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A Bigoted Buffoon
       In a short sci-fi story by Pat Cadigan (“Dispatches from the Revolution”), published in 1991 in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, he noted that one politician “understood that the common man felt pushed around by the government and exploited this feeling. In a quieter era, he would have come off as a bigoted buffoon….” Over twenty-five years later, this seems to have rung true. The important thing now is that it does not recur in November!
       A debate is defined as being a formal public discussion of a particular topic in which opposing arguments are put forward under the direction of a moderator. The intent is for the audience to clearly hear the opposing positions, presented in an organized manner, so that they can then have a clearer understanding of the topic. This enables them to make rational decisions on what might be a difficult topic. The first presidential debate was anything but this. Trump was disrespectful and disruptive. In addition, he used false statements and displayed his innate trait of being a bully.
       Prior to that, for the first time in its 175 years of existence, Scientific American has selected to endorse a particular presidential candidate. As the editors state: “The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his willfully ignorant and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 170,000 Americans their lives by the middle of August. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges.”
       In addition, they also noted that “Trump’s reaction to America’s worst public health crisis in a century has been to say ‘I don’t take responsibility at all.’ Instead he blamed other countries and his White House predecessor, who left office three years before the pandemic began.” Furthermore, “Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.”
       In an editorial in the 18 September 2020 issue of Science, H. Holden Thorp stated “Now, because famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward recorded him, we can hear Trump’s own voice saying that he understood precisely that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was deadly and spread through the air. As he was playing down the virus to the public, Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people.”
       In an article in the September/October 2020 issue of Sierra, Antonia Juhasz noted: “Today, the global oil industry is in a tailspin. Demand has cratered, prices have collapsed, and profits are shrinking. The oil majors…are declaring bankruptcy, and investors are looking elsewhere for returns. Significant changes to when, where, and how much oil will be produced, and by whom, are already underway. It is clear that the oil industry will not recover from COVID-19 and return to its former self. What form it ultimately takes, or whether it will even survive, is now very much an open question. Under President Donald Trump, the United States has joined other petroleum superpowers in efforts to maintain oil’s dominance. While government bailout programs and subsidies could provide the lifeline the industry needs to stay afloat, such policies will likely throw good money after bad….Led by President Trump and Republicans in Congress, oil and gas companies in the United States had, by June, received billions of dollars in both direct federal COVID-19 benefits and indirect payouts through new Federal Reserve pandemic-relief spending….”
       The recent release of Trump’s tax returns just adds to everything else. He has paid either nothing or minimal taxes for almost two decades, and some question has been raised of millions of dollars of owed taxes. In addition, the results reflect his inability to actually succeed in the business world. Finally, as David Leonhardt noted on 21 September 2020 in “The Morning” – a summary of the previous day’s issue of The New York Times: “The political battles of the next few months — both the court fight and the election — are about as consequential as American politics get.” This election is critical, and it is important that the results actually reflect the desires and needs of the people of this nation!
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