Tag Archives: Wuhan

Gang of Imbeciles

Woodall Rodgers Freeway, heading into downtown Dallas, sat nearly empty at 7:26 am on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – the first morning after Dallas County’s “shelter in place”. This stretch of highway is normally packed with vehicles during morning rush hour. Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez, Dallas Morning News).

“Greatness in the last analysis is largely bravery – courage in escaping from old ideas and old standards and respectable ways of doing things.”

James Robinson

Crises can make or break a leader.  The 1979-81 Iran Hostage fiasco decimated Jimmy Carter’s final year in office and assuredly caused him to lose his 1980 reelection bid.  The 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing helped secure Bill Clinton’s image as a stalwart president.  The Hurricane Katrina debacle, on the other hand, proved George W. Bush was incompetent and ineffective as Commander-in-Chief.

The current COVID-19 scourge is Donald Trump’s national crisis.  It could be the savior of his presidency; the one element that ensures his place in the pantheon of great world leaders.  Or it could be his death knell; the catastrophic event which will equate him with failure, except his most devoted followers.  As things appear now, it’s turning into the latter.

Yesterday, March 26, Trump signed a roughly USD 2.2 trillion stimulus package unanimously passed by the U.S. Congress.  Because the COVID-19 mess has created a new set of “social distancing” protocols aimed at subverting the virus’ spread, a large number of Americans have suddenly found themselves jobless.  Restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, and tattoo parlors have been forced to shut down.  History will determine if that achieved its intended goals.  But, as of March 26, the number of jobless claims set a record at 3.3 million.  Who would’ve thought an invisible microbe could wreak such havoc?

Amidst this cataclysm, our dear leader, Donald Trump, has openly considered easing restrictions to the practices of social distancing.  Earlier this week, he suggested the U.S. could return to normal by Easter.  “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said.  That’s akin to the captain of the Titanic shouting, “Pool party!”

It’s almost painful to watch Trump and his band of clueless minions pretend this crisis will obey a presidential command.  Many conservatives tried to explain George W. Bush’s pathetic handling of the Hurricane Katrina fiasco by claiming his adversaries wanted him to stop the storm from terrorizing the Gulf Coast.  I heard a few actually say that aloud!  And I had the pleasure of telling them, ‘No.  The issue was RESPONDING to the hurricane!’  Bush and the Republican Party were quick to declare war on Iraq in 2003.  But, when a REAL threat emerges, they failed miserably.

If anything, the start of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. some forty years ago proved how dangerous social conservatism can be to a health crisis.  Admittedly, thousands of people didn’t come down with HIV in a matter of days, as with the COVID-19 virus.  But the reality is that national policy should never be based on individual predilections or religious ideology.  Every time people make health-based decisions on their own personal religious beliefs, people die.  Every single time!

But the AIDS epidemic showed that a slow federal response to a health concern can be lethal.  I’m watching the COVID-19 pandemic unfold here in the U.S. in stark realism.  As of March 27, the U.S. has achieved the dubious distinction of the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world.  Meaning we’ve now surpassed China and Italy.  Trump always declared America is #1 – and what do you know?!  The old bastard has finally been proven right!

I really don’t want to see Donald Trump fail in this entire imbroglio.  It’s not good to wish your national leader stumble and falter as a national crisis of any kind grips the nation.  But, thus far, Trump has shown no real leadership, with the exception of the aforementioned stimulus package.

It doesn’t need to be this way for him – or for anyone.  This could be his golden moment to prove he’s an authentic leader, not the failed businessman / tax cheat others claim he really is.  Every country’s leader is forced to confront a national emergency of some kind or another.  It just comes with the territory.  The U.S. presidency, in this case, is not school a crossing guard-type of position.  It requires more fortitude and clarity than most jobs, when in fact, the presidency is not a standard job.  It’s more of a calling – kind of like human rights work, or teaching.

As I view it in this moment of national surrealism, Donald Trump is not listening to the tragic sounds of that call.

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Photo of the Week – March 20, 2020

At a press conference on March 19 about the spreading COVID-19 flu, as Faux-President Donald Trump read from notes on the podium, a Washington Post photographer managed to take a photo of a page on which the term “corona” had been crossed out and replaced with “Chinese”.  Trump had already used the word “Chinese” to describe the virus; later saying, “It’s not racist at all. It comes from China, that’s why.”

Yes, the virus originated in China, but sadly, the pandemic also has spawned hate crimes against Asian-Americans.  It’s not uncommon for certain groups to fall victim to violence perpetrated by others in response to particular crises.  At the start of the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980s, gay men and even some lesbian women found themselves targeted for violence; usually by people who would have used any excuse to attack anyway.  Periodically, over the past several years, many Hispanics – including The Chief – have fallen victim to violence perpetrated by others over illegal immigration.

The current situation for people of Asian extraction is that we have a billionaire Republican, failed business tycoon, former reality TV star masquerading as the American president who has already proven he’s not above using racist tropes to communicate his point.

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I Don’t Care About…

A few nights ago, amidst extensive coverage of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a national news network abruptly mentioned that Tom Brady recently signed a contract to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  I guess it was supposed to be a bright spot in yet another tension-filled day in the U.S. and the world.  And who wouldn’t want to take a break from this madness?  But it startled me, as it came even before news about a massive storm system that had swept in from the Pacific and was approaching the middle of the country; bringing heavy rain and strong winds – some possibly tornadic – upon tens of millions of people.  I’m well aware Americans love their football and that sports usually brings people together – excluding stupidly angry parents at kids’ softball games.

In the midst of this pandemic, I could care less about Tom Brady or any other professional athlete – especially the overpaid, over-celebrated types.  Like Tom Brady.  The COVID-19 death toll is rising rapidly in the U.S.; gradually becoming more real and more frightening.  Just as a mudslide creeps down a rain-slogged hill, picking up rocks and vegetation, the virus has been gathering unsuspecting victims – slow, but unstoppable.  Here in my native northeast Texas, the Dallas / Fort Worth metropolitan area’s nearly 8 million residents have found themselves in an unexpected lockdown capsule.  Not much scares Texans, native or transplant.  But COVID-19 is more terrifying than the thought of the federal government snatching up our firearms, or bars and restaurants running out of beer and tequila.

With my elderly mother’s fragile health in even more jeopardy and my gym forced to shut down, I wonder if I’m fatally mistaking my usual spring allergy symptoms for that wicked Wuhan menace.  And, as matters intensify, there are some aspects of American society I don’t care about right now.  I don’t care …

If another wedding or funeral in either Afghanistan or Iraq is interrupted by an ISIS bomb.  U.S. troops have been embedded in Afghanistan for nearly two decades, and we still haven’t been able to tame the bearded and burqa-covered savages who occupy the nation’s rocky environs.  I’ve long championed the complete removal of American troops from Afghanistan; whether or not the energy titans who have insisted they remain like it or not.

If Israel and its venomous neighbors let yet another peace pact collapse.  There never has been peace in the Middle East and – at the current rate – there never will be.  For one thing the U.S. has been kissing Israel’s kosher ass for as long as I can remember.  We’ve bequeathed literally billions of American dollars in aid to Israel, and they’ve reciprocated with little more than self-righteous angst.

To hear more about the British royal family.  As I’ve noted previously, the American media harbors a fascination with the Windsors that the majority of American citizens do not.  To put it in more common vernacular, we mostly don’t a shit what the British royals do.  That Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, won’t adhere to some ancient, traditional Buckingham duties is about as important to the American populace as a grasshopper binging on a blade of Augustine grass.

About the plight of illegal immigrants lined up along the Mexican border.  Yes, I know many of them are desperate for a new life; free of poverty and crime.  But, right now, we can’t help them.  I’m genuinely more concerned about the health of my mother (who was born in México in 1932) and myself than some illiterate wetback who’s either too stupid or too lazy to follow established rules and laws to enter the U.S. legally.  If they can afford to pay several thousand American dollars to a coyote, or smuggler, to help them cross the Rio Grande, they can use that money to acquire the proper documentation.

About the anxiety of the transgendered.  Personally, I’m almost sick of hearing gender-confused folks clamor for equal treatment, then publicly lament that no one understands their “struggles”.  No, I don’t comprehend that you have trouble figuring out whether you should have indoor or outdoor genital plumbing and I don’t want to take the time and energy to do so.  For years the TG community demanded to be included within the overall queer community; now they want to piggyback on the rest of us and still have their own revolving closet.

About Confederate monuments.  Throughout the southeastern U.S., generations of redneck assholes have been fighting the American Civil War and – goddammit – they STILL haven’t won!  They keep hollering that the conflict that took some 800,000 lives was about states’ rights, when in fact, it was about the right of said states to keep millions of Negroes enslaved like wild animals.  The conservative morons who approve school text books have tried to dance around the issue by making such asinine claims that African slaves were “immigrant workers” or that slavery was actually “work for food and shelter.”  If anything, these are the people I’d love to see infected with COVID-19 and die.  When education and information fail to enlighten people, I view death as the only viable alternative.

About the Kardashian clan.  As with the British royal family, I’m about as concerned with the Kardashian gang as I am with a bug’s ass.  In fact, like with professional athletes, I don’t give a shit for the antics of overpaid, over-hyped celebrities; people who live in gilded mansions and consider limited bandwidth a problem.

Whether or not Oprah Winfrey can eat bread.  For more than thirty years I’ve heard the former talk show host bemoan her struggles with weight and body imagery.  Here’s some body imagery for you: I have an uncircumcised penis and hair covering my butt and my chest.  Does anyone genuinely care?  No!  And I don’t give a flying fuck if Oprah can eat an entire loaf of unleavened bread in one sitting without feeling guilty.  Her wagon loads of chicken fat (emblematic of her butt cheeks) failed to impress me; instead, just making me laugh.  I recall, during her 2009 visit to the Dallas area, Oprah waddled onto a stage at the Texas State Fair clad in jeans and a cowboy hat (trying to look so…you know, Texan).  My mother glared at the TV screen and uttered, “God, I didn’t realize how fat she is until now…seeing her in those jeans.  You know, fat gals have no business wearing jeans.”  Thus remember, despite her self-aggrandizing proclamations, Oprah doesn’t really care if you like bread, or if you can distinguish real mashed potatoes from processed cauliflower.  She just cares if you buy her magazines.  Which might not be a bad idea right now.  Toilet paper has been in short supply lately.

Now, dear readers, please tell us what you care about most (or least) in these critical times.  I fully believe in the power of the pen and the keyboard, and as bloggers and writers, we are obliged to keep the unbridled truth – and the hand sanitizer – in motion.

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Ah, 2020…What Could Have Been

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Malcolm X

As we continue moving forward into this third decade of the 21st century, I can’t help but ponder the many things both we and our forebears thought society would have realized by now.  I’m considering all of this in the midst of the growing COVID-19 scourge; which now has been officially declared a pandemic.  Just imagine…by the year 2020, we thought we’d have:

Flying cars

A cure for cancer

A colony on Mars

Contact with extraterrestrials

Found Bigfoot

Achieved teleportation

Bullet trains in every major city

Life expectancy exceeding 90

Instead, what are we doing? Teaching people how to sneeze into their sleeves and wash their hands.  What the fuck happened?!

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