Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cuomo's Reach

We  have decided to live - or die - it out at our home on an Island.

That's - surprisingly - north of Victoria, so, it's north of Canada.

We have taken to spending a part of each morning watching the daily Andrew Cuomo briefing.

New York is a long way from our Island, and it's similarities - a huge state with a huge population, most of which lives in a huge, but dense city - to a small island with a few thousand people in the Salish Sea are, at first thought, non existent.

But, a little more thinking reveals an interesting fact: Islanders like us, just like New Yorkers, are Americans; like New Yorkers, we want to continue living, and we look to experts, reinforced by leaders, for facts, information, candor and - yes - leadership.

Governor Cuomo is such a refreshing counterpoint to the Cavalcade of Dunces that appears daily at the White House; the Dunce in Chief fades off into a cloud of hysterical reality TV laughter when compared to the Governor.

Too bad America has a sociopath pretending to be leader, but who is actually an incompetent, a liar, a huckster, a grifter and a criminal.

How many lives is it going to take?

The dunce in chief says 100,000.

That's up quite a bit higher from where he started not long ago.

I guess, he's market driven, and 100,000 is a lot higher, and therefore better, than just a few.

But fathoming what passes as thought with donnie defies reason.

However, just when things look a little bleak something good shows up.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Way To Go Gretchen!!

In this covid crisis comic strip we are living in, it's good to see some leaders doing things.

And they must be good things if they piss off donnie the dildo.

donnie is now refusing phone calls from "that woman from Michigan".

That's a constructive and adult reaction to the crisis.

And Jay Inslee pissed him off by telling him that we don't need a second string quarterback, we need Tom Brady.

I would have though donnie would have construed that to be adoring praise from the groundlings.

But even he saw through the irony.

I haven't heard if he's taking calls from Jay.

Probably is: Jay's a man, and all that.

Don't forget: the lobbyists are coming; the lobbyists are coming.

The Hogs Line Up At The Trough

They are really fast.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

donnie's Imminent Gag Order

I have heard that Larry Kudlow - the Covid-19 Czar -  will announce soon that the White House will issue an order prohibiting any public discourse on the part of the nation's 50 governors.

"They are all out to get the president" was the terse statement accompanying the gag order.

Alternately, it is rumored that the president will announce that he is about to replace Anthony Fauci with Sarah Palin.

Something about expertise with death squads.

The gag order is expected to be expanded soon to cover every American living or dead.

No utterance, including written reference to statements made by Americans over history will be allowed until after the election.

"All those quotes from past presidents are all making the president look bad; those quotes are the culmination of a multi century plot to make president trump look bad; we just can't have this" said Mr. Kudlow.

Mike Pence stared blankly into space at the announcement meeting. 

His resemblance to Little Orphan Annie continues to amaze and amuse.

Pais: Green Shoot - Hiding Or Coming Out???


I'm guessing not.

In fact, I have a book with this on its cover; I think this is the Bourbon:

There should be fleurs de lis where the eagles/hawks/falcons are?

If anybody cares, let me know.

Especially if you are of the family.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

El Idiota

I took this picture of a community bulletin board in Rome in October 2017.

Young Robin On The Beach

This one hasn't learned yet that there aren't any worms in the sand.

It was probably attracted to the lack of competition?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Blackbird In Paris

An Ode For donnie john

Like St George out with his dragon;

He strides a big white horse;

And he's beaten back the Covid;

A stable genius action, of course;

So we can all go out together;

Out again to play;

And the dildo gets his fondest wish:

Success election day.

A Rabbit Out Of donnie's Hat

By Easter.

A Correction To "It Was A March Beautiful Day"

It was a beautiful day.

But I called this bird a Eurasian Teal.

I shared this image with a birder friend of ours and she said that it wasn't a Eurasian teal, because Eurasian teal don't exist.

I had called it a Eurasian teal for the following reason, cut and pasted from an email:

"Also she mentioned that I had taken pictures of what I thought was a Eurasian Teal.
Actually I didn’t think that there was such a thing, but the bird that I had a picture of didn’t look like a widgeon – starting with the fact that it was smaller than a widgeon - but it did look like a teal, and was the right size.
so I did a search and got this image gallery".

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.

My wife got the prize for research that closed the case:

"We were puzzled about Teals, so I went to Sibley and discovered that there is a Eurasian (Common) Teal that’s a subspecies of Green-winged Teal.  It’s a rare but regular visitor from Eurasia.  They hang out among flocks of Green-winged Teal and look very much like the Green-winged with the following difference:  The breeding male has a horizontal white scapular stripe, but no vertical white shoulder bar, which is an identifier of an adult breeding Green-winged Teal (Noel’s bird has that).  Interestingly, an American x Eurasian intergrade adult male has both a white bar on its breast and a white stripe on the scapular. 
So, you’re correct.  Noel’s bird is definitely a Green-winged Teal."

I hope this has made your lives in covid-ville more enjoyable than they might otherwise have been. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Pax Americana Post Mortem And Why It Might Matter

Rome kept the known world in civilized check for a long time.

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.

Then Germany.

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.

Millions died.

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.

America won.

How could that be, one might wonder.


In 1918 Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, promulgated 14 points.
They were intended to be the skeletal structure of a post Great War world order.

They resulted in the creation of the League of Nations, an organization that Wilson failed to get America to join.

But many did join and the League was formed and went into existence.

Many things caused its failure, paramount among them, probably, was the lack of American participation.

So we had the Great War Part Two.

But America had a vastly different and more talented president than had been Wilson.

Franklin Roosevelt had a strategy: America wins in a world where the worst that can happen is an occasional minor skirmish here or there; the 14 points, and their attendant world organization would be the manner in which an America centric and America first sort of world could be created.

So the master strategist conducted the Great War Part Two in such a manner that the 14 points got implemented, the United Nations, with America as its leader, and headquartered in New York got created and a new world order dawned with America calling the shots.

Roosevelt died before all that was complete, but he picked the perfect replacement to finish the job: Harry Truman took the ball and ran with it, and, occasionally handed it off to others,others such as George Marshall.

The Marshall plan saved Europe from the Soviets, laid down the basis for the ultimate failure of the Soviet Union, and left America in a position to call the shots in the world for 71 years; all we had to do was to devote a miniscule portion of our wealth to the well being of Europe and the rest of the world and we had carte blanche to keep the world running and relatively peaceful.

And every president from Eisenhower to Obama understood that fact.

All we had to do to keep things on track was to be rational, fair and pay some bills.

And the President was generally acknowledged as the de facto leader of the world.

Several of them were even revered world wide.

None of them were hated.

Or ridiculed.

Then came donnie.

Without bothering to enumerate the ignorant, heinous, stupid and moronic aspects of his view of the world - all of which have been implemented - suffice it to say, 74 years away from the end of the Great War Part two, there is no world leader and donald trump is the punch line of two out of four jokes world wide.

The only reason I bring this up is that, with a biological catastrophe staring the world in the face it would really be useful to have a Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush or Obama in charge.

We have a sociopath; we need a leader.

Paris: Barge Under Pont St Michel

Must have been a telephoto from Pont Petite Pont, or whatever the next bridge is called; I always forget, no matter how many times I walk under them.

In any event, it's real close to Le Départ St Michel.

Lopez: A Tree Frog; Paris: Samaritaine

Our Shares

This is sort of another genie that has gotten out of its bottle.

And can't be put back.

The other two I have previously discussed.

Doling out and rationing drabs of ridiculously high priced internet to individuals while giving big corporations carte blanche, unfettered, low cost access is one of the genies.

Saying that we can't afford to provide a decent living experience for every American is the other.

Now, number three on the list is that we aren't going to continue to allow the government to dish out massive handouts of money to corporations every time the economy gets in trouble.

At least we are not going to allow them unless we the people get something back.

What we will  get back, what we are going to take as partial payment for bailing out corporations is 50% of their stock.

Shares will be issued to every American in the lower 90% income percentile.

Wealth solely for the wealthy has escaped from the bottle.

And we won't put it back.

Paris: Ferris Wheel

Follow The Bait

Earlier this morning I used the analogy of Ol' Mitch and the Boys using $1200 checks to everyone - one time only - as bait.

The trap in that analogy was all the other money that Ol' Mitch and the Boys were going to shovel out post hast was going to go to the rich and to their corporate cronies.

Coincidentally, I just got this in an email: 

"DEVELOPING STORY: Mitch McConnell and his Senate cronies are using the COVID-19 crisis as a cover to pass a $500 BILLION SLUSH FUND for big corporations".

Quite Shy Of A Full Load

The old cliche is "one brick shy of a load".

donnie dropped his load along the road somewhere years back; even then the load was far from complete;  recently various aides have been trying to throw some bricks back in the cart, but, for an orange manifestation of such corpulence, donnie is surprisingly agile: he keeps bobbing and weaving and avoiding most of the spilled bricks.

Wellington New Zealand A While Back

Ol' Mitch Says The Democrats Won't Do What He Demands

What the Democrats are fighting for is the survival of the vast majority of Americans who are, or are about to be, on the street.  The Democrats are arguing that some amount in a one time check - $1200 say - doesn't do anything.  That huge amount of money, doled out in what amount to dribbles, doesn't have anything to do with allowing most Americans to continue living; it is just a diffuse waste of a huge amount of money; instead it should be topped off with a much larger sum and should be distributed in ongoing meaningful amounts to the large number of Americans who currently are, and, pretty much always have been, a few dollars away from disaster.

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.

We Need A National Counter Plan

It should be based on the exact opposite of everything trump says.

Or even thinks, if such appears to be occurring.

Every trump "fact", assertion, hope or policy should be the basis for the Plan.

"Execute the exact opposite; believe the exact opposite; plan for the exact opposite" should be its brief statement of implementation.

A padded room should be added to the White House for donnie for the duration.

Hitler had his bunker; donnie certainly deserves a padded room. 

Paris: Better Times

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Couple Genies Have Escaped

From their bottles.

One is the genie that says we have to ration the internet; we have to give the big guys preference in access and, certainly, in price; we can't have network neutrality: all those little guys, treated equally, will swamp the net and civilization as we hope it to be will be brought to a halt.

All along, that viewpoint was obviously nothing but robber barren hype, the same as it has always been, and the same as it will always be.

But the republicans have forged forward with getting rid of network neutrality.

In the last few weeks massive numbers of Americans have started doing everything from home, using the internet; and the internet hasn't crashed.

When we get through the plague there will be no basis for anything but the cheapest, fastest, most availability-neutral possible internet.

The "we have to ration the internet" genie has escaped.

Ol' Mich and the boys can't put that genie back.

The other genie is that we can't afford to be a civilization that provides for the best possible life that citizens should expect; even things  as long term and provably affordable, like Social Security and Medicare are  not affordable, according to that genie: "we just don't have the money".

The quick track two trillion dollar tranche about to be dropped on the economy puts the lie to that.

So after all of this, if we can't get a country that provides a real life for everybody, we all need to get our pitchforks out and go after the bastards.

Two of their favorite genies have escaped and can't be put back.

There are probably more; I am not currently aware of them, though.

A Red Dawn State Of Mind

This is a reference to the real movie Red Dawn - the one with Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson and Charlie Sheen.

Not the remake.

The movie, from the first scene, creates - for me - an excruciatingly real nightmare life of America rather swiftly disintegrating under the pressure of an invader.

A small coterie of children are really the only vestiges of what had been a full scale life for millions and millions only days before.

The children gradually organize and mount an ongoing insurgency.

But the price is catastrophically high.

And they depend less and less upon what remains of their previous civilization:  once they have consumed the supplies that they managed to hoard as part of their initial escape, they hunt game, make occasional sorties into their previous home town, now occupied by the invader, and get what information and supplies they can gather.

For the purposes of "A Red Dawn State Of Mind" - this post - they, the children, are a metaphor.

They are a perfect metaphor for sheltering in place.

Even down to sheltering in place's underpinning mentality.

I can't get through an hour without feeling the presence of the occupied town and the insurgent children; that is the life I am living: occasional furtive trips to the village supplement tending the home fires and washing my hands.

The very end of the movie is a neutral ending: the invader withdraws, life as it had been never resumes, but a pale facsimile replaces it, and the children - the ones who survived - are lost to history.

The dead all have their names scratched on a rock somewhere in the mountains.

That looks to be a best case scenario for us seven billion and counting.

Paris: Jardin Des Plantes


Friday, March 20, 2020

Paris: Underground Scene From The Metro

As donnie Always Says, The System Is Rigged

Sens. Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler Face Calls to Resign Over Stock Sales

From Newsweek

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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I Election 2020: I Do Have An Idea, Though

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. "

The American Constitution: Is It Going To Prove Durable?

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.

Kinda sad.

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.

Paris: One Of My Favorite Pictures

From 2018, I think.

A Lesson From Tom McCall

In 1973 the Arabs shut off oil to America.

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.

It was.

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 Moron Appoints Himself Warrior In Chief

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.

A Black Rabbit And A Honey Bee

The Real Hand At The Helm

As the state of existence that over multiple lifetimes many of us - living and dead - have always described as "our world" is palpably disintegrating before our eyes, in real time: medical facilities imminently unable to cope, store shelves bare of product, misinformation rampant, no information common, a stock market that looks like a monkey screwing a football - a football with increasingly less air in it with each thrust up, down, up, down - we find ourselves in the apparent charge of a coterie of clowns.

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.

Among the clowns:

As the disintegration gains pace these clowns on an increasingly alarming basis appear in "press conferences" and proffer various inane observations, assertions and actions.

And the disintegration continues.

This morning I discovered a ray of hope.
Somebody is really in charge.
And I am glad it is someone who is manifestly competent.

The Last Horse Out Of Dodge