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I was tempted this morning to comment on the horror show taking place in the people’s white house. Every day reveals even more new lows. It’s like an unending fountain of plain badness. So it’s understandable that I might want to say a few words about yesterday’s revelations that began with the discovery that government lawyers admit that they can not locate the parents of 545 migrant children separated from their families at the border, effectively making them orphans. Or that I might want to discuss the uncovering of a bank account in a Chinese bank that was not disclosed on his public financial forms, one that saw $15+ millions flow through it in 2017. Or the fact that he paid tremendously more in taxes to China over the last few years than he did in America while his daughter raked in multiple Chinese trademarks that were fast-tracked in the same year.

I was also tempted by his backhanded insult to the people of Erie, PA last night, when he said at a rally there that he wouldn’t have come or even have to be there if it weren’t for the pandemic. I have been fortunate to know the people of Erie for over twenty five years and know the great pride they take in their hometown so I could easily riff on the absolute hurt in those words.

But I can’t this morning. The awfulness that is currently in place is all too self-evident and becomes even more apparent with each new day.

Hell, with each new hour.

So, today I just want to share a beautiful couple of paragraphs from an essay by the great poet/essayist/environmentalist Wendell Berry. I was looking for something to go along with the painting at the top and as soon as I came across his essay I knew it was a perfect fit for this piece and what I see in it.

The painting is Solitude and Reverence, a 24″ by 36″ painting that was painted in 2015. It’s one of those pieces that have a sense of completeness and fulfilled purpose that often make then standout for me. I know this has been a favorite since I put my brush down after finishing it. For me, the message is that this world, this life, is a gift and we have stopped treating it as such. We show little appreciation for the bounty that this planet has gifted us while allowing us to spend our short time upon it.

We treat it like we were spoiled children with no awareness of the advantages and good fortune bestowed upon us. We only feel entitlement.

Gosh, sounds like I am getting around to criticizing the president*** again, doesn’t it?

Well. maybe that’s why I am so drawn to this piece this morning. It is the antithesis to the ugly attitude that has swept across the nation in recent years, the same that elevated him* to office.

It is peace. It is cooperation. It is shared sacrifice. It is humble. It is reverent.

It is understanding.

It is all I ask of my place in this world.

Is that too much to ask?

Here’s a bit from the Wendell Berry essay. Have a good day.


“We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us. We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world – to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it. And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear. It is not only our own creativity – our own capacity for life – that is stifled by our arrogant assumption; the creation itself is stifled.

We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits. But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. ”

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays


 

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“Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


There was a popular book in the early 1970’s that I enjoyed as a teen that was later turned into a film starring Jerry Orbach and Robert DeNiro. The book was much better than the film. It was from Jimmy Breslin and was called The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. It told the story of a gang of smalltime NYC mobsters who try to turn the tables on the Big Boss. Unfortunately, every trick and device they tried in doing so turned back on them. 

In this book, as in real life, it seems there is a sort of instant karma for scheming weasels.

I think we will be able to witness this firsthand in the next two weeks. There are those who will stoop to the lowest of lows to try to keep their chosen one in power and they are already at it. They are currently following the same script that the Russians and every fascist autocrat have used in trying to discredit their opponents.

Of course, they have been doing such a lousy job in hiding their intentions over the past few years that their actions are fully anticipated and unsurprising. Plus, the gang that is carrying this out is such a sorry group of miscreants and caricatures (a Kremlin based Russian intelligence officer) that any credibility they sought for their revelations is quickly dispelled. 

If Jimmy Breslin were still alive– he died in 2017– I think this story would be right in his wheelhouse. Might even call his book Gang of Weasels.

The next few weeks will be interesting. The Gang of Weasels will be desperately taking aim at every possible target.

Let’s just hope they only shoot themselves in the process.

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“The Quarantine House” – Now at the Principle Gallery


“But I must go back here to the particular incidents which occur to my thoughts of the time of the visitation, and particularly to the time of their shutting up the houses in the first part of their sickness; for before the sickness was come to its height people had more room to make their observations than they had afterward; but when it was in the extremity there was no such thing as communication with one another, as before.”

― Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year, 1722


I see that we, as a nation, had over 70,000 new cases of covid-19 on Friday. It made me think about how this time has changed so many things in daily lives.

So much isolation, which I know is so difficult for so many of us. Economic pain from job losses and businesses closing. And those that do have jobs continue along with the nagging fear that they are putting themselves at risk every day. 

And that is without even mentioning the actual virus and its effects on the afflicted and their families.

It made me wonder how this compared to other times and other pandemics. I did a little skimming of A Journal of the Plague Year, written in 1722 by the author of the better known Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe. It tells in journal form the story of a man’s life in 1665 in London when the bubonic plague, the Black Death, ferociously struck that city. That particular episode of the Black Death killed over 100,000 Londoners which was abut a quarter of the population at the time. And that was not even close to being the worst case of the Plague. It literally killed hundreds of millions of people throughout Europe and Asia in the centuries when it was at its peak and it still persists in places where conditions allow it to continue. No herd immunity here, folks.

But looking through Defoe’s book and reading sections made me think how horrible it must have been at that time. To be afflicted often meant being boarded in your home. There would be no contact with the outside world. No internet, no cellphones, no Netflix or Instacart or Door Dash deliveries. You would be completely cut off and alone with your painful imminent death as your companion.

It’s a terrifying prospect. I don’t mean to bring you down with this but I just found it interesting. It made me realize how fortunate we are to have the technological connections that we have. I don’t say that easily because I often find myself damning the persistent and invasive nature of the technology even as I use it.

At least now we can get information, as poor and misinformed as it sometimes is. But imagine being ill, sitting in a dark, boarded up home without any idea what might be taking place outside those walls. No news of possible cures or therapies. No idea of whether this would ever end, that relief might come before death. 

I have a hard time imagining the horror of that situation. Nothing in my life, nor in probably most of yours out there, has prepared me for that.

There was another paragraph that sounded familiar:

“But it was impossible to beat anything into the heads of the poor. They went on with the usual impetuosity of their tempers, full of outcries and lamentations when taken, but madly careless of themselves, foolhardy and obstinate, while they were well. Where they could get employment they pushed into any kind of business, the most dangerous and the most liable to infection; and if they were spoken to, their answer would be, ‘I must trust to God for that; if I am taken, then I am provided for, and there is an end of me’, and the like. Or thus, ‘Why, what must I do? I can’t starve. I had as good have the plague as perish for want. I have no work; what could I do? I must do this or beg.”

It made me think again about those folks who have no choice but face the possibility of infection, about those business owners who are at risk at losing everything they have worked much of their lives for. It also reminded me of the foolhardy people who think they are somehow beyond the reach of the virus, that they do not have to concern themselves with the welfare of others. 

I am sure there were those same fools during the Black Death.

I don’t know that there’s a point here except to say that I am grateful for being able to ride this out in this era with our technologies, connections and conveniences rather than any of the pandemics from the past. All things considered, we are fortunate. Maybe not too smart but fortunate.

Perhaps two hundred years in the future some person going through a new pandemic of that time will look back on this in some digital archive and say, “Man, I am so glad I didn’t have to live back then!”

And hopefully, they will also be grateful for their own situation.

Be grateful for what you have and have a good day, folks. To that end, here’s a little William DeVaughn with one of my faves.

 

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The Death of Socrates– Jacques Louis David


“Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?”

― Socrates


Aah, Socrates…

He knew. 

He understood the evil nature of greed, that monstrosity which has no doubt been hanging around the neck of man since we first emerged from the primeval muck and mire and began to walk upright. 

That’s probably why they condemned him to die by drinking the poison hemlock.

Greed protects greed. 

Always has. Always will.

The best we can do is hope that we can come together enough to somehow keep the greed of the few in check. And that’s a tall task because the greedy few always gather together and organize. They seem to be in some sort of such unity right now. 

And unfortunately, as I heard someone once say, organized greed always defeats unorganized democracy. Too many of us believe that a democracy that benefits the many will always persevere, that we don’t have to be vigilant and take part in our civil duties.

That things always work out for the best for us.

But history doesn’t bear that out. Democracy is a rare and fragile thing. It requires care in order to resist the grip of greed.

It is incumbent upon us to care for our democracy. 

Enough said for today. I wasn’t even going to say this much. 

Just have a good day and try to nurture your better angels.

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Now this is just my opinion, okay?

I don’t know about any of you out there but I was more than a little creeped out watching the vice-president*** during last night’s debate. 

I don’t think it was dull, studied and almost psychotic drone of his voice. Or the ease with which he gave voice to lies and misinterpretations of popular opinion. Or the doughy pallor of his face that gave him the appearance of a undertaker who seldom leaves his basement workshop. 

I bet he smells like formaldehyde. 

I don’t think is was even that weird pinkness around his eyes, particularly that thing on his left eye.

Or even the fly. Oh, that pesky black fly that found its way to his head and perched prominently there on camera. Like it had finally found the motherlode of all cowpies.

But even that fly couldn’t take more than a couple of minutes of that crap.

No, it was even the fly. I don’t think it’s not any one thing about him that gives me the shivers. Maybe it’s his totality that you see in the coldness of his eyes. It’s there even when they take on a pink tone. 

And maybe coldness is the wrong word. Maybe hollowness would fit better. There is a quality of emptiness about him. And that can be a scary thing because it means that this space is not filled with goodness or grace or mercy. It lacks such things.

It is just a cold and dark hollow space beneath that corpse-like face.

Bone cold and dark.

And I–and again, I point out that this is my opinion– find that creepy as hell.

I used Norman Bates from Psycho to illustrate this post. Maybe I used it because we are in the month of Halloween.

Nah.  It’s there mainly because I see the VP*** as the Norman Bates of VPs. If I were checking into a motel and the VP*** was behind the counter, I would get back in the car and head down the road. But beyond that, there is also a fly connection that seems to fit. Take a look.


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“And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”

Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death


It seems that with this president*** there is always a quote, a tweet, a video clip or something else that displays the vast ocean of ignorance and hypocrisy that is contained in that otherwise empty melon of a head. The falsehood of his never-ending lies are always revealed and the actions he has criticized others for in the past are always shown to have been done many times by him and to a far greater degree.

It’s so blatant and out in the open that metaphor or symbolism is often moot.

But for all of that, there is a great example in literature that might symbolize the current situation. It’s The Masque of the Red Death, written in 1842 by Edgar Allen Poe. It’s either a horror story or a morality play, depending on what you see in it. But maybe most horror stories are, at their heart, morality plays.

The one we’re living through certainly falls into both categories.

Poe’s tale is the story of an evil medieval prince, Prospero, who reigns in an unnamed land that is the victim of a plague, the Red Death, that is decimating its peasant population. Instead of devoting himself to aiding his people, Prospero and a thousand other aristocrats isolate themselves in a beautiful castle. And to make sure they are indeed safe from the ravages of the plague, they weld the castle doors shut. 

Inside, it is a non-stop party. Wine, women and song as the peasants wail and die.

After several months, Prospero decides to give an elaborate masquerade ball that would take place in an elaborate suite of seven rooms in the castle. Each room was decorated in a different color– blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black.

The black room was particularly eerie. Its walls were back and the only light came through red stained glass windows which cast the room in a scarlet pall. There was a large black clock in the black room. Most of the party-goers avoided the black room. It was just too foreboding and weird.

The masquerade went on full bore in the other more colorful rooms. You know the deal– loud music, limbo dancing and medieval jello-shots. That kind of stuff.

Then at midnight the black clock in the distant black room rang out loudly and the revelers stopped reveling for a moment. As the moment passed and they were set to get back to the good times, they noticed a new guest to the party, one nobody had seen before. His costume was that of a corpse, one that had died from the plague. He moves through the crowd and they part, trying to stay away from him.

Prospero sees him and is furious that someone would wear such a costume. He yells out an order that he be seized and unmasked but nobody dares to move toward the gruesome figure. The intruder moves through the rooms and at last comes to the black room. He enters and as the prince comes toward him, he whirls and Prospero falls to the ground dead. The crowd then descends on the figure only to find there is nothing there underneath the mask and costume.

The Red Death has come to the party, has made its way to the high and mighty. One by one, the party-goers fall to the ground dead by the plague until none are left and the candles go dark.

“And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all

Now, when I see the photos of the event held last Saturday for potential SCOTUS judge Amy Coney Barrett, images of the Red Death run through my mind. Especially the interior shots in a smaller space with groups of people all at close quarters and none taking any precautions at all. Hugging and kissing and getting up close to each other’s faces to speak intimately. You can see that they feel that they are above it all, that the virus can’t affect them.

That it’s only for the dirty and the irresponsible, the unwashed masses. In fact, several GOP members have expressed opinions in past months that those that contract the virus bring it on themselves with poor personal habits and decisions.

Well, maybe in this case, they were correct, as the milled about their Masque of the Red Hat.

Then we get to see our own Prince Prospero decide to put so many others in peril by deciding to satisfy the narcissism of his bloated ego by doing a joyride on Sunday afternoon. His Secret Service agents had no choice in the matter and were commanded to be in the vehicle with the president***. The vehicle is a very special one, if you didn’t know, with bulletproof glass and armor plating. It is also sealed to prevent chemical attacks which mean those Secret Service agents were placed in a very small space with limited airspace with the virus.

Just to satisfy his own neediness, which is always– and I mean always– the case.

Like I wrote here the other day, when a Secret Service agent stated: “He’s never cared about us.”

So, here we are. Our own evil Prince Prospero continues his masquerade. Some of us are still dancing to his tune and some of are just waiting for the black clock to toll.

It’s nearing midnight.


“There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.”

― Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death


 

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It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. . . .

–The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald


I came across the bit above and immediately knew that I was going to use it to illustrate the effect of the current president***, someone who has crashed every aspect of his  life with reckless abandon and carelessness. He always leaves behind a trail of destruction — and now, death– in his wake and like Tom and Daisy Buchanan, lets other people clean up the mess he has made.

This sense of hubris and selfishness was in clear focus yesterday as the covid-19 virus swept through their ranks, finally taking hold in the Oval Office.

He** and those around him have known the risks longer than any of us, even as they tried to downplay the danger of it as over 210,000 Americans died from it in a little over 6 months. They have been told by the highest authorities how to best combat the spread of this virus. They have incredible access to information and resources– medical equipment, testing, doctors and treatments– that would be unavailable to almost all of us. They have the ability to control their environment and reduce risk factors in a way most of us cannot.

Yet, with all of this, they practically thumbed their nose at it all. They refused to wear masks. Refused to stop gathering in groups or maintain any social distancing. Many refuse to quarantine properly. And with the virus running through their ranks, they continued to go out among the voters.

The sheer selfish disregard for others and the willingness with which they put others in peril is astonishing.

As one Secret Service agent who has put their lives on the line in protecting this person** stated, “He’s never cared about us.”

That’s a quote that should remain in the minds of the voters when they go to their polling places or mark their mail-in vote.

He’s never cared about us.”

Like Tom and Daisy and others like them, he** only sees people as resources to be used for his own benefit and pleasure.

Folks are seen as either as steps to climb up or obstacles to be kicked out of the way.

Kindling to be burnt to keep him warm.

So, as he** remains in Walter Reed getting better care than any of us could ever expect, excuse me if I don’t show a great deal of compassion for his plight. If our situations were reversed, he wouldn’t go out one inch out of his way to express concern.

If I were on fire on the side of the road, he** wouldn’t stop to piss on me to put it out. That is, unless there was something in it for him.

And you know why? 

He’s never cared about us.”

So, don’t ask me to care about his health now.


Maybe that sounds a little bitter this morning. Well, it probably is. My dad’s death and how our response to it has been tempered by the virus, the sheer folly of the covid outbreak at the white house, the recent surge of covid cases in my local area– these things and so many more have me a little on edge. Plus, the first thing I saw this morning was an announcement of the death of my greatest childhood hero, Bob Gibson, at age 84.

A legendary pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibby was it for me. He was always the toughest guy out there on any field, a smoldering force whose competitive fire bordered on sheer hostility toward any opponent. With Gibby, it wasn’t that you were trying to best him a game. It was more like you were trying to take something from him. Every inning was an existential exercise. And he most often prevailed. He was so dominating as a pitcher that baseball changed the mound height because they felt the hitters needed help since he was practically unhittable.  I read his early autobiography, From Ghetto to Glory, numerous times and that made him an even bigger hero to me. He was eloquent and college-educated, a rarity for ballplayers of that era, and his story was compelling. He spoke out about issues of the day with intelligence and passion, like two of my other great childhood heroes, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali.

And as the case with these three, Bob Gibson remains a hero.

Rest in Peace, Gibby. And say Hey! to my dad if you see him around. He’s new there, as well.

Have a good day.

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Dr. Seuss Slaying "America First" 1941

Dr. Seuss Slaying “America First” 1941

I don’t fear the dark.

I don’t fear the forest or the city.

I don’t fear being alone.

I don’t fear losing everything or being without.

I do not fear the rain or snow or wind.

I do not fear god.

And I don’t fear terrorists.

And I don’t fear criminals.

And I don’t fear missiles raining down from the sky.

And I don’t fear foreign nations invading this country.

And I sure as hell don’t fear any child or mother or father who flees to this nation to escape war and death.

But what I do fear is your fear.

I fear your cowardice and indifference.

I fear your apathy and distraction.

I fear your tiny attention span and your short-sightedness.

I fear your willingness to accept an evil done in your name.

I fear your preference for dividing people into us and them.

I fear your lack of empathy and compassion.

I fear how you mask your prejudices.

I fear the cruelty of your greed.

I fear your ignorance of your civic responsibilities.

I fear your sense of entitlement.

I fear your indifference to education, history or knowledge.

I fear the blatant stupidity and gullibility you proudly display like a new tattoo.

Don’t mistake this as attack on others– I am as much the you in this as anyone else.

And that is to my great shame.

Our great shame.

Enough is Enough.

************************

When I came into the studio early this morning and flipped on my phone, the first notification on it that jumped out at me was one from Pinterest that said:

Darkness started following you.

That was not the first thing I wanted to see this morning.

After a day spent on a death vigil for my dad and a night spent watching a pathetic creature who resembles someone midway through their transition to orangutan squeal and fling their poo on the debate stage, I wasn’t feeling too upbeat this morning as it was.

Pinterest, in its infinite wisdom, just confirmed what I thought might be the case.

Of course, I am kidding. Not about the Pinterest part. Yes, Darkness is, indeed, following me, whoever this Darkness person is.

But I don’t believe in being trapped under a cloud of bad luck, don’t believe in curses or spells. I don’t believe in anything or anyone that discounts my ability to overcome it.

I believe in my own determination and that of others like me. People who will not live under the darkness cast by a cloud of fear and stupidity any longer.

Now, the cartoon at the top and the words below it are from a post that first ran here back in January of 2017, just as the would-be-king took the reins of power and started his division of America.  The cartoon is from Dr. Seuss in 1941 when he took on the America First crowd of that era, a group of American isolationists and Hitler appeasers who would feel right at home in the MAGA world that cheers as the ghoul-in-chief gleefully breaks our bonds with longtime allies and kisses Putin’s Russian ass.

I felt that nothing in the message of both the cartoon and the accompanying words had changed in the nearly four years. In fact, it has become worst, as has almost every aspect of our nation and its culture. I can’t think of one solitary thing, one metric of any quality of life, that has improved in this nation over the past four years. People are still cowed by fears and division stoked by their ingrained prejudices, their own ignorance of the facts, and in believing the constant stream of misinformation and outright lies that fuel alternative media sources.

These people seek the darkness.

And I see that darkness but I also see the light shining through it. And I will march through the darkness until I reach that light.

Okay, enough for such a morning. In the original post four years ago, I ran the terrific Johnny Cash version of the song I See a Darkness from Bonnie “Prince” Billy  aka Will Oldham with the following as part of its chorus:

Oh, no, I see a darkness.
Did you know how much I love you?
Is a hope that somehow you,
Can save me from this darkness.

Here’s Bonnie “Prince’ Billy’s original version.

Have a day. And if you run into Darkness, tell him that I am looking for him.


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A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

–Maya Angelou


I needed something with hope this morning, something not wrought of despair. I need something on a higher plane today, being as I am, so tired of hearing from the hate-filled people, as the late poet Maya Angelou put so well in a certain poem: whose mouths abide cankerous words/ Which challenge our very existence.

That is from the poem above, A Brave and Startling Truth. Maya Angelou wrote this piece in 1995 in specifically for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations. The video below is her reading of the poem at that event.

Hope it lifts you a little higher today.


 

 

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The Fraud


Whoever commits a fraud is guilty not only of the particular injury to him who he deceives, but of the diminution of that confidence which constitutes not only the ease but the existence of society.

–Samuel Johnson


Come on, you knew he* was a fraud.

A grifter. A con man.

It was always out there for us to see if we took the time to look and weren’t distracted by the gaudy golden letters that screamed out his name being plastered on every surface of his properties. But a lot of us didn’t take the time to look deeper and some were indeed mesmerized by his branding.

I pointed out four years ago that one bit of evidence of his ineptitude as a businessman was to be found in looking at his Atlantic City casinos. His casinos were part of a publicly held corporation from 1985 to 1995. It was the only time he was answerable to shareholders and he failed them in a most spectacular fashion. You have to realize that in that specific time period, almost every company and stock affiliated with gambling and casinos were highly profitable. Yet, his was the exception, somehow managing to go bankrupt after ten years.

In fact, if you had invested $10,000 in his corporation’s stock in 1985 you would found yourself with a nearly worthless pile of paper. It lost 96% of its value in the ten years and your 10G’s were worth a measly $400.

$400.

All that was left after a 10 year investment of $10,000 in a booming industry at that time.

Yet, people continued to call him a great businessman. And it continued even as his every venture went boots up or were implicated in some sort of fraud litigation. His self-named university(!) and his ridiculous steaks or bottled water, for examples. The fraud even extended into his efforts to appear as a charitable benefactor.

His charity was disbanded and he and his family of grifters are prohibited from operating any charitable foundation in NY because of his illegal handling of the funds.

They actually stole money from a children’s charity, for chrissake.

He hasn’t done anything in the four years that changes any of this (and there is so much more that I just don’t feel like documenting here this morning) and the swampy, corrupt deals he continues to make every single day only enhances the truth of what he is– a fraud.

And maybe that is the only time you can use his own brand of narcissistic hyperbole and say that he is the greatest at anything.

He may be the greatest bad businessperson of all time. He certainly has perpetrated a fraud bigly.

And you know something? I don’t hold it against him that he is a shit businessperson. There are plenty of them out there who do little lasting harm.

Hell, I was and might still be a shit businessman.

But I hate that he has parlayed his failures, through shady deals with foreign interests and a deepening and broadening of the swamp that is public corruption, into a position where he has eroded all public confidence in nearly everything that binds us together.

His fraud, even if you can somehow dismiss the criminality of it, has put our entire system of democracy at risk.

It must stop.

But he is shielded by his enablers in the Senate and House, who only serve now to perpetuate the fraud.

The only way is to stop this is to Vote Blue in huge numbers up and down the ballots.

That is the only thing that can end this fraud.

 

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