A Pandemic of Toxoplasma Gondi Parasite

Ed Raymond

Avoid Cat Poo—It’s The Black Plague Of Politics

I think I may have discovered why so many people voted for Donald Trump this spring. They probably have been attacked by Toxoplasma gondi spores, a protozoan parasite which is found in large numbers in cat poo. The spores are often transferred from vegetable gardens to food we eat, particularly in herbs, vegetables, and lettuce. Both tame and feral cats like to bury their poo in soft soils. Humans are very susceptible to these spores and may end up with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, very aggressive tendencies, and the potential for increased suicide. Road rage incidents in this country are way up, and if you are beginning to take chances at intersections and stop lights, you better get a blood test. Studies have shown that if you have a positive blood test for T. gondi, you are two or three times more likely to have a car crash. Experts predict that 30%-50% of the worldwide population may carry the parasite. There have been strange happenings in elections overseas, too.
Among many weird pronouncements, The Donald recently proclaimed he was very proud he had never changed a diaper.  He may have revealed he is a victim of T. gondi. Would an uninfected politician admit to such inexperience when 50% of the electorate are females who may bear defecating and urinating babies?
Remember when 107-year-old Virginia McLauren, a black lady from South Carolina danced with President Obama in the Oval Office, fulfilling a statement that she wanted to dance in the White House with the first black president? The dance video has been viewed almost 66 million times internationally. She has been invited to media interviews in New York and Los Angeles but she lost her government-issued photo ID years ago and had not replaced it. A new law requires that she have a government-issued ID to board an airplane to fly to those interviews. She can vote in D.C. without a photo ID but she can’t board a jet. The Department of Homeland Security demanded a birth certificate from South Carolina in order to give her a photo ID. Virginia was birthed by a midwife recorded in the family Bible. A birth certificate was never issued by South Carolina in her case. So here we have a world-famous person recognized by millions around the world, dancing with the most powerful person in the world in the presence of First Lady Michele, and we can’t figure out how to give her a legit photo ID? Any politicians involved with this fiasco may have the severest case of T. gondi known to mankind.  But maybe Virginia is just being discriminated against, like when the black female poet described the life she faced each day using the “mirror on the wall” myth: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the finest of them all?” The mirror replies: “Snow White, you black bitch, and don’t you forget it!”

More About Living In A Trump-Inspired World

The New Yorker magazine ran dozens of cartoons about how The Donald looks at life in all the fast lanes he travels in. God is in a pulpit in front of a huge wall, perhaps 50 feet high, made of “Biblical” stones that has a glorious sun peaking over it. He is bragging about his accomplishment to an angel: “The best part is that we got Hell to pay for it.” Another cartoon has a Biblical figure dressed like Abraham but with a Trump haircut, carrying two golden stones down a mountain trail. The caption: “I’ve got my own commandments, Little Yahweh.” An obvious reference to Senator Marco Rubio. My favorite is the cartoon showing The Donald taking the oath of office from the chief justice at his inauguration by the capitol: “And will to the best of my ability, which is terrific ability, by the way. Everyone agrees, I have fantastic ability. So there’s no problem with my ability, believe me….”  Enough said.
T. gondi spores seem to be everywhere, particularly in the medical community.  Baer Hanusz-Raijowski of Bayonne, New Jersey, cut his finger and decided to go to an emergency room and have a couple of stitches to close the wound. A nurse decided that stitches were not necessary. His emergency room bill came to $8,200. He also got a tetanus shot for an extra $180, some sterile supplies for an extra $242, and some bacterial ointment for an extra $8 to cover the cut. Heck, I remember when one of our daughters was charged $100 a stitch for closing a small two-stitch cut. I thought that was obsessive.
Drug companies have finally come up with a treatment for Hepatitis C, a dangerous liver disease. The brand name drug treatment for a cure in the United States costs $94,000. A generic drug, just as effective, can be purchased overseas for around $1,000, and drug authorities in those countries say it could be produced for as little as $200 in the future. Greed must also be one of the symptoms of a T. gondi infection.
A few of the world’s top hedge fund managers made $4.7 million per day in 2015, although some of them actually lost money for their investors. The top 25 hedge fund managers made nearly $13 billion in 2015, up 10% from 2014. The top two made $1.7 billion while the one in fifth came in at a paltry $1.15 billion. What do they spend it on? Many of them buy politicians so the money will keep rolling in. It’s a schizophrenic world for managers. Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates made $1.4 billion--even if his investors lost 7% of their money. The T. gondi spores must be running wild on Wall Street.

Shall We Sell The Faces On Mount Rushmore To Facebook?

There are 411 national parks, monuments, conservation areas, and hundreds of state parks in the United States, and Corky and I have been in most of them. We have motorhomed through every state except Delaware and every province except Unavut in Canada. Our list of park favorites is quite long because there is such a variety of scenic wonders in this country: Yosemite in California, Canyon De Chelly in Arizona, Zion in Utah, Yellowstone and the Tetons in Wyoming, South Padre Island in Texas, White Sands in New Mexico, Jasper in British Columbia, the fishing villages of Nova Scotia, and countless others. But our do-nothing Congress has failed to fund a $11 billion backlog of maintenance projects, so the parks will continue to deteriorate and lose visitors unless funding can be found. National Parks Director Jonathan Davis wants to expand rules about corporate donations so that business logos can be prominently displayed and businesses can design and build park buildings and operate them for profit. Opponents call this “creeping commercialization.”  Director Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a lobbying group working to preserve the parks, rejects the idea of depending upon private corporations to maintain the parks: “You could use Old Faithful to pitch Viagra, or the Lincoln Memorial to plug hemorrhoid cream. Or Victoria’s Secret to plug the Statue of Liberty.” Do we really want signs up on every hiking trail and every impressive vista advertising Coke, Pepsi, Coors, Preparation H, Cenex gas, Viagra, and the couple holding hands in separate bathtubs at Hot Springs? Should we sell naming rights to Mount Rushmore to a cosmetic company that treats pimples? Sequoia National Park to Pfizer’s Viagra? A thirsty Death Valley National Park to Budweiser? Yosemite Half-Dome to a hair restorer company? OK, OK… But we have to be careful.
Last year Jarvis allowed booze companies to sponsor programs in the national parks with the aim of attracting millennials, so he signed a $2.5 million deal with Budweiser, allowing it to sell beer packaged with Statue of Liberty images during summer music programs in the parks. Sounds like the beginning of a real classy fund-raising program! It’s time Congress actually funded the national park system.

My Favorite Cynic: “No One In This World…Has Ever Lost Money By Underestimating The Intelligence Of The Great masses Of The Plain People”

The American columnist H.L. Mencken had a way with words when it came to voters and politics. His theory of democracy is illuminating: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Unless Bernie can pull it off somehow, it looks like The Donald vs. Hillary in November. I have no idea who will get it good and hard in this presidential election. A celebrity know-nothing against the “crooked” witch! The choice of the century. Let’s look at some of the common people who will be voting. George Zimmerman, the acquitted killer of the black kid in “Stand Your Ground” Florida named Trayvon Martin, did not lose his vote forever in Florida because he was certified as not a criminal felon. George is now emphasizing his consuming interest in American history by auctioning off his Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm firearm which he used to kill Trayvon.  The starting price is $5,000 (A $65 million bid may be bogus!) and the bidding started May 12 on GunBroker.com. During an interview on a Fox station, Zimmerman said: “It’s your opportunity to own a piece of American history. It’s time to move past the firearm, and if I sell it and it sells, I move past it. Offers to purchase the firearm have been received.”  Perhaps a psychological case study of the purchaser, and there will be one, would be fascinating. Who really wants to put that firearm in a case and put it on his wall? Will it be a Trump voter or a Hillary voter?  I think George will vote for The Donald.
Let’s look at West Virginia and Appalachia voters for a moment. West Virginia is one of the whitest states in the country and the whitest in the South. It’s a coal state, the least educated, and one of the poorest. One might think that the Democrats could make a little headway against the Republican juggernaut in Appalachia which covers much of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. But race, religion, coal, and anxiety will probably drive a lot of voters to Trump. In 2012 the half-black Obama won fewer than 30 of Appalachia’s 420 counties. That’s a pretty good harbinger for 2016.

Has Our System Failed?

Princeton philosopher Richard Rorty in 1997 wrote an article about how older industrialized democracies would fail. It fits our political situation today when Trump won the Republican primaries. The established political parties have failed to govern, so the electorate will look for a “strongman” to pull their obesity out of the fire. Rorty, who died five years ago, wrote about the failure of democracy in a European country 20 years ago,  but his words cover our present situation: “Members of labor unions and unorganized unskilled workers will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. At that point something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond (hedge fund) salesman, and university professors will no longer be calling the shots….”
(When Trump won the Nevada primary, he said, “I love the poorly educated.”) So Donald Trump has become our strongman, and coupled with the decline of unions, the middle-class, and declining wages, with our racial bigotry, gun culture, and our religious beliefs and nonbeliefs, The Donald has a better than 50% chance to become the next president of the United States---at this point in the campaign.