and which is causing tremendous problems.

That is all that I have time for today unfortunately even though many of the paragraphs above could be expanded upon at length. Unfortunately I think that all my paragraphs will probably be displayed as one massive text block!!!

Tafhdyd

Dave,

Thanks for a very enjoyable read. I do agree with most of what you said and maybe that is why I liked it. As for expanding on many of the paragraphs, yes that is true, however I think you have given us plenty to digest for this afternoon. I will look forward to more of your letters/responses.

DavidKristofferson

You’re welcome, Tafhdyd!

Ray Fowler

Hi, Dave

Again, I appreciate a well reasoned response. Thanks

Ah, Gavin... we hardly knew ye! He garnered kudos for his assertiveness about a year ago, but things seem to have unraveled since then. The big deal with China for PPEs did not turn out as planned. Was that Newsom's fault? Probably not, but when you are the guy or gal in charge, you own it. I feel other Newsom pandemic issues have eclipsed the PPEs... primarily the lock down. It appears to be an arbitrary policy made worse by a lack of transparency. While the knee-jerk reaction to start a recall might be an overreach, the strategy makes sense to some Republicans. This is their chance. If they can lure enough centrists to the polls, they might succeed in capturing the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento. Interestingly, going back to WWII, Democrats and Republicans have seemingly alternated occupancy of the mansion. However, with Democrats moving in after Jerry Brown's 2010 election and Gavin's ascendancy, the governorship appeared to be a lock for Dems.

As an aside... Mike Pence predicted 35 million masks per month from 3M after touring their Minnesota plant. That was based on 3M cranking out 35 million in one month... I don't know if they maintained that pace. I think Honeywell was supposed to make 10 million a month but I don't know if they achieved that number. A few years ago, 4 out of the top 5 PPE vendors were American companies. The key to that factoid is the word "vendor." Who were their suppliers?

I would disagree that Fox destroyed Andrew Cuomo. He kinda did it to himself. That being said, I agree with you when you say what happened in nursing homes is still unclear. Perhaps Andrew was not clear... sending sick by stable persons to nursing homes to clear beds for serious COVID cases seemed like a reasonable response, but the way the March 25 order was worded, it appeared the nursing homes had to accept those patients. Mixing those sick patients led to an increase of COVID related deaths in the nursing homes. That's very clear. Seven weeks later, Cuomo's office advised that patients had to have at least one negative COVID test before placement in a nursing home... but thousands died. Cuomo had time to write a book about his leadership during the pandemic but not enough time to release numbers re: how many nursing home deaths had been recorded? Those decisions belong to Andrew not the Donald.

We have some agreement concerning cable broadcasts, e.g. MSNBC is not trustworthy, and Chris Cuomo and his buddy Don are CNN's version of Carlson and Hannity. High ratings do not equate to trustworthiness. While I check in with CNN, I have not found anyone I would use for a regular source of information. On the other side of the dial, however, I do trust Bret Baier at Fox. Yes, Fox does cover some news items ignored by MSNBC and CNN. That doesn't make them better than their liberal counterparts, but MSNBC and CNN could make themselves better by reporting a wider range of stories (like the Hunter Biden business that was clearly avoided in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign).

So, there's Dave on a desert isle doing his best Tom Hanks impression while reading "The Economist." OK. Ranker Books just rated the top news magazines... not scientifically... it was primarily a popularity poll. I'm guessing some of the folks who picked "Time" magazine (ranked No. 6) may have never even seen a copy of "The Economist." Your choice graded out at No. 23. Don't despair... my choice, "Reason" magazine did not make the cut. Oh, well...

Hah! Good catch. Editing Ross Perot's remark before the filters could reject your post. You put too much work into your comments...

DavidKristofferson

Now to reply to Ray's response to the following points.

"The big deal with China for PPEs did not turn out as planned. Was that Newsom's fault? Probably not, but when you are the guy or gal in charge, you own it."

Yes, I agree. He owns it, but I gleefully respond that the same argument holds true for Trump and his related debacles.

As to "I feel other Newsom pandemic issues have eclipsed the PPEs... primarily the lock down. It appears to be an arbitrary policy made worse by a lack of transparency. While the knee-jerk reaction to start a recall might be an overreach, the strategy makes sense to some Republicans. This is their chance.", we'll see.

From my perspective, the Republicans need to put up a centrist candidate again if they are to have any chance of regaining power. Too many recent candidates are too far right to get elected in California. Lockdowns might have worked better if sufficient economic aid was promptly provided, but given the divide in government and the number of crooks that we seem to have in our society, too much of this aid was either delayed by protracted political battles, not passed, or just outright stolen.

I think that one of our biggest problems since the days of Ronald Reagan was the denigration of government service, i.e., "Government IS the problem!" and "Starve the Beast!" As our world becomes increasingly technologically complex and environmentally challenged, if we discourage good people from public service, we are only cutting our own throats.

As to masks and "The key to that factoid is the word "vendor." Who were their suppliers?", PRECISELY!! My understanding was that 3M still has a plant in Georgia, but I don't know if that was the only one left in the U.S.

We need to take a long hard look at our gutted manufacturing capabilities. A long time back I sent a letter to the editor in to both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal pointing out that the inherent flaw in the "Theory of Comparative Advantage" that is the justification for "free trade" is the assumption that everyone will always be willing to trade. A similar flawed assumption lay behind the idea of "portfolio insurance" which led to the 1987 stock market crash. Liquidity suddenly dried up in that crisis and the market tanked. My example was obvious. What would happen to a country that outsourced its food supply to a foreign country and then went to war with them?? Needless to say, my letter was never published in either paper...

As of 2018 according to The Economist's "Pocket World in Figures" (2021 edition), the U.S. remains number two in manufacturing output at $2.173 trillion, but we are significantly behind China's output of $4.003 trillion for that year. In Services by contrast, the latest numbers for 2017 put the U.S. in first at $14.3 trillion versus China's $6.32 trillion. (Both stats on p. 45 of that publication.) On p. 82 of that the same text, note that U.S. Defense spending in 2019 was $0.6846 trillion compared to China's $0.1811 trillion. On page 83, the U.S. arms exports in 2019 are pegged at $10.752 *billion* which is more than the total of the next seven countries combined (respectively Russia, France, China, Germany, Spain, the U.K., and South Korea).

This raises the concern that we are becoming increasingly a manufacturer of high tech weapons systems ("merchants of death"??) which also runs the risk of being stupidly reliant on potential adversaries for PPE and drugs, as just two examples among others.

As to Cuomo, again, I have not looked into that in sufficient detail to comment further but agree that the buck ultimately stops with him. It is very hard to be a leader under the current circumstance as Trump, Cuomo, and Newsom all have learned to their misfortune. That said, I generally liked his press conferences *much* more than I did Trump’s, but there are other issues, like his education policies, that I have concerns about.

I agree that Brett Baier seems to be a reasonable journalist and stood up to people making unsubstantiated claims on Fox. Their news department is definitely better than their opinion group, even though the latter clearly brings in the $'s through their “red meat” commentary.

Finally as to Ross Perot, I was really getting desperate to find out why my earlier post was blocked as there really was no profanity in it. Editing out that word from Perot's quote was just one of many attempts to "correct" the post. I still don't know what caused the problem as I made several simultaneous efforts before each repost attempt. I will "swear" up and down, though, that the submission never contained any "profanity." ;-)

DavidKristofferson

Hi Ray,

I just wrote a my first response to your comment that the software is saying can not be posted because of "profanity" even though there is no profanity in it. I have run out of time and will have to try to play with it later to see what is causing the problem. Sorry for yet another delay in responding!

Ray Fowler

I just finished my morning ablutions... late start. I'll take a look. Thanks

Ray Fowler

Yeah... these filters are annoying. Once, I quoted the 1964 Civil Rights Act and mentioned the list of persons who were protected. The reference to gender was kicked out because a three letter word which ended with the letter "x" was included in the list. Craziness..

DavidKristofferson

I'm going to try again now.

DavidKristofferson

Ray and Wilfred, thanks for both of your responses. You both clearly follow the news closely and write very well, especially compared to a lot of what I read these days, so my kudos to both of you!

For starters, let’s please dispense with the formalities, particularly since my last name is too much to type repeatedly. You can refer to me simply as “Dave.”

I did not expect such a magnum opus from Ray above and I see that Wilfred is seconding his response. Unfortunately the SMDJ discussion software seems to have significant problems and is not allowing me to reply to either comment directly, possibly because the response nesting limit has been hit? Anyway I decided to post this at the end, and hope that you won’t miss it and future responses. I am getting email alerts from this discussion, but I have also seen a few comments for which no alert was triggered unfortunately.

I usually look at these items during breakfast on my iPad and, in order to reply adequately to Ray, I am going to have to sit down at my computer at a real keyboard. Please rest assured that I will respond in full when time permits later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Although “retired,” I have an extremely busy schedule. I am wrapping up a time-consuming IT project for my wife’s business which took over most of my time for the last three weeks. I tutor high school kids in math and science and run a popular education blog that gets hits from around the world. I am my daughter’s part time day care provider for about 6-8 hours a week during the pandemic, and finally, I try to combat the inevitable effects of aging by cycling long distances.

In summary, please rest assured that I will respond to Ray’s (and future) comments when time permits, but please do not be offended if I do not reply promptly.

DavidKristofferson

And, of course, this comment above appeared at the top instead of at the end of the discussion...

Ray Fowler

Dave

No worries. I don't get email alerts but I do check follow up comments for LTEs a day or two after the letter is published. My posts tend to run a little longer than most... take your time. I feel a fuller discussion... instead of a parade of political sobriquets being hurled back and forth... makes the debate richer.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Dave,

Agreed! Formalities are to be set aside and kudos back at you. Your initial posting to this thread revealed, what I take to be, an indication you possess a healthy sense of humor, propriety and boredom with the reiteration of media talking points. I presume you are cognizant that with regards to the latter, people like me see the same coming from the left. I resist the notion of conspiracies, believing instead, that people become creatures of their own environment. Like you, I have a full and enriched life. And so, methinks, we have more in common than not. I suspect that our perspectives will vary from time to time and that is the reason I desire yours. My progeny deserve nothing less than my best, fortified by the critical thinking your understanding of matters will bring to me. You have my thanks in advance. Bienvenido a mi vida!

DavidKristofferson

Thanks for this note, Wilfred. I started a Public Affairs group on our local Nextdoor site because I believe that it is critical that we talk to each other, particularly in a time like this. I have people of differing viewpoints within my own extended family, as do most people, and I have found that calm discussions can lead to mutual understanding and agreement more often than one might suspect!

DavidKristofferson

Speaking of conspiracy theories .... why is there always a steady stream of conservative letters to the editor of the Daily Journal followed by comments amplifying views expressed on Fox News, OANN etc.???

I am all in favor of debate and freedom of expression, but I have to admit that I am also always impressed by the overabundance of conservative views in the Letters to the Editor forum, especially in an area that is pretty liberal.

Do you guys rotate writing the “letter of the day?” 😉 If so, kudos for your political organization!!!

Ray Fowler

Hello, Mr. Kristofferson

You are not the first person to muse over the possibility that liberal and conservative readers may meet beforehand to discuss what they plan to post in the comments section. My sense of it, however, is that liberal letters outnumber the conservative ones. I could be wrong but it just seems that way to me... especially as you point out, this area is pretty liberal. But regardless of the source... the debates can be lively. Again, I'm fairly certain there are no meetings to discuss the topic of the day before putting pwn to paper. If there are such meetings, I have not been invited. I would be crushed to learn I was being excluded...

DavidKristofferson

Ray, maybe people just take greater note of the items that rub them the wrong way!

DavidKristofferson

https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/national/pentagon-deploys-troops-to-fuel-covid-19-vaccine-drive/article_cc701fbe-67f4-11eb-af1a-a78ffa50cb6b.html#tncms-source=block-contextual-fallback

Ray Fowler

The Guard has been used for national emergencies in the past, and remain a potential source of staffing for vaccination centers. For our situation, It might be easier to certify the 30,000 nursing students in California trained to give vaccinations to do just that... give vaccinations.

DavidKristofferson

If you read the article above, it is about active duty U.S. military troops, although the National Guard is also mentioned in places.

I will be the first to admit regarding the other assorted comments that the Trump administration made a significant contribution in helping with the vaccine development. However, the holding of unmasked, packed political rallies during the pandemic was just plain wrong. And if the comeback is that the left held demonstrations, protests, riots, etc., during the pandemic, my response is that anyone violating common sense public health measures was in the wrong.

This is not an issue simply of “personal freedom.” If a person takes actions that harm (and could potentially kill) others or puts an undue burden on the public health system during a pandemic, at the very least they are being outrageously inconsiderate, if not in fact breaking the law in some locales. The fact that the President promoted such actions and engaged in such publicity stunts like the drive-by at Walter Reed while he was sick and in the car with Secret Service agents was reprehensible, and sent the wrong message to the public. I think this general attitude is largely to blame for the high U.S. death count and in my view negates by far the positive actions of that administration.

Ray Fowler

Oh, yeah... this is not a regular military vs. the guard issue. I feel using the Guard in their home states would be more effective... at present, the Guard is administering 100,000 doses per day and the new regular service teams will be vaccinating (initially) 30,000 per day. That number should grow as more resources are committed. What about those nurses?! 30,000 already trained... waiting for certification... they would really be a force multiplier... maybe capable of a quarter of a million vaccination per day in California!

Yes, agreed. Trump could have been a better example by stressing masks, but what kind of example have we seen from prominent governors and several mayors and the Speaker?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Fowler,

Care to take this one? I don't want to belabor bad examples and incomprehensible actions taken by leaders on the left. But, I do wish to show gratitude for well thought out opinions shared by Mr. Kristofferson.

DavidKristofferson

Newsom’s French Laundry incident was stupid and he admitted it. I can only guess at what other incidents you may have in mind, but it is very difficult to draw equivalence between incidents like that and the super spreader events organized by the Trump political campaign featuring the *President of the United States* who gets far more air time and far more attention than any of these bit players by comparison. Note also that when Biden campaigned virtually, he was mocked as “hiding in his basement.”

The fact that prominent Republicans like Rubio, Cruz, and Graham once publicly abhorred Trump and then turned into fawning sycophants should also be astounding to any reasonable person and is a sure sign that something was seriously wrong in the Republican party.

Had the Democrats been in power during the pandemic you are undoubtedly right that they would also have made some serious missteps, but Trump’s singular focus on preserving his triumphantly low unemployment rates made him almost willfully dismissive of the seriousness of the disease. It forced him to deal with something that seriously threatened his image of success, and he was unable to switch gears. It was because of factors like the above that there was a record turnout in this election and Trump lost, not because of “election fraud,” but because enough Americans still have enough common sense that they could see through a guy who was a power-hungry egomaniac and who put his own interests ahead of those of the country when the two were no longer in sync.

As to the reason I posted the article about the use of the military medical personnel, it was simply to provide a recent example of a hopefully positive development. The general philosophy of the right is to limit the reach of the federal government and that is at times laudable, but I doubt that this was the proper time to get 50 smaller cooks into the stew while the one big one stepped back. I can’t help but believe that this was motivated in part once again by a desire to say that “this is no longer my problem” and blame someone else rather than step up to the plate and lead. Part of the current vaccine distribution problem appears to be that there was an attitude that if the vaccine was just shipped to the states, they would handle their end of the distribution problem. I, nor do I think most citizens, have much of an idea what went on in the coronavirus task force meetings between the feds and the states, but the outcome sure is not a ringing endorsement of the preparations.

I recently donated a small sum to help renovate the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and in return was sent a coffee mug. If you’ve been around a while, you might be able to guess what was inscribed on the mug;

“The buck stops here!”

I don’t think that Donald Trump could ever rise to that stature. If we have learned any lesson from recent history, it should tell us that *character matters!* Faustian bargains that put achieving certain goals above the means end badly.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Kristofferson,

Rather than the usual back and forth seen on these pages, I'd like to take a different road to a mutually rewarding conclusion. Are you game? If so, I'll start by asking you if your 10:48PM posting is directed at me. I do not like to assume. BTW, I reside in Alaska, which puts me in a different time zone. But not the Twilight Zone, as Mr. Fowler playfully indicated in another thread. Also, I do not care to suffer fools and choose to not be disagreeable with fellow patriots. Come man, let us play and learn while we are at it.

Ray Fowler

I know, I know... Harry Truman's quote was altered. I inserted the word "drivel" to replace a word the filters considered to be profanity. Look up Harry's quote to see what word was found to be objectionable. You'll laugh...

Ray Fowler

Doggone it! My earlier comment is bouncing around the ether...

Ray Fowler

David

Thanks for a thoughtful response. It’s great to hear a new voice in the comments section. BTW… it’s your turn to bring refreshments to the next meeting.

This is a reworked version of what I tried to send earlier. The filter kicked it out for profanity. Oh, dearie… maybe a conspiracy? Probably not.

Yes, Newsom erred. But his faux pas at the French Laundry pales in comparison to the one-billion-dollar deal for PPEs from… wait for it… China… that did not arrive, plans to ration care, snubbing nonprofits (which included support for the homeless), and lock downs put in place without any real explanation then withholding information about the lock downs. Don’t forget, Gavin’s initial reaction to going without a mask was not an apology. Other incidents? Let’s not forget the governor of New York, mayors for San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, Austin, Denver, and the 12th Congressional district’s representative.

I was a card carrying, bag totin’ Democrat for more than 30 years. I know it’s a cliché, but the party left me. I am now registered as an NPPer… and I vote for candidates from both sides of the aisle.

Trump rallies…

Absolutely… events need to be planned without creating unnecessary risk. No matter which group is planning the event. Who would disagree with that? Yet, the number of deaths in Democratic congressional districts was more than 130% higher (438 to 190) than losses in Republican districts through July 31. And a disparity between Democratic and Republican districts continued through December 31. Maybe the message is… it’s safer to go to a Trump rally than San Francisco.

Senators Rubio, Cruz and Graham’s support of Trump does not signal something seriously wrong with the Republican party. The party was not meeting the needs of its rank and file… Trump filled that void. On the other hand, what does the emergence of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, et al say about what might be wrong with the Democratic party? Do they meet the needs of the Democratic party’s rank and file?

I don’t agree with some things Donald Trump has said, and I don’t agree with some of the things he has done. But criticizing him for turning attention to the economy during the pandemic is disingenuous. After taking action to provide more PPEs and ventilators then pushing for the development of a vaccine, the Trump administration turned to trying to stabilize the economy. Remember, most Americans were not infected with COVID-19 but the economic effect of the virus was wreaking havoc on their lives. Ignoring the economy would be ignoring growing unemployment, business failures as well as the negative effect on the country’s collective psyche and other health problems, e.g., the increasing number of ODs. Suggesting Trump erred by turning attention to the economy while taking steps to combat the virus as if a Democratic party president would have done any differently is… like I said… disingenuous.

Harry Truman… what a guy. I believe the unique challenges he faced discourages comparisons to any president that followed him. One of my favorite stories about Truman involves the letter he wrote to Washington Post music critic, Paul Hume. The critic panned Margaret Truman’s singing in the paper. Truman responded. Remember, this is the President of the United States speaking. Harry wrote:

"I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an 'eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.'

It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such “drivel” as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

Are we really surprised? What father would not come to the defense of his daughter publicly for unfair treatment in the media? If Harry was with us today… don’t you think he would have tweeted his message to the Washington Post?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Kristofferson,

I beg your indulgence. Do you have a purpose for the linked article? There is is no commentary from you. An opinion of yours would be interesting.

DavidKristofferson

Dear Mr. Fernandez,

I do not seem to be able to reply to your comment posted after midnight because of a software limitation, nor did I get an alert that you had replied to the article, so please allow me to respond here where the software permits me. Most of my response was either to Ray, as you appear to have deferred to him on answering my earlier note, or to the general tone of the original letter. The only part of my response directed specifically to you was in regards to your question as to why I cited the SMDJ article in the link I posted above. In response to your desire to debate, yes, I am game, so let’s begin. My first question though is somewhat off topic. Why does someone in Alaska care about what goes on in a small local paper in San Mateo?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Good morning Mr. Kristofferson,

My apologies for a tardy reply. I lived in San Mateo County from 1961 until 1978. This past October, a childhood friend from San Mateo drew my attention to a conservative LTE and the liberal rebuttal to it.

Mr. Fowler has already written what I had in mind and have nothing further to add. So I look forward to learning from you in the future. Best Regards.

Terence Y

Well written, Mr. Abramson. And let’s not forget Biden killed more jobs in January with his EO’s than were created. And how Joe is allowing people caught and released in America without being tested for COVID. Before you know it, these released people will soon get vaccinations before you do. And I’m sure teachers of all ages, with their union clout, will soon be vaccinated before you. Unfortunately, you’re a hard-working, taxpaying citizen so you’ll be last in line. I’d suggest going to another state to get vaccinated. Or maybe raise some money for Good Sam hospital in Los Gatos. Oh wait, that scandal has been exposed, but as usual, nobody has been held accountable.

Rel

Warped viewpoint much? Biden did not give "priority" to vaccinating the prisoners at Guantanamo, but to the 6,000 soldiers based there, and, coincidentally including 40 prisoners. They, as human beings, deserve consideration just as anyone else. The military, on review, have withheld the vaccines.

Scott, if you want to criticize the distribution of vaccines, fair enough, it should always be fair game. At least Biden has a proactive plan, whereby his predecessor had none and thousands of lives were needlessly lost because of his inaction.

Ray Fowler

Wrong.

Before the election, left leaning DJ readers criticized President Trump's handling of the pandemic. Candidate Biden campaigned on having a plan. We never saw it.

I asked more than once... Trump limited travel in an effort to keep infected persons from infecting more Americans, pushed for manufacture and delivery of PPEs, activated the Defense Production Act to get industry producing medical equipment, he sent supplies, staff and beds to both coasts, kicked off the most aggressive vaccine development program in world history, and started to turn around a stalled economy. Don't forget that a lot of this was going on during a summer of violence...

I asked in these pages more than once... what exactly would Joe Biden do differently? What was this "plan" he was touting? Crickets. There was none.

Now, before Trump fans start dancing in the streets... the reality seems to be that we, as a nation, were caught off guard... completely. It matters none who was in the White House. Didn't anyone from either side of the aisle ever see a disaster movie featuring a pandemic? Screenplays seemed to have more solutions. But shutting off travel, buying or making more supplies, and kick starting a vaccine program seemed to make sense to everyone. No one had ever faced such a crisis in over 100 years. The past administration did what they could and if the current administration would have faced the same problem, they would have done the same things. Joe did not have a plan that differed from what was already being done...

Now, the vaccine issue is different in some respects. The states knew it was coming but some... California and New York... were ill prepared. Amazon didn't just drop off boxes of vaccines in Sacramento and Albany. I get it... neither Gavin nor Andrew had faced such a challenge. Let's be fair... but Dr. Abramson's misgivings about what's going on re: vaccines generally are valid. Why have California and New York not done a better job? I get it, again... mistakes are going to be made... fix 'em. But hiding data? Not good. Shutting down businesses without a solid explanation for why? Not good. Saying one thing and doing another? Really not good.

Coming full circle to the statement," At least Biden has a proactive plan, whereby his predecessor had none and thousands of lives were needlessly lost because of his inaction." Wrong.

Can we stop politicizing the pandemic? Can we start vaccinating the most vulnerable and everyone else without checking first to see what kind of bumper sticker is on someone's car?

Rel

What would Biden have done differently? Any answer would be conjecture, but it is safe to say Biden would not have farmed out all the decisions of supplies purely to the states like Trump. He would have, as now, a WH controlled national plan, or work on one, to distribute vaccines from various sources.

Yes, we should stop politicizing the process. However, Scott's letter here made it so and a reply was needed as his premise was faulty.

Ray Fowler

Still wrong... there simply was no plan or handful of magic beans to magically, mystically make everything OK. No Harry Potter wand... Intuitively, we know that's true... the part about the plan, not the wand. Ask yourself... if Joe had a plan so different and so capable of turning things around, why wouldn't he share that plan with the country in the months before the election? Trump would not get credit for such a progressive way of dealing with the pandemic. Asked another way... if Joe had a plan to save a huge number of American lives, why wouldn't he announce it right away? It almost sounds like... the Trump administration is doing a bad job, and a Biden administration can do better... but you'll have to elect a new president to get the new plan.

Terence Y

Nice try, Rel. So what exactly is Biden’s proactive plan? You must have inside information because nobody else knows of any plan. Maybe telling people to wear masks and then not wearing a mask while strolling around DC? Maybe vaccinating terrorists before Americans? Maybe allowing 40 thousand more people, and more each day, to die of COVID because Biden doesn’t have a plan? Maybe allowing people caught and released into the US without a COVID test? BTW, you can thank Trump for development of the vaccine in record time. You can thank Biden for losing 20 million doses.

Rel

Nice try Terrence. Anyone paying attention would know of the plan to distribute 1 million vaccines over 100 days, or 100 million. Incidentally, his actions are ahead of plan as more than 1.5 million daily are being distributed to date. Biden's actions, better than plans, has been to be purchasing millions of viols to speed up the process. I can thank Pfizer for developing the vaccines well before Trump's efforts. And, for the record, where did Biden lose 20 million doses? Reliable facts please.

Tafhdyd

Rel,

You were doing fine until you asked Terence for reliable facts. He has none. I have asked for months and I can tell you his answer before he gets on his keyboard, "just look and you will see them but don't look at fake news outlets".

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd...

Hello. Oops... I didn't see the exchange between Rel and Terence until after I responded to Rel's commentary. Sorry. I'm kinda done with this topic... I've got to scour NorCal medical facilities and try to book a vaccination appointment.

Hey... when's the next meeting to plan LTE postings?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hello gentleman,

I want in on the meetings as well.

Ray, rather than pat you on the back for your responses to Rel, I will thank him for providing you a stage, podium and microphone to share your take on the subject matter. He either has a strong constitution or is into fifty shades of gray. Hehe

Tafhdyd

Hello Wilfred,

By coincidence I just got off the phone with my friends in Ketchikan and we rehashed everything and solved all the worlds problems. Not sure if you saw it but I did respond to the Costco reply under Trump's unintended benefits the other day. Any thing new since the Avion tasting?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hi Tafhdyd,

I did see your reply on Costco. My wife and I have purchased wines and vodka there in the past. I will make it a point to check out the other goods the next time there. Nothing new to report on this time around. BTW, part of my new daily routine includes reading what you, Terrence and Ray have to say about solving the world's problems. As Joe Dirt said, "keep on keeping on". I always take away something to ponder. And as an added benefit, you are all more interesting than the mainstream media.

Do you know anything about dessert wines?

Terence Y

Hi Ray, to answer your question regarding the next meeting to plan LTE postings… It’s more of a matter of great minds thinking alike as opposed to needing any meetings to respond to the TDS crowd. If they ever came up with facts, we might have an issue, but so far, all we get are fake news and lies… and the usual hate and personal attacks.

As for booking a vaccination appointment, I recall that you may be a US veteran, and if so, the VA has been providing vaccinations for all vets, but not their spouses or family. According to my source, he knows of someone who was vaccinated last Sunday at the Palo Alto VA facility after Kaiser canceled his appointment due to a lack of doses.

Ray Fowler

Ah, Wilfredo...

You put so much wisdom into so few words... it's like... poetry.

Dessert wines... gotta go to Tafhdyd for that info. To me, they are too sweet. Or as the French say "tout suite." Hmmm... maybe that's not what the French say about dessert wines.

Ray Fowler

Hi, Terence

Thanks, pal. I didn't even think about the VA. That's a great tip. As a humble pensioner, I have a great health care program, however, I keep the TriCare coverage in my hip pocket as a backup.

Funny, I got a text from a super liberal buddy who is a Cal grad. I don't hold that against him... the Cal part. He told me that he booked an appointment through the Sutter/PAMF website. I logged on and booked an appointment. I wanted the vax right away, but I've got surgery next week and the timing will actually work out.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Fowler,

I took French for two years in high school. Mr. Larsen, the teacher, loved to poke fun at me. My knowledge of Spanish made me a bit over confident. His best poke I repeated to a French waitress, serving my family at the Chefs de France at Epcot Center in Disney World. No doubt the waitress was priming me for a better than average gratuity by complimenting my French. When I shared Mr. Larsen's dart in the heart, she howled in laughter. Apparently, "You sound like a Spanish cow" is a common insult in France. One of my many fond memories. That waitress and Mr. Larsen had smiles bright enough to light up the world. And so much for my French!

Tafhdyd

Hello Wilfred,

I can only give you my own experience with dessert wines being as I do have them occasionally but I am not an expert by any means. I usually go with a basic port or sherry most of the time mainly because that is what is often most available. I have had some of the fancy stuff, Tokaj from Hungry or the Sauternes from France but they are often high priced and only for special occasions in my book.

Locally I often go with some of the late harvest Zinfandels which are very similar to a port. A local Italian restaurant we have frequented pre COVID always gave us a small glass of Marsala after dinner and being as my wife and sister-in-law didn’t care for it I had three glasses.

As a side note while we were on a Mediterranean cruise about five years ago we stopped in Portugal and did a tour of Taylor Fladgate port winery. Being as we were not going to be back I decided to spring for a taste of the 1855 vintage port to see what it was like at $4,000 a bottle. The pour was $150 but was worth it for a one time event. It was very different from the regular ports and also very good but I won’t be buying a case of it. I would recommend you do the same if the occasion arises.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mi amigo Tafhdyd,

Please understand, I always consider potential motives and earned respect before seeking opinions. Otherwise I cannot value or find use for them. I'm excited by what you shared. My wife, the sweetness of my life, will no doubt enjoy what you have shared. Thank you!

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