Omicron comes to town


The other day was National Crossword puzzle day!

Omicron is on everyone’s mind but I am starting with something light. I was so excited to blog about this important holiday and you may not think I am serious but I am all too serious. Don’t believe me? If you were around me on any day that the NY Times has a rebus puzzle, you would not think I am not serious.

“What is a rebus puzzle?” Good question! That’s where they put MORE THAN ONE LETTER OR A DIGIT in a square and it MAKES ME CRAZY! Well, crazier than I normally am. The first time I saw one of these, I thought my head was going to explode. Seriously. And you don’t want to be around me when they get their facts wrong!

The first thing I do every day is the Times’ crossword. I LOVE IT! There is even a movie, Wordplay, about people who do and love crossword puzzles. If you are like me and love them, check it out!

Omicron is not a transformer, though it is transforming life

This week, New York City is once again the epicenter of covid activity thanks to the omicron variety. Not only that but the part of town where I hang out the most is the epicenter of the epicenter. That’s right! Greenwich Village is one of the hottest spots (for omicron) in the city.

Over the last seven days, for every 100,000 Manhattan residents, about 1,672 have been infected, the city said in a transmission chart on its COVID data site.

Source: NYC Health

And that’s just an average – in some Manhattan neighborhoods, the numbers are astronomically higher. In Greenwich Village and SoHo, it’s 2,927 cases per 100,000; in Chelsea, 2,513 per 100,000.

Source: NBC4 NY

This matters to me because when I go into the city, my number one destination is MacDougal Street, which is in the heart of the Village. Great. I thought I was getting my booster shot yesterday but had the date wrong. D’Oh!

Why I am still working to end genocide

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This will mark Paul Rusesabagin’s second Christmas behind bars. Please check out the piece I wrote for Medium.

And yes, I am still angry about Annie.

Goodbye, American democracy. You had a good run

Please note: This appeared on Addicting Info on January 20, 2018. That site is no longer working but thanks to the wonderful people at The Way Back Machine, I found it.

n 1838, Abraham Lincoln spoke to the Young Men’s Lyceum. In it, he warned that the United States’ fall would not come from abroad, as many feared, but from within. He said,

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

The actions this week, taken by President Trump, Congressman Devon Nunes (R-CA), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and others may be just the latest indication of how right Lincoln was and how close we are to the end of the American experiment.

People often conflate politics, government, and campaigning. That is understandable. The differences seem to become more without distinction every day. Here’s the thing: the agencies in the Executive Branch exist to promote the policy agenda of whatever administration is in power. Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has different policy objectives than Obama’s. For example, the federal government’s thoughts on legalized pot have changed completely.

These agencies are not there to promote candidates or the political objectives of any administrations, as they seem to expected to do now. Trump has openly asked, why “the Trump DOJ” can’t do what he wants in terms of the investigation into any Russia connection. The reason is that they have a job to protect the Constitution and the rule of law, not Donald J. Trump.

This last year has seen unprecedented attacks on the American rule of law. So many times have people had to use “unprecedented” that its meaning has all been lost. By firing James Comey, forcing out Andrew McCabe and launching an endless attack on the FBI and DOJ, our president is effectively dismantling one of the things that is so special about our country. Our belief in the rule of law.Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Now it appears, the Legislative Branch has become complicit. In years past, the Intelligence Committees in the U.S. House and Senate were considered to be “bastions of bipartisanship.” In both, no investigations were to be started without both sides weighing in. Nunes, who had recused himself from the Russian investigation last spring, ended that fine tradition by starting an investigation into how the FBI handled their Russian investigation without consulting Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA). Once again, that move was unprecedented, but does that mean anything today?

Apparently not because Ryan has said he is “letting the process play out.” No, this is not doing that at all. Now, Nunes’ committee will release a memo, he wrote about the Russian investigation (you know, the one he “recused” himself from) without putting out the other side of the story. PS. It is worth noting that Russian bots have been pushing for the Nunes’ memo to be released. It is also worth noting that changing the rules for how the committee conducts investigations without input from the minority should get Nunes booted from his chairmanship. Ryan is abdicating his main responsibilities as Speaker of the House.

Many believe that the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, will be the next to go (he was hired by Trump but ok’d the extension of the Carson Page FISA warrant). His replacement may either fire Robert Mueller or just make it impossible for him to do his job.

When we start destroying the foundations of our government (the DOJ is not alone, the State Department is also being decimated from within), we are participating in a kind of cannibalism. When our government acts only to get one side ahead of the other politically and we live in a time when each side lives by a different reality, how can anything positive come from that?

For decades, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union sought to weaken, if not destroy, the United States. Lincoln was right. They should have saved their money. We are going to do it for them.

What the actual fuck?

So, I started my day the way I usually do, by reading the Daily Beast Cheat Sheet. Along with the headlines about the Derek Chauvin trial, the killing of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, the Cheat Sheet had two pieces that would break my heart if they didn’t make me so angry.

The first is about the case of Dylan Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who went to Kenosha, Wisconsin to “protect businesses.” He shot three people. Two died. New data has come out that some of the donations he has received came from police officers who wrote, “You’ve done nothing wrong.” As if we need more evidence of white privilege. Dear white America; feel free to shoot anyone you think is doing something wrong, we’ve got you. Dear POC in America; you aren’t safe anywhere, at any time. That’s the take-home message I got from this.

The other story is about the cop who shot Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old child who had nothing in his hands when he was murdered. The cop’s lawyer issued a statement about the situation in which he laments the fact that “no one has asked about his well being.”

“What is amazing and disheartening is that very few have asked about the welfare of the officer. Specifically there is very little interest in the wellbeing of the officer and the impact experienced by the officer who was required to use deadly force in the line of duty. The officer involved has served his country and his city with honor and deserves our support.”

Well, we know one thing about the cop’s well-being. We know he is alive, which is not something we can say about the child he murdered.

At what point will the police get that they are not the law? They do not have the right to kill anyone. More and more it seems they approach every situation like it is life-ending.

I don’t know what the answer is but this I am sick of waking up to more news of more black and brown people being killed for no reason. I am sick of waking up to more mass shootings.

What just happened?

Last week, life was just so simple. Donald Trump was a narcissistic sociopath and I disagreed with everything he did. This week, he is still a narcissistic sociopath but I agree with something he did, what the hell happened?

English: Brasilia - The president of the Syria...

English: Brasilia – The president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad during a visit to Congress Português do Brasil: Brasília – O presidente da República Árabe Síria, Bashar Al-Assad, em visita ao Congresso Nacional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Syrian President Bashar al Assad decided to up the game in the civil war in his country by dropping Sarin gas on Tuesday. People say, “That doesn’t make sense, he is winning. Why would he do this?” Well, there are some ideas as to why Assad would gas his own people. None of them are good reasons but there are some ideas.

This is from a piece in the New York Times

“Militarily, there is no need,” said Bente Scheller, the Middle East director of the Berlin-based Heinrich Böll Foundation. “But it spreads the message: You are at our mercy. Don’t ask for international law. You see, it doesn’t protect even a child.”

This is not the first time Assad has gassed his people. More from the NY Times piece:

The fall of Idlib led to another turning point: Russia’s full-on entry into the conflict, adding its firepower to the Syrian government’s. Russia said it entered to fight the Islamic State, but directed most of its strikes at places farther west, like Idlib, where rival insurgents more urgently threatened government forces.

Chlorine attacks continued — investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations concluded the government had carried out at least three in 2014 and 2015 — with little international reaction.

Now, I am in the strange position of supporting Trump and military action. Liberal friends of mine say, “Yeah, this is like Iraq.” There are a number of reasons that this is not like Iraq. In the first place, we bombed an airfield. If it worked, it knocked out a way for Assad to bomb more people. In the second place, the Iraq invasion was misguided for a number of reasons and that country wasn’t six years into a violent civil war that had caused one of the largest refugee crises of our time. There are five million refugees because of this.

To equate this conflict with other things going on is silly. To say what we did was a “war crime” is crazy. I do not support Trump but I support what he did in Syria last night. I suspect hell is freezing over.