Friday, October 13, 2017

California Firestorm

I was awakened abruptly last Monday morning by the frantic ringing of my doorbell.  It was my friend & neighbor Ivan rousing me to 'answer the bell' so to speak; I could already smell the smoke before he told me there was a raging firestorm just ten miles away.  I live in wine country, Sonoma county where much of the terrain is heavily wooded canyons, many peppered with residential neighborhoods; so dealing with a potential wild fire is always in the back of our minds.  Now it was foremost on our minds.

Little did I know that the day I was waking into would see the worst firestorm in California history.  Beginning just before midnight on Oct. 8th, fires sprang up in several different Sonoma and Napa county locations.  The weather was zero humidity, no moisture in the air, with winds gusting 50 to 60 mph.  Before Daybreak there were a total of 14 fires racing primarily north, and eastward, away from my hillside canyon home...for now.

Wildfires such as this actually create their own weather.  As the flames grow higher into the air it creates a vortex, a sort of fire tornado which in turn draws in all the air around it.  Add to this devil's mix a 50 mph easterly wind and you get a self feeding, self sustaining firestorm with a halo of burning airborne embers falling to earth setting new fires, which then join with the parent fire.  Maybe a case could be made for fire being a kind of life form: It breathes air, consumes food which strengthens it, and it reproduces itself.   Fire spirits, Hmmm.  More on this in a bit.

You don't have to be a prepper to be ready ahead of time for such natural disasters; all it takes is having been a boy scout, and later a combat veteran, to see the sense in being ready to bug out with a Go-Bag full of emergency survival needs already to load in the car.  If you don't have them pre-packed and ready to load in the car, you won't have time when you are watching the flames advance on your home as floating embers ignite your roof.

Watching three hurricanes in a row wreck death and devastation on parts of the country should have motivated a lot of people to prepare, including making detailed evacuation plans for the family.  It sure motivated me to drag my go-bags out and double check them in the days before the firestorm. 

Brewing up some coffee was the first order of business, and as it was perking away, the second was to check communications status.  Had electricity but not much more.  No television, no internet, no text.  All gone, and with no word on for how long.  Time to dig out the hand crank, portable emergency radio.  I hooked it up and before long found what I was looking for, all day coverage of the firestorm in my back yard.
"We face the potential for this kind of firestorm every year,
and we've been lucky for a long time.  Our luck just ran out."
                                                                                ~Cal-Fire Official

It's kind of funny, the difference in perspective you have when packing a bug out bag in the calm before the storm; and re-packing it when faced with the possibility of everything you own turned to ash.  With no immediate threat to my residence it gave me the luxury of doing a kind of triage on my go bags.  There is no way you can take everything which is special to you, so hard choices must be made.  Sometimes the practical gives way to the emotional as some things are removed from the bags to make room for something of a more emotional value.

When you walk thru your home with the idea it might all burn you begin to see with new eyes.  As long as the wind is our friend and blowing the fire away from us this hopefully becomes just a dress rehearsal this time.

So as I listened to the reports flowing in on the radio, I found I couldn't sit still, I had to be doing something even if it was pacing about trying to think of the next thing I forgot to pack.  Hearing odd noises I quickly checked outside to see what was up.  It was my 70 year old next door neighbor, up on his roof with a rake and water hose, courting a broken leg if he fell.

It occurred to me I was darting around like a ferret chasing a meal it can't see.  I sat and thought about that a moment and then it dawned on me, PTSD awakes from it's slumber, given enough stressors.  I'm sitting in a bone dry old house on a wooded hillside in a firestorm, and no information save for the radio which was mostly helpful but not terribly useful.  I'm hearing about places I liked going to, burned to the ground, along with area landmarks like the Hilton hotel. Entire subdivisions are going up in flames. People are dying out there in my back yard.

"The World Has Changed"
                     ~Sonoma County Sheriff

 With no internet access all; transactions were cash only, and the roadways were choked with evacuees and those seeking emergency supplies.  I am suddenly feeling pretty smart for having bought two flats of Aquafina bottled water last week.  You could say a hurricane inspired me to prepare for a firestorm.  My friend Ivan has the day off work due to the firestorm so we spend it pre-loading stuff into the car, just in case.  Tomorrow I'm buying a chain saw because no damned down tree is gonna prevent me from bugging out if the need arises.  Boy scout, gotta be prepared!

People are calling reports into the radio station all day, one man reporting that eight water trucks showed up, without water in their tanks.  Maybe it's a cost effectiveness thing, why haul all that water any farther than you have to?  Intended to fill up at a local hydrant??  Another man called in saying there were no Cal-Fire aircraft working in his area.  He didn't understand they have to be able to see where to drop their load of fire retardant.
Day 2~October 10
 Day two sees the number of uncontrolled fires at 17, with 20 dead and over 1500 structures destroyed.  Nobody was prepared for how fast the flames raced over the land, it's like some kind of surrealistic nightmare.  I am stressed and frustrated that all data lines are down, except for my wonderful radio.  I'm just feeling a need to see this monster on satellite view, so I can properly engage it.  I spent several years on radio in Alaska, so I know well the idea of words painting pictures, and the scenes coming from my emergency disaster radio are horrific.

Smoke from the firestorm can be smelled at San Francisco airport 60 miles distant.  It covers more than 115 thousand acres of land, over 65 square miles, in eight counties! 

There are now more than 4400 firefighters working over 40 hours straight.  Twenty thousand people have been evacuated to shelters, churches & high schools as just dealing with the displaced becomes a storm itself.  The early estimate of 180 missing people has now become 660 missing people, a number certain to keep rising.  The firestorm remains at zero containment.  And it is still growing.

"It looks like a war zone, without the bomb craters"
                                                             ~TV news reporter

Firemen and first responders are often "lost" and  not knowing exactly where they are because all the street signs melted.  Steel melts at 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some cars exploded when their gas tanks ignited, leaving charred upside down slag heaps, each with puddles of melted aluminum beneath them.

Human  nature sure comes out fast at times like these, there have been very few incidents of looting so far, but volunteers by the hundreds are calling local officials wanting to help.  I've heard of three 'hubs' where volunteers can go to register & then be dispatched somewhere to render aid. 

I like that.  Shows that hope maybe has a fighting chance after all.

Late afternoon I get the sweet sound of a text notification from my cell phone. Minutes later internet was restored, and an hour later TV service came back.  I was quite pleasantly surprised; anticipating a much longer outage lasting several days.

"The firestorm turned our neighborhood into a sea of nothing"
                                                                        ~Unknown Evacuee

Seeing the images of this monster firestorm came with a case of cognitive dissonance at the sheer size of the thing, and how incredibly fast it was consuming everything in its path.  If the recent string of hurricanes was a wake up call, this then was indeed waking up to a nightmare literally on my back door.  The same conditions that birthed this inferno exist in the canyon I reside in.  It would only take a spark, and I could be among the homeless victims of this wildfire.

Aerial views of the devastation are truly like something from a war zone, specifically Hiroshima after the bombing.  Watching these images as I fine tuned my evacuation luggage, was just feeding my awakened PTSD; it never really goes away, hibernation is the best you can hope for.  The good part of it is that the awakening PTSD also brushes off the skill-set needed to deal with the stressors, and the emergency.  They never go away either.  As I move through the house; I take the time to bless, thank & release a lifetime worth of possessions I have managed to hold onto until now.  Some things are more difficult to let go of than others.  There is a reason they're called possessions.

Day 3~October 11
By Wednesday the 11th, the firestorm is now 22 separate fires and has become twice the size of Washington DC and continues to grow, it's appetite unabated.  Throughout the devastated area only chimneys remain standing, like gravestones marking where over 2000 homes died.  They say the winds are going to pick up again tonight.

"This is a critical, catastrophic event, and
things will get worse before they get better"
                                         ~Cal-Fire Spokesman

Late in the afternoon authorities announce the mandatory evacuation of Calistoga as the fire marched over the hillside overlooking the tourist town, and the rolling smoke moved into the valley like a massive ghost.  A pocket fire sprang up near Geyserville causing even more evacuations, eating still more land. 

There are now over 8000 exhausted firemen (Heroes) battling the firestorm and saving lives.  More than 30,000 people have been evacuated and there are 3500 homes and businesses burned to the ground.  There have been 0ver 50 helicopter rescues, as the state amasses the largest aerial bombing campaign in American history to fight the firestorm.  They have 73 helicopters, 30 air tankers; including a DC-10 and a brand new 747 jumbo tanker being used for the first time.

As darkness comes to day three there are 26 known dead, and some 700 missing with over 265 square miles burned; and 80 cell towers destroyed.  In their evening press conference authorities stress that people should avoid the evacuated zones or face arrest.  They also advise that this emergency event is far from over, saying it could be two weeks or longer to get containment & control over the inferno. 

Fire Spirits?

Many years back during the practice burning of an old dilapidated building in Nixa Missouri; one of the firefighters took a snapshot of the blaze and was astounded to clearly see what many say is an Indian chief on horseback.  I've been intrigued by such fire images ever since, and was quite surprised to see one show up in the growing collection of images from this firestorm event.  Look closely at pictures of raging fires, you may find some yourself.

Day 4~October 12
What caused the firestorm?
Daybreak on day 4 came after an overnight respite as the winds did not pick up as feared they would.  Even though, it continued to consume thru the night while the air armada was grounded.  It is now thought that downed power lines and blown transformers started the wildfires around 11:45 pm, last Sunday night.  There is also some lingering doubt surrounding the strangeness of 14 fires all starting at more or less the same time.  Some of course are thinking this is a new kind of terror attack; while others speak in terms of meteorites being the cause.  The Realistic Observer Blog has posted that Illegal Mexican marijuana cartels set the fires in retaliation for recent busts.  Much of the areas burned are where legal medical marijuana clubs grow their legal pot.  As with so many things these days, we may never learn the whole, complete truth.

There were over 1000 people missing, of them 485 have been located alive.  So far the firestorm has destroyed 2834 private residences and killed 30 people.  Ironically there is a movie due to be released on October 20th called "Only the Brave" which is an action yarn about "Smoke Eaters" otherwise known as firefighters.  Not wanting to disrespect the real life heroes fighting this inferno, but maybe they could push back the release date for this whole area, it might be too much too soon for those who have lost homes and entire families.  Just sayin, A little compassion goes a long way.

Tonight I am grateful for having a place to live and food to eat, and yet this event has already affected my future.  I've been trying to find another place to live, closer to town and wheelchair accessible to things I'm interested in doing for two years now and I've learned one thing for sure and that is the housing market is depressed.  There has been a drop-off in new construction.  There is a severe shortage of family residential housing and apartments throughout the region; and way too many people looking to buy or rent.  Those numbers just got mega-skewed for maybe a decade or more with almost 3000 homes destroyed so far. Not only that, but I can almost feel my rent increasing as I write this.  Leverage and taking advantage; purely human traits.

 My PTSD is getting a case of disaster fatigue; not sure how much more I can handle.  We're 226 days into the disaster called the Trump inauguration, and the hits just keep on coming faster than we can process.  Soon psychic numbing sets in with the first symptoms of PTSD, as you become hyper alert to your surroundings, & do threat assessments on every new sound or noise.  Welcome to my nightmare.

Whether or not you get help or rescue in the next disaster depends entirely upon whether you voted for Trump.  If you voted blue or are a banana republic, know that you'll be on your own once you catch your allotment of paper towels.

Nixle~ Text your zip code to 888-777 to get emergency notifications in your area.

Pack Your Bags
It is always a wise precaution to have a few crucial items kept in the trunk of your car: such as a few gallons of water, some canned food, blankets & clothes etc. and some basic tools.  Add a small chain saw if you face the possibility of fallen trees across critical escape roadways.  I always keep a tent, rope, duct tape & giant green poly tarp in my trunk as well, because I don't like roughing it.  You should already have a Thomas guide book of the entire roadway system in your state or area.  If not, perhaps you should consider getting one because knowing where to go and how to get there can literally save your bacon.

Stored somewhere like an entry closet you should also have your "Bug-Out-Bag" pre-packed, loaded and ready to go at a moments notice.  The question arises, what to include?  First & foremost are all needed medications, reading glasses, money and your important personal/family papers.  Next, backup important computer files & documents to a mass storage device like 64GB flash drive.  You will want to pack headlamps, flashlights, [with xtra batteries] - candles and perhaps even a small alpine single burner camp stove for cooking.  That's the thing about mass evacuations; you have no idea where you will end up, or if you'll ever see your home again, so the ability to cook might be a game changer.

You will want some spare clothing, how much depends on how high maintenance you are I suppose.  At some point extra space in your Go Bag becomes very valuable indeed, so you'll know if you packed too many clothes.  Ideally you should limit your bug out luggage to what you'd feel comfortable carrying, on foot, over unknown terrain conditions.  Assume the worst case scenario, everything less will seem like good luck.

"Chance Favors Only the Prepared Mind"
                                     ~Louis Pasteur~

Next include a decent first aid kit, and a multi-power source emergency radio.  Be sure to pack cell phone chargers, and extra batteries or power bank devices.   It should be a no-brainer but if you own firearms, pack them as well.  Not that you're gonna be going road warrior, you just don't wanna leave them for looters.   Plus you may need a little Mad Max now & then.  You'll need a supply of breathing respirators: 3M makes their N95 which is rated to defeat the smallest particles of smoke, its the mask you want, period.

People aren't all the same and neither are bug out bags, yours will eventually contain the items you deem crucial to have in a very uncertain future following some unknown disaster.  It's a work in progress, start today.

Got children? They each get their own bug out bag as well.  A few clothes & a lot of toys/games to hold their attention and give a semblance of normal even in crisis.  Fail to do this; and risk being taken to the limits of parental sanity.  For child mood emergencies, have a couple of Hershey bars tucked away for emotional bribery.  Works every time!

Watch the news footage of any disaster and you'll see literally hundreds of refugees carrying plastic garbage bags and pillow cases holding their worldly possessions.  Every one of them thought there would be time to pack.  Sometimes...there just isn't.

 Officials with Cal-Fire are saying this is nowhere near under control, and that it could be weeks before the fire is out.

Stay Tuned for updates...

© 2017 full re-post with permission only 

Day 6 ~ Saturday 
When overnight winds picked up early Saturday; a new round of mandatory evacuations was ordered for Lake county, Sonoma, and east Santa Rosa as fires continued to march east and south.   Hours after sunrise the winds continue to be a problem, even though they helped dissipate some of the smoke pollution.

An additional 20 helicopters have joined the air armada, and over a hundred fire trucks and tankers.  over 11000 firefighters are working 24 on/24 off shifts as containment on two of the largest fires is now over 40% on each.   

There are over 600 national guardsmen, and an unknown number of prison firefighters adding to the manpower on the ground.  Many of these firemen are local to this area, and have lost their own homes while tirelessly working insane hours to save others and their homes from destruction.

 The air quality remains listed as unhealthy in most of the affected counties as our evening sunsets take on an eerily beautiful appeal as seen through the haze from the smoke.  If you start having slight headaches, wheezing, or heavy coughing; you may need to be using a respirator mask.  Long term inhalation of smoke particles can have some bad effects, especially with existing breathing issues.

Imagine that fire took your home and all your possessions.  You lost all your ID in the chaos, don't know how to get your mail, or where you're going to sleep tonight.  Imagine being in a shelter, not knowing where other family members are.  Wondering if you even still have a job to go to.  Even worse; all important personal & family papers are now ash.  Take all that and multiply it by 6000, the number of people who just lost their entire home. 

Over 100,000 people have now been evacuated 
as the official death toll reaches 40 today
Making this the largest and most deadly wildfire in state history.

There are still a few reports of lootings and arrests. When approached while going thru the wreckage of his home, one man drew a pistol.  Elsewhere there are many reports in the local news of people encountering angry, belligerent and generally edgy people while gathering food and necessary supplies. We must strive to remember that in times such as these some will bloom while others wither.  Not everyone has the coping skills needed for when your whole life just goes up in smoke.  A good time to be extra polite to everyone.

Most natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes smack you a good one then it's over.  Wildfires are different, and can defy even the most stalwart resistance as they  just keep burning everything in their way without a shred of mercy.  One couple tried to survive in the middle of a neighbors swimming pool, with the wife dying in her husbands arms,  People everywhere are disaster weary after three deadly hurricanes, then the Vegas sniper.  Not a good time to be wondering if your neighborhood will be the next to disappear in smoke.  The visual scars from this disaster will be with us for quite a while and recovery will be slow, too much so for the majority I suspect.  We silently brace ourselves because we know the death count will not stay at just 40 souls lost, not with many hundreds still missing, unaccounted for.

"Santa Rosa Strong"
Driving thru the affected parts of Santa Rosa it looks to many like an alien landscape, devoid of the familiar landmarks.  Everywhere from fences to overpass bridges the emotion of the people pours out in handmade signs of gratitude to the firemen, first responders and Sheriff's department.  We keep hearing that recovery will take at least ten years.  Meanwhile the fires continue to burn, causing new evacuations on day number nine of the firestorm. It's not over, not even close.

We got hit hard.

We are down, but not out.

Thursday ~ Day 11

As the setting sun disappears on day eleven of the northern California wildfires, everywhere there is the ominous sense of having turned the corner.  The only good news is that it will rain overnight; between 1/4 and 1/2 inch as a small class one weather event passes from north to south.  This is going to be a sprinkle, when what we need is a deluge.  It'll be just enough to give us some ash runoff to deal with along with everything else. 

Currently there remain just 9 large fires which are from 73% to 90% contained.  Cal-Fire officials say they expect to have full containment by next Tuesday.  That isn't saying the fires will be out by then, just contained.  The official death toll stands at 42, with 53 still missing; and 11 heroic firemen injured.  Over 7000 structures are gone, 6000 of them were homes, completely destroyed.  15000 are still evacuated.

Today we received much needed help from Montana as the famous Chief Mountain Hotshots from the Blackfeet Nation arrived to lend their expertise, as they're considered the marines of firefighting. 

As we gradually regain our senses in the aftermath of this firestorm, local people are starting to ask questions about how the fires really started, and a few other things which don't quite add up.  At the center of things at the moment, is the confusing mess surrounding the alleged arrest of an arsonist, and two agencies battling it out in public. An undocumented homeless man who is known to local cops was brought in for questioning on a different matter; but isn't a suspect and is not charged with arson.  ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) officials immediately released a statement condemning the Sheriffs for endangering the public.  The sheriffs of course responded in kind saying something to the effect it was bad form to accuse them of that in the middle of everything going on.  Not what we want to see from our state and federal officials!

Then there is the matter of the evacuations that have many in a furor.  Some areas have been cleared and re-opened for landowners to return to their home sites; but a great many have not.  The number of disgruntled homeless voices grew until the authorities had to hold a press conference; where when asked why they cannot return to their homes, angry citizens were told about a tree that almost injured 3 firemen when it suddenly fell; and the video clip of that was on all three local network TV stations.  They are not allowing people back into many areas, and offer only reasons that insult our intelligence.

"We're from the Government, we're here to help you"
Enter FEMA: The folks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are here, going thru the motions of helping people; from a bureaucratic perspective.  Mostly what they are doing here is offering (demanding) that ALL those who lost homes go online and sign up for FEMA to remove all the toxic stuff from their property, stressing that civilians are not allowed to do that dangerous job themselves. 

Maybe I've been at this too long, but to me that sounds a whole lot like "you can't go home until FEMA cleans up all the evidence."  Once FEMA is finished removing hazardous materials from the scorched neighborhoods the plan is to bulldoze them back to bare earth so the rebuilding can begin.  There is a fly in this ointment, and it's the certainty that somebody somewhere has an eye on all that barren smoking real estate in Sonoma and Napa counties.  

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How Trump is Uniting America

I didn't see it at first, in those chaotic and tumultuous days following Trumps inauguration.  All I could see back then was that against all odds and the will of the people; Trump had ascended to the presidency with a lot of Russian help and money.  I could also see how he built a staff & cabinet of thieves and plunder monkeys with which to pull off his agenda of grand theft America, and worse yet, making America hate again.  But I never saw his potential for uniting the country at all.

Through his vile words and actions I watched him stoke the embers of the civil unrest, racial bigotry and white supremacy; driving the wedges that keep us from being the truly united states we pretend to be.  He has put a face of legitimacy to racism, and intolerance; his faceWelcome back to the '50's.'

It was difficult to imagine any end result short of absolute disaster as we've watched Trump blunder from one scandal to the next, while the people leaving his floundering ship mostly resemble passengers departing the Titanic.

He lumbers from one embarrassing fiasco to another; attempting to draw attention away from the FBI Russia investigation...setting little brushfires on Twitter for the news and cable pundits to rant about.  He seems to take a childish pride in always being wrong as well.  I'm sure I'm not the only American who awakes each day wondering what new scandal or damage has been wrought overnight by this nightmare of a president. 

The last couple of weeks have been very illuminating when it comes to understanding what truly motivates Trump, all you have to do is to pay attention to who he is attacking on Twitter and the media.  An excellent example is his full court press attack on the NFL players who kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem.  Everybody knows the players are protesting the over 800 police shooting of blacks in the year just passed.  The protest has nothing to do with patriotism or honoring the flag, and Trump knows that as well as the rest of us do.

His hatred of the NFL stems from a few years back when Trump wanted to purchase the Buffalo Bills football franchise.  NFL rules mandate that nobody can purchase a team unless all the other team owners agree, and they didn't...not a single owner approved the idea so Trump didn't get what he wanted, and we're now seeing the result.  A vindictive narcissistic attack from a man with a child's ego & hands.

By trying to make the whole issue about the flag, Trump hoped to drive the wedge of racism deeper still.  It backfired on him, bigly!  Trump's actions and vile words solidified the ranks of the NFL like nothing I've seen before.  As he demanded owners fire players who take a knee in protest, instead they joined the players in protest on the field in a show of strength and unity.  This week in a tweet he again demanded that all NFL players stand during the playing of the anthem.  They refused.  United against Trump.

Then there is the scandal no president should be able to duck or run away from, and here I refer of course to Trumps behavior towards Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria demolished the entire island, home to over 3 million American citizens.  In perhaps the role he is least qualified for, that of "consoler in chief" Trump's record is dismal failure when the sole requirement is to have a heart and some compassion for the suffering of others.  I just couldn't understand his belligerent, vindictive tweets aimed at the island inhabitants and their elected leaders.  Of course Trump again openly lied about receiving calls of appreciation from officials on the ground on what's left of the island.  Those officials, and specifically San Juan's mayor have been very vocal about how badly the island needs help and that nothing is being done. 

Instead of sending help, Trump said "They should be depending on themselves rather than looking for outsiders to rescue them."  How exactly does he figure they could ever do that?  Immediately following that insult Trump tweeted that before reconstruction could happen "something would have to be figured out concerning the islands financial debts."

That comment is the key to understanding his reaction on Puerto Rico; because he owns a golf course on the island which went bankrupt (what a shocker!) and he blames local government officials instead of his own abysmal financial skills.  Same exact motivation as with the NFL fiasco. 

 Trump's visit to Puerto Rico was a surreal and bizarre affair in which he compared hurricane Maria to Katrina, which he called "a real catastrophe" because it killed thousands compared to the death toll of  35 on the island.  Trump's one man victory lap press conference included thanking an air force officer for the great job done by the coast guard, and concluded with him chiding Puerto Rico for costing so much money.  Before leaving trump staged a photo-op of the self-congratulator-in-chief tossing paper towels to those eagerly awaiting water, as if they were playing basketball.  How about the part where Trump dumped his golf club bankruptcy debt onto Puerto Rico? (another shocker!) helping to crash an already indebted economy.  Trump actually told hurricane victims "Have a good time" as he left his press conference.  He departed the island over an hour ahead of schedule.

Let's take a moment here to revisit Trump's penchant for bold face lies, specifically around his obsession with repealing ObamaCare.  As the last and most recent attempt was dying on the senate floor, Trump was cornered by a gaggle of legitimate news reporters.  One had asked Trump if the repeal would win this time and he said. "We have the votes to win but one senator is in the hospital & cannot vote...I can't just drag him out of the hospital to cast his vote."  He didn't just say this, he said it at least three times in a row when asked to name the hospitalized senator.  He couldn't give a name because there never was any senator in any hospital.

Here's the thing: either he just makes up lies to avoid the truth, or he is demented and actually believes the lies he spews.  Either way, doesn't that disqualify him from serving as our president, at least theoretically?  If it doesn't it should, but don't hold your breath waiting for reform.  It is an embarrassing indictment of the American media when not a single interviewer will press Trump about his constant obsessive lying.  Every single time he dares to show his face people should be loudly demanding an end to the lying and an end to his term in office.  By this time it just seems self evident.

Is Donald Trump so delusional or mentally ill that he would risk a nuclear war with North Korea just to divert attention from his treasonous collusion with Russia to get elected?  I don't have sufficient data to make that guess, and truth be told I prefer not to find out.  So far in his exchange of insults & threats with Kim Jong Un; Trump is behind on points because "Rocket Man" is using game theory to rope-a-dope him with asymmetrical escalation.  Meanwhile back in the hermit kingdom, nobody really knows just how bat-shit crazy Un is either; but the experts I've seen talk about it say that if Un ever believes that we are about to strike first, he WILL launch his missiles.  Welcome back to the '60's.

My guess is that I'm far from alone in not wanting to see any nukes exploding anywhere. I am also among those who wish to see a stop to the indiscriminate murdering of black citizens by police who then get off Scott free.  I also count myself among those who oppose the white supremacist movement.  They have the same right to free speech as me or you, but what they don't have is a license to kill, and Trump gives them that with every new "rally" he holds.  Trump claims the rallies are because he has already begun his re-election campaign but the ugly truth is he uses them to poke the bear, rouse the rabble & the intolerant haters hiding behind the word heritage like they knew it's meaning.

I was watching the Seahawks game Sunday night when I got invited to dinner with some friends, so I recorded the last part of the game to watch later.  After dinner I settled in with my NFL on DVR to see the end of the game.  As the Seahawks were spanking the colts badly I opted to not watch the last ten minutes or so of the game.  When the recording stopped the cable box returns to the last channel tuned in, which happened to be MSNBC...I immediately heard the machine gun fire as the images of the Las Vegas sniper massacre filled the screen.  I was just numb with disbelief at what I saw unfolding, yet again.

Once more we must endure the same cycle of senseless death as the media sucks every newsworthy minute out of the nightmare.  I was especially affected by this as I have a friend who lives in Las Vegas.  He's a professional chauffeur who drives high rollers up & down the Vegas strip in his town car limousine.  He would have been working the concert that night.  I haven't been able to reach him yet so I don't know if he's OK or what.

Of course when one of these terror attacks happens one of the early thoughts is about false flag events.  An attack like Las Vegas could (and will) be used to push for even more gun laws and even outright prohibition.  Yet every gun found was legally purchased and owned by the sniper.  That is because the gun lobby has the rules and laws governing guns, ammo and accessories so convoluted and confusing that even the experts often are unsure what's legal & what ain't.  It isn't about the 2nd amendment, it's about profit.  Simple as that!

Was this a false flag? maybe, maybe not.  I'm just saying it's an odd shooter profile.  A Vegas high roller, with a pilots license and his own plane who just wired a hundred grand to his sweetie in the Philippines??  Very odd profile indeed.

It is altogether likely that we'll never learn why this individual did this: was he trying to send a message, and if so, what?  Was he thinning the herd at the route 91 Harvest festival?

Keep in mind this is happening as there is legislation pending to legalize silencers!!  I actually heard one talking head say "Silencers should be legal because then the people getting shot to death wouldn't be terrified by all the loud shots."  Donald Trump Jr. even did a video promo for a company that makes silencers.  Like I said, surreal & bizarre.

I'm just waiting for Trump to apply his Puerto Rico logic to the victims in Las Vegas; should they fend for themselves instead of waiting for outside help?  Should they treat their own wounds, and go hunt down the sniper unarmed?  Unbefuckinglievable!

I have to believe that the majority of good, decent Americans must be getting tired of all the hate, bloodshed, & Trump bullshit; and never wanted any of it to begin with.  Like I said, I didn't see it at first thru all the chaos, but now I do see just how Trump is uniting America.  With each new dawning day more Americans are fed up enough to act, to push back against this abomination of a fascist regime. 

With each new day that dawns, more Americans awake resolved to do something to prevent more damage instead of just hoping no more happens.  More folks are jumping off the Trump train every day as they finally see him for the insane clown president he is.  Every day is a day closer to impeachment, but until that glorious day dawns; Trump will continue unifying America; one disgusted citizen at a time.

Just say "NO"- and then speak truth to power.

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