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Posts published in “Rainey”

Under seige


We’re a nation under armed siege. That comes as news to a lot of us. But, more than news, it’s a hard fact.

It sort of “snuck up” on us. And, it didn’t really seem so until January 6th and the attack on Congress by an armed mob. A mob, it seems, that was more organized and focused than first thought.

But, it’s not just there. It’s in nearly all the 50 states as legislatures begin meeting. Local and state police have been called to provide extra security at your nearby statehouse. While still debating whether to meet in person or by remote electronic means for health reasons, the new threats of possibly armed confrontations have taken over as topic #1 for members nearly everywhere.

We’ve already seen some skirmishes in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and elsewhere. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and more. Local folks - and some not so local - showing up with assault rifles and grenades.

The thing that bothers me most about all this - scares me most - is some members of the bodies being attacked seem to have been in on it by skirting security measures and opening doors for attackers. In nearly all such cases, the believed traitors have been Republicans.

And listen to the loud bitching by some in the same party about the new security measures on Capitol Hill. Some GOPers refuse to go through the new metal scanners and deliberately go around them. It’s gotten so bad the Speaker of the House is talking about fines for the miscreants of $5,000-10,000. And higher.

In nearly all instances, the attackers heads are filled with fantasies, irrational conspiracies, Qanon B.S. and whatever Hannity and Ingraham said last night on Faux Neus. Mental junk and mental poison.

In D.C., some of those storming the House and Senate chambers were organized and, as the FBI has discovered, wanted to capture certain members of Congress. “Capture and kill” some hollered.

This is serious business. And it’s getting “seriouser” by the day. So, how to stop this craziness and lawlessness before it gets worse? Because the usual measures won’t work in these unusual times. I see at least one dangerous - and possibly - unconstitutional answer.

When a farmer wants to cut off the supply of water to his crop, he closes the head gate. When someone is snake bit and wants to be sure it doesn’t happen again, he cuts off the head. In other words, you go to the source and kill it.

When “free speech” is twisted out of shape - when “free speech” is weaponized, it becomes our enemy. It becomes something it was never meant to be. Lying, perverted, hate-filled, evil fantasies, deliberate perversion of our “mother tongue” were never meant to be either “free” or “protected” speech.

Now, I’ve spent much of my adult life defending the 1st amendment and free speech. I’ve defended some hateful, rotten speech. I’ve done so while firmly holding my nose at times. I’m a firm believer of the right to free speech.

But, the common denominator here is not “free speech” but speech meant to pervert - too enrage. Meant to create followers, “believers” as it were. Meant to delude minds not centered in reality. It’s meant to bring disparate and often lonely people together with other such folks. And, as we’ve seen on January 6th, its speech meant to arm - to attack - to kidnap.

The I-Net is one “feeder” offering gathering places and unedited, unchecked, totally biased and totally dangerous “free speech.” The private companies that make such speech available must step up, must muster the guts to police and stop the spread. If they don’t, the freedom they enjoy - that other forms of communications don’t - can quickly be cut short by the FCC and Congress. Firm regulation of the unregulated.

Companies - other private and public companies - must stop sponsoring the I-Net platforms, hate radio and lie-filled TV if they continue as is. They - and their advertising companies - need to make certain their dollars are not spent providing hate speech - racist speech, ignorant speech meant to dis-inform and inflame. Money - or the discontinuance of it - speaks very loud.

But, perhaps the hardest thing that must be done deals with Hannity, Ingraham, Limbaugh, Carlson, News Max and the other purveyors of deliberate lies, twisted facts and hate-mongering. They - and others of their ilk in local broadcasts - must be silenced. I know. I know. First amendment and all that. But, again, hate speech is a deliberate attempt to pervert free speech for other purposes. Lies and damned lies, fact-bending, deliberately distorting reality and stoking hate among willing-but-dangerous followers is not free speech.

England has a “media regulator” called Ofcom. It enforces broadcast rules on impartiality and accuracy for all news broadcasters. Those who breach the rules are censured or fined, putting pressures on radio/TV operators to play stories fairly straight.

We need constitutional scholars to gird up for a very important review of “free speech.” NOW! There exists already a list of court-approved banned speech:” pornography, blackmail, threats, etc.. Hate-mongering, deliberate lies, demented fantasies passed off as fact and much, much more need to be re-examined for inclusion.

Desperate times = desperate measures.

Wither thou



So, we’ve had an act of sedition or insurrection, vandalism, a death being investigated as homicide, a cop killed, members of Congress being forced to flee or hide-in-place - some seen wearing gas hoods as they ran - theft of significant government property, an undermanned police force overrun and what could accurately be described as an act of attempted government-overthrow underwritten by our President.

Just another chapter in the life of one Donald James Trump? Or, possibly, a forced end to his four-year-term and unrelenting acts of Napoleon-like activities of his presidency?

Hardly! And, a day after the attack, we have a national poll showing some 48% of the Republican Party supports what happened. (IPSOS/MSNBC.) Can you believe that? Nearly half of a long-established, national political party is O.K. with acts described above.

Much has been said/written about all that. More will be. I’ll let the national folks sort it all out. They’ve got larger budgets.

But, here are a few thoughts on all the above. Quite possibly, you can add the end of some young political careers. You’ve got a Senator from Missouri, for example - one Josh Hawley - who’s attached his fortunes to a series of bad decisions by leading the charge to throw out some legitimately cast votes of a few - if not all - states.

On the day after the riot, it was interesting to hear the words of his political mentor - former Senator John Danforth of Missouri - who ran interference for Hawley in the 2018 Republican primaries and helped him beat former Senator Claire McCaskill in the general. Said Danforth, 24-hours after the Capitol attack, about his decision to mentor Hawley, “That was the worst decision of my life.”

You can also add the widely-circulated description of Hawley by another Republican - Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Just two words: “dumb ass.” Words not heard much in public by one member of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” to describe a peer. But, “dumb ass” it is. Imagine those words from a Frank Church or a Len Jordan.

But, let’s lift our eyes to the horizon and consider this. The 261 Republicans in Congress are at a dangerous point in their political careers - danger they’ve spent years courting and building. Do they continue to support Trump unquestioningly as they did last year during the impeachment hearings? Or, will they have a “come-to-Jesus-moment” after which they take a hard turn toward the middle of the political landscape?

Our last national vote had some 70-million - more-or-less - Republican souls backing Trump. In other words, listing to the far right. But, subtract those voting “no” on Biden, and those who may be heart-sick, if not downright outraged, by the Capitol attack. And, maybe a few million more who looked at the stock market and didn’t want to upset anything.

My guess is, if that same national election were held today, the outcome might be significantly different. We Americans don’t have much empowerment over the daily activities of our members of Congress. So, we sort of “accept” whatever happens over a two-and-four-year political stretch and use our vote - our legally permitted hammer - to make ourselves heard via the ballot box.

Given Trump’s comments and tweets since the Capitol attack about “staying active” and being “supportive” of those who hew to his crazed line of thought, he’s not going away. For now.

Which creates a problem for the national media. After leaving office in disgrace - to nearly everyone but him - how much coverage does the media give Trump in the future? Like it or not, he’s not going anywhere. He’ll just be getting his mail at a different address. Remember, the media bears some responsibility for DJT’s public persona, giving him, at times, a larger-than-life character status.

So, as he starts bloviating from Mar-A-Lago or Trump Tower, as a former President of these United States, how many minutes does he get nightly on the tube or inches of type in the papers? Aside from the certain legal problems he’ll have, will there be viewer and reader interest in his “comings-and-goings?” Some hard choices ahead for producers/editors concerned with ratings and circulation.

As for the rioters, will those arrested be treated with “kid gloves” as has been the case for decades after D.C. protests? Or will judges, there and around the country, use maximum sentences as the various laws allow? Will the courts send a message to those sick souls that national patience is at an end? One can only hope.

It’s not just politicians who’ve reached a time of political decision-making. Each of us is at that same moment, as well. What kind of governance do we want? How do we want to deal with miscreants who chose violence? What about Hannity/Limbaugh/Beck/Ingraham/Proud Boys/Qanon/Deep State and all the rest?

How will WE deal with them? That’s where you and I come in.

The “Birds” and Covid


It’s winter here in Arizona. Daytime highs in the 60's-70's. Nigh time lows in the 40's-50's. No rain. Ever.

This is the time of the “Birds.” Snowbirds.” Except this year.

As I walk Skeezix each morning - or as he walks me - we note the number of empty houses. Lots of ‘em. Many are the second homes of “Snowbirds.” Under normal conditions, those vacant dwellings would be filled with folks from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wyoming and Utah. Also, from Europe and elsewhere.

Not now. Covid-19, you see.

There are several related reasons for the reduced number of birds” this year. First and foremost, Maricopa County has been one of the virus “hot spots” in the nation. To date, about 380,276 cases - 7,200 deaths - 26,500 hospital admissions. In a county of some four-million souls. As I said, “hot spot.”

So, a lot of the “Birds” have cancelled the usual trip South. For good reason.

Also, many from up North usually drive down. But, Canadians - and we have a lot of ‘em - have a problem. They can’t drive across the border because of restrictions on travel in both countries. And, if they fly, many have no car/SUV/pickup for local transportation for 4-6 months here. It’s one thing to own two or more residences and, apparently, quite another to rent a vehicle for up to half-a-year.

So, one way or another, COVID-19 has hampered folks in several countries and has cut into the local economy which is almost entirely dependent on tourism. And the ‘Birds.”

We, who live here year-round, view the “Birds” with mixed emotions. Some are friends. Some brighten up the neighborhood with new faces.
In normal times, they certainly add numbers to activities at our multiple, supremely equipped recreation centers and on the dozens of golf courses hereabouts. A real boon to local economies.

But - they also overcrowd our roads and highways, create long lines at almost every venue, bitch about why they weren’t “consulted” when some sort of changes are made to the community in their absence and fill our roads with even more golf carts. Or, as we call the ones equipped to go 35-miles-an-hour, “neighborhood cars.”

Sometimes, you can feel a little tension between the “Birds” who flit back and forth and those of us who “tough it out” in the Arizona summers when the mercury hits 115 or so. But, for the most part, we’ve found them to be good neighbors, happy not having to deal with low temps of 20-30 degrees below zero as happens often in Dakota-Minnesota winters.

In our unincorporated community of some 29,000 folk, we have more than 130 clubs or hobby groups who, for the most part, use our four excellently equipped “rec” centers. Yep, 130+. You get five or six people interested in something and you, too, can charter a club.

When the “Birds” are here, most clubrooms are full of people doing God knows what. Some of their output is very professional. It could be sewing, quilting, leather craft, woodworking, sheet metal or just about anything you can dream up. A lot of it goes to a “village store” for sale.

We have a computer club that’ll fix your clogged up machine for free. The auto club has a world class garage, paint shop and tools only the pro’s use. Wood workers have a first-class facility with anything needed to make just about whatever you can imagine. Large or small.

Snowbirds are an integral part of it all. But, this year, not so much. I see neighbors going into empty “Bird” homes to check to see if everything’s O.K.. Lines at the gas station and the grocery stores aren’t as long as usual for January.

So, between international travel restrictions and some of the highest local COVID-19 numbers in the nation, we’re not seeing the influx of people normal for this time. Yes, some of the “birds” come from other countries.

So, “Birds” haven’t “flown” South this Winter in the typically large numbers. I’d guess those in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the rest are grumbling about the snow and cold they usually escape.

But, to be honest, the rest of us are enjoying the peace and quiet.



Well, here we are. On the doorstep of 2021. Ain’t that somethin’?

While it’s good to be rid of 2020, much of what ailed us - as a nation and individually - is going with us into that new year. Nothing we can do about that.

Rather than the traditional “Top Stories of........” nonsense I despise, I’ve decided on a “Most Hated of 2020” category of the past 366 days. And, wouldn’t you know it, there are co-winners. Or losers.

First, more than anything else, the most dangerous and deadly has to be COVID-19. I know. You might want to nominate something or someone else but that shares the top spot on my list.

Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - has disrupted our lives in the last hundred years or so as much as Coronavirus 2020. Nor has any other event in that same time period killed or maimed so much of the civilian populace. Millions have had it; many scarred for life. More than 370-thousand dead.

No one - and I mean NO ONE - has escaped untouched, though a lot of people may think otherwise. It’s affected all of us in many ways. Maybe just the inconvenience of wearing a mask - or defying the common sense of such an adornment. Maybe it was not having the freedom of unrestricted movement that’s always been part of our heritage. Maybe it was not having some activity in life that you took for granted - going to church or a movie.

Or, it may have affected you as you looked down into the hole beside a casket bearing a loved one about to be interred. For too many, that will be the scar of 2020 that will remain in memory long after.

If we’re looking for something bright on the new year horizon, it may be this: we’ve got promising vaccines coming. For everyone. It may take a few - or many - months, but for all who want the assured protection, it’s here. The pharmaceutical companies, long-despised for their outrageous drug price-gouging, put themselves on a war-like production schedule and several got the new drugs to market in near-record time. The affects of COVID will be greatly reduced in 2021 because of their work.

The co-recipient on my “Most Hated of 2020” is one DONALD J. TRUMP - as the human that affected our lives more than any other.

As with the disease, the after-affects of Trump will be with us for a long, long time. It will take years - long beyond the four-year term of a President Joe Biden - to root out the leavings and rebuild confidence in the institutions of government ravaged by that one individual.

Though we’ve an incredible intelligence community and the best-equipped and best-trained military in the world, they’ve been weakened by his tenure. Failing to acknowledge the oft-proven charges of Russian interference in our lives - and the failure to respond to it - has not deterred Putin. Nor will it. We’ve not mounted strong retaliation or a more aggressive posture. It’s to be hoped a President Biden will apply some retaliatory discipline on the undisciplined Russian.

It’s virtually impossible to overstate the negative affects on this nation because of DJT. The remnants of his footprints are over nearly all of our government. No single occupant of the Oval Office has inflicted so much damage in so short a time.

He came into that office damningly illiterate about facts of government, of economics, of history, of America’s place in the world. To his everlasting shame, he leaves the same as he came.

His future will not be that of the usual ex-president. It’s abundantly clear the other four surviving members of that exclusive group want nothing to do with him in any way.

No, Donald’s future portends a long series of lawsuits and, quite possibly, criminal charges in several cases for past activities, both in and out of the presidency. One or more convictions eventually. It may even turn out he’ll become the first former President of these United States to spend extensive time in a jail cell. Could happen.

The national media is, predictably, going to offer breathless accounts of every move and whisper coming from a Biden White House. And, just as predictably, minutiae from every twist and turn of Trumpworld in 2021 and beyond. While his affects on our lives may be lessened by his governmental absence, his future public persona will still be “news.”

Odd, that the top of my list should be shared by a plague and the most unqualified and - in my mind - the most despicable human to ever occupy the office of President of the United States. But, it is what it is. And our lives are distinctly poorer for both.

Well, we’ll leave the list up on the old bulletin board for a few days. Then, it, too, will be faded and a bit tattered. Much as will the 12 months of 2020 in a bit.

For many of us, the two winners on this list have inflicted some scars. There’ll be some lingering after-affects. From both. But, as this nation has done so many times, we’ll overcome the conflicts and hurt inflicted and “get on with it.” That’s our nature.

It’s also our nature to look out for one another. Stay safe.

Time to listen up


As the Republican Party - from state houses to Congress - sinks slowly into the cowardly, almost loony morass of its own making, we are left to wonder if this nation is about to become ungovernable.

The evidence is everywhere. Look at many GOP governors, from coast to coast, who absolutely refuse to do their sworn duties to confront the COVID-19 deadly consequences head-on. No orders for mask wearing. No orders to shutter businesses like bars and restaurants or other public gathering places. No urgent official expressions for citizens within their jurisdictions to hunker down. And stay there!

In Congress, the utterly unfathomable actions of more than 120 GOP members to put their signatures to the Texas Attorney General’s ridiculous attempt to overturn presidential voting decisions in four other states. Actually put themselves up for certain public disgrace by voluntarily supporting a lie-filled, dead-on-arrival appeal to the United States Supreme Court to change the 2020 presidential votes in other sovereign states.

I’m no lawyer. But, you could see the SCOTUS reaction to such a desperate attempt to deep-six the will of the people a long, long way before the legal axe fell.

Yes, Democrats have a slim majority in the House. And, depending on the runoff elections in Georgia, they could even lock up the Senate with 50-50 seating and tie-breaking decisions in the hands of Vice President-elect Harris sitting in the President of the Senate’s chair.
But, if Georgia voters sustain Republican candidates for the Senate, the numbers will be 52-48. How, then, could President-Elect Biden manage to implement all those campaign promises? Will the Senate, as it has recently under the thumb of Mitch McConnell, become the dead-end for whatever legislation Biden and the Democrats produce?

Odds are plainly, yes.

This country is hurting. The divisions extant from border-to-border are increasingly deepening for lack of real government action at both the state and national levels. Deadlock and lack of willingness of political leaders to get off their asses and lead.

Folks out here in the neighborhoods don’t have $170-thousand-a-year jobs - don’t have staffs to carry their burden - aren’t supported by lobbyist perks - aren’t living lives of privilege.

What they ARE living with are massive layoffs, business failures - many because of our national pandemic - health care costs driving others into bankruptcy and near-starvation in many instances.

At the national level, unreasonable tariffs and Trump’s heavy-hand breaking international treaties have resulted in increased prices in the marketplace. Other factors such as automation wiping out jobs normally done by workers, technological advances requiring retraining - retraining a lot of folks can’t afford - are crippling our country.

There are two more factors overlaying all of this. One, of course, is the pandemic which is affecting all of us. For those who continue to live as if COVID is someone else’s problem, well, wait a little longer - maybe tomorrow - and see if you can continue your “normal” activities without infection. Or maybe, death.

As far as this country’s concerned, the pandemic couldn’t have hit at a worse time. Not that there is actually a “good” time. But, complicating our national response is a President who’s repeatedly lied about what was already here and who’s seemingly washed his hands of leadership. Or, even responsibility. By his incompetence and a degree of self-service not seen since Nero, he’s had a leading role in putting an unconscionable load on our national healthcare system. Because of his indolence, thousands have died and many more thousands are likely scarred for life.

Add to that the fear those most of us feel for our own health and safety. Again the failure of most Republican governors to take actions to help alleviate those largely too real, local concerns.

The second factor affecting most of us is feeling our voices, pleading for help, are falling on deaf ears in Washington. A national sense of no recognition of - and no response to - our immediate needs. In fact, the division between Congress and the rest of us may be the single greatest divide in our nation today.

We need responsive government action at all levels. Not handouts or new welfare programs. We need job training to put people back to work. We need help for the newly-unemployed to pay the rent or the mortgage during these desperate times. We need governors to step up and lay down the law with state-backed efforts to keep us safe from the pandemic. We even need a reliable food distribution system to keep people from starving in this nation of “amber waving grains.”

The idiocy of more than 100 Republican members of Congress getting involved in a “fool’s errand” before our highest court simply adds to the weight of the real problems our nation faces. The unwillingness of GOP governors to take political and personal responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens must end.

The national Republican Party - if such exists - needs to quickly figure out what it is and what it stands for. If Trump continues to be it’s “savior,” Republicans in Congress and State Houses will find their numbers dwindling at the hands of an electorate tired of being ignored.

Can order come from chaos?


What the Hell is wrong with us?

We’ve become a nation in which more than a third of its citizens refuse to accept facts, wallow in disinformation and damned lies, threaten public officials in the conduct of their jobs - or at their homes- parading around with guns. What the Hell is wrong with us? Or, more especially, them!

It would be simple - and wrong - to blame Donald J. Trump. He didn’t start it. Most of these people were already angry and looking for someone - or several someone(s) - to give them permission to openly express their anger and frustrations with government and society in general. Trump just showed up on the scene with his keen sense of showmanship and audacity. His specific talent was to offer a misguided and an angry population someone to coalesce around - someone to use the national platform of the presidency to give voice to the voice-less. Something he’s likely to continue in private life.

Before him, all they could do was scream at their radios when Limbaugh spewed his lies and said what they were thinking. They could vent their anger at the TV’s when Hannity blasphemed all over their living rooms and pilloried some public figure they also hated.

In my opinion, Trump’s biggest weapon was he hated the same people they do. He hated the same “liberal establishment” they do. He broadcast to everyone the same baseless accusations they’d made for years with only a spouse or a few friends to hear. He was the answer to a large, angry crowd just waiting for an unprincipled, boastful, lying “savior” to give voice to the voiceless. Their amplifier.

We know 74,223,030 Americans signed up to follow the false prophet while 81,282,903 said “NO” and voted to send their leader back among the populace.

Now, we’re seeing their undisciplined anger in meetings of school boards, health districts, county commission and city councils. They’re at the door with guns. Threatening community leaders at work and at their homes. Shouting their lies and disbelief of actual facts. Pointing dangerous laser lights through windows where they live. Threatening innocent families.

Here, in Arizona, the state GOP has issued an email that asks “Are you willing to die for the Republican Party?” “Die?” Yes, “die!’

Examples of the dangers falling out of this opened “Pandora’s Box” are everywhere. Southwest and North Idaho are under their ‘attack.’ Southern Oregon and Eastern Washington have their armed militias. Nazi swastikas being affixed to Idaho’s Anne Frank memorial. Murder plots found naming governors and other public figures. An itinerant divisiveness spreading lies about election fraud and the absolutely baseless claim that COVID-19 does not exist.

That latter lie is brain-numbing coming from the lips of people who are actually dying of the disease. The last words coming from their lips repeating a lie. A damned lie! Absent families not allowed to be with their loved one, nurses listen in disbelief. A public anger - now personal on a Gurney - a death bed - forming a victim’s last thoughts.

Speaking of Republican’s, where the hell are the 54 in the U.S. Senate?
What voices do you hear coming from the “tomb” - formerly the Senate Chamber? All of them - ALL - have sold their souls to Trump and his minions, accepting his lies as fact, unable to condemn in a trial when the evidence was stacked six-feet high, acting like political handmaidens standing by silently as Trump has repeatedly run amok. Given their subservience, why were a third of ‘em re-elected last month? Don’t we - us - care about their indolence?

President-elect Biden - Uncle Joe - is about to walk into a maelstrom. No president has faced a tougher situation since, probably, Andrew Johnson who became president after the assassination of Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War. Our nation, then, was deeply divided, too.

Biden has cast himself as a healer, someone who can bring us together. He talks of cooperation, of a national cohesion, of taking us to a better place. I’m certain he’ll try.

But, in the streets, how does he restore normalcy to a large population armed to the teeth, threatening elected officials in their work - in their homes? How does he disarm militias in nearly every state who believe - crazily - that a new “Civil War” is necessary and that they are the ones properly preparing for the “battle?” How do you bring COVID deniers to mask-wearing and other tools necessary to combat the deadly disease?

Can we expect he’ll be successful in bringing normalcy out of such chaos? Or, are we, as a nation, entering a time when such conditions are harbingers of the new “normal?”

I don’t have the answers. Nor do you. We’re entering a time - absent Trump - when most of us are wanting peace in our lives. We want cohesion. We want to rid the nation of anger, of discord, of armed interruptions in the conduct of our affairs. We desire a return of respect, of calm, living peacefully with our neighbors.

We want a nation healed. One we can be proud of. Uncle Joe needs all the help we can muster to get there. From all of us.

Rape, ruin and run


Donald Trump’s last days in office are upon us and there seem to be stories in each day’s news of more political destruction, lies, firings and other bad acts

We knew his presidential death throes would be tumultuous and the incoming administration would have to clear away the wreckage before getting down to new business. But, it’s proving to be more than “Where are the hard drives” and more like “Where the Hell are the computers?”

Trump has never lost at anything without the ability to claim “success,” walk away and go on to some other scam - er, failed venture. He’s always had a way out. Declare “victory” and go home.

So, this is the first time he’s had to face flat-out losing. Big time! His greatest personal defeat. No exit. His disgraceful term in office will be constantly in the memories of everyone living today and will be his legacy for many millenniums. He has, as they say, “made his mark.”

It’s going to take the Biden team a long, long time to clean up the mess before starting to download what looks to be a significant entry to the new presidential term. Still, Biden is promising new legislation and his own handful of executive orders on day one. He intends to be a “hard charger” and a “game changer.”

One of the most important tasks he faces is restoring - or attempting to restore - citizen faith in the institutions of government. That may be the most damning legacy of Trump - his four years of denouncing and dismantling of trust in our own government. His attempts at blindly slashing budgets, firing of competent people not to his personal liking, installing completely inexperienced folk in offices of importance, impugning the honesty and reputations of people who “got in his way, and placing his own “spies” in crucial agencies to report on activities of the “unfaithful.”

Trump is not a builder. He’s a user. He’s a destroyer. His failed ventures have left no successes while dealing in bank loans involving billions of dollars over the years. Not one.

To his own discredit, you can add a failed presidency as well.

Trump has spent millions of dollars trying to overthrow one or all state reporting of the presidential election. To no avail. In fact, even A.G. Billy Barr has had to refute some of Trump’s wildest claims.

And, in the most egregious and unprofessional display of television “reporting” ever, Maria Barteromo of Faux Bizness Nuez let Trump have nearly a half-hour to threaten, charge, blaspheme and lie, lie, lie. And lie. Unchallenged. Unanswered and all B.S.. If that happened on “over-the-air” TV, there would’ve been challenges filed with the FCC up the old wazoo.

The late Idaho Governor, Cecil Andrus, used a phrase for individuals and companies that abused public lands. He called it “rape, ruin and run.” When it comes to personal and political conduct, Trump fits that definition to a “T.”

We’ve still got about 45 days of Trump in the White House. What more destructive actions he’ll take is anyone’s guess. But, you can bet, he’s not done.

We hear people talk about a pardon for DJT. Doubtful. He hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything. He may try to pardon his family members but they, too, haven’t been charged. Yet.

It’s not the feds Trump has to be worried about. If any crimes are lodged against him in the future, it’ll most likely be the Southern District of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney or the New York State Attorney General. That last office seems to have a large “working file” on the Trump doings in the “Empire State.” Don’t forget, that was the outfit that shut down the Trump “Foundation” and collected a multi-million dollar fine in the process.

Out of office, Trump still may face charges from Congress. Been some talk of that in the marble hallways. Then, there are those sexual assault charges. Some 28 at last count. Some may be beyond the statute of limitations. But, some may not.

People are talking about Trump getting into the broadcast business with a radio or TV outfit. Could be. With Limbaugh in Stage Four cancer, the Trumpers are going to need a new “voice” of the right.

Whatever he decides to do after 12:01pm on January One, you’ll continue to hear from him. Bet on it! Even if it’s from a jail cell.

“Rape, ruin and run.” Says it all about Donald.

Melting pot no more


Most of us grew up with the term “melting pot.” We were told America was such because people from other nations had come here, seeking one thing or another. The integration of all those disparate folks into our country was accepted and contributed to our societal “melting.” At one time.

Well, it’s a “melting pot” no more.

Those that used to be “melted” have shown an increasing resistance to accepting the ways of a formerly mostly Caucasian culture, preferring their own and, in some cases, several degrees of separation. Which, for the most part, ain’t all bad. Most of the time.

A formerly “melted” society has, in fact, become a pluralistic society - not a single one i.e. “melted.”

Let’s work with one definition for pluralistic - Merriam-Webster. To wit: “a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious or social groups maintain/develop their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization.”

The subject came up at our house through one of my wife’s students. Barb teaches Master’s degree education classes online. Her work draws participants from over the world. This specific subject matter dealt with “ethics and pluralism” in a classroom setting.

To my surprise, most of her students came up with a certain commonality. That being, teachers must openly accept the differences of students; each student brings his/her own view to the conversation; teachers must not make student individuality less important but show that individuality contributes to the whole.

Those factors, taken together, don’t exactly define our nation as a “melting pot,” do they? To me, they speak to a pluralistic society where there are exact differences though they should be accepted “within the confines of a common civilization.” Pluralism defined.

Anyone who thinks this nation is the “melting pot” it may once have been hasn’t visited a major city recently. Take New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.. Black communities live mostly in one area, with their own radio - often TV stations - and newspapers. Black schools, churches and uniquely Black merchants and stores.

Or, there’s Miami, Phoenix and Houston. Latin. Latin music, radio, TV, markets, restaurants, stores, newspapers.

Or, Los Angeles and Seattle. You’ll find large Asian and Indonesian communities within those cities. Again, Asian and Indonesian music, stores, broadcasters, grocers, newspapers.

Separate and apart. But, all existing in an overall single community or city. Los Angeles. Seattle. Wherever.

Over the years, I’ve lived in some of those cities. Sometimes, I visited the inner-city communities. Sometimes, good vibes. BUT, I’ve been warned to “stay the Hell out” or “get out” or “go back where you came from, Whitey” in some of those locales.

I’ve also seen the reverse. Many times. Too many times. Blacks, Latins, Asians being treated badly, rudely, mockingly, and told by Caucasians to “go back where you came from.” Some even killed though many of those folks had been born here.

So, while we’re all expected to be “Americans,” there are lines within this former “melting pot” some Americans of a different culture often can’t cross. Indivisible lines called “societal” lines by those who study this phenomenon.

While these separate subdivisions of culture and race often work to the benefit of both the inner and outer communities, they can also work against the interests of both.

I’ve previously written of my inability to swear the “Oath of Allegiance” or to sing “America the Beautiful.” The words “liberty and justice for all” simply do not come. Because there isn’t. (Can you say, Colin Kaepernik?) And, we don’t have “alabaster cities gleaming” anymore and really haven’t had since our beginnings as a nation. We certainly don’t have “brotherhood from sea to shining sea” Nor do we have”shining seas.”

I mean no attempt to find good or bad in these separate-but-equal situations - only to use them to point out we no longer “melt” in the way we used to. If we ever did. If we are to define our country now it would seem “pluralistic” is a more accurate description.

One of Barb’s grad students came up with what I think is a spot-on definition of our country as it presently exists.

His submission about differences was right on point. And so simple. Think of a choir: soprano, alto, tenor, bass. All working individually with different notes but, together, working pluralistically.

Sort of “separate but equal.” In the classroom. As a country.

Killing ourselves


As you read this, COVID-19 is killing one American every minute each 24-hours. One death each minute, 24/7.

Now, you may have known that already and didn’t need my reminder. In fact, you may not want to hear another word about COVID-19 and just want to tune out the whole damned thing. Not one more word!

Well, read on. Because I’m going to give you some more words. Words not from me but from Judi Doering, R.N., Woonsocket, South Dakota. An emergency room nurse for whom “tuning out” is impossible.

"I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog, I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the U.S.A.. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason (why) they’re sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a f*****g horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again. Which is what I’ll do for the next three nights. But, tonight, it’s me and Cliff and Oreo ice cream. And how ironic I have on my ‘home’ hoodie. The South Dakota I love seems far away right now.”

Judi Doering, R.N., of Woonsocket, South Dakota. Her words.

Unlike you and I, Nurse Deoring can’t stop hearing the words. Night after night after hellish night, she not only hears the words, she lives them. And she lives with the crazy lies from the deathly sick who have bought into a world of other lies spun by politicians. Starting with the President of the United States. And her governor. And the governors on two sides of her beloved South Dakota.

And, if those words, and all the other words shouted from scared, sick patients don’t force her to quit her post for one not directly associated with COVID, she’ll keep hearing them, night after night after unworldly night in her ‘horror movie that never ends’.”

There are no masking requirements in South Dakota. North Dakota. Also Wyoming and Nebraska. Nor are there restrictions on church attendance, gatherings or a night on the town. Social distancing? No. That either.

I discovered something by accident the other day. Lay a map with the outlines of Trump voting states in our struggling country on your desk. Now, lay one the same size over that showing red states with the highest numbers of Coronavirus cases. See anything? If the maps are of the same approximate size, they nearly match up.

And, you’ll note on rereading Nurse Doering’s words, the reference to Joe Biden and how he’s “going to ruin the U.S.A..” Sounds like a Trumper, right?

I’d bet nurses in hospitals in the states named above read Ms. Doering’s words and found them similar to their own experiences. Our “cheerleader-perpetrator-of-lies-and-conspiracies” president has likely had the same effect on others who wind up on a gurney in intensive care wards.

Trump has blood on his hands. The blood of Americans dying even as he was being told in January of the deadly consequences of the virus and he chose to do nothing. Absolutely nothing! And, for months thereafter, while more citizens died, he pooh-poohed the deadly virus as little more than the “common flu.” But, he KNEW! He KNEW!

This month’s national election showed Trump got some 70-million votes. I believe it would be inaccurate to say all who voted for him were truly Trumpers. Many could have not liked Biden - some were probably stuck on the Republican brand - others may have been more influenced by our growing economy and didn’t want anything to change that.

Whatever the case, most of the states he won are at, or near, the top of charts of the deadly COVID numbers. Given the refusal of Trump, or the respective Republican governors in those states, to implement protective procedures, those are the places where we’re killing ourselves the most. With no leadership - or bad leadership - too many citizens are being exposed to the deadly nature of the disease. Some, like the Biden hater, have bought into Trump’s totally dangerous lies and are still in love with the great “orange leader.”

Yes, death rates have slowed when compared with total numbers of virus cases. That would seem to indicate health professionals have developed some effective protocols to deal with many situations. That’s the good news. That’s about the only good news in all this.

Still, Nurse Doering of Woonsocket, South Dakota, and all the other
“Nurse Doerings” in all the other “Woonsocket” ER’s, are still hearing the cries of anguish and fear, being called names and being belittled for the life-saving work they do.

You may not want to hear any more about the virus. But, THEY can’t stop hearing about it. Day after day after day after horrific day.