By Horatio Kemeny|2021-01-20T20:59:52-08:00January 20th, 2021|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites, Politics, Movies, Music & Entertainment|Tags: Canada, Future, Pandemic, Trump, Coronavirus, USA, Joe Biden, US Election 2020, Kamala Harris, Inauguration2021, Pink Floyd|10 Comments
Once in a while, the trunk of your car fills up with enough crap that it’s time to clean it all out. I usually grab a big garbage bag and dig in. Whatever is garbage goes straight into the bag. Whatever shouldn’t remain in the trunk finds its way to the floor of the garage, and eventually finds its way to where it needs to go. And the rest remains in the trunk, where it belongs. And if there wasn’t enough garbage to justify throwing the bag away, the bag itself also winds up in the trunk… for further use in the future.
Many years ago, I drove to Seattle. Then I came home, and the border guard, bored I suppose – or maybe I looked guiltier than usual – made me get out and pop the trunk.
“You can’t bring American garbage into Canada!”
Fair point… but I explained…
“It’s not American garbage… it’s Canadian. That bag has been in my trunk all weekend.”
“You took your garbage for a ride in the U.S.?”
I suppose I did. Not on purpose, but whatever. Who cares.
Well, he cared. Fine, confiscate it.
“I don’t want your garbage!”
Fine, I’ll throw it away. Where’s the nearest…
“You can’t throw it away here!”
What an odd stalemate. Eventually, he let me go. With my garbage.
I was reminded of this episode because something else (which I’ll get to shortly) reminded me of the opposite… the time we were returning from Seattle after a long weekend. When you do that, be prepared to wait… the border waits are brutal on those Monday nights. But this time, traffic just kept flowing… how odd. Tons of volume, but we never stopped… just slowly crawled toward the border… where all the lanes were open, and there were border guards just waving people through. Go, don’t stop, welcome home, have a nice evening. This was pre-9/11, but still. Wow.
On one hand, I was happy to not have to wait. On the other hand, two things bothered me. One was… well, you know how there are people who keep every receipt, meticulously add up what they spent, who spent it, what it was, how much it was, both in US and Canadian dollars? I’m one of those people. I was ready to answer any question the agent would ask. All that work for nothing. Annoying, but not as important as point two… which was, what a joke. What a mockery of all the times so many people have been stopped for no reason, been given the third degree for no reason, searched for nothing. And now, all the cigarettes and booze and full gas tanks and maybe drugs and guns all flowing into Canada… because I guess they were too understaffed that day, or too tired of dealing with the monotony… or were just realizing none of them would get to go home till 6am with so much traffic to handle. Sure, some stuff will get through. Whatever.
The rules that those people enforce exist for a reason, and when they decide to ignore them, as briefly as it might be, they compromise the integrity of the entire thing. What is the point? What was ever the point?
On that note, we have a rule in place at the moment. If you’re flying into Canada, you have to prove you’re C19-free. Take a test and show the test results at check-in… or you’re not getting on the plane. Very straightforward, and it applies to everyone.
Except, for some reason, not everyone. Like, not Haiti. Why not Haiti? Since the start of the year, flights from everywhere else have had this requirement. And the answer is simple: Haiti, nobody’s example of a first-world country, doesn’t have their shit together when it comes to testing. So rather than just say “No”, we, being the polite Canadians we are, say “Don’t worry about it.”
As a result, two flights from Haiti that arrived in Montreal (Jan 10th and 13th) were so infested with C19 that the post-flight alert that went out to the passengers was not the typical “rows 6 to 10 may have had an exposure”; it was “all rows”. Basically, if you were on either of those planes, you came in contact with someone who was found to be infected.
I had little sympathy for that guy from Kelowna who got stuck in Lake Tahoe, having decided his ski trip was “essential”. He got stuck when the regulations kicked in, and had no way to get a quick test… so he was stuck for three or five days. Cry me a river.
But… had he decided to go waterskiing in Haiti instead, no worries.
The issue isn’t so much with the haphazard rules that seem to appear and rule our lives; borders have always been hit and miss. When you head into the U.S. (and/or come back home), the experience will be greatly defined by what border agent you get, and what sort of day they’re having. That’s just an accepted part of it. Sometimes they’re harsh with the rules. Sometimes they couldn’t care less.
But in the middle of a raging pandemic… whether it’s a self-entitled skier from the interior, or a bunch of tourists in London… and/or pretty-much everyone else… what is the point if it doesn’t apply to everyone?
“Hey, teacher, I didn’t feel like studying for the test today. I mean, I realize everyone else is prepared. I’m just not. Is it ok if I just don’t write it?”
“Oh, of course. I’ll just give you a pass”.
That’s not how it works… we don’t live in a “everyone is equal but some people are more equal than others” society. At least, we’re not supposed to… but stuff like this causes a lot grumbling; a lot of well-justified grumbling. If politicians are going to make rules, make them so that they apply to everyone… and enforce them. Or don’t make them at all.
And/or have a very eloquent staffer ready to write some poetic excuses to the families of people who died of C19 as a direct result of those flights.
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I can’t wait till the end of the week… and I don’t mean Friday, a couple of days from now… I mean a full week… because, by this point a week from now, Donald Trump will no longer be president. Perhaps, having overthrown the United States of America, he’ll be The Emperor of the newly-crowned nation of Trumperica… or, perhaps, he’ll be in the process of being mug-shotted, fingerprinted and thrown into a jail cell.
Those are two very different outcomes, and neither are too likely… but, as we’ve learned from recent events, nothing is impossible. That being said, if I had to bet on either alternative, I’d go with the latter.
It must be gut-wrenchingly difficult for some staunch Republicans (not Trump supporters, just Republicans) to see what a tattered mess they’re a part of. Those that get it, and the associated implications, have been jumping ship as fast as they can; even with no lifeboat below them, they’ll toss their fortunes into the icy waters and hope for the best… because staying on this boat now is a quick journey to the depths of the ocean… from which there is no return. Hopefully they can somehow get back to shore and start the process of rebuilding. But first, they have to survive.
And by the way, I’m talking about regular people, your run-of-the-mill American who’s finally coming to terms with what they helped create. I’m certainly not talking about the 197 House Republicans who voted earlier today to *not* impeach Donald Trump. To be sure, the vote passed, 232-197 – an excellent outcome, because now it goes to trial, and even if he gets tossed after he officially leaves office (which is what would happen, because it won’t go to the senate before at least next week), he will lose every privilege granted to former presidents. No old-president’s club, no secret service detail, no Trump 2024 and no pension. That’ll need a two-thirds majority, which is certainly not guaranteed… and I shake my head… even after all of this, after their guy led the charge to overthrow the government – the very political system they’re a part of – 197 of them are still behind him. Add those 197 names to what needs purging from the American political system.
And, it’s not just political… Trump and his organization are being abandoned. The City of New York is cancelling its contracts. Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank will no longer do business with him. His online credit card processor Stripe has dropped him. Shopify had been operating some online stores for the organization but have dropped him. The 2022 PGA Championship won’t be played at a Trump course, as had been previously scheduled. The list goes on and the list will grow. Good.
Unlike every other president in the history of the U.S., this one deservedly leaves power with a lot less than what he entered with… and a very uncertain future. If it were just bankruptcy he were facing, he might be able to claw his way out of it, now armed with his army of tens of millions of brainwashed devotees who’d do anything for their near-mythical cult leader. Ten bucks a month times tens of millions of people should keep the doors open for a while. But it’s not just that.
After the Watergate scandal, president Richard Nixon resigned… but subsequent president Gerald Ford pardoned him. That pardon cost Gerald Ford the re-election, an election he narrowly lost to Jimmy Carter. Enough people were pissed off about it; “you shouldn’t let him get away with it”… and that lesson has hopefully been learned. All of this “we have to come together as a nation” and “we need to move on” and “it’s a huge distraction while we have far more important things to worry about…”
No… that is totally wrong. The most important thing now, by far, is setting an example for the future. Every single person that was responsible or was a part of this insurrection should face the maximum that the law can throw at them. It’s remarkable what we’re hearing now about how much of an “inside job” this was… how actual leading Republicans not only knew what was going on, and not only were encouraging it, but may actually have had a leading role in planning it. As time goes on, we’re hearing more and more details about what went down, and how much worse it could actually have been. A bunch of misguided hooligans breaking into a sacred building and suddenly realizing “oh shit, what are we doing” is a lot different than calmly walking in there with guns and handcuffs, ready to take hostages. There should be no little slaps on the wrist for the Cruz’s and Hawley’s of the world; they need to fully face the consequences of their actions, and those consequences need to be significant.
You’ll recall the Stanley Cup Riots of 2011 here; it’s disputed how many actual ringleaders there were (at most a few hundred) and how many people (tens of thousands) just got caught up in the moment. There’s a big difference between looting The Bay because suddenly everyone around you is doing it… and having shown up there with a knapsack full of matches, rags, gasoline and bottles, ready to cause some real damage. Both are very wrong, completely unacceptable, and need to be prosecuted (and kudos to the VPD who spent years meticulously tracking down every single identifiable participant that they could). Not everyone went to jail, but everyone who could be identified was held accountable for their actions.
Similarly, down south… even though there’s a difference between an explanation and an excuse, every single one of them needs to be made an example of… so that future generations understand, at least in the U.S. with its first amendment and rights of free speech; go ahead and say whatever you want… but if you actually start trying to mess with the infrastructure that’s been in place since 1789, you will pay the steepest price possible. There’s no explaining or excusing or pardoning… treason.
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Kool-Aid has gotten a bad rap over the years. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” has become synonymous with believing in something crazy. It was over 900 people who died by suicide… many of them children, fed cyanide-laced Kool-Aid by their parents… parents who poisoned their own kids before taking their own lives. Over 300 kids.
This was all thanks to Jim Jones, a charismatic cult leader who’d rather die, and take everyone down with him… instead of facing the music. There’s obviously a lot wrong with this picture… that one man could convince so many people to die for his cause.
The first thing that’s wrong is the Kool-Aid itself. It wasn’t actually poisoned Kool-Aid that they all drank; it was Flavor Aid. No big deal, what’s the difference, who cares… well, I’m sure the marketing department at Kraft-Heinz would beg to differ. It’s impressive the good-will that Kool-Aid must have had before that massacre that they would choose to keep the name instead of just re-branding the flavoured juice crystals. Oh, yeah.
Kool-Aid aside, just how deep down the well do you need to be to go along something like that? The aforementioned Jonestown massacre of 1978 is the most well-known, but cult mass suicides happen… well, not “all the time”, but they’re perhaps more common than you might believe.
There was the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide in 1997, where 39 people in California killed themselves because their cult leader, Marshall Applewhite, had convinced them that a UFO was lurking behind the Hale-Bopp comet that was heading towards earth, and that “leaving the human world” was the only way to hitch a ride on it. Accordingly, Applewhite provided some poisoned applesauce for the group…who put on identical black tracksuits and matching Nikes (they got a good deal on the bulk purchase), poisoned themselves, and waited for their ride to another planet. One of those was the brother of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek… but that’s about as close to a spacecraft as they got.
There was the Order of the Solar Temple suicides, led by charismatic leaders Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret… where are total of 74 people killed themselves to “escape the world to a higher dimension”. They were from Switzerland, Canada and France.
In March of 2000, there was “Judgement Day” for a cult in Uganda who believed it was time for the end of the world. It’s unclear how many were suicides and how many were murdered, but the death toll was close to 800.
This list goes on, but the summary above is a good indication that if you have a charismatic leader with a group of well-indoctrinated fervent followers, they will do anything. And if they’re willing to kill themselves, certainly storming the Capitol is not much of an ask. Certainly not after the 4-year build-up that it took to get to that point.
At first, it’s just the typical cult indoctrination… you’re with us, or you’re against us. We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys. We’re the truth, they’re the fake news. Exaggerate, polarize, fictionalize… you’ll recall, it all started on day one. It actually started on hour one… less than one hour after the inauguration in 2017, with White House Spokesman Sean Spicer pleading to the bewildered world to believe him when he told you that Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest ever. And off we went, with more divisiveness and Charlottesville-type scenarios along the way, paving a road to a point that really has no destination. At some point, there’s nowhere left to go. Time to pay the piper… but the lead piper will be holed up somewhere, possibly in Florida or possibly not in the U.S. because, especially after yesterday, he may be facing an arrest warrant.
Now what? A good question with many possible answers… but to answer the question of “How could this happen?” – how about, honestly acknowledging, how could it not? Where else was this headed? How is what’s playing out now not exactly what should’ve been expected with four years of trying to pry this country apart? Shocking? Sure. Surprising? Not in the least.
The worse is gets, the more people jump off the cult bandwagon… but, jeez… it took this long? This is what it took? This was your breaking point? This is certainly really bad, but what about what came before? His misogynistic statements before he was even president weren’t enough? His embracing of white supremacists? His complete mishandling of this pandemic? His calling Biden a pedophile? His continual lies? This is a very long list, for those who’ve been paying attention. Every week of this “presidency”, many people were asking the question, “How low can he go?” because as difficult as it was to imagine how he’d do it, he always did. One notch lower, much to the horror of most people, but to the delight or indifference of others. It took this long for you to get it? It took this long for Twitter and Facebook to figure out what giving this guy a platform might do?
Much of that latter group is now diving to the exits. Sure, welcome aboard… welcome to the lifeboats many have been clinging to for four years… but, for some of them… not so fast. There is a long list of Republicans who sided with yesterday’s violence, at least in that they propagated the charade of the stolen election and objected to the certification and all that. Their names should not be forgotten… many of them thinking only for themselves, thinking this would further their political ambitions while actually all violating their oaths of office. I can’t wait to see Senator Josh Hawley try to throw his name into the 2024 election ring. I can’t wait to see him eviscerated by both sides of the aisle for what he’s done. Call it what you want; I’ll call it treason.
“I didn’t vote for this”
“This isn’t America”
You’ll hear that a lot in the future, but here’s some news for a lot of you… yeah, you did vote for him… and yes, just maybe… this IS America. It always has been, with an undercurrent of ugliness that was surfaced and normalized by a cult leader who understood that all along.
Some 74,000,000 people voted for him, but I’m sure in 20 years you won’t find many who’ll admit to it. Here we are after four years… what would’ve happened in another four? The question doesn’t need answering because if Trump had been re-elected, that would’ve been the last American election for many years… perhaps ever.
Good riddance to this cult leader. It’s less than two weeks, but I hope they 25th-amendment his ass out of there sooner and completely wreck whatever legacy might have been left for the completely brainwashed that are still clinging.
And, might I end with that… if, after all of this, you’re still supporting him, thinking he’s the good guy, the victim, etc… then you are indeed beyond salvation by normal means, and I’d suggest you drag yourself (or have yourself dragged) to the nearest cult-deprogramming facility.
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When I was in high school, we had a coach who employed a very unique form of punishment. When you screwed up, everyone had to run a lap around the field. And when I say field, it was actually four rugby fields… roughly a 600-metre jog for everyone. Well, almost everyone… you, the perpetrator, did not run. Just everyone else.
In fact, the first time that happened to me, I wanted to run too. I didn’t want everyone else even angrier at me. But no, that was the point.
“Sir, I’d like to run the lap as well.”
“No, Kemeny… you stand here with me and enjoy the consequences of your actions.”
The only thing missing was him providing some hot chocolate while I got to watch my friends and teammates being punished for my transgression. Just to really hammer home the point.
I mention this, because it’s interesting to note that collective punishment of this sort, where the said collective (friends, family, acquaintances, teammates, etc) is targeted, is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. It is literally a war crime.
If wearing the wrong jersey to rugby practice is so serious a crime that it warrants a punishment so severe that it’d require an international court to sort out, what do you do with a significant number of Republicans trying to overthrow the U.S. government?
The end-game of this election is starting to look like a horror-version of whack-a-mole… where there’s no cheap prize at the end, but that’s irrelevant… because the game never seems to end. You could argue it’s been going on for four years, but it’s certainly been going on since the election. After 46 days, those are some pretty tired arms. With still 32 days to go.
Every day, some nonsensical mole makes an appearance, and it’s swiftly whacked back into the hole by evidence, lack of evidence, a court ruling… or just plain common sense. And yet, the moles persist. The most recent mole to get whacked was Mitch McConnell, but that wasn’t enough. Now come some Republicans who literally want to overthrow democracy. Martial Law, and the whole thing.
Far beyond just cutting through the bullshit of Trump trying to pre-emptively pardon himself and his family, maybe it’s time for Joe Biden to make a much stronger statement. Number one, anyone who gets pardoned with some sort of cobbled-together Frankenpardon shouldn’t feel too safe. Those pardons will be rescinded within hours of the new administration, chopped up into little bits, just like the parts that came together to form this attempted monstrosity of legality.
And number two, anyone from this point forward trying to actively mess with the very foundation upon which American Democracy is based… will be charged. I don’t know if “attempted treason” is “a thing”, but it should be. Even if Biden gets tossed after four years, there needs to be something in place to prevent this derailing nonsense in the future… that those who instigate this sort of thing have some real consequences to face, not just running some laps in the dark, pouring rain.
But this is what the president is focusing on. This is what he’s re-Tweeting… while every single day, the new cases and deaths pile up. While some rogue nation, still not sure if it’s China or Russia, digitally broke in and stole everything. While a Covid relief bill still hasn’t wound its way through the process.
Allow me to quote Joe Biden: “C’mon, man.”
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