Thursday, September 24, 2020

Worth A Thousand Words

If a single picture captures Trump’s America, it’s one showing those duped Trumpists blocking and intimidating early voters in Virginia. It’s all there: ignorance, anger, carefully coordinated indoctrination swallowed whole. Mob mentality. Enthusiastic lawlessness. Fascism adjacent. 

They arrived as if called to prayer. To them, the picture attests, MAGA means renouncing the Constitution, about which they and Trump have never really cared. It confirms how close we are to civil war, as Trump repeatedly declines to agree to peaceful transition if he loses. He’d rather see our country burn. Every American should decry this undisguised intent to overthrow democracy. Why is it only Democrats? 

Recall Trump’s demands at his fakery-fests: “Be poll watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do,” he ordered the gratefully misinformed mob. And they did. 

Accomplishing what? Preventing the fabricated “thieving and stealing and robbing” that people waiting in line would have been doing if they, the red-hatted submissives, weren’t surveilling them? Were they hoping to scare legitimate voters away, patriotically? Is that their en-greatened America? 

Had they been inside, what do they think they’d have witnessed? Between signing in, casting votes, and leaving, how would voters have enfleshed Trump’s hallucinations? Irrelevant: Trump is mobilizing tens of thousands more poll “watchers” to go forth and threaten.

It’s a nutcase nutshell. A psychopathic “president,” to convince himself and his supporters that if he loses, it’d be from Democrats’ skullduggery, has been spinning a deadly conspiratorial web for months. Echoed by the complicit Attorney General of Trump and colluding media multimillionaires, belief in non-existent treachery is digesting Trumpists’ brains like Naegleria fowleri

If it weren’t so pathetic, it’d be laughable. Instead, it’s an intentionally lit fuse, burning with Trump’s lies about climate change, Russia, Covid-19, even Justice Ginsburg; and his nauseating praise, this week, of violence against journalists. He’s brought us to the brink. 

Dealing with Trumpists, liberals are disadvantaged. Being liberal, they still look for occasionally normal behavior and decency from the other side. From adherents, if not leaders. Seeing a “president” lying so blatantly, his Attorney General abdicating responsibility to the law, people so impenetrably manipulated by an American Putin, is confounding. It’s not of their world. 

Take surgery as a metaphor: after a decade in practice, there was no operation I did exactly as taught. Knowledge progresses. I read research publications, attended meetings, and, with experience, developed my own innovations. It’s a non-political example of liberalism. Who’d want doctors who refused to learn beyond the end of formal education? It’s unthinkable. 

Yet it perfectly describes Trumpists: minds gaping wide to deception, hermetic to reevaluating inculcated beliefs. People outside that circle are unused to such intransigence. Countering mindless acceptance of Trump’s mendacity with facts, liberals have found, is a frustrating waste of effort. People accustomed to open-minded discourse lack the tools, if any there are, to awaken closed-minded Trumpists to the danger ahead. Nor are liberals capable of Trumpic amounts of lying. No undamaged humans are. 

Like that photograph, Republicans’ weapons-grade hypocrisy following Justice Ginsberg’s death reveals it, too. All pretense of integrity abandoned, they’re acting in their own and their donors’ interest, not yours. Public opinion, which opposes virtually all their policies, including the timing of RBG’s replacement, is of even less concern to them than greenhouse gases or properly-vetted vaccines.

To pre-conditioned Trumpists, the SCOTUS fight is about abortion. For flip-flopping Republicans, though, as Senator Whitehouse explained this week, it’s about the demands of corporate dark-money paymasters: tipping the law to them rather than their employees; deregulation, no matter the consequences; approving vote-suppression to retain minority control. Promising retribution to senators standing in his way, Trump just admitted, out loud, that for him it’s about creating a Court that will help him steal the election. 

Rehearsing a post-election coup granting unlimited power, he’s already acting the role. Having declared Seattle, Portland, and NYC “anarchist jurisdictions,” to justify punishing mayors he fears, Trump intends to withhold federal funding. Same with denying help to burning western states, which, ironically, contain more Trump voters than the total of several states he won. Not an issue: he considers them “disgusting.”

That picture is everything. Born of the damaged mind of a pernicious “president,” those unthinking Virginians are ready for revolution, the potential first wave of a country-wide uprising. Despicable as violent demonstrations are – and they are -- they’re nothing compared to millions of Trumpofoxified Americans, ready to take it all down, for the lies of a malignant, self-absorbed charlatan.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Dictatorship: It's Coming Unless We Stop It

As we look into the gray emptiness of a disappeared world, Puget Sound displaced by choking smog, the future of our planet looks back. Being blinded by smoke is a worthy metaphor for those who still deny climate change. “It’ll get cooler, you just watch,” said Trump this week. Just as the virus went away, “like a miracle.”

Thus was this column first intended: discussing the most demanding and dangerous challenges we face: climate change and an administration refusing to address it. Then the week happened. Climate change must wait. Until January, this country will continue to ignore it, anyway, no matter what we say or how obvious the need. So, not now.


Because, just in the last few days, Trump and his horribles have made it even clearer that the most urgent first step to saving our planet is to save our democracy; that he and his will do and say anything to prevent it from happening. This isn’t new; it’s just that the potential has been taken up several quanta.


Trump and his collaborators are actively encouraging armed uprising if he loses. And, he’s telling us, the only way he can lose is if Democrats cheat. That popular-vote-losing-by-millions “president” is telling citizens to ignore the polls: if he loses, it was stolen, and they must rise up. “You will see a backlash the likes of which you haven’t seen in many, many years,” he told Jeanine Pirro, who’s in a four-way tie for Fox “news’” most evil entity.


“Be poll watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do,” he says at his Covid-spreading rallies. (Speaking of which, he announced he’s not afraid of getting the virus because his podium is away from the crowd. You understand what that says about his concern for the attendees, right?)


It’s not just Trump. The former CIA guy in charge of finding bin Laden, and now, like so many Trumpists, a QAnon believer, has written, “Loyal Americans know their domestic enemies … and will be able to act swiftly to eliminate them ... The only thing I would be upset about if it came to war is that not enough Democrats would get killed.” Reflecting Trump’s racist demagoguery, he calls BLM “a semi-human mob.” This is the hate-filled, propagandized division Trump incites, because it works for him. And because it’s who he is.


Roger Stone, Trump’s favorite felonious fluffer, said that if Trump loses he should declare martial law. Calling on the FBI to block certain people from voting, and for federal authorities to seize Nevada ballots, he also said Zuckerberg, the Clintons, James Mattis, and others should be rounded up. Has anyone heard Trump disavowing it? No one who loves America can be okay with this. Those who are, don’t.


Michael Caputo, Trump’s unqualified choice for number two at HHS – but a big donor – who demanded scientists at CDC alter their facts to conform to Trump’s lies, later calling them “seditious” for refusing, said, “… when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at [Biden’s] inauguration, the shooting will begin… If you carry guns, buy ammunition...” Called out, he’s taking a “leave of absence,” from which he ought never return, because, like most Trump appointees, he had no business being there in the first place. Money and mendacity are the only credentials required for inclusion in Trump’s swamp.


What more would it take for current Trump supporters to remove their blinders? Their “president” and his acolytes are openly calling for insurrection should he lose; spreading falsehoods about the electoral process in order to discredit the cornerstone of democracy: the right to vote and have it count. It’s a truism: if Trump accuses someone of doing something, it’s he who’s doing it. If he’s the embodiment of narcissism, and ticks every box on the dictator checklist, he’s also the spitting definition of projection.


Barr, too. He’s urging prosecutors to charge some demonstrators with sedition; which, unlike exercising the right to protest, is exactly what Trump is doing, by dictionary definition. Choosing to encourage blood in the streets rather than accept defeat, ready to overthrow America if Biden wins, Trump has undertaken a coordinated campaign of faked videos and lies (“Looters and anarchists will be your neighbors.” “Biden is against God”) to incite his supporters to violence, in order to install himself as dictator. Millions of Trumpists seem to like the idea. The only person happier about that than Trump is His Excellency, Vladimir Putin. 

[Image source]


Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Sinking Feeling

God finally let His feelings on Trump be known when He sank those rally-boats. Knowing Trumpists, by nature, would ignore sensible rules and be unconcerned for fellow boaters, creating undrained swamping was easy. “Make Liberals Cry,” said a sign on one of them. Ironic. Rather than feeling concerned for the lost boats, though, let’s agree all boats matter and move on. 

Speaking of BLM, responding to last week’s column, a reader renamed them “Behave Like Monkeys.” On lake and land, one’s impression of Trumpists is confirmed.

Are blind racism and curated hate for liberals enough to justify voting for a flag-hugging faker who considers our troops “losers,” especially those who were captured or killed? Do loyalists believe his denials despite his being on record calling John McCain one? When even Fox “news” confirms the reporting, citing “impeccable sources”? Better known for the peccable kind, Fox’s corroboration is compelling. 

His decline accelerating, on Monday Trump accused military leaders of waging wars to boost defense industry profits. He, who brags about “rebuilding” the military and selling our fabulous weapons around the world. Funny: it’s presidents and Congress, not generals, who start the wars the military wages. Not funny: the “Commander-in-Chief” is decomposing before our eyes. 

None of this bothers Trumpists, as long as he continues to validate their aforementioned bigotry. This week he moved to end racial sensitivity training, calling it “un-American.” In his America, where supporters care only about themselves, he’s right. It’s also admitting he can’t run on managing the economy or the pandemic.

Maybe that doesn’t matter, either. As November approaches, Republican states are in full vote-suppression mode. Even after a detailed study found a sixty-eight-percent error rate when Georgia’s then-Secretary of State purged legitimate, mostly Democratic voters while running for governor, winning narrowly, the state is celebrating another purge-fest. In Florida, the local USPS, taking orders from Washington, refused inspection of two major centers by a Democratic US Congresswoman. 

While that was happening, we learned Trump’s unqualified Postmaster General became a Republican star by unlawfully forcing his employees to make campaign contributions, then laundering reimbursement. Crooks and liars. The lot of them.

Meanwhile, Trump disgorged his own solution to overcoming votes for Joe Biden, urging his people to vote twice. Was he joking? He repeated it more than once. Either way, William Barr, his lying, nakedly partisan, malevolent Attorney General, refused to say if voting twice was illegal in all states. (It’s a felony, Bill.) Then he described an incident of mail-in ballot fraud that never happened. His latest is brazenly federalizing the New York-based defamation lawsuit against Trump by one of his many rape-accusers. Theoretically in office to defend our laws, not the “president,” he’s just another of Trump’s America-destroying lackeys. 

Moving from executive duplicity to pervasive Republican science-rejection, Idaho’s legislature just voted to end coronavirus-related restrictions. Pandemic? Legislate it away. Perfect. 

How many slaps can one forehead take? How much can Trumpists swallow before realizing they’re being poisoned? Whatever the number, we’re not there. Nor will the recent barrage of wildly dishonest ads, falsely edited videos, and deceptive tweets from Trump cause supporters to question where their gilded idol is taking them. 

The “where” is an Orwellian dystopia in which the worst response to the pandemic among all developed nations is, in fact, “the best.” In which his predecessor should be in prison for hallucinated “treason.” In which, deploying his “best words,” he calls his current opponent “stupid” and lies about imminent socialism because he can’t claim anything worthwhile for himself. It’s a world wherein admitted lies about the pandemic are justified to avoid creating “panic,” but claiming liberals will burn your city, open all borders, and outlaw your religion is necessary information. 

The “where” is a fearful country ruled by a delusional sociopath, whose intelligence agencies are afraid the truth will upset him, so they water it down; where they’re ordered to hide the fact that Russian hackers successfully placed vote-erasing malware in voting machines. Also, where climate change doesn’t exist.

Last month, in Seaside, an ISIS-mimicking caravan of trucked Trumpists, bearing long guns and sidearms, occupied its main street, proving, uh, something, looking tough in their mirrors even though no demonstrators were there to intimidate. At a pro-Trump rally in Salem, a speaker, to cheers, called for Democratic leaders to be “shot dead in the streets.” That’s where Trump has taken us. 

And, yes, because we care about America, the planet, our children and yours, it makes liberals cry. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Trump's America

Riots, anarchy, demonstrators and military-grade militias killing each other, cities on fire. This is what Trump wants you believe is “Biden’s America.” How many voters are that stupid? 
Because he’s describing his America. We’ve seen Joe Biden’s, when he was with President Barack Obama. You might not have liked their policies, but you didn’t see protests with armed citizens shooting at them; nor would they have been praised. Whoever fired the first shots in the recent horrors, it’s only from Trump and rightwing media that we’ve heard laudatory words for confrontational caravans and the Kenosha killer. 
All of it – Americans facing Americans with eyes full of hate, fingers full of triggers – is on Trump and his media deplorables. His campaign began it, and they’ve promoted it ever since.  
Who wouldn’t want to kill demonstrators if they were terrorists who hate America, planning to destroy everything you value, who rape your children before eating them? Other than the sex/cannibal thing, the believers of which Trump has refused to disavow, because “they like me,” that’s what he’s peddling. 
Encouraging mindless fear and hate works, but only for Trump. With his malicious, self-serving encouragement, carloads of the deluded are pouring into “Democrat” cities, ready to defend against … graffiti, mostly.  
This isn’t Biden’s America, nor is it Kamala Harris’ or AOC’s or Rachel Maddow’s. It’s Trump’s and Pence’s. McConnell’s, Hannity’s, Ingraham’s, Limbaugh’s. And Putin’s, who poisons opponents, to Trump’s silence. 
If we can’t say who all the instigators of violence among the peaceful protestors are, investigators found rightwing agitators, aiming to discredit BLM and validate Trumpists’ rage, behind much of it. If lawful demonstrators could control the infiltrators, they would. It’s not what they want. Trump loves it, though. Kellyanne confirmed it 
It’s helpful to remember these encounters are in a few blocks of a few cities. There’s been some destruction, but neither those cities nor America are in flames. That’s not what Trump tells us, though, and it’s not what his angry and armed disciples like to believe. Unfortunately for us all, including them, the country they’re defending isn’t America. It’s Trump’s amoral autocracy.  
In Trump’s America, like his rallies, his party’s convention was a festival of fear, loathing, and blatant lies. In his America, there’s no more briefing Congress on Russian election interference. His DOJ, we’ve just learned, quashed investigations into his financial ties to Russia. Crowdfunding sites are raising hundreds of thousands for a propagandized teenager who, illegally-armed, went looking for trouble and found it, in the lives of two citizens. 
This is the greatness Trump has made. Every arm of government designed to protect us has become an instrument of “presidential” power, not the people’s. Even as we approach two-hundred-thousand dead from a mismanaged pandemic, people defend a “leader” still pushing fake cures and hasty vaccines, while refusing to call for the minor personal sacrifices that would end it. 
Forced to become science-free, the CDC and FDA are mouthing falsehoods, and Trump just hired an unqualified, fringe doctor as his pandemic adviser. Trump’s America is ignorance.  
In Trump’s America, stoking of racial animus is coming from inside the White House. And the Kremlin. Lacking attractive policies, Republicans are silent, because they think it garners votes. Two per person, if Trump has his way. Falling for the lies, Trumpists willingly pave the ever-shortening road to authoritarianism, while Putin does this. 
Think it can’t get worse? How about an amoral, Constitution-ignoring, would-be despot gone fully unglued? If you saw someone raving as Trump did to Laura Ingraham, you’d back away. People in “dark shadows.” Planes filled with “thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.” 
Never psychologically sound, Trump has descended into babbling lunacy, even as he questions Biden’s mental health and pushes faked videos to prove it.  
It’s straitjacket-time, except his V.P. just said he “can’t remember” if he was told to prepare to take over when Trump was hospitalized. Right. That’d slip anyone’s mind. Pence is just another corrupt liar with whom Trump has surrounded himself. Barr, Pompeo, Wolf. Ratcliffe, Navarro. The ones not yet indicted.  
Ignoring the obvious, many will vote for him anyway. No sane person can, though, without lying to themselves about an unfit promoter of division, now further unloosed from reality. 
In Trump’s America, it’s lose-lose: if he wins, the Constitution becomes repudiated parchment; if he loses, believing his “rigged” lies, Trumpists will take to the streets, murderously deceived, ready to bring it all down.

[Image source]

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