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12 October 2017

The title describes how I've felt pretty much every day since #45 was inaugurated in January.  There are bright spots (mostly when visiting Tom and the kids) when I can forget for a few hours...or even a day.  But then turn on the TV and it all comes flooding back in. 

My favorite former newspaper columist Jon Carroll nailed it on his on-line blog the other day.

I did not think for 107 whole minutes about Trump, who has contempt for artists and art and, for that matter, the concept of free speech. In fact, he has contempt for almost everything that makes what's important and useful in American life. It can make you fucking crazy. I feel so powerless.

Despair doesn't get us anywhere. Despair just makes us take to our rooms with a six-pack of whatever and a television playing endless reruns of "Law and Order," where our faith in justice is restored every sixty minutes.

The Talking heads used to talk about a variety of things and now 99% of all discussion--even on the 3 hour daily Morning Joe centers around #45 and the horrible thing he has done today, the horrible things he did in the past (how many times have you seen the Access Hollywood tape? or the horrible things he might do in the future.

Check Twitter and it's all either #45's tweets or people's response to them (Carl Reiner is great!)

I don't remember ever thinking this much about a president in my life...and heck, I lived through two Bushes!  I heard that #45 is only happy when the spotlight is on him and he has certainly learned how to do that.

But in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the situation on Puerto Rico is more upsetting than most. People especially in the remote areas have not had water or food in 3 weeks, except dirty water which is causing the beginning of a plague of leptospirosis, which is easily cured...if you get medicine, which it doesn't look like they will.  They are already seeing the first deaths from the disease.

#45 minimizes the results because it wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Katrina.  At the time there were only 16 official deaths.  He may get his wish, though, as NPR reported yesterday that there are 317 bodies in a morgue somewhere, and both PBS and CNN reported 39 and 45 bodies elsewhere.  If we wait long enough, we may actually have a "real catastrophe" here.

While #45 laughs and brags about how happy the people were when he tossed paper towels at them, Pence was feeing their pain and hugging victims (yes, it could have been a photo op, I realize, but at least it shows some degree of empathy).  Pence promised the people that the government would be with them as long as it took to get them back on their feet.

Trumpís response to Harvey in Texas: "TEXAS: We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!"

Trump's response to Irma in Florida: "With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!"

Trumpís response to Maria in Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico survived the hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making...Electric and all infrastructure was a disaster before hurricanes,  Congress to decide how much to spend.  We cannot keep FEMA, the military & the first responders, who have been amazing, in P.R. forever." 

I have never seen a hint of a note of concern for the suffering people who have now been without electricity, water, or food for 3 weeks.

Comments on this tweet include "Puerto Rico is without food, water and electricity and somehow the president thinks a shame-tweet is appropriate.  It's almost as if he thinks Puerto Rico deserves this.

Newsweek ran this headline:  TRUMP DONATED HIS OWN MONEY TO TEXAS, BUT HEíS THREATENING TO CUT OFF AID TO PUERTO RICO.  The article reads "Trumpís statement that he is losing patience with the relief effort in Puerto Rico came as millions of island residents, who are U.S. citizens, remain without power, clean drinking water or other critical resources, while the death toll rose to 45....Meanwhile, Trump seemed to be working hard for the title of "comforter in chief" following Harvey, the first major natural disaster to affect his presidency. He pledged to donate $1 million of his own money, which went to the American Red Cross, nonprofit Christian organizations and eight other humanitarian groups." 

(Given his history of making such sweeping promises which he forgets to follow up on, one wonders if the Red Cross actually got this money.)

The Navy has this wonderful ship called the USN Comfort.  With more than 700 medical personnel, 5,000 units of blood and 12 operating rooms, it is one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States. What sets it apart from most others is that it just happens to float.

It was not deployed to Puerto Rico until Hillary Clinton tweeted that it should be sent to help.  Four days later it was sent and arrived five days after that.  Somewhere in the middle of the second week of the tragedy.

Rachel Maddow did a report on the ship, which has been docked in the port of San Juan.  Want to know how many patients it is now treating, this ship which is equipped to handle as many as 500 patients? Seven.  SEVEN.  Why?

She says it's not the response, it's not the availability, it's the organization.  A dock loaded with water and supplies, a hospital ship standing in wait, some roads finally clear and NOBODY to help the people.  I saw a video on Twitter made by five ex-soldiers who came to P.R. to help and are pleading for more assistance because it's more than five people can handle.

FEMA managed to make it to a remote village three have them fill out paper work asking for assistance.  You'd think they could have loaded up their car with water and food as long as they were going that way anyway,  It's not their job.  They are there to get the paper work done.  They say that they delivered supplies to a central location and it's up to the mayor to get it to the town.  Without a car, and without fuel if he had one.  But that's not FEMA's problem.  They are doing "their job" and the hell with the suffering people.

It's time for people to stop worrying about their job description and look around at the suffering and go the extra mile to help.

I won't even talk about #45's response to the California fires.....




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