I’m Afraid of Americans


by Roxanne Tellier

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.

Notorious RBG and a Last Wish


by Roxanne Tellier

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. .  

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

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.

Because it does.