Tag Archives: economy

Angriest Quote of the Week – December 19, 2020

“Millions of Americans are struggling during what should be a joyous time of year, yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is holding COVID-19 relief hostage. His ransom? Total immunity for corporations that recklessly endanger consumers and workers during the pandemic.

For months, McConnell has insisted that Congress take action to protect corporations alleged to engage in wrongdoing.

For months, McConnell has insisted that Congress should take action to protect corporations that are alleged to engage in wrongdoing and endanger their employees, consumers and patients. Companies that don’t provide protective equipment or mandate physical distancing in the workplace, for example, would face no civil liability when their workers become sick.

Even as Americans go hungry and confront homelessness, McConnell is trying to leverage the coronavirus emergency to greenlight corporate abuse, instead of helping vulnerable families.

Worse, he is lying to the American people about his motivation, claiming that an “epidemic” of coronavirus-related lawsuits must be addressed. The actual epidemic, of course, is COVID-19, taking thousands of lives every day and sickening the very workers businesses depend on for their profits.”

 – Rep. Katie Porter, in a video essay on December 15

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Video of the Week – November 28, 2020

There’s something about the dignity and formality of elected officials disintegrating when tensions explode into chaos and madness.  Such was the scene on Friday, November 27, when lawmakers in Taiwan got into fist fights and threw pig entrails at each other over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of U.S. pork and beef.  Premier Su Tseng-Chang was due to give a regularly scheduled policy report to lawmakers on Friday morning about the pork policy when opposition party lawmakers from the Nationalist party, also known as the KMT, blocked his attempt to speak by dumping bags of pig organs.  Legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party attempted to stop them, resulting in the brawl.

This may be a Y chromosome thing, Dear Readers, but I’d almost like to see something similar in either chamber of the U.S. Congress.  Minus the pig parts, of course.  I mean, what a waste!

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A 2020

I know I’m not alone in wishing this year a speedy demise.  It certainly can’t end soon enough.  On January 1, I personally felt I was at the precipice of a new beginning.  I planned to finish and publish my second novel; a minor accomplishment that didn’t materialize last year.  I also hoped to work towards upgrading my house.  My father’s fetish for candles many years ago left soot marks throughout most every room.  I also wanted to plant a couple of trees in the front yard.  All sorts of good things loomed across the horizon!  But, if you want to see the Great Creator’s sense of irony, announce your plans for the future.

At the end of January, my mother suffered a stroke; one bad enough to render her left side almost completely immobile.  I had to admit her to a rehabilitation center and almost felt like I was abandoning her.  She made good progress and started to regain movement on her left side, especially her arm.  Then her Medicare benefits ran out, and the center had to discharge her.  Basically they evicted her because she didn’t have enough money.  So she returned home and went on hospice care.  She passed away in June.

By then, however, the COVID-19 pandemic had hit, and the economy starting tanking.  As my mother’s health deteriorated here at the house, I also fell ill and thought I’d contracted the C plague.  Nasty visions of me lying in bed gasping for air, while my mother wilted in her own bed and hospice nurses tried getting into the house, burdened my days and nights.  One morning local firefighters ambushed my front door with loud bangs.  They’d been told a COVID victim might be trapped inside.  A man stood on the porch with a heavy tool designed to breach everything from storm doors to bad attitudes.

After my mother died, I learned she had no beneficiary payouts from her two pension funds.  Like so many Americans, I was unemployed and exhausting what funds I’d garnered from previous work.  I couldn’t qualify for unemployment insurance, and no stimulus money was headed my way.  I had to borrow money to pay basic utilities.  Then I did receive money from an insurance policy I didn’t know existed.  That became the brightest spot in my dismal life so far.

I’ve stabilized myself now, even as I remain jobless with minimal prospects.  More importantly, I know I’m not alone in my feelings of despair and loneliness.

The U.S. is still mired in the depths of the most cantankerous presidential election in decades.  The pandemic shows no signs of abating.  And the economy remains brittle.  Adding to the agony is that the Atlantic / Caribbean hurricane season just won’t quit.  Even though it’s technically scheduled to cease on November 30, tell that to nature.  Some fools tried that with the pandemic – ordering it to end by X date – and the scourge replied with a middle finger.

Such is 2020.  Everything that could go wrong this year has gone wrong.  We’ve reached the point, nevertheless, that any kind of mishap is answered with, ‘It’s 2020.’

The number 2020 is supposed to signify perfect vision.  And, at this moment, we’ve seen how perfectly screwed up things can get.  Thus, in the future, perhaps for generations to come, any crisis will be dubbed ‘A 2020’.

Had a bad day at work or school?  Just tell people it was a 2020.

A rough trip through the airport?  A 2020 escapade.

Burned food in the oven?  You made a 2020.

How was it with your in-laws over?  It was so 2020.

You get the message.  Now, on to New Year’s!

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Dialogue

Last Wednesday’s debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris was a glaringly stark contrast to the crap-fest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden the previous week.  For the most part, Pence and Harris showed those two other old curmudgeons how to remain relatively calm and focused during discussions about critical national issues.

I say ‘for the most part’ because of Pence’s tendency to interrupt Harris – the same way Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden – and to ramble beyond his slated time limit – again, like Trump.  I feel that both Trump and Pence fit the unpleasantly stereotypical image of the angry White male: men who believe only those exactly like them are qualified to speak out on any concern facing the country and should be allowed to speak adnauseam about it.

Harris, meanwhile, showed restraint and decorum by politely stating, “I’m speaking,” with a bright grin.  Many observers, especially women and non-Whites, viewed this as a typical response for someone like Harris.  Women and non-Whites, it seems, are always expected to maintain a sense of calm in the face of indignity and disrespect.  Otherwise, they’d be viewed as uppity or bitchy.  Harris, in effect, had to stay polite and professional; for if she had done a Joe Biden and yelled, “Shut up!” to Pence, political pundits – particularly those on the conservative end who already hate her for the mere fact she’s a dark-skinned woman daring to campaign for a national office, much like they did with Barack Obama – would have mercilessly slayed her.

Pence never really answered any question from moderator Susan Page who proved as equally powerless as Chris Wallace during the Trump-Biden fiasco.  But, for we independent observers – that is, those of us not satisfied with either Trump or Biden – Pence’s blatant disorientation during the debate signaled how dysfunctional the current White House administration is in the face of dual crises: the failing economy and the expanding COVID-19 pandemic.

To me Trump, Biden and Pence represent America’s past: still fighting the U.S. Civil War; the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s; law-and-order mantras; the Cold War; a caste society.  Harris, on the other hand, represents America’s future: attacks on economic inequality and social injustices; ending war; giving ALL citizens the chance to prove their merit and their value in a 21st century world.

Time doesn’t stagnate, except in the minds of conservatives.  Regardless of what one thinks of the vice-presidential debate, the 2020 presidential campaign continues.  It can’t end soon enough.

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Best Quotes of the Week – September 26, 2020

“You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said.  If you believe that 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, to Sen. Rand Paul during a Senate hearing on COVID-19

“There’s absolutely no evidence that having a cold from a coronavirus in the past does anything to protect us.  If it did, we wouldn’t have the epidemic we’re having right now.”

Dr. Michael Saag, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to NBC News.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4909487/user-clip-sherrod-brown-questions-steve-mnuchin

“I hope that you and the President don’t dislocate your shoulders patting yourselves on the back saying good job.  We are 4% of the world’s population.  We’re 22% of the world’s deaths.  You bragged about the economy growing so fast – your words.  Our unemployment is significantly higher than Germany’s; significantly higher than France’s; twice what Taiwan’s is; almost 3x what South Korea and Japan’s is; much higher than Australia; twice what Britain’s rate is; twice what New Zealand’s rate is.  I mean I know you think the economy is doing well.  But, if you’re talking to your wealthy friends on Wall Street…but things are pretty bad for most working Americans.  They’re going to get worse unless you come up with a real package.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, reacting to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s statement regarding U.S. economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Mnuchin had said, “I think we’ve made tremendous progress on testing.”

“When you have a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, and by social networks that are marinated in conspiracy theories, behind whom are a lot of armed people — if you are not frightened by this, you are not paying attention.”

Thomas Friedman, commenting on Trump’s open refusal to concede if he loses the election, on CNN

Friedman also stated the U.S. is on the verge of a “potential second civil war” if Trump’s insinuations aren’t taken seriously.

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Happy Labor Day 2020!

“Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work.”

– Booker T. Washington

“Dare to be honest and fear no labour.”

Robert Burns

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

Maya Angelou

“No human masterpiece has been created without great labour.”

– Andre Gide

“If all the cars in the United States were placed end-to-end, it would probably be Labor Day weekend.”

Doug Larson

“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.”

Joseph Joubert

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.”

Samuel Gompers

“I believe that summer is our time, a time for the people, and no politician should be allowed to speak to us during the summer.  They can start again after Labor Day.”

Lewis Black

“Before the reward, there must be labor.  You plant before harvest.  You sow in tears before you reap joy.”

Ralph Ransom

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

Albert Einstein

“Work is no disgrace; the disgrace is idleness.”

Greek Proverb

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.”

Elbert Hubbard

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the lines between work and play.”

Arnold J. Toynbee

“It is labor indeed that puts the difference on everything.”

John Locke

“As we celebrate Labor Day, we honor the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers’ rights, which are so critical to our strong and successful labor force.”

Elizabeth Esty

“I’ve heard of nothing coming from nothing, but I’ve never heard of absolutely nothing coming from hard work.”

Uzo Aduba

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”

Michelle Obama

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

– Vince Lombardi

“Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.”

Marc Chagall

“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and – above all – don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”

Donovan Bailey

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Tweet of the Week – August 8, 2020

Discussions between congressional Democrats and Republicans over additional economic relief, including extending unemployment benefits, have broken down – again – as Americans continue struggling with rising personal debts and increased costs of living.

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Tweet of the Week – April 24, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to a comment by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that individual states file for bankruptcy, due to the financial distress caused by the COVID-19 crisis, than apply for help from the U.S. federal government.

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Worst Quote of the Week – April 24, 2020

“What I said when I was with you that night is there are more important things than living.  And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.  I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die.  But man, we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”

Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on jump-starting the economy in Texas and other states to stave off a recession.

Patrick is essentially trying to walk back a comment he’d made last month that he’d rather perish from the new coronavirus than see instability in the state’s economic system.

Too late.

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Worst Quote of the Week – March 20, 2020

“They’ve redefined family for the first time in a federal – in a piece of federal legislation, to include committed relationships.  The problem with that is it’s really hard to define a committed relationship, and it’s really hard to define anything related to that.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, on a radio program produced by the conservative Christian group Family Research Council.

Biggs was one of 40 lawmakers who voted against the coronavirus stimulus bill, said he did so in part because the legislation included paid sick leave benefits for domestic partnerships.

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