JULY 4TH AND COLLATERAL DAMAGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Memorial Day has come and gone … and suddenly, it’s just about to be Independence Day. No one had time to take their flags down. If we want to know just how many wars we have had, count the number of “holidays” we have relating to wars and victims and veterans. And that’s not counting recent wars. We don’t have any holidays for recent wars. I thnk it’s possible we are running out of days. Or flags. Or memories. How many wars have we had since I was born, right after World War II?

We don’t have holidays for the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq (one and two)(and maybe three) Gulf wars — or are they all Iraq wars? It gets so confusing. Then there’s Somalia and the whole Serbian mess. And do we celebrate our invasion of Grenada? I thought that was embarrassing, personally. Or, for that matter. our attempted invasion of Cuba in the sixties? You know, the one that went so horribly wrong.

War is more than battles, invasion, victories, and defeats. War is ultimately about destruction. The annihilation of nations. Laying waste to the lands where wars are fought. The slaughter of millions of civilians, young, old, and in between. All the war casualties who never wore a uniform and probably didn’t carry guns. There are no medals for them. No parades. No holidays. They’re just gone.

Most of these casualties — collateral damage — were people living uneventful lives until by ill fortune, they were caught in the backwash of war. Wrong place, wrong time. Wrong race, wrong religion. Believed the wrong stuff, belonged to the wrong political party. Espoused an unacceptable philosophy.

The demagogues who lead the wars usually escape its wrath. They are talkers, not fighters.

AFP PHOTO/TUWAEDANIYA MERING (Photo credit should read Tuwaedaniya MERGING/AFP/Getty Images)

I honor our soldiers. It’s an ugly, dangerous, and often thankless job. But I think we need to remember the unlucky millions caught on a battlefield they called home.

The number of military and civilian casualties in World War I totaled more than 37 million including 16 million dead and 20 million wounded. It ranks among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The total number of deaths includes about 10 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians. The Entente Powers (the Allies) lost close to 6 million soldiers. The Central Powers lost about 4 million. At least 2 million civilians died from disease. Six million went missing and are presumed dead.

World War II fatality statistics vary depending on who and how they are being counted. The estimates of  total dead range from 50 million to more than 70 million, making it the deadliest war in world history in absolute terms —  total dead — but not in terms of deaths relative to the world population. Our American Civil War holds that distinction.

Civilians killed totaled from 40 to 52 million, including 13 to 20 million from war-related disease and famine. Total military dead range in estimate from 22 to 25 million. These numbers include deaths in military prison camps — about 5 million prisoners of war.

Death Camps

In addition to soldiers and collaterally killed civilians, between 3 and 4 million Jews were murdered in Nazi death camps. In the USSR, the Einsatzgruppen mobile killing groups slaughtered another 1.4 million Jews. Jewish deaths in the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe total around 700,000. Yad Vashem has identified the names of four million Jewish Holocaust dead.

Not merely was European Jewry wiped out, but Jewish culture was destroyed. The Nazis were very thorough and highly efficient. They set out to destroy the Jews and they succeeded.

Although the Holocaust specifically targeted Jews, it did not target only Jews.

Roma (Gypsies), handicapped persons, political prisoners, intellectuals, ethnic Poles, and Slavs were slaughtered too, bringing the total number of Holocaust victims to between 11 and 17 million.

At least 1 million people died in wartime gulags or by deportation. Other wartime deaths resulted from malnutrition and disease. Both Stalin and Hitler were responsible for these deaths. The biggest mass murderers in human history may never have personally killed anyone. They had others to do the job for them.

Now that nationalism and demagoguery is in vogue, are Americans going to be the next mass murderers? The kind of rhetoric I’m hearing cannot help remind me (and I’m sure lots of other people) of other murderous demagogues and the slaughters they perpetrated.

In tallying up the costs of war, soldiers are not the only casualties. “Collateral damage” sounds so benign, a kind of verbal cleansing. But no matter what you call it, the dead are dead.

WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Considering how the world has changed, I suspect more of us have become aware that “winning” isn’t everything and sometimes, not even a good thing. It all depends on what you won. And there can be a lot of emotional conflict about whether what you’ve done is winning or not.

My ex-husband, Larry Kaiser, was a young litigation attorney in New York City in 1979. His law firm assigned Pro Bono Appeals cases to junior associates as part of a public service program.

Larry was given the appeal of a defendant, Eric Michaels, who had been convicted, in a second trial, of rape, sodomy, robbery and burglary. His first trial had been declared a mistrial. It was clear that the defendant was rightfully convicted. He had definitely done it. So Larry had to look for a procedural irregularity that he could exploit to try to get the conviction overturned on appeal. That was his job, unsavory as it was.

Larry discovered that the trial judge, Judge Arnold Fraiman, had declared a mistrial for a questionable reason – he and several jurors were scheduled to leave on vacations. I believe the judge even had his wife and his packed suitcases in the courtroom. If this was seen as an abuse of discretion by the appellate court, it would invalidate the guilty verdict of the second trial. The entire second trial would be considered invalid as a violation of double jeopardy. You can only be tried once for any crime or crimes.

Larry was drowning in work so I helped him write this Pro Bono brief. It was very much a joint effort. I was practicing law at a small New York City law firm at the time. We won the appeals case and Eric Michaels was released from prison.

One morning shortly after the appellate verdict was rendered, I was getting out of bed and I heard Larry yelling from the living room. He had just opened the New York Times and found his case on the front page! The misconduct of Judge Fraiman was considered a big enough deal to warrant a prominent story. This was particularly true because his misconduct resulted in the release of a convicted rapist. The District Attorney of New York had described Eric Michaels’ crimes as some of the more vicious crimes prosecuted by the state in years.

Judge Fraiman was now in the spotlight. Larry was interviewed by several newspapers. Over the next few days, reporters dug into the Judge’s prior cases. And they discovered that the exact same thing had happened before. Judge Fraiman had previously declared a mistrial for the same reason – he was due to leave on vacation. His prior mistrial declaration had also been considered inappropriate by an appellate court. And again, an appellate court had released another guilty defendant back onto the streets because of Judge Fraiman’s actions in court.

This was now a really big judicial scandal. The story stayed in the news for a while and destroyed Judge Fraiman’s reputation. I think he may have been censured by the judiciary or by the Bar Association.

Larry always had mixed feelings about this case. He had won a major legal success and got his name in the New York Times.On the other hand, he helped get a rapist released from jail. This is often the plight of lawyers in the criminal field. It was also a prime reason I didn’t go into criminal law.

Winning isn’t everything.

WHAT ABOUT THE ELECTION? – Marilyn Armstrong

Georgia’s primary the other night was a warning to all of us of what may be coming. In the course of writing this blog, I’ve had direct communications with several real-life historians and all of them have said exactly the same thing:


DONALD TRUMP WILL NEVER VOLUNTARILY LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE.


When I first heard this, I pooh-poohed it. That can’t happen. It can’t. But since then, I’ve realized that many things that can’t happen have happened, are happening, will happen. Why do we think Trump wants to ditch the post office? You think it might have something to do with preventing people from mailing in votes?

Gerrymandering as been around for a long time. More than a hundred years and for all I know, longer than that. The Democrats have done it too … but they haven’t turned it into the science as has the GOP.

Why not?

I don’t think it’s out of a higher form of political beliefs. More like if everyone voted, there wouldn’t be a Republican party, or at least not the current one. Most Americans are in favor of universal health care, a more controlled police force, fewer guns on the streets, a greater degree of honesty and transparency in government,  good education for everyone based on truth, facts, and science and not being gouged by pharmaceutical companies.

These past three and a half years have been a nightmare. Aside from Trump, who is a nightmare all by himself, there has been a plague and now, finally, one murder over the line, a broader recognition that killing dark-skinned people for being different than you is not okay. Nor is giving these same people substantially harder sentences for relatively minor crimes or making sure they have the worst paying, most insecure jobs in our so-to-speak economy. It’s NOT right. It was never right.

Dr. Seuss Cartoon from 1941 on antisemitism. The old story, just updated with a red hat.

The way we underpay women is wrong. They fact that we have allowed women to be brutalized in and out of the workplace is not even remotely acceptable.

We can disagree about how our national taxes should be spent but on principle, we all believe in honor and justice for everyone. Yes, there are bigots too, but I think they are a small minority. If they didn’t have access to powerful military guns, they would also be mostly harmless.

The press may not always be correct, but the fourth estate is the only thing that stands between us and a Stalinesque dictatorship. In all the years that Garry worked as a reporter — and all the people with whom he worked — never did any of them drag themselves out of bed so they could lie to you.

Errors are made by everyone, but the only news outlet that makes lying a fundamental premise of their news production is Fox News. If they aren’t ashamed, they should be. And maybe, one of these days, they will be. I would not like to tell my grandchildren that my career was  a series of well-produced lies. Would you?

Things are beginning to turn around. But what about the election? Will we be in the middle of a massive resurgence of COVID-19 as November rolls around? If the election is not held on time, will it be held at all? Ever? It’s a lot easier to keep a democracy than rebuild one.

We are standing on treacherous ground. We should be grateful for the changes and potential changes we see, but until we get this worst of all presidents out of the White House, we aren’t safe.  Rebuilding America isn’t going to happen overnight, either. There’s a LOT of work to be done and we will all have to do some of it.

BYE BYE FACEBOOK – Marilyn Armstrong

I have hated Facebook since they sold my private information to Cambridge Analytica and got  me hacked. Today, for reasons that escape me, they blocked me and that was one step over the line. I dislike what they do and how they do it. Zuckerberg is a jerk.

Garry uses Facebook a lot to keep in touch with old friends, but I can’t do it anymore. I don’t like Zuckerberg,  his company, politics, or greed. I have kept Messenger so you can try to get in touch with me that way, but to be fair, I never look at messages in Facebook. I can’t remember the last time I looked to see if I had messages, much less read any.

Twitter remains alive.

Meanwhile, it’s good-bye Facebook. I’m sure I’ll lose followers this way but you know? I really don’t care.

HOW BILLIONAIRES ARE LOOTING AMERICA AND NOT PROTESTORS by Sarah Midkiff

The looting of America is not the byproduct of protests, but rather it can be seen in our country’s broken economic system, one that allows tax breaks for the ultra-rich, unchecked legislation that enables shareholders to get payouts even when the money comes from a federal bailout, and corporate double-dipping while employees lose their livelihood.

Source: How Billionaires Are Looting America & Not Protestors

This is a brilliant post and points the finger — many fingers — at the real looters who have stolen our lives and our futures so they can have more money per hour than we will have in our entire working lifetimes.

Reblogged also on Judy Dykstra-Brown’s blog, it’s a reminder that the number of TVs stolen or for that matter, expensive clothing and broken windows, the real looters are sitting in their mansions and laughing at us. Laughing. Because we can’t touch them.

Please, let’s show them we CAN touch them. Let’s vote their shills out of office. Let’s get our country back. Let’s do it while we still can.

Let’s do something to fix the climate, make peace with our friends, stop trying to make war with everyone else. Let’s try to help the neediest, start growing healthy food. Let’s let our farmers return to farming so we grow our own food and don’t rely entirely on global distribution. Let’s give EVERYONE health care, mental and physical. Let the corporations pay what they owe … and they owe a LOT.

All my life I’ve been paying corporations. My taxes don’t go to my town to help it grow, It goes to political stooges and their PR agencies. Maybe it’s time they started helping pay our costs. Maybe, if we do it right, at least our grandchildren can have the life we hoped they would have.

This is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee – The Washington Post

For what are probably obvious reasons, this has been a major subject in this mixed-race household. If I were a lot younger and sturdier, I think I might be out there too. This has gone on for as long as the U.S. has been a nation. It started with slavery, continued with Jim Crow, and apparently will never end. And EVERYBODY knows it.

There’s apparently no middle road on this, not politically or in sports. I supported Kaepernick’s position and could not understand why everybody didn’t support him.

We live in a racist country with a president who apparently hates his own people. Violence is what he wants and violence is what he gets. When he first came into office, I thought he was “merely” trying to tear down whatever Obama had accomplished. Now, I think, he is trying to tear down what our founding fathers created. He will, if he can, destroy our system of justice, laws, and balance of powers. He will turn this country into the biggest, richest banana republic on Earth.

Is this what the GOP calls “making American great again?” It seems entirely the opposite to me.  This is grinding America into the dirt, destroying all the things that made anyone want to be part of our nation. Shame on the country for electing this murderous, bloated bigot to a position of power. Shame on the rest of us for not getting him out-of-office and replacing him with someone — at the very least — sane and literate.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/c268c732-8f0a-4400-b65b-ffb17e37f0da

The NFL ostracized the quarterback for his protests against police brutality. It’s more clear than ever what a terrible decision that was.

Source: This is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee – The Washington Post

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.

ANOTHER WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

We decided we needed another week with Bonnie. We aren’t ready. Also, I discovered a great calming chewy. Basically, they are duck-flavored hemp edibles for dogs.

They aren’t quite strong enough but if you give them about twice as much as recommended Bonnie sleeps though most of the night.

I know nothing we do is going to solve her problems, but she is having some good days and as long as she is able to move around and look happy, we will let her.

Groomed Bonnie

ABSOLUTELY NO ABSOLUTE RIGHTS

Funny isn’t it? What was current six weeks ago is current now.

Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Stay at Home, Save Lives, by Rich Paschall

While we accept the precept of “freedom of speech,” we also understand that it does not apply to everything in all situations. As you probably have heard often, we are not allowed to shout “Fire” in a crowded theater when there is none. This could cause a stampede for the exits and put some people at risk of being hurt or killed in the panic.

Similarly, you can not shout out in a crowd that you see a gun when there is none. Due to the types of mass shootings we have seen in recent years, we know that there could be a panic that could cause harm.

Image: Mashable.com

You are also forbidden to engage in the type of speech that would incite a riot. Hate speech in gatherings could, in turn, result in attacks either at a rally, let say…

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The Devilish Deceptions Of “Warp Speed” Donald Trump – NAT HELMS

Another good one from Nat Helms!

natshouseblog

natsblog Covid-Buster “Fat Boy”, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Trump used the horrific weapons development during the WWII Manhattan Project as a backdrop for his announcement of Operation Warp Speed, his grandiose plan to deliver 300 million doses of a still non-existent COVID-19 vaccine to America by January 2021.

Nathaniel R. “Nat” Helms

Pandemic apologist Donald J. “Warp Speed” Trump on Friday took time out from bungling America’s response to the novel coronavirus scourge to accept a commemorative flag on behalf the U.S. Space Force, the latest creation from the bowels of the Pentagon.

Outside the six-sided puzzle palace, more than 87,000 Americans were already dead and thousands more are fighting for their lives amidst Trump’s strident calls to open up America sooner than later. Vainglorious Trump says their tragic deaths and those sure to come are the unavoidable cost of making America great again.

Space Force flag U.S. Space Force flag.

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HOLLYWOOD AND MORAL CHARACTER – Marilyn Armstrong

Blitzen Trapper

How stupid are we? This post in its various permutations has gotten nearly 5,000 hits. Not recently, but in the first few years of posting.

For several years, whenever I got more than 1000 hits in about half an hour, I knew that they must be rebroadcasting the eighth season’s first episode of Criminal Minds. I’ve written more than 10,500 posts, but this one always got the most hits.

So, it must be the perfect time to re-post this piece. The question is whether or not the plot used in the premier show of season 8 of “Criminal Minds” is based on a song by a group named Blitzen Trapper, whose lead singer/lyricist is Eric Earley. This comes up each time the show airs, which is how come I get all these hits on that post.

To settle the issue, one of my correspondents was a producer on Criminal Minds. He assured me the group is being compensated and nothing underhanded is going on. I’m grateful to discover things are not as bad as they seem. It’s rare. Usually, whatever is going on is worse than I imagined.

A screenshot of the BAU Team on the jet.

A screenshot of the BAU Team on the jet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people who seem otherwise intelligent yet against all reason think conglomerates would never take advantage of we “little people,” and certainly would never commit (gasp) plagiarism.

What makes this belief bizarre is that the corporations under discussion are run for and by people in show business. Unless my correspondents are living on a different planet than me, why would they think this? Have these people displayed such high moral character that they are incapable of illegal or immoral behavior? Could anyone be that naïve? Remember Harvey Weinstein? Or for that matter, Jack Warner? And lord knows how many casting directors for television and movies.

Apparently yes, they really are that stupid.

Big corporations spend millions of dollars on public relations and advertising campaigns designed to convince us they have our best interests at heart. They are entitled to give it their best shot, but why would anyone believe them? In what way has any corporation ever shown itself to be on any side but its own?


As for show business folks? These are not people famous for moral turpitude. They are sexual predators, so plagiarism is nothing to them. I don’t know a writer with hopes of breaking into “the business” who hasn’t had a piece of work stolen. Here’s how it works.

You go for an interview. You bring your story idea, your script, manuscript, lyrics, arrangement, proposal, whatever. You present it to the person to whom you hope to sell it. You make your pitch, praying this is the big score you’ve been waiting for. Alas, it is another rejection. You’re used to rejection. It comes with the territory.

A few months later, a new television series is introduced that has an identical storyline to the one you were trying to sell to that very production studio. A few relatively minor details have been altered, but you recognize it and so do all your friends.

What shall you do, eh? You’re going to sue the studio? Take the network to court? Bring suit against the record label? You have that kind of money and clout? If you were pitching your material, you are probably broke. They’ve got armies of lawyers. You’ve got your paycheck and tips from waiting on tables while you try to get into the business. Only in the Bible does David win. In the big wide world, Goliath always wins.

There is a great deal of plagiarism in television and movies, so much that the relevant lawsuits rarely make the news anymore.

In the software world, accusations of intellectual property theft have reached the point where, after endless legal battles between Microsoft and Apple, every major manufacturer is suing every other manufacturer for copyright infringement. Who wins? Since everyone steals from everyone else and everyone is guilty to some extent, the winner is the company with the best lawyers or the most political influence. And of course, who paid off who.

Oh no, that doesn’t happen, you cry! Our legal system can’t be bought and sold. Right. And the tooth fairy left you a buck under your pillow last night. No really, she did. Honest! My congressman told me, so it must be true.

Public servants are as honest as the day is long. Corporations care about you and me. Hollywood and television executives are persons of the highest moral character. The moon is made of green cheese. Tomorrow I’m going to sprout wings and fly.

Just when I think maybe we aren’t as dumb as corporations think we are, I get letters from readers proving that too many people really are that dumb, or at least that naïve. I find this scary. These people are allowed to vote!

My signature line on email uses the following quote:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
– Robert Hanlon

In this case, for this show, I may have attributed to malice that which was in fact adequately explained by stupidity. That’s their excuse, but what excuse do you have for believing propaganda paid for by people who would squash you like a bug without a second thought?

I don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me,

KEEP TALKING – BY TOM CURLEY

A weird thing happened this week. Other than that last week was “Peak Death Week.” (Sorry, I didn’t get anybody a card).

For the first time ever I didn’t immediately mute my TV when the Covidiot-in-chief comes on to do the daily “5 O’clock Follies” and spend two-hours doing what he normally would do at his hate-filled rallies.

A Distorted View. Neil Davis – one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents was one of the most vocal opponents of these events. Between 1965 and 1968 US television networks distorted the view of the war. They portrayed it as a romantic, heroic struggle. They uncritically accepted the version of events presented to them by US generals daily at 5pm. The Allied public was lead to believe they were winning the war. How could he know better than the generals and the other journalists?

Up until now I, like most folks, would just scream at the TV.

THAT’S A LIE!

THAT’S A BIGGER LIE!!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?????

Then I just muted the sound till the real news came back on.

I have been livid that the news networks all take these propaganda briefings in full. It’s just him campaigning.  Doesn’t Biden get equal time? Now, the cable networks, except for Fox of course, routinely break away to fact check the verbal diarrhea that spews forth from everybody on the podium except for Dr. Fauci.

But this week it changed. I suddenly remembered a funny meme that my cousin Jackie sent me a few weeks ago. It was a sign that said:

“When someone tells you to ‘Keep Talking’ and you realize what he’s really saying is ‘You Better Shut the Fuck Up Right Now!”

She added a comment “That was Uncle Tom’s go-to move.” That was my Dad. I laughed for almost ten minutes when I read that.  Because it was so true. When my brother and I were kids and we were trying to talk ourselves out of whatever thing we did that we shouldn’t have, he would just look at us for a long moment and say

“Go on, keep talking.”

At that point, we’d realize we’d been busted and we would shut the fuck up.

That’s just what is happening with these propaganda rallies. He is just playing to his base like he does in his cult rallies. The only problem is that everybody is watching. His cult followers will believe anything and everything that he says. But the rest of the country and the rest of the world are all screaming at their TVs.  His utter madness, his utter contempt for human life, his unimaginable stupidity, his utter lack of empathy is being shoved down the world’s throat every Goddamned day. I think the democrats are being smart. Let him keep talking.

He says he has the absolute right to open the country even though he doesn’t

Keep talking.

He says “I take no responsibility” for any of the mess we’re in.

Keep talking.

He says he has absolute power. He doesn’t

Keep talking

“The testing is going just fine.” It’s not.

Keep talking.

“We have one case, soon it will be none.” We didn’t. It wasn’t

Keep talking.

“It will be gone by April.”  Hmmm. Last week was peak death week. Well, in New York at least. This week, it’s Massachusetts surging.

Keep talking.

So, for the first time, I actually listened to him. For a few minutes. Until I threw up in my mouth a little. I still mute the TV for most of the Follies.  But now, as I watch I keep hearing my dad.

Go on,  keep talking.

THE MUSIC OF JOHN PRINE – Marilyn Armstrong

John Prine died two days ago of complications related to COVID 19. He had survived throat and lung cancer and was finally well enough to go back on the road. He had a tour planned and I was so happy for him. I have been a big fan of his for the past 20 years.  I loved his music, his attitude, his love for the common struggling man in a harsh world.

While I was growing up, my world was entirely full of classical, baroque, and other “serious” music. Eventually, I added many other individuals and groups, as well as many other categories of music. John Prine was one of my favorites from the first time I heard him sing.

This was on Stephen Colbert’s show a few days ago.


The original song


John Prine was a latecomer to my “playlist,” but he remains a favorite. For years, he was best known as a songwriter rather than as a singer. Nonetheless, though he never had a melodious voice, he had such a lot of emotion and power in his words and guitar (he was a great guitarist), it was always worth hearing the original John Prine. These are songs I particularly enjoy. They would always cheer me when I was blue. It’s a sad date today because John Prine is no longer with us.

Not everyone heard of John Prine, but he wrote many songs. He sang them himself on various recordings, most of which I once owned on vinyl.

John Prine sings about life. He always had a sense of humor. He wrote great, witty lyrics and melodies. What more do you need? Because to me, that’s music. A sentiment … several sentiments … to which I can really relate. John Prine. Singing one of my favorites.

Life according to John Prine. Thanks, John! Your music will live on, but it will be a sadder world without you.


There is a tribute to him in today’s New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/article/john-prine-songs.html

There will be another post from Rich Paschall tomorrow. I can’t remember how many times I’ve played his songs on Serendipity for no better reason than I have always loved them and him. The love will live on.

What China didn’t do to Donald Trump, Coronavirus did – THE SHINBONE STAR: A REBLOG

A pretty good summary explaining why we get nauseated when Trump shows up on the news and we feel obliged to turn off the television. These days, no TV at all is sometimes the best TV.


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

A body wrapped in plastic is unloaded from a refrigerated truck outside a New York City hospital. Trucks are being used outside several hospitals in the city as bodies pile up. — AP Photo/John Minchillo

This story was going to be about Donald Trump’s new persona. He tried being caring and humble for a few minutes in a daily broadcast featuring dead bodies being loaded into the refrigerated trailer of an 18-wheeler at the Elmhurst Medical Center. That’s all it took for the news media to speculate that Trump was taking a new path to America’s heart.

The horror show Trump saw happened in the borough of Queens where Trump calls home. He got misty eyed on TV relating his horror at seeing the corpses being loaded into cold storage after expiring from the novel coronavirus pandemic that is attacking humanity. There is no nobility in sheet-wrapped corpses.

News accounts…

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