What Do You Miss the Most?

by Roxanne Tellier

A couple of weeks into the start of the COVID pandemic, I asked my husband if he’d have done anything differently before we entered lockdown, now that we had a little experience with this way of life. We kicked around a few thoughts, but it all being so new, he couldn’t really think of much he could have done to prepare.

We’re pretty low maintenance. We’re retired, have a very small place stuffed with the goods of a lifetime of (my) conspicuous consumption, and really don’t need much to get by. But need is not want, and want is what drives our capitalistic society, which we are all a part of, whether we want to be or not. 

The pandemic made me realize that what I missed most about my pre-COVID life was the ability to do the things I had taken for granted – the ability to move through my city freely, meet with friends and family when I wished, stop for a coffee or lunch break without having to check that the location was open, and shopping leisurely without worrying about having to line up for entry first.

Oh, and to find an open public washroom when nature called. That turned out to be one of the little amenities most of us had never had to consider in the past.

I’ve lived in Canada all of my life, and I’ve seen things come and go, as times and society changes. I remember ashtrays affixed to supermarket carts, and when you only had to look up and around to find a clock attached to a wall, or a building, ticking away the hours of our lives. But for all the changes, both good and bad, that I’ve seen, what I’ve never seen is a curtailing of the basic things that keep Canada in the top or near top of “Best Places to Live” in the world.

We take our freedoms and rights for granted, rarely acknowledging how much work has gone into making Canada the free country others envy. Our ancestors mostly chose to leave the evils of their places of birth behind, and instead, to work together to create the society we enjoy today. Decade by decade, election by election, those who came before us made the health and well-being of citizens a priority, and they did it with the politeness that Canadians have always been famous for. 

What is the difference Why is Canada considered a Cultural Mosaic and not a Melting Pot Why is this important to our country’s population

We became a nation of shopkeepers, not a company of merchants. We were the vertical mosaic of different ethnic, language, regional and religious groupings, rather than the melting pot of America, where immigrants are expected to adopt and follow the American way, however it is currently defined. We retained our cultures and beliefs, and in a crisis, Canadians pulled together.

After one year of a global pandemic, the veneer of that civility is wearing thin. Oh sure, we appreciated those who sacrificed to keep us going, in the beginning, but as the months wore on, and as the information meted out to us morphed and changed as new knowledge about the virus was obtained, a lot of us started to show our fangs.

The constraints put upon us, to stay inside, wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, and get the vaccine when it is available, those strictures that once would have been the only responsible adult choice, have become just too ‘demanding’ for many of us to bear.

After a little more than a year of living under Covid, important lessons have been learned by some countries, and have been completely ignored in others.

A successful response to Covid-19 turned out to depend on more than a country’s wealth, scientific prowess and history of public health successes. The U.S. enjoys all of these advantages but mounted one of the worst responses to the pandemic: 1 in every 990 Americans has died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began. Bad politics, quite simply, can trump good public health.

Other developed countries that did well initially, such as Canada and some European nations, have faltered during the second or third surge of infections, because their governments and people grew tired of implementing effective strategies. In many Asian countries, it has long been common for people to wear masks when feeling ill, so they adopted masks early and widely. “ 

The Wall Street Journal, January 2021  

Taiwan profited from early action, and the provision of intensive financial support to the ill, and to contact tracing, which kept Taiwan to less than 800 cases by the end of 2020.

American Samoa never saw a single case or death from the virus, due to the territory calling a complete halt to all incoming passenger flights. While the 55,000 inhabitants have been isolated from the rest of the world, they have not had to implement any sort of closures, distancing, testing, or strain on their health care.  

New Zealand crushed the curve early, first, by being an island better able to enforce travel bans, and secondly, by an aggressive pandemic influenza plan that began in February of 2020. Implementing a country wide lockdown in late March of 2020 essentially eliminated the virus entirely. By June, New Zealand was pandemic free, with only a few cases coming from international travelers, who were kept in quarantine for two weeks post-arrival. Jacinda Arden, the NZ Prime Minister, must be congratulated for her use of clear communication that worked to increase her people’s willingness to cooperate for the betterment of the nation.

Finland, South Africa, and Germany fared well by relying on clear, concise communication, that allowed people to understand their risks, and shoved aside any acceptance of the concept of ‘fake news’ that would confuse their people. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for her citizens to have “patience, discipline and solidarity,” the three essentials to an effective pandemic response.  

“The European Dream” prize winning photo … Andrei Stenin

Many other countries, like Brazil, Moldova, India, Czechia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, have suffered far worse, with thousands of deaths, all while suffering with little modern conveniences or health care to give any comfort.  

In Canada, a very large segment of Canadians, a very large and VOCAL segment, did not take much of a financial hit. Those who had a decent job, with benefits, were generally in position to simply move their office into their home, thru the miracle of the internet and ZOOM. In fact, that group is said to have accrued quite a lot of extra money they didn’t expect to have, due to the lack of restaurants to visit, vacations allowed to be taken, and a focus on shopping by mail, rather than in person.

Scotiabank polled over 1,500 Canadians to learn more about their saving and spending habits since the pandemic began and found that one in four Canadians (25%) have been able to save more because of reduced spending in other areas of their lives. Canadians who are saving more say they are spending less on: eating out (75%), entertainment (81%), clothing and apparel (58%), and commuting costs (41%).  Also, more than a third (37%) who are putting more money aside have made saving a priority since COVID-19.” 

(Scotiabank Newsletter, November 2020)

For the first time in 50 years, I stopped spending about $50 every four weeks to get my hair coloured, and discovered that my ‘real’ hair colour made me look like a cross between a Shih Tzu and Blanche from Golden Girls.  

Lots of other people – those whom we call ‘essential’ but pay as if they aren’t – were the human tinder we threw on COVID’s fire. In March of 2020, people all over the world were urged to ‘make some noise’ to honour healthcare workers, by going onto our porches or balconies, or throwing open our windows to cheer, applaud, and bang pots. That lasted a few months, but as time wore on, I guess we just decided we didn’t really care how many of those in the healthcare field were exhausted or dying from having to care for hundreds, then thousands, and eventually, millions, of sick people.

Hazard pay” for those low on the totem pole, but highly likely to become infected, was discontinued by the fall. We stopped being grateful for those minimum wage earners who staffed the groceries, pharmacies, and Big Box stores, and started demanding that they serve us as though we were management, and they were grovelling for a raise in salary.

We cared about the seniors and sick who were dying by the hundreds, until it meant that the day when we had planned to get a haircut was pushed forward, again and again, until many of us just took the clippers to our manes and had at it, because, really, who would see it when you hadn’t anywhere you were allowed to go?

The herd immunity that initially shocked people by it’s callous cruelty, started to sound good to those who didn’t care how many had to die to get there, as long as it wasn’t themselves, and it meant that they could get out to see a band or a sports match. 

For a very short time, some businesses cared about those who were chafing under the pressure, those who made their living doing jobs that barely covered their needs during normal times, now having their hours drastically cut, while still being ineligible for supplements like CERB.

Ontario Hydro lowered their rates, but decided, in the fall, that they’d done enough to help, and that profits over people were more important.

““Last fall, our government introduced customer choice for all Ontario customers; we encourage customers who continue to work from home who are still paying time-of-use electricity rates to consider switching to the tiered rate option, offering a flat rate at all hours of the day,” the spokesperson from the Ministry of Health told Daily Hive. 

They added that customers who are unable to pay their electricity bills due to COVID-19 can apply to the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) through their local utility. We have recently expanded eligibility for the CEAP program and residential customers can now receive up to $750 in direct electricity-bill relief.” 

The Daily Hive

Rents and mortgage rates, controlled provincially, have been entangled in regulations that have left many wondering if that roof over their head would be there in the near future, and at what cost. Banks upped their rates, eagerly collecting all those one-dollar-a-transaction fees from those being asked to make their purchases with bank debit cards rather than cash.

As the new year dawned, many companies, large and small, raised their prices and rates to reflect that they’d suffered financial losses in 2020, while ignoring the corollary, that their users and buyers had suffered just as much, if not more, in a turbulent economy.

This week, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford added even more severe restrictions on Ontarians, some of which make little sense, from the standpoint of those in the medical field already coping with a flood of sick patients. Social scientists and medical professionals have called his latest declarations “an abandonment of science and common sense,” and warn that we will see “a completely foreseeable and preventable tragedy play out in this province.” 

Like a bad parent, unable to control a wayward child, Ford’s reliance on the ‘grounding’ of citizens is backfiring. Continually backing people into a corner only works for so long, before even the meekest amongst us will come out fighting.

Tippy toeing around the necessity for masking, and waiving fines for the scofflaws not only not masking, but organizing large super spreader events, has made even the most compliant of good citizens show their teeth.

And here’s the problem – we don’t have any answers, any other options. All the things we shoulda coulda done from the onset, including school, business, and airport closings, were off the table from the start in an attempt to appease Big Business, and keep the economy chugging along. 13 months in, the virus has dug deep into the soft under belly of its victims, and thrown off new, even more contagious and dangerous variants. Now, all we can do is hold on tight til the end of the ride.

At this point, there’s little we can do to stop this third wave beyond shutting down non-essential businesses and services, enforcing the necessary health mandates of masking and distancing, and getting ourselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

But I’m growing concerned that our leaders are oblivious to the roiling anger simmering underneath our lip service to containment that prioritized business over people, and the lack of policing of those who openly and publicly advocate and display civil disobedience that may prevent our country from ever completely eradicating this plague.

That, along with the pandemic fatigue that has left so many in pursuit of unrequited self-determination, and the sister pandemic of selfishness, may well be the death of many more of us.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that what COVID stole from me, what I miss more than anything else, is the belief that, in a crisis, Canadians would always pull together for the good of their country, and of their fellow Canadians. That’s something that I never thought I’d have to question. But it seems it only took a year of belt-tightening and restrictions to bring out the worst in too many of us.

My Fellow Americans

by Roxanne Tellier

It is believed that the first president to use the term “my fellow Americans” was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his Inaugural Address of 1933. 

That was noteworthy, because, prior to that address, the more common way to refer to the people on Inauguration Day was as ‘my countrymen,’ or ‘my fellow citizens.’  This was the first time a president had opted to include not just all of those present, but to recognize that all gathered there, or around their radios, were one people, “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Fellow Americans.

Every president since has managed to work the phrase into their speeches. It’s catchy, clickbait, if you will, guaranteed to confer the mantle of respectability to their words, even if their words were suspect or manipulative, as has often been the case.

Most of trump’s speeches, the official, archival version at least, began with the phrase. But, as a rule, those first three words put the lie to everything that came after, because if there was one thing trump specialized in, it was in dividing Americans. By the time he actually left the White House, he’d divided it so completely that there were only a handful of elected Republicans whom he considered the ‘real thing.’ The rest, those who disagreed with him, he dismissed as RINOs. (Republican in Name Only)    

This Saturday, the Democrats were able to pass a $1.9 trillion, comprehensive American Rescue Plan, that will hopefully begin to dig the nation out from under a disastrous year of disease and economic mayhem. The passing was never going to be a ‘done deal’ under any circumstances, but considering that every Democrat had voted to pass a much lighter version of the plan the year before, under Republican leadership, it was hoped that Republicans could show a similar decency in the recognition of the nation’s need, and work to get the funds out to those who needed it, in a timely fashion.

After all, this week marked a full year since most of North America began to shut down, and soon succumbed to the ravages of both a pandemic and an economic downturn.

Do you remember what it was like, in those first few months, when everyone was scared of catching this invisible new virus, and actually considered those working on the ‘front lines’ to be heroes?

Remember how people would come out of their enforced solitude to their porches and balconies around 7 or 7:30 pm every night, and start banging pots and pans to show their appreciation for the hundreds of frontline workers fighting the COVID-19 crisis?

Remember when some companies instituted ‘hazard pay’ for those ‘essential workers’ who had to be at the stores considered essential to our daily lives, masked and gloved, so as to protect themselves and others?

Do you remember when the Canadian government instituted the CERB supplement so that workers who could not work due to COVID had money to pay for food, rent and other essentials?

Remember when people started working from home, and Ontario Hydro actually reduced and capped their rates to give us a break from high costs?

Well, none of that is happening now, either here in Canada or down south in America. We’ve actually had it far better than the US, where more than half a million people have died, and more than 10 million are permanently out of work. In December 2020, 83 million plus Americans were struggling to pay bills or buy food, almost 40 million were facing eviction from their homes, and line ups at food banks around the country stretched for miles.

The American Rescue Plan should bring fresh hope to those suffering the effects of this crisis.

For people who make less than $75K a year, there will be one- time checks of $1400, as well as a supplement of $300 a week to federal unemployment benefits until September 2021.

State, local and tribal governments will share in $350 billion dollars, which means that essential services and workers, like police and firefighters, will be able to avoid job cuts. Schools will receive $130 billion, to allow safe re-entry for students, and to provide help with payments for food and rent for these institutions.

And most importantly for the future of the nation, the Plan could cut child poverty in half by the end of this year with its expansion of child tax credits, childcare subsidies and an expansion of food assistance.

Imagine that! Imagine that a nation’s children could be given a hand up and out of poverty, a true step to making a nation great in the right way – by allowing the next generation to grow up healthy and strong!

And imagine how empty and ugly a soul you’d have to have to decide that you couldn’t vote for that to happen, because it might make the new guy look better than your old guy.

My friend Lauren B. Davis recently put up an excerpt from a new book she’s written that is coming out in the fall, from Dundurn Press, titled Even So. That snippet contained a paragraph that struck me as a perfect allegory for the inexplicable fury that so many trump followers are displaying in reaction to the help that President Biden is trying to give their ‘fellow Americans’ in his Plan.

“Eileen did not tell Caroline about the time she was twelve, babysitting her little two-year-old cousin, and when the child would not stop crying Eileen had slapped him, hard, across the mouth. Oh, that terrible moment when, in shock, he’d stopped crying, his mouth and eyes wide and wild, and then, a wrenching moment later, the screaming had begun. Crying of an entirely different order, a wordless protest to the world’s cruelty and injustice and horror, having been betrayed by love for the first time. She’d done that, destroyed a child’s innocence, just like that, as her own had been destroyed by her mother with a similar slap. “  


“a wordless protest to the world’s cruelty and injustice and horror, having been betrayed by love for the first time.”

The vehemence and rage exhibited by the trumpCult, every day since the loss of the November election, right up to the violent ransacking of the Capitol on January 6th, fairly reeks of this sort of juvenile trauma. Having pinned every bit of themselves to the Golden Heifer, some cannot and will not accept trump’s loss of the presidency. The loss feels cruel and inhumane, and can only be countered by a furious lashing out at those denying them what they crave, reminiscent of the other-directed violence of the child soldiers of third world dictatorships.

For many, their 2016 vote for trump was a vote for a new America, one where every one could become rich beyond their wildest dreams, just by getting rid of those pesky minorities and laws that limited the wet dreams of venture capitalists and billionaires. The Trumpian future had no limits, no brakes, no guardrails. Everyone gets a pussy to grab, they rejoiced!  

Even as those that pinned their hopes to this glittering star began to notice the glitter falling from the gilt, they kept their spirits buoyed by parroting the slick excuses, lies, and alternate realities that the equally tanned and gilded talking heads of his administration and of FOX News ranted into their ears.

While it might have gotten just a little harder to believe in that red hat, as the years went by, and the country devolved into angry factions, the faithful really hadn’t anywhere else to go, emotionally. They’d pinned it all to a pipe dream, rubbed on the snake oil, drank the metaphorical Kool-Aid. There was nowhere to go but ….

… to the Capitol, on January 6th. Spurred on by the acolytes of the Mango Mussolini and his spawn, egged into violence by Giuliani and the My Pillow Guy, fist pumped into a belief in their own righteousness, certain only that their Lord and Savior had invited them into the hallowed halls, and that little things like laws,  security guards, doors, or windows weren’t gonna keep them from following his injunctions to ‘stop the steal!’ and to heed his admonishments of Pence’s lack of courage in failing to overturn the election by building a gallows on which they could hang the traitor to the cause.   

Dozens of those who heeded trump’s clarion call to sedition are now behind bars. They’re facing stiff penalties, but for many, even worse is the sad truth, that trump didn’t save them from the repercussions of their acts, and doesn’t seem to care that they gladly followed him, right off the cliff, just as he’d hoped they would. They still believe that they are the ‘true patriots,’ since they contend that trump actually won the election, thus making Biden an illegitimate president, to whom they owe no loyalty.

The beliefs of a deluded few would be easy to disregard, were it not for the awful truth; 74 million Americans voted for trump in November 2020. That’s 10 million more votes than he’d received in 2016, an extraordinary jump in just four years, and unprecedented, in a country that doesn’t regard voting as much of a sacred duty at all.

While many of those voters were frightened enough by the events of January 6th to finally become disenchanted and disillusioned by trump’s thirst for power at any price, he’s still a strong force in the Republican party, and shows no sign of going away quietly.

Which leads to the biggest problem facing America today.

The Democrats can create and implement plans and actions to heal the country through vaccines and financial supplements, but there’s no antidote for the horrendous rift created by trump and his cronies, who successfully carved up the country into hostile factions, and continue to sow seeds of outrage and anger against the duly elected government.

There’ll be no real civil relief until trump and his Republican allies renounce and rebuke the Big Lie, that the election was stolen from him, through fraudulent voting and accounting, and that he, not Joe Biden, is the legitimate president.

The country will remain split in half as long as the trump faction continue to insist on their ‘alternative truth.’ Trump’s anti-democratic actions, will inevitably double down on an anti-democratic agenda that can only and inevitably end in a civil war

… and the possibility of no future president being able to truthfully address the American people as his  ‘fellow Americans.’

Eye Saw the Light

by Roxanne Tellier

I’m not a big fan of this ‘aging’ stuff. But unfortunately, dealing with all the things that can go wrong as our bodies mature beats the snot out of the alternative.

Sometimes the drama of politics has to take a number and wait for my attention. This was one of those weeks. I had some routine cataract surgery that didn’t go as well as planned, and it took a lot of strong-arming to get that rectified.

I’ve long had the reputation of being the loudmouthed rebel, who takes no sh*t or prisoners, either for herself, or for those she loves. Not sure if it’s the Irish or the French in me, but that’s just the way I’ve always been. If you come for my people, you’d better come prepared for a fight.   

Trouble is, that kind of white knighting gets a little harder every year. After a while you start to pick your battles more carefully, and less often. It takes a lot of energy to mount a successful attack against authority, and energy isn’t as readily available when you’re already down a quart due to health issues.

I’ve always been aware and concerned about the treatment of seniors. You know, it’s only in my lifetime that Canada has had a social safety net. We didn’t even have a proper pension plan until 1965. Some would say we still don’t, especially if they’re trying to stretch out those few pension dollars to cover living in a modern world.

Our societies idolize youth and youth culture. When we’re young, we cannot imagine what it would be like to be old. Those ideas carry their own seeds of dissatisfaction; realizing that we’re aging means that we have become what we once disdained. This can lead to depression and poor self-esteem.

I’ve always been attuned to how our society can unwittingly ignore the needs of seniors, especially those without a significant income. If you’re not a productive member in a capitalist society, then you are often perceived as less worthy, since you are no longer part of the work force, nor likely to be putting a lot of your income into the economy, beyond your own basic needs.

We make a lot of assumptions as well, about what seniors are entitled to receive. That cataract surgery I mentioned? You better have a couple of thousand put aside if you’re hoping to see through those aging eyes; neither the surgery nor the expensive eye drops are covered by OHIP or the senior drug plan.

Seniors often feel invisible when they have to interact with others. Is it apathy or discrimination that leaves some to be unattended in stores, or has cashiers failing to realize that old hands can’t bag their own groceries as quickly as the hands of younger people?

Public transportation, with its unpredictability, and often with lurching movements, can be dangerous for old bones.  Interactions with people in governmental or health offices can be authoritarian hell holes, when bored or disinterested employees fail to hear or respond to the queries of those who are already a little confused by how these entities work.  

I’ve also seen some alarming prejudice against seniors, when even the slightest bit of advantage is accorded them. The TTC had to resort to handing out special buttons that said, “Please offer me a seat” to remind the able bodied riders of simple courtesy on transit.  And at my local Loblaws and Metro, I’ve seen white haired seniors on walkers who dared to shop outside of senior hours be told to ‘get to the back of the line.’

The effect of the pandemic and ensuing yearlong lockdown has exposed a lot of anger in those who believe that things could get back to normal, if only the able bodied didn’t have to ‘coddle’ the old and vulnerable.

When Sweden (and the trump administration) talked about relying on ‘herd immunity’ to combat COVID-19’s damage to the economy, they were twisting a scientific concept to fit an unspoken prejudice against the elderly and the vulnerable. True ‘herd immunity’ happens when about 70 to 90% of the population have either had a disease, or have been vaccinated against that disease.

While proponents of this theory always hastened to say that vulnerable citizens would be isolated and protected, that was belied by the proportion of victims who succumbed to the virus while in long term homes, ostensibly as isolated and protected as could be.  What Sweden, and White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas were proposing was to simply let the virus run free, effectively sacrificing those whom they considered a drain on society, in order to keep their economies running smoothly.

And that’s all too reminiscent of the dystopic 1973 film, “Soylent Green,” in which the protein that kept the citizens alive came from the bodies of those making a final sacrifice, in lieu of being a functioning cog in their society.

Ageism is now thought to be the most common form of prejudice. You can’t discriminate against people of other colours or creeds, but too often, older people are fair game.

We boomers now live in a world where the population aged 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups.  In a study conducted at the University of Alberta in 2019, researchers found that discrimination against older people is a growing problem that will require a social awakening, akin to the gay rights movement. It was recommended that Canada enact anti-ageism legislation, as Britain did several years ago with its Equality Act.

There’s a big personal impact. Children see older people being disrespected and grow up thinking they’re useless and then they find themselves turning 60 or 65. We don’t expect or encourage healthy aging; everybody who hits 65 thinks it’s all downhill from here.

“If they think they’re useless and boring, how negative is that for them and their family? They don’t exercise, they don’t volunteer, they don’t keep working if they want to, because they feel this discrimination. They don’t go out and find a new mate if their spouse dies because they think ‘I’m next.’ There’s both a societal and personal impact to internalized ageism.”

In reviewing all existing studies on the topic, Wilson discovered that 48 to 91 per cent of all older people surveyed experienced ageism, and 50 to 98 per cent of all younger people admitted to having discriminatory thoughts or behaviours toward older people.

“We have a rapidly aging population in Canada that will jump from 19 per cent of the current population to 26 per cent in 11 years, but we’re afraid of that fact. Based on ageism, we think they’re a drain on society, and that’s where a lot of the myths and long-standing prejudices arise.”

Yeah, yeah.  #NotAllOlderPeople. Everyone’s mileage may vary, based on a number of factors, including our personal circumstances, health, and finances.

Life’s funny – things can turn on a dime. The person enjoying good health, emotional support, and a healthy bank balance today can suffer misadventures that turn their reality on its head, tomorrow. That’s the thing about life – no one gets out alive.

While much of how we see the world has to do with our own attitude, it really does help when we feel like we’re equal and respected within our communities.  

In truth, getting old is mandatory, but feeling old is optional. I hope to keep my sh*tkickers polished and ready to go when needed, whether it’s to stand up to discrimination against me, or against you.

Just .. take it easy on those ‘little old lady’ jokes, mmmkay?

Coming Down from the Sugar High

In the last weeks of January, and into the first two weeks of February, I was floating. I would wake each day, nearly bounding out of bed, and ready to take on the world. We were counting down the days to Biden’s inauguration, and even the horrific attack on the Capitol on the 6th was but a speed bump, easily acknowledged by both Democrats and Republicans as an obvious and seditious attack on the Constitutionally mandated work of the Congress.

The Dems impeached trump AGAIN. Biden was inaugurated without incident. And with trump silenced by Twitter, life was sweet.

Sadly, however, a few weeks sans trump had left the GOP with a bad case of amnesia, and, just last week, they yawned like teenagers through video evidence of trump’s guilt, and voted to acquit. 

I think it was then that the bubble burst, the sugar wore off, and I succumbed to serious lunch bag letdown.

My mania was entirely predictable; the end of the madness was in sight. For nearly five years I’d been banging the drum about the dangers of an unstable American president. I had spent nearly five years constantly on high alert, and I wasn’t even American.

I am not alone. Many in the media have mentioned that they’re still adjusting to their ‘new normal,’ of being able to set their phones down for the night without waiting for that ‘ding’ that used to shake them from an uneasy sleep with the news that there’d been a new tweet, a new horrific proclamation, a new addition to the litany of lies and fears and bullying. 

And yet. And yet. Some will admit to feeling a little – dare I say – bored? After four years of a constant, IV level epinephrine injection being propelled through their veins, life can seem a little dull, when the sounds of battle dim.

It’s withdrawal. Those who touched the live wire of American politics became hard core adrenaline junkies, as dependent on the ‘what has trump done NOW?’ news hit as any junkie who is frantic for a fix.

The dings and beeps and boops of cellphones and iPads were background noises that covered up the breathtaking realization of how close America was coming to losing her democracy. 

Seriously, even I could not have imagined some of the horrors that ensued during his reign of error and terror.

Worse still, there were times when I doubted my own thoughts, wondered if perhaps, I was the one that was deluded in my abhorrence of all things trump. After all, so many people, across all spectrums, (save minorities, immigrants, DREAMers and LGBTQ et al) seemed to truly believe that he was their Chosen One, the genius leading America to economic nirvana. Could it be that I was the one who was exaggerating, who saw parallels to Hitler’s worst followers and ‘solutions’ where none existed? That I might be, indeed, suffering from ‘Trump Delusion Syndrome?’

Could a stock market that absorbed every new presidential abomination by soaring to ever more unprecedented heights, be wrong?

Could I truly trust my own eyes and ears? Should I be ignoring all evidence of cruelty and rampant bigotry as figments of my imagination? After all, over 74 million American voters wanted him to continue what he’d started.

Was I the one that was wrong? Was I the one out of step with the crowd, out of touch with the times? 

I wondered if I could be somehow mistaken in my reasoning, even as Trump refused to accept the results of an election that his own officials had proclaimed ‘the most secure in American electoral history,” incited his followers to attack the Capitol, urged them to wreak their anger against his own vice president, then flounced off in a huff, refusing to acknowledge Biden’s inauguration.

And I second guessed myself, despite it being quite obvious that trump was treading on fascist territory, while his supporters created an imaginary foe they called ‘antifa,’ apparently unable to see that they were labelling deniers of trump’s governance as ‘anti fascists’ thus admitting that his governance was indeed fascism.

If what is true, if what is right, relies upon a majority, relies upon the victor writing history – what did that terrifyingly small (figuratively) Biden majority say about the future of America?

Anti-Semitism, weapons-grade misogyny, white supremacism, homophobia and quite horrible attempts to frame all Muslim people as complicit in the actions of any Muslim terrorist or criminal have moved squarely into the mainstream media. I believe this has happened precisely because divisive sloganeering and rancid rhetoric have gone unchecked. In short, people are not being challenged to justify their views, or to explain WHY they think what they do…

Fascism prevails when anti-fascists persuade themselves that what’s happening in their own country isn’t actually fascism after all, because “this isn’t 1930s Germany – this is 21st century America!” …

Trump’s legacy is clear: Fascism can happen here. And people that hate fascism, to give it a 21st century flavour, are currently called “woke.” James O’Brien, LBC commentator

It was a rough ride.

And then, on a bright day in January, this happened.

“I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new.

Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial. Victory is never assured.“  Joseph R. Biden, January 20, 2021

Biden’s stirring inaugural speech told America – told the world – that it HAD been as bad as it seemed, that America HAD come very close to losing it all, and that there still was a battle to be fought. He admitted that the heartbreaking fight between those who watched the horror with glee and did nothing to stop it, and those who believed in the ‘better angels’ who had always prevailed through all the struggles, sacrifice and setbacks the nation had faced thru the years, was real.

He assured us that the attack on January 6th was on democracy and on the truth. Objective truth. And that we were done with lies and cruelty.

Sometimes courage is just speaking up, calling out what you see, even when it’s not blindingly apparent, even when others try to tell you it’s not as bad as you think it is. It’s speaking out even when many you know and love cling to a would-be dictator, pretending to see his actions as those of an all-knowing, infallible quasi-God, because his voracious appetites allow their own greed and selfishness to seem ‘normal.’

There is no joy in being ‘right’ about trump. There’s no schadenfreude in watching his supporters in tears. There’s relief – but no joy.

And what is left?

The entire world watched a rigged impeachment trial and saw trump acquitted of inciting insurrection against his own country. Can any rational leader of any other country truly believe that the United States can be trusted again, when the votes of 74 million Americans showed their disdain for democracy?

What the world has seen is the tsunami of change that can happen overnight, brought about by the will of the voters. Are they to trust that, four years from now, the treaties and agreements they’ve signed under one administration, will be honoured by the next?

America has been divided into two camps. One camp believes that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president. Armed and dangerous, they lurk in the shadows, and plan for the next time they are called to do battle in the service of their savior.

“On Thursday evening, CNN reported that the close to 5,000 National Guard troops who have been stationed around the Capitol since shortly after the Jan. 6 insurgency will stay in place until March 12. If it seems odd that the Guard is still in place weeks after President Biden was sworn in on Jan. 21, the reason they’re sticking around is because of another inauguration date. That would be the Mar. 4 date when many QAnon followers expect Donald Trump to emerge from hiding to be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States. (Daily Kos, Feb 2021.) 

The deluded portion of the American population that does not believe or care about democratic principles, civil rights, or the rule of law, will ‘march forth’ on March 4th. They will obey what they believe is the will of their racist demagogue, unable to conceive that overturning the rights of the more than 81 million Americans who voted for Biden can never be justified by the demanding of their own rights.

And if they are not rewarded with the sight of their enemies hung for their sins, and the elevation of their leader to what they believe is his rightful place in American government, they will bide their time, but they will try again. And again.

In Biden’s first month in office, he has accomplished much to turn the ship of state around and to right many of the wrongs committed in the last four years. Every day, his policies and actions have chipped away at the assault against democracy perpetrated by the trump administration.

And it is good. It is a throwing open of the window and the letting in of fresh, clean air.

But those who would prefer the not so tender ministrations of the Republican party under trump continue to hamper these efforts.

“Our choice of leaders matters. Our respect for institutions matters. Trust in the democratic process matters. Freedom of the press matters. An independent judiciary matters. And it matters that America continues to believe itself a country that welcomes “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”  (Jake Cusak, Marine Corps office, in 2016)

America is learning that democracy is a fragile thing, and that the price to maintain it is constant vigilance.

And we who look on will continue to seesaw between hope and despair, placing our bets on the ‘better angels’ odds of winning over those who would bedevil the nation.

Doomed to Repeat

by Roxanne Tellier

When I was a kid in Montreal, most of the dads (and some of the moms) were veterans of World War II, and the Korean War, which had ended just a few short months before I was born.

People were more news oriented then, probably because so many of them had been newsmakers in their own small ways, whether as combatants abroad, or as part of the vast armies of civilians aiding in war efforts. Gathering to hear or watch the evening news was a sacred part of most family’s day.

When John Cameron Swayze, Walter Cronkite, or Huntley and Brinkley informed viewers of the day’s events, their words were accepted truth. A shared reality.

And nearly everyone knew of someone that had escaped the horrors of the Holocaust. The tattoos that signalled those who had been spared the Final Solution were commonplace; no one questioned that a horrible war had wreaked havoc on the lives of millions.

And yet, in 1959, 14 years after the end of World War Two, in an antisemitic publication called Cross and the Flag, Gerald L.K. Smith, an American clergyman, began to claim that six million Jews were not killed during the Holocaust, but had instead immigrated to the United States during that time.  In 1964, a French Communist who had actually been interned by the Nazis, published The Drama of European Jewry, in which he claimed that it was not Hitler’s scientists that had invented gas chambers; it was an invention of a “Zionist establishment.”

In 1966, the Libertarian periodical Rampart Journal began publishing articles which claimed that the Allies overstated the extent of Nazi atrocities in order to justify warring against Axis power, and by 1969, an American far right group that became know as the Liberty Lobby began to publish Holocaust denial literature.

In 1976, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry was published by an engineering professor of Northwestern University, claiming academia bolstered his claims, and in 1977, Ernst Zundel, a German-Canadian, established Samisdat Publishers, in order to disseminate neo-Nazi literature which included the denial of the Holocaust.

At that point, the floodgates opened, and those who sought to deny history carved out a place so large in society that their gatherings and protests are barely even commented upon today. 

All of that went through my mind when I read that Michigan’s highest-ranking Republican, their Senate Majority Leader, Mike Shirkey, was caught on video calling the January 6th attack at the U.S. Capitol a ‘hoax,’ saying of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died, that “It was all staged.”

Shirkey was caught on video at a meeting he attended with Hillsdale Country Republican Party officials. At that same meeting, he used degrading and violent language towards Governor Gretchen Whitmore, asserting that “[Republicans] spanked her hard on the budget. Spanked her hard on appointments, ” and inviting the governor to a fistfight over her executive orders.  

“About half an hour into the video Shirkey can also be heard asking, “Why wasn’t there more security there?” (at the Capitol)  He accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being involved, saying McConnell “is part of the decision-making how much security they have on stand. I think they wanted to have a mess.”

Shirkey made these comments just one month and a few days after the sack of the Capitol.

In 2021, we live in a very different world than that of 1945, when bits and pieces of information about the devastation in Europe came to us slowly, and usually in black and white newsreels.

For those interested in current politics, the January 6th revolt happened live and in colour, and over a period of many hours.  In some ways, it was like September 11th, 2001, in that these shocking events played out for us in real time, with no one knowing exactly what would happen next. As the marauders flooded into the Capitol building, the world held its breath, wondering if they were about to see the most horrific political assassinations in decades happen right before their eyes.

I will grant that my husband and I are both political junkies, and that we will often have CNN playing in one room, and MS-NBC in another. But about an hour into the events of Jan 6th, pretty much all of the civilized world was not just aware of what was happening, they were witnesses to American history being written.

And I’m going to hazard a guest that Mr. Shirkey was one of those who viewed the riots in real time.

And yet. Here we are. It has started. One month after such a traumatic event, Mr. Shirkey has begun what will likely become a flood of misinformation and lies, as actual history is contorted into ‘fake news.’    

“Fake News” … perhaps the most truly sinister of trump’s invectives, forever to be bundled with KellyAnne Conway’s further tortured manipulation of the truth – ‘alternative facts’

Yesterday, at the impeachment trial of the former president, who was charged with  “incitement of insurrection,” 43 Republican senators, who had actually been present at the riot, just one month before; who had had to run for their lives against a howling mob, thirsty for blood; who had joined in a partisan decision to allow U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, the officer killed during that riot, to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda; and who, along with other Congressional leaders, had promised his family and his fellow officers that they will never forget his sacrifice – forgot his sacrifice, and pronounced trump “not guilty” of the crime that murdered Sicknick.

For the last five days, the Democrats impeachment managers had built a case against the former president, showing that he had undertaken an effort to overturn the election, long before the election, and continued to sell his Big Lie for months after, before provoking the assault on the Capitol.

“If that is not ground for conviction, if that is not a high crime and misdemeanor against the Republic and the United States of America, then nothing is. President Trump must be convicted, for the safety and democracy of our people.”

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead manager

But the 43 Republicans who voted ‘not guilty’ were uninterested in reliving that traumatic experience. Some texted. Rand Paul doodled. Josh Hawley made himself comfortable, feet up on a chair, in the Gallery while he read a newspaper. 

For them, the entire impeachment trial was a sham. A fraud. “Fake news.”

And when Mitch McConnell, minutes after casting his own ‘not guilty’ vote, railed to the media that what had happened was a “disgraceful dereliction of duty,” and said that the former president had shouted “wild myths” about election fraud into “the largest megaphone on planet earth,” he seemed to have forgotten that it was he, Mitch McConnell himself, who had created the conundrum that stopped him from convicting such a dangerous creature.

McConnell called impeachment a “narrow tool” meant to remove an official from office, not pursue them afterward. This was based on his reading of the Constitution, not the vote in Senate that had indeed determined that this was Constitutionally correct. And it completely ignored the further truth, that it was McConnell who refused to call the Senate back into session to start the impeachment trial before trump left office. “Not enough time,” he claimed, although he had had no problem squeezing in the nomination and confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice just days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, in a time of plague, and days before a presidential election.

I guess he forgot that too. Must have been fake news.

Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe what men in high places tell us, even when it is patently observable that telling the truth would not serve their venal purposes. That’s partly how Western Civilization got into the state it’s in.

The impeachment trial showed, over and over, that trump was the perpetrator of the Big Lie, that trump had continually claimed that the election was rigged, and that he, not Biden, had actually won. And the Republican party stood with him and that lie, over and over, as the months dragged on, and as trump’s legal team lost 60 legal kicks at the can.

McConnell himself, then Senate Majority Leader, only admitted that trump had lost the election on December 15th, nearly a month and a half after Biden had won. And for that month and a half, McConnell was Team Trump, encouraging trump’s lies and delusions.

Lies and Fake News.

I’ve written before of how there’s been a sea change since trump’s banning from Twitter, and the inauguration of Joe Biden. We’re all breathing easier, sleeping better. It’s like the world has woken from a nightmare that 8-billion-people shared. 

And because of that, many are gradually beginning to doubt what they lived through, in these past four years. Could it really be possible that trump threw the world into chaos with his Muslim ban, just a few weeks into 2017? That he caged children, and separated them from their parents, without so much as keeping a record of which child belonged to which parent? That he launched a trade war that nearly cratered the economy, and threw thousand of family farms into bankruptcy, and then ignored a pandemic that has killed nearly half a million people in just ten months?

No – surely, that has GOT to be Fake News!

But he did those things, and so much more, and for dessert, he concocted a Big Lie that nearly overturned democracy in America. Even more, his clinging to that Big Lie may still succeed, since he’s convinced his motley cultists of that truth, and they are nothing if not loyal – to the death, or your death, if necessary.

Trump has still not conceded that he lost the election, and this refusal to abandon the Big Lie keeps it potent, keeps it as virulent at COVID-19, and enables him to continue to rally his supporters, and suck the last of their dollars from their pockets and into his own, all in a deadly inversion of reality.

“Finally, the managers warned that, unless Trump is stopped, he will absolutely do such a thing again. They pointed out that the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which the president condoned the white supremacists who killed Heather Heyer, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Michigan state house this summer. That, in turn, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Capitol. As manager Diana DeGette (D-CO) said: “In 2017, it was unfathomable to most of us to think that Charlottesville could happen, just as it was unfathomable to most of us that the Capitol could have been breached on January 6…. Frankly, what unfathomable horrors await us if we do not stand up now and say, no, this is not America.”

Heather Cox Richardson, February 11, 2021

Trump continues to tell his Big Lie, and the ‘not guilty’ vote from the Senate has given that lie new life. In his post trial letter, he wrote, “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!

“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future. Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”

This signals his intent to return. He’ll give it another shot, and if you let him, this time, he’ll get that insurrection right. After all, he’s had all the practice shots already.

As attorney Glenn Kirschner put it, “follow the bouncing corruption. This injustice was a Mitch McConnell production. Mitch McConnell is where Justice goes to die.”

AFTER his ‘not guilty’ vote, McConnell said, that “trump’s actions were a disgraceful dereliction of duty. He is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” And that “President trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. As an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations is run, still liable for everything he did while he was in office.”

But the ‘not guilty’ vote in the Senate created a new precedent. It has determined that a president can do all the things that trump did in office, and still not be convicted. A president can provoke an armed insurrection against the Capitol, and still be found not guilty.

Imagine the Republicans finding a younger, smarter, cannier, less incompetent candidate – perhaps a Josh Hawley – to elevate to president. There will be nothing to stop that candidate from doing exactly what trump attempted to do – overthrow the government – and to succeed, without penalty.

After just a little over a month, the denials have begun. The people are already beginning to forget some of the worst of the events they lived through during the trump administration. Soon, we’ll begin hearing some Americans saying that they can’t be 100% sure that the attacks on the Capitol even happened – even if they themselves were there that day. 

The Big Lie. Fake News. And somewhere in Florida, in a tinseled mansion fancifully called Mar A Lago, an old man is puttering around the omelette bar, sans wig or makeup, in golf tweeds, while the next ‘rough beast” “slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.”

Or perhaps that’s only in an ‘alternative reality.’

Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Roxanne Tellier

Eleven days post the Biden Inauguration, and I’m still on a high. It’s not about Joe Biden per se, nor even the wonder of the first black, South Asian-American female vice-president in history in the form of Kamala Harris. It’s not even about the days starting to get a little longer, with the sun coming up a little earlier every day.

No, it’s so much more than that.      

This high started when trump was unceremoniously and ignominiously booted off Twitter on January 8th, two days after the riot of January 6th.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence…

Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement. “   

Twitter Inc.

It was astounding how quickly the temperature of social unrest dropped. Within hours, the silence was deafening. And oh, so very, very welcome, after more than four years of increasingly manic, psychotic, delusional and authoritarian tweets designed to condition his cult followers into demanding trump’s elevation to dictator of the nation.

Still, so many of us waited with held breath, unable to believe that the nation had actually escaped the hostage situation it had been held in since January 20th 2017.

Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a thing. For the last four years, America and those who watch her, have been gripped in the paw of a giant, insatiable ego of a man-child, whose gift of creating constant chaos prevented any agency, whistleblower, or potential traffic cop from stopping his reign of error and terror.

Every day was an exercise in a retreat from decades of progress in civil rights, and an assault on how best to suppress votes, allow nauseating police misconduct, defy hard won protections against discrimination against minorities, and to strip from citizens what was left of their health care and social safety net.  

We watched social and mass media, along with trump’s administration, and his devoted base, indulge in a shared psychosis, where the ability to perceive right from wrong became moot, and the only alternative to a trump defence was to confess to a castrating admission of being wrong.

Those who cried out for justice received none. There was no cavalry coming to save the day.            

And so, like the victims of domestic abusers, we happily anticipated the Inauguration and its beautiful and touching celebrations, while we also feared and dreaded what might occur, based on the wrath of trump’s delusional supporters.

That is actually what his followers believed, and still wish to happen, even as January changes to February, and March 4th approaches.

“Social media users have been sharing posts that make various claims related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, including that Martial Law and the Insurrection Act have been invoked; power has been transferred from outgoing President Trump to the military, not President Joe Biden; there have been mass arrests; Biden is not President; and Trump will come back to power on March 4th. There is no evidence to support any of these claims, linked to the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy theory.”

January 22, 2021, Reuters.com

Like hostage victims, like prisoners in war camps, like those who tremble under horrific domestic abuse, Americans have been made fearful and emotionally damaged by the abuse of trump’s followers.

Trumpism is a death cult. Trumpists are willing to die for him, be it by failure to protect themselves against the disease he proclaimed a ‘hoax,’ or in interactions with authorities. Trumpists are willing to kill, whether it be anyone on social media or in real life who disagrees with their contentions, or in storming the Capitol in order to hang Vice-President Pence for failing to block the vote certifying Biden’s electoral win, or, as in the case of one man’s fantasy, to “put a bullet in Nancy Pelosi’s noggin on live TV.”   

All to keep trump in power.   

The images we saw of the insurrectionists storming, sacking, defiling, and searching for elected representatives that they wanted to murder, were disturbing, to put it mildly. As the days go by, and we are privy to more information that confirms that the attack was, in fact, plotted and planned in advance, it’s only natural that Americans, and those that care about the nation and it’s people, are suffering from a PTSD similar to what any person who served in a war zone might experience. We are in recovery.

Under the circumstances, it shouldn’t be surprising that many people continue to look over their shoulders, unable to believe that the Trump Error is really over; we are in a collective mourning.

After four years of watching America’s democratic framework be worked over like Fury pummelled Wilder, it’s no surprise that many continue to feel unsafe and vulnerable. Trump’s behavior towards the American people looks very much like that of a domestic abuser. He was further abetted in his sadistic efforts by the people he chose to head up important cabinets controlling the nation’s emergency and safety nets. These machinations left no escape route for those most damaged by his decisions.

Even before the horrendous incompetence the trump admin showed in handling COVID-19, which has led to over 440,000 American deaths in less than one year, (and still counting), research was showing a large increase in emotional and mental health problems that were brought about, or exacerbated, by trump’s time in office.  

Contrary to the presidential oath of office, trump never cared about, or intended, to protect the safety, health or well -being of the nation he’d been elected to lead. Leading, in fact, was not why he’d sought out the position; it was always intended to simply raise the profile of the Trump brand.   

So the four years of trumpocracy somehow managed to encompass racism, misogyny, a very public embrace of white supremacy, an increase in domestic terrorism, a disastrous trade war that led to a flailing economy, and was topped off by, arguably, sabotage and willful negligence in the handling of the pandemic – a de facto crime against humanity – and an attempt to overthrow the votes of millions of black and brown Americans.

Donald Trump is the most successful bio-terrorist in human history. This is not an accident.”

John Gartner, Psychologist and former Johns Hopkins professor

From 2015, when trump began his run for the presidency, until January 8th, 2021, when Twitter finally silenced his nonstop IV drip of ugliness and bile, trump and his regime emotionally and psychically abused the American people, whether they were in the minorities he systematically targeted, the people he’d elevated in his party, or his slavishly devoted base.

It will fall to Biden, Harris, their team, and the Congress to attempt to salve the emotional wounds of the trump error. For the good of the nation, this PTTSD needs to be treated immediately.

A failed coup, a failed attempt to overthrow and take over governments, must never be ignored, or treated as anything but what it clearly is – an attempt to force the will of one group of unelected malcontents, over the wishes of those who voted for the leaders of the party currently in power.  

Allowing seditionists and traitors to continue to spread false information amongst their supporters cannot be tolerated. Those that contend that trump had a victory stolen from him are provably wrong. Even as the Republican party tears itself apart, in a deathmatch struggle over whether their allegiance is to trump or to the nation, it’s elected representatives must either accept that Biden holds the legitimate power in their constitutional democracy, and spread that message to their base, or they must leave their posts. Their personal beliefs cannot be allowed to poison the ‘one nation, indivisible’ to which they pledged their oaths at the start of their elected terms.   

History has shown us that the failure of President Andrew Johnson, who assumed the presidency after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, to hold Confederate traitors to task for insurrection, and who instead allowed those who had ‘engaged in insurrection against,’ or gave ‘aid or comfort to the enemies’ of the United States to hold public office, is a mistake that resonates in America to this very day.

Similarly, the first insurrection attempt by Hitler and his followers, in the 1923 Beer Hall Pusch, was a failure. But the second one was successful, as his followers had now learned how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

George Santayana is credited with the famous quote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes,” said Mark Twain  

America is at a crossroads. Will she choose the ‘red pill’ of reality, of life-changing truth, or remain in blissful ignorance, lulled into the comforting ignorance of the ‘blue pill’ of Trumpism?  

I believe that it will take gut-wrenching courage on the part of the Biden administration, backed by their justice departments, to use the Fourteenth Amendment, Section Three, that carries the penalty of barring from holding public office anyone who took an oath to support the Constitution, and then ‘engaged in insurrection against,” or “gave aid or comfort to the enemies” of the United States, to punish those in current or past office who had any role in instigating the attack on the Capitol of January 6th. Their actions were treasonous.

Furthermore, I believe that anyone arrested for their part in the attack should be subject to the executive order trump himself signed into being on June of 2020, which he intended to use against sanctuary cities, and Black Lives Matter protestors, which directed the Department of Justice to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal Law” people who damage government monuments, participate in “efforts to incite violence,” or damage religious property, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for the damaging of federal property.

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As harsh as these measures may seem, they are necessary to prevent a future America in which trump flags, murals, statues, and re-enactments of the January 6th attack celebrate his presidency and its denouement, rather than censure his lies and incitement. That would be the fate of an America that DOESN’T prosecute trump, and all of his violent, and criminal followers.   

An America that prosecutes, fines, and jails those that attempted to overturn the results of a fair and legal election would be taking the first and most important step in healing the nation, and all of those suffering from Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Reelin’ In The Years

by Roxanne Tellier

You wouldn’t know a diamond if you held it in your hand.” Truer words never spake, Messrs Becker and Fagen. Ah, the things Americans have thrown away in fits of pique.

The domestic terrorists that sacked the Capitol on January 6th  did a gross disservice to themselves, and every other American citizen or visitor to America, that will have impact for the next many decades. If they thought wearing a mask, or being ‘cancelled’ for their QAnon views impinged upon their ‘freedumbs’ before, they’re about to find out the very hard way how much more they lost with that day’s sedition. 

Remember way back in 2001, when al Qaeda-trained terrorist Richard Reid hid an explosive device concealed inside the heel and sole of a shoe? I’ll bet you do, because it was after that attack that the TSA started requiring all passengers to remove their shoes for screening before getting on a flight. And twenty years later, we still have to do that.

Americans don’t like terrorism and they really don’t like terrorists. But they also know that they’re dealing with a population that contains large amounts of unstable individuals. Some people just can’t be reasoned with; because of that, the only weapon the US has against terrorism is the imposition of laws that restrict previously enjoyed freedoms. And the loss of freedoms for all, based on the actions of one, will be the upshot of the attempted coup of January 6th.  

In the days leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, all the defence and security offices have acted in tandem to offer what they hope will be the protection necessary for the ceremonies to go forward. There are 21,000 National Guardsman stationed in the nation’s capital today, more US troops than are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.  

At the Inauguration on Wednesday, there’ll be no parades, no mass gathering on the National Mall, no formal balls that evening. America has given in to the terrorists that stormed the Capitol – Biden’s inauguration will be low key and fear based, rather than the joyous event every other president elect has enjoyed. 

And the terrorist army that caused this fear were led by Donald Trump, who has been feverishly planning his own leaving ceremonies, determined that Biden and Harris and their families enjoy not a single moment of happiness, if he can have a hand in stopping it.  Right to the end, trump is proving to be a craven, selfish, utterly self-centred and sadistic narcissist who can only find joy in causing pain to others.

As the wonderful pastor John Pavlovitz said in his column today,

We should be celebrating—but we can’t do that.

 We can’t, because the violence generated by an outgoing president and his complicit party, (who have for the first time in our history refused a peaceful transition of power) is so pervasive and threatening, that our nation’s Capitol is a literal war zone, that state capitols around the nation are boarded up and closing down, that there is razor wire around surrounding the Inauguration, that members of our government are wearing bullet-proof vests.

We can’t revel in the results of a free and fair election, in the Democratic process working, in our shared efforts in this sacred American experiment—because we’re too busy attending to the PTSD of watching a less-than-two-week-old mass assassination attempt by a political party and wondering what horror is coming next. We’ve endured pre-emptive election sabotage and post-election recounts and lawsuits and a failed bloody coup—and still, we aren’t allowed to rest in those many victories.

We can’t enjoy these moments with our friends and our families and our children, because we’re still trying to process a group of politicians helping their rabid base plan and execute a murderous terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol in an effort to kidnap and kill members of Congress—all because they’re unhappy that their gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright corruption didn’t overcome the votes of the people.  

Our arriving joy is tempered by seeing a party still inexplicably doubling down in the wake of unfathomable violence, by perpetuating their defeated president’s big lie—knowing it will surely incite more brutality; that it is directly placing public servants, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens in harm’s way.

We will not get to have the cathartic, public, unfettered happiness that his supporters had after the 2016 election and on the day of the 2017 Inauguration, because they are not able to consent to that; because they are a people so collectively afflicted with enmity that they cannot allow it.

Denying other people’s joy and causing them pain is all they understand and all their president has nurtured in them, and the sole cause they are truly devoted to.“ (from The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy, January 17, 2021)

The rioters went to the Capitol because trump, Josh Hawley, Mo Brooks, Ted Cruz, Trump Jr, and Rudy Giuliani told them to. Trump, aided by GOP allies in Congress and the media, had so often told them the Big Lie, that the November presidential elections had been “rigged,” “stolen” by Joe Biden and the Democrats, that they were in effect, hypnotized. Gaslit. Wound up like little treason robots, and sent off to sack the Capitol. 

Where, almost to a man/woman, they announced to the world that their president had sent them, and invited them in.

The upshot of the insurrection will be a devastating loss of freedoms within American societies, stringent new laws on guns, gatherings, social media, and more. And the people will have trump’s cult followers to blame for that clamp-down, although they’ll tell themselves, victims that they think they are, that it’s not their fault, that it’s all the evil Democrats fault, and say, “see? Told you! This is what happens when Democrats win elections!” 

I will never understand why this segment of society can so easily fall into authoritarianism and fascism, so easily believe that there are Democratic ‘global elites’ running a massive ring dedicated to the abduction, sexual abuse, torture, trafficking and cannibalization of children, in the aid of Satanic rituals, even after Pizzagate blew up in their faces years ago.  And even as they see actual video of real live children crying and sick in cages in camps on the border for years, a sick remembrance of the horrific racist AG, Jeff Sessions, who insisted that it was only by torturing these families through separation that they could maintain border security.

I guess reality is the one concept they just can’t envision.

“The most significant terror attack on our country since 9-11 happened because Republican radicals believe Democrats are Satan worshipping pedophiles who stole their country. And they’d rather die than lose the protection of their leader. Defending truth and democracy and equality for all people against any tyranny, foreign or domestic, is the only thing that unites us and protects our freedoms.

For the former Republican party, who call themselves patriots, this is your wake-up call. Your nightmare of a brainwashed, radical, anti-American movement, trying to destroy the country, was you.Matthew Cooke

I’ve thought a lot recently about how lawmakers and those in power talk. There’s a presumption that those with money and power are better at every thing they want to turn their hand to, and that they will always have the purest of motives in their dealings with the public. In truth, that’s almost never the case, and amongst ourselves – those of us without significant power or wealth – we know that Big Business rarely has our best interests in mind. We know it’s all about Big Profits. We talk to each other about the unfairness in our systems, but we lack the wealth and power to be equals.

Most of us have unconscious biases, which comes from what we’ve seen, heard, felt and been told over our lifetimes. We are told that those with money and power are our betters. We tend to assume that those who look like us cannot be sinful, since we know that we are not. And for many, there’s an inherent belief that those who don’t look like us, of a different skin colour, are suspicious simply because they are not ‘our kind.’

But these are tales told to us by those who profit in some way by training us to believe what they say. It’s how they keep themselves our superiors, even when they are in many ways, inferior.  

The Republican party doesn’t want trump to be impeached, in the name of unity. But, while in power for the last four years, no thought was ever given to unifying with the Democratic party. In fact, while claiming victimhood every minute of the day, the GOP shoved their incompetent judges and corrupt administrators into every facet of the United States government, without heeding any pleas from the Dems.

And even at the deathbed request of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that her seat not be filled until there was a new president in power, they simply laughed at any suggestions to stop a precipitous, fast-tracked confirmation during a lame duck presidency period, and rammed the flawed Amy Coney Barrett into place and a lifetime appointment, laughing all the way.

There will be some who think that maybe it’s ‘kicking a man when he’s down’ to impeach trump days before he would leave office anyway. Those people need to be reminded of two things.

One, history has shown us, time and again, that any constraints on justice around seditious lawlessness, whether it was Lincoln refusing to punish the traitorous officers of the Civil War; Clive Bundy and his family defying state and federal laws with claims of being a ‘sovereign citizen’ untethered by law and order; the right wing domestic terrorists who’ve been ramping up into seditious militias under trump; or trump himself defying his first impeachment and gleefully committing yet more impeachable crimes — is that these scofflaws DO NOT learn a lesson. They DO NOT stop their reigns of terror unless they are legally prevented from doing so. All they do is learn from their mistakes, re-arm, and come back hundreds of times more powerful, with more supporters behind them to gain their ends.

And two – trump has to be impeached in the House and the Senate, even if the Senate vote is taken after he’s left office, because justice must be seen to be done. To not impeach and remove this ability to run again would be to definitively declare a president ‘above the law.’ If that were to happen, you might as well tear out those pages in the Constitution that give that ability to the lawfully elected representatives. And that would be so unconstitutional as to be a further criminal act.

Trump has to be impeached for inciting insurrection. His and his party’s commitment to the Big Lie that the election was stolen from his supporters, and that only the disenfranchisement of over 80 million citizens who voted for Biden will save them from imminent chaos, must be seen for what it is: seditious falsehoods, meant to overthrow democracy in America, and install a trump autocracy. He must suffer fully the loss of any privileges an ex-president would normally receive, and his name must be blackened as the traitor to his nation that he became.

Impeachment isn’t subject to the constitutional protections of criminal law. Trump can be impeached for ‘inciting’ insurrection. The investigation does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he actually hoped his supporters would hang Pence, attack Pelosi, or harm those they were told were their enemies. It only needs to prove the flagrant abuse of his office, in the pursuit of power over and above the limits of a constitutional republic. The very people that gathered that day are the witnesses to the seditious crime that was committed. 

And because of his incitement to insurrection, the nation that once swore that it did not negotiate with terrorists is on its knees, attempting to protect its lawfully elected representatives across all 50 states. National Guardsman are sleeping in the halls of the Capitol in order to prevent another incursion, and to protect the men and women inside. This is what trump wrought, this is how he made America ‘great’ again.  

And I think pretty much everyone is ready to say – we ARE sick of this kind of winning.

There’s A Riot Going On

by Roxanne Tellier

Ahead of the mob violence on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, there had been weeks of incendiary rhetoric and planning in plain sight, on Facebook, Twitter, and on far-right websites like Parler, Gab, TheDonald, and MeWe.  There had been a virtual social media landslide of conspiracy theories, disinformation, and lies about fraudulent voting, often coming directly from the POTUS and his favoured minions.

Prior to the insurrection, Advance Democracy had found more than 1,480 posts on Twitter from QAnon-related accounts, promoting violence. When it became clear that VP Pence was unable to overturn the results of the election, and unwilling to ‘try’ to do so, right-wing extremists began to plan the murder by hanging of Pence, whom they believed to be committing a traitorous refusal to act.  

Holt believes the key factor was the remarks from President Trump and his allies when they addressed the rally on Wednesday. When Trump told his supporters to head to the capital, Holt says, “I think the levee just broke.”

“If Trump had not told people to go to the Capitol, I don’t know that it would have happened. Because people on the ground were engaged in some pretty extreme rhetoric about coming back with guns if things don’t go their way, and stuff like that. But there wasn’t any real sort of significant action happening on the ground until Trump finished his speech.”  from NPR’s reportage    

Even the most casual observer of social media, anywhere on the planet, was aware of the potential for a political ‘incident’ occurring. But only those with the ability to stop anything serious from happening, turned a blind eye. Or did they?

“The attack on the Capitol was anything but unpredictable. It was incited, touted and trumpeted by the president of the United States, whose job is actually that of protecting his people from harm. It was Donald Trump who demanded on Wednesday midday that the vice president instigate a coup d’état. It was Trump himself who, speaking from a podium in front of the White House, encouraged his followers to march on the Capitol.”  Der Spiegel, Germany. 

I remind us of these facts to show that there is simply no way that anyone involved in the planning of security for the ceremonial certification of the Electoral College ballots would not be aware of the potential for serious violence on that day.

Washington’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, put in a request on New Year’s Eve for a limited National Guard deployment, to patrol the streets from January 5th to 7th. A U.S. defense official approved that some 340 D.C. National Guard members would be activated, with about 115 on duty in the streets, but they would not be armed, or wearing body armour. Instead, they would be used to set up traffic control points around the city, for crowd management, and to stand with district police officers at all of the city’s Metro stops.

“Because D.C. does not have a governor, the designated commander of the city’s National Guard is Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. Any D.C. requests for Guard deployments have to be approved by him.

The defense official said that there will be no active-duty military troops in the city, and the U.S. military will not be providing any aircraft or intelligence. The official said there will be no D.C. Guard members on the National Mall or at the U.S. Capitol.”  APNews.com 

After a century or more of television and film extolling the foresight, intelligence, and ability of America’s top cops, military, and defense organizations to anticipate the potential for violence and chaos in the seat of American government, America was about to witness the complete failure of everyone involved, from the Pentagon and Department of Defense on down.

January 6, 2021 will be a day that goes down in infamy, right up there with 9/11, Pearl Harbour, and Kennedy’s assassination. Everyone will forever remember exactly where they were the day American democracy was breached by a gang of cos playing domestic terrorist insurrectionists.  

Although it will likely be some time before we knew where, how, and by whom all the tangled webs were woven, it’s very clear that the match that lit the fuse was struck by the soon to be ex-president, trump, his son Donald Junior, Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks. These four need to be charged with inciting violence, at the least.  

Trump and his minions led a violent and deadly insurrection to overthrow the United States government. There are no stronger grounds for Impeachment and removal than that. The Rosenbergs did less, and were summarily executed.

But the fuse itself was crafted and laid by a young, brash senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley. Once the brightest light, and hot new thing on the Republican’s Christmas tree, he’s now Public Enemy Number One on Capitol Hill, has been denounced by the very people that worked to get him elected, been reviled in his own local newspaper, and has had his family home surrounded and his family terrorized by those who understand exactly what Hawley was attempting. Hawley himself, however, is shocked … SHOCKED I TELLS YOU … to discover that it doesn’t feel very nice when people are incited to attack, surround, and terrorize your home.  

The Capitol Buildings are the People’s House. Turnabout, in this case, is karma.

Hawley was the first senator to sign on to the objection to the Electoral College certification ceremony. He knew, from the onset, that there would be no actual point to the objections, beyond removing the focus from Biden’s legitimate win, and thus shining a spotlight on trump’s made-up grievances and false, debunked claims about non-existent voter fraud. He calculated that this move would draw trump’s base to himself, with the knowledge that his actions could lead the most fervent trump supporters to act out their rage, violently, and en masse, during trump’s call to arms rally, pre-vote.  

From the Kansas City Star’s op-ed, headlined “Assault on democracy: Sen Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt:

“No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway.

“This, Sen. Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is what mobs do. This is not a protest, but a riot. One woman was shot by Capitol Police in the chaos and died while lawmakers were sheltering in place.

“No longer can it be asked, as George Will did recently of Hawley, ‘Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?’ Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed.” 

Oh, certainly, there were others just as eager to risk it all for a scrap of trump’s mantle. But Hawley – young, smart, attractive, and cynical – was the one who publicly saluted the protestors and rioters with a fist pump as he walked outside the Capitol to object to the ceremonial counting of votes. Hawley knew that Mike Pence’s role in the role call was completely ceremonial, and that nothing Pence – or the objectors – did would do anything but ensure a very long, boring day for everyone in Chambers.  

Or so it was hoped.

The purpose of Congress convening is only and simply the time mandated by the Constitution to formally tally the votes of the Electoral College. It’s not a time to litigate election matters.  

But Hawley, and the Sedition Caucus of Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Cynthia M. Lummis, Tommy Tuberville, Steve Daines, John Neely Kennedy, Bill Hagerty, Mike Braun and Roger Marshall were determined – and succeeded – to make it a day that no one could ever forget, no matter how hard they tried.

And, even more importantly, each of these senators fundraised constantly on the back of their hypocrisy. Hawley sent out another fundraising appeal just an hour before the Capitol was stormed. Ted Cruz was doing the same, even as he cowered in fear as the insurrectionists sacked the Capitol.  

Even days after the horror he helped to unleash, Hawley is still unable to understand what he did wrong. Strangely, the young man whose attendance and grades at Stanford and Yale Law School were pedestaled as exemplary, failed to actually read the Constitution to which he swore an oath to uphold.

Even more shockingly, after pro-trump extremists sacked the Capitol, bludgeoned a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher to gain entry, nearly crushed another police officer between two doors, and after a young woman was removed after being shot in the hallway for attempting to breach the Chamber, six senators sustained the challenge to Arizona’s results. Lawmakers had decided to reconvene and finish their Constitutional duties. Many of the Senate Republicans, shocked by the violence and chaos they’d just seen, abandoned plans to object.

But six persisted. Those six were Josh Hawley, who continued to insist that this was the time and place to raise his concerns; Ted Cruz, who urged his colleagues to disregard a lawful and fair election, and instead allow public opinion to dictate the winner; John Kennedy, who reiterated that his plans to raise objections during the proceedings were on behalf of his constituents; Cindy Hyde-Smith, known for such fulsome support for trump that she once told a supporter, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”  That deluded crew was joined by Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall, both of whom are essentially no more than ‘hangers on.’

121 House members also supported the objection. House members also objected in the cases of Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but as no senator joined in the objection, there were no debates. The only other state disputed with support from both chambers was Pennsylvania; 138 House members, all Republicans, supported the objection, as did seven senators: Cruz, Hawley, Hyde Smith, Cynthia Lummis, Marshall, Tuberville, and Rick Scott, of Florida.

And yet now, there is talk from the GOP of how we must enter a time of healing. The same senators, representatives, and soon to be ex-president, all of whom crossed the Rubicon into insurrection against their own government, believe this should now be a time when we all ‘come together.’  

Apparently, immediately after nearly being murdered in the ransack of the Capitol wasn’t that time.

It was only when these seditionists and traitors realized that there would be consequences for their actions that they began to ask, however obliquely, for mercy.

I feel that many of those who participated in this plan believed that it would succeed. That can be the only explanation for actions so clearly contrary to the oaths the elected officials take, and the job descriptions of those who appear to have been complicit in allowing the carrying out of the raid. They hoped to overturn the government, and continue under the auspices of trump, as autocratic, unelected leader, at best – dictator of America at worst.

Every day a little more information on how many were involved emerges. The Rule of Law Defense Fund, a fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol on the morning of January 6th.

“At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” said the voice on the recording, which was obtained by NBC News.

Police officers and at least one police chief from departments across the United States, including in California, Washington state, New Hampshire, Arizona and Texas are facing termination, suspension or other discipline for their proximity to or alleged involvement in the riot. Based on tips, social media posts, and other evidence, it is believed that many more officers will be implicated as well.

The links between law enforcement officers and white supremacist groups are long standing.

“That an angry mob of armed right-wing insurrectionists was able to so easily push itself into the U.S. Capitol is nightmarish on its face. But it may be a much darker fact to realize that quite so many people vested with the authority to kill others seem so willing to sympathize with those who dream of a violent revolt against the government.”  … theappeal. Org

The Capitol police let the insurrectionists inside the gates. They took selfies with the rioters. And when it was over, they politely held the doors for these traitors to leave the building, unmolested. It was the very picture of collusion and complicity within those hallowed halls.

The Business Insider was told by multiple European security officials that trump appeared to have tacit support among US federal agencies that were responsible for securing the Capitol complex. This is critical information, because, even if untrue, some among America’s international military allies are now willing to believe that trump deliberately tried to violently overturn the election, with the help of federal law-enforcement, many of whose department heads he himself had put into places of leadership. 

Four Years of American Carnage in One Photo

“Will the United States ever be able to recover from the ignominy of Jan. 6, 2021? It is difficult to imagine the country being able to present itself as the shining beacon of democracy in the coming years – if the country isn’t even able to stage a peaceful transfer of power. America will not be able to provide any advice to up-and-coming democratic leaders for as long as the images from Wednesday – which ex-President George W. Bush compared to a ‘banana republic’ – are in circulation.

The U.S. now finds itself facing a painful period of self-reflection. It would be too easy to merely blame Trump for the attempted coup. He does, of course, bear a lion’s share of the blame for the attack on the Capitol for his full-throated claims that the election was stolen from him. But the pack would not have been so ready to participate in sedition had Trump not had such a committed coterie of abettors at his side during his entire term in office – a team of lackeys who played a significant role in the dismantling of democracy in America. “ Der Spiegel

There will be no healing in America until all of those who instigated this traitorous insurrection admit publicly, and in writing, that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, freely and fairly, and that NO ONE in America is above the law, including their POTUS.

Every person involved must be routed out, and must pay the price for their part in this seditious attempt to bring down their government. And trump must be impeached, and never again allowed near any kind of position of power in the United States.

Dear Leader Leaves Hospital

by Roxanne Tellier

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!”

Devil’s Advocating for Dummies

by Roxanne Tellier

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. 

I’d send him a get well card, but …