Archive for August, 2021

“There are 100,000 to 200,000 people
walking around America today who
will be dead by the end of the year…..
and mostly self-inflicted.”

Those are the words of Dr. John Moore, Immunologist, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York. For the unvaccinated, those words should be a clarion call to get the shot(s). Doubtful.

We’ve all heard a bucketful of excuses from the unprotected. Enough already! Now, when I hear some off-the-wall cretin spouting gibberish, I remember another physician and his prediction: Dr. Anthony Fauci, well-credentialed medical spokesman.

“Facing the Delta variant, without
the protection afforded by the
vaccine, you will be infected.”

You would think that just about anyone in a position of authority, noting such dour warnings, would be a natural leader in the drive to get people medically protected from COVID and its variants.

Not so, I’m afraid.

While I know of at least a dozen cases of lawmen rejecting the mandate
of Oregon’s Governor Brown, regarding masks and other protective measures, let’s just deal with Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin.

Physically, Hanlin’s a big, square-shouldered guy with a blond buzzcut. A striking physical presence when in his uniform with sidearm. Every bit the specimen you’d want on a recruiting poster.

Hanlin recently notified residents of Douglas County – in an overly long news release – that he will not be enforcing any mandate for anything. Period. While he notes, in his broadside, he’s “responsible for the peace and safety of those in Douglas County,” he demurs when it comes to someone making emergency safety rules for “those in Douglas County.”

Here’s another tidbit from Douglas County. Last week Dr. Martin Hill and his wife were driving through, on the way to the coast. While in Roseburg, Dr. Hill had a heart attack. His wife, a former Douglas County Commissioner, quickly drove to the local hospital.

Hill, who should have been admitted and treated, wasn’t. The hospital was at capacity with COVID patients. Packed in everywhere. So, Hill was treated as an outpatient and sent on his way.

Am I the only one who sees the link between Hanlin and Dr. Hill? Isn’t there some connection to the Sheriff refusing to enforce lawfully issued orders for self-protection from COVID and heart attack victim Hill being turned away from that hospital because COVID patients filled the place?

Several years ago, Sheriff Hanlin loudly took another stand that should be noted as we discuss his being “responsible for the peace and safety……etc.” That time, it was to announce – to all and sundry – he would not enforce any gun control laws coming from the Obama administration. Further, his deputies were ordered to arrest and jail any federal lawmen who tried to enforce compliance.

He’s been roundly elected since.

Many members of the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association have taken the same rejecting “hands off” position as Hanlin. If it’s “peace and safety” you want in Oregon, you might want to rethink calling 911. At least in Douglas County.

I’ve had the Pfizer shots. Both of ‘em. Each took about 20 minutes with 15 of those minutes sitting in my car, listening to the radio, while waiting to see if there were any side-affects. There weren’t.

The politicization of this shot business, and the refusal of the Hanlin’s of this world to do their duties to protect citizens that elect them, makes no sense. Throw in the picking-and-choosing of which laws to enforce and which to ignore by law enforcement leaves you wondering if you really are safe.

Counties – in Oregon and elsewhere – are not political fiefdoms for duly elected sheriff’s to decide which laws – or legal mandates – they’ll enforce and which they won’t.

In the tumult of the last five years, much has changed – with a world pandemic, the tortuous Trump years, Republicans block-voting to nearly bring our national government to a standstill – all that and more has upended our world. Stability has been in short supply.

In Douglas County, Oregon, and too many other counties in that state and elsewhere, the traditional community stability and safety of past years are also….. in short supply.

Is it legal?

Author: admin

Something’s happening in our country that’s, thus far, escaped much attention. But, in the name of good, lawful government, we should acknowledge what could eventually be a bad situation.

The nub of it is this. When it is right to ignore a lawfully issued order from proper authority? Given such an order to do – or not do – something, when it is proper -and legal – to say “No?”

Local school boards – honest, hard working local school boards – are facing that quandary right now in several states. States, wherein, governors have issued legally proper executive orders banning masks for teachers and children in public schools.

Now, right here, I’ve gotta say, I don’t agree with such orders, either. We should be taking whatever measures we can – everywhere – to insure the safety of our kids. All of ‘em.

But, the issue becomes which lawful orders do we ignore and which lawful orders do we follow? If it’s O.K. to disobey on this issue, what about some other order? On some other important matter?

Suppose a governor – by executive order – closes a state park because of recent animal attacks. Do you stay out, obeying the order? Or do you go to your favorite campground, well-armed? Disobeying the order.

What if your governor – by executive order – orders closure of four favorite lake because of deadly algae? Do you stay away, obeying the order? Or, do you launch your boat anyway? Disobeying the order.

While agreeing school boards should take every opportunity to keep kids and their teachers safe, how do we deal with opposing an executive order from the governor? A legal order? Even if it goes against the best medical authority?

Well, some school districts are not obeying. They’re ordering everybody to “mask up” and take such other precautions as necessary. “Damn the order – full speed ahead” sort of thing. Legally, can they do that?

One Texas school district – faced with such a conundrum – came up with a loophole of sorts. It simply rewrote the mandatory dress codes and included masks. Neat. Others are issuing mask orders before the effective date of the executive action. Cute.

Here in Arizona, our Governor is offering parents and school districts who support his “no mask” order grants of money. Yep, he’s paying people for their support! Up to $7-thousand a student! “Kill a kid, make a buck.” Damn!

Governors in Florida, Arizona and other states, trying to implement “no mask” orders, are wrong. Full stop! Each swore an oath upon taking office to provide for the safety and well-being of the citizenry. Allowing COVID to kill people is a violation of that oath, I would think.

It’ll be interesting to see if governors, faced with contrary school boards, take them to court. Normally, I’d say doubtful. But, we’re dealing with DeSantis in Florida, Ducey in Arizona and a few elsewhere. So, normal may not hold up if they’re determined to seek court decisions to back up their dubious orders.

If it comes to that, judges will be faced with a tough decision. Do they support chief executives by declaring the issuance of such orders are lawful and, therefore, require obedience? Or, despite legal strictures, do they allow “exemptions” for millions of kids and teachers?

And one more question. If school boards are supported by the courts, will there be other cases in which people ignore an executive order based on some school board precedent?

As I said, this question of disobeying lawful orders of a duly recognized authority isn’t getting much attention.

Maybe it should be.

Wait a damned minute

Author: admin

As this is written, chaos reigns in Afghanistan.

There’s terror in the country from border to border. The Taliban have complete control everywhere. Scenes of hundreds and hundreds of terrified Afghans chasing taxiing aircraft at the Kabul Airport are almost unbearable to watch. Some will cling after the plane takes off, only to fall to their deaths within minutes.

The frightened exodus has only begun. But already, Republicans are jumping all over President Biden as though he alone is responsible for the last two decades of strife, waste and death in that far away country. Even some Democrat voices are critical.


We’ve poured several trillion dollars into that barren nation. We’ve propped up local leadership in one province after another – leadership that ultimately failed for lack of local support. Most wasted of all, the lives of several thousand young Americans who braved battle after battle, tour after tour. Until the final one.

The President’s knowledge of foreign affairs is second to none. Biden is surrounded by some of the best military and civilian minds anywhere. Countless days – and many nights – of poring over information gleaned from inside Afghanistan and neighboring countries gave him the best possible awareness of the terrain, the politics and its instability.

But, this is the one immutable fact. Our presence – our support of an unsupportable national government – our contribution of treasury and young American lives for 20 years – had to end.

Were mistakes made in some decisions? Yes. Were the strength and depth of the Taliban not recognized? Probably. Could our leaving that country – by a date previously negotiated – have been handled better? Maybe. But, for three previous administrations, there was an unwillingness to bite the bullet – to say “enough is enough” – to pull the pin and take the final action. To leave.

Somebody – a President of either national party – had to do what Biden did. And, he had to know the fallout would be great. He had to know heated criticism from the GOP – and even his own party – would rain down on his head. So did Bush-the younger, Obama and Trump. They all were faced with the same circumstances. They all knew what Biden knows. And they passed. Each one passed.

Yes, our leaving Afghanistan could probably have been handled better. Yes, maybe we had faulty intelligence that was unfortunately part of the decision. Yes, things might have been different.

But, like in poker, you have to play the hand you have. You have to act. None of us knows what facts – what intelligence – undergirded the decision to leave. Now. And, we may never know.

But, “leave” we have. The seemingly endless drain on our treasury and the lives of our young has come to an end. At least in Afghanistan.

In both Afghanistan and Viet Nam, this nation tried to introduce a form of governance that was foreign – and militarily resisted – by the locals. Democracy.

Both nations had their histories of governance long before America existed. For centuries, each experienced turmoil and efforts by some to change things. There were wars and brutality and even extreme terrorism visited upon the people.

But, in both nations, when outsiders tried to imprint their own ideas of governance, they failed. The “helpful invaders” soon became bogged down in the quagmire of endless war. Endless expense. Endless costs of human lives.

Maybe the clearest explanation I’ve heard for our failures in both Viet Nam and Afghanistan was from a late-night comedian. He likened our intervention this way. “Imagine the National Guard of Idaho going to Oregon and telling Oregonians, ‘From now on, this is how we want you to do things.’”

Oversimplified? Yes. But, just imagine.

The time for leaving Afghanistan was the moment we decided to go in. The cost in thousands of lives lost, and the thousands of lives changed forever, should have been reason enough not to venture into endless war. It should have been stopped before it began.

So, we’re out. A terribly messy exit. But, we’re out.

It had to be done. And it took a lot of heat and lost political capital to do it. But, Biden did it.

And, I’m grateful!

One country? Or two?

Author: admin

How long can this nation run as two “countries?”

We really are, you know. Think of a blue state. Think of a red state. Now, consider. Are they politically more alike or more different – one from the other?

Let’s use Oregon (blue) and Florida (red). Politically, alike? Or different?

The answer, of course, is different. Very different. And the governors? They couldn’t be more unalike. In fact, set Florida’s DeSantis alongside Oregon’s Brown or governor of any blue state. The differences are immense!

Do the same with Abbott of Texas, red state Republican, and Griffin, blue state Democrat of New Mexico. Many differences. Also Witmer, blue state Michigan, and Little, red state Idaho. Similar or different?

For some months now, it seems we’ve been walking a fine line when it comes to governance of blue and red states. And temperament. Not much push back from either color during our national COVID pandemic. Or much else, for that matter. Until now.

Now, DeSantis and Abbott (reds) are showing some ill-conceived push back against President Biden (blue). In fact, DeSantis has been downright nasty. “I don’t want to hear any COVID ‘blip’ out of you,” he addressed the President through the media. If the voters ignore his very public drive to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, he may live to regret such disrespectful language. To say nothing of the needless deaths he’s caused.

Abbott has been similarly angry about CDC guidelines and the feds putting pressure on the unvaccinated.

In fact, with only two exceptions I can think of, most governors of red states have been somewhat hard to get along with lately. Huckabee of Arkansas has apparently had a recent “conversion” to the need for more vaccinations and masks after first signing an anti-mask mandate. Larry Hogan of Maryland has been pretty agreeable from the git-go.

But, the rest? Angry. Resentful. Tough talk. Not showing the necessary respect for this pandemic of ours or doing what’s within their powers to help us all. Many determined to go their own uninformed ways, leaving bodies behind.

Now, suppose this Delta variant gets so far out of hand that CDC deems it necessary to have a nationwide crackdown to stop the threat. Suppose, too, that Biden agrees and issues a mandatory vaccination order. How would the top executives of nearly all the red states react? How many “Nos” and “Hell Nos” would you hear?

Then what happens?

I had a dream the other night. A political sort of dream. In that dream, we were still a nation of two political parties. But, not the parties we know and have lived with for more than a century. No, in my dream, the two parties were “Red” and “Blue.” Red states and blue states.

And, when there were contested national races, the underlying goal was to convert a state of the other color to yours. Say your candidate wins the White House, maybe you change the other color to yours and, at least temporarily, your color becomes more dominant. Or catches up.

Fanciful? Of course. Not realistic? Could be. Never happen? Never?

The national political alignment we’ve had is being stretched out of shape. The divisions between Democrats and Republicans are growing wider each day. The old coalitions offering different-but-compatible views on issues are all but gone. Coalitions, today, are more aligned with differing views on things within the same party.

Last week’s Ohio congressional race not only pitted Democrat against Democrat, it was the “progressive” versus the “moderate.” Head-to-head. Bernie Sanders and his “horse” against Jim Clyburn and his horse. Very different views. The “moderate horse” won. Republicans had 11 runners to choose from. Statistically, a guy could win with 10% of the vote. And you’d call him the “winner?” Really?

Democrats have long had the habit of not sticking together. Once successful – candidate or party – there’s an almost instant kerfuffle. Used to be called the “circular firing squad.” Republicans, too, split and split again. Used to be “left to right.” Now, it’s “right to righter.”

After the Boomers, the next couple of “generations” coming up aren’t “joiners.” The terms “Democrat” and “Republican” aren’t seen as important. It’s the candidate – regardless of party – or the issue – regardless of party. The long-term maintenance of a political party will not be seen as important as it is today.

So, what will we have? Maybe “red” and “blue?”

This scenario is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Over the last 245 years of our history, we’ve had many political parties. Standing for many political reasons. Politics and permanence are not necessarily bedfellows.

Given the upcoming generation’s seeming indifference to “joining” and… given the political splits and warfare of our current dealings and… given the tests we’re being put to by COVID and all its variants and the larger effects on our nation collectively…a lot of things are changing around us.

Might it come down to “one nation?” Or “two?”


Author: admin

No! NO!! HELL NO!!! Just NO!!

The President of this country wants states to PAY people $100 to get COVID vaccinations! NO! Paying people to do what’s right – what’s medically required – what might save their lives – is a lousy idea. What comes next? Paying people to file their taxes? Get driver’s licenses? Going to the doctor? What? It sets a lousy, dangerous national precedent and is a bad use of government authority, no matter who does it.

It’s a fact the new Delta strain of COVID-19 is more deadly and spreads much easier than the original. We know those without vaccinations are more likely to contract the disease. Even die from it. I know that.

I also know only just under 50–percent of us have done what’s right. What’s absolutely necessary. We’ve gotten our shots. Some have had two. And we didn’t get paid to do the right thing. To protect ourselves and our neighbors. It’s just what you do.

Given we’re in the second year of a pandemic, with no end in sight, there have been plenty of warnings – plenty of pleadings – for people to get vaccinated. For some damned reason, only about half of us have. I know.

There’ve been the usual excuses – all the mind-numbing “reasons” – all the childish lying – for not getting the possibly life-saving shots. None hold up to hard medical facts. What does hold up is the indifference to doing the right thing, for one’s own sake and making another possible disease-carrying threat to our lives. And the lives of those we love.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control is warning, in rare cases, even some who’ve been vaccinated can be carriers. Some. That means another possible source for contamination. But, no reason not to get the shots!

And mask wearing. Are we supposed to think that the unvaccinated and the anti-vaxers are going to “mask up” when out and about? Really? It’s much more likely the re-masking task will be undertaken by those of us who’ve been poked. Much more likely.

I remember, some months ago, Barb and I scoured the old I-net, frantically looking for a site to sign up for the original COVID shots. Weeks – literally weeks – of looking finally resulted in getting appointments. Hers five minutes from home. Mine, a 20 mile round trip. But, we got ‘em. Twice.
Now, a third shot – a vaccine booster shot – is being talked about. Pfizer Lab folks say, for those of us over 65, it would provide an 11-fold increase in protection. With that kind of positive news, it’s likely there will be another round of shots. At our house, we’ll sign up again.

Rather than pay miscreants and the factually-challenged $100, a better mission for government – federal, at least – would be coming up with some way to stop the flow of lies and fact-less information.

There’s the First Amendment to the Constitution. I know. I know. I’ve spent a lifetime being a First Amendment advocate. And, sometimes, I had to swallow hard defending speech I hated.

But, there’s plenty of evidence Faux Neus, Newsmax and other far-right media, are prime purveyors of distortions, half-truths and flat-out lies. And, there’s also plenty of evidence that many – if not most – of the unvaccinated look to these voices of lies and distortions as their only source of “information.” This “closed-circuit” of bad information creates a distorted reality and denial of facts.

While there are some who are just plain anti-vaxers, millions of other folks are avoiding vaccinations because of this steady flow of reinforcement they receive – reinforcement based on distortion and lies. Many truly believe they are “right” not to get the shots. Their accepted sources of “reality” – Faux Neus and the rest – repeatedly tell them so.

Somehow – someway – for the literal survival of the nation – the massive amounts of fact-less, bad information must be stopped. The First Amendment was never meant to shield voices of threats to our own national survival. But, that’s what’s happening.

If 10-20-million unvaccinated citizens are allowed to remain unvaccinated carriers of COVID – current or strains yet to be seen – our health system will collapse. Our national economy will be crippled for lack of workers, sickened or dead because of an unchecked pandemic. Our national security could be dangerously threatened.

But, pay them to do the right thing – the responsible thing – NO!

We already have businesses putting the hammer down. Citibank, for one, has altered its employee card access system to the large main headquarters in New York City. Unvaccinated workers are being denied electronic entry. Federal employees, and contractors seeking federal work, must be vaccinated. There’s a restaurant in California that requiring proof of vaccinations before seating. Other private efforts are underway.

No, this will not get everyone. But, working together and toughening up, such efforts will get a lot of the unvaccinated. A lot! And could make the difference.

Getting vaccinated against COVID is not only a high personal priority. It’s also become a national priority of citizenship.