On Tyranny: Make eye contact and small talk
“This is not just polite. It is part of being a citizen and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social barriers, and understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.” – Timothy Snyder
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” – Article X of the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
“The Kind of France (Louis XIV) is old…He has often been heard to say, that, of all existing governments, that of the Turks…pleased him best—such is his high opinion of Oriental statecraft…he is fond of trophies and victories, but he has as great a dread of seeing a good general at the head of his (own) troops, as at the head of an army of his enemies. It has never I believe happened to anyone but himself, to be burdened with more wealth than even a prince could hope for, and yet at the same time steeped in such poverty as a private person could ill brook.” – Baron de Montesquieu, Persian Letters
“Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and I know not that…
…no man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…
…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – John Donne, Meditation XVII
“People who need people…are the luckiest people in the world.” – Barbara Streisand
“In as much as you commit sins against the least of democracies, you have done it to your own.” – Chicago Dog
Once upon a time in my passive aggressive, childhood days, my mother, in a fit of exasperation, blurted out: “do as I say, darling child, not as I do!” I was, of course, impossible to deal with after that. I was, after all, only 12 years old — bright enough to see through the hypocrisy, albeit it honestly stated, but too immature and undeveloped to know what to do about it.
A similar dilemma of discipline exists for the Governors of the 50 different countries comprising the United States of America. Their problem is far more acute than my mother’s, however. A pathologically aggressive 12 year old, totally undeveloped as a man, is America’s President. As the body count from his criminal negligence and incompetence continues to rise, Donald Trump is completely unable to do his job in this pandemic by putting a competent commander in charge of the War Production Act, and mitigating forty years of corporate America’s “Made in China Production” actions. Instead, he has fired, one after another, any competent man or woman who has shown, naturally enough, that they know how to do their job; a jarring reminder of the able black man who had preceded him in the Presidency.
Had Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his fellow Republican Senators followed the lead of Mitt Romney (R-UT), and actually done their job by facing the overwhelming facts presented by the House Impeachment Committee, they could have voted for Trump’s conviction on the grounds of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and rid this country of such a clear and present danger to our general welfare. Although a sultan of sycophancy, Vice President Mike Pence learned from his botching of the AIDs epidemic as Governor in Indiana, that he should opt for science and logistics over bigotry and chaos.
One can only imagine the pain of pandemic experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, obliged to “soldier on” and cram themselves on the podium next to our narcissist President for the sake of his TV Reality Show stagecraft, in complete contravention of their advice to practice the kind of social distancing exhibited by Governors Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), and Charlie Baker (R-MA) during their public briefings.
At home alone, doing my bit in a war against a hidden enemy virus on the one hand, and a painfully obvious and omnipresent enemy of democracy at the top of my government on the other, I sought the comfort of advice from my Covid-19 immune KGB animal friends. Social and emotional distancing was fortunately not required.
The High Plains Reader: Hello dear friends! Thank you for visiting me. It is difficult to get used to the idea that I take my life in my hands every time I shop for food and medicine, like Wisconsin voters hoping to shop on line for a democratic election on April 7, but being forced by corrupt “Koch Brothers” Republicans to choose between democracy and danger to their lives. Five days ago I was the only one wearing a facemask among customers at the grocery store in Bismarck, although the personnel were wiping down carts with antiseptic cloths, and my fellow shoppers kept their distance from me as I made my way to the automatic checkout.
Putin: Mixed messaging seems to be the order of the day in North Dakota, but it’s not smart to fool with Mother Nature. You’re lucky you don’t have warm weather beaches, and had a nice three-inch snow fall lately. Covid-19 will be doing its best at population reduction no matter what you do, until a successful serum is produced or it surges through the world population to the point of diminishing intensity as plagues of the past have done. But that is no reason for self-centered a**holes to make it easier for the pandemic in defiance of science and common sense.
HPR: I feel sorry for Governor Doug Burgum. He’s doing his best to get citizens to face the pandemic realities, while not endangering his ability to help all North Dakotans by pissing off President Trump and Trump…eteers all over the State. Then his fellow Republicans, Senators (John) Hoeven and (Kevin) Cramer, show up to cry a river for the Bakken oil industry.
Putin: Just as the Covid-19 is a parasite that damages our physical bodies, those Republican Senators acquitted a criminal and parasitical President, and greatly damaged our body politic.
Rasputin: I notice in the Bismarck Tribune photo of April 1, that Governor Burgum was practicing social distancing from both Senators, especially Cramer.
Omar Khayyam: I don’t blame Governor Burgum at all. Cramer is Trump’s favorite Armenian Genocide denier, in our President’s efforts to curry favor with oriental despots like President Erdogan of Turkey. The Governor is likely aware of many Armenian-descended North Dakotans living in Stutsman and LaMoure Counties. Cramer neither knows nor cares.
Mr. Crying Wolf: And the Governor may likely be aware that Trump’s attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky in favor of Vladimir Putin’s Russa, is an affront to the historical sufferings of millions of Germans from Russia, related to 30% to 40% of North Dakota’s electorate all over the State.
Kim Dog Un: The Ukraine was just chicken feed for a bad actor like Trump. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, he now has 50 Governors he can extort, intimidate, and humiliate.
Mr. Swamp Fox: It’s the jackpot for a sociopath like Trump, free to reward or punish any of the Governors, Republican or Democrat, who must pay homage to him alone, for access to his office’s Federal stockpile of life saving supplies.
The Easter Bunny: I heard from JoJo Rabbit that Rudy Giuliani, after being busted by Twitter for pushing phony Covid-19 cures, has teamed with Jared Kushner for a new “Art of the Deal” that will expand on the Ukraine caper to screw the 50 States for the sake of Daddy Trump’s private sector. They are calling it the Zelensky-Improved Treatment Strategy (ZITS). Rudy wants to be the Chief Pimp(le) and to inflict as many ZITS as possible on Governors who don’t break out with adoration of Donald Trump, and enrich as many of the usual suspects as possible.
Corporal Kangaroo: I heard that it wasn’t the real Rudy. Just a Rudy impersonator who used to work for FOX news until the facts of Covid-19 began to intrude on the real life of their 89 year old owner, Rupert Murdoch.
Putin: Oh yeah! That’s the outfit that wants to privatize your water supplies like they did in Flint, Michigan. I think they’re called “Distortions and Extortions R Us.”
HPR: I am appalled at one of Trump’s “Temps,” acting Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly, — firing Captain Brett Crozier for protecting his crew of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt by landing them at Guam.
Schickelgruber: Instead of real leadership like Captain Crozier, President “Bonespurs” indulges in cowardly fantasies: strutting onstage to act the part of “war president,” completely unable to understand any government action that doesn’t simultaneously line his pockets and boost his ego, all the while fuming backstage that Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting higher TV ratings on C-Span for performing selflessly and competently on behalf of his people in New York.
Lena: Worse for Trump and his enablers in the long run is how Governor Cuomo shows his younger sibling, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, truly spiritual brotherly love, while they both demonstrate to the rest of the world how to face the pandemic with reason and compassion; making eye contact and small talk in the presence of all of us.
Chicago Dog: Rational Republican Governors like Doug Burgum and Mike DeWine (OH), are well aware of the Cuomos’ steady and effective courage. They know that Trump’s craven and self-serving misgovernment is killing off Republican voters at a rate that makes hash of voter suppression strategies that heretofore were selective. Covid-19 is not selective. It’s an equal opportunity killer, and there are fewer Republicans to begin with. Republican chances to remain viable as a political party at the State and Local levels depend upon getting absentee ballots to as many of their citizens as possible, rather than steal them from a more numerous Democratic and enraged Independent voter base, as they do in Georgia, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
HPR: You mean, to hell with Senator McConnell (R-KY) and his Congressional ticket?!?
Mr. Swamp Fox: Yep. Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress, a Green New Deal, Health Care For All, student loan forgiveness, and a higher minimum wage will be far easier to deal with, even for Republican Governors, than 4 more years of Trump, Moscow Mitch, and no science.
HPR: But, even though Republicans in the Senate and around the country admitted that Trump was guilty of the impeachment charges that he committed extortion of Zelensky and the Ukraine, they refused to remove him.
Rasputin: The Ukraine is one thing. The 50 States are quite another, especially on November 3, 2020, when impeachment and removal can occur on the same day, not only of Trump, but also myriad Republican Senators and Congressmen in Red and Blue States. Mike DeWine, Charlie Baker, Larry Hogan (MD) and Doug Burgum all know that, and are doing their best to survive the Trump incompetence virus as well as Covid-19, and pray that the rest of us put Trump’s Presidency in the social, political and historical distance by January 20, 2021.
HPR: But that is so long to wait!
Chicago Dog: What do you expect? You didn’t learn from (Vice President) Dick Cheney’s lies that killed in Iraq. Nor from President George W. Bush’s bungling of the Katrina response that killed in New Orleans. You can’t let so many corrupt Republican products of Harvard Business School and Yale Law School have power! It’s like giving the keys of your car to a drunk.