Saturday, July 30, 2016

And Then, Democracy Died

My latest newspaper column (they're giving me one a week now):
I’ve watched many presidential conventions, and have viewed images from before my time. Never have I seen the name of the nominee emblazoned in fifteen-foot letters above the stage. Always there’s been at least the pretense that conventions were about ideas, “democracy” in action. In Cleveland it wasn’t “Yes we can,” it was “Yes YOU will.” The same Foxified people who spent eight years imagining President Obama is a dictator gave themselves over like cats in heat to a con man who promises to be exactly that. I’d call it irony, but the word isn’t in their lexicon. Besides, to everyone else, it’s obvious. 
Without irony, Donald TRUMP promised to end crime and insecurity on day one. Yes, he did. “Yes,” sang the choir. “You will.” (There’s only one way that could happen, of course: change the definitions. And why not? He changed the definition of “factual” months ago.) Without irony, the man who made his fortune by scamming others and by not living up to contracts calls his opponent “crooked.” Without irony, the man who’s gone bankrupt multiple times asks to manage our economy. And without irony, the same people who scream about Obama’s budget deficits (far lower than Bush’s) would elect a man whose economic plans, as judged by impartial economic analyses, would add tens of trillions to the debt, hugely more than Hillary Clinton’s. In what world does this make sense? 
In the one, I guess, where there’s no climate change; the one in which tobacco doesn’t cause cancer (says TRUMP’s veep), and the one in which coal is “clean energy” (per the platform coughed up in Cleveland). The one where the best approach to ISIS is to “bomb the s#!t out of them” and kill their children, and in which demonizing all Muslims is the way to guarantee their help in the fight against terrorism. It makes sense in a world in which it’s normal when the candidate of a formerly great political party calls for cyber-attacks on his opponents by a foreign adversary; when his businesses are evidently beholden to Russian financiers, and when he practically invites Russia to invade NATO countries. In a world in which it’s fine that Putin and other tyrants are his idea of “strong leadership.” In one where the hopeful rhetoric of Barack Obama could transition to the vile tweets of an incoherent bully. Lovely world, that. 
Confident his supporters wouldn’t care, Donald TRUMP told at least twenty-one documented lies in his acceptance speech: about taxes, crime, immigration, and, of course, Hillary Clinton. His rapt audience loved every one of them. 
Recalling history, this is how it begins. First come preemptive efforts to discredit anyone who might call out their falsehoods: the media. Intellectuals. Experts. Then come the lies: enemies are everywhere, aiming to destroy the country from within. Immigrants. Muslims. Mexicans. Liberals. Jews. Gays. Stoking flames with their bellows, they warn of imminent annihilation. “Be afraid,” scream their rudy(!)-faced minions. Only then, having suppressed resistance by fear and mockery, do they, self-anointed saviors, mount stages festooned with idolatry, asserting, to grateful acclamation, their singular ability to save us. “I alone can fix it,” they declare. “Yes, oh yes,” beseech the affrighted believers. “Save us from those monstrous things of which you speak.” (The only thing I have to fear is lack of fear itself, smirks the despot.) 
When not inciting existential terror, the RNC was a primal hate-fest. Bereft of positive ideas, it became a nonstop attack on the opposition, and the audience, uninterested in policy, gobbled it down. Calls for shooting or hanging Hillary Clinton were met with delirious approbation by an enraged mob. The shouts of “Lock her up, lock her up,” called to mind the savage children of Lord of the Flies. By the book, the one of his idol, the megalomaniac accomplished his mission, rationality vanquished. “I alone can fix it,” said he, and those in attendance thrilled in gratitude. “I alone,” he beamed below the fifteen-foot letters. “I alone will save you from the not-you.” 
There, at the hands of Donald TRUMP’s enraptured disciples, democracy died. And then, deaf to lies and dumb with fear, they danced on its grave.
[I don't remember the image source. But it was everywhere.]

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

When Commas Tell The Story

From the annals of appropriate use of commas:
I think the time has come now, where this whole network is going to have to band together, all of us, and we're going to have to call out the people who are actively trying to destroy this network, by using lies and deception and propaganda. We're going to have to start to call them out by name, because that's how bad it's become.
Think about it.

For the record, that's Bill O'Reilly after people pointed out, using the words of Abagail Adams, how idiotic was his claim that the slaves building the White House had it pretty doggone good.

[Image source]

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And Andrew HATES Hillary!

I've been reading Andrew Sullivan's live blogging, both of the RNC and now the DNC. He's an actual conservative, of which there are few remaining, who, for his many prior years of blogging, has made no secret of his hatred for Hillary Clinton. In this comment he practically preempts my upcoming newspaper column. Would that the "ridiculous" (to quote Sarah Silverman) Bernie dead-enders could think this clearly. Forest/trees, people. Seriously. This isn't beanbag:

8:05 p.m. Here’s one reason I find myself backing Hillary Clinton of all people without a shadow of a caveat:

Yes, I know every day, Trump reveals more about his foul character and authoritarian instincts. But imagine an actual president treating his opponents this way. Imagine Trump having access to the NSA, the FBI, and the IRS. Imagine him warning an opponent that he “knows more about him than he knows about himself”. These are the words of a mob boss, not a politician in a liberal democracy.
It is not so much that Vladimir Putin wants Trump to win, so they can divvy up Europe between them. It is that Trump intends to do to American democracy what Putin did to Russia’s fledgling democracy – turn it into an illiberal Potemkin democracy in which the strongman always gets the final say. Trump is not even trying to disguise this agenda. He has told us quite plainly that he will use the powers of his office to persecute his opponents and put them in jail; that he will purge the government of any neutral civil servants; that he will pursue anti-trust action against media challengers; that he will demonize and quarantine a free press; and that he will order criminal acts in the military.
Against this threat, his ludicrous “policy” proposals are almost irrelevant. It’s our democracy he threatens. And our way of life.
Well said, Andrew. Welcome to the light.


Jesus Fking Christ. Leave it to "liberals" to screw things up and look like idiots to everyone else. Interrupting a prayer, with "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie??" Chanting "Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs" and "We trusted you!" to Elizabeth Warren? Really? Elizabeth Warren?? Shouting "Black Lives Matter" as Cory Booker spoke? C'mon. Cory Booker??

Get over yourselves. Bernie said it best: the campaign was never about him, or Hillary, or anyone else. It was about climate change, the environment, education, health care... And if it was about You with a capital "Y" it was never just about you, in lower case. It's so much more important than you, shouters, and it's about far more than your shattered dreams and wounded feelings. It's about the dreams of those who, for now, have health care coverage; it's about our kids growing up as the earth warms to the boiling point; it's about public education and roads, about what we leave behind. And, mainly, it's about not letting a megalomaniac conman anywhere near the Oval Office, and about not letting those spittle-flecked, happily uninformed haters who support him get the upper hand.

It's also about the fact that it's how democracy works. Sure, there's corruption and cynicism and too much money and all the rest; but, in the end, it was an election. People win, people lose. And the losers, if they believe in things greater than themselves, and Bernie Sanders clearly does, they join the winners to do what's necessary. Especially now, when the other party has handed itself over to a would-be strongman who's already promised to use the power of government to quash his perceived enemies. Like, among other things, the press. And Jeff Bezos. History tells us, and not in a whisper, where that leads.

So, suck it up. There's too much at stake, including, but hardly limited to, democracy itself. Because if Donald Trump bullies his way in, and bullies Congress and the press the way he's bullied the people he owes money, there's an entirely un-imaginary possibility it could end.

And if you just don't give a shit, if your sense of entitlement trumps, in your minds, the needs of everyone else in the country, can you at least find a way to shut yourselves the fuck up when people are speaking? It makes you seem like assholes, and it's starting to look like you really are.

(Well, at least they shut up for Michelle Obama's perfect, moving, beautiful speech. Some things transcend it all.)

[Image source]

Monday, July 25, 2016

Just Asking

Non-rhetorical question. Which is more worrisome and unprecedented: that the DNC considered tilting the scales to one candidate over another (and, for that matter, that the RNC did the same against its final candidate), or that Vladimir Putin actually did it for Donald Trump?

[Image source]

Two Of A Kind

Garry Kasparov's comparison of Trump to Putin is a worthy read, the last two paragraphs of which are below:
... It is painful to admit, but Putin was elected in a relatively fair election in 2000. He steadily dismantled Russia’s fragile democracy and succeeded in turning Russians against each other and against the world. It turns out you can go quite far in a democracy by convincing a majority that they are threatened by a minority, and that only you can protect them.  
The final and most worrying similarity between Putin and Trump is that so many are unwilling to believe that someone like Trump could ever become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed to great jubilation, we never would have believed that a former KGB agent would become the president of Russia just nine years later. The moral: Be careful whom you vote for, it could be the last election you ever have.
Well, we might say, even if he were elected, the Constitution, with its separation of powers, makes it impossible for him to become a strongman like Putin or those other tyrants he's praised.

I'm not so sure. Trump is a vengeful bully, so unable to take criticism, so unable and unwilling to think beyond the simplistic, that he's gone after any and all who disagree with him. In his recent meeting with R senators he overtly threatened a senator who'd not endorsed him. He's promised to use the IRS as a weapon as well, exactly the transgression of which the RWS™ falsely accused President Obama. I'm waiting to hear any of them speak out against what Trump actually promised. 

And what of the press, the Fourth Estate, charged with keeping our leaders honest? Trump has it covered: he's announced his intention to loosen libel laws, so he can sue reporters more easily. I suppose it's better than having them murdered, like Putin. But give him time, if he gets the power.

How many in Congress, especially on the right, have shown the courage to resist threats (or munificent favors)? With the power of the presidency, a nasty megalomaniac like Trump could easily cow, with threats and actions, those most able to stand up to him; i.e., elected representatives and, eventually, voters. Would they resist? I don't care to find out, because I'm pretty the answer is no. If nothing else, the Republican convention showed us that.

[Image source]

Friday, July 22, 2016

God Save (Us From) The Queen

(I wrote this before the convention was over, but never got around to posting it.)

Perfect. And perfectly believable: Trump first offered the VP job to Kasich, saying this:

... Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of? “Making America great again” was the casual reply...
It explains the obvious, with a bit of a twist: apparently even Donald Trump knows he's not qualified to be president. And he couldn't care less. He's in it strictly for the adulation.

Donald Trump wants to be Queen Elizabeth; he's in it for the crowds, the parades, the castle, and the horse-drawn carriage. The work? That's for the Prime Minister who, in this case, happens to be a guy who denies there's a connection between cigarettes and cancer, who's voted a bunch of times against veterans' benefits of various sorts, who (of course) denies climate change and doesn't believe in evolution (course requirements), who's signed anti-LBGT laws that even businesses in his own state demanded be changed.

The fakery that's been obvious is now even more so. Except that to his followers it's not; and if it were, evidently it wouldn't matter. How that can be I haven't a clue. Other than, yet again, to marvel at the success of Roger Ailes, et al, in creating a mass of incurious people, wholly disinterested in reality. But mad. Mad as hell. At everyone not exactly like them. In Donald Trump they see that reflected. And that's all that matters.

[Image source]

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's Done.

The audience shouted "Yes you will, yes you will, yes you will." They want someone else to save them from the things under their beds. They want a dictator.

Once, we said "Yes we can, yes we can, yes we can." And, for the most part, we did.

He won't. He can't.

It's beyond cynicism, beyond stupidity, beyond brainwashing by the recently departed from Fox "news." It's total surrender. To lies, to hatred, to giving up on thinking, on reality, and, most especially, everything on which this country was founded.

A Panel Of Experts

So I'm sitting in the surgery lounge waiting for a case to start and I'm being forced to listen (because it's on really loud and people are paying attention) to CNN. A passel of panelized pundits is pontificating profoundly, proudly presenting pernicious, packaged pap on the presumption that proclamations from persons of their primacy among propagandists prouduce perspicatious perceptions about plagarism. Piffle.

They're talking about the shocking revelation by Mrs Trump's speech writer that she (Ms Trump) admires Michelle Obama and how that could affect the campaign which is, of course, based pretty much entirely on hatred of the Obamas and Hillary. Not of their policies as much as the humans themselves. Just blind all-encompassing hate of them and their families. So, horror of horrors, how can it be that someone on that side might find reason to admire one on the other?

Well, say those wise souls of the teevee, whatever else might be true, it certainly deserves plenty of air time; otherwise we might have to discuss the implications of Trump's so-called policies, or the fact that the convention went wild when Chris "I'll kiss his ass and lick it too, if that's what it takes to make me AG" Christie held a faux trial of Hillary, asking the audience if she was guilty or innocent of, among other things, the murders by Boko Harum. "Guilty!!" they shouted, followed by "Lock her up, lock her up, lock her up."

What awful people. What awful times. How absolutely dispiriting that a panel of "experts" considers it noteworthy that Melania Trump might actually admire Michelle Obama. Which is not to say it's not noteworthy: among such people gathered in Cleveland, anything but vitriol and formless hate for all on the other side is tantamount to treason.

(Twenty minutes later, and they're still talking about it. Media. What do they think their job is, anyway? Oh, we are SO thoroughly, totally, irretrievably fucked.)

[Image source]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Not Photoshopped

Laura Ingraham, charter member of the RWS™, at the RNC tonight.

A Distinction Without A Difference?

My latest newspaper column:
I wonder if the recent horrific murders of police will lead “patriotic” Americans who talk about “Second Amendment remedies” for perceived wrongs, to stop and think for a minute. Of course the answer is no; but when you squint at it in a certain dim light, the killers could be heroes to them. Didn’t they choose “militia” members’ favorite avenue of redress for what they considered government tyranny? Shouldn’t someone ask those Foxotrumpian defenders of truth, justice, and their particular perversion of the American way what, exactly, are the criteria by which they justify their own taking up arms against a duly constituted government body? Assuming they’d be outraged at a suggestion that they’re philosophically in league with cop-killers, might they tell us who, in a country where government and law reflect the will of voters, gets to decide which laws and actions are onerous enough to legitimize revolution, even a one-man one? 
“Patriots” proudly paraded their way to Oregon in support of the insurrection there, cheered by America-lovers across the land. How different, if you strip away skin color and threats to shoot versus actually shooting, were the actions: people abandoning the rule of law to right what they considered wrongs too egregious to be addressed within the constraints of democracy. Can we look at one but not the other without recoiling at the thought of where it all leads, how it all ends?  What sort of line separates which kinds of polluted minds? 
Unable to distinguish a few from the many, people on the right call Black Lives Matter a hate group. A former US Congressman, after the Dallas monstrosity, tweeted that President Obama and BLM better watch out: “We’re coming for you.” Before the slaughter in Nice, some people bragged they’d run down BLM protesters who blocked roads. Who has less hate in their hearts? President Obama spoke in Dallas, about twenty minutes too long, and maybe not the ideal time to tilt, yet again, at the gun control windmill. But he spoke honestly about issues on each side; his praise of the Dallas police couldn’t have been higher, his acknowledgment of the tough and necessary job police do couldn’t have been clearer or more sincere. Yet, even as his words still echoed, right-wing screamers called his speech “a middle finger to police.” Any ray of hope that this time the horror was so great that people might stop shouting and start listening was snuffed out before having a chance even to glimmer through the dark. Preferring to nurture their hatreds rather than accept the demands of citizenship, such people will never look for ways forward. 
If BLM is calling for anarchy (it isn’t), then what is it when presidential candidates and governors call for ignoring laws, court rulings, and parts of the Constitution people don’t like? Red-state secessionists are, by definition, seditious, having neither love nor understanding of the implications of living in a democracy. Who isn’t putting up with laws they don’t like? I am. But I still prefer living where I’m given a voice, even if it doesn’t always prevail. Yes, the recent abominations and Malheur are enormously different. But isn’t there something to be learned, extrapolating from the latter, in considering the former? 
And what about that man who joined that peaceful Dallas protest while legally carrying a rifle? The man falsely identified as a suspect, who, when he found out, notified the police and turned over his weapon, possibly saving his own life, but receiving death threats ever since. The man in reference to whom the Dallas police chief said open-carry makes police work harder? Any second thoughts? Any consideration of deferring to the views of embattled law enforcement professionals, over the curious need for preening and packing? 
When I heard about Dallas, I felt sick. Then I saw moments of transcendence, as people of all ages and races hugged cops, heartfelt and real. It happened here, too, and I believed, momentarily, that it’s finally gone far enough, that this time there’ll be more than passing thoughts and effortless prayers. Then I read the malefic right-wing reactions to President Obama’s speech, and felt sick all over again. I still do.
[Image source]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Not Fiction

Wondering if anyone besides me, listening to crazed chants of "Lock her up, lock her up" by sweat-stained people at the RNC, is reminded of Lord of the Flies.

[Image source]

Best To Be Quiet, Ben

To think that Ben Carson evidently had the intelligence to become a respected neurosurgeon! It suggests that brain surgery isn't exactly brain surgery.

To think that Ben Carson was actually -- and still is, by some -- considered presidential material! It suggests that the bar in today's Republican Party is so low that they'd even go for an embarrassment like Donald Trump. (Okay, no, probably a bridge too far, even for them. Sorry.)

So this is how that med-school-educated hero of evangelicals and teabaggers views transgender people; how they discover their identity, and the ease with which it happens:
... He said in a speech to Florida delegates that being transgender was "the height of absurdity,” reported The Palm Beach Post.
Carson also told The Hill that he didn't think transitioning genders makes "any sense." 
"For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said I’m Afghani today because I saw a movie about that last night and even though my genetics might not indicate that, that’s the way I feel, and if you say that I’m not, then you’re a racist,” Carson told the news outlet...
Which is it more: stupid, bizarre, uninformed, illogical, hateful? Honestly, the man makes me embarrassed to be a fellow surgeon. Outside the OR (I can't believe he was that scary within it, but who knows?) he's a real-life Chauncey Gardner. And because he once topped the polls among today's Republicans, it makes me embarrassed to be American.

Which is an improvement over Trump, who also makes me frightened, angry, and despondent.

[Image source]

Monday, July 18, 2016

Newt. Nuts.

More than any other person, Newt Gingrich is responsible for the scorched-earth approach to opposition that now characterizes the Republican Party. Karl Rove and lecherous Roger Ailes and the rest of the RWS™ might have perfected it, but Gingrich was the first to make it central to their plans. (Not a coincidence that Newt and Karl are all over Fox "news" all the time.) My favorite quote about Newt came a few years ago, from Paul Krugman: "He's the stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Bullseye!

I've always thought he was a self-important bloviator and full time maker of no sense. And now, with his bizarre, impossible, unconstitutional, counterproductive, gob-smackingly insane plan to interview every American of Islamic descent and deport them if they "believe in Sharia law," he's become the minimally smart person's idea of what a stupid person sounds like.

This article says it well. I wasn't aware of this, were you?
... One of the Middle East countries that officially endorses sharia as a legal system is one of Gingrich’s most favored countries, Israel, which is, by his lights—and mine—a crucial component of Western civilization. Israel’s sharia courts, which are supervised by the Ministry of Justice, allow the more than 15 percent of Israel’s population that is Muslim to seek religious recourse for their personal dilemmas. These courts have been in operation since Israel’s founding, and yet the country does not seem to have been fatally undermined by their existence...
I was, though, vaguely aware of this:
... Islam, like Judaism, is a law-based religion, and Islamic law concerns itself with all aspects of human existence: from marriage and divorce to economics and commercial law to personal behavior and hygiene. To attack “sharia” so broadly is to offend Muslims who are also offended by ISIS and repulsed by the sort of jihadist terrorism afflicting much of the world today...
It is, of course, ironic at minimum that people such as Gingrich, all the other former R candidates, and now Trump's latest lapdog Mike Pence would happily impose biblical law on all of us. It shares with Sharia, among other things, several conditions under which non-believers or non-compliers need to be stoned to death. No more or less "compatible with Western civilization" than Sharia is.

Gingrich was on the short (on brains) list for Trump's veep. He's not at all out of the mainstream of what's become of the Republican party of today. It's yet another reason, among a nearly unending number of them, why putting Donald Trump in the White House would be not only a disaster in policy, but a sign that the county had very literally lost its mind.

[Image source

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Truth Vs Idiocy

This is the reason it's easy, despite the email b.s. and all the rest, to support Hillary Clinton. This was spontaneous, spoken without notes. Thoughtful, precise, on point, and, of course, entirely right.

That it happens to be in response to a smirking, and then abashed Mike Pence, who didn't see what was about to happen, only makes it more clear who belongs where in 2017.

Pence, by the way, who denies a connection between tobacco and lung cancer, humans and climate change, evolution, has the expected evangelical disgust for LBGT people, couldn't have been a better pick for Trump. To those still swayed by the constant cynical attacks on Hillary, convinced she's evil incarnate: consider the person in this video in the context of what the other side stands for.

How much more obvious can it get?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I agree with those who believe RBG was unwise to opine as clearly as she did on the obvious disqualifications and unqualifications of Donald Trump's candidacy, and on the serious, predictable consequences for our country were he to win. There is, after all, the pretense that the Supreme Court is apolitical; and that the myth should be protected at all times.

However. I don't recall hearing anything from the loudest critics of her outspokenness regarding Antonin Scalia's many trips paid for by conservative organizations (he was on one when he died, matter of fact); or his many speaking engagements to conservative groups. Or that after throwing the election to George Bush, his son got a job in that administration. And there was nothing but praise when, in Scalia's last few years on the court he abandoned all pretense of impartiality and "strict constructionism," i.e, mind-reading of people long dead. Corporations are people. Money is speech. Racism is over. Black people should go to less-challenging colleges than whites.

Does RBG's outspokenness mean she can't be impartial? Is there evidence that she's less so than anyone else on the court? Not to me. So, yeah, probably unwise. But damn. You gotta love the ol' gal. She's the best thing that's happened to the Court since Marbury v. Madison, and she proves it, in her opinions and dissents, time and time again.

[Image source]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The President In Dallas

Probably too long for us, we of the short attention spans; but his speech was everything that needed saying. Of course, the right wing screamers hated it. And yet I'd bet that if they heard those words from the mouth of anyone else, there'd be little with which they'd find fault. (If you read the screeds in that link, if you're like me you'll despair. That kind of hate knows no resolution, nor wants it.)

Just when you think there's a ray of hope...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Almost All Has Already Been Said

There's so much to say, or maybe nothing more at all, about the horrifying, depressing events of the past week. It feels like the country is falling apart and that there's no solution. Each side blames the other, of course. To me the comments of Barack Obama have been a lot less divisive and hate-inducing than those who've called him a terrorist-lover, an America-hater, or those represented by this asshole. Our president's first words about Dallas were perfect, in fact; and so were his most recent. The right, of course, heard them as horrifying.

But that's not my point. My point is a small but more than half-serious one: the cop-killer in Dallas had, like so many "patriots" of the right, stockpiled a huge cache of weapons and ammo at his home. Those "patriots" do so, they tell us and themselves, to protect themselves and the rest of us against a tyrannical government. So, on that basis, shouldn't the cop-killer be a hero to them? Didn't he see himself as doing just that? And, in some ways, might his view of a tyrannical government be more justified than those of the "patriots," who consider it tyranny when they have to follow laws they don't like? Civil rights laws, for example?

For that matter, Philando Castile, the man killed by a cop at a traffic stop, was legally carrying the gun which, evidently, he didn't use but which was, presumably, the reason he was killed. Another citizen, armed as the NRA would have it, dead because of it.

I assume none of those America-loving, tyranny-preventing patriotic ammosexuals will see either situation that way. Their answers to why not might be instructive.

[Image sources]

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Brexit = Trump

My latest newspaper column:
I’m not economically erudite enough to predict the long-term implications of Brexit on markets and pocketbooks, but I’m not reassured when Donald Trump, who as recently as six weeks ago had no idea what it is, says it should have no effect on the US. The man focuses on issues like a laser. In terms of breadth and depth, that is. (He beamed that it’ll help his golf course, though, as he was otherwise embarrassing himself over misreading the Scottish vote.) Nevertheless, I can’t see how the potential breakup of the EU could be a good thing, either for world economies or, importantly, for security. Why, one wonders, is Trump’s second most favorite tyrant, V. Putin, so happy about it? Might it be the possibility that NATO will collapse? Did Mr. Trump even consider that before he spoke? I’m guessing not. 
Still, what concerns me most about the UK leaving the EU is the way it reflects the gormless, paranoid, nationalistic, xenophobic fury that is Trumpism in our country. Sayeth the savant of the snowdrifts, the vapor of vacationland, Sarah the superficial, who, for reasons inexplicable, is still regarded as credible by many: the UK “avoided apocalyptic one-world government.” And there you have it. Delusional ignorance, fuelling a movement more dangerous than the peril it thinks it sees. 
Donald Trump, fabulous businessman, that I can tell you, has left bankruptcies and never-built projects around the planet, scamming charmed investors, most of whom couldn’t afford it, yet always managing to enrich himself. Recent analyses of his economic proposals, one by Moody’s, another by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, found that if enacted they’d increase our national debt by more than twelve trillion dollars, give or take, while creating deep and lengthy recession. Doesn’t matter. 
I find those facts vitally important in considering a Trump presidency. On his supporters, though, there’s no impact: not from his shoot-from-the-hair inanities, his lack of understanding of issues, his walking-back or denying or flipping what he just said, and certainly not the fact that his career is filled with frauds, failures, falsity, and filings, while profiting from the misery of others. Irrelevant. Because in Donald Trump people see themselves getting even; they see the slaying of those monsters in Sarah Palin’s hallucinations. There’s a lot they’re against, but they’re FOR very little. To them, facts don’t enter into the equation, no more than for Trump. He’s the dark mirror in which they see reflected the face of their bitterness, grinning its approval. 
And that, it seems, is primarily what was behind the Brexit vote. Other than getting rid of immigrants, and rules imagined to be enslaving them, citizens had no clue what they were voting for. Over four million exit-voters, shocked awake, are now demanding a revote. Google searches from the UK for “what is the EU” have surged, ex-post-barn-dooro. Like American Trumpits, Brits bought false promises and stoking of grievances, neither caring nor bothering to learn what was at stake. All they needed to know is that they’re bloody angry and frustrated. 
After the Brexit vote there’s been a spike in hate crimes over there. In Seattle, a transgender man was recently beaten at a rally in support of Orlando victims. Sacramento, shortly thereafter, saw the stabbing of several people at a white power event. In the ultimate expression of Brexotrumpism, Texas secessionists are ululating yet again. (Let ‘em go. Build a wall, with checkpoints; require passports and background checks for entry. Void government and private contracts, remove the military bases. It’d be the “Oh, sh… ucks” heard ‘round the world.) Legitimized by a Trump win, as Brexit evidently did, who can believe this human wave of inchoate, violent resentment won’t get even worse? 
The human mind, with its adoration of war, fear of “the other,” magical thinking, tribalism, quickness to paranoia, has finally created problems too big for it to handle, scraping against the limits of its ability to cope. As a species, we’re going into tilt mode, seeking easy and cheap answers, justifying denial of reality. In formless anger and frustration, we’re looking for scapegoats instead of solutions, inculpation instead of illumination. Thus, Brexit. Thus, Donald Trump.  
[Image source]

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Incorrigibly Incorrigible

Compare and contrast:

For going on eight years, a favorite (and typically hypocritical) right-wing knock on President Obama is that he uses teleprompters, signifying something-something-something. Something serious, that I can tell you.

And now, when Donald Trump has started stumbling his way through words written for him and projected on a teleprompter, Guess what: it's a sign that he's presidential.

How about this: which would you find to be deserving of at least one congressional investigation, a presidential candidate who used a private email server, or one who allegedly raped a teenager? Or, if not an investigation, how about mentions on "news" channels?

What a load of b.s. are the RWS™ and their true believers.

[And this just in: no charges agains Hillary over the emails. Shall we predict whether CongressRs and their Fox "news" shills will decide it's time to move on?]

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Make It Stop

Gotta admit this Hillary/email thing is starting to worry me a lot. I have no idea how significant it is, but at this point it's like Chinese water torture. Drip, drip, drip.

She'd be an infinitely better president than Donald Trump, even from prison. So would you. But if this shit keeps piling up to the point that it'd give the election to Trump, it'd prove that if there's a god, he/she/it is just fking with us and laughing his/her/its ass off. If gods have asses. (I doubt it, because wow.)

If there's something indictable here, then get it over with and do it. Give someone, anyone, time to get in there. Are you ready, Joe? Because a Trump presidency would be awful, horrible, unthinkable in every way imaginable.

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