YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT SOMETIMES, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED

If you didn’t believe before, believe now. I was waiting. I knew. It had to be. I’m surprised it took this long, but finally, we’re here. Is this another media hoax? If 45 should die, would that be a SUPER media hoax? The ultimate media hoax? I know I’m should be praying for the welfare of the ill, but I don’t have it in me to get that “angelic” look you see on statues in the cemetery. I wish I could. I’m sure that would make me a better person, but I never claimed I was perfect.This definitely proves my imperfection. No matter how I look at it, this man deserves this disease. As does Melania. As do the remainder of his wretched crew. Those helpers in his horrific destruction of our environment, courts, political, and legal systems. He has stolen our money, allowed — ENCOURAGED — more than 200,000 people to die of COVID-19.

It didn’t have to be this bad. Whatever it is, however it goes, this man earned it.

Because of his last “rally,” all his big contributors are also in quarantine. You think these donors might possibly be reconsidering if they still feel like giving him a ton of their money? Or — any? The GOP doesn’t even have a “back-up” candidate — and I don’t think Ivanka or Jared are getting anyone’s nod. So who? Pence? Really? Would anyone vote for him even if he ran? The Big Orangeman’s cult followers are not Pence followers. Orangeman isn’t the GOP. It’s just this guy and he is sick. Even if he recovers, how long will he be sick? So far it’s mild, but it’s always mild at the beginning, often for a couple of weeks. Then it gets worse and sometimes, even worse than that. Which of his crazed followers is going to want to stand maskless by his bedside now? How far does their worship really go?

No one begged for this illness more than Trump. He has literally ranted to the heavens to “bring it on.” Somehow, when you beg the universe to “sock it to me,” you generally get socked. I don’t know who, what, or why the universe is how it is, but if I had anything to say about it, I would feel that those who beg for trouble should be allowed to experience it.

Now, we all wait and see how it develops. He’s old. He’s obese. Rumors of heart problems abound. He has the worse diet in the world. He has done much evil to many people and these folks are not rooting for his welfare. How could they? So perhaps the heavens are speaking. We are listening. We hope for the best and in this case, “the best” is what?

What is the best for me, for us, for those poor locked up immigrant children? For the earth and the seas and the water we drink and the air we breathe. And incidentally, for “the man who would be king.”

I’m not sure what “best” is giving all the individuals involved, from the poorest to the wealthiest. You don’t know either. His death could be best. His illness and recuperation might be best. The fear of the disease itself might in itself be best. I am so very, very glad I am not in charge of the “what’s best.” I bet you are equally glad. If there is a God, do your thing, whatever it may be. I’m just thrilled to not be the one making the decisions. No matter how much you believe in whatever you believe, it can be a hard to figure what a guy like “the man who would be king” deserves. As long as I am not in charge of dispensing this piece of karmic dogmatic justice, go Karma and all that this implies!

As “the man who would be king” said, keep your finger on the trigger. Stay locked and loaded. Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

FROM C.S. LEWIS, A QUOTE TO PONDER ON GOOD AND EVIL IN THESE MODERN DAYS

A remarkable quote from C.S. Lewis, the author of many remarkable quotes that never seem to get old or lack current veracity in the real world — even a hundred years after their original publication:

“To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism (Meaning: baseness, dishonesty, double-dealing) will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors…. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still–just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naive or a prig–the hint will come. It will be the hint of something, which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play, something that the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand. Something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about, but something, says your new friend, which “we”– and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure–something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face–that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face–turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.” — C. S. Lewis. The Inner Ring (1944)

The worst of the worst do not come to us as blatantly evil, but as complainers, whiners, malcontents. They come as wealthy people, offering us a place at their table and they wear down our rejection of their values with endless lies, half-lies, and untruths. After a while, it all fades into something vague that you are too tired to reject. This is what I see today. That the ugliness of Trump has become mundane and banal. His wickedness is “normalizing.” We are exhausted. Many of us feel as if there is nothing more to say because we’ve said it before as have so many others. This normalization will destroy us and our world.

I’ve gotten into trouble before trying to talk about good and evil. We aren’t supposed to categorize things as evil or good. We are supposed to find psychological justification, logical explanations. We have to spin lies and make them into “sound bites.” Instead of saying this is evil, we say “Oh, it’s just politics.” Thus evil no longer has value or validity — nor good, either.

Finally, from T.S. Elliott, probably the most quoted lines from his poems  — and this is just the final stanza from “The Hollow Men”:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Who has a conscience? Who cannot normalize the cruelty, bigotry, and evil of “our leader”? Are we now going to fade into fascism because we are too exhausted to vote?

THE 50-PERCENTERS: A SHORT STORY By RICH PASCHALL

Resistance.

A short story by Rich Paschall

After Durward Tower narrowly won his election to the Presidency late in the century, he declared that he had a landslide victory. It was a mandate by the people to make big changes needed by the country. The wealthy leaders of the Congress and of big business helped to spread this myth. It was to their economic advantage to do so. The many appointments to the courts gave Tower ultimate control of the judiciary. Many were unqualified for their roles, but they would support any case for which Tower had an interest.

Both houses of the legislature also bowed to the whims and wishes of the so-called Leader. The minority party had little to say and much less money to say it. By the midterm elections, Durward Tower considered himself the Supreme Leader of the land. All during his time in office, Tower continued to hold campaign-style rallies. He loved the cheers of the people, and they seemed to love him and his policies. Many did not realize that his policies were against their best interests.

“We have great ideas for the country,” Tower told his rallies. “These are the best ideas that anyone has ever had in this office. That is because I am the smartest person ever to hold this office. Trust me on this, folks.”

And they did trust him. Many did, anyway, though a few were skeptical. When Tower started pushing his extreme policies, their suspicions were confirmed.

The biggest change came in the tax code, which then led to changes in the voting laws. Tower had convinced the populace that anyone making less that 100,000 dollars was a drag on the economy and the country. These were the people that were taking the money of the social services and they must be made to pay. He decreed that they should pay a 50 per cent income tax for being such failures. Those making less than 11,000 were only asked to pay 10 per cent.  This was to show the people that Tower was a caring humanitarian. The Legislature approved of this. This new class of people were referred to as the 50 percenters.

Sometimes enough is not enough

Citizens making between 100,000 and one billion had a graduated tax as before. These were the 100 percenters, and Tower often congratulated them for their contributions to society and to his campaigns. According to the fearless leader, those making a billion dollars or more must be rewarded for their enormous contributions to society. “Without these people,” Tower would say, “there would be no jobs. There would be no progress. There would be no country. Trust me folks, these people must be encouraged to do more and that can only be done with tax cuts.” Durward Tower felt that billionaires should only pay ten per cent. He told everyone that this was a lot of money and more than anyone else was paying. It was therefore declared that the 50 percenters should only have a 50 percent vote. With each one having only half a vote, their power was greatly diminished. The one hundred percenters kept to one vote per person. The billionaire class quickly became know as the two hundred percenters, as each one got 2 votes in each election.

“You all know that the country must reward the billionaire class for their hard work. They deserve more votes. They contribute so much more than some of those pathetic losers in the 50 percenters.” Ironically, most of the people that cheered this at the rallies were themselves 50 percenters.

Billie Saunders and Robert Wright were among those that felt the majority were being mistreated by Tower and followers. They decided to form a resistance. Saunders held his own rallies to tell the people about the gross inequities. Wright took to social media to spread the word. He made videos and posted them to various platforms. When the resistance gained some momentum and the protests began to grow, Tower became angry.

isys6621.com

He had his Congress pass the Patriotic Actions law which stated anyone who spoke out against the 50 percenters law was to be considered a traitor to the country. Any traitor was to be imprisoned for a lengthy period. Tower once again took to the rallies to sell his new law. “People who speak out against the laws of this country are traitors. We have great  ideas for this country. They are the greatest ideas any president has ever had. We can not have any disturbances in public from these bad people. There is only one way to deal with a traitor and you all know what that is.”

At that the chants began from the audience. “Lock him up, lock him up, lock him up.” When the crowds would erupt with his favorite chants, Tower would take a step back from the podium and survey the crowd with great pleasure. Some thought the look on his face was rather smug, but his followers only saw a patriotic gaze. In the weeks that followed Saunders was arrested and sent to a detention camp. Wright went underground and kept posting videos and opinion pieces. He formed a resistance of people who tried to hide their identities. Wright told the Resistance, “We know Tower has tampered with the election. We must get the best computer minds to prove what he has done.”

Meanwhile, Tower kept up his campaign against the Resistance. He used his own social media presence to send out messages to his followers. In one message he threatened to shut down a newspaper that ran an opinion piece written by Wright. “It’s all lies,” Tower wrote, “printed by that failing paper.” Wright and the Resistance wondered how they ever got to a place in time where the majority voice no longer mattered and one demagogue’s whims were the law of the land. They continued to send out messages about inequality, calling for people to resist the Durward Tower.

DESTROYING AMERICA

And They Cheer Him On, by Rich Paschall

Just as he has done with many of his businesses, Trump has taken America down the road to ruin, and it was not paved with good intentions. Everything he has done, or not done in many cases, has brought the country to a perilous position.

Let’s go back to the beginning. No, not to the insults of immigrants, the disabled, the press, women, and others. Let’s go golfing. You may recall that DJT promised to be working in the White House and not out on the golf course. He lied.

He has gone golfing so often it is hard to keep count. When he brags about donating his 400,000 USD salaries to charity, keep in mind that his golfing has cost the country 140 million dollars at this point. Here is the super corrupt part. Trump properties bill the federal government for rooms for the Secret Service and for other amenities and services for Trump and his guests. Guess who benefits from the profits. Yes, he can funnel your tax dollars into his own organizations. It is a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause, but he likely can not spell it or know its meaning. If you listened closely to the video, you will notice that he said he would be working his ass off.  Well clearly, that’s not true, but I digress.

Trump Airlines – Trump beverages – Trump, the board game – Trump Casinos – Trump Magazine- Trump Mortgage- Trump Steaks – Trump Vodka – Trump University – Trump travel site

Seriously, how do you bankrupt a casino, or multiple casinos, for that matter? Or multiple times? The “stable genius” managed to do just that. If I listed all of his failures I would be taking up too much space, but you get the idea. So the master of failure would now like you to believe that he has made great trade deals, great international agreements, great domestic agreements. He will tell you what a wonderful job he has done for everyone, while it is more likely that he is being played. Sometimes the con man gets played by a better con man. His tariff wars benefitted only on the other side. It meant he had to bail out farmers and US business. His attempts at diplomacy with the North Koreas and the Russians went nowhere while he was trashing our relationship with our long-standing allies. And after he failed so often, he announced at his rallies that he was a huge success and his supporters cheered him on.

“This is their new hoax,” Trump continued.

We have already detailed how the Trump administration completely mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning in “Backfire: The Big Miscalculation.” At this writing, there have been over 5,950,000 cases and 182,000 deaths. DJT and most of his red-state governors are accomplices in the death of thousands of Americans. More than eleven thousand have died of coronavirus in Florida alone where Trump had hoped to hold the Republican Convention  The US has 4 percent of the world’s population but almost 24 percent of the coronavirus cases. After all this time, there still is no national plan of action to stem the tide. And yet, Trump tells his followers he is doing a great job and they cheer him on.

Holding Back The Economy

While the coronavirus remains out of control, it will be impossible for many businesses to make a comeback. Most people are afraid to fly so the airlines suffer. Worse yet, Americans are not even allowed in many countries, stifling international travel and business. Restaurants and other service industry businesses are either closed or open on a limited scale. Of course, in some red states, business is wide open and people are dying at an alarming rate. People are not shopping in stores and most are sticking with purchasing essentials only. Those who have lost their jobs or are afraid of losing a job are not likely to buy anything extra at this time. Vast numbers of people remain unemployed. Trump will tell you they have added over 9 million jobs to the economy. This is a massive misstatement. After losing over 22 million jobs in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions have been called back. Trump will take credit for this as “job creation” and his cult will cheer him on.

Sometimes enough is not enough

Holding Back People

Most countries in the Western World have developed programs to help their citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic. Here the Republicans have literally thrown a bone to the people and think that should suffice. In return for any additional help, they wish to bargain away Social Security and Medicare, you know, those programs you paid into all your life to help secure your retirement. Since the Democrats in the House would not allow this, the people have received no additional help.

Apparently, the greedy millionaires and billionaires of the Republican Party (no longer a Grand Old Party) do not know how the economy works. Providing stimulus for the rich does not create jobs and it does not help society. People who already have enough money to buy whatever they want are not buying extra with more money. Corporations are not creating jobs with stimulus money. Many are buying back their stock. Here’s the corrupt part. Businesses associated with DJT received “small business COVID loans” and money under Payroll Protection Program. Meanwhile, many small businesses did not get help because the money ran out.

People without jobs and little money will spend unemployment money and stimulus money on goods and services, thus paying sales taxes and providing jobs. Many are in need of things they can not afford now. Buying goods is what helps the economy, not giving the rich more money. It’s simple Economics 101 but Trump doesn’t seem to understand it. He will tell his rallies that he has done a great job for the people, and the uneducated will cheer him on.

Sources: Between his Twitter fits, rallies that spread the virus and his golf outings, DJT does not have much time to read, but perhaps you do. Facts were sourced or verified from the following:
Donald Trump’s 13 Biggest Business Failures“, by Tessa Stuart, Rolling Stone, rollingstone.com, March 14,2016.
Trump-branded properties charged federal government at least $1.2 million, records show,” By Curt Devine and Maegan Vazquez, CNN Investigates, cnn.com, March12, 2020.
Trump is the worst possible president for this moment,” by Micahel Gordon, an opinion columnist, Business Insider, businessinsider.com
Trump says he’s ‘so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius’ in tweet bashing 2020 Dems,” by William Cummings, USA Today, usatoday.com, July 11, 2019
Trump calls coronavirus Democrats’ ‘new hoax’,” by Lauren Egan, nbcnews.com, February 28, 2020.
Coronavirus: Florida reports more than 4,600 new cases Friday,” NBC WESH2, wesh.com, August 21, 2020.
The U.S. has only regained 42% of the 22 million jobs lost in the pandemic,” by Jeffry Bartash, Market Watch, marketatch.com, August 7, 2020.
Trump Associates and Members of His Administration Received Millions in Loans From Coronavirus Bailout,” by CALEB MELBY AND SHAHIEN NASIRIPOUR / BLOOMBERG, time.com, July 7, 2020.
See also: “Backfire: The Big Miscalculation,” SERENDIPITY, August 1, 2020.
The Two Pandemics,” SERENDIPITY, July 6, 2020.

WE ABOLISHED RECREATIONAL ALCOHOL IN 1920 AND NO ONE HAS HAD A DRINK SINCE

Once upon a time so many years ago, Americans had national fit of self-righteousness.We decided alcohol was the root of all evil. To rectify the perceived problem, the nation rose up on its collective hind legs and passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. and amendment which established a legal prohibition of the manufacture and consumption of recreational alcoholic beverages in the United States. The separate (but closely related)  Volstead Act specified how authorities would enforce Prohibition, including the definition of “intoxicating liquor” — for anyone who needed an explanation.

VotedDry

The folks who needed an explanation were not your average Jill or Joe. Jill and Joe knew how to get drunk just fine, but apparently lawmakers, politicians and gangsters-to-be needed clarification. The gangsters needed to know what they had to do to cash in on this opportunity and the others, how to persecute people in the name of the law. Many beverages were excluded for medical and religious purposes. It was okay to get drunk as long it was accompanied by an appropriate degree of religious fervor. Or a doctor’s note.

That left a lot of room through which an entire generation strolled. Many people began drinking during Prohibition. Those who had never imbibed before were so titillated by the idea, they had their first alcoholic beverage while it was illegal. This, no doubt, made it more fun Whereas previously, alcoholism had no social cachet, during prohibition it became fashionable. As with most things, making it more difficult, expensive, and illegal made it more desirable and sexy. Regular folks, society leaders, and criminals all basked in the glow of illegality. A whole criminal class was born from prohibition. If that isn’t clear proof that legislating morality doesn’t work, I don’t know what is. It didn’t work then. It won’t work now. Whether the issue is booze, drugs, abortion, prayer, same-sex marriage, or term limits … law and morality don’t mix.

prohibition-6

Passing a law limiting how many times you can elect a candidate rather than voting for a better (or at least different) candidate won’t improve the quality of legislators. You’ll just wind up voting for a bunch of clowns and opportunists who don’t give a rat’s ass about government while dedicated potential candidates won’t bother to run because there’s no future in it. Take a look at our current GOP and you can see the results in full color with flashing lights. Making drugs illegal, especially marijuana, has created an entire drug culture — exactly the way making booze illegal created the underworld of crime. Now that it’s (mostly) legal, the prices have dropped and it’s not such a big deal after all, though it’s a great calmer downer for dogs. The knee-jerk “lets solve social issues by making bad laws” causes considerable pain and suffering. As often as not, you end up legislating your way into a vast sea of exciting new problems you didn’t have before and quite possibly never imagined.

Throughout history, “morality” laws have failed. Monumentally and spectacularly. You’d think we’d have already noticed this, but ignorance being bliss, we don’t.

If you never drank before, bet this picture could change your mind.

We haven’t learned anything, maybe it’s because no one recognized that history is repeating itself. Many people don’t know any history, so why would they notice?The 18th Amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919 and took effect a year later, on January 17, 1920. Immediately, the demand for liquor increased. Producers, suppliers and transporters were turned into criminals, but drinkers were not prosecuted. What could go wrong with that? The entire justice system — courts, cops and prisons — was buried under a landslide of booze-related busts. Organized crime went from a minor issue to a major social force. Now that is progress!

Having achieved results way beyond the wildest dreams of the amendment’s creators, prohibition was repealed in 1933 via the Twenty-first Amendment, the only time in American history an amendment has been repealed. Today, whenever I hear someone declare how we need a constitutional amendment to solve a political or social problem, I contemplate how successfully we got rid of booze in 1919.

No one has had a drink since.

I HATE THE NATION WE HAVE BECOME

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #19: HATE

I hate the country we have become. I hate what 45 has done to us. I hate this world that is not even a shadow of the America in which I grew up … in which Garry grew up. Did we have problems? Sure we did and some of the results of those problems are worse from never having been properly addressed in the past. But still, we had at the very least a national striving to be better. To find problems and make an effort to fix them. Did we succeed? Sometimes. Often not, but once in a while we hit a homer right out of the park.

Now, I want that spirit back. The intention to care, the willingness to do good. The sense that no matter how wrong-headed the president or other politicians can be, they nonetheless genuinely care about this nation, care for their constituents. They are patriots. We might not agree with them, but we know they are Americans and would never collude with a foreign power. Instead, we have a government which cares for no one and nothing except, I suppose, power and money. Greed and corruption. It’s shocking, humiliating, and shameful. I often wake up wondering how I wound up living in this terrible place. It’s an awful feeling.

I hate what has happened to us and I hope we can redress this horror show in November. I hope our military understands they may be called upon to carry him out of the White House in shackles, if necessary. I hope that other powerful people are committed to our constitution and protection of our rights. As they keep saying in the convention we are watching:


VOTE AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE DOES DEPEND ON IT.  ALL OUR LIVES & YOUR CHILDREN’S LIVES DEPEND ON IT.


 

FAVORITE TV SHOW? IT’S A TIE.

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #16

Fandango would like to know what my favorite TV show is and I have to say, it’s a tie. First of all, we’ve watched “The West Wing” at least half a dozen times during the Trump administration. Whenever we can’t stand the news anymore, we watch it. It wasn’t real. We know it’s a beautifully scripted television show but it reminds us that the U.S.A. used to have a government. A real one. With two functional parties. The last time we watched it, we saw it from start to finish then watched the whole series again.

After that, we discovered that “Boston Legal” was playing on Hulu and we watched all of it. We’ll probably watch it again, but right now, we are watching “The Practice” which was the show that came before “Boston Legal.” It’s not as good as “Boston Legal,” but it’s not bad either. And we’ll got back to “Boston Legal” again.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got nothing better to do and you need a touch of both humor and sanity, these are two great shows that might help you remember that we weren’t always like this. We weren’t always run by a stupid hulking man who apparently hates America and Americans. Just saying.

MYTHOLOGY IN THE U.S.A.

Every nation revises history. They leave out the bad bits  — slaughters of the innocent, unjust wars against minorities and civilians. They invent heroes, turn defeats into victories.

Landing of Negroes at Jamestown from a Dutch Man-of-war, 1619. In this image, the Dutch sailors, who have captured slaves from a Spanish ship, are negotiating a trade with the Jamestown settlers for food. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

American history is no different. It’s relatively easy to make our history match our myths when such a large percentage of U.S. citizens haven’t learned any history since third grade. There’s some question about how well third-grade lessons were absorbed. Recent studies show a troubling pattern of ignorance in which even the basics of history are unknown to most of our natural-born citizens.

Ironically, naturalized citizens are far better educated. They had to pass a test to become citizens. The rest of us got a free pass.

Battle of Lexington & Concord

College students don’t know when we fought the Revolution, much less why. They can’t name our first president (George Washington, just in case you aren’t sure). Many aren’t clear about what happened on 9/11.  I’ve been asked which came first, World Wars I or II — indicating more than ignorance. More like deep stupidity. All over Facebook, morons gather to impress each other with the vigor of their uninformed opinions. They proclaim we fought the Revolution to not pay taxes and keep our guns. Saying that’s not how it happened is insufficient. I lack the words to say how untrue that is.

Why did we have a Revolution? How come we rebelled against England rather than peaceably settling our differences? Wouldn’t it have been easier to make a deal?

The Tea Party wharf

Yes, it would have been easier to make a deal and we tried. Unfortunately, it turned out to be impossible. We fought a revolution when we exhausted every peaceful option. Petitions and negotiations failed, but we kept trying, even after shots had been fired and independence declared.

We didn’t want a war with England. There were lots of excellent reasons. Our economy was entirely dependent on trade with England. Through English merchants, we could trade with the rest of the world. Without them, we were stuck with no trading partners or ships. We were ill-equipped to fight a war. We had no navy, no commanders. No trained army. We barely had guns. Our population was too small to sustain an army. We had no factories, mills or shipyards. We relied on England for finished goods other than those we could make in our own homes, including furniture, guns, clothing, cutlery, dishes, porcelain. We needed Britain to supply us with anything we ate or drank (think tea) unless we could grow it in North America.

All luxury goods and many necessities came from or through England. We had some nascent industries, but they were not ready for prime time. It wasn’t until 1789 we built our first cotton-spinning mill — made possible by an Englishman named Slater who immigrated from England and showed us how to do it.

Our American colonies didn’t want to be Americans. First of all, there was no America to be part of … and secondly, we wanted to be British. We wanted the right to vote in parliamentary elections as equals with other British citizens. The cry “no taxation without representation” (remember that?) didn’t mean we weren’t willing to pay taxes. It meant we wanted the right to vote on which taxes we paid. And how much. We wanted to be heard, to participate in government. Whether or not we would or would not pay a particular tax was not at issue. Everyone pays taxes. We wanted seats in Parliament and British citizenship.

King George was a Royal asshole. His counselors strongly recommended he make a deal with the colonists. Most Americans considered themselves Englishmen. If the British king had been a more flexible, savvy or intelligent monarch, war could have been averted. We would be, as the Canadians are, part of the British Commonwealth. There would have been no war. A bone-headed monarch thought a war was better than compromise. He was a fool, but it worked out okay.

British surrender at Yorktown

We declared war which many folks here and abroad thought was folly. We almost lost it. We would have lost were it not for three critical things: British unwillingness to pursue the war aggressively, French ships and troops, and European mercenaries. Without French assistance and hired mercenaries from central Europe, we would have been squashed by the British who were better armed, better trained. They had battleships with guns and trained seamen to man them.

We didn’t.

Just as we considered ourselves English, albeit living abroad in a colony rather than in England, British soldiers and commanders were not overly eager to slaughter people they considered fellow Englishmen. They didn’t pursue the war with the deadly determination they could have … and if they had? Who knows how it would have worked out?

Did we really win because the British were inept and couldn’t beat an untrained ragtag rabble army? That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. I side with those who think that the British found it distasteful to shoot people with whom a short time before they had been friends and with whom they hoped to be friends again. Many British soldiers had family in “the colonies” and vice-versa. It was a painful fight, not unlike a civil war. Many British citizens sympathized with the colonists including a goodly percentage of troops. Sympathy ran high even in the upper echelons of the British government. Many important people in England were none too happy with King George. So they did as they were ordered but without enthusiasm.

Getting the people excited enough to take up arms is hard work.

Then there was a huge miscalculation. The British did not expect the French to show up. As soon as the French fleet arrived, a few more battles were fought and the British went home. Had they pursued the war with vigor from the start, we wouldn’t have lasted long enough for the French to get here, much less save our butts.

The mythology surrounding the American Revolution is natural. Every nation needs heroes and myths and we are no exception. But as grown-ups, we can apply a bit of healthy skepticism, read a couple of books. Learn there’s more to the story than the stuff we learned when we were eight. Like, the second part of the Revolutionary war known as “The War of 1812.” Part two of the Revolution which we lost fair and square when the British burned Washington D.C.

We did not win the Revolution. We survived it. Barely.

Revolutionary tea party crate-dumping

This is why our current government is more than a mere miscalculation, a bad election. It’s not something we’ll “pull out of” after which everything will go back to normal. I’m not sure we have a normal to go back to. It’s not only how the evil underbelly of America has been exposed for all to see. It’s also that the planet is under attack. Americans — and everyone else — need to fix it if we want to continue to live here. We need to be very careful about how we move “forward.” We have to tread carefully. We have to work with our allies and our non-allies because everyone needs to put their shoulders to the wheel to keep our world livable.

World War 2 tank

We used to have the good fortune to live in a nation of laws but I’m not sure this is a nation of laws anymore. I’m not sure what we are. I’m not sure what the world is or whether there will be a world in another 100 years. Or for that matter, in another thirty.

Ignorance is the enemy of freedom. And our current government is the enemy of education, learning, and truth.

CAPITALISM AROUND THE WORLD

In a world that has gotten rather grim, this made me laugh.
I’ve seen it before. It made me laugh a couple of years ago,
so maybe it’ll make you laugh now. 

NOTE: CHANGING THE SIZE OF THE FONT: If you don’t know how to enlarge type, if you have a PC, there are three dots at the far end of the line on which the post’s logo shows. If you click it, it will show you a + and a -. Hit – to make it smaller and (duh) + to make it bigger. I use it a lot for pieces like this where you really can’t make the text much bigger and also for cartoons where the “speech” is often too small for me to see. Very useful. I’m sure there’s an equivalent on the Mac and if you use Chrome, probably it’s exactly the same since Chrome is pretty much the same on all machines. This is useful to anyone whose eyes aren’t as good as they used to be and works on ALL text.

THERE’S GOTTA BE A PONY IN THERE SOMEWHERE – BY TOM CURLEY

There’s an old joke about a psychiatrist who was trying to see if he could change an optimist into a pessimist and a pessimist into an optimist. He took two children, one very optimistic and one very pessimistic. He put the pessimistic child in a room filled with every toy and game imaginable.

He put the optimistic child in dimly lit room filled with horseshit.

The pessimistic child did nothing but complain. This toy didn’t work, that toy is the wrong color, these games all suck, and so on. Meanwhile the optimistic child was smiling and diving into the horseshit, digging and laughing, totally joyful. The psychiatrist couldn’t understand what was going on, so he asked the child why he was so happy. The child responded “Are you kidding? With all this horseshit, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!” The joke has other variations, but you end up at the same punchline.

This joke came to mind the other day when I read a really odd article. The Remington Company, the one who makes guns are 950 million dollars in debt and are about to declare bankruptcy.

The Smith and Wesson company, the country’s largest gun maker has seen their sales drop over 70% in the last year.

Why? The article says it’s because of the “Trump Slump.” Now that  all three branches of government are in the hands of Republicans who really, really love guns and anything “gunny” (is that a word? If not, I just made it up. Trademark!), all the gun nuts have stopped buying guns.

Turns out the major driver of gun sales in America are Democrats. That and a mass shooting. It’s the irrational fear “the government is coming to take all our guns!!” which causes the gun nuts to buy more guns. As I am writing this, I’m watching Trump’s secret police protesters in Oregon while he threatens to send his “army” to subdue any city in any state he doesn’t like.  Maybe that will make gun sales go up. He’s got his base convinced that America is out to get them.

All this got me to thinking of other actual good things our Comb-Over-In-Chief has done. Not on purpose. He’s never done anything good intentionally. He’s enraged women to the point were millions of them protested on his first day in office.

He’s been a major force behind the “Me-Too” movement and the “Time’s Up” movement.

Polls show Republican women, especially college-educated white women, are turning against Trump in droves.  He’s brought domestic abuse into the public spotlight by defending the abusers! He’s reminded the country that being a pedophile is bad by defending a pedophile!

He’s energized a Democratic progressive grass-roots movement which has resulted in dozens of local and state seats going from red to blue. He has mobilized young people to not only get out and vote, but to also run for office — all around the country.

Sadly, the vast majority of the shit this shithead has done far outweighs the positive things he’s inadvertently done. He’s still a clear and present danger to the security of the United States and the world. For all the horrible things he’s done, we all now know that he will do things that will be even horribler (is that word? If not, trademark!). The Oval Office is currently filled with horseshit and an amazing amount of bullshit.


He has abandoned us to death and quarantine for … ever? We’ve got an election coming up. I sure hope you all are voting!



But hey, maybe we’ll find a few more ponies out there.

BACKFIRE: THE BIG MISCALCULATION

From the Battleground, by Rich Paschall


“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China,
and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
– Jan. 22


From the very beginning, DJT has not understood the gravity of the situation. Just like he has done with his many failed businesses (13 but who’s counting), and ones that sought bankruptcy protection (6 more), he has miscalculated and mismanaged the pandemic in ways that could only be considered epic, as in epic failure.


“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts … on behalf of the American People, I want to thank PresidentXi!” – January 24


That’s right. He thanked China, but when things started going poorly in the US, he blamed China and began making racist statements against the Chinese.


“Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” – Feb 10.


He told the American people what he wanted them to believe. The lies and misstatements were just campaign rhetoric. He did not research. He did not study what to do. He made campaign statements.


“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” – Feb 24


It was important to his reelection process for the economy to look good. So he told his followers that everything was fine. It wasn’t. Did he think that things were just miraculously going to fix themselves and his campaign statements were actually going to come true?


“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”  – Feb 27


That seems to be what he thought. The passage of time was just going to make things better. It didn’t. Things only got worse. Instead of taking charge, he blamed everyone he could think of.


“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its
semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”  –
March 9


It is his style to lash out at others when things are not going his way, which is more and more often lately. The statement above was made as the stock market was falling, the virus was starting to spread and people were dying. The following day, the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the orange one had this to say:


“We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” – March 10


Basically, they weren’t doing any type of job unless you consider that blaming others was his job. Yes, politicians often do that, but denial and lies were not what was needed in a time of national crisis. It is what we got, however.


“This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.” – March 15.


Contrary to the orange’s one assertions that everything was going well, things were clearly moving in the wrong direction. On March 16th the Orange one announced a guideline for “15 days to slow the spread.”


“We want to have very — as few deaths as possible. This is a horrible thing.” – March 17


One hundred and eight were dead and the numbers were trending the wrong way. Five days later he was getting tired of the whole mess.


“America will again, and soon, be open for business — very soon — a lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” –  March 23


Now it was 557 dead. Trump wanted businesses to reopen. On March 31 Dr. Fauci warned in a task force briefing that 100,000 Americans could die from the disease. There were 3,874 dead. On April 3 the Center for Disease Control recommended Americans wear masks when going out in public. Trump responded:


“It’s going to be, really, a voluntary thing. You can do it. You don’t have to do it.
I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that’s OK.”
– April 3


There was no firm guidance, no leadership, no clear path to success. Trump’s briefings seemed to be an exercise in contradicting the guidance of medical professionals. When Dr. Fauci or Dr. Birx were present, they had to walk a fine line between speaking the truth and not making the orange one look like an idiot. A strong contradiction would have gotten them fired.


“Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess [its] role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” – April 14


Cover-up? WHO declared a pandemic on March 9th. They certainly were not responsible for the Trump administration’s lack of response, but they became the latest scapegoat in the Trump blame game.  607,670 U.S. cases, 25,843 deaths

This was the beginning. A path to nowhere. A solution to nothing. A failure in the making. Donald J. Trump tried to lie the pandemic out of existence. That didn’t work. He tried to force states to open or re-open. That made things worse. He desperately wants a good economy to help his re-election. His push to put things back to the way they were at the beginning of the year has backfired in historic proportions.
With disease on the rise throughout the country, some businesses can not reopen. Others have been destroyed by the long lay-off. The amount of disease is crippling production. America is seen, to use a DJT phrase, as a “shithole country” in other places around the globe. He is directly responsible for that.
Americans are banned from 35 countries on earth. The number is likely to rise as the coronavirus pandemic is out of control in much of America. Since we can not go to their countries, there is no reason for foreign countries to fly here. There is no reason for US flag carriers to fly to many countries. This chokes the supply line on both sides. Companies were used to goods getting to foreign markets in 1 to 3 days, not one to three weeks, if at all. They were used to quickly receiving supplies from overseas, no more. This is all on Trump.
In a touch of irony, Mexico has closed the border to all Americans unless considered essential workers. So has Canada. Thinking of going to the Bahamas for vacation? You’re not going from a US airport with a US passport. I have gone to France for the last ten years. I can not get in this year with an American passport.
Forbes reported on June 30th that “new research from Goldman Sachs suggests a national mask mandate would slow the growth rate of new coronavirus infections and prevent a 5% GDP loss caused by additional lockdown measures.”  This would save the economy a trillion dollars. Do you think that will ever happen? As of this writing, there are over 4 million cases in this country and 146,000 deaths. Meanwhile, 45 is returning to daily briefings because his ratings were good. Heaven help us!

THE TWO PANDEMICS – RICH PASCHALL

From the battleground, by Rich Paschall

COVID-19

All of us are acutely aware of the novel COronaVIrus Disease (COVID-19) that has swept the nation. It has devastated businesses, overwhelmed hospitals, and inundated social services. In comparison to the last great recession (December 2007 to June 2009), things are much worse. According to the Pew Research Center, “The rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than the increase due to the Great Recession when the number unemployed increased by 8.8 million from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2010.”  The Great Recession happened over a couple of years, not a few months.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics pegged the number of unemployed at the end of May at around 21 million. That was actually a slight improvement as some temporarily laid-off workers were called back to work. The rise in employment came in ” leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade.” This may be in anticipation of things opening back up. Some of these businesses are in for a shock.

The head of the World Health Organization has issued a dire warning. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said. This might seem contrary to what an orange politician has to say. He might lead us to believe that the numbers are improving in the US. They are not. While numbers here are averaging 53,000 new cases per day (as of July 4th), Dr. Anthony Faucci, Director of the National Institute of  Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has told a Senate committee that numbers could reach 100,000 per day. “Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

The orange one wants to fool you into thinking that increased testing is the cause of more positive cases. If that is not a lie than it is the statement of an incredibly uninformed individual. His job is to be informed. ProPublica looked at a seven day average from Memorial Day to the following Tuesday. In states like Illinois, New York, and Indiana where testing increased, the number of positive cases fell.  This rewarded their early and strong lockdown measures. In Florida, Arizona, and Texas, along with other red states who were too eager to reopen their economies, the number of positive cases exploded.

Stupidity

If you are reading or listening to the real news, not the Faux News the orange one watches, then you know there are plenty of examples of people who scoffed at the virus, and then died from it. We went down that road with you when we pointed out how “Stupidity Rears Its Ugly Head.” Then we mentioned a Virginia pastor, a Texas priest,  a Texas mom, and an evangelical pastor who all took the virus lightly, then died from it.

There have been more examples since that article ran. A lot more examples. And yet there are still people who want to believe that this is all a hoax or at least exaggerated. A death toll of 132,000 is not an exaggeration. It is a fact.

A leader of the ReOpen Maryland protests got so sick he had to go to an Emergency Room. I guess I do not have to tell you what he has. Now he refuses to help contact tracers. “I will not share anybody’s information with the government. I will not do it.” The governor is encouraging people who came in contact with him to get tested and to stay away from vulnerable populations. This is how grandma gets sick and dies.

In Michigan, where the so-called POTUS was encouraging anarchy by suggesting gun-toting right-wingers liberate the state, karma has struck. In East Lansing, they may have been able to enjoy a cold beer or two, but many won’t be doing that this week. One hundred fifty-two (yes, 152) cases of coronavirus were linked to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub. The number keeps rising. Contact tracers show this moving into 13 counties. Those infected at the bar range from 18 to 28 years old, but there are nineteen secondary cases with ages ranged 16 to 63. That’s how grandpa gets sick and dies.

A student has returned to New York from Florida for a graduation ceremony for Horace Greeley High School. She got sick and since 4 others from the graduation are sick. She had returned from a Florida COVID-19 hotspot and contact tracers are now on the case. Hopefully, grandma and grandpa stayed away.

Eight Trump campaign workers were reported to have the virus after the rally in Tulsa. Two Secret Service agents tested positive and dozens of agents are in quarantine. Oklahoma Watch reporter, Paul Monies, tested positive. Former Republican candidate Hermain Cain also has it. He’s 74 and hospitalized. As for other attendees, time will tell us soon. Hopefully, grandma and grandpa did not attend.

Photo: Washington Post

You probably know I could go on and on. New cases show up every day as certain red states find the situation out of control. And despite all of the news and all of the examples and all of the numbers, some people still prefer the words of a self-centered orange politician over that of medical professionals. Stupid.

Unlike an orange politician, I do not make up my facts. Therefore, here are my Sources: “U.S. could see 100,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, Fauci says,” by Helen Branswell, STAT, statnews.com, June 30, 2020.
Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession,” by RAKESH KOCHHAR, Fact Tank, Pew Research Center, pewresearch.org, June 11, 2020.
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2020,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, bls.gov, June 5, 2020.
WHO Chief On COVID-19 Pandemic: ‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’,” by Scott Neuman, NPR, nopr.org, June 29. 2020.
No, President Trump, Testing Is Not Causing Case Counts to Rise. The Virus Is Just Spreading Faster,” by Charles Ornstein and Ask Ngu, ProPublica, propublica.org, June 25, 2020.
A leader of protests to reopen Maryland says he is ill with COVID-19,” by Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, nbrnews.com, June 27, 2020.
Re-OpenMaryland co-founder catches coronavirus, won’t help contact tracers,” by Lee Brown, New York Post, nypost.com, June 28, 2020.
Coronavirus cases traced to East Lansing Harper’s Brew Pub rise to 152,” by Andrew Mullin, M Live, mlive.com, July 3, 2020.
NY student sparks COVID-19 cluster after returning from Florida,” by Melissa Klein, New York Post, nypost.com, June 27, 2020.
Eight Trump Campaign Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus After Tulsa Rally,” by Jamilah King, Mother Jones, motherjones.com
Secret Service agents quarantine after Tulsa Trump rally,” by David Aaro, FOX News, New York Post, nypost.com, June 25, 2020.
Reporter at Trump’s Tulsa rally tests positive for COVID-19,” Associated Press, apnews.com, June 26, 2020.
Former Presidential Candidate Herman Cain Hospitalized with COVID-19,” by Adam Carlson, People, people.com, July 2, 2020.

The orange one doesn’t read but if you have gotten this far we know you can. There is plenty to read above. Stay educated, stay home, stay safe.

See also: “Stupidity Rears Its Ugly Head,” SERENDIPITY, teepee12.com, May 24, 2020.