Stations of the Cross, Avoidance of
by Michael Brenner on 28 Mar 2020 0 Comment

There are moments when life seems an endless series of ordeals. At times, it IS. Now is one of them. First there was primary season – the Great Palaver, full of sound and fury and signifying God knows what. 15 months of it – about the time it took Alexander to conquer the Near East. Even as entertainment it was third rate – unless you get a kick out of watching a bunch of juveniles squabbling about who gets to climb into the tree house first.


As soon as that hullaballoo subsided, we were hit with the COVID-19 virus. Weeks of enduring house arrest with our gaze fixed on ominous columns of numbers and images of microbes spreading across the screen. Our imagination wondered whether the microbes would join the ants and the cockroaches in replacing us as the planet’s great survivors once our self-extinction project reaches its climax.


Admittedly, we were treated to the latest act in the long-running Trump vaudeville show. Dark humor – especially for those with a taste for the sardonic. Best of all were the straight men – the news pitchmen and their legion of pundits – who wryly reported these buffoonish antics as if they were the thoughts and doings of a serious statesman. A rough analogy from earlier days would be attending the mock simulation of ‘your government in action’ organized annually by therapists at the Willowbrook mental asylum – and then having it featured in the Sunday New York Times as a sober review of off-Broadway political theater.


Let’s be honest with ourselves. Were a conscientious, honest alien to report on these events, it would begin by setting the context in words like this:

The Executive of the United States government is composed of rulers who are psychopaths, narcissists, neo-Fascists, plutocrats and mentally deficient (morons, in the vernacular). There are some exceptions among persons who occupy secondary positions.


The final station of the cross awaiting us is the election campaign itself. Here is where some relief is possible. A strategy for minimizing the agony begins with the core truth that this is not really an election – it is a referendum. Are you FOR Trump or are you AGAINST him. That’s it. Trump vs Trump. It is not a contest of ideas or character. No one ever suspected Joe Biden of having either. He is on the ballot so that those wanting to express their NO vote on Trump have a box to check. Viewed from this perspective, one can ignore all the goings-on from now until November. Speeches, declarations, campaign stumping, commentary – especially the commentary. They don’t count. Those who like slapstick humor can pay periodic visits to the website that compiles the best of Trump’s performances:


This approach has the additional benefit of freeing time for contemplating the significant microbes in our life – going forward.



P.S. The Trump ‘Stimulus’ package tells us all we need to know about contemporary American politics. The airlines get $50 billion; BOEING gets up to $17 billion; NYC gets $3.8 billion. Small businesses get access to $300 billion at 3.75% interest; most would never be able to pay it back.  Big businesses and financial houses get $500 billion in low interest loans – PLUS $1.5 - 3 Trillion at Zero interest via a Federal Reserve autonomous lending facility (already open), which also is buying enormous amounts of debased debt paper at face value. [See ]


Jared Kushner’s corrupt family businesses are allowed to “wet their beak’ in the various money pools; the poorest American receives $600 – pizza topping money. At this historic national emergency, no taxes will be imposed on the deadbeat APPLEs and GEs, no bolt holes to tax havens will be closed, no illicit money laundering staunched, no fees placed on speculative financial transactions, no minimum tax on the ultra-rich.


As for the millions of illegals who do the nation’s dirty work, they get nothing – and they are afraid to go to a hospital to be treated for the virus lest they be kicked out of the country. In other words, a repeat of the 2008-2009 give-away that has shifted trillions up the income ladder. No facsimile Leonardo painting will be safe.


The package also includes a two year suspension of employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare that will shrink the trust funds and, thereby, generate further pressure to reduce benefits. Democratic Congressional leaders pronounce this a triumph because it extends and increases unemployment benefits. Triumph? – why not. The breadcrumbs from the High Table are organic and gluten-free.


As Joe Biden admitted several months ago to a business audience, ‘I want to assure you that if I am elected, nothing fundamental will change.” Thanks for the tip. They never doubted you, Joe.

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