Tuesday, July 28, 2020

How Do You LOSE a Democracy?

   This idea that a democratic republic is ephemeral and subject to being lost, or destroyed is getting bandied about lately.  Speaking for myself, I grew-up thinking that America is the exact opposite of ephemeral.  If anything it would stand the tests of time and the vagaries of history forever....as in For-fucking-EVER.  It was unthinkable that it might just disappear or that it would ever even be seriously impinged or otherwise damaged.  It was just too perfect, too mighty and too resilient for anything to befall it. And, above all else, it was too perfectly conceived to be so vulnerable.  Right?

   Turns out, I was wrong.  As I have studied history over the last decades, I've come across lots of examples of democracies that eventually failed.  The world is, and always has been, richly sprinkled with people who harbor evil desires for power and control over others.  And, most of these dark efforts lean toward using whatever means is at hand or is necessary to gain control of a country and then shape it's government into an autocratic and authoritarian mechanism for both controlling the populace and exploiting them in whatever manner will reap the greatest benefits for the overlords.  This most often happens when a country has fallen on hard times, a depression, a war, droughts, famines....uh, pandemics.  Anything that renders a body of citizens hungry for better times can open the door. 

  If you look back over the last 200 or so years, and pick out the countries that have succumbed to one form or another of totalitarian rule, a pattern emerges.  Hard times lead to bad decisions on the part of those who both are unable to comprehend what is happening, or who have a craving for strong leadership and a government that will operate in loco parentis, thereby allowing the great majority to just follow what is given them by the 'dear leader'.  In the formative years of Hitler's Third Reich, most Germans believed his leadership was not merely okay, but absolutely the best possible response to runaway inflation and a major depression.  One of his campaign slogans that was plastered all over, was: "Hitler = Arbeit, Brot" i.e. "Hitler = work, bread".  Simple concept and a very strong appeal at a time when both employment and food were problematic.  There's nothing like runaway inflation to make people realize that things are not just bad, but out of control and getting more dire all the time. Most people have heard the stories of Germans having to take a wheelbarrow full of cash to the market just to buy some bread.  I know it was a very scary time and a friend of mine in Bavaria gave me some money from that time as a kind of joke....ten million mark notes.  But, I promise you that her grandparents did not think it was funny.

  So, things get gnarly, food becomes too expensive, jobs may be available but are mostly entry level jobs that won't pay the rent and put food on the table.  Hard times have come to Main Street.  And, suddenly there is a leader who steps forward out of the fog and has all the answers.  He (or she....although you know it's almost always a 'he'), is saying the things you want to hear.  Not only will he create stunning prosperity.....like you never saw; beautiful jobs and safe streets.....but, he will vanquish our enemies, and he'll be sure to let us know who that is, of course.  I don't think very many Germans were really all that angry or fearful of the Jews in Germany....but, a steady effluent of propaganda and lies, lies and more lies, made far too many Aryan Germans cleave to their worst instincts.  They had to have somebody to blame, and ever since Martin Luther said the Jews were the evil murderers of Jesus, they have been a go-to scapegoat....and not just in Germany either. 

   So, Hitler and Goebbles concocted 'the Big Lie' narrative and provided 'proof' of its veracity with more lies.  The 'Elders of Zion' became a massive conspiracy of senior international Jewry, who had laid out their plan for taking over the planet, in a false document called, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".  It was written by a Russian at some point after 1902-1903.  Here is a link to it on Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

  This was just one of many bold-faced lies that the Nazis used to persuade the German people that Jews were the real-time equivalent of the Devil himself.  Many people don't realize that there were only about 500,000 Jews in Germany at the onset of the Third Reich.  Many of them were married to gentiles and there was a sizeable population of "Haeflinger", people of mixed ethnicity. But, the intense and ongoing application of The Big Lie was more than enough to convince far too many Germans that the Jews were the cause of their problems and Hitler led them incrementally around to the viewpoint that the world would be a better place without Jews.  In one speech, I believe it was given in 1929, Hitler used the word, 'vernichtung' over 20 times.  This word is unequivocal; it means, 'to annihilate'.  Not a subtle shading of intentions here....but a bold statement that was intended as a precursor for preparing Germany to turn the corner towards the Holocaust.

  And, here we are in the year 2020, and our dear, sweet old republic is in deep trouble. We have a runaway pandemic that is not yet showing any signs of slowing down. Over 150,000 Americans have already died--over 660,000 souls world-wide--and we have a country that is more divided politically than it has been since the Civil War, a century and a half ago.  We have a mentally-ill president, and 40% of the people think he's the best thing since sliced bread.  I do not believe you could find a single FoxNews watcher who would agree that the Idiot is leading us toward a totalitarian dictatorship.  If anything, they believe the opposite......as did the Germans with Hitler. 

Unser Fuhrer, Dear Leader.....Donny the Savior sent by Providence

  If you have seen or have the chance to see it, "Triumph of the Will" is a documentary by a German film-maker, Leni Rieffenstahl, and it documents the annual gathering at Nuremburg, the Reichsparteitag.  As you watch Hitler arriving by plane and then taking a motorcade to the parade grounds what you see is adulation, screaming, fainting, grasping, clutching....what you DO NOT see is any hint that this man holds the power of life and death over every person who is greeting him and, indeed over every German.  They adore him.  He is clearly in the role of savior to them.

   If you watch carefully, however, there is one brief moment when he's leaving the Junkers airliner.  He sweeps his errant front lock of hair back from his forehead, with a remarkably effeminate gesture in fact, and he glances at the camera.  In that oh so brief moment one can see the Evil, the pure malevolence in this man's eyes.  It's very similar to the moment when Reinhard Heydrich glances into a movie camera and gives away the depth of pure evil in his heart.   

  This outpouring of turbulent emotions is the exact same emotional outburst that you see at the Idiot's rallies.  They are not there just to 'support' their choice for president....oh no.  They are there to scream his name and the slogans he's fed them over the last years.  "Lock her up!!!" is an old favorite now....despite the fact that Hillary is long gone. 

  So, here's this 'leader--if he can even really be called that--and he's got this mass of fanatical followers who have all bought into his bullshit, hook, line and sinker.  Had it not been for the pandemic, which actually required the attention of a real leader--someone who cares about the people (s)he is leading--he might be sailing off to another victory.  He managed to pull it off last time when even he didn't think he could.  This time around, he was supposed to sail on the wings of a booming economy, a growing sense that white people really do deserve to be 'supreme', and a healthy hatred for all who would resist him and his irresistible agenda:  America over all others, first and foremost....and, while we're at it, let's get all these people of color who are here back into a role that they deserve.

  The next 90 plus days will feel like walking on eggs to me.  Last time around, 2016, the polls--and Hillary herself--were so cock-sure that she'd win that it came as a swift kick to the nads when the announcement came that the Idiot had gotten the necessary electoral votes to put him over.  I felt a wave of nausea come over me as I listened.

  Let's not have any more such rotten surprises.  Let's ride herd on this election to make sure both the 100 million who stayed home last time--out of apathy, laziness, disenchantment, what-the-fuck-EVER....get out and vote.  Whatever it takes for the millennials, the Bernie crowd, and all those people who said, "WTF. It won't make any difference if I vote or don't," to make the effort...that's what needs to happen.


Believe it............................please do.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Another milestone.....

    It is Monday, July 27th, 2020....at approximately 10:25 a.m.  As I am writing this the death toll from Covid-19 is 149,857, on short-final for 150 thousand Americans. 

   If you had told me five months ago that we would be here, I would not have believed you.  But, way back then, I had some beliefs that no longer hold true.  I, for instance, believed that when the country at large understood we are facing a threat of this magnitude....which, to be fair, has only emerged in stages....it would respond with its best and brightest experts and its massive ability to marshal resources, and we would display both our traditional desire to 'do the right thing' in any given situation, and our renowned 'Yankee ingenuity'.  We would take whatever measures were prescribed by the scientists and come up with an approach that would save lives.....tens of thousands of them.

  Sadly, that belief on my part turned out to be somewhat fanciful and naive.  I failed to anticipate the effects of a president who stepped away from the challenge, blaming it on everybody else, and refusing to take or accept any responsibility whatsoever.  He actually did this on camera in the Rose Garden.  Asked by a cheeky reporter if he was at all responsible for things going badly, the Idiot didn't hesitate: "No, I accept no responsibility for anything."  WTF?  In the world I live in leadership comes with responsibility, i.e. they are INSEPARABLE.  But, that's not at all how Donny the brat sees it.... no, no. 

  But, that was only the first stage of the whole thing going sideways. It's always easier to understand and analyze what has happened in hindsight, of course.  But, even as it was happening, it was clear that we were going to make it all worse--much worse--than it should have been.  The steps that would have at least lessened the damage....to people and to the economy...were clear.  We had the gift of one of the world's foremost epidemiologists, Anthony Fauci, telling us, with great clarity, what we needed to do.  So, the Idiot's reaction to Dr. Fauci becoming a trusted source of knowledge and wisdom around this viral monster....was to sideline him, to attack him and to do whatever he could to minimize his ability to reach the people.......yes, us.  And, as the last months have demonstrated all too painfully, it could have saved many, many lives...tens of thousands, in fact.

  It seems almost a waste of energy to try and hold the Idiot responsible.  That's like telling a 3 y.o. child that you are going to hold them responsible for the bowl of cereal they just dumped. Why bother?  It won't make any difference.  It won't change him...not one little iota.

Uncanny resemblance, eh

 In fact, the only thing or things that has any impact on him at all is anything that could either help or impede his re-election....as he understands it.  By now, it's achingly apparent that the maintenance of his office and his massive ego, are all that matter.  It's hard to even understand, and harder to accept that this train-wreck of a human being doesn't care how many Americans might die, as long as whatever needs to happen to get him re-elected is happening.  He has been convinced that his only path to the continued maintenance of  his power, is getting the economy back on the prosperity path. He seems unable to understand that doing that is impossible as long as thousands of Americans are dying of this virus.  He's just kinda dense that way....anything that would require compassion, wisdom, empathy is just not on his radar.

  Somehow, it seems light years ago since we were concerned that the death toll might rise past 50 thousand.  At the rate that the pandemic is spreading in Florida, Arizona, Texas and California...we could easily blow by 200 thousand American dead by September.  Because we failed to listen to the experts and were unwilling to even wear a fucking mask lest it trample our 'rights', and so many decided that 're-opening' meant, 'panties overboard', beach parties, street parties, hell, whatever you want to do...no masks, no social distancing...blah, blah, blah. 

  And, now we are reaping the grim harvest of people who died and didn't need to. 

  There is only one way out of this dismal swamp.....

VOTE.  And do any and everything in your power to get the vote out.  Get involved in making sure your district is both free and fair, not compromised and shady.


Saturday, July 25, 2020

It seems like it should be so simple.....

   What should be so simple?  Having an election.  People register to vote and then, either by mail-in ballot or by entering a polling place and putting some marks on a ballot in a voting booth, count 'em up and we're done, right? I mean, how hard can that be, either for the voter, or for the people responsible for managing the polling place, i.e. local district administrative officials?

  Well, apparently, this system has some serious challenges.  For starters, it requires honesty and a desire for absolute fairness and transparency on the part of  both those who have designed it and those who manage it. Okay.  This is America, and we think of ourselves as being honest and fair.....at least most of us do........or did.

  So, along come some slimey politicians who are devoted to winning far more than they care about either honesty or fairness.  These are usually--although not always, to be fair--GOPs.  Somewhere between the Republican Party that my parents and grandparents were so devoted to, and the present, a deeply distorted idea of what it means to be a Republican, and especially a 'conservative,' emerged.  This attitude craves winning so much and wielding power with impunity, that all that Boy Scout crap about Honor is just an enormous pain in the ass.

 "Oh, yeah, you can be a 'lib-tard' or a 'snowflake' and pretend all that stuff is somehow important to the maintenance of a decent society....but, we conservatives will do the hard, dirty work of winning power and furthermore do what ever is necessary to maintain our grasp on it indefinitely.  So, you can be a wimp, and we'll be in charge.  We are 'winners' and you are 'losers'. Suck it up."

  Really?  I actually don't think most hard-core conservatives are aware or astute enough to understand what it means to live in a society where one class or race has the upper hand and the basic tenets of how we live are not merely 'unfair' but horribly distorted and lead to a vast amount of suffering.  And, of course, most really numb conservatives will tell you, "Hey, that's not my fucking problem."

  But, this faux argument has a major flaw.  Just because these people are too brain-washed to understand what the McConnells and Trumps of the of the GOP are doing to them doesn't mean that they aren't still being taken to the cleaners in oh so many ways.  The conservatives who are ordinary working-class Americans, often have no clue about why they should care about ANYBODY but themselves.  And, there is deep irony in this line of reasoning, because they also do not understand that the Idiot and his fellow pirates are taking them for a ride, using them for a voting base but destroying anything that might make life at least a little easier for people who don't make a living wage....despite in many cases, working TWO jobs.  So, they are fervent supporters of the Idiot, all the while thinking he actually cares about them and how difficult their lives are. 

  NEWS FLASH: He doesn't give a fart in a hurricane if the working people survive, or not.  What he likes about his 'red-meat base' is that they are crude, love his own crudeness and vulgarity, and they are his army of Brownshirts if it comes to that. His human flaws are theirs too, and he's 'their man'. He's already threatened to use them as a potential source of violent operatives ...when he said that there might be a 2nd Amendment 'solution' to Hillary, if she won in 2016.  And, because he's an obvious and proven racist, you can be very sure that he doesn't care about anybody who isn't some shade of pink....in his case sort of tangerine.  If you are any of the other shades of the ethnic spectrum, he just wants you to shut-up, sit down and pretend all of this isn't happening. 

  I don't know how much more proof anybody could ask for that the Idiot is just out for himself and his club of other oligarchs.  It is right there staring us in the face.  I'm not going to bother listing all the things he's said that prove he's a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, a fascist, a sadist, a philanderer, which goes hand-in-hand with being an adulterer, not to mention being a good ol' fashioned crook and a con-artist. This comes as no surprise to those of us who have been watching him for decades, never mind the last four years.  The conservatives bluster about 'draining the swamp' and their leader is the Swamp Thing himself.  WTF?  What would it take for these followers to even begin to recognize that Fox News has fed them a falsehood laced cocktail?  The Idiot is a garbage heap of a person....and it is just so easy to prove it.

  So, yes, this is another wake-up call,...and there will be more, many more.  Every American who sees what is happening, and understands that if we do nothing the GOPs will use every dishonest and slimey tactic possible to steal another presidential election.  This not a speculation; it's a rock-solid fact.   They stole the presidency from Al Gore, and from John Kerry...do you really think they have turned over a new leaf.  They stole it from Hillary too...although it's less clear how much help they had from the Russians, or other outside sources.  So, they have gotten away with it THREE TIMES.

  They couldn't steal it from Barak Obama because far too many people, especially people previously disengaged, became interested and did what they needed to do to make sure they voted.  All the GOP machinations came to naught when the people really showed up.


  There is still time to get engaged and to stop this Idiot from having another opportunity to destroy our democracy.....and, believe it, that is exactly what he intends to do.

This man wants your freedom....he's telling us this every day

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Trump is becoming more dangerous each day.....

     Over the course of my lifetime...approaching 75 in a couple of months....I have had an enduring interest in World War II and especially the European Theater.  Perhaps being born in 1945 has something to do with this, but, for whatever reason, I have read extensively, about the air war, the ground and naval war and even about what it was like to be a civilian on the homefront on all sides of the conflict.

    I was about 13 or 14 when I began to really focus on the Holocaust.  I saw a cavalcade of photos in "Life Magazine's Pictorial History of World War II"....a large format, so-called 'coffee table' book in our school library that had to be recovered multiple times because I was not the only kid in the school who wanted to know what went down just before we were born.  All of my classmates had fathers who had been in the war.  A teacher in our school had heart-rending scarification and a plastic nose....because he had been in a Sherman tank when it was hit and caught fire.

   In the 90s I began work on a novel, "Above and Beyond" and it narrates the story of a young German boy, a farm- boy growing up in the Allegau, i.e. Schwabian Bavaria, around the city of Kempten.  I lived in Germany for about 3 months in 1971, and visited the same area again in the late 90s.  I wanted to absorb the atmosphere and learn what life in rural Bavaria is like for a boy growing-up there.

  Along the way, I came across stories about the early days of the Third Reich and how it all came to pass that a psychopathic dictator managed to gain control over 68 million people in a country that was among the most advanced, in every area of endeavor, on the planet.  Shouldn't decent Germans have known better?  If they got hood-winked, how exactly did that happen?  I observed attitudes, and read all I could, also interviewed any older German who had an experience of the Third Reich....and was willing to speak with an 'Ami' about it.  Not easy....but, doable with persistence and patience.

  Well, one of the most prominent takeaways from all of this was the realization that a primary and very powerful element in that descent into madness......was TERROR.  The Nazis understood it and how to use it very effectively.  Even before Hitler was Chancellor, his gangs of Brown-shirts roamed the streets of most larger German cities and towns.  They would chant slogans, and sing marching songs...and if they marched past a person standing on the curb, who failed to execute a Heil Hitler, extended arm salute.....the last two or three in the formation would drop out and assault him or her....a regular 'beat down'....then back to marching.  People got the message very quickly.

  Hitler was also, like Trump, fascinated with large crowds and especially a mass gathering.  In this kind of a situation Hitler really came into his own with his emotional delivery, sometimes screaming, alternatively, speaking in low tones that could then segue into a crescendo. It's a fact that he practiced his speaking gestures in front of a mirror.  He was a masterful speaker and could really get the crowd fired up. (sound familiar?)  His pinnacle rallies were the once a year mass gathering at Nuremburg, i.e. the 'Reichsparteitag'.  I have stood on the podium in the Reichsparteitaggelande....a stadium so grand that it can accommodate at least six soccer fields on the infield....and it's no trick at all to close your eyes and hear the massive crowd screaming "Heil Hitler" and "Sieg Heil" (Hail Victory).  It must have been a truly life-changing experience and the feeling that they were all in it together would be undeniable.

    My own personal reaction to standing alone at the podium from which Hitler addressed the throbbing throng of Germans, was to haul it out and empty my bladder right there.  Yes, I did that, and I will treasure the moment as long as I live.

  Fast forward to the present:  July 2020.  We have a man in the White House who wants not merely to stay there another four years....he has some not-so-secret ambitions to stay there indefinitely.  He's joked and hinted at this multiple times.  His buddy, Vlad Putin, and Xi of China, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Erdogan of Turkey, Bolsonaro in Brazil, and a number of other lesser leaders have secured their powers in this respect.  Given that he's openly admired these 'strong men' it's not much of a leap to assume that the Idiot would just love to never leave office.

Pretty far fetched, right?  Just wait.
     And, all of a sudden, for reasons only his febrile mind can grasp, Trump decides to send Federal Agents from Dept. of Homeland Security....all decked out in full camo combat gear...to one of the most blue and unrelentingly liberal cities in the country, i.e. Portland OR.  They just showed up, didn't ask for any permission from the governor, the mayor, or anybody else.  They appeared on the streets, started scooping up demonstators, pushing them into un-marked vans, not identifying themselves, and not telling those they were grabbing why this was happening.

     As many pundits have already pointed out: this is how you would expect the government to act in a dictatorship.  It is definitely NOT how you expect legitimate law enforcement personnel to act.  And, my initial reaction when I saw this in the news was, "Holy Shit!  He's using storm-troopers!"

   To just grab someone by the arms and shove them into an unmarked van....not saying a word about it, not why, for what reason...and to refuse to identify themselves.......is, quite simply, TERRIFYING.  You don't know who it is that has grabbed you, their faces are hidden, and they act like Imperial Stormtroopers.....are you kiddin' me?  That is the application of TERROR...according to every working definition of it that I could recall.

    Every totalitarian government uses terror.  It's easily the most effective way of getting people to 'sit down and shut up'.  It says, "We are in charge, and you are helpless to resist." So, get used to it.

    Lying as much as the Idiot does, it becomes difficult to find even a small kernel of the truth in anything he says.  He opens his ugly yap....and lies come out. It's what he does; it's who he is.  And, now he's apparently decided that instead of acting like a decent leader...it's his time to start subjugating his enemies.  And, he's not going to stop or even slow down if he gets the message that he can get away with this.

  It feels to me that this is one of those all too frequent occasions when each person needs to speak out.  Write, email or call your representatives.  Let them know that this is outrageous and unconstitutional, dictatorial behavior and you need them to stand up and be counted against it.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Pay Attention.....pay very close attention now.

    In 1971, I saw a movie with the title:"In the Garden of the Finzi-Continis".   It was a low-budget in black and white, made from a novel by the same title, and it was about a family--yes, the Finzi-Continis--in northern Italy.  They were semi-affluent, roughly upper-middle class, and every Sunday they had a family gathering in a very nice back garden, complete with topiaries and a nice northern Italian ambiance.

  I don't recall if they specified what year it was but it was during the 30s and Italian Fascism, under Mussolini, of course, had already taken root.  But, the family....that was Jewish, by the way....repeatedly came back to discussing what might come of this German fellow, Adolf Hitler.  Most of the members present were unable to accept the idea that Hitler would become a very dangerous despot.  It just seemed too far out there....to most of them.  At the end of the movie, the viewer is left with an uncomfortable sense that these people were going to be blind-sided and likely swept up in the horrors of the Holocaust.

 So, the first article that popped into my consciousness this morning was on Huffington Post and it was about events taking place in Portland Oregon.  In fact, paramilitary operators, wearing full combat gear and traveling in unmarked vans and other vehicles, are going around snatching people off the streets.  These 'snatchees' are identified as 'protesters' and Black Lives Matter is their apparent cause. The mayor of Portland, and Oregon's congressional representatives and senators have put out letters and are demanding a 'cease and desist' be issued.  Dept. of Homeland Security is the offending agency and its acting head is one Chad Wolf.....who insists.....and this is where you really want to pay attention......Portland has been under violent assault from these 'far-left' terrorists and agitators for the last 47 days.  Of course, most of the citizens of Portland would read that and go, "What is he talking about?"

  I was stunned when I read this.  To use military personnel, even if it's DHS agents dressed in full combat gear, and be grabbing people off the streets who are well within what the city feels constitutes 'peaceful protesting'.....is an act of terror in its own right. In fact, it's wholly reminiscent of Germany in the 30s.  The Nazis used terror as a means of forcing people to be complacent and pliable.  If you became identified--either by the Gestapo or were ratted out by another civilian--as 'non-compliant', in need of an attitude adjustment....you could hear a slamming rifle butt on your door at 3 in the morning and a terrifying squad of thugs would come barging in and drag you off to Gestapo headquarters....and thence to a 'camp'.  Dachau was one of the earliest such camps, and when people came back after being 're-educated' they didn't even want to talk about what happened there.  I read an account of one fellow who would flee the room if the subject even was broached.

  So, here we are.  It's 2020 and we live in what was once the most respected and revered democracy in the world.  It was so admired and respected that people all over the planet wanted to come here to live, or at least to get a good education.  Not any more.  We are now the laughing stock of the rest of the world.  The Orange Idiot has seen to it that every single challenge of his presidency has been met with total incompetence and foolish denial.  We have a pandemic that has killed more people than all but two of our many wars....and, he just keeps finding ways to make it all worse. If you read all of this in a pulp novel, you might be thinking the author was simply a bad writer, or at least just a lousy story-teller.

   But, sadly, it's all real. We had gotten used to the term 'terrorist' referring to some hairball radicals like the ones who hijacked the planes on 9-11.  It's time for a re-adjustment of that term.  Now, we need to begin thinking of 'terror' as something that our own government is using against us, and acting as if we both deserve to be treated as victims, and that we don't have the right--as specified in the Constitution--to protest peacefully.

This is TERROR in action......

  Oh, yes we do.  And, nothing this Orange Idiot does should go unacknowledged or be written off as somehow necessary or acceptable.  Of course, our best means of getting our point across will occur on November 3rd.  But, even that is in jeopardy because we are dealing with an administration that has zero respect for the rule of law, and is self-justifying the use of whatever means it feels it needs to keep us under their heel.

Here is a link to the piece on Huffpo that is reporting the events in Oregon:

This is not the time to take our eye off the ball.....or, we risk getting smacked upside the head if we do.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Trump is doing all the damage he can on the way out the door

   Despite all the news stories that are starting to dwell on how much trouble the Idiot's campaign is in, and how he's going to be 'taken to the woodshed' in November, it's way too soon to assume anything....positive or negative. It's going to be a long downhill slide into election day, and the entire country will be holding its collective breath in anticipation of the results.

   But, here's the thing: he hasn't pulled back from his scorched earth agenda....not one little bit.  He's determined to do as much damage as possible on his way out. Every single day, it seems, he comes up with another thing he can do via 'executive order' to hurt the vulnerable, to destroy the environment, and to give more charity to the oligarchs who need it less than anybody on the planet.  There is no regulation that is safe.  We can take some small solace from recent SCOTUS decisions that haven't gone Donny-boy's way, but that is a few rain drops and we're dealing with a wild-fire.

  The Idiot v.1's latest strategy to ensure his re-election is to try to just push on past the entire pandemic.  That's right.  He is pretending that it's over and done with so we can just move on to restoring the boom economy that was his best and last chance to sell the American people on the great wisdom of keeping his wonderful leadership in the White House.  Because little Donny is a deeply disturbed and damaged person, he cannot feel either empathy or compassion.  It's enlightening to read the list of 'symptoms' for narcissistic personality disorder on the Mayo Clinic website.  No surprise, V.1 has 'em all.  Go right down the list and you will find yourself nodding, "Yep,....uh, yep....yep."  And, he has been identified by many, many psychiatrists and psychologists...most of them pre-eminent in the field...as having not just narcissistic personality disorder, but the worst variation of it: malignant narcissism.  Based on his observable behaviors, ol' Donny boy is about as dysfunctional as a narcissist can be.

   So, in obeisance to his illness(s), the Idiot is pushing every button, flipping every switch and pulling every lever that he sees, in order to give his re-election the best chance of succeeding.  Pretending the pandemic is over and haranguing the country to 'move on' to re-opening the vastly damaged economy is priority ONE....which would be no problem at all, except for the fact that the pandemic is not only NOT OVER, but is getting worse each day, especially in the states that re-opened as early as they wanted to, ignoring the advice of all the medical experts.  They not only re-opened, they ditched all manner of practices designed to keep the coronavirus from spreading, indeed from running out of control and turning into a full-blown cataclysm.

  Well, V.1 cannot have such a minor thing as a pandemic get in the way of his political ambition, hell no.  So, he is now working as hard as he ever works....which, to be honest, isn't all that hard...to discredit the science-based advice that is coming from the top medical epidemiologists, i.e. the people whose life work is to understand how epidemics work, and how they become pandemics, and how pandemics can turn into a national and even a global nightmare.

   Dr. Anthony Fauci is the expert that most Americans...or at least those whose brains have not gone dead watching the freak show on Fox....have turned to as a trusted source of knowledge and expert opinion on what is really happening.  At times, he's had the courage to directly disagree with the bullshit coming from the Idiot.  And, it IS bullshit.  He stands there, in the White House driveway, as he's headed out to play another round of golf and spouts complete lies to the press. When confronted by reporters, he just gets in a huff and walks away...after he spends some energy berating the reporter who was stupid enough to ask such a dumb question.  His specialty seems to be personal attacks on female reporters. This need to attack anybody who doesn't kowtow to him certainly fits his psychological profile, but it's hard to watch a bully at his worst.  I will continue to wait patiently for the day and a courageous reporter who stands up and says, "You know what, Mr. President?  You are a liar and the worlds biggest asshole!  Fuck off." And, walks away.

  Any hour now I expect to see the news announcing that Dr. Fauci is 'out', joining a very long list of distinguished and not so distinguished individuals who have also been fired by the Idiot or quit once they realized how severely dysfunctional he is.

  My hope is that Dr. Fauci will retire from his position as the nation's leading epidemiologist and continue his efforts to get the truth about this rotten situation to the American public.  He surely can retire with at least a decent set of circumstances.  He has a long and distinguished career behind him and I just cannot imagine that he really needs his position with the government at this point in his life.  Americans...at least those of us who see who Anthony Fauci really is and have come to trust him....really need a person like him, with a great depth of expertise and the good character of a person who knows there is a critical value in the Truth.

   In order to make life and death decisions...which is, sadly, what it really comes down to in these circumstances....all of us, but especially parents of school kids trying to decide if it's safe to return their kids to school,  and adult children who must decide what is safe for their elderly parents, simply cannot make such crucial decisions without sound information about the risks and pitfalls of this strange and terrible situation.

  The Idiot is wholly transparent about the damage he's inflicting on various segments of American society.  It's not a mystery that has to be uncovered or solved.  He's an insane asshole who is holding a dangerous amount of power and is using it at every opportunity to inflict more damage and pain. And, I am holding onto hope that enough people will realize just how evil he is and vote his sorry ass out in November.

  And, in the meantime, I am really hoping that Dr. Anthony Fauci will not back away from the trust we have given him.  He's a decent person and a good soul...and we need his calm guidance as we try to get through this 'Valley of the Shadow of Death".

Saturday, July 11, 2020

What Will it Take?

    As the Covid cases spiral out of control in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, the rest of America is watching.  Some are looking at this in disbelief; some are watching in horror.  And, some apparently just don't give a flying fuck.  At least, that is the impression one gets when they walk into a Walmart and see how many people are refusing to wear a mask.  There is an associate by the front door to make sure every shopper coming in is wearing a mask....but, as soon as they're in, many remove their masks.  Is it just that they can't be inconvenienced?  Do they not know what is happening across the land?  Are they just low-i.q. idiots who look at it all and go, "Well, what's that got to do with me?"

  Many are apparently Trump idolators....judging from their accouterments, and their demeanor. And, if the Big Cheeto won't wear a mask, and he keeps telling anybody who'll listen that it's all going to just 'go away'....like magic...then 'What me worry?" (from Alfred E. Neuman) comes into play.  So, if you are one of his darling sycophants, why would you think it was your responsibility, much less your duty, to do something to protect others, especially those goddamned 'lib-tards' ?  And to hell with the 'snowflakes' anyway. Right?

  So, here we are...right back where we were in March, April and May, in some places it is already worse than it was in our hottest of hot-spots, NYC.  The news reports coming out of places like Huston, southern Florida and Arizona are so dire that perhaps a lot of people just don't accept or perhaps comprehend, how truly catastrophic this is becoming.  When a hospital is 'overwhelmed' what they mean by that term is that they have lost the ability to give proper treatment to the stream, hell flood, of people arriving in their ED, coming in the door, or already there.  They are still working like hell to meet the demands...but, these are human beings--damned good ones, actual heroes--and there's just so much they can do.  The interviews with some of the docs and nurses are heart-rending.  They really have given all they have to give.

  And, due in great measure to a lack of federal leadership....i.e. The Goddamned Idiot again....there are still shortages of the most basic supplies, PPE, that these heros need to do their jobs.  How can we ask them to put their lives, and those of their families, on the line when we have--at the government level at least--turned our backs on them?  It's unacceptable; and it's insane...just doesn't make any sense in the world we currently live in.

  But..................here's something that every American can do:  PUT ON A MASK. It's really simple and becoming easier due to the proliferation of home-made and imported masks now.  But, for the person who still belatedly thinks this is a form of coercion, a violation of their 'rights', the first step in a sharp jolt toward the left that will ultimately result in living in a commie totalitarian hell-hole, putting on a mask is tantamount to betraying your conservative ideals.

   Really?  And, do those high-minded principles include separating small kids from their parents and keeping them in horrendous conditions?  How about, using federal police and troops to violently control peaceful protesters? Is that just fine?  What about racism?  Is White Supremacy a conservative principle too?  How about the idea that neo-Nazis are 'fine people too'?  How about embracing the idea that stealing elections is okay too....voter roll purges, gerrymandering, few poles and long lines, limited hours to vote and God forbid people should be able to vote by mail.

  What the fuck is wrong with people who think this way?  That is a sincere and open question.  I really would like to understand how people get to these extreme viewpoints, beliefs that are so harmful to others, so cruel and despicable.

  Well, I have some news for you.  If you continue to believe that Donald J. Trump is a kind and intelligent leader who has your best interests at heart....then, stand-up, go into the bathroom and take a good long stare into the mirror.  YOU ARE LOOKING AT A GEN-YOU-WINE, FUCKING IDIOT.  You have put your personal preferences first, decided that other people are not important enough to merit your consideration.  This is the working definition of SELFISH.  How's it feel, asshole?

  The woman in the accompanying photograph is determined to show off her stupidity.  She's not only pissed off that anybody would want her to wear a mask....she's got a Q-Anon t-shirt on.  Now there's a winning combination.  Don't even get me started on how deeply confused and just plain stupid you have to be to think Q-Anon is anything other than a cockamamie conspiracy dreamt up by the likes of Alex Jones.  Now, there's a genius for you.

  Sometimes I imagine hiring a sky-writer with a suitable airplane to spell out a message over Washington DC...where it would be picked-up by the news and be seen by most Americans.  I would ask the pilot to spell out the following message to Americans everywhere.

America....time is running out!

Wake the f**k up!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

From the Frying Pan Into the Fire

    There have been various articles on the web stating that suddenly there is interest in Tucker Carlson running for president in 2024. Apparently, Carlson has the best ratings of ANY cable news show, and he draws a very large audience. Why should we be surprised?  If there is anything to be learned from the last three plus years it is that a significant portion of Americans are dyed-in-the-wool racists.  They are the same people who think the Idiot is a great president and a normal human being....other than being the brightest and most stable person on the planet.

   My reaction to Carlson running is an immediate sense that he'd never make it past the initial phase of the process, because his track record as a racist is so utterly well documented and there are enough Americans--of all colors--to short-stop him.  He's only recently had sponsors flee his show because of such blatant racist comments.  He's as off the wall and as nasty and dishonest as the Idiot. You may as well refer to him as the Idiot v.2.  But....it would be a grave error to assume that he's as incapable as the Idiot is.  He's ever so much more dangerous.

  We are living in a time in which all the conditions for chaos and planetary cataclysm--i.e. the climate crisis, the population bomb and the potential for starvation of not millions, but BILLIONS, racial and religious conflicts that have the potential to spiral out of control...not to mention pandemics--are all swirling around each other, becoming a complex and existential nightmare... and we either will rise to meet the challenges, or we will fail and reap the whirlwind.  Recall that all of this political 'sturm und drang' is a mere distraction from the ultimate challenge: will we do what is necessary to mitigate--or at least soften--climate chaos?  Failing to address the Climate Crisis will mean 'game over'. 

    If we elect another idiot we will simply be putting the finishing touches on a failed democracy, and diving down the rabbit hole of a hellish future.  Carlson has all the qualities necessary to be the dictator that the Idiot wishes he could be. And, his appeal to the lowest instincts of racist and hateful people is unquestionably powerful.  He has the ability to communicate, despite the fact that what he does communicate is divisive and hateful.  He is a very accomplished liar....has no hesitation in making what is his warped opinion seem like gospel.  He is brighter and more charismatic than the Idiot and for the audience he attracts, he is messianic.

   There is a part of me that is very concerned about this eventuality.  Another part--the part I hope is dominant and will persist--that feels we are too far along the path of Hope and Change to simply turn away from it.  I do NOT believe that sensible and intelligent Americans will make the same mistake we already made with the Idiot v.1 and anoint a leader who is so clearly a dangerous racist and a hateful divider.  Trump is merely a clown and he's proven that far too many times to doubt it.  But, Carlson is a master liar and manipulator who is not all tied up with mental illness...at least not in the same wholly debilitating manner that v.1 is.

  The part of me that is concerned just feels this pang of sadness that such an asshole as Tucker Carlson could become the 'go to' voice of the right.  To adopt him as one's source of 'news' and to accept what he spews means, of necessity, that one is in agreement with him....and I have a deep sense of dread that he is more capable and far more dangerous than the Idiot v.1.

  So, don't take your eye off of this 'ball', because we do not want to wake up one cold morning in 2024 and realize that we must have fallen asleep and now this megalomaniac is in charge. 

Oh, no!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Trump won't walk away.....

   There are more and more articles on a variety of sites putting forward the idea of the Idiot just up and walking away from his re-election.  The reasoning in most of these pieces is that, at some point,  he will see how badly he's going to get clobbered and will want to spare himself from that deep embarrassment.  If we were dealing with a conventionally sane and intelligent person--one whose every decision was not ruled by his craving for adulation and praise--I might think that his fleeing the situation was plausible. For some reason the rock tune by Lynyrd Skynyrd "Gimme Three Steps" comes to mind, particularly the line: "Hey fat fellah with the hair colored yellah, whatchu tryin' to prove?"  And, a little further on: "You could hear me screamin' a mile away as I was headed out for the door."

  But, you and I both know that this fat fellah with hair colored yellah isn't going to do that, right? Over the last three plus years, we have seen a very consistent pattern emerge:  Donny does what will further his sense of personal Grandeur while ignoring anything that might impinge on that.  Or, if he doesn't just look away, more likely, he attacks the offending person or idea.  A normal, sane person considers all the aspects of a particular situation, and then makes a decision on how to approach it based on what seems to have the best chance for accomplishing the task at hand.  Not Donny.  Oh no.
His approach is to brood and skulk, then launch a twitter attack that is full of lies, obfuscation and, in almost every instance, a stream of hateful invective aimed at his perceived wrong-doers.

  With even the slimmest of chances that he will find a way to turn things around, and in the hope that the GOPs cheating methods are once again effective enough to help him steal the election, he will remain in the race.  It is reminiscent of the tale about how to catch a monkey:  you put a grape or nut in a hollowed out gourd, with a hole that is sized so that the monkey can get his hand in, but cannot get his fist, clutching the grape, out.  And, that monkey will refuse to let go of his prize even when it means that he's going to be captured.  So, the story goes in India, anyway.

  Well, that's our Donny Boy.  He's got his eyes on a very big prize that he has not so subtly alluded to for the last three years: he could become president for life, i.e. be like his buddy Vladimir, and have so much power that we cannot get rid of him via any legitimate democratic means.  He wants to be the Emperor of us all.  When he looks skyward and declares to the press that, "I'm the chosen One."  Or when he slyly alludes to Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Kim Jong-un, as leaders who have it all going.....have no doubt that he is doing so as a way of hinting to at least his knuckle-draggers that, "Hey, why not me as President for Life?"  Never mind that we already....at least a helluva lot of us....know the Emperor is buck-ass naked....an indication of his being a morally bankrupt asshole who likes to inflict pain, whether it be on immigrant children in cages, or by blowing off a pandemic in the making, that has now killed over 130,000 Americans, many of then who could have survived if the Idiot had stepped-up and been a leader instead of being his usual asshole self and deflecting all responsibility....hell, for ANYTHING.  He long ago failed to get us to see the 'magic underwear' that he's so fond of boasting about.  All I see when I look at him most of the time....is an obese and very florid pink HOG. 

  There's another rock tune, this one from Paul Simon, off of his album, "You're the One".  It's title is "Pigs, Sheep and Wolves", give it a listen and see if you don't agree that it's about the Idiot.  Towards the last part of the tune, there are some lines that seem almost perfect for describing him.

Big and fat
Pig's supposed to look like that
Yeah, this is hilarious
Oh what a great time
I'm the pig who committed
The perfect crime

All around the world
Japan and Scandinavia
Candle light vigils
Protestin' behaviors
It's animal behavior
It's animal behavior
It's pigs, sheep and wolves.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Why is the media avoiding using the 'T' word?

   I spent three years in the U.S. Army as a 'light weapons infantryman'.  Not only was I a 'grunt', I volunteered to be one. I suppose I was a combination of being a rambunctious kid and being blissfully unaware of the day to day realities of carrying a rifle and spending 24-7 getting down and dirty in the field. There were times when I could not remember when I had my last shower, and bathing out of a steel helmet is not as glamorous as it might sound. And, none of this even takes into consideration what it means to have an enemy who is doing his damnedest to kill you.  I was on orders for Vietnam four times, but each time something happened to change those orders...so I unwittingly escaped having that traumatic experience.

  My great grandfather, was also in the infantry. In fact, he was just a kid and was too young to carry a musket, so he became a drummer-boy, and he witnessed Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.  One of his memories that stayed with him and was passed on to me by my grandfather was of seeing a cannonball bounding across the open field.  A Union trooper put out his foot to stop it--much as you would trap a soccer ball--and it took his leg off above the knee. Isn't it odd what our minds choose to capture and hold onto forever?

  My long deceased father-in-law, Donald Downs, was also in the infantry.  He landed at Normandy on D-plus One as a platoon sergeant in the 29th Inf.Div. and spent the following 30 days fighting in the bocage (bulwark like hedgerows) behind Normandy.  During that time he was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star....before getting his arm shot off by a German sniper.  Life in the infantry takes about all you have each and every day.  And, it makes a huge difference in one's ability to endure each day if you feel good about the folks at home rooting for you, and have confidence that the chain of command is always looking out for your interests. 

  So, when the news story broke about the Russians paying bounties to the Taliban for killing American and Afghan soldiers...and some civilians too, apparently.....it really hit me in the gut.  I could easily believe that Putin was capable of this kind of dastardly deed.  He's an evil weasel, and out to destroy America as a super-power in a thousand different ways.  But, the idea that our esteemed president was absolved of any responsibility doesn't fly.  As the good ol' boys down south have been heard to say, "That dog won't hunt."  Nah.

  There is plenty of evidence coming to the fore that proves ol' Donny boy was briefed and knew this was happening.  He may have ignored a daily briefing paper with this in it...because he has the lazy habit of refusing to read anything that isn't about him....but HE KNEW.  They have even found the money-trail from the GRU to the Taliban. This happened.  And His Cheetoness made a choice to ignore it because he didn't want to piss-off his good buddy, Vlad.  In the several months after this was known to be occurring, Donny-boy had at least four phone conversations with Putin.  Putting bounties on American soldiers was apparently not mentioned.  I refer you to the last post before this one.....for a glimpse of the Putin-Trump relationship. 

 What I want to know is this: if the commander-in-chief knew information that could have saved a single American soldier or marine from getting killed......and did nothing to act on that....then why, for the love of God, is he not a fucking TRAITOR?