The Pandemic as Palliative

Our Lady of the Trump Virus for Thursday, July 9th: Betty Ford

One of the more unexpected consequences of COVID-19 has been the reaction to the George Floyd murder. There have been so many of these atrocities through the years why did this one finally provoke an effective response?

Someone said it was because it was the first to be caught on tape. I didn’t think that was right, there have been others. Like Charleston and Chicago. But they were on blurry, night vision body cams that could accommodate a variety of mis-interpretations

The Floyd murder was full frame brutality in broad daylight. And with nothing but time on our hands there’s been no excuse not to pay attention to it.

It was also a slap in the face of the sacrifices everyone was forced to make during the Stay in Place. Senses of community in recent years have been token emotional responses with short shelf lives. Like phony holiday well-wishes in the stores or euphoric hugs in the street after a Super Bowl victory.

What happened between March and May was an awareness that our actions had consequences both for ourselves and others. A bond based on conscientiousness formed.  Smiles were nice but it was more important to do the right thing.

Then, as if nothing had changed, the police swing back into action with the same old same old. Gassing and harassing. Provoking the populace so they can pound them into the pavement. What community do these mercenaries belong to?

Not mine. They drive in from the suburbs to collect hefty paychecks then express their resentments, their racism and their homophobia on the citizenry they’re supposedly protecting.

The fruits of today’s street actions may not be seen in our lifetimes. But sometimes you get lucky. This final score just in: Colin Kaepernick 49, NFL Owners 0.


Since the time is ripe, maybe we should go after some of the other behemoth frauds in our society. Like college sports. These are no student-athletes. They are indentured servants who make billions for their schools without a cent of compensation for themselves.

Or maybe an expose of the US Senate. How do these 90 year olds do it? Why are the positions so coveted and how do they amass such personal wealth as public servants? Congress seems to bail out Wall Street every ten years taking speculative risk out of the equation. The result is Senator Feinstein’s blind trust is seeing 2020… a bumper year

Then there’s the low hanging fruit, the free ride corporations are given and the scandalous way they behave. Corporate welfare dwarfs any inner city mom’s grift of collecting two social security checks at once.

I have several irons in the fire on this front including actions against Office Depot, Amazon, and ZipCar. This post focuses on the tale of Two Buck Chuck.

My checking is with Charles Schwab. Sounds lofty but it’s a holdover from the 401K days. That swamp was drained years ago. Rather than shop around for a new account with one of their sister sheisters, I kept the Schwab account open for limited banking needs.

Schwab’s banking is handled through their affiliation with Mellon New York Bank. There are no local branches, no grinning tellers to navigate, no free toaster ovens. You develop work arounds for basic services..

Like cash deposits. Buy a money order for $1, make it out to yourself, then deposit it via their mobile app. MO’s are as good as cash so funds are available the next morning. I’ve done this numerous times through the years.

In May, however, I received a notice a week afterwards stating the deposit had been reversed and I was being charged fees.  After speaking to several agents I was told that a stop payment had been placed on the money order. This made no sense. It’s always been in possession, I’m the only one who could place a stop.

I asked Western Union for clarification. After the customary 30 minute wait, their agent said the instrument had been cashed on the 12th, the day after the deposit. A stop had never been placed on it.

I called Schwab insisting on speaking to a supervisor. Ike in Indianapolis listened to the details then asked me to hold while he called. Ten minutes later he said he spoke to the Legal Team of Western Union’s Money Order Department. They suspected the fraud and they placed the stop.

I thanked Ike and asked if he had a back channel contact he could share. He got such a quick answer. He said no, just the regular 800 number I’d used.

I then spoke to Western Union  They said there is no such team or department. The MO was cashed, a stop had never been placed on it.

Schwab insists I prove they were paid the money. I’ve filed the Western Union forms with fees and waited six weeks. COVID-19, you know, Corporate America’s favorite new excuse for inaction.

Charles Schwab and Donald Trump are cut from the same cloth. They bully, obfuscate and mislead the little guy in hopes of wearing them down. Then they keep the money. Charles is so close to Trump and his nose is so far up the President’s behind, Benjamin Moore’s new shade of brown is Chucky Chip.

All I can do is wait. And dance. Put on the Isleys with me and let’s do this.

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