Catching Up (To Some Degree Anyway)

Well, I’m embarking on mission impossible again. Today will be another of the catchup variety articles.

Coast To Coast

Every political party, left, right or middle, of any size in the world recognizes climate change and man’s impact in it with one exception – the American Republican Party. Among the many manifestations of climate change are several huge wildfires burning on the West Coast. As if nature were trying to illustrate the scope of the problem, smoke is causing air quality problems in several major East Coast cities.

I live in metro-Raleigh (one of the least effected eastern cities) and last week a mild air quality warning was issued. When I attended one of my book club meetings on Thursday night one of the attendees said she had mild asthma and noticed the situation. That is three time zones over.

Peer Group Pressure?

The NFL announced that if a club cannot field a team due to COVID in an unvaccinated player(s) and the game cannot be made up (which is almost always the case in the NFL) the offending team will forfeit the game and no players will be paid for that week. That is a huge team and individual penalty which will cost most players tens of thousands of dollars (for stars even more). Think there might be a bit of unsportsmanlike conduct in a future game? I do.

We need mandates and in their absence peer group pressure may be the next best weapon we have against stupidity. I’m sorry, I cannot come up with a more appropriate and yet less offensive word than a derivative of stupid.

As Long As The Money Rolls In

Trump may well be delusional and believe he actually won the 2020 election (although that is doubtful) but to date the Big Lie is proving profitable for him and will continue as long as people keep donating to his scams. His PAC has collected about $75 million to date supposedly to fight the “steal”. In reality most of the money has gone to Trump.

I’ll make my analysis very succinct: The Trump campaigns and administration were little more than organized criminal enterprises designed to enrich Trump and to a lesser degree a small inner circle. The post-presidency is the same thing.

If Not COVID Then What ?

There are still dead enders out there saying that COVID-19 is a hoax or no big deal. The CDC recently released its preliminary numbers for life expectancy in America. In 2020 the average life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years. The last time we had a drop that large we were fighting World War II. (Yes, in about a year – most of which was in 2020 – COVID killed more Americans than the Axis did in four years.)

That was the overall number. Inequity was illustrated in that for Blacks the drop was 2.9 years and for Latinos 3 years.

Riddle me this all you right wing geniuses – if COVID isn’t mainly responsible for the decease in life expectancy what was? I’m pretty disappointed that the Rays didn’t beat the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series but I don’t think that killed anyone.

Greed I Can’t Understand 

I understand why people commit crimes. A starving man stealing bread to feed his family is illegal and morally wrong but I can understand it. Legitimately wealthy people engaging in multiple crimes in order to further enrich themselves is impossible for me to rationalize. Does their greed know no bounds or do they just do it because they get a high from it?

Trump Inaugural Chair, Tom Barrack was indicted and arrested last week on foreign lobbying charges. It doesn’t take Dick Tracey to figure out that he is guilty of a plethora of other financial crimes (and make no mistake at its root the “lobbying” – which could morph into espionage charges, but I doubt it will – has a huge financial aspect to it). Like Trump, Barrack is an old man. Unlike Trump, Barrack is legitimately wealthy so why?

Light Sentence

Paul Hodgkins pled guilty a felony in connection with the January 6th insurrection and was sentenced to 8 months in prison. The prosecution had asked for 18 months. From the evidence submitted Hodgkins was non-violent but still breached the building and in fact paraded around the floor of the Senate chamber complete with his Trump flag.

His actions went well beyond free speech! The most disturbing fact to me is that the judge saw fit to not give the prosecution what it asked for. I don’t want to spend eight minutes, let alone eight months in prison but I don’t think the punishment fit the magnitude of the crime. This was an attempt to overthrow American democracy. The last time I check getting caught up in the moment is not a defense in an American court of law.

Does This Mean Anything?

This item hardly got a mention in the news but I am wondering what impact it may have down the road. There are a lot of Trump shenanigans that are still “dangling participles”. Among them is the hush money he paid to “mistresses”. Earlier this month Judge William H. Pauley, who presided over the case died. There is absolutely no reason to suspect foul play but unless those cases are going to be swept under the rug (and it looks like the biggest wall-to-wall carpet you ever saw so far) I have to wonder what impact his passing will have on further cases in this matter.

Well, there you have it for another day and the cutting room floor is knee deep in matters not covered.

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