Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 61: Breaking News! Grim Reaper Ready to Liberate Trumplicans

Dear Diary,

As more pro-Trump groups organize protests (basically Trump rallies) around the country against COVID-19 safety regulations in each state, the Grim Reaper is rubbing his boney hands together in satisfaction.

And why not?

Trump's supporters are happily drinking the orange Kool aid he passes out daily. Watching Trumplicans pack bars in Wisconsin with no masks and social-distancing is like watching unwary seals cavorting near a school of sharks.

There will be blood.

Trump is convincing some people that they need to be "liberated" from those nasty coronavirus regulations (put out by his own administration) which are:
(Take your pick)
a.  A hoax
b. The Democrats way of winning the election by ruining the economy, or
c. Because the rules are too draconian, threatening their freedom to infect others and get their hair cut.

We're in for one hell of a winter
The Grim Reaper is looking forward to unleashing the pandemic again (because the states are coming out too soon), coupled with the addition of the annual winter flu virus.

The oncoming double whammy was described, by recently fired whistleblower Rick Bright, a Health and Human Services official who testified before Congress that America may be in for the "Darkest Winter" in modern history.

Deadly fiction, deadly facts
Trump declared Friday, "Vaccine, or no vaccine, we're back!"

Regardless of the advise of top healthcare officials urging for more testing, Trump has decided he's going to "liberate Americans" to go back to their normal way of life.

No masks. No social distancing. No liability for manufacturers whose employees who will be dropping like flies from COVID-19. 

No regard for the most vulnerable people in the population who have to work on the front lines, and who risk bringing the coronavirus home to their family every day.

Americans have a choice. They can listen to the healthcare experts and follow safety guidelines, or they can take their chances of becoming infected, or infecting others, and pretend the pandemic is going away... because Trump said so.

Time will tell whose right, and whose wrong. Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper is ready to receive an influx of Republicans and Trump cult followers in the weeks and months ahead.
On the Homefront- Medford, Oregon
**Grim stats - There's been 3,500 cases of the novel coronavirus in the state, and the death count has gone up to 137.

**Opening slowly- Unlike Trump's feeble guidelines for opening up the country, Gov. Kate Brown has unveiled a comprehensive state plan detailing how to slowly and safely open up retail businesses, gyms, and even malls.

Today is Day One for re-opening Oregon. I really hope it works out, but I also realize that if people don't practice safety by wearing face masks and social distancing, we could end up shuttering the state down again.

Quote for the day; "Whether it's personal foibles or a bureaucrat's ego, the stubborn defense of stupidity is unforgivable." -Stewart Stafford 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 60: The Contentious Definition of Freedom During the Coronavirus Crisis

Dear Diary,

In this
Age of Trump there's little hope for unity. 

There's some Americans who want to live in a society that frees them, as individuals, by subjugating the community.

I'm referring to alt-right trolls, xenophobes, racist's, and Fox News crews (aka the conspiracy network) who all embrace a Trumpian definition of freedom.

The Constitution defines freedom as the liberty from...and defines all the things that are agreed upon in a civil society. The freedom of Speech. The freedom of Religion. Etc. al.

Trump and his supporters have twisted the definition of freedom to fit their selfish desires. 

They claim a carte blanch existence where rules don't apply. The freedom to ignore the government. Freedom from facts. The Freedom to re-write reality daily. Freedom from science.

Freedom is a mighty word. People have died fighting for it since the earliest civilizations.

I've never seen the word - freedom - so badly defined by any group as the Trumpian interpretation; basically despite healthcare experts factual advise, Trump's encouraging people to ignore stay-at-home laws and to open up the country...and to liberate it. To free the country.

Liberate? Free?

From what? The CDC? His own Coronavirus Task force?

The answer is as simple as Trump's thought process. In his twisted brain he's the great emancipator freeing Americans from decades of laws that held back the wealthy from achieving all of their greedy dreams.

This whole pandemic thing is a hoax perpetuated by the Democrats and all Trump haters.

Trump is the supreme leader who conquered the deadly coronavirus with magical thinking. 

By encouraging his supporters to hop aboard his deadly dream train, Trump is gambling lives in a desperate bid to get re-elected by jump-starting an economy that's still infected with COVID-19.
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**Easing of restrictions - Gov. Brown is allowing 28 counties, all retail stores statewide, to begin Phase I reopening today.

I'm hoping this isn't too soon. I know for a fact that Oregon has done very little testing. Here in Medford, few people have paid attention to wearing face masks in public. Thus far, we've only had 50 confirmed coronavirus cases in Jackson County and no deaths. I suspect that'll change when (or if) healthcare experts conduct more local testing.

**Parks back open 

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department re-opened 17 park sites between Reedsport and Brookings yesterday.

There's nine others in the area that won't be open. Here's a full list of park openings.

**Scary news - A young girl who exhibited symptoms of pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PMIS) is fighting for her life in a Portland Hospital. She's the first known case of the COVID related pediatric ailment in Oregon.

Doctors have been warned by the CDC to look out for PMIS in children earlier this week. Cases have popped up in California, Washington, Connecticut and New York. The condition is thought to affect children who have contracted the coronavirus.

Quote for the day; "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." -Nelson Mandela

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 59: Strange Days Now and Then

Dear Diary,

My report today is both a salute to my favorite hard rock group, The Doors (just because), and to those brave souls surviving this pandemic under an unhinged president.

Hits from The Doors second album, Strange Days:

Talking about Strange Days during this coronavirus

Clip from the lyrics - "Strange days have found us - Strange days have tracked us down - They're going to destroy our casual joys..." 

In the news... "Whistleblower, Rick Bright, is testifying before the House today about being kicked out of his position after raising concerns about a coronavirus treatment (chloroquine) supported by Trump. Bright is correctly standing up for science.

Clip from the lyrics- "People are strange, when your a stranger - Faces look ugly when your alone -  - Streets are uneven when your down" 

In the news... The strange origins of Trump's Hydroxychloroquine Obsession. A revealing report.

Song: My Eyes Have Seen You
(Pic by Jeff Kowalsky -Getty image)
Clip from the lyrics- "My eyes have seen you - My eyes have seen you stand in the door, meet inside - Show me more - Show me more - Show me more"

In the news... Michigan Gov. Whitmer says armed protests could lengthen stay-at-home order. Some morons think they can scare the virus with their guns, or at the very least lawmakers.
Clip from the lyrics - "Yea..c'mon…- When the music's over - Turn out the lights - Turn out the lights - For the music is your special friend - Dance on fire as it intends - Music is your only friend - Until the end"

In the news... COVID-19 may never go away and may join the mix of viruses that kill people around the world every year, according to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies program.
On the Homefront - Medford Oregon
**Coronavirus in Oregon - 3,400 cases - the death toll is 134 now.

**High hopes - The Enchanted Forest amusement park in Turner is hoping to open in some capacity soon. 

**New data - It looks like West Salem is the state's latest coronavirus hotspot. The cause? A senior care home produced the single biggest weekly spike (41 cases) of reported coronavirus infections throughout Oregon.

**It's been cool lately with a few scattered showers that are supposed to last until this weekend. Shirley and I have no plans to go anywhere, and are doing our best to stay out of each others hair!

**What's that old saying? "Familiarity breeds contempt." If not contempt, then certainly lack of patience at times.

Quote for the day; "This is the strangest life I have ever known." Jim Morrison 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 58: Republicans Fear Trump More Than the Coronavirus and That's a Mistake

Dear Diary,

Watching Republicans cower whenever Trump speaks is reminiscent of The Godfather holding court over his minions.

Trump is a thug, a bully, a serial liar, and a world class narcissist, but GOP lawmakers pretend to believe every uninformed word he utters... even in the midst of a pandemic.

The abject fealty he demands from every government head and his cabinet is remarkable. Watching his puppets, like mealy-mouthed Bill Barr, Moscow Mitch, Crying Kevin McCarthy, and Pompous Pig Mike Pompeo deny facts is a daily occurrence.

Those gutless Republicans are making a big mistake going down with the Trump Titanic's unhinged course to chaos. Mass defections from within his own base's elderly ranks is not going to benefit the down ticket in the upcoming national elections. 

Especially because they're (the elderly) dying off in record numbers. Blaming the Democrat's can't conceal the reality of what's happening.

It's Trump's stupidity. His rejection of science. His muffling of healthcare officials leading to over 82,000 deaths and counting because of his attempts to hide the enormity of the coronavirus early on.

Trump is NOT a LEADER. He's a sick individual who by horrible twists of fate happens to be our president during a pandemic.

I suspect voters are going to be looking for a real leader this fall. Not another four years of a crazy man child whose done more harm to our Constitution, and the laws of the land than any of his predecessors.

This should concern those Republican lawmakers who have been enabling his corruption and are running for re-election riding his tattered cap of imperial office.

It may be too late for those feckless followers to cut loose from Trump. It would take an act of defiance - like telling the truth - when asked questions about their role in Trump's swamp. I don't expect that to happen.

History may prove me wrong, but based on the polarization in this country...I don't think so. The rats are all going down together in the Trump titanic this November.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**Only 3 more cases of coronavirus reported overnight bringing the total confirmed novel coronavirus cases to 3,286. The death toll now stands at 130.

**Interesting study - The Oregon Health and Science University will begin notifying people for a yearlong study to track the spread of coronavirus in the state.

**Scum for the Day - A 42-year old douche bag from Gresham, Matthew Owens, is facing federal charges for smuggling the drug chloroquine (Trump's favorite miracle COVID-19 drug) from China for delivery to others during the pandemic. 

**Milestone violation - Workplace safety regulators have cited an Oregon food processor for unsafe practices after nearly three dozen of its employees contracted the coronavirus.

The $2,000 penalty against National Frozen Foods was the first of its kind since Gov. Kate Brown ordered businesses to ensure space between workers.

Quote for the day; "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -Plato 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 57: Trump Versus The Supremes: Oral Arguments Today

Dear Diary,

One of the most important cases in the history of our nation is going before the Supreme Court today. You can listen to oral arguments on CNN live stream, and other platforms.

The court will be ruling on whether Trump's accountant and some of his lenders have to turn over financial information to congressional committees. Thus far, Trump has stopped all the efforts to make him reveal them. 

The dispute actually involves two related cases.

The first case asks whether a congressional committee has the constitutional and statutory power to subpoena the accountant for Trump and some of his lenders for his financial records, including his federal income tax records.

The second case asks whether a subpoena issued by a state grand jury to Trump's accountant is subject to precedent regarding political questions.

The judges are expected to have a decision by the end of June. I won't be surprised if the Supremes decide to punt these cases by using a legal escape hatch called the "political question doctrine.

It would give them the opportunity to weasel out of making a tough political decision. It would also mean no one will ever be able to see Trump's financial records. 

Worse still, it would prove that Congress has no power over a wannabe dictator like Trump who managed to silence the highest court in the land!


A reporter asked attorney general Bill Barr how he thinks he'll be remembered in the history books the other day.

Barr's reply was, "It depends on whose in power."

I beg to disagree. There'll always be historians without political motivations who are documenting facts with evidence; recorded speeches, videos, papers written for publications, etc. al.

Among the Trump minions in government who will go down in a Hall of Shame someday, there's none more complicit in enabling Trump's corruption than Barr the Shameless
His latest demonstration of abuse of power (attempting to get Michael Flynn off the hook) has nearly 2000 former justice department officials calling for him to resign.

Historians are going to laugh at Mike Pence. One of many videos of him emulating Trump's every move (the infamous "he put the water bottle on the floor" because Stump did) will be in the introductory part of Pence's official White House bio.

There are too many other Trump minions in the government who'll be remembered for corruption to list here. He's managed to inflict serious damage to our democracy, and it's going to take time to heal. 
On the Homefront - Medford Oregon
**My wife, Shirley, casually mentioned that she had a hair appointment on June 18th, the other day. That, of course made me curious when hair salon's are expected to open up in Oregon.

Turns out that May 15th is the target date for phase one (where hair salons and massage parlors open) of Gov. Brown's reopening plan for the state. 

From what I've read in the local newspapers, and heard on TV, a lot of businesses are afraid to open yet however. Especially the kind that require up close contact. 

Shirley may find out that her hair appointment is going to have to be changed in June if there's not more confidence over safety for business owners and the public alike.

**It's not my imagination - very few people are wearing face masks in Medford. I can't speak for other nearby cities, but Medford seems to be lax about the rule. Yet, most people are still staying-in-place. A lot of very quiet streets.

Quote for the day; "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -H.L. Mencken

Monday, May 11, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 56: Tribe Takes a Stand for Survival During Pandemic

Dear Diary,

Documenting this pandemic is like trying to catch a tornado with a sandwich-sized paper bag.

There's so many stories to report on each day it's hard to select which ones to highlight. Mainstream headlines have been chock full of various segments of society that are harder hit than others.

There's no doubt that the poor and minorities are suffering more than the rest of the country. Casualty counts among Blacks and Latinos are disproportionate to the rest of society.

Today however, I'm highlighting the plight of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. 

Fighting for the tribe's very survival, tribal chairman Harold Frazier has refused to take down its coronavirus checkpoints despite Gov. Kristi Noem's demands to do so.

The main purpose of the checkpoints was to monitor and try to track the coronavirus coming onto the reservation. 

But, because the new Republican playbook is all about reopening states (whether or not it's safe or not), Gov. Noem decided it was okay to risk the lives of 12,000 people who only have an eight-bed hospital.

Frazier pointed out that the lack of resources makes his tribe especially vulnerable to "hot spots." The only critical care available is three hours from the tribal lands. A death sentence for a sudden flood of patients.

By taking down the tribe's frontline of defense against a deadly virus, I'm reminded of the shame of Wounded Knee, where people were massacred by a government that was supposed to be protecting them.

On the Homefront - Medford. Oregon

**As of today there's been 3,228 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 127 people have died from it.

**Today marks the 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helen's eruption.

 (Photo by Don Wilson 1980)
There's an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum "Volcano!" but the museum is closed right now.

In the meantime, the exhibit can be viewed online.

**The Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem is locked down today after a fight broke out among inmates in the yard.

 About 215 inmates from the same cell block went at it until correction officers restored order.

Quote for the day; "Stand up to injustice, even if you stand alone." -Suzy Kassem

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 55: During America's Chaotic Coronavirus Stars Emerge For the Right and the Left

Dear Diary,

I can't recall exactly when New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo became a coronavirus star, garnering more hours of prime time TV than anyone, except for Trump's caustic (and hours long) Coronavirus Task Farce briefings.

I understand that New York has the most COVID-19 cases - NYC's led all the way - and deaths, since surpassing Washington in March. That's news. But for how long?

Andrew Cuomo, whose seen more TV air time than his brother Chris (a news broadcaster), has become a Democratic star since he began holding his daily COVID-19 chats (that often meandered into other subjects).

Liberal political insiders have been inspired enough by his performances to look at Andrew for president in 2024. He's so articulate. The opposite of Trump. 

His meteoric rise to fame is just another example of a star being born in our new pandemic universe. 

While Andrew is a good example for the Left, the Right has plenty of candidates for stardom too. But Trump's new PR puppet, Kayleigh McEnany, is clearly the breakout star from the swamp in Washington DC.

I was in awe of her Trumpian qualities, and how quickly she let the press know she had no intention of telling the truth about anything - unless it benefited Stump.

McEnany fits the role of a Conservative star; a blond, blue-eyed bimbo with a brain the size of a shriveled kumquat, but loyal unto The Donald

After going for over a year without a press secretary, it appears Trump picked the right bimbo for the job. Her star is on the rise.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**The Oregon Health Authority reported three new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state total to 124. Cases of the virus have climbed to 3,068 statewide.

**Great Q and A coming up!
(Photo by Dave Killen)

Oregonians get to ask Rep. Earl Blumenauer (right) questions about Cannabis and COVID-19 at an upcoming May 13th webcast - "Where Does America Go From Here?"

The host for the webinar is NJ Cannabis Insider and Advance 360. The two-hour program begins 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST).

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who recently introduced legislation that would make cannabis businesses eligible for Small Business Administration COVID-19 relief programs, will be the keynote speaker.

Quote for the day; "When you become famous, being famous becomes your profession." James Carville

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...