Thursday, March 26, 2020
His resemblance to Little Orphan Annie continues to amaze and amuse.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
That notwithstanding, our friend knows a lot more about birds than my wife and I do, so she and I - my wife and I - in tandem did more research.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Then, over a few centuries, various bearded invading hoards broke her down.
Somewhere in the early hundreds she finally broke and for centuries pandemonium, and, some say, darkness was upon the land.
Gradually, over centuries, countries began to emerge: Spain, then France, then England.
Italy tried, but was more less a pale facsimile of its predecessor, Rome.
And for five hundred years this mix, each in its turn as it emerged, and subsequently took center stage, these countries roiled Europe and the rest of the world.
By the turn of the Twentieth Century Britannia ruled the waves and the sun didn't set on her.
But Germany had other ideas.
France had learned a lesson from two failed empires, and Spain had long since faded into being a nice warm place to visit on holiday.
Italy was till a hodge podge of statelets looking and hoping for - sometimes - some sort of national unity.
Out of that apparently benign and pacific state of affairs, one afternoon in August 1914 the whole thing blew up.
The Great Stupid War ensued.
No one won.
Germany gave up.
Inevitably they needed to have a go at it again, just to see if Germany should have given up.
And they looked for the answer to that question from 1939 to 1945.
And the answer was a surprise, and not obvious, in the face of the preceding 500 years.
How could that be, one might wonder.
All we had to do to keep things on track was to be rational, fair and pay some bills.
Those Americans should get a monthly living wage for either as long as the disaster persists, or until the treasury runs out of money.
The rest of us, for a while, need to hunker down and stay off the streets as much as possible.
Be aware that from the viewpoint of Ol' Mitch and the Boys, this is an opportunity to make one last distribution to the rich (remember, most of the money in the currently being considered legislation is for bailouts to corporations and rich people; $1200 is just the bait in the trap) we are on the cusp of an opportunity for them to, in one fell swoop, create the class of serfs that they have been working toward for years.
If they can drive most of us into the streets, most of us will die; but whoever remains afterward can be effectively deployed to the fields surrounding America's elite, gated, communities.
Feudalism in one quick step.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
The "we have to ration the internet" genie has escaped.
There are probably more; I am not currently aware of them, though.
Not the remake.
The dead all have their names scratched on a rock somewhere in the mountains.
Friday, March 20, 2020
By James Walker
“Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler have faced calls to resign after it was revealed that the Republican lawmakers sold off stock holdings before the COVID-19 epidemic crashed markets.
“Both of the senators reportedly attended briefings on the novel coronavirus outbreak and publicly sought to calm nerves as they dumped chunks of their portfolios ahead of market turmoil in March.
“ProPublica reported on Thursday night that North Carolina Sen. Burr, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock on February 13.
“The stock dump came days after he co-authored a Fox News op-ed claiming the United States was "better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus."
(Color editing added by Noel McKeehan.)
“Following the news of Sen. Burr's stock sell off, the Daily Beast reported that Sen. Loeffler of Georgia recorded a sale of stock on January 24 — the day of an all-senators briefing with administration health officials that covered the COVID-19 outbreak”.
Please note that trumpNewsChannel is a key culprit.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
The most likely scenario, I think, is that the problems with conducting anything resembling a normal American political process for the rest of this year – 2020 – will create the opportunity for the republican senate to execute a coup d'état, leaving trump as president.
And, given the now deeply documented stupidity of a fairly large group of americans known as “The Base” (also known as Cretins Anonymous) it will be politically almost impossible to fend off the republican dismantling of the Republic (irony acknowledged).
If all of that weren’t true I would have a suggestion.
A Constitutional Amendment is required.
It should be concise and simple.
It should say that the apparatus that it authorizes is in force for two years.
It should say that after two years to remain in force it requires an internet plebiscite, and that that plebiscite would only occur if the a national shelter in place order and various and sundry business closures and civil liberty attenuations were still in effect. Lacking those conditions the amendment will be repealed automatically. In the event of the plebiscite, if the people vote no to its continuation, the amendment is repealed automatically and a general election will occur on 2 November 2022.
It should say that as of election day 2020 donnie the dildo ceases to be president, subject to the defined inaugural day and date specified in the Constitution.
It should say that on inaugural day 2021 a Joint Executive consisting of the then in office Speaker of the House and the then in office Senate Majority Leader should be inaugurated for a term of two years.
It should say that their Constitutional responsibility is to agree upon policy to recommend to the legislative branch and to execute as if one person the responsibilities of the President as out lined in Article Two of the Constitution of the United States of America.
It should say that if either or both of these officials were to die or be impeached or resign they would be replaced by an internet plebiscite with a 90 day lead time, candidates for which would come from the citizenry of the United States of America.
It should say that the Congress remains as elected in 2018 and that vacancies will be filled as they were filled in 2018.
It should say that on 2 November 2022 a general election will take place.
It should say that the results of that election will be treated according to the Constitution of The United States of America as it was promulgated and interpreted prior to the adoption of the amendment of which this statement is a part.
I have probably forgotten something but these are the best thoughts that I can offer for a country that I love so deeply.
I wish I had power such that my ideas could at least fall into the hopper of ideas that are going to be necessary to keep us afloat as if we were still the country that we used to have before donnie and the republicans.
It is worth remembering when, discussing the republicans, this quote:
This is from The Age of Jackson by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
"... since this is a capitalistic society, the class most interested in its security and prosperity is the capitalist class, which thus should have the most power. The theory has survived every test but experience. It simply has not worked. Since the Federalist party the American business community appears to have lost its political capacity; it has not been, in the strict sense, a ruling class. In placid days power naturally gravitates to it as the strongest group in the state; but through American history it has been unable to use that power very long for national purposes. Moved typically by personal and class, rarely by public, considerations, the business community has invariably brought national affairs to a state of crisis and exasperated the rest of society into dissatisfaction bordering on revolt. "
It seems fairly likely that it is not going to be possible to have a valid general election in America in 2020.
The covid plague and its prerequisite draconian containment and avoidance counter-measures make primaries, conventions and general elections potentially subject to question as to their validity.
If we didn’t have a genuinely sinister being masquerading as president, and if we didn’t have a Senate controlled by a party in thrall to the sinister one, and lead by a being who is the cosmic synthesis of the word “amoral” we might, as citizens, expect for the House, the Senate and the President (capitalized here because of the generic use of the word in this sentence and therefore given its due reverence since being generic it has no relation to its current faux manifestation) to come up with some partisan neutral and country-wide acceptable method of providing a Presidential function and a Legislative function until the virus that besets us is vanquished.
But that is not possible: the republicans see the chance to make donnie a permanent fixture, and therefore, their reign of terror coordinately permanent.
So the Republic, as I have said every day since that bleak early day in November 2016, is in touch and go status.
This kind of thing has happened before – one of the main threads of the debate and discussion of the Convention of 1787 was that very problem: how do we keep what happened to Rome from happening to us.
The answer was a Constitution that separated power and had checks and balances.
But, it turns out, when 77,000 voters in four states vote in such a manner that the gerrymander of the Electoral College massively ignores the obvious will of the popular majority, a set of carefully placed and aligned dominos all fall down.
And we get donnie and Mitch, and Devin, and Kevin.
They can say anything they want, like “due to the dire nature of our circumstances and our inability to have a credible election, the only alternative is to continue with the current president and the current congress for the foreseeable future”.
And when they say it, they can vote it in.
The House can’t stop them; if the House doesn’t cooperate the Senate can just shut down any legislative action of any sort forever.
That’s easy; they don’t care about doing anything anyway; they just want to remain in power.
The House could mount an impeachment resolution, but we know how that would come out.
So, I think covid-19 is probably the end of the Republic as we grew up to know it.
There will remain a Putinesque rump, but that is all there will be.
And we can thank “The Base”.
I wish I knew if better education, or just free basic anger management counselling for “The Base” would have avoided this outcome.
Huge lines at gas stations occurred overnight and lasted for months.
The best case was, after 2 to 6 hours in line you could get some gas.
The more common case was that you waited in line for a long time and it shut down and you got no gas.
It was not a good time.
The situation I am describing was how things were in Portland.
Oregon appeared to have been chosen by the American petro-chemical industry to be.made an example of: “this is what happens to states that pursue aggressive pro-environment policies”.
So we got the lines.
From the knowledge I had gained as a USAF Intelligence Officer I had learned that the huge oil storage tanks that the oil industry used for keeping its inventory ready for local disbursal all had floating lids: a full tank’s lid was all the way to the top; an empty tank had a lid at its bottom.
The major gasoline storage facilities in Portland were all in industrial areas right next to several of the City’s Willamette spanning bridges.
So you could look down and see the lids when you crossed those bridges.
Those were bridges that Noel the IBM Salesman went over multiple times in a week.
Every time I looked down, all the lids were floating, all the time, at the top of all the tanks.
The oil companies were selling just enough to keep minimum cash flow necessary to stay in business and Portlanders got to wait in interminable lines.
There was inventory; the early people in line got gas; there just wasn’t enough for the entire driving population every day in every line.
So the oil companies were financing an artificial nightmare to make a point.
We were never sure exactly what that point was.
After a few weeks of this, Tom McCall the Governor, ordered that people could only buy gas on alternate days; cars with license plates ending on an even number bought on even days; odd license plates on odd days.
That cut the daily demand by 50%.
The question was, was the cash flow sustaining supply allowed in the system by Big Oil somewhere in synch with a 50% reduction in daily demand.
And after almost no time at all the gas stations went back to looking and acting like they had only a month or two before.
That was a problem identical to the current problem of the empty grocery shelves that are appearing all over America.
I seems to me that the same solution with an addition should tide us over until the one thing America is good at – producing and shipping food, sundries, medicine and toiletries – gets geared up to meet the country’s underlying hysteria.
Everything I hear says that America will be geared up to supply the hysteria in a few weeks.
In the interim someone should propose that if your social security number ends with an even number you can shop on even numbered days; if odd, you shop on odd numbered days.
In any event, the maximum amount of anything you can buy is one, if the quantity is each (dozen and half gallon are eaches, for example) or two pounds if bought by weight, meat and seafood being the exception with a maximum of five pounds per SKU.
Where is Tom McCall when we need him?
But we’ve got donnie.
The morning donnie road in on his giant white war horse and declared war and invoked the powers thereby vested.
So now America’s vast manufacturing base will rotate on its axis and start doing ventilators.
donnie will no doubt appear daily from now on and give us a daily ventilator count.
What is bound to happen is that vast hoards of defective ventilators will suddenly be at the disposal of the vast and efficient American medical apparatus.
That’s not going to be pretty.
But it’s a pretty good make work program.
Kind of WPA without shovels and for the benefit of the 1%, not any of the rest of us.
And the contrivedly trumpian messaged and fantasy fueled meetings of these clowns increasingly resemble those wonderful old time Muppet movie shorts that were made for business meetings, we the leaderless can only quake in place.
Or, in lieu of such pointless activity, we can pour another cup of rye and ponder our fate.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020
You need to read The Invention of Russia to really understand this post.
But, in brief, Putin took over in 2000 and fairly quickly launched a regimen of lies, half lies, near truths, real facts, alternate facts and occasional assurances or denials from Putin himself; he dismantled the beginnings of a Russian, post Soviet free press; he got rid of broadcast media that he couldn’t control; it was a carefully orchestrated, carefully planned, ongoing barrage of stuff such that – as it was designed to do – the Russian population just quit paying attention to anything.
They just threw up their hands and tried to continue with continuing.
And Putin took everything over.
That’s what donnie has been trying to do since he was inaugurated.
The results, though, have been substantially less effective in the United States than they have been in Russia: Americans have a heritage of doubting their leaders.
But America has bred a tranche of cretins such that we have donnie as president; so the Putin plan has had measurable success and continues to grow as Fox News continues to wax as the mouthpiece of the regime.
It’s going to be interesting from here on out, though.
When a disease against which we have no defense begins to run rampant upon the land, even Fox nurtured cretins begin to have doubts about the great leader’s heterogenous mélange of calculatedly various and sundry misinformation: after all, even cretins can recognize dead people; when that happens all bets in favor of the great leader begin to fall by the wayside.
And heads, the great leader’s among them, begin to appear on the pillars of the walls around our cities.
The opening of the movie Back to the Future among other things, features an automated can opener opening a can of dog food and dumping it into a dish that is already overfull of previously opened cans of dog food.
The large pile of putrefying uneaten dogfood has accumulated because Doc and Einstein are long gone; the can opener will continue, however, as long as the rather copious supply of unopened cans holds out; or until an unpaid electric bill shuts off the electricity.
I was just looking at my online bank account.
All the bill pays, all the automatic plus and minus transactions are all taking place as usual.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the money populating all those transactions will have continued to flow, and the electric bills driving the computers that dutifully continue to post: plus, minus, move, will have continued to be paid when some future post-Covid Marty barges into my financial automated dogfood feeder.
And will there be a financial dogfood dish full to the brim with the surplus dollars resulting from my having joined Doc and Einstein elsewhere and not having had use for the surplus?
But then as my friend Jack used to say about me: I am an odd duck.
A Curious Confluence is the title of my first novel.
Friday, March 13, 2020
As a resident of Washington State I can attest to the fact that the woman doctor currently speaking is no more than a shill for donnie, just like ol’ Kelly Ann.
I guess if you have enough “alternate facts” it’s possible to banish the boogie man.
Or the virus.
We actually need action a month ago, not fantasies today.
We actually need tests – almost no one in Washington State is getting tests.
Because there aren’t any, at least here in Washington State.
For more on that listen to the Podcast of The Daily (NYT – Why the US wasn’t ready for the corona-virus).
But then donnie doesn’t live on our planet so he doesn’t need to worry about things like viruses.
But it’s good to assert them into existence.
Great for the numbers.
As we wind the press conference down we hear donnie’s other ne'er-do-wells and lackeys saying stupid stuff so donnie doesn’t look too bad.
donnie is beginning to remind me of James Buchanan.
I think I know that at least Buchanan knew that he was incompetent.
donnie is one of those dangerous sorts who thinks he knows what he is doing.
So he tweets and shouts and blames and complains and declares national emergencies.
In the imminent case, he will be declaring the emergency long after the emergency has gotten out of the barn.
Last time he declared an emergency he started building a wall, part of which blew down recently; for the sake of all 330 or so million of us I hope he uses this declaration to see if we can get the emergency back in the barn.
But I doubt that that will occur.
I heard him in an interview yesterday praising the UK for their approach to the problem: they are depending on their “perfect” borders.
I think I see a wall looming up out of the current declaration.
The good news back in the mid 1800s was that Lincoln came after Buchanan.
I don’t see much chance of an analogue of that happening now.