Monday, June 29, 2020

Sometimes an Image Really IS Worth a Thousand Words

     In my usual perambulations around the web, I occasionally come across an image that makes a point far better than pages and pages of words ever could.

   With regard to whether or not the Idiot knew the Russians were paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.....I believe this image says it all:

A Time for Cautious Optimism.....And Wariness

     Every morning I spend some time checking a short list of websites that give me an overview of what is happening around the world and especially in America.  I long ago stopped looking at conservative sites because I couldn't find one that didn't lie and distort almost every story they published.  I have spoken with some people who are true 'Foxians', who put their trust in Fox News and believe pretty much everything Fox spouts.  In fact, they cannot get a handle on whether it's misinformation, gas-lighting, pure deception or whatever....because they are too conspiracy prone at this point to even accept that sites like Politifact and Snopes really are in the business of ferreting out the truth.  A true 'Foxian' will tell you that there is a liberal plot behind them, so it's best just to stick to believing people like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, and the list goes on.  They will never accept that these people make their living telling lies.  Politifact, which is actually NOT a propaganda site like Fox, has found that Fox lies approximately EIGHT-SEVEN PERCENT of the time.  Holy, Cow Batman!!!

   So, I suppose, with people that dedicated to feeding on a diet of deception, that it should not comes as a surprise that suddenly one of the most inane and insane conspiracies is gaining traction: Q-Anon.
I am still amazed that anybody at all would subscribe to such stupidity, but, there must be something in the underlying psychological make-up of the people who embrace conspiracies, something twisted and perverse.  One poor deluded idiot attacked the pizza parlor in Virginia where the Q-Anon conspiracy hatchers had said there was a ring of pedophiles operating out of the basement....a ring overseen, or at least participated in, by none other than Hillary Clinton herself.

  Eeeegads!  Really?  And, now, with all the disruption, hardship and insanity surrounding the Covid pandemic....QAnon has begun to gain some real traction.  Did people get bored?  Did sitting around the house for three months, eating Ramen noodles, make them somehow more susceptible to idiocy?

  But, on the brighter side: for the first time during this election cycle, I read an account of The Idiot's campaign and his antics around posting a video in which a bubba rides past shouting, "White Power!". And, he's of course claiming he knew noting about the Russians paying a bounty to Taliban for killing American soldiers. In assessing how the campaign is doing, the writer used the term 'free fall'.  And, this death-plunge is hurtling towards receiving one of the most dismal drubbings in any presidential election in modern times. If I give myself the gift of positive thinking around this, it will be a loss on a legendary level....a good ol' fashioned 'trip to the woodshed'.

  My reaction to reading this was one of initial elation, quickly followed by a self-imposed caveat that it's way too soon to be that optimistic.  The Idiot and his minions will employ all the dirty tricks they can manage to lay their feverish brains on.  Cheating and stealing elections is, by now, familiar ground to GOPs.  They have done so well with it that there is no reason to believe they will suddenly have an epiphany and decide that it's immoral, just simply wrong, in a democracy for one political party to use spurious means to steal an election.  Hey, what counts is where you have landed after the dust settles.  Right?  So, I tell myself to brace for the worst, because the GOPs will surely not disappoint.

   But, there is that part of me that just cannot resist remaining hopeful.  If the young Americans who risked their lives to march in protest over George Floyd's murder, will carry that anger and that fervor forward into the election, anything is possible.  Yes, of course, it will be imperative that people all over the country pay attention, organize and do whatever is needed to ensure that people can vote.  The GOPs will continue to throw every possible obstacle in the way of a large voter turn-out.  They know that if inner-city voters have to stand out in the weather for hours and hours, that many will get discouraged and go home without voting.  In the 'burbs, on the other hand, they want to make it as easy as possible for the largely white population to vote, because both of these scenarios will favor a heavily skewed vote towards the conservative candidates.

  And, we haven't even mentioned all the other nefarious methods that have worked so well for the GOP, i.e. gerrymandering to manipulate the vote, voter roll purges, fewer polling places with more limited hours, voter I.D.s ....and one of the most evil tactics, poll watchers, assholes who hang out at the polls and try to monkey wrench by accusing voters of fraud, or just to intimidate.

  This time, I do not believe that either the younger generation coming along, or the national community of people of color...all colors....will be ready to back down, to just go home and fail to be heard.

Nah.  THIS TIME, they are going to be heard.  I do believe you can allow a slight twinge of optimism around that.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

What is it with Masks?

    The dominant stories in the news today and yesterday....and for some time to come, about the resurgence of Covid-19.  You already know about it, unless you have been in suspended animation during this time, so I won't bore you with the details of just how bad it has gotten.

   But, it's BAD!!!   Huston is in a panic.  They are doing their best to deal with a surge of infections that has the potential to overwhelm their medical and physical preparedness.  If nothing shifts away from the path they are on, they will soon find themselves in the nightmare scenario that Italy and New York have already been through....too many patients, and not enough ICU beds, or medical personnel to treat all those who need it.  And, Huston is just one of many cities in the south and southwest that are in real trouble with a resurgence of Covid-19.

   You may be thinking: "How could this happen? I thought we had flattened the curve and were headed out of the woods."  Well, yes, we were making headway against it, despite the egregious incompetence with which it was initially met.  It's not an exaggeration to state clearly that many people have died who would likely have survived if the Orange Idiot had not pretended it was all a 'hoax' and that it would go away of its own accord.  There's another good reason why I feel so comfortable calling him 'The Idiot".  There are too many to count at this point.

Memorial Day weekend 2020

  But, the second half of the first wave is upon us because of stupidity and arrogance from somebody else:  all the people who decided that it was just too annoying to wear a mask in public, and hell, why not go to the beach, the club, the street, the wherever, and pal around with my friends.  Life is too short and this whole thing is a joke.  Right?

  So, sure it's a big joke. It's riotously funny if you like the idea of more than 120, 000 people DYING.  And, that's only Americans.  The global total is now--as of 6/25/20 : 486,244 dead.  Wow!  Now, that's just a major belly-laugh, eh.

  The simple truth is Americans of a particular demographic are spoiled brats. They think about themselves first and expect life to fall into their laps.  If something is inconvenient, it's okay to ignore it and carry on as if it wasn't real.  So, it started with those college kids all streaming down to the Gulf Coast for 'spring break'.  Nothing was shut-down at that point, but it was clear that social distancing and masks were a good idea...turns out, a damn good one. But, hey, why should a young and vital person who just wants to have a good time waste any time at all thinking about ANYBODY ELSE?

  So, numbers of those same students returned home infected....and gave the pandemic a good jump start. If one could access all the numbers and details I am very certain you would find that at least a few of those fools went home and infected a grandparent who died...or anybody with an underlying condition that made then less than untouchable.

  We are now headed BACK into the maelstrom and it's already becoming apparent that what is happening is going to potentially lead to a situation that will be WORSE than what we have already been through.  All because so many people are putting their own petty desires and concerns first, before considering the full implications of what that means in this situation.

  Think I am making this up?  Then you are a part of the problem. I sat and watched the entrance of a Walgreens the other day.  My wife was in the store getting something, and there were large blue and white posters on either side of the doors saying "Masks Must Be Worn In the Store".  So, as I watched....about 3 out of 4 people entering the store were WITHOUT A MASK.  Did it occur to them that they were blowing off a state policy, a business's stated request and just plain damned inconsiderate?  Especially so in view of the fact that many of the other customers were older and some of them were no doubt there to pick-up prescriptions for conditions that render them 'high risk' in terms of the coronavirus.

  So, to all of you who think you can just do as you please, regardless of how it might effect other people, I say: "Congratulations Assholes!  You have created a much more deadly and painful situation"   At some point, I hope you are confronted with just how selfish and stupid you are.  Maybe....just maybe, will come to you, like bolt out of the blue, that your actions have caused great pain and suffering.  And, that will earn you your 'Lifetime All-American Asshole', badge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

He's not finished....not by a long shot.

 Little Donny Drumpf is not beaten, at least, not since childhood.  The vids of him walking toward the White House as he arrived back from the debacle in Tulsa are priceless.  He is disheveled, tie hanging un-tied and his expression is definitely that of a man who has just taken a drubbing.  After all the hype and B.S. surrounding the build-up to his first rally since Covid 19 landed on us, "....a million tickets requested", an overflow venue for the tens of thousands who wouldn't be able to get into the BOK Arena to see their Fuhrer....cancelled.  Tulsa F.D. estimated that the 19K seat arena was about one third full, i.e. 6200.  So, Himself was mightily pissed and his presentation to his adoring sychophants was marred  by his inane rambling for 14 minutes about the ramp at West Point, "....slippery as ice" blah, blah.  And, there was the matter of his needing both of his teensy hands to hold a glass of water.  People began asking in the media and on social media if he's okay.

   Of course, the answer to that depends on what one means by "okay".  Truth is he's NOT okay, hasn;'t been so for years.  He's mentally ill and seriously falling short as a decent human being, not to mention as the leader of what was once lovingly referred to as, "...the most powerful nation on earth", a boast that comes with some qualifiers these days.  In reality, we have become somewhat of a laughing stock for the rest of the world.  They see how foolishly we dealt with the onset of Covid-19 and how idiotically The Idiot has behaved in almost any area of concern and endeavor that one can think of.  There's literally not a single area of government and the national well-being that the Idiot hasn't had a hand in disabling or destroying its effectiveness.  In his tiny brain, getting rid of all regulations, especially ANYTHING that Obama had a hand in, is a priority and will insure a growth economy for his billionaire buddies to benefit from.  Oh, sure the middle-class--which anybody who has money to put in the stock marktet is--had a good run.  But, then along comes this pandemic and it all went to hell on a rocket-sled.

  But, as bad as it looks for the Orange Idiot, do not make the mistake of counting him out.  He is a fighter and his illness prevents him from doing the sensible thing in any given situation.  So, he's going to do whatever it takes to get back in the fight....but, not on a Marquis of Queensbury rules basis.  He will now plumb the depths of skull-duggery and corruption.  He has already asked Putin for help (according to some respected sources) and was described by Bolton in his new dirty laundry book as having "begged" President Xi of China for help.  But, none of this is unexpected.  What remains to be seen is whether or not he will really go outside the box to utilize even more criminal resources to try and steal the election.  The smart money at the casino says HE WILL.

 As to how that will shape-up, time will tell.  But, you should not be surprised if he gets downright creative in coming up with a scenario that allows him to either declare martial law, i.e. a drummed-up war, for example, or something akin to his very own Reichstag fire.  He's mentally ill on a very deep level, with virulent personality disorders that allow and compel him to act out in ways nobody would think are either proper or permissible.....but, you need to remember that he has zero respect or regard for the law, so all things are possible....any damn thing he wants to do is fine, as long as it helps him maintain a strangle-hold on power.

 He just ordered a 'comeback' rally in Tulsa, despite knowing that it would be risky and could even serve as a 'super-spreader' for the Coronavirus.  Human considerations are simply NOT ON HIS RADAR.  He doesn't give a flying fuck about anybody but himself...and we all need to remember that....all the time.

  So, here he comes.  If you think that those images of a temporarily dis-spirited old man walking across the White House lawn represent a ground-swell change in how he will operate....stop. Here's some country-boy wisdom for you:  many of the people who get bitten by rattlesnakes each year....are bitten by a snake they were sure was dead....even one that has had its head cut off.  Donald J. Trump will keep trying to land a bite on us as long as he draws breath.

  Hear me now,....and believe me later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Light in the Tunnel.....

    I am a 'YouTube' hunter.  I search what must surely be one of the largest data-bases on the web for oddities that I find either amusing, surprising or informative and interesting.  It hardly matters what topic you can think of; there is a bottomless reservoir of videos on it.  I started doing this during the Great Shut-down this early spring...because I found the regular news and even network programming to be too depressing.  On the one hand, I want to stay informed....on the other hand, it can be overwhelming to expose oneself to the daily avalanche of bad news and--worse--ominous events that point to bigger problems in our country and across our society.

   Here's an example:  the numerous reports that the GOPs plan to steal the upcoming election...right from under our noses and in plain sight of the entire world.  They are practicing how this will be accomplished by doing it, for instance, in Georgia.  Arranging for unconscionably long lines, fewer polling places, lack of support for shut-ins and anybody who would need or prefer to vote early, by mail-in ballot, voter roll the millions nationwide....that cannot be identified as criminal and are very hard--if not impossible--to stop.  Of course, these efforts are aimed directly at the low-income districts of any jurisdiction....which also happen to be home to a much larger population of people of color.  So, the lily-white burbs can vote and the diverse inner-city hoods can't.  That's the plan. 

  GOPs know that this combination of lack of access on election day or before, along with the need for voter I.D.s, and the roll purges, along with any other obstacles they can think a sure winner.  They have already succeeded in doing this against Al Gore and John Kerry, so why wouldn't they plan on doing it again? We still don't have the full picture of how they pulled it off against Hillary  Clinton....but Russians, bots and all that, are in the mix.  And, this time around, for good measure, they will once again have help from Russia and hoards of 'bots' on the web who can front-load misinformation and sew spurious ideas liberally throughout the voter-ship. 

   It will haunt us--those Americans who clearly see what the Idiot is doing and hate it--if we are unable to prevent this blatant theft of America's greatest asset: A Free and Fair Democracy.  In fact, it will signify that we have entered a phase of our process in which our demise is onrushing ever faster and will arrive imminently.  All this political 'sturm und drang', however, is just a side-show.  The real threat is not this pathetic orange Idiot.  He's a problem, yes, but, the real 'light at the end of the tunnel' is still, and will remain CLIMATE DISASTER.  Not only is it not going away, it will be our final and utterly horrendous comeuppance.
   Don't believe me.  I don't care if you choose to embrace either willful ignorance, or just simply denial.  It matters not at all.  But, here we are, still in a position to make some decisions that will have a pivotal role in shaping how we move into this dire future that awaits.  And, if you are going, "What's he talking about?" or thinking, "Ah, climate change...not such a big deal as all the alarmists are making it out to be."  Then, pure and simple: YOU ARE DANCING WITH THE DEVIL.

   Wonder what I mean by that?  Your mind is lost in a fantasy that we're going to 'fix it'.  And, as time passes, it becomes more and more clear that, no, we are not.  Too little effort, too much denial, lots of distractions....and, before you know it: BLOOHIE!!!   The truth is, we are one methane 'burp' from entering a global emergency from which only a minor percentage of people will emerge alive. Our lives are in much greater jeopardy than most people are willing to accept, or even acknowledge is possible.

  Part of you wants to jump up and shout, "Oh BULLSHIT!!!"  But, another part of you knows that there is this ominous feeling around the future of humanity.  The gravest situation we could face--other than nuking each other into the Twilight of the Gods, i.e. the Gotterdamerung--is almost unavoidable at this point.  The population of the planet is already growing faster and larger than global agriculture is going to be able to feed.  Mass starvation has happened multiple times in places like Africa and Asia...but, we don't really think of that as affecting us, right?

  But, maybe you had the same experience my wife and I did when this pandemic got cranked up.  We walked into our local Hannaford market...and were confronted by some stripped shelves.  It was only for toilet paper, towels and items like soups, pasta, baking supplies, some meats and anything that could sanitize.  But, it damn-sure gave us a glimpse of what it could be like to walk in and see ALL THE SHELVES EMPTY.  Now, that would be one great big ol' 'Holy Shit' moment, wouldn't it?

   Between the droughts, fires and floods, along with mono-culture crops that are engineered for greater productivity per acre, and to resist herbicides so a farmer can 'nuke' weeds and not kill the soybeans or whatever (don't even get me started on the implications of GMO crops)....along with the loss of topsoil to erosion and the move to huge commercial ag operations that have pushed aside the small family farms that once formed the backbone of our agricultural economy...we are potentially looking at a massive multiple crop failure.  We are looking at a scenario that would mean starvation and devastation on a biblical level. 

  Climate change is at the very heart of this. But, a world that is sliding towards autocracy and fascism can make it all worse....MUCH worse.  Except, of course, for the elites who are busily insulating themselves from such horrifying possibilities. 


   And, denial is a luxury we cannot afford to languish in.  It will be the death of us, if we do.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Going, Going.......Gone.

     Well, okay, he's not 'gone'.....yet.  But, if how he has behaved during the days since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis is any indication, he's definitely headed 'round the bend'.  The business with having hundreds of legally protesting people violently pushed back, using rubber bullets and teargas on them, and apparently--despite his lying denials--illegally ordered to do so by the sycophantic Wm. Barr--was just another glimpse into the warped and feverish mind of The Big Orange Fool.  This, as I am certain you already know, was done just so Donny could skulk across the park and stand for a few minutes in front of St. John's Church.....with a Bible in his hand, amazingly enough....for a photo-op.  Said opportunity immediately blew-up in his face as the entire (sane) portion of the country saw it as a shallow, astonishingly hypocritical and inane moment. The constitutional right to free speech was not a consideration, only the aching need to put himself in front of the long famous 'Church of the Presidents' was.  But, the way he did it was so incompetent that it managed to create more damage for his campaign than if he'd just stayed in the bunker....and inspected it, again....and again.

   Such an incident causes me to pull-back and begin to re-examine...for the umpteenth time...his overall fitness to lead, to inspire....hell, to do any-damn-thing that would be appropriate for the president to do in this pivotal and dire moment in American history.  The inevitable result of taking another 'long, hard look' at Donald J. a reaffirmation of the fact that he's so immersed in his sick, ego-based world, that he is incapable of simply looking at a situation and asking himself what can be done to make things better.  'Better' is him getting re-elected.  Period.  That is the single care he harbors at this point.  And, he's increasingly showing signs that he's in a blind panic around the fact that he's plunging fast in the polls. He has just attacked CNN for the poll they published that showed him 14 points behind Biden.  Ouch!

  So, instead of any kind of a rational, or even a tiny bit compassionate response to the murder of another un-armed black man...once again, seen by millions on national media....what does the twisted mind of this sad man come up with?  He tweets a new conspiracy theory about the 75 y.o. man in Buffalo who was pushed over backwards by two cops and seriously injured when his head struck the sidewalk.  And, get this, the man is supposedly an Antifa agent of the far-left, and he was 'scanning' the police as they (justifiably) assaulted him. The Idiot notes that the man, Martin Gugino, "....fell faster than he was pushed", which is, of course, total bullshit.  But, then, bullshit is Trump's life-long passion.  He bullshits all of us all the time.

  It 's beyond merely 'ironic' that one of his new campaign slogans, seen on banners for him now, is: "NO MORE BULLSHIT", which is so warped that it's almost funny....would be, in fact, were it not so cynical and reflective of his use of 'the Big Lie' as perfected by none other than Josef Goebbels himself. The Nazi creators of the Big Lie--Hitler and Goebbels--would have had a belly laugh over the fact that the Great Bullshitter in Chief, who has soared past 16K lies as documented by the Washington Post, is touting 'no more lies'.  He's not quite at the supremely cynical level of "Arbeit Macht Frei" (which is almost certainly the all-time winner for being so cynical that it may never be touched) the exhortation to work for one's freedom that appeared over the entry gates to several concentration camps, when, in reality, the people who passed under this were utterly doomed.

  Let's get this straight: Donald J.Trump is mentally ill.  This is not even a topic for debate at this point.  He goes out of his way to prove this on an almost daily basis.  There have been way too many psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, many of them long considered to be at the top of their fields, who all agree on this.  When a public figure spends so much time in the hot glare of the media, it becomes impossible to hide who he is and how seriously impaired he is.

   The real question is two-fold:  1) why can't his 'base' see how sick and dangerous this man's behavior is?  And, 2) how long is the votership of this country going to sit on their hands and allow this insanity to destroy the American way of life....because, that is exactly what he is doing.

  The answer to question 1, above, is:  Because they share his impairment.  Racism?  No problem.  A willingness to use violence to subdue those unwilling to tolerate it any longer....oh, hell yes.  These are the same people who listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham as they spew hatred and highly manipulated 'news'.  These are the folks who say to themselves, "Right on!" when they see a Confederate flag flapping from the gunnel of a Billy Joe Bob pick-'em up.  And, when another unarmed black man is killed by the police, their reaction is that he  probably deserved it.  I am not making this up.  And, if you are paying attention you already know that.

  One very hopeful series of events has happened in the last few days.  General 'Mad Dog' Mattis, the former Secretary of Defense who left the job, after apparently finally realizing who his boss was, came forward, saying, "I cannot remain silent any longer".  This career four-star marine stepped back into the public eye and firmly denounced The Idiot....didn't mince words and got a lot of attention for these remarks.  Then, Colin Powell, also a former SecDef, did a very similar thing, by giving an interview in which he clearly expressed his concern that Donald Trump is a liar and a divisive leader.  Now there is a growing list of other top retired generals who have all expressed the same concerns about The Idiot...mainly that he's a dishonest, hateful and divisive leader who is not to be trusted on any level.

  The election in Georgia on Tuesday was an early warning of how the GOP intends to suppress the votes of low income and especially people of color.  By putting on a show of massive incompetence they did manage to send a large number of would-be voters home because they couldn't manage to spend five or more hours in line.  This is BY DESIGN. It is NOT incompetence; it is a not so stealthy way of making the whole electoral process so difficult and demanding of patience that a lot of people cannot manage it.  So, they don't vote...and the fucking GOPs are pleased as punch.

  We have been WARNED.  We either get our act in gear and fight like hell for fair and honest elections in November....or the Pirates of the GOP will steal yet another one.

  That would blow the needle right off of the SUCK-O-METER, friends.


Friday, June 5, 2020

How Did Officer Friendly.....turn into Robocop?

   Once upon a distant galaxy, far away from here.....there were members of a society who volunteered to maintain order, to address crime and to keep the public at large safe.  But, in the long journey to the present, something strange happened.  And, the 'protectors' became less protective and ultimately they became agents of oppression....freely using violence, or the threat of it, to control the community. The state sanctions what they do by almost constantly failing to charge them with the crimes they commit in the name of the state.

  So, what happened?  Well, that is more complicated than we can address in a brief blog posting, but, in short, Capitalism happened.  As some astute and ruthless individuals figured out how to use money to both control and exploit the economic system, they began amassing large amounts of capital. Okay, they made shit-piles of dough....vast mountains of it.  And, having all this money gave them power.  And, having all the power to control how our society functions, i.e. who gets and who doesn't, became the nature of their game.

  Big money calls all the shots.  That is a grossly broad and only semi-accurate statement, but, it is essentially true. "Money makes the world go round." is not just a cliche. It's a 'truism' and if you doubt it, please take some time to gain an overview of world economics.  Money is at the core of how all governmental decisions and corporate actions are decided.  If doing something makes a lot of money, there will always be a way to justify it.  It may not be good for the planet, or for the vast majority of people, but if it is PROFITABLE, they will find a way to spin it and to even have bought and paid for legislators create laws allowing the practice....whatever it might be, hardly go on.

  In earlier periods of history there has always been a hierarchy that put the proletariat in its place. Variations of a system that prevented the underclasses from ever having more than the 'takers' thought was necessary or allowable have historically been a central tenet of every civilization. The drill has always been to 'keep 'em down on the farm' and that meant keeping them livelihood and food insecure, never allowing the 'masses' to get a leg up because they were stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder and held there by laws and by force.

  I am not aware of any society that managed to fully realize a set of ideals that included keeping even the lowest stations of society safe and in circumstances that created a sustainable and meaningful level of happiness.  Somebody always wants to be on top, in charge and dominating all those under their control.  Nobody has ever put a shine on poverty that made those enduring it feel good about being poor.

   Force?  Oh, yes....rulers of all traditions have had armed groups of individuals that were both capable of going off to war to fight for the aristocrats...and of oppressing any serfs, peasants, who became rebellious.  Of course, a survey of European history and even world history, reveals that  despotic regimes that used force to keep the rabble down--'maintaining order' has always been a top priority--did eventually succumb to uprisings, and rebellions  that overthrew them. The names of the dictators throughout history are etched in blood on the walls of civilizations that have come and gone.

  So, here we sit, in the early 21st century.  And, it seems humanity has learned very little about how to create and maintain a civil society that is egalitarian and compassionate.  We hold up this as an ideal....but, truthfully, we have not really even come close to creating a society of this nature that could withstand the withering assaults of greed and the lust for power.  We thought we had a good start on it here....yes, in the United States of America.  Our Founding Fathers were all rich white men, but, despite that immense handicap, they did display a wise and even compassionate regard for the well-being of ALL the members of society.  Uh, okay, er....uh...except for the humans that many of them felt they had a right to OWN and use for making their plantations profitable.  Aside: my great grandfather was a drummer boy at Gettysburg, so it strikes me that we're only three generations away from that country that had an agricultural system that depended on human suffering.

  Yes, we have been flawed from the beginning. Racism has been, and continues to be, our national scourge and disgrace. And, as our present circumstances are clearly demonstrating, we clearly know this and we need to fix it....big time and for real.  If we cannot do so, we will descend into a society where suffering is widespread and only the elite wealthy class has all the opportunities and privileges.  We are on the verge here of choosing to embrace a dictatorship, with Donald J. Trump in charge.  Do not forget, even for a minute, that there are almost 4 out of 10 Americans who rabidly embrace Trump and his racism. Of course, most of them would deny the Idiot is a racist if you asked them.  But, that is more a measure of how amazingly brain-washed and ignorant they are than having any bearing on the truth.

   If you are having trouble imagining this nightmare coming true....I would refer you to his antics of last Tuesday, June 2nd.  He ordered his lap-dog, Wm. Barr, to make it safe for him to walk across Lafayette Park, to St. John's Church where the Idiot wanted to pose with a if he knows the first thing about it, or what being Christian means.  There were hundreds of peaceful demonstrators there and they were not doing anything aggressive or illegal, merely exercising their constitutional rights under the First Amendment.  So, Barr...who is turning out to be the Idiot's Heinrich Himmler in many respects, gave orders to clear the park...using tear gas and less lethal ammunition, along with very aggressive pushing and rough stuff.  It was illegal; Barr doesn't care, knows it's very unlikely that anybody will hold him or the president accountable.  So, then comes the Idiot, walking with some of the strangest body language I have seen from him.  He was kind of lumbering and swaying in his standard blue shape-hiding suit, arms akimbo....looking for all the world just as you would expect some third world petty dictator to look.  It was quite remarkable, indeed.

   Oh, but that was not the least of it.  Once he established himself and his lackeys in front of the church, he did some posing for the cameras.  Then he took center stage and held up a bible in his right hand.....just stood there holding this book, as if we were supposed to understand his point.  I still don't know what it was.  "Jesus is on MY SIDE.", perhaps, "Look, at me; I am a very spiritual man, like you never saw."....which is amazingly ludicrous when you consider his track record of lies,  assaults on peoples' dignity and character, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

   His demeanor and energy were so amazingly arrogant and insolent.  No words of advice or comfort to the thousands of people who have suffered in this godforsaken pandemic.  Nothing to offer solace or even a fatherly warning to those who are stepping out over the line, looting and attacking police. Nothing....from our supposed 'leader'.  But, the take away is clear:  "I am the Big Boss, and I have God on my side, and all you little people are under my boot-heel because I can turn the full force of the U.S. military loose on you." 

   And, somewhat predictably, the almost universal reaction to his 'photo op' and his threat to use military violence has been  a great big ol' extended middle finger.  So be it.

  Here's another problem that makes his furher-esqe ambitions a lot more doable and even frightening: over the last few decades, the police have, in fact, become de facto military forces.  They now dress like soldiers, are armed like soldiers, have military vehicles and are using all of this to attack and intimidate American citizens, especially if they happen to be black or brown.  Tales are legion of police swat teams bashing in doors and shooting people, the most recent one being the young EMT in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor, who was shot eight times by a squad of plainclothes cops with a 'no knock' warrant, (which turned out to be illegal) and the whole thing was a mess...for which NOT A SINGLE COP WAS CHARGED.

   As the two German fitness nuts on SNL used to say, "Hear me now and believe me later."  I am telling you today that this man is not merely incompetent, or insane.  He is not just a fluffer-nutter in a blue suit and orange skin;  he is intuitive and very sly.  He knows very well how to manipulate and to challenge.  He has zero regard for the rule of law or any constraints on his ego and his power.  And....he is dangerous.  He will indeed turn the military loose on us if he has any even quasi-legitimate reason to justify it.  He may even declare marshal law on some created pretext if it appears he can disrupt the coming election.  He is not going down quietly.....many experts all agree on that.

  And, across the nation, police are at a point of reckoning.  They need to decide if they are going to continue to devolve into a marshal force that purposely instills fear and loathing in the very citizens they are supposed to be protecting.....or they need to realize that this is the gateway to hell.  It will, without any doubt, perpetuate a state in which the citizens continue to be the victims, not participating members of society.  The police can still find and move to the higher moral ground here....but, they need to decide NOW if they are going to have the courage and the strength of conviction to do that.  They will need to re-vamp, re-conceive and create anew the police culture that now is so macho, so hostile and utterly reminiscent of the SS and the Brownshirts of the SA.  That will not carry them into anything but a truly dystopian future.

  If police departments and their leaders across the country cannot turn away from this 'deaths head' culture, they will continue to alienate themselves from the community at large.  They will become the mechanism of terror that they have been moving towards for at least the last 30 years. Or, they can follow the luminous examples of police chiefs and others that occurred this last standing up, or kneeling down with their community's citizens and declaring that they are indeed the protectors and guardians that we need....instead of being the monsters we do not.