Saturday, June 6, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 82: Trump Finally Gets His Wall... Around the White House

Dear Diary,

Take a good look around the White House today.

It resembles a heavily guarded palace, or government compound, in a third world country. Ten-foot tall black fences are stretched around the immediate perimeter, and more fencing surrounds an outer perimeter that covers nearby Lafayette Park.

Hungered down inside is an unhinged president sending out mass tweets to divide the country.

What we know. Trump didn't get his southern border wall completed, and Mexico didn't pay for it. The only wall the tangerine tyrant put up was around the people's house.

The idea of a wall has always appealed to the real estate/ reality star, who likes to build things. However, the desire to rebuild America's infrastructure has never been a priority for a punk like Trump.

A massive crowd of protestors have showed up outside of the White House today, ahead of George Floyd's funeral next week.

On Friday, D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters, "We have a lot of public, open-source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest that we've had in this city."

I think it bears repeating, "...the LARGEST that we've had in this city." Without official numbers, it's hard to tell just how huge the protest is. There'll be plenty of statistics to look at later tonight, and tomorrow.

The police chief also said he expected it to be a peaceful protest. It looks like he was right.

What a contrast. There's 4,500 police, national guard, and active duty Army units, surrounding the nation's capitol as Americans call out for an end to police brutality against unarmed African-Americans.

It's a signature moment. 

Trump trembling in the Oval Office while America voices it's displeasure over his ruinous reign. The protestors today want justice for George Floyd. They're also fed up with Trump's lack of leadership during a pandemic, and throughout his chaotic time in office.

The symbolism of a wall in Trump's rhetoric, and his reality, is appropriate today.
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
Medford Police Department - Chief Scott Clauson
Local Law Enforcement  Rogue Valley (includes Medford) cops have presented a united front against the actions of the police officers charged with murder after suffocating George Floyd.
What impresses me is that our cops get a lot of training when it comes to dealing with restraining suspects. 

One of the things they're taught (both in the academy and local departments) is keeping a suspect stomach-down on the ground while handcuffed, or being physically held down, can cause death by positional asphyxia.

I don't think this kind of training is particularly new to police departments across the country. However, there's no national program guiding police departments in the use of safe take-down tactics. Some do. Others don't. That's one of the reasons why we're seeing protests in all of our major cities.

My wife and I have lived in Medford for nearly seven years, and have not seen cases of police brutality against people of color (admittedly there's a small black population here), or any particular race. 

My contacts with the local cops have been positive ones. I see them out in community events all the time, mingling with the people they serve. It's sad that people in all cities can't count on their local police departments to treat them fairly.

Quote for the day; "Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance." -Suzy Kassem

Friday, June 5, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 81: Welcome to America's National Nightmare

Dear Diary,

If I wasn't a wordsmith, I'd be speechless and unable to describe what's happening in America today.

The feeling of being involved in our national nightmare reality show is like sinking in quicksand. You struggle to get free from the chaos, but it's everywhere around you and sucking you into the maelstrom.

People don't know which to fear the most - COVID-19 - or Trump taking down our democracy and becoming a dictator for life?

The country is ablaze with riots and protests. 

Eleven straight days of protests, and there's no sign they're going to let up. A huge protest is planned in Washington DC tomorrow. I suspect there's going to be more people showing up for this protest than there were at Trump's inauguration.

It's disconcerting hearing what former CIA and military officials are saying right now about the situation the country is in. There's no doubt... were in a crisis. Our society is teetering on the edge of a profound change. 

If Trump steals this election - like he did in the last one - our republic will collapse under his autocratic rule. We'll no longer be a free society. 

Keeping the country divided into warring camps is part of Trump's re-election strategy. He's the chaos candidate the alt-right has always dreamed of.

There's never been bigger or more prolonged protests in American history. Historians will look at this explosion of societal unrest as a teaching tool on what could happen if another president is elected without proper vetting.

Trump wouldn't be turning the military against American citizens today if his taxes were exposed before he got in office. If the Supreme Court forces him to turn over his taxes at the end of this month, it'll almost be too late to matter if he had committed financial crimes.

With cronies like AG Barr and Mitch McConnell, Trump will probably tie up the courts and continue to campaign for another term.

A Constitutional crisis. A pandemic. A wannabe dictator. And a national cry for equality in our democracy. There's never been a time like this before... not just in America, but in the world.
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
The morning gathering -
My beautiful wife Shirley is seen here with four of our five animals. 
The missing cat was asleep in another room, and I didn't want to wake him up and piss him off. 
Enjoying our morning coffee with the "kids" is our favorite time of the day.

**For the record - There's been seven straight days of protests in Oregon. Mostly in Portland. 

**The governor ordered our state flag to be put at half-staff yesterday in mourning for George Floyd whose memorial services were held yesterday.

Quote for the Day; "Which is the true nightmare, the horrific dream that you have in your sleep or the dissatisfied reality that awaits you when you awake?" -Justin Alcala

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 80: Clinging To Democracy Amidst Race Riots and a Pandemic

Dear Diary,

In my mind's eye, I see Lady Liberty and all she stands for clinging to the edge of a cliff as the nation tries to survive the worst president in American history.

Trump's ignorance and ego slowed down the response to the coronavirus, and his continuing assault against scientists and the healthcare experts will bear more grim results.

Because safety measures to mitigate the spread have been scorned by Trump who refuses to wear a mask in public and plays down social-distancing, I expect another wave of COVID-19... before the fall.

Coupled with Trump's despicable handling of the George Floyd protesters in DC and nationwide, Americans are going to have to navigate the biggest threat to our country in history... Donald Trump.

He's already used active duty combat Troops (82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne) to threaten peaceful protestors in DC. The wannabe dictator also threatened state governors if they didn't follow his orders to call out the national guard in every state.

I haven't seen a time of unrest like this since I was an 17-year-old student in 1968, during the riots about the country's involvement in Vietnam and race discrimination. 

Even so, 2020 is worse.

We have a sociopath running the country now. Nixon was bad, but even he saw the writing on the wall and resigned when his party advised him to.

There's no way in hell this Republican Party will ever stand up to Trump. Most fear him so much they're prepared to go down with the ship in November.

Yesterday was the first time the Pentagon showed any sign of independence when Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave a short press conference. He said he wouldn't go along with Trump's threat to enact a seldom-used law to send out active military troops nationwide in a move to stop any more protests.

Trump, like a cornered rat, is scared. He sees his chances for being re-elected slipping away more every day. I expect he will continue to take a hard stand and to flout laws while doing it.

The question is, how far will Trump go in his maniac quest to rule for four more years? Will this world class con man, and wannabe dictator, be the death of democracy?

Only time will tell.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

Portland protestors form a line at a fence in front of the police and raise their hands before the police use tear gas and stun grenades on them.
(Photo by Brooke Herbert/Oregonian)
Protests went on for a sixth night in a row.

**Even as cases of the coronavirus continue to show a slow upward trend, Gov. Kate Brown announced the framework for Phase 2 of Oregon's reopening.

I can't help being skeptical. It's getting harder every day to believe any politician. Are we putting the economy ahead of safety here? I guess the weeks ahead will tell that story.

Quote for the Day; "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them real facts, and beer." -Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 79: Trump's Tweets Are Not 'Fireside Chats'

Dear Diary,

My focus today... 

there's 156 days before the general election.

Based upon the last three-and-a-half years, these remaining days are going to be excruciating long. 

After being impeached in February, Trump has been on a rampage and his rage has crippled nearly every scientific response to the pandemic, and now his militant rhetoric is stoking riots.

Being a seriously flawed individual, Trump has no empathy, sensitivity, civility, morality, honesty, or shame. 

His ego needs daily strokes. His now infamous photo op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church holding someone else's bible while tear gas cannisters burst in the background is a snapshot of a sociopath.

It's sickening watching Trump's minions stand up for him and disregard truth, dignity, and reality. 

Loyal lap dog and former Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, praised Trump's waddle over to the church as something Rambo-like, "Hard to imagine any other POTUS having the guts to walk out of the White House like this," he cooed with slavish adoration on Twitter.

Try as I might, I can't recall any other American president who hid in the White House bunker from his own people. Historians may correct me here, but I doubt it.

What's horrifying is that Trump is fueling the fires of unrest in this country during a pandemic. People are afraid of an invisible killer, and the police after watching officers murder a helpless man on live TV.

Trump's tweets are not "fireside chats" comforting a worried nation. They're more like Molotov cocktails tossed from the Rose Garden or the Oval Office. They're expressions of hate and racism coming from a megalomaniac who only cares about being re-elected. 

I hope to see Joe Biden use Trump's lack of leadership like a cudgel in the days and months ahead. The contrast couldn't be more complete. Biden has empathy. Trump doesn't even know what the word means. 

On the Homefront- Medford, Oregon
**COVID Stats - The slow climb upward continues as three news deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 last night, bringing the total to 157 people who've died from the deadly virus. Latest count on confirmed coronavirus cases is 4,335.

**Morons in Medford - After yesterday's pathetic display of bored youths (all white) blocking traffic downtown in supposed support for George Floyd, it's quiet today.

For the record, Oregon is still nearly all white. The state's reputation for racism has been well earned, as a casual perusal of history shows.

Quote for the Day; "The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging someone's ego, that's it, game over." -Gordon Ramsay

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 78: Crouching Coward, Hidden Bunker: Trump Lashes Out

Dear Diary,

It was two days of infamy for Cadet Bonespurs.

Here's exclusive after-action reports by the Secret Service after protestors showed up outside The White House.

Top Secret Report by Bob, the Agent-in-Charge

"We knew something was wrong when Trump shit his diaper hours ahead of his scheduled potty time. Looking out the window, the Commander-in-Chief was babbling at a gathering crowd of protestors outside on Pennsylvania avenue.

Agent Orville reported the president's eyes looked like two fried eggs and his tiny mouth was gaping open in primordial fear. I signaled Agent Lonny that it was time to take Trump down to the hidden bunker below the Oval office.

Agent Lonny and Orville escorted him to the presidential bunker - which had been recently remodeled with gold trimmings and a wall full of TV screens.

I witnessed the leader of the free world slowly regain his swag until he was walking around the plush bunker like the cock of the walk.

Then he got on Twitter and the threats started. From there, Trump called the nation's governors and called them a bunch of pussies for not using the National Guard to slaughter protestors.

An hour later, the president left the bunker on a carriage pulled by two Republican senators, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence." 

End of shift. -Bob
Top Secret Report by Bob The Next Day
"I watched as thousands of protestors gathered outside the White House as POTUS was foaming at the mouth and tweeting Fox News hosts for advise on how to handle the tense situation.

Making a command decision, Trump ordered 250 active military personnel from a military police battalion to squat outside the White House between him and the angry protestors.

I tried not to pay too much attention to his hard-working minions Matt Gaetz and Lindsey Graham, who were having to change his diapers every half hour. The two-man chore wasn't pretty to watch. I had to skip lunch. That usually only happens when I have to watch him eat lunch.

The job got a little harder after Trump decided he wanted to go for a short walk to get a photo op at an old church near the White House. I stayed in contact with other teams as Trump turned the military against peaceful protestors in a show of power that was more like a presidential pout.

At last. It was night night time for Trump, and with the help of Lonny and Orville, we three carried his sleeping fat ass to his room. I couldn't help noticing he was still clutching his cell phone in one tiny hand. It was almost enduring. Almost.

End of shift.- Bob
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon 
Name the rioters -
Authorities are asking for help identifying people who broke into the Multnomah Country Justice System and rioters from Portland.

If you recognize one of these clowns on the right, call 503-823-INFO
**An accounting - Gov. Kate Brown fired the director of the Oregon Employment Department over delays in delivering jobless benefits. Good to see someone shake the ancient system up.

**COVID stats - No new deaths reported. There's been 4,243 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state thus far.

**Here in Medford we had a few dozen morons trying to block cars downtown for no good reason. It was obvious they were bored students because most have never seen a black person in southern Oregon.

Quote for the Day; "The simplest way to make a coward courageous is to convince them that you admire their courage." -Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 77: American Apocalypse Now

Dear Diary,

I've got the movie Apocalypse Now going through my head this morning.


Marlon Brando played Col. Kurtz, a renegade Army Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War, who had an outpost in Cambodia where he commanded American and Montagnard troops against the NVA. His followers believed he was a demigod.

Martin Sheen played Captain Benjamin L. Willard. His secret mission was to assassinate Col. Kurtz who'd become an embarrassment to American field force headquarters in Nha Trang.

Long story, short. Cap. Willard accomplishes his mission.

Francis Ford Coppola produced and co-wrote the Academy Award winning movie that went on to be considered one of the greatest films ever made.

American Apocalypse
The chaos in America today seems surreal to me at times.

I feel like Cap. Willard wandering through bizarre landscapes of destruction and death. Trying to break through the reality of what's unfolding before me.

A pandemic. Over 100,000 Americans dead and counting. Political polarization. An economy struggling to stay afloat amid massive layoffs nationwide. Over 40 million unemployed. Desperate people unable to work, and standing in food lines reminiscent of the Great Depression.

Race riots in over 70 major American cities. Agitators from the Right and Left capitalizing on the chaos. Protestors inspired by Trump's followers defying state orders for safety and demanding all services, jobs, etc., open immediately. 

Despite CDC and other healthcare experts warnings about another outbreak of COVID-19, right-wing groups continue to press the boundaries between science and politics.

An unhinged president who could start a race war, or conventional war if he thought it would help get him re-elected.

Unlike Cap. Willard, my mission isn't to kill someone.

My mission is to come out of this surreal stage in our history enlightened, and empowered enough to write about it for future readers seeking knowledge about what happened in 2020...
when America teetered on an apocalypse that threatened our republic.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**Crowds return to Cannon Beach (not far from where we live) as the coast town begins to open.

**COVID Count - No new deaths and confirmed cases top 4,200. 

**Martial law again last night in Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency and imposed curfew after destructive protests.

**Authorities say the key to keeping Oregon open is going to be contact tracing. The question is, will enough people participate?

Quote for the Day; "Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects." -Roger Zelazny

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 76: Protests Create a 'Perfect Storm' in America

Dear Diary,

The storm clouds gathered in January.

Dark ominous cumulus clouds bearing the deadly coronavirus silently settled over the entire planet. Governments were slow to recognize the foreboding signs of a growing pandemic.

In February, Trump was impeached for bullying the Ukraine, but acquitted by a corrupt senate majority led by Mitch McConnell. An unhinged Trump went on a revenge tour and fired inspector generals and other government officials he felt were responsible for trying to stop his crimes.

The dark clouds already hovering over Washington and across America, got darker and more sinister as the country became even more politically polarized.

When Americans started dying in March from the deadly COVID-19 spread, things suddenly got real. Too real. The country had to be shut down.

Businesses were suddenly, shockingly shuttered. Americans were told to stay-at-home to avoid spreading the silent killer. The country ground to a halt - catching the majority of Americans off guard.

By April and May millions had filled for unemployment and businesses, big and small, were crying out for government assistance to stay afloat in the gathering storm.

By mid-May Americans were tired of being shut in. They wanted a return to normalcy, many unaware that the world changed overnight and there would be no return to "normal." That there would be a new reality.

Frustration overcame fear as many Americans shrugged off scientific advise and turned methods of protection against COVID-19 to a political battle. The wearing of masks to protect others degenerated into a Trump/Republican thing versus Democrats who believe in science.

And the clouds hovering over our deeply conflicted nation, caused by frustration, fear, and uncertainty of what the future holds for economic recovery... burst!

Horrified Americans watched four white cops murder a black man on TV. Along with a couple of other recent prominent cases of white cops killing blacks, it was just too much.

Now we are faced with a perfect storm of challenges that will eventually reshape our country - for better or worse.

These riots across the nation (40 cities at last count) are a reflection of the many grievances people have - and not just about the murder of George Floyd.

The country is not ready to re-open to mass crowds, but they're here... we have no choice. I fear what the repercussions of these mass gatherings will be beyond the immediate impact.

The coronavirus knows no limits. Young and old are dying from it. Over 100,000 have died thus far. Most rioters were not wearing masks or practicing social-distancing. I believe a new outbreak will happen in the next couple of weeks. It's inevitable. 

That outside agitators, like white supremacists' and anarchists, are taking advantage of the civil unrest to further their own agendas, there can be no doubt. I also note that the Russians are taking advantage of these terrible times with online influencing causing more chaos.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**A State of Emergency was declared by Portland's mayor. The shit hit the fan in Portland Friday night, as it joined 39 other cities in violent protests spurred on by George Floyd's murder in real time.

**Gathering of idiots - Hermiston, was the setting for the convergence of right-wing activists and militia leaders from across the state yesterday. 

The event was held to protest Oregon's continued shutdown of some sectors of the state's economy and schools, and to encourage people to be politically active, according to organizers. The latter is the real reason the trolls got together.

Some of the clown groups that attended: Patriot Prayer, Oregon 111percent Militia, and the Oath Keepers. A roundup of anti-government zealots always looking for trouble.

Their purpose? The same purpose outside agitators in cities across the country have - to create chaos in a society they hate. 

Quote for the Day; "Then the storm broke, and the dragons danced." -George R.R. Martin

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...