Friday, November 30, 2018

Open Letter to the Jehovah's Witless




November 30, 2018
Dennis:

I believe this belongs to you. It was dropped in my mailbox with all the careless forethought that a dog gives when it randomly deposits a turd on a stranger’s lawn.
Try, if you can, although I doubt your powers of empathy are that all-inclusive, how I now feel at having my mailbox and home invaded by an odious rump cult that commands people, through various Kingdoms, to do its bidding when I had neither recognized nor encouraged in the slightest said odious, rump cult.
Indeed, when one but casually observes the world’s major religions, one never sees the Jews fanning out throughout neighborhoods and waylaying people, often on weekends when they’re trying to sleep in, with the breathtakingly audacious intent of proselytization. Neither do you see Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans or even the equally odious, pedophile-enabling Roman Catholic Church attempt to impose their religious beliefs on others. One such missionary recently lost his life trying to convert a prehistoric tribe in Brazil.
Imagine, therefore, getting a piece of propaganda in the mail from a Satanic cult. They send you a pamphlet extolling the virtues of blood-letting in their supposed rituals and other sanguine aspects that you Jehovah’s Witless cultists find abhorrent. Imagine getting something from the Red Cross imploring you to give blood the next time one of their bloodmobiles is in Northborough. Well, that is how we atheists and other people who’ve already spent enough time on this earth to firmly make up our minds regarding to which religion, if any, we will devote our lives regard such intrusions. And this brings me back to my first point.
It is hateful Protestant denominations such as yours that aren’t even the usual but the sole suspects in your bottomlessly creepy campaign to dominate the world with your cult. Only so-called Christians of the various Protestant denominations have the gall to try imposing their razor-narrow world view on others. Whether it be you people, the Goddamned Mormons or any of an ever fragmenting Protestant base, you all seek to do one thing- Control peoples’ lives and to weed out, shun, shame and exclude all those who reside beyond your comfort zones.
That includes the LGBT community, women who exert control over their own bodies, those placing their trust in science and not fairy tales or others who commit the unpardonable sin of living their lives in supposed violation of your right wing, paternalistic dogma. In other words, people who have the intelligence, healthy skepticism and presence of mind necessary to question or to outright reject the very orthodoxy to which you’re brazenly trying to convert people.
Again, the Catholics, even though I’d rightly shunned them since childhood, do not proselytize door to door and they have over a billion faithful. The Hindus have at least a billion and a half faithful and they do not proselytize door to door. There are upwards of two billion Buddhists and they do not proselytize door to door. There are upwards of a billion Muslims and they do not proselytize door to door. There are hundreds of thousands of Jews and they do not proselytize door to door.
Only you Protestant, cultist assclowns who think they have better ideas of how people should live their lives and what morality (yours) by which they should abide are audacious and arrogant enough to knock on peoples’ doors early in the morning before they’d had their coffee in the interests of changing their worldview and those on the afterlife. Even the Universalist Unitarians, a refreshingly secular denomination, do not proselytize door to door.
So in the future, do not knock on mine (how you got my street address is creepy enough but please lose it- Immediately) or mail me more propaganda. Otherwise if you do, it will be a bloody good show for the internet and I know how averse you are to blood-letting.

Gotham City Digest, 11/30/18

(In which we promise to never promise you Nazis in Argentina.)

     Here's the money shot: "Trump is staying for only 48 hours because he prefers his own bed and likes to keep his routines, according to The Associated Press." Oh and the Trump crybaby blimp followed him to Buenos Aires. If Trump gains any more weight, we'll no longer be able to distinguish between the two.

     If I'd taken part in this discussion, I would've asked a very good question: "If we can't win any wars, then why are we spending over three quarters of a trillion dollars every year on national defense?"
      Of course, that's a rhetorical question because we already know what the real answer is- Corruption at the highest levels of government in the pay of the MIC.

     So now, the government is warning federal employees to not mention the words "resist" and "impeachment." Fuck the Hatch Act. You ever heard of the First Amendment, assholes?

     Who says the Trump administration's regurgitating talking points when Sarah Sanders is  regurgitating talking points from Russian state TV?

     How ironic is it that the Mystery Writers of America didn't have a clue about Linda Fairstein's deplorable past as the lead prosecutor in the notorious Central Park Five case before making her a Grandmaster?

      Overheard at the G20:
      MBS: "Vlad! Good to see you! Who did you turn into a rotting corpse this week?"
      Putin: "Oh, just a journalist or two. You?"
      MBS: "Oh, same."
      Trump: "He's touching the man I love..."

     The headline: "Teens are now getting drunk on boiled tampon juice." Ladies and gentlemen, our nation's future.

     Poor woman. Seven and a half billion people in the world and Trump is the person she resembles.

     Another reason to love NIN. And Trent Reznor fucked Ted Cruz like an animal.

     So, lemme get this straight- In the eyes of Uncle Sam, rape isn't rape and is, instead, consensual, based on the contractual status of the contractor and whether or not they're in a prison. And under certain conditions, forced sex is actually consensual? If for no other reason, this makes the United States the asshole of the world.

     Of course he shot himself in the groin in the meat department. Where else could it possibly have happened?

     Because nothing says "clean air" like the president walking in front of a bunch of smokestacks vomiting carcinogens.

     Trump thinks he can make inconvenient facts go away simply by ignoring them.
     Ironically, his favorite MSM foil, @CNN, thinks they can do the same by firing Marc Lamont Hill for uttering the fact that Israel violates international law in its genocidal campaign against Palestine.

     Tim Scott, the Senate's only black Republican just said he's voting no on Farr, essentially killing his vote on the floor. Expect Trump to tweet rage with screengrabs from MISSISSIPPI BURNING.

     Breaking: White House is completely staffed with oblivious mouth breathers.

     Yesterday, Pam Geller wannbe Laura Loomer actually wore a Star of David on her coat while handcuffing herself to Twitter HQ's doors. Because being shadowbanned on a social media platform is exactly the same as being kidnapped, robbed, gassed to death with Zyklon B & being incinerated in a gas oven at Auschwitz. I imagine even Alex Jones was laughing at her.
     Two hours later, she surrendered and had to ask the NYPD to use bolt cutters to free her.
     Remind me who the snowflakes are, again?

     While Trump's flailing around blaming and threatening GM for laying off nearly 15,000 workers, Senator Sherrod Brown informs us when he'd spoken with Trump over the phone, he didn't know the tax scam bill he signed into law gives corporations an incentive to offshore American jobs. Again, for clarity's sake- Our nation is being run by an evolutionary dropout.

     Well, well, well, look who else's office Uncle Sam raided yesterday right after Cohen's guilty plea- The guy who handled the Trump Organization's taxes for 12 years. They even papered over the windows.

     So, this is what happened Wednesday night:
     Trump attended the Tree Lighting Ceremony for the National Christmas Tree. Trump looked at his phone, then performed an abrupt vanishing act. He even ditched the protective press pool, which is supposed to be embedded with the president so they can record his movements for history.
     The next day, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty for lying about Russian contacts.

     Yes, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty yesterday... again. But this guilty plea was even more explosive than the first. Yesterday, Cohen admitted he'd lied to Congress about Trump's attempts, through him, to contact Russian officials about the Trump Tower he'd wanted to build in Moscow since the Miss Universe Pageant there in 2013. Obviously, we were never told about this until long after the primaries. And a couple of hours later, Trump told CBS, "I was running my business while campaigning. There was a good chance that I wouldn't have won, in which case I would gotten back into business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?"
     Boy, for a witch hunt and a hoax, Mueller sure is racking up the guilty pleas and convictions, isn't he?

     Last summer, Rachel Maddow actually cried over the family separations at the border. Now, Nicolle Wallace can't stop laughing at Trump's clusterfuck of an interview. Yes, one way or the other, our mainstream media is reduced to tears by Trump.

     How do you lose $55,000,000 in a year? Well, the NRA found a way, explaining why they shut off the free coffee and water at the HQ. Maybe they should hire more Russian spies to funnel more rubles in.

     So, Margaret Atwood's writing a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. This is going to be interesting. I can't imagine where she got the inspiration for it.

     This is what we have to resort to- Countering the fake news with the real news during the increasingly rare press conference. MSNBC totally ignored Sanders' first presser in over a month. And finally...

     In your guts, you know he's nuts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cruel to be Cruel

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
"You know, we always cling to the hope something is going to happen. They're not going to let us rot on the ocean. I mean, something had to happen to us. Of course, the fear was that we would go back to Germany." - Gerda Blachmann Wilchfort, passenger on the St. Louis and Holocaust survivor
"We haven’t really learnt anything.” -Eva Schloss, Anne Frank's step sister, January 2016
It's generally agreed upon that the final judge of what is moral or immoral are those who have the privilege to live long enough to view the history through which they'd lived or that had transpired before their time. Saying "So and so was on the wrong side of history" is the ultimate finger waggle. Of course, that admonishment only works as long as history, so we're led to believe, continues to bend in the arc of justice and humanity. Yet those of us who study history and the history of history itself are very well aware of the old adage that those who win the wars get to write history. Or, in these Orwellian times, who gets to unwrite it.
     There are very few of us alive today who remember a fateful May in 1939 when the MS St. Louis, a steamer ship from Hamburg, tried to reach port in Havana, Cuba and, later, Miami, Florida. So those of us who care to relearn the history that Harry Truman says we've forgotten can be forgiven for not knowing about the St. Louis and its almost exclusively Jewish 937 passengers. Cuba eventually took just 29 of them.
     Over three years before wouldbe Gestapo spy Herbert Karl Friedrich Bahr was snared by US authorities and made the poster child for why we should not allow Jewish refugees from Europe by that same government, nativist types, antisemites and ordinary Americans panicked about the sanctity of our once impregnable shores and their jobs, the St. Louis was denied entry in first Cuba and then the United States.
     At that pivotal time in world history, the St. Louis ran into a perfect storm of anti-immigrant, anti-Communist (including, ironically, some far right wing Cubans who would eventually see Castro in the warm embrace of the Soviet Union) and antisemitic hysteria coming from the far right in both countries. Add to the mix Hitler's impending invasion of Poland and the anticipation of thousands of Polish refugees, political corruption on the part of a Cuban official, Roosevelt seeking a third term and the unrest of American voters regarding national security and job availability. Add further to the mix an absurdly low quota of 27,000 that was set in late 1938 for Germans and Austrians seeking asylum. It was obvious to some those poor passengers never had a chance.
     The history we've forgotten or had allowed to die with our ancestors would go on to tell us that over a quarter of those displaced souls would later die in the Holocaust when most of the European countries that had eventually taken them in were invaded by the Nazis and were rounded up and sent to the death camps. Of the 254 who were murdered, 84 had been in Belgium; 84 had found refuge in Holland, and 86 who had been admitted to France. Only the ones admitted by the UK escaped unscathed (save for one who was killed in an air raid the following year). But I'll get back to that in a few minutes.
     The other thing about history is that it likes to repeat itself or, more accurately, humans persist in dooming themselves to repeat it because, as George Santayana reminds me, we never seem capable of heeding its lessons (Perhaps the reason why history feels the need to repeat itself as a teacher would a classroom full of dull pupils). Which brings me to Donald John Trump, heir-apparent to the presidency and the new de facto leader of the American Nazi Party.

Leave Those Kids Alone
Since about WWI, every human rights emergency and virtually every event of historical significance has had an iconic photograph attached to it. We do this to give these crises human faces to make them more fully real. And a well-timed photograph sometimes achieves an iconic status all its own because of its very impeccable timing, its ability to sum up the particular evil of a human rights violation in a single static image. And if the caravan coming up from Central America had one, this would get my vote.
     Around Thanksgiving weekend, US Customs and Border Patrol repelled with tear gas canisters hundreds of migrants fleeing their own persecution from their native countries and the USCBP didn't seem to discriminate between men, women and small children. Donald Trump assures us that they used a "minor form of tear gas" (which the Border Commissioner denied, saying there is only one type of tear gas in their equipment arsenal). Fast-rising consignment shop Eva Braun-wannabe Tomi Lahren said watching the migrants getting hit with tear gas was the highlight of her Thanksgiving weekend. (Read this article in The Atlantic about the seduction of shared cruelty among the right wing.)
     The temptation to link the passengers of the St. Louis with the migrants is irresistible for several reasons. One, they're fleeing their homelands and the persecution and very real possibility of death, mainly from genocidal factions (including, in Honduras, right wing paramilitary death squads created by us during the Reagan years).
     And, as with the St. Louis passengers, they're being repelled at a southern border. However, not to make light of the plight suffered by those on the St. Louis, they were at least documented by ship passenger manifests, which is how we know to this day exactly how many were on board, how many were accepted into what countries and how many eventually died in the Holocaust. Plus, no one fired tear gas at the ship and its passengers (being stopped well short of the shore and surrounded by Coast Guard ships, they would've been out of range, anyway). And the Central American migrants are among the most undocumented of the undocumented. We will never know almost any of their names because they are on foot and are on no passenger manifest.
     And we will, consequently, have no record of how many of those in the caravan, much less their names, will walk into their own executions in their native countries.
     On January 27th last year, exactly one week after his puny inauguration, while the rest of the world was solemnly commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, Trump decided, with the toweringingly hideous timing of which only he is uniquely capable, to unroll his plans to stop Muslim refugees from entering the US. It was the Cheney 1% Doctrine on steroids- If a small handful of Muslim extremists were terrorists, we must treat them all like terrorists. It didn't matter to Trump that many of them were Syrian refugees that were the victims of a proxy civil war fought between us and Russia.
     Among the Dutch refugee Jews that were killed in the Holocaust were Anne Frank, her sister and mother. And when you see our own government repelling migrants fleeing their own persecution (and using the Israeli defense of protecting themselves against rock throwers) only to meet our noxious brand of persecuting the refugees, one has to wonder if Central America brought with it its own Anne Frank or Albert Einstein.
     Will history judge Trump to be on the wrong side of it or will the human race, again, rewrite history to save the legacy of a noxious, Hitlerian racist and nativist like Donald Trump?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Gotham City Digest, post-Thanksgiving Day edition

In which we vow to never impregnate the world with our bastard offspring while wearing garters.

     "You can't go to the hospital, you can't go to school, you can't go to church, you can't go to the grocery store. You cannot go anywhere... You never know when you walk into a place if you'll come out alive.” -Witness to the Mercy Hospital Shooting

     Let's play "Spot the Difference."
     That's called "fairness and balance."

     Anti-bird spikes on trees?! And these 1% asswipes wonder why they're so loathed and reviled. You're rich. Park your fucking Bentleys in your four car garages if you don't want birds shitting on them.

     No ties to Saudi Arabia, eh? This old article about Trump's life-saving ties to, yes, Saudi Arabia answers a lot of questions.

     This is what happens when you don't regulate corporations, starting with enforcing the anti trust laws. They're allowed to amass billions to fight legal battles, get off with a slap on the wrist, if that, and spread dangerous lies that get psychopaths elected president. And Facebook is certainly no exception.

     It's very telling that the zombies on The Walking Dead are evolving much more quickly than Trump supporters.

     More brilliant insight from another right wing dingleberry with a Twitter account. Because California never had forest fires before Election Day.

     No place is safe. Not even a hospital, not even if you're a good guy with a gun.

     When was Matthew Whitaker's appointment as Acting AG ever strong? This guy's the Kingpin.

     And just as Whitaker was installed in the AG's office to protect Trump, Pompeo was basically installed at Foggy Bottom to shield our corrupt allies from any blame. Like murder, for instance.

     What's there not to like about an entity whose corporate HQ lists its address as "1 Hacker Way"?

     Florida Man, the world's worst superhero.

     Fox "News" barnacle David Assman is having projectile defecations about the caravan, which everyone else in the GOP conveniently forgot after Election Day. The only dangerous thing at the border are the 5900 bored troops we have stationed near a Whataburger.

     Apparently, the patriarchy got the sads they didn't get a Google doodle on International Men's Day.

     Tweet o' the day.

     Lock her up. Might I suggest Carswell? That's the only federal maximum security women's prison in the nation.

     Walmart, one of the world's most evil corporations, has withdrawn their support for Cindy Hyde-Smith's campaign. Google hasn't. Let that sink in for a minute.

     Of course, Mrs. Hyde's campaign says liberals "are reaching." Sure they are. They're reaching for racist statements by this KKK bitch and easily finding them.

     I seriously hope Mike Espy kicks her racist, narrow white ass back to Podunk, Mississippi or wherever the fuck she hails from. What the hell's the sense in having a political debate if the press is not allowed to televise it and if the people can't hear what they say?

     Shorter Trump: "Fuck the CIA. The killers denied it, I believe it, that settles it! MAGA!"

     Billionaire oligarch says troops at the southern border don't need to spend Thanksgiving with their families because "they're tough people" just before jetting off to billion-dollar country club to spend Thanksgiving with family. This psychopath needs to go. Now. #HurryupMueller

     Get this pederast predator off the streets, out of schools and in prison where he fucking belongs. Please share this. This man has an extensive track record of abuse.

     I'm surprised Orange Julius Caesar didn't brag about getting bin Laden first since, you know, it rarely rains in Afghanistan.

     Finally, he gets it.

     Headline: "Donald Trump is an accessory to Jamal Khashoggi's murder." Not only that, Trump is the moaning, sobbing bitch for every dictator on the planet earth. And other dictators are keen to notice that, according to one of Khashoggi's Pulitzer prize-winning colleagues at the WaPo.

     Boy, does Mark Zuckerberg have a deal for you. Just 530 cows, three Land Cruisers and $10,000 in cash can buy you a little girl. Since when did Facebook become part of the Dark Web?

     On Facebook, I've actually unfriended some of my Brit followers for supporting to the bitter end that rancid clusterfuck known as Brexit. Now senior accomplices from her own party are denying their support to May and are openly calling for a new Brexit referendum. And if it comes to that, the usual billionaire douchebags who'd funded the first campaign will unpry billions more for propaganda. But the British people, to quote the Who, won't be fooled again. A second referendum will be Brexit's, and May's, figurative death knell.

     Report: Since 9/11, militants have multiplied. Heck of a job Bushie and Barry. No doubt, Trump will try to surpass them both since he's the best at everything.

     This is very cool and inspiring. A bunch of Somali immigrants forced Amazon to the negotiating table, which they refuse to call negotiations and instead rebrand it as a "community outreach." Which is bullshit. If this Amazon sweatshop didn't have 60% Somali workers who don't have a union and a town with a 3.5% unemployment rate, they would've fired them on the spot.

     As giving as I like to be, when I see the glorified beggars of the homophobic Salvation Army, I walk right past them. And this unofficial gag order they've placed on their employees just gives me another reason to put a gag order on my wallet.

     "I'm grateful for the difference I made", Trump tells military commanders. Yes, you read that right. Who did you expect Turkey Zero would be thankful for on Thanksgiving?

     And speaking of which, the transcript of this article reads like the recounting of a fever dream. There's just an extra dimension of otherworldliness in Trump of late that successfully eludes rational analysis. And perhaps that's the point.

     So, to recap, Trump's afraid of:
     Mueller.
     Visiting our troops in war zones.
     Releasing his tax returns.
     Drizzle.
     But he WILL run into a school during a mass shooting.

     Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany staged an Amazon walkout on Black Friday. Not the US. Of course.

     "Head of Russian spy agency accused of US election hack dies." Aka "tying up loose ends."

     I could be wrong but never in my lifetime have I ever heard a sitting president (sic) rebuke a Supreme Court Chief Justice. Never in my lifetime had I ever heard a Supreme Court Chief Justice rebuke a sitting president. This represents a serious fracture between the Executive and Judiciary branches.

     Hopefully, our nation's children will forget this horrible sight of two women expressing love for each other with a kiss when they go back to school on Monday to have their shooter drills and practicing taking on gunmen with sticks and stones. And finally...

     Roger Stone stooge Jerome Corsi is about to flip for Mueller's team. Another Festivus miracle!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

     The usual good Thanksgiving spread- Pork loin with cherry preserves, mashed potatoes, pork stuffing. pork gravy, spinach, butternut squash, olives, cranberry sauce and Charlene's Cheesy Potatoes. all washed down with a nice Riesling Spatlese. So, what did you have?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Dear Acquisitions Editor of Frankland"

     So, this is how it all started yesterday morning...
     It looked legitimate... if you were as stupid as a Trump voter or Dave Chadwick. Then I went on a little internet safari and found this from 2011 on the late AC Crispin's site warning us about this same too-good-to-be-true deal. It also comes with an update from this year showing the text of the new email sent out by these scammers which happens to be the same one I'd just received yesterday morning. So, safely informed that my suspicions were confirmed, this is what I wrote them back.
     

     Then I folded my arms, sat back and awaited the inevitable response. Then, as expected, it came. It was a carbon copy of the first one. So I sent them a second letter, wondering how long I could take this.

      Then, at 3:22 AM, this came:

     Then, 14 minutes later, it was followed up with this. Note my final response.

     I couldn't believe these fucking idiots were still writing to me after the emails I'd sent them written in Engrish and involving midget porn. I'd started believing at this point that no human beings were actually involved in writing these hilarious emails and that they were generated by bots. It was literally getting harder and harder to get outrageous enough to finally reach the tipping point when they realized I'm no more for real than them.
     Then I realized in a rush of horror these morons at Just Fiction, the newest iteration of the late, aptly-named DIP Publishing House were actually writing these emails at a keyboard and taking my emails seriously, including patiently reminding me about possible copyright infringements of my using Disney characters in my nonexistent book and informing me about their moral standards.
     Yeah, pal, preach to me about moral standards. This is coming from con artists who pay just once a year, sign the unwary up for lifetime contracts and pay just 10%, if that, for EBOOKS, which even the predatory Big Five can beat by 7.5%.
     So, to quote the name of a certain website, if you're a writer looking for a publisher, WRITER BEWARE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Gotham City Digest, 11/20/18

Where Osama bin Laden will never come back to life, as much as trump may wish it.

     All gave some. Some gave all. Trump gave nothing, not even his cherished "Executive Time."

     Yeah. This is probably how he answered Mueller's questions.
      "Had you or anyone in your 2016 campaign ever conspired or colluded with Russian nationals to sway the results of the election?"
      NO. FAIKE NEWES! SAD!
      "Had you or anyone in your campaign ever met with Russian nationals to obtain dirt on Secretary Clinton?"
      I HAV A BIGGER PLAIN THAN YOU. ITS CALLED AIRE FORCE ONE!

     This neonazi video game in which gay people are murdered to save Trump would be hilarious if it wasn't so potentially deadly.

     Heartbreaking end of watch ceremony for a police dog.

     Why isn't this no-talent pedophile in prison dodging shower rape every night?

     If this is true, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Cleveland must be really, REALLY desperate to even consider Condi Rice for the head coaching position.

     "We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt. We don’t coerce or compromise your independence. The United States deals openly, fairly. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road.” Mike Pence's famous last words.

     I can't believe this Stepford wife Liz Cheney got into Congress but then again, it IS Wyoming.

     Not the Beer Hall Putsch they were hoping for. These Proud Boys are like Mack Sennett's version of the Nazi Party.

     #Somuchwinning... for the 1%. Again, I do not feel one bit sorry for the fucking idiots who voted for this sociopath grifter.

     Mueller's already subpoenaed Trump. -Legal expert.

     Democrats made huge gains in the lower chamber, but not the ones who were owned by Wall Street. Chuck Schumer, you're next, buddy.

     I'm totally sure he meant to write "Schiff."

     When the news from Capitol Hill isn't good enough, just read comments from mouth breathers who bet on professional wrestling matches.

     And speaking of the right wing, pork rind-crunching crowd... "She doesn't dress well enough." "She dresses too well for a Socialist." Please, keep going after Ocasio-Cortez. The more you hit her, the stronger she gets.

     Finland doesn't have any forest fires because they rake?! If Trump was any stupider, he'd have a tag on his toe.

     I'm glad this dead-eyed scumbag and his flunky got arrested but for every one of these assholes, there's thousands more just like him. He'll get off with a slap on the wrist and a large fine. But making him Chairman and/or CEO of three large automakers, with little if any oversight, was a huge mistake.

      So, decorated hero, bad.
      Erik Prince, a gun runner and mass murderer, good.
      This is the moral compass of the United States, people. And anyone who voted for that psychopath two years ago is my sworn enemy. And finally...

     It's almost as if being a reality TV host, tax evader, draft dodger and rapist is poor preparation for being the leader of the free world.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Donald Trump: Lost in Paradise

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
Ironically, the Internet has a short memory. It's ironic because of the subject matter I'm about to discuss: The very likely prospect that Donald Trump has Alzheimer's.
     I was reminded today of how brief the Internet's collective memory goes when I tried to find an anecdote that I vividly remember from Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign against Bill Clinton. The anecdote, part of an article I'd read 22 years ago, was about how shamelessly Dole tried to get the endorsement of Ronald Reagan, then deep in the throes of his own dementia. Dole had pressed his book on Reagan, which was of course displayed front and center for the equally shameless photo op. Then Reagan said something startling- "I read your tree."
     The author of the article then paused excoriating Dole long enough to explain something about sufferers of Alzheimer's. He mentioned the associative leaps they at times make when trying and failing to find the word they're looking for. In President Reagan's mind, books were made of paper and paper comes from trees, two associative leaps, in order to describe the book that had been thrust into his hand for a cheap endorsement. What Ronald Reagan said about reading Dole's "tree" was actually typical of those with the dreaded disease.
     I give you Donald John Trump, lost in Paradise.
     Trump was finally convinced to go to the scene of the latest disaster to be mismanaged on his watch, which he avoids as strenuously as going to war zones hosting our troops. Everywhere he shows up in those places of woe, he invariably, every single time, manages to embarrass the victims he pretends to comfort and his hosts. As Bill Maher recently said in his season 16 finale of Real Time, it's as if every disaster Trump goes to, he's like, "How can I hurt?"
     Whether it be throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans and bragging about the invisible F-35 at emergency management meetings there, telling hungry hurricane victims to "have a good time" or telling a war widow on the phone that her dead and dismembered husband "knew what he signed up for," Donald Trump has proven more times than physicists can count that he is a sociopath who is psychologically as badly equipped for comfort as a predator spotting wounded prey.
     We all know Trump is a sociopath. There's no doubt about it. He gave us a clue as to how much of a sociopath he is in a Howard Stern radio interview he'd given a decade ago when a fellow billionaire was sitting next to him at a ball at Mar-a-Lago and had a medical emergency. He fell off the stage, hit his head and the old man was bleeding profusely. Trump told Stern his reaction was not to get the man some medical help because that's not what he's about but, "Oh my God, someone get him out of here. That's disgusting!", referring to the blood. (Think about similar comments he made about Mika Brzezinski and, less than two months into his campaign, Megyn Kelly.)
     What happened in Paradise,California over the weekend was extraordinary in more than just Trump forgoing his usual weekend golf outing in Mar-a-Lago for something vaguely presidential. These photo ops that always feature dour-faced Governors and Mayors and in which no one reasonably expects the president to do anything more constructive than to show a baseline of compassion and leadership, is generally considered one of the easiest parts of a president's job.
     Not that time. Not ever, in fact.

Watergate 2.0
It was almost exactly one year ago, November 15th, to be more precise, when Donald Trump had a very public losing battle with a water bottle. The mainstream media and amateur pundits alike made merry over that extremely awkward moment, calling it karma for daring on the campaign trail to mock Marco Rubio for having his own awkward moment with bottled water a few years earlier.

     Indeed, as Mike Warren (@MichaelRWarren) put it on Twitter back then, "This has really been a missed branding moment for Trump Water." But I was not among the ones who were laughing or mocking Trump for his own battle with the bottle. I saw something else in it that alarmed me much more than Trump having yet another WWE trash-talking moment during his own campaign. 
     If you go to Alzheimer.org's website, you'll see the 10 early warning signs of the onset of Alzheimer's disease and at least eight or nine of them apply to Trump. The usually reliable WebMD site lists 14 more signs, one of them being, "Mild coordination problems, such as trouble writing or using familiar objects."
     Such as a water bottle, for instance. Trump's own "Watergate" showed a noticeable lack of fine motor function, whereas Senator Rubio's own moment was just awkward timing and an inconvenient thirst while delivering a rebuttal under hot studio lights.
     Fast forward to this weekend. There "President" Donald Trump stood, his camouflage USA hat screwed on his careful combover, his hands on his hips, trying to look like someone in charge but only succeeding in looking like Clark Kent in the disguise of a punch-drunk deer hunter who'd just fallen out of his blind. Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown stood beside him as Donald Trunmp stood in the charred ruins of what used to be Paradise, California, the community of 20,000 that was wiped out by the worst wildfire in California history, and called the now defunct town "Pleasure."
     Not once but twice. Poor Governor Brown almost did a double take when Trump first called it "Pleasure." And, yours truly, not having any memory issues either long or short term, immediately thought way back to that dreadful moment in 1996 with Bob Dole in Reagan's office.
     "I read your tree."
     "Pleasure, what a name."
     Pleasure is often associated with Paradise or what passes for it in our burning and smoking nation. Yet this wasn't a case of Trump being too incurious about learning the name of the fire-ravaged town in which he stood. He honestly couldn't remember it.

Fuck the Goldwater Rule. 25 for 45
There have been several dystopian movies about a president who is completely off his rocker. And those of you old to remember the last days of the Nixon administration (in which Nixon rattled around the empty halls of the White House mumbling to oil portraits of his predecessors) will know that at least in that instance, life imitated art. Ironically, it was Nixon himself who was the first to invoke the 25th Amendment when Vice President Agnew resigned under a cloud of scandal and, less than a year later, President Gerald Ford became the second to invoke it by naming a Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, to fill the void he'd created by replacing Nixon.
     But those two times, the 25th Amendment was invoked just for one of its intended purposes, which was to establish and solidify the Rules of Succession. But the 25th Amendment also provides a policy for a president who is deceased or otherwise unable to fulfill the duties of the office.
     Donald Trump has provided us with many reasons to invoke it yet, horridly, neither party publicly seems willing to even consider invoking it despite the fact we have in the Oval Office a man who can't even drink from a water bottle without both hands or is capable of completing a sentence or remember the name of the disaster area he's visiting. Indeed, at this point it's almost as if mocking Donald Trump is cruel and verges on elder abuse were it not for the awesome power still in his shaky grasp.
     And quite a few modern day Republicans' sanity have been seriously questioned, often for good reason. It really started when Barry Goldwater was preparing to run into a buzz saw called Lyndon Johnson and a progressive electorate in 1964. When Goldwater suggested we use nuclear weapons on North Vietnam, psychologists in the press began to seriously question the Arizona senator's mental fitness for office. When that was decried in psychiatric trade journals and the press, psychologists and psychiatrists quickly established the non-binding "Goldwater Rule." It stated that no one in the psychiatric profession diagnose from a distance a politician's mental health.
     It's impossible for us to now imagine a supposedly elected president who is more mentally disabled than Donald Trump. Dazed, he shakily wobbled on one leg and walked away from Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu before shaking his hand, walking right past his presidential limo just after getting off Air Force One and, last weekend, couldn't remember the name of the California town mentioned most often in the news this week.
     Not removing Donald Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment is placing party primacy over the good of the nation. Leaving Trump in office indefinitely to the point where every so-called pundit is already theorizing over whom Trump will oppose in 2020, as if he'll actually be around that long, is worse than a reckless political ploy. The Republicans don't want to replace him with Pence because one, Trump's a useful idiot and, two, Pence is a dangerous nonentity balefully waiting in the wings.
     That's a helluva price to pay for not having to admit they bet on the wrong horse because they couldn't tell he was really a jackass long past his shelf life. It's a hell of a price to pay to run the risk that this plainly mentally impaired man has his shaky finger on the big red button.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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