I Wonder If This Was A Setup

White House Press Briefing by Kayleigh McEnany, Friday, May 22

*Link goes directly to YouTube to a moment when McEnany, beset upon by reporters regarding Impeached Preznit Carnage Sippycup’s weird seeming proclamation that he’s opening churches unilaterally, calls on OAN correspondent Chanel Rion, who of course asks a weird-as-armpits question about the Impeached Preznit “pardoning” President Barack Obama.

Which leads McEnany to a audio-visual gaslighting so over-the-top it brings to mind the scene in Django Unchained with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kerry Washington and the blood and the ball-peen hammer. She uses a slideshow to poke the reporters to ask reporters about a batch of crap that has been already proven resolutely untrue, that even ignores the latest report that Mikey Flynn’s name was not even initially redacted in intelligence.

Then she just flies out of the room like a bat.

If I were in the White House Press Corps right now I would be so fuming angry at Kayleigh McEnany.

Rebuilding Without Remembering Is Not Rebuilding

Now that we’ve clearly solved all the problems related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, everything can go back to normal now. All we need to do is to open stuff back up and all the money will come rushing back in and our economy will come booming back. In fact, GDP will swell so spectacularly that everyone in America who wants a pony can have one.

Of course if you’ve ever utilized the gray matter that resides just behind your eyeballs, you know for a fact that’s nonsense. In three weeks, the numbers we’ve managed to slow by cooling our jets will change direction. So we’ll have more people ingesting this little bug, more people showing up to hospitals, more people stacking up in those refrigerated trucks. Meanwhile, what have you rebuilt? What have you reopened? Is it a decent restaurant experience when a person has to stand outside and count how many are allowed in? Barstools at eight feet apart? Are even half the people who used to go out and spend money going to go out and spend money? And where is all this money that people are going to spend coming from? Oh, right, I forgot, it’s from that generous $1200 check Uncle Sam sent to some of us. You, I mean, you. I still haven’t received mine.

Look. If this economy rebuilds and forgets, it is doomed. Because hard lessons have been presented to us via the events of the last month and a half or so. For instance. We know or are beginning to know what happens when 30 million Americans apply for unemployment in a month. We also know that many of those people had previously become accustomed to living paycheck to paycheck. We know that many of these folks will be unable to pay the rent. We are seeing lines for miles of people lining up for food handouts. We are beginning to experience the true cost of being a society that has forcibly fist-fucked its own middle class for 40 years. What that gets you is a middle class that just can’t. A middle class that cannot sustain an emergency worth $400 or more (and this emergency is worth more). And with such a whipped middle class, you have economic troubles that cannot be rescued with a $1200 shot. Had this country been investing in its middle class instead of fucking them with their pants on, we would have been in a much better space. Rents would not be skipped. Food handouts would not be necessary. People would still buy gasoline. The American economy would not have to orbit a black hole as it now must.

Any rebuilding must remember that or it is useless.

And it must remember too the truth this little virus belied, that is, who the true essential workers are.

And it ain’t me. I get to work from home.

I see the essential workers when I dare to venture out to my local Piggly Wiggly. And I hope not to see anytime soon the other essential workers, the nurses, the doctors, the respiratory therapist. And let’s make sure the rebuilding doesn’t forget them. Doesn’t forget that they are underpaid and constantly fucked. That nice person who hands you your McDonald’s bag is in danger just standing in that little kiosk. They should earn $25 an hour, and not in 2026. Today. And med school should not cost anyone a single thin dime, not for now and not from before. Forgive those loans today without argument. These people are giving more and risking more than they ever anticipated. Let’s at least make sure they can stop writing one check a month.

This economy can’t just re-open. It needs to rebuild. It needs to change. It can no longer leave most of its people living without means. We need our people strong, not counting can rebates as income. We need people building that emergency fund. More people. A strong economy isn’t Wall Street, and I’m saying this as an investor. A strong economy is that most Americans can last a year if everything goes to shit. And we’re not even close.

Rebuilding without remembering is not rebuilding. It’s shite. This outbreak points directly to a need for radical and immediate change. I am not sure our leaders are up for it. So we need to be.

Let’s go.

Masques

For a while, I couldn’t go to the grocery because did not have anything close to a decent mask. Face masks are difficult to snap up these days, even on Amazon, but one lovely Friday morning, Gov. Cuomo told us all we had to wear them. A reporter even asked him how he intended this to be enforced. He said people will probably comply for the most part, and he said non-compliers would be encouraged by their neighborhood busybodies. Great, I thought to myself, now I will have to get my hands on something to put on my face.

I was able to purchase a “Seamless Face Mask Mouth Cover Bandanas for Dust, Outdoors, Festivals, Sports,” but this was one of those things that covers your entire head and neck and is tight–it is exactly like wearing a “panty on your head.” I do not like things over my head and neck and once in fact nearly cold-cocked a barber for making the tissue that goes around one’s neck entirely too tight. I did rig up a way to tie it around my head with a necktie, but this would not do.

Fortunately, my Dad had a source and was able to mail me some decent masks before I became an emaciated wreck, and I have now been to Wegpersons twice since. Neither time was I able to put my hands on a carton of grapefruit juice. These are dark times.

I noticed today that Vice-President Meek Pence, who is allegedly in charge of Dear Leader Preznit Carnage’s coronavirus task force, was nice enough to visit some patients today at the Mayo Clinic but opted not to wear a facial mask just like everybody else in the room including the patients. His explanation:

As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers these incredible health care personnel and look them in the eye and say thank you.

Let us recall that on April 2, Georgia Governator Brian Kemp explained something to us all, something that none of us had never, ever known before about the coronavirus: “Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours. This is a game-changer.”

This means that Kemp, who was either lying or incompetent when he told you that, nonetheless, this means that Brian Kemp knows more about SARS-Cov-2 than does the Veece Preesident of these Untied States of America, Meek Pence, who is allegedly in charge of Dear Leader Preznit Carnage’s coronavirus task force.

How we feelin’?

Bernie Is Just All Right With Me

I was always a strong advocate of the social platform known as Twitter. Professionally, I have attended social media workshops and spent the last year or so of my last Big Professional Gig trying (weirdly unsuccessfully) to advocate to a medium-sized advocacy group in Washington, D.C. to use Twitter. (Since my departure, they have embraced the platform and currently have 10.5K followers.)

The thing with Twitter is its utter immediacy, which I used to call “the fierce urgency of Twitter.” I do think it helps to attend a meeting where you have active tweeters to understand the conversations that can be had in the cloud via Twitter. It can be an effective medium.

So it was via Twitter yesterday that I first stumbled upon the big announcement. Bernie Sanders was endorsing Joe Biden. I clicked in and got to hear the two fellows having a conversation via some sort of video hangout.

It was, I think, a momentous event toward our efforts to retake the White House in 2020. A true detente! It was clear from the conversation that Biden was making a genuine effort to embrace Sanders, and that Sanders wants to bring all of his heft to this effort.

So, thank you Bernie Sanders, thank you, Joe Biden, for doing what’s right and better. I believe the Democratic Party has actually managed to select the absolute right candidate for our times. Joe Biden has an element of empathy that is sorely lacking in the current occupant that will draw a significant contrast.

And the Biden endorsement sweepstakes continue. Look for President Barack Obama to endorse Biden today. On we roll.

Two Roads Diverged

There’s the other part, though.

I talked to my Dear-Old-Dad on the phone yesterday. Among the things we are is long-time lunch companions. If there is a bar with a good variety of beers and some interesting food, my Dad and I are interested in visiting that place.

This of course is no longer possible these days.

I think it was two Saturdays ago when this coronavirus stuff was just starting to creep into our consciousness, and we were discussing our lunch plans, and he said, maybe we’ll just be safe and I’ll bring Amiel’s over to your place for a movie. And that’s what we did, and we watched American Animals. And we thought this was safe.

As we began to learn more about this thing, its potential lethality, its powerfully contagious nature, its mystery to science, and not to mention the Trump’s pathetic failure to lead on this catastrophic development; as we learned more, it became obvious that a visit like that isn’t safe, him over here, me over there, it just isn’t. There are five people who regularly reside in his realm over there, and every one of them is high risk. And I don’t think this thing would suit me very well, either.

I asked him about it on the phone, if he thought I was being silly not even entertaining a quick visit with everyone. And, if you know my Dad, you know that he’s often more liable to say the phrase “fuck it” than he is to ever say the phrase “well, maybe that’s not such a good idea.” It is one of his best qualities. This is why I asked. I was trying to gauge if I was being weird about this and maybe aw, fuck it, come on over and have a dinner. Plus, I do miss these people.

My Dad did not say “fuck it.” He said he thinks this is what we need to do, that social distancing means social fucking distancing. I am paraphrasing. That this is bleakly serious enough that I need to keep my as-of-yet untested schnoz over here, and they should keep theirs over there.

I do spend too much time steeping in the news of all of this. I can’t not. I am a newshound down to my brain stem, and this is the news now. So when I wake up I watch the Andrew Cuomo Entertainment Hour, then I might keep the news on or listen to some talk radio, then I sit down to do my job, probably with some news on in the background, and I vacillate about whether or not to listen to the Giant Orange Head stand up at his podium while himself ignoring the very dictates of social distancing and lies about the urgency of the problem, and talks up treatments that do not exist, and attacks the reporters who are just trying to access information for the American people, and as he just makes it all up as he goes along with his stupid hair.

And I do, usually. I do usually end up at least listening.

I wish I could say I think this preznit’s shitty performance in this tied-to-the-mast moment is enough to sink his electoral chances, but I think it’s more like Geraldo in Al Capone’s vault, a dismal, humiliating failure followed by a weirdly promising and lucrative career anyway. We thought we had Dubya in 2004 with John Kerry, didn’t we? Thought we had him. Were sure we had him. Dubya will be a one-termer just like his daddy.

HAH.

Trump said he hopes the virus will miraculously go away. He said this in February. All his opponent should have to do should be to play this clip on national television over and over and over and over and over again, and his opponent should win. Actually, all that should need to happen is that we should have to live through this under the shitty poopy lack of leadership that Fat Phlegmy Orange Dicknozzle is providing, as we all have lived through it. By any normal measure, Trump should see a landslide so huge in November that it actually literally buries him.

But I don’t think this universe supports such input any longer. I just don’t.

Anyway, to summarize, I miss my people, but I don’t want to get nor give sickness.

And Donald Trump is a feckless dick.

Why I Went To The Woods

I am finding that I am rather well-equipped for self-imposed solitude. I live alone and do not mind being at home. I’m not one who craves a time out on the town, never really was one of those and now, in my 50s, I am relaxing more into my general disposition of “homebody.” My creature comforts in this small apartment are many and adequate. I have Internet. I have podcasts and books and films to catch up with. And, I am so far blessed to be able to continue my job from home.

It is astonishing how seamless a work-at-home gig can be. My team uses Slack, Google Hangout, and our many other online tools to maintain a collaborative effort, which is essential for what we do. I am grateful to get to keep working for now, though I do not pretend this will continue indefinitely. This economy is about to become a black hole. I hope my job will prevail. I am certainly grateful to have the opportunity to keep working for now.

I have nearly finished my first week working from home, plus a few days. I have ventured out once, Monday, for wine. Priorities. Granted, I was in the liquor store in the morning, so perhaps it is always so barren and buttoned-up that time of day.

I doubt it.

SARS-CoV-2 is what it’s called, and it’s quite a character. A virus. Little shitty particles that are currently really fucking the world up. Get one inside you and it may or may not reek havoc on your lungs to the point where you will require a invasive respiratory assistance and therapy, including intubation and a running respirator. Or you might get a tickle and a chill. Fucking thing is a tease.

So the lucky thing is that I seem to be all set for this “social distancing” lifestyle. I reside in a comfortable apartment (can you imagine me having to do this when I lived in my small stupid studio downtown, oh, I would have leapt from the window); I have good Internet; I can procure good food; and I am not averse to long periods alone.

Perhaps those of us who grew up as onlies will have an advantage in all of this.

However: The pantry has gotten to a pathetic point. I intend to venture to the grocery in the morning.

Wish me luck.

Meanwhile. It’s time to watch Ken Burns’ Jazz again. Oh yes.

Bernie. Maybe.

Folks who have dealt with me in the political realm have often had to hear me tell them, point blank, that I do not like Bernie Sanders. This has not always been the case. I listened to his “Brunch with Bernie” segments weekly on The Thom Hartmann Program and generally agreed with his positions and appreciated his astonishing ability to communicate them. But then we experienced the election of 2016, when I feel like I saw what some people didn’t, that Bernie Sanders in 2016 stayed in the race and claimed a path to the nomination even when one was not mathematically possible. And while I am loathe to re-litigate 2016, let me summarize how I know this is what happened.



March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday. Hillary, 606; Bernie, 415. Clinton leads by 191 delegates. March 5, Clinton 653, Sanders 467. Clinton leads by 196 delegates. March 8, Clinton 765, Sanders 556. Clinton leads by 209 delegates. March 15, Clinton 1,166 Sanders 852. Clinton leads by 314 delegates. March 22, Clinton 1,219, Sanders 930. Clinton leads by 289 delegates. March 26, Clinton 1,257, Sanders 1,034. Clinton leads by 223 delegates. April 5, Clinton 1,295, Sanders 1,082. Clinton leads by 213 delegates.

April 19, the New York primary. Sanders takes a rare lead in delegates. Clinton 1,141, Sanders 1,197. Sanders leads by 56 delegates.

April 26, Midwest states vote. Clinton 1,667, Sanders 1,364. Clinton leads Sanders by 303 delegates. May 3, Indiana, a surprise Sanders victory. Pledged delegate TTD: Clinton 1,706, Sanders 1,408. Clinton leads Sanders by 298 delegates. June 4, Clinton 1,781, Sanders 1,492. Clinton leads Sanders by 289 delegates.


I hear arguments that Hillary Clinton unfairly pocketed the un-pledged delegates and therefore unfairly took the nomination. But if you were an un-pledged delegate, and you were looking at those pledged delegates numbers, who would you support? The people spoke. They chose their nominee. And it was Hillary, fair and square. This was clear all along and quite clear by June.

Bernie didn’t concede until July 12. Trump had been the Republicans’ presumptive nominee since May 26.

Yinz don’t see the problem?

However.

There was a debate Sunday, and I’ve been mulling over Biden’s and Sanders’ positions regarding this lovely corona virus gizmo that we’re all going to such Mad Max measures to avoid. And, essentially, if I had to sum up their positions, Sanders’ position was that our country’s pathetic failure to be prepared for this pandemic in large part is due to a greater disinterest on our country’s part in public health, that the problem is large and systemic, and that it points directly and with neon lights to a need in these Untied States for a national health care system.

Joe Biden argued that, well, nuh-uh. It’s just like an emergency, man, and the larger inequities and the systemic failures in our health care is a separate issue.

Which one of those positions do you know in your heart is right?

So while I’m still leery of Sanders’ continued insistence on bolting at windmills such as the “Democratic establishment,” I am finding myself in this age of “social distancing” to feel a bit more militant about our shitty health care system and about the broad mindset, the grist of horrible Ayn Rand novels, that makes so many things in these Untied States so wrong. I cannot hold Joe Biden’s argument in my head and entertain it as truth or inspiration. I am terrified and drenched in Purell. And I may just be feeling the Bern.