King of the World Ma!


by Roxanne Tellier

As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live – “Well! Isn’t that special!

“This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” physician Sean Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House.” (The Hill, Oct 11) 

‘Dr’ Conley, an osteopath, and a character straight out of a casting director’s idea of what a doctor should look like, is apparently now America’s foremost virologist and epidemiologist, whose opinion on contagion and viral transmission is the only one we are to trust.

Heaven forfend the nation’s SuperSpreader be stopped from infecting more citizens. His tally now includes 34 inside White House workers, all but one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pretty much all the biggies who attended that ill=fated Rose Garden party –  Chris Christie;  Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins; pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie; and freelance photographer Al Drago. And of course, his lovely, but currently invisible, wife, Melanoma. Will there ever be enough lives on the line to fill his quota?

USA Today is trying to figure out who all else might have tested positive on that fateful day. However, some may have purposely failed to announce their condition, lest it make the papers, and prevent them from – oh, I don’t know – voting for a new Supreme Court Justice, say. So the journal has made this handy seating chart, so that everyone can play Pin the Tail on the Infected!

Even if he does, as he claims, ‘feel great!’ – we have only his word for it. He and his admin and doctors have told us that this is so, and that we must accept that this is what we are to believe. The world has been told, in no uncertain terms, that the president’s health is not their business. Unless, of course, he’s sick in hospital, in which case the nation must be on alert and filled with empathy and respect for his suffering, 24/7.

COVID 19 is a horrible, deadly virus. Its effects are debilitating, and, once having had the virus, every organ in the body may be affected. Even a mild case can leave sufferers with a ‘brain fog’ and fatigue that can last months. In fact, it may even last longer than that; we simply don’t know at this time.

If trump decides to fire up his rallies again, his travelling will mean possibly infecting the pilot, the staff on the plane, the Secret Service, ground staff, and anyone who travels with him. He seems uncaring that he’s infected his own wife, but people around him are getting pretty tired of being ignored as he puts them in harm’s way without a thought for their health. Ask the White House staff. Or his Secret Service protectors.

But ‘pshaw!’ says he, to the needs of the little people. It’s all water under the bridge for the Man of COVID. He hasn’t given a thought to anyone but himself for most of his life, and he’s not going to let a tiny thing like a global pandemic change that.

He hasn’t since he first came on the political scene. Over and over, trump’s main line of conversation has been about how great he is, how smart and savvy. When he’s not bigging himself up, he’s bringing somebody else down, no matter how brilliant that other person may be, or what accomplishments they’ve chalked up. The man has spent the last four years trying desperately to completely annihilate Obama’s successes, and he intends to do that, even if it means killing every man, woman and child, burning America to the ground, and then salting the earth.

He is the very definition of depraved indifference. It began when he started his campaign in 2015, and it hasn’t let up for a single second since. Every day we must hear the tramp tramp tramp of trump trump trump. We cannot hide from him; he is everywhere. He is on the television, on social media, on the front pages of newspapers and magazines. He tweets as though there’s a minimum. And now that he’s running to try and win another four years, he’s ramped up his presence. He is inescapable. Omnipresent. There’s nowhere to hide from his face, his words, his demands, his whining, his bullying.

Meanwhile, our lives are no longer our own. COVID’s restrictions have meant that our personal touchstones and milestones are just stumbling blocks that recede into the past in hours or days, as the pace of history forces important moments into history. It never freakin’ ends. It’s all trump, all the time, and there’s no room for anyone else’s truth, ego, or life.  

We crave – we absolutely need – those moments, the times we come together as family, as friends, as people who care about each other. These moments are what makes us strong. Weddings, funerals, important birthdays – these are not meant to be immaterial. If we deem these gatherings to be merely here today, and forgotten tomorrow, we lose the very desires for unity, solidarity, and strength in numbers that has made nations unified and whole. Greater together, than as people apart. This is what makes humans – human.

And while, in some ways, thanks to our Confabulator in Chief, we may never have been so gullible and misinformed, we have also never been so selfish

The divisiveness of 2020, the viciousness, the quarantining, the fights over toilet paper and who should, and how to, wear masks – these are not character-building moments. Living in a world that seems to echo the ugliness of 1984s slogans of  “Freedom is Slavery,” “War is Peace,” is to drift into a madness too dark to contemplate.

And yet still there are those who look at the utter chaos in the United States and can’t decide on whom they should choose to lead them into the next four years. It seems that no matter how horrific conditions may become, whether those conditions include forest fires, floods, droughts, and hurricanes, coupled with most of the military and White House being ill and/or quarantined, fifty million citizens being unemployed, and another 30 million using food banks and fearing homelessness, and a president whose latest  antics would be considered madness in any other sitting president, except that for this guy, it’s only turning the crazy dial up from ten to eleven – they’re concerned that Joe Biden might not quite have what it takes to steer the Ship of State.

A stuffed animal would be more capable than the current Captain of the USS Titanic.

We fumble with the efforts to wrestle this plague into submission. We await Schrodinger’s Election, which feels simultaneously too soon, and yet so far away. And we want it to be over, but we’re terrified of what ‘over’ will look like.

If we are entering the Autumn of America, will it be followed by the Winter of the World?  

On Lies, Trust, and an Omelette Bar


When I first starting writing my December 2nd column on the evils of lying, I started from a stance that lying was, as a rule, relatively harmless. But by the time I was winding up my research, I had a whole new perspective.

“Lying” sounds like something we teach kids not to do, because it’s kid stuff, not all that important, little white lies from little kids to save them from a ‘whupping.’

Lying is not supposed to be something that normal adults would do with any sort of regularity, because responsible adults are expected to stand by what they say, do, and believe.

As children, we were told to expect that people in respected positions would always speak the truth. That’s the oath people take when their words are important … they swear to ‘tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

But what happens when the people we are meant to believe … our elected leaders, civic leaders, corporate leaders, religious leaders … lie to us to further their own agendas? Their words then warp the teachings and beliefs necessary for a just society, based on respect for the veracity of each other. And that is some scary stuff.

brainwashing eyes wideWhen those lies become a continuous stream, and range from nonsensical, easily disproved, contortions of actual facts to major leaps of nonsensical confabulation, the problem becomes how to control a citizenry in which a large percentage has bought into the deluge, and effectively becomes a brain washed cult, no longer able to differentiate truth from lies.

Lying dissolves our trust, and trust is the invisible ‘glue’ that makes modern society and civilization possible. A fractured trust in leaders and important organizations is a very bad thing; that trust is the glue that allows us to survive disasters, participate in community activities, address inequality of income, and share our knowledge in order to increase our general health and happiness. Trust is difficult to earn, and easily lost, and yet it is possibly the single most important ingredient necessary for improving the human experience.

trust meI read recently that only 19% of millennials think the average person can be trusted. But the weird thing is that, despite all evidence to the contrary, they DO trust the system. and they believe that they, themselves, are trustworthy They just don’t trust each other.

Back in the good old days, say, around 1967, about 56% of us believed that ‘most people can be trusted.’ Our ability to trust is actually on the decline, and has been for quite some time. And that is because we have been lied to by those in whom we had previously put our faith.

why do you lie liarIt’s hard to put your faith and your money into the hands of someone whose own hands have been caught looting the cookie jar. When social media exposes the stories of people, just like yourself, who have been lied to, or who have been cheated by those in whom we are asked to trust, our credulity becomes strained.

 

Governing bodies, big and small, have asked us to trust that they had our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, too many of those officials have later been found unworthy of having their words believed. And it doesn’t matter if they had very, very, VERY good reasons to lie to the people; our rational brains may forgive them, but our gut never will.

trust me I'm from the govtToday, only 1 in 3 Americans believe that most people are trustworthy. Less than 1 in 3 trust that other drivers are competent, or would trust a clerk or website with their credit card. 1 in 4 people trust their employers, and less than 1 in 5 adults trust the government.

But here’s the interesting thing – when you ask people how much they trust people who are their neighbours, the numbers go up; 39 percent of millennials trust their neighbours, as do 73 percent of seniors.

Proximity and personal experiences with others tend to encourage trust; it is difficult to distrust someone with whom you have much in common. If you have a solid education, with a lot of exposure to different classes of people, you are more likely to trust a wider range of individuals than someone with an inadequate field of reference.

It’s interesting that those who are mentally, physically, or emotionally isolated have a harder time trusting individuals of varying colours, interests or abilities. ; These individuals will easily take as gospel, information that shows people unlike themselves to be untrustworthy.

Perhaps it is from this group that Trump draws his base; certainly, their blind faith in him, and loyalty to his campaign of fear and hatred of non-American humans is mystifying.

There was certainly a suspension of disbelief visible when Trump’s blatant gaslighting of America was in full display during his State of the Union speech. The president falsely claimed that fencing along El Paso‘s border with Mexico had directly reduced violent crime, despite FBI data that said otherwise.

el paso border crossingStatistics show that violent crime in El Paso has been falling steadily over the last 25 years. There was a little uptick, just for a bit, after border fencing was installed in 2008, but other than that, the statistics are clear.

Despite being shown that his information was false, Trump doubled down on his lies at an El Paso rally, asking his rapt supporters to accept as true his assertions over what had been gleaned from federal government data.

And it seems like his faithful are happy to believe whatever they are told.

He continued his bluster when he declared his fake ‘national emergency’ on Friday, telling the assembled dignitaries and journalists that he just didn’t believe the statistics that came from his own administration, that showed record low border crossing, that less crime was committed by undocumented immigrants than by native-born Americans, and where exactly the flow of illegal drugs was happening at the border.

He chose instead to believe statistics he’d been given that came from less reputable sources.  ” On Jan. 27, he tweeted that the cost of illegal immigration so far this year was $18,959,495,168. We traced that number to a report on the right-leaning One America News Network. The figure appears to be based on an estimate from an outside group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), though the OAN figure was considerably higher.” (Washington Post)

snake oil salesmanHey!  let’s not let facts get in the way when we’re selling to the rubes! Somebody’s gotta buy this snake oil!

Trump’s willingness to flat-out deny reality when it doesn’t suit his purposes highlights one of the dangers of his presidency: He is shameless about not just contradicting the findings of his own government agencies but constructing a fact-free alternate reality where immigrants are violent criminals, drugs and tied-up women are pouring across the southern border, and the number of people making a dangerous trek through remote regions to enter the United States presents an existential threat. (VOX)

 Immediately following the declaration of emergency, Trump fled to his retirement home lair in Florida. While ‘chillin’ like a villain,’ it seems that El Presidente was caught “in flagrante delicto” at the omelette bar.

trump omelette bar Feb 2019 post national emergency

(well… caught red-handed with a plateful of bacon, that is … _

 Impeach this guy? More like im-poach.

I’ve gotta wonder if this really is him – after all, this guy looks like any generic, unhealthy old grandpa who has just wandered up to the ‘all you can eat’ cart at a cheap Best Western or Holiday Inn.

What is with the open garbage can? The multiple bottles of ketchup? The general slovenliness of the place, and the caption missing from the photo that should be saying, ‘With cheese, Mr President?” “Yeah… let’s make America .. grate again…”

If that is indeed the ‘luxury’ resort that costs it’s members $200K a year to enter, the decor is surprisingly outdated and cheap looking, like it was bought from the Wayfair returned items outlet.

The ten year old Walgreens poster, showing Trump as a younger and fitter man (remember when he really WAS 6 ft 3?) has got to be a cruel reminder to his wife and kids that daddy’s ability to ‘walk the walk’ has degenerated into “daddy needs to ride in the golf cart or we’re not gonna make it to the corner for ice creams!”

Is it really him? He looks dazed, like he hasn’t had his Adderall yet.  is this photo shopped, because enquiring minds want to know …where’s his hair? His ‘tan’? Those dozens of chins? His enormous behind?  Is that a chemical peel on his cheeks or vitilago? And did he raid Kim Jong Un‘s daddy’s closet for that outfit?

trump obama who wore it betterIf it turns out that this is, in fact, the emperor unclothed, then this photo has done a real service, at least to some of us. His base will likely never believe that the Trump that regularly throws a news hand grenade into our living rooms and then wanders off to play golf is not the pompous, pompadoured autocrat usually seen swanning around in his black ‘fat coat.’

His base will scream that the photo is ‘fake news,’ and that the libtards are once again continuing on their persecution of their anointed one’s preordained reign.

But for the rest of us, photographic proof that this harbinger of the apocalypse is nothing more than an old, frail man, with no real friends or any cultural significance beyond what the GOP have draped around the wizard’s image, is a moment to be savoured like a fine wine.

Trump’s followers want to wallow in Trump’s fantasy world, even if that world is filled with criminals and horrors. They don’t want to accept a reality that doesn’t include their Orange Emperor promising his loyal followers untold riches trickling down upon them.

baldwin trump 2019Thankfully, we still have access to alternate points of view. Saturday Night Live no longer allows it’s skits to be streamed on YouTube, so I can’t embed the fun Alec Baldwin had with his impersonation of Trump’s rantalogue last night. But it went something like this ….

” “This is a big one, so I don’t want to waste any time,” Baldwin, in full faux tan and blond wig regalia, said to open the show. He then claimed to be over six feet tall and “shredded,” adding that he looked forward to the visiting Hanoi with Chairman Kim who “is a very cool, misunderstood guy.”

 “There’s a tremendous amount of drugs flowing into this country — from the southern border, or the ‘brown line’ as many people have asked me not to call it.” Wall works. Wall make safe. You don’t have to be smart to understand that, and in fact it’s even easier to understand if you’re not that smart.”

Elsewhere in the speech, Baldwin‘s Trump confessed that he had to “fake” the national emergency and said he’d mulled over enacting the death penalty for non-violent crimes. He then said that he knew signing the declaration would lead to “immediately [being] sued.”

I’ll immediately be sued and the ruling will not go in my favor and then it will end up in the Supreme Court and then I’ll call my buddy Kavanaugh and I’ll say ‘it’s time to repay the Donny,’ and he’ll say, ‘new phone, who dis?’ And by then the Mueller report will be released, crumbling my house of cards and I can plead insanity and do a few months in the puzzle factory and my personal hell of playing president will finally be over..” (FOX News)

Thanks, SNL.  I needed that.