A Brief History of the World, Winston Smith edition

First, according to astrophysicists, there was nothing. Nada. Zilch. Tabula rasa. Then that nothingness somehow exploded. Can you say big bang? Congratulations! To, uh, whatever produced the big bang, as it gave birth to what is referred to as the universe. According to scientific investigation, that was approximately 13.8 billion years ago. Then, around 13 billion years ago, the first stars begin to burn, their glow taking its sweet time to reach…well “us”; but let’s not get too far ahead here since “us” at this point in the life of the universe is still WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY off.

Moving on, about 4.6 billion years ago our solar system begins to come together and with it the birth our life-sustaining sun. Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and thus one of the charter members of our universe, which early on had no stars or planets. Stars were forged from atoms of hydrogen and helium, while new chemical elements were created inside the dying stars (birth and death, it’s inescapable, eh?). Planets and moons formed from blobs of ice and dust using these new chemicals and elements, and the first living cell evolved in the rich chemical environments of rocky planets.

Then, 3.8 billion years ago, comes the earliest forms of life on our very special planet we call Earth. These were mostly single cell life forms. Not too sophisticated but, hey, back then they were the entire show. And that “show” was a long-running production, with virtually zero competition for attention for the next 3.2 billion years. Okay, so let’s do the math: 3.2 billion from 3.8 billion=600 million , as in years ago, larger life forms appear. Those bigger living things had the stage for a mere 593 million (or so) years, when ‘only” 7 million years back our human lineage splits from that of the Chimpanzee. That “break-away” from the chimp world, over the next 5 million years, produced the–ta da!–homo erectus. This new “standing man” then becomes the species known as Homo sapiens, a classification that is marked at about at 200,000 years ago. Hey, from Big Bang 13.8 biillion years back to standing man. In a mere 12,999,800,000 years. 

Or, in just three paragraphs on this blog entry.

A brief history, okay?

Standing man hasn’t always had it easy, though. Life was rough and tumble. Maslow’s pyramid of ascending needs would have to have several sub-basements to signify the ordeal of simply staying alive back in that day. Today’s homeless population live elite lifestyles compared to Homo neanderthalensis. Basic food and shelter? Life was always a bitch, no doubt. And then, as already noted, they would die. But enough of standing man got off his/her feet to copulate and Homo sapiens endured, right through the last ICE AGE, some 10,000 years ago. After that frosty kick in the loin cloth-covered asses of our species by the forces of nature, it was but 5,000 years ago that cities began to appear on the planet. 3,000 years later, standing man had developed its survival instincts and desire to be the masters of their–and other’s–domains, with the Han and Roman empires. Little by little, by about 500 years ago, exploration and discovery by our species started to link the world together. For better or worse. Mostly worse, in my estimation.

Formal knowledge, the refinement of arts and sciences, elevated our human place on planet earth. In the past 150 years industrialization has given us railroads, jet airplanes, radio and television and space travel. Just 50 years ago we landed on the moon, an event that for a brief moment in time, was at once inspirational and mesmerizing in its realization, and as such, transcended race, ethnicity, or nationality in a most powerful and positive sense of shared pride in our humanity. And it was quite a momentary antidote to a world in which over the previous 200 or so years having been marred by revolutionary wars here and abroad, the U.S.civil war, World Wars I & II, (the latter of which produced an another awesome, if not a Kumbaya, event called the creation–and deployment–of the atomic bomb), the Korean and Vietnam wars, and at this point in time bloodshed far and wide. More empires. Less humanism.

Now, here we are early in the first month of year 2019. Unless you are one of the Homo sapiens that has succumbed to a de-evolutionary modus operandi, and cannot think on your own, unable to truly engage your brain, not able to determine basic right from wrong, nor distinguish a stone cold fact from an inference to a bald face lie, you might have heard about, and perhaps become concerned for our planet, all 4.6 billion years old as it is. What am I getting at? Well, while the Big Bang theory says we came from nothing, (go figure) ever since, and as been alluded to earlier, all forms of life on this planet come and go. You know, born to die. In comparison to mother earth, we are all around for a nano second of a wee smaller nanosecond of a fraction of a fraction of a blink of an eye. Hope to live to be 110? No different. By the time you were born to your demise, you (all of us, okay?) relatively speaking were barely here at all! But reproduction keeps humankind around, whether one is using that brain very well or not. Among the scientists whom are most involved with the life span of our planet–which, mind you, is inevitably as with all else, going to die–they assert we have reached an “existential crisis”. It’s called climate change. And the virtual consensus of climate scientists is that our planet is sick. Very sick. Human activity is hastening our planet’s demise–and standing man and woman will eventually pass away when the sphere beneath our feet no longer can support itself, or us.

What are we humans doing about this crisis? Apparently not much. Certainly not nearly enough. In the decade that ran from 1979-1989 we had an excellent opportunity to solve this climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions–far closer than we have ever come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for that inaction are still emerging. But now, as back then, the only thing standing in the way of saving the planet is…ourselves.

And by ourselves, I include a particular person who is an avowed science-denier when it comes to looming climate collapse: this person is deeply, profoundly flawed. Okay, nobody is perfect but…this person is a sociopath. This person is a racist. Indeed, he is a white supremacist. He is a misogynist. A homophobe. A xenophobe. A failed businessman. A con man. As bad as all that is, the worst part is he has been allowed to be the President of our country. Oh, and one who may have colluded with Mother Russia and its evil strongman, V. Putin, during his campaign. This man is not helping with much except to create chaos and consternation among critical thinkers. Sadly, this person has followers. I call them “pod people” (after the people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers whose beings are overtaken by insidious pods being slipped near them as they slumbered, to awake and become zombie like automatons in the grip of alien forces). Today’s Pod People have brains, but they are a waste of gray matter. Podsters don’t seem to care about anything but what their “leader” thinks and does. But more than any creepy flaw he has clearly displayed, it’s that science-denying one that is the most dangerous here, in 2019.

Sadly, in my informed, personal opinion, it may be 2019, but I’m beginning to feel as though it is really 1984. As in the dystopian world penned by George Orwell in 1949, shortly after the carnage of World War II. In it, Orwell created Big Brother. A glossary of terms from that seminal novel would include, doublethink, hate week, newspeak, speakwrite, thought police, and thoughtcrime. Doesn’t sound like a Disney narrative, eh? Now, I am not saying we are actually immersed in Orwell’s nightmare vision of the future, as he saw it back in 1949, but there are indications that, since our current occupant of the White House took residence there in January of 2017, it certainly sounds and seems as though we are getting closer to an Orwellian nightmare than safely secured from any such approximation of it.

For example, a few nights ago, the corporate, mainstream media once again demonstrated its collusion in this country’s ever-increasing descent into creepy, dark political cynicism. How so? By granting a prominent platform for the dissemination of blatant propaganda and fear mongering by the above alluded to White House denizen.

The various major media outlets, both broadcast and cable, were asked to permit this person, who has been clearly and credibly identified as a bona-fide, dissembling demagogue to speak to we the people. The heads of these news outlets could not possibly have acted any more irresponsibly by agreeing to provide prime-time coverage for this person and his intended reason for seeking their assistance. After all, he was not addressing the vital–and ever more desperate–need for climate action. Of course not. He, at best, willfully denies the reality of climate change, or actually is unable to process the credible evidence that has been around for-as noted–several decades by now. He wasn’t talking about making healthcare more affordable for all of we the people, nor was he addressing the need for more affordable means of getting a college education. He wasn’t announcing a plan to address re-building our rotting national infrastructure, or creating a living wage policy to help the average person make ends meet without working two or more jobs.

No, he was given the national airwaves to potentially enter into the living rooms–Little Brother?–of every household, to demand several billion dollars for a “wall” to separate the U.S. from its neighboring countries to the south. He claimed–without evidence– that the border is not secure, and that those coming here included rapists, murderers, drug dealers and terrorists. All while our federal government has been shut down for almost three weeks as a means of showing he means business.

The Orwellian part of his being on the airwaves so pervasively is that there was no obligation on the part of the media to grant him time to spew his nonsense, all of which is at the expense of that evidence-based existential crisis known as the climate crisis that increasingly threatens our planet. The heads of each of those major media outlets could have easily declared his request as being so blatantly a political stunt that they could not possibly be so irresponsible as to let him have the airwaves to advance its unworthiness. The fact that they didn’t is extremely disturbing.

Orwell’s book, by the way, has become something of a new best seller in the past couple of years. Art imitates life? Ugh. Well, we’re not that far gone yet, but the media created this orange-hued occupant of the White House, and it could destroy him just as easily. We don’t have to listen to him even if the media continues to provide a platform for further prevarication, division and hate speech. But we shouldn’t have to willfully ignore what should never have been allowed to become a reality in the first place. What happened on Tuesday evening was a dangerous symptom of incipient Orwellianism, in my estimation.

After 4.6 billion years, here we are, my fellow Homo Sapiens. We are the problem. Of course we are. We must have asked for this or else why has it become a reality? When did basic right and wrong become so jumbled in so many people’s minds? How can we be so easily led astray? Who and what are we paying attention to? So, as mother earth continues to wheeze and convulse, the clock is ticking. You can take time out for a break, but you can’t take a break from time, right? I’d say, time to take a break from taking break from thinking about the present and the future. You can change the dial, or turn off that tv, leave cyberspace and connect with reality. I mean, can’t we do better than this? This is what we have evolved into since leaving Chimp World?

4.6 billion years from nothing to the moon and back. And it was televised! Now, our media has become a tool for misinformation, disinformation, insipid celebrity cults, bread and circuses. It is everywhere and nowhere. Newspeak. Doublethink. Hate week. Thoughtcrime. Far fetched? Let’s hope so. But sometimes, lately, I feel a bit like Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith in 1984. But I’m hoping for a happier ending than Winston’s.

If your brain is critically engaged and your eyes wide open, I’d say you–as I–are all incipiently becoming Mr.Smith.

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Radio Daze

While laying awake in the very early hours of the day, waiting to snooze a bit more, I figured let’s listen to some radio, and let a bit of this and that enter my mind. It is a matter of trying to re-direct one’s thoughts from you-know-what to you never know what. Not seeking a musical interlude as much as some non-you-know-what spoken content, I fished around the dial, with low expectations.

After dismissing the sports station’s babble about pro baseball and the monetary machinations between billionaire owners and adult men paid in the serious seven-figures to play a game for 6 months a year, I was profoundly lacking in concern at the moment (mind you the discussion seemed to be oblivious to the literally impossible task of keeping the players, coaches, staff and others safe from being infected while playing their sport). I went up the dial and landed on an early morning talk show aired on a bonafide progressive station (a finding as rare as a empathetic utterance by the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). After a couple of minutes of listening to this show’s topic of discussion, I lay wondering if the host or her guest had any idea of the irony involved in their expressions of disappointment and disapproval regarding one Mr.Joe Biden. You know, the Democratic Party’s preferred choice to march into electoral battle with Mr. Sensitivity at 1600 Penn Ave.

Evidently, JB uttered a clearly insensitive, clumsy-ass thought during one of his rare appearances in the media (seriously, Joe is the invisible man). He said something along the lines that if an African American were to vote for his opponent come this November’s election, then “you ain’t black”. Okay. Given that JB is white, that’s a pretty demeaning, presumptuous assertion. I understand the political, knee-jerk mentality of his utterance, since the African American vote has been overwhelmingly Democratic for decades. I think he was trying to say, is that the Democrats actually care about black lives, as opposed to the standard issue Republican office holder virtually at any level. Thus, Joe’s logic dictates that…

The irony I felt as I listened had to do with connecting a few dots regarding how Joe Biden became the face of the Democratic Party for election 2020 in the first place. Mind you, the two radio voices belonged to two Afro-American women.

The secondary, non-host (I assume an invited guest) was rattling off a laundry list of things that Biden should apologize for, starting with the “you ain’t black” blunder, and then onto a litany of other perceived affronts to the the Afro-American community. It was at that point that I concluded this was absolute nonsense. Why? Here’s why: so Joe Biden has revealed who he is, that being a standard issue mouthpiece for a party that takes the black vote for granted. Of course that is who is he. He is a very old school, corporate democrat. They talk the social, economic, ethnic, racial, we are all the same agenda. Then when they do actually have the power and leverage to walk that walk, they sell out for a status quo, play-it-safe, go-along-to-get-along end game. Seriously, They talk the talk, but not since forever it seems has the national Democratic Party really ever walked the walk on striving for equality for all Americans, blacks and other minorities included. Equality? It has long been pretty ugly (and now made grotesque by Covid-19).

The irony of the radio program’ s speakers venting their spleen about “you ain’t black”–for me, as a white listener–is that it was the Afro-American community that literally resurrected Biden’s candidacy. Keep in mind that Joe Biden was a grade-A ho-hum candidate from the moment he decided to run for president, and up to the so-called “super Tuesday” Democratic primary battles. Biden, after the first three primaries, which were the New Hampshire, Iowa, and then–less historically overblown in importance–Nevada, was fading as fast as a gimpy nag in the feature race at Pimlico. It was Bernie Sanders who was the front runner. Bernie won New Hampshire with three times the votes for Biden. He won Iowa, while Biden finished FIFTH. Sanders won Nevada, beating Biden by 40% to 19% in that vote.

Bernie had the momentum, and the progressive, lift all boats proposals that put him in the lead. Which scared the shit out of the play-it-safe, no interloper progressives allowed DNC (same as in 2016).

Then came South Carolina. And with it, James Clyborn. Clyborn is a native, African American South Carolinian. He is the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is an old school Dem, too, now 79 years of age. It was Clyborn who urged his fellow Afro-Americans in South Carolina to go out and vote for Biden, who according to Clyborn was the guy looking out for your Afro-American futures. Bernie Sanders? The guy who wants Medicare for all, and affordable if not free education? The Green New Deal? The candidate who champions an economic system that truly wants to serve all people, regardless of skin color, gender, and so on.? Bernie, the guy with decades of progressive, we the people calls to action? Why vote for him?

Yeah, that white guy. He made a big impact four years ago running on his ideas for a more egalitarian governing structure. Until he was sabotaged by the DNC.

But that was 2016. Now, in 2020 here came Jim Clyborn, who revealed his pro-status quo, don’t rock the boat, middling, wussy, play-to-lose devotion to the national Democratic Party and who carried sway with the black vote when that South Carolina primary came around. And sway his consrituents he did. The Afro-American vote in S.C. gave Biden a resounding victory over Bernie, the guy whose political agenda would clearly serve everyone, not just the entrenched power brokers. Such as James Clyborn (who knows damn well better, having grown up in South Carolina during Jim Crow days). But power is hardly ever easily shared. Clyborn played the DNC system and worked his way up. Good for him. However, when it came down to demonstrating he, too, at a crucial point in political importance to the put-upon and left behinds, was ready to say enough!, he wasn’t about to abandon the DNC’s corporate interests. He championed the corporate Joe Biden. He did the DNC’s bidding, while having to know Sander’s proposals addressed vital changes that desperately needed acting upon. Biden? A reformer? Please!

The woman demanding Biden make all the apologies she felt he owned the black community seemed unable to connect the dots that I was connecting. Biden is a lost cause. Biden is about to become irrelevant, and he is the BIG Name for the entrenched Democrats. Def-Con FIVE at the DNC! It gets Clyborn to shill for Biden in S.C. and Biden wins big. Then Super Tuesday follows and–surPRIZE! Buttigeig and Klobachar announce they are dropping out of the race just before Super Tuesday, throwing their support to Biden. Biden is suddenly–astoundingly, actually– quite relevant and now positioned to push Sanders aside, as Sanders was pushed aside in 2016.

The media ate up the Joe is Back narrative. Bernie who? Corporate media likes corporate Joe. And now Joe Biden is the guy.

Right. Joe Biden is the guy who says “you ain’t black” unless you blacks votes for him. As if race is supposed to even matter, huh? But it was the Afro-American vote that saved invisible Joe Biden. He’s the 2020 candidate who’s ideas will vanquish the buffoon at 1600 Pennsylvania supossedly. What ideas? If the Afro-American voters who went for Biden would have actually judged each on their track record and current ideas, it would seem to be clear who would best represent them. But I guess Clyborn pounded home the propaganda about Bernie being too radical and never being able to enact his policies even if he got elected. Bullshit. White, black, brown, yellow or rainbow, each voter should vote objectively, not just allow themselves to be given marching orders from anyone else.

Thus I lay and snickered at how ridiculous was the umbrage taken with the white candidate that these two radio voices had issues with when it was their very own fellow Afro-Americans who resurrected his candidacy in South Carolina. Ladies. Your fellow Afro-American political forces created the candidate who so unsurprisingly said “you ain’t black”. Now you choose to question his judgement?

What’s that expression? Oh, right. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

The moral of this blog entry is: don’t listen to radio talk shows, unless you just want it to serve as white noise (not my term, so please don’t call me a racist). Just roll over and try not to think about any of this horseshit. Roll over. Go back to sleep. If you can…

But, as with the last sentence of Hemingway’s short story, A Clean, Well Lighted Place put it: “It is only insomnia. Many must have it”.

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Pandumbic!

Well, well. People of Earth, how are we doing on this Memorial Day, 2020? No, this is not Zeldar from Zardoz. I am a human, sentient being, born on this Mountain Sphere, as Zeldar has taken to calling it.  He–it–refuses to come back here anymore, preferring to stay near home on planet Zardoz, having concluded a few visits ago that Mountain Sphere people are too baffling to bother with any longer. You know, a “does not compute” endgame. How do I know these things? I just know. Call it my blogger’s intuition. I do have a feel for Zeldar’s A.I. “mind”-set, since after all, the few times he/it/she? it has dropped-in, its this blog that the Zelster has used to share A.I. analysis. So, suffice to say, if anyone has insight into our visitor from afar far far away, it is I, who owns the content that appears here. And I say he/she/it/whatever is not coming back. But I have always dug that “People of Earth” salutation as it emanated from those great 1950s sci-fi flicks that had all kind of aliens taken residence here, mostly with evil intent. And that”we come in peace” assertion always turns out to be a bait-and-switch strategy. Evil abounds, and is boundless when it comes from space. Deep space. Mind you, I’m not talking that mushy Spielberg kind of sci-fi. Well made and great effects, sure, but it tried too hard to make nice with the space invader narrative. I mean c’mon.  Alien invasion needs a villainous mojo to grip a audience, not some gooey eyed, E.T. kumbaya outcome. They are MONSTER movies, right? You need a good monster. And we still have no ideas of what other life forms may be out there–and remember Zeldar is invisible, anyway, so he doesn’t count. But again, if anyone knows about Zeldar, it’s Joey Bag-a-Donut Holes here, okay? If you have a problem wit dat, then cancel your subscription and tune in to Alex Jones or Ann Coulter for your edification and don’t let me see you hanging around my blog again okay? 

Wait. Where was I?

1950s sci-fi. Classic stuff! The War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing from Another World, Radar Men from the Moon, and of course, Abbot and Costello Go to Mars. Okay, that last one is me trying to lighten things up. Wait. Lighten things up? From what? I have no idea where this blog post is even going. Uh, buffering. Searching…

I got it! I just realized it’s about Monsters. Zeldar could have been a monster but those visits were meant as research, not search and destroy. Zeldar is essentially am A.I scientist, collecting data. Trying to understand the Moutain Sphere inhabitants. Which was an impossible task, clearly. We humans are one crazy ass species. When Zeldar happened upon Maw and Paw down in Wazoo City, the research algorithms went to circuit overload/shut down repeatedly. By the way, I’ve been trying to get Maw and Paw to leave their shack in Wazoo and share their thoughts again. Ray Joe Billy Bob Tucker. What a family.  But ya know, they don’t seem to get out much. Paw sure does get out a lot though, seeing as when the Scroggins clan is occupying space here, Paw has yet to ever once show his face. I’ll bet he’s down in Hempter right now, at the Sack-O-Suds Saloon.  

Wait. Right. Monsters. So, what monster is stalking humankind on this day. I bet you think I’m going to bring up you-know-what, but I’m not. The you-know-what isn’t a monster from deep space. It came from Mountain Sphere. It, like most of the gizmos we buy, came from China. Some human decided to eat some critter bought in a so-called “open market” that, according to the backtracking on this Chinese export, had been contaminated by a bat. But it began by a human being making a really bad choice of dining options. It has happened before. Animal to human contagion. But I consider you-know-what a product of the same baffling behavior that confronted Zeldar. 

It’s kinda like a sci-fi monster movie now. As a matter of fact, you-know-what conforms almost exactly to a 2008 fictional movie entitled Contagion. Life imitating art, or so its seems. Hmm. Now that I think about it, that movie seems to have predicted you-know-what, right down to the bat contaminating a pig, and then a chef buys the pig at some wild animal market and then Gwyneth Paltrow shakes hands with chef who just wiped his bloody-from-butchering-that-hapless-pig and then heads home unwittingly all funked up and–well, you get the drift? So, Maybe you-know-what was started by Scott Z.  Burns, who wrote the story. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. When I’m finished here I’ll spread the Scott Z. theory, offering it up to Alex Jones and Ann Coulter. The Kardasians might be totally on-board with this, so them too.

Alright then, let’s get to the point here. Right. Monsters. This is a monster story. The same as the alien invasion nightmare scenarios that pit humans against creatures from deep space, except the monster here is…is…humans! Not all humans. But in this 21st century world, it doesn’t take anywhere near a majority of humans to create hell and havoc for the whole misbegotten lot of our species. Just enough who are–I think the precise clinical term is–RETARDED. They have brains that were fried inside the womb, and then grew up as TARDS. Some have been able to get enough fellow TARDS to get them into high office. And when I say these humans are RETARDED as far as using that space between their ears, I can think of no better term. 

Retarded: adjective. Less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one’s age. Immoral. Offensive. Very foolish or stupid.

Zeldar, I do believe, can be accused of a sweeping generalization when its computations denoted Mountain Sphere to be inhabited exclusively by an inscrutably perplexing–yet not very complex life form that made no sense in its observable behavior. I, for one, take umbrage that Zeldar would lump me in with all of humankind that it deemed unworthy of even trying to figure out. I mean, I can understand the conclusion based on the unfortunate encounter with the Maw and Paws of Wazoo, but that was just an unlucky landing spot for its invisible presence. Then again, the RETARDS populate many spots on Mountain Sphere. It is now a matter of humans who can think and chew gum at the same time (or chewing tobacco in the case of Wazoo-ians, but when they be being a chewing and a spittin that tobaccy juice into a spittel pot, they kinda tip their hands as far not having the brains to choose not to chew) and those that can’t. Yeah, those TARDS. Forget the TARD’s propensity to pick other TARDS to tell them how to use the brains they don’t functionally have, because the Alpha Tards are very few in number. However, they have a teeming legion of TARDS who take their cues from them. And right now these TARDS are being used to further empower their Alpha Tard handlers while very likely exposing themselves to you-know-what, and maybe even dying from you-know-what, or spreading you-know what to others, others who may, like Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion, get exposed to a TARD who shows up protesting against reality, essentially. Some carry assault weapons, Confederate flags, even Nazi apparel. 

There you have the modern day MONSTERS who, like in those classic evil alien sci-fi movies are defeated either by the force of firepower–but more smartly than armed confrontation would be the scientific solution. And science is going to have the last say in the matter of you-know-what. It is inevitable. It has various possible outcomes.

The science is impossible to deny. It says magical thinking by morons won’t save humankind. It’ll be the cause and effects that clearly dictates the smart way out of this mess. 

Rational behavior. What a concept, eh? 

Excuse me, but I’m going to distract myself by watching War of the Worlds again. The Martians seem invincible, indestructible. But what finishes them off? Earth born bacteria, of which their immune systems can’t cope with. Hmm. bacteria. Immune systems. Cause and effect. Maybe you-know-what  is counting on those whose brains never developed giving it immunity from from whatever science can throw at it. Right now, according to the data, the Tard Monsters are aiding and abetting the very thing that can only win if enough of them are allowed to deny reality.

Zeldar! Come back. Maw and Paw have reproduced and are spreading. I just know you can find an A.I. way to defeat these monsters. Seriously, then we’ll name some silicon valley operations after you. We’ll throw a parade for you, and be able to come out and enjoy the celebration and not be afraid anymore.

In the meantime, the you-know-what has become a panDumbic…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Theater of the Absurd, Dr.Strangelove edition

As the Covid World turns, eh? Are you becoming enervated by certain aspects of this once-in-a-lifetime, potentially apocalyptic reality?  It’s hard–I’d say, personally, virtually impossible– to watch any “news” anymore as the shapeless, sameness drift of daze go by and bye. Specifically, the most approach-avoidance encounter with our need for vital Covid-19 information is the grotesque daily doses of televised Theater of the Absurd–otherwise known as the White House coronavirus briefings. It quickly became obvious that the briefings never invited one to actually learn anything meaningful about the global pandemic that is not going anywhere anytime soon. The televised coverage of the briefings, centered on the Buffoon From Grifter Lagoon, also include two–TWO–actual medical scientists, one of whom is a bonafide expert on infectious diseases. However, even without watching yesterday’s briefing, today finds a tsunami of dissent in electronic and print media regarding the latest non-medical science endorsed bit of “possible remedy” by our POTUS/a,k,a, Dr.Strangelove. concerning ways to immunize one’s self, or cure the sick from, Covid-19: inject or otherwise ingest disinfectant chemicals.

That’s an astoundingly reckless thing for even the most harebrained supporters of Dr.Strangelove to consider doing. Those moronic, misguided acolytes aside, the fact that there are those two medical experts on the White House briefing team begs the question: how can they possibly stand this farcical pretense of providing the public with information that might actually boost confidence in our country’s particular battle with a global, lethal, invisible, enemy? That is, the part of our public that isn’t also part of the problem with this pandemic. The most recent incarnation of such public foolishness are those demanding they be allowed to resume business as usual, to again rub shoulders anywhere and everywhere, in direct defiance of the medical expertise that assures doing so will possibly kill such “freedom fighters” and infect other regions of the country working hard to flatten that curve. There may be Doctors Without Borders, but now we have the virus without cure, without borders as well. 

It’s as plain as daylight that the medical experts that are present in these briefings are under pressure to hold their tongues as far as refuting the asinine psycho-babble that inevitably sweeps through the press room in gales of hot air.  Are they under threat of being beaten with rubber hoses if they dare speak their medically trained minds? If they do, or if they resign, will their families be made to pay the price, like the coerced characters in gangster movies being told if they don’t play ball with Mr. Big the wife or children–being held captive in some remote location–will never been seen alive again? They do try to massage the absurd messaging from Dr.Strangelove, seemingly not willing to become targets themselves. Sad but true. Even the maker of Lysol, one of major manufacturers of disinfecting products refuted the idea of ingesting such product’s chemicals in a clear and sternly worded rebuttal.

Thus, we get these daily doses of misinformation, prevarication and provocation from Strangelove, and a pusillanimous performance from the two doctors.  This type of media coverage amounts to an unintended homage to Absurdist authors such as Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet and Luigi Pirandello among others. These Absurdist writers spoke to a perception of humanity trapped in an incomprehensible world, subject to any occurrence, no matter how unsettling and illogical. Little did Beckett and his like-minded bros know…

As I stated at the beginning of this piece, I’m finished with watching or listening to any and all blathering from the briefing farce. The only good that I can take from it is that it makes for such an easy target of justifiable ridicule and dismissal for this blogger. I’m admitting to being a bit lazy in finding distracting, upbeat things to write about. I’m sure there’s something good that is happening somewhere. Sure, some of the frontline workers are finally getting enough PPE. Right. Great upbeat story. Uh, yeah but that’s still Covid World. Or how so many people are using social media video platforms to talk to one another. Zoom. Skype. Facetime. But that’s also a product of Covid World. How about the large number of dogs and cats and other pets are being adopted during…ah goddamit! During Covid World. Uh. Uh. What else? How so many people are finding ways to help others during…no, that’s Covid World. Hey, let’s face it, there’s only one thing that is driving every bit of good or bad right now, whether we see it in real time or in news reporting, and that’s Covid World.

Perhaps, when we get out of Covid World, with real medical science finding the light at the end of the current never-ending tunnel, we’ll have a lot to smile about again. A lot to shed a tear or two over as well, but maybe there’s a big upside to the current downside. That’s up to not just medical science, but to every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation. Huh? Whaddayathink? One for all, all for one. No one can make you feel hopeless without your consent. The darkest cloud has a silver lining. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…

Whoa! I’m feeling a bit woozy with that kind of pep talk. Not my nature. I mean, my eyes are wide open. I know what I’m seeing and hearing. But I’m really trying to imagine that light at the end of that tunnel. It’s coming. It has to, in spite of Dr.Strangelove and his virtual Death Cult followers. We outnumber them. It may be Theater of the Absurd at the moment, but the curtain on that act has got to come down, even if there’s a grain of truth to the existential dread that informs it. Seriously, once this is history, what existential dread could possibly replace it? We’ll all be on easy street. Life will be a breeze, a lark, a walk in the park, a time to embrace being free to walk about, stopping to smell those roses and count our blessings. Nature will still be there for us to remind us of how special a world it can be. Sure, we’ll all embrace the bounty and beauty of Nature.  Yeah. Right. Uh. Wait.

Hmm. Nature. Sure. Uh. Before Covid World wasn’t there some dire warnings about our planet’s health? That term existential threat comes to mind again. Oh, to hell with that. One existential threat at a time. So, like I said, we can do it. We can’t give up. This too shall pass…

Goddamit! Excuse me. Time to wash my hands again. And move away a safe distance from the conflicting voices in my head… 

Where are my meds?!

 

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The Anchorman and the Alien

Hello out there. Or, rather in there. Gotten into a quarantine/shelter-in-place routine by now? Staying inside except for some modest amount of outdoorsy excercise, or to walk the dog (and pick up that pooch’s poop, okay? Unless it’s dropping a load in your own backyard, making it optional). Then comes the absolute need to get out to the grocery store. Mask on. Sanitizer in hand. Gloves on. Keeping your distance. Of COURSE you re doing things as prescribed by the medical experts. By now you know the drill. And you know how surreal, unsettling, mind bending a matter of staying the course is until a vaccine is created. However, the course just circles back to the same day, in defiance to what a calendar may otherwise suggest.

It’s Groundhog Day meets the Day the Earth Stood Still.

Groundhog Day is a funny but soulful film. It has a trajectory of one’s becoming more sensitive and self aware in spite of being trapped in a repetitve external sameness that kicks-in at exactly 6. A.M., to Cher singing I Got You Babe on a clock radio. The Day the Earth Stood Still is an edgy sci-fi thriller, a confrontation with an obstinate alien power threatening to “reduce Earth to a smoldering cinder” if nuclear proliferation isn’t reigned-in, with the potential to send nukes into space and threaten other life forms–such as the alien, Klaatu, sent from his deep space domicile to read the riot act to leaders world-wide. These two references to classic movies are relevant to what is going on in Covid World: people are virtually living the same day over and over, sheltering-in-place and trying to break the monotony inherent in this strategic battle plan to conquer the virus, which literally is threatening all of humanity. How much different–other than varying degrees of mental readiness, gumption, finding a sense of renewed purpose alone or with some family, perhaps with just that pooch or a kitty–can each passing day be from what preceded it? And each and every day has the same global threat ingrained in it upon our awakening,

There has been much speculation on how we come out of this looping, quotidian sameness. Will we all have soul-searched and learned how to be a better person, even if you were already quite self-satisfied with the face that confronts you in the morning mirror? Too soon to say, I suppose. We are, weather we want to acknowledge it or not, transforming, perhaps imperceptably and unconsciously so. This event undeniably changes everything. It holds a mirror up that not so much reflects who we are but what we are. It demands reflection. Assessment and re-assessment. We are being pretty much forced to reconsider everything that came before this came along. We will never be the exact same again, even if you think you will be. You would have to have your memory scrubbed clean to not know that nothing can ever be exacly the same again. We are all acting like we have never had to act before, writ large or small. Impossible to honestly deny that it isn’t so.

Do we not feel an uneasy cautiousness that accompanies our every touch of any surface, or the needed suppression of suspicion of being endangered by that trip to get more toilet paper, knowing this is how that invisible virus spreads–by being among others? Does your proximity alert alarm go off when someone in that store or even on the walkways invades that six foot distancing strategy? We are all, in a way Phil Conners, the Groundhog anchorman anchored in the same day, day after day after day… We are all Klaatu, potentially the univited alien that threatens humanity, one contagious encounter at a time.

Ah, but do not despair!

Keep in mind, Phil Conners finally breaks out of his recycled same-dayness and is a better person for the ultimately transformative experience. Klaatu and his menacing robot, Gort, depart after having warned humanity that it needs to change it’s ways. When a vaccine is developed, however far off that is, Covid will depart, having also given us all pause as to how to make this world a safer, saner place, a world that will have learned its lesson about living recklessly, ignoring common sense behavior that collectively invites catastrophy and carnage.

That’s me trying to put a positive spin on what we are all stuck in. So, keep on truckin’. Keep the faith (whatever one you choose). Time is, after all, on our side in that it doesn’t stop. Whatever day we are finally free to start our renewed lives (safely and sanely), however many more days that may entail, with the alien threat still in place, know that each day is a day closer to living to see the adage This Too Shall Pass proving its inexorable, inherent truth.

Excuse me now, please. Time to wash my hands. Again. And again. and …

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Easter Sunday, Showdown at the Defiance Corral edition

Easter is upon us. As in it’s tomorrow. Here in the US, Easter Sunday is formally observed in myriad places of worship, be it a small church in some remote outpost, to towering cathedrals in big cities, repleat with ornade emblems of biblical narratives, plenty of stained glass and seating capacities up to 6,000, as in the Cathedral of St.John the Devine in New York City.

However, this 2020 Easter Sunday will not have the devoted flocks of parishioners gathering shoulder to shoulder in pews to hear a sermon. Of course not, because virtually every state in the country has given John and Jane Q.Citizen orders to shelter-in-place, a directive that makes perfectly logical sense as a strategy to flatten that Covid-19 curve. Need I explain any of this?

Of course not. Unless…

…the place of worship is located in a state with enough elected officials belonging to Murder, Inc. aka the Republican party. I believe I made a logical argument for using the moniker of Murder, Inc when referring to the GOP in my previous posting. I stand by it, as I have for a looong time. Not to again rehash the overtly egregious intents of these callous killers (okay, just consider how much they drool over getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, without any proposals to replace it, a plot that uneqivocably would lead to certain death for countless people who can barely afford to buy aspirin, let alone have completely private, for-profit health insurance). Mind you, the ACA is not nearly the answer for our criminally expensive healthcare system, but it is better than nothing. The GOP prefers nothing. But back to Easter Sunday worship without going to church. Most all of those heading various places of spiritual devotion have planned for a tele-sermon, or one or another digital dais format, to maintain the social distancing aspect of battling the further spread of the coronavirus. However, there are some spiritual practioners who prefer to preach to their parishioners in person, and many among the faithful are just fine with having Easter Sunday sans social distancing. These people are, of course, fucking crazy. However, even crazier are the ruling red state legislators who demand that the service be performed as usual. If they get their way, with hundreds of people gathering under one roof, it would almost certainly increase the odds of the virus spreading.

**************************************INTERMISSION********************************

Oh, hello again. Uh, let?’s see. What was I going on about? Oh, right, social distancing and Easter Sunday. And the goddam GOP! I mean, Is there not ANYTHING that Murder, Inc ever supports, proposes, or worse of all, passes into law, that DOES NOT, at a minimum, cause at least middling adversity, or major headaches, to literal life or death outcomes for most people? Can these mentally rigid, neo-conservative, control-freaky types be genuinely convinced that their ideology is righteous? I’m not just talking about the elected offficals. It’s the “flock” that follows those officials who votes for them, too. If they are “all in” and ready to stay in, then how does that separate them from other organizations whose agenda sometimes leaves blood on their hands? You think Lefties are the ones trying to deligitimize a woman’s right to control her body? What a compassionate attitude. Then we return to when septic back alley abortions were notorious. That’s the Elephant party’s version of “progress”. So, if these followers are large enough in number–and they are in the tens of millions– and are “all in” with the Elephants, the herd gets bigger and more agressive. They are True Believers! But they are worshipping something that makes no sense if it does little good but great harm? Ya think?

************************************Time to Reflect********************************

Sorry I took a bit longer than expected . I was reflecting on how meaningless it all is. And how the fact that we even exist makes zero sense. Geeze, how do you make something out of nothing? How did this reality start? What was there before there was nothing that became something? What, some “god” made it? Oh, really? Where’d he she/it come from? But wait. This blog rant has something to do with “god” and churches and the Covid-19. And something else. What? What was it? Oh, those motherfucking Republicans! Let me tell you something. Their actions are very well strategized, practiced and polished to somehow tap into far too many a person’s lack of listening/critical thinking skills. Forget skills, How about basic, no frills common sense? It’s a style over substance trance. But the style, devilishly, is as well manufactured as the message. The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan famously said. They are masters of manipulating crucial segments of the mainstream media to unwittingly do their bidding. Or unwillingly, at best, owing to most major outlets being owned by corporations that own the media outlet. And own the GOP (and most of congress for that matter, but especially those Elephants).

Therefore, we now incessantly have to listen to a carnival barker disguised as a human being disguised as a “leader” of the most powerful country on Earth who never slightly appears to have a sense of empathy or ability to give a shit unless he abosultely, positively has to; but he’ll not really give a shit even when he tries because he can’t because he’s incapable, like a freakazoid humanoid whose wiring does not permit any other form of decision making. Not even a pandemic that threatens to kill people the world over can trigger a basic reasoning override. And he has his flock, some of whom can’t process the need to NOT HAVE large gatherings, as in especially huge congregations pouring into some churches. Perhaps the local authorities will enforce common sense, the easy way, or the hard way. I hope. These ignorant bofflecocks need to be stopped by some local agency that sees reality for what it is. The local GOP acolytes be damned.

Why does this even have to be litigated, as it is? Because we have Murder, Inc as the party that has the most power, and now has sects that deserve to be called a Death Cult. This isn’t slick marketing of a message or the lull of agitprop repitition. There are no sublte, subliminal emotional buttons to be pushed here. This is in your face defiance with lives on the line. If allowed to happen, it could cost far more people illness and death than the people who hit the pews tomorrow. Inevitably it will go to surrounding communities. Enough of a spread to work counter to the overall need to flatten that curve. The curve that has been ever so slightly lowering, especially where rigorous in place sheltering is being hard core taken as gospel.

Hey, maybe their invisible entity up there will reward their devotion by ending the threat of their spreading death. Cured! We be cool, okay? The power of defiance! Yeah, a benevolent god would do that, right? Then again, a benevolent god wouldn’t permit pandemics.

Or the Republican party.

One’s god is within, One’s beliefs are within. Build a shrine to your personal god in the clothes closet. Then leave the matter between you and your wardrobe. Just keep it to yourself, okay? That would be a refreshingly benevolent gesture.

Me, I believe, too. Sure do. I believe I’ll pour myself two fingers of rye.

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Flattening the Curve(s)

Today, April 7, 2020 in the Covid-19 pandemic. While most states here in the U.S. have made official shelter-in-place orders, there are several that still have not. For those living in the states where the governors refuse to act in accordance with the irrefutable medical science which emphatically states stopping Covid-19 from spreading means staying home, maybe at least local mayors are using their brains to help save lives. And getting the public to shelter at home, only going out for necessary supplies once in a while–and then wearing face masks/bandanas and keeping at least 6 or more feet apart from others–clearly does work. The proof of this is that today, for the first day since the virus outbreak was started in China–likely in the Wuhan area–there has not been a single Covid-related death reported. I repeat, not a single additional death from Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

If only the U.S. could say the same. Not about to happen, as today, New York City recorded 731 deaths. Since the virus reached the Big Apple several weeks ago, it has suffered 3,202 Covid deaths. In comparison, back in China, where the virus was first reported back in late November or early December or thereabouts, it has reported 3,331 deaths. That’s China, folks, where 1.386 billion people call home. New York City has 8.6 million residents. These statistics are telling us a story. The narrative here is this corona virus can be stopped, if only people would be smart about deploying the stay home strategy very assiduously.

While the Chinese government at first tried to downplay the seriousness of Covid-19’s initial spread, when it realized that the virus was immune to magical thinking, and it was going to decimate the population if allowed to, it got real serious about not letting that happen. The Chinese officials locked-down the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, population 11 million. That order was put in place 76 days ago–Jan 23. And as noted, today not one new Covid death. Additionally, the residents of Wuhan are being allowed to go out again, with precautions of course.

The first diagnosed case of the virus here in the U.S. was January 21. On January 30, the World Health Organization (that’s a scientific organization, okay?) declared a GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY. By the end of January, our President was given the grim projections on the Covid-19 deaths here in the U.S., estimated to be as much as hundreds of thousands. However, as with the initial Chinese response that downplayed the matter, the White House insisted that everything was under control. To this day, the day in which there has not been one new death in China because of the virus, our country’s “leader” still has not ordered a national shelter-in-place order. Thus, those several states–all so-called “red states”–that still don’t get it about what a seriously deadly matter this viral attack is. And by “red” state I’m not talking commies here. I’m talking Republican led states. Some “leadership” going on there–a deficit that is emboldened by blathering from a cartoon show masquerading as sober consideration from 1600 Mar-a-Lago.

However, I need not go on another screed about the national political party I have long referred to as Murder, Inc. GOP policies have been killing people for years. You should know by now that the GOP has fought against every piece of legislation that actually aims to serve everyone in the U.S (what a concept eh?). That would include, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, any attempt at universal healthcare, protecting women’s reproductive rights and on and on and on. So, why would they care about who dies from the Covid attack? And to put a fine point on my assertion of Murder, Inc., just today, the state of Wisconsin–with a Democratic Governor but a GOP run legislature–is conducting their scheduled primary. However, the governor tried to push the primary into May. The legislature acted in conjunction with the state’s GOP majority supreme court to rule the primary will take place today, with the matter also being quickly settled by our nation’s Supreme Court by–of course!–a 5-4 vote with all five votes for letting the primary go ahead being given by conservative, GOP lapdog justices.

See what I mean? In Wisconsin, the GOP says go out and vote. It may cost you your life, but obviously we Republicans don’t care about that. Why? As usual, the strategy works for them, and against any possible loss of Murder, Inc not calling the neo-liberal, let-them-eat-cake shots. You know, it’s a variation on Tony Montana/Scarface denoting the progression of achieving supremacy: first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman. But the difference here is women don’t count at all with the GOP. Power and money gets their rocks off. Women? Several of those red states have used the coronavirus pandemic to pass draconian legislation to prevent a woman from getting an abortion, even if it is a matter of that woman’s life or death. The GOP is one hideously inhumane, greedy, creepy and morally corrupt crowd, whose “leader” admitted in front of a camera and microphone prior to his running for office, that he can use his celebrity when in the presence of a beautiful woman to “Grab ’em by the pussy”.

Then again, from our current cartoon character occupying the White House, from where he conducts a reality show akin to the corporate media-based one that gave him a smaller but significant stage, on down to local GOP office holders, I wonder: how do these political cretins ever get elected in the first place?

Well, one reason is their systematic implementation of voter suppression laws in those same red states–and mind you this red state/blue state political map of the country has taken shape for the last 40 years, given birth when Ronald Reagan was elected, ushering in the neo-liberal agenda that today has generated outcomes like the Wisconsin primary becoming a literal life-risking matter in order for its citizens to vote. But voter suppression is not the sole reason the GOP continues to wield its nefarious agenda. Another factor is the unabashed rigging of the judicial branch of our government. Again, as above with a right-wing court ordering Wisconsin’s primary to be held in spite of the obvious dangers that ruling entailed, and the anti-abortion laws being enforced in the face of this pandemic, as if the constitutional right for a woman to control her own body is nullified by the virus. The virus that–and yes to beat a goddam dead horse–that was not taken the least bit seriously by our Republican pussy-grabber when it was first documented by the W.H.O. And that because of this stupendous stupidity New York City has recorded virtually as many Covid deaths as the entire country of China–where it first ran rampant.

Do you see the self-stoking vicious circle that is in play here? Murder, Inc., Established in early November of 1980, when the American people went to polls and decided that Ronald Reagan was the best choice to lead our country. I will never forget the term “Reagan Democrats” denoting how many of the Donkey Party’s members went from blue to red. And for many of us, who lived through that upheaval of the political landscape, now living with the unprecedented political earthquake, a tectonic plate shattering, brace yourself against the wall, slap yourself in the face this-has-got-to-be-a-gothic nightmare event of November 8th 2016, bad done turned worse. Much, much worse.

How do enough people still actually vote for members of a political that overtly displays its contempt for any but the most wealthy and privileged? A party that–taking its cue from Reagan who famously warned us all that the government is the problem, not the solution–currently cannot provide any trace of leadership in the face of a life-altering, global catastrophe. A party whose policies serve the very, very few, even now in our communal hour of greatest need.

The pandemic is a matter of “flattening the curve”, as we have all been told. That curve gets flattened by people being officially told to STAY HOME. If the virus cannot continue to spread by close contact, medical science can get the upper hand all the sooner to resolve this life and death matter. That strategy has been shown to work, not just in Wuhan, but in others places, including Singapore, Austria and Germany. Here in the U.S., California, a very blue state whose governor early on saw that the federal government was pretty much useless, has become a model for flattening the curve. Yeah, let’s flatten that curve, okay? It’s the SMART thing to do. Stay home as much as possible. To not do so is pretty stupid. Can’t beat the virus by being stupid. Stupidity won’t flatten the curve (hello, red state mopes taking its cue from Idiot Number One).

There’s a second curve–akin to the corona virus curve–that needs to be flattened. And that curve is–what else?–the Stupidity Curve. What does this curve look like? Well, it is far, far from being flattened. It has been slowly spiking for decades, leading to why Republican con artists of every rank and file keep getting elected. Seriously, tens of millions of voters keep voting against their best interests. The 1% that controls almost all of the power and wealth in this country have been put in place by millions of voters being stupid enough to be conned. As if the GOP supporters, most of whom are working class, who need healthcare, education, economic opportunity, safe drinking water (recall the GOP led Michigan officials essentially poisoning the Flint, Michigan water supply to–what else?–save money for their corporate backers) breathable air and other basic human rights, can’t discern fundamental right from wrong.

We will, eventually, flatten the Covid-19 curve, here and around the world. In spite of the noted stupidity displayed by those who have the power to help, but choosing not to be much help at all. To prevent having such sinister and cynical, incompetent and corrupt government, here and elsewhere, people need to make smarter choices about who they support to govern. I don’t know about this Stupidity Curve getting flattened anytime soon. Maybe stupidity is a disease too. Is there a cure for stupidity? And don’t say education. Lots of people with a college degree or two choose to vote against their own self-interest.

I keep hearing about how great it will be to get back to normal. Really? Hmm. I believe what was supposedly “normal” prior to our current apocalyptic looking everyday life, is what created this medical and political mess in the first place. Please, let’s create a better, smartly maintained normal when this passes. It should take not an Einsteinian I.Q. to figure out the good from the bad. It shouldn’t take too much brain power to see right from wrong, in each’s most basic characteristics.

In theory anyway.

P.S.: the Democratic Party isn’t exactly free of some complicity in the aforementioned leadership vacuum. Murder, Inc. the DNC is not. More like Status Quo, LLC.

Just so you know…

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War of the World, Phaedrus edition

While I keep sheltering in place, fully aware of the dire need for everyone here and abroad to be smart and do the same, I am unable to forget how we here in the U.S. got to this point, on April 1. Of course, it’s because covid-19 is an invisible, lethal enemy. However, this precise point in time-cruelly April Fools day–should have taken place no less than seven to eight weeks earlier. Why do I assert such a claim?

Look no further than the occupant of the White House, who downplayed the seriousness of this virus and its potential for global disaster. But he is concerned not about the globe rather only the U.S. And not the general population of the U.S. No, only for the U.S. economy, which he appears to place above people’s lives. You should all understand how much he has blatantly made this priority clear. He wanted to “re-open” businesses by Easter Sunday, but with the covid number skyrocketing, he has had to let that absurd notion go. What he needed to do, long before letting his Easter dream go, was act on real, verifiable, information from the World Health Organization those many weeks ago and ordered the shelter-in-place/social distancing order with all due haste.

That’s what any other President in my lifetime would have done, and by extension I mean every last one who preceded our current occupant of the White House. Of course they would have. But there has never been a person with absolutely no ability to lead or a self-awareness that the job he holds demands leadership, in the best of times but especially in a national crisis. The only reality for this man stares back at him in a mirror. And he always is then self-aware and approving of that reality.

Alas, I belabor the OBVIOUS on this point! Well, for some of us that is, it is abundantly obvious. For others, not so much. Those others would the ones who, in some recent polls, give him a thumbs up on his job performance. Yes, his polling numbers have gone up. These polls are shocking, disturbing and surreal–like the man for whom the polls measure likes and dislikes. Then again, the people who are themselves self-satisfied with their thumbs up in the polls, are also shocking, disturbing and surreal. Well, but his true believers have always come across that way to me. His being given the keys to White House was an abhorrent aberration. Mind you, I despise both Republicans and Democrats, and have cringed at how some of these office holders ever gain traction with voters. But the 2016 outcome exists in its own political universe, galaxy, solar system, star, planet, moon and asteroid pecking order. 2016’s stunning election results (corrupted by an outdated system, foreign interference, voter suppression, all proven as contributors to the outcome) have been a waking nightmare for the those who once laughed at the mere notion of such an outcome; but we get the government we deserve. Right. Wait, but do we deserve this? That is, gross incompetence is one thing, but willfully ignoring proven science weeks and weeks ago means, at this moment, April 1, 2020, that ignorance has cost people their lives in creasing numbers.

As if he cares. He is considered by mental health professionals to be a “sociopath”. His hideous character warts have been on display for decades. Now his most glaring shortcoming–not having any empathy whatsoever–has become weapons grade lethal.

Well, I wish everyone well, even those who literally–albeit unwittingly– voted for this. The virus does not discriminate. It’ll kill friend and foe of our current resident of 1600 Mar-a-Lago. That was its modus operandi months and months ago, when it first become known as a matter of importance. If only we could have been given facts about the gravity of the situation before the virus itself forced the facts to confront our reality-denying president. Mind you, he very reluctantly has made recent concessions to our current reality. He has at last–and VERY late in this matter–conceded to the seriousness of the moment. I’m sure he loathed having to concede to the facts of this matter. No, sir. Covid-19 is so not fake news!

If only the mistakes of others only had consequences for those who made the mistake. But that’s not the way it works. We here in the U.S. of A. are all paying for that shocking, disturbing, surreal outcome back on November 8th 2016. I knew no good could come of it. But I never figured it would come to being THIS BAD, as much as I knew it had potential for unprecedented outcomes.

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good,

need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Gee, good question. Maybe a poll could be taken to answer that one.

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War of the World, Agent Smith edition

Hello, self-quarantined, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, diligent hand washing, not face touching, responsible practitioners/critical thinkers in what by now is clearly a deep dive into an a potentially apocalyptic pandemic. Being smart about this war against an invisible but lethal enemy is the only way Covid-19 will be stopped. Being stupid about it will increase the odds against winning, and by winning I mean being able to save humanity from whatever brought this calamity upon one and all, anywhere and everywhere.

Certainly, I am stating the obvious here, right? Who doesn’t already understand this? Well, obviously it is not obvious to a lot of people. And the people I am alluding to are swathes of science-deniers, or selfishly reckless individuals who still meet up in groups or who individually hoard sanitizers, face masks, and most all of toilet paper. Toilet paper! Okay, you might get diarrhea if you’re infected. But one person buying three packs of 32 rolls? And likely NOT suffering such a symptom as they stack their shopping cart full of Charmin. What a bunch of assholes, obviously. But–most of all–certain people who have a public presence via media outlets. Here in the U.S of A., we have an administration that is led by, as David Brooks, a bonafide media conservative put it, a “sociopath”. And this sociopath has made it abundantly clear that saving our economy, i.e. Wall Street, is more important than anything else. You may have heard of medical staff all over the country crying out for more vital supplies. This need has been established weeks and weeks ago, but only a trickle of new resources have become available. This sociopath could invoke the War Powers Act to require U.S. manufacturing companies to quit making one widget or another and make those medical supplies instead. But he refuses to use that Act. He prefers not to be a burden to business, apparently. Priorities.

For all I know, at the very moment I write this post, some further lunacy has been spoken by Sociopath Man. Yesterday he touted the idea of “reopening America” by Easter Sunday. You know, to help–not the doctors, nurses, first responders and others on the front lines of this life or death battle–but, you know, to help get the economy percolating again. This psychobabble was uttered at virtually the same time the World Health Organization postulated the U.S could soon become the very epicenter of this viral assault. Who do you want to believe? Sociopath Man or the World Health Organization?

I am of a mind that Sociopath Man will have to be reigned in by the scientific community, or we, here in the U.S. will suffer for it. More than we already are suffering from it. Sure, his fellow sociopathic true believers trust him. They are zombies, but unlike those in what was once just a science fiction apocalyptic narrative. This story is all too real. Sociopath Man’s zombies are very real. They want to eat brains alright. Brains that, as alluded to above, belong to those smart/critical thinking, regimen respecting troopers aligned to defeat our common enemy, Covid-19. Sociopath zombies indeed want to eat that type of brain, and they will if we let them. Then there are no brains left. Sociopath Man is a virus unto himself. His spores are his followers. When they speak, it is a the equivalent of an coronavirus infectee sneezing in your face. Duck and cover.

No one can yet see how this all ends. It’s a war, for sure. But in this part of world and others, there’s a secondary war of fact vs fiction. Black magical thinking vs sound reasoning. To win both wars is quite a task, but it can be done. If not then whom to blame? I think I know the answer to that one…

…and it was provided in one particular sequence of the 1999 seminal science fiction film The Matrix. In this sequence, Morpheus has been captured and is being tortured by three Agents, sentient computer programs that protect the Matrix from its human enemies. Morpheus is human but has entered the matrix as part of a resistance that strives to save humanity from the machines, which are now harvesting humans to use them as energy sources- batteries, if you will, that aid in the matrix’s operation. Agent Smith is desperate to break into Morpheus’ mind, to get the information that will finish off any human threat to the machines. As agent Smith becomes more impatient with Morpheus, he (it) decides to clearly explain his antipathy toward the human race that created the matrix in the first place. Smith, visibly displaying disgust with his assignment to crack Morpheus so he/it can exist without threat from him or leftover resistant humans, alludes to the matrix failing to ever understand how the human race functions, saying that although the computers tried to make a virtual world for those humans serving as unwitting servants to the matrix it created, nothing ever seemed to satisfy them. Human behavior is a puzzle that the matrix cannot solve. Smith asserts that all humans ever seem to do, is populate one place, destroying it in the process, before moving to another place and destroying it as well, time and time again. Rinse and repeat, in so many words. As Morpheus slumps, bound to a chair, hanging on desperately so as not to let them break his will–hack his brain, as it were–Smith then tells Morhueus there is another organism that has the same behavioral characteristics of the human race, that being a virus.

Yes, Agent Smith. You hit the nail right on the head! The human race is one nasty, greedy, genocidal, power thirsty lot. The human virus. Hell, the 20th century alone gave us two world wars, plus a handful of ridiculous, life-wasting ideological proxy wars. We slaughter one another, writ large or small. Before you accuse me of cherry picking humankind’s characteristics, just take a close look at the world, especially before this pandemic. Fascism on the rise. Racism. Sexism. Xenophobia. Class warfare. Plutocrats. Oligarchs. Totalitarians. Then study history farther and farther back. Rinse and repeat. Smith, my man–uh–my sentient computer program. You rule!

But we must dethrone agent Smith. Now let’s go and win this war! Both of them! Stay inside and keep washing those hands. Avoid those Sociopath Man zombies. Squirt disinfectant into their eyes. We can do it.

Or maybe this is our Matrix. If so, if some guy who goes by the name of Morpheus rescues you from your virtual world of placid, quotidian routine, when he offers a choice of a red or blue pill, TAKE THE BLUE ONE.

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Crime and Punishment; Pardon Me? edition

On February 7, 2003, the Bush administration continued its increasing drumbeat for taking down Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi honcho, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld  estimating  that such an invasion could last “Six days. Six weeks. I doubt six months”.

On March 20, 2003, the U.S. invades the country of Iraq.

In case one doesn’t recall the run-up to that march 2003 start of the Iraq war, allow me to remind such a reader that it’s official ending date is noted as December 18, 2011. About 130,000 U.S. soldiers entered into that invasion, along with about 45,000 British troops. According to National Geographic “war and occupation directly and indirectly claimed the lives of about half a million Iraqi civilians. The American military death toll stands at about 4500.

In the ensuing years since March 20, 2003, investigations into the assertions by the Bush administration used to justify the invasion have irrefutably shown that Hussein did not possess, nor was trying to develop, “weapons of mass destruction” to be used against the U.S. This is not only based on reporting by the likes of Mother Jones, but from our own CIA and FBI, which as the rush to war was reaching a fever pitch in early 2003, concluded the “evidence” was not reliable. Meetings, the CIA and FBI claimed, that were alleged to have taken place in which “proof” of Saddam’s WMDs were discussed,  never took place. If you doubt that the Iraq war was based on lies, distortions and propaganda 101’s “demonization” strategy, then do your own research (but check your sources, as there are many sites that spew a toxic stew of prevarication and pre-fabbed “facts”). Bush and Iraq was fake news long before our current Tweeter-in-Chief popularized the term. Unfortunately, the mainstream media, both electronic and print, at the time did not seem interested in truth-telling. The general (clearly non-critical thinking) public gave the invasion a thumbs up at around 70% at its start. By 2011, when President Obama officially ended our occupation of Iraq, 75% (Gallup poll) approved of the withdrawal. That’s a strange reversal of support, inasmuch as George W.Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and others from back in 2003 have yet to admit to any such fear mongering, deadly bait-and-switch tactics. The”Bushies” have never admitted to any wrongdoing to this day.  Keep in mind, however, that the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, a tribunal consisting of five judges with judicial and academic backgrounds reached a unanimous conclusion, in late 2011, BEFORE the withdrawal from Iraq, that George W. Bush and Tony Blair (Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time) were guilty of “crimes against peace, humanity, and genocide” as a result of their roles in the Iraq war.

That Rumsfeld estimation of the invasion likely not lasting even six months was off by 7.5 years. As noted above, as many as half-a-million civilians died during those years, along with several thousand “coalition” forces. And, in certain other parts of world, Bush, Blair and Associates are considered guilty of crimes against humanity. Those are serious charges, to say the least.

Has there been any official punishment for the now solid evidence that Bush and company lied the U.S. into a deadly war? Guilty of genocide?! Here’s the verdict on that: no way! Not a chance! And who cleared the path for Bush & Associates to still walk the streets like free men (and women, per Condy Rice and the New York times reporter Judith Miller)? None other than President Obama. Recall (if you can) that when Obama became President he had both the House and Senate with a majority of Democrats . That’s alot of power to effectively and justly serve  we the people. But when  asked if he was considering his Justice Department looking into the allegations against Bush invoked above, his response was simply “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards”. No wonder the Republicans have always accused the Democrats of being “soft on crime”. No, wait. they didn’t offer that retort to Obama.

No way. It’s all circumstantial, selective perception, apparently

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Which brings this blog posting to its actual point: Not all crimes are created equal.  Quite clearly. Nor are they prosecuted equally. Which further brings me to the matter of Tuesday’s pardoning of Rod Blagojevich by the Tweeter-in-Chief. Blago, as he is often referred to, was serving a 14 year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado. He had served eight of those years at the time his pardon was granted. Since Tuesday, his release from prison has been reported on breathlessly by both local and national news. The media spin on this matter has suggested there was a miscarriage of justice committed by freeing Blago before his scheduled release in 2024. And why not? After all, are we not a nation founded on the rule of law? Do the crime, do the time. Damn straight!

What was Blago’s crime? Well, he, like many another public office holder, abused the public’s trust. Corruption. Wheeling and dealing. Shocking, no? A public official abusing his/her power? Blago was tried–twice–before getting that 14 year sentence. The essence of his corruption during his tenure as Illinois governor had to do with his apparent attempt to “sell” former U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s senate seat, vacated when Obama was elected President in 2008. See any irony in that scenario? Obama, who had no interest into even tinkering with the idea of holding George W.Bush to account for a war built on lies. A war with estimates ranging from at least a few hundred thousand Iraqi civilians having lost their lives. Not to mention our own military dead.

But Blago? U.S.Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald went after the former governor like Elliot Ness going after Al Capone. Sell Obama’s seat? That will NOT be tolerated!

Okay, fine then. Crime and punishment. Ness–err Fitzgerald, finally got his man behind bars. The sentence: 14 years! That’ll teach him, and all all other corrupt politicians. The rule of law…

But, wait. Blago didn’t kill anyone. No money ever changed hands. He was a lot of bluster. An easy target. But 14 years? And now that he gets out early because of the pardon, to hear the news reports and opining about such an action sending the wrong message, may I just say this: What a steaming, stinking pile of bullshit!

For all the local pundits, broadcasters, analysts and a lot of John and Jane Q.Public, please shut the fuck up about it. In this case, your political ignorance, your facile indignation, your simple minded assessment of what crime deserves what  punishment is so absurdly skewed into the twilight zone of hypocrisy it reminds me of–wait for it–an episode of South Park. That would be the episode where Cartman, a fat, white, blowhard 4th grader, always in it for himself and himself alone (hmm. Isn’t there someone else who fits that description? Yeah, and while Cartman is a cartoon character this other person, a human, is not a cartoon–damn what IS his name?–but acts cartoonish…and self-absorbed and…ah never mind) impulsively throws a rock intended for one of his playground classmates, but it hits another kid, who happens to be black. The school counselor puts Cartman in detention for two weeks, but two federal agents show up and haul the kid away, charging him with a hate crime. Cartman is sentenced to a juvenile detention center until he is 21! As the judge says, upon his passing sentence, “I’m making an example out of you that if you intend to hurt someone, make damn sure that person is the same color you are”.

Blago’s sentence seems similarly intended to make an example out of him as far as political corruption goes. The judge isn’t letting him off easy. He crossed the line!

However, Blago didn’t smash anyone’s head with a rock, although his dubious “seat for sale” gambit might be the result of a blow to the head and and a resulting lack of ethical reasoning. What it was NOT however,was  an act that caused anyone, anyone at all, any physical harm. If anything, it may have amused some of his fellow political pals otherwise ready to wheel and deal.

One politician (and his fellow wheeler dealers) falsely asserts evidence that propelled the U.S.military troops into harms way. Then, in the span of eight years kills hundreds of thousands of people, not to mention destabilizing a critical part of the Middle East, from which even today Iraq is still trying to recover from the carnage. That criminal action resulted in no legal action whatsoever. We need to look forward, as opposed to looking backwards…

And so, all of the hand-wringing and finger pointing about justice not being served in the Blagojavich case is asinine. He served eight years more than any of the above named, tribunal-convicted perpetrators of crimes against humanity, genocide, and certainly a breach of the public (lazy and gullible as they may be) trust.

I, for one, am glad Rod has been let out of prison. He paid his dues after the first few years of that sentence, given his actual failure to even close the deal.

If only sinister and cynically manufactured reasons to go to war with a consequences be damned cold bloodedness warranted any punishment at all. Too big to fail is one thing. Too big to jail?

Ugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Endgame; Betting Line edition

Hey. Wuzzup? Joey Bag-a-Donut Holes here. I’m a gaming guy. Play the odds stuff, okay? I picked K.C. all the way for the Super Bowl. Made a minor profit by using common sense: Garoppolo was going to out-QB Mahomes? What a joke! It was a safe bet all the way. The S.F. suckers actually thought they had it in the bag as late as several minutes into the 4th quarter. Very satisfying outcome. It was as though Mahomes lured the Niners into a sense of false security. Cat and mouse stuff. What a talent the guy has. The Chiefs winning was great for those betting on them, but as a Chicagoan, almost as satisfying is knowing the Bears idiot GM got another symbolic dagger jabbed into his ribs for passing on Mahomes in the 2017 draft, giving up a first round draft pick to move up for a QB that had little college experience. I guess the Bears staff can’t assess talent very well. What? They couldn’t find any film on Mahomes? What a joke. How the hell does this idiot GM still have a job? If you or I displayed our incompetence like this mope did, we’d be kicked to the curb, then Linked-In with a giant wart on our resume, trying to figure a way to spin it into something positive. Best outcome is the Peter Principle saves you. You know, one gets a gig or promotion to their highest level of incompetence. Hmmm. In that case keep the GM right where he is. He can’t sink any lower to have any room for further incompetence to rise to. Never mind.

What the hell. Who cares anyway? It’s just a stupid, violent game, football, but it sure is a big bucks operation. Crunch time. A seasonal distraction from the other part of life; that is to say, the reality part of life. Pro athletes in any major sport all get paid lots of dough. Sure, they risk injury, but any pro contract is typically a guarantee of a couple million bucks or more, maybe lots more, even for the bench warmers. They don’t exist in a reality where money really matters anymore. As long as they use the money wisely. Like, don’t waste it gambling, or living too large. Hey, as those ancient Greeks advised: everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.

Then again, as a gaming fan (but self-employed, okay, and so no fat cat contract for me. Just trying to make smart choices) I’d like to lay some odds on the non-sporting, harsh reality side of life. That is, I’m wondering,  which very credible threat to my, your or anyone’s existence will befall our sorry-ass human lot?

What am I jabbering about?

Let’s see. The Nuclear Clock is now set at 1 minute and 40 seconds to midnight. If that clock ever strikes midnight, it means nukes are flying in all directions and humankind is basically kaput, if not instantly by the initial blast, then by radioactive fallout. That nuclear clock keeps moving closer to midnight owing to  certain countries that have The Bomb also having governments that like to posture and flex their atomic muscles by pushing and shoving one another, testing missles and their lips flapping about dire consequences, as if daring one another to try and make something of it. Like playground bullies reaching the tipping point, this behavior could trigger some high ranking doofus who can order the launch of a nuke. And then, M.A.D.! Mutual Assured Destruction kicks-in. Game over. Lot’s of reasons to worry that the unthinkable could happen, and the keepers of that Clock don’t push the hands forward just for the hell of it. So, that’s out there. Check for yourself.

Another looming threat is all the climate science reports warning that we’re losing our ozone layer, losing the polar icecaps,  warming oceans, loss of marine life, severe droughts, wildfires, floods, ever-more-severe weather “events” and well, a possible complete climate collapse for the now young generation to bear witness to. And there’s not much being done to address this very real issue. Some high profile people with lots of power call climate change a hoax. Me, I may be foolish enough to gamble, but I believe in science. Ironically, that Super Bowl was played in Miami, a city that is visibly showing signs of being overtaken by rising sea levels. But maybe nukes will come first? Just wear those flood pants in the meantime.

Right now, though, I’m getting more concerned about this Coronavirus. It’s spreading fast in China, and the medical response there was delayed by a government that ignored the doctor who tried to sound the alarm many, many weeks ago. He was reprimanded by his government, who foolishly gambled that it was not that big a deal, that this doctor’s concerns, if allowed to be made clear to the Chinese people, and the rest of the world, would hurt their economic engine. That doctor just died–from the Coronavirus! Now the virus is a major issue, and has already messed with global financial markets, but I think the worst is far from over. The medical agencies are frantically trying to gather data and find a vaccine to protect the public from infection, but that initial delay has likely allowed unknown thousands, or tens of thousands, and a rapidly escalating daily number of people to be infected. And not just in China. Cases are popping up in many other countries. If you sneeze near me, I may duck and cover…

I’d say the virus is currently at the top of the leader board as far as a global endgame scenarios go. Followed by some moron hitting the launch button that starts nuclear WWIII. Then comes environmental collapse. Actually, climate disaster is most likely a sure thing , but it’s at least a decade or three down the road. And little public policy is working to address this threat (unlike medical science now frantically trying to contain that virus). Hell, the official policy of this and other countries has been to reverse environmental protections in favor of a business as usual approach. It’s insanely irresponsible. But hey, like I said, we likely still have enough breathable air and drinkable water to enjoy some more Super Bowls before Ma Nature throws in the towel and let’s it RIP. As in R.I.P.

I would NOT bet against any of these three major threats to life on this planet coming to pass. It’s seems inevitable. And perhaps it’s for the better. The history of the world is mostly wars and devastation in one place or another. Lots of aggression. Ghastly genocides. A thirst for power. Hey, WWII gave us the atomic bomb. WWI introduced germ warfare. The climate crisis? Hmmm. With some assitance from natural climate ups and downs, I’d say a revolution is the biggest factor that makes our current environmental crisis what it is: the Industrial (pollution) Revolution. Trains, planes and automobiles. Manufacturing waste products. A toxic lack of foresight…profit (ahem)  trumps our planet.

My money is on that virus for the time being. I’d say it’s about a 25-1 shot. Then nuclear war, say 35-1. Climate? That’s a actually the only apparent sure endgame thing, based on what I can figure, but the bet would be on how soon it happens. Next 20 years? 7-2. Next 30 years? 3-1. Next 40 years? Even money. One should live so long, eh. Ha!

Well, I just figured there’s always a betting line on just about anything, so why not bet on not just the Super Bowl endgame. Let’s bet on the Big One. I may just be Joey-Bag-a-Donut Holes, and a guy willing to risk a buck or two on one game or another. But I smell an Endgame to end all endgames looming larger and larger. May as well lay some odds on it too. I mean, betting just makes any game more interesting, whether you win or lose. So why not a line on the end of the world?

Gotta go. Always a bet to place. I think I like Middle Tennessee giving 3 points to Alabama A & I. Then parley that with Iona over George Mason. There should be enough time left to for me see how that gambit shakes out. Sure. No sweat. Not trying to be a Donnie Downer here. Just saying. You know?

And by the way, have a nice day. Relax. Today is Oscar awards. My money is on Parasite. It’s a truly interesting and clever film. And the title seems fitting in the moment. 

 

 

 

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