Saturday Surprise — Nyepi

Today, I thought we’d visit the island province of Bali … a beautiful place at any time, but I wanted to take you to the celebrations surrounding the holiday of Nyepi.

Every year, towards the end of March, the entire island of Bali in Indonesia, goes into standstill. Flights are grounded, shops remain closed, streets are deserted of traffic and pedestrians. All residents lock themselves up in their houses and switch off their lights. There is no talking, no music, no entertainment. Some even stop eating. This day is called Nyepi, the “Day of Silence”, where devout Hindus meditate and reflect.nyepi-1It isn’t the day itself that attracted my attention, but rather the days leading up to the sacred holiday that are, in sharp contrast to the ritual, full of activities. Villages and communities build large monster-like sculpture called ‘ogoh-ogoh’ that represent the bad spirits. The sculptures are made of bamboo frame wrapped with canvas and sometimes of Styrofoam. Some of them are 25 feet tall. These are paraded through the streets on the evening before Nyepi day, after which they are burned in the cemeteries. Many people also bang pots and pans raising a racket and burn dried coconut leaf torches to drive out the demons.nyepi-2On Nyepi day, everything goes into silence. The rules state no fires, no electrified lights, no working, no travelling and no engaging in revelry. This period lasts 24 hours from six in the morning. The next day, festivities start again, for it is the Balinese new year. Families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and perform religious rituals.nyepi-8Nyepi has a tendency to catch tourists off guard, for it unlike any other holiday the westerners might have experienced. The entire city shuts off for 24 hours, which means there are no restaurants and eateries open, no taxis or public transport, and no loitering on the streets. Hotels are usually exempted out of necessity, but guests are advised to keep noises low and lights dim. Sometimes hotels will draw their window curtains to cut off the lights.

Omed-omedan is celebrated the day after Nyepi. The festival takes place on one of the roads in the village of Banjar Kaja, Sesetan in southern Denpasar. The village community cheers on participating youths who get in line for the ritual – an affair of ‘push and pull’ between a team of girls and boys.nyepi-6Pre-arranged couples, usually in their late teens, line up to eventually be pushed towards their partner on the other side and to eventually ‘kiss’ and embrace for a very brief moment… before cheerfully being pulled apart again. The scene gets crazier as elders enjoy spraying and dousing the crowd with water.nyepi-3nyepi-4nyepi-5nyepi-7

I just love all the bright, festive colours, don’t you?  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about Bali and Nyepi!  Have a wonderfulfunhappy … decent weekend!

A Lone Mini Snark

I just have one very short mini-snark today …

It is sad that we do not believe anything that we are told by our federal government.  It is beyond sad, frightening in fact, during this time of crisis when we our very lives depend on having accurate information, but we know we cannot trust that information.  For the past two years, when monthly employment data was released, I’ve just rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah, right”.  No way we added 225,000 jobs in January, a month that typically sees a decline as companies lay off seasonal workers, winter sets in and there is less activity.

But the release of employment data for March earlier today by the Department of Labour is a slap in the face … do they really believe we are so stupid as to believe that only 701,000 jobs were lost, when 6.6 million people filed claims for unemployment in one single week ending March 28th???  I realize that the jobs lost won’t precisely match the unemployment claims, for a number of reasons, one being timing, another being that some companies like Amazon and grocery companies actually hired large numbers.  But this disparity is an outright lie.  I, for one, don’t like paying people to lie to me.  It undermines our safety and our ability to plan accordingly.


Our friend Keith’s timing was prescient with his post today, speaking of the lies we are being told, and I urge you to wander over and check out his post.


Note to Readers:

Part XII of mine and Jeff’s project, Discord & Dissension, was initially planned for this afternoon, but due to unforeseen circumstances, must be delayed until next week.  It was our initial intent to publish once a week, every Friday, but obviously when we planned this project last December, we could not have foreseen the nightmare that would usher in the year.  Both Jeff and I see this as our mission, our goal for the rest of the year, to bring you the most accurate assessments of candidates and issues, to keep you informed and also to motivate and inspire our readers to make this election count.  We will return next Friday with Part XII, and that is a promise.  Thank you all for your patience.

♫ The 🌈 Rainbow 🌈 Connection ♫

Today, our friend Ellen reminds me, is National Find A Rainbow Day!  According to the National Day Calendar people …

Each year on April 3rd, National Find A Rainbow Day challenges us to look to the sky and find a colorful ray of hope cast across it. 

There are people that see rainbows as an artistic masterpiece in the sky, to others it is a sign of hope and to many a sign of promise.
It can be all three; beauty, hope and promise.    (Jill Magnus) 

A spectrum of light in the form of a multicolored arc, appearing in the sky, is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets in the Earth’s atmosphere. These rainbows always appear directly opposite of the sun.  The light is refracted (bent) when it enters a droplet of water, then is reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it.

Red is the color that is visible on the outer part of a rainbow and violet on the inside of a primary rainbow. Children learn in science class the mnemonic ROYGBIV to help them to remember the sequence of colors in a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Many forms of airborne water can cause rainbows including, rain, mist, spray, and dew.  

Now, rainbows are rare in nature, but … perhaps we can make our own rainbow today?  I think we all need a sign of hope and promise, so … maybe if we just take ten minutes to close our eyes, listen to some music, and imagine a beautiful rainbow in our hearts.  Or draw one, if you have any artistic talent.  Anyway … this is a music post, and anytime I think of a rainbow, I think of one of my favourite characters of all time …

And in case any of you are curmudgeons that don’t just love Kermit, here is The Carpenter’s version …

The Rainbow Connection
Kermit the Frog/Carpenters

Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong wait and see

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
Who said that wishes would be heard and answered when wished on the morningstar?

Someone thought of that and someone believed it
Look what it’s done so far
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
All of us under its spell
We know that it’s probably magic
Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors
The voice might be one and the same

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenny Ascher / Paul Hamilton Williams
The Rainbow Connection lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

Snarky … grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr … Snippets

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 

Tonight I have enough snark to fill an entire shelf, nay, an entire room!  So, hold onto your hats and maybe open a window to let the heat out.


Save the masks for the docs & nurses!

Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have said that surgical masks should only be worn by healthcare workers, infected people or those who are taking care of someone who is infected.  These are the experts in the field.  And, the fact is that healthcare workers in hospitals are desperate for masks to protect them when they are working with infectious patients, but there is a severe shortage of the personal protective equipment they need.

So, along comes Donald Trump and his wrecking crew who are expected to announce sometime today that everybody should be wearing a mask when out in public.  Brilliant … the front-line doctors and nurses cannot get masks, but the government suggests that every Tom, Dick and Harry should be snatching them up for their own personal use, even though washing their hands is the far better option.

I think doctors and hospitals all across the nation should sue the federal government for putting their lives in danger.  In fact, I hope they do.  And no, I won’t wear a mask … I cannot, for I would choke to death with something covering my mouth.  Take your mask, Trump, and put it where the sun don’t shine.


Impeachment caused WHAT???

The U.S. is now the hardest-hit nation on the globe by the coronavirus, thanks in large part to the bungling responses of Trump and his wrecking crew throughout January, February and March.  Within the U.S. the State of New York has seen the most cases and deaths.  There are a number of reasons for that, but Trump has his own idea … he blames it on his own impeachment!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

In a letter to Senator Chuck Schumer …

Trump-SchumerTrump-Schumer-2

The letter was in response to one from Schumer requesting Trump to appoint a logistical expert from the military to use the Defense Production Act to properly allocate resources to the states.  The utter bombast of Trump’s letter is enough to make one growl, but for him to refer to his impeachment as a hoax and then make the assumption that the coronavirus would not have become a problem had it not been for his well-deserved impeachment deserves a full-throated banshee scream!


Mail-in ballots?  Why not???

The U.S. elections are exactly seven months from today.  Given that we are told by experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci that we cannot even begin to predict when it will be safe for the nation to come to life again, many of us are deeply concerned about that November 3rd election and are in favour of going to a Universal Vote by Mail system.  Already, there are 27 states, including my own, that have no-excuse absentee voting, and in three states, all voting is done by mail.  It isn’t rocket science.

Yet Trump and his wrecking crew are sitting on their fat arses on this one, debating, saying it may be too risky.  I champion 100% mail-in voting this year for a number of reasons.  First, it would ensure that we have an election.  Second, I believe it would increase voter turnout significantly.  Third, it would put an end to many of the voter disenfranchisement tactics used by republicans in numerous states, such as moving polling places, closing polls early, requiring voter I.D., etc.

One of their arguments against universal mail-in voting is that it would take time to get the systems in place.  Only six states have no current accommodation for mail-in ballots … all other states already have the systems in place to provide and count mail-in ballots.  But more to the point … time’s a-wasting!  Okay, if it’s going to take time and effort, get off your arses and get busy doing it!  Stop talking and balking, stop looking for excuses to take away our right to a fair and honest election and start developing the damn system!  What the hell do you think we’re paying you for???

But I smell a rat …

The headline in Fortune reads …

USPS warns it might have to shutter by June as $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package provides no funding

And in Business Insider

Lawmakers are sounding the alarm on the coronavirus shuttering the USPS by June

Now … how would mail-in ballots work if there is no mail?  Now do you smell the rat?

rat

To another issue, though, if the USPS were to shut down … nearly one million people in this country would not be able to receive their life-saving medication by mail.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Golf, anyone?

Looks like the ‘person’ in the Oval Office is planning a bit of golf this weekend, while the nation literally burns.  The Secret Service this week signed a $45,000 contract (our money) to rent a fleet of golf carts in Northern Virginia, saying it needed them quickly to protect a “dignitary” in the town of Sterling, home to one of Trump’s golf clubs.

Trump-golfAll of Virginia is under a stay-at-home order from Governor Ralph Northam, lasting until June 10. But that order allows golf courses to remain open … I suppose like churches in Florida, golf courses in Virginia are considered “essential”.  Funny how words can have different meanings, depending on who’s using them, isn’t it?

An Economic Wakeup Call

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is more of an optimist these days than I am, and has more faith, I think, in the human species, but I like to think that his hopes for our future will bear fruit. Thank you, Jeff … perhaps I need a new glass, for I think mine has a hole in the bottom that prevents the glass from ever getting quite half full. Good post, my friend.

On The Fence Voters

Will the world demand a more humane economy after this crisis?

Wherever you stand on the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis, I think we can all agree that life as we know it has drastically changed. We can agree to disagree on whether the types of mitigation deployed by countries around the world, including our own, will work or not. Frankly, that’s for another day.

But the economic reality about to hit us is real and disconcerting. How we deal with the calamity going forward may define our society and culture for generations to come. I want to look at what we’re about to go through from a glass-half-empty, glass-half-full perspective.

The half-empty part of this equation is what we’re about to experience. The economic pain that’s coming is something our country hasn’t seen since the Great Depression. Time is of the essence, and the over $2 trillion dollar rescue package…

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Filosofa Ponders …

If anybody had asked me late last year what effect a global crisis such as … oh, say a pandemic that spread at the speed of lightning … would have on the people of this nation, I would have answered that it would bring people closer together, cause them to set aside their differences and care about each other much as we did in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  And I would have been oh so very wrong.  I would have been giving the people of this nation far too much undeserved credit.

While I am no fan of George W. Bush, I must give credit where it is due.  In the days following 9/11, he was a leader in every sense of the word, and it was in part his leadership that brought people together.  He made it clear that we were all in this together, and that together we would survive.  He grieved with us and gave us strength and hope to carry on.  In the current crisis, we have no such leader, but rather a bungling oaf whose own desires will always be a higher priority for him than the needs of this nation.

Unlike 2001, today we have no real leader and rather than bring the nation together, Donald Trump has fanned the flames of discord.  I won’t even delve into his very poor handling of this crisis from day one, for that has been covered everywhere ad nauseam.  But it is beyond disturbing that he continues to operate under a philosophy of “divide and conquer”, even as the nation burns.  What I find even more disturbing, however, is that some 46% of the people in this nation believe he is doing a fantastic job, when in fact he has let us down in the worst way possible.  Rather than encouraging us all to help one another, to set aside our differences for the moment and work together for the good of all, he stands in front of the nation and casts blame.  Blame the democrats, he says.  Blame Obama, blame the governors of states who are trying to keep their people safe … blame anybody, he tells us, except him.  He says, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.”

But wait … isn’t leadership all about responsibility?  Is that not what he was hired to do, to be responsible for the well-being of the country and its 330 million inhabitants?  I’m confused … how can the “president” not take responsibility?

How is it possible that nearly half the people in this country approve of the job he is doing?  What does this say about We the People?  Does it say that those 46% are so determined to fulfill their goal of making the U.S. a white, Christian, and largely male-dominated country that they are willing to sacrifice decency, sacrifice the future of the nation?  Are the people of this country so blind that they cannot see how he is putting his own self-interest ahead of the people of this nation?  Or is it simply that in times of crisis, people take comfort in continuity, rejecting change altogether?  Whatever it is, I am frankly disgusted and fed up with those who applaud him at this point in time.  I’ve tried and failed to understand their motives.

Donald Trump will never be anything different than what he is today, a greedy, arrogant, narcissistic excuse for a man who cares for nobody and nothing other than himself.  I might have expected that, given the circumstances we are facing today, some 90% of the people in this nation would be calling for his resignation, if not his head on a platter.  But instead, more people than ever are gravitating toward him, hypnotized perhaps by his promises … promises that he cannot keep.

My biggest fear, something I fear far more than catching the coronavirus and dying, is that this newfound approval will carry forward into the election and hand Donald Trump another four years at the helm.  That, my friends, would be the most disastrous thing that this nation would have ever faced.  We cannot, must not let that happen.

Taking Sides against Dictators

Sometimes we are so mired in the muck of our own troubles that we cannot, as the old saying goes, “see the forest for the trees”. Our friend David in the UK, however, has a quite clear view of the state of our nation today, and I’d like to share it with you this afternoon. Thank you, David, for your clarity and also for caring.

The BUTHIDARS

image

I  quite openly admit to having pinched the piece above from my friend Scottie of  https://scottiestoybox.com/, when I read it in the context of the elections due in the U.S.A in November 2020 I thought to myself surely most of these are basic human rights that should be granted rather than fought for these days..Surely we have enlightened Government if not enlightened management over our major businesses.

Not so here. Following the end of the Obama era Government, one of enlightenment and the attempt to establish a National Health Service for everyone which was bitterly rejected as being Socialism, the election was won by the joke.There was a groundswell of reaction against his opponent  for having the temerity to be a woman but in the end Hillary Clinton still polled 3,000.000 more votes than Trump but lost on Electoral  College votes.

Trump himself has a base of Evangelists who see…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Kleenex Is Included

If it’s Wednesday morning, then it must be time for us to go forth and find some … good people!  Guess what?  I found some!  Surprised, aren’t you? 😉  I’m even providing the tissues this week, in case you’ve run out and found the shelves bare at the market.

box of tissues


And with that Dailey newspaper you get …

Greg Dailey delivers newspapers to homes in the central New Jersey township of Cranbury, but last week he did much more than toss rolled up newspapers.  Many of the people on his paper route are seniors, and after one such woman asked him to start placing the newspaper against her garage, for she was afraid to walk down the driveway to retrieve it, Greg got an idea.  The next day, he placed a note in all 725 newspapers he delivered …

My name is Greg Dailey and I deliver your newspaper every morning. I understand during these trying times it is difficult for some to get out of their house to get everyday necessities. I would like to offer my services free of charge to anyone who needs groceries, household products, etc. I will be shopping at ShopRite and McCaffery’s and can deliver the goods directly to your front door.

He left his number and email address. The response was immediate, and not just with more requests for his new service. Oh, there were plenty of those — nine of them, in fact, on the first day alone. But there were more emails from people who wanted to help the man who had offered his help.

They wanted to send him gas money for his Ford Focus. They offered to leave him food on their doorsteps to his family. Mostly, though, they just wanted to say thank you.  Said one note …

“I know you only by the sound of your car in the morning and your good service, but your offer to help in our community is a step beyond. If you hear a little extra sound when you fly past our house, it will be us applauding and cheering for a good man.”

Greg-Dailey-2Greg’s service quickly became a family affair, with his wife Cherlyn, his three kids — Erin, Sean and Brian — and his mother-in-law Carol Krohn all involved. They used a Google document to keep the groceries organized, with every item highlighted on a receipt. They sort the items into separate bags in their dining room, and for safety, everything is cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Customers reimburse for the items, but there’s no charge for the shopping and delivery.

“Times are tough. Some of us should not be out of the house at all. They need produce. They need medicine. They need toiletries. I told one of the gentlemen, ‘I can stop at the liquor store if you want.’ His eyes went wide.”

Kleenex tissuesThe customers on his newspaper route can count on him. At a time when every community needs people to step up and help the people who need it the most, he delivers.


Handing out … lettuce leaves

Peter Darmos is a lawyer and businessman who lives in Melbourne, Australia, though he emigrated there from Greece as a child.  One day last week, Mr. Darmos happened to pass by the unemployment office, CentreLink, and saw a long line of people waiting to get in to file their claims. centrelinkHe said it made him feel sick to his stomach, and he had to do what he could.  He stopped and gave each of the people waiting in line $100 “to put some bread on the table for their family.”  In all, Mr. Darmos disbursed some $10,000.  He wished to remain anonymous, but somehow that didn’t happen.  He says he’s hoping that others who have the means will follow suit …

Peter-Darmos

box of tissues“I came here as a six-year-old from a village in Greece and this country has been good to me. We can all hit the Centrelink offices across the country in 30 seconds today and hand out a lettuce leaf to each person in need so they can put some food on the table for their families.”

 


What’s in the envelope?

Skylar Reeves, who owns Rosa’s Pizzeria in Prescott, Arizona, was loading orders for delivery and curbside pickup Tuesday when the woman approached him, handed him the envelope, and then left.  Reeves opened the envelope to find $2,000 in cash and an unsigned note …

“Hi there, As a neighbor and lover of Rosa’s, please accept the enclosed and use it as you see fit for your staff.”

Kleenex tissuesReeves said he was overcome with emotion, as he already has been forced to consolidate his three restaurants, pause his catering company and stop construction on his newest restaurant set to open next month. He also laid off nearly half of his 100-person staff, many of whom are friends, due to the virus.

With the money from the anonymous Good Samaritan, Reeves is asking his employees to bring him the bill that stresses them the most, and he’ll pay those bills with the envelope cash and his own money.


The Rocket Man delivers …

Elton John was in the middle of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour when the coronavirus called a halt to it.  But, not one to let an opportunity pass him by, Elton is instead planning a televised benefit concert to support and pay tribute to medical staff in America who are on the frontlines battling Coronavirus.Elton-2The commercial-free hour-long special, dubbed “Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America,” will air at 6 p.m. PST (9 p.m. EST) on FOX on Sunday, March 29 and will also be broadcast on iHeartMedia radio stations as well.

Singer-songwriters including Alicia Keys, the Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw will also make appearances from their homes and be included via clips filmed with their personal cell phones, camera and audio equipment, a release from Fox revealed.

Viewers will be able to make donations during the show, which will go to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.


You all know I don’t watch much television at all, and have never seen the show called The Office, though of course I have heard of it (I think).  One of the stars of that show is named John Krasinski, and he has started a ‘good news’ show on YouTube that I thought was a terrific idea!John-KrasinskiLast week, Krasinski took to Twitter and asked the world to send him any stories that made them feel good or smile.

“For years now I’ve been wondering why is there not a news show dedicated entirely to good news?”

So, he launched “Some Good News” (SGN) on YouTube to share all the heartwarming stories posted in the comments of his Twitter post.


These are challenging times in more ways than one for most all of us on the planet.  I find it particularly heartwarming to see people finding ways to help others, even though they have their own troubles.  We are, after all, all in this together.

The Expendable Elderly

Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters shows us yet another way in which our so-called leaders are failing us during this time of crisis. Thanks Jerry — good post!

On The Fence Voters

 

In my semi-retirement years I work part-time at an assisted-living senior center. Almost all the residents there are past the driving age, so I drive them to their appointments. Before the COVID-19 era I also drove groups of them to outings in the residence’s bus. But we do, in fact, live in a new, dramatically different era. Now, I rarely drive any of them anywhere. Instead, my workdays now consist primarily of helping the housekeeping crew daily disinfect the premises. Everyone at the facility is dedicated to keeping our precious seniors as safe and healthy as possible at their age.

That sentiment seems not to be shared by our president and many of his followers. Many, such as Texas’ Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, have suggested that for the sake of the economy, Americans need to get back to work; social-distancing needs to end sooner rather than later. If…

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Coronavirus Kills Its 1st Democracy

Want to take your mind off the coronavirus, shortages of food and cleaning supplies, being imprisoned in your home and isolated from your friends & family?  Well, I’ve got just the thing for you … here’s something even bigger to worry about …

On Monday, Hungary’s parliament passed a controversial bill that gave Orbán sweeping emergency powers for an indefinite period of time. Parliament is closed, future elections were called off, existing laws can be suspended and the prime minister is now entitled to rule by decree. Opposition lawmakers had tried to set a time limit on the legislation but failed. Orbán’s commanding two-thirds parliamentary majority made his new powers a fait accompli. – Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post

Granted, Hungary isn’t the U.S. and Viktor Orbán isn’t Donald Trump.  Orbán had already corroded the state’s checks and balances, cowed the judiciary, encroached on civil society and the free press … much as Donald Trump has done to the United States.

Orbán has his supporters, too. He has been lionized as a nationalist hero for the West’s anti-immigrant populists and welcomed to the White House by Trump.orban-trump-2It should be noted that congressional democrats initially included election reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting in the $2.2 trillion ‘stimulus bill’ … measures that were struck down by their republican colleagues.  Now, make sure you’re sitting down when you read what Trump had to say about those stricken measures that would have ensured we could all vote in the November 3rd election …

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again. They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”

And now, my friends, I suggest you start to do some serious worrying about the November elections, for it becomes obvious that Trump and the republicans have little or no concern for our right to elect new leadership in November, and that they see voter suppression as their only path to power.  I’ve been concerned all along that Trump would find some way to cancel or postpone indefinitely our elections, and nothing I’m seeing is alleviating those concerns.  I believe that Mr. Trump is seeing the coronavirus pandemic as a very fortuitous event for him and his cronies.

In 1980, Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said …

“I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Chilling.

We are running out of time to put in place policies and processes that would enable every eligible voter to cast a ballot, even in the event that the coronavirus remains a threat into November.  The republicans are playing a game … a game with our lives, with our freedoms, with our rights to participate in our government.

Look again at what the Hungarian Parliament has handed to Viktor Orbán.  The only thing stopping our own Congress from doing the same is the democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

orban-parliament

It must also be noted that the emergency law also stipulates five-year prison sentences for Hungarians found to be spreading “false” information.  Think on that one a minute.  Who determines what is “false” information?  Think how many times Trump has declared stories published by The Washington Post or the New York Times to be “fake news”.  Or what about us bloggers?  In such circumstances, historically information is considered ‘false’ if it contradicts what the dictator says.  Facts and reality become secondary and eventually are suppressed.

orban-trumpThere are checks and balances to keep what has happened in Hungary from happening in the U.S.  But, many of those have been destroyed in the last three years.  The Supreme Court tends to rule in favour of Trump, even when that ruling is in blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution.  The Attorney General has decreed that Trump is ‘above the law’ and can operate in whatever manner he sees fit.  And the U.S. Senate basically affirmed Barr’s opinion when they refused to do their job and convict Trump of what were obvious abuses of power and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. Constitution, or any set of laws for that matter, is only as good as the people who enforce it.  This is why the most important thing this year in the U.S. is that we have fair and honest elections on November 3rd as scheduled, no matter what.