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.

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.


 

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 MAKING OF AMERICA – RICH PASCHALL

It Isn’t Great, by Rich Paschall

After 100,000 have died, millions have lost their jobs and America’s cities burn, we can hear the right-wingers now. “You can’t blame this on Trump. This is not Trump’s fault.” But here’s the problem. It IS Trump’s fault, just about all of it.

LIAR in Chief

The amount of lies Trump has told the American people is staggering. This is not just a wild assertion as some on the right side of the aisle may claim.  It is a well-documented fact. This is not just put out there by the Washington Post, but also by many fact-checkers around the country. If the Post is too liberal for you, you can find a variety of sources. If he is talking or tweeting, he’s probably lying. Now he wants to stop Twitter from fact-checking him.

Opportunist  in Chief

Despite something known as the Emoluments Clause, Trump has taken the opportunity to further enrich himself and his rich friends. He plays a lot of golf on the taxpayer’s money, then has the secret service and others in the entourage stay at his lodging, also at taxpayers’ expense. This is the way to funnel your money to himself.

Clause 7   The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

He would not know the meaning of this, nor would he care.

Tax Cutter in Chief

OK, this was never meant to help you.  This was all about giving himself and his rich friends a tax break. In other words, the rich got richer.

Hater in Chief

You may think this one is pretty strong. Am I actually calling out someone as a hater? His whole term in office is about hate speech and defending “some very nice people” with confederate or Nazi flags and automatic weapons.

Anarchist in Chief

The statements by someone already in an office that are meant to undermine local, state, or even federal government are outrageous, to say the least. He has used his position of authority, not to work with others, but to bad mouth mayors, governors and US Senators, and Representatives. His provocative speech has indicated to his base of supporters that it is OK to “Liberate” states. It is ok to challenge public officials. That white nationalist protestors include some very nice people. White Racists, including the KKK, favor Trump. In fact, the KKK endorsed him in the last election.

Mis-manager in Chief

He had the opportunity to take the lead in times of crisis. He blew it. He blamed China, he blamed governors, he blamed scientists, he blamed Obama. He blamed everyone for not getting out in front of this crisis but himself. As we write this at the end of May, the virus is on the rise in many states. Trump encourages the opening of states because it would help the economy. The only thing it may help is the death toll.

Leaders of some countries took early and decisive action. Trump dismissed it
“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.”  – January 22nd.

The World Health Organization warned of a worldwide pandemic, Trump called it a Democratic hoax: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”  – March 9th

Other countries took action to help their people. Trump and the Republicans blocked a second stimulus payment. They work toward legislation to protect companies from any liability for forcing employees back to work. They threatened to cut off unemployment benefits. Trump refused to cancel student loans.

Nero in Chief

He may not know how to play the fiddle, but he is doing a good job of pretending to be Emperor while the cities burn.  Here is why it is his fault:

Robber in Chief

Yes, there are people who are taking advantage of a bad situation to do bad things. Some are looting stores for their own personal joy or gain. Some are causing destruction to make one side or the other look bad. As I write to you, my emergency alert on my phone is not announcing bad weather, it is announcing a city curfew.  There is violence in the streets.

There are lawbreakers among the protestors and rioters, that’s for sure. And no matter what any of them may steal tonight or in the days to come, Trump has already stolen from them the most important thing necessary to make and keep America great. He has stolen HOPE. He has left many Americans broken and alone while he sits on his toilet, or wherever, sending tweets of hate into cyberspace. Meanwhile:

  • Is there any hope that situations will improve between big-city police departments and communities of color?
  • Is there any hope that economic opportunities will come to the communities of color?
  • Is there any hope that gun violence and people violence will subside in our country?
  • Is there any hope that immigrant families, ripped apart at the border, will be united?
  • Is there any hope that a leader will step forward and unite America with one voice through this pandemic?
  • Is there any hope that that the poor and middle class will find more assistance during extended unemployment, as other countries have done for their citizens, or will stimulus really be a way to hand more money to the rich?

People who take to the streets in protests that turn violent have lost hope that change will come by any other means. They have been driven down and stepped on and had a knee put to their collective throats. They are sick and tired of it. The words from the Orange Menace in Washington signals to the people of the nation that indeed, there is no hope.

On Monday Limbaugh and Hannity and Trump will all rage away. Will anyone offer hope to the masses?

MY BAD NEWS BUNKER IS OUT OF SPACE – Marilyn Armstrong

Every morning, I get up and hope that there is something positive in the news today. Something that will give me hope. Not another soppy story of all the great people helping other people because those stories are true, but have little to do with us and our lives. I admire the carers and wish I were one of them. Maybe then I could feel as if I was doing something useful in this terrible world.

I want to hear about something that — to put it bluntly — might help us. Help get our lives functioning again. Offer to deliver groceries, lower fuel rates.  or car insurance. Someone in this town offering to help people who are physically unable to do it all for themselves anymore.


I have yet to see anything positive. Maybe there are heroes elsewhere, but none of them seem to live in Worcester County. It’s just bad news, start to finish and frankly, it’s depressing. I really want to see something positive. I want to see our government do ONE GOOD THING. Together. As if we are all “One nation, with or without God.”


Is it possible the Trump really is the antiChrist? It’s as if he took office and ever since, every day since, has been working day and night to take whatever was part of the American dream, stomp it flat, shoot it dead, and finally, flush it down the toilet.


Why does he not care about this country he is leading? Why is so unconcerned with how many of us have died or are likely to die? Is power THAT important to any living soul? Was he truly born without a soul or even a basic understanding of right and wrong? I think Stalin had warmer feelings for his people than Trump has for his.

I only read one article and I didn’t finish it. It was the 202, the daily summary of events from The Washington Post. Here are some bullet points from it.


  • More than 40 million Americans have filed claims for jobless benefits in the past 10 weeks, including 2.1 million new claims last week, according to Labor Department data released this morning.
  • Trump tweeted this morning to acknowledge the grim milestone, but his public schedule this week contains no special commemoration, no moment of silence and no collective sharing of grief.
  • Trump is poised to sign an executive order today that could roll back the immunity that tech giants have for the content on their sites.
  • With no evidence, Trump has suggested five times – this month alone – that individuals and entities may have committed treason against the United States.
  • Attorney General Bill Barr, who career prosecutors say has politicized the Justice Department for Trump’s benefit, continues his push to investigate the president’s investigators.
  • Meanwhile, another Trump tweet plunged Congress into chaos – and thwarted the renewal of vital authorities needed by law enforcement to keep tabs on potential spies and terrorists. 
  • Trump has also, almost single-handedly, transformed the simple act of wearing a facial covering into the latest battle in the culture wars, dividing his own party in the process.
  • Some businesses around the country are now kicking out customers who wear face masks.
  • Quote of the day: “There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a polio survivor who is up for reelection. (Politico)
  • Civil unrest is a real danger. The second night of protests over the death of George Floyd turned deadly.
  • Police chiefs around the nation responded with disgust to the news of Floyd’s death, seeking to reassure their cities.
  • There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.
  • Trump could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people by delaying citizenship ceremonies until after November.
  • The FDA temporarily loosened food labeling rules for the fifth time during the pandemic.
  • Millennials are the unluckiest generation.
  • Public schools face a fall with a lot more costs and a lot less funding.
  • Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she will force public schools to share their pandemic aid with private ones.

This is just about half the bullet points. There were too many more and I couldn’t finish the article. There was no room in my heart or brain for everything. No more room. So if you ask me “how old do you feel?” I think my answer is older than history, older than the planet, older than any person should ever feel. My bad-news-bunker is out of space.

It really is difficult to “have a good day” with the world’s catastrophes looming over you.

For me, the worst part of our ongoing catastrophe is that there is so little I can do about it … and how awful the world will be for our younger citizens.

THE ODD COUPLE THAT COULD BRING TRUMP DOWN – natshouseblog

Steven Miller. advisor to Donald J. Trump and Katie Millie, Press Secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both Millers have daily access to Trump and Pence.

By Nat Helms of natshouseblog

Mother Nature apparently doesn’t like the way things are going in the world at the moment and banded together with irresistible karma to take a whack at Donald J. Trump, the original source of most of the chaos in the world today. It seems the Fates selected a close advisor inside Trump’s White House to host treacherously virulent novel coronavirus spores that have a tendency to make those around the unsuspecting host either sick or dead. It could mean there are about to be some sinister changes inside the White House.

There are plenty of reasons of the gods to take aim at the incendiary narcissist and bungler working diligently to destroy all the institutions of America. Their displeasure could be over Trump’s treatment of Mother Earth, or his disregard for the lives of millions of Americans and almost all those who live beyond our borders, or because Trump is just such an asshole all the time. Some things are best left to the gods and the 12 rules of karma to understand.

A real good example of karma in action is the haunting of the White House by dem-princess Katie Rose Waldman Miller, the new wife of Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s closest advisors. Both Millers work deep in the Trumplandian swamp where nepotism is A-Okay as long as they keep it in the family.

Her husband Steven  Miller, 34,  is the unfortunate Jewish doppelgänger of super-Nazi Reinhart Heydrich. Unlike the assassinated architect of Germany’s “Jewish Solution”, Miller keeps his iron fists in velvet gloves while he tramples on the basic rights of his fellow human beings. His thing is staying almost morbidly silent in the background generating ultra-right wing, white nationalist policy that eschews black, brown, and Arab peoples from coming to America.

Karma adherents have always maintained Trump and his gang have something bad coming at them. The Sanskrit For Dummy’s definition of the word karma is “action.”  Laws of karma are all about the positive or negative implications of our words, thoughts, and deeds. Everything we do good or bad creates corresponding energy that comes back to gobsmack us in some form or another.

Miller currently lives high on the hog. The international villain and fawning Trump loyalist married Katie last Feb. 16 at Trump International Hotel in Washington with Uncle Donald in attendance. The event was officiated by Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, a senior adviser to the United States ambassador to Israel. The ambassador apparently was taking time off from helping Israel steal more stuff from the caged Palestinians.

Mrs. Miller, 28, served as a spokeswoman for the United States Department of Homeland Security during the tenure of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Her husband helped engineer Nielsen’s controversial public firing for being too lenient to the babies and children her agency tore from their parent’s arms and stuffed into brutal concentration camps Miller helped organize.

Ms. Miller’s reported affliction with the coronavirus on Friday was the second known case of COVID-19 this week in someone who moves inside Trump’s inner circle.

According to White House pool reports, Pence’s flight to Des Moines, Iowa, was delayed on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for an hour Friday morning, where six people who had contact with Katie Miller deplaned. On  Thursday, the White House confirmed that a personal valet for Trump – a staff member who comes in close contact with both him and his family – also had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Both Trump and Pence reportedly tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday, the White House said.  Trump often downplays the magnitude of the pandemic while he focuses on reopening the nation’s economy that his weak, vacillating policies helped destroy.

Pence is equally culpable for misdirecting the country through his brainless thoughts and deeds. He came under fire last week for not wearing a mask during a visit to Minnesota’s prestigious Mayo Clinic. He later admitted he made a mistake, claiming he “didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask.”

No shit Sherlock, that’s why the country is falling apart.

THE DISHONEST JURY – RICH PASCHALL

Shock and Dismay, by Rich Paschall 

Imagine, if you will, that you have been summoned for jury duty. You know as a good citizen that it is an honor to serve the justice system. It is an important part of your life as a law-abiding citizen of the country.  You show up on time and ready to be an impartial juror. After you are seated on the jury, you learn to your shock and utter disgust that another member of the jury has already made up his mind. Worse than that, he is engaged in convincing other members of the jury to vote for acquittal. The trial has not yet started.

As you are preparing for the trial you learn that this ring leader of injustice has also been coordinating efforts with the defendant! He is working to keep the trial short by not allowing witnesses on either side. For some strange reason, it is this juror and his colleagues who set the rules for the trial, not the judge. Opening arguments are followed by closing arguments.  Since no evidence is presented, it is hard to say if there is guilt or not. The arguments by the prosecutor have certainly made it seem like the defendant is guilty, but who can tell? No evidence was allowed.

Those lined up to vote for acquittal before the trial did so without paying attention to the charges. The defendant claimed victory and set out on a course of retaliation against those who spoke against him. “This is outrageous!” you might think. “Nothing like this could happen in our country. Such a travesty could not take place.” The problem is this. It did happen.

Violating the Oath

“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you, God?”

Not only were Senators asked to take this oath by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but they were also called up one at a time to sign the document of such oath.  This means that many Republican Senators went to the floor of the Senate and swore before God to do something they had no intention of doing. They lied to the Chief Justice right there in their chamber of Congress. Everyone in the country who was paying attention knows they lied.

No matter what side of the aisle you sit, you can’t deny these Republicans are liars before God. They swore to God that they would be impartial when they had promised for weeks to vote for acquittal and not allow any evidence. If you do not paint these people as liars and hypocrites, what else could you call them? In a normal world, if you violated an oath like this you would find yourself in jail.

Total Coordination

In early December, long before the trial, Senator Mitch McConnell promised in a FOX News interview that there was no chance of removal from office and that he would have “total coordination” with the White House and the President’s lawyers. As he had taken sides before the Articles of Impeachment (aka indictment) were presented, did the Senator then recuse himself? No. Instead, he planned to lie before God and falsely sign a document before the Chief Justice.

Mitch McConnell

Cheating the Country

“If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in the trial, what will the president conclude? We all know: he’ll conclude he can do it again, and congress can do nothing about it. He can try to cheat in his election again, something that eats at the roots of our democracy.”

Senator Chuck Schumer stated this belief in advance of acquittal. If a majority of Senators will protect a lawbreaker, can there be any justice at all? They have announced through their actions that they do not care about their oath and they do not care about justice. Is the president now free to act like a dictator and violate any laws he chooses? The Senate majority has already proven they will protect him.

Retaliation

Following the end of the Senate trial, the president has gone after the whistleblowers in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act already in place. And who is to stop him?

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, fired! Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, not a part of impeachment, fired for being the brother of Alexander Vindman. Ambassador Gordon Sondland also fired.  There will be more to come.

And all the others who didn’t agree with him who went before. This tyrant doesn’t allow disagreement. No discussion, no reasoning.

Where’s the Outrage?

To counterbalance the outrage of many news outlets around the country are the efforts of one prominent news network and other smaller outlets. Some consider this no better than state-run television, spinning a tale much different than what virtually every newspaper and broadcast opinion board and commentators are saying. With the announcement of the intention to lie to the Chief Justice of the United States, U.S. Senators have told you that they and their cult-leader-in-chief can break the law if they feel like it.

The question is, what will you do about it?

Register and Vote.

Need I say more?


Sources: Senators Take Oath For Impeachment Trial,” The Hill, thehill.com, January 16, 2020.
Senate rejects impeachment witnesses, setting up Trump acquittal,” The Hill, thehill.com, January 31, 2020.
McConnell’s vow of ‘total coordination’ with White House on Senate impeachment trial angers Democrats,” The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com, December 13, 2019.
Trump retaliation: After purge, House Democrats need to unleash a tsunami of oversight,” by Kurt Bardella, an opinion columnist, USA Today, usatoday.com, February 10, 2020.

WHY I SIGNED THE HISTORIANS’ STATEMENT ON THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP By SEAN MUNGER

SIGNING THE IMPEACHMENT STATEMENT – SEAN MUNGER

This week I was asked by a professional contact in the history community to add my name to this statement, called the Historians’ Statement on the Impeachment of President Trump. It was an easy call for me to do so. But, as has become evident over the last few days, this statement was much more than just another “online petition.” The historians who have signed this statement, now more than 2,000 of them, have had a measurable impact on the events that occurred in Washington, D.C. this week. Indeed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi referenced the statement in her floor speech beginning debate on the impeachment of Trump. As you know, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him. We historians have joined numerous other professionals whose expertise is relevant to the impeachment process, such as Constitutional legal scholars and public prosecutors, in stating that impeachment is warranted under the standards of the Constitution.

Some of the historians I joined in signing include Ken Burns (documentary historian), Robert Caro (biographer of LBJ), Ron Chernow (author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that was the basis of the Broadway musical), John Fea (fellow history podcaster and author of the wonderful Way of Improvement Leads Home blog), Alan Taylor (Pulitzer Prize-winning historian), Matthew Dennis (my former academic advisor), and many, many more.

While the statement speaks for itself, I thought I would add a few words to explain why I signed it.

I marched in favor of women’s rights and solidarity on the day after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017. That action was political. My signing of the Historians’ Statement goes beyond politics.

Reason one: Trump’s actions are unquestionably impeachable.

The Constitution’s standard for impeachment is deliberately vague: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The fact that it’s vague doesn’t mean it’s always difficult to tell when the standard has been reached. The impeachment inquiry has proven beyond all doubt that Trump committed bribery by conditioning aid to the government of Ukraine on their investigation of the Biden family. That’s bribery. As for other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” it seems difficult to argue that this standard hasn’t been reached either. If we could go back in time to the stuffy room in Philadelphia where the Founders met in the summer of 1787 to create the Constitution and give them the example of Trump’s actions, it’s abundantly clear that they would agree, probably to a man, that this is the kind of behavior they had in mind when they wrote the impeachment clause. The evidence is uncontroverted. I say that both as a historian and as a lawyer.

Reason two: The Constitution and its processes must be protected.

America was created with the notion that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Flawed, yes; imperfect, yes; subject to change in interpretation by future generations who are entrusted with it, certainly. But some things about it are absolute. If the Constitution’s standard for a President’s removal from office is reached, not taking the Constitutionally-required action to set that process in motion does violence to the primacy of the Constitution and its principles. Letting Trump’s unconscionable behavior slide, giving it a pass, is itself an affront to the Constitution and everything it stands for.

The action of impeachment entails considerable political risk. While it’s true that I voted for the other lady (you know, the one who got more votes than Trump did), I’m certainly not happy with the idea that, if Trump were to be convicted, his successor would be Mike Pence, a man whose bedrock principle is that I, as a member of the LGBT community, do not deserve basic human and civil rights, and once in office he’ll likely mobilize the power of the government to strip me of those rights–because he’s done it before. But that’s a political calculation. The risk to the Constitution in turning a blind eye to Trump’s crimes transcends politics, and it should. That’s what the primacy of the Constitution means.

The men who met in this room in the summer of 1787 believed they were serving principles larger than themselves. I think we have to honor that commitment, however imperfect the Constitution was (and still is).

Reason three: Trump must be taught that his wrong actions have consequences.

Even if the Senate takes the cowardly way out and does not convict him, the impeachment of Trump has considerable value on its own. One of them is to teach him something he apparently hasn’t learned during his nearly two years in office: he can’t just do anything he wants, and his bad actions have consequences. Apparently, he has learned that lesson. There is a report out of the White House this week that Trump was surprised, astonished and furious that he was impeached, and that he’s gone through violent mood swings as a result. Indeed, an aide is quoted as saying, “He’s very angry. It’s made a deep impression.” Trump is a man impervious to facts (such as the proven scientific reality of human-caused climate change) and incapable of empathy (such as when he ordered children to be placed in concentration camps). But if impeachment can get through to him on such a deep level, and tell him that his actions will receive push-back, from the Constitution if from no other source, then the impeachment is worth it on that score alone.

Reason four: Historical precedent shows impeachment has the effect of reining in a wayward President’s actions.

If you look back at the two Presidents who have previously been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, you’ll see that, although neither was removed from office, impeachment had a profound effect on both of them: they took care to stop doing the actions that got them impeached in the first place. Andrew Johnson, in particular, was every bit as pugnacious and defiant about his impeachment as Trump is about his own. Yet, after the impeachment and Senate trial in May 1868, Johnson suddenly went quiet: he stopped trying to interfere with Congress’s power over Reconstruction and he took no significant action for the rest of his term.

Clinton, similarly, toned down his act in his last two years in office. And you can bet that, at long last, for once in his life, he stopped running around with young women and lying about it. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were/are deeply flawed men who did monstrous things. But impeachment did put brakes on their reckless behavior. Even as defiant and vengeful as Trump is, I seriously doubt he’ll ever call up a head of state and ask them to interfere in our elections again. There’s no telling what other more subtle effects it will have that can serve the public good.

Andrew Johnson was, like Trump, a racist man, a white supremacist, and deeply incompetent at his job as President of the United States. But, his impeachment in 1868 did have an effect on his behavior.

I don’t like to see our Constitutional system tested and tarnished by the actions of President Trump. Our government has many important things that it could be doing right now, like taking immediate and drastic action on climate change. But the Constitution must be protected, and sometimes its enemies are within the walls rather than without.

I stand by the Historians’ statement. I only hope it’s not too late for our republic to be saved from the damage being done to it by self-serving people like Donald J. Trump.

All images in this article were either taken by me or are in the public domain.

Please check out Sean’s blog at: https://seanmunger.com/

LIKE WATERGATE. DRIP, DRIP, DRIP – Marilyn Armstrong

Da Prez has been shrieking “Witch Hunt” but not everyone is quite as stupid as he thought they were. Where there was no one willing to testify, now they have more people lined up who want to “tell the whole truth” then they have time to listen to.

Drip, drip, drip.

It takes time. Years. But now,  we want to know what happened. Really happened.

First, there was Mueller. We were disappointed. We wanted more than that. Nothing wrong? Are you kidding? I assumed he had done everything wrong. It was more a matter of proof, evidence, facts, legal stuff. This has been a lot like Watergate times 20. I remember the joy I felt as during  Watergate when the dominos began to fall.

Drip, drip, drip … plunk … rattle, bang, bang, bang.

And they all fell down. Finally, down went the Top Dog. Never did I imagine we’d wind up back in this place again with even bigger and more dangerous fish to fry.


Aside from setting our country back to being a proper nation, we’ve got a planet to save, wars to end, a climate to save. Oceans to clean and wildlife to preserve. Medical care to make available to all. There’s barely anything that doesn’t need some degree of saving.

I’m going to go with “save the planet first,” but that’s only because if we lose the planet, nothing else will matter.

Maybe, along the way, we will save ourselves from extinction. That would be a nice touch.


I just wanted to add this last bit, in case you weren’t clear on what I’ve been getting at.

There are no innocents in this mix. To say that all politics is corrupt is more or less true and always had been … but not like this.

I don’t merely want to “know more.” I want the whole story. Paragraph by paragraph, line by line. I want to know what happened and more than that, I want to know what I can do to make it better. I’m tired of feeling helpless while the world crumbles around me. Maybe now we can make a start at changing the world into a place my granddaughter can build a life.

THE INCREASING STUPIDITY OF THEIR ARGUMENTS TELLS ME ALL I NEED TO KNOW – THE SHINBONE STAR

One thing I learned back in my college days* was if your enemies are walking into an L-shaped ambush, let them walk all the way into the kill zone before firing. They then have two choices: run and die, or stand and die.

The Trump Administration is running headlong into an L shaped ambush formed by the Democrat-led House of Representatives and public opinion, and it is done.

Donald Trump can stonewall, whine, accuse, demand, plead, and threaten …  and then what? Only his truly hard-core cult members refuse to see that this guy isn’t fit for the office. He could light himself afire before he is impeached and those people would cheer him for owning the libs.

The MAGA folks love it when Trump does some nasty shit that owns the libs, but when they see him sell out our Kurdish “allies” to our Turkish allies, those folks have to wonder in which of these allied camps do they stand. If they have half a brain they’ll finally realize they ain’t in the Right camp because they ain’t J.P. Gotrocks and they’re right there with the rest of the people Trump considers to be losers. Unfortunately, most of his non-wealthy supporters aren’t that smart.

It was inevitable that America would end up in this situation because white America selected a stupid and venal asshole (whose only accomplishment in life was being born rich) to replace Barack Obama, who is the embodiment of the American Dream … except he is black.

Trump is the poor man’s idea of what wealth looks like and the loser’s view of winning. And he isn’t black.

Trump has bullied, bought and bankrupted his way through life, but for the first time ever, his modus operandi isn’t gonna work and he is panicked. You know the shit is deep by how excruciatingly stupid are the excuses from the few remaining GOP sycophants unashamed to lie in public.

In a September 23, 2016 article for The Atlantic, Salena Zito wrote:

“It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Peter Thiel, tech billionaire and Trump supporter said in October 2016:

“I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. . . . I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally . . . their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ . . . What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.”

Last week Jim Jordan said Trump was joking when he asked China to investigate the Biden boys. “You really thank he was serious?” During the 2016 campaign we were told to take Trump seriously but not literally. Now we’re being told not to take him seriously … he’s a bad joke … got it?

Stick a fork in this bastard, he’s done. This “strategy” of putting his fingers in his ears and yelling incoherent bullshit while his sycophants stonewall in court with stupid process arguments is coming to a close. One charge in one jurisdiction or another is going to crack the dam and the flood of provable crimes will wash away America’s Trump Error.

The GOP donor class has used him and the complicit Republican Party to squeeze the last petro buck out of the earth. In the process, they have destroyed traditional alliances and caused worldwide chaos. Trump didn’t quite get them everything they wanted (worldwide authoritarian plutocracy) but he got them enough (massive redistribution of wealth upward and a stacked federal judiciary) for now.

The GOP and Trump have hit the point of diminishing returns, and so they are no longer viable. This is going to be Watergate, ABSCAM and Iran-Contra all rolled into one, and the GOP as a party should not survive.

What’s next will be a test of the American people across all demographics for “do we continue on the path the Founders set us upon to create a more perfect union,” or “will we take the road towards Steve Bannon’s vision of a Fourth Reich?”

I’m betting on the USA.

BTW, I never served, was never an official member of ROTC but I am a proud member of the National Honorary Society of Pershing Rifles. Don’t ask me how that happened, but one of my fraternity brothers is Gen. Colin Powell.

(Note from Marilyn on Colin Powell: He grew up just a few blocks from me and we went to the same elementary school!)