Protesting and the coronavirus continue and infections start to spike again

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Every day we’re confronted with a new low from Donald J. Trump and his administration, with corresponding insanity from his followers on social media.

American taxpayers had to shell out $75k so Don, Jr. could go to Mongolia to kill a rare argali, the largest sheep in the world. They are similar in appearance to the American Big Horn sheep, but about twice as big. Like his father, Don Junior is a douchebag.

The douchebag Republicans that control the U.S. Senate have no problem with American taxpayers paying to send Don Junior trophy hunting, but pass another coronavirus emergency bill that would send more money directly to the millions of people that are suffering and struggling without income as well as the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that are struggling and failing during this COVID-19 crisis — well gosh darn it! We have to be responsible about the budget.

Yesiree Billy Bob! Let’s increase the military budget yet again, give some sweet tax breaks to our mega corporate donors and fuck the middle class once again! Donald Trump, Jr is not the major issue with the GOP-led Senate and his taxpayer-funded hunting trip, it is small potatoes, but if ever there was a symbol of excess, power, greed, cronyism and corruption, there is none more glaring than Donald Fucking Trump, Jr. — with the possible exception of his older sister Ivanka and her walking sandwich board sign of corruption husband, Jared Kushner.

Ever since the orange douchebag was sworn into office and announced his daughter and shitbag son-in-law would be his senior grifters … err … advisors, I’ve wondered if, when Ivanka and Jared go to prison for their crimes while in office, would their children be put into the system, wards of the state and possibly the foster care system. Then I remember Trump’s Eastern European hostage … err … wife, Melania and their son Barron. Well, the Kushner children would have a home.

It must be cool for young Barron to know that when he was just a baby his daddy was out cheating on his mom with a Playmate and a porn star and daddy paid them to keep quiet. I don’t really care how many women Donny fucks or how much he pays them, nor how often he cheats on his wives, but it can’t be easy for a young kid like Barron. His father’s sins are in the news, part of sworn testimony in court cases, with corroborating documents — how does he live with it?

It’s not his fault he’s a Trump. Hell, some months ago the President didn’t even refer to Barron as his son. The young man was “her son.” Hell, if I had a child — I can sense a few heads exploding — but if I did have a child, I would not be shy about it.
You: “Hey! Is that your daughter I saw dancing at Cheetah’s?”
Me: “Yes! That’s where I met her mother.”

Maybe a lot of people have forgotten, “The Donald” has fantasized — publicly fantasized — about having sex with his eldest daughter Ivanka.

I bring this up, not so much for the salaciousness of the detail, but to point this out: If after three-plus years of this administration you are considering a vote to re-elect the Orange Douchebag because “we share some of the same values,” is incest with a daughter or son one of those values? Or how about paying off porn stars and Playmates with whom he cheated on his third wife after she gave birth to his … (counting them all up) … fifth child?

Detained refugee children

How about putting babies in cages without their parents, or proper adult supervision of any kind, nor any toiletries and diapers, where kids were and are getting very sick and dying. Maybe that’s more to your liking since those babies and other asylum seekers are brown people that speak a foreign language.

Then of course there’s the discrimination against Muslims because, well, they pray to the God of Abraham differently than Jews and Christians pray to the God of Abraham. Some would say that has to do with terrorism, but according to the FBI the biggest threat of terrorism is coming from white supremacists, like the Ku Klux Klan and various white supremacy groups.

Why are the Trumpers in Congress and the White House reluctant to officially name the KKK a terrorist organization? All the evidence is there, according to FBI director Christopher Wray. If keeping the KKK off the list of terrorist organizations is one of the values you share with Donald Trump, then you are a douchebag too. We know why Trump likes racists, they openly support him. In 2016 The Crusader, the official press of the Ku Klux Klan, endorsed Trump in 2016.

Why suggest antifa is a terrorist organization? Or Black Lives Matter? The former is a reaction to the fascist, white supremacy groups that are flourishing under Donald Trump. The latter is an organization pushing for change in the legal and law enforcement establishments that ends the bigotry and racial injustice that has been baked into the criminal justice system since it was first created 200-plus years ago. Neither organization has any ties or inclinations to commit terrorism. Despite the douchebag’s worse efforts, Trump cannot hang the terrorist tag on antifa. And of course with 2/3rds of the country lining up behind the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” it would be politically stupid to label them terrorists. Here’s an ad by the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans opposed to Trump. Kind of sums up about the racists in Trump’s base.

Cities and states across the country are banning choke holds and taking steps to “defund the police.” They want to divert funds away from more weapons and violence training and shift it to social programs that are better trained and equipped to handle domestic and substance abuse, homelessness and the myriad of mental health issues.

Black Lives Matter protest in Yorba Linda (Claudia Gestro)

Plus, change the way police officers are screened and hired. Also, as we’ve been finding out, barbers and hair stylists get more training and education in their professions than police officers get. If that sounds ridiculous … it is. CNN put together this short list of the comparisons between hair cutters and police officers … Seriously? Cops in California only need 664 hours of education to get a badge and gun?

Another aspect of policing the cities and states want to rein in are the unions. Many professions have unions to advocate for better pay, conditions and benefits. Every major police force has a union representing the officers and they have become extremely powerful. They have negotiated contracts that restrict the ability of cities and states to remove bad cops and keep them from getting rehired elsewhere.

The rhetoric from the union leaders can be over the top insane. Like Mike O’Meara, representing the police officers of New York. Someone claimed there were only white officers behind O’Meara, but there is one black cop in that milieu.

New York Police Benevolent Association president Mike O’Meara (YouTube)

The reason cops are being left out of the conversation is because the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association has made policing the police next to impossible in some localities, like New York City, which O’Meara represents.

In L.A. it is the Los Angeles Police Protective League. They also have the Command Officers Association for officers above the rank of lieutenant.

Let’s be clear: Being a police officer is a high risk profession. Cops need collective representation to make sure they get what they deserve and need to do their jobs. It’s no secret they have a high rate of depression, domestic abuse and suicide. But let’s also be clear: police do not get adequate training. And they definitely don’t get training to deal with drug addiction, domestic violence, homelessness and mental illness. Cops will tell you all that themselves.

The unions have to know the times they are a-changing and they will need to change as well. They have to allow police chiefs and commissioners to fire bad cops and allow names be put into a database so bad cops from L.A. can’t just travel south and get a job in Orange, CA. There also have to be mechanisms in place to get individual officers the help they need when they show signs of going off the rails, or maybe when they get sadistic with the public. They have to recognize it is the responsibility of all cops to stand up and be counted when they see someone from their ranks breaking the law. Or, in the case of the four officers charged in Minneapolis, committing murder.

In that video shot by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, we see that one cop, Tuo Thao, just standing there as the three other cops suffocate George Floyd. He should have stepped in and stopped the other three, especially Derek Chauvin who was kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Thao obviously knew something was wrong because he turned his back on the crime.

George Floyd being killed by a Minneapolis police officer
(Darnella Frazier/YouTube)

As for the people claiming they would have stopped recording the murder and charge the police to stop the killing … Really? You’re going to charge four armed police officers, with no assurance there will be others joining you in that act of heroism? Assaulting a police officer — for any reason — is grounds for being shot by the police officers — even if, officially, it isn’t. Frazier showed great courage just standing there pleading with the police officers to stop killing Floyd while she recorded the murder.

Imagine if you will, a nation in which there are no police in schools, no police making routine traffic stops, no police trying to take care of the mentally ill and addicts strung out in the streets. Imagine there are better qualified people taking care of those situations, and in the case of traffic violations, technology.

Imagine a police department that doesn’t have armored personnel carriers with officers trained to be warriors going into battle. Imagine personally knowing the cops that regularly patrol your neighborhood. I live in an area that has little to no criminal activity, save for the wiseass teenager shit, so we rarely see a patrol car. The closest we have to a cop is the chief caretaker of the complex and he just wants to pet the dogs and give them treats.

What would replace the police? Social workers, professionals trained in de-escalating tense situations, counsellors for shelters, for batter women, children and others. Mental health therapists for the safe injection sites and rehab facilities. Night classes for people that lose their jobs due to technology — cause it ain’t furiners with brown skin and a strange language — and while we’re at it: universal health care.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, just a fan of John Lennon. Like the people of CHAZ, the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle, Washington. Maybe it is a big deal, but how long will it last? The city is going to fold the neighborhood back into municipal control. The people that created this mini Utopia still have to rely on Seattle to collect the trash, among other quality of life services. People still have to pay for things like food, clothing, shelter, as in who is going to keep the buildings livable, even if they are rent-free?

Declaring autonomy from the city and state government sounds really great and all, but how is it going to be governed? Who looks after the best interests of the autonomous zone when they conflict with the best interests of the individuals? Oh yeah, communal interests always outweigh the individual interests.

Sort of like the Bolshevik Utopia of 1917-22 (roughly). I forget, how did that end? Just a rhetorical question. The same outcome is unlikely in Seattle because the Cap Hill Gang doesn’t control an army — and probably would reject any chance to do so — and they control just one small part of a major American city.

The only outcome possible is for the barricades around the Capitol Hill neighborhood to come down, the police retake their precinct and life returns to normal. But the organizers could see a few of their demands met by the city and state.

Like many other cities and states, Seattle and Washington could see big reforms in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the end, or at least a big reduction in, “qualified Immunity.” I just cut and pasted this from Wikipedia (why do all the typing when someone else was kind enough to do it): “government officials performing discretionary functions are immune from suit unless the plaintiff shows the official violated ‘clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.’ ”


Don’t stop at the fucking police. Do that for every public official. Hold them just as accountable.

Governor Jay Inslee (D) is one of the leading proponents of a green revolution, that is taking on the causes of the climate crisis. The organizers of the Cap Hill Gang can put Inslee’s words to the test, hold his feet to the fire when it comes to the climate crisis. Same with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. What’s more important: having a safe and inclusive Seattle for all, or the big, short-term money that comes with gentrification?

The Cap Hill Gang holds some cards, but they don’t have the winning hand.

The only other way it ends is the ugly way, the outcome Trump wants to see.

Donald Trump, the Orange Douchebag, along with his mouthpiece Fox News, got some mileage out of their misrepresentations of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Fox News actually doctored up photos from Seattle to make it look dangerous and actually used a photo from Minneapolis to exaggerate what was happening in Seattle. Trump of course talked tough, threatening to take control himself!

Governor Inslee told Trump to stay out Washington state’s business and Mayor Durkan told the douchebag to crawl back into his bunker. Click here for some good photos of Free Cap City.

The Griffith Observatory has few visitors during the coronavirus pandemic (Terri Gayzur)

Despite a long list of retired generals and admirals coming out against him when it comes to using the military for domestic issues; despite the GOP members of Congress who want to remove Confederate statues from the National Statuary Hall and rename the military bases named for Confederate generals, Trump wants to make America a police state with him making all the decisions and controlling everything. And after weeks of protests for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, two cops tried to arrest an unarmed black man who had fallen asleep in his car in an Atlanta Wendy’s drive-thru. One of the cops ended up shooting the man twice, in the back.

Put the moral questions aside for a moment and look at it from a common sense policing perspective. There is unprecedented scrutiny on police forces across America and in particular Atlanta. You’d think police officers would think. “Maybe I’ll let this one go and not shot him in the back.” The police had Rayshard Brooks’ information. They knew where he lived, they had his car … they could have let Brooks go and give him a ticket in the morning. Even arrest him if need be. But shoot him in the back?

Pulling that trigger, ending a person’s life — that’s an irreversible act. We can never get Rayshard Brooks back. He’s gone forever.

The shooter was fired and the other officer was placed on administrative leave. The Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields, resigned. Police officers everywhere in America, think before you pull that trigger! If not for all the moral reasons, then for your own self-interest and that of your partner. The killing of people, especially African Americans, is no longer tolerated by anyone. This isn’t going to end well for police departments. It will be good for cities, minority communities and others looking for reform, but this is going to be the end of police departments as we know them.

“I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.” — Malcolm X

COVID-19 precautions are required in the Los Angeles area
(Claudia Gestro)

The douchebag is also trying to get his followers sick and see many of them die. He wants to start having big rallies without social distancing and masks! Yay! Have those people share COVID-19 amongst themselves and then their family and friends later when they go home … and then watch the GOP base get carried into emergency rooms everywhere.

His first rally with my June 19 — why is that familiar? Oh, it’s Juneteenth Day when we celebrate the end of slavery … and Trump is holding it in Tulsa, Oklahoma, home of the worst massacre of African Americans in U.S. history. Must be a coincidence … Juneteenth Day in Tulsa … Ahh! I’m just a cynical old fool.*

Nearly half the states in the Union, including Oklahoma, are seeing the COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rise, yet most are pushing through with their re-opening plans. North Carolina being one exception, primarily because they have a Democratic governor who believes in science. He couldn’t guarantee the social distancing rules and other COVID-19 precautions would be lifted in time for the Republican National Convention which is being held — partially — in Charlotte, NC.

The big, no holds barred, only COVID-19 restrictions barred, part of the convention where Trump will accept the nomination and get to speak in front of a large crowd of followers is Jacksonville, Florida. They had a Super Bowl there once and used five cruise ships as hotels for the crowds that couldn’t actually get hotel rooms. The city plans to do the same for Trump’s big pep rally.

Since Memorial Day weekend some of Trump’s most solid states are seeing the coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rise; Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Texas chief among them. Cases are rising in California, Oregon and Utah as well.

One of Trumps chief economic advisors, Larry Kudlow, was on Fox News claiming, “There is no emergency. There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street.” He told Fox and Friends he had spoken with health experts and claimed, “They are saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.”

The statistics beg to differ. Actually, facts don’t need to beg, they just are. Johns Hopkins has this page that tracks the seven day trends in all 50 states.

Rebekah Jones used to be the Geographic Information Systems manager for the state of Florida. She was fired because she would not fudge the numbers for Governor Ron DeSantis and the supervisors in the the state’s Department of Health. Now Jones has created a Florida coronavirus dashboard of her own to help Florida residents find accurate data and get tested.

People are resisting the Trump attempt to forget the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging across the nation.

Sadly, the cadets at West Point couldn’t just tell Trump, the Commander-in-Chief, to bugger off. They were there for graduation on Saturday so the Douchebag-in-Chief could get his photo op with West Point cadets.

A hawk takes flight in the Hollywood Hills
(Terri Gayzur)

The scientists and doctors studying and treating COVID-19 call gatherings like the West Point graduation, or Trump rallies, super spreader events. Lots of people get together in a small space and the few coming to the vent with COVID-19 then spread it to thousands of others who then spread when they go home after the event.

Sunday I was at San Diego Bay and just about everyone was observing social distancing rules and wearing face coverings. I had my fashionable pirate kerchief. But on the beaches where it is important to be seen with as little clothing as possible … that may not be a super spreading event, but it’s great for a virus to hop from an unsuspecting carrier to an unsuspecting victim.

The experts recently said — and media made such a big deal out of it — It’s not very likely asymptomatic carriers will pass the virus on to others. Good news, right? The flipside to that little factoid, which Dr. Anthony Fauci said in the same briefing but it doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention: People that are pre-symptomatic can pass the coronavirus on to others.

But it’s not like any of us can tell if we are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, unless we get tested. Anyone not tested, who doesn’t feel sick should therefore, out of good, common sense caution, were a fucking mask or other adequate face covering and observe the social distancing guidelines.

There is an idiot on Facebook — well, actually many idiots — but this one idiot who, after the news about asymptomatic carriers first came out, proclaimed the scientists lied to us about wearing face coverings. This wasn’t the first insane shit this person posted on FB, but really, enough is enough. He isn’t a family member, long story short, I unfriended him. It’s rare for me to do that. But sometimes we must take drastic measures. And let’s be honest, it’s Facebook and unfriending people we barely know anymore is hardly a serious issue. But it puts a spotlight on the main problem with social media and Facebook — Mark Zuckerberg — in particular. The lack of desire to at least point out the falsehoods and misinformation being spewed on their platforms.

Facebook has billions of users, but only millions in the United States. Yes, it’s a large number of U.S. users, but if Starbucks can track the purchases of millions of their customers, the technology is there for Facebook to track everything said about politics, and especially the coronavirus. But Zuckerberg doesn’t want to.

Social distancing in the restrooms
(Claudia Gestro)

My favorite websites for true COVID-19 news are still the CDC and Johns Hopkins. The caveat being that they are always studying, researching and testing various aspects of the pandemic so sometimes they get things wrong or they find out new information that makes previous findings obsolete or incorrect. The scientists are not lying to us, they are updating their information and we should be glad they do. It’s how science works.

There’s another guy on Facebook I’ve known since we were in junior high school. He posts the most ridiculous shit about evolution versus the Book of Genesis. It’s amazing to me there are people still trying to support the myth of “intelligent design” in the 21st Century. Over 20 years after that myth’s central tenant, “Irreducible complexity,” was thoroughly disproven by scientists that did peer review on it. But people persist. I won’t unfriend them over it, nor will I engage in protracted argument. I shouldn’t even comment at all, but I can’t help myself.

Anyway, COVID-19 is spiking all over the U.S. including here in Los Angeles County. Just saw this reported in the Los Angeles Times: At least 1,000 restaurants in the county have not been following coronavirus safety rules. Those restaurants will be revisited to see if they are up to the standards. There are places around the nation, like in Florida, that are going back to shut downs due to the resurgence of the virus.

Kid Rock’s was one of 14 places in Nashville, Tennessee that was cited for not complying with coronavirus public health orders. You can see photos of his place, crammed with people shoulder-to-shoulder, most without masks, sharing all their germs liberally. Yay, ’Merica.

As of now there are more than 2.16 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in America and 118,345 deaths — and the numbers continue to climb. Right now the U.S. is averaging just over 800 coronavirus deaths per day, which is down from just a few weeks ago, but with the spike in coronavirus infections, will that number climb once again? Rhetorical question.

For the most part I will continue to stay at home and so should you. If you don’t, remember to stay six feet from others and wear a mask or face coverings. And try to avoid Fox News.

Post Script: LGBTQ people have the same rights as all other Americans, according to a 6-3 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Gorsuch joined the four more liberal justices for the majority and it was Gorsuch who wrote the opinion. Conservative heads are spinning across the land.

There are lines to get into stores at the local malls. Most shoppers observe social distancing rules and all the stores require shoppers to wear masks (Claudia Gestro)

Post Post Script: You may have heard the Orange Douchebag’s speech about his executive order for police and law enforcement reforms. Turns out, it is basically toothless and more of his “law and order” mantra that recalls the racist policies of Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign. You know, the campaign that the GOP used to lure in all the Dixiecrats that left the Democratic Party after Democrat president Lyndon B. Johnson fought for and got the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Trump did not — would not — address racism directly, looking at the real problem with law enforcement in America, which is the systemic racism baked into the system, Trump chose to fall back on the discarded notion that the problem is just a few bad apples. “They’re very tiny. I use the word tiny. It’s a very small percentage. But nobody wants to get rid of them more than the really good and great police officers.”

In the audience for his latest campaign rally were members of the law enforcement community, including police union officials. The Rose Garden speech was less about police/law enforcement reform and more about Trump’s 2020 campaign. He blast Obama/Biden for not doing anything about police brutality issues, despite the fact that the Trump Administration ended several tools used by the Obama-era Justice Department that were intended to curb systemic racism in law enforcement.

The primary tool being the consent decrees which gave the Justice Department the ability to sue cities that had patterns of unconstitutional behavior by police departments that violate the civil rights of some, in particular, patterns of systemic racism, like the “stop and frisk” policy in New York City.

Trump’s little rally was, once again, a little sham. He got more free airtime for his campaign.

* Apparently someone told the Trump campaign they were being dicks for having the campaign rally on June 19, so it has been moved to June 20 … in the same arena which will become a super spreader site for the coronavirus. Local officials have asked the Trump campaign to cancel the event, or at least postpone it, but the Trump Campaign, being the dicks they are, plan to have their super spreader event.

Del Mar Beach, like most beaches in Southern California, is subject to restrictions (Terri Gayzur)

Top photo is a YouTUbe screenshot of Hollywood BLVD during a protest