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 …

Notorious RBG and a Last Wish


by Roxanne Tellier

I was preparing dinner in the kitchen on Friday night, when Shawn came into the room and said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died.”  

One hand flew to my mouth, the other to my heart, and I gasped in shock, a reaction that I know was echoed by many in the 24 hours following news of her passing.

How can it be that one small, 87-year-old woman, riddled with cancer, became the only check in the vaunted checks and balances meant to keep an entire nation democratic? How did she become the last bastion of sanity and decency in a country that claims to be ‘exceptional’? Why did it take the loss of her presence on the Supreme Court to wake hundreds of millions of Americans to the stripping away of civil and human rights that awaits them, as early as next month?  

While those who claim to be pro-life insist that their religious beliefs should trump the rights of all women to control their own bodies, the Trump administration is already lined up to strip away the health care rights of EVERY American – male, female, black, white, young and old – when their request to invalidate the Affordable Care Act is heard. Some 20 million Americans, many of them low income, will lose health care coverage, and be denied any form of coverage due to pre-existing conditions (something that every single American may have following the COVID pandemic), and will discover that these changes will also disallow children from staying on their parents health plans until the age of 26.

Trump has repeatedly promised that he has a ‘beautiful! New!’ health care plan in the works, but after more than three years of these idle promises, no one should be holding their breath for that to emerge.

Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion nationwide nearly fifty years ago, is also on the line. Tom Cotton, one of trump’s proposed new jurists, is on record stating that this would be his first priority.

Short of overturning Wade, there are still several cases in the pipeline that could effectively restrict access to the procedure, including one case already before the court in which the trump admin has asked the justices to overturn a federal judge’s decision that lifted restrictions on telemedicine abortions during the pandemic. And in terms of the most common second trimester abortion procedure, the D&C, (dilation and evacuation) at least 10 states are on record seeking to outlaw clinics providing this option.

Women’s rights to control over their own body is not the only controversial issue. There’s even talk of rolling back the landmark case, Brown v Board of Education (1954) which famously dismantled segregation. The more recent cases that decided on the rights of the LGBTQ, the handicapped, and other minority communities will also be on the table with a fifth Conservative Supreme Justice.  

One small, fragile, senior, woman held back that tide of discrimination, prejudice, and misogyny for as long as she physically could. But within two hours of her death, and in defiance of her stated last wish that her seat remain unfilled until a new president was in power, trump was already declaring his intent to fill her seat with a person of his own choosing.

And that follows in a horrific pattern in which four out of five of the conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court (Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) were nominated by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote

Two of trump’s most loathsome minions, who campaigned ruthlessly to prevent President Obama from appointing a Justice in his last year of office, have reversed their ‘hand on the bible’ statements from 2016.

And today ….

But they are not the only Republican Senators displaying blatant hypocrisy, and a lack of ethical morality, in their decision to blindly follow in their leader’s doddering steps.

The very idea that matters considered so integral to how justice is allowed or denied should be in the hands of judges who profess fealty to a specific political party boggles the mind. Having trampled upon any pretense of a separation of church and state, the modern Court openly skews either liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. That can’t be right. The law must be the law, not something that can be warped to suit the needs of the politicians currently in power. If the decisions are made based on party, then the decisions are only opinions, frothy and transitory, as worthless as the blatherings of a drunk at the end of the bar.  The justices lose all credibility, cease to be the ultimate legal decision makers, and are instead mere pundits. .  

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

Mitch McConnell seems determined to rush the seating of a lifetime justice, in hopes that, regardless of the outcome of this election, the conservative, Republican ideals will remain the law of the land for decades to come. McConnell is cementing his position as the man who broke American democracy, and brought the pillars of American justice down around it’s citizens, the modern-day Benedict Arnold, made mad thru his insatiable lust for relevance and power.

“According to American political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.”  (Wikipedia)   

During this administration, each of those pillars has been systematically mocked, repeatedly attacked, and is in peril of becoming a dead issue.

ONE: “ a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections;

Despite having won (by Electoral College) the presidency in 2016, trump attacked all forms of voting, insisting, despite his own repeated investigations that found no tampering, that all American elections were fundamentally flawed and rigged. With the pandemic impairing the ability of citizens to safely vote in person, he then first verbally attacked mail-in voting, intentionally underfunded the Postal Service, and then appointed Louis Dejoy as Post Master General, who viciously decimated staff and equipment in the nation’s postal offices, bringing the mails to a slowdown unlike any in it’s history, and making the handling of the volumes of mail ensured by election mail-in voting nearly impossible to consider.

As some Americans opt for early voting in states like Virginia, trump’s goons are swarming polling locations and would be voters, in blatant acts of voter intimidation. Trump has already admitted that these acts of intimidation will be severely ramped up on Election Day, November 3. He has also admitted that he might challenge the 2020 election results, or even stay in the White House, despite a loss. It is quite likely that the final results may be delayed by days, or even weeks, based on these restrictions, and while a late decision on who has won is actually not illegal, trump’s mouthpieces are spreading disinformation on the legality of such a delay.

Two:  “the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; “

Trump’s first town hall meeting in, I believe, the entirety of his four-year term, was held just this past week. The people allowed to question him were thoroughly vetted, and most questions were fairly straightforward and logical. However, his answers merely echoed the beerhall rants familiar from his rallies – mainly incoherent, highly self-congratulatory, and rarely with any semblance to the real world everyone but trump is inhabiting.

Three: “protection of the human rights of all citizens; “  Since the first month of trump’s ascendency to the presidency, the rights of all citizens, American or otherwise, were secondary to his platform. Within hours of his first day in office, he began the process to repeal Obamacare, and within days, had put into place executive orders to set in motion travel bans and restrictions on refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. By April, 800,000 ‘DREAMers’ had their lives upended and their futures made uncertain.

By the spring, new armies of ICE agents began arresting and deporting many immigrants who were in the process of becoming citizens. And of course, the infamous border wall, persecution of would be refugees, and camps for kids weren’t far behind.  

Four: “a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.”  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Attorney General William Barr … personal lawyer to the POTUS, and expediter of pardons and the overturning of legal decisions.

America is in crisis. American democracy is on its last legs. And as the citizens limp towards the election, burdened with a lethal pandemic, massive unemployment, and the threat of homelessness looming over the heads of about 40 million people, they must also contend with almost daily revelations informing them of trump’s knowledge of exactly how deadly this pandemic is, and that he hid that knowledge from the people, for his own re-election plans.

Rather than shore up America’s defenses, rather than trust the people whom he took an oath to protect and defend from this deadly virus, trump has instead relied on the snake oil sellers he’s seen hawking junk on FOX to its addled viewers. And now, finally, he’s admitted … his plan is to not have a plan, but instead to gamble on ‘herd immunity’.

This new non-plan will kill as many as 3 million people. “Trump has a plan for coronavirus: herd immunity. Say goodbye to your parents, your neighbors, and your friends. Because the Trump plan will kill millions in the next four years.”

And in the midst of all of this madness, and with a plan that’s not a plan but rather an abdication to the power of the virus, trump has told the American people that he believes that he alone has the right to name yet another conservative judge to the Supreme Court, to join the previous two that were foisted upon the nation.

Despite the last wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said, ‘ My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’.

A NEW president. Not this used up condom of a failed, incompetent, wannabe dictator.

If Americans want to fulfill her last wish, with the added bonus of saving the nation from plunging into fascism, they’re going to have to vote like their lives depend upon it.

Because it does.

Building Tiny Bomb Shelters for Fun and Profit


by Roxanne Tellier

wrong week to stop huffing glueEver have the feeling that you picked the wrong decade to try to get and stay healthy, focused, connected and relatively substance free? 

I’m telling you – I wish they’d narrow down the date of the Apocalypse, because I am totally prepared to return to smoking and drinking if it’s in the relatively near future. Heck, I’d probably be up for heroin or crack, if I knew I wouldn’t be around to pay the physical price for indulging.

grumpy cat RIP

Even Grumpy Cat couldn’t take this world any more. Oh, sure, they said the poor kitty had complications from an infection, but I’m gonna bet the tiny feline just couldn’t take another day of Trump.

And who could blame him?  Constant distractions, disruptions, lying, and a continual, unending chaos at the highest levels of government are what we wake up to every morning. Settled law has become unsettled. The relatively established ground of how our nearest and dearest will react to the next political landmine has turned to quicksand.

Just when you thought politics had hit rock bottom, you read that the sales of shovels and pick-axes continue to rise. And is that the sound of digging you hear?

These times are just too … interesting.

We read the gloomy predictions of climate catastrophe, follow the bouncing stock market ball, and wonder if there’s still time to build a tiny bomb shelter (because .. property rates are INSANE!) before a nuclear war erupts in a country near us.

When the rules by which you’ve been playing the game of Life are suddenly changed, for whatever reason, it can feel like a chasm has opened beneath your feet, exposing a yawning maw of emotional lava. And it can really mess you up. It’s exhausting, pretending to be a functioning adult.

types of depression

When I recently posted on Face book that I was too depressed to spend as much time on social media as I had in the past, I was surprised at how many people responded to the post, saying that they were feeling the same way.  Social media, which started as a nice way to pass the time with friends, has, in some cases, become a hive of pandemonium, where even the simplest statement can escalate in a heartbeat into a challenge to pistols at dawn.

some men just want to watch the world burnWe are angry and disillusioned with our fellow humans. We wonder how people whom we have known for decades could find it in themselves to vote for the Trumps and Fords of the world.

I have been in this place before, this dark corridor of tears and fear. I had a terrible, deep, and long lasting depression nearly two decades ago. It was soon after the events of 9/11 in the United States, and coincided with several personal events that caused within me a perfect storm of melancholy.

I spent months hiding in the basement, lying on a folding lounge chair, drinking myself into oblivion, trying to come to terms with a world that no longer made sense to me. I finally confessed my inability to cope to my doctor, and he sent me off to a psychiatrist, who was of very little help. The prevailing attitude was that depression was caused by a chemical imbalance, and thus should be easily curable if/when the right combination of chemicals were applied to the problem. In my case, his chemicals could not fix me – ultimately, I had to fix myself, unaided.

I am strong but tired fibroWe know now that a chemical imbalance is just one small segment of any study of depression disorder and mental illness; not every problem can be cured by pills. Some sufferers will need time, some will need counselling, and some will simply wake up one morning to discover that their pain has grown a hard callus over their broken heart.

What often drives a deep depression is a reaction to our present reality, and a feeling of being helpless to control our own lives in relation to that reality. It is, some say, a sense of loss, of grieving the person you once were, because you are now dealing with a very different present, and in so doing, have become a very different person, one whom you may occasionally find unrecognizable, or even unlovable.

Some, who live relatively unexamined lives, are better equipped than others to deal with extreme changes to their personal landscapes; with minor changes to their own belief systems, they can readily adjust to the ‘new rules’ that are imposed upon them by those who make and enforce the laws of their country.

one third will watch one third killHistory is filled with stories of people who stood by and watched horrific – but legal – acts be committed by those who created and enforced the laws of the land. It wasn’t that they were born to be bad people, per se .. it was that they were capable of ‘going along to get along’ … to watch without interfering, and to keep silent so that they themselves were not the next to be persecuted.

 

It is simply a truth that for many, self-preservation will overrule empathy if there’s anything at stake. Like those who cannot understand how others can be anything but regular, old heterosexual until they realize that someone close to them follows a different sexual lifestyle, it’s easiest to name and dismiss others as ‘not our sort’ when you’ve never known what it is that ‘their sort’ believe or practice.

abortion only protects fetusThe draconian new anti abortion laws emanating from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and even Ohio, this week, ripe with a stench tinged with the sulphurs of Hell, have left many of us shaken, angry, and defiant in a way I haven’t seen in many months. These almost comically villainous, and decidedly unconstitutional, attacks on the civil rights of 51.8% of the American population were purposely designed to attract a backlash by the ACLU and other groups, in order that the Religious Right might attempt to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark court case allowing abortions to be performed in the United States.

chastity belts for menRepublicans feel that the time is right to take this battle to the Supreme Court, now that Trump has stacked the Court with his handpicked lackeys.

And in Ontario last week, a very young and barely post-pubescent Conservative member casually shook the same red cape in support of a pro life protest on the grounds of Queen’s Park, where he made the pronouncement that he hoped to make abortion unthinkable in his lifetime.  By so doing, this home schooled and very religious young man unleashed a storm of estrogen-fueled fury unlike anything he could ever have dreamed of provoking.

What most of us, in both the U.S. and Canada, have recently learned is that the right to abortion isn’t actually settled law in the U.S. And in Canada, with 7 out of 10 provinces now ruled by Conservatives, and with a federal election looming that might turn the entire country back to the Right (and somewhere around the 1950s) our own abortion rights might be on the table sooner rather than later.abortion dont' tell me what to do

It is an irony of Alanis Morissette sized proportions that Canada, that ruled in 1967 that ‘there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,‘ thereby decriminalizing homosexuality, would now appear to be saying, in 2019, that the state DOES have the right to assert dominance over the uteruses (uteri?) of it’s women.

I won’t lie .. I am pissed. I am really, really REALLY pissed that a battle that so many of us fought for – and won! – back in the 60s is being brought back to life like some stinking, rotting zombie, purely for the tiny percentage of North Americans who, like ISIS, believe that their religious beliefs trump those of the rest of the nation.

I take great comfort in how women and their allies are fighting back this time around. We are not about to be manipulated by guilt as we have been in the past, and we no longer believe that the burden of contraception is completely our responsibility- it takes two to tango, and a lot of not so woke men are about to learn how to dance.

 

Walking-Dead

My only hope is that this desperate attempt by the Religious Right to pull the world back into the Dark Ages only succeeds in demonstrating indelibly and for all time that religion must never, ever, be allowed to trump science and democracy. That way lies dragons.

trump separation of church and state