Day 2 After National Emergency Declaration

The incidence of cases keeps climbing. China, Singapore and Japan and perhaps the UK seem to be keeping a lid on the numbers but Italy’s figures are jumping.

In California, people 65 and older are asked to stay home. Theatres and restaurants are closing and the CDC recommends that social gatherings be limited to 50 people.

The economy is widely expected to contract for this quarter and the next which would put us in recession territory. In a calming move the Federal Reserve announced that the interest rate would be slashed to near zero.

There were more people out today in Pasadena. Some restaurants were open, others closed. It was a pretty day overall.

Until testing is widely available I’ll monitor my condition and only go in to urgent care or my doctor’s office if I develop a cough and a fever.

I read that the nation’s food supply is ample so I’m okay for now.

Tomorrow I won’t be walking into a Starbucks. They’ve gone to online only.

If testing were widely available, I’d get tested but that is not yet possible.

I expect to go to work Tuesday, unless I hear from my work site.

My priority, of course, is to not catch this virus.

I’m getting better at not touching my face, but it’s a struggle. I’m more aware of it when I step out. When I do, I’ve assigned my left hand to open doors, keeping my right hand for anything that would touch food.

I watched the debate between Biden and Sanders. Biden brought up the importance of getting the military involved. I think it’s necessary. This being a national emergency, the government should also be repurposing private industry to make the kinds of machinery that we will need to help us save lives, such as respirators. The virus is especially hard on the lungs and the supportive assistance the respirators provide will make the difference between life and death.

With the military involved, we will be able to improvise enough additional hospital space to tend to the greater number we expect to be infected.

The coronavirus has declared war on us and we have to fight back.

No need to panic. We’ll get through this.

I was glad to see Biden commit to selecting a woman as VP. I thought it was the high point of the debate. Sanders wavered when asked if he’d go along with that but then said yes, most likely.

If you can go out for a walk during the day, do so. It will boost your immunity and clear your mind.

Good night.

Warren Will Endorse Biden. Obama, When Will You?

In the next day or two, Warren will make her announcement. The choice is clear. She’s a talented intellectual with a political future. There is no future in endorsing Sanders.

Warren miscalculated when she took a center left position that made her seem too close to Sanders, and she’s paid the price in the polls.

But she has a political future. I think she should campaign for Biden all the way through November and thus add weight to the Biden movement.

And she would make a fine secretary of state in a Biden administration.

With the show of strength in Super Tuesday, Biden’s campaign should steadily add to the lead in delegates and so go into Milwaukee with the sufficient number.

Which brings me to the matter of vice presidential choice.

It should be a woman.

As things stand now, Amy Klobuchar is in the lead among potential candidates.

Biden will be tempted to consider Harris for the position but I think it will be a mistake.

He already has the black vote. He doesn’t need to offer the position as a gift for their support.

What he needs to do, once he’s elected, is deliver on the promises he’s made.

And now to Obama’s endorsement.

I see the merits of his having abstained from endorsing Biden to let things play out.

But they have already played out. And it is clear that Biden’s solid performance on Super Tuesday will continue to be replicated in other states.

Endorsing Biden now may seem like the kiss of death to the Sanders’ campaign but the party needs to solidify behind Biden and the quicker it is done, the more productive the outcome.

Sanders’ supporters need to feel represented in Biden’s campaign.

And so should every American, including those who now support Donald Trump.

The message will need to be refined. The less strife leading up to the convention, the more time to clarify the positions and broaden the appeal.

The Las Vegas Debate Last Night

Much anticipated and much revealing, it was a fiery, gloves off contest, where everyone got to have a moment in the sun.

Barring a major embarrassment, however, we have seen enough to begin to firm up our opinions. The traded punches have begun to seem familiar.

Was there a surprise?

Yes, and it was Bloomberg.

The expectation, going in, was that he would be trounced, ripped apart, by the rest of the field.  He was not. Instead, he took it on the chin and came right back. He was the newcomer with a chance to shoot right up to the top and he was given that importance. He wore it well.

He was steady throughout, acknowledging his mistakes but pressing on. He was unapologetic about his wealth. And he now is giving it away, he said. Mind you, he has a long record of philanthropic efforts so this is not something that started last month.

Is the man politically correct? No. Is the man charismatic? Not either. Is the man flawed? Yes. But can the man learn? Yes. Can he lead? Yes.

Bloomberg doesn’t make you move to the edge of your seat when he speaks, he doesn’t dance with flowery statements, but he clearly conveys a sense that he can steer a ship to safe harbor. ‘We need a manager in the White House,’ I recall him saying, and we don’t have one.

Sanders was reveling in his front runner status. It won’t last. And even if it does, it will be for naught. He cannot beat Trump.

Is Bloomberg buying the election? Of course not.

He’s not buying my vote, he is earning it.

But many will continue to accuse him of doing so.

A candidacy like Bloomberg’s is unprecedented.

Can we have enough sense to see it for what it is?

No one on that stage, other than him, has a chance to beat Trump. No one on that stage has a chance of persuading ambivalent Trump supporters, dissatisfied with the president’s performance, to come over to the democratic side. No one on that stage has the ability to outspend Trump.

That Bloomberg was once a republican becomes a plus. He has been on the other side.

That Bloomberg brings a combination of strong commitment to social causes along with excellence in business is a huge asset.

We can choose to ignore this and keep believing the rant that he’s buying the election, but we would be passing up on a unique opportunity.

There’s that old saying that nations deserve the leaders they get.

There’ much truth to it.

If the many mistakes leading up to Trump’s elections hadn’t been made, he would not have become president. So, yes, we deserve Trump. But can we learn from it?

In Bloomberg we have a candidate who, while not perfect, represents an opportunity for the nation to right its present course.

We can, however, in the face of the evidence, stop our ears, close our eyes, stomp our feet in desperation while believing Sanders when he says that billionaires should not exist, implying that, instead of making his money, Bloomberg should have been doing missionary work to save the poor in our land.

If we don’t wake up we’re going to miss this unique chance. Let us not do that.

One last thought. Amy Klobuchar performed very well. She has been consistent throughout and is good at defending herself with restraint and substance.

She would make a terrific vice presidential choice, and a good president soon.

So here’s my choice for the democratic ticket. Bloomberg – Klobuchar.

I may have a bumper sticker printed out.

One final thought. Dearest America, think, please, think.

Trump vs Sanders. Let Us Not Demonize. The Importance of Explaining Trump.

So far, on the road to election day in November, Sanders is heading the democratic pack. He is, of course, a devout believer in government intervention. Trump, on the other hand, is a strong advocate of deregulation. Deregulating everything. Even morals.

Sanders tells us that he will pass Medicare for All, the undocumented included and, please, no billionaires. They should be outlawed. So let us be pious and self sacrificing, says the good man, give me the sick from all over the world and we will cover you.

Trump shouts proudly to his followers, ‘I am a billionaire! Be like me!’ Of course, the fantasy will be out of reach for the vast majority of his fans but something about the possibility of achieving it makes it hard to give up.

Who do you think will win in November? Not Sanders.

No matter how rough the road to riches, no matter how filled with obstacles, we want to make sure it is still there. And if we choose not to go down that path, or if it is not for us, then do allow someone else to go for it, someone with the imagination, tenacity and daring.

Sanders’ overemphasis on government intervention will block that road.

Is Trump a problem? Yes.

How are we going to defeat him?

We must explain him. Not demonize him.

What did Trump do to gain the loyalty of his followers in 2016?

He said to his audience, ‘never mind piety, you have for too long been shackled by it. Had you not been so pious you would have complained loudly about globalization taking away your jobs, had you not been so pious you would’ve marched on your state capitals and demanded action. And so I say to you, cast aside your piety and follow me. I will show you the way. I will sin for you and spare you such burden so you may be all you can be. In return, I only ask that you pledge your complete devotion to me, and with the power of your wind beneath my wings we will soar as high as you wish (just keep blowing hard). Make America Great Again. Be not afraid for together we shall not fail’. And, entranced by his grand incantation, they gave their devotion to him. Him, who, in spite of his riches (we haven’t seen the tax returns), had no track record whatsoever of ever helping anybody but himself.

What else did Trump do to gain his loyal following in 2016?

He appropriated immigration. Made it his own. Mounted on his big white horse, clad in his gilded armor, his hair nicely in place, the great man said to his audience, ‘How dare these different colored people come to our land and prosper when you have been left behind? We must not allow it. If we do, one day soon they will become our masters. Would you like that?’ And the enchanted crowd sprang to its feet, pumping their fists high in the air, ‘No, we will not!’ They cried in fury, surprised that they had so much of it in them. And Trump, himself, struck by the fervor he had ignited, thought to himself, ‘dammit, I have them in the palm of my hand, don’t I?  I had no idea I was this good. I’m no longer the sorcerer’s apprentice, I have become the sorcerer himself.’ 

And returning to his crowd, which stood agape, hungering for his wisdom and guidance, he said, ‘No, we will not allow it. So let us ban these different colored people who have invaded us with the blessing of the traitorous democrats, let us ban them and build a wall to keep them out forever. And yes, I will sin if I must, and in return, I only ask that you pledge to me your complete devotion’. And they roared their approval.

With their devotion, Trump now could do as he wished. And he did.

After all that hoopla, however, has Trump really empowered his supporters? No. He has started to build a wall and wages have gone up a little with improvements in the economy for which Obama had laid the groundwork. (the massive benefit from the tax cuts Trump passed in 2018 went to the wealthy and have yet to trickle down to the lower classes. Don’t hold your breath)

True empowerment comes from lasting changes but Trump is a man for the moment, not a man for the future. He is not a man who sows the land but a man who harvests what is already there. In fact, he wouldn’t know what to plant, for planting in people’s souls is no easy task.

If he knew how to do it, he would’ve said to his followers, ‘you have made some mistakes, my fellow Americans, and I will help you overcome them. I will work to make you stronger, better educated, better advocates for yourselves, so you can get what you need in an increasingly complex world, where the power of knowledge and creativity is what allows us to compete effectively and succeed. I have faith in you and will work with you. There is no need to pick a quarrel with the rest of America or with foreigners, no need to claim a monopoly on virtue. Only hard work will set us free’.

Trump wished he could have said that. But it was beyond his grasp. He saw the world in a narrower way. ‘I’m 70ish and running out of time’ he said to himself, ‘I want to get on top while I can and will do what I must’.

But let us not demonize.

Regardless of his coarseness, his bullying and narrow mindedness, Trump has stirred up energies in his supporters that democrats should be careful not to brand as merely racist and white supremacist.

There are layers of that present, indeed, but there is something more that Trump is awakening. When he says to his supporters, ‘let’s have it all, right now, let us make America great again, let us be all we can be and the hell with everybody else!’ he is firing up the driving force of self interest.

There’s something very strong about that position. It is devoid of suffocating restraints and hindrances. It is not pious.

We do need rules, mind you, fair rules and decency, so we can live together in peace, just not as many as Sanders want us to have.

We do need to be respectful to others so they will be respectful to us in turn, but we do not need to be as pious as Sanders wants us to be.

Trump has strengths and they have to be acknowledged.

Demonizing him will not do.

Explaining Trump, on the other hand, will help us see how he went about exploiting human frailty and how he keeps doing it.

The good news is that there is still time.

One final note on immigration.

Immigration is too powerful a cultural and economic force to be appropriated by one man. No one leader or group should claim the power to decide its future. Instead, the issue needs to be addressed by the entire nation. Holding a National Referendum on Immigration Reform will be one way to empower all Americans on the matter. Each citizen, one vote. Let us not be afraid of it.

The Speech that Biden and Sanders are About to Give.

(It was written by the two and is to be delivered by them at two separate locations at the same time)

Dear fellow Americans,

At no time in our history, have so many talented women chosen to run for the office of president. At no time has there been such great need for our best publicly minded citizens to step forward.

The values that our nation holds dear, freedom, openness, fairness, strength of character, compassion, are under assault by the bigoted and the small minded.

Democracy itself being under siege, it is urgent that we join forces to fight back against those who seek to divide us and plunge us into darkness.

The two of us have a long history in politics. You may disagree with us on some matters, but we both are confident that, in our different capacities and to the best of our abilities, we have always endeavored to do the best we could for the nation.

And so it is that with both sadness and joy, the two of us would like to announce that we are no longer seeking the office of the presidency.

We are saddened because we are putting aside our highest personal ambition, which is not easy.

We are joyful because we think our decision will pave the way for a woman to become president to all Americans.

We democrats are facing in Mr Trump a candidate who will be showered with money by the financiers and business people who want to continue to get the tax cuts and deregulations that favor them.  

We democrats are facing in Mr Trump a candidate for whom money will not be an obstacle in this election, because the affluent class of this country sees him as their best hope to maintain inequality and keep them in power .

But the unfairness we are seeing in taxes, in health care, in education, is breaking our backs and degrading the American spirit.

This is the time to stand up against those forces that keep spreading the word that if the very rich cannot keep getting richer, why then there would be no more creativity in the land.

This is the time to rise against those forces that keep telling us that if the very rich are not given unlimited privileges, why then the rest of us would not have it in ourselves to find our way to prosperity and harmony.

They are wrong. Very wrong.

We democrats, strongly believe, that when education and health care are made available to all of us, then that will release the drive and ingenuity that is needed to create a world where there is dignity alongside plenty.

And we believe, that this very special moment in our history, is just the right time for an American woman to step front and rise to the office of the presidency, leading us to unity, greater prosperity and reestablishing our place among the nations of the world.  

In 1789, two hundred and thirty years ago, we elected George Washington as our first president.

During those two hundred and thirty years since we elected George Washington, we have never elected a woman president.

Two hundred and thirty years.

My fellow Americans, don’t tell us that in nearly a quarter of a millennium there has not been a highly qualified woman capable of carrying out the duties of president of this nation.

There has not been a woman president in our land because consciously or unconsciously, overtly or covertly, we consistently have thought of ourselves as better than them.

Let us be brave and admit it, for that is the first step toward healing the soul.

Look into your heart and tell us that you have not come across a woman who was just as talented as you are or more.

Look into your heart and tell us that you have not come across a woman who did not have ample leadership qualities.

If you haven’t then you haven’t looked. If you haven’t then you have been blind. Talented women are everywhere, they are standing next to us this moment. They are present in every field of endeavor, and they have been vastly underutilized.

It has been our loss. We cannot afford such waste.

Our current president is a symbol of the undervaluing of women. Put aside his many degrading remarks and just look at the composition of his cabinet. Out of 15 positions, only 2 are presently occupied by women. Only 2, the secretaries of education and transportation. Is this not a representative democracy?

Both of us who have crafted this speech have had good political careers. We’re not done yet. But we think that we both have had a good run and that it is time to step aside and let a woman move forward.

We are taking this position, more than a year before the election, because we believe that the electorate needs to get to know the women candidates for president. We are also taking this position partly because of our age, and there’s no turning back the hands of time.

We may have our own preferences as to a woman candidate, but we are not endorsing anyone just now.

We strongly believe, however, that during this next year before the general election, we will need to concentrate our efforts and that the less diluted the field is, the more clear our choice will become, and the less likely it will be that we squander much needed resources.

Fellow Americans, the nation needs to heal.

Our current president is tearing us apart.

We need someone with the capacity to reach out to those whose animosity is consuming them, remind them that in unity lies our strength, and so begin to build the bridges to a fairer, kinder and stronger America.

Let us make 2020, the Year of the American Woman*. By then, it will have been 231 years since we elected our 1st president.

Thank you

And God bless America.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

*The idea that 2020 be designated the Year of the American Woman, was first proposed on 7/18/2019 by an obscure California writer and blogger who shall remain unnamed.