Silence, Violence & Abuse.

Jim Jordan: Silent on Sexual Violence.

Until the jacketless jackass Jim Jordan showed porno films before AG Barr’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, I thought Donald Trump was Joe Biden’s best weapon for winning the Presidency and for the Democrats sweeping both House of Congress in 2020.

Jordan’s junk film could not have been more self-destructive then if it were a grainy, hand-held video of former Ohio State Wrestling team Physician Richard Strauss sexually abusing nude wresters, while jittery Jim, the Assistant Wrestling Coach with a gym locker right next to Strauss’, stood by in silence. This time, the hyperactive hypocrite was hysterical about other forms of violence, that weren’t sexual.

As usual (except when it involved his legal duty to protect college wrestlers from a sexual predator), Jordan overdid it. Not only had he violated House rules by not pre-clearing the vile video with the Committee Chair 48-hours in advance, but he let the jerky, terribly pasted together piece of propaganda play on and on like some pre-pubescent version of the “Blair Witch Project.” Even Barr’s eternally bored-looking, bulbous face, oozed more boredom than ever as the repetitious visions of violence, by unidentified actors, only revealed the transparency of Trump’s stunt man’s latest stunt. The dry run for an uncut Trump Campaign video was backfiring almost as badly as Trump’s bullying, tear-gas drenched trek to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where he bobbled a Bible for a phony photo-op.

Turns out, we’ve seen this show many times before. We’ve seen it with Trump’s 20,000+ lies over the past four years; we’ve seen snippets of out-of-context violence show up in an amateurish Trump ad entitled “Joe Biden’s America;” we’ve witnessed a “Call 911” screed aimed at scaring senior citizens — who are more terrified of dying of COVID — over “defunding the police,” a phrase and policy which Biden rejects as strongly as he rejects violence. Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace accused Trump of lying about Biden’s position on the police funding issue, in a recent televised interview. None of those lie-laden messages, have done anything to raise Trump’s popularity. In fact, they’ve had the opposite effect: every national poll and every swing state polls shows Trump’s approval numbers dropping precipitously when it comes to handling race relations, “law & order,” issues of trust, and on his abject failure to confront the COVID pandemic.

In fact, at virtually the same moment Jordan’s was opening his trench mouth to flash Congress his violence-laden porn flick, the highly respected Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a masked White Supremacist — known as “Umbrella Man” and a member of the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood — was caught on film smashing windows and committed acts of violence during Black Lives Matter protests in Minneapolis, following the murder of George Floyd. A Minneapolis Police Sgt. reported on the White Supremacist provocateur’s acts of violence in an affidavit:

“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” Sgt. Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed in court this week. “Until the actions of… ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this personcreated an atmosphere of hostility and tension…. this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”

Umbrella Man didn’t show up in Gym Jordan’s video orgasm, nor did the unidentified federal secret police caught on cell-phone cameras beating up a peaceful Navy Veteran with police batons, or rounding up unarmed mothers, and forcibly throwing them into black, unmarked vehicles in Portland. Could the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood have other Bro’s operating in Portland, Seattle or Louisville? How do we know who the members of the “unidentified” federal agents are operating in DC, or Portland or any other City?? Are the federal “secret police,” members of White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic militias of wannabe Stormtroopers? Mercenaries moonlighting from ICE or the Bureau of Prisons to do Bill Barr’s dirty work?

Those questions aren’t paranoia, but prudence; nor, do they excuse outright acts of violence by a few outliers from legitimate and peaceful demonstrators. The State’s Attorney’s of Baltimore and District Attorney of Philadelphia — the highest law enforcement officials in those cities — shared those concerns, in an Op Ed which appeared in the July 23 issue of the Washington Post:

We were elected to prosecute violations of the law in our cities. We strongly believe that the actions in Oregon are illegal. Should the president proceed with his plan in our cities, his agents will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby for Baltimore City and DA Larry Krasner for Philadelphia went on:

“Desperate times produce desperate measures. President Trump, sliding in the polls, flailing as covid-19 cases surge, has sought a distraction by sending federal law enforcement officers into Portland, Ore. Scarier to us than even the Orwellian sight of federal agents in military fatigues assaulting citizens and bundling them into unmarked vehicles is that Trump has spoken of sending federal agents to Baltimore and Philadelphia.”

The tough law and order stand of those local law enforcement officials, echoed the words of Oregon’s State Attorney General who filed suit against the Trump Administration’s illegal actions:

Should Trump send federal agents who engage in the same illegal vigilante activities, unlawfully assaulting and kidnapping people, they will face criminal charges from our offices”

No elected official of either party, in any town, city or State in the country condones acts of violence against people or property. Most are careful to distinguish peaceful, non-violent protest from acts of vandalism. Most respect the constitutional rights of their citizens expressing their right to free speech and go to great lengths to protect them. Many of the leaders of the cities and States targeted by Trump and Barr are Black, Latino or women, a fact of contemporary political life brought home during the COVID pandemic, as those communities were left to largely fend for themselves. Those hard-hit communities are not alone in the nation’s worst public health crisis in a century: the entire country is consumed with worry over mass death, as the 150,000th American died from COVID this week.

And it’s precisely because of that overwhelming focus, and how badly Trump has bungled the response to the pandemic, that the public isn’t buying the fraudulent cure he’s trying to sell on handling peaceful protest, race relations, violence, or just about anything else.

New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz writes in a July 27 Intelligencer article entitled “Trump’s Portland Policy Isn’t Backfiring The Way He Intended”:

“Trump’s culture war histrionics only reinforce the impression that he isn’t taking the coronavirus seriously…and he has done little during his first term in office to associate himself with orderliness…To the contrary…Trump has done just about everything in his power to make voters see him as an agent of chaos.

The most fundamental flaw in Trump’s gambit, though, is the brute fact that he is the sitting president. It is very difficult to persuade voters that putting you in the White House will end civil unrest when you are currently in the White House and there is civil unrest.”

Not even a double dose of Hydroxychloroquine or a big gulp of bleach will cure that.

Tony, We’ve Got Your Back. Now, Unmask the Pathogen President.

Dr. Tony Fauci, testifying on the COVID Pandemic before a Congressional Hearing.

I tried to warn you, Tony.

Three months ago — almost to the day — I wrote an article urging you to speak the unfettered truth about how Donald Trump was incompetently mishandling the federal response to the COVID 19 Pandemic, resulting in record-breaking infection and death in the United States.

Instead, you made the General Mattis mistake; you figured that, based upon the strength of your own character, you could change things from within, ignoring the wise counsel of the writer Rick Wilson, that “Everything Trump Touches, Dies.” Now, it’s your turn to be dirtied and discredited by the Garbage Pail-in-Chief, a pernicious pathogen of a President.

I tried to warn you to step out and bring the Science-denying sociopath down. You didn’t listen. Now, he’s coming for you.

You’ve been Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the only believable spokesperson in the Trump Administration on the COVID 19 pandemic.

Your fashion-consumed colleague Dr. Deborah Birx, the Administration’s Corona Virus Response Coordinator — a job she has flamboyantly failed at — crushed her own credibility by telling the Christian Broadcasting Network the preposterous lie that “The President is so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data.”

Unlike “Ambassador” Birx, who comes across like a wealthy dilettante, bemoaning being unable to host “dinner parties for 20 yet,” because of social distancing, you are a down-to-earth, likeable 79-year old, highly educated Italian public health professional from Brooklyn — still bearing scraps of your Brooklyn accent.

Who couldn’t like a regular guy who played basketball in High School, rooted for the Yankees despite growing up on Brooklyn Dodger turf, had a Zoom talk with the Warriors’ Steph Curry, and wears a Washington National’s mask to Congressional Hearings?

That training in street toughness, highlighted in a New Yorker article by Michael Specter, and entitled, “How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor,” should have made you fight more furiously, against the anti-science prejudice and profit-over-patients Darwinism infecting the Trump White House. Unfortunately, like the good point guard you were on your high school team, you chose to stay in your lane and be a team player, when it was the team itself that was utterly corrupt, immoral and incompetent to the marrow of its bones.

I urged you to use your enormous credibility and popularity: last month’s Sienna College Poll had you clobbering Trump 67%-26% on the question of trust with the American public. Your approval rating is even higher today, as Trumps sinks into the sewer from where he was spawned. I begged you to forcefully expose the lies and intentional falsehoods by Trump and the always bizarre Alex Azar, an oleaginous former Big Pharma executive, which resulted in thousands of unnecessary COVID deaths — including a beloved member of my family, and a younger, former colleague. It’s still not too late, Tony, to use the force of the facts, of your character and your moral and popular standing, to save lives before the number of COVID deaths in this country tops 200,000.

It’s time for you to resign in protest and expose all of the lies, stupidities and criminal negligence of the Bleach Belching Imbecile in the Oval Office. I’m sure the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, funded by Mike Bloomberg, would continue to fund your important work, and Joe Biden’s campaign would give you a big enough megaphone to get your public health messages out to millions of Americans. You could do a COVID Zoom conference call with Biden each day, and the whole world will be watching. And, unlike Trump, Biden will listen and understand the urgency to act.

You have far more power today — with nearly 50 years of solid scientific, public health work in your corner. And you have far, far more, widespread public support now during this COVID pandemic than you have had at any time in your distinguished career.

As far back as Easter Sunday — a date Trump pulled out of one of his orifices to have all churches “beautifully open,” — you told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union:

“Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. But, there was a lot of pushback about shutting things early in the outbreak.”

At that point, three months ago, the United States had just surpassed 20,000 COVID-related deaths. Today, we’re approaching seven times that number, and you still haven’t told us about the pushback against shutting things down. It’s time to blow the whistle, Tony.

No one else has the enormous capacity, knowledge, record of accomplishment, depth of expertise, passion for public health, and track record in getting a huge bureaucracy to move into action as you do, Tony. But now, the deadly virus of Trump’s venality, ignorance and vituperation, have been turned on you. And even a surgical mask & gobs of hand sanitizer won’t keep those grotesque germs away.

It is no longer possible for you to stay where you are, to do, as you told the New Yorker, everything possible to stop the worst from happening.” The worst of the COVID pandemic is happening despite your best efforts, because Trump and his evil enablers have taken the ball out of your hands, and put you on the bench.

They are coming for you, Tony, but we have your back, if you’ll let us. You once asked the key question about the Reagan Administration’s glacial response to AIDS, “Why wasn’t the Administration moving faster?” as Michael Spector wrote in the New Yorker.

You’ve struggled mightily to raise this question everyday from inside the Trump Administration, but they don’t want to hear your truth anymore. Instead, they’ve chosen to trash you. Get out now. Your team is US, not them.

Beyond the Gym: Rediscovering Nature & Peeing in the Woods.

During almost four months of Sheltering-In-Place to contain the Corona Virus in Northern California, I’ve rediscovered natural wonders, like watching wildlife as I walk alongside a riverbank, or the simple joy of peeing in the woods.

I didn’t plan to uncover these unparalleled delights. Like most remarkable moments of epiphany, they revealed themselves spontaneously.

With gyms and virtually every form of recreation locked down during California’s comprehensive COVID closures, walking or hiking on wooded trails or along rivers was one of the few, and healthiest, options available. I found renewed pleasure in walking outside, and didn’t miss the boundless boredom of the treadmill. For years, I found it ludicrous to look at a lock-step line-up of aging Boomers, earphones hugging their heads, running nowhere as fast as they could, frantically trying to outrace death.

Even before the pandemic put pumping iron on pause, gym membership, for me, was teetering on a very narrow beam. When I lived in San Francisco and was a member of a 24-Hour Fitness near the Embarcedero — where many of SF’s homeless came to shower — I watched in amazement as one fully clothed homeless guy jumped into the hot tub, convincing me it was time to change gyms, before he could change his clothes.

Moving up to Napa County, I first joined a very classy health club in St. Helena, and then a déclassé club in Napa City. The déclassé Club — which should have been its name — met my low expectations when I noticed all the expectorating old men were using the showers as their personal spittoons. I quit the club and it went out of business a short time later.

My last gym was a gleaming, light-filled spotless place — part of the In-Shape Health Club franchise that opened in Napa with two swimming pools, one indoors and one out. Yet, even such a pristine place, couldn’t work out the rank rattiness of gym rats. A sparkling locker room quickly lost its luster, with wet towels left lumped in piles, and sinks filled with shaved hair follicles. I got tired of complaining about cleanliness: why didn’t they enforce the rule about no shoes in the steamroom? Why was the pool so dirty? Why were kids under 16 permitted in the Jacuzzi when the sign clearly said “NO.?” Why were lethargic, lard-like “water walkers” allowed to clog up the clearly marked “lap swimming lanes?” The only consistent “NO”, was that NO ONE enforced the rules.

Nor did anyone keep after the germ-generating jocks to wipe down machines as a courtesy to others, re-rack weights, or to pick up their own mess. I got tired of telling people, “your mother doesn’t work here.” After the pandemic hit, I had pathogen-packed nightmares, with mask-less musclemen panting, grunting and vaulting virus in my direction. The idea of becoming a crazed Covid Cop did not appeal to me. I was looking to reduce stress, not produce more of it.

I was enjoying my hikes in nature so much more than I ever enjoyed the gym. Unlike many fellow Corona Virus hibernators, I hadn’t gained one single pound during the closedown. So, even when the State permitted health clubs to have a limited opening, I cancelled my gym membership — the first time in more than 40 years I would be without one, something unthinkable before COVID. I was $110 per month richer, and happy to spend it on some good Napa wines. I didn’t want any more worry of wiping down every piece of equipment both before and after use.

I was free. Better yet, the outdoors were free from disinfecting wipes.

There was, however, one fundamental problem with returning to nature. After hiking for 90 minutes or two-hours, I usually needed to pee. Public restrooms were out, since most were shuttered, and those that weren’t, should have been. With the Corona Virus lurking on every touchable surface, the last thing I wanted to do was brush against a surface that others might have touched. I know I’m clean, but what are you, to paraphrase PeeWee Herman — a perfect quote for quarantine times.

At first, I abstained from drinking any water for an hour before hiking, hit the bathroom before bolting out, and dashed home when my bladder began to beckon. But, regularly hiking together with my partner for the first time in years, I enjoyed our outings more and more. I wasn’t so eager for them to end, and she was better at “holding it,” than I.

So, last month, on a beautiful trail along the Napa River, I did what I had not done in decades. I peed outside. I knew I wouldn’t make it all the way home, so I spotted an off-the-trail spot, out of the sightline of other hikers & bikers, unzipped my safari shorts, and did what came naturally. It was glorious. I urinated on some rocks, not wanting to damage any plants or trees.

I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to be busted by Officer Lockstock, the corpulent cop in the Tony Award winning show “Urinetown”, who arrested people not paying to pee. No one. No bikers, no hikers. No one. I was free to pee for free. So exhilarating.

This week, on a magnificent trail in South Napa with a canopy of Eucalyptus trees, I had to go again after hiking for nearly three miles. I picked the perfect spot, behind a huge Eucalyptus, with a tree-trunk four times my size. This time, there was a slight, delightful breeze, and the gentle zephyr entered my open zipper, making me want to pee in the woods for worlds without end. I was, like a young boy, liberated from the gym, and free to pee outdoors again.