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The Mirrored Image Virus, and Its Cure

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | April 18th, 2020

#16 of On Tyranny: “Learn from peers in other countries. – Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends in other countries. The present difficulties in the United States are an element of a larger trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.” – Timothy Snyder

“Being (rejected) by him, for he was cold to all love, (Echo) hid herself and wasted away to a voice. But Narcissus was punished for his cruelty. Happening to lean over a clear spring in order to drink from it, he saw his own reflection and at once fell in love with it. Unable to tear himself away, he remained by the spring until he died of exhaustion and unsatisfied longing…” - H.J. Rose, Handbook of Greek Mythology

“I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." - Grover Norquist

“We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.” – Jacob Bronowski, Ascent of Man

“Man is the measure of all things.” - Protagoras,

“Protecting people and protecting our economy are not mutually exclusive…The fact is, we save our economy by first saving lives. And we have to do it in that order.” – Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH), 4/13/20

“Because the greatest love of all is happening to me; I found the greatest love of all inside of me. The greatest love of all is easy to achieve; Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” – Whitney Houston,

“Testing, testing, testing…” - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Donald Trump and Grover Norquist have a great deal in common as a dynamic duo of deconstruction and destruction. They hate authority of any kind, especially government, unless that authority is controlled by themselves and their greedy friends. Other than destroy things around them like petulant two year olds, however, they have never known what the f*ck they were doing. And, they have done unlimited damage to the United States and countries around the world for a generation and more, since the advent of Norquist’s protégé, Ronald Reagan, and the Republican Party’s Jihad against responsible government.

The brilliant success of Tea Party nihilists since 2010 in turning our country over to the forces of chaos and criminality under House Speakers John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and President Donald Trump, has finally been realized,…and exposed, by the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump/Norquist Republicans have had their dream come true. As long as Donald Trump is President, the Federal Government cannot, and will not govern effectively in the interest of the American people. All 50 States are now having their “Puerto Rico Moment,” with nothing from Trump in a real crisis except “paper towels” and propaganda. Miraculously, governance is still happening: overtly at State and Local levels, and covertly, through dogged resistance at many levels of the Federal bureaucracy. For details on this strange tale of necessary espionage and subterfuge in our so-called open democracy, I turned to my KGB animal friends.

High Plains Reader: Clearly, our President is dysfunctional. How does our country function?

Putin: Simple. Covid-19 has forced you to face facts and the truth. So you ignore Trump.

HPR: But he is always doing stupid sh*t. Presidents doing stupid sh*t can’t be ignored!

Tevye: Presidents and Prime Ministers, even well meaning ones, sometimes do stupid sh*t; some more, some less. So, folks from other parts of the government have to clean up the mess. In Israel, the political parties can’t agree on who should be in charge, so our C.I.A. (Mossad) guy got together with the director general of our biggest hospital and arranged to secure necessary equipment from international sources. My friend Omar Khayyam’s contacts in Iran assured us that our most deadly adversary was temporarily hampered by the virus, so there was some time available from our normal espionage activities to help out in this dire emergency.

Omar Khayyam: My namesake was a “hippie” type Persian poet, known to think out of the box.

HPR: But New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital can’t just go to the C.I.A. for help. Trump would have a cow!

Tevye: That’s New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s problem. Most of the other Governors, with the exception of some Trump toadies, know that too. A majority of them are making their quarantine decisions based on what is good for their citizens, not for the President’s ego. They have contacts through House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, other Democrats, and rational Republicans that Trump can’t control, as well as federal contacts that your media occasionally discover.

Rasputin: If he weren’t already nuts, one could say that such sustained and effective resistance is driving him crazy. Meanwhile, our most effective science moles-in-plain-sight, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, are still in place.

HPR: How long can they last?

Putin: Only Trump knows, and he, of course, hasn’t a clue. He, Trump Republicans, and FOX News are still frantically looking for someone or something else, other than themselves, to blame for your Federal government’s criminal negligence.

HPR: Will they succeed in escaping responsibility and accountability?

Lena: So far they have. In the crucial 40 days from January 31 to March 10, while responsible, transparent, governments like the Czech Republic (mandatory face masks), Taiwan (swift and electronic emergency measures), Norway (preparatory shut down), Singapore (early diagnosis, isolation, contact tracing, closing schools in areas with high case load), and “Nation States” Washington (quarantines) and Northern California (stay-at-home orders) were taking drastic steps toward mitigation and scrambling to get Covid-19 gear and facilities ready for the pandemic onslaught, the so-called “leader of the free world,” was pissing away 20 of those days “on vacation,” or at a CPAC or other ego-boosting rallies, not counting travel and tweeting time.

Torquemada: Trump was, in fact, stalking Democrats before their primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, North Carolina, California and Colorado instead of stalking the Covid-19 virus as his health and national security officials were begging him to do.

Corporal Kangaroo: Trump even took time out from a State visit to India to stage a rally, as if responsibility for his and Republican fecklessness would never be held accountable.

Lena: That’s terrible, of course, but it’s really up to the voters in a democracy to call useless Presidents to account. It’s a slow process that requires patience and wisdom of the kind being exercised by House and Senate Democrats, and Governors of both political parties in the States.

HPR: You mean that Federal power has shifted to the States?

Chicago Dog: Not so much Federal power, but federal initiatives, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) checking out North Dakota’s low case numbers for best practices. Imagination and innovations have shifted to State Governors with courage and decisiveness, with some help from a far-sighted private sector, untainted by the Grover Norquist virus. On the world stage, Trump’s desperate “blame game,” -- his suspension of funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), is being resisted by our close allies in the United Nations.

Mr. Swamp Fox: “Any port in a storm,” as they say. But Federal power is too important to be thrown away just because a moron was elected President. Trump is a parasite, and his narcissistic virus is permanent. He can only glom on to effective remedies if he believes that they are his ideas, just as he has ordered FEMA to steal Covid-19 supplies from States like Colorado that had painfully secured them on their own.

HPR: What a waste of time and energy! Trump has to be avoided altogether, or fooled into doing the right thing by Americans’ health and welfare.

Chicago Dog: Or, upon getting the news that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and (gasp!) Barack Obama are uniting behind Joe Biden, terrified into letting competent folks run things for a few minutes to maximize his chances for reelection and minimize his chances of going to jail.

Mr. Crying Wolf: Indeed. When egotistical fools like Trump Republicans and Norquist Narcissists get their hands on power, lives, as well as time and energy are wasted. Responsible government can only be exercised by responsible people.

HPR: Can the American people tell the difference?

Rasputin: When they are paying attention they can. And Covid-19, and lack of sports and entertainment spectacles is likely to sustain their focus until, at least, November 3rd. Wisconsin voters kicked Trump-anointed Supreme Court Judge Kelly off the Bench on April 7, despite exposure to a deadly virus, and every voter suppression trick in the Republican Party playbook.

HPR: But Trump Republicans, “Moscow” Mitch, and their FOXy friends are so good at blaming others for their own incompetence and misdeeds. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Laura Ingraham are still spitting out their poison.

Mr. Swamp Fox: Poison Ivy will only infect you if you let it touch you. Unlike Covid-19, it can be identified without a microscope. Americans are getting tired of scratching the visible viruses that divide them, and more determined to unite against invisible ones that can only be defeated by your acting together. You now know that you cannot take charge of this threat unless you think about others as much as yourselves.

Lena: Trump thinks he’s in charge of everything, but he’s not even in charge of himself. That’s obvious to most Governors, Mayors, and other responsible officials, who, thanks to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, can act in concert with each other, whatever the President says. Oregon’s Governor sends scarce equipment to New York, and New York’s Governor, passes it on to the Governors of Maryland and Michigan in their need, once his need is past.

HPR: Governors ganging up on the President. Does that mean civil war?

Putin: Nyet. Just detailed and devastating defiance by Governor Cuomo, when Trump attacks him on Twitter. Organized civil disobedience by responsible governors and the governed, sometimes known as “elections with consequences.” Just what the doctor ordered.

HPR: Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx?

Schickelgruber: Nein. Drs. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson.

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