Category Archives: Fasting to Defeat Trump

Day 24

It feels good to be beginning the last week of this hunger strike, and also the last week before the huuuuuge election. It is encouraging to see the massive early voting turnout in many parts of the country. It’s an historic fact that the larger the voter turnout, the better progressive and liberal candidates for office do, the worse Republicans do.

It’s looking like the Trumpites don’t have any last minute disruptions to undercut the Democratic campaign—no late October letter from FBI Director James Comey about reopening a probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server, and no public dumping of John Podesta’s emails with Russian government assistance. They tried last week to get the mass media to pick up the story Rudolph Giuliani has been pushing about Biden supposedly working with son Hunter to get millions of dollars for personal gain from corporate actors in Ukraine and China, but other than the right-wing media echo chamber, no one saw it is as credible.

We’ll see if some new Hail Mary allegation is thrown out there this week, but even if it is, the fact that about 60 million people have already voted, and Trump is so widely hated or distrusted for so many reasons, including his abject failure to lead on the pandemic, should mean that it won’t have much impact.

On a personal level, I’m hoping to get a second blood test today to see how things are looking health-wise. Assuming that happens, I’ll then see what my doctor says about the results and decide on that basis at the end of the week if I stay on water-only through election day or take some vegetable and fruit liquids for the final several days. In any case, I am definitely looking forward to the end of this fast, and the end of Trump in the White House.

Day 23

I’m feeling better today than I did at this time yesterday. One reason could be because I consciously took it easy yesterday, less time at the computer, more time reading and, yes, time cooking for Jane in the kitchen, something I’m doing on an almost daily basis. I really enjoy it. My mind is very fixed on hunger striking and getting Trump out, and that overrides any desire to eat my delicious, according to Jane, home-cooked dishes.

Another reason I’m feeling better could be that I’m now ingesting more salt. I spoke with a nurse friend yesterday and told him that a blood test report I received a couple days ago said that I was dehydrated, which was a big surprise since I’ve been both taking salt and drinking a lot of water, really forcing it down (tasteless water when you’re not eating food really isn’t enjoyable). My friend said I should be taking more like two teaspoons rather than just the one I’ve been taking, and so that’s now what I’m doing. I hope that helps.

The blood test report indicated a few other abnormalities, but nothing serious. I’m planning to take another test as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow, and see what the results are and then decide, after talking it over with my doctor, if I need to modify the fast in the last 4-5 days, perhaps add additional liquids besides water.

The latest Presidential campaign news is about three of Pence’s top aides having the virus. Poetic justice. This, in addition to the skyrocketing number of new cases all over the country, will keep this issue at the top of the news up through the election, which is bad news for pandemic-denier (and climate change denier) President Chaos. This election really could be a huge one, a very big swing of the pendulum, if everyone who gets it on how disastrous a second Trump term would be does all they can to get everyone they can out to the polls between now and November 3.

Day 22

When I began my water-only Fast to Defeat Trump on October 3, I had some idea about how I was going to feel as it progressed. I have done long water-only fasts before, though the last time, on the issue of the climate crisis, was 13 years ago when I was 58 years old. On this one I’m 71. And though I’m a regular long-distance bicyclist and exercise guy, that’s getting up there in years, I know.

This one has been harder than the one in 2007. I remember during that one being pretty active as late as the 22nd or 23rd days. Not this time. I have been weak since day two, the primary symptom I’ve had all throughout. This morning I woke up after a good night’s sleep and found it difficult to get going, with the most weakness since I stopped eating.

But the most important thing about my hunger strike is not how I’m feeling but whether or not there is evidence that it is having its desired result. What is that? It’s the motivation of other people who might not otherwise to vote for the removal of Trump by voting for Biden, and to get involved in the organized efforts by a number of groups to turn out the majority of the American population that opposes Trump.

I have anecdotal evidence that some individuals are voting or doing phone calling or other voter turnout work that they might not be otherwise. But a better metric is the extent of media coverage, and I feel good on that front. I can count about a dozen progressive media sources that have run stories about or interviewed me.

A main angle of a number of those stories is the fact that in 2002 I was a Green Party candidate for the US Senate and that I was a local leader in northern NJ of a Green Party group from 2000 to 2018. Now I’m urging people to vote for Biden, after having been a Bernie Sanders supporter prior to Biden’s primary victory.

Why am I not just voting for Biden and urging others to do the same but fasting for a planned 32 days to underline why people should do so?

Like many other commentators, I consider this election to be one of it not the most consequential elections in decades. There’s the issue of democracy and if we’ll still have it if Trump is elected. There’s the issue of Trump’s open egging on and support of violent, white supremacist groups. There’s his total walking away from giving leadership in the fight against COVID-19. There’s his misogyny and ant-lgbt history. There’s his explicit policies of shoveling even more money and power to his fellow oligarchs and the rich. But the ultimate most important one for me is his overt denial of the climate emergency we are in and his repeated moves to prop up a faltering fossil fuel industry.

For 17 years the climate issue has been the main issue for me. My last paying job for 10 years before retiring in 2015 was as the National Campaign Coordinator of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. I’ve continued to work close to full-time on this issue since retirement as an unpaid volunteer. I’ve been arrested about 10 times over that 17 year period for action of nonviolent civil disobedience on the climate issue.

Unlike every other issue, there is a definite time urgency to this one. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a consortium of thousands of scientists, said in a report two years ago that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” will take place if the world does not reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. We are completely and totally behind the 8-ball on this one.

The way I see it, when the future of life on earth is very literally at stake with this election, it’s more than appropriate for actions that may seem extreme if those actions can have an impact. With every fiber of my being, I pray, and believe, that this action is doing that.

Day 21

Overall I felt relieved, good, hopeful after the big debate last evening. It doesn’t mean that I thought everything Biden said was positive, I didn’t, but most of the time he said the right things, sometimes very effectively and strongly, and I thought Trump performed poorly. A CNN instant poll reported that Biden won 53% to 39%, which seems believable to me given Biden’s 8-9% lead in national polls and how well he did.

My main problems with what Biden said were his continued opposition to banning fracking, his defense of private, profit-making health care, and his boasting about saying to China that US planes would continue to fly over the South China Sea. On that last one, think about how people in this country would respond to China or Russia or any country regularly flying planes in the Gulf of Mexico.

With the exception of the fracking issue, I thought Biden was very strong on the climate issue, as well as racial justice. This is definitely a different Joe Biden than we’ve seen in the past. It could be that it’s a Joe Biden rising to the challenges and reflecting the mass progressive movements of today.

However, as Jake Tapper said last night, the Republicans are going to be throwing dirt, lying, trying to confuse, trying to demoralize and intimidate voters probably more than they’ve ever done over the next 12 days. We continue to need many of us actively involved in the organized efforts to turn out that 53% of the population that supports Biden. Peoples Action, Our Revolution, Indivisible, the Biden/Harris campaign: these are some of the national groups doing good work along those lines. We can’t let up!

I woke up this morning feeling very weak physically, the weakest I’ve felt over the last 21 days. It could be the emotional anxiety about and energy put into listening to the debate and the analyses afterwards. I could, and expect I will, feel stronger as the day progresses; I hope so. But I can still sit at my computer and read and type.

Day Twenty

I’ve been weaker this morning. It could be because I did an hour and a half zoom interview yesterday that definitely drained me of energy. Although I took it easy afterwards and got a good night’s sleep, I may be feeling the effects. Or maybe it’s just because this is the 20th day without calories, protein or any kind of physical nourishment.

My weight loss has definitely slowed down. The last few days it has averaged about ½ of a pound. If it stays at that rate, I’ll have lost about 32 pounds at the end 12 days from now.

I’m really noticing my thinness when I take a shower and look in the mirror afterwards. It’s like every part of my body—my face, arms, stomach and legs—has really changed. I feel “boney” when I’m passing the soap over my body. I can appreciate the phrase, “he’s all skin and bones,” little muscle. That’s the way I look right now.

Jane and I took a short walk yesterday over to a nearby pond, and we found a beautiful spot to sit and observe big, white, wildflower bushes right in front of us full of dozens of wild bees doing their thing, with the pond behind them and colorful trees on the other side of the pond. It was a wonderful 15 or so minutes taking it all in.

I also had a special experience with a titmouse bird in our backyard. As I was passing the bird feeder taking food scraps to the composter, the titmouse landed on the birdfeeder, chirped a couple of times as if to say hello, grabbed a sunflower seed and then flew off. I was no more than 10 feet away, observing this. Very nice.

I’m looking forward to the big debate tonight. Do your job Kristen Welker!

Day Nineteen

My interview with Josh Fox on the Young Turks network came out yesterday, and they did a good job. A google search showed that there have also been stories about it on Yahoo News, Black Star News and Z Communications. In addition to the news outlets I listed in yesterday fasting report, I’m definitely encouraged that the word is getting out and that this action is helping to swell the turnout to defeat Trump on November 3.

For the first time since I stopped eating, I didn’t lose any weight between yesterday morning and this morning. I was surprised when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that result, but I was also pleased. It’s a sign that my body is adjusting to this new reality and trying to conserve as much muscle as it can. Of course, I’m also helping with that by consciously limiting how much energy I expend each day.

Yesterday, for example, I stayed home except for a short half mile or so walk in my neighborhood. After the walk, I was very tired and needed to sit down and rest for a while, after which I felt better.

I’m looking forward to the big debate tomorrow evening. It’s looking like Trump will come into it all charged up from his super-spreader, we-love-you-Don rallies and will attempt to dominate the debate by bullying the moderator Kristen Welker and Joe Biden. I would hope and expect that both of them will be prepared, and he’ll come across as he did in the first debate, though not so off-the-charts ridiculous. We’ll see.

Day Eighteen

I had to leave the house today to go get some blood drawn for a blood test. I don’t like to do that given my weakened condition, especially since I was going to an office where I’d be sitting inside and interacting with other people, but I did it. Fortunately, it was a very quick in and out, no more than 15 minutes, and everyone was wearing a mask and social distancing. It will be good to learn what the results are.

Besides weakness, my two main physical symptoms are persistent dry mouth, despite drinking lots of water, and pretty persistent stomach discomfort. I’ve had to take some stomach relief medicine. It must be due to a combination of a shrunk stomach and the salt, potassium and Vitamin C that I put into it without any solid foods. It’s tolerable, no big deal so far.

Yesterday was a big day as far as news coverage of the fast in the progressive media. A column by Norman Solomon was carried on Common Dreams, Buzzflash, Media Monitors and several other outlets. An op ed I wrote last week was published by Alternet. And I was interviewed last evening by Scott Harris of Between the Lines. Tomorrow, I believe, The Young Turks network will be playing Josh Fox’s interview with me last week. All of this is definitely positive, and I’ll keep working for more.

It is amazing that Trump is now bitterly attacking Dr. Fauci. Ordinarily this would constitute political malpractice, a huge unforced error by Mafioso Don; I sure hope polling over the next week shows that to be true. I am glad to see that the Thursday debate organizers have announced they will turn off the mics of the other candidate when one of them is using their allotted two minutes to respond to each of the questions asked. Of course, if that works as planned, there’s still the time in between where there’ll certainly be sharp debating. Maybe Trump will be as bad there as he was in the first debate, after which his poll numbers went down several points afterwards.  

But polls don’t vote, people do! All out to turn out the anti-Trump majority until November 3rd!

Day Seventeen

This is the week of the big, final debate, or will it be another temper tantrum by President Chaos? You would think that moderator Kristen Welker will have learned from both the negative Chris Wallace example and the positive Savannah Guthrie example and will come ready to interrupt Trump or turn off his microphone if he does his usual loud- and lying-talk-a-thon, continually interrupting Biden. But you’d think that Trump’s handlers would be trying hard to get him to realize how disastrous his first debate performance was, try to get him to change how he operates at this one. We’ll see.

I woke up this morning after a longer sleep than usual, about nine hours, and I’ve felt pretty good so far this morning. I do think yesterday’s time at Sandy Hook National Park really helped me spiritually. I have to watch overdoing it workwise, however; I remember earlier in the fast feeling pretty good and literally working for 14 hours one day, and the next day was very, very hard.

I think another reason I’m feeling better is because I’m now at the beginning of the last half of the fast. Making it for 16 days is something I’m proud of; it wasn’t easy. My mindset now is that the end to this ordeal is in sight, I just need to stay in touch with how my body is doing, what it’s telling me, and respond accordingly. That should get me through to the end, even if, as the days go by, I get weaker and less able to work, or even do long interviews. That could happen. I’ve already noticed that my voice is weaker. I sometimes need to exert more energy than usual when I’m talking for more than a short time.

I am definitely appreciating the color season as the leaves turn purple and red and orange and yellow.

Day Sixteen

This is the halfway point of the fast. Sixteen days and nights from now I’ll begin drinking vegetable and fruit juices and a day or two later start eating, slowly adding more digestible foods over roughly a two-week period. Election day evening, November 3, is when that will begin.

It’s a definite positive to have reached this milestone.

Jane and I took a trip to the Sandy Hook National Park on the Atlantic coast today, and it was just what I needed. The ocean waves, the wind, the sun, the rocks and shells, the seagulls and other birds, a beautiful horseshoe crab shell, people fishing, people enjoying the day just like we were—it gave my spirit a welcome lift. And although I needed to stop to sit a couple of times to rest from walking, overall I felt pretty good, considering.

I stepped on the scales this morning, and I’ve now lost 23 pounds. I lost about 18 the first ten days and five over the last five, a definite slowdown. Right now it’s looking like I’ll lose between 30 and 35.

I’m starting to get more press coverage. I know of four news stories, columns where I’m featured, or interviews happening or coming out this week. I continue to reach out to do what I can to spread the word, to alert others to this action and the reasons for it, to help increase the much-needed turnout of those not sucked into dystopian and disastrous Trump world.

Day Fifteen

I’m just about halfway there; 36 hours from when I’m writing, on Sunday evening, that’ll be it. I’m glad I’ve made it to this point. But it is getting harder. There’s still the persistent weakness and lack of energy to do much more than work on the computer and some cooking for Jane and a few neighbors and friends. In addition, for the last couple of nights, I’ve had difficulty getting to sleep because of discomfort, not really pain, in my left leg. Last night it took a couple of hours from when I tried to go to sleep until I did. It took a massage from Jane, putting peanut oil up and down my leg, and getting up and watching an old NY Knicks basketball game on TV for 45 minutes. When I went upstairs after that, I went out fast and had five hours of deep sleep before waking and then getting up. I’ll probably need a nap sometime today.

I’m also very aware of my demeanor and what I’m like, and I don’t really like it. It’s not easy for Jane for me to be like this. I’m trying hard to be polite and respectful, but I’m essentially not-a-happy-camper. This is hard. I guess I’m getting used to this new routine, but the routine includes the weakness and the usual sour mood (there are exceptions). One good health report, however, is that my daily blood pressure tests continue to be right around the desired 120/80 mark; this morning’s was 123/85.

It’s not helpful that Trump is back to traveling the country, raving and ranting and holding super-spreader rallies. Fortunately, when you average the major polls, there’s no indication that it’s having much of an effect. As of right now, realclearpolitics.com has Biden up by 9 points nationally and an average of 4 ½ points in the battleground states.

It is very good news that news reports say that 20 million people have already voted in early voting states. Given the fact that Trump has never been above 45% approval since becoming President or in the Presidential polls, and since he’s at 42% now, and given the very strong feelings against Trump of almost half the population, the likelihood is high that the larger the voter turnout the higher the vote for Biden and other non-Republicans.

As hard as this fast may get during the last half of it, the thought of Trump being re-elected keeps me going. We all need to be doing all we can to mobilize a massive vote of repudiation of everything he stands for.