August 8, 2020

After a series of non-sensical questions from reporters in the theatre of the absurd press conference of Donald Trump, Ryan Struyk, a CNN reporter, asked: If 160,000 people died on President Obama’s watch, do you think you would have called for his resignation? Trump said, “No, I wouldn’t have done that.” Yet he wants our children to go back to school. What am I missing here? Is this man a genius or a fool?

Freedom isn’t free

Freedom without responsibility is anarchy. Some Americans think that being required to wear a mask in public is a violation of their freedom. They believe they have the right to do whatever they want, and whenever and no one can tell them otherwise. According to this simplistic view, a person could kill someone in cold blood, and law enforcement would be helpless to do anything about it. Forty years ago, I was a legislator in Illinois and voted to require mandatory seat belts in automobiles. Seat belts save lives. The evidence is overwhelming that wearing a mask does too. “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.” Freedom has limits. It boils down to a matter of common sense. If not wearing a mask in public endangers not only your own life but the lives of others, your right ends when you open the front door. It is common sense to wear a mask.

Walking the river

Don’t believe a word he is saying
Don’t believe all the lies
A comb-over of a bald spot he is trying to hide
Walking the river
Maidens and their dogs
Water taxi going up and down
Homeless occupying benches to keep their cool
Jasmine trees in full bloom
Authoritarian, another word for the dictator
It happens in the blink of an eye
One day you are free, the next day you die
My grandfather came here with ten dollars in his pocket
The American dream turned inside out
You can’t prove God doesn’t exist
Came home from Rome
Feeling empty Like I left something behind

It doesn’t matter

It doesn’t matter how many people die
Trump supporters will defend him to the end
One is a friend of mine
And if I said, “How is Trump doing?”
He would say, “Great”!!!
The hate can’t be undone
Nothing rational people can do
They think they are the rational ones
Can’t win for losing
That’s the way it is
The Pandemic is the king

Oh! Shit

Republicans just want this virus to go away
The virus doesn’t know that
And even if it could
It would say, “Go F yourself”
Democrats say “we are in deep shit”
And of course, they are right
The President came to Florida today, July 10, 2020, the current epicenter of the outbreak and didn’t mention it once
He had a fundraiser instead
“This is the worst example of presidential leadership in the history of the country”-Michael Beschloss, the famous American historian said
Well, I wouldn’t go that far
George W. Bush started an unnecessary war in Iraq
That was pretty bad
Ya, that’s true
Well, maybe the second worst example of presidential leadership in the country
Ya, it’s close on the scale of things
You know? When the scales of justice measure each other
You know? When the scales of justice measure each other

He is insane

He is insane
Wherever he goes people get infected
Don’t play his game
Stay away
He’s not your friend
He is insane
Wherever he goes people get infected
Don’t play his game
Stay away
He’s not your friend
Wherever he goes people get infected
This is not a game
Don’t play the fool
You’re better than him
He is insane
Don’t play his game
You’re better than him

Freedom isn’t free

Freedom without responsibility is anarchy. Some Americans think that if the government orders them to wear a mask in public, it is a violation of their freedom. They believe freedom is the right to do whatever they want, whenever they want and the government can’t tell them otherwise. According to this simplistic view, a person could kill someone in cold blood and the government would be helpless to do anything about it. The government is obligated to maintain law and order and also to protect its citizens against a deadly virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens. If the government ordered a person to wear a mask in public, a person does not have the right to say no. Freedom has limits. “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins”[i]
Individual liberty has limits. “You can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre.”[ii] Of course, you have the right to freely assemble; of course, you have the right to free speech, but rights are not absolute; they are fluid depending on the situation. It boils down to a matter of common sense. If not wearing a mask in public endangers the health of other citizens, your right not to wear a mask ends when you open your front door.  It’s common sense: wear a mask

[i] John B. Finch (1882)
[ii] Attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell homes in the Schenck case (1919)

“Pollock” (2000)

Jackson Pollock: a tormented soul
That sucks, but he created some great works of art
Ed Harris played him straight; the good and the bad
The end hard to take; driving crazy drunk with two beautiful young women in his yellow Buick convertible
Hits a tree; kills himself and one of the women
That’s the bad part; he took someone with him
Like I said, “that sucks
A tormented soul
You almost want to deny him what he did because he took someone else’s life
I’m sure her loved ones must have felt that way: destroy every one of his fucking paintings
But the beauty can’t be denied, so we learn to accept this convoluted man, and appreciate the good
Life is like that–accept or die

John Bolton knew the truth

So John Bolton knew the truth but the Republicans didn’t want to hear it. His lawyer wrote a letter to the Majority Leader of the Senate that said he, Bolton had relevant information heretofore not revealed and that he be willing to testify before the Senate. But that’s not what bothered me. What bothered me is that the presiding judge in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said, “The Senate is the greatest deliberate body in the world.” The reality is the Senate is the greatest bullshit body in the world. Bullshit bodies hide the truth; great bodies reveal it.

Ravings of a madman

Today I’m wondering what the heck is going on. I mean, how did you change humanity? On my tombstone what words to say? ‘He was a good man gone bad.’ I’m going to be cremated so no words necessary. “No one cares who a person is. No one cares that this person is me.”[i] A feeling I wrote a long time ago. Is it true? People say we are one but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels kind of lonely. To complicate matters, a cop kills a black man for committing a minor crime because he allegedly resisted arrest. This triggers mass demonstrations while a pandemic is going on. I can’t seem to get my head around it; thousands and thousands of people demonstrating arm in arm shoulder to shoulder while a pandemic is going on. Crazy times and I remain optimistic. I have too for my sanity. I feel like butting my head against a wall, screaming “come visit me.” “So how is today different than yesterday?” A question I heard on TV. New York is opening up today; people going back to work; demonstrators around the world demanding justice and equality. I’m more dead than alive. My friend Mike who prematurely died used to say, “We’re in the fourth quarter on the five-yard line.” I’m seventy-five, seen a lot of stuff. For me, this is just one more hurdle to jump over. I’ve gone to jail for three years, so living through a pandemic quarantined in my home is more like a vacation than a prison sentence.

No knock warrants
Choke holds
Federal stings
Draconian laws
Take back power
Drain the swamp
Justice in the eye of the beholder
Freedom is a lie
Ain’t got no time to change the universe
Ain’t got no time to change me
Defund the police
Live in anarchy
Don’t watch TV

Commercials are killing me. Commercials are designed to torture you, especially when quarantined. I know people are making money and that justifies everything but the same content over and over drives me crazy. It feels like I’m being tortured; then stop watching TV. What an absurd idea-stop watching TV.

George Floyd the man the cop killed is a martyr. What is a lynching? Who is a martyr? We are a nation of definitions. Is George Floyd a martyr? Was he lynched? Does it matter? More questions than answers. Murder is a legal term-was George Floyd murdered? We know he died and the cop’s actions contributed to his death. Did the cop’s actions cause his death? But for his actions, would George Floyd be alive?

Once the protests die down the pandemic begins. What have you done lately to stop the spread of the disease? “Nothing except developing a vaccine,” the president said. There’s no organized federal response to stop the spread of this disease? “That’s right,” said the president, “it’s up to the states, not the federal government.” But the economy is opening up and people are going back to work, aren’t you worried not enough is being done? “No, everything is fine.”

Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna’ be alright[ii]
If an old man stay at home
If young have some fun
Don’t worry about a thing
Cause every little thing gonna be alright
When protests end the pandemic begins

[i] Ideas of the Heart redux pg. 1
[ii] Bob Marley, Three little birds