Two candidates facing one another for the last time in a debate with the Prize of President at stake : one rejuvenated after falling a victim to the Coronavirus attack himself presenting his views and policies in fundraisers and rallies in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona .. trying to project a more positive image of himself ; and the other with seemingly invincible poll advantage giving leeway to lessen the mass rallies but concentrating more on debate preparations.
The two candidates are the incumbent President, Donald Trump, (Republican) and former VP, Joe Biden (Democrat). Both candidates tested negative for Coronavirus prior to the debate.
With 12 days to go for the General Election on November 3, the two candidates stood 12 feet apart in their final face off to speak and influence the voters.
The debate was held at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Kristen Welker, American TV journalist working for NBC News moderated the debate.
In the Background : (a) President , Donald Trump, was trailing in the polls by at least 10%. (b) About 46.4 million votes have already been cast. There were 222,925 deaths due to Coronavirus ; and 8,395,100 cases of Coronavirus totally in the U.S.A. now. (c) A morale boosting forceful 35 minutes speech by former President, Barack Obama, campaigning for Joe Biden at 6.30 p.m. Wednesday, October 21, 2020, in Philadelphia. (d) John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, and Christopher Wray, FBI Director, at a Press Conference at 6.50 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, alleviating fears due to interference in the elections by Russia and Iran, which obtained information on Voters’ Registration. and (e) FDA approving Remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized for COVID-19. First therapeutic drug to receive the FDA approval on October 21, 2020.
There were six segments of 15 minutes each for a total of 90 minutes covering the following topics : COVID-19 ; National Security ; American Families ; Race Relations ; Climate Change ; and Leadership.
Key Highlights :
Both candidates made their cases equally well to create an identity for themselves. However, there has not been any specific plans from either for COVID-19, Immigration, Healthcare, Relief Bill, or Climate Change.
President, Donald Trump’s gist of arguments can be summarised as in the figure below :
His Leadership style will reflect the revival of Classical Approach to governance, a style that depends upon solving the problems of Citizens, be it economy, education, health, safety or environment. He will strive to preserve and protect the policies and programs initiated during his present term. Help make all Citizens reap the rewards of his initiatives. He was optimistic that Coronavirus will go away without alluding to specifics (other than a vaccine to be ready by the year end) or timeframes. Touting the termination of the individual mandate through legislature and promise to protect those with pre existing conditions, he asserted that he will run the program as well as he can. He called Joe Biden’s program as “socialised medicine”. Blaming Nancy Pelosi for his inability to pass the relief bill on time, he reminded the three bills that have earlier been passed to his credit. He listed his efforts on Criminal Justice Reform, Prison Reform, Opportunity zone bill, Tremendous resources deployed, Uplifting historically black colleges and universities, Providing 10 year long term funding – emphasizing that not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what he has done to the blacks. Cleanest air, cleanest water, and best carbon emission standards are his accomplishments, according to him. Voters are the final assessors.
Joe Biden’s gist of arguments can be summarised as in figure below :
Joe Biden will be a leader to all Americans with no distinction whatsoever ; he will strive to build the economy through clean energy programs ; and character, decency, and dignity on the ballot will be the deciding factor for people to vote. He opposed Donald Trump saying, ” People are not learning to live, but they are dying “, I will shut down the virus and not the country. His main argument was centered around President, Donald Trump, ignoring to be truthful in statements and not being transparent in his disclosures. Any country interfering in our elections will pay a big price, he warned. On healthcare, he promised to lower premiums, offer cheaper plans, and make drug prices affordable. Relief bill to concentrate on bailing out small businesses. Moral obligation to protection of environment, in another 8 years we may be reaching a point of no return according to scientists if actions are not taken – the reason that I am running, creation of millions of new jobs, 50000 charging stations on highways for electrical vehicles, and providing enormous opportunities to citizens are at the heart of his programs.
Joe Biden was not without his fumbling moments in this debate too. While answering the question on National Security, he first fumbled : ‘ China is going .. .. to .. .. a .. new .. .. golf course ‘. While detailing his clean energy programs : ‘ facts .. .. growing electric .. .. solar .. .. .. wind mills ‘. Again in the same segment : ‘ subsidy to .. .. the .. oil .. .. industry ‘ – just to cite three instances.
Moment of the Debate :
Donald Trump’s words in the segment on Racism in America : ” Here we go again with Russia. Is the laptop a Russia hoax ? You are kidding ” – to Joe Biden. Reminded of President Reagan’s famous words in his debate with Carter.
About Moderator :
The chaotic first debate with the criticisms that followed for days prompting the CPD to change the format with the decision to mute the microphones when the candidates speak (so audience will not hear, should there be unwanted interruptions) did make the task of the moderator less troublesome in controlling the anger, excitations, and interruptions during the debate. It was a delight to watch the orderly debate.
Conclusion : America needs a strong Government and a strong leader in this critical time. Both candidates showed positive nerves to take on the responsibility. Both in their seventies and still going strong as seen in this debate. President, Donald Trump, appeared to be strong willed. He also showed that he can be different without being aggressive in this debate. Will this make amends to his failings in the last debate ? May be, may be not. Debates are, however, over. Who will give the victory speech on November 3/4 is difficult to make based on this debate.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 10.05 a.m (IST)
Tibit : ” Stock market will bloom if I am elected ; stock market will crash if Joe Biden is elected ” – Donald Trump.
” About President Donald Trump’s Decision not to Participate in a Virtual Debate ” – October 9, 2020.
President Donald Trump possibly remaining contagious still forced the Commission on Presidential Debates to hold the 2nd Presidential debate (October 15, 2020) in a Virtual format with candidates President Donald Trump and former VP Joe Biden in remote locations, and the moderator with participants in Miami, Florida. This is to protect the safety and health of everyone involved in the debate – according to the CPD.
President Donald Trump expressed his disagreement of not doing a virtual debate, but instead holding a rally.
Former VP Joe Biden expressed his willingness to the change in debate format as announced by the CPD, but also added that he will hold a virtual town hall event in the event of President Donald Trump not accepting to participate in the deabate.
Figure below represents the fundamental debate structure in the form of a simple triad:
The basic foundation of a debate is the structure and environment provided by the debate hall/venue that will promote answers to the moderator’s questions ; opinions/views on the topics of the debate ; and the connection that the debaters expect to build with the viewers and listeners. This is what will make a perfect debate hall and environment. The two debaters and the moderator constitute the three pillars of the debate setting and it is necessary that they are physically present in the same place in any genuine debate setting. With participants in the hall of the debate already limited, the orientation of the debaters in trying to face the participants directly ( in good numbers ) remain already limited stifling the interests of debaters ( cheers of encouragement to good points, interventions, replies from the participants driving the motivation factor removed completely ).
There are some factors that need consideration here :
1. Virtual debate is not “real” and in fact disrupts the atmosphere of the debate hall. In real situations the debaters can do justice in terms of how well they can engage Peoples’ attention to non verbal cues and gestures ; reactions of aggression or otherwise to the points made ; and the force and power of rebuttals. It is the experience viewers lose when the debaters resort to face to face exchanges and rebuttals. It is also likely that viewers will feel the debate itself boring.
2. The moderator will have great difficulty leading the debaters with questions ; stopping interruptions ; controlling unnecessary exchanges and extensions ; and posing follow up questions to further explore the thoughts of debaters setting the dynamics of the debate on course. It means simply that there will be difficulty in monitoring the debate perfectly. A new challenge to the Moderator.
3. Although both the debaters of the day come with vast experience in public life – business and political – it is uncertain at this juncture as to how they will feel the “isolation” of remaining in remote places and whether that will impact their real performances even while accepting that it will be a new experience.
4. President Donald Trump avoiding the debate ( even while his decision is correct ) may well be interpreted as his personal dislike and not due to the change in format. President Donald Trump may also be squandering a chance to recover his lost ground in the chaotic first debate. ( Whether viewers will take this seriously is not known yet ). Pros and cons notwithstanding he may find support from people for his bold attitude.
5. Former VP Joe Biden’s keen interest to speak directly to people in terms of a virtual rally will likely add to the gains he has already scored in the first debate. He will be seen as being honest and sympathetic. Biden’s likeness of the CPD doing the right thing in format changes in this critical and risky times of the global pandemic may resonate well with his supporters.
IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF THIS IS A BLISS OR A MISERY !
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 9, 2020 – 7.33 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Decision on who is the real winner will be extremely subjective in this debate, when held. “
” President Donald Trump Returns to White House from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday ” – October 5, 2020.
President Donald Trump has been discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Monday evening . He was earlier admitted on Friday last. His condition at that time was marked by only mild symptoms – mild cough, mild nasal congestion, mild exhaustion, and mild fever.
Sean Conley, White House physician, said : ” President has continued to improve; he has met or exceeded all hospital discharge criteria”.
Thoughts and reactions ran wild even as the news of his contracting the Coronavirus came as a revelation earlier. His position as President entails him to the best of the best medical care available.
President Donald Trump tweeted about his condition before leaving for the hospital ; released a short video conveying the message coupled with his optimism to be back soon ; discussions and possibilities based on the 25th Amendment in the media or elsewhere were not perceived as serious (the President himself perceived that all is well ); posted a video on the second day from the hospital that he is doing well and likely resume work as early as possible ; as if to prove his point again he took a short ride in a SUV with security and waved to the people gathered on either side of the road ( the act was portrayed as unwarranted, unsentimental, and unsettling by many in the media ); and finally got discharged from the hospital to be back at the White House on Monday evening .
There has not been a clear and transparent account of the sequence of treatment afforded to him, but it may have to do with the sense of extreme security and sensitivity concerns on this issue.
The first procedure after testing (diagnosis) pertains to the information recorded from Pulse Oximeter placed on the finger (a small device). Using a beam of light it can measure the Oxygen in the blood and the heart rate. Oxygen in blood less than 95% signifies that aggressive anti viral and anti inflammatory treatment immediately. The patient needs to be isolated, monitored carefully, and be aware of the symptoms growing or otherwise.
President Donald Trump is aged 74 ; 6’3″ tall; and weighs 244 lbs. So he is at more than normal risk category. “Remdesivir”, the anti viral medicine, and “Dexamethasone”, the anti inflammatory medicine are usually administered. Remdesivir to stop viral replication and Dexamethasone to decrease disease progression and disease mortality. They, however, are not fully guaranteed in all treatments. But it is known to work better in patients who get respiratory therapy. Convalescent plasma containing a mix of antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may also be administered. Use of blood thinner to prevent harmful clotting and organ damage has also been advised. Oxygen therapy is another one used.
Whatever be the treatment that President Donald Trump received in the hospital, the following fact and condition should be observed : Helen Boucher, Chief of the division of Geographic medicine and infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston calls COVID-19 as a ” Two-phase Disease”. She opined that COVID-19 patients need to be monitored closely even if they showed symptoms. The possibility, even when it is restricted to a very small proportion that patients can get sicker in the second week after contracting the virus has to be kept in mind.
President Donald Trump is back in the White House now. He appears pretty healthy and he walked with a brisk pace and steadily ; removed his mask ; offered a salute ; and smiled encouragingly. It is a good sign at this moment.
Now that he is ready and determined to perform his tasks from the White House and be willing to engage in campaign mode again, his staunch supporters and all well wishers will consider the news of his physical and mental pain in the last week as a message directly from GOD.
President, Donald Trump, needs to be cautious, nevertheless.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 – 11.49 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Don’t be afraid of COVID-19 ; Don’t let it dominate your life. ” – President Donald Trump after his return from hospital.
US President, Donald Trump, has joined the latest list of leaders affected by COVID-19. Cases of leaders of many nations – President, PM, Ministers, Party leaders – prior to this latest inclusion have been recorded and documented including their recovery ; their isolation/ treatment ; work performance schedule ; and their popularity after recovery.
The corridors of power in the world have not been exempted from the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 transcends race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and any distinctions made on the basis of money, fame, power, status, and the likes.
I present below the case of 7 national leaders that not just shook the nation(s) but stood as testimony to the will, courage, and strength of the leaders in overcoming the disease to make an impact on people.
First, Boris Johnson, 56 years old PM of UK, tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of April 2020. He had to be given Oxygen before being taken to the St Thomas Hospital . Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab deputised for him. He lamented the stress whole giving up the basic freedoms ; not being able to see friends ; working from home ; managing kids ; and worrying about the nation and its businesses. He wanted businesses to keep going in the same manner in which they have been so far, and urged NHS’s role in saving the lives of people. His resolve to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to take steps to defeat COVID-19 got stronger than ever after he recovered. It also prompted him to start an anti obesity campaign. It was a positive aspect. UK cases : 467146; deaths : 42268; recovered : NA.
Second, Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, 65 years old, his National Security Adviser, Mines and Energy Minister, and the head of Senate, all tested positive for Coronavirus in July, 2020. There was mounting criticism for lax handling of the outbreak. Bolsonaro is a far right populist and at that time presided over a very weak economy. It made protesters shout, ” Bolsonaro Out”. It was China’s fault, he asserted, and likened it to the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Russia’s role in alleging a cover up. He was charged by the Russians as the US spokesperson in Brazil for his methods imitating those of Donald Trump. He instituted strong preventive mechanisms after recovery. He improved his ratings too. Brazil cases registered : 4882231 ; deaths : 145431 ; recovered : 4232593.
Third, Juan Orlando Henderson, 51 year old Honduran President, his wife and two aides tested positive in the second week of June 2020, and Juan Orlando Henderson was hospitalized after tests revealed pneumonia. He received medicines intravenously. He was treated as an in patient in the hospital. He, however, continued work remotely. ” I trust in God, Honduran doctors, and Medicine” – he said. He attributed his inability to stay at home on the job that he was expected to perform for his citizens. Honduras had closed its borders, mandated a blanket curfew, and was just reopening after three months of lockdown. He did better after his recovery. Honduras cases registered : 78269 ; deaths : 2386 ; cases recovered : 28978.
Fourth , Alejandro Giammettei, 64 year old President of Guatemala, tested positive for COVID-19 during the third week of September 2020. He, however, continued his functions remaining in isolation. The country had only then reopened its borders and resumed international flights after a six month closure. The country had a weak healthcare system and experienced anti lockdown demonstrations. He had also taken advice from the US for immigration problems earlier. Doing well after recovery. Guatemala cases registered : 93090 ; deaths : 3267 ; cases recovered : 81466.
Fifth, Jeanine Anez, 53 year old Interim President of Bolivia, tested positive for COVID-19 during the second week of July and worked in isolation. Four members of her cabinet also tested positive prior to that. This happened when Bolivia was gearing up for its general election in October 18. A country of 11 million population its cases registered are : 136219 ; deaths : 8045 ; and cases recovered : 96654.
Sixth, Luis Abinader, 52 year old Dominican Revolutionary Party Leader, tested positive for COVID-19 during the second week of June 2020. One out of every 500 people in Dominican Republic has been infected. He was not a high risk patient and he was isolating with his wife at home. A tourist hub that Dominican Republic has been, is the reason for the speedy Coronavirus spread in the country. The country has a population of 10.6 million. Cases registered : 113350 ; deaths : 2117 ; cases recovered : 88840.
Seventh, Mikhail Mishustin , the 54 year old Russian PM tested positive for COVID-19 on April 30, 2020. He observed self isolation to protect his colleagues. First Deputy PM, Andrei Belousou acted as temporary replacement. Government measures and tough isolation decisions helped Russia contain the impact better at that time. Cases registered : 1194643 ; deaths : 213524 ; Cases recovered : 4776824.
Conclusion : There are five in their 50s and two in their 60s in this group. US President, Donald Trump is 74 years old and may probably be the first leader in their 70s to contract this disease. Are leaders in their 70s less vulnerable ? Luis Abinader, 52, is the only world leader known to have run an election campaign while infected with the novel Coronavirus. He won with 53 % vote. President Donald Trump now finds himself in a similar situation with the general election just about 30 days away. He is expected to recover well by October 12 at the earliest. Like many in the above group, there is every chance that his ratings may also grow now. But there is a significant difference between Luis Abinader and Donald Trump. Luis Abinader has been the challenger with high favourability scores for victory in election while Donald Trump is the incumbent lagging behind Biden, his challenger, in the ratings as at present. He, however, will have personal sympathy – a plus point. It will be exciting to watch the election metrics in the days to come. His faith and trust in God, Medicines, and Doctors need to be stronger than what the Honduran leader, Juan Orlando Hernandez displayed.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, October 3, 2029 – 12.29 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” When there is an adversity, it offers scope for Visionary Leadership looking beyond the survival needs of people “.
A frightening prospect even in dreams that it could happen to President Donald Trump – the person who has been spiritedly downplaying the spread of the Covid-19 since March ; staunchingly defending the preventive measures his government has been engaged in ; swearing off nearly that people need not be compelled to wear masks for ever – is the news of President Donald Trump testing positive ( also his wife and First Lady, Melania Trump ) for Coronavirus in the early morning hours of Friday, today. This, after his aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive and confirmed on Wednesday nightThe President has confirmed his testing positive through a tweet. He, along with his wife, hopes to recover soon. He will, however, be isolated but expected to carry out some of his duties even without someone around.
This is news and information of reality with huge significance that can cause ripples in not just excitement and fear but also in terms of national and global impact in terms of economy ( the DOW shed 400 points after this news ); business ; schools ; restaurants ; social relationships ; in addition to the impending national events of the Presidential debates ; the general election process ; and the National Security itself.
Soon it is hoped that former VP, Joe Biden, will also likely be tested since having a debate with Donald Trump (first Presidential debate on Tuesday, in Cleveland, Ohio ) interacting with verbal force. The maintenance of 6 feet distance not withstanding, the possibility of an asymptomatic Trump spreading the particles of the virus in air like the aerosol spray out of a container exists. Also, having implications will be the family members of the President, who will be undergoing tests soon, who were seen wearing masks while entering the debate Hall but seen them removed after sitting.
” You may not react to the virus ; but your body will ” – is the message.
The good part is that mask wearing will become Infectious from now on irrespective of whether you are a believer in science or not ; and the not so good part is that this is not just an October surprise usually expected in an election year but with potential for an impact beyond the election itself – for the Constitution itself.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 2, 2020 – 1.49 p.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” Ignorance, negligence, or recklessness cannot be an excuse for dangers to the welfare of people “
” First Presidential Debate – Trump vs Biden – A Debate that is Best to Forget ” – September 29, 2020.
Two candidates with limitless credentials, potential, and promise – one with immense Government experience and the other with immense business experience plus a four year Government experience as President ; one, a measured official with earnest preparations on weighty political issues and the other with reliance on logic, intuition, and commonsense combining spontaneity.
The debate took place at a positive and befitting period globally in the history of this millennium (COVID scare) requiring strong American Leadership for not just the Americans but the entire world.
There has been an air of expectation and great curiosity despite the COVID-19 pandemic restraining the freedom of people as never before.
The two candidates are the incumbent President, Donald Trump (Republican) and former VP, Joe Biden (Democrat).
In the background : (1) Convention bounces in voter support for both Trump and Biden were not quite significant and sustaining ; (2) Base support for both remain strong and firm with undecided voters forming just 4% ; and (3) Donald Trump trailing in the polls by atleast 6 to 8% since July.
The debate was held at the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio tonight (September 29, 2020).
Chris Wallace of Fox News moderated the debate.
There were six segments of 15 minutes each for a total of 90 minutes with topics covering : Supreme Court ; COVID-19 ; Race and violence in cities ; Economy ; Climate Change ; and the Integrity of Election.
Key highlights :
1. Figure below represents the debate performance of Donald Trump in terms of the triad constituting Introduction, Issues, and Conclusion :
Donald Trump had his usual style of aggressiveness with name calling cramped considerably remaining staid for the most part except for his repeated interruptions. With a clear and firm voice sans gestures he looked entirely different in the debate stage from what I expected at least. He must have surely lost some points on this score. His switch to show himself to be different in tenor and style may have been responsible for the lost opportunities in defending or countering, be it ACA, recent Protests, or tackling violence in cities. No negative effects ; held outside ; still commanded big audience in rallies ; are how he portrayed his popularity even while Joe Biden described it as being irresponsible. We are opening ; we are recovering ; jobs picking up ; despite everything happening due to CHINA ; people want to have schools reopened ; have done more to the economy in 3 and 1/2 years despite impeachment hoax and COVID-19 ; 300 federal judges and hopefully 3 great Supreme Court Justices ; have done more in 47 months compared to Joe Biden’s 47 years ; avoided training military with bad/sick ideas costing thousands of dollars ; doing what is possible to have crystal clear water, pure air, less polluting transportation without destroying businesses ; gearing up forest management strategies for control of forest fires ; are how he highlighted his achievements. To raise Cain on the issue of mail-in-voting when the evidence is still debated in the nature of an explanation may not be viewed favourably but only will serve to induce more stress to the individual. Donald Trump, knowingly or unknowingly, taking this route proving effective or otherwise will be known only in the weeks ahead.
His policy points were impeccable and his body language transmitted decent confidence. In most of his answers and explanations he must have left something for the audience to ponder over. It may or may not make an impact with the voters, but could help him get some points at least.
2. Figure below represents Joe Biden’s debate performance in terms of Introduction, Issues, and Conclusion :
Biden sounded confident and well prepared. He was able to demonstrate his unmatched legislative experience emphasising his efforts at Healthcare, climate change and racial sensitivity. He painted Donald Trump as a weaker, sicker, divided and more violent leader.
He chose to describe Trump’s economic strategies as leading to only a K shaped recovery. He emphasized that the advantage about the tax code that Trump had taken advantage of will be eliminated when he comes to power. For the repeated charges against his son, Hunter Biden getting all benefits when he was VP, he said : ” We don’t want to talk about families here, we want to talk about all American families “. One in 500 Africans will be killed if nothing is done to control COVID-19 now. On peaceful protest he said : ” We will change the way what happens to Americans in a more transparent manner “. I will rejoin the Paris Accord ; I support the Biden Plan not necessarily the GND. Two Trillion jobs will be created due to Biden Plan was his answer when seriously (and justifiably) questioned for the huge amount needed to activate and implement the plan. I am not sure if people would have been convinced really!
Moment of the Debate : ” I am the Democratic Party Approver “, by Joe Biden to the charges made against him for his tilt towards the ‘radical left’.
On at least five occasions Joe Biden fumbled : (a) when the question of Supreme Court Justice opened, Joe Biden during his time of 2 minutes had this – ” 20 .. 200 million … 200 … people died on his watch “. (b) On healthcare Donald Trump said: ObamaCare will end public option and enhance Government take-over “. In his reply Joe Biden started – ” Medicare .. Medicare. .. Medi …”. (c) During the point on Donald Trump’s tax returns Joe Biden fumbled ” because of property tax . . tax .. tax ” (d) When Donald Trump charged him with calling Africans as ‘super predators’ Biden responded saying ” Systemic .. systemic .. justice .. separate but unequal .. for African Americans “. (e) while raising the issue of forest fires, ” stop .. stop .. tearing down forests, significant .. significant .. significant .. “.
Coming into this debate with a good lead over Donald Trump, Joe Biden would have sustained his rating and retained the morale of people. His composure on stage may place him well on performance. His ability to overcome anxiety and his address on issues in positive light to the audience will find good support. Doubts and fear expressed prior to the debate were unfounded.
3. A balancing act needs to be done by the moderator as he will be watched by the people, the two candidates, and his own employer. His moment came at the 55th minute of the debate when he reminded Donald Trump about the conditions accepted for the debate and the need to play fair referring to his “repeated interruptions”. Overall, it was a tough task that put the greatest challenge to him, perhaps. He needs to be praised.
My Conclusion : I had the unmistakable feeling that former VP, Joe Biden, had negotiated the past master, President Donald Trump well tonight. Whether this debate will have any impact on the result, however, is not definite.
The debate failed to excite and fulfill the expectations in general.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – 10.37 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” He has no plan for Healthcare ; this man does not know what he is talking about ” – Joe Biden about Donald Trump.
” 47 years you did nothing ; people understand that well ” – Donald Trump about Joe Biden.
“The Hall and the arena will be reverberated with chants of ” RBG “, “RBG” whenever she steps on the stage and starts to speak. The entire crowd will sport T-shirts with her face and the three letters imprinted in a proud manner making a lasting impact. The Documentary Film about her is the latest craze on NETFLIX sweeping across the nation. At least 20000 people gather in any event when she makes her appearance.”
RBG was not a famous film actress ; RBG was not a famous politician ; she was the famed American Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She will fit well as an ideal Justice in anyone’s metaphorical description of her personality. The news of her passing away on Friday last is like the loss of a long shining star in the galaxy of American Universe.
60 years back she filled her application for the position of a law clerk in American High Court. Her application was rejected on the grounds of her being a woman. A law clerk essentially does research into the details of a case and presents the same to the judges to help frame their judgements. Those who served as law clerks have risen to the positions of Supreme Court Justices in the past. RBG also became the second woman to hold the position of Supreme Court Justice.
American Supreme Court has a strength of 9 Justices. They will discuss the cases with full attendance all times, unlike in our case, where 2 or 3 members can also hold a sitting to discuss the cases. The Supreme Court Justices in U.S.A. are appointed for life without retirement. If we had a Justice like RBG it will only be right to pray God that she has got the gift of immortality.
When she was once asked as to, ” how many women should be ideal for the SC “, she replied : ” it will be fitting if all nine are women “. Her answer made the reported shaking.
” How can that be alright ? ” – when another reporter asked, she again replied : ” For decades all nine Justices were men and didn’t that seem alright ?”. Well known for her open and frank speeches and answers.
She fought for Gender Equality till her death. Her favorite call has always been : ” I do not seek any special favour for women. I only ask you to take your legs off our voice box ( neck ). That is enough.” She was just 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. But her personality soared sky high.
She was already married with one child by the time she completed her studies in Law. She faced innumerable difficulties in securing a job. Reasons : She was a woman ; she was a Jew ; and she was married. Her life was not a bed of roses all the way. It was rough and gnarled too. Without compromising her policies and principles, and remaining completely true to the American Constitution, she raised her voice against discrimination and fought for the rights of blacks and women who were suppressed and sidelined.
She married Martin D Ginsburg in 1954 and lived a mutually happy life till his death in 2010.
Unlike in our case, Supreme Court Justices do not have servants allotted for housekeeping jobs. Be it cooking, or any small cleaning job … they did it themselves. Her husband participated in all activities with full support and engagement. ” He felt that my work is as important if not more than his work, and duly performed all chores with pleasure “, she said. To have a husband like him in life was in itself a gift – she added.
When her mother-in-law asked her what were the reasons for the success of their marriage, she said humbly : ” you have to be deaf at times “. She has followed this tenet not just in her family life of 56 years but also in her professional career as Supreme Court Justice.
RBG suffered from Cancer. It affected her large intestines ; pancreas ; and even lungs. But without flinching for a moment she rose to the challenges of the tasks and performed her duties with vigour. It marked her career success.
On an occasion her husband remarked : ” Ruth ! You look like a person who has come out of a Concentration Camp. To safeguard your health you need to do something “, and soon appointed a workout trainer for action. She also willingly underwent the exercise regimen prescribed including weightlifting. It became so popular at that time to induce many to take to the practices of workout in life. A real harbinger.
Striking a balance between home and work is like a ‘bamboo dance’ in life. When RBG was pregnant, her husband left for compulsory military work. RBG at that time was also seeking admission in Law College. She had doubts if she can really secure a seat. Her father-in-law said in confident and comforting words : ” Ruth, at this juncture it will only be understandable if you miss the law education. Nobody will regard that as a failure. But, if you are serious about pursuing a course in Law, dispel all thoughts and worries about your present condition and seek to focus your attention on how both can be managed.” Words of wisdom, support, courage, and hope. She immediately consulted her husband ; pursued her course in Law ; and came out ‘First’ in the group.
RBG came from an ordinary family. Affording college education itself was viewed as an accomplishment. And she accomplished it with highest rank. And she dedicated her success at her mother’s feet. She also recalled her mother’s words of wisdom and counsel : ” Do not waste your time on emotions as anger, hate, sadness, and jealousy. They will consume your time easily. They won’t take you where you want to go. Focus your attention on what and where you want to go and concentrate “. Mother First.
RBG’s judgements will always be reflective of courage and clarity. In the case of “Bush v. Gore” in 2000, Florida District Court delivered the judgement that favoured recounting of the votes. George W Bush went to the Supreme Court on appeal. Five judges were in support of George W Bush and four against. One of the four was RBG. She wrote : ” the majority judgement is against the basic principles of Law. I dissent “. George W Bush, however, became President. It was 5 – 4 in his favour.
RBG’s judgement in the US v. Virginia Military case (1996) while attracting the attention of all citizens also garnered great appreciation. This case pertained to an institution/structure that permitted only males. It was in existence for years. RBG wrote the majority opinion : ” Holding the general notion that women can only do this ; or women will be like this only ; disapproving the highly capable and talented women is unacceptable and untenable”. It ended the Virginia Military Institute’s archaic men only admission policy. It was a 7 to 1 ruling.
RBG’s judgement in the Olmstead v. LC (1999) Rights of Disabilities : SC ruling in this case marked a big win for the rights of people with disabilities. RBG stated that under the Americans for Disabilities Act, people must be placed in community settings rather than in institutions based on the advice of health professionals.
Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.(2007) : Addressing the wage gap : RBG delivered a dissent in support of equal wage and called on the Congress to take action, which ultimately led to the passing of the Lilly Led better Fair Play Act, signed by President, Barack Obama, in 2009. RBG’s farsightedness ; human rights related equality ; and her strong stand on justice without any deviation – are what this judgement represents.
RBG’s impartial stance was reflected in Weinberger v. Wieserfeld case. It held that gender based distinction under 42 U.S.C. No. 402 (g) of the Social Security Act of 1935 – which permitted widows but not widowers to collect special benefits while caring for minor children – violated the right to equal protection served by the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution.
The list will go on. The ‘rocket star’ status she attained was due to her proud judgements, fairness, purity of actions, hard work, focused thoughts and unflinching decisions – recognised as being extremely beneficial to the people.
The three letters, “RBG” , has earned a permanent place in the history of American Justice. Everyone shall bow his/her head to the ” Angel of Justice”.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – 12.59 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” True justice is paying only once for each mistake. True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake. ” – Miguel Angel Ruiz.
Minority Leader, (D), Chuck Schumer’s Unity and Legacy ; and Congresswoman, (D), New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘ People’s right being at stake now’ if there is a nomination to the Supreme Court by the Republicans within days speak of logical positivism.
Both spoke from the same podium tonight also speaking for building bridges within the Democratic Party.
Senator, Chuck Schumer, while making a strong plea to the Senators, specially the Republicans, to abide by the “last wishes” of the ‘ saintly, brilliant, and caring woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may have succeeded in evoking the public sentiment ; sensitivity to the needs of people ; and to raise seriously the moral judgements of the law makers – in fulfilling her wishes.
Fulfilment of the last wishes adds respectability to the authority that Ruth Bader Ginsburg held in her professional career, and enhances the dignity to the individual.
It is also important to remember that the last wish at this moment relates to a key national appointment that has implications to the political fight for victory or otherwise in the November 3, General Election; when the following need consideration :
1. The real significance of the last wish is not clear ;
2. The legality, practicality, and feasibility presenting a dilemma in a sense of whether the wishes can prevail or not ;
3. Whether it really supports or clashes with the larger interests of people ;
4. Whether it will be viewed as correct or incorrect in the midst of an election ( with early voting already on ) and not close to an election ; and
5. Whether it will contribute to positive changes, outcomes, and impact on the lives of citizens as a whole.
The tide of general opinion at this point in time may well seem to be in favour of what the two lawmakers have expressed tonight but the real potential of the decision is subject to ups and downs not just by days but by hours from now.
Is there a bearer of good tidings that may also be viewed as the most justifiable ? Nobody will be able to say !
” Dieu avec nous “
Monday, September 21, 2020 – 6.51 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” You are playing with fire ” referring to Mitch McConnell by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
First drive-in Town Hall in American Election History happened in the era of COVID-19 tonight, with just 47 days left for the Election Day. Masks and Social Distancing religiously followed to ensure safety of the Candidate, interviewer ; TV crew ; and the viewers around the country. There were about 100 cars with some people inside the cars and some standing outside too. CNN organised this Town Hall with Anderson Cooper moderating the event.
I present my observations here as a Commonsense exponent watching the event on TV with no claim as an expert in Political Science or even as one with a deep knowledge or experience of Politics.
1. COVID-19 was the first issue as was expected. Figure below represents Joe Biden’s Strategic Control Measures :
The three elements cited include : (a) proposal of National Standards for working safely ; (b) rapid testing and tracing plus use of protective gears ; and (c) use of federal funds as resources.
His responses to questions were standard with no new additions to what everyone must have learnt thus far. He reiterated his earlier statement that Governors should enforce mask wearing for saving the lives of people.
To Attorney General, Barr’s recent observation that likened COVID-19 lockdown to ‘slavery’, Joe Biden countered in terms of what he felt, understood, and experienced as ‘Freedom’ in this country – ” Freedom being taken away is to not let your children to go to school ; not to let your kids go out for entertainment ; and to not let children be able to meet their affected parents in hospitals “. In the same time he also opined : ” That $ 200 billion are needed to get students to resume their studies in schools. You cannot compromise the immune system “. One has to make one’s own inference !
He was not convincing in his answer to the question : ” how will you stand up for healthcare workers who earn less than $15 per hour with great difficulties in these circumstances ?”. His reply : “not getting even $ 15 per hour is disturbing and please go to Joe Biden.com for details that I have laid out “. No specifics cited.
He was also not convincing in his answer to the question : ” how he will modify healthcare plan to be of use to everyone ?”. His reply : ” I’ll reinforce ACA with a public option “, didn’t seem to carry much conviction either.
First 30 minutes was a bit difficult to deal with, for him.
2. Figure below represents Joe Biden’s Strategy to bring accountability within police department:
The three elements making up the triad are : (a) background checks ; (b) efforts to deescalate the situation ; and (c) making sure psychologists and psychiatrists deal with the victims duly. His singular goal will be to make the department function in a transparent manner. Resonated well with the listeners.
3. Figure below represents Joe Biden’s Strategy for Criminal Justice Reform :
The three elements making up the triad in this are : (a) to make the system completely transparent ; (b) ready to condemn violence of any kind ; and (c) remaining firm on not involving military in any domestic unrest. He admitted the First Step Act proposed during his term as VP could not be completed due to reasons unanticipated. President Donald Trump, however, succeeded in getting the attention and praise.
4. Uncertainty about mail-in voting can be tackled by : (a) striving to ensure that legitimacy will not be questioned by unfavourable actions ; (b) sprucing up the Postal Services ; and (c) actions to enhance the confidence of voters for mail-in voting. Hard task with no specifics.
5. Joe Biden will deal with fracking to be beneficial to people by not referring to Climate Change as a ‘hoax’ but by using that as an opportunity to create more jobs in energy saving technologies.
6. Joe Biden will treat Russia as an Opponent, and China as a serious Competitor. He avoided the word “enemy” in describing them.
1. Joe Biden’s answers were reasonably empathetic, facts based, following science and expertise, honoring the guidelines of specialists, and committed to people welfare. It occurs to me though that he missed the opportunity to deliver a strong performance.
2. His tone and tenor in this Town Hall showed that he will be adopting an aggressive approach – as I understand just like an aggressive marketing and ad campaign strategies will adopt – and acting with force in order to succeed in this election.
3. He may have to an extent succeeded in driving his points locally, regionally, and nationally through this Town Hall performance, but it remains to be seen if this will drive Citizens to vote in huge numbers as Democrats wish to happen.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, September 18, 2020 – 8.05 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” A divided nation ; and a world in disarray is what Trump has given ” – Joe Biden in the Town Hall.
” Symptoms by themselves are not diseases “, say Medical experts often.
Headaches, fever … are only the signs, symptoms, and external manifestations of diseases according to Medical experts.
In the same manner, COVID-19 has also to be viewed as symptoms of more serious problems facing our lives.
Climate Change, Environmental Degradation, and loss of lives – not just human but all other animals, birds, (land and marine) and even plants – have been recognised as posing serious danger accelerating the destruction of the World itself. It is like Nature flying into a fury when a series of contagious diseases strike at the lives of people all over the world.
The world stood in shocked silence when the Amazon Forest Fires erupted last year. Following that was the Australian bush fires spreading the smoke over New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, South Africa, and upto Argentina revealing its deadly serious nature.
America now faces the fury of Nature in two ways : COVID-19 and Wildfires in the West. Thousands of people from California, Oregon, and Washington have been shifted to safe havens. Some small towns in these areas have been completely ignited and destroyed. Lakhs of hectares of farm land (arable land) have also been affected, according to reports.
People all over the World have been the victims (at some point in their lives) of Nature’s Fury in terms of floods, drought, cyclones/storms, …
The seriousness of these disasters also increase by each season. Just to escape and prevent oneself from these deadly happenings, individuals have been compelled to suffer losses of either property or even their lives.
COVID-19 is not an exception to this fury. It cannot be dismissed as a one time disaster. Our future will definitely be marked by such occurrences every few years. We have been witness to this phenomenon already.
The destruction caused will not be limited to human lives but also that of other creatures too. We may be the late sufferers even as we represent and be the cause of other creatures’s sufferings for centuries.
Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in its report had recorded that from 1970 to 2006 there has been a 68% decrease in World Wildlife. In its report, ” Living Planet Report 2020″, it has monitored and recorded the status of 21000 species of animals revealing shockingly surprising facts. In Latin America, specially, it says that animal life has been endangered for more than 50 years. In the Asia Pacific region, a significant reduction in their numbers has been evidenced. India sports the most worrying situation comparatively. It has cautioned that 12% of wildlife and 3% of birds are on their path to destruction. The report emphasises its role in safeguarding animals – land and marine – and birds in the world.
Since 1970 there has been a decrease of 4% every year adducing human causes as the chief reason for the fall observed. About 75% of the habitable areas have been changed in one way or another by human actions.
Conversion of forest areas into living areas for human habitation spread fast. Result : the destruction of wildlife habitat and their lives. Even the seas are not spared. Fishing industry is an extremely profitable business. Coastal, freshwater, and deep sea fishing pose dangers to the lives of marine species.
The brief description above is enough to view the COVID-19 and Wildfires in the West (U.S.A.) as merely the symptoms, warnings, and a portentous sign to major catastrophes in the future.
With the Presidential election slated for November 3, with mail-in ballots already in process, the two challenges above hold the potential to be transformed into political vulnerabilities.
American citizens will be eagerly watching the Leadership moves and strategies of control by the major candidates with keen interest.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, September 12, 2020 – 11.59 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” It is known wildfires behave unpredictably – this is fundamental – but it is the experience that humans in the presence of wildfire are also likely to behave in aberrant and unproductive ways ” – Michael Leunig.