Little Donnie

Not sure anymore what matters when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidency. The conversation he had with Mike Pence before the January 6 events is as telling as anything we’ve heard and seen. Trump said he wouldn’t be Mike’s friend anymore if he didn’t do something to gum up the works and keep Congress from ratifying the election results.

Gee, former Mr. President, sounds like you needed some toys to take home.

Disturbing

So the MAGA crowd gets to return to D.C. to rally in support of the January 6 “heroes.” Only in America, or this current iteration of it. Donald Trump has to somehow disappear. He is of no earthly good to anyone, even the people who for some incomprehensible reason still love him.

The Republican candidate in the recall election in CA is already claiming “fraud” before the election even happens. I guess maybe because he can see the writing on the wall with all the mail-in ballots being returned, and assuming that many of those are from people who are voting Democratic?

This is where the Republicans are right now—if their candidate isn’t winning, then the election is fraudulent. Frightening precedent. Earth 1 and Earth 2, as Maddow puts it. What happened to the good old days when people just came to terms with the loss, perhaps recognizing that their candidate wasn’t as popular as the other one?

What’s scary is that, going forward, we will not be able to rest assured that any outcome is as it is being reported. There will be a cloud of doubt over a process we have taken for granted for a long time. The voices shouting “fraud!” are already loud enough to shake the foundations, sow confusion, and make everyone wonder about an election’s validity, even if the results are based on hard numbers. It’s sinister. It’s a strategy, but it’s sinister.

Politically speaking, “Win at all costs” is a reckless, dangerous mantra, reeking of desperation and immaturity. How can anyone who supports such a philosophy sleep at night? They haven’t really won, fair and square, at least. Fair and square should still count for something.

Learn how to lose , and come back to fight another day. In the Republicans’ case, rework your agenda and platform, and make the effort to join us in the 21st century.

Why Not

Covid is bringing out the worst in this country. Wow, that’s a real news flash.

Let’s add churches to the list of casualties. Yes, it’s wreaking havoc in congregations, too. Same list of reasons- stubbornness masquerading as patriotism, a mistrust of actual experts, differences of opinion regarding precautions. They think masks are for sissies, hiding behind the convenient excuse that they’re unhealthy and restrictive, and ineffective. And the defectors choose to gather at some other house of worship and bitch about that other pastor and spout stupidity to each other, believing it to be wisdom, and that they actually have a cogent argument.

Maybe, out of righteous indignation and protest, or sheer spite and ignorance, they should start yet another branch of Lutheranism. How about the NALCM—the North American Lutheran Congregations of the Misinformed? They can join forces with their homophobic and racist sisters and brothers who are sure they know what the Bible says, who are all holier than thou.

Sorry. I can neither find nor make room in my head and heart for such hooey anymore.

When In Rome

American football is getting harder to watch. It’s turning into a blood sport. Tuned in a “game” between Ole Miss and Louisville last night, and in the few minutes I was watching, I saw 3 game disqualifications handed out for targeting. There might have been 4. And this was in the first half.

Some might say, “Let the guys play, for crying out loud!” but that’s a ridiculous attitude. The perps should be suspended for the season or kicked out entirely. There should be zero tolerance for such behavior.

“Football” in America has always been legalized mayhem. But it seems to be getting worse. Blame it on Covid, or maybe it’s just the natural progression of a violent game that has to trend more violent in order to entertain and keep the people watching. Whatever is at play, more power to the refs for keeping things from getting totally out of hand.

To The End

There are some anti-vaxxers who contract Covid, who get really sick, who eventually die, but before they die view themselves as martyrs for the “cause.” The public persona they wish to convey is one of brash denial, stubbornness, “bravery” in the face of the sickness they claimed was a hoax.

Bravo! Done in true Donald Trump double down style. It doesn’t matter if the virus is real. They’re gonna go down with their ship. My oh my.

No!

“We’re gonna get through this.”

It could be Gov. Edwards, Gov. Hochul, Bill De Blasio, Gov. Murphy, Gov. Wolf. Probably not Gov. De Santis, because he’s Alfred E. Neuman in the flesh. Nothing to worry about in Florida. Everything is fine there.

In any event, these words are ringing hollow, just an increasingly pathetic attempt at something leaders are expected to say in the midst of a disaster. The whole country is burning or drowning or suffocating, but all our leaders can muster is “we’re gonna get through this.” Wow. Thanks. Don’t know what I would have done without your powerful words.

And then to add insult to injury, the solution put forth is to anticipate these bigger and angrier storms, build our infrastructure so it withstands the assaults… instead of having the balls to acknowledge that we have a more pressing issue: we need to change. We the people need to curb our appetites and change our habits and stop feeling so entitled. Because the forces of nature will always stay one step ahead of us.

Holy shit. Bigger and better isn’t the answer! That’s not the direction we need to go! Why is it not possible for people to see this by now?

Ida was mayhem. Ida was a slice of chaos and hell on earth from which many will never recover. And some day soon, Ida is going to seem like child’s play. But chances are that our elected leaders will just keep using the tried but not-so-true sound byte.

“We’re gonna get through this.”

Gluttons for Punishment

Confusion sown by the sheer volume of conflicting information. This has been the case throughout the Covid era. For example, the Delta variant is running rampant, cases are skyrocketing, ICU staffs are surviving on stomach lining, but at the same time cases have plateaued and started going the other way. It’s been a constant stream of conflicting and confusing numbers and trends, dueling panels of experts. Cherry-picked statistics?

By now, I know that because someone dares whisper “a decline in cases,” I’m not going to throw caution to the wind and abandon certain habits that have been ingrained since March 2020. Yet for others, it’s permission. It’s all they need to hear. It’s their excuse to party, or it’s affirmation that vaccines are hooey.

The decline in cases often reflects a drop from astronomically bad levels to something that’s just less astronomically bad. There’s no reason to celebrate or let your guard down!!!!!

Fauci and Osterholm aren’t boogeymen. They’re doctors who deal in the rational and the real-world. They may not have all the answers, but they’ve been as right as anyone possibly could be– Osterholm uncannily so. If we had listened to them from the beginning, we’d be in a better place right now.

But you just keep taking that ivermectin.

Saturation

Didn’t watch Maddow last night. Getting tired of the Afghanistan coverage. There are only so many ways to parse what’s going on, and it’s easy to take pot shots from afar, to get all indignant and assign blame. There is a long line of critics, topped off by Lindsey Graham and others who are jumping on the bandwagon of calling for Biden’s impeachment, as if to imply what he’s doing now rises to the level, or sinks to the depths of Trump’s entire presidency. Not exactly apples and apples. But turnabout is fair play, right?

What did we expect? We reacted in typical bloviating American fashion to, yes, the worst attack on our own soil. But still… we overreacted, we ignored history, and didn’t think about long-term consequences. We attacked in Afghanistan, of all places, “the graveyard of empires,” and stayed there for twenty years. Threw a trillion dollars at an intractable problem. It really is the epitome of boasting and hubris, along with a certain amount of idealism and good intent.

And let’s not forget all the money that was made by contractors. War is good business for somebody, all body counts considered.

Something That Either Is or Isn’t

Dealing with shades of gray gets frustrating after a while. Life is easier when you don’t have to think too much.

It seems we live in a world not only of differing opinions, but polarized opinions which, apparently, are all cogent and valuable, and equally valid. No one is on the wrong side of any issue, because many are immature adolescents who can’t stand to be corrected or admit to the possibility that they don’t have all the facts.

When we get to pick and choose our facts, it’s like we really are living on different planets. It is difficult to gain momentum in any specific direction. A pandemic, for example, arrives on our doorstep, and millions buy the lie that it’s nothing to worry about, that certain media folk are blowing it way out of proportion and actual experts are idiots and pawns who should be jailed, that masks are offensive and vaccines are dangerous. And just ignore the patient data that’s skewing younger, or the negative number of available ICU beds in Alabama and field hospitals set up in parking garages in Mississippi and an empty-headed sycophant of a Governor in Florida. And, of course, there’s Texas in all its outsized bluster and hubris and freaking loudness and frontier patriotism.

The people targeted for silencing or jail time have seen all of this coming since the beginning! Though I doubt they could have imagined that so many would refuse a simple shot in the arm. That probably has blown a few minds.

Potpourri

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the outfits who can afford the longest TV commercials are drug companies and investment firms. Both genres are insufferable, and they just plain suck. And let’s not forget insurance companies and auto manufacturers. Drive a Nissan, or BMW or Lexus or Mustang– it’ll somehow change your life, make you a happier, better person.

The graveyard of empires. This is what Afghanistan is called. Seems accurate. The former Soviet Union languished there, and now we’re leaving after 20 years and a trillion dollars spent. Somebody made money, and thousands of people died, but in the end the Taliban are back. Pretty ugly stuff, though after 20 years, progress was made and people got a taste of a different life. The Taliban says it will be more tolerant of certain things, which remains to be seen. Maybe they’ll party like it’s 1500 instead of 1200.

It matters not at all that Greg Abbott has tested positive for Covid-19. He probably welcomes it, will use it as some sort of “teaching moment.”