We Can Do Better

Disappointing news-just as the numbers of new COVID-19 cases have been going down, there are reports of the number of new cases rising. (https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/03/pa-reports-4667-new-covid-19-infections-the-most-in-more-than-a-month.html) The vaccines are rolling out, but there are problems with getting the doses to the clinic, and people from out of state getting their shots ahead of residents.

We’ve made great progress in fighting the effects of the pandemic, but we need to do better. We must hold our elected officials accountable for the secure delivery of doses to clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies, and give our support for those organizations doing the work, like the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. Plus we do our own little bit, like washing our hands, putting the mask on, checking in on our neighbors, and social distancing.

It’s not much different from wartime, in that we must work together to attain victory over this unseen but deadly enemy. The sooner and more often we do this, the sooner the pandemic will end. Come on, Americans, we can do this!

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Hemperiffic Card

The Mason Missile, September 23, 2020

Greetings, and L’Shana Tova, a sweet and happy and prosperous new year to all of you fine Americans. We are in the midst of the High Holy Days, Rosh haShona and Yom Kippur.

What a test our nation is going through! Can we remove this plague of a President who has undermined our nation’s economy, security, and honor, using the democratic process? Can we elect a person who is essentially decent to office, who knows and respects the Constitution and the people of this nation? I believe w can do it, but we must stay together and strong, and not let any thugs that trump has intimidate us, either with fist, guns, or lawsuits.

We see now how trump, the commander-in-chief, thinks of those in military service, in the Atlantic Monthly article, calling them “suckers” and “losers.”  (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/)  This, from a “man” who talks all bad-ass against peaceful demonstrators and his opponents for his fans (who are just as ignorant and bullying as he is), but utilized his father’s connections to evade the draft for Viet Nam, one of them for the “bone spurs” of legend-while lower-income kids went to die in a useless, tragic war.

ON September 8, the New York Times had an article about the incompetence of the trump campaign‘s financing system. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/us/politics/trump-election-campaign-fundraising.html) trump had a campaign bank account of $1.1 billion late last year, and that gave him a bid advantage over the potential Democratic candidate; but by July, over $800 million has been spent, much of it on fundraising under the then-campaign manager Brad Parscale; campaign ads during the Super Bowl, amounting to $11 million; trump’s legal expenses; and lobbyists. The trump campaign has been a nice cash cow for Parscale and others to tap into, and now the campaign has to watch its spending, just as election day gets closer. (It’s November 3, remember that.)  

 Now we have the book by Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, Rage (https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/politics/bob-woodward-donald-trump-new-book/index.html), written after Woodward taped interviews of trump from December through July. trump, according to Woodward, knew the danger posed by the Coronavirus, but refused to treat it like the emergency it is, and choosing to keep saying it’s no big deal, just the regular flu you get event winter, and claiming he “didn’t want to cause a panic.” Panic for whom? The stock market, which is the only part of the “economy” that matters to him, the only thing doing well under his watch?

trump claimed he wanted to be like Churchill during World War II, but a real leader, like Churchill or FDR, would have told the public the facts-that we’re up against a killer disease, and it’s going to be rough for a while, but if we all pull together, show some discipline in wearing masks and social distancing for a while, we can beat this thing. But NOOO, he chose to keep holding his big rallies, while his fans refuse to wear masks and rub up against each other; he also ridiculed mask-wearing, like it was unmanly, denying the virus was serious, and talking about ingesting cleaning fluids into the body. So, due to his inaction and incompetence, over six million Americans have been infected by the COVID-19, and now over 200,000 died, who did not have to die.  

We also honor the memory and work of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg; may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration for those who want to use the law for the rights of all Americans, particularly women and LGBTQs.

BUT-Ginsberg’s body was still warm when Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader (and apparently High Overlord) of the Senate decides to want to push through a nomination for her replacement ton the Court, a few weeks before the election. Those of us with historical memory remember ow McConnell, in 2016, would not allow a vote on a replacement for Antonin Scalia, saying, in all piety, that the newly-elected President must make the appointment.

The public has come out against the game-playing McConnell and the Senate Republicans on the appointment of Ginsberg’s replacement, saying the nomination must take place after the election. Already the party is losing popularity, and McConnell himself is facing a strong reelection opponent in Amy McGrath, and former Marine fighter-pilot. Doesn’t he know the trouble the party is in? Is he so disconnected from the reality all of us Americans face day by day-a pandemic killing our loved ones; jobs lost due to shutdowns, and people facing eviction and hunger; and racial division, stoked by the tangerine tumor  in the White House, who actually believes that the raving racist mobs at his a=rallies are the true American people.

Americans, this is not our government-not our Senate, not our President. We deserve better than this mess. And, if his former attorney Michael Cohen can be believed, he won’t leave quietly, but he’ll hang on to power by force if necessary. The civics lesson days of American politics are over; we can no longer bargain with the Republican Party like they’re a responsible political player you can deal with over cocktails and at the golf course after hours. They have become the host of the viruses of racism, theocracy, and plutocracy in this country. As the kids of today have done, we must take to the streets and show our numbers, to come together in solidarity, as we also have during the pandemic, i=n seeing how everyone is doing, in delivering food packages, and in other ways. That is how we’ll beat the twin viruses of COVID and trump.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! America will be free! Bye!

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Caring During COVID

The Coronavirus outbreak, which has cost the lives of so many people, hs found people willing to pitch in and help out their neighbors in need. I would like to recommend some fine charities:

The Philadelphia Foundation, in conjunction with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New jersey, has the PHL COVID-19, Fund, which provides grants and other resources to non-profits working in the community; their website is https://phlcovid19fund.org/covid-19/. 

the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has organized the COVID-19 Emergence Fund, to address community needs during the pandemic. their web site for updates and donations is  https://jewishphilly.org/covid-19-updates/.

Philabundance, which prepares and distributes meals to needy families in the Philadelphia area; their web site is https://www.philabundance.org/.

HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which supports and advocates for immigrants seeking refuge in this country-a population vulnerable to infections diseases. Their site for Pennsylvania is https://hiaspa.org/.

Muslims Serve, which distributes food to the homeless. their site is muslimsserve.org.

Please look up these fine organizations, and look up similar organizations where you are.

COVID Countdown

We are in the midst of the Omer, the 49-day period between Pesach, the holiday celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery, and Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah, The Kabbalists have held the Omer as the period of self-reflection and spiritual development, with the study of the Kabbalistic s’pherot as traits to develop, as a person and as a community (which are inseparable). The Omer is a period of great hope and anticipation, a countdown from liberation to revelation.

Lately I’ve been following the news about the COVID-19 crisis. I try to balance realizing the bad news with finding nuggets of hope-and form of treatment or vaccine against the virus; local home-grown efforts of manufacturing ventilators, gowns and masks; the valiant work of dedicated nurses, doctors, and other medical workers saving lives while risking (and often losing) their own; and people coming together and helping each other, supplying food to neighbors and calling them to see if they’re okay. You need to hear both-the bad news along with hope, to help you make informed decisions, and to keep you going through the situation.

There have been many fine state governors addressing the pandemic-Wolf of Pennsylvania, Cuomo of New York, Murphy of New Jersey, Pritzker of Illinois- and we must do our own part in demanding that all officials at all levels of government work to deal with the crisis; our voices, and our votes, are our weapons of choice. (The Primary election day in Pennsylvania is June 2, and the general election is November 3. Please get out there and vote.)

Our conscious decisions, such as to weak masks outside and self-quarantine if we’re not feeling well, are part of what has helped us through the pandemic, and will help us defeat the COVID-19, along with trump and his lackeys who have betrayed us; likewise, our self-loving, self-respecting self-assessment throughout the Omer period leads us to greater spiritual fulfillment.


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COVID-19, it’s getting real.

Today, March 16, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered the shutdown of “non-essential” businesses in the city, as of 5:00 PM. Not affected will be gas stations, banks, post offices, day care centers, laundromats, dry cleaners, and groceries will be open; non-essential” government services will be closed; restaurants will only have take-out service and deliveries; no sit-down service. Courts will only hear non-emergency cases for the rest of the month. https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/philadelphia-shutdown-coronavirus-20200316.html


This is in response to the corona virus pandemic sweeping the world; local and state governments have stepped up to prevent further cases, which would overwhelm the health care system currently dealing with the virus. Soon after, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered a statewide shutdown of all non-essential businesses. https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/03/pennsylvania-gov-tom-wolf-to-order-statewide-shutdown-over-coronavirus.html

Like many, I’m trying to cope with the situation; a lot of my favorite spots will be closed until-at least-the end of the month-but what about after?

The only things we can do right now is listen to the advice of the medical professionals-such basic stuff as washing your hands, not getting near people if they don’t feel comfortable, and staying home if they don’t have to go out.

It’s important to understand that we as a nation have been through some difficulties before in our history, and banding together and being for one another have seen us through the tough times; we will overcome this problem.