Phil-osopy, March 23rd, 2020: Cartoons, Collins’ Letter, Uphaus’ Commentary, and PHIL’s news

Letters from Chris Collins: Please let him know that you lament his representation of his citizens’ views. call or email him:  540-539-1724; DelCCollins@house.virginia.gov. He needs to know that many of us are disgusted with his representation. He was ONE of two delegates voting to keep Lee Jackson Day (rather than turn voting day into a state holiday).

Charles Uphaus: “What now for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary?”

The Virginia Legislature has passed, and the governor has said he will sign (if he hasn’t already done so), several firearms safety measures including universal background checks, a “red flag” (extreme risk protective order) bill, and restrictions on the number of handguns one can purchase per month (one). Some might regard this, rather than covid-19, as signs of the real apocalypse. None of these measures, of course, restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to possess, buy or sell firearms. But the question now is, having declared the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” what do the Frederick County supervisors, propose to do about it? 

Will they instruct the Sheriff to flout the law, thereby making themselves parties to obstruction of justice? Dubious. Will they instruct the county attorney to initiate a legal challenge, knowing in advance that such an action will be laughed out of court? (Local governments have no legal standing to challenge state law.) Let’s hope not. The county attorney has (we would hope) far better things to do than pursue frivolous legal actions.  

Having made their views (and fears, of being painted as insufficiently pro-gun when they’re next up for election) known, the reasonable and responsible thing for supervisors now would be to step back and get on with doing the things they were elected to do – not the least of which is public health and ensuring that the county is doing all it can to protect the residents against the pandemic now raging. We can be sure that the scandal-ridden NRA and the CDL are already oiling their legal weaponry in preparation for full-blown legal challenge to the new laws. Let’em. There are far more urgent matters for county government to attend to.

PHIL’s News and Commentary

HELPING PUTIN.  It comes as no surprise to you that trump’s policies have helped Russia.  Of course, trump’s administration and republicans in general point out some things trump has done to deter Russia, but they pale in comparison to what he did to help them.  This CNN article gets into the details.  It’s useful information when talking to someone who may be swayed to vote for a good candidate like a Democrat.

TRUTHINESS.  There are many fact-checking groups out there and most are very fair and accurate.  Regretfully, there are a few that exist primarily to “verify” the trash coming from the liars.  The two I find very good are the independent Snopes and Poynter’s IFCN.

TRIVIA.  People seem to have a problem pronouncing Pete Buttigieg’s name.  No wonder!  It is Maltese, a language difficult to pronounce due to its strangely mixed origins, and translates roughly to “lord of the poultry.”  You probably never knew.

INTELLIGENCE – THE LACK THEREOF.  This past Sunday morning, a good federal health official recommended people close all types of bars.  That same morning, republican Rep. Devin Nunes (a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, of all things!) urged people to go out to local pubs and restaurants.  My brother lives in a very republican area in Louisiana and reports that based the vehicles out front, the bars are packed.  Don’t be a republican.  Stay away from crowds until this health crises passes.

YOUR RIGHTS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19.  Do you have all the same rights under a state of emergency?  The answer is not all of them, but this Snopes article gives the answer to that and other related questions.  It is a good read and information you need to know.

TEMPORARY HOSPITALS.  Now that colleges are shutting for on-campus classes, a couple of colleges in Massachusetts have opened their dorms as temporary hospital space and more in that state are considering doing the same.  Neat idea!

IS IT ME?  Maybe it is just me.  The way I see it, we have a President who tries to buy his way out of problems.  He came up with the idea (not really his own since Romney had it earlier and Yang before him) to give everyone except millionaires a lump of money.  Sounds like vote buying to me.  When it first became apparent that the financial markets didn’t like the coronavirus and the President’s response to it, the markets tanked big time, so he had the interest rates cut.  Now there is no real room to cut them more.  He also gave oil, gas, and various industries many billions of dollars, a sum that eventually is likely to go well over a trillion dollars.

He, working with his fellow trumplicans, came up with a strategy to help fight the spread of the coronavirus and proudly told the public how well the trumplicans were protecting the public.  Never mind that it is almost identical to what the Democrats were already trying to propose in Congress.  The major difference is that the help the Democrats wanted to give to people would go to corporations instead.

Now we get reports of cases that are not included in the “official” counts.  Not just a few, but many.  Are they trying to prevent panic?  Probably, but that didn’t stop the general public from doing foolish things like overstocking on toilet paper, which is probably the last thing they need to stock up on.  There was a long line waiting to get into Costco today.

Maybe he is doing the right thing, although it sounds like he wants a lot of credit for what others were trying to do and has publicly stated that the crisis isn’t his problem.  Maybe it is me, but I don’t think so.

GASLIGHTING.  That is what this CNN commentary says trump is doing to the public about the coronavirus outbreak.  Watch it and see if you agree.  If you don’t know what gaslighting is, watch the 1944 movie Gaslight.

RUSSIANS AGAIN.  Per this Reuters report, the Russians are sowing coronavirus disinformation with the objective of causing panic in the West and the European Union.  You can read the entire article in about 4 minutes.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF REPUBLICANS.  How badly did the republicans blow the coronavirus pandemic?  Watch this brief video and be very afraid.  It makes you glad you are a Democrat.

NEW DEFINITION.  The word is trumpism – the act of setting a strategy and immediately undermining it.  That is exactly what he has done with the COVID-19 virus problem.  If you want examples, check out this CNN article.

STOCK MARKET DROPS.  It is said that the 8 largest single-day drops in the Dow Jones Industrial Average were all under trump.  That is true; however, the best way to compare is on percentage drop, as does this Snopes article.  Per Snopes, along with some updated information, the largest such drop under trump was 12.93% on March 16 this year, making it in second place of all-time single-day drops.  With the updated information, the top 10 such percentage drops were all during republican administrations.  See this Wikipedia article for the most up-to-date information.  Of this writing, two of the top 10 happened under trump.

REDNECK FIX.  If you are in high tech, you approach things differently – at times.  When the Mars Lander had a problem, NASA fixed it by hitting it with a shovel.  Really!  Read about it in this article.

$40 MILLION.  That’s how much money the “Never Trump” Republicans (I’ll show some respect for our mutual goal) plan to spend to help defeat trump and elect a Democratic Senate this fall.  This Yahoo!News article tells more.

SECOND PANDEMIC.  This isn’t the first pandemic trump’s team has faced.  One week prior to his inauguration, his team was hit with H9N9 viral pandemic.  He didn’t learn.  This Politico article tells more.

More recently, trump’s Intelligence Chair raised the pandemic alarm in a private meeting with North Carolina businesses on the same day trump said it would disappear “like a miracle.”  Read this NPR article for more.

A REAL LEADER.  What would a real leader do in a time of the coronavirus outbreak?  Read this General-Anzeiger report to find the full, but brief speech by a real leader.  She isn’t an American.

BE HAPPY.  Being happy helps people through troubling times and illnesses.  According to this CNN short video, the UN ranks the top five happiest countries based on income, freedom, absence of corruption, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity.  See which countries ranked.  It also tells where the U.S. ranks.

NEW SOCIETYThis Politico article offers a wealth of ideas and opinion for a brighter future.  I particularly like the decline in polarization topic.  Other topics include “a new kind of patriotism”, “less individualism”, “new forms of reform”, and “science reigns again”.  That is a list of less than half of the topics.

CALL FOR REPUBLICANS.  Yes, people are now calling for at least two republicans to resign.  It looks like they dumped millions of dollars in stock just prior to announcing had bad COVID-19 really is.  Here is a Reuters report on it.

MARCH 20, 1854.  On this date, the republican party of the United States was founded in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, by slavery opponents.  Regretfully, over time they lost sight of their objectives.

President rump talks and talks and talks, misrepresenting reality with each syllable.

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