Trump is Not President (2019Feb18)

Monday, February 18, 2019                                             6:26 PM

Trump is Not President   (2019Feb18)

Trump is not being a president. He usurped the office through a massive con, but he has never understood the job and he has never done the job. While holding the office, he has attacked our nation, its government, and its people—but he has never served one day as the President of the United States. And that is because he isn’t just unfit—he’s incapable of understanding the office.

I am tired of people pretending that this is just a different way of doing things—‘different’ and ‘wrong’ are not synonymous. I’m tired of this whole disgraceful farce.

The voters are careless and uninformed—but you’d never know it from the zeal they bring to any shouting match regarding the day’s issues. They’re not much for reasonable discussion—but, boy-howdy, don’t they love to argue.

The media have gone from a public service to a transmitter of mental disease. I’m sick of these nattering nabobs of news—no better than Bozo the Clown at keeping the public informed.—pretending that the distractions of each individual day are the equivalent of information, pretending that they’re objective, pretending that disgraceful criminal is just ‘45’, no different from the 44 preceding statesmen who actually held the office and did the job.

The elected officials are 90% craven opportunists, with a leavening of idealists who suffer the inexorable failure of decency in the face of overwhelming hypocrisy. Politicians, judges, detectives—these folks are not geniuses—recent evidence indicates that we can’t even describe these people as honest, by and large.

Traditions of hate and superstition are joined by our natural impulse towards selfishness and procrastination. While our world fills up with science, invention, and technology, it fails to reject old problems. Injustices remain institutionalized, science only complicates the issues. And the only progress we really need to make, is to become a mature society—something more reasonable than a mob.

Until then, we are at the mercy of the worst of us, including the present POTUS. I’m starting to think that Democracy fails in most countries because it is flawed—I think the USA ran for two centuries on responsibility, not democracy. Politics isn’t the same as statesmanship. Ruling isn’t at all the same as governing. And, most of all, money and value are not the same thing.

We Can’t Have It Both Ways (2019Feb06)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019                                       9:52 PM

We Can’t Have It Both Ways   (2019Feb06)

Here’s the thing about people: In Vincent Van Gogh’s time, people lacked the wit to appreciate his art. We think of this today as a factoid that adds value to the tremendous worth of each painting. But in Van Gogh’s life, it meant that everyone thought they were a better judge of painting than he was. And this included respected, professional art-critics.

They were wrong.

Everyone who resented hippies throughout the sixties believed that they were being patriotic Americans. Today, we know about the Pentagon Papers—we know that the Viet Nam debacle was a hideous case of our government not being patriotic to us. We know that, while the hippies wrongheadedly berated returning veterans, the anti-war protests helped curtail the number of veterans who never returned—and increased the number of young men who would never become veterans.

They were confused.

Capitalism has made America great. It has done its job a little too well. We now have billionaires living mere yards from the poor—and so cleverly are our cities designed that no billionaire is significantly disturbed by the suffering of everyone around them. Of course, in rural areas, wealth requires fencing and guards. Only in crowded cities can the wealthy rely upon the zeitgeist to protect them from everyone else.

They aren’t scared.

People think that whatever society has been doing for a couple of years, is the way things have always been and will always be. People assume disaster will not strike, but they will confine themselves in straitjackets to avoid taking a risk. People can design five-stage Mars landers and then turn around and stub their toes.

Intelligence flits in and out, but dumb animality is the steady pulse behind all mentation.

I’ll tell you how I know that I’m right and the Trumpsters are deluded: I’m not getting any satisfaction out of this. This isn’t fun for me. I am not riotously celebrating the return of incivility. I’m simply resisting out of survival instinct. Reporters ask those glassy-eyed rednecks, on line for a rally, “Why do you believe Trump?” They invariably focus long enough to smirk, “I don’t really believe him, I just like his style.”

All they know for sure is that Trump will never correct their grammar or their addition—Trump will never tell them that they should read a book. Here in the 21st century, a guy like that is priceless. He won’t ask you to memorize your Social Security number, he won’t ticket you for parking in the handicapped zone, and he doesn’t give a damn if there’s Human Growth Hormone in your kids’ milk.

I began to write computer programs in the eighties—an early adopter who’s woefully behind the present. One striking memory that stays with me was the day I realized that a single typo, anywhere in the code, made the whole thing garbage. There is no mistake so small that a computer will ignore it.

People, OTOH, don’t like to ‘sweat the small stuff’. Historically, that has been human wisdom. That’s why it struck me—and stuck with me—to realize that could never apply to computers. That is their terror.

The monstrosity of two blips on an air-traffic-controller’s screen, meeting, then ceasing. If you’re not watching the screen closely, you won’t even see it happen—but your awareness, or lack of it, changes nothing about the two jetliners carrying hundreds of people, exploding into tragedy.

Trump and his ilk are sales hacks—they will never stoop so low as to sweat the small stuff—and we admire such bravado. But there is a choice we are all pretending we don’t have to make: we can concern ourselves with the small stuff and have a futuristic, global civilization—or—we can go on with the sloppy thinking and science-denying of the freakin middle ages.

We can’t have it both ways.

When your computer tells you that coastal cities will all flood in ten years, you can just buy a new computer. When disaster arrives, we can go back to caves. Or die out completely. Either way, the last 10,000 years will have been flushed down the toilet. But, hey, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Government Is Not the Same As Business (2019Feb06)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019                                       5:58 AM

Government Is Not the Same As Business   (2019Feb06)

I have a new ‘guess’ about the mystery of the divided country. Conservatives, Trumpsters, whatever: I bet if you asked a Liberal if they accepted that there’s plenty of corruption in business, they would agree. In business, wheels are greased and corners are cut, because it’s people that are doing the transactions—and people are human.

Liberals are not so naïve as to imagine that businesses don’t do whatever they can get away with—in some sense, that’s the nature of Capitalism. (And listen as hard as you can, you won’t hear any Liberals calling for an end to Capitalism. Liberals want social programs, not Social-ism.)

But Liberals (and one would hope, Conservatives) see government as distinct from business. Government is not the same as Business. Government is not the same as Business. I’d type it again if I thought it would help.

Democratic Government is intended to support and protect all of its citizens equally. It is not a for-profit ‘outfit’—that’s why they take taxes. And Government, like business, is performed by people—those same, imperfect humans. So, there is corruption in Government, too—and ignorance.

Government, however, without its standards of equality and justice, is like a business without money—it has zero value. The recent shutdown displayed peoples’ understanding that their civil service was about more than their salaries. The elected Government showed little of that.

Democracy is about consensus. In a business meeting, an alpha-bully who flim-flams his way into overbearing all others present—that person is a valuable salesperson in some corporations. But putting that psycho in charge of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—it sets the whole idea of consensus on its head.

I think there is something else, too, something we all have to absorb. The 21st century is full of traffic, weapons, toxins, and misinformation. Don’t hate Liberals if we take to the electronics and the science a little quicker than you—but don’t kid yourself that only nerds need to know this stuff, either.

Trump is dumb as a sack of rocks—and most of those Republican yahoos in Congress aren’t far behind him. If you like Trump because he’s dumping on science and intelligence—you’re in for a rude awakening. Look around you. It’s the F-ing future.

Profound Debasement (2019Feb04)

Monday, February 04, 2019                                             6:24 AM

Profound Debasement   (2019Feb04)

I can’t defend the racism of Virginia’s governor, nor do I wish to. But I will say that the timing of this ‘discovery’ of an 80’s yearbook photo is particularly auspicious, considering that racism in a governor, if sufficiently ballyhooed about, helps mask treason and corruption in a president—for several news-cycles, it seems.

It makes me wonder if, among the Republicans’ many cynicisms, there is a list of available dirt that they keep on Democrats—not to bring them to justice, but just to release, as a diversion and for the appearance of parity, whenever their own corruption becomes too massive to overlook.

The fact that the Democrats are human is unfortunate—it’s so easy for Republicans to equate human failings with their own profound debasement. My advice to Democrats is to run lean—Republicans make more hay from an unofficial email server than Democrats could from 1st-degree murder—so keep it tight.

First and foremost, decide between yourselves who can best carry forward the Democratic agenda—don’t have thirty candidates for president—that just makes you look sloppy. Have all those people out there, and in media—sure—but have them all pulling for a certain goal, not an amorphous concept.

Secondly, begin impeachment proceedings. What are you waiting for? Another secret meeting between Trump and his Kremlin puppetmaster? Trump has crossed lines in several directions—high crimes and misdemeanors that Republicans would like to ignore (like emoluments and campaign violations) that do not require waiting for Mueller’s final indictment. Trump has flooded the system with his sludge—start clearing the backwash now.

Yeah, yeah, the Virginia governor is a racist—oh my stars and garters—and right there in the heart of the old confederacy—can you believe it?! Yes, I can believe it—and I don’t care. The media can whore for eyeballs all day long—but that makes it too mindless to keep its perspective.

People always say, ‘write your congressperson’, but in this case we should start writing our network and cable news-CEOs, telling them to get off the dime. It’s time they found a way to sell their sensationalism without endangering our democracy. Besides, I should think they’d feel shame at being such a tool for people like Trump. It’s embarrassing.