Diogenes’s Sewer

Please help me out here. Your current president values statues over lives? He’s trying to make damage to a statue in the capital region a crime–retroactively?. I thought your system did not allow something to be declared illegal after the fact. Oh, well, I never claimed to be an expert on your laws–or anybody’s laws, for that matter.

After all, if you kill off a dozen or a hundred people or even a thousand people, it’s easy to make replacements. On the other hand, it costs a lot to recreate, repair, or repair a single statue.

I really shouldn’t be surprised. Your president would rather have people die quietly so that they do not make him look bad by adding to the coronavirus statistics. In fact, if–as he wishes–testing is significantly limited, it should be almost impossible to claim that any deaths are due to the coronavirus.

As you know, I live in a sewer. Some call it a large pot, but large pots are used for–you know. Such large pots are not used to cook spaghetti. Get the picture?

So, whenever this is all over and your current president is no longer in a position of authority, please–PLEASE–do not suggest to him that he would be welcome to join me. My sewer is mine, and only I will determine which humans can stay here.

The rats and the other vermin with whom I share my sewer make their own rules and I am not responsible for whom they invite.

A Republic If You Can Keep It

After the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

A democratic republic is sometimes described as an experiment. It runs counter to humanity’s inability to restrain ambitious and unscrupulous people from accumulating power and wealth. Greed is powerful–certainly more attractive than putting the good of society ahead of one’s own best interest.

Your country is at the point at which it needs to decide whether it wants to keep a republic.

May I offer this advice. Power tends to dissipate with death. Even hereditary monarchies are prone to being disrupted, whether by conquest, arranged marriages, or revolution. Wealth is often dissipated after only a few generations. On the other hand, doing something for the betterment of others lives on.

Hail Zuckerberg!

In an interview today in his 6,000 square foot penthouse suite atop a Trump Hotel, Mark Zuckerburg explained himself.

“Facebook will not be the arbiter of truth!” he proclaimed. “Whether it is people denying the holocaust, people proclaiming the earth to be flat, or a president proclaiming ridiculous conspiracy theories, we will not interfere! After all, on the eighth day, God saw click bait and proclaimed that it was good.

“Why do I not intervene? I am not intellectually capable of separating truth from wild-ass-crazy fiction.

“None of my employees are willing to do anything that overshadows me or inhibits my role as a money-grubbing ass-kissing sycophant! Besides, if my internet sites make a profit, why should I care if they result in death or destruction?

“When I die I will be fantastically rich, even if I have been and will forever be morally bankrupt!”

We hesitated to, but finally asked him, “You do know that you can’t take fame and fortune with you when you die?”

“Ha!” he replied. “I’m spending millions to ensure that I never die! Even if I do, my minions will figure out a way for me to take everything with me!”

One of the press corps started to ask him why he believes he’s immortal, but thought better of it. Instead, we all left and went for coffee.

It’s Not So Bad

As I watch the tug-of-war between your economy and your health, I thought I could offer some helpful advise. Many of you are worrying that the attempts to return to normal when things aren’t normal might not work out so well. Not to worry.

Having been an observer for several millennia, I can tell you how the story will unfold. Money always wins. People are born and people die, but money keeps on going.

In your case, what will be interesting will be after the resurgence, how will the demographics shift. Will it be the No Mask crowd? Will it be those who live in population centers where they have quality medical facilities? Will it be those in rural areas–more spread out, but less medical capability and capacity? Who lives? Who dies? Who knows!

I promised helpful advice, so here goes. Death isn’t so bad once you get used to it. It’s the getting used to it part that takes time. In my case, it took roughly 2400 years, but today I’m better than before.

THEM and us

Henry VIII Tudor
Courtesy The New Yorker

If you ever doubted the huge divide between the elites and you commoners, I’m sure your doubts have, by now, been assuaged by the current administration. First, the President’s daughter and son-in-law demonstrated that they, unlike you, are not required to follow the rules.Virus? Schmirus. If they want to “drive” to New Jersey for Passover, they’re going to do so.

The reason I put “drive” in quotes is because I’m sure their trip was different than any you have taken. I’m sure they did not get everybody into a Prius and head north. More likely,  they were driven in a government SUV by members of their Secret Service detail. It’s possible–if not likely–that there vehicle was the lead for a small caravan, with staff, sycophants, and others following.

There’s an old expression, “You think your shit doesn’t stink!” Mike Pence goes a step farther. His corporeal entity is apparently devoid of any harmful bacteria, viruses, or pathogens. The Mayo Clinic’s requirement that wearing a mask inside the building does not apply to him, because he gets “tested weekly for COVID-19.” Unfortunately, many pathogens are opportunistic and infect those who are compromised in other ways–such as by COVID-19. Many HIV-AIDS patients succumbed to tuberculosis, a disease that had been virtually eliminated in the US, until it could attack those with compromised immune systems.

Then there’s the Donald. If you haven’t figured out how he sees himself as above all others, you’ve obviously been in a coma for many years. I won’t give any examples  because by the time I post this, he will have exceeded anything you could imagine.

 

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A Chicken, a Chicken, My Kingdom for a Chicken

President Trump is planning on issuing an Executive Order under the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to remain open. He’s said that he will protect plant operators from liability should their employees contract COVID-19.

How do you open plants if the workers:

  1. Refuse to show up;
  2. Insist on getting sick; or
  3. Have the audacity to die.

If they don’t show up at work, they can be fired. Most people who work in meat processing plants work there because they do not have a myriad of career options.

At least the company owners, such as the Chinese owners of Smithfield Meats will be safe.*

So far there is no similar protection employees.

 

* Smithfield is a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group, formerly known as the Shuanghui Group  (双汇集团). It’s totally coincidental that Donald Trump, as an individual and/or corporate entity, owes the Chinese owned national bank $112 million.

 

A Sad Story

“Once upon a time,” he began, “there was a group of wise people who made decisions that were seen as so important that all the other decision makers listened to them. Most of the decision makers were called judges. The more important ones were called justices, and the most important were called the Supreme Court Justices.

“The Supreme Court only made decision regarding whether or not the judges and other justices followed the rules in an important document called the Constitution. The importance of the Constitution could be see by its first three words, ‘We the People.’” The Supreme Court looked out for the people and could not be swayed by gifts, or power, or even politics.

“People slept well at night, knowing that their rights would be protected by the Supreme Court. The end.”

“Grandpa!” she asked, “Is that true?”

“No dear,” he replied shaking his head sadly, “It’s just a fairy tale like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.”

Biblical Thoughts for Today

When you live as long as I have, there is plenty of time to read, so I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity. There is much to be learned from the various sacred texts of people throughout the earth. Today I’m going to focus on the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

First, I have no quarrel with those who place high importance on attending religious services. Your Jesus said a couple of things that you might want to meditate on.

  • Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
  • “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least
    of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’   (Matthew 25:40)

I suspect passing along disease during a pandemic might apply. I leave that for you to discern whether it applies to you.

Second, many celebrate this Sunday as Palm Sunday, when Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem to wild adulation, which Jesus did not seek. Not many days later, the crowd’s tune changed to the demand for His torture and death.

I commend this thought to the rich and powerful for whom adulation is so important.

No Integrity Allowed

Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who told Congress about whistleblower complaint that led to impeachment

CNN Headline

Apparently, the White House has decided that integrity is a disqualifying factor for employment in the federal government. This is probably why CAPT Brett Crozier, the skipper of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was cashiered. CAPT Crozier put the safety of his men above himself and his career. Such blatant integrity is not to be tolerated.

A final irony is that a REAL Navy Captain was fired on the orders of an ACTING Secretary of the Navy. Since Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s action does not appear to be a public relations coup, let’s see how long it takes for Trump to throw him under the bus.

I can’t wait to see how historians portray this president for middle school civics classes in twenty years.