It’s been an odd week for me, in more ways than usual. I had cataract surgery on one of my eyes on Thursday. For a few days before, and still now, a few days after, I’m not in my usual groove.
Even writing this column is a little tricky. I’m using a massive font, pre-edit, because I’m still having trouble focusing. This will pass, and I’ll be glad when it does, because having my ability to read hampered is truly my definition of a circle of hell.
On the plus side, the left side of the world is definitely brighter and clearer, post surgery. In the last few years, I’ve resisted wearing corrective lenses, preferring to see my friends looking a little fuzzy around the edges. Everyone looks better when they’re a little fuzzy around the edges, in my opinion.
I can’t say enough good things about the nurses and doctors at Kensington Eye Institute. Kind, compassionate, and professional, they got me in and out of there in record time, with zero pain.
Overall, I’m feeling great, healing well, and looking forward to getting the all clear to get the other eye ‘done’ soon. All part of my quest to become Bionic Granny. Someone’s gotta do it.
Anyway, my point (and I do have one,) is that I’ve been BUSY, DAMMIT! And it’s not my fault that the world refuses to stop while I’m doing my thing. I can’t be everywhere, keeping an eye on everything, when one of my eyes is out of commish!
Frankly, this week has been all about me, me, me, so there won’t be much in-depth commentary on the shenanigans of the planet. Go ahead, sue me. You’re not getting your money back.
You know who else isn’t getting their money back? These people.
“Will you accept the results if Joe Biden wins? “
What can you say about the people who continue to surge to the Disinformation Superspreader Rally Tour? We know why TRUMP is there … he’s desperate. He’s in the ‘please clap’ phase of his campaign, and he is trying to suck down the last of the ‘love’ and hysteria of these poor deluded loons, who care so little for themselves or others that they think nothing of putting their own lives and the lives of their loved ones in danger, just to feed trump’s sick need for applause and admiration.
He’s on the road, out of the office, and proving daily that he’s clearly not an ‘essential’ worker … in fact, things seem to run smoother when he’s not around.
Those in this personality cult can’t see that the object of their affection despises them. Trump’s objective is quite simple; he wants people to sacrifice themselves, their lives and the lives of their loved ones to keep the economy running. Throw those students and another teacher on the barby, mate.
Two weeks before the election, you’re unlikely to change hearts and minds, so the thousands he invites to his super-spreader rallies, who show up without masks, disdain social distancing, and who make up their own mad science to justify courting a deadly virus, are there simply to prop up a narcissist, at the expense of their own health.
Some may be too sick to vote for him on November 3. The unlucky ones may be fighting for their lives in an ICU. Inviting his supporters to prove their fealty with their very lives doesn’t seem the smartest way forward. It seems more like the actions of a killer with a quota to fill.
As trump and his surrogates insist that they’re about to ‘turn the corner’ on controlling COVID-19, the virus is not only not going away, it’s actually doubling-down. The numbers don’t lie. But trump surrogates do.
Two weeks to go until the nation’s fate is decided. Fingers crossed, America. Fingers crossed.
Demi Lovato – Commander-In-Chief
A little food for thought.
I like to play with ideas.
Thinking outside the box, wrestling with concepts, pushing mental boundaries – that’s my idea of a good time. To me, it’s like jazz; there’s your basic premise, and then there’s where you can go with it. Especially if you have a willing collaborator. Stretch that thought … take it where it wants to go, and where it’s afraid to tread …. That’s jazz …
This comedy skit is jazz. Time to give your mind, and your funny bone – a workout.
“Oh God, Our Cancer Cure Was Invented By A Pedophile!”
As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live – “Well! Isn’t that special! “
“This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” physician Sean Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House.” (The Hill, Oct 11)
‘Dr’ Conley, an osteopath, and a character straight out of a casting director’s idea of what a doctor should look like, is apparently now America’s foremost virologist and epidemiologist, whose opinion on contagion and viral transmission is the only one we are to trust.
Heaven forfend the nation’s SuperSpreader be stopped from infecting more citizens. His tally now includes 34 inside White House workers, all but one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pretty much all the biggies who attended that ill=fated Rose Garden party – Chris Christie; Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins; pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie; and freelance photographer Al Drago. And of course, his lovely, but currently invisible, wife, Melanoma. Will there ever be enough lives on the line to fill his quota?
USA Today is trying to figure out who all else might have tested positive on that fateful day. However, some may have purposely failed to announce their condition, lest it make the papers, and prevent them from – oh, I don’t know – voting for a new Supreme Court Justice, say. So the journal has made this handy seating chart, so that everyone can play Pin the Tail on the Infected!
Even if he does, as he claims, ‘feel great!’ – we have only his word for it. He and his admin and doctors have told us that this is so, and that we must accept that this is what we are to believe. The world has been told, in no uncertain terms, that the president’s health is not their business. Unless, of course, he’s sick in hospital, in which case the nation must be on alert and filled with empathy and respect for his suffering, 24/7.
COVID 19 is a horrible, deadly virus. Its effects are debilitating, and, once having had the virus, every organ in the body may be affected. Even a mild case can leave sufferers with a ‘brain fog’ and fatigue that can last months. In fact, it may even last longer than that; we simply don’t know at this time.
If trump decides to fire up his rallies again, his travelling will mean possibly infecting the pilot, the staff on the plane, the Secret Service, ground staff, and anyone who travels with him. He seems uncaring that he’s infected his own wife, but people around him are getting pretty tired of being ignored as he puts them in harm’s way without a thought for their health. Ask the White House staff. Or his Secret Service protectors.
But ‘pshaw!’ says he, to the needs of the little people. It’s all water under the bridge for the Man of COVID. He hasn’t given a thought to anyone but himself for most of his life, and he’s not going to let a tiny thing like a global pandemic change that.
He hasn’t since he first came on the political scene. Over and over, trump’s main line of conversation has been about how great he is, how smart and savvy. When he’s not bigging himself up, he’s bringing somebody else down, no matter how brilliant that other person may be, or what accomplishments they’ve chalked up. The man has spent the last four years trying desperately to completely annihilate Obama’s successes, and he intends to do that, even if it means killing every man, woman and child, burning America to the ground, and then salting the earth.
He is the very definition of depraved indifference. It began when he started his campaign in 2015, and it hasn’t let up for a single second since. Every day we must hear the tramp tramp tramp of trump trump trump. We cannot hide from him; he is everywhere. He is on the television, on social media, on the front pages of newspapers and magazines. He tweets as though there’s a minimum. And now that he’s running to try and win another four years, he’s ramped up his presence. He is inescapable. Omnipresent. There’s nowhere to hide from his face, his words, his demands, his whining, his bullying.
Meanwhile, our lives are no longer our own. COVID’s restrictions have meant that our personal touchstones and milestones are just stumbling blocks that recede into the past in hours or days, as the pace of history forces important moments into history. It never freakin’ ends. It’s all trump, all the time, and there’s no room for anyone else’s truth, ego, or life.
We crave – we absolutely need – those moments, the times we come together as family, as friends, as people who care about each other. These moments are what makes us strong. Weddings, funerals, important birthdays – these are not meant to be immaterial. If we deem these gatherings to be merely here today, and forgotten tomorrow, we lose the very desires for unity, solidarity, and strength in numbers that has made nations unified and whole. Greater together, than as people apart. This is what makes humans – human.
And while, in some ways, thanks to our Confabulator in Chief, we may never have been so gullible and misinformed, we have also never been so selfish
The divisiveness of 2020, the viciousness, the quarantining, the fights over toilet paper and who should, and how to, wear masks – these are not character-building moments. Living in a world that seems to echo the ugliness of 1984s slogans of “Freedom is Slavery,” “War is Peace,” is to drift into a madness too dark to contemplate.
And yet still there are those who look at the utter chaos in the United States and can’t decide on whom they should choose to lead them into the next four years. It seems that no matter how horrific conditions may become, whether those conditions include forest fires, floods, droughts, and hurricanes, coupled with most of the military and White House being ill and/or quarantined, fifty million citizens being unemployed, and another 30 million using food banks and fearing homelessness, and a president whose latest antics would be considered madness in any other sitting president, except that for this guy, it’s only turning the crazy dial up from ten to eleven – they’re concerned that Joe Biden might not quite have what it takes to steer the Ship of State.
A stuffed animal would be more capable than the current Captain of the USS Titanic.
We fumble with the efforts to wrestle this plague into submission. We await Schrodinger’s Election, which feels simultaneously too soon, and yet so far away. And we want it to be over, but we’re terrified of what ‘over’ will look like.
If we are entering the Autumn of America, will it be followed by the Winter of the World?
My sincere hope is that this will be seen as the lowest point in American history. I hope there’s no more bottom to scrape. But I sadly concede that there very well may be more depths to plumb.
It would appear that trump, high as a kite on Dexamethasone. has decided he’s also a stable genius who knows all there is to know about that fancy ‘doctoring’ stuff. He’s been to “COVID school” he says, and now he’s the resident expert. So, against the advice and recommendation of any responsible, mentally competent, physician, he’s pulled rank, checked himself out, and scuttled back to the White House.
“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate you.” As though the over 211 thousand Americans that have died are … suckers and losers.
Most of the people who have fallen ill to the virus don’t have a presidential suite at Walter Reed Hospital, a dozen doctors monitoring their every breath, and access to THREE drugs the average citizens cannot access.
This feels like the moment just before Jim Jones administers the poisoned Kool-Aid to his cult following, as he bellows, “Don’t be scared! We’ve got the best medical equipment, the best medicine!”
No – they don’t. YOU DO, as the POTUS.
But they don’t. They don’t have camera crews following their helicopter to the hospital – they don’t even have a helicopter. If they’re lucky, and can afford it – and many can’t – they’re travelling by ambulance, alone and scared. They’re suffering in ICUs, praying they make the cut, priority-wise, so they get a chance to go on a ventilator, because they may be triaged, if younger, healthier people also need the machinery.
They’re hoping that the medical unit that they are in has available, and will let them use, ANY type of medicine to save them. Few will receive the experimental drugs you enjoyed, or the one that can only be released on ‘compassionate’ grounds. Only you got those drugs.
And, despite being highly infectious and a serious disease vector, you got to see people – even those that didn’t want to see you, because they have the sense not to want to contract your illness, like the Secret Service, who had to deal with your moronic decision to go for a joy ride. Or the makeup and hair people, along with the photographers, who had to be in your contagious presence, and most likely were told they could not wear masks while doing so.
The 211 thousand American citizens who died in hospitals, after days of pain and fear, didn’t get a joy ride, or to wave from a balcony. Instead, they had to say goodbye to their loved ones from behind a window, or by phone. And they didn’t even get a funeral, let alone a lying in state. Because sane people are aware of how dangerous this virus is, and someone who is compos mentis would not willingly subject anyone they cared about to such a fate.
They also didn’t get to go home to a mansion with servants and medical staff there to cater to their every whim – all while putting their own servile selves at risk of becoming ill themselves.
It’s the lowest point in American history, because an elected American president is acting like a tantruming toddler, who needs a car ride before he can take his nap. Who mocks those who wear masks and protective equipment as fear-ridden, and weaker than himself. Who believes that a few days in hospital as a patient, now qualifies him to be Physician-in-Chief to the entire nation. And who shows nothing but contempt and disdain for all of the Americans who have already suffered from, and died from, COVID-19.
And most importantly, who shows nothing but disdain for the oath he swore, to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” but who not only failed at that, but also apparently thinks that means the actual CITIZENS are on their own.
The president of the United States has less common sense, or respect for the nation, than any foreign enemy who wishes nothing but the worse for America.
Putin must be very proud of his puppet.
He’s a stooge. But sadly, he’s neither as funny, nor as relevant, as the other three.
“What does a Dictator do? A Dictator, why he makes love to beautiful women, drinks champagne, enjoys life, and never works. He makes speeches to the people, promising them plenty, gives them nothing, then takes everything. That’s a Dictator.”
From “You Nazty Spy” The Three Stooges, Oct 1940.
“I vanquished them! I am the winner! The world belongs to me!”
So does trump really have COVID-19? Or is this a giant hoax, meant to get him out of further debates, and create a ‘sympathy’ vote for the poor sick baboo?
Will he emerge from quarantine, rosy and rested, to crow to the world that he rassled that ol’ bug to the ground, and it’s not nearly as bad as those so called ‘experts’ say! Oh, and by the way, the price of that miracle drug, hydroxychloroquine, which he just happens to have 29 million doses of, right here – just got more expensive?
Are Mike Pence and Ivanka taking turns trying on crowns, both assuming they’ll be ascending to the throne?
And if it is a hoax, does he know that it is? Could it be that his handlers were so freaked by his debate performance that they created a false testing in order to manipulate him into silence for the last month of the campaign?
(And no, you can’t point to how the doctors are saying they’re proceeding with his care at Walter Reed. For one thing, a narcissist, or any one with the right personality, can make themselves sick unto death if they BELIEVE that they are ill. It has happened many times, as any medical expert can tell you. Le mal imaginaire.)
(And also – so now you trust these doctors? The two main ones are actually Army, which means that trump is their Commander-in-Chief, and they cannot disobey a direct order given to them.)
Or is it actually possible, in an “Isn’t it Ironic?” kind of way, that the guy who has ‘downplayed’ (read: lied to Americans about the severity and infectious transmission) a potentially fatal virus, mocked those who protected themselves with masks, and insisted that the United States re-open to save HIS economy, 210,000 dead Americans be damned, and thrown the nation’s future – it’s children – under the bus – or rather, down the coal mines to act as it’s canaries …. might have finally, and with complete predictability, caught the killer bug thru his own insane flouting of science and reason?
I can argue any side. There’s enough mis- and disinformation flying around right now to fill the SkyDome. A history of lies and a lack of transparency means that very few people are prepared to simply swallow that trump became (justifiably) ill, and is being successfully treated by expert medical staff and scientists at Walter Reed.
And, if it isn’t a postponement mechanism, a mere ploy to stave off an election he knows he will most likely lose, it is to be hoped that he is now experiencing just a tiny bit of the agony, uncertainty, fear, and pain that he condemned every American to, by not attempting to prevent the virus’ forward movement, or to help those who became ill due to a lack of leadership.
Imagine that – trump and Melanoma are being treated for a disease they called a ‘hoax,’ through government healthcare that they deride as ‘socialism’ when it’s available to the rest of the country. He’s got the best care, all mod cons, and it’s not costing him a penny. Imagine that.
But first… hasn’t it been lovely and quiet for the last few days? Almost no tweets, no angry, ugly rants, no ‘mustsee’ press conferences ….sure, we’re all following what the media is teasing out from Walter Reed and the White House about the president’s health, but, in truth, it hasn’t been nearly as chaotic. Have you noticed that? It’s like a breath of fresh air. A lack of trumpiness makes the whole world feel so much cleaner and clearer. And quieter.
(This too, I worry about. We’ve been on the crack pipe of constant news, drama, anger, suspicion, endless highs and lows, and the ridiculous belief that we are somehow on top, in the know, and part of the larger histrionics emanating from the Conniption-in-Chief for nearly four years. Is there enough Metoprolol in the world to safely block constant adrenaline stimulation and to bring down our blood pressure before our hearts just explode like a grenade? Fingers crossed!)
What can I tell you that you haven’t already heard in a dozen different ways, by a dozen talking heads or more, all of which have very good reason to believe that some, if not all, of the ‘official’ information is not as it appears?
Medical pundit Dr Sanjay Gupta says trump’s in a way more serious condition than we have been lead to believe. Doctors at Walter Reed are throwing “the kitchen sink” at Trump, feeding him 3 different “serious” medications, one of which is experimental in nature, another which is only meant to be given when the patient is hospitalized, and on oxygen.
And yet, here come the videos! See trump smile and say he’s fine! See trump pretend to sign blank papers in a simulated office as empty of reality as the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Notice that he’s wearing the same suit that he was wearing when he strode from the White House to the waiting helicopter on Friday afternoon, after the Stock Market had closed for the day and the week. Wonder how it could be that, even at this time, trump’s STILL not wearing a mask, to prevent transmission to, at minimum, the photographer taking the video, the Secret Service escorts, and probably a half a dozen White House staffers.
Consider that the doctor overseeing the medical team surrounding the POTUS, and monitoring his care, is not an MD .. Medical Doctor … but rather, a D.O., Doctor of Osteopathic medicine. Osteopathic medicine focuses on holistic care, so if trump needs acupuncture, cupping, or manual manipulation, he’s got the right guy in charge. I might have preferred a Respirologist or Infectious Disease expert in charge of me in a similar situation, but we all know that trump must be trump. So – it is what it is.
Whether this is a hoax or not, one thing is certain; the Biden campaign is making hay while the sun shines. Upon hearing of trump’s diagnosis, the campaign immediately announced that there would be no ‘negative’ advertising released while the president was hospitalized. (The Republican campaign just laughed at the suggestion, roared that they’d do no such thing on their end, and kicked dust in the face of the nearest 98 pound weakling for good effect.)
In truth, with only 30 days remaining until the election, Biden’s rising in the polls like an overly excited hot air balloon. If the GOP had thought a sympathy vote might help, in truth, many Americans, both right and left wingers, are nodding thoughtfully as they tell pollsters that the guy really just brought it upon himself by taking zero precautions. Karma, baby.
Oh sure, his base is having a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, but that’s pretty much something they do on a weekly basis, so no one’s terribly surprised that the hypocrisy is flowing fast and thick. That’s just what we expect from them.
Sadly, if trump had just actually been the ‘wonderful’ ‘perfect’ ‘best’ president he always claimed to be, he’d have no need to be afraid of this election at all – people would be rushing to vote for him, sick or not sick. But he wasn’t. He was terrible. He was a cruel, sadistic, manipulative, greedy, soulless mess, and to vote for him is just to accept another four years of more of the same.
Let’s take a little look at what else happened this week, maybe get some perspective on why trump just MIGHT want to hide out from, for a few days, to let the air out of some of the worst updates that have plagued the trump administration.
Hmm… last Sunday and Monday we got a good look at trump’s taxes, and learned that he has paid a grand total of $1500 to the IRS over the last dozen or so years. Then, in rapid succession, we learned that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the shrieking magpie who scared us all with her tirade at the GOP Convention, lost her job at FOX when her assistant sued, and won, a $4 million dollar settlement for having to put up with Kim’s sexual harassment. (Kim’s Don Jr’s boo, by the way. A match made in an alternate universe.) And that trump’s previous campaign manager, Brad Parscale, was a domestic abuser who is having a mental breakdown that is likely caused by an investigation into his role in campaign fraud in the 2016 election.
Two white supremacists were charged with voter suppression in Michigan, and the GOP governor of Texas announced that there’d be only one drop off ballot box per county, even though some Texan counties are as large as 1500+ square miles. 1600 DOJ alumni sent an open letter, warning statement about AG Bill Barr using his influence to undermine free and fair elections, and a member of the Grand Jury on the Breonna Taylor case is blowing the whistle on the Kentucky AG, who lied to the public about their deliberations.
And as the coronavirus surges across several states, CNN is playing tapes of Melanoma saying, “give me a f**king break” about immigrant children separated from their parents, a whistleblower let it be known that trump officials were being pressed to make favorable comments on that kid who shot three people, killing two, in Portland, and it was learned that Supreme Court hopeful, Barrett, failed to disclose that she signed on to an ad calling for the repeal of Roe v Wade, and accepted donations from an anti-gay group.
It also turns out that trump and his entourage arrived late to the debate stage on Tuesday, which meant that they did not have time to be virus-tested. The Clinic accepted his admin’s assertion that they were all negative, believing that there was some sort of ‘honour’ amongst this group of criminals, when in fact, trump was channelling Genghis Khan, figuratively launching plague-ridden bodies into the camp of his opponent.
And while Chris Wallace, Biden, Biden’s family, along with anyone who attended the debate, Secret Service people, attendees at a Minnesota rally, a New Jersey fundraiser, and many more now wait to see if they’ve been affected by Typhoid Trumpy, many of his own admin and aides, including Chris Christie, Kelly Anne Conway, and trump’s current campaign manager, Bill Stepien, amongst others, have all tested positive.
This is just despicable. Utterly reprehensible. Contemptible. Beyond the pale. Trump endangered, and possibly infected all of those people without a care for anyone but himself.
So is this odious, loathsome, monstrous, cretin on death’s door? I don’t really care, do you?
The general attitude across the planet, minus his tiny band of blindly fanatical followers, is that, if he is ill, it is hoped that he has a very lengthy recovery And is then severely, brutally, decisively, trounced at the polls, and forced to leave office, and probably the country, with his tail between his legs, until such time as his many crimes are brought to trial, and he along with them.
Man, it’s exhausting, living in 2020. If it ain’t the COVID, it’s the capricious and malicious capering of the Great Pumpkin/Dictator-in-Waiting, aka POTUS.
Worse still, if you’re trying to make any kind of sense of the madness that is our new normal, there’s no longer the ability to take a week or two to mull over what’s going on, what should be done, what has to be done, and what you’d like some time to decide should be done, before you realize that the decision has been taken out of your hands, and what’s done is done.
Could our responses to COVID, here, down south, and abroad, have been handled better? Most certainly. But you see, that’s the problem with ‘novel’ viruses – we’ve never dealt with them before. So we have to make up the rules as we go, and frankly, a lot of people aren’t very good with following rules. Or even recommendations.
Sure, logically, on one jejeune, immature level, I can understand why some have taken issue with the restrictions necessary to keep themselves and others safe from COVID infection. It’s just that it’s always so damn inconsistent. Every whine they evince about their loss of ‘freedom’ denies that a society must have some public health, safety, and behavioral rules in place for everyone to thrive. And the ranting and railings about how these masks are unable to stop viruses from entering or leaving, while simultaneously insisting that the masks stop oxygen from flowing through to the wearer, in effect describing a Schrodingers Mask, are more than familiar to any mother of a two-year old hell-bent on tantruming, and, again…
It’s just freakin’ exhausting.
At any given hour, and on most days, we can’t escape yet another ill-advised, probably unconstitutional, but inevitably cruel and vicious, new attack on minorities, delivered by tweet or to the accompaniment of a helicopter blade’s whirring. There’s never any time at all to formulate a well-constructed opinion or heavily researched remonstration to any of these precipitous, tangential attacks on the pillars of democracy, because before you can cross a t or dot an i – he’s unleased another volley.
So freakin’ exhausting. Seriously.
Last night I had the house to myself, and a dozen things I wanted to accomplish. Did I get those chores done, you ask? Why no, I did not. Because. who can sort books and repot plants when there are people very close to finishing the excavation of the foundations of democracy? When the ‘president’ of 331 million people, a proven liar who chose his own re-election odds over the health and safety of millions, presents a new potential, lifetime, Supreme Court judge, Any Phoney Ferret, probably primarily to ‘make the libs cry,” who could, within weeks of appointment, ruin the lives of tens of millions of citizens by yanking out the last few bits of their healthcare, as the nation struggles with a once in a century pandemic that has murdered over 205,000 Americans to date? And who will follow that up with striking down established law in order to remove women’s rights to control their own bodies, and hand that right back again to powerful males.
Shades of the HandMaids of Gideon. American women … get your money out of the country now, while you still can!
Nearly four years into his first (and hopefully only) term, trump, and most of his base, are being held in a ‘Potemkin Village,’ in which a great deal of reality, notably, anything that might be deemed undesirable, potentially damaging, or financially inconvenient, is hidden behind a gleaming, faux tanned façade. We learned today that the CIA (and possibly other intelligence agencies) have been keeping a lot of the truth about Russian incurrences into the intricacies of American politics on the downlow, for fear of angering the POTUS. And of course, the POTUS, in return, is keeping his own people uninformed on the true nature and fatally dangerous components of the COVID-19 virus. Among other goodies, I might add.
I dunno, I just don’t know. I’m aware that there are always divisions within entities, and that we can loosely expect every group to fall into one of three stances; pro, con, or able to be convinced that either the pro or the con is the right choice. But it’s like there’s a special kind of stupid going on within those who identify as right wing/conservatives, these days, and I don’t get it.
For years I argued with climate change deniers, until finally I stopped bashing my head against their walls of entitled privilege and willful ignorance. The current crop of COVID/mask deniers seems to me to tread the same path – even if we assume that the masks may not prevent all of the infectious viruses from entry, wouldn’t even minimal protection be better than none at all?
Today I heard a YouTube doctor – a doctor! – with quite a following, argue that America would probably have been better to follow the Swedish model of ‘herd immunity,’ rather than what it did. He felt that they had made a mistake in choosing to close down many businesses, thus damaging the economy and causing economic suffering to millions. As a youngish, healthy male, the doctor apparently had no problem throwing out his profession’s admonition to ‘first, do no harm,’ since following that model in America would, based on the Swedish model, kill off more than a million American citizens.
“Using the WHO (65%) and CDC (0.65%) figures, 213 million people in the U.S. would need to be infected to achieve herd immunity, leaving 1,385,800 Americans dead. Stress on the nation’s hospitals would also be tremendous.
“Sweden tried this ‘herd immunity’ approach and had many more deaths than their European peers per capita and hasn’t escaped the economic carnage they had hoped by this strategy,” tweeted Gregg Gonsalves, PhD, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Medicine.
“Herd immunity? Sweden model? Sweden had a higher death rate than Denmark, Norway, and Finland, AND its economy did worse. The only alternative to controlling the virus is more deaths and more economic devastation. Choose health,” tweeted Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, a former CDC director.” (MedpageToday, Sept 2020)
I’ve also always thought that there is something particularly distasteful and ugly about any country that is in favour of allowing their elderly and infirm to be sacrificed in a final service to the nation. Smells a little too much like Soylent Green.
People much cleverer than I have been discussing the merits of the judge, Oni Bony Parrot, trump has chosen to steal the next seat on the Supreme Court. I have my misgivings; I find it a little odd that someone who is in a cult that demands that women be subservient and obedient to their husbands and other males would be deemed capable of rendering a court verdict of her own; I would think that any judgment must, according to her religion, have been, of necessity, actually decided by her male keepers.
But everything about this pick shows a complete lack of respect, to the late and great RBG, to the Court, to the Founders, and to the others on the Court who claim to be merely the instruments of justice, charged with interpreting the Constitution and its laws.
“The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.”
My buddy Michael Scrivener posited that the question of whether Aunt Lydia should be seated on the Supreme Court can only be decided by one institution – itself. Let the Court decide if the theft of this seat, contrary to every lie spouted by Mitch McConnell or his disreputable minions is truly fair and just.
Pundit Glenn Kirshner contends that President Obama should have simply ignored McConnell’s protestations in 2016, and had Merrick Garland sworn in regardless. Who would he sue? The Court?
And this morning, not content with merely stealing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, the Republicans produced this advertisement, attempting to also steal her actual, well-earned nickname.
Each time we think the Republican party has fallen as low as it can go, they somehow manage to dig down another few feet.
As Andy Honey Carrot lisped through her acceptance speech yesterday, carefully underlining her respect for the other judges and the Court, it was impossible not to think that true respect – for the Court, for RBG, for the Founders, and for America – would have entailed requesting that her vetting and potential appointment be postponed until after the coming election, and pursuant to the final request of Judge Ginsburg, as well as in respecting the will of the people, through their lawful votes for whoever will be the next president.
But then again, we all knew from the first mention of her name that this choice was never about how able, ethical or respectable Ms Achy Conan the Barbarian was in terms of the Court, but rather, about her abject subservience to trump and his political will.
What can I say? I’m exhausted. Bring on the last of the plagues, and let’s just get right to the Rapture and the End of Days.
I was preparing dinner in the kitchen on Friday night, when Shawn came into the room and said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died.”
One hand flew to my mouth, the other to my heart, and I gasped in shock, a reaction that I know was echoed by many in the 24 hours following news of her passing.
How can it be that one small, 87-year-old woman, riddled with cancer, became the only check in the vaunted checks and balances meant to keep an entire nation democratic? How did she become the last bastion of sanity and decency in a country that claims to be ‘exceptional’? Why did it take the loss of her presence on the Supreme Court to wake hundreds of millions of Americans to the stripping away of civil and human rights that awaits them, as early as next month?
While those who claim to be pro-life insist that their religious beliefs should trump the rights of all women to control their own bodies, the Trump administration is already lined up to strip away the health care rights of EVERY American – male, female, black, white, young and old – when their request to invalidate the Affordable Care Act is heard. Some 20 million Americans, many of them low income, will lose health care coverage, and be denied any form of coverage due to pre-existing conditions (something that every single American may have following the COVID pandemic), and will discover that these changes will also disallow children from staying on their parents health plans until the age of 26.
Trump has repeatedly promised that he has a ‘beautiful! New!’ health care plan in the works, but after more than three years of these idle promises, no one should be holding their breath for that to emerge.
Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion nationwide nearly fifty years ago, is also on the line. Tom Cotton, one of trump’s proposed new jurists, is on record stating that this would be his first priority.
Short of overturning Wade, there are still several cases in the pipeline that could effectively restrict access to the procedure, including one case already before the court in which the trump admin has asked the justices to overturn a federal judge’s decision that lifted restrictions on telemedicine abortions during the pandemic. And in terms of the most common second trimester abortion procedure, the D&C, (dilation and evacuation) at least 10 states are on record seeking to outlaw clinics providing this option.
Women’s rights to control over their own body is not the only controversial issue. There’s even talk of rolling back the landmark case, Brown v Board of Education (1954) which famously dismantled segregation. The more recent cases that decided on the rights of the LGBTQ, the handicapped, and other minority communities will also be on the table with a fifth Conservative Supreme Justice.
One small, fragile, senior, woman held back that tide of discrimination, prejudice, and misogyny for as long as she physically could. But within two hours of her death, and in defiance of her stated last wish that her seat remain unfilled until a new president was in power, trump was already declaring his intent to fill her seat with a person of his own choosing.
And that follows in a horrific pattern in which four out of five of the conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court (Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) were nominated by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote
Two of trump’s most loathsome minions, who campaigned ruthlessly to prevent President Obama from appointing a Justice in his last year of office, have reversed their ‘hand on the bible’ statements from 2016.
And today ….
But they are not the only Republican Senators displaying blatant hypocrisy, and a lack of ethical morality, in their decision to blindly follow in their leader’s doddering steps.
The very idea that matters considered so integral to how justice is allowed or denied should be in the hands of judges who profess fealty to a specific political party boggles the mind. Having trampled upon any pretense of a separation of church and state, the modern Court openly skews either liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. That can’t be right. The law must be the law, not something that can be warped to suit the needs of the politicians currently in power. If the decisions are made based on party, then the decisions are only opinions, frothy and transitory, as worthless as the blatherings of a drunk at the end of the bar. The justices lose all credibility, cease to be the ultimate legal decision makers, and are instead mere pundits. .
Mitch McConnell seems determined to rush the seating of a lifetime justice, in hopes that, regardless of the outcome of this election, the conservative, Republican ideals will remain the law of the land for decades to come. McConnell is cementing his position as the man who broke American democracy, and brought the pillars of American justice down around it’s citizens, the modern-day Benedict Arnold, made mad thru his insatiable lust for relevance and power.
“According to American political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” (Wikipedia)
During this administration, each of those pillars has been systematically mocked, repeatedly attacked, and is in peril of becoming a dead issue.
ONE: “ a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections;
Despite having won (by Electoral College) the presidency in 2016, trump attacked all forms of voting, insisting, despite his own repeated investigations that found no tampering, that all American elections were fundamentally flawed and rigged. With the pandemic impairing the ability of citizens to safely vote in person, he then first verbally attacked mail-in voting, intentionally underfunded the Postal Service, and then appointed Louis Dejoy as Post Master General, who viciously decimated staff and equipment in the nation’s postal offices, bringing the mails to a slowdown unlike any in it’s history, and making the handling of the volumes of mail ensured by election mail-in voting nearly impossible to consider.
As some Americans opt for early voting in states like Virginia, trump’s goons are swarming polling locations and would be voters, in blatant acts of voter intimidation. Trump has already admitted that these acts of intimidation will be severely ramped up on Election Day, November 3. He has also admitted that he might challenge the 2020 election results, or even stay in the White House, despite a loss. It is quite likely that the final results may be delayed by days, or even weeks, based on these restrictions, and while a late decision on who has won is actually not illegal, trump’s mouthpieces are spreading disinformation on the legality of such a delay.
Two: “the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; “
Trump’s first town hall meeting in, I believe, the entirety of his four-year term, was held just this past week. The people allowed to question him were thoroughly vetted, and most questions were fairly straightforward and logical. However, his answers merely echoed the beerhall rants familiar from his rallies – mainly incoherent, highly self-congratulatory, and rarely with any semblance to the real world everyone but trump is inhabiting.
Three: “protection of the human rights of all citizens; “ Since the first month of trump’s ascendency to the presidency, the rights of all citizens, American or otherwise, were secondary to his platform. Within hours of his first day in office, he began the process to repeal Obamacare, and within days, had put into place executive orders to set in motion travel bans and restrictions on refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. By April, 800,000 ‘DREAMers’ had their lives upended and their futures made uncertain.
By the spring, new armies of ICE agents began arresting and deporting many immigrants who were in the process of becoming citizens. And of course, the infamous border wall, persecution of would be refugees, and camps for kids weren’t far behind.
Four: “a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Attorney General William Barr … personal lawyer to the POTUS, and expediter of pardons and the overturning of legal decisions.
America is in crisis. American democracy is on its last legs. And as the citizens limp towards the election, burdened with a lethal pandemic, massive unemployment, and the threat of homelessness looming over the heads of about 40 million people, they must also contend with almost daily revelations informing them of trump’s knowledge of exactly how deadly this pandemic is, and that he hid that knowledge from the people, for his own re-election plans.
Rather than shore up America’s defenses, rather than trust the people whom he took an oath to protect and defend from this deadly virus, trump has instead relied on the snake oil sellers he’s seen hawking junk on FOX to its addled viewers. And now, finally, he’s admitted … his plan is to not have a plan, but instead to gamble on ‘herd immunity’.
This new non-plan will kill as many as 3 million people. “Trump has a plan for coronavirus: herd immunity. Say goodbye to your parents, your neighbors, and your friends. Because the Trump plan will kill millions in the next four years.”
And in the midst of all of this madness, and with a plan that’s not a plan but rather an abdication to the power of the virus, trump has told the American people that he believes that he alone has the right to name yet another conservative judge to the Supreme Court, to join the previous two that were foisted upon the nation.
Despite the last wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said, ‘ My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’.
A NEW president. Not this used up condom of a failed, incompetent, wannabe dictator.
If Americans want to fulfill her last wish, with the added bonus of saving the nation from plunging into fascism, they’re going to have to vote like their lives depend upon it.
“There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen.”
Ain’t it the truth! Hey, Hi! It’s me, back from what seems like the hiatus that lasted an eternity.
Not that I’m complaining… no siree! I have been BUSY, my darlings … busier than a <fill in your corny but slightly amusing blank here.> Hellzapoppin’, dontcha know, and we’re careening sans seatbelts to what I expect to be a fiery finish to the apogee of the annus horribilis known as 2020.
One might even go so far as to say 2020 is the annus horribilis of all anni horribiles.
About the only good thing I can say about this year so far is that it was a good year for coleus.
Oh, and another good thing – the world took a much needed, deep breath. COVID-19 forced so many of us to slow down, for possibly the first time in our busy, busy lives. Not just slow down; in some cases, things came to a screeching halt. With very little notice, the fabric of our lives, the government offices, the libraries, the restaurants I loved to frequent – began to shut down around us, without the slightest hint of if or when they’d ever re-open.
COVID put a spoke in the wheel that belonged to the organizers of my high school reunion event. Fifty years! Man, that’s a long time! And I never would have even heard about the celebrations (now postponed to next July) if the occasion had not been postponed. With extra time, and unexpected time on their hands, some of the planners set about contacting as many of the old grads as they could. And I was one of their finds.
As each new contact is added to the Facebook page, I find myself drifting back to the skinny, big eyed school girl I was then, staring dreamy eyed at the Roman profile of my first crush, Hugh, or walking home from school with Michael, who managed to con me out of my bus money every single day, so that he could satisfy his thirst for a family sized bottle of Coke. Gathering with Ann, Marianne and Donna to squeal over the new Monkees album. Getting ripped off, trying to buy pot for the first time, and being sold parsley in its place. Ah, those were the days.
So, I guess that’s two things good about this annus … the coleus, and the reunion. Sadly, the rest of this year has really sucked.
Hmm, let’s see .. did anything else interesting happen since we last chatted, on August 9th?
Oh. Right. We discovered a few rather nasty things about that trump guy. Like, that he’s not actually as dozy, folksy and down home as he’s been pretending, and that, in fact, he’s got some rather interesting ideas about the 1.3 million active duty military of whom he’s currently Commander in Chief, as well as those countless millions of volunteers and draftees thru the decades, who went forth and around the globe to protect America and others from the horrors of fascism and dictatorship.
We already knew that he ‘preferred people who didn’t get captured’ in wartime, but we didn’t yet know that he thought that those who chose to serve were suckers, and those that became injured, prisoners of war, or who died for the cause, were losers, until the recent release of his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen’s, new tell-all book.
But I think what came as the deepest gut punch was the realization that the elected and nominal ‘leader of men’ is completely unable to understand the selflessness and patriotism of those that gave their lives in service to their country. For trump, everything is transactional. Even love of country.
“I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Trump asked as he stood by the grave of General John Kelly’s son, killed in combat.
But even as we reeled in horror from the blatant entitlement of a creature who had himself medically deferred from serving, not once, but five times, there was another sucker punch waiting in the wings.
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward, half of the dynamic duo that brought down Nixon by exposing the Watergate scandal, released a new book detailing his late night, and uncensored chatty chats with the POTUS. And oh lordy, there were tapes.
Considering that trump is said not to drink alcohol, it’s hard to understand the ‘in vino veritas’ nature of his confidences. Was he bragging when he leaked top secret military information on future armaments to someone with no security clearance? Did he think that confessing his complicity in covering up Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s role in the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an American resident and journalist, would make him look like a strongman?
And most of all, did he care at all about the consequences of concealing exactly how deadly COVID-19 was, from the American people, whom he’d sworn an oath to defend?
The tapes confirm that trump knew that the virus was especially deadly in early February, even as he publicly told American citizens that there was nothing to worry about, and that the 15 official cases the U.S. currently had would soon be down to just a handful.
“It goes through the air. That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breath the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” Trump told Woodward.
In front of a South Carolina rally, just two days later, he told the crowd that the virus was just the Democrats’ ‘new hoax.”
On March 19, trump told Woodward that he “wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Strange words indeed from the man who has whipped up the fears of Americans daily – even hourly – since coming down the escalator to announce his intent to run for president, to save Americans from the ‘carnage’ about to befall them due to immigrants, people of colour, transsexuals, bathrooms, suburbs, and Muslims.
In March, trump also confided to Woodward that some “startling facts” had just come out about the virus’ targets. “It’s not just old, older. Young people, too, plenty of young people.”
It’s been a long year, so remind me .. when exactly did trump begin exhorting the nation to re-open it’s doors, in order to save ‘his’ economy? Oh right.. that would have been before Easter – April 12th this year.
And when did he begin demanding that kids, whom he claimed where virtually immune to the virus, prepare to return to schools?
July 6, 2020: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” he tweeted, and repeated again and again as the weeks went by, adding threats to withhold federal funds should the schools not obey his mandate.
Trump lied. People died. Trump lied to protect his ratings. He lied to get re-elected. He lied because he put his own needs above the needs of every single one of the 331 million Americans under his mantle. He lied, and he golfed, and he lied some more and golfed some more.
When confronted with his lies, trump began to spin like an intoxicated top. First, he insisted that his reticence to tell the people the extent of the virus was due to his reluctance to start a panic.
Imagine how very different the world would look today if, when the first bombs began to fall on London, Winston Churchill had told the people of England not to worry, because the Nazis would be gone by the spring. But that didn’t happen, because Churchill had faith in the British people. Trump did NOT have faith that the American people could cope with a pandemic.
Next, he tried to paint himself as some sort of cheerleader of the people. Let’s look back at Exhibit A, shall we? If you don’t trust your people enough to believe they could handle news of a pandemic .. just how ‘cheery’ are you? Time to turn in the pom poms, Missy.
And yet, even as over 6 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, with 4000 new infections and 1000 new deaths being tabulated every single day, with nearly 200,000 Americans tucked into body bags, and new estimates for year end rising to as high as 450,000, trump is still not telling his deluded base the truth, still mocking others for wearing masks and attempting to protect themselves from infection.
Despite the truth now being evident that children are not only carriers, but can themselves become ill and die, trump is not calling for the schools to be shut down, or ensuring public health standards are met, but instead, continues to pretend that all is well.
It’s as if he’s a starry-eyed seven-year-old at a Peter Pan pantomime matinee, still believing that if we all clap our hands, Tinkerbelle will come back to life, along with all those innocents he’s murdered through criminal negligence.
It’s mid September – just 50 plus days away from what will most assuredly be a memorable election on November 3rd.
For those who still wonder if he should be given the chance he’s requesting, to be re-elected so that he might, in effect, have a ‘do over’ … so that this time, he might actually accomplish one good thing for the American people NOT in the 1%, it must be remembered that his years in office have sent the economy into a tailspin, and millions to food banks and hostels; that he’s willfully and maliciously mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic, while also attempting to bribe the Ukrainian Government into investigating a political rival, and begging China to help him in his quest for re-election. He’s supported white nationalist, white supremacist, racist causes while endorsing conspiracy theories about political opponents and minorities, withheld funds to states he believes have not shown enough gratitude to him, and kissed Kim Jung Un’s ass – possibly with tongue. And that he’s told over 20,000 verified lies.
He’s separated untold thousands of children from their parents, and confined them in cages, where they have shivered, alone, untended, and unmedicated, to the point where some have died. He’s already been impeached, although his Republican colleagues refused to actually throw him out of office, due to their fear of his tweets and threats.
He’s continued to work to overturn policies that might attempt to mitigate climate change, and fired or silenced climate scientists, even as the west burns, and the south floods. He sold out the Kurds to suck up to Erdogan, and ignored North Korea’s building of a nuclear arsenal. He assigned unqualified and incompetent minions to prime positions, and assigned them to tear down the foundations of American government. He has yet to confront Putin over allegations that Russia is paying Afghan militants bounties to murder U.S. troops.
He and his family have illegally used the White House grounds, personnel, and the military for partisan political events, for his own benefit, but paid for by taxpayer dollars. He’s used his presidential powers to enrich himself, his family, and his friends. He’s foisted unqualified judges upon the nation, which alone will ensure a continuation of his racist, bigoted, and misogynistic policies for decades to come.
And he’s left the country holding their breath in fear for what will happen in the days leading up to Election Night, and what will happen after that, regardless of who wins the presidential race. It is pretty much a given that he will claim fraud of some sort, and rally his motley crue of toothless, but heavily armed ‘militias’ to come to his defence.
The election, like the one in 2000, may very well end up decided in the Supreme Court, at which point we can only hope that Chief Justice John Roberts, with his swing vote, will have the power to either save American democracy, or not allow the nation to lapse into chaos and possibly Civil War.
So, yeah – good to be back in the saddle, fellow babies. Strap in. It’s gonna be a helluva ride ….
There’s only a few more weeks left of summer, before we get that Fall-ing feeling again.
That’s quite a while, in these troubled times. Kind of makes you wonder how different our world will look by then. After all, it’s certainly seemed like every day for the last few years has been an endless, nauseating, roller coaster ride. Fires, floods, droughts, plagues, economic turmoil, murder hornets – kind of frightening to think what might be next.
Take, for instance, daily life since March 2020. Experts say that if the United States had just followed three simple rules – wash your hands, keep a social distance from others, and when you can’t, wear a mask – it could have prevented at least 90% of the deaths of the 163,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 to date.
Which seems a pretty small ’ask,’ really. But somehow, that little, common-sense ask got politicized and weaponized. Now, those who are just as likely to become ill or die from this virus as those whom they disdain for being ‘sheeple,’ are in equal danger from the great unwashed and unmasked. Strangely, the virus doesn’t ask to see your voting preferences, or your SAT scores.
When the first trickles of information began dribbling in, back in March, about a new and potentially deadly epidemic being on its way, most people were motivated to go into ‘self-protection’ mode. A lot of us spent a lot of money on canned goods, medications, and toilet paper. Masks were hard to find, and even those cheap paper masks, like you’d wear at a doctor’s office, were a little pricey. But that was okay, because no one knew what would happen next in this ‘novel’ corona virus. We were playing it by ear. Most would prefer to be safe than sorry.
You’d have thought that preppers, and those who have been anticipating some sort of apocalyptic, dystopic, end of days would have been delighted to have a chance to give their hoards and bunkers a work out. But surprisingly few were enthusiastic about weathering an ACTUAL crisis.
Still, people coped. Those who survived the Great Toilet Paper Wars got crafty, with some generous souls showing others how a simple mask could be fashioned from just about any material, for next to nothing. Others got smart, and figured out how to turn a buck by selling their fashion masks to non-crafty people for major coin.
Predictably, trump decided that he had to be the figurehead in the fight against this ‘invisible enemy’ that he dubbed the China Virus. His meddling only roiled the waters, drove his cult to new heights of insanity, lead the gullible to drink bleach, and put the lives of those attempting to save American lives in danger.
All things considered, Canada has been pretty good, in a minimal sense, during this crisis. Really, I don’t blame anyone, either in government or in the sciences, for a response that has been merely ‘good.’ None of us – not even the most knowledgeable scientists, researchers, or doctors, even specialists in virology or respirology – could have anticipated all that we’ve come to learn about this particular virus, even within the last six months. It is NOVEL – and that means, it’s never happened before. Some nations had generic pandemic responses in place, and ready to go (notably, trump had disbanded those offices in the US long before the epidemic began) but what they had to work with on this new infection basically amounted to “Don’t forget your towel.”
But I do say minimal, because, both in Canada and the US, there was a serious lack of governments able to ‘say what they mean and mean what they say.’ It was clear, right from March, that controlling a world wide pandemic was going to take a steely will, and a populace that understood not only the seriousness of the disease, but the need to pull together, as nations, and as humanity, in order to beat the infection into submission.
In those countries with a strong right-wing political arm, even here in Canada, with a Liberal prime minister, there was a fear that actually letting the populace know the extent of the potential danger might cause the worst human traits to emerge – selfishness, hoarding, and panic.
They also worried that ‘telling people what to do’ as in, mandating the use of masks for the good of public health, would be – and sadly, is – considered governmental over-reach.
The nations that took that mandate seriously – all of which, strangely, had women leaders – did the best. Their people tightened their belts, stayed home, wore the masks, and took the economic hit, early in Phase One. Those countries are back to almost normal.
But those countries governed by a male, right wing leader, sadly, took the biggest hits, lost the most people, and continue to struggle as summer fades, and we begin to dread the very real possibility that a Second Wave hitting this winter, combined with seasonal cold and flus, could completely overwhelm available health care, resulting in a new tsunami of unnecessary illness and deaths.
For those of us who are lucky to be least affected by this pandemic, it’s often hard to grasp the magnitude of the disease, the suffering of those that fall to it, and, perhaps even worse than mere death, the possibility of having one’s heart, lungs, liver, and/or kidneys be significantly and permanently impaired, despite having ‘survived’ a full-fledged bout of COVID.
For those on pensions or governmental benefits, those who were able to work from home with little problem, and those in high levels of management, both business and political, there has been a very minor discomfort involved with the pandemic. If anything, the drop in foot and car traffic has been a boon. The middle class are not in peril.
But minimum wage employees, the ‘essential workers’ who were the ones called upon to ensure that the wheels kept turning, and that the groceries, pharmacies, and beer stores stayed open, those people were the ones that were sent out as ‘tributes’ to the disease.
Health care workers, including ambulance drivers, EMTs, nurses and doctors are very much represented in the list of the fallen as well.
To that, we’ll soon be adding our children, their teachers, all of the support staff in the schools, and, of course, those the children will be physically closest to, their families.
Meanwhile, no upper management, and certainly very, very few political representatives, have returned to work. And even those who do, do so with extreme reluctance, and caution, along with demands that more attention be paid to the protection of their health, than to the job they’re hired to do.
I blame both the government, AND the media, for not doing what they have done so well in past national crises – putting a human face to the fear, anger, pain and uncertainty that the populace are experiencing. By essentially turning a blind eye to the emotional component of the pandemic, by focusing on the numbers of the dead, over the number of the ill or recovering, they’ve enabled an open season on the kind of anti-science and anti-mask sentiment that has been instilled in so many.
And for a huge proportion of those actively disseminating lies, half-truths, and propaganda – you’ve got to blame social media, and the trolls, bots, and right-wing operatives who lurk there, spreading these dangerous falsehoods to the gullible.
There are human beings behind those numbers of ill, recovering, and deceased. And yet, very few people within my own social circle know more than one of the deceased, personally.
And because there’s been so little footage and reportage of how gruesome it is to become ill from COVID, so little information about those who have spent weeks, or months, in hospital, on a ventilator, attempting to recover, there’s a huge mass of unmasked, ignorant, and woefully uninformed, future Darwin Award winners, out in public, putting us all in danger of catching the virus.
It’s denial, just like people experience when they are told that they or a loved one has a terminal illness. First, there’s denial, a jaw-dropping recognition that this bad thing can happen to ME, despite my being ME.. Denial, and then anger, that it’s happening to ME.
Happens all over the planet, several times a day. But the difference in this particular diagnosis – and one shared with those who refuse to accept that the climate is changing – is that, instead of having a kindly doctor, or someone you trust and respect, guiding you through this horrible realization, and helping you to make good decisions on how to proceed, there’s half a planet willing to tell you lies about what happens next, and how you’re really over-reacting. It will all be fine. Most of those voices denying reality do NOT have your best interest top of mind.
And governments that are urging schools to reopen, in the name of the economy, are really, really, really not looking out for your best interest, or your child’s.
We’ve gotten used to a way of thinking that doesn’t really differentiate between jobs we want to do, and slave labour. Either way, the average workie is beholden to their position, until they can find something better. So, if the government decides that greasing the economy’s wheels means that anyone without big money or big power had better get their shoulder back to the wheel, the workers are going to have to do so, regardless of their health concerns.
For many, this means that they’ve got to get the kids back to school so that the adults can get back to work, and keep an income flowing, in order to keep their place in the economic order. Keeping a roof over one’s head, keeping food in everyone’s belly – those are basic needs for everyone.
While parents try to parse through the logistics, they’re being bombarded with distractions, and coaxed to believe that the advantages of socialization of the kids outweighs the very real possibility that the physical return to school will not only be dangerous for all concerned, but that the new constraints on behaviour within the classes may turn their children against the idea of schooling permanently.
And that means that parents, despite their fears of what might happen, what will ensue down the line, when the kids inevitably bring home illness for the whole family to share, are fighting back the anxiety that is telling them that using their precious children as the canaries in the COVID coalmine is insanity, and doomed to failure.
Our children are our future. Our children need education, but they need to live long enough, hopefully with live parents, to graduate and join the work force themselves at some point. THAT is how economies work. Sacrificing our young to keep today’s economy going is surrendering the nation’s economic future.
Saddest of all, it’s looking like even those in charge know that they’re really only throwing your kids’ lives against the wall to see what sticks. They already know that there will be illness, amongst the students and staffs, and that the logistics of trying to keep the kids apart, and wearing masks, is a near-impossibility.
Reading between the lines, even those most adamant for the kids to return to school are well aware that the odds greatly favour closure of those same schools sooner rather than later. Such a lot of worry, time and money wasting, all to feed the economic machine.
Yes, none of us knows what will be, although all of us think we’d like a quick peek at the future.
For now, we wait, disempowered, disenfranchised, and disoriented at the dizzying changes to our world in this Year of Our Lord 2020.
See you in September, the good lord willing, and the creek don’t rise..
When you’re a kid that is being bullied, the only thing you can really do is wait for the day that the bully graduates and finally leaves you alone.
I got bullied A LOT in school. I was always the scrawny street rat. My sister, five years younger, was even scrawnier. We were poor, lived in a rough neighbourhood, and for a few years, had only the protection of a single mum, in a world where two parents were the norm. We weren’t very well dressed, and didn’t have the kind of clothes the ‘cool kids’ wore. We were ‘different.’ I spent a lot of time defending Jodi from bullies of her own age, and then went to class, and dealt with my own bullies.
In the fifties and sixties, kids were expected to suck it up, pretty much. If we told an adult, we were ‘tattle tales.’ If a bigger kid hurt us, and we cried, grownups usually just told us to ‘grow a pair,’ ‘get over it,’ if you can’t take this, how will you survive in the real world?’ Schools tended to turn a blind eye, if the bully was someone on a sports team, a “Big Man on Campus.” It was just expected that those big kids would need to ‘blow off some steam,’ and if you got in their way, well, you should have known better. That toilet swirlie was totally your own fault, Pointdexter.
Did you know that there is actually a ‘type’ of personality that bullies, sexual predators, and serial killers prefer to prey upon? It’s usually the outsider, the one that’s not like the others. The one that doesn’t have a lot of friends. They’ll be the introvert, with a heightened sensitivity to ridicule. Quiet by nature, these kids tend to be highly vulnerable to conflict, and are prone to sustaining life-long trauma from experiences that another child might just laugh off.
This type of person grows up to be a little fearful of authority, since appeals for justice rarely helped, in their view. Even as adults, they’ll be the quieter, shyer person in the office, the one who seems passive, a little weak. They may feel insecure, and that they are inferior to others.
A bully smells that kind of personality from miles away. They see the averted gaze, the fidgety hands and feet of their prey, and will zero in with surgical precision.
If, lord help you, you married a bully in those days, the police would be of no help; domestics were left to households to sort out on their own. Windows adorned with lace curtains would often conceal the battered woman within.
Many bullies grow up to become abusive spouses and parents. Since they generally have an inflated sense of self, and believe that they are superior to others in all ways, a captive audience at home is a real gift. After eight hours of office bullying, they’re happy to go home and kick around the partner/kids/pets. Since they believe themselves ‘above it all’ by virtue of superiority, they see nothing wrong with terrorizing the occupants of their home. This type of bully is particularly contemptuous of any person, adult or child, who challenges their opinions and beliefs.
The worst kind of grown up bully is the sociopath. They are the most destructive creatures of all, with a complete lack of empathy for anyone but themselves. Experts at manipulating the emotions of others, they tend to somehow still rise to positions of power, where their cruelty is often aided and abetted by those who sense that they can ride his coattails to move up the ranks as well.
The very worst kind of bully is a narcissistic sociopath who grows up and is elected as the head of a nation, surrounds himself with other bullies, and then torments the most vulnerable people until he is finally deposed. Usually with extreme prejudice.
“Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds and marks any heart not tough or strong enough.”
I often think about how we baby boomers survived our formative years. Those years and attitudes shaped us, and made us into the men and women we are today, in our sixties and seventies. Many of us have never really progressed, emotionally, from those days.
While today’s kids are raised by ‘helicopter parents,’ entertained with high end game systems (that Dad uses after they’ve gone to bed) and are taught in schools where aggressiveness is discouraged, bullies are expelled, and corporal punishment is but a distant memory, Grammy and Grampa often still carry a very different image of what it means to be a child and student.
The harsh and severe ways children endured in classes in the past is not at all what kids today expect or receive. So, when Grammy and Grampa are encouraging the grandkids to pull up their big boy or big girl pants, stop being such little wusses, put on a mask, and head off to school in this time of COVID, Grammy and Grampa are talking thru their blue hair. And they’re wrong.
Within the Conservative government (in Canada) and the Republican party (in the US) there is an impassioned need for a restarting of the economy. I mean, we all want things to get back to ‘normal,’ but it’s the right leaners who hit that gong the hardest, because, frankly, they have nothing else to tout. Neither the CONS nor the GOP have anything good to hold up to the average person when elections roll around, because they spend most of their time in office in partisan fights over how best to defund and privatize entities put into place by much leftier leaning governments in the past.
So – the economy is their shining idol, their Golden Calf. It is only by pointing to a healthy GDP, and a galloping stock market (which helps, primarily, only those with money to invest) that they can justify their time in office.
Since the onset of COVID, right leaning politicians in the ‘Free World’ have attempted to deflect from the seriousness of the illness. Trump, Pence, most of the GOP, along with Boris Johnson in the UK, and Bolsonaro in Brazil, have decried the use of masks, literally embracing patients, ill with the virus, as though their manly manliness would protect them from infection. BoJo found out the hard way that he was wrong. So did Bolsonaro. Trump and Pence have so far escaped the disease, but several of their admin have succumbed, with Herman Cain, once a presidential hopeful, passing away just this week, after attending a trump rally, maskless.
What do all of these (male) politicians have in common? They are all baby boomers, raised with that rough and tumble, let the chips fall where they may, suck it up, boys will be boys mentality. AND – they are all leaders of countries where COVID got a good strong toe hold early on, and refuses to let go. (Although the UK is doing better than either the US or Brazil, perhaps because it is a smaller, island nation.)
We’ve heard a lot about trump’s insistence on schools reopening in the US this fall. Regardless of reality, science, or the growing death toll, trump believes that it is only by sacrificing children, teachers, administrators and support staff that he can bring back his vaunted economy. So .. into the volcano they must go, to take their places with the ambulance drivers, EMT techs, nurses, and doctors that died because of a lack of protective gear.
Under the pretext of being in the best interests of children, the GOP in the US are claiming that it is only by the grace of teachers in their schools that many American children are fed, soothed, get health care, are monitored for physical for sexual abuse, and are, overall, protected from harm.
However, schools and teachers in the US have been consistently underfunded, year after year, to the point where these same underpaid teachers are often subsidizing not only the needs of their classrooms, but of their students. And that’s not right, not in a country that can hand over trillions to corporate interests without blinking.
The gun trump’s holding to the heads of the parents of the students is that the children must be physically present in school, or he’ll take away all funding … unemployment, school funding, lord knows what else. He’s a bully, so he’s prepared to take it all, and leave them nothing, not even enough to bury their precious children.
I ask myself – how many Americans need to be sacrificed to the Republican Gods of Ignorance, before they are satisfied? Is it a half million? A million? Ten million men, women and children who never needed to die, had trump taken a firm leadership role from the beginning, and lead from the front, instead of bullying from the rear?
The only leadership America has at all on how to deal with the virus is the venerable Dr Anthony Fauci, and rather than heed and respect his advice, trump and his goons prefer to pick fights with him, and bully this man with so much more knowledge than they’ll every acquire in their lifetimes.
Fox’s snippy little Pekinese, the smarmy Tucker Carlson, has this to say about a disgusting attack upon Fauci from Jim Jordan, a hyperactive jerk and ex-jock who appears to be the poster boy for steroid abuse, exemplifying the sort of discourteous disrespect trump encourages amongst his little band of incompetent trolls and ogres.
Meanwhile, a feckless Republican party looks on, mouth breathing, refusing to extend financial protections to the 54 million unemployed Americans, 28 million of them in danger of becoming homeless, and swans off for a long summer weekend, while thousands line up at food banks, desperate for a handout. Every single member of the GOP is complicit in the abuse of American citizens.
It’s like a horrific, real life Truman Show. They are ‘experimenting’ … making American children, students, the canaries in the COVID coal mine. We know what will happen, but for some reason, these fiends want to see the dead bodies for themselves. Some of the most vulnerable Americans – children, seniors, the homeless, the disabled, those that most need federal help – are the pawns in this grotesque reality show, where the millions in cash prizes only flow upwards to trump supporters.
American children, the poor, and minorities are being abused by the most powerful man on the planet. It’s tantamount to genocide. It’s a death cult, where trump is playing the role of Jim Jones, and COVID is the Kool-Aid.
It was revealed this weekend that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, who had assumed a role in the White House’s pandemic response, oversaw a secret project to devise a comprehensive plan that would have massively ramped up and coordinated testing for COVID-19 at the federal level.
That response was abandoned in March, however, apparently because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert. (VanityFair, August 1, 2020)
Trump suppressed access to test-kits, forcing the states to bid against each other to acquire test-kits on the world market.
Apparently Kushner and his band of merry psychopaths were unaware that there are Republicans, trump voters, in all 50 states, even the blue ones. But his actions, apparently with the approval of the trump administration and leadership, prove that no one – not even the most fanatical, gun-toting, Confederate flag-waving, MAGA wearing, trump cultist is safe from either COVID-19 or the sadistic, self-centered, cruelty of the White House occupant.
Like many, I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a young child. Poor old JoeBtfsplk, the Andy Capp character who lived under a cloud at all times, had nothing on me. I had an ulcer by the time I was ten years old, and toyed with the idea of suicide throughout my teens.
Sadly, that’s not at all unusual. Right now, there are people all around you struggling with sadness and fear, and often those sufferers can’t really put a finger on why they feel like they do, or what they can do to stop feeling so miserable. Over 7% of people in North America admit to suffering from depression, and, amongst those in the 15-29 age range, suicide is the leading cause of death.
It’s the famous ‘Black Dog,” a state of depression characterized by a lack of will to do anything. A lack of dopamine stimulating pleasure centres of the brain.Anhedonia. Reduced motivation. A reduction of anticipatory pleasure (wanting), reduced consummatory pleasure (liking), and deficits in reinforcement learning. In short, a really unpleasant way to go through life.
And yet – there’s still so much stigma around admitting that you have a mental health issue. It’s almost the last taboo. People will confess to murder or drug trafficking before they’ll admit they’re barely able to get out of bed – even to get more drugs.
For the last couple of decades, many of us have been told that our depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I understand why that happened – my hunch is that doctors and social scientists wanted to have some ‘real’ bogeyman to pin the tail on the depression donkey. But in truth, it’s a very, very small percentage of depressives that can be helped by treating a chemical imbalance. And yet, most doctors will first experiment on our poor brains, trying this or that drug, before looking to see if there could be some other explanation for this aching sadness.
Pills didn’t work for me. I tried more than a few, from the mildest to the heaviest. But once I realized that they weren’t helping, and that I could very well instead develop an addiction to them, to add to my other addictions, and thus create yet another reason to be depressed, I ditched the meds.
In truth, for many, depression and anxiety are not caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains. It is far more likely that we’re attempting to deal with crippling social issues that we cannot control or rise above. Situational depression is very often why we’re so scarily morose and unable to cope with life.
In a recent book called Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression & the Unexpected Solutions, award-winning journalist Johann Hari described how, after years of research, travel to countries with wildly different attitudes and treatments for depression, and after documenting multiple experiments, he uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety. That led him to scientists who are working on seven very different solutions, that appear to be having more success than the treatments used in the past.
His first epiphany came when he realized that every one of the social and psychological causes of depression and anxiety had something in common; they were all forms of disconnection. In each case, they were situations in which we feel cut off from something we innately need, but seemed to have lost in the course of our lives.
“We need to feel we belong to a group; we need to feel we have a stable future; we need to feel that we are valued; we need to feel we have meaning and purpose in our lives.”
While two of these causes are biological, the rest Johann discovered were related to social and personal disconnection.
The other causes of depression include:
Disconnection from others
Disconnection from childhood trauma
Disconnection from meaningful work
Disconnection from meaningful values
Disconnection from status
Disconnection from a hopeful future
Disconnection from nature
Mr. Hari describes nine solutions for resolving cultural disconnection, all of which involve social and cultural reconnection. By reconnecting with the most important pillars of our lives – what we consider our values, our purpose, and what work we consider meaningful, and by reaching out to our friends, families, and communities, we can improve our mental health, while elevating our relationship with, and hopes for, our futures.
Hari believes that the meaning of ‘antidepressant’ should be expanded from simply meaning a chemical antidepressant, to anything that makes people feel less depressed and anxious.
However, he cautions, “For something as devastating as depression—the worst thing I have ever been through—we need every strategy and tool on the table.”
In putting together this column, I looked up some current information on how Americans are handling the chaos of the trump administration. These figures show the past year’s prevalence of major depressive episode among U.S. adults aged 18 or older in 2017.
An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults.
The prevalence of major depressive episode was higher among adult females (8.7%) compared to males (5.3%).
The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (13.1%).
The prevalence of major depressive episode was highest among adults reporting identifying as being of two or more races (11.3%).
North Americans are indeed experiencing more depressive episodes, in the last five years. It seems like the combination of politics and mental health is not … healthy.
“The American Psychiatric Association reported that from 2016 to 2017, the proportion of adults who described themselves as more anxious than the previous year was 36 percent. In 2017, more than 17 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode, as did three million adolescents ages 12 to 17.Forty million adults now suffer from an anxiety disorder — nearly 20 percent of the adult population. (These are the known cases of depression and anxiety. The actual numbers must be dumbfounding.)
The really sorrowful reports concern suicide. Among all Americans, the suicide rate increased by 33 percent between 1999 and 2017.” (The New York Tmes, January 2020)
I dread seeing the figures for the years 2018—2020 when they are finally released. There has simply never been a harder time for many people, suffering under the multiple burdens of a global pandemic, a collapsing economy, a lack of equality, and a dawning recognition that the ‘normal’ we took for granted most of our lives, is really only beneficial to a small percentage of the population … and that doesn’t include you or me.
I highly recommend Lost Connections for anyone seeking to understand a little more about their own depression, and how to see, and understand, the ‘hurt’ so many of us live with on a daily basis. Kindness only kills when we deny it to ourselves and others.