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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Loose Ends

You have to get buzzed in. This is not so much for security as it is to keep the memory care residents from slipping out. In the case of my mother flight was not a concern. Once fairly athletic she was now barely ambulatory, and mentally, more of her had already vanished than was present. Still, enough consciousness remained to converse, sort of, and to allow her to think to ask me what all the fuss was about.

I had to dig, and of course she didn’t understand agitation needed a source. Perhaps it was just in the air. I wondered, was her distress from a person living in the facility, something she was thinking?  She couldn’t say. Through a roulette wheel approach I hit upon the idea that the television was involved. Somehow. And by further inquiry, sussed out it may have been the news which droned in the background that was the culprit. “Things are messed up, I offered.” Then out of the blue she blurts, “We’re Russian, aren’t we?”

Man, this was complicated. The more I tried to parse facts and think of a way to explain, the more this resembled a tangled fishing line that went from a cluster of knots, to some unravel-able cat-hair jumble. “Yes, mom we have Russian ancestry. But we’re Americans, have been for three generations.” She persisted, “So what’s the…what is the… she could not identify the concept of a disturbance..like the disquiet was a vague miasma floating head high, or one of those gelatinous fields seen from the Enterprise bridge, hovering and ominous.

Her dementia somehow seemed a suitable container for this extremely oblique situation we all find ourselves in. As if a kaleidoscope had exactly matched a pattern of broken glass played on a table. She continued to be clearly disturbed by something, and I didn’t know if peeling things back would help relax her. There was nothing to lose by turning the ring on the kaleidoscope and try to show her the crazy pattern. Sometimes she had a remarkable lucidity for events in her past. Random occurrences were major touchstones, both for her self-recognition, and as bridge to communicate.

“Mom, it’s like this. Do you remember the Rosenbergs?” “Did you play baseball with Todd?” “No. I did with his brother Paul, but they were the Rosenthals.” How she could pull that utter trivia from our remote past was mind boggling. She presently doesn’t know her own children, grandchildren, parents, or even her own name. “No, the Rosenberg’s were a Jewish couple from NY, when you were younger. They were convicted of spying for the Russians, and were executed for treason.”

“I don’t know. I think I may remember,” she said, not showing any signs memory.” “Electrocuted.” “Oh Yes.” A light flickered, a candle down to its last bit of wick. I didn’t add that Roy Cohn, who was Joe McCarthy’s henchman at the time and prime provocateur of the Red Scare, was Trump’s mentor. And he also was the one who finagled the appointment of the judge who ordered the execution. I also didn’t mention, as a result of the recent election, the future of US sovereignty was in grave peril. I also left out that the alarm was being sounded at this late hour by no less an agency than the CIA. Itself no stranger to electoral meddling, and regime influence.

“So, Mom, it appears Donald Trump…,” At this she flashed recognition, and no wonder she did. As a lifelong New Yorker, Trump’s smarmy antics were pervasive, going back to the seventies. She did not know him from the campaign, nor his stint on The Apprentice. Her lens was the Trump of golf courses, despoiling neighborhoods, beauty pageants, benders. This apotheosis of gaudiness was about to become President of the United States, evidently a tool of our arch adversaries.

Of course I knew she wasn’t able to following this little mosaic…but she could recall that the Rosenberg’s were zapped until smoke came out of their heads for allegedly passing secrets to the Russians. Now by way of subterfuge and deflection we have a newly elected President, aided and abetted by the Russians, long standing foe of the same CIA whose raison d’être was to follow and thwart Russian advances. Yet, unsurprisingly, this President Elect blithely denies all collusion, which also includes complicity by ranking members of Congress.  It’s being played not as a constitutional crisis, more like a blemish on a front-nine green that doesn’t effect the roll of the putt so much, but didn’t look good for the cameras.

Could I impart any information to either clarify or illuminate this situation? Explaining anything to her was out of the question. But I was able to, as they say in the trade, redirect her, by imparting this last little doozy which pretty firmly shut the door on whether or not she wanted to know anything further about this turn of events. I said, “You remember the Nazis, right? The Holocaust? Well, the country of Germany is now a holdout of tolerant and progressive Democracy, while here in the good old USA those Nazis reincarnated are among our future president’s most animated supporters.

Her eyes glazed a bit….She seemed to struggle to comprehend, then let it go. I’m going leave off now…The shagginess of this shaggy dog story still unfolds. Only in Dementialand does it make sense that the Educational Secretary is a Creationist, the Labor Secretary runs a Fast Food Empire, the EPA head denies Climate Change, the Interior Secretary wants to drill on Preserved Lands. My mother withers in  her crib, her strength and élan fading by the day. The world twists in the wind.

Although many lives were ruined and lost, the Rosenbergs were the only people executed by the US during the Cold War, for conspiring to help the Russians. In light of the moment, of whom do we ask why?  They were convicted and sentenced to death under Section 2 of the Espionage Act of 1917, which prohibits transmitting or attempting to transmit to a foreign government information "relating to the national defense".

I guess being inexplicably and irredeemably cast into a dense cloud, unable to discern dream from reality may be a kind of mercy. For some more than others. Go figure.


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My fog

Fascinating conversations. I've had similar moments with people in similar circumstances. It's a strange space to be in, with past and present coming and going.


I'm still waiting for some evidence of Russian interference. I've heard lots of conjecture, but the things should be easy to prove. I can look at our server logs and see what countries visit. The CIA has X-Keyscore, and can do any number of things to be certain. But no one has presented anything. Just allegations.

Assuming it is true that they hacked the DNC and Podesta to influence the election, that demonstrates absolutely nothing about Trump. They would have had to have hatched their plan a year ago, when no one knew who was going to be the candidate for the GOP. Then they would have had to hack the DNC and Pedestal, then give it to wikileaks in time for it to be checked out and published.

That would indicate that (if they did this) they didn't know/care who the GOP candidate would be, just that they wanted to stop Clinton, the very likely Dem candidate. Perhaps as retaliation for her messing with Russia during her tenure at the State Dept?

Under that scenario - same facts but different conclusion - it's not that any Russians wanted Trump but that they didn't want Clinton. That makes more sense to me, but I still have yet to see any proof. It's far more likely that someone in the DNC just copied stuff.

I think it is important to remember what is being alleged, too. No hacking of voting machines. No altering of totals. No buying of votes. The crime is taking personal emails, some embarrassing, from Democrats and revealing them for people to consider or not.

Did these emails from the DNC sway any voters? Maybe. Probably not. It was an election between two much-disliked candidates, with supporters pretty well entrenched.

If anything swayed people at the last moment, it was more likely Comey and the CIA announcing a new inquiry, then saying there was nothing, the week prior.

Is the CIA crying "Russia!" to deflect from their own influencing of the outcome? Note, too, the FBI says there isn't evidence.

Plus, if Trump colluded with Putin, he'd be bragging about it, wouldn't he?

The Russia-wanted-Trump story doesn't add up for me, at least not now.


Anybody but Clinton

"it's not that any Russians wanted Trump but that they didn't want Clinton. That makes more sense to me"

Makes more sense to me as well.


Great essay

This is brilliant: ‘apotheosis of gaudiness”. I’m still chuckling.

And this brings me back to somber reality:
"Only in Dementialand does it make sense that the Educational Secretary is a Creationist, the Labor Secretary runs a Fast Food Empire, the EPA head denies Climate Change, the Interior Secretary wants to drill on Preserved Lands."

There’s a rocky road ahead, folks.

On a darker note, the reference to the Rosenbergs evokes memories. I was only a little kid at the time and didn’t understand what was going on. I do remember the McCarthy hearings: “are you now, or were you ever, a member of the Communist Party?”
To a “BIC” (Bronx Irish Catholic), McCarthy was considered a hero. “One of us”. He could do no wrong. However, even then, I felt there was something smarmy about Roy Cohn. “Trump’s Mentor?” Hmmm.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had two sons, Michael and Robert who were subsequently adopted by Abel Meeropol, a songwriter and composer, and who took his surname as their own. (Meeropol was the author of "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism, made famous by Billie Holiday)

The Meeropol brothers, along with their children are leading a movement to exonerate and pardon Ethel, whom they claim was innocent. (There is evidence that Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass perjured himself to protect his wife).

The Rosenbergs died not for their crimes, but died because they were prime scapegoats of the Red Scare that was sweeping the country at that time.


Thanks, Spinoza

The Trump your mother recalls is the one I recall. The Trump who tore neighborhoods apart to get cheap land, then scam everyone involved, not carry thru on plans, and continue ripping people off to make himself richer.

The interactions I had with the one Alzheimer's victim I cared for were never so profound. It was more along the lines of, "Elvis is on television! They brought him back to life!" or "Jimmy stole 700 dollars from me. I know he did!" (Which had happened some 40 years before.)

This is one of the best pieces I've ever seen on iBratt. Thank you.


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