Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cherished Fears

     My latest, from Facebook:
Melanie, this election only goes to show the veracity of the demotivational poster that once read, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers." Here's a guy who never had to struggle for one nanosecond of his life to maintain his dignity, his rights, his identity because of the Trump Bubble. As a consequence, he never had to build the character or courage that we see so often in refugees. Privilege is a poor incubator for character. He got to play tin soldier in college while getting, like Cheney, five deferments to stay out of Vietnam. He's filed for bankruptcy four times, has been married three times. Yet he's a champion to working class and evangelical Americans for one reason only- They see him as a super-sized version of themselves, a multibillionaire who shares, or pretends to share, his voters' most cherished fears and prejudices. I, too, have no common ground with these lunatics who voted for him nor will I seek them. Reaching across the aisle is one thing. Reaching across an ideological divide a light year in width is something none of us can do nor should attempt.
     This was in response to a comment by one of the many authors who follow me on Facebook who'd said early this morning,
I hope that those who voted for Trump understood from the get go that they were actually voting for Steve Bannon. Because if they didn't - if they don't actually support a man who has promoted the idea that the Holocaust was a lie and that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy, among other vile, racist statements - then shame on them. Because this is who's shaping our national policy right now, and it's all because of their vote. Not mine.
If they did understand this, well, then -
I have no words. And zero desire to try to find a common ground with them. We're beyond that as a country now.
     After all, what's there to say to people who cherish and cling to their fears and rally around those who reinforce them? How can one find common ground with people who characterize themselves with irrational, ill-seated anger and swatting at fictional bogeymen like fraudulent voters, Mexican rapists and welfare recipients and armies of Muslim terrorists? Indeed, where's the commonality between the sane, reality-based community and those who not only wrap their arms around these fears but are so bereft of awareness and irony that they refuse to see they and their ilk are the ones most often guilty of committing the things they insist on fearing the most?
     How pathetic is such a life that it needs to be distinguished by a bunker mentality in which there are enemies around every corner? A lot of these Trumpers wouldn't have lasted a minute in the 60's, a decade that had tried both our souls and characters in the forge of social change and upheaval.
     Yet as long as there is fear, paranoia and discontent in abundance, there will be ultra right wing strongmen like Donald Trump to step in to tell them, "I and I alone can take care of these problems. You just need to give me your unswerving, unconditional obedience. And your rights."
     Like a certain Chancellor I can think of...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

We Have Met the Enemy...

     ...and it ain't the Muslims.
     Just to give you a quick update on the state of affairs in Gotham City, the Joker has declared war on just seven Muslim countries in which he just happens, by some insane coincidence, to not have any business interests, but against the federal judiciary and virtually every one else.
     Last night alone, four, count 'em, four federal judges starting with Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn, issued blocks or emergency stays on Trump's/Bannon's Muslim ban. If you read this forum, then I'll assume you know about the massive anti-Trump demonstrations taking place all over the country, including Copley Square in Boston, JFK and Dulles airports, to name just a few. Usually, when you see resistance such as this every single day and night in the first nine days after a change in power, it's in banana republics. Which, of course, we are now.
     To prove it, Trump's administration and the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) have blithely ignored Judge Donnelly's emergency stay and that of three other federal judges and have continued detaining Muslims barred from entering the US and being kept from legal counsel.
     In fact, Senator Corey Booker of NJ went to talk to the CBP and they rebuffed him, handing through airport cop couriers a bunch of nothing. Now, if Judge Donnelly wished to, she could have sent federal agents (specifically the US Marshall's Service) to confront the Customs agents but unfortunately it didn't work out that way.
     And to give one that final dizzying spin in our descent into Assclown World, the Dept. of Homeland Security issued a press release stating they, "will continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders (and at the same time) comply with judicial orders."
     Which, as any 3rd grader can tell you, is absolutely impossible. So, yes, kiddies, our own government is at war with itself. Either way, this will not end well for somebody.
     Now, the administration still, incredibly admits they're targeting not a religion but specific nations even though the wording of the executive order reads in part thusly:
(S)uspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
     I'll put up the salient part again: "seven predominantly Muslim countries." That seems pretty unambiguous to me. The lies are flying off the White House like fleas off a newly dead dog: Chief of Staff Rinsed Penis actually had the nerve to state, despite heavy documentation in the press to the contrary, that this travel ban on Muslims doesn't affect green card holders. Which, I'm sure, will come as a relief to those green card holders held at JFK's Terminal 4 and elsewhere without the chance to see their families or lawyers despite having committed no crime.

Now See Here!

(By Cyril Blubberpuss, Conservative-American)
The Honorable Donald J. Trump, Chancellor President of the United States
Trump Tower, New York, NY

Dear Mr. Chancellor President:
     Now see here, you've gone too far this time, Sir.
     This immigration policy of yours is well-meaning and all but I think it's high time you began reading the executive orders written and shoved under your nose by Steve Bannon. One of these days he's going to slip you one while you're straining to smile for the cameras authorizing him to spread-eagle Tiffany on the Resolute Desk and go to town on her and then where will you be?
     But speaking as a member of the under-represented 1%, the Silent Minority, I have to protest most vigorously, Sir, this draconian immigration policy that is resulting in riots at Dulles and JFK Airport in our fair city. Oh, I don't give a rat's ass about those with valid visas and green cards who whine and pule about wanting to be reunited with their families. They should've known they were getting into bed with a State Department that was run by one filthy rich Democrat or another and the last one didn't even have a Foundation to bribe.
     No, Sir, the thrust of my argument is the loss of cheap labor to American industry. And this "Don't Bother Showing Us Your Papers" immigration policy is not the way to Make America Great Again! Why, America was founded on slave and cheap labor. Do you not know your nation's history. Mr. Chancellor President?
     Who do you think harvested the tobacco and cotton in the Deep South back in the day? Who do you think built much of our transcontinental railroads right after the Civil War? Who mined our gold in the Great American Northwest? That's right, slave labor from Africa and China. And this proud tradition of using a cost-effective labor pool continues to fuel the juggernaut of American Big Business. And, to quote Mr. Jensen in Network, "You, sir, are fiddle fucking with forces beyond your control!" (That was in the Director's Cut.)

     Now, I can perfectly sympathize with your wet-legged trepidations about Muslims and Mexicans (I have a daughter, myself, and, as much as any white father would, I fear that one day my 39 year-old baby will get her cherry popped by some wetback from East LA in a bouncing '67 Chevy or taco truck. I just wish I could get her to stop fingering herself during Gilmore Girls reruns.).
     But the fact is, Mr. Chancellor President, that many businesses relying on the cheap labor offered by these desperate souls from Muslim-predominant nations looking for a slightly less repressive way of life in the US are still being awaited by the companies that had generously given them jobs. And you have caught them unawares.
     Do you not remember, Sir, back in 1980 when Trump Tower was being built? You and I strolled through the construction site and marveled at the amazing work ethic of the illegal Polish laborers you'd magnanimously imported from some ship-building town with a name ending in several consecutive consonants. We looked at those hardy souls who seemed barely cognizant of the machine gun-toting, ex Stasi security guards you'd also imported from East Germany. As we watched those Slavic souls toiling night and day for nearly minimum wage, you turned to me and said, "You know, Cecil, I'd be fucked running if it wasn't for these illegal Polacks. Thank God we have a porous immigration policy under that bleeding heart liberal redneck, Carter."
     Words you should now recall and take to heart, Mr. Chancellor President. After all, you had yourself benefited from cheap labor from people who talk funny and eat smelly food. Now it is your turn to return to the nation the same system of inexpensive labor that had so richly benefited you back in the day.

     Even though we come from the financial sector, my own family had once profited from such a system. You may remember my baby brother, Cecil (He was the one who was caught getting a little too chummy with your own kid brother Robert in 1981 during one of your family's annual barbecues). Back in the 90's Cecil opened up one of the first sex entertainment chat rooms in internet history. Of course, this was about 15,000 fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches ago, when Cecil still had most of his hair in the right places.
     So when he realized he couldn't get horny, rich Republicans like you to pay for private sessions with him at his site www.cecilsprays.com, he was inspired by your prior example and went to Eastern Europe on a "recruitment tour." He found at hostels many horny Polish and Russian college boys who were desperate for a way to pay down their tuition fees.
     Then when he turned these sex workers loose, that's when the money began rolling in! Who cares if many of them passed out from hunger in the act of self love? They were desperate, the labor was cheap and Cecil profited handsomely.
     Of course, the money came in real handy after ICE and the FBI busted into his SoHo loft one day as he was himself in an act of self love and it took my entire team of attorneys to save him from Riker's Island and gang rape (The poor boy, racked with guilt over his crimes, vigorously begged to be sent to Riker's even after hearing of the shower room rape problem.).
     Anyway, the point I'm making, Mr. Chancellor President is that this immigration policy is coming at a very bad time. Many production and project managers are figuratively standing in the middle of nearly deserted manufacturing floors, tapping their feet and watches and awaiting their hummus and falafel-munching labor to show up. And they're not making any money off them while they're getting body cavity searches at JFK's Terminal 4! For God's sake, Sir, think of the shareholders and your fellow executives as they drain their expense accounts buying crates of bicarb.
     I hope this letter finds you in a less paranoid state of mind and give my love to Melania. Tell her Cecil is still trying his best to reimburse her own kid brother for his hard work in the 90's. It may take a while as a Twink Coach doesn't pay what it used to.
     Cyril Blubberpuss, Conservative-American

P. S. Do yourself a favor and ignore the liberal fake news stories about JFK's Terminal 4 drawing a bigger crowd than your inauguration. I tell you to ignore them because, well, they may be correct.
     CB, C-A

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Death of a Nation

     I don't know if there's a word for nation-killing. The obvious choice would be patricide but that's already taken for the murder of one's father.
     Whatever the word is, Donald Trump is committing it. Slowly. And if he isn't stopped by Senate Democrats or his own insiders through the 25th Amendment, the last thing Lady Liberty will see is his perfect white teeth and bloated umber face.
     I remember not so long ago when Republicans were whipping themselves into a spittle-flecked frenzy over President Obama's executive orders. Executive orders are, of course, part of the job description of the leader of the Free World. However, they're largely nonbinding, just strongly-worded suggestions rather than royal declarations or papal bulls.
     Donald Trump seems to think one can run the country by executive order only, as if he was still the CEO of the Trump Organization and not the POTUS. We're just eight days into this Mordor administration and Trump's already signed more executive orders than most people can count. And that's more in keeping with a dictator issuing unilatetal royal proclamations than a democratically-elected President.
     As Learn Progress writes, "These executive orders are causing chaos in the White House. But Trump and Bannon are more worried about creating the illusion that the administration is getting a lot done." They're also designed, they say, to give Trump's ignorant goober supporters the illusion that he's keeping his campaign promises.
     And he certainly is, even to the point of blocking legal immigrants and travelers from the seven countries Trump had designated in his hit list (despite not a single one of those nations being tied to any terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11). The nations in question are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. (Iran has already responded with a ban of its own on Americans entering their country, thereby undoing whatever tentative steps the Obama administration had made in reopening diplomatic relations with Tehran.)
     The problem is that Trump's not even reading these pieces of paper that he thinks is actionable law because they're written by neo Nazi Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon and Stephan Miller. These directives, written without even first consulting with the agencies that would be directly and indirectly affected by these royal proclamations, aren't even read by Trump. Just barely 150 hours into this administration, they're causing major turmoil in the White House and are already resulting in legal challenges from all over the nation.
     These decrees cut funding to cities with refugee shelter programs (Boston Mayor Marty Walsh showed some serious backbone today when he defied Trump's edicts and said he'd open up Boston City Hall on Beacon Hill to legitimate refugees, including his own office). They also block the entry of legal immigrants with green cards and visas issued by the State Department. Seven Muslim travelers coming back to the US were detained and prevented from boarding a flight leaving Cairo and two Iraqi travelers (one of whom having worked with the US government for a decade and has a family here) were detained at Terminal 4 at JFK.
     In other words, Trump has abjured the honeymoon phase and got straight into the spousal abuse. He's thus far, and will for the foreseeable future, bypassed a supine Republican-dominated Congress, government agencies, the judiciary and every other check and balance that, you would think, would still be in effect. That makes Trump a dictator and a tyrant.
     Thank you, Trump backers. You wanted President Goodbar, now you have him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Your Right Wing Assclown O' the Day

     I saw this story out of Nebraska on Facebook yesterday and originally, I was just going to move on to the next outrage. And, for a short time, I succeeded. Then I saw another post about right wing victimization and I commented on that then some asshat snidely claimed that victimization is a liberal trait. I retorted as you would expect, posted a link to this story then blocked the moron.
     But just revisiting this news article made me madder and madder the more I thought about it. So I decided I had to write about it in perhaps a vain attempt at some catharsis (and in the Dark Ages of Trump, let me tell you, folks, blogging, Twitter and Facebook in the interests of catharsis ain't working).
     This is a tale of Bill Kintner, who until recently was a Nebraska state senator. Kintner was almost given the distinction of being the first Nebraska state senator to be thrown out of office until his abrupt resignation. Consider that Nebraska's legislature is vastly outnumbered by Republicans and the vote, we can be reasonably assured, would have been unanimous. So what did Kintner do that was so horrible that even his fellow right wingers threw him under the bus?
     Let's start with him cybersexing with a woman on a state computer. (And, no, the woman in question isn't his wife.) Let's continue with his conduct on both social media and during legislative sessions.:
     As Matthew Hansen put it:
An incomplete summary of Kintner’s Greatest Hits: He compared refugees to insects. He compared his fellow state senators to monkeys.
He posted a photo of a beheaded woman on his Facebook page. He “joked” that Muslim immigrants be forced to eat pork if they want to enter the United States. He used the racial slur “wetback” three times on the floor of the Legislature.
He suggested that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Nebraskans leave the state if they were bothered by Nebraska’s lack of nondiscrimination laws. He said no one understands women. He said women don’t even understand themselves.
And then, in what Hilkemann termed “the final straw,” Kintner retweeted a joke about sexual assault, fought with several Nebraskans online who were horrified by that “joke,” then deleted his Twitter account and blamed the whole thing on liberals.
     But it gets better. During his resignation speech, he had the gall to blame liberals (again) for his downfall. He whined, "I know my resignation will be hailed as a victory to the progressive liberal movement. But this is not about justice or doing what’s right. This is the old adage that might makes right. You have the votes, you can do what you want."
     Again, the liberals do not have the vote in Nebraska but the Republicans do and to a man they stood as united as the Democrats and surely would have kicked his ass out.
     But, wait, there's more. He even channeled Richard Nixon, another Republican who fell from grace after Congressional Republicans turned on him and would've made him the first President to be impeached if he, too, hadn't scuttled out of office: "You won't have Bill Kintner to kick around, anymore."
     Yes, peeps, he actually said that.
Bill Cuntner blames the liberal media that had been laying in wait for him.
     Talk about your typical, self-serving right wing persecution complex. Even the Governor wanted him to resign. His fellow Republican state senators wanted him to resign. Everyone but Bill Kintner, it seems, wanted Bill Kintner out of office considering of late he's proven to be, although this is hard to imagine, an even less restrained and more batshit insane person than even Donald Trump.
     And still, the Sarpy County Republican Party's chair couldn't find in herself to properly call this misogynistic, dirty-minded adulterer out for what he is. This is what Nora Sandine actually said in public: "We’re certainly disappointed things have turned out the way they have for Sen. Kintner. It’s unfortunate. It was an unfortunate situation that he found himself in."
     Nice use of passive language, Nora. That he found himself in? So, what happened last year? Was it like this?
     "Oh my good Lord! I'm finding myself cybersexing on a porn site on a state computer with a woman who isn't my wife! The Devil made me do it! And the Devil is a liberal Democrat!"
     So please spare me bullshit jeremiads about how liberals are the ones with a persecution complex, especially in an age in which the US House, US Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures and two thirds of the governorships are run by right wing nut jobs. This guy, a so-called family values man o' God, is just another dirty-minded right wing hypocrite who belongs to a party that ludicrously nicknames itself, "the party of personal responsibility."
     And when even his fellow Republicans rebel against him en masse, it's not because of Bill Kintner the man but Bill Kintner the rock-ribbed Republican. And it's the fault of the evil lib'rals.
     And this, Constant Readers, is your Right Wing Assclown O' the Day.

Manning Up

     This morning, Chelsea Manning, the imprisoned whistleblower who had called out our military's barbarism in Iraq through a series of videos disseminated to Wkiileaks, penned an op-ed today in the Guardian. Entitled, "Compromise does not work with our political opponents. When will we learn?", she laid out the Obama administration that had pardoned her in its final hours.
     It's inartful and reads like a dry book report but we can forgive Manning for this as she isn't a professional journalist or writer. What is important are the point she makes in pinpointing exactly where Obama went wrong from the gitgo and never stopped doing- Compromising with the radical right wing, especially with the Teabagger Class of 2010. Manning details the biggest major instances of Obama reaching across the aisle and trying to work with these lunatics and having his hands chopped off every time.
     Manning begins with health care and Obama's signature domestic legislation, the ACA. She states,
For example, when it came to healthcare reform, Obama opened the debate starting with a compromise. His opponents balked. They refused to move an inch. When he would push for the concessions they asked for, they only dug in deeper in opposition. Even when he tried proposing a bill that had been proposed by opponents years earlier.
     Absolutely, spot-on correct. In fact, she mirrors the late Howard Zinn who wrote in The Nation at the very end of his life when asked for his thoughts on Obama's first year as President, "On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now." Later in his assessment on Obama's first year performance, Zinn concluded with, "Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."
     That movement, obviously, never came and this brings us to Ms. Manning's article today. And she channels Prof. Zinn by beginning her peroration with, "The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader."
     It's OK to say it: Obama was a failure. Unfortunately, many of us can't bring ourselves to admit that because that would mean all the ballyhooing on social media and at the dinner table, all the hours, money and time spent on his campaigns were all for naught. And millions are still hung up on the useless factoid that Obama was our first black President and, well, that means he couldn't've been anything less than great. Because we're post racial, right? Hence, all the idiots on Twitter and Facebook who from Inauguration Day on switched their avatars to pictures of Obama or the First Family.
     Unfortunately, the movement the late Prof. Zinn wistfully dreamed of in the last days of his life took Obama in the other direction. And then, last Nov. 8th, enough of us voted our conscience only we were channeling that of the KKK and ultra right wing nationalist movements that gave Trump their hoarse, full-throated support that Trump, for the most part, refused to disavow.
     Manning was spot-on in her appraisal of Obama's miserable, neoliberal failure masquerading as a progressive legacy and it shouldn't matter a roach's shit if Obama commuted her sentence or not. The very fact that he pardoned Manning in the final hours of his administration (while pointedly not giving similar mercy to Ed Snowden), after leaving her to rot in prison for seven years, when he had no political capital left to lose shows what a craven, neolib cunt he truly is. Commuting Manning's sentence doesn't make her any the less correct.
     Manning could've gone on and on citing Obama's endless acts of cowardice going back to the campaign trail almost a decade ago, such as him throwing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his pastor, beneath the bus when the Reverend spoke the truth about our history being based on slavery and racism. Obama dropped out of his Trinity Church and joined another.
     When Jailbird Jimmy O'Keefe and his edited videos made ACORN look worse than it was and leading us to believe he wore a pimp costume while speaking to ACORN officials, Republicans used O'Keefe like the useful idiot he was and defunded ACORN. And Obama let them. When Andrew Breitbart, who no doubt would be in Trump's White House now instead of Steve Bannon if he was still alive, released another heavily-edited video making Shirley Sherrod sound as if she was a racist, Obama stood by and did nothing and said nothing in her defense when she was fired.
     When Van Jones was railroaded by the right wing and was forced to turn in his resignation letter, Obama took it without making the slightest effort to stand by him or talk him out of resigning. When he nominated Elizabeth Warren to head up her own CFPB and Republicans wouldn't let her out of committee, Obama stood by and did nothing and nominated Richard Cordray, instead.
     Again, Obama always was and always will be a cowardly cunt to Republicans, Toby to the radical right wing. He gave them everything they ever demanded of him and they took everything with all the gratitude of antebellum plantation owners getting served a mint julep by a house nigger. He never learned. He never called out the Tea Party movement for the pack of spittle-flecked racists they are but he had plenty of criticism for the Occupy Movement and even had the nerve to compare the teabaggers to them. While authorizing lots of oil and gas drilling rights in the worst places and at the worst times (such as right after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11), Obama saturninely stood by and didn't lift one finger to support the Lakota Sioux in their opposition to the DAPL.
     One more time: Obama was a craven cunt who got the dry heaves at opposing the right wing, the ultimate Uncle Tom and he never did a blessed thing for the liberal/progressive movement save for middling, incremental and meaningless measures disguised to look like actual progressivism. The only hope he ever instilled was the kind he engendered on Wall Street. The only silver lining to Trump's inauguration is that Hillary Clinton never got back in the White House and that Obama is finally out of it.
     Oddly enough, even though Manning never once mentioned his name, a certain serial Tweeter had to get in on the act first thing this morning when he should've dispatched FEMA three days ago to the Southeast to coordinate with first responders after tornadoes killed at least 20:
     Shorter Donald Trump, presumptive POTUS: "Only I can call Obama weak because I'm a fellow President."
     Which is all you need to know about his priorities.
     Like the eagle in the lead image, we need to look at ourselves long, hard and without mercy if we're going to determine the strength of our national character. Or are we going to be like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, taking Trump's fascism when it gains steam until it's too late for us to jump out of the cauldron?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Disposable President

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
When this Hindenburg of an administration crashes and burns, and it surely will one way or the other, Donald Trump may well be the one to write the world's first amorality play. His administration, at this time, is exactly 120 hours old and we're seeing the emergence of true fascism erupting in our nation with a speed and industry that would've made Hitler call his top aides into the Reichstag to yell at them and ask them, "Why can't we be as efficient as Trump?!"
     Yesterday alone in the United States of Gotham was a Russian red letter day for this new administration that's making heads spin. The formally lazy, sloppy, self indulgent campaign and transition has suddenly turned into the kind of nightmare we've only recently read about in science fiction and alternate history novels like the one Philip Roth wrote in 2004. As with Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, Roth's The Plot Against America concerns itself with the unseating of Franklin D. Roosevelt (who at least in the latter got to serve two terms).
     In Roth's treatment, Charles Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt and institutes a government that would've made Prescott Bush and his right wing industrialist buddies cum in their pants. Patterned after Hitler's own, Lindbergh sets up an antisemitic fascist state. Its effects are seen through a fictionalized version of Mr. Roth's own family. It may be historical revisionism through fiction, a nightmarish Bildungsroman that, in Roth's mind, could've easily come true under Bush. (In fact, because of the novel, the New Yorker recently asked the retired novelist what his impressions are of Trump and his pungent observations can be found here.)
     Of course, the obvious difference here is that it's not the Jews who are being targeted. In keeping with every administration since Truman, Trump swears undying loyalty to Israel in this sick prosemitic fetishism since its state was founded in 1948. But that doesn't mean Trump can't find other victims in his midst. There's still the Mexicans and Muslims. And non-alternative truth tellers.
     But back to yesterday. In rapid succession, we saw Trump and his junta do this:

Herr Harry Potter
     Trump had actually proposed an Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. This is easily the most vicious and hostile act toward "illegal aliens" since Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It'll come with a weekly list of crimes committed by "illegals" against proper white, Christian people. No word, yet, if Trump will ever form an Office for Random and Targeted Victims of Crimes Committed by Nonremovable Trump Voters and Other Sundry and Assorted, Antigovernment Fox-Watching Right Wing Nut Cases.

Just Another Prick and a Wall
     Trump had ordered his much-ballyhooed wall separating Mexican rapists from our rapists to be built. Which Mexico will pay for... some time... if only Trump can reanimate the corpse of RasPutin to hypnotize them long enough into forking over the pesos.

I Know What You Are But What Are We?
     After Trump sent Sean Spicer out again to do his masturbating monkey act to force us to believe that his boss would've won the popular vote were it not for massive voter fraud, Trump decided to propel this ridiculous right wing conspiracy theory into a higher gear. The problem? The only evidence of voter fraud which has been proven is that of Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin and even Trump's own daughter, Tiffany. All three were registered to vote in two states. What are the odds they were ensnared in the Crosscheck system? About as good as Trump unzipping himself and JFK stepping out, announcing it was all a joke.

Anti-Alien Invasion
     Yesterday, the President* of the United States called undocumented workers, "removable aliens." Oh no, that doesn't bring to mind trains and chains in them chugging through the landscape in the dead of night. Oh, and that goes for little brown brats, too.

MAGA. The Rest of You Can Go Fuck Yourselves
     Trump also announced another Harry Potteresque-sounding hare-brained scheme: The Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations. This is just a slightly less blunt tool of Trump's promise to divest ourselves from any involvement in the UN, culminating in our withdrawal from it. I wonder what will happen to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley when she shows up for work one day and is told she no longer works there? In that same vein, he also instituted the Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties. Among the casualties of this moratorium? Treaties dealing with Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Metaphorical Wall's Already Up
     Trump has already stiffened up immigration policies, which is no doubt one of the few things his pork rind-crunching supporters can get behind in this fever dream first week. And once the wall is built on credit or no, it'll keep America safe from terrorists in places such as Oklahoma City, Newtown, Connecticut, Charleston, South Carolina, Aurora and Littleton, Colorado, and Ferguson, Missouri.

We Don't Torture... Yet
     Oh, and Trump thinks that bringing back torture and banned black sites is a good idea, too.

     So what does all this mean for the more reasonable or at least less insane Trump staffers and careerists? Well, that remains to be seen. But if you want a hint of the rebellion that will surely come, it just broke less than an hour ago that the entire senior State Department staff just resigned in protest. Which just means Trump can install more of his Oompa Loompa Mini Mes at Foggy Bottom.
     No, the center cannot hold, especially if that center is actually an extremist far right. Before we know it, Trump's Cabinet and/or Congress is going to have to 25th Amendment his fat, pasty ass even if it means having a Savonarola wannabe in Mike Pence as Acting President.

*As of January 20, 2017, Anglo-Saxon word for "Chancellor"

Monday, January 23, 2017

It Did Happen Here

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength–though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us–we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad. -
Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, It Can't Happen Here

Literature can be deceptive in its efficacy, its occasional bent toward prophecy. At times, we're often unaware for decades at a time how truly clairvoyant its authors are. Then, before we know it, their nightmarish dystopian visions ossify into reality and we're caught with our pants down and bent over a barrel. We experienced much the same thing in the 80's under Reagan, although the alarmist comparisons to George Orwell's 1984 were just that- alarmist, not even rising to the level of the premature. While Ronald Reagan was a horrible president for anyone in the 99%, he was certainly no Big Brother.
     However, what are we to make of Donald Trump and the sudden comparisons he invites to Sinclair Lewis's work, It Can't Happen Here (Possibly the greatest book by a Nobel Literature Laureate)? First, in order to fully appreciate the eerie parallels between Lewis's nightmarish vision and what we're seeing today, we need historical context. And with Trump, we need to  re-examine the Nobel Laureate's 1935 novel and briefly study the political and social conditions of the 1930's.
     While I won't belabor the realities of the Great Depression, which everyone knows about, there was an undercurrent of resentment against the status quo that had been presided over by the Republican Party until FDR's election in 1932. Revolution and Communism were looking pretty good when the New York millionaire took the reins of power. In fact, Communism was looking so appealing that anything Russian in the 1930's grew in popularity. As one example of this- When an unknown, middle-aged English actor named William Henry Pratt starred in a horror movie named Frankenstein in 1931, Universal Studios cynically renamed him Boris Karloff and he never looked back.
     Of course, in Lewis's masterpiece of political prophecy, the American voter went to the other end of the political spectrum and voted for a cryptofascist Senator named Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip. For unknowable and inexplicable reasons, Lewis cast his protagonist as a Democrat. At the 1936 convention, he wins the nomination when President Roosevelt and Senator Walt Trowbridge split the reasonable vote, essentially dooming the fictional FDR to one term status.
     As with Trump, and many other factual presidential candidates, Windrip drove his campaign with a book entitled, "Zero Hour." And this appealed to a core of disaffected, disenfranchised white laborers, exactly the constituency Hitler mobilized in his own quest for power in 1932 that paralleled FDR's. Don't forget, by 1935, when Lewis had first published his book, FDR's New Deal hadn't been entirely implemented. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled much of the New Deal unconstitutional by 1937. Of course, this was at the start of FDR's second term. In Lewis's book, this hadn't happened yet and a series of challenges in federal court had rendered much of the New Deal null and void. The unemployment rate was easily in double digits and many people, understandably, were still antsy about their future prospects.
     "Buzz" Windrip, who promises prosperity, guarantees $5000 a year for every working man and national strength, assembles a paramilitary goon squad around him similar to the one Trump had cobbled together on the campaign trail last year. (In an eerie prescience of Trump's signature campaign promise to keep Mexicans out of the US, Windrip's own thugs are called "Minute Men.") In another presaging of Trump (as well as Obama, Bush and many presidents before them), they quickly outlaw dissent. Women's and minority rights are sharply curtailed. The government swiftly turns into a corporatocracy. The stage has been set and fascism comes to America. But has it happened here, for real, already?
The First Hundred Zero Hours
An honest propagandist for any Cause, that is, one who honestly studies and figures out the most effective way of putting over his Message, will learn fairly early that it is not fair to ordinary folks — it just confuses them — to try to make them swallow all the true facts that would be suitable to a higher class of people. And one seemingly small but almighty important point he learns, if he does much speechifying, is that you can win over folks to your point of view much better in the evening, when they are tired out from work and not so likely to resist you, than at any other time of day. -Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip
In a shocking reversal of the lazy, self-indulgent, self-destructive Trump campaign and transition, the nanosecond Trump took the reins of power, as the heavens spat rain upon him, things began moving with dizzying speed. The day after the inauguration, Trump made an unusual trip to CIA Headquarters in Langley and almost immediately suspended his intent for being there to yell at the media for accurately reporting his inauguration crowd wasn't as big as Obama's in 2009 and 2013. And he had the nerve to do before the Memorial Wall for CIA officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty. Yes, he was doing the hand thing again.
     That same day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer introduced himself to the press by literally yelling at them over this trivial and easily provable fact- That Trump had not drawn the same size crowds or TV ratings as the 44th President. The day after that, Kellyanne Conway sparred with Chuck Todd and claimed that what Spicer had provided were "alternative facts", a phrase that would make even Frank Luntz's head spin (as well as George Orwell's and Sinclair Lewis's.).
    As several dystopian antifascist works inform us, totalitarian regimes, especially far right movements, hold intellect and erudition in complete contempt for the very reason that such qualities are able to see through their confidence games and can alert the populace. The intelligentsia, after all, is a great breeding ground for political opposition movements. Realizing that would leave a suspicious dearth in the brain pool, such governments then supplant the real intelligentsia for one of their fabrication (usually after successfully marginalizing or liquidating the actual one). Such movements give us “intellects” such as George Will and William F. Buckley.
    The first order of business is to co-opt the truth and try to convince the populace that they own it and the facts (Remember Trump’s recent insistence that he knew things we didn’t regarding his campaign’s ties to the Russian government?). Essentially, this boils down to the famous Richard Pryor line, "Who ya gonna believe, baby? Me or your lyin' eyes?"

     This contempt for the intelligentsia, all the way down to the basic intelligence of the populace and even provable albeit embarrassing facts (such as the size of the inauguration crowd on Friday) can range from the ridiculous to the sublime (In Trump's case, always the ridiculous.). Right wing strong men like Trump blatantly lie so many times and about so many things even the most industrious journalist is hard-pressed to keep track of them. A prime example is when Trump said last July that he had no ties whatsoever to Russia, financial or otherwise. Yet a NY Times exposé proved "millions of transactions" between Trump and Russia in real estate deals. And if you don't want to believe the Gray Lady, then Donald Trump, Jr put the kibosh to his own father's lie nine years ago.
     We see this arrogant co-opting of the so-called facts (alternative or otherwise) in every presidential administration. But seldom if ever have we seen such breathtaking arrogance and easily provable chicanery with the new administration led by a man who can't tell the truth except accidentally.

The Corpo

They were the Idealists of Corpoism, and there were plenty of them, along with the bullies and swindlers; they were the men and women who, in 1935 and 1936, had turned to Windrip & Co., not as perfect, but as the most probable saviors of the country from, on one hand, domination by Moscow and... making America a land for sterner men to loot. - Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
And in order to fool a gullible, scared and/or angry voting public into accepting and even supporting every measure designed to keep them in a state of indentured servitude, you need to co-opt the truth and the facts as you choose to see and present them. In Lewis's novel, the new 15 plank government under President Windrip is called the Corpo government. Either by accident or a deliberate co-opting of the word, the very word "corpo" appears to describe and define Donald Trump to a tee, at least according to the Urban Dictionary.
     As stated, this fictional fascist government wasted no time in severely cutting back women's and minority rights as surely as Trump put himself on the map with his jeremiads about Mexican rapists and criminals and his misogynistic worldview on women. But, in keeping with Hitler's own fascist government, Windrip's administration leaps into bed with corporations like the kind that had actually tried to mobilize a fascist corporate cabal under the stewardship of one Prescott Bush in the earliest days of FDR's administration.
     Proof of this is the very fact that Donald Trump's Cabinet picks are worth an estimated $14.5 billion, people whose lifelong agendas is to take away everything necessary to a free, Democratic industrialized nation from affordable health care, public schools, Social Security and a living wage. In other words, Trump's "most probable saviors" who will save us from ourselves and silly notions about liberal progress.
     Indeed, the very first thing the Trump administration did was to axe an FHA prohibition on increases in insurance rates enacted by the Obama administration. Later that day, he signed as his first executive order one that promised to "ease the burdens of Obamacare", although that's not its official name nor was the gesture more than a ceremonial one.  While Trump's ridiculous grandstanding will mean nothing in the short term, it can certainly be viewed as one that's the harbinger of things to come.
     And as with Trump and so many other Republicans, Windrip also appealed to evangelicals and the eternally scared with his boilerplate about the role of Christian religion and a strong military presence. Compare that to Trump's deceptively bland, listless inaugural speech in which he invoked the military and law enforcement to keep order over our "carnage" plagued nation.
     As Trump's administration isn't even 100 hours old, it bears continued study, this book that saw Trump coming 82 years ago. We're still a ways from Naomi Wolf's 10 steps of fascism made easy to spot from a decade ago (as far as I'm aware, Trump hasn't gotten around to making gulags yet, unless he'll outsource that in economic ways to his own Corpo Cabinet). And while the long night is still young, we must remember these things happen in stages and we must remain ever vigilant to these gradients as they begin to come true.

Good Times at Gotham City, 1/23/17

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"People of Gotham..."

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
For those of you who were too busy bolstering the market share of the liquor industry yesterday, we have a new President. His name is Donald J. Trump but some would call him Bane. In fact, in case you hadn't noted the masthead, the proprietor of this blog had decided to change the name of it for reasons I'll delve into in a minute. In fact, in October last year, he'd tried to warn you of the rise of this Batman villain but, as usual, no one listened.
     I was forced to listen to the whole thing because that's my job but let me save you some time in case your hangovers won't allow you to listen to more than a few words without abruptly having to sing in your little porcelain amphitheater: Trump had just thrown the transcripts of his campaign speeches into a blender, set it on puree, then let a brain-damaged capuchin assemble the bits at random. The result was something that would've made Sarah Palin sound like Margarets Meade or Fuller on a good day.

     It was meant as a dog whistle to the law enforcement apparatus that was already in the process of arresting 217 protesters. Twitter had also suspended the account of the National Park Service that oversees the National Mall for simply retweeting the dramatic difference of the size of the crowds between 2009 and yesterday's. It was also intended for the benefit of the few goobers who'd decided to attend after faithfully voting against their own interests. And, lest you think the comparison between Mr. Obama's inauguration and Trump's is misleading or that the 2017 photo was taken before everyone showed up, let me offer up this telling image after the presidential limousine hit the parade route:

     Or this...
     Of course, all the networks save for NBC were keeping the shots tight while Trump and Pence lumbered through their mile-long victory lap on Pennsylvania Ave. I guess the camera, far from adding 20 pounds, subtracts hundreds of thousands from inaugurals.
     But, more important than the pathetic spectacle of hundreds of thousands of Beltway voters boycotting what is still a historic event was what the Oaf of Office said after taking the Oath of Office (emphasis mine):
“Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another. But we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people… The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.”
     Let's compare that to Bane's speech as he takes over Gotham City:

“We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you … the people.”
     And the peasants rejoiced despite Trump filling his Cabinet with oligarchs who are worth a combined total of $14.5 billion.

We are all Barron Trump
     After land Baron Trump warmed the cloudy, cold skies with his hot air, Barron Trump was caught having this juvenile moment, as if he, too, couldn't believe what was happening to our country. Out of the mouths, and hands, of babes. Earlier, his mother Melania had to tell him to stop fidgeting with his cell phone. He also refused to hold her hand and was caught yawning during his father's oath of office.
     Meanwhile, George W. Bush did what George W. Bush does and fought a losing war against an inanimate object, to Dick Cheney's secret delight:

     I guess the rebel poncho was a Mexican plot and we'll be on the hook for another wall to back up the first wall that's already largely in place. Yes, children younger than 10 years of age- This walking brain stem led the Free World for eight years.
     At any rate, Bush's senior moment occurring at the same exact time former President Obama strained to project some dignity served as the perfect synecdoche of how absurd that day was. Not for decades, and perhaps never, had a new president delivered such an ominous yet lackluster speech at his inaugural.
     Even the heavens conspired, as it began raining in Washington DC at 12:00 noon, the exact moment Trump was taking the oath of office. And hours later, that rain presaged the fate of countless homeowners, the ones whose day it supposedly was, the ones whom Trump professed to empower, when Trump's first order of business was to raise rates on FHA homeowners then sign a ceremonial executive order "easing the burdens of Obamacare".
     People, the next four years won't be for wimps. Even as Trump is actively censoring the media by "quadrupling" the number in the press pool (The better with which to ignore you, my dears) and threatening to crack down on any dissent, these are only the first hours before Trump's nightmarish vision for America gathers steam, the first tentative bad dream we have right before entering the REM state.
     You want Trump to last less than four years, despite the specter of a President Pence balefully lurking in the wings? It all devolves on the 2018 midterms. Vote enough Republicans out, let them know we mean business that we do not want this man's slime all over the Resolute Desk given to us by Queen Victoria. And once the incumbency of the survivors is threatened, you'll be amazed how fast they'll write those articles of impeachment in the House and ratify them in the Senate when we make it abundantly clear there's no future in clinging to Donald Trump. It'll make Watergate look like gridlock.
     And mark my words, if Trump hasn't already given them grounds for impeachment (he has), eventually he will.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Happy Inauguration Sauron Day

     "CNN takes you live now to Jake Tapper in Washington DC and the Trump inauguration. Jake, what do you see?"
      "Well, Wolf, Dick Cheney and Donald Trump have just arrived and the landscape has suddenly changed somewhat..."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Just to Put a Finer Point On It...

     What Chomsky said nearly four years ago is absolutely correct but I'd like to put a finer point on it- The reason why the cost of presidential elections and all down ballot races is skyrocketing is because of our diminishing attention, trust of politicians and perennially low voter turnout that struggles above 40% and, in some years, not even that. And that's how we cede power to the 1%. This is the cost of not being a politically engaged nation. For all the screaming we hear on both sides of the Great Ideological Divide, as I call it, in every election cycle, it accounts for less than 40% of the electorate. 60% or more stay home on Election Day. But our lack of engagement is what's costing whatever influence we have over who goes to Capitol Hill and the policies upon which they agree.

Monday, January 16, 2017

On Martin Luther King Day...

     ...let's remember the meaning of the word "humility", a characteristic that's conspicuously lacking in today's public officials, especially with the incoming Oaf of Office.
     Back in 1973-4, my father took my mother and me on summer vacations to Washington, DC. This was easy enough to do since my father was stationed on Ft. Meade, Maryland at the time. Among the many monuments, memorials, shrines and buildings we'd visited were the graves of Martin Luther King, Jr and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Both men had been assassinated just five or six years previous, so the memories of their senseless and abrupt passing was still fresh in all three of our memories.
     Visiting Dr. King's grave site would be impossible for my father today as he wouldn't become a full-blown racist until a few years down the road. But what struck me about King's, and especially Sen. Kennedy's, grave, was the humility that was granted to them, humility upon which both men would've insisted had they any control over it.
     Dr. King's headstone is a good, solid one, larger than most, and it only doubled in size when he was finally joined by his widow, Coretta Scott King a little over a decade ago. Bobby Kennedy's grave is a simple white cross in Arlington Cemetery that could easily get lost if you didn't know exactly where to look. Having a vague sense of Senator Kennedy's importance in the ever-unfolding skein of American history, I was struck even at that young age at how simple his white cross was. It has not changed nor has been added to or embellished one bit since I'd visited it decades ago.
    This speaks volumes about the measure of both men. They couldn't have come from more dissimilar worlds- King coming from a poverty-stricken life marked by virulent racism while Kennedy was raised in wealth and privilege. Yet both men saw and recognized the threats facing our nation (back when it was still great) and did their damnedest to stem the tide of evil and injustice that had threatened it. If human history had but one epitaph when our end comes, it'll be this:
     It was ever the goal of man to keep at arm's length the ever-encroaching night. It was a losing battle but the brave distinguished themselves by fighting it nonetheless.
     Nowadays, it seems the night presses ever closer, that this Zoroastrian battle between good and evil, or chaos and order, is turning in favor of the dark side. Dr. King and Senator Kennedy were not heroes merely because they fought the good fight but because they took their respective missions more seriously than they took themselves.
     Nowadays, it seems Kennedy and King have been supplanted over the last two generations with so-called statesmen bloated with hubris and arrogance and we see no better exemplar of this than with the incoming President. Donald Trump is a man whose orange-tinted face could be reasonably placed in any dictionary next to the words "hubris", "egotism" and even "megalomania". He is a man who thinks he can take the reins of power of what is arguably the most trying, difficult and ego-bruising office and job on the planet without having the slightest capacity to brook even one insult from others. His latest shameful Twitter tirade against Congressman John Lewis is but one example of this man's inability to accept that some people aren't on board with his racist agenda or comfortable with the extremely discomfiting revelations regarding the legitimacy of his election or the integrity of his so-called morality.
     At no time in American history (and I include George W. Bush when I write this) had any man ascended to the presidency under such a cloud of disrepute. We who know our asses from our elbows know Bush stole the election as well as his re-election but that was due to Republican operatives. This time around, there's a very real perception (and the facts or the lack of them be damned) that outside operatives, actors from a certain foreign nation, influenced an election that had been, as always, narrowed down to two oligarchs who never gave a damn about the working class and the working poor, two people who were so deeply flawed it makes the sane doubt their sanity for even recognizing how unqualified they both are for the presidency.
     Dr. King would have been ashamed of Barack Obama and one has to wonder what an 88 year-old Martin Luther King would say now about a man who'd expanded a drone strike program to nearly cartoonish proportions and used his power as President to slaughter thousands of innocents in seven different countries and maintained two senseless wars begun by his predecessor. And however much of an embarrassment Obama would've been for an elderly Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the civil rights icon would've been absolutely aghast to see his hard-won victories gutted by succeeding Republican-led Congresses and a right wing-leaning Supreme Court. And if that hadn't killed him. the incoming government would've finished him off.
     Donald Trump's pick to head the Justice Department is an openly racist Senator from Alabama who has used the N word several times in his political career, thinks separation of church and state is "unconstitutional" and had publicly opposed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act that had gotten Dr. King, and Congressman Lewis, physically battered and arrested literally dozens of times. Anyone paying close attention to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions' public statements and testimony during his confirmation hearing by his own Senate Judiciary Committee knows that one of his first acts as Attorney General will be to gut if not outright abolish the DOJ's Civil Rights Division and probably using the same rubric than had Chief Justice John Roberts while he helped to gut Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: That we're post-racial and have no need to be a watchdog over civil rights.
     Jeff Sessions is no more a moderate than his predecessors Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, who both filibustered the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts when they were still bills in Congress. Jeff Sessions is a withered little warrior for an America that never was: White and Christian to the core, a ridiculous puppet of racist factions still struggling to take up the White Man's Burden.
     And the scary thing about Jeff Sessions is he seems to fit in this latter day Congress. His nomination is merely a controversial one because our supine mainstream media refuses to recognize Sessions' public and voting record and his exact place in history. If Jeff Sessions, or Donald Trump, have any public worth, it's to remind us of the need for more men like The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and that the chaos and the darkness is far from being held at bay.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sleeping With the Enemy (Again)

     Some of you may recall that back in the hoary old days when we had to walk 10 miles through blizzards 365 days a year to get to school, uphill both ways, I was on Facebook. I think I dropped out by the summer of 2011 or 2012 when I kept getting suspended for weeks at a time, presumably, for things I wasn't even doing. And in all this time, I hadn't missed the Blue Nowhere, as I'd come to call it, for a nanosecond, even though Mrs. JP swears by it and looks at Zuckerberg's theft from Harvard as an invaluable tool for staying in touch with family and friends.
     Yet, although it hadn't proven as such for yours truly then and especially now, Facebook is theoretically also a valuable tool for marketing books by indie authors such as myself. I realized, after years of wasted time and effort, that Twitter is a shitty marketing tool in its own right. In fact, just a week ago my main book and writing account got shadowbanned, presumably, because I'd had the effrontery to use the #sundayreads hashtag in connection with my own titles.
     Which is something that countless writers use on all days of the week used in the -reads series of hashtags. I also slowly came to the realization that literary agents Google authors who submit properties to them to see if they have an internet footprint, some kind of a marketing platform. And, for years, my sole marketing platform has been a useless site called Twitter. So, to this end, I'd decided to set up Tumblr and Facebook accounts under an assumed name.
     Since my stats checker confirms for me that I'm still being visited by my stalker(s) on a daily basis, I won't divulge the names or URLs of those accounts. But if you write to me and if I recognize you, I'll email you with that information so I don't get followed and trolled by said stalker(s). And if you know me, then you'll already know my email address.
     I hate to do this in such a hugger mugger fashion but this is what stalkers and right wing trolls have reduced me to, including shutting down the comments section of this blog for the foreseeable future. So you have these people to thank for the subterfuge to which I've been reduced. But I insist on widening my marketing platform on at least a cosmetic basis so that agents won't get the wrong impression that I wouldn't take the marketing phase very seriously.
     On another note:
     My birthday's tomorrow. As I'm not looking forward to turning 58, it'd sure brighten my day if some of you bought my paperbacks. https://www.createspace.com/4076183 https://www.createspace.com/4220601 https://www.createspace.com/4633360 https://www.createspace.com/5609260 https://www.createspace.com/5920087 https://www.createspace.com/6782677
     Or, if you insist on doing Kindle, here are the URLs:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

It's All About the Priorities

     What a piece of shit. Here's a guy who's about to assume the reins of power of the most prominent country of the Free World and he's still dickering with his critics on Twitter rather than attending classified intelligence briefings.
     Actually, no. Trump's not a piece of shit. Shit at least has some environmental uses, such as compost.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sackcloth and Ash Heaps

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
There are two types of mourners in the United States right now and they tend to be the same faction of the voting public: Those mourning the dwindling days of the Obama administration and those mourning the incoming (God help us every one for my having to say this in public) Trump administration.
     Even without social media, we heard much the same thing in 2001 when Slick Willie was frantically pardoning white collar crooks like his buddy Marc Rich and Hillary was looting the Executive Mansion of much of its furniture with the shameless industry of a crack head looking for the means to score her next fix. Back then, we were preparing to say farewell to a neoliberal two term administration that, despite countless scandals, was still able to fool the American public into believing was the greatest, most transformative liberal administration since FDR. And we dreaded the incoming Bush administration and the unseen evils it would bring.
     So yeah, I'm sure you'll forgive me for thinking of that infamous George Santayana/Winston Churchill quote these days.
     Among the many things that ought to be retrieved from the memory hole is this quote from then Sen. Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 when he said, "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."
     One suspects Obama was talking about the GOP that has vilified and continues to vilify him (albeit for the wrong reasons) for a full decade. Yet the history we continually ignore teaches us these past Presidents did not talk or negotiate with our enemies as often as send troops and bombs to their countries. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Korea. The Bay of Pigs. The Gulf of Tonkin. And, as determined to make good on at least that campaign promise, Obama was more prone to talk to our soft enemies in the GOP than to self-perceived enemies abroad to whose countries he'd also sent troops and bombs and drones. In fact, Obama had taken so many innocent lives in his Quixotic quest to crush terrorism (which is on the rise, especially in Europe) it makes his Nobel Peace Prize supercede irony and to border on the parodic.
     So this is what we're hearing on social media-  People who willingly suspend their basic humanity to defend Obama by asking of his critics absurd things such as, "Well, how many people did Bush kill in Iraq?" Yes, people have asked me that and trying to play the numbers game as if war crimes become real only after a threshold is reached. "Well, hundreds of thousands of deaths is absolutely a war crime but a measly several thousand through drone strikes? Meh."
     So, for all his supposed strength and opposition to terrorism aimed less these days on al Qaeda and more on the Daesh terror network and its various factions such as ISIS and ISIL, Barack Obama's squandering of human lives, including at least two American ones that had been extrajudicially taken, had been a miserable ongoing failure. And the miserable failure of his foreign policy was largely do to installing to head Foggy Bottom Slick Willie's own wife who turned out to be a bloodthirsty dictator-in-waiting in her own right.
     Which brings us to the new boss...

The Doomsday Clock to January 20th
     There's little truth to the rumor that the last week before the inauguration will be counted down by the Doomsday clock but the perception and suspicion is that it is still justified. There's a growing unease, if not a panic, that even as the GOP busts its collective nut to shoehorn the repeal of ObamaCare and to appoint every one of Trump's unconvicted criminals into his Cabinet, Trump is laying the groundwork for a style of governance that rightly recalls 1933-1945 Germany.
     And whatever his other failings, the relatively lawless George W. Bush had still divested himself of his stock holdings before taking office and, by general consensus, still honored the Emoluments Clause that forbids Presidents from accepting cash and other gifts from foreign nations as well as domestic entities. We're seeing none of this from Trump, who in his recent presser tried to fool the MSM, the American people and watchdog agencies into thinking he can just hand over all his business interests to American Psycho 1 & 2 in the form of a blind trust. Which would work only if he suddenly develops amnesia and loses any and all memories of what he's owned for decades, starting with the Trump Tower that has seamlessly supplanted Blair House.
     And, darkly waiting in the wings as a deterrent is a Savonarola wannabe in Mike Pence should the GOP get buyer's remorse and try to have Trump impeached.
     However lawless were the Nixon and Bush II administrations (and they largely were), the incoming Trump administration will redefine what's truly lawless. And this incoming Executive branch will just ramp up whatever neoliberal evils that had been pursued by the Obama administration: The gutting of Social Security; Turning a blind eye to Israel's own war crimes against the Palestinians and aid workers; The ongoing bloating of Wall Street banks and Big Business; Further war crimes against Arab and Muslim nations.
     All that and more because Donald Trump was just smart enough to fool the redneck goobers (Hell, he even fooled Michael fucking Moore) and using their rage against the plight of the middle class into a form of political jiu jitsu and using that force against them and their interests. One has to wonder how many of those Trumpers would've still voted for him if he'd promised on the campaign trail to appoint billionaires and multimillionaires instead of pretending to revile his 1% buddies by telling his red-hatted supporters that they've been "picking their pockets"?
     And, as with Bush II and Obama, his supporters will cheer on Trump as he leads us down a not so merry primrose path to Hell as he begins his administration as the least-liked incoming President in modern times, if not for all time. Obama never came close to getting us out of Iraq and especially oil- and mineral-rich Afghanistan. He never came close to reversing the economic slide left to him by his predecessor or ever revitalized the job market.
     It boggles the mind how a Trump supporter could possibly think their man will undo this. We should've listened to that eagle in the lead picture and realized way back on June 16th 2015 that Donald Trump will be the most anti American president of all time. It does not require a Greek chorus or being a political science savant to know Trump's administration is already doomed to the ash heap of history. And we who aren't in the 1% will be beneath it.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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