John Seiffer: “With regard to yesterday’s Equal Time: Listen to Trump Activists, you said it’s going to be hard to change their minds. It’s not. It’s going to be impossible. Years ago, you posted my experiences in a religious cult. Regardless of the form of the cult (they come in different guises) cult members have internal, psychological motivations for what they believe and who they follow. This can change, but when outsiders try to force that change it makes them more steadfast in their beliefs. [Hello Carl!  Hello, Tom!]  Teri Kanefield studies the political aspects of this mental aberration. She says there are ~40% of the population that want to follow an autocratic leader. If your readers don’t already follow her on twitter or her blog, they should. She actually has a hopeful message.  My take away? Dems must forget about Trumpers and focus on motivating everyone else to get out and vote blue.”

→ Amen, bravo, and, if you can, click here.  No amount too small.

Pete Jackson: “Not only will it be hard to change their minds, but there’s just so many of them.  I live out here in rural New Hampshire, where I had an argument with a guy about the Democrats coming to take his guns.  I told him that the Democrats didn’t want to come and take anybody’s guns.  He said that they came and took his guns.  It turns out he’s a felon. He bounced a large check and then failed to appear.  The sheriff came and took his guns.  There was no way I could convince him this is how the system is supposed to work.  So I guess now we’re supposed to be in favor of arming felons!?”

→ Some states do allow felons to own guns.  Others, like Republican strongholds Idaho, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, do not.

Carl fired back with this clip from Fox to show that there are idiots on both sides.  But do you know what?  Except for one of them, who clearly didn’t know what he was talking about, the interviewees were just fine.  Even the one who thought capitalism wasn’t working so well.  And the guy who didn’t know what he was talking about?  He admitted he was ill-informed and apologized.  Not the characteristics of a cult member.

And second, LEADERSHIP:

If we had had competent, professional leadership — as in a democracy like South Korea — we could have avoided all this.

Posted at New York Magazine — “The Leader of the Free World Gives a Speech, and She Nails It.

Angela Merkel doesn’t do drama and she doesn’t give speeches on TV. So the mere fact that the German chancellor faced the camera across a desk and spoke to the nation Wednesday evening made the gravity of the situation clear. “Es ist ernst,” she said—“This is serious”— and those three bland words had more power than a hellfire sermon. Then she pivoted from statement to plea: “Take it seriously.” Quickly, she moved on to historical context, the reason for her unprecedented impromptu appearance: “Since German unification—no, since the Second World War—no challenge to our nation has ever demanded such a degree of common and united action.”

Merkel made no specific announcements and called for no nationwide curfews or additional closures. Yet what gave her address its force was her tone, which was direct, honest, and searingly empathic. She laid bare not just the test we all face but also the solace that leadership can provide. Without accusations, boasts, hedges, obfuscations, dubious claims, or apocalyptic metaphors she did what a leader is supposed to do: explain the gravity of the situation and promise that the government’s help would flow to everyone who needed it. She gave full-throated thanks to front-line medical workers, assured Germans that there is no need to hoard, and paused to offer gratitude to a group of workers who rarely get recognized by heads of state on national TV: “Those who sit at supermarket cash registers or restock shelves are doing one of the hardest jobs there is right now.”

This is a war without a human enemy, and Merkel lay no blame. She asked for the sacrifice of discipline, for heroic acts of kindness. She acknowledged the paradox in calling for solidarity and apartness at the same time. She understood how painful it is that just when people desperately want to come together, families and friends have to endure separation. To Americans, Merkel’s appeals to democracy, and her sadness at having to use the full weight of her authority, come as a welcome shock. No German could listen to her calls for self-policing without recalling that she grew up in East Germany under the eye of the Stasi. “For someone like myself, for whom freedom of travel and movement were hard-won rights,” she said, “such restrictions can only be justified when they are absolutely necessary.” No American could hear that statement and fail to contrast it with our own leader’s ringing words: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

Remember when America led the Free World?  The American Century ended exactly on time, January 20, 2017, 100 years after we entered World War I.

Carl Granados: “What is happening with the virus is what happens when we ignore science.  The ignoring of global warming even when we see the fires of Australia and California is on par with ignoring what was happening in China.  How much warning do we need?  The corona virus is a preview of what’s coming if we re-elect Republicans who don’t believe in science.”

And now — finally — THE JOURNEY TO RE-OPENING!

These three Chinese small business stories come via a friend who lives in China and writes: “We are just slowly emerging from our lockdown in Suzhou. Amazing results as only 87 cases in our city of 15 million and all recovered.”



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