http://www.baridao.cn Wed, 06 Jan 2021 23:44:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.9 101717855 Post-hyperbole us http://www.baridao.cn/2021/01/06/post-hyperbole-us/ http://www.baridao.cn/2021/01/06/post-hyperbole-us/#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2021 23:44:31 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18991 Continue reading Post-hyperbole us ]]> Happy new year.  The horror that was 2020 hangs like a cloud over 2021, but faint glimmers of hope coax us off the ledge:

There is a vaccine (in fact several) for Covid-19, even though it may be an unnecessarily tense wait for the vulnerable to be inoculated…and relief may be short-lived if resistant mutations arise.

Donald Trump WILL leave the White House no later than January 20, even if a removal van or a paddy wagon has to carry him away in his favorite chair.

It looks like Mitch McConnell will no longer enjoy a stranglehold on the Senate…and that means the American people may actually see those $2,000. relief checks come their way under the new Biden administration.

Unless DT goes full-on Strangelove some time in the next two weeks (a distinct possibility), we may avoid war with Iran and begin to reconstruct all the damaged alliances and trade relationships left in the wake of Trump’s wrecking-ball brand of diplomatic malpractice.

Can we see a return to “normal” in the foreseeable future?  Most unlikely.  Just as you can’t un-ring a bell, there is no way to erase the blot to America’s dignity and sense of democratic purpose left by this one unspeakable administration.

We are culturally bereft. So great were the abuses of the Trump years that even language has begun to desert us.  Trump’s inartful lies and distortions were framed by the dwindling vocabulary that usually signals dementia.  Coherent expression often escaped him entirely in his reach for self-gloried hyperbole.

“Everyone is saying…” “Largest Ever…”  “Most EVER…” “Biggest’  “Nobody does it better/knows more about it (whatever it is) than me.” The departing president never met a positive fact he couldn’t improve upon exponentially, or an outright lie he couldn’t render even less believable through inflation.  His purple rage at anyone who would’t carry his water has been routinely punctuated with exaggerated insults and name-calling that doesn’t even make sense..  

The counterpart is that, after four years of searching for descriptors for his venality and corruption, we are simply out of hyperbole.  Henceforth, we will be unable to say a public figure is the most “corrupt” “selfish” or “incompetent” without acknowledging DT as the former title holder.  It is a kind of immortality that Trump might actually appreciate since he craves everlasting attention.

What ever will we do with all the time we have wasted on defensive Trump-watch once he has been forced to surrender the nuclear football? There will be stories to tell for generations, but the gut-grinding fear of Trump’s evil whimsy will no longer punctuate our every conversation.  

Soon we’ll be well-rid of this abomination, but I tend to agree with the pessimists who say that as a nation, we can never be quite the same. We’ll limp into the future, a mere shadow of our former world stature.

“Great again?” I rather think not.

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Biden/Harris 2020!! http://www.baridao.cn/2020/08/11/biden-harris-2020/ http://www.baridao.cn/2020/08/11/biden-harris-2020/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2020 22:21:30 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18196 Continue reading Biden/Harris 2020!! ]]> Finally, we’ve got something to celebrate. It seems a very long time since we last heard some good news. I almost forgot what it was like.

I was resigned to whomever Joe Biden would pick, and prepared to be disappointed. Everyone whom I know was rooting for Kamala Harris. This, in my experience, almost guaranteed it wouldn’t be her. Just like my husband’s playoff picks, my support for a candidate usually means you can make book on a loss.

Not this time. Biden’s first executive decision is golden. I have no doubt that any of the women under consideration would have made a fine Vice President, but Kamala Harris was a standout. I would have preferred Bernie or Elizabeth Warren as the Presidential candidate, or Harris, herself; but for Vice President, she always was, hands-down, my first choice.

The thought of Mike Pence having to spar with her on a debate stage is absolutely delightful. She’s smart, poised, articulate and relatable; all things that he is not. To carry water for Donald Trump, Pence must defend indecency and corruption from the hypocrite’s corner. Not an enviable position. Add to that the fact that Harris is a WOMAN, a gender with which Mike Pence is apparently very ill at ease, and one can only hope he wears a double set of dress shields under the hot lights of the debate stage.

Should Joe Biden, as president, decide against a second term, Kamala Harris is the perfect age and profile to seamlessly turn the Biden /Harris agenda into the Harris/? agenda, as presidential candidate in 2024. She represents the future of the Democratic party.

We’ll be tearing out hair out over some stupid thing Trump will do or say tomorrow, but tonight let’s raise a glasss of good cheer for Kamala Harris, the people’s candidate for Vice President in 2020.

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Lessons from Beirut http://www.baridao.cn/2020/08/10/lessons-from-beirut/ Mon, 10 Aug 2020 17:55:59 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18192 Continue reading Lessons from Beirut ]]> In the aftermath of the deadly Beirut blast that killed or injured thousands of people, if we are tempted to think something similar couldn’t happen here in the U.S, we should think again.

“So, rather than war or terrorism, this blast brings to a head … the deep paralysis, official corruption and unaccountability that Lebanese demonstrators had been protesting in huge numbers for months before the coronavirus pandemic shut them down.”

Sound familiar?

As much as anything, the Beirut “accident” is a story of corruption and spectacular regulatory failure; and the U.S. is headed down that same road at breakneck speed.

Over the past half century, there has been a growing backlash against government regulation in this country, that says regulation is an unnecessary intrusion into private business, ignoring the legacy of death and destruction that caused the country to adopt regulatory practices in the first place just to keep its citizens safe and its natural resources for future generations of Americans to enjoy.

This anti-regulatory bias has sadly come to define the Republican party, once a champion of environmental protection as well as fiscal responsibility. With the election of the most Ignorant president in our history, it has been elevated to the driver’s seat of public policy.

No one likes to submit to regulation themselves, but events as various as the Triangle Shirt Fire, the Love Canal, and the 1929 Stock Market Crash have succeeded in mustering a majority to demand limits be placed on even private industry in the interest of public safety.

Having long chafed under a regulatory system that attempted to protect citizens from grifters and cheats, in his 2016 campaign pitch, Donald Trump vowed to strip away regulations of almost every kind.

This is one promise he kept. 

Characteristically, the Trump administration mocked environmental concerns and characterized science as “elitist,” succeeding in undermining even undisputed fact among the followers of his cult of ignorance.  Apparently, when given the opportunity to embrace reality, a sizable portion of the American people willingly choose to believe the wholly unbelievable.

It was easy to pick-away at the underpinnings of the American regulatory system because he kept us all distracted with a daily pageant of outrage and violation that left little time for more subtle concerns.  

We’ve become accustomed to Donald Trump’s “opposite speak,” in which he characterizes anyone who stands against him as guilty of his own vices.  We’ve come to learn that when he lies, his “tell” is to repeat that lie over and over again and blame “fake news” for obvious discrepancies.

While autocratically grabbing for powers wildly beyond his constitutional scope, he refuses to accept responsibility for anything.

It’s an elaborate smoke screen to veil his uninterrupted self-dealing in fog.  He doesn’t care about anything other than his own preservation and vanity.

 We probably should be grateful that he has gotten so little done in his term as president.  If he had actually undertaken infrastructure “improvements,”  we could be looking at decades of public peril as shoddy workmanship, counterfeit materials and other products of corruption slowly revealed themselves in some spectacular, and possibly deadly infrastructure failures.  As bad as our bridges may be, can you imagine what Trump-era replacements might be like in ten years?

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It’s Quittin’ Time, Donald Trump. http://www.baridao.cn/2020/07/14/its-quitting-time-donald-trump/ Tue, 14 Jul 2020 16:41:27 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18100 Continue reading It’s Quittin’ Time, Donald Trump. ]]> As it becomes increasingly unlikely that Donald Trump can legitimately win a second term, we are left to contemplate how the final scenes in this epic American nightmare might play-out.

If he would do us the honor of resigning NOW, the nation might be spared six more months of his compulsive malfeasance.  This alone might make it well-worthwhile to consider making him an offer he wouldn’t refuse.  I am speaking of immunity from prosecution for himself and his two nearest and dearest children.

No Democrat would be eager to make such a deal with the Devil, but allowing him continued license to exploit his office to its vengeful limits might well prove so dangerous that such a deal should at least be considered.

There are increasing calls for his resignation, but no one can seriously think his narcissistic personality would yield to such pressures “for the good of the country” without a big fat bonus for his truly.

Why wouldn’t he simply wait until the last minute of the last hour before Biden is sworn in to pardon himself and his whole family for any uncharged crimes that may be discovered or pursued after he leaves office?  It’s an excellent question, but even in his currently feverish state, he must have noticed that his brushes with the Supreme Court and with the Justice Department, even under his toady Barr, have not always gone in his favor.  

Surely, once he leaves office, if Ruth Bader Ginsberg then retires to make way for another progressive jurist, and likely a more progressive Congress, he will have few if any friends in power and many, many enemies. Included in this number will be the bulk of the Republican political class who have undoubtedly chafed under the yoke of his crazy for the past four years.  Even if they lacked the courage to rebel against his worst instincts while he held office, once he is unceremoniously dethroned, they will likely turn on him with a vengeance.  Like him, they will only be interested in saving their own skins.

The argument for extending presidential clemency to his children, before the fact, will be even thinner than his own, as Congress moves to plug the holes in presidential privilege that his tenure has so vividly highlighted.? I think even most reasonable Republicans (if there are any left) will acknowledge that America can’t survive another abusive presidency like this one.?

Surely, even if he is ignorant of the Constitution and Congress’ ability to reshape presidential privilege (albeit with difficulty) he might be expected to anticipate vigorous challenges to any family pardon that would, at the very least, force exposure of carefully guarded Trump secrets.

Once Trump leaves office, his experiences at the other end of the stick promise to be most unpleasant.

Of course any offer of clemency should be time-limited so that we, the American people, get maximum protection from Trump’s continued malevolent incompetence, or no deal. There is only a slim chance that Trump’s juvenile obstinance will allow for such measured calculation.  After all, he is increasingly given to self-harm in the pursuit of harm to others.

Surely we must give it a try.

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Donald Trump’s Inner Child Smashes the Fourth of July http://www.baridao.cn/2020/07/05/donald-trumps-inner-child-smashes-the-fourth-of-july/ Sun, 05 Jul 2020 17:40:26 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18084 Continue reading Donald Trump’s Inner Child Smashes the Fourth of July ]]>

“I know you are, but what am I?”

Donald Trump’s Mount Rushmore manifesto was the ultimate display of his greatest hits. He called out “far-left fascists,” projecting on this oxymoronic invention all the traits of his own mean-spirited attempts at despotism.

“In our schools, newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language performed rituals recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.”

Who is it that demands “absolute allegiance,” and “banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished” every single person he can reach who has contradicted him? Who is it who wishes out loud that he could jail journalists? And who has attempted to quash transparency and access to the media throughout his administration? That’s right: it’s Donald J. Trump, himself.

With a record number of new Covid-10 cases concentrated mainly in the neighborhoods of his own political base, he could only manage a whine in sympathy with his own imaginary victimization. Arrogant and self-important, he couldn’t leave aside his own selfish vanity or simple childish perversity to model for the thousands seated, cheek-to-jowel, at his feet, the simple mask-wearing behavior that could save tens of thousands of lives.

Having essentially removed himself from the field of combat against the virus, he seeks to do battle, instead, in defense of statues. Nevermind that the only statues that are currently under threat of removal are those of Civil War traitors, he has chosen to defend a bunch of lifeless junk over the lives of his fellow countrymen.

If he imagines this to be the saving message of his feckless reelection campaign, he must be beyond delusional. As the whole Republican party will learn to late to save it, white grievance is a platform of diminishing returns. They have apparently forgotten their own come-to-Jesus moment following the Obama win in 2016, when they pragmatically vowed to shape a more inclusive Republican party.

A majority of Americans recognize the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement, yet he stands in front of that monument to white imperialism, in defiance of treaty-bound Sioux rights and has the nerve to blame Democrats, journalists and unpersuadable independents for disloyalty to HIS warped version of our shared American heritage.

And continuing his patten of appropriating the music of the accursed left, he has the nerve to blast Neil Young from the loud speakers: Neil Young, for godssake!

If there is a devil, Donald Trump must be his right-hand man.

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Donald’s Bad night in Tulsa http://www.baridao.cn/2020/06/22/donalds-bad-night-in-tulsa/ http://www.baridao.cn/2020/06/22/donalds-bad-night-in-tulsa/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2020 20:36:09 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=18049 Continue reading Donald’s Bad night in Tulsa ]]> After the crushing disappointment of his Tulsa rally, the King of Lies and Excuses is already warming up a doozy of an excuse for the more and more likely outcome of the general election.

“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND OTHERS.IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES”

@realDonald Trump

(Did anybody ever tell this guy that it’s not necessary to SHOUT online?)

The burning question, “What will Donald Trump do if he loses reelection?”  has definitively been answered by the man himself.

He’s just getting a little bit ahead of the game by winding-up the lies before the pitch.

Of course the only candidate who has demonstrated any inclination to seek and accept help from foreign countries is the man himself, who only avoided impeachment for that very crime because his gutless co-conspirators control the Senate…for now.

This is the classic Donald Trump “tell”…or one of them.  Anything he claims is being done to him is something he is actively doing himself.  Like a three-year-old with his hand in the cookie jar, he doesn’t even try to be believable. “Cookie? What cookie? You ate all the cookies!”

When coming up short in the reelection lottery, most presidents grieve in private, then turn their attention to planning their library and leaving an inspiring note for the next Oval Office occupant.

In Donald Trump’s case, I think we can expect a display of lawless petulance by which even his worst history will pale.

He might take that opportunity to have a few hapless flunkies shot by executive order for treason; or he might provoke a war with North Korea.   If somebody doesn’t hurry to lock-up the nuclear codes, the whole world is in big trouble, because Donald doesn’t like to suffer alone.
My theory is that he will try to create some huge and probably horrible distraction while he and his traveling circus of vampires saddle up the ponies and head out on Airforce One to an undisclosed location.

In the wake of his departure, as the Bidens cautiously enter the White House, looking under the couch cushions and in the cellars will be a little like checking-out Saddam’s palaces after the fall.  You never know what secret horrors they’ll find.

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Get Moving on Vote by Mail! http://www.baridao.cn/2020/05/10/5-4/ Sun, 10 May 2020 18:05:09 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=17884 Continue reading Get Moving on Vote by Mail! ]]> Just as we were beginning to think Republican Governor Phil Scott deserved a lot of credit for his responsible handling of the Covid-19 crisis, he threatens to undo that goodwill by dragging his feet on Vote-By-Mail.

Secy. of State, Jim Condos has set forward a timely plan that would ensure all qualified Vermonters will have the opportunity to make their voice heard in the November election, but the Governor wants to postpone a decision as to whether or not to go ahead with the plan, until August. 

That would give the state barely three months to develop the protocols, notify counties of guidelines, distribute ballots, inform voters about the procedures, allow for the necessary learning curve to address unanticipated problems, receive and process returned ballots for counting, and present a conclusion scenario in which voters may have full confidence.

That’s a very tall order, and failure on any of these measures would mean utter chaos and bitter divisions at the worst possible time in our history.

Condos has said the governor must approve the plan in the coming days to give the Secretary of State’s Office enough time to set up the infrastructure needed to strengthen the early and absentee ballot apparatus.

…And what exactly does the Governor think will happen between now and August to obviate the need for distance voting?  Does he buy Donald Trump’s narrative that COVID-19 will somehow magically “go away” by then?  I give him credit for much more common sense than that.  At best we might have a brief respite before the next wave, but not only is there the responsibility to ensure that voters are kept safe, concern by voters, themselves, for their safety could in itself suppress participation.

True, it would probably be easier on his Republican cred right now to delay, delay, delay in the hope that somehow he will be spared this difficult decision; but he knows full well that what is required of any political leader in a time of crisis is a profile in courage, not party loyalty.

The Republican Party has developed a reputation for attempts at voter suppression. At this critical juncture, Governor Scott would do well to avoid that appearance, himself.

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Another Day in Purgatory http://www.baridao.cn/2020/05/06/another-day-in-purgatory/ http://www.baridao.cn/2020/05/06/another-day-in-purgatory/#comments Wed, 06 May 2020 17:29:22 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=17861 Continue reading Another Day in Purgatory ]]> When I was a child in parochial school, “Heaven” and “Hell” were vividly contrasting reward and punishment scenarios.  “Purgatory” was much tougher to imagine. It seemed like nothing more than a long, not-unpleasant wait for something better.  Purgatory was a threat only for grown-up imaginations.

To this aging Baby Boomer, life amid the Coronavirus pandemic gives me my first real appreciation of the concept of Purgatory.  It is a life of potentially never-ending semi-isolation, in which we are held out of reach of friends and loved ones while our remaining time on earth ticks away devoid of variety and societal comforts: sameness unrelieved except by food and virtual engagements.

We have no idea when or even if the social privations will ultimately end.  When they do, we have no idea what kind of different world we will be entering…and it will, necessarily be a different world.

If a vaccine isn’t available within the coming year, time-honored but meaningless social gestures like the handshake, cheek kiss and double- cheek kiss will likely fade permanently from habit, as youngsters learn that these conventions are not just anachronistic but potentially dangerous.

Claustrophobics will be relieved to see the practice of packing into subway cars and buses being abandoned in favor of an etiquette of social distancing.? From a couple of trips to Tokyo in the 1990’s, I vividly recall the professional subway “pushers” employed to assist riders’ entry into over-packed subway cars.?

We may come to regard things like salad bars, self-serve soda and frozen custard dispensers as equally uncouth and unsanitary to food-sharing habits of our ancestors, like spoon-sharing and hand-scooping from a community bowl.

Unfortunately, use-and-toss items will likely return to favor as consumers place more emphasis on personal safety than environmental protection.  This is something about which we must already worry.  Combined with the plummeting cost of fuel, this change in focus could hasten the demise of the biosphere as a whole.

Our dependence on social media for work, school, shopping and hanging-out with friends will continue its upward trajectory in replacing live interactions.  We’re a curious but lazy species that cannot resist the lure of “more” for less effort.

In-person sex will never fall out of favor, but it will occur less frequently and less casually.  People will feel more compelled toward practical monogamy, but with less in-person dating, opportunities for connecting with the “right” partner might be few and farther between.

Inevitably, the birth rate will drop precipitously, both because of a decline in intimacy and the powerful disincentive that living through depression and the decline of a civilization has for posterity planning.

The poor and middle class will get poorer as the rich class swoops in to pick  over its financial carcass.  We’ve pretty well read their manifesto in Republican words about “sacrifice” for the sake of the economy and Donald Trump’s feelingless speculations on egregious death statistics for the people he claims to “love.”

This emotionally bankrupt governance of the nation in the face of crisis may prove to be the final nail in the coffin of the United States’ constitutional experiment. If the people cannot depend on the president to tell them the truth or to protect them in times of peril, what is the whole point of having a chief executive? President Trump seems to think the purpose is to serve his own personal interests and whims, but our ancestors summarily rejected monarchy.

We are well-past time for a new Constitutional Convention.  The only reason no one is calling for one right now is because there is a universal sense that holding one must inevitably lead to a partisan impasse and the ultimate dissolution of the Union.

I think that we are coming to that, one way or the other.  Urged on by the health crisis and abdication of responsibility by our President, the Pacific states have already formed one regional alliance and the northeastern states are in the process of forming their own.  Can the southern states and midwest be far behind in shaping their own regional bodies?  

Once separate but equal under the law, the three branches of government have each been irretrievably broken through the cynical machinations of the Party of Trump.  Who knew they were so perilously fragile?

Democratic politicians are not entirely blameless in the decline and fall of the American democratic experiment.  However partisan they may be, though, Democrats are not guilty of the brazen cheating, excessive injustices and boldfaced lying that has redefined the Republican Party in the age of Trump.

Ten years from now, what will the judgement of history be?  Did we pull together to bring the runaway train to a screeching halt at the edge of the precipice or did we leave the madman at the helm and simply get what we deserved?

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Calling on Governor Scott: http://www.baridao.cn/2020/04/20/calling-on-governor-scott/ http://www.baridao.cn/2020/04/20/calling-on-governor-scott/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2020 18:47:57 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=17800 Continue reading Calling on Governor Scott: ]]> On May 1, Vermont is scheduled for a limited re-opening of some business interactions, despite the fact that we still have plenty of Coronavirus activity in evidence.

If I correctly understand the logic of this move, it stems from identification of Vermont as one of the nine states which had less than 1,000 identified cases of the virus, ignoring the proportion of virus/deaths to overall population. ?

I know we are all eager to resume “normal” living, but the testing piece is still far from adequate and the actual number of infections is likely exponentially greater than the 812 confirmed cases, so far.

We are told that there are so many unknowns about this unique virus that it is impossible to predict who might have it, how severe it might be and how it might manifest in any one individual.

I am sure Phil Scott is trying to be a responsible governor despite growing pressure to open the state, but I propose that he make one key demand of the Trump administration before the arbitrary May 1 deadline.? It’s a demand that is neither unreasonably large? nor without concrete purpose in addressing the information gap for the nation as a whole.

Having the second smallest population of any state, Vermont would be the ideal candidate for full testing of EVERY single resident, and contact tracing of all the resultant positives.  If if can’t be done for the 600,000 individuals in our little state, what hope is there of getting a handle on the vast unknown for the rest of the country?

So, Governor Scott, with all due respect, I ask you to make our cautious reentry to business activity contingent on getting help from the Feds to make this happen.  The profile on Coronavirus spread that such a state-limited study could yield would be invaluable to the country as a whole.

If ever there was a time to assert your independence while putting Vermont public interest first, it is now.

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Thanks, But No Thanks. http://www.baridao.cn/2020/04/16/thanks-but-no-thanks/ Fri, 17 Apr 2020 00:23:17 +0000 http://www.baridao.cn/?p=17782 Continue reading Thanks, But No Thanks. ]]> Apparently Vermont is one of the nine states getting the “all clear” from Il Duce Don to end social distancing and resume business as usual by May 1.  It is unsurprising that he cares little for the lives of vulnerable people in the state least likely to support him in the upcoming election.

He might just as well say, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” because he’s made it very clear that he believes voter suppression is the only way that Republicans retain power.

Let me be among the first Vermont seniors to say, “No thanks, Mr. President.”  We don’t want to be the canary in your coal mine.

I give Phil Scott credit for a little more common sense than to follow his party’s nominal leader right off the Coronavirus cliff, but I think we should all make ourselves perfectly clear, nonetheless.

I propose that all the vulnerable people who have been endangered by Trump’s self-dealing and deliberate ignorance in the face of the pandemic begin to come together to develop a massive class action lawsuit against him, to launch the day after Joe Biden is inaugurated as President.  No doubt, it will be only one of many awaiting him on that blessed day.

Who cares whether any lawsuit succeeds in the long run!  The idea is to hound him and his family of horrors for the remainder of their days, just as surely as they have darkened ours.

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