Archive for September, 2021

Under attack

Author: admin

Like it or not, for the foreseeable future, Donald Trump is going to be a force to reckon with in nearly all things political. His lies and childlike attempts to keep his name in our faces has – and is – taking its toll on our way of life.

A new CNN poll of more than 2,000 citizens nationwide showed 56% believe our democracy is under attack. Further, 51% believe it’s “likely elected officials will successfully overturn the results of future elections if their party doesn’t win.”

Nearly all queried – 93% – believe our democracy “is being tested. Republicans expressing the worst fears were Trump voters. In that group, 79% say Trump should be the leader of the Republican Party.

Most in that GOP crowd believe there is “solid evidence” that Joe Biden lost the 2020 election – 78% so say. (Nobody was asked for evidence)

A narrow majority – 52% – lack confidence “future elections will accurately express the will of the people.” Maybe that’s because 58% say voting rule changes in GOP controlled states “were made to keep the Party in power.” Democrat responders – 53% – believe the same.

One other statistical note: 83% of polled Republicans believe election laws “aren’t strict enough” and 66% of Democrats say it’s already too hard to vote.

By way of evidence to support the opening comments about Trump, having an affect on our politics, again, the CNN poll shows 79% want Trump to be the leader of the GOP. Fact is, he is! Name one other Republican who could contest his occupying that spot right now. Or, in the next few years. I can’t think of one.

The polling also shows a majority of us feel under some sort of attack on our system of elections. Elections are the backbone of the country. If the words “free” and “fair” can’t be used to describe future elections, how will we electors have a voice in how the country is run?

Truly, the shadow of Trump hovers over just about everything political. It appears many GOP politicians believe they have to support Trump’s baseless claim he “won” in 2020 and “kiss the ring” in a display of obedience.

Look no further than the failed attempt to recall California’s governor. The loser started complaining the day BEFORE the polls opened that he was the victim of “a stolen election.” Pure Trump. Pure B.S..

Nearly all of us were raised in a time of political fairness, especially in national elections. Both Parties. In all who ran for one office or another. Belief in our election system was just taken for granted.

We know now, things aren’t “free and fair.” In my middle-of-the-road Republican family, the downfall of Richard Nixon killed my Father’s faith in politics and our traditional system of governance. His patriotism and lifelong belief in the honesty of the Presidency were crushed. It literally brought him to his knees. I was in the media at that time. Much of my reporting was about things political. But, Dad would never talk to me about politics again.

Now, we have Trump, whose lies and treachery have irreparably soiled much of our politics. Republicans running for nearly any office seem to have some sort of fealty to him. He sticks his nose into races up and down the ballot. Sometimes, he actively recruits candidates to run against some Republican he believes was disloyal to him.

Like it or not, his brand of politics is being emulated in many contests.
As in his California involvement, we’re seeing outright lies being effective at the polls. That’s how we got Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, and Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis and others of their ilk. Despoilers of truth and disdain for “free” and “fair.” They, and others, in Congress and state affairs have brazenly taken on Trump’s banners and are conducting themselves in his likeness.

Voters polled by CNN overwhelmingly believe our system of governance – our way of life – is under attack. The majority fear future elections may be invalidated by elected officials – especially Republican officials.

That polling shows many of us are unsettled, apprehensive about the future and are fearful our voices will be stilled by unscrupulous politicians. And, in many of the responses, the specter of Trump was revealed in their answers.

While I don’t question the veracity of the pollsters, I’d like to think most of us still believe in fairness and honesty – that we who cast ballots in elections will have our voices heard.

Yes, at the moment, Trump is an unwelcome player. But, I’d also like to think enough solid losses at the polls – like the California whipping – will eventually erase the stigma of his influence.

It’s up to us.

Get the damned shot

Author: admin

This B.S. has got to stop!

Get the damned shot! Now!

The cretins who keep refusing the best medicine to end our pandemic are not only exposing the rest of us. They’re also running up the already extremely high costs of care.

Consider this. According to the Medicare folks who crunch the numbers, providers get up to $150.00 to fully vaccinate beneficiaries with both doses. Two shots. No matter who holds the needle.

For the unvaccinated, the average hospital stay is $17,400! That’s 116 times the amount for two shots!!! One-hundred 16 times!

And, if the unvaccinated cretin in the bed needs a ventilator, the charge is $49,441 over about 17 days. That’s 330 times the cost of administering the vaccines! Three-hundred-thirty times!

Our Medicare/Medicaid system was never meant to pay all the costs associated with any pandemic. Never. But, everyone who refuses to get the shots is dramatically driving up the charges. You and I foot the bill for their miserable excuses. And, if the unvaccinated have no health insurance, welcome to the big time, idiot!

There are about 102,000 Covid patients in intensive care beds. The vast majority – needlessly. Just imagine the costs. CDC says about 98% are sans shot(s).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, just over half of us are fully vaccinated. But, 27-percent – 12 and older – are NOT. Totals of vaccine shots administered per day dropped 18-percent last week from a week earlier and 20-percent from a month earlier.

So, we’ve got just over a quarter of the population walking among us, many “carriers” of Covid and Delta variants, exposing the rest of us. And they’re putting our hospitals on “overload,” forcing them to triage who gets care and who doesn’t.

There is no known major religion prohibiting congregants from being vaccinated. Short of some anecdotal medical case, there’s no medical reason not to procure the vaccine.

Most interviews of the holdouts I’ve seen or heard can be summed up something like this. “Ain’t no damned government telling me what to do.” “First amendment.” “Liberty.” Yadda-yadda-yadda.

It was Trump who made the vaccination issue political rather than medical. It was Trump who knowingly disregarded initial warnings of the pandemic, choosing to do nothing. It was Trump who shuttered the governmental office deliberately created to deal with national medical emergencies. It was Trump who tried to make Covid nothing more than the common cold and came up with all the idiotic “treatments” for a serious – make that deadly – disease.

It was Trump who opened the door to his followers to rant, rave and bitch about “personal freedoms,” not trusting government, “liberty or death” deniers. The bastard took what should have been a quick, national medical effort to head-off an explosion of sickness and death and made it his personal political issue. Then, he was vaccinated, quietly and secretly. Hypocrisy in all capital letters!

Now, we’ve got a full blown pandemic, exploding health care costs for each of us. And, we’ve got millions of Americans making every excuse in the book for not doing what is absolutely necessary: getting the shots.

We’ve also got a medical situation that will continue for generations simply because shot-deniers are making it so. Those are not my words. Dr. Anthony Fauci is already talking of annual booster shots for Covid as well as the other flu vaccinations we’ve known for years.

Many of us have dropped out of normal activities simply because of the exposure risks of the unvaccinated. At our house, Barb has stopped going to her usual arts and craft clubs because so many attendees won’t wear masks or get the shots. Our church, with a sanctuary built for several hundred, limits attendance to 76 congregants on Sunday. Distanced. A few masked.

President Biden has made it abundantly clear he’s fed up with those who continue to resist the best medical advice – who would rather be Covid carriers with the likelihood of infecting others. He’s begun a crackdown to force large companies and government to require vaccinations for employees. And, we’re beginning to see results.

We’ve all had changes in our lives because of the disease. None of us is untouched. Our lives and our activities are much different that a couple of years ago. And, things will never be the same. Face masks and distancing will be our “watch words” for what could be the rest of our lives along with those unnecessary higher medical costs.

For much of that, you can blame your unvaccinated neighbor.

Get the damned shot!

Political carnivores

Author: admin

I’ve been around the business of politics a long time. Once an active participant, the role now is one of onlooker from the bleachers. Which ain’t all bad.

Though politics is considered a “winner-loser” sport, there’s also the “loser-loser” variety. That comes when those of the same party turn on each other and the internecine combat games begin. Seldom anyone wins.

If you track the history, those on the far-right – or far-left – are the usual combatants. Right more than left because there seem to be far more of them. Little splinter groups leave the main stem because of perceived indiscretions – things like disloyalty, dishonesty, lack of recognition and many, many more “perceived” affronts, usually on the part that breaks away.

Other times, it’s more like “hand-to-hand” combat or, if you will, a bare-knuckled brawl. Which seems to be shaping up among a lot of Republicans here in Arizona.

The “fraudit” which was supposed to be done the end of April – isn’t. No one directly involved will even hazard an end-time at this point. Even the recent lying, bellicose ravings of the original Trumpster himself, on this desert scene, haven’t moved the phony exercise one foot.

Two well-publicized happenings of recent days show gloves are off and it’s “Katie, bar the door” time with our 2+million votes in the middle of the fight.

First, Senate Republican-appointed go-between, former GOP Senator Ken Bennett, was barred from the “counting” floor and the “counting” building. Bennett, also a former Secretary of State, was appointed to that “lofty” position by none other than Republican Senate GOP Leader Karen Fann. Of course, in by-gone days, we didn’t know she was a Trumper-in-sheep’s-clothing. Bennett now says everything is hunky-dory meaning he kissed someone’s ring and gotten back into the “family.” For now. Stay tuned.

Second tip something’s not “right” in “fraudit-land,” is a handful of subpoenas laid upon the Maricopa Country Board of Supervisors. Yep, a real handful. They’re being ignored by the “ Supes” as was the first batch some months ago. Keep in mind, the Board is made up of five GOPer’s and one Dem. So, we’re talking Republicans nose-to-nose here.

Among other demands, Madame Fann still wants the county’s routers. Fat chance, that. If nothing else, County Sheriff Paul Penzone has made it abundantly clear, law enforcement data on those routers makes giving them to anyone a non-starter. Additionally, all county business and record keeping also reside therein. There’ll be no change of collective minds.

When Trump was here, a fewweeks ago, he used the word “routers” some 17 times in 12 minutes in his rant. “Show us the routers,” “When we get those routers…,” “We need those routers.” Over and over. I doubt he’d know a router from an honest dollar. If, he ever made one.

County superintendents, divided by political party, have, thus far, presented a unified front. “No,” in a loud, bi-partisan word! They’ve shown no signs of relenting.

We now know some details of how much the “fraudit” debacle has cost. Head Ninja says $5.5-million and counting. The guilty-but-Trump-pardoned Mike Flynn and Trump’s former attorney, Sidney Powell, through their uncontrolled PACs, put up about 5-million. Plus the $150-thousand in tax dollars from the Senate coffers.

Rank-and-file AZ Republicans have begun doing much “back-benching” about the “fraudit.” Many elected voices are being raised, calling it “ridiculous,” “foolish,” “making us look like idiots”…all of which it is and does. The tone is getting louder and now comes from some of the Party’s movers and shakers..

This whole “fraudit” undertaking was doomed from the start. Two things made that abundantly clear.

First, “employment” of an apparently one-man-band called “Cyber Ninja’s,” an outfit with a PO Box in Florida, a small suite of empty offices there, and not a day’s worth of experience in vote auditing. Not one. With condemnation of the affair by many highly-qualified vote tabulating companies nationwide, the “Ninja’s” (or “Ninja” in the singular”) have not been taken seriously. So, how could the output of the “work” be?

Second, when it became publically apparent the counters were all from the Republican Party membership list – many of them Trumpers – the oft-told promises of “fair,” “bi-partisan,” “honest,” “reliable,” counting were just so many lies from the git-go. Whatever “information” emanates from the “fraudit” will be believed by Trump hardliners and few others.

There seem to be some genuinely hard feelings on the part of the Board of Supervisors, regardless of party. They, alone, have been the voices of reason and sanity in this comically dangerous exercise in political fraud. They’ve held the line after giving Senate Republicans all they asked for in their original demands.

Now, in the words of that sea-going philosopher, Popeye, “That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more.” I think that sums it up for most of the rest of us, too.

Phoenix rising

Author: admin

So, the 2020 U.S. census figures are out. As a nation, we’re big. And, we’re getting bigger! No new revelations there.

Scholars seem interested mostly with the new data on race. In sum, the white majority has decreased in size to about 57-percent of the total population. The mix of ethnic and numerous other racial groups has increased, though not as fast as had been thought. But, the numbers and trends point to a likelihood of a near 50-50 split – White versus all the other non-White groups – in the 2030 sampling.

People with a political bent have begun poring over the tables and knee-deep statistical data. Both national parties are trying to find which portions of their interests have changed and whether such changes will add or subtract from their regions of interest. And political representation.

I’m more concerned with something in the second paragraph of the document announcing the figures. That interest is based on the fact that Barb and I now live adjacent to the “fastest growing city in America” and the city that’s replaced Philadelphia as the “fifth largest city in the nation.”


We don’t actually live within the Phoenix city limits, which stretch many miles into the surrounding desert. No, we live in what is technically Surprise, Arizona, a relatively new and fast-growing community adjacent to Phoenix. We’re part of what advertisers call “Metro Phoenix.” There’s a large gaggle of such “adjacent” communities like Peoria, Glendale, Mesa, San Tan, Tempe, etc., etc., etc., etc.. And, etc..

The Arizona highway folks recently completed the last segment of a “beltway” all the way around Phoenix. There are highways 121, 202 and 303. Some portions of this “beltway”are six-seven lanes in each direction with traffic filling most of them at all hours.

Once you’ve decided you can survive the speeds, being fender-to-fender with strangers and with supreme confidence in your guardian angels, there’s an interesting phenomenon to see. Every 10 miles or so, surrounding Phoenix, there are “burbs” with new batches of subdivisions.

Get off the beltway at any point and drive down main street in each of the 30 or so of these desert “cities.” You’ll find Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wendy’s, Albertson’s, Starbuck’s, McDonald’s, Taco Time, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and an assortment of smaller businesses adjacent. All these names and more repeated every 10 miles or so. Each grouping proud of it’s place in the Phoenix metro area.

I remember being so excited living in Boise or Roseburg when the first Costco outlet came to town. Proud and excited. But, in our “metro area,” Costco opens a new store every couple of months!

Phoenix is not only the state capitol, with about a dozen universities and colleges, it’s also the population center of Maricopa County with some 4-million residents. We have a large Hispanic presence as well as Asian and other subgroups. Indeed, Phoenix seems to represent the changing national racial and ethnic numbers borne out by the census. Attracting some 20-30-thousand new folks a year!

Though Phoenix has all the trappings expected in a city so large, there’s one unusual category that doesn’t get much attention. The industrial areas surrounding the city are filled with huge concrete warehouses. Hundred’s of ‘em. Many are a million square feet with 80 or 90 loading docks each. They stretch out for miles. New ones are being added daily.

Phoenix has become a national/international shipping point. Every type of goods you can imagine are trucked or flown into the area to be dropped, sorted, then reloaded and shipped out. From cars to toothbrushes. UPS has a huge complex of buildings. Facebook just announced a 940-thousand square foot structure to house row upon row of computer systems. REI, Boeing, Amazon shipping/receiving center(s), Hanover Pretzels, Mayo Clinic(s), Dick’s Sporting Goods and many more fill these buildings. Carvana’s main operation is also here.

Surrounding all of these, residential subdivisions. Everywhere.

I’m not familiar with local community planning and zoning laws. But, seeing thousands of houses and apartments springing up in all directions, there don’t seem to be many. In other places we’ve lived, growth has been more-or-less contiguous; limited, in most cases, to extensions of sewer, roads and water lines, etc.. Not here. Not by a damned sight!

Go 10 miles in one direction and you’ll find several hundred homes and a small shopping mall. Surrounded by miles and miles of undeveloped desert. Drive 30 or 50 miles in another direction and there’s another island of homes with no seeming connection to any developed area. Just more miles and miles of desert.

The little community of Buckeye, Arizona, recently annexed a subdivision of golf courses and expensive homes with at least 12 miles of barren desert between downtown Buckeye and the newly added community. Buckeye can provide no new amenities to the newly conscripted. But, it may have stolen the moniker “Biggest Little City In The West” from Reno.

Living in/adjacent to the nation’s fifth largest city has its advantages. And its disadvantages. With a major league team in nearly all national sports, Spring training Cactus League, entertainment centers for all the big time shows, shopping in everything from Neiman Marcus to Dollar Store and an interesting Western heritage all its own, Phoenix can be an interesting place to live.

With temperatures that can hit 120 degrees, scorpions, coyotes and other scavengers in your neighborhood, big city crime, crowds at virtually all venues, “Snowbirds” by the thousands, and a constant brown haze in the air daily – well – it IS America’s fifth largest city, you know.