Friday, March 31, 2017

Heavy is the Double Weave That Wears the Crown

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)

"Now does he feel his title hang loose about him, like a giant's robes upon a dwarfish thief."
    -Shakespeare, Macbeth Act V, scene 2

Perhaps we've taken this, "In America, anyone can grow up to become President" thing we say to our kids a bit too far. Of course, in order to be an effective President, one must first actually grow up.
     Many conservative voters, we'll charitably call the walking brain stems who thought Trump would actually have their back, still identify themselves with the Party of Personal Responsibility. But I would like to ask these people to name one time that Trump has ever actually taken personal responsibility for any lie he's told, any misgovernance, any fuckup whatsoever.
     I guarantee in every case, it will result in a deer in the headlights look to be hastily followed up by an angry denunciation somehow involving the word "leftard" or "libtard" or some iteration or permutation thereof. But the point I'm making is that enough people in enough red states voted for this buffoon so that, even though he did not carry the majority of votes in what's supposed to be a democratic society, we nonetheless shoved into the Oval Office the world's oldest toddler.
     Toddlers and children in general famously do not have a sense of personal responsibility for the simple reason that they fear comeuppance from the authority figures in their lives. Personal responsibility means being no longer able to test boundaries and doing what comes natural to them, which is a propensity for chaos, the natural state of the juvenile.
     This is what comes to mind whenever I hear Donald Trump blame someone else for some fire that some unlucky staffer has to put out or at least downplay by telling us to ignore the smoke, that smoke doesn't mean there's a fire and if there is a fire, it's because of those damned "fake news" reporters who simply have it in for Trump.

     This inability for Trump to take any responsibility for anything reached its most sinister phase when the Trump-controlled National Enquirer, that bastion of fair and factual reporting that gave us Hillary/Alien hybrid love children and statues of Elvis on Mars recently reported that Trump and Trump alone caught the Russian spy in our midst.
     Joe McCarthy would be so proud.
     The "spy", of course, was one of the major players in his campaign, transition team and, for a brief time as National Security Advisor, his administration and that spy's name was Michael Flynn. Trump has the capacity to think of a hundred different reasons for throwing Flynn under the wheels of his semi, and pinning the entire Russia connection on him. But here's the likeliest reason.

From Russia, Without Love
The Trump-trumpeted scandal sheet would have you believe that the head of our government undertook a dangerous mission a la Mr. Phelps and turned up a dangerous double agent all on his own. But the plain fact is that Flynn could very well be volunteering everything he knows to the FBI in exchange for immunity for his testimony. (Think of John Schindler's famous observation that those who turn state's evidence first get the lightest sentences).
     The problem with this strategy of Trump's is that literally dozens of members of Trump's Cabinet and his administration have verifiable connections to Putin's Russia, starting with Trump himself and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Then it goes down the line with Paul Manafort, about whom we're not hearing so much these days, Trump's onetime campaign manager and who absolutely brokered very lucrative deals to hatch schemes that would benefit Putin's government while being detrimental to Ukranian interests. Blaming just Flynn for Trump's Russia connection is like blaming the carnage at Pamplona on the guy who just opened the bullpen gate.
     If anything brings down Trump, it'll be this because it's looking increasingly clear it compromised our very electoral process and put the wrong candidate in the Oval Office. Leading Republican hardliners such as John McCain and his vestigial twin Lindsey Graham haven't been very shy about mentioning Trump and Russia in the same sentence as well as hinting at harsh sentences for those involved. Which is only fair- The Russia connection and Trump's surrogates obviously were meeting with a certain Russian ambassador (If by ambassador you mean recruitment spy) named Kislyak.
     Nowadays, every Republican who ever met him, and there have been many, now snap their fingers and wear puzzled expressions when they hear Comrade Kislyak's name.
     The time will come either just before or after the midterms which will be a bloodbath for Republicans, if they don't get their act together and denounce Trump and his Russian connection soon, when they, too, will be snapping their fingers and wearing puzzled expressions when accused of meeting with Trump. And if they suffer the fallout from voters they so richly deserve, there will come a time when Republicans who are hip deep in this quagmire (starting with Devin Nunes) will be questioned by Democratic-led committees, "Are you now or have you ever been involved with ex President Donald J. Trump?"

Friday, March 24, 2017

Behold the Omnibus of Progress

     So yesterday, while Tangerine Nightmare was feting trucking executives who thought it would be a great idea to bring a semi on the grounds of the White House (what, no mud? They could've held a Monster Truck Rally thursday, Thursday, THURSDAY!), the House, without Trump knowing it, had punted voting on the Trumpcare bill until today. Then he got behind the wheel of the big rig and played Smokey and the Bandit for a few seconds after promising to blame truck drivers if the bill fell one vote short of passing. (Yes, he did.)
     No doubt, as he took the wheel of the inactive rig and went "Vroom, vroom", he was secretly fantasizing about running over Muslims and screaming, "How do you like it, you ragheaded motherfuckers?!"
     Now, Paul Ryan, a man who's two heartbeats away from the Presidency (and you know he'll be Pence's VP when, not if, when Trump's finally removed from office like the opportunistic foreign object that he is), is talking about cutting taxes when he can't even get his own party to agree on how to kill tens of thousands of Americans when they finally stick the gladius down the gullet of Obamacare.
     And when the GOP can't even agree on how they want to kill you, then there's surely trouble in Republican paradise.
     Essentially, Trump's tap dancing on the ceiling and it's a miracle he's managed to avoid any appreciable fallout for not having a health care plan worthy of replacing the ACA. Or any plan to stop ISIS. Or any plan at all that'll benefit the American people. And then, of course, there's Nunes practically rear-ending his own career by doing what he's been doing regarding Trump's ties to Russia. Apparently, the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee Chairman saw something that straightened out his pubic hair and immediately sought to minimize the damage even if it meant hoisting himself on his petard by possibly leaking classified intel. (Among the bombshells: Pence and not Trump was the intended target of the surveillance sweep.)
     Really, at some point, a bleeding heart liberal has to almost feel sorry for Sean "Bantam cock" Spicer and Kellyanne "Crack Whore Barbie" Conway in turning themselves into human countermeasures at least five days a week for this burning blimp of an administration led by a Mussolini Mini Me who pretends to drive trucks when he's not pretending to be President.
     Of course, the operative word is "almost" because, while I do not wish to see this country fail as Rush Limbaugh did on Election Night 2008, this administration has to officially fail and fall because not only can the center not hold, it's been butt-fucked into oblivion faster than Nunes did his career.
     And Congress, the Justice Department and We the People have to wake the fuck up and realize that Trump is the Yamchurian Candidate, he is Vlad Putin's fuck doll and our last election, shitty pair of presidential candidates or not, was compromised. Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton's email account and release the missing 30,000 emails and, days later, that's what happened.
     The Republicans aren't talking about St. Ronnie so much these days because St. Ronnie, when he wasn't accidentally walking into broom closets on his way to briefings he'd immediately forget, was a staunch foe of Russia back when it was still the USSR. He was against walls such as the one dividing East and West Germany and he sought to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, not accelerate it.
     Trump had wrenched the Republican party into his own hideous image and now, within a generation, he's got Republicans cheerleading for Russia while Democrats rattle their sabres against it. Meanwhile, health care is in tatters, a spot on the Supreme Court is still open after more than 13 months and all Republicans can talk about now is lowering taxes for those least deserving.
     If Reagan could come back from the dead, he'd spit in Trump's face.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It Must Be Asked... Trump's voters feel about his campaign promises now. Because...
     ...after Trump lambasted the 1% and promised to keep them out of his Cabinet, he then stuffed it with multimillionaires and multibillionaires and Wall Street insiders.
     ...after promising to make Mexico pay for his vanity wall, he then asks Congress to give him 20,000,000,000 of our dollars to build it.
     ...after promising to give Americans a better alternative to Obamacare, one in which more Americans than ever will be covered, 17,000,000 Americans instead will lose their health care.
     ...after promising to destroy ISIS within a month, Trump's first major military offensive was an unmitigated disaster in which children and a Navy SERAL were killed and the actual target taunted Trump in an audiotape and ISIS is as at least as strong as ever because Trump has no plan, after all.
     ...after promising not to touch your Social Security, he then immediately began gunning for your Social Security. And your Medicare.
     ...after promising not to waste taxpayer dollars on golfing and vacations like Obama, Trump has already been to Mar-a-Lago five weekends out of the first nine since being sworn in to play golf and sleep.
     ...after promising we'd use American steel for the unpopular Keystone XL pipeline, Russian steel began showing up with suspicious speed after Trump authorized the pipeline.
     ...after promising to save American jobs, the only ones he's "saved" involved corporations who got sweetheart tax breaks and those who haven't gotten them are still offshoring American jobs like crazy.
     ...after promising to "Make America Great Again", Mexico's president refused to meet with Trump, the Australian Prime Minister got hung up on and Germany's Chancellor and the Japanese Prime Minister had given him strange looks in public.
     ...after promising to reveal his tax returns, he then decided not to.
     ...after promising that his inauguration day was all about we, the people and that he would work for us, he immediately went on vacation the next day and when he returned set about stealing your health care, your school lunches,your Medicare, Meals on Wheels, your Social Security and everything a growing percentage of Americans need to keep body and soul together.
     ...after promising that neither he nor his campaign had any ties to Russia, it then turned out virtually everyone in his administration did have ties to Russia and lied about it even after being exposed as liars.
     So, how do you like your "President" now, morons?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Good Times in Gotham Ciity, 3/20/17

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Yes, Angela, We All Feel That Way

     After the clusterfuck with Trump and Merkel and him refusing to shake her hand in the Oval Office right after his clusterfuck with the Irish Prime Minister, I think we can now safely say that Angela Merkel is the leader of the Free World. Yes, Adolph Hitler's successor, the current Chancellor of Germany, is the Leader of the Free World. Let that sink in for a moment, folks...
     I'll bet Merkel is now nostalgic for the days when she was getting publicly molested by George W. Bush.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm Having a Better Day Than Julius Caesar

     It was getting to the point where I thought I'd never get to write this post. After hundreds and hundreds of form rejection letters from literary agencies on two continents and four countries, I was beginning to lose hope. Then today, on the Ides of March, I get the email I've been waiting literally decades for:
     I found a British publisher for Tatterdemalion. The acquisitions editor emailed me early this afternoon to tell me he loved it (I submitted it on March 3rd). I can't mention the name of the publisher just yet until I sign the contract, which ought to arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks.
     But these people are legit. I'd checked them out on their website both before and after I'd submitted and they're not some vanity press or third party publisher like the one from Athens that approached me on Christmas Eve (they wanted 200 Euros to cover advertising costs). They've also published two of my Facebook friends. I'm going to get 50% on the Kindle sales and 30% on the print edition, with author copies sold at 40% off. They also want to sign me to a three book deal, plus the two Scott Carson short stories and the Carson novella on which I've been working since 2015.
     Hopefully, they'll do for me what Bookoutre (another startup publisher that recently got snapped up by the Hachette Book Group) did for Robert Bryndza and his The Girl in the Ice (which I'm reading right now). That book sold over a million copies in just under a year.
     I'm so excited right now, I don't know whether to shit or wind my watch.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 3/12/17

Saturday, March 11, 2017

19th Century Reasons for Being Institutionalized

     I think we've all come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is shithouse rat-on-fire insane and should be in a loony bin instead of the Oval Office. But when I saw this on Facebook this morning, I looked at this equally crazy checklist of reasons for institutionalization in the late 19th century and was tempted to take stock of what would've gotten Trump put in a rubber room back in the day:

  • 1) Intemperance & Business Trouble: One but not the other. Trump doesn't drink but his first divorce and business empire nearly falling would've put him in four point restraints.
  •  2) Hereditary Predisposition: Well, considering his grandfather Friedrich was a whore monger, tax cheat and draft dodger, it's obvious the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
  • 3) Ill treatment by husband: If a woman could be sent to the loony bin for being abused by her husband, then what does that say about the man who treats his wife like shit?
  • 4) Hysteria: Imaginary porno movies by Miss Universes? Imaginary illegal voters in the millions? The previous president bugging his house? The mass media our biggest enemy? All put out on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning? Hm...
  • 5) Immoral life: Do I really have to elaborate on this?
  • 6) Jealousy and Religion: Again, one but not the other.Trump's about as much of a Christian as Christopher Hitchens but jealousy when he thinks someone's stealing his thunder? Oh yeah.
  • 7) Laziness: Consider that every weekend since being sworn in, he's been jetting to Mar-a-Lago to play golf and sleep.
  • 8) Periodical fits: See #4.
  • 9) Political excitement and politics: "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single vote!"
  • 10) Bad Company: I refer you to Trump's business associates and Cabinet.
  • 11) Business Nerves: If I had to declare bankruptcy four times, I'd be nervous, too.
  • 12) Domestic Affliction & Trouble: Do two divorces count?
  • 13) Egotism: Oh boy, where would I even start?
  • 14) Excessive sexual abuse: Does this reference being abused or being the abuser? If the latter, well,then...
  • 15) Greediness: Hasn't paid taxes in at least 20 years and brags about it.
  • 16) Seduction and Disappointment: Gee, how many women have rejected Trump's countless sexual advances?
  • 17) Sexual Derangement: "You can grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
  • 18) Feebleness of intellect: See Cabinet, Trump.
  •     Now, as for the reasons that would never apply to Trump?

  • 1) Imprisonment
  • 2) Over action of the mind.
  • 3) Over study of religion
  • 4) Over taxing mental powers
  • 5) Religious enthusiasm
  • 6) Death of sons in wars
  • 7) Decoyed into the Army
  • 8) Excitement as Officer
  • 9) Exposure in Army
  • 10) The War
  • 11) Fell From Horse in War.
  • Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Profiles in Sociopathy

    (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to faithful and long-suffering reader, CC)
         The New Yorker once asked, "(George Bush) looms small in memory... Having obliviously made murderous errors, Bush now obliviously atones for them. What do you do with someone like that?"
         It's a good and a fair question. Now, Bush has been out of his purloined office for over eight years, nearly 100 months, and he still threatens to inspire intellectual vapor lock in the ablest and most nimble of us. Looking back on it now, it's a miracle I was ever able to cogently to write about this walking brain stem for my first four years as a political blogger.
         And the "atonement" to which the New Yorker had referred happens to be Bush's latest artistic project, unironically entitled, "Portraits in Courage", which shot to #1 on Amazon for perverse reasons we'll never know, the proceeds of which going to the equally unironically named George W. Bush Center's Military Service Initiative in Dallas, Texas.
         Bush had hygienically painted (off photographs) the portraits of 66 veterans (Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, oddly, didn't make the cut) whose bodies and/or minds were fucked up beyond recognition by Bush's lies and the war crimes that resulted from them. This would be ironic if he'd never sent them into an illegal war of regime change on behalf of oil companies considering he's a draft dodger who used Daddy's connections to get him into a champagne flight in the 60's. But considering he did dodge the draft then sent tens of thousands of souls into that quagmire known as Iraq, while seriously floating the idea of cutting their pay and benefits at the same time he was bloating the Pentagon's budget... well, that falls under the heading of monstrous irony.
         This series of clumsy paintings that literally look like something Van Gogh would've produced if he had just a torso and instead had to paint by sticking a brush up his ass proves the psychiatric adage of "once a sociopath, always a sociopath." One does not get better from this condition just as psychopaths and those with Asperger's Syndrome don't just get better one day. This was proven during Bush's salad days as a wannabe Winston Churchill, a man who actually saw the consequences of sending men into a war, when he began painting self portraits and other world leaders. It took all these years for Bush to finally realize that, hey, there are other people in the world who aren't heads of state and that real human beings fight wars.
         You'd think if the man had an ounce of human decency, he'd donate the proceeds of this improbable #1 bestseller to those whose lives he'd ruined or at the very least compromised by ordering them into a war that never should've been waged. Not to some ironically-named thing with his name already on it.
         But that, too, would arise from the faulty assumption that Bush has any scruples or human decency instead of being the disingenuous sociopathic war criminal that he's always been and always will be. And lest you think I'm rudely interrupting the carefully spun narrative that #43 has mellowed in his old age and is even now morphing into America's kindly grandfather, allow me to pass on this tidbit that has slipped through the cracks:
         In another article linked in the one above, there's an anecdote of Bush finally meeting in person one of his subjects on (of course) a golf course. This man had lost an arm and an eye on his third deployment in Afghanistan and Bush actually quipped in front of this man, "Looks like your modeling career is over", to raucous laughter. Because, yes, it's hilarious after a while when our warriors who are thrust into a wrong-headed war lose body parts thousands of miles from home.
         We can only hope that this piece by the Onion becomes true because God knows in this world we coddle war criminals no matter how heinous their crimes. From Operation Paperclip to the strenuous attempt to gentrify one of the world's most notorious mass murderers, this trend continues. And if this life won't exact due justice, then perhaps the afterlife will.

    Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    Physician, Heal Thyself, Stat

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
    "Happy slaves are the bitterest enemies of freedom." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
    "Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.” - Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
    There's a question that is being seriously asked on Facebook and elsewhere: Have any of Ben Carson's patients actually survived?
         It needs to be asked because Carson's obvious stupidity and intractable ignorance would seem to be inconsistent with the intelligence and erudition that's necessary for the job of brain surgeon. Over the decades, we've come to regard neurologists and rocket scientists as the most intelligent and learned among us. Yet everything that comes out of the new HUD Secretary's mouth would indicate that he seriously needs to be examined by one of his colleagues.
         In his introductory comments to his Housing and Urban Development staff yesterday, Ben Carson actually said, 
    There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.
         He delivered this incredible reimagining of the horrors of slavery while sounding as if he'd smoked a pound of hash before his address. USA Today was the first to break the story and it immediately went viral on social media. Yes, incredibly, this is exactly the man the Republican party wanted to lead HUD: A former brain surgeon whose only qualification for the job was having lived in subsidized housing as a boy and now wants to do away with it.
         It would be easy to ridicule and dismiss Carson's insanely clueless remarks about slavery if he was a white man waxing nostalgically about it. We laughed off Cliven Bundy when during his standoff against federal officers called for the return of slavery and cotton picking. But Dr. Carson is an educated African American and a member of Donald Trump's cabinet.
         There are no words. There are no excuses.
         But there is recent precedent for this line of thought.

    Shuckin' and Jivin'
    While weighing in on gay marriage in the Supreme Court's historic ruling (pdf file), Justice Clarence Thomas, another learned black man, detoured from the subject in his minority dissent by saying,
    Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.
         It's a sad time in our nation when enlightened whites, a century and a half removed from the time of slavery, have superior empathy and a better grasp of its evils and the human toll it exacted of its victims than the descendants of those victims. And what does it say about conservatism that it arrogantly seeks to replace history with a palimpsest that portrays one of the most evil facets of our history as a voluntary economic opportunity?
         We also laughed off Donald Trump the day he threw his hat down the escalator and into the three ring circus that is the Republican Party when he told Bill O'Reilly, "If you are an African-American youth right now, you’re in worse shape than you practically ever were in the history of this country." That is until the very next day when Dylann Storm Roof walked into an AME church in Charleston with a loaded hand gun.
         Four and a half years ago, an Arkansas state legislator, Jon Hubbard, wrote and published a book in which he actually said, "[T]he institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise." Just for the record, he flipped his concerns for the people who need it most, white Christians, when he bloviated about immigration, "{T}he immigration issue, both legal and illegal ... will lead to planned wars or extermination. Although now this seems to be barbaric and uncivilized, it will at some point become as necessary as eating and breathing."
         Art Robinson, a GOP Congressional wannabe, published a book of his own in which he cheerfully wrote, "The negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe." (Let's forget for a minute that slavery was abolished across Europe by much of the early 19th century, especially in Great Britain and that not all slave owners were "kind".)
         Bob Vander Plaats, head of an ultra right wing organization called Family Leader, talked presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum into signing his pledge that stated, "A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President."
         Then there was this from David Horowitz: "If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves." Which is like saying today's Jews, including Horowitz, are benefiting to this day from the slave labor of their forbears in the Nazi death camps.

    A Mind Enslaved by Conservatism is a Terrible Thing to Waste
    Only a conservative mind, insulated by wealth and privilege, could look at this infamous picture taken in Louisiana in 1863 and pronounce this slave's whip scars as a road map to success.
         But insularity alone doesn't account for this stubborn ignorance in the conservative brain. Neither can we blame the fading, tenuous reach of distant history. After all, anyone who's read Alex Haley's Roots or of the exploits of the brave men and women who operated the Underground Railroad immediately (one would think) have more insight into slavery. Insularity can be penetrated. History may yet reach us through its chroniclers. There is a deeper issue that explains this intractable, willful ignorance and it's a lack of empathy, a hallmark of the conservative mind.
         This explains how even prominent African American men, including two of the most powerful members of our government, can remain so clueless about the actual effects of slavery on their ancestors. Carson and Thomas had both benefited hugely from Affirmative Action and subsidized housing and health care, educational grants, etc. Note that all the advantages and programs listed above are also perennial targets of their party of choice. In other words, the tried-and-true conservative tactic of pulling up the ladder after themselves.
         It's this sociopathic lack of empathy that makes possible complete ignorance of the existence and purpose of the Underground Railroad, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (part of a quintet of bills ratified by Congress to mollify the Slave States to forestall a civil war) and Carson's incredible statement that immigrants came here on slave ships rather than ordinary passenger steam ships or that immigrants captured in Africa arrived in the belly of slave ships yet were doing so of their own volition.
         There is something very deeply, dreadfully wrong with the conservative mind that would ignore the fact that Great Britain had inserted a network of spies in the slave states during the mid 19th century (including the incredible story of Robert Bunch in Charleston) with the intent of undermining the slave trade that Great Britain had found so abhorrent. In fact, the mental dysfunction of the conservative mind is so pronounced, several respected psychologists and psychiatrists have weighed in on the matter.
         And this serious dysfunction in the Republican-conservative mind allows for incredible statements and beliefs among African Americans that the confederate flag is about "heritage" and that slavery was a "choice" (thereby completely ignoring the efforts of abolitionists such as John Brown and Frederick Douglass). This stubborn ignorance and lack of empathy or even a baseline of sympathy for the victims of slavery cannot be remedied by education. And, in the case of Secretary Carson and Justice Thomas, they especially have no excuses for their warped view of their own peoples' history.

    Monday, March 6, 2017

    Going... Down?

         Every time I see this picture of Putin, I think of Ian Fleming and Sean Connery. It looks just like the kind of cutting edge invention Dr. No or Goldfinger would use. And after 15 years of being Russia's dictator, it's fairly obvious by now that Vlad Putin, former KGB official, is now a James Bond-class super villain.
         Donald Trump, on the other hand, while he'd love to be a dictator on a par with his buddy Vlad, is exactly like the kind of super villain you'd see in an Austin Powers parody. Or rather, he's like Mini Me to Putin's Dr. Evil.
         Now we're hearing in several news sources, including the Daily Mail, Politico, CNN and the New York Times, that Trump had a screaming hissy fit in the Oval Office last Friday and booted his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and his Propaganda Minister Steve Bannon off Air Force One's passenger manifest at the last minute. And why did he do this?
         Because they didn't do enough to stop Jeff Sessions (KKK-Alabama) from recusing himself from any DOJ investigation into Trump's connection to Russia. The ship is going down fast and Trump's losing whatever little self control he may have had before improbably sliding into Obama's old chair.
         It doesn't do any good to bring up the fact that the Executive Branch should not in any way interfere with the Department of Justice, especially in matters directly concerning the Attorney General. Karl Rove can tell you all about that. And it profits no one to bring that up because Trump's an incurious idiot who makes George W. Bush, a lesser idiot, look like a PhD in Political Science by conspicuous relief. He has not displayed the slightest bit of pragmatism in how our government works aside from successfully installing a Fifth Column within it with the intention of destroying the departments and the people they're supposed to serve.
         And while I know that dossier on Trump in Russia was compiled by someone who used to be British Intelligence, the story about the golden shower shows put on for Trump remain apocryphal at best and don't get to the heart of the real issues. And the questions should be, what does Putin know, when did he know it and how is he using it?
         The longer this administration shambles on between the Potomac River and Mar-a-Lago, the more it begins to resemble an adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate as interpreted by Benny Hill or Monty Python. It's like a creepy, reverse version of 50 Shades of Grey only in this case it's the billionaire (and everyone under him) who's getting fucked.
         We all know why Sessions got chosen and confirmed as Attorney General. It was the sleaziest and skankiest of nods: The One Issue Nomination. Jeff Sessions, racist baggage containing his Klan costume and all, was essentially a Button Man installed in the Justice Department's Big Corner Office with the intention of killing any investigation into Trump's ties with Russia. Even during his campaign, it already looked as if Trump was being blackmailed by Putin for something and what that is remains to be seen.
         But the shipments of Russian steel provided by one of Putin's oligarch pals have already begun arriving (and very rapidly, as if the cargo ships were closer than that Russian spy sub off the coast of Connecticut) after Trump signed an executive order permitting the building of the Keystone XL pipeline after airily proclaiming it would use nothing but US steel. And now, the same people who were screaming about the pipeline to begin with are now screaming that American steel isn't being used, after all. As if it's OK to build this largely useless pipeline (it would create a few hundred jobs, tops, for Americans) as long as we use the right steel.
         As usual, we're missing the big picture while focusing on tremendous trifles. While the GOP falls in line with the diktats from the WH that everything Russian is A-OK despite it being a quasi-Communist hellhole, we're focusing on unsubstantiated stories that have yet to rise above the level of conspiracy theorizing. Our nation is being run by a foaming at the mouth madman who still refuses to believe that Russia hacked into the DNC and helped to hand him the election but believes Obama got a FISA warrant to spy on Trump Tower.
         Because he heard it on Breitbart.
         Think about that for a minute. As I'd predicted here months ago, Trump is a chimp with a machine gun, an epileptic juggling hand grenades. And while the decisions and executive orders he signs are officially his, they come from alt right conspiracy theory websites like Breitbart and God only knows where else.
         So, even if only for the wrong reasons, Trump did himself a favor by keeping people like Priebus and Bannon away from him during this, his latest in an endless string of vacations (although Bannon made it after all on a separate flight).
         But Donald Trump is as out of touch with reality, especially the inconvenient kind, as Putin is very in touch with it and gaming the giant geopolitical chess board like a true, albeit evil grandmaster.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    This Cartoon Wins the Internet

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    The State of Our Union

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
    Someone kidnapped Donald Trump last night and replaced him with some pod person simulacrum just before last night's State of the Union Address.
         It was almost successful. He was virtually what a Republican President should sound like in his boilerplate orthodoxy but something was off. It was like looking at the best mannequins at Madame Tussaud's or Mitt Romney and marveling at the reproduction of humanity. But something was missing.
         Trump's first State of Union before a joint Congress was everything the usual leaks promised it would be. Hidden in a dark closet in the White House or Trump's mind was the usual snarling, paranoid serial tweeter screaming about phantom terrorists in Sweden or nonexistent porno movies by Miss Universes or three to five million illegal aliens voting or the media being the "enemy of the American people." 
         Pushed out of sight was the cryptofascist who chose for brtual exclusion the citizens of seven Muslim majority nations with whom he just coincidentally has no business dealings. Gone for a couple of hours was the guy whose executive orders have kept doctors from arriving at their jobs to heal the sick, detaining Australian children's book authors and Muhammad Ali's son.
         Poof. Like magic, that man was held at bay away from the incurious eyes of his 62,000,000 voters.
         This new, improved version of Donald Trump, whose job title as President is as irrational and inconsistent with sanity and rationality as King Elizabeth II was almost, well, normal.
         He did many if not all the right things such as reading his usual Bannon-Miller speech, even using his teleprompter instead of winging it. He used as political window dressing the widow of the Navy SEAL who was killed while he was somewhere else, tweeting, instead of the Situation Room as that botched operation, the first of his so-called presidency, played out like a Greek tragedy.
         He spoke about amnesty for younger undocumented immigrants and putting them on track toward citizenship, being "eager" to reach across  the aisle and working with Democrats to actualize his bumper sticker slogan of making America great again.
         But the Democrats weren't having it. While Republicans, as always during a SOTU delivered by one of their own, stood up and applauded every few minutes, those on the other side of the aisle remained seated, stone-faced. Afterward, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the press it was the least important State of the Union in recent history because Trump only said what he was going to do rather than how he was going to do it.
         It was a good performance by a nonhuman homunculus like Trump to even try to act statesmanlike, like watching a poodle walk on its hind legs for a few seconds- One was surprised to see it even attempted much less actually acted out for as long as it had.
         But then, the aware remembers Trump's last few statements before taking the well at the House- How liberals are to blame for the Jewish cemetery descrecations in Pennsylvania, blaming Owens for his death in Yemen while Trump was tweeting about a TV appearance, whining about health care being so complicated...
         ...and then we realized Donald Trump wasn't kidnapped by aliens and supplanted by a pod person, after all. The career tax cheat and draft dodger who hadn't an ounce of political experience prior to January 20th has finally learned how to reinvent himself and lie in a more plausible manner.
         Last night was the night Donald Trump finally became a professional politician, a run of the mill Beltway insider. The Executive and Legislative branches became, at least in the short term, cold-fusioned.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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