Killing ourselves

Author: admin

As you read this, COVID-19 is killing one American every minute each 24-hours. One death each minute, 24/7.

Now, you may have known that already and didn’t need my reminder. In fact, you may not want to hear another word about COVID-19 and just want to tune out the whole damned thing. Not one more word!

Well, read on. Because I’m going to give you some more words. Words not from me but from Judi Doering, R.N., Woonsocket, South Dakota. An emergency room nurse for whom “tuning out” is impossible.

“I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog, I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the U.S.A.. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason (why) they’re sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a f*****g horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again. Which is what I’ll do for the next three nights. But, tonight, it’s me and Cliff and Oreo ice cream. And how ironic I have on my ‘home’ hoodie. The South Dakota I love seems far away right now.”

Judi Doering, R.N., of Woonsocket, South Dakota. Her words.

Unlike you and I, Nurse Deoring can’t stop hearing the words. Night after night after hellish night, she not only hears the words, she lives them. And she lives with the crazy lies from the deathly sick who have bought into a world of other lies spun by politicians. Starting with the President of the United States. And her governor. And the governors on two sides of her beloved South Dakota.

And, if those words, and all the other words shouted from scared, sick patients don’t force her to quit her post for one not directly associated with COVID, she’ll keep hearing them, night after night after unworldly night in her ‘horror movie that never ends’.”

There are no masking requirements in South Dakota. North Dakota. Also Wyoming and Nebraska. Nor are there restrictions on church attendance, gatherings or a night on the town. Social distancing? No. That either.

I discovered something by accident the other day. Lay a map with the outlines of Trump voting states in our struggling country on your desk. Now, lay one the same size over that showing red states with the highest numbers of Coronavirus cases. See anything? If the maps are of the same approximate size, they nearly match up.

And, you’ll note on rereading Nurse Doering’s words, the reference to Joe Biden and how he’s “going to ruin the U.S.A..” Sounds like a Trumper, right?

I’d bet nurses in hospitals in the states named above read Ms. Doering’s words and found them similar to their own experiences. Our “cheerleader-perpetrator-of-lies-and-conspiracies” president has likely had the same effect on others who wind up on a gurney in intensive care wards.

Trump has blood on his hands. The blood of Americans dying even as he was being told in January of the deadly consequences of the virus and he chose to do nothing. Absolutely nothing! And, for months thereafter, while more citizens died, he pooh-poohed the deadly virus as little more than the “common flu.” But, he KNEW! He KNEW!

This month’s national election showed Trump got some 70-million votes. I believe it would be inaccurate to say all who voted for him were truly Trumpers. Many could have not liked Biden – some were probably stuck on the Republican brand – others may have been more influenced by our growing economy and didn’t want anything to change that.

Whatever the case, most of the states he won are at, or near, the top of charts of the deadly COVID numbers. Given the refusal of Trump, or the respective Republican governors in those states, to implement protective procedures, those are the places where we’re killing ourselves the most. With no leadership – or bad leadership – too many citizens are being exposed to the deadly nature of the disease. Some, like the Biden hater, have bought into Trump’s totally dangerous lies and are still in love with the great “orange leader.”

Yes, death rates have slowed when compared with total numbers of virus cases. That would seem to indicate health professionals have developed some effective protocols to deal with many situations. That’s the good news. That’s about the only good news in all this.

Still, Nurse Doering of Woonsocket, South Dakota, and all the other
“Nurse Doerings” in all the other “Woonsocket” ER’s, are still hearing the cries of anguish and fear, being called names and being belittled for the life-saving work they do.

You may not want to hear any more about the virus. But, THEY can’t stop hearing about it. Day after day after day after horrific day.

Flummoxed

Author: admin

Not an ordinary word that. Certainly not one you’d usually find in a headline. But, it can perfectly describe your mental state when considering Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Since the start of the Trump “era,” the men and women of the GOP in that body have been door mats for the demon in the White House. They’ve laid there on the floor while Trump’s walked all over ‘em.

With Mitch McConnell’s able assistance, using the whip hand of his majority numbers, the 53 remaining Republicans have been silent servants to Trump’s “bull-in-the-china-shop” rants and actions over the past four years. To a man. To a woman.

Let’s just consider one of that body: Jim Elroy Risch of Idaho.

I’ve known Risch for more than 50 years. First covered him in the Idaho Legislature in the ‘60’s. Risch has had the reputation of being a tough guy, a political climber, a pusher, a guy who’d run over resistance like a tank on the battlefield. Behind his back – most often – he was called “the little Nazi.” Not quite an apt description of his operating style. But close.

Earlier this month, Risch was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. A new voter-approved contract that was never in doubt He’s been there since 2009. Now, he’s got six more years of assured employment at the federal trough. Given his age- he’d be around 83 six years hence – this trip is likely his “last hurrah.” One can hope.

Risch hasn’t garnered much publicity during his elevated service. Which is sort of odd since he’s been chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for awhile. Previous holder’s of that select office – Frank Church (D-ID) – J. William Fulbright (D-AR) and others – have had more notoriety. But, Risch has laid pretty low.

Which is strange given our bottomless military entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, given Trump’s blustering and B.S. in foreign affairs by breaking treaties and pulling out of world organizations. You’d think the Senate’s appropriate committee head would have something to say or possibly undertake take some actions either supporting or decrying the President’s blunderbuss ways.

But, no. Not the case. Risch, like his 53 counterparts, has been a willing enabler for just about all things Trump.

Which raises the question in my mind, why? Why have Idaho’s Risch and the others been so subservient? So obsequious? Why haven’t some of them spoken up occasionally when the “Trump train” was leaving the rails on some issue or another?

During the Senate impeachment trial, some Republicans – if not all- knew Trump was guilty of one or more of the six charges. Yet they could muster nary a guilty vote to convict. Not one. Why?

During the past four years, Trump has given practitioners of the GOP brand many reasons to say “no” or to take a political or personal position opposing him. But they haven’t. Why?

I’m sick of hearing members of Congress are “afraid” of Trump. Afraid they’ll be”primaried” or directly threatened by him. Risch, for one, has routinely been characterized as someone with backbone – a stiff spine, someone not afraid of much, politically speaking. But, he’s rolled over to have his tummy scratched just like the rest. Even with the certainty of being re-elected. There he was. On the floor. Tummy up. Why?

It’s certain, there are other Senators known for stiff spines – for not allowing themselves to be rolled over. After all, the Senate is as very exclusive club. The word “Senator” is not taken lightly. With the lengthy history of a life spent in political office – like Risch – members of the Senate know how to “wheel-and-deal.” And to do so even when faced with resistance. Yet Trump walks in and everybody is on the floor, tummy up.

There is, in my mind at least, no real “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question: why. I suspect there are 54 individual responses – responses we’ll never know. Toeing the party line is one thing – being an “easy, cheap date” is quite something else.

There have been times in the last four years I’ve wanted to lean out the window and shout “C’mon, people, put on your big boy pants and do something for the folks that sent ya there. DO SOMETHING!”

Alas, all I’d do is irritate the neighbors.

One way or the other, Trump will be shown the door January 20. A Democrat will take up Oval Office occupancy at noon. After he cleans up the wreckage, there’ll be new legislation sent to the Hill for consideration. Legislation with a different political party name on it. What will be the Republican response? Rollovers? Tummy scratching? No resistance? Risch?

Not hardly. You can bet the farm. Democrats may have the House. They may have the Oval Office. But, those 54 hardy GOP folks will not be in a mood to get along. Progress will be slow in coming. Such progress, as there may eventually be, will be the result of some well-known backroom discussions, some wheeling-and-dealing, lots and lots of negotiations, maybe some Kentucky bourbon and branch water. It’s going to be some tough political slogging.

No tummy’s up then. Not one. Not even Idaho’s Sen. Risch.

So …

Author: admin

O.K. We have a new president. What now?

A long, bruising, nasty campaign. An over-long “birthing” process to name the winner. Now, that winner can walk down the street, knowing nearly every other person he passes voted against him. A terrible feeling, I’d guess. It also sets the stage for a continuance of the animosities we’ve been living with.

I’m not sure we’ve won a lot. Yes, we ended the reign of a corrupt immoral, evil man. He now faces the likelihood of years of legal problems with a very real possibility of prison somewhere along the way. Unlike you or I, his future is not his to control. For the first time in his misbegotten life.

If we’ve “won” anything, it’s that we’ve pulled the nation back from the brink of institutional collapse. No president in our long history has done so much to sow distrust, hate, sorrow and division as the guy about to exit, stage right. The wreckage he leaves behind is a once-proud nation that’s been divided into political and economic communities, each with little seeming regard for the other.

Our new chief executive faces an almost certain future of stalemate, distrust, animosity in a terribly divided Congress. Though he’s known as an achiever, getting disagreeing factions to work together, he faces a Senate Majority Leader who may be the most intransigent politician in modern time.

Given his age, Mitch McConnell’s re-election this month will certainly be his last “hurrah.” So, he settles into his accustomed role with nothing to lose. On the personal side, he’s a multi-millionaire. In his legislative role, his power is reliable and certain. He can push the legislative envelope on all sides without personal or political repercussion. And, I’ll bet he does.

If there is any sunlight in the expected undertaking to rebuild trust and reliance in our nation’s governance, it may boil down to this. The president and his party control two-thirds of the legislative machinery. With that power in his pocket, the new president, known for his “working-across-the-aisle” abilities, may have to deal only with the Senate Majority Leader. If they can generate a relationship of comity, of trust, of acknowledgment of their long histories in politics, it may be possible to achieve a balance of power.

Such an understanding is absolutely necessary if there’s to be achievement in the next four years. Without it, we face stalemate, division, continuing mistrust and a “no man’s land” where nothing is done, charges and counter-charges being the norm and the needs of the people go unmet.

A relationship of trust. between just those two men, may make possible a regeneration of confidence and solidarity this nation so badly needs. We’ll see.

And our new vice president? What of her? What’s to be her role?

This new president comes to the office with impeccable credentials in foreign relations, which is, after all, the primary role of any president. Because his predecessor had no such skills, there’s a lot of building and fence-mending to be done with other nations. The new guy has unimpeachable personal knowledge of nearly all of his counterparts and can call many of them by their first names. This is his “long suit.”

So, it would seem the primary job description for the new lady down the hall would largely encompass legislative relations. She, too, knows the majority leader very well. She, too, is something of a peacemaker. She, too, has the political chops and a record of being a negotiator, albeit a tough one who has the necessary teeth to get a job done.

If she, also, can develop a relationship of trust and respect with the majority leader, provide the necessary give-and-take required of successful politicians, the chances of stalemate and division are much, much less. Her importance in that role can not be overstated.

While the nation is deeply divided, as shown in the election, there are many who want healing – want to end disagreement and discord. We have, among us, peacemakers. People of all stripes who want cohesion and peace. Blessed is their tribe and may their numbers increase.

Significant change may not be ours in the short term. Much work has to be done to clear away the wreckage to restore normalcy.

But, a year or so down the road, when naysayers see a Democrat in the White House doesn’t automatically mean vast socialism, doesn’t mean lawlessness or pose challenges to individual rights, I’d guess things will settle down a bit.

Many folks who voted for the loser did so out of fright, frustration and believing a faithless, totally dishonest political derelict. His presence – his scent – must be overcome. Quickly.

A lie – often a single lie – can destroy a previously trusting relationship. It will take some time to rebuild faith. Time to reach out. Time to welcome. Time to bring us together.

Some will refuse to participate – to rejoin – to reunite. They will continue the old ways of listening to false prophets – following false paths – stoking their anger. They’ll always be there.

But, for the rest of us, there is reason to hope again – to belong again – to enlarge the community of the willing. And to trust.

A sign of hostility

Author: admin

Walking the dog a few days ago, I came upon what we here in the desert euphemistically call a “yard” (yards here are crushed rock – not grass) with three Trump signs.

Not an unusual sighting hereabouts – those Trump signs. Except one was very different from the other two which were the standard versions. The unusual sign said “MAKE CHRISTIANITY GREAT AGAIN – VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP.” A garland of flowers was woven – photographically – across the top.

“Make Christianity Great Again!” I damned near lost my breakfast! For the first time in my long life, I was overcome with a heated desire to grab that sign and rip it to pieces. Even the dog – Skeezix – could feel my sudden anger.

Donald Trump is going to “make Christianity great again?’ Trump? The guy who had dozens of peaceful protesters tear gassed and shoved off public streets so he could stand in front of a church he doesn’t attend, to hold up a Bible (backwards) so he could have a photo op? That serial-lying, mean-spirited, grossly incompetent and incredibly dangerous human being? The guy who pays porn stars thousands of dollars to keep quiet about his sexual activities. Him?

No, my foolhardy and incredibly ignorant neighbor! No, not him. Not him ever! Trying to link that political disaster of a presidential aberration to anything Christ-like is absolutely impossible. That sign says more about your out-of-touch political knowledge and your lack of understanding of the Christian way of life than trying to show your neighbors your political presidential preference.

Trump has put this nation through dozens and dozens of political indignities and lowered standards in nearly everything he’s touched. Christian?

New evidence of how low Trump will go – and how unlike Christ the man is – came several days ago when an April, 2020, conversation between ace reporter Bob Woodward and Trump’s “in-over-his-head” son-in-law, the young Jared Kushner came to light.

You don’t have to listen to the entire thing. You need only 30 seconds or so to hear Kushner’s – and Trump’s – depravity. Their plan – when our COVID-19 deaths at the time stood around 40,000 souls – was to make a large government push to open everything back up. Right now! Schools, businesses, manufacturing, airlines, etc. Trump would be the self-proclaimed economic booster. “Open everything up!” “Things will be O.K..” But, if – if – coronavirus cases continued to mount, blame governors! Blame the governors!

That’s about the most devious, heinous political thinking I’ve ever heard. And I’ve been around a lot of politicians and political conversations for a long, long time.

Imagine. To please his backers – his political “friends” – he planned to reopen a then-shuttered economy so those folks could profit – no matter how many Americans died – then blame the nation’s governors for “acting too soon!”

Over the last several years, I’ve not hidden my feelings about Trump. From the git-go, he’s been a political accident, receiving fewer popular votes but winning several key electoral college states. So, the “winner” became the “loser” while the “loser” became the “winner.”

From day one, he’s exhibited how lacking he is in leadership qualities, empathy, compassion, knowledge of government, ignorance of the working side of the presidency, how to conduct himself as leader of the world’s most powerful nation.

His walk-away from political disasters has mirrored his personal conduct as a private businessman. If you lose, disassociate yourself from the loss, declare you “won” and go on to some other doomed venture. Except, in government – especially at the top of government – it doesn’t work that way.

The longer he’s been in office, the more his dangerous qualities are displayed. Un-friending our historic world partners, our treaties and other agreements with them, while cozying up to some of the world’s worst dictators. Openly admiring Vladimir Putin and all things Russian while being told by his own security professionals of the extreme dangers represented by Putin.

Now that we’ve had four years of his version of the presidency, we’ve come to know him. Really know him. His complete ignorance of business and ethics – long-known to people who’ve had dealings with him over many years – are now known by other world leaders.

And, by us. The governed. His ignorance of the office he holds, his “bull-in-the-china-shop” attitude about relationships and world dealings, his lack of understanding the Constitutional roles of the presidency versus the other two branches of government, the inability to relate to citizens of this country – all this and more has marked his tenure.

I guess, given the knowledge of Trump’s publically-known failings, the danger he poses for all Americans, his abuses of power and seeming lack of common values, combined to set me off when it came to someone publically believing he could have a positive affect in matters of Christianity. And, I suspect that sign would bring a lot of laughs in the Vatican. Trump to” make Christianity great again?”

Now that I’ve had a few hours to calm down, the anger is less. But, what’s left of it is directed at me for forgetting my own Christian values and the tolerance we’re expected to have for others. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Put THAT on a sign in your gravel yard. In my yard.

Vote – if you can

Author: admin

We’ve voted.

Couple of weeks ago. Mailed ballots. Except, we didn’t use the mail to return ‘em. Went to city hall polling place and dropped ‘em in the box. Just to be sure. Couple days later, receipt was acknowledged by Maricopa County. Done!

Filled out the ballots at home – when we had time – and after reading what we needed to from the voter information pamphlet. No rush. No fuss. No l-o-n-g lines. Absolutely secure. Done!

Why doesn’t every state do this?

Given what Republicans have done to suppress voting access across the country in the last few years, it’s easy to blame the whole party. Which would be wrong. In many states, the GOP has worked with Democrats to create secure voting and assured access. Democrats still think and act the same way.

But – this year, some state Republican parties have pulled out all the stops, actively working to limit access or outright steal completed ballots. California. Where the GOP put out ballot deposit boxes labeled “official.” They aren’t. Dems and some cities asked the GOP to remove ‘em. GOP said “NO.” Seems local authorities, the Dems or the state didn’t want to take legal action beyond the requests. So, the ballot-stealing boxes are still out there. Pilfering completed ballots.

We’ve seen lots of pictures of people in long lines, waiting to vote. Stories of folks waiting 10 hours – or longer – to gain access. Texas Governor ordered counties to remove all ballot collection boxes but one – one – per county! Texas has several cities of more than a million population. One with 4-million. Imagine the lines. But, worse, imagine how many people just didn’t vote because of the restriction. Again, access denied.

Other states – mostly in the Southeast – used all sorts of gimmicks to deny citizens the right to vote. Some required certain ID information many poor people don’t have for one reason or another. Two states wanted birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. Several, like Texas, reduced the number of polling places or shortened hours polls would be open. Especially in areas with a lot of Black residents. In Georgia and Florida, both Black and Hispanic communities hit hard by state restrictions. More roadblocks.

I’ve long believed – if you’ll pardon a personal opinion – that voting for the office of President should be run by the feds. One ballot used under a single process in all states.

All of us, at times, operate under one federal law. Nothing new about that. When I was a private pilot, my license was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. My military driver’s license was federal. I’ve had several federally-backed home loans. My VA benefits operate under federal law. And, there are many, many other singularly federal laws we don’t even think about. Uniform. Everywhere.

Imagine. A single presidential ballot. Used in all states and territories. All using one federal law. The same “rules-of-the-game.” Everywhere. Down-ballot, each state could go it’s own way. But, on top, a national vote under uniform rules.

I know. I know. Such thinking is that of an old guy out in the desert sun too long. But, it makes sense, damn it!

Should Democrats prevail in sweeping the Presidency and both Houses of Congress – as seems likely – the first order of business should be restoring – or even rewriting – the federal voting rights act.

Couple of years ago, SCOTUS gutted the existing law, part of which put certain requirements on states known to restrict voter access. Even forcing offending states to submit to SCOTUS oversight if a voting law was to be changed. I can’t forget Chief Justice Robert’s comments at the time SCOTUS acted. He noted past violators of the Constitutional guarantee of voting “seem to have learned their lessons” and issues of abusing voters were “things of the past.” Yeah. Sure.

So, here we are. Several years down the road. And the “offending states” -absent that old oversight – are at it again. Same states. Same old tricks. With largely the GOP erecting hurdles between citizens and their ballot boxes. Congress must act.

A few days ago, I heard a well-respected Republican leader of the past say, if the Party took a national beating up and down the ballot, it could mean the GOP would be nearly non-existent for a decade or two.

Maybe that’s what’s driving this Republican effort to keep voter and ballot apart. If it is, then congressional action should be swift, replacing safeguards to bring these underhanded activities to an immediate halt.

Here in the desert, in our “55+” world, it’s worth noting how us old folks do things a bit differently. Politically speaking. As you drive through our senior neighborhoods of some 90,000+ retirees, you’ll usually see Trump signs placed close to the sidewalks for easy viewing. Biden signs, on the other hand, are mostly placed back, near the front door. That’s because Biden signs are stolen or defaced in much larger numbers. Seems Trumpers hereabouts outnumber the Biden-backers. At least publically.

Which is odd. We have a lot of retired military living here. A lot. Most have bumper stickers or back-window indications of such. You’d think – given our President’s comments regarding the military – alive or dead as “suckers” and “losers” – that anyone who’s lived a military life would not be a DJT supporter. But, many are! Seems odd to me to see a retired “gunny” in our neighborhood still backing Trump. But, he is. Lots of others, too.

In our world these days, we seem to be under attack from many things. COVID-19 has us hunkering down. At least some of us. Climate change – maybe the single largest “attack” we face – is all around us. In some states – too many states – local governments seem to be attacking voting rights and other civic privileges.

Then, there’s our President, who’s been conducting a four-year frontal attack to destroy agencies of federal government and our faith in long-standing institutions. He’s attacked our rule-of-law, our trust in many forms of governance. He’s subverted restrictions on the Presidency to enrich himself and many of his friends. His entire term seems to have been used to attack truth, civility, trust and responsibility. He’s worked to destroy just about everything he’s touched.

Now, facing a perilous future of many lawsuits, some serious federal and state charges and doing so without the protection of high political office he’s enjoyed and used for his own benefit, he’s attacking the voting process. The constitutionally-protected franchise guaranteed to all. Sadly, we’re not likely done with a major political party attempting to block citizens from exercising that franchise.

People we elect to high office in November have a huge job ahead of them to clean up the mess. To attract good and qualified people to serve. To restore confidence and faith of the people in their own government. To undo the damages of the last four years.

It’s a big job. But, it can be done. That’s why we vote.

Change is ours to make

Author: admin

O.K., we’ve had a couple of “debates.”

The whole sorry mess has been chewed on by all media extant. Best summary of the whole sorry mess I’ve heard came from political pro, Paul Begala, who said it was “must flee TV.”

Like it or not, Trump’s still the President of these United States. The fact that he’s not a “play-by-the-rules” guy and acts/sounds like the school yard bully is because that’s what he is. He won’t change. But, there’s the dignity and importance of the office he so poorly represents. Cutting him off or arguing with him, as Savannah Guthrie did so well, may seem necessary at times, but he’s still the President.

To me, the storyline emerging so far was what wasn’t said. We’ve got about 50-million people on unemployment. There are many, many more who aren’t counted because they’ve been out of work so long. Anyone get a factual sense of what either candidate would do about the unemployed in these verbal “wrestling matches?”

How about disappearing jobs? The Census Bureau counts total jobs that have vanished since the first of the year at over 21-million. So 21-million unemployed folk have nothing to return to. Airlines, just this month, are laying off many thousands and eliminating those positions. Anyone hear either man say anything about that?

Afghanistan. I don’t recall hearing anything meaningful. We should have! Our longest war is sapping billions of dollars, killing our youth and no end in sight.

Our environment. What about it? Anything “in depth?” Any solid plans?

And a whole lot more.

In many ways, Trump’s belligerence is defining these shameful events. More than that, he’s redefining our government, our politics, our media, our economy, our markets, our very existence as a recognized democratic republic. Changed? Yes. For the better? Not!

Trump’s dominated our existence for four years by “sucking the air” out of every appearance and action. In so doing, he’s succeeded in changing the course of an entire nation. Not for the best, assuredly, but changed nonetheless.

He’s bullied, abused, badgered, threatened, lied about nearly everything. Constantly. With the able assistance of lackey Mitch McConnell, he’s moved our federal justice system to the far-right and is about to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with a nominee whose past judicial actions and personal beliefs will cause even a sharper rightward shift. Nearly all lifetime positions. (Edit note: I’d like to see term limits on federal judicial and SCOTUS appointments but that’s a story for another time.)

So, what do we do about it?

One of the forces endangering this nation is ignorance. Ignorance of what this country is, how government works, the structure of it, what it’s supposed to do, what we should expect from it, who’s responsible for its operation, where do we fit in, how do we exercise change, what do we do if it becomes unresponsive to our needs – as is the case now.

We’re bombarded daily with broadcast lies, continuing affirmation of “facts” that aren’t true. They’re spread by paid – make that “well paid” – folks who have their own agendas which may not, at times, be in the nation’s best interests.

Millions of Americans live in an alternate universe of phony “facts” – as we’ve seen with Trump – because those “facts” support what they think they know, reinforced regularly by fact-less media designed just for them. It’s become their comfort zone and whatever is different – even if based in reality – is rejected. Arguments do no good. Even real facts are useless.

This rejection of real facts has gone on for so long it’s become “institutionalized.” It’s produced a plethora of politicians who’ve injected this group ignorance into our political system, threatening our continued national existence which is – and must continue to be – based on facts. We have 13 professed QANON believers currently in Congress with more on 2020 ballots

All of that means the rest of us – those of us dealing with reality – have to continue to grow our number. We must educate ourselves – re-educate if necessary – in all phases of government and, when presented with an opportunity to do so, knock down the lies.

It can work.

Case in point. There’s a new movement among young evangelicals branching off from their elders. In many instances, that new direction is more earth and reality-based. They’re very concerned about our environment. They’ve taken up societal issues long ignored by older “believers.” If sustained, this new breed can grow and change the future direction of a religious philosophy which, in turn, can change the nation and even our politics.

There are ways – many ways – available to all of us to have an effect on what’s happening around us. We can change things that need changing. We can support what needs our support. We CAN make a difference.

Trump’s open disrespect for the duties of his high elected office, his contempt for law, his belligerence and ignorance in all things, his avoidance of rules, decorum, responsibility and personal conduct have been a national embarrassment. His “debate” antics were unsurprising. We’ve known, for some time, who he really is, how he thinks and acts.

Now, it’s time for us to act – to remove this unwanted player from the stage. We can – we must – in just two weeks.

It’s easy to hear of Michigan Governor Whitmer’s close call with a bunch of armed nuts out to kidnap or kill her and sort of say “damned shame,” put it off to the side and keep reading. But DON’T!

Let’s talk about your governor: Idaho’s Little, Washington’s Inslee, Oregon’s Brown, Montana’s Bullock, California’s Newson, Utah’s Herbert. Putting your own governor’s name in place of Whitmer’s brings the issue a little closer to home, doesn’t it?

While these cammo nutcases call themselves “militia’s,” they’re not. The media should not keep reporting them as such. A militia is defined as “an armed civilian force meant to supplement a regular military.” These neighborhood terrorists don’t “supplement” anything. They operate strictly on their own. Their activities are terrorism. Period.

A friend of mine has coined the term for these home-grown terrorists who determine their “manhood” by the caliber of their weapons: “ammosexuals.” Pretty much sums ‘em up, doesn’t it?

In the Northwest, Idaho, Oregon and Montana have become the most recent locale’s for several ammosexual groups. Western part of Ada County and North Idaho are attracting a lot of new faces. Idaho’s had these folks around for years. Mostly up North. They like to jump into their cammos, grab their “manhood,” go out in the woods, sneak around pretend “targets” and occasionally even have some real “live fire” target practice.

For the most part, “normal” Idahoans have left them alone. But, recently, these guys have started showing up in town. Armed.

The Idaho Statehouse in Boise had a brush with them a couple months ago. Two guys with semi-autos broke a locked door in the balcony above the legislative floor. Their followers pushed in behind them and stood above the Senate which was in special session. One Senator, Mark Nye (D-Pocatello) wrote afterwards that he felt uneasy trying to do Senate business with the armed – and unwanted – “visitors” above them.

And, that’s exactly what these jerks do: try to intimidate with their clothing, with weapons, with “attitude.” Intimidation is their life-blood. Putting fear in those whom they confront is their “leg up.” Makes their juices – or whatever – flow.

As the Michigan case shows, there are other ammosexuals out there and they’re dangerous. The Southern Poverty Law Center tries to keep track of all of ‘em and has a long list of locations and many of their member’s identities. The FBI, not known for frivolous public comments, calls these “militia” groups “terrorists” and puts them on the agencies “to do list.” “FBI’s Most Wanted.”

A few years ago, an illegal mining operation in Southern Oregon near Grants Pass was told to shut down by the feds. The order was given several times but digging continued. Finally the BLM decided to put more teeth in the order. But, as feds approached the property, they were met by armed folks behind berms, “guarding” the mining. BLM backed off and subsequently closed the Grants Pass office.

There have been many little skirmishes like the Grants Pass story. Incidents that, though dangerous, ended quietly with one side or the other backing off. More often than not, it was some government agency. But, as Michigan details clearly show, there really are ammosexusals out there, ready to take confrontations with law enforcement to a more dangerous level.

The time has come to take these guys more seriously at both state and federal levels. While there are many details known about their existence and local talk about their activities fills a lot of bar conversation, little has been done to crack down. The Michigan case, filled with evidence about planned kidnaping, murder, attacking the Michigan Statehouse, capturing or killing state employees, holding “trials” and blowing up state property clearly shows we’re in a new and more dangerous place.

The dangerous situation in Michigan was defused by very fine FBI undercover work. Lots of audio tapes, some video, lengthy contemporaneous notes including names, dates and places. As the announcement of the 13 arrests was made, the agent-in-charge carefully noted only enough information was used to bring indictments, indicating there’s much more evidence to be unveiled at trial.

But, states where similar groups are known to be can’t leave it all up to the feds. No federal investigative agency is staffed to be everywhere at once. And, it seems these terrorist groups are in many states that have been more or less ignoring them. As Michigan shows, they can be exposed and caged.

Within the last couple of years, a national criminal database has been built which is available to state and local law enforcement. Many of these terrorists and their affiliations are listed therein. It’s available. But, some local agencies haven’t been participating. They should. The information is there for the taking.

People who think of these crazies as just a bunch of individual “nut cases,” need to recognize the real danger represented by their existence. The I-Net is their coordinating link. They “talk” to each other, share gun and ammunition updates, talk of plans to do this-or-that. They’ve acquired more powerful automatic weaponry, become more detailed and task-oriented in their activities and think of themselves as the only “real” Americans.

We may be neighbors and our kids may go to the same schools. But, they regard the rest of us as “the enemy.” Our laws mean nothing because they have their own and they see us as “violators.” Instead of being just some local nuts having fun playing soldier, these groups are organized, many interconnected, heavily armed and living by their own ”code.” A code the rest of us don’t recognize. And, they see themselves as a sort of “government” they want to “install” to replace the one they see as defective and weak.

Eventually, there’ll be a face-off. Maybe many face-offs. The time has come to go after them. If we keep backing away, their numbers will increase and the job of rooting them out will be harder and even more deadly. These may be a “bunch of crazies.” But, they’re getting stronger, better organized and more heavily armed. Their danger to the rest of us has been proven. They’ve got to be eradicated.

The Michigan case scares the Hell out of me. It ought to scare the Hell out of all of us.

Karma’s a bitch

Author: admin

O.K.. The President has a solid case of COVID-19. He’s in the “Presidential Suite” at Walter Reed and getting far better care than anyone else on this planet. I understand. I got it.

But, fact is, he’s there by his own doing. He stayed at the bar too long and had one drink too many. For the last six months, he’s acted as if God personally assured him he was “indestructible.” God didn’t and he wasn’t.

Though his is, arguably, the worst presidency of the last hundred years – maybe 200 – I wish him no harm and a quick return to his elected duties. Same for the rest of the Trumpers on his totally ineffectual White House staff and his off-the-rails campaign offices. Good luck, folks.

As for those medical updates from Walter Reed and the White House, my feelings are the same as MSNBC anchor Brian Williams Friday evening: “We have reason to doubt any medical news coming out of this White House.”

I’ve read and listened to a few of those medical “updates” coming from Walter Reed staffers. They often raise more questions that they answer. Seems no one is going to level with us common folk.

Trump is the guy who hollered “wolf” one time too often. We’ve become numbed by the thousands and thousands of lies he’s spewed on us as well as his team of sycophants. We’re inured and look at anything stated by anyone associated with Trump as either distorted or a flat out lie. Over and over and over and over.

As millions of other Americans have survived the virus, so will Donald. He, like those millions of others, may survive but be hampered by continuing health problems for the rest of his life. Coronavirus is not something to screw around with. As he has done. As has been brought home to him in a most personal way.

We’ve all been warned of an “October surprise” in our political world. Well, we got a big one with Trump. And with a few others that couldn’t wait so they popped up in September. Like the New York Times opening some of Trump’s tax filings. And promising more. Like more women charging him with sexual assault. The total number of such filings must now be over 30 or so. Like the “debate” which showed us – at least in Trump World – watching reruns of “Jurassic Park” can be bad for your debate style.

Yep. We’ve had some doozies. And, with four weeks remaining until the in-person voting takes place, you can bet the farm there’ll be more. As for mail-in voting, its already started with millions more ballots coming.

I’m not worried about Trump padding around his taxpayer-provided naval suite. He’s got more medical staffers stumbling over themselves, the best doc’s in their respective fields and faces a bill when he checks out that you and I will pay. He’ll soon be back in the residence wing of the White House which, by the way, we also pay for. Donald’s going to be fine.

No, what worries me has nothing to do with his impending unemployment. My “thoughts and prayers” are with the millions of other Coronavirus victims – those who’ve died and those who have the disease and who are likely to find their lives changed for the worse from here on.

And with the uninsured COVID-19 sufferers who face outrageous medical bills that’ll likely force many into bankruptcy. Some will lose their homes. Many more may have no jobs to go back to. Family units and other personal relationships that existed before infection may not be there when they’re discharged. It’ll be a much different world for the millions of Americans who’ve had those worlds turned upside-down.

We’re going to see a much-changed medical system as well. COVID-19, and it’s dangerous new relatives that keep morphing, are not going away. If you listen closely to Dr. Fauci and his cohorts at CDC, they’re unable to predict an “end time” for any of these viruses. Nor can they say when – if ever – we’ll have a sufficient number of vaccines for all people for all viruses. Their statements – backed up by medical training and years of experience – have become more pointed and, often, directly contradict what comes out of the White House. To them, we’re in for a very long fight to get on top of Coronavirus.

My “thoughts and prayers” are also with children being sacrificed on the altar of education. Idaho, alone, has recorded some 600 positives among students – that we know of. How many more have to get sick or die? Across the country, we’re seeing Coronavirus testing showing positives in district after district after district. Additionally, many districts are not making cases known. Not reporting them. Why? These results aren’t just numbers. They’re lives! Children’s lives!

Check professional sports these days. At least two NFL teams have cancelled games, stopped field practices and sent coaches and players home. Major league baseball has made many changes as one player after another reports in sick. But, “by God, my kid is back in school.”

Here, in Arizona, our Trump-wannabe-governor has thrown out all restrictions just like the other Trump wannabe in Florida.. Everything’s open. Snuggle in to your favorite bistro, belly up to the bar and order away. Good times are here again! Not. We’re watching another wave of infections and deaths. Numbers are going up. More “medical” decisions made by politicians. Deadly decisions.

No, I’m not worried about “the Donald.” His run for re-election may be over but, health-wise, he’ll be home soon.

It’s all the others who’ve been sickened – or died – because of COVID-19. The ones with no access to the Walter Reed hospitals of the world. Victims of the same virus as Trump but who can’t have that kind of care. The ones who’ve died alone at home because they feared the high costs of doctors and hospitals. The ones who’ll suffer lifelong, lingering effects because they got the virus.

Unlike those millions who’ve suffered – or died – in this pandemic, Donald J. Trump, protected by the best possible environment, pushed his luck one time too many and got smacked. Unlike many of those millions of others, he loudly -and proudly – refused to take the best medical advice given to him by some of the most highly-qualified doctors in the nation.

Just a few days ago, when talking about Coronavirus, Trump said “It is what it is.” Well, so’s karma. It is what it is. And, like the virus, it doesn’t give a damn who you are.

Welcome to our world, Donald. Have a seat.
 

Fearful and afraid

Author: admin

I’m afraid. No, in truth, I’m scared.

Please don’t take those words – or the ones to follow – as a rant. They are not so intended.

I’m 84-years-old. Born and raised in the Northwest. I’m a Protestant – veteran of a hot war – a cancer survivor. I’ve enjoyed some successes in life and overcome my share of grief and setbacks. While life has not always been great, it’s always been good.

I’ve been involved both directly in politics and on the fringes. I’ve watched good people – and some not so good people – pass through Congress and the White House in their normal terms of elective office. Though there have been occasional bumps in the road – a war or two – one presidential resignation – some flare-ups of overheated and overrated political egos – my life has never really been directly affected. Until now.

We’ve heard our misbegotten president hint that, if he loses the November election, there may not be the usual, peaceful transfer of office from one administration to the next. I’ve listened to him repeatedly claim the election will be a fraud, “fixed,” run by Democrats, and that legitimate mail-in voting is both “illegal” and “unlawful.” They aren’t. He’s threatened to use our own government against us, tear-gassed people lawfully assembled in our streets, overseen violence by his supporters and, in ways both open and subtle, used many government buildings and other public venues for his own enrichment.

He’s seen by millions as a pariah, masquerading as “leader” of the nation. When attending a solemn, official ceremony, he’s booed and heckled by a crowd of mourners. He’s openly jeered at other public appearances. He’s been asked not to visit certain cities and states. He is, to many people, a fraud, a crook, someone whose stolen millions of dollars from government and private sector activities.

No president, in memory, has talked so openly about having more than the Constitutionally allowed two terms in office. None has told millions of his supporters he’s somehow “entitled” to a third term because, he claims, he’s “been so badly treated.” As if respect unearned has automatically been denied.

I’ve never seen so many elected members of a political party swim silently through a river of malfeasance with none openly resisting such egregious behavior by a president. The Senate’s Republicans – and the House’s 154 of the same party – have given a “pass” to a man who’s violated our Constitution, broken many of our laws and openly operated as a wrecking ball damaging government institutions and undermining public confidence and respect for governance. A “pass.”

Now he, and the heretofore silent Republican Senators, are trying to quickly shift the judicial and philosophical balance of the U.S. Supreme Court. A shift that could result in depriving 30-40 million Americans of health care. A shift that could overthrow previous black-letter law allowing women to be in charge of their own bodies and their own reproductive systems. A shift that could destroy the necessary balance of legal parity necessary to assure equality under our laws.

If that happens, and if Democrats sweep both Houses of Congress and the White House in the upcoming election, there’s already talk of adding two new members to the present nine justices to re-balance conservative-versus-liberal thought. Whether that’s the right and proper thing to do is an open question.

Then there’s the virus. COVID-19. The current president and his political minions have turned what necessarily should be a medical issue into a political one. In the process, they’ve sown confusion, lies and half-truths into millions of minds. Deliberate medical procedures, such as vaccine development and testing, have been subjected to political posturing that directly affects all of us. The virus – and how we deal with it – means life and death for the nation.

No one can say we don’t live in fear of being infected. But, because of the political lies and perversions, millions of Americans are not treating the issue as one that brings the possibility of death. They’re continuing to live as though the coronavirus doesn’t exist. It does. And their way of life threatens all of us. So do the anti-vaxxers who won’t take a medicine that could save their lives. Most of us know friends and family members who’ve died or been infected. For some victims, recovery may mean a lifetime of health problems.

Our new “normal” – whatever that turns out to be – is a long way away. The virus has us sheltering in our homes, changing our entire economy, putting some 50-million Americans out of work, changing the way we travel, eliminating congregate worship for all faiths, altering our lives in ways we haven’t fully realized. And, in truth, has changed people’s lives in all nations.

Now, researchers tell us coronavirus is morphing, becoming new stains we must identify and conquer. So, will we ever have a meaningful and effective vaccine against this menace? Or, will we continue to live our lives in fear, hiding behind our masks, maintaining our separations from family and friends as new versions of COVID-19 confront the medical world?

After a long life, normal has disappeared. The retirement to leisurely live out our last years has gone. Much of what we’ve expected – planned for – has disappeared. The confines of our home have become the new, smaller world.

So, I, and many like me, are frightened. Afraid. Yes, scared.

On one hand, the virus has made us fearful. It’s an unseen but ever-present factor in all we do. We can’t see the unseen threat to our lives. We’ve got no lasting defense. Our freedom to move about, to travel, to join together in community, to use the market places – even to worship together – all have been curtailed or denied.

On the other, we’re watching unparalleled attacks on our system of government – on the institutions created to serve our collective needs. We’re seeing an intimidated national political party cave in to the whims of a wannabe dictator by ignoring their oaths to God to “protect and defend” our Constitution. And a large population unwilling to listen to truth or educate themselves with facts.

We know much of our national security has either been gutted or ignored. We’re witnessing laws and regulations meant to protect us and our environment destroyed in the name of private economic gain. We’re watching politicians devoid of intellectual integrity become fodder for a president also devoid of both. We’re seeing an uncontrolled – and uncontrollable – president attempting to change our national political structure into something autocratic and personally controlled.

For those of us who’ve lived long lives within the familiar boundaries of citizenship, respectability, and regard for a well-coordinated national government, these are frightening times. What could happen to our beloved country in the next 120 days or so is a specter unlike any we’ve ever faced.

I don’t feel alone or isolated in my fear. And I am afraid. Very afraid.

Face it. We may eventually survive COVID-19. But, two things are certain in our future.

First, COVID will be with us from now on. No matter what eventually surfaces in the vaccine market, it’ll still be there. Just like a lot of other viruses. We’ll learn to live with it just as we have colds and other common varieties of flu. It’ll continue morphing into new strains and we’ll rely on science to keep pace. We’ll invent new security methods of keeping it at bay. But, it’s not going away.

Second, the world as we knew it only a year ago will never return. When we get through this ordeal – and we will – it’ll be a different world.

Take jobs, for example. Thousands and thousands of sales jobs are gone. And, in many cases, they’re not coming back. During our sequestration, we’ve turned to the I-Net for many of our regular needs. From new shoes to grocery shopping to health care to buying cars. It’s going to be a whole new deal.

Take cars. Carvana is one of those places where cars are bought (and sold) on the I-Net. One of their locations is a few miles from us. Currently, they’re advertising to fill about 100 job openings. Sales will be handled by a new call center. Other staff will be delivering and picking up vehicles in the designated coverage area. Fewer sales personnel, no mechanics. Fewer admin and other support folks. And fewer brick-and-mortar car dealers.

With many major retailers taking out bankruptcies or going out of business, same story. Floor salespeople, fewer or gone. Admin support staff, smaller or gone. More brick-and-mortar stores closing. Entire malls vacant or up for sale. The retail apocalypse long predicted because of e-commerce appears to have arrived.

Business-to-business jobs are disappearing because of automation. So, more sales jobs lost. Office and administrative vacancies will not be filled. In the last decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, jobs most likely to be replaced because of new technology were not in manufacturing, as predicted, but in office and other support positions. As companies – large and small – downsize and turn to more technology, fewer people needed. Those jobs not coming back.

Take higher ed. Look at the shift to the I-Net. At our house, Barb has students all over the world trying to get advanced degrees. Online. She teaches for two universities. Higher ed institutions are designing many more online offerings. They’re not getting as much revenue support from local and state governments, so they’re turning to the I-net. Fewer professional ed staff, fewer support staff, lower costs per-student, reduced housing costs by going electronic. We may even see mergers of institutions and some historic campuses close for good.

How about “work-from-home?” Lots of companies have found certain jobs can be done with the I-net, resulting in lower overheads. Working moms can often skip costs of babysitters while spending more time with their kids. Also, no commuting costs. For thousands of parents, it’s a “win-win.” Employers can cut spending in reduced admin costs and lower overhead with less support staff.

How about air travel and hotels? Well, don’t look for any return to as many jobs as pre-COVID. Again, I-net. More travelers using the I-Net for their meeting needs. Lots of folks who used air travel for conferences and other group meetings are doing just fine with electronic gatherings. Business travel, according to those Census Bureau folks, found pre-COVID bookings accounted for about 70% of income for airlines and hotels. Look for a post-COVID world of fewer hotel and airline jobs.

Fewer travelers. Less need for so many airplanes. Again, a few miles from us, airlines are moth-balling hundreds of planes. And there are more such locations in five other states. United will cut 17,000 jobs next month. Delta another 12,000. Other airlines? Who knows? Will United and Delta and all the others be buying new planes when they’ve got hundreds they already own that can be quickly returned to service?

So, what happens to Boeing, Airbus and other aircraft companies? And their thousands of suppliers? Job cuts in the thousands.

Non-residential construction has already taken a hit. The old I-Net, again. With nearly all sections of the economy using I-Net and other assorted electronic conveniences, less higher ed construction, less retail and mall building. In addition, fewer cleaning companies and security folks.

Look for governments – from local to the feds – not only not rehiring for already vacant positions, but continuing hiring freezes and layoffs. They, too, have adjusted to current conditions and, using the I-Net and new software, working from home will likely continue, less building space will be needed and other adjustments will reshape the future.

Our world has always evolved. As we’ve aged, we’ve adjusted to the “new” as necessary. But, COVID hit us and our environment HARD! For many of us, our world just stopped. No eating out. No movies. No sports events. No church. No social events. No large family gatherings. Just “shelter-in-place” and stay there. Restrictions on our borders and nearly no international travel. Having to sequester for months. And, a lot more.

But, outside our homes, massive changes have already happened with more to come. Lots more. Our forced adjustments to almost everything in our lives will continue. How we individually accept and adjust will say a great deal about who we are and how we’ll face the future. Who’ll survive and who won’t.

These are dangerous, threatening times. But, we’ve faced dangers before in wars, pandemics, hurricanes, etc.. We’re still here.

That’s the really good news.