30 November 2020

International Murder

272,525   deaths in the United States from Covid-19 and the Federal Government still refuses to do its job in countering the disaster. How long will this travesty continue? The world wonders.

Today appears to be (and I am relying on Wikipedia for this information, so be warned) Independence Day (Barbados), National Day (Benin), Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran (Israel), Regina Mundi Day (South Africa), Bonifacio Day (Philippines), Commemoration Day (United Arab Emirates), and Independence Day (South Yemen). The saint of the day is Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, a fisherman by trade, who was one of the first followers of Jesus, if you believe the late and discursive Gospel according to John. Saint Andrew’s Day appears to be a recognized state holiday in Scotland and Rumania. It is also Mark Twain’s birthday.

With the current occupant of the White House forgotten but not gone the news has been swamped with stories of the assassination of an Iranian physicist who may or may not have been the head of a program intended to supply the nation with energy from atomic reactors. The details of his murder are chilling, if rather confusing. Possibly twelve mysterious assassins popped up out of nowhere and blew him away before vanishing without a trace. Or maybe a robot machine-gunner took him out before self-destructing. The exact details are, shall we say, obscure. The purpose of this clandestine (and thoroughly illegal) action seems to be to make things difficult for the United States under Future President Biden to restore normal relations with Iran. Iranian officials are babbling wildly about murdering Israelis in response. Let’ s hope cooler heads prevail—though I don’t expect that. As always, I expect the worst.

22 November 2020

The BottleDrop Scam

261,683   people in the United States have now died from Covid-19. It’s not what I want to talk about, but everything else is trivial compared to the ongoing disaster. Well, not the other ongoing disasters, I suppose—global warming, the great extinction event, the coming nuclear apocalypse, and so on and so forth—but, you know, the inanities of the economy, business, politics, entertainment, sports—even the sciences and the arts when you get right down to it. If you can’t bop to it, don’t buy the record, as the man said.

But the triviality I want to rant about today is the great BottleDrop scam right here in Oregon, something that is irritating me right now because of something that happened to me today. When I went down to the Burlingame Fred Meyer I walked past the bottle return center (as it is part of my regular route from the bus) and glanced over at it to see large signs posted there to the effect that it was closed. Permanently. It looked like they would still do hand counts for small amounts of cans or bottles, but otherwise, unless you were a BottleDrop customer, you were shit out of luck on getting your money back.

The store employee I talked to—who is a really nice guy who has been very helpful in the past—candidly admitted that the object was to get people to use the “green bags.” I admitted (with equal candor) that I hate the “green bags” program and have no intention of using it. Ever.

Let me explain. Under the old system when I paid a deposit on a returnable bottle I could get my money back by returning it to the place I bought it. It was a simple, straightforward transaction. Take the bottles in and leave with the money. Typically I would begin a shopping trip by returning my bottles, collecting the money (or taking the equivalent off my purchase), and buying whatever it was I’d come for. It was relatively easy to manage.

But no more. Under the “green bags” system I have to set up a special account, put my bottles in special “green bags”, and deposit them at a “convenient” BottleDrop return center. My bottles will be processed in three to five business days and the money added to my account. I can have the money in my account given to the charity of my choice, or if I absolutely insist on getting my money back, can obtain it from certain special locations.

Okay—let’s see how this works in practice. A 13-gallon garbage bag will hold ten, maybe twelve two-liter bottles. I can carry maybe two of these without too much inconvenience on the bus, so say, twenty to twenty-four bottles. Under the old system I’d take them in to the store, run them through a machine, receive a voucher for say $2.00 to $2.40, and present it as I buy my groceries on the way out. But under the new system I have to put the bottles in special “green bags”—each holding thirteen gallons. So let’s say I manage to cram twelve bottles apiece into two “green bags”, tie them and label them with the correct stickers, take the bus to a “convenient” location to leave them off—well, isn’t that essentially the same thing, except that I have to wait for my money those three to five business days?

Well … no. Those “green bags” aren’t free, for one thing—they cost $2.00 for ten bags. That’s twenty cents apiece. So I’m already out forty cents before I ever receive any credit towards that $2.40 I might have coming. But still—a two-dollar return on a forty-cent investment? That’s not too bad, right? Except that the money in question is my money already, a deposit that I put down and should be able to get back. And to cap things off, I’m not going to get $2.00 back—because there’s a forty-cent additional fee attached to processing each bag. In fact I am going to get $1.20 back on my $2.40 investment—not enough to even pay the bus fare to run the bottles to that “convenient” location. It’s a losing proposition all round.

Now obviously if you have a car, or happen to live right by one of these “convenient” locations, or habitually drink 8 oz. returnable cans and can stuff a couple hundred of them in a “green bag,” you may find the whole concept a more attractive proposition. For people like me, however, it’s purely inane. I’m probably better off just tossing the bottles and losing my deposit. It’s better than lending support to this pointless scam, at the very least.

20 November 2020

The Return of Vile Kyle

259,231   people in the United States have now died from Covid-19, and the rate is rising. Is this what the whole city on the hill thing is about? Showing the rest of the world how we can rise above the disaster by just giving in to it? Live or die, we don’t care, as the old song has it.

And we can all breathe a little easier knowing that Vile Kyle has made his two million dollar bail, and is now free to (illegally) take up a weapon and go hunting for more victims. Oh, excuse me—people to kill in self-defense. That’s the story, right? Here’s hoping the next time we see this piece of human refuse in the news it will be a report of the discovery of his corpse dead of an overdose in a back alley somewhere. Save the state the expense of trying him, anyway.

We’ll see. The professional sob-brothers are now lined up behind this guy, telling us sad stories about how he was just out to protect property and all, never mind it being at the law’s expense, and the cost of the lives of a guy just out of the hospital and a would-be hero. Fuck that shit. Vile Kyle made his choices. He chose to kill others, and he should be prepared to pay in turn with his worthless life. He could even do some good that way—part him out for the benefit of others as an organ donor, for example.

19 November 2020

Allah Have Mercy On Us All

256,164   is the number of people in the United States who have died (so far) from the Trump Pandemic. And things look bleak for the Dopey Don. President-elect Biden appears to have pulled it off, and is now scheduled to assume the mantle of US leadership next January. Allah preserve us all.

I suppose denying reality is always an option. There’s a lot of that going around. Our Fake President is still refusing to meet with his successor, claiming that the election still isn’t over. (It isn’t, but Trump no longer has a legal path to victory.) The contrast with his predecessor could not be more glaring. When Trump legally won an election characterized by massive Republican vote fraud (in the form of vote suppression, mainly) Obama met with the incoming president and started working on the transition. The classless idiot in the White House is still alternating between throwing tantrums and sulking in a corner. A nurse writes about how patients dying from Covid-19 are still denying that it exists as they take their last breaths. And now people are insisting that Al Gore was acclaimed president-elect for a month before the Supreme Court decided not to finish counting the votes in Florida (hint: he wasn’t). That’s as nutty as claiming that Richard Nixon would have been elected president in 1960 if it weren’t for chicanery with the Illinois vote. (Chicanery there may well have been, but switch all twenty Illinois electoral votes from Kennedy to Nixon and Nixon’s still a loser.)

Something has leached away all my enthusiasm and will to live, and I hate to see that morning sun come up. The library has closed again—not that it was ever really open, but at least you could return books and order things through the library system. My laptop is still not working, one of my aunts has just died and an uncle has been diagnosed with Covid-19, so I suppose external reality may be having an effect on me. I thought writing something might make me feel better, but it doesn’t, so I guess I’m going to give up. For the moment. We’ll see about the future.

04 November 2020

Clarification

In case anybody is confused by this—yes, I’ve called the election, and so as the Cowardly Liar in the White House—but nobody put either of us in charge of making that determination. Who will be declared the winner will depend on the results of an actual vote count. That’s how it works in this country. People keep counting the votes until all of them have been counted. To do otherwise is vote fraud, plain and simple.

It’s the commonest form of vote fraud, actually—not counting votes. It’s one way Black voters were disenfranchised for years, along with fake literacy tests, grandfather laws, and poll taxes. Boss Tweed and Mayor Daley knew how to lose votes, whether by throwing them in the river or by intimidating voters into not voting in the first place. When Trump says he wants to stop counting the votes now—with Biden ahead in both the popular vote and the electoral college, by the way—he is advocating vote fraud, plain and simple. I never thought I’d see an American President engage in such lowlife thuggery—but I never thought I’d see the American Supreme Court order a vote count stopped lest it result in the wrong man being elected to the job, as it did in the 2000 election.

In point of fact Biden still has multiple paths to victory. (A combination such as Nevada, Wisconsin, and Georgia—none of them out of reach—would do it, for just one example.) It doesn’t mean that any of them are going to pay off—as I think I’ve made clear, I don’t think they will—but they do exist, and will exist until the vote is counted—or Trump stages a successful fascist coup.

Personally, I wish there was some way they could both go down to a crashing defeat. Say, Trump manages to eke out an electoral college victory via massive vote fraud while the Democrats take both the House and Senate—and then bang! the first thing the Democrats do on taking power is impeach both Trump and Pence and kick them out of office. Or Biden wins but Trump shoots him when he attempts to take office, leading to Trump being taken out by the Secret Service. Or—well, you get the idea. Some improbable sequence of events that would eliminate both scumbags and maybe allow the country to finally get on the path to healing again.

03 November 2020

Good Job, America

237,245   people dead from covid 19 in the United States, and the nation has just reelected the man most responsible for the carnage. Good job, America! There’s nothing we like more than a fumbling stumblebum with a solid gold racist heart. I just saw somebody saying that nobody would know Trump was a racist if the media didn’t keep reporting on it—which I suppose is true if you never listened to the guy or read his tweets.

And good job, Democrats. That electability thing really paid off for you, didn’t it? Put up an uninspiring stuffed nabob because people will vote for anything to be rid of Trump. Brilliant! How much of the country do you think is going to be left after another damn year of this crazed criminal at the helm?

But if present trends hold, at least you’ve got another moral victory out of it. Biden may have lost the presidency, but at least he won the popular vote. Who are you going to throw under the bus this time? Old people? The ill? The homeless? Not the rich, obviously. You need them.

Well, at least the election is over, Allah be praised.

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