Ivanka Mismanaged Food Program

Ivanka Mismanaged Food Program

Lines at food banks were long during the height of the COVID pandemic

Did Ivanka Mismanage Food Program?

“Of course,” she did, says investigative congressional committee

Ivanka is at the center of  another scandal involving fraud, incompetence, and mismanagement

By D. S. Mitchell

Numb To Outrage

I thought I was numb to the outrageous behavior of the Trump family, and those in their orbit, but I am not. Yesterday, I was perusing the internet, instead of doing what needed to be done. Anyway. . . I came across an article on ProPublica about the mishandling of the Food to Families Program from last spring and then the same story with updates popped up again in a Palmer Report article last week.

Pulling Back The Veil

Ivanka Trump, unveiled the program in May 2020.  According to congressional investigators, Ivanka spearheaded the idea to include the letter from her father in each of the boxes.  Private contractors were told by the USDA that the letter was mandatory. Food bank operators told congressional investigators the letter concerned them because it was politically biased.

The Dig Continues

I continued digging. I discovered that last week The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis,  published their report on the debacle. Sadly, the conclusion was that that former President Donald Trump’s administration, under the leadership of his daughter Ivanka, failed miserably at delivering food to families as promised.

Furthermore, the year long congressional investigation identified problems with the deliveries themselves; including food safety issues, spoiled food, failed deliveries, and uneven food distribution. Recipient organizations complained some contractors forced them to accept more food than they could distribute or store. That’s why, under the Trump administration, the Food to Families program was created. This program was supposed to get food into the hands and mouths of needy families. “Supposed to” are the keywords. It turns out, like, with everything else Trump & Associates touched, this program fell apart.

Whistle While You Work

ProPublica reports that the Farmers to Families Food Box program gave contracts to companies that had no relevant experience, and in many cases companies that lacked the necessary licenses for the contracts they applied for. Contractor applications were not adequately screened or vetted; nor did officials follow up on red flags in bid proposals. Money was foolishly wasted, grievously mishandled, probably stolen, and most assuredly misappropriated for political campaigning.


Why is that? To start with Ivanka was involved. According to new reporting  millions of dollars were misused and squandered. And much of the money went to bogus contracts being given to unqualified and inexperienced companies. There was little screening of said applications, according to the investigators. Some of the funds were also used to promote President Trump in various ways. Who would have guessed that? Remember that letter Ivanka Trump insisted be included in the food packages? The now infamous letter bragged about what a good job Daddy Trump was doing with the pandemic response. Democrats point out that the letter appears to violate the Hatch Act. No surprise there. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so predictable and so corruptly Trump.

Trump Pre-Hospitalization Timeline

EDITORIAL: Trump Pre-Hospitalization Timeline

By D. S. Mitchell


In The Early Morning Hours

I had gone to bed late Thursday (10/01/20) night and was sort of watching TV while sort of dozing. It was early a.m. Friday (10/02/20) on the west coast, when Kaisie Hunt, on her show “Way Too Early,”  made a dramatic announcement.  Close advisor to the president, Hope Hicks had tested positive for Coronavirus. The name of Hope Hicks caused me to sit up and take notice. Over the next couple hours information  dribbled in; and eventually we got word that Donald J. Trump, president of the United States had tested positive for COVID-19. Yikes and oh, my! I got up and made a cup of coffee. I knew I had to hit Twitter.  Where the prevailing sentiment seemed to be, “Wouldn’t it be funny if Trump died from COVID-19?” and “big surprise, he doesn’t even wear a mask or social distance.”

Prayers And Best Wishes

Okay, I have to admit I have a greater than normal share of cynicism. I nearly barfed when I heard all the TV hosts wishing the president “health and happiness” and the proverbial “thoughts and prayers.” I know, I know. Be nice.  But, really… here is a man holding super spreader rallies, Rose Garden COVID-19 parties, insulting Biden and others for mask wearing, undermining the postal service, threatening our very democracy, refused to admit he would give up power if he loses the election, has in my view at least, encouraged armed insurrection, and I am now supposed to say, “oh, poor Donnie.” To be blunt, fuck that shit! I will not.

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OPINION: Rules For Thee, Not For Me



By Trevor K. McNeil

Power Of Perception

Perception can be powerful. As Mark Twain said, give someone a reputation as “an early riser” and he can stay in bed until noon. Though, as with most things powerful, such perceptions can also be exceedingly dangerous. Like the “honest man” who turns out to be a con man or thief. Or the “quiet guy” who turns out to be a serial killer. Perceptions, especially unverified ones, make it very easy to deceive, particularly ourselves. Such is the case with American Isolationism.

Divided We Stand

The idea of American independence goes back to the beginning. Not only in terms of the country but with the individual states. At the time of founding, the United in United States was more wishful thinking on the part of the founders than expectation. The reality was less a nation than a loose collection of essentially independent British colonies, each with it’s own local government, and usually a militia group, the British being absentee landlords at best.

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Taking A Trivia Break

Taking A Trivia Break

This rusty bucket can be put to good use.

There are times that I want to put a bucket over Donald Trump’s head just to shut out the noise.

Taking A Trivia Break 

D. S. Mitchell

COVID-19 Briefings

I have watched Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force briefings for the last three weeks or four weeks. I think the first one I watched was on March 10th. For some reason they just keep getting longer and more ridiculous. Over the last week I have gotten in the habit of turning off the volume when I see that Trump is about to start talking. Truthfully, every time he opens his mouth I can’t shut off the volume fast enough.

Find A Bucket

Yesterday, I watched the briefing without turning off the volume. I have no idea what I was thinking. While the CDC is now recommending that citizens wear face coverings, to protect others, Trump says he will not be wearing one. As usual, Trump has totally missed the point of the face covering. He went on a rant about the ‘resolute desk’ and then said he “couldn’t see himself wearing a mask”, while he was meeting, “kings, queens, and dictators”. I don’t know how those world leaders feel, but I know I would like to see him shut up and put a bucket over his head.

YouTube Training

Trump obviously thinks more of a photo-op than the safety and well-being of those he is coming in contact with. He however continued, that those who want to wear a face mask are free to do so. Leadership at its worst, and most dangerous. I will be wearing a facial covering, because I want to protect people I may come in contact with. Many of those people are relatives and friends that I love and want to safeguard.

A Chinese Suggestion

This  week I have been on YouTube learning how to make masks out of men’s handkerchiefs. I have practiced how to make those face coverings, and although I’m a bit clumsy, I think I’ve got it. Some suggest placing  a section of paper towel in between the layers of your homemade masks. I will do that also. It is such an easy extra step. Whatever the experts tell me to do, I will do. I was an RN for nearly 40 years. I take the advice of  medical professionals seriously. RT’s (respiratory therapists), doctors and other nurses’ advice is usually pretty damn good.

A Blogger’s Life

The focus of my blog is the American political system. The blogger’s life is a good life, most of the time. There are times however, when U.S. politics and political rhetoric saps a person’s patience and energy. Currently, I am outraged that Donald Trump is using the Coronavirus Task Force briefings to promote his own political interest. Political spin is not appropriate at this moment. I hope that television outlets begin to give Democratic front-runner Joe Biden more TV time.

Even Today

Today, I am taking a break from politics to think about something else for a few minutes. I know that Trump will soon hijack the airwaves, with another   briefing.  I’m just going to take a deep breath, and try to keep a positive frame of mind. As a distraction for myself this morning, I began compiling a few interesting trivia facts about America. Enjoy. Continue reading

OPINION: COVID-19 Threatens Populism


COVID-19 Threatens Populism

By Sonnet Gomes

Capitalist vs Communist

After the end of the Second World War, the world experienced a new political polarization. New alliances were established. Capitalist and Communist propaganda divided the entire world into two camps. This polarization also influenced the global economy. Over the last decade the world has watched as a large number of populist political leaders have ascended to power, changing dynamics in a new way.

Two Powerhouses

Despite the existence of a few non-alliance movements, the US and USSR have been the dominating military powerhouses for six decades. Economically, Russia is a third world country and has never challenged the United States in that realm. In the 1980’s through the 1990’s it was the U.S. facing off against ally Japan for economic dominance.

Challenging The U.S.

Over the last two decades it has been China that has challenged the U.S. for world economic dominance.  The world has seen a lot over the last couple years, as power shifts, both militarily and economically.  A devastating trade war between the US and China has shaken up the accepted.  With Brexit, the economic difficulties in Greece and Italy the European Union is showing signs of unraveling. There has been an ongoing shadow war among the Middle Eastern states, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yemen, Syria and Iran. Additionally, economic polarization is rearing its ugly head among Latin American nations.

Change On The Way

It can be easily imagined that the post-coronavirus era will be even more complicated. In fact, all the fundamental existing alliances and collaborations are likely to fade away. Eventually, a new world with modified political beliefs and economic strategies are predicted to evolve.

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Sustainable Seafood Choices

Making sustainable seafood choices is important

Sustainable Seafood Choices

By D. S. Mitchell


While I am confined to my home, due to the coronavirus threat, I have worked, every day on my blog. For the last several weeks many articles I have posted are related, in one fashion of another, to the pandemic. But, today I want to temporarily shift gears. I want to share some information on how to support sustainable U.S. seafood.

James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation is an organization at the center of the nation’s culinary culture. The Beard Foundation has been, for over 30 years, on a mission to promote, through education, a food culture that encourages delicious, diverse, and sustainable. The Trump administration is working to roll back conservation provisions that had helped rebuild depleted fish stocks and cut over-fishing. The Beard Foundation is encouraging the chefs of America to become the voice of sustainability in their communities.  ‘Smart Catch’  is a Beard Foundation project created to help chefs serve seafood, fished or farmed, in environmentally responsible ways.

Fish on Friday

When I was a kid, we had fish for dinner on Friday. We were not Catholic, but we followed what seemed a national tradition, or at least a neighborhood tradition. From childhood, eating seafood has been part of my culinary experience. Today, 80% of the seafood consumed by Americans is imported. Forty-five per cent of that total comes from traditional options, such as shrimp, salmon, and tuna. Expanding your seafood palate is a good strategy for eating healthier, saving money and helping protect the oceans.  By small changes in your eating habits you can reduce over-fishing and contribute to ocean resiliency.

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OPINION: Trump’s Viral Circus

I read some place when you hire a clown, expect a circus..

An unidentified, but very clever person declared, “when you hire a clown, expect a circus.”

OPINION: Trump’s Viral Circus

By Trevor K. McNeil

A Question of Leadership.

Many American presidents have faced great obstacles. To their credit, most have risen to the occasion with some degree of grace and intelligence befitting the office. Most of the catastrophes have been military-and at times self-inflicted, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s half-cocked 1898 invasion of Spanish controlled Cuba. “Remember the Maine!” More recently, terrorism has been the challenge. After 9/11, somehow overnight, George W. Bush became a military genius. That genius led us into an unending conflict in the Middle East. Though, to his credit, he did better than most would have expected. Ulysses S. Grant, not widely known for his intelligence, statesmanship, or sobriety did attempt to rebuild the nation after the terror of the Civil War, and as expected, failed abysmally.

Guns and Ammo

Woodrow Wilson was fighting two wars, one against the Germans and one against the Spanish Flu.

Woodrow Wilson faced two enemies during WWI; the Germans and the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Sadly, Woodrow Wilson, simultaneously facing World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic resorted to lies and misinformation to tamper down public fears. God forbid anyone stop the production of guns and ammunition.  The 1918 experience of a rapidly spreading virus, and a government unprepared for the challenge, should be an eye opener. The COVID-19 outbreak has been compared to the Spanish Flu pandemic. If that proves correct we could be on the brink of total disaster. In fact, Wilson’s public response to Spanish Flu may prove sterling in comparison to Trump’s Coronavirus press briefings.

Wishful Thinking

In the case of president Trump, the lies come so fast and furious it is often hard to separate intent from stupidity. In an instance of whimsical optimism unseen outside of a Peter Pan production, Trump publicly suggested people should just “go to work”, and it will all miraculously “just go away.” Reporting indicates Trump was warned in early December 2019 that COVID-19 was as serious as it gets, and was headed like an armed missile directly at us.

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In Vietnam Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

An expats experience in Vietnam

In Vietnam:

During The COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Megan Rees

An Expat in Vietnam During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Back To Normal?

The clamoring sounds of drums and squawking horns filled the street, outside my window. I know what it means: a funeral.  I can see the family members and friends of the deceased all wearing white, parading behind this tragic tune.  It was a symbol to me, a sign that life in Hanoi, Vietnam, was starting to return to normal, or so I thought.

Lunar Festival

Tết, is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. It is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture.  During the New Year festival it is normal to see Hanoi go from a busy, polluted city to a ghost town.  It is the time when the Vietnamese  pay respects to their ancestors, as well as welcoming the lunar New Year with family members. I love the city at this time of year.  Hanoi is vibrant and colorful, every space is decked out in multi-colored lights. People are happy. There are elaborate floral decorations with signs everywhere proclaiming, “Chúc mùng năm mới!” (Happy New Year).  Hanoi becomes festive and that warm holiday feeling fills the air.

A Slow Down

Then, the town gets quiet. Everything slows down. The typical commotion is muted. City streets are noticeably subdued and traffic is light.  It is a nice break from the usual hustle and bustle sounds of a rapidly developing metropolis.  The holiday itself was relaxing.  It is typical for families to come together over big meals to welcome the New Year. I had dinner on New Year’s Day with my adopted Vietnamese family; it was great for the world to stop for a while. It was exactly what I needed. But, there was an urgency, I needed to start working again.

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OPINION: Hope in the Era of COVID-19


Hope In The Era of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the scariest health risk most living humans have ever seen.

COVID-19 virus is the worst pandemic the majority of humanity has ever seen.

By Anna Hessel

Disaster In Progress

The COVID-19 virus is the worst pandemic the majority of humanity has ever seen. Public panic is on a level with the Yellow Fever epidemic which broke out in Philadelphia, PA, in 1793.  Over that spring and summer more than 4,000 people died. Paranoia of the “black vomit of death” had people covering their mouths and noses with vinegar-soaked cloths.  The death toll included the first husband of then-future First Lady Dolley Madison and their baby boy.  Some are saying this pandemic is similar to a resurgence of tuberculosis or polio.  We are a nation living in fear, not faith, because of the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis.  Feeling helpless, anxious and abandoned, we yearn for a return to normalcy.

Those Most At Risk

Even well-known celebrities and the wealthy are coming down with coronavirus. The most vulnerable in our society are being the hardest hit. The elderly, disabled, immunocompromised, and lower-income people are more likely to contract the virus than the wealthy. Blacks and Latinos are suffering the most deaths. The most vulnerable are less likely to recover, due to lack of health care benefits. They are suffering in other ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well.

The Most Fragile

Hunger is a real danger in the time of COVID-19.

Hunger is a new reality for many more Americans.

These fragile people are the ones most in need of government help. Crowded Human Service offices are being shut down.  Food pantries typically have small waiting areas and limited shelf stock. Many food banks can now only offer a couple of bags of food in a drive-through environment. Folks without access to a vehicle who rely on public transportation or their own two feet and need food assistance may not receive the needed help. These life-line organizations are running low on provisions and in fact are likely to run out of food. Recent cuts to food stamps are an extra threat to food security. Furthermore, those dependent on apartment laundry rooms or commercial laundromats, face an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, because of the communal areas.

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Environmental Benefits of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the scariest health risk since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

Environmental Benefits of COVID-19

By Sonnet Gomes

State of War

Viruses and humanity have been in a “state-of-war” from the beginning of time. A variety of  infectious diseases have been responsible for every pandemic in world history. We only need to remember our high school history books coverage of the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu.  It is estimated that the Spanish Flu was responsible for more than 50,000,000 worldwide deaths. Behind all modern-day pandemics, the primary culprits have been viruses.

Coronaviruses are Well-Known

Coronaviruses are well-known to us. In fact, you probably are a unknowing host to millions of them at this very moment. Coronaviruses cause a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe and often deadly respiratory infections. This new strain, COVID-19, is short for coronavirus disease-2019.  This novel coronavirus is responsible for the current global outbreak. Although coronaviruses  are well-known this new strain has no cure or prevention. This fact has jeopardized millions of human beings worldwide, particularly the elderly or immune suppressed.

Origins of Outbreak

The outbreak started in November 2019 in the City of Wuhan, China. Wuhan is a city of over 11,000,000 people. A busy center of industry. The source of this novel strain is not known for certain, but a credible source has been identified. In China, there are many open markets where wild animals including rats and bats are butchered in proximity to vegetables, domestic meats and customers. The COVID-19 is thought to have started in one of these huge open markets. Bats are the primary transmission suspect. Wild animals, including bats have been regularly butchered and sold as meat in China. Bats are known carriers of multiple strains of coronaviruses.

Non-Symptomatic but Contagious

The COVID-19 is Zoonotic, meaning it can transfer from animal to man.  Similar to SARS, it can stay in the host body undetected for up to 14 days. The difference seems to be that with COVID-19 the person may be non-symptomatic but contagious. SARS, on the other hand,  is not communicable until patient develops symptoms. Both SARS and MERS were transmitted from the civet cat and camels, respectively. Thus, it is clear, the chain of infection often starts with a animal to man transfer. All wildlife trade in China, including bat meat, was banned in January 2020. This was a direct response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus Map Expands

As of this writing, around 81,000 people have been infected in China. Out of those patients, the death toll is more than 3,100. Yet, many thousands are recovering. Italy, Iran, and South Korea now face the grim reality of a COVID-19 outbreak. Every day, new countries are added to the coronavirus map. The United States is now part of the pandemic.  The World Health Organization has identified the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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