Age-Related Loss of Smell and Taste
Robot Caregivers and Old People

A Departure from Elder Issues

The entire purpose of this blog, as the subtitle above says, is to discuss what it is really like to get old. If, in the dozen or so years of the existence of Time Goes By, I have written about something else I don't recall.

In keeping with that, today's post was supposed to be about the coming probability of robot caregivers for elders. Then something happened.

On Monday evening, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a total ban of all Muslims from entering the United States.

Setting aside the unconstitutionality of such an act, do I need to spell out the last time a government carried out persecution against members of a particular religion? And how that turned out?

You undoubtedly know this already but here are the bare bones of Trump's ban-all-Muslims speech Monday in South Carolina. Note the response from the crowd of his supporters:

When I saw that video Monday evening, my mind raced as I tried to make sense of an American – any American, even Donald Trump – saying this and what the many ramifications might be. Not the implementation of it; that's too farfetched (or is it?). But the blow to Americans' belief system, values and the republic itself.

We - our country, I thought - have reached a turning point, a moment in time that will be looked back upon as the exact point when something terrible happened to the collective soul of the United States.

I expected at least a sharp intake of breath from the reporters as I clicked around the dial. But it wasn't until two or three huors later that the smart and much-honored chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, Richard Engel - who knows a thing or two about how the United States is perceived around the world - stopped by The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC to explain the enormity of what had just happened.

Here is a video. (Apologies for the extraordinarily lengthy lead-in commercial - blame MSNBC.)

With the exception of the founder of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, conservative Red State blogger, Erick Erickson who praised Trump's call for a ban as politically brilliant and Senator Ted Cruz's shamefully weak response, public people of all political stripes the world over spent Tuesday condemning Trump.

The Philadelphia Daily News front page was the first I could find to be explicit about what Trump's ban really is:

Philadelphia daily news donald trump

Trump himself, as repellent as he is in so many ways, isn't the problem (or so I am still telling myself). What has come to alarm me are the results of such surveys as the one published yesterday by Public Policy Polling (PPP) and taken before Trump's call to shut down entry of Muslims into the U.S.

Among Trump's North Carolina supporters:

67% of his voters support a national database of Muslims in the United States, to only 14% opposed to it.

62% believe his claims that thousands of Arabs cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed, to only 15% who don't believe that.

51% want to see the Mosques in the country shut down, to only 16% against that.

And only 24% of Trump supporters in the state even think Islam should be legal at all in the United States, to 44% who think it shouldn't be.

(There are more responses on other questions about the 2016 presidential contest, conducted from December 5 through 7, at the PPP website.)

The PPP is not an isolated poll; it only confirms many others with similar numbers. And the more hateful Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric becomes, the more his support grows, the stronger it becomes.

Since last summer when Trump joined the presidential campaign, “they” - all of the “expert” theys – have been repeating that his popularity will fade, that he is a sideshow, that he will never gain the Republican nomination.

Is anyone still certain of that?

This isn't funny anymore. What no one in the media will say is that Trump is unAmerican, that he apparently does not understand or believe in the basic tenets on which the United States was founded, and that he is a bigot whipping up hate and hysteria among the yahoos. This cannot end well.



I now think of him as the love child of Hitler & Berlusconi. Have we learned nothing from history? No one should assume they will be safe from the imagination of a madman because they don't fit the profile -- it's just not your turn yet.

Montel Williams, this morning on Morning Joe, said what i have been thinking.

Trump is furthering the ignorant rants of the reality show craze where you have spitting and clawing, race-baiting, and male/female debasement.

I think he said there are 12 of those type tv shows and they have set a tone for a set of people that feeds on more of the rhetoric, bluster, and hatefulness.

So, (my take) while Trump has seen that "reality presentation"as his way to get more of the attention he so craves, his is the boil that has risen to the point of needing to be lanced to stop the spread of the poison.

This grows increasingly disturbing. I've been waiting for the Trump bubble to burst for weeks, if not months. Instead, it keeps getting weirder and weirder.

As far as forgetting and repeating history, large numbers of people in this country's earlier days defended keeping humans as property and treating them worse than animals for quite a long time, and we've been decrying the growing divide between the 'have's' and the 'have-nots' for decades, and yet it grows. Why should it be so difficult to imagine that Trump or someone else with the gall, clout, connections, charisma -- what ever it is that contributes to their power -- could pull off what ever they want?

In contrast, yesterday the world lost a hero for the earth - Douglas Tompkins, who spent his wealth on buying and preserving large swaths of Chile and Patagonia in their pristine state for all time. It's a bit of synchronicity to have his story intercept with Trump's, in my mind, as the frenetic hype of Trump is dominating the news, our lives, nearly taking one's breath away with disgust or enthusiasm. And that's being in the wrong head.

I also am angry over the multi news groups, online and on air, who have inflamed the crazies and encouraged this ridiculous man and his followers to this degree, all to make money for themselves. Perhaps we're each being challenged, to question and think critically and demand that others do, also.

I just received yet another petition to sign. I will sign it because it is chastizing CNN and - yes - MSNBC [excluding, I assume, Rachel Maddow and a couple of others--] for their explicit and huge coverage of Trump. But what I want is a protest against ALL the mainstream media who cover Trump's every breath, every word, with what borders on glee. Who begin EACH of their newscasts that supposedly cover "world" news" - with yet another Trump story.

And yes, we must not forget his rabid audiences, running after him as if he were the Messiah. This multi-zillionaire who no doubt benefits all the time from their hard-earned labor--whose general contempt is so very apparent.

Early this morning, while I was waiting for our Y pool to open, I heard an NPR thing about how oddly we, the US, are being looked at by the climate-change conference participants: how both developing and so-called developed countries worldwide view us with a mix of astonishment and cynicism. Well, when Donald Trump is the clear favorite of a large majority of Republicans [and who knows how many Democrats as well] -- when his actions more and more resemble a demagogue ---- when there are still great numbers of us who do not "believe" in climate change ---- what can we expect?

Wow, it makes me want to run away.

If CNN and other news organizations had basically ignored Trump at the get go, I wonder if he would have risen so far. Trump as a presidential candidate is a disaster. The conventional wisdom is that he can't win an election, but why would you want to give him the candidacy in the first place? I think conservative whites have lost their minds; or, more likely, Trump's speeches reflect their deepest biases and fears. One scary thing: I suspect many of these supporters of hatred are of my generation.

I do agree with those who point out that Fox News and the various conservative media allied with them have essentially created the constituency for a demagogue.

What were those Germans thinking, back in the late 1930s, when they allowed someone like Adolf Hitler to rise to power and end up murdering six million people? Surely they must have realized he was an evil madman, mustn't they? Yet they didn't stop him. How can something like that happen in what everyone thought was a civilized country? Well I guess we are finding out, now, as another narcissistic, ego-inflated madman captures the headlines.

America is a currently a much divided Nation and not just divided but “bitterly” divided. And Donald Trump is in every sense currently the hot iron that is intentionally stoking and feeding that hate and discontent in enormous measure. Many of our citizens have had these fears and prejudices bottled up in them for a long time begrudgingly walking that ‘political correctness’ line and Mr. Trump has become their lightning rod and welcomed outlet.

There have been many comparisons made already with regard to the Muslims in general, Syrian refugees and the World War II Japanese internment camps here in the United States. Those camps also grew out of fear by many for the homeland and also because we were at war with the Japanese. We are assumed to be at war now with the Jihadist Muslim groups but in my opinion there is something of major consequence missing. There has been no uprising of citizen volunteers to join the military and put forth a serious defense of this Nation. Such was not the case when we were drawn into World War II. And under the tenure of Mr. Trump it seems we would become at best, a Nation of walls. Surely Canada will be next!

I know that some measure of Ronni’s readers are Jewish but if you are of the Christian persuasion residing here in the United States and have any understanding whatsoever of your religion, Mr. Trump could certainly be easily perceived as the poster child for the foretold Anti-Christ. Right now he is in lock-step with many things reflected in the Christian writings regarding that religious entity.

As far as the media goes, well that’s a really easy one. They are in lock-step with whatever draws audiences and Donald Trump has been doing that for some time now. He’s easy money for them all.

If you recall, Trump went after the Mexicans first, then the Muslims… so, were I an American citizen I might be having more concern about when he was going to turn on some ethnic persuasion or religion that I might be part of because if his rhetoric bears its bitter fruit in the end, that is exactly what you'd better be concerned about.

Thanks Ronni for this opportunity to let a little steam out of my own pent-up bottle…

Isn't this the type of demagoguery that Hitler used to come to power? It frightens me when I read the polls and read that people actually cheer for this lying creep. I have read many articles trying to explain why a hateful deceitful megalomaniac is so popular and I still don't understand why Trump has a single follower.

There have always been an angry fringe group that are looking for someone or some group to blame for their own inadequacies, but the size of the followers of Donald is truly frightening. I don't know my country any more .

It's probably too late to educate the gullible loons, but we had better start teaching critical thinking in all of our schools in the hope that the angry losers can think for themselves and see a loud mouth snake oil salesman for what he is.

I agree with what others have said about Trump, but here are two things that haven't been said:

1. Nobody seems to care about the truth anymore. All the politicians running for president (especially Trump and Carson) are running around telling bald-faced lies and people believe them. Then, when someone in the media does fact checking and calls them on their lies, the candidate blames the whole thing on the media and people believe that too.

Which leads to my second point:

2. It's easy to blame things on the media, but we need to remember that a lot of the media excess is the result of the fact that most media are now owned by corporations rather than by individuals who cared about the community in which they published. All the corporations care about is the bottom line, and they make it very hard for reporters to operate as they should--they're under constant pressure to produce, produce, produce. I worked in newspapers through my career, and my fellow journalists were some of the most caring, idealistic people I knew. When you criticize the media, consider that good journalism is what keeps politicians honest. Given corporate ownership, I don't know if we'll ever have widespread good journalism as we used to, but I'm hopeful that there will always be some around.

Apples and oranges.
Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews from the face of the earth just because they were Jewish. There are were no Jews who publicly or privately for that matter stated if you're not Jewish we will kill you. There were no Jews who strapped bombs on themselves or their children and then killed many many innocent people in public venues. There are no Jews who bought weapons and ammo to shoot innocent people. Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews from the face of the earth just because they were Jewish.
So do not confuse issues and invoke the Hitler hot button situation.
This situation is entirely different so just stop and think for a minute. There is a group of people who label themselves Muslim who state publicly if you're not going to follow us we are going to kill you. AND THEY DO. They are inflitrating populations throughout the world and they are now adding killing Americans to their resume.
Fox in the chicken coop anybody?
I repeat stop and think!
Perhaps then you'll understand and realize why people are responding to Trump.
It is not the same thing as Hitler except that the self called Muslims are also thugs, bullies and murderers.
In addition just because people follow something religously doesn't make it a Religion. Any Religion that is bonafide doesn't advocate killing. So don't be fooled by those who say they are following a Religion. You are drinking the Kool-aid if you think those radical killing machines are of the actual Muslim Religion.They are the thugs bullies and murderers. I for one don't want them in my house.

I blame the media for abandoning the ideal of "equal time" and covering Trump's candidacy for months to the virtual exclusion of all the other candidates. He made ridiculous statements to attract attention and the media pounced on the red meat. So he made even more ridiculous statements and the media continued to cover them. I've no doubt that if he'd gotten no more media attention than any other candidate, he'd be another also-ran. The media created the monster, or at least enabled him. The scary thing, of course, is how many people apparently support him. I find it truly frightening that so many Americans believe in and would vote for the kinds of things he's advocating. The biggest threat to our country isn't foreign terrorists; it's the ignorant, bigoted guy down the street.

In any other circumstance, I would delete the comment above from NaturallyCurlie or, at least, the last two paragraphs that are bigoted, ignorant , stupid and unacceptable at this website. It would be the first time in five or six years that I removed a comment for spewing hatred.

Islam, as any rational human being knows, is the largest religion in the world - more than a billion followers. The tiniest possible percentage are jihadist terrorists. Terrible. Frightening. A scourge the entire world must deal with. But not an excuse to vilify a religion or its members.

Nobody who spews hatred is allowed to comment at this blog and anyone who does is not entitled to a second chance.

I appreciate that you left Curlie's comment up, just as I appreciate newspapers and media and websites that publish letters from and don't delete comments from Holocaust deniers and people who deny that we're destablilizing the climate -- it's vital that reality based people not be easily allowed to fool themselves into thinking such people don't exist or that "they don't really believe that."

They do believe it, they do exist, and they are among us, and if given half a chance they will act on their beliefs.

Barbara Tuchman's book "A Distant Mirror" is a great read and very relevant to our times, methinks.

There may not be enough Progressives around now who remember the WWII era to make a difference, but I hope there are. Unfortunately, far too many of Donald Trump's supporters appear to be older Americans who should know better. I agree that relentless 24/7 media coverage of this hatemonger is fueling the fire. I also agree that corporate ownership of the mainstream media certainly contributes to "news" these days that is UNfair and totally UNbalanced.

However scary the Trump phenomenon is (and it IS scary!), I have to hope that on Election Day, the percentage of voters who will actually vote for this ego-driven blowhard will be small enough so that he slithers away from the public scene for all time. I sense that his winners/losers mentality will not be able to withstand even small defeats (think Trump concession speech!), so this is one time when Progressives simply MUST vote in large numbers in every primary. Trump can and must be defeated by We, the People. He must never be granted the opportunity to appear as a bona fide candidate for President of the U.S.

We aren't Germans yet. Even the Germans aren't acting like Germans any more. Who is taking in hundreds and thousands of refugees: the Germans. It takes the kind of leadership that Merkel has shown, however. We don't have that.

Trump is a miserable person in atitude. The fact that such a person can actually run for the presidency of our country shows either that we are a free country where all sides have a chance to voice their opinion or that we are a bunch a numb skulled fog brained idiots who believe anything that comes down the pike.

I agree with so many of the above postings-much more eloquently stated than I can begin to do it.

It's easy to say "whats wrong with the country"..but we also need to think what is right with our country. It's time for seniors to get the vote out...if you live in a state where you go to the polls (Oregon has had mail-in ballots for all for many years)volunteer to drive fellow seniors to the poling places so they can know that their vote counts.

Rolling Stone issue 1250-1251 says 2016 os the most important election of our time..take a moment and read this excellent article. Also in this issue, just on the stands now, is a great interview with Secretary of State John Kerry take on global warming.

Elle in Beaverton Oregon

One thing that Hitler showed the world through Joseph Goebbels is that the bigger the lie the more inclined (certain) people are to believe it. Trump seems to have taken this lesson to heart.

I don't have regular TV, computer TV only, so i was shocked and saddened to see this. I, too, hope the voters come to their senses on election day.

I just now watched the msnbc piece.

What a sad, disturbed, misguided man.

How did he manage to con so many people?

A CBC radio program this morning was about Muslim women being afraid to walk their children to school or go shopping, because of harassment.

What is this?

The world has looked to America as a guiding light! However, when I hear what Trump has to say I am ashamed. In fact I want to say that I'm sorry over and over again for this man's prejudice and bigotry. What if the next group will be my ethnic group? In fact the United States has so many people from all over the world. The diversity was always there. The fear that has gripped Americans is being exploited by this hate preacher. Don't fear that you will be attacked ....just be afraid when someone insults and threatens to eliminate a group because of their religion.

I am an Australian by choice - but have always admired America for its Constitution which opened its arms to the world and has continued to do so over the years. I am so sad for America now that its image is being so tarnished by this mad man and the amount of media coverage he generates. How to deal with him? There is no easy way but we have an organisation here in Australia which opposes our government's policy on refugees - it is called Not In Our Name - perhaps all thinking Americans need to rise up and shout out loud that this man is not speaking for you.

"This cannot end well."

Not disagreeing with you, Ronni. However, a possible scenario of things actually ending 'well': Trump runs as a third-party candidate, assuring a Republican loss in the Presidential election. This also could have repercussions in all other 2016 races.

"This cannot end well."
"Things" swing from one extreme to the other. It has always been that way. Just since the War, we've had the fear-mongering of Joe McCarthy. The swing reversed to the L.B.J. extreme of progressive policies, followed by Reagan, who gave voice to those who didn't trust government, wanted plutocracy, and didn't want to pay any taxes.
Tho the hate-filled and the ignorant support Trump's vile mouthings, the enormity of what he's proposing will wake up the average voter before next November. When it counts.
Trump will mark the "reversing point" of the swing back to fairness, honesty and respect. Indeed, the reversal has already begun. Just look at the news. We'll be OK.

Have I misunderstood Curlie- I thought (s)he was saying that the "terror muslims" are thugs, bullies and murderers, not the entire Muslim people.

"exact point when something terrible happened to the collective soul of the United States"

I disagree. This is the result of decades of decline.

It goes back at least to the Reagan era. Some long-term trends - Economic decline (outsourcing), control of the political and economic system by large monied interests (corporate and individual) that caused a decline in economic security for the middle and working class, the rise of an anti-science and anti-education "Christian" movement that was coddled by the corporate media.

I lack the eloquence to state my case clearly, but the ascendancy of someone like Trump (and eventually someone worse) has been clear for a LONG time. Preventing a Trump presidency will do nothing to reverse the political, economic, or social decline.

I see a coming crisis of debt-based capitalism, a continued decline of the nation-state, and a continual rise of global pseudo-institutions (laissez faire no regulation global corporations), global movements and affiliations (jihdism and "anonymous" being some nascent versions). Not to mention climate change ;-)
Yes, I have a very dim view of humanities next hundred years.

Ultimately all one can do is live according to ones ethics/beliefs, do what one can to "do the right thing" (both on a macro scale and in ones individual interactions), but don't let the depressing reality kill your soul.

Have a lovely day.

I pretty much agree with everything you're saying. including the decades of decline you mention. I'm just saying that as in many such things, there is a moment when it all that has been building (or declining) crystalizes. I suspect this is it and the new poll numbers this morning (Thursday) show a terrifying divide between the two-thirds of Republicans who support Trump's call to ban all Muslims and the three-quarters of Democrats who do not. Where can there be a meeting point between such two widely divided points of view.

There will be a more thorough survey on this question released later today that may show something different.

I think NaturallyCurlie is pretty clear about Islam not being "bonafide" religion.

The United States has been at this point before. The scapegoated group is larger this time. As Ronni says, this time Trump's demonizing a billion people, and he's picked religion as his marker. It's still not different in kind from McCarthy, who successfully convinced at least three generations of Americans that Communists were lurking under every bed. Before that, there was open, violent warfare waged against trade unions. Before that, there was the Ku Klux Klan.

In every generation, there have been people to speak out against this.

Not enough.

What's up with that twenty-five percent of Democrats who aren't outraged, who are maybe quietly swayed by a call to ban all Muslims? Shouldn't that be zero percent?

I don't know. You could ask the same question about Canadians -- on the American political spectrum we'd just about all have to count as Democrats, even most of those who are in our so-called Conservative party. And yet, American-style fear-mongering and hate-mongering has made inroads here. It has convinced some. Not enough, thank God, so far. But we always cast worried eyes across the border. What happens in the US sooner or later always makes its way north.

Which is a long way of saying... yeah, Trump frightens me, too.

The support that Trump attracts should frighten us. The man himself -- small and nasty.

Probably the most accessible lever to fight this is ensuring that people who have been pushed to the margins -- the young, people of color, the poor, especially elders -- actually can vote. Most Republicans have been working over time to prevent this where they can. Sure, some of these folks are equally fearful and hurting and will listen to demagogues, but overall the experience of places like Minnesota and Oregon and even California which make voting easy is that we get better governance and better politicians.

Ronni -- I'm glad you left NaturallyCurlie up. We can't hide out in our silos.

Just a word of caution regarding putting all the attention on the obvious while the sly and spurious, mccarthy-like Ted cruises in the tailwind of the semi speeding down the hitler-inspired interstate.

The slimy unctuous cruiser is a threat also.

God bless Donald Trump. He has made it very clear which party we should vote for next year. Abe Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave.

Thanks for this post, Ronni. Your thoughts and the comments brought to mind these words by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and who spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Ronni, I agree with Hilary. Read the post again. Curlie clearly states,
"So don't be fooled . . . that those radical killing machines are of the actual
Muslim religion. And her earlier statements do not single out Muslims but apply
to whatever demigogues twist religion to disguise their own purposes.

Oops. That should be demagogues with an a.

I agree with Hilary and Estelle. I just reread Curlie's post and it clearly says that any religion that demands killing Is NOT a bonafied religion and if your think these radical thugs and killers represent the Muslim religion, you are drinking cool aid. I took it to mean she/he thinks the Muslim people and religion are fine, but it's these thugs and cold blooded killers that don't represent the religion and it is those she/he doesn't want in her house, figuratively speaking. Just my humble opinion as I read it. Life is all about perception sometime isn't it? That's how we often get in trouble.

Who does want killers and thugs in their house? Nobody that I know! But when you try to keep yourself safe from killers and thugs by scapegoating anyone who remotely resembles them, that's just cowardly and cruel, and shameful.

And when an unscrupulous man reaches for political power by deliberately frightening people, by convincing them that to be safe, they have to be cruel to innocents... then comparisons to Hitler are not at all unreasonable.

Curlie may not have been saying quite what Ronni thought she was saying, but all the same, she was entirely wrong. Trump is doing what Hitler did: targeting innocents. The existence of violent Moslem extremists does not begin to make that justifiable, any more than the existence of a few wealthy Jewish bankers could justify blaming all Jews for the economic woes of 1930s Germany.

Fear is never an excuse for injustice.

No, Trump is not advocating death camps -- not yet, anyway. But he's not far enough from Hitler to allow one to say apples and oranges. He is intentionally exploiting the exact same weak spot of human societies.

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