No doubt about it, 2020 was a rough year. It certainly wasn’t a good year, but was it necessarily a bad year? Perhaps, 2020 was like all years, it was a year. Pluck any year out of history and lay out the important major and minor universal or near-universal events and pick through them. Now, zoom in and identify events that impact particular classes of people, regions, and resources. Focus on your family and self. What happened to you personally in 2001, the year Al Qaeda attacked the United States, a horrible event which defines that year? Let’s say that…


Back in October, New York public health officials were concerned about rising COVID rates in Brooklyn, particular emanating from houses of worship, which had been holding mass gatherings with few pandemic precautions and lax mask wearing. Governor Cuomo responded by adopting tiered restrictions based on the infection rate in said communities. Specifically,

…the executive order and an initiative that it implements identify clusters of COVID-19 cases and then take action to prevent the virus from spreading. An area immediately around a cluster is known as a “red” zone, where attendance at worship services is limited to 10 people. The area…


Fernando Botero Poodle (1967)

Since the pandemic hit, Donald Trump’s callousness and ineptitude has brought about a man-made disaster. The United States has over 170,000 dead, the economy is failing, and every other problem we face seems to have gotten worse. The president’s popularity has sunk to levels enjoyed by “Sitting next to a guy on the bus, who just shit his pants” and “Getting hit just below the knees with a thick stick.” If the polls are predictors (they aren’t but…), Trump will lose the November election by a landslide. Trump knows this.

Trump also thinks that the popularity hit is unfair and…


The United States has a long history of political repression. That does not minimize what is going down right now, especially what is happening in Portland. No, what I want to convey is that what we are seeing is not out of the historic norm. In fact, this is what happens when we rise up, assert our rights, and demand more. The violent authoritarian response is in reaction to what the powers-that-be (or at least some of them) see as a threat. If we were not a threat, they would not react.

Know that the reaction is not limited to…


The past two months have seen a rise in doomsday what if’s regarding the 2020 general election. The scenarios each present, in an authoritative voice, a possibility that introduces a special thing and then dwells on that thing in length and detail, but without introducing probability or any suggestion that if the scenario happens, we can stop it. Thus, a could happen is sold to us as a will happen that we are helpless to prevent. All we can do is wait and see, and then live with the consequences.

Here are some common what if’s:

· What if Trump…


On July 3, 2020, President Donald Trump went to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and gave a speech. The event was billed as a national celebration of the country’s birthday; however, the speech Trump gave exposed the spectacle as a white supremacist-themed Trump re-election rally. After a series of Thank You’s and a run-through of 4th of July mythology, Trump got to the meat of the speech:

1776 represented the culmination of thousands of years of Western civilization and the triumph of not only spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.

There is a lot packed into that (likely) Stephen…


Ayed Arafeh & Michael Rakowitz Memorial for Tamir Rice and Abd al-Rahman Ubeidallah in Aida refugee camp playground, Palestine

This is a cautionary tale on “police reform.” Since 2015, police have shot and killed over 5,400 people, more than half of the dead are people of color. Most of these killings are reported only in local media, if at all. The high-profile cases — Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, and others — ride the national media for a time. The press results in promises of police reform. Police unions and cop-friendly politicians decry even the mildest of reforms as an attack on the police and an invitation to lawlessness. Brave cities require implicit bias…


Because the White House is handling this pandemic chaotically or not at all, because Trump’s primary method of communication is the lie, because the administration has a segment of the media eager to promote its propaganda, because there is another segment of the media which engages in false equivalency, because we get over-reporting on “protests” organized by right-wing operatives and attended mostly by conspiracy nuts and cosplay militia, because social media amplifies everything, because all of this and more leads to a hell of a lot of confusion and dread, it is vital to check into reality every once in…


“Blow up the bags of sham” — Jean Arp

Protest organizers and right-wing media portray this week’s anti-shelter-in-place protests as organic dissent led by ordinary people with no other agenda than pursuit of liberty, want of work, and blah blah blah. Yeah, right.

By now, mobs of people waving Trump/Pence signs, clad in MAGA gear, and using the same messaging (on “homemade” signs) should be a clue that there is nothing in these protests that is spontaneous or apolitical. They are well organized, coordinated, and originate from state Republican parties and affiliates.

Here’s a fun lockdown project to do with…


See Red Women’s Workshop Protest (1973)

So, its Saturday and I would not have known that had I not tuned into the TV news yesterday evening and learned it was Friday. A local talking head announced that the city was closing the parking lots to most of the beaches and trailheads, and had requested the Golden Gate Recreation Area be closed as well, all to keep weekend crowds from forming. “Weekend,” I wondered, “What’s a weekend?”

My — and, I assume, your — relationship with time is starting to shift. Sun, moon, day, night, light, dark mark time, not arbitrary numbers on a clock or…

Scott Soriano

Political & social commentary. Occasionally books & records. Check out http://sorianoscomment.com Free newsletter http://eepurl.com/dpVkiL

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