Monday, February 27, 2017

This, Too, Shall Pass

     OK, time for a little less structure and to just free ball it for a few minutes.
     I know a couple of you have been wondering what I've been up to for the last week. That's how it's been since I last posted anything of any substance. The reasons are manifold- I'm still coping with the suicide of a friend of mine. He did away with himself right after Election Day but in some gruesome development right out of Breaking Bad, they didn't find his remains in New Mexico until four or five days ago. Out of respect for his and his family's privacy, I won't mention his name or what few particulars I know. But I will say it was very sudden. He gave no one any warning he was going to do this, although his reasons for seeking a very permanent solution for a very temporary set of problems were made known to me. And the person personally responsible for much of this will be dealt with in due time, believe you me.
     But there are other reasons for my absence. I've been hammering away at my upcoming novel, part of a new series, that I started and shelved about four and a half years ago when I got mixed up with Tatterdemalion then Gods of Our Fathers. Plus, I've been networking like crazy since my return to Facebook (And, thank you, Les Edgerton and Barry Eisler for your help in kick-starting this shambling zombie that I call a writing career.).
     Last but certainly not least, there's this fucking Mike Judge fever dream we insist on calling The Trump Administration, or what I prefer to call Fear the Walking Brain Dead. Frankly, this government, for want of a better word, leaves me more than speechless. For the last week, save for my fiction, my brain's been frozen, paralyzed with disbelief. I half wait for the alarm clock to go off so I can start another day in another world when someone, anyone else whose name isn't Donald Trump isn't the most powerful man in the Free World.
     But Trump isn't the only problem, is he? There's also the problem of the Republican Party that Trump both represents and doesn't represent, sort of like a Schrödinger's cat with a bad combover. If the newer and more prolific Twitter account of the Fifth Column within the Fifth Column within our government is to be believed, the GOP has their own agenda and for now are using Trump as their useful idiot knowing he'll sign into law any batshit insane bill the Republicans put on his desk and he won't even read it.
     That would be the same GOP that voted to defund ObamaCare and cost 22,000,000 people their health insurance because God fucking forbid we have a government that actually works (even though the ACA does little more than open a massive gateway to the health care free market).
     That would be the same GOP that still by and large denies that ice is melting in what is plainly a warming planet while oil company fuck sticks like Jim Inhofe walk onto the Senate floor with a cooler containing the snowball that he brandished like that red headed goober in A Christmas Story.
     Yes, even though we keep re-electing nearly 90% of a GOP-dominated Congress every two and four years despite giving it approval rating in single digits...
     ...this, too, shall pass.
     72 years ago, we repelled a Nazi menace, a world-wide menace in three different theaters. And we will do it again. I have faith in the indomitable American spirit. Regardless of these neonazi and white nationalist dead-enders, I have an enduring faith in the American love of freedom. We saw it in the Women's March that took place on all seven continents the day after inauguration day. We're seeing it in the usually useless MSM that now are finally, slowly, doing their jobs since Trump's jackbooted thugs began tossing certain outlets from attending even untelevised gaggles.
     We've reached that tipping point when we find ourselves windmilling our arms before we lose our balance when we're told up is down. This laughable palimpsest that we call the Trump administration doesn't even have a passing regard for the concept of plausible deniability and keeps relying on the eroding reputation and respect for the Office of the Presidency to keep giving them that plausible deniability.
     We all know there was no terror attack in Sweden or Bowling Green or Atlanta. Like habitually lying children, they keep throwing shit out there, hoping some of it will stick, testing boundaries to see how much bullshit we'll swallow before we choke.
     Sure, some gleefully eat that shit sandwich served up daily but they will be laughed into the margins of society because we're seeing indisputable signs that more and more of these Trumpers are experiencing the sticker shock of their lives. And one doesn't need to be a Beltway insider, any political pundit or a Poli Sci major to know this will be the second, certainly the third briefest administration in history.
     White House insiders are saying the GOP is patiently awaiting the coronation of President Pence and then we can deal with that idiot when the time comes. But Donald Trump is a splinter in the body politic. He is just so wrong for the job, like seeing a hired clown at a wake. And we will push him out when we reach that final tipping point, when there clearly comes a time when we have to decide what we love more: Our democratic soul or a corrupt government.
     He, too, shall pass.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 2/21/17

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There Are Lies, Damned Lies and Donald Trump's

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
It's been a little more than four weeks, now. We've seen and heard enough. So let's get real, folks:
      George W. Bush was a great President and a masterful statesman... compared to the bloated Oompa Loompa who's now lumbering through the White House. Indeed, the more we see of this oaf, the more one's memory casts its lonely mind's eye to that famous meme of George Bush waving over the caption, "Miss me, yet?"
     In this reverse political version of The Evolution of Man chart, it's becoming more and more obvious that the Republican Party still hasn't finished devolving. Sarah Palin? She at least had a half term as Alaska's Governor under her belt when she called it quits and went for the reality TV gigs. Trump expanded his brand in reality TV first, then became President. What could go wrong? said over 60,000,000 voters.
     Yet in the first 30 days of this administration, it's becoming increasingly obvious that not just something but many things are very, very wrong with this administration. Let's start with last Thursday. It's a story that hasn't been covered by the "fake news" outlets such as CNN or the New York Times. Because that day, just as Trump was itching to get back to his southern White House in Mar-a-Lago, the FBI raided the real White House and removed six of his staffers (At the same time Trump was bragging to the media about his administration running like "a well-oiled machine."). Why?
     It seems they'd lied about their past and credentials on their SF86 applications. In case you don't know what that is, the long name for it is the "Questionnaire for National Security Positions." I'll write that again, emphasis mine: "Questionnaire for National Security Positions." Such as the kind held by Steve Bannon (without Senate vetting or approval) and, until recently, disgraced liar and traitor Michael Flynn.
     If you want an indication of just how completely dysfunctional this administration is, just peruse the Twitter feed of a person named @AngryWHStaffer and you'll be treated to a front row seat of a political nightmare straight out of the mind of Stanley Kubrick or Mike Judge on a bad acid trip. Sean Spicer, according to the covert staffer, is on the way out. Trump hates the Presidency and the burden and impositions that come with the territory. He stalks through the halls of ultimate power suspicious of everything and everyone like King Lear with a ludicrous combover. Essentially, this staffer paints a picture of a resentful, frustrated temp who's watching the clock at a Kinko's every Friday afternoon.
     And then there was his cockwanding rally last night in Melbourne, Florida.

Today, We Are All Sweden. And Bowling Green. And Atlanta...
It's ironic that the guy who'd promised to "drain the swamp" would set up his southern White House in a state that's a glorified swamp. And, to prove what a go-getter he is, Trump held a 2020 campaign rally in Melbourne last night in his honor that drew more than a couple of comparisons to Hitler and Nazi Germany. After all, sitting Presidents don't have rallies in their dubious honor- Dictators do.
     This came at the same time John McCain's statement about Trump was going viral on social media: That stifling the mainstream media is how dictatorships get started. Granted, McCain's own history with the media has hardly been any more cordial. But McCain's anger management issues aside, it can't be said the senior Senator from Arizona ever accused the news of being fake or called out for "a friendly reporter". One must grudgingly admit McCain is right about a very basic political science truism: Dictators on both ends of the political spectrum despise the media until they can control it. Because a free press is the first step to accountability and dictators such as Trump simply don't want that.
     So, just to be clear, the White House has essentially not told the truth, or at least the whole truth, about anything since January 20th. Not. One. Thing. And last night in Melbourne, Trump threw another fake log that will nonetheless catch fire for the goobers who were in attendance: Sweden was hit with a terrorist attack last Friday night.
     And by, "Sweden was hit with a terrorist attack last Friday night", I mean to say Sweden wasn't hit with a terrorist attack last Friday night. And, just like that, Sweden joined the growing fraternity of phantom jihad hot spots like Bowling Green (Kellyanne Conway) and Atlanta (Sean Spicer).
     Hitler at least had a Reichstagg fire to point to to ramp up his fascist agenda. Trump and his flaks have to make theirs up.
     Our nation is being run by a man who's genetically allergic to accountability and can't even be bothered to tell the truth about the weather or the size of his inaugural crowd or the number of "illegal aliens" who voted against him and for Hillary Clinton. And now he's following the lead of flaks who are fun fodder on SNL and making up terrorist attacks in Scandinavia completely out of whole cloth.
     No honeymoon period for this man with Congress, the media or with voters who actually have a pair of neurons to rub together. This administration's brand has been damaged since the moment Trump took his tiny hand off that Bible that belonged to Lincoln (to whom he'd compared himself last night). Just 30 days in power and this is turning into what will surely be, if it isn't already, the worst, least transparent, most evil and disingenuous presidential administration in the 228 year-long history of the American presidency.
     And we should be reminding our lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about the power of the 25th Amendment.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Latest Press Gurgle

     Seriously, folks, I tried to write about this public jerk off from last Thursday in a timelier manner. I had thought and thought in between my other duties and responsibilities, wondering how I'd approach this in a fresh and engaging way. I have to say, even though I saw the entire presser from a local coffee shop, Trump defeated me this time. I'm speechless. It's like the deathly silence that follows the first few seconds after a mortar or bomb blast, that blessed second of painlessness just before your nerve endings register a severe burn.
     You could do one of three things: You could either read Rolling Stone's article listing the 18 lowlights from Trump's presser, you could watch ABC's Youtube video of the entire debacle or you could simply admit defeat like yours truly and accept the fact that Trump has successfully defeated scores of wouldbe satirists and late night comedians.
     Whichever option you choose, one must admit that Trump's second press conference as our so-called President was everything we expected and more. Blast the press for reporting only fake news: Check. Brag about his YUGE margin of victory on Election Day: Check. Deny any involvement in Russia either politically or financially despite mountain ranges of evidence to the contrary: Check. Deny being racist or anti Semitic: Check. Blame the black guy for this mess despite the Dow hovering at just under 20,000: Check.
     What he barely did, and what was his main reason for spontaneously holding this presser (a decision he'd literally made on the spur of the moment in the Oval Office. "Let's hold a press conference today," he said because, you know, he comprehends things so much better than anyone else, he don't need no prepping from his shrill, strident press secretary MiniTru Spice.), was to mention for any significant length his replacement for Andrew "Yes, I did stop beating my wife" Puzder. (It's R. Alexander Acosta, in case you missed it).
     Instead of giving Mr. Acosta the national spotlight for the first time, he couldn't resist gorging himself on the attention of the press that he despises like a straight sailor gobbling twink cock on a 12 hour liberty in Manila. He hates the act, hates the taste but he's gotta get his shameful fix any way he can. Nom, nom, nom. Ew. Nom, nom, nom. Spit.
     So for 75 minutes, Trump kneaded his withered phallus with those tiny hands and tried unsuccessfully time and again to spooge all over his unused teleprompter that was two feet in front of him as he vainly tried to get the press corp, and horrified American witnesses, to believe he won the election bigly, that the nation of Russia was "fake news", that he had no ties to Russia and then, after having already thrown Michael Flynn under the bus, backed up over his battered, broken, forgotten body several more times.
     It was the single most inartful, incomprehensible, stumblebum speech/presser, perhaps, in American history. Think of George W. Bush's worst pressers and compare it to Thursday's spectacle, that losing two out of three falls with a ten minute time limit wrestling match with the English language. Do it and I'm positive you will walk away from this post sure in the opinion that he made Bush's worst malapropism-riddled press conference sound like Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech by conspicuous relief.
     Essentially, Trump has morphed into Mack North, the Congressman-elect played by Will Ferrell on SNL in 1998. Even after winning a Congressional election by a good margin, Ferrell's North launches a trilogy of attack ads against his vanquished opponent, even stalking him and his family at a shopping plaza to rub his defeat in his face.
     Ladies and gentlemen, Will Ferrell is obsolete, as is the entire staff of the Onion. Andy Borowitz had to be talked off a 50 story ledge yesterday.
     He didn't once reach the teleprompter with his watery spooge but you gotta give the man credit for trying (Those tiny hands can only cover so many millimeters of the Presidential penis). But we are beyond parody, beyond satire. So, the only weapon we have remaining to us is our tried-and-true standby: The truth and non-alternative facts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 2/14/17

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Babel of Facts

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
In a 19th century edition of Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of the phrases in the preface that was filled with otherwise overwrought and turgid prose was, "the Babel of Facts." It struck me as perfectly applicable and relevant to the Arabian bazaar of ideas and alternative facts to which we've been subjected since this traveling psychological roadshow known as the Trump campaign finally pounded stakes in the Rose Garden of the White House.
     In case you haven't realized it (and, admittedly, only English majors or the homemade equivalent would likely know this), Table Talk also contains a phrase beloved of novelists and their readers- "willing suspension of disbelief."
     Yet what we're seeing today is the willing suspension (or unwilling, depending on who you voted for and the degree of your sticker shock) of belief.
     Now, it's a given that administrations lie to the people all the time. It's what they do. They need to, or so they think, because they know that if We the People knew precisely what was being done in our good names, they'd be fending off an endless sea of pitchforks and torches stretching all the way back to Arlington. But what we're seeing here with the Trump administration is a kind of artless disingenuousness that isn't even going for plausible deniability.
     It's a kind of palpable lying mixed with a strain of viciousness and hostility one only reads about in history textbooks detailing the propaganda campaigns of totalitarian regimes. And usually, when the American government lies to us, it often takes the shape of massaged facts, artful deletions and omissions, some attempt at that sought-after quality of plausible deniability. There's none of that here. And those who dare question the Germanic strongman in the Oval Office will be swiftly denounced on Twitter and on TV.
     It's a brand of dishonesty that relies on the brute size and power of the federal government to keep its detractors at bay, a kind of lying that is completely unmoored from facts, reality and the intractable truths we hold to be self-evident. It's an administration that bellows at the people, against the people and despite the people.
     And the most galling characteristic of this administration, one more galling than the lies themselves, is through its countless flaks such as Conway and the shrill, strident Sean Spicer is its demand for respect from the people to whom it ceaselessly lies about the most trivial things. Trump has yet to learn that respect has to be earned and a major step in doing so is to be honest and frank with the people.

"It's Really So Stupid!"
Let's start with Anderson Cooper's delightful breaking up at hearing Kellyanne "Baghdad Barbie" Conway's explanation of the "alternative facts" dished up by Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Cooper's helpless giggling at Conway's spin of stubborn facts that were at stark odds with the administration's official line was more viscerally satisfying than even Seth Meyers' deft, rapier-like deconstruction of her lies, Chuck Todd insisting "alternative facts" were flat-out "falsehoods" and Jake Tapper's volcanic indignation at the same.
     We could start with Keith Olbermann's unofficial countdown of the 50 Craziest Things Trump Has Done as President, which inevitably includes some of his countless lies. Or we could do our own cataloguing and analysis of some of the more egregious lies vomited from the Trump administration upon the heads of the American people:
     Kellyanne Conway "misspoke", several times, about the fictional Bowling Green Massacre because she apparently can't distinguish the word "terrorists" from "massacre." Trump continues to lie about the size of the attendance of his inauguration that was visibly dwarfed by that of the Woman's March the very next day. Even as recently as two days ago at a meeting with Senators, Trump was doubling down on his easily-provable lie that 3.5 to 5 million people illegally voted for Hillary.
     Then, in what is perhaps the vilest contortion of the truth was Trump's first military action, the underreported raid on Yemen (Yes, please, let's talk about underreported acts of terrorism) that Sean Spicer called "a successful operation by all standards." Despite the MSM dabbing away at the story and harumphing their way through the casualty list, apparently even in the first few days after the raid, the worst news to come out was actually soft-pedaling it. Yes, we lost a Navy Seal in the botched operation, CPO William Owens.
     Yet, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had interviewed reporters who were on the ground at the time, nine children, all under the age of 13, were killed and five more wounded. In the act of killing 14 AQAP militants, Seal Team Six had killed 25 civilians, essentially shooting anyone who opened their front door (including the first casualty, an 11 year-old boy). Included in the juvenile deaths was Nawar Anwar al Awlaqi, an eight year-old American girl who was a niece of Anwar al Awlaki, the American-born al Qaeda propagandist we'd killed during the Obama administration (and his 16 year-old son a week and a half later).
     To ramp up the egregious nature of these lies, the Pentagon hastily did an internet search and produced a video that was purported to have been filmed of the raid when in fact it was footage that had been on the internet for a full decade. To make matters worse, the militant we were after, Qasim al Raymi, later publicly taunted Trump in a 12 minute audiotape.
     The myth of the Tower of Babel is a parable of God's revenge on us for attempting to reach heaven with a post-deluvian tower. We were forced to speak different languages and dispersed so we could no longer understand each other. Yet, what we're seeing here and now is a "Babel of Facts", a hodge-podge of lies, spin, falsehoods and half truths. If there truly is a Supreme Being, perhaps this is His or Her revenge on us for being stupid enough to elect Trump. Because if we're stupid enough to elect as leader of the free world such an oaf, then perhaps we don't deserve the truth, however ugly it is.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 2/9/17

Go Buy Ivanka's Bullshit

     After Baghdad Barbie's sales pitch on Fox "News", I suppose the final stage in this farce of a presidency is for Trump's State of the Unions to be telecast on the QVC channel, with limited commercial interruptions. Seriously, we should've signed a prenup agreement before electing this psychopath: "If we have to part ways within the next four years, We the People get half the assets of Trump International."

Monday, February 6, 2017

And Sometimes, Miracles Happen For Good Reasons

     This morning, I'm not a political blogger. For today, I'm not a liberal or a novelist or even a native New Yorker. Today, I'm a proud member at the epicenter of Patriots Nation. And I imagine that all over Massachusetts, and across New England, what's usually the dreariest day of the week, Dreaded Monday, is lit up at water coolers and loading docks with the smiles of those who'd watched last night's Super Bowl LI.
     Sports has a talismanic way of healing a nation's wounds after trying times and this is especially true in America. We could forget for a bit about the baleful rise of Hitler when Jesse Owens took gold after gold at the 1936 Berlin Games. We could forget Watergate for a bit when Hank Aaron became the alltime home run champ early in the 1974 season.
     And, considering the nation's, and the world's, upheaval since Election Night, what we needed was Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to pull off the most stunning upset in Super Bowl history in what was arguably the greatest football game ever played.
     Massachusetts-based sports teams seem to specialize in these comeback championship wins. Just ask any Red Sox fan about the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. Denis Leary had filmed a pregame spot that practically predicted the sweep of the Red Sox after the Bronx Bombers raced to a 3-0 lead. No baseball team had ever come back from a 0-3 deficit to win the pennant. But Kevin Millar takes the walk from Mariano Rivera with a high, inside cutter, he's lifted for a pinch runner and Dave Roberts, and the Red Sox, were off to the races.
     Last night in the first half, the New England Patriots seemed to be replaced by pod people who'd never played football before. Bad passes, dropped passes, a porous offensive line that let Brady get sacked five times, an ineffective special teams, a Brady pick-for-six. By the time Lady Gaga started flying around Houston like the world's oldest fairy, they were down 21-3. At one point, we were down by 25 points. No team had ever come from more than a 10 point deficit to win a Super Bowl.
     We don't know what happened in that locker room during the halftime show. Maybe Bill Belichick showed his players Polaroids of their kids sleeping in their beds. But whatever happened sparked the most amazing second half in Tom Brady's Hall of Fame career. And as good as he was in the third quarter, he was spectacular in the fourth. And again in overtime, the first in Super Bowl history.
     The team that needed to score four unanswered touchdowns and a couple of two point conversions did just that. The Falcons' first 28 points were also their last. 93 plays later the Patriots had engineered the kind of comeback you only see in movies. Brady finished the night with 466 yards, James White scored the tying, and winning, touchdown, two of three. And Julian Edelman made perhaps the most miraculous catch in the history of the big game. It was one that perhaps wouldn't have been possible without the unwilling and improbable participation of the three defenders who'd surrounded him.
     And it all made up for Super Bowl 42 against the Giants. And Super Bowl 46, again against the Giants (and in older brother Peyton's house, at that). It made up for Deflategate. It made up for the suspension, Roger Goodell's snubbing of the Patriots during the postseason, his irrational stalking of Tom Brady...
     Well, almost. As Goodell swallowed a ton of crow and handed the Lombardi trophy to owner Robert Kraft, the Pats fans in Houston couldn't resist letting loose with a deafening chorus of pent-up boos that should've been reserved for Lady Gaga and her ridiculous Peter Pan routine and let him have it. Haters hated on Twitter and insisted the game was rigged but in the end, the New England Patriots had earned their fifth world title under the same owner, same head coach and same quarterback. We were the GOAT, period.
     It was all about love, pride and, yes, even revenge. It was about burnishing an unnecessarily tarnished name that had been dragged through the mud by a petty, vindictive liar named Roger Goodell. It was all about Tom Brady's mother seeing her son play for the first time all year during her battle with ill health for the last year and a half. And for nearly four hours, we could forget about Donald Trump and, once again, making something that had nothing to do with him all about him ("My friend, Tom Brady", tweeted the Tweeter in Chief yesterday in a now-deleted tweet, "you got to back up your friends." And yes, we can even forgive Tom Brady for being a Trump backer and having a "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker.
     We love and idolize Tom Brady because he's simply the greatest quarterback who ever lived. And he's the greatest not because of his political beliefs and who he votes for. And sports at the highest level at which human beings can play give us real drama and, depending on who you root for, happy, fairy tale endings. And last night was one, an ostrich-sized plume in Tom Brady's cap that's already gaudy with them.
     Tuesday we'll go back to worrying about what Trump and Bannon will do to us and our nation and its reputation the world over. Today and the day they take their victory lap through Boston belongs to the New England Patriots.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Keep Calm and... Olbermann On?

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
“If we could wipe it off of the history books, we would. But we can’t.” - White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, on the Holocaust.

There's a still impotent if growing strain of alarm that Trump's about to bring back the horrors of the Third Reich and, while those who say this are not necessarily wrong, they do so without workable context that only a reading of the historical first draft at the time (its journalists and diarists) could properly provide. Perhaps to a primitive people, one's prediction of a solar eclipse would look like an act of magic or godly omniscience when in fact a good farmer's almanac could make one privy to these celestial secrets. But how many of us bother to take the time to learn why and how exactly solar eclipses transpire?
     And the one thing that cripples our attempt to put the current times in its proper context is our incessant attempts to parallel long-dead historical events with the current and to extrapolate (some would say forcefully extrude) its continuation into today's events. Rather, instead, we need to go back to the source itself, the people who'd seen and reacted to Hitler's ascension to ultimate power in January 1933. Because only a proper reading of those old tea leaves, with the proper context and understanding, can justify any extrapolations reaching 84 years across time. Because far from Donald Trump's own improbable rise to power being the continuation or reappearance of a Third Reich, what happened starting January 30th, 1933 serves as a virtual prologue. And what provides us with our prologue is the very epilogue of the Third Reich.
     On the day after the 84th anniversary of Hitler's election as Chancellor of Germany, Zeit Online had published an article that serves as such a good cautionary tale against the passive evil of complacency that it ought to be required reading in every American household, starting with what passes for our media. It's entitled simply, "Wait Calmly", an incredible statement given how the Third Reich would play out and made even more incredible by it being issued by the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith in the first hours after Hitler's election.
     It's virtually impossible to imagine Adolph Hitler being viewed as a figurehead, the weak sister in the new ultra right wing government but that was widely the perception. The real power behind the throne was seen as Alfred Hugenberg who, like Steve Bannon, was a media mogul perceived as being one of those party insiders who would paint Hitler into a corner "until he squealed." Today, who remembers Alfred Hugenberg?
     Yet everyone, it seems, had underestimated Hitler and his insatiable thirst for power. And the predictions that Hitler would be kept on a short leash is understandable, up to a point. Germany had had three Chancellors of the President's Cabinet in 1932 alone (Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen and Kurt von Schleicher), Even those alarmed by Hitler's public pronouncements, including doing away with the Democratic government run by President Hindenburg, saw the Austrian as being just another Chancellor who'd be out in six months or less. Yet Hitler had warned everyone in his many speeches during the 1932 election, as well as in Mein Kampf, as to what he would do. Then he went ahead and did it.
     Then 12-13 years and 6,000,000 corpses later (not including the millions more in battle-related casualties), the bewildered and horrified German people saw their capital city get bombed to rubble, their children conscripted and saw through General Patton's enforced tour of a liberated death camp and heard through the Nuremberg Trials the genocide committed in their names. And they wondered, How could we let this happen?

The Cult of Personality
It would be a gross historical oversimplification to say that Hitler rode into power on a wave of working class disaffection and an even broader stoking of anger over Germany's humiliating defeat in WWI. However, those were certainly two large factors in his political success. In fact, we ought to focus on that for the simple reason that these were two of the driving catalysts for Trump winning the Electoral College by a virtual landslide-
     During his own campaign, Trump kept hammering home the points that we were no longer great, that terrorists had humiliated us and had continued to humiliate us since 9/11, that he would bring back the jobs and a sense of security. When Hitler was elected Chancellor, the Weimar Republic of Germany was in a deep recession and unemployment was high. The aging Hindenburg seemed ill equipped to deal with his nation's economic woes.
     Yet, despite the old President's all too obvious feebleness, he was widely seen as a calming influence on the untried Chancellor, as the real power. This, despite Hitler's solemn promises to do away with the last vestige of Germany's democracy. And with the Nazi Party's swelling ranks and gathering political strength, which necessarily involved a compliant media, Germans were beginning to look askance at the Jews in their midst who were increasingly seen as running the banks, the media and holding back the progress of the Aryan people.
     In the interests of drawing parallels between Nazi Germany and today's United States, this makes Trump's ascension to the presidency all the more mysterious because Trump had never advanced one policy position of any substance during his year and a half on the campaign trail. Unlike Hitler, he began breaking his promises, starting with packing his own Cabinet with the sort of multimillionaires and billionaires he'd vilified to his hysterically hateful crowds during his sloppy and ugly beer hall putsches.
     Also, unlike Trump, Hitler was actually in the military, had fought in WWI and was not wealthy and widely-known to the German people as Trump has been in the US and the world over for decades. So, in a way, Trump, vague policy proposals or no, was still a known quantity even if not in a political sense, making his election to the presidency all the more bewildering.
     On Facebook, I had this to say yesterday morning before I'd even known the Zeit Online article existed,
I find we as a nation (and I'm including both parties in Congress when I say this) are anxiously awaiting the ship of state to right itself. Right now, it's reeling from port to starboard, making us all seasick but still, we wait until the ship rights itself and finally finds calm waters. We're subconsciously hoping that some wise old hand at these matters will take Trump aside and finally inform him in no uncertain terms that this is not the way to steer that ship of state. At this point, mutiny is unthinkable even though the 25th Amendment tells us it's a legal option. But here's the problem- Trump's turned that once august ship of state into a pirate ship and had replaced Obama's largely capable crew with a band of pirates who make Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow look like fucking Lord Nelson by conspicuous relief. These ass pirates consist of daughters of drug runners, charter school whores, white nationalists, neo nazis, billionaire corporate raiders and other assorted unconvicted criminals. And, still, we hope this man will right the ship and chart us into, if not a great ocean of the future, at least one less uncertain than it now looks. And, as with the 1% on the Titanic, we will still refuse to believe we've placed our fortunes in the hands of an incompetent pirate until the ship of state runs smack into that iceberg so they can then sell us space on the insufficient number of lifeboats. Only then, when the ripple effect finally reaches and overwhelms us, when it directly threatens us, will we realize what we'd done in placing our affairs in the grasping little hands of a narcissistic pirate surrounded by like-minded first mates.
     This pretty much encapsulates the prevailing attitude in the first hours and days of Hitler's reign. Or, as the Zeit Online's Von Volker Ullrich put it, "They argued he would grow more reasonable once in office and that his cabinet would tame him. A dictatorship? Out of the question!"

It Can't Happen Here
Guess again. It already has.
      At first glance, the above black and white picture looks as if it was taken at a Nazi rally many decades ago. But in fact, it was snapped just a couple of days ago by an anonymous student at a Texas high school on Class Picture Day. A puerile prank by a bunch of stupid kids? Perhaps. But there were at least 70 of them and they even shouted "Heil Hitler!" and "Heil Trump!"
     Then consider less than two weeks after Election Night, neo-Nazi Richard Spencer held a rally and earned some stiff-armed salutes after referring to the media by its German name (Lügenpresse, a pejorative term German Nazis used in describing the media they also hated).
     Let's also consider the recent wave of bomb threats that have been called in recently against Jewish centers. At last count as of the end of last month, 17 such centers and places of worship had been threatened.
     While some may think it's rash and premature to blame Trump for this spate of neoNazi activity (And to be fair, Trump has, as with every President since Truman, sworn unswerving loyalty to Israel), one doesn't have to squint very hard to see how and why Trump and his brutal, authoritarian manner appeals to such far right wing elements:
     He's demonized with eliminationist rhetoric those who are not like us (Mexicans and Muslims). He had and continues to expel members of the media and those who are even suspected of opposing him, including the now notorious example of tossing Univision reporter Jorge Ramos from an August press conference and his press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to do the same to another Hispanic reporter (CNN's Jake Acosta) after Trump's first presidential presser.
     And, it ought to be stressed again, the man who sleeps with Hitler's speeches next to his bed pushed the same exact buttons Hitler did 85 years ago. He, too, promised to make the nation great again, to purge fear and shame visited by that nation's enemies as well as those who sought to do the Fatherland harm. To paraphrase the Simpson's caption, "Trump's not fascist but is #1 with fascists."
     Again, it ought to be stressed that the conservative German elements hideously underestimated Hitler's ravenous ambitions. Many of them, including Hindenburg himself, helped propel Hitler to the chancellory and had even agreed with his proposals (such as severing the onerous chains of the Treaty of Versailles and gearing up Germany's war machine in defiance of that Treaty.). But he was seen as little more than a puppet or figurehead. What they didn't count on was Hitler's oratorical charm and overwhelming popularity with the public.
     It took Hitler just five months to essentially lock down the entire nation. And Trump doesn't have another national leader to leapfrog over.

What's the Final Solution?
History tends to collapse in on itself, to get synopsized in the interests of brevity. Hitler's administration moved swiftly and began to consolidate power while simultaneously starving opposing elements of it. He outlawed Socialism, shoehorned Hermann Göring into the Cabinet despite his not having a portfolio. Hitler also made him Prussia's Interior Minister, thereby allowing him to assume control over the police of the largest state. Eventually, all other political parties were outlawed. Then he packed the judiciary with like-minded ideologues.
     Consider Trump's law and order boilerplate during his inauguration even as over 200 protesters in Washington DC were being arrested at the same time. And 53 weeks before his inauguration, he claimed during a GOP debate that "police are the most mistreated people" in America. American law enforcement, in fact, has been one of the few elements in our society that Trump hasn't gone out of his way to alienate.
     And while Trump hasn't set up death camps sufficiently removed from the American Homeland... yet, one must pause and seriously reflect upon his "temporary" Muslim ban and Trump signing one of an endless series of executive orders authorizing 10,000 more immigration officers to assist in his effort to purge 11,000,000 undocumented residents from the US.
     Deportation was the public policy spouted by Hitler and his surrogates as the Jews were loaded onto trains and shipped to parts unknown. The German people were told they were being "relocated" to camps like our Manzanar. Hence their shock in 1946 when they finally learned of their fate.
     At one of those camps, Buchenwald, emerged a monster named Ilse Koch, wife of the Commandant. There's no genealogical evidence that the infamous Koch brothers are in any way related to her but they certainly were related to their father Fred Koch. Koch, with a Nazi sympathizer here in the US, managed to build a refinery in Nazi Germany that was approved by der Fuhrer himself, according to a new book. That refinery, one of Germany's three biggest ones, literally fueled the Nazi war effort.
     After the war, right wingers went on to spearhead Operation Paperclip that brought former Nazis to the United States (It essentially founded NASA through Werner von Braun). They were the best and brightest from scientists and engineers to captains of industry. These Nazis then went on to finance the right wing think tanks that still exist today, think tanks that have ceaselessly worked to make Trump's current proposals sound reasonable and mainstream (Thanks to Overton's ever-shifting window).
     Which is why I say the epilogue of Nazi Germany is today's prologue here in the United States. And if we're going to resist, we're going to need more than Keith Olbermann's broom closet jeremiads on Youtube or blogs such as this one. One day protests with or without pussy hats aren't going to change anything. Our nation has been overrun with pathological liars screaming about massacres that never happened.
     And what's even more chilling to consider are the very real massacres and purges that will happen of which they'll remain silent.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"Fascism Forever"

     To recap:
     We have a president who keeps Hitler's speeches next to his bed and thought Frederick Douglass was still alive.
     The Chief Strategist and member of the National Security Council is an open white nationalist.
     The KKK and white supremacy groups, including David Duke, supported Trump during his campaign.
     His Attorney General nominee is openly racist.
     After banning Muslims from seven predominantly-Muslim nations (including legal immigrants), Trump has just removed the white supremacist groups who hate Muslims the most from the terror watch program, thereby giving them a huge free pass.
     And his Supreme Court nominee was the Founder and President of Fascism Forever in prep school.
     Any questions, meine Freunde?

(Correction: I just found out this morning that America Magazine contacted several of Gorsuch's classmates and they confirmed he never, in fact, formed such a club and that it was just a jab at his liberal antagonists. Still, what kind of a right wing twat would even joke about fascism considering how many lives were lost due to Hitler's and Mussolini's own strain of fascism?)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Welcome Back to Gotham City, extra edition


Good Times at Gotham City, 2/1/17

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #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.
  • 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.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find, 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.
  • 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.
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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