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NUMBER 118 - MAY 4, 2020

You probably have forgotten, if you even remembered that in 2009, just 11 years ago, Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for Vice President in 2008, coined the term "Death Panels," to protest the creation of the Obama heath care initIative now known as Obamacare.

This is what she originally wrote on her Facebook page on August  7, 2009.

          "Government health care will not reduce the cost;     

          it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will

          suffer the most when they ration care? The sick,

          the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America

          I know and love is not one in which my parents or

          my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in

          front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats

          can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their

          "level of productivity in society," whether they are

          worthy of health care. Such a system is downright


Such a system would indeed have been evil but Palin's claim was false, and it was quickly recognized as part of an orchestrated effort by those on the political right, and by those upset by a Black man becoming President to oppose at every opportunity anything that Barak Obama proposed throughout his term as President.

Palin's phrase became Politifact's 2009, Lie Of The Year.

Palin's lie was maliciously intended to portray reasonable efforts intended to help older Americans plan and deal with their death as the evil acts of uncaring bureaucrats.

Today, no one has yet coined a phrase like Palin did to encapsulate the not so subtle language that a small number of politicians are  espousing to openly speculate about in essence sacrificing older Americans to ease the economic pains caused by this pandemic, only this time instead of self-serving politicians justifying their comments in a way that would make them appear to be against the actions of uncaring bureaucrats, we are seeing the opposite as the concern by these people is that government is being too caring and concerned about the health needs and safety of older Americans during this pandemic.

Politicians and pundits are now opining on whether the disruptions and economic costs associated with the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of this virus are worth the costs of protecting older Americans from dying for the sake of an economic recovery.

The first awareness that there were politicians in favor of sacrificing older Americans for the economic betterment of the country came from the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who opined during an appearance on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News that, "There are more important things than living, and that's saving this country for my children and grandchildren and saving this country for all of us."

It only took a skip and a hop across the petrie dish that spawned this craziness before Patrick's comments prompted a guy named Ken Turnage II, in Antioch, California, to publicly embrace the notion that the death of older Americans brought about as a result of COVID-19 would be a good thing because it would, "make jobs available for others and it would also free up housing."

After being asked to resign from his position on the Antioch Planning Council in the wake of that comment, the city commission voted to fire him last Friday night.

What became evident though as a result of these malicious and vile comments was the silence that followed from those who you would have expected to stand up and speak out against this craziness.

No where did people like Sarah Palin, the Right To Life crowd or the evangelical christians who populate cable TV jump up to speak out against the notion that maybe it was okay if Grandma and Grandpa got infected for the sake of the economy by their kids and grandkids and they ended up dying.

Now understand, this is not to downplay the horrendous economic hardship facing millions of our fellow Americans, or the fact that we're only now beginning to understand that life for many will never return to what it was before this virus.

Nor can we ignore that the pain - economic, social and personal - that is destined to follow in the wake of this pandemic will be unevenly felt by the poor and minority segments of our population.

That's a given.

What is also pretty much a given is that among the principal reasons for the confusion, delusion and lack of solutions that will repeatedly surface over time as we try to come to grips with this calamity is the complete and abject failure of the political class in this country to level with the public and dealing, at least once in a while from the top of the deck, instead of always from the bottom.

Almost 50 years ago a comic strip character named Pogo realized that the biggest problem facing America was:

Yes, the real problem has always been us.

As part of a long-term photo project from 1997 through 2012, I traveled from one end of this country to the other photographing protesters and protests. If you were pissed, I tired to get to where you were and take your photo.

From the WTO in Seattle, to the beginning of the Tea Party movement in Washington. From the Ati-War protests, to the Anti-Globalization protests and the G8.

From the Million Mom March, to KKK rallies that included the execution of Gary Graham in Texas, and the protests over the killing of Amadou Diallo in New York, and from the funeral of the Last Confederate Widow in Alabama, to the political conventions in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, and the protests against the return of Elian Gonzalez to his father, Americans took to the streets to express their anger, frustration and distrust of their government, and often their fellow man.

During those years I covered well over 150 major and minor protests and at their core many of them focused on stark questions about the life and death of specific individuals as well as on the death of thousands and even millions of others in far away lands.

Whether on signs, or in conversation the opinions often expressed by people at these events was centered on their interpretation of the Bible, and what that book supposedly said about who should live or die.

More often then not those most vocal, like the Phelps family from Wichita, Kansas showed up to declare what others were not as eager to admit in public, but who would in private and out of the range of a microphone support.

The history of mankind unfortunately seems to support the belief that humanity from the beginning has been infused with a DNA that includes a strain of social Darwinism that is driven by race, ethnic and class hatred.

The pandemic that we find ourselves confronting today has once again provided an opportunity for those who are infected with the more virulent strain of this DNA gene to demonstrate their willingness to sacrifice others, and to provide an opportunity for those like the morons below to believe that if a real civil uprising begins, they won't be among the first to be killed as a result of Darwin principle that the weakest and most stupid are destined to be the first to get killed off.

It's America in 2020, Bitches!