The year 2020: gaining on you

The man who lies. A lot.

gaining on youAnother chunk of that damn quiz I do around this time of year. My list of those I hold in esteem was long. Unfortunately…

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Derek Chauvin, Kyle Rittenhouse, Gregory, and Travis McMichael
Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas
Brian Kemp, Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis
Louis DeJoy, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Alex Azar, Andrew Wheeler, Steve Mnuchin, Mark Esper, Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli, Mike Pompeo,
William BarrWilliam Pendley 
Mitch McConnell/Elaine Chao
Mark Meadows, Peter Navarro, Brad Parscale, Roger Stone 

John Bolton, Nikki Haley, Rudy Giuliani, Jared Kushner,
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, Melania Trump
Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Glenn Beck, Dick Morris, Lou Dobbs, Steve Doocy, Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, Ann Coulter, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Eberle, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Newsmax, OAN
Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik, Louis Gohmert, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Ted Yoho, Steve Scalise, Steve King, Doug LambornMichael McCaul, Marjorie Taylor GreeneMadison Cawthorn 
Lindsay Graham, Rick Scott, Susan Collins, John Kennedy, Tom Cotton, David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, Rand Paul, Thom Tillis, Martha McSally, Josh Hawley 

Kellyanne Conway, Larry Kudlow, Mick Mulvaney, Michael Caputo 
Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Stephen Miller, Jason Miller 
Scott Atlas, Mike Pence, Emily Murphy
Kayleigh McEnany, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer
Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell Jr., Paula White
Ghislaine Maxwell

QAnon believers, COVID deniers, Proud Boys, white supremacists, so-called militias

I know there are many others.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Oh, and of course, IMPOTUS, who has undermined every institution he interacts with, including, but certainly not limited to, the election process, international relations, the Justice Department, the intelligence apparatus, the postal service, the Census, the CDC, the EPA… 

Where did most of your money go?

I’m not sure. Quite possibly non-physical stuff: charities and political contributions. We have a line of credit to do work on the house, but we haven’t utilized it yet.

What did you get really excited about?

I’ve ordered some music and books. The opening of the packages, heck the anticipation of getting the mail. Seeing my Census checks get automatically deposited in my checking account. This doesn’t sound really exciting.

OK, we had a few people over, socially distanced on our front porch, starting in August. THAT was a nice change of pace.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Almost certainly sadder. It’s not just COVID and the restrictions thereof. It’s my condition. I actually started to “see” a shrink, remotely. It didn’t “take”, and it might have if I had established a relationship in person beforehand. Ever feel it’s all gaining on you?

In fact, I’m not yet sold on telemedicine. More to the point, none of the things I needed to do – everything from getting scans to having my teeth cleaned – can be done remotely.

Thinner or fatter?

Thinner by at least ten pounds, due almost entirely to riding my bicycle while doing the Census. Not incidentally, I find some people’s tendency to say, “Hey, you’re almost down to” the next round number totally unhelpful.

Richer or poorer?

Arguably richer because I don’t spend very much comparatively. And richer than I was four years ago, yet I didn’t vote GOP.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Watching movies. We have some movie channels, but I find it difficult to sit down and watch them as though I were at the cinema.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Talking/writing about race. It was necessary to engage. It’s important. I remain in utter shock that white people started finally getting it. But I’ve always found the discussion exhausting. Yet I will do it again, most likely. Still, there are a couple of people I haven’t talked with for half a year as a result. That kind of sucks.

How did you spend Christmas?

My wife and I watched church on Facebook as I peered through the window seeing the snow melt away. Zoom meeting with my in-laws. Watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas; too many commercials, NBC, but a great story.

Did you fall in love in 2020?

I HAD to, just to survive.

How many one-night stands?

Even if I were so inclined, which I’m not, it’s not the kind of behavior consistent with a pandemic, now is it?

What was your favorite TV program?

I just can’t get much into watching television, and there are plenty of shows to watch. CBS Sunday Morning, JEOPARDY, 60 Minutes. Maybe in 2021. 

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

This question gets more difficult every year. Let’s just say there is a massive, unprecedented for me, level of increased disdain that I have for at least one person.

Next time, the end of this thing.

Dec. rambling: Overture of Overtures

Beethoven (b. December 1770)

the-wrong-side-of-history
From https://wronghands1.com/2020/11/27/the-wrong-side-of-history/ Wrong Hands.

They Fought for the Country that Detained Their Families:  Japanese American Soldiers in WWII.

The biology of dads.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome.

In The Age Of  Zoom Dysmorphia, Experts Offer Tips To Improve Self-Image.

Interview with Swamp Thing Comic Artist Stephen Bissette.

David Lander, R.I.P. (Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley, and much more).

A New Study About Color Tries to Decode The Brain’s Pantone.

The first Golden Age Panel at Comic-Con in 1993.

Greg Hatcher: Grail Quests – Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, and especially Airplane!

The King Features Syndicate animated cartoon shows of the 1960s.

Now I Know: When Kids Didn’t Trust Santa and Return Doo Sender and The First Female Senator (For a Day) and The Ultimate Toys R Us Kid?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Pringles update.

Drink away  2020.

IMPOTUS

He Rewards Kellyanne Conway, 2 Dozen Others With Prestigious Government Appointments.

Weekly Sift: Pardons and Their Limits.

Lincoln Project: Whispers III.

Comedians Bought DonaldJTrump2024.com Just so They Could Mock Him.

COVID

One traveler’s experience. For Andrew Evans, who had traveled to South Korea for a job, entering the country involved a  mandatory, 14-day quarantine locked alone in a room at a government isolation facility.

“Checking in at New York’s nearly empty JFK included signing legal documents acknowledging that he was voluntarily placing himself in government custody and that he would have to pay for it — a fixed cost of 1.68 million KRW (equivalent to $1,459.99).”

COVID vaccines: calling the shots.

“What better lesson can we learn from the COVID vaccine experience than that the multi-national pharma companies should be publicly owned so that research and development can be directed to meet the health and medical needs of people not the profits of these companies.

“And moreover, then the necessary vaccines can get to the billions in the poorest countries and circumstances rather than to just those countries and people who can afford to pay the prices set by these companies.”

Margaret Keenan, soon to be 91, became the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Rudy Giuliani potentially exposed hundreds to the virus.

A Nice Holiday Story About A  Killer Virus.

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Taking Risks During the Pandemic.

Having Chemotherapy During COVID-19 Has Given Me So Many Things to Be Grateful For.

MUSIC

Jaquandor’s Daily Dose of Christmas.

Santa Baby – Marzia Plichta and Christoph Drösser.

Bohemian Chanukah – Six13.

Musicians from London’s West End performing Overture of Overtures.

The Revelation – Roosevelt Wardell Trio (album) within a discussion on stuck at home and depression.

Pop Psalms: Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.

Paul McCartney: Who Cares and We All Stand Together and Come On To Me.

What the World Needs Now -Tom Clay, which I wrote about way back in  2006.

Coverville 1336: The Christina Aguilera Cover Story.

Mean Green Mother from Outer Space – Cavin Cornwall.

Concerto in One Movement by Florence Price.

Don’t Fool Around with My Heart – William Roberts, a/k/a Michigan J Frog, from the 1942 movie, The Yanks Are Coming. Plus It Hopped One Night: A Look at One Froggy Evening.

John Lennon: The Last Interview

Roll Over, Beethoven (b. December 1770)

Fidelio, his only opera.

Symphony No. 4  in B-flat major.

Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, more familiarly called Für Elise.

Symphony No. 6  in F Major, the Pastoral.

COVID deniers with COVID

Wear a mask in public. Social distancing. This is news?

donald trump wearing corona virus mask face blinded cartoonI’ve been watching the evening news, masochist that I am. More than once in the last few weeks, I’ve seen someone break down crying about the loss of their beloved family member. I’m not made of stone, so I feel a little sad.

Then they weep, “I didn’t know that COVID was REAL!” I bite my lip. In a recent comment on my blog, the blogger fillyjonk wrote, “I find myself irrationally angry at so many of my fellow citizens. ” I tend to agree with her, except for the “irrationally” part. NOW, they believe?

Still, I was STUNNED to read an article in  Vanity Fair this month. What Do You Do When Your COVID Patient Doesn’t Believe In COVID? The online version is quite explicit: “‘It’s the Trump Bubble.'” OMG. “The Right Has Created a Wave of COVID Patients Who Don’t Believe It’s Real.”

Even before getting to the story itself, this description. “A Texas nurse had a patient in a COVID ICU tell her the virus is ‘fake news.’ A California nurse was mocked for wearing a mask. As a new wave of COVID-19 sweeps the country, health care workers are grappling with the consequences of the president’s misinformation machine. ‘This is insane,’ says one. ‘I have never seen anything like it.'”

I am literally holding my hands to my head, fearing that it will somehow explode. COVID deniers with COVID.

Nothing is real

“Gigi Perez, a California–based nurse… told me, ‘The COVID-19 unit I work in has already lost seven nurses in the last three months due to the burnout from managing these types of patients.’ In the last two weeks, Perez said, nine of her fellow health care workers have contracted COVID-19. Workers are ‘beginning to resent the public for not doing their part to help control the pandemic,’ she said.”

And this. “An infectious disease doctor who asked to remain anonymous told me he had never before experienced politics overshadowing science in the medical field. ‘Before [Donald] Trump I never spoke politics in the clinic room,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that COVID splits into fact-free and factful worlds. This is why we have a raging epidemic.”

In WaPo,  read about a Missouri county health director. Concerning contact tracing, she says, “Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they’re going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they’ve spent time with and fake numbers.”

While downplaying the pandemic from the beginning, the despicable regime behavior started in earnest on April 3. That’s when IMPOTUS said his experts were “now recommending Americans wear ‘non-medical cloth’ face coverings.” He said “the recommendations… were voluntary and that he would not partake. ‘I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

And the die was cast. Now, hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges.

White flag

Here’s a story in the Boston Globe.  With COVID-19 victory in sight, America surrenders. “What’s happened to us? A lifetime ago, Americans endured years of Great Depression suffering, then went off to fight World War II or, on the home front, tightened their belts, stretched their rationed food, and planted Victory Gardens.”

But that’s not us. “Yes, this isolated, socially distanced existence is tiresome, particularly in cold weather. But we have salvation, in the form of vaccinations, within sight… Then life will begin to return to normal.”

This past summer, the writer “had a chance to catch up with an old pal from high school who, long a Republican, has become a Fox News conservative. The good news, said my friend, who has a graduate degree, was that if the Democrats won, the big to-do about COVID-19 would end on Nov. 3. Why, I asked? Because, he said, it was all a big hoax to get Joe Biden elected. We joke a lot, so I assumed he was kidding. No.”

So it makes “sense” that when the CDC urges against Thanksgiving travel, it will be largely ignored. In the New York Times, a writer traced his COVID-19 bubble and it’s “enormous.” He was thinking a dozen or two, but it was over 100 people.

And much of the blame for the current explosion of cases must fall on a regime that has announced in October, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” That’s the truth. About four dozen of them have had the virus.

I am SO angry with the regime’s handling of the crisis. Americans are dying unnecessarily. And the buck stops there.

Give Biden access to the damn briefings

No justification for withholding the PDB

Presidential Daily Briefing
Presidential Daily Briefing

This came up in a conversation with my sisters. One of them has Trumpian friends. They are making the argument that the current regime ought not to give Joe Biden access to the Presidential Daily Briefing. Their argument is “What if they got the election wrong?” This is hurting my head.

ITEM: Presidential candidates begin to receive intelligence briefings in the immediate aftermath of the political conventions. “So when an individual becomes their party’s nominee, the briefing is offered to them… It’s an analytic briefing, so there are no… operations discussed, no covert actions discussed, no sources and methods discussed. It’s simply what do we see as the threats…why do we see it that way…how those threats evolved and where might they be heading.”

ITEM: “Such briefings had been standard practice since the candidacies of Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson… This understandable dilemma… had occurred in a great many transitions, with the outgoing administration not sure which candidate would accede to the office and thus very protective of sensitive and classified information. But… its intelligence officers [were] on the hook to provide the best and most useful available information to candidates who might soon be in the White House.”

ITEM: You’ll remember “the close 2000 election when the outcome was in doubt for more than a month after the voting. In spite of that, President Bill Clinton’s outgoing administration began intelligence briefings for George W. Bush before he was officially declared the winner.”

The Incredible Sulk  

ITEM: This regime is not allowing Biden “to receive intelligence briefings —  even those he was getting during the campaign.” In other words, IMPOTUS is even denying Biden access to the level of info that Obama gave to him before the 2016 election. This just shows pique, not any national security concerns that Biden, who used to get such information as Veep and even as the prez candidate, ought not to get them now.

Even a week ago, even Republican senators “are calling for Biden to have access to the information.”

“‘I just don’t know of any justification for withholding the briefing,’ Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said. ‘I see no problem with that,’ said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican Party’s longest-serving senator. ‘I think so, yes,’ said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest confidants, when asked if Biden should be briefed.”

Instead, on Tuesday, he fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election. In a tweet, naturally. He said that Christopher Krebs’ “recent statement defending the security of the election was ‘highly inaccurate.’ The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee and director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, comes as Trump is… removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal.”

The Biden team is locked out of key vaccine information as COVID rages. “More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” the President-elect said this week. “How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking.”

Ascertainment

Per the Presidential Transition Act of 1963,  the chief duty of Emily Murphy at this moment “is to affirm the projected result of the presidential contest.” This is something “previous GSA administrators have generally done within a matter of hours of the election being called.” This action allows the incoming administration’s personnel to get busy setting up a new government.

Ascertainment is necessary for the seamless transition of power. Meanwhile, she’s looking for another job, suggesting she knows how this will play out.

The losing candidate’s false claims of “a stolen election are unoriginal, and evoke a dangerous historical precedent.” John Oliver has much useful to say about the election results. Also, check out the Weekly Sift.  Or even Randy Rainbow.

Not incidentally, the regime has “replaced the top tier of  Pentagon officials with men who have two things in common: fervent loyalty to Trump and a complete lack of qualification for their jobs.”

Oh, yeah, they’ve rushed to auction off Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling rights before the Biden inauguration. January 20, 2021, can’t come quickly enough.

The October Surprise in 2020

“autocratic malarkey”

hydrochloroquineI woke up in the morning, and suddenly, it made sense, in a Bizarro world sort of way. Many pundits said there was no October surprise in 2020. I would disagree. The surprise was djt getting COVID.

He flies on Marine One to the hospital on a Friday. By Sunday, he’s riding around in a limo, waving to supporters. And on Monday evening, he’s back at the White House, defiantly ripping off his mask, saying “Screw you, COVID.” A week or so later, he’s off doing dozens of his rallies before tens of thousands of his adoring acolytes, including five events in four states in one day.

Now, you and I may see this as grossly irresponsible behavior, creating a bunch of possible super-spreader events. But to his fans, he is portraying Strength and Resilience.

It’s like in that old Saturday Night Live skit. He is the Arnold clones, Hans and Franz. He’s going to “Pump you up.” Meanwhile, the other guy, he says, is hiding in his basement like a “girly man.”

Never underestimate the appeal of toxic masculinity, especially mixed with half-truths. My gut says that the big blue wave didn’t come because those mysterious undecided voters leaned red. And possibly because his supporters lie to pollsters.

“The unhinged, dangerous, Democracy-destabilizing thing”

He gave a speech at the White House around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in which he prematurely declared victory. This despite the fact that “millions upon millions of legitimate votes were still being counted. As Vanity Fair noted: “The goal, in all of its authoritarian bluster, was to get out in front of a result that might not land in his favor.”

Now, “the networks quickly and aggressively called bulls**t on Trump’s remarks, either breaking away from the speech or butting in with fact-checks. ‘We are reluctant to step in but duty-bound to point out when he says, ‘We did win this election, we’ve already won,’ that’s not based in the facts at all,’ said MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

His colleague Nicolle Wallace put it this way: ‘It’s straight-up autocratic malarkey, and what we have to keep in mind is that he’s not the boss of the counting…”

“CBS threw up a graphic stating, ‘CBS NEWS IS NOT PROJECTING A WINNER IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE,’ and Norah O’Donnell described Trump as ‘castrating the facts…’

“But perhaps the most noteworthy analysis was that seen on Trump’s frenemy network, Fox News… At a historic and uncharted moment like this, it was crucial to have a respected veteran newsman like anchor Chris Wallace telling the viewers what they needed to hear.

“‘This is an extremely flammable situation, and the president just threw a match on it,’ Wallace said. ‘He hasn’t won these states. Nobody is saying he’s won the states. The states haven’t said that he’s won.’

“The question is, did the viewers believe him?”

Where he leads, they will follow

Apparently not. Because the media, he keeps telling them, is fake. This despite the fact the shift in vote count was predictable.

“Dozens of [his] angry supporters… converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him Wednesday in the two key states. The folks pounding on the Plexiglass in Detroit chanting “Stop the Count” made the NBC News on Wednesday. I feared for the wellbeing of the election workers inside.

Demonstrators, some armed, gathered at the government office in Maricopa County, AZ yelling, “Kill Fox,” and “Count the Vote.” Reportedly, the group became so threatening that the work of counting the vote had to be ended for the evening.

What does one want in a president? I found this four-minute video from John Green (no relation) about the decency of Joe Biden rather touching. And this 20-minute piece of John Oliver on the incompetence of the coronavirus response infuriating.

But djt apparently overcame the COVID. So he must be America Strong, even if he leaves it to his idiot son-in-law to “Let the Markets Decide America’s COVID-19 Fate.”

His fans appreciate his disdain for “political correctness.” He orchestrates his rallies as places to express their anger: “Fire Fauci,” “Lock Her Up.” Yet they’re OK with him lying to them about the seriousness of the pandemic, pushing conspiracy theories, dismissing climate change, pandering to racists, using the government for personal gain, and ruining our international reputation.

Yes, he suggests he’s for individual liberty, but it’s for those who agree with him. Lower taxes but really for the rich. Smaller government when it involves human services or the environment, but not the military. 

My rational brain says his fans are crazy. But I also have to admit I’m just not experiencing his persona the same way as they do. And it’s not just the one person but Trumpism I just don’t grok.