Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Gloaters, Gloating

It’s the gloating. 

Like President Biden, I accept a verdict rendered by twelve citizens, because that’s how it works, and that’s that. Perhaps the instructions they were given by the obviously partial and borderline-nuts judge were a fair rendering of Wisconsin law on self-defense, which, as I understand it, is the stuff of NRA dreams. Poor kid was scared for his life, wept convincingly, so… 

The gloating, though. It burns through what ought to be, on this day after Thanksgiving, a pleasant post-tryptophan fog. It’s a reminder of what we’ve become, and where it leads. Well, not “we,” really. They. “Rhymes-with-Tucker” Carlson already making a laudatory “documentary” about him, had a crew in the car that drove him from the courthouse. The Republican House’s most despicables (tough call) scrambling to be the first to offer him a job, fundraising off it. Madison Cawthorn, after the verdict, saying “Be armed, be dangerous, be moral.” (“Moral.” Nice touch.) Trump, Jr., wanting to gift the boy a real AR-15. Rightwing media, green-light orgasmic

Because, when you have only anger, not a single idea (in the case of the despicables, not a single piece of legislation) that might make life better for non-millionaire fellow Americans, sticking it to the libs and gloating about it is the best you can muster. Seeing them die? Even better.

Their hero may be legally innocent, but he was, and is, no human innocent. Filled with the juvenile version of white resentment and delusions of grandeur; after announcing, before crossing state lines to “protect businesses” that didn’t need it, that he planned to become famous, he had his mommy (!) drive him to Kenosha. Carrying an illegally-obtained assault-style weapon, he placed himself amongst demonstrators, possibly responding to a rightwing call to "take up arms." As people bravely tried to disarm him (fearing for the lives of others) after he’d already killed one, he was firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Squeezed off a few more rounds, killing one more and wounding another. Wish granted: a rightwing hero before the smoke cleared, nor the blood dried.

Did his trial-tested tears come from non-rehearsed remorse, or pre-trial coaching? After all, immediately following his “not guilty” plea he headed to a bar, where his underage drinking, paid for by the assembled crowd, was Wisconsin-legal because his mommy (!) accompanied him. There, he posed with Proud Boys, flashing the white-power hand-sign and wearing a T-shirt that said “Free as F--k.” That’s who he is, whom Trumpists adore.

And it’s who they are, these self-described patriots. By definition, that ought to make every true patriot sick. Feeling ill at where they’re taking America is now what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans. We feel sick; they gloat. The sicker we, the gloater they. Oh, but he isn’t a racist, he told Tucker. Loves him some BLM.

No matter the finer points of Wisconsin’s finest laws, imagine if the kid were black, had showed up, armed unlawfully, at a rally of unarmed white people; paraded through the crowd, then killed a few who tried to take his weapon. Even if he claimed he feared for his life, how likely is it he’d be exonerated?

There followed, of course, the predictable, counterproductive rioting from the usual crowd (whoever they really are) in Portland. Probably too soon after the verdict for Trumpism’s best to organize a lib-hunt. Next time, now that they’ve seen there being no consequences. If not Portland, somewhere. Count on it

And count on the kid being all over rightwing media. Lionized at Trump rallies. Probably running for office someday. Winning. Look out, Gaetz, Cawthorn, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, Boebert, Gohmert, McCarthy, Cruz, Hawley, McConnell, Blackburn, Paul, Graham... You have tough competition for the Deplorability Gold Medal. What a list. People offering nothing positive, voting against their constituents’ best interest at every opportunity. In a party that glorifies violence; rewards those who encourage or commit it. Make anime about it. And, always, receives praise from Trump.

Millions of them, gloating. Even as President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, whom they hate more than they care about their children’s future, are, unlike that thrombus of Congressional Rs, producing non-socialist legislation that will make life better for them and America.

It’s more proof of the effectiveness of a constant deluge of disinformation on people made irreversibly ignorant by their calculatingly dishonest, deliberately inciting media sources. Hero-worshipping a smirking white-supremacist-would-be for killing libs, convinced the ones getting things done on their behalf are their enemy. Not in the most dystopian novel, ever, would such a premise be considered believable. It’s that. All of it. 

And the gloating.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A Party Gone Nuts


If the revelations of the past several days haven’t convinced the convincible that the Republican Party, as currently unconstituted, is a clear and present danger to America, cares only about party power, and gone completely over to embracing the worst among us, well, nothing will. It’s hard to know where to start.

When President Biden accomplished what Trump couldn’t, namely getting an infrastructure bill through Congress; and, worse, when thirteen members of their party voted for it, Republicans lost their minds. Called them traitors. Acted as if they’d let Trump’s pal Putin annex the country. Sent death threats like Harry and David fruit baskets.

Georgia’s Congress-defiler Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who, because of her full-time, unproductive nastiness, has become an object of Republican adoration, published the home addresses and phone numbers of the thirteen, deliberately endangering them. Hoping for it. Now they and their families are so vilely threatened that some feared being seen at the signing ceremony.

For what? For deciding that bringing jobs to their districts, along with needed improvements in too many necessities to mention here, was important enough to risk their jobs. For improving their constituents’ lives. As Congresspeople are supposed to do. Risky only in a party that’s gone insane.

But, thanks to Trump et ilk, that’s where we are: a country in which bipartisanship, even in something formerly as uncontroversial as bringing infrastructure toward levels seen in more advanced societies, is political suicide. Because half the country has been convinced, by media doing the work of our international rivals, that it’s socialism or communism, the definitions of which they could no more recite than Critical Race Theory or the Bill of Rights.

Because, metaphorically, they’d happily live in a moldy, cold house without power, under a leaking roof, stranded by a fallen bridge, in order to “stick it to the libs.” Most of the jobs created, of course, will be private-sector. It’s capitalism! Self-harm for political gain: the new definition of insanity.

And whereas they’re attacking their infrastructure-approving members, Republican leaders have been silent on one of their top candidates, in a crowded field, for most horrible member, Arizona’s Paul Gosar, after he posted an anime of himself killing AOC. Across the spectrum and well-received by their voters, Republican advocacy of violence has become a signature element. The more outrage they get from sane people, the better they like it. Tucker Carlson has become the pyrite standard of Foxotrumpian fomentation by falsehood

There’s more. Long overdue, deserved also by several of Trump’s other anti-democracy co-conspirators, Steve Bannon was finally indicted for refusing a Congressional subpoena. Because, you know, law. The Constitution. Bulwarks against autocracy. Things Republicans once valued. Allegedly. Their response? Promises to do the same when they regain control. Because holding lawbreakers to account is something deserving of retaliation. Res, as they say, ipsa loquitur.

Then there’s Trump’s first-choice, best-people, National Security Advisor, pardoned criminal, insurrection facilitator, Q-believer Michael Flynn, calling for Christianity to be the single and only religion in America. To the usual combination of cheers from Trumpists and silence from everyone else on that side. If Trump, our least godly “president,” ever, returns to office, don’t think it couldn’t happen. And don’t expect objections from his party.

Also, even as Trump tries desperately to conceal the truth, facts keep falling like Autumn leaves, as House committees investigate January’s attempted coup. Revelations of how close we came. The clandestine planning leading up to and during January 6. Convolutedly crazy but seriously-proposed justifications for overturning a legitimate, fraud-free election. The fact that Trump defended those chanting “Hang Mike Pence;” that at least one Republican senator, Doctor (to my shame) Barrasso of Wyoming, refused to speak ill of it. Amoral cowardice. 

We’ve also seen more clearly Trump’s malfeasance in addressing the pandemic. The suppression of facts, the silencing of CDC scientists, the outright lies about the seriousness facing the country. How many thousand deaths were due to dereliction even greater than previously understood? 400,000, evidently.

Finally, the revealed memo detailing that Trump fired SecDef Esper because he balked at turning our military into Trump’s personal hit squad against lawful protesters. Had he succeeded, can anyone doubt Trumpists, glued to their TVs, would have watched enraptured? 

This is the guy and these are the people that eighty-plus percent of Republicans want to return to power. A party of, by, for, and about criminality. How any decent person can retain membership is mystifying. Especially in our state, where some respectable conservatives remain. Elsewhere, the crazies have all the power. It bodes ill.

And we haven’t even mentioned covering up a war crime. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Parental Choice


In fifth grade, my teacher gave an example of disinformation. There was a competition, he said, between a Soviet-made car and an American one. The American won. Russia’s newspaper, Pravda, reported an international contest between cars, in which the Soviet car came in second, while the American finished next to last. In Russian, “Pravda” means “truth.” Which it was.

In a local school board race, a candidate’s campaign website featured pictures of a cute, blond, white girl-child and a kimono-wearing (because that’s what they wear) Japanese girl of similar age. “Blaming her for slavery,” it said, referring to the former, “Is like blaming her (the latter) for Pearl Harbor.” Also true. Even though no one is.

Presuming voter ignorance, “Take Critical Race Theory out of our public school system,” was the concluding tagline. It’s not in it, but that’s not the point, either. Republicans cooked up a vote-getting hot-button lie; one that fits snugly behind a forehead, the extraction of which requires too many words for Trumpic consumption. It worked

Riding the wishful whirlwind even further, they’re now campaigning on parents’ right to decide what their children learn in public schools. Likely, it won Virginia’s governorship for Glenn Youngkin. Brilliant. As not-brilliant as Terry McAuliffe’s summary dismissal of the idea. Yet again, a proper response requires more thought than Trumpists prefer. 

Nevertheless, it deserves credible conversation from both sides, not that such a thing exists anymore. Let’s consider it anyway.

Can we agree that societies have a stake in what’s taught in schools; maybe, even, that societies’ needs outweigh those of interest groups? We’ve already seen a sample of Soviet subterfuge. It should be obvious that having nothing but mis- or uninformed citizens opens the door to tyranny. Throughout history, nascent dictators have crossed that transom to little resistance. Others, home-grown, are still trying.

On the other hand, at least theoretically, in a democratic republic the people’s voice is controlling. Or was, pre-McConnell, pre-Foxotrumpism. We presume the people pushing parental power over pedagogy will predominate in political polling. They’re on it already – Republicans are as good at disingenuous messaging as Democrats are bad at it. So how do they propose it should work? They don’t. What’s important is that it inflames superficial thinkers and scores votes. 

Consider a state in which parents would have a say in public school curricula. How much of a say? In what subjects? All parents or chosen ones? Should it be the loudest shouters at school board meetings? Or would there be a parental committee? Selected how, and by whom? Will particular qualifications be required?

Would there be a list of books to be allowed, or banned, subject to popular vote? Who makes the list? What consideration is given to parents who disagree?

How about words? The aforementioned school board candidate said “equity” is a divisive one. Should every parent have the right to tell teachers what their individual children may and may not hear? Or should it be by majority vote of the classrooms’ parents? How, specifically, would this terrific idea work?

In some red states, where, ironically, so-called “liberal cancel culture” is bandied, banning words is under consideration. “Racist” has been suggested. Texas’ governor wants to remove from school libraries any books that any parent claims causes “discomfort.” (Remember “snowflakes?”)

So, if they don’t want their kids reading about slavery, no kids can? What about evolution? Or Jonas Salk, Susan B. Anthony, John Ross? Tulsa? Elvis? Is enforced ignorance good for our country, or, like wearing masks, doesn’t caring about community matter?

Teaching America’s history, unvarnished, is the primary source of rightwing outrage. Science, too. Will Trumpic states produce only kids who are clueless about how and by what means America’s ethics and laws have evolved? Or about science; unable, unwilling, uninterested in knowing what’s real? Other than Republican politician, for what occupation would they be equipped? And let’s not even think about sex education. 

Leave it to liberals, though, to go to their own ridiculous extremes. Consider a proposal in California, where woke is oke. Addressing the gap in math scores, which is real, serious, and a threat to us all, they’d stop identifying gifted children – even suggesting there’s no such thing. Rather than provide accelerated education, they’d have those kids spend time helping the strugglers. Make math “socially responsible.” The consequences for all students and for society are so obvious it’s amazing it was proposed. 

"Sister Sarah (she/her) has five organic, pesticide-free, socially-distanced apples in a hemp basket. How many…" 

That’s why Democrats, despite truly good intentions, lose elections. And why Republicans, despite truly bad ones, win. 
 


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Flight Of Fancy



As a Flight Surgeon in Vietnam, I was required to fly a certain number of hours per month, on what were, by military definition, combat missions. I chose to avoid bombing operations; rather, I mostly flew in a spy/electronic warfare plane (EC-47), which was, I admit, fun. Because, since they were boring flights for the pilots, who had to, for hours, fly vectors ordered by the spooks in the back of the plane, they let me do the flying (“Roger, left oh-two-oh. Rollout…”)

On my final flight before DEROS (vets know it), the squadron commander asked who landed the plane. Complimented it. “It was the Doc,” the guys said. Humbly, I accepted the accolade.

I flew some refueling flights, too, during which I got to operate the boom that delivered the gas. Lying on my belly, facing backwards, looking out a small window in the tail of a converted 737 (KC 135) as F-4s appeared, joined up behind the tanker, close enough to see the pilots’ faces. Using a joystick, I directed the hose into an opening on the fighter-bomber’s front. At which point one pilot held up a photo that could be taken as a metaphor. Is all I have to say about that.

One flight took me very close to Hanoi. When the pilot announced “bandits” coming onto our “six,” I reached for my parachute and survival vest. Stupid, really, since we were in a gas tank with wings. Not hard to imagine what would happen, were we hit.

My point, here, is that survival vest. It included several interesting items: a hacksaw blade enclosed in a rubber sleeve so it could be inserted in a less-than-sunny location, if you get the drift. Maps. Minimal rations. Flashlight. A beautiful silk cloth bearing an American flag and several Asian languages stating that my government would reward the finders if they kept me safe. Not super reassuring.

And a .38 pistol, containing six rounds of ammo, two of which were tracers. Fighter pilots found that number wholly inadequate, and added bandoliers with a couple hundred rounds. Me? I figured if I found myself on the ground, in a jungle full of hostiles, armed only with a six-shot pistol, in a situation demanding firing off hundreds, all I really needed was one. Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a Green Beret. 

Reading about the burgeoning market for war-training camps for civilians, brings us to my ultimate point. Militia types, learning urban warfare, are readying to take on libs in a battle to the death. And a Trumpopatriot who, at a recent conservative symposium, asked “When do we get to use the guns.” When, he demanded, can we start killing “those people” who stole the election. The audience cheered. 

The flames are fully fanned, by people lacking any positive ideas, who know they can only win by creating murderous outrage; fueled by which those propagandized patriots, already armed beyond measure, are now practicing for civil war. Our pal Tucker Carlson, for example, is using his latest abomination of a movie, “Patriot Purge,” for no other purpose than that. Creating the America he wants. With his millions, no doubt he’s sure he’ll be safely tuckered away from the rabble, sipping champagne and touching himself. 

In these horrifying times, knowing those people are everywhere now, thanks to believing Trump’s and Tucker’s and Sean’s and Alex’s and so many more’s lies (CRT!! In schools!!!), I think back to circling over Hanoi in that tanker. Reaching for a flimsy, survival-style flak vest, bearing a six-shooter. And today, seriously wondering if is this the time when I ought to arm myself, too. Go out there like a stupefied survivalist, load up with anti-personnel mines, booby traps, full-body armor, ARs and .50 cals, thousands of rounds of ammo, fill a shelter with freeze-dried food. Generators. Water filtration.

I have two deeply adorable grandchildren – I’m sure the only ones more adorable are yours – and, like any loving grandparent, I’d do anything to protect them. Die for them, if it came to that.

But then, would I want to live in a country where mind-controlled militias, itching to kill libs like me, roam the streets? Free to do it because their Congressional and judicial enablers, fearing them, provided the means, despite representing the minority of American citizens. Enraged, brainwashed, believing every lie they’re being told. They’re nearly in charge already, threatening poll workers and school officials, obliterating democracy. Making America exceptionally deplorable.

Fueling that F-4 over Hanoi, looking into its pilot’s eyes, a few seconds after reaching toward that vest, I drew my hand back, empty

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Fair Warning

 


“Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation.” — James Madison

A wretched situation, indeed. Because, whereas many of the Republicans in Congress – McCarthy, Boebert, Gohmert, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, Brooks, Paul, Cruz, Tuberville, etc. – are liars, stupid, or nuts, not all of them are. Mitch McConnell, though a liar, is a genius at perverting everything Democrats are trying to do to help average Americans: which happens to include most of his red-state constituency. He can’t be ignorant of the damage he’s causing; by that, and by closing his eyes to Trumpism. Destitute in virtue, rich in avaricious cowardice, he remains silent; the poster boy for the impending crisis. 

Everyone who cares about America’s future must read the recent dissertation in the Washington Post written by Robert Kagan, actual conservative and member of America’s most respected and balanced think tank, the Brookings Institution. Titled “Our Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here,” it’s a frigid dose of reality. If you profess love of America and its form of government, read it, as an act of patriotism. That includes Trumpists, professors for sure. (Non-subscribers have access to a limited number of articles.)

The opening quote of this column, above, also begins the essay. It continues: “The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves…” Later: “… Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary... Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022…

Kagan’s analysis of why Trump can do no wrong in the eyes of his supporters, why cowardly Republican leaders fear him, and what it means for democracy, rings true. Justifying red state legislatures’ efforts to legalize overturning disliked election results, unwavering belief in his “stolen election” lie is at the heart of it. A trumpet, heralding the political apocalypse.

The more Trump’s lies are pointed out, the more his cultists love him. “The events of Jan. 6 … proved that Trump and his most die-hard supporters are prepared to defy constitutional and democratic norms…,” writes Mr. Kagan. Said a capitol-rioting woman, he reminds us, “We weren’t there to do damage. We were just there to overthrow the government.” “Just,” she said. Just.

More convincingly and eloquently, Kagan echoes what I’ve written many times: that Madison, et. al., figured they’d created the checks and balances necessary to prevent authoritarianism. Then, though, there were no political parties. If they arose, they surmised, it’d be limited to some states; and, whereas a psychologically unfit deceiver like Trump might become popular locally, national appeal was impossible. Wrongly, they assumed an informed electorate. White, male, and landed, to be sure; but well-enough educated to rebuff demagoguery. Modern Republicans have put that fantasy to rest. Our forefathers were tragically mistaken.

Nor could they imagine today’s rightwing wholesale rejection of the backbone of democracy: elections. Accepting outcomes. Instead, it’s willingness to burn the country down (figuratively, mostly, so far), including threats to poll-workers and their families, to maintain their personal privilege, dismissing the impact on our future. Virtuous it isn’t.

If legislating away free and fair elections is Trumpism’s most obvious threat, anti-mask/anti-vaccine activism is vivid proof of the loss of American idealism for a third of the country and ninety percent of Republicans. All-but-inexplicable susceptibility to transparent lies. Overarching disinterest in understanding the avarice behind them, uncaring how their selfish, misguided, manipulated refusals harm others. (Obvious statement: had American virtue been more present among Trumpists, mandates would have been unnecessary.)

Republicans love to claim Abraham Lincoln as their own, while ignoring his ethos: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right…” Speaking of Whom, they also claim exclusive rights to Jesus. Which makes sense only if they believe the Sermon on the Mount is fake news. Also fake: Republican Secretaries of States’ attestations to a fraud-free election. And that Arizona thing.

Nothing can convince Trumpists they’re being lied to: about the election, CRT, masks and vaccines; glaring, dangerous, and deeply cynical as those lies are. If Mr. Kagan is to be proved wrong, it’ll be when people like Mitch McConnell and actual conservatives, caring nearly as much for America as for themselves, find the courage to disavow Trumpism and the corrosion at its core. Now or never. Like climate change. Time has all but run out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Critical Thinking. Or Lack Thereof.

File under “duh.” Is what I thought when I saw the headline: “Conspiracy theorists lack critical thinking skills: New study.” But it was a slow day, so I read the article. Although it lacked a link to the study, it described what was done: giving groups of students an established critical thinking essay test and correlating results with belief in conspiracy theories. The unsurprising results, and the test itself, are stated in the article. Like I said: duh. It did make a provocative, if questionable point, saying susceptibility to conspiratorial thinking had nothing to do with intelligence. Well, okay. Maybe it’s a matter of definition. 

But that’s not the important part. The article also cited studies showing that, unlike intelligence, critical thinking can be taught. Which led to an “aha” moment. It explains the depressing scenes of demon-possessed parents at school board meetings, spouting insane falsehoods, threatening jobs and lives, based on fact-free belief in repeatedly disproved conspiracy theories. Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Unnamed “studies” showing the ineffectiveness and dangers of wearing masks. And of vaccines. Comparing (because Tucker Carlson and the rest of Fox’s falsifiers do) mask mandates to felonious child abuse, or to the Holocaust. Threatening dire reprisals

Lacking, as they do, critical thinking skills, those blood-in-the-eye, crazed true believers can’t help themselves. Knowingly pushing those lies, though, the prime poisoners of their paralyzed perceptions can. Which is where the article triggered the “aha.” It’s in public schools, after all, that people begin to acquire critical thinking skills and the desire to engage them. And what Foxotrumpian leaders fear most is critical thinking.

As with the need to create distrust in free and fair elections, which they know they can’t win, so the Trumpublican Party needs to create as much distrust in public education as possible, lest too many citizens become thinkers. They’ve been working on it for decades; now, the pandemic has gifted them the perfect whipping-up boy. Vaccines. Masks. Mandates. Pure evil, right in our schools, intentionally harming our kids. Just like those child-trafficking, baby-killing, blood-drinking, liberal hangers-out at pizza joints.

But, Q dang it, critical thinking can be taught! Which imperils the con; namely, spreading lies to keep people distracted from what Trumpublicans are doing to their health, their education, their planet, their future, (in the case of infrastructure, it’s what they’re not doing), their chance at The American Dream -- in order to reward themselves and their donors.

Uncharacteristically, a guest on Fox “news” just unbagged the feline. “This is gonna be a boon, or a boom,” he said, referring to those demented protests at school board meetings, “for private schools, for charter schools, for homeschoolers, who are gonna look for an alternative other than in the public schools…” 

That’s the logic: Voters who think critically see through the grift. Critical thinking starts with public education. Ergo, destroy or dumb it down to meaninglessness. Whitewash history. Knowing it’s nothing of the sort, call teaching about slavery or the Trail of Tears, for example, attempts to get white kids to hate themselves. Describe efforts, in K-12 education, to mitigate the effects of poverty on performance, as “divisive.” Ban it from curricula. It’s “cancel culture,” multiplied times Texas. Where it’s been raised to supra-snowflake levels

In fairness – and I’m nothing if not fair – I’ll assume most of those furious parents believe they’re acting in their children’s interest. Because they lack the tools of resistance to Carlsonian confabulations, they’re unquestioning in their conspiratorial worldview, certain that even violence is justified. Who wouldn’t be, to protect their kids? Sadly, for everyone, they’re incapable of realizing the harm being done is coming from them

But, we’ve read, they’re not all stupid. Which means, had they any desire, they’re capable of exerting the minimal effort required to learn the truth. Theories abound about the attraction of conspiracy theories, and why such people prefer them. Mental illness. Loneliness. Desperation to belong. Validation of self-worth. Brains evolved to seek connections, short-circuiting into paranoia. Whatever the explanation, it’s there for exploitation by people of ill will. And if it’s always been a part of the human condition, the internet and (anti-)social media have given it the power to destroy. Nations. Democracy. Schools.

On the same slow day, I read an article about people trying to free themselves from the brain-eating bondage of Q-anon. Seeking cult-conversion therapy. Both hopeful and depressing, it describes only a small number of victims finding a way out. While others dig in deeper. 

At this point, is there a solution? Education? If only. Watch this, and decide.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Godfathered

 

Readers of last week’s column, which highlighted Trump’s bizarre claims about the extraneous Arizona election audit, are now convinced he’s a pathological liar or clinically insane. After this week’s, none will doubt he’s a would-be Mafia Don. Capo di tutti capi. Who controls a nationwide criminal organization intent on taking down democracy the way the Sicilian Mafia took down the few brave police and prosecutors who stood in their way.

(Having just spent time there, seeing memorials, everywhere, to those selfless resistors and the pride Sicilians deservedly take in finally standing up to the mob, we hope for comparable monuments in a future America. Assuming she has a future.)

Despite Republican/Trumpist/Foxian efforts to disappear it, some Americans might remember January 6. Some may even have sought legitimate, Fox/Newsmax/OAN-free sources of information about it, and discovered how Trump nearly accomplished overturning a legitimate, fraud-free election, by way of corrupt insiders and orchestrated insurrection. And the extent to which prominent Rs abetted the sedition. And still are. 

So, though its Republican members would like to rub it out, we have a Congressional Commission looking in. Subpoenas have been issued to Trump’s henchmen and consiglieri, as well they should. Because Congressional oversight is how our democracy protects itself from despotism. It’s in the Constitution – that hoary document which, while claiming willingness to die for it, today’s Republicans and their draft-dodging leader are setting on fire to light their torches of demographic resentment.

Overseeing the Executive is our Constitution’s second-most important safeguard. The Declarative Dads got several things wrong (slavery, women, Electoral College, too-skewed Senate), but, familiar with the tyranny of monarchical power, that part they got right. Without it, dictatorship is inevitable, and getting all too close.

Venerated parchment has no power of its own. Absent universal, non-partisan buy-in, calligraphic words are vapor. We’ve seen how close we came to a failed republic when Trump put lawless lackeys in charge of critical institutions. And we’ve heard the Republican hos and hums that followed.

Don Trumpleone doesn’t buy in, nor do members of his party in Congress. Or out in the states. So, despite lacking the power of office, but supported by his 24/7 network of media wiseguys, he made an offer they couldn’t refuse: Defy the subpoenas. Put concrete shoes on the rule of law. Shove it through smashed windows. Reveal yourselves as an anarchic crime family. It worked during impeachment, consequence-free. The party of law, patriotism, family values, and fiscal responsibility: making words meaningless; getting away with it.

Defy them they did. Which bids us to remind their cheerers-on, in case they’ve forgotten, that when a Republican Congress blamed Hillary Clinton for all our country’s woes, she, believing in law and order, answered their subpoenas, sat for eleven hours straight while trumped-up charges kangarooed her way; amounting, in the end, to nothing.

Contempt of Congress is a punishable crime, as it must be. This time, actual crimes were committed. Trump’s Department of Justice, upon which the responsibility of prosecution falls, was headed by an obsequious lieutenant, willing to lie to America, who considered his job protecting the godfather, rather than the law.

Now it’s Merrick Garland, a man of unquestionable integrity. Understanding and committed to preserving the independent role of his Department, unlike his conscience-free, Trumpophilic predecessors, it’s likely he’ll see justice served. And, accordingly, that our democracy and respect for its laws are preserved. 

At least we hope so. If not, it’s over. Foxotrumpification has brought us closer than the founders imagined possible. Not just politicians, and not just their disingenuous repetition of Trump’s Big Lie.

With deliberately incendiary language, amoral Foxfather Tucker Carlson, in it for money and the orgastic thrill of power over the incurably incurious, called on viewers to attack school boards for requiring masks. Criminal child abuse, he called it. They did as commanded. Such malleable idiocy is inimical to democracy and an embarrassment to long-gone Republicanism. It’s only one example of what they’ve become. 

More powerful than Congressional oversight, fair and free elections are the ultimate bulwark against authoritarianism. While proclaimed “conservatives” cheer in deadly silence, red states are close to obliterating that, too. With ever more egregious and blatantly race-based gerrymandering, along with phony laws aimed at non-existent fraud, the Trumpist gang has ordered a hit on majority rule. A carefully-calibrated coup

Without resistance from within, of which there’s little left, the Don and his transcontinental crime family will confirm how powerless our Constitution really is, when so few on the right actually believe in it.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from one of their most-targeted truth-tellers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

News Of The Week

 

If the current big and predictably evanescent story is the “Pandora Papers,” which confirmed – surprise! -- corruption among many world leaders and other wealthies, and how states like South Dakota, governed by one of Trump’s biggest sycophants, are welcoming tax cheats, there are other indicators, too, of how close to collapse we are. 

Anyone remember that “forensic” audit of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County? By a group headed by another Trump-fluffing faker? Which would prove Trump won and sell lots of pillows? Well, months and millions later, it released its findings: Biden still won. By more votes than previous recounts had found. Which might surprise Fox “news” viewers; after pre-hyping it incessantly, Fox made nearly zero mention of the final report.

But that’s not the story. The story is that, after the results became public, Trump stood before an enraptured crowd and, preceded by his usual hallucinatory word-salad, uncorked the following grotesquetude: “We won on the Arizona audit yesterday at a level you wouldn’t believe.” 

They would, though. In a functioning democracy, having borne witness to real-time, living proof he’s a liar or insane, everyone in attendance would have flown the coup. They didn’t. Didn’t even blink. Which underscores the success of perpetual Trumpic election fraud claims: suborning rejection of elections past, present, and future in which Republicans lose. To that end, despite multiple audits showing no fraud, more are underway in other red states, the outcomes of which don’t matter. To the pre-softened, it’s show, not substance.

Like the debt ceiling charade. Per usual, Republican tax cuts broke the budget. Then, predictable as Trump’s next confabulation, when the bill comes due, they threaten default, dishonestly blaming Democrats’ future plans, which include pay-for.

Speaking of duplicity, a member of the right-wing, white-supremacist group known as Boogaloo Bois just admitted posing as a BLM member while shooting up a police station in Minneapolis. It’s not the only instance; the FBI has said so. In fact, it’s a solid bet that nearly all violence at BLM demonstrations was by racist poseurs. Another instance of convincing the eagerly susceptible. “BLM is a terrorist group” is ubiquitous Foxotrumpian fake news. And believed. 

In another threat to the Republic, we’ve now passed 700,000 deaths from Covid-19; even as red-state governors do all they can to keep the pandemic alive. Even as deaths are now nearly exclusively among the unvaccinated. Doesn’t matter. If Trumpists believe he “won” the Arizona audit, they’ll believe anything, literally to their dying day.  

And they’ll believe, for another democracy-killing example, that Texas’ egregious anti-abortion law, based on lies, religious hypocrisy, false promises, and bad science, represents no threat to anyone other than young women and their doctors; because who cares? Monday, in a New Yorker interview, Attorney General Garland warned of disturbing possibilities.

The law, for technicalities that challenge comprehension, avoids judicial review of its blatant unconstitutionality by having “deputized” citizens, not state agencies, to become watchdogs and bringers of lawsuits against anyone exercising what remains, for now, a constitutional right. That’s as cynical as it gets.

The same approach could be legislated against any other right, avoiding judicial review, Garland stated. Not worried? What if it were guns? Or religion? No worries: it’d only be Islam, right? Judaism, maybe. Sikhs. Heads covered by anything but white sheets. Hyperbole? Texas is the latest red state proposing to make the Bible its “state book.”

Speaking of head-coverings, we learned last week that the anti-masks-in-schools movement gets funding from Koch-related money. Same with groups pushing the lie that Critical Race Theory is taught in our K-12 public schools. So virulent is that duo of disinformation that school boards around the country need federal protection. But, hey, it's okay with Republicans.

Clearly, Koch and other involved billionaires believe the way to keep their money safe from taxes that help average people, is continual, manufactured outrage. Truth being unprofitable, they opt for lying to reliably gullible Trumpists. 

But there’s no more sickening example of manufactured outrage than Fox “news” latest attack on Tammy Duckworth. What horrible people they are. 

Finally, there’s President Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. An unimaginable amount of money, causing predictable splits within the perennially suicidal Democratic Party, and fainting-couch hypocrisy from Republicans. How unimaginable? Well, it’d be spent over ten years. Meaning $350 billion per year, on programs that’d make millions of Americans safer, healthier, more secure, less impoverished, better prepared for employment. How much is that, in context? Less than half of what’s spent, annually, on the military. Makes you think. Or would, if thinking were still a thing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

It's Better In Italy


My absence from columny was due, in part, to having been nine time zones and more than a world away from the Trumpic outrages that have consumed me for the past few years. Italy. How calming to spend hours in magnificent medieval – and older – churches, absorbed in fantastic mosaics and frescos, statuary and architecture. Wandering ancient Greek and Roman ruins. 

We – my wife, one of her many sisters, and I -- were accompanied by a friend, a brilliant professor of art history, whose broad and deep knowledge of such things and ability and willingness to share it were gifts beyond measure. I’ll never process it all.

For many miles every day, we walked in 90ยบ weather; in Palermo, Napoli, Roma, Apulia, and surrounds, such that, despite indulging in perfectly legal, recreational gelato, we lost weight. In Italy! Home of pasta and pizza and cappuccino. Even as we gained knowledge.

And something more politically pertinent about our trip: Masks. Vaccination ID. Testing and vaccination stations on the streets. No one complaining. It was Italy, after all, at the beginning of the pandemic (which really happened and still is, in case you believe the deniers), that was hit hardest. Maybe it takes that amount of death and economic devastation to seal the message, in ways it seems not to have here, for selfish, deluded Trumpists. 

Maybe Italians are just smarter. Or traditionally more tuned in to family and friends; to caring about them. A tradition, for the last two thousand years, that actually follows the teachings of Christ, as opposed to the grifting, phony, fake Trumpochristianity that doesn’t.

To enter every museum, we showed proof of vaccination, had our temperature taken. On every bus, train, and subway, in which sanitizer dispensers were abundant, as they were in stores and restaurants, everyone wore masks without drama. Amazing. In a grocery store, I’d forgotten to put mine on and was reminded. “Mi dispiace,” I said, embarrassed. The clerk smiled.

How comforting to be surrounded by caring people, to whom it was as natural as, well, breathing. Who cared because it’s right; and because it’s what revitalized their economy. Streets were full of people strolling, enjoying life. Restaurants were full, too, as were other businesses. Not just with tourists. All because of uncomplicated, shared empathy; anathema to today’s Republican core. Why is it so impossible for them?

If America isn’t the only country with anti-maskers and anti-vaxers, ours are louder, more ubiquitous, more violent, more unrepentantly stupid and dangerous. Claiming it’s about freedom when, in fact, they’re prolonging the need for restrictions. Encouraging more dangerous mutations of the virus. Killing themselves by stupidity and denial.

And, by filling hospitals when they needlessly fall deathly ill, killing others from whom they’ve taken up beds. Swallowing unproven and disproven “cures,” refractory to facts about them. (It was in doses 100 times higher than achieved by ingesting the stuff that Ivermectin was shown to have some activity against the Covid-19. In a Petri dish.)

Made helplessly defenseless against the lies, Trumpists believe they’ll become magnetized, or sterile, or chipped, or bearers of “mutant” DNA, or mega-testicular, or, as a “doctor” recently proclaimed, that the vaccinated will be dead in five years. Clearly, there are people spreading those lies who do so deliberately. One can only wonder why. Especially when the victims are now, nearly exclusively, of their own political ilk

Even at that human cost, they’re willing to keep the pandemic going, so, come the next election and the second coming of Trump, they can blame it on Democrats. What other explanation is there for creating their cult of death? Other than making a ton of money off it, of course

To enter Europe, we had to show proof of vaccination; and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of returning home. By golly, the tests were negative, despite being body to body in public transportation, in which everyone was masked and most, presumably, vaccinated. No surprise. Not mysterious. All it takes is a spirit of cooperation and common cause. And a lack of unpatriotic idiocy.

In the apses of many of the churches we visited were beautiful mosaics of Christ Pantocrator, in which He gives a sign of blessing with His right hand, holding the New Testament in His left. In some images, the book is open, indicating the path to paradise. In others, it’s closed, portending the fate of people who reject His teachings. In those, it seemed He was speaking through the ages and directly to Trumpists. Who, while pretending to godly patriotism, couldn’t care less.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Social Darwinism

In a country gone nuts, providing facts is as effective as bailing a boat with a salad fork. Nevertheless, patriotism and decades of doctoring compel me to try.

What spurred this particular holler into the wind was learning of anti-vaxers who need blood transfusions, demanding they come from unvaccinated donors. Because, you know, human embryonic cells. Or microchips. Or altered DNA. Turn them into "mutants," Alex Jones warns.

Because they care about humanity, people who donate blood are likely to be vaccinated. When I’ve ordered transfusions, the victims were usually mid-exsanguination. “Ten units,” I’d order. “O-negative, stat!!” No preference-polls taken. Also, blood is scarce nationwide. Would they rather die? They’ve said so, vaccine-wise. So, good luck. 

It’s true that development of the Covid-19 vaccines employed a fetal stem cell line, used in research around the world ever since it was cultured in the Netherlands. In 1973. It’s unclear whether that line came from one of countless abortions induced by God – aka “miscarriages” -- or by doctors. More importantly, whereas the vaccines’ safety was initially tested utilizing cells from that venerable line, their production neither uses nor contains them.

Or microchips. And, as anyone with eighth-grade science education knows (this may exclude people who were taught science in certain red states, or here whose parents convinced them to disbelieve), there’s absolutely no way vaccines alter recipients’ genetic material. Zero. Zip. Nil. Nada. None. Convinced? Dumb question number one.

Refusers do, of course, expect all the benefits of their rejected medical science when they get sick. Imagine that.

After five decades toiling in operating rooms, wearing masks for hours, I attest to their safety. It’s our global adversaries and Trumpists (difference?) who, wanting to divide us, spread the lies. Who would equate demanding common sense and common purpose with oppression? Pal Putin, for one. And Trumpublican leaders, and Trump, and rightwing media inciters, all of whom require a steady supply of enraged followers.

Which they have, in a decades-old, in-house-designed, carefully-maintained line of medical-strength, unquestioningly malleable adult humans. Sharing characteristics with that half-century-old embryonic cell line: Lab-tested; reliable; behaviorally predictable. Only the latter, though, was intended to benefit humanity.

Nikki Haley, once and future Trumpublican star, just injected more pretense into the body politic. About President Biden pressuring the Taliban to not interfere with departing US citizens and Afghans who’d helped them, she opined: “Negotiating with the Taliban is like dealing with the devil.” Inexplicably, she didn’t burst into flames.

What a brazen example of expecting stupidity. Trump “negotiated” (stretching the definition) with them bigly, gave them everything, bragging all the way. Pressured Pakistan to free the imprisoned criminal who may become Afghanistan’s new leader; forced the Afghan government to release five-thousand more, now among the takers-over. Got empty promises in return. As with his other favorite tyrants, he still praises them. Does ex-ambassador Haley believe Trumpists are that ignorant? (Me: no comment.)

As he fantasizes “presidency” 2.0, the last thing Trump wants is President Biden succeeding in anything, including the pandemic. So effective was his previous dissembling that, when he half-heartedly suggested vaccination to Alabama rally-goers last week, they booed. They’ll continue dying. Even after ingesting deworming cow paste, which, helplessly Trumpofoxified, they trust over vaccines.

To the same end, Trump continues shoveling his big election lie. Which, even after witnessing the feathery explosion of Pillow Mike’s promised, irrefutable, reinstatement-inflicting evidence, the cult fervently believes. In a country gone nuts.

Across the land and here in Snohomish County, parents storm schools in anti-mask anger, physically attacking teachers, pulling off their masks, hurling racial insults, threatening more violence. Made to believe deliberate falsehoods, from which they’ll never extract themselves. Uncaring who gets infected, including themselves and their children.

It’s conceivable they don’t intend to become killers. Without question, though, some will. The kindest explanation is endless Foxotrumpian lies, leaving them defenseless. Otherwise, it’s that they’re dangerously dim. Or, worse, that they’re inherently malicious.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, anti-mask hero and pandemic down-player, became infected after meeting unmasked (but vaccinated) with a covey of wealthy, unmasked, Texatrumpic donors. Evidently afraid of dying, he started taking Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, indications for which rarely include people who, like him, are asymptomatic. “I will downplay the seriousness for thee,” says he, “But not for me.”

Trump and Abbott: anti-abortion (Trump, only recently, because…), anti-fetal stem cell research, taking Regeneron’s antibodies. Which – surprise! -- was developed using the very same embryonic stem cells as the vaccines.

Feel silly yet, anti-vaxer/anti-maskers? Used? Deceived? Manipulated? Dumb questions two through five. 

Clearly, they’ve been implanted with ignorance-inducing microchips.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Choice/No Choice

 


If the light-speed collapse of Afghanistan proves anything, it’s that, from day two, our involvement was a predestined failure. It did, however, make weapons manufacturers, Afghan “officials,” and warlords rich; and goosed the opium and meth industries

Any president would have retaliated after 9/11. Bush chose invasion. Alternatives are hard to conjure, so probably all others would have, too. Severe economic sanctions on the birthplace, funders, and protectors of al Qaeda, namely Saudi Arabia, would have made sense, had we not been addicted to their oil, nor our politicians to their cash. Only one legislator, California’s Barbara Lee, foresaw the inevitable and voted against the war.

And it was inevitable. Not for nothing, across centuries, has Afghanistan been considered the graveyard of empires. With its neighbors looking the other way or aiding the Taliban, “winning” from half a world away was exceptionalistic, neo-con hubris.

Had Rumsfeld not let bin Laden escape when they had him in Tora Bora, the US could have claimed “Mission Accomplished” and left. Maybe then, basking in victory, Bush’s Iraq invasion – and the lies behind it -- wouldn’t have occurred. But invade we did. If the die wasn’t already cast in Kabul, it was then.

Maybe if Carter and Reagan hadn’t armed and trained the mujahedeen to fight the Soviets, creating what became the Taliban, 9/11 plotters wouldn’t have had safe haven. But some say when those jihadis forced the Russians out, the end of the USSR began. So, worth it?

Twenty years, thousands of American lives, a couple trillion dollars better spent here, by Bush, Obama, Trump, and, briefly, Biden, claiming we’d created an uncorrupted, viable government there. Building, equipping (now in Taliban hands), training an army, 300,000 strong. (Far fewer, probably: audits found many more salaries paid, by the US, than identifiable people.) 

Desperate to be the one who ended the war, Trump “negotiated” an art-of-the-deal with the Taliban, committing the US to complete withdrawal, leaving out of it the Afghan government and military leaders, who called it a complete capitulation.

Declaring the Taliban future partners who’d fight terrorism, who’d magically become good guys, Trump set a date certain for leaving, bragging it couldn’t be undone. Immediately, the Taliban knew Afghanistan was theirs, and set about taking it, village by village, bribe by bribe, defection by defection, months ago

The final sweep confirms the one-sidedness of Trump’s “deal.” His usually fawning GOP would now like you to forget what he did

President Biden had two choices: after twenty years, acknowledge the obvious; or commit forever to defending a people no longer willing to defend the corrupt government we’d given them. Aware, surely, it could cost future elections, he made the tougher choice; the one previous presidents promised but never delivered.

Having planted my stake firmly in favor of pulling up stakes, I must say President Biden handled the denouement very badly. It’s understandable to have presumed that, twenty years in, our custom-built Afghan government and military would at least forestall, if not prevent collapse. But didn’t they know what the Taliban were doing? Had they no eyes in villages?

Evacuating our civilians and thousands of theirs who’d helped us at great personal peril should have had the highest priority. Chaotically, frightfully, it’s happening now. Hopefully, not too late.

Biden’s Monday speech was forthright; explaining his decision, taking responsibility for mistakes. Was it a compelling counter to hypocritical, CYA (see above) screams from the right? Does a bear use public restrooms?

Facing Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression, brilliantly effective distraction and disinformation, Democrats can’t afford mistakes. They’re already fighting amongst themselves instead of producing a coherent, resonating message.

If ever messaging should be easy, it’s now. Republican leaders and refusers are wholly responsible for the resurgent pandemic, uncaringly making it worse, even as their ICUs fill with younger and younger victims. Outside hospitals, corpse-cooling trailers have reappeared.

They’re pretending the January insurrection was a pleasant winter picnic, and – the law and order party – claiming the arrested, felonious perpetrators are “political prisoners.” Heroes. Trump all but literally called for violence against the defenders. Only the irredeemably Trumpofoxified aren’t appalled. 

Fast as they can, they’re legislating voting obstacles for non-Trumpists. Threatening election workers. Blocking aid to Americans in need. And still, while heatstroke kills, fires rage, glaciers melt, electric grids fail, acidifying oceans rise, sea creatures die, and water from the Colorado River is rationed, denying climate change. All to keep wealthy investors and corporate polluters on board. At whatever cost to everyone else.

Professionally-thickened skulls are impenetrable. For America to endure, in people and parchment, thoughtful citizens must vote in enormous numbers: the antipode of a sure thing. Maybe we should invade Grenada again. 


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Death At Death's Door




           [Take your pic pick. Couldn't decide.]

A doctor friend working in a Texas hospital foretells rationing ventilators, as Covid-19 patients overrun their ICUs. Who, he asks, should be denied? Vaccination refusers? Other than being partially-innocent victims of well-organized lying, their primacy on the rejection list is compelling. The brainwashed don’t know they’re brainwashed, but, as ubiquitous evidence makes persisting ignorance indefensible, sympathy wanes.

They sent a Covid patient to North Dakota for care. Needing a ventilator for non-Covid illness, another Texan had to be airlifted 150 miles; prior to which he required approval by a team husbanding the scarce resources. It’s Sarah Palin’s death panels, incarnate; necessitated by people made unable to process information. Unlike the stuff of her disordered mind, this is real. Texas’ Trumpicly irresponsible governor now begs smarter states to send help.

Why it’s happening is obvious. Trump’s pandemic ignorance and lies and inattention showed Republican leaders a winning strategy: To keep people distracted from their pre-failed economic agenda, and sending money, make it about “freedom,” or “communism.” Or, a perfect exemplar of effective disinformation, believing “Critical Race Theory” is taught in K-12 schools. Hint: It isn’t.
“Unmasked, Unmuzzled, Unvaccinated, Unafraid,” say their T-shirts. Translation: “Uninformed, Uneducated, Unreachable, Uncaring.” “I do my own research” – a claim that refutes itself. 

So successful is it that, dismissing massive contrary documentation, Trumpublicans still believe vaccines and masks are ineffective and/or dangerous; liberal “wokeness” signifiers. Had Trump, Trumpophile governors, and their media heroes urged their victims to pitch in, as Americans amidst crises always have, this Delta-variant siege wouldn’t have happened. Viruses spread -- and mutate -- among the unvaccinated. Deeming it acceptable collateral damage, Trump’s party has become a killer party. Why? Consider who benefits.

As their media stars pound rare breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, widespread deaths and deathbed regrets of anti-vaxers are ignored. Consumers only of Trump-approved news sources may have missed these data from the CDC, current as of July 31:

Of the 164m fully vaccinated in the U.S., 99.9% have NOT tested positive for Covid-19. Breakthrough cases represent .077%. Hospitalized: .004%. Died: .001%.

In contrast, 99% of those hospitalized and/or dying of Covid-19 are unvaccinated. A Florida church just lost six parishioners in ten days; four under thirty-five. Previously healthy. Unvaccinated.

Given those numbers, who of right mind refuses vaccination and masks? Trumpists. Among whom, because of disturbingly easy and successful mass deception, it appears no right minds remain. Killing thousands, manipulated and abandoned, for the most cynical of reasons: payola for bankrollers.

For decades, having nothing else to offer, Republicans created a human variant disinterested in truth; not changing course even as their voters are endangered. Only in a killer party could that be considered leadership.

On fawning media, Trump blames President Biden for the resurgence. Unlike Trump, he made vaccination widely available, fast, and urged it. Biden’s fault, says Trump, while his blinded flock refuse vaccination and masks, enabling Delta’s rise.

What hope is there for a county in which millions of such zombified people exist? (Bad analogy. They’re not eating brains, they’re offering their own to their leaders for lunch.) Evidence, mounting hourly, is ignored. And, no: evolving recommendations don’t validate their disbelief. It’s science: seeking and remaining open to new information. Why has that become “conservative” anathema?

Proving the point is a quote for our times, forced from lungs filling with Covid-19, spoken by a 31-year-old man in Branson, MO: “I was strongly against getting the vaccine,” Barker said through labored breathing. “Just because we’re a strong conservative family.” That’s Trumpofoxification in the mortifying flesh. What Trumpian acolytes have done is criminal. Murder most literal.

That poor guy is a victim of Trumpism. This one isn’t: a smug, bullying, attention-seeking, taxi-driving avatar for all of Trumpworld, who refuses masked or vaccinated passengers. Patriotic. Heroic.

For needed karmic relief, Texas Republicans provide: Covid-19 has derailed (temporarily, no doubt) their determination to suppress Democratic votes; the only way they can keep winning.

There are much worse and deadlier issues, though: Whereas the pandemic might end up killing only a million or two Americans, the latest IPCC report shows climate change on a trajectory to kill far more.

Unlike his pandemic dereliction, Trump’s climate denial isn’t wholly responsible. But he and his party did less than nothing about it: deregulating, dissembling, deceiving. Departing accords. All for fossil-fuel money. And to “stick it to the libs.” If that’s both murderous and suicidal, their reactionary inaction on climate change is pan-humanity genocidal.

Unconvinced by heatwaves, drought, acidifying oceans, dying reefs, wildfires, starvation, dried-up rivers and reservoirs, melting glaciers and methane-spewing tundra, Trumpists continue to laugh it off.

Against such radical resistance to reality, what can thoughtful citizens, actual patriots, do? Minimize energy use. Make it green as possible. And, since Trumpists are irretrievably uneducable, stop electing them. Until Texas, et. red, make that impossible, too.

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