Saturday, September 12, 2020

We're Fighting Fires and Rumors In Medford and the Rest of Oregon

The City of Phoenix has been wiped off the map by the firestorm that moved through the Rogue Valley in recent days.
Pandemic Diary
Day 180

Dear Diary,

As I write this, the sky is a smoky slate gray outside my window. I just heard our water supply is okay in Medford, but  nearby Talent and Phoenix residents aren't so lucky.

They have been warned by authorities to boil the water in their cities because of bacteria in the systems. Both cities are disaster zones that are closed to all but residents.

Nearby Ashland, where the fire started here in the valley is still only 50 percent contained. Thus far, I'm aware of three people who have perished in the firestorm from the Talent and Phoenix areas. Authorities expect to find more bodies as they go through the scorched land.

The air quality here in Medford (and the valley) is hazardous and M-95 masks should be worn - not just for COVID - but to filter the thick ash in the air. 

The thing that really pisses me off today... authorities are pleading with the public to only trust and share information verified by official sources because a bunch of right-wing and QAnon wackos are claiming all the fires have been set by "Antifi" members!

This incident highlights how online conspiracy theories, a sustained right-wing campaign to create increased fear of anti-fascist groups, and amplification of false claims by QAnon followers have real consequences.

The FBI responded to the false claims yesterday, saying they weren't true. State authorities also confirmed the rumors were bullshit. But the militia/Trump creeps are out there with their weapons looking for trouble.

It's hard to believe this is what our society has sunken to. Even natural disasters created by climate change are politized and weaponized. It's sickening.

The latest state count reveals over a half of million people have been evacuated from their homes. This is a fluid statistic as fires are still raging up and down the state.

North of us in Portland, the mayor has declared a state of emergency, closing city parks and activating evacuation sites for people in threatened areas.

There's thirty-seven active wildfires as of yesterday. For the last 10 years Oregon we've seen an average of 500,000 acres burned each year. So far, we've had 900,000 acres destroyed...and still counting.

My heart goes out to the millions of Americans fighting and fleeing from this horrible West Coast firestorm. It can't be over soon enough.

Quote for the Day: "Always remember...Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots."  -Ziad K. Abdelnour  

Friday, September 11, 2020

Oregonian's Observations About the West Coast Wildfires and the Challenges to Our Nation

Pandemic Diary
Day 179

Dear Diary,

A worried nation, and world, is watching the ominous orange skies stretching from Washington to California in a scene out of some dystopian future.

Raging wildfires are breaking records as the devastating toll on lives and homes is beginning to emerge. The smoke is literally blocking out the sun in parts of Oregon and California.

Here in Medford, we are having a reprieve from the fast-moving fires as the winds have died down and nearby fires are being suppressed as I write this.

I want to think that there will be no more fires nearby, or in the rest of the state, but facts tell me to expect more. We're just coming into fire season. The same for California and Washington.

California is being hit the hardest with the worst fires to ever be recorded there. Each one of just four of the outbreaks have already destroyed more acreage than ever before. The state is on fire.

Oregon is setting records for historic wildfires that have already burned over 900,000 square miles. 

The city of Phoenix, next to to Medford is no more. It's smoldering ashes. 

Authorities are saying one of the wildfires north of us is the largest ever recorded in the state. Marion County officials confirmed that two bodies have been discovered in a car along Oregon 22.

My middle son lost everything he owned when all three storage facilities he was renting in Phoenix were incinerated. A complete loss. 

His personal memories were burned up along with an outside restaurant - a hot dog stand with tables, chairs, all the cooking utensils, and supplies he'd just purchased for ten thousand dollars.

I could tell more stories locally that are even more heartbreaking just to think about. I won't. There's just too many. I wonder how long it will take for our community to recover from this disaster?

If there was ever a time to feel overwhelmed...this is it. Our country is facing the worst pandemic in 100 years. The main street economy is collapsing while Wall Street somehow thrives.

Wildfires are raging across the country, not just the West Coast. We have a president whose corruption is causing hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19 with no end in sight.

If that's not enough, in eight weeks the fate of this nation will be decided at polling places and by more mail-in votes than anytime in history. 

Now add Trump discrediting mail-in voting and his minion Postmaster DeJoy's scheme to slow down the postal service to allow Trump to contest the results if they take too long coming in.

Fortunately, I'm not overwhelmed. I'm just too stubborn to be, and have been a survivor all of my life. There's always tomorrow.

Quote for the Day: "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." -Moliere

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Our First Evacuation: The Rogue Valley Firestorm Came Like a Freight Train

The Rogue Valley firestorm, 2020
Pandemic diary
Day 178

Dear Diary,

Thus far in 2020, everything has been surreal - like something out of the apocalypse or the Bible describing the End Times. I'm know I'm being dramatic... but damn it, that's how I feel.

My wife for 46-years and our five animals - two dogs, and three cats - were forced to flee from our house in Medford, Oregon when strong winds carried wildfires through the Rogue Valley like a freight train.

A wildfire broke out in Ashland two days ago and within hours the powerful winds carried the flames down the I-5 corridor forcing the 82,000 inhabitants of Medford to flee for shelter in the state fairgrounds by Central Point.

Shirley and I are first-comers to experiencing the devastating effects of a natural disaster. We never thought something like that would happen to us. The shock is both sudden and surreal.

As we tried to calmly gather up our important papers and processions an orange glow lit up the sky. We went from level 2 warning to a level three within hours before being warned to evacuate our neighborhood.

The animals were a challenge. We'd loaned out our cat carriers and were forced to load up our three very scared felines with blankets wrapped around them. Not easy. The dogs were easier with their harnesses on.

As our packed little King Cab pickup made it's way to the shelter fires were breaking out and literally following us north. 

At times the embers were in front of our vehicle. The wind gusts were driving the flames along like devils running alongside us.

Traffic got heavier as we neared our destination. Long lines of pickups and sedans streaked in a steady stream toward the safety of the fairgrounds. Flashing lights and sirens filled the chaos with a sense of urgency and desperation. Our dogs whimpered in fright as they sensed the danger in the air.

The sky was a dirty bronze hue colored with blazing flashes of bright red and orange when we arrived at the shelter. Community volunteers were directing traffic and Red Cross volunteers handed out water and food. There were stockpiles of blankets and animal food.

When we finally parked we were fried. Adrenalin had carried us that far but we were feeling the effects when we slumped in our seats and waited. 

There was no thought of sleeping inside the shelter. Not in these days of COVID-19. 

We'd brought water and food for ourselves and the animals and were content to sit there all night.

Which we did, before going home the next day, haggard but happy when we learned our house didn't burn down! With the destruction all around our area we felt like it was a miracle our neighborhood still stood. 

The one big thing that stands out to me, in retrospect, was the lack of emergency communication in the entire Rogue Valley. 

There was none! We learned more from Facebook friends than any local authorities who were scrambling around trying to keep up with the firestorm engulfing the valley.

The lesson is clear here in Medford... the authorities better get their shit together, because this fire season isn't over yet!

Quote for the Day: "Some say the world in end in fire, some say in Ice." -Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Trump's Death Star is in Trouble: Deutsche Bank Gives 'The Force' Damning Evidence

Pandemic Diary
Day 177

Dear Diary,

Hail one, and all! 

May The Force be with you! 

The battle against Trump/aka Darth Vader and The Force (majority of Americans) has intensified in recent months.

Thus far Trump has managed to elude justice by misusing the powers of his presidency; in essence by making it his own Death Star (fictional mobile space station and galactic super weapon).

That streak of avoidance is going to end soon. On August 3rd, Deutsche Bank turned over all it's financial records on Trump and his evil organization to the New York District Attorney's office.

The DA in charge of the case Cyrus Vance, hasn't disclosed details about his probe yet, but his lawyers told a federal judge two weeks ago that it was a "complex financial investigation" that followed public reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization."

Like Darth Vader's fate in Star Wars, Trump's Death Star is going to explode soon. No one is sure just when...but it could be any day now. Every new day seems to bring more flak against his once impenetrable shield of bullshit and lies.

Once staunch crew members and loyal minions have been jumping ship lately in an effort to avoid the toxicity that has turned the Republican party into a cult for Trump.

The inevitable blowup will undoubtedly take his most loyal subjects - echoing Jim Jones and his deadly cult of Kool aid drinkers - with him into the annuals of American infamy.

Trump's increasingly violent rants are angering our armed forces (active and retired) who resent being used as propaganda props for his re-election campaign.

In a truly Darth Vader type move he's cast a dark pall of uncertainty over two of Americas most beloved institutions: the military, and the United States Postal Service.

Meanwhile, The Force - the American people - must keep the faith and know that the good guys will win in the end.

Quote for the Day: "I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world." -Charles Dickens

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Trump House: The Desecration of the White House

Pandemic Diary
Day 176

Dear Diary,

The Trump regime has dismantled nearly every tradition associated with the White House. Not to mention every ethics violation in relation to the People's House.

It became The House of Trump in 2017. The former fading reality star turned the storied building into a stage for promoting racist propaganda and his own personal agenda which has nothing to do with the people.

Nothing was left unmolested as Trump put his stamp on the interior, and Melania went outside to destroy The Kennedy Rose Garden; the scene of many historic events, in a pathetic attempt to leave her mark. Or, smear. 

The South Lawn has been transformed into a rally site for his re-election numerous times in so-called "press briefings" that were nothing more that airing of his grievances. 

A large portion of Trump's documented 20,000 lies have been spewed from the North Portico while serving up his best Mussolini impressions during state events.

Melania's touch has extended to the interior of the White House as evidenced one Christmas when she put up a Blood Red forest in a hallway and called it festive. 

Her spokesperson confirmed the fashion statement was early Lucifer.

Trump has huddled in the Oval Office with Russian officials, mocking his own intelligence community, and colluding with their master Putin. Their jocularity at the firing of FBI chief James Comey rocked the American intelligence community.

In a cowardly display he had to hide in the White House bunker, while thousands of Americans protested his regime outside. He's welcomed more dictators than democratic leaders to the White House.

When Trump and his minions are evicted from the People's House it's going to need fumigated, sterilized, and exorcised.

Wiping out the shameful memories will be harder, but in time they'll pass into the oblivion of history. Buried in their own shame.

Quote for the Day: "It is incumbent upon us to understand our greatness and believe in it so that we do not cheapen and profane ourselves." -Meir Kahane

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Trump Zone: Where Reality is Slipping Into a Surreal Quagmire

Pandemic Diary
Day 175

Dear Diary,

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known as reality... it's called the Trump Zone.

In this vast zone, stupidity and space are as timeless as infinity. It's the murky ground of lies versus truth, light versus shadow, and between science and conspiracies.

It lies in the pits of Trump followers racist fears and distain for knowledge. 

This is the dimension of hoaxes and witch hunts. It's an area where laws and rules are bent into twisted shadows of a once proud republic.

In 2020, the Trump Zone threatens to drag our democracy into a quagmire that America may never recover from.

It's science-denying denizens are dying from the coronavirus in order to stay in the Zone.
Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone was a popular TV show that featured strange and disturbing stories that left viewers shaking their heads in wonderment.

Having grown up watching The Twilight Zone, I have always enjoyed "surprise fiction.

However, what's happening today in the Trump Zone is far worse than anything Sterling ever wrote, or even envisioned. That goes for Alfred Hitchcock too.

Quote for the Day: "I've been so in the zone, you don't know where you're at." -Brooks Koepka

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Trump Victory Boat Parade Defeated By 'Antifa Navy'

Pandemic Diary
Day 174

Dear Diary,

It started out to be a perfect MAGA celebration on Lake Travis in Texas, but ended in a stunning defeat for the Trump Victory Boat Parade.

Horrified onlookers began to notice boats sinking in suddenly choppy water caused by the...
Antifa Navy!
One organizer said it was no accident the boats were sinking everywhere, and suggested terrorists were behind it.

Another organizer came right out and claimed it was the Antifa Navy. Still another said the Antifa Navy was in cahoots with the Antifa Spaceforce to accurately single out specific boaters to sink.

Antifa Navy weighs in on operation Sinking Trumpians
Brave Antifa Navy sailors stand on the deck of the USS BIDEN BLUE WAVE submarine, following their stunning defeat of the Trump Navy in the Battle of Lake Travis yesterday.

TRUMP NAVY responds...

The Antifa Navy, led by Admiral Benbow, Captain Crunch, and Seaman D'Mon launched a nefarious, salacious, and mendacious attack against patriot boaters on Lake Travis.

Suspiciously large Chicken Noodle soup cans were seen floating everywhere.

Alex Jones is going to investigate how the Antifa Navy made the water so choppy. 

Observations from shore side witnesses

Female Observer, "The whole thing was straight out of a comedy. It should be called Dumbkirk," she chuckled.

Onsight Reporter, "It quickly became apparent that most boaters were drunk on their asses and speeding. There was something symbolic about the bigger boats swamping the smaller ones in a mad rush to nowhere."

Male Observer, "I liked the part where the Antifa submarine surfaced after firing Chicken Soup torpedo's."

Quote for the Day: "If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave." -Mo Willems

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...