And Now This

With hurricanes, one after another, battering the south while wildfires ravage the west coast and a climate change denier commander in chief talking about the Covid problem being resolved by “herd mentality” amid breaking news that a private jail in Georgia, used by ICE to house detainees, may have been performing unnecessary hysterectomies on women detained at the border – with all of this happening at the same time isn’t it about time for somebody to get up and shout out the obvious, that Donald J. Trump is mentally challenged to the point that he represents a clear and present danger to the country? At long last, do these Republicans have absolutely no shame? Are they without humanity? Do they find no treachery beyond the realm of acceptability? We are approaching 2-hundred thousand dead from Covid, and still we have no national plan to stop it.

How long can this madness go on? Only the Republicans can stop it. Only they will be held accountable if they continue to do nothing as this madness, this destruction of our democracy, continues. Donald J. Trump is not well. He obviously cares nothing for the law even though our founders gave us a nation of laws. He cares nothing about the well being of our people or our troops overseas. He has taken us dangerously close to the edge with speech patterns filled with inconsistencies, illogic and paranoia. Don’t you suppose that among Mr. Trump’s greatest fears, perhaps his greatest fear of all, is that his followers might find out just how utterly incompetent he truly is?

How many psychologists and psychiatrists need tell us that Donald J. Trump is not mentally sound to the degree that he represents a danger? That the job of President, is quite simply beyond his abilities? Are there no patriots left in the Republican Party, only traitors? Why are we being forced to wonder whether a peaceful transition of power will be possible when Joe Biden wins in November?

We wouldn’t be asking most of these questions if only the Republicans had fulfilled their duty to the country and held a legitimate trial in the Senate following Trump’s impeachment in the House. Eisenhower, Reagan, McCain and other real Republicans are surely spinning in their graves as this current batch of pseudo-Republican hacks continue selling out the country, their party, their sense of moral decency and ethical responsibility that once upon a time, not so very long ago, probably made them actually worthwhile. The other possibility, of course, is that those Republicans in the Senate who held a “show trial,” along with the president himself, all exhibit such a degree of psychological co-morbidity as to render them beyond any real human feeling or conscience, and as such, beyond the reach of simple decency.

Mostlee Fake Nooze


HOT OFF THE WIRES……..

Breaking! Trump sends out military to blow holes in roads to improve transportation. White House says the president feels it’s the least he can do following his success with the USPS and Covid-19.

Breaking! First Lady Melania Trump sprains ankle while pretending to putter in the new and improved rose garden. While struggling to stay upright on 6-inch stilettos, Mrs. Trump was heard saying, “Vy isss diss damn dirty ground so damned vet? Vhere isss Donald? Vire da gardener!” An unnamed supporter standing nearby needed medical attention after being hit in the head by a golden spade Mrs. Trump launched into the air just before hitting the ground. The man is expected to recover.

Breaking! President Trump sounds alarm over failure of Frederick Douglass to respond to repeated invitations to White House dinner. Trump thinks there may be an ANTIFA connection. Anonymous men in black body armor are investigating.

Breaking! The American Academy of Auditory Pediatrics issues warning to keep children out of the room when Kimberly Gullfoyle is speaking. The Academy is working on a system of automatic electronic alerts to guard against potential hearing loss and broken glass.

Broken! Mike Pence to give campaign speech from Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, the nation’s only national park also designated as a shrine. The site was chosen, the White House says, after the Vatican turned down a request to shoot at St. Peters.

……..more to come………

Bellowing, Bloviating And Blathering

Did you see it, or perhaps I should say, can you remember any of it with your eyes still burning from all that smoke in the air? It was in the headlines less than a week ago, but is mostly forgotten, hidden behind the Trump Administration’s giant smoke machine.

The latest cloud of nonsense from Trump, is another possibly bogus treatment for Covid-19. First it was the possibility of injecting sanitizers into the body or flooding the body with some kind of magic light. Then came hydroxychloroquine. The doctors gave that one a big thumbs-down. This time it’s the “emergency authorization of convalescent plasma” to attack the virus. Donald Trump, a man with no medical training, has assured the public that it will work. He has made this assurance before medical trials have been completed. So he has no real idea whether it will work. Medical experts apparently don’t either, which is why actual doctors haven’t broadly recommended it.

It may not work, at least not to the degree that Trump wants us to believe, but it’s sending out another giant plume of smoke, one more huge deflective dust-up for the general public to try and deal with, at least those who are still paying attention after being worn thin with exhaustion from Trump’s misinformation and disinformation.

It almost feels like something the Russian KGB would have put together during the cold war, doesn’t it?

Trying to sort out just one piece of Trump’s PR putrification is enough to throw the public completely off track, which is what has happened since, less than a week ago, NBC News reported that “The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019,…” Just days after the story broke, former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, was taken into custody from a yacht off the coast of Maine. So what about the others? Principally, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr.? Will they be arrested next?

It’s all very close to home for Donald Trump, with “criminal referrals” being recommended by top Intel Committee Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Wikipedia, says a criminal referral, is “a notice to a prosecutory body, recommending criminal investigation or prosecution of one or more entities for crimes which fall into that body’s jurisdiction.”

They went after Bannon, so what about Don Jr. and Jared Kushner? Will they be deemed immune from prosecution by William Barr’s Justice Department? Will Steve Bannon, be the temporary sacrificial goat, out on bail until and if he’s escorted to jail only to be issued a presidential pardon?

All we really need to know is that Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee think there is enough evidence of collusion with the Rusians in the 2016 election, to recommend a criminal investigation into Bannon, Kushner and Trump Jr. Obviously, they think there is something there, something that might lead to criminal convictions.

All we need to know is that Donald John Trump broke the law, grossly violating the emoluments clause, when he asked Russia to help him defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is a criminal.

All we need to know is no matter how despicable Jeffrey Epstein might have been, his possibly being denied due process is a threat to us all. The very fact that we now must wonder if suicide actually was his cause of death is troubling enough, with implications that reach even into the British Royal Family.

All we need to know is that almost every angry accusation that comes from the Trump family or their minions, is a projection of themselves. We can feel the uncertainty of those who live in Turkey, Russia, North Korea and Belarus, as Donald Trump does all he can to turn our system into a totalitarian state. His need for control unfettered by the advise and consent of the Congress is transparent. History will likely judge this Republican controlled Senate to be traitorous in their refusal to conduct adequate oversight of the Trump White House.

One can only pity the mainstream press in this era of Trump. All they need to do to be condemned for being slanted in favor of the left is to tell the truth. And so they are condemned for doing their jobs. The urge to be less than objective to avoid attacks from the massive and well organized echo chamber of the right has to be nearly overwhelming. Attacks from politicians are to be expected, but never before, at least not in recent times, has the normalization of the abnormal been so prevalent, has the promotion of abject lies as the truth become so normalized, as to drive the acceptability of a totalitarian thug who exhibits “co-morbid” mental issues.

Beyond the traditional news media and its struggle to deal with this current madness, a bigger question might be whether we are at a point where a madman (or woman) with a Twitter account can control the direction of the country?

But back to our premise of trying to remember what is and isn’t real in the chaos-strewn world of Donald J. Trump – with his latest new miracle cure for Covid and TikTok suing the Administration over Trump’s threatened ban. With the Republican Party announcing that they will have no platform for the upcoming convention, that their only platform will be to back their golden boy. With Trump’s Niece, Psychologist, Dr. Mary Trump, writing a tell-all book alleging Donald exhibits psychological “co-morbidity” and then releasing audio of Donald’s sister, who happens to be a retired federal judge, corroborating some of the claims laid out in the book? Or Donald’s completely bogus threat to send law enforcement officials to oversee the upcoming election, something he has no power to do? Did I mention the apparently intentional crippling of the USPS in what appears to be an overt act of voter suppression while sending anonymous federal “police” out into our streets to detain peaceful protesters? And now, topping it all off, Trump mainstay and misinformation guru Kellyanne Conway, the woman who coined the unforgettable term “alternative facts” is quitting her job with the White House. Apparently we aren’t alone in reaching the point of exhaustion.

How long before Kellyanne shows up on Fox? Does former Trump attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, have audio or maybe even video of the “golden showers” incident with Donald Trump he has admitted to witnessing in Las Vegas? But mostly, how is America supposed to focus on the Senate Intel Committee’s recommendation of a criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump’s eldest son and son-in-law? Like that doesn’t matter? That was huge folks, a monster story, while much of this other stuff is just noise. But it’s the noise, the smoke, that obscures all else, and it’s gonna get worse. The closer the election the more Trump and his evil minions will ratchet their giant smoke machine into high-gear, bellowing, bloviating and blathering to the max to the very last minute in an effort to obscure the truth, hide the facts, hoodwink the American public and hijack an election while somewhere deep within the bowels of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, smiles.

Hurricane Who?

After several days of stumbling over the name of this new hurricane (Isaias) without a clue as to how it is pronounced, most broadcasters seem to have settled on “ee-say-ee-iss.” It’s origin appears to be ancient Hebrew or Spanish, depending upon which source you believe.

In the future the National Hurricane Center might do well to pick a name everyone is a little more familiar with, like Esai or Isaiah. Unless their goal is less to communicate and more to promote multiculturalism or something else we are unaware of. These days it’s difficult to be sure, when they hit you with something that’s totally unfamiliar but act like you should know all about it and there is certainly something wrong with you if you don’t.

If the goal is teaching multiculturalism, then eventually they should get around to Norse and Hindu gods. And hopefully, characters from The Simpsons. That would at least make the storms a bit more palatable in addition to being names broadcasters could pronounce without looking like they’re gagging. Better yet, how about naming the storms after famous movie characters? That way, we could have Dumbledore coming ashore in the Carolinas while Spartacus forms up out in the Atlantic, making natural disasters both educational and fun.

Complications In The Age Of Covid

Oh Lord, the plague is upon us. But can Covid possibly screw things up any worse than it already has? Of course it can. And maybe it will. Bad enough that we humans, who crave social contact, are now forced to see all other humans as vector-carrying threats.

Bring out the dead.

More than anything, most of us love getting together with others. Which will now kill us. Or so we’re told. Either way, a smart person will play the odds and put some distance between himself and other people. So there’s that. There’s also this new thing I feel when I go out and see someone not wearing a mask, or wearing a mask without covering their nose. It really pisses me off. It really does, almost as much as Donald Trump, refusing to wear one at all. Anywhere. I’ve run out of adjectives to define his consistently declining despicability. Or those who refuse to see it. All we can do is wait for his next new low. It’s what he lives for and it’s coming. Bet on it. It’s one of the few things we can all still depend upon, which means we all need to keep one eye on D.C. and another on L.A.

It was four or five months ago that a friend in Los Angeles sent word that he was waiting in a long line at Costco. When I asked why the line was so long, he responded that for some reason, half of L.A. had decided to load up on toilet paper and bottled water. It made no sense. I still don’t understand it, except that Covid-19, or maybe fear of the unknown, causes people to do some very strange things. And that Angelenos, were a good two weeks ahead of the rest of us.

I suppose the bug might have invaded trees, severely limiting the timber industry, thereby causing a toilet paper shortage? From there, airborne virus that it is, Covid might have somehow invaded the water supply, contaminating that as well, which would put washing one’s hands to keep one safe to the test.

From the start, stocking up on toilet paper and bottled water made no sense whatsoever, with the possible exception of promoting the bottom lines at the toilet paper and bottled water companies, which makes me wonder what we’re doing now. Except for folks over in Bangkok, Thailand, where, according to a piece in the New York Times, Bangkokians are offering food and drink to certain spirits, in return for the spirits keeping them safe. Might be worth a try?

Here in the medically logic-strapped but greed-possessed United States, it appears that wearing masks, washing hands regularly and social distancing are what definitely does work against Covid. Keeping your immune system in good shape might be a good idea, as well. So why are states like Texas, Florida and Alabama opening everything back up even though our national Covid curve is high and staying there? Wouldn’t it be wiser to wait for the curve to at least start falling before we throw away our masks and head to the beach or the nearest Trump for President rally, to become an ignorant, screaming cog in the next Covid super-spreader event? What exactly is wrong with Donald? The entire thinking world wants to know. The tac being taken by the liberal Northeast, makes far more sense.

My sister just returned to Vermont from Arizona. She wants to go down to Massachusetts to visit her mother, but she can’t. Not for two weeks. That’s how long Massachusetts is forcing here to remain in quarantine up in Vermont, before crossing the border. Then, after she gets into Massachusetts, she can’t go back to Vermont for two weeks, for the same reason. The quarantine thing.

She’s thinking about heading out to Martha’s Vineyard to wait it all out from a distance. I was thinking that it might be fun for my wife and me to drive up and join her. Thing is, getting there, normally a day’s drive, would probably take us two to three months because of all the quarantined states. That said, the fight against Covid does seem to be working here in the northeast, which is far more than can be said for the southern super-spreader mostly former slave states, which either don’t get it or simply do not care, apparently seeing all the additional death as the cost of doing business.

But that’s life in Donald Trump’s America in this age of Covid. Love him or hate him, he is our Commander in Chief. Our big wheel. The man. El Patron. Our great orange thud, leaving us with no national strategy to deal with a very deadly bug.

As for me, I’m awaiting word from L.A., to find out what’s coming next. If the lines start forming up at Costco again, I’m buying all the toilet paper I can get my hands on. Will also, probably, begin leaving offerings to Thai divinity Kaman Thong, out on the patio. It’s something to consider.

Remembering Rodney King and Warren Christopher

ON THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD: The City of Los Angeles banned the use of chokeholds by its police officers in 1982, following a number of controversial deaths. The City was having a particular problem with black suspects dying while in custody from the use of chokeholds. And now, in 2020, the City of Minneapolis has just done the same.

How many other cities have ignored lessons already learned? How much can still be learned from the Christopher Commission’s study of the LAPD after the Rodney King beating and the federal consent decree that followed?

How could those lessons possibly be ignored by other cities and their police departments for 38 years after the worst civil uprising in the country’s history shook Los Angeles to its core with more than 60 dead and over a billion dollars in damage?

Having returned to the east coast after more than 30 years in Los Angeles, I continue to be amazed at how removed the west coast is from the collective consciousness of the east, sometimes to our disadvantage. This of course would exclude products offered up by the entertainment industry, which gives new life to the old Hollywood credo that “image is more important than reality.”

The Trashing Of Minneapolis

Am again watching KSTP-TV’s coverage on streaming video. Minnesota state officials are saying all of those arrested on Friday night are from out-of-state. Their estimate is that 80% of the protesters are from out-of-state. They say they had too few people last night and are mobilizing thousands of MN Nat’l Guard members.

This appears to be a two-faction situation, those who are protesting the death of George Floyd and others who are coming in to burn and pillage. It will be fascinating to find out who these outside agitators are – if they can make that determination. Sounds like they need the FBI.

The focus needs to remain on what happened to George Floyd and why, and not on the violence, which some might try and use to their political advantage.

I was reminded by a friend of the Reichstag fire in Berlin in 1933, which assisted with the rise of Germany’s Third Reich. I’m not suggesting any such connection exists here and now, just that this kind of chaos can be used to political advantage.

Kudos to the staffers at my old home at KSTP, who are doing a incredible job of reporting this out. Having covered the Los Angeles riots, I have more than a little empathy for what they’re going through, and am very happy not to be there – not right now. Very, very sad for my home state, the city of my birth and my alma mater.

(Another) Oversight Official Fired By Trump

Donald Trump is in a firing mood again and once again he’s pointed his magic “you’re outta here” wand at oversight, giving the boot to State Department Inspector General, Steve Linick. It’s being reported that Linick, may have been looking into allegations of wrongdoing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He is the fourth internal agency federal oversight official to be fired by Trump in the past three months.

It’s only a matter of time before the same happens to Drs. Fauci and Brix. Could happen in two or three weeks, or maybe in the fall. Trump might keep them both hanging around just in case the virus comes roaring back in time for the election and he needs a couple of medical fall guys to blame. “Fall guys,” get it? You had to know the good doctors days with the Trump Administration were numbered when both showed up wearing masks at yesterday’s White House news conference, exhibiting both intelligence and competency. Can’t have that.

Trump never wears a mask. Wouldn’t be manly. It would send the wrong message to his following of gun-toting goofballs. Those same guys who keep showing up at the state house in Lansing, Michigan. Who the hell are they? Gun rights advocates? Don’t they understand that they’re a living billboard for the elimination of civilian ownership of assault weapons? Don’t they get that? Of course not. Or they wouldn’t be supporting opening things back up regardless of the consequences.

Consequences never matter, until they jump up and bite you in the ass. Or destroy your lungs. Or fill the air with lead in Vegas.

Anyway, Fauci and Brix are outta there. You heard it here first. Just a matter of time. Donald can’t handle anybody who is smarter than he is or who might be in possession of a conscience, which is why he keeps firing pretty much everybody he hires.

Maybe Drs. Fauci and Brix will join forces with another of Donald Trump’s many victims, Dr. Rick Bright, and open a practice somewhere. With their qualifications and backgrounds they could make a fortune consulting for the federal government.

Follow The Pork

Did you hear Dr. Fauci today, telling a Senate hearing that it’s not a question of when we get a vaccine but “if” we can develop one at all, and then, even if we do, how effective it will or won’t be? Anybody else hear any of that? Apparently not NBC Nightly News, where they are still reporting about the rush to find what sounds like the inevitable discovery of a magic bullet that will save us all, regardless of anything Dr. Fauci, might say. Beyond that, there appears to be an absolute panic over how the drug companies will be able to deliver the millions upon millions of doses that will be needed. How to deliver the fantasy vaccine and not whether there will actually be a vaccine, is where NBC News placed the emphasis.

A little context would be nice, since nobody has yet developed a totally effective vaccine for the common seasonal flu and the truth appears to be that a vaccine that’s effective against Covid-19 might never be developed.

Anybody else remember the Hong Kong Flu in 1969, which left an estimated 100,000 Americans dead and killed an estimated one-million people worldwide? To one degree or another, it feels kinda like we’ve been here before, and not all that long ago. Shouldn’t that give us a roadmap to follow? Isn’t that kind of what the White House came up with, with its original plan to reopen America? A plan Donald Trump, has now abandoned?

Did anybody else hear Dr. Fauci’s educated and informed opinion that the current death count of about 80,000 is probably too low?

It would appear that uniformity will be a key to reopening the country without additional outbreaks of the kind that happened in New York and New Orleans. Why has Donald Trump abandoned that?

Just as the latest flu update news was settling in I learned that Smithfield Foods of Smithfield, VA, the world’s largest pork producer, is now wholly owned by the Chinese, who are shipping the processed pork to…..wait for it now….China! Meanwhile, we experience a shortage of pork products here in the U.S., where Americans get sick from Covid-19 while processing the pork.

Why are we not hearing about this on the nightly news? The Chinese own a significant link in our food supply chain, but it’s not being reported. Wonder what else they own?

I feel like I’m living (sequestered) in an alternate reality-based universe. Somebody needs to follow the pork. I admit that this may have been reported out and I just missed it, but with the country’s food supply at risk, it seems as though someone in the government should have turned this into a much bigger issue much earlier.

Maybe it took a pandemic to point out how thoroughly disjointed we’ve become. That we are at least partially owned by foreign entities and that for them it’s no longer about America for Americans, it’s about the ebb and flow of rivers of capital running through international markets with average Americans left with no choice but to depend upon Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to keep an eye on things and that for his part, Trump, has abandoned the best medical and scientific advice available.

So Many Guns, So Few Leaders

So Trump went out to interact with the Lincoln Memorial. The only other president I can remember doing anything similar was Richard Nixon, who also wandered around the White House by himself at night, talking to portraits of dead presidents. Could have been too much scotch. Could have been he was a little nuts. Could have been he should never have been in the White House, and that he wouldn’t have gotten there without his campaign cutting a deal with the South Vietnamese that killed a peace deal that would have ended the Vietnam War. It’s all on audio tape and available from the Johnson Library – Lyndon’s conversation about Nixon’s treason with Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. Johnson opted not to go public with it, probably because he thought it would tear the country apart. Instead he stood down and withdrew from the race.

In case you missed it, here’s the short version: Lyndon Johnson cut a deal to end the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon cut a deal to prolong the war, because he knew if Johnson ended it, that he, Johnson, would easily get reelected, beating Nixon like a drum. So Nixon got in, the war went on, and thousands more Americans lost their lives needlessly.

I’m also reminded by numerous posts on Facebook, that today is the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State. If you’re too young to remember, then all you really need to know is that former Ohio Governor, James (“Jobs and progress!”) Rhodes, sent the National Guard up to Kent State to do something about anti-war demonstrations that were taking place.

What happened, is that a bunch of white kids in uniform shot and killed four students and wounded nine others, leading to white people, mostly older white people, re-thinking the whole anti-war issue in America. Eleven days later, city and state police would kill two students and injure twelve others at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, but it was mostly the impact of white kids killing other white kids at Kent State that had rednecks and warmongers alike scratching their heads from coast to coast.

It’s a problem that’s still with us, isn’t it?

Imagine if all those rednecks carrying assault rifles that showed up at the statehouse in Lansing, Michigan, had been black. Do you really think the “non-response” would have been the same?

What was the message those gun-toting militia members were trying to send to their beloved state lawmakers? Was it to ignore the Coronavirus pandemic and open up the state or lead would fill the air?

Who are we and what the hell are we doing? Nixon, got in with the help of the South Vietnamese and Trump, with the help of the Russians. And here we all are, waiting out the Coronavirus, regardless of our political preferences, and hoping nobody opens fire as a tiny minority of misinformed and misguided militia with assault weapons stand watch over our state legislatures threatening to turn their armed ignorance into one more American tragedy.

Waiting out the virus is bad enough. The threat of armed insurrection only makes it worse for everybody, while making the assault weapons ban set to be adopted adopted by Canada all the more attractive.


Thank God Al Franken Is Back On The Air

Gotta get this down in writing before the devastation of the daily news-stream once again causes my brain to put up a wall to all incoming information as part of the intellectual prophylaxis that’s become a part of my new normal.

John McCain and Al Franken, were our nation’s political saving grace. One is now dead and the other was kicked to the curb. Republicans should be flogged for their rejection of McCain and their resulting dive into Fascism and Democrats, for what they did to Franken, cutting off their overly-PC collective nose to spite their overly-PC collective face.

These are things to consider, as the nation approaches 50,000 dead from the Cronavirus. A bug that might have been at least partially stopped, saving thousands of lives, had safety mechanisms put in place by the Bush and Obama Administrations been left where they were instead of being defunded by Donald J. Trump and his fascist friends with their crash and burn philosophy of non-governance. That is to say, the Bannon process, whereby you disassemble government, for, of and by the people, by defunding government, for, of and by the people, leaving the door wide open for corporate raiders and other fascist vultures to swoop in, compromising, cornering and coercing nearly everything in sight.

If you don’t want to pay taxes to support a federal or state government, then don’t complain when those same governments can doing nothing for you in a time of crisis. Which is precisely where we are.

How much of the $2.2-trillion bailout went to the very wealthy, who are in no need of a bailout, while Trump and his minions insist upon no oversight of the bailout process? According to Politico, the package contained “a $500 billion bailout fund for big businesses and a $170 billion tax break for real estate investors like the president. ”

In a very real sense, the tragedy of Covid-19 is a friend to the fascist greedheads who care only for themselves, led by a narcissist in the Oval Office who is now recommending that his medical advisors look into the possibility of injecting household disinfectant as a possible treatment for the virus while he, with his typical Roy Cohen-type diversionary nonsense, blames immigrants and Iran.

This is beyond stupid, it’s nuts. It no longer matters whether Trump actually understands what he’s doing or whether he is, as the Russians like to say, a “useful idiot.” Either way, the damage has been done. Anybody who isn’t awake enough to understand this yet has got to be in an intellectual coma. Why is anybody out there still supporting this Republican Party? Is it because their only news source is a single cable channel serving as Donald Trump’s private pipeline of belligerent blather? Or is it because the party is represented almost entirely by white men? Is that it? Fear born from racism with a healthy dose of sexism? What else can it be? These Republicans have given up on nearly every conservative economic principle ever conceived, so it can’t be that.

Kudos, to MSNBC, for bringing Al Franken back as a guest commentator. Intellectually vibrant free-thinkers like Franken, are part of the solution as we approach 50,000 deaths.

Currently, there are 49,963 and counting, adding to what will surely be the legacy of Donald J. Trump. The idiot man-child who slipped through an electoral college which failed the nation miserably, to support our enemies, betray our allies and generally just muck things up.

Quarantine Dreams

The imposition of self-quarantine can do strange things to the brain. Like bringing on really bad dreams after spending one’s waking hours thinking about the very real implications of what’s going on, beyond the ineptitude of one man who is out of his depth and apparently determined to take us all down with him as he sinks ever deeper into oblivion. Not that that’s not bad enough, in and of itself.

The hardest part may be the helplessness, the feeling that there’s no way out, like seeing a train wreck coming with no way to stop it. Sort of. We had our chance, didn’t we? But Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans in the Senate, pretended everything was alright and took a pass. So here we all are. Waiting for the train to come and hoping it passes us by. Hoping we’re among the lucky ones with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Not the loud barking, dry cough, that could spell out death. If not now, then maybe during a possible resurgence in the Fall?

Horrible, isn’t it? Have you seen the pictures of hundreds of people returning to the beach in Florida, despite a mountain of evidence proving the one thing we can be certain that works against Covid-19 is people avoiding other people?

Just this morning I found myself thinking once again about the four horsemen, wondering if this is nature’s response to centuries of waste and ruin being heaped upon the planet by an unappreciative species, many of whom seem to believe that what’s here is ours to plunder with no consideration given to any possible payback, or just what form that payback might take. Just grab as much as you can with no regard for the consequences, leaving the mess for those who follow. Those who survive.

What matters more? The tens of thousands who need not die, or getting through this with a robust economy? Where should the focus be and who will be held accountable for repeated bad decisions? Death isn’t half as bad if you die while wealthy? Did you hear the latest? That Daffy Duck has just been appointed Secretary of Lunacy and is under consideration to replace Mike Pence as VP?

It’s probably that kind of thinking, the kind I can’t control, that’s brought back the dreams. Workplace dreams that haunt me even in retirement. Last night I was in a factory, like an aircraft hanger, but it wasn’t a factory at all, it was a radio station. I was new to the job and a co-worker was showing me the equipment just prior to my going on the air. Then he left, but there was no real equipment at all, just a pile of metal boxes and nuts and bolts and assorted metal bits instead of tape players or turntables. I pushed bolts into a metal box, but nothing happened. I slammed my fist down into the pile of junk with no result. No music. Nothing. Through it all, I kept talking, not wanting to surrender to a DJ’s worst fear of all, something we used to call “dead air,” meaning nothing was going out over the airwaves. I was alone, and helpless.

I had barely gotten through that one, which got me out of bed and sent me to the kitchen for a pill when another nightmare stuck. This time it was on the TV side, with me as a reporter, assigned to cover a Daryl Gates news conference back in L.A.. But my photographer couldn’t be found and when he was found he was mad as hell at me for disturbing his lunch, which included the biggest piece of cake I’ve ever seen one person attempt to eat. So, I was going though all kinds of anguish with this guy who was throwing a fit, trying to get him to pick up his camera and follow me to the news conference. When he finally consented, after endless pleading and prodding on my part, Gates, was a block away and on his way into a building. The other TV crews were packing up their gear and leaving. It was over. We had missed it and I had no story.

My quarantine partner, my wife, thinks it’s all about being helpless. Both the dreams were surely expressions of helplessness and why not? Why wouldn’t my subconscious be dealing with exactly that? Isn’t that where we are? Absolutely and totally helpless to do anything at all other than wait for November, hoping we’ll be able to put an end to this madness at the polls? And even then, what will our new normal be? A return to sanity or ongoing cries from a mad billionaire for his gun-carrying, science-denier followers to rise up in some unthinkable reenactment of the Civil War – as he takes the nation down with him in his last big bankruptcy, his final act of self-defeat?

And for this, he expects our gratitude. A fine madness, indeed.

While we wait this out, and unless somebody does something (25th Amendment?), this perpetual helplessness threatens to drive those among us who are still capable of cognition absolutely crazy.

Coronavirus – A Day At The Beach?

Just watched a newscast from Los Angeles, showing hundreds, probably thousands of people at the beach, despite California Governor Gavin Newsom issuing an order closing all the bars and nightclubs, calling for everybody, including young people, to stay at home and “shelter in place.” Which many obviously are not doing. They are going to the beach. Even while new numbers indicate that the Coronavirus is not specific to older folks. It’s going after younger people, as well.

Kudos to Ocean City, Maryland, Mayor Rick Mehan, for calling for a shutdown to his beachfront town several days ago. Looks like Gavin Newsom, may have to do the same but on a much broader scale.

In other virus related news, I just got an email from Home Depot, saying “We’re open and here to help.” This may explain why their parking lot was full to bursting when I made a grocery store run the other day. All those people getting together in that giant store. Seems somehow counterintuitive. How difficult is it to order whatever you want online and have it delivered? The email did explain that Home Depot can and will deliver. I guess there were just a whole lot of people who wanted to get out of the house?

Based upon what’s happening in Italy, where the death toll rose by nearly 60% in one day and with truckloads of coffins heading out for state-run crematoriums, we should probably all be taking this pandemic a bit more seriously and staying home except for trips that are absolutely necessary, like going out for groceries or to the pharmacy. I was among the doubters early on, but with the numbers now coming in the Coronavirus appears to be deadlier and far easier to transmit than the seasonal flu.

We can listen to what the experts are saying and lock ourselves down a little more, or within a matter of days we could be waiting for the military trucks to roll by, carrying the dead, as our health system becomes overwhelmed with new Coronavirus cases on top of all the other bugs and surgeries they have to deal with.

So far, during this current “flu season” here in the U.S., there have been more than 390,000 hospitalizations for the regular seasonal flu – not the Coronavirus, but the regular seasonal flu – according to the CDC. Any new bug, like the Coronavirus, will be piling on for our already overburdened doctors and nurses. And if we lose them it’s game over.